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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because we thought it would be an upgrade from Princess and Celebrity. Over 25 cruises on 10 different lines. This had the worst mattress and the best bathroom. Your included excursion is picked by viking. Your ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we thought it would be an upgrade from Princess and Celebrity. Over 25 cruises on 10 different lines. This had the worst mattress and the best bathroom. Your included excursion is picked by viking. Your choice is to go on what Viking wants you to go on or pay for any of the other excursions. The entertainment was not up to the complicated entertainment you would have on a similar ship of this size. Lots of talent but basically a great band with 4 great singers. But that is as exciting as it gets. Didn't miss the casino or art offerings at all. Very quiet ship for people over 60. Leaving the ship was fast but the information of what was needed on the shore was usually wrong. Great housekeeping staff for our room The main dining room looks like a cafeteria and one night we sat for over 1 hour after our main course before being approached for coffee. The cafeteria on the top floor was predictable but at night actually had candles on the tables with nicer ambiance than the main restaurant. Mannafredis specialty well run and with good variety and good service Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We sailed on the Viking Sea in February, on the South America & the Caribbean cruise. This was our first time on a Viking Ocean cruise. We took their Waterways of the Czars cruise in 2016 and enjoyed that so much that we booked this ... Read More
We sailed on the Viking Sea in February, on the South America & the Caribbean cruise. This was our first time on a Viking Ocean cruise. We took their Waterways of the Czars cruise in 2016 and enjoyed that so much that we booked this cruise, due to its itinerary. It did not disappoint. Getting on Board with our luggage: The cruise embarkation was very easy. However, that is because we put our written itinerary booklets that Viking sent to each of us in our carry-on. That was lucky, as I was thinking about not bringing them at all. Security at the entrance to the port demanded to see those before we could board the ship, so have them handy! (We thought that Viking should have told us that.) Getting our luggage was a different matter. We got into San Juan about 1:00P and boarded the ship around 2:00P. However, our luggage was not brought to our stateroom until after 5:00P. That was bad, as we were in our winter wear and could not shower and change. Why we could not bring our luggage with us on the bus from the airport to the ship is a mystery. Ship Overall: The ship is very nicely designed and felt airy and spacious: it never seemed crowded. Cabin: Our deluxe veranda cabin (5007) was fine, but narrow. We could not pass by each other at the foot of the bed at the same time, and we are not big people. Also, the desk chair was too big for the space, so getting to the balcony was somewhat awkward unless we had the chair pushed all the way in. Also, it also would have been nice to have some more drawers to put things in. (We would give up the in-cabin coffee maker for that.) The bathroom was wonderful: lots of space, storage space, and a comfortably sized shower with a ledge! Our cabin stewards (Alvin and iPitu) were fabulous: they were personable, offered advice when asked, and kept our cabin spotless. Dining: We enjoyed the dining onboard the ship. We started many mornings with a latte and a pastry in the Viking Bar. We would then go up to the World Café for the breakfast buffet, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Lunch found us in the World Café, the Pool Bar, or Mamsen’s. While the drinks were better at Mamsen’s, the Pool Bar made a great steak sandwich and hot dog! We ate everywhere for dinner: Manfredi’s, the Chef’s Table, the Main Restaurant and the World Café. Jorge, the sommelier in the Main Restaurant was fabulous and poured up some great wines (we had the Silver Spirits beverage package). The food at each location was very good. When the World Café offered special buffets, it was fun to eat there. Onboard Lecture: We really liked the onboard lectures. They were entertaining and informative, and we tried to attend as many of those as we could. Shore excursions: The ship did not offer anything too exciting, so we tended to book our own excursions. We took two Viking excursions in Columbia. The tour guide for the Tastes and Sights of Santa Marta (Carlos) was fabulous! He was energetic, loved his city and infected us all with his enthusiasm. The guide in Cartagena was awful: hard to understand, slow and uninterested. He hit all of the marks indicated in the tour description, but did little more than that. Overall, the excursions on the river cruise were better. The Spa: We loved the spa! We both enjoyed the Nordic Bathing Ritual one night and I had a scalp massage, wash and blow dry another day. Both were fabulous and relaxing. Aleksandra, the hair stylist, is one of the best stylists I have ever had. Disembarkation: We had a 2:00P flight home. We had to be out of our cabin by 8:00A, and then off the ship by 9:30A. Although we had a Viking airport transfer included with our fare, we did not use it as they wanted to drop us off at the airport at 9:00A. We were not excited about spending the last day of our vacation in the airport. So, we stayed a little later in San Juan and then paid for a taxi. Viking should either offer post-cruise excursions with an airport drop-off or provide a comfortable place to wait with your luggage on board or nearby. We sat in a park near the port entrance until we caught a cab to the airport. We would sail again with Viking Ocean cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We sailed on the Dawn before and loved it. Decided on the 10-day cruise to celebrate some major life milestones. Staff, ship and excursions were awesome. We did run into what appeared to be food and drink provision issues. First ... Read More
We sailed on the Dawn before and loved it. Decided on the 10-day cruise to celebrate some major life milestones. Staff, ship and excursions were awesome. We did run into what appeared to be food and drink provision issues. First night in the steak house, we couldn't order certain cuts of meat as they didn't have them. The Mexican restaurant ran out of Mexican beer. We saw certain salad items, fruits, etc. disappear from the buffet during the cruise. We even ran out of vanilla ice cream. Looked like they ordered food for 7 days to cover a 10 day cruise. Richard, the cruise director, was the greatest we have experienced in the 17 cruises we have taken. His personality is awesome!! He is so friendly and engaging and truly loved interacting with all the passengers. The entertainment on the ship was beyond awesome. You won't want to miss any shows as they are all great! Our cabin steward, Reu, was the best. Could not have gotten a better, more hard working guy on the ship. Room was in an awesome location as well. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose the Norwegian Dawn as our first cruise based on the destination and ship size. We had reservations after reading reviews but our worries were put to bed after we arrived for our trip. 1. Embarkation and check in were very ... Read More
We chose the Norwegian Dawn as our first cruise based on the destination and ship size. We had reservations after reading reviews but our worries were put to bed after we arrived for our trip. 1. Embarkation and check in were very quick as we weren't in the initial group boarding, it literally took a few minutes with no wait in line. 2. Disembarkation went equally fast with a very organized and efficient baggage handling. We were surprised as we'd read about surfing a sea of bags on the port dock for other cruise lines. 3. Cleanliness is amazing. My spouse handles training in hospitals and universities for sanitation and sterilization; he was impressed at the level of care provided by staff. He commented that in most instances, he saw care and upkeep at a level close to or better than at a hospital level. 4. Our mini suite cabin was fabulous with copious amounts of closet and storage space. The room was large with a sitting area and large bathroom. Our cabin steward was fabulous and kept our suite immaculate at all times. We'd read reviews about noise being under the cafe and in reality we had very little noise at all. 5. The dining was wonderful with fresh new menu choices daily, along with the standard offerings. We had no problems getting seated whenever we arrived. Our meals were excellent and the staff very attentive and accommodating. We never left a dining venue without having a great food experience. 6. All the entertainment was very good, we weren't able to see or participate in everything they offered and will have to cruise with more days at sea to experience it all. Top notch entertainment and theater shows. 7. The staff on this ship would do anything to make your trip a special experience, we had a hard time deciding who we would add as our most favorite staff member. Hint: it was a toss up between our cabin steward and Richard the cruise director. 8. We chose not to book port excursions and had a great experience with port bookings. We didn't have any excursion credits for this cruise, we will book shore excursions with our next trip. We didn't travel with children or another couple for this trip. Overall, we found many passengers to talk and tour with and were very happy for this experience. We are already planning our next cruise after having such a nice first cruise experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This was my seventh Norweigan Cruise and they only get better. My group had the misfortune of one of our friends involvement in an accident on Bonaire. The Bonaire medical staff and Norweigan officials went above and beyond to make certain ... Read More
This was my seventh Norweigan Cruise and they only get better. My group had the misfortune of one of our friends involvement in an accident on Bonaire. The Bonaire medical staff and Norweigan officials went above and beyond to make certain my friends recieved the upmost medical care, were transported back to the ship, and assisted in the arrangements for them to fly back to the US for medical follow up. The crew made certain during the whole cruise that we were treated with individual attention to assure an excellent holiday aboard. The Entertainment was superb. All staff called us by name and immediately provided our preferences for beverages, food, etc. without our mention. Reservations for dining went smoothly . All our scheduled excursions were top notch. Our inside cabin was wonderful as far as room and value for my husband and I. Will definitely continue the Norweigan way of sailing Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Cruised with 16 friends and my 25 yr old son. The best thing about the Dawn is its outstanding crew. Always smiling and going the extra mile. Fantastic bar server Irene Sandoval was the best NCL employee I have ever had the pleasure of ... Read More
Cruised with 16 friends and my 25 yr old son. The best thing about the Dawn is its outstanding crew. Always smiling and going the extra mile. Fantastic bar server Irene Sandoval was the best NCL employee I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. As hard as the crew works they never show any stress or lack of desire to go about their job with a smile on their face. 8 NCL cruises and by far the best crew ever. What the ship lacked in entertainment and food quality was made up for with their outstanding service. We went on a 10 day Southern Caribbean cruise and visited a number of islands we had never been before. A perfect itinerary. We used excursions both through NCL and private excursions and really got to experience a lot of the "off the beaten path" parts of the islands. Safe secure excursions in every port. The best part was always being welcomed back on board by Irene and the Topsiders staff ready to serve a cold drink. Love NCL! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose the ship for the itinerary. Despite having Norwegian drop four ports and replace with four different ones we had a great trip. The ship is smaller but has a lot to offer. No crowds and no lines were great. If you cruise this ... Read More
We chose the ship for the itinerary. Despite having Norwegian drop four ports and replace with four different ones we had a great trip. The ship is smaller but has a lot to offer. No crowds and no lines were great. If you cruise this itinerary expect an older laid back crowd. The alcoholic beverages are WAY overpriced on Norwegian. They drive you to their drink package and stick it to you if you don’t. Do not expect to pay less than $10 a drink if you don’t have the package. The entertainment was fantastic with a lot of variety. Food was great and typical cruise fare however the beef on the ship was outstanding. I would sail Norwegian again with no fear. All cruises are what you make of them and this trip didn’t disappoint. Hard to beat a cruise out of San Juan. Always warm and beautiful ports. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This is the first time on a Viking Ocean cruise and will probably be the last. Have been on two previous Viking River cruises in Europe. Our cabin was 6042 (deluxe veranda). We have been on more than 24 ocean cruises and have experience ... Read More
This is the first time on a Viking Ocean cruise and will probably be the last. Have been on two previous Viking River cruises in Europe. Our cabin was 6042 (deluxe veranda). We have been on more than 24 ocean cruises and have experience with numerous cruise lines. Our favorite cruise line still remains Oceania even after trying Viking Ocean. The cruise embarkation (Jan 28, 2019) was late starting. Everyone had to wait in the common spaces until 2:35 PM before the cabins were ready because the ship had to be disinfected due to GI problems on the ship on the previous cruise. On that cruise no one could serve themselves at the World Café. We had no food problems like that on our cruise. There must have been a special deal in England for this cruise because 375 of the 913 guests were from there. The ship never felt crowded and there was never much of a wait for anything. Lots of times it felt deserted. The rule that keeps anyone under 18 from being on this ship certainly skews the age of the passengers. The average had to be in the 70's. Pregnant looking men (and women) were in abundance. The elevators were put to a strain. The entertainment wasn't much. However the guitar and piano players who circulated into different spots on the ship were excellent. The violin and cello music duo would have been more appropriate at a wake and it sounded like it. The dining was mixed. We could make two reservations prior to embarkation and we did so for Manfredi's and The Chef's Table. We were able to snag another Manfredi's reservation while on the ship. It's almost impossible to get extra speciality reservations while on the ship as they are really booked. The Chef's Table theme changes about every three days. We had the Mexican theme and the food was great. Manfredi's was a disappointment so we tried it twice to be equally disappointed. What Italian restaurant has no tablecloths? The answer is Manfredi's. So you end up with a placemat on a wooden table and when tables are cleared next to you it doesn't look too good. The food was nothing special at Manfredi's. The main restaurant lighting looks like you are eating in a very well lighted cafeteria and is way too bright. We complained and joyfully ended up at a table with less lighting. Ask for table 175/176/177 if you want it to be a little less bright. The design of the main restaurant is poor- narrow spaces running down both sides of the ship. Have they ever seen the main restaurant on Oceania Marina or Riviera? That would have been a plan to follow. The cabin design also needs help. There aren't enough drawers to put things in. The bathroom is nice however. Bring a bunch of coat hangars that you have saved from your dry cleaning and use them in the closet because there aren't too many supplied. I guess you could ask for more but the ones you being don't weigh much and you can leave them there when the cruise is over. The TV entertainment system has lots choices of things to watch but it constantly buffers and it freezes and you can't hear anything for 5-10 seconds and it happens ALL the time. Even with their own ship broadcasts the system constantly buffers. Try to listen to the shore excursions briefing on the TV and it is a real chore. Watch a movie, others have mentioned, and it buffers in the middle of it and it could never be restarted. Speaking of the free shore excursions. They aren't much! In the Caribbean they are just a 2-3 hour open bench seat bus holding about 20 people or a 20 person small bus that takes you to places to look at things. We opted for 2 paid shore excursions. One was at Saint Luicia and was a 6-7 hour tour on a catamaran that took us to a nice hotel resort for lunch and then back to beach to swim or snorkel a bit and then back to the ship. it was nice but $498 for two was a high price. Harrison Cave on Barbados was the other tour we paid for and it was nice but the cave was really nothing special if you have seen other larger, more beautiful caverns. Other complaints I have with Viking overall is that they never offer shipboard credits when making a reservation. So NEVER book directly with Viking. Our travel agent gave us a $600 shipboard credit that paid for the $30.00 per day gratuities that they add and the drinks that we had plus a purchase in the store. Also Viking charges you $100 apiece if you make a reservation and then cancel it. No other line does that I think. Also with the Viking River cruises they want their money almost a year in advance which is ridiculous. Wouldn't do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Itinerary. This was a 12 day cruise, sailing out of San Juan and going to Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, and Tortola. A terrific set of ports! We took advantage of 3 or 4 of the specialty ... Read More
Itinerary. This was a 12 day cruise, sailing out of San Juan and going to Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, and Tortola. A terrific set of ports! We took advantage of 3 or 4 of the specialty restaurants. All were good. We particularly liked Cagney's. The food was great! We weren't as fond of the Brazilian restaurant. The food wasn't to our liking and it took forever to get dessert (they apparently have to go to a different deck to get the desserts). This almost caused us to miss one of the theatre shows. Shows. The shows were good, however not as good as we've experienced on other ships. We were happy that there was a show every night - and all but one of the shows was help at both 7 pm and 9 pm. This provided great options. We had a different cruise where they skipped a couple of nights - and that was disappointing. The one show that we did not care for was the "Juggler". He didn't do much and seemed to want to be a comedian. It wasn't up to our expectations. Bartenders. For the first time cruising, we had a drink package. We certainly enjoyed this and found great refuge in the Bimini bar, one deck up, overlooking the pool area. We met lots of great people there - and it became our regular spot to assemble. One bartender in particular - Jeff, looked after us very well! I must say that all bartenders were good, and genuinely looked like the enjoyed their jobs and were interested in making our journey enjoyable. Excursions. We found the selection of ship sponsored excursions limited and expensive. While there were lots to choose from, we found that many were all the same, and could be done cheaper on your own. We were sailing to generally safe islands, so were ventured out on our own many times. Overall, a terrific trip! Congrats NCL for putting together a great itinerary. We loved it! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for its amazing 9 port itinerary in the southern Caribbean. We loved San Juan as a embarkation port. It took us south a lot faster! It was an easy port to manage. We enjoyed the ship even though it was older but ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its amazing 9 port itinerary in the southern Caribbean. We loved San Juan as a embarkation port. It took us south a lot faster! It was an easy port to manage. We enjoyed the ship even though it was older but PLEASE read the cabin review! O'Shehan's Irish pub was near our room and we enjoyed the atmosphere and food there better than the lido deck. We ate most of our breakfasts there. Our favorite crew member was a server there, Ari. We had a small cooler with us that we took to the beach daily and the staff was willing to fill our water bottles with ice water and also fill a small baggie with ice for us. We had 8 nights of specialty dining. Totally recommend that you upgrade with food not alcohol! Our food was amazing! We ate in the main dining room one night and could not even hear ourselves think. TOO LOUD and took way too long to get through a meal that was mediocre. Bamboo was a great option that is also complimentary. Food in the pool area was the only option for swimmers but it was good burgers, hotdogs, chicken wings, etc. Unfortunately it was the same each day and closed early at 4;45 pm. I personally loved the itinerary for this cruise with 9 days of ports. It was a bit too much for our 24 year old and my husband. I could have spent more time snorkeling but they petered out for me. We noticed that the last port folks looked a lot like zombies coming off the ship that they did a t the first 3 ports. lol Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I’ve spent the past few weeks putting together a detailed review of our vacation for our own personal memories. It took way more time than I thought! My goal was to get the review done before the end of February, but I ended up being out ... Read More
I’ve spent the past few weeks putting together a detailed review of our vacation for our own personal memories. It took way more time than I thought! My goal was to get the review done before the end of February, but I ended up being out of town on business the last week. When we were looking for reviews prior to sailing, we couldn’t find much current info out there for the Dawn or for the 11-day itinerary. Most of the reviews seemed to be focused on the newer, larger ships. Since we’ve returned, there’s been one “live” review for our sailing, as well as a couple of other reviews of the longer Southern Caribbean cruises. Under the theory that it’s never too late and you can never have too much of a good thing, here is a summary from our cruise. I’ll follow up shortly with details and photos for anyone who is interested. About us This was our 6th cruise, the 4th on NCL. We are from the frigid upper Midwest (Michigan), in our late 40s/early 60s. The rationale for this cruise was an upcoming milestone birthday. I think we picked the best two weeks to head south. While we were gone, our city declared a state of emergency due to snow, state government shut down for 2 or 3 days – something about a polar vortex. The Cruise For the first time in almost 20 years, we were able to swing 2 weeks of vacation. When we saw the Dawn was doing the Southern Caribbean again, we were sold. Of the 9 ports, 5 of them were new to us. Plus, we’d never been to Puerto Rico (we were scheduled in 2006 on Royal Caribbean but didn’t make it due to a medical emergency delay out of Miami), so we considered it an extra bonus port. Because we booked at the beginning of December, we paid in full and were able to do our reservations and upgrade bids right away, although most of the good reservation times were already gone. The last time we cruised, the beverage package didn’t exist, so we had a pretty good idea about how much we would have spent without one. Our original booking was for a midship balcony on the port side, in the same vicinity as our first ever cabin on the Dawn. We submitted upgrade bids on a couple of suites but knew we wouldn’t be disappointed if it didn’t happen. Eleven days before departure, we got an email that we had won the bid for a 2 bedroom suite (SC, cabin 11530)! It was a fabulous cabin and we enjoyed it even more than the Owner’s Suite we had for our 2011 cruise. The owner's suite was all the way forward so we couldn't use that balcony half the time. We spent a lot of our time on the SC balcony. On the same day, we got an email from NCL notifying us that the pier we would be departing from changed to the Frontier Pier. As a planner, I got a bit anxious because the Frontier Pier wouldn’t display on any maps, but everything ended up fine. Pre/Post Cruise (Flights) Between unpredictable Michigan weather + 45 minute drive to the airport + 6:00 AM departure, we decided to book a hotel near the airport the night before our flight. That ended up being the right decision because it started spitting snow and dropping temperatures when we left home on Thursday night. Getting out just in time! We started vacation early by stopping for dinner at a restaurant with great southern food, fried chicken and craft cocktails. The hotel by the airport was comfortable and close. We were at the airport and checked in by 4:30 AM, watching the snow swirl. The flight from Michigan to Atlanta left right on time. A little snow didn’t make us Michiganders nervous, but the federal government shut down was a wild card. We heard rumors that flights in NY were being delayed due to it. Leaving Atlanta was more challenging. The incoming flight was delayed, the microphones at the gate weren’t functioning and the pilot claimed that mid-morning air traffic in Atlanta is always bad. We ended up arriving in Puerto Rico over an hour late. No problem for us, since we were there two days early. Several people on our flight were making a connection in San Juan to Tortola. Passengers were very polite and let them off first. Hope they made it! Dining With the 11-night itinerary, our dining perk covered 5 meals. I reserved all online prior to the cruise but ended up adjusting times and/or dates for most of them on board. We were flexible and didn’t have any trouble getting a new time that worked for us. We try to eat at the specialty restaurants early in the cruise. We find we enjoy them more before we get saturated with too much food. Because we were in a suite and had the opportunity to eat at Moderno’s/Cagney’s for breakfast and lunch every day, we skipped Cagney’s for dinner. Here are the restaurants we dined in: Los Lobos: The food was good but we enjoyed the drinks even more. Ordered table side guacamole based on rave reviews. It wasn’t crowded at all on the first night, maybe because we booked it late and right before sail away. Moderno: Unique salad bar and tasty Brazilian cocktails. I have read some reviews complaining about slow service, but the meat selections were coming out so quickly that I forgot to take any pictures! We got some of everything on the menu, and it was all good and fresh. I’ve never been interested enough to go to a Brazilian steakhouse on land, but I was happy to get a chance to experience once it on board. We’ve decided it’s not our favorite, though. Le Bistro: Is always a favorite. Husband loves escargot and Le Bistro does them well. In one of the refurbs after 2011, they swapped spaces with La Cucina. The current space doesn’t seem as intimate or cozy, even though we were seated in a booth. La Cucina: We never seem to order pasta but always have a good meal. This time we got veal osso buco and salmon. Both were excellent. The space seemed louder than when it was Le Bistro in 2011. Teppanyaki: This was my husband’s first time at a hibachi style restaurant (goal for the cruise was to try new things) and he loved it. More about our singing chef in the detailed review. Aqua: We only went to Aqua twice this time. If we hadn’t had the specialty dining plan this time, we would have eaten there more. I was a bit disappointed not to be able to try some of the main dining room dishes we saw posted throughout the cruise. The times that we did go there, the food was very good. Table location seemed to make a difference. Service was excellent and you could have a comfortable conversation when seated at one of the banquettes against the wall. When we were seated at a table in the middle of the room, it was too noisy and service was inattentive. O’Sheehan’s: This restaurant didn’t exist in 2011. The equivalent at that time was Blue Lagoon, which had a less extensive menu and was located in a smaller space. We ended up here much more than I thought we would. The bar food hit the spot (wings, burgers, hotdogs, fish & chips), the salads were nice to have as an alternative when the main dining room was too crowded or we came back from port too late to have lunch at Moderno. Breakfast was also a good alternative to the other options on the ship. Service tended to be a bit hit or miss, cutting the servers some slack when there was entertainment in the atrium and they couldn’t hear what you were saying. Buffet: Only got 3 things there: evening snacks when dinner didn’t work out and two chocolate soft serve ice cream cones at random times in the afternoon. Venetian and Bamboo: Never made it to either restaurant. Drinks/Bars Right before our cruise, NCL rolled out new drink menus and prices. Cruise Critic blew up. As professional drinkers (we own a fine wine and spirits retail store), we didn’t have any trouble finding drinks we enjoyed. It would have been nice to have some of the scotches and wine selections that had been part of the drink package just a couple of weeks before, but we certainly didn’t go thirsty. Because we spent most of our time on our balcony, our bar experiences primarily consisted of fetching drinks to take back to our cabin. We also would stop and get drinks before the shows we attended, or enjoyed wine and cocktails with our meals. On our first two Dawn cruises, we spent a lot of time in the Havana Club cigar lounge. My husband loves a good cigar and we met some great people there. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out this time, and we didn’t end up spending much time there. Bimini/Topsiders (pool bar): These two bars were closest to our cabin on deck 11 and provided most of our “to go” drinks for our balcony. We are too pale to spend much time sunning ourselves on the pool deck but it was nice to have these bars relatively close. Gatsby’s: We stopped there in the evenings before shows or after dinner for our evening balcony drinks. One of the bartenders, Leila, learned our favorite drinks and had them ready before we even got all the way to the bar. She also knew how to make all the more complicated cocktails on the menu. This bar had some spirits that they didn’t have elsewhere on the ship. O’Sheehan’s: Spent the one sea day morning here, watching the sushi demonstration. It was also a convenient stop on our way back from port a couple of times. Otherwise, we didn’t spend much time at the bar itself; most of our drinks from here were with lunch or dinner. The bar was also taken over by Super Bowl fans on the second Sunday of the cruise. Sake Bar: Has soju and sake that isn’t available elsewhere. Nice option for before dinner at Teppanyaki. Los Lobos Bar: Wish we had come back just for the bar after our first night dinner but it never happened. They have a nice cocktail menu, including a negroni made with mezcal. Atrium, Bliss Lounge, Cellars Wine Bar, Sugarcane Mojito Bar: Didn’t really go to any of these bars. We didn’t need any fancy coffee and didn’t go to any of the Bliss shows. Cellars Wine Bar didn’t interest us (and we never saw many other people there either). Enjoyed the caiprinha cocktails from Sugarcane as part of our Moderno dinner but didn’t sit at the bar. Shows We generally aren’t “show people”, so we don’t have a lot of input in this category. In the main Stardust Theater, we went to the comedian (moderately funny), the juggler (wish he had done more juggling) and they “physical” comedian (also moderately funny). Skipped the singing and dancing. We’ve been to some of the “gameshow” style shows in the past but skipped them on this cruise. The musicians were fine but not anything we went out of our way to catch. We didn’t pick this cruise for the entertainment, so our expectations were met. Ports We did pick this cruise for the ports! The first time we visit a new island, we generally like to explore on our own around the port. We did also schedule a couple of excursions in advance. We did not have the NCL shore excursion perk. At the beginning of the cruise, I decided that I would purchase some hand-crafted earrings at each port as my souvenir, instead of some mass-produced trinket you see everywhere. San Juan: As I mentioned above, we considered San Juan an extra bonus port. Not sure if it was because we booked late, but there didn’t seem to be many reasonably priced hotels available in Old San Juan. We decided on a hotel in the Condado Beach area, which is between the airport and Old San Juan. Since we flew in two days before, we had plenty of time to explore both Condado and Old San Juan. We had great food, lots of cocktails, and did a lot of walking. We are already looking forward to our next trip to Puerto Rico. Aruba: Our first time on the ABC islands. Friends and relatives have been to Aruba for land vacations and have loved it. After our day at sea, we enjoyed exploring Oranjestad. Generally speaking, we love all the Dutch islands. For my husband, Aruba was the perfect first port because it also has a Casa del Habano for Cuban cigars. The town itself is walkable, features a bit of history, public art, shopping and restaurants. They have a free trolley that goes from the cruise port to the opposite side of town. It’s a nice shady break from walking in the hot sun; just keep in mind that it’s free and you’re not paying for a tour! One of the people we met at the Bimini bar enjoyed her island tour excursion. Next time, we will venture out and see more of the island. Curacao: Another beautiful day, another beautiful island. The city of Willemstad is colorful and picturesque. We explored local markets, historical areas and the floating bridge. There were 3 ships in port this day so it was a bit more crowded. The locals were friendly. Bonaire: This was our favorite island by far. Because the next port is so far away, the time in Bonaire was short (6:00 AM – 2:00 PM). Everyone we met was super friendly and relaxed. Even the tour/taxi services were organized in a neat row of tents outside the port, with helpful information about their tours and absolutely no pressure. Unlike some other ports, the only greetings I heard from the tour operators were “keep smiling” and “welcome to Bonaire”. From the shops to the bars and restaurants, everyone was friendly and helpful. Even around the port, the water and the scenery is beautiful. Next time: we will book an excursion with one of the friendly drivers at the port to see other parts of the island or go to Klein Bonaire, a small undeveloped island with pristine beaches off the coast. We generally aren’t into snorkeling, but everything we’ve heard is that it is spectacular in Bonaire. Grenada: We didn’t see much of Grenada. My husband wasn’t feeling well, so I was on my own. All the locals I passed were friendly but the drivers just outside the port buildings reminded me of the aggressive tour operators from previous visits to Antigua. After navigating some dicey streets and sidewalks, followed by an encounter with a pro-Venezuela/anti-American demonstration, I decided to turn this into a “ship day.” Barbados: This has been one of our favorite islands, in part because we have had interesting excursions planned each time. First time, we did the Boatyard beach club and Mt Gay Rum. Second visit, a tour around the whole island. This time, we booked a walking food tour from Lickrish Tours. They advertise that you’ll “eat like a local”. The tour was fascinating and most of the places we went, we were definitely the only tourists. More info in my detailed port review. Next time: My husband really wanted to tour Foursquare Rum Distillery. By all accounts, their tour is great and their rums are fantastic. They are a newer, small production company. Unfortunately, they are only open Monday-Friday, which is why we booked the food tour. St. Lucia: Since we were thwarted with a Barbados rum tour, we booked NCL’s Rum Tasters excursion in St. Lucia. You get a mini tour of the island as they stop at a (very crowded) wood carving shop on the way to the rum factory. After you get through some cheesy introductory audio/video presentations, you do see the actual production rum facility, unlike Mt. Gay in Barbados. We got up close looks at the fermenting molasses and stills before heading to the self-serve tasting area. Our driver made the other parts of the tour interesting. Next time: We will make sure to see the Pitons, probably via a boat tour. Antigua: We had a bad experience with aggressive taxi/tour drivers on our very first trip to Antigua and it’s been a “ship day” for us ever since. When I got off to shop for my earrings, the drivers seemed a little bit toned down but that could have been because I got off long after the other passengers. The one excursion that had tempted us was an NCL tour billed as a “hop on, hop off” catamaran tour of 3 different beaches. However, that was apparently sold out by the time we boarded the ship. St. Maarten: Last time we were in St. Maarten in 2006 we did a catamaran tour to the French side of the island. Phillipsburg looks much the same. Enjoyed the water taxi and the shopping. Next time: Will probably hit a beach. Tortola: One of our favorite things is to sit on our balcony as we sail through the British Virgin Islands. Previously, we’ve been to Virgin Gorda (the baths) and Jost Van Dyke. This time, we hung out at the port, shopped and checked out a local restaurant. We also had the Merchant Marine TS (Training Ship) Kennedy next to us in port, which was very cool. I plan to post a more detailed review with pictures on the NCL board. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
MY wife and I wanted to see more islands we have never been to. Everything about Norwegian we always like. EXCEPT why does the ship have to keep the air conditioning up so high?? My wife froze. Me too even!! We are in the caribbean. ... Read More
MY wife and I wanted to see more islands we have never been to. Everything about Norwegian we always like. EXCEPT why does the ship have to keep the air conditioning up so high?? My wife froze. Me too even!! We are in the caribbean. She wants to wear summer outfits. Not pants and sweaters. (Which most women wore) and complained. I doubt we will cruise again unless the itinerary is a cool climate. The food was good. The specialty restaurants were great. Loved Cagneys and the Bistro. The music in the atrium was fantastic. Jose and Patti? were wonderful. We even got to watch the Super Bowl. Too bad the commercials were omitted. Guess Norwegian didn't buy the rights. But they did bring in free burgers and fixings. Be sure to ask why there are no number 4 on any rooms. Very interesting. GOES FROM 11152 TO 11156. No 11140's at all. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
The trip from the islands to visit was all interesting, but we were disappointed by the restaurants. The only restaurant interressant on this boat was Le Bistro and the Cagney steak house, it seems that the employees are poorly trained one ... Read More
The trip from the islands to visit was all interesting, but we were disappointed by the restaurants. The only restaurant interressant on this boat was Le Bistro and the Cagney steak house, it seems that the employees are poorly trained one evening at the restaurant they brought me the wrong order I warned the server he told me not to understand. In the evening impossible to sleep during the shows at the pool because were was banging on the head because the cabin was under the pool (11566) during the stay a smell of sewer in the corridor of our cabin. At the twelve floor buffet the fabric chair was stained and uninviting, the food was very ordinary even though we were not picky I expected better. When we went to eat at Cagney my girlfriend fell to the ground when she walked on food, no harm but what a nuisance. Cruise to forget !!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We had a wonderful time on this trip, most of the ports were great. We talked to many people while on board, and even flying home, everyone seemed to say the same things. Wishing there was a day at sea in the middle of the week. We almost ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on this trip, most of the ports were great. We talked to many people while on board, and even flying home, everyone seemed to say the same things. Wishing there was a day at sea in the middle of the week. We almost need another vacation from our vacation! It was unanimously said that Grenada should have been the day! I heard one person got brushed by a moving vehicle, the roads were insane! Food on board was ok-great depending on where you ate. The Garden Cafe had great variety, definitely something for everyone. The only other restaurants we were able to get reservations for were Aqua,the other main dining room, and Bamboo. We would have loved to try the Brazilian steakhouse but couldn’t get a reservation. We did go in for the mojito bar and noticed a few empty tables, so I’m not sure why we could never get in. I was craving crème brûlée the whole trip, on the last night while dining at Aqua I asked our server Casey if there was any way I could get one? She checked with her supervisor and came back to let me know that it was possible but I’d have to pay extra for it. $4.99 was absolutely worth it! Maybe put an a la carte menu on the dessert menu for things like the creme brûlée, and other desserts that are available at the paid restaurants. I had quite a few people ask how I got it, and would have been more than happy to purchase one! We took advantage of the spa services. I had a wonderful massage from Lucy. We also purchased the thermal spa for the length of the trip. It was a nice option, however the one therapy jacuzzi is very difficult to get into and out of. The one closest to the windows looking out. The pricing for the spa was outrageous, and under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have even entertained the thought of spending that much money, but I was lucky enough to have it gifted to me. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
The itinerary was excellent. Embarkation was very smooth as was the disembarkation. The cabin was clean but used glasses and coffee cups were not always replaced with clean ones. Washroom and shower functioned well. Pool towels were ... Read More
The itinerary was excellent. Embarkation was very smooth as was the disembarkation. The cabin was clean but used glasses and coffee cups were not always replaced with clean ones. Washroom and shower functioned well. Pool towels were always available. Entertainment was varied and generally of a good quality. Spa services were excellent. The eating areas were all extremely loud either with the noise of passengers talking or music that was turned up so you couldn't hear anyone talking. Tables were not always wiped clean. Wait staff ranged from friendly and accommodating to surely and lethargic. Quality of food was inconsistent. Beef Kabobs so tough that they couldn't be eaten to prime rib that melted in your mouth. Both obtained in the Venetian dining room. Trying to get into the main dining rooms during the first 4 nights was near impossible with waits of up to an hour. When we requested reservations the staff was curt and said that we should just line up...eventually she gave us 7:30 reservations. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We enjoy the smaller crowd and the pace of the mid-size ships. We loved the Jade, 2 months ago and booked the Dawn based on the itinerary. We always go the day before and this time stayed at The Wyndham Rio Grande. It is a beautiful ... Read More
We enjoy the smaller crowd and the pace of the mid-size ships. We loved the Jade, 2 months ago and booked the Dawn based on the itinerary. We always go the day before and this time stayed at The Wyndham Rio Grande. It is a beautiful Hotel, with spacious rooms, beautiful beach and pool area; definitely five star. I always research the ports, the excursions, etc. We used Luquillo Taxi for transportation from airport to hotel, hotel to port and port to airport. Excellent service! We boarded the Dawn from the older Navy Pier in San Juan. They set up computers and staff in what seemed to be a seldom used area. It was quick and efficient. No long lines, so no wait. We were able to drop our carry on bag in our cabin and relax enjoying the weather, the UBP, and get acquainted with the ship while waiting to pull out a 9 pm. We won our upgrade bid, so we were back in our normal balcony room. It was comfortable and always clean, our cabin steward, R.D. was excellent. He anticipated our needs, polite and professional. One night we discovered that the light by one side of the bed was flickering, it was fixed next morning, even though we forgot to mention it. Our cruise director, Richard M, personable and seen often around the ship. He's been doing this 17 years, and his energy and engagement is excellent. In the welcome aboard show, we were told that the average age on our cruise was 60. There were less than 10 children on board. Two very young girls were in the cabin next door. Their parents said that they really enjoyed the kids camp. I was surprised that both seatings for the Stardust Theatre shows were well attended. The comedian was hilarious! The dance troupe was great. Our first day was the only at sea day. There was no issue with finding open lounge chairs on deck. this ship only has one pool, but has multiple hot tubs. No long waits for bar service. Jessie at the Bimini Bar was a favorite. The bartenders there were excellent. At our meet and greet, of our Cruise Critic roll call group, one of the cruisers asked if they were bringing on additional staff. At the time, I didn't know why. The ship's officer replied that additional staff were coming on board in Barbados. Our dining experience in the Venetian MDR and La Cucina, the second and third night, were very slow. It was at least two hours, start to finish; making it hard to get to shows that night. Alan and Melody in Cagney's were great, much faster and both nights, the food was great. We found a hidden gem in Los Lobos, the Mexican speciality dining; was definitely not crowded and Dennis took great care of us. Food was quite good. Tapenyaki, was fun and tasty. Aqua, MDR, was faster service and the server, Queenie, asked about allergies right from the beginning. Breakfast in Venetian was quick and good. Didn't enjoy O'Sheehans as much this trip. No long waits for dining tables, even though we were normally a party of six. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
This is an older ship that surprised me on how good it still looks. Norwegian seemed to put the money into the ship rather than adding more bars. This said, there were some problems, like, the room next to us had a water leak and workers ... Read More
This is an older ship that surprised me on how good it still looks. Norwegian seemed to put the money into the ship rather than adding more bars. This said, there were some problems, like, the room next to us had a water leak and workers behind the inside wall made banging noises early in the morning. While finding our way around the ship, which is a little different than other ships we have been on, l did see two water stains in the carpet. This is a happy ship. The workers don't seem overworked, although, when asked they put in a lot of hours every day. The trivia and games were fun and they were able to adjust well when there were to many or not enough people to play. Entertainment was average, but, Elements is a must see. The regular dining was just as good, unless a perk, don't pay extra to eat. We found two great waiters Lahcen Le Kamel and Nyzel Piton. If you like joking around, these two will stay with you to make for a fun meal. I am going to add there picture. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We sailed the Dawn 9 years ago and enjoyed the ship We also loved the southern Caribbean itinerary. Dawn was recently refurbished and looks great for a 17 year old ship. We heard before the trip about some plumbing problems and did meet ... Read More
We sailed the Dawn 9 years ago and enjoyed the ship We also loved the southern Caribbean itinerary. Dawn was recently refurbished and looks great for a 17 year old ship. We heard before the trip about some plumbing problems and did meet some people on board that experienced those issues. This is troubling that NCL sells these cabins and does not seem to do much for those affected. We saw a similar problem last year on Caribbean princess. Fortunately, we did not have any issues either sailing, but it does give you pause that both lines sell cabins with a history of plumbing problems and offer no recourse to passengers affected. We had beverage package and four meal dining package. So along with our platinum perk of two other restaurants we had six dinners in those restaurants. They were all excellent..we used Le Bistro, Cagneys and Moderno twice each and we can’t say enough about the food and service...fabulous!! The remaining dinners were all at Bamboo the free Asian restaurant. We were familiar with this restaurant from sailing the Star two years ago. It is an excellent venue with great food and service. It is very popular, so make all your reservations early. Breakfast was either on main dining room or buffet depending on how much time we had in the morning. Both we fine. One suggestion in the buffet is to have the muslelex available dry. It was soaked in milk. I use almond milk which they would get for me, but only twice was dry muslelex available to which I could add my fruit nuts etc..small point, but other lines do a better job with this. Staff was great entire voyage, happy helpful and courteous throughout the ship. Richard was the cruise director who we had previously on the Star. We had a midship balcony which was great. Entertainment was fine, Jose and Patti returned for second half of cruise,and while we enjoy them, they get stifled by the same requested songs over and over. Comedians were great. Three Knights...singers were good. Did not go to other shows. Itinerary was great along with the weather. Basically took cabs to beaches. Do your research and chose the ones you like. Will give a shout out to the Boatyard in Barbados. Great spot, best deal in Caribbean. It is a five dollar shuttle to Boatyard. Admission is 25 dollars which includes two loungers,and umbrella and two drinks. You also get free snorkeling too. They go to two spots close by, some underwater wrecks and a spot to see the turtles. Snorkeling was pretty good and I did see a large greenback close up. Register for the snorkeling when you pay the admission, it can get backed up if you wait. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
This was sixth cruise on Norwegian and until this one, had never considered any other cruise line. Always enjoy the freestyle dining, beverage package, entertainment, ports and considered it to be a good value. This one got off to a bad ... Read More
This was sixth cruise on Norwegian and until this one, had never considered any other cruise line. Always enjoy the freestyle dining, beverage package, entertainment, ports and considered it to be a good value. This one got off to a bad start which soured the first couple of days. Here's what went wrong: 1. Pre-paid shuttle service from airport to ship was terrible and cost more than twice what a cab would have. Trouble finding NCL rep in the airport. Shuttle dropped us and our bags in the middle of a bumpy parking lot. Had to shlep bags about 50 yards to NCL porter who was waving a handful of ones at me as I approached with the bags. His focus was obviously tips rather than helping me. Usually with NCL, when you get off the plane and find the NCL rep, you know you are home free and your bags will end up at your stateroom. Not the case with this trip. 2. NCL quietly discontinued inclusion of my favorite premium scotch from their beverage package since my previous cruise about 6 months ago. Caused some disappointment when the bar tender informed me about it on the first day. Now have to pay extra making the beverage package not the deal it used to be. 3. They decided to do deck paint chipping maintenance right above my room the first morning of the cruise. Too loud to block with earplugs or a pillow over my head. Ruined plan to sleep in and recover from red-eye flight the night before. Other negatives: 1. The soundproofing of our cabin not as good as on other NCL ships. Could hear conversations next door and what seemed to be stomping above us. 2. Most shore excursions on this cruise can be obtained from the ship from cab drivers on the pier for half to a third of the NCL price. The $50 excursion credit helped some, but would have saved money going on my own. Positives: Food was great in the specialty restaurants. Cruise director Richard was amazing. Saw him about five times a day. Really personable. His assistant, Luz put on a Tina Turner tribute in the Bliss lounge one that was fantastic and for us the best show of the cruise. So ended up enjoying the cruise, but can't give the usual five stars because of the way this one started out. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise primarily because of the itinerary. Although we had been on two prior southern Caribbean cruises, this itinerary included six islands we had never been to before. It also excluded St. Thomas, which we are not overly ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because of the itinerary. Although we had been on two prior southern Caribbean cruises, this itinerary included six islands we had never been to before. It also excluded St. Thomas, which we are not overly fond of. We arrived in San Juan a day early and stayed at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino. Nice hotel with a convenient location to the piers. The night we arrived we went to Old San Juan and met a number of Cruise Critic friends at Barrachina. We had a good time but the restaurant was overwhelmed by our number. The next day, boarding did not begin until after 1:00 so we had time to explore San Juan. We went to the two old Spanish forts and they were well worth the visit. Embarkation was breeze. No waiting and we immediately checked in and went to our room The Dawn is one of NCL's older ships but it recently underwent a total refurbishment. The updated look was nice but couldn't overcome some of the ship's limitations. Some of the new restaurants seem to be out of the way and an after thought such as Los Lobos. Because it is a smaller ship entertainment options were more limited. The only venues are the main theater, the Bliss Lounge, the Atrium and Gatsby's. Our previous cruise was on the Bliss, which had a comedy club and a music club. We saw about half the shows in the main theater. Elements was great as always and the magician from that show had his own show the next night and he was great. The comedians were also entertaining if not a bit uneven. We had a mid ship balcony, room 10618. The room is on the small side with limited storage. There is also only one electrical outlet which could become even more problematic as ship stewards are now instructed to unplug everything in unoccupied cabins. Fortunately we brought a strip that allowed for multiple USB plugins. We were more than happy with the restaurants and bars. We had excellent dinners every night. We had a dining package so we ate all the specialty restaurants that charged a fee. Cagney's was good as always. La Cuchina has definitely upgraded their menu. Los Lobos is a little underwhelming for those coming from the Southwest. We were able to watch the Super Bowl from O'Sheehans as it was projected on a giant screen in the atrium. Good times. For the most part all service and help were friendly and accommodating. Our steward was particularly good. We had an early flight so we kept our luggage and walked off the ship. Very easy. All in all we had a great time. I will review the ports below.. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Originally chosen because of small size and all inclusive. SHIP - DEFINITELY NOT HANDICAPPED FRIENDLY. In almost all cases use of a rolling staircase of 20+ steps was needed for getting on/off ship. On board only 296 passengers was a ... Read More
Originally chosen because of small size and all inclusive. SHIP - DEFINITELY NOT HANDICAPPED FRIENDLY. In almost all cases use of a rolling staircase of 20+ steps was needed for getting on/off ship. On board only 296 passengers was a definite plus - no lines or waiting. Smaller ship did not appear to handle rough weather as well as its larger brethren. There were 5-6 foot waves rolling end to end in the swimming pool one afternoon.... Casino has 1 Blackjack table. CABIN - Suite - disappointing - small (I do not believe the sq ft figures advertised). We were cramped with 2, would be impossible with 3. Also poor for the mobility challenged as the tub/shower requires getting over a 2 foot step in barrier (tub 2 feet deep). DINING - real mixed bag here ranging from fair at best for dinner in Restaurant (poor selection, very small portions, false advertising - prime rib was at most 1/4 inch thick and weighed about 3 ounces. Saving grace here is to ask for all day dining menu as well and get better choices (steak, fish. even pasta etc.) On the other end of the scale the dinner we had in La Dame ($60 pp extra) was the best meal we have ever had on a cruise! Buffet for lunch was the best alternative with quality and variety. The Grill was good for 1 dinner, Italian dinner got 1 like and 1 didn't like from us. CREW - the friendliest and most accommodating of any cruise line we have been on. SHORE EXCURSIONS - only took 1 (Grand Turk) as most were too long (3-4) hours. It was only fair - uncomfortable "bus" and ran over scheduled time. Majority of excursions were activity/water oriented. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Main reason for choosing this cruise was the itinerary and length of cruise. First the good points. A great airy and spacious ship,never felt crowded,all crew were excellent,the cruise director Jenna and her assistant very good ... Read More
Main reason for choosing this cruise was the itinerary and length of cruise. First the good points. A great airy and spacious ship,never felt crowded,all crew were excellent,the cruise director Jenna and her assistant very good !!.Food very good,buffet excellent (despited two/three days of G.I onboard meant highlighted hand washing and non serving yourself !) free internet good and speedy,spar (altho closed during GI) was excellent.Cabin altho smaller than expected was kept spotless by excellent steward and helper.24 hr cabin service very good and used !!! Not so good. Welcome at airport by cruise staff was poor and not well organised,they did'nt seem to know what to do and we were kept waiting for over 30 mins,When finally got to the ship no welcoming drink (after 24 hrs travelling ) and no direction where your cabin was,on other cruises i've been on both were provided (hope Viking read this !!) Service at speciality restaurant manfredis,was dire and we walked out,waited 40 mins for appetiser which never came,when I asked why the wait ? server laughed at me !! on walking out the manager was spoken to by me and he offered no reason other than bluster,contacted me the following night to explain they were having problems with the kitchen,pity he did'nt say that in the first place,felt like a poor excuse !! never went near the place,very disappointing,spoiled an evening,DIRE !! Included tours were all the same 2/3 hr run round mostly the same islands on poor transport,on very poor roads. Did three optional tours ,two whale watching which were very good as we saw whales !!,third one on St Kitts railway a complete waste of money and time,saw three bridges !!! and lots of grass,and some chap shouting at us for 2 hrs . For what I consider a expensive cruise I did'nt think I had value for money and will hesitate to use VIKING AGAIN. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We had cruised December last year on Viking Sea to Cuba. Our friends from cold northern US wanted to go to the Caribbean and this cruise had a different island per day with no sea days. We got cabins on 5th floor near the free ... Read More
We had cruised December last year on Viking Sea to Cuba. Our friends from cold northern US wanted to go to the Caribbean and this cruise had a different island per day with no sea days. We got cabins on 5th floor near the free laundry (including soap) as no noise and convenient to wash clothes . I think a laundry room on all cabin floors. Needed as Hot and at itmes muggy and hit the beach several times. Cabins seem like they have little storage but ask for more hangers and you will have plenty of storage. Bathroom floor is heated so if bathroom too hot ask your steward to turn the heat off. We asked for 4 towels a day as needed to wash off after beach and in AM. AC works beautifully. Verandas big enough and if want to lounge in sun, lots of lounge chairs and towels near the aft infinity pool and central pool. Infinity pool bromine I think and the central pool a salt water pool (notice how much more boyant you are.)One end of the pool is shallower than the other so you can stand up (if not too short). Both nicely warm. No fighting over lounge chairs so no need to come early and “stake your property” Neither pool ever have many people in it and usually then only to get wet and back to their lounge chair. We only took the included tours or got a private taxi-van. Most taxis are vans. On some included tours transport was packed tight and others lots of room to spread out. Usually morning tours more packed than afternoon. AC on all except Tortola with was an open tram (nice breeze and cool enough). San Juan: nice walking tour and covers all but the Morro fortress. We were there during the San Sebastian festival so the free tram from fort to fort not running. Tortola: incl tour: open air tram with spacious seating and great views. Pro and Con: 1.5 hr at Cane Beach and no way to bail and go back. Lovely white sugar white sand beach with tourqoiuse gentle water. There are umbrellas and lounge chairs you can rent or sit on some picnic tables in the shade or up in the shaded open deck restaurant for the cost of a drink. Tour gives a free rum punch or punch drink near the picnic tables. Nice restrooms, showers and changing rooms free there. Basseterre: We walked ato the end of the pier and got a $100USD total for van private tour of the island. (Lasted 4 hrs but no time limit) .Just keep walking off pier and prices get cheaper. Romney manor and batik making, black rocks, fort and many scenic view points. Castries: awesome long beach nearby. We took tranport offered by pier. They load you up tight in vans (the drivers get one load a day and 300 vans waiting to take people). About a 5min drive (or 2-3 mi walk) to the beaches- really only one beach with mulitple names. Set fee all transport for $5USD/pp. Again sugar white beach. Multiple establishments with drinks, umbrellas etc. Umbrella and 2-3 chair rental $20. Water gentle, turquoise. Beach fills up so come early. Some of us snorkeled- some fish seen. Shipwreck put for snorkeling you can swim to but many tour boats and many many snorkelers there with glass bottom boat meandering among the snorklers. Showers, restrooms and changing room free. Get back by telling your driver when you want ot come back or just walk out and someones van will be waiting . Bridgetown: inc tour: packed tight van/bus. Views of island Roseau: got a private tour for 4 $45/pp Went to other side of island and saw multiple falls St Johns: had a reservation to go out in a boat to a reef and get into the water and feed and stingrays for 9AM.Make reservation online-no money down and pay when you show up. Need to take a taxi out there. BUT was squalling and raining so cancelled the reservation. Took the incl tour to Shirely point old fort and magnificant views and then to the Nelso shipyards- 1700’s georgian working shipywards- neat old buildings,nice quick museum and awesome awesome yahts moored there. Free rum punch or punch drink. Spit rain on us once in a while but still a great day. Nice bus where we could spread out a bit Philipsburg: I wanted to go out to Cul de Sac bay and kayak and snorkel or take a water taxi out to an island there but I got overruled by my “crew” We instead went on the included tour. Bus big enough we all could spread out. A couple got on our bus instead of an optional tour at the same time- so check carefully what you are getting on. Drove around island and stopped at some scenic sites, stopped a working carosel (adults can ride too- can buy icecream) then on to a bay and craft market. Free rum punch or punch. Charlotte Amalie: My crew off to Coki beach to snorkel then maybe the included tour. I stayed and enjoyed hte salt water pool,only a few couples spread out on the lounge chairs. Pros and cons of boat Pros: -you see lots and lots of differnet islands- some rainforest and some very dry desert like, come with mangoose so no snakes or birds, some still exporting agriculture goods and some just tourist based. -no children -wonderful friendly crew -great food. I was not impressed iwth Mandifredi’s on both of my cruises but the men love it for the rib eye steak. Chef’s reataurant-wanderful if you like the menu. We did not drink either included or optional wine pairing. World buffet great as food same as Restaurant (check the menu to see if any differences ) and usually has the same food. Hamburger I got at the pool once was just so so. -drinks- only had water, hot and cold tea. My husband says the coke is the good real sugar type not the corn syrup variety. -secret- success cake in Mamsons is our favorite -Room and veranda pleasant. -in public areas or tovrasons- Guitarist was great. - Easy on and off boat even when tendering- well organized so no pushy people. -Pools- wonderful. Loved especially the central saltwater pool -record and play on entertainment system all shore talks and enrichment talks done on board -Wifi good for email. I didn’t try streaming Cons: -saltwater pool out of commission while painting for multiple days -entertainment system pauses( I timed at every 3 min), loose audio when restarts. So unpleasant to watch the shows which were actually probably very good. BBC, Ted Talks, Movie selection good but hard to watch. -entertainment limited. Music in public areas; Pianist (good), strings dueo-selections good but one of violinist strings seemed to need tuning, and acoustic guitarist- very good. Live shows in theater were only a few and even though the entertainers were cute my neices’s Boise ID high school productions had better singers. Suggestion: Seems rain is in AM and gone by 11AM. Plan accordingly. But if going to the beaches go early if not raining. Lots of lovely beaches on most islands. Do some internet searching and plan an early attack with a taxi. Feeding the sting rays (www.stingraycity.com) not on tour options and sorry we couldn’t go because of rain. You can reserve on your own but reveiws say after 10AM full from cruise ships. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We have been cruising the world since the mid '80s on many of the popular cruise lines including Princess, RCL, NCL, Celebrity, HAL, and others now defunct. While our friends have raving about Viking Ocean ships we postponed trying ... Read More
We have been cruising the world since the mid '80s on many of the popular cruise lines including Princess, RCL, NCL, Celebrity, HAL, and others now defunct. While our friends have raving about Viking Ocean ships we postponed trying them knowing that once experienced we might never go back to the others. Now we know. We have been spoiled. The Viking Sea is a beautiful small ship with about 930 passengers. We never felt crowded anywhere. It is such a serene setting compared to most of our other cruises. Some of that is the size and some the fact that there are no children onboard. The colors throughout are wonderful and add to ambiance. The cabins, while somewhat smaller than we have had in the past, are neat and continue a Scandinavian decor. Loved the shower. The food was fantastic. We enjoyed all of the restaurants although Manfredi's was our favorite. Great Italian food! The Grill produced some of the best hamburgers we've ever had. Of course wine or beer at all lunches and dinners is a plus. Drink prices are quite reasonable. Cannot really comment on the lectures as our Caribbean itinerary had us at a different island every day! No days at sea! As a result we were often off enjoying many of the included tours while the lectures were taking place. Entertainment, casinos, art auctions, etc. at sea are not important to us so we really didn't miss anything. The best of the Viking Sea, however, is the crew and staff. We had set up a "Meet and Greet" through Cruise Critic as we have done in the past. Viking set it up for a 6:00 P.M. on our second day in San Juan. FIVE of the ships Officers showed up to greet us! We have never had ANY officers show on any of our other cruise lines. Hors d'oeuvres and drinks were served as we chatted with the Officers and other passengers. It was fantastic. Smiles greeted us everywhere. We've never had such attentive and happy staff. Your wish was their command. We watched them closely .... officers, wait staff, room stewards. Their interaction with each other were happy and genuine. This was a wonderful cruise. And, I should add that we were affected by a Norovirus which closed the pool, sauna, therapy spa and ice room for most of the cruise. It required us to wash our hands every time we entered a dinning facility. Serving lines in the World Court were slower as the crew needed to serve us. Yet, the ship functioned superbly and we never really missed a beat. Yup .... we're SPOILED! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because it went to some southern Caribbean islands we hadn't visited, it was the duration we wanted, and it was reasonably priced. We enjoyed the cruise very much. We like cruising from San Juan Puerto Rico (as ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went to some southern Caribbean islands we hadn't visited, it was the duration we wanted, and it was reasonably priced. We enjoyed the cruise very much. We like cruising from San Juan Puerto Rico (as opposed to the continental United States) because San Juan is closer to these islands and therefore, there are fewer sea days. We did stay in the Dreams Miramar Hotel in San Juan the night before embarking on the cruise and enjoyed our stay there. We brought wine on board. NCL requires a $15 corkage fee per bottle, unlike other ships we have sailed. We don't like that NCL's beverage package and onboard alcoholic drinks are expensive. We have been on the Dawn in previous cruises. It has been refurbished since the last time we were on it so the decor has been updated. We like the size of the ship and generally liked the amenities. However, we have liked the water slides and miniature golf that have been on other cruise ships but not on this one. For dining, we went to the Garden Buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the Aqua and Venetian restaurants for dinner a few nights. We refuse to pay for the speciality restaurants. We generally liked the food at the Garden Buffet but we thought there wasn't enough variety and we got tired of eating the same food every night which was why we went to the Venetian one night and Aqua for 3 nights. Some food stayed on the Buffet too long and got dried out. Regarding the Venetian and Aqua, we were disappointed that there wasn't a good selection of salads. We found fish to generally be thin and overcooked (especially the hake). Although many of the waiters/waitresses worked hard and provided good service, it took a lot of time to get served at these restaurants. The musical entertainment and shows were outstanding. We generally aren't fans of comedians and ventriloquists so we didn't attend those shows. We also didn't participate in any of the group activities and game shows. The service was outstanding. Our cabin steward did an excellent job and was very friendly and helpful. All other service providers on the ship were friendly and helpful. We liked all of the ports we visited. We didn't care for the embarkation/disembarking dock (the Pan Am dock in San Juan). We much prefer the Old San Juan dock area where the Carnival Cruise ship embarks. We didn't like the Curacao and Barbados dock locations because they were farther away from the port cities than the docks for the other cruise ships. We didn't like the St. Lucia docking location because we had to tender. Read Less

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