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leenie29

Just back from the 6/20 Dawn

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I'm not going to give you a tradition review just give you answers to some of the continuing questions I saw about the Dawn and some of my observations.

 

I loved the ship, thought it was beautiful and the staff was very nice and helpful. Towel animals were great and always gave us something to encourage the kids to get back to the cabin and go to bed. I was traveling with my husband's family (11 total in our party) and you can probably figure out that that's enough said about my traveling companions. Would love to do the ship without the rest of my husband's family so can enjoy it the way we would like to.

 

Saturday we hit some strong storms coming home and you could feel the boat move. The least rocky spot was near the Bamboo restaurant on Deck 7, avoid the Spa area in the rear or the Starlight in the front if you get seasick and there's a rough day at sea. You could really feel the movement in either of those spots.

 

Our Splish Splash with Cookie was cancelled due to work being done at the hotel, so we stayed on ship in Miami because it was too hot to do anything.

 

We did the Seaworld Explorer Glassbottom Boat in Nassau. I would highly recommend this trip. If anyone remembers 2,000 leagues under the sea ride in WDW many years ago, it was very similar but with real sea life. You sat in front of a window in a semi submarine and looked straight out at the sea life instead of looking down as a regular glass bottom boat. My 5 & 10 year old boys loved this excursion. I'm a bit on the clastrophobic side and it didn't bother me.

 

We picked up our free tote bag at Del Sol's and a bunch of T-Shirts to bring home because the kids loved the changing colors. Very cool store. Make sure you listen to Jenni's lecture on Jewerly shopping in Nassau, there are discount coupons prior to her lecture.

 

We saw South Beach Revue and Bollywood and both were excellent shows. Didn't get a chance to see the other one. The other shows were very good but were a little tight to get to at 9:45 if you were finishing dinner up at 9:15 or 9:30 every night like we were.

 

The food was very good and the wait staff always knew what was good that night and what to stay away from. We in the Garden Cafe every morning for breakfast, which was a favorite of my children, Blue Lagoon or Garden Cafe for lunch, and mainly the Ventian for dinner but also once each in Impressions and Aqua for dinner. The speciality restaurants we ate in were the Bamboo, Salsa, and La Trattoria. Bamboo was excellent for the sushi bar, very very inexpensive - certain types of sushi were all you can eat for $10.00 and there was an ala carte sushi menu for $2.00 per 4 pieces of sushi. The food at La Trattoria and Salsa was not great but good enough. We definately have much better Mexican and Italian near our home town but this was very good for a cruise ship.

 

Like Songster 67 wrote, I too though there was a strong lack of supervision in the T-Rex kids pool area. His comments about the overweight men were totally true and there was also wild older kids who really didn't belong back there. After a while my 5 year old decided to pack it in and leave. We spoke to one of the kids counselors and she said until someone gets really seriously hurt there's really nothing they can do about the lack of supervision because they aren't allowed by NCL to correct people. Also we felt that the T-Rex pool area should have some shade back there. The sun was deadly hot the entire trip and you couldn't be back there for more than a hour.

 

The heat - it was a combination of really strong sun and really high humidity that made going outside after 9 am and before 5 PM really difficult. You felt like you were going to melt. We learned that the Promonade Deck was air conditioned by one of the staff. Since it was covered and air conditioned it was the place I spent most of the week reading and it was a wonderful place to be. If you cannot tolerate strong sun, heat and humidity, then the Dawn is not the ship for you in the summer months.

 

The movies on the ship in the cinema - Cheaper by the Dozen, Calendar Girls, Catch the Kid, The Company, The Big Bounce, Along Came Polly, House of Sand and Fog. These were also shown on your cabin TV channels 9 & 16 throughout the day and night. The other channels that were on the TV and available when the satelite decided to cooperate were Cartoon Network, TNT, ESPN and CNN. Sometimes there was a poor connection to the satelite and you would have to watch the show or movie with a very bouncy picture. Not fun but you got used to it.

 

I got the adult soda card program for $28.00 and that was also worth it. It came with a thermo cup that you could go anywhere and get it filled, good when you wanted to sit out on the deck and keep your soda cold. A tip from one of the other passengers that I'll pass along because I thought it was a great idea. You know the paper luggage tags that you get in your cruise documents with your cabin number number on it, take one of the extra ones and wrap it around your thermal cup. This way if you loose your cup, it can be returned to you.

 

I used the Internet Cafe, bought the package of 250 minutes for $100 and there was never a problem getting to use one of the computers, it was never crowded and frequently I was the only one up there.

 

The kids program for the 2 -5 year olds was excellent. Could not get my 5 year old out of the program and had to pay for the port play. My 10 year old refused to take part in the kids program so I can't comment on that age group. The counselors were very sweet and filled with tons of energy and imagination. Sarah and Courtney really stand out in the Kid's Crew. Paying for port play and the hours that the free program was available should be revised. The free program is only offered nightly from 7 - 10 PM and Monday and Saturday when you are at sea. The rest of the time it's $5.00 an hour and offered from 9 - 5 when you are at port. When you sign your child up the first night get the kids backpack for $39.00, it is really worth the money, hard as that might be to believe the stuff in it is high quality. It has a very nice embroidered kids crew hat and kids crew shirt, lid and cup, the all important soda band, and of course the back pack.

 

I have an idea about revising the kids program. Let me also say (before anyone gets the idea) that I'm not one of those parents who wants to dump her kids to have fun on my hard earned vacation (my 10 year old has Asperger Disorder, so I'm never alone, never not dealing with one of his issues and wouldn't know what to do with myself if I was given lots of free time). If my 5 year old is enjoying himself and wants to go, then I'm perfectly happy to pay to send him up there.

 

Okay so here are my thoughts on the kids program. Keep the kids program open to 11 PM at night even for the little kids. That extra hour would make a world of difference. A lot of the time starting at 7 PM for dinner and having the waiters rush his meals we couldn't get him by 8:00 PM (8:30 seemed to be the time we got him out) and the kids program started at 7:00 PM for parents who could feed their child up in the garden cafe, then enjoy a meal on their own (traveling with my group I wasn't "allowed" that choice). That usually gave my son a little more than an hour every night to participate in the activities. Plus when there's a show at 9:45 one parent has to decide who wants to see the show and who will get the kid because you have to pick them up no later than 10 PM. Tuesday when the ship is in Cape Canaveral make that a port pay day since a lot of the kids went to Disney or Universal. That makes sense to have a pay program. Miami Wednesday there should be a port pay day in the morning, then a free afternoon program from 2-5 and then the evening free program. The same goes from the private island day. Only when the ship is at Nassau do they have a port pay morning (9-1) and a free afternoon and evening program (2-5 PM & 7-10 PM). Wouldn't that make more sense to do it all the time?

 

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to post and I'll try to answer as best as I can.

 

Leenie

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Thanks so much for the review. Regarding the behavior at the pools, I don't know what it is about cruises but some people just seem to leave their common sense at home. I also noticed the same type of behavior on the Disney Wonder when we on the cruise in November. The family pool there was absolutly packed and yet I saw overweight, middle-aged men doing cannonballs into the pool. If they had landed on one of the small children, they would have snapped them in half. My DS hung onto the side of the pool the whole time and I was still very nervous because there was also a lot of rough play by the older kids. I made him get out after about half an hour. I guess there too someone will have to get seriously injured before anything is done.

 

I will be on the Dawn for the Halloween cruise - I can't wait!

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Glad you had a great time.

 

A couple of quick questions.

What type of room did you stay in? With 2 children and 2 adults - was there enough room for everyone?

Did you get to the spa? the gym?

I was thinking about what excursions to do and the glassbottom boat sounds like a nice adventure. I'll look into it. Thanks.

With a large group, were there any hassles dining together? I'm assuming you all had to make reservations for the group. Will all the restaurants accommodate a large group or only the main restaurants?

 

G

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Thanks so much for the review. Regarding the behavior at the pools, I don't know what it is about cruises but some people just seem to leave their common sense at home. I also noticed the same type of behavior on the Disney Wonder when we on the cruise in November. The family pool there was absolutly packed and yet I saw overweight, middle-aged men doing cannonballs into the pool. If they had landed on one of the small children, they would have snapped them in half. My DS hung onto the side of the pool the whole time and I was still very nervous because there was also a lot of rough play by the older kids. I made him get out after about half an hour. I guess there too someone will have to get seriously injured before anything is done.

 

I will be on the Dawn for the Halloween cruise - I can't wait!

\

 

Why anyone would leave their child unsupervised ANYWHERE never mind at a pool is beyond me.

 

G

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leenie29,

 

When did you find out that your splish-splash with cookie was cancelled? We sail this sunday (7/4), and we had booked that excursion. Was wondering if they will be up and running by then.

 

thanks

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Leenie:

 

I agree with your comments about Kids Crew and loved the 2-5 counselors. I'm curious who your 5-year old was cause according to my daughter, everyone in the group are her new best friends.

 

Last thoughts on T-Rex pool. Yep, unsupervised kids. Yep, people who shouldn't have used the slides. Yep, dang hot. Yep, not big enough. But it was the best place to share experiences and connect with other passengers and when my oldest tripped "up" the stairs to the slide and banged up his shin there was no shortage of concerned mothers who were racing with me to him.

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DivaG

 

The fitness center was excellent. There are treadmills, excercise bikes, rowing machines and ellipitical trainers. There was never a wait for a machine, except for the ellipitical trainers, which were very popular. The classes are also very good. The staff on the 6/13 sailing was very knowledgeable. The male spa area was also nice, with steam rooms, saunas, plunge baths, and lockers with plenty of towels. There are jacuzzis and a pool in the common area. I did not have any spa treatments, so I can't speak to them.

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Re: Splish Splash with Cookie cancellation - we found out Monday and the shore excursion was for Wednesday. We had a choice of refund or rescheduling a different excursion, we choose a refund because it was too hot. Apparently the waterpark is under construction. You might want to double check with the Fountainbleu before you go just to prepare yourself.

 

Re: My 5 year old son - his name is Jared, he said the same thing as your daughter about his new best friends. What was your daughter's name?

 

Re: Cabin Size - not sure what we were booked in because my in-laws did all the bookings because it was their 50th anniversary cruise. We were in cabin 5570 and it was cozy. There was enough room for everyone's stuff (but not enough room for suitcases under the bed. There is one bed that comes out from the wall and a trundle bed that is under one of the two beds. At night there are three beds across and the one from the wall. It would have felt alot more crowded if there were two bed that came out of each side of the walls and really boxed the place in but it really wasn't bad.

 

Re: Reservations. The main restaurants do take reservations for larger groups, we were 10 plus a high chair and never had a problem getting a reservations with the same waiter in the Ventian every time we wanted to eat there. My in-laws prefered the Ventian (the menu seem to have the most variety from the other two main restaurants) so that's were we mainly ate. When we went to the speciality restaurants we did it as individual families so there was never more than 4 or 6 of us at a time. The Sushi Bar you just go in, sit down and take plates off the conveyer (sp?) belt as it goes past you. Bamboo you need reservations if you don't want Sushi.

 

Re: Spa treatments. I had a Japanese facial with Judi that was wonderful. Highly recommend it and her. My husband had the stone massage and thought that was great. Some of the others in my group had massages and other facial treatments and really loved them. The only down side was the product push afterwards, but they weren't too pushy, just annoying.

 

Re: Fitness Center. My SIL and cousin worked hard for their T-Shirts. They said one instructor was great (Candi) really easy going and one was good but very strict on starting class on time. If you showed up a minute or two late you were out of luck and she wouldn't allow you to join the class.

 

Anyone else have any questions?

Leenie

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Hi Kr64,

 

We are going on this sunday's sailing also, with our 5 year old daughter, we hope it's better than alot of these reviews. My daughter is so excited to meet other children (she's an only child), we hope to meet up with others 5 year olds. Let's hope for great weather!!

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We are on the 7/4 sailing. A bunch of us have been chating at http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=28499 Come join us

 

kaitlynangel - My son Tony who is almost 4, his cousin Paul who is 4 1/2, and his other cousin Milo who is almost 3 will be at the kids club. I am sure she will be Paul's girlfriend in no time - he goes up to girls at the mall and introduces himself and then says they are his girlfriend!!

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My son said that Addie was really cute and he really liked playing with her. He showed me her picture from the kids crew and she's very cute, he's right. If you bought the music picture kids crew picture mine is the one with the drumsticks in the right corner.

 

Leenie

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please someone say it aint so

 

ike Songster 67 wrote, I too though there was a strong lack of supervision in the T-Rex kids pool area. His comments about the overweight men were totally true and there was also wild older kids who really didn't belong back there. After a while my 5 year old decided to pack it in and leave. We spoke to one of the kids counselors and she said until someone gets really seriously hurt there's really nothing they can do about the lack of supervision because they aren't allowed by NCL to correct people. Also we felt that the T-Rex pool area should have some shade back there. The sun was deadly hot the entire trip and you couldn't be back there for more than a hour.

 

 

Leenie

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All depends on the cruise! I found some busy with a lot of kids and others no pronlem. Youm just never know. Go with the flow.

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