Embarkation from Boston went well, we arrived Black Falcon Terminal noon time. It was very rushed, my husband's sunglasses were in the tray you put wallet, etc. in and they almost broke them (assuming the tray was empty). I made a little joke about the police dog smelling my dog, and the officer said "the dog is not here to make friends". (Sorry for making conversation; I was going on vacation and in a good mood. We were able to have lunch in the Venetian MDR, plenty of seats (most people must have done to the buffet).
Food: We dined @ the Venetian first few days. It is elegant, but quite noisy. Staff seemed tired from beginning of trip. We then tried the Aqua MDR which is smaller. The food is the SAME and we enjoyed the quieter atmosphere and much friendlier staff. Less people to serve, less pressure on them. Not much variety in menus, but still good. Blue Lagoon open 24 hrs, best feature buffalo wings, check out the breakfast! Sometimes the staff forgets about you, we were told to raise our hand.
Balcony Stateroom: Very nice, Deck 9 quiet. There was hand soap by the sink and shampoo and shower gel in the shower. (I had read there would be other toiletries such as on the Spirit in 2010 when we had lotion, powder, mouthwash). No biggie. I also read on NCL Q&A there would be robes in Balcony & above. None, again no biggie. Odor in bathroom area.
Entertainment: My hub and I were disappointed in the quality of entertainment. Second City improv not very good. Bollywood about the best show. Band on the Run, ok. Band by the pool about the best music which was the reverse on our previous cruise; we miss Emily & Arvin. Dawn had poor quality bands/singers, trying to sing Beatles, Elvis, Sinatra.
Shore Excursions: Horseshoe Bay Beach absolutely the best! We visited the Crystal Caves, Zoo and Aquarium, just ok. We enjoyed the cruise by famous people's homes.
The Oasis pool was nice, and there is also a small 4' pool for adults behind the band stand (both salt water). This is good for shorter people.
Constant pressure for photos, even while eating.
Finding your way around the Dawn: I had read member comments about getting around the ship and thought, how hard can it be? It's ridiculous and heard MANY people complain. Some elevators only went down to Deck 7. We had to walk to mid ship to catch another elevator.
I would not cruise on the Dawn again. However I would gladly cruise the Spirit again or try another NCL ship or just try another cruise line.