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kol May 24th, 2003 01:57 PM

my family and i are looking to sail out of NYC on the dawn in july. ive never been on a NCL cruise before. so what exactly is freestyle cruising? do people still get dressed up to go to dinner seatings? and i have 2 teenagers, will there be alot of teens on the ship? thanks

Gary May 25th, 2003 08:30 AM

"Freestyle" means dining where you want, when you want. My family and I cruised on Carnival two years ago and had assigned seating. The problem was that we had an assigned table at an assigned time. If for any reason you were late, you could not eat in the dining room; you had to go to the buffet and stand in lines waiting for food (this happened to us the last day of the cruise - not a good way to end a cruise). With freestyle you don't have to go and eat until you are ready. It also gives you an opportunity to eat in any of the main restaurants rather than just one. As for dress code, NCL does have formal evenings, but its usually confined to one dining room, so you can still have a normal sit-down meal elsewhere without dressing up.

slotaddict May 30th, 2003 07:34 PM

We were on the Dawn in April, capri pants were as dressey as we got. My husband work slacks and pull over shirt. No problem. Alot of people got dressed up, but I would prefer not to. There were no restrictions on the dining rooms that I am aware of. We did not dine in the restaurants that you had to pay. I preferred to save my money for gambling. lol. We are considering go back on the Dawn in Sept. Have a great time. There were alot of kids of various ages, there seems to be plenty for them to do.
We had a great time on the Dawn. Ship is hard to navigate, it is laid out funny, but if that's the worst thing, then all in all we had great time.

al heinlein May 30th, 2003 08:29 PM

read the brochure, it tells you all about it. just did it on the wind for 10 days. didnt think i was gonna like it and LOVED IT! you will too.

janel June 2nd, 2003 09:27 PM

I just got off of the Dawn on Sunday 6-1-03. This was my 1st Norwegian cruise, I've usually cruised on Carnival but wanted to try another. The group I was with didn't care for the freestyle dining, for an example of not being able to go when you want is the following: The dining rooms that are included in your fare are open from 6-10. If you don't get there when they open at 6, the fill up and you'll have to wait at least an hour and 1/2 on line to wait for the 1st seating of people to finish their dinner, if you don't wait on line for this time because you didn't make it in on the 1st seating you may come back and have to wait again. So my suggestion is to get there when they open, so you wind up eating the same time each night like a fixed table dining would work. We felt there wasn't nearly enough activities to do. There were gaps of 4 - 5 hours where the only things to do were the following (taken right from their activity sheet "freestyle daily") 1) onboard bookings desk opens 2) play bridge 3) lecture 'you are what you eat' 4) library opens 5) fitness staff on duty 6) bingo (cost about $50 pp) 7) friends of bill w meet 8) art preview, now I ask you what would you do for this 5 hours span? not too much, each day continued in this fashion. Very disappointed in this cruise line, wouldn't recommend.

dan June 3rd, 2003 12:36 AM

Like any other cruise line, each sailin is differrent. We liked FreeStyle more than we thought we would. The Earlier one ate on our sailing the better. We ate about 8 -9 each evening, did have to wait, but never too long. Food is great, service is slow. Beautiful ship, layout like most newer 90,000 ton ships. Cabins size just OK. Very casual, lots of teens and kids. Lots of families. No real need to dress up, but we did. I don't like the ports of call from NY, would rather fly to Fla. and board a ship there. Better ports etc. Would rather sail NCL's Norway, you can get a suite at a cheap rate. Dawn is nice ship but again who wants to sail from NY to Miami?

lmp124 June 3rd, 2003 11:30 AM

Have cruised many years March break only, first time on NCL, sailed on the Dawn with two teen age children. The ship for our cruise was sold out. We loved the ship_ stunning. We ate only at the Venetian and La Tortoria for evening dinner, arriving anytime between 7 and 8pm: wonderful,only waited one evening approx. 15min. Read on this website Aqua not as good and people we met who ate there stated same. On this perticular cruise only 15 teens , they met through the teen group and by the second night met for activities had dinner together and attended the shows, were well treated by the staff. We would see the group throughout the day . We were told there were 200 under 18 total on board for this sailing. Other cruises varied to 800 children . Kids had a wonderfull time on all. Dress for dinner Dockers and golf/dress shirt , simple dress Left the suit coats at home. Free washer and dryer 8 and 10th floor. You'll have a great time with your kids and enough private time to enjoy your vacation as a couple ...go! We are going on NCL Sky to Alaska end of June

Nikki718 June 17th, 2003 10:06 AM

Has anyone stayed in the Romance Suite on the Norwegian Dawn? Is it worth the money? I am planning my honeymoon for August 17, 2003, and still trying to decide on the stateroom. This is my first cruise ever, and am really nervous about making my honeymoon special.

Robyn525600 June 18th, 2003 08:31 AM

To Nikki718
I was on the Dawn in May and I saw the Romance suite - its nice but not much nicer than a regular balcony room but alot more money. I say take the balcony room and save some money.

Hope this helps! :)

annedg June 18th, 2003 10:51 PM

Aqua Dining Room is the best! We also loved Impressions but ended up in Aqua 4 nights. Service was obviously the best and interesting point...staffed entirely with women. Father, husband, and son all noted that the women worked (and very pleasantly) twice as hard as the men, Dah?!

marg June 19th, 2003 04:29 AM

hey honeymooner we are also on the dawn aug 17-2003 where are you from ???? my first time on the ncl always did rccl . from what i heard ,it is grat line also!!!!!!best of luck with a nice dat on aug 16!!!talk soon marg

das June 19th, 2003 02:12 PM

go on a princess cruise, grand or golden.
I went on a princess in europe. best cruise
love the ship , food , staff, and the ports were all awesome!!!

MVL June 19th, 2003 02:32 PM

Just returned from a 7-day cruise to Bahamas this past Sunday. It was great!!! It was smooth sailing all the way and the weather couldn't be more perfect. There were three main restaurants offering the same menu. Only difference was in the restaurant decor. We waited 15 minutes to get into one of the restaurants, but it was no big deal. The restaurant didn't seem crowded, just shortstaffed. We dressed up somewhat on the optional night, which was Monday, but were dressed casual the rest of the time. My husband wore polo shirts and slacks; and I wore casual skirts and tops. We ate at Le Bistro one night -- and the food was fabulous -- even with the additional surcharge.

One thing I have to mention is that although the brochure says you're in Port Canaveral until 10:00 p.m., this doesn't mean you can return from the optional Orlando excursions by 9:00. I believe they had to be back by 4:30 or so, so that doesn't give you a whole lot of time in the theme parks.

This was my third cruise and I thoroughly enjoyed the casual atmosphere.
Happy sailing!

Robyn525600 June 19th, 2003 02:49 PM

We went to Universal Studios and we left at 9:30 am (it was about a 50 minute drive) and we were picked up at 5 pm to return to the ship.

marg June 21st, 2003 06:20 AM

hi we are going on the dawn 8-17-2003 booked unv studios???do you think we will have time ti see it??if we must be back at 4 or 5 please andvise also did you like the dawn ,and what resurants does you like .and when do you book them please e/mail me so i can do a print out !!!that all !!!!!marg

Nikki718 June 27th, 2003 01:31 PM

Hey Marg....I am from new york...what about you? my fiance and i have since upgraded to a mini suite...anybody stayed in one of those?

marg June 28th, 2003 05:48 AM

hi i am from nj are you going on aug 17???if soo let me know!!we are on 10th deck !!!!!!!!talk soon e.mail at my address !!!so we can/t chat!!!!marg

PhanTom June 28th, 2003 07:12 PM

We were on the Dawn cruise of 6/8/03, and can't say enough good things about FreeStyle. One thing I haven't seen mentioned above is that you can make reservations for the restaurants. Some of the higher catergory suites can make them all week, while all others can make them the day before. We usually waited for the morning to see the menus posted in the large reestaurants, then decided where to eat, knowing we also wanted ot try some of the specialty, added cost, restaurants. One day we had a problem, and postponed that one by one day. We had great meals, and great service each day. The LeBistro was a little slow, but mainly because of the special presentations, which included some preparation at your table. Their little extras were terrific, and well worth the extra money, as was Cagney's Steak House. We ate at Venetion 5 or 6 times in all, as they are also open for breakfast and Lunch. The staff is so friendly in all restaurants, and very willing to share their experiences and cruise knowledge with you.

I also noted that people are concerned about getting back to the ship early at Port Canaveral. On our day there, we could leave at about 8:30 am, and were due back at 9:00 pm for departure at 10:00 pm. We took the NCL shuttle to the Magic Kingdom, which gave us plenty of time until our 7:00 pm return to Port C.

There was plenty to do on the ship, as I rarely spent time in the room. Since Tuesday - Friday are port days, you really only have Monday and Saturday to find things to do. Adults should check out the Martini Clinic on Monday, at 12:15 pm in the Star Bar. Frankie is an outstanding and very knowledgeable bartender manager, and will show you how to make many of the basic martinis, gin and vodka, as well as a couple of specialties. Don't plan too much after this, at least if you need to be sober.

We spent time in the pool, hot tubs, golf driving range, a couple of hilarious game shows, the chocolate buffet, and a few other special interest groups. Never did we set foot in the library, movie theater, game room, bingo room, etc. We did hit the casino for a few minutes from time to time, clearing about $100 for the week on the slots.

At night, you have to find something to your liking. The 8 or 10 PM shows in the Stardust theater are spectacular, we did not miss one. Most bars and lounges have some kind of musical entertainment each night. Our favorite group was the Ironics, sing all kinds of popular music from the most recent decades back to the 50's. They can be found either by the pool or in Spinnakers. Theres' also Karaoke, Latino music, a DJ, a teen lounge, and a comedian.

So go prepared for a busy week, and I didn't even mention any of the excursions or great beach days available to you. Have a great time, and I wish I was going again. For those interested in the Star, it's nearly identical, with more sea days, and two martini clinics.

marg June 29th, 2003 04:13 PM

thanks we are going on her 8-17 2003 your info is great .caouse we nver did fresstayl dining or the ncl line .we did rccl always so little nervouse!!!!!!marg ps you can e.mail me with any more details how was the seas???

Boo July 6th, 2003 06:10 PM

There really don't seem to be too many opinions in the middle of the road on Freestyle. Based on people I've interviewed, you either love it or hate it!! I would say (and this is anecdotal only; not a statistically valid survey), that older experienced cruisers do not like it; younger cruisers, those with kids, and those who enjoy more of a "resort" vacation love it.

Frankly, I adore Freestyle. The stories about long lines are interesting, since I've never seen them. I think it is the wave of the future, and apparently many of the cruise lines agree, since they are following NCL's lead to some extent.


al heinlein July 9th, 2003 08:42 PM

PhanTom has it right. if you MUST eat in a particular restaurant, make a rezo. we just did the wind, 10 day hawaii, and if there was ever a line,(seldom) we just went to another restaurant. actually the main dining room always had the longest line! the trattoria was great, and the terraces, and le bistro. that chocolate fondue is to die for! Al

shutterbug August 6th, 2003 08:43 AM

PhanTom, were you able to see most of the park (magic kingdom) is that time span? any suggestions on must sees for the park? my son is 5 1/2 years old... i want to make sure we don.t miss anything special. how long did it take to get to the park from the pier i am told 45 minutes. any other helpful suggestions you have for me?? thanks in advance for your time!!!

debi647 August 9th, 2003 10:31 AM

I haven't been yet, leaving from NY on 9/28, but we are also planning to go to the Magic Kingdom ourselves (first time being there without children lol). Anyways, the ncl web site has down 1 hour each way for the shuttle to the MK.
I think your 5 1/2 year old will just love it!!! Don't forget to take him on the Pirates of the Carib. ride, espically since the release of the new disney movie . And of course "Its a small World" is not to be missed!

linnie August 10th, 2003 10:11 AM

You are about the only ones that took the shuttle. How many hours did they give you in disney. We are 5 people, so I know a car would be cheaper, but we are 2 women (I am 61) and 3 children aged 3,5 and 8. Some people say you have to be back on board at 5 or 5:30. I do not understand that if you do not leave until 10pm. what time did the shuttle leave in the am. Again I am weighing which way I would have more time at disney.

SuzanneH August 11th, 2003 02:43 PM

I just got off of the Dawn yesterday. I don't think I heard one good thing about the "free-style dining". There are three main restaurants to choose from, but you are NOT allowed to make reservations for them. You have to go and put your name on a list and wait for a table, while they tell you 15-20 minutes most of the time it was at least a half an hour. When going to Impressions at 7:45 one night they said we could come back at 8:15. Ather night we tried there and the wait was an hour. We lucked out the night we were in Port Canaveral and had NO wait at Aqua (I think everyone was in Orlando). We found the service in the Venetian to be VERY slow and not very helpful. The staff in Aqua was the best.

There was one formal night and I think most people were dressed up. Otherwise the rules were no jeans, tank tops or sneakers in the restaurants at night.

Our cruise had over 700 passengers that were under the age of 21!

Unfortunately, we had rain on both sea days and the private island day, but the water wasn't very rough (in my opinion).

Hope this helps you.

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