We last cruised on our Honeymoon 36 years ago! As we approach our retirement, we decided on this cruise to see if we would still enjoy cruising. Also we had heard good feedback from our friends, who had sailed on Dawn Princess twice recently. We travelled down from Sydney by train with an overnight stay in Albury, and arrived in Melbourne at the Great Southern Station. From there it was a short walk to the route 109 tram to Port Melbourne. You do not have to wait long as there is a tram about every 10 minutes.
It is over a kilometre walk to the ship from the tram stop. Golf carts are available for those with mobility problems. We left our tagged luggage at the baggage drop off area near the entrance to the pier. The check in was fast with limited time spent waiting and we were in our cabin quickly. After the safety drill our bags had still not been delivered. At 1730 I went to the information desk to find many bags that were awaiting owners, our tags had somehow disappeared from our luggage!
Our inside stateroom on Caribe deck, C231, was on the small size. It was a tight fit down the sides with the bed set-up as a queen. Being an inside cabin means there is no daylight to interrupt your sleep, but also means you have no visual clues to the time of day. The suggestion to leave the TV on the Bridge view channel (44) as a night light and a "window" to the outside world is a good idea.
The first night was very busy with a line up extending towards the shops waiting for the second seating opening. This was not a problem the second night as people staggered their arrival time. We found the meals in the Venetian dining room to be "Goldilocks" size, not too big -- not too small, just the right size.
After dinner we wanted to view the show in the Princess theatre, but we could not get in as there were no seats available and people standing at the back made it impossible. We had no problems the second night and enjoyed an excellent performance. We also enjoyed the duo performing in the Wheelhouse Bar were we had a pre-dinner drink.
We were allocated an 8:45 disembarkation time, with our group assembling in the Vista lounge. We arrived around 8:30 and had only just found a seat when we were directed to disembark. We quickly proceeded through customs that were checking for any fruit. Taxis were literally waiting at the door to take us away.
We enjoyed the cruise so much so that we have already booked our next trip whilst on-board. We cannot wait until our next cruise to view the solar eclipse off Port Douglas on the 14th November.