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Bruce

Age: 38

Occupation:Engineer

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Dawn

Sailing Date: February 2nd, 2006

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Norwegian Cruise Line
NCL Dawn Cruise Review
Eastern Caribbean

Bruce

This was our 3rd cruise, our first on NCL. My wife, 2 kids and I have previously cruised with Carnival and RCC.

We are from Upstate, NY so we drove to the pier in NYC. It was a 2.5 hour ride and getting to the pier was very easy. We parked at the pier and paid the monthly rate of $180 not the $25 a day price. They don’t post this monthly rate, so ask for it.

We enjoyed the cruise very much. We are planning on going again next year out of NYC, probably Western Caribbean maybe on the Dawn.

Embarkation:

We got to the pier and unloaded our luggage at the curb. I parked the car while my wife and 2 kids waited for me to get back. We gave our luggage to a porter, along with five bucks and proceeded inside. There were drinks and snacks inside the staging area which was a nice gesture. Things were organized and moved along well for having 1000 plus people in the big room. It was almost exactly 2 hours from the time we pulled into the pier to the time we stepped on the ship.

Room:

We had an inside room on deck 9. The room was quite small. Large enough for two people but not large enough for four people. I was a little worried that there was only 1 bed on the wall that folds down. I was wondering where my other child was going to sleep. The cabin steward came in and pulled a bed out from under the other bed. While this gave us enough room to sleep, the beds took up virtually the entire room.

The bathroom was spacious and well designed. The shower was large and well designed. Storage in the small room was adequate and we keep our luggage in the closet and under the beds. Many days we put the desk chair and small stool in the shower to give us enough space to get dressed in our room. Next year I may splurge and get a room with more sq footage. Also, don’t forget to bring a power strip with multiple plugs. There is only one outlet in the room.

Food:

- The food was not up to par. I laughed every time I read a review where someone said that before I went. I thought to myself, man they must be picky eaters. But, while it was not 'bad' it was not up to par either. If you like good beef like me, you’re in trouble. I agree with other reviewer’s comments that they are trying to drive steak eaters to the $25 dollar a plate Cagney's restaurant. We went there one night and it was very good, not the best I’ve ever had, but the best food by far the 10 days on the Dawn. The shrimp was excellent there too. Forget about shrimp at the regular dining areas, it is nowhere to be found. Some nights the only food worth eating was on the menu at the specialty restaurants.

All the food was presented with elegance and you could see the care the chefs put into the dishes. Whoever creates the menus needs to rethink their selections.

If you like Mexican, make your reservations early for Salsas. We could not get reservations after the 3rd night. You can make your reservations way ahead of time, like the first night for the entire cruise. Then just cancel before 5pm if you change your mind. Again, the food here was good, but nothing to email home about.

The buffet was not bad, ate there more then I wanted to. Some days better than others. Again, presented well, and maintained well by the staff, but the menu planner needs a kick in the pants.

The outside BBQ by the pool was nice. Also really enjoyed the Tex-mex food by the pool that one night.

The entertainment was not as good as I had hoped. Bollywood was Excellent, but the other shows were.......lacking. As a couple in our late 30's I thought the music in the shows were more for the "Mature" audience. If you like big band music, you’re in luck. I am personally not big on horns.

The overall entertainment was good for what it was, but I felt it was more geared for an older crowd.

The gym was very nice, but was never able to get an elliptical machine. The Fitness center could use a couple more. With a little persistence and patience I could have gotten one if I wanted to stand around for a half hour at the heels of the machine. Overall, the appearance of the fitness area was very clean and appealing.

I thought the service was very good. Only twice would I have complained, and both were very minor. Like the guy at the "shore excursion" desk yelling at me for picking up the display of a backpack they had on sale. Was going to buy one, but changed my mind after that. But I will say it was the last day on the ship and the guy did look quite stressed out.

Many others I talked with were disappointed with the service. I think more from a point of always having different serving staff, so servers never get to know you or your preferences. I also miss the quirky little shows the serving staff on the other ships put on every night.

I thought the art auction was held in the wrong place. Need a larger venue such as spinnakers. Dazzles was just too small.

If you have small kids, there is an area in the back of deck 12 with pools just for kids. This was great. The kids loved them and the slides. Plus the adults could sit in the hot tub there. Great place to get to know the other parents and kids on the ship. Plus when you pull out of ports there is a great view. The only problem was getting there. Every time we went to go there the stairs from deck 11 to get there were closed so we had to parade through the fitness center to get there.

The kids camp was spacious and the staff was probably the best trained out of all the ships we have been on. They keep the kids very busy and active every second they are there. I would like to see them have the option for the kids to choose some time to relax. A TV room or quiet game area where the kids can relax on days where they don’t want to be going full speed.

PORTS:

With 2 kids, we knew the ports were not going to be super exciting. Our goal was to get to the beach and maybe do some shopping.

St Thomas.
We grabbed a cab and went to the beach. This was nice, but not cheap. Cost 8 bucks per person each way, plus a small fee to get on the beach. The trip to Megan’s beach cost us a little over $80 just to get there.

Tortola:
Walked off the ship and around the port. Not much there to see or do without taking a taxi or excursion. Went back to the ship and hit the pool and hot tub.

St. Maarten, was our favorite port. Lots of great shopping, and an easy to get to beach. Coronas were only a buck fifty too. That was a bonus. Was hoping to catch a cab to Orient beach, but never made it. Best port by far.

SUMMARY
Overall this was a very good cruise. I really like leaving from NY and not having to fly to a port to catch the ship. For the price it was a good bargain. The ship was clean, well kept and beautiful inside and out. A slight improvement is needed in the food selection and quality. Would also like to see some entertainment/music focused to a slightly younger audience.

PS: Loved the Margarita tasting. Gave us 4 or 5 huge drinks to try in an hour. All were really, really good. I had trouble walking back to my room.. I was quite HAMMERED!
 

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