This was my first time cruising with the Princess Line and I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised. I have cruised with Cunard, 3 times before and many years ago P&O migrating to Oz on the Oriana. Embarkation in Melbourne was a breeze,and by 12 we were sitting at the Oasis bar getting ready for sail-a-way!!! We did have preferred boarding as we had a suite C746 but friends of ours had a balcony on the same deck and they were only half an hour behind us.
The suite was excellent with sitting room, large bedroom with full spa bath/ shower and seperate toilet,walk in robe. On arrival chilled champagne was waiting and the balcony was huge, table with 4 chairs and 2 lounges. Our first night we had an invitation to dine in the Sterling Steakhouse with the cover charge picked up by Princess. OMG it was fantastic and to make it even better we had a young waiter Patrick who was on the QM2 last year when we were on. The service was amazing and we went back 3 times. Our friends were vegetarian and they had no trouble chosing from the menu.
As we had 3 sea days till Dunedin I took advantage of the hair salon and had a lovely girl Jana, the prices for shampoo and blowdry are very reasonable at $39. Also the Dawn does not add gratuities per day out of Australia so that was a bonus. The cocktails are very reasonable at $4.50 - 11.00 Au. Another fantastic area to eat is the pizzeria where you can chose your own toppings etc but they also serve pasta. We only ate at the seated dining twice, but the food was great. The shows were fine and comparable with Cunard. The only niggle for me was on theme nights. We had country and western night and there was only a handful of people who dressed up but we still made our own fun. Island night was held on deck which was great, here everyone dressed up BUT there were not enough tables and chairs and it was not great organisation. The entertainment crew were always seen and encouraged people to patrticipate in all activities.
Of course the service on board by everyone from the waiters, bar staff and cabin stewards was nothing less than perfect, I don't know if I would have the patience that these young man and women have!!!. Decor, yes she needs a paint here and there but everything was immaculate and people were always cleaning. I did notice however that in the main dining area they did not use hand sanitizer, this really surprised me. Casino was a nice size with enough machines and tables. Formal nights are not strictly speaking true formal and most of the ladies just wore a cocktail dress and men a suit and tie.
With our suite it was fantastic however being at the back of the ship you did feel vibration from the engines, but not enough to keep u awake. We were fortunate we had amazing weather going to NZ but a few people were sea sick crossing but that is to be expected in that part of the world.
So would we travel on the Dawn Princess again? Absolutely, great value for money with their suites and the extras you receive such as free dry cleaning, washing and one free mini bar set up, also corsage on formal nights, canapes every day if requested.
We also took advantage of tours every day, these were informative and a great way to get a snapshot of the country you are visiting. All in all Well done Princess!!!