We arrived for embarkation on the Dawn around 1:30 - couldn't have been easier, two of us are latitudes members, and we breezed through, with a very friendly employee, telling the non cruiser how much fun she would have!
We went directly to our state room on Deck 9 with a balcony.
The itinerary was perfect. I loved how there were six sea days that really enabled you to enjoy what the ship has to offer. It was nice not having to get up and out to do a port every day.
Our first port was Jamaica, had never been before, we went to Ochos Rios. We had not planned an excursion, we were going to shop and go to Margaritaville for lunch. We could not walk 4 feet without being hounded about taxis, having our hair braided, or buying pharmaceuticals! We did buy a few souvenirs and had an entertaining lunch.
Curacao was next, we met a couple getting off the ship who asked if we would share a cab with them, to see the north western part of the island with them. We did, and saw the most amazing scenery. There was a place where the waves fill a basin in the rock, called Pistol Mouth - and when it is full the water shoots straight up in the air, amazing! We also went to the salt ponds where we saw the pink flamingoes! Walked around the town, but the stores had all closed at 6pm, and we wasted time, getting free wifi in Starbucks!
Next was Aruba, went to Eagle beach, absolutely beautiful, did some shopping, stopped for a drink at LocalStore.
St Maarten is where our first ship planned excursion was. Two of us had done this before and loved it, so we booked Orient Beach. It is on the French side of the island, so we were brought by bus, given a rum punch on arrival, we had beach chairs, a lovely free lunch with another drink, and transport back to the ship. The beach is beautiful, although big waves, and yes, it is beside the nude beach! But far enough away that, you don't have to see anything if you don't want to! I think Orient beach is beautiful a d would go again for a third time!
Next was St. Thomas which I have been to multiple times. Not my favorite, too commercial. So we decided to book an excursion, last minute with the ship. It was snorkelling at Turtle Bay, which we went to by catamaran, that picked us up at the ship. It was PERFECT! We were about 25 from the ship, stopped at the Marriott, and picked up probably a other 30 people, and off we went. We snorkelled for about an hour, saw some really neat fish, then back on the catamaran, and the bar opens, music on for our sail back to the ship. Great staff on "the Cat", we had a wonderful day!
We had 3 sea days at the end, to sail up to Boston, it definitely did cool down, but we were lucky enough to have sun every day!
We spent one night in Boston, and just want to note, that we went and saw the memorial for the marathon bombing. It was truly heartfelt to see all the love and support people have for, one of the greatest cities. Boston Strong!!
We booked the 3 specialty restaurants, that were offered before the cruise. The stipulation being that you had to dine in one of them on embarkation night. We later found out that was when they had lobster in the main dining room! So our first restaurant was La Cucina where we had a really good meal. They also gave us a free bottle of wine for booking the three restaurants.
Le Bistro was next. They sat the three of us at a table for 6 right in front of the kitchen! Wasn't the best, although, I had beef tenderloin, which was too well done, but I was full after eating appetizers, so I should have returned it, but did not.
The third restaurant was Cagneys where we all agree was the best meal on the ship. I can't even pinpoint one dish - they were all amazing!
The two main dining rooms were good, although, we were slightly disappointed in the service, at the Venetian.
We did buy the Ultimate Beverage package, which means all your alcohol is include. Works pretty well for the most part, although there are a couple of kinks to work out.
For the most part the Dawn has a fantastic hard working crew! Can't say enough about our favorite bartender, Dominggus, in the Pearly Kings Pub, along with Val and Eva. Poolside, we had I Made and Nennette who looked after us so well. We made friends with Magdalena, (bar manager?) we will miss you! And a great big thank you to Geo and his entertainment staff for some great shows and keeping us laughing for 12 days!