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776 Norwegian (NCL) Bermuda Cruise Reviews

I got to the pier at 9:00. By 11:45 I was on the ship. The check-in process went smoothly -- I was impressed. My luggage arrived in my room by 5:30. I had a balcony cabin on deck number 9. The room was a little on the small side, but ... Read More
I got to the pier at 9:00. By 11:45 I was on the ship. The check-in process went smoothly -- I was impressed. My luggage arrived in my room by 5:30. I had a balcony cabin on deck number 9. The room was a little on the small side, but nicely designed. I found the space to be enough for a solo traveler but I think it would be tight for 2 people. I thought that it was odd that they had a tiny old 90s box TV. But I really didn't go on the cruise to watch TV. My cabin steward (Jerry) introduced himself the first day and I can say that he did an outstanding job keeping my cabin tidy. On embarkation day I had lunch in Versailles restaurant. I ordered the NY strip steak and had the Vietnamese summer rolls as an appetizer. For lunch, I found the quality of the food in Versailles to be good. On the last night I ate at Versailles restaurant. I ordered the NY strip steak (again) and I am sorry to say it was awful. I dined at the specialty restaurants except "La Cucina" and "Moderno". I found the specialty restaurants to be more intimate. I attended the Latitudes party and the Cruise Critic "Meet & Greet". Both were outstanding. At the M&G, there was a signup sheet for a bridge tour. I got to see the bridge on Friday afternoon -- it was awesome! I only attended one show and that was "Band on the run" I really enjoyed the show. The singing and dancing were very good. I purchased the spa pass and I am glad that I did. I spent a lot of time there. The spa did not have the thermal lounge chairs like the Jewel had. I was always able to get a lounge chair in the spa. I found that "the towel game" was being played a lot on the pool deck. I did find the "Quiet Zone" that was on deck 13. I was able to get a lounge chair there without any hassle. There was even a hot tub at this location. I did not see any children in this area. It was great being in Bermuda for 3 days. On the 3rd day, we received a notice that there would be a disruption in public transportation due to a transit union meeting. On that day I just hung around the pier. Once the ship arrived in NYC, I was able to walk off with my luggage at 7:45AM So I truly did "cruise like a Norwegian" ~ La Princesa Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
This was our 3rd Norwegain cruise and I was very disappointed in our trip. Our consierge was never there to check on us, and the service in the dining rooms (with the exception of Cagney's) was only fair. We felt like we were being ... Read More
This was our 3rd Norwegain cruise and I was very disappointed in our trip. Our consierge was never there to check on us, and the service in the dining rooms (with the exception of Cagney's) was only fair. We felt like we were being rushed through dinner. THey served our appitizer and our salad was sitting on the side so that as soon as we took our last mouthful the salad was put down in front of us. By the time we got our entree we were full from craming down the first 2 courses. We asked the waiter to slow down but he paid no attention. A shrug of the shoulders was the response we got. We are older and do not stay out late so dinner is our favorite part of the day. The main theatre's entertainment was sometimes painful and the cruise director was blah! Our last cruise to Canada/New England was so great I couldn't believe we were on the same cruiseline. The assistant cruise director was better thank goodness but we needed to go to the later shows like "Newlywed Game" etc. to actually enjoy ourselves. I was so disappointed because the amount of money we spent took two years for us to save so we could get the cabin that we wanted. One of the most disappointing afternoons was that they were offering a Veterans afernoon at one of the pubs. My husband is a disabled vet and couldn't wait to attend. When we got there they offered nothing. Just asked us what we wanted to drink and said "Oh, its just so that the veterans can get together". Not even a patriotic song was played. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
As I said, mostly good, with a few exceptions (all customer service related). We sailed from Boston, which I really wish there were more cruises leaving from there. Boston is a great city to launch from, extremely walkable, and the ... Read More
As I said, mostly good, with a few exceptions (all customer service related). We sailed from Boston, which I really wish there were more cruises leaving from there. Boston is a great city to launch from, extremely walkable, and the public transportation is fantastic. Taxi drivers are only necessary when it comes time to get to the actual harbor, and even then they are so efficient! Getting on the ship was very easy, we always use the porter service to avoid the hectic baggage line, so it was just 25 minutes or so from tipping the porter to walking onto the ship. Our room was fantastic, more shelf space than we actually needed, and the bathroom was actually larger than I'd expected. Our balcony was of course used constantly...much nicer to enjoy the scenery from the calm serenity of our private balcony than dealing with the hordes of passengers elbowing for space along the upper decks (not to mention the wind and rain which came later). Our room steward, Hopeton, was the best! He greeted us immediately, introduced himself, and knew us by name for the remainder of the cruise. When he realized my parents were in a room further down the deck he made sure to keep us both appraised of each other where-abouts. Hopeton is the best! The weather was not so great...stormy seas getting down to Bermuda, then rain showers most of the three days we were there, but we all made the best of it...sharing umbrellas and enjoying all the excursions that offered bus transfers, such as the Horseshoe Bay beach (gorgeous), the Cave/Aquarium tours (so much fun!) and the island bus tour. All of our tour guides were from Bermuda, so we received very personalized tours, including the location of one guide's house, and their favorite church, and even pulled over in one spot to watch Parrot Fish feeding off the side of the road when the tide was in, because the bus driver enjoys taking his family there. Highly recommend these tours! Not to mention the Rum cakes. oh yes, Rum cakes! The cruise back to Boston was fairly quiet, calmer seas, but a cold fog descended on us and the captain had the foghorn going for most of the journey back, which I found simultaneously haunting and romantic. I felt the food was great, lots of choices, although I do recommend taking the time to walk the full circuit around the 6 buffet stations in the Garden Cafe to make sure what is all available. We never did get to try the ice cream "shop" Sprinkles (closed whenever we walked by it), but the soft serve on the inside was good. The only specialty restaurant we tried was Cagney's, which was fantastic...excellent steak, excellent sides, excellent waiter, excellent decor. I do think that for a restaurant that we pay extra for, sodas should be included with the meal however, not an extra charge. So those were all the good...now for the not-so-great. Some of the service staff really missed opportunities to wow us with their skills. I was actually snapped at by a table attendant in the Garden Cafe...my parents were sitting at a table that had yet to be cleared, so I stacked up the few dishes and cups and walked them over to one of the clearing stations...and instead of thanking me, or apologizing and taking the plates from me, the woman actually snapped at me and said "don't put those there! that's just been cleaned! they go here!" and pointed behind her. I was shocked...5th cruise with Norwegian and I've never been spoken to like that before. We had a similar experience attempting to eat at the Blue Lagoon, we approached the seating hostess, she looked us over rather haughtily and said "how many in your party", which there were 4, then said "I don't have any tables for 4, and I don't really know when I will have time to seat you". And having walked through the restaurant to reach her hostess station, there were many tables for 2 empty...just waiting to be pushed together, but I guess this wasn't something she was interested in offering. We tried the Blue Lagoon again (gluttons for punishment I guess) the next day, when they were nearly empty, were seated right away, then had the most inattentive waiter I've ever seen. He repeated each of our orders back three times, almost as though he were mocking us, then proceeded to forget the final course when it came time to serve us. On the up-side, the food was really good. My mother had an issue with a waiter in the Aqua restaurant, he apparently took offence at her ordering on behalf of my father, who is extremely hard of hearing, and refused to look at my mom, then pawned the table off onto his young assistant, who turned out to be a great waitress for the remainder of the meal. Finally, we had a waiter at the Java Cafe that nearly yanked a chair out from under me as we attempted to seat ourselves, informing us "you can't sit there! we're setting up for an event!", and no, he didn't offer to locate another table for us. So out of 1100 staff (approximately?) we had 5 who need to seriously reconsider their career choices, and beyond that, we had a great cruise! My mom has actually already booked her next cruise, also on the Dawn, so I'm telling her to keep track of the good and the bad with names, and let the front desk know next time. I really love sailing with NCL, but too many instances of poor customer service like these and I won't be able to convince the rest of my party to return. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
My husband and I had only been on a 3 day cruise to nowhere many years ago. Not sure that qualifies us as 2ND time cruisers. If you want to be disconnected from Email and cell phones a cruise is the place to be. If you want to be connected ... Read More
My husband and I had only been on a 3 day cruise to nowhere many years ago. Not sure that qualifies us as 2ND time cruisers. If you want to be disconnected from Email and cell phones a cruise is the place to be. If you want to be connected you can be for a price. We chose not to be connected. We really needed a break. We traveled with 6 others. Some days it was 4 of us some days 6 of us, a couple of times 8 of us. That is the type of flexibility there is on NCL. We found the ship to be very clean. Our accommodations were good. The cabin service was great it did not take very long when you made a call to have someone at your door with your request. We found the food to be good and plentiful no matter where we ate. It just depended on whether you wanted to be waited on or not. The service in the Venetian was excellent. We felt rushed in AQUA. The 24 hour restaurant on the 8Th deck above the Atrium, did not have very good service.The buffet was very good as well a large variety to chose from. Although you are told both ends are the same they are not so make sure you peruse everything on both ends We took the bus tour 5.5 hours of Bermuda and the Swizzle Cruise both were excellent. We found the shopping seminar to be helpful. The entertainment on the ship was good to excellent depending on the show and the venue. We particularly enjoyed the couple that sang in the Atrium and went to listen to them nightly after a show in the theater. We also enjoyed the Elvis tribute in one of the bars. We happened to be celebrating one of our friends 41ST wedding anniversary so this was perfect to do some dancing, have some wine and be able to talk as well. The only issues we had was information given to us prior to the cruise was misleading i.e. we got cabins next to a family member because we were told that we could open the doors between our balconies while in port. We found that not to be true as they are locked and or welded shut. Also the plan of the day had conflicting times as to when things were happening i.e. hours of the buffet being opened. At which point at Bingo was the raffle being drawn. We found getting on board in Boston to be fairly easy although it was very busy. Getting on and off the ship in Bermuda was a breeze as long as you followed the instructions given. Disembarking in Boston was easy as well but we were the last group off at 10AM. We had no connections to make. I would suggest this trip to any first time cruisers as there was a lot to do. You were on the ocean 2 days down and 2 days back with 3 days in Bermuda.It is also a good way to do Bermuda. I would definitely take this cruise again. We plan to try NCL again for another destination and will probably try another line just for comparison. Some of our group have traveled on other lines and from NCL to be good in comparison to those they had traveled on. Some hings different not better or worse just different i.e. free style dining Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We just returned from a 6-day cruise to Bermuda. Before we left, we read a lot of the reviews on this site and were grateful for the advice and feedback we received. The embarkation process is smoothly handled by NCL. They had ... Read More
We just returned from a 6-day cruise to Bermuda. Before we left, we read a lot of the reviews on this site and were grateful for the advice and feedback we received. The embarkation process is smoothly handled by NCL. They had everything organized in their computer system. We just needed to present out passports, credit card and "e-documents" (from pre-checkin on the NCL.com site). We were traveling with another couple - where one of their party happens to carry a Belgium passport - and his check-in wasn't as seamless. Nevertheless NCL handled our check-in quickly. One side note for those leaving from Black Falcon terminal in Boston: Massport (the state government authority) seems to run a chaotic process when you arrive at the terminal. The scene approaching the terminal from the street is one big ball of confusion with no clear organized staging for those arriving or for taxis dropping off. After we finished our embarkation process (around 40 minutes), we were on board at about 1pm for a 4pm departure. We were informed that our cabin was ready, but we opted for a quick lunch at the Garden Cafe. There's a kid's seating section where we ate grilled vegetables and other hot dishes. Then we proceeded to our cabin. We began to settle in and enjoy the accommodations, when we were directed to a muster drill in the Aqua restaurant. They basically told us where to go, in case of an emergency. Then we met up with our fellow travel companions and headed for the pool party on 12th deck. We snacked on barbeque burgers and enjoyed some cocktails, as we cruised out of Boston harbor. We traveled with our 21-month-old daughter - and we noted that there were a number of other families on the boat. At our daughter's age we didn't struggle to keep her entertained. The Dawn has a kids area - with a "Under 2 zoo" playroom. For those over 2-year-old, the Dawn has a very well run kids camp. Where there are supervised activities that keep the children busy from 9am-4pm. We over hear some kids say to their parents that they didn't want to leave the activities center. Also on the back of the boat there's a kid's oriented swim/play areas. Our daughter was unfortunately too young to use this facility. We ate at Cagne's steakhouse once (our only play-to-play dining experience) - and found the food fantastic. One area (across from Cagne's steakhouse) does not seem properly utilized on the ship - the Star Bar - which is a really nicely appointed bar overlooking the 12th deck and pool area. It just seems that there is very little going on in that bar. But it was an ideal location for us to have some quiet time to ourselves and enjoy some drinks in somewhat private comfort. On other nights we ate at Aqua or the Venetian. We thought both were good - but we liked Aqua's more contemporary atmosphere better. My wife summed up the our fellow Dawn passengers as: "...a mixed bag of nuts." An extreme rage of folks from conservative to "edgy" (to put it kindly). We saw people in very tasteful attire - and then we saw many that looked down right scary. Gang-bang looks, neck tattoos and pajama pants were the fashions of choice on a lot of the crown - particularly those that hung out by the pool areas. Not assuming that NCL caters to this demographic - but nevertheless the down-market/mixed bag of nuts are in abundance on this cruise. Our stay and activities in Bermuda were dictated by the weather in large part. It rained and gusted relentlessly until the morning of our last day in Kings Wharf. We made the most of with a delightful morning at Snorkel Beach ($5 access fee - well worth it). Lunch at the Frog and Onion pub. And a ferry ride to Hamilton. The service on the cruise was wonderful, throughout. The enthusiasm of the staff was infectious and made our time on-board memorable. All-in-all, we would do the trip again - even with the mixed bag of nuts. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We are just back from our 3rd time on the Dawn and 3rd time to Bermuda - #1 in my book for an island destination. Getting to Boston was a breeze, actually picked up our daughter at Logan and drove straight to pier - only 10 minutes ... Read More
We are just back from our 3rd time on the Dawn and 3rd time to Bermuda - #1 in my book for an island destination. Getting to Boston was a breeze, actually picked up our daughter at Logan and drove straight to pier - only 10 minutes away. We were actually too early but they took our luggage anyway and we drove around Boston to see the sites. After 12 we parked the car in the convenient garage - just a street away and we were onboard within 1/2 hour. The rooms were not ready until 2 so we took a tour of the ship and ate at the Garden Cafe. Our room was conveniently located right next to the spa so there was no excuse not to use the treadmill. The first time we had seen the $119 charge to use the spa indoor pool and hot tubs. I would love to know how many really paid the additional charge. We took note of the "casual" dress of everyone and hoped it would improve especially towards the dinner time. We enjoy dressing for dinner and knew we would probably be in the minority looking at the other passengers. Hoodies and do rags aren't acceptable in my book. 1st night - ate at the Venetian with table by the back window - nice view, decent enough service and yes we were in the minority with dressing up. Could be more presentation with the meal. Saw the entertainment in the theater. Standard cruise fare, magic, aerial acts, singing and dancing. The cruise director, Paul Scally, is a real funny guy - one of the best we have seen. Visited the casino - why do so many people smoke? There has to be a better way to ventilate the room. Hated to even walk through after a show because you come out smelling - take the 7th floor exit if you want to avoid it. 2nd day/night - cold this morning but as we approached the Gulf Stream it warmed up as promised by the captain. Visited the spa, ate at the buffet for breakfast/lunch - always good choices. Decided to do Venetian again. Bad decision. Were seated within 15 minutes on the left side. We had a "new" female waiter who said it was her first time. She did not appear to have any help and we kept watching her run back and forth to the kitchen. Needless to say our dinner hour was a dinner two hour. Frustrating to not even have the water glasses filled. Decided not to go back there. Enjoyed the show but one of the female singers is very weak. 3rd day/night - pulled into Bermuda in cloudy weather and decided to do one of the spa specials (excellent - $99 for a nice package) while everyone else got off the ship. We got off to explore the Dockyard when everyone else was coming back on. Nice to have a quiet ship. Visited the glassworks factory - always have to check out the clearance rack and the other stores. It did clear up by 5 pm. Snorkel Park was charging $10 a person - it was free the same time last year! Convenient because you could walk to it from the ship but we did not go. Ate at the Moderno and thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful service - this is what we were expecting! Food was great and well worth the charge. Tonight was the aerialist show - husband and wife - excellent and amazing what they do. 4th day/night - woke up to another cloudy morning and took the ferry to St. George. Saw the unfinished church then walked in the rain around to St. Catherines. Saw some beautiful beaches, if only it was not raining! Took the ferry back - 45 minute ride to the ship and the sun was out and we headed to the deck. Enjoyed the band and the drinks of the day. Went to the other "free" dining hall Aqua and had excellent service - we were very happy. Saw the magic show but were not impressed as we had seen most of his stuff the 1st night. Went to the Spinnaker lounge for "Dancing with the Stars", let's just say I do not think "freestyling" includes wearing no panties when you are in a dance competition. The guys were out of control and my daughter and I embarrassed for the passenger contestant but she seemed to like it - the rebroadcasting on the ship tv had it all blacked out when the dress was around her waist! 5th day/night - The sun is shining!!! Our daughter took off to Horseshoe Beach via bus - very safe and clean way to travel. We headed to Hamilton to find baby bermuda shorts for our soon to be born grandson. Found some, poked around the shops and caught the ferry back. All had to be on board by 5 to leave. Enjoyed what we knew would be our last really warm day. Actually ate at the Garden Cafe because they had pork and spanish offerings. It was very good. Second City was in the theater and we always enjoy their show. 6th day/night - Heading back to Boston and actually it was pretty warm out so we got to enjoy the pool deck for most of the day. Our biggest surprise was finding out our daughter was in labor (3 weeks early) with our first grandchild/son back in the states. It was a stressful day with calling/emailing/texting back to CT. Safe c section delivery at 6:28 pm but I wanted the ship to fly home! Ate at the Aqua again because of the previous experience. Not so good this time and had to ask for water, etc. Fellow passengers came up to us to tell us how nice we looked dressed up for dinner. Made us feel good on such a special day. Saw the Paul Scally show and he is very funny and it definitely an adult show. 7th day/night - Weather is colder and what a breeze. Stayed indoors and visited the shops, watched the crew show (Luz is a much better singer than the production crew). Played bingo and watched the clock slowly tick by....decided to do the La Cucina restaurant since it was my daughter's birthday. Made note with reservation to sing/candles anything during our dessert. Slow service here too - not even busy. Dessert came out nothing happened. My husband and daughter left and I stayed behind to talk to the hostess about the non celebration. It was right on our ticket which I saw on the desk!!! She apologized profusely and said a cake would be sent to our cabin - NEVER APPEARED!! That is a disappointment and I was not happy. Saw the Bollywood show - honestly I think they can come up with something better. Very confusing and not worth the time. Things that were great - Lynette at the pool, Garden Cafe, cabin attendant, Paul Scally, Bryan at the front desk who helped us with a quick dembarkation so we could make it back to CT and the hospital. Great liquor prices, jewelry not that big a deal, perfume about $10 different a bottle than US but no tax so that is good. Yes, we did put down the $250 for another future NCL cruise but we are hoping to try a different ship to see if the service is better. Going to the Panama Canal in November via Celebrity Infinity for 15 nights and can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
THE GOOD Cabin and balcony size, bathroom and shower, fixtures, fittings and furnishings throughout most of the ship - especially the deck furniture- modern comfortable and plenty choice, we loved the "pods" at the front; ... Read More
THE GOOD Cabin and balcony size, bathroom and shower, fixtures, fittings and furnishings throughout most of the ship - especially the deck furniture- modern comfortable and plenty choice, we loved the "pods" at the front; Choice, quality and presentation of food in the Garden Cafe, the free coffee and juice being much better than on our previous cruise line. Itinerary - good length of time in Bermuda and convenient port location. Food in Tequila, Orchid Garden and Cagneys. Smiling bar staff at the Bali Hai. Easy embarkation and disembarkation. THE INDIFFERENT Entertainment - I liked the Amar Orchestra, The Second City and Phil Tag and loved Caribbean Plus, the rest was ok but take or leave. Food in the main dining rooms and service in a few of the bars and in the speciality restaurants - trying hard but just not quite getting it right - either too much attention or too little. Fierce air conditioning in many of the public areas, have left this as indifferent not "bad" as realise coming from UK not as used to this! The activitites bulletin - badly produced, spelling mistakes and sometimes wrong information about sunset and sunrise times. THE BAD The announcements: I expect anyone who can afford to cruise was once taught to read - there is a daily bulletin through every cabin door (as mentioned above) detailing the following day's activities. No need therefore for cruise director to be interrupting snoozing, reading or conversations with hourly reminders of bingo etc or for the shopping consultants, art gallery staff etc etc to be similarly desperately touting for business. We would take part if we wanted to!! Following on from above, the desperate selling of lottery and raffle tickets, photographs etc. More on interruptions - the final morning's relaxation on sun deck marked "quiet area" being interrupted by around 10 - 15 screeching members ofthe kids club, leaping on deckchairs watched by a member of cruise staff. The (alleged) Promenade Deck: We love to walk a mile before or after breakfast, 3 laps of the deck, I tried on 6 separate occasions and it was closed for maintenance. Complained to and met with offhand response from Customer "Services". Would venture to suggest than none of their money making faciliities would ever close. Lack of atmosphere in bars and lounges - only the casino was ever full. Again coming from the UK the assumption is that Americans don't drink as much as Europeans but not sure alcohol necessary to listen to some music and socialise. We never established a favourite other than perhaps Bali Hai which had the most cheerful bar staff. The Magenta Dining Room - horrible decor, freezing temperature and below average food and service - eg steak knife arrived once I was halfway through the steak and no-one offered drinks until meal nearly over. The Atrium - most of the ship is brightly (borderline gaudily) painted and this is wonderful in the pool areas etc, the Atrium however resembled a dumping ground for all the most hideous and unwanted furnishings from elsewhere. We named it the box room as it had an air of somewhere they put "facilities" that didn't fit in anywhere else. The Cruise Director - see above re interruptions. CONCLUSIONS: We had a lovely holiday enjoying mostly great weather and the beautiful island of Bermuda. The island tour excursion was informative and good value and we loved our independent trip to the fabulous Horseshoe Bay. The ship is lovely and most of the staff do try hard. If we had never been on any other cruise line we would have almost certainly been less hyper critical about some of the irritations. It is always probably always difficult to establish relationships with crew and fellow passengers during such a short cruise and we always knew that the facilities and entertainment would be aimed at the US market. If you are looking for a well priced week away from New York with plenty of gambling and no enforced dress code this is a fab way of doing it. If however you prefer a marginally more traditional experience in terms of dressing suitably for a restaurant, enjoying relaxing peace and quiet, making friends over drinks, establishing your favourite cocktail hour space and huge choice of evening entertainment it is probably not the best choice. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We're 40- something couple, have enjoyed NCL freestyle and decided to try an aft penthouse suite to maximize our relaxation on our first visit to Bermuda. After reading alot on CC about the NCL suite experience, my DH and I felt ... Read More
We're 40- something couple, have enjoyed NCL freestyle and decided to try an aft penthouse suite to maximize our relaxation on our first visit to Bermuda. After reading alot on CC about the NCL suite experience, my DH and I felt well equipped to anticipate what it would be like. I guess that even with all that we read, there's still a "learning curve" to adjusting to the suite perks, but admittedly it's an easy adjustment! We were on a much needed vacation... Before mentioning anything else, I want to say that we were on the cruise where the distressed sailing ship rescue of 5 people occurred on 10/29 in the middle of the sea. What a dramatic event that was to experience (and we were just watching!), and NCL should be extremely proud of the captain and fantastic crew and their efforts!!! Way to go! OK, here's our review... NYC: we arrived 2 days early and enjoyed NYC, went to a broadway show, saw Lady Liberty and Ellis Island, the Occupy folks (quite interesting, lots of police presence), and were able to go into the 911 Memorial, which was of course very moving. Great food, both fine dining and street food. Embarkation in NYC: We purposely stayed in a hotel that was walking distance to the port, and walked there to arrive around 11 am. I knew that we'd get checked-in at the VIP lounge, so specifically mentioned to the NCL check-in attendant that we were in a suite... unfortunately, for whatever reason she directed us to the Latitudes line, where the check-in lady eventually then escorted us to the VIP lounge where we got our keys and waited to be escorted on board. While we were there, we could hear that our original group number to board had been called, so we could have boarded earlier if we just kept on going ourselves in the Latitudes line... a small thing, but then it was compounded by the fact that I needed to help show the escort to where our cabin was located (aft.... penthouse, no, that way...), so not the best embarkation experience by comparison to what we were expecting. However, we made our way to Cagneys and that's where the magic began...breakfast and lunch there every day was fantastic. Suite experience: We met Gaurav, our butler, and he answered all our questions and was great to meet, however he clearly had just come down with a cold and sounded and seemed to feel miserable, so that made us feel so sorry for him - - and I think that impacted what we asked him to do for the rest of the cruise (NCL, maybe allow for a substitute if a butler is ill??). Through the cruise he responded to our very few requests, however there were days that went by when we never saw him, so we were surprised by that (and concerned that he was feeling more ill, didn't want to bother him, etc.). The concierge David was excellent in the few times we asked him to do anything - - remarkably, early on in the cruise he recognized us in the atrium as we were killing time with our pager, waiting to get into the MDR; and he said "follow me" back to the MDR and got us seated immediately - - that felt VIP indeed! Our steward Eduardo was the highlight for us, extremely attentive, always around, and commented to us that we were so EASY - what else could he do for us?? He really went out of his way for us, and he's a Gem (no pun intended!)! Food: Cagneys for breakfast and lunch is by far the best part of suites from our perspective - we never set foot in the buffet on this cruise (this is a good thing from our perspective), and we SO enjoyed the incredible food and service, and the solitude of that space. It made us both get up earlier than usual on vacation, which is saying alot! The Cagneys team is fantastic. In MDR, it seems that NCL has definitely scaled back in food quality from our previous NCL cruises (e.g., don't offer a steak if the one you'll present is thin and disappointing); but service was always great! We scaled back our food expectations, but sadly. For room service, we ordered the $5 pizza one night and were disappointed - sure it's big (too big), but so few choices and so uninspired! NCL, please improve/expand the 'zza menu, and it will be so much better. Late night grilled cheese from the kids menu was fantastic - - definitely recommended! Blue Lagoon was great for catch-meals, and our Anniversary dinner in Teppanyaki was "the bomb". Too bad that MDR doesn't come close. Other onboard thoughts and suggestions: - fitness area was great! Well equipped, and we could always could find an available treadmill. - seas were rougher than we anticipated, be sure to bring bonine or other meds to ward off any missed fun on the ship! - on sea days, the Atrium becomes a tacky marketplace with gold-by-the-inch and watches. Please discontinue this, NCL. - we always enjoyed the captain's announcements, but oftentimes he would end with an 'advertisement' for some onboard thing like a special lunch or bingo event - - NCL, please let him focus on communicating about navigation and weather, only! We felt bad for him, and it reflects poorly on the cruiseline to have him do it. - entertainment: we went to a few shows, liked Brenda Kaye the hypnotist and Justino/magician and wife acrobat very much! Second City was good, I think improv can vary and have good days/bad days so we'll cut them some slack. Music we heard around the ship was always very good. Pub Crawl counts as entertainment, great fun as always! Beautiful Bermuda: it really is. Weather was great, snorkeling at Tobacco Bay was our highlight, and the sea-glass beach by dockyard was an unexpected cool experience, too. Ferries seemed much better than the buses, and we might take a taxi tour next time to manage our time even better. Bermudians are so friendly, and as the ship was leaving Bermuda, people were standing at the dock waving and saying "come back to see us again!" We'll be back. Disembark: due to the exciting and dramatic rescue of the day before, and the rough seas and storm, we got into NYC later on Sunday morning than expected - - the suite perk of priority disembark came in handy and allowed us to get off the crowded ship much sooner...a real blessing. All in all it was a great cruise with some unexpected ups and downs, all relative when you factor in the perspective from having been in a suite and the expectations that come along with that level of stateroom... thank you for reading my review, we highly recommend Bermuda as a cruise destination! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Back from Bermuda (2 days at sea, 3days in Hamilton, 1 day at sea) on NCL Gem from Manhattan. Overall really enjoyed and needed this vacay! We are late 30's with a 3yo. We cruise annually, usually with whomever has the right price! ... Read More
Back from Bermuda (2 days at sea, 3days in Hamilton, 1 day at sea) on NCL Gem from Manhattan. Overall really enjoyed and needed this vacay! We are late 30's with a 3yo. We cruise annually, usually with whomever has the right price! Booked a balcony portside -â€" 9524 A few thoughts 1) Parking at the port is $30/day. We found a garage at W 53rd (port at 49th) and lugged our stuff over ($140 for 7 days). Embarkation smooth and easy 2) Super fun cruising out of NY harbor -â€" beautiful! 3) If you love the sun, I would recommend a starboard side balcony out of NYC. The noon and afternoon sun will be on your side for the trip down AND you face Hamilton when you are docked at the Royal Naval dockyard 4) The kids club is AWESOME. Our 3yo loved it. On sea days they have activities all day long (cupcake decorating, pirate parade, lego building, one night they take the kids to dinner, etc) -â€" no fees. From 10:30pm-1:30am, each child is $6/hr at the kids club. During this time they have activities for the first ½ hr and then pop in a movie. I guess the kids fall asleep (or don't) on the beanbags. We thought we'd take advantage of the late night but our little one was just exhausted from no naps and full days of fun! 10:30 is way past our bedtime anyway... On Port days, you could also leave your child there for a fee. Sign your child in the first day and then when you drop off throughout the week, they ask you where you will be in case they need to come find you. Our child is potty trained so she could use their childsized bathrooms. Not sure the policy on diapers. 5) We really lucked out with the weather in Bermuda. The first 2 days -â€" really perfect beach weather, the last day with scattered light showers and overcast. I would have done beach the first day if the forecast was correct! We purchased the $28 3-day pass (for ferries and buses) for the two of us. Kids under 5 free. We actually didn't even use the pass on the 3rd day but overall spent the same as if we paid for individual fares. The ferry schedule is every hour or so with the last one at 8PM (not super convenient). The buses come whenever (also not super convenient). NCL has figured out a way to avoid tendering and help the local economy! Day 1: took the ferry to Hamilton (25min) and then the bus to the aquarium/zoo (25min). Admission is $10 per adult (kids under 5 free) and our daughter enjoyed this. We spent about 1.5 hours then walked around Flatts (not much to see but the inlet) and spent 25 min waiting for the bus back to Hamilton. Walked around Hamilton then walked over to the Fairmont for tea. Tea was fair (food somewhat stale tasting)... the Fairmont is beautiful. Then back to Hamilton to catch the ferry. Unfortunately then next ferry (6pm) wasn't for 45 min so we wandered a bit more down front street. Day 2: Took the bus to Horseshoe Bay (30min). Spent a wonderful 3 hours there (this is the only beach with bathroom, umbrella rental, snackbar) and then took the bus back into Hamilton (another 30min wait). Grabbed a snack at the Hog Penny, bought some souvenirs -â€" took the 6PM ferry back again. Day 3: This was a short day (all aboard at 4:30). My daughter wanted to look for seashells since there were none at horseshoe (the sand is soooooo soft). We took her to sea glass beach (thx for the directions cruise critics) around noon -â€" high tide. All the glass comes from the upshore trash incinerator plant. Lots of glass but also.... some trash. She enjoyed herself... I was a little grossed out even though it wasn't that bad. We then walked around the Naval Dockyard. Wonderful stone bldgs with lots of history that now house -â€" clocktower mall (great for souvenirs), clayworks, glassworks, rum cake tasting. Then over to snorkel park (they actually charge $5 per person). This is probably a great place to party at night -â€" the beach is rock hard but apparently lots of fish. Of course the 3 yr old loved it... 6) I do wish NCL would dock at Hamilton -â€" definitely more centrally located. 7) There was an AIDA ship that pulled in next to us for one day. As Europeans I guess this excursion might be more popular than for us americans but.... It was biking to Horseshoe bay. Really seemed lovely!!! Now we would totally do this except for the 3 yo AND the fact that they don't have a lot of pedal bikes (as they call it) to rent in Bermuda because its not so safe to bike around on your own. It seemed like AIDA carried bikes on board, and a lot of them because as we drove by on the bus it seemed there were groups and groups and groups of bikers. I do wish an American line would offer biking excursions -â€" we don't normally go on excursions but this is something we would do in a heart beat. 8) Last day at sea was really rough. My daughter actually got sick at the kids club and they tried to come find us but didn't. They took great care of her though and as per usual we went to check on her after leaving for an hour and a half or so... It didn't help that there was a storm coming in and we also had to make up time since we added the sailboat rescue to our activities for the day! I can't imagine even in the best conditions that sailing that day is smooth but ours was extra rough 9) I thought the food was fine. Some people complain that they never change breakfast but I'm not sure what else they could provide. I mean EVERYTHING you would have on a brunch menu was provided EVERYDAY: waffles, pancakes, benedict, omelette station, hot and cold cereals, pastries, all sorts of meats and hash, bagels and lox, fruits, even rice porridge (I had this everyday and loved it!). We usu had lunch at the buffet as well. Dinner in Magenta with one night at le bistro which was lovely. They only have crepes upstairs at the buffet for dinner -â€" we were there (almost) every night for my dessert! They also have a kids café at the back of the buffet which is great! The food is standard stuff kids like (mac and cheese, hotdogs, nuggets, mashed potatoes) but I just appreciated the small tables and chairs and kids type atmosphere it provided. Most of the time it was easy enough to find a place to sit but on the last day with the wind, it was soooooo crowded for bfast and lunch. We actually just brought our stuff down to the blue lagoon and ate there. 10) Our room was smaller than our solstice balcony last cruise but it was fine. The balcony is not long enough for 2 to lay out 11) We had a great time even though I had some reservations (food, "nickel and diming" that some people talk about on NCL, rooms, even shows). All of these turned out to be not an issue at all. And the kids club really clinched it for us. Before we went on the boat I told my husband the next cruise would probably be on the oasis but now we'll have to see what kinds of deals the EPIC has to offer!! Thanks ncl - think about getting those bikes!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Let me start by sayin that NCL has great FAMILY AMENTITIES and this is why my family chose NCL. We are a family of 4, 2 adults a 2 year old and 3 year old. We usually travel to Jamaica every year and stay at Beaches Negril but this year we ... Read More
Let me start by sayin that NCL has great FAMILY AMENTITIES and this is why my family chose NCL. We are a family of 4, 2 adults a 2 year old and 3 year old. We usually travel to Jamaica every year and stay at Beaches Negril but this year we opted to cruise on NCL Dawn to Bermuda. After researching Bermuda and the Dawn it seemed like a great plan. The children can go to the shows, the tex rex pool area is great for parents and children, we ate at the Venetian every night.... fine dining at its best and yes I took my children. Now let me say this my children are young and yes they got a little energetic at times but...I recived many compliments and was approached numerous times about my children being so well behaved sooo.... That being said, If YOU ARE A PERSON WHO DOESNT LIKE CHILDREN THIS CRUISE IS NOT FOR YOU!!!!!! This is a very family friendly cruiseline and cruise. Pay the extra and go on an adult only cruise. My children were yelled at by a woman that was on board with a dog! Yes we were at a show and kids were excited to see a dog. The show hadnt started and we left show because she was rude and arogant. The following day I saw the woman and approached her to address the matter, she began to yell and scream and accuse me of pushing her. Thank god for witnesses this woman was absolutely insane she kept yelling that she was on vacation and that I needed to raise my kids right! Again to my point... IF YOU DONT LIKE KIDS THIS IS NOT THE VACATION FOR YOU!!! They are everywhere shows, pool, restaraunts, hallways and bathrooms. Aside from this the Garden cafe was ok tended to be the same food. The Venetian was top notch and dont be afraid to take your children they can go also they have a kids menu. We were on deck 12 with the best butler Orlando, I will miss him dearly. We had a penthose suite that was unbelievable. The shows were great dont miss Bollywood! All in all it was a great cruise except for the rude intolerable people. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My husband and I just returned from a 7 night Bermuda cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. This was the second Bermuda cruise that we had taken on the NCL to Bermuda. We stayed in an Inside cabin, #9725, which was at the stern of the boat. ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a 7 night Bermuda cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. This was the second Bermuda cruise that we had taken on the NCL to Bermuda. We stayed in an Inside cabin, #9725, which was at the stern of the boat. This was good in that we could take a very close elevator and arrive at the Garden Cafe or either of the dining rooms without having to walk the length of the deck. Our room was small but we expected that. It was larger than the inside cabin we had on RCCL in January and had more storage. The bathroom was large enough and the shower was large by cruise ship inside cabin standards. We were pleased with our room. We did find that separating the beds gave much more room in the cabin. The cruise was calm so there was NO movement at all on board. Some cruisers think that being on a higher deck mid-ship is best. I have taken ten cruises and have been in cabins all over the ships and find that lower decks are fine and actually have less movement. Deck 9 was closer to the top of the ship (13 decks) and was great. I wouldn't hesitate to take one on deck 4, however. Either the Dawn was renovated or our last cruise was on a sister ship. There were some things we remembered that we liked, for instance the food and atmosphere in the Aqua and Venetian dining rooms. NCL has gone totally with Freestyle dining which means there are no assigned seatings. This is good for scheduling your day, you can eat anytime you wish. This is bad for those who like sitting with the same people each night, being served by the same staff. They also have eliminated the formal night on the ship which suited us fine but which upset some cruisers that I talked to. The Garden Cafe has standard cafeteria food but all is good, hot and plentiful. There is also free room service and pizza delivered to your stateroom, to the pool, or to whereever you may choose to eat. There is a $5 per cabin fee for the 16 inch pizza but that is quite a bargain. We weren't impressed with the entertainment on board. The production shows were quite like the ones two years ago and the activities scheduled daily were stale and limited. My husband developed tendonitis and we were confined to the cabin for a couple of days and found that the tv selections were terrible. CNN and Fox News were carried but little else except an entertainment channel which looped the entire week and several movies which did the same. Even more aggravating was the fact that the movies were sometimes spaced with a break of 30 minutes between them. NBC, ABC and CBS would have been delightful. We wouldn't have noticed this if we hadn't been forced to stay in the cabin all day, however! Our last ship had an area called The Blue Lagoon which was fine for bathing suits and quick pickup. That is now a seated restaurant and the food isn't as good and it is more formal. Next to that is a Brazilian restaurant which was a disappointment. Meat is presented on skewers Texas De Brazil style but the skewers were slow coming out and they eventually served the food on a plate. The salad bar was good and the crocks of rice, potatoes and black beans were left on the table so one could serve himself. We found food presentation needed to be picked up a notch. We had too much water drinking time with an empty plate in front of us. It was not worth the extra $25 pp fee. I researched Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL itineraries and found that NCL gave us fromm 4pm on Sunday until 4pm on Tuesday on the island. Carnival gave its cruisers less than twenty four hours on the island and RCCL was less time also. We wanted as much time as possible there so NCL was a great choice for that. This was our third NCL cruise and we have mixed feelings. Our Hawaiian cruise was absolutely fabulous, our first Bermuda cruise was wonderful but this one wasn't as good. Perhaps it was because we had an identical cruise to compare it to. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Overall we had a great vacation on the Norwegian Dawn sailing to Bermuda on 9/2. We were informed on the first day that it was very likely we would leave Bermuda a day early due to Hurricane Katia but that didn't put a damper on our ... Read More
Overall we had a great vacation on the Norwegian Dawn sailing to Bermuda on 9/2. We were informed on the first day that it was very likely we would leave Bermuda a day early due to Hurricane Katia but that didn't put a damper on our cruise. The staff had plenty of time to plan activities for the extra sea day and it allowed us to have great weather throughout the cruise. EMBARKATION: Embarkation was very easy. We drove to the Black Falcon terminal and arrived around 11AM, parked, and it was a short walk from the parking garage to the terminal. There was no line for checking in and we were on the ship in about 30 minutes. As soon as you walked on the ship you could hear music playing and the cruise activity staff and crew was there dancing and welcoming you on. You definitely felt like you were on vacation! LIFE BOAT DRILL: The life boat drill was the quickest I've ever experienced. They didn't seem to wait for all the late passengers like they did on previous cruise lines I've been on which made it a lot less painful. Our muster station was also in the theater instead of having to stand outside on one of the decks so that probably made a difference too. ACTIVITIES/ENTERTAINMENT: There was always something to do on the boat and members in my group were big participants. We enjoyed trivia, scavenger hunts, the pub hop (beware you hit 5 bars in 45 minutes), the mystery dinner, Second City, poolside games, casino tournaments, and our favorite being all the game shows in the Spinnaker. We found most of the cruise activity staff to be great (Paul Scally, Ferdi, Derick, and Louis), they even remembered our names throughout the entire cruise. Don't miss the Dawn Crew show on the last day, this crew has talent! We didn't find the assistant cruise director to be very friendly (Megan). We played Bingo once but thought it was very slow, poorly organized, and too expensive ($40 for the cheapest package). STATEROOM: Since we were travelling with friends we knew we would barely be in our cabin so we booked an inside. Good choice since we left our cabin in the morning and didn't come back till late at night. The cabin was adequate, with plenty of storage for two people. The bathroom also had plenty of storage. The showers were the best showers I'd ever had on a cruise, almost the size of bath tub. Plenty of room! We didn't have any trouble with noise from other cabins above/below/or beside us...but our cabin did creak alot just from the movement of the boat. My only complaint was that I couldn't get out of bed and walk to the bathroom, I'd run right into a table. They could have designed that a little better. Also, if NCL is ever reading these reviews, could I suggest a light in the closet? SERVICE Overall, we had very good service. Our drinks and food were all brought in a timely fashion. Being in our cabin as little as we were, we never met our cabin steward. I left a note for him for a request and it was ignored the entire cruise. We did get a new towel animal every night which was fun. The bartenders around the Bimini bar were excellent. We only ordered room service for coffee in the morning but the service was great. We ordered using the card you can leave on the door the night before and the coffee arrived every morning 15 minutes earlier than the time we requested. I wish coffee got delivered to me every morning! FOOD/DRINKS Overall, the food was very good. The buffet was okay food as expected but the food in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants was excellent. We ate dinner at Agua, Moderno, Bamboo, and LaCucina. We tried breakfast at the Venetian but found the food to be the same food you could get at the buffet with inattentive service. Also, when in need of a snack try the wings at Blue Lagoon (the 24hr restaurant), they are yummy! However, we missed having a 24 hour buffet for when you wanted a late night snack. Blue Lagoon is a sit down with a menu sort of restaurant which isn't what you are usually looking for late at night. At least there is something available though. In addition to the food, part of the fun of a cruise vacation is trying the drinks of the day. My favorite was the dark and stormy (dark rum and ginger beer) but the others were all tasty too. SHIP We found the ship to be very clean, well maintained, and easy to get around. We thought the layout at the buffet was a 100 times better than the buffet layout on Royal Caribbeans Freedom of the Seas. You could easily get food, even made to order items, and find a place to sit unlike the zoo I experienced on the Freedom. I didn't go to the spa but the gym was nice with plenty of equipment in good shape. Even on sea days it wasn't crowded. The pool and pool area seemed really small. On our cruise it worked because I don't think we were a full ship and there weren't many kids. I imagine it being crazy during the peak sailing times. BERMUDA Bermuda was beautiful. The first day we rented scooters and headed to the crystal caves. They were really neat to see. The second day we spent the morning at Horseshoe Bay. The weather was great, but the waves and riptide were crazy due to the hurricane coming. It was fun playing in the waves. It was nice going to the beach in the morning because the crowds seemed to come by about 12:30pm when we were ready to go. DEBARKATION In theory, the freestyle debarkation process seemed like a good idea. You could either pick your time (out of about 4 groups) or just walk off with your luggage anytime. Well...the groups were too big and there was only one spot to exit creating a massive line to get off the ship. It seems like this would be an easy area to improve. If you park in the garage, just send one person up to get the car so you don't need to wait for an elevator. There's a spot to pick up passengers right outside the garage. SUMMARY Overall, we had a fun cruise sailing on the Norwegian Dawn and would recommend it. This was our first NCL cruise and we would consider sailing NCL again if the price and itinerary were right. We also enjoyed other cruise lines that we would sail with again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Chose NCL Dawn due the convenience of sailing directly from Boston. Was pleasantly surprised at how my expectations were excelled day after day. Embarkation was a breeze, parked in the garage around 11:30 and was on the ship ... Read More
Chose NCL Dawn due the convenience of sailing directly from Boston. Was pleasantly surprised at how my expectations were excelled day after day. Embarkation was a breeze, parked in the garage around 11:30 and was on the ship enjoying a beverage about noon time! Cruise Director Paul Scally was outstanding, right away he had the ship rocking as we left port in Boston, and he never stopped. He had a laughing and smiling all the time. His staff was outstanding as well, with the exception of Megan, who was just OK. We chose to eat dinner at La Cucina the first night, since my wife is a vegetarian we did not opt for any of the other Specialty restaurants. The dinner was fine, but no better than the Venetian or the Aqua in my opinion. We were wary about Freestyle dining, but found it was nice not having to eat at a specific time. We dressed up for dinner each night, and found the Dress Code in the Venetian better for this. The entree portions were kind of small, but I would order an additional appetizer or dessert each night. I was not disappointed in any meals throughout the week. We went to all the Evening Shows in the Theatre. They were all good, our Favorites were Bollywood and Second City. Least favorite by far was Dave Heenan, he had some funny moments, but I think I would rather listen to him sing. Also - do not miss the show put on by the staff on the next to the last day, it is a must see. Bermuda was awesome, first time visiting, and can not wait to go back. We were planning on Parasailing, but it was not available due to equipment malfunction. We opted to try the Segway Tour. It was a great tour and a fun time, I highly recommend it. We bought the Thermal Spa passes, which was worth the money, as we had the opportunity to use semi-private hot tubs and pool, and just chill out and recharge when needed. My wife did some spa treatments which she gives high praise to. The gym was well equipped with machines that were all in working order. We found the Fitness Director Mark to be a bit of a dud though. The game shows in the Spinnaker lounge were a hoot, especially when Paul Scally is hosting. We are not Bingo players, but played the last night. It was fun. Someone won a 7 night cruise, another lady won $10,000! The only negative I can give this cruise is all the cigarette smoking. The casino was overwhelmingly smoky, and smoking was allowed on all decks. I feel that they should limit the areas that smoking is allowed, so non-smokers can avoid second hand smoke more easily. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
NCL Dawn 9/16 - 9/23/11 Embarkation: Arrived at Black Falcon at 12:00 noon, kudos to NCL for a very smooth process. We were aboard and dining at the Venetian for lunch by 12:45pm. Room: Aft balcony room 10230 We booked ... Read More
NCL Dawn 9/16 - 9/23/11 Embarkation: Arrived at Black Falcon at 12:00 noon, kudos to NCL for a very smooth process. We were aboard and dining at the Venetian for lunch by 12:45pm. Room: Aft balcony room 10230 We booked this room because of the aft balcony. This balcony was 8' x 12' and made for an enjoyable week. The room was pretty small (same room size as regular balcony) and the big table they had in front of the sliding door we immediately moved out to the deck. It made it much easier to get in and out. The bathroom was odd to us. Yes the shower and toilet were private, each with their own sliding door, but to get into the toilet area was much too narrow. The closet space was adequate, and I felt a few more drawers would have been nice. Our room steward was awesome. Even though we didn't see him much, whenever I needed anything he was always there with a smile. Ship: The ship was pretty and very clean. The dining rooms were pretty and I loved all the windows in the Venetian. It was a bit odd getting to different areas, as some of the elevators made it impossible to get to certain locations, so you had to walk up one flight, go to a different part of the ship, then walk down a flight again. The pool was much too small for the amount of people. Lots of chairs, but pool was very crowded. The lounge, atrium, theatre and private dining areas were very nice as well. Food: Buffet: Great for breakfast, but lunch and dinner was very bland and not much of a variety. Venetian: We ate lunch and most dinners there, but the menu was very boring. After the 2nd day there wasn't much to choose from that you didn't already have. I think this is how NCL tries their best to have you try the other restaurants. We did go to Le Bistro which was excellent and Cagney's which was good too, but I still would have been more satisfied if the main dining room had more choices. Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of food in the Buffet area, but for the NCL food category, I'd rate it a 6 out of 10. Entertainment: Good! We enjoyed 2nd city and the different entertainers that were in the lounges. We did miss a few shows so I can't comment on anything else. Bermuda: Love it! Horseshoe bay is our favorite! Weather was perfect and the waves were just right! Word to the wise: One of our friends rented a scooter and during broad daylight, he and is girlfriend were driving through Hamilton, they had slowed down with the traffic, and someone rode up behind them in a scooter and cut through their pack with a knife and stole everything in their bag (All their cash, camera, cell phones, license's) He then proceeded to take off and even though another person tried to catch up to him, he got away. Be careful, keep your valuables in front of you. Sadly, this is happening more frequently these days in Bermuda I'm told. Dis embarkation: We got our luggage tags for 9:40am. This was more than perfect. We were off the ship before 9:30 and in our taxi by 10:am. (they misplaced our luggage or we would have been in the taxi sooner) I was very impressed with their smooth process here too. We had a wonderful time, NCL Dawn was a nice ship with a very nice staff. I would sail her again, but wish more cruise lines would go to Bermuda out of Boston. Happy Sailing! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I first off have to say that after you are on a large ship, anything smaller is probably going to feel a bit disappointing. The Dawn has been newly redecorated, it was nice although I was surprised the windows were dirty when we got on ... Read More
I first off have to say that after you are on a large ship, anything smaller is probably going to feel a bit disappointing. The Dawn has been newly redecorated, it was nice although I was surprised the windows were dirty when we got on ship and even after being in port for 3 days in Bermuda they were still all spotted. The other thing that surprised me was the dirt that was in the light fixture in the elevators - I think it took 3 days for that to be cleaned. The inside cabin was small but the shower was a good size as was the bath area - we had no complaints there except the plug did not work - so we only had one working plug - not good when you are charging so many things every night. We enjoyed the shows - only missed the V show to go on a night glass bottom boat tour (which I would not recommend) didn't see much of anything. The food was good - Le Bistro was wonderful - well worth the money - we also ate at Cagneys which was good. There is plenty of food to pick from - the Venetian was our favorite dining room - did not like the Aqua = The luggage getting to our room was a problem - although we checked in at noon - I did not get my last piece of luggage till 8 at night - they dribbled in piece by piece which was weird as they all came on at the same time. Also our one piece of luggage was badly damaged during this time. There were plenty of seats on deck - the pool is small but adequate - Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was our 2nd cruise from Boston to Bermuda, the last being on the NCL Dream which docked in St-Georges. The Dawn is a much newer and bigger ship so it has to dock at the Dockyard. I prefer St-Georges but no big deal! Embarkation was ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise from Boston to Bermuda, the last being on the NCL Dream which docked in St-Georges. The Dawn is a much newer and bigger ship so it has to dock at the Dockyard. I prefer St-Georges but no big deal! Embarkation was very quick and easy. We ate breakfast and lunch either Blue Lagoon or the dining room, no complaints here. Dinner always in the dining room and again no complaints here. Food wasn't amazing but certainly fine. I would give food a 7.5/10. The shows were all fantastic! Loved Second City, David Heenan and the regular shows. We missed Bollywood because we had a long drive ahead of us the next day but heard it was great. Best entertainment we have seen on a cruise to date! Inside cabin deck 11 was fine too. Here are my dislikes: The ship has 1 outdoor pool only that is very noisy. My wife and I prefer a quieter area and the indoor pool is in the spa at an extra charge. Not right! Ditto for the sauna and steamroom. Of 15 or so cruises I have been on, there always was a 2nd quieter pool and steamroom to use at no charge. As well, there is very little outdoor areas in the shade. The quiet zone was not at all quiet and no shade. NO smoke free casino night a big turn off! In summary, we enjoyed having no schedule in Bermuda. All staff were extremely friendly. Disembarkation back in Boston was great! All in all a great cruise and we will do it again next year! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We chose this cruise for a nice fall getaway. Overall the cruise was a pleasant one, albeit not a spectacular one. Embarkation was a smooth process. Were able to have lunch in the dining room. The weather cooperated on the first sea day ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a nice fall getaway. Overall the cruise was a pleasant one, albeit not a spectacular one. Embarkation was a smooth process. Were able to have lunch in the dining room. The weather cooperated on the first sea day and remained nice for most of the cruise. Liked the hot tub but were disappointed with the pool. It was rather small and usually crowded. The usual complaints about people depositing their towels and belongings on the deck chairs and not showing up until much later. If they state they have a policy why do they do not enforce it? Saw some people smoking in the hot tuband nothing was done about it. One deck steward did bring a plastic mug for someone in the hot tub who was drinking beer from a bottle? We had a mini-suite with balcony. Great service from the cabin steward. I must say that the balcony was not the cleanest but I suppose it is difficult to keep them clean. We usually ate in the dining room. Lunch and breakfast menus were the same each day. We are not great fans of free style cruising because you have different waiters each time. When we did ask for a particular team of stewards, we were told that section was full if they were able to locate them. Unlike other cruise ships we were never asked if we wanted to join others or have others join us. We enjoy getting to meet people this way. Food was on the whole good but certainly not outstanding. Personnel were very friendly and helpful. Entertainment was very good to downright awful. Bolywood was certainly spectacular. The comedian was crude and the jokes were in poor taste. We were tempted to walk out. Stay in Bermuda was very nice. Great transportation system and we took full advantage of our 3-day pass. People were very friendly and helpful. As we are not American citizens we had to wait in a huge lineup to clear customs on board the ship. Stood in line for over an hour. We chose to walk off the ship with our luggage in tow. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
POSITIVES: Absolutely loved our Aft Penthouse Suite with large balcony, the room was the best part of our cruise and we spent many hours on the deck (i.e., having nice lounge chairs, non-windy location with fabulous views) Our ... Read More
POSITIVES: Absolutely loved our Aft Penthouse Suite with large balcony, the room was the best part of our cruise and we spent many hours on the deck (i.e., having nice lounge chairs, non-windy location with fabulous views) Our room steward was very nice, attentive and thorough. Concierge and Butler were both extremely responsive to any requests, although we hardly used their services. Gym had more equipment than we expected. By arriving shortly after they opened at 6am or around lunch-time, we were able to use the type of equipment we desired. NEUTRAL: Freestyle dining, which is one of the reasons we choose NCL - but since we only ate at specialty restaurants in the evening, we still had to make a reservation for each night. We enjoyed one of the performers in the bar area. Found the whiskey tasting to be fun, but the individuals running the tasting clearly did not know much about whiskey. Instead of three-days of desirable and planned excursions in Bermuda, we ended up with one half-day excursion in the Bahamas that was desirable, due to the itinerary change because of a hurricane. However, I place higher value on calm seas than the ability to go on planned excursions. NEGATIVES: The food. Although we did find some restaurants that we liked, we learned on the first day to significantly lower our expectations. The lunch at Cagney's and dinner at Le Bistro on the first day were significantly below our expectations (i.e., is there a negative star rating?) We were both a little hysterical (in a funny way) walking back from dinner—-what could we expect at some of the restaurants that were not as highly rated. I realize food is subjective, but we were expecting at least one- or two-star dining experience and given this was not our first cruise, but our first with NCL, we thought our expectations were realistic. Thankfully, we found some restaurants that we liked as well as found some items on Cagney's breakfast and lunch menu that we enjoyed. The loudspeaker announcements about bingo and other events. I am sure others found them helpful, but if I want to attend bingo—I could read about the time and location in the daily. For me, the announcements disrupted my relaxation (i.e., the reason I decided to take a cruise.) OVERALL All-in-all, we had a FABULOUS vacation. However, if I were to repeat the exact same trip, I am not sure NCL would be whom I would cruise with. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We arrived at the cruise terminal around 12:00. We parked at the New York Port Authority Parking lot which cost $210 for the week which was divided among two couples. It took very little time to get on board and to our surprise our ... Read More
We arrived at the cruise terminal around 12:00. We parked at the New York Port Authority Parking lot which cost $210 for the week which was divided among two couples. It took very little time to get on board and to our surprise our stateroom was ready. This is the 4th time that we have cruised out of New York and it is always an exciting time looking at the New York sky line as we cruised down the Hudson River. The first night we ate in the Grand Pacific. The food was good but the service was not. However as the week progressed the service got a lot better. Only once during our cruise did we eat in one of the specialty restaurants, the La Cucina. The service was great and the food was very good. For most of our trip breakfasts and lunches were eaten at the Garden Cafe. The food was good. Only near the end of our trip did we eat at the Blue Lagoon.It has a very limited menu. However, this was a lot more laid back. You did not have to fight the buffet crowd. It you want to get away from the crowd this is a good alternative. Overall, the food was good on most days and great on some days. For the most part the entertainment was very good. There was always something to do. Our stateroom was always clean and we very seldom saw our Stewart. I would recommend the Norwegian Gem if you are looking to cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Sailed out of Boston to Bermuda 8/5 - 8/12. I'm just your average Joe, so here is my review. Embarkation Just a few words to describe...easy, quick, a breeze. We were a party of 11 and were dropped off at the dock. ... Read More
Sailed out of Boston to Bermuda 8/5 - 8/12. I'm just your average Joe, so here is my review. Embarkation Just a few words to describe...easy, quick, a breeze. We were a party of 11 and were dropped off at the dock. Porters met us and wheeled all of our luggage (about 18 pieces) onto the ship. We made it through customs to the check in, we sat for a few minutes until our number was called. Within 35 minutes of arriving, we were eating lunch on board in the Garden Cafe...nice. Food The food on the Dawn was excellent. We had lunch daily at the buffet and mostly had dinner at either Venetian or Aqua. Venetian had a much better atmosphere. Be prepared to put your name in and wait...most nights we waited about 45 minutes to sit, but there was 11 of us. We tried La Cucina one night at $10 per. The food there was outstanding as well as the service. The Garden Cafe was great anytime of the day. Selections were repetitive, but there was a large variety. If you don't buy the soda card, the drink selections are limited to water, iced tea, OJ and apple juice. Apple juice only available in the a.m. Staff The staff on board was hit or miss. Our cabin steward was nothing special, we had to beg for towels. For some reason in a cabin for four people, he would only put 2 towels.... why I don't know. Getting the striped pool towels was like trying to pull teeth. The wait staff in the "free" dining areas was mediocre, nothing special. At La Cucina the wait staff however were very good. I understand that it must be difficult to be nice, attentive and smile at everyone all of the time. It must be hard to be away from family and work 9-12 hours a day, 7 days a week for 9 months...I get it. Ship The ship is beautiful. I read many negative comments before we went about how difficult it was to get around. I somewhat have to agree. The ship seems a little chopped up to me. At some points it seemed we had to go up to get down. There is one area where you have to walk through a restaurant to get to the theatre. We did get used to it very quickly though, and had no problems. On a nice sea day (we had 4 of them) the pool is way too small. Most times we were shoulder to shoulder and couldn't swim. Unfortunately we were forced to become chair hogs, sorry. If you didn't claim your spot by 8:30am or so, forget about getting a chair. We learned this quickly after the first day. Though there is signs posted everywhere stating you cannot reserve a chair for more than 30 minutes, the staff did not enforce. But again, the ship is beautiful. We stayed on deck 8 in an outside cabin. Our stateroom was very comfy. The entire ship was very clean and pleasing to the eye. Activities There was always something to do on board. The magician was awesome, he made a helicopter appear on stage. Whenever you can get a helicopter inside of a ship, that's a bonus. The comedian Dan or Dave Heenan was not funny to me, but there were people who were laughing. The Caribbean Wave band that played island and reggae music was awesome. The nightly singers/piano player in the lobbies and lounges was a treat. Bingo was played about everyday...woohoo. Our group was partial to the Casino. We didn't come out ahead, but duh. We had fun. The cruise director Johnny Sanchez seemed up beat and was visible throughout the week. There were so many other things going on like the Newlywed game, name that tune, Band on the run. Lots to do. Bermuda Absolutely a beautiful island. Here's a tip....If you are getting a 3 day bus/ferry pass; do not get in line in the customs area just off the ship. Hook a left and head to the middle of the pier, you will see a small white trailer, no lines no wait. Day 1 we took the bus to Horseshoe Bay beach. This beach was absolutely the nicest we had ever seen. Excellent body surfing and snorkeling. Also enjoyed the cliff jumping at high tide...awesome. Lunch, restrooms and chair/umbrella rental available. Day 2 we went to Elbow beach...it is beautiful but there are no facilities there that we could see like HS Bay. We hopped back on the bus and went back to Horseshoe Beach. Day 3 we did a glass bottom boat ride and shopping. Be prepared some of the bus drivers are nice and some are not, but whatever no big deal. We loved Bermuda. Disembarkation Again, a breeze. Very orderly and simple...we had no problems getting off the ship. Some final thoughts. We probably wont take a freestyle cruise again, it just wasn't for us. I would rather payout my tips for those that deserve it. I feel since the stewards/staff automatically get their tip, they do not go the extra mile. We sailed on the Disney Wonder in '09 and liked the fact that the waiters knew our name (this obviously is not the only reason). But overall, the NCL Dawn was a beautiful ship with excellent food and so-so service....we had a blast. I would give it an 8 out of 10. Thanks for reading my review! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Background: We are a young family with mom in between jobs which gave us this specific time in late August to travel. We had been on the Norwegian Majesty once before and were totally unimpressed which made me swear off NCL. Well, then we ... Read More
Background: We are a young family with mom in between jobs which gave us this specific time in late August to travel. We had been on the Norwegian Majesty once before and were totally unimpressed which made me swear off NCL. Well, then we wanted to take our 11 month old with us somewhere and figured the anytime dining and more casual atmosphere of NCL might be worth another shot. Overall, our experience with NCL was definitely better this time, but there was just enough wrong with it that I will stick to our other two favorite cruise lines from now on. Hotel info: Boston hotels are pricey! We stayed in the Bulfinch hotel for 2 nights prior to our cruise in the north part of downtown which was conveniently within walking distance of most major tourist destinations while being in a reasonably quiet area. We stayed in a king "suite" which was about $220 a night (including taxes). Au Bon Pain was literally a block away providing a good, cheap breakfast. They provided a pack and play for the infant. Travel to Port of Embarkation: On check out day, we were offered use of their transport van to take us to the pier for $25 for the family and luggage. Given the amount of luggage we had and the car seat, we happily obliged. We had a great, friendly driver and were glad we chose that option. Embarkation: We arrived to the pier around noon and it was very busy with a very long line to drop off luggage with the porters. I've never seen anything like it. I was hoping after we dropped off our luggage we'd be done with most of the waiting, but we still waited a while to actually check in. Definitely a weak spot overall in our cruise. Ship info: The Dawn is a very pretty ship, but she has a few flaws. So much of the public areas have been taken up with restaurants that there really isn't enough public room area for everyone. Most of the public rooms are in the middle of the ship meaning that there are no public room areas with good outside views. Generally, the Lido deck was always so painfully crowded that we only went there in the mornings on port days. The buffet was so crowded in the mornings and at lunch that we usually avoided it. Fellow passengers: These were mostly families from the New England and Massachusetts area. There were about 800 kids onboard and you could tell it, too. I will not cruise again during summer break. Most of the kids were generally well behaved but sometimes you would see groups of loud kids wandering about who were way too young to be doing so unsupervised. I don't know how else to say this without sounding really snobbish, but the crowd was a kind of Jersey Shore-ish. Loud, badly tattooed, badly dressed, and overall uncouth. There were people who showed up to the buffet without bathing suit coverups and who showed up in bathrobes. Kids Programs: There was no formal program for the under 2 crowd but they do have an Under 2 Zoo which is basically a big playroom with play mats on the floor and lots of toys. It looks like a standard day care room. We were very grateful to bring our son there so he could crawl around and have different toys to play with each day. We only saw 2 other families utilizing the space the whole week, so I hope NCL continues this. Entertainment: This is where NCL shines. The entertainment was great. Obviously we were limited in what we could see due to having an infant with us, and much of the entertainment was quite late at night which is the only reason I give them a 5 instead of a 5+. Second City was very funny, and we enjoyed the Who's the Boss game show which is like the newlywed game between parents and kids. We enjoyed the evening music in the Spinnaker. Dining: I was pleasantly surprised by how good the dining was compared to our last cruise in some ways but was disappointed in other ways. We tried 2 specialty restaurants: La Cucina and Bamboo. My husband had diarrhea, and I vomited after eating at La Cucina. Bamboo had great appetizers, soups, and desserts, but the entrees were seriously no different than what we could have had at the buffet. I mean, they were exactly the same. The buffet for dinner was generally better than expected, especially the make your own pasta bar, pizza, and fondue, and was not too busy. We ate breakfast in the main dining room most days. Lunch was all over the place. Blue Lagoon was pretty good. We enjoyed the tomato soup in particular. The changing dinner menu in the MDR was good but definitely limited. No doubt, NCL is really trying to push people into the specialty restaurants at night which really isn't fair given how much they charge for cruise fare. Service: Could not have asked for better. The staff work so hard and were so obliging to every request. The really doted over our son. I have only praise in this area. Disembarkation: This was only slightly better than embarkation. If you didn't have the earliest color luggage tags called, it probably took quite a while to get off. Definitely plan to walk your own stuff off or get the early luggage tags. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was our first cruise on NCL having cruised before on Princess, HAL and Cunard. In sum, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would recommend NCL. The best part of the trip was the staff who are, in one word, phenomenal. We had ... Read More
This was our first cruise on NCL having cruised before on Princess, HAL and Cunard. In sum, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would recommend NCL. The best part of the trip was the staff who are, in one word, phenomenal. We had mainly Filipino wait-staff as well as Indian, Jamaican, Romanian and Peruvian. The staff were warm, wonderful, welcoming us at every turn. We read before our cruise on this forum that staff would ask if we were having a good day (or wish us one) and that they meant it; sure enough they did! How NCL trains and motivates their staff to be so friendly, without being intrusive, is beyond us, but we will return, if for nothing else, because of the way in which we were treated which was like royalty! The food in the Main Dining Room (MDR) and buffet, as we had read previously on the forum, was fair to good, nothing great except for the specialty restaurants of which we went to the Brazilian steakhouse and the French bistro, both of which were very good. Our only complaint was that the lunch menu in the MDR never changed (but it had our favorites so we returned time and time again) and that the dress code in the MDR of no shorts or baseball caps was not enforced at dinner. We liked very much NCL's Free Style so we could eat dinner whenever we wanted in the MDR and could dress casually, but come on fellow pax, the venue is gorgeous with white tablecloths and linen napkins, (electric) candles, ocean views, beautiful murals on the walls and soft piano music -- if you want to wear a tee shirt, shorts, flip-flops and keep your baseball cap on while you eat, then go to the buffet or the other dining room which is far more informal and let the rest of us enjoy the special surroundings of the MDR, please! Even the kids (of which there were many) were well-dressed (and well-behaved) in the MDR. As previous critics on this forum have pleaded, NCL, please, enforce your own dress code in the MDR to make it a memorable experience for the vast majority of us who want a special night out! The theater is amazing -- huge, with comfortable seats. We enjoyed 2 of the 3 dance/singing shows, left after a few minutes of the ordinaire magic show, and skipped the comedian all together. Each to their own, but there certainly is a variety of entertainment from which to choose. Not to be missed is the Dawn's staff show which was even better than the professional shows (kudos again to NCL for hiring and supporting an amazing staff). We did not utilize the pool (small) or hot tubs (plentiful, but crowded) or casino (which looked quite nice) nor participate in the art auction which, to our pleasant surprise compared to other cruise lines, was quite unobtrusive. Lots of pre-dinner time, posed picture taking which presented an obstacle course to navigate around in the Atrium, but was fun for people-watching. We liked being able to walk around outside on the promenade deck (6) and, especially, the two uppermost decks (12 and 13) to work off all the food we ate and even stopped a few times to play ping pong, shuffle board, giant checkers (they have a giant chess set too) and even basketball (we skipped the golf). There is also a video arcade next to the teen/kids area for more things to do. While the Dawn is not a luxurious ship with fancy public areas and fresh flowers found on some other cruise lines, we thought the layout very functional and interesting. The ship never seemed crowded and as we wandered the ship we could often find music to listen to without having to sit in a lounge (and have a drink). We spend a lot of time on our computers (we run our own business) and had no real problems with the Internet. WiFi in our cabin with a strong signal which was slow once during the cruise and the Internet Manager adjusted our bill for the problem. We chose Cabin 9170 in part for its location on the same deck as the Internet Cafe since we could not tell in advance from the NCL Website about the availability of WiFI in each cabin. Our cabin location was ideal, close to amidships and not too high so the ship's rolling was not bad at all despite Hurricane Irene chasing us up the east coast as we headed for flank speed to Bermuda from Boston. The cabin itself, while small, was totally adequate for our needs. The furnishings seemed dated but we liked having a flat screen TV which received a couple of cable channels (MSNBC and FOX) throughout the trip. Normally we might not have cared about cable TV, but since we wanted to track Hurricane Irene we were thankful to have the cable TV channels for outside news. We liked the layout of the cabin and bathroom and, especially, the sliding doors for the balcony and shower. We did not do any NCL shore excursions, preferring to find our own way ashore. The Fitness Center equipment (tread mills, elliptical machines and exercise bikes) was plentiful and mostly working, and we never had a wait to use their equipment. We used the spa once for massages and facials which was expensive but worth it as a treat. We bought the "6 to 8 bottles of wine for 20% off" special on embarkation day; we like to have wine with dinner and the selection was excellent, albeit prices were high as you would expect on a cruise ship, unfortunately (but, hey, they have to make money somehow and NCL's cost is reasonable to begin with). We did not like, as previous forum members have complained, having no choice but to pay $12 per day per pax for tips; we prefer the option offered by other cruise lines of being able to opt out of automatic gratuities so we can tip individuals directly. We went out of our way to fill out Guest Comment cards for a half-dozen of the staff who we thought were really exemplary. You can get these Guest Comment cards at the 'front desk' if you ask for them; we were told by a few of the staff that they are rewarded by NCL for receiving complimentary guest comments so we felt it was the least we could do for being treated so wonderfully by such seemingly unselfish and caring staff. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
For our sixth cruise, and second on NCL, my partner and I sailed Norwegian Dawn on its August 12th itinerary from Boston to Heritage Wharf, Bermuda. We wholeheartedly embrace the concept that cruises, like people, are inherently imperfect, ... Read More
For our sixth cruise, and second on NCL, my partner and I sailed Norwegian Dawn on its August 12th itinerary from Boston to Heritage Wharf, Bermuda. We wholeheartedly embrace the concept that cruises, like people, are inherently imperfect, so the expectation of a totally flawless journey is unreasonable. Park the attitude at the dock, roll with the punches, and set your sights on having a fantastic time! In comparison to Celebrity's Fort Lauderdale embarkation process, NCL's in Boston was at first glimpse an exercise in utter chaos. Somehow it all worked, however, and within 30 minutes of our arrival, we were seated comfortably in the VIP lounge -- signed, sealed and delivered. The lounge was a nice touch, affording suite guests a respite from the madness outside, not to mention a small buffet of sandwiches, snacks, cookies and juices. Let the gluttony begin! While we appreciate priority boarding for suite guests, we think NCL does its crew a disservice by allowing passengers access to their staterooms before they are ready. We were escorted to suite 10500 only to find the room in disarray and the narrow corridor littered with dirty linens, trash bags and cleaning materials. Our stateroom attendant, already hard at work, was clearly embarrassed, as we were for her. We excused ourselves and told her we would return later, and she was obviously grateful for the courtesy. We understand everyone is excited to get aboard, but allowing the crew a little extra time would cause no one any hardship and ease what is already a very stressful day. The Dawn is a beautiful ship and appears to have emerged from its recent dry dock with most of its age-related idiosyncrasies cured. There was not a drip or a bucket to be found, and while it was easy to discern the old from the new, the ship was clean and in mostly good condition. An exception was our suite on deck ten forward, tucked under the bridge. Except for two new chaise lounges on the veranda, our stateroom had not benefited from the recent refurbishment and it showed. Carpets and upholstery exhibited wear, the lamp shades were soiled, one of two small safes was inoperable and would not close, and toilet seat was stained and chipped to the point of distraction. The safe and toilet seat remained unattended all week despite our requests for repair. We might add that while storage space was abundant, it came at the expense of the bathroom, which was the smallest we have encountered in a suite at this price point. Navigating the tight bathroom/closet area demanded contortion skills neither of us possessed, particularly if we attempted entry simultaneously. On the other hand, the bed was one of the most comfortable we have experienced anywhere. Kudos to NCL for not skimping on comfort! Our suite came equipped with a small refrigerator brimming with sodas and single-serving bottles of alcohol, and a fully-stocked coffee bar with an espresso/cappuccino machine. Curiously, we were charged for every item removed from the refrigerator but countless rounds of espresso were apparently gratis. There was a clear difference in food quality and service between the specialty restaurants and other eating venues on board, but all were, at worst, acceptable. Cagney's Steakhouse performed double duty as a dedicated breakfast and lunch spot for suite guests, while serving as a reservations-only Chicago-style chop house at night. The food in Cagney's and the other specialty restaurants was exceptional and well worth the minimal up-charge. We found Venetian and Aqua, the main dining rooms, to be comparatively modest by cruise ship standards, and their menus were redundant and uninspired. We are still trying to equate with Bermuda the "chef's regional speciality" of Mexican Meatballs. Few ships afloat are known for their entertainment offerings, but in that department Dawn excelled. The young troupe of singers, dancers and aerialists were highly entertaining, and the appearance of The Second City and its offbeat humor was a great juxtaposition to the usual cruise ship fare. Yes, there were the requisite comedian and magician, both forgettable, but the lounge singers were excellent and appeared to find a loyal following. A highlight was cruise director, Paul Scally, who will undoubtedly land an entertainment career all his own in short order. We encountered two examples of crew indifference, although neither would hinder us from a future NCL cruise and, likewise, neither reflected on the crew as a whole. People have bad days, and while we were offended at the time, we offered suggestions to NCL and promptly got over it. Otherwise, we found the Dawn crew to be congenial, attentive, tireless and perpetually smiling, and we trust our fellow passengers were similarly impressed. It goes without saying that Bermuda is a gem of the Atlantic, and we encourage cruise passengers to explore her thoroughly and experience all she has to offer. To limit your experience to the Naval Dockyard, as many people did, denies you the joy of experiencing the people and culture of this beautiful island. We only scratched the surface and look forward to returning to Bermuda someday. We would certainly do so on the Dawn without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
I'm hoping to save other people from booking this cabin. I did look online and one web page said this cabin is ok-no problems. That's not the case since it is right above the Lounge where music and dancing go on every night till ... Read More
I'm hoping to save other people from booking this cabin. I did look online and one web page said this cabin is ok-no problems. That's not the case since it is right above the Lounge where music and dancing go on every night till 3AM and later! Aside from that, the cruise was lots of fun. When we arrived at Black Falcon Pier, it looked kind of crazy with long lines and lots of luggage. We were processed and on board in under an hour. Happy Happy! I have to say at the outset that the staff on the Dawn are terrific. I know I read some criticism on here in previous reviews, but we have nothing but good things to say about our room steward Anton and every department we interacted with. I have to be honest and say that we still like the Constellation better, but would consider NCL again just because we were treated so well. For anyone considering this cruise, if you are from New England, going on a cruise without having to fly somewhere is totally stressless. I'd do it again without question. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
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