Just a couple of tips, regarding the Dawn Princess, which may be helpful for upcoming cruisers.
1. Take a wrist-watch or clock with you on your trip. There is no simple way to tell what time it is in your cabin. No clock and no time shown on the telephone display. The only way was to watch the "ships location" channel on TV and wait for the scroll across the top to go through the latitude, longitude, wind and sea conditions, weather, etc. Then the time would scroll by, but if you blinked you'd miss it. There also didn't seem to be clocks in the buffet area. It made things difficult for being sure to get off the ship at a certain time in ports as well as making it to activities onboard the ship.
I usually tell time, while I'm out and about, by looking at my cell phone. That didn't work here, there was no cell signal much of the time (which makes sense, I just didn't think of it ahead of time and thought there would be a clock or time would be provided on the phone). Used my i-pod some of the time, but had to keep it charged. Finally, just bought a small clock onboard. Wished I had taken a wrist-watch along, it would have solved all this as well as knowing what time it was when we were off the ship in port and needed to be back onboard.
2. There are cookies, milk and ice cream served from 3:30 to 4:30 daily, in the dining area of the buffet (not at the buffet counters, but just past the bar on your right, as you go into the table area). It did not seem to be publicized, but we found it and it became a fun little daily event for our family and friends. Nice snack to hold us over until late seating dinner at 7:45.
We were two families travelling together, with a total of 5 teenagers. There were not many individual events on the agenda for the teens. They would have had to register for the teen club, to do the club events. However, our kids ages ranged beyond the ages that the ship allows for them to do things together in the teen club. So, they stayed out of trouble and found their own fun.
There are no free juices, lemonade, fruit punch, etc. as on other cruise lines. This makes it tough to stay hydrated for the kids and those of us who want non-alcoholic drinks without extra cost. Even if you buy the "soda card", it does not include juices. I don't drink alcohol or soda, so I only had iced tea and water to choose from.
We've cruised on CCL, RCL and Disney in the past. This Princess cruise seemed to have the least number of kids. As another person mentioned on this site, they made a big deal out of the fact that there were 250 childen onboard. I think they did that in order to lead into their next announcement (and the brochure they left in our cabin) advising parents of their responsibilities, and liabilities with regard to their kids as well as reminding that they could be kicked off the ship for inappropriate behavior. (Most of the inappropriate behavior I've seen on cruises is by the adults, perhaps they should also be reminded.) This trip also had the highest number of older folks, wheelchairs and walkers that we've seen. My husband was looking for cranberry juice which most ships have on the menu. They didn't have it but they did have prune juice! Much of the scheduling also seems to cater to older folks and many things are impossible to attend if you are at late seating dinner, because they are only scheduled one time in the early evening.
When we were on the Dawn, there were clocks by the pools and ice tea, water, hot tea, coffee, and some kind of drink on the service areas by the pool. They had cranberry juice at the bars. There were no clocks in the cabins and can't remember seeing any on any Princess, Carnival, RCL, NCL, or HAL ship I've been on. Thanks for the tips and glad to hear you had a good time overall.
Penny- I don't think it was on the Dawn but one some on the Princess ships had an automated time announcement on the phone.
We used to fill up our large water bottle with OJ just before the breakfast at the Horizon was over & store it in the refrig. for drinks later on in the day.
Was the cranberry juice free or charge?
They charged me for the juice, but it wasn't as much as a soda. I think it was $.95. A couple of the bar tenders would let me have it for free in the morning. I know I ordered it from room service for breakfast on the Emerald, too. I also think there are clocks by the elevators.