Firstly I have to say that this is not our first cruise with P&O[ the others both 10 day cruises] So I do know that P&O can show their guests a great time on a great ship....unfortunately this was not the case with the Dawn.
Embarkation was fairly quick and easy, then the smell hit us. Our cabin [a balcony...that's a laugh] was 10123 and the corridor leading down to it smelt disgusting [heard the same complaint from other floors] . This smell was there for the whole cruise...so glad it was only 4 nights. When we stepped into our cabin was a little disappointed as it was very dated. I had read that the ship had been refurbished 2 years ago so was expecting at least some new carpets and prints on the walls[apparently the only cabins refurbished were the suites!] Prints were so old & dated the only colours left in them were blue and the carpet[as much as it looked clean] also had an odour. Not sure what era the lamps were from , but it is time they saw the bin.Their were some good points to the cabin, PLENTY of storage[even the heaviest pcker would have room for all their gear] The bathroom was spotless & well laid out and the pillows on the bed were the best I have ever had. Pity the same couldn't be said about the mattress, which was like sleeping on a brick. Also the sheets on the bed were clean but very greyed.The fancy bit of cloth on the bed needed a good wash! The safe to the room took us 20 mins[with the assistance of cabin steward] to lock and when we tried to unlock to get wallets out we couldn't, so had to call front desk for assistance[3/4 hr later] someone turned up and said it needed a new battery and fixed in a couple of minutes. I feel this is something the cabin steward should have been onto when we had trouble locking it. Also felt as much as rooms were left tidy when they were cleaned.....we are not messy people. Things were definitely lacking in this department. Beds were not made until well after lunch one day[even though sign was out from 7.30] only got 2 turndowns & 1 lot of chocs on pillow. Their is also no number to contact your cabin steward. So you just have to look out for them[in some cases try & find them] Not really sure what their shifts actually were . Also I asked if a bucket of ice could be left each day[common sense would have been that it was left in the fridge] But no twice it was left on the table next to the tv [half melted by the time we got to it] Probably the worst aspect of our room was the balcony. Each time we have travelled with P&O we have gone up a level with our room [1st inside...no window, 2nd cruise outside window & this time a balcony] What a mistake that was!!! Should have saved our money! We rarely used the balcony because it was such a hard place to get onto. Let me explain. For Us both to be able to sit outside ! of us had to open the door. Then step outside & close it. Go & sit on the chair which was behind the door when it was opened. The second person would then come out and have to move the table[much to big for the balcony...think they may have come from the suite remodels] to be able to sit and their chair. Putting the table in front of the door making it impossible for the door to be opened again without all the bother we had just gone through. Also the balcony looked like monkeys had been let loose with a paint can. Paint over the furniture, floors and even the windows. This was not the inviting place that is shown in the brochures. We had gotten a balcony cabin on another cruise that we took[Princess] and it was wonderful. We loved to be able to have the door open to let some sea breeze in and we had breakfast & drinks out their many times. We barely used the balcony on this cruise, it was such a mess. May I add that we took this short break cruise to celebrate my birthday & if I had known the balcony would have been so bad we would have gotten a window room! Also hubby [a work health & safety officer] showed concern that there were no fire rated safety bulbs in the sprinkler heads on the balconies.
After unpacking we decided to visit the Pantry for some lunch. We had both been looking forward to this as I thought the concept was great Boy was I mistaken. Not sure if the Pantry is laid out the same way on all P&O ships , but on Dawn it just doesn't work. People are going in all directions to have a look at all the little store windows[where as in a buffet you are all in a line going in 1 direction] It is very cramped in some areas . Finding a table can be a nightmare and for the evening meal they even block off part of the eating area to turn into a restaurant[that you have to pay for] So it is even harder to find a seat . Our first meal[lunch] was ok. Desserts were below average and lacked variety. We went to the pantry the following morning for breakfast [think it was about 7-7.30]and it was probably the worst breakfast I have ever had ,ever! As much as their were all the little shop windows open the variety was very limited[was told by other cruisers it was the same breakfast every morning] Decided on french toast and bacon & juice. Both the french toast was barely warm[even though their were a mountain of it in the window] and the juice was barely cold. So just left it promising to never go back their for breakfast again. We did call into the pantry a couple of times [mainly coffee and snacks] at best the food is basic and at times just plain terrible[ rock hard burgers , chips dry & salad limp ] Though I did have some very nice fish & chips one day. Coffee machines are frequently under maintenance for a long time.
Brisbane always lovely...Home, so not a visit
Only a small 4 day short break to Airlie Beach this cruise. What can I say we love the Whitsundays. Have holidayed here a number of times[though quite a few years ago] and always loved it. The lagoon at Airlie is really the main attraction of this town [and after the pathetic excuse for a pool aboard the ship] this was a delight.