This was our second cruise with Princess, the first one being on Diamond Princess last year to Australia and New Zealand which was great. We booked this cruise as we wanted to see more of Australia, particularly Queensland and the Barrier Reef. It was the destinations that drew us to this cruise and I have to say we weren't let down in that respect. We snorkelled on the Barrier Reef, went to Australia Zoo, hired a moke on Magnetic Island and had some great hands on experiences with the wildlife. The whole area and Australia itself is fabulous and, god willing, when we retire we plan to become 'gray nomads' and spend at least 6 months travelling around Australia. However, it has to be said that the Dawn Princess does fall behind when compared to the Diamond Princess. It is a smaller ship and some parts of it could do with a bit of an update. Our cabin was fine and we really had no complaints there, save that one day we had to remind the steward to clean it as he seemed to have forgotton. We are not really a couple for taking part in the activities and shows as, to be fair, this cruise was a means to an end for us. However, a couple of nights we ventured in to one of the bars where the entertainment was a juggler. I have to say I thought this was somewhat dated and on the second night that we happened to pop in to the same bar, his repatoire was exactly the same as the night before, even down to the ad-libs. This was not 'top quality entertainment'. The staff, while doing their job without fault by and large, did not meet the same standard as the Diamond Princess. There was something lacking which I cannot quite put my finger on. The food on the ship was very good, particularly in the international dining room. My only complaint here was that the service was somewhat rushed. Most nights we had a three course meal completed in less than 30 minutes. Personally I like to take a little longer with my meals and have some time between courses.
I was somewhat surprised to note that the vast majority of people on this cruise were from Australia and elderly and some did not even bother to get off the ship whilst it was in port which again surprised me. By and large our fellow travellers seemed pleasant enough, although if I am honest there were quite a number of middle aged people on the cruise whose behaviour and demeanour would not have been out of place in a tacky holiday resort. I noticed a couple of ladies who had got so drunk that they had fallen over, were covered in bruises and, one in particular, had a very bad cut on her leg from falling down drunk and refused initially to get help and proceeded to bleed all over the floor of the casino. This was not something that I expected to see on a cruise of this nature.
A point to note with this particular cruise is that bar one port of call they are all tender ports and the organisation for this needs to be sorted out. The time spent trying to get on to a tender eats into the amount of time you actually have in port, so be there early to get off early.
Despite the above we did enjoy our cruise but this was more down to the destinations that we went to and the activities that we independently undertook ourselves as opposed to the ship itself. We have taken the decision that this will probably be our last cruise, certainly for a long time.