Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Crown
Sailing Date: September 11th, 2005
Here are some thoughts on our cruise that we just returned home from today 9/18.
This is the second cruise that we have been on, the first being on the Norwegian Dawn to Florida, and the Bahamas in October, 2004 which was an excellent cruise, and a great ship.
The Crown is a bit smaller than the Dawn, which made it very convenient to get around the ship. One thing mentioned to us when we were in Bermuda was that due to the very narrow channel entrance to St. Georges harbor, in which the larger cruise ships are afraid to navigate, so the Crown is perfect for this task.
There are less passengers than our last cruise, so we had the chance to become more friendly with other passengers and staff.
After leaving Bermuda we hit some rough seas due to the aftermath of Ophelia, in which I lost my lunch, and stayed in bed for a day, but after a couple of Dramamine's, I was back in shape. The "throw-up" bags were provided, but after most of the heavy action.
The cabin TV did not provide a GPS map/ weather info of the voyage as was provided on the Dawn. It should be a minor thing to add that would make the trip more interesting. I brought my handheld GPS, and kept track of our position frequently.
The Captain "Ronny Borg" made frequent announcements regarding the weather, and daily weather maps were posted on Deck-7 outside the Yacht club. There were very informative.
Embarkation for the Crown went fairly smooth & stress free. My wife is a non-US resident, so we had to go through the extra steps with immigration. Also, the NY pier was not as crowded as in the past, which allowed us to arrive a bit early. Make sure you do the online pre-registration to save some time at the pier. Plenty of representatives pointing you in the right direction, etc.
Our room steward Anthony greeted us when we arrived in the room. He provided excellent service. Always polite, making the bed/ turning it down around our schedule. He would always ask if we needed anything when we saw him. We really enjoyed the little mints on the pillows when we came back to the room each night.
We had a standard window cabin on Deck-5. Other family members also attended this cruise and were in an adjoining cabin. As mentioned in earlier posts, we noticed that the ship appeared to be older than the Dawn, but was in well maintained condition. We always had hot water in the bathrooms. They pushed two regular size beds together to make a single queen size which was a bit uncomfortable at times, but a very minor detail. The rooms were clean and cozy.
One thing to note is that on this ship 220V AC is the power standard. A 110V outlet was provided hidden behind the TV, and one for a shaver in the bathroom, as well as 220V outlets. I wish they had provided a 110V outlet near the window to allow me to plug in my "Gadgets" but this provided the incentive to disconnect from technology while on the cruise and enjoy it more. Bring an extension cord if you are a gadget person.
Since our only cruising experiences have been with NCL, I can say that we both like the freestyle dining. There were less dining options on the Crown compared to the Dawn, but the Seven Seas menu was always a surprise, and never disappointing. We typically ate lunch and dinner there. We were always greeted with a smile by Beverly the hostess, who seemed to be there 24 hours a day, as well as the rest of the waiting staff who were all very friendly and courteous. There was a lot of hustle and bustle with the servers, but they were able to provide a detailed level of service to a large amount of people in a short period of time. The food was always excellent and done the way we wanted. Our party usually consisted of 2 small children and an infant which made the level of attention from the servers to us more demanding. We usually left an extra gratuity for this effort.
The buffet choices in the Yacht club were a bit more limited than the Dawn, but if you walked around there were always extra surprises on serving stations near the windows. They also provided some ethnic "treats" at both the buffet, and the Seven Seas. We never tried the specialty restaurants on either cruise, as we were always satisfied with the standard facilities. We would like to see more regional dishes to try in future cruises.
Cruise director Mike was very good as well as his staff. They are all young, and have HIGH energy. We never got to see the live productions, as we spent most of our evening time in the Top of the Crown lounge on Deck-11.
Loa & Piero played there nightly, providing a wide variety of listening & dance music. We are avid social/latin dancers, so the music was perfect for us to enjoy. They took many requests from us for music choices, and we would certainly recommend them for future cruises. There seemed to be a general lack of interest by most of the passengers for social dancing other than hip hop/ disco music in which I usually sit out. There were theme music nights and karaoke which were fun. The latin music night was great for us, especially since there were NO other dancers there, so we had a whole hour by ourselves on the dancefloor. A Salsa class was given 2 days later. The instructor was Chelsea, assisted by James. They were able to get the class doing basic steps in a short period of time. I wish more of this type of instruction was available to get more passengers on the dancefloor. The lesson should have been given before the latin party so everyone could practice their steps.
The bingo sessions were entertaining, and the casino was OK if you like that stuff. No action at the craps table :(
1st day - St. George's. It is an historical charming town. We took the glass bottom boat daytime reef tour, on the Coral Sea with Cap'n "Beau" which is recommended. This excursion lasted 90 minutes, and a lot of Bermuda information was told to us by the Captain. Weather was hot, but the locals said it was the first "cool" day in a while.
2nd day- Hamilton- Capital and major business district. Easy access to all parts of the island by bus or taxi. For 1-2 persons, the buses might be an economical way to get around, but as we had a bigger group, we opted for a taxi to get to Horshoe beach, and quick visit to the Botanical gardens displaying the native horticulture, and a small lily pond with a grass Bermuda island in the middle. Worth seeing. A quick trip by the Hotel owend by Michael Douglas was informative. His family has a connection to the island through his mother as we were told she was a native Bermudian. We also went to the Crystal/ Fantasy caves which I liked but would not recommend for anyone with a heart/ breathing condition as there are 80+ steps (Steep) to get down into each of the 2 caves. The Crystal is the more interesting of the 2 if you want to save some$$. Make sure you bring water to drink in case you need it on the way back up the stairs!
3rd day- Kings Wharf/ Royal dock, etc. It is an old naval base but very small, and not enough to keep busy for 1.5 days, but also of historical significance. The fort tour and dolphin experience were great. Lots of nice vistas at the top, and an historical museum about the island also containing a very large numismatic coin collection from various countries and time periods worth seeing.
After 2 cruises, I really understand the term "tourist trap", but the people in Bermuda are extremely polite and friendly. The locals in the Bahamas were a bit more aggressive. I would recommend Bermuda for any first time cruisers. The island is clean, scenic, and has awesome beaches. We took lots of photos while there.
We arrived in NYC with both the NCL Jewel, and Dawn on either side of our ship. We were dwarfed by them. They are sister ships.
We had to meet with all of the non-US passegers on the Lido deck. After a half an hour, the passports were given out, and we were able to leave the ship. The immigration stuff went quickly. We really hated leaving, but that's life.
We give both crusies a big "thumbs up".