Preface It's been over a year since Diane and I returned from
this cruise. I was going through my reviews and realized I never
posted it. Some of the information may be irrelevant at this time
but I hope readers will get something out of it and not think of me
as an idiot.
Introduction Another September and another last minute cruise.
Last year we cruised on the Carnival Legend. This year it was NCL
Norwegian Dawn. I was feeling real disappointed that we had not
cruised all year. We had planned a September cruise but had to
cancel our plans in May. Events made it possible to cruise in
September after all and being the 19th I couldn't get us on the
ship we had planned for the 22nd but I was able to get us on the
Norwegian Dawn for the 25th.
For those of you who have not read any of my reviews of previous
cruisesâ?¦Diane absolutely hates to fly. After our
November 2004 cruise she made me promise we would not fly for at
least 2 years. We had taken the train from Boston to NYC last
and she loved it. This made it possible to book the Dawn out of New
Booking We have always used a local travel agency to book our
cruises. I, being a cruise consultant wanna be, find the cruise,
hotel, car rental, etc. then take to the agent to book it. I found
this cruise at Vacations To Go and decided to try on-line booking.
With only 6 days to the cruise, I was taking a chance but Lori
Ortiz at Vacations To Go handled everything went extremely smooth
despite the hurricane which resulted in the closing of the office
in Houston. I look forward to booking with Lori again.
Itinerary The itinerary was less than impressive. Port
Canaveral, Miami, Great Stirup Cay (NCL's private island) and
Nassau. Diane and I do few excursions and prefer to laze around on
the ship while others are off enjoying the various ports. We do get
off the ship and walk around the local shops for an hour or so than
return to the ship. More about this under Excursions.
Embarkation What a difference from last year when embarkation
was an absolute disaster. NCL definitely has its act together. We
walked into the terminal at 11:12 A.M., checked in our luggage and
proceeded to the check-in desk. We were sitting with our coffee all
checked-in by 11:30. They had chairs set up and coffee, tea
sandwiches and sweets available. Boarding started about 45 minutes
later. We were on board and in our cabin at 12:30.
Ship The Norwegian Dawn is a wonderful ship, very clean and well
organized. Lots of restaurants and lounges, a library with plenty
of reading material, a movie theater, and more. The pool is great
and plenty of hot tubs. The tiered area for sunbathing was great
leaving the chairs around the pool for swimmers.
Cabin Of course the only thing left was Category N - Deck 4,
inside, front of the ship. Being past cruisers with NCL may have
helped because we got upgraded to Category J - Deck 8, inside,
middle of the ship. This was our first experience with an inside
cabin so we went to sleep with the T.V. set to Bridge Cam station
(Dark) and woke to Sunshine. It was our porthole window.
The room was larger than I expected and plenty of storage areas.
There was a coffee maker which we liked as we are big coffee
There is a refrigerator but no mini bar. We picked up a few
extra cans of soda at one of the bars and stocked the frig.
Our steward kept our room clean and the ice bucket filled with
Dining There is a huge choose for dining. This was our first
experience with freestyle dining. Diane loves it while I prefer
traditional cruise style dining. Rather than 1 large Main Dining
room there are 3 smaller venues which have no surcharges and
require no reservations (Aqua, Impressions and Venetian). Also the
Garden Café for buffet style dining and the Blue Lagoon for
snacks and open 24 hours.
The food was wonderful. I particularly enjoyed the Beef
Wellington at Impressions.
Excursions Diane and I are not big on excursions as I mentioned
earlier but on this cruise there really was little to do. One thing
we like to do in Nassau is to visit a little bar named Iguana's.
Unfortunately, for all intent and purposes EVERYTHING was closed.
The exceptions were the shops in the terminal, a cheap souvenir
shop and a bar. A native beer company was giving out free beer at
the bar of which I took full advantage. This was after our
traditional Bahama MaMa's which we couldn't have at Iquana's, of
The other port worth mentioning was Great Stirup Cay. This is
NCL's private island and while it doesn't meet HAL's Half Moon Cay,
it offers a nice day on the beach. There are two beaches. One of
them is very rocky. I saw a couple of people with cuts on the feet
from stubbed toes in the water. NCL puts on a nice spread of
hamburgers, corn on the cob, fruit, etc.
Staff and crew Only good things to say about the staff and crew
on the Dawn. The wait staff in each dining venue was wonderful. On
ships with traditional sitting the wait staff gets to know the
guests. They learn there likes and dislikes and close bonds are
developed. Open sitting does not offer this opportunity but the
wait staff compensates for this and I still felt I was being
treated "special" by all of them.
There was one incident at the Chocolate Buffet which was held in
the afternoon. An opportunity to take pictures prior to the eating
was offered. As you probably know bathing suits and tank tops are
not permitted in the dining room. I was wearing a sleeveless shirt
and was told "tank tops are not permitted in the dining room".
After explaining that it was not a tank top but rather a sleeveless
shirt, the woman said it didn't matter, I was not permitted in the
dining room. I had bought 3 from L.L. Bean at $29 each just before
the cruise. That night was formal night. We were dressed
appropriately, I in a tuxedo and Diane in a gown and seated next to
us was a gentleman in dungarees and a t-shirt. When I mentioned
this the head waiter simply shrugged his shoulders and walked away.
Entertainment The various lounges have wonderful entertainment
but the Bollywood performance in the Stardust Theater was horrible.
We had never walked out of an act but after 10 minutes we did. The
performers where fine but the music?
Pictures I have to talk about the onboard photographers in every
review. Some day I will find a photographer who can take a picture
of a tall person (I'm 6'2") without cutting off my feet or head,
because it hasn't happened on any of our cruises.
The 6 photographers are out every night taking the "formal"
pictures. With all the complaints I read from people complaining
about the picture taking, it's amazing how long the lines are every
night to have pictures taken. Just an observation.
Conclusion Diane and I are committed cruisers. The itinerary was
disappointing and the Bollywood entertainment was the worst I've
seen. But everything else was wonderful and we look forward to
again cruising on the Norwegian Dawn again in April 2007.