My wife and I sailed on the Dawn with her sister and brother-in-law on March 8th. I would first like to thank all the people who wrote reviews which I read over and over to get info. These reviews really helped me have a great cruise. I have to say straight out the ship is fantastic. This was our sixth cruise with all five previous trips on RCCL. I only tried Norwegian because our group of friends who we have always cruised with could not do it this year so I thought my wife and I would try free style. I like to eat before 7:30pm each night so we had no problem being seated when we wanted. To keep me from going on too long I will just list the good and bad as we experienced it.
- The food was as good or better than what we have had on other cruise ships. Now maybe we were lucky with our choices but we ate in all the resturants except the Bambo. I will state that I would not pay the $17 surcharge at Cagneys again. The food was great but not worth the additional charge. I say this because of the quality at the free resturants. On the other hand the Bistro is not to be missed. My favorite meal was the Sea Bass at Aqua. We really enjoyed going to a different place for dinner each night. The other reviewers are correct that if you wait till after the first show and eat around 8:30pm you will probably have a half hour wait. But there is a neat lounge with a piano player right outside Impressions and Aqua so relax and enjoy the entertainment while you wait.
- The entertainment was by far the best we have ever experienced except for the night we saw the Fifth Dimension on the Enchantment of the Seas. I had expected good shows based on the reviews I read but I never expected this good.
- The service on board was very good but then I have never had bad service on a cruise ship. Usually if something goes wrong, and if your nice, they will make it right We had a few foul ups but they were all taken care of. I splurged on this trip and got a mini-suite on deck 11. The consierge, Sara, could not have been nicer. She went out of her way to take care of me. Our cabin stewart, Santiago, did an excellent job and I gave him a little extra at the end. The idea of having the tips added to your bill in no way deminished the service.
- As I stated we stayed in a mini suite (11168) in the aft on the starboard side. In my opinion the extra money spent was well worth it. We enjoyed a balcony for the first time and I will find it difficult to cruise without one again. The Spa in the rear of deck 11 is beautiful and I used the lap pool and hot tub each morning. Sitting in the hot tub and looking out the rear glass wall at the ocean was therapy for a tired soul.
- We sailed the eastern Caribbean and we liked it better than the western. My favorite excursion was the Catamaran sail and snorkle trip in Tortola. Great snorkling. Lynne hurt me in St.Thomas with the purchase of a ring but she and her sister had a great time shopping for it. Magens Bay is breath taking. Some people had stated that they could have done without the stop at San Juan but we took a tour of the city and the capital building and the fort of San Cristabol ( I know I butchered that spelling) were worth the trip.
As you can tell we had a great cruise and I highly recommend this ship. The only negative was the long wait to get on which was due to customs not clearing the ship on time. They were an hour late when we arrived back also. I lost at the casino but the dealers were polite and interesting to talk to. by the way, for the show Ballywood I recommend you sit in row five about midway in. There was a good mix of young and old on board. I turned 55 on the cruise and the young college students on board for spring break were great to be around.