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Dawn Review 1/13-1/20 Pictures, Dailies, Menus

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Finally got enough stuff out of the way so I can start this review of our Jan 13-20 Dawn cruise.

 

First of all, the disclaimers. I am not a writer, or a photographer. I also did not sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night. So this review is just my thoughts, and the pictures were taken with a Canon Powershot 6 Mp camera. I still have a very busy schedule this week, so this will have to be done in installments.

 

The Players: Myself ( 9th cruise, 4th NCL), the Wife (6th cruise, 2nd NCL), Daughter Bre (5th cruise, 2nd NCL), and her friend Katie (First ever cruise). Both girls are 18 and freshmen in college. The trip was Bre's High School Graduation present.

 

 

DAY 1

 

We flew in the day before departure. My first ever experience with Southwest, and I was impressed. All the employees were friendly and efficient. Boarding was quick, and all the luggage made it to TPA surviving a connection and 2 late gate changes. PLENTY OF LEGROOM!

 

Stayed at the LaQuinta airport. Again, was very pleased. Free airport shuttle, nice clean room, nice pool, friendly staff. The breakfast left a little to be desired, but was in no way enough to make me dislike the place. Reserved a cab for 10:00am Sunday. The driver was there by 9:50, and we were to the port by 10:05.

 

Our first good look at the Dawn

 

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FIRST IN LINE!

 

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They started to let us in at 10:30. Got through the security check very quickly and made our way to one of the agents. As luck would have it, I picked the one who moved so slow, I practically took her pulse to make sure she was still alive. When she finally got to the point of printing our receipt, the printer was low on paper, so she had to change the roll (isn't this something you're supposed to check BEFORE the passengers arrive?). Then, when she finally found a new roll of paper, and put it in the printer, she messed something up and the IT guy had to come over and get things working right. The agents on either side of us processed 3 groups each in the time it took our agent to do us. We were giving boarding group number 7.

 

Waiting to be called

 

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They started boarding about 11:30, and we were on board by 11:45.

Our first order of business was to get extra key cards for the wife and Bre. Because the girls are only 18, we had to book 1 room with myself and Bre, and the other room with the wife and Katie. So the extra key cards were necessary for the wife and Bre to switch cabins.

Next it was time to explore the ship and get some lunch. We originally planned to eat in the Venetian, but the menu didn't really wow us, so we went up to the buffet. I really don't understand those who complain about the food,comparing it to Arbys, Denny's, etc, because we all found it to be very good.

I think it was around 1:15-1:30 when they announced the cabins were ready, so we went to check them out. We had cabins 11533 and 11535. For inside cabins they were pretty nice. Roomy enough that we didn't feel claustrophobic. The first thing we noticed was the sleeping arrangments were reversed. The girls room had the beds pushed together, and ours were separated. Our Cabin Steward, Eddison, came by and introduced himself. I told him about the beds, and he assured me it would be taken care of by that evening.

The girls went to explore on their own, so I put up a couple door decorations the wife made for the girls room.

 

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They called the mustard drill at 3:15, and it went fairly quick.

Back to exploring the ship, until sail away. We stood up front on deck 13 until about 4:30, when we wend to the cabins to get ready for dinner. Super Eddie had already changed the beds for us. Headed to the Aqua about 5:30 for dinner. Since it was lobster night, we wanted to be early. I was not very impressed with the Aqua. Not enough windows for my liking. Only 1 table that sat more than 2 next to a window. The rest of the window seats were a long bench along the windows where the people sitting on it had their backs to the window, and the people on the opposite side of the table faced the window. To me, this is a very poor design.

 

When we sat down, the shades were all lowered, so you couldn't see out the window. Everybody along the windows asked to have the shades raised, and we were told someone was "trying to find the guy who knows how to run the remote control". I told them to bring me the remote and I would give it my best shot. I was such a nice sunny evening that people were practically begging to have the shades raised. After about 15 minutes, they finally went up.

 

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Keep it coming!! Great review. Have loved cruising with my college kids--a great opportunity to connect. Looking forward to review.:D

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DAY 1 PART 2

 

I had the steak and lobster. The lobster was a little tough, but the steak was great. I can't remember what everyone else had.

 

Here are pictures of the menu. The left side is the side that changes from day to day, and is exactly the same for Aqua and Venetian. The right side is the same every night, with the only difference being that Aqua serves a Ribeye, and Venetian serves a NY Strip. After this posting, I will only be posting the side that changes.

The service has definitely deteriorated since my last NCL cruise. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. A little slow, and a very slight bit of what felt like a "don't care" attitude.

 

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After dinner we went to the Welcome Aboard show, and it was pretty good. After that we went to the Casino and signed up for Casinos At Sea, and got into the raffle for new members. Didn't win anything so we went to the Majority Rules Game Show. It was pretty funny and entertaining. After the show we just walked around checking things out until the Sing It If You Know It Game Show at 10:15. This was also pretty good.

After that, we were pretty tired so we hit the sack.

 

I am posting all 4 pages of the Day 1 Daily only. After that I am only posting pages 1 and 3. Pages 2 and 4 are pretty much the same all week long.

 

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That's enough for tonight. Still trying to get my body clock adjusted. Tomorrow is a new day.

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DAY 2

 

Day 2 was a full day at sea. The girls got up and went to the Early Morning Stretch and Awsome Abs class in the Fitness Center. They did this the whole week.

We had breakfast in the Garden Cafe.

 

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Washy Washy Happy Happy!

 

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Once again, I don't understand the grousing about the food. I had an omlette that was as good as any restaurant serves. The wife and the girls all enjoyed their eggs, fruit, etc. I'm starting to think that some people get out of bed looking for a reason to complain. With the volume of people going through the line, everything turns over fast enough to be fresh. One thing I thought was pretty neat was the kids area. It had lower tables and chairs with a separate buffet line just for the kids.

 

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After breakfast it was hang out at the pool time until our CC Meet & Greet.

The M & G was at 10:30 in the Star Bar. We were hosting it so we had to get there early to set things up. The Star Bar doubles as the Concierge office, so the Concierge was in there when we were setting up. The first thing he said was "If you need anything at all, just ask." This was a theme that lasted the entire week with most any crew member we met.

We had 33 + 1 baby show up for the M & G. Everybody got to meet someone new. NCL set up a table with danish and drinks.

 

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I think NCL takes these boards and the Meet & Greets pretty seriously, because the Captain and the Senior Officers all showed up, introduced themselves, and answered any questions we had. The Captain is a very nice guy and has a great sense of humor. All the senior staff are quite friendly. I found out that the Hospitality Director, Calvin, and I have the same name. After that, whenever we met he would greet me by name.

 

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After the M & G we did a cabin crawl with poker run. It was very interesting being able to see the various types of cabins.

 

To be continued this evening

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I love the poker run addition to the cabin crawl, clean1tower. That would certainly liven things up! I may have to borrow that idea in the future. :)

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Loving all of this information. Will be our first time on the dawn in April. Super Excited. Thank you for sharing. Cant wait for more.

Debbie:)

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Thanks for putting the time to put all this together, I love reading picture reviews.

 

Can't wait for the rest.

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Wow, I'm even more excited about our upcoming cruise now :D

 

Thanks for sharing all the information!

Edited by LEtue

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Thank you! Your posting of the dailies is helpful because I am a first timer on NCL.

 

Pictures are fantastic!:)

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Looking forward to reading more of your review. We've been on the Dawn in the past and will be on her again later this year.

 

I have to say your graduation to your daughter was a wonderful gift and one she will surely remember.

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Cruisin the Dawn on February 17th...can't wait. Thanks for all the info...keep it coming

 

What is cabincruise with poker run?

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Cruisin the Dawn on February 17th...can't wait. Thanks for all the info...keep it coming

 

What is cabincruise with poker run?

 

Just different wording for a poker cabin crawl or cabin crawl with poker. You buy in and at each participating cabin, you pick a card. At the end of the crawl, everyone shows their cards. Winner takes or splits the pot.

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We live in Somersworth NH just over the border.....going on the repo April 21 on the Dawn. Our first time on NCL! Very excited....can't come soon enough with all the snow and cold!

 

Enjoying the reviews of NCL Dawn. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

Loving all of this information. Will be our first time on the dawn in April. Super Excited. Thank you for sharing. Cant wait for more.

Debbie:)

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Day 2 Continued

 

 

After all the meet and greet activities we went to lunch in the Venetian. This is a much better venue than the Aqua. More spacious and plenty of windows. We got a table right next to the windows looking out the back of the ship.

 

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I had the Fried Calamari (first time ever for me) and the fish and chips. It was all pretty good.

 

After lunch we saw the Mr Sexy Legs contest and just hung around the pool for the afternoon.

 

We went to the Venetian for dinner promptly at 5:30, but couldn't get a window seat. The service and overall atmosphere was much better than in the Aqua. This would be our dinner spot for the rest of the week.

 

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After dinner we went to the Not-So-Newlywed Game Show. It was hilarious. My wife wanted to be one of the contestant couples, but thankfully they skipped over our length of marriage when choosing contestants. After the show we went to the casino. The slots were friendly to the wife, but the Craps table didn't like me very much. The casino is where NCL is pretty sneaky. If you play Blackjack for anything less than $25 minimum, you only get 6:5 for a blackjack. This dramatically increases the house edge.

 

Since it was Formal Night, we walked around and took pictures of ourselves in different areas of the ship. For whatever reason, most of them turned out like crap. I did manage to get one of the girls with the dancer outside of Moderno

 

 

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We ran into someone from our Meet & Greet and discussed having to wait in line for dinner. They suggested making reservations. I never knew you could make reservations for the MDR. So I promptly went to the Reservations Desk and checked what was available. The earliest for Tuesday was 8:15, so I passed on that. However, we made reservations for 6:15 every night for the rest of the week.

 

 

Day 2 Daily

 

 

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Day 3 Roatan Honduras

 

We had originally planned to eat breakfast in the MDR, but since the girls were doing the morning excercise classes and we had a scheduled 9:00 pick up time, we did the Garden Buffet again.

 

We made reservations for a horseback riding tour with Barrio Dorcas Ranch. As I posted earlier, we had a scheduled pick up time of 9:00. Somehow or another, the girl who does the scheduling got the dates mixed up and had us scheduled the following day, so we ended up not having a ride. There is a girl named Marie who stands right outside the pier gate. I don't know her title, but she pretty much directs traffic for people looking for their rides. Marie made a couple phone calls, then called a guy over and introduced him to us as Charlie. He was to be our driver for the day. We got to the ranch where Shirkie had our horses saddled up and ready to go.

If you like horseback riding, this is a great tour. You ride from the ranch to West End, through town, down the beach, through a more rustic area, and back to the ranch. The total riding time is about 1-1/2 hours. Just as we were riding through te gate of the ranch, Charlie came driving back up, right on schedule.

 

 

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Yes, you go through the town. You ride down the street right next to all the traffic

 

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After riding the horses Charlie drove us to Fosters, a place on West Bay. One of the employees asked us if we needed anything, and I told him we were looking for the parasail boat. He left and came back with the contact guy, who told us it was $65 each, or $55 if we wanted to pay cash. I told him we would discuss it and let him know. After changing into our swimwear, we went to the dock where the parasail boat had already showed up. I told the guy we wanted to use the credit card, and he told us he would have to call the other boat. Time was starting to run out, so we just did the cash deal and saved $40. This was my big mistake for the week. They took us about 10 minutes out on the water, and hooked up the girls. All they did was let out rope and let the wind take you up. After all the rope was out they sat for a while and then ree you in again. They didn't drive you anywhere! On the ride back to shore they even had the nerve to mention the tip box!

 

As soon as we got back to shore we grabbed Charlie and had him give us a ride back to the pier. We walked down the street to Coxen Hole about 1/2 mile on one side, and back on the other, stopping in the shops and booths along the way. We were back on board between 3:30 and 4:00.

 

When we got back to our cabins, there were invitations from the Concierge to have breakfast and lunch in Cagney's, which was a nice surprise.

Since we had no dinner reservations, we got ready for dinner early, as we would have to be in the first-come-first-served line again. I tried the Chef's Special, which was Fish Stew made with Mahi Mahi. It wasn't very good so I had the waiter take it away and bring me a steak.

 

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After dinner we went to the Battle Of The Sexes Game Show. The daughter and I were Team Captains against each other. As luck would have it, we ended up in a tie, so neither one of us had bragging rights.

 

We also went to the Second City show. I must have read too many reviews talking about how great this show is, because it didn't come close to meeting my expectations. To me, it's too much like Saturday Night Live, where they only have one funny bit the entire night, and after you see it, you may as well go to bed because the rest of it is just plain stupid and boring.

 

The last thing we did was go to Dancing With The Dawn Stars, which was well worth the time.

 

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yeah im stoked to see dailies!! Was there karaoke?

 

 

Karaoke was held in the Pearly Kings Pub, which doubled as a sports bar during the day. I don't remember how many nights during the week they had it going.

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I always finish high when they have one of these i hope they did. Your pics are great, been waiting forever to see the dailies. Im planning my days already lol!

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DAY 4 BELIZE CITY

 

 

We didn't have anything planned for Belize, so after the excercize classes we had leisurly breakfast in Cagney's. This place is fabulous. The best service we experienced anywhere on the ship. The food was great. Blackberries as big as your thumb.

 

After breakfast we gathered our things and tendered to shore. The tender process was smooth and efficient. Once on shore we just shopped around the pier area. Prior to departing for our trip we had been warned to not leave the fenced in pier area without being on an organized tour, and we heeded the warning.

 

A couple interesting points about Belize.

 

1) The MOHO Chocolate store. They make their own chocolate right on site. They have a large glass window you can look through and watch the process.

2) The Pharmacies. There are about 3 or 4 pharmacies where apparently you can just walk up and buy your meds. I have no idea how legit they are or whether the meds ar genuine, but they just have a list of meds with the prices right on the counter. One example I remember is they all had the little blue pill for $4 a pill or 100 pills for $75. I don't know if this is a good price or not.

 

By noon we had seen all of Belize we wanted to see, and Bre came down with a headache, so we caught a tender back to the ship.

Had lunch in Cagney's and once again it was excellent.

The afternoon was spent justhanging around different areas of the ship. The Daily showed "Poolside Fun" at 3:00, so I went to the pool to check it out. A couple of the CD staff carrying numbers walked through the pool area, looked around at the crowd, and left. Nothing else happened.

 

This was our first night with dinner reservations and it was much better than waiting in line

 

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After dinner we went to the Band On The Run show and visited the casino. The show was all right, but not really great.

At 10:00 was the Caribbean Deck Party, which was lightly attended.

 

 

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Hey Calvin! Thanks for all this information and the pics are great! I am doing the M&G for the 2/10/13 cruise (we have 90 on our list!!) and your input has been awesome. Would love to know how you did your cabin crawl and poker run as we have not nailed down our details yet :eek::D

 

Nancy

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DAY 4 BELIZE CITY

 

 

This was our first night with dinner reservations and it was much better than waiting in line

 

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After dinner we went to the Band On The Run show and visited the casino. The show was all right, but not really great.

At 10:00 was the Caribbean Deck Party, which was lightly attended.

 

 

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Hi- Was your dinner reservations in the main (non-pay) dining room? if so, how do you do this and when can you do this?

Thanks,

Tammi

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Thanks for the great review and pictures- we are on the Dawn in March and can't wait! Did you recall if they were offering the 2 for 1 martinis for happy hour? I notice mention of a "happy hour" in the Pearly Kings in the Daily- is this different from the martini one? Are both offered?

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Loving all of this information. Will be our first time on the dawn in April. Super Excited. Thank you for sharing. Cant wait for more.

Debbie:)

 

What date are you sailing in April, Debbie? We will be on the Dawn on April 7. Are you bringing your family? My husband and daughter, age 9 will be with me.

Super excited!!!!:);):D

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a "cabin crawl" is where people volunteer to allow others to view their cabin (suite, penthouse, balcony, inside, etc.) Just take a minute or so to look around & ask questions, then on to the next! The "poker run" costs money! Need a minimum of 5 cabins (7 is better) & whoever wants to participate puts up $5, $10, etc., each. You get a "playing card" at each cabin u visit & then the person w/the best 5-card poker hand, at the end, wins all the $!

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