NCL Dawn Cruising Review

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San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, Great Stirrup Cay

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At Sea, Caribbean

Sea 1/5 Sunday, April 20, 2003
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Miami
Embarkation Port of Miami
At Sea
San Juan
St. Thomas
Tortola
At Sea
Great Stirrup Cay
Disembarkation

Morning

Newsletter Front

At 8:44am, the ships position was 24 deg. 12 min north and 74 deg 22 min west. Distance traveled: 354.8 nautical miles and 578.3 to go. Sea conditions rough at 12 feet. Sunset 7:05pm. Sunrise is at 6:35am. 75 deg F outside air temperature. Windspeed force 6. Ships speed: 23.8 knots. Barometer is 30 inches and falling. The ship has some movement to it, even with stabilizers. I find this gentle roll quite relaxing, but others notice it in a different way. Part of the reason is the seas (at 12 feet), but it's mostly due to the faster speed of the ship.

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Photo Tour of Ship

Newsletter Inside

Normally the first day at sea is when I photo shoot all of the public rooms. Since this is a big ship, it took about an hour and a half to cover the restaurants, bars and other indoor public areas. The top decks were covered with tanning passengers, and space is at a premium. While it's easy to move about the ship vertically, the lateral movement has something to be desired. I keep finding myself having to go up and outside through the pool deck to get to anything forward. Luckily most of the main public rooms are situated around the two main elevator columns. What really stands out in the ship is the beautiful artwork (mainly modern, and impressionistic). I did check out the original artwork in some of the restaurants (Monet, Renoir and others) which is fun to see.

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NCL Dawn Ship Photos

Digital Seas - Onboard Internet

Internet

Some things remain consistent in all the ships, and this is the case with the Internet Cafe from Digital Seas. It's a rip-off. Wait until you get to a port, and sample the local culture of a internet cafe while only paying $5.00 per hour versus $.75 per minute onboard ship. Why is it a rip-off ? First, it's very very slow. The latency for the signal to reach the satellite and back takes time. You're charged for this time. Second, they have banner ads around the screen, and you're already a captive audience who is paying. Doesn't make much sense. Third, if you want to use your own computer with WiFi (wireless), they make you pay a package price of at least $55.00. Fourth, they suck you in by telling you that you can try it out for free-- free except for the "sign-up" charge of $3.95. Wait for a real internet cafe in port. Luckily the crew gets a break from Digital Sea's... they can purchase a discount card and get time for about $.10 per minute.

Better Option - Find a Internet Cafe at Port
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Hidden Treasures

El Dorado Spa

The hidden treasure of the ship is the Mandara Spa area. I couldn't believe it when I saw it. There was a small pool, several whirlpools, and a beautiful area to layout (indoors) with huge floor to ceiling windows off the stern of the ship. The view is so beautiful. Plus the motif of the room is relaxing. Even though the spa packages can be expensive, I always try one. It's a good way to decompress and really start relaxing on a cruise. There's just nothing quite like being pampered a bit.

Spa Specials Offered Towards End of Week
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Day at Sea Demonstrations

Spa

NCL is good at having a number of instructive and fun demos, such as sushi making, martini mixing, card playing, ice carving and wine tasting. Many of these are truly free and designed to encourage the passengers to sample some cultural tastes not normally tried. Other activities they charge for, including aerobics and exercise classes.

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VIP Party

VIP Party

Every cruise the concierge organizes a VIP party for those invited to meet the ships staff. Most of the VIP's are located in the suites.

Ship Hosted Cocktail Parties Have Free Drinks and Food
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Formal Night

Latitudes

In FreeStyle cruising, everything is optional, including formal night. You get a strange mix of people in shorts and T-shirts, along with formal gowns and tuxedos. At the VIP Party in the early part of the evening, everyone was dressed formal in the Spinnaker Lounge.

Formal Night Is Optional
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Dinner at Bamboo - Sushi Bar

Artwork in Restaurant

I had dinner on formal night at the Sushi Bar located at Bamboo. Every room is adorned with wonderful art. The sushi bar was every bit of quality of a land-based sushi restaurant. This one is unique in that for $10 you get all-you-can-eat sushi, make for you on request, or you may choose from sushi that rotates around on a miniature style luggage conveyor belt.

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Later Evening At Spinnaker's

Spinnaker Lounge

Dawn and Star share similar late night gathering places... the forward lounge. Spinnaker's is great because everybody knows to go there later on in the evening. On some ships the multitude of bars are separated in different areas of the ship, and the late crowd knows not where to venture, but on the Dawn, it's one clear choice. On this evening, there was a comedian there, then a fantastic Latino Dance band, followed by a DJ.

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Internet Services

Internet

Here is a listing of the Digital Seas internet services

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Additional Photographs: Sea 1/5

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Photo Highlights from this Day ... for all photos, please click on the < or > as indicated above. There are as many as five sets of photos for each day of the cruise.

Related Information

General Info
NCL Dawn Information
San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, Great Stirrup Cay
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