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EMBARKATION: Based on the information on Cruise Critic, my room mate and I opted to get to the Black Falcon terminal early around 9:45. We did have to sit in an area for a bit of time, but we were taking all the information in as well as get our first glimpses of the Dawn. We were on the ship at 11:30 sharp and had lunch by noon time in The Venetian. After lunch we checked out the decks and were in our room unpacking by 2pm. SHIP We found the ship to be very clean and well maintained as I was up early each day to go to the gym. The layout of some of the decks were confusing as to get to some rooms, you had to go up or down one deck to get to it. The quiet area towards the front of the ship was a nice alternative to the loud music in the main pool area. One of the channels showed a hot tub in a suite area, which everyone commented it never looked like it was used (even hubby viewed from home, saying the same thing). The main hot tubs always seemed to be occupied. The promenade deck was a great way to get in some exercise during the at sea days (4 laps = 1.4 miles). The gym was a decent size with quite a few tread mills and ellipticals. The weight equipment was not used by too many people but not sure if it was because it was older versions and some not very user friendly. I had difficulty moving some of the positioning plates and when I did move them sometimes they would shift during use. The automatic gratuity was a mixed bag for our group as some people would have preferred to tip individually. Each person we encountered was always friendly and acknowledged with a hello, good morning or good evening. We did complete several of the comment cards that we were told were the basis for promotions/raises. The staff must know this as well as one person in our party was presented with a card and asked to fill out (that person was not happy with the pressure). LIFE BOAT DRILL: The life boat drill was very prompt at 3:30pm and lasted a few minutes until everyone's name was checked off. STATEROOM: Initially we had a balcony but were upgraded to mini-suite (11128) after final payment. Having different rooms in our group, we were able to see a few room configurations. One of the rooms we saw was our original balcony and we were glad we got the upgraded room which had more couch and bathroom space. We weren't in the room a lot but it was nice to have the extra space when we were both in the room. There was a sign at the reception desk indicating the cruise was full and that no room changes could be accommodated. Recommendation: The watercloset had an institutional smell but fortunately we had a room freshener that eliminated the odors. ACTIVITIES/ENTERTAINMENT: You can be as busy as you want to as there are lots of activities each day. The fitness seminars were interesting but the couple I attended ended in a sell for a body composition analysis for $35. The spa tour was also hard selling their treatments, asking us to book before we left the tour. The martini tastings were a great way to try lots of different martinis for $15 (~$18 with tip). Five martinis in about an hour. The Grey Goose and Ketel One tastings I did on my own (I did bring the last one back to the room as it was too much for me), but by the third one, I went for the social aspect but was offered a sip of each by our group which was plenty for me. If you are not a big drinker, I would suggest splitting the tasting with someone. The Bollywood show was interesting but not exactly what I expected.....a bit more of circus than the dancing in colorful saris I was expecting. The card making class was more of a here is the package of items and follow the directions. I didn't mind as I was able to do something else. People of all ages were participating in this post BDA activity. Paul and his staff definitely try hard to entertain guest during the complete stay. Again, people will have different opinions. I attended a couple of jewelry lectures (Alexandrite and Pearl). I really enjoyed the royal history behind the gems, leading up to the sales pitch. A friend that I attended with just wanted to hear about the gem and the value/pricing. SERVICE Overall, we had very good service both in the room and restaurants. Our drinks and food were all brought in a timely and very courteous fashion. Our room steward was wonderful, always greeting us by first name and each night there was a towel critter with the last one being the monkey hanging from the ceiling. FOOD/DRINKS Overall, the food was good. The buffet was decent food as we went there mostly for breakfast and lunches. The food in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants was good to very good. The menus became a bit repetitive if you went to the main dining rooms more than a couple times. We ate dinner at Agua, LaCucina, Le Bistro and Teppanyaki. As for drinks, went to the martini tastings (recipes were provided on the last tasting day) which were great. Others in our group tried the specialty drinks and they were usually quite happy with cocktails. Many in the group got globe shaped glass to take home. Refills in the same glass were a few dollars less. The chocolate buffet was another disappointment, especially after some of the resort ones I have been to. The architectural pieces, along with the NCL logoed piece were beautiful, but was a bit surprised on the basic selection of chocolate desserts. Many of the desserts were too large for a tasting menu. I ended up just taking a portion of the wedges or squares of a couple of desserts. Normally I would have bites to fill up a dinner plate, but only took a couple items. After eating at the French restaurant, we had various truffles in addition to our selected desserts....would have loved to see some of these truffles for tiny tastes at the buffet. I did speak to several people who had also been on other cruise lines and indicated that this sailing had the worse food in their experiences. One person commented on other lines there are spa options that detail out total calories per serving. (Of the couple fitness seminars I did attend, they explicitly mentioned that the average cruise weight gain is 7-14 pounds while passing around a 15 lb dumb bell). Knowing this data, surprised there isn't any cuisine to counter this statistic. BERMUDA We were told that people cruise for the ship or the itinerary and definitely for this, Bermuda is the star. Bermuda is absolutely gorgeous!!!!!. Day 1 - Royal Dockyard Sea Glass Beach and then to the popular Horseshoe Bay. I thought that everyone either rented scooters or got the 2 or 3 day transportation pass to get around the islands. A man approached me for the time as he indicated he needed to be back for his shuttle to the boat. He acknowledged that he found after he booked through the NCL (for $25/person to go to HSB) that there was better (and cheaper) ways to see BDA. HSB is a beautiful but crowded beach. The definite plus is the bath/shower facilities along with the food and beverages. For those that cannot walk far, there was a shuttle that would bring you back up to the bus stop for $2. We did a brief return visit to sea glass beach before heading to the ship. Bermuda Day 2 was definitely a trip to St. Georges, although there were 2 options getting there. 1) take bus into Hamilton which allowed us to see the day to day on the #8 bus, with people getting to work and kids going to school (boys and girls dressed well with uniforms and boys displaying proper manners by giving up their seats to older passengers). Transferring onto the #11 in Hamilton, we went by the Original Swizzle Inn and the airport as well as the Grotto Bay Resort (a potential place for our return). We arrived into downtown St. George around 9am. Others opted for the 10am ferry from DY, which is only about 45 minutes, getting to St. Georges around 10:45am. Alexandra Battery Park was a short taxi drive from King's Square. Not tons of glass here but lots of churning for smaller pieces than RDY. From ABP we ventured towards Fort St. Catherine then onto Tobacco Bay, another popular area (along with Horseshoe Bay) as it has great snorkeling and refreshments. Chickens and roosters were everywhere, including the dining area. From there, it is a hike up and down hill to get to downtown St. Georges with some pics of the unfinished church. The cooling AC was a welcome change at The Perfumery which had a brief video and tour before sampling some of the scents. St. Peter's Church was a few steps up but worth seeing the inside. The shops of Penno Wharf included The Island Shop where my feline buddy, Flea, hangs out. We also stopped into Kelly's Sea Glass shop where she has jewelry made from the local glass. She will even make something from a treasure that you have found. King's Square is fairly small so it is not an issue to check out all the shops/buildings that surround it, including the Town Hall. Deliverance, a full ship replica, is a short walk across a bridge onto Ordnance Island. Day 3 - We opted to stay on the South Shore on our final day. Our first stop was Church Bay, great for snorkeling.. Next was the Gibbs Lighthouse which was a short walk up hill before navigating the 185 steps up to the top. Great views of the island are definitely worth the trek. We needed to cool off, so we opted for another beach stop. Warwick Long Bay Beach is a great walking beach with very few people. There is a path linking to Horseshoe Bay so if you did need facilities you could walk the ~ half mile. Our next stop was to the SS location of the Swizzle Inn to try the famous Rum Swizzles. For the three of us, we were told that the half pitcher would be enough for a couple of glasses (small glasses, about 4-6 oz). This was enough for our group but others would probably opt for the full pitcher. For our last stop a quick visit to RDY Sea Glass beach and a brief visit to the shops at the DY and then back onto the ship!!! As a first time cruiser, we did not know that people got booed for being late onto the ship......those people really hustled...LOL!!! DEBARKATION Again, based on the advice on Cruise Critic, we opted to leisurely work-out, have breakfast and final pack. We wanted to do this also to have our rides avoid the early morning Boston commute, which in fact, worked for us. The later you do leave the ship though, you are also running into those who are preparing for the next sailing. SUMMARY Overall, we enjoyed our cruise on the Norwegian Dawn and would recommend it to those who do not want to fly to get to the ship. The cruise is an economical way to see Bermuda, especially if you are big eaters. For the little time we were on the island we did spend time in restaurants and local markets and could confirm the higher pricing of food items. Our group did agree that next time we would prefer to stay on island as one of our friends did who stayed in Hamilton Friday through Tuesday, seeing much more than we did. I appreciate all the information I received on various travel boards to help with a newbie cruiser as well as best utilize my time in absolutely gorgeous Bermuda.

First Timer Cruise BOS to BDA, September 16-23, 2011

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by nikko4me

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2011
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
EMBARKATION:

Based on the information on Cruise Critic, my room mate and I opted to get to the Black Falcon terminal early around 9:45. We did have to sit in an area for a bit of time, but we were taking all the information in as well as get our first glimpses of the Dawn. We were on the ship at 11:30 sharp and had lunch by noon time in The Venetian. After lunch we checked out the decks and were in our room unpacking by 2pm.



SHIP

We found the ship to be very clean and well maintained as I was up early each day to go to the gym. The layout of some of the decks were confusing as to get to some rooms, you had to go up or down one deck to get to it. The quiet area towards the front of the ship was a nice alternative to the loud music in the main pool area. One of the channels showed a hot tub in a suite area, which everyone commented it never looked like it was used (even hubby viewed from home, saying the same thing). The main hot tubs always seemed to be occupied.



The promenade deck was a great way to get in some exercise during the at sea days (4 laps = 1.4 miles). The gym was a decent size with quite a few tread mills and ellipticals. The weight equipment was not used by too many people but not sure if it was because it was older versions and some not very user friendly. I had difficulty moving some of the positioning plates and when I did move them sometimes they would shift during use.



The automatic gratuity was a mixed bag for our group as some people would have preferred to tip individually. Each person we encountered was always friendly and acknowledged with a hello, good morning or good evening. We did complete several of the comment cards that we were told were the basis for promotions/raises. The staff must know this as well as one person in our party was presented with a card and asked to fill out (that person was not happy with the pressure).



LIFE BOAT DRILL:

The life boat drill was very prompt at 3:30pm and lasted a few minutes until everyone's name was checked off.



STATEROOM:

Initially we had a balcony but were upgraded to mini-suite (11128) after final payment. Having different rooms in our group, we were able to see a few room configurations. One of the rooms we saw was our original balcony and we were glad we got the upgraded room which had more couch and bathroom space. We weren't in the room a lot but it was nice to have the extra space when we were both in the room. There was a sign at the reception desk indicating the cruise was full and that no room changes could be accommodated.



Recommendation: The watercloset had an institutional smell but fortunately we had a room freshener that eliminated the odors.





ACTIVITIES/ENTERTAINMENT:

You can be as busy as you want to as there are lots of activities each day.



The fitness seminars were interesting but the couple I attended ended in a sell for a body composition analysis for $35. The spa tour was also hard selling their treatments, asking us to book before we left the tour.



The martini tastings were a great way to try lots of different martinis for $15 (~$18 with tip). Five martinis in about an hour. The Grey Goose and Ketel One tastings I did on my own (I did bring the last one back to the room as it was too much for me), but by the third one, I went for the social aspect but was offered a sip of each by our group which was plenty for me. If you are not a big drinker, I would suggest splitting the tasting with someone.



The Bollywood show was interesting but not exactly what I expected.....a bit more of circus than the dancing in colorful saris I was expecting.



The card making class was more of a here is the package of items and follow the directions. I didn't mind as I was able to do something else. People of all ages were participating in this post BDA activity.



Paul and his staff definitely try hard to entertain guest during the complete stay. Again, people will have different opinions. I attended a couple of jewelry lectures (Alexandrite and Pearl). I really enjoyed the royal history behind the gems, leading up to the sales pitch. A friend that I attended with just wanted to hear about the gem and the value/pricing.





SERVICE

Overall, we had very good service both in the room and restaurants. Our drinks and food were all brought in a timely and very courteous fashion. Our room steward was wonderful, always greeting us by first name and each night there was a towel critter with the last one being the monkey hanging from the ceiling.



FOOD/DRINKS

Overall, the food was good. The buffet was decent food as we went there mostly for breakfast and lunches. The food in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants was good to very good. The menus became a bit repetitive if you went to the main dining rooms more than a couple times. We ate dinner at Agua, LaCucina, Le Bistro and Teppanyaki.



As for drinks, went to the martini tastings (recipes were provided on the last tasting day) which were great. Others in our group tried the specialty drinks and they were usually quite happy with cocktails. Many in the group got globe shaped glass to take home. Refills in the same glass were a few dollars less.



The chocolate buffet was another disappointment, especially after some of the resort ones I have been to. The architectural pieces, along with the NCL logoed piece were beautiful, but was a bit surprised on the basic selection of chocolate desserts. Many of the desserts were too large for a tasting menu. I ended up just taking a portion of the wedges or squares of a couple of desserts. Normally I would have bites to fill up a dinner plate, but only took a couple items. After eating at the French restaurant, we had various truffles in addition to our selected desserts....would have loved to see some of these truffles for tiny tastes at the buffet.



I did speak to several people who had also been on other cruise lines and indicated that this sailing had the worse food in their experiences. One person commented on other lines there are spa options that detail out total calories per serving. (Of the couple fitness seminars I did attend, they explicitly mentioned that the average cruise weight gain is 7-14 pounds while passing around a 15 lb dumb bell). Knowing this data, surprised there isn't any cuisine to counter this statistic.



BERMUDA

We were told that people cruise for the ship or the itinerary and definitely for this, Bermuda is the star.



Bermuda is absolutely gorgeous!!!!!.



Day 1 - Royal Dockyard Sea Glass Beach and then to the popular Horseshoe Bay. I thought that everyone either rented scooters or got the 2 or 3 day transportation pass to get around the islands. A man approached me for the time as he indicated he needed to be back for his shuttle to the boat. He acknowledged that he found after he booked through the NCL (for $25/person to go to HSB) that there was better (and cheaper) ways to see BDA. HSB is a beautiful but crowded beach. The definite plus is the bath/shower facilities along with the food and beverages. For those that cannot walk far, there was a shuttle that would bring you back up to the bus stop for $2. We did a brief return visit to sea glass beach before heading to the ship.



Bermuda Day 2 was definitely a trip to St. Georges, although there were 2 options getting there. 1) take bus into Hamilton which allowed us to see the day to day on the #8 bus, with people getting to work and kids going to school (boys and girls dressed well with uniforms and boys displaying proper manners by giving up their seats to older passengers). Transferring onto the #11 in Hamilton, we went by the Original Swizzle Inn and the airport as well as the Grotto Bay Resort (a potential place for our return). We arrived into downtown St. George around 9am. Others opted for the 10am ferry from DY, which is only about 45 minutes, getting to St. Georges around 10:45am. Alexandra Battery Park was a short taxi drive from King's Square. Not tons of glass here but lots of churning for smaller pieces than RDY. From ABP we ventured towards Fort St. Catherine then onto Tobacco Bay, another popular area (along with Horseshoe Bay) as it has great snorkeling and refreshments. Chickens and roosters were everywhere, including the dining area. From there, it is a hike up and down hill to get to downtown St. Georges with some pics of the unfinished church. The cooling AC was a welcome change at The Perfumery which had a brief video and tour before sampling some of the scents. St. Peter's Church was a few steps up but worth seeing the inside. The shops of Penno Wharf included The Island Shop where my feline buddy, Flea, hangs out. We also stopped into Kelly's Sea Glass shop where she has jewelry made from the local glass. She will even make something from a treasure that you have found. King's Square is fairly small so it is not an issue to check out all the shops/buildings that surround it, including the Town Hall. Deliverance, a full ship replica, is a short walk across a bridge onto Ordnance Island.



Day 3 - We opted to stay on the South Shore on our final day. Our first stop was Church Bay, great for snorkeling.. Next was the Gibbs Lighthouse which was a short walk up hill before navigating the 185 steps up to the top. Great views of the island are definitely worth the trek. We needed to cool off, so we opted for another beach stop. Warwick Long Bay Beach is a great walking beach with very few people. There is a path linking to Horseshoe Bay so if you did need facilities you could walk the ~ half mile. Our next stop was to the SS location of the Swizzle Inn to try the famous Rum Swizzles. For the three of us, we were told that the half pitcher would be enough for a couple of glasses (small glasses, about 4-6 oz). This was enough for our group but others would probably opt for the full pitcher. For our last stop a quick visit to RDY Sea Glass beach and a brief visit to the shops at the DY and then back onto the ship!!! As a first time cruiser, we did not know that people got booed for being late onto the ship......those people really hustled...LOL!!!



DEBARKATION

Again, based on the advice on Cruise Critic, we opted to leisurely work-out, have breakfast and final pack. We wanted to do this also to have our rides avoid the early morning Boston commute, which in fact, worked for us. The later you do leave the ship though, you are also running into those who are preparing for the next sailing.



SUMMARY

Overall, we enjoyed our cruise on the Norwegian Dawn and would recommend it to those who do not want to fly to get to the ship. The cruise is an economical way to see Bermuda, especially if you are big eaters. For the little time we were on the island we did spend time in restaurants and local markets and could confirm the higher pricing of food items. Our group did agree that next time we would prefer to stay on island as one of our friends did who stayed in Hamilton Friday through Tuesday, seeing much more than we did.



I appreciate all the information I received on various travel boards to help with a newbie cruiser as well as best utilize my time in absolutely gorgeous Bermuda.
nikko4me’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MA 11128
Initially we had a balcony but were upgraded to mini-suite (11128) after final payment. Having different rooms in our group, we were able to see a few room configurations. One of the rooms we saw was our original balcony and we were glad we got the upgraded room which had more couch and bathroom space. We weren't in the room a lot but it was nice to have the extra space when we were both in the room. There was a sign at the reception desk indicating the cruise was full and that no room changes could be accommodated.

Recommendation: The watercloset had an institutional smell but fortunately we had a room freshener that eliminated the odors.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins