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SactoSteve

Yet another Dawn 2/2 review

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Here are some of my observations/opinions....

The cabin…

It was alright. Afterall, an owner’s suite should be. Ok, it was outrageous. 3 TVs, balcony front and side, real art work, a walk-in closet, and room for a ping-pong table.

Food…

Overall, I wasn't impressed with the food. Generally there was a decent selection and the quality was decent. But, for the most part, it was just ok.

We had a breakfast and several lunches in the Venetian. The food was ok. The service was pretty much the worst. It really started with the hostesses. They never wanted to seat us near a window and seemed a little put out when we requested a better table that was open. Why do they cop an attitude when you don't want to be seated next to the kitchen door?

We had dinner one night each in Aqua and Impressions. Both were very enjoyable, probably more due to the service than the food. The steak I ordered at Aqua came much closer to rare than to medium. I pointed it out to the waitress and asked if they could put it back on the fire for a bit more. It was back in a flash. Different steak but prepared as I'd first requested. After I cut into the steak, the waitress returned to make sure it was done correctly and even offered to get another if this one was too well done. I was really impressed. The waitress was pleasant, prompt, and sincerely doing whatever it took to make sure our dining experience was as good as possible. Impressions wasn't quite as good but it was close.

We had two dinners in both Le Bistro and two dinners in Cagney’s. The first for each wasn’t all that impressive. Cagney’s kept trying to put us in the worst seat in the house. The first table was right next the kitchen door and a larger table where the kids were watching a portable DVD set up in the middle of the table. Not my idea of atmosphere. We ended up at a table adjoining the StarBar. The bar was empty so it worked fine. The food was better than average as was the service.

Our first night at LeBistro was almost a disaster. We showed up at 7pm. They had us down for 8pm reservations. They offered to seat us out in the wine bar, next to a guy playing piano and singing cheesy oldies. I explained that the concierge had made the reservations and I really expected better as it was for our anniversary. We argued a bit before I suggested they call the concierge. They wanted to continue arguing so we headed back to our room. By the time we got there, Alex had it all sorted out and they suddenly had a couple tables open and just couldn’t do enough to make us happy. (If you have access to the concierge, take advantage!) We ordered the StarFire. It was interesting but not something I’d bother with again.

The last two nights we returned to Le Bristro and Cagney’s. This time around there were no hassles, the service was fantastic, and the food was quite good.

Oh, better keep this short… wasn’t impressed by the garden café at all. Blue Lagoon was quick and tasty. Ada rated the Mac ‘n Cheese quite high. Sushi was compentent if rather pedestrian. Teppanyaki was pretty good (I have never ever been served 25 large scallops until that night. OMG!) Salsa was mixed (I’m used to some pretty killer Mexican & southwest food). Bamboo was ok but not as good as what we have locally.

Staff…

I thought these folks were great. Except the hostesses. But our butler, Carmen, was a doll. She really spoiled us. The room stewards were great. The concierge, Alex, was just the best. Helpful, pleasant, resourceful, and a true gentleman. I enjoyed visiting with Junior, one of the head bartenders, after the margarita clinc. (5 full margaritas in an hour – we found our way back to our cabin, but just barely)

Entertainment...

The shows were good. A couple of the entertainers I really enjoyed. I'm lousy with names but the stand-up comedian was pretty funny. They had a comedian/magician that started off pretty irritating but he kinda grew on you. It was my first Bollywood so I didn't mind. Some of the acrobatic stuff was pretty good. Somehow I missed the story line but it was a pleasant evening.

Smuggling booze on board...

Ok, we did it but we didn't mean to. We had several bottles of wine in our carry-ons. We kept waiting for the obvious time to mention the wine then pony up on the corkage. As we walked into our room we realized that we were now guilty of smuggling wine onboard. We did end up paying the corkage in the restuarants. They did take our Guavaberry Liquor when we reboarded in St. Martin.

The ship…

Very nice. The pictures I’ve seen on-line tend to make it look more garish than it is. Oh, there’s plenty of color but it really works well.

The passengers…

We really enjoyed meeting our fellow CC cruisers. Great people. The other passengers were just fine, too. There were a couple folks here and there that were worth the effort to avoid but most everyone was just a pleasant as could be.

The ports…

We didn’t pick the cruise for the ports but we enjoyed St. Maarten the most. San Juan and St. Thomas tied for second. We were both feeling a little off while we were in Tortola so I should reserve judgement. GSC? No thanks.

The ride...

It was a little bumpy that first day or so until I got my sea legs. It kinda fun to watch everyone in the reception area swaying together. Kinda like a big budget dance number. The tenders going to GSC were pretty bouncy during boarding. Just about lost one lady down the stairwell when she tried to take a picture without holding onto anything.

The last night...

Quite a ride. We didn't get sick but we didn't sleep much either. Part way through the night most of the bar setup ended up on the floor, triple sec everywhere. The bathroom scale kept sliding back & forth across the tile floor. The pocket doors to the bedroom kept sliding open and closed. Ada hauled out the duct tape, staggered to & fro, and secured most everything. For awhile and then the duct tape would work free. And Ada would be back up taping like mad. Trying to stay upright and avoid the broken glass. Several times we could hear water striking the window facing forward, either waves or very heavy spray from the bow. Watching the snow blow onto the front deck toward morning was pretty cool, too.

Well, that’s probably more than you wanted to read but there it is.

Steve

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Nice review. Thanks.

Too bad about the seating fiasco. I always ask my DH if my dress is on wrong side out, or some other reason why they want to place us at obviously less than desirable tables.

Also, I am so happy to hear that the colors are not quite as terrible as they appear in the brochures. They have really turned me off with all of this recent trend for more and more color and splashy decor.

Glad you were pampered by the butler - that's to be expected.

Thanks again.

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A great and well written review! Thank you. Very informative, detailed, constructive and not bashing. Thank you so much. I wish everyone would take heed and write reviews like these. Thanks, again.

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SactoSteve,

 

Thanks for your review. It brings back great memories of our last two cruises on the Dawn in 10506. Carmen is the best. We had her for both cruises and she really knows what you need and gets it for you. Hopefully, we'll have her again for our April 26th cruise, but she has e-mailed us that her tour is up, but she might sign on for more cruise and then go home. We won't be in an AA but an AB this time.

 

The food has been going downhill for awhile now. I got a glimpse of the new menus and there are some things I want to try.

 

We too had the pleasure of watching waves break over the bow on our September cruise. Still remember the sounds of the floor drains gurgling.

 

Did you have breakfast on the side balcony? We had an early dinner one night on the side balcony as we sailed away. Awesome!:)

 

Happy Sailing,

Monty

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What????? Translation please :)

 

The quality of the sushi was good. The rice was perfect, the ingredients were fresh, the rolls were well made - not falling apart. But there was no sparkle, no contract in textures or flavors. The california roll tasted almost the same as the philidelphia roll even though the incredients were different - crab & cucumber vs. salmon and cream cheese. So everything tasted fine, just pretty much the same. If you're a sushi buff, it's good quality starter fare. If you've never had sushi, it's a great start. Nothing challenging. Nothing extreme. Nothing all that interesting either. But way better than the buffet. :D

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SactoSteve,

 

........

Did you have breakfast on the side balcony? We had an early dinner one night on the side balcony as we sailed away. Awesome!:)

 

Happy Sailing,

Monty

 

No, we didn't have breakfast on the balcony. We probably should have but it was enough to make it to the dining room table. Like yourself, Carmen served as our wakeup call more than once. Just couldn't quite figure out how to smuggle her home with us.:D

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Thanks Steve...there aren't too many places to try good sushi here in Eastern Canada so I won't be disappointed!!! :)

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Thanks for posting your reveiw! I love to read "anything" about the dawn - good or bad! Makes the waiting easier............

 

~Connie

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Steve and Ada, I'm so glad to read your excellent review! Sounds like both of you really know how to handle the little "bumps in the road" that happen along the way. :)

 

I'm so excited to be boarding the Dawn in six days, and can hardly sit still! :eek: Thanks for so much detail - it certainly helps us plan and prepare.

 

Hope you've both managed to get your "land legs" back, and have recovered from the lengthy trip back to the left coast!

 

Cheers! :)

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We were on the same cruise and pretty much agree with everything in your review. This was our first NCL cruise in eleven years.

We cruise twice a year and have a lot to compare with the other mass cruise Lines. The one thing that surprised me was the price, size and quality of the drinks. I gave up mixed drinks and mosty drank beer after getting a 6 oz Pina Colada for 6.15 that tasted like I don't know what.

 

I did have the $9.00 Martini each night in the Star Bar, that I wasn't abe to give up. . I know that they are in the business to make money but given that they are using tax free liquor ,you would think that they could at least pour a fair priced quality drink. The prices were much more then the other cruise lines that we have been on , the last being RCL this past October.

 

We have decided after our Oct Crown Princess cruise that we will start booking Raddison or one of the more up scale cruise lines.

 

My take on the food was that they use the cheapest cuts of meat and food that can be purchased on the commercial market.

 

If you were served the quality and portion sizes at your local resaturant that NCL served , you would probably not be eating in that restaurant too often. How many restaurant will give you seconds because you are still hungry after the main course .

 

We did like the ship and the public rooms.

 

Just my take.

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Thanks Steve...there aren't too many places to try good sushi here in Eastern Canada so I won't be disappointed!!! :)

 

Then you'll do just fine. They really serve as a good introduction. One way to go is to do the $10 all you can eat sushi at the sushi bar. Another way to go is to order one of their combo boxes that have some of everything. You'll probably get plenty to eat either way. Doing the combo box is good if you prefer the privacy of a table. The sushi bar can be fun because you can end up sitting with a bunch of different folks.

 

Just a tip, the green stuff that comes with the sushi is called wasabi. It's a form of horseradish. It packs quite a punch and is meant to be a condiment that's mixed with soy sauce. It's really good that way. It's really uncomfortable, nay, painful if you don't know what it is and eat a dollop of the stuff all on it's own.:eek:

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We were on the same cruise and pretty much agree with everything in your review. This was our first NCL cruise in eleven years.

We cruise twice a year and have a lot to compare with the other mass cruise Lines. The one thing that surprised me was the price, size and quality of the drinks. I gave up mixed drinks and mosty drank beer after getting a 6 oz Pina Colada for 6.15 that tasted like I don't know what.

 

I did have the $9.00 Martini each night in the Star Bar, that I wasn't abe to give up. . I know that they are in the business to make money but given that they are using tax free liquor ,you would think that they could at least pour a fair priced quality drink. The prices were much more then the other cruise lines that we have been on , the last being RCL this past October.

 

We have decided after our Oct Crown Princess cruise that we will start booking Raddison or one of the more up scale cruise lines.

 

My take on the food was that they use the cheapest cuts of meat and food that can be purchased on the commercial market.

 

If you were served the quality and portion sizes at your local resaturant that NCL served , you would probably not be eating in that restaurant too often. How many restaurant will give you seconds because you are still hungry after the main course .

 

We did like the ship and the public rooms.

 

Just my take.

 

The only mixed drinks we had on board were served at either the martini clinic or the margarita clinic. For sheer quantity of alcohol, those were a pretty good deal. But 5 margaritas in an hour during the afternoon pretty much blows the rest of the day for me. We did have the advantage of a bar setup in our room so we made our own margaritas periodically. It worked for us but I can sure see where the drink prices could hurt over the course of a 10day cruise.

 

I pretty much agree with you on the food. It's generally not what I would expect from a good restaurant. Portion size didn't bother me, I not a big eater. If I can have a couple bites of several things that are really good, I'm pretty happy.

 

I'm interested in Radisson, too. It's pricier but maybe not by all that much if you choose wisely. Sailing without the hordes of people wouldn't bother me although I never felt crowded on board the Dawn.

 

Anyway, I enjoyed the cruise and would be willing to sail NCL in the future. You do get what you pay for but it's good to know what you're getting (and whether it's what you want) going into it.

 

Steve

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Hi Steve & Ada -

 

I have to pretty much agree with your review (I've been working 14 hours days since I got back; but I'm trying to put together a review myself).

 

Carmen was the absolute best. Always a smile - and always an extra pot of coffee!

 

We had a terrible experience in Cagneys and wound up in Impressions each night. It worked out wonderfully for us.

 

The last night was fantastic. In fact, it was the spray from the waves. It was amazing. It was only eclipsed by the snow being highlighted by the halogen light from the bridge...what a spectacular ending to the cruise! As I said during that (sleepless) night - it was worth the price of admission.

 

Glad to see you made it home safe and sound. It was nice to meet with fellow cruisers!

 

Heidi & Bob

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