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Sail Date: April 2015
This was a 19 day repositioning cruise out of New Orleans. Many stops: Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Boston, Bermuda, returning to Boston. My husband & I are both Platinum level, have sailed on NCL for over 100 nights ... Read More
This was a 19 day repositioning cruise out of New Orleans. Many stops: Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Boston, Bermuda, returning to Boston. My husband & I are both Platinum level, have sailed on NCL for over 100 nights over the past 3 years. Each ship has their pluses and minuses. We had sailed on the Dawn this past December over Christmas and it was not good at all. This cruise, however, was much better. EMBARKATION: Embarkation in New Orleans is always easy. They know what they are doing. Too many people complain about it because they try to board too early. The ship is barely emptied at 10, needs to be fully cleaned. What do people expect? We always come around noon. Never have to wait in the off-shore waiting room which indeed is horrible. We check in, board ship and then head to the Venetian Room for a nice leisurely lunch. Most people rush to the buffet, which is a huge mistake. When we are finished our room is ready. We've been lucky about luggage, have never had to wait for it to arrive. We were traveling with my elderly parents (Daddy turned 86 and Mom 82 during the cruise) and they loved it. This is their 4th NCL cruise. (Although they are partial to Princess) Rooms were spotless, as usual. We had a wonderful room steward, Joel. DINING: We usually buy the Ultimate Dining Package but since this was going to be 21 day cruise decided not to. And I must say I am so glad we didn't. We ate in AQUA most nights and it was superb. The specialty dining restaurants get a bit old, the menu never changes. In AQUA it was hard to choose, the food was all excellent. I read these awful reviews and can't imagine what these people are eating. Everything is great! We did eat in the Bistro twice and were very disappointed, AQUA was much better. The sushi was also wonderful. We ate there 3 times and each time was great, and very reasonable. BAMBOO (Asian restaurant) is attached to the sushi and is now a no charge restaurant. Also very good. The buffet is NEVER good. Avoid at all costs. Upstairs at the Bimini Bar they serve fabulous hamburgers, hot dogs & thin fries everyday from 12-6. If you want to avoid the crowds in the buffet and poolside, that's the place to go. Overall I found the restaurant & bar staff to be very happy and efficient. In December we had the opposite. The Hotel Director is a bit of a snob. Does not seem very happy in his job. Armando da Silva, the Hotel Director on the Spirit is the epitome of a great HD. He greets everyone, makes you feel like a VIP. Go figure. The Maitre D's were more hands on this trip as well. (Especially Jaime in AQUA) CASINO: I like to gamble, my husband not at all. In December I thought it had to be the worst casino on any NCL ship. This time when I walked in I was greeted by the Casino Shift manager (Martin) and the Executive Host, Sharon, who were on the Baltic cruise I took last May. What a difference they have made. Ashtrays emptied, great drink service, happy dealers - a totally different casino. I still lost too much money, and they got rid of my 2 favorite Keno games, but it was nice place to be. Sadly, Martin & Sharon are moving to the Breakaway in May so it will probably be crappy again. ENTERTAINMENT: Same old, same old. When you sail as much as I do on NCL it gets boring. I cannot stand the lead singers, they are too loud, disguising mediocre voices (except for Henry, the English dude). The dancers are good. My father loved the Irish singer/storyteller and my parents LOVED Jose & Patty. Said their daytime show was the best show they'd ever seen on a cruise ship. Sadly Jose & Patty were getting off in Boston. INTERNET: Instead of worrying about minutes my husband purchased the unlimited internet option for the duration of the cruise. It was $25/day. Best purchase. The service was very fast considering. Stan, the internet cafe manager is very nice. PORTS: We generally avoid all things booked through the ship. Except SCUBA diving. Aruba: Horrid, filthy. If I am there again I'd stay on the ship. Husband enjoyed his SCUBA diving. Curacao: Gorgeous. We did the Irie tour bus right off the ship (NOT through the ship). $25 per person. Free sodas & beer. Excellent. Highly recommend. ST. MAARTEN: Husband went SCUBA diving. Mom, Dad & I took cab into town and had nice lunch at beachside cafe. Nothing special. ST. THOMAS, VI: Nice. Cab into town. Found a bus tour that took us around town. Good. BERMUDA: Fabulous. King's Wharf is great. Ferry is great. Love it! We booked a tour through Ricky's that I had seen on trip advisor. Not good. Would not recommend. Loved Bermuda although it is quite expensive. DISEMBARKATION: Boston. Very well organized. Long taxi queue though. All in all a nice trip. I still love NCL. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Embarkation tips Taxi to New Orleans port was the way to go they have a separate entry for taxi's for quick dropoffs! Norwegian Dawn a nice ship not many bells and whistles compared to todays newer ships. Food ranged from Decent to ... Read More
Embarkation tips Taxi to New Orleans port was the way to go they have a separate entry for taxi's for quick dropoffs! Norwegian Dawn a nice ship not many bells and whistles compared to todays newer ships. Food ranged from Decent to Very Good at the main restuarants, Buffet was decent. food is available all day and 24/7. The Bar Staff was well trained and the bartenders knew their stuff. Entertainment was in a word Fantastic "Oh what a night": a las vegas Jersey boys type show was fantastic, Josie and Patti - Neil Diamond show brought down the house, The acrobats were outstanding and showdown was a very good show as well. The other musicians throughout the ship were excellent as well the guy on the piano at gatbys was a very good Frank Sinatra crooner. Our Room 9522 was a balcony small but functional a nice place to get some quiet and watch the ocean! Cruise 12 days had a decidly older crowd so if you wanted a chair around the pool you could easily find it but people are still annoying with their lounger saving and they never show up. Shore excursions: Aruba - Kukoo Kunuku beach transfer is basically a open air bus with music where you go through parts of Aruba visit a small chapel then head to a decent beach white sand very nice. side note Aruba is like the arizona of islands Catus everywhere very dry island. Curacao - Sea Aquaruim and beach by boat - best excusion of the trip the sharks, Sea Lions, Pink Flamingo and Dolphin Shows were excellent and after the beach was a nice quite place with a quiet bar to relax Curacao is my new fav Carribean Island. St. Maarten - Airport beach was worth to at least see once but is very crowded! St. Thomas - Treelime Zipline tour is a excellent thrilling and safe zipline a good time was had by all worth the money! Tips: If you need to do Laundry NCL has a bag of landry special for 25$ at least once a week. Gold Members get a 25% discount on Landry and Platinum Members get a free bag of Laundry. Debarkation Tips in Boston was a breeze pay 5/10 dollars and use a porter you get priority on taxi's plus if you have a lot of luggage it really helps. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
Hi all. My wife and I sail on the Dawn from Boston to New Orleans via Puerto Rico, Willemstad, Aruba, Ocho Rios Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel Mexico. We have only sailed on P&O and Princess before to New Zealand, around Australia ... Read More
Hi all. My wife and I sail on the Dawn from Boston to New Orleans via Puerto Rico, Willemstad, Aruba, Ocho Rios Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel Mexico. We have only sailed on P&O and Princess before to New Zealand, around Australia and Pacific Islands. So this was our first for NCL. To compare NCL with the other two is chalk and cheese. NCL being the calk. But we were aware it was a free style cruise and we wanted to give them a try. I cant say a lot of wrong with this ship and her crew as most of a cruise is what you make of it and not by how long you spend in your cabin or how much you can pile on your plate. FOOD The food was good to ordinary. Never bad. STAFF Always friendly and helpful. Never rude. ENTERTAINMENT This is where they need to do some thinking. The casino is a rip off (like I need to tell you that). The bingo is also a rip off. As previously said by others, they will take a lot of money from punters and hand back only pittance. The ship keeps the rest. Was not fair. The entertainers were mostly great. CABINS The usual smallish room with a smallish bathroom with a ocean view window. What we ordered and what we expected. PORTS Most were fantastic. Except for Aruba and Puerto Rico which didn't have a lot going for them. We organised a tour in all ports to see the sites. The best was the Bob Marley tour to his mausoleum in Saint Ann Jamaica. A must for Bob Marley fans. Swimming with the dolphins in Cozumel Mexico was also fantastic. Not only did we swim with the dolphins, but they also feed you authentic Mexican food followed by all the FREE tequila you can drink. FORMAL NIGHT What formal night. They have one but no one dresses up for it, but for a few die hards in their Military uniforms and suites. My wife (40) and I (50) enjoy the dressing up for photo's on the Formal night. Felt like a fish out of water on the Dawn. In summary, you cant keep everyone happy all the time. That goes with any cruise on any line. But we got what we paid for and we loved it, good and bad. The Dawn crew were fantastic and did their best as expected. The food was good and filled a hole. Never got sick or took anything back. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth. Would we do Norwegian Dawn again, NO. Been there done that. Next. Read Less
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