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PaulaGirl

Back from the Dawn GV - the blizzard voyage

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What an adventure! I'll try to be brief. We got the GV through an upsell at the last minute and there were 5 of us, all women.

Drive to NYC and embarkation: A long drive from Upstate NY. Found the parking lot. Paid for a month. Got into the pier bldg and was barred from the VIP Lounge by twins (women in their forties working for NCL) - nasty people. Called for our butler for the GV who whisked us away. We were in the GV within 30 minutes.

GV: what can I say? It's everything you all told me and then some! 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms to die for, kitchenette with microwave and coffee pot, grand piano, fabulous Bang and Olafsson TV's, DVD's, walkie=talkie phones to carry around with you, lap-top and printer, tons of storage, private garden with hot tub and steam room, sunning deck with chairs and tables, 2 private entrances to the Villa, butler service, 2 stewards, concierge service and much more, like 6 free bottles of wine and/or liquor, 2 free nights in any restaurant for all 5 of us. The villa is showing some signs of wear - deep scratches on the dining table and piano, lots of lights not working, printer not functioning, and some stains on the carpeting, hot tub broke but was fixed immediately, electric blinds in bathroom not working. But nothing we couldn't handle.

Butler was Denny Concierge was Alex Stewards were Nonie and Lito HD was Hugo CD was Lance and then Ricky Captain was Peterstam. Denny was amazing and a huge help. He goes on vacation in April (his wife is having their second child in early March). He's a wonderful butler and wants to come back after his vacation. Alex was always polite and nice and did a good job but not a great job. We had a person in a wheelchair and he dumped us a few times after promising to meet us to help. He also made some mistakes on dinner reservation times. Nonie and Lito were the best. Always helpful, nothing too much trouble, towel animals every night. We loved these two people and wrote letters to Hugo about their excellent service.

Food: We ate in every facility. IMHO, Cagney's was the best. Very disappointed in Le Bistro (food not cooked properly, i.e. raw POTATOES in a ragout, well done filet was RARE - not any better after sending back twice). Tepanyaki was great (wonderful seafood), main dining rooms only average, Blue Lagoon was super though food was very greasy, Garden Cafe was typical cafeteria, Salsa's was great. My impression is that the portions are small, food is consistently undercooked unless you make a big deal out of it, all drinks are overpriced and under-liquored ($10 for a margarita which had more salt than tequilla), coffee tastes like muddy water, and always order the regular water as the Evian is $4.50 per liter. All in all - not bad food, but not great either.

Ports: I won't talk about NYC except below when we returned. St Thomas is a shopper's paradise but prices are high and cab rides were $4/person each way; Tortola was great for excursions but not shopping - swam with the dolphins and that was worth every penny; St Maartens was lovely, shopping terrific, very clean and nice town, cab rides were $3/person; San Juan was also very nice but very hilly (pushing a wheelchair) and very crowded with traffic. Wonderful pottery and art here.

Weather: a little rough going down to St Thomas but not too bad. Beautiful, sunny weather everywhere except St Maarten where it rained on and off all day. Horrible trip back to NYC - the blizzard of '06. No sleep the night before debarkation as everything flew around the Villa. The chairs on the sun deck were slamming into the railing all night and the noise was horrendous! They need to install seatbelts on the beds so you don't fall out! We were airborne every few seconds and then would slam down into 20 foot waves and tilt to the port side from the 60 mph winds. Sea wrist bands DO work!!! Alex sent poor Lito (Steward about 5ft tall and weighing about 100 pounds) up to the very top deck to secure the chairs at 2am. I felt sorry for this very nice, humble man. Finally got to the pier about 12pm and the best site was watching the crew building snowmen and having snowball wars (kitchen staff vs maintenance) on the pool deck. We saw 2 officers come out (we thought, to tell them to work instead of play) but they joined in the war and got completely soaked and ended up being buried in snow. It was great.

Cell phones: My Sprint service worked the entire time and when I got home, the bill was waiting and there was no additional charge. Denny says there is a sattelite on board for Cingular, Sprint, Verizon - nothing else.

 

Big Change: JEANS are now allowed after 5pm in all dining rooms - just no tank tops or shorts.

 

Overall Impression: The Dawn is a gorgeous ship, the crew are wonderful, NCL did their best for all passengers, most of the food was average not excellent, the stage shows were very good and entertaining, the activities were mostly boring, the weather was mostly good, the ports were also. There weren't too many rude passengers. I would definitely sail the Dawn again and from NYC as well. My biggest complaint is the pier parking lot people don't care about what they do to the cars left in the lot. Our car was buried in snow and we had 6 foot drifts to dig through before we could leave. Lots of people were stuck, no salt on the very steep ramp leaving from the top level, and an absolute parking nightmare with 2000 people leaving (and no where to go) and 2000 people arriving (with no where to go) at the same exact time. Couldn't they use different exits or entrances? Oh well, it's over now and I still wish I was back on the Dawn, even in rough weather. It was a trip of a lifetime!!! And thanks to all of you for all the advice on upsells, what to take, what to do, etc. You're all my heroes!!!!

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So happy that you had a great time even with adversity!

 

Loved your review....thanks for posting!

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So happy that you had a great time even with adversity!

 

Loved your review....thanks for posting!

 

See you are going on the Jewel soon! Good for you.

You will love it.

 

We cruised the Jewel to Canada...we LOVED Canada:)

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We cruised the Jewel to Canada...we LOVED Canada:)

 

 

AWWWWW, that's so sweet and so nice to hear.

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We were airborne every few seconds and then would slam down into 20 foot waves and tilt to the port side from the 60 mph winds.

 

I'm sure this was scary at the time but sounds like alot of fun from my desk. We got back a few days before you (spirit) and were hoping for a bit of rocking and rolling. Much to our disapointment there was none! Seatbelts do sound like an interesting idea.

 

Do you have any pics of the garden villa you would be willing to share?

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Wouldn't they technically be called bed belts? :p

 

Actually I think this is a bad idea. I would rather get thrown off the bed then be strapped to it and have something else come loose and hit me! Remember if the force can hurl you out of bed it can hurl the TV at you! :eek:

 

There are many ways to be ON TV. I'd pass on the TV being on ME! :D

 

Glad to hear you had a wonderful cruise.

 

Don't know if I'd want the GV though. I'd never leave! :D

 

Cheers,

 

Norman

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Wouldn't they technically be called bed belts? :p

 

Actually I think this is a bad idea. I would rather get thrown off the bed then be strapped to it and have something else come loose and hit me! Remember if the force can hurl you out of bed it can hurl the TV at you! :eek:

 

There are many ways to be ON TV. I'd pass on the TV being on ME! :D

 

Glad to hear you had a wonderful cruise.

 

Don't know if I'd want the GV though. I'd never leave! :D

 

Cheers,

 

Norman

Yes, "Bed Belts" would be a better name for sure! The TV in the bedroom is bolted to the wall (through the studs?). I think the whole room would have to collapse before it would come off and hit you. The GV was so amazing that we really didn't want to leave - even after the bad weather. I don't know how I'll ever cruise again without being in the GV.

Paula

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Do you mind telling us how much the upsell was?

We had originally purchased an AB and an OS for a total of 14K (5 of us). When we upsold to the GV (so we could all be together), we had to add another 1K and worth every penny too!!! So, it turned out to be about 50% off. This upsell was about 2 weeks before sailing. 2 days before sailing, the other GV was empty but filled with a Mom, Dad, 2 kids, a Nanny, and another couple at the last minute. If you want to be in the GV, keep trying and negotiating - they don't like to sail with ANY empty cabins. Good luck to you!

Paula

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Are Jeans allowed in all dining rooms on all NCL ships?

 

My teenage daughter is anxiously awaiting the verdict.

 

Apparently so. We dress pretty formal even on non formal nights and saw teenage girls wearing jeans in the Venitian twice. :mad: They should not allow them period. That is what the buffets are for!

 

Yes, "Bed Belts" would be a better name for sure! The TV in the bedroom is bolted to the wall (through the studs?). I think the whole room would have to collapse before it would come off and hit you. The GV was so amazing that we really didn't want to leave - even after the bad weather. I don't know how I'll ever cruise again without being in the GV.

Paula

 

Yes in the GV the TV is attached firmly to the wall (LCD or Plasma?).

 

In the cabins where all the "ordinary folk" stay <vbg> the little 15 inchers are on stands that can hold them but not very securely. I checked ours and the neighbors and they were just sitting there. NOT something you want to have a little one sitting beneath in a chair watching and get pummeled. :eek:

 

Cheers,

 

Norman

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Are Jeans allowed in all dining rooms on all NCL ships?

 

My teenage daughter is anxiously awaiting the verdict.

 

According to Denny, our butler, this rule was actually changed while we were on our trip. He says that jeans ARE allowed in ANY dining room after 5pm - just no tank tops or shorts. I'm assuming that this rule change is NCL-wide but I don't know for sure. Hope this helps your daughter.

Paula

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Yes in the GV the TV is attached firmly to the wall (LCD or Plasma?).

 

In the cabins where all the "ordinary folk" stay <vbg> the little 15 inchers are on stands that can hold them but not very securely. I checked ours and the neighbors and they were just sitting there. NOT something you want to have a little one sitting beneath in a chair watching and get pummeled. :eek:

 

Cheers,

 

Norman

 

All TV's in the Villa were LCD and Norman, I'm an "ordinary folk" who happened to luck out on an upsell.:D

Paula

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This is what I found on the SPIRIT, on formal nights, requested no jeans. Other nights it simply said no torn or tattered jeans. So any night other than the two formal nights you could wear jeans. Out of the 11 nights, I wore jeans one time - nice jeans. :p

 

~Intrepid

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What an adventure! I'll try to be brief. We got the GV through an upsell at the last minute and there were 5 of us, all women.

Drive to NYC and embarkation: A long drive from Upstate NY. Found the parking lot. Paid for a month. Got into the pier bldg and was barred from the VIP Lounge by twins (women in their forties working for NCL) - nasty people. Called for our butler for the GV who whisked us away. We were in the GV within 30 minutes.

GV: what can I say? It's everything you all told me and then some! 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms to die for, kitchenette with microwave and coffee pot, grand piano, fabulous Bang and Olafsson TV's, DVD's, walkie=talkie phones to carry around with you, lap-top and printer, tons of storage, private garden with hot tub and steam room, sunning deck with chairs and tables, 2 private entrances to the Villa, butler service, 2 stewards, concierge service and much more, like 6 free bottles of wine and/or liquor, 2 free nights in any restaurant for all 5 of us. The villa is showing some signs of wear - deep scratches on the dining table and piano, lots of lights not working, printer not functioning, and some stains on the carpeting, hot tub broke but was fixed immediately, electric blinds in bathroom not working. But nothing we couldn't handle.

Butler was Denny Concierge was Alex Stewards were Nonie and Lito HD was Hugo CD was Lance and then Ricky Captain was Peterstam. Denny was amazing and a huge help. He goes on vacation in April (his wife is having their second child in early March). He's a wonderful butler and wants to come back after his vacation. Alex was always polite and nice and did a good job but not a great job. We had a person in a wheelchair and he dumped us a few times after promising to meet us to help. He also made some mistakes on dinner reservation times. Nonie and Lito were the best. Always helpful, nothing too much trouble, towel animals every night. We loved these two people and wrote letters to Hugo about their excellent service.

Food: We ate in every facility. IMHO, Cagney's was the best. Very disappointed in Le Bistro (food not cooked properly, i.e. raw POTATOES in a ragout, well done filet was RARE - not any better after sending back twice). Tepanyaki was great (wonderful seafood), main dining rooms only average, Blue Lagoon was super though food was very greasy, Garden Cafe was typical cafeteria, Salsa's was great. My impression is that the portions are small, food is consistently undercooked unless you make a big deal out of it, all drinks are overpriced and under-liquored ($10 for a margarita which had more salt than tequilla), coffee tastes like muddy water, and always order the regular water as the Evian is $4.50 per liter. All in all - not bad food, but not great either.

Ports: I won't talk about NYC except below when we returned. St Thomas is a shopper's paradise but prices are high and cab rides were $4/person each way; Tortola was great for excursions but not shopping - swam with the dolphins and that was worth every penny; St Maartens was lovely, shopping terrific, very clean and nice town, cab rides were $3/person; San Juan was also very nice but very hilly (pushing a wheelchair) and very crowded with traffic. Wonderful pottery and art here.

Weather: a little rough going down to St Thomas but not too bad. Beautiful, sunny weather everywhere except St Maarten where it rained on and off all day. Horrible trip back to NYC - the blizzard of '06. No sleep the night before debarkation as everything flew around the Villa. The chairs on the sun deck were slamming into the railing all night and the noise was horrendous! They need to install seatbelts on the beds so you don't fall out! We were airborne every few seconds and then would slam down into 20 foot waves and tilt to the port side from the 60 mph winds. Sea wrist bands DO work!!! Alex sent poor Lito (Steward about 5ft tall and weighing about 100 pounds) up to the very top deck to secure the chairs at 2am. I felt sorry for this very nice, humble man. Finally got to the pier about 12pm and the best site was watching the crew building snowmen and having snowball wars (kitchen staff vs maintenance) on the pool deck. We saw 2 officers come out (we thought, to tell them to work instead of play) but they joined in the war and got completely soaked and ended up being buried in snow. It was great.

Cell phones: My Sprint service worked the entire time and when I got home, the bill was waiting and there was no additional charge. Denny says there is a sattelite on board for Cingular, Sprint, Verizon - nothing else.

 

Big Change: JEANS are now allowed after 5pm in all dining rooms - just no tank tops or shorts.

 

Overall Impression: The Dawn is a gorgeous ship, the crew are wonderful, NCL did their best for all passengers, most of the food was average not excellent, the stage shows were very good and entertaining, the activities were mostly boring, the weather was mostly good, the ports were also. There weren't too many rude passengers. I would definitely sail the Dawn again and from NYC as well. My biggest complaint is the pier parking lot people don't care about what they do to the cars left in the lot. Our car was buried in snow and we had 6 foot drifts to dig through before we could leave. Lots of people were stuck, no salt on the very steep ramp leaving from the top level, and an absolute parking nightmare with 2000 people leaving (and no where to go) and 2000 people arriving (with no where to go) at the same exact time. Couldn't they use different exits or entrances? Oh well, it's over now and I still wish I was back on the Dawn, even in rough weather. It was a trip of a lifetime!!! And thanks to all of you for all the advice on upsells, what to take, what to do, etc. You're all my heroes!!!!

Thanks for your review; you certainly made the best out of a rough start!! Mentioning Le Bistro compared to Cagney's, it shows how food is so subjective: I love Le Bistro and DH prefers Cagney's any day. NMnita

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PaulaGirl -

 

Which Villa were you in - 14000 or 14500? I'd hate to deal with damaged quarters.

 

We're on the 3-26 11 day Western and they've just offered me an upsell from the AA and our guest room. But this time, there are only three of us.

 

Hard decision again.

 

Anyone need an impromptu cruise in the GV? Y'all say how much fun we are, put your $$ where your mouth is! Grab a piece of the GV for the price of a PH!

Otherwise, we'll just wait for Alaska for the Villa.

 

Best,

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Don't worry about damage...this would be taken care of before the next pax embarks. They're very good with this. Perhaps second to the Secret Service assistance! ;)

 

Cheers,

 

Norman

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PaulaGirl -

 

Which Villa were you in - 14000 or 14500? I'd hate to deal with damaged quarters.

 

We're on the 3-26 11 day Western and they've just offered me an upsell from the AA and our guest room. But this time, there are only three of us.

 

Hard decision again.

 

Anyone need an impromptu cruise in the GV? Y'all say how much fun we are, put your $$ where your mouth is! Grab a piece of the GV for the price of a PH!

Otherwise, we'll just wait for Alaska for the Villa.

 

We were in 14000. They won't fix the scratches on the furniture any time soon - they're too deep, showing bare wood. They are planning to fix the lights and lamps that are not working. They can't fix the electric blinds in the bathroom until they can get a maintenance person on board who knows how to repair these European-made blinds. Apparently, these blinds have been broken for a few voyages now and it's difficult to use the bathroom at night (when folks can see in) with only sheer curtains on the windows. The printer is due to be replaced but I don't know when. I didn't mention that the discs installed on the disklavier/piano need to be replaced as someone recorded over them - so if you don't play, there's no music from the piano. They will clean the carpet soon. Hope this helps with your decision.

Paula

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PaulaGirl -

 

Which Villa were you in - 14000 or 14500? I'd hate to deal with damaged quarters.

 

We're on the 3-26 11 day Western and they've just offered me an upsell from the AA and our guest room. But this time, there are only three of us.

 

Hard decision again.

 

Anyone need an impromptu cruise in the GV? Y'all say how much fun we are, put your $$ where your mouth is! Grab a piece of the GV for the price of a PH!

Otherwise, we'll just wait for Alaska for the Villa.

 

We were in 14000. They won't fix the scratches on the furniture any time soon - they're too deep, showing bare wood. They are planning to fix the lights and lamps that are not working. They can't fix the electric blinds in the bathroom until they can get a maintenance person on board who knows how to repair these European-made blinds. Apparently, these blinds have been broken for a few voyages now and it's difficult to use the bathroom at night (when folks can see in) with only sheer curtains on the windows. The printer is due to be replaced but I don't know when. I didn't mention that the discs installed on the disklavier/piano need to be replaced as someone recorded over them - so if you don't play, there's no music from the piano. They will clean the carpet soon. Hope this helps with your decision.

Paula

 

Oh I could deal with that. I'll just remember to bring my XG voice library so I can play "My Heart Will Go On" when the next wave approaches! j/k

 

Cheers,

 

Norman

 

p.s. There is a viable alternative to the GV. It's called B2B several times a year. :p

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We got to tour the lovely GV with our CC group last Sept. Just womderful. But, felt the living room area really needed to be done over. The $$ they are getting every week, they can afford to get a new dining room table.

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We got to tour the lovely GV with our CC group last Sept. Just womderful. But, felt the living room area really needed to be done over. The $$ they are getting every week, they can afford to get a new dining room table.

 

I agree they CAN afford it but the butler says they won't spend the money to replace the dining table. The piano damage happened when some parents let their kids have truck races on the top (those big, heavy, metal Bruder trucks!). I know for a fact that the Yamaha disklavier costs upwards of 10K.

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PaulaGirl -

 

Which Villa were you in - 14000 or 14500? I'd hate to deal with damaged quarters.

 

We're on the 3-26 11 day Western and they've just offered me an upsell from the AA and our guest room. But this time, there are only three of us.

 

Hard decision again.

 

Anyone need an impromptu cruise in the GV? Y'all say how much fun we are, put your $$ where your mouth is! Grab a piece of the GV for the price of a PH!

Otherwise, we'll just wait for Alaska for the Villa.

 

Best,

 

Come 'on go ahead and take it. Then, we can all live it thru you.

 

Do you have the Villa booked for Alaska already or you hoping for an upsell?

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p.s. There is a viable alternative to the GV. It's called B2B several times a year. :p

 

Can't do the B2B, the dog misses us too much. But the discretionary funds are better spent over four owner's suite cruises than two GV cruises. It really isn't justified for a trio. Now for the five of us in Alaska.......

 

10506 on the Star was not in the best condition either - printer out of ink, no replacement, refrigerator didn't close properly, public announcemnts came into the suite:eek:, handi phone inop, one safe didn't work, wind whistled through the bow balcony door, but, hey, it's just an apartment on a ship for a week or so..sometimes the management company is efficient, sometimes not. And, yes, I requested repairs......some were taken care of.

 

BTW, thanks for the link to the maritime models and trains site, fantastic stuff!

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