Embarkation: After driving through a hellacious rainstorm from Queensbury, NY to Boston, we arrived at the Black Falcon Pier. Parking is a cinch and the ship is relatively close to the garage. The entire process of checking our bags, checking in, and boarding was simple and non-stressful. The folks in Boston have it down.
Stateroom: We had a "framed-in" balcony room, forward on the port side. It was perfect for the two of us. The balcony was very private, the room was plenty large for the two of us and all of our belongings. The bathroom, furniture, fixtures, etc. all seemed to be new and in good order. Plus, our room steward Rodney kept our room in great shape for the entire cruise. (Although it would have been nice to have been greeted by a couple of towel animals!) Needless to say, we enjoyed many sunrises and sunsets from the balcony.
Public Rooms: The Dawn is an attractive ship. Well-decorated and laid out, the ship was clean, and the maintenance guys were More
always painting, scrapping, etc. Our favorite areas were the Grand Atrium, Havana Room, the promenade. For a large ship, it was never a problem to find a nice quiet spot or cozy corner when we wanted that. The Mandara Spa was amazing. Although the weekly spa pass is $$$, the hot tubs, lap pool, and sauna were great. The relaxation chairs were...relaxing!
Food: We fully expected eating at one of the specialty restaurants on this trip, but after eating in the Venetian Main Dining Room we didn't see the need. The food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner was great. Unlike other reviewers, I had no complaints about the food, food temperature, or service in the Venetian. We did have one mediocre meal in the Aqua Dining Room. We usually ate in the Garden buffet for breakfast, and they had pretty much anything you wanted there.
Entertainment: Meh... Bollywood was good. The 2nd City comedians were poor (I'm not easily offended or anything--these guys were just not funny.) The best show was the crew talent show, and the Fountains act. Really great.
Bermuda: We didn't take any shore excursions. We just bought our bus/ferry pass and went off to explore Bermuda on our own. In three trips there, we have seen so much of the island doing it this way. My suggestion: get a travel guidebook to Bermuda and figure out your own itinerary. We saw so many people wandering around without any clue about what they were going to do! And three days in paradise is not enough, so don't waste your time. Our favorites: Jobson's Cove, Church Bay, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Crystal Caves, everything in St. George, Maritime Museum, and Snorkel Park.
Service: The NCL staff is amazing. These folks bend over backwards for their guests. From the waiters to the stewards to the girls in the spa--they were the best.
Now for the negatives of the cruise: Rude passengers and unattended kids/teens. More than once, we saw fellow guests treating staff rudely. Off the ship people were walking around shirtless and acting like clowns. People should read a little about the country they're visiting before they go. Also, after 11 PM, there were too many gangs roving teens around the ship, drinking and acting obnoxiously. Where were their parents at? NCL could do a better job enforcing the curfew since some people abandon their parental responsibilities while on vacation. Less