I took notes during the cruise so that I wouldn't forget anything and here is an overall review of our cruise.
Embarkment - considering there were 4 other ships in port and the Dawn arrived late - I thought embarkment went well. We arrived into the terminal around 12:45 - people were still getting off the Dawn. I thought everyone did a good job trying to get everyone to cooperate - but people will be people and there were lots who were complaining about the wait. We were in our cabin just before 2:15 pm. Once we began to move along, things went very smoothly. My opinion is - prepare to wait. It is a process. There are 2,000 people doing the same thing you are. Use a little common sense.
Cabin - we had a balcony on deck 8 forward starboard side and it was great!! Originally we were going to get a mini-suite and we're glad we didn't. I'll get to that later. The bathroom is small, but very managable - hubby is 6'3" and had no problem with the shower - he thought the toilet area was a bit small for him, but he managed. There is ample closet space as well as hangers (had to be about 15 of them (wooden) - someone mentioned bringing some from home - I disagree!!) They provide soap, shampoo and shower gel but I would STRONGLY SUGGEST you bring your own!!! Did I say STRONGLY SUGGEST!!! Enough said!! The water pressure is fabulous and you will get so much HOTTTTT water, no matter what time you turn the faucet or shower on. Not a problem at all. The beds were put together (as we requested) and it was very comfortable. The sofa is hard as a rock so if you're gonna use it - ask for extra duvets so it'll be softer. Our room stewards Larry and Fernando were FABULOUS!!! Our bags arrived before the muster drill (mandatory evacuation drill) around 4 pm. Fabulous fabulous fabulous.
Restaurants - we met our roll call buddies after the muster drill at the Bimini Bar (out by the pool area - full service bar and grill - hot dogs, burgers, fries, chicken breast). A quick shout out to - Ari and Gil, Steve and Nancy, UnclePaulie and Barbara and sons, Anne, Sue and Ed, Tony and Monica. Venetians (free) was fabulous - we had our first meal there (lunch) and the food and service was impeccable. Aqua (free) - pretty good - preferred Venetians. Garden Cafe (buffet) - great food - open all the time - breakfast, lunch, deli, dinner, late night snacks - desserts - very very very good - large variety of foods. Le Bistro - we purchased the anniversary package and had dinner there. WONDERFUL!!! Salsa - (free - but you need a reservation) great food - nice atmosphere. We didn't eat at Cagneys, but Ari and Gil did and they said it was GREAT!! We didn't get to Bamboo, but heard it was great as well.
There was so much to do and so little time to do it all. The Dawn makes sure you are never bored.
Shows/Entertainment - Bollywood was WONDERFUL!! Talented artists. There were comedians, jugglers (Thien Fu - he was FABULOUS), bands, magicians, pianists, singers for all music lovers. The Spinnaker lounge was a favorite of ours (after 11 pm - when the DJ came on). There are "the not so newlywed game", "family fued", etc - lots to do. The Stardust Theatre (very roomy and you can enjoy the shows from practically every seat) had something for everyone every night. Read the Freestyle Daily that's given to you every day for the shows and anything that's going on on board.
Gym/Spa - Hubby and I checked out the gym and the equipment is top notch. They offer many types of classes, spinning, abs, aerobic, step, etc.) The spa is where the indoor pool and 2 jacuzzi's are located. Very nice - most folks actually used the pool to swim so that was good. The jacuzzi's were a bit crowded at times, but everyone used them for a bit and then got out. We did not use any of the other spa treatments. The juice bar was also very good.
Anniv./Honeymoon Package - we loved it. Our champagne was in our room waiting for us - in fact we got 2 bottles (don't know how that happened and didn't question it either We attended the champagne/cake party and thought it would be one glass of champagne and a slice of cake and we'd be sent on our way. NOPE!! The champagne did not stop flowing -we met some great couples there and had a great time.
Chocoholic Buffet - I do not eat chocolate - I know boo hoo for me!! Hubby was like a little kid in a chocolate store!!! The designs, made with both dark and white chocolate were massive - incredible to describe. Don't miss it!!
I could go on and on and on. We loved our vacation and are ready to plan our next cruise.
Please feel free to ask any questions. Although I wrote things down, I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Besides the wonderful time we had - the awesome folks we met from CruiseCritics definitely made this trip more memorable. Let's do this again.