NCL Dawn Cruising Review

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

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Disembarkation, Port of Miami

Miami Saturday, April 26, 2003
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Miami
Embarkation Port of Miami
At Sea
San Juan
St. Thomas
Tortola
At Sea
Great Stirrup Cay
Disembarkation

Ship Arrival

Dawn in Ship Channel

The ship arrived in Miami around 5:00 a.m. amidst breezy and overcast conditions. Outside of the ship channel the seas were quite choppy, as then can be when a wind is blowing over the Gulf Stream.

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Freestyle Disembarkation

Dawn Departing

The way a normal departure from the ship is supposed to happen is that you leave according to your tag color, which is associated with when your flight leaves. For whatever reason, customs did not finish until and hour and a half after normal departure times, which clogged the hallways and made for a very disorderly disembarkation. To make matters worse, that kept people in their staterooms, so the stewards couldn't prepare them for the next cruise, whose passengers were already waiting to board.

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Tour of the Garden Villa Suites

Dawn

I was lucky enough have Amanda, the concierge, take me up to see the Garden Villa Suites on Deck 14, amidships. These suites reminded me of my recent tour of Palmer Johnson Luxury Yachts - they were exquisite. Not only do you have a bar, grand piano, and spacious rooms, but you actually have your own private courtyard with hot tub. Prices range from $25,000-$29,000 per week (depending on who you ask).

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Disembarkation Disaster and Storms

Dawn

Huge downpours and lightning pounded the ship at port for quite a while which no doubt hampered the best efforts of all personnel to clear the ship and get people on their way. At times, the rain was so strong, you couldn't see anything outside of the normally sunny Miami.

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Aircraft Grounded Due to Lightning Strike

Dawn

I took a cab to the airport for $18.00 (this is for the entire cab). What amazes me is how NCL will arrange for a bus to take you to the airport for $20.00 per person. If you take the bus, it's slow, and you're paying even more than what you would pay for an entire cab. Take the cab ! After a no-wait check-in, and breezing through security (First Class has priority security clearance), I waited to find out that our aircraft had been struck by lightning while landing at Miami International. While maintenance personnel were inspecting the aircraft, more thunderstorms rolled in and in a short while there were a number of ground strikes at the airport (which were quite visible from the waiting terminal) which closed the airport. With the airport closed, the inspection stopped, and finally, they canceled the flight. Coupons were given to passengers to stay at the Courtyard Suites, but I grabbed a cab and headed to South Beach to stay at the Marriott for another night. The Marriott has a high speed internet connection which was great for uploading photos and other review items at incredible speeds.

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Sunday Morning

After being told to be at the airport by 8:00 a.m., I was promptly told that the flight had yet again been delayed until a inspector could sign-off on the aircraft damage and repair. The flight was rescheduled for 2:00 p.m. when it finally departed sunny Miami. Flight aboard the Airbus A320 was smooth and the First Class was spacious.

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