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shelly11

Dawn New Year's Cruise Review

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So glad you started your review, I am hanging on every word! I am super glad to hear the bed was comfy! I need a comfy bed! Glad they got rid of the dinosaur TV's too! 48 days til I am on board WooHoo!

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Day 3 Roatan

 

We docked at the port in Roatan. I booked and excursion with Ringbearer (that I ‘met’ on cruise critic). All of us and her mother went on a private van tour of the island that had a boat mangrove tour in the middle. It was a very nice tour and much of the island is lovely. Our guide took us wherever we wanted and would stay as little or as long as we wanted at each stop. She also gave us many photo taking opportunities. It was a bit sad to see the poorer sections and the places where the people dump all of their trash into the water. The tour also stopped at the iguana farm that we all enjoyed. You could feed them and there were also monkeys and fish to see. The staff was very friendly.

 

A Princess ship was also in port but it did not feel crowded at all. We shopped a little then got back on board to enjoy the ship and the pool. That evening we enjoyed the Second City comedy show, the Battle of the Sexes game and Dancing with the Dawn Stars.

 

A little note I’ll add here……the teens did sign up for the teen club but never went. They thought it looked more like a place for preteens. I saw many other teens wandering around so maybe they thought the same? It looked like a great room for talking, dancing and playing video games. Our teens visited the library daily and hung out with us most evenings. They liked all of the evening shows.

 

There were a LOT of small kids on the boat, but we never saw them until they dressed as pirates and sang one evening and then did the circus de jour another evening. So the preteens on down to babies must have been fully entertained by the Dawn’s kids club because we never felt like there were many kids at all on the ship. (and only a few in the Adult hot tub from time to time)

 

more to come.....

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Day 4 Belize City

 

We had to tender in Belize but we got early tender tickets and it went pretty fast. Belize City is beautiful and the port shopping is nice.

 

We booked an excursion through the ship to the Altun Ha Mayan ruins. We did the bus tour, there was a longer tour that included a river boat ride but we didn’t want to be gone the entire day. The tour guides and bus driver were very nice. The bus was not crowded. The ship sells you a liter of water for $5 before you leave, but the tour gives you free bottled water! Good to note for this tour at least!

 

You do have a fairly long trip down many bumpy roads, but even on the bus it wasn’t bad. We live in the country in Georgia and encounter a bumpy road every now and then. At the ruins vendors will approach you to buy food and souvenirs. Kids will try to get you to pay for a photo with a baby alligator too. Just beware that if one sees you pull out money many others will soon be near you.

 

The ruins are very interesting and you can ask many questions. We could climb up in a few places. We only did one because at this point it was very hot! The bus ride back to port was again bumpy but easy and you can stop at a restaurant for a free rum punch or be dropped back off in the port. In port this day with us were Princess, Carnival and the NCL Star. Again we did not feel crowded. We tendered back with ease to enjoy the ship.

This night we ate in the Aqua dining room. It was very good as well. We saw the Arte Diem show and the perfect couple game show.

 

Every night there was music of all sorts all around the ship. There was nightly karaoke and trivia. There was so much to do all day long you will never be bored or without something to do! Check those dailies and try to plan well. We of course never got to see everything we wanted but that’s because we were having a great time!

 

more to come.....

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I know that the Dawn is a wonderful ship. Just booked our second cruise on her. The 12 day, which will bring her from Tampa back to Boston.

 

Can't wait.

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Day 5 Costa Maya

 

We docked in Costa Maya. We booked at Maya Chan and it was fabulous!!!! Maya Chan is a private beach resort. Your price includes transportation to and from port, a private hut with chairs, hammock and we even had a little bed, all you can drink (yes alcohol!), home cooked lunch and activities. We had rum punch as soon as we arrived and I had drinks all day. Everyone was fantastic. The staff is so friendly! Lunch was also amazing. They offered kayaking, sports equipment, floats and the little ones next door got sand buckets to play with. My husband went with a kayak group out to a reef for snorkeling and loved it. We had a very relaxing day at Maya Chan and will book again! They have a website and a facebook page so be sure to check them out.

 

This port also had nice shopping and the crew was out dancing when we got back to the ship. We were in port with HAL and RCL and again did not feel crowded.

 

Ok everyone…here is my one complaint! This evening we were in the Spinnaker to see the Second City comedy troupe again. The place was standing room only and very uncomfortable. Why wasn’t this put in the theater as well? It was at a time in between theater shows. We saw may people leave when they saw they had to stand. And since we were standing we did not buy any drinks. So NCL you lost drink money this night. I think this was very poor planning!

 

Complaint part 2-----The White Hot Party was this night and we did not go. It was in the Spinnaker as well! WHY? There was no way in the world that you could dance with all those chairs and the tiny dance floor. On the Sky the White Hot Party is by the pool and you have that area plus all around the upper deck people are dancing and having a good time as well. Why have this party inside? Especially after the comedy troupe filled the club you would assume that the party would ring in more people. Again poor planning in my opinion.

 

I must note that my complaint would not prevent me from choosing the Dawn again.

 

More to come…..

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Day 6 Cozumel

 

We had to tender in Cozumel. We had to wait a bit, but we were only shopping this day so no hurry. We walked up and down the street and visited many stores close to the port. We grabbed lunch before heading back to the ship. I do have to say that in Cozumel we felt crowded and the vendors were quite pushy. I didn’t like it at all. There were 8 ships in port this day and you could tell. The pushy vendors were quite the turn off. I do expect them to talk to you and try to show you things, but street vendor were set up on the sidewalks right across from the stores and they would be talking to you at the same time, also vendors were trying to get you to go down the side streets. No thanks!

 

We didn’t wait too long to tender back to the ship. We relaxed the rest of the day on board. We did notice that we were very late and that tender boats were coming well past all aboard time. The captain later announced that a tender boat had broken down and we left over an hour late. We then had to turn back to let a crew member off to be treated at the hospital so now 2 hours late. It turned out fine in the end. Maybe NCL needs a new tender boat operator? Some people waited for an hour for a boat!

 

It was the chocolate buffet this night! So pretty and very good! It seemed that everyone had chocolate for dinner. We didn’t see any shows this night, just relaxed!

 

A little note I will add here…our room stewards were great! Ours was so nice and we got many towel animals: an elephant, a bull dog, a bunny, a floppy eared dog, a gorilla and a mouse. The teens steward was different and very nice too. He talked to us as well and also made similar animals. They got a crab and a pig instead of the dog and gorilla. Both rooms were always clean and if we needed anything they were very helpful!

 

More to come….

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Ok everyone…here is my one complaint! This evening we were in the Spinnaker to see the Second City comedy troupe again. The place was standing room only and very uncomfortable. Why wasn’t this put in the theater as well? It was at a time in between theater shows. We saw may people leave when they saw they had to stand. And since we were standing we did not buy any drinks. So NCL you lost drink money this night. I think this was very poor planning!

 

Complaint part 2-----The White Hot Party was this night and we did not go. It was in the Spinnaker as well! WHY? There was no way in the world that you could dance with all those chairs and the tiny dance floor. On the Sky the White Hot Party is by the pool and you have that area plus all around the upper deck people are dancing and having a good time as well. Why have this party inside? Especially after the comedy troupe filled the club you would assume that the party would ring in more people. Again poor planning in my opinion.

 

I must note that my complaint would not prevent me from choosing the Dawn again.

 

More to come…..

 

Thanks for your review, looking forward to the rest.

 

I will agree on the spinnaker lounge. I had the opportunity to see the original on my Dawn cruise, but the new one on the Star. It is such a poor design for most of the activities that they hold there. Like you this would not stop me from going on either of these ships again, but I think on their next drydock, they may want to consider doing something about this room. Because unless it is a seminar that is not well attended, it definately doesn't serve the purpose.

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Day 7---Day at Sea

 

Last Day! Say it ain’t so!

 

This day had so many activities listed on the Freestyle daily it was crazy! Things to do all day long!!! We enjoyed the hot tubs, our balcony, and many games! We bought our photos early as they have specials early! (look for that in your daily!) We went to the captain’s Q&A session and it was very interesting.

 

We saw the crew’s talent show in the afternoon. Later we saw the Bollywood show. My husband and Kali went to see the 55 seconds to stay alive game (and to save seats for later) while my daughter Shania and I went to eat sushi at the sushi bar. Very good!!!

 

We saw the Second City Adult show, then the Quest adult game. It was too funny to see that! The farewell party sounded great but we left early to chill before bed.

 

Day 8—time to go home :(

 

I woke up very early and it was so foggy outside in Tampa! I slept a bit longer and then woke up to pack. Surprisingly at 7:45am right on schedule the early walk off was announced. We weren’t quite ready yet and hurried to eat and get ready to go.

 

Walk off and customs was a breeze and a quick taxi back to our vehicle and we were on our way. It’s always nice to go home but it’s not 85 and sunny here today. :(

 

Overall this was a great trip on a great ship with a great crew. I would go on the Dawn again. We are probably going to catch the Sky again for a quick trip this summer while trying to plan for another week long cruise. It's hard to plan ahead for a whole week the way my husband works but we'll figure it out. We loved the longer cruise!

 

If you have questions keep them coming and I will answer. I will post photos soon. I’m not going to post the dailies as I wrote on them, but I will look things up for you if you’d like. I meant to write down the crew’s names but forgot. The captain is Paul, the hotel director is Calvin, the cruise director is Candi and the assistant cruise director is Johnny.

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was there any specials on specialty dinning? and how was the ports and what excursions did you do?

 

 

There is a coupon you can print out when you book for dining. Buy 3 and get one free I think. I wrote about my excursions and the ports.

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Thanks Shelly! I was wondering if you tendered in Cozumel? Also, do you have any kids club info?

thanks!

 

 

We did tender in Cozumel, the Star and Pearl docked. The captain said we take turns.

 

I don't have little ones but the kids I did see looked like they had a blast. I saw them doing a parade and singing one night and dancing by the pool another time. The kids club rooms look like fun!

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Any dailies or menu's from your cruise?If not what was some of the nighttime entertainment that was on the go?

 

I posted about the shows I saw, if you want to know more let me know!

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Thanks for your review, looking forward to the rest.

 

I will agree on the spinnaker lounge. I had the opportunity to see the original on my Dawn cruise, but the new one on the Star. It is such a poor design for most of the activities that they hold there. Like you this would not stop me from going on either of these ships again, but I think on their next drydock, they may want to consider doing something about this room. Because unless it is a seminar that is not well attended, it definately doesn't serve the purpose.

 

 

I agree! The club is nice but strange being a dead end and not enough room for a big event! I'm going to google for the old Dawn deck plans. After being aboard I'm just curious.

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Picture time!

 

Much of the ship still had holiday decor!

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sail away party started

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sunshine skyway bridge

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officers

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view of the balcony

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our elephant likes to party

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Iguana farm in Roatan

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Roatan

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Roatan mangroves

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Roatan

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Altun Ha in Belize

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Belize Port neighbors

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Maya Chan in Costa Maya

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tendering past the ship

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The atrium during the officer Q&A

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This was mine and my husband’s third cruise, all have been with NCL. My first two on the Sky in ocean view rooms. This was our first balcony and our first 7 day cruise. This was our 15 year old daughter’s second cruise and we let her bring a friend. Kali is 16 and had been on a Disney cruise when she was small so she didn't remember too much so it was like her first cruise as well. The girls had an obstructed view room and it was a little farther away from us than I thought, but it worked out fine.

 

We drove down to Tampa and stayed at the Hampton Inn. They have free parking if you book the cruise/airport package. I think it was only $10-$20 more than a regular rate and our vehicle was safe in their lot until our return. The usually free Hampton breakfast and a taxi and we made it to the port. They have a free shuttle but it was packed and we didn't want to wait until 12:30 for the next one, I think we got to port by 11:15 or so.

 

Checking in was fast but not as friendly as the Miami port. We are latitudes members and we didn't get any special number to board. On our second cruise in Miami we got a latitudes boarding pass. Still we got on fairly fast and began to check out the Dawn. The ship is lovely. The only thing we noticed during the week is that it has a few dead ends that the Sky does not have. Maybe this was bad planning, maybe a result of the refurbishing? Not too bad, just strange to end up in an unexpected dead end.

The crew had the dance party by the pool and the sail away BBQ going fairly fast. We hit the buffet after a quick stroll around the top decks. The buffet was good all week. We did miss being able to eat outside like on the Sky but it was still good. Without the outside section the buffet area is very long! Happy happy washy washy

 

Our rooms were ready very fast. Both rooms were bigger than I thought. The bathroom was very nice! I was expecting the tiny round circle shower with the shower curtain but the separate shower stall on the Dawn was a great surprise! There was plenty of room for all of our things in the bathroom and in the closet. The tv is a flat screen and the bed was very comfy. The room we had was 8020 and was a hull balcony. I had no idea what that meant when I booked it and it was just fine. It was windy when we left so I didn’t know if it was windier than usual or not. We had 2 small chairs and you really couldn’t have fit a full beach chair on it to sun in, but that was fine too. Still nice to walk out and get fresh air and a view of the ocean whenever we wanted.

 

We waited up top to pass under the Sunshine Skyway bridge. It was beautiful but much colder than we expected! People brave enough to get in the hot tub up front we very cold in all the wind. After passing under the bridge we ate at the buffet for dinner and went to enjoy some shows.

 

 

more to come................

 

We were on the same sailing...

Had to laugh at this one!!!!! I Loved HAPPY HAPPY WASHY WASHY!!!! Then she would say Happy Happy Smiley Smiley! Sometimes I swore she would appear out of nowhere :p

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We are going on this cruise on the 20th. I have a 6 month old and a 3 year old. We're doing a private island in Roatan and Maya Chan (return visitors) in Costa Maya.

 

Belize - my husband would like to do the Mayan Ruins (Lamanai) but I'm not sure it would be the best for kids. Was there a lot of walking? I assume we'd be carrying baby in a carrier.

 

Cozumel - I was thinking of walking around, shopping, etc. this day. I believe there are 7 ships in port that day as well. Would this port be conducive to pushing a stroller? We will be docked this day, but if it is crowded like you said, it may be a zoo?

 

Thanks for your review & pictures. It is getting me even more excited for our trip! :p

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We are going on this cruise on the 20th. I have a 6 month old and a 3 year old. We're doing a private island in Roatan and Maya Chan (return visitors) in Costa Maya.

 

Belize - my husband would like to do the Mayan Ruins (Lamanai) but I'm not sure it would be the best for kids. Was there a lot of walking? I assume we'd be carrying baby in a carrier.

 

Cozumel - I was thinking of walking around, shopping, etc. this day. I believe there are 7 ships in port that day as well. Would this port be conducive to pushing a stroller? We will be docked this day, but if it is crowded like you said, it may be a zoo?

 

Thanks for your review & pictures. It is getting me even more excited for our trip! :p

 

 

The tour we did was the Altun Ha tour through NCL. It was about 45 minute bus ride each way with air conditioning, thank goodness! Not a lot of walking at all. They give you the choice to climb up, you don't have to. You might even be able to push the stroller here but take turns climbing up maybe. I don't know about the tour you mentioned as this was our first time to any of these ports. I was told that this may be the only site where you can actually climb on the ruins.

 

Cozumel was fine for strollers. It was crowded and the vendors coming up to us constantly from both sides bothered me more than the people. I think you'd be fine in a stroller just be vigilant about smiling and passing the vendors if that's not your thing. Most stores had ample walking room inside.

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Thanks for the review, I enjoyed it. What time did you travel under the Sunshine state bridge? I am so hoping to get some good pictures in less than 3 weeks.:D

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It's around 6pm depending on when you actually leave port. We just planned on being up top a bit before 6pm until we went under. It was 49 degrees and chilly in Tampa that night, very glad to get under that bridge and get inside!

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Thanks for the update and can't wait for the full review. LDV will be on our upcoming Feb cruise so we want to know if you left any adult beverages.... . . . .. . .

 

Loved the Dawn on an earlier trip and hoped it was not as bad as the reviews. Can't please everyone they say. . . . . .

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Was the sushi menu and plate from a specialty restaurant or the Sushi Bar?

 

It was the Sushi bar. It is in the same area as the Chinese restaurant and Japanese steakhouse and one or both of those places were selling sushi too. They have the menu out so you can check, but my daughter and I had a good time sitting at the sushi bar.

 

 

I loved the Dawn. Even if we would have had more complaints you are on vacation, getting pampered, no job and no cooking and cleaning for a week. Can't beat that!

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