Dawn Princess Cruise Review by sunspring: Dawn Princess - circumnavigate Australia
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Dawn Princess - circumnavigate Australia
My wife and I embarked on Dawn Princess docked at Circular Quay in Sydney, Australia in March, 2012 for the 28 day cruise around Australia - Sydney to Sydney.
We stayed at the Marriott Circular Quay which meant we could walk to the Opera House, Royal Botanical Gardens, and to Dawn Princess when it came in. (Be sure to have fish and chips near the Manly ferry - but watch out for sneaky birds grabbing a bite if you eat outside.)
I recommend that you arrive in Sydney two or three days early (or stay after the cruise) if you haven't already experienced this beautiful city with its magnificent harbor.
We thoroughly enjoyed this ship with its dedicated and happy crew, great programs, and wonderful food in all venues, the buffet open almost all the time. (An hour after we got off Dawn after the 28 day cruise we were on Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas for an 18 day cruise to Honolulu, so we have a good comparison - Dawn was much superior in many ways to More Rhapsody in our opinion - especially the food and friendly service on Dawn.)
The itinerary was interesting with stops at most major Australia cities though I would have liked a stop at Townsville. (We were scheduled for 13 stops but skipped one due to high swells.) If you have a balcony try to get on the port, left side for more frequent land views all the way around the continent. The Indian Ocean was a bit rough at times but otherwise it was smooth sailing.
With the USA dollar depressed in comparison to the AUD, we found everything in Australia to be very expensive (compared to the USA) including excursions booked on the ship. The best value for the money and much less expensive than Australia was an all day bus trip in Bali, Indonesia - they really treated us well, starting with music and dancers right at the Benoa tender port who were still there when we got back hours later. And they fed us royally in a beautiful outdoor garden restaurant. (This is Asia though, if you wander from tourist stops you'll have to make do with squat toilets - you know, the hole in the floor with footsteps on either side!)
One tip about this itinerary though, being such a long trip probably, almost all the guests were seniors, some most likely in their 80's. So you may need a bit more patience than on shorter trips that younger people commonly frequent.
All in all, this was a really good trip, not one to be repeated most likely, but a great memory for decades, and loads of photos. And a very good introduction to Australia and fair dinkum Australians - and to some strange wild life if you include that in your excursions. (Don't try to pet the Tasmanian devils!)
We thoroughly enjoyed sailing with Princess once again, though our balcony room on Aloha deck was very small, the balcony itself really tiny. Less
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Aloha 309 - tiny balcony and very small room. (We've cruised 14 times and this is by far the smallest balcony we've ever had.)
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