It's going to be long and I might brag about some things that all cruise lines have but this being my first cruise, I'll be going on and on about little things like those turn dials on the door! LOVED THEM! okay here goes.....
Embarktion: Hell on earth. We arrived at the pier at about 11:30 and sat in so much traffic because of some idiots who decide "oh wait...what a good idea - let me stop the car in the middle of the lane and unpack my car". Once we got outta the car and dropped our luggage off with our porters I thought "Okay - I made it. time to get the party started."
Well that party had to wait due to a little thing called boarding. We would have to wait in the cattle pen area with the 'regulars' but since Adam's friend was special needs we got to go with the VIP (the truth is, I mentioned my name and they summoned me forward ). While waiting in line to show our ticket and passport I hear "Tim..Tim" and I turn around to see Mark and Marit (nycglitter) and Judy and Mary (judyf and her mom). What a great way to start off the cruise! Adam was like geeeesh we're not even on board yet and you know people!
Next is security aptly known as strip tease from now on. I had so much stuff in my hands and my pockets that it took forever to empty them all. Then I had the great fun of taking my belt off - now my jeans I was wearing were a little big on the waist so they were starting to fall down as I was walking through the security machine. I'm sure people behind me were thinking "Well we found the slut of the cruise!" LOL
the rest was uneventful until we got to pick up our room keys and low and behold - a girl I go to school with was working it. Too ironic and funny!
Then we got our picture taken and I walked out of the pier and saw the Dawn in person for the very first time. I wanted to run up and kiss it but the thing called water wouldn't let me!
Cabin #4508: Adam and I had a category H room - Deck 4 all the way forward (ALLLL THE WAYYY FORWARD) which we learned the first time going to our room using the mid elevators - it was like walking a mile it seemed. Here's a tour of our room. As we walked in, on our right was bathroom #1 which I loved. The shower was great - LOVED the nozzle (whoaaaa you dirty minds you). It was a little cramped for two people . The toilet area was fun to maneuver around after trying to get up and pull your pants back up..I always hit something somewhere. Loved the sliding glass doors to separate the areas of our bathroom. After looking for bathroom #2, we realized oh that's upstairs near the stardust theatre - silly me. If you walk forward oh about 1 step, you enter the living room aka 2 chairs and a vanity. We liked to use this area to relax while the other was getting ready for dinner - those 2 chairs made our cabin memorable. If you walk another step (I know it's far bear with me), you get to the bedroom area, bedroom #1 (bedroom #2 is the hot tub behind the bimini bar - woops have I said too much?? LOL). The bed was sooo comfy and I loved the duvet cover.
We really thought the cabin was perfect from the size to the layout to the bathroom. But we were a little mad we didn't splurge for the balcony. We know for next time to get that!
Food: The first meal was so memorable - we enjoyed the 50% off special and ate in Cagney's (or how I called it all week 'Caaaaggggneys') and we had a window seat and watched the sunset. Just perfect. That was my favorite meal of the week. The filet mignon was out of this world - it actually melted in my mouth. The service was outstanding - I filled out a comment card like I learned on CC since our waitress was wonderful.
Monday night we ate in the Venetian for formal night. The service was a little slow but the food was great and that dining room is beautiful.
Tuesday was Impressions which I loved the ambience and setting and thought the food was pretty good. Not bad or anything but not spectacular. I forget what I had since all I did was eat non stop all week.
Wednesday night we ate in La Trattoria (which I didn't know was the Garden Cafe but at night). I had chicken parm (SURPRISE!!) - it was good but nothing like home. I don't think I would go back there especially due to the fact that it was the Garden Cafe turned into La Tratroria - just didn't sit well with me coming from an Italian family.
Thursday night was awesome! We ate at salsa's and had a great window seat. We loved the service, food, and setting. I took a picture of one of the paintings because I loved it so much. Even down to the settings all matching each other design wise - it was just fantastic. I had the fajitas - delicious!
Friday night was the MM dinner and my least favorite meal. We ate in Aqua's and I thought the service was some of the best we had but I didn't care for the meal at all. I had the beef wellington and it didn't taste right but I'm not fussy so I didn't make a big deal or anything.
Saturday night - AWESOME with a captial AWE. We ate at Le Bistro (just me and Adam this time because we wanted a romantic last meal). I had the filet mignon and he had the salmon. It was delicious and dining among those masterpieces was breath taking. For dessert...OMG..ahhh I'm remembering it now and my mouth is watering...I got the cheesecake and the chocalate fondue (thanks to Marit's advice) and dipped the cheesecake in the chocolate. I thought Adam was rubbing my leg or something under the table because this dessert was sending shockwaves through my body. I finished the cheesecake and started to eat the chocolate with a spoon. Once I heard my belt make some noises due to my waist expanding, I thought that was enough!
Overall, I thought the food was outstanding. Great choices, always hot, always served with a smile, and always delicious. The bad part of the food was the buffet. I thought it was the opposite of the ship - no selection, always lukewarm food, and when I found the hot food, it wasn't good. Room service was good - we ordered pizza one night at about 1 am and we thought we'd get slices so we ordered 3 and instead they brought 4 small pizzas which were pretty good (not like home but still good). Mmmm that ball of cheese sitting in my stomach throughout the night was just wonderful. Like I said, I didn't stop eating the entire week - Adam kept laughing at me because I was ALWAYS hungry and there was always food to eat!
Oh one more thing - The blue lagoon was so cute. We went there twice - both times I got chicken fingers and fries which were tasty. I thought it was a great addition to the ship esp. since it's open 24 hours a day. And I got to sing and dance in my chair to the jukebox. I got the looks from people but will I ever see them again? NOPE!
Entertainment: Colin by far is one of the funniest guys I've ever met. I got to meet him at the MG and the party Carol and Barry (cmorebmc) held in their GV last night. He's a genuinely nice guy and is so much fun. He really made it memorable. The assistant CD, Rob - I'll give him an A+ for effort but that's it. He tried waaaaayyy too hard to be funny and it came off as extremely annoying. He is a really nice guy though but he shoudl quit trying to be really funny like Colin because it doesn't work. The welcome aboard comedy party was so much fun on Sunday night (we left the welcome aboard showtime early to go to that). I thought South beach rave was very entertaining except for that lead singer - Laura I think. She was kind of annoying. I LOVED Edge - he was such a blast and the funniest show of the week. Spaking of funny, 2nd city wasn't..LOL The small girl was the worst of the bunch but the blonde girl who also did liar's club Friday night was really funny. I really enjoyed Bollywood and the cast afterwords.
Overall for entertainment, I thought it was good (a B or B+). The shows were okay but Colin definitely made them all a blast.
Itinerary: I wasn't thrilled about that in the first place but I thought it was a good one for a first cruise. We spent too much time in PC and not enough in Miami. GSC was really nice and we got great seats under a palm tree (a few of which I hugged - pictures to follow!) but it was kind of like Coney Island especially when the idiots started feeding the seagulls then i got a flashback to Birds the movie when one of them ate the hotdog off my friends plate. Snorkeling wasn't like what I thought it was but if you go by the rocks to the right you see some cool fish. We went to Atlantis at night in Nassau which is GORGEOUS. We did the digs for free and then walked around outside and I lost in the casino. The next morning we shopped. I really liked the overnight better and there were shops opened at night and then the next morning all the shops were open. It seemed we were in Florida way more than the Bahamas which I guess is true.
Service: I can't say enough good things about the staff on board. Our room steward Garry was AWESOME. I tipped him Sunday night and then this morning too because he was phenominal. The staff in the restaurants were always smiling and the ship was always clean due to the great work by the staff. I met one unfriendly staff member but out of 2000, that's good in my book.
Negative things: I thought the ship was layed out a little oddly - especially getting to the Venetian. We were so confused the first time we tried getting there. the ship has it's quirks but you'll learn them after the first day or so. by day 5 I swore to myself I wouldn't walk through the buffet again but I did about 5 times a day. LOL
They need a lounge or place where they play music from clubs, etc for younger people becase I would have enjoyed dancing to that more than disco or sock hop (even though I had a blast at both especially when I got to do my Elvis impression to the 50s and 60s music - so much fun!)
Overall, I can't say enough good things about this trip or the ship or NCL. I loved freestyle as did Adam and his two friends. I would like to try traditional but the thougth of it makes me uneasy. It was great to say "hey we should relax and then eat dinner at 8" instead of making plans around when we eat. I can't wait to book my next with the cruiseline!
There's so much more I can write but I want to keep it not toooooooo long so I don't bore everyone since it's my first review. Oh about the rude passengers thread on here a few weeks back...I ran into a few of them but the key to remember is hey I'm on vacation - should I let them ruin my day? Absolutely not. The majority of pax on there were fun, friendly, and courteous even when I wore my red sox hat. I loved having conversations at dinner with the couple next to us, or in the elevator, or on the beach.
Everything about this trip was great and I'd be happy to answer questions. I probably left a ton out but I put a ton in so I guess it all works. Oh and I saw Greenie's forklift and had to use it many times!
And since you made it ALL THE WAY to the end, I have attached a picture of a hunk for your viewing pleasure....ENJOY. LOL
NCL Dawn May 2005 - FL & Bahamas
Hopefully the Spirit in May '06
Wotta Hoot Cruise - May 2007