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1,193 Norwegian (NCL) Bermuda Cruise Reviews

First of all my family (4 girls and 1 boy 24years old to 13 years old) cruised in 2007 on the Dawn to the Bahamas and Bermuda . On that cruise my 2 youngest kids signed up for the Kids Club (ages 8-12)and were well supervised and we had to ... Read More
First of all my family (4 girls and 1 boy 24years old to 13 years old) cruised in 2007 on the Dawn to the Bahamas and Bermuda . On that cruise my 2 youngest kids signed up for the Kids Club (ages 8-12)and were well supervised and we had to force them to spend some time with us, they always wanted to be at the club. Our cruise left N.Y. 4 hours late because of engine trouble, but the Dawn credited our room with a 100.00 credit to make up for it. On this cruise (2009) we signed our kids up for the Teen Club(13yrs.-17yrs.)Again they loved it didn't want to spend too much time with us.About the food, maybe i'm not a picky eater, but i found the food in the Garden Cafe to be freshly cooked and tasty. There were different menus everyday and a nice variety of food. Whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner. We ate at 2 restaurants that we had to pay extra for. Impressions italian restaurant was worth the money. Portions were nice sized and the waitress was friendly and competent. Cagney's Steakhouse is a little pricey 25 dollars each, but well worth it, the steaks are delicious and the appetizers are good. The portions are also good and filling. You won't leave here hungry, and the waitress we had was top shelf. Even if you don't eat any of the extra pay eateries there is still plenty of good food to be had. The Poolside Barbecues are good also, plenty of hot dogs and hamburgers to go around. I have a handicapped daughter who i push in a wheelchair an all the staff were very attentive to our needs.Our adjoining rooms were staterooms with a picture window and 2 beds and a bunkbed in each room. they were both big enough for our family of 7.The room stewards cleaned our rooms great every day and left towel animals everyday. On both cruises we arrived at 12pm. and went through a very orderly embarkation, all the staff was very friendly and respectful. All in all we had good experiences on both our cruises.The only downpoint is waiting for elevators with 2000 people on board. but overall we'd do it again. The entertainment is also a good deal and there are plenty of showtimes so you won't miss them. John our cruise director was great and always had something planned for us to do. Compared to a land vacation cruises give you the most value for the money you spend. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
I have cruised with my wife and 15 year old stepson 2 times before on Carnival, and we had a good time. We decided to try NCL because we like to leave from NYC and we also wanted to visit Bermuda.We booked our trip with NCL in March.We ... Read More
I have cruised with my wife and 15 year old stepson 2 times before on Carnival, and we had a good time. We decided to try NCL because we like to leave from NYC and we also wanted to visit Bermuda.We booked our trip with NCL in March.We booked a cabin with a balcony.We obtained a a passport for my stepson in may (paying extra to expedite the application) THIS WILL BE THE ONLY NEGATIVE COMMENT but I feel it is necessary so that future cruisers will not have the same experience.My wife has full custody of our son and I carefully read the guidelines regarding documentation for boarding on the day of departure. When we were at the embarkation desk the person at the desk called a supervisor who told us that we needed further documentation for our son. When I explained that we had read all of the guidelines on the NCL site and had worked with an NCL travel agent, the customs person spoke with an NCL official. It was eventually agreed that my stepson could board the NCL DAWN, but would only be allowed to get off in Bermuda if further documentation could be produced, the following day we had a family member fax the appropriate custody documentation directly to the ship.The Assisstant manager for guest services informed us that our son would be able to disenbark at Bermuda. The whole experience was EXTREMELY UPSETTING. Now For the review. Despite the rocky start to our trip, We had an excellent vacation on the DAWN. The staff onboard was exceptionally professional and courteous. Our cabin stewards Steven and tony were superb. My wife had some difficulty with the firmness of the mattress. Our stewards immeaditely corrected the problem with foam egg crates and extra thick comforters. Our room was cleaned at least 3 times a day and at our conveince, we never felt rushed. the stewards knew each of us by name and we recieved personalized service. The entertainment onboard was excellent and abundant. We enjoyed the performances of Bernie Martini, a gifted singer and piano player specializing in the American cassic songbook (SINATRA, TONY BENNET) as well as modern popular tunes. Bernie played 4 hour sets at which Gatsbys lounge as well as all surronding areas would be full with cruisere enjoying his beautiful voice and musical stylings. Many sang along and he was very gratious about taking requests. We also enjoyed comedian Dave Heenan who told hilarious jokes as well very witty one liners. This guy could ad lib and was witty and funny as hell. We found the DAWN to be an attractive well maintained ship.The public areas were always clean.The public dinning particularly in the Venetian Restaurant was delicious and elegant. The cabin was smaller then we were used to, but having done our research we knew this would br the case. We thoughtthat CD John Ibriham was engaging, funny, and did his damnest to get everyone relaxed and involved, with grat success. The activites were nonstop and there was always somthing grat to do. at one point 4 major shows going on at the same time. YOU will not be bored on this ship,but you will be able to relax whenever you like. We LOVED the FREESTYLE concept. The main dinning rooms are open from 5.30pm-10:30pm for dinner, and you can eat when you like. You also have the option of the specialty restaurants as well as room service. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
My sister and I went on this cruise together and left the Hubbys at home. We shared a BA aft balcony 10230. My first time on NCL, and it was better than expected, much better. The ship looked great to me, and I have only sailed on ... Read More
My sister and I went on this cruise together and left the Hubbys at home. We shared a BA aft balcony 10230. My first time on NCL, and it was better than expected, much better. The ship looked great to me, and I have only sailed on RCCL each time when the ship was brand new. Cabin: Great location on deck 10. A quick trip up to the Garden Cafe, Spa, Gym. A quick trip down to the Venetian, Shops, Blue Lagoon. We had to have the beds separated when we got there and asked for extra bath towels, as there were only two. Us girls need one for the hair. Everything was in good condition, and I loved the size of the shower, much bigger than on RCCL. The balcony is huge, which is why I booked this cabin, and we enjoyed it throughout the cruise. I put the chair from inside out on the deck and moved the little coffee table all the way over to give us more walking space. The first night my sheet was very scratchy and pilly. So the next morning I left a note to please change it, and they did with no problem. Our room stewards Jamie and Daniel did a great job all week. Always with the right amount of towels etc. Jamie was exceptionally friendly and learned our names and was really pleasant. We had towel animals from the second night on. Food: As soon as we got on we went to the Venetian for lunch and had a good meal and adequate service. Not knowing that the fixed menu was gone, we went up to make specialty reservations for the first two nights. We ate at Salsas (2for1) the first night. Michael our server was excellent, very friendly and attentive. The Margaritas were very good and our favorite item were the Chips and Dip(s) that they bring at the beginning and the Spring Rolls. The lobster tacos were good but had a messy cheese sauce, not what we had expected. The flan for dessert was good but not the chocolate cake. Overall a very pleasant atmosphere and meal. Breakfast: We ordered room service coffee every morning. The coffee was good. The sliced fruit plate was good. We went to the Venetian the first morning and the food was fine and so was the service. After the first day we went up to the Garden Cafe to graze and brought it back to our room most days. The coffee up there didn't seem as good. Our favorite items were the Sticky Buns, Choc Croissants, Corned Beef Hash (not from a can), I only had eggs once with ham and peppers mixed in and they were good. Lunch: Other than the first day we again grazed at the Buffet. They did offer the Sushi Restaurant for lunch btw. We were able to find stuff to eat every day Caesar Salad made to order, Pretzel Rolls (so good), the indian food, the fried cod, the fries (with a scoop of gravy from the carving station). There was plenty to choose from including salad bar, breads, sandwiches, hot food, and desserts. Dinner: Our second night we ate at Bamboo(2for1), it was so much food, the ribs are really big, and the apps were fried, the Singapore Noodles were our favorite, and our entrees were good but we were already getting full and the things we ordered were very rich. The service again was excellent. Dessert forget it we were stuffed. We ate four nights at Aqua, and I loved it (service took about one hour each night). The service was excellent three nights and just good one night. The waiter sections are of different sizes and the one night the guy had seven tables and was very busy. Gabriella was our favorite server and was just wonderful. The food was mostly very good. The wild mushroom quesidilla we had three nights it was so good. We also enjoyed some very nice salads, with goat cheese, pear, apple, blue cheese etc. Entrees we liked, Tortellini w/cream sauce, Lobster Tail(Tues), Scallops w/cheese grits, Prime Rib (yum). In addition the bread basket was really good, different rolls every night, one night with calamatta olives. For dessert, I had the Carmel Chocolate Mousse all four nights. It was that good. The MDR coffee is good, not the decaf though. Don't order the crab cake! Don't eat anything you don't like. We ate at Impressions on Fri(2for1). The service was again excellent. We enjoyed the Carpaccio, Caesar Salad, pasta with seafood, the Risotto with Shrimp was very good, as was the Osso Bucco. The pizza was too big and the portions were big so again it was too much food. We did not like either of our desserts. We had wings at Blue Lagoon for lunch on the last day, and they were really good. I ordered the hot ones and they were not too hot which was good for me. We ordered them to go and took them back to our room. Dessert: In general not that good. The textures were off on most things we tried. I liked the flourless chocolate cake, and the bread puddings were good. By far the Carmel Chocolate Mousse on the MDR menu was the best in any place we went. Entertainment: The Welcome show the first night was very good. The show on the last night was good. In between the Rock night with Night Lite at Dazzles was a blast. I went by myself and sat and watched the crowd (what a show) and the rock music was really good. I really liked Spinnaker Lounge to hang out and listen to a little music before or after the show. Casino: We had a great time at the casino. We played in the slot tourney and won on some slots and tables, but of course overall I was down a bit in the end, fun anyway. It was smokey though, oh well. Got a couple of comp drinks there. Spa: Got the spa pass and enjoyed the spa. The hot tubs are really hot the way they should be and we enjoyed the female relaxation room immensely. The staff was very nice. By having the spa pass we were able to avoid the crowds of the pool deck. Yes there were probably some negatives. Just remember, if you are dining and you don't like it or it is not done right, they will be more than happy to fix it. The food was a little too salty at times, but better than it having no flavor for me. If you need things in your cabin, just ask. It was crowded, but we avoided the crowds very nicely. We never went on the pool deck except the first day. As a matter of fact, we learned how to get places without even having to walk through there. The kids were a little antsy by the end of the week and were running up and down the stairs and in the elevators. Just tell them you are using the elevator now thank you very much. Hope you all enjoy your future cruises as much as I enjoyed mine. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
I have to start this review by saying that the Dawn crew was great. They were constantly cleaning and very, very friendly. I enjoyed interacting with them as much as possible. Getting on the ship was a breeze, it took all of about 20 ... Read More
I have to start this review by saying that the Dawn crew was great. They were constantly cleaning and very, very friendly. I enjoyed interacting with them as much as possible. Getting on the ship was a breeze, it took all of about 20 minutes. We were a party of 12 (4 cabins) and after getting our key cards I was in the bathroom and they were boarding already!! Our cabins were clean and kept clean every day - kudos to the housekeeping dept. We had towel animals every night (much to the delight of my Grandchildren). It is so funny how the small things make such a difference! The only problem I had with the cabins was that we were on deck 8 somewhat above Dazzles so we got allot of noise from the bands playing, when Fire and Ice played we were in Dazzles so it didn't matter but the rock band was loud, this was my fault for not double checking floor plans when we booked!!! We ate at both restaurants and service in both was wonderful. There were 12 of us and we had no wait to get in, we ate just after 6pm in one and about 5:30pm in the other. We were in and out in an hour, no problems at all. The food was great, it was always the right temperature and we had no problems with the menus. The food in the buffet was okay but not great, the desserts from the buffet were sometimes a little on the rubbery side (in the main restaurants they were excellent). Food is always subjective and I think you have to take into consideration that buffet food is buffet food. We certainly did not starve and we could always find something to eat. We did enjoy the Blue Lagoon chicken wings and ate there quite a bit!! My son and his girlfriend ate at Salsas and Cagneys and loved both. He said the steak melted in his mouth. We watched Band on the Run (my fav show), South Beach Rave, Bollywood and the Crew's show. I enjoyed them all, the comedian was so-so I wasn't that impressed with him and the magician was good but they had a great one on the Spirit last time and this one was not quite as good (IMO). I have to say that FIRE and ICE were fantastic - I didn't want to miss them when they were performing, Rosie can sing anything she was amazing and she kept Dazzles packed with people. Bermuda is beautiful, I have always loved Bermuda. We had great weather and the skies and seas were breath taking. My two sons went jet skiing (twice because they liked it so much). They went right off the boat next to the Bone Fish Restaurant I believe it was KJ Watersports. They had to go slow (no wake) out of the harbor and then they were allowed to open them up, they both loved it. Horseshoe Bay was great and off course we took the taxi to the top for $2 a person!! I went horse back riding at Spicelands, the early morning tour onto the beach. We didn't spend allot of time on the beach and they do not take you into the water but I love being on the back of a horse and being in Bermuda just makes it that much better! We also went scuba diving with Blue Water Divers, my 14 year old loved this, they took him over a ship wreck and he saw lots of fish. I had trouble equalizing my ears and couldn't stay down long. They were patient with us (4 of us went). My daughter ended up switching for snorkel gear and gave up with the scuba and they were fine with that. I got some great photos! We ate at the Frog and Onion at the Dockyards which was nice, be careful if they ask you if you want a souvenir glass as we ended up with 2 that cost us $12.75 each on top of the food bill, I thought they were going to serve the drinks in it and just charge and extra couple of dollars for the glass!! My daughter-in-law got photos with the dolphins and loved that. My other daughter checked out all the history sites at St George's and the Dockyards and enjoyed that. We went to Snorkel Park to finish out our trip and that was also a good time. There are no waves and it is a great place for young kids to play. Thinking that I was being clever I took bread out into the water and went way out away from the crowds, I crunch up the bread and get attacked by a whole ton of fish, if anyone was watching me they probably laughed their butts of, I must have looked like I belonged in a Chevy Chase Vacation movie as I was trying to get away from the fish!! Once again, the ship is in great shape. They were changing out the carpets in the hallways and they were quick and efficient. All in all we had a great time, my son's first cruise and he is totally sold on cruising. I cannot say enough about the crew they were great and several of the waiters had my son's name down after the first day which made his day!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
This was the 7 night cruise from NYC to Bermuda. We were on the ship from Aug. 23, to Aug. 30, 2009. One of the nice things about being on this ship was most of the people on the ship were from the New York area. They were nice and ... Read More
This was the 7 night cruise from NYC to Bermuda. We were on the ship from Aug. 23, to Aug. 30, 2009. One of the nice things about being on this ship was most of the people on the ship were from the New York area. They were nice and friendly. We arrived at Pier 88 at 11 am. We had no problem checking in. We were Balcony so we were told to go to the front of the line. We had our room keys quickly. We were given number 58 to board the ship. I did not want to check any of my luggage. We carried our carry on size luggage on board. We were greeted with a glass of wine or orange juice. I checked our bags at Dazzles. They were very nice and told us to come back for our luggage at 2pm. We went to the Venitian for lunch. We then went to pick up our luggage. We had a Balcony room. I had a big bed and my son had a pull out couch bed. We had a very well stocked fridge. I told the Steward to empty it. The safe was confusing to work so I called the front desk and they sent someone up right away. He showed me how to use it. The room was too hot for me and they sent someone up right away to show me how to work the airconditioning system. We were supplied with two large beach towels, two bath towels, two hand towels, a bath mat and two wash cloths. We had no bar soap, only liquid soap. There was a dispenser with body wash and shampoo. We then had the Muster Drill. On Monday The Cruise Critic had a Meet and Greet in the Star Bar on Deck 13. The Captain and Crew were there to take our questions. It was very nice to meet the Cruise Critic members. I met five new people. The rest is very long. (I could not find spellcheck on this site so sorry about the spelling errors). Here are some tips and comments: If you are traveling alone-this ship is for you. Everyone is nice and talks to you. Even though I had my son with me, I went alone to dinner and the shows. I also felt safe on this ship. Traveling with teens-My son played in the video arcade. It is $1 per game. He brought his PSP from home with movies and games. He ate with me in the free dining rooms about three times. He liked the buffet and loved room service. He only went to the last comedy show and liked it alot. He liked the pool, the BBQ by the pool, and the live pool music, and pool party. He met two kids to hang out with. He loved the balcony room and stayed in the room at night. I advise parents to bring a laptop from home as the internet cafe is very expensive. Balcony room-In my opinion, this is first class. It is large. Has a beautiful bed and fluffy bedding and pillows. It was worth the extra money because my son was in the room alot of the time. We enjoyed watching the water and land from the balcony. My favorite food-is Aqua for dinner. Veneitan for breakfast and lunch. For a snack the Blue Lagoon. On the run-the buffet. I did not eat in any of the pay extra restaurants. Freestyle Dining-Great. The best part was I wanted to be served in the fancy dining room. I went there for most of my meals. I went anytime the dining rooms were open. I had no problem getting a table for myself. No waiting for a table. My son did not want to go to the fancy dining room so he called room service or went to the buffet. I ate alot of fruit and veggies on this Cruise. I ate alot of deserts too. I enjoyed the chicken. I did not enjoy any of the beef. The scrambled eggs tasted powdered. The omlette tasted like real eggs. The french toast and pancakes tasted frozen. The breakfast rolls and cakes were very good. The same menu every day in every dining room did get boreing. There were special items on the menu that changed each day to choose from. I tried some of the specials. I also tried the buffets and room service to suppliment what I did not like or did not eat. I liked veggie eggrolls, chicken sate, broccoli soup, Greek salad, spagetti and meat sauce, eggplant parm., veggie lasange, French fries, pita with eggplant and olives. Deserts were good. The iced tea and the iced water was good. At home I do not eat pork, fish, shellfish, lamb, or game. I really limited myself to what I did taste on the ship. I am not qualified to judge the food fairly because of my limited food preferences. I don't know how the pork, fish, shellfish, lamb, hot dogs and delli meats tasted. You can always read other reviews. The best part of Freestyle dining is you have the choice to eat where you want to eat at what time you want to eat. You can try the pay extra restaruants if you want to. I found freestyle dining great. The room steward was great. He kept the room clean and gave us towels. The pool-small but ok. It should be bigger because there are about 3000 people on the ship. It would be better if they added a water slide too. There were places to sit at tables and listen to live music and eat by pool, nice. I did not want a chaise lounge. I went into the hot tub and pool with my son one time. There is gambling by the pool and plenty of bar drinks. There is ice cream at the pool too but we never wanted it. There is always live entertainment by the pool day and night. The pool BBQ was nice. I feel that I already paid for my cruise and should be able to use the indoor pool for free. There is already an indoor pool at the Spa but you have to pay extra to use that one. The shows and entertainment on this ship-excellent. The crew talent show was great. Comedy, Dave Hennan I saw three of his shows. My favorite show was the first one, the clean show. Fire and Ice were just great! I don't know why she isn't famous yet. The magic show was very good and family friendly. My son liked it the last night, it was part of a varitey show. The Jean Anne Ryan Dance Company-all of the shows were wonderful! Bollywood was the best one. The South Beach Rave show was great too. Band on the Run was Excellent. There was a show by the pool with Goombay Dancers. There was a chocolate buffet one night. I did not go to the White Hot Party or the Vegas night because it was late and I got tired. I did not go to the pub crawl as I do not drink. I did not go to the art shows as I have more than enough art to hang on my walls already. I did not go to Bingo as it was expensive and I did not want to spend the money. I went to the Casino one time. I don't like to gamble. I would rather spend the money in the gift shop. I did not use the Spa. That was expensive too. I went to the gym and saw about three people working out. I did shop in the gift shop. I loved everything I bought in the gift shop to take home. The ship Photographer is great. He did a great job taking a photo of my son dressed up. I did buy the photos from them. We enjoyed the ship tv channels. We also enjoyed the in room movies. The Room Service-was the best and most fun of all. They have a big room service menu to choose from. They bring the food right away. The dining room staff-friendly, great and hardworking. I liked John I. Cruise Director, he was able to get everyone to participate and dance at the pool parties. Jason-Shopping Consultant, gave very good information about Bermuda. Chef-from Bavaria, very funny and he did a stand up comedy act. I went to his cooking demo. I went to a dance lesson to learn The Electric Slide. I was not bored on this ship. There is always something to do. I went to the Towel Folding demo. I went to watch Kareoke. Bermuda-We did not take the excursion tours. We bought a one day pass for ferry and bus. We went to the ferry to Hamilton and then the bus to the small but nice Zoo and Aquarium. We then took the bus to the Crystal Caves. My son had a great adventure and took pictures of The Crystal Caves. We took the bus and the ferry back to the Dawn. The next day, we walked around the Royal Navel Dockyard. We found the Rum Cake Factory, Glass blowing, Pottery, The Mall. My favortie shop in the mall was Crisson jewelers. I bought some silver pieces to take home as gifts and for myself. I liked all the shops in the mall. We also walked to Snorkel Park Beach. The last day in Bermuda we went to the mall again for last minute gifts. And to Snorkel Park Beach. Then we walked around and took pictures around the Royal Navel Dockyard. Packing-Do not bring alot of dressy clothes. My son did not wear his suit or tie or dress shoes. He wore dress pants and a white shirt for the dress up night. I packed two party dresses and wore each of them once. People go to the dining rooms and shows in shorts! This is a very casual cruise ship. I should have packed much less. Next time I will bring less luggage and clothes. Next time I will pack a travel iron. The iron I borrowed from the ship had a European plug that I could not plug into the outlet in my room. Soda Card-Buy the soda card. I do not drink. I got the cup and soda card for my son and myself. I got into all the bars without being hassled to buy a drink. All over the ship they push you to buy drinks. You can save money this way too. I did buy my son a fancy non-alchahol drink in a fancy take home glass. Gambling-On this ship you can gamble. There is a Casino and Bingo games. At the shows they push the lotto tickets, and alot of games. I did not participate in this and saved myself alot of money. It is there if you enjoy it. This is a family friendly cruise. It is great for seniors and couples of all ages too. The best part of the cruise was the entertainment and I was never bored. I wanted to go to more shows and participate more but there was not enough hours in a day to do them. I went to sleep very late every night because I did not want to miss out on any of the fun. I would recommend this cruise. This was my first time on the NCL Dawn. The only other cruise I had ever been on was the Holland America Line, The Rotterdam in the 1970's. I went with my parents when I was in High School. In a way this was like my first cruise. My son had a great time. He told me that he would like to take a shorter cruise next time. I think I would book a 4 night or 5 night cruise next time. I did get sea sick two nights. Two nights we had very rough seas. The Captain did a great job and kept us very safe. I found it hard to sleep on the ship due to seasickness. I used the Sea Bands and I did not take the Bonnie given to me at the Reception Desk. For first time cruisers you may want to start out with a 2 night cruise to see if you get sea sick. This also depends on the weather. Sometimes the waves get rough. The ship gets rocky but the professional staff keep you very safe. The best part of the cruise was the Entertainment and the Freestyle dining. You choose to dress up or not to. You choose to do what you want to do. The staff was friendly and nice. They pull out your chair for you. They serve you on china. The dining rooms are so fancy and beautiful. I did not cook or serve or clean or do laundry for 7 days! When I walked down the halls, the stewards all greeted me with Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening. I was pampered and had a very relaxing vacation. This is a good trip for anyone that is stressed out. It does relax you. You could always take advantage of the Spa services if you want to. My last breakfast on the ship was at the Venitian. I was seated by the window. While I ate I watched the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline. It was the perfect end to a perfect cruise vacation. I can't wait to plan my next cruise vacation. We had a great time and would go on a NCL cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
From the very beginning of the embarkation process, we were pleased with the way the staff and crew handled the entire cruise. Having read many reviews on Cruise Critic, I have to say, I was a bit nervous about the decision to sail with ... Read More
From the very beginning of the embarkation process, we were pleased with the way the staff and crew handled the entire cruise. Having read many reviews on Cruise Critic, I have to say, I was a bit nervous about the decision to sail with NCL and the Freestyle Cruising concept. One of the biggest discussion points on previous reviews was the dinner menus. We sailed on the August 30th departure and that was the first cruise with, once again, another new sets of menus. The dinner menus in both the Venetian and the Aqua were the same each evening but the company changed the selections. The left side of the menu was the " Always Available" side and the right side had several different selections under each category every evening. There were always three entrees each evening, instead of the one selection. All of the categories had multiple items listed. We never had a problem finding something to eat in the MDR. We enjoyed the Garden Cafe for breakfast and Lunch each day of our trip. The food was very well presented and prepared. Some things were a bit on the salty side but the taste of the items was very good. This was the first time we have had a balcony room and we enjoyed the extra space. Since we were docked in Bermuda for three days, we got a lot of use of the balcony. Our room was clean and well kept. Our room steward was Reggie and his assistant was Ruby. One morning, we were short one washcloth but outside of that the towel supply was always there. Even when I showered in the afternoon after walking the streets of Bermuda, the towels were changed and new ones were brought in for the following morning. We had towel animals every evening when we returned from the entertainment. Our bed was large and very comfortable. The linens were great. Everything work in the cabin. We set the temperature up when we entered the cabin the first day and it stayed at that setting for the entire cruise. Our cabin was ready at the 2 PM hour as promised and our cabin steward introduced himself at that time. I think one of the best parts of the cabin was the size of the shower. We have been on several previous cruises and have never had a shower large enough that one could bend over and wash one's feet without part of your body hanging out of the shower. This shower was larger than any other one we have ever seen on a cruise ship and was just great. The entertainment was really good on board. The Jean Ryan Dance Group did amazing productions on three nights. We enjoyed the magician, Greg Gleason. His intimate show one afternoon in the cinema was amazing and I am still wondering "How'd he do that?" The crew show was wonderful and the talent displayed by the crew was amazing. We also enjoyed the two young sisters, who were passengers, and their dance routine. We went to every after dinner show and truly enjoyed each one of them. We did a little bit of gambling in the Casino but the smoke was really bad all of the time in there. All of the rest of the public areas of the ship are non-smoking and I wish the cruise companies were get really brave and make the casinos non-smoking as well. But then, I might loose more money into the machines than I already did if the casino was non-smoking area. Maybe, smoke in the casino is a good thing!!!! We enjoyed our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet on the first day of the cruise. It was fun to meet the people I had been "talking" with for several months. Several Officers came to the meeting and answered questions and took time to talk to individuals afterwards. The staff and crew were always helpful and polite. One word of warning, don't leave your plate on the table in the Garden Cafe because it will be gone when you come back even if you are not done with it. Disembarkation was the best I have ever experienced. We chose to carry off our own bags and to leave at our leisure. The nightmares I have experienced on other ships at disembarkation had led me to really dread the process. I have to say NCL does it right. There were no long lines or throngs of people standing in public areas with their carry-ons waiting for their color tags to be called. It was a very pleasant end to a wonderful vacation. Thank you NCL and the Crew of the Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Firstly, in the weeks leading up to our Cruise Date we were reading the Ship Reviews on the Cruise Critic ( CC ) Web Site. Several very negative reviews ( 10 Worst Things ...; Don't Waste your Money ...; 7 Days I'll never get ... Read More
Firstly, in the weeks leading up to our Cruise Date we were reading the Ship Reviews on the Cruise Critic ( CC ) Web Site. Several very negative reviews ( 10 Worst Things ...; Don't Waste your Money ...; 7 Days I'll never get Back ...; amoung others had my wife & I worried that we had made a Big Mistake booking this vacation !! After waiting a week to reflect on our experience in this review I can categorically say that the people who wrote those articles are Petty / Vindictive Individuals who used the CC Forum to Slander the NCL Cruise line for their personal reasons. It is no secret that the Cruise Line Business Model is to get you on board and have you spend as much money as possible. In that light the CC Web Site was most helpful preparing us for what we could expect, what to avoid and what we could do to maximize our trip. It is also understood, that while the new "Super Ships" are set up as 5 Star Hotels, that in essence this type of Vacation is sort of an Adventure Vacation. As evidenced in the Mandatory Life Boat Safety Drill and reminded of every time you feel the movement of the ship as it progresses through the water. I did like the little bit excitement associated with the thought that something could happen and I did feel a little better when we tied up in port almost akin to Landing when taking an Airplane flight. What follows is an Honest review of our Cruise on the NCL Dawn to Bermuda and of the Cruise Industry as I now understand it : First the Negatives : BINGO - NCL has devised a scheme where by you can Purchase a Wireless Electronic Score Card which can Play 100+ Bingo Score Cards per Game. The cost for this gizmo is as much as $149 per four game session. You can still buy Standard Manual Bingo Scorecards, 6 per game, but eveyone knew that no one had won a Jack Pot using these Manual Cards all Season. This is due to the Number Crunching ability of these Electronic Marvels. I wont even speculate that the game was/is fixed. So in essence, if you want a Chance to win at Bingo be ready to plunk down up to $100+ per Bingo Session. I suggest that NCL and any other Cruise Line using this scheme Offer High Stakes and Low Stakes Bingo, so that any one wishing to Play in this Previously "Fun" Pastime can do so with out having to budget $500 for the week in order to participate. Note : Bingo is no fun when it costs you $100. SERVICE FEE - I understand that in the past certain Cruise Passengers literally walked of off the ship with out leaving any tips at all for the staff. Tipping whether on Land or Sea is controversial at Best. Most people dont mind leaving a decent tip, when the experience is positive. Some even " Over Tip ' when the experience was Memorable. Setting up your Business Model to have the Employee requiring a Tip in order make a living is wrong. The restaurant business has been getting away with this for years. NCL has instituted a "Mandatory" $12 Per Day Per Passenger Service Charge. OK, This should be included in the Ticket Price not as a charge to your on board account. Also, my two children each were charged $12 per day. The NCL Web site had listed the Service Charge for Children at the Beginning of the Year as 1/2 the Adult Charge and then changed it to the Full Price for this years Sailings. I went to the Service Desk and requested that the children be charged the 1/2 price ($6 per Day) cost . Based on the Fact that non of the Service Charge was directed to the staff who operated the Kids Program I had little reservation doing this. In addition to the service charge I did Tip my Room Steward Team and the Kids Program staff extra for their outstanding performance. In addition I did tip the Dining Room staff extra when we felt it was deserved. NCL did in fact reduce the Children's Service Charge as requested with no hassle, and my the charge to my Charge Account at the end of the Cruise did reflect this. Lastly, adding an 18% service charge to every drink you order, no matter if you go to the Bar and get it yourself is wrong and is usury. We have already paid the $12 per day Charge. Adding on top of that is wrong. Get Smart NCL and any other Cruise Line using the same format. Give the cruisers the benefit of the doubt, for the most part we will give those staff members cash tips when they deserve it. Mixed Drinks - I will have some Positive Comments later on in the review regarding drinks in General, But we had been warned ahead of time regarding the mixed drinks. Firstly, a Family member had taken the same Cruise earlier in the year. This person is not a "Drinker". He reported that one late night he had ordered 8 !!! Kamikazes and at the end of the night he did not feel anything. For Shame NCL !!!!!!!!! We were forewarned !!! During the Sunday Sail Off Party my wife ordered a Rum "Something", it came in the Plastic NCL Pilsner Type Souvenir Glass. It was the worst tasting thing you can imagine and had absolutely no Rum it it.At $10 we felt ripped off. For Shame NCL, you got your $10, it should have been the best drink I ever tasted. OK two can play that game, for the rest of the cruise we stuck with Wine & Bottled Beer. Now for the Positive : Soda / Wine / Beer - The Soda Card for the adults was $50 dollars for the week and $28 for Kids. For a family of 4 this Equates to $156. Our Kids are 6 & 3 and we brought two boxes of Juice Pouches in our luggage. There is no restriction on this, we kept the pouches cold in the Refrigerator. The kids loved it. We did buy soda as needed at dinner or lunch and this was priced at $2.25 each. A little expensive but certainly what you would expect to pay at a land based restaurant. Trying to get your $156 worth of soda if we had brought the soda cards would not have been healthy. I am sure this strategy will change as the kids get older. I drink imported German Beer. The cost was $6 and change for each beer. Totally Reasonable. The wine averaged $35 to $50 a bottle. We ordered a 6 bottle Wine Package first day on the Boat. 3 bottles of Champagne, 2 California Pinot Grigios and an Italian Chianti. We enjoyed every bottle. In addition we ordered several glasses of wine and champagne at various venues during the week, all were priced between $6 and $9 dollars, Totally Reasonable. As an added benefit, if you order a bottle of wine at dinner, or a 2nd bottle and don't finish it the waiter will re-cork your bottle, send it back to the wine cellar and give you a receipt. You can recall this bottle any time during the cruise, at any restaurant or bar, simply by handing the waiter the receipt. I consider this right up there with Fire, the Wheel and Antibiotics. DINING : We ate at Teppenyaki and Salsa's. We Planned on Eating at Bistro's on Saturday but were shut out. I even showed up in a Tie and Jacket and Begged. No Good, much to my disappointment. We ate at the Venetian twice and Aqua twice. I Loved the Venetian, so Beautiful. My Wife loved Aqua, Very Modern. We did not try Cagneys Steak House for I felt that $100 with the shell Fish Appetizer and drinks was only slightly less than I would pay at a premium steak house in NY. A friend has since told me I made a mistake, that the steaks were that good. Maybe next time. Teppanyaki was not worth it, it was OK. No better than our local Japanese Steam Table. If you dont have a Japanese restaurant locally than I would consider it, if you do like us, take a pass. Salsa, Just OK. I ordered the Shrimp and Tilapia Entree and received a small skewer with 2 shrimps and two pieces of fish. More an appetizer than an entree. This was the the only disappointing dish I was served during the whole cruise. Should have said something to the waiter or should have ordered more food, but since this was Monday I was still getting used to the Cruise Experience. I ate breakfast at the Venetian every morning. I would get up early, take a good walk around the Promenade Deck and then go for Breakfast while my family still slept. It was wonderful !!! A cup of Capuchino awaited me every morning. A great Omelet, Cranberry Juice. Piano Music and a Window Seat. Wonderful !! We had read complaints regarding the menus not changing through out the week at the Aqua and Venetian. Each day they have a Daily Special with several appys, several entrees and several deserts. These in addition to the Menu Standards Which included a Beef, Chicken, Lamp, Pork and Salmon choice. I have never been to a Restaurant on Land that served a different Menu for each day of the week, so being new to the Cruise Experience this was fine with me. I guess if you are going to be on the same ship for more than two weeks it could become old, but for less than two weeks no problem. We got stuck eating at the buffet the first night due to the fact that we did not immediately make reservations and we had the kids with us and they were hungry. The buffet was OK, the Kids liked it. I vowed that I would not get shut out of the restaurants for the rest of the week, and with a little planning everything worked fine except on Saturday when we could not get into Bistro. Instead we ate at Aqua, It was fine. All in all the Food was Great, Service was Great. We missed the Chocolate Buffet on Thursday due to the fact that it began at 10:00pm and the Kids were already falling asleep, Even though they are Chocolate Fanatics. I also had read in the Cruise Critic Reviews and in conversation on Friday that this Buffet is attended by the Rudest / Pushiest People and I did not need to forage with the Hogs who needed to " Get Their Moneys Worth ". Entertainment : We attended the Sunday Night Variety Show, which had a sampling of what was in store for the rest of the week. The only act which did not perform was the Magician, and due to scheduling we did not get to see him at all. Jean Ann Ryan Troupe was Great. I had heard so much about the Bollywood Show ( Friday ), It was good. Band on the Run (Monday) was my Favorite. 70s Music Rock & Disco we all knew the songs, they closed with Queen (We are the Champions) and 3 en core's, Very, Very Electric. South Beach Rave (Tuesday) had the Latin Thing going on. It was OK. For my Money I would have switched Friday and Monday, as I said Champions was Great. We caught Fire & Ice at the Sunday Variety Show and saw a little of her performance on Tuesday at Dazzles. She is an exceptional performer and I am sorry we missed her Wed Night Tina T Tribute. We also missed the Beatles Tribute and the White Hot Party. All took place after 10pm and the kids were in bed sleeping. Oh Well, next time. The Second City act on Wednesday was OK. I do not like that sought of Comedy and the Improve Part was a dud. The Skits were a Little Funny and the Blow Up Doll Skit was hilarious. By coincidence or not, Every day at around 12 pm the Captain would give the ship a briefing on the weather, our position in the Atlantic and anything else he could think of. I am sure he is the Consummate Professional but is not the Greatest Orator. I commented after Mondays speech that he sounded a little drunk and on Tuesday stated that I was waiting for him to hick up during the speech. Well, Second City was reading my mind because one of the skits was the Captain on the Bridge doing a Beer from a Beer Funnel. Bermuda : This review has gone on to long already and I have tried to concentrate on the Cruise Ship and Cruising in General. We had Great Weather for the 3 Days we were in Bermuda. 3 Days isnt enough to see everything even though most Cruise itineraries only stay in Ports 8 to 12 Hours, 3 Days is exceptional. Read about Bermuda on the Internet. I will say this, my Family flew to Bermuda during the week we were there and we met up for a Day at their resort. They got a good deal on the Flight and Rooms but Food and Drinks were very expensive. Example : 4 People / 2 rounds of Cokes $60. This was by far a great way to see Bermuda and I highly recommend the Norwegian Dawn for this Purpose. PS : The best Part of the Cruise was the Towel Animals, my kids loved them. I will never forget the Squeals of Delight during the three nights we entered our room and found the surprise. I was very happy with the Room Service and am only disappointed when I read after returning that other CCs received Towel Animals every Night. I have not told my Kids, but I did hand the Stewart $20 when I met him and gave them $50 more on the last day. We should have got more Towel Animals. Oh Well / Maybe Next Time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
This was our first ever cruise and it won't be our last thanks to NCL. We arrived at the terminal at 11:30 and because we booked through CAS we were on the VIP list and were taken to the counter right away with no wait. The whole ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and it won't be our last thanks to NCL. We arrived at the terminal at 11:30 and because we booked through CAS we were on the VIP list and were taken to the counter right away with no wait. The whole process for 3 people took no more then 10 min. We were then shown how to go to the VIP waiting area. While on the way they started to board the ship and someone ran (yes ran) after us to have us board immediately. We were given a glass of Champagne and juice when we were on board. I had read many boards here on CC and knew to go to the Venetian for lunch. The food was great and our server Marylou was the best. We always asked to be in her area every night when we dined there. Our rooms were ready at 2PM and the room Stewart was there to meet us. He emptied the fridge and brought more towels and a mattress topper for the pull out. He also rearranged the room putting the large bed up against the wall and the end table between the bed and pull out giving my Mom room to get up at night to use the bathroom. We gave him a tip that first day and there was nothing he wouldn't do for us. The room was large enough and very clean and we enjoyed the balcony everyday. This was the first cruise for the new menus again and they were OK. The were they same in both MDRS with 3 new selections every night. We tried Salsa and Cagney's on two nights and they were great. FYI on sea days most of the restaurants are buy one get one free. We had our meet and greet on Monday morning and met with some of the crew and the captain. Thanks Christine for putting it all together. The entertainment was outstanding. Rosie from Fire and Ice was the best and we saw every show. We played bingo a few times but it was a bit pricey, had a lot of fun with Ray Ray and Scottie too hottie. We were casino VIPS so we had free drinks in the casino and treats in our rooms 3 times that week. Bermuda was beautiful. We purchased two day ferry and bus passes and saw the island on our own. The first day we went on the ferry to Hamilton and then took the bus to the zoo. Only 10.00 to get in and it was a fun afternoon We then took the bus to St. Georges and went looking for the horse and buggy rides I read about on CC, but they were not there anymore. On the way to the ferry we saw a train ride for $20.00 for 1 hour and took that. It went all over St. Georges and the guide even stopped along the way to let us sample wild herbs, sage and fennel that grew on the sides of the road. This was bay far the best $20 we spent on the cruise. The next day we went to Hamilton and took the glass bottom boat ride. It was a two hour ride and was run by Reef explorer. The captain and his nephew Josh were great . The boat was large and very clean. the took us out to see a shipwreck and to feed the fish. On the way he stopped to show us some of the most amazing turtles and had all the kids come up to the front of the ship so they could see them. If you are thinking about doing a glass bottom boat or snorkeling tour please find the reef explorer he is the best. The last day we stayed at the dockyard and did all kinds of shopping. Then back on the ship for the sail away. When we returned home we stayed to have breakfast on the ship and left at 9:30. Customs was very quick. The week went by very fast and we wished we had more time on the ship. We purchased cruise certificates to use in the next 4 years and they took off $100.00 from our on board charges. They also took of money because of our using the casino. Can't wait to plan our next cruise on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
I sailed on the Dawn for the 4th time this past August and as usual had a wonderful time. I did read many of the bad reviews and as I used to be a cruise agent I feel a lot of the negative reviews stem from the passengers maybe not having ... Read More
I sailed on the Dawn for the 4th time this past August and as usual had a wonderful time. I did read many of the bad reviews and as I used to be a cruise agent I feel a lot of the negative reviews stem from the passengers maybe not having the right expectations. Booking with an agent is the best way to ensure you know what you are getting. That being said, my group had a wonderful time on the Dawn. From embarkation that was a breeze to the sail away party - what can be nicer, sipping a cold drink while you sail out of NY on your way to beautiful Bermuda. We knew our trip was made when we went to Gatby's and found out to our happy surprise the Bernie Martini, our favorite from our last cruise was singing on the Dawn again. Oh happy days - we spent many a night this cruise in Gatsbys. Our room stewards were wonderful, all of the waiters and bar staff treated us great, we had no complaints in regard to service. When on of our group traveling with 2 small children requested the service fee for their kids be removed from the bill, there was no problem at all. The food was good, as good as food can be on a ship when there are non-stop meals being prepared for 3000 passengers. Was it top of the line - no, but it was good and we found the Venetian to be a beaufiful place to share our meals, we went to the Italian twice and Salsa and Cagney's once. Not too crazy about Cagney's this time, but the last two times I went it was fabulous. The pool area is crowded, but we never had a problem getting chairs and had a great time out by the pool. Bermuda was amazing as always - buy the ferry pass - it is a great way to travel. I am not crazy about the busses and at 8.00 to Horshoe Bay - I would rather take a taxi. We went to St. George one day and Hamilton for shopping the other. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
My wife and I just returned from our 14th cruise and 7th NCL. We traveled with our children, ages 14 and 11. This was their 6th cruise. My parents, brother, sister-in-law,their three kids, sister and brother-in-law also were on-board. We ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from our 14th cruise and 7th NCL. We traveled with our children, ages 14 and 11. This was their 6th cruise. My parents, brother, sister-in-law,their three kids, sister and brother-in-law also were on-board. We all have cruised between 3-30 times on NCL and other lines. This was an opportunity to cruise from our home port on the NCL Spirit which is in its first season on the Boston to Bermuda runs. We were looking forward to having all three generations sail together for the first time. This cruise exceeded our expectations. The Ship: My wife and I have been on the Spirit before. We enjoyed our 8 day cruise from NYC in the summer of 2006. We were impressed by how beautiful the ship still is. The public areas are well decorated and there is evidence of improvements in all of the public lounges and theaters after the drydock last fall. We find the ship easy to navigate and did not feel crowded at any time on-board. The ship still sparkes and we thought it was very clean. The Centrum is beautiful and we love the natural light, staircases, and glass elevators. The cafe serves excellent coffee too. The promenade is also a favorite place for me to walk or sit and enjoy the ocean. The cabins: The Spirit has limited cabin options for families of 4. We had side by side ocean view cabins on deck 5, midship. The cabins were clean and well appointed. The new beds are higher and the mattress are new and firm. The bathroom has a great shower with a sliding door, not a curtain. There was plenty of storage space. We never met our cabin stewards for one of our rooms. However, they did an excellent job keeping things clean. We found deck 5 to be quiet for the most part. We had been on this deck before but in an inside cabin. We liked the picture window. Pool: The Spirit has 2 pool areas, one mid-ship, and one aft. The aft pool is a kids pool with slides. All of the kids seemed to love this area. We never had problems finding seats in this area. The mid-ship pool did get crowded. We were always able to swim and sit when we wanted but it did get crowded. Food: I am a firm believer that food is subjective and everyone has different tastes. The food on the NCL Spirit has improved since we were on-board last. We ate in Windows, Garden (the main dining rooms), Le Bistro, Cagney's, and Sho-gun (the Asian restaurant). All of my meals were excellent. I will highlight the surf, surf and more surf, the beef wellington, the steak, and an excellent chicken dish in the main dining rooms. The filet in LeBistro and the prime rib in Cagney's were fantastic. I had a sizzling lamb dish in Sho-gun that was also excellent. We loved the chocolate fondue and creme brulee in Le Bistro but the Brownie dessert in Cagney's was our favorite. I felt that the service delivery was top notch with the exception of one night. The servers went our of their way to make sure we were satisfied in every restaurant. We had reservations in the Speciality Restaurants or dined early in the main dining rooms (by 6:00-6:15 pm) and never had to wait. Our group of thirteen dined together twice at Windows during the week. We ate in smaller groups the rest of the week. This worked for us and makes dinner reservations easier. My wife and I also chose to attend the Enchanted Dinner on Monday night for her Birthday. This is a 65.00 per person dinner made by the three Executive Chefs on the ship. There is limited seating to this incredible dining event. The chefs, senior officers, and Captain all came to each table to meet all of the guests. The appetizers, main dish, and dessert were amazing. This is a meal that is only happening on the Spirit in the Art Gallery at this time. It is worth the price for the entire dining experience that lasts about 3 hours. There were three appetizers, a main course, and a dessert. You try all appetizers and pick one entree. We had the beef and it was perfect. There was a Lobster and Halibut choice as well. The buffet does get crowded at times. There seemed to be food to eat at any time. We were always able to find a seat inside or out. The afternoon barbeque served shrimp, burgers, chicken, and other things throughout the week. The burgers were excellent and this surprised me. We thought that the lunch buffet was good and the deli offers some more things than our previous sailing. There was prime rib at the buffet one evening and it looked great! The Blue Lagoon serves food 24 hours a day. We stopped by there for some chicken wings, soup, french fries, and fish and chips a few times. This was a great place to get a meal if you were in-between dining times at the buffet. I could go on and on about the foods we all tried but I will not. We felt that the quality of our meals and service in the main dining rooms were excellent and improved. The Speciality Restaurants were again exceptional in food and service as well. Shows and Entertainment: We always enjoy the NCL shows and guest entertainers. The NCL production shows were good. Jane L. Powell, the Chocolate Goddess of Love, sang her heart out for us, and Amadeus and Arvin and Emily were great acts in the lounges. We enjoyed the nigthtime deck party as well. We did not attend the Monte Carlo Night or the White Hot Party. These are not appropriate events for children and since we were with our kids, we found other things to do that were family oriented. Sailing and Bermuda: We were blessed with excellent weather and smooth seas sailing to and from Bermuda. We were also fortunate to have excellent weather in Bermuda. We went to Snorkel Park, Horseshoe Bay, and took the Restless Native Catamaran tour during our 3 day stay in the beautiful island paradise. This was my 5th time cruising to Bermuda and I love it more every time. Staff: We cannot say enough about the staff on-board the NCL Spirit. Everyone we encountered went out of their way to make sure that we were enjoying ourselves and had what we needed. We were very impressed at how the staff took the time to speak to my kids as well. We would see the restaurant staff from Le Bistro working the buffet in the mornings. We always saw the Hotel Director and the Food and Beverage Manager in the public areas helping out and checking on things. This was a staff who took pride in their ship and service delivery in my opinion. Kid's Crew: This was the first NCL cruise that we have not taken advantage of the Kid's Crew. NCL touches: We noticed an improvement with the NCL Freestyle Dailies. There was more information about the Speciality Restaurants, helpful hints on the ports, and other things. Some of it is aimed at getting you to buy things and spend money. All cruise lines do this. It is a business afterall. The welcome aboard champagne was also a nice touch. There was juice available for the kids and people who do not drink alcohol. We were given cool,damp towels when we boarded the ship in Boston and when we came back on the ship in Bermuda. I love this! A nice cool cloth on a hot face, well that is priceless in my book! There was also advertisements of Rose deliveries. This was very nice and more evidence of the extra mile attempts to bring something new to the passengers. Overall: This was our 7th NCL cruise and 2nd time on the Spirit. We went with another cruiseline last year and really enjoyed ourselves. I did not know how NCL would stack up to our 2008 cruise. We went in to this cruise thinking it would be good. It exceeded our expectations. My wife and I both felt that the level of service and food were much improved. This has made me think twice about straying from NCL. NCL has added some really nice touches that improve the quality of the cruise experience for us. We enjoy Freestyle cruising and look forward to our next NCL cruise. The NCL Spirit cruise was very special for us. We had most of our family with us and they enjoyed my favorite ship! Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Embarkation: We drove from upstate NY to Boston. The port was easy to get to. Convenient parking. Police and NCL people have everything working smoothly.  We checked our bags at 10:15, got in line at 10:30, and were on the ship by ... Read More
Embarkation: We drove from upstate NY to Boston. The port was easy to get to. Convenient parking. Police and NCL people have everything working smoothly.  We checked our bags at 10:15, got in line at 10:30, and were on the ship by about 11:20. Simple. Public Rooms: We were very impressed with how clean the ship was. Well decorated with Asian flair. Never a mess anywhere. The variety of public rooms was nice too. We could always find a quiet space on the boat, even though it was fully booked. Even by the pool, we found space--no problem. We enjoyed the authentic pub and night club. The exercise room/spa was also great. Not crowded and well equipped. Cabin: We had a picture window room on deck 5. It was nice. Larger than I anticipated. The two of us had plenty of space--even with all of the lugage we brought. The bathroom was big enough. The room used its space well. What was really nice was the service. Our stewards kept our room spic and span, without us tripping all over them. The towel animals were a cute touch. Dining: I honestly don't see how people could spend time or energy complaining about the food on this ship. We ate breakfast at Raffles. The selecction of food was impressive. Eggs to order--the way to go. Even though there was a crowd, we had no problem finding a private table, and again, everything was clean. We ate lunch and dinner in either the Garden or Windows. Both were great. The choices of appetizers and entrees were outstanding. The waiters bent over backwards to provide excellent service--exceeded our expectations. Ahmed, the maitre de in the Garden restaurant was especially professional, and really took good care of my wife and I. Absolutely nothing to complain about when it came to the food on this cruise. Also, there's no real need to go to the specialty restaurants. Entertainment: The entertainment was fun. NCL really tries to provide something for everyone. We enjoyed the magician. The SC comedy troupe was ok. The crew show on the last night was neat, and we had a good time at the Perfect Couple gameshow. We also did the beer tasting, which seemed pricey. But, we did get a large glass souvenir mug, discounted refills, and several "comp'ed" beers, so it was worth it! We also met some nice people on board, including a fun girl from Long Island, who gave us a lot of advice on cruising. Most of the people that we encountered on board were polite and having a fun time. The art auction was also fun to watch. Service: I can't say enough about how well this cruise was run. Everyone was so polite and accomodating. Example- a bottle of rum that we bought duty free in Hamilton was broken in transit by housekeeping. The Head of Housekeeping came to my room to apologize. NCL credited my account for what I paid. And, since you can't buy the type of rum that was broken in the US, the Duty Free store on the ship sold me a larger bottle of the same variety at the original price I paid. They went out of their way to make me happy. Laura, the on-board cruise consultant was also very helpful with all of our questions. She spent a ton of time with us as we talked about booking a cruise in the future. Again, very personable and professional. Shore excursions: We explored Bermuda on our own using the bud/ferry system. Honestly, I think you'd do better arranging your own excursions on shore. Overall: We had a great trip. Bermuda is a spectacular place. We had some reservations about cruising, because we don't like the idea of a structured vacation. NCL, however, converted us. The service was outstanding, and made for a great vacation. Next year, we're planning to take this same trip with our three small kids. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Background Info: I'm a 19 year old guy who has never been on a cruise line in my life. This was my first cruise line in general and also with Norwegian Cruise Lines. I have to say that I was a little nervous before actually getting ... Read More
Background Info: I'm a 19 year old guy who has never been on a cruise line in my life. This was my first cruise line in general and also with Norwegian Cruise Lines. I have to say that I was a little nervous before actually getting to the cruise terminal. However, the moment I stepped on that ship, I knew that I was in for an exciting vacation. And an exciting vacation I did have. It was more than exciting... try FANTASTIC. I have to say that I really enjoyed it and would be willing to take another cruise with NCL. Ship Info/Public Areas: The ship was originally the Superstar Leo until Norwegian Cruise Lines bought the ship in 2004. I have to say that overall this ship is beautiful. The Asian decor makes the ship classy and elegant. One of my favorite parts of the ship has to be the Grand Centrum. As soon as you walk in, this is the first thing you see. With three glass elevators, black marble floors, and fountains, you have to stare in amazement. Overall, I thought that the public areas on this ship were designed really well. On the 13th deck, there is the sun deck, a jogging track, a basketball court (which is also used for the dodgeball game), and a golf driving net, the 13th deck is also home to the Celebrity Teen Disco. I found the celebrity teen disco to be disappointing because I wasn't allowed in. They only allowed teens 13-17 in. You would think teen/19. Get the point? On the 12th deck you will find the Tivoli pool with 4 hot tubs. The 12th deck can get pretty packed during the day so if you especially want to use a hot tub go at night. There open till midnight on some nights. Also located on the 12th deck is the Internet cafe and the Galaxy of the Stars. The Galaxy of the Stars hosts many events such as the 70's, 80's, and NCL's White Hot Party. Located on the 8th deck you can go shopping at the jewelry store or visit the Duty Free Gift Shop for all of your ship souvenir needs. Want to view pictures that you've had taken during the week? Right across from the gift shop is the Galleria and Photo Gallery. Deck 7 is home to Maharajah's Casino. Deck 7&8 is also home to the Stardust Theater where you can see a different show every night. Overall the ship is designed for guests in mind. Traveling to Cruise Terminal/Getting on the Ship/Presail:: Getting to the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal was a breeze. From Hartford, CT to Boston, Ma took an hour and a half. We left at about 10:00 a.m. and were there by 11:45 a.m. When we got off the highway my sister and mother saw the ship right away. However I did not seeing that this was my first cruise, I thought the ship was a building. When I finally saw it, I couldn't believe how huge it was. By the time we parked it was 11:50 a.m. We dropped off our luggage with the porter and went to stand in line to get our key cards. We got into the terminal and waited in line to check in and receive our key cards. I would say that we were in line for under 30 minutes. At 12:30 p.m. we walked on the ship. Once everything was taken care of at the check in desk in the terminal we got to go right on the ship. As soon as you walk on you are greeted with entertaining music and a glass of champagne or orange juice. When you first walk in the first thing is the Grand Centrum which again is beautiful. I knew this was going to be fun. Don't forget once your on your free to do what you want, when you want. No set schedules, dinners, etc... So my first stop was food. I needed something to eat so I headed up to the 13th deck where they were serving an all american BBQ. I got a cheeseburger with french fries which was delicious. At 2 p.m an announcement was made saying that you were allowed to go to your stateroom. I dropped off my bags and proceeded to explore the ship. At 3 p.m. I went back to the room to grab my life vest for the mandatory muster drill at 3:30. Word of advice just go. It's only 15 minutes. You go and they show you how to put on your life vest and what to do if the ship needs to be evacuated. It's also the perfect opportunity to take pictures of your fellow guests in funny orange life vest. If you don't go, they know (they take attendance) and you are required to go to the makeup drill. At 4 p.m everyone went up to the 12 and 13th deck for the Sailing Away party. Basically it's the time where you wave goodbye to everyone on land. The two highlights I enjoyed were watching the planes landing at Logan International. They are so close to the ship, that you could practically touch them. THe other was watching Paul Baya our cruise director jump into the pool with all of his clothes on. Paul was a great cruise director and definitely knew how to keep the guests happy. Stateroom: We had an oceanview stateroom which was located on deck 6. Cabin # 6060. I have to say that for an oceanview stateroom, the size was pretty decent. There were two beds and a pull down bed from the ceiling. I slept on that bed and it was actually really comfortable. Even though the room was small the plus was the beds were high enough off the floor that you could store your luggage under the beds. This created more walking space since the closets aren't that big. The bathroom was what you would expect. Toilet, Sink & Shower. The nice thing about the toilet are was there was a glass (non-see-through) sliding door which offered you your privacy. I wish the shower door was like that. This one was see through. Overall, there were never any problems. The thermostat wasn't working correctly so we called maintenance and by the second day it was fixed. The front desk even sent a "check up" card to make sure we were happy it was fixed. The housekeeping staff (Joel) did an amazing job keeping our room clean and we were always anxious to see what towel animal would be on our bed at night. Entertainment/Activities: The entertainment on this ship was fantastic. They had shows every night. They put on such shows such as On Broadway, On the Radio, The Second City Comedy Troupe, and Richard Burr (Magician). Overall I enjoyed all of these shows. In addition to this being a family vacation, the main reason why I was on this cruise, was because my sister was performing on the ship. The dance studio she goes to was invited by NCL to perform twice. Once on Saturday and the other on Wednesday. The highlight of the entertainment though was the International Crew night. Basically on the last night, the crew comes out and performs for you. Overall, there was a lot of great talent and I got some amazing pictures. In addition to the event's held in the Stardust they held events at night in the Galaxy of the Stars such as the 70's and 80's dance party. On a select night NCL hosts the White Hot Party. This is the main event of the whole trip. Everyone dresses in white and there is a huge dance party. I have to admit this was a blast but it was very chaotic. NCL needs to get their information out better. In the freestyle daily, they said that the party was open to everybody but when you got there they checked your ID's and if you were under 18 security turned you away. Well lets just say this created an uproar especially for parents who had brought there children with them. The parents started complaining and finally the staff started letting everybody including children. This raised one question that I liked. People were saying at the time "If it's for people 18 or older why are they selling children's NCL White Hot Party T-Shirts." Other than that though the party was pretty "HOT!!" Other activities that I enjoyed were dodgeball and watching the hot dog eating contest that my friend participated in. Keep in mind I didn't do much on the ship the days we were in Bermuda. Dining: When it comes to dining, NCL had this covered. You will never go hungry with the 11 restaurants on this ship. In the mood for Italian? Try La Trattoria. How about Japanese? Well the chef's at the Teppanyaki are ready to cook something up right before your eyes. In the mood for a quiet dinner? Windows and The Garden are the place to go for a relaxed casual setting. I've been to these restaurants mentioned and everyone of them were fantastic. La Trattoria I had Fettuccine Alfredo. The Teppanyaki, I had steak and chicken (BTW: The fried rice is out of this world). At Windows, I enjoyed a nice Caesar salad appetizer with a tortellini entrEe and at the Garden I really loved trying the spicy pasta dish with sausage and vegetables. The spices were just right. For breakfast I ate at Raffles court which is a buffet type restaurant serving everything from made to order omelets, bacon, sausage and amazing hash browns. Raffles doesn't just serve breakfast. They also serve lunch and dinner. In the mood for a late night snack? Try the free 24 hour room service where you can get the best pepperoni pizza around and a delicious slice of chocolate cake. Or if you want some good old American food the Blue Lagoon is also open 24 hours serving Cheeseburgers, Hot Dogs, Chicken Nuggets, etc.. With the exception of the specialty restaurants which cost anywhere from $10-$25 all of the food is free. Soda is served on the ship so if you are an avid soda drink, I would suggest buying a soda card. One thing you don't want to miss is the chocolate buffet. On a select night, Raffles is transformed into a chocolate heaven. Chocolate desserts everywhere. This is something you don't want to miss. Be sure to get in line early cause EVERYONE goes. Staff: There really isn't much to say about the staff except that they are all FANTASTIC. If you needed something they went out of there way to get it for you. They were quick and efficient. They were friendly with every guest on board and definitely made you feel welcome. One thing I really liked about every crew member on board was they were always happy and they also got along with there fellow crew members. Disembarkation: The disembarkation process on NCL was a breeze. Going with the concept of "Freestyle Cruising," NCL allows you to walk off the ship at anytime. Basically they have color coded luggage tags that you pick up at the front desk. These color coded tags correspond to certain times you could walk off the ship. Since we had an event to get to in another part of MA we decided to do the walk off with your luggage option. They started letting people off the ship at 8:45 a.m. and we were off and cleared customs by 9 a.m. As much as I didn't want to get off the ship I had to. All in all I loved sailing with NCL. Even with it being almost a month later I miss it, am having cruise withdrawals and would love to go back. Hopefully I will be able to take a cruise with NCL in the near future. I actually miss it so much I applied for a job with NCL lol. Great cruise though. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
we first sailed ncl in 1980, and have enjoyed this line for many years. however, we had not sailed ncl in the past 7 years,and did not know what to expect.(last ncl ship was dreamward to bermuda).lately we have taken holland america, ... Read More
we first sailed ncl in 1980, and have enjoyed this line for many years. however, we had not sailed ncl in the past 7 years,and did not know what to expect.(last ncl ship was dreamward to bermuda).lately we have taken holland america, princess and cunard qm2, so we set low expectations for the dreamward.embarkation at nyc was outstanding. we had carry on luggage, and checked it with an attendant. lunch buffet wastypical banquet type food, good and plentiful.our balcony cabin, while not spacious, was clean and comfortable. best shower we have ever had. toilet placement was placed on an angle, and anyone over 6'2 and overweight will have problems.we took no land tours and purchased a two day water taxi(bus) pass for 24.00 ea. a one way ticket is 4.00 ea way perperson, so the one to three day pass is a good idea.we loved the italian and french restaurants at 10 to 15 dollars per personthe steakhouse was  25.00 per person, and felt it was a bit overpriced.we ate breakfast and all other dinners in the venetian and found acqua too noisey and crowded.all in all we were very satisfied withe ncl and the norwegian dawn, and will take ncl again.desembarkation was smoothe, and freestyle cruising is a great alternative to formal. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Our "Crackin, crackerjack, smashing Bermuda vacation on the beautiful Norwegian Dawn" (as stated by our CD John every time he made an announcement). This was my 5th time to Bermuda and second on the Dawn. We have cruised ... Read More
Our "Crackin, crackerjack, smashing Bermuda vacation on the beautiful Norwegian Dawn" (as stated by our CD John every time he made an announcement). This was my 5th time to Bermuda and second on the Dawn. We have cruised most of the popular cruise lines and have never had a bad cruise Did this same cruise on the Dawn in April '08 for our 30th wedding anniversary. This time we took the kids, if you can call them kids (16 and 21). Although we enjoyed our first trip on the Dawn, this one was much improved, especially in number of available activities, quality of food, and service by the crew. We left or home in Jersey City at 9:45 A.M. My sister drove us to the New York Waterway ferry for a quick trip to Manhattan. Pier 88 was only a short walk from there. At 10:30 we were in the check in line for Latitudes and were given boarding pass # 29, which seemed high to us. Embarkation picture taken, we were taken to the waiting area where we were guided to specific seats and told that the ship had arrived late and that this sailing would be greater than 100% occupancy. (This occurs when there are more than 2 to many cabins). So we sat down and talked with a nice family from CT. Surprisingly, boarding started at 11:45 starting with the number 27. We were on board at 11:50 enjoying our welcome aboard OJ. We decided to wait for lunch at the Venetian which would open at 12:30. So we took our boys for a tour of the ship. Also stopped at the spa to buy the week long pass for my wife and me at $150... probably the best $150 spent on the ship. The spa is a little used oasis with a pool, hot tub, therapy pool, lounge chairs and hot and cold beverages, Each time you visit you get towels, a robe and a locker. A wonderfully relaxing place that we enjoyed each day of the cruise. At 12:25 we headed to the Venetian for lunch and got a seat at the rear of the ship right by a window (we got the same table for breakfast on the last day of our cruise too). Starting the trip with a leisurely lunch beats the crowds at the buffet. The menu for lunch is the same each day and has really nice selections. I had chicken soup followed by fish and chips followed by ice cream. My wife Deb had Callamari. Alex had a grilled chicken sandwich which he said was dry, and Matthew had the Philly cheese steak. Other that the grilled chicken, everything was delicious. They have great fries on the Dawn. After lunch it was off to the mini suite, which is in reality just a large balcony room. But there was plenty of room for the 4 of us, even with the sofa bed open. And there was good storage. Had our steward empty the fridge so we would have room for our Brita water bottles. Our TA had ordered a bottle of wine and chocolate strawberries for us. TV's on the Dawn are 13 inch tube type with not as many channels as other lines and no interactive options for excursions or seeing your bill. We also received an apology letter that our excursion for Friday was canceled and we had been place on the Wednesday trip instead. We decided to cancel. Thursday and Friday were national holidays in Bermuda (for the annual cricket Cup Match) and all businesses would be closed both days. We had planned Wednesday to see a shop things while they were open. Bermuda is so easy to get around and so easy to plan, you really don't need excursions at all. We had planned it for Friday figuring it would be nice to have something to do on the holiday, but really were fine without it. After settling in our cabin we went to sign Matthew up for the teen program... a 4 page contract with contingencies for everything. You almost need a lawyer to figure it all out! Alex signed up for the soda card which with tip costs $50 and change. Muster was quick and painless in the theater. The sail away was pleasant, about 78 degrees and partly sunny. I heard that about an hour after we left, New York got some really nasty weather. glad we missed it. there is nothing like sailing out of New York. NCL does sail away right with a huge barbecue on the pool deck. Giant kettle grills with burgers, ht dogs, chicken, corn on the cob and a great fixings and salad bar. After sail away it was time for dinner in Aqua. We were seated promptly and got our order in. My son Alex and I had the strip steak with green beans and baked potato. My wife had Cod and Matthew had roast chicken that was more like a chicken stew. Crab cake was our starter. It wasn't bad and had shell fragments so the crab was real. The steak was a pleasant surprise... cooked perfectly and sliced like butter, a major improvement over last year when any beef on the ship was like shoe leather. Over all the food quality at NCL has improved tremendously and can rival any line. Unfortunately the selection is limited and often too fancy, looking great, but having little substance. Fortunately you can order off menu. My boys ordered a melon plate as a starter each night and a side of fries with their dinner. The fries on the Dawn are excellent. For dessert my wife had key lime pie while the rest of us had some really good ice cream. After dinner the boys went to the show while my wife and I enjoyed being on deck. We had seen all the shows in' '08 and they haven't changed. Dave Heenen, the comedian, is one of the worst I've ever heard. His self demeaning jokes are just lame and really not funny. Was disappointed he was still on the ship. Turned clocks ahead one hour before turning in. The new bedding for freestyle 2.0 is a major improvement. It is the best I've slept on any of my 10 cruises. The moderate seas helped rock us to sleep. I love the motion of the ocean. There was some noise in the hallway as workers laid plastic the length of the hallway. All new carpeting had been installed the week before, but now they were going to take our hallway ceiling down and put in all new fresh water pipes. Seems like backwards planning to me. NCL sent us a notice that the work would be going on for several days. The workers would work 8 - 5 daily and were very courteous and friendly, always willing to move their stuff so you could move freely in the hallway. The passengers were their priority so this was not an inconvenience at all. My credit card size pedometer tells me I walked 20,000 steps embarkation day. Monday, our first full day at sea was 80 degrees, cloudy, with moderate to rough seas (4 -7.5 feet waves... no where near the 22-27 foot waves we had last year). I love sea days and we easily get into a routine. We woke up well rested at 7:30 A.M. and went to the Venetian for breakfast. The dining room menu for breakfast is very good in selection and food quality. service is top notch. The waffles and omelets are especially good. The baby grand electronic piano seems stuck on James Bond themes, except for one day when it was playing a Christmas carol. After breakfast we walked the promenade. Four times around equals about a mile and a half. our boys went to see a movie. After walking we found chairs on the promenade to relax and read as the ocean went by. The old wood lounge chairs have been replaced with upright chars with a blue mesh type material. I read two books in two days while relaxing in these chairs. Lunch was in the Garden Cafe. Variety is good here with hot dishes, a pasta bar, fresh fruits, a deli and more. Try the quesadias made with a tomato based tortillas. A dividing rope, like those in a bank ones separates the pasta station from the buffet line which helps speed things up. Food quality is average cafeteria, good and plentiful. Milk, and ice tea are available. I made lemonade each day using the lemons provided for the iced tea. There is also a kids buffet with macaroni and cheese and even spaghettios. Again a very helpful and hard working staff keep this area running smoothly. In the afternoon we all took part in goofy golf, a small tournament put on by the CD staff in a lounge with putting cups. Alex then headed up to the sports deck and Matthew to the teen center. The teen program has numerous activities, but few participants. The teens just like hanging out together. Matthew chose what to go to and was with the group 'til midnight each night of the cruise. He did eat dinner and attend other activities with us. we went to the spa for the afternoon, the best kept secret on the ship, and a real bargain at $150 per couple for the week. Dinner in the Venetian was rack of lamb which was outstanding. My wife ordered the seafood extravaganza which had lobster, shrimp and more. It must have been good since she ordered it several times during the week. I enjoyed the asparagus soup and the Florida baked shrimp starters. Both were excellent. the shrimp is served i a special dish that was used for escargot until they discontinued that item due to lack of interest! After dinner we attended the show "Band on the Run" together which is a typical cruise show and much too loud. Later we went to the Spinnaker lounge for a Beatles tribute. The harmonies were good, but the solos weak. You haven't really lived until you've heard a Beatles tribute by a Filipino group. The Dawn has a great variety of music every night. The only one we saw that was poorly attended was country/western on the very empty pool deck! We then went to the Blue Lagoon for some before bed snacking. Good comfort food. Turned in at 12:30. Only 9,000 steps this day. Tuesday was very similar as we were now in a routine. Seas were moderate and it was sunny in the low 80's In the afternoon we attended a slight of hand card trick show in the movie theater. Gregg Gleason is a terrific magician. This should not be missed. The place was full, so if you go, get there early. There are always many activities from which to choose, but we often choose just to relax. We did go to the ice carving demonstration on the pool deck which was packed. Glad we didn't hang out there during the cruise. Again the spa is well worth the cost! We also bought one of the cruise certificates for our next cruise. At $250 with a $100 credit on your account and four years to book, this is a no brainer! Also spent some time planing our 3 days in Bermuda. 13,00 steps this day. Woke up early on Wednesday to watch the arrival in Bermuda, our favorite port of any cruise. I love getting up for sail in as the sun comes up. Noticed a ship coming towards us in the Distance. Eventually it passed close by. It was the Norwegian Spirit leaving Bermuda to head back to Boston. I've been on it and it is a delightful ship. Watched us dock at the new Heritage Warf which is right next to King's Warf. Breakfast in the buffet was fine. We ate in the buffet so we could debark quicker. Got off at about 8:30. In the Heritage Warf building they have a visitor center where you can by transportation passes for the ferries and bus. Cost is $20 for 2 days or $28 for 3. Called my sister on my cell which I always do when I get to Bermuda. In past years that call would have been $1.29 per minute roaming. After hanging up I got a text welcoming me to Verizon International. That didn't happen in previous years. After getting home I checked my bill to see the costs and noticed that Verizon treated that call and my son's call to his girlfriend as part of our plan minutes with no roaming charge at all. What a pleasant surprise! If I knew that I might have made some more calls. We took the 9:15 ferry to St. George's, visited a few sights and walked over to Tobacco Bay Beach, about a half mile away. Weather was 86 with clouds and sun, all sun in the afternoon. St. George's is a historic town with a number of interesting buildings. Tobacco Bay is a great Beach for families because it is shallow. It is also a great place for snorkeling. Walked back to St. George's for a reenactment of a criminal penalty called "the dunking chair". This reenactment is done at non on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Shopped a little before boarding the # 11 bus to Hamilton. This trip takes about 40 minutes and lets you get a good overview of the north side of the island. In Hamilton we did a little more shopping and had lunch at the Lobster Pot. Try the lobster,shrimp, crab cake sandwich or the Club Match. Both are terrific. Be aware Bermuda is expensive. A glass of Lemonade or a Coke is $5.50. Took the ferry back to the ship at around 3P.M. to relax at the spa before dinner. Since we wanted to return to Hamilton in the evening for Harbour Nights, a festival held every Wednesday, we decided to eat in the Garden Cafe to save time. The festival is basically a street fare with vendors and a music stage. Quite crowded. Planned to take the 9 P.M. ferry back to the ship but, after waiting 30 minutes it filled up too quickly. had to wait until 9:45 for the special ship's ferry which was much larger. Didn't see this as a major problem, but many people did, getting upset and giving New York a bad name. Come on people, relax. You are on vacation!! Went back to the ship and called it a night. 16,000 steps but it seemed like more Thursday and Friday were national holidays in celebration of the "Cup Match" which is the cricket version of the Super Bowl. One Bermudan told us we could go, pay $10 to sit in the visitor section where the game would be explained to us, and we would be fed. Now that is hospitality! Try that at the Super Bowl! We did not attend the game because of our limited time in Bermuda and we had other plans. All transportation for those days would be on a limited Sunday schedule and all businesses and restaurants would be closed. having done our homework, we knew attractions would be open so we took an early ferry to Hamilton and walked to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute(BUEI). This is a fascinating museum with displays of underwater exploration. They also have a great sea shell exhibit, and this summer a limited number of Titanic artifacts (no where near like the incredible Titanic exhibit in Manhattan this summer). Cost is $12.50 for adults and $6 for kids under 17. Well worth it. After the museum we visited Par La Ville Park in Hamilton, a delightful oasis. then we took he ferry back to the ship. In the afternoon we walked around the dockyard and bought a few things in the clock tower mall. Noticed one family boarding the ship who obviously missed departure in New York and flew down to join the ship. Also saw some crew leaving to fly to another sheep and a new spa crew board. The evening on the ship included time in the spa, an excellent magic show with Gregg Gleason, and the chocoholic buffet. All the chocolate looks good, but isn't that special when it comes to taste. 16,000 steps again. I've gotten into a rut! Friday was our last day in Bermuda, another sunny, hot day. Decided to skip the pedometer today. After a leisurely breakfast in Venetian, where the James Bond themes on the player piano were getting old, we took the bus marked "Special" directly to Horseshoe Bay Beach. You can take the # 7 bus, but that makes numerous stops. A fleet of "Special" buses await those from the ship at no additional charge other than the transportation pass. Horseshoe Bay is gorgeous. A large beach and many small cove beaches. The sand is firm and dense and easy to walk on. There are changing facilities and a snack bar. We spent the morning there and then went back to the ship for lunch before walking to Snorkel Park beach, a place we enjoy whenever in Bermuda. The place was packed!. Since it is within walking distance to the ship, many go there the last day so they won't have to rush back or worry about missing the ship. About 3:30 P.M. we headed back to the ship to relax and get ready to watch late comers running to the ship, always a fun experience as people gather on the promenade deck to cheer on late comers. this day the ship had to send an officer out in a golf cart to retrieve the last person, who was running late and more than likely called the ship to let them know. At 4:50 all were aboard, the gangway was taken in, ropes drawn in and we were ready to go. We stayed on deck for a while since it takes about an hour to clear Bermuda. after about 30 minutes we went to dinner in the venetian Dining room and got a table by the large windows at the rear of the ship and prepared for a peaceful dinner as Bermuda faded away. M, 21 year old son, Alex, accidentally discovered that his utensils had become magnetic. He entertained us, and the tables around us by using the knife to lift the fork from the table and suspend it in front of him. The tables all around us tried to do the same, with no luck. About 70 minutes after departure and with Bermuda still visible in the background all the lights went out and the engines stopped. Emergency lights came on and the ship continued a very slow forward movement in eerie silence. Dinner continued, but you could see some people getting nervous. After about 20 minutes the lights came on and the engines started and people cheered. Within a few minutes the captain came on and mentioned that we had a complete power outage but the problem was resolved and we were ready to continue to New York. i was hoping they'd see the need to check it out and return to Bermuda for another day, but no such luck. It did take a while to get the TVs in the cabins functioning again. Most channels were blank, except for the navigation channel which had a Windows NT boot screen. I overheard someone with an inside cabin say that it got pitch black in her room when the power went out. many on deck never even noticed. Skipped the pedometer for the rest of the cruise Saturday was a typical day at sea, relaxing and restful. Cloudy with moderate seas. The barf bags were put out but I doubt anyone needed them. In the afternoon we attended a memory seminar taught by the magician Gregg Gleason. It was entertaining but not memorable. Our final dinner was in Impressions, the Italian restaurant. It is an extra fee restaurant but we were tired of the menus in the dining room.. Think fancy Olive Garden, except Olive Garden has better food. Still it was nice to have new menu items to consider. Seems unusual but annoucements were few this cruise and I never felt as if we were being pushed to buy anything. We did buy two robes to remember the spa but had to ask where to purchase them (you buy them through your steward or at the pursers desk). Also bought some T-shirts on the last day when they went on sale (don't buy them earlier). Also at the prsers desk you can buy a map of the cruise with itinerary and captains signature for under $9, not a bad momento. Sunday morning we woke up at 5:30 to see the Narrows and Coney Island in the distance. Went to breakfast in the Venetian at about 7:15 while coming up the Hudson. Ship docked during breakfast, slightly ahead of schedule. Disembarking is easiest on NCL than any other line. On Saturday night you can choose the color tag you want according to when you want to get off or you can choose no tag and take express debarkation if you are willing to take your own luggage. Once the ship is cleared you can get off whenever you want as long as you are off by 10:30. The theater runs one last movie and pools are open. We chose this express debarkation and it was simple. After breakfast we went to our room and gathered our belongings. Walked right off at 9:00. with no delay at customs. Walked 10 minutes in pouring rain to NY Waterway ferry to Weehawken where we were picked up by my sister and were home in Jersey City by 9:45. Having enjoyed a marvelous, relaxing family vacation; a crackin crackerjack smashing good time on the beautiful Norwegian Dawn. And to my shock I actually lost half a pound! pictures athttp://web.me.com/pekrause/Site/Norwegian_Dawn_09.html Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Embarkation went smoothly and easily.  Long line to check bags, but it moved fast.  Arrived around 11:15 and were in our room by 12:10, but we got to go through check-in quickly due to being in a suite.  Great perk!First day had a great ... Read More
Embarkation went smoothly and easily.  Long line to check bags, but it moved fast.  Arrived around 11:15 and were in our room by 12:10, but we got to go through check-in quickly due to being in a suite.  Great perk!First day had a great lunch in Cagney's another perk of suite that definitely helped make the extra $ worth it.  Wonderful service all cruise long by the staff there.  Got to know our suite and the ship.  Lovely ship lots of wonderful Asian art and kept very clean and lovely at all times.  The lifeboat drill was boring but relatively quick (20 minutes maybe), and pulling out of Boston was great.  Dinner that night at Windows the only time we at there.  The food was fine and the service was good, but it was noisy and crowded, and just not our idea of a relaxing dinner experience, so we ate in the specialty restaurants the rest of the nights.  Went to opening night show with the cruise director, but left after awhile not really our idea of entertainment.  Trip to Bermuda smooth sailing and fun relaxing in the sun, eating great food, and enjoying our room for downtime.  We enjoyed some time in the casino, though never spent a lot of money.  No pressure to spend more than we wanted there, either, which was refreshing as compared to on-land casinos we've been to.  Enjoyed dancing in the Galaxy of the Stars.  Generally, a relaxing cruise to Bermuda.Bermuda docked by 11:00 and were off the ship by 12:00 didn't rush to be among the first.  Lots of public transportion available, and extra busses were running to the south shore beaches, which is where we went.  Horsehoe Bay is lovely, but we wanted to snorkel.  When we moved to a different beach nearby, we discovered that the southshore beaches have very rough water that makes snorkelling impossible.  The Royal Naval Dockyards where the ship docks are worth a look around, and the Snorkel Park there is adequate if you just want to see a few fish.  Not many to see, but enough, and if you don't rent anything, you can go there for free.We ate most meals on the ship to save money.  Did eat in St. George one day at the George and Dragon pub - -nothing special, but not awful.  Definitely recommend going to St. George on a sunny day to snorkel at Tobacco Bay.  Hamilton was a city without a lot of charm, but lots of shopping.  The nearby Botanical Gardens were lovely.LOVED the Second City improv group on board.  They put on the best shows we saw the whole time.  The White Hot Party was a lot of fun, too.  Beyond that, we didn't find many of the shows to be that great, but there were other options to keep us busy, so no big deal.Cruising back we hit rough waters, and it was not much fun for about 5 hours one day.  But we got through it and moved into calmer waters for most of the rest of the trip. Overall, it was a wonderful cruise, and the staff were what made it so.  We were pampered all the time, and not only because we were in a suite.  While having a concierge and butler was nice in theory, it was actually the staff in the restaurants and our room steward who made us feel most taken care of.  Every staff member we talked to was upbeat, pleasant and very helpful.Being in a suite was a wonderful experience, and if it's possible for your budget, go for it.  The jacuzzi tub with a window looking out to the ocean was wonderful, and the meals at Cagney's were the other major perk we enjoyed.  The concierge was fine, though she dropped the ball once or twice so we weren't blown away.  We rarely asked the butler for anything, but when we did he was attentitive.The Spirit is a beautiful ship with lots of public space and lots to do.  And lots of time to just relax, too.  Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
I took a 7 night cruise that left from Boston, Ma and it went to Bermuda for 3 days. Embarkiation was pretty fast and I was on th eship at around 12 or so. I ate lunch in the windows dining room the first day because they buffets are ... Read More
I took a 7 night cruise that left from Boston, Ma and it went to Bermuda for 3 days. Embarkiation was pretty fast and I was on th eship at around 12 or so. I ate lunch in the windows dining room the first day because they buffets are always packed. The people at windows try and get you to go to the buffet. Food- For breakfest it was the buffet every day. The buffet is really good because there are a lot of choices. You can have your own omlete made with whatever you want on it. Lunch I ate at windows during the days at sea and when we were in Bermuda I would come back and eat at either the blue lagoon or the grill by the pool. Blue Lagoon's food is realyl good but the place is so small and packed. I ate at windows every night for dinner on the ship. Never ate at the speciatly restaurants because there is really no point to spend extra money on a steak. This is not the first or second time I have been on the spirit. This is the third time I have been on the ship so I knew what everything was all about and all my time on, never ate at the specialty restaurants. The menu choices on windows werent as good as I remebered. Entertainment- During the days at sea there was a decent amount to do. The pool is always crowded, so I never went in. If you want to go in the pool, it is best to go in, in the morning because that it when it is clean and least crowded. They have bingo during the day (I only played the free games). They have various other activities during the day. The shows were good and bad. The first night was not much of a show, it was just the cruise director attempting to be funny. The next night was the singers and dancers that are on the ship which is never a good show. Then there was second city, they were decent, the magician was good. Ken groves, the ventriliquist was the best show by far. It kept my interest the whole time and was hiliarous. There was one night where there was the white  hot party. Its all hype for nothing, dont waste your time going. It was awful. People would go and leave. It is in a small room and everyone is on top of eachother. Bermuda- Bermuda was nice. Went to horseshew beach. Weather was good there except for the last day where there was only like an hour of sun. The water on the ship was rought one day, leaving bermuda. Overall it was a very good trip. Staff was nice and smiling at you every time you walked by. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
This was our fourth cruise with NCL and our first on the Spirit. I enjoyed not having to fly and we only had to drive 45 minutes to the pier and we arrived at the pier at 11:15 am and we were on the boat by 12 noon and that is when our ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise with NCL and our first on the Spirit. I enjoyed not having to fly and we only had to drive 45 minutes to the pier and we arrived at the pier at 11:15 am and we were on the boat by 12 noon and that is when our vacation started. The whole vacation was great the only thing was that the buffett closed at 9:30pm and if you were hungry after that you could go to the Blue Lagoon which was a non charge restaurant and they do have a limited slection. I enjoyed eating at Windows it was a much larger restaurant than the other one but thay both had the same food and I found the service great in both and the staff were very friendly and did a great job. I did not use a credit card on this trip as I open a cash account and NCL makes this proicess very simple. When I arrived on the ship I went to the appriopriate desk to open the on board credit andf they asked me how much I wanted to put down and the whole process from start to finish only took 15 minutes  and I received money back at the end of the cruise. We had 2 balcony rooms which wrer nice and clean and we never had a problem with the upjkeep of the room as it always looked great. The pool was open until 10pm which was nice and it was really only crowded on 2 days at sea other then that it was gtreat. I never found a problem getting a table or a deck chair and there were plenty of deck chairs on the upper level overlooking the pool. I found my fellow passengers very friendly and typical New Englanders what I mean by that is very helpful to others. Bermuda weas great I would suggest you get the 2 day bus pass as the bus takes you right to the beac h and it is about a 25 minute bus ride and the bus is air conditioned and nice and when you leave the beach you walk up the hill and the bus stop is right there to take you back to the pier and if you do not want to walk up the hill there is a shuttle up to the top for $2.00. We went to Tabacco Bay and this was one of the most beautifukl beaches I have ever seen. The water was alittle rough but there are lifeguards at the beach and the beach is free. On the first day we went to the Snorkle Park and this was ok for the first day but I am glad we went to the other beach. The cruise home was great no rough seas and the captian goes slower and we saw about 20 whales from our balcony. Ther shows were nice try to check oput the magic act as he was excellent. Overall this was agreat cruise and a great vacation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Our family of four ( myself, husband and 2 daughters ) along with my parents traveled on the Spirit departing 7/10.  This was a last minute idea, we booked just two weeks prior to departure.  Despite the short notice, I still had time ... Read More
Our family of four ( myself, husband and 2 daughters ) along with my parents traveled on the Spirit departing 7/10.  This was a last minute idea, we booked just two weeks prior to departure.  Despite the short notice, I still had time to do a lot of research here on CC.  We had a great time - relaxing for us, fun and exciting for the girls.  One of the main reasons we chose this was the fact that it departs from Boston, which is only a short drive from home.    Embarkation/Disembarkation - After all of my research, I have to admit, I was a little nervous about this.  However, it was quick and painless.  We arrived at the port by 10:45 and within an hour, we were on vacation.  Yes there were lines, but they moved along and everyone along the way was quite helpful.  Coming home is never fun, but this too went smoothly.  They were actually running ahead of schedule - we choose red - by 10:15 we were actually in our car and headed home.   Booking at the last minute has it's pros and cons.  One of the cons being room selection.  Not much left at the last minute for a party of four - only an inside cabin - and we were really hoping for a balcony.  After reading lots of posts here on CC, I realized that the Spirit does not have balconies that accommodate 4 and only a few OV that do.  Luckily with the parents joining us we were able to book 3 and 3.  Again, after more research, I was able to book one OV that is substantially larger  (8500) and the four of us did sleep in there.  I'm still confused as to why they don't sell it as a quad, but it worked for us - 2 lowers, 1 bunk, and 1 pull out.   Because of a health issue, one member of our party requires a special diet, low sodium/low cholesterol.  I was a little concerned about this, but not to worry.  Upon embarkation we went to lunch at Windows and meet one of the senior waiters who was able to handle all of our requests.    I do believe that some things are subjective, one of them being food.  We had all good experiences.  We dined at Raffles, Windows, Blue Lagoon, Shogun, we also had sushi and ordered room service.    Raffles - for a breakfast buffet, we thought this was great.  The omelets and eggs cooked to ordered were better than Windows in our opinion.  Also the huge selection of food is great for the kids.  We loved all of the cut fresh fruit.  Some mornings there was also fresh squeezed juice available to purchase.  For lunch we also enjoyed the buffet - something for everyone, always a good salad available and again, love that fresh fruit!   Windows - we experienced great service here at all meals.  The staff is friendly, helpful and accommodating.  The food is fine- not gourmet, but certainly a good meal.   Blue Lagoon - after all of my reading, we had to try the fried fish.  Everyone in our party who tried it, enjoyed it.  The burgers were good too!   Shogun - service and food were very good.  We got a little carried away and probably ordered too much.  The sushi is great - an opportunity to try a few different new rolls!   Room service - We ordered breakfast and coffee a few mornings - food was good, coffee just ok.   As you can see, by only complaint would be the coffee.  I prefer a strong coffee, even the cafe wasn't strong enough in my opinion.  But it was nice to have the option of ordering cappuccino and espresso in the dining room.   Drinks - as far as alcohol is concerned, I can't complain, I didn't think the prices were crazy, we really thought they were fair.  Certainly not more expensive than a club or restaurant, maybe a little more than your local pub!  For the kids, the teen passport is a deal.  This is available on your day of embarkation - $35 for 20 coupons good for a soda or smoothie.  This was a big hit for us.   Entertainment - again, I think this is a very subjective area.  We did go to a few shows, some which were better than others.  The Second City was great.  To each his own, I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone from going to any of the shows.   Children's activities - Our kids really enjoyed the kids club.  Always something different going on.  The kids pool area is great.  Our kids loved it - the water slides and hot tub.  Also, for us, it was a little less crowded than the main pool, so that was kind of nice.   Service - I can't say enough about the crew aboard the Spirit.  Everyone was extremely friendly, helpful and really went above and beyond to make us feel special.    Bermuda - having been to Bermuda on other occasions, we decided not to take any excursions.  We purchased bus/ferry passes and traveled to some of the beautiful beaches that Bermuda has to offer.    Day 1 - Snorkel Park - IMO this was just ok - the kids liked it and it is very calm, a good place for their first experience snorkeling.  We rented beach chairs - they really weren't that comfy, they were cracked, but it all worked out ok.  Also, there were no umbrellas - supposedly they were all broke.  Again - kids had fun, in the end, that's all that matters.   Day 2 - Horseshoe bay - for those that have never been, I can't say enough....it is spectacular.  It does get very crowded.  I suggest going early, by noon it will be packed.  The sand and ocean are so clean and beautiful.  We had some pretty good waves going on, but over to the right in the little cove area, it was like a pool, perfect for little ones.  Rented chairs and umbrellas - cash only.   Day 3 - Tobacco bay - again, very, very beautiful. We took the first ferry and had the place to ourselves for a short while.  This beach area is small so it does get crowded.  Rented chairs and umbrellas - cash only.  We took a taxi from the ferry which cost $6 in each direction - it is walkable but hilly.   Hamilton - IMO, not what it used to be, but still fun to walk around and shop.   St. George - very picturesque   Summary - a great time was had by all.  We would definitely cruise with NCL again.  Freestyle is for us.  We loved the flexibility, no pressure, no rushing.  For the price, it's a nice vacation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
    I am writing this review because I found others' reviews so very helpful prior to our cruise.  First, I appreciated the tip to pack an over-the-door shoe organizer or travel bag to keep your tiny bathroom organized.  ... Read More
    I am writing this review because I found others' reviews so very helpful prior to our cruise.  First, I appreciated the tip to pack an over-the-door shoe organizer or travel bag to keep your tiny bathroom organized.  Especially if you are sharing your cabin with others!  The three adults in our cabin functioned just fine, and the steward cleaned up our room twice a day, which helped tremendously!  Our beds were very comfortable and I slept like a log every night.  I have no complaints at all about our accommodations.  They were very clean, comfortable, and efficiently arranged to meet our needs.      We had a port-hole, which we mostly kept shut to keep out the sunlight and to keep from getting dizzy looking at the rocking-and-rolling waves that were just below us. (We were on the lowest floor and closest to the water).  Next time, I wouldn't be adverse to having an inside room since they appeared to be the same size.    I really have only two "criticisms" about the on-ship experience.  First, it is very hard to get large glasses of WATER.  Bartenders are within an arm's reach practically 24 hours a day from what I could tell, but getting enough water to keep from getting dehydrated required work and planning.  Tiny 6-8oz glasses were available in Raffles.  We took our own water bottles, but a sign on the water/soda fountain asked people not to fill up their water bottles there.  So, to comply with this unhelpful rule, we had to fill up in the public bathroom or our stateroom before going to the pool.  Given the amount of sun and alcohol that people are consuming, I am surprised that more people don't keel over from dehydration.      My other "pet peeve" concerned the beach/pool towels.  A printed notice in the room said that a lost towel would result in a $24.00 charge to your bill.  That seemed punitive, harsh, and unreasonable to me.  So, I obsessed about not leaving our towels at the pool, although apparently most of the rest of my fellow-vacationers did not.  Towels were left on chairs as early as 8:00am and no one came to claim them all day long.  I think NCL needs a more accomodating system for towels, and they should be removed from chairs if they are not used for hours on end.    Other than these two small annoyances, we had a wonderful time.  We ate primarily in Windows and the Garden Room and found both to be healthy and delicious meals.  We avoided Raffles because it was crowded, chaotic, and typical high-carb/high-fat American fare.  I took a tip from a previous cruise review and ordered coffee and bran muffins from room service each morning, which was wonderful.  I also took another tip and ordered some turkey sandwiches from room service to throw in our backpacks when we set out to explore Bermuda.  Great idea!!!    In terms of our time in Bermuda, I wish I had known that all of the stores, etc. in Hamilton are closed on Sunday and close at 5:30 during the week.  We wasted time not knowing these facts!!  We should have just jumped on a bus to the South Shore beaches from the Dockyard on Sunday rather than catching the ferry to Hamilton and looking for the central bus station (which is several blocks up the hill from the ferry dock and not visible from the dock).  Also, if I had it to do over again, I would plan our South Shore beach trip for earlier or later in the day when the sun is less intense.  We were exhausted by the relentless tropical sun.  Take lots of water with you and a hat!!!!  We walked from Warwick Bay to Horseshoe Bay along a sandy trail.  Again, this would have been more pleasant if we had done it sometime other than the heat of the day.    We ended up purchasing a Catamaran snorkeling excursion, which we all three enjoyed (our ages are 50, 18, 21).  The guides on the "Rising Sun" catamaran were good and very informative and entertaining.  I was glad we did this activity, although my daughter was dismayed at the condition of the coral reef and thought the guides should have been more forceful with the tourists about not touching or damaging it.  She saw an adult STANDING on the coral reef, which kills it. It is sad and alarming to see our environment being destroyed.    In Bermuda, we particularly enjoyed walking around the quiet streets of St. Georges.  My daughter found a lovely dress for 75% off in one of the shops there.  Then we jumped on a bus and went to the Aquarium and Zoo, which was very nice. On our ferry ride back across to the ship, we sat across from our steward, who was friendly and answered our questions about what it is like to work 7 days a week, 10 hours a day, 10 months out of the year on a cruise ship!  Please be nice to the folks who work on the ship....I don't know how they manage to be so polite (almost) all of the time given the demands they are under and their sometimes rude and demanding clientele!!    The only "specialty" restaurant we went to was the Sushi.  I wish we had signed up for the sushi-making/saki tasting event.  That would have been fun.  We attended the martini-tasting in Champagne Charlie's TWICE because it was so entertaining, fun, and a good value. Again, this event came highly recommended by a previous reviewer, and I am glad that I got the 'heads up' about it because we, too, thoroughly enjoyed it!    We particularly enjoyed the Second City troupe and the ventriloquist who performed in the evening.  In sum, we had a great time!  I hope you do too!!  And again, thanks to those who have taken the time to write reviews...I found them immensely helpful, thus, I hope this review will be helpful to someone else.    Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Just got back from a week on the Norwegian Spirit sailing from Boston to Bermuda.   I sailed with my wife and two girls (10 and 15) in a cheapie cabin (inside cabin, deck 6 forward).   We also sailed with my in-laws (an older couple in ... Read More
Just got back from a week on the Norwegian Spirit sailing from Boston to Bermuda.   I sailed with my wife and two girls (10 and 15) in a cheapie cabin (inside cabin, deck 6 forward).   We also sailed with my in-laws (an older couple in their 60's).  This was the first time taking my girls, having sailed 4 other times on the same cruise in the last 5 years, first on the Majesty and then on the Dawn.Prior to this cruise, the last couple of NCL cruises were substandard at best.  The Majesty is an older, smaller boat that was really showing it's age by the last time we sailed on it and the Dawn had some of the worst service I've ever seen.   When being told that the Spirit was now on the Boston to Bermuda run, I was cautiously optimistic.   The boat is much bigger than anything I have previously sailed on and it appeared to have a very nice selection of food and entertainment.    To be honest, after the last cruise I really wasn't planning on sailing NCL anymore.  The last couple of cruises were that bad.  However, we decided to give NCL a last try after reading up on the Spirit and reading a few reviews on this site.  I am glad we did.The cruise was just about perfect.   First of all, the weather was perfect every day.  The worst we had was 30 minutes of rain sailing outbound and a 5 minute rainstorm while on the island.   The rest of the time, we had no issues.   Sunny and 80 on the boat and mostly sunny and a hot 85 on the island. Even though it was 85 on Bermuda, just be warned that the sun is HOT and if you are walking around, you WILL feel it.   The good news was that we always had a nice breeze and just enough clouds to give you a break from the heat. I was a bit nervous after hearing that the boat was 100% full but was very surprised that there were no lines at any of the onboard restaurants.  The longest wait was 10 minutes during prime dining time at Windows (the main restaurant on the boat). The rest of the time we were seated immediately.  The pools were always accessible and it was even possible to score a couple of lounges without searching for hours.  There was a good mix of families and young / old couples on the boat.  No swarms of kids taking over the pools and hot tubs and no packs of drunken college kids either.   Just a good mix of people.  The service was outstanding throughout the cruise (unlike the last couple of voyages).  All meals were delivered in a very quick timeframe and the wait staff had outstanding attention to detail, even offering non-menu options for my very picky 10 year old.   It seemed that they were really trying to please the guests this time around.  The waiters at poolside were attentive without being annoying (you could always find someone to get you a drink but you weren't being hounded every 3 minutes). The cabin was NCL standard.  Nothing fancy but it was clean, had comfortable beds (too firm for the inlaws but they were provided with a foam egg crate to soften up their bed) and all the other basics such as coffee maker, TV, etc.  I will tell you that we were doing this on a budget and opted to keep all of us in a single cabin.   This means that we had a bunk bed on one side, a single on the other and mattress on the floor between the lower two beds.  During the day, the floor mattress was stowed under one of the beds and the upper bunk was folded against the wall.   To say it was tight was an understatement but we were using the cabin simply as a place to sleep and clean up in the AM.  The main priority was to save money.  We made it work with minimal issues, your mileage might vary quite a bit.    If money was no object, a second ajoining room for the kids would have been the way to do it right.With regard to the food, we had zero issues.   Windows served up great food every night, each night having a new menu with very creative dishes and outstanding service.We really enjoyed Shogun which has an Asian Fusion type menu (although the vast majority of the dishes are Chinese.  This was a "premium" restaraunt and carried a $15/person surcharge.  Well worth it in my opinion.  We ordered a second entre during our meal there to share amongst us, the staff had no issues with this at all.  When they accidently topped off my glass of mineral water with "regular" water, the maitre'd immediately came over and insisted that I accept a second bottle at no charge.  When I reviewed the invoice at the end of the meal, I also found that they had credited the first bottle of water as well!We also dined at Cagney's steakhouse and enjoyed wonderful filet mignons.   There was a bit of a wait after we were served the app's but the waitress informed us that in order to cook the steak correctly, it took a bit longer than a regular steak.    Fully expected and no worries at all...My personal favorite was Henrys.  An old school British pub with great atmosphere, a nice range of beer and free soft pretzels and popcorn.  Unlike the "sports bar" on the last boat which was just a regular bar in the corner of a busy cafeteria with a few sports pictures on the wall, Henrys is the real deal.   It was off the main lobby area and during most of the day was alway pretty quiet.   A very relaxing place to get away from the sun and noise topside.  When ordering beer by the glass, the bar tender always made a point of shaking the glass with some ice first to chill it.  I though that was a pretty nice touch.  The only downside to Henry's was that after 9PM they fired up the karioke and it got pretty loud and crowded.   They also had a good number of teens singing and (in my opinion), kids really shouldn't be present in a bar.  My other main haunt was the Bier Garten overlooking the pool deck.  Not a lot of German touches but it was a nice place to hang out and enjoy the views.   I also liked how they had canvans tents over the entire area around the bar to keep you out of the sun.If you are into a bit of drinking, I would strongly recommend the pub crawl and the martini tasting.  Both carry a $15/person charge but you get a lot of beverages for the money and you have a great time to boot. One downside that I noted was that regular domestic beer is now $4.95 a bottle, up a dollar from last year.   Still cheaper than what you can get charged in other bars but more than I would have liked to paid.  As far as the others in my group, the two girls had a great time.  There is a kids pool with water slides and a kiddie hot tub at the rear.  They enjoyed that quite a bit (also liked shooting baskets and taking some golf swings).  When the kids pool got a bit crowed with younger ones, they moved up the to the main pool and loved it as well.  Unlike other cruises which had the main pools closed quote a bit due to rough weather or other issues, the main pool and hot tubs were open 24/7.  There was a dedicated club for teens which looked very nice from the outside (it had a "no adults allowed" sign at the door), a nice arcade and plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained.   From what I saw, it looked like there was an outstand little kids program (ages 3-7).Entertainment was great.  We really enjoyed the Second City improv troop (same group that launched Belushi, Ackroyd, Tina Fey and a bunch of other stars) and Richard Burr (a wonderful magician).  The boat itself was immaculate and the crew seemed driven to provide outstanding customer service.  Other than that, there is not much I can add except to say that NCL has won us back.  If this cruise had been a repeat of the last two, it would have been our last.  Instead, we hope to return sometime in the future and do it all over again.With regard to Berumda, we have been there five times and it never gets old.  The weather has always been great and the people are the best.   I've spoken to a bunch of folks that have sailed the caribean and to a person, they all say that nothing else out there measures up to Bermuda.  As this was the first time for our kids, we kept it pretty simple for the three days we were in port.  Day One was spent at Horseshoe Bay (the most famous of all the Bermuda beaches).   It is recommened because you can get there on the bus and it has a full beach club (showers, food and beer are all availabe).   The beach was beautiful and the water was crystal clear and around 82 degrees.   Bring a dive mask and snorkel or you will miss out on some wonderful views of fish and reefs.Day 2 was spent taking the water shuttle to St. George.  After showing the kids the town (it was very quiet since there was no boat in the harbor that day), we walked a mile or two to Tobacco Bay which is a nice secluded inlet with some great snorkeling.  It does have a place to change and get a drink but be forwarned that there are no showers.After drying off, we hopped on the bus and went to the best bar in the world (the Swizzle Inn).  Had a nice lunch and a  pitcher of rum swizzles.   After that, it was back to St. George to catch the water shuttle back to the Dockyards.Day three was back to Horseshoe bay (our in-laws could not make it on Day 1 so we agreed to go back there with them).  The girls had no problem with this and we spent all morning enjoying the sun and surf.   We also took the girls to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse.  For a small fee, you can climb approx 200' in the air and venture outside onto a very small catwalk to see pretty much the best view imaginable.  Just note that if you have a fear of heights, this may not be for you.After going back and cleaning up on the boat, we did some shopping at the Dockyards and explored the fort and the dolphin encounter located within.  If you have a few hundred extra dollars you can swim with the dolphins for a few minutes.  Otherwise, you can walk right up to the side of the pools and see the dolphins up close.  One thing I would strongly recommend is to save a bunch of money and use public transportation.  For $28/person (less for kids), you get a three day pass that can be used for all buses and water shuttles.  The service is outstanding and both bus and water shuttle offer a great way to see the island.  Only a couple of downsides to the visit.  The first is that NCL no longer sails into St. George.  I much prefer nice, quiet St. George to the Dockyards.   While the Dockyards is ok, it is on the very tip of the island and really doesn't offer much once you have checked out the fort and shops.   That is just my opinion and others may feel differently.    The last night there, we went out at 9:30PM and the place was pretty much dead.  The other downside is that the boat arrives at 11AM on day 1 and leaves at 6AM on Day 4.   Previously, the boat would arrive first thing in the AM so you had a full day to explore.  Now, after waiting for customs clearance and getting in line to debark and purchase your bus passes, the day is is half over before you can even start sightseeing.  It used to depart at 11:30 AM so you actually had a good portion of the 4th day to do some last minute shopping, swimming or sightseeing.  By leaving at 6AM, you really don't get any land time on day 4.  With the new schedule, you actually end up with only 2.5 days on Bermuda instead of the 3.5 you used to get. Anyway, that pretty much wraps it up.  I was very pleased with the entire package and will have no problems doing it again sometime in the future.   Given the previous two cruises, this was the last chance for NCL and they delivered!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
NCL Dawn NYC to Bermuda June 7-13 Review The beginning: My wife and I just returned from our fourth cruise to Bermuda and our first on the Dawn. The Dawn was a beautiful ship and the staff was excellent! We went with a CC Group and had our ... Read More
NCL Dawn NYC to Bermuda June 7-13 Review The beginning: My wife and I just returned from our fourth cruise to Bermuda and our first on the Dawn. The Dawn was a beautiful ship and the staff was excellent! We went with a CC Group and had our first of two M&G's right after the muster drill and of the 65 members on our roll call, not including lurkers, about 20 or so showed up which isn't bad for a M&G after the muster drill as many cruisers have their own plans for sail away. It was great to put some faces to the screen names and everyone was very nice. We were also very lucky to have one of the CC members who had both GV's and some owner's suites offer all of us a tour of the GV! It was amazing and thank you so much Dennis for having us! Since part of our roll call was our CC group, we all proudly wore our "King's Wharf Rats" shirts and it was great meeting most of the group during the afternoon and early evening while we wondered around the ship. We had dinner with one of the couples on our roll call and the cruise was off to a great start! On Monday we had our "official" M&G with the NCL senior staff including the captain, and everyone showed up for this one! The staff all spoke to us and we could put our names into a raffle to eat with the staff and just like I read it's almost a guarantee you'll get picked if you enter!! A continental breakfast was served and we had a fun time with a gift swap myself and the roll call had planned. Since I organized the M&G I didn't get a chance to enter my name in the raffle so after the M&G I went to the front desk and asked to speak to Anna (forgot her title) about entering the raffle. They asked me what I wanted to speak to her about and I told them and the next thing I knew Anna came out and said hi Barry, how can I help you. I told her I wanted to enter the raffle and even politely asked her if I could eat with the comedian and the doctor who I read about on the boards as a good table to be at. The doctor was out but Anna said she would see what she could do. We wound up eating with Dave the comedian who was very very funny, and John the Cruise Director and we had a great dinner with wine provided by the staff! Embarkation: Our son dropped us off at pier 88 around 10:30 and as latitude members getting through security was a breeze! In fact, everyone at the pier had an easy time getting through security and checking in to the ship. They gave us numbers to board the ship and we were onboard before noon and went directly to the Venetian for lunch which was great! Room/Food/Shows/Casino: We had our first aft BA cabin 9238 and it was excellent though we thought the room was a bit small. But having the aft was like having private water fall when the balcony door was opened and when shut, it was very quiet! We had the cabin steward empty our fridge the first day and loaded it with water and ice tea we had brought on board! And yes; if you can get one of the two BA afts on deck 10 the balconies looked to be almost twice the length! The food was good at both the Aqua and Venetian while I'm not sure we liked the new menu's which are different in each restaurant, but the same each night. And don't forget, you can get ice tea and cappuccino at no extra charge in the dining rooms! But there was plenty to eat and we only had to wait to get in the first night so go early to beat the crowd!! The Blue Lagoon was great and always open and we had the wings several times and I even got our breakfast for the last day there with no crowds and my DW and I enjoyed our last morning having breakfast in bed. The buffet was huge with lots to choose from and we loved the pasta bar! We had dinner at two of the pay restaurants. We ate at was Impressions which was excellent for the $10/pp cover with a real good multi course Italian meal. I even asked for Veal Parmesan which was not on the menu and they made it for me!! We also ate at the Teppanyaki with 6 of our CC Group Rat friends. The presentation and food was very good and we all had a great time and dinner for the $25/pp cover! We caught all but one of the shows and liked them all! The band and dancers were excellent and they also had some specialty dancers who were amazing as well as some gymnastic type entertainment which was amazing. We loved Dave the comedian though he's not for everyone. And unfortunately we missed the magician. The casino was nice though there was only one roulette wheel which did get crowded at night. However, they did have an automated game with around 10 seats for what I call "quick" roulette with an actual wheel and computer payouts. I saw something similar in Vegas and really enjoyed it as sometimes the real table is too slow with payouts and chip staking. You can bet around every 20 seconds after a roll. I play the same 5 numbers every time so I bet using the repeat button was nice and easy. I am a moderate gambler but usually win one night during the cruise and our first night at the table was my night!!!!!!!! One of my numbers came up three times in a row and I racked up my second biggest win ever gambling. Thank you 6 (you know who you are) and all the rest of my friends who routed me on at the table and I ended my night with some Yager shots to celebrate!! Ya baby!! Bermuda: What can I say about Bermuda! We love the place and if there are any beaches nicer then Horseshoe Bay and Tobacco Bay please let me know! Returning to Bermuda for the fourth time we knew our way around. We rented mopeds as we always do and NO, I do not recommend them for everyone and YES, we did see several people go down! The roads are very windy, you have to drive on the left, and there are many blind spots! We had perfect weather every day of our cruise! On the first day we went to Horseshoe Bay and it was even more beautiful then I remembered. We got there early and saw a lot of our group members. Though it does get crowded, the beach is so large you can get all the privacy you want. And if you walk to the left of the beach you can walk to several other beaches which are breathtaking! On our second day we had a very busy day planned. We got up early and took the moped on the ferry and headed to St. George and Tobacco Bay! Awesome!! We stayed about an hour or two then headed to Alexander Battery beach which I read had sea glass and we wanted to do something new! There was tons of glass just laying there though the jackpot stash was a short walk on the right and you'll see a cave loaded with sea glass. You have to navigate over some rocks to get there so I passed as I'm not as young as I used to be! From there we took about a 20 minute ride to the original Swizzle Inn which we had never gotten to on our first three Bermuda cruises. We had planned to meet up with several other couples from our CC group and they were all there though I could only have one drink since I was driving. The rum Swizzler's were excellent and we carved "Rats '09" into one of the tables on the upstairs balcony and look forward to finding it on our next cruise to Bermuda as we will definitely go again. We then took a leisurely ride back to the Dockyard passing and stopping for pictures at all our favorite south shore beaches. When we got back to the Dockyard we dropped off the moped which ended probably one of our favorite days in Bermuda ever! On our final day we booked a catamaran snorkeling excursion with the Rising Sun II. Real nice boat and crew and we snorkeled a very pretty cove and I even got to snorkel in a cave which was really cool! There weren't that many fish to see and I'm still trying to find the best snorkeling in Bermuda so if you know a place, let me know! They served unlimited rum punches on the way back which was great, and we headed right for lunch when we got back on the ship. We then headed back to the room to clean up and planned to go the Frog and Onion happy hour and visit Snorkel Park but fell asleep. I guess we needed it!!!! Disembarkation: Getting off was a breeze! I'm not sure how or why but we were given VIP status! When we went to our choice of meet times, I thanked one of the butlers I had met as some of our CC group members did have butler services and he said "I heard of you so I added you to the list". Nice way to end the cruise eh!! Final Thoughts: We loved the Dawn and traveling to our favorite port with our CC Group is the only way to go! Besides the great rates and amenities offered by the CC group cruises, we met the nicest people and every thing was near perfect! We would definitely do it all over again and you never know but there might be a "Kings Wharf Rats II" coming up in the future! For our next cruise were heading to the Eastern Caribbean on the Miracle with another CC group and we're already counting the days! If you have any questions let me know. I am a CruiseAholic and Luv2Cruz!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We are in  love with Bermuda. So, when we decided to go back we had no choice but to go on the Dawn since it was the only ship leaving NY that would stay in Bermuda more than 1 1/2 days. We were hesitant to use NCL again since we  had a ... Read More
We are in  love with Bermuda. So, when we decided to go back we had no choice but to go on the Dawn since it was the only ship leaving NY that would stay in Bermuda more than 1 1/2 days. We were hesitant to use NCL again since we  had a bad experience with them in 2005. We figured that it was more important to us going to Bermuda than the cruise itself and we knew what we would be in for. Boy, was I wrong....EMBARKATION- was easy enough since we were Latitudes members. Was on the ship in a matter of 1/2 hour if that long... CABIN- we were unable to get to our cabin until 2 pm which was fine with us. We walked around the ship to acquaint ourselves with the "lay of the land"...When we got to our balcony cabin, we met our stewards Rommell and Edward. I found the cabin to be a little too warm for me, so I asked  Rommell if he can have someone check it out. It was fixed within a few hours...The cabin itself was your normal balcony cabin. It was confortable for us..The balcony was ok but would have liked a bigger one. There was more than enough room to unpack the  clothes. Our TA sent us a platter of chocolate covered strawberries and NCL gave us a tray of cheeses...Now, I am not talking about little cubes but big chunks of blue, munster, brie and some other cheese gouda perhaps...thanks goodness for ziplock bags since we refrigerated the cheese in them and ate them while at sea... I like the fact that the shower stall had a sliding glass door but dont really think that a sliding glass door for the toilet was necessary. Rommell and Edward were wonderful, pleasant and very helpful...One night we did hear loud noises coming from deck 7 around 2 am. I guess a bunch of "happy" people decided to play shuffle board. We did have to call security since it was going on for at least 30 minutes but it did stop soon after our call   FOOD- I undestand the theory of Freestyle dining but I really dont think it works. On the first night at sea there was an hour wait to be seated in the Venitian dining room..Thank goodness for some CC members(Barry Carol, Zan and DH) we met that got us in earlier. The waiter was pleasant. The food was OK...nothing to brag about..We did eat at 2 speciality restaurants: Cagneys and Impressions...the food  in each place was very good.The reason why I say Freestyle doesnt work is that I heard of people making reservations for the Venitian and Aqua dining rooms and they still had to wait a long period of time...if you cant eat whenever you want and need to make reservations, why call it Freestyle?...We had no problem being seated after the first night but there were still many people complaining about waiting too long...the Blue Lagoon had wonderful "comfort" food. We ate there twice!!...We didnt eat the buffet for dinner since the food there did not look too exciting...but heard that the pasta station was delicious... All in all, the food on the Dawn was all right.ENTERTAINMENT - The comedian Dave Henan was hilarious. The shows were wonderful especially the acrobats and the dancers...STAFF- This is where I can honestly say that NCL really stepped up. During our formal M&G, we met the entire staff of the Dawn, which made me get goose pimples to know that the captain was there...WOW!!!. I also became aquainted with the executive chef Messiah...he was an interesting person due to his handlebar mustache and that he came for the "beautiful country of BAVARIA"..we ran into him a few times and  each time he took the time out to chit chat with us...all of the staff went out of their way to make you feel special...the cruise director John was a bit to happy for me but that is his job..."LET'S HAVE A CRACKER JACK GOOD TIME, MATE!!!"    BERMUDA- I cant say enough about Bermuda. It is just beautiful. We did go to Horseshoe Bay and Tobacco Bay. Saw the Tall Ships that were in Bermuda for their 400th Celebration. Did see the street fair in Hamilton.Had a great time..Still did not see everything we wanted...so that give us a reason to go back!    DISEMBARKATION- Very easy since we walked off with our luggage. We were off the ship by 8:30FINAL THOUGHTS- I really enjoyed my cruise to Bemuda and met such wondeful people. I would definitely go back to Bermuda on the Dawn.  This cruise also had as passengers a  marching band of 70 people. You would have never know that since the kids were so welll behaved. Also, the most interesting thing that happened to us was that we ran into a young couple we met in 2005 on our last cruise with NCL. At that time, they were on their honeymoon...so we were so amazed that we ran into eah other again after 4 years... It truly is a small world...   Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Embarkation was extremely easy!  We arrived at 11:30 am, drove in to the garage, and the luggage was taken from us there.  No long check-in, we were onboard within 30 minutes.  We checked our carry-ons at Dazzles Lounge, and we were off ... Read More
Embarkation was extremely easy!  We arrived at 11:30 am, drove in to the garage, and the luggage was taken from us there.  No long check-in, we were onboard within 30 minutes.  We checked our carry-ons at Dazzles Lounge, and we were off to the main dining room for lunch.  The cabin was ready at 1pm and the luggage was already there.  The $210.00 fee upfront for parking is excessive but that's my only complaint.  Debarkation was equally smooth and quick!It was fun meeting my fellow Rats, and being able to put a person to a name! The Dawn is large, but its design gives one the feeling of cozy, comfortable areas.  The only time you feel its size is when you have to walk the seemingly endless cabin corridors.  The crew from top down is A1, courteous, helpful, pleasant and accommodating. 2 complaints here:  no one enforces the dining room "no t-shirt and shorts rule"  Why say it then?  No one enforces the no items on lounge chairs "in case a friend shows" rule either. Kudos to all otherwise!  We had an inside cabin, fully wheelchair accessible.  Largest w/c cabin I've ever been in; great turning radius.  Well done but needed more shelves in the bathroom.  There actually was hot water in the bathroom not just lukewarm!  Twin beds and full-size pullout bed in couch - and still room for turning!  Except for shelves, and a bump in the floor near the bathroom door, the cabin was perfect.  The bed, however, was a torture rack.  It was both very hard while sagging at the same time!?  They kept bringing me foam toppers until I felt like the Princess and the Pea, and still it was very uncomfortable.  I've never experienced this to such a degree before!  They seem to be low on linens, and despite repeated requests, we didn't get a laundry bag until mid-week. Another wheelchair note.  In port, there's a separate gangway for wheelchairs which was well set-up.  Gangways are often frighteningly steep, ridged, and ending with drop-offs.  The worst part of the trip for me.  Everything was done right here and the crew helpful.  Because it wasn't the main gangway, I didn't feel pressured to rush, or embarrassed that I was holding up the line. The food was very good.  It was plentiful, well-prepared, tasty and appealing.  HOWEVER, the 2 main dining room menus are the same EVERY NIGHT!  Good, but boring!  It almost forces you to go to the specialty restaurants to have a change.  Considering the initial cost for the cruise, the high-end restaurants should be an option, not an alternative to boredom.  Surf & Turf every night may sound nice, but 7 nites in a row?!  I prefer a different menu to explore every nite.  The food is a major part of the whole experience for me, and here the Dawn let me down.  One other disappointment:  no warm bread or rolls.  They were good, but never just-out-of-the-oven fresh. Excellent entertainment in the lounges, while routine in the theater.I look forward to another opportunity to cruise on the Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
In the beginning: In February I began to need warm, sunny weather. Since that wouldn't happen in PA for a long time, I tried the next best thing, planning a vacation. We were to Bermuda a few years ago on the Crown and loved the ... Read More
In the beginning: In February I began to need warm, sunny weather. Since that wouldn't happen in PA for a long time, I tried the next best thing, planning a vacation. We were to Bermuda a few years ago on the Crown and loved the island. So my first thought was to plan a short trip in May/June via air. Checking prices for airfare/hotels quickly changed my mind. Came to Cruise Critic to check out information on the Dawn, Majesty, and Spirit since each left from a port close to home. Saw that there was a CC group going in June, checked the prices and was sold! Coupling the nice discount through CC with our Compass Reward certificates, we decided to try our first suite. Embarkation: Cruise day finally came. Thanks to the roll call, the days waiting went much quicker. After a relatively fast and easy drive from PA, we parked in the lot, dropped our bags with the porter and made our way to check-in. The special check-in for suite guests had us checked-in under 10 minutes. From there, we were escorted over to meet Anshuman. He introduced himself, gave us our key cards, and within a few minutes we were escorted on board. Not sure why, but we seemed to bypass the 'picture opportunity' usually awaiting embarkation. Neither of us was upset though! In less than 20 minutes from parking the car, we were on board drinking sparkling wine, and thinking about lunch. Since DW didn't know about the suite beforehand, she didn't know about Cagney's for lunch (and breakfast). We made our way to Cagney's for a nice, relaxing lunch. We both love their fries! The cabin: After lunch we strolled around the ship a bit to see what she had to offer. After the announcement that cabins were ready, we made our way to 9736, an aft AE cabin. DW's luggage was already there, and mine arrived in about 15 minutes. The cabin itself was quite large. The closet easily held our 'hang-up' clothes. We both liked the opposing doors so that we could both get clothes at the same time. DW liked the separate vanity/make-up area. The bathroom was good sized with a tub. We didn't use the tub other than to shower. The only drawback I can see is if someone had limited mobility then stepping into the tub might be an issue since it was higher than most tubs in houses. The bed was very comfortable. It was both soft and firm, if that's possible. There was a small, comfortable sofa, a chair, and a small dining table that was put to use holding all of our bric-a-brac. The balcony was a bit small (wide but not deep), but there were 2 loungers. We used the balcony every day. Overall, the cabin felt much larger than our usual choice of balcony cabins. The perception was that it was more than twice the size. We both loved the cabin, especially the balcony. We spent a lot of sea-day time on the balcony reading and enjoying the view. Sea Days: As previously mentioned, we spent a lot of time on the balcony on sea days. Apart from that, we also did a lot of walking around the ship. We also spent time in the Spinnaker lounge reading and knitting (DW). They had a nice 2-person lounger that we used frequently. Excursions: We booked 2 excursions through NCL, the 5-hour island tour and the aquarium/zoo tour. The driver for the bus tour was very friendly. He did a great job showing us around the island while providing a great running commentary about the different areas of the island. We stopped at a lighthouse, a small chapel, a beach, and in St. George. The tour went from one end to the other. I was a bit worried about being on a bus for 5 hours, but the time flew by quickly. It was a great tour. The aquarium/zoo tour was also fun. It started with a 35-minute boat ride from the dockyard to the Zoo. The captain gave an interesting commentary of things Bermuda. The aquarium itself was very nice. It's smaller than most US aquariums, but there was a nice variety of displays and fish. We took a ton of pictures and went through 2 times because the displays were so nice. We also strolled through the small zoo area. They had different displays with birds, animals, and reptiles from different parts of the world. My favorite part was the aviary where there were many bright colored birds wandering around. Another enjoyable boat ride brought us back to the Dawn. Food: Most breakfasts and lunches were in Cagney's. The food was very good; one of our favorites was the fries! The best part of Cagney's was the fantastic service from Robert. He truly is an asset to NCL and they really need to try their best to keep him onboard! My favorite breakfast was a chorizo/mushroom omelet. We had fresh fruit each day. The coffee was also great, even de-caf. We had dinner in Cagney's, Impressions (2X), Salsa, Bamboo, and Aqua, and the buffet. Our favorite meal was Cagney's. My strip steak was perfect! DW's food was also great. Impressions was good, but not great. We had less than good service the first time, but decided to try again. The food was consistent both times. DW had the tortellini with pesto both times. Because the portion was so large the first time, it was her main meal the second visit. Bamboo was also very good. The service was good, and the food was very good. It was not very crowded which surprised us. Salsa was a big disappointment. The food was bland, with not much 'spice' for Tex-Mex. The burrito was not even served with any type of sauce. Service was good, however, and the Sangria was very good. The 'free' margarita was basically a slurpee type 'frozen' version in a shooter glass. Aqua was also a pleasant surprise. The ambiance was very nice, the service was fantastic, and the food was very good. We both enjoyed the meal and the restaurant and had planned to go back again. Everyone around us seemed to be enjoying themselves also. There were plenty of options on the menu. It might become boring over the course of a week, or if you're not big on fish, but there were many options available. We had a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner in the buffet. Breakfast was probably the best of all three. Many different options available and what we had was hot and tasty. Lunch was also very good. There were many different options, and everything was hot that was supposed to be hot. Dinner was also good. Again, there were many different options available, and what we had was tasty. In each visit, there was never a problem finding a table by the window. Bars: I did the pub-crawl. We visited 6 different bars sampling drinks at each. We started with a beer in Pearly Kings (which everyone had to drink in 2 minutes). At the rest of the bars, there were different mixed drinks with a different one at each bar. There were games at each stop, and part of the visit was to quickly drink the drink. Coupling fast drinking with running from bar to bar, especially with the stairs, made some crawlers feel the drinks pretty quick. It was a fun time and would recommend it. For an evening drink, I generally visited Pearly King's. Noel the bartender seemed to always be there. He was friendly, efficient, and made a good drink. He made Pearly King's a fun place to visit each day. Onboard Activities: We only went to one show, Bollywood. It was a bit of a disappointment. Neither of us could really put our fingers on what wasn't 'great' but we weren't 'wowed'. If we hadn't been sitting in the middle of the row, we probably would not have stayed for the whole show. We didn't do bingo, or the art auction. We were in Spinnakers (reading and knitting) during one bingo session and there was a very large crowd. The gym was very well equipped. I visited each morning to get a workout in before breakfast. It appeared that all the equipment was working and all machines I used were clean with towels waiting there for use. I only used the jogging track once, the morning we arrived in Bermuda. There was a light rain that morning so no one else was there. Most times it was in use by both runners and walkers. That combination could be a problem for runners, though because there are many tights spots along the path. Disembarkation: Fantastic! We chose early disembarkation carrying our own luggage. With the suite perk for earlier departure, we were the first ones off the ship (sadly, of course), in our car, and home within 90 minutes! That was the easiest we've ever left a ship! The ship: The ship was relatively clean. There were some large stains in the carpet in some of the cabin areas (especially deck 9). The ship is also showing signs of age. There was flaking paint and rust spots along the support framework for the railing on our balcony. Some of the furniture in common areas was a bit worn. The carpeting in the main areas was clean and well maintained. There was one area on the promenade deck where water would accumulate across the deck. That made the daily morning walks after breakfast a bit of a challenge 'jumping' over the puddle. The NCL team: Aside from the poor service our first night in Impressions, we were very impressed by all we met. The cabin stewards were very friendly and kept the cabin spotless. They seemed to know when we were out and quickly came in and did their thing. The waiters/waitresses and other restaurant team members were also very good. Never had to ask to have our water (or drinks refilled). The time between courses was not very long; we did not have any 2 hours meals. The 'clean teams' in the buffet kept everything neat and tidy. Anshuman was fantastic. We only asked his assistance with dinner reservations, but we saw him many times on the ship. Each time he's stop us and check in to make sure everything was going well and we both felt that he was deeply interested to make sure we had a fantastic experience. While the suite perks such as Cagney's were nice, it was the personal attention from Anshuman that probably sealed the deal for us to continue to enjoy the suite life on NCL.   Final Thoughts: This was probably one of the best vacations we've had for a long time. The ship was good, the food very good, the NCL team on board was excellent. Adding this to being in one of our favorite destinations for 3 days made it memorable. The icing on the cake was the friends we made along the way on CC. We enjoyed the Meet and Mingle arranged by Luv2Cruise (thanks Barry and Carol!). It was nice to put faces to CC screen names, and to meet many of the people we corresponded with on CC on the Roll Call. We enjoyed seeing the different gifts at the exchange and learning a bit more about our CC friends. The travel agency used by CC for its member cruises was top notch. It was probably the easiest vacation I've ever booked. All questions were quickly and accurately responded to. While I like making my own arrangements (yeah I'm a airfare checking junkie), but for cruising, they will be our first stop for reservations. We're negotiating the next cruise. It's a toss-up between Alaska and the Caribbean. Whichever way we go, it will be on NCL based on our experience on the Dawn.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We are a couple in our 20s, and this was our first cruise. We live close to the port, and the convenience of departing from NYC was a major factor in our selecting this cruise. If not for the extremely stormy weather during most of our ... Read More
We are a couple in our 20s, and this was our first cruise. We live close to the port, and the convenience of departing from NYC was a major factor in our selecting this cruise. If not for the extremely stormy weather during most of our time in Bermuda, we would have very few complaints about our 7-day cruise. Our ship rescued a sailboat that was stranded in the ocean, which delayed our arrival in Bermuda by one hour.To break it down in more detail:EMBARKATION/ DISEMBARKATION: Very easy and painless on both occasions. We arrived at the port in Manhattan around noon, it took no more than half an hour for us to get through the lines and receive our key cards. We had changed our room since receiving our luggage tags, but one of the port staff simply put new tags on at the pier and there were no issues. Soon we were on the ship drinking our complimentary mimosas and heading to the Venetian for a delicious lunch. The rooms were available at 2pm and bags were delivered soon after, in time for dinner. We did receive a notice that someone's bag had been lost, but as I understand it they eventually found that bag. Returning to Manhattan, we chose the Easy Walk-Out since we could carry our own bags. We had a leisurely breakfast at the Venetian, then waited about half an hour after they first announced that passengers could start leaving. By this time there was no line and we were out of the ship in no time.CABINS: We had a porthole cabin on the lowest deck. No complaints at all about the room - especially since we upgraded from an inside cabin. Small space, but plenty of closet and drawer space. We like the bathroom's division into three areas (sink, toilet and shower) with sliding doors to separate them. The porthole provided plenty of light, if not much of a view. Being on the lowest deck was convenient on port days, because we had only a short walk to the gangway (and were one of the first off the ship when we arrived in Bermuda). The only slight downside of being on the lowest deck was more noise from waves crashing against the ship (but we were not kept awake by it). The bed was very soft and comfy, though we were surprised that it took till the last night for them to replace our separate beddings with a single queen-size blanket and linens, since we had pushed the two beds together from the start. The cabin was kept very clean and tidy by the stewards, and although we weren't lucky enough to get any towel animals, we enjoyed attending their towel animal demonstration at the end of the week.DINING: No major complaints about dining, we enjoyed both main dining rooms (Aqua and Venetian) and often had a great breakfast in the buffet as well. We particularly enjoyed the salads and seafood entrees.  We wished there was more variety in the fruit offerings, and it would've been great if the fruit smoothies could be available for free at least for breakfast. We also sometimes craved more options in the buffet, since we often wanted a quick meal but with the same quality of food as in the main dining rooms. There was a Chocoholic Buffet one night in the buffet but the line was quite long, and we heard several passengers complaining loudly about the wait. We frequently ate at the Blue Lagoon since it was open 24 hours and a good place to snack between meals, but we noticed that service there was not as good as in the other dining areas (long waits, order mix-ups, quite the opposite of Venetian/Aqua). We saw other diners also complain about the slow service and order mistakes in Blue Lagoon. Of the specialty restaurants, we only tried the sushi one, and thought it was worth the $15pp cover charge.ENTERTAINMENT: We were very happy with the night-time shows, especially "Bollywood" (with impressive acrobatics) and the crew show on the last night. Also greatly enjoyed the Second City comedy troupe - we attended both their scripted and improv shows. Shows were generally well-attended, so we learned that it was necessary to come to the theater at least 10 minutes early to get good seats. Compared with past land-based vacations, the entertainment and activities on the Dawn were far better than anything we'd experienced during any previous vacations, and we considered it the strongest aspect of our cruise experience.FACILITIES: Having never been on a cruise before, we were a bit disappointed with the size of the pool, which was much smaller than land-based resorts and always crowded on sunny days. There was an indoor lap pool, but it was in the spa and only accessible by purchasing a spa pass (which we chose not to do). We cannot comment on the spa or fitness center since we never used those facilities at all. We did use the internet cafe one time, which cost 75 cents/ minute, plus an initial fee of $4. The internet cafe did not seem busy at all, perhaps due to the high cost of internet access. ACTIVITES: With so much rainy weather, we spent considerable time in the small movie theater (which had a constant rotation of recently released films), playing board games in the Lifestyles room, and participating in the daily trivia games. We also signed up for the Murder Mystery Dinner, which was fun since we got to meet other passengers. The cruise director John Ibrahim and his team were very energetic and kept us well-entertained. The only thing that really annoyed us was the too-frequent bingo announcements. Also, the daily newsletters contained many ads which were immediately discarded - such a waste of paper!BERMUDA: Even with awful weather, we could tell right away why Bermuda is such a popular destination. Not only are there beautiful beaches with clear blue water, the cheerful pastel-colored streets of St. George and Hamilton are a pleasure to stroll.Despite pouring rain and strong winds on our entire first day in Bermuda, we bought ponchos on the ship and set out on the ferry for Hamilton, walking through town all the way to Fort Hamilton, where we were the only visitors. The Bermuda Maritime Museum near the Dockyard was also a nice way to pass the time, with many indoor exhibits that could be enjoyed even in horrible weather. When the weather cleared up, we toured St. George, a beautiful town with quaint alleys and brightly painted houses. We also enjoyed visiting Crystal Caves in Bailey's Bay - both caves are interesting, and we had great guides to show us the formations. One lesson we learned is to be alert on the bus: we asked the driver to let us off near the caves, but he forgot about it, so we eventually got off and took another bus back in the opposite direction. Good thing we decided to purchase the unlimited transportation passes!The one attraction we thought we could have skipped was the Gibb's Hill Lighthouse. When we arrived, it was sweltering hot and humid, and we didn't feel like climbing up the 185 steps. We did try to take photos from the base of the lighthouse, but in the morning, there was a lot of glare and views were not the best. Still, in different weather or time of day, it could be quite worthwhile to pay the lighthouse a visit.On our last day in Bermuda, the rain and wind gave way to stifling heat and humidity, so we went to visit the famous Horseshoe Bay Beach and found the swim delightfully refreshing on the hot/humid day. There is a little cove all the way to the right when you enter the beach, and it's a great place to swim with the rocks protecting you from waves.Bermuda is so easy to explore with public transportation, we didn't feel the need to book any ship-based excursions. With three days in one port, a guided tour didn't seem necessary, since we could visit all the sites we wanted at our own leisure.OVERALL, we had a great vacation and would definitely consider cruising again. Compared with an all-inclusive hotel, cruising doesn't feel as luxurious, and some of the facilities (such as pools and rooms) were not as nice as what you'd find on land, but we felt our expectations were fully met and we had an enjoyable first cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
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