My NCL Dawn Review for Cruise Critic

20 Jul

Dawn Review – Bermuda July 1-8, 2011 (written for CruiseCritic.com)

OVERVIEW – Absolutely perfect vacation. As soon as we got home, we re-booked the same room for next year.

ABOUT US – My husband (mid-40’s) and I (mid-30’s) have been on 3 NCL cruises from Boston to Bermuda (2009, 2010, 2011). I have also cruised on the Epic in April 2011 and with Renaissance Cruises (now Oceania) in 1994.

EMBARKATION –  Extremely efficient (the quickest of all our trips). We arrived at the Black Falcon Terminal in Boston at 11am. Porters were waiting at the curbside to collect our baggage as we drove up. My husband dropped me off and parked across the street in the garage. There were about 5 people waiting for the officer to check passports and to be ushered up the escalator to the check-in desk. At the top, we were given a number (15) and went right up to the counter. After checking in, we went to the waiting area for our number to be called, but before we could sit down, they were ready for number 15 and we were on our way up to the ship. By 11:30 we were sitting at the Java Cafe ordering drinks. I’ve heard others talk about very long lines to check in, so getting there early really paid off.

LATE SAILING – It should be noted that the Dawn was 2 hours late leaving Boston because of the remodeling being done on the ship, but it did not affect our arrival to Bermuda. Many people were complaining, but we could care less. We’re on the ship, the band was playing, drinks were being served and we were having a great time at the pool. It could’ve stayed in Boston for 7 days and we still would have had a blast.

CABIN  – We stayed in balcony room 10696 and re-booked this room for next year because we like it so much. It’s small, like most rooms on a cruise are, but it was clean and comfortable. The room was right near the aft elevators so it was very conveniently located and the views from the balcony were breathtaking. I thought the bed was great, but my husband complained it was too firm. The mini-bar was missing some items (peanuts, a water, a beer, and a wine), but we weren’t planning on using them anyway. However, I was worried we would be charged for the missing items, so I wrote on the order form what was missing and we were never charged. There were some minor things that were wrong, but not worth getting upset about – initially there was a slight odor of urine in the toilet area (it appeared spotless and went away later that night), the curtains had several small pinholes that let streams of light in, and a couple times our stewardess only left one set of clean towels. She was quick to bring more and was always smiling and helpful.

POOL AREA – The pool itself is small like the pools on the Epic and Spirit. It was crowded on sea days, but that’s what makes it fun in our opinion. The music was good and there were plenty of people to talk to. The pool-side BBQs were great the smell of charcoal while out on the open water is so wonderful. The stairs around the pool are very slippery. A boy fell and hit his head early on in the cruise. He was attended to immediately and taken away in a wheelchair. I was impressed because shortly after he was taken care of, staff came out to investigate and take pictures of the area. It’s nice to know that they take such mishaps seriously. Most of the time we hung out at the Bimini Bar because it’s shaded and we enjoyed the staff there – friendly and quick. I also think they had the best drinks on the ship. One thing to note – the ships has a deal on beer – buy five get one free – that comes in a bucket of ice, but the bucket is not free. There is a deposit added for the bucket that is refundable when you return it along with your receipt. We ran into several people that did not realize this. It’s clearly marked on the receipt, but somehow people still miss it.

CASINO –  My husband truly enjoyed the casino. I don’t care to gamble, but he likes the $5 black jack table and the 2 cent slots. He walked away with more than he spent, so all is good.

ENTERTAINMENT – We enjoyed the Caribbean-style band that played as well as DJ Patrick and DJ Impakt. We also saw the Bollywood show on the last night which was outstanding. Having just been on the Epic and seeing Cirque, the Bollywood show was just as exciting and professionally done. I also went to the Italian wine tasting and the martini tasting. They were worth the $15. The drinks were good and the lectures were very informative. Our cruise director Johnny Cash Sanchez was funny and very entertaining. There seemed to be less announcements through the intercom this year – which was nice for a change. On past cruises they’ve been excessive.

SHOPPING – The Dawn has the usual shops. The duty-free shops were open once we were in international waters. It’s always a bargain to buy liquor and cigarettes (if that is your thing – however be sure you know what the max allowed by US customs is so that you don’t violate the laws). There was a good selection of NCL-themed t-shirts and sweatshirts. The jewelery shop had a nice selection with daily specials.

FOOD – The food was the best we’ve had on any cruise – delicious, beautifully presented, nice variety. We at the both main dining rooms (Venetian and Aqua) as well as the buffet. We did intend to go to Teppanyaki, but we never got around to making reservations and it was always full when we looked. Next time we will book it on the first day. It was no big deal, the food was so good in the restaurants we did eat in that we did not feel as if we missed out on anything.

BERMUDA – Words cannot describe how amazing Bermuda is. It is truly paradise. We have friends on the island so we spent our time with them hanging out and going to the beach.

DISEMBARKATION – This is the one thing that could use some improvement. It took a long time to get off the ship (close to an hour). We did the ‘easy walk-off’ and left our room at 8:45. The line was long and wrapped around the entire deck on the 7th floor. Getting though customs was quick, so the only hold up was waiting in line for NCL to scan our cards.

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3 Responses to “My NCL Dawn Review for Cruise Critic”

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  1. Norwegian Dawn – Boston to Bermuda July 13-20, 3012 | My Bermuda - February 23, 2013

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