5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
40th Reunion cruise with a group of 13 in total. 4 nights to Airlie Beach from Brisbane and return. The ships public areas had been refurbished in April this year. Found the entertainment and public areas great. Our cabin was ... Read More
40th Reunion cruise with a group of 13 in total. 4 nights to Airlie Beach from Brisbane and return. The ships public areas had been refurbished in April this year. Found the entertainment and public areas great. Our cabin was comfortable for 3 adults. (Probably would have been squishy for 4) Shower was brilliant and water hot. Stewards were great. **Just a HINT*** I took a wide mouth water bottle - sports type- and refilled from ice water available on ship by filling glass and pouring into my bottle- they of course do not want you to place the mouthpiece under the tap- fair enough- we didn't need to buy water. The Pantry is the old buffet and although you are served your food I felt it was much better than the buffet style. However I really did think the food let the cruise down- Previously on cruises I have found the dining options unbelievable but was disappointed on this cruise. So we had a permanent booking for dinner at the Waterfront (a la carte) restaurant- arranged as soon as we got on board because there was 13 for dinner. Unfortunately I and most of the group felt the food was a disappointment- choices limited- no steak and the only seafood was fish- red meat meal was usually pie or stew- very disappointing for a la carte unless you paid extra. On the last night I ordered Surf and Turf- scotch fillet with half cray and 2 prawns- cost $25- very nice BUT you should be able to get red meat without extra cost. The wait staff usually rushed us as we were a large group and our sitting was 8pm - I understand they wanted to clear up BUT if that's the case say to the large group that 7.30 pm is as late as possible. Wait staff were clearing around us and dropping desert menus while you were still eating. Breakfast at the Pantry each morning was wonderful- no complaints about breakfast. Lunch at the Pantry was mixed- always asian food, indian curries and often a roast. We did eat at Shell & Bones one night and most of us shared a hot or cold platter ($60) was nice. I guess the only thing was NONE of the food was worth raving about!! And when did ALL the extra for this meal or extra for that meal come in?? Drinks were a standard price with cocktails around $9 - $14 I certainly will not be using P&O for my next cruise- some of the group had recently been on Caribbean and Princess and they especially noted the food. We had a great time because we hadn't seen each other for 5 years so from the point of view as a location for a reunion it was a great idea. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
Were looking forward to a lovely 3 day vacation on the Pacific dawn after a disastrous cruise on same ship last year. Where there was a major Domestic violence issue in the balcony cabin next door to us, which lasted 9 hours and repeated ... Read More
Were looking forward to a lovely 3 day vacation on the Pacific dawn after a disastrous cruise on same ship last year. Where there was a major Domestic violence issue in the balcony cabin next door to us, which lasted 9 hours and repeated phone calls to security. This ended in which a customers luggage and handbag were thrown overboard. P&O were kind enough to give my partner and myself $100 cabin credit to say sorry and enjoy on our next cruise. So as we had mentioned this when we booked this cruise we thought that we would be well looked after to build lost confidence in P&O after last year fiasco... well it didn't. We got to our cabin 9231 and it stunk of vomit, so we said that's not a good start from P&O, so we went to reception only to find out that they had no spare cabin and we'd have to put up with it. One of our party is chemical insensitive so carpet shampoo couldn't be used. Yes P&O did try to get rid of the smell but couldn't, the worst part of the this is you cant go to your cabin to chill because of the smell... We put up with it that night, here's the clincher, after breakfast and a few activities we went back to the room only to find they had ripped up the old carpet and relayed new carpet with GLUE with fumes that really stunk and made breathing hard and gave you really bad headaches after few minutes. As I said having a member of our party that is allergic to chemicals we were furious. Back of to reception and another we cant help you you'll have to put up with it again. They did use and ioniser which help a bit, but once again we could go back toi the cabin when we wanted because of the smell. Arrghhh... To wrap things up two of the other party we moved to another new cabin 8184 while My partner and I we stuck in the stinky cabin with breathing issues and headaches for the rest of the cruise and even after we got off for a few days, To this stage I have written to P&O twice and have no response from them yet, so lets wait and see how they can gain our confidence back after another problematic cruise. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Was a bit apprehensive before the trip as I wasn't sure about the hole cruise thing. The Pacific Dawn was a spacious comfortable ship with lots to do. The cabin was a window twin cabin. It was spacious and clean with a wardrobe, safe, tv, ... Read More
Was a bit apprehensive before the trip as I wasn't sure about the hole cruise thing. The Pacific Dawn was a spacious comfortable ship with lots to do. The cabin was a window twin cabin. It was spacious and clean with a wardrobe, safe, tv, phone, and fridge. There was an ensuite which was small but adequate. Regi and Nathaniel were our room stewards and seemed to work endlessly. They were very friendly and nice people. The dining options were good. Don't expect Michelin star restaurants, but the food and service was good for the cost of the cruise. There were shows and musical entertainment in various parts of the ship every day and it was of a good standard. The service onboard was efficient and very friendly, although the bartenders seemed a little overwhelmed at times. The Pacific Island Hopper visited Noumea, Lifou Island and Port Vila. There were plenty of tours you could pre book on board and also when you goy ashore you could book then. It was a very enjoyable trip. So good in fact, we booked another cruise before we left. Highly recommended. Read Less
WOW
42 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My review - long. We cruised as a family group of 18 people, and we all had a fantastic time. I have cruised the Dawn before, but never in a group, so it was a new experience. I have read the reviews and was concerned, but did not have any ... Read More
My review - long. We cruised as a family group of 18 people, and we all had a fantastic time. I have cruised the Dawn before, but never in a group, so it was a new experience. I have read the reviews and was concerned, but did not have any problems. I only have 1 negative comment, I will go into that in my review. I did witness a number of people who had complaints but really they have to get over themselves. One in particular made me laugh, the man in question was complaining that he had to be out of his room by 7.30 am. It was explained to him that the staff had to get the cabin ready for the next cruise. He went on and on about it. I loved the idea of being able to board before lunch and start my holiday, but that also means I have to get up early on the last day. Embarkation - fantastic (I did have an issue with 1 staff member,nnot P and O, but 1 of about 100 was ok. We dropped out bags off at about 10.15 am for a 10.30 am check-in. We then filled in the health questionnaire and joined the check in line, this moved really quickly and we were soon through (great staff). We then made our way to the boarding lounge. We were a little early so the security guard there suggested we go for a coffee as the ship hadn't started boarding as yet. The coffee was lovley. We made our way to the ship, through customs, and then we were on board. We made our way to our cabin, which was ready. Cabin 10114 - ocean view cabin. We chose this cabin as we like the area it was located in (when we booked we could only get gauaranteed over decks 9 and 10 and we wanted deck 10 to be with the rest of the family) we choose to have 2 single beds, you get a lot more useable space. Try it, if you don't like it the stewards will be happy to put them back together if that's what you want. The bathrooms are on the small side, but the showers are fantastic, so much pressure, so much hot water. The hanging space is large, with lots of hangers. There are a lot of draws in the cabin to put all of your things in. I recommend unpacking, you only have to do it once, and it makes it easy to find everything. Our (empty) luggage was easily stored under the bed. The beds were comfortable. The cabin had its own air conditioning control and we set it to as cold as possible, which turned out to be too cold, so we turned it up. I took a power board and extension cord for all my electronic devices. I also took my own hair dryer and hair straightener. We had fantastic room stewards, really lovley people. I will miss the 'good morning Miss Michelle and Sir David' we received each morning. We had towel animals, and chocolates. Our cabin was serviced twice a day. Dinning - Once on board we booked our restaurant booking. I know it's 'anytime' dining, but if you want to make a booking for the same table each night you had to pick a time, early or late, we chose late. There was 18 of us so we had 2 tables, 1 of 8 and 1 of 10. After booking on the first day, we had the same booking for the rest of the cruise. This is the one thing the family wanted. Do what you like each day, but meet each night for dinner together. Waterfront Restaurant- Breakfast - you have the choice to dine with other guests or on your own (just ask). The food was lovley. Very fresh, hot, and a good size. I did not like the coffee, but my husband said it was fine. There is a good menue to chose from, and if you want to make changes or add to it you can. Pastries, fruits, omelettes, big breakfast, eggs beni, avocado smash, toast and juices are some of your choices. Lunch - again you can choose to dine with other guests on as a couple on in your own group. I found the salads fresh and the food good quality, quantity and hot. The menu was good and changed every couple if days, there was lot lot to choose from each day. Water was on the table and a drinks waiter came around. There was entree, main and desert available. The menu had things like Greek salad, soups, seafood pie (yum!), omelet, burgers and fish and chips. Dinner - as mentioned we had a booking for each night. Each night we had the same waiters, Nelson and John (nick named muscles). They looked after us so well. I know it's their job, but they went above that (the kids loved the magic tricks). We had a different menu each night, there were your everyday choices and special selection from a region eg. South Pacific, Australia, ect. each evening. There were entrees and mains and a seperate menu for deserts. A drink waiter came around a number of times during the meal to take our drinks order. I had some beautiful meals, fresh bread rolls, and amazing deserts. There were 2 meals with had an additional costs, but I didn't try them. I found all the meals large enough, especially when you are having 3 courses (I stopped having the bread rolls, as I couldn't eat all my main meal if I had one). We had 1 birthday on the cruise and ordered a birthday cake for that night ($15.00). When the cake came to the table a number of waiters came to sing happy birthday. There were meals such as Russian salad, grilled fish, pork belly (my husband said this was the best meal on the whole cruise), pulled pork, meat pie, barramundi, beef sirloin, and many others. Veggies were bought out each night and placed in the middle of the table. My husband asked for fries on the first night as one of the kids was not sure of her mael selection, we then had fries each night on the table for the main meal. The waiter also had bowls of ice cream on the table for extra desert, in case the kids were hungry. The Pantry - so disappointed. This is my 1 complaint. For me it just does not work. This is just my opinion. I loved the Buffett and how you could have a selection of different foods. With the pantry there are no trays, you have to line up seperately for each station. It was hard to see what was on offer due to the line of people standing in front of the window, so when you got the the end of the line you took time to choose what you wanted, thus making the lines longer. If you wanted bacon and eggs for breakfast it's was eggs in one line, bacon in other line and toast in another line. I understand the need for the food to be served by the staff, and have no problem with this, but I have had this on the Buffett and had no problems. This must be a commen problem, as the cruise went along I found there were more and more people using the dinning room for breakfast and lunch each day. The Grill - this is an additional charge. Hamburgers $3, nachos $3, pies $3 and pizza $9. I this this is good value, for an extra option (I loved the nachos). I didn't use the Salt resturant. The bars - the bars on the ship had a bit of a work out by our family. When we booked the cruise part of our deal was the premium drinks package. I am not a big drinker and would not buy this package. My sisters said it was a good inclusion for them as they didn't have to worry about the bill at the end, it was just part of the cruise. All the kids had the soft drink package and got value for money! My nephew had his own cocktail mix of 1/2 solo and 1/2 sunkist, the bar staff got to know him and were happy to make this for him. The bar staff were fantastic, they often rembered what you were drinking each night and were happy to make changes to your faveriot drink. The Orient Bar, great for trivia, live music and meeting for pre dinner drinks. The Prommonare bar, a quieter bar with top shelf spirits and cocktails (not included in the drinks package). The Mix cocktail classes were held here. $25 for a cocktail making class, it was a lot of fun (have something to eat before you go, the cocktails made are only half strength, but there are 4 to make and they pack a punch). The Caffe on deck 12 and Charlies on deck 5 do speciality coffee and tea, and special treats. I wasn't big on the coffee, I must have funny coffee taste as everyone else in the family liked it. The muffins were beautiful and so fresh. The Dome - this is a nice quite place to relax during the day. The bar is open from 10.30 am and hardly anyone was up there. It was rather cool in here. We also meet here as a group for pre dinner drinks as it was quite so we could chat. We had excellent bar service throughout the cruise, we rarely had to wait long for a drink. There were a lot of waiters rooming the pool deck and bars to serve you. Entertainment - one word fantastic. The stage shows each night were really good, they actually got better as the cruise went along. particualarly the show on the last night, wow. We had a hypontist as the guest performer, I didn't see this (not my thing), but was told it was very good. There were bands, duos, and singers performing in different areas all through the day and night. One complaint I read from the previous cruise was that there was not enough trivia, this can't be true as there was trivia on at least 6 times a day. Take your pick, general knowledge, sport, music and Disney trivia to name a few. There were lectures and different things, but truely I had too many other things to do. Theme nights. We had a formal night, white night, back to school night and Gatsby night. The formal night was really good, a lot of people made the effort. It's a great time to have your photo taken, even if you don't buy one, it's fun. White night was on deck 12, party, party, party. Lots of people wore white with some fantastic costumes. My nieces danced till late, making song requests and dancing with the entertainment crew. Gatsby night was on deck 5 in the Atrium. We all dressed up (kids included). There were a lot of people dressed up, it was worth it. The best part was the crew flash mob and everyone joining in. Photos - while I was asked numerous times to have my photo taken I never felt pressured to do so, you can so no nicely and walk away, and I ended up with some great photos. As we were a large group we took advantage of the group photo offer. We were able to get a photographer to come to whatever part of the ship we liked to have our group photo taken. We chose the stairs in the atrium on formal night. The photographer arranged us and took the photo, we had about 10 to choose from. It was a great memento. I think the photo prices are a little on the pricey side, at $19.95 per photo. There are no packages available, which is a little disappointing. I may have bought more photos if there was a package. Ports. Noumea, I've been here before and didn't get off. Lifou, tender port, I've been here before and love it. There was a small line for the tenders, the weather had turned so the tenders had to carry fewer passengers. I did find the markets to be a little more expensive than last time. I found Port Vila markets to be cheeper. One niece had her hair braided here. The other niece waited till Vila, it turned out to be cheeper here (1/2 the price) and a better job. Many of the family snorkelled here, booking the spots for $15 per person on the cruise tours. They said it was the best snorkeling ever. Some people were disappointed they had to book and pay, but I understand they need to limit the number of people using the area. P and O say the money does go back to the community, I hope it does. Port Vila, we had a private tour booked here. We were late getting into port due to the weather. The captain kept us up-to-date the whole time. While we were waiting in the atrium to get off we all played the morning trivia, it was very entertaining. We used "see the Real Vila" tours. Charlie was fantastic and we did see the real Vila. I can't recommend this tour enough, especially with our big group. We also know that every cent we paid for our tour goes back into the village. We went to Charlies village and the Blue Lagoon. A great day was had by all. Kids - my nieces and nephew had a great time. They all went to the kids club. They also had edge passes and it was great fun watching them on the flying fox. The water slides were very popular and even though it was winter the pool was well used. We did travel during school holidays, but I didn't really see anymore children than on a non school holiday cruise. I went to the kids club performance on the stage in the theatre. It was really good, they looked like they were having a lot of fun. Disembarkation - so easy. Our 'get off' time was 6.30 am, we had chosen an early check out time, so it suited us perfectly. I'm happy to get off early, because I like to get on early on the first day. We purchased our duty free on the ship, and we picked it just before we got off the ship. So we walked off the ship, picked up our bags, and went through customs, easy. Overall - we had a fantastic time. I would recommend this cruise for everyone, especially families. There are a couple of things P and O could do, well differently. More interconnecting cabins and photo packages should be introduced. I have cruised the Dawn many a few times before and found the refurbishments fantastic. The bars and commen areas have been beautifully decorated. I know there are bad reviews, and I guess some people have a bad time, or the cruise does not live up to expectation. I have also cruised other cruise ships and companies. We were a group of 18, all different ages, family groups with children, young couples, not so young couples, singles and the grandparents. We would all do it again and actually hope to cruise on the Dawn this time next year. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
P and O seem very keen to get you on board but provide limited information on what to expect and then try and charge heavily for all they can. Food - The Pantry has some good food but was hit and miss with similar tucker being good ... Read More
P and O seem very keen to get you on board but provide limited information on what to expect and then try and charge heavily for all they can. Food - The Pantry has some good food but was hit and miss with similar tucker being good one day and not so good the next. During busy times seating was very limited (take your hat and sunglasses because you may need to eat outside) and the lines were very long. Some serving staff have limited English which can make requests difficult. The Waterfront Restaurant provides a good alternative to the crazy rush at the Pantry. Made sure to book in for a regular evening table on the first day which was good for the remainder of the cruise. The food was OK, occasionally quite good. The food was sometimes not quite what I imagined from the menu. Aircon in the restaurant made it rather cool/cold at meal times. Has a kids menu. Water - is available throughout the ship at dining and bar locations. However you are not permitted to fill a water bottle (some people ignored this rule without consequence). As it is so dry in the cabin a full water bottle would have been nice. You can pay for the water bottles in your room but P&O are conducting daylight robbery with the cost. Drinks at the outside bars, Pantry and Waterfront restaurant are limited in range. Some of the dedicated bars on the 7th floor had better selections but not convenient with dining or sitting outside. Beers were VB, Crown Lager, Heineken, Carlton Dry, Corona, Peroni and a Light (Cascade I think). All bottles - taps weren't working. Bottles were coldish - not ice cold. At the Orient on Deck 7 they had the Yak range from Matilda Bay on tap. The cocktails selection was reasonable at these locations but once again a better selection was available on deck 7. We didn't grab a drinks package. Given the time away on shore tours and the need to look after the kids we would not have got our moneys worth. Unless you are going to do a lot of drinking and are happy with the basic drinks range (anything fancy or nice probably won't be included) I would give it a miss. Daughter enjoyed kids club (2-6yr old) and wanted to keep going back. On our last shore tour she was listless and by that evening had a nasty cold. We kept her out after that so as not to share with any other kids but perhaps not all parents had the same thoughts as she caught it from another kid at the kids club. Son was at the upper age for the kids club (7-10yr old) and had some fun but was too old for some of the other activities. Water Slides ok - but can be closed if the ships exhaust is blown through the stairs that climb to the start of the slide. Water park small and surrounded by seating. Which sounds good because you can watch the little ones but in reality that just means you will be covered in water spray from the park - not much fun. Paid for a silver edge pass for my son. Classic example of get you to pay without providing sufficient information to make an informed decision. The "unlimited" silver edge pass allowed my son to book and conduct no more than 2 activities a day and only 1 activity on days with a shore tour. This didn't allow my son to try all the edge activities available and some like the bow ladder were a waste of time. My son did enjoy the laser tag, walk the plank, rock climbing and abseiling. The other activities provided something to do but no rush to do again. Think seriously before parting with cash for a bronze/silver/gold pass and P&O has its own definition of "unlimited". Noumea - arrived at 3pm on a Monday arvo. Not much in the way of activities for the kids. Decided just to have a look around. Not much open. Not much to see. Bit of a waste. Did find a nice place to sit and have a drink and a snack but probably needed a lot more information to find something to do on a Monday arvo in a destination where most things were closed. Lifou - The tender transfer was reasonably painless. Bit of a line to get on but it moved reasonably quick. The snorkelling at Jinek Bay was sold out, so hopped off and joined the line to book a tour locally. Once booked there was a wait so daughter had hair braided whilst son and I walked up to the church. Lots of people making the trek to the church. Nice view from the top but Church not much. Lots of uneven steps to climb up to the church so not for those with limited mobility / weak knees. (Lots of people offering hair braiding - might be worth viewing one before trying as my wife was not impressed with the outcome for my daughter). Tour was to Luecila beach. Vehicle old but serviceable, might not be too comfortable on a hot day. Beach was picturesque and had very fine soft sand. There were some sink holes on the beach created by springs and kids had a lot of fun playing in them. Snorkelling gear available for $10AUD - reef not special but lots of fish and warm springs bubbling up which made the snorkel entertaining (cold water, warm water, cold water). Had a full two hours at the beach which was good. Tour cost $6000 South Pacific Franc - about $78AUD. P&O version would have been $200AUD with less time at the beach. Port Villa - Had booked a tour online prior to cruise departure. Pick up was from the same point as the P&O shore tours. However all the P&O tour people blocked the exit from the wharf. It was difficult to see a way through with all these stationary people crowding the exit going no where. Lots of extra walking achieved nothing and eventually had to force/push through crowd to get out to the tour bus. Once out everything went well. Tour run by Atmosphere to the Lolima Cascades. Was well organised with a great host who was witty and knowledgeable. Magic place at the waterfall with great exploring and swimming. Superb fresh fruit snacks. Overall really well run and would go back again. Was back at the boat just after lunch. Not much is within walking distance from the cruise ship except a stack of tourist shops with all the same content. Drinks cost much higher than it needs to be. Didn't try the other restaurants that required additional payment. Photos are taken throughout the cruise, then face recognition used to present all those of yourself/family for purchase. The software didn't work well - plenty of photos didn't show up. Didn't matter because the cost of the photos was ridiculously expensive. Overall it was an experience but no rush to go back (though would go back to the waterfall at Port Villa - but would fly to Vanuatu). If it was more inclusive once payment had been made instead of trying to get money out of the passengers who have already shelled out for the tickets it might be better. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Having cruised on Pacific Jewel 5 years ago this is, in large, a comparison. First time cruisers may have a different perception. The Pantry offered a good mix of cuisines (Asian, Indian, Italian, fish, roasts, filled buns, etc), ... Read More
Having cruised on Pacific Jewel 5 years ago this is, in large, a comparison. First time cruisers may have a different perception. The Pantry offered a good mix of cuisines (Asian, Indian, Italian, fish, roasts, filled buns, etc), however the food was often only warm at best and although the serving staff were friendly, their command of English wasn't great and they were quite slow at serving the food). It was often difficult to see what food was on offer at each outlet due to people waiting in line so dining post-rush was usually much better. Also difficult to find seating during peak times. The Waterfront Restaurant offered a variety of meals and had a selection of meals that were themed to specific countries each night. There were a few dishes (steak, etc) that were at an additional cost. We found the dinner service better than the breakfast service. The air conditioning in the Waterfront is really cold, needed a cardy or wrap on hand. The ice cream bar and cafe were great, also at additional costs. We booked the Chefs Table early on the first day and we're lucky enough to experience this. Well worth the $99 p/head as we started with canapés and bubbles in a bar, taken to the private area at the front of the Waterfront where the Chef and Maitre D gave us an overview of the restaurants, etc, then served a seven course meal with paired wines. We had a group photo taken, each given a cookbook and copy of the photo and a tour of the galley a couple of days later. I'm by no means a food snob but thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The outdoor area had a plenty of comfortable furniture - couches, armchairs, hammocks, loungers and tables and chairs which made lounging about very pleasant. The bars were great and I highly recommend the Dome for somewhere to get away from the crowds during the day. Fantastic views from the front of the ship with plenty of options for reading, playing board games/cards and just chilling out. We attended trivia most afternoons and found one particular entertainment officer to be condescending and abrasive. We also had a couple of ocassions where we made enquiries through him and he spoke to us like children. However, bingo and shuffleboard were well run by the staff and all other staff we interacted with were good. This particular cruise had 3 shore days, all of which were tendered to shore. We chose to visit Hamilton Island but by the time we tendered to Airlie Beach, bused to catermaran, sailed to Hamilton Island (and return) it didn't leave much time to explore. We also weren't aware that the water activities were dependant on high tide so had only 40 minutes to get changed and participate. Had we known we would have gone straight there instead of looking around first. As this was booked through P&O I feel they could put some more thought into ensuring their guests get the most out of it. We didn't have children with us but I would say this would be a great family cruise with plenty to keep the kids occupied. In comparison to our previous cruise we found this one to be lacking with a lot more focus on "making money" from guests by charging for things that were part of the package previously and pushy sales pitches. Prior to the cruise I emailed P&O about being able to watch a sports game once on board and the information they gave me was vastly different to what was possible. This was consistent with other enquiries from my travelling companions. We also seemed to get the run around on board when we had questions, being referred from person to person. This also was consistent with other passengers feedback. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was my 6th cruise in 3 years and I only booked it because I wanted to go to the Great Barrier Reef (before Lord Commander Marmalade kills it). Unfortunately this was the only cruise going at the time I could take off work. I had a ... Read More
This was my 6th cruise in 3 years and I only booked it because I wanted to go to the Great Barrier Reef (before Lord Commander Marmalade kills it). Unfortunately this was the only cruise going at the time I could take off work. I had a cabin on Deck 9 close to the middle lifts, which was a little noisy but not overly so. As I was travelling alone the room was big enough for me and I had heaps of space, not sure how it would be for a couple in a room this size (OA class of cabin). The Pantry - Sorry folks but it sucks. I understand why P&O replaced the traditional buffet (People you need to wash your hands, obvious much). The food options were awful and the variety was missing. I've been spoilt on Carnival Spirit and Legend, as they have Pizza Pirate and Guy's Burger Joint (all inclusive) you have to pay for these on the Dawn ($9.50 per pizza and $3 for a burger). Breakfast was hard for me as I like Italian style (continental) breakfasts and they didn't have much in the way of meats and cheeses, basically none at all. Main Dining Room - Food wasn't that great and weirdly they had better food on sea day lunches than they did for dinner. Desserts were woeful, both in the MDR and the Pantry. Explains why they sold so much chocolate in the shops. The entertainment staff worked hard and they could do a bit more trivia, though I was on 3 winning teams so that was great. Name that Tune was fun especially when the numb nuts would sing the title too soon (major Homer Simpson moment every night). Drinks were a bit more expensive $12 for an average cocktail (btw they are $10.50 on Carnival). There is a drinks package but as I don't drink enough to justify it I didn't buy this, but if you are a big drinker then go the package. (MSC Cruises have the best drink package of all cruise lines, just saying). Ports - The cruise went to Airlie Beach, Yorkey's Knob and Port Douglas. Overall they were ok and I had a good time. At Port Douglas the water was rough and the tender back to the ship was like a roller coaster ride, so sick bags were being handed out freely. I got soaked from the water coming into the boat which concerns me as these are also lifeboats in case of an emergency. Brisbane Cruise Port - The start and end point of the cruise and it's no longer adequate. Getting off the boat was a major trek to the pick up point for my airport transfer. I've been privileged in Sydney that exiting cruise ships is really easy. I really feel for those with walking difficulties or kids as it wouldn't be fun. Overall - I can say I've been on P&O but no I won't do it again. I'm going back to Carnival and when I want to do something special I'll save and go back on Royal Caribbean. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I chose P & O and this specific cruise due to the wonderful specials that were offered. Having cruised before with Norwegian Cruise Lines in the Caribbean I really wanted my partner to experience cruising. The cruise was exactly ... Read More
I chose P & O and this specific cruise due to the wonderful specials that were offered. Having cruised before with Norwegian Cruise Lines in the Caribbean I really wanted my partner to experience cruising. The cruise was exactly what I expected. Its not a flashy cruise line but there is a lot of food variety, good entertainment, the Dawn was looking great after its refurbishment and it gives fantastic value for money. I highly recommend the Zego 90 minute tour around the harbour in Port Vila. Great value for money and a whole heap of fun! I also watched the Jet boat going around from the ship and that also looked great and seemed to go for a long time. At Lifou I thought things were fairly over priced, its easier and cheaper just to explore yourself and pay locally. We saw the most fantastic sunset ever in Noume. We just paid $10 for a return express pass that took us out to Lemon Bay, I swam and we watched the sun go down then had a drink at the seaside bar, really nice. The Tcho Tcho train looked pretty cool. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
After reading the reviews on here we were concerned about the Dawn. Very happy to report we had an amazing holiday. It was our first cruise and we would definitely do another one. We had brilliant sunny weather for 6 days. Embarkation ... Read More
After reading the reviews on here we were concerned about the Dawn. Very happy to report we had an amazing holiday. It was our first cruise and we would definitely do another one. We had brilliant sunny weather for 6 days. Embarkation was smooth, tender to Lifou was very easy, disembarking was efficient. The staff were fantastic and worked very hard. The cabin stewards were in our room more often than we were and serviced it at least twice per day. The bar staff know your name and seem to genuinely enjoy interacting with passengers. Two of the three bands were very good and the entertainment on offer catered to a wide range of tastes and interests. The Entertainment Director Willie and his deputy Matthew do a fantastic job. The white night and Gatsby night were great fun. Our balcony cabin was on the 11th deck. We were only a few cabins from the door to the Oasis adults deck so we found it very convenient. I thought it might be noisy being under the Pantry but we only found this to be true on the final morning when everyone was up early. The cabin itself was larger than we expected and although a bit tired was absolutely fine. There is plenty of storage and hanging space and the shower is extra long. Air con can be controlled within your room - we had no issues. We liked the Dawn. Maybe if you've sailed on a 5 star river cruise, you might think otherwise but we were pleasantly surprised. The Lido deck is brilliant for families and yes, the kids take over the pool but this did not bother us as we spent most of our time on the Oasis decks. (We are a couple in our early 40s with no kids.) Food: We thought the Pantry worked well and it maintains hygiene standards, unlike a buffet. We usually got our meals and ate outside. The seating area is separated from the serving area and the staff are constantly clearing tables so we did not find getting a table an issue at all. The standard of food on offer was much better than we expected, very fresh and all made on board (all the bread rolls, meat, fish etc is made fresh, not frozen). There was very little junk food on offer in the Pantry and I wonder if that's what some passengers complain about judging by their physiques. The Waterfront was mostly very good with the odd dish not so great. The drinks included in the premium package are of a very good standard: NZ pinot noir, nice Australian chardonnay, premium spirits used in the cocktails etc and drinks were certainly not single measures like some people have said. The only recommendations I would make to P&O would be to lower the music level around the lido during the day. It was far too loud. The bands, although good, were also too loud for the size of the Orient bar. Also, the Waterfront seems to be set up for the convenience of the crew not the passengers. We were told we would be seated on a table with a woman and her two teenage daughters for breakfast when there were loads of tables for two available. We explained it was our wedding anniversary and we did not want shared dining and although they accommodated us, it was obvious the staff were not happy about it. The rest of the time we did get a table to ourselves for dinner though. We also think the crew should enforce the dress code after 5pm. Some passengers thought stubbies, filthy t-shirts and thongs were appropriate in the cocktail bars. Another recommendation would be to raise the temperature in the bars and the Waterfront - lots of passengers said they thought it was too cold. Overall, I would highly recommend the 7 night Pacific Island cruise on the Dawn. So relaxing during the day and fun during the evening. Tip: for a snorkeling or Dive trip in Vila, book online with Big Blue on the waterfront. It's a $6 water taxi from the ship and the guides are lovely. Much cheaper than a P&O tour. Read Less
Pacific Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 3.8
Dining 3.5 3.3
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 3.7
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.1
Family 5.0 3.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.3
Enrichment 3.0 3.1
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 3.0 3.4

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