Just returned from a first-ever girl's cruise on the Dawn. While I can only speak for myself, I believe the other 4 gals who accompanied me would agree with this overall impression.
Embarkation- this was a bit of a challenge because we were delayed due to dense fog in the port. We finally set foot on deck around 9:00 pm.
Stateroom - we shared 2 adjoining balcony staterooms. Sadly, the balcony divider can no longer be open to create a more spacious feel to the room/s. Our Cabins were spotless! Kudos to our steward Gregorio. He was ever present, extremely friendly and especially responsive to our requests. The location on deck 10 was great- staterooms both above and below us.
How to survive 3 women in one cabin - we were quite concerned about how 3 of us were going to survive the week in this tiny space. After reading another CC member's review we found these tips extremely helpful. Bring extra hangers, buy an inexpensive shoe organizer, hang it on the bathroom door and use the pouches to store each occupant's various toiletry items (this was a GREAT suggestion), and lastly invest in some inexpensive folding canvas boxes. We brought 3 and used them for storage on those upper shelves that are hard to reach.
Ports - in Roatan we arranged (privately) for a beach day at Bananarama. For a small charge we were transported both to and from the resort from Coxen Hole. We snorkeled, enjoyed the LOVELY beach and ate and drank the day away. Highly recommend this.
Belize - only 2 in our party took an excursion thru NCL - the Calypso Train Tour. We returned to the ship in a sad mode - the poverty was overwhelming. We did not feel the $39 cost was worth the time.
Costa Maya - used the day to do a little shopping in port and then spent the afternoon at the pool.
Cozumel - The Playa Mia excursion we pre-booked was cancelled so we enjoyed some time at Senior Frog's!
Dining - we tried to sample several of the dining venues. Our best meals were in La Cuchina and Le Bistro. The service and overall experience were a notch up from the main dining rooms. Overall the food was okay. The buffet was a pleasant surprise - everything was fresh and tasty with a nice variety of choices.
Entertainment - NCL has the right idea here. The shows were entertaining, the music a pleasant flashback to our younger days,and the casino was kind to some in our group. We especially enjoyed the Second City performances, in particular the Murder Mystery Luncheon.
Overall - while some in our group felt that other cruise lines offer a more elegant cruise experience, we all agreed that we'd patronize NCL again. Anyone looking for a relaxed, laid back cruising experience - Try NCL.