My wife and I embarked in Sydney on 13th May for a 12 night Pacific Island cruise on Dawn Princess. We had previously sailed on "Dawn" for Xmas 2009 so were familiar with the ship. There was an annoying delay of about 1 hour at Sydney Airport due to not enough airport to ship buses being available. Several people were getting restless with the delay but we eventually arrived at the ship at about 1 pm. There were about 1000 people in the Tent Terminal when we arrived but amazingly we were onboard by about 1-45pm. The registration, Immigration and customs went very smoothly.
Our cases were waiting for us at our cabin and after dropping our carryon bags it was off to the buffet for a quick lunch. This was our only meal from the buffet.
Our Stateroom was an inside cabin on Baja (deck 10) right up the front of the ship. Four paces from our cabin and we had access to the front deck, an area most passengers do not know about.
Our room was spacious especially after we had it made into two beds instead of one double. Plenty of room to hang clothes and store other items into the many drawers available. Both of our large suitcases fitted easily under the beds.
The bathroom was adequate and I am a big bloke but had no trouble fitting into the shower. There was one Australian power point above the fridge and the TV was a flat screen digital model, an improvement on our last cruise where an old "clunker" TV was supplied.
Our room steward was Anna and she did a very efficient job without being intrusive. She was happy and cheerful every time we saw her and she seemed to know when we were not around as the room was always serviced and cleaned when we were at Breakfast and turned down for the night when we were at dinner. She filled the ice bucket every day for us as well.
We did not use room service but plenty of passengers in nearby rooms did. This does not incur an extra charge.
We chose first sitting dining at 5-45pm on a table for six. We had the same dining companions every night for the whole cruise but we all got along very well. We also had breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea in the dining room and this was with anyone, usually different people for every meal and we met a lot of decent and interesting people at these meals.
The food at all meals was superb and we could not fault it. Our waiters, Michael and Rocky, were terrific. Our usual drinks from the bar were waiting for us before we arrived as Rocky knew after our first night what we wanted without us having to tell him. Michael was a very good waiter, knowing what dishes on the menu to recommend. He was a bit of a bugger bringing extras in if we particularly liked a certain dish. When we had lambs shanks I cleaned mine up fairly smartly and he wanted to know if I would like another one so he brought me two more. On crayfish night I cleaned up my one tail and he finished up bringing me five more. He tried to convince me to have more and was actually walking around his tables with a tray of extra tails but he couldnt give them away in the end. Gawd know how many the chefs had prepared that night. I cannot speak highly enough of the food and service in the dining room.
The entertainment was of a very high standard except for a female vocalist, Sylvana, who was well past her useby date and could't sing anyway. The two comedians were very good and did not have to resort to smut and/or indecent language to be quite funny, a welcome change indeed although I am no wowser.
The ship's orchestra and dancers were excellent and the pianist was extremely talented giving a couple of piano recitals on his own.
The Cruise Director, Dave Webster was a delightful little guy, very entertaining and a live wire. His deputy, Bec, was a laugh. Whenever we met them both around the ship they always had a chat and never tried to hurry off. I am a Trivia crank and enjoyed the twice a day sessions of trivia even winning three.
There were plenty of other shipboard activities including handcrafts, various lectures on the Ports visited, card games, fruit and ice carving, dancing lessons and many others.
The service from all members of the crew and staff could not be faulted. Nothing was too much trouble and I did not come across one grumpy drink waiter or anyone else. It is a wonder as I witnessed a couple of examples of rudeness from passengers towards staff and I do not know how they tolerated it but they did so cheerfully.
we did not take any of the ship organised shore excursions but went ashore at Noumea and took a city bus tour from the Tourist Centre for $15 each which lasted for about 1 1/2 hours (good value)
Disembarkation in Sydney on the morning of the 25th May went very smoothly. We were on an afternoon flight back to Adelaide so were one of the last batches off the ship at 1015. Very quickly on the bus for the airport and then had a two hour wait for our flight. It was back to reality with a hard bump. All in all it was a most enjoyable cruise, so much so that we booked at the Future Cruises Office onboard for the next 41 nighter Cherry Blossom cruise.