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Norwegian Dawn – Boston to Bermuda July 12, 2013

26 Jul

My husband and I had a fabulous time on the July 12, 2013 Boston-Bermuda Cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. We enjoyed it so much that we booked the same date and same cabin again for next year.

This is an abridged version, for more detailed info please see my past reviews for “July 2012” and “July 2011

About Us
This was our 5th year in a row going sailing on NCL from Boston-Bermuda. The first two times were on the Norwegian Spirit and the past three were on the Dawn. I’ve sailed 6 times with NCL, 3 times with Carnival, once with Celebrity and once with Renaissance (now Oceania). I’m a fan of NCL, but I truly enjoyed every cruise line that I’ve sailed on and am look forward to one day sailing on all of them.

Embarkation
Arrived a bit later than usual at 11:00 (instead of our usual 10-10:30), and boarded immediately after going through security (lines were long) and checking in. We walked around the ship for a bit then went up to the buffet to have lunch. It was crowded. Next time we’ll go to the Bimini Bar instead. At 1:30 the rooms were ready and at 2:30 our luggage arrived.

Stateroom
We had a balcony room near the aft staircase on the portside #10696. This was the same room we had for the last two years, and we reserved it again this year because we like it. It’s exactly the same as we remembered – clean, modest, comfortable, and quiet with a beautiful view of the sunrise in the morning on the way to Bermuda and a spectacular view of the sunset as we sail back home. 

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Norwegian Dawn Stateroom 10696

Main Dining Room – The Venetian
Delightful 5 out of 5. We ate there on most nights. I also had breakfast there just about every morning. I love their french toast. My husband never wakes up in time for breakfast, but that’s fine with me.

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Thai Chicken in Venetian

Poolside Drinks
Less than stellar. 2 out of 5 stars. The service was wonderful, but the quality of the drinks was a disappointment. They were expensive – mixed drinks around $10 or so, but the serving size was small and they were very watered down. I think this is because NCL now offers an Ultimate Beverage Package that includes unlimited alcoholic drinks. However, we don’t drink enough to make that worthwhile. If you’re not careful they will sneak in a “Souvenir Cup” for an additional charge. Beer is about $6 or $7, but you can get a bucket of 5 and get the 6th one free. I had bought a couple bottles of wine for the room on the NCL website. They had them ready on embarkation with a corkscrew and glasses. That was perfect. I enjoy a glass out on the balcony watching the sun set.

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Wine Ordered for Room

 

Poolside Entertainment
The Caribbean-style band was great as usual. We also enjoyed the Poolside BBQ every sea day (weather permitting). There is nothing better than the fresh sea air and the smell of a real charcoal BBQ. We caught a glimpse of a couple the funny games – Hairy Chest and Booty Shaking contests. They were ridiculous yet funny at the same time. I’d caution conservative people to stay away from the Booty Shaking contest. It could be offensive to some.

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Poolside BBQ

 

Latitudes Party
It was held on Saturday afternoon. It’s invitation only for past cruisers. It featured unlimited house chardonnay, merlot, rum punch, beer, or champagne. They had raffles for prizes.

White Hot Party
Was on Wednesday night. It’s nice to see everyone out and about, but there were way too many children and teens there. They decorate the lounge all in white, there’s ice sculptures, loud music and cups that light up. We didn’t stay long because of all the kids.

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White Hot Party

Bermuda
There are not enough words to describe the beauty of Bermuda.  We never get sick of it. The weather is perfect, the people are friendly, the beaches are breathtaking. We did our usual thing – got bus/ferry passes, went to Horseshoe Bay, got into St. George as well as Hamilton, and visited with our friends at The Bone Fish and with our favorite artist, Lisa Rego, at the Clocktower Mall in the Dockyard. Three days just isn’t enough, but it’s nice knowing that we still have a couple days left of fun on the ship to enjoy before arriving back in Boston.

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Norwegian Dawn at port in Bermuda

I recommend getting to Horseshoe Bay on Sunday. For more detailed info on what to do and when, please see the my 2011 post. On Monday, get to St. George and Hamilton during the day then to The Bone Fish Grill at night for dinner and dancing. If you are into serious partying reggae-style then go to Snorkle Park after midnight on Monday. On Tuesday, I recommend exploring the Dockard –  shopping at the Clocktower Mall, lunch at Cafe Amici, and farewell drinks at The Frog and Onion.

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Carnival Cruise Review – Boston to Canada, July 7-12, 2012

23 Feb

Although this is a Boston to Bermuda Cruise Blog, I think it’s relevant to post this review of a cruise from Boston to Canada. A lot of readers are from the New England area, and I’d like to promote Cruiseport Boston as much as I can because it is so wonderful to have the opportunity to cruise so close to home. One of the other cruises you can take out of Boston (during 2012 and 2013)  is a Carnival Cruise to Canada. It is my hope that Carnival and NCL will continue to make Boston a home port, but only time will tell. Here is my review:

PREFACE:
What a pleasant surprise! I had low expectations for this cruise. This was a last minute getaway for me, and since I live less than an hour from Boston, I figured it was worth a chance. Over the years, I’ve heard about Carnival’s party ship atmosphere and was prepared to be surrounded by unruly 20-somethings and disinterested staff. I am happy to report my first Carnival Cruise was fun, relaxing, elegant, and unassuming all at the same time.  It will be my first of many more Carnival cruises.

ABOUT ME:
I’m a woman in my 30’s and this is my 7th cruise, but my first on Carnival. For this cruise I travelled with my dad, but we each had our own interior cabin. I’ve been on 4 NCL cruises, 1 Celebrity, and 1 Renaissance (now Oceania) cruise.

EMBARKATION:  5 out of 5 Stars
Cruiseport Boston is very organized and hassle-free. We arrived at 10:05AM and were on the ship having lunch an hour later. For more details please read the “DAY 1” section below. Noteworthy – we received an email warning us not to arrive until 1:30PM, but I went early anyway.

STATEROOM: 5 out of 5 Stars
I had room 7247 an interior room that was in the forward section of the ship. The rooms were ready promptly at 1:30PM. Impeccably clean, and everything looks brand new. Nicest standard interior room I’ve seen yet (not including the Studio Rooms on the Epic). My Steward, Rodel, cheerfully introduced himself and would have a warm smile and sincere greeting every time I saw him throughout the cruise. At 3PM, I noticed that the luggage had arrived. It may have gotten there even earlier, but I was not in the room at the time. The bed was firm, but comfortable and the shower had an endless supply of hot water with good water pressure. There were even samples of shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste in a bowl on the sink.

FOOD: 5 out of 5 Stars
Outstanding! The best food out of all my past cruises. I ate dinner strictly in the main dining room. The service, the quality, and the presentation were excellent. There was a small snafu with my seating arrangement that I felt could have been handled better by one member of the crew, Andrea. My father and I signed up for the “Your Time Dining.” However, only he got it, and somehow I was assigned to the late seating. I went to speak to the dining staff to ask if I could be switched to “Your Time” so my father and I could dine together. The answer was no. So I asked, “Well perhaps I can be my father’s guest and sit with him because he will be alone at a table for two?” The woman, Andrea, said very abruptly and sternly, “No, the ship is sold out.  He will have to sit alone and you have to eat when and where you are told.” But two hours later, when dinner time came, I showed up with my father at his “Your Time Dining” and no one stopped me from sitting with him.

OVERALL SHIP APPEARANCE: 4 out of 5 Stars
The lobby area feels closed in. It is dark and small. Although, it still is enjoyable. It is distinctly different than any other ship I’ve been on, and that adds to its charm. Getting to the Platinum main dining room and to the Internet Cafe can be challenging as there is only limited Aft access on the mid/lower levels. Ask the crew or bring a map and within a day you’ll be all set. The Serenity Adults Only deck is worth its weight in gold. The hammocks are Heaven on Earth. There are only 4 so try to get there very early or during dinner hours if you want to enjoy them without fighting over them.

ENTERTAINMENT: 3 out of 5 Stars
Carnival fell short in the entertainment area. Of course, this is subjective.  The theatre was beautiful, but the Broadway-type shows were ordinary. The costuming was PG13 – a bit risque for a family show. The only show that was better than average was the Illusionist. He was very good. The poolside enterainment was disappointing. There was a Caribbean duo (signer and keyboarist) that played occasionally. They seemed rather disinterested and did not engage the crowd. There was no poolside DJ.

DETAILED DAY-BY-DAY REVIEW:

DAY 1 – July 7, 2012 – Embarkation Day
We arrived to Cruiseport Boston at 10:05 arrived at pier, and there were several porters standing by to take luggage. I noticed that there were other passengers getting off the ship. It appeared to be an equal number of people arriving as there were passengers departing from the previous cruise.

10:15 returned from parking car in lot. Shuttled by bus. Unloaded a bus full of departing passengers. However was the only one on the bus going by go pier.

10:30 Completed security scan and check in. Very friendly and cheerful employees stationed along the way. Check in was very quick. Issued key card then were ushered over to sit down and wait. We were assigned to Zone 2. We were told that VIP, special needs, and Zone 1 would go first. There were about 50 people in the waiting area. Peggy was overseeing things and kept reminding us all to have card ready for boarding. She was very cheerful and kept us up to date.

11AM – Boarding begins. VIP and special needs were first. Then zone 1 and 2 followed a minute or so afterward

11:05AM – On board and running around the ship, and had lunch from the buffet on Deck 9.

Muster drill – Hot and crowded. This was the least pleasant of all the muster drills I’ve been on. It was out on the deck and everyone was squished together. It also took a lot longer than the musters I’m used to. Thankfully no life jackets were required..

Dinner – Chicken a la grecque, cream of tomato soup, and warm chocolate melting cake. By far THE best dinner on a cruise that I have ever had. The service, the presentation, the taste – all were impeccable.

Second Impression – This has the potential to be one of the best cruises I’ve ever been on. With the exception of that one woman.

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Day 2 – Sea Day
7AM – Shower was great. Good water pressure, nice and hot. Went up to Serenity Deck relaxed in hammock. It was a wonderful meditative experience.

Breakfast 8AM – It was open seating in the Platinum Dining Room, and we were seated with 4 other people. At first I was annoyed. I’ve never liked the idea of sitting with strangers, but they turned out to be nice company. Carnival may turn me into a traditional cruiser after all. We’ll see. If all of a sudden I start enjoying formal night then they have succeeded. Food review – cheese omelet and corn beef hash. Delicious. Service was slow. Took 15 minutes for food to arrive.

Chair Hogs – Carnival is not immune. At 7AM chairs were already reserved. However, there were still plenty of unoccupied chairs at 9:30.

Day 2 Lunch – Open seating Platinum. Fair bordering on poor. Steak cooked rare and waiter never came back to check on us. Mixed field greens salad was iceberg lettuce and pale tomatoes. One of our soups arrived 5 minutes after the other’s.

Food and Wine Pairing Event – At the Emerald Restaurant. Nice to spend an hour there. Sample steak and salmon – DELISH! Very informative. $15.

Day 2 – High Tea. Not bad. Not great. Bigelow bagged tea. Vanilla scones, chocolate torte, chocolate fruit with glaze, lemon cake, and chocolate scone. The High Tea I went on during my last Celebrity cruise put this one on Carnival to shame. However, there was a cover charge for the one on Celebrity, so it should be better.

Cruise Critic Meet and Greet – informal no officers came and no refreshments were served. It lasted 30 minutes. We didn’t really hit it off, and I never ended up seeing those people again.

Elegant Night – not as strict as I thought. Some people were in tuxedos and evening gowns, but most were country club casual – sundress and heels for the ladies, and for the men a nice shirt and tie. Dinner was Maine lobster tail, shrimp, and mashed potatoes. Delicious. Service was very good but not as outstanding as the night before.

Show 8:15 – Rated PG13 due to thongs. Should say g-string. Don’t understand why the dancers had to have bare bottoms. Why not bikini bottoms? Also very loud. It was a patriotic, American-themed show.

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Day 3 – Saint Johns
Breakfast – omelet and corn beef. Delicious. Excellent service – quick and waiter was cheerful and funny

Reminds me of Duluth, MN – hills, old shipping city, delightfully friendly residents, proud of their city although it is a bit dilapidated and depressed. However, it has a charm of its own.

Excursion Top 10 – Exceeded expectation. Disembarkation was quick and we received the warmest and most sincere welcome out of any port I’ve ever been to. Roses and lapel pins with NO expectation to tip – jars or baskets were not present. Tradition goes back to 1989 when first cruise ship arrived because Boston-Bermuda was diverted at the last minute, and mayor wanted a grand welcoming. Now the port welcomes 77 ships this year. Guide – Doreen (retired elementary teacher) and the Driver was John. We stopped at:

  1. Reversing Falls – Beautiful to look at and fascinating how they change direction everyday with the tide.
  2. Saint Johns City Market – A fun, indoor market. It’s like a small Quincy Market in Boston.
  3. Dome-Fortress-Lookout tower
  4. Garden with wooden sculptures
  5. St. Martin Sea Caves
  6. St. Martin Covered Bridges and fishing village
  7. Watched the tide changes
  8. Learned how to do a Moose Call
  9. Museum
  10. Reversing rapids again

Lunch – while on excursion. A bit of a fiasco. There were 100’s of people there. 3 bus loads plus 2 dozen cars and unknown number of taxis.  Stood in line for 10 minutes. Ordered 2 fish and chips for $11 – great price. Waited 20 minutes for it to arrive. We only had 40 minutes and that included seeing the caves. Luckily we were the 1st in line. This stop was extended by 10 minutes. However the next stop was shortened and we were late for the bus, lol. Food was the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. Been to England twice and I live in New England with Legal Seafood less than an hour away as well as the Cape and the Coast of Maine, so I am a bit snobby about my fish and chips. So, yeah, it means a LOT when I say it’s the best I’ve ever had.

Dinner – Delicious. 5 out of 5 stars. Penne with scallops, mussels, shrimp, and calamari with tomato cream sauce.

Show – Justin Illusion – excellent. Goth-type illusion and dance show.

Late Night Room Service – 45 min wait but was really only 20. Grilled cheese 4 out of 5 stars.

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Day 4 – Halifax, Nova Scotia
Excursion – 10 Best
Overall – It was excellent and the sites were wonderful.

  1. Public Gardens – pretty
  2. Drive around city – Cunard House, Universities, hospitals, churches
  3. Citadel – Witnessed the cannon fire at noon. Boy was it LOUD!!
  4. Waterfront – Charming. Typical Northern Atlantic seaport. Shops inside historic buildings filled with all the lobster-themed, salt water taffy, and maple sugar souvenirs.
  5. Bridge
  6. Site of the Halifax Explosion – a deadly maritime explosion
  7. Fairview Cemetery – One of the Titanic burial grounds. Nicely maintained memorial to the dead. The Nova Scotians are very dedicated to preserving the victims’ memories.
  8. Peggy’s Cove – Absolutely stunning. Words cannot adequately describe the beautiful of the tiny seaside village. Lighthouse, expansive rocks to climb on, cute shops, friendly locals.
  9. Plane crash site – Swissair Flight 111
  10. Acadia Shop – Maple syrup gifts. Nice is you’re not from the North East. If you are from MA, NH, VT, ME then save your money for something else. Nice, clean bathrooms, though.

Dinner – very good as I’ve come to expect. Seafood again and Warm Chocolate Melting Cake.

Movie by the Pool – every night they play a movie on the giant screen by the pool. They have plenty of warm blankets and freshly popped popcorn. There is a movie at 8 and another at 10. What a great way to end the night.

Helicopter – Tonight something unusual happened. At about 7:55PM ship time, right as the sun began to set, a helicopter began circling the starboard side of the ship then went around aft and back up the portside of the ship. We had left port about 2 hours earlier and the shoreline was just barely visible in the horizon. There was another ship off in the distance, but other than that we were alone in the water. I also noticed that the ship slowed down signifantly and two security guards were patrolling the outisde decks. This continued on for 45 minutes until it was pitch black darkness. The other passengers didn’t seem to notice. A few kids ran over to the railing to wave, a few adults stopped to take a photo, but only about 2 of us stayed to watch what was going on. During this 45 minute period where the sun was setting the helicopter would come down low and hover above a spot for a minute then go back up and begin circling again.

During this time to cruise director, Josh, came over the intercom to make his usual cheerful evening announcements, and the crew and passengers carried on as if the helicopter and its search-grid flying pattern did not exist.

I worry that they were looking for someone in the water. I did not notice any rescue boats in the water, but then again I did not explore the stern or the port side very thoroughly. I spent most of the time observing from the starboard side.

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Day 5 – Sea Day
Weather was cold in the morning, and the chair hogs present anyway. I took a chair that was empty. A woman nearby said it was for someone else that is coming so I said, “Fine I’ll use it until then.”  She was angry about it, but oh well. Guess what? No one ever arrived and about 15 minutes later, she left. We enjoyed a relaxing day at sea and prepared to go home the next day.

Final Dinner – It was wonderful, but an alarming thing happened right in the middle of dessert. All of a sudden the lights went out and the crew took out flashlights from their pockets. A bunch of us gasped, one woman burst into tears, and I was ready to grab a life vest. Keep in mind this was not too long after the Costa Concordia accident. However… The waiters and waitresses began to dance and sing and use their flashlights as spotlights. It was their farewell to us, only most of us had never been on a Carnival cruise so we didn’t know that was going to happen.

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Disembarkation
We had an early breakfast then got ready to go. Was easy and quick. We walked off with our luggage when our floor was called.

Norwegian Dawn – Boston to Bermuda July 13-20, 2012

23 Feb

Norwegian Dawn – Boston to Bermuda July 13-20, 2012

SUMMARY
Another perfect cruise.

Embarkation
Arrived at 10:45, but boarding did not start until 11:30. No line for security or to check in, but as time went on the waiting area became quite crowded. Even though we had to wait 45 mins I am still glad we got there early.  As soon as our zone was called we were on board right away and walked around the ship for a bit then went up to the Bimini Bar to have lunch. At 12:30 the rooms were ready and at 2:30 our luggage arrived.

Stateroom
We had a balcony room near the aft staircase on the portside #10696. This was the same room we had last year, and we reserved it again this year because we like it. It’s exactly the same as we remembered – clean, modest, comfortable, and quiet with a beautiful view of the sunrise in the morning on the way to Bermuda and a spectacular view of the sunset as we sail back home. Our room was missing some things (robes, pen, paper, ashtray on the balcony, ice in the ice bucket, an extra roll of toilet paper, and the mini bar had some things missing from it). Nothing major, but it is noteworthy. I left a note for the steward the following day and everything was taken care of.

Specialty Restaurant – Teppanyaki
Outstanding 5 out of 5. I feel this rating is particularly significant because my husband does not like Japanese hibachi, but he thoroughly enjoyed himself at Teppanyaki, and he cannot wait to go back. Everything was perfect – the service, the show the cook performed, the quality of the food, and the value. My husband is a big eater and he left stuffed. The cook offered 2nd and 3rd serving of rice for those who like to splurge.

Specialty Restaurant – Moderno Brazilian Steak House
Outstanding 5 out of 5. We went here on our last night, and what a perfect way to spend the last night of a perfect cruise. The food was delicious and the service was impeccable. It was definitely worth the cover charge.

Main Dining Room – The Venetian
Delightful 5 out of 5. We ate there on most nights. Our favorite meal was on the 2nd night. My husband had Caribbean steak and I had the thai chicken and shrimp. I also had breakfast there just about every morning. I love their french toast. My husband never wakes up in time for breakfast, but that’s fine with me.

Poolside Drinks
Less than stellar. 2 out of 5 stars. The service was wonderful, but the quality of the drinks was a disappointment. They were expensive – mixed drinks ranged from $6.50 – $9.50, but the serving size was small and they were very watered down. If you’re not careful they will sneak in a “Souvenir Cup” for an additional $2.75. Beer is $4.95-$6.95, but you can get a bucket of 5 and get the 6th one free.

Poolside Entertainment
Joy the Caribbean-style band. Very good, relaxing music. The best part is the Poolside BBQ every sea day (weather permitting). There is nothing better than the fresh sea air and the smell of a real charcoal BBQ. The DJ really got the crowd going, too.

Latitudes Party
It was held on the way back from Bermuda on Wednesday. It’s invitation only for past cruisers. It featured unlimited house chardonnay, merlot, rum punch, beer, or champagne. They had raffles for dinner for 2 at any specialty restaurant, admission to blackjack tournament, vintage coaster set, and a t-shirt..

White Hot Party
Was on Wednesday night. I always enjoy it even though it’s mostly a younger crowd. They decorate the lounge all in white, there’s ice sculptures, loud music and cups that light up.

Bermuda
There are not enough words to describe the beauty of Bermuda. It weather was perfect, the people are friendly, the beaches are breathtaking. We did our usual thing – got bus/ferry passes, went to Horseshoe Bay and Tobacco Bay, and visited with our friends at The Bone Fish and with our favorite artist, Lisa Rego. Three days just isn’t enough, but it’s nice knowing that we still have a couple days left of fun on the ship to enjoy before arriving back in Boston.

Additional Info
I have more info in my review from our cruise in 2011.

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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