252 Norwegian Dawn Bermuda Cruise Reviews

First of all we loved leaving from Boston, since we only live 2 hours away. Not taking a plane gave us the leeway to bring along extra stuff - like games for kids and adults - for those quiet times on sea days. Getting on board in Boston ... Read More
First of all we loved leaving from Boston, since we only live 2 hours away. Not taking a plane gave us the leeway to bring along extra stuff - like games for kids and adults - for those quiet times on sea days. Getting on board in Boston was easy and quick. There was a line to wait in, but it moved quickly. Parking was pretty close and 17 dollars a day. We had a cabin with a balcony - and it was a great cabin. It was quite roomy with a queen size bed and a sofa that opens up. There was a slide out screen between the two sleeping areas. Four (or five if you include as small child) would be quite comfortable in this cabin. The only warning is that the sofa bed is as hard as a rock and uncomfortable. The bathroom was spacious with a separate door to the toilet area and a tub with a sliding screen. One caveat was the cruise supplies body wash and shampoo - but no conditioner!! This was a big deal for my daughters, luckily we brought our own. Our party also had an inside cabin and a outside window cabin. These were adequate for 3, but 4 is too tight in these type of cabins. Bring one of those extension cords with multiple outlets as there was only one american type outlet in the cabin. The food in general was excellent. There was a bit of a wait in the dinning rooms, but my interpretation was that the food was being individually prepared because it always came out hot and fresh. Once when we went at peak dinning time the wait for our food was very long and we got very frustrated and left for the buffet. One caveat, the quality of the steaks in the main dinning room was poor. They looked like supermaket quality steaks, not that you would receive in a restaurant. I'm sure in the pay extra steak restaurant their steaks are top quality. Freestyle dinning means you eat whenever you want, and so there are not a flood of people arriving all at once and this does give a more intimate flavor. The problem is that everyone wants to eat at the same time so that at 6 to 7:30 there can be long lines for the dinning rooms. Since we were a party of 12, we decided to eat early to avoid the waits. We only ate in one "extra price" restaurant, the italian one, and we were disappointed in the food. The food in the main dinning rooms was excellent, and we did not have a need to go elsewhere. Some of our party did go to "noodles" for asian noodles and suishi and that got great reviews. The buffet style garden cafe had a great variety of foods, and everyone found something they liked there. Some preferred it to the main dining rooms. We did have one vegan in our group and he found it difficult to eat in the main dinning rooms and he was much happier in the buffet area because there were more options, such as Indian vegetarian dishes. Kids also much preferred the buffet. I was pleasantly surprised how they had hand washing stations everywhere and how important hygiene was on the ship. Service on the boat was very good and everyone was friendly and accommodating. Your tips are automatically charged to you stateroom, so be prepared to see that on your room charge at the end of the cruise. Service was perhaps a step below those cruises where you leave your tips individually but overall very good with no problems. On-board entertainment was standard cruise stuff - corny shows. There is definitely room for improvement here. The standouts were the second city comedy troup and these two singers Patti and Jose who did standout versions of songs from the 60's 70's 80' with some country mixed in. They had standing room only at there shows and the kept people entertained for hours. Some of the piano players were excellent as well. My daughter who is 8 years old hated the kids program. She thought it was too much like babysitting and not enough fun activities. My teenagers liked the freedom to go and do whatever they wanted. Don't miss family dodgeball at 10:00 am. The port area in Bermuda is very nice. It is an abandoned royal navy fort that was converted to a museum and a tourist area. You can get a bus/ferry pass for the day or several days and ride the excellent bus and ferry system all day. They had a special shuttle bus set up for cruise passengers to go to horseshoe beach. Roads in bermuda are very narrow and taking a bus ride is entertainment in itself to watch the bus drivers squeeze through with inches to spare. We really liked horseshoe beach. It is gorgeous with beautiful sand and gentle waves and it had a lifeguard right there. However, from the port it is a half hour bus ride, a 15 minute walk down a steep road, and because there was no shade we got there, went swimming and to avoid getting burnt to a crisp packed up our things and walked back up the hill to wait for the bus. I would recommend just going to "snorkle beach" which is a 2 minute walk from the boat. It is small, but so convenient and has shaded areas. We also used the bus system to go to see the crystal caves. These were amazing. However, using the bus system, it took us 1-2 hours to get there and 2-3 hours back. Our return ferry boat was cancelled and we had to wait for the next boat. I would recommend taking the cruise organized trip or a taxi to the caves for this reason, although it does drop you off at the ferry terminal to take the ferry back instead of bringing you back to the boat. I do recommend a ferry ride into the town of hamilton to wander around as the ferry terminal is part of the public transportation system and is right next to the cruise ship terminal. I would not recommend taking part in the Dolphin quest program where you get to swim with the dolphins. This is because as an uneducated observer they have several dolphins caged in a series of pens that seems too small for them. It seems cruel and exploitative. Avoid this at all cost. We also did one of the snorkeling trips from the ship. They took us out to a reef and a shipwreck. It was a long boat ride out there which is several miles from shore. The reefs did not have a lot of fish on them, and the shipwreck is not as dramatic or fun as you think it would be. It was OK, but I would not do it again. This should be for those with some experience snorkeling as they take you out there and you just basically jump in to open ocean. It was just OK. My one complaint is that we should have stayed in port at Bermuda one more day. It took us a day and half to get there and it took 2 and half days to get back. The ship was going slowly at half of its previous speed on the way back, just to take up time. Why not just stay in port that extra day. Overall this was a great cruise, a great cruise destination and a lot of fun. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
As I said, mostly good, with a few exceptions (all customer service related). We sailed from Boston, which I really wish there were more cruises leaving from there. Boston is a great city to launch from, extremely walkable, and the ... Read More
As I said, mostly good, with a few exceptions (all customer service related). We sailed from Boston, which I really wish there were more cruises leaving from there. Boston is a great city to launch from, extremely walkable, and the public transportation is fantastic. Taxi drivers are only necessary when it comes time to get to the actual harbor, and even then they are so efficient! Getting on the ship was very easy, we always use the porter service to avoid the hectic baggage line, so it was just 25 minutes or so from tipping the porter to walking onto the ship. Our room was fantastic, more shelf space than we actually needed, and the bathroom was actually larger than I'd expected. Our balcony was of course used constantly...much nicer to enjoy the scenery from the calm serenity of our private balcony than dealing with the hordes of passengers elbowing for space along the upper decks (not to mention the wind and rain which came later). Our room steward, Hopeton, was the best! He greeted us immediately, introduced himself, and knew us by name for the remainder of the cruise. When he realized my parents were in a room further down the deck he made sure to keep us both appraised of each other where-abouts. Hopeton is the best! The weather was not so great...stormy seas getting down to Bermuda, then rain showers most of the three days we were there, but we all made the best of it...sharing umbrellas and enjoying all the excursions that offered bus transfers, such as the Horseshoe Bay beach (gorgeous), the Cave/Aquarium tours (so much fun!) and the island bus tour. All of our tour guides were from Bermuda, so we received very personalized tours, including the location of one guide's house, and their favorite church, and even pulled over in one spot to watch Parrot Fish feeding off the side of the road when the tide was in, because the bus driver enjoys taking his family there. Highly recommend these tours! Not to mention the Rum cakes. oh yes, Rum cakes! The cruise back to Boston was fairly quiet, calmer seas, but a cold fog descended on us and the captain had the foghorn going for most of the journey back, which I found simultaneously haunting and romantic. I felt the food was great, lots of choices, although I do recommend taking the time to walk the full circuit around the 6 buffet stations in the Garden Cafe to make sure what is all available. We never did get to try the ice cream "shop" Sprinkles (closed whenever we walked by it), but the soft serve on the inside was good. The only specialty restaurant we tried was Cagney's, which was fantastic...excellent steak, excellent sides, excellent waiter, excellent decor. I do think that for a restaurant that we pay extra for, sodas should be included with the meal however, not an extra charge. So those were all the good...now for the not-so-great. Some of the service staff really missed opportunities to wow us with their skills. I was actually snapped at by a table attendant in the Garden Cafe...my parents were sitting at a table that had yet to be cleared, so I stacked up the few dishes and cups and walked them over to one of the clearing stations...and instead of thanking me, or apologizing and taking the plates from me, the woman actually snapped at me and said "don't put those there! that's just been cleaned! they go here!" and pointed behind her. I was shocked...5th cruise with Norwegian and I've never been spoken to like that before. We had a similar experience attempting to eat at the Blue Lagoon, we approached the seating hostess, she looked us over rather haughtily and said "how many in your party", which there were 4, then said "I don't have any tables for 4, and I don't really know when I will have time to seat you". And having walked through the restaurant to reach her hostess station, there were many tables for 2 empty...just waiting to be pushed together, but I guess this wasn't something she was interested in offering. We tried the Blue Lagoon again (gluttons for punishment I guess) the next day, when they were nearly empty, were seated right away, then had the most inattentive waiter I've ever seen. He repeated each of our orders back three times, almost as though he were mocking us, then proceeded to forget the final course when it came time to serve us. On the up-side, the food was really good. My mother had an issue with a waiter in the Aqua restaurant, he apparently took offence at her ordering on behalf of my father, who is extremely hard of hearing, and refused to look at my mom, then pawned the table off onto his young assistant, who turned out to be a great waitress for the remainder of the meal. Finally, we had a waiter at the Java Cafe that nearly yanked a chair out from under me as we attempted to seat ourselves, informing us "you can't sit there! we're setting up for an event!", and no, he didn't offer to locate another table for us. So out of 1100 staff (approximately?) we had 5 who need to seriously reconsider their career choices, and beyond that, we had a great cruise! My mom has actually already booked her next cruise, also on the Dawn, so I'm telling her to keep track of the good and the bad with names, and let the front desk know next time. I really love sailing with NCL, but too many instances of poor customer service like these and I won't be able to convince the rest of my party to return. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
My husband and I had only been on a 3 day cruise to nowhere many years ago. Not sure that qualifies us as 2ND time cruisers. If you want to be disconnected from Email and cell phones a cruise is the place to be. If you want to be connected ... Read More
My husband and I had only been on a 3 day cruise to nowhere many years ago. Not sure that qualifies us as 2ND time cruisers. If you want to be disconnected from Email and cell phones a cruise is the place to be. If you want to be connected you can be for a price. We chose not to be connected. We really needed a break. We traveled with 6 others. Some days it was 4 of us some days 6 of us, a couple of times 8 of us. That is the type of flexibility there is on NCL. We found the ship to be very clean. Our accommodations were good. The cabin service was great it did not take very long when you made a call to have someone at your door with your request. We found the food to be good and plentiful no matter where we ate. It just depended on whether you wanted to be waited on or not. The service in the Venetian was excellent. We felt rushed in AQUA. The 24 hour restaurant on the 8Th deck above the Atrium, did not have very good service.The buffet was very good as well a large variety to chose from. Although you are told both ends are the same they are not so make sure you peruse everything on both ends We took the bus tour 5.5 hours of Bermuda and the Swizzle Cruise both were excellent. We found the shopping seminar to be helpful. The entertainment on the ship was good to excellent depending on the show and the venue. We particularly enjoyed the couple that sang in the Atrium and went to listen to them nightly after a show in the theater. We also enjoyed the Elvis tribute in one of the bars. We happened to be celebrating one of our friends 41ST wedding anniversary so this was perfect to do some dancing, have some wine and be able to talk as well. The only issues we had was information given to us prior to the cruise was misleading i.e. we got cabins next to a family member because we were told that we could open the doors between our balconies while in port. We found that not to be true as they are locked and or welded shut. Also the plan of the day had conflicting times as to when things were happening i.e. hours of the buffet being opened. At which point at Bingo was the raffle being drawn. We found getting on board in Boston to be fairly easy although it was very busy. Getting on and off the ship in Bermuda was a breeze as long as you followed the instructions given. Disembarking in Boston was easy as well but we were the last group off at 10AM. We had no connections to make. I would suggest this trip to any first time cruisers as there was a lot to do. You were on the ocean 2 days down and 2 days back with 3 days in Bermuda.It is also a good way to do Bermuda. I would definitely take this cruise again. We plan to try NCL again for another destination and will probably try another line just for comparison. Some of our group have traveled on other lines and from NCL to be good in comparison to those they had traveled on. Some hings different not better or worse just different i.e. free style dining Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We just returned from a 6-day cruise to Bermuda. Before we left, we read a lot of the reviews on this site and were grateful for the advice and feedback we received. The embarkation process is smoothly handled by NCL. They had ... Read More
We just returned from a 6-day cruise to Bermuda. Before we left, we read a lot of the reviews on this site and were grateful for the advice and feedback we received. The embarkation process is smoothly handled by NCL. They had everything organized in their computer system. We just needed to present out passports, credit card and "e-documents" (from pre-checkin on the NCL.com site). We were traveling with another couple - where one of their party happens to carry a Belgium passport - and his check-in wasn't as seamless. Nevertheless NCL handled our check-in quickly. One side note for those leaving from Black Falcon terminal in Boston: Massport (the state government authority) seems to run a chaotic process when you arrive at the terminal. The scene approaching the terminal from the street is one big ball of confusion with no clear organized staging for those arriving or for taxis dropping off. After we finished our embarkation process (around 40 minutes), we were on board at about 1pm for a 4pm departure. We were informed that our cabin was ready, but we opted for a quick lunch at the Garden Cafe. There's a kid's seating section where we ate grilled vegetables and other hot dishes. Then we proceeded to our cabin. We began to settle in and enjoy the accommodations, when we were directed to a muster drill in the Aqua restaurant. They basically told us where to go, in case of an emergency. Then we met up with our fellow travel companions and headed for the pool party on 12th deck. We snacked on barbeque burgers and enjoyed some cocktails, as we cruised out of Boston harbor. We traveled with our 21-month-old daughter - and we noted that there were a number of other families on the boat. At our daughter's age we didn't struggle to keep her entertained. The Dawn has a kids area - with a "Under 2 zoo" playroom. For those over 2-year-old, the Dawn has a very well run kids camp. Where there are supervised activities that keep the children busy from 9am-4pm. We over hear some kids say to their parents that they didn't want to leave the activities center. Also on the back of the boat there's a kid's oriented swim/play areas. Our daughter was unfortunately too young to use this facility. We ate at Cagne's steakhouse once (our only play-to-play dining experience) - and found the food fantastic. One area (across from Cagne's steakhouse) does not seem properly utilized on the ship - the Star Bar - which is a really nicely appointed bar overlooking the 12th deck and pool area. It just seems that there is very little going on in that bar. But it was an ideal location for us to have some quiet time to ourselves and enjoy some drinks in somewhat private comfort. On other nights we ate at Aqua or the Venetian. We thought both were good - but we liked Aqua's more contemporary atmosphere better. My wife summed up the our fellow Dawn passengers as: "...a mixed bag of nuts." An extreme rage of folks from conservative to "edgy" (to put it kindly). We saw people in very tasteful attire - and then we saw many that looked down right scary. Gang-bang looks, neck tattoos and pajama pants were the fashions of choice on a lot of the crown - particularly those that hung out by the pool areas. Not assuming that NCL caters to this demographic - but nevertheless the down-market/mixed bag of nuts are in abundance on this cruise. Our stay and activities in Bermuda were dictated by the weather in large part. It rained and gusted relentlessly until the morning of our last day in Kings Wharf. We made the most of with a delightful morning at Snorkel Beach ($5 access fee - well worth it). Lunch at the Frog and Onion pub. And a ferry ride to Hamilton. The service on the cruise was wonderful, throughout. The enthusiasm of the staff was infectious and made our time on-board memorable. All-in-all, we would do the trip again - even with the mixed bag of nuts. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We are just back from our 3rd time on the Dawn and 3rd time to Bermuda - #1 in my book for an island destination. Getting to Boston was a breeze, actually picked up our daughter at Logan and drove straight to pier - only 10 minutes ... Read More
We are just back from our 3rd time on the Dawn and 3rd time to Bermuda - #1 in my book for an island destination. Getting to Boston was a breeze, actually picked up our daughter at Logan and drove straight to pier - only 10 minutes away. We were actually too early but they took our luggage anyway and we drove around Boston to see the sites. After 12 we parked the car in the convenient garage - just a street away and we were onboard within 1/2 hour. The rooms were not ready until 2 so we took a tour of the ship and ate at the Garden Cafe. Our room was conveniently located right next to the spa so there was no excuse not to use the treadmill. The first time we had seen the $119 charge to use the spa indoor pool and hot tubs. I would love to know how many really paid the additional charge. We took note of the "casual" dress of everyone and hoped it would improve especially towards the dinner time. We enjoy dressing for dinner and knew we would probably be in the minority looking at the other passengers. Hoodies and do rags aren't acceptable in my book. 1st night - ate at the Venetian with table by the back window - nice view, decent enough service and yes we were in the minority with dressing up. Could be more presentation with the meal. Saw the entertainment in the theater. Standard cruise fare, magic, aerial acts, singing and dancing. The cruise director, Paul Scally, is a real funny guy - one of the best we have seen. Visited the casino - why do so many people smoke? There has to be a better way to ventilate the room. Hated to even walk through after a show because you come out smelling - take the 7th floor exit if you want to avoid it. 2nd day/night - cold this morning but as we approached the Gulf Stream it warmed up as promised by the captain. Visited the spa, ate at the buffet for breakfast/lunch - always good choices. Decided to do Venetian again. Bad decision. Were seated within 15 minutes on the left side. We had a "new" female waiter who said it was her first time. She did not appear to have any help and we kept watching her run back and forth to the kitchen. Needless to say our dinner hour was a dinner two hour. Frustrating to not even have the water glasses filled. Decided not to go back there. Enjoyed the show but one of the female singers is very weak. 3rd day/night - pulled into Bermuda in cloudy weather and decided to do one of the spa specials (excellent - $99 for a nice package) while everyone else got off the ship. We got off to explore the Dockyard when everyone else was coming back on. Nice to have a quiet ship. Visited the glassworks factory - always have to check out the clearance rack and the other stores. It did clear up by 5 pm. Snorkel Park was charging $10 a person - it was free the same time last year! Convenient because you could walk to it from the ship but we did not go. Ate at the Moderno and thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful service - this is what we were expecting! Food was great and well worth the charge. Tonight was the aerialist show - husband and wife - excellent and amazing what they do. 4th day/night - woke up to another cloudy morning and took the ferry to St. George. Saw the unfinished church then walked in the rain around to St. Catherines. Saw some beautiful beaches, if only it was not raining! Took the ferry back - 45 minute ride to the ship and the sun was out and we headed to the deck. Enjoyed the band and the drinks of the day. Went to the other "free" dining hall Aqua and had excellent service - we were very happy. Saw the magic show but were not impressed as we had seen most of his stuff the 1st night. Went to the Spinnaker lounge for "Dancing with the Stars", let's just say I do not think "freestyling" includes wearing no panties when you are in a dance competition. The guys were out of control and my daughter and I embarrassed for the passenger contestant but she seemed to like it - the rebroadcasting on the ship tv had it all blacked out when the dress was around her waist! 5th day/night - The sun is shining!!! Our daughter took off to Horseshoe Beach via bus - very safe and clean way to travel. We headed to Hamilton to find baby bermuda shorts for our soon to be born grandson. Found some, poked around the shops and caught the ferry back. All had to be on board by 5 to leave. Enjoyed what we knew would be our last really warm day. Actually ate at the Garden Cafe because they had pork and spanish offerings. It was very good. Second City was in the theater and we always enjoy their show. 6th day/night - Heading back to Boston and actually it was pretty warm out so we got to enjoy the pool deck for most of the day. Our biggest surprise was finding out our daughter was in labor (3 weeks early) with our first grandchild/son back in the states. It was a stressful day with calling/emailing/texting back to CT. Safe c section delivery at 6:28 pm but I wanted the ship to fly home! Ate at the Aqua again because of the previous experience. Not so good this time and had to ask for water, etc. Fellow passengers came up to us to tell us how nice we looked dressed up for dinner. Made us feel good on such a special day. Saw the Paul Scally show and he is very funny and it definitely an adult show. 7th day/night - Weather is colder and what a breeze. Stayed indoors and visited the shops, watched the crew show (Luz is a much better singer than the production crew). Played bingo and watched the clock slowly tick by....decided to do the La Cucina restaurant since it was my daughter's birthday. Made note with reservation to sing/candles anything during our dessert. Slow service here too - not even busy. Dessert came out nothing happened. My husband and daughter left and I stayed behind to talk to the hostess about the non celebration. It was right on our ticket which I saw on the desk!!! She apologized profusely and said a cake would be sent to our cabin - NEVER APPEARED!! That is a disappointment and I was not happy. Saw the Bollywood show - honestly I think they can come up with something better. Very confusing and not worth the time. Things that were great - Lynette at the pool, Garden Cafe, cabin attendant, Paul Scally, Bryan at the front desk who helped us with a quick dembarkation so we could make it back to CT and the hospital. Great liquor prices, jewelry not that big a deal, perfume about $10 different a bottle than US but no tax so that is good. Yes, we did put down the $250 for another future NCL cruise but we are hoping to try a different ship to see if the service is better. Going to the Panama Canal in November via Celebrity Infinity for 15 nights and can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
My husband and I just returned from a 7 night Bermuda cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. This was the second Bermuda cruise that we had taken on the NCL to Bermuda. We stayed in an Inside cabin, #9725, which was at the stern of the boat. ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a 7 night Bermuda cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. This was the second Bermuda cruise that we had taken on the NCL to Bermuda. We stayed in an Inside cabin, #9725, which was at the stern of the boat. This was good in that we could take a very close elevator and arrive at the Garden Cafe or either of the dining rooms without having to walk the length of the deck. Our room was small but we expected that. It was larger than the inside cabin we had on RCCL in January and had more storage. The bathroom was large enough and the shower was large by cruise ship inside cabin standards. We were pleased with our room. We did find that separating the beds gave much more room in the cabin. The cruise was calm so there was NO movement at all on board. Some cruisers think that being on a higher deck mid-ship is best. I have taken ten cruises and have been in cabins all over the ships and find that lower decks are fine and actually have less movement. Deck 9 was closer to the top of the ship (13 decks) and was great. I wouldn't hesitate to take one on deck 4, however. Either the Dawn was renovated or our last cruise was on a sister ship. There were some things we remembered that we liked, for instance the food and atmosphere in the Aqua and Venetian dining rooms. NCL has gone totally with Freestyle dining which means there are no assigned seatings. This is good for scheduling your day, you can eat anytime you wish. This is bad for those who like sitting with the same people each night, being served by the same staff. They also have eliminated the formal night on the ship which suited us fine but which upset some cruisers that I talked to. The Garden Cafe has standard cafeteria food but all is good, hot and plentiful. There is also free room service and pizza delivered to your stateroom, to the pool, or to whereever you may choose to eat. There is a $5 per cabin fee for the 16 inch pizza but that is quite a bargain. We weren't impressed with the entertainment on board. The production shows were quite like the ones two years ago and the activities scheduled daily were stale and limited. My husband developed tendonitis and we were confined to the cabin for a couple of days and found that the tv selections were terrible. CNN and Fox News were carried but little else except an entertainment channel which looped the entire week and several movies which did the same. Even more aggravating was the fact that the movies were sometimes spaced with a break of 30 minutes between them. NBC, ABC and CBS would have been delightful. We wouldn't have noticed this if we hadn't been forced to stay in the cabin all day, however! Our last ship had an area called The Blue Lagoon which was fine for bathing suits and quick pickup. That is now a seated restaurant and the food isn't as good and it is more formal. Next to that is a Brazilian restaurant which was a disappointment. Meat is presented on skewers Texas De Brazil style but the skewers were slow coming out and they eventually served the food on a plate. The salad bar was good and the crocks of rice, potatoes and black beans were left on the table so one could serve himself. We found food presentation needed to be picked up a notch. We had too much water drinking time with an empty plate in front of us. It was not worth the extra $25 pp fee. I researched Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL itineraries and found that NCL gave us fromm 4pm on Sunday until 4pm on Tuesday on the island. Carnival gave its cruisers less than twenty four hours on the island and RCCL was less time also. We wanted as much time as possible there so NCL was a great choice for that. This was our third NCL cruise and we have mixed feelings. Our Hawaiian cruise was absolutely fabulous, our first Bermuda cruise was wonderful but this one wasn't as good. Perhaps it was because we had an identical cruise to compare it to. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
EMBARKATION: Based on the information on Cruise Critic, my room mate and I opted to get to the Black Falcon terminal early around 9:45. We did have to sit in an area for a bit of time, but we were taking all the information in as well ... Read More
EMBARKATION: Based on the information on Cruise Critic, my room mate and I opted to get to the Black Falcon terminal early around 9:45. We did have to sit in an area for a bit of time, but we were taking all the information in as well as get our first glimpses of the Dawn. We were on the ship at 11:30 sharp and had lunch by noon time in The Venetian. After lunch we checked out the decks and were in our room unpacking by 2pm. SHIP We found the ship to be very clean and well maintained as I was up early each day to go to the gym. The layout of some of the decks were confusing as to get to some rooms, you had to go up or down one deck to get to it. The quiet area towards the front of the ship was a nice alternative to the loud music in the main pool area. One of the channels showed a hot tub in a suite area, which everyone commented it never looked like it was used (even hubby viewed from home, saying the same thing). The main hot tubs always seemed to be occupied. The promenade deck was a great way to get in some exercise during the at sea days (4 laps = 1.4 miles). The gym was a decent size with quite a few tread mills and ellipticals. The weight equipment was not used by too many people but not sure if it was because it was older versions and some not very user friendly. I had difficulty moving some of the positioning plates and when I did move them sometimes they would shift during use. The automatic gratuity was a mixed bag for our group as some people would have preferred to tip individually. Each person we encountered was always friendly and acknowledged with a hello, good morning or good evening. We did complete several of the comment cards that we were told were the basis for promotions/raises. The staff must know this as well as one person in our party was presented with a card and asked to fill out (that person was not happy with the pressure). LIFE BOAT DRILL: The life boat drill was very prompt at 3:30pm and lasted a few minutes until everyone's name was checked off. STATEROOM: Initially we had a balcony but were upgraded to mini-suite (11128) after final payment. Having different rooms in our group, we were able to see a few room configurations. One of the rooms we saw was our original balcony and we were glad we got the upgraded room which had more couch and bathroom space. We weren't in the room a lot but it was nice to have the extra space when we were both in the room. There was a sign at the reception desk indicating the cruise was full and that no room changes could be accommodated. Recommendation: The watercloset had an institutional smell but fortunately we had a room freshener that eliminated the odors. ACTIVITIES/ENTERTAINMENT: You can be as busy as you want to as there are lots of activities each day. The fitness seminars were interesting but the couple I attended ended in a sell for a body composition analysis for $35. The spa tour was also hard selling their treatments, asking us to book before we left the tour. The martini tastings were a great way to try lots of different martinis for $15 (~$18 with tip). Five martinis in about an hour. The Grey Goose and Ketel One tastings I did on my own (I did bring the last one back to the room as it was too much for me), but by the third one, I went for the social aspect but was offered a sip of each by our group which was plenty for me. If you are not a big drinker, I would suggest splitting the tasting with someone. The Bollywood show was interesting but not exactly what I expected.....a bit more of circus than the dancing in colorful saris I was expecting. The card making class was more of a here is the package of items and follow the directions. I didn't mind as I was able to do something else. People of all ages were participating in this post BDA activity. Paul and his staff definitely try hard to entertain guest during the complete stay. Again, people will have different opinions. I attended a couple of jewelry lectures (Alexandrite and Pearl). I really enjoyed the royal history behind the gems, leading up to the sales pitch. A friend that I attended with just wanted to hear about the gem and the value/pricing. SERVICE Overall, we had very good service both in the room and restaurants. Our drinks and food were all brought in a timely and very courteous fashion. Our room steward was wonderful, always greeting us by first name and each night there was a towel critter with the last one being the monkey hanging from the ceiling. FOOD/DRINKS Overall, the food was good. The buffet was decent food as we went there mostly for breakfast and lunches. The food in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants was good to very good. The menus became a bit repetitive if you went to the main dining rooms more than a couple times. We ate dinner at Agua, LaCucina, Le Bistro and Teppanyaki. As for drinks, went to the martini tastings (recipes were provided on the last tasting day) which were great. Others in our group tried the specialty drinks and they were usually quite happy with cocktails. Many in the group got globe shaped glass to take home. Refills in the same glass were a few dollars less. The chocolate buffet was another disappointment, especially after some of the resort ones I have been to. The architectural pieces, along with the NCL logoed piece were beautiful, but was a bit surprised on the basic selection of chocolate desserts. Many of the desserts were too large for a tasting menu. I ended up just taking a portion of the wedges or squares of a couple of desserts. Normally I would have bites to fill up a dinner plate, but only took a couple items. After eating at the French restaurant, we had various truffles in addition to our selected desserts....would have loved to see some of these truffles for tiny tastes at the buffet. I did speak to several people who had also been on other cruise lines and indicated that this sailing had the worse food in their experiences. One person commented on other lines there are spa options that detail out total calories per serving. (Of the couple fitness seminars I did attend, they explicitly mentioned that the average cruise weight gain is 7-14 pounds while passing around a 15 lb dumb bell). Knowing this data, surprised there isn't any cuisine to counter this statistic. BERMUDA We were told that people cruise for the ship or the itinerary and definitely for this, Bermuda is the star. Bermuda is absolutely gorgeous!!!!!. Day 1 - Royal Dockyard Sea Glass Beach and then to the popular Horseshoe Bay. I thought that everyone either rented scooters or got the 2 or 3 day transportation pass to get around the islands. A man approached me for the time as he indicated he needed to be back for his shuttle to the boat. He acknowledged that he found after he booked through the NCL (for $25/person to go to HSB) that there was better (and cheaper) ways to see BDA. HSB is a beautiful but crowded beach. The definite plus is the bath/shower facilities along with the food and beverages. For those that cannot walk far, there was a shuttle that would bring you back up to the bus stop for $2. We did a brief return visit to sea glass beach before heading to the ship. Bermuda Day 2 was definitely a trip to St. Georges, although there were 2 options getting there. 1) take bus into Hamilton which allowed us to see the day to day on the #8 bus, with people getting to work and kids going to school (boys and girls dressed well with uniforms and boys displaying proper manners by giving up their seats to older passengers). Transferring onto the #11 in Hamilton, we went by the Original Swizzle Inn and the airport as well as the Grotto Bay Resort (a potential place for our return). We arrived into downtown St. George around 9am. Others opted for the 10am ferry from DY, which is only about 45 minutes, getting to St. Georges around 10:45am. Alexandra Battery Park was a short taxi drive from King's Square. Not tons of glass here but lots of churning for smaller pieces than RDY. From ABP we ventured towards Fort St. Catherine then onto Tobacco Bay, another popular area (along with Horseshoe Bay) as it has great snorkeling and refreshments. Chickens and roosters were everywhere, including the dining area. From there, it is a hike up and down hill to get to downtown St. Georges with some pics of the unfinished church. The cooling AC was a welcome change at The Perfumery which had a brief video and tour before sampling some of the scents. St. Peter's Church was a few steps up but worth seeing the inside. The shops of Penno Wharf included The Island Shop where my feline buddy, Flea, hangs out. We also stopped into Kelly's Sea Glass shop where she has jewelry made from the local glass. She will even make something from a treasure that you have found. King's Square is fairly small so it is not an issue to check out all the shops/buildings that surround it, including the Town Hall. Deliverance, a full ship replica, is a short walk across a bridge onto Ordnance Island. Day 3 - We opted to stay on the South Shore on our final day. Our first stop was Church Bay, great for snorkeling.. Next was the Gibbs Lighthouse which was a short walk up hill before navigating the 185 steps up to the top. Great views of the island are definitely worth the trek. We needed to cool off, so we opted for another beach stop. Warwick Long Bay Beach is a great walking beach with very few people. There is a path linking to Horseshoe Bay so if you did need facilities you could walk the ~ half mile. Our next stop was to the SS location of the Swizzle Inn to try the famous Rum Swizzles. For the three of us, we were told that the half pitcher would be enough for a couple of glasses (small glasses, about 4-6 oz). This was enough for our group but others would probably opt for the full pitcher. For our last stop a quick visit to RDY Sea Glass beach and a brief visit to the shops at the DY and then back onto the ship!!! As a first time cruiser, we did not know that people got booed for being late onto the ship......those people really hustled...LOL!!! DEBARKATION Again, based on the advice on Cruise Critic, we opted to leisurely work-out, have breakfast and final pack. We wanted to do this also to have our rides avoid the early morning Boston commute, which in fact, worked for us. The later you do leave the ship though, you are also running into those who are preparing for the next sailing. SUMMARY Overall, we enjoyed our cruise on the Norwegian Dawn and would recommend it to those who do not want to fly to get to the ship. The cruise is an economical way to see Bermuda, especially if you are big eaters. For the little time we were on the island we did spend time in restaurants and local markets and could confirm the higher pricing of food items. Our group did agree that next time we would prefer to stay on island as one of our friends did who stayed in Hamilton Friday through Tuesday, seeing much more than we did. I appreciate all the information I received on various travel boards to help with a newbie cruiser as well as best utilize my time in absolutely gorgeous Bermuda. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Overall we had a great vacation on the Norwegian Dawn sailing to Bermuda on 9/2. We were informed on the first day that it was very likely we would leave Bermuda a day early due to Hurricane Katia but that didn't put a damper on our ... Read More
Overall we had a great vacation on the Norwegian Dawn sailing to Bermuda on 9/2. We were informed on the first day that it was very likely we would leave Bermuda a day early due to Hurricane Katia but that didn't put a damper on our cruise. The staff had plenty of time to plan activities for the extra sea day and it allowed us to have great weather throughout the cruise. EMBARKATION: Embarkation was very easy. We drove to the Black Falcon terminal and arrived around 11AM, parked, and it was a short walk from the parking garage to the terminal. There was no line for checking in and we were on the ship in about 30 minutes. As soon as you walked on the ship you could hear music playing and the cruise activity staff and crew was there dancing and welcoming you on. You definitely felt like you were on vacation! LIFE BOAT DRILL: The life boat drill was the quickest I've ever experienced. They didn't seem to wait for all the late passengers like they did on previous cruise lines I've been on which made it a lot less painful. Our muster station was also in the theater instead of having to stand outside on one of the decks so that probably made a difference too. ACTIVITIES/ENTERTAINMENT: There was always something to do on the boat and members in my group were big participants. We enjoyed trivia, scavenger hunts, the pub hop (beware you hit 5 bars in 45 minutes), the mystery dinner, Second City, poolside games, casino tournaments, and our favorite being all the game shows in the Spinnaker. We found most of the cruise activity staff to be great (Paul Scally, Ferdi, Derick, and Louis), they even remembered our names throughout the entire cruise. Don't miss the Dawn Crew show on the last day, this crew has talent! We didn't find the assistant cruise director to be very friendly (Megan). We played Bingo once but thought it was very slow, poorly organized, and too expensive ($40 for the cheapest package). STATEROOM: Since we were travelling with friends we knew we would barely be in our cabin so we booked an inside. Good choice since we left our cabin in the morning and didn't come back till late at night. The cabin was adequate, with plenty of storage for two people. The bathroom also had plenty of storage. The showers were the best showers I'd ever had on a cruise, almost the size of bath tub. Plenty of room! We didn't have any trouble with noise from other cabins above/below/or beside us...but our cabin did creak alot just from the movement of the boat. My only complaint was that I couldn't get out of bed and walk to the bathroom, I'd run right into a table. They could have designed that a little better. Also, if NCL is ever reading these reviews, could I suggest a light in the closet? SERVICE Overall, we had very good service. Our drinks and food were all brought in a timely fashion. Being in our cabin as little as we were, we never met our cabin steward. I left a note for him for a request and it was ignored the entire cruise. We did get a new towel animal every night which was fun. The bartenders around the Bimini bar were excellent. We only ordered room service for coffee in the morning but the service was great. We ordered using the card you can leave on the door the night before and the coffee arrived every morning 15 minutes earlier than the time we requested. I wish coffee got delivered to me every morning! FOOD/DRINKS Overall, the food was very good. The buffet was okay food as expected but the food in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants was excellent. We ate dinner at Agua, Moderno, Bamboo, and LaCucina. We tried breakfast at the Venetian but found the food to be the same food you could get at the buffet with inattentive service. Also, when in need of a snack try the wings at Blue Lagoon (the 24hr restaurant), they are yummy! However, we missed having a 24 hour buffet for when you wanted a late night snack. Blue Lagoon is a sit down with a menu sort of restaurant which isn't what you are usually looking for late at night. At least there is something available though. In addition to the food, part of the fun of a cruise vacation is trying the drinks of the day. My favorite was the dark and stormy (dark rum and ginger beer) but the others were all tasty too. SHIP We found the ship to be very clean, well maintained, and easy to get around. We thought the layout at the buffet was a 100 times better than the buffet layout on Royal Caribbeans Freedom of the Seas. You could easily get food, even made to order items, and find a place to sit unlike the zoo I experienced on the Freedom. I didn't go to the spa but the gym was nice with plenty of equipment in good shape. Even on sea days it wasn't crowded. The pool and pool area seemed really small. On our cruise it worked because I don't think we were a full ship and there weren't many kids. I imagine it being crazy during the peak sailing times. BERMUDA Bermuda was beautiful. The first day we rented scooters and headed to the crystal caves. They were really neat to see. The second day we spent the morning at Horseshoe Bay. The weather was great, but the waves and riptide were crazy due to the hurricane coming. It was fun playing in the waves. It was nice going to the beach in the morning because the crowds seemed to come by about 12:30pm when we were ready to go. DEBARKATION In theory, the freestyle debarkation process seemed like a good idea. You could either pick your time (out of about 4 groups) or just walk off with your luggage anytime. Well...the groups were too big and there was only one spot to exit creating a massive line to get off the ship. It seems like this would be an easy area to improve. If you park in the garage, just send one person up to get the car so you don't need to wait for an elevator. There's a spot to pick up passengers right outside the garage. SUMMARY Overall, we had a fun cruise sailing on the Norwegian Dawn and would recommend it. This was our first NCL cruise and we would consider sailing NCL again if the price and itinerary were right. We also enjoyed other cruise lines that we would sail with again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
NCL Dawn 9/16 - 9/23/11 Embarkation: Arrived at Black Falcon at 12:00 noon, kudos to NCL for a very smooth process. We were aboard and dining at the Venetian for lunch by 12:45pm. Room: Aft balcony room 10230 We booked ... Read More
NCL Dawn 9/16 - 9/23/11 Embarkation: Arrived at Black Falcon at 12:00 noon, kudos to NCL for a very smooth process. We were aboard and dining at the Venetian for lunch by 12:45pm. Room: Aft balcony room 10230 We booked this room because of the aft balcony. This balcony was 8' x 12' and made for an enjoyable week. The room was pretty small (same room size as regular balcony) and the big table they had in front of the sliding door we immediately moved out to the deck. It made it much easier to get in and out. The bathroom was odd to us. Yes the shower and toilet were private, each with their own sliding door, but to get into the toilet area was much too narrow. The closet space was adequate, and I felt a few more drawers would have been nice. Our room steward was awesome. Even though we didn't see him much, whenever I needed anything he was always there with a smile. Ship: The ship was pretty and very clean. The dining rooms were pretty and I loved all the windows in the Venetian. It was a bit odd getting to different areas, as some of the elevators made it impossible to get to certain locations, so you had to walk up one flight, go to a different part of the ship, then walk down a flight again. The pool was much too small for the amount of people. Lots of chairs, but pool was very crowded. The lounge, atrium, theatre and private dining areas were very nice as well. Food: Buffet: Great for breakfast, but lunch and dinner was very bland and not much of a variety. Venetian: We ate lunch and most dinners there, but the menu was very boring. After the 2nd day there wasn't much to choose from that you didn't already have. I think this is how NCL tries their best to have you try the other restaurants. We did go to Le Bistro which was excellent and Cagney's which was good too, but I still would have been more satisfied if the main dining room had more choices. Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of food in the Buffet area, but for the NCL food category, I'd rate it a 6 out of 10. Entertainment: Good! We enjoyed 2nd city and the different entertainers that were in the lounges. We did miss a few shows so I can't comment on anything else. Bermuda: Love it! Horseshoe bay is our favorite! Weather was perfect and the waves were just right! Word to the wise: One of our friends rented a scooter and during broad daylight, he and is girlfriend were driving through Hamilton, they had slowed down with the traffic, and someone rode up behind them in a scooter and cut through their pack with a knife and stole everything in their bag (All their cash, camera, cell phones, license's) He then proceeded to take off and even though another person tried to catch up to him, he got away. Be careful, keep your valuables in front of you. Sadly, this is happening more frequently these days in Bermuda I'm told. Dis embarkation: We got our luggage tags for 9:40am. This was more than perfect. We were off the ship before 9:30 and in our taxi by 10:am. (they misplaced our luggage or we would have been in the taxi sooner) I was very impressed with their smooth process here too. We had a wonderful time, NCL Dawn was a nice ship with a very nice staff. I would sail her again, but wish more cruise lines would go to Bermuda out of Boston. Happy Sailing! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We chose this cruise for a nice fall getaway. Overall the cruise was a pleasant one, albeit not a spectacular one. Embarkation was a smooth process. Were able to have lunch in the dining room. The weather cooperated on the first sea day ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a nice fall getaway. Overall the cruise was a pleasant one, albeit not a spectacular one. Embarkation was a smooth process. Were able to have lunch in the dining room. The weather cooperated on the first sea day and remained nice for most of the cruise. Liked the hot tub but were disappointed with the pool. It was rather small and usually crowded. The usual complaints about people depositing their towels and belongings on the deck chairs and not showing up until much later. If they state they have a policy why do they do not enforce it? Saw some people smoking in the hot tuband nothing was done about it. One deck steward did bring a plastic mug for someone in the hot tub who was drinking beer from a bottle? We had a mini-suite with balcony. Great service from the cabin steward. I must say that the balcony was not the cleanest but I suppose it is difficult to keep them clean. We usually ate in the dining room. Lunch and breakfast menus were the same each day. We are not great fans of free style cruising because you have different waiters each time. When we did ask for a particular team of stewards, we were told that section was full if they were able to locate them. Unlike other cruise ships we were never asked if we wanted to join others or have others join us. We enjoy getting to meet people this way. Food was on the whole good but certainly not outstanding. Personnel were very friendly and helpful. Entertainment was very good to downright awful. Bolywood was certainly spectacular. The comedian was crude and the jokes were in poor taste. We were tempted to walk out. Stay in Bermuda was very nice. Great transportation system and we took full advantage of our 3-day pass. People were very friendly and helpful. As we are not American citizens we had to wait in a huge lineup to clear customs on board the ship. Stood in line for over an hour. We chose to walk off the ship with our luggage in tow. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I first off have to say that after you are on a large ship, anything smaller is probably going to feel a bit disappointing. The Dawn has been newly redecorated, it was nice although I was surprised the windows were dirty when we got on ... Read More
I first off have to say that after you are on a large ship, anything smaller is probably going to feel a bit disappointing. The Dawn has been newly redecorated, it was nice although I was surprised the windows were dirty when we got on ship and even after being in port for 3 days in Bermuda they were still all spotted. The other thing that surprised me was the dirt that was in the light fixture in the elevators - I think it took 3 days for that to be cleaned. The inside cabin was small but the shower was a good size as was the bath area - we had no complaints there except the plug did not work - so we only had one working plug - not good when you are charging so many things every night. We enjoyed the shows - only missed the V show to go on a night glass bottom boat tour (which I would not recommend) didn't see much of anything. The food was good - Le Bistro was wonderful - well worth the money - we also ate at Cagneys which was good. There is plenty of food to pick from - the Venetian was our favorite dining room - did not like the Aqua = The luggage getting to our room was a problem - although we checked in at noon - I did not get my last piece of luggage till 8 at night - they dribbled in piece by piece which was weird as they all came on at the same time. Also our one piece of luggage was badly damaged during this time. There were plenty of seats on deck - the pool is small but adequate - Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was our 2nd cruise from Boston to Bermuda, the last being on the NCL Dream which docked in St-Georges. The Dawn is a much newer and bigger ship so it has to dock at the Dockyard. I prefer St-Georges but no big deal! Embarkation was ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise from Boston to Bermuda, the last being on the NCL Dream which docked in St-Georges. The Dawn is a much newer and bigger ship so it has to dock at the Dockyard. I prefer St-Georges but no big deal! Embarkation was very quick and easy. We ate breakfast and lunch either Blue Lagoon or the dining room, no complaints here. Dinner always in the dining room and again no complaints here. Food wasn't amazing but certainly fine. I would give food a 7.5/10. The shows were all fantastic! Loved Second City, David Heenan and the regular shows. We missed Bollywood because we had a long drive ahead of us the next day but heard it was great. Best entertainment we have seen on a cruise to date! Inside cabin deck 11 was fine too. Here are my dislikes: The ship has 1 outdoor pool only that is very noisy. My wife and I prefer a quieter area and the indoor pool is in the spa at an extra charge. Not right! Ditto for the sauna and steamroom. Of 15 or so cruises I have been on, there always was a 2nd quieter pool and steamroom to use at no charge. As well, there is very little outdoor areas in the shade. The quiet zone was not at all quiet and no shade. NO smoke free casino night a big turn off! In summary, we enjoyed having no schedule in Bermuda. All staff were extremely friendly. Disembarkation back in Boston was great! All in all a great cruise and we will do it again next year! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Chose NCL Dawn due the convenience of sailing directly from Boston. Was pleasantly surprised at how my expectations were excelled day after day. Embarkation was a breeze, parked in the garage around 11:30 and was on the ship ... Read More
Chose NCL Dawn due the convenience of sailing directly from Boston. Was pleasantly surprised at how my expectations were excelled day after day. Embarkation was a breeze, parked in the garage around 11:30 and was on the ship enjoying a beverage about noon time! Cruise Director Paul Scally was outstanding, right away he had the ship rocking as we left port in Boston, and he never stopped. He had a laughing and smiling all the time. His staff was outstanding as well, with the exception of Megan, who was just OK. We chose to eat dinner at La Cucina the first night, since my wife is a vegetarian we did not opt for any of the other Specialty restaurants. The dinner was fine, but no better than the Venetian or the Aqua in my opinion. We were wary about Freestyle dining, but found it was nice not having to eat at a specific time. We dressed up for dinner each night, and found the Dress Code in the Venetian better for this. The entree portions were kind of small, but I would order an additional appetizer or dessert each night. I was not disappointed in any meals throughout the week. We went to all the Evening Shows in the Theatre. They were all good, our Favorites were Bollywood and Second City. Least favorite by far was Dave Heenan, he had some funny moments, but I think I would rather listen to him sing. Also - do not miss the show put on by the staff on the next to the last day, it is a must see. Bermuda was awesome, first time visiting, and can not wait to go back. We were planning on Parasailing, but it was not available due to equipment malfunction. We opted to try the Segway Tour. It was a great tour and a fun time, I highly recommend it. We bought the Thermal Spa passes, which was worth the money, as we had the opportunity to use semi-private hot tubs and pool, and just chill out and recharge when needed. My wife did some spa treatments which she gives high praise to. The gym was well equipped with machines that were all in working order. We found the Fitness Director Mark to be a bit of a dud though. The game shows in the Spinnaker lounge were a hoot, especially when Paul Scally is hosting. We are not Bingo players, but played the last night. It was fun. Someone won a 7 night cruise, another lady won $10,000! The only negative I can give this cruise is all the cigarette smoking. The casino was overwhelmingly smoky, and smoking was allowed on all decks. I feel that they should limit the areas that smoking is allowed, so non-smokers can avoid second hand smoke more easily. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Let me start by sayin that NCL has great FAMILY AMENTITIES and this is why my family chose NCL. We are a family of 4, 2 adults a 2 year old and 3 year old. We usually travel to Jamaica every year and stay at Beaches Negril but this year we ... Read More
Let me start by sayin that NCL has great FAMILY AMENTITIES and this is why my family chose NCL. We are a family of 4, 2 adults a 2 year old and 3 year old. We usually travel to Jamaica every year and stay at Beaches Negril but this year we opted to cruise on NCL Dawn to Bermuda. After researching Bermuda and the Dawn it seemed like a great plan. The children can go to the shows, the tex rex pool area is great for parents and children, we ate at the Venetian every night.... fine dining at its best and yes I took my children. Now let me say this my children are young and yes they got a little energetic at times but...I recived many compliments and was approached numerous times about my children being so well behaved sooo.... That being said, If YOU ARE A PERSON WHO DOESNT LIKE CHILDREN THIS CRUISE IS NOT FOR YOU!!!!!! This is a very family friendly cruiseline and cruise. Pay the extra and go on an adult only cruise. My children were yelled at by a woman that was on board with a dog! Yes we were at a show and kids were excited to see a dog. The show hadnt started and we left show because she was rude and arogant. The following day I saw the woman and approached her to address the matter, she began to yell and scream and accuse me of pushing her. Thank god for witnesses this woman was absolutely insane she kept yelling that she was on vacation and that I needed to raise my kids right! Again to my point... IF YOU DONT LIKE KIDS THIS IS NOT THE VACATION FOR YOU!!! They are everywhere shows, pool, restaraunts, hallways and bathrooms. Aside from this the Garden cafe was ok tended to be the same food. The Venetian was top notch and dont be afraid to take your children they can go also they have a kids menu. We were on deck 12 with the best butler Orlando, I will miss him dearly. We had a penthose suite that was unbelievable. The shows were great dont miss Bollywood! All in all it was a great cruise except for the rude intolerable people. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Background: We are a young family with mom in between jobs which gave us this specific time in late August to travel. We had been on the Norwegian Majesty once before and were totally unimpressed which made me swear off NCL. Well, then we ... Read More
Background: We are a young family with mom in between jobs which gave us this specific time in late August to travel. We had been on the Norwegian Majesty once before and were totally unimpressed which made me swear off NCL. Well, then we wanted to take our 11 month old with us somewhere and figured the anytime dining and more casual atmosphere of NCL might be worth another shot. Overall, our experience with NCL was definitely better this time, but there was just enough wrong with it that I will stick to our other two favorite cruise lines from now on. Hotel info: Boston hotels are pricey! We stayed in the Bulfinch hotel for 2 nights prior to our cruise in the north part of downtown which was conveniently within walking distance of most major tourist destinations while being in a reasonably quiet area. We stayed in a king "suite" which was about $220 a night (including taxes). Au Bon Pain was literally a block away providing a good, cheap breakfast. They provided a pack and play for the infant. Travel to Port of Embarkation: On check out day, we were offered use of their transport van to take us to the pier for $25 for the family and luggage. Given the amount of luggage we had and the car seat, we happily obliged. We had a great, friendly driver and were glad we chose that option. Embarkation: We arrived to the pier around noon and it was very busy with a very long line to drop off luggage with the porters. I've never seen anything like it. I was hoping after we dropped off our luggage we'd be done with most of the waiting, but we still waited a while to actually check in. Definitely a weak spot overall in our cruise. Ship info: The Dawn is a very pretty ship, but she has a few flaws. So much of the public areas have been taken up with restaurants that there really isn't enough public room area for everyone. Most of the public rooms are in the middle of the ship meaning that there are no public room areas with good outside views. Generally, the Lido deck was always so painfully crowded that we only went there in the mornings on port days. The buffet was so crowded in the mornings and at lunch that we usually avoided it. Fellow passengers: These were mostly families from the New England and Massachusetts area. There were about 800 kids onboard and you could tell it, too. I will not cruise again during summer break. Most of the kids were generally well behaved but sometimes you would see groups of loud kids wandering about who were way too young to be doing so unsupervised. I don't know how else to say this without sounding really snobbish, but the crowd was a kind of Jersey Shore-ish. Loud, badly tattooed, badly dressed, and overall uncouth. There were people who showed up to the buffet without bathing suit coverups and who showed up in bathrobes. Kids Programs: There was no formal program for the under 2 crowd but they do have an Under 2 Zoo which is basically a big playroom with play mats on the floor and lots of toys. It looks like a standard day care room. We were very grateful to bring our son there so he could crawl around and have different toys to play with each day. We only saw 2 other families utilizing the space the whole week, so I hope NCL continues this. Entertainment: This is where NCL shines. The entertainment was great. Obviously we were limited in what we could see due to having an infant with us, and much of the entertainment was quite late at night which is the only reason I give them a 5 instead of a 5+. Second City was very funny, and we enjoyed the Who's the Boss game show which is like the newlywed game between parents and kids. We enjoyed the evening music in the Spinnaker. Dining: I was pleasantly surprised by how good the dining was compared to our last cruise in some ways but was disappointed in other ways. We tried 2 specialty restaurants: La Cucina and Bamboo. My husband had diarrhea, and I vomited after eating at La Cucina. Bamboo had great appetizers, soups, and desserts, but the entrees were seriously no different than what we could have had at the buffet. I mean, they were exactly the same. The buffet for dinner was generally better than expected, especially the make your own pasta bar, pizza, and fondue, and was not too busy. We ate breakfast in the main dining room most days. Lunch was all over the place. Blue Lagoon was pretty good. We enjoyed the tomato soup in particular. The changing dinner menu in the MDR was good but definitely limited. No doubt, NCL is really trying to push people into the specialty restaurants at night which really isn't fair given how much they charge for cruise fare. Service: Could not have asked for better. The staff work so hard and were so obliging to every request. The really doted over our son. I have only praise in this area. Disembarkation: This was only slightly better than embarkation. If you didn't have the earliest color luggage tags called, it probably took quite a while to get off. Definitely plan to walk your own stuff off or get the early luggage tags. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was our first time on the Dawn, we were not very happy with several things. The cruise itself was great. 1st of all, I give the Captain all the credit in the world. He was able to set sail and get us to Bermuda without feeling any ... Read More
This was our first time on the Dawn, we were not very happy with several things. The cruise itself was great. 1st of all, I give the Captain all the credit in the world. He was able to set sail and get us to Bermuda without feeling any of the effects from Hurricane Irene. He took us way out to see and then darted south at full speed to get us to Bermuda on schedule. Great job. What we weren't too happy about was the layout of the ship. It seemed that when you wanted to get some place, you had to go up or down a deck, then go outside, then back inside, and then back to the deck you wanted to get to. It got frustrating cuz it was easy to get lost. Another thing we didn't like was being on deck 11, we were right under the jogging track. So we were woken very early in the morning by the pitter patter of joggers above us. The only other issue we had with the ship, and they could do nothing about this, was that we had what could be described as the BANCHEE KIDS FROM HELL in cabins on both sides of us The food was phenomenal!! We went to every restaurant on board, a couple of them more than once. We were most impressed with the Modesto. More food than you could possible imagine and it was the best. The drinks were good too. We went to all 3 martini tastings. 5 martinis in 1 hour...holy crap did we walk away with a buzz. ha ha ha. We tried new drinks to. Ones that we never would have tried any where else. Entertainment was good. The 2nd City Players were funny as could be. They had some skits that were so funny and good. I would recommend that if you sail the Dawn that you don't miss their shows. I suppose that i would go again on the Dawn. The good times outweighed the problems we had. I guess the old saying applies...a bad day on a cruise is still better than a good day at work. Have fun. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
For our sixth cruise, and second on NCL, my partner and I sailed Norwegian Dawn on its August 12th itinerary from Boston to Heritage Wharf, Bermuda. We wholeheartedly embrace the concept that cruises, like people, are inherently imperfect, ... Read More
For our sixth cruise, and second on NCL, my partner and I sailed Norwegian Dawn on its August 12th itinerary from Boston to Heritage Wharf, Bermuda. We wholeheartedly embrace the concept that cruises, like people, are inherently imperfect, so the expectation of a totally flawless journey is unreasonable. Park the attitude at the dock, roll with the punches, and set your sights on having a fantastic time! In comparison to Celebrity's Fort Lauderdale embarkation process, NCL's in Boston was at first glimpse an exercise in utter chaos. Somehow it all worked, however, and within 30 minutes of our arrival, we were seated comfortably in the VIP lounge -- signed, sealed and delivered. The lounge was a nice touch, affording suite guests a respite from the madness outside, not to mention a small buffet of sandwiches, snacks, cookies and juices. Let the gluttony begin! While we appreciate priority boarding for suite guests, we think NCL does its crew a disservice by allowing passengers access to their staterooms before they are ready. We were escorted to suite 10500 only to find the room in disarray and the narrow corridor littered with dirty linens, trash bags and cleaning materials. Our stateroom attendant, already hard at work, was clearly embarrassed, as we were for her. We excused ourselves and told her we would return later, and she was obviously grateful for the courtesy. We understand everyone is excited to get aboard, but allowing the crew a little extra time would cause no one any hardship and ease what is already a very stressful day. The Dawn is a beautiful ship and appears to have emerged from its recent dry dock with most of its age-related idiosyncrasies cured. There was not a drip or a bucket to be found, and while it was easy to discern the old from the new, the ship was clean and in mostly good condition. An exception was our suite on deck ten forward, tucked under the bridge. Except for two new chaise lounges on the veranda, our stateroom had not benefited from the recent refurbishment and it showed. Carpets and upholstery exhibited wear, the lamp shades were soiled, one of two small safes was inoperable and would not close, and toilet seat was stained and chipped to the point of distraction. The safe and toilet seat remained unattended all week despite our requests for repair. We might add that while storage space was abundant, it came at the expense of the bathroom, which was the smallest we have encountered in a suite at this price point. Navigating the tight bathroom/closet area demanded contortion skills neither of us possessed, particularly if we attempted entry simultaneously. On the other hand, the bed was one of the most comfortable we have experienced anywhere. Kudos to NCL for not skimping on comfort! Our suite came equipped with a small refrigerator brimming with sodas and single-serving bottles of alcohol, and a fully-stocked coffee bar with an espresso/cappuccino machine. Curiously, we were charged for every item removed from the refrigerator but countless rounds of espresso were apparently gratis. There was a clear difference in food quality and service between the specialty restaurants and other eating venues on board, but all were, at worst, acceptable. Cagney's Steakhouse performed double duty as a dedicated breakfast and lunch spot for suite guests, while serving as a reservations-only Chicago-style chop house at night. The food in Cagney's and the other specialty restaurants was exceptional and well worth the minimal up-charge. We found Venetian and Aqua, the main dining rooms, to be comparatively modest by cruise ship standards, and their menus were redundant and uninspired. We are still trying to equate with Bermuda the "chef's regional speciality" of Mexican Meatballs. Few ships afloat are known for their entertainment offerings, but in that department Dawn excelled. The young troupe of singers, dancers and aerialists were highly entertaining, and the appearance of The Second City and its offbeat humor was a great juxtaposition to the usual cruise ship fare. Yes, there were the requisite comedian and magician, both forgettable, but the lounge singers were excellent and appeared to find a loyal following. A highlight was cruise director, Paul Scally, who will undoubtedly land an entertainment career all his own in short order. We encountered two examples of crew indifference, although neither would hinder us from a future NCL cruise and, likewise, neither reflected on the crew as a whole. People have bad days, and while we were offended at the time, we offered suggestions to NCL and promptly got over it. Otherwise, we found the Dawn crew to be congenial, attentive, tireless and perpetually smiling, and we trust our fellow passengers were similarly impressed. It goes without saying that Bermuda is a gem of the Atlantic, and we encourage cruise passengers to explore her thoroughly and experience all she has to offer. To limit your experience to the Naval Dockyard, as many people did, denies you the joy of experiencing the people and culture of this beautiful island. We only scratched the surface and look forward to returning to Bermuda someday. We would certainly do so on the Dawn without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was our first cruise on NCL having cruised before on Princess, HAL and Cunard. In sum, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would recommend NCL. The best part of the trip was the staff who are, in one word, phenomenal. We had ... Read More
This was our first cruise on NCL having cruised before on Princess, HAL and Cunard. In sum, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would recommend NCL. The best part of the trip was the staff who are, in one word, phenomenal. We had mainly Filipino wait-staff as well as Indian, Jamaican, Romanian and Peruvian. The staff were warm, wonderful, welcoming us at every turn. We read before our cruise on this forum that staff would ask if we were having a good day (or wish us one) and that they meant it; sure enough they did! How NCL trains and motivates their staff to be so friendly, without being intrusive, is beyond us, but we will return, if for nothing else, because of the way in which we were treated which was like royalty! The food in the Main Dining Room (MDR) and buffet, as we had read previously on the forum, was fair to good, nothing great except for the specialty restaurants of which we went to the Brazilian steakhouse and the French bistro, both of which were very good. Our only complaint was that the lunch menu in the MDR never changed (but it had our favorites so we returned time and time again) and that the dress code in the MDR of no shorts or baseball caps was not enforced at dinner. We liked very much NCL's Free Style so we could eat dinner whenever we wanted in the MDR and could dress casually, but come on fellow pax, the venue is gorgeous with white tablecloths and linen napkins, (electric) candles, ocean views, beautiful murals on the walls and soft piano music -- if you want to wear a tee shirt, shorts, flip-flops and keep your baseball cap on while you eat, then go to the buffet or the other dining room which is far more informal and let the rest of us enjoy the special surroundings of the MDR, please! Even the kids (of which there were many) were well-dressed (and well-behaved) in the MDR. As previous critics on this forum have pleaded, NCL, please, enforce your own dress code in the MDR to make it a memorable experience for the vast majority of us who want a special night out! The theater is amazing -- huge, with comfortable seats. We enjoyed 2 of the 3 dance/singing shows, left after a few minutes of the ordinaire magic show, and skipped the comedian all together. Each to their own, but there certainly is a variety of entertainment from which to choose. Not to be missed is the Dawn's staff show which was even better than the professional shows (kudos again to NCL for hiring and supporting an amazing staff). We did not utilize the pool (small) or hot tubs (plentiful, but crowded) or casino (which looked quite nice) nor participate in the art auction which, to our pleasant surprise compared to other cruise lines, was quite unobtrusive. Lots of pre-dinner time, posed picture taking which presented an obstacle course to navigate around in the Atrium, but was fun for people-watching. We liked being able to walk around outside on the promenade deck (6) and, especially, the two uppermost decks (12 and 13) to work off all the food we ate and even stopped a few times to play ping pong, shuffle board, giant checkers (they have a giant chess set too) and even basketball (we skipped the golf). There is also a video arcade next to the teen/kids area for more things to do. While the Dawn is not a luxurious ship with fancy public areas and fresh flowers found on some other cruise lines, we thought the layout very functional and interesting. The ship never seemed crowded and as we wandered the ship we could often find music to listen to without having to sit in a lounge (and have a drink). We spend a lot of time on our computers (we run our own business) and had no real problems with the Internet. WiFi in our cabin with a strong signal which was slow once during the cruise and the Internet Manager adjusted our bill for the problem. We chose Cabin 9170 in part for its location on the same deck as the Internet Cafe since we could not tell in advance from the NCL Website about the availability of WiFI in each cabin. Our cabin location was ideal, close to amidships and not too high so the ship's rolling was not bad at all despite Hurricane Irene chasing us up the east coast as we headed for flank speed to Bermuda from Boston. The cabin itself, while small, was totally adequate for our needs. The furnishings seemed dated but we liked having a flat screen TV which received a couple of cable channels (MSNBC and FOX) throughout the trip. Normally we might not have cared about cable TV, but since we wanted to track Hurricane Irene we were thankful to have the cable TV channels for outside news. We liked the layout of the cabin and bathroom and, especially, the sliding doors for the balcony and shower. We did not do any NCL shore excursions, preferring to find our own way ashore. The Fitness Center equipment (tread mills, elliptical machines and exercise bikes) was plentiful and mostly working, and we never had a wait to use their equipment. We used the spa once for massages and facials which was expensive but worth it as a treat. We bought the "6 to 8 bottles of wine for 20% off" special on embarkation day; we like to have wine with dinner and the selection was excellent, albeit prices were high as you would expect on a cruise ship, unfortunately (but, hey, they have to make money somehow and NCL's cost is reasonable to begin with). We did not like, as previous forum members have complained, having no choice but to pay $12 per day per pax for tips; we prefer the option offered by other cruise lines of being able to opt out of automatic gratuities so we can tip individuals directly. We went out of our way to fill out Guest Comment cards for a half-dozen of the staff who we thought were really exemplary. You can get these Guest Comment cards at the 'front desk' if you ask for them; we were told by a few of the staff that they are rewarded by NCL for receiving complimentary guest comments so we felt it was the least we could do for being treated so wonderfully by such seemingly unselfish and caring staff. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
I'm hoping to save other people from booking this cabin. I did look online and one web page said this cabin is ok-no problems. That's not the case since it is right above the Lounge where music and dancing go on every night till ... Read More
I'm hoping to save other people from booking this cabin. I did look online and one web page said this cabin is ok-no problems. That's not the case since it is right above the Lounge where music and dancing go on every night till 3AM and later! Aside from that, the cruise was lots of fun. When we arrived at Black Falcon Pier, it looked kind of crazy with long lines and lots of luggage. We were processed and on board in under an hour. Happy Happy! I have to say at the outset that the staff on the Dawn are terrific. I know I read some criticism on here in previous reviews, but we have nothing but good things to say about our room steward Anton and every department we interacted with. I have to be honest and say that we still like the Constellation better, but would consider NCL again just because we were treated so well. For anyone considering this cruise, if you are from New England, going on a cruise without having to fly somewhere is totally stressless. I'd do it again without question. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Sailed out of Boston to Bermuda 8/5 - 8/12. I'm just your average Joe, so here is my review. Embarkation Just a few words to describe...easy, quick, a breeze. We were a party of 11 and were dropped off at the dock. ... Read More
Sailed out of Boston to Bermuda 8/5 - 8/12. I'm just your average Joe, so here is my review. Embarkation Just a few words to describe...easy, quick, a breeze. We were a party of 11 and were dropped off at the dock. Porters met us and wheeled all of our luggage (about 18 pieces) onto the ship. We made it through customs to the check in, we sat for a few minutes until our number was called. Within 35 minutes of arriving, we were eating lunch on board in the Garden Cafe...nice. Food The food on the Dawn was excellent. We had lunch daily at the buffet and mostly had dinner at either Venetian or Aqua. Venetian had a much better atmosphere. Be prepared to put your name in and wait...most nights we waited about 45 minutes to sit, but there was 11 of us. We tried La Cucina one night at $10 per. The food there was outstanding as well as the service. The Garden Cafe was great anytime of the day. Selections were repetitive, but there was a large variety. If you don't buy the soda card, the drink selections are limited to water, iced tea, OJ and apple juice. Apple juice only available in the a.m. Staff The staff on board was hit or miss. Our cabin steward was nothing special, we had to beg for towels. For some reason in a cabin for four people, he would only put 2 towels.... why I don't know. Getting the striped pool towels was like trying to pull teeth. The wait staff in the "free" dining areas was mediocre, nothing special. At La Cucina the wait staff however were very good. I understand that it must be difficult to be nice, attentive and smile at everyone all of the time. It must be hard to be away from family and work 9-12 hours a day, 7 days a week for 9 months...I get it. Ship The ship is beautiful. I read many negative comments before we went about how difficult it was to get around. I somewhat have to agree. The ship seems a little chopped up to me. At some points it seemed we had to go up to get down. There is one area where you have to walk through a restaurant to get to the theatre. We did get used to it very quickly though, and had no problems. On a nice sea day (we had 4 of them) the pool is way too small. Most times we were shoulder to shoulder and couldn't swim. Unfortunately we were forced to become chair hogs, sorry. If you didn't claim your spot by 8:30am or so, forget about getting a chair. We learned this quickly after the first day. Though there is signs posted everywhere stating you cannot reserve a chair for more than 30 minutes, the staff did not enforce. But again, the ship is beautiful. We stayed on deck 8 in an outside cabin. Our stateroom was very comfy. The entire ship was very clean and pleasing to the eye. Activities There was always something to do on board. The magician was awesome, he made a helicopter appear on stage. Whenever you can get a helicopter inside of a ship, that's a bonus. The comedian Dan or Dave Heenan was not funny to me, but there were people who were laughing. The Caribbean Wave band that played island and reggae music was awesome. The nightly singers/piano player in the lobbies and lounges was a treat. Bingo was played about everyday...woohoo. Our group was partial to the Casino. We didn't come out ahead, but duh. We had fun. The cruise director Johnny Sanchez seemed up beat and was visible throughout the week. There were so many other things going on like the Newlywed game, name that tune, Band on the run. Lots to do. Bermuda Absolutely a beautiful island. Here's a tip....If you are getting a 3 day bus/ferry pass; do not get in line in the customs area just off the ship. Hook a left and head to the middle of the pier, you will see a small white trailer, no lines no wait. Day 1 we took the bus to Horseshoe Bay beach. This beach was absolutely the nicest we had ever seen. Excellent body surfing and snorkeling. Also enjoyed the cliff jumping at high tide...awesome. Lunch, restrooms and chair/umbrella rental available. Day 2 we went to Elbow beach...it is beautiful but there are no facilities there that we could see like HS Bay. We hopped back on the bus and went back to Horseshoe Beach. Day 3 we did a glass bottom boat ride and shopping. Be prepared some of the bus drivers are nice and some are not, but whatever no big deal. We loved Bermuda. Disembarkation Again, a breeze. Very orderly and simple...we had no problems getting off the ship. Some final thoughts. We probably wont take a freestyle cruise again, it just wasn't for us. I would rather payout my tips for those that deserve it. I feel since the stewards/staff automatically get their tip, they do not go the extra mile. We sailed on the Disney Wonder in '09 and liked the fact that the waiters knew our name (this obviously is not the only reason). But overall, the NCL Dawn was a beautiful ship with excellent food and so-so service....we had a blast. I would give it an 8 out of 10. Thanks for reading my review! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My husband and I cruised to Bermuda in July 2011 on the Norwegian Dawn. This was a 7 day cruise out of Boston. Our cruise experience has been with Royal Caribbean (6), Celebrity (2), Norwegian (2), and Carnival (1). This was our second ... Read More
My husband and I cruised to Bermuda in July 2011 on the Norwegian Dawn. This was a 7 day cruise out of Boston. Our cruise experience has been with Royal Caribbean (6), Celebrity (2), Norwegian (2), and Carnival (1). This was our second time on Norwegian Dawn. The updates to the ship were not all that apparent to us and I would still say that the ship is beautiful, but shows signs of age. There were a lot of children on board since it was summer vacation, but the ship is large and it never seemed crowded. Embarking (getting on the ship): Very smooth! The sail departure time was 4 p.m., but we arrived at the dock at 10:00 a.m. and were allowed on the ship at 11:00 a.m. Our cabin was ready by 2 p.m. In case you have a bright idea to go for a swim when you arrive on the ship, be sure to carry a change of clothing with you. If you don't, you'll be sitting in wet clothes until your suitcase arrives which ends up being around 3 p.m. or so. Cabins: Our cabin was smaller than any we've had on our past cruises. Two twin beds were made into a king-size bed and it was very comfortable. The room was attractive and clean. There were new flat screen televisions in the cabin, but it got very few channels. We had one major complaint about this cruise and it was our cabin choice. On all previous cruises we have booked mid-ship balconies. On this cruise, we decided to try an aft balcony for the first time and it was the worst cabin decision we ever made. Our cabin, #8176, was above the Spinnaker Lounge. There was very loud music playing there every night until 3 a.m.! All the reviews I had read about this particular cabin, never mentioned how loud things would be there. The music was either a live band or a DJ. It didn't matter because it was horrible and we did not get much sleep. Unless you like to party until the wee hours, I urge you not to book an aft cabin on deck 8 of this ship. Another thing nobody mentioned about this particular cabin is that when you have an aft balcony, you do not hear the soothing sounds of ocean waves like on a mid-ship balcony. You hear the sounds of a waterfall which is the noise we decided to call the water coming from the propellers on the back of the ship. The shower in the bathroom was very large and had glass doors which was nice. On the other side of the shower was a sink. The toilet had its own enclosure. Warning to large people: do not torture yourself by booking a cabin on this ship. I do not exaggerate when I say you are a few inches of the wall on all sides of the toilet area. Buffets: There was very little change in the food choice from one day to the next. The food was not bad, but it was not great either. It was acceptable and nothing more. There were only a few dessert choices every night and it was either mousse, flan, or pie of some sort. Nothing very creative. Specialty Restaurants: We ate at the Teppanyaki restaurant one night ($25 per person) and I would not recommend it unless you have never been to that kind of restaurant before. The food was nothing special and neither was the presentation of the chefs. We also tried the Italian restaurant ($10 per person) and I can't say I would recommend that either. Not that it was bad, but nothing exceptional. Main Dining Room: We ate in the Venetian which was very nice. Because of freestyle dining, there were no assigned dinner times. We liked that. I would recommend eating in the main dining room. Tipping: Something annoying that Norwegian does is charge you $12.50 per person, per day for tips. You have no choice, but to pay it because they add it to your bill and will not remove it by request like some other cruise lines will do. Cruise Activities: There were not a lot of activities to do compared to other cruises we have been on. Ports of Call - Bermuda. We went to Horseshoe Bay Beach which was really beautiful and not crowded like I imagined it would be since everyone we talked to seemed to say they were going there. I would definitely recommend this beach since they have bathrooms, umbrella and chair rentals, as well as snacks, soda, and alcohol there. We took the bus both ways for a total cost of under $8 per person, roundtrip. You can buy bus tokens when you get off the ship. Disembarking (leaving the ship): Great! Disembarking went smoothly. We especially liked that we didn't have to leave the cabin until were were ready to disembark. No sitting in a holding area like other ships have made us do. Overall Cruise Comments: We will definitely cruise again in the future, and would consider Norwegian again. Overall, the cruise experience itself was great, but I have never been on a cruise that I didn't think was great! In my opinion, there is no such thing as a bad cruise! If you have any questions about my experience, please feel free to email me at d w 3 3 3 3 (at) yahoo (dot) com. No spaces between any letters or numbers in the email address. Happy cruising! Deb Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We left at end of July and cruise was pleasant insofar as water and weather. We thought the buffet food was pretty much fair and sort of a slight upscale of cafeteria food. The food in the free restaurants (Aqua and Venetian)barely ever ... Read More
We left at end of July and cruise was pleasant insofar as water and weather. We thought the buffet food was pretty much fair and sort of a slight upscale of cafeteria food. The food in the free restaurants (Aqua and Venetian)barely ever changed in menus, though somewhat understandable out at sea. But sea or not, they should try to set up a few changes in the restaurant offerings every day or so.The ship did not even provide free soda..you pay for virtually everything you drink except restaurant water, coffee, tea, and morning juice. One thing we did not find convenient was the lack of a common sit-down area where one could relax without being inundated with drink request at about $7-$8 each! Every place you go they really push drinks, even in the "theater" where getting those drinks to people is a very awkward task in trying to pass drinks in the crowd. So, watch the drinks, they add up before you know it. Our steward was good, though he never really knew our names. Most of crew is Filipino but they do work hard. The ship was very clean and cleanliness seemed to be a top priority. One thing we definitely did not like was that the casino permits smoking and people sit at machines with their ashtrays in hand. They should definitely ban smoking in that casino as they do in restaurants. Another big money-maker is photos. They are forever shooting photos and you can buy them at very inflated prices. Not much on TV for kids or even adults other than news and an occasional aged movie. Comedian was not that good. Magician was entertaining and piano player and singer in Atrium lounge were good. Getting off and on the ship was very easy both in Bermuda and Boston. Of course, don't try to bring your own wine bottles aboard unless you don't mind paying $15 each bottle for corking fee. And by all means, don't give your underage kids any alcohol- we saw one couple in big trouble on arrival back in Boston for doing that (security and police). I think the ship needs a few more "senior" activities. Forget Bingo - it's a minimum of $40 to play. Shops on board are pretty good, but again watch that "magic card" charge - you may find a huge charge bill when done cruising if you don't keep track. Ours was almost $1000 ! It adds up FAST and they depend on that happening! If you have prepaid that infamous $12/day tip, be sure you go to the counter in ship in Atrium to tell them or else they will add another $12/day to your account. Seems silly - that should be automatic, but you need to do it or argue later. As far as the pool area, we sat there but were reluctant to go in...as "public" pools can be questionable, at least for us, insofar as health issues. The one thing that bothered us was that we always felt slightly "guilty" sitting down in any area inside the ship as they would ask you if you wanted a drink and sitting without drinking was a bit awkward at times. They should really set aside an area for that. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
12 of us boarded the Norwegian Dawn July 2011 for my dad's 80th birthday celebration. I must be fair and say that my family of 4 (2 kids now 13 and 15)went on the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas, over a year ago. The newest, ... Read More
12 of us boarded the Norwegian Dawn July 2011 for my dad's 80th birthday celebration. I must be fair and say that my family of 4 (2 kids now 13 and 15)went on the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas, over a year ago. The newest, grandest, fun family cruise and we knew not to expect the same accomodations as the Dawn is older and not the same class of ship. With that said, we loved being able to drive to Boston (30 min. away), park and board the ship with such ease. Great way to start off vacation without the hassles of flying, weight restrictions for luggage etc. For my parents, both active and in good health (70's and 80) it was an easy way to travel. Instead of choosing a family suite or larger room where we shared one bathroom, we opted for 2 inside cabins. Wouldn't recommend it as the room felt musty and the bathing suits just never dried even hanging in the bathroom. Room had a musty odor, yet the room was well appointed, clean and even the bathroom shower was larger than expected. (I'm 5'2, hubby 5'9 so take it for what it's worth). Cabin steward very nice, kept room clean and made animals out of towels every night. (My brother had 2 rooms next to us, parents across the hall in nice room with window and balcony...neither got towel animals...different cabin steward). I told them we tipped better:) Next time I'd maybe get a balcony room and one across the hall without window if adjoining rooms with balconies were too expensive). Speaking of expense, the 4 of us went on the Oasis of the Seas, a much better boat for families, for not that much more $$$ than the Dawn because we had free airfare without our air miles...That's the part that bothered my husband. Okay, so here are our pros and cons. Pros: Some of the entertainment was great. Don't miss the Second City Improv show. (The big one in the theater). Bollywood, the last night's show, don't miss. Terrific. Magician (Greg) was very good and his memory workshop was interesting but yes,always selling something $60 for his CD's.(Bingo...I don't play but I know it was $39 a card). They seem to always be selling something) Even before each show they sold raffle tickets to raffle off free cruise etc but I don't think it's guaranteed that someone from your actual cruise wins. Felt like I was in a high school show where they sell raffle tickets for scholarships etc. Also a con...the comedian was fair, at best. Some good jokes, some not so good. Band on the run show, just okay but I still liked the music. Cruise director, Johnny Cash Sanchez was terrible. Not personable at all, hard to understand and full of himself. The worst, all 12 of us agreed. The dancers were good, singers were talented and they all put on a great show around the pool. I couldn't stand people smoking but what can you do. Yes, the casino was smokey too. Back to the pros. Food was very good. Lots of selections at the Buffet and yes, you can eat healthy if you choose and food always available. Great coffee as I love my coffee so I was a happy camper. Cons: Same things offered almost daily. One chocolate buffet one night. Other than that, desserts were boring and not even tempting. Soft serve ice-cream was the favorite. No sprinkles offered. Diningrooms had one side of menu with daily specials but not that different. Everything was the same old, same old. Tasted very good but we got tired of it. Presentation of food was boring. But again, the food tasted very good so that's okay. We all agreed having been the first time with freestyle dining, that we don't like it. You never have a chance to get to know your waiters and they never get to know you. The lines to wait for a table are crazy. With our group of 12 we could make reservations but still had to wait over 40 minutes one night. Lots of people commented on this as well. Other cruises, the waiters knew what you liked etc and always added a nice personal touch to your dining experience. I will say that the waiters were all nice. The Aqua dngroom was less formal but the Venetian, the nicer of the two, was not that formal. They did allow shorts and tshirts which surprised us as the literature says it doesn't. We aren't formal people but it didn't take much to look like we were going to a nice restaurant. We dined at Cagney,the steak place ($25 pp), which was sooo worth it. Shrimp cocktails amazing and can get as much as you want. Steak fabulous too. Great dining experience. If it was only the 4 of us we would have done more specialty restaurants. My brother's family ate at the sushi place and loved it too. Okay, enough about that. The biggest issue we had on the Dawn was their lack of activities for the teenager. Our youngest in the group was 13, then 15, 17 and 2 almost 20. When we all saw the pool we laughed. Too small for the amt of people on the boat even if it wasn't full capacity, which it was, on our cruise) Don't think the basketball court was even a half court. Too hard to play with so many kids in a small area. (My son lived on the bskbll court on the Oasis and met tons of kids). They had one ping pong table on the windiest part of the ship. We think they just placed it there to say they had ping pong. One shuffleboard and that's it folks. Couldn't get a seat around the pool unless you reserved some by 7:30-8:00 am. I will say, they had a nice adult area and quiet area to read but very windy there but still nice to have. Our kids (13-17) tried the teen lounge but said it was a joke. Tried it 2-3 times and left). Fortunately they had each other. Night time they hung out in groups, some did karaoke, and wandered around the ship. A few nights we adults hung out in the lounge watching all the kids grinding on the dance floor. Felt like we were on spring break. We were too young to listen to the piano player but felt old watching the 20 year olds in the lounge. But we made it fun. I feel bad being so negative as we really did have a good time but the kids would never do this cruise again and I ran into people from our neighboring town say the same thing who had kids our age. Not enough for the teenagers to do. (The kids club for younger kids seemed to be busy and the kids seemed happy). Small area around the kids pool but it looked cute. They do have an arcade where you pay for games. Couldn't they offer a free xbox area like they do at the Beaches Resorts? Great way for kids to meet one another instead of the goofy games they play in the teen lounge. The gym was adequate and very clean. Had to wait for treadmill, elliptical the first 3 mornings but started to get less busy as the week wore on. 3-4 treadmills out of order, what's up with that? Never used the spa so can't comment on that. Bermuda was beautiful. Where you dock was just okay, not great shopping at all but Snorkel beach was nice. Pretty area. All 12 of us did the Segway tour and had a ball. Also did the boat cruise to see Millionaires Row and let's just say it was an expensive nap for the 5 kids. Staff very knowledgeable but still not worth it. Who needed another boat ride? Went to Horseshoe bay and played tennis at the Southampton Princess. By far the best day! Town of Hamilton is very pretty to see but nothing special to buy AND I am a shopper!!! I so wanted to buy my 15 year old daughter something but she didn't want or like anything, Ended up buying a few things on the boat when they had $10 beach bags etc for sale. Also sold watches, jewelry) Like I said, not great shopping but husband was happy :) Overall, like I said, we had a fabulous time as we are a fun group and had a blast with each other. The ship was clean, food was good, people were nice, shows were decent. But for the cost of the ship (7/29th was peak season, don't know why) I would pay a little more and go back to Royal Caribbean. Sorry Norwegian. Until you offer enough for teenagers, we must move on. I must add, that my single, 46 year old girlfriend, who went with a friend the week before us, said the same thing. It wasn't her first cruise, but it's her last with Norwegian. She paid extra for 3 days in an adult relaxation area which she said was so worth it. I can't comment on that as I didn't do it. If you have any specific questions that I haven't addressed, please don't hesitate to email me.... Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We sailed out of Boston on July 29th to Bermuda. Cruise was very good. No complaints on food as it was generally very good, considering it is 10 "restaurants" in the ocean and not accessible to so many variations that land-based ... Read More
We sailed out of Boston on July 29th to Bermuda. Cruise was very good. No complaints on food as it was generally very good, considering it is 10 "restaurants" in the ocean and not accessible to so many variations that land-based restaurants have. All crew members were exceptionally polite, friendly, and very hard working - most seemed to be of Philippine descent which I mention only for info. If you take this cruise, the info below may help: 1) For quick good meals at most any time, the Buffet is very good. Otherwise if you wish a nice atmosphere, no entry fee, and full service - go to the Venetian or Aquos restaurants. A tip of 15% is added to any drinks if you buy them, but we usually added additional tip as they did serve us the meals in nice fashion. 2) The TV has 18 channels, mostly a waste of time. At least 8 dedicated to ship info, several movie channels with blank screen excepted at designated start times and not the latest movies. About the only thing worth watching is FOX, ESPN, MSNBC, or CNBC. No kids channel - which is unfortunate for families with kids. Don't expect a VCR or DVD player in your stateroom. 3) Everywhere you go, they try and push the expensive $~$8.50) drinks, which is understandable for profit margins - but you can easily say "no" and its OK. 4) The only free drinks are: water, coffee, juice (breakfast) , or tea. You pay for everything else, including sodas. 5) Casino is not NON-SMOKING, so if you can't stand a bit of smoke - be aware to not stay long, though it is not full of smokers. 6) Only one outlet in stateroom - so bring a multiple outlet cord if you need to connect multiple devices. 7) Internet is expensive! $0.75/minute or plans which as I recall are like $50 for 100 minutes. Time flies fast too! 8)Bingo playing is not cheap: $39.95 for 2 cards , $49.95 for 3 cards., etc 9) Photos photos photos ..a huge money maker for the ship: An 8X10 is $19.95 for a photo that would cost you $1.50 at CVS. A 5 X 7 goes for $12.95 so they make good money, though it again does help make up profits. They are always taking photos and at end of cruise you may get reduced price on left-over pics. 10) Don't expect much in the way of menu changes daily - though food is pretty good. 11) shopping on board is reasonably priced for many items - so go ahead and indulge. 12) What the cruise seems to lack is additional activities for seniors. 13) bathrooms are small and shower tight but it will be OK unless you are way overweight. There is soap and shampoo and also a hair dryer in the room. You can request an iron for your clothes if you wish. 14) You will need to take a ferry or tour in Bermuda to get anywhere useful , though a small mall exists near the dock. We went to Hamilton and one store (Brown and Company) would not let us use their restrooms after seeing we had not yet made a purchase, so we went to public restrooms and also bought my wife's fragrances an another store (clerk had initially told us where restrooms were and suddenly a nearby store associate looked at us with no bags and said "all our restrooms are out of order". Overall, cruise was very nice- no significant downsides and would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Check in was very fast and efficient. We arrived at the pier around 10:30, quickly found a place to unload the car and had a porter quickly take our luggage. We were showed where to check in and then escorted to the VIP waiting area (we ... Read More
Check in was very fast and efficient. We arrived at the pier around 10:30, quickly found a place to unload the car and had a porter quickly take our luggage. We were showed where to check in and then escorted to the VIP waiting area (we were in a suite). There were comfortable chairs and tables to wait and there were snacks and drinks provided. Our concierge Anoop greeted us. I was able to also make a reservation for the Teppanyaki Rest. at that time. About 11:00 we were escorted on board, brought to our cabin and was able to drop off our carry ons. We then went to sign the kids up a Kids Crew then head down to the pool area to sign up for the soda program. It was about Noon by then so we went off to Cagney's for lunch: DD at a hamburger (didn't like was overcooked), DS had a NY strip steak( cooked perfect), DH had scallops (which were good), I had the french dip (onions too sweet, too much bread and not enough au jus to dip in). Head back to the pool area got the kids ice cream. About 1:30 head to see if our cabin was ready and it was. ROOM:Couple rips in the wall paper, one cabinet was off its hinge, but all in all the room was clean and nice size. Great balcony had two lounge chairs, I think it would have been better with maybe one lounge chair and 1 chair, but was still great to have the balcony. We meet our room steward, Moe and Butler Jose. We were warned by our TA 2 days before we set sail that there were no pull out couches in the Penthouse to sleep the 2 kids. Our room steward set-up 2 roll aways which we kept up all week, so we were not able to use the small couch to sit at our really the table to sit at. Kids didn't have any issue sleeping on them. Was a bit hard for my DH to get out of and in to bed because of them, but we managed. Our bed was comfortable. There was no DVD, which was part of the reason we moved up to a Suite, but our butler was able to find us one. After checking out our cabin we spent some time exploring the ship. We had a friend traveling with us so we went up to her suite 10726 which had a bigger balcony we watched us leave Boston from there. Kids loved the planes flying overhead. Dinner was in the Aqua Main Dining Room. Lobster was served the first night, but we didn't have it, we live in NE was we get Maine lobster, so it was no big deal. All the food was good. Our suitcases arrived in a few stages, my husbands coming in last around 7:00, which he wasn't too happy about, but got over it quickly. Brought the kids to kids crew around 8:00 and off to the casino. Picked the kids up from camp around 10:30 and they loved it. Day 2 Cagney's for Breakfast: Crab Eggs Benedict were great, DS had pancakes did not care for them, so they brought in a waffle which he did like. Kids did not like the OJ. After breakfast kids off to kids crew. Seas were very rough that day many people were getting seasick. My son and husband were among them, so they spent most of late morning-early afternoon in the cabin. Blue Lagoon for lunch food was good. I went to the culinary demonstrations which was fun. My family was feeling better so we headed to the Venetian for dinner, again food was good. DH thought portions were small. Went to the Pub to listen to karaoke. Cocktails in the Star Bar with the Captain (suite perk) Day 3 Got off the ship after lunch around 12:30 got our 2 day bus pass quickly and jumped on a Special Bus to Horseshoe Bay, was a bit crowded but was able to find space for the 5 of us to relax on the beach. Beach was great, waves were big and water was warm. We had a great day. Took the shuttle back up the hill to the bus stop $2/person and kids under 12 were free well worth it. Had dinner at the Teppanyaki Rest. was great. $25 cover/pp, but kids were 1/2 price. Great "show" and food was great. Saw the magic show at 7:30 the kids really enjoyed it. Day 4 (Bermuda) Breakfast delivered by our Butler. Off the ship around 8:30 and got the 9:00 ferry to Hamilton about 20 minutes. Walked about 5-10 minutes to the bus station jumped on the #11 bus about 1/2 hr and about 10 minutes walk to the caves. Kids enjoyed Crystal Caves. another 10 minute walk to The Swizzle Inn, had to have our Rum Swizzle and had lunch (expensive). Took a bus back to Hamilton and got a ferry back to the dockyard. Went to the Sea Glass Beach that has been mentioned on Cruise Critic, kids enjoyed looking for the glass, but was a bit of a pain getting back to the ship you are kind of in the middle of nowhere. back on board and off to the pool. They liked the kids pool 2.5 ft deep a couple of slides, but not a lot of space for adults to sit. Big pool salt water and crowded and deep. Kids did not enjoy this pool that much. Wanted to go to the Dockyard festival, but it was cancelled. Day 5 last day in Bermuda Late breakfast, headed into the clock tower mall and did a bit of shopping. Went to the Rum Cake and glass blowing (kids like the glass blowing). Kiddie pool. Snack on our balcony as we watched us leave Bermuda. Star Bar that night with a very entertaining bartender Bong. On the return trip to Boston, we still had relatively calm seas. Which was nice compared to our trip to Bermuda. Day 7 We dined at the new specialty restaurant, The Moderno Churrascaria. We did not enjoy the dinner very much, it was fun, but not for us. There is a very elaborate salad bar with lots of interesting choices (tuna and green beans and the soup were yummy). We tried one of each meat that was served for a total of 10 and they were all OK good (Chicken and rib were the best). You need to be very hungry for this restaurant. The service was fantastic. We thought all the crew members were wonderfully at some restaurants the wait staff was cutting my son (6) food which was a break for me. My son and daughter couldn't wait to get back to the cabin to see what towel animal Moe (our room steward) made. We had 13 in total. Our butler svs was not what I thought is was going to be. We barely saw Jose. He brought chocolates maybe 4 out of the 7 days. Maybe part of this was our fault for not asking form more things, but I guess we are not high maintenance people. Asked for MDR menus never got them. Suite Perks: Early embarkation in Boston FANTASTIC Robes Great idea Slippers didn't have any, but I guess we could have asked Dinner Reservations OK we could have easily done them ourselves Cocktail with the Captain and Offices was fun DVD wasn't one in the room had to have Butler find us one Disembarkation in Boston FANTASTIC Kids Crew: Perfect hours Didn't always follow what was in the program No Wii's like NCL had in their description of the place Arcade to load not a wide variety of games Kid Pool was great just need more adult seats Food: Overall everything was good, nothing outstanding, nothing inedible. never was hungry could always find something to eat Kids loved the Kids Cafe in the Garden Cafe FANTASTIC IDEA Ship: All in all was great. A little strange set up but got use to it. Restaurants: Aqua MDR Service was good food was good Venetian MDR Service was good food was good Garden Buffet: Great choices some repetitive food items Blue Lagoon: OK Service food was good Teppanyaki: Service excellent food excellent Modero: Service was good, food was not to our liking Cagney's Breakfast/Lunch (suite Perk) Food and service was great We all enjoyed the cruise. Would I do NCL again maybe, just a few disappointments that have me on the fence. Suite life again, yes mostly because of getting on and off the ship. Bermuda was wonderful this was my second visit would we go again maybe. Wish there were more place to go out of Boston. Loved the idea of no airport hassle. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
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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