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776 Norwegian (NCL) Bermuda Cruise Reviews

My husband and I just finished a great cruise to Bermuda on the Dawn. It was our 11th cruise but our first time on NCL. We were a little nervous trying NCL, but found it to be fine. It was a more relaxed, casual cruise, which was exactly ... Read More
My husband and I just finished a great cruise to Bermuda on the Dawn. It was our 11th cruise but our first time on NCL. We were a little nervous trying NCL, but found it to be fine. It was a more relaxed, casual cruise, which was exactly what we were looking for going to Bermuda. We flew into New York two days pre-cruise (all the week prior praying and keeping an eye on Hurricane Earl!). Everything went well, we had beautiful weather over the weekend. We stayed at the Comfort Inn Times Square. This was a very nice basic hotel with a great location. It was clean and had a decent breakfast. Our room was small but we were there to see the sights, so this did not matter to us. Bed was very comfortable. But it had an old style window unit air conditioner and it blew cold air on us all night. We had to leave it running as it otherwise would have been way too hot. Front desk personnel were very friendly and helpful. One problem was that the street in front of the hotel was blocked off on Sunday for street vendors. The front desk clerk warned us when we checked in that the street would be blocked off on Sunday and to leave before 9:00 am to avoid it but that was too early for us. So we didn't check out until 11:00 am and just rolled our luggage up to another street to try to get a taxi. The first taxi driver said he was waiting on someone (even though his light was on). Our impression was that the cab drivers did not want to take us to the Pier because it was just not far enough away, but it certainly was too far to walk with our luggage. A doorman from the Double Tree Hotel (just around the corner from Comfort Inn) took notice of us rolling suitcases and was incredibly helpful, he just pitched in with assistance and immediately got us a taxi. We were both so grateful! Embarkation: We arrived around 11:30 pm and things were very organized and quick. We were not past cruisers so went to the first timers line, which was actually shorter than the latitudes line. They gave us a number to be called when it was our turn to board, which happened quickly. We were onboard around noon. One thing different was the fact that we had to wait until 2:00 pm to get to our stateroom. We headed up to the Garden Cafe (their buffet) area for lunch and to wait. We were early so not a lot of people there and we found a seat easily (not so much the rest of the trip, the buffet was really busy during peak meal times, which is the case on all cruise lines we have been on). The lines were a little confusing as they had people tend to enter at both ends and converge at the middle. After an hour we decided to explore the ship and found it to be very well maintained and beautiful. The pool area does need some work, especially the wood trim which looked like it needed varnish. Windows really do need cleaning although at the end of the cruise we did see some making an attempt to clean them. We rarely felt the crowds except as mentioned in the buffet area and we did not eat there a lot. Stateroom: Fabulous! They announced we could go to our rooms at 2:00 pm and I have to tell you we were excited! We got lucky and had an aft-facing balcony for the first time. We LOVED it! We always have a tendency to hang out at the back of the ship anyway, so for us it was really wonderful. The only problem with this location was the fact that the spa was above us. They were banging around up there at all hours of the night for some reason. We went up to look during the first day and there were chairs above us. Every morning as well they woke us around 5:00 or 6:00 am. And then it was impossible for us to get back to sleep. The room itself was spacious enough, the closet space fine. We did not care for the shelves in the closet being low, it is hard to see what you place there, but we just put things we did not use much. Plenty of shelf and storage space, although the shelf in the bathroom does not hold enough. Bathroom layout was great! The shower was actually spacious! It was so nice to have shower doors and room. The shower was really the best feature (other than our balcony of course!). The idea of having the toilet separate from the sink and shower is a nice one but does not work well since the sliding doors are see thru! One problem though was the sink. Couldn't seem to find a gentle spot, so when turned on, it just sprayed hard. We were always wiping things down (water splashed everywhere). And the cabin water tasted horrible. The water in the restaurants was fine, so we would always bring back several glasses to our room (they did have a sign in front of the buffet water dispenser requesting guests not fill up water bottles). If you do drink the cabin water, ice helps. The beds were way too hard for us. I asked our steward for a foam topper and he did put one on the 2nd day. The sheets were so nice! Very crisp - I wish I could get mine at home that way! Our balcony was big enough to have a chair and a lounger but the lounger was ripped. I asked our steward to replace it. He took away the torn lounger and replaced it with another chair. Unfortunately we did not get the lounger back, I asked about it and was told it was being repaired. I asked again the 6th night because we had one final sea day and did finally get one. And was it nice to have my "reserved" chair on my own balcony! This was so cool! Ok, we have simple needs ?. Miscellaneous: It was our anniversary and my husband ordered roses to surprise me. They had them in our room when we entered and they were very beautiful. They looked really great all week! Good quality. Smoking Issue: We are non-smokers, so can be very sensitive to smoke. And NCL does allow people to smoke in public areas and in their rooms/balconies. We never had an issue in the public areas. People next to us smoked on their balconies but not often and we felt they were very polite about it. We did have a problem one evening, upon returning to our room we noticed it had a very heavy smoke smell in it. It must have come through ventilation system and fortunately it only occurred one night. Dining: We found the food to be fine. No, it would never be considered gourmet nor even .....great....but it was fine. I LOVED the pretzels rolls! I am a new convert, want to go back just for them. Even though the food did not change much, every day we could find something different from the day before. The desserts were just ok, the chocoholic buffet was nice. My husband has to eat gluten free and this cruise was the best experience in that regard for him. He had emailed the access desk at NCL, they provided him with a list of items he could request, and they did have them available. So very nice. We did eat at one pay restaurant for our 30th anniversary, Le Bistro. It was very good. But that said, we are not fans of paying extra to eat on a cruise so would not normally do so. People wore shorts the first night to the dining room but afterward everyone was dressed appropriately. It could be they did not know or did not have their luggage yet. Service: We found it to be excellent. Our steward was fine. The waiters/servers were great, although they were certainly overworked. Several evenings they were almost running. While we understand times are tough, it might be more advantageous to NCL to make sure they have enough staff to serve people. When your waiter/waitress is almost running, one does feel guilty even for asking for anything. Although they certainly took care of anything we asked. And everyone was very friendly. Even passing someone in the hallway they almost always smiled at one and said hello or good morning, etc. That was very nice and made one feel welcome. Kudos for that! Anil Nagril made sure that my husband had the correct meals since he has to eat gluten free. They were really very proactive about that. Entertainment: This is one area in which we found NCL to truly excel. We enjoyed all the shows except Second City. Bollywood, Band on the Run, juggler Barry John, the musicians, and especially Rosie and Mac of Fire and Ice were fantastic. I Loved Rosie! And Matt Baker, the cruise director, was fantastic. He was talented and very funny. We both loved his "Fountains" show. We laughed so much at this event that we can say it really made our evening. Bermuda: Yes, all they say is true, it is a beautiful place and the people friendly. Although we did see a couple locals go at each other, they seem to be pretty blunt. That was surprising. Everything was so very well organized. We took the ferry and bus which made it so easy to get to where we wanted to be. St Georges is very quaint and enjoyable, lot of history there, which we enjoyed. The Harbor Nights Festival in Hamilton was fun to try the local food and chat with the local vendors (and make purchases). We did not spend too much time in Dockyard area, a couple hours only as we ran out of time. But it was nice to walk around and next trip we hope to do the Maritime Museum. Disembarkation: This is where the problems were. We selected "red" luggage tags which scheduled us to disembark at 9:40 am (only 20 minutes from the last group to be let off). Our flight was in the late afternoon so we were not in a hurry. We did have a noon flight originally and our airline had moved it up 45 minutes. We felt the flight change would be too early, so called the airline and had them change us to a late afternoon flight (at no charge). This turned out to be such a blessing as people were not being let off the ship until late morning. We sat in the Garden Cafe and watched. There would be groups of maybe 20, then nothing, then 20 more, then nothing. It was announced that there was a lot more security in place because it was 9/12. And they had several ships to process. Which certainly makes sense and was something we had not thought of in advance. In the future, we will remember if we travel around these dates to allow extra time. We did get off the ship about 11:30 am. All in all, we had a really fabulous time. So many things on the Dawn we did enjoy. A few things not so much. So, it was basically like every other cruise, in that as soon as we got off the ship, we are saying to each other......Where is our next cruise going to be?? ? Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
My husband and I set sail out of Boston on the Norwegian Spirit. This was our first Norwegian. We have cruised Royal Caribbean three times. We had hurricane Earl and Fiona to contend with. We boarded Friday but had to stayed tied up in ... Read More
My husband and I set sail out of Boston on the Norwegian Spirit. This was our first Norwegian. We have cruised Royal Caribbean three times. We had hurricane Earl and Fiona to contend with. We boarded Friday but had to stayed tied up in port until Saturday morning and the storms passed by. That was fine - better safe than sorry... or safe than sick! First of all - we want this review to be fair. You cannot compare Norwegian with Royal Caribbean. Two totally different cruise lines. I found myself wanting to compare - but that would not be fair as they are two different experiences. We knew that going into this cruise - we had talked to several people and read several reviews. We wanted to experience a freestyle cruise and we were not disappointed. We loved the fact that we didn't have to dress up if we didn't want to and we could eat where and when we wanted. We did however, find ourselves wanting to interact with fellow cruisers and there was no real opportunity for that. We were always seated at a table for two. I think people should have the option of being able to join another table and chat with others during the meals if they wanted to. We did not eat at any of the specialty restaurants in which you had to pay extra. We loved the Garden and Windows restaurants for the evening meals. We never made reservations and never had to wait for a table. Raffles was a great buffet. We enjoyed it for breakfasts and lunches and found ourselves going back often for the fresh fruit! The one complaint that we did have was the lack of drinking options available. Basically all they had to offer was water unless you wanted to pay crazy high prices for other drinks. On Royal Caribbean there was always fruit punch and ice tea available as well as the water. We have not been on Royal Caribbean for 7 years so maybe this has changed now too. Also on Royal Caribbean, sodas, or non alcoholic drinks were free during the evening meals. This was not so on Norwegian. Water or pay big bucks. You could purchase a drink card before boarding, but we do not drink that much soda to warrant it. We just felt that there could have been other options besides water at the buffet. One other tiny complaint is that the coffee dispensers were two spouts for decaf on one end of the buffet and two spouts of regular on the other. I always found myself on the wrong end for regular coffee. Not sure why there couldn't be a spout of each at both ends. But this is a trivial complaint really :) We had 2 days at sea going to Bermuda and 2 days at sea coming back. It was a bit rough the first day and the last, but being from and Island and riding a ferry often, it didn't bother us. The intention of our vacation was purely to relax. And relax we did. We found a lounger by the pool, took some books and read. We did not join many of the cruise activities so cannot comment on them. This was the perfect ship to simply relax as there wasn't many options of things to do like the larger cruise ships. No mini golf, rock walls, ice rinks, or simulators. We enjoyed the shows each evening and attended many of the 'game shows' put on by the cruise staff each evening. Very entertaining. We found the comedy of Second City the best. We had a balcony on the 11th deck aft. It was small, but we knew that going in. We really enjoyed the balcony and being able to step outside early mornings or sit out in the evenings to read. The room steward did an excellent job at keeping our room clean and tidy. The decor is a bit 'dated' and the pool towels were stained and dingy. Maybe they need to upgrade in that area a bit. Our bathroom smelled slightly of sewer by times and one morning it would not flush. After a phone call we found that all toilets on deck 9, 10 and 11 had a problem that they were working on. It was fixed after a short time. As far as the the ship and all it has to offer - we were not disappointed. We knew going into it that it was small and not as elaborate as the previous Royal Caribbean ships. So for what we wanted, we have no complaints. It is important to read reviews and know what you are getting when you book. There is no point in booking on a smaller ship and then complaining that it is small, or booking freestyle and then complaining because you wanted structure. Know what is on the ship before you book. As far as Bermuda. It was VERY hot! And very beautiful. We got a bus/ferry pass, but soon learned that the bus ride was a crazy experience! Fairly long waits at hot bus stops, many stops and starts en route and very twisty, turny roads! We did take the ferry to St. George, which was nice, and the bus back. We went to the Crystal/ Fantasy Caves on the way back. They were excellent and worth the visit. We also stopped at Horseshoe Bay Beach, which was wonderful! Helped break up the grueling bus ride. We found that Snorkel Beach, which was in walking distance of the ship, was the best beach and easy access without having to take the bus! A bit annoying that you have to pay $5 to go there, but no biggy. We attempted the bus one more time to snorkel at Church Bay. Wasn't really worth the hassle of getting there but did see some nice fish. We just missed the return bus by seconds so had to wait in the heat for a half hour for the next one! And the bugs were bad! Taxis are super expensive. Next time we might attempt the scooters. All in all, we had a relaxing vacation and were not disappointed in any way as we did our homework before booking. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This is my second cruise. The first was on a Disney ship last summer. I do have input from people who've sailed on every cruise line for comparison sake. The Ship: Good: Common areas are great..especially the Spinnaker Lounge and ... Read More
This is my second cruise. The first was on a Disney ship last summer. I do have input from people who've sailed on every cruise line for comparison sake. The Ship: Good: Common areas are great..especially the Spinnaker Lounge and the Venetian main dining room. I found myself at the Spinnaker more than one afternoon to get away from the herds at the pool to read and enjoy the panoramic view. The Venetian was a big beautiful room at the back of the ship with huge windows. This is what a dining room should look like The okay: the rooms overall were fine if a little beaten up..drawers very noisy opening and closing..but the bad... The carpet was FILTHY. We should not have been allowed to enter our stateroom without this carpet being at least steam cleaned in visible areas. It looked like there were old ketchup stains everywhere. Yuck. The main pool was overcrowded at sea, but great when we were docked in Bermuda. Likewise with the kids pool. At night the hot tubs were overflowing with teenagers trying to be sexy. I like that they have 2 different size water slides for the kids since my toddler isn't much of a swimmer yet, he still got to go down a slide in water he could easily stand up in. The Food: Dining room food was decent to good. Breakfast was ok but very repetitive. Buffet was hit or miss at lunch..some hot dishes were good, some okay, but crowds were an issue at peak times. Overall this buffet was better than Disney in size and variety, but Disney's dinner food was noticeably better. We booked a night at Le Bistro. I was not pleased to find out that the lobsters on the menu had an upcharge of $10 ..from the $20 we already shelled (no pun intended) out. This wasn't indicated anywhere on the menu outside, I only knew of it from my server telling me. Total nonsense, considering lobster tails were on the main menus at the dining rooms with no up-charge. I refused to pay $10 extra on top of the $20, so no lobster for me on this trip..which is enough to make me reconsider ever booking with NCL again. The food at Le Bistro was good but not as good as Disney's upscale restaurant Palo, which was well worth the $15 extra. The service was fine, if a bit slow and forgetful at times. This whole freestyle cruising thing is way overrated when it comes to dining. You'd rather wait 40 minutes for a table than have to show up at 6:30 for dinner? Strange. Since the Venetian holds 400 and the Aqua 100 or so people, and there are 2000+ on the ship, guess what that equates to with no set dining time, even if 500 people stay in the pool? It's not just about the lobster. The constant up-selling and hawking that goes on with this cruise line is just over the top. They really need to tone it down. You can't watch a show without being asked if you want a drink every 2 minutes..can I at least hear one of the comedian's punchlines? The cruise director is on the horn every 5 minutes about some $50 bingo tournament. Enough, NCL!! Speaking of the shows, they were okay, the comedian Dave Heenan had some good jokes and there were some good singers. Not up to snuff with Disney's near Broadway quality productions at sea, but from what I've heard no other cruise line matches that. The not so good: Sailing with other New Yorkers. Even if it's only 20% of the guests who are either Jersey Shore wannabes, snot nosed suburban teenagers, or overwhelming sense of entitlement yuppies, that 20% is enough to give the cruise a distinctively different feel from a cruise made up of a broader section of folks. Cruise lines really need to have some rules about kids 17 and under after certain hours. Why are 7 year olds having spring races down my hallway at 11PM? I've lived in NY all of my life, but I'd rather cruise with Midwesterners and Southerners any day, sorry. Cutting lines, loud mouths, pushy, loads of attitude, one guy in particular getting in the maitre' de's face because they wouldn't let him in wearing shorts a few days earlier.."but hey, I saw you let some kid in the last day of the cruise with shorts". Shut up jerk. It clearly states in every piece of info you get on this cruise that you can't wear shorts in the dining rooms after 5:30!!! CAN YOU READ? This isn't NCL's fault, but just a word of warning to people taking this cruise..prepare for some real jerks. Sailing down the Hudson from midtown, past the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano: awesome, a definite plus as opposed to embarking from, say, Port Canaveral? There is NOTHING there. Looking down the streets of Manhattan from the top deck of the Dawn was an enjoyable experience. Bermuda was lovely and you can't beat the price of cruising there..take a look at how expensive hotels in Bermuda are...ouch. So overall, I'll be trying another cruise line on my next trip..from reviews I see here Carnival is a better experience for similar prices to NCL. I'll have to get back to you on that. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Had a wonderful time aboard the Norwegian Dawn. We drove to the pier and were parked($210) by 9:30 am. Easy check-in and were eating in the Venetian Dining room by 12:15! I bought one soda sticker for $50 and my family got good use of it ... Read More
Had a wonderful time aboard the Norwegian Dawn. We drove to the pier and were parked($210) by 9:30 am. Easy check-in and were eating in the Venetian Dining room by 12:15! I bought one soda sticker for $50 and my family got good use of it all week. The ship is beautiful with plenty of lounges, bars and quiet spaces. The entertainment was GREAT! The cruise director Matt Baker was fantastic!!!! He really helped make the cruise a fun time for all. Don't miss the comedian Dave, Second City, the newlywed game, and the quest game. Also, the pub crawl was fun. For only $25, you get 5 drinks at 5 different bars in 55 minutes with games, laughs and prizes along the way. I'm not a big drinker so I purchased only one and my family shared the drinks and the fun! They even give you coupons to use in the casino. So it almost pays for itself. My husband won $120 overall on slots and roulette. Everyday there are drink specials like 2-1 martinis and $4.95 margaritas, etc. The pool does get crowded so wake up early to get a lounge chair. The music and BBQ by the pool were both great. BINGO was OK. I played on other cruises where it was more entertaining so save your money.The food was good. We ate in the main (free) dining rooms and always found something we liked. The strip steak was always enjoyed by someone in our family everyday! If you can't decide, order two meals. Although it looked crowded outside the dining room, we never waited mote than 15 minutes and we were never rushed at the table. I like the idea of freestyle but still miss having the same waiter who gets to know you and your family. The Blue Lagoon was good for something different for lunch. As for Bermuda, the beaches are beautiful!!!!!! Horseshoe Bay remains a favorite but take the time to walk to the opposite side of the beach passed the rocks. There are smaller coves to relax on the beach and swim among the rocks. It really is paradise. Another nice beach is Warwick Longbay Beach similar to Horseshoe Bay but a much easier walk. The best time we had was at Somerset Bridge Watersports where we took the jetski tour......FUN, FUN, FUN!!!!!! Well worth the money. Fast speeds with time to swim and feed the fish at a ship wreck.....amazing!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We have traveled on Royal Caribbean before and chose this cruise on NCL due to its itinerary. We also wanted to try out free style cruising. We booked through our travel agent. Before the cruise we were all speculating and worrying about ... Read More
We have traveled on Royal Caribbean before and chose this cruise on NCL due to its itinerary. We also wanted to try out free style cruising. We booked through our travel agent. Before the cruise we were all speculating and worrying about hurricane Danielle and Earl and were not sure if there would be any changes to the itinerary. Then someone on cc posted that the Dawn had blown an engine on the prior cruise to Bermuda, so amidst all that we set sail on August 29, on time. It was beautiful weather in NY and the captain announced that we will set sail but not sure where, till we get all the info regarding weather and waters. So we kept our fingers crossed for Bermuda. As soon as we were on the ship, we were greeted by the utter chaos of around 900 yelling, screaming, running kids wherever I looked. It seemed like an infestation of kids kids and kids. My first reaction was OH NO! It was crazy! Our room was on deck 10. It was an inside cabin, good enough for the two of us. Had just enough storage and fine enough bathroom space. Our room steward was wonderful and saw to our every comfort. No complaints about the room or its amenities. However, the kids in the rooms next to us made us miserable........thumping on the walls, yelling and screaming, running in the hallways like lunatics. If the kids are like this, I wonder how wild the parents must be! The buffet areas were the same...........yelling, crying kids everywhere. Not one quiet table where you can eat in peace. The buffet had good choice of items and a good variety of food. Plenty of food. The area however was very small and the lines were very long especially at meal times and with kids running around with drinks and plates in their hands, it was disaster. The staff was very hardworking and friendly. I must hand it to them to be kind and patient with so many children and parents growling at them to pick up plates or bring them any thing. I could barely walk through the area without stepping into dropped ice cream or juice or bumping into a kid with his plate full of fries! The dining rooms were a better choice to eat in. They had specials daily and the usual menu. Lunch in the dining room was not bad either. For breakfast we used the buffet since they had nice omelet stations and a variety of breads and fruits. There are several specialty restaurants with a cover charge. Other places to grab a bite are the Blue lagoon and the Bimini grill. Pool area was a disaster! Never had a chance to use the pool due to the crazy kids. Hot tubs with "adults only" signs were full of kids too........I think people need a thorough lesson in English before boarding. What part of "adults only" is hard to understand??? We purchased the weekly spa passes so that we can have a lounge chair and some peace. The thermal suite as they call it is nice. It is peaceful, has a heated pool, a hot tub a therapy tub and lounge chairs, sauna, steam rooms, lockers and other facilities. The gym is nice. It is an adult only facility, but several times I saw small kids having a bicycle race on the stationary bikes, with parents looking on and cheering and other customers waiting their turn to work out on the bikes. Ridiculous! NCL does not know how to enforce of the "adults only" policy. We thought we would be kid free in the restaurants, but NO. NCL had advertised that kids will eat free in specialty restaurants for that week. However, we were lucky enough to encounter none in Le Bistro or Salsa! The common areas on the ship were hangouts for most young teens and tweens. They lay sprawled on the floors preventing people from moving in the hallways. None of them understood the meaning of "excuse me please I need to pass by". It was a rowdy bunch! Several of them we saw smoking on the pool deck late at night. One of them was seen filling up a coke bottle with clear liquid from a bottle in a brown paper bag. It seemed that the parents had abandoned these kids to do whatever they pleased on the ship. Then there were the nice kids too. Very normal, going about their own business, enjoying their vacation and not being a menace or nuisance. Entertainment on the ship was great. The game shows were good, the comedian Dave Heenan was funny, the cruise director Matt Baker rocked! His staff was great. The entertainment on the last night, Bollywood was excellent! The Stardust Theater was a nice place, so was the Spinnaker Lounge where most of the game shows were held. The ship has quiet rooms up on deck 12, where one can go read or play cards or games. There is also a small library on deck 12 and a beautiful chapel for some serene moments. The internet cafe is on deck 9 and had a good number of computers to use. It looks down upon the java bar and the central atrium. The staff in the dining rooms and buffet is wonderful. Always ready to help and constantly working hard, preparing and cleaning. Most of them are from the Philippines and some from India. Very hard working people. I had no complaints about them at all. We had a cruise critics meet and greet on board on the first sea day. The captain and some crew members and the cruise director Matt, introduced themselves to our group. They had arranged for coffee, juice and pastries and we had a nice time meeting those we chatted with online before the cruise. We will most certainly cruise on NCL again, and I am sure there will be nice kids and nicer kids, but we will not choose school vacation time when we are inundated with too many kids to handle. Bermuda was great. We had excellent weather. We left two hours early because the captain wanted to keep us as far ahead of Hurricane Fiona as possible. Captain Sven was wonderful and very communicating. It was great to hear his voice over the PA system every morning briefing us on the storm and sea situations and other things. And, in his words, overall, we had a SMASHINGLY wonderful journey! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
This was our second time on the NCL Spirit from Boston to Bermuda, but this time we cruised with our 3 young kids (6, 7, and 8). My parents were also on the cruise in a balcony cabin. Overall, it was still a good experience, but not ... Read More
This was our second time on the NCL Spirit from Boston to Bermuda, but this time we cruised with our 3 young kids (6, 7, and 8). My parents were also on the cruise in a balcony cabin. Overall, it was still a good experience, but not without some problems. Embarkation: After a lot of concern about whether Hurricane Danielle would wipe out our cruise plans, we proceed from upstate NY to the Black Falcon Terminal in Boston. Parking was easy. Checking bags, customs, lining up--it was all smooth and better organized than last year. We were on the ship by 11:15 and eating lunch in Windows by 12. Cabin: We were in an Oceanview cabin on Deck 4 (the only one that accommodates 4 people. My son had to stay in my parents cabin.) Thats one shortcoming with NCL: not enough options for families to stay in one stateroom without breaking the bank on a suite. The cabin was large enough for the four of us, with the bunk and pull out sofa. I don't see why they don't do this in balcony or picture window rooms. The room was not nearly as clean as it could have been, and I found that was the fault of our steward Sony (more on him later.) Dining: We had most of our meals in Windows, except for breakfast in Raffles while in Bermuda (for sake of time.) The wait staff was excellent. They took special care with our kids, and made a very memorable experience for them. Here's one example: the Head Chef in Windows Barrington and his Assistant Mattie came to our table to speak with our daughters about their meals. The next day a plate of chocolate covered strawberries had been sent to our cabin and to my parents. Then, the same two gentleman arranged for all of us to get into the Chocolate Party 20 minutes early--ahead of a huge line! It made us feel special. The food was, overall, very good. Entertainment: The shows were mediocre. The magician Jorgos was very good. We spent most of our evenings in Champagne Charlies listening to Emily and Arvin. They are excellent. Not really entertainment, but we used and appreciated the Workout Rooms and Sauna. Bermuda: A beautiful country. Dockyard is a great port--off the boat by 11:15. We bought the 3 day ferry and bus pass. Day one: Crystal Caves and swam on Shelly Bay beach. Day two: Ferry to St Georges. Walking tour of beautiful town. Cab out to Ft St Catherine. Swam on Ft St Catherine Beach and Tobacco Bay. Ferry back. Walked around Dockyard and hit the Glass Store/Rum Cake Co. Day three: Saw the Maritime Museum in Dockyard, and then took the bus to Gibbs Hill Light. We were worried about not making it back to the ship by departure time, so we went back to Dockyard to swim at Snorkel Park. The fish on the reef there were great and varied. One mishap: I opened a bag of Cheerios underwater to attract fish and was swarmed by about 300!!! Got bit by an unknown assassin. My big complaint with NCL: we should have stayed over on Tuesday (like we did last year.) There was plenty of time to get back to Boston (they did 8 kts back) and it just rushed our last day. Our Cabin Steward: His name was Sony. I thought he was shifty when I first met him, but the kids liked the towel animals so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Until I picked up my bill on the last day, and found he charged me for a 4.50 bottle of water. In trying to clear this up three different times, I dealt with Guest Services and the Supervisor of the Housekeeping on Deck 4. All of these people treated me like I was being dishonest over a 4.50 charge--irregardless of our huge bill and Cruise Rewards that we bought! Sony claimed I signed for it, but noone could produce a signature. Truth was: he only put water in our room half way through the cruise b/c he was lazy and forgetful. I actually went to the Cruise Consultant David Ward to cancel our Rewards (as did my father). He more than rectified the problem, and we choose not to cancel. But housekeeping and Guest Services--they left MUCH to be desired. Disembarkation: Chose to carry our own bags at 8:30. It was a cinch and we were in our car by 9:30. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We are a husband and wife from Saint John NB Canada, who along two friends, Joe & Jo-Ann, decided to drive to Boston for another trip to Bermuda. Our city hosts over 80 visits from cruise ships each year, 5 minute drive from our home ... Read More
We are a husband and wife from Saint John NB Canada, who along two friends, Joe & Jo-Ann, decided to drive to Boston for another trip to Bermuda. Our city hosts over 80 visits from cruise ships each year, 5 minute drive from our home but have to drive all the way to Boston to board a ship. We're hoping that one day, we'll be able to cruise out of Saint John. Boston is always fun and a great port. We like to show up a day early and usually stay 2 days after the cruise. This time while in Boston, we did the trolley tours with a 35 minute harbor cruise (worth $25 but not the listed $39 - hotel had a magazine that gave you $10 off). Our absolutely favorite "excursions" were the Blue Man Group & Imax theatre. When we were on the Spirit July 2009, we met a wonderful couple that have become friends. They drove hours from Philly to meet up with us. Definitely recommend lunch at Quincy Market. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in South Boston. At $199 for the first night, it provided transfers for 2 to the Black Falcon Terminal and parking during the week we were gone. We cruised NCL on the Spirit for a 12 day repo cruise in April 2009 and for a week to Bermuda in July 2009. By far, this was our best cruise on this ship. Unfortunately, the first 2 times weren't nearly as pleasant (but not unpleasant, if that makes sense. Sailing in a huge floating hotel cannot be unpleasant!). We had 3 or 4 incidents with staff in the main buffet that were rude (at one point I was so furious at this rude little woman, I almost blew a gasket), it was difficult to get a response from front desk and came home in April with a nasty rash. When I left the ship, I left a 2 page letter of complaint. But this time, everything was different. There was definitely a hugely different feel to the ship. The staff were uplifted and uplifting. You could feel their enthusiasm and Mr. Happy that greeted you each morning was a testament to this change in overall feel. The food was the same, the rooms were the same, the shows were the same but the staff clearly made this our favorite NCL cruise and we completely enjoyed ourselves. If you traveled on the Spirit prior to Jan 2010, give it a second chance. The new hotel director, Prem, is amazing!! Embarkation was very smooth, very quick, and painless. Once on board, we avoided the main buffet and had a wonderful lunch in the Windows Restaurant while waiting to get into our rooms. A relaxing and wonderful first experience on the ship. We stayed on the 11th floor, close to our favorite places - the Lido Deck and the Galaxy of Stars. I can get seasick and find that if I'm high and in an inside cabin, it doesn't bother me. The Ship has a very unique Asian decor, still retained from it's original owners (the ship was called the Superstar Leo, owned by an Asian cruise line). It's elegant and yet accessible and comfortable. It has an elegant old world feel enhanced by its accents and furnishings. In the front lobby, the round table is $100,000 and the carpet is $1,000,000. In addition to the food, the Lido Deck also has an 8 foot deep pool and 4 hot tubs. It's a beautiful decor but we're not "pool" people, so we didn't spend much time there. Where we liked to lounge was Galaxy of Stars. It has an amazing view and so comfortable!! We enjoyed the peace there enough that we missed all the shows. We tried all the restaurants and definitely recommend that. Each venue has a different atmosphere and selection. Windows and Garden Restaurants have the same menu for each meal but different atmospheres. Windows is in rich wood colors and more formal and Garden pretty and more relaxed. Raffles, the main buffet, changes it food offerings frequently during the day. Their crepes were worth a trip down before it closed. Blue Lagoon is the 24 hour restaurant with yummy wings. The selection here is very limited and great for the after the casino munchies. This time, we tried 3 of the specialty restaurants - Cagney's served the best steak I've ever eaten (1 hour start to finish). Warner our waiter in Cagney's was amazing the service was perfect. He was a giant of a man with a dry sense of humor that enhanced our meal.Even with being sat by the kitchen, the Bistro (French restaurant) was delicious!! Ohh, the desserts!! I had all 4!! Just could not help myself and they had to roll me away from the table. Service was 1 1/2 hours from start to finish. Finally, the Shogun (Asian restaurant). This was an experience vs. a meal. It was a bit over 2 hours and the food was amazing. No matter where you where, the food & service were good. Park West Galleries located a painting I'd seen on the Carnival Triumph in 2008 for me!! I shrieked with joy!! Our favorite entertainment was the Arvin & Emily Duo. We spent a most nights at the 2 for 1 martini hour in Champagne Charley's. Shore Excursions are available on the ship but we did our own, as we didn't want to do any snorkeling. For $28/person, you can buy a 3-day bus/ferry pass that can get you anywhere on the island. We visited Saint Georges, Hamilton, Horseshoe Bay, Tobacco Bay and Fort St. Catherine's. You have to visit the beaches in Bermuda!! The water is jewel blue!! One of the biggest fears when traveling August - October is the hurricanes. The weather was beautiful and we traveled between hurricane Danielle on our way down and hurricane Earl on our way back. Captain Evans Hoyt did a great job!! Under his direction, the ship brought us to our destination safe & on time. He made himself present and went out of his way to explain our weather situation to ease our minds. It let us focus on our vacation and not on hurricanes. Prem, the hotel manager, is a man of his word and exceeded our expectations. We organized the meet and greet the first day at sea and he treated us like royalty. He gave us the best cruise and a big hug when we left. Keeping in mind that the staff see 2000+ people every week for 10 months at a time, Sri is amazing. Sri & Imade were on the same team in the Garden Restaurant back in April & July 2009. They remembered us from April to July. When we boarded the ship 13 months later, Sri, now a head waitress in Shogun, not only recognized us but remembered our names & where we were from. It sure made us feel special. Today, the Spirit was in Saint John and we were lucky enough to meet Sri and treat her to the hospitality she's shown us on the Ship. Thank you NCL Spirit for a wonderful vacation!! Thank you Prem!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
My husband and I took a cruise out of Boston to Bermuda with four friends in August of 2010. First of all, embarkation was great. Quick, easy, effortless. However our cabins were not accessible so we were herded with the rest of ... Read More
My husband and I took a cruise out of Boston to Bermuda with four friends in August of 2010. First of all, embarkation was great. Quick, easy, effortless. However our cabins were not accessible so we were herded with the rest of the cruisers to the buffet dining area. I am aware that we could have opted to go to the Windows dining room, but we figured we'd go check out the buffet. I was immediately concerned by the lack of seating. Finding a place for 6 of us with carry-on luggage to squeeze into was a nightmare. Eventually we did get a table by standing near one until the people seated there moved and we did enjoy a nice lunch with plenty of different options to choose from. By the time we were done eating, our cabins were available. My husband and I booked late so we had an interior cabin. Unlike our friends who all had a rather plain cabin in the lower decks, we were given a very nice cabin (#10681) that appeared to be far more spacious and better designed than the regular interior cabins. We loved it. It was nicely designed, plenty of storage, and seemed to be tucked away from the main traffic pattern. Later we learned that we were backed up to the hallway with the daycare and dreaded the noise that was to come. That never turned into being a problem. With the exception of the door closing repeatedly in the morning, we never heard noise from the daycare at all. Nor did we hear any noise coming from the kiddie pool located outside of the door near our cabin. Our only issue with our cabin was a toilet that seeped from the bottom emitting a foul odor periodically throughout the cruise. Our room steward did an amazing job of staying on top of cleaning the leakage as frequently as possible so that we could get through the week without being driven from the cabin. There was also one point when the toilet wouldn't flush at all. We overheard our cabin neighbors complaining of the same thing, so we called our steward who called maintenance. The issue was fixed within 15 minutes. Apparently it was some sort of fuse or power issue that controlled the vacuum for the toilets. Safety drill--no issues. Quick. Easy. Best one we've ever done. Entertainment on this cruise was good (but not great) with the exception of the hypnotist who we just didn't enjoy at all. We aren't the type to get up and leave mid-show, but for that one we did. It was ridiculous and misplaced, in our opinions. LOVED the acrobats. The rest were just good. Enjoyable. Not amazing, but good enough. No complaints. The cruise entertainment staff worked their butts off to be sure that everyone was having a good time throughout the entire cruise. They did a great job. Food was fine. We did pay the fee to go to Cagney's Steakhouse and didn't find that it was any better than the food we received in the main dining room. Murder Mystery dinner was a hoot! Alcoholic drinks is where we had a problem. (a) overpriced (b) very little alcohol (c) I think they were reusing the pineapples on the day that the drink special was served in a pineapple shell. Here's why: I purchased one of the specials and it was brought to me with an umbrella sticking out of the top of the pineapple (just like all the others that they were giving out.) My husband also ordered the drink. I stole his umbrella and tucked it into the top of my pineapple so that we'd know whose was whose. Mine now had 2 umbrellas and his had none. As we were sitting there,I poked a series of holes in one of my umbrellas using my long nails. So one umbrella was now lined with a series of slits making it look latticed. I finished my drink and the waiter came and took away the pineapple shells. 30 minutes later our friends arrived and ordered the same drink. Imagine my HORROR when I noticed that one of our friends was drinking from a pineapple shell with two umbrellas stuck in the top--one of which had a series of slits in it. I confronted the bartenders and asked to be shown where the pineapple shells were being discarded. They said they were down in the kitchen and would not show me. To this day I swear they reused them. Gross. Gross. Gross. Never again! We stuck to bottled alcohol from that point on. The Pub Crawl--none of the four of us enjoyed any of the drinks offered, but it appeared that many of the others participating did. We would not participate in this again. Also the "burp" contest at the end was just crude and ridiculous. I was embarrassed for Norwegian that they would do such a thing. Bermuda--our favorite island of all that we've ever visited. Beautiful. Clean. Friendly inhabitants. Lots to do. We can't wait to go back. NO complaints whatsoever. I highly recommend the Crystal Caves and Fantasy Caves as well as Horseshoe Bay. We did not purchase excursions. We instead purchased the bus/ferry pass that you can buy right out at the octagon shaped building just beyond the pier. I think we paid $30 for three days (each) and we were able to go to all of our destinations using that pass. We took buses and ferries with no issues. Despite the pineapple issue, we would gladly go on this cruise again, and we look forward to checking out the Norwegian Dawn (which has now replaced Spirit for this run.) Hope this helps! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
EMBARKATION: This actually went quite smoothly. We did not encounter any problems or delays. The one minor issue we had was that my cousin's credit cards wouldn't work for some reason. He tried 3 different cards and the machine ... Read More
EMBARKATION: This actually went quite smoothly. We did not encounter any problems or delays. The one minor issue we had was that my cousin's credit cards wouldn't work for some reason. He tried 3 different cards and the machine wouldn't read any of them. Fortunately, he wasn't traveling alone so my mother, his cabin mate, used her card for check-in. I'm not sure what he would have done otherwise. We boarded about noon and they had announced that cabins wouldn't be available until 2:00 so we had lunch at the Garden Cafe buffet and saw a little of the ship before heading to our cabins (9070, 9072, 9076). STATEROOMS: The first thing we noticed was how tiny the room was. This cabin was 166 sq. ft. plus the balcony. The bed and sofa were on top of each other. When the sofa bed was open, you had to get in and out of it and the bed from the end - no access to the sides. That was a bit annoying. When the sofa bed was open, which was most of the time, you also couldn't get to the balcony door. You had to climb on the bed to get out. Fortunately, we had an adjoining room with other members of our party so we usually went through their room to get onto the balcony. Speaking of the balcony, shortly after boarding, I called the desk to have the adjoining cabin doors unlocked and the adjoining balcony doors unlocked. I also reported that we were short one life jacket. We had 2 adult and 1 child jackets but we needed 3 adults. In the same call, I told them that the beds in 9072 needed to be separated. The cabin doors got opened. The balcony door didn't until the next day and the beds didn't get separated until the next day. The correct size life jacket was never taken care of which is a major problem in my opinion. Doesn't say much for their safety priorities. The 2nd day, we asked to have the other adjoining balcony door opened, between 9072 and 9076. They came up and the guy couldn't get it open. He said maintenance would have to do it, but the next day it still hadn't been done. We called again and they came up and opened the wrong door (9076-9078). We called yet again and they finally closed that one and opened the correct one. One problem with opening the balcony doors is that the door swings open to the fore end of the ship which blocked the opening of our sliding door, which was already blocked by the sofa bed. That made using the balcony quite a challenge. The bathroom is quite small, especially the toilet compartment. I'm a thin guy and I had trouble maneuvering in there. I can't imagine how an obese person weighing 250 or 300 pounds could possibly manage. There was very good storage space in the bathroom - a shelf over the sink, the counter around the sink and a shelf under the sink. That was very nice. Plus a wire shelf in the shower. My family doesn't travel light in the toiletries department and we had plenty of space for our stuff. There is a minibar and the prices were actually not that bad. For example, a can of soda was $1.95 on the ship and $2.25 from the minibar. One problem was that we didn't have a price list in our minibar. I got the prices from the next room. Another problem was that they never replaced items used from the minibar. We drank the diet Pepsi from our room one night and took the one from the next room the next night. They billed us for them so they knew they were missing but neither one ever got replaced. The room was clean with one exception. The shelf over the TV was covered with dust. I just read another review written by someone else on the same cruise who was on a different deck and they said the same thing. Sounds like housekeeping needs to add that to their checklist because it isn't getting done. ENTERTAINMENT: Very good. We saw the magician, the Second City troupe (a couple of times) and the Band on the Run 70s show. All were a lot of fun and well worth seeing. Bingo was pricey to play but the prizes were good. I think the smallest jackpot at the start of the trip was over $200 and by the last day, the jackpots were over $700. What we found annoying was them stopping in the middle of bingo to sell other things, like having a one-item art auction to promote the art auctions more. I didn't come and pay $30 to play bingo to have you try and sell me art. If I wanted art, I'd go to the art auction. We attended several activities in the Spinnaker Lounge - game shows, trivia, Second City's improv show - and they were mostly a lot of fun. The Sing it if you know it game was kind of lame and that was the only activity we walked out of. My wife and I are both frequent casino goers in PA and Atlantic City. On the ship, my wife couldn't even step into the casino because the smoke was horrendous. I went in and checked out the games and found the odds to be horrible. Full pay jacks or better video poker, for those familiar with the game, pays 9/6. Onboard, it paid 6/5. Anyone playing that was truly a sucker. The electronic blackjack, I game I enjoy in PA, was a single deck game paying 6:5 for blackjack rather than 3:2. I played that for a while anyway despite the odds. I didn't bother with any live table games. Between the smoke and lousy odds, I saved a lot of money. FOOD AND BEVERAGE: This was one of two areas (service being the other) where this cruise failed to meet our expectations. The Garden Cafe buffet was okay but nothing special. I thought breakfast was actually pretty good. Lunch and dinner were okay but changed very little from day to day (same for breakfast). One thing that really annoyed my daughter was that there was a special kids buffet but they didn't let anyone else eat there. My daughter is 14, so it isn't like she's an adult, but they chased her away from there more than once. And one day, the kids buffet was closed and they had the kids selections in the regular buffet line but would only allow kids to take that stuff. Considering that one of the items was french fries, it was pretty strange to have them telling all of the other guests that they couldn't have any. One complaint about the buffet, and the ship in general, was the ice cream. On prior cruises, there was always at least one self-serve soft serve machine and it was open 24/7. On Dawn, there was one machine and it wasn't always open. It wasn't open at night after 9 or 10. And sometimes, it was manned by a crew member who served it for you, and they weren't very generous. There is also Sprinkles ice cream bar out by the pool. They give you a tiny serving, more like a melon baller than an ice cream scoop. Very stingy. Another buffet service issue is that on each table was a wire basket that held salt and pepper, mustard and ketchup and rolled up napkins with silverware. The staff came around regularly to refill the silverware but was not at all polite about it. Numerous times, they reached right over us to get to the basket, never saying excuse me, never walking around to the side of the table closer to the basket - just reaching across the whole table. We only dined at one specialty restaurant, Le Bistro, on Monday night. It was $20 per person extra. We did it for our anniversary. Even though they knew it was our anniversary, they chose to seat us at the table opposite the kitchen door - not very romantic especially since the place was nearly empty when we entered. The restaurant is very pretty, the food was tasty and nicely presented and the service was great, but neither of us felt that it was worth the extra $40. It wasn't anything above and beyond what the normal meals should be on a cruise. Main dining rooms - We had mixed experiences here. The first night, we ate in the Venetian, the bigger of the 2 MDRs. We had no wait to be seated. I thought our waiter was okay though not overly friendly. My wife, who was seated at the other end of the table (there were 6 of us) thought he was quite inattentive. She ordered a steak medium. It came well done. She sent it back and he replaced it pretty quickly. Knowing she had a problem, the waiter never came back to check on her and make sure the second one was to her liking. Also, her baked potato was hard and underdone. That night, I had the french onion soup which was delicious and the grilled salmon which was good though just slightly dry. The tiramisu was very good. Tuesday night we tried to go to Venetian again only to encounter a mob of people outside the restaurant. The hostess told me there would be a 45 minute wait. There was no way we were doing that, so we went to the buffet instead. That experience was a huge strike against the whole freestyle deal. Nobody should ever have to wait 45 minutes to be seated in the MDR. I read online, though, that that might have been the night lobster was being served in the MDR which can result in a big crowd. Later in the week, the MDRs were much better. We had breakfast there one day and it was excellent in every respect of food and service. We were sorry that we hadn't done breakfast there earlier in the week on the sea days at least. We had lunch at Aqua on Saturday and it was nice. The one complaint was that even though the place was only about 10% filled, they seated us at the table right by the kitchen door where it was noisy and servers constantly zipping by. We picked up and moved a few tables down since the place was nearly empty and we were fine. Our waitress was very good - actually had a sense of humor and joked around with us - the first time that had happened the whole trip. Food was just fine. No complaints. Dinner at Venetian Saturday night was also very nice. We were seated almost immediately at a nice table near the back windows. Server was very attentive and took care of a couple of special requests with no problem and got her fellow servers together to sing happy birthday to my mom (we were cruising to celebrate her 80th). I don't know where that level of service was on the first 3 days of the cruise. Blue Lagoon is another included place on deck 7 and open 24/7 (the only place that is). Burgers, sandwiches, soup, salad, etc. Service was spotty. The 6 of us all ordered together. Five of us got served fairly close together. My cousin's sandwich hadn't come so he asked a server who just said, "It can take some time" and walked off. Sorry, that isn't an acceptable response to a guest. "I'm sorry for the delay. Let me go check on that for you" is what he should have said. Soup was way too salty. Fries were not hot but the place is okay for a quick bite or a late night snack. Also, we asked our waitress for water and a couple of iced teas. She seemed to acknowledge us but never brought them. Turns out the drinks are self-serve but nobody bothered to tell us that. Kind of odd to have a sit-down, table service restaurant but have to get up and get your own drinks. We also ate at the Bimini Bar on Deck 13 overlooking the pool. Burgers, hot dogs and fries. What is nice is they offer beef, turkey and veggie burgers. In fact, I must say that all of the restaurants are mindful of the vegetarians. My daughter, who is a vegetarian, never had a problem finding what to eat. I am not a vegetarian, though I lean that way, and I chose the veggie options several times and they were always quite good. BERMUDA: LOVED IT! This was our first visit and we will absolutely go back. We had a whole list of things we wanted to see and do and only got to a handful of them. We spent Wednesday in Hamilton, Thursday in St. Georges and Friday in the Dockyard area. Definitely get a transportation pass. I guess I should post a separate review of the port features. GENERAL THOUGHTS: This was a fun cruise. We had a good time. The ship is very nice. Food in the included restaurants could have been a bit better, especially the buffet. Service overall throughout the ship was kind of spotty. Many crew members always had a smile and a "hello" as you passed, but a great many more did not. There were numerous times that crew members essentially ignored guests, us and others. For example, walking in various places, crew members would often cut people off or cross in front of then, rather than giving the guest the right of way. We thought that was kind of rude and I heard others making similar comments. There seemed to be an awful lot of selling going on no matter where you went onboard. Whether you were in the buffet, around the pool, in the lobby or participating in an activity, they were trying to sell you something. It got annoying. I think they need to tone it down a bit. We would have liked to have tried more of the specialty restaurants but didn't due to the added cost. I wish they would make it all inclusive like it is at a land resort like Sandals (where we've gone a few times). Even if it means charging a little more for the cruise, psychologically it would be different because you wouldn't be shelling out extra for each meal. It would already be paid for. In conclusion, I think a first-time cruiser would be very satisfied with NCL Dawn. An experienced cruiser, who is naturally going to compare it to prior experiences, may be a bit less satisfied because I don't think it measures up, at least not to the 3 previous cruises we've taken. We enjoyed it but expected a little better than what we got. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
As first time cruisers we were a little apprehensive since my husband gets motion sickness and I can get a little claustrophobic. We were very pleasantly surprised that neither of us experienced these while on our cruise. While there were ... Read More
As first time cruisers we were a little apprehensive since my husband gets motion sickness and I can get a little claustrophobic. We were very pleasantly surprised that neither of us experienced these while on our cruise. While there were an overabundance of children on the ship (we are empty nesters) it did not pose a problem except at the pool area (more about that later) Good stateroom (balcony room) on the 10th floor aft. Aft was wonderful, very quiet and away from all the hubbub, but close to the Garden Cafe, the Spa and Fitness Center. We spent a good deal of time relaxing on the balcony in our stateroom. We purchased a spa pass ($150 for both of us). A little pricey and we were not thrilled about the extra costs on this cruise, but the spa pass was well worth it. Shallow indoor pool, 2 hot tubs, sauna and steam room (in the locker rooms). Plus comfortable lounges chairs looking out a huge window in the back of the boat. It was never too crowded, was very relaxing and saved us from the overcrowded, noisy, kid-filled pool area. The entertainment was good. A great dance troupe performed several times, a decent comedian and an ok magician. The food in the specialty restaurants was good - not fabulous and like others, we resent paying a cover charge and then some in these restaurants especially when the food is not outstanding, but then again, we admittedly are food snobs. The Venetian and Aqua serve the same menu. The Venetian is a much nicer restaurant. Service at all restaurants was good and very friendly. The Garden Cafe was awful. There are many choices for breakfast lunch and dinner, but tasteless food. They do not use real eggs for omelets or scrambled eggs and if you request fried eggs, they cook then in an inch of oil. Yuck. Waffles, pancakes, French toast looked great but had no taste. We ordered room service for breakfast several days. Lunch was the best meal here with a wide variety of sandwiches, hotdogs, burgers, and hot food. Good soups. Strangely, they offered bottle salad dressings (Kraft) which I never use. The best thing about the Garden Cafe is that you can pick up a quick snack since it's always open. Drinks available (no charge) are iced tea, hot teas, coffee and water. They use very small glasses, though so you're always re-filling. We did not opt for a soda or alcohol package and stuck with the free stuff. That's another nickel & dime thing they do that is very annoying. Sodas should be free. We enjoyed the freestyle cruising as neither one of us wants to get dressed up for dinner every night. We also liked that we could eat when we wanted and where we wanted. We made reservations at the specialty restaurants while on the pier before embarkation. I recommend that you do this as it insures a table with no wait. The pool was ridiculously small. People were so crowded in there all they could do was stand. Hot tubs, the same. Also, so many kids in both, resulting in "pee" pools. It was gross. Also, the pool area was dirty and there was some construction going on that was roped off with police tape. Very unattractive. There is no shade to speak of on the decks with lounge chairs, no umbrellas or overhangs. If you can't take the sun, it's a problem. Another reason for a spa pass Some helpful tips: Bring a small power strip as there is only one outlet in the staterooms. We were able to charge our phones, camera etc, but would have had an issue if we had not brought it. Use the stairs, not the elevators. Easy staircases and the elevators were slow and always crowded. Get the spa pass - especially if you want a relaxing place away from the noise. Rooms are 2 twin beds, or 2 twins pushed together to make an almost king. Ask your steward for a foam topper. This makes it much more comfortable and you can't feel the divide between the beds. We also asked for feather pillows which they delivered right away. We tipped our stewards up front ($20) and again at the end ($40). They were wonderful. If you drink wine, bring it. They do not want you to do this and so give no instructions. They charge a $15 per bottle corkage fee, but this still saves you a ton of money since wine by the glass goes for $8-$12 per glass! And it's not superb wine, either! If you do bring wine, you will not get your luggage delivered to your door. We had to go to a special room to claim our luggage (which had 2 bottles of wine in it) and pay the corkage fee. Annoying, yes, but saved us a lot of money. All in all, it was a good value in spite of extra hidden costs. It cost us about the same as a 7 night stay at an all inclusive (even with the extras). Be careful though, I saw people racking up bill of $2,000 and $3,000 mostly due to drinks. Bermuda was nice, but we had rain for all 3 days, a little disappointing since their beaches are exquisite. We'd go again on this line, but not in the summer. We'd prefer fewer kids on board. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Background. I am 35. This was my fourth cruise to Bermuda (twice on Celebrity Horizon and once on HAL Veendam) and my third cruise on the Dawn. I was sailing with a friend who is 34 and had been on the Dawn once before. Embarkation. We ... Read More
Background. I am 35. This was my fourth cruise to Bermuda (twice on Celebrity Horizon and once on HAL Veendam) and my third cruise on the Dawn. I was sailing with a friend who is 34 and had been on the Dawn once before. Embarkation. We arrived at the pier around noon, and were directed to the line for Dawn passengers, which was quite long. After a minute or two, we were directed to another very short line for suite passengers. Within 20 minutes of arriving at the pier, we were being led onto the ship to Cagney's, after receiving individual attention from at least five different staff members at the terminal. A good start, to say the least. Ship. I thought the Dawn looked as great as she did seven years ago when I first sailed. Kudos to NCL! Cabin. We had an AC penthouse suite. The bed and pillows were so comfortable I slept the sleep of the dead each night. There was lots of drawers and hanging space in the closet. There was a capsule-system espresso machine, which we used often. As for cabin decor, the wacky patterns and bold colors could trigger seizures so hopefully NCL will tone that down in a refurbishment. Our cabin had a large forward balcony, with two cushioned lounge chairs and an end table. Since we were only sailing at 11 knots to Bermuda, we were able to use the balcony with no problems. On the way back, when the ship was traveling at 18 knots, you could sit outside and enjoy the warm breeze but it was too windy to eat or drink out on the balcony. Dining. Each morning we ate breakfast at Cagney's, which was a very relaxing and pleasant way to start the day. I usually love the Garden Cafe buffet for breakfast, since I go early enough to avoid the madness. So, for me, being able to eat at Cagney's for breakfast wasn't special, since the pancakes, waffles and other items I usually eat for breakfast are the same as what is served in the Garden Cafe. Nonetheless, it was nice having the same servers for the week. I loved Cagney's for lunch, however. Cagney's was a definite upgrade over the Garden Cafe, which can be a zoo around lunchtime. The food offerings were better too. The kosher chicken and polenta dish is excellent. Cagney's was closed for lunch on Saturday. Suite guests were invited to the Jazz Brunch in Venetian instead. This was a highlight of the cruise. The food was great and the live music and atmosphere were...just, happy. We ate at Aqua and Venetian twice, Salsa's and Impressions once, and grabbed a light dinner at Garden Cafe once. We never had to wait for a table for two at either MDR, even though we went at peak times. The food and service were okay in the MDR and the speciality restaurants we tried. I love that they added panini and crepe stations since my last Dawn cruise five years ago. The crepes were delicious. And both times I ordered one, I noticed other crew members waiting in line for one too. Entertainment. I absolutely loved the JAR production shows. This was my third time watching Bollywood and South Beach Rave and I am still impressed by the versatility and talent of the JAR cast. I also noticed that NCL has added a few new songs to both shows, and has changed dance sequences to suit the strengths of the current performers, so the shows didn't seem stale to me. Band on the Run is a nice addition. I also enjoyed the shows put on by Greg Gleason, the magician. I went to school in Chicago, and love Second City, but must say I thought the Second City show was only okay. I don't think the cast was that great plus the audience really didn't give them much too work with. Some of the audience suggestions were painful to hear. It was like that segment on the Tonight Show when Jay asks people on the street questions a fourth grader would know. Dave Heenan, the comedian, was very popular. You'd see him frequently around the ship, talking to passengers or attending the shows. I personally didn't like his act, or that of any of the very talented (and also very popular) cabaret singers, but I think it goes to show that NCL has something for everyone. I will miss the Dawn when she leaves NY for Boston, primarily because of the JAR shows and overall entertainment. I didn't think the production shows on the Gem were anywhere as good, so hopefully they are better on the Jewel. Cruise director. I didn't think I would like Matt Baker on day one. He has a shtick that he uses that I was sure would grate by day seven. I was wrong, primarily because Matt didn't rely on just the shtick and revealed some surprising talents that I'm not sure where or how a Welsh boy would pick up. I don't want to spoil the surprises for anyone else, but I will say I was impressed by the surprisingly touching rendition of "What a Wonderful World" that he played on the harmonica for Saturday's Jazz Brunch. I usually find CDs annoying, and consider a good CD to be one that tells you what you need to know, introduces the entertainment and avoids trying to entertain you him-or-herself. But NCL's Colin Kerr (the cruise director on my last Dawn cruise) and Matt Baker are two CDs that really enhance the cruise experience IMO. Spa. We purchased a spa pass and spent most afternoons in the spa. After a day in the Bermuda sun, we always looked forward to cooling off in the indoor pool and then relaxing for a bit on the lounge chairs that looked out to sea. While we were in port, the spa was usually empty. However, on sea days, while not too crowded, the spa was usually too noisy since most people disregarded the "quiet zone" sign in the middle of the spa. The Dawn does not have heated tile loungers, which I loved on the Gem, but I loved that it actually has a relatively large indoor pool unlike the Gem. Gym. We usually went to the gym around four. It was busy but we always found a free machine. They had headphones for passenger use and cold towels, which were nice touches. Ship security. I was traveling with a friend who liked to close the casino at night. The morning of the second sea day he described to me a "disturbing" altercation between two drunk passengers the night before. The entire altercation took place over ten minutes as two guys and one of the guy's girlfriend yelled at each other, backed away, exchanged blows, backed away, more words, and then one guy pummeled the other for a bit, and a chair was thrown. When he mentioned the thrown chair, I assumed that that was what he was referring to as being disturbing, and said so. My friend said that wasn't the disturbing part. What disturbed him the most was the response by security. Security was called immediately and within two minutes, two security guards arrive. Correctly assessing the situation, they call for backup and two guards arrive shortly. So far so good, right? What bothered him was that these four (small) guys only tried to stop the fight by politely imploring these drunken thugs: "gentlemen, please calm down". And afterwards, while they did ask the two to leave, the men ignored them and continued to gamble and drink. The two men were tall and burly. The four security guards were short and skinny. I understand their reluctance to intervene because of legitimate concerns for their own personal safety but the safety of all passengers requires a more definitive response. I twisted my friend's arm to report this. We went to the front desk and asked to speak to the hotel director. The receptionist asked us to explain the situation and I got the distinct impression that she didn't understand why we (two people who were neither involved in, or harmed by, the fight) were upset about the situation. Until the end, when she summarized our complaint back to us and incorrectly noted that the two men were escorted out of the casino by security. At which point, we said "No, they were not. They remained in the casino, with the other passengers. And this is what we are upset about". She understood then. We told her that all we wanted was an acknowledgment from the hotel director that our complaint had been heard. Three days later, our concierge, Anoop, told us that the hotel director had heard our complaint and that the two men had been put off the ship. (The funny thing about that was that we saw one of them the first day in Bermuda at the beach, so I don't think they were even thrown off the ship right away since I'd imagine that they would have had to take their belongings off the ship and find a hotel first, which would make getting to the beach by 11 kind of hard.) I hope for the safety of future Dawn passengers that either more security officers or, better yet, larger security officers are hired because having to handle drunken burly passengers seems like something that a ship sailing out of NYC or Boston in the summer would have to do often, so I see no reason why the Dawn should ever be "ill-equipped" to handle this kind of situation. King's Wharf, Royal Navy Dockyard, Bermuda. This was my first cruise to Bermuda where we docked at Kings Wharf. I prefer Hamilton but I really liked Kings Wharf too. It was a nice change of pace. I thought Snorkel Park at night had such a cool vibe plus there are some other bars open too. The buses and ferries were close-by and very convenient. On Wednesday, we went to Horseshoe Bay in the morning and then took the bus to Hamilton for lunch at the Picked Onion, Internet access at the public library, sightseeing, and afternoon tea at the Fairmont. At Horseshoe Bay, we walked all the way down to one of the secluded coves, but the main beach area wasn't that crowded as we were leaving. On Thursday, we took the morning ferry to St Georges and headed to the Perfumery and Tobacco Bay in the morning. It was my first visit to Tobacco Bay, so I'm glad to finally have seen it. But since I don't snorkel and prefer waves, it wasn't my favorite beach. That said, it was like swimming in a very large natural pool, so that was kind of cool. It also wasn't too crowded that morning, but the beach itself is tiny and I would imagine is packed with people later in the day. We again took the bus to Hamilton for a light lunch at the Lemon Tree cafe next to the public library. We spent the rest of the day exploring Hamilton and took the ferry back to the ship. On Friday, we went to Gibbs Lighthouse by bus and then walked down to Church Bay Beach for a swim. The views of Bermuda from the lighthouse and Church Bay itself were gorgeous. Church Bay had lots of snorkelers. Weather. It was very sunny all week. It was a little humid in Bermuda and the temperatures reached ninety degrees in the afternoon. Coming from Connecticut where we in the midst of the hottest July on record, I thought the weather was great since it wasn't as hot or humid as the Northeast was when we left or the day we came back. My California friend thought it was a bit hot for sightseeing, but nice anyway. Service. I had very minor service hiccups on my first two Dawn cruises years back (in 2003 and 2006), and there were none on this one, so I think that service has improved on Dawn. It is hard not to compare the service I received on the Dawn while sailing on a suite to the service on my cruise two month's before on Holland America's Veendam, where I was in a basic lanai cabin, which is one grade below a balcony. The service on the Dawn was good, but the service on Veendam was better. That could be because I didn't require the services of the butler and concierge that the Dawn offers suite guests. So for basic cabin service, I thought HAL had an edge as my cabin was left in a nearly immaculate state each time they cleaned it. Disembarkation. We arrived on schedule to NYC and were docked between the Dawn Princess and the Veendam. We chose to walk off with our luggage and waited ten or so minutes after an announcement was made to leave the ship, thus avoiding having to navigate around the huge lines around the promenade deck as people lined up with their luggage an hour before the announcement. As suite passengers, we we're escorted off the ship by our concierge and were able to bypass the line off the ship but were quickly reintroduced to lines as we entered the pier. That said, it took no more than twenty minutes to leave the ship and grab a taxi. Overall. I loved my cruise to Bermuda on the Dawn. Bermuda was great as always. The weather was nice. We had smooth seas to and from Bermuda. The Dawn staff was friendly. The entertainment and nightlife were varied. Also, because we purchased a spa pass and had a balcony, we were able to avoid the crowds when we wanted to, or be a part of the crowd, when we wanted to, too. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Received the cruise thru Harrah's Entertainment as a promotion to come to their casino We could have chosen to cruise pretty much anywhere but picked Boston due to the fact that the port is 10 minutes from home Embarkation was ... Read More
Received the cruise thru Harrah's Entertainment as a promotion to come to their casino We could have chosen to cruise pretty much anywhere but picked Boston due to the fact that the port is 10 minutes from home Embarkation was great! Checked in and on the ship in 40 minutes from being dropped off Welcome aboard buffet at raffles was wonderful Had a balcony room on the 11Th floor Good enough room for 2 people Bed was nice and comfy Plenty of space for clothes Bathroom was pretty spacious by cruise ship standards and the shower was a real shower that even a little larger man like myself didn't have to do the spin-a-roonie to complete the task Seas the first night was a little rough but it's the Atlantic First night welcome show was OK Had breakfast the next morning at windows. Might have been the worst breakfast in history!Windows was half full, wife ordered eggs Benedict and i attempted to order hash with poached eggs over it. The Waiter did not understand what i had requested and after trying to explain 3 times i let it go and waited to see what was brought. after 20 minutes i called the waiter over to ask where our food was and he told me that the kitchen was backed up and it will be a few minutes more. The food arrived and you knew it was bad just looking at it. my wife's was cold and the eggs in the Benedict were hard My order was not good either as the hash was hard and stringy and globed together and virtually inedible. We laughed and gave them the benefit of first day jitters Dinner that night at Le Bistro- excellent food and service!!!! Sunday dinner we tried the garden room and that was excellent also Lobster was served and it was just right (the young lady at reservations told us what day was lobster so we could plan our dinners around it good job NCL!!!) We also had dinner at the Italian restaurant which was excellent(Osso Bucco was very good) We also did the murder mystery dinner which was a little messed up due to a lack of direction from the crew running it but never the less, even though no one in our party picked the murderer, we had an excellent meal in the windows dining room Raffles buffet was hit or miss. One day good,one day not so good. I even tried the hash to see if the first time was a mistake but it was just as bad the second. Blue lagoon was OK. Good service ,food a little greasy. The Bier garden on 13 was classic customer service at it's finest! Get back from a hot day at horseshoe beach and thirsty. go up for a couple of dogs and a beer. i ask the bartender for a cup and he pulls it out of the dishwasher steaming hot! i bring it to his attention and he puts a couple of cubes of ice in it and hands it back to me, still hot. I bring it to his attention again and he runs it under the water for a second and gives it back to me still hot. I like the glass frosty, not steamy! I sign for it and he notices that i did not add on anything but the 15%. he gave me a dirty look and nothing else Bermuda was beautiful and relaxing. 3 days is perfect to see the island Somehow we both came down with something that did not agree with us on Thursday and we both spent the last day of the cruise in our cabin checking out the bathroom. What happen next is probably the worst and most unhealthy incident that i could ever imagine seeing in any food establishment in the world We tried to hold something down later on Thursday so at about 7 or so we went to the garden room for dinner. We Both had a great London broil which was very tasty. Between the appetizer and the main course my wife noticed that the asst. service pulled the knives and forks that we had not used off of the table and put them back in the bins with the other clean utensils at the service area that they use before they bring the food to the table After dinner the same waiter came by and picked up what was left in our bread basket and my wife noticed that she had once again put the basket that we had taken bread from and put it back once again in the bin that she was also taking full baskets out of to serve to other guests We were sitting at a window table at the ens wall of the restaurant and right beside the service area that i have spoken about. Even if the did not give the extra bread that was left in our basket to someone else, what are you to think? We have no axe to grind, but boy, you wonder why people get sick on cruises I would rate this cruise at about 6 or 7 out of 10 You get what you pay for Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Background Information: We were passengers on the NCL Boston to Bermuda trip which departed on Friday, July 23, 2010, and returned on Friday, July 30, 2010. The ship was the Norwegian Spirit. We were travelling with 12 other family members ... Read More
Background Information: We were passengers on the NCL Boston to Bermuda trip which departed on Friday, July 23, 2010, and returned on Friday, July 30, 2010. The ship was the Norwegian Spirit. We were travelling with 12 other family members ranging in age from 2 years (our youngest niece) to 70+ (my mother and her friend). My wife and I "splurged" and upgraded to a penthouse suite and we were very glad that we did when all was said and done. Ship Info: Passenger Capacity: 2,018 (double occupancy) Gross Register Tonnage: 75,338 Overall Length: 881 feet Max Beam: 105 feet Draft: 26 feet Engines: Diesel Electric Cruise Speed: 24 knots Crew: 949 Things that were great: Our suite was great! If you can afford it, we adamantly recommend spending the additional money to get a suite (they call them penthouses). Not only are the rooms at least "normal" hotel suite sized but the VIP services that come with the purchase of a suite make a HUGE difference and improve the cruising experience greatly. Our Butler, Naveen, was attentive and helpful and he truly waited on us meticulously. Additionally, the concierge, Bruce, rocked! He attented not only to the requests made by me and my wife but he also assisted us with special requests for my mother and her friend who both have issues with limited mobility and walking great distances. The queen-sized bed with quality linens was very comfortable. We had a mini-fridge, espresso maker, a great sitting area and a large balcony. We even had all 14 members of our party over for a cocktail before dinner one evening and we were able to fit quite comfortably. We had fresh flowers as well as fresh fruit delivered daily. We had a great jacuzzi tub and shower and we never felt cramped in our room at any time. The food in the specialty restaurants was awesome and the service received in both the specialty restaurants and the "regular" restaurants was attentive and helpful. The waitstaff made a point to entertain the little ones and we appreciated this attention to detail. Things that could have been better: Balcony and Inside Cabins - Very Small Cabins with uncomfortable beds. For our party, there were an additional 3 balcony cabins and 2 inside cabins. Both the balcony cabins and inside cabins were very, very small. Many of our relatives found themselves returning with sore backs and with reports of sub-par construction for the beds and pullout sofas. The ship needs another pool! Ship capacity is 2018. Imagine it seeming like all 2018 people were trying to share a single pool! There were many hot tubs which seemed to be teaming with children even though there was signage clearly posted indicating that children under a certain age should not go in the hot tubs. The kiddy pool area was very small and was even closed for a full day at sea. There is a single, average sized, outdoor pool for all to share. The depths of the pool ran from 5 feet to 10 feet. If you wanted to catch some rays close to the pool while at sea, if you didn't snag a chair by 7:00 a.m., you were out of luck for the day. If you prefer quiet reading while sunbathing, there were quiet sunbathing areas. However, these areas were quite a bit away from the pool. I cannot emphasize enough that the pool was constantly very, very crowded. To get an idea of just how crowded, think of a dance floor at a popular disco when a popular song is playing..this would describe what you would find in the pool. Port & Shore Excursions: Bermuda was beautiful, we couldn't have asked for better weather and we plan to fly back soon! Children's Clubs: Great attention and activities for little ones (if you want to pay extra). However, there was not much to do for teens travelling singularly. We got the impression that our 16 year-old nephew and 20 year-old niece, who are both a bit shy, would have had more fun on the ship if they could have each brought a friend along. If they had, they would have been more agreeable to participating in the many teen and "disco" activities that were offered daily. Kids could definitely find themselves in "hot water" for spending like crazy in the arcades because their room keys serve as cash for playing games. Entertainment: Excellent (we were told) My wife and I aren't into cruise type shows but our family members that attended the shows said they were quite good. Disembarkation: Easy enough Other Considerations: Even if you think you won't get sick, be prepared for the possibility of motion sickness. Being first time cruisers who have never had issues with motion sickness, we had not planned for the rough seas experienced on the first full day at sea and again when we were underway returning to Boston. We had brought the sea-sickness patches but should have put them on right when we boarded in Boston. Many members of our party as well as a very large number of other travelers complained of motion sickness. The ship ran out of dramamine and the crew placed supplies of sea-sickness bags by each of the elevators. I have been reading other reviews and it seems that cruisers in the know expect rough Atlantic seas. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
I had read many reviews of this cruise before hand and my wife and I talked to people who had recently gone on this cruise. So, we didn't have high expectations going in. We were just looking for a cheap way to get to Bermuda with ... Read More
I had read many reviews of this cruise before hand and my wife and I talked to people who had recently gone on this cruise. So, we didn't have high expectations going in. We were just looking for a cheap way to get to Bermuda with hopes of enjoying parts of the cruise. Happy that our expectation were low. The ship is nice enough, but shows many signs of being tired. Chipped paint,rust,faded carpet,a concrete ball came off the post by the pool(luckily no one got hurt), one railing was not bolted down and was vibrating rapidly as we sailed on the open water. The ship is small and felt overcrowded. It only has one pool that isn't much bigger than the one I have at home. Four hot tubs were usually spilling over with people. The only time we got to enjoy the pool and hot tub was when we were in port and most of the people were off the ship. Our balcony stateroom was ok,2 people on the balcony is almost crowded. The worst part of the room was the lack of sound proofing. You can hear everything next door,above you,below you. Wow, I have trouble hearing and I heard way too much. The best part of the room was the cabin steward, Mr. Charles, very friendly, kept the room tidy. On that note, the best part of the ship has to be the crew. Friendly, helpful, they really seem to enjoy their job and it translate well to the overall guest experience. We ate at Raffles(buffet) for breakfast and that was good. We ate at Windows and Garden for lunch and dinner. My wife and I both enjoyed the food. No complaints about the food or service, both well done. We tried the specialty restaurants two nights. Saturday was Cagney's steakhouse. The food was fantastic, fillet was perfectly cooked. Worth the cover charge. I know they advertise freestyle dining, but it would be nice if there was a dress code for the specialty restaurants, it is amazing what some people will wear to dinner. Thursday night was Le Bistro, the french restaurant. Also very good, nice menu selections. Also worth the $20 cover charge. (Note, for those on a budget----the cruise line offers specials for the specialty restaurants on port days some were 2 for 1 or had a reduced cover charge) The entertainment on the ship was ok, but not outstanding. If you want to sit in the Stardust theater, you need to get there at least a half an hour before. It keeps the theme of being small and overcrowded going. Not alot of activities on board for adults only, rather disappointing. There is no adults only night club, but there is a teen disco(13-17) which means the ship is more catered to this age group and it felt like that had free reign over the ship. The best part of the trip was embarkation and disembarkation couldn't have been any easier. The port was very easy to get to and the parking garage is just around the corner. All in all we made the best of what little was offered and had a good time. Would probably go again because the convenience of sailing out of Boston was so easy. But, if there was another cruise line leaving out of Boston the same time, I would go with whichever one that was. Not impressed with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Our third cruise on the Dawn. We are usually Celebrity Concierge Class passengers or when we travel on NCL we try to take a suite. For a ship in middle age, the Dawn has been immaculately maintained and it was gratifying to observe the ... Read More
Our third cruise on the Dawn. We are usually Celebrity Concierge Class passengers or when we travel on NCL we try to take a suite. For a ship in middle age, the Dawn has been immaculately maintained and it was gratifying to observe the improvements made over the years. We like the NCL Product and the innovations introduced to cruising by NCL, unfortunately for NCL the rest of the industry is fast playing catch-up reducing their lead. The NCL Suite Product definitely has some very rough edges that require polish if they wish to remain up there in the Suite business, very important with the emphasis on the Suite Product with the new Epic. Overall, we really enjoyed the cruise and would travel NCL again. The product remains consistent and their staff incredible with a great attitude. Having said that here are a few minor criticisms that NCL might like to consider addressing if they want to remain market leaders: 1) Suite Check-in New York - This needs rethinking, very poor with very rude probably Contract staff. Having barked at by aggressive staff to then stand in line for suite check-in is unacceptable. The pre-boarding lounge is only used after the paperwork is completed so unlike the delightful stress free experience in Miami where you are first escorted to the lounge where the paperwork is completed while you sit while having a coffee a very calming and soothing experience. 2) New Menus - a subjective observation but a disaster, heavy, heavy dishes like lamb shank while although delicious are more suited for winter not a hot weather destination cruise. No "light" cuisine in sight anywhere. In these tough economic times everyone realized that cuts must be made, but at least be imaginative with the menu planning. 3) Impressions Italian Restaurant - Such a pretty restaurant space, used to be the Aqua in the old days. Such a waste of space in its currest incarnation, this is a complete horror story, with almost crispy pasta and tasteless, unimaginative, poorly spiced, uninspiring sauces. Where is Chef Boyardee when you want him !!!! NCL should be paying you $10.00 for this appology of an Italian Restaurant not the otherway around. 4) Teppanyaki - Overall a fun experience, but here we are on a 50% Asian owned cruise line with a Large Saki bar. Our order of Warm Saki served in a Japanese tea teapot with glass shot glasses, not the customary Saki flask with tiny delicate porcelain saki cups. After pointing out the problem, a whole glass warm bottle of Saki is produced with Green Tea Mugs, then after giving the charming Help instructions on the correct way to serve Saki they admitted that they did not have any proper Saki flasks or cups on Board....Hey NCL, what happened to your Asian heritage ? 5) Fresh squeezed Orange Juice at Cagneys Breakfast - large $3.50 - was so heavily diluted with water it had no resemblance to orange juice except in color. When mentioned to the French F&B Manager he denied that NCL ever diluted fresh orange juice...... sometimes honesty pays, in these situations flat denials just make you loose all credibility. 6) Concierge - another NCL area for improvement ( see my review two years ago on the Jewel about lack of role definition and training for this position ). The guy was everywhere you went, constantly bombarding you with highly personal questions about your day. Maybe it is a cultural thing, but the guest privacy line was definitely crossed. Unprompted, the same invasive questioning issue was also raised by another Suite Guests that I happened to meet on the cruise in the Spa. Although they were made with bad grace, I was given a highly inappropriate lecture by the Concierge about asking for reservations at Aqua. Guests should not be treated as if they had made a violation of school rules, they are adults. Unless I am mistaken, surely this is the whole point of paying a considerable premium for a suite, which to be able to make reservations to avoid standing in line at restaurants. ( See NCL's own website ) ? and finally 7) Great Romance Suite Aft facing Balcony, however the Spa Window washing machine was above us was in use at 9am on a Port Day in Bermuda and at 2am on a return night at sea. This produced a hurricane of water cascading onto the balcony and unacceptable noise resulting in the waking us and drenching of all the lounger pads and flooring. No warning given on Port Day and we very, very narrowly missed getting drenched on the Balcony. For the second washing was woken at 2am at night, the door to the balcony was open, with torrential deluge of water and noise. Why can NCL not warn suite guests in advance so as the lounger pads can be removed or placed in a spot to remain dry ? Although these may seem allot of negative points, they were far out weighed by the positive, great service and genuinely charming staff - so NCL do not worry, we will be back in another suite. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
My husband (43) and I (44) cruised NCL for the 1st time. We wanted to compare our experience on NCL to our experience on RCCL last yr. Here is a detailed review: Parking: Parking is a bit insane. You drive up the ramp and are then told ... Read More
My husband (43) and I (44) cruised NCL for the 1st time. We wanted to compare our experience on NCL to our experience on RCCL last yr. Here is a detailed review: Parking: Parking is a bit insane. You drive up the ramp and are then told to make a u-turn in this tiny area..Thankfully we had my husband's small sports car.. The parking fee $210 is paid up front for the duration. Baggage Check Area: Horrible.. No direction whatsoever.. We had to leave our car parked in front to seek out someone to take our bags.. All the while this guy is screaming for parked cars to be moved, yet their employees weren't being attentive enough to take bags, thus eliminating the need to park your car! Embarkation: Not too bad, although we were given the wrong room keys.. Don't know how that happened since she verified our names BEFORE issuing the keys..We were on the ship within 45 minutes...Oh we arrived around 10:45, and had our picture taken around 11:15..On the ship by noon. Ship: Compared to RCCL Majesty of the Seas, this ship is gorgeous. The atrium was absolutely breathtaking. A) Tip- Head to the Venetian (Deck 7) for lunch.. No crowd, great food.. Everyone else will be rushing to eat at the Garden Cafe buffet :) B) Tip- Pick up sea sickness pills at front desk upon boarding ship. These are tiny miracle pills and eliminate the need to use those irritating patches. C) Room- Our room was ready while we were dining at the Venetian. Our luggage came within 1hr of being in our room. The room layout is nicer than Majesty of the Seas..Bathroom was much larger as well.. The room had a stinky stench though as if the carpets needed cleaning.. This stench stayed the entire cruise but got lighter everyday.. D) Room Steward- Never saw the person (male/female).. Cleaned room to our satisfaction but left towel animals only 3 days of the 7 day cruise..This was disappointing too us.. E) Pool - Not large enough. We felt that the pool itself was rather small for the ship capacity.. They have a lovely indoor heated lap pool (Spa), but at $150 per couple we passed on it.. Food: Buffet was as to be expected.. Some good food, some not so good.. Made to order omelets and waffles were the highlight.. Venetian ~ Lunch was much better than dinner..The lobster and steak were both overcooked the one evening we ate there.. The Warm Apple Bread Pudding dessert was the best!!! Aqua~ Atmosphere not as nice as Venetian.. Same exact menu though.. Food was just ok. Salsa - $10pp cover charge..In our opinion this bogus Mexican food was inedible.. Do not waste your money. Drinks: Bucket of beer $32.50..Buy 5 get 6.. They bug the heck out of you the entire cruise to buy these buckets..We passed! Entertainment: WONDERFUL!! Hubby and I were in the Not-So-Newlywed Game Show and had a ball.. Next night hubby was picked for the Dancing with the NCL Stars Show, again had a ball..Next night hubby again was picked this time for Magic Show (wonderful wonderful show)..All white party was also a hit, as well as Dave Heenan's comedy show and Bollywood... The only disappointment was Ray-Ray the assistant cruise director..He just seemed like he didn't want to be there..Shona was just ok... Port: Water was gorgeous.Weather was wonderful all three days.. We went to Snorkel Beach (no charge)..Rented chairs for the day $10 pp, and just relaxed..Night time entertainment in Bermuda is nil... Ferry and bus system was adequate and worth every penny.. Shopping in Bermuda was pricey imo..Make sure to visit the Rum Factory and get your rum cake.. Another recommendation is the local drink (Dark n Stormy)..This is Ginger Beer mixed with Dark Rum..WOW... Disembarkation: We chose the latest time to be off the ship..Went very quickly.. MAKE SURE TO HAVE A PORTER ASSIST YOU WITH YOUR LUGGAGE AT BAGGAGE CHECK... No line no waiting if you have a porter..You simply walk right up to Customs desk and voila, done!! Customs~ Quick and painless.. We bought back more than 1 litre of alcohol per person and documented this on our customs form..Officer never checked our bags.. Overall, we would sail the Dawn again but probably not to Bermuda... Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Being that both of my daughters were observant of Kosher, the extensive selection of Kosher options was a deciding factor for this Cruise. Embarkation was smooth and uneventful and we went directly to our cabin. I chose a BB balcony ... Read More
Being that both of my daughters were observant of Kosher, the extensive selection of Kosher options was a deciding factor for this Cruise. Embarkation was smooth and uneventful and we went directly to our cabin. I chose a BB balcony because I am a smoker and my daughters detest it. The balcony cabin was the smallest I've ever seen on a cruise line, and when the third bed was open it was impossible to get onto the balcony without crawling over the third bed. Not a pretty picture. While waiting for our luggage to be delivered to our cabin, we decided to go eat lunch. We went to the buffet and were told that Kosher meals would not be available until dinner time. I then asked to speak with the food service manager and was promptly greeted by the restaurant manager. After explaining to him that my daughters could not eat anything at the the buffet, he suggested they have a cold salad and wait until dinner to get the Kosher meals. After I explained to him that this was not an option he told me he needed to have the meals picked up from the galley and then heated and this could take as much as an hour, but he would personally, take care of it. We waited, and it was well worth the wait. At diner we were greeted by the Maitre"d Ernesto, who seemed to know more about Kosher than we did. He explained to us that we needed to order all the Kosher meals for the next day so they could be brought up from the galley and be ready to be heated. After that all the meals went well and everyone was super nice. As far as the $12 daily bill for gratuities, I had a problem knowing full well that these tips would not go directly to my waiters and busboys, but would be used to pay salaries for the entire crew, I opted out of this on the last evening and gave tips to the appropriate people as the need occurred. As almost every meal was assisted by a Maitr'd, I tip each one of them every meal as well as the waiter and busboy. The room stewards were another pair that I wanted to have on my side, so the very first day I gave them $10 and asked always to have ice, extra pillows and extra towels in my cabin. This worked out to my advantage. (the wheel that squeaks gets oiled). The casino was above average for a cruise line and, while playing(table games) I never payed for a drink. All and all the food was above average, and the entire staff was friendly and very accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We had the best weather and smooth sailing during this entire week. I enjoyed our voyage on the Spirit this year much better than last year. I think it was because I knew exactly what to expect as far as the size of the ship and the layout ... Read More
We had the best weather and smooth sailing during this entire week. I enjoyed our voyage on the Spirit this year much better than last year. I think it was because I knew exactly what to expect as far as the size of the ship and the layout of everything. The food in the buffet was much better than I thought it was going to be and we actually even ate there for dinner a couple of nights. They had mussels and large shrimp cocktail in the buffet and I never saw it on the menu in the dining room (just the little mini shrimp). The one stand out of this ship is the friendliness of the service staff on board. Although service in the dining rooms was very slow, it was not due to their not wanting to please. We did not eat in any of the speciality restaurants so I cannot comment on their service. We had a nice cruise critic meet and greet and it was fun to meet all the people from our roll call. We booked the same room as last year as it was very conveniently located and in a quiet location. I absolutely love the bed on this ship, it is the most comfortable that I have ever slept on in over 15 cruises. The shower in the bathroom is spacious but the toilet area leaves alot to be desired. Our room steward kept our space immaculate at all times and was not intrusive. We went to just about every evening show. The acrobats are not to be missed! and the final show "Elements" was spectacular. The rock and roll show was hideously loud and several people walked out due to the continuous pounding. They need to turn it down a notch. Same thing with the music around the pool, it starts off great in the morning and then revs up to where you can't hear yourself think! This cruise carried a much older crowd than we have normally seen out of Boston, but since we are on the cusp of that age bracket it didn't bother us at all. Bermuda was lovely as always however it was sad to see how many shops were closed in St. George. I truly miss docking on that side of the island. Disembarkation was smooth and we were in a cab by 8 AM. Would I sail this ship again, absolutely. I do wish that a cruise line would offer a different destination from Boston to somewhere warm. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
This was are first trip on the Spirit. We had been on the Majesty to Bermuda 5 times before. Embarkation was the easiest it has ever been. We got to the pier and were directly taken to the Latitudes line. We were taken care of right away. ... Read More
This was are first trip on the Spirit. We had been on the Majesty to Bermuda 5 times before. Embarkation was the easiest it has ever been. We got to the pier and were directly taken to the Latitudes line. We were taken care of right away. After checking in we had to wait about ten minutes to board the ship. We were on board by 11:45. We like to take are own luggage on board, just so we have it right away. The rooms are not ready until after 2:00pm. You can go to the casino and check your luggage their until 2:00 pm if you want to. After checking are luggage in we started to check out the ship. Enjoyed this ship much more then the Majesty. The decor is very nice on this ship. We had an ocean view stateroom on deck 6. The room was bigger then the one on the majesty. The bathroom also had lots of room on it. The room was kept clean. Are room steward's always greeted us but did not talk that much to us. The food was good on the ship. My husband and I ate mostly at Raffles. They always had a variety of different foods to choose from. The cook making are eggs every morning was great. We ate at Cagney's steak house the specialty restaurant twice. The good was great. I had the shrimp cocktail and chowder both nights. For my main course I had the Prime rib and the sirloin steak the other night. My husband had the 10 ounce fillet both nights. The meat was cooked just as we ordered both nights. The service was also good both nights we were in there. This meal was well worth the $25.00 service charge. There are many activities on the ship. We did not go to any of the shows. We instead liked to go to Champagne Charlie's after dinner and listen to Arvin and Emily. We also liked listing to the Ironics. We also had fun at Karokee every night. We did not have any children with us. But the kid's program seemed like it was very good. I love kid's but on past cruises on the majesty they were not always well behaved. They would be always running around playing on the elevators and stairs. This cruise all the kid's were great and well behaved the whole week. I think it is because there was so much to do and they were not bored. We traveled the week of June18-25. We had the best weather this week in Bermuda. We did not get any rain. This made up for my last trip three years ago where it rained everyday. We arrived in Bermuda around 10:30. We bought a bus pass and headed to Horseshoe bay. We walked around and went in the water. This beach is so beautiful. We had some burgers and fries there. They were good. We took the bus back around 3:00. The transportation was great. Since it was a Sunday the ferry was not running. But they had express buses running to Horseshoe bay all day. When we left the beach we only had to wait about 10 minutes for a bus back to the dockyard. We did some shopping in the shops when we got back. The mall is cute and has many little shops. Monday was a holiday in Bermuda, but the ferry was running to St George on a regular schedule. We were glad about this,because on Sunday they were not sure if it was going to run or not. We took the 10:00 ferry over to St George. Once we got their we looked at the shops that were open. Many were closed since it was a holiday. We stopped in the White Horse and had a drink. We then went on a horse and buggy ride through St George with Johnny. He was a great tour guide there was seven of us on the ride and he took us out for over an hour. He told us many different stories. It was a very nice time and was also very inexpensive. After are ride we walked over to St Catherine's beach. We wanted to walk up to the little restaurant but saw it was closed due to the holiday. We took the 4:00 ferry back to the dockyard. Are last day in Bermuda we had an excursion at 1:00pm. It was on the rising sun catamaran boat. This was a lot of fun. We sailed out and docked in about six feet of water. You could snorkel or just swim. There was a little beach you could swim out to. The crew was very nice and very informative. There are also free rum swizzles on this cruise. The only thing negative about this trip is they charge $1 for sodas and water. I did not think this was right charging kids and adults that do not drink $1 for sodas. Other then that issue we had lots of fun. We had to leave Bermuda after are sailing trip. The ride back was smooth sailing. usually saiing back in Boston they are already docked early in the morning. I got up at 6:00 and went out on deck as we sailed by castle island. We had breakfast and were off the boat around 9:0 Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We are a family of five,this was our sixth cruise as a family. Left our house ( 1/2 hour south of Boston )at 10:30am arrived ,unloaded, parked, and was at the buffet ( lol ) by 12:00pm. Norwegian did a great job with this embarkation ... Read More
We are a family of five,this was our sixth cruise as a family. Left our house ( 1/2 hour south of Boston )at 10:30am arrived ,unloaded, parked, and was at the buffet ( lol ) by 12:00pm. Norwegian did a great job with this embarkation process. Both rooms 1 Balcony and 1 inside stateroom were ready and our luggage arrived very quickly. Rooms were very small but clean. We never saw our cabin steward until late the next day( they are off duty after 9:00pm ) We needed some bedding ect.. went through house keeping no big deal. The ship was clean, but in need of another facelift. Overall ship was easy to get around, you could always find food or a beverage. Deck chairs were hard to come by but thats true on all ships. This was our first experience at Freestyle Cruising, dress was very casual, dining was very easy, although busy times had to wait for main dining room(20 minutes). Food was good to very good at times. No complaints we ate it all. Entertainment was very good.They did a very nice job with shows and there was always something going on in one of the lounges. Something for everyone. Kids never complained ( ages 17,15,11 ) Bermuda was very beautiful and was nice to use ship as hotel for the three days. Went to beaches ( horseshoe bay !!! ) went golfing Riddles Bay postcard on every hole. Went to Hamilton took ferry , shopped went to dinner at Portifinos , very nice. People here were friendly and helpful. Bottom line for me was cruise was worth the $$$$. Weather was perfect, food drink,entertainment all good. One note: most people on board were with a large group and was from around boston, so if your from here, chances are you will know plenty of people on board. Tips are already billed to your room card, no having to find someone and hand them an envelope. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
First, let me say that I've been an avid NCL fan since my first NCL Cruise on the Dawn about 6 years ago. I'm booked on my 10th cruise with them in July and have 4 more "Cruise Rewards" to utilize in the pipeline. On ... Read More
First, let me say that I've been an avid NCL fan since my first NCL Cruise on the Dawn about 6 years ago. I'm booked on my 10th cruise with them in July and have 4 more "Cruise Rewards" to utilize in the pipeline. On 5/2/10, myself and my partner embarked on the Dawn to Bermuda. I believe even before stepping foot on Deck 7 we were approached about buying something - and it never ended the entire cruise. They're relentless. NCL: If you need to make more $$$, raise your fares (even more) and stop inundating the passengers with requests to buy crap and spend money on board. Its ever so annoying. The Dawn should have been refurbished 2 or 3 years ago and its beginning to be more obvious all the time. On 3 occasions, we had no COLD water in our cabin. Try even brushing your teeth with scalding water some time. The seats in the Stardust Theater need replacement... they're either broken or so uncomfortable, you feel as though you've been crippled by them when you attempt to stand up after the show. NCL is trying to cut back on entrees in the main dining rooms. I understand the Dawn is the guinea pig for this experiment. They now have only 3 changing entree options at dinner and NONE for lunch. You now have to pay to utilize the Spa Pool and hot tub - when it used to be free. They've obviously cut back on the cleaning of some common areas, such as doorway trim. You can see the grunge around the door handles. No wonder why I came down with upper respiratory infections while sailing on 2 of my last 3 NCL cruises this year. NCL, if you read these things, get your act together, will ya. I don't care to have to return to Princess or RCI. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We just completed our second Boston-to-Bermuda cruise, this time on the NCL Spirit. Our first was on the Royal Majesty, just prior to NCL renaming the ship Norwegian Majesty and stretching it by more than 100 ft. in 1997. There were 6 of ... Read More
We just completed our second Boston-to-Bermuda cruise, this time on the NCL Spirit. Our first was on the Royal Majesty, just prior to NCL renaming the ship Norwegian Majesty and stretching it by more than 100 ft. in 1997. There were 6 of us sailing together. The convenience of sailing from the close port of Boston is a big plus, as it spared the hassle of having to fly. After some research and reading various reviews, we were anxious to board the Spirit as we anticipated it would be a unique ship, having been originally the SuperStar Leo, built for the Asian market. We were not disappointed. The decor was different from any other ship we've sailed on before, and there were many beautiful areas which we loved, such as the teak promenade deck, the atrium and the Bridge Viewing areas. Overall, we had a very enjoyable time, and were quite pleased with our cruise. Although the weather was a bit cool and at times we experienced pretty strong winds, we didn't feel the seas overly rough for the Atlantic. There was just a little rolling on a couple sea days. Our first cruise to Bermuda was a much rougher ride. The entertainment that we saw was very good to excellent--the best in our opinion were the husband and wife duo, Arvin & Emily, were outstanding and the show on the final night, "Elements", was absolutely breathtaking, just about the best show we've ever seen on a cruiseship. Other events we enjoyed was Spirit's versions of "Dancing with the Stars" and "Quest"--really a lot of fun (the latter definitely being for adults only). We did not eat in any of the "specialty restaurants", so cannot comment on the meals in those venues, but the food in the Windows and Garden Dining Rooms was adequate--not the best we've ever had, but certainly quite good most of the time. The chicken wings in the Blue Lagoon were about the best we've had, and some of our group loved the Fish and Chips there as well. Raffles Buffet area is set up in food stations, and has a fair variety of different food items. For the most part, the offerings in Raffles was fine, again not the very best we've had, but certainly far from the worst. Our biggest complaint was the spotty service in the main dining rooms during breakfast hours. One morning our waiter simply seemed to disappear and we waited a very long time for all in our party to be served. On a very positive note, we had a wonderful waiter in the Windows Dining Room--Danielo--who catered to each and every request of ours and was very friendly and efficient. Another negative was the very aggressive approach from crew members in the dining room to "sell" the special dining options (e.g., the Enchanted Dinner and Murder Mystery Dinner); also a young lady tried to sell us flowers for Mother's Day, and didn't want to take no for an answer. This was a real downer for us, and we certainly made note of this on our comment card at the end of our cruise. As far as our accomodations are concerned, we had Balcony Cabins on deck 10. They were a bit on the small side, but we did manage to stow away our personal items in the drawers, shelves and closet. The bathroom has a great layout--we liked the larger glassed-in shower and the separate toilet area with divider. The balcony had 2 chairs and a small square table. The vast majority of the staff and crew members were extremely friendly and approachable. The captain, Evans Hoyt, an American, is very down-to-earth and likeable. The cruise director and his staff are an energetic bunch, and some of the most recognizable, unforgettable crew members included the guys and gals who spray your hands with sanitizer lotion when you enter Raffles Buffet (one of the most vocal member is "Horace"). Their loud chants of "Happy, Happy -- Washy, Washy" delivered with infectious grins certainly started our day off on a positive note and brought smiles to our faces many times throughout the cruise. We found our port of call, Bermuda, as lovely as we remembered, and thoroughly enjoyed our time spent there. Thanks to Cruise Critic, we were aware of the good buy in the transportation passes on the island. Our choice was the 3-day which we certainly took advantage of for the entire duration of our stay. For $28, we were able to use the buses and ferries as many times as we needed. On our full day we spent on the island (Monday), we took a ferry to St.George, visited Tobacco Bay, rode the bus to Swizzle Inn where we consumed a few "Rum Swizzles", "Dirty Bananas" and "munchies", then continued on to Hamilton, from where we ferried back to the Dockyard. After an early dinner on the ship, 4 of us took the relaxing Sunset Cocktail Cruise on a Glass-Bottomed Boat. The other 2 members of our group took the Famous Homes & Hideaway Cruise earlier in the day, which they enjoyed. NCL did a nice job with the Meet and Greet one of our roll call members had arranged. Our get-together was held late morning on the first sea day in Henry's Pub, which was the perfect size for our small group. They provided us with coffee & juice and pastries, and we were visited by several crew members who introduced themselves and spoke to our group for quite a while, which was a nice touch. Our impression of the Spirit is that she is a lovely ship, and even though she is showing signs of wear, we would be happy to return to sail on her again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Months ago I asked a question on cruise critic about getting to the pier from Logan Airport in Boston. Most felt taking a cab would be best. Well, we did the bus, $2 each and it was a snap. Remember we are 65 with 2 big suitcases, but the ... Read More
Months ago I asked a question on cruise critic about getting to the pier from Logan Airport in Boston. Most felt taking a cab would be best. Well, we did the bus, $2 each and it was a snap. Remember we are 65 with 2 big suitcases, but the bus drivers were helpful and we reached the pier in less than 30 minutes. SL1 from airport to Silver Line Way, off the bus, only one step down with suitcase. Elevator up and over to SL2 which takes you to Design Center stop next, and I mean next, to the NCL Spirit. When we returned, we walked our suitcases off at 8:30, took the bus to the airport, checked in our luggage, and took off to Quincy Market for 4 hours. Again, there was a free shuttle bus to the blue train station where we got on the inbound line. Two stops later we were down at the market. Total cost was $8. Great fun and great food. Now for the cruise; just the highlights. We had a cheap inside room, but the stewards did a fine job. No tub of goodies in the bathroom as Carnival does. Carnival seemed to be a dirty word with this Norweigan crowd who were definitely more subdued than the California wild bunch; remember we are 65 and not dead yet. No excursions from NCL. We bought the bus and ferry pass which was great. The best thing we did was Captain Tony's glass bottom boat trip that I found on Tripadvisor. Enjoyed the Frog and Iron Pub at the dockyard; happy hour from 2 to 4 with cheap drinks and good music. Dining room food was good. Ate at the Italian restaurant one night and loved the prawns and risotto. My husband died when he saw the Goldfish machine in the casino which I love. When I won a $230 jackpot on 50 cents, I cashed out and used the money to pay our tips. Great fun. Hope to sail out of Boston again to see the fall colors. It was a good trip to Bermuda and the NCL Spirit was adequate. Just go and have fun. Goethe said, "There is nothing better than this day." And we use every day that we have. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We had been on this cruise before with a different NCL ship - the Dream. That trip had very rough seas with many shattered dishes and broken liquor bottles. Fortunately this trip on the Spirit was smooth sailing. This was a pure R&R ... Read More
We had been on this cruise before with a different NCL ship - the Dream. That trip had very rough seas with many shattered dishes and broken liquor bottles. Fortunately this trip on the Spirit was smooth sailing. This was a pure R&R cruise for us - time to de-stress and catch up on our reading. We have been to Bermuda before and did a thorough exploration of the island so there was no urge to do any real touring this time. Good thing as we had winds of 45 to 60 mph and rain 2 out of 3 days in Bermuda. We purchased the 3 day bus/ferry pass but ended up never leaving the Dockyard. They were gracious and returned our money for it. We did an afternoon at Snorkel Beach (overcrowded and loud) and enjoyed the Maritime Museum and the shops between raindrops. Service We had wonderful service on the ship. Our cabin steward was excellent and took good care of us with towel animals every night except the last. The wait staffs in the main restaurants were friendly, served promptly without ever rushing you. The cheerful hand sprayers guarding the doors to Raffles calling out "Happy! Happy Washy! Washy!" and "holding up" people for smiles were great. Crew that you passed in the hall had ready smiles for you. They made it a pleasure to be on board. Food OK, NCL is not known for their superior food. The food in the main restaurants was good. The bread was exceptional. The desserts were dull, boring and mostly tasteless. The food in the buffet was hit and miss - there were a few exceptional dishes, some just OK and a few just not to our taste. There was always plenty to choose from and we certainly never went hungry. One day at lunch I wanted a cookie for dessert and was told very pleasantly that cookies could not be served until 2:30. I guess it was better than "no cookie for you!" but struck me as odd. Freestyle? Guess cookies are excluded. We dined one night at Cagney's. We ate at many of the specialty restaurants on our last cruise (NCL Jewel) and found them mostly worth the price. This was definitely not. The service was awful, the food just OK - for $50 extra I expect more than just OK. They were not busy - no surprise there - but it took forever to get through the meal waiting for each course. I would definitely skip it. We did do the Mystery Dinner which was quite fun and the best meal we had on board. This filet put the one from Cagney's to shame. They have you meet in the theatre and put you in groups of 8. While you sip your champagne they tell you the mystery background and you are given your characters. You then go to the Windows dining room where you dine in character and solve the mystery. Definitely worth $20 each. Entertainment This was the worst entertainment I have ever seen on a cruise ship. The first night the cruise director gave a preview show of what was coming. Don’t miss this – you will know what to shows to skip for the rest of the cruise. He thinks he is funny. He is really not. The NCL players made me sad. They made me think of all the hopeful high school kids who have the desire to perform but not the necessary talent to actually make it in the big time. This must be where they end up before returning home and giving up on their dream. There were a couple that were OK, but one woman was just shrill and it hurt. The Second City comedians were mostly funny and the acrobats were good. The last show “Elements” was like a grand finale of all the entertainment (minus the comedians). It was very disjointed. It needed direction to pull it all together so that there was a flow. Many of the other venues on the ship had music for the older generations (from the 40s & 50s) so we skipped them. We tried to listen to a guy with a guitar in Henry’s Pub one night but the drunks were so obnoxious to him that we left. The Not so Newlywed game was funny. We never made it to the casino this trip. Overall It was a relaxing vacation. The trip down and back was very smooth and the only rain we had was of course in Bermuda. The service was excellent, the food mostly good, the ship was clean and the cabin was OK, if not ideal. The Asian décor was a nice change, although it was sad to see a terra cotta warrior holding up a menu. We avoid the photographers on all cruises. These guys have come up with new ways to stalk you. While reading/dozing in the Galaxy of the Stars one morning (which is a great place to read), I was grabbed by a stuffed dolphin then a killer whale in quick succession with the photographer snapping away. I am sure those were stunning pics. While walking intro the lunch buffet, my husband and I were both grabbed by a 5’ alligator and the ever present photographer. I guess with the rain no one was heading down the gangway - their usual hunting grounds. The amazing thing on this cruise it that many of the passengers were stumped by how an elevator works. We have never experienced such widespread confusion before and it still puzzles us. I know there are elevators in Boston! I have been in many of them. This is also the first “freestyle” cruise that we have been on where they did not have large tables in the dining rooms. We usually do not mind meeting other folks at dinner but were never offered the chance. Most tables were set up for 2 or 4. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Cruised with our neighbors and teen son and daughter in April. The Dawn is a beautiful ship - public areas, restrooms, cabins all were sparkling clean. I only have prior cruise experience on RC, but the cabins on this ship were great, ... Read More
Cruised with our neighbors and teen son and daughter in April. The Dawn is a beautiful ship - public areas, restrooms, cabins all were sparkling clean. I only have prior cruise experience on RC, but the cabins on this ship were great, plenty of closet/drawer space, excellent use of space, very functional and ergonomically terrific bathrooms. Also very stylish and fit and finish were perfect, no dangling caulk or ill fitting drawers to worry about. Embarkation and debarkation were flawless. Entertainment was terrific, a good mix of production numbers, comedy and magic shows. Did not use the casino, mainly because the house rules were not good for the blackjack player, which is all that interests me (only 6:5 payout on blackjack, what's up with that?). Food in the main dining rooms ranged from ok to excellent, but certainly nothing terrible. The buffet for breakfast and lunch was particularly good, lots of choices and all appeared fresh and well prepared. Room service was one glitch - mainly you couldn't get it! Every time I called I got a busy signal, even trying repeatedly. Very frustrating when you have the late night munchies. When I asked about this, I was told it was just very busy. It would seem to me that if it's that busy they should either have a late night buffet available or more staff for room service. We tried one of the extra cost dining areas, the sushi bar. Definitely not up to the best sushi I've had, I would classify it as better than supermarket, but not as good as my favorite local place. I used the gym twice. It has the usual equipment and was very nice. They even have little TV's to watch on the machines, although staff were not keeping up with cleaning the earphones that are provided (the "used" bin was full, the "clean" bin was empty) - bring your own would be my advice. I didn't use the spa or any other special services. Bermuda is not for everyone. Almost no nightlife, and at least this time of year the beaches were not ready for prime time. But for someone like me, who likes to wander around and see the places I visit, it's perfect. Unlike your typical caribbean island, it's safe, clean, and very accessible via public transport. One day I rented a bike in Hamilton and spent a wonderful few hours cycling most of the island via the railway trail, an abandoned right of way that has been converted to a hiking and bicycle trail. Beautiful views of the island, plus you get to see the island from ground level, where people live, go to school, shop, etc. I like that when I travel. There are even a few touristy spots, like the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, that are nicely set up and very inexpensive. All in all, other than the couple of glitches above, I really enjoyed my vacation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
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