2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was my second cruise. Maybe the bar had been set very high as my first was on the Disney Wonder and that was 5 star all the way. Boarding was easy and smooth. First hiccup was being greeted by 3 separate tables selling merchandise as ... Read More
This was my second cruise. Maybe the bar had been set very high as my first was on the Disney Wonder and that was 5 star all the way. Boarding was easy and smooth. First hiccup was being greeted by 3 separate tables selling merchandise as soon as you are on board and a lot jam happening instantly as everyone purchased lanyards for their cards. Once clear we headed for out room. We were on deck 11 in a mini suite. The room was great no complaints, yet, keep reading. I checked out the balcony and noticed everything was covered in salt and bits poop all over the chairs, not the most welcome area. As we boarded early we headed to the pantry for lunch. This is the onboard buffet. It's setup really haphazardly. Instead of one continuous counter, it's broken into many sections, each forming it's own line and making it very difficult to move around. One drink station also ment a 10 minute wait per drink. Food was ok, but had no chance to sample it all unless you wanted to queue for hours. Next we roamed the ship getting our bearings. They layout is pretty good but you can see the age, lots of rusty spots, the odd bucket catching leaks (we were still docked) and the promenade deck also covered in salt. Finally we departed, we chose to watch feom out room as we went under the gateway bridges, the party on the pool deck 12 all cheering. It was about this time we noticed if anyone danced or ran on the deck above our room, We heard everything. If we hadn't of bought ear plugs we never would have slept. Dinner was booked in the restaurant. Again a 20 minute queue at our scheduled time didn't really make sense to us. Food was good but not great, portions a bit lacking, didn't go back for dinner again. Went to the show that night, this was excellent. Dancing and singing was fantastic and extremely entertaining. Next day, breakfast we tried the restaurant again. I had eggs Benedict and struggled to find the sauce. Squbbling maybe but hey, we paid good money for this. We shared a table with another couple, grest people, highlight of the morning. Next was kids club. It opened at 10.30, such a late start. We dropped off our 7 yo only to be told we had to collect her at 12pm as they closed then for 2 hours for lunch. So rule out trying to plan anything for yourselves if you have kids. She didn't go back again. Bingo in the afternoon was very entertaining as was catching a movie on the outdoor screen. Be warned if you have kids and they want to swim. The pool is quite small and young age to climb right down into it, you have to go in with them, you can't see them otherwise. Also I found the fact every day numerous ladies found it necessary to sunbake in gstrings, topless, right next to the pool, which had kids everywhere appropriate kinda sad. Don't get me wrong, they view was great but really not the place. Ship needs a proper adults only area. Also one of two smoking areas is also right next to the pool, be warned if you have athsma issues like my wife. I smoke but always went to the designated area on the promenade. A walk around the upper top deck soon reveals the age of the Dawn. One part of the deck sunk half a foot when I stepped on it, everything has been painted over so many times it doesn't look good. The crew were a mixed bag. Room attendants were great and thorough, no complaints there at all. My daughter loved the towel penguin they made. The restaurant waiters were almost polar opposite to the point of almost rude. Basically move you along as fast as possible as there isn't enough tables for everyone, never checked drinks. Staff in the buffet were friendly, always smiling, but the often limited English caused a few issues. Quite a number of times I would have to repeat myself or id just get a smile back. Bar staff generally good but always flat chat so never time for them to offer that little bit of extra service. To sum it all up, food, terrible. Most tasted bland, if you didn't have a booking you went hungry, no food after 9.30pm unless you laid. 20 minute wait for a paid hotdog, Seriously. Buffet a real fight to get anything including a table or drink. Cabin, excellent but stay on deck 10 or lower if you like some peace and quiet. Staff a mixed bag. Entertainment for me was best part of cruise. All well done and very enjoyable. Will I sail again with P&O? Never, We'll take an extra 12 months and cruise from the USA again with Disney. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I was warned, I read the reviews however for whatever reason still decided to book a cruise due to the convenience. A major reason for this was the fact we live on the Gold Coast and it's only a short drive to the terminal in Brisbane ... Read More
I was warned, I read the reviews however for whatever reason still decided to book a cruise due to the convenience. A major reason for this was the fact we live on the Gold Coast and it's only a short drive to the terminal in Brisbane Queensland. Someone mentioned prior to the cruise that the Dawn was like a floating RSL but I've never been in an RSL that was as dirty or staff as rude as the Pacific Dawn. As we're ushered on through an area reminiscent of an oldSydney Ferry, we were quickly encouraged to move through to our rooms while navigating our way through a barrage of sales desk selling one thing or another. Imagine our shock to finally arrive to our balcony room on the 10th floor to be greated by a bed that had been tidied however had blood stains and hair across its blankets and pillows, a bathroom that had discarded toothpaste in the sink, hair in the shower as well as used towels. What a way to start a holiday! I now know why they refer to it as like no place on Earth because I'd doubt you'd find another $400 a night room like it anywhere in the world. While there were a few exceptional staff members most would be more suited working outside of the hospitality industry as they couldn't even be bothered to greet you as you approached a bar or food area. One waiter brought my breakfast out without key ingredients and plonked it on the table without any explanation why it was incomplete. Further investigation established they had run out but no alternative was mentioned when ordered. Last but by no means the least, for a cruise liner plagued by reports of serious illness aboard, you can imagine my surprise when i saw a tablehand drop the cloth they were using to wipe down tables on the floor only to pick it up and continue to wipe down tables people used to eat meals on adjacent to the Pizza bar. Just shows how little regard they have for the well-being of their passengers regardless how good their brochures look. It's ultimately a slick marketing company getting paid the big bucks to turn this mutton into lamb! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I have a medical condition which prevents me from flying, so my wife and I decided to try this cruise as a test - if we can't fly, we'll float. The only real criteria for the selection was that it was from Brisbane and we could book at ... Read More
I have a medical condition which prevents me from flying, so my wife and I decided to try this cruise as a test - if we can't fly, we'll float. The only real criteria for the selection was that it was from Brisbane and we could book at short notice. The on-line booking process was very slick and loads of information provided - apart from anything that was actually happening on the cruise.... We had booked a suite so had priority boarding which went very smoothly. However the baggage tags were just paper. The P&O attendants at the terminal were very nice (they seem to employ everyone's grandmother for some reason) and the one we got stapled the absolute bejeezus out of the tags to reduce the risk of them getting torn off. So we waved our bags off in a pair - saw mine again about five minutes after we got to our suite and inexplicably my wife's about 3 hours after that. We were grateful as a number of other guests had theirs fail to turn up at all due to the tags being ripped off. Note to P&O - stick the hands deeper into the pockets and invest in tags they use at airports. More about the baggage later... The Princess Dawn has seen too many I'm afraid. There was nothing wrong with our suite except it has seen an awful lot of people. Clean, but worn smooth and a vague feeling you were staying in a Motor Inn somewhere in country NSW. Our stewards were very attentive and added a lot of touches through the four days - fruit in the room, nice little quotes on the mirror and a towel fashioned into a penguin (complete with googly eyes). The bathroom was functional decorated in grey marble which would have been fine if it had been a morgue. BUT loads of water pressure and the hot water was hot. There was a mystery puddle which seemed to manifest itself out of the wall, so we just kept throwing a towel over it and hoped it would go away. The bed was comfy with nice pillows. The balcony was OK, though it looked like it had been painted by someone with a nervous condition because it was everywhere - floor, furniture, door etc. The rest of ship was a larger example of the room - OK, but dated. It was like being trapped in an RSL club for four nights and surrounded by water. The meals from the Pantry were OK and the range was OK. I'm sure you're picking up the theme here - it was OK, as long as you don't expect too much. The front-line staff were excellent and were trying very hard to make up for the ship's many faults and failings. We heard a few horror stories - there were the people that paid for a suite which was perfect in every-way except the lack of air conditioning, so they were sleeping in another cabin in steerage. The people next to us had a faulty toilet which was proving difficult to fix. We know this because we heard a superheated exchange between her and ship's reception through the incredibly thin suite walls. Do not discuss or do anything you don't want to share with your ship mates! The entertainment and bars were all OK (there's that word again). So back to the bags. We were not aware that bags were collected at dinner time on the last night, so had to hurriedly buy an overnight bag to put our jammies in when we got off. You also had to tag you bags again (you guessed it - paper). Your bag is allocated a mysterious number (ours was 2). Which equated to a spot in the terminal shed where your bag might be. It wasn't. This phase of the trip was probably the most unpleasant. Imagine a shed with 1500 people with little sleep and hangovers, 3000 bags (some without tags) and the grandmother's shouting contradictory instructions and waving toward a mountain of bags. Airports do it so much better... Anyway, by some miracle we found our bags in two different spots and made our escape. SO - would we cruise again ? Most likely. Would we cruise with P&O ? Perhaps, depending on the cruise - would ask a lot more penetrating questions next time round. Also heed the title - you get what you pay for. This was value for money if you remember what you paid. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Booked two Suite cabins #11117 and #11116 - Cabin was ok but a little dated - clean and reasonable size - bed was comfortable, but pillows cheap and hard. Cabin attendants were really good. When you book a suite with P&O you have no ... Read More
Booked two Suite cabins #11117 and #11116 - Cabin was ok but a little dated - clean and reasonable size - bed was comfortable, but pillows cheap and hard. Cabin attendants were really good. When you book a suite with P&O you have no recognition or any worthwhile benefits at all and certainly don't feel like a VIP. They need to take note of what Royal Caribbean do for guests who book suite's. We were suppose to have priority boarding, but apparently there was a wedding party that they decided had priority above suite guests. It started to rain and only when bitterly complaining (as i had my mother in a wheel chair outside) that they finally allowed us in to register and board. The common areas were over crowded at all times (except when we docked at Airlie Beach) and you could never get seats around the pool. Dining areas were also way overcrowded (what i would refer to as a pig trough) and constantly bumping into people and queuing for meals. It would take nearly 20 minutes or more to get a meal then line up to get a drink at the bar - by then my food was cold. Food on the whole was really average and in some cases disgusting. The main restaurant was really old, boring and nothing more than a Coles cafeteria. If your disabled and in a wheelchair then forget it as it's so not wheelchair friendly. Had so much trouble pushing the wheelchair around and doors that were constantly closed made it impossible. Even corridors that seemed blocked all the time, which meant i had to go all the way back and around the ship. Lifts were a real pain and spent so much time waiting to get to different levels on the ship. Entertainment and activities were just average. I would never step foot on another P&O cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
What an amazing holiday and why did we wait 30 years to do a cruise? We were awake early (4am) due to time difference so grabbed a coffee and made our way day to a viewing deck to watch the Pacific Dawn come in from its previous cruise. ... Read More
What an amazing holiday and why did we wait 30 years to do a cruise? We were awake early (4am) due to time difference so grabbed a coffee and made our way day to a viewing deck to watch the Pacific Dawn come in from its previous cruise. With the sun shining behind her, it was a sight to behold and well worth it. We met a few fellow passengers at the same time. Excitement levels were building!!! You can drop your bags off early which we did at 8am and then went and had breakfast at a local café watching the loading of supplies and bags and the unloading of passengers. Boarding was seamless and again get on board early. We targeted 11am and it took approx. 40 minutes. We could have been earlier if we wanted too. You can book your dinner, find your cabin and get your bearings. Bars are open and so are the restaurants for lunch!!! Munster stations for lifeboat drill before 2pm departure. We were lucky with the weather with fine weather and smooth sailing all the way to Port Vila. On the homeward journey seas were supposedly 2.5m which caused a few bumps at the front and back of the ship at times, but it wasn’t rough, and I didn’t feel sick. I took no travel sickness tablets and I survived. My wife preferred to lie down on Thursday afternoon and slept but was fine on the Friday as she adjusted to the motion. Highly recommend - research, research and research before you go from best cabins, Port tours (check out private operators too), meal times and what to do and avoid. Planning will lead you to a much better and successful cruise experience in our view. We were prepared! You can book Port tours via CruiseControl well before you depart on your cruise. For tours with limited number of places available this is recommended. Only 200 people out of 2000 get to go snorkelling at Lifou and there were a lot of disappointed people on the day. Another advantage of booking via P&O means priority disembarkment to meet your planned tour and you are returned in time prior to the ship departing. Each Port has operators where ship berths with tour options and these are sometimes cheaper than arranging on board or pre-book with a reputable private operator. In Vila beware of paying up front as the operators have known to drop and leave you at your first destination! Paying when you get back to the ship gates avoids this issue. Friends arranged a private tour in Vila and again only paid upon returning to the Port gates but had a great day and a lot cheaper than available on the ship. Research, research and research. Port Vila has cheapest duty free (will deliver to the ship) however the ship will match the price with a photo of the price and product. The product I wanted was only $1 more expensive on board, so I choose to not buy in Vila and get it on board. I found out 2 days after we left Vila, they had sold out on Day 2 of the cruise of the bottle I wanted!! Another recommendation is booking a circular table at a set time each night for dinner in restaurant. You meet new people and food is amazing. We dined there most days for breakfast and dinner with great table service and great meals. No queuing for meals and no crowds. If you are still hungry after dinner – you can go upstairs to the Pantry or snack there earlier in the evening instead. We used to do pre-dinner drinks at 4:30pm and enjoyed a bucket of prawns ($15) with cheeses and sushi from buffet. You can cancel your booking on any night if you wish to go earlier or eat upstairs in Pantry Buffet selection. Indulgence Menu items cost extra if you wish to treat yourself. We didn’t go to the other paying restaurants. We booked at 8pm each night and looking back missed a few activities so planning is important. Pantry Buffet is busy between 5 & 7pm. There is a snack bar, but you pay extra and has chips, burgers etc. There is so much to do on board and this is published daily in a newsletter which you receive the night before, so you can plan your next day if you wish. Take a highlighter and mark the activities you wish to do. Re-reading these newsletters now there were a few other things I wished I had gone to. Plenty of trivia competitions and challenges. Again, another great way to meet people as you form up a team together from your table or those around you. Personal fav was musical trivia with Christian – a great chance for a sing song and laughs. The song title was easy (everyone sang it for you!!!) but the artist was little bit more challenging. Whilst the entertainment shows weren’t to my liking, a search of You Tube shows there can be some great shows and it’s about your ship and timing!! On the other hand - the hypnotist and comedians were well worth it. There are theme parties to attend at nights. These are known before you leave allowing you to plan your wardrobe accordingly. Lot easier for males than ladies. My formal wear one night had braces added for the Gatsby Party! Most people get dressed up but not compulsory. Just adds to fun. We brought a drinks package – got a great deal at third of the normal price and drank lots of cocktails etc without worrying about the cost. On average we would have spent $40 - $60 per day. I doubt we would have brought the cocktails if we were paying for each drink but without worrying about a surprise bill at the end, we could try whatever we liked. Highly recommended. There are photographers everywhere with formal photos on theme nights, boarding the ship, portside and various activities. All available for purchase. We did buy some nice formal photos from theme nights but did so as a digital version (approx. $20 per image) and you can then print and distribute as many as you need and want. All up with port trips, photos, bingo night x2, prawns, indulgence meal, rum tasting activity and other minor expenses we spent an extra $500 over our cruise cost remembering we did have a drinks package which included water which we stored up in our cabin fridge. If you have a special occasion do let restaurant staff know beforehand and your room stewards. They do make a fuss and make that special occasion even more memorable. Disembarkment varies from 6:30am and from your allocated time is approx. 10 minutes. On average you will be off the boat by approx. between 7:30 and 8am. If using, Go Catch promotion these are good services but run to the time you specify. If you are early you need to wait as they are very difficult to get hold of. Our flight arrived early so we were waiting for approx. an hour at the airport the night before and again we booked one for 9am and had an hour to wait after we had disembarked. Worked for us as there were four of us with bags and most taxis don’t take more than four. There are a lot of negative reviews written but our experience was nothing but fantastic. Doing it with another couple or a group of friends is highly recommended or make friends on board and do activities together. Research and research so you know what to expect and you shouldn’t be disappointed. You can do as much as you like or as little as you like however where can you go on holiday and have so many activities at your disposal that are free and included in the price? We are converted and will do another cruise without waiting 30 years. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Booked a last minute escape on Dawn to the Whitsundays. Only cabin selection left was mini suite so paid top dollar. We cruise twice a year if we can and have previously sailed on Dawn, Jewel, Pearl, Sea Princess, Carnival Spirit and ... Read More
Booked a last minute escape on Dawn to the Whitsundays. Only cabin selection left was mini suite so paid top dollar. We cruise twice a year if we can and have previously sailed on Dawn, Jewel, Pearl, Sea Princess, Carnival Spirit and Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas. We found food quality poor so far on this journey. The Ship is in bad repair and looks worn with caution tape on handrails on lido deck. No adults only pool which is disappointing and a lack of shade and cover in Oasis adults area. Worst planning ever putting suites on level 11 directly beneath Lido deck where pools and deck parties are held! Received a notice on second deck party night pre apologising for noice till around midnight. When asked if that was best they could do offered ear plus! Not usually one to complain and always try to make the best of but am disappointed and feel this old lady Dawn is seriously past her prime and due for retirement. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
First family cruise. From the minute we arrived we loved it. So much to do on board. We played bingo, table tennis comp, water slides, deckside movies, pool, piano bars, shows each night were very entertaining. Amazing sunsets and whale ... Read More
First family cruise. From the minute we arrived we loved it. So much to do on board. We played bingo, table tennis comp, water slides, deckside movies, pool, piano bars, shows each night were very entertaining. Amazing sunsets and whale spotting. Sunbaking on very comfy deck chairs. Sipping yummy cocktails. Fun theme nights. We attended the white night and gatsby. Amazing fresh food in the buffet, shell and bones and waterfront restaurants. We snorkelled at the Great Barrier reef, tube river rafting at Cairns and croc hunted at Port Douglas. The rooms were clean and comfortable. The staff were friendly and welcoming. Everything was very organised on and off board at each port and ran very smoothly considering how many people were on the cruise. You can do as much or as little. It's your choice. Great family fun. Loved it.AWESOME CRUISE THANKYOU. We had so much family fun Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
To allow my Son and friend to experience a cruise and paid good money each for a mini suite with sofa bed and two king singles. What we got was a fold up bed on wheels and two single beds. One bed had to have an extension which was a lower ... Read More
To allow my Son and friend to experience a cruise and paid good money each for a mini suite with sofa bed and two king singles. What we got was a fold up bed on wheels and two single beds. One bed had to have an extension which was a lower than mattress and padded with blue velvet pillows. So if you are over six feet tall you won't be comfortable. If you think anything was done about it you have to be joking. Think hard and fast if you go on the Dawn. Our cabin stewards were the best. Some of the other staff whose contracts were at an end certainly could not give a rats. Also some of the managers talked down to passengers and could be quite rude. We only had balcony furniture for two instead of three which was covered in paint and rusty. The balcony door would not stay open. Air-conditioning was turned off during the night. Very disappointed and not worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We were pleasantly surprised by the Pacific Dawn. We had a balcony, which was very small but the outlook was great. The cabins were clean and had usual 3 star amenities liquid soap, shampoo/conditioner and tissues. The cabin stewards were ... Read More
We were pleasantly surprised by the Pacific Dawn. We had a balcony, which was very small but the outlook was great. The cabins were clean and had usual 3 star amenities liquid soap, shampoo/conditioner and tissues. The cabin stewards were very helpful and friendly. On the cruise we mainly ate at the Waterfront Restaurant and there was always enough choice. Always remember the kitchens are in the bottom of the boat so don’t choose food that would dry out easily. The Pantry always had a lot of food to choose from. We were on a cruise with 2000 people but it never seemed overly crowded. We always got a seat and there were some quiet areas on the boat. The live music was great I would have liked a bit more live music on deck in the afternoons. You have to remember most people pay less than $200 a day to travel on this boat. This includes all your meals. You can’t get a cafe breakfast for less than $20, $25 for lunch and $30 for dinner so I think paying less than $200 a day for accommodation, transport, food and entertainment is unbelievable value. It is not 5 star but neither is the price . If you don’t want to spend money at Airlie grab your towel and head to the lagoon, it is beautiful and view is priceless . If you want quiet time head to decks on 6 or 7 - heaps of seating or to The Dome. It was a great cruise with great staff. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because it WAS NOT DURING SCHOOL HOLIDAYS! I chose a mini suite in a mid ship position.Unfortunetly right under the water theme park area.Constant noise across my head from 6:30 am till 11:30 pm.Then big ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it WAS NOT DURING SCHOOL HOLIDAYS! I chose a mini suite in a mid ship position.Unfortunetly right under the water theme park area.Constant noise across my head from 6:30 am till 11:30 pm.Then big ‘clunks’ two or three times each night.I was told there was nothing the staff could do.On the final night I was ready to strangle the truants and at around 11pm went and stood above my cabin in a P&O dressing gown.I was told P&O do not have a threshold on the number of truants allowed on board.Had this been my first cruise it certainly would’ve been the last.It was a New Caledonia &Vanuatu out of Brisbane.Noumea was a quick stop,disembarking with only a couple of daylight hrs left.Lifou was a better stop,our tour was spectacular and ,without food poisoning from the previous night, would’ve been even better.Next was Villa and a favourite spot for us having flown previous.But......on arrival back to our cabin after dinner and show,found a ‘sorry your tour has been cancelled’.Too late to arrange another!Yes we did enjoy Villa with no thanks to P&O ,only because we knew the layout already.While the prepaid tour was recredited no other credits were applied.I state this because a lady at dinner told me she received on board credits for a(one)noisey theme night!Also being offered to change state rooms!So......on what level does P&O give out on board credits?On my bed one evening was a ‘sincerly apologise ‘ for tonight’s theme party which will impact your cabin.The funny part being it was quieter than usual.Same theme party saw various guests give up in disgust waiting for truants to get off the dance floor.I write this review in the hope P&O will read it as they don’t respond to their emails.After a long drive home on disembarkation I have never been so sick or so tired in all my life.I normally actively function on around 6hrs of sleep so that in itself is a measure of the trauma I endured from irresponsible parents who don’t supervise their truants.And that’s exactly what those parents make their children by taking them out of school! Read Less
Pacific Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 3.8
Dining 3.5 3.3
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 3.6
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 5.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.2
Enrichment 3.0 3.1
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 3.0 3.4

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