Embarkation was slower than normal as their was another ship in port which had the terminal. Cabins were on the small side, we had a veranda as is typical with an older ship but don't spend time in the cabin anyway. The bathroom was small but the shower enclosure was larger that we have had on most newer ships. Negative: asked for a orthopedic pillow (neck Problem) but were told they were reserved for the suites, go one on the Sun during our New Zealand cruise no questions asked.
The Dawn is well maintained and in good condition though 13 years old. Entertainment was very good. Tey brought on entertainers throughout the cruise since it was 28 days. Most were very good, some not so good. The production show singers and dancers were great. Yes, I have seen some of the programs before but with different personnel it was still entertaining. We took most of our meals in the dining room when we could. Excellent food, great selection, good service. Would have preferred breakfast to 9:30 on sea days rather than 9:00.
On port days with tours we did eat in at the Horizon buffet. Lunch was very good, not as good as the dining room but that is to be expected. Breakfast had little variety over the 28 days. Food was good but day in and day out almost the same. The fruit was great at the buffet and dining room. Again , we ate when we could in the dining room. Good service, quality and you eat less. I gained 4 pounds after 28 days on the Dawn and 13 days on the Sun and I like to eat. Buffet was crowded, busy just don't know why more people don't use the dining room. The fish, which I eat most nights was the best prepared of any cruise. Cooking for so many the fish tends to be very overdone. Not on this cruise, the fish was cooked just right.
Good selection of ports. We did miss Port Douglas where we were going to the Barrier Reef. A typhoon was coming is and this was a tender port. As disappointment for us but understandable. Tours throughout Australia were expensive. Since this was our first cruise we walked the town in most ports or did Hop on Hop off bus tours on our own. Before each port Dawn had a lecturer tell us about each port, what was available, where to go , what sights to see. Especially good for those on their own. This was a great feature of this cruise.
Service from our cabin stewards and waiters was very good. They knew our likes and dislikes. One of our table mates wanted Salmon lightly cooked and he got it almost every night. The cruise was made up of older people 50-80. 60% Australians, 20% Americans, 20% others. This was the longest cruise we have taken by far, having been on the Sun prior to this cruise to New Zealand. Princess did an excellent job with variety of entertainment and food. With 28 days every night there was something different on the menu or with entertainment.
Disembarcation was smoother than embarcation. We had the cruise terminal, once called were were at our hotel in 45 minutes.