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Pacific Dawn Review

Pacific Dawn
Pacific Dawn - The Dome Pacific Dawn - Lido Deck Pacific Dawn - Balcony Cabin Pacific Dawn - Shark Shack
47% of cruisers loved it
116 reviews | Write a Review
  • Multimillion-dollar update
  • Interconnecting staterooms are ideal for families
  • Giant outdoor movie screen

Pacific Dawn Overview

--by Joanna Hall, Cruise Critic contributor
Editor Rating

Pacific Dawn is a veteran cruise ship, designed by renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano. It began its career back in 1991, cruising originally as Regal Princess, but as the Princess fleet grew, the ship was sold to P&O in late 2007 to make way for newer and more modern ships. It debuted in Sydney as Pacific Dawn in 2008.

In the two years that followed, two more ships joined the P&O fleet: Pacific Jewel in December 2009 and Pacific Pearl at the end of 2010. The arrival of these additional vessels prompted Pacific Dawn to relocate to Brisbane, a move that proved popular among Queensland cruisers, giving them a locally based cruise ship to call their own.

Although Pacific Dawn had a much-needed refurbishment in Singapore before its debut with P&O in 2008, a combination of age and a design from a bygone era was evident. Compared to newer ships, Dawn had fewer balconies, a small spa buried on Deck 2 and no alternative restaurants.

In 2010, another makeover included the addition of the popular Salt Grill by Luke Mangan dining venue. Its 2012 refurbishment, however, gave the ship some much-needed style and nudged it further into the modern era. Although the ship still has few balcony staterooms, the modernized accommodations and updated public spaces have given this seasoned vessel a new look and a more confident attitude.

As a result, Dawn now has its own clearly defined personality, with standard cabins coming up to scratch, decor-wise, and the interconnecting cabins offering more choices for families and groups. Dawn's culinary offerings have also been significantly improved, with more choice and flexibility. And if there's one good thing about the ship's age, it's that it is solid enough to handle the big seas of the Tasman and South Pacific.

Shortcomings remain, however, including a lack of balconies, a lack of open deck space and small pools for a ship of Pacific Dawn's size. It's also a ship where you can rack up a large number of additional charges; for example, there are no drink or dining packages available.

However, if you're looking for an affordable, no-fuss high-seas holiday with Australian style, Pacific Dawn is worth considering.

Pacific Dawn Fellow Passengers

As the ship cruises exclusively from Brisbane, passengers tend to hail mostly from Queensland and occasionally other parts of Australia. There's a healthy mix of younger couples, groups of friends, families with kids and teens, and seniors, although this varies according to seasons and itineraries. For example, there are more families and up to 700 kids during school holidays, and fewer on shorter themed cruises.

Pacific Dawn Dress Code

By day, the dress code is extremely casual with swimwear, shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops the norm. After 5:30 p.m., however, "smart casual" attire is required in public lounges and restaurants. Cruises of three to seven nights have one or two "cocktail" nights, where suggested attire is cocktail dresses for women and suits with ties optional for men.

Theme nights from country and western to '60s rock 'n' roll are also slotted into the itinerary and regarded as part of the fun. Although optional, they mostly feature on all cruises, even shorter theme cruises. If you don't fancy bringing your own gear, you can accessorize with all manner of goodies available from the shops onboard.

Pacific Dawn Gratuity

As tipping is an optional practice in Australia, P&O dropped compulsory service charges in late 2010. As a result, passengers don't have to tip, but they're welcome to reward a crewmember if he or she has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

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Pacific Dawn Member Reviews

Complaints Chris Toms
I tried to find an email address so I could complain to P.& O. direct but alas could not find one after searching high and low. They must hope that we will just go away. Anyway here I go. I was told by other work colleagues that they weren't ... Read more
Our second cruise on the Dawn and the best so far. Loved the port and island visits, especially Rabaul with its volcanoes and WWII history and the white sand, unspoilt tropical islands that have only been visited by cruise ships since 2013. It's ... Read more
Drinks Package bobdonovan
I'm writing this so people know how the drinks package is working. P&O are doing an un-advertised drinks trial. Price was $533 for 7 nights per person, no apparent requirement for all people in the cabin to take it up. For that, you get all ... Read more
1 - 3 of 116 Reviews

Pacific Dawn Ratings

Editor Rating 3.5 Member Rating
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