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 NCL Dawn 11/29/08 - posted on behalf of Taurus988 - Part 1

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PostSubject: NCL Dawn 11/29/08 - posted on behalf of Taurus988 - Part 1   Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:27 pm

Cruise Date: November 29 - December 6, 2008
Embarkation: Miami
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Cabin Category: AF -- Mini-Suite
Cabin Number: 11680
Booking Method: Cruise Line / PCC

Wonderful week on the 'Beautiful Norwegian Dawn'


Cruise taken by myself (49) & DH(53) - Mini-suite 11680, port/aft. 5th NCL Cruise, 4th on time on the Beautiful Norwegian DAWN.
Thanksgiving Day 11-27-08 - We flew to Fort Lauderdale from Rochester, NY on Air Tran (ended up with complementary Business Class due to no notification of flight plan changes - originally booked a non-stop, which was changed to a plane change in Baltimore - and weren't notified!) Nice in Business Class! Love it! Left Rochester @ 5:45pm - arrived in FLL about 10:30pm. Rental car from Alamo. Drove to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea to Holiday Inn there. Staying there 2 nights. Okay room w/ balcony - great view of ocean and sunrises! Smoking room - had no ashtray and did have bath towels, but no hand towels or washcloths. 2 trips down to front desk solved those problems without issue. Found a 7-11 for a sandwich to take back to room, also some muffins & diet coke for breakfast.

Friday 11-28-08 - Warm day, but not too hot. Nice sunrise!! Noticed that wasn't as muggy/ humid as previous trips to Florida - really enjoyed that! Went to Hollywood, FL to the HardRock Casino. Donated to 'the cause' LOL Found the Bingo place, and enjoyed playing Bingo with the locals. Didn't win, but had a great time. Back to Hardrock for dinner, mandatory shot glass purchase and a bit more 'donating'. Headed back to the hotel, relaxed to some TV and called it an early night.

Saturday 11-29-08 - Breakfast at the hotel - was nice. Wandered down to Hotel's private beach area for a little while. Got packed up and headed for Miami! Took a little longer to get there than we thought it would, but was a nice drive. Difficult parking at Alamo drop-off - just was no parking! Took their free shuttle to POM, shuttle over-crowded. What do you want for free? Had some nice chatting w/others on board…all were going on NCL, except 1 family on another ship. Much arguing going on about who should be dropped off first…poor driver got confused and went in circles for a few minutes! Finally dropped off the 'others' first, then on to the Dawn. All the way from one pier to the other, everyone on the shuttle complaining about who should have been dropped off first, and why. Great way to start a vacation?! DH & I just shook our heads. Didn't matter to us, as long as we got to the ship before sailing! Got dropped off about 12:30pm… there were separate lines, and we chose regular line (it was shortest!) over the Lattitudes line, or balcony & above line. Got on-board to glass of bubbly - servers were lined up on the deck, before entering the atrium. Stood on deck and enjoyed the drink. Went inside, DH signed up for coke card, I made Cagney's reservation, and then signed us up for Spa weekly pass. Headed to Venetian, no lines, seated right away with no issues…time 1:15pm. Note upon checking in, advised rooms ready @ 2pm. Announcement @ 1:30pm that rooms were ready! ? Cold Banana Soup- a most delicious way to begin cruise!! Place was almost empty. Great service, everyone very friendly. Finished lunch, headed up to room - Mini-suite 11680, 3 doors away from Spa! Port side, aft area - not end of ship. (Originally booked balcony, prices dropped so Mini was cheaper, then also got in on $200.00 OBC, and had $200.00 credit in Casino!) Found our lovely chocolate covered strawberries and Champagne chilling in ice bucket upon entering room. (?Romance/anniversary pkg $79.00, very well worth every penny!). Plenty of room for 2 people…had room to spare! Ample closet space, 2 robes were hanging there for our use. Beach / pool towels also in room with note to leave on bathroom floor to be exchanged for clean ones. DH wandered the ship, while I relaxed a little, looked thru all the info left on the bed - Lattitudes, shore excursions, etc. Muster drill @ 3:30pm - uneventful (they want you to carry jackets to drill now, instead of wearing them). Dropped off lifejackets at room, and headed to Bimini Bar for informal meet & greet with roll call CCers. Two other couples there already - were wearing their 'stupid' signage - for recognition purposes only! We were wearing ours as well! Another member showed up, then one more couple. Was a nice sail-away meeting. We used our 'buy-2-get one free' drink coupon from the coupon book. We all stayed for about an hour and a half chatting, then back to cabin to get ready for dinner. Our suitcases were there and we began to unpack and settle in. Left a note for room stewards to empty fridge, and asked for an extra bath towel. Up to Cagney's we went…most awesome, and never disappointing! Always the perfect way to start a cruise vacation! We used our 'buy one get on free on embarkation day' specialty dinner coupon - made it even better! Filet done perfectly, service was excellent. It was very relaxing and we never felt rushed at all. After dinner we hit the casino to begin using our slot free play. NO big winnings to report. Back to cabin after long day. Read next day's Freestyle Daily and highlighted some not to miss things.

Sunday 11-30-08 Sea Day - Got up really early to have coffee on balcony & await the sunrise. My personal most favorite thing to do while cruising. Room service breakfast, DH ran (okay, he really took the elevator!) upstairs to buffet for a plate of French toast and "meat" LOL. Loved the fresh fruit plate from RS. Had our official M&G at Star Bar @ 11am. (I thought it was at 10:30…got there way early & thought nobody was going to show!) Had a real nice turnout - BIG Thanks Jo-Anne for setting it all up for us - AND for getting us signed up for Murder Mystery Dinner!! Met a lot of nice people that we kept running into throughout the week on the ship & on excursions. This was my 1st M&G w/ CC and loved the experience! We had a home State gift exchange - which was fun! Nice attendance by the senior staff - hotel director, Hugo, along with his assistant - believe it was Alain (French last name?)He was the food & beverage director. There was someone else, I think from engineering? Sorry, didn't write it down! Melissa Macphail, Group Service Coordinator, Messiah Ritzinger, executive chef -from the 'Kingdom of Bavaria', and cruise director Pedro Cerra (this was Pedro's last cruise before taking a 2 month holiday). Melissa had a sign-up for any wishing to be entered into a drawing for "dining with the officers" - you were to be notified in your cabin of when/where & with whom you were dining - "IF" you were drawn! They gave a nice little presentation, all said a few welcoming words. We had coffee/tea/juice & pastry trays. We chatted a bit with everyone - stayed about an hour. It was really great meeting ALL of you! Off to Pool Deck (port side open for smoking) Nice 'wicker-type' deck furniture there now. Easy to find a seat. Then to Reservation desk in atrium to get room card hole-punched. CAS card already was punched. Brought along a card bungie (actually from HardRock). We then went to Bimini for a burger/fries lunch. Easy to find seat overlooking pool area. Headed to room for a rest (well, we ARE on vacation!) Art Auction @ 2pm…there was a very long line to get in, decided to take a pass and headed to casino instead. We signed up for 3pm slot tournament. Neither of us got in finals from this try. 4pm headed to Spinnaker for Bingo (had a free card left in the room for each of us, for 1 game) Did not buy in, just waited for free game. Left there to go to Lattitudes room for coffee & chocolate chip cookies. It was not very crowded at all…I think 1 other person. Saw many come in and grab coffee / tea & cookies and leave with them. There was a sign-in log, but didn't witness many signing in, either. Was a nice quiet little spot. Enjoyed this several times throughout the week. Back to Spinnaker for the Lattitudes Party @5:30pm. Met a lot of senior staff, free drinks and canapés, and many drawings for some great gifts, from spa gift certificates, to excursions, to bottles of bubbly, casino credit ,etc. Nice party - met some folks from Long Island and chatted with them quite a bit. Back to room - changed for spa…. Ahhh. We had the entire area to ourselves the whole time we were in there. It was absolutely wonderful. This was dress up / lobster night and since that d idn't appeal to either of us, we chose the Garden Café for dining. It was not crowded, and we very easily found a table. We didn't even notice the missing trays that had created such a stir! Roast beef, sliced to order, potato wedges, Caesar salad, pretzel bread, and nice dessert assortment. It was very good. We went out to the mostly empty pool deck to enjoy the breeze on deck. Then on to the casino for Ladies Night - prize give-a-way every ½ hour from 10-midnight. I ended up chatting with a woman sitting next to me, turns out she was from Wolcott!! (Town where I had lived, about 1 hr away from Rochester) What a small world! Continued to run into her almost every time in casino. Ended the evening and got our first towel animal - a dog! Stewards were very good and fulfilled every request we made. We had our "last night of the cruise" chocolate chip cookies tonight on our pillows, as well.
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PostSubject: Re: NCL Dawn 11/29/08 - posted on behalf of Taurus988 - Part 1   Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:28 pm

Part 2

Monday, 12-1-08 - Samana - I got up very early, about 4:30am and couldn't sleep any longer. Had a nice couple of hours to myself. I closed the curtain in the room (separating the bed from couch area) and did some reading. Filled out fruit basket request for room. Pear, banana, apple & orange were the choices. We checked all, and received one of each. We went to Aqua for breakfast (balcony & above only). It was nice. Buffet and menu items available. It was very quiet @ 7:30am…however, they sat us 'on top' of another table. Just like they do on land, sigh. We were a bit uncomfortable with that, as were the other couple sitting next to us. It was very quiet. It was a bit more crowded when we left. We did the Cayo Levantado beach break tour. Speed boat from the Dawn over to the private resort island. Speedboat was a LOT of fun! Got a cup of punch when we arrived, could have rum added, not sure if there was charge for that or not. Beautiful beach - practically empty! Found a couple loungers next to a palm tree and enjoyed the day. Well, enjoyed for about 2.5 of the 5 hours, anyway. First tender back was at 3pm. We swam, rested, swam again and were snoozing when a large group - about a dozen - of the JAR co.( Jean Ann Ryan dance company) came on the beach. Well, they ended up 'cozying up' right next to us. And I mean right next to us! The beach was less than 1/3 full, there was plenty of room all over. Not only were they close - they dragged loungers, at a 90 degree angle, within 18 inches of mine! Unbelievable. And they carried on like typical young adults, chatting, laughing, singing, playing music, yelling back and forth to each other, etc. We decided that there went our quiet beach time…there would be no more snoozing for us. So we packed up after an hour of no peace and wandered back to pier to await the speedboat ride back to the Dawn. Glad they had benches there to sit and wait. We weren't the only ones waiting for the first ride back. We got back to the ship, and decided to head to Blue Lagoon for a quick bit of lunch. It was busy there - as normal. A couple sat down next to us, 10 minutes after we were there, and another couple near us sat down10 minutes after that. It was incredibly irritating when they both had their orders, including drinks, before we did. It became a bit annoying. We ordered chips & spinach apps, a chicken sandwich & chef salad. We got the apps and chicken sandwich….after the other 2 couples were about ½ way done with their meal. We never got drinks - diet coke / coffee…never got the salad. We left. DH was very upset about it. Of course, keep in mind our beach snooze was rudely interrupted just prior to this. Headed to room, where DH called reception to complain, was transferred to voice mail of Blue Lagoon mgr. I called room service for a sandwich. DH went up to buffet to see if he could find some Diet coke and something else to munch on. He found nothing…and my sandwich from room service arrived within 10 minutes! Showered, snoozed, and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. We dressed for dinner @ Le Bistro for our anniversary pkg meal. Absolutely excellent way to end the day. Perfect dinner, perfect service - most awesome! We had salmon & beef tenderloin - both were excellent! Had the anniversary cake readied to take back to room, and enjoyed the chocolate fondue! Brought the cake back to room, then to pool deck for a bit. On to casino for about an hour and then to magic show w/ Greg Gleason. Show was good. Didn't see the production shows, except Bollywood - because we've seen them all before at least once or twice. Gets a bit boring after the 2nd time! Retired to cabin to find a little mouse under the sheet, peeking out - EEK! LOL It was a washcloth animal, not real! ?

Tuesday, 12-2-08 - St. Thomas - Snorkel tour @ Coki beach today, meeting at 9:30am.We docked at a different place than on our last time to St. Thomas. Before we were right next to the 'Mall'., this time not. Met our open air tour bus, tour guide Amy, was great and fun! Got instruction on way to Beach on how to scuba (for those doing the scuba) and snorkeling. Coki Beach is right at Coral World. Got our snorkel gear on the beach, instructions on how to use it, and some dog biscuits to feed the fish with. Chair rental on the beach was $5. each. Chose to stand. Took towels from room again. NO problem! Had a good time, used underwater camera for photos. We were there about 3 hours. Back at pier we wandered through the shops. We went into Diamonds International for the charm for my charm bracelet. Back onto the ship did the buffet for lunch. Was not crowded, easily found place to sit. Back to room, spa, shower, snooze. Murder mystery dinner tonight! Meeting at Stardust for team assignment & instructions. Then off to Aqua to be seated for dinner. Was a table of 6 and we20all had our 'parts' to play. Was a nice time, we had fun. We were glad that we had a chance to try this. On to the casino for a bit after dinner, then to show - with Dave comedian. Returned to casino - I won a little!! Enough to use their $$ for a few days to play on! Oh, almost forgot - had a message from Blue Lagoon mgr, which DH returned and chatted for awhile. We were sent a bottle of wine for our trouble. That was nice. Had a monkey hanging from curtain rod tonight in room! Awesome stewards!!

Wednesday, 12-3-08 - Tortola - Room service & French toast from buffet for breakfast. 8:30am tour time, read "wear suit & bring towel". So, we did. Had air conditioned bus this time - bus was full, sat in jump type seats right behind driver. Legs fell asleep, was a bit uncomfortable, for a 3 Hour tour. Our beach stop was for 20 min, as Cane Garden Bay, so we just did some shopping there….nice photo opps on this tour (North Shore & Pusser's Landing). Enjoyed 30 min @ Pusser's Landing, shopping in quaint shops, photos of yachts and sailboats in the harbor there. Roads in Tortola very twisty, narrow & steep. Asked driver to drop us off near Sunny Caribbee Spice shop. Did some Christmas shopping there, then out into the back alley behind the shop, down a few doors to the pastry shop. Great locals place for lunch, we grabbed a snack and sat on patio enjoying th e traffic going by. Took a leisurely stroll back to ship. I went to the spa for a wonderfully relaxing hour - had the place all to myself! They have a table set up with oranges, tea, juice, etc. Took shower in spa, then back to room for room service lunch (greek salad & veggie pizza - great lunch!) Got changed for 4pm Star Bar anniversary Champagne & cake party. Met up with some other CCers there as well. Had a nice hour. Got photo w/ cake. Killed some time in casino until meeting in Atrium for officers dinner. (we had notice on Tuesday in room that we had been 'chosen' to dine w/ Pedro, CD) Waited with a couple from Newfoundland, Canada. Went to Venetian when Pedro arrived with Joel, his assistant CD, and another couple from Indiana. During dinner, the other couples discovered they were both celebrating their 40th anniversaries, and that they were married less than a week apart! Pedro had anniversary cakes delivered to table for them, complete with the servers singing 'Let Me Call You Sweetheart" - both couples really enjoyed that!! Had wine with dinner, that was nice. Dinner lasted about 2 hours. Was a very nice time. Chatted with Joel about previous Dawn cruises we were both on, remembered him from Bingo staff a couple of years ago. Pedro had to leave us to close the show, then re-joined us for dessert. Pedro made us promise to see him later that evening in Liar's Club in Spinnaker Lounge.=2 0SO, we had some time to kill before that, so we wandered a bit, listening to music all over the ship, then of course to casino! Lol Liar's club was a riot! There was Pedro, Greg the magician, Dave the comedian and Brian from JAR. It was a take off of the board game Balderdash - they had a great time! After this was Quest. We stayed and watched some of that, then headed to bed.

Thursday, 12-4-08 - Sea Day - Slept in for the first time. Wonderfully lazy relaxing morning. DH ran up (via elevator!) for French toast & bacon for breakfast, also snagged some pineapple & cinnamon rolls. First day with absolutely no scheduled meetings, events, gatherings or anything! Whatever will we do!??! Loved it! We decided to wander the ship some, stopped in at Casino, walked the promenade deck all the way around. Planned on doing this at least once a day, but that didn't happen! We were just much too busy! Went to the officers Q & A in Java Café in the afternoon. The menu has changed in there as well as the bar menus in the bars. I was a bit disappointed in that, as there were some non-alcoholic drinks that I had enjoyed before, and a sugar-daddy coffee drink. Oh well, some things do change! Was not crowded here, either. Only a few were there for Q & As, so it was intimate setting. Went to Venetian for lunch about 1pm. We were surprised also at how empty the place was. Okay, this was a sea day, but nowhere did w e run into any crowds or large groups of people! Kinda spooky! Back to our cabin for a lazy afternoon of reading. Snacked on some of our fresh fruit, and anniversary cake. I went to casino for last qualifying round for slot tournament. Amazingly I won a spot in the finals! (was $15.00 to enter, used to be $10?) I ended up with 4th place and scored a bottle of bubbly! (last time I was also not in top 3 and only got a tee shirt - so this was better) Now we had 2 bottles of Champagne & 1 bottle of red wine - and only one more whole day of cruise! Guess we'd better get drinking!! DH joined me in casino, surprised that I was in finals and got more bubbly! ? Decided to see if we could get into Salsa for dinner. Back to room to call reservation desk - this is 5:30, we asked for 5:45. Got a call back within 5 minutes, we were all set! Took our red wine and headed for dinner. Wonderful dinner! Great waiter - Ajung. Actually left here being overly full for the first time on cruise. Ajung talked me into also trying the lobster tacos for dinner (after I had already had fajitas) but glad he did, as they were excellent! Had a nice view of Java Café & atrium while dining. Band played by elevators, soft dinner type music. Had fun watching everyone pose by the piano in Java or the decorated Christmas trees, for photos…not professional ones. There was also this barren tree, with lights near piano. Towards dessert time, the pianist began playing - more nice music. Music all over the ship wherever you wandered. Not annoying or overly loud, just nice. Ran into a couple from CC, they were sat next to us as we were getting ready to leave. Stopped by and chatted a bit with them. On to the Bollywood show and staff farewell ?love that part! Casino ended the evening and back to cabin to change clocks back - got an extra hour tonight!

Friday, 12-5-08 - Great Stirrup Cay. We woke up really early and were wandering the ship by 6:30am to get some ship photos. That was fun. Did the café for breakfast. We opted not to go to island. Spent another long relaxing day onboard wandering around. I spent some time in the Spa again….all to myself! Loved every minute of that! Casino now open while at private island - didn't use to be, and I always wondered why. Opened a bottle Champagne and enjoyed it with oj & cranberry juice! Did trivia in Pearly Kings late afternoon - yes, they have popcorn there! Ran into another couple from our CC group there, they were practicing up for the finals in Progressive Trivia - which we found out later that they won!! Great job, Erin & Ben! Evening wandered the photo shop looking for our anniversary photos - you have to ask at the desk for them, as they have them put aside. Also found the photo from our dinner w/Pedro. There was only one copy..I asked them to print another, as we had run into another couple from our dinner, that was looking for this photo. The gal at the desk said we had to have the other couple bring this photo and then they would do a re-print. I could not impress upon her that the other couple was definitely going to purchase it. Well, luckily, we had exchanged names/addresses and such at the dinner, so when we got back to the room, I called the front desk and asked to be transferred to their room. I gave them all the numbering information off the back of the photo so that they could go and get one re-printed. What a hassle, when it would have been so easy to just print it up then. OH well. We were off to the internet café to buy 15 min. to do airline online check-in & print out boarding passes. My DH decided to go for the upgrade to Business Class for the way home, as we enjoyed that so much on the way down. Easy enough to do. There was a show with Dave the comedian & Greg the magician that we saw. We did late night at the casino to catch their 'Vegas style' show - which was fun, but crowded. Then off to room to pack - the worst part of the trip!

Saturday, 12-6-08 - Miami - Well, cruise is over. Toasted it with more Champagne & oj & cranberry juice! All good things must come to an end, I guess. We booked the Everglades excursion and meetin g time in Bamboo was 8:45am. Bamboo was swamped with several different Miami excursions. Off the ship, through customs - no problems! Rode the moving sidewalk with another couple from CC, discovered they really didn't care for the NCL experience. That's too bad. We love it, so we just expect everyone else to feel the same, I guess. Difficult to go on vacation and it's not as enjoyable as you expect it to be. Loaded the bus for everglades tour. Got to the park, wandered the gift shop and grabbed a quick bite at the snack bar, while waiting for an airboat to come back from earlier tour. Riding the airboat was a blast! The driver was a lot of fun, too! Then there was an alligator show. Handler brought out a baby, and was asking if anyone felt afraid…she then went over to a young woman and said she wanted her to not be so afraid of it. Had her pet the back side of the alligator and then explained how to touch the tummy area. Young woman was about to touch and handler spooked her and made that whole area of the audience jump back! Was a riot to see! Handler comments "I love my job!" End of that excursion, and off to the airports. First dropped off those at Miami airport, then on to Fort Lauderdale. We got there by 3:30. Plenty of time to go to Chili's for early dinner and then through security and on home. Trip home uneventful, but nice in Business Class. Second leg, we were the only ones in the front of the plane! Arrived at home airport by 10:20pm. We had a20wonderful vacation, even though there were a couple things that did not go perfectly. Next cruise experience - 4th of July 2009 on Queen Mary 2, Cunard line. Will be our first time on any cruise that is not NCL. Hope we like it!! I know we'll enjoy 4th of July in Boston Harbor!
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NCL Dawn 11/29/08 - posted on behalf of Taurus988 - Part 1
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