The itinerary was cut from 4 stops to 3 and instead of 2 days at sea we had 3. St. Maartin was substituted for Barbados. St. Thomas was substituted for St. Kitts. Before the cruise, we spent time reviewing and selecting excursion options for each stop. We didn't have a guide to the Caribbean on the ship, because we thought our homework was done. Online research was not practical as internet at sea is slow and expensive. It was frustrating not having information about our two new stops. The only excursions offered were to the beach. We aren't big beach people. We'd planned to see the Green Monkeys on Barbados and ride the train through sugarcane fields in St. Kitts. The extra day at sea made the trip more boring. We simply ran out of interesting things to do on ship by the last day.
Dawn issued letters to passengers suggesting it gave notice before departure from Miami that engine trouble would lead to a slower traveling speed and reduced itinerary. This is not how we remember it and our recollection is validated by others on the ship. Nothing was said about the two substitute stops or the unscheduled 3rd day at sea until we left Antigua. Overall, we had an impression that management was trying to finesse the situation rather than be candid. I leave it to others to read internet postings regarding past mechanical/engine problems with Dawn to decide if NCL is promoting cruise itineraries that may simply be too optimistic.
The fire onboard seemed to have been handled o.k. It did frighten us and others. Due to earlier communication confusion about itinerary cuts and changes, we did wonder for a moment if Dawn was giving us true information by describing the fire as small. Our stateroom was not on the decks temporarily evacuated because of smoke.
Posts of previous Dawn travelers here and at other websites tend to be accurate. The crew was mostly helpful and friendly. The entertainment was good. The food was o.k. and Aqua restaurant was as satisfying as some of the surcharge restaurants. The gym was nice. The ship is a bit shabby. We did see buckets in public areas catching leaks from the ceilings and there was a bad mildew smell in a stair and hallway. The furniture on our balcony was very dirty and there was peeling paint and noticeable rust. Stateroom furniture and fixtures were somewhat worn. The Garden Cafe did close earlier than published hours at least once. One day the Cafe had no lemon for tea; another day, no skim milk. Don't plan a laptop rental. Upon arrival, we were told the ship had only 2 and both were taken. Our room had only one U.S. style electrical outlet. Bring plug adaptors and/or a power strip.
In sum, if you're already booked, have realistic expectations and are prepared for some possible problems, it may not be the most fantabulous experience, but it probably will be o.k.