We had a great time. It was my first cruise, my wife's third cruise but first with NCL. We had a great time. Glad I read the horror stories upon our return. Common sense says never cruise or spend time in a resort during Spring break anywhere.
The Dawn had some things that were tired but I didn't find it intolerable. It was headed to dry dock for refurbish work once we got back to Miami.
We flew into Miami the day before and enjoyed dining on the water. It allowed us to relax and take our time the next morning before boarding the ship. Embarkation went smoothly as we stood on the front of the ship. The room had more size than we imagined. We were mid ship on the 5th with a window. It was quiet. In the future, we'll most likely upgrade to a suite with a balcony.
The entertainment for the most part was good. Second City was good when scripted, but the improv family night was pretty much a miss for us. The onboard singers were good and made for some good entertainment.
We enjoyed sitting in the Gatsby drinking champagne cocktails and listening to the music. We also enjoy sitting on the deck below the Bemini bar to read. The servers would deliver the drinks and were very nice. The drinks at any of the bars were always very good. I only had one poorly made drink the entire time.
The food was good and the service was great. We ate a couple of times in the Venetian but it always seemed too busy. We ate once in Aqua which was good. We ate at the Blue Lagoon when we were in the mood for pub food. We ate in the buffet most of the time because of the large variety of options. My biggest disappointment with the food was the desserts. They were for the most part, not very good.. We ate only once at the Salsa for a change of pace.
We did not sign up for the excursions as we thought they were a bit pricey. Samana didn't have much since we didn't do an excursion, but we shopped a little and sat by the water enjoying the view over a couple of beers. Tortola, Barbados and St. Kitts were fun adventures. We joined other people on shore and had taxi vans take us on a tour. It was very inexpensive and interesting to learn about each place. We also enjoyed the stops along the way. Antigua for us was more about the shopping. We enjoyed the shopping pretty much every place we stopped.
We found the staff overall to be very helpful, very friendly, and we enjoyed talking to them and learning about their home.
We'll cruise again with NCL. We will most likely pick a larger, newer ship.