I just got back from the Oct 12th sailing of the Dawn. I had a great time. It was my first cruise. I had only one problem. The stop as Port Canaveral was a waste of time. Myself and few others I spoke to said that they would have gladly omitted that stop to actually stay overnight in the Bahamas. Maybe the cruise line should look into this suggestion. Other than that the boat was beautiful, the staff were great and the other guests were friendly. We are already planning our next cruise.
We were on the 9/28 Dawn, and while we enjoyed going to Epcot for the day (we were traveling with No children), Your suggestion sounds perfect! We would have forgone the Epcot day trip, to have an extra day in Nassau. Actually come to think of it, if they skipped the South Miami stop, and added that time to either the Port Canervial stop, or the Nassau stop that would be great also. We found South Miami not to interesting as you are only there during the day time hours, so we just walked aroung and then went on a boat tour. I could have done without that port
I sailed on the dawn on 9/21/03 and I could not agree more. If you do not take the excursions to Disney World or Cape Canaveral there really isn't much else to do. We rented a mini van and drove to cocoa beach. We stopped at Ron Jons Surf shop which was neat ,and then proceeded to the "world famous" Cocoa Beach pier. What a dump. If this is the best that Cocoa Beach has to offer than I would have rather stayed on the ship. NCL would be smart to eliminate Port Canaveral and spend more time in the Bahamas. Granted their are many people who spend the day at the Orlando attractions but is it worth it? It costs a small fortune for the bus fare and the park admission and then you have to rush around to try and see it all. Not my cup of tea.
The day at that port is specifically to attract people who want to combine a cruise and a day at Orlando attractions. I think it's a great idea! And yes, it's worth it. May not be your cup of tea but a lot of people take advantage of the day at that port and have an awesome time. Definately not a waste of time or money if it's what you want to do.
While not having been on the Dawn but contemplating going on the ship Miami is one of the last ports that I would want to visit. With the speed that this ship has I can't believe that NCL doesn't think of going to Key West or just staying in Nassau an extra day,although I would personaly enjoy more of a day at sea than anything else,after all,ships are islands that move,right?
The ship arrives at Pt Carnival at 8AM. The buses leave around 9:15. you get to the park about 10AM. The first bus back was at 6PM. So you have about 8 hours in the park. Thats plenty of time to see just about everything.
i thought that miami was a big waste of time, if i did not have a friend to visit with at that port, i would have stayed on the ship and relaxed a bit...disney on the other had was a bunch of fun, there was enough time to go to epcot and see all we wanted to see..we even got a bit bored by the end of the day...as far as the magic kingdom, it may have been a bit short depending upon the lines at the park..but if it was anything like the lines in epcot you will do just fine..ilyse
At that time of year most of the Orlando parks close at 7 pm anyway. And I don't even think they are open before 10 am. During the summer, the boat stays in Cape Canaveral longer to accomodate people who want to enjoy as much time in the parks as possible.
I do agree that I wouldn't be heartbroken to do without the Miami port. I'd rather spend that day in the Bahamas or, as someone else mentioned, the Keys would be nice. I'm sure some people enjoy the day in Miami though. I'd love to hear people's experiences that went to Miami and had fun. What did they do? What shore excursions are worth doing in Miami?
One purpose of the Canaveral stop is to load more passengers.
At either Miami or Canaveral you can do the Everglades excursion which is quite good from what I hear. Having never been to Miami I did spend the taxi fare to go to South Beach but was disappointed. However, I was glad to see it. In retrospect, I would agree, it is pretty unnecessary. Now I know that and may opt to stay on ship when I go again or do the alligator (Everglades) trip. Nassau is not a great stop for me so I don't mind the FL ports. I really liked the private island too, of course, the weather is a crapshoot and could certainly ruin that day in a hurry.
I was on 10/12 Dawn as well..we did not get off in Pt Canaveral but stayed on board and relaxed-actually found a chair by the pool...the one thing to remember is that a 7 day cruise out of NYC does not give you to many port options...the only way to get better ports is do more days at sea and maybe do St Thomas and private island and that is all...NCL is attempting to satisfy the east coast market with something to a warmer climate, but still only for 7 days...
i think the port kennedy is much more of a problem during peak season --like summer or school vacations-Going in Sept is slow time at disney parks --but one can imagine the time pressure if you must wait on line for 30-60 mins for each attraction-
I think skipping Miami is the solution --but i believe they restock food there --which could be a problem--as I agree walking around south beach in late morning is not the image of south beach you think of
I think stopping in Port Canveral is great if you take advantage of the excursions to the Orlando parks. But, if you're not into that, I'm sure its a disappointment but everyone is different - I am not a fan of Nassau yet several people on here are recommending that they skip PC and spend 2 days in Nassau. Boring. The only way I would recommend not going to PC is if they spent 2 days on their private island, Great Stirrup Cay, which is gorgeous and relaxing. Nassau is okay but NOT for 2 days. And thats my humble opinion. : )
The first stop in Port Canaveral is great if you're up to handling the additional stress and $$ of the theme parks. I was not. But you know what the best thing was for us at this port? The ship which was totally packed to capacity with families and kids ( I myself have 3 boys) totally CLEARED OUT! I got to go on all the slides at the kids pool with my 5 year old so that he wouldn't be scared to do them alone later when everything was so crowded again. There was room by the pool, and everywhere else I went. It was wonderful! Some friends tried Cocoa Beach and were disappointed.
The second stop in Miami seemed to be important to the ship, they had a lot of maintenance going on, re-fueling, re-stocking of food, etc. .. Again we stayed on the ship - but so did most of the other passengers, so everywhere was still crowded. Some friends enjoyed hours of shopping and the beach at South Beach. Shopping is not our thing.
If it were up to me, I would definitely change the itinerary - but you cannot please everyone. To me, the Florida stops are not interesting enough. Spending more time in Stirrup Cay for SURE should be a priority. We had to leave by 2:00, and it was so wonderful there. Everyone I spoke to did seem to agree on that. What a shame.
Wait until winter time when Pt Canaveral, Miami, and Nassau are all freezing cold. Then what would you suggest. The Dawn 11 day itinerary to Southern Caribbean is fine. This 7 day itinerary leaves a lot to be desired. I wonder if NCL will do it for more than this one season.
I have a great idea. Once we all get aboard a cruise ship, let`s vote on where it will take us!!! That should be lots of fun.
Of course the cruise lines could try to publish an itinerary ahead of time. Then we could all do our homework on the ports of call and not have any surprises. Which way do you think we should tell the cruise lines to do it??
I am getting ready to sail on the Dawn on November 30th out of NYC with my husband and two girls (ages 3 & 5). I was wondering if anyone can tell me if it is cheaper to get my own transportation from the ship to Epcot rather than book it through NCL . The price of the excursion from NCL is awfully high. It is cheaper to buy the tickets online and have them with us, but I don't want to get there and find out it will cost us $100 to get to Epcot. Any help would be appreciated. Also, any idea of the possibility of sunbathing on the way to Florida or am I dreaming? Please wish us luck as it is our 10th Wedding Anniversary and our first vacation in years (since the kids were born). I really need a break and am counting on a relaxing time.
Thanks so much.
The main reason for Epcot is we have never been there. The idea of waiting in line at the parks is not a pleasant one however, I didn't realize Epcot didn't have anything for toddlers or small children. I appreciate your help and think I may as well just stay on the boat. I told my husband that we can do a Disney vacation in a couple of years and hit them all.
p.s. I hope you are wrong about the sunbathing. It is truly my idea of a perfect vacation!
Kelly, The listed price for the transfer to Epcot or Magic Kingdon is $28 for adult and $20 for child. These are roundtrip and I doubt that you can do it for much less considering that it is about an hour's ride from the port. I checked last sailing and you could not buy discounted day ticket online, only multiple day tickets.
From the Official Ticket Site:
Individual admission* for one day either at the Magic Kingdom® Park, Epcot®, Disney-MGM Studios or Disney's Animal Kingdom®Theme Park.
Tickets may be purchased only at Walt Disney World® Theme Parks and Resorts.
$52 adult $42 child ages 3-9
I feel for you since I remember traveling with kids and going X4 for everything, not cheap, worse now adays for young parents.
I also agree with whomever said that Epcot really not for kids. I remember taking mine there ( dating myself, when Epcot just opened ) and all they wanted to do was get back to Magic Kingdom.
We may go to Epcot this trip though, we went to Universal on Oct sailng on Dawn and didn't think it was ao great, not for adults anyway.
We are sailing again we you by the way Nov 30th. Hoping we all have great weather and a great cruise!!!
I went to Magic Kingdom and Epcot again yesterday. We ran into a young kid from the UK. He was maybe 7-9. He really enjoyed EPCOT. There probably is enough to do there since you will be during the day and not at night. You can stay in future world and keep them occupied. However, to me, the enjoyment of EPCOT is the World Showcase and the wonderful restaurants.
Does NCL's excursion / shuttle to Magic Kingdom/Epcot use Disney buses? How was the busing experience? I'm worried that with getting off the ship and busing there won't be enough time at the park to make it worthwhile. I agree that most kids would much prefer MK to Epcot.
They use Coach USA buses. There is plenty of time at the park. We sailed the week of the 16th and got to the park at approx 10:30-10:45 (Islands of Adventure). There was hardly anybody there and not wait on any of the rides. I am sure the first week of December will be similar. You have until approx 6:30 to stay at the parks. Last bus leaves then, first left at 5:30. The bus was fine. A cab would cost approx $150. Not sure how easy it would be to rent a car. Have fun and enjoy the cruise.
I was on the Nov. 23 cruise from NY and I agree that this stop is a total waste. Even if you plan to go Disneyworld or Orlando, there's not enough time to get your money's worth for these theme parks. Besides, what kind of fun would you have if you had to constantly look at your watch to make sure you don't missthe bus back.
We took the shuttle bus that charges $6 that goes to Cocoa Beach (you get dropped off about a quarter of a mile away from it), Merritt Mall and Wal Mart. Why would anybody want to go to a mall or a Wal Mart? We took the trip anyway since we needed a bar of soap for the bathroom that only had a gel soap dispenser.
I think that there is a sweetheart deal between Port Canaveral and the cruise lines in terms of ports fees and abatements. Tourism is a big boost to this otherwise dying part of Florida and because of this, they are building a new terminal to accommodate more ships. Orlando I'm sure is also in on this. Oh well, business is business.
The stop at Port Canaveral is for Disney. This ship is meant for people who want a 7 days cruise and don't want to fly. There really aren't many options. They did the best they could. For those of you complaining, do yourself and favor and fly to Miami. You'll be much happier. I'm going because my Dad won't fly and we want to take a family cruise. Plus I have a 4 and 6 year old. Perfect itinerary for all of us. If I was going with my wife and I alone, I wouldn't even consider this cruise. But I am looking very much forward to a family cruise. That's what this ship is about to me.
You're wrong about there not being enough time to do a theme park. There's plenty of time, even in this off season when the parks close early. We went several weeks ago and we went on every ride and had a great time. The parks aren't as busy this time of year so there aren't the crowds to contend with. We weren't looking at our watch so as not to miss the last bus, we had plenty of time and even managed a leisurely lunch. I agree that the stop is for those people who want to do an Orlando park, that is why me and my family took this cruise. Didn't want to contend with flying, wanted to go to Orlando and a cruise sounded pretty good on top of all that. Great combination.