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davy jones

Dawn Review - 6/13/04 - Part I

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Dawn Review - 6/13/04 - Part I


Background -We are a couple in our mid 40s who sailed on the Norwegian Dawn 6/13 sailing with our two daughters, ages 11 and 14. It was our eighth cruise, but first in 10 years. Overall the cruise was very good. Most of the problems encountered were not the fault of NCL or the crew, but due to a few other passengers. The only reservations that we would have about sailing the Dawn again are fear of similar passenger behavior (again only a few).


Embarkation – We took NCL bus 3 to the pier. The bus leaves Harrisburg PA and picks up passengers in Allentown along the way. It was a comfortable 54 passenger bus that was completely full. There were passengers on the bus for the Dawn cruise and the Norwegian Crown Bermuda cruise. The bus arrived at the Crown pier at 12:05, dropped off the Crown passengers and luggage and arrived at the Dawn pier at 12:15.


We claimed our luggage, left it with a porter, and got into queues that looked endlessly long. However, they moved moderately well. We boarded the ship at 1:05. There was juice and water while waiting. Overall, I would rate it as a B.


The NYC cruise terminal is vastly inferior to the terminals in Miami and Port Canaveral. However, I understand that it will have a much needed upgrade.


Cabins – Deciding to go for space over a view, we booked two inside guarantee cabins. We were assigned to two cabins on deck 5 midship. The cabins were identical. They were small, but very functional and nicely laid out. The cabin was adequate for 2, but accommodating 4 would have been overwhelmingly cramped.


Each cabin had two lower beds that could be pushed together for two. There was a small TV, small refrigerator, hot pot with instant coffee and tea, a hair dryer and a small safe. The bathroom was a good size for a cruise ship, especially the shower, which was larger than usual. The sink faucet was like a kitchen sink faucet, which was nice. WARNING: The hot water is very HOT. Be careful. Closet space was adequate, but drawer space was a little lacking. There were shelves in the closet for short, polo shirts, etc.


Our cabin steward was a young woman from the Philippines. She was quiet, but very nice and quite courteous. We only saw her a few times, but she did a good job.


Public Areas – The Dawn is a beautiful ship, clean, and well maintained. The atrium is impressive and the public rooms are very nice, not overdone. There was a very nice library, card room, and game room on deck 12. There is also a cinema for movies. It is far better than watching a movie on the small cabin TV. The lounges were also very nice. The Stardust Theatre was the best that I have seen on a cruise ship, despite the fact that I do not like the color purple. The theatre is on decks 5 through 7 front and has over a thousand seats. All have good sight lines. The only improvement that I could think of is cup holders in the seats for drinks.


The pool areas were the only place on the ship where I felt crowded for me. However, we are not sun worshipers, so this is not a problem. We prefer to lounge in shady areas. Sun worshipers can find more relaxed areas on decks 13 and 14 front. The kid’s pool is very good.


The fitness center was excellent. It had very nice equipment and enough of it so there was never a wait to get on a piece of cardio equipment. There were plenty of towels and a water fountain with cups. There was a room for spinning classes and a room for other exercise classes. The fitness center staff ranked with the best that I have seen on land. The classes could challenge all levels and were very well done.


Kid’s Program – We registered the girls upon embarkation, but they showed no interest in the program. They spent almost the entire week with us, so I can’t comment. We did purchase a “teen passport” with 20 coupons for non alcoholic drinks ($34.50). It’s the best deal on the ship. The smoothies, etc. are about $4.50 each. We bought another for our younger daughter.


Shore excursions – We went into all ports on our own.


Ports of Call


Weather was great all week except for wind and clouds when leaving NYC and a brief (5 minute) shower on GSC. Seas were fine. I did not see any problems with motion sickness.


Port Canaveral – Rented a car from Hertz and drove to Kennedy Space Center and had a great time. There’s too much to do. Don’t pay extra for the maximum access pass because you won’t have time to do the extra stuff in a single day. It will take 2 days to see everything. The maximum access pass can be used on two consecutive days. We also went to Ron Jon surf shop in Cocoa Beach.


Miami – Took a taxi ($16.50 fare) to South Beach (10th street). Nice beach but we did not go into the water because of Sea Lice and Jellyfish warnings. If you have kids please note that there are topless sunbathers. We then walked around the South Beach area to look at the architecture and stores. We then took a bus to Bayside Marketplace. It’s an interesting mall on the bay, but the stores can be found at your local mega mall, except for a few touristy stores. We had lunch and took a taxi ($5.50) back to the ship. Personally, I would rather see the Dawn skip Miami in favor of Key West.


Great Stirrup Cay – Took the first tender to the island. Ride was a little rough then, but the waves subsided later. We rented floats ($5 each). They are fun and relaxing. I highly recommend them. Warning: A number of people thought they were free and kept trying to take them from us when we were not using them. One actually succeeded, but the rental hut replaced it. We also did some snorkeling. It’s a very friendly place for beginners like my children.


The beach may be a bit small for a ship as large as the Dawn. More on that later.

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Hi Davy we were on the the first tender too. We were on the bottom level near the front of the boat. We kept on getting wet when the large waves hit the boat.

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We were on the top near the front. I remember the waves. A crew member sitting at the bottom of the steps kept moving up the steps to avoid the waves. He finally made it all the way to the top deck.

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