June 2015 - Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda
We are a couple in our late 30's with 5 year old twin boys. This was an awesome family vacation! The service was prompt, yet unobtrusive, the ship was clean, and the size is perfect! I'm not a lover of mega-ships. There weren't lines to wait in, we always found a clean table at the buffet, and seats at the theater. It also helped that we had perfect weather! We had a miserable cruise with Royal Caribbean in the fall and this trip with NCL was the perfect antidote! I loved the freestyle dining, and we never waited longer than 2 minutes to be seated at a complimentary restaurant and the food was awesome! The pools were always clean and the water temperature was perfect.
This would have been a great cruise for anyone, but it was phenomenal for our young family. Here's why: 1. The kids club-it was the largest play space I've ever seen on a ship! Lots of room to expend their energy and awesome, attentive staff. One of my sons hit the other with a pillow and caused a minor split lip and they called me within seconds to report even this minor incident. My kids BEGGED to go to kids club--they had a ball! 2. The huge kids pool area. We loved this space! Many pools, a hot tub (yay adults!), and two small water slides. It does get crowded around 12-2 when kids club is closed for lunch, but otherwise is plenty of space. 3. The trip itself. 2 sea days to take advantage of fun and relaxation on the ship, 3 days in Bermuda, and then 2 more relaxation days. We LOVED this arrangement. 4. BERMUDA- We went to the nearby snorkel park beach on the first day--it is very nice and lots of services are available. The next day we took a cheap, clean, and convenient public bus to Jobson's Cove/Warwick Long Bay. It was a beautiful 30 minute ride and a less the 5 min walk right to the beautiful beaches! Warwick would be awesome for adults and even with 2 ships in port there were only a handful of swimmers. It does have a big drop-off and a strong undertow, so it wasn't right for our kiddos, but was beautiful to see. We went around the corner to Jobson's Cove, a perfect family beach. It has crystal clear shallow water, fine sand, and no undertow, as it is sheltered from the open sea by large rocks. We could actually relax at the beach. The kids could play without our constant worry. We saw beautiful parrot fish and big crabs, which they loved. The last day in Bermuda we visited dolphin quest. My kids swam with dolphins, and while it was costly, it was the highlight of their trip! Both of my kids are crazy for dolphins, so it was totally worth it. The staff at Dolphin Quest Bermuda was fantastic! 5. The private time. I love family cruises because we get to have lots of fun with the kids, and still have date nights too. Three nights we took the kids to the buffet at 6 and then to kids club at 7 so my husband and I could have private dinners, a rare experience at home.
This was the best family vacation we've ever taken!! (It beat Disney for us parents!) It was the perfect mix of fun activities and time for total relaxation!
There are only 2 things I would change. First, I would have chosen an aft or midship cabin. All kids activities are aft, as is the main buffet and we were all the way forward, which meant a lot of trips from one end of the ship to the other. The only minor complaint I have about the ship is that there are NO appropriate tv channels for children, none. This isn't a huge deal, but we would have liked to allow the kids to watch tv for a few minutes before bed to settle down and could have been a big deal if we had a bad weather day, which we didn't.