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Dawn Photo Review Dec 16-23


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Good morning NCL fans. I've done several reviews on CC and when I have a less than perfect cruise, I hesitiate to post reviews on the boards because I know some folks just can't handle them. But here it is and let this be a forewarning to some...this review is going to include some complaints. That said, I try to be fair and I will give some kudos as well. Also, I like to post photos.

 

We were a party of 4, my wife and I, and her parents. DW and I live in Key West and it is a 6 hour drive to the port in Tampa, so we spent the prior night at the Hyatt Place Tampa/Westshore. I recommend ths hotel becuase they allow up to 14 days of free parking with one night's stay. The shuttle to and from the port was free.

 

We arrived at the pier at about 10:30 and people were already lined up outside the terminal. We waited about 10-15 minutes before they allowed us in and it was about another 30 minute wait inside before boarding. The whole process went pretty smooth and boarding was rather painless.

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We went straight to the Garden Cafe to grab some lunch. Getting there early was good because by the time we were done, the place was a madhouse. The food was typical buffet and I wouldn't call it particulary good or bad. It was just adequate.

 

The Garden Cafe is a bit of an odd design. You can't cross from one side to the other inside the cafe in the back. You have to go out to the hallway/stairs area to cross over to the other side. It was a little confusing at first, but once used to it, no big deal.

 

After lunch, we toured the ship. Compared to other ships I've sailed, I'd say the Dawn is just ok. I'm not a fan of all the artwork. To me, it makes the ship looks like a child's playroom. Not any effect on the cruise...just an opinion.

 

ry%3D400

 

ry%3D400

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I don't remember what time the rooms were open, but it seemed pretty early. We had Mini-Suite 11658.

 

I wouldn't say there is anything special about the room. I do like all the woodwork, but a couple things just seemd odd. There was a table that seemed to be an afterthought. My in-laws also had the same table in their interior room and in both rooms, it just didn't fit right. The vanity desk was in the hallway leading in to the room so whenever DW was getting ready, I had to squeeze around her. Here are some pics of the room.

 

ry%3D400

 

 

ry%3D400

 

ry%3D400

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One thing I loved about the room was the bathroom. This is a good design and should be a model for other lines. Comparatively, it was pretty spacious. Plus, I do like how there were liquid soap dispensers in both the show and at the sink.

 

ry%3D400

 

ry%3D400

Edited by Aquahound
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Here is a pic of the balcony. Not a fan. I know someone will think (or say) I should've done my homework here, but I didn't (didn't think I needed to) and I won't blame myself for what I think is a stupid design on NCL's part. There is a line of balconies on deck 11, aft, that have very little privacy due to the design of the partitions. There is a gap between the partition and the railing, and the partitions go up at an angle, further opening your view into your neighbor's balconies. This gap was so big, anyone could walk from balcony to balcony....and on one day, some kids a few rooms down did do this.

 

ry%3D400

 

...and making this an even bigger issue was the fact my balcony slider did not lock. No matter in what position the handle was, I could open the slider. We had to use the child lock. We reported this to maintanance, but nothing was ever done to fix it.

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And while complaining about my balcony, let me add this. Not once during the entire cruise was my balcony cleaned. The non-skid decking was breaking apart and everytime we walked out there, we tracked it into the room. We couldn't go out there barefoot. There was debris (garbage) on the deck and it looked like the balcony hadn't been cleaned in a while. All the room attendent had to do was run his vacuum out there and much of this could have been made better. And yes, we did speak to the supervisor one day and did ask for this to be fixed. But again, never got done.

 

ry%3D400

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While I appreciate your honest thoughts, this is all subjective so far. I really like the hand painted art work on the NCL ships and find it a "happy" experience. Also, we are fans of the Mini suites, having stayed in them numerous time. They work just right for us. The balcony...well is a balcony. We enjoy hanging out on it and even chatting with neighbors. Again....I know your thoughts are legit....but they are thoughts that have never occurred to us. But that's what make the world go around I guess. The pics make me want to get on another cruise again....now. Thanks for you report.

 

I will assume, in addition to speaking to the supervisor about trash on the balcony, you did direct the room steward's attention to it while he/she was in your room . "Hey Phil, there's some trash on the balcony right there. Would you mind stepping out there next time you're doing our room and take care of that please. Thanks." If he/she didn't then do so, I regret you had an attendant that isn't up to the standards of all we've had.

Edited by roger001
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Ok, let me finish complaining about my room and then I'll try to move on to something positive.

 

Bed - Rock hard. Both of us tossed and turned the entire first night and woke up with backaches. We had to request extra padding. Bed wasn't bad after the padding was applied. In-laws had same problem with their bed.

 

Mirrors - not cleaned. Had to write a letter and leave it for the room attendent to finally clean them. I have no idea what this stuff is on my mirror, but thankfully this was a request he actually fulfilled and the mirror was cleaned the next day:

 

ry%3D400

 

Toward the end of our cruise, we hit some weather and the ship was rocking a bit. I noticed our room was creaking a lot more than what I've heard in the past during rough seas, especially near the balcony slider. A closer look and I found this. Yes, those are wood wedges shoved into the ceiling. Really NCL? This is how you fix things?

 

ry%3D400

Edited by Aquahound
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While I appreciate your honest thoughts, this is all subjective so far.

 

Agreed. Much of this review is just my point of view. Thanks for your thoughts. :)

 

...and yes, we did try to talk to the room attendent, but finding him was a difficult task. There were days our room never got cleaned. So, like the mirror issue, we left a note. However, with having family aboard and trying to have a good time, there was only so much time I was going to spend trying to find the guy. One day, when our thermostat quit working, we had to flag down another room attendent.

Edited by Aquahound
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While I appreciate your honest thoughts, this is all subjective so far. I really like the hand painted art work on the NCL ships and find it a "happy" experience. Also, we are fans of the Mini suites, having stayed in them numerous time. They work just right for us. The balcony...well is a balcony. We enjoy hanging out on it and even chatting with neighbors. Again....I know your thoughts are legit....but they are thoughts that have never occurred to us. But that's what make the world go around I guess. The pics make me want to get on another cruise again....now. Thanks for you report.

 

I will assume, in addition to speaking to the supervisor about trash on the balcony, you did direct the room steward's attention to it while he/she was in your room . "Hey Phil, there's some trash on the balcony right there. Would you mind stepping out there next time you're doing our room and take care of that please. Thanks." If he/she didn't then do so, I regret you had an attendant that isn't up to the standards of all we've had.

Roger

All reviews are subjective. Your opinion on the ship's art is also subjective. You make it sound like the OP is not entitled to their own review and their own thoughts and experiences.

Edited by Sara_smile
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Roger

All reviews are subjective. Your opinion on the ship's art is also subjective. You make it sound like the OP is not entitled to their own review and their own thoughts and experiences.

 

Sara - No worries. As you see, OP had no problem with Roger's response. :eek:

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Our first night's dinner was in Cagneys. The venue was comfortable and the service was excellent. I had the filet and I would say it was just good. I think Cagneys was worth the cost for the venue and service, but I would rank my filet near the bottom when comparing Cagneys to other pay steakhouses on other cruise lines.

 

I had the cheesecake for dessert and thought it was really good.

 

While on the topic, I'll go ahead and provide my opinions for the other pay venues. One night, we tried Le Bistro.

 

ry%3D400

 

We thought Le Bistro was excellent. Both DW and I tried the mushroom soup and had the rack of lamb for our main course. If it wasn't for wanting to try other venues, along with having family aboard, we would have returned to Le Bistro. I highly recommend this one.

 

The last night, we tried Moderno. I'm 50/50 with Moderno. I thought the food was really good. I thought the steaks and lamb would be my favorite, but I found the sausages to be my favorite. Again, excellent service. But here's my problem. It doesn't run like a true Brazilian steakhouse. Every selection comes once and in a specific order, so the red-green disk really isn't all that necessary. It isn't like land based restaurants where they are constantly going around. In order to get a second helping of any particular course, you have to ask for it. Also, I did not like the location. It was not intimate at all. Moderno is attached to the central atrium with no sort of glass to separate it, so you are forced to listen to whatever is going on below. It can get pretty noisy. Here is a picture of the atrium. Moderno is the top floor.

 

ry%3D400

Edited by Aquahound
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OP - Thanks for the review and pictures of the beautiful Dawn. The Dawn/Star are our favorite ships of the fleet to date. I am sorry to hear you had some issue with your cabin cleaniness. I have to agree that mirror just looks plain nasty. :eek: Here's hoping things were resolved and your cruise was a great experience. Looking forward to reading the rest.

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Paul I appreciate the heads up on the approximate time going under the bridge. Also are all deck 11 balconies partitioned that way? I'm in an SC and was just curious if you know. Thanks.

 

No, they are not. It was just a block of balconies near the aft. It started just forward of me....I'm thinking with room 11652, give or take 1 room (11152 on starboard) and extended all the way aft.

Edited by Aquahound
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Dawn's pool deck is a little odd. I learned the hard way you cannot access the pool deck from the aft elevators/stairs without walking through the Garden Cafe. Not a big deal. I'm just the type who prefers not to walk through an indoor food venue when returning from the pool in wet or damp swim suits. I learned to use the central stairs to get to the pool.

 

There was a lot of open deck space around the pool. Most of the deck chairs were in a stadium seating style design, extending up to Bimini Bar. Chairs were not hard to come by and the live calypso band was pretty good. The pool was a good size, but the smaller pool behind the band stand was a bit of a feat to get in and out of. Like the decking on my balcony, the non-skid around the pool was in pretty poor condition. I read another review a couple days ago also complaining about the decking falling apart and I can confirm it is true.

 

ry%3D400

 

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Here are a couple more pics from up top. I think these palm tree lights are a little cheesy, but as pointed out earlier...just my opinion. They do make for a good photo though. ;)

 

 

 

ry%3D400

 

All the way up forward was a posted "Quiet Zone." There were plenty of deck chairs and a jacuzzi. This is where we hung out on the first sea day and we found it very relaxing.

 

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From the Quiet Zone, you could get a pretty good view of the bow.

 

ry%3D400

 

Walking to the stern, we found the kids pool. I like that the kids area is so far separated from the main pool. I'm not sure who designed those water fountains, but we got a pretty good laugh out of them (dirty minds). I guess they just go along with the rest of the design around the ship.

 

ry%3D400

 

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