DW and I are in our fifties and sailed with two other couples. We met in Tampa where we spent the night before our cruise at the Riverside Hilton Garden Inn. I found this motel on Cruise Critic and have no hesitation about recommending it. The staff at the motel far exceeded our expectations and went out of their way to make sure our stay was a good one. Our room was not ready when we arrived but the front desk clerk gave directions to local restaurants and a shopping mall where my wife bought the obligatory another pair of shoes since she had never bought shoes in Tamp (LOL). We were greeted by smiles throughout our stay and assistance without asking for it. The other two couples took the motel shuttle to the port and DW and I dropped off our rental car at the port and we met up again at the port terminal.
We had read of nightmare at embarkation but for our cruise embarkation was smooth and efficient. We arrived around 11:00 and were on board by 11:30. While we were waiting to board we ran into a couple from Nebraska with whom we had cruised before. What a wonderful surprise. Cabins were ready by 1:00
We found the Dawn to be clean and in good repair. It was obvious that the ship had some age but for us that just added to the charm. The staff was excellent and helpful. Our room steward, Dexter, called us by name when we met in the hall and was ever ready to help us with any request.
During the cruise my wife broke her ankle so we got to visit the Medical Center where the care was thorough and professional. They were very attentive to our needs and requests. When we returned home our doctor was surprised at the quality of care we had received.
We ate in the main dining room the first three nights and found the food to be quite good. What amazed us was the quality of the service. My sister who was travelling with us managed to book a reservation for the dining room at the same time every night. This helped move through the lines waiting for dinner which were often long.After my wife broke her ankle we did not feel like fighting the crowd in the dining room and ate either a the buffet or Blue Lagoon. We did return to the dining room for our final night and our waiter blocked an aisle so that my wife could elevate her leg. This caused the wait staff to go out of their way to serve their tables but they went the extra mile and made our dinner special.
Tim Kiminski was the comedian and one of the best we have encountered. I was actually chosen to go on stage and help reenact the Wizard of Oz. What a hoot. We missed some of the shows due to mobility issues.
Disembarkation was a breeze as we had a wheelchair assist which whisked us right through customs and into a taxi to the airport.
Overall we had a great time on the Dawn. The friendliness of the staff and the ship size would encourage to consider sailing on the Dawn in the future.
We booked a tour of the Lamanai ruins through NCL. We typically prefer to book our tours independently but were aware that we would be travelling a long distance and wanted to make sure we got back to the ship on time. We travelled by bus for about an hour and then by boat for about 45 minutes before arriving at the Lamanai site. The tour was well done with guides knowledgeable and informative. Highly recommend. This tour was one of the reasons we booked this cruise.
Maya Cahn is a wonderful experience. We have done a number of excursions in a number of ports. We always manage to have a good time and leave enriched but Maya Chan will stand out as one of the best excursions and favorite destinations ever. We were met outside the cruise port where a taxi was arranged to transport us to Maya Chan. The ride was a little long and arduous but once we arrived it was well worth the wait and ride. Maya Chan is a slice of paradise and the owners Mark and Jane worked to make sure that every guest felt special and pampered We were greeted with a rum punch and a basket of chips with pico de gallo and guacamole (both freshly made). My wife is allergic to raw onion and they made her a bowl of guacamole with no onions without batting an eye. We snorkeled, lounged in our private palapa, enjoyed a massage on the beach, feasted on a wonderful lunch, had great drinks including the aged tequila and were transported back to the ship. Mark and Jane took excellent care of us and we would consider another Western Caribbean cruise just so that we could visit Maya Chan again. One of the best excursions ever and recommend this highly.
After extensive research we booked a private driver through Victor Bodden Tours. Tex met us at the port and we were off to our wonderful Roatan adventure. This was our first trip to Roatan and Tex tailored our tour to meet our wants and desires. His love of Roatan and his knowledge helped us get a feel for the local culture, see sites that might otherwise have been missed, purchase coffee where he went with us to make sure we were safe and to make recommendations, took us to Tabayana Beach where we enjoyed lunch, drinks and snorkeling and got us back to the ship in ample time. I would highly recommend Victor Bodden Tours and the private tour as well as Tex.