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We like to avoid the Midwest winters so we have been somewhat regular cruisers (usually with NCL) since 1978 on the Skyward. Memorable cruises have included the Norway. We were on the cruise prior to the unfortunate, tragic 2003 Miami boiler room explosion that was the beginning of the end for that beautiful ship. Another memorable cruise was the slow passage by Monserrat shortly after that deadly volcanic eruption. The captain narrated the best "excursion" we have ever experienced as we passed the island and viewed the somber devastation. It was like an Alaskan glacier experience but more awesome in scope. So resuming, we had the "free air" package and flew from Chicago to Charlotte (about 1.5 hour gap) then on to Tampa on American. We had a nonstop return from Tampa on American. All went smooth including our one day in advance Park,Stay,andFly from Hyatt Regency O'Hare. For the price of a reasonable one night hotel stay we had parking provided at no additional cost for the duration in their covered parking tower. Shuttle was free to O'Hare for our morning flight. We paid the $25 deviation fee for our Tampa flight to insure we arrived a day prior. We know that snow and flight delays can cause anxiety and frustration to embarkation. So we stayed at the Holiday Inn Westshore the night before our cruise. Shuttle provided from airport and we arranged a shuttle to cruise port for $10 per person Waiting lines developed at Tampa cruise dock #2. A computer glitch was described as the cause for the delay. The mainly senior citizen crowd were surprisingly understanding-I think the boarding staff were quite surprised. All of the usual photo ops etc. were abandoned to avoid more delay. On board, we quickly observed the buffet had crew serving all the food, passengers were not permitted to self serve for three more days. Obviously Coronavirus was a concern to all passengers now and at that time. I was impressed with NCL's response. It was later rumored the prior cruise had a number of guests who had experienced gastrointestinal issues on their cruise. I won't elaborate, I have no proof, just hearsay but it might explain the food serving situation as we started our cruise. I thought the crew was doing an enormous amount of cleaning throughout the ship, especially in the lodging areas. At any rate, the food was always enjoyable from all the venues. We are Latitudes Platinum and had booked an obstructed ocean view, our bids for balcony were rejected despite being good on the for-cast meter. We were fine but we both missed the loveseat provided in balcony or suite. Sitting upright has some advantages but the view and natural sunlight were more than adequate. Despite being Platinum for years it was my first time attending the Captain's Latitude reception. Nobody really talks to the crew anyway. I don't need the recognition aspect but enjoyed the free beer. Am I describing myself too accurately? My wife and went on the "behind the scenes tour" for Latitudes members and enjoyed it immensely. Three categories were displayed-Stardust Theatre backstage, laundry facilities, and finally the galley kitchen area. It's incredible that the dancers and performers basically run behind stage and change costumes on stairwells and hallways. Their dressing rooms are further removed and not available during performances. The shows seamless transitions are remarkable. The laundry facilities were surprising in volume of activity but somewhat loud, I had trouble listening to the explanation of the tour. The galley or kitchens would impress almost anyone. We concentrated on the food prep areas. On a prior cruise tour I got to experience the frozen freezers and dairy coolers which I admire greatly having been in the supermarket business for my entire career. We didn't tour these reserve areas this cruise. The seas were some of the smoothest we have ever experienced although one or two people claimed they experienced some issues, none for us in that respect. Our internet service was probably the worst we've ever experienced. It took forever to get a connection. We had a 250 minute package but couldn't even use it-I could hardly get wifi. When I needed to confirm our return flights I went to the internet café and the mgr. got me right in so I admire him-he was helpful. We like to walk a loop around deck 7 Promenade, four times around is 1.4 miles. Some people walk or run around the sun deck however. The shows were always good to great as we think NCL always provides. I'm always ultra impressed with NCL's show bands. These professionals are always exceptional. All the entertainers were complementing Steffie, the female leader and sax player of the band. I won't go to much length about our excursions but Barbados was impressive-I wasn't impressed years ago. The la Soufriere volcano in St. Lucia was interesting although some of the poverty is depressing. In defense of Caribbean islanders, imagine what life would be like if one had to experience hurricanes frequently basically destroying all progress. The Grand Cayman brewery and distillery were fun, Aruba and Bonaire were beautiful and they are outside of the hurricane zone, maybe explaining their more affluent appearance. As we approached our last island, Puerto Rico, I expected to see a disheveled environment but was very pleasantly surprised. We have been there at least four times in forty years and the recent development was impressive. I was told that the more provincial areas are hurting but that the government has concentrated efforts in San Juan because of the tourism industry and it appeared true. The old downtown charm was nice and some of the change near the coast of San Juan was grand in appearance. I came down with a case of gastrointestinal issues near the end of our cruise. My symptoms were severe but short lived. I share this, not to scare anyone, but to say that stuff happens. I have no idea how or where I caught this as I am very careful but fortunately it was over swiftly. I self reported to the ship doctor and was isolated in my room for 24 hours. My wife never got ill despite being by my side much of the time. I never had a headache, fever, chills or body ache so after my initial discomfort was not miserable-just didn't want to infect anyone else. I'll probably get a bill for the doctor, but oh well. Our embarkation was perhaps our smoothest ever. We boarded a bus that took us to Tampa airport. They have become more sophisticated, disembarkation used to be so disorganized. A word about service, the entire crew was very congenial and helpful, couldn't have been much better. We plan to cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii in September. Although the cruise industry is projected to endure some bumps from Corona it's probably an opportune time to catch some respectable pricing advantages. We will see what the future holds.

Overview of our 2/2/20-2/16/20 Southern Caribbean NCL Dawn cruise from Moby Dick

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by Moby Dick

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2020
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Obstructed Oceanview
We like to avoid the Midwest winters so we have been somewhat regular cruisers (usually with NCL) since 1978 on the Skyward. Memorable cruises have included the Norway. We were on the cruise prior to the unfortunate, tragic 2003 Miami boiler room explosion that was the beginning of the end for that beautiful ship. Another memorable cruise was the slow passage by Monserrat shortly after that deadly volcanic eruption. The captain narrated the best "excursion" we have ever experienced as we passed the island and viewed the somber devastation. It was like an Alaskan glacier experience but more awesome in scope.

So resuming, we had the "free air" package and flew from Chicago to Charlotte (about 1.5 hour gap) then on to Tampa on American. We had a nonstop return from Tampa on American. All went smooth including our one day in advance Park,Stay,andFly from Hyatt Regency O'Hare. For the price of a reasonable one night hotel stay we had parking provided at no additional cost for the duration in their covered parking tower. Shuttle was free to O'Hare for our morning flight.

We paid the $25 deviation fee for our Tampa flight to insure we arrived a day prior. We know that snow and flight delays can cause anxiety and frustration to embarkation. So we stayed at the Holiday Inn Westshore the night before our cruise. Shuttle provided from airport and we arranged a shuttle to cruise port for $10 per person

Waiting lines developed at Tampa cruise dock #2. A computer glitch was described as the cause for the delay. The mainly senior citizen crowd were surprisingly understanding-I think the boarding staff were quite surprised. All of the usual photo ops etc. were abandoned to avoid more delay.

On board, we quickly observed the buffet had crew serving all the food, passengers were not permitted to self serve for three more days. Obviously Coronavirus was a concern to all passengers now and at that time. I was impressed with NCL's response. It was later rumored the prior cruise had a number of guests who had experienced gastrointestinal issues on their cruise. I won't elaborate, I have no proof, just hearsay but it might explain the food serving situation as we started our cruise. I thought the crew was doing an enormous amount of cleaning throughout the ship, especially in the lodging areas. At any rate, the food was always enjoyable from all the venues.

We are Latitudes Platinum and had booked an obstructed ocean view, our bids for balcony were rejected despite being good on the for-cast meter. We were fine but we both missed the loveseat provided in balcony or suite. Sitting upright has some advantages but the view and natural sunlight were more than adequate. Despite being Platinum for years it was my first time attending the Captain's Latitude reception. Nobody really talks to the crew anyway. I don't need the recognition aspect but enjoyed the free beer. Am I describing myself too accurately?

My wife and went on the "behind the scenes tour" for Latitudes members and enjoyed it immensely. Three categories were displayed-Stardust Theatre backstage, laundry facilities, and finally the galley kitchen area. It's incredible that the dancers and performers basically run behind stage and change costumes on stairwells and hallways. Their dressing rooms are further removed and not available during performances. The shows seamless transitions are remarkable.

The laundry facilities were surprising in volume of activity but somewhat loud, I had trouble listening to the explanation of the tour. The galley or kitchens would impress almost anyone. We concentrated on the food prep areas. On a prior cruise tour I got to experience the frozen freezers and dairy coolers which I admire greatly having been in the supermarket business for my entire career. We didn't tour these reserve areas this cruise.

The seas were some of the smoothest we have ever experienced although one or two people claimed they experienced some issues, none for us in that respect. Our internet service was probably the worst we've ever experienced. It took forever to get a connection. We had a 250 minute package but couldn't even use it-I could hardly get wifi. When I needed to confirm our return flights I went to the internet café and the mgr. got me right in so I admire him-he was helpful. We like to walk a loop around deck 7 Promenade, four times around is 1.4 miles. Some people walk or run around the sun deck however.

The shows were always good to great as we think NCL always provides. I'm always ultra impressed with NCL's show bands. These professionals are always exceptional. All the entertainers were complementing Steffie, the female leader and sax player of the band.

I won't go to much length about our excursions but Barbados was impressive-I wasn't impressed years ago. The la Soufriere volcano in St. Lucia was interesting although some of the poverty is depressing. In defense of Caribbean islanders, imagine what life would be like if one had to experience hurricanes frequently basically destroying all progress. The Grand Cayman brewery and distillery were fun, Aruba and Bonaire were beautiful and they are outside of the hurricane zone, maybe explaining their more affluent appearance. As we approached our last island, Puerto Rico, I expected to see a disheveled environment but was very pleasantly surprised. We have been there at least four times in forty years and the recent development was impressive. I was told that the more provincial areas are hurting but that the government has concentrated efforts in San Juan because of the tourism industry and it appeared true. The old downtown charm was nice and some of the change near the coast of San Juan was grand in appearance.

I came down with a case of gastrointestinal issues near the end of our cruise. My symptoms were severe but short lived. I share this, not to scare anyone, but to say that stuff happens. I have no idea how or where I caught this as I am very careful but fortunately it was over swiftly. I self reported to the ship doctor and was isolated in my room for 24 hours. My wife never got ill despite being by my side much of the time. I never had a headache, fever, chills or body ache so after my initial discomfort was not miserable-just didn't want to infect anyone else. I'll probably get a bill for the doctor, but oh well.

Our embarkation was perhaps our smoothest ever. We boarded a bus that took us to Tampa airport. They have become more sophisticated, disembarkation used to be so disorganized. A word about service, the entire crew was very congenial and helpful, couldn't have been much better.

We plan to cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii in September. Although the cruise industry is projected to endure some bumps from Corona it's probably an opportune time to catch some respectable pricing advantages. We will see what the future holds.
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