My expectations were not high for this cruise because we have a tendency to do newer ships that provide more entertainment but attend to creature comforts that make the cruise memorable.
Our first cruise was on NCL to Alaska and it was without a doubt the one that got us hooked on cruising, obviously beings we have now done 21 cruises on different lines.
The DAWN refurbishing last year made it into a newer ship experience.
EMBARKATIONS and DISEMBARKING--Excellent and fast
THE FOOD- was excellent even better then other lines. The food in the restaurants and Cafe high quality and consistent. I expected much less after reading previous reviews. Traveling with us was our 49 yr old son who is in dietary and very critical of taste and presentation. He tried all the restaurants including the specialty. Cagney's got the highest rating. He felt whoever was Director of Food Services was doing a great job overall. He did not enjoy the Bistro saying that was average. Room service was excellent and consistent and timely.
The Staff-All were pleasant and very welcoming and helpful in every area
The Entertainment- again another surprise. The shows were all good as well as the daytime activities. there was something for everyone all day long. Because of the time of month and year we did not encounter children which was planned on our part. the Activities Director was one of the best!
The Casino and Staff--staff were great area was nice, Maybe not enough of the slots
The Stateroom 11676 was a mini suite that was priced right but not any larger then a stateroom balcony stateroom on another line. I expected a larger balcony.
THE NEGATIVE the beds were new but whoever purchased the mattresses went cheap when they did the refurbishing. It felt like the old day hotel mattresses that were intended to last 15 years--very hard. But this was made a LITTLE more comfortable by our great stateroom attendant who put on 2 toppers for us. But I was still glad to come home to my number bed. so if you like HARD beds you will love it if you don't you will need 3 TOPPERS on the mattress.
Ports of Call were great if you take the time to do your research on Cruise Critics and go with an open mind. We did Roatan with a private guide from Victor Bodden our driver was Big ALD he spoke great English and took us away from the crowds and we saw the Iguanas and Monkeys and had lunch at a fantastic restaurant called Cal's great view and food and then shopped with in areas were residents shop, better prices. Roatan is safe!!
Belize-- we were tendered and a 20 minute ride to shore but it moved fast. Coral Breeze has great snorkeling tour. the kids loved touring Belize on their own and felt very safe loved the people, did a horse and buggy ride with great tour and price was cheap. Kids came back with a lot nice things from shopping and they know how to shop for price.
Costa Maya we docked and were the only ship in port. We went to Tropicante that is owned by Steve Uhl he has good website. We had a wonderful beach and shopping and beach massage day thanks to Steve who is from Texas and loves to visit.
Cozumel the weather was over cast but nice we visited the Chocolate Factory (d0 it) then on to the Tequila Factory and had lunch at their restaurant, not to be missed. then we drove up the coast away from the touristy areas.
If you love to spend your time in port most all day then NCL Free Style Dining is the way to go. Although other lines offer Freestyle NCL has it down to a science--we have done them all.
Highly recommend the Dawn!!