I'm not going to make this too long of a review, but we had an absolutely wonderful time on the Dawn. We took a 10 day Eastern Caribbean cruise out of New York City on 2/23/06, coming in a limo from the Albany area (cheaper than flying, taking a bus or train (2 adults and 4 teenagers in our party), pickup at our door right to the dock and vice versa on the way home). We were able to get on the ship at around noon - not too long of a wait.
The Dawn is beautifully decorated everywhere and very clean. Our room attendants were very friendly and accommodating. In fact, we found every employee we came in contact with to be very pleasant and helpful (Emerson, we miss you!) A smile and a few kind words goes a long way.
Ricky Matthews, the cruise director, was hysterical. Ricky and his staff were enthusiastic and funny. We had some great times dancing in the Spinnaker lounge with them to the music of Modal Magic (what a great band they are - the singers have beautiful voices). There was a magician and a comedian, and they were both entertaining. Rudi Macaggi is an amazing acrobatic and had us almost on the floor laughing - he is quite the comedian. There is always something going on during the evening to entertain you. We found ourselves going from one form of entertainment to the other during the evening. We would have liked the casino better if we had come away winners!! We were not bored in the least.
I won't complain about the food - you can find something to your liking. We ate almost all the restaurants. Some things we liked and some we didn't. What tastes good to me might not taste good to someone else. Let's face it - how many people lose weight on a cruise? We did pay extra to eat at Cagney's Steak House and we enjoyed it immensely.
There were a number to excursions to choose from at each port. Some were pricey, but I guess if you really want to do something, price doesn't really matter. We enjoyed all the islands, but liked St. Maarten the best.
Since we had four teenagers with us, we signed them up for the Teens program. Every day there a different schedule of activities for the teenagers. While in the different ports, there wasn't a lot scheduled during the day and I assume this is because most people do get off the ship to visit the different ports. There was ALWAYS things scheduled during the evenings for teenagers though.
Bottom line - our cruise with the Dawn was most enjoyable. Fantastic price, beautiful ship, great entertainment, good food, nice people, NO WORK OR COOKING. What could be better?
We will definitely sail on the Dawn again.