We loved our trip so much last year that we decided to book the exact same cruise, on the same ship, on the same week as last year. Well...we were not disappointed!
Emarkation was ok, it was busy, but what else is new. We got on the ship in about an hour, but we were glad to be there.
Our cabin was an inside, a downgrade from previous years, but we were surprised at how comfortable the room was. After this cruise we've decided that we would consider inside rooms on future cruises if a balcony isn't in the budget.
We bought a spa pass for this week, and we really enjoyed using the hot tub, thalassotherapy pool and the small heated pool in the spa during the week. It was especially nice on a rainy sea day to be able to get in the pool comfortably. The price has gone up since we started buying the spa pass, but we still found it worth what we paid.
We had dinner in La Cucina and in Bamboo. We liked La Cucina, but we probably wouldn't dine there again as we felt the food in the main dining room was similar, but we really liked the food in Bamboo. The pan-asian food offered there is definitely a departure from other food offered on the ship. We found the food in the Venitian and in the Garden Cafe to be very good. I know some complain that the food is a little salty, but honestly I like a little more seasoning than most people.
Jose and Patti were wonderful as always, and had a huge crowd almsot every night. The shows were great although we've seen most of them already. Tim Kaminski was AWESOME. I thought I was going to have a heart attack from laughing the night he was in the Stardust, and I loved his stand up comedy set as well. And as a note about the performers....they are WONDERFUL people on and off the stage. We ran into Tim Kaminski repeatedly on the ship, and he was one of the most friendly people we've met. Patti even approached us one night in Blue Lagoon to talk about the sunset before she went on the stage to sing! I wanted to tell her to save her voice, but she was so sweet! Oh, and Keith was the most awesome coffee person EVER! He crows in the morning as he brings coffee to tired cruisers in the Garden Cafe and proclaims that once you've had his coffee you'll never be the same....and we never will be the same!
We had a great time at trivia with Pearson and Jojo, and at the game shows! We were very fortunate to meet a wonderful group of lively people from the cruise critic meet and greet (always always always sign up and go!), and we were out almost every night doing different things around the ship. My only wish is that there were a few more interesting late night things to do. After kareoke ended at 12 we'd go to the Spinnaker, but it wasn't very lively and that was pretty much all that was going on in the ship the nights that the casino was closed.
I can't state enough how great the Dawn is and how wonderful all the staff on this ship are. We literally had to hoard vacation hero cards to fill out for staff members because we had so many wonderful interactions with staff who go above and beyond to give us the best experience possible.