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DEBNWIN

Review of the Dawn 4/6 - 4/16 Long

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We’ve just returned from a lovely 10 day spring break cruise on the Dawn from April 6-16. Background - We’re both 48 and took our 17 year old daughter and her 17 year old best friend with us. This was our 13th cruise, second with NCL (both on the Dawn).

Embarkation - We arrived at the pier at about 11:15, wearing our cruise critic leis and ready to go. Following advice from these boards, we went first to the pre-check in and registered, with no waiting. Then we headed upstairs to the Latitudes waiting area. We found Evie and Russ and Susan and Charyl from cruise critic wearing their leis and introduced ourselves. NCL had a little buffet out with pastries and coffee, although we didn’t partake, knowing we would be lunching soon. After about 15 minutes of talking with our new friends they started boarding us. Since between the suite passengers and the latitude members there were only maybe 50 of us upstairs, it didn’t take us long at all to get onboard. Through the security gate and our obligatory embarkation photo and on the lovely Dawn we were. Maybe 45 minutes from arrival to being on board. One of our least painful embarkations. We dropped our carryons in our rooms, which weren’t quite ready yet and headed off to the buffet. Although we had been on the Dawn last year, our guest had not and the girls wanted to eat quickly and set off to explore and make new friends.

Cabins - Last year we had been thrifty and had an inside cabin, but this year we splurged a little and had a balcony cabin for us and an inside across the hall for the girls. Our cabin was on deck 8 forward and was one with the framed hulled balcony. Very nice and although the view is a little smaller than a regular balcony, it is also more private and less windy. It held two chairs and a little table. Our cabin was pretty with two twins made up to a king, a loveseat, desk and vanity. TV, hairdryer, refrigerator (no freezer part) and safe. Ample closet space although we could have used more drawer space. And I haven’t figured out why they put the drawers inside the closet…makes it rather difficult to get to and see. But we had enough room, with some maneuvering to get all of our stuff unpacked. I always bring some of my own hangers so we were fine. The bathroom was divided into three sections - the shower, with door, the vanity area and the toilet area, with door. We are larger sized people and that toilet area was rather uncomfortable. In the inside cabins, there is no door between the vanity area and the toilet and it is much more comfortable. However, the showers on the Dawn are fabulous. Large and with a door rather than a sticky curtain, and a handheld shower head. Not incredible amounts of storage space in the bathroom, but sufficient. We seldom saw our cabin stewards and although they weren’t that personable, they did their job and that’s all that mattered. Only saw one towel animal, which disappointed my daughter, who loved them so much on the last cruise that she went to the class to learn how to make them. All in all, our cabin was great and we were very pleased.

Food - I’d read so many negative reviews about the food and how the quality had gone down, that I was pleasantly surprised to have few if any complaints. I had researched before we left and had chosen three nights with menus that I didn’t like to go to the pay restaurants. On our third night we went to Le Bistro. DH and I had surf and turf and the girls had filet mignon. And we all had the famous chocolate fondue. It was all wonderful and worth the extra money. On our 6th night we went to Cagneys. I had the 1 ½ lb delicious lobster, DH had the 24 oz huge porterhouse steak and once again the girls had filet mignon. Wonderful cheesecake. Once again, we enjoyed it thoroughly. On night 7 we went to Salsa and enjoyed our array of appetizers and our various meals. DH and I had the ribs and they were great. DD had Mamas Meatloaf, which she had last year and loves. Her friend had the fajitas and enjoyed them. I find the desserts in Salsa to be odd. But otherwise, the meals there are always tasty. The other 7 nights we ate in the regular restaurants, four times in Venetian, twice in Impressions and once in Aqua. My favorite thing about the food on the Dawn is the bread/rolls. Every night we needed the basket refilled because we all loved it so much. We had some great steak - two nights prime rib, one night filet mignon. As mentioned by others, the lobster has a rather different sauce on it, but it was still tasty. Pork chops one night were good. Chicken Parm on Italian night was a little dry but fine. Desserts are my weakness and could have been a little better, but believe me…I always found something I liked!! The soufflés on the Dawn are wonderful! Many days we had breakfast and lunch in Venetian although we probably had about 5 meals at the buffet and/or deli and always found something we liked. One day we ate up at the Bimini Bar and had a good burger and fries. Every night we would hit the blue lagoon for either chicken wings or wonton soup and fried rice. The service in all of the restaurants was terrific and we found several waiters who we asked for by name.

Entertainment - I can’t tell you much about this category because we spent most of our time in the casino. We did, however, see the newlywed game, which is always entertaining. And we’d catch bits and pieces of the other shows on the tv in the cabin. The Cruise Director, Ricky Matthews is wonderful and its unfortunate that the Dawn is about to lose another good director (we had Colin last year)…we hear Ricky is going to the Spirit in a couple of weeks. We went to trivia a few times to remind ourselves how ignorant we are.

Casino - Now this is a category I can tell you a lot about. We played lots and lots of pennies and nickels and were treated like high rollers. The staff in the casino was wonderful. There would often be a small buffet in the casino in the morning and late at night. They had a variety of table games (blackjack, Caribbean stud, Texas hold ‘em , roulette, craps), but I’m a slots player. They had the Fort Knox penny machines (in the Lobstermania, Cleopatra, Frog Prince and Enchanted Unicorn version), multi denomination video poker (including nickels), one spin poker machine, a bunch of nickel machines including Men in Black, Monopoly, Jeopardy, $25,000 Pyramid, Munsters, Texas Tea, Fortune Cookie, etc. I don’t play many quarter machines so I can’t really say what kind they had but there were probably about 50 quarter machines. There were some .50 and dollar machines but I only really noticed a very loud and popular Haywire machine and the very busy and seemingly profitable dollar wheel of fortune. The one slot attendant told me he paid out $20,000 on the previous cruise to a winner on the dollar wheel of fortune. People complain about how tight the machines were but I found them, for me anyway, to be slightly looser than Atlantic City. I can’t say I had a lot of big wins, but I had enough little wins that my money lasted pretty well. And by using my slot card, I got a nice chunk of cash back off of my shipboard account. Also, if you gamble often enough, they’ll buy you free drinks. We entered the slot tournaments a few times, but didn’t make it to the finals. We also tried the free slot pull each day, with no luck, although CC friends of ours won a free dinner to Cagneys. Without a doubt, the Dawn has the best casino I’ve gambled in on a ship.

The Ship - the Dawn is a really pretty ship. Big enough to get some exercise, but not so big that you’re exhausted getting from place to place. The gift shop is large and well stocked but nothing you haven’t seen before. The atrium is lofty and stunning and sitting in the Java Café there is a great place for people watching. Internet Café is rather awkwardly located on deck 9, and is expensive at .75 per minute with slow service, but its a nice atmosphere. The restaurants are all impressive. Venetian is formal and open and large. Impressions is cozier and a warmer atmosphere. Aqua is more modern but pretty. Cagneys is a typical upscale steakhouse atmosphere. Le Bistro of course is famous for its artwork. Salsa has the gorgeous stained glass ceiling and since it is right above the atrium you get the live music filtering up to you. It does, however, get a lot of walk through traffic. We didn’t eat at Bamboo or La Trattoria so I can’t comment. The Garden Café is a typical buffet. The pool area is nice and the stadium seating is a great idea. On sea days though, if you weren’t outside by 11:00 a.m., you could not get a seat anywhere. We went up on deck 13 near the forward hot tub at 9:00 a.m. and it was empty. By 10:30 people were fighting over chairs. Some of this was because it was Spring break and this was a full ship. Dazzles was a nice little bar that had karaoke every night. Pearly Kings Pub had fish and chips and that’s where we went for trivia. The Star Bar was up on deck 12 I believe next to Cagneys. We were only there once for our cruise critic meeting. The Stardust Lounge is huge and most every seat has a good view. Spinnaker Lounge has some very unique seats and a wonderful view of the ocean. Gatsbys seemed to be a popular lounge, with a piano player nightly. There was a glass enclosed cigar room, where DH would go nightly to have a cigar. Can’t tell you a thing about the spa/gym…never saw either. Same with the kids section and arcade.

Ports - This was a nice itinerary. Two days at sea…first one a little too chilly to sunbathe, but nice weather. The second a day on the deck. Third day was St. Thomas…Palm Sunday, which was tough for shopping. We shopped at the Havensight Mall, had lunch at the Havensight Café and headed off for a 1 ½ hour safari bus sightseeing excursion to show my daughter some of the island. Fourth day was Tortola. We took a 2 ½ hour excursion through the ship on another safari bus. This is a beautiful island, very hilly, which made for a precarious ride. Lovely place, but not a lot there. We stopped at some vendors near the ship on the way back to do some shopping. Day Five was St. Maarten. Once again, we took a 2 ½ hour tour on a bus this time around the island. Stopped for a little shopping on the French side. We got back to the ship by lunchtime and took advantage of the quiet ship to lay out by the forward hot tub. Imagine our surprise when we noticed the captain of the ship sunbathing next to us! I guess he was taking advantage of the empty ship also. (and for anyone who might be interested…he looked pretty good too! ) Day 6 was Puerto Rico and our only rainy (on and off) day. We took a tour that took us to the fort and then to the Bacardi Factory. Interesting day. Day 7 was another day at sea. Day 8 was the private island. We did not get off the ship although our girls did and said the island was beautiful. But for a 4 hour jaunt, it wasn’t worth the tendering over and back. We once again snuck up to the forward hot tub area and had it to ourselves for sunbathing and soaking. Quiet and pleasant day. Last day was another sea day and it was still warm enough to sunbathe for most of the day.

Cruise Critic - We had our meet and greet on the first morning at sea in the Star Bar and 47 of us showed up. Susan had done a great job organizing things and Evie had passed along a few good suggestions. So besides wearing leis to identify ourselves earlier at the pier, we also brought $5 gifts from our home towns to exchange at the party. We were lucky enough to get Scottish shortbread from CC members from Scotland and a "terrible" towel from Pittsburgh! NCL does the meeting up right, with a little buffet of coffee and juice and pastries, etc. And several of the officers come to meet everyone and speak for a few minutes. Including the cruise director, Ricky, Claudio (one of the Concierges) and the hotel director. Some of us ended up lingering for a couple of hours. Out of the three CC meetings we’ve been to, this was by far the most well attended and had a fabulous group of people. I’ve never made so many friends on a ship before. It was wonderful.

Miscellaneous - Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that this was Spring Break and there were 900 kids onboard!! However, since this was the reason we took this week so that my own child could go, I have no room to complain. There were definitely some rude and rowdy kids. But then again…there were some rude and rowdy adults too! Aren’t there always? We don’t let it ruin our cruises. I did, however, hear that 100 of the kids crashed the security to get into Dazzles Nightclub on the last night (they normally get kicked out of there at 11:30). But more security arrived and they were quickly sent on their way from what I heard. On a positive note, our girls made a lot of nice friends. Maybe because they are nearly 18, but they didn’t do as much of the wandering around the ship this time. They went to more of the shows and deck parties and had a great time.

Debarkation - We probably should’ve done the express debarkation and gotten off earlier, but I didn’t feel like sitting around in a public room with my luggage so we slept a little later, lingered over breakfast in Venetian, sat on our balcony for awhile and then sauntered up to Dazzles to sit in a window seat until they called our color (orange…the very last color). We were off the ship by 11:00 a.m.

I’m sure I missed a lot, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Out of all our cruises, I think this was our favorite. This was our first 10 day cruise and its going to be very hard to go back to a 7 day one after this! The Dawn is a wonderful ship with an incredibly friendly staff. It was a great trip.

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Thanks for taking the time to share your review! I've been waiting for some new Dawn reviews! Thanks!

 

How was the "rocking" on the way down and back?

 

~Connie

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The seas were very calm. We had one slightly rough day between Puerto Rico and the private island, but even that wasn't that bad. We took no chances and took our bonine the first and last days.

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Thanks for the review. Can't wait for our turn. Everything sounds great. Where is the front hot tub? Is this the hot tub we see on the cam ?

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No, the one you see on your cam is what I understand is the crew's hot tub. To get to the forward hot tub, go to the forward elevators (in front of the Stardust Theatre) and go up to the 13th floor...then walk toward the front of the ship. Quiet up there and you can usually have the hot tub pretty much to yourself. And its only a short walk to the Bimini Bar for lunch.

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Nice review...we sailed the cruise before you and had a wonderful time...I did really enjoy the hulled balcony very much also..less wind and more privacy.....the rooms are rooms but I agree about the interior shelves inside the closet and ended up putting items I used less often there and I also put the life jackets down there and used the upper shelves for DH stuff....but still have plenty of room.....we put allot of out toiletries on the shelf in the bath under the mirror...and I did like the small magnified mirror for eye brows :) ......and there is nothing to say negative about the food...if you can't find something you like on this ship with all of the "free" restaurants then your mighty picky....they are trying to please different cultures, ethnic backgrounds etc.....and the food was 90% better than the CCL Paradise that's for sure......

We did get about 5 animal towels though and took picutures of some of them....the monkey hanging from the drapes was a hoot !!!!!

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To debnwin,

 

Thanks for the great review! We're on the Dawn in June and with all of the negative food reviews, I was getting nervous:( We're not fussy so I think we'll be ok. I've copied the review to bring with me so that I can remember all of the good stuff !!! A couple of questions- even if there is no cc meet, can we go to pre check 1st? We are not latitudes members ( this is our first cruise ever) any tips on successful/quick boarding? The ship leaves at 4:00- our tickets say boarding starts at 2:00. suggestions on arrival times? By the way, I'm rolling up my pennies for the slots!!

 

claimsgal

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When you get to the pier there is the regular level you enter on, and an upper level for latitude members and people in suites. Pre-check in is on the lower level in the front. I'm not certain but I think its from like 11-12:00. I know we checked in around 11:15-11:30 and it was closed by around noon when we boarded. If you aren't a latitude member you can still do the pre-check in and then there are a lot of chairs for you to sit and wait for boarding. They'll board the people upstairs first and then you. I can't tell you how smooth later boarding is, because we are early birds and always arrive early. But I found it to be pretty stress-free. Hope this helps a little.

 

Don't worry about what people say about the food. People just love to complain. There are so many places to eat on this ship, with so many different kinds of food, you will definitely be able to find something you like! Although there were some odd items such as chicken stuffed with prunes and oxtail stew...the majority of the items were very good. Sometimes something on the menu would sound a little odd but ended up being really good. Don't be scared to try something. If you don't like it, you can always send it back and get something else. You'll have a great time, I'm sure.

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Thank you so much for your review . Our Dawn cruise is still 4 1/2 months away but I am ravenous for any tid bit of information I can get.

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great review Deb- it was nice meeting you and the other cc's. It was nice seeing framiliar faces around the ship. We had a great time on the Dawn, so much that we booked the Spirit for February, my dd graduates in May from college so it will be an early present, her and her boyfriend are going with my dh and I, can't wait, gives me something to look forward to as I go into depression about being off the Dawn.

 

We were also in a forward balcony on the 8th floor, great room. Our room stewards were excellent in keeping room clean, etc. but never introduced themselves to us, would say hi from down the hall every now and then. We did get 2 towel animals. Food was good and plentiful, we would look at the menu and decide where to eat, couple of nights went to buffet because did not care for the selections. But can not complain about the food. Ate at Salsa's on night and did enjoy that. There seemed to be a lot of gravy on the meats though, but was not bad. Went to most of the shows and they were very good. Enjoyed the comedian and hypnotist, and ventriloquist a lot. Went to a couple of the crafts because my mom was into that. Weather was wonderful, ports were fun. Did our own thing when we got off the ship, not the one's sponsored by the ship and it worked out well. Did the express debarcation and was off the boat at 10 and home by 2. It was a great cruise.

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Nice review...we sailed the cruise before you and had a wonderful time...I did really enjoy the hulled balcony very much also..less wind and more privacy.....the rooms are rooms but I agree about the interior shelves inside the closet and ended up putting items I used less often there and I also put the life jackets down there and used the upper shelves for DH stuff....but still have plenty of room.....we put allot of out toiletries on the shelf in the bath under the mirror...and I did like the small magnified mirror for eye brows :) ......and there is nothing to say negative about the food...if you can't find something you like on this ship with all of the "free" restaurants then your mighty picky....they are trying to please different cultures, ethnic backgrounds etc.....and the food was 90% better than the CCL Paradise that's for sure......

We did get about 5 animal towels though and took picutures of some of them....the monkey hanging from the drapes was a hoot !!!!!

 

Could these be the very same stewards that never said hello to us, let alone made a towel animal...not even a towel eel...snake.....centipede

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Could these be the very same stewards that never said hello to us, let alone made a towel animal...not even a towel eel...snake.....centipede

 

Flyingpirate are you telling us that you didn't get 1 towel animal in your OS?

 

Well I never................

 

Hopefully on the April Fools cruise someone will surprise you. We had towels animals everynight. Our room stewards were the best. So was our Butler. I hear you had a butler change during your cruise. What happened to Carmen???

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Could these be the very same stewards that never said hello to us, let alone made a towel animal...not even a towel eel...snake.....centipede

 

Huh?

What?

 

Did you greet them?

 

Very strange:eek:

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DEBNWIN,

Thanks so much for taking the time to post your thorough and informative review. I really enjoyed your cruise! We sail on the Dawn in a few short days, and you have jump-started the momentum for our fun!:)

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Have a great time MermaidMomma and have a pina colada (or something similar) for me!

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We’ve just returned from a lovely 10 day spring break cruise on the Dawn from April 6-16. Background - We’re both 48 and took our 17 year old daughter and her 17 year old best friend with us. This was our 13th cruise, second with NCL (both on the Dawn).

Embarkation - We arrived at the pier at about 11:15, wearing our cruise critic leis and ready to go. Following advice from these boards, we went first to the pre-check in and registered, with no waiting. Then we headed upstairs to the Latitudes waiting area. We found Evie and Russ and Susan and Charyl from cruise critic wearing their leis and introduced ourselves. NCL had a little buffet out with pastries and coffee, although we didn’t partake, knowing we would be lunching soon. After about 15 minutes of talking with our new friends they started boarding us. Since between the suite passengers and the latitude members there were only maybe 50 of us upstairs, it didn’t take us long at all to get onboard. Through the security gate and our obligatory embarkation photo and on the lovely Dawn we were. Maybe 45 minutes from arrival to being on board. One of our least painful embarkations. We dropped our carryons in our rooms, which weren’t quite ready yet and headed off to the buffet. Although we had been on the Dawn last year, our guest had not and the girls wanted to eat quickly and set off to explore and make new friends.

Cabins - Last year we had been thrifty and had an inside cabin, but this year we splurged a little and had a balcony cabin for us and an inside across the hall for the girls. Our cabin was on deck 8 forward and was one with the framed hulled balcony. Very nice and although the view is a little smaller than a regular balcony, it is also more private and less windy. It held two chairs and a little table. Our cabin was pretty with two twins made up to a king, a loveseat, desk and vanity. TV, hairdryer, refrigerator (no freezer part) and safe. Ample closet space although we could have used more drawer space. And I haven’t figured out why they put the drawers inside the closet…makes it rather difficult to get to and see. But we had enough room, with some maneuvering to get all of our stuff unpacked. I always bring some of my own hangers so we were fine. The bathroom was divided into three sections - the shower, with door, the vanity area and the toilet area, with door. We are larger sized people and that toilet area was rather uncomfortable. In the inside cabins, there is no door between the vanity area and the toilet and it is much more comfortable. However, the showers on the Dawn are fabulous. Large and with a door rather than a sticky curtain, and a handheld shower head. Not incredible amounts of storage space in the bathroom, but sufficient. We seldom saw our cabin stewards and although they weren’t that personable, they did their job and that’s all that mattered. Only saw one towel animal, which disappointed my daughter, who loved them so much on the last cruise that she went to the class to learn how to make them. All in all, our cabin was great and we were very pleased.

Food - I’d read so many negative reviews about the food and how the quality had gone down, that I was pleasantly surprised to have few if any complaints. I had researched before we left and had chosen three nights with menus that I didn’t like to go to the pay restaurants. On our third night we went to Le Bistro. DH and I had surf and turf and the girls had filet mignon. And we all had the famous chocolate fondue. It was all wonderful and worth the extra money. On our 6th night we went to Cagneys. I had the 1 ½ lb delicious lobster, DH had the 24 oz huge porterhouse steak and once again the girls had filet mignon. Wonderful cheesecake. Once again, we enjoyed it thoroughly. On night 7 we went to Salsa and enjoyed our array of appetizers and our various meals. DH and I had the ribs and they were great. DD had Mamas Meatloaf, which she had last year and loves. Her friend had the fajitas and enjoyed them. I find the desserts in Salsa to be odd. But otherwise, the meals there are always tasty. The other 7 nights we ate in the regular restaurants, four times in Venetian, twice in Impressions and once in Aqua. My favorite thing about the food on the Dawn is the bread/rolls. Every night we needed the basket refilled because we all loved it so much. We had some great steak - two nights prime rib, one night filet mignon. As mentioned by others, the lobster has a rather different sauce on it, but it was still tasty. Pork chops one night were good. Chicken Parm on Italian night was a little dry but fine. Desserts are my weakness and could have been a little better, but believe me…I always found something I liked!! The soufflés on the Dawn are wonderful! Many days we had breakfast and lunch in Venetian although we probably had about 5 meals at the buffet and/or deli and always found something we liked. One day we ate up at the Bimini Bar and had a good burger and fries. Every night we would hit the blue lagoon for either chicken wings or wonton soup and fried rice. The service in all of the restaurants was terrific and we found several waiters who we asked for by name.

Entertainment - I can’t tell you much about this category because we spent most of our time in the casino. We did, however, see the newlywed game, which is always entertaining. And we’d catch bits and pieces of the other shows on the tv in the cabin. The Cruise Director, Ricky Matthews is wonderful and its unfortunate that the Dawn is about to lose another good director (we had Colin last year)…we hear Ricky is going to the Spirit in a couple of weeks. We went to trivia a few times to remind ourselves how ignorant we are.

Casino - Now this is a category I can tell you a lot about. We played lots and lots of pennies and nickels and were treated like high rollers. The staff in the casino was wonderful. There would often be a small buffet in the casino in the morning and late at night. They had a variety of table games (blackjack, Caribbean stud, Texas hold ‘em , roulette, craps), but I’m a slots player. They had the Fort Knox penny machines (in the Lobstermania, Cleopatra, Frog Prince and Enchanted Unicorn version), multi denomination video poker (including nickels), one spin poker machine, a bunch of nickel machines including Men in Black, Monopoly, Jeopardy, $25,000 Pyramid, Munsters, Texas Tea, Fortune Cookie, etc. I don’t play many quarter machines so I can’t really say what kind they had but there were probably about 50 quarter machines. There were some .50 and dollar machines but I only really noticed a very loud and popular Haywire machine and the very busy and seemingly profitable dollar wheel of fortune. The one slot attendant told me he paid out $20,000 on the previous cruise to a winner on the dollar wheel of fortune. People complain about how tight the machines were but I found them, for me anyway, to be slightly looser than Atlantic City. I can’t say I had a lot of big wins, but I had enough little wins that my money lasted pretty well. And by using my slot card, I got a nice chunk of cash back off of my shipboard account. Also, if you gamble often enough, they’ll buy you free drinks. We entered the slot tournaments a few times, but didn’t make it to the finals. We also tried the free slot pull each day, with no luck, although CC friends of ours won a free dinner to Cagneys. Without a doubt, the Dawn has the best casino I’ve gambled in on a ship.

The Ship - the Dawn is a really pretty ship. Big enough to get some exercise, but not so big that you’re exhausted getting from place to place. The gift shop is large and well stocked but nothing you haven’t seen before. The atrium is lofty and stunning and sitting in the Java Café there is a great place for people watching. Internet Café is rather awkwardly located on deck 9, and is expensive at .75 per minute with slow service, but its a nice atmosphere. The restaurants are all impressive. Venetian is formal and open and large. Impressions is cozier and a warmer atmosphere. Aqua is more modern but pretty. Cagneys is a typical upscale steakhouse atmosphere. Le Bistro of course is famous for its artwork. Salsa has the gorgeous stained glass ceiling and since it is right above the atrium you get the live music filtering up to you. It does, however, get a lot of walk through traffic. We didn’t eat at Bamboo or La Trattoria so I can’t comment. The Garden Café is a typical buffet. The pool area is nice and the stadium seating is a great idea. On sea days though, if you weren’t outside by 11:00 a.m., you could not get a seat anywhere. We went up on deck 13 near the forward hot tub at 9:00 a.m. and it was empty. By 10:30 people were fighting over chairs. Some of this was because it was Spring break and this was a full ship. Dazzles was a nice little bar that had karaoke every night. Pearly Kings Pub had fish and chips and that’s where we went for trivia. The Star Bar was up on deck 12 I believe next to Cagneys. We were only there once for our cruise critic meeting. The Stardust Lounge is huge and most every seat has a good view. Spinnaker Lounge has some very unique seats and a wonderful view of the ocean. Gatsbys seemed to be a popular lounge, with a piano player nightly. There was a glass enclosed cigar room, where DH would go nightly to have a cigar. Can’t tell you a thing about the spa/gym…never saw either. Same with the kids section and arcade.

Ports - This was a nice itinerary. Two days at sea…first one a little too chilly to sunbathe, but nice weather. The second a day on the deck. Third day was St. Thomas…Palm Sunday, which was tough for shopping. We shopped at the Havensight Mall, had lunch at the Havensight Café and headed off for a 1 ½ hour safari bus sightseeing excursion to show my daughter some of the island. Fourth day was Tortola. We took a 2 ½ hour excursion through the ship on another safari bus. This is a beautiful island, very hilly, which made for a precarious ride. Lovely place, but not a lot there. We stopped at some vendors near the ship on the way back to do some shopping. Day Five was St. Maarten. Once again, we took a 2 ½ hour tour on a bus this time around the island. Stopped for a little shopping on the French side. We got back to the ship by lunchtime and took advantage of the quiet ship to lay out by the forward hot tub. Imagine our surprise when we noticed the captain of the ship sunbathing next to us! I guess he was taking advantage of the empty ship also. (and for anyone who might be interested…he looked pretty good too! ) Day 6 was Puerto Rico and our only rainy (on and off) day. We took a tour that took us to the fort and then to the Bacardi Factory. Interesting day. Day 7 was another day at sea. Day 8 was the private island. We did not get off the ship although our girls did and said the island was beautiful. But for a 4 hour jaunt, it wasn’t worth the tendering over and back. We once again snuck up to the forward hot tub area and had it to ourselves for sunbathing and soaking. Quiet and pleasant day. Last day was another sea day and it was still warm enough to sunbathe for most of the day.

Cruise Critic - We had our meet and greet on the first morning at sea in the Star Bar and 47 of us showed up. Susan had done a great job organizing things and Evie had passed along a few good suggestions. So besides wearing leis to identify ourselves earlier at the pier, we also brought $5 gifts from our home towns to exchange at the party. We were lucky enough to get Scottish shortbread from CC members from Scotland and a "terrible" towel from Pittsburgh! NCL does the meeting up right, with a little buffet of coffee and juice and pastries, etc. And several of the officers come to meet everyone and speak for a few minutes. Including the cruise director, Ricky, Claudio (one of the Concierges) and the hotel director. Some of us ended up lingering for a couple of hours. Out of the three CC meetings we’ve been to, this was by far the most well attended and had a fabulous group of people. I’ve never made so many friends on a ship before. It was wonderful.

Miscellaneous - Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that this was Spring Break and there were 900 kids onboard!! However, since this was the reason we took this week so that my own child could go, I have no room to complain. There were definitely some rude and rowdy kids. But then again…there were some rude and rowdy adults too! Aren’t there always? We don’t let it ruin our cruises. I did, however, hear that 100 of the kids crashed the security to get into Dazzles Nightclub on the last night (they normally get kicked out of there at 11:30). But more security arrived and they were quickly sent on their way from what I heard. On a positive note, our girls made a lot of nice friends. Maybe because they are nearly 18, but they didn’t do as much of the wandering around the ship this time. They went to more of the shows and deck parties and had a great time.

Debarkation - We probably should’ve done the express debarkation and gotten off earlier, but I didn’t feel like sitting around in a public room with my luggage so we slept a little later, lingered over breakfast in Venetian, sat on our balcony for awhile and then sauntered up to Dazzles to sit in a window seat until they called our color (orange…the very last color). We were off the ship by 11:00 a.m.

I’m sure I missed a lot, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Out of all our cruises, I think this was our favorite. This was our first 10 day cruise and its going to be very hard to go back to a 7 day one after this! The Dawn is a wonderful ship with an incredibly friendly staff. It was a great trip.

 

thank you for taking the time to post your review...:) ...we are leaving on the 26th to sail the dawn. Met a great fun group of people pre-cruise on the boards. I am now looking forward to the second half, (the cruise). Sounds like a great ship. Having been on 13 cruises and the dawn being your favorite, says quite a bit to me. I can't wait! thanks again:D

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Thanks for all the information.

This will be our first cruise. A group of 12 are leaving on 4/26/2006

you mentioned ther 'Private Island"

I heard we were going to Samana DO.

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We were also on 4/6 - 4/16 Dawn in an 8 forward stateroom and our steward never really spoke to us at all. We DID introduce ourselves the very first day and gave him an advance tip. Significant language barrier. He couldn't communicate how to get in touch with him (and, unlike other cruises we've done, there was not card in the room with a pager number or anything . . is this the norm for NCL?). Bar set-up issue went unresolved from 3 days until I finally dealt with it myself. We had one towel animal in ten nights which I thought was okay but considering we were travelling with two kids, more would have been nice.

 

Not knocking the steward -- our beds were made and our room was clean but there was certainly no additional level of service (sometimes no ice, etc). In fairness to all of the stewards, this was a solidly packed sailing with MANY, MANY kids on board so I would imagine that they were extremely busy and had very little time for some of the niceties we usually just take for granted. I never saw them not working the whole time we were on board enjoying ourselves.

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DEBNWIN -

 

Loved, loved meeting you guys, your daughter and her friend on our recent sailing. This was by far the nicest group of people we have met at the CC get togethers. Hope we can sail together again some day!Thanks for a fun time.

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Hi beau4 and Debwin,it is cruiser 12. Glad to have met you. Our CC group was a fine group of people. It was so nice to say hello, good mornimg, having fun. Hope to do it again . Thanks for a great review.

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I agree, this was the best group of people. I really think that the people were what made this our best cruise ever. We've loved all of our cruises, but we've never made so many friends, and ones who we'd love to see again as on this trip.

 

Susan - I'll email you as soon as Kim is home long enough to teach me how to attach a picture. :o

 

Pattie - did you have Cecil and Limbo as your stewards also? We were in 8025 and 8030. And it really isn't the norm for NCL. When we went on the Dawn last year and we were in the cheapest inside cabins on deck 4, we had wonderful stewards and towel animals every single night.

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Have a great time MermaidMomma and have a pina colada (or something similar) for me!

 

Done!! How about a pina colada with a float of Myer's Rum? :)

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Thanks for all the information.

This will be our first cruise. A group of 12 are leaving on 4/26/2006

you mentioned ther 'Private Island"

I heard we were going to Samana DO.

 

Hi Alijoe,

 

We are going to Samana, Domincan Republic on May 3rd (during the 4/26 Dawn Sailing). Come on over to the roll call! We have been talking about excursion ideas for Samana, and other group activities for the 4/26 roll call group! ....we are a fun loving group! ....planning lots of fun!

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?p=6441854&posted=1

 

See you soon!!

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thank you for taking the time to post your review...:) ...we are leaving on the 26th to sail the dawn. Met a great fun group of people pre-cruise on the boards. I am now looking forward to the second half, (the cruise). Sounds like a great ship. Having been on 13 cruises and the dawn being your favorite, says quite a bit to me. I can't wait! thanks again:D

 

Hello Miss Donna!!

 

See you in the hot tub for sailaway on Wednesday!:D

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