My wife and I sailed on the Dawn from Boston to Bermuda on August 22, 2014. We returned home today. We chose this trip about a month ago. I wanted to go to Bermuda, and I wanted it to be easy. We have sailed approximately 12 times. ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Dawn from Boston to Bermuda on August 22, 2014. We returned home today. We chose this trip about a month ago. I wanted to go to Bermuda, and I wanted it to be easy. We have sailed approximately 12 times. Norwegian, Princess, and Celebrity. Our favorite has been Celebrity. We are both 65 and are retired.
We drove to the Boston pier, about 35 minutes from our home. We parked in the 5 level garage about a block plus from the pier. We first dropped our two bags with a porter at the pier. The garage is billed as enclosed. It seemed most ship parking was on the fifth level. It was not covered. It was no problem, just stating the facts. It costs $112.00 for the week. When we disembarked today, we decided to have the ship take our bags off. We got them on the pier and decided to wheel them back to the garage.mmit was very easy and probably better than one of us going for the car and navigating back to the pier for the other and the bags
Embarkation was very easy. We arrived around 11:00. Check in was easy. We were assigned group 2 for boarding. Our group was near the front, closest to the entryway. Plenty of seating available. At 11:30 boarding started. We were on ship by 11:45 with our two carry-ons.
Another tip for those wanting to book specialty restaurants or the Chef's Table. There is NCL representative near where we boarded. We booked Cagnys for Saturday night, and the Chef's Table for Tuesday. Unfortunately, on Monday, Chef's Table was cancelled as two couples backed out. We were quite disappointed , as it sounded like a lot of fun.
We sat near the pool, until about 12:15 when our cabin was ready. We saw our suitcases coming off the freight elevator, so we grabbed them and wheeled them to our cabin. We had lunch in The Venetian, which was much quieter than the buffet.
We had a mini-suite on deck 11, 11006' the second most forward on the starboard side. It was very quiet and spacious enough. Plenty of room for clothes etc. The design flaw is the placement of the closet. It parallels the length of the bed and is close to it. It wasn't a real problem, but it was awkward. The bathroom was bigger than the typical balcony cabin. It has a separate toilet area ( a sliding door that gives it privacy from the sink and shower). The shower was a combination tub. More spacious than the typical one, and no shower curtain to get in the way. The step'overbthe tub is quite high. A year ago I could not have managed it as I had a total hip replacement. This year no problem, but if you can't, step over a high tub, you need a different cabin.
Our room steward was Winston. Very very friendly and helpful. He literally knew our names within minutes, and always greeted us by them. He kept the cabin nicely, and us entertained by his excellent towell animals.
My wife was surprised by the lack of moisturizer and q-tips in the bathroom. She had brought her own just in case, as well as her own conditioner, which she needed. She reports the dryer worked very well. I have no comment as I'm hair challenged
We thought the condition of the ship and our cabin was very good. We did not notice more than the usual wear and tear, and workers were about the ship at all times, working around the decks performing maintenance. The carpets were in good condition as was the furniture we used. Public bathrooms also were fine so we had no complaints about the ship's condition.
Entertainment is very subjective. We are theatre goers( I prefer serious), concert goers, etc. That being said, we generally enjoys entertainment on board ships. On this trip, we were very pleased, except for the first show put on by Second City. We both felt it was very weak. Either the skits were poor, or the cast was, or both. The on board singers and dancers were better than average. We enjoyed their shows. The magician, illusionist, who had a small act one night, and the sole act the last night was excellent, if you like that sort of thing. Tim Kaminsky, the comedian, was very funny. He performed a lot throughout the week, including afternoons, late night, and during show time. We saw him on a ship a few years ago.. He is still very good and enjoyable. He really seems to enjoy himself while performing. The aerialist act( I forget what that art form is called) was also very good. It's not for everyone's taste, but we enjoyed it.
We hardly were in the casino. It is smoky, as cigarettes are not yet banned. We walked the promenade a lot. Four laps is 1.4 miles. It is a continuous lap so easy to walk around. The gym was not busy when I ventured in, which was only three times mid- afternoon. It was well equipped. We did not use the spa services.
The one main pool was busy as were the main hot tubs. Another tip. On the 13 or 14 deck, all the way forward, is another hot tub. The area is uncrowded with plenty of seating. There are glass wind breaks, so it works well. You can hear the music from the pool, but muted.
Food is even more subjective than entertainment. We ate in the Venetian 4 times. We ate in Cagneys on Saturday night. We felt the $30.00 cover charge was worth it. My wife ordered a NY strip and I orderd fish. We shared. The quality, especially of the steak, was excellent. The fish was very good. The portions were more than adequate. We each ordered a glass of wine and I had a de-caf cappuccino. The tab was therefore about $ 85.00. We ate in Bamboo the first night. The reason was that there was a wait at the Venetian. We made a mistake. If you have to wait more than a few minutes, you are given a pager, and each a complimentary glass of bubbly in one of the lounges. We should have done that as we also felt Bamboo was disappointing and not worth the $15 cover charge, pp. we went to the Italian specialty restaurant another night and both enjoyed it. We didn't have pasta. I had a shrimp dish and my wife had fish. Again, service was good and we thought the cover charge was justified.
Service in the main dining room(Venetian ) was ok. Not excellent. One problem is that of the waitstaff we encountered, their command of English was not strong enough. Also, the attentiveness was a bit lacking. Should not have to request a refill on water. Most times, our needs were taken care of. From observing the dining room service, I believe dinner is planned to be 90 minutes, more or less. It is not poor service, but I think, a design to let dinner be nicely paced and not rushed. I may be wrong, but that was my impression.
The quality of the food was average. Some dishes better than others. I had two fish dishes and they were ok. Not dried out. One portion was a little on the small side. Also, I ordered sides of vegetables and a potato as the entrees generally lacked either. Just speak up. The staff was eager to please. In fact, everyone we encountered on the staff smiled, said hello, and were friendly. I think this is one area NCL prides itself on.
Disembarking was relatively painless. We did not haul our own suitcases. Had them outside our stateroom by 11:30 the last night. We had breakfast in the Venetian, and at 8:50 or so our group was called. We did wind our way through the line but at 9:20, I was starting my car engine. Home at just after 10.
I just remembered another tip. If you want a quitter, smaller breakfast, the Blue Lagon is a good choice. On deck 8. Nicely located and a nice breakfast. Fruit, pastries, hot and cold cereal, juices, coffee, and eggs can be ordered, as well as French Toast.
As far as Bermuda, the captain pulled out at 6:00 in the morning Tuesday, not 6:00p.m. Due to the approaching hurricane. We did take the excursion Sunday at 11:30 to Crystal Cave and the aquarium/zoo.
It included a taxis ride with five of us along the South Shore to the caves, to the aquarium, and then Hamilton where we took the 4:00 ferry back to the ship. Yes, it cost a bit more than if you did it yourself. We opted for it for the convenience. A taxi tour, and both attractions. The other way is catching a ferry, a bus , another bus, another bus, and then the ferry. For us, the small extra cost was worth not dealing with the hassle of making all of the connections, and the resultant loss of time. Each person has their own situation to consider, and can plan accordingly
I'm sure I neglected to review many things, but I hope this report is helpful. Read Less