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My Dawn Western Caribbean Cruise on March 23-30, 2014 Review with photos

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I am sharing my experience on our family vacation aboard the NCL Dawn to the Western Caribbean on March 23 - 30, 2014. I traveled with my husband, daughter (14) and my husband's aunt. This is my first review and may take a couple of days to complete it. I will add in a few pictures once I figure out how to do that. :rolleyes:

Shall we begin....memory please don't fail me now.

 

Day 1

 

Embarkation:

 

We live in the Tampa Bay area so my father in law dropped us off at the port around 11am. We were immediately greeted by a porter to assist with our luggage. He asked if we had packed any water etc in our checked luggage. We did have some unopened water bottles. He said because it was Spring Break, security was really being tight on this due to many sneaking alcohol on board. Security would open our checked bags and remove such items so it was best to do it now. Ok, whatever! :mad: It wasn't the chance of security removing the water bottles that bothered me, it was that who wants strangers going through their luggage? In all the times we have traveled through the Tampa Port this has never been an issue. We removed the water bottles and put them in a tote. We had 6-8 bottles. Mind you we looked around and saw others doing the same thing.

 

In the scheme of things this was no big deal. We already had a 2 liter of Sprite in our carry-on for our daughter. We made it through the security check point with ease. They didn't even check to see if the water bottles or sprite were ever opened. Hmmm..... Oh, we did see people selling cases of bottled water for $7 at the port.

 

Once we passed security there was a table where we had to fill out the health screening forms. Quick and easy. Check-in went smoothly. We were in cabin #12022, which is a suite. We went to a "lounge" area where we were given our key cards. They had some water and snacks set out to enjoy during our brief wait. We met Patrick our concierge.

 

A side note, as I know there has been a lot of discussion about Patrick. He went on vacation (home) at the end of our cruise. When he returns he will be going to the Sun, as of now. Oh and we enjoyed getting to know Patrick. He provided us with great service.

 

We met our butler, Roshand, "Rosh". He escorted us to our room to leave our carry-on bags. Gave a description of his services, showed us how to use the coffee machine. Only my husband ever used it. He then escorted us to Cagney's for lunch. The food was delicious. My husband's aunt rally enjoyed the lemon sorbet.

 

We booked this suite because of the space. We had three of us in a mini suite in November 2013 so we knew we needed more space for the four of us on this cruise.

 

Suite #12022 Description:

 

The cabin was located forward, starboard side near the elevators. We were told by Rosh that on the Dawn the outside starboard common areas are no smoking. Of course smoking on any balcony is allowed. One of our balcony neighbors smoked, but it never bothered us.

 

Our balcony had two lounge chairs with cushions, two chairs and a table. Very spacious. This balcony does not have a cover of any kind. We did not have any problems of anyone looking down on us from deck 13. It was beautiful at night looking up at the stars. It did rain our last sea day so we could not use the balcony then.

 

Our cabin was very spacious. Sofa seating area with two chairs and a coffee table. The sofa converts to a bed. We asked for an "egg crate" mattress topper to use on it. Dining table with four chairs. Queen size bed, which cannot be separated into two beds. We learned that. This cabin also had a murphy bed. We all slept comfortably. There was plenty of storage. We placed our luggage under the bed.

 

Our bathroom had two sinks, a tub with a hand held nozzle and a separate shower with a hand held and a rain shower head. I loved that shower! There was a shampoo and soap dispenser in the shower. The tub had a jar of bath salts. Again plenty of room for storage. Attached was a dressing room with four closets and more drawers. Very nice!

 

We found our cabin to be lovely and very comfortable for the four of us. Even at night when the sofa bed and murphy bed were made up there was still plenty of room to get around with ease. We did have fresh flowers, a bowl of fresh fruit and a bottle of champagne chilling when we arrived to our cabin.

 

We were given a cell phone by Rosh to use while we were on board to be able to call him or Patrick, or if they needed to reach us. We carried it with us and yes we did use it. Came in very handy.

 

We met our cabin steward, Dennis. He was very nice. It was a pleasure talking to him throughout the cruise. We were very pleased with his service and kindness. Our daughter was thrilled that all of her towel animal friends stayed in their place on the window sills until we left. She insisted on me taking a pic with her, Dennis and all of the animal friends on our last night. Cute!

 

Muster Drill:

 

Our meeting place was in the Stardust Theater. The drill was very quick. I did learn something new to me. They distinctly said that if you are in your room and an emergency happens bring your life jacket to your meeting place, but if you are anywhere else on the ship and an emergency happens go directly to your meeting place and you would be supplied with a life jacket. Makes sense. Maybe I just never listened as closely at other drills as I thought I did.

 

Meet and Greet:

 

We were very fortunate to have two host families for our Meet and Greet. :D They both were staying in the Garden Villa Suites, "The Haven" who met on our Roll Call and offered to host a cocktail party as we sailed under the Skyway Bridge. What a treat! Thank you to Matt & Sunny and Dennis' family. The party was lovely. The Garden Villas are absolutely beautiful. Looking forward to see our Roll Call members on future cruises.

 

On a special note I would like to thank all of those on our Roll Call who participated in my family's project to collect clothing, school supplies, books toothbrushes and other items for the children in Belize. We collected over 180 pounds of donations! :D Thank you!!!!! More on this when I write about our day in Belize.

 

Dinner:

 

Patrick made reservations for us in the Venetian. My husband had the surf & turf (lobster) and I had the rosemary chicken. I do not remember what my daughter or my husband's aunt ordered. Everyone enjoyed their dinner. I am not a big dessert person and the desserts on the Dawn just don't appeal to me. I can't remember what the others had for dessert. Sorry. Now I do like the Dawn's fresh baked cookies and ice cream. :)

 

We ate dinner at the Venetian every night. Patrick made the reservations each day depending on our schedule. This worked out nicely considering the lines forming each night to be seated. We were seated right away each night with our reservation.

 

After dinner we went to the show in the Stardust Theater. We had reserved seating as suite guests and sat in the same seats each night. We could see the stage well and were comfortable. This was nice because the theater seats filled up quickly, but we always had our seats if we were running late. We enjoyed talking with the butler, Madel who was there each night for the shows. He also worked on our deck down the hall so we would wave or chat a couple of times a day.

 

My favorite entertainer on this ship is the comedian Tim Kaminski. :D I find him hilarious. I was able to get a picture taken with him this time. I saw him on the Dawn in November 2013 and was happy to find out he was still on board. I also enjoyed Second City. Very funny!

 

We went to the shows each evening. As with any ship there are great shows and some not so great. We liked them all. I have to say that Bollywood was my least favorite. The set and costumes were beautiful, I just got lost in the plot and never really understood it.

 

That's it for now...Stay tuned for Day 2 our first sea day.

 

 

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Great Review so far! I was excited to see that you were in the same cabin that we have booked for our August cruise! I am anxious to see if my family of 6 finds it as roomy as your family of 4 did! I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip and see your pictures!

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Great Review so far! I was excited to see that you were in the same cabin that we have booked for our August cruise! I am anxious to see if my family of 6 finds it as roomy as your family of 4 did! I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip and see your pictures!

 

Thank you!

I am sure you will have enough room. Each bed will easily sleep two. Remember to ask for an "egg crate" mattress for the sofa bed. I slept on the sofa bed without one in a mini suite on deck 11 last November and it hurt my back. I learned my lesson. This time I got the bed. ;)

 

I purposely took a picture of what the room looked like with all of the beds open for this review. I kept forgetting to take it until the morning we were leaving so the beds aren't made up as nice as Dennis makes them. :) Once I figure out how to post pics, I will.

 

Oh, there is a wooden sliding door between the sofa and the queen bed that can be pulled out at night for more privacy. There is also a curtain that can be pulled out at the foot of the queen bed that meets the sliding door that can make the queen bed area totally private. We used the sliding door, but not the curtain.

 

You will also like having the dressing room that is connected to the bathroom. It has a regular door that closes off the bathroom and a sliding door that closes off the rest of the cabin. very useful when everyone is trying to get ready.

I hope you will have Rosh as your Butler and Dennis as your room steward. You will absolutely love them.

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We were given a cell phone by Rosh to use while we were on board to be able to call him or Patrick, or if they needed to reach us. We carried it with us and yes we did use it. Came in very handy.

 

 

 

I imagine a cell phone would come in handy. Do you have any idea what it takes to get a cell phone? On our Dawn trip (March 9th; in a suite) we were never offered a phone nor knew it was an option. Do you know if it is based on the type of suite you booked?

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I imagine a cell phone would come in handy. Do you have any idea what it takes to get a cell phone? On our Dawn trip (March 9th; in a suite) we were never offered a phone nor knew it was an option. Do you know if it is based on the type of suite you booked?

 

All the new suites on deck 12 have the cordless phones. I believe the older suites on all other decks do not have them except for maybe the two garden villas.

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Thank you!

I am sure you will have enough room. Each bed will easily sleep two. Remember to ask for an "egg crate" mattress for the sofa bed. I slept on the sofa bed without one in a mini suite on deck 11 last November and it hurt my back. I learned my lesson. This time I got the bed. ;)

 

I purposely took a picture of what the room looked like with all of the beds open for this review. I kept forgetting to take it until the morning we were leaving so the beds aren't made up as nice as Dennis makes them. :) Once I figure out how to post pics, I will.

 

Oh, there is a wooden sliding door between the sofa and the queen bed that can be pulled out at night for more privacy. There is also a curtain that can be pulled out at the foot of the queen bed that meets the sliding door that can make the queen bed area totally private. We used the sliding door, but not the curtain.

 

You will also like having the dressing room that is connected to the bathroom. It has a regular door that closes off the bathroom and a sliding door that closes off the rest of the cabin. very useful when everyone is trying to get ready.

 

I hope you will have Rosh as your Butler and Dennis as your room steward. You will absolutely love them.

Sounds wonderful! This will be our first cruise, so I appreciate all of your helpful information!

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Day 2

 

Sea Day:

 

We are generally early risers, so we were able to enjoy the beautiful sunrise each morning from our balcony. We were supplied with robes and slippers for each of us in our cabin. Yes, the slippers come in different sizes and yes they were nice enough to bring home with us. ;)

 

Breakfast:

 

We ate breakfast in Cagney's each morning, but once when we had breakfast set up in our cabin from the Cagney's menu. The breakfast and lunch menus in Cagney's are the same everyday. I am such a creature of habit and ate the same breakfast each morning. Two scrambled eggs and bacon. It came with potatoes, but I never ate those. We would split an order of the pancakes between the three of us. The order came with three pancakes and had like a banana foster topping. So delicious!

 

It took until maybe the 5th day that I realized that my daughter and I should split one order of eggs and bacon because neither of us could finish it all. So we did, with no problem. One order is supposed to be two scrambled eggs, but it is more like 4 eggs in one order. I kid you not!

 

During the week my husband had various entrees. He had french toast, eggs benedict, an omelet and crab cake eggs benedict. He enjoyed them all and said they were all delicious. I think the crab cake eggs benedict and the french toast were his favorites because he had those entrees a couple of times.

 

Along with the hot meal there is a little buffet set up with pastries, fruit, cheese, yogurt, orange juice and cranberry juice etc. The candied walnuts were yummy. Help your self to whatever you want.

 

Coffee is served via French press in Cagney's. My husband, the only coffee drinker with us this cruise said that he enjoyed the French press better than the espresso coffee machine in the suite.

 

We enjoyed Cagney's for breakfast. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was quiet.

 

***Since I am talking about food I wanted bring up a point that I forgot to mention from the first day. The menus in the Venetian Dining Room have not yet changed to the new menus.***

 

Activities:

 

We hung out and explored the ship today. My husband played a game of Deal or No Deal. He won one "pull tab" like a lottery ticket, but that is where is luck ended. lol The game is fun to watch, but not worth paying the $ for in my opinion.

 

During the week we received three free bingo sheets in our cabin. Each sheet had three cards on them. We ended up just giving them away to people who looked friendly. We just said if you win big and see us again on the ship to just say thank you. :) We always found ourselves doing other things while those particular games were being played.

 

We got all the donations organized and packed for Belize because we knew this would really be the only time we had to do this.

 

Lunch:

 

We had lunch each day in the Garden Cafe (the buffet). "Washy washy, Happy happy, Smiley smiley". My husband's aunt likes the buffet. If I had to choose a meal to eat there lunch is the best option in my opinion. I do not care for the "salad bar" on the Dawn. I would always find something that I liked and enjoyed. I thought the paninis were good. I also really liked the pickled cucumbers that had a little kick to them. Yum!

 

I already discussed my opinion about the desserts on the Dawn. Well, they had these rum balls rolled in chocolate sprinkles. They tasted like chocolate truffles, you couldn't taste the rum. Oh my, they were so delicious! I only had one though. I found out that they are only served on one day, so if you see them grab a couple.

 

There are plenty of places to eat on the Dawn around the clock. Explore and find what you like. There are options for everyone.

 

Something I did this time around that I learned from my first cruise on the Dawn. The cups in the buffet are very small. So we brought our own cups with lids and filled them up with water, tea, lemonade or whatever they had in the buffet. It was nice to have our cups with us while we explored the ship, watched the shows etc. We used our Tervis Tumblers and they worked great. We did not take our cups to Cagney's or to the Venetian in case anyone was wondering.

 

Captain's Cocktail Party:

Being suite guests we were invited to a cocktail party to meet the captain and other officers in the Star Bar. We enjoyed our chat and yes we had our photo taken with the captain and yes I bought the photo. Did I mention that I am a scrapbooking addict? :D The party was nice. We visited with a couple from our Roll Call and met some new people. They were passing out cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. They also had an open bar. My daughter wanted her non alcoholic rum punch in a champagne glass like everyone else, but that wasn't happening so I got her a sprite and drank her fruit punch. It was good.

 

FYI:

 

The Star Bar is also the concierge lounge during the day and basically Patrick's office. The Star Bar is located near Cagney's.

 

This is where we met Patrick each morning for priority disembarkation at each port, except for Belize where we had to tender. Patrick would take us down a "secret" elevator and we were off the ship in no time. Very easy and worth it.

 

For Belize we met in front of the Cacina Restaurant (I think that was the name) and taken right to a tender boat.

 

For those of you in suites you will get "mail" by your door almost everyday explaining these things and invites to different events throughout the week. Read your mail. :)

 

We had pictures of us taken with the sun setting in the background. Hey, we were dressed nice because we just met the Captain. We took pictures of a family and they returned the favor. The pictures were much better than the ones the "pro's" took that night in the atrium. In fact the photo with the captain was the only photo I bought this entire cruise. However, I did buy a scrapbook because I didn't have a NCL one yet. :p We declined politely each night when the "pro's" wanted to take pictures in the dining room. That is a pet peeve of mine.

 

Dinner, show bed. You get the idea. Next stop Roatan.

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I imagine a cell phone would come in handy. Do you have any idea what it takes to get a cell phone? On our Dawn trip (March 9th; in a suite) we were never offered a phone nor knew it was an option. Do you know if it is based on the type of suite you booked?

 

Mianmike,

 

I Love My Butler gave a great answer to your question. Thank you, Butler!

 

Enjoy your cruise!

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Yay a dawn review! I will be on her next month :)

 

Any idea how much the spa pass for the week cost?

 

Thanks!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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On a special note I would like to thank all of those on our Roll Call who participated in my family's project to collect clothing, school supplies, books toothbrushes and other items for the children in Belize. We collected over 180 pounds of donations! :D Thank you!!!!! More on this when I write about our day in Belize.

 

 

What a great idea! So nice of you to do this :)

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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I love reading your review. We sailed on the Dawn 2 years ago for New years at the same ports and LOVED it. Time of our life. Cant wait to read the rest :)

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GV, DOS and OS all get cordless phones. We've had them on every cruise so far.

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Yay a dawn review! I will be on her next month :)

 

Any idea how much the spa pass for the week cost?

 

Thanks!

 

Annemarie,

 

No, I don't know how much the weekly spa pass is. Hopefully someone else on here will be able to answer your question.

 

I do know the Spa is absolutely beautiful. It has a nice pool and lounge chairs to relax in quiet. With all the other normal spa offerings. I went in to take a peek when my husband's aunt was getting a mani/pedi. She looked so relaxed laying back in her chair looking out at the sea through a huge window getting her nails done.

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I'm bummed you didn't like Bollywood, as it's one of my favorite NCL shows. However, I'm glad you loved the Dawn as much as I did. Thanks for sharing your review!

 

Sent from my HTC One using Forums mobile app

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I'm bummed you didn't like Bollywood, as it's one of my favorite NCL shows. However, I'm glad you loved the Dawn as much as I did. Thanks for sharing your review!

 

Explain the plot to me and I may change my mind. :) My daughter enjoyed the show. She loved the dancing and the beautiful costumes. She even had her picture taken with the cast.

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For those who were looking for the chilled fruit soups. My husband found them in the buffet at lunch. He thought they were tasty. I'll have to ask him what flavors he tasted and report back. Oh, and his aunt loved the pretzel rolls.[/color]

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Day 3

 

Roatan:

 

This morning we decided to have breakfast in our cabin so we could watch as we approached the island and pulled into port. This was our first visit to Roatan. Rosh took our Cagney's breakfast order the night before and it was delivered at the time expected. White table cloth and all.

 

We used priority disembarkation with Patrick, as I previously described. I booked a private tour for just the four of us through a well known tour company. Once off the ship it was easy to find their kiosk in the port area. We met our guide, Lionel and were off to explore in no time in a nice air conditioned van.

 

Our guide was great at showing us all aspects of the island and took great pride in sharing his love of Roatan with us. He would stop often for beautiful photo ops. He took us where ever we wanted to go.

 

My husband is a firefighter so he took us by the fire station. My husband enjoyed talking "fire" stories with the guys. They gave my husband a fire patch as a souvenir. A common practice among firefighters.

 

My husband also enjoys geo caching. I think our guide enjoyed trying to find them as much as my husband did. Two out of three were found.

 

Our guide also took us to do some shopping at our request. I asked him to take us to this place I read about on top of a hill that had stalls that sold "hand made" crafts. The view was spectacular. Yes, the sellers can be a little pushy wanting you to buy from "them". I found politely saying no thank you or I am just looking right now went a long way. We bought our treasures and were on our way.

 

We tried to buy coca cola in a bottle. Our guide tried hard with the store clerk, but they won't sell you a soda in a bottle in Roatan unless you bring in a glass bottle to trade in. I told my guide we just need to find some bottles on the road. Just like I would when I was a kid and get the deposit money. :) We never did get our ice cold coca cola.

 

Now my favorite part, Monkeys! We went to a reserve with animals. It was very clean, no smells and the animals appeared well cared for. We were the only four there at the time. We each got to hold Capuchin monkeys for as long as we wanted. I was in heaven! So cute and soft.

 

My husband, his aunt and our daughter also held a parrot. We all pet the lemurs. So cool. They had beautiful tucans, other types of monkeys, deer and Honduras rabbits. They did not look like rabbits at all.

 

Our tour was very nice, but sadly it was time to head back to the port. Mu husband's aunt loved Roatan so much she is thinking about going back and spending a week in the West End area.

 

Upon arriving at the ship before boarding, NCL had tents set up offering ice cold lemon water, cool cloths and a place to sit down in the shade to cool off. A vey nice touch. This was available at each port of call.

 

Waiting for us in our room were sandwiches, chips and cookies. Thanks, Rosh, as we were hungry after our adventure.

 

We got ready for dinner at the Venetian, enjoyed the show and time for bed.

 

My husband reminded me that the cold soups he had at the lunch buffet were banana and strawberry. He said they were tasty.

 

Next stop Belize!

 

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Love your report. The place that you went to in Roatan, was it Gumbalimba park? We were there 2 years ago and it was the highlight of my trip. Those monkeys are so dang cute! :)

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It wasn't Gumbalimba Park. I looked into it, but the only way to get in is via a cruise ship excursion. We took a private tour of the island.

 

I know! I couldn't wait to hold those monkeys!

Edited by FL Sunshine
Adding a sentence.

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Great review so far! Quick question:

 

When you arrived at the cruise port where did you go to get to the suite lounge? We are cruising out of Tampa next February and I am trying to learn as much as I can before then!

 

Thanks!

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Forums mobile app

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Your review keeps getting better and better. My family is booked in one of the Family Suite on the Dawn next January. We are very excited for this upcoming cruise as it will be our first time enjoying the suite life, Can't wait for the rest of your review and especially your much anticipated photos.

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The chest that is at the end of the bed has two drawers for storage.

 

The bed is a queen and cannot be separated into two beds.

 

Now that I figured out how to post pics, I don't know how to get them back to small so I can write descriptions. lol

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What the sofa bed looks like next to the queen. These pics were taken the morning we left. Our room steward, Dennis, did not make the beds this way. :)

ry%3D400

Edited by FL Sunshine

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