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Jeanne S

Dawn Review: April 18-24 - Great Cruise!!!

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We sailed one day late on the cruise following the rogue wave and were just relieved the sailing was not cancelled in its entirely as was the Norway in 2003.

 

Last time we were only the 2nd sailing to Florida/the Bahamas, the ship only 6 months old had previously sailed form Miami to the Caribbean. The review I paid the most attention to was Mr. Tractor’s excellent adventure and his advice on AF cabins and the concierge.

 

My sister (53) and I (49) sailed on the Dawn two years ago and returned with our 80 year parents in one cabin, us in the middle and my niece, her husband and two children (2/4) on our other side – all in adjoining AF Mini Suites.

 

Arriving at the NYC pier with my parents at 12noon we were dismayed the Latitudes Line was non existent. However, we asked for wheelchair assistance for mom and we were on the ship in 20 minutes. It was reassuring to see Hotel Director Claus, overseeing the embarkation process – we knew this would be a great cruise with him in charge once again.

 

Once in the cabin we had no difficulty getting the balcony partitions removed so that we had a much larger balcony for us all. My father went to find his poolside burger which is about all he eats for lunch on a cruise ship and my mother and proceeded to luncheon in the Venetian Main Dining room, were the Maitre d’ Hotel approached us. My mother asked if we could have a table for 8 by the Aft Floor to Ceiling windows and the wake, reserved for certain evenings and he said no problem. This was because we agreed to arrive between 5:30 and 6pm. We had a plan for everyone to pretty much do there own thing during the day but we would all meet for dinner each evening.

 

The rest of our party were the last on the ship, we spotted them during the boat drill. We sailed down the Hudson and made our way to Bamboo’s Teppanki Dining Room. The first day all specialty restaurants are 50% except for Teppanki.

 

While the service and cooking show were excellent, the meat portions were smaller than our last cruise and the chef cooked everything less done than ordered (at least it was not overcooked). We went here mainly for the kids who loved it and sailed under the VN Bridge during dinner.

 

We stopped at the shore excursions desk which was closing but submitted as told our requests in the box.

 

Our parents wasted no time making the first of many trips to the Casino.

 

 

Cruise Critic Meeting

Held first sea day at 11am at the Star Bar. The usual amount of roll call posters showed and we met the Hotel Director, Claus, his assistant Tanja and Paul the Cruise Director. It was great to finally meet the facets behind the posts – a really nice group of passengers. Julsuz (Julie) had complied the Matrix of everyone’s info that was sent with her (in conjuection with Roll Call) which she distributed.

 

I mentioned to Claus that half of our party – the children included were shut out of the Disney Excursion which was fully booked we were told. Claus told Tanja to look into this. About an hour later, we had the tickets in our cabins! I met Tanja and Claus again at the Latitudes get together and thanked them profusely. Claus gave me his card to call him if there was anything else he could do for us. I sat next to Jett (Jeannette) who was shut out of the Port Canaveral Air Boat Ride and introduced her to Claus also and he was only to happy and gracious to assist. The best part was when prizes were auctioned and Jeanette won the spa package which she had said “I need to win this.”

 

 

VENETIAN DINING ROOM

This evening was the one optional formal evening. It would have been nice to make this restaurant formal only, as we sat side by side with passengers in jeans and tee shirts. We choose this restaurant for the view and as the rear portion was nosily and more secluded, so if the kids acted up, it would not be as noticeable as it would in Impressions (my favorite restaurant). Given that there are multiple courses and the service is leisurely, in retrospect this was not a great choice for small children, but fortunately we were surrounded by lots of them. The food is excellent and the kids loved everything on the children’s menu. Escargot and Beef Wellington are highly recommended as is the Grand Marnier Soufflé. All in all we were well cared for.

 

 

SOUTH BEACH RAVE

This Jean Ann Ryan production has a few good songs. Our late showing was not crowded at all. After the show my sister and planned to retire to our cabin as we were exhausted from our day at the T Rex Pool and being on Manny Patrol (the almost 2 year old). Our parents however, said that the night was young and went from the lounge to the Casino where they stayed till the wee hours of the morning.

 

PORT CANAVAREL

There was a mad rush getting off the ship. The ride to Disney and Epcot (parent went here) took approx on hour. I am sad to report that the bathrooms on the bus are in the same condition as too years ago (no toilet paper, sink clogged up and this time ants). We had a shorter stay at the park that last time but it worked out well with the kids.

 

STIRRUP CAY

Those used to the private islands of RCCL and Disney will be somewhat disappointed as the beach in small, crowded and quite rocky. But we had a great time. Four of us went parasailing which was fantastic, you actually feel like a bird up there and it is warm, not windy. Towards the end of the ride, we were dunked in water which was the best part, then lifted back up in the air and onto the boat.

 

Then I went out on one of the circular rafts. The tide was coming in. Some late arrivers had placed their belonging's neat the water line and left to go snorkeling. I look up and see this yellow type matt/flotation device (they rent them) floating near me with two pairs of shoes and other personal items. So I push it back to shore and someone from the beach yells for me to get the beach bag. I paddled over to that and push it on its way in. This stuff was on its way out to sea.

 

Suesan Jean from our Roll Call Group had a marvelous time snorkeling until she noted a man on a raft Chumming the fish! I had the frangipani scalp treatment and neck massage and was advised not to wash my hair for 24 hours (and go to dinner all greasy – sure). As soon as we retuned on the last tender (were also the first tender after the crew out) I washed it out.

 

DINNER AT SALSA

The service continues to be excellent at this no extra charge restaurant. Claus visited our table – it was nice to see him all over the ship making certain that things were, well, ship shape.

 

 

NASSAU

We got to stay overnight in NASSAU and went to see Atlantis lagoons lit up at night, then took a taxi to the Buena Vista restaurant (a very nice local place) for after dinner drinks.

 

AF CABINS and the CONCEIRGE

Unlike suites, the Concierge will not contact those in an AF/AG cabin. You must contact the concierge as she has approx 100 mini suites and cannot give all individual attention. Ruth was wonderful to us, giving us priority tender and disembarkation tickets which make all the difference. She also sends us various goodies each evening – as did Claus to all three cabins which we very much appreciated.

 

CASINO

My niece hit three 777’s on a slot machine and was over joyed. I purchased the $15 dollar chips for $10 and played roulette, leaving the table after I amassed $100, thinking my luck might change.

 

The only down experience was the night we returned from Disney and the Pork on a Sick was cooked only medium (Satay on Indonesian night). Also, Presidents night was cancelled.

 

Otherwise, we had a wonderful time and each and everyone on staff treated us like royalty. Claus really makes one feel as if they are on the Love Boat with his concern and attention to detail

 

Some of the best memories were drinking champagne with Suesan Jean in the Laundry Room and on our Terrace (she had a magnificent suite), watching my parents, married 55 years, act like a young married couple and of course watching the kids have fun!

 

I would be happy to answer any questions that anyone may have.

 

NannyNY – you are going to have a great time May1st!

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Jeanne, what a wonderful and detailed review! I'm so happy you had such a great time and that Suesan did too ...

 

Now I'm even more excited for this Sunday!

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I was on this cruise as well. Everything was great. The only disappointment for us was when they wouldn't let my 13 year old daughter in the kids crew. We brought her friend who is 11. I thought my daughter would be allowed to go "down" a group. I understood their decision as there were tons and tons of kids and they didn't want to make any exceptions. That was all fine until I was talking to two other groups whose kids were exceptions. Oh well.

 

The best part of the cruise for us was Noel Chavez, the Restaurant Manager. He had been our waiter and Maitre d' on our Majesty cruises. He remembered us and treated us like royalty. I was really impressed.

 

I loved meeting some of the people who I knew from CC, especially when they told us that Shoreguy sent his greetings.

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Jeanne,

Wow, that is great you got such special attention. I was in a minisuite too and didn't get priority tender tickets. I asked Ruth for them and was told to go stand in line :) She did get us dinner reservations a few times. Also, I wanted to let you know that I did get the excursions tickets slipped under my door after the Latitudes party. Tanja must have arranged for another bus to leave at 2:30 (which was also quite full).

It was great meeting you on the cruise!

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Some of the best memories were drinking champagne with Suesan Jean in the Laundry Room...
Jeanne,

 

So you did have a champagne party in the 11th deck laundry room!! ;) I was wondering if it had happened... LOL!!

 

Might I further add to Jeanne's review... Cagney's on the first night (50% off - from $20 to $10) - EXCELLENT! I had the fillet mignon... the best I've ever had! YUMMY!!

 

Julie :)

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Nice to read about people enjoying their experience!

 

Does Claus treat all passengers fabulously like this??

What about Ruth?

 

 

 

I mentioned to Claus that half of our party – the children included were shut out of the Disney Excursion which was fully booked we were told. Claus told Tanja to look into this. About an hour later, we had the tickets in our cabins! I met Tanja and Claus again at the Latitudes get together and thanked them profusely. Claus gave me his card to call him if there was anything else he could do for us. I sat next to Jett (Jeannette) who was shut out of the Port Canaveral Air Boat Ride and introduced her to Claus also and he was only to happy and gracious to assist. The best part was when prizes were auctioned and Jeanette won the spa package which she had said “I need to win this.”

 

 

DINNER AT SALSA

The service continues to be excellent at this no extra charge restaurant. Claus visited our table – it was nice to see him all over the ship making certain that things were, well, ship shape.

 

 

 

AF CABINS and the CONCEIRGE

Unlike suites, the Concierge will not contact those in an AF/AG cabin. You must contact the concierge as she has approx 100 mini suites and cannot give all individual attention. Ruth was wonderful to us, giving us priority tender and disembarkation tickets which make all the difference. She also sends us various goodies each evening – as did Claus to all three cabins which we very much appreciated.

 

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Crisingsquid – the waters were relatively calm sailing down. Returning, the winds were force 3.5 and the waves perhaps 12 ft at the worst. We were prepared for what the Captain called “The Usual Storm of the Week” which was to materialize off Cape Hatteras, with 35 MPH winds and rough seas, but we did not encounter this – the winds and waves died down and we had an uneventful smooth sailing back.

 

NJcrusier 21- You’re welcome. There was a murder mystery. I do not have the Freestyle Daily with me though to check the date - but I heard good things about it.

 

 

Cruising with Kids – Am sorry to her that about the Kids Crew. My niece is the opposite – would not get the kids participate in any of it much to my Mom’s disappointment. We even told Katie that she could attend the Pizza Making party with the kids but she declined.

 

Jett: Am glad that you finally got to the excursion! It was great meeting you too. How was the Spa Treatment? 2 years ago these two buddies (Mr. Tractor and BamaX2 from this NCL site – posted that both had AF cabins and one got all this stuff sent to the room, priority disembarkation, tender tickets and the other did not.

 

Julsuz: Yes Julie, we did have the champagne with people coming in and out of the laundry room no-less. I put the ice bucket in the sink and was drinking it while ironing Suesan Jean’s evening outfit.

 

Dishealth: I can only tell you my experiences (and Cunarder – Ed – if he reads this will concur). When ever I meet say the Captain, Hotel Director or Concierge, I send a thank you letter on personal stationary telling them how much I am enjoying the cruise so far. Ed and I both sent letters to the Captain on QM2 last November and were invited to the Senior Staff party, Ed to fly his flag over the mast, me to pick the Sunday Hymn at the Commodores service, and both of us to the bridge, for Ed to ring the ships bell at noon and me for a bridge tour.

 

I did the same thing on the Dawn, wrote person notes to all who had assisted me with getting the tickets for the Disney Excursion.

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:) HI JEANNE!!! Your review was GREAT!!! I will do mine in a few days, I have LOTS to say, but I have to think about it first. Are YOU still "rolling"? I have had such a sensation of rolling since Sunday, is this normal??? Should I go to the Doctor???

Yes Julie, Jeanne and I had champagne in the 11th Deck Laundry Room, Jeanne did a SUPERB ironing of my "meet the Captain" outfit. That is one of my fondest memories of the trip actually, Jeanne you are a lovely woman, I do hope we cruise again together!!

Again, Julie, you did such a SUPER job bringing us all together, when is YOUR next cruise????

My next NCL cruise is, on the Dawn, February 12, 2006!! I will be celebrating my 50th Birthday (on the 14th)!!!! I think this time we will bring my DD's goof friend, Sara was a bit bored-out-of-her-gourd........ We though, her old Mom and Dad had a WONDERFULL TIME!!!

TTFN

 

Suesan

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Thanks for the reviews of the Dawn. I love reading them.

 

I have a few questions if you don't mind.

 

To who went on the airboat excursion in P.C. How was it? Do you know the name of the place or operator you went with? Can you give me a short review??? PLEASE. I'm trying to decide betweeen doing it in P.C. or Miami. We have more time in P.C. 11 hours so if it's worth it I would rather do it there. I see the price is the same but the one in Miami is an hour longer. Dose anyone know why? Is it driving time even tough it looks closer to Miami.

 

How much time would you say to schedule for dinner to make it in time for a show? Does anyone have the dailys to let me know what nights might be the Caribbeen and Italian nights, I've read about? What's on the menu Caribbean night.

 

So glad you all had a wonderfull cruise!!!

 

Thanks for posting!

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I went on the airboat ride in Port C. It was fun, interesting and informative. Our captain was excellent. He was a native of Florida (a real cracker as he referred to himself) and was very knowledgeable about the history of the area. The place is the Lone Cabbage Fish Camp and it took about 25 minutes to get there. I do believe they have a web site. The boat ride itself is only about 45 minutes but you spend time there waiting for the boats to come back and then afterward they serve everyone alligator tail bites. My son loved it and ate quite a bit. The ride from Miami (which I originally planned to do) is longer because they have an animal show afterward. You can go the port of call boards (United State) and do a search for airboat excursions and read the info there. You need at least an hour or so for dinner. You can tell the waiter you want to be done by a certain time and they will speed it along. Caribbean night was just ok in my opinion. I can't remember what I ate! Nothing really stands out in my mind as exceptional except there was a shrimp and rice dish that my son ordered and didn't like. It might be a good night to eat elsewhere. We did both Salsa and the Italian which were good.

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There was a Caribbean Night??? I had no idea..... The only "special" night I knew of was "Lobster Night", which we LOVED!!! We dined in The Venetian that night, it was lovely.... We did enjoy La Trattoria the most though, we had dinner there TWICE!!! My DD and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE PASTA!!!

TTFN

 

Suesan

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Thanks for the info. I've been searching the US board but not much ob the excursion in P.C. only Miami. So when I saw on this post that someone did it I wanted to hear about it first hand, Sounds like a nice tour,

 

Thanks for posting all the info!!!

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Jeanne,

Wow, that is great you got such special attention. I was in a minisuite too and didn't get priority tender tickets. I asked Ruth for them and was told to go stand in line :) She did get us dinner reservations a few times.

 

Anyone else think it is strange that two pax in minisuites were treated so differently? Were you both in the same cat minisuite? I'm in an AG on Sunday and hoping we get the "better" service.

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Suesan Jean:

 

Hi again! How are the babies and how is your daughter's sunburn? I used to get that rocking motion back on dry land when I first started to cruise, but do not seem to experience it anymore.

 

We went to Salsa on Caribbean night (Thursday) as I did not really care for that menu last time. What I did miss was the cancellation of the much anticipated President’s dinner which they cancelled “because we did not go to Miami” we were told.

 

 

Jeanette: Sounds like a great air boat ride. Did you go to the Liar’s Club Show? Suesan Jean, her DH and my sister and I sat together – it was a rip. I think that Ed Alonzo, from Welcome Back Kotter (on of the participant’s) used to play Arnold Horshack but my sister says no way. Does anyone on the cruise know if it was indeed him?

 

Judy F – Last time we did the Miami Everglades tour. The ride is at least 35 minutes. You don’t go that far into the everglades and are on a boat with about 25 others. You would want to sit towards the left to better view the feeding of the Alligators. We loved it.

 

Afterward is the wild animal and reptile show: Jaguar, Alligator, and Otters (Otterman gives the show – he has a website) and others. The highlight was getting my photo taken (with my camera, you tip Otterman) with a baby Alligator. We left Miami about 9:15am and returned after 1. They let us off at the Bayside Mall and we had lunch and took at taxi back ($6 + tip). You can walk over the causeway but it is very hot and humid if you go when we did then – the second week of June.

 

Italian night was Saturday, Caribbean night was Thursday, President’s will be Wednesday and Lobster is Monday. I don’t really remember too much of what was on the menu – just that I did not care much for it – Caribbean night.

 

For dinner scheduling it really depends on where you dine and how many courses you have. The Venetian can be quite leisurely – give two hours for that one.

 

Thanks for your kind words Judy!

 

Shirley: I was in an AF. I think Jeannette was in an AG. My best advice would be go to the cruise critic meeting and introduce you to the principal staff, then follow up with a personal note. Ruth the Concierge was not at our CC meeting. Her office is downstairs around the corner from the reception desk – deck 7. Go visit her and introduce yourself and follow up with a note. Ruth likes Nautical Stationary. Are you a Latitudes member?

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:) Hi Jeanne!!!! I was doing "one last look-see" (before I go start dinner, Roast ed Pork, roasted potatoes and corn, definitely not as fancy as a few days ago... ) at the postings and saw that you just posted. My "babies" are all well. Beau is coming along nicely, Bonnie's head is just about healed. Thank you very much for asking. We have Bobby's ashes now, maybe in a few weeks we will do a Memorial Service, it is just too painfull right now.

Jeanne, what is your personal e-mail? You can e-mail me at: suesanjeanb@aol.com Drop me a line when ever you want.

TTFN

 

Suesan

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Quote

Jeanette: Sounds like a great air boat ride. Did you go to the Liar’s Club Show? Suesan Jean, her DH and my sister and I sat together – it was a rip. I think that Ed Alonzo, from Welcome Back Kotter (on of the participant’s) used to play Arnold Horshack but my sister says no way. Does anyone on the cruise know if it was indeed him?

 

Jeanne,

I didn't get to the Liars club show. I wanted to but we went back to the cabin after dinner and fell asleep. I woke up at 11:30 and was annoyed that I missed it. Was it really funny? I didn't think it Ed Alonzo was Horshak but here is a bio for you to read about him.

 

http://www.edalonzo.com/story.htm

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Suesan Jean:

 

 

We went to Salsa on Caribbean night (Thursday) as I did not really care for that menu last time. What I did miss was the cancellation of the much anticipated President’s dinner which they cancelled “because we did not go to Miami” we were told.

 

 

Miami is where the bulk of the provisions are brought on the ship. That's why there was no grapefruit juice all week. They don't pick up much in NY because of the $$$; unions/sunday, etc.

 

I wish we had done a specialty restaurant on Caribbean night as that has always been my least favorite.

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Suesan Jean:

Shirley: I was in an AF. I think Jeannette was in an AG. My best advice would be go to the cruise critic meeting and introduce you to the principal staff, then follow up with a personal note. Ruth the Concierge was not at our CC meeting. Her office is downstairs around the corner from the reception desk – deck 7. Go visit her and introduce yourself and follow up with a note. Ruth likes Nautical Stationary. Are you a Latitudes member?

 

We have our CC meeting all set up for Monday morning and I certainly plan to be there. I will pack some notecards into my suitcase to write those notes as you suggested. I usually take some thank you notes anyway to give to the room attendant, etc. Much nicer than putting the tip in a plain envelope. I will make a point to seek out Ruth in her office. Yes, I am a lattitudes member; this will be our second cruise with NCL. Thanks for the advice.

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Hi, Thanks for your review. We are about to leave on the same trip (5/15) in AF mini-suite. I was somewhat familiar with the information you discussed, but have no idea what "priority tender tickets" are??

Last year we sailed in the Crown to Bermuda and did express disembarkation by keeping our bags and taking them out ourselves. I think we were the first people off the ship. (Hubby was waiting at the curb) This time, maybe being slower off the ship would br better, I'm not sure. Since the Dawn has 2x the passengers, is being dropped off at the pier much worse. I've heard people complain about the difficulty getting to the pier. I drove last time and inadvertently got in the lane with the cabs. They were gesturing in a not pleasant way. Taking a limo this time!!!!

So, now that I've bent some ears here, I'd love to know about the priority tender and disembarkation tickets. I'm a little disappointed to hear the concierge is not very available. NCL called me and offered a upgrade to penthouse, but wasn't sure what 3 of us would do with the space. I'd probably never come out of the cabin!

Looking forward to a smooth sail, great weather and chocoholic buffet!

andrea

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Being in an AF Suite should get you off the ship fairly quickly. They call all the buses and early flights and then the blue aqua tickets (Deck 11). We actually were out faster than the bus people because there were so many of them and they used a different exit. As far as tender tickets go I guess as Jeanne said its a matter of 'making friends' with Ruth. Ruth got us dinner reservations but not the tender tickets.

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Thanks for all the info. Both airboat adventures sound great, so now I'm more confused!!! LOL

 

Looks like a lot of passengers skip caribbean night. I eat weird so I might just like that night! I don't care for the formal nights menus cause I don't eat fish any kind or steak. I really want to try Salsa and maybe more then once lots of things I like on their menu.

 

Thanks

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