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Marsdude March 13th, 2012 12:56 PM

First Cruise, NCL Dawn, 2/26/12
Finally back home from our trip and cruise on the NCL Dawn out of Miami. We had a great time and will cruise again. In fact, we used the promo to give you $100 off of a deposit for a future cruise.

I would like to share a little about our experience.

All the research we did and the help we received from other experienced cruisers really helped to make the experience even better. Checking in and getting on board was a breeze. Once on board it took a little while to find our cabin and look around. Our cabin, # 5132 was in a great location. We really liked the cabin. It had an ocean view and although it was supposed to be obscured, it was not. It was plenty big. Really no complaints at all about the cabin.

We liked the food. My wife is into extremely health eating and is fairly picky but she always found something to eat. We enjoyed the food in the MDR's a lot. I tried the lobster and steak because I heard bad reviews on them. I have had exceptional lobster and steak before, I used to work in the Summit restaurant at Harrah's in Lake Tahoe and they fed me well. Although I have had better lobster and steak, these were really fine. No complaints.

I did get served "Beef Stroganoff" one evening that was really nothing like what I am used to as beef stroganoff, however it was good just as it was so no big deal. The coffee? Well, it was coffee and I drank it, that is about the best I can say. :rolleyes: My wife really likes Starbucks black iced tea and she really liked the iced tea at the buffet.

We did the Bistro and Teppanyaki. Of the two I thought that Teppanyaki was the best. We have a local place like this and my wife and I have been several times, the ship restaurant was way better, both in preparation and the food itself.

IMHO the on board entertainment was just OK. My favorite thing was the Presumed Murdered lunch by Second City. I missed the big evening show by Second City so can not comment on that. The other shows that we saw had some good parts but really not that great for us. The music around the ship was great to OK which probably just reflects my tastes. They certainly have music for just about everyone.

My second favorite thing was the beer tastings. I have to give a little background. I live in beer geek paradise here in Northern Fort Collins. I brew beer and have friends that own a very popular local brew pub and have helped them from time to time. I really know a lot about beer. Because of this I almost did not sign up for this activity. That would have been a mistake. I won't go into a lot of detail but the head bartender of the Pearly Kings made this fun. The guys doesn't know ANYTHING about beer, but he is such a great guy and we had so much fun that I signed up for another one during the cruise and had a blast at that one also. Made a lot of friends during the activity.

Our stops:
Samana - they are now tendering everyone for free to Cay Leventado, and Samana. We went to both - I would suggest to just go to the Cay. Nice beach, cheap beer, and some local crafts you can buy.

Tortola - grabbed a taxi to Cane Garden Bay mostly to visit the Callwood distillery. Supposedly they have been distilling and blending rum for over 200 yrs. We bought some of their rum, good stuff, and then hit the beach for the rest of the day. Good time.

St. Maarten - taxi to the beach. Beer and rum punches - ahhhhhhhh....

St. John's - see above

Bridgetown - you guessed it!

St. Kitts - took a excursion snorkeling on a catamaran. Great fun. Water was a little cold but it would have been fine with a wet suit.

Of course we bought some local items at some islands and generally enjoyed meeting the people and buying things from them. Was always treated well and had a wonderful time.

On the way back we had two days at sea. One day was pretty rough. We had waves splashing against our cabin window and the boat was rocking and rolling. We had no problems with sea sickness due to taking ginger.

This is a long post so I will bring it to an end. Had some great times in the casino and elsewhere on the ship but perhaps another time.

ruthlessboss March 13th, 2012 02:53 PM

Nice review. Cruising is fun!! I've only been on a short cruise with NCL, but enjoyed it. The Freestyle eating in the DR was different from conventional seating, service depended on where you sat and who was your server. One night we were almost "suffocated" with service. Another night we had a newbie who was pretty scatterbrained, but very likeable.

Marsdude March 14th, 2012 12:31 AM

Generally, we found the service on the Dawn to be good to excellent.

A funny thing I forgot to mention is that when I first saw the ship from the outside it looked enormous. When I finally boarded and looked around it seemed smaller that I had thought - then, as I got to know the ship, it seemed that it became a lot bigger.

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