We flew into Ft. Lauderdale via Southwest. We took a shuttle (about a 25 minute ride) and stayed at the Holiday Inn near the port the evening before. We could see the ships coming in the morning of our departure. We would definitely stay there again. Across the street was a shopping area with restaurants and stores.
We arrived at the port in a few minutes via taxi from our hotel around 10:45am. We went into the building around 11:00am to register in. We waited about 30 minutes after that before allowed to enter the ship. The NCL Dawn ship is very impressive with its open lobby with glass elevators and beautiful decor. We were greeted with a glass of champagne or a mamosa. We met the other 2 couples and went right to the restaurant for lunch. It was very nice and had a beautiful view out of the back of the ship. This was our first trip with an inside cabin on the 9th deck. Of course it was small but big enough for the 2 of us. Our Aunt and Uncle had a balcony room and it had a separated area in the bathroom for the toilet. We all loved the shower door in the bathroom (nothing worse than having a shower curtain get stuck to you-YUCK).
The entertainment on this ship was very good. The comedian was funny the first night he was on, but unfortunately seemed to get off track the second time he appeared. We saw him throughout the ship talking to everyone and was very funny. We highly recommend not missing the entertainment.
The food in Cagney's Steak House was very enjoyable and wish we would have done it more then once. It was definitely worth the extra $$. John, the cruise director, was previously on the NCL Majesty and we knew it was him as soon as we heard him talk "Have a smashing day", being we had sailed on the Majesty in August 2008 to Bermuda. The chocolate buffet was yummy. The food at the buffet was alright but enjoyed having lunch in the Blue Lagoon everyday. The chicken sandwich was delicious and service was quick.
Disembarkment was quick and painless. We were off the ship within 30 minutes, got our luggage, and called our shuttle service to get back to Ft. Lauderdale Airport.
Overall, the Dawn is a very nice ship. The rooms were adequate size for what we needed. Would not suggest 4 people in and inside cabin. The food was alright in the main dining rooms. Definitely recommend Cagney's. Friends did the Salsa Tapas and enjoyed it. The Bimimi Grill was a great place to relax with a drink. Dazzles Lounge had the White Hot Night Party and a few other shows. Entertainment was very good. Would we do a cruise on this ship again - Definitely.