Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by traveler525
- Sail Date: September 2010
- Destination: Bermuda
- Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
We flew into New York two days pre-cruise (all the week prior praying and keeping an eye on Hurricane Earl!). Everything went well, we had beautiful weather over the weekend.
We stayed at the Comfort Inn Times Square. This was a very nice basic hotel with a great location. It was clean and had a decent breakfast. Our room was small but we were there to see the sights, so this did not matter to us. Bed was very comfortable. But it had an old style window unit air conditioner and it blew cold air on us all night. We had to leave it running as it otherwise would have been way too hot. Front desk personnel were very friendly and helpful. One problem was that the street in front of the hotel was blocked off on Sunday for street vendors. The front desk clerk warned us when we checked in that the street would be blocked off on Sunday and to leave before 9:00 am to avoid it but that was too early for us. So we didn't check out until 11:00 am and just rolled our luggage up to another street to try to get a taxi. The first taxi driver said he was waiting on someone (even though his light was on). Our impression was that the cab drivers did not want to take us to the Pier because it was just not far enough away, but it certainly was too far to walk with our luggage. A doorman from the Double Tree Hotel (just around the corner from Comfort Inn) took notice of us rolling suitcases and was incredibly helpful, he just pitched in with assistance and immediately got us a taxi. We were both so grateful!
Embarkation: We arrived around 11:30 pm and things were very organized and quick. We were not past cruisers so went to the first timers line, which was actually shorter than the latitudes line. They gave us a number to be called when it was our turn to board, which happened quickly. We were onboard around noon. One thing different was the fact that we had to wait until 2:00 pm to get to our stateroom. We headed up to the Garden Cafe (their buffet) area for lunch and to wait. We were early so not a lot of people there and we found a seat easily (not so much the rest of the trip, the buffet was really busy during peak meal times, which is the case on all cruise lines we have been on). The lines were a little confusing as they had people tend to enter at both ends and converge at the middle. After an hour we decided to explore the ship and found it to be very well maintained and beautiful. The pool area does need some work, especially the wood trim which looked like it needed varnish. Windows really do need cleaning although at the end of the cruise we did see some making an attempt to clean them. We rarely felt the crowds except as mentioned in the buffet area and we did not eat there a lot.
Stateroom: Fabulous! They announced we could go to our rooms at 2:00 pm and I have to tell you we were excited! We got lucky and had an aft-facing balcony for the first time. We LOVED it! We always have a tendency to hang out at the back of the ship anyway, so for us it was really wonderful. The only problem with this location was the fact that the spa was above us. They were banging around up there at all hours of the night for some reason. We went up to look during the first day and there were chairs above us. Every morning as well they woke us around 5:00 or 6:00 am. And then it was impossible for us to get back to sleep. The room itself was spacious enough, the closet space fine. We did not care for the shelves in the closet being low, it is hard to see what you place there, but we just put things we did not use much. Plenty of shelf and storage space, although the shelf in the bathroom does not hold enough. Bathroom layout was great! The shower was actually spacious! It was so nice to have shower doors and room. The shower was really the best feature (other than our balcony of course!). The idea of having the toilet separate from the sink and shower is a nice one but does not work well since the sliding doors are see thru! One problem though was the sink. Couldn't seem to find a gentle spot, so when turned on, it just sprayed hard. We were always wiping things down (water splashed everywhere). And the cabin water tasted horrible. The water in the restaurants was fine, so we would always bring back several glasses to our room (they did have a sign in front of the buffet water dispenser requesting guests not fill up water bottles). If you do drink the cabin water, ice helps. The beds were way too hard for us. I asked our steward for a foam topper and he did put one on the 2nd day. The sheets were so nice! Very crisp - I wish I could get mine at home that way! Our balcony was big enough to have a chair and a lounger but the lounger was ripped. I asked our steward to replace it. He took away the torn lounger and replaced it with another chair. Unfortunately we did not get the lounger back, I asked about it and was told it was being repaired. I asked again the 6th night because we had one final sea day and did finally get one. And was it nice to have my "reserved" chair on my own balcony! This was so cool! Ok, we have simple needs ?.
Miscellaneous: It was our anniversary and my husband ordered roses to surprise me. They had them in our room when we entered and they were very beautiful. They looked really great all week! Good quality.
Smoking Issue: We are non-smokers, so can be very sensitive to smoke. And NCL does allow people to smoke in public areas and in their rooms/balconies. We never had an issue in the public areas. People next to us smoked on their balconies but not often and we felt they were very polite about it. We did have a problem one evening, upon returning to our room we noticed it had a very heavy smoke smell in it. It must have come through ventilation system and fortunately it only occurred one night.
Dining: We found the food to be fine. No, it would never be considered gourmet nor even .....great....but it was fine. I LOVED the pretzels rolls! I am a new convert, want to go back just for them. Even though the food did not change much, every day we could find something different from the day before. The desserts were just ok, the chocoholic buffet was nice. My husband has to eat gluten free and this cruise was the best experience in that regard for him. He had emailed the access desk at NCL, they provided him with a list of items he could request, and they did have them available. So very nice. We did eat at one pay restaurant for our 30th anniversary, Le Bistro. It was very good. But that said, we are not fans of paying extra to eat on a cruise so would not normally do so. People wore shorts the first night to the dining room but afterward everyone was dressed appropriately. It could be they did not know or did not have their luggage yet.
Service: We found it to be excellent. Our steward was fine. The waiters/servers were great, although they were certainly overworked. Several evenings they were almost running. While we understand times are tough, it might be more advantageous to NCL to make sure they have enough staff to serve people. When your waiter/waitress is almost running, one does feel guilty even for asking for anything. Although they certainly took care of anything we asked. And everyone was very friendly. Even passing someone in the hallway they almost always smiled at one and said hello or good morning, etc. That was very nice and made one feel welcome. Kudos for that! Anil Nagril made sure that my husband had the correct meals since he has to eat gluten free. They were really very proactive about that.
Entertainment: This is one area in which we found NCL to truly excel. We enjoyed all the shows except Second City. Bollywood, Band on the Run, juggler Barry John, the musicians, and especially Rosie and Mac of Fire and Ice were fantastic. I Loved Rosie! And Matt Baker, the cruise director, was fantastic. He was talented and very funny. We both loved his "Fountains" show. We laughed so much at this event that we can say it really made our evening.
Bermuda: Yes, all they say is true, it is a beautiful place and the people friendly. Although we did see a couple locals go at each other, they seem to be pretty blunt. That was surprising. Everything was so very well organized. We took the ferry and bus which made it so easy to get to where we wanted to be. St Georges is very quaint and enjoyable, lot of history there, which we enjoyed. The Harbor Nights Festival in Hamilton was fun to try the local food and chat with the local vendors (and make purchases). We did not spend too much time in Dockyard area, a couple hours only as we ran out of time. But it was nice to walk around and next trip we hope to do the Maritime Museum.
Disembarkation: This is where the problems were. We selected "red" luggage tags which scheduled us to disembark at 9:40 am (only 20 minutes from the last group to be let off). Our flight was in the late afternoon so we were not in a hurry. We did have a noon flight originally and our airline had moved it up 45 minutes. We felt the flight change would be too early, so called the airline and had them change us to a late afternoon flight (at no charge). This turned out to be such a blessing as people were not being let off the ship until late morning. We sat in the Garden Cafe and watched. There would be groups of maybe 20, then nothing, then 20 more, then nothing. It was announced that there was a lot more security in place because it was 9/12. And they had several ships to process. Which certainly makes sense and was something we had not thought of in advance. In the future, we will remember if we travel around these dates to allow extra time. We did get off the ship about 11:30 am.
All in all, we had a really fabulous time. So many things on the Dawn we did enjoy. A few things not so much. So, it was basically like every other cruise, in that as soon as we got off the ship, we are saying to each other......Where is our next cruise going to be?? ?
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