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RedDragon90

dawn Review 8/14-8/22-A parents Perspective

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This was our 9th cruise and the second with the kids- 4yrs and 2yrs old. Last year we were on the RCCL Empress of the Ses which was A small ship and with a small kids area.

 

Here are some pointers for parent

who might be going on the Dawn:

 

1 If you are driving to the pier I would drive to the top and get a porter from there. I droped my wife and youngest with the luggage with a porter and it w

wasnt easy

 

2 My cabin was 11686 which is on the 11th floor right next to the spa. This was an accident since I didnt even know where my room was. But for us it was perfect. We were one floor from the dining room and one floor from the kids area. Oh yeah we had our first balcony it is was great. One tip bring your own inflatable small pool so your kids who are not potty trained can play in it on your balcony and you can sit out there. The swim diapers in the pool were not enforced so I guess take your chances.

 

3 The Kids program for the 2-5 wasgreat. My kid loved it and it gave my wife and I time to do other things. The parade that they had the kids in my childre still sing the songs that were in it.

 

4. Port Canaveral we went to Coco beach. A bus took us right there. One tip- Dont buy water on the ship. The bus drops you off next to a 7-11 and the water was much cheaper.

 

5. free style was good but it did have its draw backs. We went to dinner at 5:30 every night which is 45 mins earlier than regular seating on most ships. Also you can sit anywhere you want. We liked to sit in the back of the room by the huge windows. Unfortunatly the wait staff rotates so you dont have the same wait staff who would know your needs- for ex. booster seat would have to be brought over every night. Not a big deal. Another tip- bring your own crayons since they were scarce in the dining room.

 

6 T- rex pool- Beware!!! This was a an understaffed section of the ship. There are 2 slides which were great. but there were no rules posted and maybe one staff member there. I called the desk numerous times about this and Yes it was addressed. The problem was that there position was that parents were in chage of the watching the children.Well I can tell you that is a disaster waiting to happen. I pulled out smaller kids out from under much bigger kids a few times. Lance (Asst. Cruise director) said at first it was the parents responsability and than said well we have a staff member here at 1:00. First of all you need 2 staff members - one at each slide to make sure that theygo up one at a time. I write this to let any parent know they theyneed to be right there if there children are young. It wasnt obvious to everyone.

 

7 Best tip- The spa which is on the 11th floor has a small pool- sauna-and 2 whirlepools- Most people didnt know that anyone could use it. It seems that when people walked by they thought is was part of a package that you would have to buy. You dont. Just go in and enjoy it!

 

& It ws a very good cruise and the fact it was out of NY was even better. If anyone has a questions Let me Know

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I am glad you had a good cruise.

My husband and I had that room last Sept. Loved it. Am booking an AE penthouse for next April aft so I can't wait.

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Sean glad you had a great time. Thaks for the in depth report about the kids area. The idea of the blowup pool is ingenious. But did you have to let the secret out about the spa ;) We are on the Dawn in Nov and can not wait.

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shhh...dont let out the pool secret.

 

I notice more people knew about this "secret" by the end of the cruise...so enjoy that pool area in the beg. when no one knows about it.

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Sounds like you had a successful cruise - thanks for all the info. We will be sailing on Sunday with our three daughters, ages 2, 4, and 6. Our cabins are just a few doors down from where you and your family were. I am relieved to know that it turned out to be a great spot; I was a little concerned because of its proximity to the spa and the Garden Cafe upstairs. We have the girls very excited about the Kid's Crew, so I am also pleased to know that your kids had such a good time at the camp. Did they make any friends to play with or did they hang out just with eachother? My younger two girls will be in the same group but my older one will be by herself - do you think she will have any trouble going it alone? Did you take your children to any of the specialty restaurants?

 

I would love to hear any additional advice that would help insure successful sailing with our young ones.

 

 

Suzanne

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T- rex pool- Beware!!! This was a an understaffed section of the ship. There are 2 slides which were great. but there were no rules posted and maybe one staff member there. I called the desk numerous times about this and Yes it was addressed. The problem was that there position was that parents were in chage of the watching the children.Well I can tell you that is a disaster waiting to happen. I pulled out smaller kids out from under much bigger kids a few times. Lance (Asst. Cruise director) said at first it was the parents responsability and than said well we have a staff member here at 1:00. First of all you need 2 staff members - one at each slide to make sure that theygo up one at a time. I write this to let any parent know they theyneed to be right there if there children are young. It wasnt obvious to everyone.

 

OMG, you are so right about this being a disaster waiting to happen!

 

When we went in July, there were MANY children in the T-Rex pool area without their parents, although parental supervision is required. Only one time did I ever see a staff member on duty, (who did do an excellent job of policing the kids to stop running, pushing, etc. BTW)

 

Kids of all ages were whizzing down the slides, often not waiting for the previous child to get out of the way. At one point I had to ask the older boys (mine included) to all use the same slide so the younger kids (mine included) could use the other one. (It worked out well.)

 

One of these days, a child is going to get seriously hurt, or worse, and probably only then you'll see NCL enforce their rules.

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Thanks for your info! The problem with the idea that parents should watch their children, well....is that some parents don't watch their children! On a cruise, there are many distractions that could keep parents away.....great observations, they will definitely be useful.

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Sounds like you had a successful cruise - thanks for all the info. We will be sailing on Sunday with our three daughters, ages 2, 4, and 6. Our cabins are just a few doors down from where you and your family were. I am relieved to know that it turned out to be a great spot; I was a little concerned because of its proximity to the spa and the Garden Cafe upstairs. We have the girls very excited about the Kid's Crew, so I am also pleased to know that your kids had such a good time at the camp. Did they make any friends to play with or did they hang out just with eachother? My younger two girls will be in the same group but my older one will be by herself - do you think she will have any trouble going it alone? Did you take your children to any of the specialty restaurants?

 

I would love to hear any additional advice that would help insure successful sailing with our young ones.

 

Suzanne

 

 

 

The cafe spot is perfect with a kids area to eat. My kids loved it. My 4yr old did make friends and she would see them at the T=rex pool and also at the kids are in the cafe. we didnt take them to any of the specialty rest. Hhowever with the kids progran mostly starting at 7:00 you will be able to ga. I heard from oth passengers that the steak place was the best. Your oldest will have a great time. The kids staff were very friendly and they worked very hard. At the end of your cruise is says that they are not part of the tipping plan. We gave them a tip. Because of the situation at the pool, lance (Asst. Cruise Direstor at the time) gave me his phone #- 9841. Call him when you are at the pool if you see dangerous situations or a lack of staff. NCL will change olny if a child gets seriously hurt or enough passengers complain. Dont forget the pool for your youngest and a sand pall to fill it up.

 

sean

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Sean glad you had a great time. Thaks for the in depth report about the kids area. The idea of the blowup pool is ingenious. But did you have to let the secret out about the spa ;) We are on the Dawn in Nov and can not wait.

 

 

I wish I could take credit for it. I read about the pool on the RCCL message board last summer.

 

sean

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rest. Hhowever with the kids progran mostly starting at 7:00 you will be able to ga.

 

 

I ment that the night program starts at 7 and goes to 10. The days at sea the are 2 to 3 programs that last between 2 to 3 hours.

 

sean

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Excellent info, thanks. We'll be going on the Dawn early next month (11th) and your tips reinforce what I have read concerning bringing my 2 1/2 year old with me. My blow up pool was delivered yesterday for use on our balcony - my little one will be very happy! :D How wide was your balcony, how did you fill and drain your pool - did you leave it filled for the entire trip?

 

You mention you were in 11686, which is the last mini-suite (cat AG) on deck 11 rear. Was there any disadvantage to that room, since I saw that it was usually priced less than the AF mini-suites? From the deck plans I concluded that it was right outside the spa entrance, near the elevators and stairs, and right below the gym - did you notice an excessive amount of noise from any of these sources?

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We were also on the 8/14 Dawn cruise with our kids (7 and 4). We have a few other tips that we hadn't previously seen on the boards.

 

1) If you have young kids, bring "floaties." The T-Rex pool can be a bit overwhelming (particularly since the largest pool in the T-Rex area doesn't have any kind of railing around it and it would be very easy for the young ones to fall in). Since we brought floaties, it was very easy to enjoy the Oasis pool and sit on the edge while the kids played. Very calm. One good thing about T-rex, though -- the whole area is "glassed" in. There is no way that a young child could "fall" out or open one of the glass doors (the handle is up high).

 

2) I've read a lot about how challenging crowds and lines are when disembarking and tendering. Really, I didn't think they were bad at all. No need to get in line super early. The only time which was at all questionable was getting a tender back to the ship from GSC, and mostly because so many people were cutting in line in front of those who were waiting. Still, we only had to wait for the second tender, and that was at about 2:30 when most people decided to start heading back.

 

3) Don't forget about the laundry rooms. Those were great for drying bathing suits and packing light. Also, do bring several bathing suits (at least three). We found that we would spend an hour in the pool, do something else, then go back to the pool, do something else, and then back to the pool. It's no fun putting a wet bathing suit on a 4 year old, so have plenty with you.

 

4) Make sure your kids have flip-flops. There's a lot of shoe putting on and taking off throughout the day, and that makes it so much easier.

 

5) Room organization is key. It really helps to spend a bit of time on the first day figuring out where things should go. Then, when the kids come into the room, they'll know where to put their we bathing suits, shoes, etc and you won't have to crawl under the bed looking for key cards and shoes, etc.

 

6) If your kids are anything like ours, they will be obsessed with the model of the Dawn in the Atrium. Halfway through the cruise we realized that on Deck 8, Salsa has a bar with comfy seats and tables that look right down at the model. It was great - our son could sit and draw pictures of the model while we enjoyed our drinks.

 

7) If you have a mini-suite, we figured out towards the end of the cruise that it makes much more sense to give the kids the main bed and have the parents sleep on the couch (which I found equally comfortable). Close the curtain and you can get up in the morning before the kids do and sit on the balcony or reassemble the couch (very simple, no steward needed) and enjoy the morning. You may be thinking "yeah, right, like my kids will sleep later than me," but they probably will since you'll have them in the kid's program later than their ususal bed time.

 

8) The kids crew program was great - the staff throughout the ship really made us feel welcome. Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) who asked our kids their names remembered them later if they saw them again. It was amazing. Anyway, Kids Crew: There are generally three sessions 9-12, 2-5 and 7-10. Additionally, you can sign up to leave your kids there from 10 pm - 1 am or during the day in ports for a $5 per hour charge ($3 for additional kids). So, the schedule is:

 

Sunday 9 pm-10 pm

Monday 9 am-12 pm, 2 pm - 5 pm, 7 pm - 10 pm and late night

Tuesday - not sure - I don't think there was kids crew, only pay babysitting

Wednesday - 7-10 pm plus late night

Thursday 7 to 10 pm plus late night

Friday 2-5 pm and 7-10 pm plus late night

Saturday 9-12, 2 - 3:30, and 7-10 plus late night

 

Keep track of what activities they are doing and when because they have parades around the ship at times, and if you show up mid-session, it might be that they aren't in the center. However, you can feel free to drop off or pick up whenever you want, as long as you can find them.

 

9) Pool lounges - I'm sure you're familiar with lounge hogs. Well, we tired of that pretty quickly, especially when only 5% of the lounges were actually occupied and there were, maybe, 5 people in the pool. So, we'd sit on the edge of the pool and watch the lounge chairs by the front of the pool. If they remained unoccupied for more than 45 minutes (30 minutes is the actual rule), we'd move the towel over to another chair and claim them. One person got annoyed with us for doing that (it wasn't his chair, he just saw us do it), and wouldn't let us drop, but really, it's just terribly rude to claim a chair you have no intention of using. As it turns out, those particular chairs were being "held" for 8 people by someone, but those 8 people never showed up. So, go ahead, watch those chairs and grab one.

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Thanks for your info! The problem with the idea that parents should watch their children, well....is that some parents don't watch their children! On a cruise, there are many distractions that could keep parents away.....great observations, they will definitely be useful.

People don't watch their children in stores either! Take some responsibilty

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Excellent info, thanks. We'll be going on the Dawn early next month (11th) and your tips reinforce what I have read concerning bringing my 2 1/2 year old with me. My blow up pool was delivered yesterday for use on our balcony - my little one will be very happy!:D How wide was your balcony, how did you fill and drain your pool - did you leave it filled for the entire trip?

 

You mention you were in 11686, which is the last mini-suite (cat AG) on deck 11 rear. Was there any disadvantage to that room, since I saw that it was usually priced less than the AF mini-suites? From the deck plans I concluded that it was right outside the spa entrance, near the elevators and stairs, and right below the gym - did you notice an excessive amount of noise from any of these sources?

 

The balcaony was our first so I cant compare it to anything. Still the chairs fold down and with the pool there was plenty of room. We never heard the elevators ao the spa going on. Sometimes I could hear the gym but that was minimal. The location of the balacony was great becuse it had the drain right there. I didnt see any other drains in the other balconys. I always cleaned out the pool after use. But do bring a pall to fill up the pool. last year we forgot the pall so it was a bit more difficult. Last year we didnt have the balcony so we used it on deck and on the beaches in Bermuda.

 

sean

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People don't watch their children in stores either! Take some responsibilty

 

i KNNOW that is true!

 

Lets face it.... if everyone watched there own children then NCL would'nt need to have anyone at the pool and that is there goal. Yes, it does not work that way and its not fair to the parents who accually watch there children.

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2) I've read a lot about how challenging crowds and lines are when disembarking .

 

Good point. For parents with young children NCL lets you stay in your cabin until you are called to get off the ship. In previous cruises I had to wait with alot of other passengers in public areas. Now your kids can watch cartoons and just wait to be called. That was a nice touch by NCL

 

sean

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Thanks for your info! The problem with the idea that parents should watch their children, well....is that some parents don't watch their children! On a cruise, there are many distractions that could keep parents away.....great observations, they will definitely be useful.

 

A first I was surprised to see that NCL didn't have lounge chairs for adults at the kids pool, only upright chairs. Then I realized, of course, we're supposed to be watching our children, (not reading or sunbathing!)

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I agree..My daughter was kicked in the back by a much larger boy who did not wait till she went down the slide before he proceeded. I was very upset and my daughter was crying. I asked the boy why he did that and he just stared at me. And his mother was right there oblivious to the whole thing.

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