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Pacific Dawn Review

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52% of cruisers loved it
Why Go?
  • Multimillion-dollar update
  • Interconnecting staterooms are ideal for families
  • Giant outdoor movie screen
  • Upgraded suites and mini-suites
  • Great facilities and entertainment for kids
  • Expanded itineraries include Papua New Guinea
  • Sails exclusively from Brisbane

Pacific Dawn Overview

(3.5) 3.5 out of 5+ star 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 80 Reviews
October 2014

While I feel the Dawn is aging, she has a charm all her own. My husband and I did the Barrier Reef Discovery cruise. Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef was on our bucket list. We booked our cruise online with P & O, which proved to be quick ...continue

July 2014

I have cruised many times - 22 over the past 35 years. Having said this, my last cruise was 12 years ago from Fort Lauderdale in Florida aboard Royal Carribbean's Explorer of the Seas which by the way was amazing. I have not cruised P & O for ...continue

   The good, the bad and helpful tips
July 2014

We recently undertook a 9 night P & O cruise departing from Brisbane visiting the Island of Lifou, Port Vila, Mystery Island and Isle of Pines.

Here is my honest assessment of the experience and tips for future ...continue

1 - 3 of 80 Reviews

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Ship Stats
Crew: 700
Launched: 1991
Decks: 11
Tonnage: 70,310
Passengers: 1,950
Registry: London
CDC Score: Not yet inspected
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