Dawn Princess - circumnavigate Australia: Dawn Princess Cruise Review by sunspring

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Dawn Princess - circumnavigate Australia

Sail Date: March 2012
Destination: Australia & New Zealand
Embarkation: Sydney (Australia)
My wife and I embarked on Dawn Princess docked at Circular Quay in Sydney, Australia in March, 2012 for the 28 day cruise around Australia - Sydney to Sydney.

We stayed at the Marriott Circular Quay which meant we could walk to the Opera House, Royal Botanical Gardens, and to Dawn Princess when it came in. (Be sure to have fish and chips near the Manly ferry - but watch out for sneaky birds grabbing a bite if you eat outside.)

I recommend that you arrive in Sydney two or three days early (or stay after the cruise) if you haven't already experienced this beautiful city with its magnificent harbor.

We thoroughly enjoyed this ship with its dedicated and happy crew, great programs, and wonderful food in all venues, the buffet open almost all the time. (An hour after we got off Dawn after the 28 day cruise we were on Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas for an 18 day cruise to Honolulu, so we have a good comparison - Dawn was much superior in many ways to More Rhapsody in our opinion - especially the food and friendly service on Dawn.)

The itinerary was interesting with stops at most major Australia cities though I would have liked a stop at Townsville. (We were scheduled for 13 stops but skipped one due to high swells.) If you have a balcony try to get on the port, left side for more frequent land views all the way around the continent. The Indian Ocean was a bit rough at times but otherwise it was smooth sailing.

With the USA dollar depressed in comparison to the AUD, we found everything in Australia to be very expensive (compared to the USA) including excursions booked on the ship. The best value for the money and much less expensive than Australia was an all day bus trip in Bali, Indonesia - they really treated us well, starting with music and dancers right at the Benoa tender port who were still there when we got back hours later. And they fed us royally in a beautiful outdoor garden restaurant. (This is Asia though, if you wander from tourist stops you'll have to make do with squat toilets - you know, the hole in the floor with footsteps on either side!)

One tip about this itinerary though, being such a long trip probably, almost all the guests were seniors, some most likely in their 80's. So you may need a bit more patience than on shorter trips that younger people commonly frequent.

All in all, this was a really good trip, not one to be repeated most likely, but a great memory for decades, and loads of photos. And a very good introduction to Australia and fair dinkum Australians - and to some strange wild life if you include that in your excursions. (Don't try to pet the Tasmanian devils!)

We thoroughly enjoyed sailing with Princess once again, though our balcony room on Aloha deck was very small, the balcony itself really tiny. Less

Published 05/07/12

Cabin review: BAA309 Balcony

Aloha 309 - tiny balcony and very small room. (We've cruised 14 times and this is by far the smallest balcony we've ever had.)

Read All Balcony (BA) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Mount Lofty

Cleland Wildlife Park is a must if you want to walk right up to wallabies and kangaroos and look at koala bears, Tasmanian devils, etc. Glenelg has a nice beach. Haigh's chocolates are very tasty but if you're with a bus group it's waay overcrowded and wild, you can't really make a choice, just grab, pay, and get out.

The ship docks in an unsightly industrial area. We walked about 10 minutes to get on the city river taxi to Queen Street. Then walk back across the bridge and visit the park with a ferris wheel to catch the return river taxi there. We enjoyed a walk along the city blocks that are closed to vehicles.
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Jumping Crocodiles

You'll get to see jumping crocodiles but it sure costs a lot of money for that very short river cruise where they dangle pork chops over the side of the two deck boat.

Puffing Billy Train

Fun but a very short and quick train ride only. Crowds of people when we were there. It includes a pretty good city tour.

A beautiful city, you'll need two or three days to see most tourist sites.
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