(8.30 p.m. AEST) -- P&O Cruises has unveiled the newly refurbished Pacific Dawn in Brisbane, with some features never before seen in Australia. A team of 700 contractors spent more than 100,000 hours transforming the ship during its recent drydock in Singapore.
Dual waterslides, both around 80 metres long, form the centrepiece of the refurb. This new design means two people can race each other but also enjoy a different experience on each slide. One slide is transparent so that passengers can watch people shooting through its twists and turns, while the other is multicoloured with music pumping through it. It was a close race when the slides were officially opened -- and tested -- last week by Olympian Christian Sprenger and aspiring Olympian, Joseph Ferguson, 10, who is a member of Brisbane’s Commercial Swimming Club. There is also a new kid’s waterpark on the pool deck.
P&O President Sture Myrmell said the refurbished Pacific Dawn was the next step in the evolution of the brand. “We are all about celebrating modern Australia and look to that for inspiration. Pacific Dawn not only features the new look and feel which has been so popular on our latest ships, Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, she also provides a taste of what’s to come on our next ship Pacific Explorer, which debuts in June.”
Other enhancements to Dawn include a new virtual reality experience in the teenage clubs, HQ and HQ+, and a redesign of bars, The Dome nightclub, the atrium, Charlie’s cafe, The Orient and Promenade Bar.
Dining options have also been upgraded with The Pantry replacing the traditional ship buffet, including the addition of a new Mediterranean outlet Nic & Toni’s. As previously reported on Cruise Critic, there is also a new seafood restaurant, Shell & Bones.
2017 promises to be a record year for P&O Cruises in Queensland, with two ships sailing from Brisbane year round. Between them, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria will offer 108 cruises this year, up from 98 cruises in 2016.
--By Tiana Templeman, Cruise Critic contributor