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Cruise Gal February 22nd, 2004 01:54 PM

Just Returned!
Hey everyone-

Just got back from sailing the NCL Dawn Feb15-22. What an amazing time I had! We didn't leave Sunday till 6:00, as a result of an accident that occurred nearby. Other than that, smoothe sailing- up until we hit 50 mph winds. WOW! What a rocky night we had. As a result of those winds, we switched the Bahamas with the private island. Instead of doing the island right after miami, we went to the Bahamas. Their island was rather nice. A few shops where you can buy souveniers, but nothing big.
To answer the question about soda cards, there are two choices you have. One is 20 dollars where you can get unlimited SODA for the week. The other is $34.50 and you can have twenty non-alcoholic drinks for the week- meaning you can have soda, slushes, pina cooladas, strawberry daquieres, etc. These soda cards are accepted anywhere onboard.
Something to add about the food. THERE IS A LOT OF IT!!!!!!!!! And the tell you the truth, the whole freestyle idea is a waste in my opinion. There are lines you have to wait on every night for dinner. One night, we had a 45 minute wait. You will constantly see people bringing hamburgers, fries, soda, etc. through the elevators, around the halls, up the stairs. Service is very slow whereever you go. We sat down to dinner around 6:15, hoping to make the 7:45 show. And you know what?? We left the restaurant WITHOUT having dessert at 8:00. Another reason why I dislike the freestyle is that everyone is always coming and going. It feels like you're at home in a diner. You stand up, someone comes to sit down. Everyone is always walking around. NOT a good way to spend time in a restaurant.
Bingo everyday became a little expensive. 50 dollars for four games, althought the prizes were 400 dollars a game.
Indoor spa is for ages 18 and over. Very quiet and relaxing. :-) Massage and facial were great, but over 100 dollars each!
The art auction was fun to watch. I still can't get over the fact that a man spent 88,000 dollars on a single painting, and a lady spend 13,000, but got a free cruise for two anywhere NCL sails. (She might as well book the cruise for two in a suite and forget the painting).
Shows were great! Very talented people. Had an amazing time!
Any questions feel free to ask! :-)


Mermaid Momma February 22nd, 2004 06:15 PM

Re: Just Returned!
Welcome home cruise gal!
Thanks for the review! I know you were late leaving last week. We waited under the Verazzano Narrows Bridge until about 6:30...but there was no sign of The Dawn...My husband, boys and I went into BayRidge hoping to get dinner and there was a very long wait we had Burger King and Taco Bell.....on the way home,close to 7pm, we saw the beautifully lit Dawn passing the Statue of Liberty. Tonight she left just ahead of schedule, and we saw her pass under the V N B just before 6...WOW!!! She is gorgeoous!! so big...and so many passengers taking pictures...we could see camera flashes :) Also, we noticed just forward of the center of the ship way up on deck 12 or so... a red strobe...looked like a disco light...what was that? We waved to everyone on deck! basically had a good time cruise gal, right?...just wondering....

did you do any of the ship's excursions...
or your own excursions....
how did that go?

Were you travelling with kids?
how was that?
or what was your experience with kids on board? this was winter vacation here in NY.

what did you love about this cruise?

What did you absolutely hate?

How was your room?

Which type of cabin did you have?...

How was the food overall?

Which was your favorite restaurant?

Did you like the barbecue by the pool?

Were lounge chairs available by the pool?
How did that work?

I probably have more questions, but this is all I can think of right now! Thanks so much for sharing your vacation with us!!!


ladylauren11 February 22nd, 2004 08:23 PM

Re: Just Returned!
I thought the weather sucked and I would Never cruise again. Just my opinion

Cruise Gal February 22nd, 2004 08:25 PM

Re: Just Returned!

Yes...I had an EXCELLENT time. No complaints. The freestyle I would do again, it just wasn't my favorite.
My fourteen year old daughter had a blast. She met up with a few teens and let mom relax in the spa. :-) All together, there were 900 kids onboard, but of course it was February break- so we expected that.
Our favorite restaurant was the Venitian. Although it basically had the same menu as Aqua and Impressions, it is a much larger restaurant with many tables along the large glass windows. Aqua was a rather smaller restaurant, and you should expect a three hour dinner at Impressions. Service is extremely slow.
To tell you the truth, I LOVED everything about the ship. The glass elevators were great, although we wound up taking the stairs most of the time (took forever for one of the four elevators to get to us).
We did not take any excursions through NCL. However, we did some on our own. The weather wasn't great in Port Canaveral, so we wound up taking a shuttle bus right outside the ship to the Merritt Mall. (6 dollars per person- however, once you pay the six dollars, you could take any shuttle bus wherever you want. You just show your ticket whenever you get on a different bus) The mall was rather small, but was great just to get a chance to explore Cape Canaveral. In Miami, we went to Southbeach, where we had an amazing time. Shopping was great. From there, we went to the bayside mall, which my daughter loved. (shopped till she dropped) The Bahamas was nothing GREAT! We walked off the boat and walked directly into the streets of stores. We walked down to the markers where they attacked you with the hair braiding. Nothing major to buy, but was fun just to walk around. The Private Island was the best in my opinion. There were a few souvenir stores, but nothing you DESPERATELY needed! Just things to add to your next garage sale. The tenders weren't bad getting us there. Very quick. The mini-beach was great. Water was clear and enough chairs for everyone. Plenty of hammacks and beach volleyball courts.
On the boat, however, lounge chairs fill up FAST! So do the four jacuzzis. On hot days, be sure to get up early.
The barbeque by the pool was nothing major. There is so much food all day long, that you want to get sick looking at the barbeque. (unless you eat that as lunch)
The food was very good!! AND TONS OF IT!!! appetizers, soups, salads, main dish, desserts!! The portions aren't very chincy either!
Our room was on the 10th floor. We had an inside stateroom, which was fine for my daughter and I. However, the rooms were on the small side. But for the amount of time we were in there, it was fine.

Any other questions, PLEASE feel free to ask. :-)

Post Edited (02-22-04 20:27)

Mermaid Momma February 22nd, 2004 09:50 PM

Re: Just Returned!
hey cruise gal!
Thanks so much for your detailed reply! We sail April 11 Spring Break...... with a 5 year old and 10 year I appreciate the report on the number of kids...and as you is as I would expect too. I guess I am most concerned that there is enough supervision for my guys....they love "kid crew" programs....where ever they are!!!
I remember choosing to run up the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator when we sailed the Destiny...Maybe it's just a big ship sort of game!! Fine for me!! thanks also for your input on the excursions...we have not made up our minds totally yet....but my parents, my sister and her husband have decided to meet us at The Magick Kingdom on I guess we will be there....UUUGGGGHHHH...I just wanted a nice leisurely vacation!!!! LOL!!!

I am so sorry the weather sucked was it bad? was it too cold, too overcast? I hope you find pleasant weather somewhere soon!!!

Blessed Be,

Mermaid Momma.

Steph's Mom February 23rd, 2004 11:45 AM

Re: Just Returned!
This cruise was awful!!! I will never cruise again. I will go on every message board to tell people how bad this cruise was and I would imagine every cruise by NCL. I would recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to lose weight, the food is so bad that you will never eat. If you like barf bags and barf at every corner this is the cruise for you. The staff is so helpful, I think NCL has beat into them to try and sell you something at every moment. Even getting a pedicure, you are paying for, you are hit up to buy every product they are using. That's relaxing. Their are no activities for families. This cruise had teenagers laying on the stairs for lack of anything to do on every floor. When the cruise director was asked to hold a family dance or movie his response was they should never have let this many kids on the boat. The Kids Club is great, the staff sits around and the kids do whatever they want. My advice get your money back and do something else.

ladylauren11 February 23rd, 2004 04:33 PM

Re: Just Returned!
The cruise sucked and I agree totally with Stephs Mom.

Thank you.

P.S. Some of those kids on the cruise had no respect and ran like wild bulls.

thanks, lauren04

ladylauren11 February 23rd, 2004 04:40 PM

Re: Re: Just Returned!
I agree totally. I liked the Bahamas. The weather was awful. You had to pay for so much. I will never cruise again.

Happy to be home.



babygirl722 February 23rd, 2004 05:06 PM

Re: Re: Re: Just Returned!
stephsmom and ladylauren,

How many cruises have you been on?

525600 February 24th, 2004 08:32 AM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Just Returned!
How many cruises HAVE you been on, Stephs mom and LadyLauren?!

My first cruise was on the Queen Elizabeth II and I didn't not enjoy it that much b/c it was more "hoitey-toitey" than what I like. But I did not let that stop me from exploring other cruise ships and cruiselines. After cruising different lines, I remain a big fan of NCL (I really like freestyle) and plan on staying with them.

The moral of my story is that don't judge cruising based on a bad experience (or bad weather, which NO one can help) -- try it again with a different cruise line - I guaruntee you'll find one that you like.

newmexico Nita February 24th, 2004 12:37 PM

Re: Just Returned!
No family activities? What were you expecting? We have cruised with our teen age grand daughters on NCL, they had a blast with the other kids and the little ones loved the kids program. Bad food, well food is strictly subjective. I am a gourmet cook and have found the food on all cruises to be very good, but certainly not like dining at a $100 per plate steak house. Bad weather, and this in NCL's fault!? You had to pay for so much? What so much? As for the pedicure, everytime I have one here they try to sell me every product they can think of. I haven't found the spas to be pushy on any line except Carnival. Suggested we buy sure, hope we would, sure, over hard sell about it :NO!"

It really appears neither of you have cruised much and expected a different experience. Of course when I read others comments about the same cruise including the same dates I wonder if you are for real and if you are the same person? One time it was tracked down that the same person was posting on boards all over using different names.


superflyjeff February 24th, 2004 10:05 PM

Re: Just Returned!
SM you are out of control. If you were expecting a fine dining or luxury experience, then you should have booked a cruise on the new QM2. The reason that everyone is asking how many cruises you've been on is because some of your statements are so outrageous! How can you blame NCL for the weather? I would suggest that you do more research on your cruises before you take your next one.

I've been on several NCL cruises and I have to say the are the best cruise value on the market today. Sorry to hear you had a poor experience, but give it a break already.

ehogan February 25th, 2004 10:22 AM

Re: Just Returned!
At the risk of giving Steph's Mom way more attention than she deserves, I would just like to comment that all cruises have their positive and negatives. It appears that her sailing experienced very rough weather - something out of NCL's control. It is likely that the poor weather frayed on passenger's nerves and perhaps stomachs and my guess is that if she experienced poor service it may have been due to staff having to deal with:
-many passengers like Stephs' Mom
- the fact that they work about 16 hours a day for extremely poor wages and
-they, unlike Steph's Mom have been away for their families for 6-8 months or more

I am sure her response would be "If you don't like the job, get another one". A reality check is that many staff come from third world countries and they work under these conditions for the benefit of their families back home - this is the best they can do.

I have been on twelve cruises, with every cruise line. Yes, I have experienced some service that could have been better, but I try to keep things in focus. My only complaint about cruising so far is coming into contact with people who are constantly finding fault with everything. Please do us a favour and stay home if you require perfection.

Parrot Mom February 25th, 2004 10:48 AM

Re: Just Returned!
KVETCH, KVETCH, KVETCH.. Gee.. your cruising on school vacation week and you want perfection... You dont have to cook, you don't have to clean (bet she didn't like the way they cleaned her room either)...We have been on 18 cruises...most of them NCL and I think for the $$ they offer more for the $$.. Cruised recently on RCI and the only thing I can say about it is that it was a beautiful ship.. indifferent service, horrible entertainment, and mediocre food and that;'s only a part of our RCI experience. . I'll take NCL any day of the week.. Oh yes.. we are off on another NCL cruise on their old and beat up NCL Majesty for the 10th time..I love the crew and the ship... We've only experienced Free Style Dining twice and never had a problem...maybe that;s because we offer to share a table...

pliscinski February 25th, 2004 10:53 AM

Re: Just Returned!
If she's so used to exotic vacations she should have coughed some more $$$ for a nicer cruise.

newmexico Nita February 25th, 2004 10:53 AM

Re: Just Returned!
The only thing that can ruin a cruise are the passengers like SM if she is for real. Guess what, you are not the only one that has traveled all over the world or so you say. Most of us on this board have been lucky enough to travel quite a bit. We have done Hong Kong twice, Europe a few times, Hawaii too many times to count, Mexico and 15 cruises, but that can't compare with some of the people on this board. Oh yes, we do Vegas and laughlin about 3 times a year. I am a gourmet cook with a degree in Foods and Nutrition. This does not make me an expert on foods, just one with a pretty good idea or what is good and what's bad. As stated you can't expect to get $100 quality meal on any mass marketed cruiseline. I think it's pretty obviously you haven't cruised before, you think more about gambling than any other part of the ship, you expected your daughter to be entertained in a kids camp surrounding. This is ok, but knowning the time of the year there were probably not quite enough kids interested in the program to have someone available for every age group. You may have seen someone get sick, it happens when the seas are rough, but all over the ship? What a vivid imagination you have. What did your hubby think about your constant complaining? It's obvious cruising isn't for you.


newmexico Nita February 25th, 2004 12:25 PM

Re: Just Returned!
you know I really think this is more humorous than insulting although she would love to think she is upsetting us. About once every 6 weeks or so we get someone like her on the board. After awhile they just go away and come back using a different sinerio and name. At least that's my read. If we didn't have them we would get pretty bored. There is an outside chance she is a real person; if so it is sad that her life is so unhappy. Anyone that would pick apart anything the way she did would pick apart just about everything. A few years ago on another board there was a young lady who just went on and on about her horrible cruise. To make a long story short, someone who had met her on the cruise emailed several of us personally to let us know what a total A@@ she really was.

Let's all have a wonderful cruise next time around.


MHC Girl February 25th, 2004 01:29 PM

Re: Just Returned!
Thanks Cruisegirl for an honest posting- you just show that things can go wrong, like weather and late departures, but still have a great time. you are also one of the few people who really put down what you did and didn't like without making a huge deal out of it. I am a first time cruiser and have been visiting all these boards to try to get an idea of what cruising is like, not to get my hopes up too high, or discouraging me from going, but just to figure out what to expect.
I too have traveled the world vacationing in more fabulously wonderful places than most people can even imagine (I have visited more of Thailand, Cambodia, Bali, Kenya, Ghana, Nepal, Bhutan, the Galapagos, the Amazon, and the Andes, than the US!). I have been very lucky to do so, but the best thing I have learned from travelling is that every time you go somewhere, even if you have been there before, it is a new experience: things can and often do go wrong, things happen differently than the time before, and most importantly, if you are just easy going and look for the positives you can have a fabulous time, even in what might have been a horrible situation. a brief example: a few years ago we went on a short family vacation to the beach- it was the only time everyone could get off work/school during a very hectic year, and what happened? A Hurricane hit. Restaurants were closed and boarded up, the islands were evacuated (we were just on the mainland), we were pretty much stuck in our little hotel rooms without cable or electricity watching the roof blow off the building next to us. But i have more fond memories of that trip than our picture perfect vacation to the BVI the year before- despite the hardship, despite there being nothing to eat or do, we managed to enjoy our vacation. On the last day we were gifted with the clearest blue sky I have ever seen, warm weather, gently lapping waves, and a beach empty of other tourists.
So have a great cruise everybody, and make the most of it!!

newmexico Nita February 25th, 2004 05:28 PM

Re: Just Returned!
Just thought of one more thing: SM said she intends on going on every message board there is to warn everybody how bad the Dawn is and probably all the NCL ships. So far I have checked 4 others websites and she isn't on any; should we give her the wesite addresses so she can continue to educate the public?


newmexico Nita February 25th, 2004 10:15 PM

Re: Just Returned!
How crude you are; as for what I have done: every bit is true, for your information I am not 102, but could probably be your mother: God forbid, no on the other hand I wouldn't have a clild like you I am sure. I am a retired Travel agent, prior to that I was retired from a major hotel chain and have 2 daughters who work for airlines, that is how we have been lucky enough to travel. I graduated from college way before you were born, I am sure. As for a record number of kids on that cruise I find it hard to believe. There may have been several young people as there are on most cruises now days. I am familiar with the policies of all cruise lines and if there had been enough kids there would have been a group for your daughter. How could you be raking up casino points if you were with the kids? Are you beginning we realize most of us are not quite simple enough to buy your entire story: parts, maybe, but not the whole thing. Better luck next time and stick with all inclusive type of resorts. Maybe they would cater to your every whim a bit better.


Zzannahk February 26th, 2004 05:16 AM

Re: Just Returned!
I think she's the same person posting as "LIZZIE'S MOM" on cruisecritic. , the same bad attitude and everything. lol

newmexico Nita February 26th, 2004 06:50 AM

Re: Just Returned!
Makes sense; similar names. Don't ya wonder why people do this? They really don't influence many if anyone and make themselves look pretty petty. Oh well, as I said it keeps things jumping.


newmexico Nita February 26th, 2004 12:19 PM

Re: Just Returned!
Zz, you hit the nail on the head: Check out her email address, I think Lauren is related in some way as well. Isn't this fun! it is true if we ignore her she will go away. She may go away without us ignoring her as she is going to run out of things to say. Of course she may think of another name and find other gripes to rant about.


newmexico Nita February 26th, 2004 05:27 PM

Re: Just Returned!
Golly, do I sense a bit of anger here? Maybe now that we know you are posting under other names we have you flying mad? Sorry about that. Yes, I could learn to spell: most people who are dysplexic have trouble spelling. I only wish when I was growing up in the 40's there was as much help for poor readers as there is now, still that's another story for another time. It doesn't really bother me if you want to question my creditials or my vacation choices. Let's just say almost 50 years of marriage and only vacation a year, you can do a lot. As you get older and the kids finish college, get married and are out of the house there is more time for vacations and hopefully a little more freed up money as well.



ladylauren11 February 27th, 2004 05:09 AM

Re: Re: Just Returned!
Just to clarify, I am not related in anyway to Steph's Mom. I just didn't like the cruise. That is the end of story. I am entitled to my own opinion. And whoever don't like it, tough.

newmexico Nita February 27th, 2004 09:46 AM

Re: Just Returned!
laurenlady "what I say is big" what the devil does that mean?


newmexico Nita February 27th, 2004 04:51 PM

Re: Just Returned!
Three message in one, how clever of you. You are entitled to your opinion,it's when you post the same message twice and it's not the whomever versus whoever, it's the whoever don't like it that is bugging 525600. I guess you just can't get it, can you? Not posting again is fine, I don't think you offered very much to the board anyway. About the only thing you said was "the weather sucked, and I had to pay for everything,I'll never cruise again." This obviously was your first cruise and a vacation that is not for you.


jeannep February 28th, 2004 11:27 PM

Re: Just Returned!
If Stefs mom really feels this way I feel sorry for her. How horrible it must be to be so unhappy all the time. I have been on 4 regular cruises and many cruises to Nowhere and have enjoyed every one of them. The Dawn is a beautiful ship and the workers were wonderful. The food was great. I am sorry for her. I guess the glass will always be 1/2 empty to her.
We are going on the Dawn again on May 23rd and are sure it will be wonderful. NCL has always been great. We also loved Carnival and Premier. I don't think a cruise could ever be bad.

briand February 29th, 2004 08:50 PM

Re: Just Returned!
How do you know how many "children/kids/seniors" etc are on the cruise you sail on? Many people post 'there were 900 teenagers' etc. I've been on 12 cruises and was never exposed to that information. I'm sailing Dawn on 3/7 and it would be great info to know ahead of time so I know what my bar bill/aspirin expense will be. haha...any hints would be great. thanks

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