We spent the week before the cruise wondering if we were going to Bermuda after all, and we did. Hurricane Gonzalo hit the island the week before, and the sailing before ours found themselves in the Bahamas. This was our first trip on the ... Read More
We spent the week before the cruise wondering if we were going to Bermuda after all, and we did. Hurricane Gonzalo hit the island the week before, and the sailing before ours found themselves in the Bahamas. This was our first trip on the Dawn. We have cruised to Bermuda three times, once 10 years ago on the NCL Majesty.
Embarkation-We live within a hour of the pier so after an easy drive in, we dropped off our luggage at the entrance to the terminal we headed upstairs to security and into a line that moved quickly. We were through in about 10 minutes, and check-in took even less. We were in an Aft Penthouse Suite and so from check in we were directed to a special desk and met our butler Mark, and our Concierge Virginia. We were escorted on by Mark and could drop off our carry-on bags and told we could eat lunch at Cagney's which we did. Both of these perks were a great introduction to the ship.
I have read many reviews with negative things to say about the Dawn. First I did not think the ship was tired or old at all. It was clean and bright, our cabin and balcony were in excellent condition and very clean. It can be a bit confusing to get around, I understand they have added more cabins which seems to have changed the flow. The crew and officers are everywhere and very visible we went to several of the information sessions with the officers, and even the production cast.
Our cabin was a suite 10728 was in a great location, and being on the back of the ship there was an excellent view every day. The large balcony with the cushion lounge chairs was one of our favorite places on the ship. It got a bit hot in the afternoon in Bermuda, but most the of time it was just fantastic out there. We loved the large closet, and all the drawers and shelves in the dressing area. We were pleasantly surprised to find lots of extra's, an umbrella, clothes brush, slippers, robes, and lots of great Elmis soaps and lotions. The TV has a DVD player that also plays CD's. We brought a few. We also borrowed DVD's. The location is very quiet, and not far from the stairs. Our steward Flores Patrick was excellent, he was very efficient and kept the cabin clean and was always pleasant when we saw him in the hall. Our Butler Mark Santos was great providing snacks each day around 4pm. We also had him bring breakfast a couple of mornings of the sea days. He kept us updated with information also, including how to use the priority de-embarkation. Another great perk.
I have read reports about the food most of them negative. There were a few misses but mostly hits. The lunch at Cagney's on the first day was very pleasant, we sat by a window, we choose sandwiches that came with perfectly cooked french fries. With the freestyle dining we decided to keep trying different venues. We had a wonderful dinner in Cagney's, both the food and service were excellent. Dinner at La Cuchina was just OK, the risotto with shrimp and asparagus came with lots of risotto in a heavy cream sauce with three shrimp, and a couple tiny pieces of asparagus.My husband had the lasagna which he said was nothing special. We ate at Teppanyaki and found the food very good, lots of choices of meat or fish and we enjoyed watching the chef work his magic. The green tea ice cream and cake we different and delicious. Every meal in the Venetian was excellent, both the food and service. We went to Aqua too, and I tried a Schezwan chicken that was very salty, and not very tasty. They serve the same food as the Venetian so I just didn't choose well. We noticed that there were few people in the Chinese restaurant also, this must not be their strong point. The buffet was not our favorite. The cafeteria style set up creates lines, and I found myself waiting behind people getting omelets when I was just trying to get to the scrambled eggs. Each line had different food choices. So my husband and I had to look at all the lines before choosing which one to stand in. The food I ate there was good, the chicken salad was superb, as were the salads, and the pretzel rolls. There were only cookies in the childrens area, we did ask and received some. Most of the deserts on the buffet were very rich and not to our liking. I did enjoy the ice cream at Sprinkles by the pool. We ate lunch there most days. Freestyle dining at the restaurants worked great, we only waited one night for about 15 minutes and were given a beeper and a coupon to take to any lounge for a glass of champagne
We saw the shows which were consistently excellent, Second City was lots of fun. Jose and Patti were wonderful, we saw most of their shows in the Atrium and Stardust Theatre.
We used this most days, the machines work great, and it was not crowded in the afternoon whern we were there. Loved the chilled scented towels.
Touring the island
There is an information booth inside of the cruise terminal, the women there was very helpful selling us ferry tickets with maps and directions. We also took the $16.00 shuttle to Horseshoe Bay Beach.
It takes you right to the beach, and down the steep hill, and then back to the ship. It leaves every 15 minutes. Well worth the price, the pink bus will leave you at the top of the hill.
We took the ferry to the Hamilton, and shopped and walked. We went into the city hall and took in two free art exhibits, both we excellent, as well as enjoying this beautiful building. We have been here before and try to do something different each time. The small free museum near the ferry terminal is also interesting. There is a grocery store to the left of the ferry terminal and behind the large yellow bank building Miles Grocery's, there is a sign. It is a great place to get a cold drink.
We walked all over the Dockyard, and took in the museum there also. We walked all over the ramparts and found the grazing sheep that keep the grass in check. What a view from up there.
This is a fantastic cruise to get away and relax. With there are three sea days which we love, and then 2 1/2 days in Bermuda it is the perfect mix. We are booked again for next May.
Background Information: This is my first cruise review on this website, I hope I cover everything! I am 26 years old and I took this week-long cruise with my 63-year-old aunt who uses a cane. We booked this at the beginning of the month ... Read More
Background Information: This is my first cruise review on this website, I hope I cover everything! I am 26 years old and I took this week-long cruise with my 63-year-old aunt who uses a cane. We booked this at the beginning of the month because we are from NY and hadn't gone to Bermuda before (ha, ha, ha...) This is our first time with Norwegian and this is the longest time we've stayed on a ship. We have been on the Big Red Boat, the Disney Magic and Wonder when they were still fairly new, Carnival (unsure of the name), and Royal Caribbean (unsure of the name) both in the early/mid-2000's.
Hotel Information: We didn't stay at a hotel because we're from the NY area - my parents dropped us off from home at the pier.
Ship Information: The Norwegian Breakaway first set sail in 2013 so it's still considered a new ship. From what I can tell, it was bigger than the Carnival and Celebrity cruise ships that I saw docked in Nassau (yes, Nassau in the Bahamas). We were supposed to stay in Bermuda for 2 and a half days, however, due to Hurricane Cristobal, we ended up re-routing to Port Canveral in Florida and Nassau. More on that later. There are at least 16 decks and you need to take the stairs if you want to do some of the onboard activities up top like the ropes course, rock climbing wall, sports, and a few other things. I think full capacity is ~4,000 people and my aunt's friend had found out that it was completely sold out! It's the last week before school and Labor Day for most kids, so I wasn't surprised (I also expected it based on the reviews I read on here before my trip). So yeah, it was crowded and there were a ton of kids. Not sure what else to say about it; the website will give you much more information. My aunt and I didn't have a problem navigating the ship. I should also mention that it is very clean. Cleanliness seems to be very important to NCL.
Activities: Each night, you get a newsletter/itinerary called the "Freestyle Daily" for the day ahead, and it tells you all the activities that are going on at what time and where for morning, noon and night. I think it's safe to say that you'll never be bored on this ship! There are exercise classes in the morning and afternoon, dance classes in the afternoon, Bingo (which is big), raffles, gaming tournaments, gaming lessons, children's and family activities, indoor activities, outdoor activities... basically, you name it, they have it. NCL also likes to host game shows like Deal or No Deal (which I still can't figure out how to play), In It to Win It, a "Not So Newlywed Game", Dancing with the Breakaway Stars, etc. My aunt and I tend to have our noses in the air when it comes to things like that, so we didn't go to those, but a wealth of people did and they seemed to love all that. There are also dance parties held nearly every night at an outdoor club called Spice H2O. I attended the "Glow Party" where you're supposed to wear white/bright colors so you glow and wear glowlights and stuff. I also did the ropes course and the rock climbing wall, both fun - make sure to wear the proper attire, though! And because we got an upgrade, my aunt and I got to use the Spa Thermal Suite for free - definitely worth it! I loved it and I wished I had more time to use it for a second day.
Is the pool considered an activity? I don't know, I was disappointed by the pool area. There's an adult-only saltwater pool, there's a kids-only wave pool, a Spongebob Squarepants water play area with a wading pool for kids, four hot tubs, the slides, and that's it. Many lamented that there wasn't a third "family" pool for kids and parents to play in. Kids ended up going in the adults-only pool, which they were whistled out of (or told to be on the side of). I get it: kids want to swim around, kids and parents want to be together. NCL messed that one up. I personally didn't like the saltwater pool, which was very wavy when we were first sailing to Bermuda. They have showers set up outside so you can wash the salt off, but they're set on a hot temperature which isn't refreshing. I ended up cooling off in the Spongebob play area!
I didn't like how close together all the lounge chairs were, but I guess that is to be expected on a cruise ship. Apparently you're not supposed to reserve chairs and the staff is supposed to remove your stuff after an hour, but this is not enforced at all (which was good because my aunt and I are those type of people who go to the pool to set up our stuff, then eat breakfast before going back to the pool). Most chairs are set in the shade on the pool deck.
Another thing: if you're looking for a place to relax, the pool deck is not for you. The pool deck is crowded. The music gets turned up for no reason. There is a Nicklelodeon program that goes on every afternoon with kids screaming all the time. Then there are other contests going on. Then the band starts to play. They're good, but the band is so close to the pool deck so they're loud. The best time to go is between 7AM - 12PM if you prefer quiet like I do. You'll also get loud people from time to time. Most people are from NY and NJ, though, so you gotta expect that, lol.
Shopping isn't that great on the ship. I was unimpressed with the stores and merchandise. People liked the tax and duty free shop, though.
Service/Staff: As was mentioned in previous reviews, the staff is mostly Filipin@ and they are the most polite and accomodating people ever. (I don't think that has anything to do with being Filipin@; my comments are mutually exclusive.) Anything my aunt and I requested, especially during eating times, they got for us. Everyone displayed good manners (Please, Thank You, Enjoy, Good to See You Here, etc.) and not once did anyone display an attitude. They really made the cruise pleasant for us.
There are a couple of things I will complain about - no one specific, but some things I observed. Ropes Course: I feel like there weren't enough people watching us as we went through it. There were some frightened children and in case they froze, I didn't think there were enough people around to save them. Also, there were many people on one part of the course and I was sort of afraid that maybe there would be too much weight on one thing and something would snap. The most shocking thing was that there was no one around watching the people go on "the plank" where you can walk out 8 feet away from the ship! There were kids who were nervous about that and would nervously step backwards trying to get off it. One misstep and they could be hanging off the side of the ship by a harness without anyone there. I mean, yes, they're strapped into a harness but that would have to be scary. I think that part, at least, should've had more supervision. (On a side note, in the Photo Shop, we asked why there were no pictures of anyone on the plank even though a camera is clearly there, a staff member told us that the flash still works but the camera doesn't. How dumb is that? I think that would've been a great photo op. How come no one has fixed that? Thankfully my aunt got a video of me doing it.)
This brings me to my second complaint: the cameramen. They were taking pictures all over the cruise, but my aunt and I noticed that they weren't consistent. Apparently they were at the ropes course at a day and/or time that I wasn't, photographing the zip line. They were at other restaurants too that we were at, but on different days, so we did not get to have a photo at every restaurant. It was by coincidence that I got a picture of myself sitting at the pool in the morning with barely anyone around - that was one of the pictures I kept. The other was of me and my posing. (A funny story: my aunt and I got photobombed by a grown man. It actually wasn't that funny - his wife apologized but I thought she meant for accidentally going down the stairs as our photo was being taken, not for her husband to stand and pose with us! I didn't even know he was there! We found out when we looked at our pictures and I was really P.O.'ed because it was a nice picture of us otherwise. What an idiot, to put it nicely.)
Third: I think there should've been more supervision of people at night around the pool area. The pool wasn't open but the hot tubs were with no lifeguards/staff around, and people could've easily gotten drunk and rowdy over there. I overheard people saying that there should've been more supervision with the kids, too. A couple of guys wanted to play ping pong and the kids "were playing swords and sh**" with the paddles - maybe that's the parent's fault, though.
Port and Shore Excursions: Pier 88 or whatever in NYC is ugly as sin, but I'm not surprised since JFK and La Guardia Airports are also ugly. We spent Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday out at sea. Our first port of call was Wednesday in Port Canaveral in Florida instead of the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda because of the hurricane. I felt bad for the people who had already paid for their excursions (we didn't because we were gonna do our own thing). We were there from 9am to 5pm (the ship left at 5pm). Some of the options for the shore excursions were: Disney Parks, Universal Parks, Sea World, Kennedy Space Center, and Cocoa Beach (off the top of my head). I couldn't resist Disney even though it was expensive ($180 each!) so we went to the Magic Kingdom. What a rip-off it turned out to be! We left the ship at 8-8:30am, boarded a tour bus which took us to the Magic Kingdom transportation center (~1 hour), then walked all the way from the transportation center to the monorail which took us to MK. I guess we got there by 10am. Surprise, surprise for anyone else who didn't go to MK - after the monorail, you had to find a bus to take you to the other parks! My aunt talked to a family later about that who said that they never would've gone to Animal Kingdom (which we almost considered going to) had they known they needed to take another bus to the park. I assumed that the tour bus would take everyone directly to each park. Anyway, we got there at 10am, went through some of the shops on Main Street, bought a few things which took a half hour to an hour, then walked to Fantasyland/New Fantasyland to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which was an hour wait time without a Fast Pass (they gave out information on the tour bus to get Fast Passes online through your smartphone, but I didn't bring mine). The ride was very cute, by the way! By then it was around 12PM and we were hungry. We decided to go to the Be Our Guest restaurant, which was nice. However, we didn't get to eat until 12:30 (apparently you need a Fast Pass for that, too) so we hung around the Beauty and the Beast area for a half hour. It had to be around 1:30-2PM by the time we were done. There were other things I wanted to do, but we really only had time for one more ride, so we did Winnie the Pooh, which was supposedly a 10 minute wait but felt like 20. After that, we had to head back since it was after 2PM and the buses were supposed to start leaving at 2:45. We went to pick up our stuff at City Hall, exit, go to the monorail, take the monorail to the transportation center, get some refreshments at the mini store there, then walk back to the buses. It was not easy at all for my aunt, who has back problems and needs to use a cane. By the time we got on the bus, it was 3PM and the other buses before us had already left. Then it was an hour back to the ship, and the ship departed at 5pm. Bottom line: as much as I love Disney, 5 hours is really not enough time there, especially for the amount of money that was paid. What would've been better was if they provided a shore excursion to Downtown Disney because there's still stuff to do there and it's more feasible to see in ~5 hours. Personally, I would have rather spent 2 days at our next port of call in Nassau, the Bahamas. I'm not sure why the ship couldn't have done that. My aunt thought we should've just stayed on the ship. Apparently NCL has their own private island too. We could've even gone there. I don't know why we didn't.
We arrived in Nassau on Thursday morning, where we got to spend a little more time than in Florida. Our excursion was to Atlantis (Aquaventure). Most of the shore excursions were to Atlantis; I'm not sure what the other non-Atlantis ones were. The thing that bugged me about this port was all the walking we had to do from the ship to the tour buses and vice versa. It was long, it was hot. I felt bad for my aunt. They never really tell you that there's a lot of walking to do and there's really no way to get assistance. Anyway, once we got to Atlantis, we felt more at ease because we've actually been there on vacation 3 separate times (last year, in fact!) We didn't follow the tour group and did our own thing. One thing about the Bahamas - be prepared for rain! We weren't even there a half hour when it began to pour. We were in the Marina Village by then so we stood under the awning of a store until it passed. Some people, I heard, weren't so lucky. The other thing about the Bahamas is that the rain doesn't last very long. Once it stopped, the clouds passed, and the sun shined bright. I have to tell you, spending the day at Atlantis was the most relaxing day I had on this vacation. The water was nice, the sun was nice (I love the heat), we knew where everything was, we knew what we wanted to do and didn't want to do, I got to go on my favorite slide (the shark tank one), everything was perfect. Maybe it wasn't so relaxing for the people who were there for the first time because the place is huge and there's so much to do, but my aunt and I were fine. My aunt gets nervous about timing (and she didn't have a watch on her) so we ended up getting a bus and arrived back a little early. We must've taken the 4pm bus back to the port, and by the time we got on the ship, it was 4:30pm. The latest you could come back on the ship was 5:30pm. When we got back, we were greeted by loud music and dancing staff members. Some members gave out cold towels for your face and mini ice pops. I think water was also given out. I thought that was extremely nice of them to do; I don't really remember that on other cruise ships. I had no energy to dance my way back on board, although my aunt miraculously could! They were filming this for the "Cruise In Review" video shown on the last day of the cruise before you disembark, and lo and behold my aunt was featured. :)
Unfortunately, the Friday that we were supposed to be on land, we were at sea, so we ended up losing a day on that. On the bright side, it gave everyone another chance to do the things they wanted to do on board that they didn't get to do before we arrived at the ports. It also gave everyone a chance to relax after a hectic two days. Imagine if we spent 3 days doing excursions and scrambling on the last day to do everything else on board...
Travel to embarkation port: Perhaps we're crazy but my dad drove to the city to drop us off at Pier 88 in NYC. We're used to driving to the city, and we had the GPS, so it wasn't a big deal. I would say it was a little crowded with cars and cabs at the drop-off point, but it wasn't terrible. To be honest, I really don't remember much about it.
Cabin: We had booked this cruise with a "mini suite or better" guarantee, so we were supposed to get a Spa Mini Suite with a Balcony. When we got in the room, however, it looked like the plain old Mini Suite. My aunt called up Guest Services (or whoever) and explained that she was confused and why didn't our room look like the one in the book/on the website. Turns out that we didn't get a *room* upgrade, just an amenities upgrade. That was okay, though, since we got to use the Thermal Suite in the spa for free! That was amazing. I loved everything about it. Very relaxing, unlike the pool outside (more on that later). The room itself is short on elegance (and space for some people) but it serves its purpose. As other reviews have said, there aren't drawers, but there is a closet and there are shelves within the closet and under the TV/next to the refrigerator. Unfortunately, my aunt took up most of the space with her stuff, so I lived out of my suitcase - not that convenient! The balcony is adequate - 2 chairs and a mini table. I wish it was a bit cleaner, though. The bathroom was fine for 2 people. It has a rainfall shower head with jets, no bathtub. It's a little difficult to figure out at first. There is a double/shared vanity/sink and ample space to put all toiletries. What I didn't like about the bathroom is that they do not provide you with conditioner (a must-have for my hair!), a bar of soap, body lotion, shower caps, q-tips, or cotton balls. They provide shampoo and shower gel from dispensers in the shower and liquid soap on the side for the sink. I'm anal about having all my stuff, so I had all this (except for the bar of soap) in advance, but I ran out of conditioner and lotion. We ended up purchasing aloe vera gel at the tax and duty-free gift shop and conditioner at the Atlantis gift shop (I honestly don't recall the gift shop on board having conditioner). Lastly, we had the two twin beds in our room put together. I don't know if it was the rocking of the ship, or the fact that we were exhausted each day, or the bed/bed linens, but we both fell asleep like babies each night! The bed was so, so comfortable (all white linens). It was warm too, which was a plus for me because the A/C was always on and I was freezing every time I came into the room or if I had to get dressed. But that's just me. Another thing that annoyed me about the room, which I saw in another review and scoffed at initially, was the positioning of the TV. One would think that the TV would be placed directly in front of the bed, but it was actually placed in between where the bed and the sofa was, making the angle to use the remote inconvenient. I found it hard to use the remote, actually. The channels on the TV were adequate, I guess - we didn't watch much because we didn't have the time and we were simply too tired at night! There are a couple of news stations, a channel for TV shows, a channel where you can rent movies, and other NCL channels. I really wanted to see the "Welcome Aboard" video from beginning to end, but I only saw the tail end and I don't think it replayed. I couldn't find it again. Last thing about the room: we were directly under Deck 15, which was the pool deck. Sometimes in the late afternoon/at night, you can hear chairs being moved around and the footsteps of people running, but there wasn't too much noise. And at first we thought we would have to walk a very long way to get to our room, but afterwards, we realized our room was very close to a second set of elevators, so that was good for my aunt. It's good exercise, though! :P
Dining: Hmm, where to begin? Overall, the food was adequate (I know I keep using that word). Not great, but it was edible. I don't think it's worth bringing cases of water with you (you do not have to pay for water on the ship), and I don't think it's worth buying the "Ultimate Beverage Package" for soft drinks. They push the alcoholic drinks a lot on this ship. I think it *is* worth buying the Specialty Dining Package or whatever it's called because on the whole, there seems to be more of a variety of foods in those restaurants as opposed to the same menus in Taste, Savor and the Manhattan Room (all complimentary). I'll give a rundown of each place we ate at - hopefully I get them all.
Before Sailing: Garden Cafe (Buffet) - This buffet is not as good as other ships I've been on, but they seem to have a nice variety. The first time we went there, my aunt and I both got up to get food and our table was taken - one thing they should do is have markers for the tables to let people know whether a table is available. The food here is complimentary and they have themed nights such as seafood night, Asian night, Mexican night, and I think a Chocolate Lover's night, which I sadly missed. It gets crowded at night when everyone likes to have a late-night snack. Problem is that they close by 11:30pm. I wish it was open until midnight or even after, like on most cruise ships (or at least the ones I've been on).
First night: Teppanyaki - exactly like Benihana's, only the food at Benihana's is better in my opinion and Benihana's isn't as loud, LOL. The chefs were banging their knives like their lives depended on it. They were also singing the "Na Na Na Goodbye" song. My aunt began to get a headache from all the noise. Thankfully my chef wasn't as loud as the others. Some other tables seemed really impressed by all the tricks that they do (cheering really loudly), but I've seen them all before. I liked my sake drink and I liked that the menu provided directions on how to do origami - I made a sea snake! haha.
Second night: Savor - complimentary dining, American cuisine mostly. We ate here for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu for each is the same every day. It's nice for a sit-down meal... if only it wasn't so much like Taste! I actually don't think there's a difference between them, except for a slight difference in decor. Really. I think that was a bad design choice by whoever designed these restaurants for the ship. The food is fine, though.
Third night: Le Bistro - French cuisine. Although my Coc Au Vin was a little dry, I still liked it. Nice atmosphere, nice food. I think this is one of the better specialty restaurants.
Fourth Night: The Manhattan Room - it didn't really feel Manhattan-y to me, oh well. There's a ball room dance floor in there, but not really in the middle of the room. The menu was exactly like the menus for Taste and Savor, only with a little more here and there, which was disappointing. I tried escargot for the first time - not bad-tasting but rubbery. Is that how it's supposed to taste and feel in your mouth?
My aunt made a reservation for that specifically because she was told over the phone that the "Burn the Floor" show was supposed to go on that night. This is where our only real problem on the ship arose. One thing about the service on the ship: although they are polite, I found them to be disorganized when coordinating events. I don't think many people knew until the night before that there was going to be a show at the Manhattan Room on Wednesday night, although my aunt did. It seems like the staff was more accomodating to the people who were only attending the show and not dining there, as opposed to the people who were dining there and wanted to see the show. My aunt had a few words with the staff; we ended up sitting at a 2-seat table in the back with a sub-par view of the show. I would've been disappointed had I not seen Burn the Floor in its entirety on the second night (it's complimentary, by the way). Note: #1: It seems like the cast of BtF perform this Latin-inspired show on Wednesday nights, so if you want to see it, I would make reservations around 8:30pm like we did, but get there early so you can ensure a good view of the show near the stage (apparently you cannot reserve seats, they put you where there's availability). #2: If you've already seen BtF like we did, this show is nothing you haven't seen before. It's also shorter. I would skip it. #3: I would only see BtF after this show if you're really into dancing.
The other memorable moment I had on this night was that the rocking of the ship was real bad. People were stumbling all over and kids felt like they were spinning. And this was after we sailed from Port Canaveral! I can only imagine how many people were seasick...
Fifth Night: La Cucina - Italian. It's basically on par with Olive Garden - not here nor there. My soup was okay. I liked that they gave a variety of dipping sauces with the bread. I really did not like my lasagna, so I had a few bites of my aunt's veal, which was better. I tried panna cotta for the first time, that was good.
Sixth Night: Cagney's Steakhouse - I mean, yeah, I've eaten at better steakhouses, but this food was better than I had at most specialty restaurants on the ship. I had an 8 oz. filet mignon with butter on top, creamed corn, and onion rings. My aunt and I also shared a wedge salad and we each ordered soup and a shrimp cocktail. I liked my baked potato soup but my aunt didn't like her split pea soup (it was broth with hard peas in it). When the chef came around to everyone's tables, she confessed that she didn't like it. He was very nice and replied that it wasn't a popular dish on the menu and it's not how they make it in NY, which is what she is used to. We did not like the specialty drink, either. I got a Pepsi and she got a diet one with lemon instead. By the time we got our steaks, we could barely eat. I liked my steak but I just couldn't eat it all. It stunk because it's not like you can take the food home. My dessert, a chocolate brownie with chocolate ice cream, was okay, but I only had a few bites. We ate inside but you can also eat outside. I don't know why anyone would like eating outside at night, though... it's very windy and it's pitch black out there... it's scary to me!
Seventh Night: Well, we would've ate at Taste but we conked out on the bed and missed our reservation. It was okay because we did eat beforehand. We got up just in time to pack last minute things into our suitcases before we had to put them out by 11pm.
Other: O'Sheehans: It's good for lunch and dessert. They serve you big banana splits and ice cream sundaes, as well as shakes!
Shanghai's Noodle Bar: This was pretty good for lunch/early dinner. I had the Char Su (pork, noodles, vegetables, broth), fried dumplings, spring rolls, vegetarian fried rice, and curry noodles and shrimp. The last two weren't that great, though. We ate here twice.
Ice Bar: My aunt and I did this on a whim, so I entered in my dress and we were both wearing sandals... not recommended clothing for this place! LOL. They give you parkas and gloves before entering. Our feet stuck to the floor (everything is made of ice). I had a non-alcoholic drink which was good, but I gulped it down because I wanted to get out of there after a while. My aunt had tried 2 different alcoholic drinks which she didn't like because they were too strong for her (I agreed). It's a fun experience, though. I think you should try it for the heck of it, just to say you did it.
The drinks at the pool bar were also a bit strong for me.
Children's clubs: I can't say that I've been to them (although I got mistaken for a teenager at least twice a day), but from what I saw, the kids had a blast running around and getting their faces painted and participating in the Nickelodeon events. I heard parents saying that their kids loved the programs and that they ditched them every night, so I think they're pretty good. I don't know if the teenagers liked Entourage or not.
Entertainment: The only show I saw was Burn the Floor, which was lackluster. If you've seen Dancing with the Stars, you've seen BtF. I wouldn't have paid money to see this on Broadway. It got repetitive after a while. I thought the singing was good. The costuming wasn't anything special. I wish there was more of a theme running through the show than just showing off different kinds of dance. I will say that I thought one of the dancers and the drummer was cute, just don't tell anyone I said so! haha. I ended up attending the "Meet the Drummer" event that he had because of it. I would say that that show is good if you are interested in rock music and/or have interest in becoming a musician.
We had a reservation for Rock of Ages that we didn't go to because it was at 6:30pm (we were tired at that point) and because we weren't amazed by BtF. A lot of people went to it, though and they all really liked it. Apparently the Cirque du Soleil show is also good. We could've saw it for free on the first night because we got the Ultimate Dining Package, but we didn't because we saw O in Las Vegas and we got bored with it after the first act. Maybe you shouldn't go by my opinion, though; I think my aunt and I are just jaded New Yorkers :P Those who did see it said that it was wonderful, just because you got to see it up close. Honestly, I kind of regret that we didn't see it. There were also comedy shows, but I don't know how they were. As I mentioned earlier, there were game shows and other silly shows they had going on. It wasn't my thing, but a lot of people crowded into the Atrium to watch them, and they all had a good time. I think the best entertainment on the cruise was the band called Impac that played poolside every afternoon. Like some people said, I'd hire them for my wedding!
Disembarkation: It went smoothly for the most part. I got to go through the arcade and other gaming areas that I didn't even know existed. I wished that someone told my aunt and I that disembarking from the back of the ship (or Aft) was closer to the terminal than the front, because there was a lot more walking disembarking from Forward than Aft. We went earlier than our call time. Getting the luggage was a bit of nuisance. I'm not strong and we don't have the luggage with wheels that move in all directions. We found a man who took our bags and guided us to the drop-off point at Pier 88. She tipped him $10.
Summary: Dang, what else do I have to write? I think I've explained enough :)
I should mention that this is a very casual cruise. Except for Captain's Night (which is a joke), I wouldn't pack fancy clothes. I've seen men and women wear t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops everywhere. You can dress up a little for the specialty restaurants if you're paying for them, but don't go overboard (pun intended). In a way, I was a little disappointed because I don't get dressed up very often and I felt like now was as good a time as any to do that. But I understand that not everyone is into that, so. Read Less
We had great time and it was a fun vacation!! But, we were the unfortunate cruise that got diverted because of Hurricane Cristobel. I'll start my review by saying NCL did a poor job diverting us to Florida (Port Canaveral) and Nassau ... Read More
We had great time and it was a fun vacation!! But, we were the unfortunate cruise that got diverted because of Hurricane Cristobel. I'll start my review by saying NCL did a poor job diverting us to Florida (Port Canaveral) and Nassau Bahamas, I firmly believe they could have given us something worthy of the destination which we planned for as an alternative... perhaps St Marleen, their private island, Turks & Caicos, something other than FLORIDA for heaven’s sake!. That said, here are the hits and misses according to moi!
-Restaurant/Bar area on deck 6, 7, 8 is really bad w/the smell of cigarette smoke due to the casino. They did a horrible job designing the ship in this manner as you really had no other way to avoid the area if you were going to the Ice Bar, French Bistro, Headliners, Jazz Club, O'Sheenans, Gift Shop, etc. If they put the casino somewhere else, it would be so much more pleasant.
-Diversion - I spoke of this already.
-Rooms - by far the smallest I’ve ever been on (this is cruise #10). if you are considering 3 people in a room and that 3rd is not a small child, take the mini suite. If you considering 4- take 2 rooms.
-Service - it wasn't bad but ... no one was eager to do anything for us... no exceptional service like that I've experienced on other lines. Exception was our stateroom steward and 1 bar server on pool deck - Larry T. Otherwise, no one went out of their way to help. One day in particular I couldn't find my daughter on the pool deck for over 30 minutes and I asked the security lady and she told me ... I had to go to the customer service desk and file a report. Honestly, did she think I lost my keycard?? I can't even begin to soapbox that one.
-Pools - too small; not enough space but more so the way the deck is setup. If you look at the deck plans you'll see the pool deck (15) is half the size a pool deck is on other lines because of the slides, and Vibe and the Haven space. This means both pools, the deck gift shop, and towel area is condensed into this little space, limiting the amount (hardly any) chairs to tan yourself. This is further annoying because if you have small children you can't get a chair because they are limited, and if you do, it's in the shade under the deck above. With regard to lack of chairs - We did find chairs on deck 16 every day however we were not in arms distance from the kids like we normally would be on another ship. Were there things left behind and folks not returning to their unused chairs – youbetcha – I just waited a polite hour and moved it.
-Pools Misc. - All entertainment was centered near the adult pool which kids were not allowed into, therefore during the venues kids really had nowhere to go to watch. Pool entertainment was mostly adult oriented but good for younger kids but because the space is so small and the ship so crowded on sea days (it is august and I have reasonable expectations however I did Disney fantasy last year same week and it was not as bad as NCL) you couldn't enjoy the stuff going on there because it was mobbed.
-H20 - way too many people to cram into that 1 space during the Glow party, sail away, etc. This area is AFT on deck 16 - really nice in concept for partying and note we didn't go there during the day to sunbathe.
-Atrium - Great in concept but literally there was NO WHERE to sit/stand if you wanted to see a venue (they did trivia here, melon carving, Michael Jackson tribute, etc.) because folks who were there before you had camped out (not that I blame anyone) however because of the low turnover due to multiple events scheduled one after the other, you couldn't get near it. They should move MUCH IF NOT ALL of the events held here to the theater, or one of the many nightclubs.
-Teppanayki - we didn't have a good experience here - food was worst and server/chef was horrible.
-Room service - menu for breakfast is very very limited however because we put the card on the door the night before we didn't have a problem with arrival time.
-Taste - for whatever reason they had the worst service.
-Food - it was good and I didn't have a bad meal. We had the UDP as part of our sailing promo and we ate in Taste and Savor, and all of the specialty restaurants. My problem with the restaurants is this: special ones really had a lot of meat options - how much beef can you possibly eat? The free restaurants had the same offering each night however each night there were additional app's and main entree to choose from. So if you didn't like the few additions to the menu, you had to eat the same thing each night.
-Rock Climbing - Couldn't get on the rock climbing wall - line was insane.
-Nickle and Diming - a lot of folks complained about this - I witnessed it in small ways: games in Arcade are 1.50, bowling is 5.00 pp (insane) however (IMHO) charges for the alcohol related things were reasonable ex: Beer tasting was $15pp and we had a nice hour of tasting 5 beers in 6oz glasses.
-Chocolate – chocolate lovers night was on Friday and not offered in Teppanyaki.
-Ice Bar - Don't miss it; lots of fun. they give you gloves and a big hooded poncho. we made it to 30 minutes - kids tried to set a record. Bring a $tip for the bartender; poor guy is in there for 5 hrs a shift.
-O'Sheenhans - Food was fast and reliable. great for anytime snack. You only need to pay for the ice cream and booze, nothing else. Something to note – this restaurant has a special each night and if you’re not on the UDP worth checking out for dinner as it is a fun place to hang.
-Howl at the Moon - The best show and see it more than once those guys are great. Basically there are 3 musicians who play piano and drums and do a great job of playing your favorite songs. They seemed to play the songs which folks contributed 1.00 with their written request over those who didn't give the $, however we sat there and didn't pay a dime and had a great time singing and laughing with the crowd.
-Rock of ages- Don't bring kids under 13 - it's racy but not horrible (worst part was the strippers) OW it was great show!
-Magician - I thought he was good.
-Cirque show was not the Cirque de Soli (or however you spell it ) but it was entertaining and the food was delicious - the desserts - aside from the volcano cake was the best we had all week. Remember if you have UDP you go free the first night of the cruise so make those reservations in advance and save yourself the money.
-Glow Party - Lots of fun but you really need to get there an hour before the show starts to get any good place to sit/stand; unless you plan on shoulder-to-shoulder dancing on the dance floor
-Food - Aside from what I said above the food was good and we didn't at a bad meal.
-Atrium - In spite of my negative mention of the crowds they gave out free bakery treats each morning.
- Ropes course - Awesome. (We didn't do the trampoline), Be sure to get there around 940 on sea days and you'll be on the course by 10ish. Parents, take your camera and snap your shots from down below.
Slides - kids need to be 99lbs or more to ride the fast ones, the other 3 slides were fun and we never waited more than 10 minutes during sea day. There is NO line during port days of course.
-Officers and Julie - they were accessible and always asked for feedback. This was a nice touch - comparison the Capt. of Disney Fantasy was very stiff and distant and so was the ship officers (just saying). Maybe they are trying to improve their image by showing up the executives. Julie to her credit was at every major event and she's a good moderator.
Overall I’d give it 3 and half of 5 stars. Why because.. #1 the diversion and lack of interesting substitute, #2 service was OK - heck I did Disney last year and there is NO comparison on this, and #3 room was just too damn small.
It is very important to separate the sweet smiling people taking care of us from the bean counters you feel lurking behind all the new policies on the ship. So I want to start out by saying Thank you to the great people from all over the ... Read More
It is very important to separate the sweet smiling people taking care of us from the bean counters you feel lurking behind all the new policies on the ship. So I want to start out by saying Thank you to the great people from all over the world who work so hard to make cruising great and always have a smile for us.
Regarding the bean counters; we have been cruising for 20 years and have seen the industry change. Last time we cruised we purchased over 300 dollars worth of spa services and were told we could not have a robe and slippers without an additional $30 outlay.
This time we noticed that the juice was missing. Then we noticed a slick little glossy on the table advertising orange juice for sale, arghh. We also noticed the room service menu had been drastically reduced. That's because they charge you for some foods delivered to your door now.
This was also the first time we went on a cruise with no “lobster night”. They did have a lobster pasta on the buffet but it was very difficult to spot any lobster among the penne.
Now I understand that decisions are made in the board room and those guys rarely consider the customer loyalty it destroys in the guest room. I see some "all inclusives" capitalizing on the bean counter's mistakes and I appalud them. I have cruised with them and found it to be a welcome relief from the constant nikel and diming. But I would think that at least one standard cruise line could stand out from the rest by returning to the good old fashioned customer-first policies that made crusing so much fun even 10 to15 years ago.
Until then I will probably lean toward the all inclusives. Sure it costs more but who wants to pay more to get off the ship than it cost to get on. And who wants to spend their vacation dodging the attack of the bean counters. Read Less
About us.. 6 cruises with 2 on the Dawn.. Couple in 50's Sailed last year with 4 kids.. This year--just us! Some changes since last year..
Boarding.. We went at 1230 this year as opposed to 1130 last year.. Went right through.. No ... Read More
About us.. 6 cruises with 2 on the Dawn.. Couple in 50's Sailed last year with 4 kids.. This year--just us! Some changes since last year..
Boarding.. We went at 1230 this year as opposed to 1130 last year.. Went right through.. No crowds at all.. Later is better for sure!
Staff seemed much more accommodating this year.. Prepaid service charge didn't seem to hinder good service..
White hot party held outside.. Much better than inside..
Our cabin steward Ron was amazing..
Garden Cafe was better than last year for breakfast.. Would stay away for lunch and dinner though
Getting a chair by pool seemed easier but could take a little searching.. Seemed like there were more lounges and many appeared to be new.. Nice!
Food in both Aqua and Venetian -- would describe as adequate.. Not terrible but certainly not delicious.. Ate in Cagney's last two nights and it was absolutely delicious.. Next time would purchase dining option for $119 pp and eat in specialty every night..
Cabin #11572 port side..was very noisy on nights when there was outside music by pool.. Felt like music was in room with us..DO NOT book this cabin if you are someone that goes to bed before midnight.. Last year we stayed on starboard side of ship and heard nothing..we were in 2 bedroom last year and possibly didn't hear due to bedroom not having access to slider (slider was on living room side) Glad we brought earplugs..
Taxi notice.. Sundays taxis are more expensive.. Look for mini busses located just across the street from first line of taxis .. They will take you to horseshoe for $7 pp.. Any day.. If you're a couple and don't want to buy bus pass --can go with them any day for $7.. They just gather a few people to go together.. When leaving beach they are located on right side (left side is regular taxi line) just look for mini busses.. They can usually work out a time to come back as well if you know when you need ride back..
Best snorkeling ... Church bay
If you need umbrella .. They don't rent if windy so get to horseshoe beach early to grab spot in shade if its windy or bring your own umbrella if crucial to be in shade..
We arrived on tue to horseshoe beach by 9 and we were alone.. By noon you couldn't walk so crowded.. Go early and enjoy!
Took ferry ($8 rtpp) to Hamilton for lunch at Flannagans.. Good food, decent prices for BDA..
This was my 7th Boston to Bermuda cruise. Needless to say, I am hooked!!
We arrived at the Black Falcon Cruiseport about 11:15, we were in a suite with the adjoining mini suite. The mini suite was for 3 under 21 year olds, so we were all ... Read More
This was my 7th Boston to Bermuda cruise. Needless to say, I am hooked!!
We arrived at the Black Falcon Cruiseport about 11:15, we were in a suite with the adjoining mini suite. The mini suite was for 3 under 21 year olds, so we were all allowed to board together. We had a very quick snack in the little "suite reception room" and we were brought right on to the ship. We were probably in the Bimini Lounge by noon having our first drink.
Because we were in a suite we could have breakfast and lunch in Cagneys on sea days, while in Bermuda, we could have breakfast and lunch in LaCuccina. We never paid extra for any of the fee restaurants and we had very good meals in Aqua and the Venetian. The kids had lots of late night snacks in the Blue Lagoon and at the Garden Buffet.
Our concierge was great, John DeSouza. Our butler, Mansour was very good and I cant say enough about our room steward, Chris. Every afternoon we were brought a tray of cut up fresh fruit, chocolates and all sorts of treats No wonder I gained 8 lbs.
Best bartender on board, Chips Ahoy in the Pearly Kings bar, he was great. Remembered our names, what we were drinking and made us feel at home. That is also the site of karaoke most nights... So much fun. Be prepared to hear 3 people a night sing Sweet Caroline (Boston favorite).
Cruise Director "Dingo Dave" was alot of fun.
We went to the Not So Newlywed Show (very funny) the Perfect Couple Show (also very funny) and one show in the Stardust, it was a 70's and 80's show......GREAT!! There were a couple of others offered that we didnt go to.
Casino---ugh, didnt win, and now the Casino is open while in Bermuda from 9 pm to 5 am.....
Pool--didnt use it
Bermuda--Went jet skiing right off the ship, KS Watersports, there were 9 of us, two groups, we had a ball. My brother was staying at the COCO REEF resort at Elbow Bay so we took the bus to visit him. The next day we took the ferry to St George and then the small bus to Tobacco Bay for a couple of hours, then we took the bus to the Swizzle Inn.....had a blast there, then we took the bus to Hamilton and the ferry back to the Dockyard. The last day we hung out at the ship and around the dockyard.
Bonefish Bar--Fun place, we were in dance contests great DJ, even though he kept refering to Big Papi as Victor Ortiz..... Read Less
My wife and I went on the May 30th cruise from Boston to Bermuda. This was our 7th cruise. 5th with Norwegian, 3rd on the Dawn. We arrived a little before noon. We had pre-printed our luggage tags and were told to bypass the long luggage ... Read More
My wife and I went on the May 30th cruise from Boston to Bermuda. This was our 7th cruise. 5th with Norwegian, 3rd on the Dawn. We arrived a little before noon. We had pre-printed our luggage tags and were told to bypass the long luggage line by the person who took our luggage who was waiting as soon as we were dropped off. I can see how some were confused, but it worked out for us. Getting on was not much of an issue. We had lunch in the Garden Buffet and just relaxed until the required drill at 3:15 which was very quick and went well.
We had a mini suite on Deck 11 Fwd. It was a nice room. We had a balcony on 8 and 9 the last two years. Although the mini suite was nice, I don't think it was worth the extra $400 dollars over a balcony. Maybe if you had more than two people, the little bit of extra room would be worth it, but for the two of us, it wasn't that much of an upgrade. We did have a bathtub as opposed to just the shower stall. If/when we go again, we will probably just get a balcony room or try a big suite if we have the money. Although I hear that some have balconies and some don't. Not sure why you would have a suite without a balcony as that is essential to us.
We are both easy going so you are not going to here us complain too much about the food. It was great. There were plenty of options. We have done the specialty restaurants in the past but just stuck to the non charge places this time. If you are big on dining, then it would be worth it to try a few places, but you can get good food just about anywhere, I love the Blue Lagoon, especially after hours, You can order take out and bring it to your room, or just sit down like a normal restaurant. We had breakfast a few times in Venetian which was very good. Between the two main restaurants, the buffet and the Blue Lagoon, there is always something to hit the spot.
The entertainment was great. As always there is some type of main show every night although we only went to a few. The comedian Tim Kaminski is a must see. He got me on stage last year, which is something I dread, but it went okay. This year we saw him on the first day before most people knew who he was. We talked to him for a bit, and then several more time throughout the week. He assured me I would not be pulled up again which was a relief. I hope he is on future cruises for us but since he is scheduled to have a part in a Mark Walburgh movie later this year, who knows if he will be back if he makes it big time. I do sincerely wish him the best. He is a genuine nice guy.
Jose and Patti were great. They are a married couple who sing mostly in the Atrium just about each night. They were on our cruise two years ago and we looked forward to relaxing with a drink late in the evening and hearing them sing, as well as their stories. It seems that it didn't take too long for everyone to notice as most of their Atrium shows were packed. There were people sitting on the stairs as well as on 8 and the internet cafe on 9. We saw Patti on the first day and told her we remember them from a few years ago. She talked with us for a bit. She is also a genuinely nice person. I would recommend seeing them at least once.
Bermuda was fantastic as usual. We have been there four previous times so we didn't feel the need to see everything. We just want to relax and go to the beach. Horseshoe Bay is the most popular beach as it has facilities, a place to rent chairs and umbrellas as well as a place to eat. We went there on the first day shortly after we got to Bermuda. We were lucky as we got a few hours of nice sunny weather. It started to rain, but at that point we were ready to head out. We took the mini bus back to the ship. This is something we weren't aware of before. For $7 per person, they will take you to Horseshoe Bay. And they also make the trip back. It is well worth it. Just ask them at the cab stand area for the mini bus to Horseshoe Bay. On our way back we witnessed a couple on a scooter crash right in front of us. The road must have been wet or something as they failed to turn and crashed right into the wall. Luckily they appeared to be okay, but had a few cuts and seemed shook up. They were from the Dawn as well as we could tell from their towels. We have heard warnings from our many times to Bermuda about the scooters. Unless you are very experienced, don't even try it, and then, still don't. Too many stories of vacations and honeymoons turning tragic.
Overall it was a great trip. I am very laid back and not the type to complain. However I feel like I need to mention one unpleasant situation. Our fridge in the room did not work. At first I thought no big deal. I mentioned it to our steward Raynehard (spelling). He was great by the way, always cheerful and quick to say hi whenever he saw you. He did a great job all week. He said that he would report it. We were giving extra ice all week so we thought there were no issues. However we had pre-ordered some shrimp for Saturday and a cake on Wednesday that needed to be kept in the fridge. We realized that we couldn't keep the leftovers and had to throw them out. My wife said we should mention it and see if they would maybe give us a credit or something. I thought, maybe half of the price of the shrimp and cake, or something similar would be fair. Well, the lady at the main desk in the Atrium was less than friendly. I calmly explained the situation and she said "what would you like me to do, we cannot just give you a credit." She said that they received the report that the fridge was broken and that it had been fixed...which it wasn't. She then said that the fridge was meant to keep the mini bar items slightly chilled and not a real fridge. This was inaccurate as I have had water and soda in there in previous years and it has been very cold. She then said, we should have called room service and they would have taken our leftovers and kept them cold, and them bring them back when we wanted. Oh really, like I would have known that. Anyway, I figured since we have been loyal customers to NCL and we spent alot of money over the years, and that since we were without a fridge all week, maybe they would give a little something for the inconvenience. If I was a major complainer, I would have got her name and would be writing a letter to NCL right now, but I am not. Did this tick me off...yes, would this stop me from cruising NCL again..no, as this has really been my only big complaint over the years.
Overall we enjoyed our trip. We have taken this trip so many times because we don't have to travel far. The cruise terminal is less than five minutes away from us. We were home unpacking before some people who have to travel all day were even off the ship. We love cruising and we love Bermuda. I hope to cruise again, if not next year, soon thereafter.
Just returned from the September 1 sailing on the BREAKAWAY. Had a mini-suite on deck 11 (11832). Our room design was a couch by the slider, bed by the closet. Cant figure out what people's issues are with this setup. We had plenty of ... Read More
Just returned from the September 1 sailing on the BREAKAWAY. Had a mini-suite on deck 11 (11832). Our room design was a couch by the slider, bed by the closet. Cant figure out what people's issues are with this setup. We had plenty of storage, and no trouble getting things in and out of the closet. We felt the balcony was more than adequate and didn't find it any smaller than the one we had on the STAR. Bathroom was nice and roomy with a rainhead shower and jets. It was bigger than ours at home.
Negatives (only 4):
VIBE Beach Club. We purposely arrived to the Port at about 8:45 so that we could have a low boarding number as gaining access to this exclusive area (free of children was very important to us). We received boarding group 5, and I thought we'd be good to go as it was my recollection that the low numbers went to folks in the Haven, etc. who most likely wouldn't want VIBE passes since they have their own area. We initially got rejected as they had sold out. However, Hansel was kind enough to put us on a waiting list after my husband expressed his displeasure at not receiving passes despite us arriving early to the Port and seeing others who arrived long after us receiving passes. We ultimately got passes and come to find out, they boarded the ship not in order at all - folks with board passes 20+ were on board before us and received VIBE passes. NCL needs to make sure that the ship gets boarded according to who arrives first. Aside from the issues with us getting the passes, the VIBE was worth every penny ($158 for two of us for the week). Had hot tubs, its own bar, and a wonderful bar staff led by Sean. Staff in VIBE knew our names by the end of the first day and were excellent.
Main Dining Rooms. Good food, but as others said, no variety (same menu in all 3). If you eat everything, you can make your own variety, particularly if mixing in some specialty restaurants. If you only eat one thing (i.e., a vegetarian, or you only eat chicken, etc.) then you will probably get bored. The other thing is that on the days the ship is in Port, the MDR's are NOT open for lunch - only the buffet and O'Sheehan's. I personally detest buffets and avoid them when possible. However, the buffet appeared more than adequate if that is your type of dining preference. O'Sheehan's was good but only 3 or 4 entrees. I think one of the smaller MDR's should be open for lunch. Also, the 24 hour places didn't offer 24 hour food (except for pizza delivery) so if you are an early riser and are ready for lunch at 1030/11am, then you have to wait until 12 or 1230 for lunch-type foods.
Fitness Center. As others have said, WAY TOO SMALL for this ship. That said, not much that NCL can do now at this point other than make sure future gyms are larger on the subsequent ships they build. I cant comment on the Spa as we didn't use it.
Casino. Terrible. We gamble a fair amount at Mohegan Sun. The payouts in this Casino were terrible including an odd $6 blackjack table that didn't pay the normal payout (1 and a half) for blackjack.
Michael Finney (Comedian/Magician). Terrible! Good thing he is on at the end of the Cruise otherwise I would have feared that all entertainment was this bad and might have skipped other performances. We gave it the Joe College try and lasted 20 minutes before we finally had to walk out. It was that bad.
Now for all the Positives:
Entertainment. With the exception of the dud mentioned above, the 3 main attractions were terrific. Rock of Ages was so good we went twice (and at both shows we saw IDIOT PARENTS bringing young children, despite signage everywhere). We even talked to one couple at our second viewing, who asked us about the content since they knew we'd seen it once. We told them we'd never bring a 9 year old and that the 13 year old was pushing it. They chose to stay anyway, and of course left halfway through when it got racy. Parents, please heed the warnings. Its not the language that's bad, it's the racy attire (strippers, and a big sign that says "live nudes" on the stage) and some sexual simulations/innuendos. The Cirque Dreams show was excellent, and I felt the meal was good (it is surf and turf, but they can accommodate vegetarians with an eggplant parmesan (or at least that's what the vegger at our table got). You just have to ask. Burn the Floor was also quite good although it was my least favorite of the three. We saw one of the Second City performances (the free improve show, not the paid Dysfunctional Family show), it was good. We had pre-booked everything except the second Rock of Ages which we were able to get into despite it being sold out. Fire and Ice is NOT TO BE MISSED! Rosie and Mac were terrific. They do several free shows including a Michael Jackson and Tina Turner tribute. Rosie's energy and love of entertainment is infectious.
Food. All food was good although the paid restaurants were exceptional. We ate at LeBistro (twice), LaCucina and Teppanyaki. We had pre-booked all of these as well, but made a few changes while on board and had no issues. We managed to dine with very few children as we ate at 8 or 9pm most nights. I also think there were overall less kids on this sailing because school had already started for many. Important note about LeBistro: NCL foolishly made their outside dining for this restaurant on the inside, in the hallway/atrium rather than out on the waterfront. As a result, no one wanted to sit at the "outside" tables meant to resemble a French sidewalk bistro because it was noisy with people walking by. Also, Headliners is right next door and people would line up for the shows there. They also did pro photos on the stairs on one night which also caused noise and crowds. The interior of the restaurant is surprisingly small (15-20 tables maybe?) and it was always full. So if you book this, request an inside table at booking AND arrive early or swing by to make your request noted. Trust me, you wont want the "outside" table. The true "outside" dining at LaCucina was lovely and I imagine the same would hold true for the other "waterfront" restaurants (Cagneys' and Moderno).
Ropes Course. I went up twice, once at sea, once in port, and chickened out both times. The course itself is not high above the deck but it is ridiculously high above the ground! Husband did it 4 times in total including the Plank, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. We never had lines as we always got there 15 minutes before opening and in Port there was hardly anyone on board. Also for the timid, doing it in Port is better because there is no wind. Sea days it could get very windy up there and they never opened the Plank at Sea due to winds/safety.
Pools: Pools are smallish but really no smaller than any other ships ive been on and there are 2 (a 12+ pool and a family pool). They are saltwater pools which I didn't really like. The Waterslides, however, were AMAZING! I must have gone down them 50 times. Lines could be long on Sea Days, but in Port it was ours. I didn't see the deck chair problem that many others have commented on although we also spent a fair amount of time in VIBE where there were always plenty of chairs.
Deck Parties: the 70's show and the 80's show held at Spice H20 were both terrific. The fireworks display was very good given the limited launch area.
Customer Service: Overall it was outstanding. Remy was our Steward and he couldn't have been nicer and more helpful. He arranged something special for husband's birthday (towel cake, a cupcake and a nice card) on the bed waiting for us. He found us conditioner when we forgot ours, and always remembered extra bath towels for us. Our room was always cleaned timely.
We purchased the "Ultimate Beverage" package. This included any glass of wine under $10 (including Prosecco) and any beer under I think $5.50 (we only drink Bud Light so therefore we only inquired about that one beer). Mixed drinks that were included I think $8.50 or less. You have to buy it for you and everyone in your room, so for 2 of us it was $788 for the week. If you do the math, you have to drink about 8 mix drinks per day to pay for itself. We had been to Bermuda before (my 3rd time there, and my husband's 2nd). Therefore, we planned to remain on the ship the majority of the time in port to enjoy some of the features/areas that might have been too crowded on sea days. As such, we were obviously on ship to drink those 3 days too. We booze pretty hard, but didn't think the package would be worth it if we had planned to be off boat those three days. So keep that in mind. Needless to say, we added up our slips at the end and we drank about $1200 worth of booze between us for $788 (we didn't have much beer, mostly $8 frozen drinks, and $9 wines/proseccos). A few oddities tho with this package. You can get as many glasses of wine as you want but you cant get a bottle. You can get as many beers as you want, but not a beer bucket. Also, sodas are included but for some reason you don't get the nice soda mug that you get when you buy the package. I think for $788 we should have gotten 2 soda mugs since soda was included. If everyone in your part likes to drink, highly recommended!!
Kids run wild as with every cruise ive been on, not an NCL problem. I did see enforcement of adult only areas, but it was still annoying to see kids in Bliss (allowed before 11pm) and generally underfoot. I can only imagine what summertime was like, again, we purposely scheduled our cruise during a time when most kids would be back in school. I will never again cruise June/July/August simply because I cant deal with so many kids who aren't watched. September was definitely much more enjoyable.
We felt there was more than enough to do on the ship. Some stuff is "nickel and dime" as some people have talked about on here; however, plenty of freebies too. Be smart - book and plan your shows and dinners ahead or be flexible with dinnertimes. You can make reservations in the MDR's once on board, but not before (specialty you can book ahead).
Shared and Private transfers from NY airports to NY hotels. A booked shared transfer from LGA to Manhattan hotel. Is $31.98 usd for two people with luggage. There was only one other couple in the van with us. Easy to book. Received voucher ... Read More
Shared and Private transfers from NY airports to NY hotels. A booked shared transfer from LGA to Manhattan hotel. Is $31.98 usd for two people with luggage. There was only one other couple in the van with us. Easy to book. Received voucher via email within an hour or so. When you arrive at airport, you go to Ground Transportation and they will guide you where to meet your transfer. Would recommend as a great and economical way to/from airport/hotel.
Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Midtown East
Good location, property was clean and staff was great. Great breakfast included. The best I’ve seen at a hotel, with lots of hot and cold choices. Only negative was - very noisy. You could hear every time someone opened and closed their door. Couldn’t hear traffic or anything outside (we were on 4th floor), just in the hallways.
Very similar to Epic (except bathrooms are back to normal...yea!). Balcony was extremely small. Cabin was a nice size, but could use more storage areas. Luggage easily fits under the bed. Staff was great and very accommodating. The fastest embarkation ever. Within 30 minutes after we arrived at the pier we were eating at one of my favorites places, O’Sheehan’s. All of our luggage arrived by 2:30pm. Very easy and fast Walk Off Disembarkation.
Burn the Floor " Much like Dancing with the Stars’ (no fee)
The Second City " It’s OK. Very similar routines as seen on Epic (no fee)
Rock of Ages " If you saw the movie you will LOVE this show. There must have been 20 performers and all were amazing. Some older people didn’t like it, as there are some raunchy scenes. (no fee)
Magician " He was OK. Great show for kids. (no fee)
Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy - $40. pp I didn’t go, but heard rave reviews from lots of guests.
Lots and lots of other venues for music, and what we saw were great.
Fire & Ice " A two-member singing duo and they were amazing. They did a lot of tribute shows: Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Motown. They played at various venues around the ship, and well worth the time. (no fee)
The ropes course is great and the walk the plank’ looked like fun There’s even a little ropes course for young kids. (no fee)
Mini golf was popular. Carlos Bake Shop (The Cake Boss on TV) has a shop onboard and even offers a few decorating lessons for a fee.
We didn’t do any specialty dining as there were so many dining venues all over the ship. Even little hot dog stands set up around the ship. The buffet was never overly crowded and the food was hot. Great pizza and O’Sheehans never disappoints.
We had a noon flight, so we took a taxi from the pier to LGA. $44.00 + tip.
My new husband and I sailed on the NCL Dawn at the end of August for our honeymoon. We stayed in an aft facing penthouse suite which we loved!
This cruise was our forth cruise, and our first on NCL. This was easily the smoothest and most ... Read More
My new husband and I sailed on the NCL Dawn at the end of August for our honeymoon. We stayed in an aft facing penthouse suite which we loved!
This cruise was our forth cruise, and our first on NCL. This was easily the smoothest and most organized embarkation we have experienced (we have stayed in suites before, so it wasn't just that).
The suite amenities offered by NCL were far better than I've seen offered on other lines. All the little touches made a big difference. The large balcony was great and the room was very nice. We have never had an aft facing room before, and I think there was definitely more motion felt than in other parts of the ship. That being said looking out at the wake of the ship with only the water and sunset in the background was stunning.
The ship itself was very nice. We liked the set up of the pool. Around the pool area is a very shallow area that you can sit with just your ankles in if you just want to cool off. One complaint we had was finding chairs. Our first sea day we didn't get up really early to get a chair. We knew by doing this that we wouldn't get prime spots but expected to at least find a chair. We couldn't. We literally saw people taking chairs from stacked up piles in the back of the ship and putting them on the helicopter pad just for somewhere to sit. On this day they only had one side of the upper decks lined with chairs. The next day they lined both sides which was helpful.
We did enjoy the freestyle concept. I found that you could be comfortable wearing whatever you wanted. If you wanted to dress up (I like to) you could, and if you wanted to dress down you could. Not having a specific meal time left us a lot more flexibility which we liked.
The buffet for breakfast and lunch was good. They had a wide selection and I liked everything I tried. We found the food in the main dining rooms to be average. We had dinner at the Italian specialty restaurant which was very good, and the steakhouse which was excellent! Since we had a suite we could get room service breakfast from the steakhouse which was also very good. We filled out a card with what we wanted for breakfast, what time we wanted it, and left it outside our door at night. It was prefect.
Then we come to my biggest complaint. The staff do not seem to have any clue about food allergies. I am allergic to tree nuts and carry an epi pen at all times. At all the bars they put a container of nuts on each table. I continuously said No thank you, I'm allergic. Even after saying it several times they left it anyways. Then my husband would have to get up and move it. Then to make it worse I watched at several bars at how they fill these containers. The have huge tubs of mixed nuts. They take the container with their bare hands and scoop the nuts into the container. Never once did I see the bartender do it with gloves or wash their hands after. If they then used their hands to put a lime in my drink that could be enough for me to have an anaphylactic reaction. Also at the buffet I saw a worker with gloves arranging muffins with nuts and then arranging blueberry muffins with the same gloves. Again that would be enough for me. I was constantly worried I was going to have a reaction.
The bars were good. Our favorite was the English pub. The staff in there was exceptional. They remember our names and what we were drinking from night to night. Even if we walked through during the day we got a warm welcome. They were definitely a highlight of our trip.
The drink service around the pool areas was definitely lacking. On other cruises you never had any problems getting drinks. We typically got up and went to one of the bars because there was very rarely servers walking around.
We loved Bermuda. It was definitely a different experience to be in the same port for such an extended period of time. It was nice.
Overall we really liked our cruise. I would definitely recommend going to at least one specialty restaurant as the food there seems to be far superior to the food in the Main dining rooms. We live about 15 minutes outside of Boston, so the location is great for us. I think we would definitely consider taking this cruise again.
We booked this our 13 and 20 year old sons. We allowed each to bring a friend so they would have someone to hang with. my 13 yr old brought a friend who was 12 year & 10 months. when I went to sign them into teen club they would not ... Read More
We booked this our 13 and 20 year old sons. We allowed each to bring a friend so they would have someone to hang with. my 13 yr old brought a friend who was 12 year & 10 months. when I went to sign them into teen club they would not let the friend into teen club, must be 13 by trip, ok so we told 13 yr old he would have to go with friend to 10-12 yr old club. we were told no he couldn't he had to go with 13 yr old club. THAT IS RIDICULOUS!! they are 2 months apart and could not spend evenings together, unless they hung out in neither place.. which means the video arcade. At $1. per game our video arcade bill for for the 2 boys for the week was over $400. My husband spoke to the cruise director who blamed the legal department. He said he would check with legal on Monday, but we never heard back. the rule was unreasonable and it was strictly enforced. Then the college kids ...one could drink ( drinking age on boat was 18) but guest couldn't because even though i have signed note from parent, she wasn't on ship so he could not get the parental consent stamp on his card. Again, strictly enforced. When I booked the trip with Norwegian the agent knew I was bringing my son's friend to keep him company nothing was mentioned about the 13 year old rule and i was even told the friend could drink with parental consent. thye neglected to mention the parent had to be on the ship to give this consent.
Last complaint - booking excursions and shows online is very difficult. you must create an account and password for each passenger, and then use each account seperatly to book anything. I easily spent 20 hours doing this becasue the computer kept saying it could not find reservation and I had rto create a new account. If you call for help you wait no kidding 40 minutes. One phone call took me 2 hours. I know becasue my phone kept track of the time.
Other than that, the staff everywhere was very pleasant, and if you tipped them they went out of their way to be helpful and nice. Remember to bring plenty of $5. for tips. I worked wonders. ( except for the issues above.
the ship was crowded so grab your chairs early or else if you sleep in you will have to hunt down a single chair here and maybe one there.
Best food was Cagneys steak house. Plan for the upcharge restaurants, the buffet food is overly seasoned, even the french fries are seasoned. Most of it was not very good. My kids hated the food in the buffet. although the ice cream was a big hit.
also the show Rock of ages sold out so we could never saw it. book it before you get on board.
Getting on the boat the tag fell off one of our luggage pieces. We asked and we were told they were still delivering. But we were one of the first on the boat. when we didn't get it by 6 pm they finally said oh you should check to see if it is in a room for bags with no tags. We could have done that hours ago but no one wanted to take the time to take us there. If you go, carry bathing suits in carry one, so you have something for kids to do while you wait for luggage to get there.
Best hint: the ship said you could get off starting at 8 am. Our stewart told us we could walk off with our bags at 7:30am We did and just walked right out no lines no waiting . Driver was across the street , and we were home by 8:45 a.m. while most passengers were still going through customs. Read Less
There are things I like about this cruise ship, and there are items that I did not.
- Departing from NYC was amazing!
- Number of restaurants and, mostly, the quality of the specialty restaurant's food.
- Waterwalk. This is ... Read More
There are things I like about this cruise ship, and there are items that I did not.
- Departing from NYC was amazing!
- Number of restaurants and, mostly, the quality of the specialty restaurant's food.
- Waterwalk. This is underappreciated. It was a nice place to hang out when not sunning.
- Paperless. No tickets for shows.
- Waterslides (e3ven for a 52 year old).
- Service (everyone was very nice, made an extra effort to call me by name).
- Disembarking, considering the number of passengers, was pretty good.
- Much smaller scale than Epic (e.g. hallways are very skinny.h smaller scale than Epic (e.g. hallways are very skinny.
Embarking was crazy unorganized.
No lounge chairs available for most of the cruise. Many people saved spaces but didn't use them. There was some policing of this, but not enough.
le saved spaces but didn't use them. There was some policing of this, but not enough.
iTV (system on TV) didn't have all my reservations. So, I had to refer back to printouts I brought.
Considering the number of days at sea, the elevators were not sufficient. Read Less
We just returned from a great trip on the Dawn to Bermuda from Boston. The cabin and food crews were very gracious throughout, the food was quite good overall (especially the NewYork strip steak at Cagney's), the entertainment by the ... Read More
We just returned from a great trip on the Dawn to Bermuda from Boston. The cabin and food crews were very gracious throughout, the food was quite good overall (especially the NewYork strip steak at Cagney's), the entertainment by the Production Cast was superb (we especially were awed by the performance of the husband/wife acrobatic dancers in "Ocean's Apart"), the other entertainers throughout the ship were also good, and the entire on-board experience was very good. We did miss an adults only pool or hot tub area as in the afternoons especially the one pool and the four hot tubs around it were very full. In the mornings and evening though I often had the pool to myself and could do laps.
In Bermuda, we went twice to Snorkel Park (where admission ranges from $10 to nothing depending on when you go!) which is a small beach but quite good for snorkeling as there are a lot of fish around the reefs and the old fort foundation. I also took the excursion on a catamaran for snorkeling which also was good but I didn't see anything different there in terms of species than I saw in Snorkel Park. It was nice to sail around though to a different part of the island. We also went to Horseshoe Beach which is very different from Snprkel Park in that it is open ocean so has a lot of wave action.
I'd certainly consider Norwegian for another cruise.
I read the prior reviews and was prepared for mediocrity. I agree with previous reviews: 1) the rooms are comfortable but a little on the small side, fellow guests reserve chairs all day and the pools are on the small side. Other than ... Read More
I read the prior reviews and was prepared for mediocrity. I agree with previous reviews: 1) the rooms are comfortable but a little on the small side, fellow guests reserve chairs all day and the pools are on the small side. Other than that, I give Norwegian a 10/10. Rock of Ages was an amazing show and wished we would have seen it twice.
Traveled with wife and 2 boys, age 10 and 6. There was so much to do that we never needed one of those scarce chairs by the pools.
Highlights from my kids point of view:
1) Ropes course
2) Splash Academy (esp in the evening, we did not mind at all)
3) The food (esp the Garden café, we preferred Taste)
4) Having their own adjoining room
5) The water slides
6) Rock climbing
7) Spiderman and trampoline
8) The Bermuda beaches
9) Shuffle board
10) Room service
12) Splash pool party
13) Giant television in the Atrium
we did not eat in any specialty restaurants and found the complimentary venues excellent. Never a wait and the service was terrific. No complaints about the buffet and loved the Irish pub (great chicken wings 24/7) as well as the hot dog carts.
My advice for Bermuda. Skip horseshoe bay beach (unless you like crowds) and go 1/2 mile further and hit Warwick Long Bay Beach. No crowds and amazing beach.
Overall, could not have been more pleased with Norwegian. Yes, there are 4000 guests but with some many activities and such a large ship, we almost never felt crowded. Read Less
My wife and I booked this trip to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary which occured during the cruise. Here is some context: while it was our first cruise (yeah, I know - pretty amazing especially given the extensive cruise experience ... Read More
My wife and I booked this trip to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary which occured during the cruise. Here is some context: while it was our first cruise (yeah, I know - pretty amazing especially given the extensive cruise experience of so many of the people posting on this site - but one has to start sometime) but we are not atrangers to travelling. I've travelled extensively internationally during my career, we've done a lot of interesting vacation trips in Europe and Asia, and we lived in Asia for a couple of years. So the comparisons we drew from the trip were from land based hotels, resorts, and restaurants. We picked this route for a couple of reasons: Norwegian free style dining, ability to drive to New York rather than fly, I've been to Bermuda on business but have wanted to go on vacation there, and the Breakaway seemed like a a cool ship. There are a number of detailed fact based reviews about the Breakaway (kudos to Gambee - after reading his ultimate review we knew so much of what to expect), so I'll take these few minutes to write about what we did and what we liked, and why.
First the cabin. We booked a balcony, because we wanted to use our room as an oasis to which we could periodically retreat from all of the hustle and bustle of the ship. So we got a mid ship balcony, deck 10, aft, port side. We got a lot of great suggestions from the Norwegian reservations guy we worked with to book the trip, who asked a lot of questions about the kind of stuff we wanted to do during the week. It turned out to be a very quiet room. There were cabins above below (public areas create sound!), it was near the aft elevator bank (this is big ship, that saves time), and as luck would have it, we were docked portside in Bermuda so that meant we overlooked the dockyard activity. We spent a lot break time out on our balcony - what a great place to have a bottle of wine. Sometimes good times are defined by little things - like the afternoon when we were sitting out and we saw a pod of dolphins coming by very close to the ship (glad we brought our stadium binoculars!) or the Wednesday morning the ship was arriving in Bermuda. We had ordered room service breakfast for 6:30 and sat out on the balcony eating breakfast while the sun rose, as the ship was making its way through the zigzags of the channel through the reefs, as the sun rose over the ship and the Bermuda coastline. Another bonus was watching the fireworks from our balcony on Friday night - they shoot them off port side. The cabin seemed reasonably big, it was well laid out and it was easy to unpack all of our stuff, store our bags under the bed, and the bathroom seemed well designed with lots of storage space and bigger than a lot of the bathrooms in European hotels we've been in.
We enjoyed the included restaurants. We had dinner in all three MDRS throughout the trip - the Manhattan dining room twice. We walked in to Taste and Savor and got seated right away. Once in Manhattan we had made reservations and were seated at the time of our reservations, and the other time we walked in and were seated right away. We always had tables for two. A comment about reservations - I had thought that one could only make reservations at the specialty restaurants. One night we had bookings for Rock of Ages and Second City with about 2 hours in between, so I called the reservation line that morning to see if I could make a reser for the Manhattan room and it turned out that we could. The person I spoke to said that they take resers for up to about 35% of the availability. That was great to be able to make that reservation - it was the only evening we sort of had a tight schedule. Otherwise waiting would have been a good excuse to enjoy the bar. (Not that we realy needed excuses!)I wouldn't describe us as buffet fans, but we really ended up liking the Garden Cafe and the Uptown Grill. The main reason is the way they are structured - with food stations rather than long buffet lines, with the chefs cooking for each station right at the station; the food was always fresh and attractive looking. And if you wanted something slightly different, they were always happy to make it for you while you were there. I have to say the Asian choices were great- one lunch I had a nice spicy Thai coconut curry that was fairly respectable.
We tried one of the specialty restaurants - Le Bistro - and really enjoyed it. The food was a cut above the MDRs (which in their own right were pretty good), the presentation was great, and the service was also great. It was well worth the $20 p.p.surcharge. We had dinner there on Sunday night, and they gave all the bookings that night a bottle of house wine. We had had a couple of cocktails before dinner, so the house wine seemed pretty good. If we were to sail on the Breakaway again, we'd try some of the others - we just didn't have time.
The Uptown Grill at the top of the ship is open for breakfast and lunch, and seemed like a great find. As others have noted, this ship can feel crowded and we sailed on a peak week at peak capacity, and the Uptown Grill always seemed to be calm with lots of open tables. It's a great place for al fresco breakfast and lunch, and it has its own bar too.
Stuff to do on the ship. There were far more things to do than we could possibly fit in a week, especially with 3 days of port time. We had sort structured our week by booking a number of bigger things in advance - Rock of Ages (they did a good job, it was a good musical and we liked the 80's music), Burn the Floor (less impressive - the cast is a group of super dancers and the music is good, but there is no plot line to string it all together), and Second City (it was an Improv performance and really hilarious). Other random stuff: we both went to one of the martini tastings - it was fun to try things we would probably never order - and seriously we felt we got a lot of bang for our buck. Theoretically they were 2 oz martini tastes, but those regular size martini glasses were pretty well filled. The white wine tasting was fun too.
We balanced all this good eating and drinking with the spa and gym. We both got massages and my wife also got a facial. The treatment facilities were on a par with very nice resorts. While they weren't cheap, we thought the pricing was pretty reasonable. We knew we wanted to book massages, so we went to the spa on the first Sunday afternoon after boarding and lunch, and they had sort of an open house with tours of the whole facility. I liked the gym - it's pretty neat to be on a machine with a sea view! I used my gym time every morning to also catch up on world news on the TV imbedded in the eliptical machine. The gym could have been bigger, but with going almost every day, the only time I waited for a machine was Monday morning (around 8:30) and that was for about 5 minutes. All the other times, while the place was busy, I was able to get an eliptical machine right away.
Going to the pool area and getting a lounge chair isn't high on our list of stuff we like to do - so the fact that this is probably the most hotly contested real estate on the ship didn't bother us. For somebody who does like lounger time, though, be prepared to go early (especially in a peak week like we were on). I would usually be done in the gym around 9-9:30 and noticed that the pool area loungers were really filling up when I'd go walking around the pool decks while cooling off.
I did get up my nerve to do the slides, though, and was glad that I did. There is something, well, breathtaking, to have the bottom drop out beneath to launch you into the big slide. It was pretty cool.
Bermuda was a fun place to be for three days. On Wednesday afternoon we took the ferry to Hamilton and explored all the shops and stuff near the waterfront. We ended up having dinner at the Pickled Onion Pub and Restaurant (they are related to the Dockyard Brewery, so you can get that great local microbeer there too). We had a table on the balcony overlooking the harbor. Thursday we took a ferry to St. Georges. What a neat town 18th century town. It deserves its designation a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We took the train tour of the town and the area and afterward had a great lunch at Wahoo's Bistro which is on the main street about halfway between the ferry pier and the town square. Apparently there is a local fish called wahoo, and the place is named because they specialize in it. We had a table on their deck which goes out over the water. We would go there again. Friday we concentrated on the Dockyard area. I've always wanted to do a swim with dolphins thing, and DolphinQuest from Hawaii has a research outpost in the Dockyards less than 10 minutes from the ship. It was pretty amazing. I did the 30 minute dolphin swim, where you are with about 5 guests and one of the DolphinQuest people. I learned so much. It was worth the $210 (I booked it there, not through NCL) and bought several of the photos they shot of me with with the dolphins.
This brings me to booking all the shore stuff. It was really easy to do ourselves. There's a ferry ticket office on the pier shortly after you get off the ship. We had researched St Georges and bought our tickets for the tour we took there at the tour office on the town square. And as mentioned above, I booked DolphinQuest directly. The savings from doing this organizing ourselves compared to the NCL excursion pricing was significant.
Cruise Critic - since this was our first cruise, this was our first time exploring Cruise Critic. I found this site to be so valuable in getting a lot of suggestions and knowledge of what to expect on board. But there's more to it than that. A friendly Cruise Critic member had organized the CC Meet and Greet which took place in Cagney's on Monday morning. It was fun to meet her and several other people who had posted on the roll call. NCL provided nice food, but more importantly most of the senior officers of the ship came and spoke, and made themselves individually available. They handed out their contact info, and sincerely seemed to want to know about anything they could do to help solve problems etc. I spoke to one of the senior officers at length - I was curious about how stuff worked on a ship - and amazingly enough a steward later that afternoon delivered an invitation from him to a reception to meet the captain that evening. It was nice meeting the captain. It's worthwhile to go to the Meet and Greet!I could write for hours as memories come back, but let me wrap with a few notes on things I'd like to see Norwegian do a bit better. First and foremost, given that virtually all North American and Western European countries have gone smoke free, it was quite a negative surprise to encounter indoor smoking. It seemed like a giant step back in time, and not a fun one at that. We'd really prefer it if NCL would go completely smoke-free indoors. And I would suggest that for balconies as well. Why? It's no fun to have smoke rolling in to our cabin through our open balcony door. We paid a lot for this cabin, and having a completely smoke free environment would have been a lot better.
The other thing we would suggest is more comfy chairs on decks such as the Waterfront/Deck 8. There is a lot of space where the restaurants are not, which could be great for reading, lounging, and having a drink.
All things considered, it was a great trip. We really enjoyed it. We'd like to do another cruise, and hope to do so soon.
If you have questions, we're happy to try to answer them.