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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
NCL DAWN, Boston to Bermuda, umm, never mind, Boston to Bahamas, October 17, 2014 This was our third time sailing NCL Dawn (the second time in five months). Can you tell we love this ship, the crew and Bermuda. The week before our cruise, ... Read More
NCL DAWN, Boston to Bermuda, umm, never mind, Boston to Bahamas, October 17, 2014 This was our third time sailing NCL Dawn (the second time in five months). Can you tell we love this ship, the crew and Bermuda. The week before our cruise, Bermuda got hit with two storms and with another one bearing down on the island we knew we were probably going to get diverted. We were praying that we were to be diverted to the Bahamas and not Canada….Nothing against Canada, but when you are looking forward to tropical weather ……you know what I mean…. We booked a MX GTY and we were assigned a mini-suite forward 11012. Not the Garden Villa upgrade I was hoping for, but it was fine. It was 3 cabins from the SC (2 bedroom, 2 bathroom) 11020 that we stayed in our last two cruises. We did miss the big suite, but it was just the two of us and we really don’t need that much room. We live 15 miles south of Boston, I couldn’t wait to get our vacation started so we had my daughter drop us off at the cruise port around 10 am (she was happy we were cruising, but sad because it was my first time cruising without her, she is 21). We handed our luggage off to the porter and we went right in. At this point, I was checking in on cruise critic and had read that we were going to the Bahamas instead of Bermuda due to Hurricane Gonzalo. Passport and tickets in hand, we went right upstairs to check in. As soon as we got to the check in area we were handed a “Change in Itinerary” paper stating that we were going to the Bahamas. I was so happy I jumped up and down! I got my wish, always wanted a Boston to Bahamas cruise, but NCL does not offer one. I am Lattitudes gold, so they we were put in the line where the “suite” people check in and we were assigned #1 for boarding. It was now about 10:20 and we were told we could begin boarding about 11. So we people watched for a bit. And listened to the other people, some were happy with the change in itinerary, some not so happy and some were quite pissed….I guess it’s the chance you take when you book a cruise in October. At 11 we headed on the ship and went to the buffet. I am not a buffet fan, but my boyfriend likes it, so that’s where we went. After we ate we headed to our cabin. Our room steward came and told us the room wasn’t ready yet, but as he was telling us, the announcement that our cabins were ready and we were all set. Our room steward, Winstor was the best!! Knew our names from that moment on, always referred to us by name, and was just great!! We weren’t going to purchase the UDP, but once we realized that we were going to be on the ship every night after 6 and that it included drinks on Great Stirrup Cay, we decided to go for it. My boyfriend is a big guy and holds his drinks well, me not so much. I definitely had more to drink that I was used to on the first night (making sure I got my $$$ worth). The mini-suite was fine for the two of us. I was afraid I would be disappointed after being in a suite twice, but it was fine. No leaks, no lights out, nothing left from the passengers before us. We had no complaints. We ate in Aqua twice, Moderno once, Cagneys once, LaCuccina once and Blue Lagoon once…. I wasn’t thrilled with the Blue Lagoon, but it was ok. All our meals were served hot and delicious. The night we ate at Moderno, there were only two other couple at our seating so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Pearly Kings just isn’t the same without “Chips Ahoy”, our favorite bartender. He was on vacation but not coming back to the Dawn. I can’t remember if he is going to the Breakaway or the Getaway. Our loss is their gain. Nassau was ok, we got off the ship walked around a bit, did a lot of shopping for souvenirs. Found a Dunkin Donuts, saw a dead rat in the road, some guy offered to sell my boyfriend “green or white”, I asked BF what the guy was talking about, duh, weed or coke….We opened Senor Frogs….had some nachos, giant drinks and was ready to go back to the ship by 1. The pool at the ship was pretty empty so we hung out there for the rest of the day. Great Stirrup Cay was a blast. We had booked two excursions, the excursion tickets counted as tender tickets, we took the first tender over. We booked the eco boat tour. It was an older crowd…..Boyfriend whispered to me that we were the youngest couple there by like 20 years. I didn’t mind it, got to see and touch some sea cucumbers, sea stars and some jelly fish, lots of jelly fish. Next up was jet skiing….We had the BEST TIME!! In Bermuda there is a wake zone till you get out of the area with all the boats….Here it was ready, set go!!! And we went we flew around for about 1.5 hours!! It was great fun. We stopped and could swim for a bit, which I did, but the guides had to help me back on the jet ski.. Thank goodness I had the water camera, if Scott had it, there would have been some pretty unflattering shots of me with the poor guide pushing my butt back on. The buffet on the island was tasty. The line looked long, but only took about 10 minutes, we found seats right away…..We met up with some of the couples we had met on the cruise and hung out in the water for the rest of the day. It was a great day!! We went to Jose and Patty’s shows in the atrium, they are not to be missed!! We also went to their Neil Diamond show at the Stardust Theater, it was great!! I think we saw all the shows in the Stardust Theater, some we had seen before, some we hadn’t, all were very good. Except for Second City, we didn’t like them on our first Dawn cruise and havent been back to see them. Some of our new friends went and walked out….So I guess they aren’t for everybody. The last full sea day was very wavy, probably due to Hurricane Gonzalo. I stayed indoors, made the best of it, went to shows, played bingo and Dare or No Dare. Didn’t win….But had a lot of laughs!! The illusionist, David DaVinchy was entertaining… All in all, we had a great cruise, met some great people. Met some not so great people, but learned who to stay away from….I think NCL handled the itinerary change the best they could. We were off the ship by 9 am and we were home by 10. (my daughter picked us up). So about a week after we got home, I started having cruise withdrawals and I booked the Dawn again. This time out of New Orleans in January. The countdown is on!!   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Reading the negative reviews is interesting - my husband and I had a great trip! Of course we were bummed we didn't go to Bermuda, but we'd been watching the weather so the itinerary change wasn't unexpected. I was just glad ... Read More
Reading the negative reviews is interesting - my husband and I had a great trip! Of course we were bummed we didn't go to Bermuda, but we'd been watching the weather so the itinerary change wasn't unexpected. I was just glad to be heading somewhere warm! The seas were a little rough but we took Dramamine each night and fared just fine, even though I'm a little prone to getting seasick. My husband woke up one of the last nights a little alarmed at the waves, but I slept right through it. We loved the wind up on the top decks and were happy to take the lounge chairs up there. The pool was a little small, but we just wanted to lay out and read and drink, and there was a lot of room to do that. Weather was surprisingly good - warm and sunny once we left Boston. It was a tad rainy the last day at sea, but nothing to get worked up about. Our cabin was big enough for two, and we loved the balcony. Our steward, George, was absolutely charming and took great care of us through the week. Friends sent us champagne and it was waiting for us, chilled, in our room when we arrived, which was awesome. We saw three shows in the Stardust - Show Down, Second City, and the magician - all were good. We liked the late night shows and games in Spinnaker and were there almost every night. Havana Club cigars were great, and we loved that the waiter would check in with us and refill drinks as needed. Alcohol prices were comparable to living in the city, so no surprises there. We thought the food was, overall, really good. As far as I'm concerned, whenever neither of us has to grocery shop or cook for a week, I'm happy. We loved the Venetian for breakfast, and my standout dish was lamb at the Aqua. Service could be a bit slow, but we were on vacation and had nowhere pressing to be, so it was fine with us. We did the buffet for lunch each day, and while it wasn't mind-blowing, we were content. Overall, we read lots, napped lots, laughed, ate decent food, drank a bunch, and laid in the sun. No complaints. You can always choose to complain, or choose to make the most of things, and we went with the latter. Read Less
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Sail Date: October 2014
Our first disappointment was 3 hours prior to departure when we were informed that we would be going to the Bahamas instead of our original itinerary which was Bermuda. This was the only reason I booked NCL. The reason was hurricane ... Read More
Our first disappointment was 3 hours prior to departure when we were informed that we would be going to the Bahamas instead of our original itinerary which was Bermuda. This was the only reason I booked NCL. The reason was hurricane Gonsalvez that had hit Bermuda (perhaps I could excuse them for this). Having been on other cruise lines, I have to say the service was mediocre to sub-standard. Almost every day at breakfast we had to request for cutlery. At the lunch and dinner buffets on several occasion we had to ask the servers to replenish the empty food trays, Likewise, they also had to be reminded about the desert dessert trays. On their private island when I asked one of the servers to replenish the juice machine, I was told to go to the bar and purchase one. Worst of all we were assigned a room below the Aqua dinning room where the noise of moving tables and chairs was very disturbing. To add to our frustration, on the right side of the room we could hear the plumbing and on the left, it was the constant noise of a TV. When I asked guest service to change our room we were told that the ship was fully booked. I knew it was a lie as there were several empty cabins on my floor as well as others. I have been on sold out cruise and know the difference. This cruise was about 60% sold. On the last day I went to guest service and told them to remove the gratuities from my final bill as I did not feel the service I received warranted it. I did however individually tip those who did provide me with exceptional service. There were other little instances where on other cruise lines, I have not encountered. If you want value for your money and exceptional service, "DONT SAIL LIKE A NORWEGIAN"   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Here we are back home again and getting ready for winter. What is the best travel deal going? NCL's cruise to Bermuda from Boston. I love Bermuda and I have been traveling there since 1977. This would have been my 33rd trip to BDA had ... Read More
Here we are back home again and getting ready for winter. What is the best travel deal going? NCL's cruise to Bermuda from Boston. I love Bermuda and I have been traveling there since 1977. This would have been my 33rd trip to BDA had it not been for Hurricane Gonzalo, (30 by air and 2 by sea, NCL Dream 2007, NCL Spirit 2009). The Dawn is showing it's age a little bit, but so what. I think that people just sometimes look for things to complain about. The change to the Bahamas, was a great call by NCL. I can see where they were coming from. It would have been nice if we had a little more notice of where we were going. Not so much the destination but rather would it be a warm or cold climate?. The day we left Boston was a "gift". It was 75 degrees and hardly a cloud in the sky. I remember one year on October 10th leaving Logan airport to BDA in a good size snow storm. We didn't have to wait very long to settle into our cabin, and we got right down to getting unpacked. Within 45 mins. of getting on board we were officially on vacation with a "pain killer" in hand. The "pain killer" became Our drink of choice throughout the complete journey, (I must say that they made a heck of a great Side Car in the Venetian, for those who don't know that's a classic). Our first "cocktail" was served to us by Johnathan at the Bimini Bar on deck 11, from that point on the sun deck became home. Johnathan, Nanette and Irene were always accommodating and their service was spectacular. I would start my day by getting into the hot tub at 6:45am and watch the sun come up. By the time I finished that daily ritual my wife was up and about so off to breakfast we would go. Throughout the whole cruise we chose to have Breakfast in the Garden Café. We like the formal dining rooms, however we could eat and run if there were other thing's to see or do without losing much time. The food was great, not to mention plentiful. There where more choices than ever. If you went hungry it was your own fault. Which brings us to "Hugo the Dancing Chef". This guy was a trip. He always greeted you with a smile and a kind word. The thing I can't get over is 2000 people on board and everyday he remembered my order. It got to the point where I didn't even have to tell him what I wanted. Another Kudos goes to Keith, the Garden Cafe's Waterologist. He would come around with coffee refills and bottled water, then he would make your day with all kinds of humor. Lying about in the chasse lounge chairs all day pretty much became the norm. No phone, No e-mail, No one to bug you, warm sunshine it was great. one afternoon of the starboard side of the ship several miles away there was a water spout (tornado), Oh well, have another "pain killer". I always wanted to go to Nassau, now I can say I've seen it. It is not Bermuda. The weather was nice. We took a glass bottom boat ride which was interesting. On our return we walked around and visited the shops, found Senior Frogs and had a Bahama Mama, (when in Rome). The ship sailed at 6:00pm so we made sure that we were back by 5:00pm and walked right into a NCL sail away party. Tied up on the same pier was the Disney Dream. The DJ and Cruise Director got a friendly little competition between the two ships. And, in the middle of it all was Hugo the dancing chef and about 20 crewmembers doing a synced dance routine. The next day found us at Great Stirrip Cay, NCL's own Island. We were really impressed with the Island and it's facilities. You had to go by Tender to and from the island which just added to the adventure. The entertainment was above and beyond. Pedro was at Gatsby's and is a super guitarist. He does a bang up job on Santana's "Europa". Patti & Jose again great as well, so was Areil on the piano, and top it off with Elements in the Stardust theater. The ship's orchestra had a tribute to the music of Glen Miller in the Spinnaker Lounge. The hardest thing is trying to coordinate as to who to see and when. The Food was excellent. Enough said. Service was superb in all the restaurants and bars. The pool and entrainment was fun, (except for the kid who were horsing around and slammed into my head, and left me dazed, Mom saw the whole thing and said nothing...bad parenting Mom). That's why they have kiddy pools, but you can't blame NCL for that. Our Cabin was nice, economical. On our first cruise we had a small suite, we found out that we were never in our cabin. The last 2 cruises we booked inside cabins and it suits us just fine. We are not wealthy. We literally save Our change and put it in a jar. We don't want bigger ships, climbing walls, huge jumbo trons or Ipads and cell phones. To us cursing is an art, a civilized way of vacationing. Everybody at NCL did a great job from the Reservationist, to the Captain and crew. So much in fact that we purchased the future cruise certificate and looking forward to our next one. Good job guys.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
This was our very first cruise. We booked the adventure three weeks prior to departure based on the fact it was sailing out of Boston and close to home, which eliminated an air fair cost. Weeks and days up until departure friends and ... Read More
This was our very first cruise. We booked the adventure three weeks prior to departure based on the fact it was sailing out of Boston and close to home, which eliminated an air fair cost. Weeks and days up until departure friends and family kept reminding us that Bermuda was about to take a direct hit by Hurricane Gonzalo. Watching the weather, it seemed the day we were to arrive in port, Gonzalo would be well north of the island. With the weather forecast, along with no contact from NCL saying anything about the hurricane, we assumed the "Bermuda" itinerary was set and still in place. However, the day we arrived on the ship, once we were past the point of no return, we found that the ship was was being rerouted to the Bahamas. What a huge disappointment....they didn't know this ahead of time...only when we were on the ship did we find out you were being kidnapped and sent somewhere else (lucky I was wasn't a fugitive from the Bahama's and could return there. lol). First negative - All our Bermuda plans were now thrown out, booked golf tee times, transportation etc...gone, out the window with no forewarning or recourse. Second negative - Remaining optimistic with our first cruise expectations high, we ventured to purchase the unlimited drink package for $850.00. Big mistake! What this entitled us to was not clearly explained. One would think it would include any and all liquid...not the case. It did not include soda, WATER, or coffee. It's good for beer, but not for a "bucket of beer". You need to order two at a time! How "ultimate" is this? Third negative - People rave about food on cruise and we had high expectations for grand buffet's with ice carvings and all the fixings. So not the case! Daily chow lines with a grade above cafeteria food. So not impressed. We were sure to fill up during breakfast (can't screw up breakfast) to get us through the day. Dinner was terrible. Order New England fish and chips, nothing short of a Vanda Kamp fish stick! Aqua Restaurant seemed to be our safe haven. Garden Restaurant, management tip...during breakfast, move the omelette station away from the main buffet, it should be its own station. They only cook one at a time and people waiting for their personal omelette backs up the line....forever! Wipe down the tables, sticky and dirty...really. Fourth negative - With all Bermuda plans lost, we turned to the Concierge for help in planning activities in the Bahama's. They could not even provide a map of the island. Unless what you were asking involved an excursion NCL was offering they were not helpful at all. Fifth negative - With no Help from NCL, we thought of turning to the internet to research ourselves, but outrageous cost to log on and unhappy people complaining about the time it takes to long on (wasted minutes) we decided to hold off. So we sailed two days blind, unknown what to expect or where to go. Sixth negative - Quite pool time...forget it. A cigarette smoke filled pool area, with blaring music and kids running everywhere. Found ourselves gravitating to the forward and aft decks for quite, but had to endure gale force winds. Seventh negative - Be wary of shopping excursions being promoted by NCL at Diamond and Tanzinite International in Nassau. We went to the "how to shop" show and followed the sales pitch offered by NCL. We were bombarded by sales persons and we bought some Tanzinite, but they won't appraise things for you there. You have to do that when you get home with your own jeweler. So you leave there hoping your getting what you wanted. Crap shoot! (we lucked out!) First positive - We found the stateroom satisfactory, we had a balcony suite on the 8th deck, starboard side (hurricane side). Watching waves crash against the ship was something you don't see everyday, so we made the best of it. Our Stewart was great "Aguyn" great job! Second Positive - Awesome shows in the Stardust Although there were more negatives than positives, all in all, the trip was a success, we kept reminding ourselves that's it not the destination, but how you get there is what makes a trip. Our first cruise and a hurricane to boot! Not turned off by cruises, but will probably seek another cruise line next time.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
This was my first time cruising on Norwegian Cruise Lines and my first time cruising during hurricane season. Probably will not do either again... First the season/weather - yes, the day we left port in Boston (10/17/14) a full blown ... Read More
This was my first time cruising on Norwegian Cruise Lines and my first time cruising during hurricane season. Probably will not do either again... First the season/weather - yes, the day we left port in Boston (10/17/14) a full blown hurricane was scheduled to hit Bermuda so we were told that we were being rerouted to the Bahamas. Since I know this is always a possibility, I wasn't upset about it but felt that since they handed out a pre-printed letter explaining it as we were entering the terminal, they should have emailed us first. This would allow us (who use smartphones to keep current) to tell our family that had dropped us off, what the new plan was for the cruise. Weather was rough a few days, first time I saw "barf bags" placed throughout the ship...not a reassuring sign. I take Bonine so I did not experience nausea, and was thankful. A couple of nights we did get woken by the rough waters and once by a big tip of the waves! Since I can get the same prices during non-hurricane season, I won't do this again. Next my review of the ship - since this was my first time on NCL, I can't compare with any of their other NCL ships but I can compare with the variety of ships I have cruised on from Royal Caribbean International. I have been on RCI's oldest ship (Majesty of the Seas), on the Jewel, Serenade, Voyager, Mariner, Liberty and Independance of the Seas - all of which I liked. My favorites are Serenade and Independance. I found the NCL Dawn to be "old looking" compared to even the oldest RCI Majesty. The set up was also always seemed you were walking down the hall to get anywhere - but on RCI you have a nice middle ship area that isn't a narrow hallway. RCI is much easier to navigate through, as well as to always know where you are and where you are going. Deck 8 - cabin 8592: The room was an outside obstructed view cabin on NCL. I chose this since I didn't feel my usual balcony choice was worth the price on the Dawn, and was quite glad I didn't get the balcony as we had more room in our OBX stateroom, than our friends did in their balcony due to the set up of the twin beds in both our rooms. Since this was a "girls cruise" we had the twin bed set up rather than the full bed, as I do when traveling with my husband. The bathroom was odd, and there was barely any room where the toilet it was wedged into a "water closet" type of bathroom. Since I am 5'9" tall, my knees essentially hit the wall when using the toilet and that was without attempting to close the "somewhat see-through" sliding door to the water closet. If you don't know what a water closet is when they enclose the toilet section with a privacy door but it is still within the bathroom assuming people can be using the toilet privately, while others can use the sink area. This wasn't the case in this bathroom. We also had a terrible gushing-water sound all the time from the wall behind the toilet, but luckily when the bathroom door was closed tight at night, we were able to sleep. Twice we had to call maintenance to help - first when the toilet was extremely slow flushing (you pushed the flush button, but it didn't flush for about 2-3 more minutes). Then when the shower didn't drain and flooded the floor of the bathroom. They did come quickly to fix it but I have since found out that other friends have had the same issues on this ship on different cruise weeks and decks. My biggest complaint was the service...only a few select individuals really gave us "good service". I'm not sure if this is because tips are automatic now, or what. We only saw our cabin steward twice, neither on the first day...yet one of the other stewards on our floor was always working hard, and went out of his way to say hello and wish us a good day. My friend actually remarked that we should have given HIM an additional tip, not our own steward. Our floor was not vacuumed daily, yes we did have fresh towels and the beds were made daily but it was "minimal" service at best. Call me spoiled, but I'm used to being greeted on day one by the steward, asked what they can do for us (do we like our ice bucket filled daily, etc?)...I missed this service. Since there was only ONE (yes ONE!!!!) electric plug and it was on the dresser - we asked for an extension cord. We were told we had to go get it ourselves at Guest Services and we had to sign it out and then return it the last day (when the lines were ridiculous). Since we needed this for a medical device, we had no choice. RCI cabin stewards bring it to you, set it up and you leave it when you leave...much better service! Dining room service was awful most days except for Edwardo Mendoza in the Venetian who we were able to have only one time, and Marlene (?head waiter) who helped with gluten free dishes. I was served a so-called gluten free french toast and I just knew it wasn't by looking at it, since it was much bigger, thicker than what I had eaten the day before. When I questioned the waiter if THIS was the GF one, she insisted it was. I was still hesitant, as were my we asked our other waiter who sent the original one over and said YES, she checked and it was gf...You guessed it, it was not!!! Luckily I am insistent and decided not to eat it so by the time Marlene came by to see how my breakfast was, she immediately recognized it was NOT the gluten free bread/french toast and whisked it away replacing it with the correct one. Last thing I need is to be sick on a cruise from being served a food I'm allergic/intolerant to ....especially since I filled out the special request long before the date of the cruise. NEVER have I had this issue with RCI...they are so very careful and ALL their staff is very well aware of what allergies are in terms of food. I also discovered that every time I asked about food, I got different answers from different dining staff as to what I had to "pre-order daily for the next day" and what they have as standards that I can just order when I come to dinner or breakfast in the MDR. Ugh! So yes, I will happily stick to Royal Caribbean,,,,,,   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
Cruise Review Norwegian Dawn 8-18-07 to 8-25-07 This is our 10th cruise and 4th with NCL. This was a family cruise for me, my wife, my son (age 12) and my daughter (age 9). We have previously sailed as a family on the Majesty and Spirit. ... Read More
Cruise Review Norwegian Dawn 8-18-07 to 8-25-07 This is our 10th cruise and 4th with NCL. This was a family cruise for me, my wife, my son (age 12) and my daughter (age 9). We have previously sailed as a family on the Majesty and Spirit. Embarkation: We arrived in NYC on Friday and stayed at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers. On Saturday am we got in the car and drove about 1 mile to the pier. We arrived at about 10:30am and after I parked the car, did the early check in. There was some confusion at the early check in at the pier. Apparently there was a group of travel agents touring the ship and the upper waiting area usually reserved for Latitudes and suite passengers was not going to be open. We were staying in an AB Penthouse suite and tried to sit down in the chairs by the check in area. Another of the pier staff had received different information and escorted us to the upstairs area. Apparently, the upstairs was where the suite passengers were to wait after-all. After being told different things, the pier staff told us to go upstairs and wait. We really did not care where we went, we just wanted to sit down. We were there for about an hour when someone came to get us to board. We were the first through the security and we were escorted to Mareike, the concierge who gave us our key cards and we were very quickly walking up the forward gangway and boarding the Dawn. It was a very smooth embarkation! I will review the cruise by using the following categories: The stateroom, service, food, itinerary, and public areas. The Stateroom: This was our first experience staying in an AB penthouse suite. I definitely do not want it to be our last. This is an incredible place to stay. The cabin had an inside cabin with a full bathroom, a living room/dining area, a master bedroom/bathroom suite, and a balcony. The Jacuzzi tub with ocean views and large walk in shower with multiple sprayers were nice as was the dual sinks. There were 4 TV's in the suite and plenty of space for the 4 of us. The kids loved having their own room and bathroom. I do not think that I can say enough about how great this space was for our family. We were in an inside cabin on the Spirit last year (149 sq. feet) and to go to having almost 600 square feet, it really made a big difference. My wife and I liked having a balcony more than we thought we would. It was a great place to have our morning coffee or read as we listened to the sound of the ship cutting the ocean. It was such a peaceful spot to be. WOW! Butler and Concierge Service: Aries was our butler and Mareike was the concierge. Aries brought us breakfast each morning from the suite menu and was always asking if there was anything else that he could do for us. He also brought afternoon treats for us every day. One day we had asked if we could have some ice tea and cookies for the kids. He made sure that we had some every afternoon. He took the time to talk to the kids as well. He was excellent. We had dinner with some friends one evening and decided to have our dessert back in the suite. One call to Aries and he took care of it. Mareike did a great job getting us reservations in the dining rooms. We had some ideas of what we wanted to do and she gave us a form to fill out our preferences by Sunday at noon to be assured of getting what we wanted. We did this and were able to eat in Le Bistro twice, Teppanyaki, Impressions of Italy, Salsa's, Bamboo, and Venetian. Every time we saw her she asked us if there was anything that we needed. She sent us notes and instructions on the VIP debarkation in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay. The whole family attended the VIP cocktail party and we enjoyed talking with the Captain and other Officer's we also met Joy, the Internet Manager. If you go on the Dawn, stop in to say hi to her, she is really nice! Food: Le Bistro: Our first night tradition. This is a restaurant with a cover charge and reservations are required. The staff and food were both superb. Brenda was our waitress. She was great, friendly and attentive. We all ordered the filet and short rib, delicious. Highly recommended. As always the escargot are wonderful. We also had the chocolate fondue which was not on the menu but was graciously provided when requested. The maitre d' was wonderful as well. He treated my daughter like a princess. He cut her meat for her and ensured we all enjoyed our dining experience. Venetian: We enjoy the Captain's dinner so we decided to eat in the main dining room. We made reservations for 5:30. We sat at the rear window and watched the ship's wake. Dinner was delicious, my wife had the lobster and the rest of the family had the beef Wellington. Thomas the server was great. He brought out an extra lobster tail without my having to ask and then offered another beef Wellington as well. Dessert was crème brule, which was good but not delicious like it used to be. It was a different texture than before. Try something else. Teppanyaki: Another restaurant that has a cover charge. It was excellent! It only offers seating for about 20. It is open for lunch on sea days (11:30 and 1:30) and in the evenings has a 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 seating. If you can get a reservation this venue is highly recommended. It is both entertaining and delicious. There are 2 chefs that cook the meal right in front of you. My daughter does not like miso soup, so they brought her chicken noodle. We all enjoyed our meals but by far the exceptional meal was the seafood Diablo, it was a medley of lobster, scallops, calamari, and shrimp. Salsa: This Tex-Mex restaurant overlooks the Centrum and requires a reservation but has no cover charge. We love Mexican food and thought that this would be nice to try because this restaurant was not on the Spirit. The ribs were good. I had the fajitas, they were good. The meal was ok, not great. The service was good. Bamboo: This was our least favorite meal. Both the teriyaki steak and the Korean short rib were flavorful but as tough as shoe leather. The noodles were delicious, we tried the Thai noodles. The shrimp was good. It is hard to rate this because Shogun on the Spirit was such an exceptional meal. Both the dEcor and meals were far superior. Impressions of Italy: A wonderful surprise. The ambiance is great and the food was excellent. The antipasti were a treat. You could make a meal out of this with your bread, also yummy. My wife and I had the lemon salmon, delicious. We had this with the fettuccine alfredo. We had dessert with our CC friends Robert and Suzann back in the suite. This was a memorable meal, the company certainly added to the experience. Le Bistro: Finale. Another delicious meal but I would not recommend the tasting menu of chateaubriand. It does not come close to the filet and cost extra! The pate was excellent though. The chocolate mousse was good, we did not order the fondue tonight. Once again Brenda and the maitre d' were attentive and gracious. Some Miscellaneous Tips: Free cappuccino in the restaurants. The sushi was awesome. My son and wife sat at the sushi bar and they enjoyed all you can eat sushi for $15. Samples come by on a conveyer belt which you can take and you can order off the menu as well, the Godzilla roll and shrimp tempura rolls were both excellent. Bring an appetite, you will not leave hungry. Bamboo, and Cagneys are both available on sea days for lunch, dinner menu, same cover. Cold soups are served daily at the buffet at lunch. An assortment of cookies was available for dessert on the last day. Suite guests can order hot breakfast and don't be afraid to add your own requests. If it is on the ship they will bring it for example eggs benedict, pancakes etc. The kids were always half off at the cover charge restaurants. Itinerary: The Dawn went to Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay, and Bermuda. I must say that I have been to Nassau in the past and I am not a big fan of that port. There are some beautiful areas in the Bahamas but we arrived at 1:00 pm. We decided not to go to the beach as we were going to be at GSC the next day and because my daughter is very fair skinned, we needed to keep out of the sun. We got off the ship and walked around the town and went to the Pirate Museum. The museum was fun for the kids and air conditioned. It was interesting and gave us a chance to explore a bit. We were back on the ship after about 3 hours. Great Stirrup Cay was a nice day. We were on the first tender over, had a very quick sun shower while we were on the tender and saw a big rainbow. We brought water bottles over with us and there were some snacks available on the island. The staff was still setting up and bringing stuff off the tender when we arrived. We got off the tender and were able to get some nice lounge chairs near the water so we could be close to the kids. We went snorkeling, lounged on rafts, and enjoyed the sun and the warm water. It seemed to start getting crowded at about 11:00 am. However, there were still plenty of empty beach chairs (not loungers) near us when we left at almost 1:00 pm. We were there for about 4.5 hours and then it was time for the kids to get out of the sun. We got back on a tender and went to get some lunch back on the ship. It was certainly not the nicest beach that we have ever been to. Neither is Coco Cay (RCCL's private island) which is right next to it. We looked at it as a relaxing beach day with out any hassles of cabs, vendors asking you to buy stuff, and the need to pay for the chairs, etc... We are beach people. We have been to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. We also live across the street from the Atlantic ocean and have some great beaches in our area. We did not expect this to compare. It was a great and relaxing day at the beach. We were pleased and the kids really enjoyed it. A word of caution: There are very small jelly fish that do sting when they bump up against you. I found them hard to spot. My daughter got stung twice. The first aid station had a vinegar spray and this seemed to help. It did not stop her from going in the water. There are also some sand fleas that do bite. I got a few bites myself. There is a wooded area just off the beach so I am not surprised. I remember that these bugs were on the RCCL island as well. We had a great day at GSC. This was the 4th year in a row that we have been on a cruise that stops in Bermuda. I have decided that I will never grow tired of this island. It was a beautiful day and we got off the ship at about 10:00 and got a cab to Horseshoe Bay. My wife and daughter have been there before but my son and I have not. It was a nice ride to the beach and is easier to get to from the Dockyard than to try to get to from St. George. This is a beautiful beach and we rented 2 chairs and an umbrella and walked over to the left and found plenty of space to set up our spot. Most of the people seemed to stay close to the bathhouse or go to the right. The area on the left had some rocks and great tide pools to explore. It was a hot and sunny day. The sand was pink and the water was a beautiful blue. I really do love this beach. I will say that the waves were quite high on this day. Riptide warnings were posted and the kids were tossed around. We spent about 4 hours there and took another cab back for some shopping before we returned to the ship. We got back on the ship about 4:30 and sat out on our balcony enjoying our Ice Tea and looked out at the Clock Tower and Kings Wharf marina. It was a great spot for our sail-away! Public Areas: The Dawn is the largest ship that we have been on at almost 92,000 tons. The ship is well laid out and I found it easy to find my way around. I liked the Centrum area on the Dawn but I missed the natural light and comfortable chairs that were in the Centrum on the Spirit. I also liked the pool area and seating area by the pool. I thought that the pool needed to be cleaned more often. There was a lot of dirt and stuff on the bottom. The hot tubs were nice. The kid's pool area on the Dawn is really for young (under 6) children. The kid's area on the Spirit is far superior in my opinion and much more amenable to families in terms of space and pool area. I spent a little time in the casino and liked it very much. I thought that it was well laid out and easy to navigate. I am not a big casino person but I did sign up for a player's card through a Latitudes promotion. This came with a 25.00 credit to use. In summary, I used this "free money" in the quarter slots and a couple of 1.00 slots turns and left with over 500.00! I was very happy about this and got out of the casino quickly before I had any other ideas to blow it. In summary, we had an excellent cruise. We have enjoyed all of our cruises but this one was truly special. The seas were smooth and weather was great. We love freestyle cruising for our family. It offers a wonderful combination of family time and adult time in a casual and relaxed atmosphere. The suite with all of that space and the exceptional VIP service really made for a totally relaxing and enjoyable week. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
SUMMARY: Freestyle cruising is a great concept but NCL cuts corners on the Norwegian Dawn in some annoying ways that detract from this being the first class experience it has the potential to be. This was our first cruise on NCL. Our ... Read More
SUMMARY: Freestyle cruising is a great concept but NCL cuts corners on the Norwegian Dawn in some annoying ways that detract from this being the first class experience it has the potential to be. This was our first cruise on NCL. Our itinerary took us to Nassau, Bermuda and NCL's private island. We previously cruised on Disney to Mexico and Celebrity to Alaska. The Freestyle dining and more casual atmosphere appealed to our family and the 5 teenage kids we had with us but both Celebrity and Disney had better service and amenities. We definitely prefer the freestyle approach but think that NCL could do a better job at it. EMBARKATION: Embarkation was relatively painless and the departure from the New York harbor is breathtaking. CABINS: We had a mini suite cabin, which is not really a suite but is just a slightly larger room and slightly larger balcony than a regular balcony cabin. The mini suite cabin is comfortable and attractive with nice duvets on the bed and adequate space, even for the 3 teenage boys who shared a cabin. Storage is adequate but more drawer space would definitely have been appreciated. We were 2 families traveling together in a group of 9 in 4 adjacent rooms. One nice feature we enjoyed was that the balcony doors opened between the rooms (optional of course) so we had one long balcony and could go back and forth between each other's rooms. This was not mentioned anywhere and turned out to be one of the best features. The balcony had 2 comfortable chairs that reclined and a small table.The bathrooms were nicely divided into three sections--bathtub/shower, sink area and toilet area, which made sharing easy. The water pressure in the shower was the best of any of the cruise ships we've been on. One annoying problem was the lack of sensibly upon request but we kept tripping over it. In this day of laptops, cell phones etc that all need charging, this was an inconvenience worth noting. DINING: The freestyle dining concept is misleading in some ways because you have to make advance dining reservations and most places book up for peak dining hours almost immediately. You can start calling for reservations for that day and the next day at 8:00 am, so having to get up early to compete for dining reservations may not be the freedom you're looking for. We forgot one morning and didn't get to eat until after 9:30 pm the next 2 nights. However, the food options were varied and fun and it was like eating out in a different good quality restaurant every night. The upcharge dining options were definitely even better quality but the standard dining was still good quality with creative and appealing menu choices, nicely presented. They also offered "Cooking Light" selections on the menus for those of us who wanted to ease up a little on the overdoing once in a while. The Room Service menus were disappointing and very limited, but breakfast did arrive promptly when requested each morning. Overall, the food was the highlight of the Norwegian Dawn experience. RECREATION: The one outdoor pool on the Norwegian Dawn is just too small to accommodate the nearly 3000 people on board. You can't find a lounge chair anywhere near the pool during peak hours and we found it noisy and unpleasant. I missed the quiet pool on the Disney ship. A ship this size needs more than one pool area, a lesson I understand that NCL learned in building its later ships. The spa has a nice indoor lap pool but it's an additional $20 a day to use the facilities. One of my biggest complaints about the entire cruise is that they don't provide towels at the beach or the pool. They give you one beach towel per person at the start of the cruise and although you can exchange that for a clean one at a designated area you can't get another towel. We didn't actually find the towel exchange area until the last day and had dirty beach towels for most of the trip. NCL threatens you with a $25 charge if you don't return the beach towel and naturally the last day someone took one from one of our kids at the pool and it took some doing to avoid paying the $25 fee. This inconvenience of not having clean towels readily available at the pool or beach definitely cheapens the experience and undermines the feeling of service and luxury you expect on a cruise. SHORE EXCURSIONS: In another move that undercuts the overall experience, NCL has only a small number of lounge chairs and just a few hammocks on their private island. The rest of us who didn't arrive on the first tender were relegated to tiny old sand chairs for the day. Again this really cheapened what would otherwise be a glorious day on a really beautiful island. They should take a lesson from Disney which equips their private island with plenty of nice loungers for all their guests. The Disney island is much larger and has bike trails, hiking trails, outdoor showers and special amenities like cold water placed along the trails for guests. NCL could easily make their island a much better experience by investing just a little more in the amenities. One shore excursion we'd highly recommend is the Segway Tour of Bermuda's Dockyard area. Our host was an ex New Yorker with attitude, who quickly trained us on how to ride the Segways and gave us a fun and interesting tour of the Dockyard area. This was a really unique and fun experience that we'll all remember as a highlight of the trip. SERVICE: As with the towels and the lounge chairs, service just wasn't up to the standards we experienced on Disney and Celebrity. It was adequate, always friendly and accommodating, but just not the over the top service we had experienced on other cruises. Perhaps it is the different tipping policies that accompany the freestyle concept. ENRICHMENT/ENTERTAINMENT: There wasn't all that much to do on the Dawn if you were looking for unusual activities. There was the usual Bingo, casino etc, but we missed the wine tasting on Disney and the enrichment lectures on Celebrity. The shows were standard cruise fare, with the only standout being a lounge act named Fire and Ice that was really better than expected with her Tina Turner like voice and dance moves. It turns out there was a Cinema on the ship but it wasn't well advertised and ran the same films that were on the NCL stations playing in the stateroom. A few first run films might have been a nice entertainment option. OVERALL: We all had a good time and we aren't sorry we chose this cruise because we liked the freestyle approach. But NCL needs to fix a few things before we'd choose them again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2007
We left on the Norwegian Dawn from NYC on July 28, 2007. I thought embarkation went well. We stood in line for awhile, but it kept moving and once we got our keys, we were allowed on the ship. However, our room wasn't ready and we had ... Read More
We left on the Norwegian Dawn from NYC on July 28, 2007. I thought embarkation went well. We stood in line for awhile, but it kept moving and once we got our keys, we were allowed on the ship. However, our room wasn't ready and we had to wait for that-carrying bags! The ship was clean and they were always painting or doing something else to it. The freestyle cruising was a nightmare. Nobody told us you have to make reservations for the restaurants. Oh and you have to make them around 7am for that day and the next only. If you don't call around 7am, they are full and you must in the main restaurants. Who wants to remember to call at 7am on vacation!! Once in the restaurants, the staff was not very friendly. They know they are already getting a tip from you (they are charged on your account). The reception desk employees were rude! People reserve pool chairs and most are gone by 8am. There is a sign that says you can't reserve them, but they do. Also, they allow babies with diapers in the pool even though there is a sign for that too. They don't enforce their rules!! The adult shows at night were good but even though it stated 18 and over, parents till brought their kids. There were also kids just roaming the ship without parents and they would hang out in the stairways and leave trash there. You must make a mad dash to Great Stirrup Cay on the first boat over there because there are only about 30 lounge chairs on the island. The rest are old small chairs. We didn't have towels two days in a row. We complained and got two days worth of tips removed from our account. The buffet is confusing. You must walk around to all sides to see what they have because everything is in a different place. Don't book a shore excursion in Nassau if you want to shop. Shops close at 5:30 and you don't dock until 1:30. You are there until about 2am. We went to Atlantis in the evening on a taxi. We won't cruise NCL again. Freestyle Cruising is for the birds! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2007
This was my 4th Cruise and first on Norwegian. Embarkation went smoothly -from time of arrival to boarding ship was approximately 45 minutes. Ship lovely and cabin wonderful. First time with balcony and would never go back to inside cabin. ... Read More
This was my 4th Cruise and first on Norwegian. Embarkation went smoothly -from time of arrival to boarding ship was approximately 45 minutes. Ship lovely and cabin wonderful. First time with balcony and would never go back to inside cabin. Staff and crew very friendly and helpful. Too many passengers with kids to accommodate the pool area and seating. You had to reserve a chair by 9:30am or they were taken. Same for shows, Theatre did not have enough seats for all passengers so you needed to get there 15 minutes before performances. Matt, the Cruise Director, was wonderful. Small Portions in main dining room. Overall food good, but not as good as years ago. No mid-night buffet on this cruise line. Loved the private Island, but again, you had to get there early to get a seat in the shade or near the beach. Was not happy with shore excursions: Dolphin Encounter in Nassau and Taxi drive around Bermuda and Beach - I felt were not worth the money. Would take ferry to Hamilton, shop and eat, and then hire driver to go to beach. Thought we were swimming with the Dolphins, but that had to be booked way in advance and was more money. Took advantage of the Spa when they had a 2 for 1 special and it was wonderful. Of course the last day at sea they had a 3 for 1 special. Would suggest free bottled water to passengers going to Private Island, bigger portions in Main Dining room. Overall, would do it again, but not when school is out.   Read Less
Norwegian Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.5 0.0
Enrichment 2.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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