The Pacific Dawn aims its programs and accommodation squarely toward families, with 20 connecting cabins in total and enough four-bunk rooms to make up the numbers if parents want to share with their kids. There are also enough activities to keep both tweens and teens occupied on a daily basis.
There are three rooms that are used for the three respective age groups: two on Deck 6 and a joint room split in two for the older children on Deck 12. The minimum age to attend the daytime kids' clubs is 2 years and children must be toilet trained. Youth centre staff cannot change nappies, bottle-feed, administer medication or provide meals.
The ship has a qualified team of youth and teen counsellors who offer a range of age-appropriate activities from face painting for youngsters to special dress-up-themed parties for older teens. Each day, the daily youth centre program lists a schedule of activities. If you are travelling with kids, the daily program for each age group will be delivered to your stateroom the night before.
Ages 2 to 6 Turtle Cove (Deck 6): Specialising in the needs of the ship's youngest cruisers, Turtle Cove offers everything from art and crafts, TC & Skipper Island Adventure, games, parties, Sleepyheads storytime movies and much more, including a Duplo play area. Children under the age of two are welcome in Turtle Cove if accompanied or supervised by a parent or guardian (under twos do not need to be toilet trained to visit Turtle Cove).
Ages 7 to 10 Shark Shack (Deck 6): This is the place to keep your seven to 10 year olds entertained with activities such as PlayStation 3, scavenger hunts, a large Lego play area, TC & Skipper Island Adventure, talent shows, dance classes and games. Children aged 8 and over are permitted to sign themselves in and out of the program with parental permission.
Pacific Dawn offer an exclusive children's dinner for those aged between three and 10 years at 4.30pm each day, with highchairs available if required. Baby food and infant formula are not available on the ship, but may be taken onboard.
After-hours babysitting is available from 10.30 p.m. to 1 a.m. for children ages 3 to 10. The charge is $5 per hour per child, with reduced rates for additional siblings. Pacific Dawn does not offer private babysitting onboard.
Ages 11 to 14 HQ (Deck 14) and Ages 15 to 17 HQ+ (Deck 14): HQ and HQ+ is the place older kids hang out with like-minded peers to socialise and enjoy games and events in rooms with comfy couches, a jukebox, Foosball, air hockey, movies, karaoke and the latest video games. Both rooms are decked out with the latest gadgets, have plenty of space and are located far, far away from the little kids; all of which make Dawn's HQ clubs a major hit. As part of the 2017 refurbishment, a new Sony Virtual Reality video gaming experience was added to HQ and HQ+. According to our teen tester, this high-tech gear is "absolutely awesome"a and the staff at HQ and HQ+ are fair and fun, ensuring everyone gets to have a turn.