998 Norwegian Dawn Bermuda Cruise Reviews

Wow - everyone is entitled to their opinions, but we had a GREAT cruise. I really have two things that we didn't enjoy but not complaining. On the last sea day returning, it was a rough ride home and the entertainment - but that would ... Read More
Wow - everyone is entitled to their opinions, but we had a GREAT cruise. I really have two things that we didn't enjoy but not complaining. On the last sea day returning, it was a rough ride home and the entertainment - but that would be about it for complaining. Embarkation was a breeze - couldn't have been easier. I think we were on the ship in 10 to 15 minutes, after we got out of the car. We had a stern cabin, and I thought that was amazing. I agree with all the people who claim that the stern cabin balconies have the best view, they literally do. We will always try to book stern cabins from now on. Food is very subjective. We liked some, we didn't like some. We chose to eat at both the main dining rooms, the Impressions Italian restaurant, the Asian Fusion, Garden Cafe, and the Salsa Tapas Bar and the service was fast and great. We have never sailed any line but NCL so I cannot compare our experience, but I read how all these people want service from the same person every night so they can remember their preference and drink and name. I have to be honest on this cruise, not only did all our servers remember our name but went above and beyond to say hello to us the day after if we saw them at another restaurant or even any other place on the ship. They remembered our names throughout the cruise. We took our two year old son, and at every restaurant all the servers and maitre de went to great lengths to entertain our son so we could eat peacefully. Kudos to all. Thank you for making our cruise very special and comfortable. Kids Club - the girls who work there are magicians with kids. Our son had a blast. Activities - there was just so much to do. You really have to pick and choose what you want to do from the dailies. Chocolate Buffet - Honestly, I thought the chocolate buffet on the Pearl last year to Alaska was better, but no complaints, still chewed down chocolate. Entertainment - this is subjective also. We are from New York; we have seen more than our fair share of Broadway shows and at least eight or nine different Cirque Du Soleil shows if not more, and then more Off Broadway Shows. Can't even begin to tell you how many comedy clubs we have been to or even magic shows both in New York and Las Vegas. You guys get the point. We didn't enjoy any shows at the theatre although they tried very hard. I still have a lot of respect for all the people who are on the ship entertainment business, and I still attend all the shows to show our appreciation. I know people will say, if you don't like the quality then don't go. I said I didn't like it but it was still entertainment and time on the ship well spent. I would consider the shows average at best (and I am being generous) but to each their own. Some people loved it. I really enjoyed listening to Fire and Ice. I forget the name of the piano player and singer outside the Havana Bar and the Italian Impression Restaurant, but he was also very good, even though he had an accent. Nickel and Diming - I don't get it. People always seem to be complaining about this. I figure if you don't want something don't buy it. If you don't want to pay extra to eat, don't eat at the surcharge restaurant. If you don't want to pay extra for pictures or spa then don't buy them. We didn't feel that we were being nickel and dimed. Spa - my wife loved the spa; she bought a full hour massage and then some, but CHOSE to spend money there. She said the service was great. They did try to push their products to her, but she politely refused and they stopped pushing her for their products. Havana Bar - met a lot of nice people here. I am glad they have those on board. Reservations for Restaurant - there was a reservation desk right out the Italian Impressions restaurant, and the lady there knew our name after the first night and she would greet us every night we showed up by name and make her recommendation (although we didn't take them) and was always polite and courteous. Room Stewards - Seriously what are those people complaining about that you never met your room stewards throughout the cruise? First I would love to know why it was so important that you met them. If you wanted anything done, you could leave a sticky note on the door for them or you could just call the front desk and they would have it resolved for you in an instant. We met our room steward and his assistant the first day and they knew our names already and met every single of our requirements. We wanted them to join our beds since they were separated when we walked in. They also opened up the sofa bed half way for our two year old. They also emptied out the fridge so we would keep snacks and milk for our son. They kept our room extremely clean and always put away my son's toys neatly and in a place where he found them immediately. We had towel animals every night which my son loved. We had ample amount of towels both in the morning and evening. I can't praise them enough. Again, two more people who really made my son's cruise that much more enjoyable. They would actually run down the hall / corridor with my son just to entertain him. Kudos to their efforts also. Cruise Director - Shona (If I spelled her name correctly), well she tries hard and did a good job. I have had better CD's before, but she did well and so did her assistant. Thanks you to all those who made the CC M&G possible. It was absolutely great to meet so many of you. Thank you for putting it together. Bermuda - what can I say? It was a lot of FUN. Beaches are BEAUTIFUL. I have not been to the Caribbean, but we loved Aruba beaches and now we love Bermuda beaches also. Bermuda as a city was great. Very clean and safe, and very accommodating. Everyone wanted to help and make our stay comfortable and enjoyable. The transportation system was amazing, and got us every where without a hiccup. We did not get a cab at all throughout our stay. We visited the both caves (was a great experience), the Zoo/Aquarium/Museum (only our son enjoyed as it was very small), BUEI (to us a waste of time), Unfinished Church (beautiful), St. George (nice quiet town to walk and small beautiful shops next to the ferry but expensive) Front Street, Hamilton (shopping area), Fort Hamilton (nice), Royal Naval Dockyard (small), clock tower mall (small). The best excursion was Hartley's Helmet Dive - what an experience. Overall a great cruise on a great ship with a great crew. You guys get the idea. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Embarkation was a disaster through no fault of NCL. New York City decided to hold a bike-athon that began and ended at the West Side Manhattan cruise terminal where the Dawn would be docked for the day. Arriving vehicles could not cross ... Read More
Embarkation was a disaster through no fault of NCL. New York City decided to hold a bike-athon that began and ended at the West Side Manhattan cruise terminal where the Dawn would be docked for the day. Arriving vehicles could not cross 55th St. as they usually did because it was closed at 12th Ave. In addition, on normal cruise days, embarking passengers arrive on the street level and debarking passengers leave on the upper level. On this date, only the upper level was available so you had cabs and limos bring passengers to the ship competing with cabs and limos picking up passengers from the ship. As we entered the pier, we passed hundreds of debarking passengers who stated they had been waiting for hours to be picked up. Utter chaos. Once inside the pie, embarkation proceeded quickly. We were welcomed by our efficient concierge Anoop who escorted us aboard for lunch. Our cabin was ready at about 1:45PM and we found it in excellent condition. Our cabin stewards Claudia from Columbia and Albano from the Philippines took care of our every request throughout the week. The sailaway festivities were held on beautiful day for sailing past the Statue of Liberty and under the Verrazano Bridge. Our luggage was delivered to our room before 5:00PM. Surprisingly calm seas awaited us outside New York Harbor. NCL had arranged a meeting for our cruisecritic roll call group for Monday morning at 10:30. Almost 100 passengers attended. We were warmly greeted by Captain Hakan Svedung, Hotel Director Hugo from Belgium, familiar to many of us. The Food and Beverage Manager, Concierge and Cruise Director Shona were also present to welcome us. Upon reading the Freestyle Daily, I was delighted to see that many familiar crew members were back on board. Vladimir Krevian would again be performing his piano artistry in the Atrium and the Venetian restaurant. Pianist/vocalists Bernie Martini and Fabrizio Caligaris would again be performing nightly in Gatsbys. Trumpet artist Larry Lockwood was back leading the Dawn orchestra for dancing in the Spinnaker Lounge. Los Amigos trio performed pleasant music in the Atrium. Dining was enhanced by the fact that we reserved a table for six nightly in the Venetian next to the Vladimir's piano. We were honored to be invited to dinner at Captain Svedung's table on Thursday night. He is a charming and personable man and it rumored he will Captain NCL's new Epic mega liner. We also enjoyed wonderful dinners at LeBistro and Impressions of Italy. Having Vladimir playing your requests made the Venetian a perfect place to enjoy dinner nightly. The nightly menus provided the same entrees nightly, with three different entrees every night. Dinner on the Dawn was first rate. Activities on the Dawn were many and varied. We enjoyed our early morning swim in the Oasis pool (open at 6AM), morning trivia in Pearly King's Pub was good fun and garnished us some prizes. The no-fee fitness classes however, were too few and far between. They were better when NCL had their own instructors rather than those from Steiner who were more interested in selling services than giving passengers a good aerobic's class. The best entertainment was provided by the musicians in the various lounges and another familiar Dawn performer, comedian Dave Heenan. The Jean Ryan production company was still performing the same Bollywood and South Beach Rave shows that have been on the Dawn for far too long. Some of the performers in these shows were not up to the level of those in previous years. Bermuda remains our favorite island port and except for a few brief showers, we were able to enjoy several of Bermuda's fine beaches where the snorkeling was often excellent. The only excursion we took was the Catamaran Coral Reef Snorkel which took us to a location in the Great Sound which was not especially notable. Our return trip to New York was not as smooth due to the increased speed of a one day passage. We arrived in New York, as we left on a beautiful day and debarkation was much better despite a scheduled parade. The exemplary staff of the Dawn, under our old friend Hotel Director Hugo, were deserving of special mention. The Dawn is a happy ship and it makes for a happy cruise. We look forward to sailing aboard the Dawn again next year. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This was the 7 night cruise from NYC to Bermuda. We were on the ship from Aug. 23, to Aug. 30, 2009. One of the nice things about being on this ship was most of the people on the ship were from the New York area. They were nice and ... Read More
This was the 7 night cruise from NYC to Bermuda. We were on the ship from Aug. 23, to Aug. 30, 2009. One of the nice things about being on this ship was most of the people on the ship were from the New York area. They were nice and friendly. We arrived at Pier 88 at 11 am. We had no problem checking in. We were Balcony so we were told to go to the front of the line. We had our room keys quickly. We were given number 58 to board the ship. I did not want to check any of my luggage. We carried our carry on size luggage on board. We were greeted with a glass of wine or orange juice. I checked our bags at Dazzles. They were very nice and told us to come back for our luggage at 2pm. We went to the Venitian for lunch. We then went to pick up our luggage. We had a Balcony room. I had a big bed and my son had a pull out couch bed. We had a very well stocked fridge. I told the Steward to empty it. The safe was confusing to work so I called the front desk and they sent someone up right away. He showed me how to use it. The room was too hot for me and they sent someone up right away to show me how to work the airconditioning system. We were supplied with two large beach towels, two bath towels, two hand towels, a bath mat and two wash cloths. We had no bar soap, only liquid soap. There was a dispenser with body wash and shampoo. We then had the Muster Drill. On Monday The Cruise Critic had a Meet and Greet in the Star Bar on Deck 13. The Captain and Crew were there to take our questions. It was very nice to meet the Cruise Critic members. I met five new people. The rest is very long. (I could not find spellcheck on this site so sorry about the spelling errors). Here are some tips and comments: If you are traveling alone-this ship is for you. Everyone is nice and talks to you. Even though I had my son with me, I went alone to dinner and the shows. I also felt safe on this ship. Traveling with teens-My son played in the video arcade. It is $1 per game. He brought his PSP from home with movies and games. He ate with me in the free dining rooms about three times. He liked the buffet and loved room service. He only went to the last comedy show and liked it alot. He liked the pool, the BBQ by the pool, and the live pool music, and pool party. He met two kids to hang out with. He loved the balcony room and stayed in the room at night. I advise parents to bring a laptop from home as the internet cafe is very expensive. Balcony room-In my opinion, this is first class. It is large. Has a beautiful bed and fluffy bedding and pillows. It was worth the extra money because my son was in the room alot of the time. We enjoyed watching the water and land from the balcony. My favorite food-is Aqua for dinner. Veneitan for breakfast and lunch. For a snack the Blue Lagoon. On the run-the buffet. I did not eat in any of the pay extra restaurants. Freestyle Dining-Great. The best part was I wanted to be served in the fancy dining room. I went there for most of my meals. I went anytime the dining rooms were open. I had no problem getting a table for myself. No waiting for a table. My son did not want to go to the fancy dining room so he called room service or went to the buffet. I ate alot of fruit and veggies on this Cruise. I ate alot of deserts too. I enjoyed the chicken. I did not enjoy any of the beef. The scrambled eggs tasted powdered. The omlette tasted like real eggs. The french toast and pancakes tasted frozen. The breakfast rolls and cakes were very good. The same menu every day in every dining room did get boreing. There were special items on the menu that changed each day to choose from. I tried some of the specials. I also tried the buffets and room service to suppliment what I did not like or did not eat. I liked veggie eggrolls, chicken sate, broccoli soup, Greek salad, spagetti and meat sauce, eggplant parm., veggie lasange, French fries, pita with eggplant and olives. Deserts were good. The iced tea and the iced water was good. At home I do not eat pork, fish, shellfish, lamb, or game. I really limited myself to what I did taste on the ship. I am not qualified to judge the food fairly because of my limited food preferences. I don't know how the pork, fish, shellfish, lamb, hot dogs and delli meats tasted. You can always read other reviews. The best part of Freestyle dining is you have the choice to eat where you want to eat at what time you want to eat. You can try the pay extra restaruants if you want to. I found freestyle dining great. The room steward was great. He kept the room clean and gave us towels. The pool-small but ok. It should be bigger because there are about 3000 people on the ship. It would be better if they added a water slide too. There were places to sit at tables and listen to live music and eat by pool, nice. I did not want a chaise lounge. I went into the hot tub and pool with my son one time. There is gambling by the pool and plenty of bar drinks. There is ice cream at the pool too but we never wanted it. There is always live entertainment by the pool day and night. The pool BBQ was nice. I feel that I already paid for my cruise and should be able to use the indoor pool for free. There is already an indoor pool at the Spa but you have to pay extra to use that one. The shows and entertainment on this ship-excellent. The crew talent show was great. Comedy, Dave Hennan I saw three of his shows. My favorite show was the first one, the clean show. Fire and Ice were just great! I don't know why she isn't famous yet. The magic show was very good and family friendly. My son liked it the last night, it was part of a varitey show. The Jean Anne Ryan Dance Company-all of the shows were wonderful! Bollywood was the best one. The South Beach Rave show was great too. Band on the Run was Excellent. There was a show by the pool with Goombay Dancers. There was a chocolate buffet one night. I did not go to the White Hot Party or the Vegas night because it was late and I got tired. I did not go to the pub crawl as I do not drink. I did not go to the art shows as I have more than enough art to hang on my walls already. I did not go to Bingo as it was expensive and I did not want to spend the money. I went to the Casino one time. I don't like to gamble. I would rather spend the money in the gift shop. I did not use the Spa. That was expensive too. I went to the gym and saw about three people working out. I did shop in the gift shop. I loved everything I bought in the gift shop to take home. The ship Photographer is great. He did a great job taking a photo of my son dressed up. I did buy the photos from them. We enjoyed the ship tv channels. We also enjoyed the in room movies. The Room Service-was the best and most fun of all. They have a big room service menu to choose from. They bring the food right away. The dining room staff-friendly, great and hardworking. I liked John I. Cruise Director, he was able to get everyone to participate and dance at the pool parties. Jason-Shopping Consultant, gave very good information about Bermuda. Chef-from Bavaria, very funny and he did a stand up comedy act. I went to his cooking demo. I went to a dance lesson to learn The Electric Slide. I was not bored on this ship. There is always something to do. I went to the Towel Folding demo. I went to watch Kareoke. Bermuda-We did not take the excursion tours. We bought a one day pass for ferry and bus. We went to the ferry to Hamilton and then the bus to the small but nice Zoo and Aquarium. We then took the bus to the Crystal Caves. My son had a great adventure and took pictures of The Crystal Caves. We took the bus and the ferry back to the Dawn. The next day, we walked around the Royal Navel Dockyard. We found the Rum Cake Factory, Glass blowing, Pottery, The Mall. My favortie shop in the mall was Crisson jewelers. I bought some silver pieces to take home as gifts and for myself. I liked all the shops in the mall. We also walked to Snorkel Park Beach. The last day in Bermuda we went to the mall again for last minute gifts. And to Snorkel Park Beach. Then we walked around and took pictures around the Royal Navel Dockyard. Packing-Do not bring alot of dressy clothes. My son did not wear his suit or tie or dress shoes. He wore dress pants and a white shirt for the dress up night. I packed two party dresses and wore each of them once. People go to the dining rooms and shows in shorts! This is a very casual cruise ship. I should have packed much less. Next time I will bring less luggage and clothes. Next time I will pack a travel iron. The iron I borrowed from the ship had a European plug that I could not plug into the outlet in my room. Soda Card-Buy the soda card. I do not drink. I got the cup and soda card for my son and myself. I got into all the bars without being hassled to buy a drink. All over the ship they push you to buy drinks. You can save money this way too. I did buy my son a fancy non-alchahol drink in a fancy take home glass. Gambling-On this ship you can gamble. There is a Casino and Bingo games. At the shows they push the lotto tickets, and alot of games. I did not participate in this and saved myself alot of money. It is there if you enjoy it. This is a family friendly cruise. It is great for seniors and couples of all ages too. The best part of the cruise was the entertainment and I was never bored. I wanted to go to more shows and participate more but there was not enough hours in a day to do them. I went to sleep very late every night because I did not want to miss out on any of the fun. I would recommend this cruise. This was my first time on the NCL Dawn. The only other cruise I had ever been on was the Holland America Line, The Rotterdam in the 1970's. I went with my parents when I was in High School. In a way this was like my first cruise. My son had a great time. He told me that he would like to take a shorter cruise next time. I think I would book a 4 night or 5 night cruise next time. I did get sea sick two nights. Two nights we had very rough seas. The Captain did a great job and kept us very safe. I found it hard to sleep on the ship due to seasickness. I used the Sea Bands and I did not take the Bonnie given to me at the Reception Desk. For first time cruisers you may want to start out with a 2 night cruise to see if you get sea sick. This also depends on the weather. Sometimes the waves get rough. The ship gets rocky but the professional staff keep you very safe. The best part of the cruise was the Entertainment and the Freestyle dining. You choose to dress up or not to. You choose to do what you want to do. The staff was friendly and nice. They pull out your chair for you. They serve you on china. The dining rooms are so fancy and beautiful. I did not cook or serve or clean or do laundry for 7 days! When I walked down the halls, the stewards all greeted me with Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening. I was pampered and had a very relaxing vacation. This is a good trip for anyone that is stressed out. It does relax you. You could always take advantage of the Spa services if you want to. My last breakfast on the ship was at the Venitian. I was seated by the window. While I ate I watched the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline. It was the perfect end to a perfect cruise vacation. I can't wait to plan my next cruise vacation. We had a great time and would go on a NCL cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
I sailed on the Dawn for the 4th time this past August and as usual had a wonderful time. I did read many of the bad reviews and as I used to be a cruise agent I feel a lot of the negative reviews stem from the passengers maybe not having ... Read More
I sailed on the Dawn for the 4th time this past August and as usual had a wonderful time. I did read many of the bad reviews and as I used to be a cruise agent I feel a lot of the negative reviews stem from the passengers maybe not having the right expectations. Booking with an agent is the best way to ensure you know what you are getting. That being said, my group had a wonderful time on the Dawn. From embarkation that was a breeze to the sail away party - what can be nicer, sipping a cold drink while you sail out of NY on your way to beautiful Bermuda. We knew our trip was made when we went to Gatby's and found out to our happy surprise the Bernie Martini, our favorite from our last cruise was singing on the Dawn again. Oh happy days - we spent many a night this cruise in Gatsbys. Our room stewards were wonderful, all of the waiters and bar staff treated us great, we had no complaints in regard to service. When on of our group traveling with 2 small children requested the service fee for their kids be removed from the bill, there was no problem at all. The food was good, as good as food can be on a ship when there are non-stop meals being prepared for 3000 passengers. Was it top of the line - no, but it was good and we found the Venetian to be a beaufiful place to share our meals, we went to the Italian twice and Salsa and Cagney's once. Not too crazy about Cagney's this time, but the last two times I went it was fabulous. The pool area is crowded, but we never had a problem getting chairs and had a great time out by the pool. Bermuda was amazing as always - buy the ferry pass - it is a great way to travel. I am not crazy about the busses and at 8.00 to Horshoe Bay - I would rather take a taxi. We went to St. George one day and Hamilton for shopping the other. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
First of all my family (4 girls and 1 boy 24years old to 13 years old) cruised in 2007 on the Dawn to the Bahamas and Bermuda . On that cruise my 2 youngest kids signed up for the Kids Club (ages 8-12)and were well supervised and we had to ... Read More
First of all my family (4 girls and 1 boy 24years old to 13 years old) cruised in 2007 on the Dawn to the Bahamas and Bermuda . On that cruise my 2 youngest kids signed up for the Kids Club (ages 8-12)and were well supervised and we had to force them to spend some time with us, they always wanted to be at the club. Our cruise left N.Y. 4 hours late because of engine trouble, but the Dawn credited our room with a 100.00 credit to make up for it. On this cruise (2009) we signed our kids up for the Teen Club(13yrs.-17yrs.)Again they loved it didn't want to spend too much time with us.About the food, maybe i'm not a picky eater, but i found the food in the Garden Cafe to be freshly cooked and tasty. There were different menus everyday and a nice variety of food. Whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner. We ate at 2 restaurants that we had to pay extra for. Impressions italian restaurant was worth the money. Portions were nice sized and the waitress was friendly and competent. Cagney's Steakhouse is a little pricey 25 dollars each, but well worth it, the steaks are delicious and the appetizers are good. The portions are also good and filling. You won't leave here hungry, and the waitress we had was top shelf. Even if you don't eat any of the extra pay eateries there is still plenty of good food to be had. The Poolside Barbecues are good also, plenty of hot dogs and hamburgers to go around. I have a handicapped daughter who i push in a wheelchair an all the staff were very attentive to our needs.Our adjoining rooms were staterooms with a picture window and 2 beds and a bunkbed in each room. they were both big enough for our family of 7.The room stewards cleaned our rooms great every day and left towel animals everyday. On both cruises we arrived at 12pm. and went through a very orderly embarkation, all the staff was very friendly and respectful. All in all we had good experiences on both our cruises.The only downpoint is waiting for elevators with 2000 people on board. but overall we'd do it again. The entertainment is also a good deal and there are plenty of showtimes so you won't miss them. John our cruise director was great and always had something planned for us to do. Compared to a land vacation cruises give you the most value for the money you spend. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
I have cruised with my wife and 15 year old stepson 2 times before on Carnival, and we had a good time. We decided to try NCL because we like to leave from NYC and we also wanted to visit Bermuda.We booked our trip with NCL in March.We ... Read More
I have cruised with my wife and 15 year old stepson 2 times before on Carnival, and we had a good time. We decided to try NCL because we like to leave from NYC and we also wanted to visit Bermuda.We booked our trip with NCL in March.We booked a cabin with a balcony.We obtained a a passport for my stepson in may (paying extra to expedite the application) THIS WILL BE THE ONLY NEGATIVE COMMENT but I feel it is necessary so that future cruisers will not have the same experience.My wife has full custody of our son and I carefully read the guidelines regarding documentation for boarding on the day of departure. When we were at the embarkation desk the person at the desk called a supervisor who told us that we needed further documentation for our son. When I explained that we had read all of the guidelines on the NCL site and had worked with an NCL travel agent, the customs person spoke with an NCL official. It was eventually agreed that my stepson could board the NCL DAWN, but would only be allowed to get off in Bermuda if further documentation could be produced, the following day we had a family member fax the appropriate custody documentation directly to the ship.The Assisstant manager for guest services informed us that our son would be able to disenbark at Bermuda. The whole experience was EXTREMELY UPSETTING. Now For the review. Despite the rocky start to our trip, We had an excellent vacation on the DAWN. The staff onboard was exceptionally professional and courteous. Our cabin stewards Steven and tony were superb. My wife had some difficulty with the firmness of the mattress. Our stewards immeaditely corrected the problem with foam egg crates and extra thick comforters. Our room was cleaned at least 3 times a day and at our conveince, we never felt rushed. the stewards knew each of us by name and we recieved personalized service. The entertainment onboard was excellent and abundant. We enjoyed the performances of Bernie Martini, a gifted singer and piano player specializing in the American cassic songbook (SINATRA, TONY BENNET) as well as modern popular tunes. Bernie played 4 hour sets at which Gatsbys lounge as well as all surronding areas would be full with cruisere enjoying his beautiful voice and musical stylings. Many sang along and he was very gratious about taking requests. We also enjoyed comedian Dave Heenan who told hilarious jokes as well very witty one liners. This guy could ad lib and was witty and funny as hell. We found the DAWN to be an attractive well maintained ship.The public areas were always clean.The public dinning particularly in the Venetian Restaurant was delicious and elegant. The cabin was smaller then we were used to, but having done our research we knew this would br the case. We thoughtthat CD John Ibriham was engaging, funny, and did his damnest to get everyone relaxed and involved, with grat success. The activites were nonstop and there was always somthing grat to do. at one point 4 major shows going on at the same time. YOU will not be bored on this ship,but you will be able to relax whenever you like. We LOVED the FREESTYLE concept. The main dinning rooms are open from 5.30pm-10:30pm for dinner, and you can eat when you like. You also have the option of the specialty restaurants as well as room service. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
From the very beginning of the embarkation process, we were pleased with the way the staff and crew handled the entire cruise. Having read many reviews on Cruise Critic, I have to say, I was a bit nervous about the decision to sail with ... Read More
From the very beginning of the embarkation process, we were pleased with the way the staff and crew handled the entire cruise. Having read many reviews on Cruise Critic, I have to say, I was a bit nervous about the decision to sail with NCL and the Freestyle Cruising concept. One of the biggest discussion points on previous reviews was the dinner menus. We sailed on the August 30th departure and that was the first cruise with, once again, another new sets of menus. The dinner menus in both the Venetian and the Aqua were the same each evening but the company changed the selections. The left side of the menu was the " Always Available" side and the right side had several different selections under each category every evening. There were always three entrees each evening, instead of the one selection. All of the categories had multiple items listed. We never had a problem finding something to eat in the MDR. We enjoyed the Garden Cafe for breakfast and Lunch each day of our trip. The food was very well presented and prepared. Some things were a bit on the salty side but the taste of the items was very good. This was the first time we have had a balcony room and we enjoyed the extra space. Since we were docked in Bermuda for three days, we got a lot of use of the balcony. Our room was clean and well kept. Our room steward was Reggie and his assistant was Ruby. One morning, we were short one washcloth but outside of that the towel supply was always there. Even when I showered in the afternoon after walking the streets of Bermuda, the towels were changed and new ones were brought in for the following morning. We had towel animals every evening when we returned from the entertainment. Our bed was large and very comfortable. The linens were great. Everything work in the cabin. We set the temperature up when we entered the cabin the first day and it stayed at that setting for the entire cruise. Our cabin was ready at the 2 PM hour as promised and our cabin steward introduced himself at that time. I think one of the best parts of the cabin was the size of the shower. We have been on several previous cruises and have never had a shower large enough that one could bend over and wash one's feet without part of your body hanging out of the shower. This shower was larger than any other one we have ever seen on a cruise ship and was just great. The entertainment was really good on board. The Jean Ryan Dance Group did amazing productions on three nights. We enjoyed the magician, Greg Gleason. His intimate show one afternoon in the cinema was amazing and I am still wondering "How'd he do that?" The crew show was wonderful and the talent displayed by the crew was amazing. We also enjoyed the two young sisters, who were passengers, and their dance routine. We went to every after dinner show and truly enjoyed each one of them. We did a little bit of gambling in the Casino but the smoke was really bad all of the time in there. All of the rest of the public areas of the ship are non-smoking and I wish the cruise companies were get really brave and make the casinos non-smoking as well. But then, I might loose more money into the machines than I already did if the casino was non-smoking area. Maybe, smoke in the casino is a good thing!!!! We enjoyed our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet on the first day of the cruise. It was fun to meet the people I had been "talking" with for several months. Several Officers came to the meeting and answered questions and took time to talk to individuals afterwards. The staff and crew were always helpful and polite. One word of warning, don't leave your plate on the table in the Garden Cafe because it will be gone when you come back even if you are not done with it. Disembarkation was the best I have ever experienced. We chose to carry off our own bags and to leave at our leisure. The nightmares I have experienced on other ships at disembarkation had led me to really dread the process. I have to say NCL does it right. There were no long lines or throngs of people standing in public areas with their carry-ons waiting for their color tags to be called. It was a very pleasant end to a wonderful vacation. Thank you NCL and the Crew of the Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Firstly, in the weeks leading up to our Cruise Date we were reading the Ship Reviews on the Cruise Critic ( CC ) Web Site. Several very negative reviews ( 10 Worst Things ...; Don't Waste your Money ...; 7 Days I'll never get ... Read More
Firstly, in the weeks leading up to our Cruise Date we were reading the Ship Reviews on the Cruise Critic ( CC ) Web Site. Several very negative reviews ( 10 Worst Things ...; Don't Waste your Money ...; 7 Days I'll never get Back ...; amoung others had my wife & I worried that we had made a Big Mistake booking this vacation !! After waiting a week to reflect on our experience in this review I can categorically say that the people who wrote those articles are Petty / Vindictive Individuals who used the CC Forum to Slander the NCL Cruise line for their personal reasons. It is no secret that the Cruise Line Business Model is to get you on board and have you spend as much money as possible. In that light the CC Web Site was most helpful preparing us for what we could expect, what to avoid and what we could do to maximize our trip. It is also understood, that while the new "Super Ships" are set up as 5 Star Hotels, that in essence this type of Vacation is sort of an Adventure Vacation. As evidenced in the Mandatory Life Boat Safety Drill and reminded of every time you feel the movement of the ship as it progresses through the water. I did like the little bit excitement associated with the thought that something could happen and I did feel a little better when we tied up in port almost akin to Landing when taking an Airplane flight. What follows is an Honest review of our Cruise on the NCL Dawn to Bermuda and of the Cruise Industry as I now understand it : First the Negatives : BINGO - NCL has devised a scheme where by you can Purchase a Wireless Electronic Score Card which can Play 100+ Bingo Score Cards per Game. The cost for this gizmo is as much as $149 per four game session. You can still buy Standard Manual Bingo Scorecards, 6 per game, but eveyone knew that no one had won a Jack Pot using these Manual Cards all Season. This is due to the Number Crunching ability of these Electronic Marvels. I wont even speculate that the game was/is fixed. So in essence, if you want a Chance to win at Bingo be ready to plunk down up to $100+ per Bingo Session. I suggest that NCL and any other Cruise Line using this scheme Offer High Stakes and Low Stakes Bingo, so that any one wishing to Play in this Previously "Fun" Pastime can do so with out having to budget $500 for the week in order to participate. Note : Bingo is no fun when it costs you $100. SERVICE FEE - I understand that in the past certain Cruise Passengers literally walked of off the ship with out leaving any tips at all for the staff. Tipping whether on Land or Sea is controversial at Best. Most people dont mind leaving a decent tip, when the experience is positive. Some even " Over Tip ' when the experience was Memorable. Setting up your Business Model to have the Employee requiring a Tip in order make a living is wrong. The restaurant business has been getting away with this for years. NCL has instituted a "Mandatory" $12 Per Day Per Passenger Service Charge. OK, This should be included in the Ticket Price not as a charge to your on board account. Also, my two children each were charged $12 per day. The NCL Web site had listed the Service Charge for Children at the Beginning of the Year as 1/2 the Adult Charge and then changed it to the Full Price for this years Sailings. I went to the Service Desk and requested that the children be charged the 1/2 price ($6 per Day) cost . Based on the Fact that non of the Service Charge was directed to the staff who operated the Kids Program I had little reservation doing this. In addition to the service charge I did Tip my Room Steward Team and the Kids Program staff extra for their outstanding performance. In addition I did tip the Dining Room staff extra when we felt it was deserved. NCL did in fact reduce the Children's Service Charge as requested with no hassle, and my the charge to my Charge Account at the end of the Cruise did reflect this. Lastly, adding an 18% service charge to every drink you order, no matter if you go to the Bar and get it yourself is wrong and is usury. We have already paid the $12 per day Charge. Adding on top of that is wrong. Get Smart NCL and any other Cruise Line using the same format. Give the cruisers the benefit of the doubt, for the most part we will give those staff members cash tips when they deserve it. Mixed Drinks - I will have some Positive Comments later on in the review regarding drinks in General, But we had been warned ahead of time regarding the mixed drinks. Firstly, a Family member had taken the same Cruise earlier in the year. This person is not a "Drinker". He reported that one late night he had ordered 8 !!! Kamikazes and at the end of the night he did not feel anything. For Shame NCL !!!!!!!!! We were forewarned !!! During the Sunday Sail Off Party my wife ordered a Rum "Something", it came in the Plastic NCL Pilsner Type Souvenir Glass. It was the worst tasting thing you can imagine and had absolutely no Rum it it.At $10 we felt ripped off. For Shame NCL, you got your $10, it should have been the best drink I ever tasted. OK two can play that game, for the rest of the cruise we stuck with Wine & Bottled Beer. Now for the Positive : Soda / Wine / Beer - The Soda Card for the adults was $50 dollars for the week and $28 for Kids. For a family of 4 this Equates to $156. Our Kids are 6 & 3 and we brought two boxes of Juice Pouches in our luggage. There is no restriction on this, we kept the pouches cold in the Refrigerator. The kids loved it. We did buy soda as needed at dinner or lunch and this was priced at $2.25 each. A little expensive but certainly what you would expect to pay at a land based restaurant. Trying to get your $156 worth of soda if we had brought the soda cards would not have been healthy. I am sure this strategy will change as the kids get older. I drink imported German Beer. The cost was $6 and change for each beer. Totally Reasonable. The wine averaged $35 to $50 a bottle. We ordered a 6 bottle Wine Package first day on the Boat. 3 bottles of Champagne, 2 California Pinot Grigios and an Italian Chianti. We enjoyed every bottle. In addition we ordered several glasses of wine and champagne at various venues during the week, all were priced between $6 and $9 dollars, Totally Reasonable. As an added benefit, if you order a bottle of wine at dinner, or a 2nd bottle and don't finish it the waiter will re-cork your bottle, send it back to the wine cellar and give you a receipt. You can recall this bottle any time during the cruise, at any restaurant or bar, simply by handing the waiter the receipt. I consider this right up there with Fire, the Wheel and Antibiotics. DINING : We ate at Teppenyaki and Salsa's. We Planned on Eating at Bistro's on Saturday but were shut out. I even showed up in a Tie and Jacket and Begged. No Good, much to my disappointment. We ate at the Venetian twice and Aqua twice. I Loved the Venetian, so Beautiful. My Wife loved Aqua, Very Modern. We did not try Cagneys Steak House for I felt that $100 with the shell Fish Appetizer and drinks was only slightly less than I would pay at a premium steak house in NY. A friend has since told me I made a mistake, that the steaks were that good. Maybe next time. Teppanyaki was not worth it, it was OK. No better than our local Japanese Steam Table. If you dont have a Japanese restaurant locally than I would consider it, if you do like us, take a pass. Salsa, Just OK. I ordered the Shrimp and Tilapia Entree and received a small skewer with 2 shrimps and two pieces of fish. More an appetizer than an entree. This was the the only disappointing dish I was served during the whole cruise. Should have said something to the waiter or should have ordered more food, but since this was Monday I was still getting used to the Cruise Experience. I ate breakfast at the Venetian every morning. I would get up early, take a good walk around the Promenade Deck and then go for Breakfast while my family still slept. It was wonderful !!! A cup of Capuchino awaited me every morning. A great Omelet, Cranberry Juice. Piano Music and a Window Seat. Wonderful !! We had read complaints regarding the menus not changing through out the week at the Aqua and Venetian. Each day they have a Daily Special with several appys, several entrees and several deserts. These in addition to the Menu Standards Which included a Beef, Chicken, Lamp, Pork and Salmon choice. I have never been to a Restaurant on Land that served a different Menu for each day of the week, so being new to the Cruise Experience this was fine with me. I guess if you are going to be on the same ship for more than two weeks it could become old, but for less than two weeks no problem. We got stuck eating at the buffet the first night due to the fact that we did not immediately make reservations and we had the kids with us and they were hungry. The buffet was OK, the Kids liked it. I vowed that I would not get shut out of the restaurants for the rest of the week, and with a little planning everything worked fine except on Saturday when we could not get into Bistro. Instead we ate at Aqua, It was fine. All in all the Food was Great, Service was Great. We missed the Chocolate Buffet on Thursday due to the fact that it began at 10:00pm and the Kids were already falling asleep, Even though they are Chocolate Fanatics. I also had read in the Cruise Critic Reviews and in conversation on Friday that this Buffet is attended by the Rudest / Pushiest People and I did not need to forage with the Hogs who needed to " Get Their Moneys Worth ". Entertainment : We attended the Sunday Night Variety Show, which had a sampling of what was in store for the rest of the week. The only act which did not perform was the Magician, and due to scheduling we did not get to see him at all. Jean Ann Ryan Troupe was Great. I had heard so much about the Bollywood Show ( Friday ), It was good. Band on the Run (Monday) was my Favorite. 70s Music Rock & Disco we all knew the songs, they closed with Queen (We are the Champions) and 3 en core's, Very, Very Electric. South Beach Rave (Tuesday) had the Latin Thing going on. It was OK. For my Money I would have switched Friday and Monday, as I said Champions was Great. We caught Fire & Ice at the Sunday Variety Show and saw a little of her performance on Tuesday at Dazzles. She is an exceptional performer and I am sorry we missed her Wed Night Tina T Tribute. We also missed the Beatles Tribute and the White Hot Party. All took place after 10pm and the kids were in bed sleeping. Oh Well, next time. The Second City act on Wednesday was OK. I do not like that sought of Comedy and the Improve Part was a dud. The Skits were a Little Funny and the Blow Up Doll Skit was hilarious. By coincidence or not, Every day at around 12 pm the Captain would give the ship a briefing on the weather, our position in the Atlantic and anything else he could think of. I am sure he is the Consummate Professional but is not the Greatest Orator. I commented after Mondays speech that he sounded a little drunk and on Tuesday stated that I was waiting for him to hick up during the speech. Well, Second City was reading my mind because one of the skits was the Captain on the Bridge doing a Beer from a Beer Funnel. Bermuda : This review has gone on to long already and I have tried to concentrate on the Cruise Ship and Cruising in General. We had Great Weather for the 3 Days we were in Bermuda. 3 Days isnt enough to see everything even though most Cruise itineraries only stay in Ports 8 to 12 Hours, 3 Days is exceptional. Read about Bermuda on the Internet. I will say this, my Family flew to Bermuda during the week we were there and we met up for a Day at their resort. They got a good deal on the Flight and Rooms but Food and Drinks were very expensive. Example : 4 People / 2 rounds of Cokes $60. This was by far a great way to see Bermuda and I highly recommend the Norwegian Dawn for this Purpose. PS : The best Part of the Cruise was the Towel Animals, my kids loved them. I will never forget the Squeals of Delight during the three nights we entered our room and found the surprise. I was very happy with the Room Service and am only disappointed when I read after returning that other CCs received Towel Animals every Night. I have not told my Kids, but I did hand the Stewart $20 when I met him and gave them $50 more on the last day. We should have got more Towel Animals. Oh Well / Maybe Next Time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
This was our first ever cruise and it won't be our last thanks to NCL. We arrived at the terminal at 11:30 and because we booked through CAS we were on the VIP list and were taken to the counter right away with no wait. The whole ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and it won't be our last thanks to NCL. We arrived at the terminal at 11:30 and because we booked through CAS we were on the VIP list and were taken to the counter right away with no wait. The whole process for 3 people took no more then 10 min. We were then shown how to go to the VIP waiting area. While on the way they started to board the ship and someone ran (yes ran) after us to have us board immediately. We were given a glass of Champagne and juice when we were on board. I had read many boards here on CC and knew to go to the Venetian for lunch. The food was great and our server Marylou was the best. We always asked to be in her area every night when we dined there. Our rooms were ready at 2PM and the room Stewart was there to meet us. He emptied the fridge and brought more towels and a mattress topper for the pull out. He also rearranged the room putting the large bed up against the wall and the end table between the bed and pull out giving my Mom room to get up at night to use the bathroom. We gave him a tip that first day and there was nothing he wouldn't do for us. The room was large enough and very clean and we enjoyed the balcony everyday. This was the first cruise for the new menus again and they were OK. The were they same in both MDRS with 3 new selections every night. We tried Salsa and Cagney's on two nights and they were great. FYI on sea days most of the restaurants are buy one get one free. We had our meet and greet on Monday morning and met with some of the crew and the captain. Thanks Christine for putting it all together. The entertainment was outstanding. Rosie from Fire and Ice was the best and we saw every show. We played bingo a few times but it was a bit pricey, had a lot of fun with Ray Ray and Scottie too hottie. We were casino VIPS so we had free drinks in the casino and treats in our rooms 3 times that week. Bermuda was beautiful. We purchased two day ferry and bus passes and saw the island on our own. The first day we went on the ferry to Hamilton and then took the bus to the zoo. Only 10.00 to get in and it was a fun afternoon We then took the bus to St. Georges and went looking for the horse and buggy rides I read about on CC, but they were not there anymore. On the way to the ferry we saw a train ride for $20.00 for 1 hour and took that. It went all over St. Georges and the guide even stopped along the way to let us sample wild herbs, sage and fennel that grew on the sides of the road. This was bay far the best $20 we spent on the cruise. The next day we went to Hamilton and took the glass bottom boat ride. It was a two hour ride and was run by Reef explorer. The captain and his nephew Josh were great . The boat was large and very clean. the took us out to see a shipwreck and to feed the fish. On the way he stopped to show us some of the most amazing turtles and had all the kids come up to the front of the ship so they could see them. If you are thinking about doing a glass bottom boat or snorkeling tour please find the reef explorer he is the best. The last day we stayed at the dockyard and did all kinds of shopping. Then back on the ship for the sail away. When we returned home we stayed to have breakfast on the ship and left at 9:30. Customs was very quick. The week went by very fast and we wished we had more time on the ship. We purchased cruise certificates to use in the next 4 years and they took off $100.00 from our on board charges. They also took of money because of our using the casino. Can't wait to plan our next cruise on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
My sister and I went on this cruise together and left the Hubbys at home. We shared a BA aft balcony 10230. My first time on NCL, and it was better than expected, much better. The ship looked great to me, and I have only sailed on ... Read More
My sister and I went on this cruise together and left the Hubbys at home. We shared a BA aft balcony 10230. My first time on NCL, and it was better than expected, much better. The ship looked great to me, and I have only sailed on RCCL each time when the ship was brand new. Cabin: Great location on deck 10. A quick trip up to the Garden Cafe, Spa, Gym. A quick trip down to the Venetian, Shops, Blue Lagoon. We had to have the beds separated when we got there and asked for extra bath towels, as there were only two. Us girls need one for the hair. Everything was in good condition, and I loved the size of the shower, much bigger than on RCCL. The balcony is huge, which is why I booked this cabin, and we enjoyed it throughout the cruise. I put the chair from inside out on the deck and moved the little coffee table all the way over to give us more walking space. The first night my sheet was very scratchy and pilly. So the next morning I left a note to please change it, and they did with no problem. Our room stewards Jamie and Daniel did a great job all week. Always with the right amount of towels etc. Jamie was exceptionally friendly and learned our names and was really pleasant. We had towel animals from the second night on. Food: As soon as we got on we went to the Venetian for lunch and had a good meal and adequate service. Not knowing that the fixed menu was gone, we went up to make specialty reservations for the first two nights. We ate at Salsas (2for1) the first night. Michael our server was excellent, very friendly and attentive. The Margaritas were very good and our favorite item were the Chips and Dip(s) that they bring at the beginning and the Spring Rolls. The lobster tacos were good but had a messy cheese sauce, not what we had expected. The flan for dessert was good but not the chocolate cake. Overall a very pleasant atmosphere and meal. Breakfast: We ordered room service coffee every morning. The coffee was good. The sliced fruit plate was good. We went to the Venetian the first morning and the food was fine and so was the service. After the first day we went up to the Garden Cafe to graze and brought it back to our room most days. The coffee up there didn't seem as good. Our favorite items were the Sticky Buns, Choc Croissants, Corned Beef Hash (not from a can), I only had eggs once with ham and peppers mixed in and they were good. Lunch: Other than the first day we again grazed at the Buffet. They did offer the Sushi Restaurant for lunch btw. We were able to find stuff to eat every day Caesar Salad made to order, Pretzel Rolls (so good), the indian food, the fried cod, the fries (with a scoop of gravy from the carving station). There was plenty to choose from including salad bar, breads, sandwiches, hot food, and desserts. Dinner: Our second night we ate at Bamboo(2for1), it was so much food, the ribs are really big, and the apps were fried, the Singapore Noodles were our favorite, and our entrees were good but we were already getting full and the things we ordered were very rich. The service again was excellent. Dessert forget it we were stuffed. We ate four nights at Aqua, and I loved it (service took about one hour each night). The service was excellent three nights and just good one night. The waiter sections are of different sizes and the one night the guy had seven tables and was very busy. Gabriella was our favorite server and was just wonderful. The food was mostly very good. The wild mushroom quesidilla we had three nights it was so good. We also enjoyed some very nice salads, with goat cheese, pear, apple, blue cheese etc. Entrees we liked, Tortellini w/cream sauce, Lobster Tail(Tues), Scallops w/cheese grits, Prime Rib (yum). In addition the bread basket was really good, different rolls every night, one night with calamatta olives. For dessert, I had the Carmel Chocolate Mousse all four nights. It was that good. The MDR coffee is good, not the decaf though. Don't order the crab cake! Don't eat anything you don't like. We ate at Impressions on Fri(2for1). The service was again excellent. We enjoyed the Carpaccio, Caesar Salad, pasta with seafood, the Risotto with Shrimp was very good, as was the Osso Bucco. The pizza was too big and the portions were big so again it was too much food. We did not like either of our desserts. We had wings at Blue Lagoon for lunch on the last day, and they were really good. I ordered the hot ones and they were not too hot which was good for me. We ordered them to go and took them back to our room. Dessert: In general not that good. The textures were off on most things we tried. I liked the flourless chocolate cake, and the bread puddings were good. By far the Carmel Chocolate Mousse on the MDR menu was the best in any place we went. Entertainment: The Welcome show the first night was very good. The show on the last night was good. In between the Rock night with Night Lite at Dazzles was a blast. I went by myself and sat and watched the crowd (what a show) and the rock music was really good. I really liked Spinnaker Lounge to hang out and listen to a little music before or after the show. Casino: We had a great time at the casino. We played in the slot tourney and won on some slots and tables, but of course overall I was down a bit in the end, fun anyway. It was smokey though, oh well. Got a couple of comp drinks there. Spa: Got the spa pass and enjoyed the spa. The hot tubs are really hot the way they should be and we enjoyed the female relaxation room immensely. The staff was very nice. By having the spa pass we were able to avoid the crowds of the pool deck. Yes there were probably some negatives. Just remember, if you are dining and you don't like it or it is not done right, they will be more than happy to fix it. The food was a little too salty at times, but better than it having no flavor for me. If you need things in your cabin, just ask. It was crowded, but we avoided the crowds very nicely. We never went on the pool deck except the first day. As a matter of fact, we learned how to get places without even having to walk through there. The kids were a little antsy by the end of the week and were running up and down the stairs and in the elevators. Just tell them you are using the elevator now thank you very much. Hope you all enjoy your future cruises as much as I enjoyed mine. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
I have to start this review by saying that the Dawn crew was great. They were constantly cleaning and very, very friendly. I enjoyed interacting with them as much as possible. Getting on the ship was a breeze, it took all of about 20 ... Read More
I have to start this review by saying that the Dawn crew was great. They were constantly cleaning and very, very friendly. I enjoyed interacting with them as much as possible. Getting on the ship was a breeze, it took all of about 20 minutes. We were a party of 12 (4 cabins) and after getting our key cards I was in the bathroom and they were boarding already!! Our cabins were clean and kept clean every day - kudos to the housekeeping dept. We had towel animals every night (much to the delight of my Grandchildren). It is so funny how the small things make such a difference! The only problem I had with the cabins was that we were on deck 8 somewhat above Dazzles so we got allot of noise from the bands playing, when Fire and Ice played we were in Dazzles so it didn't matter but the rock band was loud, this was my fault for not double checking floor plans when we booked!!! We ate at both restaurants and service in both was wonderful. There were 12 of us and we had no wait to get in, we ate just after 6pm in one and about 5:30pm in the other. We were in and out in an hour, no problems at all. The food was great, it was always the right temperature and we had no problems with the menus. The food in the buffet was okay but not great, the desserts from the buffet were sometimes a little on the rubbery side (in the main restaurants they were excellent). Food is always subjective and I think you have to take into consideration that buffet food is buffet food. We certainly did not starve and we could always find something to eat. We did enjoy the Blue Lagoon chicken wings and ate there quite a bit!! My son and his girlfriend ate at Salsas and Cagneys and loved both. He said the steak melted in his mouth. We watched Band on the Run (my fav show), South Beach Rave, Bollywood and the Crew's show. I enjoyed them all, the comedian was so-so I wasn't that impressed with him and the magician was good but they had a great one on the Spirit last time and this one was not quite as good (IMO). I have to say that FIRE and ICE were fantastic - I didn't want to miss them when they were performing, Rosie can sing anything she was amazing and she kept Dazzles packed with people. Bermuda is beautiful, I have always loved Bermuda. We had great weather and the skies and seas were breath taking. My two sons went jet skiing (twice because they liked it so much). They went right off the boat next to the Bone Fish Restaurant I believe it was KJ Watersports. They had to go slow (no wake) out of the harbor and then they were allowed to open them up, they both loved it. Horseshoe Bay was great and off course we took the taxi to the top for $2 a person!! I went horse back riding at Spicelands, the early morning tour onto the beach. We didn't spend allot of time on the beach and they do not take you into the water but I love being on the back of a horse and being in Bermuda just makes it that much better! We also went scuba diving with Blue Water Divers, my 14 year old loved this, they took him over a ship wreck and he saw lots of fish. I had trouble equalizing my ears and couldn't stay down long. They were patient with us (4 of us went). My daughter ended up switching for snorkel gear and gave up with the scuba and they were fine with that. I got some great photos! We ate at the Frog and Onion at the Dockyards which was nice, be careful if they ask you if you want a souvenir glass as we ended up with 2 that cost us $12.75 each on top of the food bill, I thought they were going to serve the drinks in it and just charge and extra couple of dollars for the glass!! My daughter-in-law got photos with the dolphins and loved that. My other daughter checked out all the history sites at St George's and the Dockyards and enjoyed that. We went to Snorkel Park to finish out our trip and that was also a good time. There are no waves and it is a great place for young kids to play. Thinking that I was being clever I took bread out into the water and went way out away from the crowds, I crunch up the bread and get attacked by a whole ton of fish, if anyone was watching me they probably laughed their butts of, I must have looked like I belonged in a Chevy Chase Vacation movie as I was trying to get away from the fish!! Once again, the ship is in great shape. They were changing out the carpets in the hallways and they were quick and efficient. All in all we had a great time, my son's first cruise and he is totally sold on cruising. I cannot say enough about the crew they were great and several of the waiters had my son's name down after the first day which made his day!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Our "Crackin, crackerjack, smashing Bermuda vacation on the beautiful Norwegian Dawn" (as stated by our CD John every time he made an announcement). This was my 5th time to Bermuda and second on the Dawn. We have cruised ... Read More
Our "Crackin, crackerjack, smashing Bermuda vacation on the beautiful Norwegian Dawn" (as stated by our CD John every time he made an announcement). This was my 5th time to Bermuda and second on the Dawn. We have cruised most of the popular cruise lines and have never had a bad cruise Did this same cruise on the Dawn in April '08 for our 30th wedding anniversary. This time we took the kids, if you can call them kids (16 and 21). Although we enjoyed our first trip on the Dawn, this one was much improved, especially in number of available activities, quality of food, and service by the crew. We left or home in Jersey City at 9:45 A.M. My sister drove us to the New York Waterway ferry for a quick trip to Manhattan. Pier 88 was only a short walk from there. At 10:30 we were in the check in line for Latitudes and were given boarding pass # 29, which seemed high to us. Embarkation picture taken, we were taken to the waiting area where we were guided to specific seats and told that the ship had arrived late and that this sailing would be greater than 100% occupancy. (This occurs when there are more than 2 to many cabins). So we sat down and talked with a nice family from CT. Surprisingly, boarding started at 11:45 starting with the number 27. We were on board at 11:50 enjoying our welcome aboard OJ. We decided to wait for lunch at the Venetian which would open at 12:30. So we took our boys for a tour of the ship. Also stopped at the spa to buy the week long pass for my wife and me at $150... probably the best $150 spent on the ship. The spa is a little used oasis with a pool, hot tub, therapy pool, lounge chairs and hot and cold beverages, Each time you visit you get towels, a robe and a locker. A wonderfully relaxing place that we enjoyed each day of the cruise. At 12:25 we headed to the Venetian for lunch and got a seat at the rear of the ship right by a window (we got the same table for breakfast on the last day of our cruise too). Starting the trip with a leisurely lunch beats the crowds at the buffet. The menu for lunch is the same each day and has really nice selections. I had chicken soup followed by fish and chips followed by ice cream. My wife Deb had Callamari. Alex had a grilled chicken sandwich which he said was dry, and Matthew had the Philly cheese steak. Other that the grilled chicken, everything was delicious. They have great fries on the Dawn. After lunch it was off to the mini suite, which is in reality just a large balcony room. But there was plenty of room for the 4 of us, even with the sofa bed open. And there was good storage. Had our steward empty the fridge so we would have room for our Brita water bottles. Our TA had ordered a bottle of wine and chocolate strawberries for us. TV's on the Dawn are 13 inch tube type with not as many channels as other lines and no interactive options for excursions or seeing your bill. We also received an apology letter that our excursion for Friday was canceled and we had been place on the Wednesday trip instead. We decided to cancel. Thursday and Friday were national holidays in Bermuda (for the annual cricket Cup Match) and all businesses would be closed both days. We had planned Wednesday to see a shop things while they were open. Bermuda is so easy to get around and so easy to plan, you really don't need excursions at all. We had planned it for Friday figuring it would be nice to have something to do on the holiday, but really were fine without it. After settling in our cabin we went to sign Matthew up for the teen program... a 4 page contract with contingencies for everything. You almost need a lawyer to figure it all out! Alex signed up for the soda card which with tip costs $50 and change. Muster was quick and painless in the theater. The sail away was pleasant, about 78 degrees and partly sunny. I heard that about an hour after we left, New York got some really nasty weather. glad we missed it. there is nothing like sailing out of New York. NCL does sail away right with a huge barbecue on the pool deck. Giant kettle grills with burgers, ht dogs, chicken, corn on the cob and a great fixings and salad bar. After sail away it was time for dinner in Aqua. We were seated promptly and got our order in. My son Alex and I had the strip steak with green beans and baked potato. My wife had Cod and Matthew had roast chicken that was more like a chicken stew. Crab cake was our starter. It wasn't bad and had shell fragments so the crab was real. The steak was a pleasant surprise... cooked perfectly and sliced like butter, a major improvement over last year when any beef on the ship was like shoe leather. Over all the food quality at NCL has improved tremendously and can rival any line. Unfortunately the selection is limited and often too fancy, looking great, but having little substance. Fortunately you can order off menu. My boys ordered a melon plate as a starter each night and a side of fries with their dinner. The fries on the Dawn are excellent. For dessert my wife had key lime pie while the rest of us had some really good ice cream. After dinner the boys went to the show while my wife and I enjoyed being on deck. We had seen all the shows in' '08 and they haven't changed. Dave Heenen, the comedian, is one of the worst I've ever heard. His self demeaning jokes are just lame and really not funny. Was disappointed he was still on the ship. Turned clocks ahead one hour before turning in. The new bedding for freestyle 2.0 is a major improvement. It is the best I've slept on any of my 10 cruises. The moderate seas helped rock us to sleep. I love the motion of the ocean. There was some noise in the hallway as workers laid plastic the length of the hallway. All new carpeting had been installed the week before, but now they were going to take our hallway ceiling down and put in all new fresh water pipes. Seems like backwards planning to me. NCL sent us a notice that the work would be going on for several days. The workers would work 8 - 5 daily and were very courteous and friendly, always willing to move their stuff so you could move freely in the hallway. The passengers were their priority so this was not an inconvenience at all. My credit card size pedometer tells me I walked 20,000 steps embarkation day. Monday, our first full day at sea was 80 degrees, cloudy, with moderate to rough seas (4 -7.5 feet waves... no where near the 22-27 foot waves we had last year). I love sea days and we easily get into a routine. We woke up well rested at 7:30 A.M. and went to the Venetian for breakfast. The dining room menu for breakfast is very good in selection and food quality. service is top notch. The waffles and omelets are especially good. The baby grand electronic piano seems stuck on James Bond themes, except for one day when it was playing a Christmas carol. After breakfast we walked the promenade. Four times around equals about a mile and a half. our boys went to see a movie. After walking we found chairs on the promenade to relax and read as the ocean went by. The old wood lounge chairs have been replaced with upright chars with a blue mesh type material. I read two books in two days while relaxing in these chairs. Lunch was in the Garden Cafe. Variety is good here with hot dishes, a pasta bar, fresh fruits, a deli and more. Try the quesadias made with a tomato based tortillas. A dividing rope, like those in a bank ones separates the pasta station from the buffet line which helps speed things up. Food quality is average cafeteria, good and plentiful. Milk, and ice tea are available. I made lemonade each day using the lemons provided for the iced tea. There is also a kids buffet with macaroni and cheese and even spaghettios. Again a very helpful and hard working staff keep this area running smoothly. In the afternoon we all took part in goofy golf, a small tournament put on by the CD staff in a lounge with putting cups. Alex then headed up to the sports deck and Matthew to the teen center. The teen program has numerous activities, but few participants. The teens just like hanging out together. Matthew chose what to go to and was with the group 'til midnight each night of the cruise. He did eat dinner and attend other activities with us. we went to the spa for the afternoon, the best kept secret on the ship, and a real bargain at $150 per couple for the week. Dinner in the Venetian was rack of lamb which was outstanding. My wife ordered the seafood extravaganza which had lobster, shrimp and more. It must have been good since she ordered it several times during the week. I enjoyed the asparagus soup and the Florida baked shrimp starters. Both were excellent. the shrimp is served i a special dish that was used for escargot until they discontinued that item due to lack of interest! After dinner we attended the show "Band on the Run" together which is a typical cruise show and much too loud. Later we went to the Spinnaker lounge for a Beatles tribute. The harmonies were good, but the solos weak. You haven't really lived until you've heard a Beatles tribute by a Filipino group. The Dawn has a great variety of music every night. The only one we saw that was poorly attended was country/western on the very empty pool deck! We then went to the Blue Lagoon for some before bed snacking. Good comfort food. Turned in at 12:30. Only 9,000 steps this day. Tuesday was very similar as we were now in a routine. Seas were moderate and it was sunny in the low 80's In the afternoon we attended a slight of hand card trick show in the movie theater. Gregg Gleason is a terrific magician. This should not be missed. The place was full, so if you go, get there early. There are always many activities from which to choose, but we often choose just to relax. We did go to the ice carving demonstration on the pool deck which was packed. Glad we didn't hang out there during the cruise. Again the spa is well worth the cost! We also bought one of the cruise certificates for our next cruise. At $250 with a $100 credit on your account and four years to book, this is a no brainer! Also spent some time planing our 3 days in Bermuda. 13,00 steps this day. Woke up early on Wednesday to watch the arrival in Bermuda, our favorite port of any cruise. I love getting up for sail in as the sun comes up. Noticed a ship coming towards us in the Distance. Eventually it passed close by. It was the Norwegian Spirit leaving Bermuda to head back to Boston. I've been on it and it is a delightful ship. Watched us dock at the new Heritage Warf which is right next to King's Warf. Breakfast in the buffet was fine. We ate in the buffet so we could debark quicker. Got off at about 8:30. In the Heritage Warf building they have a visitor center where you can by transportation passes for the ferries and bus. Cost is $20 for 2 days or $28 for 3. Called my sister on my cell which I always do when I get to Bermuda. In past years that call would have been $1.29 per minute roaming. After hanging up I got a text welcoming me to Verizon International. That didn't happen in previous years. After getting home I checked my bill to see the costs and noticed that Verizon treated that call and my son's call to his girlfriend as part of our plan minutes with no roaming charge at all. What a pleasant surprise! If I knew that I might have made some more calls. We took the 9:15 ferry to St. George's, visited a few sights and walked over to Tobacco Bay Beach, about a half mile away. Weather was 86 with clouds and sun, all sun in the afternoon. St. George's is a historic town with a number of interesting buildings. Tobacco Bay is a great Beach for families because it is shallow. It is also a great place for snorkeling. Walked back to St. George's for a reenactment of a criminal penalty called "the dunking chair". This reenactment is done at non on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Shopped a little before boarding the # 11 bus to Hamilton. This trip takes about 40 minutes and lets you get a good overview of the north side of the island. In Hamilton we did a little more shopping and had lunch at the Lobster Pot. Try the lobster,shrimp, crab cake sandwich or the Club Match. Both are terrific. Be aware Bermuda is expensive. A glass of Lemonade or a Coke is $5.50. Took the ferry back to the ship at around 3P.M. to relax at the spa before dinner. Since we wanted to return to Hamilton in the evening for Harbour Nights, a festival held every Wednesday, we decided to eat in the Garden Cafe to save time. The festival is basically a street fare with vendors and a music stage. Quite crowded. Planned to take the 9 P.M. ferry back to the ship but, after waiting 30 minutes it filled up too quickly. had to wait until 9:45 for the special ship's ferry which was much larger. Didn't see this as a major problem, but many people did, getting upset and giving New York a bad name. Come on people, relax. You are on vacation!! Went back to the ship and called it a night. 16,000 steps but it seemed like more Thursday and Friday were national holidays in celebration of the "Cup Match" which is the cricket version of the Super Bowl. One Bermudan told us we could go, pay $10 to sit in the visitor section where the game would be explained to us, and we would be fed. Now that is hospitality! Try that at the Super Bowl! We did not attend the game because of our limited time in Bermuda and we had other plans. All transportation for those days would be on a limited Sunday schedule and all businesses and restaurants would be closed. having done our homework, we knew attractions would be open so we took an early ferry to Hamilton and walked to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute(BUEI). This is a fascinating museum with displays of underwater exploration. They also have a great sea shell exhibit, and this summer a limited number of Titanic artifacts (no where near like the incredible Titanic exhibit in Manhattan this summer). Cost is $12.50 for adults and $6 for kids under 17. Well worth it. After the museum we visited Par La Ville Park in Hamilton, a delightful oasis. then we took he ferry back to the ship. In the afternoon we walked around the dockyard and bought a few things in the clock tower mall. Noticed one family boarding the ship who obviously missed departure in New York and flew down to join the ship. Also saw some crew leaving to fly to another sheep and a new spa crew board. The evening on the ship included time in the spa, an excellent magic show with Gregg Gleason, and the chocoholic buffet. All the chocolate looks good, but isn't that special when it comes to taste. 16,000 steps again. I've gotten into a rut! Friday was our last day in Bermuda, another sunny, hot day. Decided to skip the pedometer today. After a leisurely breakfast in Venetian, where the James Bond themes on the player piano were getting old, we took the bus marked "Special" directly to Horseshoe Bay Beach. You can take the # 7 bus, but that makes numerous stops. A fleet of "Special" buses await those from the ship at no additional charge other than the transportation pass. Horseshoe Bay is gorgeous. A large beach and many small cove beaches. The sand is firm and dense and easy to walk on. There are changing facilities and a snack bar. We spent the morning there and then went back to the ship for lunch before walking to Snorkel Park beach, a place we enjoy whenever in Bermuda. The place was packed!. Since it is within walking distance to the ship, many go there the last day so they won't have to rush back or worry about missing the ship. About 3:30 P.M. we headed back to the ship to relax and get ready to watch late comers running to the ship, always a fun experience as people gather on the promenade deck to cheer on late comers. this day the ship had to send an officer out in a golf cart to retrieve the last person, who was running late and more than likely called the ship to let them know. At 4:50 all were aboard, the gangway was taken in, ropes drawn in and we were ready to go. We stayed on deck for a while since it takes about an hour to clear Bermuda. after about 30 minutes we went to dinner in the venetian Dining room and got a table by the large windows at the rear of the ship and prepared for a peaceful dinner as Bermuda faded away. M, 21 year old son, Alex, accidentally discovered that his utensils had become magnetic. He entertained us, and the tables around us by using the knife to lift the fork from the table and suspend it in front of him. The tables all around us tried to do the same, with no luck. About 70 minutes after departure and with Bermuda still visible in the background all the lights went out and the engines stopped. Emergency lights came on and the ship continued a very slow forward movement in eerie silence. Dinner continued, but you could see some people getting nervous. After about 20 minutes the lights came on and the engines started and people cheered. Within a few minutes the captain came on and mentioned that we had a complete power outage but the problem was resolved and we were ready to continue to New York. i was hoping they'd see the need to check it out and return to Bermuda for another day, but no such luck. It did take a while to get the TVs in the cabins functioning again. Most channels were blank, except for the navigation channel which had a Windows NT boot screen. I overheard someone with an inside cabin say that it got pitch black in her room when the power went out. many on deck never even noticed. Skipped the pedometer for the rest of the cruise Saturday was a typical day at sea, relaxing and restful. Cloudy with moderate seas. The barf bags were put out but I doubt anyone needed them. In the afternoon we attended a memory seminar taught by the magician Gregg Gleason. It was entertaining but not memorable. Our final dinner was in Impressions, the Italian restaurant. It is an extra fee restaurant but we were tired of the menus in the dining room.. Think fancy Olive Garden, except Olive Garden has better food. Still it was nice to have new menu items to consider. Seems unusual but annoucements were few this cruise and I never felt as if we were being pushed to buy anything. We did buy two robes to remember the spa but had to ask where to purchase them (you buy them through your steward or at the pursers desk). Also bought some T-shirts on the last day when they went on sale (don't buy them earlier). Also at the prsers desk you can buy a map of the cruise with itinerary and captains signature for under $9, not a bad momento. Sunday morning we woke up at 5:30 to see the Narrows and Coney Island in the distance. Went to breakfast in the Venetian at about 7:15 while coming up the Hudson. Ship docked during breakfast, slightly ahead of schedule. Disembarking is easiest on NCL than any other line. On Saturday night you can choose the color tag you want according to when you want to get off or you can choose no tag and take express debarkation if you are willing to take your own luggage. Once the ship is cleared you can get off whenever you want as long as you are off by 10:30. The theater runs one last movie and pools are open. We chose this express debarkation and it was simple. After breakfast we went to our room and gathered our belongings. Walked right off at 9:00. with no delay at customs. Walked 10 minutes in pouring rain to NY Waterway ferry to Weehawken where we were picked up by my sister and were home in Jersey City by 9:45. Having enjoyed a marvelous, relaxing family vacation; a crackin crackerjack smashing good time on the beautiful Norwegian Dawn. And to my shock I actually lost half a pound! pictures athttp://web.me.com/pekrause/Site/Norwegian_Dawn_09.html Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
we first sailed ncl in 1980, and have enjoyed this line for many years. however, we had not sailed ncl in the past 7 years,and did not know what to expect.(last ncl ship was dreamward to bermuda).lately we have taken holland america, ... Read More
we first sailed ncl in 1980, and have enjoyed this line for many years. however, we had not sailed ncl in the past 7 years,and did not know what to expect.(last ncl ship was dreamward to bermuda).lately we have taken holland america, princess and cunard qm2, so we set low expectations for the dreamward.embarkation at nyc was outstanding. we had carry on luggage, and checked it with an attendant. lunch buffet wastypical banquet type food, good and plentiful.our balcony cabin, while not spacious, was clean and comfortable. best shower we have ever had. toilet placement was placed on an angle, and anyone over 6'2 and overweight will have problems.we took no land tours and purchased a two day water taxi(bus) pass for 24.00 ea. a one way ticket is 4.00 ea way perperson, so the one to three day pass is a good idea.we loved the italian and french restaurants at 10 to 15 dollars per personthe steakhouse was  25.00 per person, and felt it was a bit overpriced.we ate breakfast and all other dinners in the venetian and found acqua too noisey and crowded.all in all we were very satisfied withe ncl and the norwegian dawn, and will take ncl again.desembarkation was smoothe, and freestyle cruising is a great alternative to formal. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
NCL Dawn NYC to Bermuda June 7-13 Review The beginning: My wife and I just returned from our fourth cruise to Bermuda and our first on the Dawn. The Dawn was a beautiful ship and the staff was excellent! We went with a CC Group and had our ... Read More
NCL Dawn NYC to Bermuda June 7-13 Review The beginning: My wife and I just returned from our fourth cruise to Bermuda and our first on the Dawn. The Dawn was a beautiful ship and the staff was excellent! We went with a CC Group and had our first of two M&G's right after the muster drill and of the 65 members on our roll call, not including lurkers, about 20 or so showed up which isn't bad for a M&G after the muster drill as many cruisers have their own plans for sail away. It was great to put some faces to the screen names and everyone was very nice. We were also very lucky to have one of the CC members who had both GV's and some owner's suites offer all of us a tour of the GV! It was amazing and thank you so much Dennis for having us! Since part of our roll call was our CC group, we all proudly wore our "King's Wharf Rats" shirts and it was great meeting most of the group during the afternoon and early evening while we wondered around the ship. We had dinner with one of the couples on our roll call and the cruise was off to a great start! On Monday we had our "official" M&G with the NCL senior staff including the captain, and everyone showed up for this one! The staff all spoke to us and we could put our names into a raffle to eat with the staff and just like I read it's almost a guarantee you'll get picked if you enter!! A continental breakfast was served and we had a fun time with a gift swap myself and the roll call had planned. Since I organized the M&G I didn't get a chance to enter my name in the raffle so after the M&G I went to the front desk and asked to speak to Anna (forgot her title) about entering the raffle. They asked me what I wanted to speak to her about and I told them and the next thing I knew Anna came out and said hi Barry, how can I help you. I told her I wanted to enter the raffle and even politely asked her if I could eat with the comedian and the doctor who I read about on the boards as a good table to be at. The doctor was out but Anna said she would see what she could do. We wound up eating with Dave the comedian who was very very funny, and John the Cruise Director and we had a great dinner with wine provided by the staff! Embarkation: Our son dropped us off at pier 88 around 10:30 and as latitude members getting through security was a breeze! In fact, everyone at the pier had an easy time getting through security and checking in to the ship. They gave us numbers to board the ship and we were onboard before noon and went directly to the Venetian for lunch which was great! Room/Food/Shows/Casino: We had our first aft BA cabin 9238 and it was excellent though we thought the room was a bit small. But having the aft was like having private water fall when the balcony door was opened and when shut, it was very quiet! We had the cabin steward empty our fridge the first day and loaded it with water and ice tea we had brought on board! And yes; if you can get one of the two BA afts on deck 10 the balconies looked to be almost twice the length! The food was good at both the Aqua and Venetian while I'm not sure we liked the new menu's which are different in each restaurant, but the same each night. And don't forget, you can get ice tea and cappuccino at no extra charge in the dining rooms! But there was plenty to eat and we only had to wait to get in the first night so go early to beat the crowd!! The Blue Lagoon was great and always open and we had the wings several times and I even got our breakfast for the last day there with no crowds and my DW and I enjoyed our last morning having breakfast in bed. The buffet was huge with lots to choose from and we loved the pasta bar! We had dinner at two of the pay restaurants. We ate at was Impressions which was excellent for the $10/pp cover with a real good multi course Italian meal. I even asked for Veal Parmesan which was not on the menu and they made it for me!! We also ate at the Teppanyaki with 6 of our CC Group Rat friends. The presentation and food was very good and we all had a great time and dinner for the $25/pp cover! We caught all but one of the shows and liked them all! The band and dancers were excellent and they also had some specialty dancers who were amazing as well as some gymnastic type entertainment which was amazing. We loved Dave the comedian though he's not for everyone. And unfortunately we missed the magician. The casino was nice though there was only one roulette wheel which did get crowded at night. However, they did have an automated game with around 10 seats for what I call "quick" roulette with an actual wheel and computer payouts. I saw something similar in Vegas and really enjoyed it as sometimes the real table is too slow with payouts and chip staking. You can bet around every 20 seconds after a roll. I play the same 5 numbers every time so I bet using the repeat button was nice and easy. I am a moderate gambler but usually win one night during the cruise and our first night at the table was my night!!!!!!!! One of my numbers came up three times in a row and I racked up my second biggest win ever gambling. Thank you 6 (you know who you are) and all the rest of my friends who routed me on at the table and I ended my night with some Yager shots to celebrate!! Ya baby!! Bermuda: What can I say about Bermuda! We love the place and if there are any beaches nicer then Horseshoe Bay and Tobacco Bay please let me know! Returning to Bermuda for the fourth time we knew our way around. We rented mopeds as we always do and NO, I do not recommend them for everyone and YES, we did see several people go down! The roads are very windy, you have to drive on the left, and there are many blind spots! We had perfect weather every day of our cruise! On the first day we went to Horseshoe Bay and it was even more beautiful then I remembered. We got there early and saw a lot of our group members. Though it does get crowded, the beach is so large you can get all the privacy you want. And if you walk to the left of the beach you can walk to several other beaches which are breathtaking! On our second day we had a very busy day planned. We got up early and took the moped on the ferry and headed to St. George and Tobacco Bay! Awesome!! We stayed about an hour or two then headed to Alexander Battery beach which I read had sea glass and we wanted to do something new! There was tons of glass just laying there though the jackpot stash was a short walk on the right and you'll see a cave loaded with sea glass. You have to navigate over some rocks to get there so I passed as I'm not as young as I used to be! From there we took about a 20 minute ride to the original Swizzle Inn which we had never gotten to on our first three Bermuda cruises. We had planned to meet up with several other couples from our CC group and they were all there though I could only have one drink since I was driving. The rum Swizzler's were excellent and we carved "Rats '09" into one of the tables on the upstairs balcony and look forward to finding it on our next cruise to Bermuda as we will definitely go again. We then took a leisurely ride back to the Dockyard passing and stopping for pictures at all our favorite south shore beaches. When we got back to the Dockyard we dropped off the moped which ended probably one of our favorite days in Bermuda ever! On our final day we booked a catamaran snorkeling excursion with the Rising Sun II. Real nice boat and crew and we snorkeled a very pretty cove and I even got to snorkel in a cave which was really cool! There weren't that many fish to see and I'm still trying to find the best snorkeling in Bermuda so if you know a place, let me know! They served unlimited rum punches on the way back which was great, and we headed right for lunch when we got back on the ship. We then headed back to the room to clean up and planned to go the Frog and Onion happy hour and visit Snorkel Park but fell asleep. I guess we needed it!!!! Disembarkation: Getting off was a breeze! I'm not sure how or why but we were given VIP status! When we went to our choice of meet times, I thanked one of the butlers I had met as some of our CC group members did have butler services and he said "I heard of you so I added you to the list". Nice way to end the cruise eh!! Final Thoughts: We loved the Dawn and traveling to our favorite port with our CC Group is the only way to go! Besides the great rates and amenities offered by the CC group cruises, we met the nicest people and every thing was near perfect! We would definitely do it all over again and you never know but there might be a "Kings Wharf Rats II" coming up in the future! For our next cruise were heading to the Eastern Caribbean on the Miracle with another CC group and we're already counting the days! If you have any questions let me know. I am a CruiseAholic and Luv2Cruz!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
In the beginning: In February I began to need warm, sunny weather. Since that wouldn't happen in PA for a long time, I tried the next best thing, planning a vacation. We were to Bermuda a few years ago on the Crown and loved the ... Read More
In the beginning: In February I began to need warm, sunny weather. Since that wouldn't happen in PA for a long time, I tried the next best thing, planning a vacation. We were to Bermuda a few years ago on the Crown and loved the island. So my first thought was to plan a short trip in May/June via air. Checking prices for airfare/hotels quickly changed my mind. Came to Cruise Critic to check out information on the Dawn, Majesty, and Spirit since each left from a port close to home. Saw that there was a CC group going in June, checked the prices and was sold! Coupling the nice discount through CC with our Compass Reward certificates, we decided to try our first suite. Embarkation: Cruise day finally came. Thanks to the roll call, the days waiting went much quicker. After a relatively fast and easy drive from PA, we parked in the lot, dropped our bags with the porter and made our way to check-in. The special check-in for suite guests had us checked-in under 10 minutes. From there, we were escorted over to meet Anshuman. He introduced himself, gave us our key cards, and within a few minutes we were escorted on board. Not sure why, but we seemed to bypass the 'picture opportunity' usually awaiting embarkation. Neither of us was upset though! In less than 20 minutes from parking the car, we were on board drinking sparkling wine, and thinking about lunch. Since DW didn't know about the suite beforehand, she didn't know about Cagney's for lunch (and breakfast). We made our way to Cagney's for a nice, relaxing lunch. We both love their fries! The cabin: After lunch we strolled around the ship a bit to see what she had to offer. After the announcement that cabins were ready, we made our way to 9736, an aft AE cabin. DW's luggage was already there, and mine arrived in about 15 minutes. The cabin itself was quite large. The closet easily held our 'hang-up' clothes. We both liked the opposing doors so that we could both get clothes at the same time. DW liked the separate vanity/make-up area. The bathroom was good sized with a tub. We didn't use the tub other than to shower. The only drawback I can see is if someone had limited mobility then stepping into the tub might be an issue since it was higher than most tubs in houses. The bed was very comfortable. It was both soft and firm, if that's possible. There was a small, comfortable sofa, a chair, and a small dining table that was put to use holding all of our bric-a-brac. The balcony was a bit small (wide but not deep), but there were 2 loungers. We used the balcony every day. Overall, the cabin felt much larger than our usual choice of balcony cabins. The perception was that it was more than twice the size. We both loved the cabin, especially the balcony. We spent a lot of sea-day time on the balcony reading and enjoying the view. Sea Days: As previously mentioned, we spent a lot of time on the balcony on sea days. Apart from that, we also did a lot of walking around the ship. We also spent time in the Spinnaker lounge reading and knitting (DW). They had a nice 2-person lounger that we used frequently. Excursions: We booked 2 excursions through NCL, the 5-hour island tour and the aquarium/zoo tour. The driver for the bus tour was very friendly. He did a great job showing us around the island while providing a great running commentary about the different areas of the island. We stopped at a lighthouse, a small chapel, a beach, and in St. George. The tour went from one end to the other. I was a bit worried about being on a bus for 5 hours, but the time flew by quickly. It was a great tour. The aquarium/zoo tour was also fun. It started with a 35-minute boat ride from the dockyard to the Zoo. The captain gave an interesting commentary of things Bermuda. The aquarium itself was very nice. It's smaller than most US aquariums, but there was a nice variety of displays and fish. We took a ton of pictures and went through 2 times because the displays were so nice. We also strolled through the small zoo area. They had different displays with birds, animals, and reptiles from different parts of the world. My favorite part was the aviary where there were many bright colored birds wandering around. Another enjoyable boat ride brought us back to the Dawn. Food: Most breakfasts and lunches were in Cagney's. The food was very good; one of our favorites was the fries! The best part of Cagney's was the fantastic service from Robert. He truly is an asset to NCL and they really need to try their best to keep him onboard! My favorite breakfast was a chorizo/mushroom omelet. We had fresh fruit each day. The coffee was also great, even de-caf. We had dinner in Cagney's, Impressions (2X), Salsa, Bamboo, and Aqua, and the buffet. Our favorite meal was Cagney's. My strip steak was perfect! DW's food was also great. Impressions was good, but not great. We had less than good service the first time, but decided to try again. The food was consistent both times. DW had the tortellini with pesto both times. Because the portion was so large the first time, it was her main meal the second visit. Bamboo was also very good. The service was good, and the food was very good. It was not very crowded which surprised us. Salsa was a big disappointment. The food was bland, with not much 'spice' for Tex-Mex. The burrito was not even served with any type of sauce. Service was good, however, and the Sangria was very good. The 'free' margarita was basically a slurpee type 'frozen' version in a shooter glass. Aqua was also a pleasant surprise. The ambiance was very nice, the service was fantastic, and the food was very good. We both enjoyed the meal and the restaurant and had planned to go back again. Everyone around us seemed to be enjoying themselves also. There were plenty of options on the menu. It might become boring over the course of a week, or if you're not big on fish, but there were many options available. We had a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner in the buffet. Breakfast was probably the best of all three. Many different options available and what we had was hot and tasty. Lunch was also very good. There were many different options, and everything was hot that was supposed to be hot. Dinner was also good. Again, there were many different options available, and what we had was tasty. In each visit, there was never a problem finding a table by the window. Bars: I did the pub-crawl. We visited 6 different bars sampling drinks at each. We started with a beer in Pearly Kings (which everyone had to drink in 2 minutes). At the rest of the bars, there were different mixed drinks with a different one at each bar. There were games at each stop, and part of the visit was to quickly drink the drink. Coupling fast drinking with running from bar to bar, especially with the stairs, made some crawlers feel the drinks pretty quick. It was a fun time and would recommend it. For an evening drink, I generally visited Pearly King's. Noel the bartender seemed to always be there. He was friendly, efficient, and made a good drink. He made Pearly King's a fun place to visit each day. Onboard Activities: We only went to one show, Bollywood. It was a bit of a disappointment. Neither of us could really put our fingers on what wasn't 'great' but we weren't 'wowed'. If we hadn't been sitting in the middle of the row, we probably would not have stayed for the whole show. We didn't do bingo, or the art auction. We were in Spinnakers (reading and knitting) during one bingo session and there was a very large crowd. The gym was very well equipped. I visited each morning to get a workout in before breakfast. It appeared that all the equipment was working and all machines I used were clean with towels waiting there for use. I only used the jogging track once, the morning we arrived in Bermuda. There was a light rain that morning so no one else was there. Most times it was in use by both runners and walkers. That combination could be a problem for runners, though because there are many tights spots along the path. Disembarkation: Fantastic! We chose early disembarkation carrying our own luggage. With the suite perk for earlier departure, we were the first ones off the ship (sadly, of course), in our car, and home within 90 minutes! That was the easiest we've ever left a ship! The ship: The ship was relatively clean. There were some large stains in the carpet in some of the cabin areas (especially deck 9). The ship is also showing signs of age. There was flaking paint and rust spots along the support framework for the railing on our balcony. Some of the furniture in common areas was a bit worn. The carpeting in the main areas was clean and well maintained. There was one area on the promenade deck where water would accumulate across the deck. That made the daily morning walks after breakfast a bit of a challenge 'jumping' over the puddle. The NCL team: Aside from the poor service our first night in Impressions, we were very impressed by all we met. The cabin stewards were very friendly and kept the cabin spotless. They seemed to know when we were out and quickly came in and did their thing. The waiters/waitresses and other restaurant team members were also very good. Never had to ask to have our water (or drinks refilled). The time between courses was not very long; we did not have any 2 hours meals. The 'clean teams' in the buffet kept everything neat and tidy. Anshuman was fantastic. We only asked his assistance with dinner reservations, but we saw him many times on the ship. Each time he's stop us and check in to make sure everything was going well and we both felt that he was deeply interested to make sure we had a fantastic experience. While the suite perks such as Cagney's were nice, it was the personal attention from Anshuman that probably sealed the deal for us to continue to enjoy the suite life on NCL.   Final Thoughts: This was probably one of the best vacations we've had for a long time. The ship was good, the food very good, the NCL team on board was excellent. Adding this to being in one of our favorite destinations for 3 days made it memorable. The icing on the cake was the friends we made along the way on CC. We enjoyed the Meet and Mingle arranged by Luv2Cruise (thanks Barry and Carol!). It was nice to put faces to CC screen names, and to meet many of the people we corresponded with on CC on the Roll Call. We enjoyed seeing the different gifts at the exchange and learning a bit more about our CC friends. The travel agency used by CC for its member cruises was top notch. It was probably the easiest vacation I've ever booked. All questions were quickly and accurately responded to. While I like making my own arrangements (yeah I'm a airfare checking junkie), but for cruising, they will be our first stop for reservations. We're negotiating the next cruise. It's a toss-up between Alaska and the Caribbean. Whichever way we go, it will be on NCL based on our experience on the Dawn.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We are in  love with Bermuda. So, when we decided to go back we had no choice but to go on the Dawn since it was the only ship leaving NY that would stay in Bermuda more than 1 1/2 days. We were hesitant to use NCL again since we  had a ... Read More
We are in  love with Bermuda. So, when we decided to go back we had no choice but to go on the Dawn since it was the only ship leaving NY that would stay in Bermuda more than 1 1/2 days. We were hesitant to use NCL again since we  had a bad experience with them in 2005. We figured that it was more important to us going to Bermuda than the cruise itself and we knew what we would be in for. Boy, was I wrong....EMBARKATION- was easy enough since we were Latitudes members. Was on the ship in a matter of 1/2 hour if that long... CABIN- we were unable to get to our cabin until 2 pm which was fine with us. We walked around the ship to acquaint ourselves with the "lay of the land"...When we got to our balcony cabin, we met our stewards Rommell and Edward. I found the cabin to be a little too warm for me, so I asked  Rommell if he can have someone check it out. It was fixed within a few hours...The cabin itself was your normal balcony cabin. It was confortable for us..The balcony was ok but would have liked a bigger one. There was more than enough room to unpack the  clothes. Our TA sent us a platter of chocolate covered strawberries and NCL gave us a tray of cheeses...Now, I am not talking about little cubes but big chunks of blue, munster, brie and some other cheese gouda perhaps...thanks goodness for ziplock bags since we refrigerated the cheese in them and ate them while at sea... I like the fact that the shower stall had a sliding glass door but dont really think that a sliding glass door for the toilet was necessary. Rommell and Edward were wonderful, pleasant and very helpful...One night we did hear loud noises coming from deck 7 around 2 am. I guess a bunch of "happy" people decided to play shuffle board. We did have to call security since it was going on for at least 30 minutes but it did stop soon after our call   FOOD- I undestand the theory of Freestyle dining but I really dont think it works. On the first night at sea there was an hour wait to be seated in the Venitian dining room..Thank goodness for some CC members(Barry Carol, Zan and DH) we met that got us in earlier. The waiter was pleasant. The food was OK...nothing to brag about..We did eat at 2 speciality restaurants: Cagneys and Impressions...the food  in each place was very good.The reason why I say Freestyle doesnt work is that I heard of people making reservations for the Venitian and Aqua dining rooms and they still had to wait a long period of time...if you cant eat whenever you want and need to make reservations, why call it Freestyle?...We had no problem being seated after the first night but there were still many people complaining about waiting too long...the Blue Lagoon had wonderful "comfort" food. We ate there twice!!...We didnt eat the buffet for dinner since the food there did not look too exciting...but heard that the pasta station was delicious... All in all, the food on the Dawn was all right.ENTERTAINMENT - The comedian Dave Henan was hilarious. The shows were wonderful especially the acrobats and the dancers...STAFF- This is where I can honestly say that NCL really stepped up. During our formal M&G, we met the entire staff of the Dawn, which made me get goose pimples to know that the captain was there...WOW!!!. I also became aquainted with the executive chef Messiah...he was an interesting person due to his handlebar mustache and that he came for the "beautiful country of BAVARIA"..we ran into him a few times and  each time he took the time out to chit chat with us...all of the staff went out of their way to make you feel special...the cruise director John was a bit to happy for me but that is his job..."LET'S HAVE A CRACKER JACK GOOD TIME, MATE!!!"    BERMUDA- I cant say enough about Bermuda. It is just beautiful. We did go to Horseshoe Bay and Tobacco Bay. Saw the Tall Ships that were in Bermuda for their 400th Celebration. Did see the street fair in Hamilton.Had a great time..Still did not see everything we wanted...so that give us a reason to go back!    DISEMBARKATION- Very easy since we walked off with our luggage. We were off the ship by 8:30FINAL THOUGHTS- I really enjoyed my cruise to Bemuda and met such wondeful people. I would definitely go back to Bermuda on the Dawn.  This cruise also had as passengers a  marching band of 70 people. You would have never know that since the kids were so welll behaved. Also, the most interesting thing that happened to us was that we ran into a young couple we met in 2005 on our last cruise with NCL. At that time, they were on their honeymoon...so we were so amazed that we ran into eah other again after 4 years... It truly is a small world...   Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Arrived at the NY port at 10:45.  Luggage was picked up immediately, we had our welcome aboard picture taken and we were off to Latitudes check-in.  Check-in was smooth and completed by 11.  There were vendors available to satisfy your ... Read More
Arrived at the NY port at 10:45.  Luggage was picked up immediately, we had our welcome aboard picture taken and we were off to Latitudes check-in.  Check-in was smooth and completed by 11.  There were vendors available to satisfy your breakfast/lunch needs. The terminal is air conditioned with plenty of seats.  By 11:45, we were boarding the ship and on our way to starting our wonderful vacation.  We were given our welcome glass of "champaign", and then preceded to enter the Dawn. We dropped our carry on bags at Dazzels as lunch in the Venetian Dining Room wouldn't be served until 12:30. We explored the ship, stopping outside of the specialty restaurants for samples of their cuisine.  After a delicious luncheon, we proceeded to our cabin at 2pm and found our bags waiting for us.  Our mini-suite was much more spacious than our balcony room was last year on the Spirit. We met our cabin steward, Kris, who took excellent care of us for the next seven days and nights! We received adorable towel animals on most nights and that little extra touch was greatly appreciated. We had the muster drill at 3:30, and Sail Away was at 4.  If you want to avoid a wait at dinner time in the MDR's, a suggestion would be to try to get there by 5:30-6:30.  We never had to wait at that time.  We had our first dinner at Aqua and the rack of lamb was delicious. We saw the first of many performances in their Stardust Theater.   All were very good and the Jean Ryan troupe are just great performers.  The casino was adequate with the usual table games and slots (a little tight). The next day was sunny and we had our M&G in the Star Bar.  So glad to meet everyone and very happy to meet the Captain and seven other Senior Officers who came to our meeting. I think we all enjoyed this.  It was a great start to our cruise for all our fellow Cruise Critic members.  We were served a light breakfast and coffee etc. Thank you NCL. The rest of the day was spent exploring the ship and trying to find a lounge chair poolside.  The lounge chair "hogs" were in full force as we had a very full ship with over 875 under 18yrs making over 3000 passengers.  We were the start of the High Season. Tuesday was overcast and we decided to buy a day Spa Pass for $20 per person.  This is the best kept secret on the ship.  There are full Spa facilities available, lockers, showers, sauna, steam rooms, changing rooms, a hydrotherapy pool and also a hot tub and lap pool.  The lounge chairs face aft and are "verrry" relaxing. Juice, water, coffee and tea are available as well as separate male-female lounge areas with TVs and even plushier lounges.  A great way to spend a day.   Wednesday we reached Bermuda.   Started off sunny and we decided to visit St George via ferry.  We bought the three day bus-ferry pass.  The ferries are a great way to travel Bermuda and after a 40 minute ride we explored the sights of St. George.  We hired a horse drawn carriage and had an excellent tour of the city and countryside.  Our driver was very informative and our ride around this area was one of the highlights of our trip.  Unfortunately, the twelve noon dunking reenactment was cancelled in the center square due to illness of one of the participants.  We headed back to our ship just as the showers began at St. George.  Later that night, we took the ferry to Hamilton to partake in the Harbor night celebration and see the Goombey dancers. We were told by the excursion desk on ship that it was still taking place even though it had showered that afternoon.  Unfortunately they were wrong and the celebration was cancelled.  Hamilton had only a few restaurants and bars open and we took the next ferry back to the Dockyards, very disappointed.  Thursday was our Horseshoe Bay Beach day.  We took the #7 bus and we arrived after 20 minutes enjoying the beautiful scenery enroute to the beach.  It is truly beautiful!!! The hill going down is not too bad.  Umbrellas and beach chairs are available as well as bathroom facilities and changing rooms.  The showers in the women's room were having maintenance, but there was outside showers for rinsing the sand off your feet. Had a simple lunch at the restaurant there. The beach has soft pink hued sand just like everyone says.  It did shower again there but we stayed anyway.  We came too far to miss out on Horseshoe Bay.  As we left we found the "Up to the Top" van waiting for $2.00 per person.  This is well worth it.  Our #7 bus was at the top of the hill waiting to fill up and we were back to the Dockyards and found they had SUNNY skies. Did some shopping and of course tasted some of the Bermuda Rum cakes and purchased a few. Friday we decided to go to 9 Beaches resort.  As we were waiting for the bus to take us there, we were told by one of the public bus drivers that there was a special shuttle for $5 per person each way that will take you directly to the resort and return you back to the ship-saving you a ½ mile walk.  He leaves the area that you wait for the #7 bus every half hour and returns you back to the Dockyard on the hour.  We really enjoyed 9 Beaches also.  They have lounges at the beach, restaurant, bar and bathroom facilities.  You can also rent snorkeling gear, paddle boats, kayaks and much more.  It was very peaceful there; calm water and many enjoyed the clear waters snorkeling. Saturday, we were at sea again and enjoyed our sea day at the pool.  The ship had a 4th of July celebration poolside with a tribute to the men and women in service by the NCL show band and the various show performers. Sunday, we arrived back in NY and docked by 8 am.  We had a leisurely breakfast in the MDR and an easy disembark according to their great color tag system.  We were sadly back on the road for our home in NJ by 10:30. The Dawn is a beautiful ship, the crew is fantastic, and the entertainment is great!  There is so much to do on the Dawn that it is very hard to choose what to do next.   Every band and entertainer in their many lounges are tops.  The food is very well presented and we found no fault with the service in both the main dining rooms, Le Bistro and Impressions. The new menus can become repetious though, as they are the same every day, specific to each MDR, adding only one different chef special each day (which was mostly seafood). They also need to add non seafood appetizers as well as additional deserts to the menus in the MDRs as the deserts are the same on both menus in the two restaurants every night.  Of course these are test menus on the Dawn right now.  All in all, as you can tell, we had a wonderful time on the Dawn and in Bermuda and are looking forward to our next cruise with NCL. If anyone has any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Embarkation was extremely easy!  We arrived at 11:30 am, drove in to the garage, and the luggage was taken from us there.  No long check-in, we were onboard within 30 minutes.  We checked our carry-ons at Dazzles Lounge, and we were off ... Read More
Embarkation was extremely easy!  We arrived at 11:30 am, drove in to the garage, and the luggage was taken from us there.  No long check-in, we were onboard within 30 minutes.  We checked our carry-ons at Dazzles Lounge, and we were off to the main dining room for lunch.  The cabin was ready at 1pm and the luggage was already there.  The $210.00 fee upfront for parking is excessive but that's my only complaint.  Debarkation was equally smooth and quick!It was fun meeting my fellow Rats, and being able to put a person to a name! The Dawn is large, but its design gives one the feeling of cozy, comfortable areas.  The only time you feel its size is when you have to walk the seemingly endless cabin corridors.  The crew from top down is A1, courteous, helpful, pleasant and accommodating. 2 complaints here:  no one enforces the dining room "no t-shirt and shorts rule"  Why say it then?  No one enforces the no items on lounge chairs "in case a friend shows" rule either. Kudos to all otherwise!  We had an inside cabin, fully wheelchair accessible.  Largest w/c cabin I've ever been in; great turning radius.  Well done but needed more shelves in the bathroom.  There actually was hot water in the bathroom not just lukewarm!  Twin beds and full-size pullout bed in couch - and still room for turning!  Except for shelves, and a bump in the floor near the bathroom door, the cabin was perfect.  The bed, however, was a torture rack.  It was both very hard while sagging at the same time!?  They kept bringing me foam toppers until I felt like the Princess and the Pea, and still it was very uncomfortable.  I've never experienced this to such a degree before!  They seem to be low on linens, and despite repeated requests, we didn't get a laundry bag until mid-week. Another wheelchair note.  In port, there's a separate gangway for wheelchairs which was well set-up.  Gangways are often frighteningly steep, ridged, and ending with drop-offs.  The worst part of the trip for me.  Everything was done right here and the crew helpful.  Because it wasn't the main gangway, I didn't feel pressured to rush, or embarrassed that I was holding up the line. The food was very good.  It was plentiful, well-prepared, tasty and appealing.  HOWEVER, the 2 main dining room menus are the same EVERY NIGHT!  Good, but boring!  It almost forces you to go to the specialty restaurants to have a change.  Considering the initial cost for the cruise, the high-end restaurants should be an option, not an alternative to boredom.  Surf & Turf every night may sound nice, but 7 nites in a row?!  I prefer a different menu to explore every nite.  The food is a major part of the whole experience for me, and here the Dawn let me down.  One other disappointment:  no warm bread or rolls.  They were good, but never just-out-of-the-oven fresh. Excellent entertainment in the lounges, while routine in the theater.I look forward to another opportunity to cruise on the Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We are a couple in our 20s, and this was our first cruise. We live close to the port, and the convenience of departing from NYC was a major factor in our selecting this cruise. If not for the extremely stormy weather during most of our ... Read More
We are a couple in our 20s, and this was our first cruise. We live close to the port, and the convenience of departing from NYC was a major factor in our selecting this cruise. If not for the extremely stormy weather during most of our time in Bermuda, we would have very few complaints about our 7-day cruise. Our ship rescued a sailboat that was stranded in the ocean, which delayed our arrival in Bermuda by one hour.To break it down in more detail:EMBARKATION/ DISEMBARKATION: Very easy and painless on both occasions. We arrived at the port in Manhattan around noon, it took no more than half an hour for us to get through the lines and receive our key cards. We had changed our room since receiving our luggage tags, but one of the port staff simply put new tags on at the pier and there were no issues. Soon we were on the ship drinking our complimentary mimosas and heading to the Venetian for a delicious lunch. The rooms were available at 2pm and bags were delivered soon after, in time for dinner. We did receive a notice that someone's bag had been lost, but as I understand it they eventually found that bag. Returning to Manhattan, we chose the Easy Walk-Out since we could carry our own bags. We had a leisurely breakfast at the Venetian, then waited about half an hour after they first announced that passengers could start leaving. By this time there was no line and we were out of the ship in no time.CABINS: We had a porthole cabin on the lowest deck. No complaints at all about the room - especially since we upgraded from an inside cabin. Small space, but plenty of closet and drawer space. We like the bathroom's division into three areas (sink, toilet and shower) with sliding doors to separate them. The porthole provided plenty of light, if not much of a view. Being on the lowest deck was convenient on port days, because we had only a short walk to the gangway (and were one of the first off the ship when we arrived in Bermuda). The only slight downside of being on the lowest deck was more noise from waves crashing against the ship (but we were not kept awake by it). The bed was very soft and comfy, though we were surprised that it took till the last night for them to replace our separate beddings with a single queen-size blanket and linens, since we had pushed the two beds together from the start. The cabin was kept very clean and tidy by the stewards, and although we weren't lucky enough to get any towel animals, we enjoyed attending their towel animal demonstration at the end of the week.DINING: No major complaints about dining, we enjoyed both main dining rooms (Aqua and Venetian) and often had a great breakfast in the buffet as well. We particularly enjoyed the salads and seafood entrees.  We wished there was more variety in the fruit offerings, and it would've been great if the fruit smoothies could be available for free at least for breakfast. We also sometimes craved more options in the buffet, since we often wanted a quick meal but with the same quality of food as in the main dining rooms. There was a Chocoholic Buffet one night in the buffet but the line was quite long, and we heard several passengers complaining loudly about the wait. We frequently ate at the Blue Lagoon since it was open 24 hours and a good place to snack between meals, but we noticed that service there was not as good as in the other dining areas (long waits, order mix-ups, quite the opposite of Venetian/Aqua). We saw other diners also complain about the slow service and order mistakes in Blue Lagoon. Of the specialty restaurants, we only tried the sushi one, and thought it was worth the $15pp cover charge.ENTERTAINMENT: We were very happy with the night-time shows, especially "Bollywood" (with impressive acrobatics) and the crew show on the last night. Also greatly enjoyed the Second City comedy troupe - we attended both their scripted and improv shows. Shows were generally well-attended, so we learned that it was necessary to come to the theater at least 10 minutes early to get good seats. Compared with past land-based vacations, the entertainment and activities on the Dawn were far better than anything we'd experienced during any previous vacations, and we considered it the strongest aspect of our cruise experience.FACILITIES: Having never been on a cruise before, we were a bit disappointed with the size of the pool, which was much smaller than land-based resorts and always crowded on sunny days. There was an indoor lap pool, but it was in the spa and only accessible by purchasing a spa pass (which we chose not to do). We cannot comment on the spa or fitness center since we never used those facilities at all. We did use the internet cafe one time, which cost 75 cents/ minute, plus an initial fee of $4. The internet cafe did not seem busy at all, perhaps due to the high cost of internet access. ACTIVITES: With so much rainy weather, we spent considerable time in the small movie theater (which had a constant rotation of recently released films), playing board games in the Lifestyles room, and participating in the daily trivia games. We also signed up for the Murder Mystery Dinner, which was fun since we got to meet other passengers. The cruise director John Ibrahim and his team were very energetic and kept us well-entertained. The only thing that really annoyed us was the too-frequent bingo announcements. Also, the daily newsletters contained many ads which were immediately discarded - such a waste of paper!BERMUDA: Even with awful weather, we could tell right away why Bermuda is such a popular destination. Not only are there beautiful beaches with clear blue water, the cheerful pastel-colored streets of St. George and Hamilton are a pleasure to stroll.Despite pouring rain and strong winds on our entire first day in Bermuda, we bought ponchos on the ship and set out on the ferry for Hamilton, walking through town all the way to Fort Hamilton, where we were the only visitors. The Bermuda Maritime Museum near the Dockyard was also a nice way to pass the time, with many indoor exhibits that could be enjoyed even in horrible weather. When the weather cleared up, we toured St. George, a beautiful town with quaint alleys and brightly painted houses. We also enjoyed visiting Crystal Caves in Bailey's Bay - both caves are interesting, and we had great guides to show us the formations. One lesson we learned is to be alert on the bus: we asked the driver to let us off near the caves, but he forgot about it, so we eventually got off and took another bus back in the opposite direction. Good thing we decided to purchase the unlimited transportation passes!The one attraction we thought we could have skipped was the Gibb's Hill Lighthouse. When we arrived, it was sweltering hot and humid, and we didn't feel like climbing up the 185 steps. We did try to take photos from the base of the lighthouse, but in the morning, there was a lot of glare and views were not the best. Still, in different weather or time of day, it could be quite worthwhile to pay the lighthouse a visit.On our last day in Bermuda, the rain and wind gave way to stifling heat and humidity, so we went to visit the famous Horseshoe Bay Beach and found the swim delightfully refreshing on the hot/humid day. There is a little cove all the way to the right when you enter the beach, and it's a great place to swim with the rocks protecting you from waves.Bermuda is so easy to explore with public transportation, we didn't feel the need to book any ship-based excursions. With three days in one port, a guided tour didn't seem necessary, since we could visit all the sites we wanted at our own leisure.OVERALL, we had a great vacation and would definitely consider cruising again. Compared with an all-inclusive hotel, cruising doesn't feel as luxurious, and some of the facilities (such as pools and rooms) were not as nice as what you'd find on land, but we felt our expectations were fully met and we had an enjoyable first cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this cruise, went with my step daughter , her husband, 3 grandsons and his family total 23 people in all.And All ages.The stateroom we had was small I am claustrophobic, had a hard time sleeping at night. ... Read More
I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this cruise, went with my step daughter , her husband, 3 grandsons and his family total 23 people in all.And All ages.The stateroom we had was small I am claustrophobic, had a hard time sleeping at night. Asked for an upgrade but the ship was booked so I did most of my sleeping on deck during the day.Don'T get me wrong, I still feel like the cruise was very nice. The rooms and ship were clean . The deck hands, waiters crew were very helpful and nice. Always with a nice greeting and helped any way they could. As for the food and restaurants I was never disappointed at all. We tried the specialty restaurants and the regulars.They catered to every need you can imagine and always with a smile.I never even made it to all of the restaurants.It was even better to know I did not have to get dressed up, I do not own a suit jacked and never will. So just going in nice slacks or dress shorts and collared shirt I did not mind at all.We always went early before 630 pm before the crowds and lines. My grandsons was put into the Children's camp, ages 2, 4, 6. They loved it and did not want to leave, they came out for dinner and then went right back staying till they closed, they had the time of their lives. They even had a special pool area with a water slide for the kids at the rear of the ship.Took them to the Magic show and another show Bollywood.  The adult pool area was located in a very good area, where there was very little wind, great music, fun and games, and of course the bars and service was excellent, you never waited long for a drink and the waiters were always walking around asking if you needed a drink.or anything else. There was also a quite area in the front of the ship 13th floor Some people I know brought on some booze in their luggage, I also carried on a case of water no questions asked.  As for Bermuda we rented a sailboat  51' with captain Caleb,  you can find his site " sail Bermuda ", we made a deal for 25 people I ordered food and rum  for a 6 hr trip included 2 snorkel spots and nice sail in the bay was less then half the price then what the ship was offering and a lot more time, So check out it out. The one day we planned on going to Horseshoe beach it rained and also a warning of Man of war jelly fish on that side of the Island. so we went to Hamilton by bus, figured it would be nice to see the Island, buy the 2 or 3 day pass it is good for the bus and ferries for as many trips as you want in the time period.The shops next to the dock in the little mall by the clock towers were the cheapest place for T shirts and other goodies, 1/2 the price and the shirts were rather nice well worth it.  Since you are limited on your stay the  beach by the Snorkel park was nice, there was a lot of fish out there and only 10 minute walk from the ship, they rented beach chairs, snorkel equipment, floats and more, had food and drink great for kids and anyone else. Another thing while on the ship go to the Java Bar and visit Marty ,has the best coffee and even mixed drinks live music over head a lot of seats very comfortable and relaxing, and tell him Tony and MaryAnn says hello, he took care of our grandchildren with those virgin drinks and a lot of cherries i n them a great person and big smile. I do not know what else to say but I did like it very much and would do it again Oh yea I was amazed at how big the bathroom was in our cabin.about 1/4 the size of the cabin Really. My first day home and I do miss it especially being catered to. Back to reality. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This was our ninth cruise, and our second cruise on NCL.  We traveled with our college son and our older son and his new wife.  We chose this cruise for its itinerary and we were looking for a casual cruise.  We did not want to dress ... Read More
This was our ninth cruise, and our second cruise on NCL.  We traveled with our college son and our older son and his new wife.  We chose this cruise for its itinerary and we were looking for a casual cruise.  We did not want to dress for dinner or meet time frames, and NCL certainly fit the bill.  Embarkation was a breeze.  Being Latitude Members we were sent to a special line and went right to registration and on to the ship.  It took my husband longer to park our vehicle than it did for us to get on the ship due to "Fleet Week" in NY; He had to park on a different building which took about ½ an hour.  NCL sure has embarkation down pat. We stayed in Cabin 8086, obstructed view.   While our cabin did have a somewhat obstructed view you could still look out and see the ocean and whether it was daylight or dark.  Our room was neat and clean and Reggie, the Room Stewart, and his assistant kept it that way all week.  They did a good job and were very polite and cordial.  While we had read reviews from some who felt the crew was not very polite, we did not meet any crew members on this cruise who did not acknowledge us and smile, no matter where we were on the ship. Prior to going on the cruise, we had organized the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet, which went very well.  We had good attendance and the Captain and his Crew came in to give us a talk about the ship and new menus that were being offered.  We certainly appreciated them taking the time to meet with us personally.  Ana, the Event Coordinator, was great as was Anshuman, our Concierge.  Both were very helpful and courteous through the cruise. This cruise was the pilot for the new menu program and they were anxious to get our feedback after the cruise.  NCL Dawn now has the same menu all week in the Aqua and Venetian, their main dining rooms; however the menu for each restaurant is different from the other.  The Chef's selection changes every day and is also different in each restaurant.  We did eat in the Venetian, but did not try Aqua.  The one evening we did try to get into Aqua the line was very long so we just went to the buffet.  The kids ate in Aqua a couple times and really enjoyed it.   Aqua's menu had more seafood selections, while Venetian had more meat and beef.  We chose not to make reservations on any evening, except when we went to Teppenyaki, which was the only specialty restaurant we tried; it was a lot of fun and the food was good.  We ate lunch once, and several dinners in the Venetian; we found all meals there to be very good.  Lobster and filet was offered as one of the mainstays on the new menu and I had it a couple times!  While some might not like the new set menu idea, I feel that the menus have a nice selection and I was glad that I could have my lobster more than one night.  We ate our breakfasts, as well as a few other meals, at the Buffet and found the food to be satisfactory with a large selection to fit everyone's appetite.  They even had some Indian and Chinese items in the mix which made for a very nice variety.  We were also spotted several times at the Blue Lagoon, especially for the great tomato soup with basil cream...YUM.  We went every afternoon for a cup of this delicious soup, it is a must try.  The fish & chips were also very good and the kids said the wings were great.  Overall we were very pleased with the new menus and the eating venues on board; no complaints from this group. The public area on the ship were always clean and being attended to.  There was always staff cleaning, painting and etc. around the ship.  We never felt crowded and the public rooms were large and airy, with plenty of seating where needed. As far as entertainment goes, we only attended a couple shows.  I am unsure if there was more than one show time each evening because it just seemed that we could not hit the timing right for the shows. We did see the magician, who was good, but typical fair.  Of course Dave Heenan is great; he is the comedian on board.  We saw and met Dave when we cruised on the Spirit and enjoyed him then too.  He is very funny and walks around the ship talking with everyone.  He sat at the bar and had a drink with us again on the Dawn and we had a very nice conversation.  Just watch what you say to Dave, you could become his next new joke if you say the wrong thing (lol).  What a great guy.  We also saw the Second City Show in the Spinnaker Lounge, which was very entertaining and fun.  Unfortunately we did not catch any other shows. Being ported in Bermuda for three days also influenced our ability to catch the shows, since we were on the island at the time of the shows. We did play trivia in the Pub, and the kids participated in the Pub Crawl and beer tasting.  Although we did not participate, there was also wine tasting and martini tasting sessions on board; they appeared to be a good deal in comparison to buying the drinks.  We also made use of the shuffleboard and large chess games on deck.  Our Son utilized the gym daily and found it to be fine for his workout routine.Our Son participated in the "Glass bottom Kayaking" on an excusion with the Dawn.  He was the lone man out so he got to go with the guide since they were two-man kayaks.  He really loves science and nature and really enjoyed the morning.  He gave them an excellent rating and would highly recommend this excursion.  We also went to an educational talk on board the ship in the theater .  A gentleman gave a presentation on amateur astronomy.  We found it very interesting and educational. Now about Bermuda...WOW, what a beautiful island.  The people are very polite and take great pride in their island.  We bought a two-day transportation pass for $20 each and that included the bus and ferry.  (We figured we would stay in Kings Wharf the last day since we would need to be on the ship by 4pm to depart.)  This worked out very well for us.  The day we arrived we took the bus to Hamilton and visited Fort Hamilton, which was very interesting.  There were underground tunnels and the foliage was beautiful, the view amazing.  That evening we returned to Hamilton via ferry for the street fair.  There were crafters selling their wares and a dance troop, in costume, did an interesting display.  It is something that should be experienced.  The second day we went to Crystal and Fantasy Caves.  We took the ferry to St. George and then the bus to the caves.  The bus dropped us off across from the Swizzle Inn and we walked around the corner to the caves.  When boarding the bus we asked the driver if it took us to the caves and when we got to the stop he told us this is what we wanted.  The Bermudians are so accommodating and polite; in the U.S. the bus driver would have told us where to get off (lol).  After returning from the caves we went to the Swizzle Inn for some Rum Swizzles and a late lunch (they have great conch fritters).  We then re-boarded a bus for Horseshow Bay.  What a beautiful beach.  We had a great time before catching the bus back to Kings Wharf.  After going to the ship to freshen up and get some dinner, we went to the Frog & Onion Pub for drinks.  On the final day we stayed in Kings Wharf and visited the Glass Blower and Rum Cake Factory before going over to Snorkel Park.  Our Son is a scuba diver and wanted to do some snorkeling.  He rented his gear at the park.  The regular gear rents for $20, but he rented gear that consisted of goggles with a video and camera right in the frame of the goggles for $40.  He said that it was great and he saw a lot of fish, reefs and even an octopus surprised him.  While he did his snorkeling, we went up to the Hammerhead, a bar situated overlooking Snorkel Park Beach, and had a beer before boarding a bus to go to "Bermuda Seaglass Beach" which is right over the bridge out of Kings Wharf.  This beach has glass that is washed up in the surf.  The glass is worn smooth and multi-colored.  You can collect all the different colors, shapes and sizes. The beach is covered with glass two inches thick in some areas! It was stated elsewhere on Cruise Critics that the area was well known and you could ask the bus drivers to get you there, but the several drivers we asked did not know what we were talking about.  Fortunately my husband remembered that it was just past the cemetery going out of Kings Wharf and near some turquoise houses, that is how we found it.  You might want to do a search for beach glass on the Bermuda port forum and take your own directions. Go down between the houses toward the ocean and you will see a set of stairs that leads down to the beach area.   Here is where I found my souvenir, we spent about an hour picking and choosing the best pieces to bring home.  They are now in a glass bowl and adorn my living room as a center and conversation piece.  Upon returning to Kings Wharf we returned to the ship for another late lunch before heading out to the Clock Tower Mall.  This is a typical tourist mall where you can purchase hats, shirts and various souvenirs, and I found some good deals on shirts here.  It was time to return to the ship as we had to leave this beautiful island.  We only wish we had one more day on Bermuda to have the opportunity to visit St. George.  When we went through the city from the ferry, to catch the bus, it was lovely.  We would have liked to spend some time there as well as visit the Maritime Museum in Kings Wharf.  One more day would have done it for us!  Oh well, maybe next time.  We have no regrets on what we chose to do with our time and feel that we made the most of the time we had.  Using the public transportation system not only got us from one place to another, but also allowed us to see a lot more of the island and to experience its people; it was truly a wonderful experience. We were very blessed with great weather on this cruise.  The first day at sea it was chilly, windy and rainy but the following morning we woke up to sunny skies and 80 degrees.  This great weather continued the entire time we were in Bermuda and right up until we ported back in New York!  We could not have asked for any better weather. Debarkation is always the same, regardless of cruise line or port.  It takes a lot to get thousands of passengers off a ship, all at the same time.  So, we just relaxed and waited it out.  We were off the ship and in our vehicle by 10 and were home by 11:30 am. Our overall opinion of this cruise is Great!  We had a wonderful time, NCL really took good care of us and we got to spend some real quality time with our adult children.  We will definitely cruise NCL again and highly recommend this itinerary for anyone interested in seeing Bermuda.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Sailed on the 5/10/09 Dawn trip to Bermuda.  Everyone in the terminal was very nice & helpful.  It was a breeze checking in. About 5 minutes after we checked in we met an adorable couple from our Roll Call.  After a short period of ... Read More
Sailed on the 5/10/09 Dawn trip to Bermuda.  Everyone in the terminal was very nice & helpful.  It was a breeze checking in. About 5 minutes after we checked in we met an adorable couple from our Roll Call.  After a short period of time were were allowed on ship & given champagne or orange juice.  I made myself a nice little mimosa.Knowing that the Buffet was going to be crazy we went right to the Blue Lagoon for a quick lunch.  Shortly thereafter we were able to go to our cabins.  Our luggage arrived by 4:00.  Our muster drill was quick & easy.The ship:  The Dawn is a beautiful ship & Very clean.  The ship was easily navigated-and this is from someone who can get lost anywheres.  Cabin:  my daughter, 2 kids & I shared an inside cabin-a little tight but we did it.  There was a nifty cot that pulled out between the 2 beds.  It was small but we had enough room for storage & plently of hangers in the closet.It was a very pretty cabin.  Our traveling companions have been on 5 cruises on RCL which they totally love.  They did comment that the bathrooms on the Dawn were large & very nice.  Our cabin stewards Rommel & Eduord were wonderful.  They came to introduce  themselves immediately.  Everything was kept spotless & the towel animals were enjoyed.  Immediately they new our names & fussed over the kids.  About the 3rd day I asked Rommel if anything could be done with my bed as I had a backache.  He removed something & said that if it didn't work he would find something else to help.  He asked me the next day if it worked.  It did!   They worked like crazy but always had a smile.  They are part of the tip sharing, but we tipped them extra.Entertainment:  I am not a "show" person, or at least I wasn't one until now.  The Dave Heenan comedy show was funny.The Jean Ann Ryan Group was FANTASTIC.  I saw every show-Band On The Run, South Beach Rave & Bollywood. I can't even explain how good they were-you just have to see them yourself.  The cruise crew show on the last day was fair but it was a nice effort.   However, the finale Fountains was a riot.  It was worth sitting thru the crew show to see the finale.  Fire & Ice was a teriffic duo-they played everything.  One night they did a Tina Turner review.  There was plenty of entertainment & activities all day. The new Cruise Director Shona is amazing.Meet & Greet-Held on Monday @ 10:30am-so early that some people forgot or just didn't get moving early enough.  Still we appreciate NCL efforts.  They must have had about 8 officers & dept. heads there.  They are all friendly.  One thing I noticed is that they all have a sense of humor & don't take themselves seriously. We met the famous Concerige Anshuman-he is wonderful as is everyone else.  Food:  Was fine considering how many people were fed.  I might have liked the food a tiny bit better on Carnival, but that wouldn't be reason for me to leave NCL's friendly staff & Freestyle Dining.  There is always plently of food choices everywheres.  My grandchildren loved the kids buffet. The buffet had a good variety including alot of ethenic foods.  Not bad, but it is what it is.  We ate many meals there.Kids program:  My 3 year old grandaughter attended for an hour.  Liked it, but wanted to hang out with "Mommy".  We all went to a "make your own pizza" with the kids program-cute.  We spent alot of time in the kids  pool area-definately a highlight-large area.  Things that weren't my favorite:  chair hogs-but we usually managed to find a couple of chairs-not NCLs fault.  Service in the Venetian & Aqua Dining Rooms-a little uneven -but for goodness sakes, those kids worked like crazy.  We didn't go to the dining rooms to make friends with the wait staff, so we have to commend them on their efforts.  Desserts-need a little work, although we did have a couple of excellent ones.Highlights-wonderful staff-very friendly, never had a problem.  The kids were treated like treasures.  Just remember, you'll never get 100 % perfect with anything, anywheres. One day I was walking in the buffet with 2 beverages.  A waiter wisked them on to the dray and asked where"madam" was sitting so he could help me.Our dinner at Salsas.  We didn't make a reservation but we got in with no problem @ 7:00pm.  Kids ordered off the regular menu-no charge-otherwise it came to $40 for the 4 of us.  Waitstaff well deserved the generous tip that we left.  The dinner started with some very good chips, salsa, fresh guacamole, some sort of cheese dip that might have had crab in it, & a corn relish.  The 2 year old ate everything & they cheerfully brought round 2.  The adults were treated to a small frozen margarita each.  We had great appetizers.  Our dinners were:  Lobster Tacos, swordfish skewers & Ribs..  We all shared & enjoyed.  The dessert that we picked still haunts me-I want the recipe-Carmelized Margarita Tartlet.  It was huge & made from Pineapple-I can't even describe how good it was.  We went back to the bar at Salsas several nights later for another Margarita.  I remember that they had a complimentary Tapas menu.  We ordered what we all deemed a "the best calamari ever".  The risotto in the dining room ws A+.  The rack of lamb was the absolute best that I have ever had.Compliments of the Meet & Greet we had dinner with the Hotel Director Hugo. I was very nervous having dinner with an officer but he was friendly, interesting & funny. He told us that the Dawn was rolling out a new menu soon.  There would be an extensive "everyday Menu"  with daily specials.  This will give customers more choices.Bermuda-great & very safe.  It was a little on the chilly side-but what do you expect mid May? Went to Horseshoe bay beach-so beautiful. I believe that we were at the part called Baby Beach-unbelievable.  It's a good thing that we brought pre-packaged snack because the snackbar was way expensive.  We also went to Snorkle Park-ok but a bit of a let down after the first beach. The zoo & aquarium was very nice-I very much enjoyed it-$10 for the adults-little kids are free.My daughter, DH & Kids will be going back on the Dawn to Bermuda next June-I might go, but I might go on an NCL European Cruise with some old friends. I'll miss the Dawn,Another highlight, Meeting all of my Cruise Critic friends.For the people that complain about the Dawn, ease up.  You are not paying Oceania or Seaborn rates, so don't expect what you would get on this cruise.  Some posters complain about having to pay for everything-the speciality rest. are very reasonable compared to other lines.  We weren't hounded to buy drinks, we were politel;y asked-if we said "no", we were treated cordially.  The announcements weren't accessive.  For  the people that complain about "everything"  try to ease up or find another way to vacation (just my opinion). I hate spending extra money, but if I were to individually tip for all of the service, I would have spent much, much more-so in my opinion, the $12/day/pp was a bargin.  THe staff deserves it.Loved the trip.  I look forward to sometime going again on the beautiful Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We left home (7 adults with luggage in a minivan) at 7:30 a.m. and arrived at the NYC port around 11 a.m. We actually had a pleasant trip up with the "kids" playing verbal car games. Our group of seven was DH and I with our 4 ... Read More
We left home (7 adults with luggage in a minivan) at 7:30 a.m. and arrived at the NYC port around 11 a.m. We actually had a pleasant trip up with the "kids" playing verbal car games. Our group of seven was DH and I with our 4 sons and a fiancEe.Embarkation: The new setup makes parking and handing off the luggage much easier. You simply drive up to the roof, pay the $210.00 for the week, have the vehicle sniffed by the dope dogs and then pull over to the designated area to unload the checked luggage. We then parked and proceeded to the elevators to go check in. Five of us had balconies and headed for that line, two had an OV and they were not permitted to go with us but got checked in within 15 minutes anyway. By 11:30 we were all on board with our first glasses of the bubbly.Day 1 -First we headed for our staterooms to see if we could drop off our carry ons. Those of us in the balcony staterooms were successful.....we told our room steward we were just going to stash our stuff in the closet and then get out of his way. Matt and Erin in the OV were told their hallway was closed so they bought theirs with them. We headed to the Venetian Dining Room for lunch. Everyone ordered different items and no one was disappointed. Our service was good and the food was tasty. Around 2 p.m. it was announced that all staterooms were ready so we headed to them to take photos and check out our "stern balconies". We had the only two balconies at the stern on Deck 10 and requested that the doorway between them remain open. This made it much easier to get the kids moving in the morning, plus was nice for all 7 of us to enjoy the balconies together. Later as the luggage showed up, we unpacked and then got ready for the Muster Drill and our informal meet and greet at the Bimini Bar. Many on our rollcall showed up and it was nice to finally put faces to names. It began to rain as we left NYC so at least we picked a good place to meet since it is covered for the most part. After about an hour we headed down to change for dinner. We again went to the Venetian and enjoyed Prime Rib and the Surf and Turf. Later we went to see Jose and Patti in the Spinnaker Lounge. DO NOT MISS JOSE AND PATTI! They even remembered us from last October. I can't imagine how they can with so many passing through the Dawn each year but they do. They perform music from the 30's up to the present. The 60's show was especially good. They were in Dazzles Lounge last year but they are so popular they now command the Spinnaker Lounge.Day 2 - Meet and Greet at 10:30 a.m. in the Star Bar. We had several officers come and introduce themselves. (At least 8-10 or more). We signed up for the dinner with an officer while at the M&G. We had a great time meeting the officers, John Ibrahim the CD and all our CC friends. We expected about 64 people and at least 40-50 showed up. Near the end of the M&G, we were invited to meet back at the Star Bar to take a tour of the Garden Villa. All I can say is WOW! I doubt I would ever see the rest of the ship if that was my home for the week. Thanks Barb, Carolyn and Betsy! We left our stateroom around 6pm for dinner and "Band on the Run". Both were great. Around 10:30 we went back to the stateroom only to find out we were now "VIP's" with an invitation to the VIP party that had happened 3 hours earlier. I called Ashuman (sp) the next morning to let him know we never received the invitation until after the party and ask him if being a "VIP" meant we could have breakfast and lunch in Cagney's. He said "no, that is only for the suite guests." I was disappointed but before I could even explain it to my DH, Ashuman called back to say we could eat at Cagney's that morning since he got permission for us. We left immediately and loved the Crab Eggs Benedict. When we were checking in at Cagney's they did have our name printed at the end of their list of VIP's but since we were told we weren't allowed to eat there we only tried the second to last day and had no problem. So I really do not know if we could have eaten there all week or not.This is getting way to long so I will try to be more concise by not detailing each day.We arrived in Bermuda before 8 am Wednesday morning and docked port side to the pier at Heritage Wharf. We ate breakfast and then headed to the Sea Glass Beach near the Royal Naval Cemetery. We filled up our Ziploc's and headed back for lunch before our scheduled Jessie James Snorkel cruise at 1pm. If you want to snorkel, this is the best snorkel cruise around. We did it last year and again this trip. Fourteen of us from the rollcall did it with 3 others. We snorkeled at three different locations (including over the Constitution, Montana and the Coral Sea Gardens) I can't wait to get the underwater photos developed. We had great weather and great fun!Thursday we took the ferry to Hamilton for some shopping, and then bussed to the Old Swizzle Inn for lunch and some rum swizzles. Later we finished the bus trip to St Georges. We explored there, got on the free internet at the Post Office and then headed back to the Dockyard on the ferry. While we were on the ferry a man came up to the second deck to see if anyone was from the Caribbean Princess was onboard since she was still short 9 people. Evidently 5 of the 9 were downstairs on the ferry, as they ran the whole way back to their ship and did make it before it left. From our aft balcony we watched as another couple half walked, half ran back from the ferry/bus area about 5:10 pm. (They were supposed to depart at 5pm.) They did not make it on time. Another couple arrived by taxi a few minutes later to watch their ship leave without them. We watched for another 30 minutes but none of the 4 ever came back out of the terminal. We heard their next port was St. Thomas. All I can say is I hope they had their passports with them and not locked in the safe on its way to St Thomas. We enjoyed dinner with three other couples and the Hotel Director that night. Hugo is very interesting and he even offered to introduce our music major son to Larry, the Band Master. They had a nice long conversation (about 45 minutes) so who knows. Maybe someday soon Steve may be working onboard the Dawn. He gets his degree this December.Friday we headed to Horseshoe Bay Beach on the express bus. We spent a few hours there....it's still beautiful and the water was great. The water was slightly cooler than in October but still easy to get used to. Later DH, DSS and I headed to Gibbs Lighthouse while the rest took the bus back to Hamilton for more shopping. We got back to the ship at 3 and the kids showed up around 4. (We knew they were taking the 2:30 pm ferry back and then shopping at the Dockyard.) No one was taking any chances after watching 4 miss their ship the day before. DH and I headed to the Garden Cafe for cheese, fruit and bread for our sail-away party on our balconies. The kids hit the Blue Lagoon for wings and chicken strips to round out the menu. If we had to leave Bermuda, at least we could enjoy a little party while we did it!Saturday we had 7-10 foot waves for a few hours and Erin and Matt were feeling it. The rest of us were fine. Now we had to do the dreaded repack to go home. Boo, hiss! In consideration of the sicko's, we went to the Aqua for dinner that night (mid-ship). It was our second visit to the Aqua and we even got the same table as before. Service was on time and the food was hot. No complaints for any of the main venues. If fact, the only time we had to wait longer than 5 minutes for a table was at LeBistro (2 couples with separate reservations). We each waited 30 minutes past our reservation time of 8:30 to get seated. Unfortunately for Matt and Erin, they were seated next to a very rowdy, drunk family which put a damper on their engagement dinner. We ate anywhere between 6 and 8 in the MDR's and even with a group of 7 never waited more than 5 minutes to be seated. I'm not sure why they were so backed up at LeBistro considering reservations were made.All in all, aside from the late invite to the VIP party and the wait at LeBistro we had nothing to complain about. Everyone had a great time. We had great room stewards (towel animals every night except the first and last), great waiters. We loved the new menus. We had a fantastic time! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My wife and I have taken several trips on the Dawn.  We've enjoyed each trip.  Everyone has different expectations and experiences.  But reading some of the negative reviews of the Dawn, I wonder if I was on the same ship as those ... Read More
My wife and I have taken several trips on the Dawn.  We've enjoyed each trip.  Everyone has different expectations and experiences.  But reading some of the negative reviews of the Dawn, I wonder if I was on the same ship as those people.  Lol.  The crew is extremely pleasant and accommodating.  The food at the main restaurants is very good.  My one complaint in the past has been lack of choices other than seafood dishes.  People, in the past, were generally only had one non seafood choice for dinner.  Thankfully, Norwegian has added an alternative menu which always has certain staple choices, chicken, steak, vegetables, salad, etc., on the menu.  It makes it much easier to find something delicious for those of us who don't like seafood or the exotic.  Great job by Norwegian! Boarding on the boat in the past has sometimes been a slow process.  This time we breezed through.  As experienced cruiser we know the buffet is a madhouse when you first board.  So we went down to the main restaurant for a more relaxed lunch.  After lunch we headed up to our room.   We checked out the Balcony.  Throughout the cruise, especially in port in Bermuda, my wife and I enjoyed sitting out on the balcony eating food or having a quiet drink.  Also Balcony and above rooms have the added benefit of being able to go to Aqua restaurant for breakfast.  We enjoyed this little perk and really liked waking up to a hearty breakfast in Aqua. The cabin stewards did a great job.  Room was kept clean and my wife enjoyed the towel animals.  J  I was pleased to see that most of the people who signed up for the cruise critic meet and greet showed up.  We had a fun time meeting our fellow cruise critics and exchanging gifts     At the meet and greet, I signed up for a lottery drawing for the chance to have dinner with one of the officers.  We were selected to have dinner with the ship doctor.  My understanding is that officers volunteer to have dinner with the passengers.  It's not required of them.  I have to say it was greatly appreciated by my wife and I.  Passengers are naturally curious about workings of the ship and people who run it.  So it's extremely nice of them to make the extra effort and give up their free time to dine with some passengers.  We really enjoyed meeting the ship's doctor and hearing some great stories from his world travels.  The highlight of the trip was when as an added bonus the comedian Dave Heenan, who is a friend of the doctor, joined us after his dinner.  We'd seen Mr. Heenan perform on the Crown and his show on the Dawn.  So we were fans of his.  Mr. Heenan had us all laughing hysterically as he told jokes or beat the doctor to the punch line.  Lol. My wife and I have visited Bermuda several times before.  By far and away the prettiest of all the islands.  As a lark we walked into the grocery store just to check out the differences in prices to back home.  I had heard food was expensive there but $8 for a loaf of bread is a little extreme.  Lol. If you like lounging around by the pool, the pool area can be over crowded.  The weather was only swimming weather the days we were in port in Bermuda.  So over crowding of pool area wasn't an issue this cruise.  But one of the areas all cruise lines need to improve is the pool areas.  They need larger pools or multiple pools, one just for children who can get in the way of adults, along better seating arrangements. The weather was beautiful.  Just a touch windy but back home was rainy so who cares.  J  We explored the island the paradise.  Unfortunately, the ferry breaking down upset many people who needed to get back to their boat, Jewel of the Seas.  Luckily, our boat wasn't leaving soon but passengers of the Jewel of the Seas were very concerned.  It severed as a reminder to us to make sure we leave plenty of time to get back from exploring the island on our own. Disembarkation was breeze with express.  No wait at all.  If you can carry your own bags, you'll probably be off the boat in minutes once passengers are allowed to disembark. All in all one of best cruise experiences.  We're looking forward to maybe going to Canada in the fall or some other warm paradise before then.  Great to meet everyone from Cruise Critic and we hope you made it home safely.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My husband and I are new to cruising as this was our honeymoon cruise. What a voyage!!Embarkation: We arrived by shuttle that was provided by our travel agency. We were there about an hour earlier before they started boarding. This was ... Read More
My husband and I are new to cruising as this was our honeymoon cruise. What a voyage!!Embarkation: We arrived by shuttle that was provided by our travel agency. We were there about an hour earlier before they started boarding. This was when I noticed that the motion sickness patch was making my right eye dilated. I looked like a lunatic at the time, but am laughing about it now.. :) After they started boarding, we were on the ship in about 30 minutes. They sanitized our hands and handed us a glass of champagne, which is a really nice touch.We headed over to the Venetian for lunch and had a nice sit down lunch with a great waiter named "Jordy."After lunch, we hung out by the pool in the sheltered area (it was raining) and enjoyed the sail away as we saw the Statue Of Liberty for the first time. It was definitely a moment to remember.Atrium: The atrium is absolutely gorgeous! It is a great spot to people watch and enjoy a cup of coffee at the Java Cafe!Cabin: We had a Mini Suite on deck 11. Our room was lovely and spacious. My husband is 6'4" and it suited him as well. Our Stewards Mark and Sopi were very efficient and friendly. The bathroom amenities were luxurious. The shower gel is very cooling for sunburned skin! The bed was a little firmer than what we are used to,but we slept well. I liked the drapes. They were black out drapes that made the room nice and dark for sleeping. We had an adequate balcony. We used it every chance we could. It was nice to hear the sea going by. We had towel animals 5 of the 7 nights. They were a nice surprise!Food: Food is always subjective. That being said, we had some meals that were fantastic, some that were good and one we didn't like.Venetian: Delicious food and great service. We had the steak, tilapia, ribs, and pasta. All were wonderful. It was a beautiful room and it felt like were in one of the old fancy restaurants from an Audrey Hepburn movie.Aqua: We had breakfast twice in this room since it was included in the balcony rooms. There was really no way to know this unless one reads the boards. NCL doesn't go out of their way to tell one this. The food was good and the service was pretty good. We also had a great dinner here. The "Surf and More Surf" was amazing!Garden Cafe: We ate here quite often. We had breakfast here 3 times. Lunch and dinner about 3-4 times We liked the selection and the food was nice and hot.Bimini Grill: We had a late lunch here once. The food was ok, but they were pushy on the booze. We're not big drinkers, yrt they were VERY pushy for us to get a bucket of beer. Ordering one beer is like pulling teeth.Specialty Restaurants:Le Bistro: We had this for our Honeymoon package. The meal was very tasty. I had the steak and my DH had the Salmon. Both were great. I tried the escargot appetizer. That was decadent and delicious. Impressions: this was our least favorite restaurant. My DH wanted butter with our rolls and the waitress rolled her eyes like it annoying to her. She practically insisted we wanted oil and vinegar instead.The oil and vinegar tasted rancid. We ordered the Lobster Ravioli and we both didn't like it. The sauce was strange to us and left a strange aftertaste. Our Maitre D came over and we explained to him what we didn't like about the dish. He offered to get another entree, but we declined as we decided to go to another restaurant. We didn't tell him about the waitress, because we didn't want to get her in trouble, and perhaps that was just a slip-up. Spa: We enjoyed the couples spa pass. We loved the hot tubs, lap pool and the view. The view of the wake was amazing! Especially as we were leaving Bermuda!Entertainment: Bollywood was fantastic! The Tina Turner impersonator was good. We also enjoyed Bingo Boy. He was funny, if not a bit insane:) We saw the variety show with Dave Heenan and the Magician (I can't remember his name.) Both were entertaining. Movie selection on the TV was a bit repetitive and blah.DH would have loved to have some of the more recent movies that are out in the theaters now in the cinema.Bermuda: Lovely and beautiful. We enjoyed the Island Tour. It was 5 hours. Our guide was very informative. We saw the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, the many beautiful beaches, and St. George. We enjoyed Harbor Nights in Hamilton. We sunbathed at Snorkel Bay.We LOVED the Maritime Museum. It was a very large museum. We loved the care they took to make it beautiful. We only paid 10.00 to get in and we got a discount with our boarding card. It was the best deal on the whole island. Do not do the cruise sponsored excursion. Just go there at your leisure. The history there is amazing!Overall Cruise Experience:  We did get seasick on the last sea day. I was able to get the medicine and we were able to rest until it kicked in. There was a huge line at the reception desk, and the sweet woman at the excursion desk was kind enough to run and get some dramamine for us!Other than the motion sickness, we loved the experience. We found it to be a wonderful way to get our new life started! For a milestone anniversary we shall definitely cruise NCL again! The Dawn was gorgeous. She may be an older girl, but she is definitely a beauty! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
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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