We found this to be the most fun and enjoyable cruises we've done to date. Upon reading other reviews posted after this cruise makes me feel like I was on a totally different cruise. I think much of it is that it is what you make it. you can sit around and mop about the things you don't like or you can turn it around and find things you do like to over ride the negatives.
We flew in on the red eye the morning of the cruise and lingered around the airport having breakfast and a change of clothing before getting a cab to the port. Upon arriving at the port it was extremely busy as the previous cruisers were still coming off the ship. We only had to wait a short time for the porter to come and take our baggage and we were directed up a flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs we found check in. We were among the first to arrive therefore did not have a wait at all. After checking in we were taken to a lounge area for suite guests. We have never booked a suite before so really didn't know what to expect. The spoiling began here. By noon they were ready to start boarding and we were in the first group to be taken to their suites.
We were thrilled when we saw the size of our suite. It was a large room with a walk through closest and a big bathroom with tub and stand alone shower and two sinks. In the suite we had our sleeping area, a living room area and a dining area. The decor was quite nice and those wall to wall floor to ceiling windows were awesome. We opted not to get a balcony suite as we knew being on the Atlantic in New England/Canada in October we wouldn't be using it. Our only complaint about this suite at any point was the fact it was a bit chilly. We had the thermostat as high into the red as it would go and it was still cold. I contribute that in part at least to the outdoor temperatures and all of those windows.
We began our adventure with lunch at Cagney's. Unlike others we found the service to be wonderful, our food arrived in a timely manner and the taste of everything we tried there was divine. We ate breakfast there every day and had lunch there on 3 occasions. The lobster benedict is a must try!! For lunch be sure to order the shrimp cocktail and the steak at least once. At dinner time we mostly ate either in the Venetian or the Aqua dining room. Our first night we opted for the Venetian for the lobster. We had a reservation and still had to wait about 20 minutes. Of course we were not surprised with the wait on lobster night. At this point we were unaware they have share tables and were not offered one. It seemed a shame that people were being told 90 minute wait while we had a table all to ourselves. The longest wait we had after the first night was maybe 10 minutes. We were offered a share table on the second night, in the Aqua room, so after that we made the offer ourselves and did have shared tables twice. So if traveling just the two of you and you don't mine sharing be sure and let the hostess know this, it could get you a seat quicker.
As for the food, everything we had at Cagney's, Venetian and Aqua was all excellent with a good variety of options. We were somewhat disappointed with the Garden Cafe as the choices didn't seem to change much from day to day, so we opted to eat elsewhere most of the time. We did enjoy an evening at Teppenaki with very good food and wonderful entertainment from our chef. We found it to be worth the $25 per person we paid for it.
We did not attend many of the shows in the Stardust Theatre due to the seating. It was by far the most uncomfortable seating I've experienced in a theatre, be it on a ship or on land. When they did the refurbishment they should have included the theatre and made it more comfortable for their guests. What shows we did attend were very well done. Most late evenings we attended the activities in the Spinnaker Lounge, including Dancing with the Stars and the White Hot Party. Both of these were all kinds of fun.
The Dawn activities crew offered a lot of fun activities to help pass your time, trivia, shuffleboard, mile walk, etc. We had fun with all of those we attended but I must say our most fun was when we played shuffleboard. These activities you collect signatures from the crew and use those at the end to get Norwegian merchandise. We had enough to get a t-shirt. Nothing big but was still something free and we had fun earning it.
We found no language barriers between us and the any of the crew even though it seemed the majority of them are Filipino. We found the ship to be clean and in good repair.
Our butler was great, our room steward was fantastic, and our concierge was superb.
Our biggest complaint had nothing to do with NCL at all. It came at debarkment. We were among the early groups to arrive at the loading area for taxis but the problem was, there were NO taxis. After a 20-30 minute wait the first taxi arrived. They then came one at a time every few minutes. Altho we were maybe 20th in line we still had a wait of over an hour. This really is unacceptable at a debarkment port. Shame on the port officials for not being better prepared. The dock in Boston had hundreds of cabs at it when we arrived at it.
We can't wait to return to the Dawn Oct 18, 2013 when we sail with her to Bermuda!!!