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Old January 10th, 2003, 11:10 AM
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Default New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Norwegian Dawn Review 12/28/2002 Sailing.
Author: Dan Tobey
Date: 01-09-03

Introduction:
We just returned from a New Years sailing of NCL's brand new Norwegian Dawn, to the Eastern Caribbean. This was my 29th cruise and 12th for my partner. We have sailed NCL before and are Latitude Club Members. We tend to think of NCL as a budget cruise line and were interested in sailing their brand new Flagship. This was only the Dawn's second sailing, so we excepted that there would be bugs to be worked out. The demographics of this New Year's sailing saw many large family groups, of the 2700 passengers, 700 were children 17 or under. This caused many problems with lack of deck space, dining room reservations and lots of kids roaming the ship unsupervised. We can't help comparing the Norwegian Dawn with our last cruise on Celebrity's Infinity. Both ships are about the same size but the Infinity carries 25% fewer passengers.

Embarkation:
We flew from Philadelphia to Miami early on the day of departure. We booked our air through NCL, thus receiving transfers to and from the ship. After picking up our luggage from baggage claim, an NLC representative led us outside, where our luggage was placed to be taken to the ship via truck. We then had a two hour wait, as the first buses to the ship would not arrive at the airport until 11:30AM. There went our hopes of being on board by noon. The first bus to the Dawn arrived at our terminal at 11:45. After a short ride to the pier we started the very long embarkation process. The special line for Latitudes Club Members moved slower than the regular line. NCL just didn't have enough people processing paper work. It took almost an hour an a half and several lines before we finally boarded the ship about 1:30PM. Two friends, who got to the pier about 2PM, waited in line for over 2 hours before boarding. There was still a good size line behind them and the ship sailed two hours late.

Once on board there was no one to take our hand baggage and lead the way to our cabin.

The boarding process, on our Infinity sailing, just 4 months earlier, was a snap. We where on the ship with in 15 minutes of reaching the pier. A White Gloved crew member greeted us and escorted us to the cabin.

Staterooms:
We had booked a guarantee outside category "H" cabin and received just that, cabin #4506 on deck 4. No upgrades on this fully booked sailing. These outside cabins, on the lowest passenger deck have only a very small porthole. The porthole provide little light and no view. The price we paid was a bargain as compared to what other ships offered for a 7 night New Year's sailing. All cabins except Villas and Penthouse Suites tend to be compact by today's new ship standards. They are however, well designed and nicely appointed. Lots of drawer, hanging, shelf and hook space. Twin beds can be made up as a Queen. Light cherry wood fixtures, with cream color walls, accented by bright shades of Aqua, for bed spreads and carpet, make for a pleasant decor. The bathrooms have a sliding shower door and another sliding panel to close off the toilet area. The cabin and bathroom had good light and a powerful, hand held, hair dryer. The closet area had a small safe and micro mini refrigerator. Another nice feature was the adjustable sign wheel, just to the side of the cabin door that allows one to signal, "Do Not Disturb", "Make Up Cabin", "Turn down Cabin", or "Welcome". Our nod for cabin size and design goes to Infinity, but we liked the Dawn's bathroom better.

Our two attendants were accommodating, keeping the cabin spotless. On the last night when we returned to our cabin we found we had no towels. It took two calls and one trip to the reception desk before clean towels were delivered. The problem was the front desk person keep insisting that housekeeping had placed clean towels on our bed. When the housekeeping attendant finally delivered the towels, he admitted that he had placed the towels in another cabin down the hall.

Gays and Lesbian:
NCL did post "Friends of Dorothy" meetings for each evening. Our group of four attend the one the first night. It was held in the small Star Bar. Two other guys showed up, only ordering a drink, then left. Another, we attended mid week was held in Dazzles 2, which is the late night club for the 18-20 year old set. The four of us were alone that night. The last night out we tried again, back up to the Star Bar, this time when we walked in, we saw about 10 lesbians sitting at the bar. We had met two of them the night before at one of the shows. We had all found each other during the week. Again, we were the only guys. There were a number of gay guys on board. We ran into most of them late night in the Spinnaker Lounge. A couple of the gay dancers were always there too.

The amount of gays and lesbians on board was smaller than I was excepting. This might have to do with the fact that several Gay and Lesbian Travel Agencies had large groups on both the Golden and Grand Princess. We checked out those sailing's but found the pricing to be much higher, than what we paid.

Nod to NCL over Celebrity, for posting FOD parties.

Freestyle Dining and Restaurants:
The Dawn was specially built for "Freestyle Dining." While we enjoyed dining in the different restaurants each evening, we did missed the experience of dining with other passengers and having the wait staff know your all yours needs. There are ten restaurant to choose from each evening, that did cause some problems. While the food was outstanding in every venue we tired, getting seated at a popular times was impossible. Service was friendly but very slow and a four course meal took well over two hours each evening. There were long wait times and once seated, we waited long periods until our orders were taken. Each course came slowly. The hard working wait persons were friendly but understaffed, tables would sit empty and uncleared. The maitre'd never had time to stop by the table, they were always clearing and resetting tables themselves. The "reservation only" and "extra charge restaurants" where no better.

This is a basic run down of all the restaurant on board. Aqua, Venetian and Impressions are considered the three main dining rooms. They all served the same menu, just in a different decor. While Aqua and Venetian are large and noisy, Impressions was smaller and charming and our favorite. All three are no charge and first come first served with no reservations. Anytime between 7PM and 9PM we found lines at all three. When the 7:30PM evening show let out at 8:30PM, there was a mad dash to these restaurants. People trying to make the 9:30PM show were still in the dining rooms even though they were seated at 7:30PM.

There are two other, no charge, theme restaurants, with reservations only, seating 5:30PM-10:30 PM. Reservations are made the day you wish to dine there, either in the lobby area or by calling a special reservations number. Salsa, on deck 8 for Tex-Mex cuisine and La Trattoria, on deck 12 for Italian. La Trattoria provided us with our best and speediest service of the week. The Maitre'd even stopped by the table twice.

Extra charge Restaurants include, Le Bistro for French cuisine, $12.50 cover, Cagney's Steak House, $17.50 cover and Bamboo Asian Restaurant, $10.00 cover. The same reservation system is use for these venues. Located within Bamboo are the Sushi Bar and Teppanyaki, both with "A La Carte" pricing. The Bamboo was the most under used restaurant on the ship and Reservationist pushed this choice. NCL would be better served to offer a No Charge Chinese style restaurant in this space. The only extra charge venue, we tried, was Le Bistro on New Year's Eve. We had made 8:30PM reservations and the Maitre'd tried to seat us in the undesirable Wine Cellar. This area is just outside the main entrance to Le Bistro and open a main lounge and traffic area. Only after I demanded to see the Hotel Manager did the Assistant Food and Beverage Director arrange for us to be seated inside the dining room. This charming room is full of original works of art by French Masters. Estimated value of the art work, is said to be over 16 million dollars. The food here was as good as served elsewhere on ship. The art work and wild mushroom soup, served in hollowed out bread was worth the extra charge. We were thinking about going to Cagney's Steakhouse one night but after reading the menu we didn't think it was worth the extra cost. All the dining rooms had excellent steak and beef offerings, so why pay extra just to order steak?

The Garden Cafe, Norwegian Dawn's buffet, on deck 12, offers a no charge, casual theme dinner each night. Blue Lagoon, on deck 7, offers a small 24 hour snack style menu.

Wait service breakfast and lunch were served in the Venetian on deck 6 aft. While the Garden Cafe, had buffets for these meals. Lunch time would also see a barbecue set up out by the pool on deck 12. Hamburgers and hot dogs there available at the Bimini Bar and Grill, on deck 14. Most days there was $10.00 "all you can eat" Sushi at the Sushi bar.

There was never a lack of food 24 hours a day. Room service was offer from a limited menu if you didn't want to leave your cabin. The quality and taste of all the food was outstanding, far exceeded our expectations, service fell short. The Garden Cafe buffet was always busy, and cluttered with soiled trays and dishes left on tables. The buffet lines were not refilled promptly, drink and ice dispensers were constantly empty and not refilled even when brought to the attention of staff.

The only area where there was not a shortage of staff, was the bar service on the open decks. These people were everywhere and in your face, pushing drinks.

There was not a bar server or Sommelier in any of the dining rooms. We were told that NCL has eliminated them. Your wait person took drink and wine orders, slowing the dining room serve even more. An interesting side note, one night I ordered a bottle of red wine listed under "French Wines", the bottle once open and sampled, turned out to be a lovely Red from Chile, not France. When I pointed this out to the Maitre'd in Impressions, he acted like he could not care less. No offer was made to replace the wine with a bottle from France.

Food quality and taste, Norwegian Dawn, service Infinity.

Entertainment:
The three "Production Shows" staged by Jean Ann Ryan are not to be missed. They were the best of all my 29 sailing's. The beautiful Stardust Theater on decks 6 and 7 was the perfect venue for these shows.

There where comedy acts, piano players and singers in the many bars a lounges throughout the ship. Spinnaker Lounge on deck 12 forward was the venue for the evening lounge acts and the late night disco.

Bingo, trivia games and karaoke where part of the normal cruise ship activities. The were deck games including shuffleboard, basketball, golf green and giant chess pieces.

Deck 12 had a nice Cinema with a large screen but it was never used for other than a couple of kids movies. TV's in the cabins, did show movies, but the times and titles were never listed.

Games of chance could be found in the Dawn Club Casino on deck 6. This large, nicely laid out casino was always busy. I am not sure how well the payout was on the slots, since I do not play them. Everyone seamed to be having a good time.

Gym and Spa Facilities:
Deck 12 aft houses a large, 24 hour fitness center. There are many tread mills, step machines and stationary bikes. TVs line the walls, as do mirrors and some ocean views. One deck below, is the El Dorado Spa, open until 11PM each night. This area includes men's and lady's lockers with steam rooms and whirlpool tubs. In between, the two locker areas, is a large lap pool and hot tubs. There are a few lounge chairs, facing the large aft windows. Use of these facilities are free. Standard spa type treatments are offered for a fee, as are some classes in the Fitness Room.

These facilities are for passengers 16 and over, but were over run by large groups of younger kids and teens all week. The location of, what should be adult only facilities, is right next to and below the T-Rex Kids Center and Teen Club.

In comparison, the "Infinity" has a better spa and fitness center, and enforces their adult only use of these facilities.

Outside deck space:
Deck and sunning space it tight for a ship with this high a passenger capacity. On sea days every deck and lounge chair had towels and personal items on them by 8AM.

The where no real areas for those who like to sit in the shade on an open deck and read a book or enjoy the ocean passing by. The pool and the five outside hot tubs were always full with kids and young teens, even though there is a kids pool with their own hot tub located aft.

The Infinity beats out Norwegian Dawn in deck space and design.

Parties:
The sail away party held topside around the Oasis pool was very good, better than most. There is a large bandstand right over the pool and our Cruise Director and his staff, along with the band did a great job in setting a party mood.

Another large outdoor sail away party and barbecue was planned for 7PM the night we sailed from San Juan. Rain forced the party into the Spinnaker Lounge. Need less to say this put a real damper on the festivities.

New Year's Eve saw good weather and a large, festive deck party that went on until the wee hours. We only got to the party just prior to midnight as the service in Le Bistro was every slow and we were not seated in the dining room until 40 minutes after our reservation time of 8:30PM.

The Norwegian Dawn wins this one, hands down, best deck parties.

Public rooms, bars and lounges:
As befits a ship this size, there where lots of pubic area to relax, card room, game room, Library, writing room, chapel etc. There where a number of private meeting rooms as well. Most of these facilities located up on deck 12. Bars and Lounges included The Pearly King Pub, Salsa, Gatsby's Champagne Bar, Java Cafe, Dazzles Lounge and Dazzles 2 for the 18-20 year old set, Star Bar, Juice Bar, Topside Bar and Bimini along with the fore mentioned Spinnaker Lounge. Havana Club offered a cigar and pipe smoking area. The Internet cafe was large and had the latest up to date equipment. The $0.75 a minute charge was on the steep side, the room was never fully used.

Overall the Dawn and Infinity are about equal in the public room area.

Ports of call and tours:
We didn't plan on taking any tours offered by NCL, since the four of us friends, traveling together, had been to some of these ports before. NCL does offer lots of tour options and you can pre book prior to sailing. Prices are about the same as other lines charge. I always think you can do better, going on to the Internet and booking with local tour operators, who will pick you up at the pier. There are tours offered, in most ports, right at the pier.

Again a push between the two ship when it comes to tours.

Mon. 12/30, San Juan:
Sailing into San Juan harbor was lovely, passing El Morro Fort on the way. We didn't dock at the main terminal, in Old San Juan, but off in a remote part of the harbor, several miles away. About an hour after the ship was cleared for disembarkation we headed for the gangway. There was a long line waiting to get off, even though they had two gangways set up. Every passenger had to have their plastic key/credit/security card swiped. This was a slow process, and there were on officers to help speed things up. Once off, we opted to walk the mile or so from the pier, to the main highway area. There, we were able to catch a bus at $0.50 per person to Old San Juan. We spent a pleasant afternoon walking around this part of town. About 6PM we took a taxi, at $3.00 per person, back to the ship as it was looking like rain. There was only a short line to reboard the ship.

Celebrity wins this one, since they had two ships docked at the main dock.

Tues. 12/31/2002, St. Thomas:
We docked early morning and after a late breakfast we left the ship about 11AM. Problems getting off the ship, were worst this day. There was only one gangway set up and groups were already returning form the early morning tours.

The pier in St. Thomas is located about a mile outside of main part of town. There is a shopping area set up at the docks with branches of the same stores in town. The prices were about the same. We found many waiting taxis, which are mostly open air style or vans. The cost of a shared ride is, $2.00 PP to town, $6.00 PP to Megan's Bay beach. You can rent one of these taxis by the hour as well, I didn't notice the charge per hour in St. Thomas but $20.00 per hour was posted on the side of the taxi in San Juan.

The weather was sunny so we headed for Megan's Bay beach, where there is a $3.00 entrance fee. Megan's Bay is a beautiful, horseshoe shaped, beach that is always listed, as one of the top ten in the world. There are several restaurants, showers, bathrooms, and covered picnic areas lining the mile long beach. After a couple hours of sun and fun, the clouds rolled in and we got caught in a downpour. Soaked we quickly changed and grabbed an open air taxi back. We opted to return to the ship while our friends were dropped off in town to do some shopping. At 3PM, we arrived at the gangway, to find a line, the length of the ship. It took 3/4 of an hour to get back on board. It started to rain and we got soaked again, but this time, not in our bathing suits but in our regular clothes. Interesting, was the fact that we were docked in between two other large ships, Carnival's Pride and Celebrity's Century. Neither one of these ship had even the smallest line for returning passengers. NCL might want to take a look at what these other two lines are doing right and what they are doing wrong. I am sure the answer is not enough knowledgeable personal supervising the process. This seamed to be the problem through out the week, whenever we encountered slow or poor service.

After a quick change into dry clothes and a snack in the Garden Cafe we got back off the ship to do some shopping in the stores located on the pier. The rain had stopped but the sky was still overcast. We stayed shopping until the last of the stores closed at 6PM. The line was still just as long to get onto the ship, but this time, officers standing at the gangway helped move it along. We departed at 7PM. The weather cleared in time for the wonderful, New Year's Eve Party on deck.

Wed. 01/01/2003, Tortola:
We docked early and got off the ship mid morning, no lines. Tortola is part of the British Virgin Islands and we docked a short walk from Road Town, Tortola's main village. A tourist information booth, right on the pier, handed out maps and answered questions. Since it was New Year's Day, most of the shop were close. We asked about the ferry to Virgin Gorda and the beach area known as The Baths - $26.00 and a 40 minute ride. We opted for the $6.00, 30 minute taxi ride to one of Tortola's free, local beaches. We enjoyed the trip up and down the other side of Sage Mountain. The driver of our, open air, shared taxi, pointed out places of interest along the way. After several hours at the beach, we returned to the ship, late afternoon. We expected lines but found none. Maybe this was because other than tours and the beach, there was not much to do on Tortola. We found that most passengers were already back on board.

Fri. 01/03/03, Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas:
This was the third time I was to visit this private Island getaway. On my first visit, years ago, the weather was too bad to anchor and tender ashore. On that sailing the Captain heard for Nassau where we docked for the day. Two years ago, on the Norway, there was a medical emergency on board and we dropped anchor off the Turks and Cacaos Islands so a passenger could be taken off ship. This time weather got to us again and the Captain felt we could not safely off load passengers. We head further north in the Bahamas for calmer seas and a cloudy. The Norwegian Dawn was not really prepared for this extra, non deck, day at sea. They tried to have some half hearted activities but none interested us. We headed for the very well stocked library and spent the day with a good book. Someday I'll get to do the Private Island beach party.

Security:
There are security cameras in all areas of the Norwegian Dawn. We got friendly with a couple of the entertainers on board, they told us that the security cameras watched passengers and crew alike. Interestingly, theft is a real problem with crew on board, according to them. The entertainers, who are not considered crew, were very willing to tell you all the little secrets of the ship.

One of our friends had his Walkman taken by a crew member from the men's spa area. He had been listening to it while using the tread mill in the gym. He when into the locker area just outside the men's shower, warped the Walkman in his shirt, place it with his other stuff on a shelf and went to take a shower. When he returned about five minutes later the Walkman was missing form the shirt. Two other passengers who where in the locker area said that a NCL crew member walked over to the shelf, went through the items, found the Walkman and asked them if it was theirs. When they said no he put the rest of the items back on the self and but left the locker room with the Walkman. Yes, my friend should have known better and got a key from the spa reception deck and put his things in a locker. What happened over the next 16 hours upset him more than the loss of the Walkman. Starting with the Spa manager, security people, and ship Hotel Officers, no one took much interest in solving the crime. The witnesses were not interview, the surveillance tapes were not reviewed and my friends repeated call to find out what was happening, were ignored. The morning of disembarkation, when he was finally told, by the of security, that there was nothing NCL could do, my friend called the Miami Police, from his cell phone. They came on board and took a Police Report, which is needed in order to make an insurance claim. The head of Security was not happy about this. Bottom line, no Walkman, no thief found, no help from NCL.

Disembarkation:
Like most cruise ships, Norwegian Dawn uses color coded luggage tags, for disembarkation. Since our flight from Miami back to Philly was not until late, we took dark green tags, for flights after 3:00PM. The paper they past out with the tags indicated that they would start debarking about 8:30 and our color would be called about 9:40. Bags needed to be placed outside your cabin by midnight. We followed orders but when we returned to our cabin about 1:30AM we did not see any of the baggage being picked up.

They ship offered breakfast that morning either, room service, Aqua Restaurant or the Buffet in Garden Cafe. We opted for the Garden Cafe, which was packed. From about 7:00AM on we heard the standard paging of passengers to come to reception or the customs area so the ship could be cleared. At about 9:15 they started calling the first color. We were in no hurry to disembark so we had another cup off coffee and went back to our cabin to retrieve our hand luggage. At 10:15 dark green, the last color for those going via NCL transfer to either Miami or Fort Lauderdale airports, was called We left are comfortable chairs, on deck 12 to walk down to the deck 5 gangway. As we descended the central stairwell, halfway between deck 6 and 7, we encountered hordes of passengers pushing and shoving and yelling that their color had been called. What a mess, again no one from NCL around to supervise. I think the person calling the colors was just calling a new color every ten minutes with no regard to the length of the line. From that point it took another hour in this cattle line to get off the ship. We would have went back up on deck, but by that point there were a few hundred passengers behind us. This line was because they were swiping your plastic security card one last time. I understand the reason for this last security check but no announcements were made that you would need these cards. They only announced that you would need your photo ID and customs declaration form. Not knowing you would still need these plastic ID cards, many passengers either left them in their cabins or packed them away in their hand luggage.

Worst disembarkation in 29 cruises. Someone from NCL should sail with Celebrity or even Carnival, they both do a much better job getting on and off their ships.

We found our luggage, board the bus to the airport, checked in with our flight and headed to the airport hotel. We spent several hours sitting buy their pool having drinks and lunch before our 6PM flight home.

Conclusion:
The Norwegian Dawn is a beautiful ship with great food and entertainment. Very good value for the money. We enjoyed our cruise and so did our friends. We didn't let the things that went wrong spoil our good time.

As an architect and designer I spent 25 years in the Hospitality Business, designing and consulting restaurants and hotels. The Norwegian Dawn's problems in these areas can be corrected but only if NCL cares to correct them. Two suggestion I would make;
First, move the show times to 8:30PM and 10:30PM. This would force those wanting to see the earlier show either to dine before seven or after 9:30PM when the dining rooms are less crowded. Those going to the late show could eat as late as 8:30 and still make the last show.
Second, eliminate the deck 4 cabins, there are so few of them anyway. Because they are so close to the water line, you hear the ocean and the boom of the waves hitting the side of the side. This is more true through the night when the ship picks up speed. It didn't bother me but it does get quite noisy and freaked out some other passengers. Many of the public rooms, which didn't get much use on our cruise, could be moved down from deck 12. These would include, the chapel, library, writing room, game room, meeting rooms, cinema, card room, etc. These areas are used mostly during the day when the ship is either docked or cruising slowly. The freed up area on deck 12 could then be used for higher priced cabins, thus generating more revenue. Since this is a brand new ship I don't think NCL will be making these changes anytime soon. But, they might want to look into it for future newbuilds.

All in all, we would sail on the Norwegian Dawn again but would think twice about a Holiday Sailing, just too many people.

Dan Tobey
Phila., Pa.
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Old January 13th, 2003, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

I have been getting lots of e-mails about my review. Please let me set one thing straight. We had a great time and so did our friends. Yes, we had some problems and some slow and poor service. But after 29 cruises, I think it is fair to say the even the best ships are not perfect. This was only the Dawn's second sailing and she was full to the brim.

I think most people will enjoy the Norwegian Dawn.
Dan
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Old January 15th, 2003, 09:35 AM
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Default Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Had a great time on this sailing. Ship is not perfect, but then again, what is in life? I would sail on her again but might not go on a Holiday Sailing. Just talked with some friends who sailed on the Golden Princess the same week. They had many of the same problems with too many kids and slow and poor service. It must be a Holiday thing when all the ship sail at over normal capactiy. They don't hire extra staff just for thes sailings. Large family groups, traveling together can also cause problems when they hold chairs out on deck or seats in the theater for the shows.

The four of us like the Dawn, and Freestyle dining. It offered something different from the other cruise lines.

Peter
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Old January 15th, 2003, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Dan,

Thank you for your very informative review. We are going on 2/8 cruise. It is our first time. We are taking our 1-year-old son with us. It seems like you are very experienced person and know a lot about ports of call. Could you please give us some tips about not so crowed beaches at St. Thomas and Tortola.

Thank you,

Anna
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Old January 15th, 2003, 10:35 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Hi Anna;
Megans Bay on St. Thomas is the best beach, never too crowded. I forget the name of the beach on Tortola, but it was the smaller of the two that the person at the Tourist both told us a\bout. The both is right on the pier and taxis are there to take you.
Any other questions, please ask.
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Old January 15th, 2003, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Hi Anna;
When you are in Tortola, you can take a ferry to Virgin Gorda and the "Baths". I have never done this but know others that have. I will do it on my next trip there. Again, tourist both can give you all the info.
Dan
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Old January 16th, 2003, 05:35 PM
Peter Amodei
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Default Re: Norwegian Dawn, revised reviw

Thanks Dan for a reat review.
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 01:05 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

I was on the Zuiderdam (Holland America) last week, and in St. Thomas we went to a beach a bit further than Magans Bay. it is called Sapphire Beach and part of a resort, but open to all. Snorkle equipment was only $5 per hour and an hour was plenty. They also cooked up lunch (the hotel did) which was burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches. All under $6. Drinks reasonable too, not like on the ship. It is a beautiful beach and we chose it because of reports of overcrowding on Magan, as well as watching out for pickpockets, however, Dan's report was favorable, so i'm sure you'll enjoy wherever you go. And he does seem to be a very knowledgable cruiser.

We went in a taxi, not regular one, but a pickup truck with seats for about 8 in the back. It was $9 one way per person, much less than an organized tour. The ride to the beach was beautiful, as you can' go straight on sea level, but have to go up and down all the hills to get there, so it was a great "tour of the island" on the way, perhaps a half hours' drive.

Have a great time; we did.
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 02:04 PM
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Default Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Thanks. I really appreciate this review because some friends are going on the Dawn in March and I know they will enjoy reading it.
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 06:20 PM
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Default Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Hi Paula;
I think you'll enjoy the ship. The minor start up problems should be worked out by then. Don't miss the three production shows.
Love to hear your thoughts, you when you return.
Dan
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 08:13 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

I'll let you know how my friends enjoyed it. As i said, some friends are going; I get to stay home. We just got off the Zuiderdam last Saturday, and while i wanted to stay on or would like to cruise often, our budget does not allow it. But, we will be saving every penny so we can cruise again!

Paula

P.S. I'm kind of new to these boards, but it is fun to read about everything even if we can't cruise for awhile. At least it's fun until Adam comes along. Haha.
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 08:41 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Oh, to clarify, not offending any Adams on this board. Referred to Adam is seen elsewhere and his language was getting too bad for my taste. So, it was actually a little statement for Dan to read as he would know.

Anyway, all enjoy your cruises. I can't imagine any cruise not being wonderful even with little things that may be not up to par.

paula
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 09:05 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Like you Paula, enjoy cruising whenever I can. We ship and line offers something wonderful and unique. As a cruise adicit, I enjoy the message boards and have igned up for e-mails from several large cruise wholesalers. There are many bargains out there and if you can get the time off, I have sean prices for less than $50 a day with all taxes included. I like the Cruise Value Center web site, because you can search dates, ships and fares on line. Happy cruising, Dan!
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 10:04 AM
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Default Zuiderdam

Hi Paula;
How was the Zuiderdam? Give us a review ofnthis New ship.

Dan
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 11:17 AM
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Default Re: Zuiderdam

First off, i'm going to store away your email address for my next cruise and confer with you where to get the best deals. And will also check out the website you mentioned. I booked at Cruise.com but got our own airfare, very cheap to Ft. Lauderdale

As to the Zuiderdam, we had a wonderful time. I'll try to get something on that board sooner or later. Still unpacking, working on pictures from last week!

I envy you; you get to cruise a lot. Are you working for someone in the industry that permits it, or are you just rich? hee hee. My hubby was very sad the day before it was over because he knew we wouldn't be able to do it again for awhile. It was wonderful.

Do you do last minute things? I know they are cheap but last minute airfare is not. Unless you live in Florida.

paula
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Re: Zuiderdam

Hi Paula;
No I am not rich, anything but. I do however work hard long hours. I sell Real Estate in Philadelphia. Not a high priced area so no real big commissions. Sometimes I work 14 -16 hour days for weeks on end with no time off. I try to travel around holidays because most people are not looking at Real Estate then. I'll do quick trips to London or Paris when I can get a cheap fare. Next Paris trip is Feb. 26 for 4 nights. Got a price of $159.00 RT. Staying in a cute but cheap 2 star hotel for $65 a night. I do these little weekend trip 3 or 4 times a year. Work most weekends so don't get out much, this is my entertainment.

I have signed up with many on-line cruise agencies and get e-mails from them. Sometimes I'll book a cruise 3-6 weeks ahead, if I can get a deal on the air too.
I love traveling, cruising and ships so it is like a hobby for me to check rates etc.

Lucky for us, we can usually find a cheap airfare to Fla. if not from Phillly, we'll drive to BWI, Newark, Atlantic City, Allentown, etc., all no longer than a 90 minute drive. The Philly Airport is a ten minute taxi ride from our home. Over the next few years the cruise rates should stay on the low side, so you can always get deals.

I was interested in the Zuiderdam because it is said to be so different from other Holland American ship. She was to be built for Carnival as one their new Spirit Class ships. Since this is a brand new ship I was wondering if you had any start up problems.

Dan
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Old January 26th, 2003, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

I went to Sapphire Beach when my son and I were in St. Thomas on a Disney Cruise. It was nice, clean and not too crowded. Definitly a place I would recommend.
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Old January 26th, 2003, 07:18 PM
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Default Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Dan: I am planning a cruise for Mid march. My choice is between the NCL dawn and Celebrity Century. I am a single (40) and looking to meet other singles or single moms.....what do you think?
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Old January 27th, 2003, 08:23 AM
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Default Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Hi Eric;
I would pick the Dawn, think it has a younger crowd. If you post something that you are a single guy sailing on the Dawn, I'll bet you can meet lots of single. Make sure you put the sailing date in your post.
Good luck,
Dan
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Old January 27th, 2003, 08:24 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revise

Hi Eric;
I hear that is a good beach too..................
Dan
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Old January 27th, 2003, 08:32 AM
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Default Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Hi Eric.
Will you have your son with you on this sailing? How ld is he? I think the NCL has a better childrens program than Celebrity.

Dan
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Old January 29th, 2003, 10:04 PM
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Default Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Did you fly down on a charter (World Airways) with NCL's Air ? Also, do you think the 2/15/ 03 sailing Presidents week will be packed with children also like your New Years cruise? Thanks Neil
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Old January 30th, 2003, 10:17 AM
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Default Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

Neil, as a once retired TA and now may not be anymore I can assure you Pres day week will not be as packed as New Year's but there will be enough kids. With home schooling and other changes in the school systems today I think all cruises have their share of kids. I know the Sky did a few weeks ago. Happy cruisin

Nita
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Old January 31st, 2003, 11:47 AM
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Default Re: Re: New Years Cruise, Norwegian Dawn, revised

hi paul;
We flew out of philly on American on the way down and USair on the way back. Both flights non-stop, booked with NCL. You'll have some kids that week but nothing like the large family groups we encountered.

Enjoy,
Dan
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