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This was our ninth cruise, and our second cruise on NCL.  We traveled with our college son and our older son and his new wife.  We chose this cruise for its itinerary and we were looking for a casual cruise.  We did not want to dress for dinner or meet time frames, and NCL certainly fit the bill.  Embarkation was a breeze.  Being Latitude Members we were sent to a special line and went right to registration and on to the ship.  It took my husband longer to park our vehicle than it did for us to get on the ship due to "Fleet Week" in NY; He had to park on a different building which took about ½ an hour.  NCL sure has embarkation down pat. We stayed in Cabin 8086, obstructed view.   While our cabin did have a somewhat obstructed view you could still look out and see the ocean and whether it was daylight or dark.  Our room was neat and clean and Reggie, the Room Stewart, and his assistant kept it that way all week.  They did a good job and were very polite and cordial.  While we had read reviews from some who felt the crew was not very polite, we did not meet any crew members on this cruise who did not acknowledge us and smile, no matter where we were on the ship. Prior to going on the cruise, we had organized the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet, which went very well.  We had good attendance and the Captain and his Crew came in to give us a talk about the ship and new menus that were being offered.  We certainly appreciated them taking the time to meet with us personally.  Ana, the Event Coordinator, was great as was Anshuman, our Concierge.  Both were very helpful and courteous through the cruise. This cruise was the pilot for the new menu program and they were anxious to get our feedback after the cruise.  NCL Dawn now has the same menu all week in the Aqua and Venetian, their main dining rooms; however the menu for each restaurant is different from the other.  The Chef's selection changes every day and is also different in each restaurant.  We did eat in the Venetian, but did not try Aqua.  The one evening we did try to get into Aqua the line was very long so we just went to the buffet.  The kids ate in Aqua a couple times and really enjoyed it.   Aqua's menu had more seafood selections, while Venetian had more meat and beef.  We chose not to make reservations on any evening, except when we went to Teppenyaki, which was the only specialty restaurant we tried; it was a lot of fun and the food was good.  We ate lunch once, and several dinners in the Venetian; we found all meals there to be very good.  Lobster and filet was offered as one of the mainstays on the new menu and I had it a couple times!  While some might not like the new set menu idea, I feel that the menus have a nice selection and I was glad that I could have my lobster more than one night.  We ate our breakfasts, as well as a few other meals, at the Buffet and found the food to be satisfactory with a large selection to fit everyone's appetite.  They even had some Indian and Chinese items in the mix which made for a very nice variety.  We were also spotted several times at the Blue Lagoon, especially for the great tomato soup with basil cream...YUM.  We went every afternoon for a cup of this delicious soup, it is a must try.  The fish & chips were also very good and the kids said the wings were great.  Overall we were very pleased with the new menus and the eating venues on board; no complaints from this group. The public area on the ship were always clean and being attended to.  There was always staff cleaning, painting and etc. around the ship.  We never felt crowded and the public rooms were large and airy, with plenty of seating where needed. As far as entertainment goes, we only attended a couple shows.  I am unsure if there was more than one show time each evening because it just seemed that we could not hit the timing right for the shows. We did see the magician, who was good, but typical fair.  Of course Dave Heenan is great; he is the comedian on board.  We saw and met Dave when we cruised on the Spirit and enjoyed him then too.  He is very funny and walks around the ship talking with everyone.  He sat at the bar and had a drink with us again on the Dawn and we had a very nice conversation.  Just watch what you say to Dave, you could become his next new joke if you say the wrong thing (lol).  What a great guy.  We also saw the Second City Show in the Spinnaker Lounge, which was very entertaining and fun.  Unfortunately we did not catch any other shows. Being ported in Bermuda for three days also influenced our ability to catch the shows, since we were on the island at the time of the shows. We did play trivia in the Pub, and the kids participated in the Pub Crawl and beer tasting.  Although we did not participate, there was also wine tasting and martini tasting sessions on board; they appeared to be a good deal in comparison to buying the drinks.  We also made use of the shuffleboard and large chess games on deck.  Our Son utilized the gym daily and found it to be fine for his workout routine.Our Son participated in the "Glass bottom Kayaking" on an excusion with the Dawn.  He was the lone man out so he got to go with the guide since they were two-man kayaks.  He really loves science and nature and really enjoyed the morning.  He gave them an excellent rating and would highly recommend this excursion.  We also went to an educational talk on board the ship in the theater .  A gentleman gave a presentation on amateur astronomy.  We found it very interesting and educational. Now about Bermuda...WOW, what a beautiful island.  The people are very polite and take great pride in their island.  We bought a two-day transportation pass for $20 each and that included the bus and ferry.  (We figured we would stay in Kings Wharf the last day since we would need to be on the ship by 4pm to depart.)  This worked out very well for us.  The day we arrived we took the bus to Hamilton and visited Fort Hamilton, which was very interesting.  There were underground tunnels and the foliage was beautiful, the view amazing.  That evening we returned to Hamilton via ferry for the street fair.  There were crafters selling their wares and a dance troop, in costume, did an interesting display.  It is something that should be experienced.  The second day we went to Crystal and Fantasy Caves.  We took the ferry to St. George and then the bus to the caves.  The bus dropped us off across from the Swizzle Inn and we walked around the corner to the caves.  When boarding the bus we asked the driver if it took us to the caves and when we got to the stop he told us this is what we wanted.  The Bermudians are so accommodating and polite; in the U.S. the bus driver would have told us where to get off (lol).  After returning from the caves we went to the Swizzle Inn for some Rum Swizzles and a late lunch (they have great conch fritters).  We then re-boarded a bus for Horseshow Bay.  What a beautiful beach.  We had a great time before catching the bus back to Kings Wharf.  After going to the ship to freshen up and get some dinner, we went to the Frog & Onion Pub for drinks.  On the final day we stayed in Kings Wharf and visited the Glass Blower and Rum Cake Factory before going over to Snorkel Park.  Our Son is a scuba diver and wanted to do some snorkeling.  He rented his gear at the park.  The regular gear rents for $20, but he rented gear that consisted of goggles with a video and camera right in the frame of the goggles for $40.  He said that it was great and he saw a lot of fish, reefs and even an octopus surprised him.  While he did his snorkeling, we went up to the Hammerhead, a bar situated overlooking Snorkel Park Beach, and had a beer before boarding a bus to go to "Bermuda Seaglass Beach" which is right over the bridge out of Kings Wharf.  This beach has glass that is washed up in the surf.  The glass is worn smooth and multi-colored.  You can collect all the different colors, shapes and sizes. The beach is covered with glass two inches thick in some areas! It was stated elsewhere on Cruise Critics that the area was well known and you could ask the bus drivers to get you there, but the several drivers we asked did not know what we were talking about.  Fortunately my husband remembered that it was just past the cemetery going out of Kings Wharf and near some turquoise houses, that is how we found it.  You might want to do a search for beach glass on the Bermuda port forum and take your own directions. Go down between the houses toward the ocean and you will see a set of stairs that leads down to the beach area.   Here is where I found my souvenir, we spent about an hour picking and choosing the best pieces to bring home.  They are now in a glass bowl and adorn my living room as a center and conversation piece.  Upon returning to Kings Wharf we returned to the ship for another late lunch before heading out to the Clock Tower Mall.  This is a typical tourist mall where you can purchase hats, shirts and various souvenirs, and I found some good deals on shirts here.  It was time to return to the ship as we had to leave this beautiful island.  We only wish we had one more day on Bermuda to have the opportunity to visit St. George.  When we went through the city from the ferry, to catch the bus, it was lovely.  We would have liked to spend some time there as well as visit the Maritime Museum in Kings Wharf.  One more day would have done it for us!  Oh well, maybe next time.  We have no regrets on what we chose to do with our time and feel that we made the most of the time we had.  Using the public transportation system not only got us from one place to another, but also allowed us to see a lot more of the island and to experience its people; it was truly a wonderful experience. We were very blessed with great weather on this cruise.  The first day at sea it was chilly, windy and rainy but the following morning we woke up to sunny skies and 80 degrees.  This great weather continued the entire time we were in Bermuda and right up until we ported back in New York!  We could not have asked for any better weather. Debarkation is always the same, regardless of cruise line or port.  It takes a lot to get thousands of passengers off a ship, all at the same time.  So, we just relaxed and waited it out.  We were off the ship and in our vehicle by 10 and were home by 11:30 am. Our overall opinion of this cruise is Great!  We had a wonderful time, NCL really took good care of us and we got to spend some real quality time with our adult children.  We will definitely cruise NCL again and highly recommend this itinerary for anyone interested in seeing Bermuda. 

May 17, 2009 Fun Cruise to Bermuda

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by pete&debbie

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2009
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Obstructed Oceanview
This was our ninth cruise, and our second cruise on NCL.  We traveled with our college son and our older son and his new wife.  We chose this cruise for its itinerary and we were looking for a casual cruise.  We did not want to dress for dinner or meet time frames, and NCL certainly fit the bill.  Embarkation was a breeze.  Being Latitude Members we were sent to a special line and went right to registration and on to the ship.  It took my husband longer to park our vehicle than it did for us to get on the ship due to "Fleet Week" in NY; He had to park on a different building which took about ½ an hour.  NCL sure has embarkation down pat.

We stayed in Cabin 8086, obstructed view.   While our cabin did have a somewhat obstructed view you could still look out and see the ocean and whether it was daylight or dark.  Our room was neat and clean and Reggie, the Room Stewart, and his assistant kept it that way all week.  They did a good job and were very polite and cordial.  While we had read reviews from some who felt the crew was not very polite, we did not meet any crew members on this cruise who did not acknowledge us and smile, no matter where we were on the ship.

Prior to going on the cruise, we had organized the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet, which went very well.  We had good attendance and the Captain and his Crew came in to give us a talk about the ship and new menus that were being offered.  We certainly appreciated them taking the time to meet with us personally.  Ana, the Event Coordinator, was great as was Anshuman, our Concierge.  Both were very helpful and courteous through the cruise.

This cruise was the pilot for the new menu program and they were anxious to get our feedback after the cruise.  NCL Dawn now has the same menu all week in the Aqua and Venetian, their main dining rooms; however the menu for each restaurant is different from the other.  The Chef's selection changes every day and is also different in each restaurant.  We did eat in the Venetian, but did not try Aqua.  The one evening we did try to get into Aqua the line was very long so we just went to the buffet.  The kids ate in Aqua a couple times and really enjoyed it.   Aqua's menu had more seafood selections, while Venetian had more meat and beef.  We chose not to make reservations on any evening, except when we went to Teppenyaki, which was the only specialty restaurant we tried; it was a lot of fun and the food was good.  We ate lunch once, and several dinners in the Venetian; we found all meals there to be very good.  Lobster and filet was offered as one of the mainstays on the new menu and I had it a couple times!  While some might not like the new set menu idea, I feel that the menus have a nice selection and I was glad that I could have my lobster more than one night.  We ate our breakfasts, as well as a few other meals, at the Buffet and found the food to be satisfactory with a large selection to fit everyone's appetite.  They even had some Indian and Chinese items in the mix which made for a very nice variety.  We were also spotted several times at the Blue Lagoon, especially for the great tomato soup with basil cream...YUM.  We went every afternoon for a cup of this delicious soup, it is a must try.  The fish & chips were also very good and the kids said the wings were great.  Overall we were very pleased with the new menus and the eating venues on board; no complaints from this group.

The public area on the ship were always clean and being attended to.  There was always staff cleaning, painting and etc. around the ship.  We never felt crowded and the public rooms were large and airy, with plenty of seating where needed.

As far as entertainment goes, we only attended a couple shows.  I am unsure if there was more than one show time each evening because it just seemed that we could not hit the timing right for the shows. We did see the magician, who was good, but typical fair.  Of course Dave Heenan is great; he is the comedian on board.  We saw and met Dave when we cruised on the Spirit and enjoyed him then too.  He is very funny and walks around the ship talking with everyone.  He sat at the bar and had a drink with us again on the Dawn and we had a very nice conversation.  Just watch what you say to Dave, you could become his next new joke if you say the wrong thing (lol).  What a great guy.  We also saw the Second City Show in the Spinnaker Lounge, which was very entertaining and fun.  Unfortunately we did not catch any other shows. Being ported in Bermuda for three days also influenced our ability to catch the shows, since we were on the island at the time of the shows.

We did play trivia in the Pub, and the kids participated in the Pub Crawl and beer tasting.  Although we did not participate, there was also wine tasting and martini tasting sessions on board; they appeared to be a good deal in comparison to buying the drinks.  We also made use of the shuffleboard and large chess games on deck.  Our Son utilized the gym daily and found it to be fine for his workout routine.Our Son participated in the "Glass bottom Kayaking" on an excusion with the Dawn.  He was the lone man out so he got to go with the guide since they were two-man kayaks.  He really loves science and nature and really enjoyed the morning.  He gave them an excellent rating and would highly recommend this excursion.  We also went to an educational talk on board the ship in the theater .  A gentleman gave a presentation on amateur astronomy.  We found it very interesting and educational.

Now about Bermuda...WOW, what a beautiful island.  The people are very polite and take great pride in their island.  We bought a two-day transportation pass for $20 each and that included the bus and ferry.  (We figured we would stay in Kings Wharf the last day since we would need to be on the ship by 4pm to depart.)  This worked out very well for us.  The day we arrived we took the bus to Hamilton and visited Fort Hamilton, which was very interesting.  There were underground tunnels and the foliage was beautiful, the view amazing.  That evening we returned to Hamilton via ferry for the street fair.  There were crafters selling their wares and a dance troop, in costume, did an interesting display.  It is something that should be experienced.  The second day we went to Crystal and Fantasy Caves.  We took the ferry to St. George and then the bus to the caves.  The bus dropped us off across from the Swizzle Inn and we walked around the corner to the caves.  When boarding the bus we asked the driver if it took us to the caves and when we got to the stop he told us this is what we wanted.  The Bermudians are so accommodating and polite; in the U.S. the bus driver would have told us where to get off (lol).  After returning from the caves we went to the Swizzle Inn for some Rum Swizzles and a late lunch (they have great conch fritters).  We then re-boarded a bus for Horseshow Bay.  What a beautiful beach.  We had a great time before catching the bus back to Kings Wharf.  After going to the ship to freshen up and get some dinner, we went to the Frog & Onion Pub for drinks.  On the final day we stayed in Kings Wharf and visited the Glass Blower and Rum Cake Factory before going over to Snorkel Park.  Our Son is a scuba diver and wanted to do some snorkeling.  He rented his gear at the park.  The regular gear rents for $20, but he rented gear that consisted of goggles with a video and camera right in the frame of the goggles for $40.  He said that it was great and he saw a lot of fish, reefs and even an octopus surprised him.  While he did his snorkeling, we went up to the Hammerhead, a bar situated overlooking Snorkel Park Beach, and had a beer before boarding a bus to go to "Bermuda Seaglass Beach" which is right over the bridge out of Kings Wharf.  This beach has glass that is washed up in the surf.  The glass is worn smooth and multi-colored.  You can collect all the different colors, shapes and sizes. The beach is covered with glass two inches thick in some areas! It was stated elsewhere on Cruise Critics that the area was well known and you could ask the bus drivers to get you there, but the several drivers we asked did not know what we were talking about.  Fortunately my husband remembered that it was just past the cemetery going out of Kings Wharf and near some turquoise houses, that is how we found it.  You might want to do a search for beach glass on the Bermuda port forum and take your own directions. Go down between the houses toward the ocean and you will see a set of stairs that leads down to the beach area.   Here is where I found my souvenir, we spent about an hour picking and choosing the best pieces to bring home.  They are now in a glass bowl and adorn my living room as a center and conversation piece.  Upon returning to Kings Wharf we returned to the ship for another late lunch before heading out to the Clock Tower Mall.  This is a typical tourist mall where you can purchase hats, shirts and various souvenirs, and I found some good deals on shirts here.  It was time to return to the ship as we had to leave this beautiful island.  We only wish we had one more day on Bermuda to have the opportunity to visit St. George.  When we went through the city from the ferry, to catch the bus, it was lovely.  We would have liked to spend some time there as well as visit the Maritime Museum in Kings Wharf.  One more day would have done it for us!  Oh well, maybe next time.  We have no regrets on what we chose to do with our time and feel that we made the most of the time we had.  Using the public transportation system not only got us from one place to another, but also allowed us to see a lot more of the island and to experience its people; it was truly a wonderful experience.

We were very blessed with great weather on this cruise.  The first day at sea it was chilly, windy and rainy but the following morning we woke up to sunny skies and 80 degrees.  This great weather continued the entire time we were in Bermuda and right up until we ported back in New York!  We could not have asked for any better weather.

Debarkation is always the same, regardless of cruise line or port.  It takes a lot to get thousands of passengers off a ship, all at the same time.  So, we just relaxed and waited it out.  We were off the ship and in our vehicle by 10 and were home by 11:30 am.

Our overall opinion of this cruise is Great!  We had a wonderful time, NCL really took good care of us and we got to spend some real quality time with our adult children.  We will definitely cruise NCL again and highly recommend this itinerary for anyone interested in seeing Bermuda. 
pete&debbie’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Obstructed Oceanview
Cabin OK 8086
Utility Closet is next to the room and several times they were accessing it and you could hear scraping and banging.  Partially obstructed view and you could see the Ocean. 
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins