998 Norwegian Dawn Bermuda Cruise Reviews

Background: DH and myself, 23rd cruise on NCL, 25th cruise overall. We booked this last minute, missing Bermuda this summer! And after noticing the amazing price for the new suites, we simply could not pass up this opportunity. The ... Read More
Background: DH and myself, 23rd cruise on NCL, 25th cruise overall. We booked this last minute, missing Bermuda this summer! And after noticing the amazing price for the new suites, we simply could not pass up this opportunity. The purpose of my review is to spotlight the new SD family suites on Deck 12, as well as changes to the Dawn since its dry-dock. We last sailed on the Dawn in 2007. Embarkation: Boston is less than one hour from our home, so driving to the pier on Friday morning was a breeze. We arrived at around 10:30, and after leaving our luggage with a porter, rode the escalator up to check-in (this entry to the terminal was different from when we sailed out of Boston last year), which was a breeze -â€" we were through security and waiting in the VIP lounge within about 15-20 minutes. There we met up with friends -- we chatted for a bit with our friends as well as Virginia, our concierge, enjoyed the provided snacks, and before we knew it we were being escorted on board -â€" I believe this was before 11:30. Our suite: We were able to drop our carry-on luggage in our suite #12020 -â€" our first impression was absolute awe! Beautiful, muted colors, tons of floor space, and the usual suite amenities (toiletries, champagne, bottled water, flowers). This suite sleeps six, with its double Murphy bed and double sofa bed, as well as the king sized bed. I am not certain that this bed would separate into two beds, but I don't believe it does. There is a "wall" that pulls out to separate the "master" bed from the windowed side of the suite (with a metal track on the floor that was not pleasant to step on barefoot, but we got used to it very quickly, so it wasn't an issue), as well as a curtain to completely enclose this area. Along the wall opposite the foot of the bed is a long counter with wall shelves, drawers and cabinets -â€" lots of storage -â€" the Lavazza coffee machine (ah, my favorite!), various glassware and cups, large flat screen TV on the wall, and a large back-lit mirror/make-up area with blow dryer. There was no DVD player that we could find (and we never asked). We had no problem with the number of outlets in the cabin, and didn't need to use our power strip. There is a padded bench at the end of the bed that contains two drawers (the drawers were a pleasant surprise!). The nightstands have either drawers or shelves, and have bedside lamps that also have reading lights, on either side of the bed. There is a couch (that opens to a double bed), coffee table, and two club chairs in one corner of the room. In the opposite corner are a dining table and four chairs, with the cabinets to open the Murphy bed in this corner (locked, so we never got to see what it looked like when opened). The outside wall of the suite has a wall of windows, nearly floor to ceiling -â€" they are slanted (like they were in the Spinnaker) and the view is amazing! I would estimate the total floor area of the main suite to be at least 20 feet by 25 feet (but I didn't measure...). The lighting throughout the suite is very nice, with the back-lit mirror in the main part of the suite, overhead lights,and wall of back lit mirrors in the bathroom. It took us a while to figure out the light switches, which turned on lighting in various areas of the suite! Of course there were switches for all the lights by the bed. We left the light on in the "hallway" area leading to the bathroom at night, and left the pocket door ajar, so we could find our way in the dark. There is a "hallway" (with a pocket door) to the left as you enter the suite that leads to the bathroom which contains closets and drawers on both sides. One of the closets (the first one on the right) is too narrow to hold the hangers unless they are slanted sideways, and the second closet section I don't believe had a hanging rod at all, but did have shelves/drawers; however the opposite side has more hanger and shelf space (one section of closet on the left didn't have a hanging rod either, so that's where we stored extra pillows, beach bag, hats and life jackets). There were I believe two safes in one of the closets (on the left). When you open the closet doors, the lights turn on -â€" very clever! None of the closet doors (or drawers or cabinets) slid opened/closed while we were at sea -â€" always a good thing! The bathroom is beautiful! Double sinks with plenty of counter space, shelves and drawers below, as well as shelves on the wall on one end. There is a very nice, deep bathtub as well as the most wonderful shower with a rain shower head and detachable sprayer (unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the bathroom). The usual bath amenities were included. The balcony is quite large -â€" I am guessing at least six feet deep by about 20 feet long -â€" and contains two padded, resin wicker loungers and a table. Our cabin steward brought the lounge chair pads inside at times so they wouldn't get wet -â€" he tucked them against the wall of windows where they wouldn't be in our way. When we sailed, the balcony did not have a roof/cover of any kind (there was a metal "frame" however) -â€" I understand this is to be added at some point (either a solid cover or more likely a canvas type). Because we had quite a bit of rain, we didn't enjoy our balcony as much as we could have. Also, passengers on the upper decks could "see" onto our balcony, so there is a bit of a privacy issue. We never had an issue with debris on our balcony however. We loved this suite, and would not hesitate to book this category again if the opportunity presented itself. It would more than accommodate a family of two adults and two or more children, but due to the fact that it is one large room I don't feel that there is enough privacy for more than two adults, not to mention the fact that one bathroom with six people would be a challenge! Our cabin steward (Mickey) and butler (Orlando) were awesome -â€" I really felt bad for Orlando because he so wanted to do whatever he could to enhance our stay, but we spent so much time in the Garden Villa with our friends that we rarely asked him for much. One day while we were in Bermuda we wanted to go ashore but it was pouring rain -â€" Orlando found us an umbrella. We wandered around the dockyard area for several hours, shopping and stopping for a snack at the Frog and Onion, and when we returned to the ship (very damp and a little chilled after coming back to the air conditioned ship) we entered our cabin to find a plate of fresh cookies -â€" perfect with a cup of cappuccino! Orlando brought us snacks every day; we told him we liked cheese and crackers, and he brought that for us every day, as well as other delicious goodies (and COOKIES!). Changes to the ship, post dry-dock: Ten of these suites, as well as 12 SE suites (without a balcony --otherwise these cabins were identical to ours), four deluxe owners' suites (also without a balcony), 18 inside cabins (which we noticed had a stairway to enter the cabin), four meeting rooms and the relocation of the library were added to the ship in the former area of the Spinnaker. The "new" Spinnaker Lounge is now located on deck 7 aft (can't remember what was there -â€" shops?), and is quite a beautiful space, with the same muted décor as the new suite/cabin area. We didn't spend any time here though I'm sure there were many activities scheduled in this space. The Blue Lagoon has been moved to deck 8 port side (we did not go here this trip), which was formerly part of the Tango's/Tapas restaurant (I don't recall what it was named on the Dawn). Deck 8 starboard contains the new "Moderno" restaurant. We had dinner here one night, and the food and service were wonderful -â€" the salad bar is amazing, and to be avoided at all costs, lest you fill up on the delicious offerings here and not have room for all the great food to come! There were other changes to the ship, but since we hadn't sailed on the Dawn in several years I can't recall what all was moved where! CC Meet & Greet: Arranged by "hikerboy" and held in the Star Bar, was well attended by the roll call contributors as well as the staff and crew. Refreshments were of course provided. It was wonderful to put faces to the names on our roll call, as well as to chat with the wonderful staff and crew, many of whom we have sailed with in the past. Also part of our roll call was Shayne ("CCShayne"), one of the contributing writers to Cruise Critic, on her very first cruise. From what I read of her blog, it sounds like her first cruise will not be her last! Entertainment/on board activities: Since we had friends in the Garden Villa, we spent much of our time there, rather than in the public areas on the ship. We did enjoy a few shows: the magician was very good, and Dave Heenan's show in the atrium (complete with singing -â€" who knew he sang??) was great. There was also a "Rat Pack" show one night in Gatsby's, complete with Larry Lockwood and his show band as well as various entertainers on board -â€" it was a great show, and I would highly recommend you not miss this if it is still offered. Also in Gatsby's almost nightly was Ariel Jacobbe -â€" he is a great piano player with a marvelous voice, and we have enjoyed his music on several ships over the years. Other than the slot pull that we did with several fellow cruisers after our CC meet and greet, we didn't go to the casino at all! Dining: Besides our wonderful meal in Moderno that was previously mentioned, we had two dinners in the MDR (one in Aqua, one in Venetian -â€" I prefer Venetian) that we enjoyed very much, two dinners (thanks to our Latitudes level) in LeBistro that were as always delicious, one dinner in Bamboo that was excellent, and one in LaCucina that was just okay -â€" I really feel the menu needs some work here, as well as the quality of the food -â€" where's the veal? And the pasta dishes are just blah... my only real gripe about food the whole trip. Of course we enjoyed breakfast every morning at Cagney's -â€" such a civilized and relaxing way to start the day! We rarely eat lunch, but did have lunch twice here during our cruise; the menu is fine, but I noticed the shrimp were smaller (but still tasty). We didn't have dinner here this trip. Bermuda: Beautiful, as always! No beach this trip, unfortunately -â€" the only really nice day was the day we arrived, but we spent the afternoon at the Bone Fish Grill listening to a great musician and enjoying some libations and snacks. Had I known what the weather was going to be like for the rest of our stay I'd have high-tailed it to the beach on Sunday. Conclusion: Another great cruise on a beautiful ship. Seas were not bad considering the time of year, weather wasn't the greatest, but we made our own fun and had a fabulous time! Thank you to the great staff and crew of the Dawn for making this another wonderful vacation! Thanks to our friends in the Garden Villa for sharing that wonderful space with us! And thanks to our other friends for booking this cruise before we did -â€" they were the main reason we booked this week! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We were in the old romance suite. My husband(65) daughter(31) and myself(64) and the room was perfect. When we first started out the original sofa was there which they turned into a bed which stayed like that for two days. On the third day ... Read More
We were in the old romance suite. My husband(65) daughter(31) and myself(64) and the room was perfect. When we first started out the original sofa was there which they turned into a bed which stayed like that for two days. On the third day they came in with a leather sofa which could be put back every day to sit on. The bed was good for one adult only. Breakfast and Lunch at Cagney's was to die for. Well worth the extra money. The stewards that took care of the room were the best you could ask for. We asked for ice for our cooler on the first day and every day after we always had a cooler full of ice. The Butler brought our 4:00pm treats and took care of the coffee machine when needed. Virginia was very cordial every time we met her and made all our reservations. This was the first time in a suite and we really didn't know what to expect. Whoever wrote that once in a suite, you will never go back was so true. Bermuda was great. We went to snorkel park the first day for the beach and was OK. On the second day we went to Horseshoe Bay and that was great. The third day we went sightseeing at the Commissioner House and around Dockyard ending up at Frog and Onion. Back to ship for journey back to Boston. Food The food wherever we ate was out of this world. Cagney's for breakfast and lunch everyday. We went to the Venetian twice. Moderno was good but was too much food for us. Tepanyaki was good but the best one was Le Bistro. We ate there twice and it was the best place on the ship for us. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Thank you Virginia. Crew You could not ask for a better group than the people that are aboard this ship. The group that work in Cagney's were wonderful especially Michael. The room stewards were great. The bar staff were outstanding. Even just meeting different people working around the ship were so friendly. We know we will be back next year. I just wish that I didn't have to wait a whole year to return. Thanks again for a wonderful time on the Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Awesome cruise. Our third cruise, I had expectations that this one would be better than our last one on Carnival and not as good as our first on Royal Caribbean. I have to say, this cruise in many ways were better than any we have had ... Read More
Awesome cruise. Our third cruise, I had expectations that this one would be better than our last one on Carnival and not as good as our first on Royal Caribbean. I have to say, this cruise in many ways were better than any we have had before. The Free Style theme was very evident and we enjoyed it tremendously. Get on the boat when you want, eat when you want, do what you want whenever, and get off when when you want. The crew was awesome, Delma our steward, our pool side bar crew, the wait staff of the Venetian and Aqua, all excellent people. They did a great job. We were not impressed with the Moderno Brazilian specialty restaurant. Meats were extremely dry and flavorless. I wish we had tried Cagney's, however after having the bad experience we decided to stay with the main dining rooms which were excellent. The staff at the Moderno knew we were not happy. The head Chef had chocolate dipped strawberries delivered to our room to make up for our unhappy experience. THEY were delicious and we hold no hard feelings (I am spoiled having an authentic Brazilian Churrascaria). They also took one of the cover charges off our bill. Couples massage...must do. Casino...my wife hit 3 times on slots for a total of $ 1600.00. Bar tab...eaten up by wife's earnings. Bermuda...paradise. Red Sox fans plentiful....Yankees fan (me) thrown in the pool during pool side party. All in good spirits though. Great time had by all! Put deposit down on next cruise which will be with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Overall the cruise was nice. We were a little disappointed with the ship. It was difficult to navigate from point A to point B. To go forward or aft, you had to go to a certain deck, then go outside, then back inside and then to another ... Read More
Overall the cruise was nice. We were a little disappointed with the ship. It was difficult to navigate from point A to point B. To go forward or aft, you had to go to a certain deck, then go outside, then back inside and then to another deck to get to where you wanted to go. The restaurants were phenomenal!! More food than you could imagine and some of the best food I've ever had. The staff was very attentive to our wants, needs and desires. We met a couple of great staff members in a couple of the pubs. Cassie from the Gatsby and Laly from Pearly Kings Pub were great. Two of the nicest and friendliest staff members. We will miss them. The spa was incredible. I had, and recommend, the Full Body Hot Stone massage, the Men's facial, and the Men's haircut. It was kind of expensive, but well worth it. Bermuda was nice too...too much to see and do in too little time though. We ate at two great restaurants ashore. The Bone Fish and the Frog and Onion. Great food and great drinks. I highly recommend this cruise to anyone. With the only suggestion of being patient when traveling around the ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Sailed to Bermuda on the Norwegian Dawn, from Boston, on July 15th. We are a family of 4 with 2 teen daughters aged 13 and 15 and drove down from Montreal, Canada. As first time cruisers, we had open minds about the novelty, hoped ... Read More
Sailed to Bermuda on the Norwegian Dawn, from Boston, on July 15th. We are a family of 4 with 2 teen daughters aged 13 and 15 and drove down from Montreal, Canada. As first time cruisers, we had open minds about the novelty, hoped for more good experiences than bad ones and were prepared to view disappointments as leanings not show stoppers. Luckily, our cruise was way more positive than negative. In fact, the negative aspects were mostly revelations of mismatch in our living habits and the hallmarks of any cruise: eating a lot, boozing, casinos and lounging in the sun all day. For light eaters and drinkers, non-gamblers as well as brief sun tanning people, we discovered that cruising might not be the ideal choice for our future vacations, especially when out at sea where you cannot go offshore for something else to do. Bear in mind: this is in no way a bad critic of our cruise but rather a realization that it may not be the best fit for our family. This being said, the cruise itself was superb! We never saw or experienced the negative points shouted by some reviewers of this site (drunken people, obnoxious kids, bad cruise director, etc...) and positives included: - Ease of arrival and boarding in Boston: drive-in, offload, park, welcome by NCL staff, efficient logging-in process, no lost luggage. - Warm, welcoming and happy staff throughout to help guests in any way. A diverse international crew, not everyone fluent in English but everyone tried and made sure to be understood. Kudos's to Andrew our usual waiter at the Venetian and Leslie, our stateroom steward. - Mostly excellent restaurants serving balanced portions with efficiency. We tried 2 cover-charge restaurants, the Cucina and the Bistro which were both worth the extra charge, especially the Cucina. - Long duration of Bermuda stop (2½ days) which permitted a more thorough visit. Bermuda has an excellent and very affordable transportation system, especially the ferries, to go farther than the nearby Dockyard area. It pays to inquire ahead in Bermuda Tourism or Transportation websites to find good value instead of paying single fares. We visited (read "shopped") Hamilton in the second morning which was delightful. - Calm sailing, no seasickness. - Very polite, well-mannered, patient, happy cruising crowd, including the kids and teens, perhaps because of the Dawn's Boston departure rather than New-York departures (as read in this review site in previous years). - Excellent production shows, especially the 70's tribute "Band on the run". - Met-up with others from Quebec so we could converse in French and the girls made friends who also spoke French. Negatives were few but for the sake of completeness: - Bad luck for beaches: horseshoe bay in the rain (not crowded but no fun!) and overcrowding in snorkel beach club on the only sunny afternoon. Beach lounging was not our priority anyway! No one has control over the weather wherever they choose to vacation. - Questionable food at the "24-7" Blue Lagoon as our entrEe of chicken wings showed what looked like hairs sticking out of the batter. Never ate there again nor at the Moderno Churriscaria which shares the same kitchen. - Cost of extras, especially the pictures. We were prepared for the cost of excluded items such as drinks and the mandatory 12$ per day per person gratuity but not for the ever-present solicitation for pictures: embarkation, sail-away, restaurants, disembarking in Bermuda, multiple backdrops for poses, etc... at 13$ per 5X7 and 20$ per 8X10, it can add-up ... and it did ! High-quality, professional photographers; why did the picture all had to be so darn good ! All in all quite happy with our vacation but we open-mindedly discovered it might not the best fit for our family; just a personal realization. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Husband and I honeymooned in Bermuda 41 years ago. We were very excited to return and see how the island had changed. Our honeymoon was a land package at Cambridge Beaches. We had rented mopeds in 1970 and toured the whole island finding ... Read More
Husband and I honeymooned in Bermuda 41 years ago. We were very excited to return and see how the island had changed. Our honeymoon was a land package at Cambridge Beaches. We had rented mopeds in 1970 and toured the whole island finding lots of deserted beaches and fun things to do. One thing that really impressed us the first time in Bermuda was how clean the island was and how friendly the people were. Since the land packages are so expensive, we chose to take a cruise on the NCL Dawn this time. We flew to Boston from Florida the day before the cruise to do some sightseeing. I am happy we chose to fly a day ahead, as I heard there were many delays from Orlando to Boston, due to weather, the next day. We took a shuttle from the airport. It was too early to check in, so we checked our bags, had lunch and walked to the metro. We took the metro to Prudential Center and walked to the Duck Tour check in area. It was too early for our tour so we asked for things to do in the area. We chose to do the Skywalk Observatory which was very close by. It was worth the price for a 360 degree view of Boston and very educational. We then took our Duck Tour which was fun. After the tour we walked to The Atlantic Fish Restaurant and had a delicious stuffed lobster dinner. On July 1, we took the hotel shuttle to the Port. We were pretty early and were told where to wait. It took until about 10:30 a.m. before the passengers from the previous cruise were disembarked and we could go to check-in. Check in was very fast and efficient. We were in the first group to board the Dawn at noon. We took our hand luggage to the Bamboo Restaurant on Deck 7 Mid Ship and checked it in. Then we proceeded to lunch in the Garden Cafe. We had lunch each day in the Garden Cafe. There was a lot of variety—something for everyone. The food was good, but not outstanding. The rest of the day we spent exploring the ship. Our room was available about 2 p.m. We had a mid-ship balcony room on Deck 10 which was quite nice. Our steward was Rod and he was very friendly and helpful whenever we requested anything. The beds do tend to be hard on NCL so we requested an egg-crate which Rod put under the sheets during the turn down service. Dinner was in the Venetian Main Dining Room. Lobster was served the first night which we enjoyed. We enjoyed the Welcome Aboard Show that evening. The singers and dancers are very talented. I arranged a Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle for the first full sea day (July 2). We had about 13 people attend. I must say I was very impressed with NCL. I only contacted them less than two weeks prior about having the Meet & Mingle. The main ship officers, including the Captain, arrived at the start (10:30 a.m.) NCL had set up refreshments for us as well. It was a smaller turn out than we had hoped for, but the crew was very gracious. In the evening, we dined at the new specialty restaurant, The Moderno Churrascaria. We are meat eaters and enjoyed the dinner very much. There is a very elaborate salad bar with lots of interesting choices. We tried one of each meat that was served for a total of 10 and they were all very good (except for the lamb which we don't particularly like anyway it is cooked). You need to be very hungry for this restaurant. The service was fantastic. The evening show, Band on the Run, was excellent. The sea was extremely calm during our sailing to Bermuda. We arrived in Bermuda on time the third day. We did not arrange any ship shore excursions. We bought a 3 day pass for the ferry and buses. Then we set out to find our honeymoon place. We found the resort still there and were even able to go inside our honeymoon cottage to see the changes that had been made thanks to a maid who let us in. We bused back to the Navy Military Cemetery and found the sea glass beach. It was amazing to see so much glass on the beach washed by the ocean. We came home with quite a few nice pieces of different colors, shapes and sizes. We did have a bit of a rain shower but it cleared up pretty quickly. Days 3 and 4 we ferried and bused to Hamilton and St. Georges. We also used the buses to get around the interior of Bermuda. Bermuda remains one of the cleanest and friendliest islands I have ever been too. Bermuda has so many more houses and people now. It is very dangerous to rent the motor scooters vs when we were there in 1970. The water is a beautiful turquoise color and is sheltered by a coral reef. It is truly a beautiful island. One night, we were invited to eat dinner with the ship's Chief Engineer, which delighted my husband since he is an engineer. We ate in the Aqua Main Dining Room. It was a very nice time and we felt special. On the return trip to Boston, we still had relatively calm seas. We played a lot of Bingo on the ship. I must say that NCL's bingos are the most expensive I have encountered with the smallest payouts. Also the progressive full card bingo jackpot must be won in 47 numbers which is pretty difficult. On other ships, the numbers grow for the full card each time, not remain the same. They did have nice jackpots if you hit them within 47 numbers. We also made our donations to the casino. Most of the table games' minimums were too high for us. We attended several interesting seminars on the ship: the Gleason Memory Seminar, a magic seminar, and the Second City comedy troupe. We also enjoyed the music on the ship in the various locations. One crew member sings just like Frank Sinatra! As far as the ship layout, the 6th Deck seemed to have the weirdest layout. Other than that, we found it easy to maneuver. The service was excellent. The entertainment was great. Though, we didn't have children with us, all those on board seemed to be having a good time. There is a special spot for children in the Garden Cafe which was quite nice and a separate pool/play area. Disembarkation was a breeze and well organized. We had an early flight to catch and the ship's transfer that we purchased to the airport got us there in a timely manner. My husband and I very much enjoyed our cruise to Bermuda and return! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Cast: 8 adults, 7 teens (between 13 & 19) Embarkment: hired limo service to pick us all up, arrived at dock at 11:00, luggage picked up almost immediately and then went to check-in, also went smoothly except for the woman ... Read More
Cast: 8 adults, 7 teens (between 13 & 19) Embarkment: hired limo service to pick us all up, arrived at dock at 11:00, luggage picked up almost immediately and then went to check-in, also went smoothly except for the woman handing out group cards screaming at us to keep moving because we had stopped to wait for the rest of our party - it was kind of funny though. Boarded the ship, went to lunch and then a comedy took place. Both the travel agent and the representatives of the ship told us we could switch cabins once we came aboard (adults would be in the balcony cabins)and the kids would be right across the hall in the inside cabins) of course, they didn't tell you what a nightmare it would be with the keys!!!! We couldn't just switch keys because of the billing nightmares and the kids' keys, of course, were clipped off so they couldn't purchase alcohol. So once we figured out that only one person per room would have a key (what a pain), we went to lunch then explored the ship. It was beautiful and pretty easy to figure out once you knew where everything was. The elevators were a bit slow at busy times of the day so we usually took the stairs which turned out to be a good thing because it ended up being the only exercise I got. I had planned to use the exercise room but never did - oops! I did walk on the lido deck Sat. morning (1 mile) but never got there again. Cabins: Loved our cabin, so happy we chose a balcony. Slept liked a baby, kept the slider opened at night when we were at sea so we could hear the ocean. Wonderful!!! The kids had no complaints either. Although, they would have slept all day in their dark cabins if we didn't wake them up. One morning around 8:00 a.m., one of our girls came stumbling out of her room in a fog, I happened to be in the hallway, all dressed up in her bathing suit and announced she was heading for the pool - when I told her no you're not, it's raining she turned around and I guess went to sleep for two more hours - LOL Cabin steward - Rod, he was the BEST!!! Treated all of us like royalty. We will miss him. The youngest of our crew, my nephew (13), found out he liked fishing so he bought Rod a dolphin keychain in Bermuda, so cute. Rod was so shocked and thankful, something I will remember forever. Crew: Just wonderful. Made friends with a few bartenders. What great, hard working people and always with a smile on their faces. They work their butts off, most 10 hours a day, everyday for 9 months and then they get to go home to their families for 3 months. No-one should ever complain about the $12 a day service charge. They deserve every bit of it and more. It was a pleasure to tip them extra and they really appreciated it. The only crew complaint I had was one of the gentlemen that worked at the onboard ship credit desk, he was not too pleasant to deal with. We asked mid-week for a printout of our account and you would have thought I told him he needed to paddle the ship all the way back to Boston. My request took him all of one minute to perform!!! He didn't have to be so miserable. Food: the food in general was very good and liked the fact that you could eat when you wanted, especially with a large group going off in all different directions. Sometimes would eat with just my husband, other times would have a group of 6 or 7 with us. We did make it a point to have one dinner all together, made reservations at the Venizian (sp?) and had a wonderful meal and a lot of laughs. 6 of our party went to the Japanese restaurant and absolutely loved it and another 12 went to Moderno, very good as well except a couple of the kids wouldn't eat anything but the beef so they had a long wait between servings so they complained about that. Entertainment: honestly, we really didn't participate much in the planned activities. We were always doing something else when the time came to do anything we were interested in. I guess we made up our own activities. Pool: that was the only complaint - too small for the amount of people on the ship but had fun anyways. Kind of hard to get all of us chairs so we switched off - when some were in the pool, others would sun bath and vis-versa. Loved the live entertainment and the DJ as well as the barbeque. Had so much fun at the pool area during the days at sea!!! Bermuda: Lovely island. Really disappointed in that Snorkle Park Beach - mostly because it was rocky and they charged us $10 pp to enter. It's usually $5 and sometimes it's free so they really were just taking advantage of the cruise ship passengers the first day in Bermuda. Full day in Bermuda was spent at Horseshoe Bay Beach. What can I say - I have been to a lot of different beaches, Aruba, different Florida beaches, Myrtle Beach, Maine, NH, RI, CT, NJ beaches, but nothing can compare to the beauty of that beach. Espcially when we first got there, arrived very early, were the first people there and it was unbelievable. Traveled by cab, charged us only $7 pp so it was worth the extra money rather than deal with the bus. Cab driver who took us to the beach was awesome, gave us a little tour of that part of the island, even took us up to the lighthouse before dropping us off. Ride back was a different story. Went up to a cab and the guy starts off by yelling at my husband to put on his shirt which he was planning on doing and then yells at my daughter for being wet, yeah, no kidding, we just left the beach. So she refuses to get in his cab so some of our party got in and he complained about Americans - to the Americans in his cab - the whole ride back - he really should find a different line of work the jerk. We got in another cab with a more pleasant driver. Last day in Bermuda was spent walking around the dock area in the pouring rain, which actually was fun. Weather: Mostly sunny/partly cloudly the whole trip except our last morning in Bermuda - it cleared up later in the day and our last full day on the ship, it rained in the early morning. We had a lot of laughs and now some inside jokes - like "washy, washy, happy, happy" and "it's bingo time - woo, hoo! Those of you who have taken this cruise knows exactly what I'm talking about. Can't wait to plan our next cruise but I also believe that it wouldn't be so much fun if we didn't have such a large party. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Just returned from my first cruise yesterday on the Norwegian Dawn out of Boston to Bermuda. I was very excited to be going at all, but the experience was way more than I expected. I was lucky to have a Penthouse Suite (forward) so ... Read More
Just returned from my first cruise yesterday on the Norwegian Dawn out of Boston to Bermuda. I was very excited to be going at all, but the experience was way more than I expected. I was lucky to have a Penthouse Suite (forward) so was able to appreciate all the perks that come with the Butler and Concierge services. Our Concierge, Anoop, was flawless. He has the experience and style that the position requires and we always had the best seating for dining and shows. In addition however, he truly tried to find my lost glasses (and eventually did!) and he prevented a long wait in line for duty free pick up on the last night of the cruise! The benefits of his services more than made up for the cost of the upgraded room as there is never a wait for getting on and off the ship, dining reservations (with the best seating) and generally everything that makes the cruise feel truly luxurious. The forward Penthouse Suite was absolutely perfect. Even on sea days, the wind on the balcony was really okay with me....and if you are sitting on the padded lounge chairs you don't feel the wind! Dolphins and whales were visible from the balcony on the last two days of the cruise which only added to the perfection of the room! Our Steward was perfect as well. He called us by name from the second day of the voyage and made the best towel art I could imagine! He seemed to enjoy our enjoyment of the vacation. What better compliment could there be?? We tipped him on the night before the cruise ended. We knew he was part of the service charge but he was working hard each and every day so he deserved it! As for Bermuda...if you love sea glass (as I do) please try to go to Sea Glass Beach. We hired a cab at Dockyard in torrential rain to take us 10 minutes, wait 20 minutes, and bring us back and we collected about 4 pounds of beautiful sea glass. The beach is near the old cemetary and church right near the dockyard, behind the apartments, down the path (with seaglass embedded borders and table). It is a great adventure and well worth it!! :) Tobacco Bay has terrific snorkeling if any one is intersted! I had a great time on the Dawn...and I hope you will too! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Dawn Review - Bermuda July 1-8, 2011OVERVIEW - Absolutely perfect cruise. As soon as we got home, we-booked the same room for next year.ABOUT US - My husband (mid-40's) and I (mid-30's) have been on 3 NCL cruises from Boston to ... Read More
Dawn Review - Bermuda July 1-8, 2011OVERVIEW - Absolutely perfect cruise. As soon as we got home, we-booked the same room for next year.ABOUT US - My husband (mid-40's) and I (mid-30's) have been on 3 NCL cruises from Boston to Bermuda (2009, 2010, 2011). I have also cruised on the Epic in April 2011 and with Renaissance Cruises (now Oceania) in 1994. EMBARKATION - Extremely efficient (the quickest of all our trips). We arrived at the Black Falcon Terminal in Boston at 11am. Porters were waiting at the curbside to collect our baggage as we drove up. My husband dropped me off and parked across the street in the garage. There were about 5 people waiting for the officer to check passports and to be ushered up the escalator to the check-in desk. At the top, we were given a number (15) and went right up to the counter. After checking in, we went to the waiting area for our number to be called, but before we could sit down, they were ready for number 15 and we were on our way up to the ship. By 11:30 we were sitting at the Java Cafe ordering drinks. I've heard others talk about very long lines to check in, so getting there early really paid off. LATE SAILING - It should be noted that the Dawn was 2 hours late leaving Boston because of the remodeling being done on the ship, but it did not affect our arrival to Bermuda. Many people were complaining, but we could care less. We're on the ship, the band was playing, drinks were being served and we were having a great time at the pool. It could've stayed in Boston for 7 days and we still would have had a blast.CABIN - We stayed in balcony room 10696 and re-booked this room for next year because we like it so much. It's small, like most rooms on a cruise are, but it was clean, comfortable, and quiet. The room was right near the aft elevators so it was very conveniently located and the views from the balcony were breathtaking. I thought the bed was great, but my husband complained it was too firm. The mini-bar was missing some items (peanuts, a water, a beer, and a wine), but we weren't planning on using them anyway. However, I was worried we would be charged for the missing items, so I wrote on the order form what was missing and we were never charged. There were some minor things that were wrong, but not worth getting upset about - initially there was a slight odor of urine in the toilet area (it appeared spotless and went away later that night), the curtains had several small pinholes that let streams of light in, and a couple times our stewardess only left one set of clean towels. She was quick to bring more and was always smiling and helpful.POOL AREA - The pool itself is small like the pools on the Epic and Spirit. It was crowded on sea days, but that's what makes it fun in our opinion. The music was good and there were plenty of people to talk to. The pool-side BBQs were great the smell of charcoal while out on the open water is so wonderful. The stairs around the pool are very slippery. A boy fell and hit his head early on in the cruise. He was attended to immediately and taken away in a wheelchair. I was impressed because shortly after he was taken care of, staff came out to investigate and take pictures of the area. It's nice to know that they take such mishaps seriously. Most of the time we hung out at the Bimini Bar because it's shaded and we enjoyed the staff there - friendly and quick. I also think they had the best drinks on the ship. One thing to note - the ships has a deal on beer - buy five get one free - that comes in a bucket of ice, but the bucket is not free. There is a deposit added for the bucket that is refundable when you return it along with your receipt. We ran into several people that did not realize this. It's clearly marked on the receipt, but somehow people still miss it.CASINO - My husband truly enjoyed the casino. I don't care to gamble, but he likes the $5 black jack table and the 2 cent slots. He walked away with more than he spent, so all is good.ENTERTAINMENT - We enjoyed the Caribbean-style band that played as well as DJ Patrick and DJ Impakt. We also saw the Bollywood show on the last night which was outstanding. Having just been on the Epic and seeing Cirque, the Bollywood show was just as exciting and professionally done. I also went to the Italian wine tasting and the martini tasting. They were worth the $15. The drinks were good and the lectures were very informative. Our cruise director Johnny Cash Sanchez was funny and very entertaining. There seemed to be less announcements through the intercom this year - which was nice for a change. On past cruises they've been excessive. SHOPPING - The Dawn has the usual shops. The duty-free shops were open once we were in international waters. It's always a bargain to buy liquor and cigarettes (if that is your thing - however be sure you know what the max allowed by US customs is so that you don't violate the laws). There was a good selection of NCL-themed t-shirts and sweatshirts. The jewelery shop had a nice selection with daily specials. FOOD - The food was the best we've had on any cruise - delicious, beautifully presented, nice variety. We at the both main dining rooms (Venetian and Aqua) as well as the buffet. We did intend to go to Teppanyaki, but we never got around to making reservations and it was always full when we looked. Next time we will book it on the first day. It was no big deal, the food was so good in the restaurants we did eat in that we did not feel as if we missed out on anything. BERMUDA - Words cannot describe how amazing Bermuda is. It is truly paradise. We have friends on the island so we spent our time with them hanging out and going to the beach. DISEMBARKATION - This is the one thing that could use some improvement. It took a long time to get off the ship (close to an hour). We did the 'easy walk-off' and left our room at 8:45. The line was long and wrapped around the entire deck on the 7th floor. Getting though customs was quick, so the only hold up was waiting in line for NCL to scan our cards. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We (me, my wife, my brother in law and sister in law) live just outside of Boston so the Dawn to Bermuda was really easy. We got dropped off at the ship at about 11:00. The Longshoreman was great and took all of our bags. We proceeded ... Read More
We (me, my wife, my brother in law and sister in law) live just outside of Boston so the Dawn to Bermuda was really easy. We got dropped off at the ship at about 11:00. The Longshoreman was great and took all of our bags. We proceeded through security and check in just minutes. We waited a short time to be called to board. We went to Venetian for lunch but everything progressed so quickly they weren't even open yet (they open at noon). We took a quick walk around and went up to the pool and had a beer. Then a delicious lunch in the Venetian. The rooms were ready at two o'clock and we received our luggage just after that so we unpacked before the muster. Restaurants We goofed around too long until everyone was starving and the MDR's had a wait. We went to the buffet for dinner. I wouldn't recommend it, that late at night, for dinner. The selections were sparse and not great. Breakfast at the buffet, however, is wonderful. All kinds of fresh fruit and just about anything you can think of for breakfast. Dinner Saturday night at Cagney's was delicious. Great steaks and a delicious bottle of chianti. Speaking of chianti, we went to an Italian wine tasting for $15 and it was great, very informative, fun, interesting and tasty. The presentation was conducted by DaCosta, the Head Wine Steward. He was great. Sunday night was dinner at Aqua. Delicious, great service. Just great. Monday and Tuesday night we all ate at La Cucina. Again it was delicious. My brother in law was still hungry after he finished his Chicken Parm so he asked for another. It was delivered promptly. We had dinner at the Brazilian Steakhouse the last night. Everything was delicious. Make sure to try the cheesebread! Ten meats, all delicious but it is really overdosing on meat. The ship The crew is outstanding. I can't imagine anyone having any complaints at all. They are all dedicated to your comfort and enjoyment. When you pass in the corridor they always great you. Service is great and always comes with a smile and a kind word. Don't ask me how they remember everyone's name but once they meet you they almost always greet you by name! The air conditioning in our room didn't work. We reported it to the front desk and it was repaired in about an hour. No complaints there. With a physical plant of this size and scope things are bound to malfunction. Prompt attention is the key and is what we experienced. We had sailed before on the Pearl and had a mini suite. For Bermuda we chose a balcony. I would opt for the mini suite next time. Just a little more room and a little more comfortable. BERMUDA Bermuda is a beautiful place but it was oppressively hot. The lines for bus passes were about an hour long and in the blazing sun. Then the busses and ferries all had long lines in the sun. We went to Hamilton on Sunday and it was closed. Yes basically the whole city was closed. We went to the Hogpenny for some refreshing adult beverages and it was very nice. Monday we went to St. Georges. Again, a long hot line at the ferry. Then a long ferry ride and it was so hot you really couldn't walk a round much. Next time I think I'll just hang around the ship or the Dockyard. Shows We attended Band on the Run, the comedian and Bollywood. I thought they were all great. Overall, a strong recommendation to enjoy the Dawn. You won't be sorry! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Had a fantastic time on the Norwegian Dawn, there is something for everyone! Check in was very fast, you can park and be on board within 30 minutes. Employess are extremely friendly, don't listen to anyone that say's they're ... Read More
Had a fantastic time on the Norwegian Dawn, there is something for everyone! Check in was very fast, you can park and be on board within 30 minutes. Employess are extremely friendly, don't listen to anyone that say's they're not. Our housekeeper always addressed by name and always made sure everything was going ok for us. Again, anyone that says the entertainment was "goofy" or bad is just looking for reasons to complain, as the entertainment was excellent. Band on the Run and Bollywood (PG-13?? Just beacause of women exposing their midriff? Please.) are fantastic shows, the Dawn Production Cast are extremely talented dancers and singers. The Second City group was one of the funniest shows I have ever seen, make sure you go to all 3. Dave Heenan, the stand-up, was ok, but still had some hilarious moments. I had low expectations for the magician Greg Gleason, but was very surprised, anytime you can make a helicopter appear out of nowhere on stage, you do not deserve to be critized. The food at the complimentary restaurants, the Venetian and Aqua, was good, although like any restaurants you're forced to go to for 7 straight days, the food does get repetitive and limited in choice. The Garden Grill buffet was great, most varitety on the ship. And no, the ship is not a "maze", if you have a somewhat average sense of direction, it's extremely easy to find your way around. The cruise is not a booze cruise if you don't want it to be, there are plenty of other sections and activities of the ship where you don't have to deal with alcohol. As far as people complaining about the price of "extra" things like the spa, the speciality restaurants, and gift shops, guess what, it's a vacation, they're expensive, get used to it. Like anything in life, if you think it's too expensive, don't buy it. The only negative was the Moderno Brazilian restaurant. We waited over 10 minutes between each meat serving, every cut was medium rare to rare, and our desserts were half melted by the time they were served to us. Maybe it was bad night for them, but wow, terrible experience. I'd highly suggest the Norwegian Dawn for a cruise, it's freestyle crusing at it's best. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
The last time my husband and I cruised was over 20 years ago. Boy, has cruising changed a lot! Embarkation was very good. My husband pulled up to the port shortly after 11 am and we all got out of the car and unloaded all the luggage. A ... Read More
The last time my husband and I cruised was over 20 years ago. Boy, has cruising changed a lot! Embarkation was very good. My husband pulled up to the port shortly after 11 am and we all got out of the car and unloaded all the luggage. A worker came over and immediately loaded our stuff up on the cart and I tipped him. My husband pulled away and parked the car. (parking $112 per week) We went inside the building to check in. I brought lanyard necklaces that the kids and I beaded at home to hang our room keys on. The guests services desk on deck 7 punched a hole in our key card for us. It was convenient wearing our key cards around our necks. (plus our pretty beaded necklaces that we made looked nice) Embarkation process went smoothly and we were eating at the buffet by 11:30. Our cabin was an inside cabin on deck 8. Very nice. The 4 of us were comfortable. I had the steward empty the refrigerator and we filled it with bottled water that we brought from home. We carried on a case that was well labeled with our name and cabin number and it arrived safely to our cabin with no problems. The ship water is excellent to drink. We wanted the water bottles for our excursions. Bathroom was a good size. I brought a fan, electrical power strip, and a night light for the cabin that was very helpful. I also brought a clear plastic over the door shoe holder that I hung on the bathroom door. It has 24 clear pockets that held all our toiletries and stuff. That helped the cabin not to be cluttered with junk. Beds were comfortable. Room was always freshened up when we were away. The food was excellent. We went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch and to the dining room at night. The buffet was delicious. A nice variety. We loved it! We ate dinner at the Venetian every night except the last night we ate at the Aqua. Food and service were excellent. We also had a meal and snacks at the Blue Lagoon (24 hr) and the food and service were excellent. We didn't eat at any specialty restaurants. Entertainment is very good. We saw the early show every night at 7:30. Our kids didn't participate in the kids club programs. They would have had to be separated because of their age difference. They would rather hang out with each other or with us. We did allow our children to roam around the ship alone during the day. They knew our rules, the ships rules, and were well behaved. (according to other passengers and the staff) We felt they were safe. They had their room key, knew where to find us, and more importantly where the food was! I loved the photography service on the boat. I coordinated our clothes each night for pictures. Great photos! Hint: In the beginning of the week ask someone at the photo desk to start a "hold folder" for you. Each day pick up your photos off the wall and add to the folder. Accumulate all week. The last day they had a special on pictures (free photos, free wallets) and then you will have lots of pictures to pick from. Also, when I went home I scanned the photos and submitted them to Walmart for copies. Walmart initially refused because I needed a copyright release from NCL. So, I called NCL customer service and within seconds I had a NCL copyright release for the photos in my email. Printed and presented it to Walmart and got my pictures. That was easy! Bermuda was beautiful. Day 1: We went to Horseshoe Bay Beach. We took the bus which was $4.00 for adults each way and $2.00 for the kids each way. Water was warm with lots of waves. The kids snorkeled and swam. We brought our own snorkeling stuff from home. For snacks brought water bottles and bags of trail mix. We also had some little cereal boxes from breakfast too. FYI: If you take food off the ship you will be fined. (meats, fruits, and a list of more things) They didn't have a problem with the cereal boxes or trail mix because they were SEALED. I recommend bringing stuff from home: granola, goldfish, chewy treats, etc. to bring on excursions if you have kids. Snacks were expensive to purchase. Just make sure everything is new and sealed before leaving the boat. Day 2: We took the ferry to Hamilton. It is a 20 minute ride and is the same price as the bus. Beautiful city. We walked (15 minutes) from the marina to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. (BUEI) Nice interactive museum for children. We did some souvenir shopping on the walk back to the marina and came back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we went to the National Museum of Bermuda at the Dockyard. Lots of history and photo ops there. Day 3: We explored the Dockyard in the morning. We rode the free trolley around the Dockyard. Window shopped. Went to the Clocktower Mall and purchased souvenirs and stood at the official tip of the Bermuda triangle! Went to lunch back on the ship. Finally, our afternoon activity had to be close and short because the boat was leaving at 5:00. We went to Snorkel Park that was walking distance to the boat. It cost us $5.00 each to get in. Nice beach. Water was very warm and no waves. Mostly everyone there was from the cruise ships. My husband and kids snorkeled. I just relaxed in the water. Lots of kids there. Great beach for kids because it was shallow water, warm, no waves, bathrooms available, concession stands, and a short walk or free trolley ride back to the boat. Nice way to end our stay in Bermuda. Overall our vacation was excellent. The ship was great. We are not picky people and we are easy to please. Not everything was perfect all the time and the kids had their "moments". Nobody was sick and nobody got injured. (thank goodness) So to me, a vacation is NOT having to cook, clean, nurse an illness, taxi the kids everywhere, etc. That is exactly what I got! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Oh wow where to begin! I suppose I will start with the good. I loved the Dawn! As a woman my husband will verify is hard to please, that says a lot! The Dawn was beautiful and majestic! From her sparkling pool water, to her glistening ... Read More
Oh wow where to begin! I suppose I will start with the good. I loved the Dawn! As a woman my husband will verify is hard to please, that says a lot! The Dawn was beautiful and majestic! From her sparkling pool water, to her glistening brass elevator shafts. Dawn is a lady who has class! The food was good in the MDR'S (Thank you goes out to our excellent waiter in the Aqua,Wayan Gunarja for making our trip so memorable), The Garden cafe was only consistently good for breakfast and oft times dishes were dirty. Juice and milk machines broke down twice. The 24 hour cafe was the same food and horrible at that, and the waitstaff lax in following directives. Don't bother with the Java Cafe, the coffee was watered down and tasted like colored water. Cagney's wasn't worth the money. The food was bland and tasteless. My cabin, starboard side mid ship was perfect for two, but would be to snug for anymore I think. Our coffee table spent its trip on the balcony to make more room. Our steward started out great, but by the end of the trip seemed tired and even grouchy. We did get a towel that was torn, and sheets with a small eraser sized dot. Which I only noticed because it was near my head. But the bed was comfortable and the room well maintained by the steward. Word of caution for larger people though, the toilet section of the bathrooms are small! The common areas of the ship were lovely, I did notice a few buttons missing from one of the elevators for braille users, but otherwise, the ship was in top shape. We ran into bad weather and the captain was right up front and direct, and kept us well informed. I always felt safe with him and was not worried in the least. Here is both the bad and the ugly. While ninety nine percent of the crew was extremely friendly, eager to please, and a true joy to meet, I found both the assistant and superior bar managers severely lacking. I ordered two drinks one for myself and one for my seventeen year old with a heart condition. Despite my request that my daughters be a virgin pina colada, the waiter from topsiders served her pina colada with Myers Rum in it. Neither of us noticed until she started to complain she felt funny and I took her back to our room. Where she finished half the glass and then said she was feeling tired. She fell asleep there after. I still didn't realize the error even though she got sick a short while later, but then the next morning when she complained of a major headache. This sounded incredibly to me like a hangover. I looked at our receipt and was livid. I left her in bed as she said she couldn't move and went to the guest desk. The clerk sent me a lady who was the manager of Topsiders. Right away the finger was pointed right back at me. Why didn't I read the slip? (Because I assumed their crew knew how to listen) Why didn't my daughter taste it? (because she is seventeen and never tasted it before) Why didn't I notice it? (because assuming they got what I asked, I didn't inspect her glass). They played medical attention games. First it was "bring her to the DR." When I said she couldn't move, it was "we will send the nurse." Then it was "The nurse cannot leave the infirmary she will have to come here." Apparently I just fell off the turnip truck, and wouldn't realize they were gauging her by saying that if she can make it there she wasn't ill. Anyway, when I refused they threw up their hands and tried to say than that's it. Their DR. has to check her. They also said that it was as much my fault for not looking at the bill, and not checking her drink. After my daughter took aspirin and felt a little better, I took her to the island and called her US pediatrician listing her symptoms and severity. Verdict: She was wasted. These two did everything in their power to discredit me and my daughter. Thankfully she is fine, but what if this was a person allergic to alcohol or unable to drink with their meds? These two should be fired for taking this so unfeelingly. Oh and according to the topsiders lady manager, they don't put enough alcohol in their drinks to make a person drunk anyway...hm, would those who spend lots of money on their booze love to know that! ( I did take this up with the cruise director Mr.Sanchez as I disembarked and was forced to go back on board to get back the whole dollar I had left on my sailcard. When I say forced it was forced, the guy grabbed my wrist and made my daughter sit with out luggage on deck to take me into the credit desk. Thankfully I saw Mr. Sanchez and he took over. He however was sweet and genuinely concerned over both my being forced to return to the ship and my daughter.) Long review short, would I sail on Dawn again? YES! In a heartbeat, and am already planning my next one. Bermuda was gorgeous and I learned a lesson to steer clear of the ships bars. Otherwise, the ship was well worth the expense. One final thought though. If you are not into art, or booze, or self help guru talk, or bingo however, I suggest bringing a book. More than once, we found ourselves bored as the point of the cruise seemed to be for NCL to make money. The daily news bulletins were engulfed with hourly attempts to sell, and virtually no attempts to entertain. But I would still go back, by virtue of the crew I did meet and by virtue of the lady herself. Embarkation was twenty mins, while debarkation took almost an hour. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Background: With more than 40 cruises under my belt, I thought I had experienced the total gamut of service, cuisine and accommodations, but our recent Garden Villa experience on the Norwegian Dawn was truly incomparable to anything ... Read More
Background: With more than 40 cruises under my belt, I thought I had experienced the total gamut of service, cuisine and accommodations, but our recent Garden Villa experience on the Norwegian Dawn was truly incomparable to anything I've ever even dreamed of. Cruising with my parents beginning in the 1960s, our first accommodations (for many years) were interior cabins or exterior rooms too low in the bowels of the ship to offer a porthole. The staterooms had plenty of floor space, but had painted iron twin beds anchored to the floors with ever-present bunks and absolutely no decor of any kind. There were no televisions in these cabins, and no bow camera to allow us to gauge the outside weather or time of day. My folks eventually decided to spring for an outside cabin with a single porthole and we were finally able to determine if the sun was shining and whether to dress for the pool or the movie theater, the only option on a rainy day. By the time ships started offering private balconies, our family began enjoying picture windows. We never thought we'd be worthy of balcony status. I enjoyed my first balcony cabin as an adult with my own kids. It was offered to us because of a booking error. I never thought that cruising could get any better than that...until we stumbled on a great deal for a Grand Suite on a Costa cruise. The suite was HUGE! It had a living area located across the room from the bed and a huge bathroom with a nice dressing area. The suite also provided butler and concierge services! Life was GRAND! Surely nothing on Earth could surpass this cruising experience but I remember thinking that cruise ships would continue to surpass one another's version of grandeur and that there'd always be something bigger and better on the horizon. Well- I'm now pretty sure that I've experienced the ULTIMATE in cruising luxury and I'm actually pretty sure there's nothing on the horizon that will ever eclipse the accommodations we enjoyed on our recent Boston to Bermuda sailing on the Dawn. In fact the newer ships have greatly scaled back on their Suite-Life as compared to that on the Dawn. The NCL Dawn and Star are the only 2 ships on earth with such elaborate accommodations. Though the Jewel, Pearl and Gem also boast impressive Garden Villas, they do not offer the same bedroom luxuries nor nearly the same private outdoor spaces as the Dawn's and Star's villas. Though our accommodations were incredibly elaborate, the craziest part of the decadence was the way we were treated by everyone from the luggage crew in Boston all the way up to and including the Captain of the ship. ...and what's even more elaborate than a Dawn Garden Villa? TWO Dawn Garden Villas!!!!!! We actually occupied both Garden Villas, making us the only residents on deck 14 with exclusive access to both private rooftop sundecks on deck 15! My daughter and her 9 best girlfriends had just graduated high school a week earlier and since each villa accommodates 8 passengers (16 in total) we reserved both villas to allow the 10 girls their privacy on one side while my wife and I and 2 other couples shared the villa next door. There were actually 62 friends and family in total enjoying accommodations throughout the ship, but all having access to the villas for sail-away parties, nightly cocktail parties, afternoon card game parties, hot tub parties and the best ever Bruins Stanley Cup victory party on huge flat screens in our living rooms. The Royal Treatment: Embarkation, as a villa guest, is nothing like that of "a commoner". We were told in advance to announce our arrival at the pier to NCL personnel...and so began the decadence. Porters were summoned and our bulk luggage was taken and wisked away while our entire royal family was escorted past the long line of "commoners" to a V.I.P. room compete with snacks and beverages. After some very simple embarkation paperwork was complete, we were introduced to our butler, Henry and concierge, Anoop who took our carry-on bags and led us directly to our spectacular suites. You can find photos and videos on Google, but you can't imagine how cool these villas are in person! Upon our arrival, the villas were totally opened up as one.....one colossal living room (the entire width or beam of the ship) with two grand pianos, two leather sectional sofas, two computer areas, two dining rooms, two kitchens, two long bedroom hallways (each with 3 grand bedrooms)leading to two huge garden patio areas boasting two big, covered hot tubs, two steam rooms, two outdoor dining areas, several high-end, cushioned lounging chairs, a variety of statuary and water fountains and two curved staircases leading up to our two private rooftop sundecks, each about the size of a regulation tennis court. After our sail-away party, we arranged to have the incredibly soundproof wall closed between the living rooms and left the sliding, barn-style doors between the garden patios unlocked so we could open and close them at will. Henry and Anoop stole only a few moments of our time to explain their roles during our next 7 days and to ask what kind of liquor, juices, sodas and cocktail mixes we'd like delivered as each villa received six 1-litre bottles of liquor and an unlimited supply of juices, sodas, bottled water, pina colada mix, etc. Our cabin steward, Joefrey joined in to introduce himself and let us know that he would be part of the team at our constant disposal. Let me take this opportunity to say that we've never even imagined the kind of service we received throughout our vacation from these three GENTLEMEN. They were truly at our beck and call, anticipating every possible need, providing every possible amenity and satisfying every possible whim. We barely needed to ask for anything, but if we did - it appeared instantly, no matter how obscure the request. I think if we asked for a live giraffe, our three servants would have found a way to comply. Our villas were amazing! Though the colorful contemporary furnishings were not exactly our personal style, it was a nice departure from our usual surroundings and we found everything to be incredibly comfortable. The 3 adult couples chose to reside in the Vista Villa 14500 located on the port side of the ship. The 10 girls shared the Horizon Villa 14000, starboard. Each villa had 3 incredible bedroom suites located along a long hallway connecting the living room to the garden patio. Each bedroom appeared to have it's own unique advantage, each with ceiling to floor and wall to wall windows with incredible views of the sea or the port of King's Wharf in Bermuda, incredibly comfortable bedding, sitting areas, original artwork, refrigerators, flat screen T.V.s ample closet space, vanity areas, and luxury bathrooms. The forward-most bedroom appeared to have the largest closet and bathroom with a whirlpool tub that over-looked the ship's pool deck and the ocean. The middle-most bedroom had the smallest bathroom, but the largest bedroom and sitting area with a pull-out sofa. The aft-most bedroom also had a nice walk-in closet and elaborate bathroom and also had a sliding glass door out onto the garden patio. The garden patio was INCREDIBLE! Each side was fully half the width or beam of the ship and nearly square. The patio had a large, six-person jacuzzi (we crowded more than a dozen in and around ours for some hilarious conversations over cocktails), a dining area to accommodate 12 guests, a private steam room/shower combination, several plush loungers and an extensive array of life-like plants and hedges. The private roof-top sundeck was large enough to accommodate roughly 100 deck chairs, though only about a dozen or so were provided. I'm sure we would have received more if we needed or asked for them. There was a private exit doorway leading from our patio directly to the sports court. This was convenient for our guest's access since our elevator and stair case was inaccessible without a dedicated card key. A Few Additional Villa Features Back Inside: The grand piano was equipped with an electronic play feature that provided beautiful piano music with the push of a button. The laptop computer was accessible by purchasing usage minutes. I never had a spare minute to waste on the computer all week! Each villa was equipped with 7 telephones...one corded phone in each toilet compartment and 4 cordless phones that worked like private cell phones. These received calls (from our friends' rooms on the ship) even when we kept them in our pockets anywhere on board or even a good distance away from the ship! The kitchen was equipped with a sink, a fridge, a microwave, a coffee maker, a blender, many storage cabinets stocked with glassware and china, a cooler full of ice, and nice bar with stools looking out into the living room and onto the swimming pool deck. Dining: Our villa accommodations entitled us to enjoy a complimentary evening at a specialty restaurant. We selected the brand new Moderno which is a Brazilian dining experience. It was INCREDIBLE!!!! I highly recommend trying this venue even if you have to pay the cover charge ($20 - $25?). I don't want to spoil the surprise, but if you like meat, you'll LOVE Moderno! As platinum members in the NCL Latitudes program, we also were given a dinner at La Bistro, another great specialty option. We actually ate in a different restaurant each night and thoroughly enjoyed each experience....even the main dining rooms and their menus were terrific. Villa guests are also invited to enjoy their breakfasts and lunches at Cagney's Steakhouse. We only took advantage of this perk for a couple of meals, but they were incredible experiences! We actually could have ordered every meal to be delivered and served in our villa, either in our dining room or on our patio if we wished. We fully intended to, but the week got away from us, and we were busy trying to fit in meal times with the various members of our large group. Entertainment: We enjoyed the best show "Band on the Run" we've ever seen on board a ship from our designated villa seating on the balcony of the auditorium. We also were disappointed in several other shows although they involved the same very talented group of singers and dancers. We found ourselves disappointed in much of the choreography, etc. The Ship: I should mention that our sailing was only the third cruise after a month-long dry-dock refurbishment. The ship was beautiful in every way! I do miss the dedicated disco bar that exists on NCL's other ships but was compromised during this refurbishment. Service: A feel that my opinion of the ship's service might be slightly skewed by the perks of our accommodations, but the other 60 members of our group all raved about the high level of service provided by the ship's incredibly friendly staff. I credit the Dawn's hotel director, Calvin Lodge with the staff's quality and expertise. Bermuda: A phenomenal island you can read about more extensively on other threads. All in All: A FABULOUS EXPERIENCE!!!!! In case it wasn't already obvious, I highly recommend a stay in a Norwegian Dawn Garden Villa, even if it's only a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I think I'll have to make it a priority to do it again sometime in the near future. It's well worth the relatively high price tag! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
The first cruise of the NCL Dawn out of Boston bound for Bermuda was a major disappointment. First off the ship left a bit late, the crew at the Black Falcon Terminal should take their act to reality TV. There were more people standing ... Read More
The first cruise of the NCL Dawn out of Boston bound for Bermuda was a major disappointment. First off the ship left a bit late, the crew at the Black Falcon Terminal should take their act to reality TV. There were more people standing around on the pier supervising than actually handling the luggage. This first cruise of the season was delayed by 2 weeks while the boat was in dry dock, it would have been nice of NCL to tell its' customers that all the work would not be completed for some time. At one point there were 2 elevators midships that were not working and when the construction cut a water line forward this put another elevator forward out of commission and flooded the forward stairway for several decks. This also put several restrooms in public areas out of service. Not all of the shops on board were open and some were still under construction. As we were leaving the ship a crane was loading several containers onto the ship, good luck to those on board. The crew was terrific but the food in the Freestyle restaurants did not have a good variety and the Garden Cafe selections were lukewarm if not cold. Worst of all no milk or creamer for coffee on the final day of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Just got back today from our cruise out of Boston to Bermuda which is a free style cruise. We loved the cruise, our room was perfect plenty of room for two and the balcony was incredible. We never had a bad meal, our favorite rest. was ... Read More
Just got back today from our cruise out of Boston to Bermuda which is a free style cruise. We loved the cruise, our room was perfect plenty of room for two and the balcony was incredible. We never had a bad meal, our favorite rest. was the Venetian the food was great and the service was top notch. We loved the shows they were fantastic and there was always something for you to do. The pool area was great nice tables and chairs and plenty of lounge chairs. We never went there and had a problem finding two lounge chairs to use it was great. The crew was wonderful to us. Our room was cleaned everyday and we always had plenty of towels. The ship is beautiful, it had been in dry dock for a month and they upgraded the public places and new rugs and all new TV's for the rooms. We really had a great time and will book another cruise. I had read on here some negative comments and I am so glad I didn't listen to them because we didn't find any of them true. I did hear people complain about the silliest things and I came to the conclusion that those people wouldn't be happy not matter what ship or cruise line they were on. I had a massage and facial in the spa and that was just heaven the spa is so beautiful and serene just loved it. The Dawn is a beautiful ship with a great crew. We left out of Boston and it was such and easy arrival and getting off was the same it was so easy to get off the ship no hassles and I thought finding our luggage would be a nightmare and it wasn't at all. Everything went so smoothly. Bermuda was just beautiful we loved it there, we had almost 3 days there so that was great. The ship docked at the Royal Naval dockyard which is like a small city very clean too. Shops and rests. and so much to do right there. We went to snorkel bay beach in the dockyard and that was really nice and you can just walk there from the ship you can snorkel, rent jetskis and kayaks. They also rent lounge chairs and umbrellas, I thought that fee was a little high but not too bad and it is such a great beach and so close to the ship...I would recommend the Dawn to anyone it was a great first cruise for us.Free style is great because it is casual but some people dressed everynight only if you want to. Can't wait to cruise again... Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The Crew: Johnny Sanchez was our Cruise Director, he must have been newley-promoted as he kept starting to say "Assistant Cruise Director" when speaking, but he did a good job-was friendly, energetic and funny. The staff on ... Read More
The Crew: Johnny Sanchez was our Cruise Director, he must have been newley-promoted as he kept starting to say "Assistant Cruise Director" when speaking, but he did a good job-was friendly, energetic and funny. The staff on the Dawn was one of the best I've ever encountered. Everyone always had a smile and was willing to help. Our room steward was by far the best I've ever had! The waitstaff was extremely friendly as well, however more rushed than I've seen. Perhaps they are still getting used to the new ship changes, new groups of staff, etc. The Ship: The Dawn was newly-refreshed; with all new carpeting, new 19" flatscreen TV's in each room and some changes such as moving the Blue Lagoon, the new Moderno steakhouse and moving Spinnakers to deck 7. The rooms are, of course, average cruise ship size. Now, I should start with saying that the NCL Spirit is my absolute favorite ship, and of course that meant I was comparing everything on the Dawn to the Spirit. Everything seemed just a bit harder, more complicated, than the Spirit. Such as just finding your way around the ship, no more color-coded stairwells and not many signs-I guess I took the Spirit's clear coloration system for granted. Things were just not as easy to find, there were lots of dead ends and places where it just felt like there should be a staircase, but there was none-such as over the Topsiders bar next to the pool, logically, I would think there would be a staircase up to deck 13 there-but no, you need to go way around? The Theater felt very small, though I am told it seats around 1000 people? Certainly didn't seem that way. The seats were nice, looked like perhaps new covers. The seats were not very comfortable though, a bit small and NO CUP HOLDERS. There was also a leak in the ceiling, in the right rear of the theater, in the top, back two rows. Buckets were there some nights, but no buckets and a sopping wet floor and getting dripped on other nights... Overall, the decor felt so old, though the ship is not that old. Again, I think I am just so impressed by the Spirit, so was not fond of lots of things on the Dawn. The new Moderno and Blue Lagoon set up was strange, they are on deck 8, overlooking the Atrium, one half is Blue Lagoon and one half is Moderno. People are walking through, as its kind of like a hallway, which makes the atmosphere a little strange and segmented. The main dining rooms, Aqua and Venetian were nice but seemed very small. There was almost always a wait to get in either one between 5-7pm. Not more than 15-30 minutes, but I've never seen a wait so often on an NCL cruise. Strangely slow service in Aqua on most nights, almost 2 hours for dinner! 30+ minutes between being FINISHED with one course and waiting on the next course to arrive on many occasions. I did like the pool area, with the stadium-style seating for lounge chairs, that was neat. The one thing I was impressed with was the abundance of lounge chairs, you could almost always find one. However, there was almost NO seating the shade, I missed the outdoor buffet area on the back of the Spirit, was always nice to sit outside in the shade and eat, or really just relax and people watch. FYI-the FWD elevators are blocked at decks 11 and 12 for the new rooms being installed. This should go away as we go into Summer though, as they finish the rooms for sailings in the fall. The Trip: Bermuda was great, as usual. The weather was great, a few quick showers. The seas were so smooth. There have been issues with transportation in Bermuda lately, we did notice less busses, but the ferry schedule was still very regular and abundant, though watch out for the last ferry of the night! No more late-night ferry I was told. The Food: Food is very personal, even between my husband and I. He thought some things were great, but I didn't care for them. Some things were better than I thought, but some things were disappointing. Lobster on the first night. I did not see any escargot on the menu, but I may have missed it. The steak dishes served in the Main Dining rooms were great! We tried Moderno, the new Brazilian steakhouse. They offered us the small salad bar, which had salad fixings, potato salad, various meats, veggies, etc. They delivered a set of sides: rice, beans, mashed potatoes and fried plantains. Then the meat started, skewers of filet Mignon, chicken wrapped in bacon, chicken drummets, sirloin, sausage, short ribs, ribs and lamb chops. Overall, it was nice but not worth $20 pp in my opinion, but I also would never pay the cover for Cagney's either, so that's really just my feeling, if its your thing and you want to try it-go for it! We enjoyed a bottle of Merlot, went very well with the meat. The Entertainment: The production crew is very good-great dancing and great singing. Lots of acrobatics, which is neat. I just wish they had more dancing and singing shows. They had 2 stand-up comedy nights with Dave Heenan, plus one night of Second City (which I dont care for and was the SAME show that was on the Spirit for years!)- I would have preferred another music/dancing show. The Bollywood show on the last night is not to be missed! The magician was good, same old tricks, though. Shore Excursions: We took the Glass bottom boat excursion, met at end of dock at 1:25pm. They had us ride out to the viewing area on the top of the ship, which only had sun coverage for half the seats, so wear sunscreen, wear a hat or try to be at the front of the line so you can get one of the covered seats at the front. 60 people on the ship but only seats on bottom for about 15, the rest had to stand. They provided one rum swizzle, which was really just pineapple juice but was nice and refreshing. The male tour guide was funny and very nice, however the female guide, Michelle rubbed me wrong, perhaps a bit rude (?). I was a bit disappointed with the boat ride, we got to see a few fish and a bit of a sunken ship, but was pretty much a flop, guess it was an ok boat ride. Would I go again? Definitely not, would rather take the ferry ride to Hamilton or St Georges and spend half as much. Would I recommend it? Well, the others on the boat seemed to be having a good time, so you might like it... Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My general impressions: We had a GREAT time. There were activities we enjoyed and those we didn't, like any cruise. We're not cruising vets- this was only our second cruise- but we'd happily go back on NCL again, even on the ... Read More
My general impressions: We had a GREAT time. There were activities we enjoyed and those we didn't, like any cruise. We're not cruising vets- this was only our second cruise- but we'd happily go back on NCL again, even on the Dawn again. Day 1, embarkation was simple. We checked in, got on the boat, and went to the Venetian for lunch. Of the "free" dining options, Venetian was our favorite for the week. Our bags arrived to our room (9610) fairly quickly and we had plenty of room to unpack and get settled. We had dinner at Moderno, the only night we paid for one of the premium restaurants. We loved it! The salad bar was fresh and had a lot of neat options besides the usual lettuce and croutons. And most of the meats were very good. My husband loved the ribs. I liked the steaks best. The staff was super attentive, maybe even TOO attentive, since they said we were one of the first customers they'd had and they wanted to see if we liked the food. We did! The Welcome show... well, let's just say that every cruise has an element of corny, and Dawn was no exception. The comedian, Dave Heeney (sp?) was not our kind of comedy at all- he drove me nuts, but he certainly knew his audience, as I heard many people around this ship praising him for the rest of the trip. Our boat was mostly senior citizens and I guess his prune juice jokes really gave them the giggles Day 2 started with breakfast at the Garden Buffet. It was fine. Not a ton of variety, but it fit the bill just fine. We went to the Bermuda port talk, which was mostly about what items we should buy on the ship and not on the island (like we were told Del Sol items weren't for sale in Bermuda, only on the ship- not true! We bought Del Sol headbands for $4 each on the island that we later saw priced at $9.99 on the ship). We had lunch at the Venetian, played Scrabble, read in a shady spot on the pool desk, hit the gym, and watched The Honeymooners Game in Spinnaker. We learned that the stuff we liked best on board happened in Spinnaker! We had an awful dinner at Aqua. We actually tried to leave but the staff had an anniversary cake for us and pulled us back in to sing for us. We felt pretty silly since they literally pulled us back in the room and had us sit down, but the cake was nice and the staff was sweet. Band on the Run- it was just too corny and cheese-tastic for us. We stayed for a few numbers but couldn't handle it any more and had to leave. Day 3- Bermuda! We had breakfast in the Venetian, then took advantage of Bermuda's bus and ferry system. We are in great debt to whoever mentioned the little trailer at the end of the pier that sells transportation passes- that tip alone saved us HUGE lines. The buses & ferries were a little packed but we always got on the first one we waited for. I think it helped that it was Sunday so most Bermudans weren't riding around. We hit Crystal Caves, which was very cool but more than I expected (we thought it was $14 and it was $20 each). Our little trip to the caves took us most of the day with the public transportation system, so we didn't do anything else! Dinner at Venetian, Second City show in the theater (which we LOVED), and then a late snack at Blue Lagoon. Day 4- Bermuda We opted for the 5 hour island tour booked through NCL. I had no idea that we'd spend those 5 hours riding a city bus that was booked just for us. I felt bad every time someone at a bus stop saw us coming and tried to flag down the bus! We were the youngest people on the bus by at least 20 years so the views and scenery were great, but when we'd get off the bus it took forever. We learned a ton about the islands and got to stop in Hamilton, St. George, the Gibbs Hill lighthouse, and at a beach to dip our feet in the ocean. We had lunch at the White Horse in St George (Mmmmmm so good) and back on the ship, did dinner at the buffet. We saw Greg Gleason's magic show which was fine... kind of sloppy, all tricks we'd seen before. We went to Spinnaker to play (and win!) Majority Rules. We also did the Bermuda Bash up on the pool deck, which was a ton of fun! And as I said to my husband three times that night, "Kenosis is a lot better when I'm drunk!" Day 5- Bermuda Breakfast at the buffet, then we walked around the dockyard and did some shopping. In the afternoon we went out on the Shipwreck & Coral Reef snorkel excursion. It was lots of fun, even though we didn't get to snorkel at the shipwreck site since the water was too rough. Our 3 guides were laid back and happy and fun and it was just a good, relaxing time. I'd definitely book it again. We tried Aqua for dinner again, worried because our last dinner there had been so bad. This time was better, but still not what I'd call a great meal. In the evening we went to Spinnaker for Sing It If You Know It, which was a really great time even if most of the people on our side of the room didn't want to get up and help us Day 6 started with breakfast at the Venetian. We bought $30 day passes to the Thermal Suite at the spa, which made for such a nice, calm, relaxing, quiet day. Every once in a while we'd pop out of the spa and head to the Second City show (they did Funny makes you Famous and the Family show, both of which we enjoyed) and Dancing with the Dawn Stars which was fun to watch as well. Day 7 I stopped taking notes. Whoops! There wasn't much we were interested in doing on board, so we spent the majority of the day laying in our room, reading. Once evening rolled around we saw Bollywood (by far the best production show of the week- the We Are the World rendition at the end was sooo cheesy, but I did like having the staff up on stage together!) and then headed to Spinnaker to watch The Perfect Couple, Bandaoke, The Quest (HYSTERICAL!) and The Second City adult show. Day 8 we got off the boat and went home Disembarkation was smooth for us, probably since we missed the announcement that said to come out of your room and stay in a public lounge, so we were sitting in our room watching a movie until just before our color tag was called! My overall impressions: the ship- lovely new carpet, we didn't come across anything broken in our room. Sometimes one of the elevators was out of service. No drips, no buckets. Sometimes the signs hadn't been updated so we'd get lost, but that happened less after the first day or two. the staff- always polite, helpful, and and available. I wasn't impressed by the cruise director (Johnny Cash Sanchez) but I did love his staff, especially Luz! the food- it was fine. It definitely felt like the food was sort of "meh" so you'd be tempted to go to a pay restaurant instead. But there was always something you could grab to eat, and I don't think we ever went hungry our room- it was in the perfect spot on the ship. We were right in the middle of everything but it was still nice and quiet. the shore excursions- too expensive, but we enjoyed the ones we went on. All in all I never felt a need to complain about anything. When we went to guest services, we were promptly taken care of and our issue was fixed. We'd definitely cruise NCL again, and we'd take the Dawn again! Even though the cruise was over booked with over 3,000 passengers, we never felt cramped or like there was nowhere to sit. We never had to wait at restaurants or in any lines longer than a person or two. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I always end up falling in love with whichever ship I'm sailing on at the moment, but sometimes — for various reasons, like aesthetics, layout, amenities, etc. — that love takes awhile to develop. But it was love at first sight ... Read More
I always end up falling in love with whichever ship I'm sailing on at the moment, but sometimes — for various reasons, like aesthetics, layout, amenities, etc. — that love takes awhile to develop. But it was love at first sight for us on the beautiful Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda Sept. 5-12. A little background: I'm 30, my husband is 32. We're from Michigan, and I hate to fly, so we like to leave out of the East Coast, where we can drive with minimal hassle. This was our seventh cruise. We've sailed previously on Princess, Carnival and Royal Caribbean. This was our third consecutive NCL cruise; we sailed on the Gem out of New York to Florida/Bahamas in February 2009 and on the Spirit out of New Orleans to Belize, Guatemala, Costa Maya and Cozumel in February 2010. We've come to adore NCL due to the "Freestyle" philosophy and excellent past experiences we've had. SHIP: Dawn is, to date, my favorite ship. She has an excellent layout, gorgeous dEcor and just the right amount of varied public spaces and dining venues. The multi-story atrium has an efficient, inspired setup, with a stage area above the Java Cafe that served well for a performance by Fire & Ice (more about them later) and a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony. There's a British-style pub adorned with appropriate paraphernalia and wood accents called Pearly Kings; Gatsby's, a champagne and wine bar with a more extensive wine list than elsewhere on the ship; the main theater, Stardust; Spinnaker Lounge, a secondary show lounge with a stunning view at the bow; Dazzles, another bar/performance area; an Internet cafe (adorned with @ symbols on the carpet) and more. The Oasis pool area included a stage where calypso/reggae bands played, two separate pools and multiple hot tubs. There's a tiered sundeck area and plenty of chairs; we rarely struggled to find empty ones. (We don't have children, but the T-Rex Kids Area at the very aft of the ship looked very fun: there was a separate kids' pool flanked by waterslides and adorned with giant dinosaur statues.) The El Dorado Spa is gorgeous: The lobby is in an atrium with a skylight, with stairs leading up to the fitness center. There's a private room called the Exotic Thermal Suite that we paid $165 for the two of us (it's $99 per individual) for the week. They only sell 100 passes, and it was worth it. There's a warm, freshwater lap pool, a Jacuzzi and a thalassotherapy pool in the main area, along with rows of lounge chairs overlooking a bank of aft windows that provide a view of the ocean (or port!). There also are separate male and female relaxation areas with chairs and a TV. The gender-specific changing rooms, which were extremely clean and elegant, included lockers, showers, a steam room, a sauna and plunge baths. Every time you check in at the desk, they give you a locker key and an NCL robe to wear. There's cold water, hot water with tea bags and orange juice available (although it wasn't always restocked promptly). Only once did we struggle to find a place in a Jacuzzi or an empty chair. The relaxing, secluded atmosphere was worth the money; we often ventured in there merely to read or nap. We were in a porthole room on Deck 4 forward. It was beautifully and efficiently laid out, much more so than the Spirit; it reminded us of the Gem. NCL has the best bathrooms, since you have a roomy shower and doors separate the toilet area and showers from the sink/mirror/vanity area. FOOD: The main restaurants (no charge) are Venetian, with walls of windows aft, and Aqua, in the center of the ship. The service was hit or miss in both, but we've come to realize this is one of the trade-offs of Freestyle cruising; you don't get the same waiter every night, so you don't develop any rapport. One night you might get the best service of your life; another night, you may be waiting forever with nary a friendly word from your server. We preferred Aqua, just because of the more intimate ambiance. Some of the main entrees were just OK, but some of the appetizers were to die for: I had French onion soup and wild mushroom quesadilla for a starter almost every night. And the desserts — amazing. The key lime pie was the best I'd ever had in my life, and I ended up ordering it most nights. The tiramisu also was awesome. The main buffet, Garden Cafe, was, as on past NCL ships, excellent. Lunch was a myriad of choices, from made-to-order pasta to multiple types of pizza to chicken, rice, casserole and vegetable dishes. One oddity: Unlike on past NCL ships, the soft-serve ice cream was not self-serve; the station was manned by a crew member. A crew member also served up three kinds of hand-dipped ice cream at Sprinkles, out by the pool deck. The last few days, they had chocolate, vanilla, etc., but some days, the flavors were downright odd. (I asked for chocolate one day, though, and she wrangled it out of the freezer for me.) If you're a sweet tooth like me, NCL has, hands down, the best cookies I've ever had; the chocolate with white chocolate chunks are particularly delectable (although the last few days of the cruise, the cookies suddenly seemed puffy and hard...it was almost as if an ingredient was left out. Bummer!) We only ate in one specialty restaurant, Cagney's Steakhouse ($25 per person). It was amazing. We sampled several appetizers, including the crab cakes, oysters Rockefeller, portabello mushroom and shrimp cocktail. Very good. My husband had rib-eye steak for his entrEe and loved it; I had the excellent lamb chops, with a side of creamed spinach and potatoes gratin. He sent back his apple crisp for dessert — it had a weird fondant or cotton candy-like taste to it — but loved the cheesecake, and I was drooling over my espresso brownie with macademia nut ice cream. Other specialty restaurants included Le Bistro (French, $20); Impressions (Italian, $10); Salsa (Tex-Mex, $10); Bamboo & Sushi Bar (Asian/sushi, $15); and Teppanyaki (Japanese cook-as-you-watch, $25). SERVICE: As mentioned previously, service on NCL always seems hit or miss. We never formally met our room steward, unlike on other ships, though he did a fine job and left us a ton of towel animals. You don't bond with the waiters/waitresses like on formal dining-style ships, so sometimes we had excellent service in the dining rooms, sometimes abysmal. The service in Cagney's was superb. But I would be remiss if I didn't specifically mention Chris Ugay of the Philippines, who worked at Gatsby's. He learned our names during our first hour on the ship and treated us like special guests the entire week. He made us want to hang out in Gatsby's and the adjacent Havana Club, the cigar room, every night. He truly went above and beyond and really made our cruise. I overheard him talking to other guests, too, and I could tell he was making them feel equally special. The other Gatsby staffers — Emerson, Edmund and Erwin — also were very friendly and we always enjoyed seeing them. I wrote a two-page letter to NCL when I got home extolling the virtues of Chris, since I thought he did such an excellent job. PORT: Bermuda was very nice, though I prefer some of the other tropical ports. In the Royal Naval Dockyard, where the ship docks, there are a few stores (including a glassblowing and rum cake shop, where crafters make glass products right in front of you), restaurants, and a snorkel park ($5 per person for all-day entry). If you want to go to the capital, Hamilton, or the historic former capital, St. George's, you'll need to take a bus or ferry. As cabs are pricey, buying a public transportation pass is the way to go. It was $28 per person for three days, and that covers buses and ferries. The weather was very fickle, raining frequently. We spent a little time walking around Hamilton (25-minute ferry ride) one day and St. George's (40-minute ferry ride) another, though a storm drove us out of St. George's before we could see much of anything. We also went to the snorkel park, and it seemed beautiful, but unfortunately, the rain stirred up the water and we were unable to see anything in the water (other passengers told us they saw an abundance of beautiful fish on other days when the weather was better). We took a bus to Horseshoe Bay (45 minutes), and it was gorgeous: The subtle pink sand characteristic of Bermuda, surrounded by cliffs, aqua water. We rented two beach chairs and an umbrella for $30. It rained there, too, though, so we didn't get to stay as long as we liked! We didn't do any shore excursions, and it sounded like many were cancelled due to the weather. ENTERTAINMENT: Production shows tend not to be our cup of tea, so we didn't really have any intentions of going to them, but we met a guitarist in the NCL band who told us we HAD to see the Bollywood show on the last night. We went on his recommendation, and it was amazing. Do yourself a favor and check it out. It combines Cirque du Soleil-style bending and twisting and acrobatics with belly dancing, good music and elaborate sets...pretty neat. The first night's show gave a sampler of everything that was to come. The singing and the dancers from the Jean Ann Ryan Company were pretty impressive, but like I said, we don't do most production shows, so we didn't end up seeing any more of their work besides the Bollywood show (there also was a Beatles show, a South Beach Latin-inspired show, etc.) We loved Fire & Ice, a keyboard/vocalist duo, and ended up checking them out at multiple points throughout the cruise. Their Michael Jackson and '80s shows in Dazzles Lounge were amazing, and drew huge crowds (so get there early!) We also heard the Tina Turner show in Spinnaker was good, and they did a Motown show in the atrium one night. The main singer has boundless energy, strutting around in three-inch heels as she belts out the tunes perfectly. We weren't impressed by the comedian on the first night, so we didn't check out any of his performances, though we heard mixed reviews from those who did. We went to one of the Second City comedy shows — the last night adults' only show — and it was hilarious; we've learned from past NCL sailings that it's hit or miss, since they rely on topics the audience supplies to improv their jokes. We also went to the obligatory newlywed show and crew talent show, and they were just so-so this time around, in our opinion. As wine fans, we paid $15 apiece for two wine-tasting sessions (one Italian, one French), and those were informative and fun. We received generous pours of four wines, plus specialty cheeses. CONS: As always, there were a handful of things that occurred during the cruise that could have been better. This never ruins our trip or tarnishes our view of the ship, but there's always room for improvement. First off, as a gym rat, I was disappointed that there seemed to be something wrong with practically every machine in the gym, and it appeared it had been that way for awhile and never addressed. Five of six ellipticals had the book bars broken off. Many of the TVs on the machines didn't work. Some of the controls on the bikes didn't work, so you couldn't see what resistance level it was on or how much time you had left. There's so much empty space in the fitness center that seems poorly utilized. More ellipticals, perhaps? More bikes? Also, NCL claims on its website that its gyms are open 24/7, fleetwide. Not true, as I already knew from the Spirit; except on the Gem, the gyms have been open 6 a.m.-11 p.m., in our experience. I called on the last evening to see if the gym was open Sunday morning, prior to disembarkation; the purser's desk told me absolutely not. Well, it was, and I missed out on a morning workout because they had told me it wasn't going to be open. Just a minor gripe, but irksome for someone like me who likes to schedule workouts...and likes to eat on the ship! :) This was the first time we had a notable problem communicating with some staff members. Obviously, there's occasionally an issue, seeing as the majority of the crew comes from other countries, but this is the first time I've ever been trying to talk to a crew member and been completely unable to understand them, and them me, where we've just been looking at each other blankly, at a loss of how to proceed. When the ice cream staffer can't answer questions about ice cream and the Java Cafe worker can't answer questions about coffee and, worst of all, when the waitress can't understand what we're ordering for dinner, that's a little bit of a problem. Again, not a huge deal, but just something we noticed. OVERALL: The ship was gorgeous, the itinerary was fine, the food and entertainment was excellent — we wouldn't hesitate to go on NCL again. In fact, we already booked our next NCL cruise on the Jewel next year, our fourth NCL cruise in a row! If you have any questions about the Dawn, or would like to see pictures, feel free to email me at cortreporter@sbcglobal.net. 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Sail Date September 2010
This is our fourth cruise and our third with NCL and I must say, overall, the Dawn to Bermuda was the best cruise experience we have had. The captain and the cruise director made all the difference - entertainment was especially high ... Read More
This is our fourth cruise and our third with NCL and I must say, overall, the Dawn to Bermuda was the best cruise experience we have had. The captain and the cruise director made all the difference - entertainment was especially high quality and there was great attention to service. Because we left before Labor Day and most kids are back in school, our experience with children was better than the previous week. There were several babies and children on board, all of whom were adorable, well- behaved and appeared to be having a wonderful time. A few very talented kids even participated in karaoke, singing and dancing. Embarkation was easy, and we went right on the ship. A suggestion: check most of your luggage and put the essentials in a backpack because you can't get into your room right away. I did not plan the distribution-of-stuff too well so we were lugging a heavy duffel bag with computer and a lot of heavy things we didn't need. Other guests had rolling luggage, which was also clumsy. But a backpack would've been perfect. Ship design/public areas. We found the public area design to be nicer than Pride of America and Jade (hated Jade - found the colors garrish). The Aqua restaurant was very stylish and the atrium was dramatic without being gaudy. The layout seemed confusing, but since I have no sense of direction, I always get lost on ships. Food: My husband and I are strict vegans at home, so we ate mostly at the buffet Garden Cafe, where it was easier to satisfy our quest for vegetables and salads. Also at the buffet, you can get freshly made dishes at the various stations - waffles, omelets or fried eggs for breakfast, crepes for dessert, pasta at lunch and dinner. There was always a "vegetarian" option on the menu at the main dining rooms Aqua and Venetian - where we ate twice - and also the specialty restaurants, but in many cases there was cheese, dairy or an egg in the dish. When we're on vacation, we relax the rules and eat seafood, cheese and dairy so it was OK. We ate at the sushi/Asian restaurant one night and the Tex Mex another. There is food, food everywhere and it's about quality as well as quantity. On sea days, they set up a BBQ by the pool - one day it was paella, another day chili tacos with all the fixings (I avoided the chili but the guacamole was fabulous, and there were fresh jalapeno peppers). There is an ice cream bar near the pool also, with great flavors like coffee or banana. I really overdid it with the ice cream! The food ranged from very good to excellent everywhere we tried. My favorite was the waffles - served with banana sauce and real whipped cream. Cabin. We had a balcony. There was enough room for storage, but we pack light as a rule. The only complaint was that there are shelves in the closet for sweaters and tops, and they are perpendicular to the doors, low to the ground, and they do not slide out. Finding your stuff in the dark closet while bending and twisting was not easy - and we are pretty flexible, athletic and small people. Itinerary. This was my first time in Bermuda and I really did not feel I was there long enough - but also we had a lot of rain so it cut into our plans. The ship was two and a half days at sea getting there, one day getting home, and only three days in port. Unfortunately, that seems the case with every cruise to Bermuda, but it is a lot more economical than flying. We explored our own so we can't comment on ship excursions. I would have preferred a port that had more beaches close by - Kings Wharf has only one, Snorkel Park, and it costs $5 to enter. We saved it for the last day but it rained - so we can't comment on that either. We took the ferry to Hamilton and to St. George and took the bus to Horseshoe Bay. My husband preferred Hamilton, St. George was my favorite. There was a town crier and a public ducking of a woman convicted of being a gossip and a nag. We also snorkeled at Tobacco Bay, which is walking distance from the town of St. George. If you go to Horseshoe, be sure to take a stroll south down to the connecting beaches and coves, which are stunningly beautiful. Entertainment. In a word, Wow. The cruise director Matt Baker is multi-talented and brimming with energy. He was absolutely EVERYWHERE to introduce and close the shows, and also did a lot of entertaining himself. He plays a MEAN harmonica, he dances, he is a natural comedian and does physical comedy and slapstick very well. We saw most of the shows, Bollywood was absolutely stunning with jaw-dropping acrobatics and ballroom dancing. The Second City comedy troupe was so funny we couldn't get enough of them - they do improvisational routines as well as a traditional show of skits. Comedian and singer Dave Heenan was also very funny - and he was absolutely everywhere on the ship - at the buffet, on shore excursions - and always making you laugh. We did not get to see the juggler. There were many other musicians on board too in the various bars and nightclubs, including bands and pianists. One of them was a Ukrainian pianist who threw in some lovely Chopin amidst the jazz. My favorite musical entertainer was Fire and Ice (Rosie and Mac) who did a lot of Motown. She did an incredible Tina Turner tribute at the Spinnaker Lounge. At the end of the last show, the cruise director and other entertainers were lining the hallway saying goodbye to the guests. Spa and fitness. My husband bought the one-week thermal spa package because he likes the steam room. He said it was "OK" and he used it almost every day, but I think the price was rather steep -$99 for 7 days. I treated myself to a massage or two and I also bought a package of exercise classes including yoga, pilates and group cycling. The gym was well equipped and the fitness director, James, was fabulous. Always smiling, challenging and explaining. Service/staff. The staff went out of their way to please and worked their tails off keeping the ship clean, well stocked and running smoothly. This goes from the spa to the fitness center to the internet cafe to the wait staff and the stewards. Their overall efficiency is also a tribute to management. Our room stewards made towel animals for us. A tip for first-time NCL guests: there is a wheel on the wall outside your door for communicating with staff: Yellow = welcome, Red = do not disturb, Green = make up the cabin and Blue = turn down the bed. If you leave the Do-not- disturb sign on all day, you might not get your room cleaned! Meet & Greet. One of our roll call members set up a Meet & Greet through NCL. The senior officers were all there, introduced by Matt Baker the cruise director. Even the captain came, and he graciously answered questions and even offered an unsolicited overview of the historical significance of Bermuda. OK, now for the negatives - if there were no negatives, this would not be an honest review: 1. Sneeze guards at buffet. The set up of the buffet was quite awkward. Instead of rectangular stations that could be accessed from all sides, there was a single-file counter, which made for safer traffic flow but really made it hard to reach the food. The food was stacked way deep and there was an acrylic sneeze guard in the way, so you couldn't reach the stuff at the back, especially if you were not directly in front of the food you were aiming for. 2. Disembarkation. The ship blamed immigration, immigration blamed the volume of cruise ships (4) all at once, but it was total CHAOS getting off the ship. We were on the "easy walk-off" group but it took us over 2 1/2 hours from the moment we left our stateroom to the moment we stepped on NYC pavement. And nobody could hear the announcements, because with tons of people, babies, strollers and suitcases crowded into the public areas, there was a lot of noise. Eventually a staff member lined everyone up in order, but that was only a small comfort. It was still ridiculous. If the problem is simply that there are too many ships all at once, the cruise lines should coordinate things better. 3. Kings Wharf. See above - no beaches nearby, just shopping and a navy museum. 4. Library - was not open all day, and there was a very sparse selection of books. Overall, we loved the ship and crew, we ate great food, and felt comfortable and at-home the entire time. Thank you to the captain, officers, cruise director, and crew for a memorable vacation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
The experience on this cruise was ours and ours alone. I do not attempt to speak for the other 2600+ passengers that sailed on this cruise. It is our honest opinions and experiences. CRUISE: NCL Dawn 7 days to Bermuda August 22-29/10 ... Read More
The experience on this cruise was ours and ours alone. I do not attempt to speak for the other 2600+ passengers that sailed on this cruise. It is our honest opinions and experiences. CRUISE: NCL Dawn 7 days to Bermuda August 22-29/10 HISTORY: 7th cruise. We love cruising. Have never had a bad cruise. 6 cruise with NCL, 1 with Royal, 3rd on Dawn. Traveling 4 myself 50, wife 52, daughter 23, daughter 21 all in 1 inside cabin deck 9. I don't know how we made it work but we did. NYC: We live just outside of Niagara Falls, ON just over the Canada/US border. We traveled by Amtrak from Niagara Falls NY to Penn station 2 days prior to the cruise. On Friday we met up with friends who live in Queens, who were also sailing on this cruise. (we met them on a previous cruise - you can meet some great people cruising) Stayed mid town Times Square Marriott, one of the nicest hotels we have ever stayed at. Enjoyed Saturday in Manhattan. Shopping, exploring, great city and we love our time there. Sunday after mass @ St. Patrick's and then getting caught in the rain we took short cab ride to the pier. EMBARKATION: Quick and easy, the way it should be. We arrived at the pier at approx 11:15 and were on board right at noon, I think we arrived before much of the crowd who arrived shortly after us. It was a nice touch to receive that day's Freestyle Daily in the cruise terminal prior to boarding, however where was the champagne and O.J. as had been the experience on the previous few cruises? What happened to Freestyle 2.0? Looks like a return to Freestyle 0.0, I think they have taken a couple of steps backwards. We explored the ship a little and settled in the card room while waiting for our friends to join us. We met up and headed to the Venetian for lunch, missing out on the masses lining up in the Garden Cafe. Few people seem to know that the Venetian is available on embarkation day as the Venetian had approx 100 people. Lunch was good but no bread on the table for lunch. Another victim of Freestyle 0.0?? SHIP/CABIN: Having sailed 7 times previous we have learned 2 things. To pack a little less (not always successfully accomplished) and how to arrange the cabin to make it work for 4 adults. We had selected a sideways cabin as we feel this offers the most moving around room. If you can call it that, shuffling around room would be more like it. Our luggage arrived shortly after life boat drill, great not to have to bring life vests to this drill. Our room stewards arrived and introduced themselves. Two friendly fellows from India, always called us by name and always smiling, I engaged them in conversation a few times throughout the cruise. STAFF: The staff overall was one of the most friendliest, pleasant crews we have sailed with. Very engaging and we had actual laughs with them at many times. The CD was Matt Baker. One of the best CD's we have had the pleasure of sailing with. A CD does not make or break a cruise but Matt was very funny, very entertaining, plays a very mean harmonica and always engaging. FOOD/RESTAURANTS: Food is always the most subjective of areas. We have fairly neutral tastes, generally liking anything we don't have to prepare, cook or clean up after ward. We ate all of our dinners in the Venetian, some lunches and breakfasts there also. Food quantity and quality was excellent, a few times when something was not to our taste is was quickly substituted for something else. However dinners did prove to be the biggest disappointment in the area of menu selection. On past cruises the menu was wide and varied, not so anymore. The right hand page of the menu was the same every night. The left hand side was selections for the day. Therefore the rotating selection was limited to 3 or 4 appetizers, 3 entrees, and 2 desserts. Don't' get me wrong the food was excellent but it was boring to see the same thing presented every day. Part of the menu space was taken up with advertising the drink specials, this was a new development and an obvious attempt to increase liquor sales. I wanted to try a variety and tried not to double up but some nights that was very difficult and occasionally impossible to accomplish. There was lobster presented one night, however looking back on my notes from our previous experience on the Dawn lobster was presented twice. That might go against what I previously stated about variety and selection but hey its lobster. Service was never fast and too many times slower than it should have been. This along with the occasional wait for a table caused us to miss or be late for shows we should have easily been able to attend. Dessert and coffee/tea were not enjoyed as much as they should have been as often we rushed because we felt we had been there way too long at that point. The Garden cafe - the food again was very good with a wide variety of choices. The omelet station and waffle station surprisingly had short lines and I hardly had to wait long. Finding a table was sometimes more difficult and we had to circle a couple of times to find an open one. Blue Lagoon was good for afternoon snacks however service was quite slow here and we almost left once before we even received a menu We opted for the soda card for the first time this cruise. It was easy to use, just flashing the card we were give sodas quite quickly. Generally at dinner they were bringing a second round before we had to ask, however when they were bringing a third round on many occasions we knew diner was taking way to long. Room service had the best peanut butter and jam sandwiches I have ever had. ENTERTAINMENT: My only complaint regarding entertainment is I wasn't able to clone myself to take in all of the activities that they had going on during this cruise. Shows conflicted with games, which then conflicted with deck parties or music or something somewhere. Anyone who says they will be bored on a cruise doesn't know what they are talking about. We enjoyed trivia, games, activities, dance lessons etc all day and evening long. Dave Heenan we found was funnier this time than on a previous cruise. We saw him many times around the ship and was always engaging. The Magic of Greg Gleason was the same as previously seen on a another cruise and wasn't much better the second time around. The troupe from Second City was terrible, not funny at all. Each cruise the group from Second City seems to be getting weaker and less funny. Some skits went on much too long, almost to the point where it seemed like someone had forgotten lines and they were looking for a way out. NCL could do themselves a favor and eliminate Second City and put something else in it's place. Jean Ryan Dance group is talented and energetic, but it has been the same shows for a few years now and needs some up dating. When Freestyle 2.0 was introduced they brought in White Hot Nights. Since 2.0 has died so should this. It is not a party, it is opportunity for NCL to sell White Hot Nights t-shirts. The event consists of the ships dancers showcasing their talent and then opening up the dance floor. Which is instantly packed with about 150 teens and you can't move. I would much rather see a tropical deck party. What happened to this type of party? I realize this is clichE for a cruise but White `Hot Nights is not working, at least not for me. They did have a couple of dance parties on the deck but where was the food? Every time in the past these parties had food, there was none to be found on this cruise. AMENITIES: The pool is small and usually very crowded though one late afternoon in Bermuda when most people were ashore we did get into the pool. The Dawn does offer extra pool side seating with its tiered seating area, and we could usually find a seat in this area, however NCL does need to do a better job of enforcing its policy of not hogging lounge chairs. My wife and I did join the spa for the week, as a treat since we were traveling 4 per cabin. I remember when this was $75 for the week, now it $99 and $165 for a couple. The spa was never crowded, it was a great place to go late in the afternoon, relax, swim, use the hot tub and thermo pool. I completed my stay with a nice shower and my own private, enormous change room. The gym was well equipped and was never over crowded. BERMUDA: Our stay was very unfortunately cut short. On the second sea day to Bermuda we experienced an engine problem. There was a tremendous vibration that went on for a very long time and shook every part of the ship. Black smoke belched from the smoke stack. We were informed that a "serious incident" had occurred. No one was hurt but one of the engines experience total failure as the piston had come out of the side of the cylinder. In my opinion the handling and information was not very forthcoming and very delayed from the captain. He stated headquarters had been informed and technicians would board in Bermuda to access the situation and our stay could be effected. COULD BE!!. Official word did not come until approximately 7 pm on Wednesday. By this time we had been docked in Bermuda since 8 am that morning. Many people went ashore and purchased 3 day bus and ferry passes. However we noticed when we left the ship that morning there was a small sign that stated all aboard time would be 6am Friday morning. With this knowledge we purchased a two day pass. It was very small and missed by many, in fact our traveling companion missed the am, thinking it said 6 pm. NCL did offer a $50 per cabin refund for the missed day, and later we were refunded a portion of the port fees per person. The amount of $50 was insulting as the ship certainly had the opportunity to make much more than this on Friday which became a sea day. Plus I remember paying for the cruise based on per person not per cabin. Why was the refund not given per person?? Poor communication coupled with poor customer relationships left a sour taste in our mouths. Other than that Bermuda is beautiful and was very hot, extremely hot, almost unbearably hot. Did I mention it was hot. We knew it would be going there in August so no real complaints. The water was amazing and even the water was hot with a temp of 85. Great for swimming, snorkeling etc. Our party rented a boat for one day and had a great time piloting our own little boat out to a ship wreck, to our very own private beach and cruising in the pristine water OVERALL. My disappointment stems from the fact we were only two days in Bermuda, if this cruise had been sold as two days in Bermuda we would not have booked. I realize ship (yes ship) happens but the way it was handled and communicated was very disappointing and the amount offered back was insult to injury. I am also disappointed with the disappearance of Freestyle 2.0. It was trumpeted in with great fanfare 3 years ago and has quietly all but disappeared. Freestyle 2.0 promised enhanced menus, instead the menus have been greatly reduced and are boring. Everything is geared to get you to spend more money on board. Even the poor menu selection is geared to get you to go to the specialty restaurants. However, no matter what else, we had a great cruise. Heck we are on vacation and a vacation, what ever the type, is what you make of it. We decided to make lemonade out of a few lemons. Even thought we would have loved to have spent more time in Bermuda we enjoyed our time on the ship. Even though the menus should have been more varied we always found something to our liking. We love cruising, even this cruise made me realize how much I love cruising. We still find cruising a great value for your money. Would I like a return to Freestyle 2.0 yes, but I also understand the economics of today's world. Will we cruise again, most definitely. Sadly we do not have another cruise booked at this time but I am sure we will be looking before too long. Will we sail on NCL again, yes the positives still outweigh the negatives, but we will also be looking at cruises on other lines as well. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
I've been reading cruise reviews on Cruise Critic since we booked our cruise to Bermuda so now it's time for me to write one. We LOVED our cruise out of New York City to Bermuda. Luckily our son lives in New Jersey so we drove to ... Read More
I've been reading cruise reviews on Cruise Critic since we booked our cruise to Bermuda so now it's time for me to write one. We LOVED our cruise out of New York City to Bermuda. Luckily our son lives in New Jersey so we drove to his house and left our car there. He drove us in and ,bless his heart, picked us up when the cruise was over. I had asked my cruise consultant for a quiet room and balcony room 9118 was perfect. Occasionally when on the balcony you could hear some noise from the shuffleboard game on deck 7 but generally it was quiet. The cabin was mid ship where the ship's movement was very minimal. This was our third cruise so we know to travel light but this bathroom and bedroom area seemed bigger to us than previous cruises. The bathroom had a good size shower with a separate sink and toilet area. Our bed must have been king size. It was so comfortable with lots of wonderful pillows. They don't change the sheets everyday, which I understand from an environmental point of view, but I did ask to have them changed midweek ( left a small tip ) and they were changed. I had brought sticky notes (a must have!) and after leaving a $40.00 tip asked our room steward to empty the mini fridge and leave us ice every day. He complied and we had brought soda and water on board which we put in the mini fridge. I would definitely recommend that everyone taking the cruise bring on their own water and soda. We saved so much money that way and we always had it when we wanted it. Our room steward Rommel Vegas (sp?) was warm, welcoming and wonderful. He left us adorable towel animals every night. Since we travel very light, we had plenty of closet and drawer space. There is also a small couch in the room where we left our NCL bag and snorkel equipment. There are two very comfortable lounge chairs on the balcony and a little table. We spend hours on our balcony and would never cruise without one. We never used the pool or hot tubs although they looked inviting. We were very happy on our balcony reading and watching the ocean. We loved the shows at night and Matt Baker, the cruise director, brought a level of fun and excitement to all the shows. We loved the Jean Ann Ryan troupe and their "Bollywood" show is not to be missed! It's classical Indian dance meets cirque de Soleil and it is an amazing show! I have to mention how comfortable and plush the seats in theatre are and there are always plenty of seats for everyone. We would usually get there early so we had good seats in front. And now I am a huge Matt Murtaugh (sp?) fan. He is wonderful! We also loved the shows in the smaller venues. The Beatles were fabulous! We made reservations for LeBistro the first night and sat in the wine cellar listening to piano music - very relaxing. We had all you can eat sushi at Bamboo two nights which was delicious! We also ate in Salsa which has wonderful views of the ocean with delicious food. All these restaurants are specialty restaurants and require an additional charge. I thought they were all well worth it. On the other nights and for breakfast we went to the Venetian which is grand and breathtaking. The Italian art in the Venetian is not to be believed and ask to sit in the back near the large windows. The view of the ocean is spectacular!! For lunch we usually went to the Garden Buffett which was perfect. The soups were delicious and we had Indian food every day. They had a huge selection so you would always be able to find something you like. They had a chocolate buffet one night which was fun and delicious. We took public transportation ( ferries/ buses ) every day to different public beaches. It worked out perfectly and we never needed to take an NCL excursion. We bought a two day transportation pass and the first day in Bermuda we took the ferry to St. George. We walked through the town and up a slight hill to Tobacco Bay Beach. It is truly a gorgeous and "snorkel friendly" beach. The next day we took a bus to Church Bay Beach. I would not recommend that beach for snorkeling. It was way too rocky and rough for us! However, it's a gorgeous beach and wonderful for photo ops. On the last day in Bermuda we walked to Snorkel Park, rented a cabana for $30.00 ( get there early if you want one ), and had a fabulous snorkel experience! When we finally pulled ourselves away from this gorgeous beach, we walked to a shopping mall for gifts for family and friends. It was smooth sailing all the way back to New York City. We had put our suitcases outside late the night before with a colored tag on them for the time we wanted to leave the ship. All in all disembarkation went smoothly and we were off the ship, after a delicious last breakfast in the Venetian, by 10:30. Thank you NCL, we'll be back!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Back On The Dawn Darling! 08/08/10 The Dawn is the darling amongst the NCL fleet for New Yorkers and for many who return to her time and again because they love her so. She is the most musical of the family and my best friend and her son ... Read More
Back On The Dawn Darling! 08/08/10 The Dawn is the darling amongst the NCL fleet for New Yorkers and for many who return to her time and again because they love her so. She is the most musical of the family and my best friend and her son were sailing her this week. It was their first time on the Dawn and my fourth. I am loving this ship and the places she has been going to lately, especially Bermuda! For embarkation we arrived outside the pier around noon and got into the platinum latitudes check in line. Although not in a suite that comes with a personal escort, we did find ourselves onboard just 15 minutes later heading to the Venetian restaurant for lunch. Portobello mushroom with warm goat cheese, roasted eggplant, steak and mushrooms with buttery sauce sizzling to perfection accompanied with steamy hot French fries, and key lime pie for dessert was my welcome back to the Dawn lunch. At the Bimini Bar above the pool area, a Hotdog, cheeseburger, and fries was my welcome back to the Dawn afternoon snack. Balcony cabin 10196 for three was ready before 2pm and we had plenty of room in the cabin for all of our belongings with space to spare and more to share. I am 5'10" and the pullout couch bed was long enough with space at the end. When the couch bed is out 100%, the balcony entrance is blocked. I found the bottom third cushion is attachable and the frame can push in thereby making the bed 67% long with room for anyone to get out onto the balcony. This worked well until everyone was ready to go to sleep for good. If I napped on it during the day I still found plenty of room to curl upon it! For restaurants, I ate my way throughout the week! The two main restaurants, Aqua and the Venetian, have six always available entrees along with three different entrees each night that never repeat throughout the week. We dined in the specialty restaurants as well. Le Bistro twice for the beef tenderloin and the lamb, Cagneys for the jumbo shrimp and prime rib, and the Mexican for the pork ribs. On this sailing the sushi restaurant was open for lunch and I enjoyed it two times very much. For breakfast, I selected the Blue Lagoon most mornings as it was just perfect for my needs. Nobody there, fresh cooked eggs and toast, good music over the intercom, and the option to bring my food just outside on the promenade or to up three flights to my balcony cabin directly above. Prior to leaving, I stocked up on the best ever breads/croissants/danishes ever in the history of the world. I did not forget the buffet either. I enjoyed multiple servings of my personal favorite marinated chicken, my personal favorite potato salad, and any type of pasta concoction the pasta chef creates for me. I had a lemon and crème crepe freshly prepared by the crepe chef at the dessert area. Nearby yet almost missed it, I also had chopped fruit dipped under the liquid dark chocolate fountain along with banana bread and some other cake-like mixture dipped under the white chocolate fountain. OH....My....Goodness! I returned to reverse the two...fruit dipped under the white chocolate fountain and the cakes dipped under the dark chocolate fountain. Soft ice cream was also joy to have when I walked by it too! Oh, did I mention I ate my way throughout the week? I enjoyed the night time activities, especially the ones that included the best band on the Seven Seas: Next Stage! I love this band. The crew loves this band. Frequent Dawn darling cruisers love this band. The duo Fire and Ice entertained various evenings and I was wowed by the female singer Rosie. I have been walking around in 5 inch heels during my free time so I can get my legs to look like hers. The Comedian Dave Heenan was very funny and he also is very nice as he walked around and talked to the passengers throughout the week. Bollywood is a must see Jean Ann Ryan production show. Do not go to the bathroom during scene 5! Overall, I thought there were plenty of activities offered during the morning, days, and evenings so I give kudos to Cruise Director Matt Baker. This sailing had a cruise critic meet and greet held the second day in the Star Bar. Muffins, juice, and coffee was set up to be eaten and sipped. I enjoyed! Eight officers showed which we are very thankful they take time out to do this. They each had a little bit to say and we had an opportunity to ask questions of them. Captain Sovdsnes has an excellent group of officers, staff, and crew and all worked well together to give us a fantastic memorable week long vacation. When the Executive Chef was introduced, everyone applauded him! I think we all ate our way throughout the week! In Bermuda on this sailing, the port side of ship faced the wharf/governor's mansion with ocean views and the starboard side faced the ocean with Bermuda island views. Having now stayed in a balcony cabin on both sides I think each offer a slightly different experience. The wharf has more action to look at because you can see passengers coming and going. The opposite side is more quiet. The only other major difference is the wharf side gets sunsets and the other gets sunrises. Although the ship is in port for three days, I recommend you do first whatever it is you want to do most. The bus/ferry pass can be purchased right off the ship inside the visitor center building. Other locations are right nearby the ferry pick/up area. You can purchase a one day, two day, or three day pass. I rented a bicycle for Wednesday and Thursday from Eve's Cycles Ltd. located at the wharf beside the Bonefish Restaurant. She has locations throughout Bermuda. Not only does she rent pedal bicycles, but she rents scooters as well and you can do this online before getting there. The road from the wharf to the bike rail that runs through the middle of Bermuda is very narrow and has sharp turns in frequent places so I only recommend it for avid bicyclists or for physically fit travelers looking to go off the beaten path. One surprise along my ride was finding a trail off the bike rail leading to Fort Scaur. Fort Scaur was a marvelous fort and I spent quite some time enjoying the views, reviewing its history, and exploring the grounds. It even had a public bathroom and signs that encouraged visitors to picnic there. Another surprise along my ride was seeing the smallest drawbridge in the world. There was just enough room for a sailboat mast to pass through. A cemetery also caught my interest. I found myself stopping both times to read the tombstones all throughout. I tried to get into a few churches along the way but they were locked which amused me. On Friday I walked around the wharf and looked through the artisan shops and mall areas within the stone structures. Since snorkel park was closed to a private party this particular day, I continued my visit by returning to the museum, fort, governor's house on the hill and saw the rest of everything not seen last trip. The structure itself is truly beautiful; the historical information presented is done with such quality; and the view from the verandah is amazing! I certainly was inspired to donate to its preservation and upkeep. You can ask at the ticket booth entrance how to sign up for an annual museum membership which assists in the upkeep and with the preservation. Donations are made at a single, family, or benefactor level. During port days, the spa runs specials. They have embarkation specials too. If Rico the salon stylist or Stephan the Romanian massage god is onboard your sailing, then get your hair done and get a treatment done. Neither will disappoint! I purchased La Therapie exfoliating face polish and La Therapie gentle cleansing facial milk. In my really long review of this cruise on the NCL cruise critic boards I mentioned I was neutral about it. Well now I really like it a lot after using it the three weeks...four colleagues who have not seen me in a few months recently told me my skin looks really great! Of course I ask what the heck did it look like before...! One of the events I wish I attended but did not was the Big Band Brunch in the Venetian that took place on Saturday from 11:00am to 1:00pm. I missed it in April too. I will make it there some day! My understanding is you have brunch while the Dawn Show band plays as well as other entertainers (guest vocalist Dave Heenan, Margie Hobbs, and more) perform. The venue is more upscale (hence the 15 dollar cover charge) with more to do than the usual dining room experience. So if you like the Venetian in all its regular glory as the largest dining room on board, then I can just imagine what it is like when NCL kicks an experience up a notch or two with the additional dining options and entertainment. On the flight home I reflected how Bermuda and NCL are very similar. In Bermuda, you are not a tourist. You are a visitor. On NCL, you are not a passenger. You are family. The employees of the Dawn made me feel like a favorite relative they had not seen in a while. I really felt extra special and am consistently amazed at how the employees can make individuals feel that way when there are a few thousand on board! Yes, I love freestyle. Yes, I love the food, entertainment, itineraries, and yes, I love the price. More so than all of that, I return to NCL because they sure are a lot of fun to hang out with all week! Each sailing sure is an adventure and never is a cruise with them the same old same old! Oh yeah, and that 100 dollar immediate onboard credit for a future cruise deposit is not so bad either! Thank You! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We really enjoyed our cruise on the Dawn. This is our 3rd NCL cruise, 3 with Carnival, and 1 Royal Caribbean. I am a "young" 46 year old female. No cruise is perfect but this one was close! Here is our experience: PROS: Matt ... Read More
We really enjoyed our cruise on the Dawn. This is our 3rd NCL cruise, 3 with Carnival, and 1 Royal Caribbean. I am a "young" 46 year old female. No cruise is perfect but this one was close! Here is our experience: PROS: Matt Baker is a great cruise director - think Austin Powers! Musical entertainment is wonderful, especially Fire and Ice, Next Stage, and pool band. Try the Pub Crawl, Beer and Martini tasting. They make it really fun, you meet people, and you get a lot of alcohol for your money! Dance lessons in Spinnaker were fun, we learned the Cha Cha and some country line dances (and I don't really like country music). Loved that all rooms but casino were smoke free. Wish there was nonsmoking area outside also. Bermuda is beautiful and the scooter is a great inexpensive way to explore on your own. Embarkation/Disembarkation went rather smoothly. NCL is a great value for your money. CONS: Food in regular dining room is just average but appreciated the vegetarian selections for me. Free style doesn't work so well, some larger parties waited 40 minutes for a table. Didn't like that you would have to pay $99 to use sauna/steam/lap pool in back - should be free! Pools small for the number of passengers on board. Inside stateroom closet too small, especially if there were 3 or 4 persons in room. NCL does try to get your money, but we've learned to "just say no"! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
First time I've written a review for CC. Here goes... This was a mother/daughter cruise - my 3rd time on NCL, DD's first, and about my 10th overall. I'm early 50's, DD is mid 20's. We drove from Queens and had a ... Read More
First time I've written a review for CC. Here goes... This was a mother/daughter cruise - my 3rd time on NCL, DD's first, and about my 10th overall. I'm early 50's, DD is mid 20's. We drove from Queens and had a heckuva time getting to the pier due to a triathlon on the Henry Hudson Pkwy that morning - who knew?? After many detours, we finally arrived at the pier, about 11:15. With 3 ships in port it was very congested with cars arriving as well as picking up people who had just disembarked, so pulling the car over far enough to unload the bags wasn't easy, but once we managed to do that, it wasn't too hard to find a porter. Once inside the terminal, I was thrilled to find NO line getting through security, and no need to mention Latitudes. We walked right through and were at a check-in station immediately. We were given #6 and headed back to wait for boarding. This was about 11:30. While we waited, we made reservations for Teppanyaki for that night. At noon they announced boarding for VIPs and #1s and 2s...and within about 10 minutes, they called our number. So easy! We headed straight to the Venetian for a nice, calm lunch. The DR was almost empty when we arrived. One note about the food: DD ordered the turkey club sandwich and asked if it were smoked turkey, which she doesn't like. The server said it was not, and sure enough, when the sandwich came, it was smoked. DD couldn't eat it and asked the server about ordering something else. She insisted (nicely) it wasn't smoked turkey, returned to the kitchen to get another turkey club sandwich, and came back a few moments later saying "it's smoked turkey." I guess it's good that now she knows for the next passenger who asks. So my DD ordered something different and it was fine. Our cabin was ready about 2pm (the main doors that led to the cabins were still closed, but we saw people exiting them and figured we would see if our cabin was ready, and it was). So we dropped off our carry-ons and headed out to explore the ship. I was expecting it to look more worn based on what I'd read here, but the only real sign of wear was in the vinyl seats of the Blue Lagoon, which had some tears. Otherwise, Dawn is in great condition and really beautiful. The muster drill was the fastest one I've ever experienced. No need to take the lifejackets to the muster station anymore, which is a pleasure. We watched the crew demonstrate the use of the jackets, and then we were on our way. Sailaway was great - we were blessed with perfect weather leaving NYC and throughout the cruise. Once we'd passed under the Verrezano Bridge, we checked the cabin and our luggage was there so we unpacked. There was plenty of hanging space, but I would have liked another drawer; there were only 3. There are additional shelves inside the closet, but once your clothes are hanging, it's difficult to get to those shelves w/o knocking things off the hangers. I always cruise with an over-the-door shoe holder but this time the brackets didn't fit the top of the bathroom door, so I had to resort to my handy duct tape to hold it up...and needed to keep reinforcing it every few days. We didn't meet our stewards until late the 2nd day - John and Mark. They called us by name whenever we saw them, left us a few towel animals, and took care of our requests like emptying the fridge so we could store our cokes and providing extra towels. I found the mattress too hard for my back and asked John if he could put a foam egg crate on it, which he did and it helped tremendously. We left post-it notes on the mirror for them if we needed something and they didn't happen to be in the hallway. A word about our cabin location: We were in 10202, very near the aft elevators. Loved the location - a quick walk up to the buffet/fitness center/Internet cafe. And an easy walk forward to get to the theatre or Spinnaker lounge. I was worried about noise, being that close to the elevators, but we never heard a sound from people walking by, other than the last night when a group of drunk teens got rowdy just outside our door. We were below the spa, and every morning there were pretty loud scraping sounds coming from above, enough to wake me, but it was 8 or 9am, so not an ungodly hour, for sure. I guess they were moving tables around, perhaps in the massage rooms. Entertainment: It was a mix. The Jean Ann Ryan Company performed 3 times. We didn't love the first two but were blown away by the final, Bollywood, which was similar to a Cirque du Soleil performance. Dave Heenan the comic was very funny; his late-nite adult show in the Spinnaker was hysterical plus he performed in the farewell show, and we even saw him in one of the lounges along with Ariel Jacobe doing some "shtick." He sings too! The magician, Greg Gleason, was amusing and he had some nice illusions, but most of his stuff was "prop tricks" - if you've seen a few magic shows, you'll have seen these before. He also offered a memory seminar on the last sea day. And of course, you could buy DVDs of both Heenan's and Gleason's work. 2nd City Comedy Troupe was highly disappointing. We found their improv in the Spinnaker to be seriously UNfunny, and even when they presented rehearsed skits in the Stardust Theater, it just didn't make us laugh...and really, we are not a tough audience. The non-professional stuff in the Spinnaker was some of the best I've seen: the Newlywed Game, Dancing with the Stars, and The Quest were all highly entertaining. Matt Baker, the CD, is a showman in his own right; it took a couple days for his style to grow on us, but by the end, we were enjoying his humor and really did have a *good* time. If you go to the final night's variety show, be sure to stay for Fountains - you won't regret it. Food: We ate twice in Cagney's and twice in Teppanyaki. Food was terrific for the most part, except in Cagney's one night when DD tried the Salmon Oscar w/crab legs and the salmon was very bland. The Caesar salads were wonderful. We never made it to Aqua for dinner, just the Venetian when we weren't at a specialty. Had no trouble getting reservations for the specialties. Also, never had to wait for the MDR, but we timed it so we were not arriving either just when a show ended, or when we expected people to be dining before the next show. Our strategy worked. We always got a table for 2, except of course, in Teppanyaki. There were no 2-for-1 specials the entire cruise. I LOVED the salmon dish in the MDR and ordered it all 3 times, each time with different side dishes. That's on the "always available" menu. Didn't care for the choices on the Daily Specials section. We celebrated my birthday on board and our PCC had arranged for a card to be presented to the maitre d' for a birthday cake that came with a song from the wait staff. Very nice. We ate breakfast almost exclusively in the Garden Cafe. It was crowded, but we were always able to find a table. Unless you're willing to wait for eggs or waffles made-to-order, you're pretty much going to have a lukewarm breakfast. It's just not possible to go through the line and gets scrambled eggs or French toast or pancakes, find a table, go back for juice or water or coffee, and then sit down to a hot meal. There's also cereal, lots of fruit (which was delicious), hard boiled eggs, bacon, oatmeal, wonderful danish and cinnamon buns, and other choices I'm forgetting. I ate breakfast once in Aqua and did get to enjoy a hot breakfast and much better coffee than what I got in the Cafe. We tried the Blue Lagoon only once for breakfast and the French toast was pretty awful - could barely cut through it with a knife. But at the buffet it was good. We never got back to the MDR for lunch after embarkation day - its hours were too limited. Lunch in the Cafe had plenty to choose from: burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, and a daily-changing assortment of hot dishes. Again, not having the convenience of trays, you do spend some time collecting the items you want and then sit down to a lukewarm meal, but that's just the way it is. The soft-serve machines are open pretty much anytime the Cafe is during lunch, dinner, and late-night, but it wasn't self-serve. You told the crew member if you wanted a dish or a cone and he/she dispensed it for you. Depending on who was doing the dispensing, some of the cones contained about 2 tablespoons of ice cream. There were sprinkles and chocolate syrup available too. I loved walking on Deck 7 under the shade of the lifeboats, however I was disappointed that there was no area where there was a break from smokers on that promenade. I expected smoking to be allowed perhaps on the port side and not the starboard, but the reality is, smoking is allowed on any open deck, and that meant it was hard to enjoy much of the walk without smelling it, and I am very sensitive to smoke. Along the same line, there were times when I could not be on my balcony because my neighbor was both a cigar and cigarette smoker. Of course it was his right to smoke on his balcony; just bad luck for me, especially when we were docked in Bermuda and there was no ocean breeze to carry away the smoke. It being summer, we knew there would be lots of kids on board, and I think the count was close to 800. We were never bothered by them (except on that last night). We didn't hang out at the pool at all. We saw the kids at their T-Rex pool and they were having a great time. The special kid-sized area at the Garden Cafe is simply adorable. There were lots of really little ones in strollers. I never had the courage to cruise when my kids were that little. The teenagers tended to congregate on the stairs and around the elevators, but that wasn't a problem, they moved when they needed to. We bought the Internet package of 100 minutes to send a daily recap back to DH and DS, but in hindsight, I wouldn't do it again. The speed is SO slow, it's like watching your minutes roll down the drain while you wait for pages to load. 50 would have been enough and we didn't need to do daily emails. Didn't use the Spa, didn't play bingo, didn't go to Art Auctions, no casino use, and didn't buy any photos, so we didn't get hit with a lot of extra costs other than the Internet and the specialties and a few drinks. BTW, we never felt the pressure to pose for photos this cruise. The opportunities were plentiful, but the photographers weren't obnoxious about it. Every crew member we encountered was polite and friendly and always smiled or said hello when passing in the corridors. Bermuda: in a word, beautiful. We bought the 3-day bus/ferry pass and took the bus twice to the beaches. Went straight to Horseshoe Bay our first day. Second day we went one stop further to Warwick Long and made the walk back to Horseshoe as I had learned here on CC. It was HOT, and tiring, but the views were simply gorgeous and we got great pictures. Horseshoe Bay was very crowded, but off to the left (as you face the water) there was plenty of room. HAL's Veendam was in port the entire time we were; the Caribbean Princess was there one day. We rented chairs, and on the 2nd day rented an umbrella too because we need sun protection. Thank you, kind man from NJ on the Veendam, who helped us secure our umbrella in the sand! I observed the sea of umbrellas when the winds picked up, and I'm convinced the round ones hold better than the square ones! We took advantage of the van that offers rides from the beach back up the hill for $2 pp. There was a "Special" bus waiting at the stop and neither day did it wait until it was completely full before returning to King's Wharf, so we used that. Also, it was around 5:30 when the locals are using the city buses to commute. There's a great little stand across the street from the bus stop where we got flavored snow cones - so refreshing on a hot day. Had to finish them before boarding the bus. 3rd day in port we took the ferry to Hamilton and shopped for a few hours. We thought about exploring the shops in the Dockyard, but it was brutally hot in the sun so we headed back to the ship by ferry and relaxed on the balcony. Disembarkation: We took "lime" for the last of the times offered, and I'm glad we did. Had breakfast in the Cafe and were out of our cabin by 9. We found chairs on Deck 8 in the atrium and read while we waited for what felt like a long time, but we realized that was because SO MANY people opted to walk off "early" with their own luggage, it took forever for them to get off the ship. Their line snaked around Deck 7. Once they had cleared the exit, the rest of the colors were called quickly. I'd say we were off the ship about 10:15. By then it was easy to spot our luggage in the terminal and there was no wait to get through Customs. We pulled our luggage right out and crossed the street where it was very easy for my DH to pull to the side of 12th Avenue and wait for us. All-in-all, a great cruise. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
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 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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