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unclepaulie

Review - Norwegian Dawn - 6/10-17/2006

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The Authors:

 

We first became cruise enthusiasts in January 2004 and have only cruised with NCL. We are not the type who likes to be told when we are going to eat, where we are going to eat, with whom we are going to eat or what to wear when doing so. Each of our 4 cruises has been on the NCL Dawn, mostly due to the convenience of being driven into NYC and varying itineraries which made each cruise unique. We’ve grown to love this ship and are saddened to hear she’ll be moved to Miami. A new ship is in our future, but we doubt it will be with anyone other than NCL.

 

Dates/Itinerary:

 

NCL Dawn June 10-17, 2006 – Bermuda & Bahamas (Great Stirrup Cay/Nassau)

 

Great cruise with only a few complaints!

 

Embarkation:

 

Being Latitudes Members is a definite benefit. We arrived at port 10:45AM, checked our luggage quickly, enjoyed refreshments in the Latitudes waiting area and were ushered through the check-in process by 11:45AM. Since the staterooms would not be available until 2PM, we proceeded to enjoy lunch at the Venetian upon boarding.

 

Stateroom:

 

Our decision to take this cruise came rather spontaneously, booking only a month in advance. Two weeks later, the Upgrade Fairy called us with an up sell from balcony stateroom 8670 to a mini-suite 11678 (category AF). Since our teenage son was traveling with us, the additional space (approximately 64 Sq. Ft.) was greatly appreciated.

 

There was plenty of closet space for 3, with 5 full shelves within, 2 exterior drawers and additional storage above the closets as well as above the refrigerator & safe area.

 

The bathroom was spacious, with a full tub/shower combination. The commode was partitioned off, but more comfortable seating than in a regular balcony stateroom.

 

The vanity was located in the “hallway” area next to the bathroom door. Plenty of space for the ladies to get ready as long as your roommates weren’t constantly trying to get by!

 

The couch became a full sized bed, lengthwise between the sliding doors to the balcony and the regular bed, allowing ample room to navigate to the balcony when the stateroom was turned down for the night.

 

The table and chairs were useless in our opinion, since it would require pulling it away from the wall anytime more than one person wanted to use it.

 

One of our CC members here had commented on the balconies not being totally private and no overhangs. We found this to be true! In this section of deck 11 (aft near El Dorado Spa), the exterior walls slant in, allowing ample space for a child or even some adults to cross over from their balcony to others. That certainly makes it uncomfortable to cruise with your balcony door open or roam about your stateroom undressed with the curtain open. There is an overhang, but only as far out as your balcony goes. Others forward have an overhang that extends further out under the Garden Café or Captains Bridge, which keeps the balcony shaded.

 

 

Soda Stamp:

The total expense per soda stamp is $40.25. It includes a nice insolated & refillable Coca Cola container. They affix a stamp to your stateroom card. We made sure we got our monies worth and it was a “no brainer” having a teenager along.

 

Food:

 

Despite some posts found here at CC, we have never had issue with selections or dining options. We always keep in mind that there are a variety of people to please; not everyone being a U.S. citizen.

 

There are 3 main dining rooms, which offer the same dinner selections daily – Venetian, Impressions & Aqua. The only main one open for lunch is the Venetian. For those who prefer a more intimate setting, we highly recommend Impressions. The Venetian can be quite loud at times.

 

We’ve experienced both the old and new menus on the Dawn. Although the new menu has many unique selections; less traditional American cuisine, we still manage to enjoy our meals. If the dinner entrees are not to your liking, Salmon or Chicken is available at every meal. Plus La Trattoria and Salsas is available free of charge, only requiring a reservation.

 

The serving size on appetizers may be perceived as quite small, compared to what our typical U.S restaurants serve, but we usually selected something for every course (often having room for dessert) and always left feeling “pleasantly full”.

 

My husband chose most fish selections for the entire cruise, including Blackened Tilapia, Salmon and Swordfish. The Captain’s Gala on Thursday night offered Chateaubriand encrusted with peppercorns (delicious!) as well as broiled lobster tail. We have always requested a combination Surf & Turf and have always received.

 

The Venetian is NOT an option on port days, much to my dismay. I’ve often wondered why, considering there are always passengers who elect to stay onboard. However, we did have lunch at the Garden Café one port day, at which I elected to have their hot dishes. I was quite pleased with my selections, which included Chicken Florentine, Steak Stir-fry, and creamy Scalloped Potatoes. Several times we chose to have the “All American Lunch” with hamburgers and fries at the Bimini Bar. We also ate at Salsas twice and enjoyed the Fajitas both times (adding some margaritas rounded it off perfectly!)

 

We chose not to dine at Cagney’s or Bamboo/Tepanyaki this time around, but we did make reservations at Le Bistro for our final dinner Friday night (see below).

 

Chocolate Buffet 4th cruise and we still haven’t gotten within 100 ft. of the buffet. We were pleased to hear they changed the scheduling from a 2 PM event to late evening at 11:15PM. However, we got there at 11PM to get pictures before the crowds devoured the delectables, only to find they had already opened the buffet and a line was formed nearly the length of the ship! LOL!

 

El Dorado Spa:

 

Contrary to popular belief, the indoor lap pool, jacuzzis and saunas at the Spa are not free. Passes are available for a day or a week; $15 or $60 respectively. Adults only!

 

Entertainment:

 

It’s all a matter of how much R&R you want. There’s always something going on; free to enjoy or to pass.

 

Bingo I played bingo daily on our last cruise, but after realizing how much I had sunk into this pastime without reward, I opted only to participate on the last day for the jackpot ($2997). I’m happy to say I made the right decision, because they have new electronic machines and are obviously making sure they recoup their expense! 24 cards per game are now at $60, whereas the “Big Momma” on our last cruise was $50. The equivalent this time was 140 cards at $140. Unbelievable! Now of course, you can cut that expense by playing with the punch cards, but they are quite frustrating to say the least.

 

Shows One disadvantage of being loyal to any given ship is repeat shows. Except for a visiting entertainer, the main shows have been repeated since 2004. Although Jean Ann Ryan’s shows “South Beach Rave” and “Bollywood” were quite entertaining, we chose not to see them again. We did go for the comedy shows (Second City) and the illusionist, but even they were repeats. I can understand that moving stage sets from ship to ship can be quite an undertaking, but it would be nice if NCL would shuffle things up a bit. In my opinion, Matt Baker was the main attraction at the Variety Show on the final night. He’s quite a character! Wicky wicky wah!

 

The talent show put on by the crew is entertaining. This time we watched it on T.V. instead. We had heard that “Fountains” was not to be missed. Corny, but funny all the same. “Quest” is also not to be missed, albeit at Spinnakers or on T.V. Pretty hilarious!

 

Art Shows This is the 2nd cruise that we attended the art shows and have purchased a few pieces each time. They are art wholesalers and there are some great opportunities for real bargains. Shipping and fees are very reasonable and the great plus is no sales tax!

 

Sports & Trivia Pearly Kings Pub is the place to be for this. All ESPN events are televised on their large screen. The trivia games were fun and nicely scheduled at cocktail hour daily (5:15 PM)

 

Ports/Excursions:

 

Bermuda: We had pre-booked the Helmet Dive, but found out it was cancelled much to our dismay. The boat had engine problems and it was also questionable if the afternoon excursion would take place as well. I found it frustrating that the morning group wasn’t given the first option to go in the afternoon, since we were the first to book the excursion. But we could have also waited for an excursion that may not have taken place, so why waste the whole day waiting to find out.

 

Since it was the Queen’s birthday, many businesses were closed and transportation was on a condensed schedule. Taxis were available, but were very expensive at around $5 for the first 4 miles and $1 each mile afterwards – PER PERSON! We decided to get a round trip bus pass to Horseshoe Beach. This only cost $8 per adult; $4 per child and were scheduled at each stop every ½ hour. So for $20, our party of 3 enjoyed a beach day on our own schedule, plus shopping and a late lunch afterwards. The locals on the bus were very pleasant and easily took on the role of unofficial tour guides! 

 

Someone had recommended that the Frog & Onion was not to be missed. Although the food was very good (the Cornish Pastie was excellent) and the decor was very interesting, they were inundated with customers and the service was very poor. My husband ended up getting his own drinks at the bar, others seated after us got their meals before us and we had to literally grab the waiter for our bill.

 

Great Stirrup Cay: Having missed GSC on 2 prior cruises, due to Hurricane Ivan and another storm system, we were starting to believe that GSC did not exist! But it is for real. Hopefully NCL doesn’t schedule more than one ship there at a time, because our ship alone filled the beach. There are 3 areas with beach chairs and umbrellas, nice roped off areas for swimming, refreshment stands, souvenir vendors, volley ball, snorkeling and plenty of floatation devices for rent.

 

Although on the expensive side, we went parasailing. Compared to my experience years ago, they really have the whole thing down to a science. They slip you into a simple leg/hip harness and life preserver, hook you up to the said and let you loose off the back of the boat. Piece of cake! We parasailed near a RCCL ship and at around 400 ft. were well over the ship looking down at their rock climbing wall. The boat ride was a total of 45 minutes for 4-5 couples and each couple was up around 5-7 minutes. Dunking is optional with an anticipated tip.

 

Nassau Many people opted to venture over to Paradise Island to The Atlantis Resort and Casino for gambling or to see the Digs for free. We opted to shop by night and take The Atlantis excursion by day. It was terribly humid during our visit to Nassau, which made shopping that night on the uncomfortable side. So wrapping up our night with drinks at the Hard Rock Café was a welcome event!

 

They should rename The Atlantis excursion to “The Walk Your Ass Off” excursion! LOL! First you walk all the way out of the pier area to catch your bus. Then they take you to the employee parking lot area at Paradise Island, conveniently located so you have to walk through the shopping area (of course). Then the excursion walks you through all the highlight areas of the hotel (very promotional), as well as walking through the Digs & aquarium area. The climate there is expected and enjoyable, but not in combination with so much walking! All we can say is TG for air conditioning, which can be enjoyed throughout the hotel and the Digs.

 

The hotel is quite impressive; however we didn’t take the excursion in anticipation of ever staying there. We wanted to see the aquarium. They boast the aquarium as the largest in the world. It is beautiful, but the only thing that might be the largest is the area; certainly not the exhibits. We think the aquarium at Inner Harbor/Baltimore, MD is far more impressive!

 

Booking this excursion privately is $29 per person; through NCL is $49 per person. The only advantage to booking through NCL is being guaranteed an early tour and not missing your ship. Based upon what we’ve learned, we recommended an after hours tour for free!

 

We chose to take a taxi back to the ship; $4 per person!

 

Weather:

 

Contrary to the prior week cruise, we had fantastic weather all week – despite Alberto’s potential interference. The sea conditions were only “moderate” for a brief period in route to Bermuda and on return in the Cape Fear/Cape Hetaeras area. Otherwise, they were “slight” for the balance of the cruise. It was sun worshiper paradise!

 

Anniversary Package:

 

Celebrating our 18th anniversary, we elected to purchase this package. A platter of chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne arrived in our stateroom on Day 1. We were invited to a Champagne/Cake reception during the week, which also included a free 5X7 by the cake. One evening prior to dinner, a platter of appetizers was delivered to our stateroom.

 

The package includes dinner at Le Bistro (only for the $15 up charge selections) and a bottle of wine. We chose to pay an additional $5 per person, having ordered Surf & Turf. The filet was delicious and perfectly prepared. Our lobster was overcooked, mine being on the dry side and my husband’s having some mushy spots as well. They did offer to prepare more lobster for us, but we declined. Nevertheless, we were still charged the additional $5 per person. Although we chose to order Chocolate Fondue (not to be missed) we also received a nice anniversary cake and were serenaded by the staff with “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”. All in all, it was an enjoyable evening!

 

Disembarkation:

 

We decided to take advantage of the Cruise Rewards Program, which entails an advance $250 deposit on a future cruise to be booked in the upcoming 18 months. In return, you get an immediate $100 onboard credit as well as priority disembarkation.

 

Priority Disembarkation is scheduled to follow Express Disembarkation for U.S. citizens. However, in between, non-U.S. passengers with green tags were called. As soon as Priority was called, we were out of our stateroom. By the time we reached the forward elevators, they called another group, disembarking through the Dazzles gangway as well. Not too priority in our opinion. However, we did locate our luggage quickly and by the time we found our driver, the entire process had only taken ½ an hour. We were in the Lincoln Tunnel by about 10:35 AM.

 

Minor Complaints:

 

Latitudes members can expect to be invited to several events offering free champagne (nice perk), one being a Champagne Reception scheduled during the lunch time at 12:30PM. Among other door prizes, all latitudes members were offered a “Buy one; get one free” purchase at the Photo Gallery immediately following, from 2-3 PM only. We proceeded to go to the library to get our early tender tickets for GSC, followed by a quick lunch at the Garden Café and still managed to get to the Photo Gallery by 2:52PM. Since time was so limited and I only saw one gentleman at the desk, I first stood in line to make my presence known, only to have a drawn out wait due to a confused customer. Then I saw another representative at the gallery and asked for assistance in finding the pictures I wanted to purchase, so that I didn’t miss the 3PM deadline. He in turn told me he was “too busy as you can see” (which was truly upsetting since he had nothing in his hands and was only straightening out a couple pictures in the display) and that I had to have the pictures at the cashier by 3PM to qualify! Then I asked where the pictures from the Anniversary packages were and I was told I had to have the paperwork from that (not with me) because they are not put out on display. After the rushing to make it there in time and his poor customer service, I was upset and walked away with nothing.

 

We reported the incident to the Latitudes Team - specifically Nathan – who assured us that he would speak with the Photo Gallery and call us back. No phone call. Over a period of a couple days, we spoke with Nathan again at another event and indicated that we had not received any phone call. He would look into it, but still no call. In good faith, I stopped by the gallery again and purchased our pictures, thinking they would extend a discount at that time. The same gentleman who upset me took care of the purchase and offered me nothing. We stopped by the Latitudes Desk and “Tex” took the information again for us. Nathan later assured us that he had spoken to the manager of the Photo Gallery and they would be in touch with us to offer a solution to the matter. That call never came and no credit was issued on our account.

 

In our opinion, it would have been quite simple for NCL to provide a ticket or something to show that we were entitled to this discount, allowing us to go at our leisure. I can only imagine the chaos there for anyone who went down right at 2PM.

 

We truly question the purpose of even having a Latitudes Team, being unable to resolve this situation. So much for special treatment; so much for a Latitudes Team!

 

Miscellaneous Comments:

 

Our CC Meet & Greet on a previous cruise included a tour of the Garden Villa with Claudio. He is truly a great representative for NCL and always gave us warm greetings throughout our cruise.

 

We encountered a very disgruntled couple on the elevator one day, who have been on many cruises. They asked us what we thought of our cruise and freestyle dining. Of course we told them they weren’t bound to hear any major complaints from us, having been on the Dawn 4 times. They were very unhappy with the whole concept, especially not having different entrée selections in each of the main restaurants. All I can say folks is, do your research. If it’s not for you, there are other cruise lines to choose from. Why on earth would you invest the money in a cruise that doesn’t meet your expectations when most of the information is available to you in advance to booking?

 

We can not fail to mention the folks from our CC Meet & Greet. What a great group of people! Our Yankee Swap was fun too (shame on you Matt Baker for trying to take my fudge)! It was our pleasure to meet you all, with a special note to Daniel & Jenny, whom we had the pleasure of speaking with several times throughout the cruise!

 

We won't let one incident effect our opinion of NCL. The rates are great, the staterooms are very comfortable, the food is very good to excellent, the staff are wonderful, the itineraries are inviting and there's always something to do!

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I was told that it was 'off'.

 

Oh well, we have next time 'round.

 

Nice review. Check out the weather they're having on the current cruise. Look at the webcam shot:

 

fullsize.jpg

 

It looks like the ship is docked or at anchor. There is no sea and moving at 20.8 knots where they are now is uncanny. Ditto for wind. There were two nights it was very quiet like that for us, but currently it's even better. Whoever's in 9502 must be enjoying it. :)

 

The one below is static (will not change) in case the thread is looked at later when they could be having higher seas:

 

We love freestyle. Of course I'm never on time for dinner. Why should I be forced to eat at a certain time? I want to try other lines only having been on X in the past but freestyle fits like a glove. It's only a matter of time before more lines offer it. (Princess personal choice dining?)

 

Ciao!

fullsize.jpg.b3f6943755aada2c88be16c5dcac07c9.jpg

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The Authors:

 

Minor Complaints:

 

Latitudes members can expect to be invited to several events offering free champagne (nice perk), one being a Champagne Reception scheduled during the lunch time at 12:30PM. Among other door prizes, all latitudes members were offered a “Buy one; get one free” purchase at the Photo Gallery immediately following, from 2-3 PM only. We proceeded to go to the library to get our early tender tickets for GSC, followed by a quick lunch at the Garden Café and still managed to get to the Photo Gallery by 2:52PM. Since time was so limited and I only saw one gentleman at the desk, I first stood in line to make my presence known, only to have a drawn out wait due to a confused customer. Then I saw another representative at the gallery and asked for assistance in finding the pictures I wanted to purchase, so that I didn’t miss the 3PM deadline. He in turn told me he was “too busy as you can see” (which was truly upsetting since he had nothing in his hands and was only straightening out a couple pictures in the display) and that I had to have the pictures at the cashier by 3PM to qualify! Then I asked where the pictures from the Anniversary packages were and I was told I had to have the paperwork from that (not with me) because they are not put out on display. After the rushing to make it there in time and his poor customer service, I was upset and walked away with nothing.

 

We reported the incident to the Latitudes Team - specifically Nathan – who assured us that he would speak with the Photo Gallery and call us back. No phone call. Over a period of a couple days, we spoke with Nathan again at another event and indicated that we had not received any phone call. He would look into it, but still no call. In good faith, I stopped by the gallery again and purchased our pictures, thinking they would extend a discount at that time. The same gentleman who upset me took care of the purchase and offered me nothing. We stopped by the Latitudes Desk and “Tex” took the information again for us. Nathan later assured us that he had spoken to the manager of the Photo Gallery and they would be in touch with us to offer a solution to the matter. That call never came and no credit was issued on our account.

 

In our opinion, it would have been quite simple for NCL to provide a ticket or something to show that we were entitled to this discount, allowing us to go at our leisure. I can only imagine the chaos there for anyone who went down right at 2PM.

 

We truly question the purpose of even having a Latitudes Team, being unable to resolve this situation. So much for special treatment; so much for a Latitudes Team!

 

 

I failed to mention this in my 06/03 Dawn review, but I totally agree..:mad:

I think the people in the Photo Gallery need a lesson on how to deal with people and manors.

 

 

 

Nice review....

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WHOA! I do not recall La Trattoria & Salsa's being free of charge when I was on the Dawn last August. Great news and a great review.

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WHOA! I do not recall La Trattoria & Salsa's being free of charge when I was on the Dawn last August. Great news and a great review.

 

They have always been free but reservations are required.

 

Nice review by the original poster. I do think the Photo area is a concession but that is no excuse...

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I posted this in another thread, so may as well include it here:

 

Main Dining Room Menus - Taken from our onboard copies

(There's a thread here that provides a link to digital images of these same menus)

 

Day 1 - Bon Voyage Dinner

 

Some Main Selections: Prime Rib, Turkey Scaloppini, Orange Roughy

 

Day 2 - French Dinner

 

Some Main Selections: Grilled Striploin of Beef, Coq-au-Vin, Monkfish

 

Day 3 - Chef's Dinner

 

Some Main Selections: Beef Stroganoff, Glazed Pork Chops, Salmon

 

Day 4 - Italian Dinner

 

Some Main Selections: Chicken Parmigiana, Flank Steak, Swordfish

 

Day 5 - Caribbean Dinner

 

Some Main Selections: Chicken Supreme, Oxtail Stew, Tilapia

 

Day 6 - Captain's Gala Dinner

 

Some Main Selections: Beef Tenderloin, Lobster, Salmon

 

Day 7 - This Evening's Freestyle Dinner

 

Some Main Selections: Chicken, Leg of Lamb, Mahi-Mahi

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I was told that it was 'off'.

 

Oh well, we have next time 'round.

 

 

Sorry you missed the Meet & Greet! Although the OP of our Roll Call thread decided on another cruise, Debbiescape took over the arrangements and it went over quite well.

 

Barb

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The Authors:

 

El Dorado Spa:

 

Contrary to popular belief, the indoor lap pool, jacuzzis and saunas at the Spa are not free. Passes are available for a day or a week; $15 or $60 respectively. Adults only!

 

Great review. I just wanted to question one thing...we were on the 5/13 Dawn cruise and used the jacuzzis and lap pool for free many times. We just walked right in and back out, never were asked to pay a fee! Did something change?

 

Glad you enjoyed your trip. Sounds like you had the weather we dreamed of having! ;)

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Great review. I just wanted to question one thing...we were on the 5/13 Dawn cruise and used the jacuzzis and lap pool for free many times. We just walked right in and back out, never were asked to pay a fee! Did something change?

 

I really don't know how to answer, because we've been on her 4 times and it seems to keep changing. On our cruise last November, there wasn't anything posted about fees. Someone had asked about it a couple of weeks ago and we replied that there were only fees for the Spa services (massage, facials, etc.). But this time, the fee schedule was posted at the door and the reps inside confirmed it.

 

Perhaps it's merely for crowd control, but I wish they'd stop changing it!

 

(Did you wear the Spa robes when you went in? We had 2 delivered to our stateroom and wondered if the Spa came with our mini-suite. LOL!)

 

Barb

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Thanks to the CC yankee swap I saved ~ $300. Those pretzels made for a perfect late night snack to go along with the liquor that was handled through the NCL bar setup. If anyone needs any help with art purchases, consult with Unclepaulie. They both know their stuff.

 

We are putting together our review as first time cruisers, first time NCLers and first time NY-dock visitors.

 

 

Daniel & Jenny

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Thanks to the CC yankee swap I saved ~ $300. Those pretzels made for a perfect late night snack to go along with the liquor that was handled through the NCL bar setup. If anyone needs any help with art purchases, consult with Unclepaulie. They both know their stuff.

 

We are putting together our review as first time cruisers, first time NCLers and first time NY-dock visitors.

 

 

Daniel & Jenny

 

LOL! As for art, we know what we like and what we'll pay for what we like. We're just getting our feet wet. Heck, Jenny landed herself one sweet deal for far lower than anything we've purchased!

 

Good to hear the pretzels helped keep your late night expenses down. Didn't I hear something about a kickback? tee hee..........

 

We'll be anxiously awaiting your review, Daniel. I know the smiles on your faces spelled a good time. Of course that beautiful wife of yours probably played a major role! ;)

 

Barb

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Great review. On point with many things from our Dawn cruise a few weeks ago (5/20). I definitely know what you mean with the photo gallery fiasco and agree that the employees there could use a lesson on customer service. Several people right in front of us and even myself were frustrated with their unflexible policies and the confusing/conflicting information from the employees. Bottom line, NCL should definitely reconsider their photo policies because in the end, the photos they don't sell end up going to waste whereas if they allowed substitutions or better "package" deals, they could definitely sell a lot more.

 

As for the spa facility fees, it seems that was implemented over the last 2-3 weeks. On my 5/20 cruise, the facilities were free for everyone and there was never an issue with overcrowding. Apparently, it has been overrun with kids lately (even though guests under 18 aren't allowed in there), hence the fee.

 

From what I saw, Bingo is only worth it for the final jackpot where there is a guaranteed winner. Anything prior, the pots were so small and usually split by many ($250 pot won by 11 people) that you could barely break even given the prices they charged.

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Perhaps it's merely for crowd control, but I wish they'd stop changing it!

 

(Did you wear the Spa robes when you went in? We had 2 delivered to our stateroom and wondered if the Spa came with our mini-suite. LOL!)

 

Barb

 

You might have a good point about crowd control...that WOULD be a good way to keep the numbers down! We had the robes too (had an AF) but didn't wear them to the spa. Who knows!?!?!

Missy

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Great review. I just wanted to question one thing...we were on the 5/13 Dawn cruise and used the jacuzzis and lap pool for free many times. We just walked right in and back out, never were asked to pay a fee! Did something change?

 

Glad you enjoyed your trip. Sounds like you had the weather we dreamed of having! ;)

 

From reading other threads over the last few weeks, my guess is that they added the $15 per day charge because of school letting out and not wanting the spa to be overrun by children/teenagers. The charge keeps the area clear for people who really want to use it for the reasons it is there.

 

I can see why people could agree/disagree with this decision and it is definitely not my intention to change the topic of this thread...AN AWESOME DAWN REVIEW!!! VERY INFORMATIVE..WE'RE LEAVING IN A FEW DAYS!!! MANY THANKS!

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From reading other threads over the last few weeks, my guess is that they added the $15 per day charge because of school letting out and not wanting the spa to be overrun by children/teenagers. The charge keeps the area clear for people who really want to use it for the reasons it is there.

 

I can see why people could agree/disagree with this decision and it is definitely not my intention to change the topic of this thread...AN AWESOME DAWN REVIEW!!! VERY INFORMATIVE..WE'RE LEAVING IN A FEW DAYS!!! MANY THANKS!

 

Thank you.

 

One thing that has NOT changed is that the Spa has always been ADULTS ONLY (except youth can use the exercise equipment under adult supervision). It's the fee for adults to use the lap pool, jacuzzis and saunas that is in question.

 

Enjoy your cruise!

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Thank you.

 

One thing that has NOT changed is that the Spa has always been ADULTS ONLY (except youth can use the exercise equipment under adult supervision). It's the fee for adults to use the lap pool, jacuzzis and saunas that is in question.

 

Enjoy your cruise!

 

I think it's I read threads about this for other cruiselines so I don't mean NCL specifically...just some reasons I read about from other CCers. Another guess I have is that if some people want to swim but don't want to use the outdoor pool, they just go to the spa (adults, that is) which can also interfere with the actual use of the lap pool..it's for laps...not feet-dunking... LOL... just my guess. So maybe the fee is to keep adults from using the lap pool! Who knows...I just did what I said I wasn't going to do and that was re-direct the topic of this thread...darn! Sorry all!

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Another guess I have is that if some people want to swim but don't want to use the outdoor pool, they just go to the spa (adults, that is) which can also interfere with the actual use of the lap pool..it's for laps...not feet-dunking... LOL... just my guess. So maybe the fee is to keep adults from using the lap pool!

 

No harm done in my book! :) Actually, that may very well be the real reason. Perhaps enough PAX complain about the fee so they remove it and then enough PAX complain about how the lap pool is used and they reimpose the fee.

 

I guess we're stuck with how NCL has it at the time we cruise. As of this cruise, the fee was in force. We'll have to watch what others report on cruises to follow.

 

Barb

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Hi ya’ll… I really enjoyed reading the reviews on this board. They helped me greatly and I wanted to just throw my own 2 cents here for anyone interested. This is the quickie review of a first time cruiser…

My name is Allison and I’m 25 years old. I traveled with my bf, 27 years old. It was my first cruise ever and his second (cruised Carnival previously a few years back). He talked me into it honestly, as I didn’t think a cruise was for me. I thought I might be trapped and not being the huge eater, I thought a cruise was just about eating and sitting around until you explode. Haha… I was wrong. Well, especially since the food was certainly not up to our expectations, which I’ll get into later. Otherwise, it was by far the best vacation I’ve ever experienced.

Dates/Itinerary: NCL Dawn June 10-17, 2006 – Bermuda & Bahamas (Great Stirrup Cay/Nassau)

Chose because leaving from NYC which we are both from, price, and ports of call. June seemed reasonable to miss the hurricane season and not be in such hot weather. While I am a sun lover, my Irish-blooded bf cannot be in the sun for hours straight. I also am not a huge fan of humidity, which happily we hardly had to deal with this week. The weather was absolutely beautiful. Perfect. 85 degree water in Bahamas, perfect sunshine, and only one night of rough waters (the first day at sea going to Bermuda) which didn’t bother me, but upset my bf’s stomach a tad (we simply moved Dazzles where it rocked less and he was eventually fine… ginger pills help also – they do not make you sleepy).

 

Embarkation:

Not being a Latitudes Members didn’t stop us at all from getting checked in easily, quickly, and on the boat just after noon with time to explore and have lunch without a huge crowd. We arrived at port around noon and were onboard about 30 minutes later. I am sure if we got there earlier, we’d have just the same ease. However, we were in no rush. Grabbed lunch at the buffet which I learned from that very moment was not for me. More on my disappointment on food later.

Stateroom:

We stayed in forward balcony 9020, port side. It was great. The bf insisted on a balcony having stayed in a smaller cabin without a window last time. I’d never be able to go back. Plenty of space for the two of us. Being a typical girl, I packed too much, and still had space to make myself at home neatly. Bathroom was fine, not really the best for brushing your teeth together, but we fit just fine. Shower worked well, pressure was very weak, otherwise, fine. The chair was useless and just took up room. We just sat on our bed or the couch. Simply there to hold the ice bucket and maybe drape a wet t-shirt to dry by the window. Balcony was private – I am not sure about what people were saying here. Unless you really swung your body over the railing to peek at the neighbors, I never saw a sole. To my left was the captains bridge where I got to see him in action. Mostly shaded so you couldn’t really sit out and get some sun.

 

 

Soda/Drinks:

Didn’t do the soda thing as neither of us are big soda drinkers. Water was fine for most lunches. I brought our Nalgene bottles, iced tea and lemonade mix and we were fine with that for every pool sitting, outing, and excursion. Dinner we might have had a glass of wine – not huge drinkers. Our biggest tab were at the bars in between meals – I love a cold margarita in the sun and the bf’s a big bucket-o-Corona drinker. Not a huge tab though. Drinks were very reasonable – but being from NYC this might be why. I did hear some people complain about the $5.50 margarita but to me this was awesome. Never had trouble asking for a “regular” glass and wondered why everyone around me had those silly $8 souvenir cups which they mostly threw out anyway. Waste of money to me.

 

Food:

This is the only point where I have some negatives. I expected a cruise to be the best food ever. My bf ranted and raved about the food on Carnival. We were both extremely disappointed. We are not picky eaters and pretty much like everything. There were plenty of resturants to eat at and we tried everything except for Carney’s (I live in NYC, I can have a great steak at home) and the Sushi place (the bf’s not a big sushi fan).

The 3 main dining rooms – Venetian, Impressions & Aqua – were fine. I loved the freestyle experience. I would never imagine having to eat with other people all the time and going when they told me to eat. Never. However, I am unsure of this freestyle positive took away from the actual food quality.

The best food was at the place I had to pay more – Le Bistro. By FAR the best food. Coming in second was Lobster Night (we had two dinners that night – call me crazy, but when I find something I finally like, I’m going to eat it, and eat it I did). Third was the Italian place which had great food, but I only ate here Friday night. I wish I knew – I’d have booked the place more.

 

The buffet was awful. Not once did I see or taste a single thing there I enjoyed, except for breakfast. It’s truly hard to screw up fruit and cereal. Sorry NCL. Maybe this is really just for kids or families with kids or I don’t know… just not for me at all. However I had to eat here twice – the first lunch on board (I didn’t know any better) and once after a long afternoon at the pool (there was nothing else open at 3pm).

 

The appetizers were very small everywhere, and I’m not a huge eater, but they were small. At Salsas I ordered the Jalapeño poppers and received only 2. The small shrimp cocktails were yummy but again, could be eaten in two teaspoons. The best appetizers were the soup and the escargot - of which I ordered every time I saw them. They were excellent. Oh and the seared tuna seafood one at Le Bistro. That restaurant was the best by far, of course, you had to pay for it. We both had the filet mignon and fondue for dessert… perfect!

Caesar salads were very watery. Pastas were very bland. Bread was good… I ate a lot of bread. *sigh* Soups were all good. Salsa’s guacamole – what was that??? It looked like something out of the Hudson river and tasted like glue. Okay, maybe not glue, but I certainly didn’t eat it. Salsa’s was not my favorite. BBQs on the private island and the pools were cute. Not excellent burgers and dogs, but they weren’t bad.

 

Chocolate Buffet was great, even if you just looked at it. I can’t say I ate that much – eyes were much larger than my stomach I’m afraid – but we walked down at 11 where the line was already ½ way through the pub you entered, and got in quickly. The place was amazing to look at and walk around. Chocolate fountains with fruit kebabs were the best. I’m not a huge sweets person, but I tried a little here and there – taking it back to my room. The Venetian was packed.

El Dorado Spa:

Didn’t check out. Looked around, prices were reasonable, but just didn’t go for it. Pools in there extra, no need for us. Same for gym. Looked nice, but we aren’t working out on vacation.

 

Entertainment:

Cute sums it up. Best was Second City – saw them twice. Magic show was fun, a little kids-y but fun. Caught some other acts here and there but mostly did our own thing. CD Matt Barker was funny and I liked him a lot, although my bf thought he was a bit lame on the joke end. Wicky wicky wah! Talent show was fun but the real winners were robbed. Heard the other shows were good, but we are more the type for listening to the music in the lounges with a drink, sitting by the pools, having some quality time on the balcony in our room or in the jacuzzis, or eating late and exploring the ship. Fun stuff: did the towel folding seminar. Totally cute and you can practice when you’re back in the room! Wished I checked out the Art Show more, but appreciated it being on display and rather just look that buy.

 

 

Ports/Excursions:

Bermuda: We had also pre-booked the Helmet Dive, but it was cancelled that morning. I burst into tears but everything worked out in the end. I actually was much more interested in seeing Bermuda that Nassau, and had wanted to do the Harley’s Helmet Dive there. However with only 12 spots booked far in advance, it wasn’t looking good. We got on the wait list as soon as we got on board (I had decided this before we got to the cruise) and we were 2nd in line. Still not a good shot. However, with the Bermuda one cancelled, we were bumped from spot 2 to spot 1 and got lucky! More on this in Nassau. Got off the boat and made the best of it (not knowing about Harley’s yet, I was still bummed).

 

Took the ferry to the beaches (Horseshoe Bay). Pink beaches my butt… only from the air and when you are starting at the sand in your hands. Still this was my favorite island. $12/pp all-day pass got us the ferry rides and bus rides to and from the boat. Spent the day at the beach and exploring the town. Ate back on the cruise ship.

 

Great Stirrup Cay: I actually loved this island. So many people say they don’t even get off the boat – why??? It was great. Snorkeling is not to be missed – we saw everything. Got our tender tickets early and were out by 9:30. Snorkeling got a bit crowded around noon and there are so many beginners hitting into you it got a bit annoying, but it was still fun. Once we got away from the crowds it was nice to interact with all the fish. They’ll swim right into your hands if you’ve learned to interact with them before. Loved it! Found some chairs, got some sun, played in the hammocks and walked around to get some food. I could have spent an entire day there. I’d have loved for them to say here a bit longer. Beautiful views of the ship looking over the rocks. Perfect day.

 

Nassau: Ok well this must only be for people to go check out Paradise Island/Atlantis because otherwise downtown Nassau in our opinions was the crummiest dump we’ve ever seen. Got off when the boat docked that night to check out the “amazing shopping” and maybe grab a drink at Senior Frogs. Used to the hassling of cabbies being from NYC and even the city feel, but this was no city I’d ever want to live in. Only shops that were really open were Del Sol (silly t-shirts that change color in the sun) and Diamond Exchanges. Walked into Frogs and walked right back out – the smell was like no other, a mix of urine and garbage. There were garbage dumps everywhere you walked. Wow. If I ever go to the Bahamas again, you will not find me in downtown Nassau.

 

HARTLEYs UNDERSEA WALK!! was so much fun. I absolutely loved it. We are both fish lovers and water lovers and sailors and well this was perfect. Got off the cruise ship 6:55 am (yikes!) and got back just before all aboard (11:30) so it was an all day affair. Which was great, because I think I might had mentioned, I did not like downtown Nassau. Costly ($150 I think it was/pp) but this gets you the all day thing – transportation from the docks to the arena, boat ride, champagne, food, and of course, the dive. 30 minutes underwater was a dream. Hartley has to be the nicest man in the world. He was so friendly, polite, and cared about every single person on that boat. Had my own camera and he took a dozen pictures for me. Videos were super cute and very inexpensive souvenirs. I would recommend anyone do this. ANYONE! It was so cool! Because we were lucky and got the spot on the wait list, we had to cancel the America’s Cup Race. I heard this was fun… maybe next time!

 

 

Weather:

Fantastic. Perfect. Couldn’t have asked for better. Not too hot, water not cold, only one night of bumpy water = a very happy cruiser.

 

 

Disembarkation:

Express dismemberment for US Citizens who can carry their own luggage. I mentioned I bought a lot, but I am an excellent packer. Were called first thing in the morning so after a quick breakfast, we were getting off the boat before we even wanted to. Sitting waiting for our ride in the pier by 10am. Very fast. Oh, didn’t bother with elevators. That would have taken forever. We were on 9 so walking down was easy (well, for me, the bf took the big bags ;) HOWEVER, getting oUTSIDE the pier to catch my ride was a disaster. Everyone crammed together waiting, not moving, not knowing what was going on was driving me a bit insane. Trying to be as NYC-polite as possible, I pushed my way out eventually.

 

 

Comments:

Photo Gallery – some great shots, but really, do they need to have those silly package price deals? Just lower the price per picture and I’m sure you’d sell many more and have much happier guests. You just throw them out anyway! Didn’t buy any – we have enough pics. I have a very nice digital and have over 300 shots thank you very much.

 

Housekeeping – amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a more speedy, polite, and fun couple to make up our rooms. Always smiling, always willing to come when we needed them, and always made us adorable towel animals! Elephants, dogs, walruses… loved it. Left them extra – they deserved it more than anyone.

Bartenders – do not assume they have any idea what you are talking about. Grand Marnier floater? No idea. Shaken not stirred? You better write it down. Sorry, but this is what I found – mostly at the pool bar, where there was often only 1 bartender and 25 people impatiently waiting. Ice cream scooper kept having to cover his butt. Hire more people.

 

Waitresses/Hostesses/Etc – very polite and great service. EVERY SINGLE restaurant we had the maitre de come ask how things were. Felt very special and taken care of. Only thing is having a separate drink person – sometimes hard to find, mix up cards, and if you don’t know and tell the waiter for a drink they just nod and ignore it.

I still enjoyed this cruise very, very much. Everything was perfect except the food in my opinion. This would not change my opinion or make me think twice before traveling NCL again, but I do hope they step it up. I did my research and wanted the freestyle but did not expect the lack in food quality. I am fine with picking from pasta, fish, or chicken… but don’t bring me pasta with watered down alfredo, fish that is overcooked or chicken that is more like rubber. I love my food people!

Hope this was a little insightful. If not, well it was still fun to think about my vacation. I loved it.

Best,

Allison

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Nice review..I have only been on her once and going again in February..........I had very few complaints ;)

 

Sweetpea, I can't help but comment on your upcoming cruise! The Southern Exotic was our 1st cruise on the Dawn. What a spectacular itinerary; one we will remember always! Enjoy!

 

Barb

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Hi ya’ll… I really enjoyed reading the reviews on this board. They helped me greatly and I wanted to just throw my own 2 cents here for anyone interested. This is the quickie review of a first time cruiser…

 

Allison, I respect your viewpoint, although I think it would have been more effective to start your own thread rather than hijack mine. :)

 

The majority of us would agree that opinions about food are subjective. What one person enjoys, another could despise. I do want to stress that you could have ordered as many poppers at Salsa's as you wanted. That's the kicker some just fail to take in. When my husband ordered his, he requested 6 poppers and he got them without question. Lite eaters may have been just fine with 2 poppers as an appetizer. Quantity doesn't equate to quality.

 

If the selection doesn't meet one's expectations, there's always the option of ordering something else. From our experience, they aim to please. Just as I wrote in my review, when we mentioned our lobster was overcooked at Le Bistro, our waitress MARCHED to the kitchen to tell the Chef. She wasn't upset with us. She was upset that the lobster was overcooked and she obtained permission to rectify the situation.

 

I gave their food good ratings, but that doesn't mean I was head over heels about everything. The lobster on the Captain's Gala menu (we ate at Impressions that night) came out with some strange sauce on it. Now I'm strictly a lobster and drawn butter gal. I asked the waiter for drawn butter and I got it. Despite the sauce, now we were talking!

 

At our CC Meet & Greet, one of the officers stated that it's very hard for NCL to right what is wrong if not informed when it happens. To complain about food after leaving the ships doesn't allow them to correct the situation so that those involved can leave feeling satisfied. A bad meal can happen at any restaurant; not just on cruise ships.

 

Barb

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All I can say folks is, do your research. If it’s not for you, there are other cruise lines to choose from. Why on earth would you invest the money in a cruise that doesn’t meet your expectations when most of the information is available to you in advance to booking?

 

So true! I am always amazed when people complain about NCL things that they would have known about - if they had done any research or even read a brochure!

I am glad that overall you had a good cruise and that you did not let the problem stuff ruin things for you. I loved your detailed description of the cabin!

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First - thanks unclepaulie for the great review! My husband and I were on this cruise and had a great time. Sorry we missed the meet and greet :(

 

I wanted to mention that one night I could not finish my dinner and the waiter seemed to really care about if I had like the dish or not and asked if I wanted something else. I explained that I like the dinner I just could not finish...

 

A few nights later my husband left 1/4 of his sordfish and 3 different people asked him about it and wanted him to try another dish! He liked it - he was just full :p

 

I think NCL really tried to do a great job with the food. If anyone had a problem I wish that they would let someone know - there would have been a solution.

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