Second Mate

Joined: 09/11/2014
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About jaxflboy


Cruise Lines: Norwegian Cruise Line

Ships: Norwegian Pearl

Destinations: Caribbean

Ports: Cozumel, Mexico


jaxflboy's Past Cruises

Caribbean Princess

December 2014 - Caribbean Princess to Caribbean - Eastern

Asleep By 8 P.M.

I give the cruise a "good" rating because of the price that we paid. However, the cruise crowd was a little too old for our taste. I saw two children and one teen the entire time we were on the ship. My wife and I kept joking that we expected to see scooter races or walker relays in the daily agendas.   Our sailing was only half full (nice) but we did feel like we were at times on a ghost ship. The entertainment was very limited to a sub-par magician, comedy, a very short, 30 minute, but ok, "Do You Wanna Dance" theater production and some very off key piano bar singers. Most of the night time entertainment was focused on the movie on the open, very cold pool deck.  A few times we saw a few people sitting with blankets or towels covering them. We had a mini-suite and it was kept clean by an efficient room steward. Our only objection was that the balcony was totally exposed to the upper floor balconies. This was at times awkward but we dealt with it. We ate in the main dining room every night and found the food mostly favorable. Service was impersonal but polite. The buffet was chaotic and provided very little variety. The food was tasteless and very often ill prepared. Two health concerns that I noticed were the infrequent use by fellow passengers of hand sanitizer (and the lack of concern for this by the crew), and on several days I noticed massive amount of fruit flies on the fruit and other sweets. One day, I pointed to a plate of brownies with hundreds of insects and the staff just swatted them away. After objecting again, the plate was taken away; however, the flies just looked for something else to munch on.  My wife and I enjoyed Princess Cay. We rented a bungalow and the staff delivered our food, drinks and kept checking on us to see if we wanted/needed anything. Nassau in my opinion is a waste of time. Nothing to comment. Princess service was good; however, not outstanding. This is the first cruise line that we have been on, that we felt that the auto-gratuities were actually hurting the moral of the ship. We found that the staff were attentive, but none of them (that we experienced), actually exceeded our expectations.  (Usually I am a very generous tipper but not on this trip. This is the first time in 20+ cruises that I didn't feel the need to tip beyond the required.  We felt that the staff were on autopilot .) This was our first sailing on Princess and they have some strange policies in place that didn't make much sense. On board purchases are held until the end of the cruise. Pre-cruse amenities (cheese tray, wine, shrimp...) were not delivered to the stateroom on embarkation. You had to call room service to have them delivered. I pre-ordered vodka and when I asked about it the room service delivery guy outright accused me of taking the bottom ticket. After several telephone calls, it was discovered that those tickets were held by customer service, to be confirmed by room service and then signed for by the passenger. Strange system. I ordered a champagne breakfast (pre-cruise) and it took three phone calls to get it delivered. Once delivered, it was very nice. In closing, we enjoyed ourselves. We just walked away feeling as if Princess Cruises wasn't the best fit for us. If you can entertain yourself and enjoy being in your stateroom by 8 p.m. then this is the line for you.           

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Norwegian Dawn

August 2014 - Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda

Great Cruise On the Norwegian Dawn

We (party of three adults) arrived at the Port of Boston at 11 a.m. and were escorted to the VIP check-in. Karabi, the Concierge greeted us and a few minutes later a butler arrived to escort us to our suite. Suite 9006 (Owners Suite with two balconies) was available and in tip top shape. We were invited to explore the cabin, ship and have lunch at Cagney's until the 3:30 p.m. muster drill.

The service on this ship was excellent, in fact, the best I have experienced on any other NCL ship. Our butler, Juremar took care of our every want/need and delivered our meals, snacks and kept the Lavazza stocked. We had a "hot" breakfast delivered almost everyday.  It was nice sitting on the balcony or in the dining room having breakfast without having to fight the crowds. Edna, our steward was a work horse and she was our vacation hero. My mother misplaced her toothbrush and Edna volunteered to go to port and purchase her a new one. Simple requests like two bathmats were met without any hesitation.  Karabi, the Concierge made our vacation by completing the dream team. She reviewed our dinner schedule and made changes so that we could attend the VIP cocktail, Platinum Latitude and Cruise Critic parties. In addition, on the final day she confirmed our airline reservations, and printed our boarding passes. During the cruise we met another great couple and they were able to join us for dinner at Cagney's with a quick change to our reservation.

Our suite, 9006, Owners Suite with two balconies was beautiful and it provided enough space for three adults. The side balcony had a dining table and four chairs and the front balcony had two padded chaises, a table, and a side chair.  This was our second front facing balcony and only at full sail was it unusable due to wind.  The rest of the time it was great.  Just be aware that there is no privacy due to the Bridge and an upper viewing deck located directly above.  My mother slept like a baby on the pull out sofa in the living room. The stateroom had a full bath and a guest bath with a sink and toilet. The main bath had a walk-in shower, Jacuzzi tub, double sinks and plenty of plush towels.  Off of the bath is a "strange" little walk in closet with two safes. The closet seems like an after thought and it offers very little storage. NOTE to anyone booking this cabin...there is very little storage space so you have to be creative. We were able to close the doors between the bedroom and living area to give everyone privacy. There was a Lavazza coffee maker in the bar area and we thoroughly enjoyed the coffee on demand. The OS comes with three bottles of alcohol and our butler delivered OJ and Tomato Juice to us daily and he kept the refrigerator stocked with soda's, tonic water, limes and lemons.  There were three "older" poor quality televisions and one DVD player. This cabin is not like the OS on the Epic; however, the service more than made up for the lack of technology and WOW.   

Bermuda was beautiful; however, in my opinion not as welcoming as the Caribbean. The people, although polite, were a little reserved. The island had beautiful beaches but we found little else of to keep our interests. On the first day we went to Snorkel Beach. It was very small and due to high winds we were unable to use an umbrella for shade. We did see fish; however, not a huge variety. We had a good time, but I wouldn't do this beach again. I found the service lacking, even disorganized and I had to secure my own chaise lounges despite having booked through the NCL web site.  On the second day in Bermuda we booked a private tour of the island.  During the 5 hour tour we were driven over the entire "hook" of the island and we received a great overview. Ralph, our guide, was thorough and proud of his country and glad to show it off.  We were driven to Hamilton and watched to gossiping wench being punished. Afterward we were returned to the ship.

The ship is showing its age; however, it is still a beautiful vessel. I noticed that NCL needs to pay more attention to upkeep and conduct some general maintenance. Our cabin (9006) had rust on the balconies, minor fraying of the carpets and worn upholstery in the living room. The electronics were outdated and I struggled with trying to find the right time because most of the televisions did not recognize the year 2014.  Regardless, we made it work and we did not let it hamper our wonderful cruise.  

We purchased the Specialty Dining package and ate at Cagney's, La Bistro, La Cucina, and Tappanyaki restaurants.  Cagney's was awesome and the service was great.  Magnolia, our server, was professional, fun and extra special. We had several meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) and we were never disappointed. La Bistro was good and the food was flavorful. La Cucina was a big disappointment. The food was dry and over cooked. By far, the worst Italian that we have eaten on any of NCL's ships. We have sailed on many NCL ships and have always enjoyed the Italian but not on this ship.  Tappanyaki was another disappointment. The "show" was canned, dry and it matched the food. The rice was overcooked and tasteless...mush. The filet was tough and under seasoned. I walked away calling the meal "one note" nothing stood out and everything tasted bland.

One special treat that we purchased was the spa passes. Loved it! It was well worth the money. My wife and I would go each morning for about an hour and just relax without the hassles of fighting to find a chaise by the main pool.  Only draw back was an older gentleman who kept running around telling everyone to "shut up" and stop talking because he was reading a book. This put a damper on anyone who would talk...even with inside voices. 

On the last sea day we did a bridge tour. The officer was thoughtful, insightful and willing to answer everyone's questions. (We took one on The Freedom of the Seas and after searching us with a wand, inspecting our bags, we were escorted in, given a 5 minute tour and then shuffled out.) 

Overall, our experience on the Dawn was excellent and we would sail it again. We were pleasantly surprised by the service and we are grateful to the hard working crew who made our vacation special.  Looking forward to an upcoming sailing on another small ship, the Sun, in January 2015. We have been on several big ships (Epic, Freedom of the Seas) and I am convinced that the personal service goes away with the larger vessels and massive peoples.  We love NCL and trust them with our vacations.

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Norwegian Epic

December 2013 - Norwegian Epic to Caribbean - Western

Freedom of the Seas

September 2013 - Freedom of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern

Carnival Conquest

May 2013 - Carnival Conquest to Caribbean - Western

Norwegian Pearl

November 2012 - Norwegian Pearl to Caribbean - Western

Norwegian Pearl

December 2010 - Norwegian Pearl to Caribbean - Eastern

Carnival Valor

September 2007 - Carnival Valor to Caribbean - Western

Norwegian Sun

October 2006 - Norwegian Sun to Caribbean - Western

Carnival Triumph

April 2005 - Carnival Triumph to Caribbean - Eastern


June 1995 - Norway to Caribbean - Eastern


April 1994 - Norway to Caribbean - Eastern


June 1993 - Norway to Caribbean - Eastern

jaxflboy's Tips

Norwegian Dawn Norwegian Dawn - Older smaller ship. Needs an update. Easy to get around.

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received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Great Cruise On the Norwegian Dawn

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Great Cruise On the Norwegian Dawn

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Great Cruise On the Norwegian Dawn

received a helpful vote on their Caribbean Princess cruise review - Asleep By 8 P.M.

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Great Cruise On the Norwegian Dawn

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Great Cruise On the Norwegian Dawn

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Great Cruise On the Norwegian Dawn

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Great Cruise On the Norwegian Dawn

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Great Cruise On the Norwegian Dawn

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Great Cruise On the Norwegian Dawn