992 Norwegian Dawn Bermuda Cruise Reviews

After having been on both the Gem and the Pearl, we so looked forward to Bermuda on the Dawn! This ship does not compare to those other NCL beauties nor is the food, service or decor any competition for them. Whereas the newer ships are ... Read More
After having been on both the Gem and the Pearl, we so looked forward to Bermuda on the Dawn! This ship does not compare to those other NCL beauties nor is the food, service or decor any competition for them. Whereas the newer ships are colorful and cheery, the Dawn is plain and dull. There is no seating in the main atrium other than one small banquet for 8 people, a problem when you are waiting on the long lines for help at the desk.These mini-suites are slightly different than the Gem and the Pearl, and not for the better. It is very difficult to open the closet door without hitting the bed and the shelves inside the closet are less convenient than the placement on other ships. The balcony is average and we had no problem with it. The bathroom is roomy enough, but for those who are not so limber, it is very difficult to get in and out of the bathtub/shower without falling. There is no grip bar to assist you, so be very careful. It is for that reason alone, that if we ever cruise with NCL again, we would choose a balcony cabin with the stall shower. Our cabin had a nasty mildew smell about it and there was nothing to be done for it. The food in the main dining rooms was just average, but the problem was the new menus. They remain the same all week. Even the desserts are the same every day. This is supposedly an experiment that will eventually be implemented on all NCL ships we were told. It seems obvious that the object is to push us into the paying dining rooms, but I am offended by that. We did try the Italian restaurant, which was also just average and Cagney's, which was a step above but has also changed their menu to a very limited few choices, all for $25.00 additional. Even the buffet was lacking on this particular ship.The room stewards were fine, totally unobtrusive and never went above and beyond for anything. I did notice that a few sodas were never replaced in the fridge, but we didn't really care.The entertainment was okay, with kudos to the comedian Dave Heenan who was hilarious on stage and friendly in the hallways, dining rooms, etc. The Cruise Director John was pleasant enough and we enjoyed him most of the time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Embarkation was extremely easy!  We arrived at 11:30 am, drove in to the garage, and the luggage was taken from us there.  No long check-in, we were onboard within 30 minutes.  We checked our carry-ons at Dazzles Lounge, and we were off ... Read More
Embarkation was extremely easy!  We arrived at 11:30 am, drove in to the garage, and the luggage was taken from us there.  No long check-in, we were onboard within 30 minutes.  We checked our carry-ons at Dazzles Lounge, and we were off to the main dining room for lunch.  The cabin was ready at 1pm and the luggage was already there.  The $210.00 fee upfront for parking is excessive but that's my only complaint.  Debarkation was equally smooth and quick!It was fun meeting my fellow Rats, and being able to put a person to a name! The Dawn is large, but its design gives one the feeling of cozy, comfortable areas.  The only time you feel its size is when you have to walk the seemingly endless cabin corridors.  The crew from top down is A1, courteous, helpful, pleasant and accommodating. 2 complaints here:  no one enforces the dining room "no t-shirt and shorts rule"  Why say it then?  No one enforces the no items on lounge chairs "in case a friend shows" rule either. Kudos to all otherwise!  We had an inside cabin, fully wheelchair accessible.  Largest w/c cabin I've ever been in; great turning radius.  Well done but needed more shelves in the bathroom.  There actually was hot water in the bathroom not just lukewarm!  Twin beds and full-size pullout bed in couch - and still room for turning!  Except for shelves, and a bump in the floor near the bathroom door, the cabin was perfect.  The bed, however, was a torture rack.  It was both very hard while sagging at the same time!?  They kept bringing me foam toppers until I felt like the Princess and the Pea, and still it was very uncomfortable.  I've never experienced this to such a degree before!  They seem to be low on linens, and despite repeated requests, we didn't get a laundry bag until mid-week. Another wheelchair note.  In port, there's a separate gangway for wheelchairs which was well set-up.  Gangways are often frighteningly steep, ridged, and ending with drop-offs.  The worst part of the trip for me.  Everything was done right here and the crew helpful.  Because it wasn't the main gangway, I didn't feel pressured to rush, or embarrassed that I was holding up the line. The food was very good.  It was plentiful, well-prepared, tasty and appealing.  HOWEVER, the 2 main dining room menus are the same EVERY NIGHT!  Good, but boring!  It almost forces you to go to the specialty restaurants to have a change.  Considering the initial cost for the cruise, the high-end restaurants should be an option, not an alternative to boredom.  Surf & Turf every night may sound nice, but 7 nites in a row?!  I prefer a different menu to explore every nite.  The food is a major part of the whole experience for me, and here the Dawn let me down.  One other disappointment:  no warm bread or rolls.  They were good, but never just-out-of-the-oven fresh. Excellent entertainment in the lounges, while routine in the theater.I look forward to another opportunity to cruise on the Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We are a couple in our 20s, and this was our first cruise. We live close to the port, and the convenience of departing from NYC was a major factor in our selecting this cruise. If not for the extremely stormy weather during most of our ... Read More
We are a couple in our 20s, and this was our first cruise. We live close to the port, and the convenience of departing from NYC was a major factor in our selecting this cruise. If not for the extremely stormy weather during most of our time in Bermuda, we would have very few complaints about our 7-day cruise. Our ship rescued a sailboat that was stranded in the ocean, which delayed our arrival in Bermuda by one hour.To break it down in more detail:EMBARKATION/ DISEMBARKATION: Very easy and painless on both occasions. We arrived at the port in Manhattan around noon, it took no more than half an hour for us to get through the lines and receive our key cards. We had changed our room since receiving our luggage tags, but one of the port staff simply put new tags on at the pier and there were no issues. Soon we were on the ship drinking our complimentary mimosas and heading to the Venetian for a delicious lunch. The rooms were available at 2pm and bags were delivered soon after, in time for dinner. We did receive a notice that someone's bag had been lost, but as I understand it they eventually found that bag. Returning to Manhattan, we chose the Easy Walk-Out since we could carry our own bags. We had a leisurely breakfast at the Venetian, then waited about half an hour after they first announced that passengers could start leaving. By this time there was no line and we were out of the ship in no time.CABINS: We had a porthole cabin on the lowest deck. No complaints at all about the room - especially since we upgraded from an inside cabin. Small space, but plenty of closet and drawer space. We like the bathroom's division into three areas (sink, toilet and shower) with sliding doors to separate them. The porthole provided plenty of light, if not much of a view. Being on the lowest deck was convenient on port days, because we had only a short walk to the gangway (and were one of the first off the ship when we arrived in Bermuda). The only slight downside of being on the lowest deck was more noise from waves crashing against the ship (but we were not kept awake by it). The bed was very soft and comfy, though we were surprised that it took till the last night for them to replace our separate beddings with a single queen-size blanket and linens, since we had pushed the two beds together from the start. The cabin was kept very clean and tidy by the stewards, and although we weren't lucky enough to get any towel animals, we enjoyed attending their towel animal demonstration at the end of the week.DINING: No major complaints about dining, we enjoyed both main dining rooms (Aqua and Venetian) and often had a great breakfast in the buffet as well. We particularly enjoyed the salads and seafood entrees.  We wished there was more variety in the fruit offerings, and it would've been great if the fruit smoothies could be available for free at least for breakfast. We also sometimes craved more options in the buffet, since we often wanted a quick meal but with the same quality of food as in the main dining rooms. There was a Chocoholic Buffet one night in the buffet but the line was quite long, and we heard several passengers complaining loudly about the wait. We frequently ate at the Blue Lagoon since it was open 24 hours and a good place to snack between meals, but we noticed that service there was not as good as in the other dining areas (long waits, order mix-ups, quite the opposite of Venetian/Aqua). We saw other diners also complain about the slow service and order mistakes in Blue Lagoon. Of the specialty restaurants, we only tried the sushi one, and thought it was worth the $15pp cover charge.ENTERTAINMENT: We were very happy with the night-time shows, especially "Bollywood" (with impressive acrobatics) and the crew show on the last night. Also greatly enjoyed the Second City comedy troupe - we attended both their scripted and improv shows. Shows were generally well-attended, so we learned that it was necessary to come to the theater at least 10 minutes early to get good seats. Compared with past land-based vacations, the entertainment and activities on the Dawn were far better than anything we'd experienced during any previous vacations, and we considered it the strongest aspect of our cruise experience.FACILITIES: Having never been on a cruise before, we were a bit disappointed with the size of the pool, which was much smaller than land-based resorts and always crowded on sunny days. There was an indoor lap pool, but it was in the spa and only accessible by purchasing a spa pass (which we chose not to do). We cannot comment on the spa or fitness center since we never used those facilities at all. We did use the internet cafe one time, which cost 75 cents/ minute, plus an initial fee of $4. The internet cafe did not seem busy at all, perhaps due to the high cost of internet access. ACTIVITES: With so much rainy weather, we spent considerable time in the small movie theater (which had a constant rotation of recently released films), playing board games in the Lifestyles room, and participating in the daily trivia games. We also signed up for the Murder Mystery Dinner, which was fun since we got to meet other passengers. The cruise director John Ibrahim and his team were very energetic and kept us well-entertained. The only thing that really annoyed us was the too-frequent bingo announcements. Also, the daily newsletters contained many ads which were immediately discarded - such a waste of paper!BERMUDA: Even with awful weather, we could tell right away why Bermuda is such a popular destination. Not only are there beautiful beaches with clear blue water, the cheerful pastel-colored streets of St. George and Hamilton are a pleasure to stroll.Despite pouring rain and strong winds on our entire first day in Bermuda, we bought ponchos on the ship and set out on the ferry for Hamilton, walking through town all the way to Fort Hamilton, where we were the only visitors. The Bermuda Maritime Museum near the Dockyard was also a nice way to pass the time, with many indoor exhibits that could be enjoyed even in horrible weather. When the weather cleared up, we toured St. George, a beautiful town with quaint alleys and brightly painted houses. We also enjoyed visiting Crystal Caves in Bailey's Bay - both caves are interesting, and we had great guides to show us the formations. One lesson we learned is to be alert on the bus: we asked the driver to let us off near the caves, but he forgot about it, so we eventually got off and took another bus back in the opposite direction. Good thing we decided to purchase the unlimited transportation passes!The one attraction we thought we could have skipped was the Gibb's Hill Lighthouse. When we arrived, it was sweltering hot and humid, and we didn't feel like climbing up the 185 steps. We did try to take photos from the base of the lighthouse, but in the morning, there was a lot of glare and views were not the best. Still, in different weather or time of day, it could be quite worthwhile to pay the lighthouse a visit.On our last day in Bermuda, the rain and wind gave way to stifling heat and humidity, so we went to visit the famous Horseshoe Bay Beach and found the swim delightfully refreshing on the hot/humid day. There is a little cove all the way to the right when you enter the beach, and it's a great place to swim with the rocks protecting you from waves.Bermuda is so easy to explore with public transportation, we didn't feel the need to book any ship-based excursions. With three days in one port, a guided tour didn't seem necessary, since we could visit all the sites we wanted at our own leisure.OVERALL, we had a great vacation and would definitely consider cruising again. Compared with an all-inclusive hotel, cruising doesn't feel as luxurious, and some of the facilities (such as pools and rooms) were not as nice as what you'd find on land, but we felt our expectations were fully met and we had an enjoyable first cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this cruise, went with my step daughter , her husband, 3 grandsons and his family total 23 people in all.And All ages.The stateroom we had was small I am claustrophobic, had a hard time sleeping at night. ... Read More
I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this cruise, went with my step daughter , her husband, 3 grandsons and his family total 23 people in all.And All ages.The stateroom we had was small I am claustrophobic, had a hard time sleeping at night. Asked for an upgrade but the ship was booked so I did most of my sleeping on deck during the day.Don'T get me wrong, I still feel like the cruise was very nice. The rooms and ship were clean . The deck hands, waiters crew were very helpful and nice. Always with a nice greeting and helped any way they could. As for the food and restaurants I was never disappointed at all. We tried the specialty restaurants and the regulars.They catered to every need you can imagine and always with a smile.I never even made it to all of the restaurants.It was even better to know I did not have to get dressed up, I do not own a suit jacked and never will. So just going in nice slacks or dress shorts and collared shirt I did not mind at all.We always went early before 630 pm before the crowds and lines. My grandsons was put into the Children's camp, ages 2, 4, 6. They loved it and did not want to leave, they came out for dinner and then went right back staying till they closed, they had the time of their lives. They even had a special pool area with a water slide for the kids at the rear of the ship.Took them to the Magic show and another show Bollywood.  The adult pool area was located in a very good area, where there was very little wind, great music, fun and games, and of course the bars and service was excellent, you never waited long for a drink and the waiters were always walking around asking if you needed a drink.or anything else. There was also a quite area in the front of the ship 13th floor Some people I know brought on some booze in their luggage, I also carried on a case of water no questions asked.  As for Bermuda we rented a sailboat  51' with captain Caleb,  you can find his site " sail Bermuda ", we made a deal for 25 people I ordered food and rum  for a 6 hr trip included 2 snorkel spots and nice sail in the bay was less then half the price then what the ship was offering and a lot more time, So check out it out. The one day we planned on going to Horseshoe beach it rained and also a warning of Man of war jelly fish on that side of the Island. so we went to Hamilton by bus, figured it would be nice to see the Island, buy the 2 or 3 day pass it is good for the bus and ferries for as many trips as you want in the time period.The shops next to the dock in the little mall by the clock towers were the cheapest place for T shirts and other goodies, 1/2 the price and the shirts were rather nice well worth it.  Since you are limited on your stay the  beach by the Snorkel park was nice, there was a lot of fish out there and only 10 minute walk from the ship, they rented beach chairs, snorkel equipment, floats and more, had food and drink great for kids and anyone else. Another thing while on the ship go to the Java Bar and visit Marty ,has the best coffee and even mixed drinks live music over head a lot of seats very comfortable and relaxing, and tell him Tony and MaryAnn says hello, he took care of our grandchildren with those virgin drinks and a lot of cherries i n them a great person and big smile. I do not know what else to say but I did like it very much and would do it again Oh yea I was amazed at how big the bathroom was in our cabin.about 1/4 the size of the cabin Really. My first day home and I do miss it especially being catered to. Back to reality. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This was our ninth cruise, and our second cruise on NCL.  We traveled with our college son and our older son and his new wife.  We chose this cruise for its itinerary and we were looking for a casual cruise.  We did not want to dress ... Read More
This was our ninth cruise, and our second cruise on NCL.  We traveled with our college son and our older son and his new wife.  We chose this cruise for its itinerary and we were looking for a casual cruise.  We did not want to dress for dinner or meet time frames, and NCL certainly fit the bill.  Embarkation was a breeze.  Being Latitude Members we were sent to a special line and went right to registration and on to the ship.  It took my husband longer to park our vehicle than it did for us to get on the ship due to "Fleet Week" in NY; He had to park on a different building which took about ½ an hour.  NCL sure has embarkation down pat. We stayed in Cabin 8086, obstructed view.   While our cabin did have a somewhat obstructed view you could still look out and see the ocean and whether it was daylight or dark.  Our room was neat and clean and Reggie, the Room Stewart, and his assistant kept it that way all week.  They did a good job and were very polite and cordial.  While we had read reviews from some who felt the crew was not very polite, we did not meet any crew members on this cruise who did not acknowledge us and smile, no matter where we were on the ship. Prior to going on the cruise, we had organized the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet, which went very well.  We had good attendance and the Captain and his Crew came in to give us a talk about the ship and new menus that were being offered.  We certainly appreciated them taking the time to meet with us personally.  Ana, the Event Coordinator, was great as was Anshuman, our Concierge.  Both were very helpful and courteous through the cruise. This cruise was the pilot for the new menu program and they were anxious to get our feedback after the cruise.  NCL Dawn now has the same menu all week in the Aqua and Venetian, their main dining rooms; however the menu for each restaurant is different from the other.  The Chef's selection changes every day and is also different in each restaurant.  We did eat in the Venetian, but did not try Aqua.  The one evening we did try to get into Aqua the line was very long so we just went to the buffet.  The kids ate in Aqua a couple times and really enjoyed it.   Aqua's menu had more seafood selections, while Venetian had more meat and beef.  We chose not to make reservations on any evening, except when we went to Teppenyaki, which was the only specialty restaurant we tried; it was a lot of fun and the food was good.  We ate lunch once, and several dinners in the Venetian; we found all meals there to be very good.  Lobster and filet was offered as one of the mainstays on the new menu and I had it a couple times!  While some might not like the new set menu idea, I feel that the menus have a nice selection and I was glad that I could have my lobster more than one night.  We ate our breakfasts, as well as a few other meals, at the Buffet and found the food to be satisfactory with a large selection to fit everyone's appetite.  They even had some Indian and Chinese items in the mix which made for a very nice variety.  We were also spotted several times at the Blue Lagoon, especially for the great tomato soup with basil cream...YUM.  We went every afternoon for a cup of this delicious soup, it is a must try.  The fish & chips were also very good and the kids said the wings were great.  Overall we were very pleased with the new menus and the eating venues on board; no complaints from this group. The public area on the ship were always clean and being attended to.  There was always staff cleaning, painting and etc. around the ship.  We never felt crowded and the public rooms were large and airy, with plenty of seating where needed. As far as entertainment goes, we only attended a couple shows.  I am unsure if there was more than one show time each evening because it just seemed that we could not hit the timing right for the shows. We did see the magician, who was good, but typical fair.  Of course Dave Heenan is great; he is the comedian on board.  We saw and met Dave when we cruised on the Spirit and enjoyed him then too.  He is very funny and walks around the ship talking with everyone.  He sat at the bar and had a drink with us again on the Dawn and we had a very nice conversation.  Just watch what you say to Dave, you could become his next new joke if you say the wrong thing (lol).  What a great guy.  We also saw the Second City Show in the Spinnaker Lounge, which was very entertaining and fun.  Unfortunately we did not catch any other shows. Being ported in Bermuda for three days also influenced our ability to catch the shows, since we were on the island at the time of the shows. We did play trivia in the Pub, and the kids participated in the Pub Crawl and beer tasting.  Although we did not participate, there was also wine tasting and martini tasting sessions on board; they appeared to be a good deal in comparison to buying the drinks.  We also made use of the shuffleboard and large chess games on deck.  Our Son utilized the gym daily and found it to be fine for his workout routine.Our Son participated in the "Glass bottom Kayaking" on an excusion with the Dawn.  He was the lone man out so he got to go with the guide since they were two-man kayaks.  He really loves science and nature and really enjoyed the morning.  He gave them an excellent rating and would highly recommend this excursion.  We also went to an educational talk on board the ship in the theater .  A gentleman gave a presentation on amateur astronomy.  We found it very interesting and educational. Now about Bermuda...WOW, what a beautiful island.  The people are very polite and take great pride in their island.  We bought a two-day transportation pass for $20 each and that included the bus and ferry.  (We figured we would stay in Kings Wharf the last day since we would need to be on the ship by 4pm to depart.)  This worked out very well for us.  The day we arrived we took the bus to Hamilton and visited Fort Hamilton, which was very interesting.  There were underground tunnels and the foliage was beautiful, the view amazing.  That evening we returned to Hamilton via ferry for the street fair.  There were crafters selling their wares and a dance troop, in costume, did an interesting display.  It is something that should be experienced.  The second day we went to Crystal and Fantasy Caves.  We took the ferry to St. George and then the bus to the caves.  The bus dropped us off across from the Swizzle Inn and we walked around the corner to the caves.  When boarding the bus we asked the driver if it took us to the caves and when we got to the stop he told us this is what we wanted.  The Bermudians are so accommodating and polite; in the U.S. the bus driver would have told us where to get off (lol).  After returning from the caves we went to the Swizzle Inn for some Rum Swizzles and a late lunch (they have great conch fritters).  We then re-boarded a bus for Horseshow Bay.  What a beautiful beach.  We had a great time before catching the bus back to Kings Wharf.  After going to the ship to freshen up and get some dinner, we went to the Frog & Onion Pub for drinks.  On the final day we stayed in Kings Wharf and visited the Glass Blower and Rum Cake Factory before going over to Snorkel Park.  Our Son is a scuba diver and wanted to do some snorkeling.  He rented his gear at the park.  The regular gear rents for $20, but he rented gear that consisted of goggles with a video and camera right in the frame of the goggles for $40.  He said that it was great and he saw a lot of fish, reefs and even an octopus surprised him.  While he did his snorkeling, we went up to the Hammerhead, a bar situated overlooking Snorkel Park Beach, and had a beer before boarding a bus to go to "Bermuda Seaglass Beach" which is right over the bridge out of Kings Wharf.  This beach has glass that is washed up in the surf.  The glass is worn smooth and multi-colored.  You can collect all the different colors, shapes and sizes. The beach is covered with glass two inches thick in some areas! It was stated elsewhere on Cruise Critics that the area was well known and you could ask the bus drivers to get you there, but the several drivers we asked did not know what we were talking about.  Fortunately my husband remembered that it was just past the cemetery going out of Kings Wharf and near some turquoise houses, that is how we found it.  You might want to do a search for beach glass on the Bermuda port forum and take your own directions. Go down between the houses toward the ocean and you will see a set of stairs that leads down to the beach area.   Here is where I found my souvenir, we spent about an hour picking and choosing the best pieces to bring home.  They are now in a glass bowl and adorn my living room as a center and conversation piece.  Upon returning to Kings Wharf we returned to the ship for another late lunch before heading out to the Clock Tower Mall.  This is a typical tourist mall where you can purchase hats, shirts and various souvenirs, and I found some good deals on shirts here.  It was time to return to the ship as we had to leave this beautiful island.  We only wish we had one more day on Bermuda to have the opportunity to visit St. George.  When we went through the city from the ferry, to catch the bus, it was lovely.  We would have liked to spend some time there as well as visit the Maritime Museum in Kings Wharf.  One more day would have done it for us!  Oh well, maybe next time.  We have no regrets on what we chose to do with our time and feel that we made the most of the time we had.  Using the public transportation system not only got us from one place to another, but also allowed us to see a lot more of the island and to experience its people; it was truly a wonderful experience. We were very blessed with great weather on this cruise.  The first day at sea it was chilly, windy and rainy but the following morning we woke up to sunny skies and 80 degrees.  This great weather continued the entire time we were in Bermuda and right up until we ported back in New York!  We could not have asked for any better weather. Debarkation is always the same, regardless of cruise line or port.  It takes a lot to get thousands of passengers off a ship, all at the same time.  So, we just relaxed and waited it out.  We were off the ship and in our vehicle by 10 and were home by 11:30 am. Our overall opinion of this cruise is Great!  We had a wonderful time, NCL really took good care of us and we got to spend some real quality time with our adult children.  We will definitely cruise NCL again and highly recommend this itinerary for anyone interested in seeing Bermuda.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Sailed on the 5/10/09 Dawn trip to Bermuda.  Everyone in the terminal was very nice & helpful.  It was a breeze checking in. About 5 minutes after we checked in we met an adorable couple from our Roll Call.  After a short period of ... Read More
Sailed on the 5/10/09 Dawn trip to Bermuda.  Everyone in the terminal was very nice & helpful.  It was a breeze checking in. About 5 minutes after we checked in we met an adorable couple from our Roll Call.  After a short period of time were were allowed on ship & given champagne or orange juice.  I made myself a nice little mimosa.Knowing that the Buffet was going to be crazy we went right to the Blue Lagoon for a quick lunch.  Shortly thereafter we were able to go to our cabins.  Our luggage arrived by 4:00.  Our muster drill was quick & easy.The ship:  The Dawn is a beautiful ship & Very clean.  The ship was easily navigated-and this is from someone who can get lost anywheres.  Cabin:  my daughter, 2 kids & I shared an inside cabin-a little tight but we did it.  There was a nifty cot that pulled out between the 2 beds.  It was small but we had enough room for storage & plently of hangers in the closet.It was a very pretty cabin.  Our traveling companions have been on 5 cruises on RCL which they totally love.  They did comment that the bathrooms on the Dawn were large & very nice.  Our cabin stewards Rommel & Eduord were wonderful.  They came to introduce  themselves immediately.  Everything was kept spotless & the towel animals were enjoyed.  Immediately they new our names & fussed over the kids.  About the 3rd day I asked Rommel if anything could be done with my bed as I had a backache.  He removed something & said that if it didn't work he would find something else to help.  He asked me the next day if it worked.  It did!   They worked like crazy but always had a smile.  They are part of the tip sharing, but we tipped them extra.Entertainment:  I am not a "show" person, or at least I wasn't one until now.  The Dave Heenan comedy show was funny.The Jean Ann Ryan Group was FANTASTIC.  I saw every show-Band On The Run, South Beach Rave & Bollywood. I can't even explain how good they were-you just have to see them yourself.  The cruise crew show on the last day was fair but it was a nice effort.   However, the finale Fountains was a riot.  It was worth sitting thru the crew show to see the finale.  Fire & Ice was a teriffic duo-they played everything.  One night they did a Tina Turner review.  There was plenty of entertainment & activities all day. The new Cruise Director Shona is amazing.Meet & Greet-Held on Monday @ 10:30am-so early that some people forgot or just didn't get moving early enough.  Still we appreciate NCL efforts.  They must have had about 8 officers & dept. heads there.  They are all friendly.  One thing I noticed is that they all have a sense of humor & don't take themselves seriously. We met the famous Concerige Anshuman-he is wonderful as is everyone else.  Food:  Was fine considering how many people were fed.  I might have liked the food a tiny bit better on Carnival, but that wouldn't be reason for me to leave NCL's friendly staff & Freestyle Dining.  There is always plently of food choices everywheres.  My grandchildren loved the kids buffet. The buffet had a good variety including alot of ethenic foods.  Not bad, but it is what it is.  We ate many meals there.Kids program:  My 3 year old grandaughter attended for an hour.  Liked it, but wanted to hang out with "Mommy".  We all went to a "make your own pizza" with the kids program-cute.  We spent alot of time in the kids  pool area-definately a highlight-large area.  Things that weren't my favorite:  chair hogs-but we usually managed to find a couple of chairs-not NCLs fault.  Service in the Venetian & Aqua Dining Rooms-a little uneven -but for goodness sakes, those kids worked like crazy.  We didn't go to the dining rooms to make friends with the wait staff, so we have to commend them on their efforts.  Desserts-need a little work, although we did have a couple of excellent ones.Highlights-wonderful staff-very friendly, never had a problem.  The kids were treated like treasures.  Just remember, you'll never get 100 % perfect with anything, anywheres. One day I was walking in the buffet with 2 beverages.  A waiter wisked them on to the dray and asked where"madam" was sitting so he could help me.Our dinner at Salsas.  We didn't make a reservation but we got in with no problem @ 7:00pm.  Kids ordered off the regular menu-no charge-otherwise it came to $40 for the 4 of us.  Waitstaff well deserved the generous tip that we left.  The dinner started with some very good chips, salsa, fresh guacamole, some sort of cheese dip that might have had crab in it, & a corn relish.  The 2 year old ate everything & they cheerfully brought round 2.  The adults were treated to a small frozen margarita each.  We had great appetizers.  Our dinners were:  Lobster Tacos, swordfish skewers & Ribs..  We all shared & enjoyed.  The dessert that we picked still haunts me-I want the recipe-Carmelized Margarita Tartlet.  It was huge & made from Pineapple-I can't even describe how good it was.  We went back to the bar at Salsas several nights later for another Margarita.  I remember that they had a complimentary Tapas menu.  We ordered what we all deemed a "the best calamari ever".  The risotto in the dining room ws A+.  The rack of lamb was the absolute best that I have ever had.Compliments of the Meet & Greet we had dinner with the Hotel Director Hugo. I was very nervous having dinner with an officer but he was friendly, interesting & funny. He told us that the Dawn was rolling out a new menu soon.  There would be an extensive "everyday Menu"  with daily specials.  This will give customers more choices.Bermuda-great & very safe.  It was a little on the chilly side-but what do you expect mid May? Went to Horseshoe bay beach-so beautiful. I believe that we were at the part called Baby Beach-unbelievable.  It's a good thing that we brought pre-packaged snack because the snackbar was way expensive.  We also went to Snorkle Park-ok but a bit of a let down after the first beach. The zoo & aquarium was very nice-I very much enjoyed it-$10 for the adults-little kids are free.My daughter, DH & Kids will be going back on the Dawn to Bermuda next June-I might go, but I might go on an NCL European Cruise with some old friends. I'll miss the Dawn,Another highlight, Meeting all of my Cruise Critic friends.For the people that complain about the Dawn, ease up.  You are not paying Oceania or Seaborn rates, so don't expect what you would get on this cruise.  Some posters complain about having to pay for everything-the speciality rest. are very reasonable compared to other lines.  We weren't hounded to buy drinks, we were politel;y asked-if we said "no", we were treated cordially.  The announcements weren't accessive.  For  the people that complain about "everything"  try to ease up or find another way to vacation (just my opinion). I hate spending extra money, but if I were to individually tip for all of the service, I would have spent much, much more-so in my opinion, the $12/day/pp was a bargin.  THe staff deserves it.Loved the trip.  I look forward to sometime going again on the beautiful Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We left home (7 adults with luggage in a minivan) at 7:30 a.m. and arrived at the NYC port around 11 a.m. We actually had a pleasant trip up with the "kids" playing verbal car games. Our group of seven was DH and I with our 4 ... Read More
We left home (7 adults with luggage in a minivan) at 7:30 a.m. and arrived at the NYC port around 11 a.m. We actually had a pleasant trip up with the "kids" playing verbal car games. Our group of seven was DH and I with our 4 sons and a fiancEe.Embarkation: The new setup makes parking and handing off the luggage much easier. You simply drive up to the roof, pay the $210.00 for the week, have the vehicle sniffed by the dope dogs and then pull over to the designated area to unload the checked luggage. We then parked and proceeded to the elevators to go check in. Five of us had balconies and headed for that line, two had an OV and they were not permitted to go with us but got checked in within 15 minutes anyway. By 11:30 we were all on board with our first glasses of the bubbly.Day 1 -First we headed for our staterooms to see if we could drop off our carry ons. Those of us in the balcony staterooms were successful.....we told our room steward we were just going to stash our stuff in the closet and then get out of his way. Matt and Erin in the OV were told their hallway was closed so they bought theirs with them. We headed to the Venetian Dining Room for lunch. Everyone ordered different items and no one was disappointed. Our service was good and the food was tasty. Around 2 p.m. it was announced that all staterooms were ready so we headed to them to take photos and check out our "stern balconies". We had the only two balconies at the stern on Deck 10 and requested that the doorway between them remain open. This made it much easier to get the kids moving in the morning, plus was nice for all 7 of us to enjoy the balconies together. Later as the luggage showed up, we unpacked and then got ready for the Muster Drill and our informal meet and greet at the Bimini Bar. Many on our rollcall showed up and it was nice to finally put faces to names. It began to rain as we left NYC so at least we picked a good place to meet since it is covered for the most part. After about an hour we headed down to change for dinner. We again went to the Venetian and enjoyed Prime Rib and the Surf and Turf. Later we went to see Jose and Patti in the Spinnaker Lounge. DO NOT MISS JOSE AND PATTI! They even remembered us from last October. I can't imagine how they can with so many passing through the Dawn each year but they do. They perform music from the 30's up to the present. The 60's show was especially good. They were in Dazzles Lounge last year but they are so popular they now command the Spinnaker Lounge.Day 2 - Meet and Greet at 10:30 a.m. in the Star Bar. We had several officers come and introduce themselves. (At least 8-10 or more). We signed up for the dinner with an officer while at the M&G. We had a great time meeting the officers, John Ibrahim the CD and all our CC friends. We expected about 64 people and at least 40-50 showed up. Near the end of the M&G, we were invited to meet back at the Star Bar to take a tour of the Garden Villa. All I can say is WOW! I doubt I would ever see the rest of the ship if that was my home for the week. Thanks Barb, Carolyn and Betsy! We left our stateroom around 6pm for dinner and "Band on the Run". Both were great. Around 10:30 we went back to the stateroom only to find out we were now "VIP's" with an invitation to the VIP party that had happened 3 hours earlier. I called Ashuman (sp) the next morning to let him know we never received the invitation until after the party and ask him if being a "VIP" meant we could have breakfast and lunch in Cagney's. He said "no, that is only for the suite guests." I was disappointed but before I could even explain it to my DH, Ashuman called back to say we could eat at Cagney's that morning since he got permission for us. We left immediately and loved the Crab Eggs Benedict. When we were checking in at Cagney's they did have our name printed at the end of their list of VIP's but since we were told we weren't allowed to eat there we only tried the second to last day and had no problem. So I really do not know if we could have eaten there all week or not.This is getting way to long so I will try to be more concise by not detailing each day.We arrived in Bermuda before 8 am Wednesday morning and docked port side to the pier at Heritage Wharf. We ate breakfast and then headed to the Sea Glass Beach near the Royal Naval Cemetery. We filled up our Ziploc's and headed back for lunch before our scheduled Jessie James Snorkel cruise at 1pm. If you want to snorkel, this is the best snorkel cruise around. We did it last year and again this trip. Fourteen of us from the rollcall did it with 3 others. We snorkeled at three different locations (including over the Constitution, Montana and the Coral Sea Gardens) I can't wait to get the underwater photos developed. We had great weather and great fun!Thursday we took the ferry to Hamilton for some shopping, and then bussed to the Old Swizzle Inn for lunch and some rum swizzles. Later we finished the bus trip to St Georges. We explored there, got on the free internet at the Post Office and then headed back to the Dockyard on the ferry. While we were on the ferry a man came up to the second deck to see if anyone was from the Caribbean Princess was onboard since she was still short 9 people. Evidently 5 of the 9 were downstairs on the ferry, as they ran the whole way back to their ship and did make it before it left. From our aft balcony we watched as another couple half walked, half ran back from the ferry/bus area about 5:10 pm. (They were supposed to depart at 5pm.) They did not make it on time. Another couple arrived by taxi a few minutes later to watch their ship leave without them. We watched for another 30 minutes but none of the 4 ever came back out of the terminal. We heard their next port was St. Thomas. All I can say is I hope they had their passports with them and not locked in the safe on its way to St Thomas. We enjoyed dinner with three other couples and the Hotel Director that night. Hugo is very interesting and he even offered to introduce our music major son to Larry, the Band Master. They had a nice long conversation (about 45 minutes) so who knows. Maybe someday soon Steve may be working onboard the Dawn. He gets his degree this December.Friday we headed to Horseshoe Bay Beach on the express bus. We spent a few hours there....it's still beautiful and the water was great. The water was slightly cooler than in October but still easy to get used to. Later DH, DSS and I headed to Gibbs Lighthouse while the rest took the bus back to Hamilton for more shopping. We got back to the ship at 3 and the kids showed up around 4. (We knew they were taking the 2:30 pm ferry back and then shopping at the Dockyard.) No one was taking any chances after watching 4 miss their ship the day before. DH and I headed to the Garden Cafe for cheese, fruit and bread for our sail-away party on our balconies. The kids hit the Blue Lagoon for wings and chicken strips to round out the menu. If we had to leave Bermuda, at least we could enjoy a little party while we did it!Saturday we had 7-10 foot waves for a few hours and Erin and Matt were feeling it. The rest of us were fine. Now we had to do the dreaded repack to go home. Boo, hiss! In consideration of the sicko's, we went to the Aqua for dinner that night (mid-ship). It was our second visit to the Aqua and we even got the same table as before. Service was on time and the food was hot. No complaints for any of the main venues. If fact, the only time we had to wait longer than 5 minutes for a table was at LeBistro (2 couples with separate reservations). We each waited 30 minutes past our reservation time of 8:30 to get seated. Unfortunately for Matt and Erin, they were seated next to a very rowdy, drunk family which put a damper on their engagement dinner. We ate anywhere between 6 and 8 in the MDR's and even with a group of 7 never waited more than 5 minutes to be seated. I'm not sure why they were so backed up at LeBistro considering reservations were made.All in all, aside from the late invite to the VIP party and the wait at LeBistro we had nothing to complain about. Everyone had a great time. We had great room stewards (towel animals every night except the first and last), great waiters. We loved the new menus. We had a fantastic time! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My wife and I took a trip on Norwegian Dawn out of NY for our Honeymoon on May17th to Bermuda. I am sorry to say that other than 2 of the shows we saw onboard Bermuda was the only good part of the trip. I have taken Carnival a number of ... Read More
My wife and I took a trip on Norwegian Dawn out of NY for our Honeymoon on May17th to Bermuda. I am sorry to say that other than 2 of the shows we saw onboard Bermuda was the only good part of the trip. I have taken Carnival a number of times. Most were fantastic , I had one bad trip but I did not expect much for a 7 day cruise for only $299, worse part is, it was much more enjoyable than the Dawn.             Lets start with the food. In the dining room, we had dinner twice, both times we walked out and went to Salsa restaurant and put up the extra money. Once because the food was awful and once because we waited over an hour and still had no meal. We went once for lunch and had a very tough steak. We went twice for breakfast, waited 45 minutes and left one time and had an ok breakfast the next. The food that was served at the buffets was about as bad as I have ever seen anywhere in my life. Have you guys ever heard of refrigeration? The cheese and cold cuts would go out about 11:00 AM and stay out until probably around 4:00 PM with no refrigeration!!!!!!!!!! The cheese was actually dried out and warm. The rest of the food on the hot bar was barely edible. If you are going to depart from New York with allot of New Yorkers on board you should make sure that if you have a place called the New York Deli that it somehow represents a NEW YORK DELI!!! Room temp cold cuts and bread ( not rye bread ) is not a New York Deli, especially all the disgusting hot dogs and sausages floating in dirty disgusting water, dirty water dogs is about all you had that was New York, you even had andoulli sausage which is a Cajun thing. The food we had at Salsa restaurant was amazing every time we went, but with a $1400 ticket for each of us I think it stinks that we had to pay to get good food. I saved the worst food story for last, the room service. I got a grilled cheese sandwich, that was 2 slices of white toast with one slice of a cheese product between the toast.  I got a burger, not bad if I am comparing it to McDonalds. The best was that out of about 12 containers of milk during my stay more than half were sour, once like cottage cheese. So, the only good food I had was at Salsa and in Bermuda, the rest was barely edible and at points sickening , I am surprised the health dept has not done something about your obvious refrigeration problems. P.S. Carnival had a New York Deli also, there was a person behind the counter making hot corned beef and pastrami sandwiches. They also had a free standing pizza counter making fresh pizza 10 times better than whatever it was you guys served.             Lets move to the room stewards. On Carnival I knew the names of my room stewards the first day on the boat and did not have one complaint about them for the entire trip. On the Dawn however, not so good. They never introduced themselves. They actually took dirty wet towels off the floor and folded them back up and put them on the shelf. There was dirty glasses and empty soda cans from the first day until the last day among allot of other garbage.             I found very few people on board spoke good English. That made it very hard to find our way around the boat. You also need allot of work on the way you disembark. I was one of the first people down because I wanted off the boat so bad but I was told to wait in the wrong spot and wound up at the end of the line.             Pretty much everything about your boat and company stinks and I am sure that neither I or anyone I know will ever be on a Norwegian ship again. When we got home we actually took a 2nd honeymoon to Delaware just so we could forget about our horrible exp. on your boat. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
First off, although this review is going to come out negative, I want to start by saying the staff, the facilities, shows, etc were all pretty much flawless for us.   We had no problems with anyone and enjoyed ourselves on our 7 day ... Read More
First off, although this review is going to come out negative, I want to start by saying the staff, the facilities, shows, etc were all pretty much flawless for us.   We had no problems with anyone and enjoyed ourselves on our 7 day Bermuda cruise on the Dawn.   Our problem all relate to NCL and maybe the whole "freestyle cruising" concept as it relates to us.   That and the nitpicking extra fees they hit you with everywhere.   It really did get to the point where my wife & I had running jokes about what extra things they'd charge you for next.As for background, this was my 3rd cruise (RC & a small local outfit in South America  a few years back).   My wife had also gone on a Holland America cruise and another NCL with her family prior to us getting married.   We had wanted to go to Bermuda and had considered flying but liked we could take one locally without having to book airline fares and could just take a train to NYC to catch it.   We weren't overly particular about when we went and booked online about a month prior after having considered the RC one out of Bayonne.   We liked the extra day this one offered in Bermuda and were actually as equally curious about trying a different linenot to say we had any problems with RC which was my first cruise about 3 years ago and I loved.   We booked a balcony and ended up on the 10th floor.Others have commented that the shows hadn't been updated or whatever.  We hadn't seen them so they were all new to us.   They were very good in our opinion.  Our room was always clean and our room steward couldn't have been friendlier.  The tours we took were fine (maybe pricey but we knew that when we booked).   Generally speaking the staff were friendly.   But that's about where the good really ends.As I said, we wanted the extra day in Bermuda so took NCL's trip vs the RC which only gave 2 days in Bermuda.  But why does this ship deliberately take an extra day to get there?   Out of Boston, they give 4 days in Bermuda on a 7 day trip.  And seeing as they return a day quicker than to get there, it's not an issue of distance to get there.  Do they just want you in their casinos an extra day?   Is it getting the docking at King's Wharf an extra day?  I really don't know, but is annoying.  But at least we knew this was the case up front.   But the things we didn't know all started to add up such that the "nit picks" became irritating.    Biggest on this list is the food.   If your a vegetarian like my wife, don't even consider this boat.   Unless you like buffet dining, you'll go away hungry.   She's no fanatic about pushing her views on others, but because the 2 general dining rooms have fixed menus every day of the week, she had one choice each on each of those menusand one was macaroni & cheese!!!!   Now they claim you can go to all the special restaurants but in checking the menu's on them, unless she wanted spaghetti (italian restaurant) or a vegetarian burrioto (tex mex), those were about the only other things she could get.  And you have to pay extra for that right!!!   No offense but vegetarian food is dirt cheap.  And you really don't have to be that creative to come up with some options.   She ended up eating appetizers for her ontray.   Put another way, on our 50 person cruise in south america, she had more choices than on this boat.   They said they just expanded the menus to be different at the 2 free restaurants.   Imagine having but one choice!   The buffet did offer more options but we aren't exactly the kind of people who want to eat in a buffet all the time.  I guess we are the kinds who do like to get dressed up for dinner from time to time.  But it was strange how half of the buffet was generally closed creating lines longer than need be.   And why they had to stick meat in things like hash browns was beyond her.   As I said, she's not pushy about those who eat meat with the exception of foir grois which she believes should be outlawed entirely as many places do.  Decide for yourself if you'll eat it, but as expected, this cruise line serves it.On the first day, we walked around the ship and got the tour of the gym, spa, etc.  Never saw such a hard sell to sign up for a spa/gym packages in our life.  Was probably the first hint of things to come.    Maybe the extra day at sea is to get you into the spa?   Or to buy a detox, botox, or accupuncture sessions.  As for the gym, we learned riding stationary bikes was extra, treadmills and elipticals free.  What's special about exercise bikes?   And organized classes were extra.   Later in the week she went to a "doctor run" program for toning trouble spots and it was another hard sell for detox sessions!Walking around the ship we found that table tennis was free (if the wind tunnel location allowed you to play), while billiards was pay.  Luckily the walking track (though funneled down at one end) and the jogging track (goes through the pool area so problem during crowded times) weren't something they could charge for.   And speaking of ship tours, they had a sign posted to "sign up for the backstage ship tour before it fills (extra fees apply)".   There were no fees for this on RC and they seemed proud to show off their ship.   How's giving a ship tour costing NCL anything???    On the first day they also try to sell you overpriced bottles of wine to drink on the cruise.   We passed and bought the wine by the glass method.   We preferred the RC method of buying a bottle off the menu (I think they had up front packages as well) and them holding leftovers for the next meal.  Maybe NCL does let you take the leftover bottles out with you, but if they don't, that's kind of screwy.  But since you don't know what "restaurant" you'll be in the next night, not sure how it would work if they don't.The next day was a rainout (maybe they were happy getting people into the casino).   We showed up at Bingo.  Now maybe we haven't kept up with technology but we kind of like the "joy" of punching the holes and getting one number away.   Well, what a shock when Bingo Boy basically told people, that you won't win if you get the paper cards and really need to buy the "show me the money" package.   Well, considering that paying double gets you some electronic gizmo that gets preloaded with like 100 electronic cards compared to the paper version of 6 punchout games, I can see why he would say that.   Your almost throwing away your money not upgrading (aka spending more).  But what's the fun in just sitting there watching a machine play?   Maybe that's how true gamblers do it, but frankly, they ruined the fun in even bingo for us.   The art "auction" was similar to what we had seen on RC.   Give you booze and hope you buy something.  Claim your getting a great deal.  Some of the art was even the same prints as on Royal Carribbean  (Max, etc).   Later in the cruise, the "deals" became better and more freebies given away (free until you learn about outrageous framing and shipping costs).   Anyway, I know that's a separate company doing it but still...   Just kind of falls in the same category.   Just like when we found out that the cruise line gets kickbacks by recommending certain island shops to buy at.   So much for claiming these are stores where we guarantee the quality (we found this out when we got the "register your purchases form" from NCL on the last day of the cruise and saw how they get promotional payments from the stores.)   Geez...   They also do the portrait thing.   The one we liked the best unfortunately was a cruise line advertisement.   We did end up taking our 2nd choice and the welcome aboard prints.  We just happened to luck out in buying them on the "sale day".   We didn't know that up front but as we should have expected, the longer you wait, the cheaper the pictures get as they try to get anything for them.The 2nd day at sea was bright and sunny and everyone grabbed seats by the pool.   Would have been nice if they enforced their rules about not allowing people to just hold chairs forever but they didn't.   We ended up being to late to get anything in viewing area of the pool area.   They did have the lunch "bbq" but nothing vegetarian.   I ate it, but we headed to the buffet yet again for my wife.One extreme positive was the embarkation in Bermuda.   Couldn't have been quicker.   Only complaint is the lack of warning that another big ship was coming into the dock the last day which created massive congestion trying to catch ferry & bus.  But did give us opportunity to talk to the people on the other boat.   Princess line.   Of course our interest was meals and they assured us their choices were way better for vegetarians and these people weren't even vegetarian.We did like the shows but my wife isn't much into improv so the 2nd city thing wasn't up her ally.   But the fact that part of the show was a "cutdown" sketch of Carnival Cruise was something really not needed.   It was nice deciding when you wanted to eat to decide on a day to day basis on what show to go to.   I'll give free styling that much.On the last day, they hit you for the gratuity bill.   We aren't cheap by any means but it still is resentful for them to decide how much they deserve.   We would have preferred to give our room stewards more and the restaurant staff less.  There's apparently no way to do this.Anyway, it's sad that things like this are the things I remember.   And it really wouldn't be that hard for them to fix.   But until they do, we really can't see us going on NCL again. 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Sail Date May 2009
My wife and I have taken several trips on the Dawn.  We've enjoyed each trip.  Everyone has different expectations and experiences.  But reading some of the negative reviews of the Dawn, I wonder if I was on the same ship as those ... Read More
My wife and I have taken several trips on the Dawn.  We've enjoyed each trip.  Everyone has different expectations and experiences.  But reading some of the negative reviews of the Dawn, I wonder if I was on the same ship as those people.  Lol.  The crew is extremely pleasant and accommodating.  The food at the main restaurants is very good.  My one complaint in the past has been lack of choices other than seafood dishes.  People, in the past, were generally only had one non seafood choice for dinner.  Thankfully, Norwegian has added an alternative menu which always has certain staple choices, chicken, steak, vegetables, salad, etc., on the menu.  It makes it much easier to find something delicious for those of us who don't like seafood or the exotic.  Great job by Norwegian! Boarding on the boat in the past has sometimes been a slow process.  This time we breezed through.  As experienced cruiser we know the buffet is a madhouse when you first board.  So we went down to the main restaurant for a more relaxed lunch.  After lunch we headed up to our room.   We checked out the Balcony.  Throughout the cruise, especially in port in Bermuda, my wife and I enjoyed sitting out on the balcony eating food or having a quiet drink.  Also Balcony and above rooms have the added benefit of being able to go to Aqua restaurant for breakfast.  We enjoyed this little perk and really liked waking up to a hearty breakfast in Aqua. The cabin stewards did a great job.  Room was kept clean and my wife enjoyed the towel animals.  J  I was pleased to see that most of the people who signed up for the cruise critic meet and greet showed up.  We had a fun time meeting our fellow cruise critics and exchanging gifts     At the meet and greet, I signed up for a lottery drawing for the chance to have dinner with one of the officers.  We were selected to have dinner with the ship doctor.  My understanding is that officers volunteer to have dinner with the passengers.  It's not required of them.  I have to say it was greatly appreciated by my wife and I.  Passengers are naturally curious about workings of the ship and people who run it.  So it's extremely nice of them to make the extra effort and give up their free time to dine with some passengers.  We really enjoyed meeting the ship's doctor and hearing some great stories from his world travels.  The highlight of the trip was when as an added bonus the comedian Dave Heenan, who is a friend of the doctor, joined us after his dinner.  We'd seen Mr. Heenan perform on the Crown and his show on the Dawn.  So we were fans of his.  Mr. Heenan had us all laughing hysterically as he told jokes or beat the doctor to the punch line.  Lol. My wife and I have visited Bermuda several times before.  By far and away the prettiest of all the islands.  As a lark we walked into the grocery store just to check out the differences in prices to back home.  I had heard food was expensive there but $8 for a loaf of bread is a little extreme.  Lol. If you like lounging around by the pool, the pool area can be over crowded.  The weather was only swimming weather the days we were in port in Bermuda.  So over crowding of pool area wasn't an issue this cruise.  But one of the areas all cruise lines need to improve is the pool areas.  They need larger pools or multiple pools, one just for children who can get in the way of adults, along better seating arrangements. The weather was beautiful.  Just a touch windy but back home was rainy so who cares.  J  We explored the island the paradise.  Unfortunately, the ferry breaking down upset many people who needed to get back to their boat, Jewel of the Seas.  Luckily, our boat wasn't leaving soon but passengers of the Jewel of the Seas were very concerned.  It severed as a reminder to us to make sure we leave plenty of time to get back from exploring the island on our own. Disembarkation was breeze with express.  No wait at all.  If you can carry your own bags, you'll probably be off the boat in minutes once passengers are allowed to disembark. All in all one of best cruise experiences.  We're looking forward to maybe going to Canada in the fall or some other warm paradise before then.  Great to meet everyone from Cruise Critic and we hope you made it home safely.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My husband and I are new to cruising as this was our honeymoon cruise. What a voyage!!Embarkation: We arrived by shuttle that was provided by our travel agency. We were there about an hour earlier before they started boarding. This was ... Read More
My husband and I are new to cruising as this was our honeymoon cruise. What a voyage!!Embarkation: We arrived by shuttle that was provided by our travel agency. We were there about an hour earlier before they started boarding. This was when I noticed that the motion sickness patch was making my right eye dilated. I looked like a lunatic at the time, but am laughing about it now.. :) After they started boarding, we were on the ship in about 30 minutes. They sanitized our hands and handed us a glass of champagne, which is a really nice touch.We headed over to the Venetian for lunch and had a nice sit down lunch with a great waiter named "Jordy."After lunch, we hung out by the pool in the sheltered area (it was raining) and enjoyed the sail away as we saw the Statue Of Liberty for the first time. It was definitely a moment to remember.Atrium: The atrium is absolutely gorgeous! It is a great spot to people watch and enjoy a cup of coffee at the Java Cafe!Cabin: We had a Mini Suite on deck 11. Our room was lovely and spacious. My husband is 6'4" and it suited him as well. Our Stewards Mark and Sopi were very efficient and friendly. The bathroom amenities were luxurious. The shower gel is very cooling for sunburned skin! The bed was a little firmer than what we are used to,but we slept well. I liked the drapes. They were black out drapes that made the room nice and dark for sleeping. We had an adequate balcony. We used it every chance we could. It was nice to hear the sea going by. We had towel animals 5 of the 7 nights. They were a nice surprise!Food: Food is always subjective. That being said, we had some meals that were fantastic, some that were good and one we didn't like.Venetian: Delicious food and great service. We had the steak, tilapia, ribs, and pasta. All were wonderful. It was a beautiful room and it felt like were in one of the old fancy restaurants from an Audrey Hepburn movie.Aqua: We had breakfast twice in this room since it was included in the balcony rooms. There was really no way to know this unless one reads the boards. NCL doesn't go out of their way to tell one this. The food was good and the service was pretty good. We also had a great dinner here. The "Surf and More Surf" was amazing!Garden Cafe: We ate here quite often. We had breakfast here 3 times. Lunch and dinner about 3-4 times We liked the selection and the food was nice and hot.Bimini Grill: We had a late lunch here once. The food was ok, but they were pushy on the booze. We're not big drinkers, yrt they were VERY pushy for us to get a bucket of beer. Ordering one beer is like pulling teeth.Specialty Restaurants:Le Bistro: We had this for our Honeymoon package. The meal was very tasty. I had the steak and my DH had the Salmon. Both were great. I tried the escargot appetizer. That was decadent and delicious. Impressions: this was our least favorite restaurant. My DH wanted butter with our rolls and the waitress rolled her eyes like it annoying to her. She practically insisted we wanted oil and vinegar instead.The oil and vinegar tasted rancid. We ordered the Lobster Ravioli and we both didn't like it. The sauce was strange to us and left a strange aftertaste. Our Maitre D came over and we explained to him what we didn't like about the dish. He offered to get another entree, but we declined as we decided to go to another restaurant. We didn't tell him about the waitress, because we didn't want to get her in trouble, and perhaps that was just a slip-up. Spa: We enjoyed the couples spa pass. We loved the hot tubs, lap pool and the view. The view of the wake was amazing! Especially as we were leaving Bermuda!Entertainment: Bollywood was fantastic! The Tina Turner impersonator was good. We also enjoyed Bingo Boy. He was funny, if not a bit insane:) We saw the variety show with Dave Heenan and the Magician (I can't remember his name.) Both were entertaining. Movie selection on the TV was a bit repetitive and blah.DH would have loved to have some of the more recent movies that are out in the theaters now in the cinema.Bermuda: Lovely and beautiful. We enjoyed the Island Tour. It was 5 hours. Our guide was very informative. We saw the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, the many beautiful beaches, and St. George. We enjoyed Harbor Nights in Hamilton. We sunbathed at Snorkel Bay.We LOVED the Maritime Museum. It was a very large museum. We loved the care they took to make it beautiful. We only paid 10.00 to get in and we got a discount with our boarding card. It was the best deal on the whole island. Do not do the cruise sponsored excursion. Just go there at your leisure. The history there is amazing!Overall Cruise Experience:  We did get seasick on the last sea day. I was able to get the medicine and we were able to rest until it kicked in. There was a huge line at the reception desk, and the sweet woman at the excursion desk was kind enough to run and get some dramamine for us!Other than the motion sickness, we loved the experience. We found it to be a wonderful way to get our new life started! For a milestone anniversary we shall definitely cruise NCL again! The Dawn was gorgeous. She may be an older girl, but she is definitely a beauty! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My wife and I are 50+ and our son is 21 with down syndrome generally speaking we were pleased with our first cruise on NCl.I will start with the positives and get to the negatives later.Embarkation:     This went very smoothly. We were ... Read More
My wife and I are 50+ and our son is 21 with down syndrome generally speaking we were pleased with our first cruise on NCl.I will start with the positives and get to the negatives later.Embarkation:     This went very smoothly. We were with a group and arrived by bus at 1:45. We were completely through the process and in our cabin by 2:15 with champagne and OJ in hand.The staff involved in embarkation were very friendly and helpful.cabin:   We had a minisuite on deck 11 aft. The cabin wasn't the largest we've stayed in but was large enough for the three of us. We had a queen size bed for the two of us and my son had the pull out couch which was fine for him. The bathroom was average in size but had a tub-shower and toilet that were separated by sliding doors. My son brought his portable DVD player with DVDs but only used it twice.The TV had two movie channels which my son used often.Our cabin steward was Marlon. He was very friendly and did his best to meet our needs. We always had ice without asking. He cleared out the minifridge so we could fill it with our soda.The balcony was small but I really enjoyed sitting out on the balcony with coffee and a novel.Entertainment:    We didn't catch all the shows but found the shows we did see to be excellent.The dancers,singers,comics,magician all did a fantastic job. Don't miss Fountains, this was our favorite all week. We did participate in the bingo sessions and actually won two bingos.Other reviewers complain of the high cost. The lowest price package was $34 and the highest varied between $89 and $124.What kept us coming back to the sessions was Sinon(Bingo Boy). He was very entertaining.  The casino was a lot of fun the blackjack tables had $5 and $10 minimums as well as larger amounts.My wife loved the slots and did quite well.The dealers and staff were very friendly.   We went to the Spinnaker lounge at night. The music was great. My son loves to dance and he doesn't care if it's with someone else or by himself.He was often stopped by fellow cruisers saying Oh you're the dancer.   Shona was the CD.She was very friendly.She was able to get people involed with out being pushy.Dining:    We ate most dinners in the Venetian.We found the food to be good to very good.We ate at the Garden Cafe and found the food selection and quality to be good for a buffet. Because we had a balcony cabin we were able to eat breakfast in the Aqua restaurant.We found this to be exceptional.We also ate several times at the Blue Lagoon. This was a comfort food venue so the food was typical for fast food places. We didn't eat at the extra chge restaurants but my sister-in-law ,who was with our group,did and she really liked Cagney's.    There were some negatives that took place on the cruise. The biggest one happened our first day in Bermuda. My wife fell and broke her wrist. We walked right back to the ship to the infirmary. The staff did a great job but because of the break we had to go to the ER in Bermuda. We spent our first day there. the staff at the ER were great.The Doctor wanted to operate but said we could wait until we got home.They put her in a soft cast. My wife will be operated on tomorrow. This was one of the reasons we didn't eat in any of the pay restaurants.The second day we stayed on board and relaxed by the pool.The third day in Bermuda we walked around King"s Wharf and visited the shops. Although we missed the beaches this was our 9th trip to Bermuda so we had been there before.   The only other major negative was having to wait in line to dine. The most convenient time for us to dine was at 6:30.There was always a line.There has to be a better way.Maybe using a beeper .They wouldn't let you make reservations until after 8 PM.They did try to push the pay restaurants so that it felt that if you wanted better food you should eat there.   All in all, the ship was beautiful and spotless and the crew and staff great but we prefer regular dining over the freestyle.         Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Penthouse 11060Travelers:  Friends aged 65, 58, 54 and 53Pre-Cruise Stay in New York: 5/14-17/09We flew in/out of LaGuardia and booked ground transportation with Dial 7.  Rates were very similar to what we would have paid for taxi ... Read More
Penthouse 11060Travelers:  Friends aged 65, 58, 54 and 53Pre-Cruise Stay in New York: 5/14-17/09We flew in/out of LaGuardia and booked ground transportation with Dial 7.  Rates were very similar to what we would have paid for taxi service.  Since there were four of us with luggage, we were picked up in a mini-van.  Dial 7 was prompt, courteous and clean.  We arranged for their transportation from hotel to port and port to airport after the cruise as well.We booked the hotel on our own and obtained a great deal on the Hilton website at the Waldorf=Astoria.  At booking, we agreed to take an e-upgrade, if available at check-in for a stated dollar amount (much less than the standard rate).  Upon check-in, we were upgrade to a full 1-bedroom suite (the upgrade offer had been for a mini-suite) for the rate we had agreed to on-line at time of booking.  The suite consisted of one bedroom (two queen-sized beds), a living room, and two full bathroomsthis was great for four women.  The Waldorf is approximately 15 minutes from the port.This was the first time we had stayed in a suite with butler and concierge service.  We have stayed in inside, outside, and balcony cabins previously.  I stayed with my sister, niece and another friend in the Presidential Suite on the Norway the winter before her accident.  The upgrade fairy visited that time with a remarkable offer. The Norway had concierge service but not butler service.EMBARKATIONWe arrived at the port at approximately 11:40 a.m. and were escorted onboard by our concierge, Anshuwan, within 20 minutes.  We went directly to Cagney's for lunch.  By the time we had finished eating, the announcement had been made that the staterooms were ready.PENTHOUSEThe penthouse consisted of a master bedroom (king-sized bed which I understand was very comfortable) and a flat screened TV with DVD player, a HUGE master bathroom with windows from the shower and whirlpool bathtub overlooking the ocean, a TV over the bathtub, a large vanity with double sink and dressing table area, large closet and a great deal of storage space.  Bathrobes were provided (for both bedrooms) and slippers for those in the master bedroom.  It was absolutely lovely and the master bathroom was simply fabulous!The living room had another TV with DVD player, two chairs, sofa and coffee table.  We found the furniture all to be very comfortable.  The dining area had a small table with four chairs.  The coffee maker was easy to use and we found that we liked the tea capsules rather than the espresso/coffee capsules.  We had fresh fruit delivered daily as well as evening snacks.  The flower arrangement in the cabin lasted the entire week.The second bedroom was a small inside cabin with limited storage space (three drawers and a small closet area, a bath with stool/sink/shower.  This bedroom can sleep threea pull-out sofa (double) and an upper berth.  Two adult women were fine in this bedroom as the only time spent in there was to sleep, shower and change.The balcony had two full loungers and a small table.DININGAs suite holders, we were able to have breakfast and lunch at Cagney's.  The food was great and service excellent.  I have never seen shrimp as large as those served in the shrimp cocktails.  This is a very nice perk for those staying in suites.We ate in both main dining rooms and found the food to be excellent.  This was the first week that Norwegian rolled out their new menus.  Each dining room has its own menu that remains the same throughout the week (the two menus are slightly different from one another) and daily specials.  The daily specials were the same for both dining rooms.  Since the food was exceptionally good, we did not see the need to spend extra for specialty dining.  We did go to the Jazz Brunch ($15 surcharge) and enjoyed it very much.  We did not wait for longer than a few minutes to be seated in either dining room but we chose to dine either early or later not during the rush from 6:30-8:00.  You can count on it taking 1-1/2 or 2 hours for complete dinner service.  The first evening there was a long line at the Venetian so we went to Aqua and were seated immediately.  Since we had butler service, we did have dinner in our cabin twice.The Chocoholic Buffet was okaynot anything like the buffet of years ago though.SERVICEOur room steward was nice and did an adequate job of cleaning.  I had the feeling he was fairly new to his position though.  We had towel animals most nights.Our concierge, Anshuwan, was wonderful.  We found him to be very pleasant and personable.  We only used his services a couple of times in making reservations.  He even stopped by the Jazz Brunch to check on us and make sure everything was okay.Our butler was Huda.  We cannot say enought about him.  He truly goes above and beyond.  One of the women in our group was celebrating her birthday on the Sunday of our return.  I ordered a birthday cake for her to be served our last night (Saturday) as a surprise and we ordered dinner in the cabin.  Huda served dinner, cleared the table, sat it again with a clean tablecloth spread with rose petals and brought the cake in singing her Happy Birthday.  He also brought our friend five long stem red roses.  Talk about making someone's trip ...We found all the crew on the Norwegian to be extremely friendly.SPAWe purchased the spa passes for the week $150 for two or $99 per person.  It was well worth the money.  The Dawn has an indoor lap pool, two hot tubs and lounge chairs overlooking floor to ceiling windows in the co-ed area.  There are separate male/female areas with changing rooms, steam room, sauna and a relaxation room with the most comfortable chairs.  The relaxation room was very quiet and a great place to read and relax.  The spa was open 8a-10p on port days and 8a-8p on sea days.BERMUDAWe did not take any of the tours offered by Norwegian choosing to go off on our own since we were docked for two nights at King's Whart.  The bus/ferry pass runs $28 for three days for adults.  The public transportation was excellent.We took a complete taxi tour of the island.  Our driver/tour guide was Arther.  He had lived in Bermuda his entire life and was very knowledgeable.  We took our time, made many stops, took lots of pictures and got to meet some of the local people.  We were with Arthur for approximately 5-1/2 hours.  We especially enjoyed seeing all the beaches and the botanical gardens.  It ran $35-40 per hour if I remember correctly.  We ended our tour in Hamilton and did some light shopping, had a late lunch and took the ferry back to the Dockyard after enjoying a little of the Hamilton nights.The second day we took the ferry back to St. George's to walk around a bit more, took a tour of the Bermuda perfumery, had lunch at a restaurant on the water and then went back to the ship to change to visit the beaches.  The water was a bit cool at first, but we quickly got used to it and found it pleasant.  We took a long stroll down the beaches.  Unfortunately we didn't have long enough to do the entire pathway between the south shore beaches.  There were a few sprinkles of rain while we were on the bus back to the Dockyard, just enough that the driver had to periodically swipe with his windshield wipers but it had stopped by the time we made it back to the ship.Friday we spent exploring the Dockyard shops, had lunch at Cagney's and then spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing at the spa.ENTERTAINMENTCannot really comment as we only saw parts of a few shows.  We did attend the afternoon program to see Fountains.  WEATHERThe first night and sea day were overcast and cool with moderate ocean waves.  A little rough but not too bad.  The remaining sea days were nice and waves were slight.  It was in the middle 70's in Bermuda.  The weather was perfect not too hot or too cold.SUMMARYOverall, I would say the service and food were much better this year on the Dawn than what I experienced last year on the Jewel.  The only negatives, which were minor, were that the phone in the second bedroom did not work and was not repaired while were were on board.  Also, it was interesting that the remote for the television in the living room would also activate the TV in the master bedroom.  So, the early birds that slept in the second bedroom did not feel that they could turn on the TV in the living room as it inevitably turned on the master bedroom TV and woke the two that were sleeping.Two of us purchased the future cruise rewards certificate.  I think Bermuda is in our future again ... 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Sail Date May 2009
Just got back from the 5/24-5/31 7-day NY-Bermuda on the Norwegian Dawn.  My third cruise.  First was Pacific Princess (the actual "Love Boat" for its final season in 2002 NY-Bermuda), which was fantastic.  Second was a ... Read More
Just got back from the 5/24-5/31 7-day NY-Bermuda on the Norwegian Dawn.  My third cruise.  First was Pacific Princess (the actual "Love Boat" for its final season in 2002 NY-Bermuda), which was fantastic.  Second was a Carnival megaship NY-Caribbean, did NOT like it at all.  The Norwegian Dawn was fabulous, the ship, the crew, the entertainment...pretty much everything.The FoodOthers have criticized the food.  Well, the food wasn't awful, and the specialty restaurants have better fare, especially the steaks at Cagney's (had the rib eye...superb!).  The Venetian and Aqua restaurants were just fine, and even the Garden Cafe food was good.  Are you going to get great at a buffet?  No.  But the variety was very good, and unless you want gourmet everyday, the Garden Cafe and other standard no-fee restaurants sufficed.  More than sufficed.  The pool deck BBQs were very good.Condition of shipVery, very well-kept.  6-1/2 years old (which, at least to me, doesn't sound very old at all!), and it's kept in impeccable shape.  And it's gorgeous, beautifully designed and easy to navigate (excuse the pun).  Also very clean, very impressively so.StateroomWe were lucky and got upgraded to a Penthouse Suite, #9236, one of the Penthouse Suites in the aft.  Very roomy, extra-wide teak deck, very, very comfortable, beautifully designed, tons of storage.  And the butler and concierge service...I don't know how I'll ever be able to cruise without that again!  He's mentioned elsewhere on cruisecritic, our butler Anoop was just superb!!!  Always there, whatever you want, and everything is done quickly.  Amazing guy with a wonderful personality and smile.  Our concierge Anshuman also made things happen for us.  Really, between these two guys, there was nothing we had to arrange for ourselves.  The rest of the crew also very hard-working and very pleasant.EntertainmentVery good to great.  Stardust Theatre shows were fun, not too corny.  Bollywood show had some fantastic acrobatics.  The absolute BEST entertainment on the ship...Fire and Ice.  Run, don't walk, to all of their shows!!!  Amazing talent.  Don't miss it!Pool / Fitness Center / Spa / Kids areaDidn't use spa, except for a treatment, which was very good.  Not an annoying hard-sell for products, either; no more expensive that other cruises and spas in general.  Rest of spa looked nice enough, some friends used it daily and loved it.  Outdoor pool was a good size, good amount of hot tubs.  Crowded, but not overwhelmingly so.  Seemed there were always places to sit, especially in the front "quiet" deck.  Kiddie pool was very well-done, and the kids seemed to stay there for the most part.  But not a lot of kids on this cruise.  Sure to change as season continues and kids are out of school.  Fitness center good size, got machines and equipment I wanted to use most of the time.After this cruise, I would definitely book another Norwegian Cruise.  Very satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
The week before my cruise left,  someone came on this board ranting about how bad the Dawn was, with no supporting facts. I am not saying the ship is terrible, but it is lacking. I am not a really picky traveler- But I am very observant, ... Read More
The week before my cruise left,  someone came on this board ranting about how bad the Dawn was, with no supporting facts. I am not saying the ship is terrible, but it is lacking. I am not a really picky traveler- But I am very observant, and really get peeved when the basics are missed. A little background, my husband and I love to travel. We are 38/43 y/o and have no children. We take at least 3 vacations a year, with at least one being a cruise or all inclusive to someplace warm. We are native New Yorkers. NCL Dawn: This is a ship that was built for Free Style Cruising. I have free styled before on the NCL Sea in 2001, but that ship was not built for Free Style. This was my 5th Cruise .  We sailed from NY to Bermuda for 7 days starting on May 17th 2009. We missed the staff at the meet and greet for Cruise Critics- we were a bit late.. but it was nice to meet other  reviewers. I almost feel bad my review is so negative, but nothing really impressed me about this ship ROOMs/SERVICE: Balcony Cabin 9180: Check in went very smooth and quick. Our room was 'ready' by 2:00pm. As I was putting my luggage under the bed- I discovered the mat that should have been put on the bed, to protect the bedding from the luggage.(Little late) . Check out bathroom - the shower had not been cleaned. There was still someone's belongings in there (empty shampoo bottle, a scrunchy, used wash cloth-)  I call housekeeping and report it. Leave for about 2 hours ,return, still the same. After  turn down service = still the same. Called again.. Next morning's scheduled cleaning finally took care of it, after I left a note stuck to the shower door. (don't forget to pack the post it notes!) This is the first cruise we have been on that we NEVER met our room steward, don't know his name. and wasn't too impressed with the service.  As the week went on, we never had our allotted towel supply (2 bath and 2 face and 2 wash clothes) . We always had to dismantle the towel animals to replenish our towel supply.  (are they kidding??) it was VERY frustrating. I should have lowered his tip - but I know he worked hard to keep the room clean and gets paid squat.. so I didnt make a big deal out of it. Compared to Carnival: The rooms are definitely smaller.. On the plus side though- the balcony has sliders (on Carnival they have swing doors which take up space) .and the chairs on the deck are much more comfortable.  They don't have the magnetized door stop (common on Carnival) so there is a lot more door slamming- as people coma and go from their cabins. Kiwi - the 'shopping ' guru- supplied wrong facts about where ships were going to be in port - we all awoke Friday am to the Princess   Caribbean Princess being in port and another 3,000 people trying to get to other 'parts' of Bermuda.  He recommended everyone go to St George on Friday since there will be no ships there, well we went on Wednesday and watched the last ship leave, and had the whole town to ourselves. If you waited til Friday- the wait for the ferry/bus would be crazy.  Sinan "Bingo Boy-" Assistant Cruise Director thinks "bleating' like a goat is a pleasant thing to hear multiple times over - and the MSOT annoying giggle. White Hot party- last day at sea, tell us at end of cruise to save something white to wear.. petty, but annoying! If you purchased liquor on board, you have to line up and pick it up yourself the last night at sea. It was highly unorganized and again disappointing. Hundreds of bags/boxes lined up in no particular order. SPA: Upon arriving on the ship I wanted to make my appointment. I am offered the first one tomorrow morning.. The appointment was for 8:00 am then later that evening they announced we had to set our clocks ahead- which meant I had to get up for a 7:00 am  appt. (she could have mentioned that!) . They also promised a wakeup call- which never happened. Had I missed my appointment I would have had to pay. Luckily my brain was still in 'work mode' and woke me up at 5:45- which was now 6:45- so I made it to my appt in time. The hot stone massage was okay. The room was noisy- the music was too tinny  .Music not very 'spa-ey' almost Mexican lots of drums. Someone was vacuuming the room next door!! SHIP LAYOUT: On the deck with most of the restaurants and lounges, casino etc.. it is a very congested layout. It has everyone funneling thru a very tight space-  make a left then a right - at the 'intersection' is the entry to Le Bistro and outside this area is a lounge so people stop to listen to the music and it creates amazing congestion.  Poor use of deck space: Wide open spaces with no chairs- very few 'shady' spots. Don't get me started on the Garden Villas (end of review) Walking track- 7th level Promenade- tunnel-like one lane wide at some points. Jogging Track - 13th level - goes thru upper pool deck - very heavy traffic /obstacles. FOOD: RESTAURANTS: The champagne when you board-  nice touch. Sprinkles: Ice Cream Parlor- open 12 - 5. And one scoop is basically a tablespoon of ice cream. I finally learned to ask for 3 scoops so some ice-cream would actually peak out of the top of the cone. I guess I got  spoiled with the self serve 24 on Carnival ships- although  they had interesting flavors and it's not soft serve. Cannot comment on the soft serve at the buffet, since it never seemed open when I was there. Trying to save money- decided to try Aqua- there was a 45 minute wait for a table. (6:30 arrival) Venetian for Breakfast- watery scrambled eggs from the buffet.. Venetian for Dinner- very good. Food is on par with other ships. Food in Dining Rooms is equivalent to Carnival , although service again was questionable. Slow, disorganized. But not too bad. Same food everynight with one 'specail' lacks imagination and kind of forces people to buffet it or pay for it. Formal Night.. it was a little weird the wait-staff was wearing T-shirts advertising the Monte Carlo pm. Even the piped in music in the Venetian dining room was WEIRD - U2- Talking Heads, Elton John- its like someone's ipod set on random..Make a play list! With dinner appropriate music Chocolate Buffet- all 4 stations of the Garden Cafe are open, but for most meals only one station was open and the dessert was clear on the other side of the ship. Pool Side BBQ- the daily newsletter says it is open from Noon until whenever and my husband and I joked that it would be opt until 'whenever- Joann gets there' needless to say it closed right when we decided to eat which was 1:30. I wouldn't exactly call that 'whenever' Blue Lagoon: open 24 hours. When the whole day was a wash due to rain, the dining room was only open for 1.5 hours for lunch (ok on a sunny day- cause most people are not going to dress to go eat) but they need to recognize it's raining and people may want to take advantage of the dining room. We went to Blue Lagoon and it was Crazy busy. This is just poor planning. PAY RESTAURANTS: Cagney's- Outstanding steak. Excellent service. Outstanding food. Delicious.                       Teppanyaka-our chef must have still been in training- he wasn't very good at the 'show' of the hibachi table. The food was excellent.  I feel NCL had a good concept for free style, but have turned it into an opportunity to charge more money for what was once standard in cruising. The lack of menu choices, the waits, I truly am not a convert to Free Style. I missed shows due to unexpected waits for tables. I really don't think I mind knowing I have to eat at 6:30 with a bunch of strangers, since I know after that I will get to see the show. I don't see it as a 'schedule' as much as a 'no-brainer' - as opposed to figuring our where are you going to eat and fit in the show also. SHOWS: First show of the cruise, Kevin Neenen, He was very funny, but seating was tough - everyone stuck to the end of the rows and they should have asked people to move in to allow every seat to be filled . Luckily we had eaten at Tappenyaki and we had met  a very nice family who had booked  a Garden Villa-(more on that later), so we got to sit with them in their reserved seats. The Band on the Run show was very entertaining. Missed most of the other due to conflicts with dinner/other commitments. TOURS: Bus Tour- Overview of Bermuda. Okay but its basically a 5-hour bus ride around Bermuda, with some interesting tidbits thrown in. Can't say it's worth the money, a  good tour book and the daily pass for the buses and ferry could have accomplished the same thing for a lot less price. But we did stop in St. George on a Good day when there were no boats in dock . Glass Bottom Bermuda Triangle- Captain Kirk - Tells us most Bermudians, don't believe in Bermuda Triangle, but  quick enough to sell the tour. Suppose to be a cash bar- one drink and then they had none left. Expected more information on the Bermuda Triangle. Same information from the bus tour was hoping for more affordable drinks- wound up with one free Rum Swizzle. Ferries- and Buses- buy the daily pass and go explore. The buses all link and the ferries are very relaxing. Everyone is helpful . The review of my ship basically ends here- unless you are interested in the Garden Villa cabins. Any questions feel free to contact me. The Garden Villa- We had met 'Ed' and after the show on the first night he invited us to his cabin for a nightcap. I'm thinking I couldn't invite someone to my balcony cabin cause someone of the 3 would have to sit on the bed. But we take the elevator (need a room key to access the 14th deck!) Keeping in mind I did not see the 'bedroom's" this was the most AMAZING space on a ship, but also the BIGGEST waste of space. Just keep in mind, while laying around the pool, those curved mirrored windows overlooking you is the Garden Villas! As you enter and turning to the left you pass the 3 bedrooms (each with its own Bathroom- with tubs and showers) then a full galley (that's ship-talk for a kitchen) you then enter this grand space.. a dining room table, serving area, grand piano, huge desk (laptop and internet provided) full bar - choice of 6 bottles. couch, various chairs.. AMAZING. It includes full butler and concierge service, and room service from the restaurant menus if that is what you want. If you were to go to the right and thru the next door you are now in the 'garden' full 8 person Jacuzzi, 2 picnic tables that seat 6 and 4 respectfully. 4 lounge chairs with cushions (much better than those on the deck) a trellis with vines - a sauna.. statuary, fountains.. you get the picture! You can then climb the stairs and there is a TREMENDOUS deck - the equivalent of the Sports deck from the back of the ship- which is just wide-open space! Unbelievable.. this was truly over the top, and this guy agreed, there is no point in this space!!I truly felt like I was traveling in steerage after visiting this mecca of indulgence Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We were very disappointed with the overall experience.  We were big fans of freestyle cruising prior to this cruise.  NCL has made several changes to the Freestyle Cruise program which we were told became effective recently.  Here is a ... Read More
We were very disappointed with the overall experience.  We were big fans of freestyle cruising prior to this cruise.  NCL has made several changes to the Freestyle Cruise program which we were told became effective recently.  Here is a listing of what we didn't like about the changes:- You now have to pay a cover charge for ALL of the alternative dining options.  The last time we cruised the Dawn there were 2 alternative restaurants that were free.  We were told by the cruise representatives that the food quality is now better.  We refused to pay extra to eat at a different restaurant, so I can't comment on the food quality at the specialty restaurants.- They have changed the menus in the 2 main restuarants.  The menus are totally different, but don't change during the entire 7 nights.  They claim that they are now offerring their most popular dishes every night, but we found it to be very boring and ended up eating the same thing over and over again.  We think this is a way to try and make you eat in one of the specialty restaurants where there is an additional cover charge.- The service in the restaurants was not very good and dinner took forever.  The restaurants are crowded because there are no free alternative choices.- The buffet was horrible.  The tables were dirty, they didn't keep up on cleaning up and they were always out of clean cups and silverware.  They closed half of the buffet early to switch over from breakfast to lunch making the other side very crowded.  One morning they started the switch over just after 10 AM.  The dinner buffet was very disappointing, the choices were no better than lunch.- The per day gratuity charge has increased from $10 per person to $12 per person and now they have made kids a full gratuity charge.  We paid $12 per day for our 9 year old and my sister paid $12 per day for my 3 year old nephew.  The kids charge used to be half.- The spa is very expensive and they no longer allow you use of the heated pool/hot tub facilities with a treatment.  If you want to use the entire facility, you pay a cover charge of $100 per person or $150 per couple to use the facility for the week.- The entertainment was very poor.  We were last on the Dawn three years ago and the shows and comedian were the same as back then.  You would think they would change it up a little.  There is no entertainment during the day unless you want to pay for bingo.  NCL has taken the theory that they discount the cruise and then make up for it on the extras once you get on board.  If you plan to book a cruise with NCL, add about $200 - $300 per person to the cost of the cruise when comparing with other cruise lines.  We cruised NCL frequently in the past because of the NCL mastercard rewards program.  They also changed this effective January 2009, significantly decreasing the rewards.  We will most likely try a different cruiseline in the future.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My husband and I cruised on the Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda last week (May 3, 2009). I am 32 and my husband is 38. This was our first cruise with Norwegian. Together, we have cruised once on Carnival. My husband has cruised with his family ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda last week (May 3, 2009). I am 32 and my husband is 38. This was our first cruise with Norwegian. Together, we have cruised once on Carnival. My husband has cruised with his family on Carnival and Celebrity. I found the Cruise Critic website when I was searching for reviews of the Norwegian Dawn and my husband and I had a lovely cruise thanks to all of your reviews. We knew exactly what to search out and what to avoid before we even boarded. Thanks to everyone who posted a review. They were invaluable. Embarkation: We live 15 minutes from NYC, so my in-laws dropped us off at the pier at 11:00 a.m. We left our 4 bags with the baggage handler (as well as a nice tip) and headed into the terminal. Not many passengers were arriving this early, so there really weren't any lines to wait on. There was more than enough terminal and Norwegian staff to usher us from one step to the next. The whole process took about 15 minutes. We were given a Freestyle Daily and directed to a waiting area until boarding began at 12:15. When we stepped on board, we were warmly greeted with our choice of champagne or orange juice. My husband and I found our way to the Venetian (main dining room) and sat down to a lovely lunch with our champagne still in hand. By dessert, the announcement was made that the cabins were ready (about 1:30). Stateroom: Our cabin was a mid-ship obstructed oceanview on deck 8. I had purchased the Anniversary Package (more on that later) and a bottle of chilled champagne and 5 small chocolate covered strawberries were waiting on the table for us. The cabin was very clean. The size was a bit of a shock at first but we quickly got used to the small accommodations. There is a lot of storage space - very large closet with space for hanging things and shelves inside, 6 drawers for clothes, quite a few shelves scattered around. We managed to find space for all of our things (and we are heavy packers). Our 4 suitcases all fit inside one another and took up only half of bottom of the closet. The bathroom was a nice size and there was plenty of storage space for toiletries, one shelf over the sink and two below. Our cabin stewards, Reginald and his assistant, Sammy?, introduced themselves within the first few minutes of our arrival. We were always greeted by name and we always received a friendly hello from our stewards. The guys did a wonderful job and any request that we made was taken care of immediately. We got towel animals 4 of the 7 nights and cabin was made up and turned down every day and night. We never had to request fresh towels. Reginald was right on top of everything. From reading reviews prior to sailing, we knew to bring an adaptor since there is only one American outlet and our travel alarm clock/sound machine. Always make sure that the curtains are closed prior to changing because (trust us) the staff do check those life boats. One thing to note, there is a lot of creaking and tapping in the cabin. Light sleepers, I suggest bringing a sound machine. We used ours every night and still heard noises throughout the night. We both found the bed to be very comfortable. Dining: Overall, we were very satisfied with the food and the selections. We did our research prior to sailing, so we fully expected the additional charges for specialty restaurants and planned accordingly. We were surprised by the number of children on this cruise. Being that is was the first week of May and not near any school break, I would say that there were more children than we expected. I can honestly say that we did not have even one meal (including the specialty restaurants) where children were not present at tables directly next to us or tables close by. The Venetian is the main dining room and has no charge. We had 1 lunch, 1 dinner, and 3 breakfasts here. Dinner was on lobster night and the portion was very small, but I'm sure that we could have asked for another serving. Other reviewers had said that the service was slow. I didn't find the service to be slow, but did notice that the servers were not as friendly as in specialty restaurants. The chilled fruit soups were very good (except for the carrot and orange - trust me on this). A small thing that did get on our nerves quite a bit was that if you asked for condiments, the server would apply it for you. My husband asked for ketchup and the server returned with a bowl of ketchup and spooned it onto his plate. I asked for syrup and the server returned with the syrup and without asking poured it on my pancakes as well as my omelette and bacon. The next morning, a different server tried to do the same thing. Who puts syrup on an omelette? The Garden Cafe is the buffet and also has no charge. We ate 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 1 dinner here. It was typical buffet food and with a large selection. The pizza was awesome here. Expect a fair amount of aggravation due to the general rudeness of some passengers. There will be line cutting. It will be loud. It will be crowded. So just brace yourself, because there is some good food to be had. The Chocolate Buffet was a madhouse. It started at 10:00, but by that time, the line was already into the hall and up the stairwell. Many people had to take their plates elsewhere due to the large number of people who were done eating but chose to linger at tables chatting away over empty plates while others wandered about looking for a place to sit. The Blue Lagoon is the 24 hour diner and also has no charge. We ate 1 lunch and a snack here. I had read great reviews about their buffalo wings. My husband is a buffalo wing addict and was very excited by the prospect of 24 hour access to unlimited wings. He didn't care for the first order of wings. His description of the sauce was "hot ketchup". A few days later, he tried again and was disappointed again. There was not much seating at the Blue Lagoon and it was always packed, so we mainly stuck with the buffet for snacking. We had 2 lunches at the Bimini Bar. It is outside on deck 13 and there is no charge. The view is spectacular. You can get hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken sandwiches, fries, and soft pretzels here. Great place to order one of the beer buckets (buy 5 beers get 1 free). Bamboo was our favorite of the specialty restaurants ($15 per person). We ate here twice. The ribs were by far the best food that we had in any of the restaurants. They were an appetizer, but when we dined here for the second time, they let us have a larger order as an entree. The egg drop soup with corn was wonderful too. Service here was awesome. Dinner for two at Le Bistro was included in the Anniversary Package that I had purchased. A complimentary bottle of house wine was also included, our choice of the house merlot or chardonnay. We both had the beef tenderloin which was very tender and the french onion soup which was by far the best I have ever had. We finished off with the chocolate fondue for two which was fun. The one problem that we had with Le Bistro was that we had to wait even though we had a reservation. Additional seating for this restaurant is near the piano bar in the hallway outside. After waiting for 15 minutes, we were shown to a table in the outside section. It was noisy and you were on display to everyone passing in the hallway. We told the hostess that we did not want to sit in this section as this was supposed to be our romantic anniversary dinner. We were sent back to the piano bar to wait for a table inside and were seated 20 minutes later. We ate at Salsa one night ($10 per person). You get a small complimentary margarita which my husband enjoyed. We also got the sangria - the glass is huge and it was so good. Every table starts off with chips, salsa, and guacamole. Our server, Love, was wonderful - so pleasant and cheerful. One of the best servers we had. She definitely lived up to her name. I was a little disappointed with the lobster tacos that I ordered, but I think that it was just that I could not get a taste for lobster in this way. Everything else was great. On our last night, we ate at Impressions ($10 per person). Our servers, Jeanne and Dormalee, were so nice to us. This was one of our best meals on board. Food and service were impeccable. The anti paste trolley was a great way to start the meal and the pasta was very good. There was way too much food for us to possibly finish, so Jeanne and Dormalee had us take the pizza back with us. Entertainment: On our Carnival cruise, we did not see any of the shows, so I don't really have anything to compare these with. We went to the Welcome Aboard Variety Show featuring the comedian Dave Heenan. Not really our type of comedy. I would classify it as old school. The seniors seemed to like it. Band on the Run and Bollywood with the Jean Ann Ryan Co. were great. I have no idea how they did all of those things with the boat rocking the way it was. It didn't seem to effect them in the least. We saw the Second City Show which we loved. If you like SNL type comedy, I think you will enjoy it. The seniors did not care for it. My husband and I were appalled at how rude people were. I would say that about one third of the audience had walked out within the first half hour. We didn't care for Dave Heenan's act, but we stayed seated and showed some respect to the performer and the rest of the audience. The Not-So Newlywed Game was very funny. We also went to the Liar's Club at the Spinnaker Lounge which was just okay. Activities: I played Bingo at 4 of the Bingo sessions. There are 4 games to each session. It was a lot of fun and I would have played more if it wasn't so expensive. You have a choice of 3 or 4 packages each time you play, the cheapest being 6 cards for each of the 4 games. This costs $34. There are also the packages that come with the electronic bingo card where you get over 100 cards for each game. This was $89. I spent $216 on the 4 Bingo sessions. Ouch. Oh, and get there early for a seat. And, as always, expect screaming babies. We also played trivia quite a bit. We did a few of the morning and afternoon games as well as the Progressive Trivia most nights. Kevin, who runs the trivia, was awesome and everyone had a lot of fun with him. Kevin always stopped to chat with us and we soon felt like old friends. Kevin also ran the Shout it Out Movie Challenge in the Cinema and it seemed like a good time was had by all. Thanks for everything, Kevin! My husband did the Beers of the World tasting at the Pearly Kings Pub ($15 charge) and had a great time. We did the Italian Wine Tasting at Impressions($15 per person) and enjoyed that quite a bit. They served cheese and crackers and a large amount of wine for a tasting. We both left a little tipsy. My husband did the Wii Boxing Tournament and we went to a Watch Seminar and a few different raffles (never won anything) which were okay to pass some time. We also spent quite a bit of time and money in the casino. The best time to go was during the early show when it was almost empty. I did okay on the slots by pretty much breaking even. My husband was not so lucky with the table games. Shore Excursions: We did 4 excursions. All were booked online a few months prior to sailing. It was very easy and we had our pick of excursions. We did the "Wild West Kayak Adventure" ($71 per person). This was 2 miles of kayaking in some pretty rough water and cameras had to be left behind. My husband and I are 38 and 32. We were popping Advil for 2 days after this excursion. Be prepared. You have to be in really good shape for this one. We did the "Bermuda Triangle Night Glass Bottom Boat"($49 per person). This was our favorite by far. Our captain was funny and entertaining and you got a complimentary rum swizzle on the ride back. We did the "South Shore & Horseshoe Beach"($69 per person). This was also a good one and I think worth the price. We had 2 hours of touring in the air conditioned bus with brief stops at a small church and Gibb's Lighthouse and then 2 hours at Horseshoe Bay. The "Aquarium, Caves & Highlights" ($92 per person) was awful. Advertised as 4 hours with ferry transportation included, what we got was a 2 hour 45 minute tour and we had to purchase our own ferry tickets at $12 per person. I notified the excursion desk and after 5 days of back and forth, was told to contact Customer Relations upon our return. The one thing on this trip that we were severely disappointed with was the staff at the shore excursions desk. To say they were rude does not even begin to cover our treatment. Miscellaneous: As I had mentioned, my husband and I purchased the Anniversary Package for $79. This includes dinner for 2 at Le Bistro with choice of a bottle of the house merlot or chardonnay, the bottle of champagne and 5 small chocolate covered strawberries, 5 very small canapes that were left in our cabin on Friday night, the Honeymoon/Anniversary Champagne and Cake Party which consisted of a small piece of sheet cake and a single glass of champagne (no refills), and a 5 x 7 picture taken at the party in front of the Congratulations sheet cake. The "party" lasted about ½ hour. Personally, I didn't feel like this was worth the $79, but you be the judge.Weather/Sea Conditions:  The two days at sea prior to reaching Bermuda were a little rough.  I had my motion sickness patch on and was fine.  On the way back to NY, the water was very rough.  I felt a little queasy even with the patch and my husband (who never gets seasick) had to pick up some dramamine in the gift shop.  Weather in Bermuda was very windy the entire time.  The air temperature was in the mid 70s and the water was probably around 70 (a little too chilly for my taste).  Jellyfish (including Man of War) were plentiful at Horseshoe Bay.  Be careful. Disembarkation: We chose the latest possible disembarkation time (10:00 a.m.) because we wanted to have breakfast onboard and have plenty of time to get all of our things in order. We could have left earlier with no problem at all. Since your suitcases have to be put outside your cabin the night before you disembark, almost everything is in order already. We had a very early breakfast at the Garden Cafe because we forgot to turn our clock ahead even though our steward left us a reminder the night before. We then wandered around for a few hours with nothing to do but wait for our time to disembark. Once our color tag was called, we were off the boat and picking out our luggage very quickly. A friend picked us up right at the pier and we were back home 15 minutes later. With a very severe case of the post-vacation blues. Summary: Overall, we had a great time on NCL. The few bad things did not outweigh the good. We would love to cruise on NCL in the future! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Cruised to Bermuda on 10-26-08. We booked a balcony room as we found a great deal online for $549 per person. The extra space provided by the balcony makes for a more enjoyable stay. The rooms are small but kept pretty clean. Although, ... Read More
Cruised to Bermuda on 10-26-08. We booked a balcony room as we found a great deal online for $549 per person. The extra space provided by the balcony makes for a more enjoyable stay. The rooms are small but kept pretty clean. Although, on the last night the clean white duvet cover slipped off part of the comforter and to my horrified surprise there was a huge yellow stain just underneath were I had been sleeping the entire week. Washed or not (?!?!?) that comforter should have been trashed, not put on a bed again. Bathrobes are provided and are a nice touch, but only fit well if you are a small female and looked funny on my husband. The room stewards were friendly and courteous. Offered water, ice and provided itineraries nightly. If you purchased anything out of the mini-bar you had to ask for things to be replaced which is inconvenient. Very surprised by the fresh cookies one night but disappointed in not receiving towel animals the entire stay. Room service is wonderful and can be taken advantage of any time of day/night. Just don't ask for anything other than on the room service menu as the response is rude and NO. The breakfast card was convenient and it was always nice to have mediocre coffee to wake up to before venturing out of your room for the day. (If you want GOOD STRONG coffee visit the Java Cafe.) If you order the hamburger/hotdog don't forget to ask for condiments or you will be eating it dry. The chicken soup was always delicious, as was the BLT. The restaurants were OK. The service and standards lacking compared to other cruiselines. If you want GOOD service eat at one of the many "cover charge" restaurants. The Filet Mignon at Cagney's was wonderful and cooked to perfection. We had a fun time eating at Salsa with the live entertainment. We ordered the II Popo which was amazing. We didn't attend many shows as much time was spent in the Casino. Other reviews remarked on the 'Tight' slots, but we just couldn't stop winning!!! Without spending much money we won 2 Jackpots of $1600 on a dollar 3 real machine and $1800 on the penny 50 lions machine. I was able to buy myself a beautiful ring onboard with the winnings! We also won many other small cashouts of 500, 300, 200, etc just to keep us going. The casino service was wonderful and staff friendly. They started to Comp many of our drinks and would bring us over our usual ordered drinks without even asking when entering the casino. On the last night they gave us a card to drink for free in the casino. We didn't use the pools or the hot tubs but they looked clean and refreshing. The kids pool had a cute waterslide the children enjoyed. It was always easy to find a lounger to relax in the sun, and staff was always available for drink service. Against the cruisline's recommendations we rented a scooter to get around the island. You are able to park it right outside the ship. We were able to see and do so much in this way. Be prepared for winding roads and crazy drivers out there. Having experience with motorbikes is a plus. We were able to see the whole island, visit many of the beautiful beaches, Horseshoe Bay not one to be missed. The Botanical gardens were fun but somewhat out of season. If you are not afraid of heights and want to see wonderful views, visit the Gibbshill lighthouse and charming giftshop. The dockyard has many nice shops including the clocktower mall. The Museum and dolphin quest were fun. It was a little to cold for jet ski tours but something I would like to do in the future. Overall My Bermuda cruise experience was fun and enjoyable as well as relaxing. The staff, service, and free dining lacking compared to Royal Caribbean and carnival but wouldn't hesitate to book again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
This was my fifth cruise and my wife's second. We decided to try NCL out, as we sailed HAL last year and while the service was amazing the crowd was quite old. We booked online and felt the rate for the room was competitive to other ... Read More
This was my fifth cruise and my wife's second. We decided to try NCL out, as we sailed HAL last year and while the service was amazing the crowd was quite old. We booked online and felt the rate for the room was competitive to other lines out there, plus sailing from New York is always a plus. By the end of our 7-day vacation there were definite high and low points to the trip which I will try to break down for you. First we'll tackle the good points: 1. Entertainment- The shows and options available were really good and we found ourselves going to more events than our HAL cruise last year. The inclusion of members from the comedy troupe Second City is a great time and since we both love improv, it was a frequent show of ours. Also Greg Gleason put on not only three fantastic magic shows but also had a great memory seminar that convinced me to drop $60 on a DVD. Entertainment was a big plus of this trip. 2. Dining Options- There are no shortages of places to eat on the Dawn. The most impressive was their 24-hour 'diner' that had many options and didn't feel like a lame excuse of '24-hour food' (I'm looking at *you* Carnival). Aside from the Blue Lagoon, buffet and Venetian restaurant, we counted eight other places to eat. Choosing a place to eat was more difficult than choosing what to eat! 3. Cruise Director- Pedro was a fantastic C.D. and he felt personable. I knew our free time was in good hands. 4. Excursion Options- On par with other cruises where there were tons of things to choose from in Bermuda. The not-so-good parts: 1. Housekeeping- Out of seven nights, our room was properly made up no more than four or five. The bed was made 'half-way' with the sheets not even fully pulled out from under the comforter. We received a total of three towel animals, which is unheard of to NOT get one, and our cabin steward decided we didn't need a 'time change' card on our final night when Daylight Savings was ending. It's a good thing we paid attention to the news and the Cruise Director's mentioning of it. It also took day three and us complaining to the front desk for them to bring us a portfolio with ship's information & room service menu. 2. Finances & Charges - This is the biggest gripe we had with the trip. NCL must be short for 'Nickel' because you are "nickeled and dimed" the entire cruise. Want to eat at a 'specialty' restaurant? That'll cost extra. Want an extra pool-side towel? That's a $25 deposit. Don't touch anything in your mini-fridge because there is a tab waiting for you. We simply put a bottle of Evian from the shelf into the fridge and we were charged for it. It's a good thing we ended up drinking it three days later. Charges for many daily ship-board activities, automatic gratuity charge on a cup of coffee, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. We figure the charges were almost another half of our original ticket price, tacked onto the end. 3. Excursion Choices- Bermuda is a nice place but the water sure is cold in October! NCL should show discretion as to what excursions are offered based on the time of the year. A Snuba excursion we paid for was non-refundable 48-hours before docking in port, meaning it's essentially non-refundable. A better selection that is season-appropriate would have helped. Aside from that, our 5-hour island tour ran over an hour late which caused us to miss things we wanted to do on our own. Best excursion- Dockyard Segway tour. 4. Food & Desserts- Food is the cornerstone of any cruise and NCL did well in this department for dinner meals. Unfortunately it stopped there. Buffet food for breakfast was cold almost half of the trip. Lunch left a lot to be desired as well. By far the biggest disappointment were the deserts. There was more than one occasion where we took one bite of a cake or pie and let it go to the trash. The 'choc-o-holic buffet' was a nightmare. Not only was it in the buffet, which only holds 1/8 of the ship but not one thing was good. My wife and I sampled over 10 different chocolate items and all were poor in one way or another. Stale cookies, mousse that had the consistency of Jell-O, and just disappointing deserts ruined it all. Even the fondue was bad. My recommendation: skip the desert and get some fruit instead. Overall, NCL has some strong points and their 'freestyle' system has some good ideas. Perhaps with improvements in the future with their 'F3' (freestyle version 3.0) it will improve but for now we will try other cruise lines on our future vacations. So far, HAL still ranks #1 in service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Sailed from New York on 10/12 with a group of 31 family/friends. Took a limo bus to the terminal. No complications at all. Crew was there to open doors for us and whisk away our luggage. Embarkation was the best I've seen yet. Arrived ... Read More
Sailed from New York on 10/12 with a group of 31 family/friends. Took a limo bus to the terminal. No complications at all. Crew was there to open doors for us and whisk away our luggage. Embarkation was the best I've seen yet. Arrived to terminal at 11:45 and on the ship by 12:15 and drinking our free glass of champagne. Very nice way to start our cruise. Had lunch sitting next to the pool where we had the pleasure of being introduced to Robin Cages (pool side server). I can not say enough good things about this man. He made our entire cruise wonderful! Our staterooms were typical inside cabin rooms, have to be creative with unpacking but found plenty of room for our belongings. Some problems with "a pipe breaking" in the hallway on the 5th floor. Woke up to fans blowing to dry the carpets. Water got into one room in our group and they were immediately upgraded to a wonderful balcony room on the 9th floor. We had dinner mostly at the Venetian or Aqua. Food was wonderful and staff offered to bring extra lobster tails both nights it was offered. We had dinner one night at the Teppanyaki. Food was great, but the cover charge seems overpriced. Food in the Venetian, Aqua, and even the buffet was comparable and you could dine there for free. Blue Lagoon has the best wings ever, its true! Some from our group dined at the Sushi bar. First time for me, what a great experience! Well worth the $15 cover charge. Missed the usual crazy activities poolside, but we had a large enough group that we made our own entertainment daily. Once again Robin was always there for us. On the way back to New York we hit a storm with rain and high winds. Robin was quick to move our entire group out of the rain and provide us with towels to keep dry. 1/2 of our group went to Bingo daily and saw the different shows. I preferred poolside and the casino, but my family raved about the on board shows. One note regarding the pool, people need to keep there diapered children out of the adult pool, its a health hazard for one, and these children do not need to be around adults drinking all day long, there is a wonderful kids pool provided (with a slide too). We actually considered going to that pool because all of the kids were in the adult pool. Beware of shore excursions offered. Four of us signed up to scuba dive on Friday through NCL and they moved the date to Thursday without notification. We had booked a pontoon boat for Thursday. Eventually they did refund us all of our money. By the way, scooter rental in Bermuda is an awesome way to see the island! Yes they do drive crazy over there, but so do New Yorkers. We took it slow and saw the whole island. Then we rented a pontoon boat for an entire day from Aquatic Boat Rentals and saw Bermuda from the water. It was a great day, found some nice coves to tuck into and snorkel and a beautiful beach we pulled right up on to. We also were able to scuba dive Friday through blue water divers (cheaper then going through NCL too.) Two tank dive, first a wreck at 70ft, second was a reef with tunnels for only $105. It was a great day. Three days in Bermuda is definitely the way to go. Our group actually wants to go back because we know there is more to see and do. Worst part about the cruise was disembarkation. Not as smooth as embarkation. We arrived 1/2hr late into port due to strong currents, which also pushed back times to get off. Much easier to walk off with your own luggage then do the color coded thing. Your bags are in a huge warehouse with hundreds of people stepping all over them and banging into each other as they attempt to find there luggage. It was not very organized. Next time we plan to walk off with our bags to avoid that chaos. Overall, we would sail Norwegian again and recommend it to others. Especially if its docked in Bermuda for three days. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Sorry for this "late" posting, but I was so busy last week I barely had time to do anything outside of work! As I submit this review it's already the 20th! This October 5th-12th cruise on the NCL Dawn was a ... Read More
Sorry for this "late" posting, but I was so busy last week I barely had time to do anything outside of work! As I submit this review it's already the 20th! This October 5th-12th cruise on the NCL Dawn was a Mother/Daughter cruise and we had a blast! It was my 17th cruise overall, my 2nd with NCL (first one was on the Majesty this past New Year's Eve) and it was the 6th cruise overall for my DD but her 1st with NCL. 4 of her cruises were with all of us as a family, and the 5th was for her honeymoon about 8 years ago. She loves cruising as do I. My other cruises have been on Carnival, HAL, Celebrity, & 2 cruises on the old Home Lines Atlantic. We drove to the port on a day when traffic was a little more of a challenge than usual for NYC, because there was a bike marathon and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer happening that day. We met halfway in between...I'm from NY & DD is from Connecticut...and got to the pier around 11:45AM. By the time we gave the luggage to the porter, and parked the car upstairs on the pier ($210 for the week) and made our way down the escalator to join the check-in line, it was around noon. Check-in was painless and very, very quick & we were on the ship within 25 minutes. Because cabins were not yet ready, we headed to the buffet for lunch and it was, even at that relatively early hour, difficult to find a table. But eventually we managed and had lunch. The only liquid we could find to drink, however, was water...if there was juice or iced tea somewhere, I certainly couldn't find it! At around 1:30 they announced the cabins were ready, so we made our way down 2 decks and found our cabin, 10036, a balcony cabin starboard side, forward, and dropped off our carry-on bags. The beds were already separated into 2 twins, which was good, and everything seemed clean & crisp. The cabin was a decent size...not as roomy as a Carnival balcony cabin, but certainly more than adequate. The bathroom was really nice though...with partitioned shower and toilet areas. Our cabin steward, Boris, came by to say hello and ask if we had any special requests. I came really close to requesting that we be allowed to stay onboard for a month or so...but then decided not to be a wiseguy! Boris & his assistant kept our cabin sparkling all week, and we were treated to towel animals every night except the first. There was adequate closet & drawer/shelf space...but, for 2 women, it was just by a hair! I had only one issue with the cabin's layout, and it was the fact that the writing table & chair was placed immediately next to/in front of the sliding glass door to our balcony...so it made going in and out less than smooth. It wasn't as if we could ask Boris to move it...there was no place else it would've fit! There were the much-appreciated robes in the closet, and there was a fairly good hair blower on the vanity. I loved the Elemis lotion! The cabin had a couple of lithographs of fish on the wall, and it was a very pleasant cabin indeed. The location of this cabin...the first one in from the elevator & stairs...had me a little worried about potential noise, but that proved to be an unnecessary concern as it was never noisy outside the cabin at all. We had very nice CC Roll Call, which I joined rather late because this cruise wasn't booked until August, but everyone seemed to be a fun person. Our RC "leaders" arranged for a formal Meet'n'Greet, to be held on Monday at the Star Bar, hosted by NCL. They sent the Hotel Director, the Chef and several other officers who said a few words and answered questions. It was good to meet everyone and put faces with names. It was a really good group. Food & Drink: On the 1st night we ate at Sushi. The food was very good and presented beautifully. We also ordered a nice hot sake to accompany the meal. Surprisingly this restaurant was almost empty...I think there were maybe 3 or 4 tables occupied. On the 2nd night we ate in LeBistro, which I loved. The restaurant's dEcor is stunning. The service was excellent as was the food. There were many, many diners in LeBistro that evening...our reservation was for 7PM...and they certainly didn't rush you through dinner. On the 3rd night we opted to try the Venetian main dining room. We arrived at around 7:30 and there was a short line on the stairs, with about a 10 minute wait. We asked to be seated at a larger table so that we might enjoy the company of fellow passengers...and she looked quite surprised at the request & said "oh we can't do that"...she explained that large groups come in together and couples prefer to be seated alone. I found this somewhat unusual, to say the least...because HAL was experimenting with "as you wish" dining when my SO and I were on the Noordam last year...and dining with different cruisemates every night was never a problem. So, after hemming & hawing about it, she sat us at a table for 4 and told us she would seat others with us "if they didn't mind". This little encounter was somewhat off-putting as can be imagined. By the time our appetizers arrived a delightful couple from Staten Island was seated with us, and DD & I really enjoyed their company. The food however was really not good at all. I ordered the black bean soup and the steak from the "always" side of the menu. Everything was incredibly salty. That was our one and only dinner in Venetian! On Wednesday we ate in Hamilton...more about that later. On Thursday night we had a fabulous dinner and fine entertainment from the chefs in Teppanyaki. Bring your camera! On Friday night we had an even more fabulous dinner in Salsa. This turned out to be our favorite of the specialty restaurants and we actually decided in favor of a 2nd dinner there on Saturday night, rather than in Cagney's, which was the original plan. The lobster tacos are exceptional and the sangria is really good as well. We ate breakfast just once in the buffet. I don't recommend it at all. I was in line for an omelet and the wait was ridiculously long because they had only one chef preparing omelets one at a time in one pan! The accompanying breakfast meats like ham, bacon & sausage were tepid at best. There was coffee, which was good, but no juices...none that I could find anyway. All other breakfasts were eaten in the Aqua restaurant (balcony cabins have a small notification of the opportunity to have breakfasts in Aqua...ours was on the same ledge as the TV). Aqua was excellent in every way: the bright and cheery atmosphere, the smiles on the wait staff & high level of service, plus the fine menu selections and a small buffet area with fruits, cereals, and most importantly...lox and bagels and cream cheese, which is heaven to a New Yorker like me! This restaurant served the very best Eggs Benedict I've ever had on a cruise ship...unlike the overcooked baked facsimile that is served on Carnival ships (sorry Carnival!). On the day we disembarked, Aqua was closed so we breakfasted in the Venetian...same menu & just as good. DD and I rarely ate lunch, but twice we did get burgers or chicken at the poolside grill. They have the grill open on sea days only, and it was really very nice...they served burgers, hot dogs, chicken, corn-on-the-cob & salad. I think they did a fine job with this. One day I was hungry in the late afternoon (not having had lunch) & decided to try the wings at the Blue Lagoon, and they didn't disappoint. Activities: This ship has something for everyone! I love my slots & the casino was active and bright and inviting. I'm not crazy about the way their slot tournament is structured though...IMHO Carnival does a better job of this. On NCL you pay your $15 bucks, play your round, and only the winner of the round advances to one final round to be held on the last sea day. You could score 50,000 points...and the guy next to you scores 50,001...and he advances & you don't. On Carnival, you pay your $20 bucks, play your round, and your score gets posted on a winners board...from #1 to # 9...and they keep playing rounds for about 2+ hours, keeping the highest scores still posted. So, if you score 50,000 points and the guy next to you scores 50,001...you both go up on the board until someone beats your score...or not! And then the top 9 people (plus a wildcard person, drawn by raffle) play in the final round for the championship & the whole thing ...from 1st round to final winners round...all happens in a span of around 3 hours & the winner is paid $500 bucks & mardi gras beads & a tee-shirt & a ship-on-a-stick! All in one day...you don't have to wait until the last day at sea. And Carnival does it twice on a 7- or 8-day cruise. One thing we absolutely LOVED on this ship was playing Nintendo's Wii. They had bowling and baseball, and boxing was scheduled one day, but the crowd opted for more bowling. It was so much fun! Kudos to Felix from the Cruise Director's staff, who did an outstanding job running these events and who, in my opinion, should be a CD in his own right some day. Wii was held in the Pearly Pub & a lot of people from all age groups participated. I think many of us will be asking Santa for Wii this year! We played regular trivia a couple of times. I would've liked to have participated in the progressive trivia, but they had it at a very inconvenient time...at 6:30PM! Many people are getting ready for dinner at that hour, and I think it would've been better to have it sometime in the morning. DD went to yoga and stretching and other classes in the gym & really enjoyed it. She said the gym staff & gym itself was terrific. They started offering classes at 7AM on most mornings. She also loved playing volleyball on the sports deck. I attended one lecture, held in the movie theater on deck 12, and while the space was very comfortable, this particular speaker was difficult to hear & understand. He had a very soft voice and often looked away from the microphone while speaking. But I'm sure he meant well! We attended the martini clinic and the French wine tasting. The martini clinic was held in the Star Bar (Monday, deck 13, $15/pp) and was really fun & informative. They discussed & served 5 different martinis and wow! What a buzz that was! They served a classic martini with one's choice of gin or vodka, a cosmo, an appletini, a French kiss and something else that escapes me right now. The wine tasting was held in LeBistro (Saturday, deck 6, $15/pp). They offered 4 wines, 2 red/2 white, and served a small variety of cheeses to accompany. We received more Brie when a waiter overheard my DD comment on how delicious the Brie was, which I thought was so thoughtful. The wines were a Pouilly-Fuisse, a Chardonnay, a Merlot-Grenache & something else. This was really informative as well...and, at the end of the tasting a bottle of champagne was won by a lucky participant. NCL also offered an Italian wine tasting (held in Impressions), and also a margarita-tasting that we some how missed in the freestyle daily. Darn! We spoke to some people who really liked it. We thought Jose & Patti were very talented. The White Hot Party was really a lot of fun, and by the way, you don't need to wear white...hardly anyone did. My favorite entertainer was, by a large landslide, comedian Dave Heenan. Do not miss his late-night show because he's absolutely hysterical. He was slightly "blue" but not vulgar or obscene by any stretch of the imagination. And it was nice seeing him interact with the pax throughout the week at various other venues. The pool band was really good....had some people up dancing throughout the week & they also have a CD for sale (by the pool and in the gift shop) which I meant to buy, but then it slipped my mind darn it! Bermuda: How wonderful is this little piece of heaven! I haven't been here since 1995 and it was so good to go back. Nothing has really changed except there's a fair amount of construction at Front Street in Hamilton, and the hotel is missing (having been imploded) up at Fort St.Catherine Beach. We stayed there on a couple of land vacations to Bermuda and enjoyed it. I took a picture of the empty space as we cruised past it! We arrived at the Royal Naval Dockyard (King's Wharf) on time on Wednesday. This was actually something of a miracle, and here's a shout out to the Captain and his officers & crew for this...because we had to boogie to make up 10 lost hours!! On Monday night at around 10:30PM there came an announcement that we were turning back to NY due to the need for a medical evacuation. I went to sleep eventually and missed the whole thing, but later learned that at 3:30AM we were met by 2 helicopters, (1 landed on deck & 1 hovered), and a Coast Guard cutter. It was said (nothing official from the captain or crew) that a woman was about to give birth prematurely. I hope that everything turned out OK. DD & I were off the ship by 9AM, bought our 3-day ferry/bus passes immediately outside of the terminal ($56 for both of us), and were on our way to 9 Beaches Resort. We hopped into one of the many cabs waiting just outside the terminal (for this we opted for the cab, because he takes you right to the hotel registration cottage...whereas the bus lets you off at the main road...15-20 min walk) and the cost for the cab ride was $15 which is not bad. We bought the day-pass for $80 for the 2 of us which entitled us to use of all their facilities: bathrooms, showers, all beaches with lounge chairs, the pool & restaurant, plus they gave us towels. I had read pros and cons about 9 Beaches here on CC prior to this cruise...but I really wanted to experience it, having never been there, and I'm glad we did. We arrived at around 9:40 AM and stayed all day until around 4PM when we asked the desk clerk to call a cab for us (takes about 10 minutes for the cab to arrive). The assessment of fellow CC members was right on the mark. The beaches are small & cozy but beautiful. The entire property was immaculate and beautiful. And best of all, the entire day was incredibly quiet & relaxing & serene. On the negative side, the ocean is so amazingly shallow that one has to walk out a couple of hundred feet to actually swim. Otherwise it was great. This would be a very good location for parents traveling with toddlers or young children. It's like a wading pool. At around 11:00AM a small boat of Dawn passengers arrived at the 9 Beaches dock (from the NCL-sponsored excursion) and made their way to the beaches...but they had to leave by 1:30PM...not very much time at all. DD & I enjoyed lunch at their seaside bar/restaurant. I had the conch fritters which were exceptional, DD had a Caesar's salad, we split an order of chicken wings and each had a soda & the bill came to $46. A little pricey I thought. All in all, we enjoyed the day, and I would heartily recommend it for those seeking peace, quiet, and total relaxation. When we arrived back at the ship we changed and went right back out to catch the ferry for Hamilton and the Harbour Night festival. The ferry was fast and comfortable. Upon arriving in Hamilton we browsed in some stores (Calypso was great!) and made our way up Front St. to a planned dinner at the Hog Penny. They have a very nice menu including several items of Irish/English origin (shepherd's pie, bangers 'n' mash) plus some very nice Indian Curries. Yum Yum!! Because it was the end of the season for Harbour Night there were less local vendors than usual, and when we finished dinner there was no music coming from the grandstand, so we strolled back to the ferry terminal and caught the 9PM returning to King's Wharf. The ferry was completely full! When the ferry crew put down the gangway to allow us to board, some fellow passengers started "moo-ing", indicating our herd-of-cattle status! Pretty funny! Everyone seemed in a good mood as we left Hamilton. Thursday morning we got up early, had breakfast, got off the ship & walked around the harbour path to catch the #7 bus to Horseshoe Beach. This was a really pleasant bus ride and we saw much of "everyday" Bermuda along the way in addition to some stunning South Shore views. The bus let us off at the top of the hill and it wasn't a bad walk down at all (nothing compared to the walk to the Baths on Virgin Gorda!), however I was grateful for the dollar-van to the top at the end of the day! Like the sign says, "Best dollar spent in Bermuda"! DD walked back up the hill...and made it faster than me! There was a significant line for the van! ...ahhh to be young! Horseshoe Beach was glorious and not too crowded that day. We arrived at around 10:30AM and stayed until 4PM. We rented sand chairs (($10 each plus $5 refundable deposit) and plopped ourselves down for a day of sun, soft pink sand, beautiful vistas & good ocean! They have showers & restroom facilities at the top of the beach. There's also a small restaurant where we had lunch...items like hamburgers, chicken fingers, etc. Prices were very moderate. There was a fairly long line of people waiting for the bus back to King's Wharf at the end of our day. 2 buses came that could fit only a few people each & then an empty bus came which fit most of us. It wasn't that long a wait...I'd say 15 minutes from the time I got to the top until the empty bus arrived. On Friday, our last day in Bermuda, we woke up, had breakfast & left the ship, but in not enough time to catch the 9AM ferry to St.George's...having just missed it by a few minutes! So we walked around the dockyard area, which was charming & clean and manicured, just like the rest of Bermuda. At 10AM we boarded the ferry for the 40-minute trip. We strolled the charming streets, did some shopping and some window-shopping, sat in a beautiful little space and watched the NCL Dream leave St.George's on it's way back to Boston, and had a really nice lunch at the White Horse Tavern right on King's Square. DD said she has very clear memories of having her picture taken (with her brothers!) in the "stocks" when she was very little. We took some pictures of the Deliverance on Ordinance Island, and the statue of St. George, & then made our way back to catch the ferry at 2PM. No pictures in the "stocks" this time! It was a very nice day in St.George's. Bermuda remains a favorite destination, and I hadn't realized how much I missed it until returning on this cruise. We were very lucky to have sensational weather during our 3 days there (indeed for the entire cruise), as it was sunny and around 80 degrees each day. I think I won't wait so long to go back again. Disembarkation: We cruised under the Verazzano Bridge just as dawn was breaking...the orange & yellow morning sky was breathtaking as a backdrop to the buildings and bridges of Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, and we took some great pictures coming in. We opted to not do self-assist off the ship, and instead chose lime green luggage tags for a 9:45AM exit off the ship. We had a leisurely breakfast in Venetian and walked a little around the ship. They actually called our tag color at 9:55AM, and it was a breeze off the ship and into the terminal where we quickly claimed our luggage, easily went through customs, & DD waited with the luggage while I retrieved the car. We were headed home by 10:30AM In Summary: I loved the NCL Dawn. Our cabin, the layout of the ship, the public rooms, the crew was one of the best in my cruise history, the food was excellent in the specialty restaurants and in Aqua for breakfast, otherwise so-so in Venetian and the buffet. The activities were varied and a lot of fun. The Cruise Director's staff did an excellent job. (And the CD, Pedro, was really fun and engaging all week long...I loved his periodic intercom announcements where he introduced himself as "your voice from the ceiling...". I bought a cruise-rewards certificate on our last sea day. I currently have a cruise booked for New Year's Eve this year (Carnival Glory) and plan on doing a land vacation next summer at the Jersey shore for 2 weeks...but I fully expect to use the certificate next fall & hope to cruise on the Dawn once more to Bermuda! Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
A friend and I sailed on the October 5th-12th cruise on the NCL Dawn; without a doubt this cruise rates up there as one of the best cruises I have ever taken. I've cruised 9 times, if I remember correctly, overall; 6 with NCL, 2 with ... Read More
A friend and I sailed on the October 5th-12th cruise on the NCL Dawn; without a doubt this cruise rates up there as one of the best cruises I have ever taken. I've cruised 9 times, if I remember correctly, overall; 6 with NCL, 2 with Holland America and 1 with Carnival. This was my friend's first cruise. I would say that I have converted her into a "cruiser" after experiencing this cruise. A friend drove us to the pier on Sunday. At one point I was worried that we would arrive too early, but then we hit the traffic. Because of the Avon Walk and the MS Bike marathon, it took us forever to get the last couple of blocks. We finally arrived at the pier about 10:45. We handed our luggage over to the porters and proceeded to check-in. Check-in was a breeze, took maybe 5 minutes. We then went to the VIP waiting room. Very soon Anshuman, the Concierge, greeted us all and explained some of the penthouse perks. Since I've sailed a penthouse before I was prepared and gave Anshuman our list of restaurant reservations for the week. We were then led onto the ship. The cabins were not yet ready, so we grabbed our champagne and proceeded to walk around the ship some and then went up to Cagney's to get some free food samples. I'm not much of a buffet fan, so we proceeded to Venetian for lunch. To be honest, I don't remember what I had, except for the chilled Banana soup, but I do remember that we totally enjoyed a leisurely lunch! At around 1:30 they announced the cabins were ready, so we made our way to our cabin, 11060, an AB suite. I absolutely love the AB's. The bathroom is to die for and the fact that it has 2 full bathrooms certainly comes in handy when 2 women are travelling. Before we had even finished looking around and checking out everything in the cabin, our butler Anoop came in to introduce himself and take our order for that night's goodies. I can't say enough about Anoop, he anticipated our every whim and need without being intrusive. Anyone who gets Anoop as their butler is in for a real treat! We enjoyed our complimentary champagne on the balcony and by then it was time for the muster drill. The drill was quick and painless. We then proceeded up to the pool deck for sail away. It's been many years since I've departed from NYC and I totally forgot what a beautiful experience it is. Our cabin stewards were great; kept the cabin spotless and left towel animals every night. I've read some recent reviews about the Dawn being dirty and showing her age; I can't disagree more. I never saw anything out of place nor did I see anything that showed age. In fact, the Dawn was and still is my favorite NCL ship. We had very nice CC Roll Call, which I joined very late since I booked the cruise at the last minute. There was a formal Meet'n'Greet on Monday at the Star Bar. NCL put out coffee, tea and pastries. They sent the Hotel Director, the Chef, the Food and Beverage Manager, the Cruise Director and probably other officers that I don't remember. It was nice to actually meet some of the officers and to hear what they had to say. We signed up for the "dinner with the officers" at the Meet'n'Greet. Thanks to Cruise Critic, I was pretty sure that we would be picked if we signed up at the Meet'n'Greet. Food & Drink: Day 1 (Sunday) we ate at Salsa. Originally our reservations were for 7:30, but we were hungry so we made our way to the restaurant about 45 minutes early. There was no problem seating us early. The food and service were excellent; the lobster tacos and Il Popo were outstanding - so were the margarita's! The wait staff was very friendly, helping us with suggestions and when we couldn't decide on something they just brought both items. Day 2 (Monday) we dined in Aqua, we both wanted lobster. There was no wait and we were seated immediately. The service was very good, prompt and willing to make changes to the menu based on our requests. The meal wasn't my favorite for the cruise, but I certainly was happy with what I ordered. Day 3 (Tuesday) we dined at Cagney's. What can I say, Cagney's has always been my favorite and it still lived up to my expectations. We both had the shrimp cocktail, salad and steak. Between us we had the strip steak and the filet, both of which were excellent. The filet was so tender it could be cut with a fork. The meats were cooked exactly to order. We ordered 2 different desserts so that we could try them both and neither of them disappointed us. In my opinion, the surcharge for Cagney's is well worth it. Day 4 (Wednesday) we dined at Impressions. The service was very good, but I can't say that I was impressed with the food. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my meal but it certainly wasn't, in my opinion, great Italian food. From reading a lot of reviews, I have a feeling that this is totally a regional issue. I've read reviews from people who live in an area with very good Tex-Mex food who didn't like Salsa, yet Salsa was one of my favorites. Since I lived and worked near NYC for most of my life and have travelled many times to Italy, I'm used to very good Italian food and I think that's why I was disappointed with Impressions. Day 5 (Thursday) we dined with Pedro, the Cruise Director, at Venetian. It was an enjoyable dinner talking with Pedro about his experiences with NCL. The food was quite good. The service was outstanding and the entire table enjoyed their dinner with Pedro. Day 6 (Friday) we dined at Le Bistro. We had a great table, wonderful attentive service and outstanding food. If I could eat more I would have ordered another round of escargots! I had the rack of lamb; it was delicious, tender and cooked to perfection. If people had to pick just a couple of surcharge restaurants, then they should certainly add Le Bistro to that list. Day 7 (Saturday) we decided to dine again at Salsa. We had totally enjoyed our first dinner of the cruise there and decided to also have our last dinner of the cruise there. We ordered the exact same things again and weren't disappointed in either the food or the service. Breakfast was mostly at Cagney's. This is a new perk for penthouses and I loved it. I agree with all of the CC posters, the Eggs Benedict are to die for! I had them 3 times. We would constantly run into Anshuman at Cagney's where he would greet us, ask us how we were doing and see if there was anything else that he could do for us. Had room service breakfast once and breakfast at the buffet once. The buffet was OK for what we wanted, quick and plentiful, we were in a rush to get to the beach. Room service breakfast was great. Anoop brought everything we ordered on time and hot. He then proceeded to set the table and place all of our food out for us. Thanks Anoop! We didn't eat lunch every day, especially if we had a large breakfast. We did have one lunch at Cagney's (excellent) and snacks at both Bimini and Blue Lagoon. The hot pretzels at Bimini were great and the Chicken Wings at Blue Lagoon are still very good. Activities: There was something going on all day and night, it would have been impossible to be bored. I'm not a gambler, so I can't comment on the Casino. I would have liked to participate in progressive trivia, but as other posters have said, it wasn't at a good time. If I were NCL, I would move this to either morning or early afternoon. My friend used either the running track or the gym every day and totally enjoyed her work-outs. She did say that she got a great work-out running the track if it was windy that day! We attended both the Italian and the French wine tasting. Had a blast at both of them and even learned some things about wine. They were well worth the $15 charge. You got 4 glasses of wine at both, 2 white and 2 red. At the Italian tasting you also got a glass of sparkling wine. I was totally impressed when we walked into the Italian tasting, the server called me by name! I remembered her from the first day's lunch at Venetian, but how on earth did she remember me! I'm sorry that I didn't have my glasses on so that I could see her name plate; I would have liked to write a note to NCL about her. On the last sea day we attended the Jazz Brunch ($15/pp). It was so worth it! I can't believe how much food I ate. After we placed our breakfast order (which wasn't a small order) our waiter talked us into also ordering steak and shrimp. I'm so glad he did, it was excellent. We caught Jose & Patti once, but we ended up really enjoying Bernie at Gatsby's. Once we caught his show the first time, we ended up going to see him every night. We had a ball with Bernie and all of the great people that we met at Gatsby's. We must have been there quite a few times; all of the servers knew what we would order to drink. All we had to say was "we'll have the usual" and our drinks would magically appear! We caught all of the Jean Ann Ryan production shows and totally enjoyed all of them. My favorite was Band on the Run. South Beach was just OK, in my opinion; we expected more salsa type dancing. Bollywood was a great show to watch, I can't believe the moves on some of the performers. Bermuda: Bermuda is an absolutely beautiful island and a great port to be docked for 3 days. This was my first time to be docked at the Dockyard and I was pleasantly surprised. There was a nice shopping plaza right at the Dockyard, although the prices were typical Bermuda (high). We took a Catamaran cruise on the first day in Bermuda. It was just OK, not worth the money in my opinion. Although a lot of that impression is probably due to the fact that the weather wasn't all that great on Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday, we spent the day at Horseshoe Bay. What a beautiful beach! The beach has a concession type food stand and bathroom and shower facilities. We rented beach chairs for $15/pp; you got $5 deposit back when you returned the chair. The weather was perfect and the water temperature was still warm. On Friday, we took a Glass Bottom boat tour that included snorkeling. This excursion was great. The crew was a lot of fun, kept everyone laughing the entire time. The water and snorkeling were great on this tour, as were the Rum Swizzles on the way back! After we got back from this excursion, we spent the afternoon roaming the shops at the Dockyard. While we were roaming, we ran into Anoop. It was so different seeing him in regular clothes! We had to stop at the Frog & Onion Pub for a drink and some delicious onion rings. Since both of us were looking for a totally relaxing beach vacation, we didn't bother going to either Hamilton or St. George's. I've been to Bermuda before and have been to both Hamilton and St. George's so it wasn't a great loss for me. If you've never been to Bermuda, then I would definitely recommend going to both places, or at a minimum get to one of them. It's been about 8 years since I've been to Bermuda; I had forgotten how much I love this island. I definitely won't wait another 8 years to go back. Disembarkation: I slept in, so I missed cruising under the Verrazano Bridge, but I was up in time to see the Statue of Liberty. We had a leisurely breakfast at Cagney's and left the ship about 10AM. The lines were not long at that point. We found our luggage quickly and I tried to find a porter to assist us with our luggage. Along comes Anshuman, who quickly found us a porter and wished us a safe trip home. We breezed through Customs and Immigration and we were headed home by 10:30. In Summary: The Dawn remains my favorite ship; I love everything about the Dawn, the cabins, public spaces, atrium, food and especially the crew. All of the crew that we came into contact with were extremely friendly, while still being professional. My past 4 cruises with NCL have all been in a penthouse, but I can sincerely say that this cruise brought the penthouse to a new level. In the past, I've never had a Concierge who so loved his job and went out of his way to make sure that everything about your cruise was perfect. At one point I mentioned to Anshuman that I'd love to see the Garden Villa. I'm thinking about booking a Garden Villa for a 2010 cruise and I wanted to see it in person. As it turns out, I met a woman who was in the Garden Villa on Friday night in the "smoking room". This very gracious lady invited us up to the Villa on Saturday for wine and cheese. We had a great time, Mr. Hugo (the Hotel Director), Anshuman, Anoop and Henry (the Villa butler) were all there to answer any questions and to make sure that we all had a great time. I was pleasantly surprised that white wine was served, until I found out that Anoop knew what we drank. Of course he did, that's just one of the things that made Anoop a great Butler! I enjoyed this cruise so much that for the first time I bought a cruise rewards certificate while on board. I can't wait to cruise again, probably on the Dawn. I can only hope that if Anshuman and Anoop have moved onto other ships when I cruise again, that their replacements live up to the expectations that I now have for both a Concierge and a Butler. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
My husband and I cruised on the Dawn to Bermuda, leaving NYC on October 5th. The trip was a family vacation courtesy of my in-laws - all together there were ten of us ranging in age from 15 to about 65 (my husband and I are in our early ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Dawn to Bermuda, leaving NYC on October 5th. The trip was a family vacation courtesy of my in-laws - all together there were ten of us ranging in age from 15 to about 65 (my husband and I are in our early 30's). Arriving at the Pier was a bit hairy. We just moved out of NYC so while I am used to NY traffic, the Pier itself was a bit more chaos than even I am used to however I think that was due to the timing (noon) of our arrival. After I parked the car and we got a porter everything went much more smoothly. About a week before the cruise I changed from a room next to our in-laws on Deck 9 to one on Deck 10 (just for a bit of privacy). That was the only real glitch we had checking in - NCL still had us on the 9th deck and I didn't catch the error until after we'd completed check-in so we had to check-in again. Once done we speed through the screening process and were standing on Deck 7 with our complimentary orange juice in minutes. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the buffet while meeting up with family and waiting for our room to be ready. My memory is a bit hazy but I think our rooms were ready around 2pm. We were in Room 10026 and our excellent Stewards were Boris and Joel. I will request this room again if we are lucky enough to take the Dawn again and I hope we get the same stewards. Restaurants/Bars/Lounges - overall getting reservations at the specialty restaurants was simple and we were rarely unable to get into our first choice during our first time slot choice. Room Service - great for late night snacks of pepperoni pizza and brownies. Service was quick. Garden Cafe (buffet) - I'm not much of a buffet person. The buffet served its function - food whenever we needed to eat and couldn't get into another restaurant - although I only had to eat here a few times. Venetian - I only ate here for dinner once but the service was great and the food decent. The first full day at sea my husband I forgot the time change and showed up hoping for breakfast but found it was almost lunchtime. The servers seemed amused with our request for the fruit dessert plate as our appetizer - and it came without the cottage cheese - however my husband really loved the soup. Aqua - overall the best service of the cruise from Wesley and his assistant (Robert?); close second to Salsa as my favorite restaurant setting/atmosphere. I complimented the maître d' and filled out a service card. Blue Lagoon - decent food for what it is. One of the servers here had a bad attitude but this must be an annoying place to work since it is basically situated in a hallway between Reception and the gift shop/steps to The Venetian. Salsa (Tex-Mex) - excellent sangria, favorite restaurant setting/atmosphere Impressions (Italian) - not impressed with the food but the setting was amazing. Very easy to get reservation on the night we sailed out of New York. Le Bistro (French) - best service of any specialty restaurant and best food. I had the scallop appetizer and steak entree. My husband had mussels' appetizer and the sausage entree. For dessert we had the fondue. I complimented the maître d' and filled out a service card here as well. Bamboo (Asian Fusion) - the one specialty restaurant we missed. Whenever I walked past it was half full and there seemed to be seats available for Sushi as well. Teppanyaki (Hibachi) - fun for a group although the 19 seat limit made reservations a challenge Cagney's (Steakhouse) - difficult handling large group. Decent food. Don't order your steak anything past medium if you want it to be edible. Spinnaker Lounge - I liked hanging out at the Spinnaker lounge. My husband thought it looked like a strip club (hope that doesn't offend anyone). Service here was excellent even during the (packed) comedy show. Dawn Club Casino Bar - I don't gamble but my husband had a great time in the casino. I had to drag him away a few times and usually, when I couldn't find him around, I found him at the $10 blackjack table. Service here was good. At first Pat had to pay for his drinks but after a day, they were comped while he played. He ended the cruise up around $500. Dazzles - great little club area with a disgruntled, bad DJ however the fabulous service of Joel the waiter more than made up for it Dazzles 2 - Karaoke here the second night as sea was okay. The songbook is a bit stale and limited. It was during Karaoke that it was announced we had turned back to NYC to evacuate sick passenger. I hope that person is okay - we were not given an update which is understandable. Pearly Kings - NFL games the Sunday we were embarking in NYC there was a Giants game and an Eagles game at 1pm. I thought we'd be all set to watch the games at this pub but instead they had on the Carolina and Baltimore games - didn't make any sense since 90% of the guests were from the NY/Philadelphia area. Star Bar - chill scene - my favorite "secret hideout" - loved the martinis while listening to Fabrizio. The second time we went to Star Bar (with three of us drinking martinis) the server brought us a nice plate of cheese, bread and olives. Gatsby's Champagne Bar - I only had a drink here once on the last night of the cruise. My brother-in-law (26) really liked hanging out here, listening to the music. Java Café - I did not buy coffee during the cruise. My husband did a few times and seemed to enjoy the coffee. He tends to like Starbucks whereas I like Dunkin Donuts or more generic coffee. I wish the option for French press coffee was offered via room service. Bimini Bar - the servers at poolside were great. Fairly fast service whenever needed. Topsiders Bar - not sure if I used this bar or not - then again, I may be blurring Bimini and Topsiders. Bermuda - the first day in Bermuda we took the bus (#7) to Horseshoe Bay. I thought the food here was expensive but not outrageous for Bermuda. That night most of our party took the ferry to Hamilton for their last festival of the year. I wasn't feeling well so my husband and I skipped the trip. I did get to see some of the fireworks from the Star Bar. The second day in Bermuda we did a glass bottom boat tour and snorkel trip with Aquatic Bermuda (http://www.aquaticbermuda.com/). My family is still raving about this trip. The weather was a bit overcast so the water was a bit chilly but we had a great time. Tony and his wife, P.B., were awesome - so accommodating - taking us directly back to The Dawn instead of dropping us in Hamilton - entertaining and informative. Our final day in Bermuda we did some simple shopping at the Dockyard while the rest of the family did a Dolphin Encounter or swam and Snorkel Park. I had grand plans for this trip including lots of spa time and time in the gym but that all came to nothing. Somehow I also missed most of the shows. My in-laws saw many of the shows and enjoyed them - especially the comedian. Instead of accomplishing my To Do list I had the single most deeply relaxing and enjoyable vacation of my life. This far surpassed even my honeymoon. Usually but the end of vacation I am ready to get back home, even back to work sometimes. Not this time. I would have stayed and sailed another week or two if possible. Arrival back in NYC and Disembarkation were simple but depressing - so sad leaving the Dawn. The staff were so nice as we were disembarking and the luggage process was simple. We were off the ship and at our car by about 9:30. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
We enjoyed an easy ride to the pier on Sunday in New York and the Dawn the only ship at the Manhattan terminal. As suite Latitude passengers, we were directed to the VIP lounge where we were escorted aboard at 11:30AM by our excellent ... Read More
We enjoyed an easy ride to the pier on Sunday in New York and the Dawn the only ship at the Manhattan terminal. As suite Latitude passengers, we were directed to the VIP lounge where we were escorted aboard at 11:30AM by our excellent concierge Anshuman from India. We had a pleasant lunch at the nearly empty Garden Cafe and then proceeded to our cabin where we were greeted by our cabin stewards Angel and Salam from the Philippines. They graciously consented to make some unusual changes in bed arrangements. The penthouse cabin was roomy, very clean and with much storage space. We were impressed by the new 2.0 bedding, linens and robes. DINING: We had dinner twice at the Italian Impressions of Italy restaurant. We always favored Impressions for dinner on our previous Dawn cruises when it was one of the Main restaurants. The dinner was sumptuous and more than the average person can easily consume. It included appetizers (excellent anti-pasto), choice of pastas and toppings, pizza to order, main entrees and wonderful Italian desserts. On most evenings we dined in the main restaurant Aqua which we found smaller and less crowded than the elegant Venetian. Meals were outstanding there on the second and next to the last nights featuring some of our favorites including lobster, duck and rack of lamb. The service was always first rate and well supervised by an attentive Maitre 'D- Judi from Romania. We had dinner one night in Cagney's where they surprised one of our group with a large birthday cake. As in the past the food and service at Cagney's was the very best. We were honored to be invited to dinner one evening in the Venetian with the Captain who was very personable and interesting. We usually enjoyed lunch in the buffet as the lunch menu in Venetian was rather limited. We were delighted to have breakfast in Cagney's with superb choices and away from the crowds in the buffet. Our only complaint with the food on the Dawn was the limited menu at the now extra charge Salsa Tex-Mex restaurant. We always enjoyed dining there in the past because of its delightful ambience with its beautiful stained glass ceiling and music from the attractive soaring atrium. However, our former favorites, Shrimp Frajita and Mahi-Mahi were no longer on the menu as well as our favorite desserts Cranberry-Pecan Cake and Mexican Cheesecake. Salsa was almost empty every evening and obviously many passengers felt was not the worth the new extra charge. ENTERTAINMENT- Good to see talented trumpeter Larry Lockwood again leading the Dawn showband and hosting Big Band night in Spinnaker's Lounge. Two fine pianists Fabrizio Caligaris and Bernie Martini performed nightly in the atrium and Gatsby's. Jose and Patti, a talented couple performed nightly to SRO crowds in Dazzles. The production shows in the Stardust Theatre were entertaining and the performers energetic and talented. However, "Bollywood" and "South Beach Rave" have been on the Dawn many years now and it's time for some new productions. The undistinguished musical score of Bollywood hardly deserves such a long run on the Dawn. I'm sure most passengers would prefer a musical with more recognizable music. The comedian Dave Heenan has been on the Dawn before and he needs some new material. FITNESS PROGRAMS- We found the no-fee fitness classes poorly scheduled and with mediocre instructors. The for fee classes like Yoga were very unexceptional. The Dawn's fitness options and instructors were much better prior to the current Steiner era. We appreciated the Oasis pool being open at 6AM for early lap swimmers. However, there was some confusion there regarding children? The Freestyle Daily stated that the Oasis Jacuzzis and pool, deck 12, were for adults only but a sign at the pool stated "children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult?" We often saw unaccompanied young children in the Oasis pool and jacuzzis with no control by the pool attendant. BERMUDA- Our favorite island port did not disappoint. Sunny days in the 70's and no rain enabled us to enjoy the beaches and snorkeling. STAFF- As in the past, the Dawn staff, ably supervised by a very attentive Hotel Director Hugo Vanosmael was first rate and a joy to sail with. The senior staff was very welcoming to our large CruiseCritic.com roll call group aptly named the "Dawn's Dockyard Dynamos." We proudly wore our name badges, creatively designed by Terri and Bob and our meet and greet was organized to perfection by a familiar cruisemate Snorklin' Barb. SUMMARY- Our 5th cruise on the Dawn could not have been better and we look forward to sailing our favorite ship to our favorite island again in October 2009. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Review of NCL Dawn to Bermuda, 10/26/08, Cabin 10730 aft. 1st NCL cruise. Previous: RC, HAL, Celeb, Princess. Me (47) & Mom (68), No Shore Excursions booked. 1st time to Bermuda Let's begin... we flew into LaGuardia the ... Read More
Review of NCL Dawn to Bermuda, 10/26/08, Cabin 10730 aft. 1st NCL cruise. Previous: RC, HAL, Celeb, Princess. Me (47) & Mom (68), No Shore Excursions booked. 1st time to Bermuda Let's begin... we flew into LaGuardia the same day of the cruise - best transportation to the Port from the airport was "Super Shuttle" 16.00 per person, but this shuttle makes many stops along the way - we had plenty of time to see the sights of NY along the way. Arrived at Port early, but check in very fast and smooth, would have been on board by 11:30 but the Coast Guard was doing some inspection so this caused a 1 hour delay, we waited comfortably in chairs but there were no refreshments offered by NCL?? Wonder why? Enter ship: champagne and OJ, nice touch, off to Garden Buffet. I have had better food. We were told rooms would be ready by 2pm. and yes they were. We had a standard balcony room aft cabin, with larger balcony that we really enjoyed. Furniture a little worn, TV from 1965, bathroom shower bigger than I have seen, with soap and shampoo dispenser. Coffee maker in room, never used it, the sugars on the tray were old and moldy. Left cabin about 3:30, our luggage had already arrived and was outside in the hall. Left a note for room steward to make twin beds, and asked for a few extras, most of which were granted by the time we returned, but still no sign of room steward?? Muster drill - same as usual. Off to the Progressive trivia @ Dazzles where I made new friends.. and we won! Whoo hoo, Next is dinner at Venetian (Main dining room, no fee) where we were sat with a couple who were very sweet - but our server was not very pleasant. I ordered a dish that was pasta and should have had beef chunks as described by the waiter, but there was no meat.. I would have told the waiter, but he never returned to see if we were ok. We arrived late to the show due to very slow service at dinner, no seats were available.. we left for the Casino where I heard rumors of the machines being tight.. No big winning for me.. off to bed on what seemed like a hard mattress, but was able to get a good nights rest despite the semi rough seas. I think we have a baby next door. Day 2, Room Service coffee right on time as we noted on the card we left out on the door the night before. CC meeting in Dazzles - great turnout - and NCL had 7 staff members present - this was impressive compared to other lines. Lunch in Venetian, steak sandwich.. not good. Next off to Spa for tour.. Oh its beautiful.. and the cost is $20.00/day or $75.00 per week, or $140.00 per couple per week. We decided to wait.. and the sales pitches for spa treatments were pretty heavy.. we had to get out of there.. saying "maybe later" but being told we should really book now.. Too much pressure here. Looking for Java cafe.. can't find it. Pool area looks pretty busy - windy out - but warm and sunny. Had a snack at Blue Lagoon, Spinach artichoke dip and chicken wings.. not impressed. 2pm stopped in the cabin.. still have not seen the room steward.. but while I was in the bathroom he came in and opened the door.. so our meeting was a surprise. I exited the bathroom and he introduced himself Raul, and he said he worked with Josh (whom I never met). That was the last time I saw Raul, but our room was cleaned daily, and we had towel animals 4 times, so no complaints there, but nothing special to report either. Progressive Trivia - same team.. we lost our 1st place status, I'll be back tomorrow for a rematch. Dinner at Venetian with CC members (pre-arranged for 20) Optional formal night, I opted out, Lobster tail dinner, I ordered double tails and got them no problem.. they were ok, I've had better. Mom had beef Wellington that had some indefinable brown substance in it. Service in Venetian better - still not what I am used to in the main dining areas.. I believe the freestyle dining has taken away the personal touch of the wait staff and lessened the incentive to be professional and friendly. I miss getting to know the wait staff and tablemates. I hear rumors about Cagney's being good - but besides the $20.00 cover.. you pay extra for Lobster and Crab legs.. I'm not going there. Day 3, Room service ½ hour early today. Morning Trivia in Pub with Mikee.. he is a sweetie. Breakfast at Garden Buffet, a madhouse as expected, much like the other cruise lines, but the food was sub standard.. with the exceptions of having eggs made to order, or a waffle made on the spot.. everything else was just so so. Mom went to the spa for a French Manicure.. her bill was more than she anticipated.. with service charges she thought were a tip.. but the spa tech told her no.,. that was her wages not tip.. so Mom paid extra for a tip, bout a bottle of polish for $8.00, and the grand total = $60.00.. but that's not the bad news.. her nails looked awful.. they were not dry.. so she had smudged them.. they should be ashamed to charge this for such a shoddy job. Lesson learned for us. Super windy today, rough seas.. pool chairs available everywhere.. everyone must be at Bingo. Restroom stop... no toilet paper in any of the 5 stalls.. dirty. Lunch at Venetian up by the big window.. such a nice view, but I thought we were in the kids club.. kids everywhere.. crying, throwing food.. what a mess. I ordered Mahi Mahi - good but never have seen bones in it before this.. Oh and there was a hair on my plate.. I didn't tell mom.. things were bad enough already with her staring at her nails in disbelief. Mom went to get cash from ATM..it's broken,.. and there is only one. Main desk tells her sorry, and that can not do cash advance or take checks.. basically telling her she is out of luck. Later Mom learns she can get cash advance in the Casino.. now why didn't the front desk tell her that? What happened to customer service? Back at room called room service .. phone rang 5 thousand times. Tried again a few min later, only 4 rings.. Asked for cheese and crackers, not on menu, was told NO, and not in a friendly way. Trivia - we won our trophy back. Dinner later at Garden Buffet, food was less than fair. Where is this Pedro guy ( Cruise Director) ? I heard he was good.. I have my doubts. Day 4, Arrived in Bermuda 9am, cold and windy. Met CC friends in Aqua for breakfast.. and learned that this is open for balcony passengers.. we didn't know this. I guess there is supposed to be something in our room to tell us this.. we found the card on the shelf above the TV on the last day. Anyway breakfast in Aqua was great.. food good.. service was soooooo much better. Now this is what we are used to. Exit ship, bought a ferry/bus pass for 3 days @ $28.00 each. Hopped right on the ferry docked right in front of our ship.. no walking.. off to Hamilton (20 min). Shopped in Hamilton.. then we had to walk up hill for a few blocks to the bus station. Got on the bus (after the driver was rude to me) and off to St. George, stopping at Swizzle Inn along the way for lunch. Food was good.. not too expensive, and the Rum swizzle was pretty strong. Bus stop right out front - back on bus to St. George.. a little shopping while asking for directions to the trolley to do a short tour.. Trolley not running today.. don't know why. Town square Carriage tour was our next thought.. we had a driver named "Shawn" and a carriage for 4, charge was $40.00 for ½ hr or $80.00 for an hour.. that was for all 4 of us, so for $10.00 each we opted for the ½ hour, which ended up being about 45 min.. and it was Fantastic! Shawn was very nice, polite, and knowledgeable.. I would recommend this tour of St. George to anyone.. Well worth it.. and Shawn made it Special for us. **** Ask him to stop at Glass bottom beach for you.. he will, and you can get all kinds of sea glass..for free. Next we take the ferry from St. George back to Dockyard.. 40 min.. very nice ride. Trivia again.. lost the trophy. Dinner tonight.. will try Venetian again, they have Turkey and dressing on the menu. We are seated at a table for 2.. having waited only a few min, and it is about 8pm. After about 15 min, I asked if we had a server at all? We were finally waited on.. without an apology.. while several tables all around us were sat and waited on and were eating. Again.. the incentive for tips is the motivation wait staff need to provide a better service.. here it is non existent. Food was just ok. Again we are late for the show because of slow service. Late night Comedy at Spinnaker's lounge.. place is packed.. come early if you can to get a good seat. Comedian was very good, adults only.. followed by QUEST.. adult game show... hey there is that Pedro guy, I'm not impressed. Back to the cabin.. Received mail saying "Congrats we have been chosen to dine with Hotel Mgr for Thursday night.. problem>>> we have already signed up for the Murder Mystery dinner (120 people only) had to decline dinner with Hotel Mgr.. unfortunately, because I had plenty to discuss. Pool side party tonight - complete with bubbles flying everywhere.. small turn out - windy and cold. Day 5: Breakfast again with the heard.. too late for Aqua today, they stop at 9:30am. I found a juice bar.. they do fresh squeezed OJ.. $3.50, plus added gratuity - total $4.03, ridiculous price.. but very tasty as compared to the OJ cocktail. Today we left the ship and boarded the "free" trolley right outside the ship that makes 7 stops in various areas in the Dockyard. Beautiful day.. I think everyone is at the beaches today.. shopped at Clocktower Mall, had ice cream, visited the Glassworks (must see) bought a rum cake. Back on the ship for Trivia.. we won again!!! Snack at Blue Lagoon.. Mom had Wonton soup.. yuck!, I had the fish and chips.. pretty good. Finally found the Java Cafe.. right across from the reception desk.. I thought it was a bar. 5pm meet in Stardust for Murder Mystery. Dinner at Aqua (Prime Rib.. pretty good) with arranged group while reading from our scripts to solve a mystery, fun. Next 2nd City show.. I'm excited.. I have heard great things, but disappointed.. as were many others from comments I have heard. Chocolate Buffet held in the Garden Buffet.. what a NIGHTMARE! I think every passenger turned out for this 1-hour event.. and it was near impossible to even identify where the lines started or ended.. NCL needs to really rethink this event. So many people, including ourselves, left disgusted about this set up. Very disappointing. Next stop Star Bar for "Name that tune" very nice atmosphere and host.. songs were for Senior generation mostly, but passengers were having lots of fun.. and I learned this was the only event here like this.. what a shame there were not more of them. Now outside to the Pool area for the Country Bash.. windy and a bit chilly, but good music.. and plenty of people singing along and dancing. Stopped at Photo shop, 19.95 for one photo - to top it off the staff guy was rude to Mom.. not happy with him. Mikee who does games and trivia's.. he should be given a huge raise.. he is always smiling and talking to the passengers.. what a joy he was. Day 6: Last day in Bermuda. Where is Raul (room attendant)? Breakfast in Aqua.. very nice again. Off the ship ( very easy, no lines ) take the "free" trolley to the bus stop, hopped the bus for Horseshoe Bay. Off at the bus stop.. walked down a long steep hill to the beach.. OHHH how beautiful.. then just a few short steps away is Jobson's cove.. what a beautiful place to see. Water is a bit chilly, but some are swimming anyhow, the sand is so soft.. and not really pink like I had expected, but rather a tan color with what looks to me like sprinkles of paprika in it. Still very pretty. Chair rentals are $10.00 each, and there is a small cafe for lunch items and drinks, a changing area and restrooms. Going back to the bus stop we took a shuttle up the hill (you can take it down as well) for only $1.00 per person.. how nice. Across the street from the bus stop is a little Italian restaurant.. they open at 12 I think.. they let us use the bathroom without ordering anything.. so nice of this guy, I wanted to mention it, and the place is very cute and quaint.. didn't eat there this time, need to get back to the ship. Took bus back to Dockyard.. and have enough time for lunch.. stopped at Frog and Onion.. Not as good as I heard, I had a pasta dish, and Mom had the Pasty.. which I liked better than the pasta. The soda and ice tea tasted funny..water was ok, meals were about $15-$17 each. Back to the ship sail away. Progressive Trivia again.. we lost Dinner @ Aqua with CC group, 14 of us, nice turn out, good service. Butternut squash soup is really god. I wonder what the captain looks like.. never saw him.. but hear his announcements daily..sometimes he sounds like he is bored to tears. Next off to the show "Bollywood" what a fantastic show.. the entertainers were excellent.. one of the best shows at sea for me. Don't miss this one. It's Halloween, and am dressed in costume and headed to Spinnakers for the party.. Again organization is lacking and the majority of passengers wait in a line for at least 40 min before parading across the stage..over 60 people.. tired of this I move on to Dazzles where there is to be another Halloween bash.. but NO.. just some folks dancing to terribly loud music. OK - I'll try the Casino.. here is where the party is.. Staff all in costumes.. jam packed with people.. games.. prizes.. food.. apparently they want you to come to the casino..wonder why? Day 7: at sea, breakfast at Blue Lagoon.. you can get made to order eggs, omelets and the food is basically the same as Aqua, but much faster. Went to Q& A with Pedro and some Crew at Java (good thing I finally found this place) I remarked about the lack of service relating to freestyle dining in the main dining room.. the response was a defensive one claiming that people were generally happy with being able to choose when and where they wish to eat and that passengers are generally happy with the service. I don't think they have experienced what I have.. then they might feel differently. We are able to decide what time to leave the ship for disembarking, and pick up luggage tags at the reception area. Made reservations for Salsa for tonight. Went to Majority Rules game show - run by Mikee, lots of fun. Last night for Progressive Trivia - and MY team WON the grand prize.. whooo hooo! Lots of prizes.. what fun!! Off to the last show.. the Crew show.. very nice. Stop at the Casino.. no luck. Karaoke at Dazzles.. met up with some CC buddies.. very nice time. Luggage out in hall by 1am. Enjoyed balcony for last time.. a little chilly out there - but relaxing. Day 8: Passing the Statue of Liberty at 7am.. arrived at port 7:30. Went to breakfast at Venetian, ate with same couple we had dinner with the first night.. what a nice way to end the cruise. Back to the room to gather last belongings. Where is Raul?? Well no extra tipping here. Disembarking process moved quickly - even in baggage area and customs.. lines kept moving. *** Suggestion for those looking for transportation.. as you exit baggage area .. walk straight across the street to Taxi Cab Station.. flat rate back to LaGuardia was $35.00, and we had a great driver. *** Beware.. there are gypsy cab drivers requesting your service.. they have black town cars usually, and they are not to be trusted.. take the Yellow cab for safety. Summary: Would I book another NCL cruise?? Probably not. I am not a fan of Freestyle dining mostly because I don't care to pay extra for other dining venues and prefer the service associated with assigned seating. The entertainment on NCL was above average, while the service in general as well as the quality of the food was poor in my opinion.. in comparison to RC and HAL. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Norwegian Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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