A friend and I both went on the Dawn Princes for a 13 night cruise to NZ. It was our first cruise and we weren't sure what to expect as we embarked on our journey in Melbourne. The check in all went smoothly and by the time we got to our room our luggage was already waiting for us. We had book a balcony in the mid part of ship on the the 9th floor and we were happy with our room and glad that we had paid the extra to have a balcony because it did give a larger feel to the room and it seemed like you had that little extra space.
There were 1972 passengers on board the ship but by far the majority of the passengers were Australian followed by New Zealanders and then there were a few Americans, Canadians and Europeans It seemed liked the majority of the age group were over 60 with quite a few in the 75 plus bracket. There seemed only a handful of children on board the ship and this could partly have been due to it being outside the school holiday period. We found the layout of the ship good . Much of the ships furnishings was Art Deco style which we liked but the cabins do have a 80s look about them and could do with a bit of a. update but they were kept very clean. the Atrium area was very nice and we really liked the Wheel Bar which as a nice nautical theme to it.
The food was very good and there were two set dinining times. We had requested the early dinning time and a table for two but we were put on a table for four. My friend and I are in our mid forties and we were put with two women in their early 80s who spent the majority of their time either in the casino playing the pokies or down in the medical centre of the ship seeing the doctor.
The daily activities were good but we did find a bit of over emphasis on demonstrations of products that the Princes shops were selling but I guess this is normal on all cruises. We did enjoy going to several art auctions that they had and the daily trivia quizzes, various dancing classes, and port lectures. The entertainment shows in the evening were mostly good and included the Princess performers doing a Rock n Roll show, British Invasion show. There was also a very good tribute band of Freddie Mercury and three nice Tenors plus a very good violinist. So there was plenty to suit all tastes in the entertainment area and some good bands playing in different lounge areas. We also enjoyed watching several movies under the stars on deck 14.
We were very lucky that we had calm seas because we heard about how the Tasman was known for it rough seas sometimes and we were able to get into all our ports. Tenderboats were used in Akora but that seemed to be well organised and went smoothly. We booked al, our own tours through private companies because the cruise shore excursions were more expensive, We were happy with the companies we choose and there ended up being only two or four other people on the tours and so it was like having our own private tour. We were lucky with the weather in the Firodlands on our last day in NZ and that we had calm seas and were able to get into Mitford Sounds as we met one couple who had been on this cruise three times but this was the first time they had made into Mitford Sound. It was also good have a National Park guide on board who gave a lecture and a commentary during our visit.
We really enjoyed our first cruise and we liked the fact that the ship never seemed too crowded and you could always find a quite spot to sit and on the pool deck there was plenty of space to relax. We would definetley consider another cruising holiday again on a ship of a similar size.