1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Norwegian Cruise Line
  4. Norwegian Cruise Line Cruise Reviews

3,173 Norwegian (NCL) Bermuda Cruise Reviews

Arrived at the NY port at 10:45.  Luggage was picked up immediately, we had our welcome aboard picture taken and we were off to Latitudes check-in.  Check-in was smooth and completed by 11.  There were vendors available to satisfy your ... Read More
Arrived at the NY port at 10:45.  Luggage was picked up immediately, we had our welcome aboard picture taken and we were off to Latitudes check-in.  Check-in was smooth and completed by 11.  There were vendors available to satisfy your breakfast/lunch needs. The terminal is air conditioned with plenty of seats.  By 11:45, we were boarding the ship and on our way to starting our wonderful vacation.  We were given our welcome glass of "champaign", and then preceded to enter the Dawn. We dropped our carry on bags at Dazzels as lunch in the Venetian Dining Room wouldn't be served until 12:30. We explored the ship, stopping outside of the specialty restaurants for samples of their cuisine.  After a delicious luncheon, we proceeded to our cabin at 2pm and found our bags waiting for us.  Our mini-suite was much more spacious than our balcony room was last year on the Spirit. We met our cabin steward, Kris, who took excellent care of us for the next seven days and nights! We received adorable towel animals on most nights and that little extra touch was greatly appreciated. We had the muster drill at 3:30, and Sail Away was at 4.  If you want to avoid a wait at dinner time in the MDR's, a suggestion would be to try to get there by 5:30-6:30.  We never had to wait at that time.  We had our first dinner at Aqua and the rack of lamb was delicious. We saw the first of many performances in their Stardust Theater.   All were very good and the Jean Ryan troupe are just great performers.  The casino was adequate with the usual table games and slots (a little tight). The next day was sunny and we had our M&G in the Star Bar.  So glad to meet everyone and very happy to meet the Captain and seven other Senior Officers who came to our meeting. I think we all enjoyed this.  It was a great start to our cruise for all our fellow Cruise Critic members.  We were served a light breakfast and coffee etc. Thank you NCL. The rest of the day was spent exploring the ship and trying to find a lounge chair poolside.  The lounge chair "hogs" were in full force as we had a very full ship with over 875 under 18yrs making over 3000 passengers.  We were the start of the High Season. Tuesday was overcast and we decided to buy a day Spa Pass for $20 per person.  This is the best kept secret on the ship.  There are full Spa facilities available, lockers, showers, sauna, steam rooms, changing rooms, a hydrotherapy pool and also a hot tub and lap pool.  The lounge chairs face aft and are "verrry" relaxing. Juice, water, coffee and tea are available as well as separate male-female lounge areas with TVs and even plushier lounges.  A great way to spend a day.   Wednesday we reached Bermuda.   Started off sunny and we decided to visit St George via ferry.  We bought the three day bus-ferry pass.  The ferries are a great way to travel Bermuda and after a 40 minute ride we explored the sights of St. George.  We hired a horse drawn carriage and had an excellent tour of the city and countryside.  Our driver was very informative and our ride around this area was one of the highlights of our trip.  Unfortunately, the twelve noon dunking reenactment was cancelled in the center square due to illness of one of the participants.  We headed back to our ship just as the showers began at St. George.  Later that night, we took the ferry to Hamilton to partake in the Harbor night celebration and see the Goombey dancers. We were told by the excursion desk on ship that it was still taking place even though it had showered that afternoon.  Unfortunately they were wrong and the celebration was cancelled.  Hamilton had only a few restaurants and bars open and we took the next ferry back to the Dockyards, very disappointed.  Thursday was our Horseshoe Bay Beach day.  We took the #7 bus and we arrived after 20 minutes enjoying the beautiful scenery enroute to the beach.  It is truly beautiful!!! The hill going down is not too bad.  Umbrellas and beach chairs are available as well as bathroom facilities and changing rooms.  The showers in the women's room were having maintenance, but there was outside showers for rinsing the sand off your feet. Had a simple lunch at the restaurant there. The beach has soft pink hued sand just like everyone says.  It did shower again there but we stayed anyway.  We came too far to miss out on Horseshoe Bay.  As we left we found the "Up to the Top" van waiting for $2.00 per person.  This is well worth it.  Our #7 bus was at the top of the hill waiting to fill up and we were back to the Dockyards and found they had SUNNY skies. Did some shopping and of course tasted some of the Bermuda Rum cakes and purchased a few. Friday we decided to go to 9 Beaches resort.  As we were waiting for the bus to take us there, we were told by one of the public bus drivers that there was a special shuttle for $5 per person each way that will take you directly to the resort and return you back to the ship-saving you a ½ mile walk.  He leaves the area that you wait for the #7 bus every half hour and returns you back to the Dockyard on the hour.  We really enjoyed 9 Beaches also.  They have lounges at the beach, restaurant, bar and bathroom facilities.  You can also rent snorkeling gear, paddle boats, kayaks and much more.  It was very peaceful there; calm water and many enjoyed the clear waters snorkeling. Saturday, we were at sea again and enjoyed our sea day at the pool.  The ship had a 4th of July celebration poolside with a tribute to the men and women in service by the NCL show band and the various show performers. Sunday, we arrived back in NY and docked by 8 am.  We had a leisurely breakfast in the MDR and an easy disembark according to their great color tag system.  We were sadly back on the road for our home in NJ by 10:30. The Dawn is a beautiful ship, the crew is fantastic, and the entertainment is great!  There is so much to do on the Dawn that it is very hard to choose what to do next.   Every band and entertainer in their many lounges are tops.  The food is very well presented and we found no fault with the service in both the main dining rooms, Le Bistro and Impressions. The new menus can become repetious though, as they are the same every day, specific to each MDR, adding only one different chef special each day (which was mostly seafood). They also need to add non seafood appetizers as well as additional deserts to the menus in the MDRs as the deserts are the same on both menus in the two restaurants every night.  Of course these are test menus on the Dawn right now.  All in all, as you can tell, we had a wonderful time on the Dawn and in Bermuda and are looking forward to our next cruise with NCL. If anyone has any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
OVERVIEW: My niece, Maggie Cate and Jay, her honey planned to get married at Jobson's Cove in Bermuda. She disseminated her plan last summer and pretty much invited those she loved her and Jay to time their vacation to coincide with ... Read More
OVERVIEW: My niece, Maggie Cate and Jay, her honey planned to get married at Jobson's Cove in Bermuda. She disseminated her plan last summer and pretty much invited those she loved her and Jay to time their vacation to coincide with their wedding. No fuss. No stress. No worries. Just good friends, loving family cruising on the Norwegian Spirit to Bermuda. They essentially invited us on their honeymoon. Our group numbered thirty-three. We planned a few optional group dinners, of course the wedding day events and created a communication center on our cabin door - a must for a group. It was free and easy sailing.BOOKING/PLANNING: If you use a travel agent, a week or two out from your sailing date ask for the PDF NCL Guest Invoice, which you are entitled to. Don't ask me why or I might tell you LOL!. Take my word for it. Also, MAKE SURE that the charges on your credit card are from NCL, NOT, I repeat, NOT from your travel agent. See above for explanation. Also, read, research, read. CruiseCritic was a great place to learn about the ins and outs of cruising. Bermuda4u.com; Bermudatourism.com were two great sites. I also surfed hundreds of others to create our group wedding site www.maggiecatenjay.wetpaint.com which contains oodles of information that will be, I think mostly pertinent until October '09. The more you know the more you will get out of your trip. On my last cruise (my second on NCL) I found out Room Service was 'free' on the very last day (duh!). THIS time I ordered coffee from room service the first morning. WHAT A TREAT! Just a few bucks for a tip and viola I'm sipping away the best coffee on the ship; easy as pie!EMBARKATION: We arrived at the Black Falcon Pier quite early because Maggie Cate, our bride had arranged for a Liberty Coach (Braintree, MA) 'party bus' to transport many of us and wonder of wonders there were no SNAFU's and nobody was late... Hence we arrived at about ten-ish under the expert care of our driver, Elise. The skies were quite overcast but it was not raining - it was sweatshirt weather. We had an excellent MassPort porter who took our bags right from the bus to be checked and we got in line about twenty people from the main entrance to the terminal and waited; we had a great time in line. We were so centrally located that many of our group spotted us, which was great. As it approached 11:00 a long line formed to check their luggage and people had to shuffle their bags up a foot and wait, another foot and wait hundreds of times. This is Mass Port, not NCL though - a very bad system (I plan to write a letter!). We felt badly for those people but nobody in our group complained about it specifically. Apparently many folks had not yet disembarked and they seemed to trickle out during this time. Black Falcon Cruiseport Terminal itself is an embarrassment for a Bostonian. It needs a face lift, which I understand was postponed because of budget issues - but a coat of paint and better signage would be a HUGE improvement. Around 11:30 folks started to file into the terminal building and we were off. It was very exciting. There was a very long counter set up a bit like a bank and we waited briefly for our turn. I got to the Latitudes check-in but I'd lost my cabin mate, Magz (mother of the bride) who had my paperwork and I joined her at the long counter. Folks on either side of us checked in seamlessly but our check-in person had a technical issue with here little electronic swiper machine and it would not read our passports or credit cards. We waited there for what seemed like fifteen minutes or so which was really not a problem. We were whisked away to be processed properly and wonderfully and all was well... great actually. At this point we met Bruce, the Concierge who felt badly about our wait. He was very helpful and kind. We liked him right away and he was a big help to us throughout the cruise. He was (is) great. Tremendous, really. What a gem. It was at this point we told him about Maggie Cate's wedding and his ears perked right up. He is just a wonder. A great NCL emissary.GATHERING: Our group trickled onto deck 7, outside Henry's Pub - directly across the reception area from the embarkation gangway. Beverages were purchased (it was, of course a bit after noon) and we passed a very pleasant hour or so (Times from here on in are very approximate and subjective i.e. how long thirty seconds seems while having a tooth drilled and how short those same thirty seconds would seem doing your favorite thing... Cruising!) Magz and I went to find our cabin and met our WONDERFUL cabin (10106) steward/stewardess team: Willy (Wilfredo) Jr. and Rachel. They were sweet and welcoming and "Of Course!" we could leave our bags, which we did. We asked them for the refrigerator that we'd requested as well as the egg crate thing for the bed which seemed to arrive before we even finished asking. Then we were off to explore the beautiful ship. (Cabin details later.)EXPLORING: The reception area is just beautiful and very spacious. The sweeping staircase and glass elevators are beautiful, as are the fountains and Asian decor. However, I was expecting overwhelming Asian - like the Chinese restaurant down the street but it was not overwhelming at all. It is just beautiful and just right. An accent rather than a focus. We met others folks in our group at Raffles for lunch and had a great time. The food was very good. I had hoped to go to Windows only because of what I'd read on Cruise Critic but Raffles was not all that crowded, the food was great... and everybody was happy and busting with anticipation. MUSTER: The Safety/Life Jacket Muster was scheduled at 3:30. You simply need to grab the life jacket in your closet, look at the map on the back of your door for your 'muster station' which is also printed on your life jacket and go to the designated spot. It was maybe fifteen-ish minutes. Our group was not very lively but I heard later that some groups were and the muster for them was fun (ours wasn't bad - just business-like). It was over in a flash. Don't try to skip it, your cabin number is on your life jacket and your leader checks off who's there and who's not.POST LIFE JACKET GROUP GATHERING: We headed up to Raffles Terrace Starboard for our planned (the only 'mandatory') Goodie Bag Meeting that all thirty three of our group attended (whew!). It was great to see everybody together. Our bride handed out some great goodie bags. Magz had made and gave out some wedding CD favors and everybody got a great 'neck safe/wallet' (little waterproof plastic flip-top boxes to hold your key card and other trinkets). They worked out great (WindyCityNovelties.com). We also made little business card-size magnets to identify our wedding cabins (for ourselves). As far as I know not ONE magnet went missing. CABIN: We went back to 10106 to get organized and set up our 'communication central' door. We posted our group's itinerary, a blank notepad, a pencil on a string (I actually brought a BUNCH of pencils figuring they would disappear but it never did LOL!), a "I am DEFINITELY doing such and such" form. We also posted highlighted dailies later in the cruise and other pertinent info. It worked out great. The cabin itself was great. Absolutely immaculate. Crisp yummy sheets and a 'white-white' coverlet on the bed. Mmmmm, the sheets smelled so good, too. The little desk and chair was very handy (with the 'fridge under it). There were a few drawers and shelves and the closet was quite large, I thought. I loved the bathroom set-up. The sliding shower doors were great and the sliding door to conceal the toilet. was a great touch. The showers were hot and powerful (quite a surprise). The flush of the toilet was a bit loud but, well, that was just AOK with us (better safe than sorry!). We hung our shoe organizer thing (would NEVER cruise without one - Thanks, CruiseCritic). There was also a little couch but that was kind of my 'bureau' so we didn't sit on that much. The flexible suitcases fit perfectly under the bed. The pillows were scrumptious and varied. Some a bit more fluffy, some a bit firmer. PERFECT! I had to leave my own pillow, that I ALWAYS travel with at home because of suitcase space issues and was thrilled at the pillow situation (small pleasures LOL). Our balcony was just wonderful. Two canvas-slung-type chairs and a little table. When we had company (which was quite a bit) there was some lap sitting and straddling of the sliding glass doors with the desk chair. We loved the balcony. As a matter of fact, in retrospect I fear we spent way too much time there. Though we loved it we missed some fun stuff (Sexy Legs Contest on the last sea day for example) topside. Oh well, can't have it all! I didn't watch even a second of TV but did have the music station on quite a bit - a good mix of tunes... There were plenty of mirrors and some lovely artwork. The slider drapes shut all the way and really darkened the cabin. It was a great cabin (I miss it LOL!).NOISE: I suspect we were pretty loud because our cabin was so busy many times a day and many evenings... We kept asking our neighbors if we were bothersome and they assured us that the noise level was fine. We were right at the mid elevator bank, starboard, two cabins up the hall. A great location. I thought the volume of traffic would going by such a central spot might be noisy but it wasn't...WHALE SIGHTING: We and oodles of others saw whales frolicking off the starboard side on the first day... around dinner time, I think. BONUS!!!! Capitan Harstrom told us that the Spirit voluntarily slows down in whale feeding/frolicking grounds to give them time to 'get out of the way.' BONUS POINTS for him and the Norwegian! Dave in our group caught a great photo of the whale's fluke (not sure what kind of whale - pretty sure it was not a humpback).WEATHER: Our weather in Bermuda often looked 'iffy' but there was very little actual rain (a burden for Bermudians as they are VERY short of water). It was rainy leaving and returning to Boston and too chilly for the pool once we were a few hundred miles from Bermuda. But no worries. There was plenty to do and the hot tubs are open even in the chilly weather.MEET AND GREET: Quite a few folks from on our Roll Call came as well as many staff and crew. A few didn't show up and we missed them but we understand. We played a trivia game and had little prizes and we had name tags which were a good way to start conversations. Our cruising celebrity, Radio was, of course there and we hung out now and then throughout the cruise, here and there. He is a wealth of information and extremely pleasant company. I read Radio's live postshttp://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum...ysprune=&f=107and it was like cruising all over again. His unbelievable photos are also on the web at http://public.fotki.com/Radio88/norwegian-spirit7/ Another woman from our roll call, Tammy from Maine took a boatload of photos of Maggie Cate's pre-wedding prep and wedding dinner and then of the bride and groom for the rest of the trip. What a sweetie. Her companions, Laurie and Kathy also rocked. I have to say that when I joined CruiseCritic it was simply another internet tool with anonymous fingers tapping on keyboards all over the world. Now it seems it was an opportunity to make new friends. Specifically TOMCT, RADIO, Tammy and Sandy. What a world. Unbelievable. Thank you CruiseCritic. My only regret is that I did not make the time to spend more time with Sandy, my Roll Call buddy from the Midwest.WEDDING AT JOBSON'S COVE: Unbelievably beautiful. A sunset ceremony. Parrot-fish (18-20ish inches) right along the shoreline... The wedding was truly beautiful. However, if you are planning a Bermuda beach wedding THERE MUST be a better wedding planning outfit than the one our bride used (and regretted - ask and I will get the name to you). They wanted to charge her $40ish PER person for one glass of champagne and one piece of cake. Nope. The wanted to charge her $2,000 for a bus to transport thirty people the nine miles to and from the Dockyard. Nope. The planner couldn't figure out how to level the table so the cake wasn't precariously perched. The boom box died in the middle of her being walked down by her wonderful Uncle David and the music didn't function AT ALL for the 'recessional.' The wedding 'planner' hurried the guests off of the beach which stymied me - so the guests, instead of of waiting for transport looking at the beautiful Jobson's Cove, looked at the parking lot. These minor things did not detract one iota from the joy of the occasion but the planner charged our bride a FORTUNE and for a fortune everything should be, if not perfect, at least seamless... One of our NCL 'buddies' dealt briefly with them because of possible iffy weather and with disdain and a wrinkled nose said he was 'Not impressed... not impressed at all." The one thing the planner did right for sure was the officiant. REV. JUDITH GARDNER. What a blessing she is... to God, Bermuda and to our bride. Her robe was a celestial white - it looked as though it had been tailored by angels. Her manner was calm. Her outlook sweet , warm, kind, spiritual and wise. The ceremony she provided was, in short the most beautiful wedding ceremony I'd ever seen. I don't know if she can be contacted directly and/or easily (I'm trying to find her contact info to post) but if I was planning a Bermuda wedding I'd hire her, get my own bus from Bee-Line Transport, hire Alex Masters (FaceBook) for a super-duper photographer and read up on other beach weddings and do it. It was so very beautiful. Make sure you have an inclement weather plan, however!. Oh, yea, bring your own CD player with fresh batteries. Also, have a place set aside for everybody's bags and such. Many of the pics our group took are great but with beach bags strewn around the periphery. Not terrible but just a little planning would have solved that.WEDDING DINNER BACK AT WINDOWS: There are not words to describe the overwhelming feeling I had when I saw the set-up Bernhard, the Food and Beverage Director and his Windows staff had created for our Bride and Groom. The mother of the bride, Magz had lugged (carry-on because they were breakable) some centerpieces and the Windows staff agreed to put them on the tables for us. The did but, in a nutshell went the extra mile for our bride and groom. The little touches that make a special occasion special were all there. The wait staff was extraordinary; the food was to die for. The look of joy on our bride's face said it all. Now, I am 100% Irish. I am not a natural hugger. I am uncomfortable with the new overly-prevalent hugging thing that has permeated the circles in which I travel. A pat on the back, a little wave, even a handshake and I'm good. This night, however I could NOT stop hugging people. Poor Bernhardt... my earring kept getting stuck in his name tag! One of my best memories of the evening (and I have soooo many) was looking over at the staff and crew stand in a little line in the background - each of them had a big smile. Not the forced corporate 'gotta put on a good face smile' but smiles from their hearts that they had set the stage for such joy to our bride and her guests. Where does NCL find these people???? AND THEY WORK SO HARD! And they had to stay so late that night because we were a bit slow... (I felt quite guilty about that... keeping them on a port night.) I'm getting weepy so I've got to move on. It's like I'm hearing the entire kitchen/wait staff sing 'Let me Call You Sweetheart' all over again!NCL SPIRIT ACTIVITIES/NIGHTLIFE: Karaoke in Henry's Pub. My only complaint (!?!?) is that it ended to early LOL! Don't have any idea of what time it was - may have been four a.m. but I was having oodles of fun. The Martini Tasting with Gede (pronounced like the Australian G'day) was lots of fun due in no small part to the copious amounts of flowing alcohol - specifically Grey Goose. I learned a lot and had lots of fun. We invited ourselves to chairs near (at?!) a table of obviously fun-loving friendly women... a bit of chit chat and lo and behold they were from our CruiseCritic Roll Call! What a treat. (More on Tammy and her buds later.) One word of warning... if you are planning to do anything productive or involved after the martini tasting - do it beforehand or don't do it at all LOL! That's all I'm going to say about that! Also, have a glass of water or two!Though I did not go, I heard the Second City show was many folks' favorite event on the cruise (besides the wedding festivities, of course). I saw a brief Second City show on the last night and laughed and laughed and laughed. It was quite late and much of it was off-colour but VERY funny... not for the prudish, though. That same night was The Quest. Also not for prudes but the tear lines through my perfect make-up was a visual testament to the level of laughter - rolling down my cheeks. A member of our group participated fully. I am laughing now just typing about it. The White Hot Party was, in fact not my favorite, though it was fun. It was very loud (proof that I'm getting old). There were a LOT of kids and a lot of alcohol which makes me a bit uncomfortable. We went prepared with glow stick necklaces, white leis and white outfits (most of us, anyway see space issues above LOL - I was in pink... duh). The DJ talked over much of the music - a pet peeve - but I think that's what the 'kids' are used to. They did a few line dances (which I love) and played a some great songs I knew. Visually it was very cool with the black light and white dEcor, ice sculptures and wing-ed staff (heavenly)... There was a brief dance exhibition which was very cool. It was funny, my son (27) had whispered in my ear that he didn't know where NCL had 'got' these girls but he suspected that it was out of a catalogue. One of them was, he said the most beautiful girl he had ever seen in person. A word of caution, it was VERY HARD to find other members of our group. If you are in a group have a designated geographical area/time to meet up... I didn't stay all night but I suspect that the kids petered out and the alcohol dampened the decibels and oodles of folks had a GREAT TIME. A word of advice: Dollar Store; glow necklaces/bracelets. BRING EXTRA because everybody will ask you where you got yours and are overjoyed when you share!Because, I think the Captain Harstrom took a shine to our beautiful bride, Maggie Cate, she, her groom, the mother of the bride and I (I felt a bit like an interloper as I am not technically immediate family but was thrilled to be there) had an absolutely wonderful dinner with the wonderful captain and his wonderful officers. I mean truly wonderful. Conversation flowed easily. The food was delicious. I suspect the wine was top notch but being an Irish girl from Boston I prefer a good lager to the grape. You know when you cringe thinking about something you did no matter how much time has elapsed since? Well, I'm cringing now. When the waiter was pouring me a glass of wine I whispered that I would prefer a beer. Holy moly, my mother probably turned over in her grave. One of the officers asked 'have we ever had beer at one of these dinners?" (or something like that). It was not a big to-do and it was all in good fun but my Budweiser appeared instantly and was frosty cold and delicious. Word of Advice: if you are lucky enough to dine with the captain, drink the wine LOL! BucaneerLand: GO DOWN THE SLIDE!!!!! Not advice. An order LOL. Wicked fun! And adults are allowed (but no adults or children in diapers)! The kids, though have the 'right of way' so I only went in when there were no kids in the pool. One of the slides has a bar at the top so you can get some momentum going... I want on in my back yard LOL!CHAIR HOGS: Did not find this to be much of a problem but I didn't spend too much time by the pool but I didn't hear any complaints.PHOTO FRENZY: Sadly, not offered on our cruise. Don't know why. It would have been great to get more pics but the wallet is only so deep...GIFT SHOP: There was lots of good stuff from Tommy Bahama shirts to refrigerator magnets. The last full day the gift shop had a 30% off select sweatshirts (I have mine on right now LOL) and 50% off some other cool stuff. Don't know if this happens every time but it is worth a walk-by.(CLOSED WHILE IN BERMUDA)INTERNET CAFE: I sent one and received one e-mail. Unfortunately I apparently didn't log out properly and somebody sleezed onto my dime. Duh. My fault entirely. The Internet Manager tweaked the bill down a smidge but I am responsible for my own non-clicks... The problem was I was hurrying to get back to the hot tub! Focus. FOCUS!ELEVATORS: Pushed the button oodles of times. Waited. Took the stairs most of the time which is a good way to counteract cruise-calorie-consumption. The middle elevators seem to be the busiest so if you are an elevator person plan your trek to include one of the end elevator banks and your wait will be shorter.TIPPING:We tipped three, five and sometimes ten bucks at various meals, depending on the hugeness of the superlative service. We left our steward and stewardess a hopefully great tip because our cabin was like Grand Central Station and often in disarray. We left the twelve dollar a day 'service charge' in place. I did not tip extra when getting drinks. On my first cruise I added 15-20% to all of my checks... duh. Another reason to read, research, read before cruising.CIGARETTES - DUTY FREE: A ten-pack of Marlboro Lights was $27. There were larger packages for shorter money, as well but I don't know those prices. (CLOSED WHILE IN BERMUDA)LIQUOR - DUTY FREE: 750ml of SKYY vodka was $10. Lots of other stuff was available but they ran out of some things so don't wait until the last minute! The guy behind me almost cried when the clerk told him there was no more Kalua. (CLOSED WHILE IN BERMUDA)BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR: Word of advice: TAKE IT! What a treat. It seems goofy typing about it but seeing the galley staff at work and the food moving from here to there: 'wash your hands' when entering and all of the sanitation rules in place and actually followed was great. Also, the pastry galley and the size/contents of the 'fridges/freezers, etc. was very cool (pardon the pun). The wine cellar... the soup vats (steam powered). All kinds of interesting things! Seeing backstage at The Stardust Theater was good. Also the laundry. There is an incredible machine that dries and folds the sheets and tablecloths... a bazillion of them a day. The washing machines hold (from memory) 250ish pounds of laundry. The dryers 175ish or so. Whew! The laundry manager, Ralph was very informative and funny, as well. The environmental manager, his name escapes me had me riveted with his shtick. How virtually EVERYTHING is recycled and how the potable water is 'made' and how other various forms of waste are dealt with. Very, very cool. Doesn't sound cool, really but if you are a curious type, take this tour. You must have closed-toed shoes and it is pretty long on the clock but goes by in a heartbeat. It ended with a Q&A with the captain on the bridge (where I learned about the whale thing above). Ask him anything. Look at Radio's pics http://public.fotki.com/Radio88/norwegian-spirit7/ - he took a lot. Take the tour!!! Magz and I couldn't stop telling folks little Spirit tidbits for the rest of the cruise... Whether they wanted to hear them or NOT, LOL!NCL SPIRIT RESTAURANTS/FOOD: I am not a 'foodie.' If I sit down hungry and stand up full I'm content but will give you my impressions anyway. Almost everything I had was great. The bacon every morning was crispy and delicious. Eggs made to order were perfect (I didn't have any buffet eggs). The croissants were really ,really good... not too big, not greasy. Also, I loved the orange juice. The room service coffee was the best coffee I tasted on the ship. Lunch in Windows and Raffles Terrace and the Blue Lagoon (Fish & Chips and cole slaw especially) and the Bier Garten was all good. I was really looking forward to the pretzels I'd read about on CruiseCritic but never found them. I did see one fellow one night with what I suspected was one of THE pretzel but he was too drunk to tell me where he got it LOL! Dinner at Windows, Cagney's, The Blue Lagoon and the Bier Garden was all wonderful. SERVICE WAS SPECTACULAR. Fast but not too fast. Solicitous but not 'in your face.' SPECTACULAR. The only thing I had that I didn't love was the mashed potatoes. However, to qualify this I am a mashed potato snob and often don't care for restaurant mashies... The particular highlights that come to mind were the steak, halibut, Caesar salad, the escargot, the soups and desserts. I apologize for not being more detailed but generally speaking I'm more concentrated on the conversation and take a bite now and then. Also, the drinking water all around the ship was very good. Word of advice: I would not bother with lugging bottled water on board at all... just bring something insulated to walk around with - The Spirit's water is definitely better than most bottled waters... NCL BARS:Henry's Pub was fun. The Bier Garten made a GREAT White Russian. Champagne Charlie's was great. Word of advice: if you plan to do the bucket of beer thing bring a bottle opener. I had to chase the wait staff to pop my caps... kinda frustrating but only a little as the reward was icy cold and refreshing.NCL STAFF AND CREW: I'm not sure what direction to go in here. I could write a hundred paragraphs detailing all the small kindness and services these hard working provided for me and my group. We felt right at home yet like royalty. Sean Wurmhleringer, the Hotel Director... there are not words. He is a wonderful man and a true credit to NCL. His smile lights up the room... and it's a smile that goes all the way to his pupils. I feel honored to have gotten to know him - even a little. Bernhard Schindlaur, the Food and Beverage Director... Holy moly. I wanted to take him home with me (though I think he was appalled/amused by my request for a beer at the captain's dinner). If he had taken off his coat for me to walk upon I wouldn't have been surprised a bit. NCL is brilliant for hiring him and I feel blessed that I got to know him, just a little as well. Bruce Van Der Boon, Concierge who will not be sailing again on the Spirit until, I think August was pure joy wrapped up in skin. It's funny but when we told him what we had in mind wedding-plans-wise, in particular having the bride come to the pre-wedding cocktail hour he was aghast. I mean he literally gasped. I think he thought we were idiots (because it was an idiotic idea LOL). He punched his palm with his hand, straightened out his backbone and stepped in to save us from ourselves. We have laughed about it a hundred times already. Thank God for Bruce. I mean that. Our cabin steward Willy (Wilfredo Jr.) and Rachel, his partner were extraordinary. I mean so far above and beyond anything in our experience we hesitated to ask for anything because it was probably already 'in the works.' Willy made us, I think the cutest towel animal ever constructed. Custom. Perfect. I think he took some ribbing for leaving it hanging in or cabin but we loved it so much he left it for us. Willy and Rachel greeted us by name with beautiful smiles every time we saw them. I don't think they sleep much because they always seemed to be busy here and there. We loved them. Also, Kelly and Amita at Reception were just great. The poor things, we often had to check with the bride for their questions and they were very patient and sweet. There are so many more... The bartenders, especially Gede were all great. The maitre 'd of the Garden Restaurant (I'm kicking myself because I can't find his name), from Hawaii was so pleasant and helpful - even after I forgot to cancel a brunch reservation for 33. What a dope. Chef Hans-Peter? Could he have been any sweeter? Nope. There was one crew-member (I thought she was Windows maitre 'd but when I called to get her name the gave me a man's name and then somebody came into our cabin and I never 'got back' to my task). in Windows that I forgot to get her name. She is from Columbia and has the cutest short haircut on board. She was always there in the background making sure all the "T's" were crossed and "I's" dotted. Also, Dumpling was awesome... she 'ran' the "Giant Pictionary" game, kept score at Quest and was great at disembarkation. I took a couple of 'compliment cards' home with me and fill them out for the folks I missed; I asked and I can send them to Miami.BERMUDA ACTIVITIES/NIGHTLIFE: Quite a few folks in our group rented the scooters from Smatt's in Hamilton. They were very nice and quite accommodating. One of the renters was very uncomfortable and turned hers in right away for which they praised her. Another person in our group rented a scooter for the three days but returned it after one day and Smatt's was very accommodating there as well. There were no mechanical issues with any of the scooters (we had had a great deal of trouble in '04 with the scooters 'failing' - rented from one of the bigger outfits that I strongly suspect do not maintain them all that well). We had no mishaps in our group, thank the Lord. However, one woman on our cruise (but not in our group) did have a mishap and spent a few hours in the hospital. Frog and Onion: very nice in the afternoon. Wicked fun at night. Tables set up in the open courtyard... very nice. A bit expensive but nice. Swizzle Inn South: Gotta go. Yummy Swizzle Punch. Good food. Great service. The ladies room left QUITE a bit to be desired, however (another pet peeve). Jobson's Cove near Warwick Long Bay. Beautiful. Just beautiful.Hamilton: I am not a shopper but my friend bought a great shirt at A.S. Cooper and he looked like a million bucks.Ferry: THE way to travel. Short money at $28 for a three day ferry/bus pass.Bus: Gets you from here to there. A great place to meet locals, who are often very willing to share knowledge, etc. The bus drivers are quite friendly, as well. Also, the ride along the South Road on #7 affords breathtaking sights... and breathtaking clearances LOL!Scaur Fort: Try not to miss it. What a view! What a well maintained park on a hill in Somerset. Lovely benches. Lots of informative signage. Almost manicured grounds. Those coin binoculars were there, though we didn't use them. Also, the ladies room was immaculate LOL! No, really it was.Somerset Walking Tour (Frommers.com). This was certainly a highlight. Wear comfortable footwear and bring water. The walk along the railway was a Bermuda I'd never seen and was pleased a punch along the way to hear the sounds and smell the smells. Also, some of the most beautiful Bermudian homes... not the huge mansions but 'regular people' homes... The sights, the sounds, the smells were a treat. Also the lizards were VERY COOL. At a crossroads, the three of us sat in the shade to look at the map and have a drink of water. We were a little tired LOL. A sweet man, Glen Simmons - a Bermudian electrician stopped along-side and asked if we were alright... if we needed any help. I kid you not. We declined help but he stayed and chatted for ten minutes or so - giving us advice and telling us a bit about Bermuda. The friendly Bermudian culture adds an entire dimension to a Bermuda visit. I'd guess in Boston one of ten folks might stop and ask a tourist if he needs help - and probably only if the tourist looked incredibly lost or was bleeding or something. In Bermuda, I think nine of ten will engage a tourist in conversation if they see an 'opening.' A beautiful thing.Somerset Country Squire: DO NOT MISS THIS PLACE. The bus goes right by it on the way to anywhere from the Dockyard. The barman, Donald welcomed us like long lost cousins. It was the last stop on our walking tour so we were quite thirsty. We planned to have a quick drink but ended up spending the afternoon chatting with Donald and other customers. The ladies room was great! Also, the fish chowder which is served with little cruets of Gosling's Rum and some kind of pepper infused liquid - to season your chowder to taste. MMMMMMMM. I'm getting hungry. TRULY A "DON'T MISS!" Tell them Clare from Boston sent you LOL!Late night at Snorkel Park was interesting. There was a ten dollar cover and it was packed. You have to wait in line to get 'tokens' and then wait in line to get a beverage... It is, we came to understand later in the night the cruise ships' crews' 'place.' It's not that we were not welcome but we left with the impression that we were intruding a bit. The ship's crew work very very hard on EXTREMELY long shifts and this is their opportunity to hang out and let loose. They are NOT on duty and I suspect that they would just assume not see us there... These are just my impressions. The Dockyard was a very cool place to walk around. There was live music a couple of times which was nice.Sea glass: I didn't know it until this week but I am, apparently a sea glass snob. It's a bit frightening to find such a thing out in my forties... Around the Boston area there might be a bit if sea glass here and there. White is good. Green is not so good. Brown is yucky. Thick is good, thin: not so good. Thick blue is the holy grail for heaven's sake. We went to a beach in Somerset on Mangrove Bay to hunt for sea glass Hunt was an inappropriate goal. You need to avoid the sea glass It was everywhere... I mean figuring out where to step in my flip flops was a challenge. It is a miracle that none of us was cut. Why the beach was like this is a mystery I plan to look into. My friend did find quite a bit but in my snobbish opinion it was substandard. Maybe if you are from the Midwest sea glass hunting in Bermuda would be fun but if you are from anywhere near the coast forget the sea glass and head right to the Somerset Country Squire and get a glass of Bass Ale, instead... Maybe there are better places to hunt... hope so!HEADING HOME: We, for some great reason stayed a bit later than our itinerary said in Bermuda and got to see the Norwegian Dawn go by. There were a few Yankees/Red Sox jeers across the harbour but all in good fun. I hope they have as great a cruise as we did! There was a bit of melancholy - just a smidge - that our time in Bermuda was over but the trip home was awesome. The weather got progressively cooler and we went through a huuuuuge fog bank. The water was as calm as a bath tub. Hearing the fog horn now and then was a particular treat. DISEMBARKATION: If you are not in a hurry you will have no stress. There were people milling around the reception area from very early on... sitting on their luggage, etc. They looked stressed and the crew had to keep shuffling people around because the hallways/stairs cannot become congested. The process is fairly easy, though, you choose a color/time beforehand (and hopefully the rest of your group does the same). You fill out a little customs form and you head out after your color is called. You NEED your key card and customs form to get off the ship. You don't need your passport. On my next cruise I plan to take Radio's advice and walk around, eat, etc. until the crowds have disbursed... REGRETS - I HAVE A FEW: Not having chosen a better travel agent. Spending so much time on the balcony, though it was great. Missing the Sexy Legs contest. Being a bit too loud in our cabin though our neighbors insisted it was fine. Not having established a 'meet in the port far corner' of Galaxy of the Stars for White Hot Party Night. Not having a better plan i.e. a meeting place on the sidewalk after disembarkation. Forgetting nail polish remover... duh. Not bringing sneakers and socks. Not hugging Sean, Bernhardt and Bruce one more time. Not having arranged for our own transport to the Jobson's Cove wedding regardless of the wedding planner telling us we couldn't do that. Not getting a close-up pic of the Portuguese Man of Wars we saw on the beach (I don't know of anybody who saw them in the water so I think the 'season' has passed, btw). Not having AT LEAST ONE blue beverage with Sandy, my Roll Call buddy. Not being better jotting names of wonderful crew members down - next time I'd bring a golf pencil for my little neck wallet. Not drinking a glass or two of water during the martini tasting. Forgetting to cancel our brunch reservation. Not clicking 'logout' better (I KNOW that I clicked near the box, but my heart was already in the hot tub LOL!). I wish I'd planned an early group dinner and group 'show' night... I wish I'd brought more singles/fives (dollars bills). I would have established a meeting time/place on board the morning of disembarkation. Next time LOL!THINGS I/MY GROUP DID RIGHT: Planned, planned planned but remained flexible to changes. Also having a pre-cruise get-together worked out great... folks recognized each other on board and had already formed acquaintances. Communication Central Door. A few 'group' dinners but not too many. Meeting Sean, Bernhardt and Bruce (and taking heed of Bruce's excellent 'advice'). Duct tape. Paper. Everybody having a list of everybody's cabin number. Spent a lot of time and learned a lot on CruiseCritic. Contacted NCL when we had a huge issue with our travel agent. Went to the Meet & Greet. Did the Behind the Scenes Tour. Had a FANTASTIC time! Took oooooodles of pics. Took the stairs a lot. Had those neck wallet things. Made new friends. Exchanged lots of e-mail addresses. Made use of BucaneerLand. Went to the Martini Tasting. Not scooting out of the Somerset Country Squire as we'd planned. Making new friends. Posting pics right away on FaceBook.THANK YOU NCL & CRUISECRITIC!Clare Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
This was our first cruise and we had a great time. We wish we had another 12 hours in Bermuda. Tuesday June 23 it rained. We hoped it would have stopped so we could go see the Maritime muesem and the grounds of the old naval installation. ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we had a great time. We wish we had another 12 hours in Bermuda. Tuesday June 23 it rained. We hoped it would have stopped so we could go see the Maritime muesem and the grounds of the old naval installation. We would recommend getting the three day transportation pass, it is accepted on the bus and ferry. The stateroom was laidout in a great design the rooms are small, but that is expected on ships. For the price you could not beat what service was provided. In someways the price attracts to many people, who have no concept of the cost or the value of the service. The ships crew took great care of us, my kids speak the language of the most of the crew so that helps. I also noticed to many of passengers are too demanding, they act like the character played, by Billy Zane in the movie,Titanic. This cruise had too many civil servants from New England on the ship which tells me they are overpaid or the price of the cruises are too low. If their was a way to increase the standard of the behavior of the passengers it would be nice. The passengers were primarilary from Boston which also explains their behavior. The Boston behavior was appearent in Raffles, which is the ship buffet, they turned it into a feedbag. The food was good, we agte breakfast in Raffles everymorning in port because we were off the ship by 8 am. This was a good time becauses it was not crowded, we were in and out within an hour. Eggs to order are the way to go, the kids would try many different foods. I love the everything omlette. I was afraid I would fall into the glutoness mind set of eating. Lunch was eaten at 3:30  after taking a break from touring the island. We explored the island on our own the tours were too expensive for too short of a time. We would then go out touring more of the islands. We would eat dinner in Windows, this dining room had a great view off the aft of the ship.The portions were a nice size. The entrees were delicious. The service was attentive one reason we ate before the crowds and were not demanding. Our boys who are 7 and 9 ate off the adult menu. They can have chicken tenders, hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza at anytime. I like to eat but did not gain weight because I stayed out of the buffets with civil servants of Boston who want the feed bag mentality.We signed up the boys for the day care they went the first night my oldest son's leather belt was torn in two pieces, the boys called the other kids savages. My kids are no angels but are well disciplined, but then again we are talking about civil servants kids from Massachuesetts. They never went back to the day care center again. The daycare staff seemed clueless and immature. I would go on a cruise on the Spirit and the crew of NCL anytime, anywhere except Boston and New York. The shows were great the Magican was great he has been in Gunissess book of World records 12 times for the tricks he performs. The CatsPajamas were a great show they will be on NCL cruises out of Turkey in  a few weeks. The show on the radio was fair, and Second city were also fair. If you go out of Boston be careful for the kids jumping into the Tivoli pool, on our cruise one little monster landed on a womens head and hurt her neck. This pool is one area where there is no camera. Around the pool area you have people who leave their towels on the chairs all day to claim the seat. That is no problem just use the towel to wipe your feet and sit on that lounge chair.  I did this if no one went back to the chair after 15 minutes. I would sit for an hour at a time and no one ever stated anything. There was young man 17-19 who asked me where are the girls, I am late forties and have young children, I did report him to security, I never saw him again so I hoped they removed him from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We are a group of 24 yo girls who went for one of our friend's birthday. We stayed in two rooms with two of us in each one. I have been on 5 cruises, on Celebrity, RCCL and Holland America. This was my first crusie on NCL.  ... Read More
We are a group of 24 yo girls who went for one of our friend's birthday. We stayed in two rooms with two of us in each one. I have been on 5 cruises, on Celebrity, RCCL and Holland America. This was my first crusie on NCL.  Embarkation was very easy. I expected to wait at least a hour. We got to the terminal around 1130 and were on the ship within a half hour. The ship was over all very nice. We had an inside cabin on deck 9 and had very good room stewards. They introduced themselves to us on the first day and were always friendly and around when we needed them. This was my first time with an inside and it was bigger than I expected. Plenty of closet room for two girls with lots of clothes. I have never stayed in an inside room and was actually happily surprised of the size of it. The food overall we felt was pretty good. We went to Windows 4 of the nights. The first night we went there I requested Kelton Fox because of the great reviews I had heard about him. We had him and his assistant Aldo for all the other nights there. They were both great and learned our names right away. Kelton also told us good places to go out in Bermuda. We actually saw him out in Snorkel Park and got to talk to him for awhile and learned all about him which was really cool. He unfortuntely finished his 9 mos on our cruise and is going back to school in Nicaragua. I had both of the lobster night dishes which both were average. Being so spoiled by New England lobster, I wasn't impressed with the lobster dishes that were made with warm water lobster. My friends who are more picky eaters got the "available anytime" options and liked them. We went to three of the speciality restaurants. On Friday night we went the italian restaurant. The food was good for the 10 dollar charge. I enjoyed the caprese salad from the antipasta trolley. I had the shrimp with rosotto dinner that was really good. We also went to Shogun restaurant one night and got a combo of sushi and regular Asian. I recommend the sushi to anyone who loves sushi. My favorite was the godzilla roll that had shrimp, mango, avocado, carmelized cashews and coconut. Very different with unique textures and was amazing! My other friends all got the regular Asian entrees and really enjoyed it too. We went to Le Bistro the last night. I had the rack of lamb which was really good. Some of the best lamb I have had. I felt that all three restaurants were worth the surcharges. The entertainment was good. We saw the production shows which I thought were pretty good. I am very picky with these type of shows because I am a dancer too. Some of the male dancers were amazing and were really fun to watch. Cat's pajamas were very good too. We got to meet and hang out with a couple of them and they are great guys. I think they are only on the ship for one more week because they are doing a tour but will be back on in a few weeks. Saw the magician in the last night show and he was very boring. I am glad I missed the full show of his. "Ship and males" was a dissapointment and parts of Paul Scally's late night comedy was funny. The bars on the ship were very good. We went to the pub one night and watched karoke. We did the first martini tasting at Champagne Charlies. It was worth the 15 dollar fee and very entertaining. We did a little gambling at the casino and also went to the club every night. It was fun except that it was crowded with 18 yos dancing all up on each other. We all love to dance so we just ignored them. The DJ was good in the club but he did play the same music every night. It was still good and I am sure it is hard for him to play different songs when he plays them for many hours a night. In Bermuda, we used the ferry and bus passes. We went to Snorkel Park one day, did St George and Tobacco Bay the second and Horseshoe Beach and Hamilton the last day. Horseshoe Bay beach is defintely a must see for beach lovers. Being in Bermuda for three days was great because we got to see Bermuda at night too which was fun.I did use the gym three times that week. It had a good mix of cardio machines and weight lifting machines. It was never very crowded. Overall the cruise was great and we were very happy with the service we had received. I really enjoyed how young the crew was. They were all very funny and always out at the club dancing. I would recommend this cruise to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
EMBARKATION:   Excellent in Boston.  We live on the South Shore (about 20 minutes from Boston) and we had our friend drive us to the ship.  I am a single Mom who went on a cruise for the first time as my son was graduating from ... Read More
EMBARKATION:   Excellent in Boston.  We live on the South Shore (about 20 minutes from Boston) and we had our friend drive us to the ship.  I am a single Mom who went on a cruise for the first time as my son was graduating from college in the next 3 weeks and we were having a huge celebration as a family then, but my sister and I decided to celebrate in advance !.    We arrived at the ship around 1PM and it was very smooth - a bit of a line but that was just fine. We found very courteous staff at the gangway to also help us to our roomCABIN:  We booked a balcony and we were very impressed with the size of the cabin (this was our first cruise so we really weren't sure what to expect ).  Our room steward was wonderful.  His name was Rey and he did everything he could to accomodate us.  He always said that he wanted to do more..but there really was nothing more he could do throughout the cruise.   We had packed lightly as we always do - we heard NCL was more relaxed about dress, so we only brought a few evening outfits -  so everything fit in our cabin perfectly.FOOD:  Well, where do we begin ?  On the first night we went to the regular dining room (Windows) which is so beautiful as is the whole ship.  We learnt later that it had been a ship that had its origins in the Eastern part of the world, which is evident around the whole vessel.   As the cruise progressed we went to several of the "extra charge" restaurants which were in my sister's and my estimation well worth it.   The Asian restaurant was amazing and Maitre'd  was so accomodating, even when my sister spilt soy sauce all over her dress !    We loved the sushi and the atmosphere.  We did try one other specialty restaurant and that was the Bistro where a wonderful waiter named Horace took care of us.  Overall the food was as good as we have had in our own city.  We ate breakfast in the regular buffet restaurant and just avoid the scrambled eggs as they were always cold.  The man that made the omlettes however was very nice - all the crew were really great.  We only saw the Captain once but we made sure we took our photo with him.  As I said, we wanted to do it all.  ENTERTAINMENT:  Because this was our first cruise we really wanted to experience everything so we didn't relax much.  We loved all of the shows,  but the highlight of every evening was going in to a bar named Champagne Charlie's.   We would start our night with a martini made by the nice bartender (we even went to his martini tastings) and a duo called Margie and Sam would entertain.   She has the voice of an angel.  Really amazing. I mean REALLY exceptional.   She even made a special recording for my son for his graduation as our song is " Wind Beneath My Wings".     I will never forget her kindness, or that of her duo partner Sam who played the guitar and bass. Very sweet people.   After they finished every night some old man with a hat came on and we always left.  We don't mean to be disrespectful, but the quality went down because of his terrible singing.   We then went to the shows which we loved.   Second City, a comedy troupe was great and the magicians were fabulous.  This was the highlight of our trip - the entertainment.  We saw it all.  We just loved the show that the crew put on at the end as well.  The nice cruise director also was just fantastic.OVERALL:   This was our first cruise, but it won't be our last.  We loved the fact that we could eat at any time, have great entertainment and I  felt like a queen.  I guess I was an extra good mood because of my son's graduation but I will definitely cruise NCL again.PORTS OF CALL:   Bermuda was so beautiful and we took advantage of the ferry ride to Hamilton.  We just loved the snorkel park as well and the information booth was so helpful.      Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
My husband and I are new to cruising as this was our honeymoon cruise. What a voyage!!Embarkation: We arrived by shuttle that was provided by our travel agency. We were there about an hour earlier before they started boarding. This was ... Read More
My husband and I are new to cruising as this was our honeymoon cruise. What a voyage!!Embarkation: We arrived by shuttle that was provided by our travel agency. We were there about an hour earlier before they started boarding. This was when I noticed that the motion sickness patch was making my right eye dilated. I looked like a lunatic at the time, but am laughing about it now.. :) After they started boarding, we were on the ship in about 30 minutes. They sanitized our hands and handed us a glass of champagne, which is a really nice touch.We headed over to the Venetian for lunch and had a nice sit down lunch with a great waiter named "Jordy."After lunch, we hung out by the pool in the sheltered area (it was raining) and enjoyed the sail away as we saw the Statue Of Liberty for the first time. It was definitely a moment to remember.Atrium: The atrium is absolutely gorgeous! It is a great spot to people watch and enjoy a cup of coffee at the Java Cafe!Cabin: We had a Mini Suite on deck 11. Our room was lovely and spacious. My husband is 6'4" and it suited him as well. Our Stewards Mark and Sopi were very efficient and friendly. The bathroom amenities were luxurious. The shower gel is very cooling for sunburned skin! The bed was a little firmer than what we are used to,but we slept well. I liked the drapes. They were black out drapes that made the room nice and dark for sleeping. We had an adequate balcony. We used it every chance we could. It was nice to hear the sea going by. We had towel animals 5 of the 7 nights. They were a nice surprise!Food: Food is always subjective. That being said, we had some meals that were fantastic, some that were good and one we didn't like.Venetian: Delicious food and great service. We had the steak, tilapia, ribs, and pasta. All were wonderful. It was a beautiful room and it felt like were in one of the old fancy restaurants from an Audrey Hepburn movie.Aqua: We had breakfast twice in this room since it was included in the balcony rooms. There was really no way to know this unless one reads the boards. NCL doesn't go out of their way to tell one this. The food was good and the service was pretty good. We also had a great dinner here. The "Surf and More Surf" was amazing!Garden Cafe: We ate here quite often. We had breakfast here 3 times. Lunch and dinner about 3-4 times We liked the selection and the food was nice and hot.Bimini Grill: We had a late lunch here once. The food was ok, but they were pushy on the booze. We're not big drinkers, yrt they were VERY pushy for us to get a bucket of beer. Ordering one beer is like pulling teeth.Specialty Restaurants:Le Bistro: We had this for our Honeymoon package. The meal was very tasty. I had the steak and my DH had the Salmon. Both were great. I tried the escargot appetizer. That was decadent and delicious. Impressions: this was our least favorite restaurant. My DH wanted butter with our rolls and the waitress rolled her eyes like it annoying to her. She practically insisted we wanted oil and vinegar instead.The oil and vinegar tasted rancid. We ordered the Lobster Ravioli and we both didn't like it. The sauce was strange to us and left a strange aftertaste. Our Maitre D came over and we explained to him what we didn't like about the dish. He offered to get another entree, but we declined as we decided to go to another restaurant. We didn't tell him about the waitress, because we didn't want to get her in trouble, and perhaps that was just a slip-up. Spa: We enjoyed the couples spa pass. We loved the hot tubs, lap pool and the view. The view of the wake was amazing! Especially as we were leaving Bermuda!Entertainment: Bollywood was fantastic! The Tina Turner impersonator was good. We also enjoyed Bingo Boy. He was funny, if not a bit insane:) We saw the variety show with Dave Heenan and the Magician (I can't remember his name.) Both were entertaining. Movie selection on the TV was a bit repetitive and blah.DH would have loved to have some of the more recent movies that are out in the theaters now in the cinema.Bermuda: Lovely and beautiful. We enjoyed the Island Tour. It was 5 hours. Our guide was very informative. We saw the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, the many beautiful beaches, and St. George. We enjoyed Harbor Nights in Hamilton. We sunbathed at Snorkel Bay.We LOVED the Maritime Museum. It was a very large museum. We loved the care they took to make it beautiful. We only paid 10.00 to get in and we got a discount with our boarding card. It was the best deal on the whole island. Do not do the cruise sponsored excursion. Just go there at your leisure. The history there is amazing!Overall Cruise Experience:  We did get seasick on the last sea day. I was able to get the medicine and we were able to rest until it kicked in. There was a huge line at the reception desk, and the sweet woman at the excursion desk was kind enough to run and get some dramamine for us!Other than the motion sickness, we loved the experience. We found it to be a wonderful way to get our new life started! For a milestone anniversary we shall definitely cruise NCL again! The Dawn was gorgeous. She may be an older girl, but she is definitely a beauty! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My husband and I cruised on the Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda last week (May 3, 2009). I am 32 and my husband is 38. This was our first cruise with Norwegian. Together, we have cruised once on Carnival. My husband has cruised with his family ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda last week (May 3, 2009). I am 32 and my husband is 38. This was our first cruise with Norwegian. Together, we have cruised once on Carnival. My husband has cruised with his family on Carnival and Celebrity. I found the Cruise Critic website when I was searching for reviews of the Norwegian Dawn and my husband and I had a lovely cruise thanks to all of your reviews. We knew exactly what to search out and what to avoid before we even boarded. Thanks to everyone who posted a review. They were invaluable. Embarkation: We live 15 minutes from NYC, so my in-laws dropped us off at the pier at 11:00 a.m. We left our 4 bags with the baggage handler (as well as a nice tip) and headed into the terminal. Not many passengers were arriving this early, so there really weren't any lines to wait on. There was more than enough terminal and Norwegian staff to usher us from one step to the next. The whole process took about 15 minutes. We were given a Freestyle Daily and directed to a waiting area until boarding began at 12:15. When we stepped on board, we were warmly greeted with our choice of champagne or orange juice. My husband and I found our way to the Venetian (main dining room) and sat down to a lovely lunch with our champagne still in hand. By dessert, the announcement was made that the cabins were ready (about 1:30). Stateroom: Our cabin was a mid-ship obstructed oceanview on deck 8. I had purchased the Anniversary Package (more on that later) and a bottle of chilled champagne and 5 small chocolate covered strawberries were waiting on the table for us. The cabin was very clean. The size was a bit of a shock at first but we quickly got used to the small accommodations. There is a lot of storage space - very large closet with space for hanging things and shelves inside, 6 drawers for clothes, quite a few shelves scattered around. We managed to find space for all of our things (and we are heavy packers). Our 4 suitcases all fit inside one another and took up only half of bottom of the closet. The bathroom was a nice size and there was plenty of storage space for toiletries, one shelf over the sink and two below. Our cabin stewards, Reginald and his assistant, Sammy?, introduced themselves within the first few minutes of our arrival. We were always greeted by name and we always received a friendly hello from our stewards. The guys did a wonderful job and any request that we made was taken care of immediately. We got towel animals 4 of the 7 nights and cabin was made up and turned down every day and night. We never had to request fresh towels. Reginald was right on top of everything. From reading reviews prior to sailing, we knew to bring an adaptor since there is only one American outlet and our travel alarm clock/sound machine. Always make sure that the curtains are closed prior to changing because (trust us) the staff do check those life boats. One thing to note, there is a lot of creaking and tapping in the cabin. Light sleepers, I suggest bringing a sound machine. We used ours every night and still heard noises throughout the night. We both found the bed to be very comfortable. Dining: Overall, we were very satisfied with the food and the selections. We did our research prior to sailing, so we fully expected the additional charges for specialty restaurants and planned accordingly. We were surprised by the number of children on this cruise. Being that is was the first week of May and not near any school break, I would say that there were more children than we expected. I can honestly say that we did not have even one meal (including the specialty restaurants) where children were not present at tables directly next to us or tables close by. The Venetian is the main dining room and has no charge. We had 1 lunch, 1 dinner, and 3 breakfasts here. Dinner was on lobster night and the portion was very small, but I'm sure that we could have asked for another serving. Other reviewers had said that the service was slow. I didn't find the service to be slow, but did notice that the servers were not as friendly as in specialty restaurants. The chilled fruit soups were very good (except for the carrot and orange - trust me on this). A small thing that did get on our nerves quite a bit was that if you asked for condiments, the server would apply it for you. My husband asked for ketchup and the server returned with a bowl of ketchup and spooned it onto his plate. I asked for syrup and the server returned with the syrup and without asking poured it on my pancakes as well as my omelette and bacon. The next morning, a different server tried to do the same thing. Who puts syrup on an omelette? The Garden Cafe is the buffet and also has no charge. We ate 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 1 dinner here. It was typical buffet food and with a large selection. The pizza was awesome here. Expect a fair amount of aggravation due to the general rudeness of some passengers. There will be line cutting. It will be loud. It will be crowded. So just brace yourself, because there is some good food to be had. The Chocolate Buffet was a madhouse. It started at 10:00, but by that time, the line was already into the hall and up the stairwell. Many people had to take their plates elsewhere due to the large number of people who were done eating but chose to linger at tables chatting away over empty plates while others wandered about looking for a place to sit. The Blue Lagoon is the 24 hour diner and also has no charge. We ate 1 lunch and a snack here. I had read great reviews about their buffalo wings. My husband is a buffalo wing addict and was very excited by the prospect of 24 hour access to unlimited wings. He didn't care for the first order of wings. His description of the sauce was "hot ketchup". A few days later, he tried again and was disappointed again. There was not much seating at the Blue Lagoon and it was always packed, so we mainly stuck with the buffet for snacking. We had 2 lunches at the Bimini Bar. It is outside on deck 13 and there is no charge. The view is spectacular. You can get hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken sandwiches, fries, and soft pretzels here. Great place to order one of the beer buckets (buy 5 beers get 1 free). Bamboo was our favorite of the specialty restaurants ($15 per person). We ate here twice. The ribs were by far the best food that we had in any of the restaurants. They were an appetizer, but when we dined here for the second time, they let us have a larger order as an entree. The egg drop soup with corn was wonderful too. Service here was awesome. Dinner for two at Le Bistro was included in the Anniversary Package that I had purchased. A complimentary bottle of house wine was also included, our choice of the house merlot or chardonnay. We both had the beef tenderloin which was very tender and the french onion soup which was by far the best I have ever had. We finished off with the chocolate fondue for two which was fun. The one problem that we had with Le Bistro was that we had to wait even though we had a reservation. Additional seating for this restaurant is near the piano bar in the hallway outside. After waiting for 15 minutes, we were shown to a table in the outside section. It was noisy and you were on display to everyone passing in the hallway. We told the hostess that we did not want to sit in this section as this was supposed to be our romantic anniversary dinner. We were sent back to the piano bar to wait for a table inside and were seated 20 minutes later. We ate at Salsa one night ($10 per person). You get a small complimentary margarita which my husband enjoyed. We also got the sangria - the glass is huge and it was so good. Every table starts off with chips, salsa, and guacamole. Our server, Love, was wonderful - so pleasant and cheerful. One of the best servers we had. She definitely lived up to her name. I was a little disappointed with the lobster tacos that I ordered, but I think that it was just that I could not get a taste for lobster in this way. Everything else was great. On our last night, we ate at Impressions ($10 per person). Our servers, Jeanne and Dormalee, were so nice to us. This was one of our best meals on board. Food and service were impeccable. The anti paste trolley was a great way to start the meal and the pasta was very good. There was way too much food for us to possibly finish, so Jeanne and Dormalee had us take the pizza back with us. Entertainment: On our Carnival cruise, we did not see any of the shows, so I don't really have anything to compare these with. We went to the Welcome Aboard Variety Show featuring the comedian Dave Heenan. Not really our type of comedy. I would classify it as old school. The seniors seemed to like it. Band on the Run and Bollywood with the Jean Ann Ryan Co. were great. I have no idea how they did all of those things with the boat rocking the way it was. It didn't seem to effect them in the least. We saw the Second City Show which we loved. If you like SNL type comedy, I think you will enjoy it. The seniors did not care for it. My husband and I were appalled at how rude people were. I would say that about one third of the audience had walked out within the first half hour. We didn't care for Dave Heenan's act, but we stayed seated and showed some respect to the performer and the rest of the audience. The Not-So Newlywed Game was very funny. We also went to the Liar's Club at the Spinnaker Lounge which was just okay. Activities: I played Bingo at 4 of the Bingo sessions. There are 4 games to each session. It was a lot of fun and I would have played more if it wasn't so expensive. You have a choice of 3 or 4 packages each time you play, the cheapest being 6 cards for each of the 4 games. This costs $34. There are also the packages that come with the electronic bingo card where you get over 100 cards for each game. This was $89. I spent $216 on the 4 Bingo sessions. Ouch. Oh, and get there early for a seat. And, as always, expect screaming babies. We also played trivia quite a bit. We did a few of the morning and afternoon games as well as the Progressive Trivia most nights. Kevin, who runs the trivia, was awesome and everyone had a lot of fun with him. Kevin always stopped to chat with us and we soon felt like old friends. Kevin also ran the Shout it Out Movie Challenge in the Cinema and it seemed like a good time was had by all. Thanks for everything, Kevin! My husband did the Beers of the World tasting at the Pearly Kings Pub ($15 charge) and had a great time. We did the Italian Wine Tasting at Impressions($15 per person) and enjoyed that quite a bit. They served cheese and crackers and a large amount of wine for a tasting. We both left a little tipsy. My husband did the Wii Boxing Tournament and we went to a Watch Seminar and a few different raffles (never won anything) which were okay to pass some time. We also spent quite a bit of time and money in the casino. The best time to go was during the early show when it was almost empty. I did okay on the slots by pretty much breaking even. My husband was not so lucky with the table games. Shore Excursions: We did 4 excursions. All were booked online a few months prior to sailing. It was very easy and we had our pick of excursions. We did the "Wild West Kayak Adventure" ($71 per person). This was 2 miles of kayaking in some pretty rough water and cameras had to be left behind. My husband and I are 38 and 32. We were popping Advil for 2 days after this excursion. Be prepared. You have to be in really good shape for this one. We did the "Bermuda Triangle Night Glass Bottom Boat"($49 per person). This was our favorite by far. Our captain was funny and entertaining and you got a complimentary rum swizzle on the ride back. We did the "South Shore & Horseshoe Beach"($69 per person). This was also a good one and I think worth the price. We had 2 hours of touring in the air conditioned bus with brief stops at a small church and Gibb's Lighthouse and then 2 hours at Horseshoe Bay. The "Aquarium, Caves & Highlights" ($92 per person) was awful. Advertised as 4 hours with ferry transportation included, what we got was a 2 hour 45 minute tour and we had to purchase our own ferry tickets at $12 per person. I notified the excursion desk and after 5 days of back and forth, was told to contact Customer Relations upon our return. The one thing on this trip that we were severely disappointed with was the staff at the shore excursions desk. To say they were rude does not even begin to cover our treatment. Miscellaneous: As I had mentioned, my husband and I purchased the Anniversary Package for $79. This includes dinner for 2 at Le Bistro with choice of a bottle of the house merlot or chardonnay, the bottle of champagne and 5 small chocolate covered strawberries, 5 very small canapes that were left in our cabin on Friday night, the Honeymoon/Anniversary Champagne and Cake Party which consisted of a small piece of sheet cake and a single glass of champagne (no refills), and a 5 x 7 picture taken at the party in front of the Congratulations sheet cake. The "party" lasted about ½ hour. Personally, I didn't feel like this was worth the $79, but you be the judge.Weather/Sea Conditions:  The two days at sea prior to reaching Bermuda were a little rough.  I had my motion sickness patch on and was fine.  On the way back to NY, the water was very rough.  I felt a little queasy even with the patch and my husband (who never gets seasick) had to pick up some dramamine in the gift shop.  Weather in Bermuda was very windy the entire time.  The air temperature was in the mid 70s and the water was probably around 70 (a little too chilly for my taste).  Jellyfish (including Man of War) were plentiful at Horseshoe Bay.  Be careful. Disembarkation: We chose the latest possible disembarkation time (10:00 a.m.) because we wanted to have breakfast onboard and have plenty of time to get all of our things in order. We could have left earlier with no problem at all. Since your suitcases have to be put outside your cabin the night before you disembark, almost everything is in order already. We had a very early breakfast at the Garden Cafe because we forgot to turn our clock ahead even though our steward left us a reminder the night before. We then wandered around for a few hours with nothing to do but wait for our time to disembark. Once our color tag was called, we were off the boat and picking out our luggage very quickly. A friend picked us up right at the pier and we were back home 15 minutes later. With a very severe case of the post-vacation blues. Summary: Overall, we had a great time on NCL. The few bad things did not outweigh the good. We would love to cruise on NCL in the future! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My wife and I have taken several trips on the Dawn.  We've enjoyed each trip.  Everyone has different expectations and experiences.  But reading some of the negative reviews of the Dawn, I wonder if I was on the same ship as those ... Read More
My wife and I have taken several trips on the Dawn.  We've enjoyed each trip.  Everyone has different expectations and experiences.  But reading some of the negative reviews of the Dawn, I wonder if I was on the same ship as those people.  Lol.  The crew is extremely pleasant and accommodating.  The food at the main restaurants is very good.  My one complaint in the past has been lack of choices other than seafood dishes.  People, in the past, were generally only had one non seafood choice for dinner.  Thankfully, Norwegian has added an alternative menu which always has certain staple choices, chicken, steak, vegetables, salad, etc., on the menu.  It makes it much easier to find something delicious for those of us who don't like seafood or the exotic.  Great job by Norwegian! Boarding on the boat in the past has sometimes been a slow process.  This time we breezed through.  As experienced cruiser we know the buffet is a madhouse when you first board.  So we went down to the main restaurant for a more relaxed lunch.  After lunch we headed up to our room.   We checked out the Balcony.  Throughout the cruise, especially in port in Bermuda, my wife and I enjoyed sitting out on the balcony eating food or having a quiet drink.  Also Balcony and above rooms have the added benefit of being able to go to Aqua restaurant for breakfast.  We enjoyed this little perk and really liked waking up to a hearty breakfast in Aqua. The cabin stewards did a great job.  Room was kept clean and my wife enjoyed the towel animals.  J  I was pleased to see that most of the people who signed up for the cruise critic meet and greet showed up.  We had a fun time meeting our fellow cruise critics and exchanging gifts     At the meet and greet, I signed up for a lottery drawing for the chance to have dinner with one of the officers.  We were selected to have dinner with the ship doctor.  My understanding is that officers volunteer to have dinner with the passengers.  It's not required of them.  I have to say it was greatly appreciated by my wife and I.  Passengers are naturally curious about workings of the ship and people who run it.  So it's extremely nice of them to make the extra effort and give up their free time to dine with some passengers.  We really enjoyed meeting the ship's doctor and hearing some great stories from his world travels.  The highlight of the trip was when as an added bonus the comedian Dave Heenan, who is a friend of the doctor, joined us after his dinner.  We'd seen Mr. Heenan perform on the Crown and his show on the Dawn.  So we were fans of his.  Mr. Heenan had us all laughing hysterically as he told jokes or beat the doctor to the punch line.  Lol. My wife and I have visited Bermuda several times before.  By far and away the prettiest of all the islands.  As a lark we walked into the grocery store just to check out the differences in prices to back home.  I had heard food was expensive there but $8 for a loaf of bread is a little extreme.  Lol. If you like lounging around by the pool, the pool area can be over crowded.  The weather was only swimming weather the days we were in port in Bermuda.  So over crowding of pool area wasn't an issue this cruise.  But one of the areas all cruise lines need to improve is the pool areas.  They need larger pools or multiple pools, one just for children who can get in the way of adults, along better seating arrangements. The weather was beautiful.  Just a touch windy but back home was rainy so who cares.  J  We explored the island the paradise.  Unfortunately, the ferry breaking down upset many people who needed to get back to their boat, Jewel of the Seas.  Luckily, our boat wasn't leaving soon but passengers of the Jewel of the Seas were very concerned.  It severed as a reminder to us to make sure we leave plenty of time to get back from exploring the island on our own. Disembarkation was breeze with express.  No wait at all.  If you can carry your own bags, you'll probably be off the boat in minutes once passengers are allowed to disembark. All in all one of best cruise experiences.  We're looking forward to maybe going to Canada in the fall or some other warm paradise before then.  Great to meet everyone from Cruise Critic and we hope you made it home safely.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Sailed on the 5/10/09 Dawn trip to Bermuda.  Everyone in the terminal was very nice & helpful.  It was a breeze checking in. About 5 minutes after we checked in we met an adorable couple from our Roll Call.  After a short period of ... Read More
Sailed on the 5/10/09 Dawn trip to Bermuda.  Everyone in the terminal was very nice & helpful.  It was a breeze checking in. About 5 minutes after we checked in we met an adorable couple from our Roll Call.  After a short period of time were were allowed on ship & given champagne or orange juice.  I made myself a nice little mimosa.Knowing that the Buffet was going to be crazy we went right to the Blue Lagoon for a quick lunch.  Shortly thereafter we were able to go to our cabins.  Our luggage arrived by 4:00.  Our muster drill was quick & easy.The ship:  The Dawn is a beautiful ship & Very clean.  The ship was easily navigated-and this is from someone who can get lost anywheres.  Cabin:  my daughter, 2 kids & I shared an inside cabin-a little tight but we did it.  There was a nifty cot that pulled out between the 2 beds.  It was small but we had enough room for storage & plently of hangers in the closet.It was a very pretty cabin.  Our traveling companions have been on 5 cruises on RCL which they totally love.  They did comment that the bathrooms on the Dawn were large & very nice.  Our cabin stewards Rommel & Eduord were wonderful.  They came to introduce  themselves immediately.  Everything was kept spotless & the towel animals were enjoyed.  Immediately they new our names & fussed over the kids.  About the 3rd day I asked Rommel if anything could be done with my bed as I had a backache.  He removed something & said that if it didn't work he would find something else to help.  He asked me the next day if it worked.  It did!   They worked like crazy but always had a smile.  They are part of the tip sharing, but we tipped them extra.Entertainment:  I am not a "show" person, or at least I wasn't one until now.  The Dave Heenan comedy show was funny.The Jean Ann Ryan Group was FANTASTIC.  I saw every show-Band On The Run, South Beach Rave & Bollywood. I can't even explain how good they were-you just have to see them yourself.  The cruise crew show on the last day was fair but it was a nice effort.   However, the finale Fountains was a riot.  It was worth sitting thru the crew show to see the finale.  Fire & Ice was a teriffic duo-they played everything.  One night they did a Tina Turner review.  There was plenty of entertainment & activities all day. The new Cruise Director Shona is amazing.Meet & Greet-Held on Monday @ 10:30am-so early that some people forgot or just didn't get moving early enough.  Still we appreciate NCL efforts.  They must have had about 8 officers & dept. heads there.  They are all friendly.  One thing I noticed is that they all have a sense of humor & don't take themselves seriously. We met the famous Concerige Anshuman-he is wonderful as is everyone else.  Food:  Was fine considering how many people were fed.  I might have liked the food a tiny bit better on Carnival, but that wouldn't be reason for me to leave NCL's friendly staff & Freestyle Dining.  There is always plently of food choices everywheres.  My grandchildren loved the kids buffet. The buffet had a good variety including alot of ethenic foods.  Not bad, but it is what it is.  We ate many meals there.Kids program:  My 3 year old grandaughter attended for an hour.  Liked it, but wanted to hang out with "Mommy".  We all went to a "make your own pizza" with the kids program-cute.  We spent alot of time in the kids  pool area-definately a highlight-large area.  Things that weren't my favorite:  chair hogs-but we usually managed to find a couple of chairs-not NCLs fault.  Service in the Venetian & Aqua Dining Rooms-a little uneven -but for goodness sakes, those kids worked like crazy.  We didn't go to the dining rooms to make friends with the wait staff, so we have to commend them on their efforts.  Desserts-need a little work, although we did have a couple of excellent ones.Highlights-wonderful staff-very friendly, never had a problem.  The kids were treated like treasures.  Just remember, you'll never get 100 % perfect with anything, anywheres. One day I was walking in the buffet with 2 beverages.  A waiter wisked them on to the dray and asked where"madam" was sitting so he could help me.Our dinner at Salsas.  We didn't make a reservation but we got in with no problem @ 7:00pm.  Kids ordered off the regular menu-no charge-otherwise it came to $40 for the 4 of us.  Waitstaff well deserved the generous tip that we left.  The dinner started with some very good chips, salsa, fresh guacamole, some sort of cheese dip that might have had crab in it, & a corn relish.  The 2 year old ate everything & they cheerfully brought round 2.  The adults were treated to a small frozen margarita each.  We had great appetizers.  Our dinners were:  Lobster Tacos, swordfish skewers & Ribs..  We all shared & enjoyed.  The dessert that we picked still haunts me-I want the recipe-Carmelized Margarita Tartlet.  It was huge & made from Pineapple-I can't even describe how good it was.  We went back to the bar at Salsas several nights later for another Margarita.  I remember that they had a complimentary Tapas menu.  We ordered what we all deemed a "the best calamari ever".  The risotto in the dining room ws A+.  The rack of lamb was the absolute best that I have ever had.Compliments of the Meet & Greet we had dinner with the Hotel Director Hugo. I was very nervous having dinner with an officer but he was friendly, interesting & funny. He told us that the Dawn was rolling out a new menu soon.  There would be an extensive "everyday Menu"  with daily specials.  This will give customers more choices.Bermuda-great & very safe.  It was a little on the chilly side-but what do you expect mid May? Went to Horseshoe bay beach-so beautiful. I believe that we were at the part called Baby Beach-unbelievable.  It's a good thing that we brought pre-packaged snack because the snackbar was way expensive.  We also went to Snorkle Park-ok but a bit of a let down after the first beach. The zoo & aquarium was very nice-I very much enjoyed it-$10 for the adults-little kids are free.My daughter, DH & Kids will be going back on the Dawn to Bermuda next June-I might go, but I might go on an NCL European Cruise with some old friends. I'll miss the Dawn,Another highlight, Meeting all of my Cruise Critic friends.For the people that complain about the Dawn, ease up.  You are not paying Oceania or Seaborn rates, so don't expect what you would get on this cruise.  Some posters complain about having to pay for everything-the speciality rest. are very reasonable compared to other lines.  We weren't hounded to buy drinks, we were politel;y asked-if we said "no", we were treated cordially.  The announcements weren't accessive.  For  the people that complain about "everything"  try to ease up or find another way to vacation (just my opinion). I hate spending extra money, but if I were to individually tip for all of the service, I would have spent much, much more-so in my opinion, the $12/day/pp was a bargin.  THe staff deserves it.Loved the trip.  I look forward to sometime going again on the beautiful Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Penthouse 11060Travelers:  Friends aged 65, 58, 54 and 53Pre-Cruise Stay in New York: 5/14-17/09We flew in/out of LaGuardia and booked ground transportation with Dial 7.  Rates were very similar to what we would have paid for taxi ... Read More
Penthouse 11060Travelers:  Friends aged 65, 58, 54 and 53Pre-Cruise Stay in New York: 5/14-17/09We flew in/out of LaGuardia and booked ground transportation with Dial 7.  Rates were very similar to what we would have paid for taxi service.  Since there were four of us with luggage, we were picked up in a mini-van.  Dial 7 was prompt, courteous and clean.  We arranged for their transportation from hotel to port and port to airport after the cruise as well.We booked the hotel on our own and obtained a great deal on the Hilton website at the Waldorf=Astoria.  At booking, we agreed to take an e-upgrade, if available at check-in for a stated dollar amount (much less than the standard rate).  Upon check-in, we were upgrade to a full 1-bedroom suite (the upgrade offer had been for a mini-suite) for the rate we had agreed to on-line at time of booking.  The suite consisted of one bedroom (two queen-sized beds), a living room, and two full bathroomsthis was great for four women.  The Waldorf is approximately 15 minutes from the port.This was the first time we had stayed in a suite with butler and concierge service.  We have stayed in inside, outside, and balcony cabins previously.  I stayed with my sister, niece and another friend in the Presidential Suite on the Norway the winter before her accident.  The upgrade fairy visited that time with a remarkable offer. The Norway had concierge service but not butler service.EMBARKATIONWe arrived at the port at approximately 11:40 a.m. and were escorted onboard by our concierge, Anshuwan, within 20 minutes.  We went directly to Cagney's for lunch.  By the time we had finished eating, the announcement had been made that the staterooms were ready.PENTHOUSEThe penthouse consisted of a master bedroom (king-sized bed which I understand was very comfortable) and a flat screened TV with DVD player, a HUGE master bathroom with windows from the shower and whirlpool bathtub overlooking the ocean, a TV over the bathtub, a large vanity with double sink and dressing table area, large closet and a great deal of storage space.  Bathrobes were provided (for both bedrooms) and slippers for those in the master bedroom.  It was absolutely lovely and the master bathroom was simply fabulous!The living room had another TV with DVD player, two chairs, sofa and coffee table.  We found the furniture all to be very comfortable.  The dining area had a small table with four chairs.  The coffee maker was easy to use and we found that we liked the tea capsules rather than the espresso/coffee capsules.  We had fresh fruit delivered daily as well as evening snacks.  The flower arrangement in the cabin lasted the entire week.The second bedroom was a small inside cabin with limited storage space (three drawers and a small closet area, a bath with stool/sink/shower.  This bedroom can sleep threea pull-out sofa (double) and an upper berth.  Two adult women were fine in this bedroom as the only time spent in there was to sleep, shower and change.The balcony had two full loungers and a small table.DININGAs suite holders, we were able to have breakfast and lunch at Cagney's.  The food was great and service excellent.  I have never seen shrimp as large as those served in the shrimp cocktails.  This is a very nice perk for those staying in suites.We ate in both main dining rooms and found the food to be excellent.  This was the first week that Norwegian rolled out their new menus.  Each dining room has its own menu that remains the same throughout the week (the two menus are slightly different from one another) and daily specials.  The daily specials were the same for both dining rooms.  Since the food was exceptionally good, we did not see the need to spend extra for specialty dining.  We did go to the Jazz Brunch ($15 surcharge) and enjoyed it very much.  We did not wait for longer than a few minutes to be seated in either dining room but we chose to dine either early or later not during the rush from 6:30-8:00.  You can count on it taking 1-1/2 or 2 hours for complete dinner service.  The first evening there was a long line at the Venetian so we went to Aqua and were seated immediately.  Since we had butler service, we did have dinner in our cabin twice.The Chocoholic Buffet was okaynot anything like the buffet of years ago though.SERVICEOur room steward was nice and did an adequate job of cleaning.  I had the feeling he was fairly new to his position though.  We had towel animals most nights.Our concierge, Anshuwan, was wonderful.  We found him to be very pleasant and personable.  We only used his services a couple of times in making reservations.  He even stopped by the Jazz Brunch to check on us and make sure everything was okay.Our butler was Huda.  We cannot say enought about him.  He truly goes above and beyond.  One of the women in our group was celebrating her birthday on the Sunday of our return.  I ordered a birthday cake for her to be served our last night (Saturday) as a surprise and we ordered dinner in the cabin.  Huda served dinner, cleared the table, sat it again with a clean tablecloth spread with rose petals and brought the cake in singing her Happy Birthday.  He also brought our friend five long stem red roses.  Talk about making someone's trip ...We found all the crew on the Norwegian to be extremely friendly.SPAWe purchased the spa passes for the week $150 for two or $99 per person.  It was well worth the money.  The Dawn has an indoor lap pool, two hot tubs and lounge chairs overlooking floor to ceiling windows in the co-ed area.  There are separate male/female areas with changing rooms, steam room, sauna and a relaxation room with the most comfortable chairs.  The relaxation room was very quiet and a great place to read and relax.  The spa was open 8a-10p on port days and 8a-8p on sea days.BERMUDAWe did not take any of the tours offered by Norwegian choosing to go off on our own since we were docked for two nights at King's Whart.  The bus/ferry pass runs $28 for three days for adults.  The public transportation was excellent.We took a complete taxi tour of the island.  Our driver/tour guide was Arther.  He had lived in Bermuda his entire life and was very knowledgeable.  We took our time, made many stops, took lots of pictures and got to meet some of the local people.  We were with Arthur for approximately 5-1/2 hours.  We especially enjoyed seeing all the beaches and the botanical gardens.  It ran $35-40 per hour if I remember correctly.  We ended our tour in Hamilton and did some light shopping, had a late lunch and took the ferry back to the Dockyard after enjoying a little of the Hamilton nights.The second day we took the ferry back to St. George's to walk around a bit more, took a tour of the Bermuda perfumery, had lunch at a restaurant on the water and then went back to the ship to change to visit the beaches.  The water was a bit cool at first, but we quickly got used to it and found it pleasant.  We took a long stroll down the beaches.  Unfortunately we didn't have long enough to do the entire pathway between the south shore beaches.  There were a few sprinkles of rain while we were on the bus back to the Dockyard, just enough that the driver had to periodically swipe with his windshield wipers but it had stopped by the time we made it back to the ship.Friday we spent exploring the Dockyard shops, had lunch at Cagney's and then spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing at the spa.ENTERTAINMENTCannot really comment as we only saw parts of a few shows.  We did attend the afternoon program to see Fountains.  WEATHERThe first night and sea day were overcast and cool with moderate ocean waves.  A little rough but not too bad.  The remaining sea days were nice and waves were slight.  It was in the middle 70's in Bermuda.  The weather was perfect not too hot or too cold.SUMMARYOverall, I would say the service and food were much better this year on the Dawn than what I experienced last year on the Jewel.  The only negatives, which were minor, were that the phone in the second bedroom did not work and was not repaired while were were on board.  Also, it was interesting that the remote for the television in the living room would also activate the TV in the master bedroom.  So, the early birds that slept in the second bedroom did not feel that they could turn on the TV in the living room as it inevitably turned on the master bedroom TV and woke the two that were sleeping.Two of us purchased the future cruise rewards certificate.  I think Bermuda is in our future again ... Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Just got back from the 5/24-5/31 7-day NY-Bermuda on the Norwegian Dawn.  My third cruise.  First was Pacific Princess (the actual "Love Boat" for its final season in 2002 NY-Bermuda), which was fantastic.  Second was a ... Read More
Just got back from the 5/24-5/31 7-day NY-Bermuda on the Norwegian Dawn.  My third cruise.  First was Pacific Princess (the actual "Love Boat" for its final season in 2002 NY-Bermuda), which was fantastic.  Second was a Carnival megaship NY-Caribbean, did NOT like it at all.  The Norwegian Dawn was fabulous, the ship, the crew, the entertainment...pretty much everything.The FoodOthers have criticized the food.  Well, the food wasn't awful, and the specialty restaurants have better fare, especially the steaks at Cagney's (had the rib eye...superb!).  The Venetian and Aqua restaurants were just fine, and even the Garden Cafe food was good.  Are you going to get great at a buffet?  No.  But the variety was very good, and unless you want gourmet everyday, the Garden Cafe and other standard no-fee restaurants sufficed.  More than sufficed.  The pool deck BBQs were very good.Condition of shipVery, very well-kept.  6-1/2 years old (which, at least to me, doesn't sound very old at all!), and it's kept in impeccable shape.  And it's gorgeous, beautifully designed and easy to navigate (excuse the pun).  Also very clean, very impressively so.StateroomWe were lucky and got upgraded to a Penthouse Suite, #9236, one of the Penthouse Suites in the aft.  Very roomy, extra-wide teak deck, very, very comfortable, beautifully designed, tons of storage.  And the butler and concierge service...I don't know how I'll ever be able to cruise without that again!  He's mentioned elsewhere on cruisecritic, our butler Anoop was just superb!!!  Always there, whatever you want, and everything is done quickly.  Amazing guy with a wonderful personality and smile.  Our concierge Anshuman also made things happen for us.  Really, between these two guys, there was nothing we had to arrange for ourselves.  The rest of the crew also very hard-working and very pleasant.EntertainmentVery good to great.  Stardust Theatre shows were fun, not too corny.  Bollywood show had some fantastic acrobatics.  The absolute BEST entertainment on the ship...Fire and Ice.  Run, don't walk, to all of their shows!!!  Amazing talent.  Don't miss it!Pool / Fitness Center / Spa / Kids areaDidn't use spa, except for a treatment, which was very good.  Not an annoying hard-sell for products, either; no more expensive that other cruises and spas in general.  Rest of spa looked nice enough, some friends used it daily and loved it.  Outdoor pool was a good size, good amount of hot tubs.  Crowded, but not overwhelmingly so.  Seemed there were always places to sit, especially in the front "quiet" deck.  Kiddie pool was very well-done, and the kids seemed to stay there for the most part.  But not a lot of kids on this cruise.  Sure to change as season continues and kids are out of school.  Fitness center good size, got machines and equipment I wanted to use most of the time.After this cruise, I would definitely book another Norwegian Cruise.  Very satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this cruise, went with my step daughter , her husband, 3 grandsons and his family total 23 people in all.And All ages.The stateroom we had was small I am claustrophobic, had a hard time sleeping at night. ... Read More
I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this cruise, went with my step daughter , her husband, 3 grandsons and his family total 23 people in all.And All ages.The stateroom we had was small I am claustrophobic, had a hard time sleeping at night. Asked for an upgrade but the ship was booked so I did most of my sleeping on deck during the day.Don'T get me wrong, I still feel like the cruise was very nice. The rooms and ship were clean . The deck hands, waiters crew were very helpful and nice. Always with a nice greeting and helped any way they could. As for the food and restaurants I was never disappointed at all. We tried the specialty restaurants and the regulars.They catered to every need you can imagine and always with a smile.I never even made it to all of the restaurants.It was even better to know I did not have to get dressed up, I do not own a suit jacked and never will. So just going in nice slacks or dress shorts and collared shirt I did not mind at all.We always went early before 630 pm before the crowds and lines. My grandsons was put into the Children's camp, ages 2, 4, 6. They loved it and did not want to leave, they came out for dinner and then went right back staying till they closed, they had the time of their lives. They even had a special pool area with a water slide for the kids at the rear of the ship.Took them to the Magic show and another show Bollywood.  The adult pool area was located in a very good area, where there was very little wind, great music, fun and games, and of course the bars and service was excellent, you never waited long for a drink and the waiters were always walking around asking if you needed a drink.or anything else. There was also a quite area in the front of the ship 13th floor Some people I know brought on some booze in their luggage, I also carried on a case of water no questions asked.  As for Bermuda we rented a sailboat  51' with captain Caleb,  you can find his site " sail Bermuda ", we made a deal for 25 people I ordered food and rum  for a 6 hr trip included 2 snorkel spots and nice sail in the bay was less then half the price then what the ship was offering and a lot more time, So check out it out. The one day we planned on going to Horseshoe beach it rained and also a warning of Man of war jelly fish on that side of the Island. so we went to Hamilton by bus, figured it would be nice to see the Island, buy the 2 or 3 day pass it is good for the bus and ferries for as many trips as you want in the time period.The shops next to the dock in the little mall by the clock towers were the cheapest place for T shirts and other goodies, 1/2 the price and the shirts were rather nice well worth it.  Since you are limited on your stay the  beach by the Snorkel park was nice, there was a lot of fish out there and only 10 minute walk from the ship, they rented beach chairs, snorkel equipment, floats and more, had food and drink great for kids and anyone else. Another thing while on the ship go to the Java Bar and visit Marty ,has the best coffee and even mixed drinks live music over head a lot of seats very comfortable and relaxing, and tell him Tony and MaryAnn says hello, he took care of our grandchildren with those virgin drinks and a lot of cherries i n them a great person and big smile. I do not know what else to say but I did like it very much and would do it again Oh yea I was amazed at how big the bathroom was in our cabin.about 1/4 the size of the cabin Really. My first day home and I do miss it especially being catered to. Back to reality. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This was our ninth cruise, and our second cruise on NCL.  We traveled with our college son and our older son and his new wife.  We chose this cruise for its itinerary and we were looking for a casual cruise.  We did not want to dress ... Read More
This was our ninth cruise, and our second cruise on NCL.  We traveled with our college son and our older son and his new wife.  We chose this cruise for its itinerary and we were looking for a casual cruise.  We did not want to dress for dinner or meet time frames, and NCL certainly fit the bill.  Embarkation was a breeze.  Being Latitude Members we were sent to a special line and went right to registration and on to the ship.  It took my husband longer to park our vehicle than it did for us to get on the ship due to "Fleet Week" in NY; He had to park on a different building which took about ½ an hour.  NCL sure has embarkation down pat. We stayed in Cabin 8086, obstructed view.   While our cabin did have a somewhat obstructed view you could still look out and see the ocean and whether it was daylight or dark.  Our room was neat and clean and Reggie, the Room Stewart, and his assistant kept it that way all week.  They did a good job and were very polite and cordial.  While we had read reviews from some who felt the crew was not very polite, we did not meet any crew members on this cruise who did not acknowledge us and smile, no matter where we were on the ship. Prior to going on the cruise, we had organized the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet, which went very well.  We had good attendance and the Captain and his Crew came in to give us a talk about the ship and new menus that were being offered.  We certainly appreciated them taking the time to meet with us personally.  Ana, the Event Coordinator, was great as was Anshuman, our Concierge.  Both were very helpful and courteous through the cruise. This cruise was the pilot for the new menu program and they were anxious to get our feedback after the cruise.  NCL Dawn now has the same menu all week in the Aqua and Venetian, their main dining rooms; however the menu for each restaurant is different from the other.  The Chef's selection changes every day and is also different in each restaurant.  We did eat in the Venetian, but did not try Aqua.  The one evening we did try to get into Aqua the line was very long so we just went to the buffet.  The kids ate in Aqua a couple times and really enjoyed it.   Aqua's menu had more seafood selections, while Venetian had more meat and beef.  We chose not to make reservations on any evening, except when we went to Teppenyaki, which was the only specialty restaurant we tried; it was a lot of fun and the food was good.  We ate lunch once, and several dinners in the Venetian; we found all meals there to be very good.  Lobster and filet was offered as one of the mainstays on the new menu and I had it a couple times!  While some might not like the new set menu idea, I feel that the menus have a nice selection and I was glad that I could have my lobster more than one night.  We ate our breakfasts, as well as a few other meals, at the Buffet and found the food to be satisfactory with a large selection to fit everyone's appetite.  They even had some Indian and Chinese items in the mix which made for a very nice variety.  We were also spotted several times at the Blue Lagoon, especially for the great tomato soup with basil cream...YUM.  We went every afternoon for a cup of this delicious soup, it is a must try.  The fish & chips were also very good and the kids said the wings were great.  Overall we were very pleased with the new menus and the eating venues on board; no complaints from this group. The public area on the ship were always clean and being attended to.  There was always staff cleaning, painting and etc. around the ship.  We never felt crowded and the public rooms were large and airy, with plenty of seating where needed. As far as entertainment goes, we only attended a couple shows.  I am unsure if there was more than one show time each evening because it just seemed that we could not hit the timing right for the shows. We did see the magician, who was good, but typical fair.  Of course Dave Heenan is great; he is the comedian on board.  We saw and met Dave when we cruised on the Spirit and enjoyed him then too.  He is very funny and walks around the ship talking with everyone.  He sat at the bar and had a drink with us again on the Dawn and we had a very nice conversation.  Just watch what you say to Dave, you could become his next new joke if you say the wrong thing (lol).  What a great guy.  We also saw the Second City Show in the Spinnaker Lounge, which was very entertaining and fun.  Unfortunately we did not catch any other shows. Being ported in Bermuda for three days also influenced our ability to catch the shows, since we were on the island at the time of the shows. We did play trivia in the Pub, and the kids participated in the Pub Crawl and beer tasting.  Although we did not participate, there was also wine tasting and martini tasting sessions on board; they appeared to be a good deal in comparison to buying the drinks.  We also made use of the shuffleboard and large chess games on deck.  Our Son utilized the gym daily and found it to be fine for his workout routine.Our Son participated in the "Glass bottom Kayaking" on an excusion with the Dawn.  He was the lone man out so he got to go with the guide since they were two-man kayaks.  He really loves science and nature and really enjoyed the morning.  He gave them an excellent rating and would highly recommend this excursion.  We also went to an educational talk on board the ship in the theater .  A gentleman gave a presentation on amateur astronomy.  We found it very interesting and educational. Now about Bermuda...WOW, what a beautiful island.  The people are very polite and take great pride in their island.  We bought a two-day transportation pass for $20 each and that included the bus and ferry.  (We figured we would stay in Kings Wharf the last day since we would need to be on the ship by 4pm to depart.)  This worked out very well for us.  The day we arrived we took the bus to Hamilton and visited Fort Hamilton, which was very interesting.  There were underground tunnels and the foliage was beautiful, the view amazing.  That evening we returned to Hamilton via ferry for the street fair.  There were crafters selling their wares and a dance troop, in costume, did an interesting display.  It is something that should be experienced.  The second day we went to Crystal and Fantasy Caves.  We took the ferry to St. George and then the bus to the caves.  The bus dropped us off across from the Swizzle Inn and we walked around the corner to the caves.  When boarding the bus we asked the driver if it took us to the caves and when we got to the stop he told us this is what we wanted.  The Bermudians are so accommodating and polite; in the U.S. the bus driver would have told us where to get off (lol).  After returning from the caves we went to the Swizzle Inn for some Rum Swizzles and a late lunch (they have great conch fritters).  We then re-boarded a bus for Horseshow Bay.  What a beautiful beach.  We had a great time before catching the bus back to Kings Wharf.  After going to the ship to freshen up and get some dinner, we went to the Frog & Onion Pub for drinks.  On the final day we stayed in Kings Wharf and visited the Glass Blower and Rum Cake Factory before going over to Snorkel Park.  Our Son is a scuba diver and wanted to do some snorkeling.  He rented his gear at the park.  The regular gear rents for $20, but he rented gear that consisted of goggles with a video and camera right in the frame of the goggles for $40.  He said that it was great and he saw a lot of fish, reefs and even an octopus surprised him.  While he did his snorkeling, we went up to the Hammerhead, a bar situated overlooking Snorkel Park Beach, and had a beer before boarding a bus to go to "Bermuda Seaglass Beach" which is right over the bridge out of Kings Wharf.  This beach has glass that is washed up in the surf.  The glass is worn smooth and multi-colored.  You can collect all the different colors, shapes and sizes. The beach is covered with glass two inches thick in some areas! It was stated elsewhere on Cruise Critics that the area was well known and you could ask the bus drivers to get you there, but the several drivers we asked did not know what we were talking about.  Fortunately my husband remembered that it was just past the cemetery going out of Kings Wharf and near some turquoise houses, that is how we found it.  You might want to do a search for beach glass on the Bermuda port forum and take your own directions. Go down between the houses toward the ocean and you will see a set of stairs that leads down to the beach area.   Here is where I found my souvenir, we spent about an hour picking and choosing the best pieces to bring home.  They are now in a glass bowl and adorn my living room as a center and conversation piece.  Upon returning to Kings Wharf we returned to the ship for another late lunch before heading out to the Clock Tower Mall.  This is a typical tourist mall where you can purchase hats, shirts and various souvenirs, and I found some good deals on shirts here.  It was time to return to the ship as we had to leave this beautiful island.  We only wish we had one more day on Bermuda to have the opportunity to visit St. George.  When we went through the city from the ferry, to catch the bus, it was lovely.  We would have liked to spend some time there as well as visit the Maritime Museum in Kings Wharf.  One more day would have done it for us!  Oh well, maybe next time.  We have no regrets on what we chose to do with our time and feel that we made the most of the time we had.  Using the public transportation system not only got us from one place to another, but also allowed us to see a lot more of the island and to experience its people; it was truly a wonderful experience. We were very blessed with great weather on this cruise.  The first day at sea it was chilly, windy and rainy but the following morning we woke up to sunny skies and 80 degrees.  This great weather continued the entire time we were in Bermuda and right up until we ported back in New York!  We could not have asked for any better weather. Debarkation is always the same, regardless of cruise line or port.  It takes a lot to get thousands of passengers off a ship, all at the same time.  So, we just relaxed and waited it out.  We were off the ship and in our vehicle by 10 and were home by 11:30 am. Our overall opinion of this cruise is Great!  We had a wonderful time, NCL really took good care of us and we got to spend some real quality time with our adult children.  We will definitely cruise NCL again and highly recommend this itinerary for anyone interested in seeing Bermuda.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We left home (7 adults with luggage in a minivan) at 7:30 a.m. and arrived at the NYC port around 11 a.m. We actually had a pleasant trip up with the "kids" playing verbal car games. Our group of seven was DH and I with our 4 ... Read More
We left home (7 adults with luggage in a minivan) at 7:30 a.m. and arrived at the NYC port around 11 a.m. We actually had a pleasant trip up with the "kids" playing verbal car games. Our group of seven was DH and I with our 4 sons and a fiancEe.Embarkation: The new setup makes parking and handing off the luggage much easier. You simply drive up to the roof, pay the $210.00 for the week, have the vehicle sniffed by the dope dogs and then pull over to the designated area to unload the checked luggage. We then parked and proceeded to the elevators to go check in. Five of us had balconies and headed for that line, two had an OV and they were not permitted to go with us but got checked in within 15 minutes anyway. By 11:30 we were all on board with our first glasses of the bubbly.Day 1 -First we headed for our staterooms to see if we could drop off our carry ons. Those of us in the balcony staterooms were successful.....we told our room steward we were just going to stash our stuff in the closet and then get out of his way. Matt and Erin in the OV were told their hallway was closed so they bought theirs with them. We headed to the Venetian Dining Room for lunch. Everyone ordered different items and no one was disappointed. Our service was good and the food was tasty. Around 2 p.m. it was announced that all staterooms were ready so we headed to them to take photos and check out our "stern balconies". We had the only two balconies at the stern on Deck 10 and requested that the doorway between them remain open. This made it much easier to get the kids moving in the morning, plus was nice for all 7 of us to enjoy the balconies together. Later as the luggage showed up, we unpacked and then got ready for the Muster Drill and our informal meet and greet at the Bimini Bar. Many on our rollcall showed up and it was nice to finally put faces to names. It began to rain as we left NYC so at least we picked a good place to meet since it is covered for the most part. After about an hour we headed down to change for dinner. We again went to the Venetian and enjoyed Prime Rib and the Surf and Turf. Later we went to see Jose and Patti in the Spinnaker Lounge. DO NOT MISS JOSE AND PATTI! They even remembered us from last October. I can't imagine how they can with so many passing through the Dawn each year but they do. They perform music from the 30's up to the present. The 60's show was especially good. They were in Dazzles Lounge last year but they are so popular they now command the Spinnaker Lounge.Day 2 - Meet and Greet at 10:30 a.m. in the Star Bar. We had several officers come and introduce themselves. (At least 8-10 or more). We signed up for the dinner with an officer while at the M&G. We had a great time meeting the officers, John Ibrahim the CD and all our CC friends. We expected about 64 people and at least 40-50 showed up. Near the end of the M&G, we were invited to meet back at the Star Bar to take a tour of the Garden Villa. All I can say is WOW! I doubt I would ever see the rest of the ship if that was my home for the week. Thanks Barb, Carolyn and Betsy! We left our stateroom around 6pm for dinner and "Band on the Run". Both were great. Around 10:30 we went back to the stateroom only to find out we were now "VIP's" with an invitation to the VIP party that had happened 3 hours earlier. I called Ashuman (sp) the next morning to let him know we never received the invitation until after the party and ask him if being a "VIP" meant we could have breakfast and lunch in Cagney's. He said "no, that is only for the suite guests." I was disappointed but before I could even explain it to my DH, Ashuman called back to say we could eat at Cagney's that morning since he got permission for us. We left immediately and loved the Crab Eggs Benedict. When we were checking in at Cagney's they did have our name printed at the end of their list of VIP's but since we were told we weren't allowed to eat there we only tried the second to last day and had no problem. So I really do not know if we could have eaten there all week or not.This is getting way to long so I will try to be more concise by not detailing each day.We arrived in Bermuda before 8 am Wednesday morning and docked port side to the pier at Heritage Wharf. We ate breakfast and then headed to the Sea Glass Beach near the Royal Naval Cemetery. We filled up our Ziploc's and headed back for lunch before our scheduled Jessie James Snorkel cruise at 1pm. If you want to snorkel, this is the best snorkel cruise around. We did it last year and again this trip. Fourteen of us from the rollcall did it with 3 others. We snorkeled at three different locations (including over the Constitution, Montana and the Coral Sea Gardens) I can't wait to get the underwater photos developed. We had great weather and great fun!Thursday we took the ferry to Hamilton for some shopping, and then bussed to the Old Swizzle Inn for lunch and some rum swizzles. Later we finished the bus trip to St Georges. We explored there, got on the free internet at the Post Office and then headed back to the Dockyard on the ferry. While we were on the ferry a man came up to the second deck to see if anyone was from the Caribbean Princess was onboard since she was still short 9 people. Evidently 5 of the 9 were downstairs on the ferry, as they ran the whole way back to their ship and did make it before it left. From our aft balcony we watched as another couple half walked, half ran back from the ferry/bus area about 5:10 pm. (They were supposed to depart at 5pm.) They did not make it on time. Another couple arrived by taxi a few minutes later to watch their ship leave without them. We watched for another 30 minutes but none of the 4 ever came back out of the terminal. We heard their next port was St. Thomas. All I can say is I hope they had their passports with them and not locked in the safe on its way to St Thomas. We enjoyed dinner with three other couples and the Hotel Director that night. Hugo is very interesting and he even offered to introduce our music major son to Larry, the Band Master. They had a nice long conversation (about 45 minutes) so who knows. Maybe someday soon Steve may be working onboard the Dawn. He gets his degree this December.Friday we headed to Horseshoe Bay Beach on the express bus. We spent a few hours there....it's still beautiful and the water was great. The water was slightly cooler than in October but still easy to get used to. Later DH, DSS and I headed to Gibbs Lighthouse while the rest took the bus back to Hamilton for more shopping. We got back to the ship at 3 and the kids showed up around 4. (We knew they were taking the 2:30 pm ferry back and then shopping at the Dockyard.) No one was taking any chances after watching 4 miss their ship the day before. DH and I headed to the Garden Cafe for cheese, fruit and bread for our sail-away party on our balconies. The kids hit the Blue Lagoon for wings and chicken strips to round out the menu. If we had to leave Bermuda, at least we could enjoy a little party while we did it!Saturday we had 7-10 foot waves for a few hours and Erin and Matt were feeling it. The rest of us were fine. Now we had to do the dreaded repack to go home. Boo, hiss! In consideration of the sicko's, we went to the Aqua for dinner that night (mid-ship). It was our second visit to the Aqua and we even got the same table as before. Service was on time and the food was hot. No complaints for any of the main venues. If fact, the only time we had to wait longer than 5 minutes for a table was at LeBistro (2 couples with separate reservations). We each waited 30 minutes past our reservation time of 8:30 to get seated. Unfortunately for Matt and Erin, they were seated next to a very rowdy, drunk family which put a damper on their engagement dinner. We ate anywhere between 6 and 8 in the MDR's and even with a group of 7 never waited more than 5 minutes to be seated. I'm not sure why they were so backed up at LeBistro considering reservations were made.All in all, aside from the late invite to the VIP party and the wait at LeBistro we had nothing to complain about. Everyone had a great time. We had great room stewards (towel animals every night except the first and last), great waiters. We loved the new menus. We had a fantastic time! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We booked this trip fairly last minute (myself and wife) because we are not sure when we a chance to travel again anytime soon. So, as a result we booked this trip due to 2 things - reasonable price and location of embarkation port (90 ... Read More
We booked this trip fairly last minute (myself and wife) because we are not sure when we a chance to travel again anytime soon. So, as a result we booked this trip due to 2 things - reasonable price and location of embarkation port (90 minute train ride, 20 minute walk to ship).Embarkation was easily the longest (7 cruises) that we had ever encountered. We arrived at the terminal around 11:30 and were on board at 1:00 - no big deal. We met several nice people in line and it was very organized and kept moving the whole time.The first full day at sea was a little rough - not real bad - we've encountered worse, so it was pretty uneventful. Weather was not good, either. I played in a Texas Hold 'em Tournament in the casino. It was very well-run. This is the second such tournament I've done on an NCL ship (the Dawn in January) and they were both really well run - good dealers, great flow. Dinner in Windows Dining Room, which was excellent (this was definitely the better of the 2 main dining rooms). We caught the Not So Newlywed Show in the Galaxy on The Stars Lounge - it was ok - we always emjoy this show on every cruise. Always the same questions, always the same answers, but still always funny.The next day we awoke to spectacular weather, which continued for the next few days. Breakfast in Windows - very good. We finished breakfast around 9 and headed out to the pool deck as we neared Bermuda. We approached the island from the north and came in around St. George and had some great views of the island and Fort St. Catherine. Got some great pictures. We docked at 11:00 on the nose. We waited to go ashore for a little bit and grabbed lunch in Raffles. After lunch we headed ashore and walked around the Dockyard area for a little while. We finally decided on purchasing a 3 day transportation pass. Without question, this is what I would highly recommend to anyone looking to see the entire island at a value. We took the bus to Gibb's Hill Lighthouse and walked to the top (185 steps - worth every one of them) for the spectacular views (for only 2.50, btw). We got some great pictures and grabbed the next bus to Horshoe Beach. After spending a little time there, we caught the next bus to Hamilton. Being as it was Sunday, the city was pretty quiet - most shops were closed and there was very little traffic. We hung around Front St. for a while then caught the ferry back to the Dockyard. Admittedly, we were a little skeptical that we had not (purposely) booked any excursions initially. But after our first day and the success we had with the transportation passes, we knew we would see and do more than we could have hoped.That evening we had dinner at Shogun for sushi. It was exceptional - well worth the $15 pp charge. Godzilla Rolls- now our favorite!!Our next day in Bermuda we boarded a bus early and headed out to the beach. One thing we really enjoyed about the island was the people we encountered. Every local that boarded the bus said good morning and asked how everyone was. It was easily the most pleasant place we have ever visited. Also, the island itself is outrageously clean and there were ZERO people harassing you that you might find in some other islands (ie Nassau, Cozumel, St. Thomas) - it was a pleasure!We arrived at Elbow Beach (one of the more popular beaches on the island) around 10. There was no one around when we arrived - literally no one. It was nice to just walk up and down the beach for a bit by ourselves...very nice. We then headed back up the hill and caught the next bus back to Horshoe Beach where we would spend a few hours relaxing. We rented beach chairs (albeit for $10 each - ouch!) and enjoyed one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever visited. We also took the time to walk further up the beach where we found several beautiful spots along the coast - well worth the walk.Once we had enough of the beach, we hopped on the bus and headed to The Swizzle Inn South Side for lunch - very good! Great burger and great Monte Cristo sandwich! Then it was on to Hamilton on the bus. We wanted to get out of the hot sun for a while so we decided to go to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. They had some really impressive exhibits, including a very cool room filled with seashells from all over the world (better than it sounds) and a good exhibit about the Titanic. We then headed back on the ferry - once again enjoying our return trip to the Dockyard. That night's dinner was low-key (we were pretty fried from all the sun!) at Raffles and we called it an early night.The next day again brought beautiful weather and we boarded an early ferry to St. George. We really enjoyed this quaint, historic village. Unfortunately, the historical reenactments that they typically do in King's Square daily, for whatever reason, were not done. We did go to St. Peter's church, walked the charming streets and visited the remains of the Unfinished Church (really cool). We caught the 3:00 ferry back to the Dockyard. (One note - the RC Grandeur of the Seas was docked next to us and was scheduled to leave at 4:00. The ferry left a little late and it was a 40 minute ride back and there was a party on the ferry that were on the grandeur. As we were approaching the dock - probably a half mile away - we saw the Grandeur leaving at 4:00 as scheduled...without the party on our ferry. Lesson being: don't leave it to chance - they don't wait for you.)We had dinner in The Garden Dining Room - which was just ok. After dinner we headed back ashore to a pub called the Frog & Onion. This is a very unique pub, as it was built inside one of the many forts on the island. We really enjoyed the atmosphere and they had some great local microbrews (the only place in Bermuda to have on-site brewing). Our next 2 days were at sea - the first day was great weather and was an enjoyable day all-around. We attended a "History of Magic" seminar with the magician on board, which was pretty interesting. Dinner in Windows and we caught the "Perfect Couple" contest in Galaxy of the stars - very funny!Our final day was enjoyable enough - nice weather early and got progressively worse as the day went on. By the evening it was downright cold on deck. We caught the Second City Comedy show, which was relatively funny - the energy in the crowd was not great. Disembarkation in Boston was late, but we were off the ship by 9:00. (Waited in line for about an hour - using walk-off option with our own luggage.) One odd thing about disembarkation, which we have never encountered, was that we were not directed to Customs after disembarking the ship. We came down the gangway, with customs form in hand, and...found ourselves curbside after stepping off the escalator. We looked around, saw several others with the same reaction, found a cab and headed to South Station to our train and home by 11:00 am.Overall, an OUTSTANDING trip to an amazing island!  It caught us off guard how much we loved the island - the landscape, the welcome feeling, the cleanliness, the people, the food, the weather, everything. We would definitely take this cruise again - no question about it! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Introduction: I'm a 27 year old male who sailed with his 59 year old mother onboard the Norwegian Spirit leaving Boston on May 15, 2009 and returning on May 22, 2009. I go on vacation to have fun as well as relax and this should ... Read More
Introduction: I'm a 27 year old male who sailed with his 59 year old mother onboard the Norwegian Spirit leaving Boston on May 15, 2009 and returning on May 22, 2009. I go on vacation to have fun as well as relax and this should shine through in my review.   Pre-Cruise Booking with NCL Direct: A few weeks prior to sailing there was a restructuring of prices and I figured it wouldn't be a bad thing to call up and see if I could surprise my mom for Mother's Day by moving us from an ocean view cabin to a balcony. The Arizona reservation agent was fantastic in his ability to help me out and had to confer with a supervisor in Miami named Michelle. Between the two agents I was able to make my Mother's Day present a reality and not lose anything! Yes it cost a little more but it was well worth the investment! All the while the service offered by the two never faltered. Nice work NCL!   Norwegian Spirit Cruise: Embarkation: I am familiar with what NCL has control over and what they don't. Unfortunately the shore-side operation this year like last year was lacking and this was not NCL's fault. The way the longshoreman take the luggage you will stand forever in a line outside the terminal and then move inside and move MUCH quicker and get on the ship. The NCL reps inside the terminal moved things right along. I have never seen a lazier bunch of porters and we again left late because the ship wasn't fully provisioned by the time by 4PM. We arrived at the terminal shortly after Noon and were not on the ship until 1:20PM. However, as I usually do I met people in line and it helped pass the time.   The Ship: Built as the SuperStar Leo for NCL's parent Star Cruises, this ship is a one-of-a-kind gem in the Norwegian fleet. Her Asian inspirations are everywhere and the attention to detail in all paintings - especially on Deck 7 aft and in the Garden Room (Deck 6 - Mid-ship Dining Room) are just breathtaking. Stunning in its ability to have an abundance of natural light aft is the Windows Restaurant. This restaurant was also the resort casual ("no jeans and shorts") restaurant.   The Maharajah's casino had low ceilings on the gaming floor so if you're 6'4" or taller be sure to mind your head as those little security globes become quite the obstacle course to dodge. Forward on Deck 7 is Maharini's Lounge with TV screens and a nice U-shaped bar. The loungers in this area are more like beds (although not quite so comfortable to lie on). Just forward of the lounge was Maharini's Nightclub. This was the nightly entertainment venue when it came to dance club music. Both the lounge and the nightclub were the best designed with dEcor that I've seen at sea. It's very dark but elegant.   While I didn't dine in any of the specialty restaurants on this cruise I did go into each one and thought the dEcor was up to par with the Asian influence. Cagney's Steakhouse and Shogun (Asian cuisine and sushi bar) were very elegantly decorated. Le Bistro shies away from the Asian influence but that makes sense considering it's a French bistro.   Overall the public areas of the Spirit were very well preserved given the ship's recent dry dock in late 2008. Worn carpeting was hard to come by in all public spaces and upholstery was freshened just about everywhere. The ship's beauty does not disappoint.   Food: Completely subjective experience for anyone. This cruise's food was like the past Norwegian cruises since the menu change. Executive Chef Hans Peter did a fantastic job with presentation of the food on each plate. Thanks to the Executive Chef we were able to have another helping of Blueberry Chilled Soup on another night outside of the original night it was offered. If you haven't tried Norwegian's cold soups you are missing out on a signature item that you can only find on NCL! All of the cold soups are great from Peach, Blueberry, and Strawberry to Chilled Melon. The only one I didn't like which seems new to me is the Avocado and Tomatillo chilled soup. Ick on this one but the waiter (Kelton "Fox") was happy to replace it with another menu item. Main entrees were exceptional in presentation and preparation including the Beef Wellington and Prime Rib. I was surprised to see Escargot on the menu on the last night in the main dining room as well. I thought most cruise lines had gotten rid of it of their main restaurant menus so it was a pleasant surprise to have it and I very well enjoyed it!   Service was exceptional all around minus some early snafus but nothing to be highly critical about. To address the exceptional service where it was due I am going to just run through the events of the cruise as they occurred:   Day 1 - Embarkation Day - Boston: Embarkation was a slow process. If you're Latitudes then make sure you make yourself known so you can move further down the line once the longshoremen outside take your luggage away (which is the bulk of the line). Once onboard we explored the beautiful Spirit after having lunch in Raffles, the buffet. The buffet is a straight buffet line and not the action station concept that you find on other NCL ships. As such the line was very confusing to get to items you wanted, even within the same section (for instance the salad station's order was a bit skewed so that in order to get to the lettuce you were in the middle of the station and had to go either left or right to get toppings such as tomatoes or carrots). I did miss the action stations on the newer NCL ships but this not really a bad thing about the Spirit - just something to recognize is there and to deal with. Lifeboat drill was a bit longer than usual since a technical difficulty stopped the recording mid-way during the announcement. So we were extra informed when the recording finally started again and ran to the end! No biggie! The Muster Station Y2 still had fun anyway!   Dinner was at the Garden Room the first night. We didn't feel like unpacking our clothes with the late embarkation and still weren't familiar with the ship and with reading the FreeStyle Daily and the policy about no jeans in Windows we headed to the Garden Room around 6PM. It took until 7:55PM to have the entire dinner service. I don't know what caused this mishap but space between courses was very lengthy. More so than we're accustomed to and some thought it was prudent to leave because the service was bad. Our waitress seemed overwhelmed. I'm not sure if she was new or what but we were in no rush since the Variety Show was at 9PM.   The Welcome Aboard Showtime is at 9PM and the Cruise Director Paul Scally doubles as a comedian during this opening act which thankfully included other acts like Home Free (an Acapella group which left the Spirit when we arrived back in Boston) and a beginning production by the singers and dancers. This is not to be missed. It gives you an entertainment preview of the entire cruise - including what is worth coming back to the ship to in Bermuda and what isn't. Maharini's Lounge at 10:30PM had the nightly Friends of Dorothy gathering and Maharini's Nightclub was the nightly 18 plus dance club onboard. During the first night I made it a point to seek out the DJ to provide him with music to play during the White Hot Party. My biggest hope was that the White Hot Party would live up to the reputation of the party from which NCL stole the concept from and I hoped this CD would help in that endeavor for me.   Day 2 - At Sea: Ordered room service which was delivered promptly - even when it was sped up because we got up earlier than expected. The convenience of having a stateroom close to mid-ship is that I could walk up the buffet and grab a plate of food from there and consume it with the additional sides ordered from room service and eat on the balcony (if it were warm enough too but this day the fog was still with us and there was a chill in the air). At 10AM we had the Cruise Critic gathering which was well attended by senior staff members onboard including the Hotel Director (Frank), Food & Beverage Director (from Austria... name escapes me at the moment), Executive Chef (Hans Peter) and Front Desk Office Manager (Amnita). I mentioned the CD to the Hotel Director Frank and he said he'd follow up with DJ Freddy. Frank was also very interested in hearing how our cruise was going so far and what we thought of the first night onboard. He took all of our feedback in stride - most of ours (mom and I) were positive comments minus the first night service but that was minor since we're not cooking and we're cleaning so waiting is not an issue! Remember - you're free to whatever!!!   That evening we dined in Windows Restaurant and had really great service provided by dining room staff. The maitre d' also stopped by our table to make sure everything was going smoothly which it was. This night our stateroom stewardess Meyrine (aka Nona) had made us our first towel animal of the cruise. Nona who services the deck 9 midship area of staterooms was fantastic in her service and very personable to us during the entire cruise. Excellent service provided by her and her assistant steward.   Showtime tonight was at 7:30PM and it was "On Broadway". The show consisted of great musical featuring numbers from Hairspray, Wicked and Mamma Mia. One singer's energy was clearly noticeable and when you see this show if she's still onboard you'll instantly recognize her talent if you know anything about singing and dancing. Jaylynn's voice is incredible. Best at sea I've ever had the opportunity to hear and this was cruise number 15 for me. I can only say a guest singer like Kimberly Locke had a better voice (but was not a regular on the cruise ship). Incredible show with tons of energy and not to be missed! Monte Carlo Night was also this night. Since this a promotion for casino to get the casino revenues up (as well as drink revenues), it was largely a bust for me since I don't gamble but since the disco was right next door it was easy enough to go up there and hang out.   Day 3 - At Sea / Bermuda @ 11AM - Woke up and did the walk a mile with the Fitness Instructor Johan from South Africa. Very nice and welcoming individual and he gave me and another fellow student onboard the low down on places to go ashore as we completed our walk and were heading down the channel into the Dockyard harbor. We arrived on-time and were cleared by officials to go ashore by 11AM. The masses were waiting everywhere to go ashore. We opted for lunch in Windows and waited out the rush. It was the first time we got an aft window seat. We were very excited and this spot was very nice. Service and food again were excellent. Since we didn't have anything booked until later we got off the ship and explored the area in the immediate vicinity of the dockyard to get our bearings.   Dined again in the Windows Restaurant for dinner and again had excellent service - this time provided by Kelton "Fox" from Nicaragua. He was the best waiter team we had onboard the ship although every other team performed well (with the exception of the first night). He also gave me tips on where the best happening nightlife was ashore. As a result I ventured ashore the first two nights we were there.   SHORE EXCURSION: Bermuda Triangle Night Glass Bottom Boat Ride - For $50 this tour was a rip off. It lasted less than 2 hours and we saw some coral and if you could see in the nearly pitch dark then you could make out the hull of a ship wreck. The sunset on the way over was the most picturesque part of the tour and the tour provider really didn't control that. I wouldn't recommend this tour to anyone.   Nightlife onboard the ship consisted of Comedy Showtime of Second City and the 70's Groove Dance Party with the cruise staff. I passed on both of them and went back to the ship after the night excursion and changed and went ashore to the Frog and Onion and met up with some new found crew and passenger friends I made onboard.   Day 4 - Bermuda - SHORE EXUCRSION - West End Highlights - This tour was fantastic for $55. You got a nearly private tour with a taxi driver taking you to the sights of the Western end of the island including a fort, a small church erected by servants to worship, the Somerset drawbridge (which you drive over) and to the scenic Gibb's Lighthouse. The entire tour took its leisurely time with no pressure coming from the driver on when to get back to the taxi. We moved at our own pace during the entire tour and we were given a quick stop in the Botanical Gardens before heading onward to Hamilton where we were dropped. The other option was to return to the ship via taxi. There were four people total in our taxi van. I highly recommend this tour because seeing all the West End highlights on your own with doing the bus would take all day with hopping on and off. Cost of climbing the lighthouse is $2.50.   We spent the remainder of the day in Hamilton seeing sights that were closed or not there during our 2008 Norwegian Dream cruise (which docked at Front Street in Hamilton). The Bermuda Historical Society re-opened the museum near the first post office on the island around the corner from Front Street. We hit that first and it closes by 2PM. Allow a good half hour to see everything if you can speed read. Next up we went on a journey down the other end of Front Street and nearly out of Hamilton to the BUEI - Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. Through the end of the time when cruise ships are there (late October) they have a Titanic exhibit which is spread through their regular exhibit. This place is fun for people of all ages from kids to adults. Hands on activities are good for the kids and adults alike and keep you from becoming bored. If you're a Titanic buff then you will not want to miss this exhibit. They even have some of the props from the movie with Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. This is a fairly new museum in Bermuda and well worth a visit! Admission is $12.50 for adults, $10 if you're 65 plus. It is a little bit of a walk down Front Street and diagonally across from a gas station on the outskirts of the City of Hamilton.   We returned to the ship for a later dinner and once again had Kelton as our waiter. Again a great dinner service provided by him and the food was great. Tonight's onboard entertainment featured a magician / comedian. We opted to skip this entertainment and instead lurked around until the Super Spirit Bermuda Deck Party. It seemed like a lot of people were ashore. This deck party had the lowest attendance of any deck party I've seen on any regular cruise. I went back and changed and ventured to the crew party ashore. All I can say is the crew knows how to party and I didn't get back onboard until 3:30AM. Great time ashore and had a great time with the crew.   Day 5 - Bermuda - Slept late and ventured ashore to do some last minute souvenir shopping in the Dockyard area. Mom and I returned to the ship to have a sit down lunch in the Blue Lagoon - a fast food style sit down restaurant. Found a nice cafe inside the pharmacy in the dockyard. They make Green Tea Lattes! I was in heaven since I was missing Starbucks! Went and got one for the late night that would soon follow.   Back onboard it was dinner in Windows with Kelton again. Fabulous food and fantastic service! Afterward we headed to the first show time of Home Free a cappella group in the Stardust Theater. These guys were very good. Then it was back to the room to finalize the wardrobe for the White Hot Party in Galaxy of the Stars!   Frank, the Hotel Director, came through with the music which was interlaced with the regular music line up they play during the White Hot Party. Thanks to Beverly on the cruise staff for giving me her wings for a short while and for the photo op! Frank made this night as close as to the way it should have been and the cruise staff helped in that endeavor. The party lasted until 1AM upstairs and then moved down to the after party in Maharini's Lounge and Nightclub. Passengers were out to have a great time on this evening and several new friends were made. We stayed up well beyond when the club closed at 4AM and headed off to the Blue Lagoon for a leisurely late dinner / breakfast service (Burgers, wings and fries). Got back up to the stateroom in time to wake mom up to watch the ship cast off at 6AM on...   Day 6 - At Sea - The ship was prompt in pulling out at 6AM. This is the first time that no announcements have been made onboard the ship for missing passengers. I don't know if it had to be due to the early hour or what but we left and navigated the channel. I fell asleep before getting a chance to see the Norwegian Dawn pass. I was informed by my crew friend at the Omelet station in Raffles that we did pass and you could clearly make her out. The rest of the day I slept and woke only for grazing (I mean eating). Ate at Windows that night and again had service by Kelton. I do highly recommend him. Tonight's entertainment was "On The Radio" - the second large scale production onboard. Great variations of music performances to music that you'd find on the radio - from Oldies and Country to Pop. Jaylynn once again shined during this performance. I wouldn't miss this show!   Later in the evening was Le Cabaret Glamour Party. This is something unique to the Norwegian Spirit so far and it's a cabaret style entertainment with a twist. There is a section called Ship 'N Dales at the end that women (or gay men) definitely don't want to miss. Everything is pretty skimpy all the way around and it's definitely NOT recommended for under 18 years old. Don't try to get them in either - proper ID is required. It seemed like a fantastic show from what I could see but the venue seems off. You can't really see most of what the dancers were doing because you're on the same line of sight as everyone in front of you so unless you're in the front row you can't see as much.   Day 7 - At Sea - Full Sea Day - Floated around the ship and shopped for souvenirs onboard and picked up the pictures I wanted. Bumped into the Hotel Director in the lobby and again he checked in to make sure everything was going great. He made mom and I feel very welcomed. He wanted to be sure this was our best cruise ever and through his crew and his efforts it certainly was right up there. Later in the evening after dining in Windows this final time (unfortunately Kelton didn't have a window section and wasn't anywhere close to where there was an open table) we had to sit somewhere else. During our dinner the ship slowed because we were going through a whale mating area east of Nantucket Island and Cape Cod. During this time we saw several fishing boats. Reality was calling and it was a reminder we were getting ready to dock in Boston tomorrow.   Two shows this night made our final evening onboard enjoyable including the Farewell Variety Show consisting of all acts onboard during the cruise minus Second City. It was an ok show but I'm happy we skipped the magician because his humor was not great and his acts were far too drawn out to keep people's attention (including my own). I was getting my camera ready for a part of the show that never materialized called Fountains. In between we enjoyed a special gift given by the Hotel Director while packing our luggage. It was a very nice touch at the end of the cruise and capped off a really memorable experience. Next up at 9:30PM was the International Crew Talent show. This cruise we didn't know anyone in the talent show but we still go to support the crew that work so hard for us. At the end of this show was the Norwegian Way with the presentation of all the higher ranking officials including the Captain and crew members from each department. It was nice to applaud everyone for their hard work. They get a much deserved standing ovation! Just wondering what happened to Fountains? I would much rather have had the Cruise Director spat on by his fellow staff members then listening to his old jokes. It would have been much more hilarious watching the Fountains performance. I do hope they bring it back on the Norwegian Spirit. Checked out the disco for a little while to say by to friends I made onboard and it was time for bed.   Day 8 - Boston - Debarkation: I woke up at 6AM and we were still navigating through Boston harbor. There was no need to get up fully at that point but we did anyway. Our luggage tags were Light Blue which was the second to last bag tag color to be called off the ship. We docked at 7AM and shortly thereafter we dined at Windows for our final sit down meal of the cruise. Service was impeccable and the menu was scaled back. Anything that took a lot of preparation was gone (noticeably the waffles). However, there was a pretty regular menu of items still to choose from including eggs, potatoes, oatmeal, grits, pancakes and French toast. We took our time dining since the ship hadn't cleared customs and the walk off passengers weren't off the ship yet. After breakfast we went up on deck to take a few more pictures with the Boston skyline in the background. The promenade deck was loaded with walk-off passengers. Luggage was everywhere and it was impossible to navigate so we went up to the pool deck which was nice and warm. We took our pictures and the ship was still not cleared by customs. Foreign guests didn't show up as they were supposed to and this delayed debarkation. People who owed tariffs because they exceeded the customs allowances were also MIA. The announcement for debarkation commencing wasn't made so the timing was a bit off. However, it wasn't until after 9:30AM when the first group of tags was called. We were the last group off when an announcement came over saying "All remaining passengers onboard please disembark the vessel." The time was 11:05AM. Once we cleared the terminal with our luggage it was nearly 11:30AM. This is the latest we've ever stayed onboard the cruise ship - ever! I didn't mind it at all though. We hung out in the cabin until 10:30AM on the balcony and let the stateroom attendant do her thing with the cabin (putting the beds back together). It was a very relaxing last morning and we "chilled" like the last morning brochure told us to do. We have no complaints about the disembarkation. When our time came we walked right off the ship and through customs and got our luggage and drove home. Cost of the garage for the week is $105 USD.   Conclusion: The Norwegian Spirit is the best ship for Boston to Bermuda. Thanks to the staff and crew specifically Nona (stateroom stewardess), Frank (Hotel Director), Beverly (Cruise Staff), Hans Peter (Executive Chef), Johan (Fitness Director), Sydney (Nurse) and the Maitre d' from India in the Windows dining room for making my NCL experience incredible! I highly recommend this cruise to anyone and if you see any of these people onboard - be sure to stop them and say hi to them for me! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This was our 4the cruise, all on NCL and all out of Boston. We love the convenience of being able to drive to the port and being "instantly" on vacation for a full week. The overall cost is reduced with no airfare/hotel fees and ... Read More
This was our 4the cruise, all on NCL and all out of Boston. We love the convenience of being able to drive to the port and being "instantly" on vacation for a full week. The overall cost is reduced with no airfare/hotel fees and we find it to be a great value vacation overall.   Embarkation   This was the most organized embarkation so far. I was dropped with the luggage while my husband went to park in the garage ($105 for the week) at 11:30. When he returned we got into the line to drop off luggage (we had 2 bags each). You must have NCL tags on your luggage. After this, we got in the security line which used to be upstairs at Black Falcon Pier after check in. I found this much better. After security it was into the check in line - blue for regular passengers, pink for Latitudes. Latitudes Gold members were all the way to the end with virtually no line. We got in the Latitudes line which was equally as long as the regular line and reached the ticket agent at roughly the same time. We did have the computer go down as they were getting ready to take our pictures. The manager came over was completely apologetic and we had to wait a bit longer until the computer came back up. I felt they handled the situation very professionally. Once we had our card keys we went upstairs. They had the photo package ($119 for the week) being offered and the photographer waiting just as you went on board. Once on board at the Atrium the Champagne or juice was ready to greet you. The dining reservation desk was to your right so you can immediately make your Specialty Restaurant reservations, which is convenient. We were on board at 12:30. NOTE: In the past we have been called to our luggage as we generally bring a dozen bottles of water with us. This time we did not get called.   Ship Layout   The Atrium in the Spirit is quite lovely. I enjoyed watching the glass elevators going up and down, listening to the piano player on the grand staircase or grabbing a coffee at the cafe. It is a great people watching spot. Having said that, I was always aware when using the mid ship elevators to face forward to the glass.  Trust me on this one. On the same deck as the atrium are lots of great spots - Henry's Pub, Blue Lagoon food court, Shanghai bar, the Casino, Maharini's, Reception, the Promenade walking deck (took us roughly 5 minutes per lap). The stage level entrance of the Stardust theater was also on this level.   Up to the Tivoli pool, where Port Side Casino is offered on sea days, it was very nicely laid out and appealing. Raffles buffet is on this deck with the Raffles bar and al fresco seating aft. Up to deck 13 from here is the Bier Garten which was one of my favorite places on the ship. It was never too windy under the tent and the service here was always exceptional. It's a nice spot to grab a burger, hotdog, sausage or pretzel in mid-afternoon. There was also a Teen Disco forward, a jogging track (clock wise please!) and golf driving nets and a basketball court.   There were 3 sets of 3 elevators each - forward, midship and aft. Since we were situated on Deck 9 we used the stairs a lot to get up to the pool or down to the dining rooms but didn't have a problem getting one when needed. Of course, after shows got out and at disembarkation there was a lot of congestion at the elevators.   Overall, it is a lovely ship. It is well laid out, easy to get around, not chopped up and it never felt overly congested. There seemed to be plenty of room for everyone.   Cabin   Our first balcony! We have always had outside cabins and this was the same as the outside cabins size wise but having the balcony was nice I must admit. I did love the bathroom layout with no shower curtain and pocket doors for the commode and shower. The shelf under the sink and glass shelves on the corners of the mirror held all our toiletries which was nice and convenient. We unpacked all the contents of our 2 bags and everything fit in the 4 drawers under the TV, the shelves in the closet and the on the closet hangers provided. There were 2 robes hanging in the closet and I loved them. They are the same robes that are used in the spa and you can purchase them if you desire. We stored our bags under the bed with no problems. There is a coffee maker in the room but we chose room service coffee instead. There are room service cards in the information book on the desk and you hang your card on the doorknob by 4 AM. They also call first when the server is on the way. The balcony has 2 chairs (they do not recline) and a little table. We were on starboard side which provided sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon. The view in Bermuda was out across the harbor as opposed to looking at the Dockyard.  Our room stewards were fabulous - Charles and another very pleasant young man who was always smiling and helpful. We LOVED the towel animals that greeted us on our bed every evening and the mints on our pillows.  There are 2 movie channels that run first run movies 24 hours a day (Slumdog Millionaire etc). The weather was great so we never resorted to watching movies but it is a nice feature. NOTE: We did always tip the server who brought coffee/breakfast as well as our 2 room stewards. Clearly this is optional but they work hard on board for 10 months out of the year. They look forward to making phone calls home and I looked at the tips as giving them the opportunity to call home or have a beer on us while in port.   FYI - We did snoop in the suites and mini-suites the day of departure. They are really nice, well laid out, flat screen TV's, one or 2 balconies with lounge chairs, spa tubs, fridges, bars, concierge service. Very luxurious. If I ever get a chance to upgrade, I'm all over it!   Dining   Upon embarkation, we went immediately to the Windows dining room. We were seated on Port side and could watch the palettes of food and stores being delivered, inspected and put aboard.  Samuel was the first server we met and he was from St. Lucia. He was helpful, answering all our questions, and gave us a great first impression of the ship staff. For lunch, we both had tilapia and it was very good.   For dinner we went to Gardens. Again we were seated at a table for 2 in a window. Our server was Lawry who brought us an extra dessert as he didn't want us to miss out on the custard filled delight. I had leg of lamb which was very good and my husband had mahi mahi. Gardens has more of a closed in feel as it is U shaped but it was very pleasant and more spacious than it appears. Also, I found out after the fact that Gardens was opened for balcony passengers for breakfast and wish I had known that while we were on board.   Breakfast in Windows day 2 and I was in heaven with Eggs Benedict with Salmon and capers. Servers always brought a basket of muffins, pastry, croissants and rolls and fresh coffee upon arrival. Menu was plentiful. We ate breakfast in Windows the last 2 days as well and both of us went with the oatmeal which is cooked the old fashioned way and really delicious with brown sugar and raisins.   Le Bistro was our dining option for Saturday night. I wish I had paid more attention at the Reservation Desk as I would have loved to have attended the candlelight dinner in the art gallery. The fee was $65 per person including wine. I never heard about it until afterwards. Oh well - I guess you can't do everything! Regardless, Le Bistro didn't disappoint.  We were not seated at a window which faced the promenade but that hardly mattered.  Cesar was our server and he was excellent. Kelly greeted us pleasantly on arrival. We both chose the tenderloin which as cooked to perfection and we enjoyed eating the mussels and scallops appetizers and asparagus and frieze salads. A bottle of Cline Zinfandel went well and it was a very relaxed and enjoyable dinner.   While in port we ate in Windows and always got seated at or near one of the aft windows for sunset. We ate a lot of truly delectable meals. I loved the chilled avocado and tomatillo soup. Another starter that we both loved was the marinated artichoke hearts that came with proscuiito bruchetta. When we told our server that it was the best dish flavor wise we'd tasted yet, he offered to bring us another! I did have the Surf and more Surf one night which consisted of lobster tail, scallops and another white fish. Very good. Honestly - in the dining rooms there wasn't one meal that wasn't very good.   Raffles we ate at sparingly, mainly for lunch. They make a great Caesar salad to order in front of you. We also had chicken salad pockets and you should request 2 scoops which they will give you. The pizza was okay. Our favorite aspect was the soft serve ice cream. It is at the mid point and has a server. Flavors change daily.   Again - we liked the pretzels and offerings at the bier garden. Burgers, dogs, sausage, sauerkraut, cole slaw and fries. One day we did hit the pool side buffet of burgers and dogs and a jambalaya. It was good but not great. There are a lot of people there and a lot of standing around waiting.   The last night of the cruise we went to the 6:30 seating at Teppanyaki. It was a nice change of pace and a really delectable meal. We did have a toddler there and the chef, Joel, made a point of entertaining him by catching eggs in his chef hat.  It was fun watching him make the fried rice. He did verify everyone's order before cooking and it was all very delicious. I had the seafood - scallops and calamari and my husband had the tenderloin. It was awesome. The soup was great and the snap peas were very good too. This made me wish we had tried out the sushi bar and Shogun. Maybe next year.   Overall - we think the food in the dining rooms is very good. The coffee is never piping hot though. The cappuccino was hotter and a nice feature in the dining room (hot chocolate is available as well). The specialty dining is excellent but not necessary if you don't want to spend the extra money on dining. The food choices and options in the dining rooms are very good, not foods I would cook on a regular basis, and are presented in a very appealing way. The service is top notch. The buffets are there and have plenty of options as well but I'm not a huge fan of buffets anywhere.  So - when it comes to complaints about the food, I am totally confused. We were never disappointed and never sent anything back.   Casino   It never felt over crowded. This was the most smokey part of the ship. We watched craps and roulette but chose not to play. They did have Texas Hold'em tournaments and as mentioned earlier black jack by the pool on sea days. I got lucky on Texas Tea and Turtle Treasure slots. It was a nice way to spend a half an hour here or there. Due to the amount of smoking I never wanted to spend too much time there. It does have a low ceiling so it always had a haze.   Bingo was a big draw and the announcements for the bingo games always ended with a "Woo!" which by the end of the week, everyone was joining in with. There were also raffles and snap tickets, which were sold prior to most of the shows in the Stardust, so certainly there is plenty of opportunity for all kinds of gambling.   Entertainment   This was the best entertainment for us so far. We went to the Not So Newlywed Game for the 3rd time. It never fails to be hilarious. Paul Scally the cruise director was sharp witted and added to the entertainment value. We loved the Home Free accapella group, Second City was really good, the magic show was good fun and On the Radio was much better than our past experiences. Joy around the pool always set a great atmosphere. We also had the Dixie land jazz band in the bier garden one day where the clarinet player held a note for what felt like 2 minutes! He got a big round of applause. The piano players and singers in Champagne Charlies were good as well.   We did go to the White Hot Party. It was fun seeing everyone on the dance floor with glow sticks and the purple lights on the white outfits. The on board dance troupe did a great job too. Music was from all over the recent decades so there's bound to be a song you know and like. Definitely bring a white outfit to wear and get your picture taken with the angels.   We also went to the pool side dance party but missed the 70's disco party. There just isn't enough time to do everything!   Bermuda   One of the great draws to this cruise is the island of Bermuda. It is so very pretty and mostly safe. Being at the Dockyards is a nice change from St George and the new Heritage Wharf is excellent. You only need your room key and a picture ID so you can leave your Passport on the ship.   We arrived on a Sunday morning. You go past St. David's Island and town cut where the Majesty enters to dock at St George. You go past St Catherine's Fort and follow the island over to Dockyards. It was fun sitting on the balcony as we docked. We stayed on board for lunch to avoid the rush to disembark. When we did disembark, we went straight to the octagon shaped tourist information center and purchased our 3 day bus/ferry pass for $28 each - cash only! What a great value. If you have issues walking, there is a trolley train that picks you up at the pier and you can rent a Segway for exploring the dockyards. Also, if you are physically challenged in any way, it would be better to book the excursions or take taxi's which are plentiful. If you are able bodied, the busses and ferries are not a problem.   While we knew most shops in Hamilton would be closed, we chose to take the ferry over and roam around. It was kind of nice to be in Bermuda's major city on a quiet day. The restaurants were all open and a few shops. We walked up to Fort Hamilton and really enjoyed the views and exploring this fort. There was also a moat you could walk as well. The ferry ride to and from gave us a chance to look at some spectacular homes along the water.   The Dockyards has improved since our last visit in 2004 (where we were in the Frog and Onion Pub when the Red Sox won the world series!). There are more dining options now and the Snorkel Park and Hammerheads (bar and beach rental) has been added. For first timers, it is probably best to stay in Dockyards on Sunday since the shops in the clock tower mall are open.   Monday we took the bus up to Gibbs Hill lighthouse. The lines for the busses and ferries were considerably longer as the Grandeur of the Seas docked behind the Spirit. We rang the bell to get off near the Henry the VIII pub and walked up the hill. The lighthouse costs $2.50 per person to walk the 185 steps to the top. The views of the island are absolutely stellar. At each landing are wall plaques that provide a lot of history of the lighthouse and Bermuda. We met a young Bermudian there who gave us lot of information and pointed out a beautiful bluebird and also provided the name of the bird we heard constantly  - the kiskerkee.   From the lighthouse we chose to walk to Horseshoe beach. This is a beautiful beach and really shouldn't be missed. It has a large bath house and a chair/umbrella rental as well as a snack bar. You can walk the distance of Horseshoe and over to the other beach area's. A park runs along the hill beside the beach which has trails that we did not explore. The water and sand are absolutely lovely. We saw lots of red people so be sure to bring lots of sunscreen. There is a van that offers a ride to the top of the hill for $2. Nearby is the Southampton Princess resort which has a nice golf course and may be explored. I heard reports of fine dining here and a nice spa visit as well.   We spent one day in St George. It really is a charming village with quaint shops. We chose to walk to the beach at St Catherine's where we were sad to find the beach bar and cabana gone. The old defunct hotel on the hill has been torn down as well. The Royal St George golf course is also closed. It will be interesting to see how this area becomes redeveloped. We stopped at Tobacco Bay on our way back, after considering Blackbeards for lunch and deciding to head into town. We took some back alleys starting at the Unfinished Church and ended up along the waterfront. Eventually we took the ferry back to Dockyards and said farewell to St George and the Norwegian Majesty which was docked there. It is the Majesty's swan song as she is being retired in the fall. We were married on her in 2003 so it was nice for us to see her one last time.   We awoke Wednesday morning early to watch us leave port and head back to Boston. We enjoyed sitting on the balcony and watch the Norwegian Dawn pass us as we left. It also gave us a chance to see the island one last time. It was also enjoyable for us as the pilot departed the ship on starboard side. I also saw the "flying fish" that get airborne as they get out of the way of the ship. Watch along the water line and you'll be sure to see them!   Spa   I did book a full 75 minute hot stone massage and scalp treatment. The pricing is comparable to spas in the Boston area. The lockers were reasonable in size and the shower area was well stocked and serviced. I have been to the highly rated Top Notch spa in Stowe Vermont and found the services to be on par with them. I was very pleased with the service and wish I had used the gym and spa more to be honest.   Ship Personnel   We were fortunate to attend the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet in Henry's Pub our first morning at sea.  There was not a big turn out which provided us lots of face time with the senior staff. In attendance were Frank who was 3rd in command, the cruise director, Paul Scally from the UK, Ralph from Jamaica who ran housekeeping, Bernard from Austria in charge of food and beverages, Peter the executive chef from Germany, and Anita from Columbia who ran reception. They gave us a nice breakfast buffet and we got all our questions answered. Ralph was especially informative and had served on many of the present and past ships. Peter was especially outgoing. He has also served on many ships and on land as well. He is very involved in all the food prep and as he put it "does lots of tasting". We also observed him inspecting the incoming stores the day of departure and he picked out food from each palette. We could tell he was not happy with the broccoli! So - he was working very hard to ensure top quality food is brought on board which was nice to see. Bernard was also seen out and about the ship a lot as was Frank. All of them were part of the last show, the International show where members of the staff provided the entertainment and then sang the Norwegian Way song.   Again - we were always greeted with a smile, found the staff to be informative and engaging. Cheriza, the hostess in the Windows dining room, always greeted me with "Miss Ann". Charles was always smiling when we went in and out of our cabin. The food and beverage servers were always pleasant and not overbearing. The Spirit staff was great all around.   Disembarkation   While Paul Scally ran a great information session on disembarkation and provided information in the Freestyle Daily, this was the one problematic area. Everyone that purchases goods to be declared is supposed to go to the Stardust Theater around 8 AM. We listened over and over to the same names being called there. Thus, customs delayed disembarkation. By then, there was a significant line to disembark.   You can choose to take your luggage off with you and disembark whenever you want. Since we each had 2 bags we chose to put out luggage outside our room the night before (by 2 AM). We had breakfast in Windows which does reduce the number of offerings this day but there is still plenty to eat - eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns etc. We had green tags which was supposed to disembark at 9:45. Due to the delay, it was more like 10:45 and we stood in line with a lot of grumbling and grouchy people. In retrospect, I think I would plan to just sit back and relax and wait for the last disembarkation call and avoid the crowds and rush.   Favorite Things   If you are a Latitudes Member, don't miss the Latitudes party. Free cocktails or wine are offered as are passed hors d'eorves. The captain and senior staff are there to greet you and a band provides background music. There were many free raffles as well (make sure you bring your invite letter with you to enter the drawing).   We found the aft area a great place to lounge out of the sun, as long as you don't mind the kids since this is where the kids pool and hot tub is located. There is also aft seating for Raffles and it is set up in a terraced fashion. This is where I figured out that the ashtrays were on the port side and it was smokefree on starboard side. Other favorite areas were the Atrium for people watching, and the Bier Garden for burgers and a helmet of beer (buy 5 get the 6the one free!).  We loved room service for breakfast on the balcony. We loved our towel animals and mints on our pillow. Overall - I loved the cruise for a vacation. We didn't work, clean or cook and were treated great by the entire staff.   Overall - we had a great time and were lucky to have great weather as well. I highly recommend the Norwegian Spirit for a worry free, fabulous vacation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Norwegian Spirit, roundtrip from Boston to King's Wharf, Bermuda.  Roger and I sailed this cruise in a balcony stateroom, with our friend, Dave, in a solo oceanview cabin.  This was our first NCL cruise and our first visit to ... Read More
Norwegian Spirit, roundtrip from Boston to King's Wharf, Bermuda.  Roger and I sailed this cruise in a balcony stateroom, with our friend, Dave, in a solo oceanview cabin.  This was our first NCL cruise and our first visit to Bermuda, and we thoroughly enjoyed both.  We stayed one night pre-cruise at the Holiday Inn Brookline, and we took the "Green Line" right outside the hotel to the Copley stop, to enjoy a pre-cruise dinner at Legal Seafood, which was wonderful.  The next morning, we grabbed a ride with King's Shuttle to the pier early, and we made arrangements for the same shuttle to pick us up after the cruise.  After a short wait, we were one of the first passengers aboard the ship shortly before noon.  We loved the warm greeting with a glass of champagne as we boarded the ship.  We grabbed a plate from the buffet and settled in at a table to dine al fresco in the aft Raffles bar.  We struck up a conversation with another couple at a nearby table, Jo and Bob, who we enjoyed meeting throughout the cruise.  We dropped off our laptops in our room by 1 pm, although the rooms weren't ready to be occupied until 2 pm.  Our next stop was a stop at the spa to book a hair appointment for our Dave, then we  off to make our dinner reservations.  We booked Le Bistro for that evening, and we also booked "The Enchanted Dinner" for Tuesday night, which we highly recommend.  The muster drill was quick and painless at 3 pm, and we were sailing away by shortly after 4 pm.  We were supposed to meet with some other guests at the aft bar, but it was just the three of us and Jake and Nancy, so we moved on to the Sailaway party.  I enjoyed dancing by the Lido pool, while Roger watched the shore get farther and farther away.  The weather was a little cool, but we were on vacation!  Our luggage was there when we returned to our room, so we unpacked quickly and dressed for a cocktail hour with our group in the Majaharini's Lounge.  Our friend headed to the Singles Social in Champagne's Charlie's, but no NCL staffer ever arrived, and he didn't see any other singles, so we headed on to our dinner in Le Bistro.  Got to say ... this is the best $15 per person meal we've ever enjoyed.  We all ordered something different, so we could try a lot of things.  My escargot appetizer won out over Dave's asparagus and scallops and Roger's scallops.  And, everyone agreed my cream of mushroom soup was absolutely the best.  But, Dave's tenderloin steak and Roger's rack of lamb were much better than the lobster dish I paid extra for.  Our meal ended with a crepe suzette dessert prepared flaming tableside by our server, Horace, and his lovely assistant waiter, Anyu.  Ask for them when you make your reservation, as they're absolutely the best.  And, we highly recommend eating in one of the specialty restaurants the first couple nights, because you'll get exceptional service while they sit mostly empty.  We wrapped up the evening in Henry's Pub, where Carrie Stone entertained us with her songs and guitar stylings.  We had rough seas for the next 24 hours, but everyone seemed to manage them quite well.  Breakfast in the Windows dining room was just like any breakfast at sea, so we decided to have lunch in Henry's Pub, where we could choose from wings, fish and chips, and raw oysters on the half shell.  We had them all, and they were great.  (The oysters were half dozen for $5 or dozen for $10.)  We met up with friends in Henry's every sea day around lunch time, before dinner, and usually wrapped up our evening there.  Our evening meals in the Windows dining room were just so so ... adequate food and service ... about what you'd expect from a dining room serving a thousand people.  Shorts were prohibited in the evening in the Windows dining room, but permitted in the Garden dining room.  The Garden dining room was much smaller and filled up quickly each night, probably due to the more relaxed dress code.  Sea days offered opportunities to learn to make sushi and enjoy sake, wine tastings, martini tastings, and beer tasting with food pairings, and margarita mania, so each of us enjoyed one or more of these fun activities.  David visited the spa twice, once for a haircut and once for a seawood massage, both of which he thoroughly enjoyed.  We ended up dining in Le Bistro for two evening meals, had one meal in the Garden dining room when we were dressed more casually to head back into Bermuda for an evening excursion, and all the rest of our meals in the Windows dining room, except for our Tuesday night "Enchanted Dinner".  The Spirit has a unique Art Gallery, that's up one small flight of stairs from deck 7 beside one entrance to the Casino.  Bruce Van der Boon, the concierge, met us at the bottom of the steps to welcome us to our special evening, and we were escorted to our waiting table.  We had looked for Carrie Stone to enjoy her music with a pre-cruise drink before dinner, but she wasn't listed anywhere.  We were delighted to find she was the live entertainment for our dinner, and our table was right next to where she performed.  The candlelit atmosphere surrounded by fabulous art and Carrie singing, created the perfect ambience for a wonderful dinner.  We soon learned that our server, Kelton Fox, was roommates with Horace Reed ... our fabulous server from Le Bistro, and the next time we went to the Windows dining room, we asked to be seated at a table in Mr. Fox's area, and we suggest you do the same.  For this evening, we had a choice of appetizers and soups, one salad was offered, and we had a choice of entrees ... both of which were surf and turf.  Shrimp Cocktail was one of the appetizers, with giant shrimp, not tiny ones like we received in the dining room.  We were served champagne when we arrived, with a nice white and red wine served as the meal continued.  Many of the ship's officers stopped by our table throughout the evening, including the Hotel Director, the Food and Beverage Manager, and several chefs.  At the end of our meal, we were presented with a special dessert ... and all I can say is ... it was fabulous.  The $65 per person price tag included all the wine and champagne as well.   The White Hot Party was the same evening, so we headed back to our staterooms to change into our mostly white attire and headed up to the Galaxy of the Stars to dance the night away.  NCL knows how to throw a great party ... this was the best party at sea we've ever experienced, and we loved dancing the night away.  Thanks to Dave, Jake, and Roger, for keeping the ladies in our group up and dancing all evening.  We enjoyed a "Behind the Scenes" tour, where we saw lots of the ship, plus a preview of Thursday evening's Chocolate Buffet displayed in the Galley.  Be sure to take the circular staircase in the Galaxy of the Stars down into a small room where you can watch the activity on the bridge and view where the ship is headed from the Captain's view.  We were lucky enough to catch two performances by the acapello singing group, Home Free, which were leaving the ship with us.  Selwyn Wright did a great job entertaining on the piano, and Amadeus offered some great dance music.  We enjoyed the Second City troupe workshop one sea day afternoon, teaching us improv comedy, and Dave was lucky enough to perform with them in one of their evening performances.  We only caught two evening shows ... the magician and the farewell crew talent show.  We were having two much fun enjoying our dinners and Carrie Stone the other nights.  The Stardust Theatre was arranged to give all the guests a fabulous view of the stage, but the entrance to this theatre brings you into the front of the theatre.  We arrived close to show time for our first visit to see the magician, and we saw seats on the front row available, so we slipped into them.  The server slipped over to explain these seats were reserved for guests purchasing a minimum of $25 per couple in drinks so we ordered drinks, because they were great seats for a magic show!  We had heard about NCL's fountain at the end of the talent show, so we were disappointed that this was not included on this trip.  Our stateroom was small, so we were glad we had a balcony.  Our stateroom stewards, Butty (prounounced booty) and Day, kept it perfect, and it seemed they were always outside our room to greet us warmly as we came and went.   We loved Bermuda.  When we arrived at around 11 a.m. on Sunday, we bypassed the long lines of people buying bus/ferry passes in the terminal building and got ours in the visitor information center in the town square.  We took a bus to Horseshoe Bay Beach, where we relaxed for a while, then followed a beach path to several nearby beaches.  We wore ourselves out doing this, and each one looked the same as the next, so we don't recommend this adventure.  That evening we took a ship excursion, the Bermuda Triangle Glass Bottom Boat excursion.  It was a great evening cruise, but you definitely need to dress warm, because you're on the water.  We had our first (of many) Rum Swizzles on this excursion.  Monday morning, Dave headed out for a two-tank scuba dive, and we took the ferry for a walking tour of St. George's.  While we know we could have visited all the highlights on a map without a guide, we highly recommend booking a guide, because ours showed us so many things we would have missed without his tour.  We began the tour at noon in the town square, with a reenactment of the dunking of a town gossip.  Plan to take the 11 am ferry to arrive just in time for this reenactment.  And, get in line for the 11 am ferry by 10:30 or you may find there's no room!  After our tour, we enjoyed a mid-afternoon meal on the second-story terrace of George and Dragon located right on the town square, a great outdoor meal where you can people-watch.  While we were dining, NCL's Majesty pulled into town!  We joined their guests in a .8 mile trek to Tobacco Bay Cove, where we enjoyed a couple hours beach time, before heading back .8 miles to catch the last ferry back to Dockyard at 6 pm.  We took Dave back to St. George's the next day, so he could enjoy the highlights of St. George's as much as we had.   For that trip, we enjoyed lunch and drinks at the Whitehorse Pub & Restaurant.  Try their interesting Pink Sand Margarita.  The only way I can describe it is "fluffy", kind of like a party in your mouth!  And, we saw the announcement about the Epic's new entertainment while at sea.  We can't wait to experience Freestyle Entertainment on this grand new ship sometime down the road.  Disembarkation took a really long time.  They called for a few people to come to customs and/or settle their bills with the purser over and over again.  Finally early disembarkation started at 9:30 am, after they had stood in line for hours.  We had picked up tags for the 10:15 disembarkation, because we weren't flying out until the next day, and Dave's flight was at 2:30 pm.  We loved waiting in our stateroom and on our balcony leisurely while waiting to disembark.  Finally our color tags were called at 10:45, and it was almost 11 am when we reached our luggage.  We phoned King's Shuttle, and they met us outside within minutes.  We stayed one night post-cruise at the Holiday Inn Express Airport at 69 Boston Street.  We had intended to tour Boston that day, but we ended up relaxing in our hotel until dinner time.  We walked to a neighborhood restaurant recommended by the hotel clerk, 224, and wow, one more great meal - pumpkin cannelloni and organic pizza.  Wonderful!  King's Shuttle picked us up one last time the next morning to take us to the airport.  Our flight was non-eventful, until we arrived at our final destination but one piece of our luggage did not.  When we filed the claim, they said they had already discovered it left behind in Boston and assured us it would arrive in Little Rock late that day, and they would deliver it the next morning about 7 am.  And, they did, so great service American Airlines ... if only it had arrived in the first place!  Closing thoughts:  I wasn't sure we'd like Freestyle dining, but we really did.  And, we really loved Le Bistro, and we wished we'd visited all the others.  We had heard that NCL had an older clientele, but we found all age ranges on the Spirit, with everyone looking to have a good time.  And, as I said before, Bravo, NCL ... you know how to throw fabulous Party at Sea!  We had planned to purchase minutes from our laptop, but we heard the connection was really slow, so we opted to stay offline during this trip.  The Freestyle Dailies said you could connect wireless in the Library/Internet Cafe, and on deck 7 and 8 in the Atrium.  Our stateroom was directly below the Library/Internet Cafe, so we thought we might have wi-fi there, but there was no connection.  My best tips:  ·         Plan all your evening meals in the specialty restaurants.  It's worth the small coverage charge for a slower pace meal, exceptional service, and fabulous food.  Just my opinion!  ·         Don't miss Carrie Stone!  ·         Book the Enchanted dinner in the Art Gallery!  ·         And, if this is your first visit to St. George's, hire a tour guide.  ·         Bring white clothes and get on your feet and dance at the White Hot Party!  (You can also buy a cute white t-shirt in the gift shop that has "White Hot Party" printed on the front and wings printed on the back.) And, you can check out our photos at http://community.webshots.com/user/judyjbest. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
The embarkation in Boston is a fiasco, no one seems to know what is going on. We gave our luggage and then milled around with no direction. Several of the NCL land people seemed to be taking tips for starting their own line for ... Read More
The embarkation in Boston is a fiasco, no one seems to know what is going on. We gave our luggage and then milled around with no direction. Several of the NCL land people seemed to be taking tips for starting their own line for entry...this was a unfortunate because...no one seemed to know where the actual line up was. When the luggage arrived I found that stuff in my outer pockets of the case had been stolen, not a huge deal but be warned - everything better be locked up inside the case....seems like there is someone who will still anything around....The ship is beautiful, easy to find your way around. The cabin was very comfortable & the deck was small but as expected. If you are looking for Gourmet food this may not be the way to go. The food is exceptable nothing special, but totally adequate. We did not spend the money on the special dining rooms. We also did not indulge in booze, the one martini I had was lovely. I feel that the automatic bingo machine has made it not as much fun. The casino was the usual the odds seemed just as good as any machines at a land casino. The little room guys are very cheerful & are doing their best to make your trip enjoyable. The cruise director was a very pleasant a real energizer bunny guy. The dock in Bermuda is very nice..and convientant...what a treat...we are not fond of tender trips...and some docks in the Caribbean are dreadful. I highly recommend NCL if only to enjoy Bermuda from this dock. Breakfast muslie is fabulous, the afternoon BBQ on the swim deck is crowded.One thing we wish there were more of those traditional wood deck lounge chairs. The few they have on either side of the 7th floor promonade deck are busy. I know they have to paint and such...I don't enjoy that going on our walking deck of choice, I am not complaining, just be warned it seems to be continuesly going on. And the odours are unpleasant. We had not cruised in about 6 years. After a most unpleasant Holland America Cruise that made everyone sickly...that HAL ship was disgusting...I have to say I very impressed with cleanliness of the Spirit. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
CRUISE REVIEW - MAY 29, 2009 NORWEGIAN SPIRIT BACKGROUND: This was our 12th. cruise, 9 on Norwegian Majesty to Bermuda, 1 on Norwegian Dream to Bermuda, and this time on The Spirit.  The cruise is a working vacation. The band is ... Read More
CRUISE REVIEW - MAY 29, 2009 NORWEGIAN SPIRIT BACKGROUND: This was our 12th. cruise, 9 on Norwegian Majesty to Bermuda, 1 on Norwegian Dream to Bermuda, and this time on The Spirit.  The cruise is a working vacation. The band is considered a "guest entertainer", thus, we stay in very nice staterooms supplied by our sponsoring local travel agent. We are not employed or paid by NCL. SHIP INFO: We all loved the Majesty but she was getting a bit tired. The Dream was pretty disappointing in lay out and service. For us The Spirit is a perfect size ship. If you crave the massive ships with skating rinks, wall climbing or bowling allies then the Spirit isn't for you. If however, like me you want a clean well maintained ship that doesn't take you half a day to walk from one end to the other then her size will be perfect. We didn't encounter any rough seas but I would expect her to be a comfortable ride. The layout of the ship was very friendly and after a day we knew our way around just fine. Elevator travel was very efficient and the center atrium is very nicely done. The main dining rooms are bright, spacious and comfortable. Raffles, the topside buffet is very large with a lot of indoor and outdoor seating. ACTIVITIES: There was enough to do for those who like to keep active and busy.  The specialty nights and daily activities weren't quite the quality of The Majesty, but in all fairness we didn't attend very many. Once again the layout of the ship is excellent for multiple activities.   I thought that the pool area was great. SERVICE: The staff that met us while coming on board were all very friendly.  As always, our experience with the housekeeping staff was excellent. Wait service in the main dining rooms were good but slow. If a two hour dinner seems too long, than maybe mention to your server that you'd like a quicker meal. We enjoyed the leisurely pace but some of the younger folks didn't.  Specialty restaurants always have great service. SHORE EXCURSIONS:After 11 cruises to Bermuda we have pretty much tried most excursions and enjoyed them. We didn't participate this time but those we spoke to seemed to enjoy them. EMBARKATION:Boston and the Black Falcon terminal are great places to sail from even though the ship now leaves and returns on Friday. There was a long line but for Latitude members it was a breeze to check in. There is a parking garage around the corner and the format has changed. This year you park on the forth level and you don't pay until you return. The cost for the week was $105 and they take cash or credit cards. STATEROOMS: Unless you do a suite or balcony, cruise staterooms are what they are. I was on deck 5 midship. The room has a deceptive amount of storage and the shower is twice the size as the Majesty and the sliding glass door is great because taking a shower doesn't soak the whole bathroom. I must say that light in the bathroom is a bit dim. That was noted by several folks.  The plug that says "No Hairdryers" means just that. One of the teenagers ignored the notice and half their room was without power. TV's are small and basically only good for hearing the announcements. DINING: Food on cruise ships is very subjective. What one person hates another loves. Personally, I enjoyed all my meals in Windows dining room. The chilled soups have always been a highlight for me. Every night in addition to the menu selections there is always a sirloin steak, a broiled salmon or a breast of chicken available. If you enjoy a breakfast buffet than Raffles on deck 12 has everything you could ask for but it is crowded. You can go to Windows dining room and be served whatever breakfast items you want. No lines and no trying to juggle plates and coffee cups. The BBQ on the pool deck is good. Now my only criticism of the Spirit was the after hours food service. They have a small diner-like room off of the main lobby. There is seating for maybe 30 or 40 people at small tables. You give your room number to a host or hostess and when seats are ready you sit and place your order. The food is good by compared to the aft 24 hour food service on the Majesty it's not convenient or comfortable. The sad part is they have spectacular areas topside that would be great to sit out side and eat a late night meal. We did do Tappenyaki and the show and food were great. CHILDREN'S CLUB: Members of our group raved about Kid's Klub. All the little people seemed to have a great time. The aft kids pool is terrific. I wanted to do the waterslide. Oh to be a kid again! ENTERTAINMENT: I thought the music on board was excellent. We were thrilled to see our long time friends, Amadeus, playing on board. They have an amazing song selection and sound great. Selwyn Wright and Carrie Stone are very enjoyable. The Stardust Theater is a magnificent room. There is not a bad seat in the house.  I didn't think that Second City Comedy was on par with many of the comedians that we've seen over the years. Although I'm not a Karaoke fan, I do know that a lot of folks love it and The Spirit doesn't really cater to those people. There is some but the diehard singers won't be happy. DISEMBARKATION: It was a piece of cake for us. But, we are Gold Latitude members so I'll have to defer to other folks. SUMMARY:This cruise is in the top 3 of our 11 Bermuda cruises. The Spirit is a wonderful ship and the crew is terrific. I'm thrilled that we will be sailing her again in 2010. What can you say about Bermuda, it's a great place to vacation.I would stress to all that Cruise Critic is invaluable with the info that is available. I would definitely advise everyone to go on your ships Roll Call. You get to meet some great fellow cruisers and once again there is a ton of useful information. All the best to you all and I'll be more that happy to answer any specific questions. Happy Sailing Dom V. The Band Guy Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My husband and I cruised on the Dawn to Bermuda, leaving NYC on October 5th. The trip was a family vacation courtesy of my in-laws - all together there were ten of us ranging in age from 15 to about 65 (my husband and I are in our early ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Dawn to Bermuda, leaving NYC on October 5th. The trip was a family vacation courtesy of my in-laws - all together there were ten of us ranging in age from 15 to about 65 (my husband and I are in our early 30's). Arriving at the Pier was a bit hairy. We just moved out of NYC so while I am used to NY traffic, the Pier itself was a bit more chaos than even I am used to however I think that was due to the timing (noon) of our arrival. After I parked the car and we got a porter everything went much more smoothly. About a week before the cruise I changed from a room next to our in-laws on Deck 9 to one on Deck 10 (just for a bit of privacy). That was the only real glitch we had checking in - NCL still had us on the 9th deck and I didn't catch the error until after we'd completed check-in so we had to check-in again. Once done we speed through the screening process and were standing on Deck 7 with our complimentary orange juice in minutes. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the buffet while meeting up with family and waiting for our room to be ready. My memory is a bit hazy but I think our rooms were ready around 2pm. We were in Room 10026 and our excellent Stewards were Boris and Joel. I will request this room again if we are lucky enough to take the Dawn again and I hope we get the same stewards. Restaurants/Bars/Lounges - overall getting reservations at the specialty restaurants was simple and we were rarely unable to get into our first choice during our first time slot choice. Room Service - great for late night snacks of pepperoni pizza and brownies. Service was quick. Garden Cafe (buffet) - I'm not much of a buffet person. The buffet served its function - food whenever we needed to eat and couldn't get into another restaurant - although I only had to eat here a few times. Venetian - I only ate here for dinner once but the service was great and the food decent. The first full day at sea my husband I forgot the time change and showed up hoping for breakfast but found it was almost lunchtime. The servers seemed amused with our request for the fruit dessert plate as our appetizer - and it came without the cottage cheese - however my husband really loved the soup. Aqua - overall the best service of the cruise from Wesley and his assistant (Robert?); close second to Salsa as my favorite restaurant setting/atmosphere. I complimented the maître d' and filled out a service card. Blue Lagoon - decent food for what it is. One of the servers here had a bad attitude but this must be an annoying place to work since it is basically situated in a hallway between Reception and the gift shop/steps to The Venetian. Salsa (Tex-Mex) - excellent sangria, favorite restaurant setting/atmosphere Impressions (Italian) - not impressed with the food but the setting was amazing. Very easy to get reservation on the night we sailed out of New York. Le Bistro (French) - best service of any specialty restaurant and best food. I had the scallop appetizer and steak entree. My husband had mussels' appetizer and the sausage entree. For dessert we had the fondue. I complimented the maître d' and filled out a service card here as well. Bamboo (Asian Fusion) - the one specialty restaurant we missed. Whenever I walked past it was half full and there seemed to be seats available for Sushi as well. Teppanyaki (Hibachi) - fun for a group although the 19 seat limit made reservations a challenge Cagney's (Steakhouse) - difficult handling large group. Decent food. Don't order your steak anything past medium if you want it to be edible. Spinnaker Lounge - I liked hanging out at the Spinnaker lounge. My husband thought it looked like a strip club (hope that doesn't offend anyone). Service here was excellent even during the (packed) comedy show. Dawn Club Casino Bar - I don't gamble but my husband had a great time in the casino. I had to drag him away a few times and usually, when I couldn't find him around, I found him at the $10 blackjack table. Service here was good. At first Pat had to pay for his drinks but after a day, they were comped while he played. He ended the cruise up around $500. Dazzles - great little club area with a disgruntled, bad DJ however the fabulous service of Joel the waiter more than made up for it Dazzles 2 - Karaoke here the second night as sea was okay. The songbook is a bit stale and limited. It was during Karaoke that it was announced we had turned back to NYC to evacuate sick passenger. I hope that person is okay - we were not given an update which is understandable. Pearly Kings - NFL games the Sunday we were embarking in NYC there was a Giants game and an Eagles game at 1pm. I thought we'd be all set to watch the games at this pub but instead they had on the Carolina and Baltimore games - didn't make any sense since 90% of the guests were from the NY/Philadelphia area. Star Bar - chill scene - my favorite "secret hideout" - loved the martinis while listening to Fabrizio. The second time we went to Star Bar (with three of us drinking martinis) the server brought us a nice plate of cheese, bread and olives. Gatsby's Champagne Bar - I only had a drink here once on the last night of the cruise. My brother-in-law (26) really liked hanging out here, listening to the music. Java Café - I did not buy coffee during the cruise. My husband did a few times and seemed to enjoy the coffee. He tends to like Starbucks whereas I like Dunkin Donuts or more generic coffee. I wish the option for French press coffee was offered via room service. Bimini Bar - the servers at poolside were great. Fairly fast service whenever needed. Topsiders Bar - not sure if I used this bar or not - then again, I may be blurring Bimini and Topsiders. Bermuda - the first day in Bermuda we took the bus (#7) to Horseshoe Bay. I thought the food here was expensive but not outrageous for Bermuda. That night most of our party took the ferry to Hamilton for their last festival of the year. I wasn't feeling well so my husband and I skipped the trip. I did get to see some of the fireworks from the Star Bar. The second day in Bermuda we did a glass bottom boat tour and snorkel trip with Aquatic Bermuda (http://www.aquaticbermuda.com/). My family is still raving about this trip. The weather was a bit overcast so the water was a bit chilly but we had a great time. Tony and his wife, P.B., were awesome - so accommodating - taking us directly back to The Dawn instead of dropping us in Hamilton - entertaining and informative. Our final day in Bermuda we did some simple shopping at the Dockyard while the rest of the family did a Dolphin Encounter or swam and Snorkel Park. I had grand plans for this trip including lots of spa time and time in the gym but that all came to nothing. Somehow I also missed most of the shows. My in-laws saw many of the shows and enjoyed them - especially the comedian. Instead of accomplishing my To Do list I had the single most deeply relaxing and enjoyable vacation of my life. This far surpassed even my honeymoon. Usually but the end of vacation I am ready to get back home, even back to work sometimes. Not this time. I would have stayed and sailed another week or two if possible. Arrival back in NYC and Disembarkation were simple but depressing - so sad leaving the Dawn. The staff were so nice as we were disembarking and the luggage process was simple. We were off the ship and at our car by about 9:30. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
We are in our early 50's and have been on 9 cruises. This was our fourth time to Bermuda and first time on the Dawn. I have been on the NCL Spirit twice and love the Freestyle concept. We take a bus from PA to Port Authority Bus ... Read More
We are in our early 50's and have been on 9 cruises. This was our fourth time to Bermuda and first time on the Dawn. I have been on the NCL Spirit twice and love the Freestyle concept. We take a bus from PA to Port Authority Bus Terminal and a cab to the dock. Arrived about 11 a.m. and were on the ship by 11:30. Simple and fast moving lines. Love the welcome aboard drink. We were able to check our carryon bag at Dazzles lounge where they store it for you and give you a receipt and the item can be picked up when the cabins are ready at 2:00 p.m. I really appreciated this service. We had lunch in the Garden Buffet and the food selection was always good and my only observation is the set up of this buffet. It is U shaped with many selections so you must navigate the entire room in order to see what is there. This is the case with breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you get your breakfast on the left side of the buffet, the toast is all the way in the back corner of the right side. The drink stations are also disjointed and we laughed all week about how you must circle the entire area just to get a cup of coffee. The coffee is on one side, the sugar around the corner and the cream at the other end. Be sure and try the cold soups at the Garden Buffet. Yummy!!! I had the banana, pistachio (to die for!) and black cherry. Our outside cabin seemed small on first view but sufficient for the two of us for the week. It is set up nicely with shelves above the desk area and in the closet and two sets of drawers. Our luggage fit under the bed. Love the bathrooms with the sink area in the center, shower on the right with sliding door (no shower curtains sticking to you!) and the commode on the other side. The bed was the most comfortable ever and I slept soundly every night. The upgraded bedding was also very comfy with a down comfortable and soft sheets. Wish I would have asked what the mattress topper was made of as I haven't had a decent night's sleep in our bed since being back home. The food was excellent in the Aqua and Venetian dining rooms. DH is a picky eater and found something on the menu each night we dined there. Lobster was served twice that week. The first formal night it was a half of a lobster tail served with grouper and drawn butter. Excellent!!! Desserts on this ship are also very very good. I could tell a huge difference in the food since my first NCL cruise in May of 2006. We also loved the Blue Lagoon on Deck 7 and went for breakfast a few mornings and a good place to get coffee early in the morning. The entertainment was very good in the theatre. The dancers were very professional and the comedian Dave Heenan is a real riot. He is very personable and nice to talk to when seen all over the ship. The magician was good but his comedy lacking. This was our first cruise where we went to the show every night. Do not miss the crew's talent show. Excellent!! Also very good is the Bollywood show which has acrobatics and again, very professional. Aslo be sure and attend the Liar's Club show in the Spinnaker Lounge. Really funny!! There is a very good piano player in Gatsby's Bar and Dazzles features Jose and Patti a duo who does 60's, 70's, and a Neil Diamond song show. Not our cup of tea but they packed the area every night. We played Wii Boxing one day in Pearly's Pub and that was fun. Bermuda.......ahhh Bermuda, our favorite destination. We buy the bus and ferry pass and went to Horseshoe Bay twice and Tobacco Bay. Love the view when walking up the small hill behind the refreshment stand and seeing the beautiful blue lagoons down below. Embarrassed to say that we still have not made it over to Harbor Nights in our four trips there. We love the beach, touring around on the bus and ferry and once back on the ship, enjoy dinner and the ship environment. Our Meet and Mingle was very nice and the Hotel Director and Manager attended and they were very informative. Pedro the Cruise Director was very good and a really good sense of humor. With the new 2.0 there are no longer pool games on sea days but a reggae type band who played two sets each day. There was a medical emergency on our first sea day and only limited information at 11 pm with an announcement that the ship had turned around, the speed was increased and we were heading back to NYC. I looked out our cabin window and could not believe how fast we were traveling! We heard the next day that the Captain and crew were up all night, and a Coast Guard helicopter landed on the ship at 3 a.m. to airlift the passenger off. The ship then turned around and speeded back toward Bermuda and we arrived on schedule. Very impressive that the emergency was handled so swiftly and hoping all is well with the passenger. A wonderful vacation on the Dawn and my only complaint is that it had to end!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Sailed from New York on 10/12 with a group of 31 family/friends. Took a limo bus to the terminal. No complications at all. Crew was there to open doors for us and whisk away our luggage. Embarkation was the best I've seen yet. Arrived ... Read More
Sailed from New York on 10/12 with a group of 31 family/friends. Took a limo bus to the terminal. No complications at all. Crew was there to open doors for us and whisk away our luggage. Embarkation was the best I've seen yet. Arrived to terminal at 11:45 and on the ship by 12:15 and drinking our free glass of champagne. Very nice way to start our cruise. Had lunch sitting next to the pool where we had the pleasure of being introduced to Robin Cages (pool side server). I can not say enough good things about this man. He made our entire cruise wonderful! Our staterooms were typical inside cabin rooms, have to be creative with unpacking but found plenty of room for our belongings. Some problems with "a pipe breaking" in the hallway on the 5th floor. Woke up to fans blowing to dry the carpets. Water got into one room in our group and they were immediately upgraded to a wonderful balcony room on the 9th floor. We had dinner mostly at the Venetian or Aqua. Food was wonderful and staff offered to bring extra lobster tails both nights it was offered. We had dinner one night at the Teppanyaki. Food was great, but the cover charge seems overpriced. Food in the Venetian, Aqua, and even the buffet was comparable and you could dine there for free. Blue Lagoon has the best wings ever, its true! Some from our group dined at the Sushi bar. First time for me, what a great experience! Well worth the $15 cover charge. Missed the usual crazy activities poolside, but we had a large enough group that we made our own entertainment daily. Once again Robin was always there for us. On the way back to New York we hit a storm with rain and high winds. Robin was quick to move our entire group out of the rain and provide us with towels to keep dry. 1/2 of our group went to Bingo daily and saw the different shows. I preferred poolside and the casino, but my family raved about the on board shows. One note regarding the pool, people need to keep there diapered children out of the adult pool, its a health hazard for one, and these children do not need to be around adults drinking all day long, there is a wonderful kids pool provided (with a slide too). We actually considered going to that pool because all of the kids were in the adult pool. Beware of shore excursions offered. Four of us signed up to scuba dive on Friday through NCL and they moved the date to Thursday without notification. We had booked a pontoon boat for Thursday. Eventually they did refund us all of our money. By the way, scooter rental in Bermuda is an awesome way to see the island! Yes they do drive crazy over there, but so do New Yorkers. We took it slow and saw the whole island. Then we rented a pontoon boat for an entire day from Aquatic Boat Rentals and saw Bermuda from the water. It was a great day, found some nice coves to tuck into and snorkel and a beautiful beach we pulled right up on to. We also were able to scuba dive Friday through blue water divers (cheaper then going through NCL too.) Two tank dive, first a wreck at 70ft, second was a reef with tunnels for only $105. It was a great day. Three days in Bermuda is definitely the way to go. Our group actually wants to go back because we know there is more to see and do. Worst part about the cruise was disembarkation. Not as smooth as embarkation. We arrived 1/2hr late into port due to strong currents, which also pushed back times to get off. Much easier to walk off with your own luggage then do the color coded thing. Your bags are in a huge warehouse with hundreds of people stepping all over them and banging into each other as they attempt to find there luggage. It was not very organized. Next time we plan to walk off with our bags to avoid that chaos. Overall, we would sail Norwegian again and recommend it to others. Especially if its docked in Bermuda for three days. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Sorry for this "late" posting, but I was so busy last week I barely had time to do anything outside of work! As I submit this review it's already the 20th! This October 5th-12th cruise on the NCL Dawn was a ... Read More
Sorry for this "late" posting, but I was so busy last week I barely had time to do anything outside of work! As I submit this review it's already the 20th! This October 5th-12th cruise on the NCL Dawn was a Mother/Daughter cruise and we had a blast! It was my 17th cruise overall, my 2nd with NCL (first one was on the Majesty this past New Year's Eve) and it was the 6th cruise overall for my DD but her 1st with NCL. 4 of her cruises were with all of us as a family, and the 5th was for her honeymoon about 8 years ago. She loves cruising as do I. My other cruises have been on Carnival, HAL, Celebrity, & 2 cruises on the old Home Lines Atlantic. We drove to the port on a day when traffic was a little more of a challenge than usual for NYC, because there was a bike marathon and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer happening that day. We met halfway in between...I'm from NY & DD is from Connecticut...and got to the pier around 11:45AM. By the time we gave the luggage to the porter, and parked the car upstairs on the pier ($210 for the week) and made our way down the escalator to join the check-in line, it was around noon. Check-in was painless and very, very quick & we were on the ship within 25 minutes. Because cabins were not yet ready, we headed to the buffet for lunch and it was, even at that relatively early hour, difficult to find a table. But eventually we managed and had lunch. The only liquid we could find to drink, however, was water...if there was juice or iced tea somewhere, I certainly couldn't find it! At around 1:30 they announced the cabins were ready, so we made our way down 2 decks and found our cabin, 10036, a balcony cabin starboard side, forward, and dropped off our carry-on bags. The beds were already separated into 2 twins, which was good, and everything seemed clean & crisp. The cabin was a decent size...not as roomy as a Carnival balcony cabin, but certainly more than adequate. The bathroom was really nice though...with partitioned shower and toilet areas. Our cabin steward, Boris, came by to say hello and ask if we had any special requests. I came really close to requesting that we be allowed to stay onboard for a month or so...but then decided not to be a wiseguy! Boris & his assistant kept our cabin sparkling all week, and we were treated to towel animals every night except the first. There was adequate closet & drawer/shelf space...but, for 2 women, it was just by a hair! I had only one issue with the cabin's layout, and it was the fact that the writing table & chair was placed immediately next to/in front of the sliding glass door to our balcony...so it made going in and out less than smooth. It wasn't as if we could ask Boris to move it...there was no place else it would've fit! There were the much-appreciated robes in the closet, and there was a fairly good hair blower on the vanity. I loved the Elemis lotion! The cabin had a couple of lithographs of fish on the wall, and it was a very pleasant cabin indeed. The location of this cabin...the first one in from the elevator & stairs...had me a little worried about potential noise, but that proved to be an unnecessary concern as it was never noisy outside the cabin at all. We had very nice CC Roll Call, which I joined rather late because this cruise wasn't booked until August, but everyone seemed to be a fun person. Our RC "leaders" arranged for a formal Meet'n'Greet, to be held on Monday at the Star Bar, hosted by NCL. They sent the Hotel Director, the Chef and several other officers who said a few words and answered questions. It was good to meet everyone and put faces with names. It was a really good group. Food & Drink: On the 1st night we ate at Sushi. The food was very good and presented beautifully. We also ordered a nice hot sake to accompany the meal. Surprisingly this restaurant was almost empty...I think there were maybe 3 or 4 tables occupied. On the 2nd night we ate in LeBistro, which I loved. The restaurant's dEcor is stunning. The service was excellent as was the food. There were many, many diners in LeBistro that evening...our reservation was for 7PM...and they certainly didn't rush you through dinner. On the 3rd night we opted to try the Venetian main dining room. We arrived at around 7:30 and there was a short line on the stairs, with about a 10 minute wait. We asked to be seated at a larger table so that we might enjoy the company of fellow passengers...and she looked quite surprised at the request & said "oh we can't do that"...she explained that large groups come in together and couples prefer to be seated alone. I found this somewhat unusual, to say the least...because HAL was experimenting with "as you wish" dining when my SO and I were on the Noordam last year...and dining with different cruisemates every night was never a problem. So, after hemming & hawing about it, she sat us at a table for 4 and told us she would seat others with us "if they didn't mind". This little encounter was somewhat off-putting as can be imagined. By the time our appetizers arrived a delightful couple from Staten Island was seated with us, and DD & I really enjoyed their company. The food however was really not good at all. I ordered the black bean soup and the steak from the "always" side of the menu. Everything was incredibly salty. That was our one and only dinner in Venetian! On Wednesday we ate in Hamilton...more about that later. On Thursday night we had a fabulous dinner and fine entertainment from the chefs in Teppanyaki. Bring your camera! On Friday night we had an even more fabulous dinner in Salsa. This turned out to be our favorite of the specialty restaurants and we actually decided in favor of a 2nd dinner there on Saturday night, rather than in Cagney's, which was the original plan. The lobster tacos are exceptional and the sangria is really good as well. We ate breakfast just once in the buffet. I don't recommend it at all. I was in line for an omelet and the wait was ridiculously long because they had only one chef preparing omelets one at a time in one pan! The accompanying breakfast meats like ham, bacon & sausage were tepid at best. There was coffee, which was good, but no juices...none that I could find anyway. All other breakfasts were eaten in the Aqua restaurant (balcony cabins have a small notification of the opportunity to have breakfasts in Aqua...ours was on the same ledge as the TV). Aqua was excellent in every way: the bright and cheery atmosphere, the smiles on the wait staff & high level of service, plus the fine menu selections and a small buffet area with fruits, cereals, and most importantly...lox and bagels and cream cheese, which is heaven to a New Yorker like me! This restaurant served the very best Eggs Benedict I've ever had on a cruise ship...unlike the overcooked baked facsimile that is served on Carnival ships (sorry Carnival!). On the day we disembarked, Aqua was closed so we breakfasted in the Venetian...same menu & just as good. DD and I rarely ate lunch, but twice we did get burgers or chicken at the poolside grill. They have the grill open on sea days only, and it was really very nice...they served burgers, hot dogs, chicken, corn-on-the-cob & salad. I think they did a fine job with this. One day I was hungry in the late afternoon (not having had lunch) & decided to try the wings at the Blue Lagoon, and they didn't disappoint. Activities: This ship has something for everyone! I love my slots & the casino was active and bright and inviting. I'm not crazy about the way their slot tournament is structured though...IMHO Carnival does a better job of this. On NCL you pay your $15 bucks, play your round, and only the winner of the round advances to one final round to be held on the last sea day. You could score 50,000 points...and the guy next to you scores 50,001...and he advances & you don't. On Carnival, you pay your $20 bucks, play your round, and your score gets posted on a winners board...from #1 to # 9...and they keep playing rounds for about 2+ hours, keeping the highest scores still posted. So, if you score 50,000 points and the guy next to you scores 50,001...you both go up on the board until someone beats your score...or not! And then the top 9 people (plus a wildcard person, drawn by raffle) play in the final round for the championship & the whole thing ...from 1st round to final winners round...all happens in a span of around 3 hours & the winner is paid $500 bucks & mardi gras beads & a tee-shirt & a ship-on-a-stick! All in one day...you don't have to wait until the last day at sea. And Carnival does it twice on a 7- or 8-day cruise. One thing we absolutely LOVED on this ship was playing Nintendo's Wii. They had bowling and baseball, and boxing was scheduled one day, but the crowd opted for more bowling. It was so much fun! Kudos to Felix from the Cruise Director's staff, who did an outstanding job running these events and who, in my opinion, should be a CD in his own right some day. Wii was held in the Pearly Pub & a lot of people from all age groups participated. I think many of us will be asking Santa for Wii this year! We played regular trivia a couple of times. I would've liked to have participated in the progressive trivia, but they had it at a very inconvenient time...at 6:30PM! Many people are getting ready for dinner at that hour, and I think it would've been better to have it sometime in the morning. DD went to yoga and stretching and other classes in the gym & really enjoyed it. She said the gym staff & gym itself was terrific. They started offering classes at 7AM on most mornings. She also loved playing volleyball on the sports deck. I attended one lecture, held in the movie theater on deck 12, and while the space was very comfortable, this particular speaker was difficult to hear & understand. He had a very soft voice and often looked away from the microphone while speaking. But I'm sure he meant well! We attended the martini clinic and the French wine tasting. The martini clinic was held in the Star Bar (Monday, deck 13, $15/pp) and was really fun & informative. They discussed & served 5 different martinis and wow! What a buzz that was! They served a classic martini with one's choice of gin or vodka, a cosmo, an appletini, a French kiss and something else that escapes me right now. The wine tasting was held in LeBistro (Saturday, deck 6, $15/pp). They offered 4 wines, 2 red/2 white, and served a small variety of cheeses to accompany. We received more Brie when a waiter overheard my DD comment on how delicious the Brie was, which I thought was so thoughtful. The wines were a Pouilly-Fuisse, a Chardonnay, a Merlot-Grenache & something else. This was really informative as well...and, at the end of the tasting a bottle of champagne was won by a lucky participant. NCL also offered an Italian wine tasting (held in Impressions), and also a margarita-tasting that we some how missed in the freestyle daily. Darn! We spoke to some people who really liked it. We thought Jose & Patti were very talented. The White Hot Party was really a lot of fun, and by the way, you don't need to wear white...hardly anyone did. My favorite entertainer was, by a large landslide, comedian Dave Heenan. Do not miss his late-night show because he's absolutely hysterical. He was slightly "blue" but not vulgar or obscene by any stretch of the imagination. And it was nice seeing him interact with the pax throughout the week at various other venues. The pool band was really good....had some people up dancing throughout the week & they also have a CD for sale (by the pool and in the gift shop) which I meant to buy, but then it slipped my mind darn it! Bermuda: How wonderful is this little piece of heaven! I haven't been here since 1995 and it was so good to go back. Nothing has really changed except there's a fair amount of construction at Front Street in Hamilton, and the hotel is missing (having been imploded) up at Fort St.Catherine Beach. We stayed there on a couple of land vacations to Bermuda and enjoyed it. I took a picture of the empty space as we cruised past it! We arrived at the Royal Naval Dockyard (King's Wharf) on time on Wednesday. This was actually something of a miracle, and here's a shout out to the Captain and his officers & crew for this...because we had to boogie to make up 10 lost hours!! On Monday night at around 10:30PM there came an announcement that we were turning back to NY due to the need for a medical evacuation. I went to sleep eventually and missed the whole thing, but later learned that at 3:30AM we were met by 2 helicopters, (1 landed on deck & 1 hovered), and a Coast Guard cutter. It was said (nothing official from the captain or crew) that a woman was about to give birth prematurely. I hope that everything turned out OK. DD & I were off the ship by 9AM, bought our 3-day ferry/bus passes immediately outside of the terminal ($56 for both of us), and were on our way to 9 Beaches Resort. We hopped into one of the many cabs waiting just outside the terminal (for this we opted for the cab, because he takes you right to the hotel registration cottage...whereas the bus lets you off at the main road...15-20 min walk) and the cost for the cab ride was $15 which is not bad. We bought the day-pass for $80 for the 2 of us which entitled us to use of all their facilities: bathrooms, showers, all beaches with lounge chairs, the pool & restaurant, plus they gave us towels. I had read pros and cons about 9 Beaches here on CC prior to this cruise...but I really wanted to experience it, having never been there, and I'm glad we did. We arrived at around 9:40 AM and stayed all day until around 4PM when we asked the desk clerk to call a cab for us (takes about 10 minutes for the cab to arrive). The assessment of fellow CC members was right on the mark. The beaches are small & cozy but beautiful. The entire property was immaculate and beautiful. And best of all, the entire day was incredibly quiet & relaxing & serene. On the negative side, the ocean is so amazingly shallow that one has to walk out a couple of hundred feet to actually swim. Otherwise it was great. This would be a very good location for parents traveling with toddlers or young children. It's like a wading pool. At around 11:00AM a small boat of Dawn passengers arrived at the 9 Beaches dock (from the NCL-sponsored excursion) and made their way to the beaches...but they had to leave by 1:30PM...not very much time at all. DD & I enjoyed lunch at their seaside bar/restaurant. I had the conch fritters which were exceptional, DD had a Caesar's salad, we split an order of chicken wings and each had a soda & the bill came to $46. A little pricey I thought. All in all, we enjoyed the day, and I would heartily recommend it for those seeking peace, quiet, and total relaxation. When we arrived back at the ship we changed and went right back out to catch the ferry for Hamilton and the Harbour Night festival. The ferry was fast and comfortable. Upon arriving in Hamilton we browsed in some stores (Calypso was great!) and made our way up Front St. to a planned dinner at the Hog Penny. They have a very nice menu including several items of Irish/English origin (shepherd's pie, bangers 'n' mash) plus some very nice Indian Curries. Yum Yum!! Because it was the end of the season for Harbour Night there were less local vendors than usual, and when we finished dinner there was no music coming from the grandstand, so we strolled back to the ferry terminal and caught the 9PM returning to King's Wharf. The ferry was completely full! When the ferry crew put down the gangway to allow us to board, some fellow passengers started "moo-ing", indicating our herd-of-cattle status! Pretty funny! Everyone seemed in a good mood as we left Hamilton. Thursday morning we got up early, had breakfast, got off the ship & walked around the harbour path to catch the #7 bus to Horseshoe Beach. This was a really pleasant bus ride and we saw much of "everyday" Bermuda along the way in addition to some stunning South Shore views. The bus let us off at the top of the hill and it wasn't a bad walk down at all (nothing compared to the walk to the Baths on Virgin Gorda!), however I was grateful for the dollar-van to the top at the end of the day! Like the sign says, "Best dollar spent in Bermuda"! DD walked back up the hill...and made it faster than me! There was a significant line for the van! ...ahhh to be young! Horseshoe Beach was glorious and not too crowded that day. We arrived at around 10:30AM and stayed until 4PM. We rented sand chairs (($10 each plus $5 refundable deposit) and plopped ourselves down for a day of sun, soft pink sand, beautiful vistas & good ocean! They have showers & restroom facilities at the top of the beach. There's also a small restaurant where we had lunch...items like hamburgers, chicken fingers, etc. Prices were very moderate. There was a fairly long line of people waiting for the bus back to King's Wharf at the end of our day. 2 buses came that could fit only a few people each & then an empty bus came which fit most of us. It wasn't that long a wait...I'd say 15 minutes from the time I got to the top until the empty bus arrived. On Friday, our last day in Bermuda, we woke up, had breakfast & left the ship, but in not enough time to catch the 9AM ferry to St.George's...having just missed it by a few minutes! So we walked around the dockyard area, which was charming & clean and manicured, just like the rest of Bermuda. At 10AM we boarded the ferry for the 40-minute trip. We strolled the charming streets, did some shopping and some window-shopping, sat in a beautiful little space and watched the NCL Dream leave St.George's on it's way back to Boston, and had a really nice lunch at the White Horse Tavern right on King's Square. DD said she has very clear memories of having her picture taken (with her brothers!) in the "stocks" when she was very little. We took some pictures of the Deliverance on Ordinance Island, and the statue of St. George, & then made our way back to catch the ferry at 2PM. No pictures in the "stocks" this time! It was a very nice day in St.George's. Bermuda remains a favorite destination, and I hadn't realized how much I missed it until returning on this cruise. We were very lucky to have sensational weather during our 3 days there (indeed for the entire cruise), as it was sunny and around 80 degrees each day. I think I won't wait so long to go back again. Disembarkation: We cruised under the Verazzano Bridge just as dawn was breaking...the orange & yellow morning sky was breathtaking as a backdrop to the buildings and bridges of Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, and we took some great pictures coming in. We opted to not do self-assist off the ship, and instead chose lime green luggage tags for a 9:45AM exit off the ship. We had a leisurely breakfast in Venetian and walked a little around the ship. They actually called our tag color at 9:55AM, and it was a breeze off the ship and into the terminal where we quickly claimed our luggage, easily went through customs, & DD waited with the luggage while I retrieved the car. We were headed home by 10:30AM In Summary: I loved the NCL Dawn. Our cabin, the layout of the ship, the public rooms, the crew was one of the best in my cruise history, the food was excellent in the specialty restaurants and in Aqua for breakfast, otherwise so-so in Venetian and the buffet. The activities were varied and a lot of fun. The Cruise Director's staff did an excellent job. (And the CD, Pedro, was really fun and engaging all week long...I loved his periodic intercom announcements where he introduced himself as "your voice from the ceiling...". I bought a cruise-rewards certificate on our last sea day. I currently have a cruise booked for New Year's Eve this year (Carnival Glory) and plan on doing a land vacation next summer at the Jersey shore for 2 weeks...but I fully expect to use the certificate next fall & hope to cruise on the Dawn once more to Bermuda! Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Well this is my first review so I will try to keep it flowing and honest, but please bear with me. My wife and I are in our late 20's and have been on three cruises each before. We took the Crown to Bermuda in 2006 on our anniversary ... Read More
Well this is my first review so I will try to keep it flowing and honest, but please bear with me. My wife and I are in our late 20's and have been on three cruises each before. We took the Crown to Bermuda in 2006 on our anniversary and had a horrible experience but after some positive feedback from some friends on other NCL cruises, we decided to try again with the Dawn. We celebrated our two year anniversary on the boat, and we are both very happy we decided to do so! So what lies ahead is my best attempt at a review. Just a heads up, I love food, which you will find as you read along. Day 1: Arrived at the pier at 10:30, sped through the latitudes line and were checked in by 10:45. We were given group six and sat with other to wait. They started with number three and by the second call of groups, we were ready to dock. Entering on Deck 7 is a beautiful sight. We were immediately given our glass of campaign and then headed right to the reservation desk. We booked for Salsa for that night and Cagney's on Tuesday for our anniversary. We had a mini-suite (more on this later) and I don't know if that allowed us to book a couple days in advance or not. With all the people behind us, I think the woman was just happy to give me what I wanted and I was thankful as well. ? We then headed to the Garden Cafe for lunch, which was very good. Excellent chilled banana soup, surprisingly good pizza, and pretty cool stations like the pasta one. We then took our own private tour of the ship walking around checking all the areas out. Major tip here, go to all the specialty restaurants. They have samples on spoons to try! At about 1:30 an announcement was made that our rooms were ready and we checked out our room. Loved the mini suite (11026)! Decent size balcony, nice layout, not a single complaint about the room. That first night we ate at Salsa. The lobster tacos were pretty good, but were served in a hard shell (we found this odd). You get a nice amount of salsa, guacamole, etc with chips and can ask for more. The Sangria is awesome and highly recommended! The welcome aboard show was good, however being that we saw Dave Heenan in the past, he had zero new jokes. We left early. Late night snack at blue lagoon. Awesome wings, but my wife did not really love her spinach and artichoke dip. She said it was edible, but not recommended. Day 2: Day at sea. Spent most of the day relaxing. Went to Aqua for breakfast which was excellent. The hash browns are great. Service was excellent, extremely fast. Lunch was in the Garden Cafe and the pretzel bread is quite a standout. I would see people taking handfuls back to their rooms. Great stuff. While my wife went to the spa, I hung out in the Casino. As I was at the bar watching sports center, Pedro was there and hung out with my talking football. He remembered me from a cruise back on the Crown in 06. Great guy. Later that day was the meet and great which was well attended. Pedro, the captain, the hotel director and I think the head chef were all present. Later that night was dinner in Venetian. We had no wait at all and found that there wasn't a single wait for us at either dinning room. Service was again good and we had the lobster dish which was good, not great. I thought the lobster was too tough. I had some wings from blue lagoon again and attempted to sit in the pearly king pub with a beer to watch the Monday night football game, but could not because it was back so I headed back to the room. On this night, instead of chocolate on our pillows, we found chocolate chip cookies!! Newlywed game was this night, it was funny. We also sat and listened to Jose and Patti, but they weren't really our style, although they were good. We loved Berni Martini and spent almost every night in Gatsby's listening to him. Day 3: Breakfast in Garden Cafe. Same food as aqua, except there was cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing and chocolate croissants. Neither of these was available in aqua. On this day we attended our first NCL U which was the Sangria and Tapas one. It was great. They head bartender shows you how to make Sangria and the chef for Salsa teaches you how to make some of the tapas. They also give you recipes for both so you can make them on your own when you go home. At this point the boat was pretty rocky,. We were fine but many others seemed to be bothered by the swaying. We then went over the Pearly King Pub for Wii bowling tournament. This was a great place to hang out. Felix, the cruise director staff member that runs games in the pub, is hysterical. My wife rocked at Wii bowling, but neither of us scored high enough for the finals. We attended the latitudes event which was surprisingly a lot of fun. Free drinks were handed out and there were a ton of giveaways. Dinner at Cagney's for our anniversary. I was not impressed. The shrimp cocktail were big, but tough. The lobster bisque was horrible. Maybe I am a brat, but my steak (the rib eye) was flavorless. My wife did not like her crab cakes either, which were covered in guacamole, which we both found strange. Later that night we listened to some more Bernie Martini, then headed to bed. Day 4: Bermuda! Elbow beach, Swizzle Inn and a lot of shopping in Hamilton. We bought the three day bus pass, made it very easy to get around the island. At night we attended the pub games which were pretty funny. Lots of little NCL prizes. Felix is great and I suggest going to this. We capped off the night with a drink at Gatsby's listening to Bernie Martini. Day 5: Bermuda! Horseshoe Bay, lunch at lobster pot, Bermuda Aquarium and some more shopping. We were selected to have dinner this evening with the cruise consultant manager Candace. We did notice that all cruise critic members who entered the "drawing" were all assigned someone. Candace was very nice, and did not attempt to sell us any cruise rewards which we were thankful for. Later that night we went to the Chocolate buffet. This was pretty good to average. Get their early and fill your plate. Whatever you do, do not try the chocolate sushi. Absolutely horrible! We made some friends from Massachusetts here and joined their team for the Quest game. Prior to that we all watched the Liar's club which was surprisingly funny. The Quest game is nuts, and a lot of fun. I had a little help from a fellow cruise critic member's wife... lol. We came in third and were pretty happy. Day 6: Bermuda! Horseshoe Bay, lunch at the Beach Bistro and final souvenir shopping at Hamilton and Dockyard. We were back on the boat early enough to attend some more trivia with Felix. No prizes this time, but still a fun experience. The boat was late leaving because of a medical emergency. Later that evening you could feel it getting somewhat rocky as the captain was trying to make up time, but for the most part everything was tolerable. We attended Second City which was awesome. It is a shame that they kept them hidden until the last couple of nights on the boat. Day 7: Boat was really rocky during the day. My wife and I attended the perfect couple game. The crowd voted for us to win, but they gave the prizes to someone else. We were still happy with the bags that we got as consolation prizes. Back to the boat. It was so rocky, that the captain announced that it was safest to stay off of the outside decks. He also reported that there were 50 MPH wind gusts. It was raining outside as well and was just downright miserable. I was able to eat a little something, but my wife was very nauseous. There were those little throw up bags all over the boat. I toughed it and attended Second City late that night. I was one of 4 people there... It was bad. For me, the sea band wristbands really helped. My wife wasn't sick, but she didn't feel well enough to move around. Disembarkation: Arrived in NY on time, but were out in the water delayed a half hour due to high winds. We chose the 9:30 time, and departed the boat closer to 10. Getting through customs was slow, but not that bad. We were back home by 11:00. Overall it was a great cruise. I highly recommended it to all! One word of advice about the soda pass. We bought it and I think it was a waste of money. The staff were angry anytime you showed it to them, and you need to drink 50 sodas a day to make even. Also, they use flat soda for the soda passes, but fresh cans if you order the soda straight up. The bartenders in the Spinnaker Lounge were the only ones that didn't give me a hard time so I went there every day. Great guys. Check them out! Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click