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We sailed on the Dawn Princess Christmas New Zealand Cruise December 2014. Overall we had a great time, she is a neat ship with a great crew and a great destination. Embarkation Princess sent a great many slightly contradictory messages about boarding time which kept pushing it back and forward, I this confused people and kept them away. We had booked a van to collect us and he turned up early, so we got to the Dock at 1:20 and discovered almost no one there. Result: We were sitting in the Horizon Court by 2pm! That’s 40 minutes to get our cruise cards, get through screening and Australian customs and find our cabins. World class speed. Ship Standard Overall the Dawn is a very nice ship, we like the Atrium, the Vista lounge and Princess theatre are both great as is the Wheelhouse bar. The kids club is too small so Remix moved into Jammers during the day (Xmas cruise meant lots of kids). Jammers itself is small and a bit tired. Some of the central carpeting is getting worn and the tiling around the spas at the rear of the ship is crumbling and urgently needs renovation. Food When we boarded the ship was still in code Red from the previous cruise. This meant the Horizon Court was crowded with staff serving you food. This frankly wasn’t an issue. There still seemed to be some confusion about what Code Red meant, for instance during trivia we got different instructions on whether swapping papers was allowed or not. After a few days, code red disappeared although without any formal announcement (well not to the passengers anyway). Overall we were very happy with the choices in the Horizon Court and with formal dining. We tried the Sterling Steakhouse one night and while the atmosphere is slightly lacking (its just a roped off area of the Horizon Court), the steaks were awesome…. Really worth the extra dollars. Food highlight was seafood night… great lobsters and prawns. I had chicken burgers several times from the grill… also a great eating choice. The coffee card is great value if one of you only drinks tea and the soda package at $7.95 per day was also great value as I drank an enormous amount of soft drink and mocktails. Entertainment Overall standard was very good, the Princess dancers were in great form, especially Ronaldo the Brazilian Dancer. The two main singers Regina Boardman and Joe Sackenheim were generally very good although Sacks was occasionally out of his range. We saw ‘Country Jam’, Piano Man (awesome), Shimmy (great fun), British Invasion (Regina sang Paint it Black like her life depended on it and the Queen numbers were superb), Moments to Remember Dance lessons (both formal and line) with Tina and Ronaldo were great as was Zumba with Mikey. We did many trivia comps and enjoyed them too. Low lights was the Ye Olde Pub Night and while the staff talent show was great, the weird ‘lets tell everyone who is gay’ balloon game was totally unnecessary as was Marks sexist jokes. Singular Duo in the Wheelhouse were good, but David Juneau in the Atrium was just awful. His piano playing is fine but he sings totally flat… this meant we never spent one minute there while he was singing. Opus Band are truly awesome… Princess should clone them because they totally make the cruise. We saw Pearson and Harvey, I would rate them average. Spencer Robson was good but not great. There was a magician on one of the last nights who was amazing and someone hid someones cruise card in a sealed can of spam…. Amazing. Movie choices for in room and MUTS were good. Crew Overall the crew were very good, our cabin stewardess Mary-Ann was just brilliant, as were our waiters. Captain Carlo is hilarious with his slightly over-the-top ‘Mario’ accent.  

Overall - Brilliant

Dawn Princess Cruise Review by luckydog429

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Trip Details
We sailed on the Dawn Princess Christmas New Zealand Cruise December 2014. Overall we had a great time, she is a neat ship with a great crew and a great destination.
Embarkation
Princess sent a great many slightly contradictory messages about boarding time which kept pushing it back and forward, I this confused people and kept them away. We had booked a van to collect us and he turned up early, so we got to the Dock at 1:20 and discovered almost no one there. Result: We were sitting in the Horizon Court by 2pm! That’s 40 minutes to get our cruise cards, get through screening and Australian customs and find our cabins. World class speed.
Ship Standard
Overall the Dawn is a very nice ship, we like the Atrium, the Vista lounge and Princess theatre are both great as is the Wheelhouse bar. The kids club is too small so Remix moved into Jammers during the day (Xmas cruise meant lots of kids). Jammers itself is small and a bit tired.
Some of the central carpeting is getting worn and the tiling around the spas at the rear of the ship is crumbling and urgently needs renovation.
Food
When we boarded the ship was still in code Red from the previous cruise. This meant the Horizon Court was crowded with staff serving you food. This frankly wasn’t an issue. There still seemed to be some confusion about what Code Red meant, for instance during trivia we got different instructions on whether swapping papers was allowed or not. After a few days, code red disappeared although without any formal announcement (well not to the passengers anyway).
Overall we were very happy with the choices in the Horizon Court and with formal dining. We tried the Sterling Steakhouse one night and while the atmosphere is slightly lacking (its just a roped off area of the Horizon Court), the steaks were awesome…. Really worth the extra dollars. Food highlight was seafood night… great lobsters and prawns. I had chicken burgers several times from the grill… also a great eating choice. The coffee card is great value if one of you only drinks tea and the soda package at $7.95 per day was also great value as I drank an enormous amount of soft drink and mocktails.
Entertainment
Overall standard was very good, the Princess dancers were in great form, especially Ronaldo the Brazilian Dancer. The two main singers Regina Boardman and Joe Sackenheim were generally very good although Sacks was occasionally out of his range. We saw ‘Country Jam’, Piano Man (awesome), Shimmy (great fun), British Invasion (Regina sang Paint it Black like her life depended on it and the Queen numbers were superb), Moments to Remember
Dance lessons (both formal and line) with Tina and Ronaldo were great as was Zumba with Mikey. We did many trivia comps and enjoyed them too. Low lights was the Ye Olde Pub Night and while the staff talent show was great, the weird ‘lets tell everyone who is gay’ balloon game was totally unnecessary as was Marks sexist jokes.
Singular Duo in the Wheelhouse were good, but David Juneau in the Atrium was just awful. His piano playing is fine but he sings totally flat… this meant we never spent one minute there while he was singing. Opus Band are truly awesome… Princess should clone them because they totally make the cruise.
We saw Pearson and Harvey, I would rate them average. Spencer Robson was good but not great. There was a magician on one of the last nights who was amazing and someone hid someones cruise card in a sealed can of spam…. Amazing.
Movie choices for in room and MUTS were good.
Crew
Overall the crew were very good, our cabin stewardess Mary-Ann was just brilliant, as were our waiters. Captain Carlo is hilarious with his slightly over-the-top ‘Mario’ accent.
 
luckydog429’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 13 to 15
Service
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Cabin Review

Cabin C517
Internal cabins are small, no doubt, as is the bathroom. But I am 6’ 4” and still showered quite comfortably. The clothes wardrobe is huge with an enormous number of hangers. There is more than enough drawer space for two people. Plenty of space under the bed for your cases. Literally my only complaint is the size of the TV… it seemed tiny.
  Dawn Princess Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Auckland
    we saved $ and just caught the ferry over to Devonport. Pleasant enough day… Auckland is just not that fun a city. Though the museum is worth a visit.
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  • Antarctic Centre
    we split up for this one – half the family did swimming with dolphins which they truly loved while the other half did the Antarctic Center… yet another hidden treasure. The Heglund ride, the 4D movie and the cold room are real highlights… we had a ball!
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  • Napier
    We just walked around the town and enjoyed the ambience and art deco. There were also great street performers. My son did the ship bus tour but was bored as the Aquarium is small. I hear Princess might stop visiting which would be sad for the town as it is very quaint and tries very hard.
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  • Hobbiton Movie Set
    We did the Hobbit movie set – well worth it! The gift ship is a joke though, built by amateurs and priced by rip-off merchants... avoid!!Then spent time on the surf beach (not the one near the docks). You can walk there… its as good a beach as any in the world.
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  • Seal Coast Safari
    We did the Wind farm and Seals tour – this is totally worth doing… it doesn’t sound anywhere near as cool as it was… I strongly recommend it… great way to see Wellington, some incredible hills and vistas, get right into an amazing engineering spectacle and very close to some wild seals (well not too close, but close enough!).
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