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Embarkment: We arrived by van at the port around 9:30. We were told that the people in the first rows get on the ship first. We sat and soon they brought the rolling counters out with computers where we went up a few at a time and registered. NCL brought out a coffee bar and another with pound and spice cakes of some sort. We were told we would get on the ship around 12:30 pm but they started to let us on at 11:30 am. (we heard later by a crew member that they were going 41 knots and got home early to NYC. I find this difficult to believe but who knows.) Either way we got to board earlier than planned and the ship was in dock since 7:30 AM (so we were told). What was confusing is everyone walked by us from the previous cruise but when we disembarked we got off somewhere else.....We were allowed on after the disabled & latitudes passengers. We went straight for the Venetian for lunch and I had fish. We found our room which was ready so we dumped our stuff and head off for the drill....before we could go our suit cases showed up. The life boat drill is hot, crowded and important-although, it was Wednesday before I knew how to get to that part of the ship on my own again. We headed back got our cameras and headed out to watch NYC as we sailed out. It was magical, majestical and wonderfully exciting. While we passed under the Verrizono Bridge I sat near the pool with a drink in my hand enjoying the music and smelling beef cooking on the grill. A real party atmosphere. I tried the drink of the day-as I did each day.
Dinner the first night: We went back to our rooms to unpack and get dressed for dinner around 6:30pm. We had made reservations at Cagney's at 8:30pm-it was my brother's birthday. We had a party of 10 and you only get reservations anywhere for 10 at 5:30pm or 8:30pm. We met the famous matra d' Sonny and had a fabulous waiter. We all had filet minion...it was absolutely like butter and the whole dinner was five star! You sit down they put a menu in your hand and a napkin in your lap-all week-every meal. And I never had to ask for a fill up of coffee or water or anything...they were killing themselves to cater to our every need. It was amazing and a great way to start the cruise off.
We went back and hit the sack around 10:30pm....not much to do that night and we were all beat-getting to the pier and all the excitement really sapped our energy. Now in our room 11130 (& adjoining 11132 which had man/wife two small kids) we had three women in it. Two beds and my bed the slab of pain-I slept on the pull out sofa which was a huge board with one inch of so-called foam. I got extra pillows and built a bed on top. Of course I got some feather pillows by mistake and of course woke up sick as a dog-being allergic as I am. Very careless of me. The person on the pull out bed got to pull curtains all around and monopolize the fridge and TV. If you read at night you have to get out of bed to shut off the lights-go figure. We stocked our fridge with our water bottles we brought (glad we did it was 4.50 a bottle on the ship.) and used a night light and $1 shoe rack in the bathroom for all our "products." The closet was big enough for three but I chose to keep everything packed in my suit case and sat it up after retrieving something out of it-What clothes I took could take that abuse-luckily. But it was a pain in the neck but we managed. We brought water in the carry-on so when that was emptied I put my laundry bag in that and filled it up throughout the week.
One of our party is in a motorized wheel chair-his room was 11116. It was the width of two mini suites with two sliding glass doors and a huge bathroom. Each side of the room had a bed and the only down thing was that the ramps to reach the lip of the sliding glass doors were too steep for anyone in a wheel chair to manage and with a motorized chair it could not clear it because of the angle. He got to sit near the sliding glass doors with them open and seemed okay with that. It was the one small complaint. They need longer ramps like they have all over the rest of the ship.
Sunday morning we headed off to the Venetian for breakfast-I wanted to be served-I can do buffets at home. (although this is very good too) Because we were so early and seated near a wait station they filled up my coffee every sip I took and I got wired way too tight. Caffeine overdose. It was the joke of the ship. But hey-it was okay. By the way-the Venetian is a very bouncy room being in the rear of the ship and everything. My friend and I decided to checking out the ship by walking on another level and out doors-the promenade. And all the sudden my mother shows up...this huge ship and out of no where she finds us....so we went to the buffet so she can eat and we can keep her company. We made reservations for most of the rest of the evenings-on good advise of CC & because we had 10 in our party. And ate at the Venetian for lunch and went to the pool for some sun that afternoon. Went for a stroll in the afternoon on deck and ate dinner early that evening followed by a show.
Monday Morning we ate at the Venetian and broke up into two groups-We woke up docked in Bermuda and were on the starboard or right side of the ship-we had a view of Kings Wharf. One group stayed in Kings Wharf-went to the shops, straw market, hit snorkel beach which had rental chairs and a bucket of sun block to borrow. They got hair braids and came back around 4pm to the ship. My group took the ferry (4 dollars) to Hamilton. We walked around a bit and then asked a local shop keeper for a nice place to eat lunch. We had someone in our party who was in a wheel chair so we needed to find somewhere where we could get in without stairs. We did find this small bistro where we had delicious ginger beer like root beer but ginger and fish and chips. That lunch cost us approximately $18 per person. We roamed around the shops-I bought a pair of earrings I feel in love with-not a bad price. I bought some souvenirs and some rum in a duty free shop-just gave the ship and cabin number and they promised to deliver it the day I leave the ship in NYC. We took the ferry back around 2:30pm and were back in our cabin enjoying the balcony at 3:30pm. We left Bermuda around 4:30 pm and we sat and enjoyed the view....once off to sea we set off to get ready for 8:30 pm dinner.
We did the Venetian....appetizers & deserts were delicious-we had as many as we wanted. Dinner was good too. Show followed the dinner and off to bed.
Thanks for the info on meal seatings with a large party - we are traveling the Dawn next April with a party of 12. Any tips you can send our way would be great!!!
11/15/13 NCL Gem another CTN
4/9/12 Triumph from Galveston
1/28/12 NCL Gem CTN
4/4/10 Pride Bahamas & Florida
4/1/07 NCL Dawn Extreme Southern
4/15/06 Liberty to Panama
6/14/05 Triumph to Nowhere
3/26/05 Triumphant Voyagers Cruise
4/10/04 Easter aboard the GLORY
Tuesday was a Day At Sea....we were up early for a nice breakfast at the Venetian and off to find a sun spot near the pool.....what you hear on this web site of chair hogs it right.....we went forward all the way to the top of the ship in the front...there is a huge hot tub and lots of space to sun yourself, it fills up later because most people don't know about it. It is very windy up there and while sitting in the hot tub you can see over the front of the ship almost 360 and the view is to die for. We quit around noon-got to hot and we didn't want to miss lunch-food was a highlight. We had fruit soups at the Venetian and shopped in the galleria then made reservations for the rest of the week for our group of 10. Went to a game show in the spinnaker lounge and then back to the cabin to shower, sit on the balcony and read for a spell, since our dinner reservations were for 5:30pm. We ate at Impressions. It was very nice-they messed up our reservation but quickly accommodated us-we were not made to wait one moment. We were seated near huge paintings flanked by windows which look out at water at almost eye level. We were cruising fast. Service Great, food Great. Wonderful vanilla soufflé and the bread and butter was exceptionally tasty this night. Some of our group went to a show and others to the spinnaker lounge for Big Band music-with vocals-Fantastic. Some of our group went to see a comedian and some to dazzles.
Wednesday I woke up around 5am and looked outside....we had just about stopped and had slowed down. Went back to sleep and was up at 6:30 am showered put on my bathing suite and packed a beach bag and hit the garden cafe buffet for breakfast-eggs bacon juice.....my 6 year old niece had bacon for breakfast....just bacon. Her parents condoned her diet saying-we are on vacation. Good for them for letting down....who thinks about diets or nutrition when, (like my English bred sister-in-law says,) We are on Holiday! We heard that the lines to get to the beach were long-we went down to the 4th floor and there was no line-the only group to have gone over left as we got on the tender and they were the people who paid for excursions. Now the ride to the beach is about 10 minutes and bumpy as it was that day with the wind. Our friend in a wheel chair could not get on because you can roll on the tender but to get off you must go down the lower level to exit and that involves a flight of stairs. By the way-if you go down stairs and to the front you are the first off and the first to get the choice spots. In ten minutes we were on the beach-powdery tan sand, palm trees and fun music playing when we arrived. We grabbed chairs in the front and rented our snorkel equipment. They would not allow us to rent floats due to the wind. The water was warm but refreshing and although most everywhere is soft sand (in the water) there were quite a few rocks....I brought water shoes and glad I did. It rained a bit but that did not really bother us....there was a overpriced straw market and the food was fantastic-hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, fruit salad and potato salad. There were people walking up and down the beach selling beer and drinks. They had a volley ball game going and entertainment-my brother was picked to stand on someone's stomach while two girls clung to him....the guy did push-ups with them on him. Quite amazing and my brother was quite the celebrity, We went back around 4pm and took the tender back-a long line to get on but they move fast with a few going back and forth. The ship's photographer wades around in the water to take your picture....and a guy in a tuxedo with drinks suddenly appears to get your picture when you pop up out of the water. Quite bizarre. I only wish I would have saved myself the $30 for snorkel equipment by bringing a set myself-if you did they lent you the vest you must wear. The same waiters from the ship were serving food on the island. There were picnic tables and hammocks, plenty of bathrooms. The atmosphere was like one big beach party. I really enjoyed this stop. We got back on the ship, swiped our card, entered into the air conditioned lobby and ran up to our rooms. I took water out on the balcony and washed down my sandy legs, and hopped into the shower. Everyone that night was a bit sunburned. By the way-the air conditioner-it is nice and cold-sometimes too cold but I would rather that than feel sticky and uncomfortable. But If I were one of those people who hate cooler climates I would have been uncomfortable. We ate at the Venetian that night-It was Caribbean night and I had jerked chicken and coconut cream pie for desert, I also had the drink of the day-Pina Colada-what else? Later that evening at 8pm we docked at Nassau-two parties from our group set out-one group took a cab to Paradise Island and saw Atlantis-they enjoyed it, The other group decided to walk around when they got off the ship and decided to get back on not feeling safe. I stayed on the ship and our cruise was banked next to another cruise line that had no visible activities, On our ship we had a Caribbean party at the pool. They had a band, special pineapple drinks and fresh fruit at tables. The cruise director had a contest and his staff started the dancing around the pool encouraging everyone to get up and dance. They even did a Congo line around the pool. Everyone was relaxed and it was warm and so much fun. I missed Nassau at night but enjoyed the evening. The next morning we had breakfast at the garden cafe and some of our group set off to explore Nassau by excursion and some just to wander around near the ship. We got back on at 11:00 and we went up to the back area of the ship on the 13th floor to watch our sailing off. We were docked next to a much smaller ship and we watched them disembark as we kept hearing two people being paged...apparently they did not make it back and a moment later a golf cart carrying two suitcases moved along the pier as we began to move....a half hour late; and the ship moved slowly out of the harbor into the open seas to head back to NYC. Off to lunch in the Venetian and then some shopping and then off to the spinnaker lounge to play bingo, and then a swim in the pool before dinner. We ate in the Venetian for the Captains Dinner-also Lobster night-but I had beef Wellington which was terrific. Everyone who had lobster enjoyed it as well. It's funny-one of our members of our party enjoyed her meat prepared raw and she rarely was able to get it that way-sending it back and back never really getting it the way she liked it. The waiter told her she needed to order it "Blue". We laughed about that every time someone ordered beef of any kind. I like it medium and ordered it medium rare to get what I liked. Some of us went to a show and others went to Dazzles later that night for a Tina Turner like singer named Rosie who was terrific and some Karaoke. We were tuckered out and hit the bed to rest for our last day at sea. The best part of any event was that it only lasted a hour to an hour in a half at best so if you were not interested you could always have a seat somewhere and meet up later on.
Friday-very depressing-our vacation was almost over-I would have enjoyed a couple extra days or one more stop....But we got up early, ate breakfast at the Venetian & head off to the pool. We got there at around 9:00 am but the pool hogs had taken all the chairs by the pool...we were VERY Lucky to find two chairs up on the side of the ship above the pool. The sad part is most the day a great majority of the chairs were empty except for a towel or book....These were saved for someone else and those people where not even at the pool. I spent an hour floating in the water as it sloshed back and forth with the movement of the ship. Got in a hot tub and was joined by a group of people who spoke another language but every now and then I heard Brad Pitt or Michael Douglas.....we smiled at eachother, enjoyed our drinks and the sunny weather. Then all the sudden the clouds started to gather and we were moving into something....it actually started to rain and we headed in to the buffet for a bite while the skys opened up and poored. We showered and hit the gallaria and took a walk before dinner. By now the sun was back out and it was beautiful. We ate at the Teppeyaki or what ever the name is....Green Tea Ice cream was Terrific...the meal was meso soup, some kind of pod or bean, salad with ginger dressing & fried rice, zuchinni and we had shrimp and filet minion. You are sitting there and all the sudden a door slams open and they yell, "aha!" out they come one for one side of the counter and one for the other side....they are friendly, entertaining and very skilled,,,,they cook the entire meal in front of you. It was a nice way to spend the last night on the ship. We headed off to the picture gallary and picked out some pics and then to the ship passanger talent show and then the crew talent show. We sat up in the back on "coushy" sofas. Very Good and not to be missed. A drink later and then we went back to our cabin, packed and went to bed.
Saturday-we had ordered room service which came promptly in the morning. We sat out on our balcony to watch our enterence into NYC Harbor-it is magical-beautiful and you start to feel the stirings of remorse that you know will hit you because you are about to end your wonderful week away from reality. Now, because we are US citizens and the first 1000 to sign up for early-self-disembarkment-AND stupid---we headed down to the atrium near the elevators to wait for instructions with our suit cases. What a mess-mass confusion, people yelling instructions, no one listening, packed elevators, old men being yelled at by their wives to move out of the way of the pushing throng of people trying to find there way off the ship-and as it turned out we needed to be on the 4th floor near the casino to get off and we were not there so we had to lug our suit cases down three flights of stairs-good luck getting an elevator that is not packed! All the sudden you are in a huge warehouse looking place with dirty floors and you are being shouted at by straight faced customs workers and you can smell the wonderful smell of NYC in the summer time...come this way, go that way and traffic.....you are home and no longer on vacation. Your dream state ends and the thought of returning to work enters your mind for the first fleeting moment since you left and you dash it out. Your soul drops into your knees and you fight every fiber of your being not to run back and try to get back on the ship. We were picked up within a few minutes and wisked onto the highway towards home....all the way on the hour and a half ride home I am fighting the sadness and let down of being home....I spent a week of happienss, laughter and contentment. It was sunny and we were pampered and well fed and enjoyed some beautiful places. Once we got home we went to TGI Friday's for lunch since there was nothing in the house to eat and we sat down in the restaurant and no one put a napkin in my lap.....My vacation was over.
There was a fecal incident-we were told by the staff that a baby was taken into the pool with a diaper (Some people don't believe rules apply to them-has to be one of the chair hogs for sure) and there was an emission of fecal material. What was sad was that they had pool events planned that afternoon and one parent of a baby ruined it for the rest of us.
Pool Hogs-I hope you enjoyed your chair. I have one word for you: Karma.
Drinks-can't always taste the alcohol. But then-I never hit the martini clinic.
Nassau-Rather hit another island...my cousin says they only go their to dump their garbage. Timing was lousy too.
Aqua was ehhhh okay. Waiter insisted on our desert choice even though we were just ordering our dinner....he said it was mandatory when you have a big group-liar liar pants on fire. He was not friendly and needed some ****** but he was quick and attentive. *the only one in the entire cruise who was not A+.
Smoke in the Dazzles lounge. cough, cough. I forget how it used to be a few years ago everywhere. I am spoiled by smoke free environments-being an asthmatic-this was not the greatest environment for me.
The rocks in the water at Great Stirrup Cay Beach-this is all I can come up with?
Elevators-what was with them? Some stopped here but not there and they would open and 30 people would look at you like-don't try it buddy.
Handi-cap access-ramp onto balcony more user friendly and tenders more useable would have been nice-oh and something some pools on newer ships have-a lift.
Pull out sofa bed-hard as a rock.
All the selling of stones, jewelry, pictures, cruises, spa treatments.
Not enough space for clothes for three people-this is really a very picky thing.
Casino-don't win enough-even a little bit.
Bingo got progressively expensive for the little pot of winnings there was.
Wish there were a bigger variety of activities in the morning-but I lived without it. lol
Service-Excellent from the dining rooms, cabin stewarts, crew you pass in the hallway and desk clerks for excursions. Friendly, attentive, concerned, helpful, always looking to provide a favor or assistance.
Food-85% of the time it was excellent.....Lots of choice, different enviorments to eat in and good service. A few times I thought the menu was a little borning or similar dishes were being featured. But then desert came and I was happy once again. Cappachino with desert every evening & coffee and bloody mary's in the morning. Soups and appitizers-great variety and sizes of the portion served was perfect.
Balconies, public area's of the ship-lots of places to explore. Nothing better than sitting for a bit of reading on your balcony or at least relaxing-watching the water go by. Everything big, clean and shiny. Just enough luxury without being fussy.
More time at Great Stirrup Cay-It was great!
Spinniker Lounge-love it-great view, comfy sofa's and great accoustics for shows there. Heard some great bands and singers.
Freestyle cruising-can't say enough about it-it is so nice to relax and have a laid back vacation without having to hop to it for a schedule. Yes we had reservations but it was not written and stone and as long as we canceled by 4 or 5 (I forget now which) you could chose to do something else. I really liked the atmostphere on ship-no stuffieness and no stress. You could dress up or put on something a bit more casual and go out.
I regret I did not bring my scrabble board to sit by the pool and play-I saw a few people who spent lazy days at sea doing-drink, eat, swim and stimulate your mind a bit.
The kids (who usually bother me everywhere because of the parents who let them do anything they want) were great.....you really didnt see many and the ones you did were respectful and well behaved. Most of the passangers were fine.
Bermuda-wish the Dawn went there for a week-it is beautiful.
Towel animals-I am so easily amused.
The shower-Hot and strong with a great layout in the bathroom. Although the flush hurt my ears everytime I did flush-I had to plug them quickly. It sounded like we were launching a torpedo each time. But the layout and size was terrific-I had expected smaller and was pleasantly surprized.
(we heard later by a crew member that they were going 41 knots and got home early to NYC. I find this difficult to believe but who knows.)
Considering the Dawn's top speed is 25 knots, that had to be an exageration...lol
Originally Posted by Katya4
Dinner the first night: We went back to our rooms to unpack and get dressed for dinner around 6:30pm. We had made reservations at Cagney's at 8:30pm We met the famous matra d' Sonny and had a fabulous waiter.
Sonny is the best!!!! To Dawn cruisers, look this guy up the first night and he will take care of you! I miss him.
Katya4, thanks for the review and good information. DH and I will be on the Dawn leaving next Saturday, and your review makes me want to be on board right now.
Were there planned activities for sea days or were you left to your own devices? I actually don't care if all I do is sit on the balcony or on deck with a good book, but I'm curious as I've heard sometimes there are classes of one sort or another.
"My heart's in the highlands...
December 2013 RCCL Freedom of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean, March 2013, Hurtigruten Polarlys Norwegian Coastal Voyage; November 2012, RCCL Brilliance of the Seas - Repositioning from NJ to San Juan;
May 2011, Carnival Fantasy – Bahamas; January 2011, Celebrity Eclipse – Eastern Caribbean; August 2008, RCCL Radiance of the Seas – Alaska; April 2008, Louis Cruise Lines’ Cristal – Eastern Mediterranean;
January 2008 – HAL’s Westerdam – Southern Caribbean; October 2007, Celebrity Galaxy – Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea; November 2006, RCCL Brilliance of the Seas – Transatlantic;
August 2006, Norwegian Dawn – Bermuda and Bahamas; November 2005, Norwegian Majesty – Western Caribbean;
February 1998, Windjammer Barefoot Cruises’ Fantome (RIP) – Eastern Caribbean Solar Eclipse Cruise; January 1995, Windjammer Barefoot Cruises’ Flying Cloud – British Virgin Islands
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
When we were in port-you could get off the ship and do your own thing or purchase excursions. There were a limited amount of activities on the ship. I am told the pool was very accessable then. We only utilized the excursion desk when in Nassau. Part of our group took a tour of the old city, Pirate's Museum and had lunch by a pre-arranged excursion.
We took the water taxi to Hamilton when in Bermuda while half our group went walking in Kings Wharf and enjoyed it.
In Nassau we took a cab to Atlantis and walked around-checked it all out.
So, I guess the answer is-no they don't arrange activities off the ship unless you pay for excursions but on the ship it is very limited. Usually if you stay on the ship it is a good pool day. We were told by some of the staff that many staff get days off or parts of days off when they pull into port once their work was done. We met up with a favorite waiter in Kings Wharf and his wife who also worked on the Dawn at the beach.
Well, I am in trouble....My mother read my review (She was on the ship too) and her only comment was how terrible I spelled and the poor grammer I used. I should be ashamed of myself and that those people do not know you. You know better than that. So for everyone who had to read my review....I am very sorry. I was sloppy and did make a whole bunch of mistakes. That is what spell check is for.