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meltingmoments

Cruising again after a 3 year break

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So after not cruising and taking land-based holidays for a 3 years, we had the opportunity to sail the Norwegian Dawn out of Miami on the 5 day cruise, taking in Harvest Caye and Costa Maya.

A little background....it's just the 2 of us now. I just took early retirement from Education. DH still works in Higher Education. We love to travel, however that may be. We have only ever cruised NCL and have 7 cruises under our belts. We've done smaller ships and larger ones and enjoyed them all.

 

So we travelled from England to Miami and enjoyed a few days there before embarking on our Dawn cruise.

We arrived at the Port on Sunday, April 21st, at around 10:30am and were quickly and painlessly on board by 11:30am.

We had a wander around and took some photos.

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We bought a wine package...more about that later!

We attended Muster drill in the Venetian restaurant and enjoyed sailaway drinks and treats on our balcony! 

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After unpacking and relaxing in the cabin, we headed to O'Sheehans for a drink.

As previously said, we did as we always do on our cruises and ordered a wine package.

This is the best way for us to go with regards any drinks package as we are both wine drinkers, with only the occasional beer thrown in! 

We have never, ever had a problem with this package on 6 other cruises. However, there's always a first time! 

We gave the barman 2 of our slips for 2 bottles of wine, one white...mine....and one red..DH's

The barman looked at them, said *I have that one*...my white....* but I don't have that one*..DH's red, and gave him back the slip.

He took the bottle of white from a fridge, put 2 glasses in front of us and that was that! 

DH looked at me in confusion! He doesn't like white wine! 🙂

He spoke quietly to the barman, explaining that he wasn't a white wine drinker and could he please have his bottle of red.

The barman sighed.....loudly!! He went on to say that not all bars carried all wine.

DH said he appreciated that, but what was the solution?

The barman sighed again....loudly! 

He said if DH *gave him a while*, he would go and fetch the wine.

Not a problem said DH.

My wine was never poured, I did it myself and it was a good 20 minutes later when the barman said to his colleague * I've got to go and get this f*****g wine*....and no, I didn't mis-hear him! 

We were shocked, to say the least!

Just as a side note here, we are not demanding people, we don't like fuss and we are always polite. Also, the barman was not alone behind the bar, there were 3 other bar staff there as well.

2 of the other staff could see that we were uncomfortable and made a huge effort to speak with us and were extremely polite and friendly.

To be fair, when the other chap came back with the red wine, he did TRY to be a bit more friendly, but sadly the damage was done! I have to say this experience left a bit of a sour taste.

We noticed for the rest of the trip that he was the same with many other passengers! 

Then when we decided to move on, we wanted to leave our wine in the fridge at O'Sheehans. We have always done this in the past.

We were a bit reluctant to ask the barman, but my DH was brave! 

He received an adamant NO! No explanation, just No!

Well quite frankly, by now, DH had had enough of the attitude, so he deliberately asked another member of staff, who smilingly took our bottles, labelled them with our cabin number and placed them in the fridge! How easy was that? Hey ho. 

Anyway, off we went to Gatsbys, where we watched a very good entertainer by the name of Michael, who we herad was from our home town in England! We followed this with a visit to the casino, a drink and a snack on the balcony and day 1 was complete.

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We were woken up around 4am by the sound of a helicopter! 

We remembered the previous evening, as were listening to Charlie singing in Gatsby's, that there had been a Code Alpha announcement over the address system.

It looked like some poor person was being airlifted off the ship! 

We heard later that day it was a lady with heart problems. Our thoughts and prayers ewnt out to her and we hoped all was well. God bless.

So today was spent having breakfast in the Garden cafe, watching a Cha cha dance class in Bliss, and taking in the sun on deck 14 at the front of the ship, where there were plenty of available sunbeds and it was quieter than the main pool deck.

We also spent some time in the Atrium area when it got too hot for me! 

We watched the world go by and also watched Silent Scream....a version of Charades...very funny!

 

This evening we were lucky enough to be invited to the Captain's cocktail party. This was held in Bliss and was different to any other that we have attended, in that there was live music! The female singer from the group that performed daily at the poolside was singing and she was super......wasted, I felt at the pool deck! 

Afterwards we had a reservation for dinner at Cagneys, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Afterwards we headed ...a little apprehensively, I have to say...to O'Sheehans to retrieve our wine!

We needn't have worried! One of the lovely bar staff immediately got it for us as soon as he saw us. Phew! Can do without the drama! 

Finished the night off in the casino nad already day 2 is over!

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Day 3 and it's Harvest Caye.

There was an early announcement from the Captain that we would be docking 2 and a half hours late at Harvest Caye due to the fact that the ship had had to make a detour back towards the Keys in order for that poorly lady to be evacuated off the ship. Well sadly, these things happen and there but for the Grace of God. And whilst I could kind of understand people's frustrations that we had less time on Harvest Caye and that excursions were changed/cancelled, I most certainly couldn't understand some people's lack of empathy for the poor family who had to go through that trauma! Some of the moaning we heard was unbelievable!  😞 We had a lazy breakfast and chilled on our balcony until it was announced that we could disembark.

Well, what a nightmare! 

So many people all trying to get off at the same time! It was utter chaos! 

We finally managed to get off around 2pm! 

We took the walk over to Harvest Caye and I have to say NCL have done a great job here. It's a lovely place! We enjoyed a few hours on the beach, had a drink in The Laughing Bird bar and just wandered around before heading back to the ship. A lovely day!  🙂 

 

 

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Tonight's dinner was taken in the Venetian restaurant. There are no complaints from us about the food we had anywhere on the ship, but I have to say the service here and in Aqua was exceptionally good. We were very impressed. And although we thoroughly enjoyed Cagneys, my DH said his steak in the Venetian was as good, if not better! And he likes his steak!  🙂 

Also tonight we went to the Stardust theatre to watch Julie Barr, an excellent and very funny comedian. Then back to O'Sheehans for some drinks and another day was done.

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Day 4, Costa Maya.

We had no plans other than to get off the ship and wander, so after breakfast we got ready and did just that! Thankfully it was a much less painful process today than yesterday!

It was very hot and humid today with a good few dark clouds!

Sure enough, after about an hour ashore, the tropical rain came. But not for long and there's always a bar to provide some shelter! This one even provided entertainment.......wrestling!! 

I hid behind DH.....not for me, I'm squeamish! Lol 

Back onto the Dawn for a couple of hours sunbathing on a fairly quiet ship.

Dinner tonight was at Aqua, again lovely food and great service.

Tonight's entertainment was Elements in the Stardust theatre. What an amazing show! Such talent. Really enjoyed it! 

O'Sheehans saw us again......do you see a pattern?  🙂 

The casino saw us also! And day 4 was over!

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Edited by meltingmoments
added more photos!

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Eeek....final day on board the lovely Norwegian Dawn.

It's a sea day, so a leisurely breakfast, a trip to the photo gallery to check out our photos and a trip to Guest Services to collect some Vacation Hero cards.

Spent a few hours on deck 14 at the front of the ship, managed an afternoon snooze and then did our packing!  😞 

We had a final wander around the ship, going into cellars wine bar for a little while.

We ate in O'Sheehans this evening as just fancied something easy.

The food was fine but service was a little slow. But hey, we were in no rush so all was good.

Later we went to the late showing in the theatre with the comedian, Julie Barr again, this time the adult version! Again, very funny although some of the American references were a little over our British heads! 

Back to O'Sheehans to finish off our wine and that was it! Cruise almost over! 😞

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Disembarkation the following morning was slow!! 

There were a few announcements stating that due to congestion in Customs, disembarkation was being halted! 

I believe it took us almost 2 hours to disembark! 

We took off our own suitcase and when we finally reached customs, that part was relatively quick.

So, our cruise was over. 

We enjoyed the Dawn very much.

We enjoyed the itinerary as we hadn't visited either port, but felt the trip could have done with another port stop.

We had missed cruising and are glad to have got our sea legs back!  🙂

 

On a side note about the experience with the unhelpful bar man....DH went to Guest Services to query what should happen with wine bought via the Viva Vino package, as we wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing and not requesting something that doesn't happen. DH was reassured that we were able to both retrieve and leave our wine from all and any bar on the ship. He was told that it's the bar staff's job to retrieve and store the wine. He asked for the barmans name and said he would personally speak to him, but DH refused, not wanting to get anyone into trouble and considering that we had excellent service from the other bar staff, we didn't feel it was appropriate.

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Thanks for the nice review and welcome back to cruising. Not sure about some of the bar tenders, seems really odd but I've seen some who look really surly, never had one refuse to get my bottle of wine. It's too bad you had to experience that. 

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11 minutes ago, All-ready2cruise said:

Thanks for the nice review and welcome back to cruising. Not sure about some of the bar tenders, seems really odd but I've seen some who look really surly, never had one refuse to get my bottle of wine. It's too bad you had to experience that. 

 

We've never experienced it before either! We found his attitude quite shocking , if I'm honest, but fortunately we didn't have to deal with him again after the first encounter and the other bar staff were lovely!  🙂 

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What a great review. And your attitude is wonderful. It will be almost 4 years since my last cruise when I finally cruise again next February. We too enjoyed a break with land vacations. Now I am very excited for February. Thanks again for posting this.

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Just now, Greenpea2 said:

What a great review. And your attitude is wonderful. It will be almost 4 years since my last cruise when I finally cruise again next February. We too enjoyed a break with land vacations. Now I am very excited for February. Thanks again for posting this.

 Thank you!  🙂 

We found we had really missed cruising and thoroughly enjoyed our trip. 

Enjoy your cruise when it comes around. 

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Thanks for the post, the pics, and the review of the Dawn.  It's been about 3 years since our last cruise as well, but we're giving it another go again in a couple weeks!

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1 hour ago, sparky3w said:

Thanks for the post, the pics, and the review of the Dawn.  It's been about 3 years since our last cruise as well, but we're giving it another go again in a couple weeks!

 

You're very welcome! I hope you enjoy your upcoming cruise! Happy sailing!

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Loved your review. We were on the Dawn in 16 right after her big drydock. Never had a problem with the bar staff. We had the UBP at the time so we did everything by the glass. We like to mix beer wine and cocktails so that works the best for us. I also do not like to complain and get someone in trouble. I am not sure if you had the same person and he gave you the same attitude throughout the cruise, or if it was a one time thing. I will give a person the benefit of the doubt once, maybe twice but if it persisted I would not hesitate to report him to the beverage manager, or hotel manager - you usually see these folks at the CC M&G. As far as your understanding of our humor, I bet I would have equal problems with your British humor.

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16 hours ago, meltingmoments said:

 He asked for the barmans name and said he would personally speak to him, but DH refused, not wanting to get anyone into trouble 

 

And that is exactly why crew like that barman continue to be rude and unhelpful to guests.  People don't want them to 'get in trouble'.  Trouble?  That barman should have been relieved of duty and probably sent home at the next port.  Think how many other guests will have to suffer from his poor attitude because you didn't want 'to get him in trouble'.

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6 hours ago, bonvoyagie said:

Loved your review. We were on the Dawn in 16 right after her big drydock. Never had a problem with the bar staff. We had the UBP at the time so we did everything by the glass. We like to mix beer wine and cocktails so that works the best for us. I also do not like to complain and get someone in trouble. I am not sure if you had the same person and he gave you the same attitude throughout the cruise, or if it was a one time thing. I will give a person the benefit of the doubt once, maybe twice but if it persisted I would not hesitate to report him to the beverage manager, or hotel manager - you usually see these folks at the CC M&G. As far as your understanding of our humor, I bet I would have equal problems with your British humor.

 

Glad you enjoyed my review, thank you! 

 

We too have never had a problem with bar staff on any other cruise before. 

On reflection, we thought that because almost all the people on board had the UBP that any other request seemed to throw the staff.They were VERY busy and seemed to be constantly making cocktails that often got left on the bar. Having said that, that really wasn't our problem and we just wanted a quiet drink without any hassle.

We DID come across the same barman throughout the cruise, and he was a little warmer towards us......we were regulars at O'Sheehans!  🙂 Fortunately the other staff were fab.

 

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3 hours ago, Love my butler said:

 

And that is exactly why crew like that barman continue to be rude and unhelpful to guests.  People don't want them to 'get in trouble'.  Trouble?  That barman should have been relieved of duty and probably sent home at the next port.  Think how many other guests will have to suffer from his poor attitude because you didn't want 'to get him in trouble'.

 

Just to clarify......DH approached Guest Services the morning after ONE incident to clarify for himself that our request was a reasonable request. The GS Manager assured him his request was not only reasonable, but it was staff's job to get our wine. 

Whilst this encounter with this particular staff member was not pleasant, it had been ONE incident. We are not the kind of people to complain at the drop of a hat and indeed, did not complain. We gave the member of staff the benefit of the doubt. They all work very hard. I guess anyone can have a bad day, no? To suggest he should have * been relieved of his duty and probably sent home at the next port* is a little harsh in my opinion! And to suggest that others will *have to suffer from his poor attitude* because of ME is, quite frankly, rude! 

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very brief but complete review: the type I like to read. It sounds like you know how to make the best of things and didn't let one rude, so and so ruin your cruise Lets hope he was just having a bad day. We too enjoy the Dawn. Hopefully next time you can take a 7 day or longer cruise on her We think, overall the service on the Dawn is as good as it gets 

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Love your review. Nicely written. Happy that you had a nice cruise.

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3 hours ago, newmexicoNita said:

very brief but complete review: the type I like to read. It sounds like you know how to make the best of things and didn't let one rude, so and so ruin your cruise Lets hope he was just having a bad day. We too enjoy the Dawn. Hopefully next time you can take a 7 day or longer cruise on her We think, overall the service on the Dawn is as good as it gets 

 

Glad you enjoyed my review, thank you.  🙂 

We do indeed like to make the best of things and what we encountered by no means impacted on our enjoyment.

Every other member of staff we came into contact with was extremely professional and I would agree with you that the service on the Dawn was very, very good. 

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1 hour ago, bam1957 said:

Love your review. Nicely written. Happy that you had a nice cruise.

 

Thank you! We most certainly did have a great cruise! 

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Glad you had the lovely cruise! Welcome back to cruising. I love the Dawn. I'm a BIG Richard Matic fan who has been/is the CD on the Dawn. He was on the Jade in November 2018 when I went on the Dawn & his leadership was so impressive & all his staff clearly loved him. When I was on the Dawn in February it was Richard as CD & Luz as Asst Luz. Both were lovely & everywhere. They made the cruise more fun. A lot of people complained about the service in O'Sheehans. It was extremely slow & seemed that the staff was irritated because they were either short staffed or there were problems in the kitchen. Orders were placed & 30 minutes would go by without a drink or food. People complained & just got up & left. After two experiences like that we avoided O'Sheehans for the rest of the cruise which is unfortunate because we are gamblers & tend to skip dinner if we are on a winning streak leaving us unfed until breakfast. 

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