My wife and I did the Southern Caribbean in March 2010 then New England the fall of 2010. In March we did a 5 day and a 9 day back to back. The first 5 days were loud and difficult as there a million spring break kids who took over the whole ship including all the hot tubs. They were there for a good time and they had a great time but most will go home remembering little. The following 9 days were quiet.
This ship isn't huge but still large. We didn't expect great food and we didn't get great food so we weren't disappointed.The food was good and service great. The speciality restaurants were fun and the wait staff very friendly and accommodating.
As for entertainment, we loved the lounge acts. The singers/dancers had much to be desired. The top draw was Hosea and Patti, a singing husband wife combo that played in a venue much too small for the crowds. If they would have played in the main theater, they would have packed them in every night. There was a comedian, very funny....had us rolling in the isles and a juggler who put on a great show and told funny stories throughout his act. There was a rock band that needed singers and musicians....not good.
Ports of call were fun and exciting. on both cruses. On New England cruise you had to be patient, there were many using walkers and wheel chairs but everyone got along fine and helped one another at every opportunity.
The ship was fun, the staff helpful how ever, if there's one complaint I had was the manager of the morning buffet. He was a large man who looked everywhere except where he was going. People were dodging him and bumping into him with their trays of food and it was the same every single time I saw him. I was amazed he didn't run over some little old lady, like my wife. I was tempted to tell him to lead, follow, or get the heck out of every one's way.
This ship was a great deal for the money and I would recommend it to anyone except those who expect gourmet food at every meal, although it was good some people would complain. We been on a lot of cruises and read in Cruise Critic the Dawn was a ship to stay away from. Just the opposite is true.