253 Norwegian Dawn Bermuda Cruise Reviews

Cruised to Bermuda on 10-26-08. We booked a balcony room as we found a great deal online for $549 per person. The extra space provided by the balcony makes for a more enjoyable stay. The rooms are small but kept pretty clean. Although, ... Read More
Cruised to Bermuda on 10-26-08. We booked a balcony room as we found a great deal online for $549 per person. The extra space provided by the balcony makes for a more enjoyable stay. The rooms are small but kept pretty clean. Although, on the last night the clean white duvet cover slipped off part of the comforter and to my horrified surprise there was a huge yellow stain just underneath were I had been sleeping the entire week. Washed or not (?!?!?) that comforter should have been trashed, not put on a bed again. Bathrobes are provided and are a nice touch, but only fit well if you are a small female and looked funny on my husband. The room stewards were friendly and courteous. Offered water, ice and provided itineraries nightly. If you purchased anything out of the mini-bar you had to ask for things to be replaced which is inconvenient. Very surprised by the fresh cookies one night but disappointed in not receiving towel animals the entire stay. Room service is wonderful and can be taken advantage of any time of day/night. Just don't ask for anything other than on the room service menu as the response is rude and NO. The breakfast card was convenient and it was always nice to have mediocre coffee to wake up to before venturing out of your room for the day. (If you want GOOD STRONG coffee visit the Java Cafe.) If you order the hamburger/hotdog don't forget to ask for condiments or you will be eating it dry. The chicken soup was always delicious, as was the BLT. The restaurants were OK. The service and standards lacking compared to other cruiselines. If you want GOOD service eat at one of the many "cover charge" restaurants. The Filet Mignon at Cagney's was wonderful and cooked to perfection. We had a fun time eating at Salsa with the live entertainment. We ordered the II Popo which was amazing. We didn't attend many shows as much time was spent in the Casino. Other reviews remarked on the 'Tight' slots, but we just couldn't stop winning!!! Without spending much money we won 2 Jackpots of $1600 on a dollar 3 real machine and $1800 on the penny 50 lions machine. I was able to buy myself a beautiful ring onboard with the winnings! We also won many other small cashouts of 500, 300, 200, etc just to keep us going. The casino service was wonderful and staff friendly. They started to Comp many of our drinks and would bring us over our usual ordered drinks without even asking when entering the casino. On the last night they gave us a card to drink for free in the casino. We didn't use the pools or the hot tubs but they looked clean and refreshing. The kids pool had a cute waterslide the children enjoyed. It was always easy to find a lounger to relax in the sun, and staff was always available for drink service. Against the cruisline's recommendations we rented a scooter to get around the island. You are able to park it right outside the ship. We were able to see and do so much in this way. Be prepared for winding roads and crazy drivers out there. Having experience with motorbikes is a plus. We were able to see the whole island, visit many of the beautiful beaches, Horseshoe Bay not one to be missed. The Botanical gardens were fun but somewhat out of season. If you are not afraid of heights and want to see wonderful views, visit the Gibbshill lighthouse and charming giftshop. The dockyard has many nice shops including the clocktower mall. The Museum and dolphin quest were fun. It was a little to cold for jet ski tours but something I would like to do in the future. Overall My Bermuda cruise experience was fun and enjoyable as well as relaxing. The staff, service, and free dining lacking compared to Royal Caribbean and carnival but wouldn't hesitate to book again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
This is my wife and I's first time on NCL but we have cruised on three other lines. Cruse left out of NY which is a 2 1/2 hour drive for us from home. Being able to drive to the embarkation point was a major reason for taking the ... Read More
This is my wife and I's first time on NCL but we have cruised on three other lines. Cruse left out of NY which is a 2 1/2 hour drive for us from home. Being able to drive to the embarkation point was a major reason for taking the NCL Dawn and the fact that we had not been to Bermuda before. Being in driving distance is nice but be aware that parking is a real problem. Parking at the port was $210.00 for the week but the alternatives were not particularly attractive either. The train from where we live (north east Maryland) is just as expensive and the bus was not appealing to me. Both of the latter would have additionally required cabbing from Penn station. First impressions of the ship were positive. We liked the funky exterior paint job, including the promenade deck. After spending some time exploring, we both felt the interiors lacked a common theme. When leaving one area of the ship and entering another, there did not seem to be a unifying thread in decor, color, etc. to tie them together. We had a balcony room and the balconies are smaller than other lines we have used. The room itself was probably the smallest we have had and the storage areas are pretty minimal - basically one set of smallish drawers and a second set inside the closet. The best part of the stateroom is the bathroom, head and shoulders above any others we have used, pun intended. The separate shower and toilet with sliding doors works great when two people are trying to get ready at the same time. Additionally, the shower was nice and big and I wasn't constantly brushing up against a clammy wet curtain. We thought about trying some of the additional pay eateries on the ship, but ultimately stuck with the included restaurants. Actually, I won a raffle ticket in the casino for a free dinner in Bamboo, the asian spot. We checked the menu but didn't find anything compelling so we didn't use the coupon. It seemed like there were promotions all week for Bamboo and it was never close to full when we walked by. Maybe this is an option that just does not have a wide enough appeal to justify the space. Food in the dining rooms was fine, had a couple of good steaks. Also, I liked being able to have breakfast in Aqua and both that I did were wonderful. Lot of people said they like the wings at Blue Lagoon - I thought they were fair at best. Bermuda is great. Snorkeled, walked around, checked out the historical sights. No excursions, we tend to go our own way most of the time. Best bargain in town is the unlimited bus/ferry pass. $20.00 for two days and no worries about cost to get from place to place. Impressions: Shopping area on the ship too condensed - we like separate shops to wander through. Picture gallery was blocking the corridor and should have a better place for people to stand and look. 2nd City show was inappropriate for this cruise - I don't know who vetted this one. Magician was crappy - fake feet still showing from bottom of 'saw him in half box' after he jumps down at end. He also brought out his kid to look cute and take up the last 10 minutes instead of actually doing additional tricks. Casino was the tightest I have experienced, land or sea, bar none. We enjoyed the duo that sang in Dazzles a couple of nights. All and all - we had a great time and NCL was fine. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Since I got so much great information on cruising from this site, thought I should pay it back with a detailed (and long) review of the Dawn 8/17 sail out of NY...It was my husband and myself (late 30s, if it matters) We had a fantastic ... Read More
Since I got so much great information on cruising from this site, thought I should pay it back with a detailed (and long) review of the Dawn 8/17 sail out of NY...It was my husband and myself (late 30s, if it matters) We had a fantastic time, but as we did not do too much of the entertainment, I can't really rate it. If you have a question about the Dawn, let me know and I will try to answer. Here's what we did... Embarkation: Got to the pier at 11:15 and was paying corkage on my wine (4 bottles) about 3 minutes later! No big deal, got it all paid and was all processed and on the boat by about 11:45. We had a mini-suite and went into a special line to get processed, but I don't think the line for regular rooms was any longer. Very smooth process, I was drinking my free champagne in no time (yes, it was cheap, but not the worst I've ever had) Rooms were not ready so we checked our hand luggage (very easy) and explored the ship-I have to say the whole ship looked spotless and the staff was very friendly. We made reservations at Le Bistro for that night and Salsa the next-no problem getting 7:30 each night. I did excursions on-line a few weeks ago so that was taken care of. Toured the gym and signed up for Yoga-4 classes for 30 bucks-I suggest you bring your own mat-it takes up very little space and is cleaner! Gym looks great, tons of machines and classes We went to the Venetian for lunch, I did not like my entrEe (Thai noodles with Beef) so I sent it back and got EXCELLENT risotto instead, my husband had good quiche. Good service, no issues. Our room was ready so we went to check it out-we were in a forward mini-suite on 11-I must say, our room was SPOTLESS and all set up. Everything gleamed, and our gin had been delivered. All through the trip, our stewards (Renato and Claudia) were excellent, every request filled, always a smile, towel animals every night (for what that's worth) and a spotless room. Dinner at Le Bistro-Best service all week (and all service was generally very good) -excellent food, highlights include rack of lamb, mushroom soup and asparagus with orange sabayon. The chocolate fondue was just okay-none of the deserts really did it for me all week. Also, the shipboard wines by the glass list is generally very good. $20 cover per person, I would say it was worth it. Gave money to the Casino, went to bed. The new bedding on board, by the way was great-very plush and comfy, higher quality sheets. Sea Day 1-Room service coffee, then to the Gym for 8:30 yoga and a workout. Yoga was good-45 minutes of mixed Asana/Bikram. The gym was crowded, but after class I had no problem getting a machine. I suggest you wipe it down before using; no one seems to wipe the machines when they are done and they do not post instructions to do so. I realize I sound like a clean freak, but with that many people on a boat-better safe then sick! Breakfast at The Garden-Very crowded, very noisy, but decent for breakfast. My complaint about the Garden is that they put all the action food stations (omelet's, waffles, pasta etc) in the middle of the line, so it clogs everything up. They also arrange the salad bar backwards (lettuce last) so it slows things down-not a huge problem, but interesting nonetheless. Went out to the deck to relax-The pool area was PACKED. I mean really crowded in a way that was completely unappealing to me. The pool scene was probably great for kids and teens, and no one seemed to have "held" chairs, they all looked used, but I wanted less people. We went up to the front of the boat by the adults only hot tub and it was so much nicer-quiet, breezy, and mellow. It was perfect up there. Did the Garden for lunch, good salad bar fare and an ice tea, nothing special but just what I wanted. My husband liked the deli and the carving board. We had dinner at Salsa (yes, $10 cover now, but no charge for lobster tacos). Maybe it was an off night, maybe I thought it would be so much better because of everyone's raves, but I was generally unimpressed. The large circular layout makes service a challenge (staff can't always see you). Black Bean Soup was excellent, Lobster Tacos tough and over cooked and the El Popo (kind of silly, actually) was over cooked and cold by the time it reached us. Blah deserts and my husband sent back his margarita-it was not too good. The pros were excellent soup, salsa and chips, but I would have been just as happy at the Venetian. Cocktail, casino, bed Sea Day 2-Yoga, Gym, Breakfast (Garden), Deck, Lunch (Garden), Deck Got a chance to walk through the stores-good selection of cologne and perfume, t-shirts, any toiletry you may have forgotten. Just okay with jewelry, but that's subjective. Boy, do they push this "new, amazing, fossil gem" called ammelite (sp?) Not my style. They also push the Park West Art gallery. I got a chance to check out the spa-Could not believe they do Botox and Restylne on board! I wonder how many people would actually do that on a ship. I must say, I was getting sick of all the sales pitches-the jewelry, the botox, the art-they have at least 3 TV channels dedicated to it and the whole Freestyle Daily is devoted to selling stuff. They put tons of flyers in your room too. It got to be too much. Dinner at Aqua-nice, not too crowded, good food, walked in at 8pm and was seated immediately. Service was pleasant. I would recommend the salmon (always available), roast pork loin, black bean soup, shrimp cocktail and Caesar salad. We wandered into the theatre for part of the dance review-looked pretty good, nothing great. Called it an early night. Bermuda Day 1-just read the little note in our room about being able to go to Aqua for breakfast as a mini-suite (and balcony) perk-this is the way to go! No crowds, very mellow and great cappuccino, but you need to get there by 9:30. We wandered around the naval dockyard and visited the clock tower shops before heading back to the ship to have lunch and change for the excursion-we did the kayak trip. It was very nice, good views of the fish and reefs, but I would have liked more actual exercise and kayaking. This is a good introduction for anyone who wants to try kayaking and suitable for kids as young as 4 or 5 (not sure what the NCL age requirements are) The nine beach resort portion of the trip could be longer, but it was nice. We had dinner at Impressions, the Italian restaurant ($10 cover and we just walked in and got a table at about 8:15) and it was one of the best deals going-the food was excellent (highlights include the antipasti trolley with tri-colored salad, pasta e fagioli, shrimp risotto, and osso bucco with polenta. Best desert of the whole trip-the tiramisu. We listened to music in Gatsby's before going to the cabin to watch a movie. Bermuda Day 2-husband played golf and had a great time-but FYI, the excursion cost of golf does not include taxi fare to the course-for him it was $40 each way, but he split the ride back with another cruiser. I did the gym and then had a massage-last minute choice and as it was a port day they could fit me in. I had a great massage-very knowledgeable technician, not talking, no sales pitch. Just how I like it. We went shopping in Hamilton in the afternoon, took the bus in-45 minute ride for $4 and you get to see the island, we took the ferry back. All shops in Hamilton seem to close by 5:30, with Wednesday being the late night. We had dinner at the Venetian and the food and service were both great. We had really good Prime Rib. Bermuda Day 3-We went on the mountain bike tour-it was very nice and goes through an old railway that has been converted to a bike trail-very nice scenery and good exercise, I could have ridden longer. Back to the 9 beach resort for a swim (part of the excursion) and then back in time for lunch and sail away. I am sure we could have done more in Bermuda, but we really wanted to just relax. It was also nice having the ship empty out a bit. Apparently, 3 people missed the boat in Bermuda. We saw the most interesting thing from our balcony-as we left Bermuda, the pilot boat pulled along side us and seemed to take on someone's luggage (the people we left behind?) and then one person got OFF the Dawn (by rope ladder) and got on the pilot boat. One of the crew members said that the Dawn is always piloted out of Bermuda by a local pilot who then leaves the boat; apparently the coral around Bermuda is tough to navigate. Can anyone confirm? It was really interesting to watch. We had dinner at Bamboo-sushi and Chinese food-Service was really good, the sushi was just average, did not seem like high grade sushi fish. I highly recommend the Asian BBQ ribs, Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Beef and Broc, and the Sesame chicken. I think you could also make a great meal there out of the appetizers. The cover ($20 per person) was not worth the sushi, but the other food was good. I would not recommend going if all you wanted was great sushi. Cocktails, Casino, Movie, Bed Sea Day 3-Yoga, Gym, Breakfast The morning was gray and chilly so we wandered around, saw a movie, packed a bit, had lunch. It started to clear so we went to the sun deck and hung out. Last dinner at Impressions again (the pay restaurants seemed more crowded the last night). We had our luggage out side by 12 and turned in with our chocolate chip cookies (way better than the buffet ones!) Debarkation-Venetian breakfast. The line for walk offs was long and messy, but we were lucky enough to have VIP debarkation-off the boat by 9:15, in the car by 10. All in all, GREAT cruise. Every member of the Dawn staff was gracious and eager to please, the ship was spotless, food ranged from adequate to excellent, with no real clunkers. Best Advice- • Bring a power strip • NCL will find all alcohol! Don't stress. Pay the corkage, get a bar set up or whatever, but if you sneak it, they WILL find it! I brought some nice bottles and had no issue bringing them into the dining room • Try the dining room breakfast if you can get up that early-it was a very civilized way to start the day • If you want to eat free-the dining rooms are an excellent choice • The forward sun deck stays pretty calm-no crowds, music is muted, very relaxing. Most people don't find it until day 3 or 4! • Get a balcony if you can-I loved watch the sea go by! • Pack half of what you think you will need! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
This was our first cruise ever, and also our first time to Bermuda. The trip was our honeymoon-we were married on August 2, 2008 and left on the Dawn on August 3, 2008! (We were a little tired that night!) We are 28 and 29 years old. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever, and also our first time to Bermuda. The trip was our honeymoon-we were married on August 2, 2008 and left on the Dawn on August 3, 2008! (We were a little tired that night!) We are 28 and 29 years old. We took the train from Providence, RI to Penn Station, NY. The train was fine and getting to the Dawn from Penn Station was easy and inexpensive by taxi (we gave him $10 and that was the fare and tip). EMBARKATION: Smooth and easy! There were alot of people there when we arrived at noon, but NCL made it easy to follow where we were supposed to go. The service people who gave us our key cards and checked us in were extremely friendly and quick. We were on the ship, receiving our champagne toast within 20 minutes of arriving at the port! STATEROOM: We had a balcony in the FWD of the ship. We had a hulled balcony, but we loved it. We could hang our towels and bathing suits out without worrying they would be swept away in the wind! The room was kept clean every day by our room stewards and when we asked for the ice bucket to be refilled every day, they complied. It was clean and just the right size for two people. ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT: There was so much to do! My husband and I went to some of the shows in the theater: -Band on the Run-This was a show that featured music from the 70's. Kind of cheesy, but you could tell the Jean Ryan Company really put alot into the singing and dancing. -Bollywood-Another Jean Ryan production, and much better than Band on the Run. This was the show that mixed Cirque De Soleil and Moulin Rouge. Very well presented and the gymnastics were very entertaining! -Dave Heenan-Comedian. He was SO FUNNY! We were glad to catch him the last night. Other than the shows, there was always something going on. We saw the Second City improv group (unfortunately we missed their show in the theater because we were in port that night-I think NCL should hold off on shows until we are back in the water!). We also attended the Pub Crawl, which included alot of fun games and ended at the Disco night. The Disco night was a band playing 70's music that everyone could dance to. Very fun! We went to Monte Carlo night, but it was in the Casino, so we watched the Joker and the Showgirls for a little while then went back to the room. We liked the White Hot Party, which was a club atmosphere that had black lights and played 80's and 90's music. There were alot of teenagers there, though, and it made us feel a little "too old" to be there (even though they played music from OUR generation! haha). Karaoke was fun, but they had a limited selection of karaoke songs. Also, Jose and his wife were excellent. We saw them in Dazzles lounge a couple of nights-they sang all kinds of songs very well. BERMUDA AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: We loved Bermuda! Horseshoe Bay is a MUST! The pink sand beach and clear blue water was beautiful! In Dockyard, we went to the Frog and Onion Pub for some great "Bermudian" food. My husband got the Big Ben there-a 55oz locally brewed beer! We also went to Beethoven's Pub, which was great for lunch. The Rum Cake factory and Glassblowing shop is right in Dockyard. We also went to Hamilton and visited the Crystal Caves. They were beautiful and not to be missed! Down the street, we ended the day at the Swizzle Inn, where we wrote our names on the wall. Those Rum Swizzles are a little dangerous! haha We went on two shore excursions through NCL while in Bermuda: The Dolphin Encounter- so much fun. We learned alot and got to really play with the dolphins. We were so glad that we did this excursion! We also did the Night Snorkel - (note: we went to the same place to do a snorkel during the day since we had never snorkeled before-it was $20 for both of us.) The Night Snorkel consisted of snorkeling while holding a flashlight below the water. I don't know why that costs $78 per person as opposed to $20 for both people, but I guess NCL has to make their money. We happened to have a bad guide who basically took off snorkeling without us and we ended up swimming to catch up with him instead of snorkeling. We complained to the company (Fantasea) and NCL and got 20% off. It is not an excursion I would recommend or do again. Overall, Bermuda was beautiful and we were so happy to be there! DINING ON SHIP- We went to alot of specialty restaurants because we wanted to treat ourselves on our honeymoon. We went to Cagney's (the Filet Mignon is DELICIOUS!), Salsa (I don't know why they charge for this now-the nachos had CHEESE SAUCE on them instead of baked on cheese. Otherwise, the food was pretty good.), Bamboo (the appetizers are better than the entrees. I think they should group the Sushi bar and Sake bar with Bamboo-it's not worth it to pay $15 for bamboo then another $15 for sushi to me, and no one ever seemed to be at the sushi bar.), and Le Bistro (OUT OF THIS WORLD! The food was so good and the service was outstanding. We wished we had eaten there every night!). The buffet was great for breakfast. They also opened Aqua for breakfast for the balcony staterooms, which was a nice extra. We ate at the Blue Lagoon a couple of times. It got very busy sometimes and it seemed to throw the staff off a little. But their chicken wings were great! The poolside BBQ was also very tasty. When we went to Aqua for dinner one night, we were a little disappointed. It could be that we spoiled ourselves with specialty restaurants all week, but the quality of food there seemed to plummet from the standards of the specialty restaurants. DISEMBARKATION-Just as smooth as embarkation. We chose to get off the ship at the last time (10am). There was a line that they kept us in for about 20 minutes to get off the ship. The crew was saying something about the Customs people being overwhelmed. But once we got moving, it was smooth and fast. We took another taxi back to Penn Station and waited for our train. Overall, the trip was EXCELLENT. I would recommend this cruise to anyone! We are already trying to get a group of our friends together for another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
EMBARKATION - Cruise on Aug 24th. We had a group of (5)families,(4)leaving from Central NJ and one family meeting us from S.I. NY. 16 of us were picked up in NJ at about 9:00 arrived at the pier about 10:15. The ship was disembarking the ... Read More
EMBARKATION - Cruise on Aug 24th. We had a group of (5)families,(4)leaving from Central NJ and one family meeting us from S.I. NY. 16 of us were picked up in NJ at about 9:00 arrived at the pier about 10:15. The ship was disembarking the passengers from the previous week so there was a large crowd of people. Once at the pier we required two porters and caught them as they were escorting disembarking passengers. Once inside the terminal there was absolutely no line since we were a bit early. Check-in was smooth as silk. We received our boarding passes and cards and checked our 10 magnums of wine. The families decided to split the $15 corking fees and trust me this was a major savings. We waited about 45 minutes for our number to be called and this was not an issue since all of our kids had ipods and/or mini sony playstations. We boarded the ship about noon greeted with some cheap champagne (nice touch) but an offer of beer would have been better. SHIP - Once on the ship each family purchased 2 soda cards each one for our kids ($28) and one for adults ($50). You won't need one for each person, waste of money. The ship appeared to be clean for the most part and by now we were all hungry and found our way to the Garden Cafe. There was a wide selection of food most of it was fair at best, for lunch. Most of the guys drank beer so get the bucket of beer, buy 5 get one free turned out to be good deal compared to most sport stadiums. ROOMS - We were on deck 8 with an obstructed view but you could still see the ocean. Frank and Philip were our stewards 2 really nice guys who did want we needed & quickly. The room was okay for the 4 of us. Plenty of draw space, sliding door shower, nice size, comfortable beds. Not enough outlets for ipods, cells and kid's games. 2 Families had mini-suites and both were happy with them. FOOD - We made reservations for Salsa which we enjoyed. Good food, decent service $10 cover, great view, kids wanted the buffet anyway. One of our friends went to Cagney's & raved about it. We went to the Venetian every night, 8:30 seating & enjoyed the food (especially the CoQ Co Vin and Lobster night), service & our wine. If you go to the Venetian you must ask for Honeylyn to serve you. Without a doubt the best in the business and she made it worth it. She is truly an exceptional server who really cares about her passengers. We tipped her every night and she deserved it. We did not try any other restaurants. The outdoor BBQ was a hit, food was good. Garden Cafe for breakfast early, Get there before 8:00 BARS - We had a great guy named Vincent who works at the Oasis Pool. He was fantastic. After the first day he wouldn't even ask for the soda cards he would just keep bringing them, we went through many a 6 pack of beer the days we stayed on board and Vincent insured they were ice cold. Also with the umbrella drinks the ladies would have Vincent knew we had purchased them before and would not charge us the extra $2, because we never carried the original glasses around. The other bar we hit often at night was the Pearly Pub, a young lady named Timme from Hungary was wonderful and remembered our names each night. Gatsby's was decent, Salsa bar had the most disappointing bartender, no personality.STAFF - most of the staff were okay, but some stood out. Yael from the Blue Lagoon was very nice. Vincent the drink guy by the pool kept on top of things, Julia from Salsa's was very sweet. Our room stewards Frank and Philip were great. Honeylyn from Venetian by far heads and shoulders above everyone. Timme from the Pearly Pub was very friendly. The one place the service lacked was in the Garden Cafe, most of the staff took their time to get you a soda, silverware or even clean the table, otherwise service was fair. POOL - The worst. When we first saw it we thought it was the kiddie pool, boy were we disappointed. The water gets dirty by the end of the day since it is not chlorinated. The lounges are plentiful we were able to save 10-12 lounges in the morning right by the pool before 8 am but you will need someone to watch them if you are going to be more than 30 minutes. The drink pushers are a bit annoying except for Vincent. I could have a beer in one hand & a bucket at my feet and they will still ask you. ENTERTAINMENT - the comedy show with Dave Heenan was okay at best. Some of his jokes were as old. He is full of life though. The Bollywood show was very good, dont miss it. The magician was impressive and the Elton John impersonator was very enjoyable.BERMUDA - what can you say that is not a positive. The weather was simply beautiful except for one morning. We attempted to go to Tobacco Bay (40 minutes by ferry) on the first day at port, but the rain forced us back to the ship. Of course once back on the ship it got sunny and we decided to go to Horseshoe Bay (25 minutes by bus)spent a couple of hours at Horsehoe and had a great time. Wonderful beach, warm crystal blue water, great rock formations. Walk down to Jobsons cove and you will get some unforgettable pictures. Some might want to take the buck boys taxi up the hill when you leave, but most of us trekked it up the hill. Next day went to Tobacco Bay for snorkling by ferry asked for directions and had about a 10 minute walk to the bay. Make sure you get a van back to the ferry well worth it. Tobacco Bay was beautiful, they could of cleaned the beach area a bit better but the bay is a sight to see. Make sure you bring your own snorkle and mask and you will see an array of fish the further and deeper you go. One of my friends opened a bag of chips underwater and it was amazing to see how close these fish come to you. Just a wonderful day in a paradise. DISEMBARKATION - was a pleasant surprise. We were all able to carry our own luggage off so there was no set time. It was minutes to disembark and go through customs to our awaiting Bus. MISCELLANESOUS - Bring your own water bottles or buy them in Bermuda. Bring a power strip. Definitely bring an assortment of medicinal pills medications and bandages, the ship stores close while at port in Bermuda. Bring your own snorkle equipment if you plan to go. Bring an alarm clock since there are none in the cabin. The per day per person gratuity is a major rip off but we gave extra to those who deserved it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
EMBARKATION - We had a group of (5)families,(4)leaving from Central NJ and one family meeting us from S.I. NY. 16 of us were picked up in NJ at about 9:00 arrived at the pier about 10:15. The ship was disembarking the passengers from the ... Read More
EMBARKATION - We had a group of (5)families,(4)leaving from Central NJ and one family meeting us from S.I. NY. 16 of us were picked up in NJ at about 9:00 arrived at the pier about 10:15. The ship was disembarking the passengers from the previous week so there was a large crowd of people. Once at the pier we required two porters and caught them as they were escorting disembarking passengers. Once inside the terminal there was absolutely no line since we were a bit early. Check-in was smooth as silk. We received our boarding passes and cards and checked our 10 magnums of wine. The families decided to split the $15 corking fees and trust me this was a major savings. We waited about 45 minutes for our number to be called and this was not an issue since all of our kids had ipods and/or mini sony playstations. We boarded the ship about noon greeted with some cheap champagne (nice touch) but an offer of beer would have been better. SHIP - Once on the ship each family purchased 2 soda cards each one for our kids ($28) and one for adults ($50). You won't need one for each person, waste of money. The ship appeared to be clean for the most part and by now we were all hungry and found our way to the Garden Cafe. There was a wide selection of food most of it was fair at best, for lunch. Most of the guys drank beer so get the bucket of beer, buy 5 get one free turned out to be good deal compared to most sport stadiums. ROOMS - We were on deck 8 with an obstructed view but you could still see the ocean. Frank and Philip were our stewards 2 really nice guys who did want we needed & quickly. The room was okay for the 4 of us. Plenty of draw space, sliding door shower, nice size, comfortable beds. Not enough outlets for ipods, cells and kid's games. 2 Families had mini-suites and both were happy with them. FOOD - We made reservations for Salsa which we enjoyed. Good food, decent service $10 cover, great view, kids wanted the buffet anyway. One of our friends went to Cagney's & raved about it. We went to the Venetian every night, 8:30 seating & enjoyed the food (especially the CoQ Co Vin and Lobster night), service & our wine. If you go to the Venetian you must ask for Honeylyn to serve you. Without a doubt the best in the business and she made it worth it. She is truly an exceptional server who really cares about her passengers. We tipped her every night and she deserved it. We did not try any other restaurants. The outdoor BBQ was a hit, food was good. Garden Cafe for breakfast early, Get there before 8:00 BARS - We had a great guy named Vincent who works at the Oasis Pool. He was fantastic. After the first day he wouldn't even ask for the soda cards he would just keep bringing them, we went through many a 6 pack of beer the days we stayed on board and Vincent insured they were ice cold. Also with the umbrella drinks the ladies would have Vincent knew we had purchased them before and would not charge us the extra $2, because we never carried the original glasses around. The other bar we hit often at night was the Pearly Pub, a young lady named Timme from Hungary was wonderful and remembered our names each night. Gatsby's was decent, Salsa bar had the most disappointing bartender, no personality. STAFF - most of the staff were okay, but some stood out. Yael from the Blue Lagoon was very nice. Vincent the drink guy by the pool kept on top of things, Julia from Salsa's was very sweet. Our room stewards Frank and Philip were great. Honeylyn from Venetian by far heads and shoulders above everyone. Timme from the Pearly Pub was very friendly. The one place the service lacked was in the Garden Cafe, most of the staff took their time to get you a soda, silverware or even clean the table, otherwise service was fair. POOL - The worst. When we first saw it we thought it was the kiddie pool, boy were we disappointed. The water gets dirty by the end of the day since it is not chlorinated. The lounges are plentiful we were able to save 10-12 lounges in the morning right by the pool before 8 am but you will need someone to watch them if you are going to be more than 30 minutes. The drink pushers are a bit annoying except for Vincent. I could have a beer in one hand & a bucket at my feet and they will still ask you. ENTERTAINMENT - the comedy show with Dave Heenan was okay at best. Some of his jokes were as old. He is full of life though. The Bollywood show was very good, don't miss it. The magician was impressive and the Elton John impersonator was very enjoyable. BERMUDA - what can you say that is not a positive. The weather was simply beautiful except for one morning. We attempted to go to Tobacco Bay (40 minutes by ferry) on the first day at port, but the rain forced us back to the ship. Of course once back on the ship it got sunny and we decided to go to Horseshoe Bay (25 minutes by bus)spent a couple of hours at Horseshoe and had a great time. Wonderful beach, warm crystal blue water, great rock formations. Walk down to Jobsons cove and you will get some unforgettable pictures. Some might want to take the buck boys taxi up the hill when you leave, but most of us trekked it up the hill. Next day went to Tobacco Bay for snorkeling by ferry asked for directions and had about a 10 minute walk to the bay. Make sure you get a van back to the ferry well worth it. Tobacco Bay was beautiful, they could of cleaned the beach area a bit better but the bay is a sight to see. Make sure you bring your own snorkel and mask and you will see an array of fish the further and deeper you go. One of my friends opened a bag of chips underwater and it was amazing to see how close these fish come to you. Just a wonderful day in a paradise. DISEMBARKATION - was a pleasant surprise. We were all able to carry our own luggage off so there was no set time. It was minutes to disembark and go through customs to our awaiting Bus. MISCELLANEOUS - Bring your own water bottles or buy them in Bermuda. Bring a power strip. Definitely bring an assortment of medicinal pills medications and bandages, the ship stores close while at port in Bermuda. Bring your own snorkel equipment if you plan to go. Bring an alarm clock since there are none in the cabin. The per day per person gratuity is a major rip off but we gave extra to those who deserved it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
We went to Bermuda on 8/24 on the Dawn. All in all, this was a great trip! My husband and I lived in Bermuda for 7 years and this was our first time back with our children (ages 8, 8 and 6) since leaving the island 5 years ago (we are US ... Read More
We went to Bermuda on 8/24 on the Dawn. All in all, this was a great trip! My husband and I lived in Bermuda for 7 years and this was our first time back with our children (ages 8, 8 and 6) since leaving the island 5 years ago (we are US citizens and were there for work). We have never cruised before and were really excited about traveling back via ship. We stayed in an AB penthouse suite and it was worth every penny. Lovely room, lovely balcony. The room was spotless when we boarded around 12 o'clock. It only took a matter of minutes to check our bags, check in and board the ship. Our children loved the room, especially all the TVs and their own little bedroom. We had a butler, Carmen, who was especially sweet and polite. We tried several of the specialty restaurants and we were pleased with all... Teppanyaki with the kids was a real treat, hubby and I had dinners at Le Bistro and Cagney's which were both wonderful, and we took the kids to Impressions the last night. We also ate in the main dining rooms, Aqua and Venetian. Both were fine. The specialty restaurants were better and worth the "cover charge", in my opinion. Servers were all nice and pleasant and accommodating. We ate with friends at Impressions the last night and one of the children didn't like his pizza, so our waitress brought another entree for him, with a smile! My kids tasted calamari for the first time that night and loved it... and the waitress appeared with plates of calamari for all the children at the table. I couldn't decide between 2 entrees and the waitress brought me a sample of one. If you go to Impressions and Elena is your waitress, you will be delighted. We did breakfast in our room or Cagney's every morning. Never braved the Garden Cafe until lunch or dinner time. My kids loved the pasta and bread assortments at the Garden Cafe. We had read that the Venetian would be open for lunch the first day and it was not. We waited until 1 o'clock and the poolside barbecue was perfect. The Garden Cafe was really really busy that first day. Unless you are famished, just wait for the barbecue. I was constantly impressed with the pleasant attitude of everyone working aboard the Dawn. Smiles and greetings from almost everyone. The employees were constantly cleaning, polishing, vacuuming every surface. The T Rex pool and main pool were busy. We expected this. My kids didn't care and loved both pools. And if my kids are happy.... I am happy too! My kids did the Kids Club a few times but they weren't impressed. There were 700 children on our sailing (Pedro announced this on the last night) , so maybe there were just too many kids to control. The bathrooms in the Kids Club seemed to be a problem on our sailing. One night my daughter was told she could not use the bathroom there because it was stopped up. The next night, I asked about the toilets when dropping off my children in the Kids Club and was told by one of the staff they were not working properly and they had been having problems. This kind of problem should be addressed immediately. It's not really fair to expect children to "hold it" until their parents arrive. I think my daughter was too shy to press the issue and ask that someone take her to the bathroom down the hall. I imagine they would have if she seemed to be in dire need. On another night, my son went to the bathroom in the Kids Club and complained to me later that the floor was wet (yuck). (They make the children take off their shoes upon entering the Kids Club.) It seems they should ask the children to put their shoes back on before using the bathroom if the floors are wet. I hope they correct the plumbing problems in the Kids Club. My kids weren't too impressed with the activities and were very sad that they couldn't go the Magic Show with the Kids Club (there were too many kids on the ship, we were told). This all made ME kind of sad, because the Kids Club was a big selling point for me with this cruise. I never planned to leave my kids there for the entire day, but it was nice to have the option to bring them to the Kids Club and enjoy a dinner with my husband. Once I realized my kids weren't enjoying it and that there were some plumbing issues that could turn into health issues, we stopped using the facility. We went to the 70s show, the South Beach Rave, Bollywood and the show on the last night with the magician and the comedian. We all liked Bollywood the best. In Bermuda, we did our own excursions... went to the aquarium, Horseshoe Bay, Warwick Long Bay, Gibb's Hill Lighthouse and into Hamilton. It's a lovely island and I was excited to get back and see it all again. The ferries and buses are so convenient and clean. Cab drivers are also very courteous and helpful. I had a great time on this cruise (despite the Kids Club woes...) and loved the food in the specialty restaurants and the pleasant workers on the ship. Our room was wonderful! The ship was beautiful! We'll talk about this vacation for a long time! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
Waited 35 minutes for a wheelchair at embarkation. Was worth the wait as the walk to get on the ship is a long one. Will rent an electric scooter next time as there is a lot of walking on the ship in order to get from one place to the ... Read More
Waited 35 minutes for a wheelchair at embarkation. Was worth the wait as the walk to get on the ship is a long one. Will rent an electric scooter next time as there is a lot of walking on the ship in order to get from one place to the other. Lots of parents had a stroller for the little ones. If you plan on taking the stroller on some excursions, they only allow umbrella strollers. Cabin had comfy bed and lots of storage. However, it was the first time I recall hearing conversations from the adjoining cabin and music late at night kept us awake. I think we were above a lounge. You might want to check out the location of your cabin. Ours was near the elevator (good for us) and was partially obstructed but we still had a view. Food everywhere and, for the most part, it was good. However, NCL has gone overboard with extra charges for specialty restaurants. Won a freebie to the specialty brunch. Was good but nothing that different from what was offered in buffet/dinning rooms (except for the chateaubriand). You can ask for anything extra in regular dinning and they manage to get it for you (extra lobster tail, different potato or veggie). Staff is very accommodating. Warning on the PRIME RIB ! It did not resemble the prime rib that I know. Appeared to have been cooked/microwaved ?? in a different sort of way. Menus in Venetian & Aqua dinning rooms are the same. Ate in Le Bistro and was somewhat disappointed. We ate there on a previous cruise and it was better. This time, rack of lamb was chewy and the fruit for the chocolate fondue was cut up in tiny pieces making it difficult to dip. Shows were good but seemed somewhat repetitious. Jean Ryan dancers and singers. Be warned that the music in the theatre is very loud even when we sat in the back row. Not good for sensitive ears or for those who wear a hearing aid. Also, theatre and all public rooms were COLD so bring jackets for the little ones and wraps for yourself. Temps in the cabins are self-regulating. Some good movies, games in the card room, and a special room with coffee/tea for Latitude members. I was about to pay for a one hour trolley tour/shopping at the Dockyard shops when I found out that there is a free tram that takes you to a few shops/crafts and to the nearby Snorkel Beach. Met a family that liked this free beach since the water was shallow and the kids could see fish.Some people who wanted to go further bought bus/ferry passes right at the dock. On our previous cruises, pool lounge chairs were available under the overhangs for those who like shade. All these lounges have been replaced by tables & chairs making it difficult to find a shady spot for a lounge. No hassle leaving the ship. They let you pick the time that you want to leave. Very organized. A good time but NCL has to stop turning "freestyle" into "paystyle". Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
We travelled from Boston to sail on the Norwegian Dawn and stayed before the cruise at the Radisson Hotel in NYC on Lexington. This was a beautiful hotel and had a great location, away from the craziness of Times Square but close to ... Read More
We travelled from Boston to sail on the Norwegian Dawn and stayed before the cruise at the Radisson Hotel in NYC on Lexington. This was a beautiful hotel and had a great location, away from the craziness of Times Square but close to everything. Embarkation was good but we waited in line for quite a while but we are patient people so this was no problem. Our cabin was very nice with a balcony which we used a lot even though Bermuda was extremely hot. There was a surprising amount of space in the cabin to store our clothes etc and our room stewards were just wonderful. Nothing was too much of a problem. We realized that the ship was docking in the sleepy part of Bermuda but we would suggest that you find a better itinerary than this one. It was so quiet at the Dockyard and every day we had to catch a bus or ferry to get to a good part of the island. If you are looking to get away from the world then this one is for you ! Entertainment in the main show lounge was very good and we enjoyed the shows however we have to say that the duo in the cocktail lounge was not very good. All he sang was Neil Diamond and when we actually asked for a request he told us to wait until they did their main Neil Diamond show ! Needless to say we were all "Neil Diamond" out by the end of the cruise ! His girlfriend in the duo talked more than she sang - Luckily the ship was big enough to provide a variety of entertainment and we enjoyed the pianist very much. Dave Heenan the comedian was fantastic and we think he is the best be have ever seen. The food was outstanding and we did not have one bad meal - the service was prompt and every crew member we met was very polite and accommodating. Disembarkation was very good and quick. We loved this beautiful ship and would definitely sail on NCL again and on the Dawn - but with a different itinerary ! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
This was my second cruise with NCL, having sailed previously on the Gem in February 2008. I traveled with my husband and three daughters (ages 21 months, 6, and 7). We booked the cruise based on great destination, price, convenience, and ... Read More
This was my second cruise with NCL, having sailed previously on the Gem in February 2008. I traveled with my husband and three daughters (ages 21 months, 6, and 7). We booked the cruise based on great destination, price, convenience, and kids' activities. My birthday also fell during the week of the cruise. We are a pretty low-maintenance kind of family, other than some basic needs for the kids. Our feelings about our cruise on the Dawn were mixed. I'll let you read on and decide for yourself. EMBARKATION: We drove from Queens to Manhattan and parked in the long term lot where we paid the $200+ fee in advance. Check in was very smooth, and after a short wait we boarded the ship. It was a madhouse inside. We had a great deal of trouble navigating with a stroller, carry on bags, and two other small children. We headed to the buffet which was jammed. I had to go from table to table begging other passengers for their unused utensils because there were few to be found. Got into a minor verbal altercation with an aggressive man who tried to take chairs away from my table when my husband and kids went up to the buffet for some dessert. He threatened to get a staff member to take the chairs from me, as if I were making up some imaginary family who actually needed to sit down when they returned with their food. (I was particularly offended by this because I am the type of person who hates to save seats for people and I usually never do it because I believe that if you want a good seat you should show up early and put your butt in it.) The whole buffet area was quite an ugly scene. I will be sure to head to Venetian instead of the buffet if we ever sail on the Dawn again. CABIN: By 2:00 we were allowed to go into our cabins. We had two inside staterooms on Deck 11 AFT. As I entered my cabin it was decorated with birthday balloons and streamers, and a birthday cake sat on the vanity. My husband had arranged it. Only problem was, this was Sunday and my birthday wasn't until Wednesday, and the birthday greeting had my daughter's name on it instead of mine! (This was NCL's fault, not my husband's. I'll mention more about this later.) The cabin layout was the same as the one I had on the Gem, although the condition of the room was much worse. I immediately noticed that the carpet was stained and worn. Upon heading into the bathroom I saw thick dust on the toiletry shelf and on the mirror. Toothpaste splatters were visible all over the shower door. Small patches of rust and mold could be found round the bottom of the door and along the clothesline that spans across the shower stall. When we unpacked and put our suitcases under the beds, we also found more dust and crumbs from prior guests. The quality of the housekeeping was not great throughout the trip. It seems like the cabin stewards have too many cabins to maintain and that they are quite rushed to turn over the ship quickly as the old passengers disembark and new ones board. This could account for a lack of attention to detail which eventually leads to the overall deterioration of the staterooms. I also found it hard to contact the stewards when we had a problem or request. On the Gem our cabin stewards left little calling cards, to introduce themselves and to provide a direct number, should we need them. That made me feel much more comfortable asking for what I needed, rather than having to go through a third party. Another problem was the noise. I would never book an AFT room again. There was constant clanging, banging, and the sound of what seemed to be a freight elevator right behind the walls of our cabin. Thank goodness I had my iPod to help drown out noise so I could fall asleep at night. My cabin on the Gem was Deck 11 Midship and I never had such terrible noise. KIDS CREW & T-REX POOL: My two big girls loved going to the kids club. Their favorite activities included a junior version of White Hot Night in the Teen Disco, and the farewell pajama party. Booger, Crocodile and Lollipop were their counselors for the majority of the cruise. They were all quite friendly and engaging. The T-Rex pool was a fun area where the kids could slide, swim and splash in a safe environment. It was a little hard to get to with the little one, though. Lots of up and down stairs. We eventually found a shortcut through the gym that made it easier. We tried to be considerate and not drip all over the workout areas, so no one seemed to mind us walking through. DINING: The single best food item I tasted was the pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream, served at Blue Lagoon. The food at Impressions Italian restaurant was quite good, as was the food at Salsa, the Mexican restaurant. The staff at both of those restaurants was exceptional as well. We had several dinners at Venetian which were good, too. However, with a toddler, it was difficult to eat in the more formal settings because she can't sit still for very long. That's why we were grateful for the Kids Cafe at the buffet. We were always able to get a pint-sized table where our kids could be kids as they ate. We were also grateful for the Kids Cafe because much of the time the food at that mini-buffet was better than the adult buffet offerings. I frequently saw adults raiding the kiddie buffet for pizza, chicken tenders, fries, and cookies. I understood why. How many times can a person eat greasy hamburgers and hot dogs, dried out meat, undercooked, lukewarm pasta, coconut rice and curry? Despite having such a large buffet area, I found the choices to be limited, and to be repeated too often. The poolside barbecues weren't great either. The meat was bone dry. Something else that I found troublesome was the availability of food at various times of the day. At any given time of day, a section (or sections) of the buffet were closed. Most times, if we didn't show up for rush hour lunch or dinner servings, we were forced to choose from a narrow selection at the NY Deli section. This experience again differs from my experience on the Gem where my kids could get hot chocolate, mozzarella sticks and soft-serve ice cream at 10:30 pm when they left the kids club. I know, there's always room service, but anyone who knows hungry kids knows that it's hard for them to wait ½ hour for room service to show up. Overall, I would have to say that no one should go on the Dawn expecting to eat themselves silly on an abundance of great food. BERMUDA: Lovely, lovely, lovely! We are not beach people, but we just couldn’t miss the chance to test the turquoise waters. One quick and easy beach to get to if you don’t want to schlep little ones on buses and ferries, or take a pricey taxi ride is Snorkel Park. It is in walking distance from the ship. It’s small, and not picture postcard perfect, but it has good amenities like bathrooms, showers, umbrella/chair/sand toy rentals and Hammerhead’s restaurant/bar. The water is very calm and shallow, perfect for little ones. I love that we were docked for nearly three full days in one location and could get on and off the ship at will. We docked during the annual Cup Match (cricket), so lots of stores and restaurants were closed, but the shops at the dockyard were adequate for our shopping needs. Skip the aquarium and zoo, especially if you’re a New Yorker. The place nothing compared to what we’re used to in Coney Island and the Bronx. We didn’t go to Horseshoe Bay beach, but we know people who said it was a can’t miss, so check it out. I would definitely go back to Bermuda again with or without NCL. MISCELLANEOUS: The birthday mix-up continued on my real birthday when the cake showed up over an hour later than scheduled, and the cabin was not decorated. My husband ended up having to go to reception to get his money back. When we returned from dinner that night the room was finally decorated again. Too much hassle for a service my husband paid for that was supposed to be a convenience for him and a nice surprise for me. Speaking of surprises, my husband bought me a beautiful ring for my birthday. He bought it in the jewelry store on the Dawn. The ring was on sale at a great price and it was duty free. I love it. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
First- overall a very good cruise, No problems at the pier in New York, we are a family of 6 from Long Island. We took the LIRR to pen station then 2 cabs to the pier. Total cost $55, compared with $210 to park at the pier for a week, ... Read More
First- overall a very good cruise, No problems at the pier in New York, we are a family of 6 from Long Island. We took the LIRR to pen station then 2 cabs to the pier. Total cost $55, compared with $210 to park at the pier for a week, and $180 each way for a limo. Once on board only the Garden Cafe was open for lunch. We received a printed sheet at the pier that said the Venetian would open for lunch at 12:30, but it never opened. staff stated we should go to the Garden Cafe and the info we received was wrong. Freestyle cruising- not so free. Half the restaurants on the ship have a cover charge from $10 TO $20 per person, then once your in those restaurants some menu items cost an additional $10. We ate in the Venetian, Aqua, The Garden Cafe, and Salsa for dinner, all were very good. we didn't feel it was necessary to pay to eat in one of the other restaurants. We heard that Salsa was going to have a cover charge after our cruise. We also had snacks often at the Blue Lagoon at all hours. Everything there is also good. We Purchased 2 teen passports on the first day. Each passport has 20 coupons that can be used in any restaurant or bar for a can of soda or a nonalcohol frozen drink. We found this to be a good deal since drinks were so expensive on board. We passed on the unlimited soda deal. It seemed very expensive, and we don't drink that much soda. The Garden Cafe has Juices avail for free only for breakfast. If you want any juices later in the day, bring some glasses of juice back to your refrigerator in your cabin. Chocolate milk is also avail. for breakfast, but you have to ask for it. Chocoholic Buffet- 10:00 Thursday night @ the Garden Cafe. It opened 20 mins early. Nothing special here. all the same stuff thats avail all week at lunch and dinner. If you miss it, you can get a piece of Chocolate cake for lunch the next day. In Bermuda we purchased bus/ferry passes. 2 day pass $20. Third day we stayed near the ship, so a 3 day pass wasn't necessary. On wed. we went by bus to Horseshoe beach. Very nice beach. Beach chairs and umbrellas avail for rent for $10 each. Also a snack bar at Horseshoe. Long steep down hill walk to the beach from the bus. $1 per person taxi ride back to the bus stop is well worth the $1. Elbow Beach the second day wasn't so nice. We went to the public section of the beach. No facilities there, and a much smaller beach than Horseshoe. You might want to skip Elbow. Third day spent at Snorkel beach. It's a 5-10 min walk from the ship. Plenty to do at Snorkel beach. Rentals of snorkel gear- $20 (bring your own mask and snorkel from home) paddle boat rentals and jet ski rentals avail. Beach chairs and umbrellas $10. Snack bar and Bar at Snorkel Beach is very expensive (frozen drinks up to $18 each). Bring your own snacks and drinks. There is a mini-mart at Dockyard. The water is only waste deep at Snorkel park. Bring beach type shoes to wear in the water, lots of rocks and coral. lots of fish to see. Many people come out of the water with small lacerations to feet who didn't have shoes on. Entertainment- Dave Heenan- very funny, see the family show and his adult only show. You won't be disappointed. Magician Greg Gleason also very good, he has a few shows during the week. singers Jose & his wife Patti- very good, they sing almost every night. Several other shows, all were okay. Leaving the ship back in New York- we opted for the carry your own bags off the ship. I heard that people on past cruises stand in lines wrapped around the ship waiting to get off. we ate and was ready to leave @ 7:30 sunday morn. We walked right off without another passenger in sight. By 8:15 we were at Penn Station and on the way home. Have a good time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
My husband and I just returned from Bermuda via the Norwegian Dawn on the 29th of June. We had a very good time and completely enjoyed ourselves as we were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. We have never sailed before, so be ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from Bermuda via the Norwegian Dawn on the 29th of June. We had a very good time and completely enjoyed ourselves as we were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. We have never sailed before, so be aware that our opinion is limited. The ship was beautiful and it seemed to be in good repair. We witnessed on many occasions the crew cleaning, painting, and washing the ship. The only thing that was not "clean" on the ship were the carpets. There were stains and places were the seams were coming up. It stuck out to us because it did not have the same standards as the rest of the ship. Our stateroom was small but adequate for two people. We had plenty of storage space for our things. The shower was better than expected!! Our steward, Boris, was incredible! Great service with a smile and very friendly. We completely enjoyed our balcony room. The food on the ship was much better than we expected.(After reading so many reviews here.) We love GOOD food, and we both cook....yes, gourmet! We ate at the Venetian, Aqua, Le Bistro, Sushi, Bamboo, Blue Lagoon, and Garden Cafe. We were especially impressed with the Venetian and Aqua!! Their food was excellent, service was great. Our dinner at Le Bistro was EXCELLENT!! The service was great and food fabulous. We are BIG sushi fans and eat it frequently. The only meal that we were very disappointed in the cruise was our Bamboo / Sushi dinner. It was a MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT!!! Blue Lagoon.....GREAT!!! We love to eat hot wings and they were really good. Garden Cafe, is good if you like the buffet style of eating. It is not our first choice, but we did dine there a few times because of time constraints and it was decent. We did enjoy some of the entertainment, but it got old really quick. The singers sing the same song....over, and over, and over again. We personally did not feel that most of the entertainment was clean enough for small ears. We were thankful that our children were not there. Lots of sexual innuendos and sexually provocative dancing. Greg Gleason is a great magician, and Dave Heenan is extremely funny (when it is clean). What we were disappointed in is the amount of time that the crew spent trying to sell us something!! From photos, to purchasing beverages to go with dinner, to lottery tickets, raffles tickets, drinks while we were sitting by the pool, drinks while we were watching a show.....etc. It was endless. We thought it was crazy!! And.....it was crazy!!! We overheard a Dad telling his daughter on the last day,"How on earth did we rack up 5,000.00 on this boat?" Simple, we take them up on everything they offer you and you will indeed spend that much on board. The Pool.....get there early on sea days or you will not get a chair. We actually watched a fight take place because someone "reserved" chair with their beach towels. The chairs were vacant for at least 2 hours so someone moved in on the territory. The lady finally came to claim her "reserved" chairs, which you are not supposed to do, and screamed and yelled at two young girls for taking her chairs. It was crazy!! Pool was very small for the ship and the amount of people on board. We will try a different cruise line in the future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
Background: I (43 yo married female) traveled with my husband (42) and soon to be five year old daughter. My husband and I have been on two Celebrity cruises (Summit and Mercury) and enjoyed both of those immensely. This itinerary met our ... Read More
Background: I (43 yo married female) traveled with my husband (42) and soon to be five year old daughter. My husband and I have been on two Celebrity cruises (Summit and Mercury) and enjoyed both of those immensely. This itinerary met our needs and time constraints and New York was an easy drive for us (Alexandria, VA). We chose to make a weekend of it in New York so we arrived there on Friday. Embarkation: This was terrific. We were in an AB suite so we had priority embarkation. Our cabin was ready when we boarded (I think around noon) and we proceeded to the Venetian Dining Room for lunch. Cabin: Our cabin (11030) was beautiful. It was far more spacious than the sky suites we've had on Celebrity. I have no complaints about the cabin or it's maintenance. It was immaculate. Service: Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with the overall service onboard. There were exceptions to that: Anca, the concierge was wonderful as were our cabin stewards Jerry and Pedro. The counselors in the kids club couldn't have been any better and our daughter adored them. I can't say anyone else met the standards we were used to on Celebrity. Our butler, Jeffrey, was pleasant enough but seemed to do the minimum he needed to do to get tipped. Food: This is where I'd say Celebrity beats NCL hands down. We ate at Le Bistro (when our daughter was in the kids club), Salsa (twice), Impressions (twice), Bamboo, and Aqua. Le Bistro was a huge disappointment. Maybe we are used to really good restaurants here in the DC area, but I expected a good meal and they didn't deliver. For instance, we brought three bottles of wine onboard and paid the $15 corking fee. One bottle was an expensive Brunello from 1995. When they decantered the bottle, they poured the entire bottle into the decanter. I'm not a sommelier, and I know that the bottle is bound to have sediment and to leave the last bit in there. The assistant maitre d (who also id'd himself as the sommelier), didn't have a clue. The first meal at Salsa was good, the second not so good. Bamboo was good as was the sushi bar, Impressions was fair. I'd honestly say the meal I ate at Aqua was close to the best dinner I had (which doesn't say much for the "specialty" restaurants). We were lucky to be able to have breakfast and lunch at Cagney's (which is a lovely perk for suite guests) as the in suite breakfast was cold the few times we tried it. Children's Activities: This was perhaps the best thing NCL has to offer. My daughter adored her experiences in the kid's club and we couldn't drag her away from the T-Rex pool. This would be the number one reason I"d go back to NCL. Entertainment: I'd say the entertainment was quite good although I only went to the magic show and the Bollywood night. The positives of Freestyle: loved the open dining, although we did make reservations a few nights; The negatives of Freestyle: I was appalled at what some people consider proper attire. I saw bathing suit bottoms in specialty restaurants (there was a woman wearing a swim mini one night in Salsa), and lots of shorts in Le Bistro. My favorite was the guy wearing the football jersey and jeans on formal night in Impressions. Tacky, tacky, tacky---that's all I can say. It dumbs down the whole cruise experience and would be the one reason I wouldn't return to NCL. Overall, it was a good cruise. If I hadn't been on Celebrity before, I'd probably have thought it better. We'll probably try Disney next or maybe revisit Celebrity. My husband wants to do something more premium like Crystal or Seaborne, but my daughter's not ready for that yet. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
Sail Date: June 29, 2008. NYC/Bermuda Background: My wife, two daughters (10 & 13) and I. My wife and I are in our mid-forties. This was our third cruise - our first two were on Princess on their Grand-class ships which hold 3000 ... Read More
Sail Date: June 29, 2008. NYC/Bermuda Background: My wife, two daughters (10 & 13) and I. My wife and I are in our mid-forties. This was our third cruise - our first two were on Princess on their Grand-class ships which hold 3000 passengers. We are low-maintenance people and don't expect people to wait on us hand-and-foot. Embarkation: We drove to NYC and parked at the pier. I made sure we came from the North because I'd read that sometimes coming from the South it can be a pain to turn into the terminal. We arrived at around 11AM, dropped our bags off with, and tipped the porters, drove to the lot where we paid $210 for seven nights upfront, had the dogs sniff our vehicle for bombs and then parked the van knowing that it would be safe and secure for our trip. We were on the ship by 12:00 and waiting for the Venetian to open at 12:30. We enjoyed a nice leisurely lunch overlooking the Hudson River waiting for our cabin to be ready, which it was around 2PM. We thought about looking around the ship but dragging all our carry-on luggage about bumping into others dragging their carry-ons about wasn't all that appealing. Disembarkation: The breakfast buffet was very crowded that morning but getting off the ship went very smoothly. We had chosen to be with the last group off scheduled for 9:45AM but they called our color at 8:45AM, a full one hour ahead of schedule. We hadn't expected them to be that early so we just stuck to our original schedule despite the repeated calls for everyone to leave the ship. By the time we left around 9:45 there were still lots of passengers milling about onboard. We claimed our baggage, put it into the van and spent most of the day in Manhattan (we got half-priced theatre tickets same day). If you are going to spend the day in NYC while leaving your vehicle at the pier, be careful - the signs on the parking lot say it is open until 6PM, some pier staff said 5PM and other staff had no idea. We returned at 4:50PM and the terminal building was totally closed up. I had to run down to 55th St. from 46th St. to run up the car ramp (parking is on the roof) and then all the way back, but not after having to climb an 8 ft. fence! Everything was chained shut and I was getting a little worried but fortunately the exit ramp was still open. Next time I would just go in through the exit, but hey, I got a workout. Cabins: We had a single cabin for four. On Princess, the two extra beds fold down from the wall but on the Dawn, only one bed was on the wall while the fourth slides out from under one of the main beds. When the cabin is turned down, most of the floor space is taken up by the three beds which makes it quite cramped. With our girls getting bigger next time we'll get two cabins. The 3rd and 4th bed mattresses were quite hard. As a pleasant surprise, the shower was much larger than expected and very nice. Other than that the cabin was pretty much typical in terms of closets, storage space, amenities, etc. Our room stewards were cordial but too busy to chat - boy do they ever work hard! My youngest loved the towel animals and chocolates on the pillows. Entertainment: This is very much a personal taste thing, but here is my take: Jean Ann Ryan Company: Band on the Run - Excellent song & dance show as long as you enjoy '70's music, My 10 yr old was bored stiff. Jean Ann Ryan Company: South Beach Rave - I didn't enjoy it. If you like Miami/Latin music you might have a different opinion. Jean Ann Ryan Company: Bollywood - This got many good reviews. It's very Cirque du Soleil-ish, I thought it was OK, my wife really enjoyed it. Second City: Loved it, very funny. A good part of the show is improv so it could be hit and miss. We had a new troupe that had only been on the ship for about four weeks so some previous negative reviews on this board may not be applicable. Dave Heenan: Comedian - not bad though most humor is for an older audience. My 10 year old missed most of the jokes. He's from NYC and much of his comedy has a local flavor but my guess is that 85-95% of the passengers were locals anyway. Greg Gleason: Excellent magician, great sleight of hand stuff. Jeffrey Allen: Great piano player and singer - a born entertainer. His Elton John tribute show was excellent for music and humor and he got the only standing ovation I've ever seen on a cruise ship, and from a tough New York crowd nonetheless. At the end of every show in the main theatre the Cruise Director would always follow the act to make some announcements. It was unbelievable how many people just rudely got up and left as he was speaking. Dining: We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants except Salsa (no cover charge). I found the food, in general, to be quite good. I think the quality of the food has a lot to do with the particular head chef onboard because on our previous Princess cruises, one had great food while the other had mediocre food. We stuck with the main dining rooms for dinner and the buffets for lunch/breakfast. We are not fine diners so that was good for us. Drinks are expensive though - $8 plus tip for a non-alcoholic smoothie. We generally went to dinner around 6PM and didn't have to wait for a table unlike many of the other reviewers. On the Bermuda days we usually had a big late breakfast and skipped lunch while out and about. That worked out well as skipping a few meals in a week of gluttony was probably not a bad thing. A few pet peeves: 1) In the buffet you often had to hunt around to find cutlery sets; 2) The buffet always ran out of fresh fruit (except whole apples and oranges) at the end of the evening when we were looking for a post-show snack; 3) Didn't go to the chocaholic buffet - the line was ridiculous. - if NCL is going to continue with this, they need to do it better. Fitness Center: Very clean with lots of modern equipment (ellipticals, treadmills, etc), each with its own TV screen. Be sure to bring your own earbuds if you want sound. It's right at the top/rear of the ship and it was tough being there on one of the rough sea days when many people were seasick. I enjoyed the rubberized running track with the constant ocean breeze keeping me cool. What I didn't enjoy was people laying their loungers ACROSS the running track - what are those people thinking???? Anyone for Steeplechase? Fellow Passengers: I like the concept of Freestyle Cruising and not having to dress up while on vacation, however I wonder if this attracts a different kind of cruise passenger. Our cabin was located within a group of cabins occupied by an extended family who would converse loudly outside our room, or yell to each other down the hall at all hours of the day or night. Their teenaged kids would often be drunk, yelling in their rooms (which straddled ours) late into the night, kicking the walls, slamming doors, etc. We met some very nice people on the cruise but also encountered some real boors which is in stark contrast to our previous cruises (Alaska and Caribbean), though perhaps the specific itinerary may have something to do with it. Bermuda: I've fallen in love with Bermuda! What an absolutely gorgeous place - temperate climate, beautiful blue water, pink sand beaches, colorful houses, clean streets, etc. etc. The local people were so friendly and helpful to confused tourists. We got the 3-day bus/ferry passes and did St. George, Hamilton and Horseshoe Bay on different days. We also went to the Crystal Caves to view the stalactites/stalagmites. In my opinion it was overpriced ($16/adult, $8/child Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
Background Information: I am a 20 year old female traveling with my parents (in their 40's) my sister (15) my brother (13) and my boyfriend (19). This was my first Norwegian Cruise though I have sailed on Carnival 3 times and ... Read More
Background Information: I am a 20 year old female traveling with my parents (in their 40's) my sister (15) my brother (13) and my boyfriend (19). This was my first Norwegian Cruise though I have sailed on Carnival 3 times and Celebrity once. June 15, 2008- Day 1 I live in Philadelphia, PA, just two short hours from NYC so we had a limo pick us up at our house and drive us to the port. We didn't hit any traffic and got to the port at about 1:00. Embarkation went very smoothly, and was perhaps the best embarkation of all the cruises I have been on thus far. However, it seemed that we moved along quickly because guests staying in balconies and mini-suites were ushered to the front, and onto the boat, while I saw a lot of other people sitting in chairs waiting for numbers to be called. Luckily, we were staying in a balcony so we were onto the boat quite quickly. Our pictures were taken for our key cards and all those under the age of 21 had a corner of their card snipped off, so that they could not purchase alcohol. However, with parental permission guests under the age of 21 are able to purchase beer or wine after going to the front desk and getting a new card. My parents and I tried to do this, but were told that I would only be able to purchase wine or beer, whereas I was hoping to be able to get cocktails, etc. My parents and I decided to let it go, and whenever I wanted to order a drink, used their card. It wasn't a big deal. We were greeted with free champagne or orange juice as we arrived on the boat, so that was a nice touch. We went straight to lunch at the Venetian, as some other cruise reviewers had suggested. I would definitely recommend doing this as well, because there was no wait, as many people did not know the dining room was open. Most people headed straight to the buffet. The Venetian is huge with a great view of the ocean. It's a beautiful dining room with very nice murals on the wall. Our waiter Orville was great, and the food was excellent. We especially enjoyed the chilled banana soup and the American club sandwich. After lunch, we purchased soda cards. I would definitely recommend buying a card if you are an avid soda drinker or prefer drinks other than iced tea and water because that's pretty much all that was on the boat for free. I was surprised that there was no lemonade as I had often seen on other cruises. One thing I will say about the soda cards though, is that the bartenders are not happy when they see that little sticker on your card because they do not make any money off of it, like they do when you purchase a drink. We also made reservations at Cagney's Steakhouse for the following night with no problem. Then we went to check out our staterooms. As I mentioned, we had a balcony. My sister, boyfriend and I shared one room that connected with my parents and my brother. The rooms were a bit smaller than we were used to from previously cruising with Carnival but they were big enough. My sister and I shared a bed which was actually two twin beds pushed together, and my boyfriend slept on a couch that pulled out into bed. The couch was extremely hard and uncomfortable though, and my boyfriend mentioned that a few times throughout the trip. One complaint I have about the rooms, was that there was not enough drawer space. After checking out our rooms we decided to take a walk around the ship. There was a BBQ outside as we prepared to leave NYC. We were set to leave at 4:00 but left 2.5 hours late. We were told it was because we were, "waiting for necessary supplies" later which I found out was toilet paper. While we were out walking we met the cruise director John Ibrahim, who was very friendly and went out of his way to say hello to my sister and I. The boat finally left and we saw some very nice views of the Statue of Liberty. Later that evening, we decided to try out the Blue Lagoon, whose wings got rave reviews on many of the sites I read before my trip, but I was not impressed by them. I did enjoy the chicken fingers though. One thing that confuses me about the blue lagoon is why it is a sit-down restaurant. I think it would do much better as a buffet, because the servers there were not very pleasant and often mixed up orders. As it is comfort food I think it would make sense to let people take as much or as little as they want, as the portions were kind of small. We went to the Welcome Aboard show which featured a few of the different musicians and entertainers on the boat. We also listened to the comedy of Dave Heenan, who was pretty funny, although extremely loud. We were hoping to get dinner after the show but was told that the dining rooms were closed. We were upset because it was only 10:15 and the Freestyle Daily told us that the dining rooms were open until "whenever". Day 2- June 16, 2008- Day at Sea Because we did not get to the breakfast buffet before 10:00 AM there was only one line open and the line was very long. I didn't understand why there are 4 buffet lines with only one open. The food was okay. It is extremely difficult to get chairs by the pool. My dad and brother woke up at 7:00 AM on a day at sea to try to get seats by the pool, or in the stadium seating area, and it was already filled! We always managed to find a few chairs on Deck 13 though. There was really no entertainment going on near the pool, which surprised me. Usually there are games and contests, and the pool is a center of activity. However, not on the Dawn. I was also disappointed that there was no soft-serve ice cream machine like on Carnival. There is an ice cream place called Sprinkles with a server, but the ice cream is not soft- serve and is not open after 3:00 PM. Very odd. I would recommend buying a souvenir cup for drinks because if you carry it around with you and use it whenever you buy a drink, you get 2$ off your bill, which we definitely took advantage of. The Dawn didn't have as many drink options as some other cruises but I enjoyed the classic Margarita. There is only one main pool and there are 4 hot tubs all of which are very nice. One thing I love about cruises, is the formal pictures. However, on the Dawn the layout is very strange. Instead of having a walkway for people to get through, the set for the picture takes up the whole area, and people either have to wait until your finished taking a picture or walk through, which many rudely did. The show was excellent tonight. We enjoyed Gleason Magic. He was truly incredible, though he tried very hard to sell his DVD's the entire cruise, which was a bit annoying. Then we headed to Cagney's for dinner which was really nothing specially and definitely not worth the extra charge. The service wasn't spectacular either. Attached to Cagney's is the Star Bar with an excellent pianist though. After dinner, we found ourselves bored, and looked in the daily and saw that there really were no activities going on at night. I was disappointed. Day 3- June 17, 2008- Day at Sea Today we just laid by the pool and relaxed. We attended an afternoon memory seminar by the magician Greg Gleason who is also a memory expert. He was impressive, but once again used all his time trying to sell his DVD. We went to dinner at Aqua, which is the other dining room. It is smaller than the Venetian and more intimate. I loved the sparkling lights on the ceiling. We saw the show Band on the Run featuring the Jean Ann Ryan Co. which was FABULOUS. I absolutely loved the singers and dancers, and their shows were truly professional and amazing. Later, we went and watched family karaoke. Day 4- June 18, 2008- Bermuda We woke up and we were in Bermuda, docked at Kings Wharf. I was upset to be docked there because it is extremely far from Hamilton (the main town) and St. Georges. It's about 20 minutes from Hamilton and 50 from St. George's. The weather was not great when we woke up, so we decided to go to both Hamilton and St. Georges. We purchased a 3-day bus pass for $28.00 for adults and $14.00 for kids. This is a great deal, and I would recommend it. St. Georges was a bit boring, but we walked around and had a good time anyway. We took the ferry back to Kings Wharf, where we learned Snorkel Park was just a 10 minute walk from our boat. It was a very nice beach, so we stayed there and relaxed as the sun had decided to come out. We decided to go back to the boat and had dinner at the Venetian which was excellent. Later, we went to see the show South Beach Rave featuring the Jean Ann Ryan Co. again which was great. There was also a deck party held but not many people attended. We went and had some fun dancing. Then we went to see the late night comedy of Dave Heenan which was okay. I was starting to get annoyed by his loudness and some of his jokes, but my boyfriend and dad thought he was hilarious. Day 5- June 19, 2008- Bermuda We took the bus to Horseshoe Bay Beach which is absolutely beautiful and a must-see in Bermuda. The one drawback is that the bus drops you off at the top of a humongous hill that you must walk down to get to the beach but on the way back up, there is a taxi service that is $1 per person to take you back up the hill. We took advantage of it, and it was a dollar well spent. Horseshoe Bay Beach allows people to purchase chairs, umbrellas and food. It also has public bathrooms which was nice. It was very clean and well-maintained. My parents complained that we were on transportation more than we were anywhere in Bermuda, but I didn't mind because every bus ride felt like a tour. The views from the window were gorgeous. We then took the bus to Hamilton and did some shopping. I would recommend going to the store Spinnakers. We bought a ton of stuff there, and everything was pretty cheap. That night we ate at Salsa which was absolutely amazing. The one strange thing was that its located above the lobby of the ship so people would walk through in bathing suits, etc. It was very weird. The service was not good, but I have no complaints about the food, especially the fajitas. The dinner was extremely long due to poor service, and we had to skip dessert to make the show. The show tonight featured Second City, an improv/comedy troupe. They included the audience a lot, and were very funny. The one thing that really made me angry at every show we went to was how rude people were. When the show was winding down or the performers left the stage but the Cruise Director came on to talk, so many people stood up and left and blocked the view of the people who actually wanted to hear what was going on. We then went to the Liars Club, which featured John and Archie (CD and assistant CD) Greg Gleason, and Dave Heenan. It was funny though Dave the comedian tried to turn it into his own personal comedy show, which was annoying. We wanted to go to chocolate buffet but the line was pretty much the length of the ship, and I don't have the patience for that. Then we watched Quest, which was also a funny game sort of thing. Day 6- June 20, 2008- Bermuda Our last day in Bermuda. We took a bus to Elbow Beach, which was nice. It started to rain though and we needed to leave. The boat left Bermuda and we got ready to go see the final Jean Ann Ryan Co. show. The show was called Bollywood and was SPECTACULAR. It was a mix of Indian music (which didn't originally appeal to me) and Cirque du Soleil and it was absolutely amazing. Then we headed to dinner at the Venetian where we were told we would have a 45 minute wait, and after giving them our room number were seated in 5 minutes. Balcony and suites have priority on this boat, which was nice for us, but I can understand how it would upset others. The boat was going extremely fast tonight, and it was the only night I could actually feel it. We went to the White Hot party in the Spinnaker Lounge for a bit, which was fun. Day 7-June 21, 2008- Day at Sea We hung out by the pool in the morning. It was difficult to get chairs again. Then we went to the Sleight of Hand Close up Magic with Greg Gleason, where he showed how he did some of his card tricks. I got to be his assistant for a trick which was fun. We went to TV show trivia which was very hard. Later we had dinner at Aqua, which was just okay. We went to the Farewell show and saw more magic and more comedy. They sort of seemed to use the same entertainers over and over again, with no variety. Day 8- June 22, 2008- Back in NYC Disembarkation was a NIGHTMARE. The express walk-off people had not even gotten off the ship by the time the colors were supposed to be lining up. The line took up the whole length of the ship and I was very happy to be back on solid ground after 2 hours of waiting. To give NCL credit though, they pulled into a different port than the one we left from, and it was apparently smaller. OVERALL: I enjoyed the trip. There were some definite things I would change though: For instance, the whole concept of freestyle 2.0. I did not feel relaxed of "freestyle" at all. I spent more time planning my own schedule than following one like on a different cruise. Not having a dining time made it difficult to plan ahead and to attend shows. Also I did not like the dress code, because it was very awkward to be all dressed up and sitting next to people who just came back from the pool. I personally enjoy dressing nice, and going to eat with other people who are dressed the same. It turned a fancy restaurant into a not fancy restaurant. Overall, I would definitely cruise again, but NCL would not be my first choice. If anyone has further questions please feel free to contact me at jessicallawlor@gmail.com . Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
Our May cruise on the Dawn had a very interesting start.  In the middle of dinner on our first night a announcement was made that there was a man over board and the ship was going to assist the coast guard on a search and rescue. We were ... Read More
Our May cruise on the Dawn had a very interesting start.  In the middle of dinner on our first night a announcement was made that there was a man over board and the ship was going to assist the coast guard on a search and rescue. We were all very sorry to hear the tragic events for one of our fellow passengers. After several hours of searching with no results our ship continued its journey to Bermuda. Its hard to complain about the cruise when you think about the poor lady who lost her life but these are things you need to know to make your cruise great. This was our first time "free style cruising" and it was great. Eat when you want and the lines were not bad at all. The longest wait for a table in the main dining room was 15-20 minutes.Definately book reservation for the mexican restaurant Salsa. It books up quick and the food is good and its part of the dining program so no need to pay more. We didn't try any of the pay restaurants because the choices for the included restaurants were good. Looking at the crowds no many people went to them either. The mini suites were great. Well worth the money and a good thing because we spent the first 3 days at sea in the room as the seas were so rough. Due to the tragic accident we could not out run a storm and found ourselves right in the middle of it. 20+ foot swells knocked the ship around. Barf bags were all over the ship as people were losing it. A few elderly folks took some bad falls as the ship went side to side. The pool was not open for the first 3 days at sea as the seas were so rough. Great wings at the Blue lagoon I must have had about 100 of them. The soda program is a waste! Sounds good in theory but its so hard to get a soda that you just give up. Its almost impossible to get the staff to get you a soda during dinner. Takes them forever. When you order a soda they ask you "soda program?" when you say yes they give this look like oh crap. In short save yourselves the $50 and don't get the soda card. The buffet was good. They were very quick to keep items fresh. Our room was on deck 11 so it was easy to run up for a bite any time. Activities didn't feel like they were well announced as we missed quite a few. Problem no clocks in the room. Bring your own travel alarm clock. Bermuda get the 2 day bus and ferry pass no need to get the 3 day pass. First day hit Hamilton, second day St George third day stay local at Kings Wharf. Ship- Nice Food-Good Free style- Great Family Friendly- Excellent They have a kiddie buffet Soda program- Stinks Bermuda- Expensive Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
We sailed out of NY May 4th. Embarkation was a breeze. One of my parents uses a wheelchair and everyone was very helpful in getting her taken care of. There was always someone looking out for her and moving her along quickly. Wait time ... Read More
We sailed out of NY May 4th. Embarkation was a breeze. One of my parents uses a wheelchair and everyone was very helpful in getting her taken care of. There was always someone looking out for her and moving her along quickly. Wait time to go on board not very long. There is a long gangway to get on the ship but it was easy to maneuver the wheelchair onto. Champagne waiting when we entered. No nonalcoholic drink offered when you entered though. I had read on the cruise boards to make your reservations right away at the front desk there in the main lobby when we got on. I had no trouble making that nights and the next nights reservation. Really had no trouble getting whatever restaurant we wanted when we wanted it. Cagney's was great. I sent the folks to Le Bistro with the anniversary package and they loved that also. Went to Impressions also and that was good as well. I found that the Bingo was very expensive and the drinks were a little overpriced as well. On the second sea day I found that there was not enough to do. Bermuda was great. Comfortable temperatures the whole time. We went fishing but it was early in the season and not much to offer. Too cold to go swimming. I think I would save Bermuda for the summer months if I were to go again. Entertainment - Dave Heenan was really funny especially in the 18+ show one night. Magician was just okay. Bollywood was okay. THe rest of the production numbers were loud and just okay. The Second City troupe has got to go. I think that was the worst show I have ever seen on a cruise ship. Lots of people got up and left. All in all a great cruise and a lovely ship. The layout with the Venetian and Aqua dining rooms was a little confusing as you could not get through on certain decks. Would I sail NCL again? Yes. Loved the not dressing up part. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived on Sunday 4/20 at Noon and we were on the ship at 1:10. Not bad. This was my 3rd NCL cruise, but I have not sailed with them since 1998. My last 6 cruises have been with Carnival. I was looking for a ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived on Sunday 4/20 at Noon and we were on the ship at 1:10. Not bad. This was my 3rd NCL cruise, but I have not sailed with them since 1998. My last 6 cruises have been with Carnival. I was looking for a change from the Carnival scene. I must say I was disappointed. When we first got on the ship we were greeted by champagne. I would have preferred it to have been a map of the ship. If you want one you have to ask for it from the reception desk. If you are traveling with kids the camp seems pretty good for the younger kids. My daughter is 14 and they really didn't have a great program for her age group. I found the scheduled on-board activities to be lame and very few activities offered. We had 2 days at sea and nothing was planned for around the pool where most of the people were hanging out. Maybe this is due to the fact that it is still cool out. I am not sure. Ship: The ship is really pretty. Our room was a nice size, but when they put my daughter's bed down for the evening it would block the access onto the balcony. You had to climb over the bed to go out the sliding glass door. The bathroom setup was nice except if you are a larger adult I could see you having space issues. The door into the toilet area was really narrow. The corridors were single file. I think they were about 3 feet wide at most. The public rooms were kept very clean. Entertainment: The bands were mediocre at best. They band playing in the Spinnaker had a new lead singer who didn't know the words to most of the songs. The Piano players at Gatsbys were all pretty good. The comedian was ok although I think he stole a lot of his material from others. He reminded me of the guy from the last comic standing. I think they called him cave man? Not sure who stole from who but I had a real strong sense of deja vu! The magician was really good. The Guitar player in Pearly Kings was by far the best on the ship. His name was Aaron Noone. Dining: The tables in the Garden Cafe were too close together and every time someone passed behind you or sat behind you they would bump into your chair. The setup of the Garden Cafe was very confusing too. Often the plates were in the middle of the buffet line. The menus were all new so the crew seemed clueless. The freestyle dining was ok. I liked being able to choose when I could go to dinner. Even though they said you could make reservations we were told at the Venetian that they did not take reservations for groups under 6. As a party of 3 we had to wait 30 -40 minutes to get seated if we wanted to eat before 08:00 PM. They also did not enforce the dress code. Every night we would see men and women wearing blue jeans and t-shirts in the dining room. A lot of men wearing baseball caps also. Kids in pajamas. If you are looking for a Filet mignon you will be disappointed. They removed it from the general dining menu. You will have to pay extra at the steak house for that. I missed having the same waiter every night. Overall, the food was ok. Nothing to write home about. A lot of the time it arrived cold. I like being able to sit down and have my drink arrive without having to continually ask for it. So I would put up with being told when to eat. The Blue Lagoon should be avoided if you are in a hurry. We waited 30 minutes to order on 4/25/08 (14:35 Ship time), and another 35 to get our food. My daughter ordered mozzarella sticks that were served to another table and then had to wait another 20 for them to be made again. It appeared they had give staff off and no one knew what to do. They called in reinforcements from the other dining rooms to try and help but they really were not familiar with the menu or the table numbers. They were delivering the food to the wrong tables. Drinks and bars: The drinks are pricey. You will pay more than most ships. A bucket of beer ran about 20 bucks (5 beers). They were running a buy 5 get one free special. But still seemed like a lot for beer. A glass of wine was $7. The cheapest bottle of wine was 25 before the gratuity. They permit 18 year olds to drink with parents permission. According to the ship this is for wine and beer only but we saw a group drinking mixed drinks. I really was turned off by the parents providing alcohol to under age kids (18-20). I am not sure if they even checked the age because one girl even stated to security that she would be 18 in 6 weeks. He didn't seem to care that she was under age. The waiters for the shows were none existent, so if you want a drink bring it with you. The last night we went to see the show and my daughter ordered a soda from the waiter and he never delivered it. Beware the times given on the Program of the day, as I call it. They list that the Blue Lagoon is always open but I found out they close between 04:00 - 05:00. Most of the bars close around 01:00 even though they say whenever. We found that the Pearly Kings pub liked to close around 12:30 - 01:00 regardless of the crowd. Going ashore: The only other thing I want to point out is if they are using tenders leave plenty of extra time. We arrived in Hamilton on Wednesday and they seemed to be confused on how to get people off the ship. They were using the life boats as tenders, and gave out tickets. It seemed really unorganized. It took my family over an hour to get off once they called our ticket number. Once on shore getting around was a breeze. Buy the 3 day pass and just hop on a bus or ferry. If you want a good place to eat we were recommended a restaurant called "the Spot". We did not eat there but the menu seemed reasonable. We were told it is frequented by the locals. Re-boarding the ship in Hamilton took a long time too. We waited about 45 minutes for a tender to arrive at the dock. The following day we had the choice to re-board the ship by 3:00PM for the sail over to the Dockyards or you could meet the ship there. After the experience with getting on and off via tenders we decided to meet the ship in the dockyards. The last ferry from St Georges to the dockyard is at 6:10 PM. Disembarkation: We waited in comfort in the spinnaker lounge the only problem is that the announcements were not broadcast into the lounge so I you had to jump up and run out into the hallway to hear the announcements. They were about 25 -30 minutes behind in letting people off the ship. So pick an earlier time to get off if you need to meet a limo or a ride. My conclusion is that I probably will not sail NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
Background Information: Travelled with kids (2 girls ages 11 and 14, 2 boys ages 11 and 14), 2 couples in mid 40s. Half of group were seasoned cruisers on RCCL, Carnival, Holland, Cunard) and other half have never been on a cruise before. ... Read More
Background Information: Travelled with kids (2 girls ages 11 and 14, 2 boys ages 11 and 14), 2 couples in mid 40s. Half of group were seasoned cruisers on RCCL, Carnival, Holland, Cunard) and other half have never been on a cruise before. My first time with NCL (9 RCCL, 3 Carnival, 1 Holland, 1 Cunard) We could have driven to Manhattan port terminal on Sunday morning (April 20th - the Pope was in town this weekend) - our friends did it in 3 hours flat from Shrewsbury, MA. Note - as of April 1st - parking is now $240 for 7 night cruise at the port. We, however, took Amtrak from Prov to Penn Station RT. Taxi to hotel was $15 with tip. The train was fine. Hotel Info: Stayed one night pre-cruise at Millennium Broadway Hotel near Times Square. Excellent location, great price $284 via Travelzoo deal. Front desk service (I believe his name was Tabur?)was excellent and they checked us in early. Had renovated room on 40th floor. Starbucks, Irish Pub, Toys R Us only a few steps from the hotel - literally. Sunday, took taxi to port - I believe it was also around $15-$20. Embarkation - the usual wait and hurry up, cattle call. No one really likes waiting. However, it was well organized and we were onboard by 12:30pm. Ship Info: NCL Dawn is a beautiful well maintained ship. One of the cleanest I have ever been on.I also liked the layout of the pool area much more than any other cruise line. RCCL comes in second in that category. NCL has "stadium" seating facing the pool area - so it is easy to see the hot tubs and the pool if your kids are swimming or walking around getting something to eat or drink. There are also plenty of deck chairs on all levels in different nooks of the ship - people did tend to save seats near the pool -but we somehow managed to find deck chairs when we needed them. Activities/Entertainment: Pedro the cruise director was excellent, entertaining, funny and not annoying. The shows were very good. Comedian was very good, magician very good, Bollywood show was EXCELLENT (Jean Ryan Dance Group - very very talented). One of best I have seen on a cruise ship. Second City comedy troupe - just okay. Plenty of things to do - or not to do. The choice is yours. The usual Bingo, casino, spa, classes (yoga, pilates, napkin folding, sushi making, all kinds of things), wine tastings, beer tasting (which was worth $15 and fun, 5 beers to taste, a trivia quiz with prizes for each team, and some other fun things, and then with your receipt - you get a complimentary beer of your choice when you show it at the Pearly Pub - also have great acoustic guitarist for entertainment in there). Service: overall - not the best. But to be fair, seasoned NCL cruisers said that this cruise was off on service and not the usual great service that they have received on past cruises. I give it a 6 in regards to the restaurants for service. There were a few people who were stellar (Kenneth, Noel and Egbert at the pool area who went above and beyond - I give them a solid 9). Cabin: We had an oceanview on the 8th floor midship-aft. Great location, one floor down was the Blue Lagoon, shopping galleria, Pearly's Pub, the centrum area. 2 floors down was the Venetian. Elevator to 12th floor - right at the Buffet and pool area. Perfect spot overall. Room was clean, enough storage space, excellent professional grade hairdryer, TV was lame and small (they need to upgrade these to larger flat screens), the bathroom was laid out excellent. Toilet in separate area and the shower glass sliding door. Best layout of all cruise ships I have been on (this does not include if you ever stayed in suites, etc - just for inside, outside and basic balcony rooms). Our room stewards - I give them a solid 8. They were like ghosts who did an excellent job of keeping the room clean without you noticing them around - you would go to breakfast and come back 30 minutes or so later - and the room was spotless again. I left extra cash at the start of the cruise and asked about bath robes for the week and some extra little things - all were delivered. Only thing missing was towel animals and perhaps some fun interaction with the kids (which you get on other lines) - but really, does that matter in the long run? Shore Excursions: We were tendered first 2 days in Bermuda and then one day at King's Wharf dock. We decided not to participate in the planned tours. These sold out quickly. We decided to go on our own, bought bus passes (3 days for 2 adults and 1 child cost $70) - well worth it. Taxis are very expensive. The (pink) bus service is excellent, they drive really fast - but still felt safe and convenient - not anything like buses in NYC, Boston, or even any other island I have been on. We visited the Fantasy and Crystal Caves near Hamilton. Very very cool. The stairs in the Fantasy are extremely steep - I do not recommend for kids under 8 or for the elderly if they have trouble walking or anyone with knee, hip issues. The Crystal Caves are more manageable. Wear sneakers or really comfortable shoes too. The Rum Swizzle Inn is outside of the Caves Park - take right out of Caves entrance and right at ice cream parlor, you will see the Swizzle Inn across the street. Great pub food munchies and loved the Rum Swizzles. The residents of Bermuda are extremely nice and very polite - so make sure to say hello or ask questions - they really are friendly and want to be helpful. The weather was also not that great the first 4-5 days of cruise - cloudy, some rain, some sun, in the mid 60s - but even a "lousy" day in paradise is better than a great day in the office :-) The last day in Bermuda was gorgeous though and we went to Horseshoe Bay Beach - it is a MUST SEE. Dining: All food was very good - even the buffet (except for the scrambled eggs - good grief). Bimini above the pool area had awesome burgers and fries...Salsa's - very good tex mex. Venetian and Aqua - kind of boring menus at times - but food was good (but lobster tail was dry). Blue Lagoon cafe was VERY good - comfort foods like meatloaf, chicken wings, fish and chips, potato skins, etc. - open pretty much 24 hours a day. The kids ate there alot. And great pit stop at 3am - haha. Like we need more food. Cagney's's was $25 pp - it was very good. Our friends went to Le Bistro and said the surf and turf were excellent. Impressions Italian - they now also charge $10 pp - we did not go. Teppanyaki was $25 pp extra - I cancelled that one right away - are they kidding me? We can get Teppanyaki - Hibachi at our own Japanese restaurant for that price... Didn't we already pay for meals in the cruise ticket price? Come to find out that almost all the restaurants charge $10-$25 per person (Cagney, Le Bistro, Impressions, Bamboo, Teppanyaki, Sushi (just so-so sushi-don't bother). In fact, I would not be surprised that they tack on a charge to Salsa's next ! Nickel and dimed to DEATH with the food and beverages. A vodka and soda in a small rock glass was $8.00. Are you kidding me? Drinks of the day were $8.95 with a souvenir glass, $6.95 without - but in a smaller glass. You COULD get a refill with the souvenir glass for $6.95, or maybe $6.50, or even $5.95. Sometimes, they would try to charge you the $8.95 again even though you were getting a "refill". My comment on this - is that the prices were inconsistent and sneaky - if you did not look at your receipt carefully - they took advantage. The only deal was the bucket of beers (get 6 for the price of 5). I know you should not have to do this, but probably a good idea that you find a favorite pool bar server, give him or her a great tip to start off your cruise and stick with that person. We were given some cool beer kuzis, a beer opener, etc and great service overall. To be fair, there were SOME drink specials at the Star Bar some afternoons (2 martinis for price of 1)or $4.95 margaritas at Salsa's from 2pm to 4pm, that type of thing. Children's Clubs: Our kids did not participate at all. They thought it was lame. It did not look lame at all. But I find age 11 and up prefer to hang out with their friends, go in the hot tub, pool, play basketball, eat at the buffets and cafes, go to some of the shows, and hang out in the rooms. (The kids clubs are GREAT for age 4 to 10, from my past experiences with my kids.). I felt very safe with my 11 yr old daughter walking around the ship (with the 14 yr old girl, not alone, of course). This was school break vacation for NY and MA and there were a lot of kids on board. But never did I experience any kids or teenagers acting inappropriately or feel overly crowded. Disembarkation - always a mini nightmare in my opinion. If you do Express Debarkation - You can leave at any time you would like with your suitcases off the ship. Either boogie out of there right away or- My advice, if you do this and you don't have to catch a flight - take your time - have a sit down breakfast, head back to the room for a bit to freshen up and bring your bags up to 12th floor- sit by the pool (buffet and bars are open even during debarkation at the pool area). And head out around 10am. Take the elevator near the front of the ship, down to the 7th floor (near the Stardust Theater) and hopefully, if you are lucky like we were - they will have another exit ramp open to disembark. Note that even though they may call colored tags to debark - you have the right to join in that line out of the ship ! You go thru customs - not that bad. Then if you are catching a taxi, it might be quite congested. If you drove your car - awesome. Our friends were out of there in no time at all !! If you did not drive, better off with a limo/car service (they approach you in the terminal). It's worth the $40 to me - to not have to wait, beat the traffic, and get to Penn station or airport or wherever in a less stressful manner. Overall - I give NCL Dawn a 7. If they didn't charge for so many dining venues and the drink prices were more in line with the other cruise lines - I would go on NCL again. But I think RCCL and Carnival overall are a better choice for a family vacation and more reasonably priced overall. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
This was our first, two adults and one 8 yr. old. Embarking went better than expected; Disembarking was horrible!! The ship was beautiful and well laid out. The musicians playing above the Java Cafe were fantastic. The shows (magician, ... Read More
This was our first, two adults and one 8 yr. old. Embarking went better than expected; Disembarking was horrible!! The ship was beautiful and well laid out. The musicians playing above the Java Cafe were fantastic. The shows (magician, comedian, Bollywood) were great. I would skip the improv's next time; totally horrible; I'll never get that 45 min. of my life back.... The Hamburgers and hot dogs were fantastic. I enjoyed all the food but didn't appreciate the added costs for some of the dining. I could fairly accept 5-10 dollars but after paying for the cruise, I think 15-25 dollars is unacceptable. I think the price of drinks was highway robbery. I got very frustrated when asking for Ice Tea; rather I had to ask as much as three times in most cases. To top that off, the Ice Tea would not be turned on until lunch (as I was told); ridiculous; are we not suppose to drink Ice tea with breakfast? I thought the activity menu was impressive looking but when you read into it, it rather boring. I think the cruise director could have done a better job with daytime activities; we did find some morning and afternoons boring especially when the weather wasn't so great to go to a pool and/or sit in the sun. We had an inside cabin on deck 8. Not to bad except that the cabinet doors and drawers need better locking devices; during the rough seas, they would open and bang. We had to pile suit cases to hold them closed so that we could sleep. Overall, not to bad for a first time cruise. I would probably consider another NCL someday but not sure about Bermuda. There were some nice things about Bermuda (beach, shopping and a bus ride that was like a tour) but nothing that would rush me back. My only advise to others is watch your charge card bill daily. It's easy to get caught up passing your ship card off and often thus forgetting that it's your charge and you will get another bill in addition to the cost of your cruise. I think there should be at least one cash restaurant and bar and I think drinks in the casino should have a cash and charge option; cash is accepted for gaming, why not drinks, what's the difference. Thanks again NCL and we'll keep you in mind if we do this again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
Nowegian Dawn - Bermuda, Bahamas This was my first cruise with NCL in thirteen years. My last cruise was on the Norway back in 1994. That cruise left a bad taste in my mouth with NCL. The Norway herself was outstanding and a one of a ... Read More
Nowegian Dawn - Bermuda, Bahamas This was my first cruise with NCL in thirteen years. My last cruise was on the Norway back in 1994. That cruise left a bad taste in my mouth with NCL. The Norway herself was outstanding and a one of a kind ship but the rest of the cruise left a lot to be desired. This cruise renewed my faith in NCL once again as this was the cruise line that started my addiction to cruising back in 1986 with the tiny 16,000 ton Starward. I am not going to go into the ports of call as that is discussed enough on the boards. I will keep my comments to the ship, NCL and some comparisons between NCL and RCI. Pre-Stay - Stayed in New York at the Doubletree Suites in Times Square. http://www.doubletree.com/en/dt/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=LGASFDT The hotel is in the heart of the theatre district. The hotel itself was nice with a very friendly staff. The only drawback was once stepping outside of the hotel it felt like I walked into a blender. People going in every direction. It was Crazy. Other than that I would stay here again. Also the hotel was only about a fifteen minute ride to the pier on a Saturday morning. Not bad at all. Check-In - Arrived at the pier in New York around 10:30 and there were already about 100 guests there for check-in. Due to the cabin that we booked we were able to receive VIP check-in and we were on board around noon. Luggage arrived around 2:00. We snuck to the room to drop off our carry-on luggage and then went to find lunch. Decided to skip the lido dining room and eat in Venetians which was very good that day. All together a very easy check in process. As good as I have received on Royal Caribbean. One note about the pier in New York. The traffic is a nightmare of trying to get in and out here. The cab drivers do not have a lot of patience with one another. Thank goodness we did not have a lot of ships in port. I can only imagine how that would be. Ship - The Dawn entered service in late 2002. She comes in at just under 92,000 tons. Just about the same size at the Radiance class ships. Prior to the cruise I had looked at many photos of the ship and was not sure about the bright colors but I have to say that the ship was very nicely decorated. Yes she is colorful but is done in a nice tasteful way. She does not have the WOW effect that you find on the Radiance class ships of RCI but she was very well maintained and clean. She did not look five years old. It was also easy to find your way around the Dawn. She does lack an adult's only solarium and has one main pool area with a smaller pool for the kids located on the aft area of the ship. There is also a pool located indoors in the spa area. I liked that the Dawn had a bar and grill out near the pool area called the Bimini Bar and Grill. Here, burgers, dogs, fries were served along with pizza and drinks. This is one area lacking on the Radiance class so that folks do not have to go to the Windjammer and can stay near the pool. One thing that I did not like about the upper decks is the glass railing that runs around deck 13. The glass is head high with about a five inch space in between the glass but I missed the lower railings. You had to walk towards the aft section to get the lower railings. One nice thing on the Dawn was the laundry rooms for those wanting to wash clothes. The laundry rooms contained three washers and dryers. They were free. The only thing that you had to pay for was the detergent which was $1.00 a box or bring your own. I'm not sure how many were on each deck or if each cabin deck had them but this room was located midship on deck 10. The ship also has one of the best cinemas at sea and they did a much better job than RCI with the show times of their movies. NCL has also added hull art to the ships in their fleet. I was not a big fan at all of this but the more time I spent on the promenade deck looking at it, the more it grew on me. It is different and by the end of the week I decided that I liked it. Dining - Okay this is where the big difference between RCI and NCL comes into play. Prior to this cruise I had read so many different opinions on the Freestyle concept that I wasn't sure about it. IMHO it all comes down to what one likes in cruising. Having now cruised for twenty-one years, I am over the dressing up, being at dinner at a certain time and sitting with folks that I do not know. I want to be able to eat dinner when I want, dress casually and enjoy a table with just my immediate party. NCL delivered and I did not have to go to the lido dining room to get it. Again due to the cabin booked we had the use of a concierge to book all of our reservations for the various dining rooms. We actually only used the Concierge twice and booked all of the other nights on our own as it was just as easy to call the reservations desk as it was the concierge. Only once did we not get the time wanted but it was my fault as I had actually forgotten to call and reserve until 3:00 in the afternoon. It still worked out as we just chose a different dining room to eat in. The Dawn has several different dining areas on board. Two regular dining rooms called The Venetian located aft with very nice large windows and a view of the ships wake and Aqua located midship. Both dining rooms offer the same menus which change each night. Also on board is the Asian themed dining room Bamboo that also contains a Sushi Bar, Sake Bar and Teppanyaki. Italian Impressions serves up great Italian and Salsa satisfies your cravings for Tex-Mex. Le Bistro for those wanting French and Cagney's Steakhouse for the beef lovers. Of course there are the casual dining options such as the New York Deli, Garden Cafe (lido dining room) and Blue Lagoon which is a 24 hour cafe where one can order snacks such as burgers, wings, etc. Plenty of dining options to satisfy most anyone. I have always thought that when it comes to food that the subject is highly subjective so each person's opinion may differ from mine. I found the food on the Dawn to be overall good but lacking in some areas. Several of the dining rooms have a cover charge. Le Bistro, Bamboo and Cagney's have a cover charge that ranges from $10.00 to $20.00. We ate at Cagney's and were disappointed. The steaks were tough and fatty. Not what I expected at all. A few lunches in the Venetian were not that good but I do believe that I made some wrong choices from the menu. The most disappointing thing was the buffet. Very poor. Tried it one day early in the cruise and did not return. Also NCL only offers up water and tea in the lido dining room. The tea was instant and undrinkable. It looked like mud water it was so dark and brown. RCI blows NCL away with the Windjammer. Many more choices. NCL did use charcoal grills on the sea days by the pool and grilled up burgers, hot dogs and chicken which were great. Salsa's and Italian Impressions were very good. We ate at these two locations a total of four nights. Dinner one night in the Venetian was underwhelming as my steak was once again tough. It basically tasted the same as what was served up in Cagney's that cost an extra $20.00. Overall I liked having the choice of different dining locations with different themes and menus. Also being able to pick the time each evening was nice as there was no rush to get back to the room and to get cleaned up for dinner. Left plenty of time for pre dinner drinks and the best thing was no formal nights. I truly believe that the Freestyle/Anytime dining concept is the future of cruising as more and more cruise lines are now trying this concept and are also working hard to bring in new cruisers. I hope that it works on RCI so that guests who prefer this type of dining can be accommodated along with the guests that prefer traditional. Both types of dining should be able to co-exist. Cabin - We had cabin #10500 which is located on deck 10 all the way forward overlooking the bow of the ship. I wasn't sure how I would like a cabin facing the front of the ship and the wind but it was not a problem at all and would book it again. This was a category AC Penthouse. I would compare it to the size of a Grand Suite on the Radiance class. It was very nicely set up with a sitting area, dining area, a large two sided closet that could be opened from front or back. The bathroom contained a tub and a separate water closet. I do think that NCL takes care of their suite guests a little better than RCI. The prices are about the same on each line but NCL does include a butler and concierge. Also we were allowed to order from any of the dining room menus on the ship for dinner and a full breakfast. There were no limitations as to what we could order. Non suite guests have a more limited breakfast menu. This is a negative compared to RCI. The butler would bring in the food and set up everything for your breakfast, lunch or dinner. He would return after you were finished and clean everything up. This was a nice touch that RCI should look into. When arriving the first day you had in your cabin a fresh fruit basket, a bottle of Evian and champagne on ice and fresh flowers which I believe is what RCI is now giving suite guests. Each day a plate of special treats are dropped off in your cabin which is again similar to what RCI does. All very nice. Each evening during turn down service, the room steward would remove the bed spread and replace it with a duvet similar to the ones that RCI uses. The sofa in this room makes into a single bed and was more comfortable than those on RCI. Service - I found the service on the Dawn equal to what I have experienced on each of my RCI cruises. Very professional, friendly and working very hard to make my sure that each guest had a great time. We only had two crew members the entire time which were not friendly. Both were in the Venetian dining room. Maybe they were just having a bad day. A lot of the CC members write about the service lacking when tips are added to ones on board account. We did not find this. The crew worked just as hard as if they were expecting the gratuities at the end of the cruise and of course those folks received more from us. We had the best bartender that I have ever met by the name of Eka. She tended the bar in Gatsby's. This was the every night place for drinks. All in all, very impressed with the level of service on this ship. A+!!!!!!!!!! Closing thoughts - The Dawn has been having difficulty with her engines and was dry-docked in late May and early June to correct the situation. We had problems on our cruise that made us arrive late at our first port. We received a $50.00 per cabin credit to our on board accounts. Many folks were not happy but Nassau is Nassau and I can take it or leave it. I feel in many areas that NCL equals that of RCI. Very good service along with clean and well maintained ships and good entertainment. The food was hit or miss but overall not bad even though I may have sounded critical in some areas. There are things that I like about both cruise lines. IMHO no one can match the beauty or WOW factor that RCI has with their ships. RCI has a very nice past guest program that I think is the best in the industry. IMHO they are truly the leader in these two categories. On NCL I loved the Freestyle concept by being able to choose from all the different dining venues on board and when I wanted to dine. The suite amenities were nicer on NCL. Other than that I did not see a huge difference between the two. I have booked another cruise on NCL for next year along with a cruise back on the Liberty of the Seas. I now have two cruise lines to choose from but truthfully RCI is still my favorite because no one can match the WOW factor....... Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
well it was my first cruise... It was great...well except for the weather, the ship rocked and rocked for at least 4 days.... loads of ppl sick. the ship itself is awesome! what a sight to see! took me a few days to find my way around...ha ... Read More
well it was my first cruise... It was great...well except for the weather, the ship rocked and rocked for at least 4 days.... loads of ppl sick. the ship itself is awesome! what a sight to see! took me a few days to find my way around...ha ha ha.. the food wasn't bad at all, lots of complaints from ppl but I actually thought it was pretty good, Cagneys Steak House was fantastic! my kids loved the cruise. The kids program is great for kids of all ages and my kids couldn't wait to go back every day! The room....lol smalllllll but clean clean clean! the housekeeping staff is outside your door almost all day to make sure u didn't need anything.. and if u did, they were right there for u. 2 THUMBS UP! The entertainment was also fabulous, great shows for all ages to enjoy! our CD Jimmy and his staff were fantastic, friendly and very entertaining! Always something to do or see on the DAWN! Just watch out for the BINGO! way way way too expensive! and u only play like 4 games during one session.... that was a rip off I thought! We were suppose to hit Bermuda for a half day then on the their private island, (GSC) and then to Nassau....but due to hurricane we had to stay in Bermuda for 3 more days which wouldn't have been bad except we had to tender to the island then back to sea at night then back to Bermuda then back to sea then back to Bermuda.....that was awful! and we really weren't given much info on what to do in Bermuda except a few shore excursions which I will get to in a minute. we stayed one night at the actual dock! but even that was awful because we couldn't dock until 8 pm and then everything on the island was closed... so there was nothing to do at all there. Watch out ppl for the shore excursions!!!!! book it yourself, DO NOT BOOK THROUGH THE CRUISE LINE! one thing we wanted to do would have cost us close to 400.00, we decided to do it ourselves and it only cost 40 bucks! that's right, 40 dollars! not sure why the cruise line wanted to charge us 400 to do something that only cost 40 bucks for a family of 4! so 2 thumbs down to NCL for that big boo boo! All I can say ppl is that if u don't mind rocking back and forth alot, NEVER EVER book a cruise in hurricane season. getting on and off the ship was no problem at all.... we got to the pier at 10:30 am, had our room keys etc... by 10:40 am, all we had to do was wait til the ship was cleared and was on board by NOON! getting off we thought was going to be bad.... they call your floor by colors, we were the last color called but we were off the ship before 11 am! so kudos to NCL for that! fantastic! So in closing let me just say that if it wasn't for the bad weather, I would have had the best time of my life! Next time I know when NOT to book a cruise. I will also book with NCL again, I loved the ship and all it had to offer..... the DRINKS were the same price as if I was in a bar in NYC...so that was cool! HAVE FUN ALL THAT WILL BE SAILING ON THE DAWN! Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
An introduction - My husband and I are both 28 and went on the Dawn for our 1 year anniversary. I am a licensed clinical social worker and my husband works in finance. We have both lived in Manhattan for 5 years. My DH has been on 2 RCCL ... Read More
An introduction - My husband and I are both 28 and went on the Dawn for our 1 year anniversary. I am a licensed clinical social worker and my husband works in finance. We have both lived in Manhattan for 5 years. My DH has been on 2 RCCL cruises and I have been on 1 RCCL cruise. We decided to do NCL b/c we didn't want to fly to FL to get on a boat and could only take a week off of work. We arrived at the port in NYC around 11:30am - after a 10 minute cab ride from our apartment. We waited maybe 45 minutes and started boarding the ship. Took no time at all. The Dawn is a beautiful ship, well maintained and very clean. We had lunch right away the Venetian - I had a veggie burger which I hated and my husband had a hamburger. I asked for BBQ sauce and they said they didn't have any - I was a little worried. After reading CC boards, we went and made our reservations for the week at Bamboo, Salsa, and La Trattoria. Had no trouble getting the day and time we wanted. We booked a balcony guarantee and were placed in a BA level room on deck 10. 10016. The room was fine - we were able to fit everything and unpack. The bathroom was a nice size and the way they compartmentalize everything made it seem bigger. We did find underwear under our bed when we were unpacking and had to call the room steward to come clean them up... He laughed as he was doing it. Our room was kept clean, make-up and turn service was always quick. We didn't have any requests so we didn't see the room steward often. Only got 2 towel animals. I am a kid at heart so I would have liked more. As far as the food, I was not a fan. I am picky but I found everything too salty or not done the way I like it. I did love the mac and cheese in the Blue Lagoon and managed to eat Caesar Salad, baked potato, and french fries at every meal. I did like the soups however. My husband liked everything. We ate in the main dining rooms 4 nights and Salsas, LA Trattoria, and Bamboo 1 night each. I liked Bamboo the best. My husband liked Salsa's. I am used to eating in NYC restaurants so it was tough for me. I didn't like the food on our last cruise either... We got up early each day and got our pool chairs. We loved hanging out on the deck and relaxing all day. We went to all of the shows and really enjoyed them. Loved Bollywood. I also went to 2 art auctions, didn't buy anything but enjoyed watching. My husband used the gym every day and seemed to like it. Bermuda is amazing and we did a snorkeling excursion there. I want to go back for vacation. We had been to Atlantis in November for 4 nights so we just walked around Nassau and did some shopping. Wish we were docked all day instead of night. One of my biggest complaints was the smoking. We are non-smokers and smoking is basically outlawed in NYC and NJ. I was not used to the smoking in the bars and was not able to hang out there too long. The cruise director Matt and his staff were great and enjoyed them. We found the staff friendly but since we didn't have any requests, nothing was done out of the ordinary for us. We liked freestyle but we think we enjoyed the "traditional" seatings better. We liked getting to know our waiter on the last cruise. We tried to talk to the waiters and find out more about them but they didn't seem to be too interested. The coolest thing was we saw 3 schools of dolphins in the ocean when we heading back to NYC -- I think we were off the coast of NC. It was amazing to see them jumping the water. Disembarkation was fine. Got off when our color was called and we were home 15 minutes after leaving the ship! Overall, we had a great trip for the price and the ease of living in NYC and taking the ship out of NYC. We would definitely do it again if it meant not flying to Fl! I would give the ship 3 1/2 stars out of 5. Please post any questions. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
Just returned from a 7 night cruise on the dawn. Just want to say up front that I have been reading these Cruise Critic reviews for months now and I am very excited to leave one myself. Lets get started. Embarkation -- I felt like a ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 night cruise on the dawn. Just want to say up front that I have been reading these Cruise Critic reviews for months now and I am very excited to leave one myself. Lets get started. Embarkation -- I felt like a rock star because I work at the pier so I basically just flashed my badge and saved us 2 hrs in line! So that was cool. First impression of the ship was not what I expected. Don't get me wrong the ship is beautiful and very clean but just not as visually impressive as some of the other lines I have been on. The layout was a little weird at first but we got used to it very quickly. There is no one room that gives you a wow factor, but they are all very nice. The casino is fairly large with all the usual games and machines, however there is no Caribbean stud which was odd. The stardust theater is nice and the shows there were very good. Most impressive was Bollywood. The magician was pretty awful. Second city was pretty entertaining however. Pearly kings pub was a cool spot, don't miss the pub crawl if u like to drink and have a good time. The spinnaker lounge was a nice spot but was often crowded because they try to have some of the most popular shows in there like the quest which was a blast. I was most disappointed with the club dazzles because it is such a tiny lounge, not even really a club at all. Very tiny dance floor. However the music is good, drinks are good and there is still plenty of room to dance. But clubs that I have seen on the other lines completely blow this one out of the water. The food was average to good. The buffets had the usual stuff. Breakfasts were good if u had the fresh eggs and waffles. I usually went for the lighter fair such as cereal, yogurt and fruit. You cant go wrong, they have everything. Lunches were just ok. The hot food was usually pretty bland, once in a while they had a nice chicken dish. Desserts and cookies were good. You cant go wrong with a burger, fries or a sandwich. The outdoor BBQ's were very good. They had things like chicken, fried rice and pasta. Very tasty. Service varied, they were unbelievably awesome in the blue lagoon, very hard working staff. The dining rooms were spotty, just depends who you get. The main dining rooms were always very good. I liked Aqua the best. I found it to be the best service wise and also the quickest. If you are looking for a more intimate but still something free, go to impressions. It is a bit more elegant. The Venetian was ok, somewhat noisy and more crowded. We only ate at one specialty restaurant and that was Cagney's. It was nice, not sure if id pay the 20 bucks again. The steak was excellent but you can also get a nice steak every night in any dining room for free. I suggest to make reservations for La trattoria and Salsa right away because these are free especially restaurants and fill up immediately. You can always get a table at Cagney's, le bistro or Bamboo the 3rd or 4th day into the cruise. The Blue lagoon rocked. There was nothing better than going dancing and drinking and then making a pit stop at about 3am at the Blue lagoon for such things as lo mein, burgers, chili, fries, potato skins, fried rice, salad, wonton soup, chicken fingers and fish and chips. Really tasty food! The cabin is a just that. Small but functional, there were three of us in there and I have no complaints. The activities were just average. There wasn't really much to do besides sit by the pool on sea days. You could gamble maybe but I don't recommend it lol. They did have a few activities such as bingo and a few other classes and seminars which were ok. The gym is very nice and we went there occasionally on sea days. The lap pool is nice but not worth 15 bucks a day. Bermuda was awesome, the beaches are so spectacular that by the time u get to the Bahamas, it's not even worth getting off the boat. Id take a ride to the atlantis though just to take a look around and maybe go jet skiing. I think that's about it, be prepared to spend a lot of money, don't sneak liquor on because they will find it, liquor is so cheap in the shopping mall but you don't get it until friday. I recommend buying it early because it sells out along with the cigarettes. If you go on this cruise with a good crowd, I promise a good time. Enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
Embarkation was a breeze. My sister and I flew into LGA from different originations and met at the baggage pick up. Took a taxi to the cruise port ($40) arrived around 1pm. We were on board by 1:20. We first ate at the buffet on the 12th ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze. My sister and I flew into LGA from different originations and met at the baggage pick up. Took a taxi to the cruise port ($40) arrived around 1pm. We were on board by 1:20. We first ate at the buffet on the 12th floor, then went on a self guided toured of the ship. We made reservations at each gourmet restaurant as we passed by. Getting on and off the ship in Bermuda was a breeze. We took the public bus to Horseshoe Beach. Fantastic beach, waves sometimes large enough to body surf into the beach. It was everything we had hoped for in a Bermuda beach. Public transportation officials were adamant that folks were dry and clothed prior to entering the vehicles. There is a charge for use of the Spa. Last year it was free. I was surprised and disappointed that the steam room, sauna, lap pool and two Jacuzzis were available only at an additional cost. The private Cay took longer. NCL provided tender tickets the afternoon of the day prior for those willing to wait in line for hours. We didnt. Picked ours up late in the day when there was no line and reached beach about 10:30 am. Fantastic beach again, water was wonderful, many fish swimming with us! Typical cook out foods available. We did hear folks complaining that there was no ice tea available. The shows were great (we didnt attend the night we ported into Nassau). Both Ann Ryan productions had excellent dancers and performers. The lead female vocal in Miami Nights was a little weak. The comedy show is well worth seeing and we were very impressed with Action comedian. Nassau disembarkation was a breeze. We ate prior to leaving the ship and noted many folks coming back onboard as we departed about 8:30. We took a taxi over to Atlantis. The aquarium walk around was excellent and is as good as the Baltimore and Boston aquariums -- its also free. There are multiple denominations of slot machines at Atlantis. After hours of playing nickel, dime and quarter machines, we found the dollar Wheel of Fortune machines at least paid some money. The Straw Market is about two blocks away from the dock. There were bargains to be found if you were willing to negotiate. The most unusual trinkets were flowers made from fish scales, being crafted as you watched. These unique items were produced in different colors and were made into brooches or necklace icons. Cagneys Steakhouse: Excellent Boston Lobster and Filet Mignon. Seating at solid tables and enough space between tables. Side dishes of vegetables were good and the dessert was excellent. Le Bistro: Excellent Filet Mignon, Sea Bass was not mild, but the sauce and vegetables were to die for. Seating was crowded; if you were on a deuce the table next to you was less than 4 inches away. We were also on the aisle, with wait staff constantly hustling past you. We recommend that you request a wall table when you make your reservations. Teppanyaki: Typical seating and fare for the Japanese Hibachi. There are two hibachis which seat a total of 19 diners. Dinner reservations are accepted for 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30. We enjoyed the chefs entertainment and both of us ordered the Imperial Feast for an additional small fee. The Imperial Feast included a piece of sushi, soup, salad, fried rice, vegetables, filet mignon, shrimp and scallops. The only disappointment was the green tea and coconut ice cream, which were not as good tasting as we are accustomed. Overall, it was an excellent meal with healthy portions. Bamboo: Offered a variety of Korean, Chinese and Japanese dishes. We actually ate here the evening of the Captains dinner. We were seated quickly at one of the main dining halls. The noise was unbearable. We made a quick decision to try Bamboo instead of having the Lobster tails and the loud confusion. It was an excellent choice for us. Salsa: There is no charge here, but requires a reservation. The service was outstanding in this establishment. Food portions were excellent, the food tasty and desserts great! The seating is an open balcony over the live easy listening band in the lobby coffee shop. A great variety of tapas are offered as well as Mexican dishes. After eating here, we made it a point to have late afternoon coffee in the lobby bar to listen to the band. Sushi Bar: The conveyer belt brings selected sushi to patrons. You may also order a la carte from the extensive menu. It was an excellent lunch! The buffet was a disappointment. We could never find pieces of fresh fruit, with the exception of the melon and pineapple cut fruit combo on every buffet. The quality and selections were limited, though there are three different food lines. The desserts were the same gelatin creations almost every day. Last year in the evenings they had a soup cart set up and ice cream cart set up, which they have now incorporated into the deli line. Compared to other cruise lines and past NCL cruises this buffet scored the lowest in our book! The Bimini Bar has a grill which served burgers and hot dogs and fries, daily for lunch. The quality of burgers was good, but how many burgers do you want for lunch on a vacation? The cruise offered the typical contests by the pool each day at sea, and the Spinnaker Lounge audience participation events each evening were very entertaining. The younger crowd seemed to be having a wonderful time late into the morning hours in Dazzles. (We noted on our way to our cabin after spending hours in the casino each evening.) We enjoy gambling and vacations frequently include casinos. We were shocked that twice during this cruise; casino managers went to tables and asked for money from patrons they said had been paid out in error. We had never seen this in our lives! Here you have a patron betting $45 a hand and the casino wants $15 back??? From three hands ago? Another time it was at the Craps table. The manager wanted a $5 side bet paid back, supposedly paid out in error. If this were a land based casino we would never ever go back. This was the most disturbing event of the whole cruise to us. Disembarkment back in NYC was delayed. We both missed our flights and had to change the reservations. NCL allowed us courtesy calls but didnt offer any other assistance. Leaving the ship, it looked like more than 50% of the guests were taking the Express&carry your own luggage off. NCL never announced on the loud speaker that Express folks could leave the ship. We were in the hallway and followed the crowd out. Taxis were plentiful from those arriving for the next cruise. All in all we enjoyed the cruise. If we hadnt been on other cruises we wouldnt know the difference in food quality provided on the buffet. The ports were excellent as were the gourmet restaurants. We lucked out with perfect weather for the whole cruise. We are looking at Royal Caribbean or Holland American for our November cruise as we have never been disappointed in their buffets nor seen casino managers asking for cash back based on dealer errors. Read Less
Sail Date June 2006
Norwegian Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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