MITSUGIRLYS DAWN TO BERMUDA NOVEL (or review and pictorial as some may call it)

Day 9: Coming Home

Our final day on the Dawn.

 

I set our alarm for 7:30am and headed outside to check out the weather. To my surprise it was actually nice and warm outside. I figured since it was cold when we left and cold coming back, that's exactly what our day getting off the ship would be like too.

 

I had everyone pants, socks, tennis shoes and our coats. Ugh...I was so wrong and would be lugging this unneeded stuff around with us.

 

I checked the weather for back home and it was going to be 90 degrees today when we arrived. They had scalding hot weather the entire time we were gone. Figures.

 

I woke the fam up and we headed to the buffet for our last meal. Believe it or not, Kendra and the rest of the family came out of their room at the same time. I was shocked. She's on time for once.

 

I was a little disappointed that they didn't have the kids buffet opened on this last day but we did grab our food and still ate in the kids section...just to be able to find a table for all of us.

 

We headed back to the room to grab our last little bit of belongings and went out to the pool deck to wait for our turn to be called. Purple tags=9:30.

 

Everyone had phone service again and you would see mad texting and posting going on.

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They called our color at 9:24 and down we headed to the atrium. The line was LONG and wrapped around the atrium and back and then out the doors. We were going to have a long wait to just ding ourselves off the ship. Then a lady came to the side door where we were at and started telling everyone to "Come this way", which led right to the exit. Boy I bet there were a lot of upset people still inside in the long line.

 

Another picture of the port before leaving...

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Everything was decorated as we left.

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NOW HERE IS THE WEIRDEST CHECK OUT I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED!!!!

 

There was a customs guy (I assumed) just standing on the ship before you "ding out" and you just handed him your customs form. DONE! That was it. He didn't look at the form. He didn't go over the form. He didn't ask any questions. AT ALL!! This was the weirdest thing ever. IS IT ALWAYS LIKE THIS?

 

We dinged ourselves out and they said goodbye to us.

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We walked across, down the escalator and picked up our luggage and walked out. By far the simplest thing I have ever encountered. Like Seriously!!!!

 

We got outside and a taxi pulled up that said "Gobostonshuttle.com" on it and he offered to take us to the airport for $10pp and all 8 of us could fit with the luggage in there so we figured why not.

 

We were there in about 10 minutes and plenty of time to spare until our 12:45pm flight.

 

So we sat outside and watched these rather unusually long buses they have in Boston go by. Like super long. It was fun to watch them turn...the first half of the bus would turn and then the second half.

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Kendra and the fam decided they were already hungry again. I was not. So, they decided to go inside and find a bite to eat and we said our "goodbyes". You see we booked our return flight home way before Kendra and them did. Kendra had hoped that the prices would go down some and when they didn't, she decided that she would take a different flight (leaving around 2 I believe) and they would fly to a different airport 2 hours away back home. Then a family member would drive there and pick them up. I guess that's all fine and dandy and they saved about $350 off their fare compared to us, but I'm sorry, when I'm ready to go home, I'm ready. I don't want to fly home and then drive for another 2 hours. I'll pay the difference.

 

Although she had a direct flight and would arrive at her airport about 1 hour before us, when you factor in the driving time, we would still beat her home by, I think we calculated, about 1/2 hour. LOL But we did have a connecting flight. Oh well.

 

We stayed outside for a little longer still watching these go by...

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Then we decided to go ahead and check in around 11:30am since our actual boarding started at 12:15pm. I knew that everyone had talked about just how long this airport is and that the SW terminal was down, under the ground, back up and over and it takes awhile. I honestly did not pay attention or even watch when we originally got off the plane, so I decided I would pay a little more attention this time.

 

We went through security and started our journey to the "other side".

 

Down the escalators.

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Getting ready to head underground in the tunnel:

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Hey at least they have the fast people mover escalators that you can get on to speed things up and make you feel like you're a speed walker in them.

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You get off one and onto another.

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What's that ahead? Yet another one?

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Now it was time to go back up...

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Sakari posing with her NCL shirt she got when she was around 3 years old and it drug the ground on her. "This is the face of a kids having fun!"

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Anything and everything you could want in the megaport.

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Now this airport had a little play area for the kids. We had a little time to spare before they started boarding and it was right beside where we were to board. So Sakari wanted to play a bit.

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Sakari met up with some of the Kids Club friends and they played for awhile. It's funny how they spotted her because she was still wearing the arm band from the club. LOL

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It was finally time for us to board and we took our "early bird check in" flight position in the A section to wait our turn. I swore I heard my grandson's voice screaming toward the play area. I was right...along came Kendra to give me 1 last hug before we left. Her flight would be next at 1 gate over where the rest of the family was waiting and waving frantically at me.

 

We said our goodbyes again and a little "I'll see you at home in a few hours" and boarded the plane.

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Sakari always remembers the time she rode the "Whale Plane" (Seaworld orca plane and they allowed her in the cockpit and even gave her a SW whale pin). Any chance she can get, she'll stop to take a look and see if she's allowed in. Now I know the last time she did this and we took pictures of her in the control seat people on here were saying it's against the rules to allow anyone in there now, but they always do it. So...

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I snapped a picture of her heading in and I went to find us some appropriate seats while the stewardess said "Go ahead and find good seats, I'll bring her to you."

 

Our flight was late taking off. They announced that the flight was completely sold out "so when you see a seat that's empty...consider it yours and sit!" LOL

 

We finally pulled out at 1pm (15 minutes late) and we were officially on our way to Chicago.

 

Sakari was happy about her piece of gum. She does have issues with her ears not wanting to pop usually when we are coming down so I always load up on the gum for her.

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I was now wishing that I had went with Kendra to get a bite to eat because it was getting late and we had already had meal number 2 or 3 by now on the ship. Just saying...

 

I was looking forward to this for sure...

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When we arrived in Chicago, I noticed that we only had 10 minutes to get to our next flight when they were boarding. YIKES!!

 

By the time we got off the plane, we literally ran to the next terminal only to find out that our plane had been delayed and was actually coming IN a 1/2 hour late. WHEW!!! I was happy. That meant we had time to grab a bite to eat...and some pop because that is priority!

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Well that 1/2 hour turned into an hour and turned into "I'm sorry, your terminal has been changed to ____, which happens to be at the other end". WHAT???

 

Everyone gathered their things and headed that way in a hurry.

 

After being at that terminal, "I'm sorry, your flight has now been changed to ___ terminal". Here we go again.

 

It got so confusing that I don't ever remember what time we FINALLY left but it was awhile.

 

Once we got on the plane, the captain/pilot said that he was going to "make some time". I found the free SW app on my phone and watched it as the speed increased. I did notice that he was going faster than the other planes did in the past. I think 581 mph. hehe

 

Sakari and I spent our time watching t.v. I found a few episodes of shark week and also a few episodes of "Tanked" because you can never get enough of fish right and I love that show from watching in on t.v. in the hotel room. Daddy had free drink coupons, so he would decide to booze it up since everyone was really needing a drink at that point with the delays. LOL

 

We finally landed and I believe we ended up being 2 hours late getting into Columbus. I'm pretty sure Kendra beat us home after all. :p ;)

 

So that ends the review.

 

I will take some time tomorrow to put together some final thoughts on the cruise and Bermuda.

 

I hope you enjoyed it and thank you for all the comments everyone has graciously left. I really do appreciate it.

My final thoughts of the Dawn.

 

Well where do I begin? I guess I’ll start with the statement that I find it hard to believe that any cruise is a bad cruise and I can make the best out of everything. Yes, things don’t go perfect every time and things are different among each ship and each cruise line, but it will never make me have a bad time.

So, now that this is stated…my thoughts of the Dawn.

I will start by saying that when I cruised the Star, the Dawn’s “sister” I had mixed feelings about the ship at the time. There were things about the ship that I just felt that were not up to the NCL “standard”. This went for the cleanliness, service, people and overall looks of the ship. I felt that it was not as “nice” as the other fleet that I had experienced. I have always remained by my statement that I thought the Star was my least favorite ship in the fleet and as you can see by my signature, I have sailed a majority of the fleet at this point.

Well, now there’s the Dawn. Almost similar to the Star and I felt that it had basically some of the same problems. There were a lot of broken things on the ship and you (well at least I) can see that she’s older and tired compared to the rest of the fleet, just like her sister. Did if effect my cruise? Nope, not at all. But, when it comes to opinions, this is just mine…she needs some TLC.

Now if you take a look at the fleet:

 

You will see that the Dawn is not the oldest ship. However, I have been on the older ships: Spirit, which I must comment is still one of my favorite smaller ships to date, Sun & Sky, which I was just on back in November and of course the Star. I felt that the other ships were in better shape than the Dawn. So this speaks volumes FOR ME.

Yes, I know that the Dawn is getting ready to go to dry dock and I hope they fix a lot of things and do some facelifts or upgrading on her. But who really knows at this point.

The good:

***edit*** I almost forgot one of the best things...our room. Deck 12, "newer" section where the old Spinnaker Lounge use to be. These rooms are by far the nicest! They are up to date with the decor, all neutral colors, dark wood in the rooms and beautiful. Even though the rooms are the same in size and design, you truly feel like you are in a different room. (We have the exact same room booked for the next if we keep it). ALSO...if you get a chance to book a sideways room like ours, DO IT. It seems even bigger and the layout is FABULOUS!!

 

The MDR and the food were excellent. I felt that the service (quickness) was way better than what I had experienced in recent cruises over the last few years and we ended up with the absolute best waiter in the Venetian one night. He went above and beyond any that I have ever experienced.

The entertainment was AWESOME. I think NCL has a great variety of entertainment and I enjoy just about all of the shows and the variations you’ll see each night. Elements was AWESOME. Second City-awesome. Magician-awesome. Welcome show…ehh, ok. The acrobats show-awesome.

Pati and Jose were awesome…every night in the atrium they had a party dedicating to a different theme and they are awesome together.

We enjoyed the buffet and there were a lot of variety to choose from with plenty of seating up and down the entire side, both port and starboard, but breakfast seating was horrid.

The Photo shop staff letting me charge my batteries daily, even though they gave me flack about it, I am still grateful with 1 employee going out of their way to actually ASK me if I needed it charged again.

You will never starve on NCL. Like seriously, there’s always something open…always. That’s the one thing that I missed about NCL when I was on Carnival. Carnival is definitely different with the times they have things open and it always seemed to never coincide with our schedules.

THE CASINO…need I say more? It treated me awesome, but I do have to say that it seemed a LOT smaller than most?

The kids buffet is just genius for families. They should have this concept on EVERY ship ever made. So easy for the kids to get their own food and a great place for the families to find a place to sit together.

The wonderful welcome back party on the last day before pulling out of port. I just love this party. The singing, the dancing and it makes you feel like it’s another sail away on the first day. It’s an awesome concept.

I noticed that dishes in the halls were removed a lot faster than in the past.

Getting off the ship was by far the easiest and fastest thing I have ever experienced!!! Like ever! To just be able to hand your customs form to the guy while ON the ship, ding yourself out and then go over and get your luggage and walk out. Wow. I wish it was like this at every port instead of waiting in long lines pulling your heavy luggage down.

 

 

 

The not so good:

I found that now, the ice cream station is only open during certain hours. When did this change? So disappointing.

We witnessed water leaks in the ceilings in the main hallways with buckets sitting on the floor.

Several bathrooms flooded over and over during the cruise and were unusable for various amounts of time.

All of the original locks were missing or broken on the public bathrooms. Some didn’t have locks at all…not even the little lock slider inside.

There were several public restrooms that were “Out of Order” from day 1 and never fixed the entire cruise.

Actual rust falling from the bathroom stalls from decay.

Several carpet “bumps” that could become a trip hazard in main hallways with heavy use and older carpet. (It did look like they have replaced the carpet in the hallways for all the rooms).

I felt that the quality of certain food items at Blue Lagoon have decreased…especially the artichoke dip. Then we had the issues with our order not being right (amount of wings we ordered a some missing fries) and the comment of “we can’t count” was just a lame excuse and not one you should be telling your customer. In my world, you just make it right.

The SOLD OUT ITEMS!!! Like seriously? Who orders your stuff? Sold out of just about everything I would normally buy or want and they are sold out on day 1. Something is just not right with this.

While our room steward did her job, she really did not go above and beyond like we have had in the past. She didn’t even learn our names. I am always so amazed at the staff that will learn your name by day 2 and greet you according to it, but it was obvious that she never did know our names. Not a biggie, just an observation. Only 1 screw up and that was she didn’t leave the right amount of bath towels once and another time she took our wet beach towels (3 of them) and only left us with 2 of them…I took it upon myself to find her cart in the hall prior to leaving into port one day and took back my towel on my own. Yes, she did let us get our baggies of ice filed for my cooler for the port, but I did have to ask or do it myself. I just wanted to add that on our Carnival cruise, they were on that shiznit and anticipating it before I even ask. They were wonderful.

The kids pool in the back closing at 6pm every day. Really?

I have always raved about the kids club on the NCL ships. Sakari had a great time, but I think this will be the first time she did not bring any “crafts” or “projects” back with her. This is weird and anyone that knows Sakari, drawing and crafts are her thing. She only came home with her “modeling” outfit that she had made one night and that was it. She did take it upon herself to draw some whales for the counselors back in our room one night and then take it to them as a gift. I think she was going through withdrawal. Just weird and an observation.

The lady on the pool deck with the water for sale that dumped the ice on the filthy deck and then proceeded to put the ice back in the bucket with the water…I’m just speechless with this.

The rude worker that yelled about us being on deck 4 to get off the ship. You didn’t have to be so nasty and if you don’t want anyone down there, you need to enforce it with EVERYONE. Then once up on the 7th deck getting off they try to direct you back down from where we came from and THEN proceed to argue with you. Not cool.

The nasty photo shop worker that kept snatching my pictures from me and then proceeded to mix the rest of them up. You just lost some sales from Kendra…and she ended up purchasing $263 of pictures, which could have been more, you moron! Get some people skills.

The White Hot Party-love this party and the concept, but having 1 ½ hours of the party for only the kids was just ridiculous. Obviously more time should be dedicated to the adults since (as you seen in the pictures) it was CROWDED during the adult party and only around 8 kids during the kids party. Like seriously! THEN the live band that was much too fast to even dance to and botched the songs just made it for a disappointing time. It’s one we always look forward to.

Asian Bamboo restaurant-we have always enjoyed this place, but it seemed different this time. The employee was not friendly and the service was beyond too slow. It should not take an hour for your food to come out after you order. The drinks were slow as well to the point where I almost ask if he remembered we had ordered them. I don’t know if the morale is gone now that they have made this a free restaurant or what the deal is. The food was good though…once we got it.

The absolutely positively slow service just trying to get a “soda” with your soda card was ridiculous and almost not even worth buying it at this point. This will be the first time that I have felt I did not get my money’s worth. The waits were forever long, you were skipped a lot because there were so many people waiting for drinks that they couldn’t keep up with who was next in line. Only having 1 bartender helping walk up customers and 1 bartender making drinks for the runners is just LUDICROUS!!! I suspect it’s due to the UBP.

When we thought we had lost the hubby’s room card and went to customer service to get a new one, they were to deactivate his old card (and assured us that they did) only for us to find out that it was not once we found it again. This is MAJOR…a major mistake on their part. Had someone actually found that card and ran up a bunch of charges….YIKES!

The nasty yellow beach towels are just unacceptable and gross. I don’t care what it is on them, they need thrown away and replaced. I know others have said it’s probably sun screen, which is fine, but once again…I sail with NCL a lot and have NEVER had this problem before. I’m pretty sure that everyone uses sun screen on each cruise. So, it would be on all of them…or the other ships have just had the sense to replace them as they are messed up.

All the complaints and changes over the last few months with “can you bring food back to your room or not” because of the issue of people putting plates in the hallways…well pick that crap up out of my room then. There’s absolutely no reason to have perishable food sitting on my desk in the room for almost 3 days before you remove it. That’s a given.

I’m telling ya, washy washy is dying. No more singing or dancing to it. You are lucky to find someone insisting you wash your hands anymore. Bring on the illnesses.

The long wait in a too small port area to get on the ship. I don’t think I have ever been to a port where there were so many people waiting and no seats, hardly any standing room and just plain crowded.

 

 

The neutral:

I’m going to call this the neutral because it will be all cheers for some and all groans and moans for others….smoking.

This ship probably had the MOST smoking areas I have ever seen on a ship…lately.

You could smoke on BOTH sides (port and starboard) on deck 7 with ashtrays lined all the way up and down there.

All of the port side on deck 12 by the pool was smoking. All of it. Not just a little section of 5 tables with no place to sit, the entire section! Now I did notice that it wasn’t just the tables along the walls either. They had the fixed ashtrays along the pools by the loungers as well.

I also noticed plenty of smoking along all the steps on the various layers heading up from the pool to the Bimimi bar as well. I don’t know if this is a smoking section on that side too, but nothing was said and there were plenty of people doing it.

Port side of Bimimi bar was all smoking.

You could smoke in the entire casino.

You could smoke in the cigar bar.

 

So my final thoughts. REMEMBER MY FINAL THOUGHTS. The Dawn is my least favorite ship in the fleet so far. She’s at the bottom of the list. Yes, we had a blast. No I would never say “don’t go on her she’s crap”, but compared to the OTHERS in the fleet, she’s just in the worse shape IMO!!!

Now I already have her booked for this same exact cruise for the same exact time to Bermuda next year. I booked this prior to leaving for Bermuda. I’m now faced with the decision as to whether or not I want to keep this booking or cancel and pay at least $600 more just to be able to give the Breakaway a try instead. Is it worth it to me? I’ll have to weigh the facts. I’m not sure. After all, I don’t exactly cruise just for the ship. As I have said plenty of times, I can have a great time on ANY ship! My other decision comes down to…trying to sail the entire fleet on NCL. Sailing the Dawn again kind of defeats the purpose as well and if you double that up with I didn’t really care for the ship, that’s kind of a double whammy. I have a lot of thinking and decisions to make now.

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