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Pacific Dawn Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
302 Reviews

Respiratory Virus on board the Pacific Dawn

Pacific Dawn Cruise Review by marsy07

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jul 2019
  • Destination: the South Pacific

We chose this cruise as we wanted to go to the Darwin Cup and Komodo Island. All that dates aligned with the ship docking in Darwin on the date of the Darwin Cup.

Paseptic Doom

Room 8107 -do not go there.

I was so excited to be going on a cruise, Brisbane to Singapore, with stops at Port Douglas, Darwin, Timor Leste, Komodo Island and Benoa Bali. I had read some bad reviews and also some good reviews about the Pacific Dawn and I decided to go with the the good reviews.

I booked an interior room and were surprised to have been given a complimentary upgrade to cabin 8107, obstructed view.

The first night we noticed our floor vibrating, then the loud noise from the band, then karaoke (help me please). We made the decision to not come back to our cabin till after 11.30 to avoid this.

We had a great few days enjoying the ship. The decor is very modern, and we soon settled in to ship life.

Day 2 my partner came down with very bad head congestion and rough cough. By Day 6 I also had it. So we did not contaminate others, we lay low and and hid in our cabin. That’s when we noticed the little laneway outside our cabin carrying all kind of engineering/ seamen past our cabin window. One whole afternoon they were grinding metal outside our windows. So curtains closed during the day, and noise till 11.30 pm each night. As we disembarked in Darwin to head to the chemist for medication, we noticed a couple of 100 more people with the same problem cough.

After we were feeling a little better and not contagious we ventured out. One night in the Marqee lounge, the chorus of coughing was louder than the entertainment.

My guess would be that the air conditioning on this ship is very sick.

We washed our hands thoroughly, used the sanitiser, I sanitised our cabin twice a day with eucalyptus spray. You can’t catch it through the food handling as the staff handle all the food.

So I am guessing if you go on this ship get a balcony cabin so you can have fresh air. I am sitting by the pool right now and it is a chorus of coughing.

Now down to the sewerage problem. The first couple of days all was fine, then a massive sewerage smell started sweeping over the ship. Staff outside the Marquee were spraying air freshener on to the carpet to try to cover it up. The smell was very dominant around deck 7,8,9 and 11.

This is not good enough P&O. This is a major health risk to your staff and your passengers. I do hope that this is your major priority of your 2 week dry dock in Singapore.

Getting off the ship at tender ports. It is so slow. Arrive Bali at 8.00am, still trying to get off at 12pm. Not complaining as I can see the problem, but just be aware if you book tours privately.

Promenade bar is a great spot to get a serious drink and unwind before dinner. A very big Thank-you to John and Bella for looking out for us.

Orient Bar

Too noisy for me, always trivia, games, karaoke going on , but way to loud for my tastes.

The Pantry

Food acceptable, the only problem for me was if I wanted butter with my toast, I had to line up in 2 queues, as the butter did not live with the toast.

A good concept of a food court style. Stops germs spreading.

Food was ok, service was excellent.

The Waterfront

Gone are the days of having the same table for dinner every night. But it was ok, we got used to it. The food was of an acceptable standard and the service was efficient.

Salt Grill

What a disappointment

We had dined here previously 10 yeas ago on the Jewel. It was brilliant back then.

I ordered sashimi scallop. There was more potato on the plate than scallop, and covered in a green herb sauce that totally over powered the delicate taste of the scallop. I had a steak that was a little on the tough side for main. I had the cheese for dessert, which was the smallest serving of cheese I have seen on a platter. All in all very bad value for money at $59 per head. Nice wine list though.

We also had the afternoon tea at Salt Grill which was very good at $29.

I wish they would change the menu as I would have liked to this again.

Chefs Table

Pre dinner canapés with Australian Sparking, followed by a 7 course degustation.

This was a lovely meal, the standout dish for me was the lobster bisque

We had


Lobster Bisque


Strawberry Daquiri


Mango dessert

Cheese platter

All dishes had accompanying Australian wines.

It was a very well balanced out menu

Shell & Bones

Thanks Kylie for a wonderful night. The food was what I expected and the prices reasonable.

We ended up esting here Twice

The Grill

Perfect Pizza, excellent.

The Spa

Did not go to the spa as the prices were off the charts. I really wanted a masssge but not at those prices. I wonder how many people would book treatments if the prices were not so high.

Our Cabin 8107

Very clean, our steward James was fantastic looking after us in every possible way. Hot water is magically hot and pressure is the best.

But as above, do not book this if you want privacy or peace and quiet. The Orient bar runs all day and concludes at 9.45 and some nights 11.45pm.

All access tour.

I really wanted to do this, it was something I was looking forward too.

We had the access all area’s tour booked, but we are both so sick and we don’t want to affect anyone else’s holiday.

The staff are amazing, they go above and beyond any request possible.

If it were not for the bad cabin and illness I would rate this a really good cruise.

Day Trips

Port Douglas

Too rough to tender.


Went to the Darwin cup, the buses run for free from the city service. The set up on the day is great, Hundred of long tables under cover for the public.

Timor Leste

We chose to tour privately with Timor Adventures. The tour was great, but we were pushed for time due to the tender process getting off the boat. Our tour was scheduled to leave at 9am, but it did not leave until 11am, whilst we waited for people to get off the boat. We drove out to the old fort, stopped at an old gaol, seaside lunch, Cristo Rei and the cemeteries where the massacre was. We learnt a lot about the struggles of the people of Timor Leste.

Komodo Island

We booked a private tour here with Beyond Komodo Tours. It was the highlight of my trip. We had a small group tour of the dragons, sighting 7 in total. We then went on a boat to Pink Beach where we were given snorkelling gear and were dropped straight on the the reef. It was spectacular, beautiful corals and a multitude of fish. Then we were served a delicious lunch of prawns, calamari, chicken, eggplant and stir fry with rice and noodles. Thankyou Leo from Beyond Komodo. This made our trip.


Another private tour in a car to Ubud, we visited the monkey forest, a traditional housing compound and a Lewakcoffee house. As we struggled to get off the ship again due to tended, we missed 4 hours of our tour. We used Hire Bali Driver. Leo was very good trying to fit in as much as possible.

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Cabin Review

Cabin Obstructed ocean view 8107

This is a 4 birth cabin, very basic. It has a view of a lifeboat. There is a walkway outside the window that engineering/ seamen staff use all day long. There is no privacy in this cabin unless you shut the curtains. I booked an interior cabin and we were offered this as an upgrade.

Our cabin was directly over the oasis bar, which has a band playing most afternoons and till 11.30pm most nights. The floor in our cabin vibrated every night, and we bombarded with doof, doof, doof every night, also some horrid kareoke.

I do not beleive this cabin was a true upgrade, more of a downgrade.

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