We chose this cruise because we live in the greater Boston area so no flights were needed. We picked the first week in June because we thought there would be less children on board (before schools get out but there were still more than we thought!). We are retired, in our mid 60's, and healthy. We do find that this cruise out of Boston is a bit overpriced, but we are paying for the convenience of not having to fly anywhere so it averages out.
Embarkation went very smoothly - we arrived at the port approx 10:45 (at our appointed time),and were on board at Noon. We did have to sit in a waiting area which seemed to annoy some people but things went smoothly if you were just patient and listening to instructions.
The main dining room is open for lunch and most people are not aware of that so we had a very nice, quiet lunch once we were on board. Once we finished lunch we were able to go to our cabin and our bags were delivered about 1:30 pm which was pretty fast!
Dining - we ate in the Main dining room several times, and O'Sheehan's Pub as well. As a perk we were able to dine in Moderno for Breakfast and lunch which was very quiet. Eating in any dining room is always our preference to the buffet. The food was as expected - not fabulous but good. We had a specialty dining package (3 dinners) as part of our perks for booking and this was a first for us - the meals were very good and well worth the extra gratuity charge we paid for this "free" perk but we don't normally pay for extra special dining so it was a nice bonus for us. We ate in Teppanyaki, Moderno (go VERY hungry and don't fill up at the salad bar!) and Cagney's - of the 3 Cagneys was by far the best! We never use room service but did notice there is now a $7.95 fee for each delivery - not "free" anymore either....
We also chose the Ultimate Beverage Package as our other perk but again this is not "free". We paid $98 each in gratuities up front and would have paid about that or less without the package as we are very light drinkers and don't drink a lot of soda but it does make it easier not having to keep track of your bar spending. Bottled water is not included in this perk but the water from the ship is probably filtered better than at home so we bring refillable bottles and have them filled with ice before we leave the ship for the day.
Excursions: we have been to Bermuda several times, so we did our "own thing" - when we arrived on Sunday we took the #7 bus ($9 round trip each- tokens are bought at the Info center) to see the Gibbs lighthouse. We were left off by Henry the VIII's and you walk uphill about 1/4 mile to the lighthouse - and then 187 steps to the top for fabulous views ($2.50 admission each). Came back down and caught the #7 again back to the dockyards. On Monday we took the new NCL Ferry (which is complimentary!) to St. George and back - our favorite area on the islands. From the center of town we went into the information center and purchased round trip bands to get us to and from Tobacco Bay - a beautiful beach on the North Shore - $9 for the two of us in a shared van) - we purchased a chair and umbrella for $20 and snorkeled in the bay. There are facilities and a snack/beverage bar. On Tuesday we went to Snorkel Park which is within walking distance from the dock. $5 per person cover charge - nice clean facilities and also snack bar, etc. Chairs ranged from $5 for a regular chair to $15 for a nice lounger- $10 for an Umbrella. With two ships in port the beach was very crowded but we got in some more snorkeling (we bring our own gear) until the winds picked up and the skies clouded up.
Service was great all over the ship and we were always greeted with smiles wherever we went. This crew works hard for their money and seem to enjoy what they do.
Entertainment was good - the comedian was not to our liking, but there was always something going on somewhere on the ship - so many different choices it can be overwhelming if you try to do it all! Jerry 9NOt Terry)Sager is a Broadway star and her show was amazing as was Soul Duo. We had seen "Haines Magic" previously and he was amazing as always - "how did they do that????" A Second City troupe was onboard as well but we missed them.
Disembarkation - we thought since we were local that we would use the "walk off" program and not have to search for our luggage - this proved to be the wrong way to go as so many people made this choice the line went down one side of the ship, through the bliss lounge and back up the other side to get off. Since we had a priority advantage, if had we used the tag system and placed our bags out the night before we would not have been in such long lines. We only had to turn in our Custom slip - no customs to go thru other than that and no need for passports to be shown.
The Dawn is a beautiful ship with a great crew and we will definitely be on her again from our "home port".
We booked an Obstructed View (cat OK- 8596) - the cabin was a bit small and tight getting around on either side of the bed (we requested queen which is the two twins pushed together). There was a pull down on on side of the bed that sticks out a little bit and a vanity table/drawers that just about met the corner of the bed on the other side,so it was a tight squeeze and we had to remember not to bump into the corner of the vanity or the bunk bed (even though it was folded) Other than that there was plenty of storage for 2 people and the suitcases stored under the bed. The bathroom was very small, and there is a separate space for the toilet with a sliding glass panel for privacy if needed but the space is extremely small and not much room to turn around in. We are both average size with a little extra weight (5'7" and about 190 lbs) and it was tighter than my RV bathroom!
Also - this location on Deck 8 was forward of O'Sheehan's Bar and Grill/Pub which is open 24/7 - this was a busy, and noisy corridor - people don't seem to understand how loud their voices are when traveling in corridors at 2:00 am! Or they just don't care...