First time with NCL's, not my last. I loved our suite, sailing was uneventful, comfortable ship but hated the smokiness on deck 6, really ruins any attempt of playing the odds for me. Food was a b - b in the freestyle restaurants. I am over 60's and fit in with this crowd and was even on the younger side. My opinion, younger cruisers should go with another line. Staff was gracious and our butler Flor was great. Virginia was the concierge and she was very accommodating also. Ease on and off ship was nice, perk of being in a suite. No other way to go!!
Quebec City!!! Tres belle - tres bien!! We loved every minute of it...it was entertaining, comfortable balcony state room made it scenic, and the food was phenominal.
For those of you driving into Boston, parking while on the cruise is an issue. A cruise companion suggested a package deal on stay123.com - we picked the Best Western in Quincy, car remains there, and the free shuttle got us to the pier at about 12noon we were IN our cabin by 1230. We loved our family suite on the 10th deck. Spacious and the dual sinks were fabulous. Our butler Gary took great care of our needs, champagne on ice added to the luxe!
We had lunch at Cagneys, slow svc but good food. We were seated at 8pm for lobster dinner,which took about an hour to serve,lobster was fine. Waiter was a little weird, flaky, maybe high? For the rest of the trio we chose the Aqua dining room instead. When we got to the room at 2pm,our bags were waiting for us.
We ate at Bamboo and La Cucina - extra fees but worth it. We really enjoyed the "Neil Diamond"performance.
Room svc breakfast most days was outstanding! Lobster in Portland was great!ll van tour in Halifax with a local guide.
Quebec City took hours - we should have used the concierge. The Dawn docked far away from old town. There were 3 other ships in that day. We checked into our hotel and them explored the lower and upper town areas. What a beautiful city.
We flew back to Boston Logan and the same Best Western picked us up to get back to our car. The whole trip was seamless. We loved the cruise were impressed by the condition of the Dawn. The service was outstanding.
Here is the review I sent to the CEO of NCL, Kevin Sheehan. Below that is another matter of greater importance that you should read before considering NCL.
The Balcony Room was beautiful, but space management was poor. 2 people navigating around the room to get dressed and such is a problem. The person who cleaned our room (9566) was inconsistent at best. Polite, but the little things were missed consistently. My wife had to stir her coffee 3 mornings in a row with her toothbrush as no coffee stirrers were left. The room was never vacuumed and crumbs, lint and such were on the floor the entire trip. One morning when I was showering there was no Shower Gel in the dispenser leaving me to shower with shampoo. The quality of the Turn Downs at night was unprofessional. The bed was wrinkled and such. Not nearly the quality as Carnival Cruise Lines. Upon arriving on the ship our room had no Towel Animal on the bed, nor did it the first 2 days. This is a nice welcoming touch that leaves a lasting impression on new cruisers. On Carnival youare also greeted with a Welcome Basket of Bathroom Supplies like Razors and such. Great Advertising and Co-branding. The inventory in the refrigerator was incomplete and there were lot's of missing items. We told Guest Services and they assured us it would be taken care of. The Room Porter told us this was because they were throwing expired items away and it would be taken care of. We constantly throughout the trip had to note improper inventory to guest services and check our bill to ensure proper billing. Some of the inventory list, like Nuts and Cappuccino was never stocked.
The Venetian and Aqua Dining Rooms also had Food Quality and Service issues. The food was staged properly, but arrived cold at times. The Deserts were a disappointment. Even Chocolate night. I can never remember being on a cruise and not remembering one eventful meal or desert. We only remember Lunch Appetizers the first day in the Venetian. The Calamari and Vietnamese Egg Rolls were great. The Coconut Souffle one night was fantastic. My wife constantly wanted to go to the Buffet. She hates Buffets, but honestly the quality of the food on the Buffet was superior to the Dining Room. Except for the Pizza. Undercooked crust and inconsistent sauce and ingredient distribution. At times the Staff at both venues seemed disorganized and confused. Three times they delivered wrong meals going from table to table asking if it was their meals.
The Help on board was very Polite, but should make more of an attempt to "Connect" with guest that they come in contact with on a daily basis. On Carnival we were "Anytime Dining", but Employees we came in contact with on a regular basis made a connection with us. We have pictures with several and over a year later remember their names and quality of service.
Signing up for the Presumed Murdered Show was a disaster. A long disorganized line of unhappy guest not knowing where or how to navigate the system. They could have used a system like at banks with the ribbon roping and signage to help.
There was one woman who seemed in charge of activities running the Bingo. I walked over to her and asked the pricing well before the event and was told I should sit down and wait as everybody would be told at the same time. She then walked away. VERY RUDE AND UNPROFESSIONAL. We never attended Bingo the entire Cruise due to that. Lost Revenue for NCL.
One note on the description of the 24 hour "Food Court" on the Dawn. It seemed more like a description of a Mall Food Court with many 24 hour Food Type Options, Food Stations and Self Seating as opposed to small "Comfort Food Restaurant". Also, we went early one Morning (around 6:30am) to get Breakfast as the Dining Room and Buffet were not open yet. We were told that there was no "Food" until 7am as the Cooks were not ready to do Breakfast that early. We could have only Coffee and Pastry. If that is your only non-Room Service 24 Hour Venue "Food" should be available 24-7.
On the Entertainment there was was change of Venue on a show that could have been better advertised, but that is minor. The Second City Group was great, but an early show had a "Blow Up Doll" skit in it that I heard many parents "explaining off" to young children. This was not a late or adult show. Perhaps a warning on the signage about possible adult material. 99% of the crowd was laughing hysterically, but that 1% may have an issue.
The ship was not as "Sparkling Clean" as most. From a health standard it was fine, but dirty windows, stains on carpeting, fingerprints on mirrors and such lead people to believe the important health standards are also not met. We did not as we could see the important things seemed done. Again lasting impressions.
I dot not want to sound all negative. I understand that this was the first Bermuda Trip of the season out of Boston and things need tweaking. Several things were Great, but outlining those does not help NCL address the things we and other guests we spoke to felt were lacking and would effect Guest Loyalty. The Captain and Crew should be commended for their handling of the ship through the huge waves and winds to Bermuda. Although we could feel the motion it was far superior to most cruise lines. As stated earlier the food on the Buffet was far superior to other cruise lines. The Entertainment was also Great. Far Superior to other cruise lines. The Movie availability and quality in the room was fantastic. PLEASE put the Movie Schedule in your daily activity handout though as the channel with the information display it every 20 minutes. The Bed was Comfortable and Huge. The Bathroom was well laid out. Storage was plentiful. The Coffee Maker was a nice touch. We would have liked to experienced other Dining Options on the Cruise back, but due to my tooth injury that was not an option. Perhaps that experience would have left a better impression on our "Dining Opinions".
**As a note one week after coming home we received a credit card charge for $12.08 for 2 beers that were not re-stocked in the Wet Bar. We informed both the Porter and Guest Services, but were still charged. Several calls to Chase and NCL got the charge removed.**
More importantly is how NCL treats Guests with issues. We dined at the Captains Table on the 23rd. I bit down on a piece of buttered bread and there was a hard foreign object in it that broke my tooth. Yes, right in front of the Captain. NCL sent me to a Dentist on Bermuda who could not fix it. I was assured the matter would be handled. When I got home I contacted NCL Claims. She referred me to Holly Hasselman. After 5 weeks of documenting everything I got a registered letter stating NCL found no liability on their part. I have since sought out Legal Counsel. NCL didn't even address the full day we lost in Bermuda, nor the lost enjoyment of the cruise. If this is the way NCL chooses to treat their Guests then my wife and I will vote with our feet and use other Cruise Lines. Our best advice to Cruise Critic Members is to stay away from NCL as they really could care less about you after they have money in hand.
I have 2 options-drinks or tips.If I'm not allowed to take my prefer drinks with me-than I can't afford the tips,because I have to spend money for drinks which I don't like and my vacation will much below my expectation."Thank" you for this policy
Theres A place called Hell on the Grand Cayman Island. But You dont need to go there just cruise with NCL Cruise lines & your there.
I sould be cruising now but I,m writing this from my home. Arrived in Miami DEc-12-2010 3:30 Airline delays, Called NCL Rep . They said fly to Grand Cayman & meet the ship tuesday. $400.00 oneway ticket for 2. Hotel Two nights $500.00. Tuesday came but NO NCL Dawn. NO rep also, Just the port ethority to give use the bad news. $500.00 oneway ticket for 2 to miami. Cruise cost $1192.00 Airline Tickets From Minnepolis to Miami & back $674.00
TOTAL FOR ALL $3266 AMOUNT TRAVELERS INSURANCE COVERED $500.00 OVERALL COST NOT TO TAKE A CRUISE WITH NCL $2766.00
NOT INCLUDING FOOD.
THANKS ALOT FOR THE MEMERYS NCL!!!!!!!
Beware of Norwegian Cruise Line customer relations. I had a bad experience with a shore excursion and NCL customer relations refused to make it right by compensating me for the $60 of service that I did NOT receive from their subcontracted shore excursion company. What's more is that the shore excursion management team and customer relations department handled my polite request to rectify the issue with an absolute lack of professionalism. They care not about the satisfaction of their patrons--only their bottom line. Too bad, this experience ruined an otherwise mediocre cruise experience.
Embarkation: On the ship in 20-25 minutes
Disembarkation: Of the ship in 20-25 minutes
Housekeeping: The ship and my stateroom were showing there age. Stains, cigarette burns, leaks in hallway ceilings, etc.
Entertainment: Very good. Good stage shows. Jose and Patti were fantastic!
Food: The absolute worst I have ever eaten on a ship.(12 cruises). If you don't pay a surcharge you don't get edible food.
Casino: 6 to 5 payoff on Blackjack is a ripoff. $10 minimum on craps is ridiculous.
Overall: Never cruise NCL again.
I booked this cruise during a quick sale and got a balcony cabin for $249 per person, so I feel I got my money's worth and then some, but I did end up spending $500+ on extras during a five day cruise, and I'm cheap and didn't really buy much.
Embarkation: Very well organized, very easy and quick, but a long way from taxi to cabin. Once on the ship, cabins were not ready so we went to have lunch at the main buffet restaurant. It was the most crowded of the whole cruise because it was the only place open and there was nowhere else to go until cabins were ready. The first lunch was awful, but that was the theme of this cruise. No matter where you went or what you paid, the food was bland, the service inattentive. It was bland on an entirely new level. I have never cruised before and dreaded mealtime. I felt like I was shoveling food in and not one bite during the entire cruise, save for a few things, was worth the calories.
It was really irritating on deck when theyoffered us a drink and then asked for our room card to pay for it. It seemed like it was gratis. I just handed it back and said no thanks.
I mentioned the selling. it was non-stop. Every show began with the cruise director trying to get everyone to but strips of raffle tickets. They constantly pushed the art auction, bingo, excursions, drinks everywhere, photos. It got obnoxious after a while. It seemed like all of the staff that were so busy trying to sell you stuff could have been better used upgrading the level of service.
The ports were fine, but the tender services were slow. you had to get tender tickets and then wait in long lines, but getting back was easy.
All in all, I have cruised on Celebrity, Chrystal and now NCL. NCL doesn't compare with those lines on any level, but I did like the relaxing quality of the freestyle cruising. I loved having choices and not having to wear formal clothes. That was almost worth the lousy food and service, but not quite.
When you go on a cruise, you go for the food and service. NCL really needs to deal with this.
This review is going to be more helpful suggestions and comments that a straight review. I am a very experienced traveller, but not a big cruiser. The only other ship I've been on was Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas. The Dawn does not have the "wow" factor. The central atrium only goes up a couple of floors and the décor of bright turquoise and coral is rather cheesy looking. The staff, however, is delightful.
On the day of departure try to arrive at the pier around 11:30 a.m. It gets very busy very quickly, and we found no problems getting dropped off curbside at that time. By noon we had established our shipboard account and got our boarding number, so got right on the ship.
You will board at Deck 7. Turn left, and continue along the walkway. After you go through the Blue Lagoon restaurant, turn right and go down the steps into the Venetian. This restaurant serves a very nice sit down lunch. The buffet is a mob scene the first day as no one realizes the Venetian is open!
You will not be able to get into yourcabin until about 2 p.m., so after lunch explore the ship. Your bags will not arrive until as late as 5 p.m., so be sure to have any immediately needed items in your hand baggage.
The Room: Not the greatest furnishings. Other than your bed, all you have is a small square table with 2 hard kitchen type chairs. That's it. There is quite a lot of storage, and there is a good number of wooden hangers provided. The problem is the hanging rail is not very long, and the wooden hangers are thick and heavy so your clothes get crushed together. If you have a number of lightweight tops, bring yourself a few wire hangers for these, and put the extra wooden hangers out of the way so your clothes have more room. There is only 1 outlet in the entire cabin, none in the bathroom (except for a shaver outlet). We brought a multiplug to give us the equivalent of 3 outlets and were glad for it. We also brought a nightlight, which I plugged into the shaver outlet in the bathroom for night time moving around.
Each person gets 1 fluffy, but small bath towel, a handtowel that's little more than a finger tip towel, and a wash cloth. I have long hair and was glad I'd brought my Turbitwist. The bathroom is stocked with liquid product dispensers which have high quality lavender hand soap, shower gel and shampoo. There is no bar soap. I suggest you bring some facewash, also a bath puff as the shower gel does not lather well without one.
Each person has the use of a bathrobe. Also in the room is a 1000w hairdryer with cold shot button. It is VERY heavy & not very powerful. The cabin also has a coffee maker and a small, stocked fridge (steep prices to use the contents). We brought a bottle of wine and put it in the fridge. No one said anything.
The beds have nice, soft, high thread count sheets. The pillows, however, are dense foam, so you may wish to bring a soft travel pillow. The mattress was "OK", nothing to get excited about, but by no means the worst one I've slept on.
There is a small TV in the room with very limited programming: about 6 channels dealing with the cruise ship, CNN, Headline News, Fox News and Cartoon Network. There are also 2 premium movie channels which show more or less the same films as in the cinema.
Restaurants: the Garden Café buffet (Deck 12) is open more or less all day and up till midnight. The food is set up on lines cafeteria style, which is not the prettiest set-up, however it allows for a lot of seating, and we never had a problem finding a table. The advantage is its wide selection and speed of service.
The Venetian serves 3 meals a day, Aqua only dinner. Most passengers have a strong preference for one or other of these restaurants. They both serve the exact same dinner menu, but some people like the open elegance of Venetian, while others like the cool, hip vibe of Aqua. Their menu offers you a choice of 9 appetizers, 9 entrées and 5 dessert choices, most of which change daily. There are also light dining options available. If you are in a balcony cabin or suite, please note that Aqua is also open to only you for breakfast Monday – Saturday. The sign will say "private function", but just go in and give your room number for seating. It took us 3 days to find the little card behind the TV offering this special privilege. It was particularly helpful on Wednesday as the first day in port everyone rushes to eat and get off the ship at the exact same time.
Reservations for the specialty restaurants can be made by phone or by visiting the desk in the Deck 7 atrium, just across from reception. The desk was staffed just about all the time, and we had no problems getting reservations.
The Bistro had very high quality French food (we found out the Food & Beverage Manager is French, which may be why). On the walls are ORIGINAL Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh and Matisse paintings. Impressions had good (not great) Italian food. Bamboo had "OK" Pan Asian food. Nothing like dining in NYC. I heard mixed comments about the sushi, so did not try that, likewise I did not try the hibachi finding the $25 cover to be exorbitant. Did not try Cagneys.
Bimini Grill is located up the staircase from the Deck 12 pool and fixes burgers, hotdogs and grilled chicken for lunch and afternoon dining. Blue Lagoon is open 24 hours and I really enjoyed their food. The tomato soup with basil cream was delicious, as was the fish & chips. Sprinkles is not a real restaurant, but rather a section of the pool bar where a guy scoops icecream cones. The New York Deli is also not a restaurant but rather a section of the Garden Café on the port side with deli meats and hotdogs available at all times.
The pool area is rather gaudy looking, but there are plenty of sunbathing chairs thanks to a tiered design. If you prefer a quieter environment, walk forward on 12 to the very front of the ship where there is a quiet zone along with another jacuzzi for quiet enjoyment. If you enjoy swimming in a nice warm pool, the small round pool closest to the pool bar is almost as warm as the jacuzzi and is really lovely.
I visited the Fitness Center the first day. There are a variety of cardio machines and weights, but the place gets very busy on days at sea. Yoga, pilates and spin classes are available for an additional fee. They want you to sign up for 3 classes for $30 (plus automatic gratuity) for the 3 days at sea. I signed up for yoga and went to the first class, but unfortunately I had to stop due to a badly pulled muscle from the day before. I got a refund of the 2 unused classes. Quite honestly it wasn't much of a loss: the yoga class was really boring -- we kept doing the same thing over and over.
If you are tempted by the spa, I noticed they ran very good deals during the days in port. These specials extended into the evening hours. The best deal was day 1 in Bermuda where you got 2 hours of pampering for $119! There is a nice lap pool, jacuzzi and sunning area inside the spa. They will try and get you to pay $99 to use it for the week. I later found out you could get a 1 day pass for $20. If the weather is really lousy it might be worth doing this.
Entertainment in the evening ran the gamut, definitely something for all tastes. Check your daily Freestyle newsletter as some days they only run 1 show at 9 p.m. and other days there are two at 7:30 and 9:30. The 7:30 show tends to be more popular. People rush through the buffet to get to the show on time. The 9:30 show always had lots of seats available.
Dave Heenan the comedian did a very funny family friendly show. I understand his late night act in the nightclub is very bawdy, but his regular show was fine. The magician continued a light, comedic banter as he did a number of classic tricks: he was very talented. There is a Second City comedy troupe on board, and if you enjoy SNL type skits, you will love their show. There is also a group of dancers that create musical shows for the other nights. The Bollywood show is definitely the best of these: a combination of dancing and circus type acts. Try to sit at least 8 rows back or you will miss some of the acts.
Bermuda: The ship docks at the farthest NW tip of the island grouping. There are 3 modes of transportation to get where you want to go: taxis (very expensive), ferries and buses. Ferries leave from right next to the ship and go to Hamilton or St. George's. Likewise, buses leave from the same area and take you to beaches and into Hamilton (change in Hamilton for St. George's). Make sure you double check with the driver as some buses go by the middle road and do not pass near the beaches. Buy a pass good for both buses and ferries from the Tourist Information booth right at the end of the dock. You can get 1, 2 and 3 day passes depending on your travel needs.
The Naval Dockyard has the Maritime Museum. Unfortunately when we visited most of the exhibit buildings were closed for renovation. For $8 I felt rather ripped off. There is limited shopping nearby, which is good for last minute purchases on Friday before departure. Check out the new pharmacy which is just past the glassworks/rum cake building. The Clocktower Mall is a lot smaller than it looks, but there are a couple of T-shirt shops as well as island crafts. The Craft Market, by the way, was rather disappointing.
If you want to go for afternoon tea, we went to the Fairmont Hamilton Princess. It was elegant and had a Bermuda twist, it was also $34 per person plus gratuity. We later found out that Mrs. T's tea shop is right on the Middle Road bus route.
The Bermuda Underwater Institute is really worth a visit. Interesting exhibits on shipwrecks, local shells, the Titanic and all sorts of other things. Take the Middle Road bus and it drops you right by the door without having to go into Hamilton and changing buses.
If you are a scuba diver, I can highly recommend Blue Water Divers at www.divebermuda.com Their main shop is at Robinson's Marina adjacent to Somerset Bridge, about 15 minute bus ride from the ship. They work with novice through expert divers and have all the equipment you need. I did a 2 tank morning dive and got to visit 3 wrecks! An awesome experience!
I realize I've written a lot here, hopefully some of my suggestions will help you enjoy your cruise even more. That's it for general passengers, read on if you are travelling with a handicapped passenger.
Information for Disabled Passengers: I was travelling on this trip with my mother who uses a wheelchair for long distance walking. Be sure to use the special check in line within the pier in New York. You will get priority boarding. Note to person pushing the wheelchair: the ramp onto the boat in NYC is VERY steep. If you are not in the best of shape, ask for assistance! When you arrive at the Venetian restaurant at the back of deck 7, push the down button for the elevator: there is a handicapped entrance to the restaurant that we had such trouble finding.
Handicapped cabins have enough space for the wheelchair, and a ramp into the bathroom (which you will trip over all week, be careful). The biggest problem we encountered was the door to the room: our last ship had a button you pushed for automatic door opening, this one did not, and the door is stiff and heavy. A disabled person without a caregiver will have problems with it.
Most of the ship is handicapped accessible, just refer to your pink sheet and you shouldn't have any problems. The biggest shock to us was when we arrived in Bermuda: you CANNOT take folding wheelchairs on buses in Bermuda! You are limited to the ferries or taxis. Apparently they have just ordered 12 specialty buses that will take them in the future, but they are not yet available. Ask when you arrive and see if they are in service yet.
Be careful negotiating around the Naval Dockyard. If you are heading to the Maritime Museum, Frog & Onion or Craft Market, take the road farthest to the right or you will end up having to cross a courtyard that is not wheelchair friendly. Also, if you decide to visit the Commissioner's House at the Maritime Museum, be advised the hill up to the house is VERY steep. There is an elevator inside the house: go all the way around to the back and enter the lowest floor. The elevator is in there among the cannon -- it's not easy to find.
We were extremely disappointed in the food. In total this ship has 12 restaurants, eight of which you have to pay for. So after we spent money already on the cruise, we opted for the no charge restaurant "Aqua." We all ordered prime rib and we all wound up sending it back. It was like shoe leather.
I have cruised many times before on Carnival. They also have a restaurant that charges a cover. But Carnival only has one. Here they have 14 restaurants. Also the lunches on both days were hot dogs and hamburgers on the buffet. There was also salad smothered in ceaser dressing.
I will not cruise NCL again. The cabin was also smaller than my bathroom at home. I realize this cruise was less expensive, but never again!