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Dawn Photo Review Dec 16-23


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Thanks Aquahound, so far I'm not seeing much in form of complaints except the room steward and personally I would have either contacted the HD by phone or at least put a note in their box indicating this was unsatisfactory.

 

The rest in the way of negative is your opinion and you are totally entitled to it. It is no different than someone liking one piece of art and someone else not liking it. We all have our own tastes and thats OK. Otherwise everyone would have the same carpet in their houses and there would be no reason for variety ;)

 

Love the photos, it makes me long to be back on the ship.

 

I hope all in all you had a good vacation.

Edited by che5904
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Time to introduce another complaint to this thread. Latitudes. Now, before I say this, I will admit I did zero research into what my perks were. Shame on me, I know. DW and I were Silver going in to this cruise. I never really thought much about the Latitudes program, but I did know they recently changed it....even though I didn't check on what I should be rewarded. I like perks...I just don't cruise for them.

 

A couple days into the cruise, the in-laws, who are Bronze, asked if we were going to the Latitudes reception. Baffled, we said no....what are you talking about? They said they received an envelope in their room on day 1 with all their perks and invites. Long story short, we didn't get one and when checking into it, we found someone dropped the ball on us. Well, it was a little late at this point and the reception conflicted with something else we wanted to do, so we didn't make a big deal about it.

 

After the cruise, curiosity got the best of me and I looked up the Latitudes program. Well, after researching (something I should have done before the cruise), now I know what all I missed out on. I never received a ship pin, never got any nightly chocolates in my room, and received zero discount for the items we purchased in the duty free shops.

 

By now, I made it crystal clear I should have researched this a little better. But that does not let NCL off the hook. I shouldn't have to research and enforce this. They obviously dropped the ball on us. It was somone's fault we received none of the invites, ship pin or chocolates, and our status was clearly displayed on our cards, so the shops should have known to apply the discounts.

 

I hesitate to add this, but to heck with it, I'm on a roll. We received 21 points for this cruise....7 points for the cruise, 7 points for booking far in advance, and an additional 7 points for some promotion they had when I booked. Now we're Gold. This is probably a complaint you all don't hear much, who knows, but isn't that a little too easy? I only say that because I've seen a roll-back on some perks on other lines due to the ease of gaining certain status. It can create some problems. Just a thought (not a complaint).

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Our first port-of-call was Roatan. We chose to book the South Beach excursion that dumps us off at the Parrot Tree beach resort for the day. That's all we wanted...a relaxing day at the beach. My opinion? The place is gorgeous.

 

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Their drink special was the Coco Loco. It was a bunch of different flavored rums poured in to a chopped-open coconut. It was pretty good and a great start to our relaxing beach day.

 

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But I can't end the South Beach posts without a complaint. When we arrived, the guide told us we had until 3:00. Well, either some folks don't know how to tell time or they just thought they would control everyone's time, because at 2:00 some people started boarding the bus. DW and I packed up our stuff from our beach chair and went and sat at the bar. At 2:30, with 30 minutes remianing, I ordered a beer. No sooner did the bartender sit the beer in front of, the guide walked up to us and said everyone was on the bus already.....well, all except us and another couple. She told both of us we needed to board because they were leaving. What? We still had 30 minutes. Not until I finish my beer! She wasn't happy, but I did finish and we boarded....but we still were underway 15 minutes early.

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Thank you for your review. We are on the Dawn in 2 months and I am getting nervous about all these negative reviews. We sailed EPIC last March and it was exceptional.

 

Please don't let my review ruin the excitement of your upcoming cruise. Look at it this way...you'll know what some of the problems are and will know how to avoid them. ;) But yea, I too have read the other reviews and December wasn't a good month for the Dawn.

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Thank you for your comments, Paul. And for your pictures. Agree that you did have a few issues like the dirty mirror. Makes me think your cabin steward was new to the ship or at least his assistant.

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Our next stop was Belize City, Belize. I knew what to expect here....the place is a dump. So, we booked the cave tubing excursion. We did this 7 years ago when we were last in Belize. Like anything, it just wasn't the same. We did have a great time, but this excursion has become very popular and the place was packed!!! Once in the river, it was still a great time though and I do still recommend the excursion. Sorry, no pics. I didn't pack a waterproof camera.

 

Now, here's where I think NCL can do things a little better. You have to tender in Belize, so excursions meet in the Stardust Theater....ALL of them. I'll use RCI as an example. Last time I was in a similar situation with them (RCI) and the meeting place was the theater, they posted signs and all persons of the same excursion sat together. This made for an orderly egress when it was time to go to the tender, and everyone stayed together. Not on Dawn. They would announce a couple exucrions at a time, and it was a mad dash for the exit. You know how people are. Many have to be first, even though we're all going to the same tender. :rolleyes: Making it worse, there was a table set up at that exit, selling water. Between people trying to buy water and others shoving their way out, there were some heated tempers. DW and I couldn't do much other than laugh at how some of these people were acting.

 

On another note, we were joined by Norwegian Star, anchored offshore. Here are a couple pics of Star I took from my balcony.

 

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Thank you for your review and photos!

 

Through my lenses most of your complaints seem like things that would have not sat well with me either, specifically regarding the room and balcony.

 

And good on you for not being rushed through your beer. Suppose you were no where to be found would they have left without you? LOL What tour company was it? Was that a ship run excursion?

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And good on you for not being rushed through your beer. Suppose you were no where to be found would they have left without you? LOL What tour company was it? Was that a ship run excursion?

 

You know, I wondered the same thing. What if we were still in the pool, which was on the other side of the resort? :eek:

 

It was a ship run excursion. It was called something like South Beach Break.

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Next stop...Costa Maya. This and Roatan were two big reasons I booked this particular cruise. Other cruise lines seem to be abandoning this place, so I was excited to see ths itinerary including Costa Maya. The ship docks here and we were the only ones in port.

 

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You know, I wondered the same thing. What if we were still in the pool, which was on the other side of the resort? :eek:

 

It was a ship run excursion. It was called something like South Beach Break.

 

Then this review would have started out with a very different title. Possibly being written in Honduras :D LOL Thanks for the info I think I'll skip that excursion company in this port.

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We took the shuttle over to Mahahual. It is $2 per person. Return taxi is $3 per person. Walking through Mahahual is a bit of a contact sport because the vendors are very aggressive. With the right attitude, it can be humorous though.

 

Like other places, it just isn't the same anymore. Years ago, when we first went to Mahahual, it still had a lot of its small, fishing village charm. I was disappointed on this trip to see they built a Senor Frogs here. Why people go to these joints and forego the local venues always baffles me and I hated seeing Mahahual getting so commercialized. Oh, well, I guess I'm partly to blame for being there as a cruise ship tourist. :(

 

Here are some pics I took while there.

 

Zoomed-in view of the ship from the Mahahual beach:

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The lighthouse:

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A fishing net Christmas tree someone set up on the beach:

 

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Edited by Aquahound
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Let's talk about Gatsbys for a moment. This lounge is in a centralized location and was one of our favorite venues. The entire staff here was very friendly and they made some of the best espresso martinis on the ship.

 

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This lounge is where you have to go to get in to Le Bistro and La Cucina. They have live music here, so it makes a great pre or post dinner spot for a drink. However, there is also a problem (for many, but not all). Directly connected to Cagneys is the Havana Club cigar lounge. Havana Club is enclosed but whenever the front door opened, a plume of cigar smoke made its way into Gatsbys. One night, some super genious held the door open while he talked to someone inside. The air got so bad in Gatsbys, the piano played stopped, mid-song, and told the guy to close the door. The piano player wasn't shy in telling the guy how he felt and I'm sure he got counseled for what he said, but he did do all of us in the lounge a favor. Havana Club is nice and I'm all for a dedicated cigar lounge on ships, but this location, especially right next to Le Bistro wasn't the best choice.

 

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Loving the review and pictures can't wait for the rest!

 

I have never been on the Dawn and have also been seeing a lot of negative reviews coming from her recently but I've waited 2 years for this cruise and can't wait to set sail and will definitely have a great time. I do appreciate the positive and negative aspects of your review it gives me forewarning about some of the less than stellar aspects.

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Here's a post that I'm sure will ruffle some feathers, although not my intention. Folks, this is just Aquahound talking, so take it as my opinion.

 

Freestyle. I really think this is one of the most over-hyped concepts in all of cruising, and I am not a big fan of it.....at least not in any way that Freestyle would be a deciding factor in any future cruises. Hear me out.

 

I am always reading people write "do what you want when you want" when descrbing NCL? Huh? Why can't I do "what I want when I want" on any other major cruise line? Truth is, I can. Anyone can.

 

Don't get me wrong. I do love being able to eat when I want, and I have been using that option on every single cruise on which I have been in the past few years. But NEVER have I been handed a pager and told I will have to wait 20-30 minutes for a table. Sorry, but that is a big turn-off for me. This happened all 4 nights we ate in the MDR and our actual wait times varied between 15 and 30 minutes. As noted, we were a party of 4 and we showed up at different times between 6 and 7:30. And besides, when everything else on the ship has set times, like the shows, you still have to plan your dinner accordingly. If these wait times are Dawn specific, please feel free to chime in, but still, not a fan.

 

Service in the Venetian MDR was hit or miss. We had one really good server (kudos to you, Agung), but the rest were just ok, and on one night, just getting a cup of coffee was an impossible request.

 

Service during breakfast in the Venetian was the worst. They acted like they didn't care and didn't want to be there. There's no other way to describe it. We just couldn't win for breakfast.

 

On a good note, the MDR food was pretty good. Not bad, not great..typical banquet quality.

 

This is the Venetian MDR:

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Our next stop was Cozumel. I'll get to the NCL/Cozumel debacle in a minute, but first, let me say we were one of 7 ships in port that day. Here are some pics of the other ships.

 

Norwegian Pearl:

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Norwegian Star:

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Allure of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas:

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Not seen from our location were 2 Carnival ships including their biggest, Carnival Magic.

Edited by Aquahound
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Here's where it gets ugly. The Dawn drew the short straw and we had to tender in Cozumel. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but the Captain said they alternate between the 3 NCL ships on who gets to tender. At first, it didn't appear bad because it was a relatively short distance to the pier. This picture is taken from shore, so you can see how close we were.

 

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However, the tender service used very large shuttles as tenders. The entire process was a good 30 minutes in both directions unless, of course, you were one of the lucky ones who had good timing and were last to board the tender. A little bit of bad luck didn't help. The seas were a little rough and it rained on and off. Despite the short distance, it was probably one of the most frustrating tenders I've ever experienced.

 

Here's a picutre of the hull art taken from the tender:

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When we got back on the ship, we had a really nice sunset. It started with a light mist of rain that created a rainbow that went down into the water:

 

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Then, as the sun got lower, it was one of those nights where everything was a browish/orange tint. It was a beautiful evening.

 

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