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corkscrew

Better late than never- Dawn Review for April 25th Sailing

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Sorry for the delay! Here is a long review which actually does not quite cover as much as I wanted to. However, I think it will give you an idea. I will be editing this and posting it to my website when I'm finished.

Dawn Review- 4/25 through 5/2

Booking

§ [url="http://www.vacationstogo.com"]www.vacationstogo.com[/url] - Booking through this service was a snap and the website has a lot of good information which assisted us in our decision to go with NCL. We picked the Dawn for two reasons; it was leaving from a relatively close port of call and it had all the amenities a large ship of its class would normally offer. Naturally, with our 7-day vacation window, this cruise worked for us. Linda, who assisted us in a professional manner had our tickets and confirmation mailed out in no time. We were ready to go.

Getting to the terminal

§ As mentioned before, the booking agent we went with was very helpful, and another plus was the fact that they also can book your transportation to New York. We paid $60 PP round trip.
§ Driving to our pick up point was easy, and we took I-95 to the Essington Avenue (SunPark) terminal where a large greyhound style bus was waiting. The bus driver was friendly and joked for quite a while that we were the “last but not least” to arrive since we made it right on time.
§ With two other large ships in port that weekend, Cunard’s QE2 and QM3, we were fearful the traffic through the Lincoln Tunnel and onward would be at the least, busy. Fortunately we were incorrect and although traffic was a bit heavy we still made the trip in a reasonable amount of time. Although there are two stops along the way, one at a New Jersey Terminal and another at a rest area, the bathroom in the back of the bus was nice to have and made it even more worth the cost of transportation.

Getting on the ship

§ Upon arrival, it was immediately clear that security is a priority at this port. Police were everywhere, and a number of canine patrols and other port authority officers were keeping an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.
§ The bus parked underneath a large canopy, which shielded us from the light rain just beyond roof. After a brief dissertation and a warning about “bomb sniffing dogs” from what I believe was a NCL representative, we departed the bus and secured our bags with the porters. Although it is optional, it’s customary to tip two dollars per bag to the baggage handlers.
§ After grabbing our carry-on bag, we headed up an escalator and into the main terminal area. With the assistance of some people who could easily double as traffic cops, we found our place in a long zigzag line of people waiting to go through customs. The line took around 30 minutes, and the majority of the wait was due to the x-ray machine scanning carry-on bags and the metal detector for all individuals. Fortunately, this was really the only line in which we had to wait.
§ A word of advice; be sure to fill out and sign your Nassau Immigration cards and send your online or mailed pre-registration documentation as they will be required at the next stop in line. NCL has several desks along the left with agents who are there to secure these documents, as well as take your digital picture and assign your credit account. As for the onboard credit card, I used a MAC/VISA debit card with no questions asked.
§ After some brief fomalities we walked though another line, had our picture taken and walked up the ramp and onto the ship.

First Impressions

§ Our first impression was exactly that -impressed. Walking onto the 7th floor you find yourself in a large lobby containing an information desk, a dinner reservation reception area, and excursion desk. There are glass dome elevators that can be seen from this ‘grand atrium’ that encompasses the entire floor and parts of the ceiling are either real or faux colored glass.
§ Across from the reception desk, are three stations. One is for the soda card program, which I’ve outlined later in this review. I should note that I only saw this desk setup for the first day. Another desk was there on a daily basis that had friendly hosts taking reservations for the onboard restraunts that required reservations. The desk was accompanied by a table directly to the right on most days which displayed various types of wine and plate samples of dishes served in any one restaurant featured for that day. The final area was for shore excursions, activities sign-up. One important thing to remember is that if you want to sign up for an activity, you must do it prior day in most cases.


The Room

We secured a category BB room (10706) that is a standard sized outside cabin with a balcony. With only two adults, this was ample and we felt immediately at home right away.

The bathroom area was split into three sections, the shower on the left, the sink area in the middle and the commode on the right. Each section could be closed off with a sliding glass door. The shower has a wand type showerhead, which can be adjusted for a light or concentrated spray. Turning the show on and off is easy, with the water pressure adjusted on the left and the temperature (in celsius) on the right. I found the water pressure on the weaker side but water conservation is a priority on most ships. On the wall is a shampoo and liquid soap dispenser; we were aware of this beforehand and brought our own favorite bar soap and shampoo. The sink area has a large mirror and plenty of shelf and counter space. The faucet swivels forward and back which is convenient when you need to get it out of the way. To the right is another liquid soap dispenser. The commode area is basically just that, however I should mention that this area had a definite odor problem which seemed to get better after the fueling and waste barge finished up at our Miami port of call.
The balcony area is of course as wide as the room, and a sliding glass door, which can be locked tight, separates this from the room. Two chairs, one reclining and one upright, as well as a small table complimented the area and we both had enough room to lounge and enjoy drinks. Instead of bars, a glass wall enclosed the area beneath the railing. I should mention that if you don’t smoke then be prepared to for the strong possibility that someone will be smoking directly next to you or nearby. We unfortunately had little time to enjoy our little section of balcony, or an open door for that matter due to the fact that our neighbors were heavy menthol cigarette smokers.
The bed was a king size, and very comfortable once the two existing were pushed together. I believe the norm is now that instead of requesting they be pushed together, you must request that they by pushed apart. There was at least one day I was tempted to drop the order but the wife and I decided it was easier to kiss and make up. A small ‘pull out’ couch bed was in the corner along with another small wooden table. Across was a shelf area, which also housed a 14” television. Will get to the programming later, for now I have to say that it was a far cry from our flat screen at home but efficient nonetheless. Lastly, across from the bathroom is a combined closet area with double doors, shelves, a small safe and refrigerator, etc. There was plenty of room to store clothing and empty bags, and enough hangers to go around.


Restaraunts, Pubs and Bars

On board there are many bars and bartenders at your service and I will comment on each.

§ Pearly Kings Pub- By far the best one on the ship in my opinion. They have Bass Ale, Budweiser, Corona, Becks and others right on tap along with top shelf spirits in tow. The frosted mug for my beers was good heavy crystal and made me feel at home. I didn’t get one bad or ‘skunky’ beer and was very impressed with the courteous and prompt service. On the right is a large television that plays ESPN sports all day, all night and I caught the hockey playoffs on a regular basis. I did get a weird impression the first time I walked into the hallway leading into the bar. First, the name “Pearly King’s Pub” struck me as strange and then the picture of the guy next to it…. well, it just struck me as strange is all.

§ Spinnaker Lounge- This isn't really just a bar, however I wanted to comment on the bar service mostly. If you are sitting here enjoying a show, you will get prompt bar service, and I mean prompt. We ordered a drink, sat down, and took no more than two sips when someone came by and asked if we needed a drink. We held up our full glasses, shook our heads and continued watching “modal magic”, a good jazzy band. Around two minutes and about a quarter of a glass later, another waitress came by and asked if we would like a drink. Again, we held up our (nearly full) glasses and shook our heads. This is not the end of it however; after another two minutes, at the halfway full point, yet another waiter came around, looked at our drinks, and asked if we needed another. This is when we moved to sit right at the bar. We got a sample of the cruise director and assistant here as well. They were doing a 70’s thing, all pimped out in that style of dress. They had a few ladies come up to lip sync “I will survive” by Donna Summers. It was pretty funny, especially when they would lip sink while swinging the fake microphone around in the air; a move that wouldn’t quite work in a live performance situation. I think the dancing was really what the audience was going for.
§ Pool Deck Bar-For lack of memory I am lableing the pool deck bar exactly that. It sits on the stern side of the large pool area, and has a covered area with fixed seating in a semi-circle. There are several ‘icy’ drink machines with pre-made drinks. I was curious as to why I would order the drinks in the machines, and get one made up in the blender. Maybe they were non-alcoholic in the machine. If you order a drink, and request a regular glass you will get a very small drink. I made it a point to order my drinks directly from the bar and to clearly state “strong drink” while throwing down dollar bill each time. They will make you a good drink, but it only seems so if you tip. Sitting in the balcony lounge area, I didn’t get asked for a drink once and would have died from dehydration if I relied on the waiters. Maybe I should have gone to the Spinnaker Lounge.
§ There is another bar with a seating and stage area but I can’t remember what it’s called. We saw a decent acoustic guitarist/singer perform there and some really bad Karaoke after that. Not that I would have done better, it was fun. They make some really strong drinks there and I recommend you watch yourself when ordering mixers. This lounge is really comfortable, and I could have gone to sleep in those chairs, or is passing out considered sleeping? Just kidding
§ Aside from the occasional “grab a quick drink”, I really don’t have much more to say other than all the areas of the ship serve fresh beer and decent drinks.


Soda Card

§ What can I say about the soda card? Is it worth it? Is it priced accordingly? How cool is the red Coke can they give you along with it? We got the soda card on my account when we first embarked at the desk located in the lobby. The program costs 28.95, and you get a little sticker on your card and a metal coke can with it for a souveneir. I could get a soda with either the can, or my sticker card. However, the amount you get each time is very limited. The crew must be really drilled on the practice of conserving soda, because if you request just a soda can or no ice- no dice. You also cannot get soda from some of the drink carts or from the private island. I recommend forgoing the soda card and bringing a big bottle and filling it with the free iced tea or water. One mention- if you value your souvenier bottle, keep an eye on it or yours may be stolen right behind your back like mine was.



Ship Amenities

§ Fitness Center- Wow is all I can say about this area. The Dawn has one heck of a workout area, which never seemed to be completely full. There are stair climbers, bikes, fixed weight machines of virtually any type, free weights, etc etc. The equipment is state of the art and in great condition. There is also a separate aerobics bike room right next door.
§ Spa Area- although we didn’t use the services in the spa, we did use the indoor pool and both Jacuzzi’s. The ceiling has little pin lights to add to the calming effect and one of the hot tubs is a lounger type that you can lie back and let the bubbles do the work. Best of all, no falling over kids.
§ Main Pool and Jacuzzi’s- The main pool is pumped in saltwater and a half decent size. I jumped in one time and immediately got out because it was packed with kids and left a strong suntan lotion taste in my mouth. We have a large pool at home, and I guess I am just a little spoiled when it comes to water quality. The outdoor jacuzzis are plentiful, however they were almost always in use. I don’t want to complain but when people get uncomfortable with the water temperature and hop up on the ledge with the legs hanging in- that’s just plain tying it up for others who would like to use it. We visited the childrens area pool and found it well in use but of course didn’t use any of the facilities. It looked like the kids were having a blast.



Shore Excursions

Cape Canaveral

Our first port of call was Cape Canaveral, Florida. Although there were many activities avaiable to book, we decided to just get off the ship and go off on our on. Leaving the ship resulted in a quick departure since we waited for the mad push of people to die down. Walking through the ship security guantlet, I was surprised to find that they actually scan your room card on the way out. They do this in all ports, and I’m not sure why, but didn’t hold up the line to find out. Once off the boat, we walked through a zigzag tunnel and out into the main building. Once there you turn right and pass through a customs conveyor belt which seemed to be geared towards “foreign faunae and flora”, or items which are prohibited to be taken from the ship. We actually saw a napkin full of breakfast sausage on top of the otherwise fruits and vegetables. Once we passed through that, we were then directed to an escalator that is very narrrow. I noticed there is actually another escalator and stairway which seemed to be hardly used so we took that to go downstairs. At the bottom of the main building, you exit through large glass doors and barriers walk you through a large tunnel and into the main parking lot.

For tourists like us who just want to get out to some popular stops, two “fun bus’s” are available which arrive 10 minutes after the hour in the vicinity of a Ron Jon’s Surf Shop. Several other outlet stores, and fast food restraunts are also in the vicinity. We walked across the street, and into one of the Ron Jon’s retail stores. The other apparently rented Kayaks, bikes and other similar equiptment. Ron Jon’s was very nice,, and offers all types of beach wear and beach gear ranging from moderateley priced to pro quality merchandise.

For those who enjoy the beach, it lies just beyond and has public access throughways between the hotels that line the shore. Cocoa Beach is just like much of the Florida coast line, however its not quite as warm as the more southern points. It was way too cold to swim, and a impending rain storm prompted us to walk up to the pier.

We ate at the indoor restraunt at the end of the pier, and had clam chowder and wings. Great service and really good food. The bar is really nice and the beer was good too. I think the bartenders name was Paul, next time we drive down I just may stop back in to say hi.

On the way back back down the pier, we stopped in a few little gift shops. I help change a flourescent bulb in one place, and bought some post cards to mail to the family. We would not have stayed so long, but man was it pouring outside. Some really good surfers will having a ball, despite the heavy rain.

After it cleared up, (and cooled down nicely! )we made it back to the “fun bus” we had walked quite a way, and were ready to sit down after getting some ice cream at the 31 flavors place.

Miami


We’ve been to Miami before, so because the bus service for this day, which costs $18 PP on your ship account, went to Bayside as well we opted for the second stop. I’m not sure why, but the bus takes you through Miami South Beach first. Maybe we should have just stayed there, because Bayside is really just boatdocks and shops.

We spent most of the day shopping around in the downstairs level, and later went upstairs to the food court where they have what remided me of the typical mall-type cafeteria food setup. If you walk the entire circle past all of the food stands, you will be asked each and every time by each place if you want to try bourbon chicken. After I couldn’t find a place that didn’t serve a more unique selection, I walked around a second time and tried bourbon chicked at almost every place. By the time I was done, my wife was getting impatient to eat and I had a nice appetizer.

In the entrance area to Bayside shopping area is a restraunt called Bubba Gump’s, or something like that. It’s whole theme was that of Forest Gumps shrimp boat captain. I have to say, although the bathroom had a little problem, the food was really good. They serve what I think is very close to authentic Louisianna style cuisine and for the money we really ate well.

Getting back on the bus, we made a direct trip to the ship and went through customs and the ship security with hardly a second glance. I really should have bought some good wine and beer to keep in the room that time.

Nassau

Because the seas were rough on Friday, the captain decided to switch up Stirrup Cay for Nassua. By this time, between the rain cancelling paid excursions and now a change in the itinerary, people were beginning to get upset. My only complaint was that we really wanted the longer day spent on the island, not in Nassua. I have to explain that if I sound a little less than enthusiastic about the memories of Nassua, it is not because the island isnt clean, or beautiful, but because we found it very stressfull to deal with many of the people, their driving and overall pushiness for a buck. I think Nassua is very simliar to Bermuda, however in Bermuda they seem to have a better understanding of how to treat tourist with respect.

Due to having more time, we decided to rent a moped. When you get off the ship, you have to walk around a very long dock. We were “parked” on the very end since Royal Carribean’s (radiance of the seas?) was docked in the closer lane.

Coming into the port entrance can be tough because everyone herds across a narrow walkway that is raised from the dock. I thought it was kind of funny to see over a thousand people jamming themselves into the narrow walkway when there was a 50 foot concrete dock running right beside it.

Once in the main entrance way, we were met with a lot of people who offered taxi rides, mopeds, and various subtances I wont go into. Just before departing this section, on the left was a long counter offering car and moped rentals. Since I am an experienced rider, which is important no matter what type of street bike you are operating, I decided to get mobile and rent a 100cc two seater. A guy named “Elvis” took some info, a $20 deposit, $40 rental fee and procured us a virtually brand new cycle. After explaining that helmets are manditory, yes the drive on the left, and that the electric starter didn’t work, we were on our way.

We drove West, heading the opposite way of Altantis in order to just get a feel for the territory. After a few wrong turns, we continued down the main route. Once, we ended up in a parking lot, behind some restraunts that were very close to our starting point. Some guy in a pickup asked me if I was just turning around or looking for something special. Maybe the whole island thing is more fun when youre on something I guess but this time I needed to concentrate on not getting run over.

We eventually came across some caves, that at first scared the hell out of me when I discovered what seemed like a gaping bottomless hole. If you let your eyes adjust, and look around a little youll see a set of stairs leading down into the cave. There are bats in the ceilings and its not exactly the safest place to go walking around in because there is algae growing on the stone steps and you can easily fall down the steep rocks. Although a few other tourists who stopped on mopeds after us wouldn’t go in with me, I still got in and took some pics.

We then moved onward up the road to “Old Fort Bay”. Now, this must have been a fort with all kinds of cool cannons up on the side of a cliff……nope, just a gated community. Maybe it was a fort at one time, now only Sean Connery and some of his neighbors live there. The gate guard was real nice and we chatted for a while with him before heading back to atlantis.

The decision to head back to Atlantis was due in part to us travelling aimlessly in residential, and therefore off-limits areas but mostly because we wanted to see the resort. Driving down through town was interesting, and although the roads are two lanes in one direction for the majority of the way, traffic can still be dangerous. We had several ‘tailgaters’ on our behind and I found that just letting them pass was the best practice.

Once we reached the paradise island bridge, I realized that our little moped may not make it over. The bridge going both ways is very steep and I had a difficult time keeping it over 35 MPH. Going into the island is a tollway, and it will cost you one dollar, which they return to you in a token to throw in the basket. Paradise island is very nice, but we didn’t see much parking. I found a way to pull the moped up onto the sidewalk and off to the side which the local security told me would be fine. We walked up the drive and inside the main entrance for a look. I wont go into it, but the place is nice. You obviously cannot go everywhere because security requires key cards shown in the guest areas.

Going back to return the moped was interesting to say the least. We were required to return it to the lot next to the port entrance. Two guys that were taking the bikes back wanted a tip, and argued with me the whole time. I felt really uncomfortable with this, and only tipped the guy who helped me. In the meantime, another guy was trying to put a bracelet on my wrist and I was trying to push him away because I wasn’t paying money for something I didn’t ask for. Again, I wont go into details, but when the other guy, after realizing he wasn’t getting anywhere by yelling at me he began harassing my wife; I think after I turned around and headed straight for him he got the message pretty quickly and backed off.

We had a few more hours in port, but we were both so stressed out by that time we opted to go back to the ship. Believe or not, on the way some guy asked me to buy weed, and when I told him I didn’t feel like going to jail for the rest of my vacation he also began arguing with me, saying that they didn’t care about pot on the ship. I really could care less about marijuana to be honest and think it has many redeeming qualities both for recreation and and as natural resource- smoke until your head pops off ; they absolutley will put you in jail however if security finds it on you when boarding the ship.

We will never, ever go back to Nassua. I think they’ll eventually get the picture when they begin losing tourist dollars to other islands.




Great Stirrup Cay

Last, but not least is Great Stirrup Cay. This is a “private” island owned by NCL and is full of wildlife and quite beautiful. As with most beaches, the majority of the people flop on the beach, and don’t really explore all that the little island has to offer.

The ship anchors about a quarter mile off shore and local tenders, actually large deisel barges fitted with seats on two levels, dock next to the ship and then pull right up onto the beach where a gangway drops down and lets you off. Getting back on, the gangway has little water jets that wash off your feet while walking on. Pretty cool.

We were some of the first people there, and were among the last people back on the last trip over.

Walking onto the beach, you are met with a grove of trees and picnic tables. The whole area reminded me of a concession area in a park. In this area is also straw huts that sell run of the mill souveneirs. The view out to sea is very nice, and there are large outcrops of igneous (volcanic) rock on two sides on which one sits a life guard. They have snorkeling here, and if you rent the equiptment you are required to wear a safety vest. I just bought my own goggles, a bag of cookies and saw more fish on my own in the feeding frenzy that followed.

We decided to walk along the trails that lead in a few directions. One takes you to the other side to a little boat dock. Another takes you to a organic dump which I thought was odd because it seems to have killed everthing in a quarter square mile. It looked like it used to be a marsh land but had recently dried up. The other takes you past the light house, which is automated and inaccessible except for a nice walk around the outside. Keep in mind, there are large paper hornets that thrive here in the old delapidated shacks surrounding this area so watch out if you are the exploring type. To the left of the lighthouse, a trail takes you down to an old dock that I was hesistant to walk out on. If you take the little wooded trail to the left of that however, it will lead you out to another beach. There are live conch’s all over here, and they are pretty neat to pick up and look at. They have this huge sickle shaped claw and will try and poke you with it if they get the chance. I guess theyre aware of conch fritters being the local delicacy. Once I saw the little eyes peek out at me from the shell, I knew that I didn’t really enjoy Conch meat enough to eat another one.

We walked around the little beach, checked out some black iguana, various butterflys and explored this deep hole in the middle of some trees. I wondered if there was some treasure hidden down there but all I could really see was some old soda cans.

Heading back, we stopped along another rocky ledge and a niche of pounding surf which I wouldn’t have wanted to fall into. I must tell you that I can see why so many people die after abandoning ship and swimming for a tropical island. If you don’t find a beach in time, the huge waves will rip you to pieces on the jagged volcanic rock and jagged coral reef, or youll just bob up and down in the rough water until you can no longer keep your head above water. Advice from me, keep yourself and any kids well away from these unsupervised areas. I was amazed at all the sea snails attached to the rocks. If you walk around there, try not to step on them.

Lastly, I have to comment on the sun. It can and will burn you to a crisp in a short amount of time. I’m not sure why the sun is so much stronger near the equator but we did get burned even with suntan lotion. A large brimmed hat and sunglassed are crucial here if you plan on exploring. We had a fantastic time nonetheless, and I am seriously considering starting a savings account to buy a boat and learn how to sail so I can visit places like this on my own.


In closing

To sum it all up, we had a pretty good time. The ship has a lot of things to do and I believe it isnt easy to take up the role of leaving from a northern port year round. I understand they have longer, 11 day cruises available during certain times of the year. If this is the case, we probably would have been much more satisfied with visiting more ports and therefore the whole trip would have scored higher.

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Thanks for a very detailed and informative review. I think you would really enjoy the longer 10 and 11 day cruises more. You visit at least 5 Caribbean islands. You will also find less kids on the longer cruises except over the Christmas/New Years holiday period.

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We were on the same cruise with you, so your report broght back some nice memories. The lounge with the singer/acoustic guitar player is Dazzles. We enjoyed that singer - and we enjoyed the bad Karaoke, too, though it usually started too late for us.

Thank you in particular for the details of your exploring on Great Stirrup Cay. Next time I'm there, I will try some of those trails. I did talk a walk on one path, but didn't see anything interesting and didn't explore further because walking in my beach flip-flops was uncomfortable.

I'm sorry your experience in Nassau wasn't good. I think it's a picturesque place because of the pastel buildings, kids in school uniforms, rich vegetation, and of course lovely beaches. I found the craft-vendors, hair-braiders, cab drivers, and so forth to be anxious for business, but not obnoxiously so. When I said, "no, thank you" they didn't bother me further. And I never encountered drug dealers, though I don't doubt they are there. The only thing that got to me was the crowds in shopping area; that was with 3 ships in port, and I've heard there are frequently more than that.

Maybe you can give Nassau another chance someday, but if not, there are many other places to cruise to!

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Thanks for writing a really comprehensive review. A couple of questions:
Did you try any of the specialty restaurants and how did you like the food overall?
You mentioned some sort of shuttle in Port Canaveral? Does that take you to town or just all over the port? And do you know if it goes to the public park/beach in Port Canaveral (I think it's called Jetty Park)?
Thanks again.

Shirley
cruising-courtesy-kindness

3-Night Anniversary Cruise on Majesty of the Seas . . . January 7, 2005

Family spring break cruise on the Dawn . . . April 17, 2005

NCL Majesty 11/98
CCL Ecstasy 1/01
CCL Fascination 11/01
CCL Fascination 4/03
RCI Majesty of the Seas 8/03
CCL Imagination 12/03
CCL Fascination 5/04

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Thanks for such a complete review. We've got less than 4 weeks to go until our Dawn cruise, and you've given me lots of reasons to look forword to it.

NCL Dawn 6/20/04
[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=800080&cdt=2004;6;20;12;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500[/img]
NCL Dawn 10/04
RCI Voyager of the Seas 7/04
NCL Dawn 6/04
RCI Serenade of the Seas 9/03
Celebrity Galaxy 8/03
Celebrity Horizon 8/02
NCL Sea 7/02
DCL Magic 11/01
NCL Sea 6/01
DCL Magic 11/00
NCL Sky 11/99
NCL Dream 11/94
Home Lines Atlantic 8/88
Chandris Victoria 9/86 Home Lines Oceanic 6/83

When will they put a ski trail on a cruise ship?


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Joanne G.- I always seem to get the drug deal offers on many vacations I've been on, I look like the typical musician type you see on MTV and I think that perpetuates it. Glad you had fun, if you were on the last boat back, I was one of the three people that sat in the water until the last of the people boarded the boat. We didnt wanna leave!



Shirlygr- I cant believe I didnt cover the restraunts. We tried them all with the exception of the Blue Lagoon which seemed to serve a lot of junk food that I dont eat. Le Bistro was very good, but I could have eaten a lot more than they give you. Cagneys- very nice; My wife and I wanted to take our waitress home with us. Impressions was good and the Venetian was also good but similar. There are three restraunt in one at the Bamboo. They were okay, good food but not the selection that I am used to since I visit philly china town all the time I'm used to very good asian cuisine. The Japanese Hibachi place is neat, but the chefs are Panamanian, and they do the same exact thing every show. I didnt like the rice but the seafood and steak was great. I dont know how they serve such great steak on a cruise ship. Our ship account was alnmost $800 so if youre on a budget, just enjoy the free places. The garden cafe (buffet) is real good. I ate smoked salmon every day.

The shuttle bus drops you by Ron Jons surf shop and then down further at a mall. If you get off at Ron Jons, walk behind that, onto the beach and go North. You'll come to the Jetty. Have some wings and beers in the last restraunt before the cabana bar at the end. They are really cool there.

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Thanks so much for the info, corkscrew. We are taking all 4 kids with us on this cruise so we are definitely on a tight budget. I'm trying to find something to do in Canaveral/Orlando that isn't going to cost us more than the cruise did [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img] so just walking to the beach sounds great. How far is it though from Ron Jons? I'll have my two little girls (3 and 4 at that time) with us and was wondering if I should take the stroller with us?
What did you think of the sushi? Hubby and I were thinking we would splurge one night and do dinner alone there. Other than that, I think we'll stick with the free places.
Thanks again for the info!

Shirley
cruising-courtesy-kindness

3-Night Anniversary Cruise on Majesty of the Seas . . . January 7, 2005

Family spring break cruise on the Dawn . . . April 17, 2005

NCL Majesty 11/98
CCL Ecstasy 1/01
CCL Fascination 11/01
CCL Fascination 4/03
RCI Majesty of the Seas 8/03
CCL Imagination 12/03
CCL Fascination 5/04

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ShirlyG

We will also be on that cruise! We are from Mass and will be travelling with our son, who will be 7 at the time of sailing.

I can't wait!! We have something to look forward to and get us through Winter!

jonsmom (a.k.a.) Joanne

Norwegian Dawn
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Explorer of the Seas

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Reply to(((We are taking all 4 kids with us on this cruise so we are definitely on a tight budget. I'm trying to find something to do in Canaveral/Orlando that isn't going to cost us more than the cruise did so just walking to the beach sounds great. How far is it though from Ron Jons? I'll have my two little girls (3 and 4 at that time) with us and was wondering if I should take the stroller with us?
What did you think of the sushi? Hubby and I were thinking we would splurge one night and do dinner alone there.)))

If youre relying on strollers then you may have a difficult time getting to the peir. Its over a 1/4 mile walk up the beach. If you take the main road your dealing with heavy traffic and no sidewalk for most of the way. I really can remember exactly, but if you make a right outta ron jons and head thru the intersection that road will take you up to the peir entrance on the right. A taxi is always an option I guess.

I didnt try the sushi. I've heard its good, however if you want something beyond yellow fin tuna or a california roll they charge you alacarte prices.

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corkscrew, thanks for the additional information. I am considering just hanging out on the ship that day as a possibility. It would be nice to just hang out at the pool without 1000 other people. Of course, I'll keep reading here for other ideas. I do have a minivan on reserve, but hoping not to need it.
jonsmom, it's nice to meet you. My boys will be 13 and almost 17 yo (he will have his birthday on the ship) and the girls will be 4 (almost 5) and 3 at the time of the cruise. And if this coming winter is anything like last year, we'll need SOMETHING to look forward to to get us through it! What part of Mass are you from? My sister lives near Worcester; not sure where Rayham is. See you around the boards.

Shirley
cruising-courtesy-kindness

3-Night Anniversary Cruise on Majesty of the Seas . . . January 7, 2005

Family spring break cruise on the Dawn . . . April 17, 2005

NCL Majesty 11/98
CCL Ecstasy 1/01
CCL Fascination 11/01
CCL Fascination 4/03
RCI Majesty of the Seas 8/03
CCL Imagination 12/03
CCL Fascination 5/04

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Shirley

Your kids (though a little pricey) may enjoy a day @ Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach at WDW. Your boys would probably love it and they do have a smaller kiddie section. I know you were looking for things that wouldn;t break the bank. We have "plus" options left on our WDW passes. Renting a small car for $33and lunch would be the only expense for us.

Raynham is about 30 minutes north of Cape Cod. We are on the East Coast.

My husband is a locomotive engineer and we would often go into NYC with him for the day "fly" by Bridgeport on the Acela. Seems like a beautiful place to live. I thought he said that Paul Newman had a boat moored at the Marina there.

See you on the boards!

Joanne

Norwegian Dawn
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Explorer of the Seas

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Joanne,
I'm sure the kids would enjoy a day at one of the WDW water parks. We've never been there, so I'll have to look into it. Thanks for the idea. Just have to see how the budget works out as we get closer.

Bridgeport isn't exactly "beautiful" but it does have some charm. I grew up in New Haven (now that's a beautiful city) and would move back there in a heartbeat, but my husband commutes into NYC for work and he doesn't need a longer travel time. Not sure if Paul Newman has a boat here, but he does live in Westport, just a bit south of Bridgeport. I used to work in Westport and I would see him at the Boston Market there all the time! LOL
Hope we can get to meet on the Dawn. I always enjoy meeting other CCers!

Shirley
cruising-courtesy-kindness

3-Night Anniversary Cruise on Majesty of the Seas . . . January 7, 2005

Family spring break cruise on the Dawn . . . April 17, 2005

NCL Majesty 11/98
CCL Ecstasy 1/01
CCL Fascination 11/01
CCL Fascination 4/03
RCI Majesty of the Seas 8/03
CCL Imagination 12/03
CCL Fascination 5/04

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Hi Shirley

Not sure of the cost of the WDW water parks. If you check out the link to the water parks @ the Disneyworld site, I am sure it will give you the cost.

We have been to WDW about 4 times, most times in December, which wasn't water park weather. So, this will be a real treat.

Of the two, we would probably try Typhoon Lagoon, since it seems like the "wimpier" of the two. My son isn't wild about sliding into water. Worse case scenario it will be fun pool day/lazy river ride day.

I was thinking it was too early too book a rental car, did you book through Hertz?

What beautiful weather we are having this weekend. Better than all the rain.

enjoy your weekend,
Joanne

Norwegian Dawn
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[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=CD20CD&cdt=2003;05;03;17;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500[/img]
Explorer of the Seas

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Hi, Joanne.
Yes, I did book through Hertz. Because I knew we would need a minivan, I thought it best to reserve early. They have a reasonable cancellation policy and my credit card won't get charged until we pick up the vehicle.
I haven't had a chance yet to check out the WDW website, hopefully today. We too are enjoying the wonderful weather today. My 4 yo got a new bike for her birthday and today is the first day we've had to really let her ride around.
Talk to you soon and enjoy the holiday.

Shirley
cruising-courtesy-kindness

3-Night Anniversary Cruise on Majesty of the Seas . . . January 7, 2005

Family spring break cruise on the Dawn . . . April 17, 2005

NCL Majesty 11/98
CCL Ecstasy 1/01
CCL Fascination 11/01
CCL Fascination 4/03
RCI Majesty of the Seas 8/03
CCL Imagination 12/03
CCL Fascination 5/04

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Shirley - keep in mind that if you are a AAA member, you may sometimes get coupons in their magazine that is good for a free upgrade - though you are already in a van - what would you upgrade to a Hummer??? But also, for discounts. I got one yesterday, but it expires before we need it.

Are you driving to NYC?

We are planning on taking the NCL bus. Cheaper than parking in NYC and given that we have never driven into the city, we are better off taking the bus. One less mixed up driver on the road.

Our other option is the train. But it may be a pain lugging all our stuff off the train, going upstairs at Penn Station and hailing a cab.

Have a good day! I checked out Krooz Cam and it seems that the Dawn is still out to sea - that cannot be right.
Joanne

Norwegian Dawn
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[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=CD20CD&cdt=2003;05;03;17;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500[/img]
Explorer of the Seas

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Hi, Joanne.
Yes, I'm driving to NYC. At this point, we are planning on my husband working Sunday morning and I'll pick him up at 30 Rock when he gets done at 11 am. Then we'll drive to the pier. Hopefully we'll get there early enough to beat some of the long line. We thought about doing the bus, too, but with 6 of us, it was too pricey.
I thought about the train, too, but hauling the luggage and keeping track of all my ducklings just seemed too much of a hassle. Especially since I understand it can be hard to find a minivan taxi to accommodate all of us.
Looks like we really lucked out for the weather this weekend. Enjoy!

Shirley
cruising-courtesy-kindness

3-Night Anniversary Cruise on Majesty of the Seas . . . January 7, 2005

Family spring break cruise on the Dawn . . . April 17, 2005

NCL Majesty 11/98
CCL Ecstasy 1/01
CCL Fascination 11/01
CCL Fascination 4/03
RCI Majesty of the Seas 8/03
CCL Imagination 12/03
CCL Fascination 5/04

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