Want to give my opinion as to the Norwegian Dawn. Was getting rather worried reading all of the hateful comments. We experienced the total opposite of the haters.
Family of 5. We are in our mid fifties. 3rd NCL cruise. Have also cruised Princess (4), Royal Caribbean (5), Celebrity (2) and Disney when kids were younger.
We were shuttled to the port at 12:45 via Hyatt Place West Shore shuttle. Our bags were taken and into the line we went. Took 5 minutes to snake our way to the x-ray machines, then into another line to get our sea passes. Probably total of 30 minutes until we walked onto the ship.
Had 2 rooms on deck 8 that were obstructed ocean view. I like those rooms-don't need a balcony, will never stay in an inside room-and as long as I have daylight I am fine. Our room steward was Vincent-arguably one of the best, if not THE best room stewards we have ever had. Towel animals every night, spic and span clean every day. Great sized bathrooms for a cruise ship and very good/large shower. Room was good sized with lots of storage. Our bed was made into a king and the only problem was you would need to be a contortionist to get around it on the side by the desk. Or you could sit and scoot like I did. It's not a deal breaker.
We ate at LaCucina 1 night and Cagney's another. LaCucina was big disappointment. Cagney's was wonderful. Service at both was excellent.
The rest of the nights were spent at the Venetian. Kind of worried about the free restaurants after reading the reviews, but truthfully, the Venetian was great. (Never got to Aqua) Every meal was delicious, our servers were fabulous, we never spent more than an hour at dinner-none of the 2 hours waiting for food I had read about. We waited about 15 minutes on 2 nights, the other 2 nights we walked right in. We always ate between 7 and 7:30 with anywhere from 3 to 5 of us.
Garden Café buffet was fine for breakfast and lunch-when we were on the ship. Actually, the breakfast buffet had everything you could dream of. Hot things were hot and cold things were cold. Fruit selection was great. If you couldn't find something you liked you are from another planet. Plenty of waiters to assist for anything. And they were kind and personable. After we would return back to the ship in the afternoons we would hit the buffet for a snack. Always good with a good selection of food and snacks.
We were on the ship New Year's Eve and it was a good time. Good party on the deck.
I didn't notice the ship to be in tatters. I did notice people always working-cleaning or repairing carpets, railings, etc. It was in pretty good shape as far as I could see.
We didn't do any ship excursions-we do everything on our own. Roatan was Little French Key and I would definitely go there again; Belize-went to man made beach-it was a mess, but we still had fun; Costa Maya we went to Tropicante and it was a great day and would definitely go back!; Cozumel was Mr. Sancho's-again a great day and will go back again.
Belize - I will look into closer next time. I didn't have a plan as it was New Year's Day and I didn't know if my group would want to do anything. As it turned out everyone was up and ready to go. So we go thru the port area-which has lots of shops that aren't awful and go find a taxi. After some thoughts and discussions we decided to take a taxi to the man made beach. Price for taxi began at $50 each way for our group of 5, but we got it down to $30 each way. Oh and btw, not 1 taxi driver we talked to mentioned that the cost to get into the beach was $10 per person...and once we started talking to others at the beach, they all had the same story. So, going thru some pretty bad poverty (which we have seen many times before, plus we have lived in the Philippines) we end up in Old Belize. At the "beach" - use that term loosely! It was pretty pathetic, but had a great water slide. However the rope swing was pretty lame. All taxi drivers had also told us they had a zip line, but we found out as we were pulling in, oh, btw, no more zip line-once again all of the other ship passengers we talked to had the same experience concerning the zip line. So, was it the worst thing? No. We still had fun. Would I do the man made beach again? NEVER.
As far as entertainment, we saw Second City and Tim Kaminsky. Tim Kaminsky was too much fun. He is great. Second City was ok, I've seen better.
So, to sum it all up. Yes, I would go back on the Dawn again. It didn't have all of the bells and whistles that the newer ships have, but we don't spend much time on the ship so it really doesn't matter to us. It rained all day on the last sea day and yes we were all a little bored, but c'est la vie. Got a book read and found things to do.