Verified Review | Ship: Norwegian Dawn | Sail Date: May 08, 2015
We're a couple in our 60's who went on a 7-night cruise to Bermuda from Boston on the NCL Dawn. We've been on 30+ cruises on various lines (with 11 on Celebrity). This was our third cruise on NCL. We knew that the guest demographics would be different from the ones on the Celebrity and other lines, but this was quite a departure from what we’re used to. Since it was only seven nights, it attracted a younger crowd who could get away from work with a quick cruise w/o flying and it appeared to be the first cruise for most of them.
Apparently NCL encourages smoking as you could do that anywhere in the casino and on any of the outside decks. You could even smell it on people’s clothes in the elevators and in the dining rooms and bars so you could never really get away from it. We’d be sneezing and getting stuffed up from all the smoke. There was even an ashtray mounted in the toilet area of the bathroom as they allowed you to smoke in the cabins until 2012!
We booked an outside porthole cabin to get the drink package included. The queen size bed was fine but the cabin was so small that you had to crawl into the bed as the other furniture blocked access on the sides. The buffet was really crowded and the food there was bad. The dinners in the MDRs were passable, but they were pretty basic and not very interesting. On Celebrity, we look forward to each meal but on this cruise, we had to drag ourselves there. The décor was tacky and things were worn down. There were no formal nights and people dressed down in every venue.
On the other hand, the staff was hardworking and friendly and the bars, shows and bands were very good. We danced more on this cruise than on others since you weren’t on display in the center of a room as you would be on other ships. We partied every night as we enjoyed our drink package. We’re pretty adaptable so that made things somewhat acceptable. However, we were very happy when the seven days were over so we could get off!
We did this cruise as a way to check out NCL so on that level, we met that goal. This experience may not be typical of other NCL cruises and ships but we’ll be extra careful before going with them again. In the meantime, we’ll likely stick with Celebrity and may also try RCCL again now that we’re Diamond with them.
Bermuda was a pleasant surprise. We did our own tours as it was very easy and safe to do that. The ship arrived at 11:00 am so we walked around the Royal Naval Dockyard area the first afternoon. We went to the National Museum of Bermuda which is a 5-10 minutes walk from the ship. The Commissioner’s House was closed due to damage from a hurricane but we enjoyed visiting the other museums and walking on ramparts. We also spent about an hour at the Dolphin Quest watching the staff and guests interacting with the dolphins. It was surprisingly interesting (especially since it’s free to watch).
The second day we bought a 2-day ferry/bus pass. We took the first ferry of the day to St. George and then connected by bus to visit the Crystal Caves. It was a little pricy at $30 pp for the two caves but it was much cheaper than the ship’s tour. We took other buses and stayed on just to see St. David’s and got off to check out several beaches before we headed to Hamilton for the ferry back to the ship. The last day we took the bus to Horseshoe Beach and swam there. We then went to Hamilton and walked around the town and saw plenty of locals wearing Bermuda shorts.
The weather was perfect so we really enjoyed our time there. It’s a really nice destination and doesn’t have the crusty Third World feel of some of the Caribbean islands. So, we now know why people like it some much.