We chose this cruise for convenience being from the Greater Boston area. We are a retired couple in our mid 60's enjoying retirement while we can. This was our 6th trip to Bermuda via cruise ship - 2nd time on the Dawn and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for convenience being from the Greater Boston area. We are a retired couple in our mid 60's enjoying retirement while we can. This was our 6th trip to Bermuda via cruise ship - 2nd time on the Dawn and previously on the Spirit and Majesty. We were traveling with a local band who would be playing on board as well.
Embarkation went well - we had an assisgned arrival time of 10:00 - 10:30 and we arrived at 10:00 am and we were in the VIP lounge by 10:30. Boarding from the lounge started just after 11:00 am and we were in the Moderno dining room eating lunch at Noon. Cabins were not ready until after 1:30 so we just enjoyed sitting near the pool and people watching.
The Dawn has been around a long time and starting to show her age. She is well kept and looks good, but it will be nice to have a newer ship sailing from Boston next year. She is easy to navigate - the public decks are laid out well and one can get from bow to stern easily.
Around 1:30 we went to our cabin, met our steward and left our carry-on things. We then set out to re-familiarize ourselves with the ship. Luggage came up around 3:00 pm and we were able to unpack and get ready for dinner. Our steward was nice, but we had to keep asking for things like our water (latitudes perk), a bath mat, soap - things that should have been in our cabin but weren't until we asked.
This is a very casual cruise - you won't find a lot of "dressy" attire. Formal nite has been replaced with "Dress up or Not" - and we saw very few (if any) suits on the gents or formal cocktail dresses on the ladies. Mostly dressy tops with capris or long skirts, Maxie and short dresses on the women and dockers or nice slacks on the men with golf shirts. We even saw shorts in the main dining rooms so clearly the dress code has relaxed and gone is the "glitz and glamour" that is still seen on other cruise lines. ( and we miss that!)
The entertainment was good - PJ a magician from Korea, and Chris Burke a singer from Nashville (soul music not country!) were both great. We had a good comedian, Sam Fedele, but he was only on the ship for one week with us. We have seen the "Elements" show before but enjoyed it again. The International Crew Show is always a favorite, and we enjoyed seeing cultural dances from around the word, and singers using their native language. Such talent!
There are plenty of activities every day - trivia, game shows, bingo, etc and you can find something to do if you are looking for that. The pool is small, and as always you have to get up at the crack of dawn to get a chair near the pool or in the small shaded areas. There are rules about saving chairs but no one pays attention. The hot tubs were consistently full with a lot of small children (even babies in diapers - yuck!) and no personal or pool staff to tell them that's a NO-NO - what a germ breeding environment - and the kids were "snorkeling" in the hot tub - YIKES! We are not against seeing children on a cruise ship, but we were genuinely concerned for the health and well being of these kids with no adult supervision... it's the lack of parenting that gets me going....
NOTE: There are NO STRAWS currently on the ship due to environmental policy changes. They are working on getting paper straws but for now, bring your own! We always bring refillable water bottles so had a straw when needed for those frozen drinks!
Dining - was disappointing! We had VIP access to Moderno for breakfast and lunch which was very good. The buffet was okay for breakfast and we were glad to see the "made to order" omelet and egg station. Bacon was greasy and limp - we only ate there 2 times. Lunch in the buffet had the same offerings the few times we checked - if we weren't in Moderno's we had lunch from the grill - hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage, chicken and fixings to go with them - French Fries were great here!
For dinner we ate in Venetian a few nights - the menu's were "blah" - the nights we did eat there were disappointing. The Prime Rib was mostly fat, steak was served with French Fries not baked potato and the Pork Loin was a large pork chop with bone in that was very dry and tough. We ate in Teppanyaki and Cagney's and those meals were fabulous - but we shouldn't have to pay extra to get good food! We ate at O'Sheehans several times and the food there was good - fast too!
We found service overall to be good, but you no longer see bar staff "hustling" beverages, We felt there were far less bar service people around the pool and theater and in the lounges than in the past and I believe it's because most people have the package and there is no incentive for them to "sell". Drinks were good but as mentioned before - hard to drink frozen concoctions without a straw!
Having been to Bermuda several times we "do our own thing". We docked around 1:00 pm and we waited till the crowds left and then went for a walk around the Dockyard. There are several stores and museums to look around in but we were happy to have less people on the ship around the pool! NCL has a complimentary ferry running from the Dockyard to St. George which is a beautiful little village to walk around. We like Tobacco Bay on that end of the island for snorkeling so we went there the second day. The third day we went to Snorkel Park which is a very short walk from the ship ( less than 10 minutes). It's a nice clean beach with facilities, and food services and good place to snorkel when the weather cooperates. It was very windy on our day there so the water was rough and cloudy. Read Less