This was a special 39th anniversary gift from my husband. Choosing Dawn Princess was easy as it was mainly for the convenience of leaving from Melbourne, not far from our home town. We arrived at the ship mid morning on the 14th of December & spent a while gazing at the enormity of the beautiful Dawn Princess sitting there at the pier.
Embarkation was a breeze, we were on the ship by 11.30am. Due to being early we were able to walk around taking photos of all parts of the ship with very few people around. Sail-away was on time but nondescript. The trip was 13 days around New Zealand & back to Melbourne on the 27th December, being a Christmas cruise.
Our cabin was inside, no window but because it was between 2 corridors it was a bit larger than some of the others. The bed was very comfy & the little extras from our cabin lady each night were a lovely touch. Our cabin lady was lovely & very cheery & helpful. The other staff were always there with a big smile & quick chat. There was a laundry on most decks so very convenient although we did only use it twice during the cruise.
The food was lovely in the buffet where we had breakfast every morning, however we ate in the dining room every night which was beautiful, the food great, very quick service & our waiters were also nice. The Entertainment was a bit of a worry the first couple of nights as they had comedians who were a bit pathetic. The third night was a lot better, from then on it got better each night with the ships dancers & singers putting on fantastic shows. After each evening show we usually went to the night club, however only a handful of people were there most nights, the dancing was usually followed by Karaoke which we thoroughly enjoyed. We didn't attend any trivia or such, mainly due to the fact that there wasn't enough time for us to fit everything in. The weather wasn't that good sailing from Australia to NZ, but it really didn't bother us too much although there were not too many swimmers or sun bathers around the ship. The Christmas decorations were all around the ship, the beautiful Christmas cakes were just the best & it was lovely to have the balloon drops & Christmas eve countdown. When we arrived in NZ at Milford Sound we had brilliant blue skies to cruise around the breathtaking scenery. Bitterly cold but all the ports from then on were fine apart from Dunedin. Sail-away from Auckland was absolutely lovely as it is from downtown & a beautiful port. Being a glorious day also helped. Our Christmas cruise on the Dawn was a beautiful experience & we would recommend it to anyone. It is such great value for money for such a beautiful holiday.
We loved our cruise so much that we have booked another cruise around the Islands at the end of March.
Our cabin was in a hallway joining the 2 corridors. Top location as there were only 3 cabins in this row, therefore no through traffic. Opposite was only staff doors so we had no disturbance or noise outside our cabin the whole cruise. The cabin itself was a slightly different shape to the ones down the corridors so it seemed to be slightly larger. There was plenty of storage, including under bed for suitcases, the bathroom was small but definitely sufficient for our needs.
Very basic Port out of Town a little so buses were available to take us into town at about $10 return. The bus takes you to the Octagon, a lovely place with many cafes & touristy shops, along with some small markets. On the corner there are a couple of very good New Zealand Souvenir shops with very reasonable prices. A visit to the Cadbury Factory is a must, even lovely just to have a walk around admiring all the lovely old buildings.
This Port was in fact Akoroa due to the Christchurch Earthquake. Tenders are used to transport to this beautiful small French settled New Zealand town.. A pretty little place with inflated prices geared for the tourists.
It is pleasant to walk up the street along the waterfront, especially on a nice day. Day trips are available to Christchurch from this port but there is still a few touristy things available at Akoroa with Jetboat rides, motorcycle rides etc.
Quite a nice setting opposite the Wespac Stadium. A very walk to town, especially having eaten too much for the first week of the cruise. A very clean orderly city due to being the Capital of New Zealand. Everything is easily accessible by foot, including Parliament House, museums, etc & the tram up to the Botanic Gardens is a good time fill-in. Lovely views from up the top. Maybe a double decker Bus ride before heading back to the ship.
A beautiful Port right in the heart of the city. It is easy to just walk off the ship & get a circle bus to take you around the city. A visit to the Tower or other places of interest. Westfield shopping centre is opposite so very easy to shop for a few hours without going too far away. Lots of bars, cafes & restaurants all along the pier makes this a beautiful port stop. Sail-away is lovely from this Port & plenty of locals & tourists to see you off.