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My husband and I, both in our early 60's, just returned from a week's cruise from NYC to Bermuda on the Norwegian Dawn. After reading the reviews, I was baffled since NCL has a good reputation and I couldn't see from my past experience how the Dawn could be so much worse than the Pride of America which I sailed on a few years ago in Hawaii. Here are my impressions and some tips based on eight other cruises and fifteen years as a travel agent: 1. I didn't take the NCL transfers offered from the airport to the pier. They were $50pp each way. I went online through Orbitz and booked a car through Carmel's and paid $40 each way for TWO. Rather than paying $200, we paid $80! Savings #1. 2. I had read the reviews of the restaurants and must say that we found that the food ranged from good to average. Impressions (Italian) $10-$15 cover charge. Good food. Cagney's Steakhouse $25pp overpriced. The food wasn't bad: it just wasn't great. My husband ate at the Sushi Bar several times for $15 each time and found it wonderful. One couldn't eat all the sushi one wanted in a restaurant for that cost. The Blue Lagoon has good fast food including delicious tomato soup, burgers and wings. 24 hour service makes it ideal for a quick lunch or late night snack. Garden Cafe In a word, confusing. Several lines which served almost but not exactly the same foods. When you went down one side, you had to turn around and come back through the whole restaurant. They needed s better circulation pattern to make it a continuous flow from one area to another or they needed to serve exactly the same thing on each line. Confusing, but the food was ok and one could certainly find something to make him happy. Aqua Restaurant. Good food but they have those darned tables with a bench/banquette on the back and chairs on the front which means you are elbow to elbow with strangers, whether you want to be or not. What's wrong with a table for two? There were few in the restaurant. Shore excursions: We were in Kings Wharf for two nights. No fear of being left if you took independent tours. Here's the scoop: We booked a taxi (met him out front as we left the ship and agreed on a price and time frame) He charged $110 for a 3 to 3 1/2 hour private tour in his taxi. We went everywhere the tour bus went and saw the island from every angle, including views from hillside streets that the buses could NOT negotiate. The NCL tour was $79.00 per person. Their trip is 4 hours but they stopped for lunch. Rather than $160, we paid $110. Savings #2! Other tours? Unless they involve snorkeling or water-based activities, we found we could buy a bus/ferry pass for $28 per person and go wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted. We LOVED it. We got three days unlimited use of both the excellent ferry service (fun to get on one and just ride around the island) and the clean, efficient and friendly bus line. The bus is the same one used by the locals and school kids and we loved interacting with them. The locals are well educated, friendly and very mannerly. Buy the pass in the building right as you get off the ship. Things to do in the Dockyard (Kings Wharf) There is a small beach within walking distance of the ship. It's clean and has a bar and snorkeling equipment. It's called the Snorkel Park and it's free. There is a shopping center with a restaurant and shops ranging from cheap souvenirs to hand made jewelry. There is a Bonefish Grill which serves seafood. NOT part of the American chain but good food. There is a pharmacy and also a small round (?) building in which to buy soft drinks to take on the ship. They were $1.50 (including Diet Coke which wasn't sold on-board) versus the $2.25 on-board for a Diet Pepsi. They had no problem with us taking it on-board. Things you might want to know: You can order from a list of newspapers and have them delivered to your room. They print them from the internet, I suppose, and they are up-to-date. We wish we had known it from the beginning since we missed local news from our daily paper. They do have CNN and FOX on the tv, but no other news channels so we went all week somewhat in the dark. You can purchase a bottle of wine and they will hold it in the galley until you want it again. We bought one in Cagney's and my husband drank from it for three nights. The bottle of Merlot was $28 which is cheaper than by the glass. You can also purchase a bottle of liquor to be set up in your stateroom! They charge up to $60 for the bottle and a $3 set up fee but you don't have to spend the money per drink. Savings #3! Rooms: We had a balcony room in the bow of the ship on deck 10. There was a fair amount of foul weather on the trip down and I really think lower decks are less prone to rolling. Plus, they are cheaper! We had a sofa and a refrigerator and room on the balcony for two chairs and a very small table. Fine for just the two of us. The rooms were clean, well serviced and in good shape. The bath had a glass sliding door between the toilet and the sink and plenty of room in the shower. There is a hair dryer in each cabin and there is ONE 120v. plug. Entertainment: Lacking! There is a show put on by the Jean Ann Ryan dance troupe and it was good sometimes and not so good sometimes. The magician and comedians were ok ...just ok. There is, of course, the art auction and bingo every day but they charge for the bingo. There were some games around the pool and that area was heavily used. There is a small hot tub on deck 13 behind the bar, which was used by the older folks. It was right on the bow of the ship and was quieter and had a great view. The main pool was typical of main pools...full of people and heavily used. We were on this cruise in mid-October and there were few kids on-board so I can't comment on how it would be if there were more children. Feel free to contact me if you have questions. I had a good time on this trip and found it a good deal.

Beautiful Bermuda on the Comfortable Dawn

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by bwoodard

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2009
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
My husband and I, both in our early 60's, just returned from a week's cruise from NYC to Bermuda on the Norwegian Dawn. After reading the reviews, I was baffled since NCL has a good reputation and I couldn't see from my past experience how the Dawn could be so much worse than the Pride of America which I sailed on a few years ago in Hawaii.
Here are my impressions and some tips based on eight other cruises and fifteen years as a travel agent:
1. I didn't take the NCL transfers offered from the airport to the pier. They were $50pp each way. I went online through Orbitz and booked a car through Carmel's and paid $40 each way for TWO. Rather than paying $200, we paid $80! Savings #1.
2. I had read the reviews of the restaurants and must say that we found that the food ranged from good to average. Impressions (Italian) $10-$15 cover charge. Good food. Cagney's Steakhouse $25pp overpriced. The food wasn't bad: it just wasn't great. My husband ate at the Sushi Bar several times for $15 each time and found it wonderful. One couldn't eat all the sushi one wanted in a restaurant for that cost. The Blue Lagoon has good fast food including delicious tomato soup, burgers and wings. 24 hour service makes it ideal for a quick lunch or late night snack. Garden Cafe In a word, confusing. Several lines which served almost but not exactly the same foods. When you went down one side, you had to turn around and come back through the whole restaurant. They needed s better circulation pattern to make it a continuous flow from one area to another or they needed to serve exactly the same thing on each line. Confusing, but the food was ok and one could certainly find something to make him happy. Aqua Restaurant. Good food but they have those darned tables with a bench/banquette on the back and chairs on the front which means you are elbow to elbow with strangers, whether you want to be or not. What's wrong with a table for two? There were few in the restaurant.
Shore excursions: We were in Kings Wharf for two nights. No fear of being left if you took independent tours. Here's the scoop: We booked a taxi (met him out front as we left the ship and agreed on a price and time frame) He charged $110 for a 3 to 3 1/2 hour private tour in his taxi. We went everywhere the tour bus went and saw the island from every angle, including views from hillside streets that the buses could NOT negotiate. The NCL tour was $79.00 per person. Their trip is 4 hours but they stopped for lunch. Rather than $160, we paid $110. Savings #2!
Other tours? Unless they involve snorkeling or water-based activities, we found we could buy a bus/ferry pass for $28 per person and go wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted. We LOVED it. We got three days unlimited use of both the excellent ferry service (fun to get on one and just ride around the island) and the clean, efficient and friendly bus line. The bus is the same one used by the locals and school kids and we loved interacting with them. The locals are well educated, friendly and very mannerly. Buy the pass in the building right as you get off the ship.
Things to do in the Dockyard (Kings Wharf)
There is a small beach within walking distance of the ship. It's clean and has a bar and snorkeling equipment. It's called the Snorkel Park and it's free.
There is a shopping center with a restaurant and shops ranging from cheap souvenirs to hand made jewelry.
There is a Bonefish Grill which serves seafood. NOT part of the American chain but good food.
There is a pharmacy and also a small round (?) building in which to buy soft drinks to take on the ship. They were $1.50 (including Diet Coke which wasn't sold on-board) versus the $2.25 on-board for a Diet Pepsi. They had no problem with us taking it on-board.
Things you might want to know: You can order from a list of newspapers and have them delivered to your room. They print them from the internet, I suppose, and they are up-to-date. We wish we had known it from the beginning since we missed local news from our daily paper. They do have CNN and FOX on the tv, but no other news channels so we went all week somewhat in the dark.
You can purchase a bottle of wine and they will hold it in the galley until you want it again. We bought one in Cagney's and my husband drank from it for three nights. The bottle of Merlot was $28 which is cheaper than by the glass.
You can also purchase a bottle of liquor to be set up in your stateroom! They charge up to $60 for the bottle and a $3 set up fee but you don't have to spend the money per drink. Savings #3!
Rooms: We had a balcony room in the bow of the ship on deck 10. There was a fair amount of foul weather on the trip down and I really think lower decks are less prone to rolling. Plus, they are cheaper! We had a sofa and a refrigerator and room on the balcony for two chairs and a very small table. Fine for just the two of us. The rooms were clean, well serviced and in good shape. The bath had a glass sliding door between the toilet and the sink and plenty of room in the shower. There is a hair dryer in each cabin and there is ONE 120v. plug. Entertainment: Lacking! There is a show put on by the Jean Ann Ryan dance troupe and it was good sometimes and not so good sometimes. The magician and comedians were ok ...just ok. There is, of course, the art auction and bingo every day but they charge for the bingo. There were some games around the pool and that area was heavily used. There is a small hot tub on deck 13 behind the bar, which was used by the older folks. It was right on the bow of the ship and was quieter and had a great view. The main pool was typical of main pools...full of people and heavily used. We were on this cruise in mid-October and there were few kids on-board so I can't comment on how it would be if there were more children.
Feel free to contact me if you have questions. I had a good time on this trip and found it a good deal.
bwoodard’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BB 10012
Balcony 10012. Quiet area. Close to bow. Near elevator but not noisy. Good space.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • King's Wharf
    There isn't a lot "happening" in the Dockyard (Kings Wharf) Like the rest of Bermuda, including St. Georges and even Hamilton, it is quiet. I don't think one would consider Bermuda a party place like Nassau or Cancun or Jamaica. What Bermuda IS is a beautiful, extremely clean, classy island with a few beautiful beaches, some upscale shopping in Hamilton and a couple of small towns with a few shops for the tourists. There's nothing equal to a straw market and there is no island music blaring. There is para-sailing, snorkeling, wave runners to rent, segway tours and horse drawn carriage rides. There is a biking/hiking trail which runs around a good part of the island for those who like a little more physical activity. There is history galore. Just getting a ferry /bus pass and riding the ferries from one place to another is relaxing, informative and beautiful. Bermuda is alive and well. It just isn't hyper!
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