Embarkation was fairly easy once I got permission to bring my oversized carry-on with all my medications in it with me. One tip, is to arrive early so you're first on line and can enjoy the rest of your day on the ship while others embark. We arrived at 10:30 am for 4pm depart, but they allowed us to board somewhere around 12. While we enjoyed lunch onboard, we watched hundreds of late arrivers waiting on long lines to go through customs. For the wait in terminal lobby, NCL had stewards serving us coffee, OJ etc. We were in a mini suite on Deck 11, which we got at a great price. The room exceeded my expectation. The bathroom was roomy with a tub & shower and separate toilet and sink area. Housekeeping staff were like invisible psychics. We would leave the room for a short time and when we returned it was cleaned. Same in the evening with the beds being turned down. There was ample storage, all behind closed doors, unlike some of their other rooms. The bed was king size and sofa queen with a curtain in between. My 2 kids loved it! The balcony was large with 2 chairs and a table.
The best thing was the freestyle dining with 10 places to eat to choose from. The service in all the restaurants was impeccable. Everyone treated you like you were royalty. We rarely had to wait, and often we had a party of 12. Venetian, Aqua and Impressions were our favorites even over the cover charge restaurants. It is wise to make reservations if you can, it's easy and there's a button on the phone.It takes 2 seconds. The food was just as good as most restaurants here on Long Island and often better. Some desserts were to die for, especially the ones with the long names. The poolside BBQ's offered great BBQ fare with a good variety of toppings. My one complaint was beverages. Myself and my kids are not soda drinkers and while juice was available during breakfast it was hard to find after that. The kids program was excellent. The staff treated them well and always had fun activities planned. They offer an after hours service at a fee that we utilized a few times. The kids pool area was so much fun we often hung out there with them. They have a hot tub there so the adults can hang out in that and watch the kids at the same time, or you can go on the slide into the kiddie pool which is what I did.
The evening entertainment in the alternate lounges and bars was somewhat boring to me, but I did see other people enjoying it. I would have liked some more dancing places. The main theater had some good comedy acts and Bollywood which is like Cirque del Sole which were good. The dance rave was so-so.The bingo was expensive to play. The art auction was interesting to watch. They have a movie theater which I wanted to go to but the scheduling of movies always seem to conflict with something else. The scheduling needs some fine tuning with alittle more fun activities. We went on the catamaran excursion in St. Martin and had a blast! The only problem, we didn't get to see St. Martin. On all the other islands except Tortola we went on our own which was fairly easy. We took the ferry excursion to Virgin Gorda in Tortola and it was gorgeous but rushed because it was the last port and we had to be back by one. They should do this awsome island in the middle so people can spend more time there.
The greatest thing I can say about the NCL Dawn is service, service, service! Our vacation was fantastic. Disembarkation was easy as well, no nightmare like I've heard. But we were traveling with seasoned cruisers who knew the ins and outs and prefer NCL out of all the lines they have been on. Happy sailing!