I feel a lot of the things being said on here about the Pacific Dawn are quite harsh. I've seen many reviews complaining that you must pay for everything other than food and your ticket. If everything were included the price would go up and people would complain about that..
Embarkation/debarkation was smooth and easy.
Our cabin was a decent size and well cleaned everyday by our super friendly cleaner, the only problem I would point out is that the balcony was a bit dirty. But just ask someone to clean it for you and it's not a problem. The balcony is definitely worth the money. There's nothing like drinking a cocktail on your balcony watching the sunset :)
The food in the buffet for dinner wasn't very good, the focused more on quantity than quality, but the breakfast and lunch buffets were good. Food in the dining hall was great, I can't fault it. The staff in the dining room were very grumpy and rude though, if we requested anything they got angry (my partner requested a second entree and the waiter frowned at us..). We had the $20 Asian set dinner one night, and I have to say it was excellent value for money and good quality food. We would definitely pay for that again. Cocktails were good, but a few of the bar staff were grumpy too. The staff at the coffee shops were super friendly though, and the coffee was really good for the price. The free coffee was terrible, but I think I'm a coffee snob haha.
The shows were pretty good. Most of the comedians were terrible. They made a lot of jokes by embarrassing people in the audience (getting them up on stage when they clearly didn't want to, or calling them no fun when they said no, running up and screaming in people's ears to frighten them) which I didn't find funny at all.
The gym was very small and shoved at the very bottom of the boat, which wasn't good. But they go boot camp,jogging and yoga on deck for a fair price for all you fitness nuts who don't want to be in the box of a gym.
They did a lot of parties on deck and in the nightclub, which were heaps of fun ! Adults only trivia and karaoke/singing competitions in the nightclub were a lot of fun too. Bingo was really fun(even though you had to buy a pen haha), the jackpot went to one lady who won $6000 !
There weren't that many scheduled activities for younger people during the day, lots of quilting and how to lose weight/dealing with arthritis seminars. But that was ok, there were plenty of things for us to do later on in the day, it was nice to relax at the back of the ship in the adults only area during the day and do the night-time activities.
Overall we had a great time and would book this cruise again in a heartbeat ! Some small complaints really don't outweigh the many good things, don't let the bad reviews on here put you off.