5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We have cruised P&O many times from Brisbane as we do not have a lot of options for local ships - until 2020 at least. We were blown away by the service of almost all groups on this ship. The folks running the Edge program are ... Read More
We have cruised P&O many times from Brisbane as we do not have a lot of options for local ships - until 2020 at least. We were blown away by the service of almost all groups on this ship. The folks running the Edge program are AMAZING, and everyone we encountered in the dining rooms / stateroom attendants/ restaurants were fantastic. Sadly there were too many issues with this cruise to recommend anyone travel on the Pacific Dawn. The water supply to our cabin was polluted (*see cabin info below). The food was ordinary at best - with the exception of Salt Grill which was amazing. My wife has coeliac disease, and sadly the labelling on items in the buffet was either incomplete or factually incorrect. An example was a soup at the asian area that said Gluten Free - but when I quizzed the staff I was told no - there is soy sauce in this. The waterfront restaurant made attempts to modify some dishes (dinnertime only) and these were of an ok standard. We had a lot of photos taken as part of a photo package, sadly when we checked the USB drive once at home only a fraction of the photos we selected were actually on this USB disk. This was heartbreaking as we had some wonderful dress-up shots taken of our children. I can only put this down to lazyness of the staff in the photo area. The ship is rusty and tired (it was sad seeing the rust hastily whitewashed over when in lovely Pacific Island ports) the eateries never have enough seating space and have comparably short open hours compared to Royal or Princess. Whilst the waterslides are great, they do not make up for the tiny pool or limited deck chairs on the Lido deck for a cruise with 500 children onboard. Unless you can only afford a 3 day trip from Brisbane or have never cruised before - steer clear of this ship. I took a $600 hit to the pocket by cancelling another cruise I had booked rather than sail on the Pacific Dawn - or probably with P&O - ever again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This is now our third cruise, our second (and last) with P&O. Our first cruise was with P&O on our own and we weren’t impressed, but it was our first and a few years ago now so we thought we would give them another try. The money ... Read More
This is now our third cruise, our second (and last) with P&O. Our first cruise was with P&O on our own and we weren’t impressed, but it was our first and a few years ago now so we thought we would give them another try. The money grab of the century is probably the easiest way to explain it, no happy hours for drinks, no coffee card and the cocktails were so watered down that having 2 of them back to back had no effect at all, just lolly water. The ship is tired with outdated decor. The food was just ok, the Pantry (or pigs trough as we called it) was ordinary, little variety and didn’t change. The Waterfront was ok, but always rushed with a small menu which also didn’t change much. The language barrier was an issue at times also and when asking for certain items to be added or subtracted from a meal it was a bit of a lucky dip. The ship was so crammed with people it was very difficult most times to get a seat to watch any of the entertainment. We decided to try out the Salt grill, which was about $100 extra per couple, the food was very good, but the service was poor, getting the cooking of our steaks wrong and reaching across us often during service. (The Luke Mangan blurb in the menu also had spelling and grammatical errors, he would not be happy) We were unable to stop at 2 out of the 5 islands, I know this is out of their control, but at Conflict Islands the ship left immediately once the decision was quickly made at 9am, then sailing back slowly because of the extra time which made for a very bumpy ride. Many seasick for that next day. I had to go back twice where extra drinks were put against my cruise card, when challenged about it they said they yelled out to me but I walked away, mind you I then sat in the lounge where the bar was for the next hour or so, but nobody came over to me even though the same person was floating around taking drink orders, I had to sort it out, dishonest is a word which comes to mind. Ok, ok, ok, it can’t be all bad I hear you thinking! Well the production shows were very good, but because the Marquee theatre is so dated, their electronic screen, which is a big part of their show is stepped back behind the curtains and unless you sit in the front area, you can’t see it. This was often an issue because of the amount of people crammed onto this boat. Overall a terrible experience, my son and daughter in law came with us and have now asked us not to invite them on another cruise because of how bad this one was. Avoid at all costs, go for another cruise line if you can. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Having been very spoilt on our first cruise with the Regal Princess, I guess I should have expected the standards to be heaps lower. The ship is old and rusty and having had a refurbishment 2 years ago I can't see where the money has ... Read More
Having been very spoilt on our first cruise with the Regal Princess, I guess I should have expected the standards to be heaps lower. The ship is old and rusty and having had a refurbishment 2 years ago I can't see where the money has gone. Our shower had 2 temperatures... hot as the sun and cold as ice. The toilet flushed occasionally and a few times my husband and I had to resort to using water from the tap in a glass to try and flush away anything that went in there. The balcony was tiny and you couldn't leave the door open to listen to the waves. Good luck getting out there to sit on the chairs anyway. On the plus side our room attendants were great and our room was always neat and tidy every day. The food was average. Being a sweet tooth I didn't even eat the dessert. The food was basically the same everyday and felt more like RSL food than a buffet. The staff were hit and miss. Some amazing and some completely uninterested. The mocktail package we bought was fine as long as you didn't mind getting in line for 15 minutes everytime you wanted a drink. The coffee on the other hand was great. Nice flavour and consistent. Bingo was fun... the staff for this were good and Tony was hilarious. The entertainment dancers on the last night of the cruise looked bored and you can tell they don't want to be there. Protege were great, some of the other bands were a bit karaoke style. James in Charlie's bar was amazing and always friendly and happy. He is an asset and if all the staff were like him the ship would be great. Information on shore excursions was pretty limited. The big screen tv has pixelated pieces and you can't see the whole thing. Every restroom I went to had at least one toilet out of order. Sorry P&O but I won't cruise with you again unless you up the level on your ships. We heard a lot of the same from other people who we just overheard. It's a shame because it could be great. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Absolutely loved our time on board!! No, it is not a 5 star ship, but I didn't go on expecting that. We had beds to sleep in, a bathroom and a fridge and tv. Everything else you need is found on the ship. The guys who serviced our ... Read More
Absolutely loved our time on board!! No, it is not a 5 star ship, but I didn't go on expecting that. We had beds to sleep in, a bathroom and a fridge and tv. Everything else you need is found on the ship. The guys who serviced our room every day were friendly and very good at what they do. We ate mostly at the restaurant and loved our wait staff!! They had us in tears of laughter every night. If you go on this ship, ask to have Melvin's station!! Entertainment was great. Trivia shows were so much fun with Jim - he is hilarious! Katie, not so much, but Jim and Ashley are fantastic. They really know how to work the room. The production shows in the Marquee were very well done. Tip- when playing bingo, don't prematurely call "Bingo" or you will need to do the Chicken Dance in front of everyone Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Hi just got back from a p&o cruise on the dawn I think it’s time the ship had a up grade the floor in my cabin felt not to stable and there was a real bad smell around the ship Food was always the same entertainment was average.id ... Read More
Hi just got back from a p&o cruise on the dawn I think it’s time the ship had a up grade the floor in my cabin felt not to stable and there was a real bad smell around the ship Food was always the same entertainment was average.id write this on there Facebook page but it looks like they only pick the good comments. I think it’s time they up graded the ship and the entertainment and more things to do iv been on 4 cruises on this ship and found this one to be boring sorry p&o hopefully this review helps to make an improvement not so much bring it down after all people sacrifice for for mouth s years to go on a cruise of a life time . But I’m finding p&o it’s all about the turn around not what the people want hopefully this review improves things on the ship thanks ange Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Wouldn't have liked more than 4 days on this ship 4 nights was just enough The kids water area was extremely busy Pool area very busy and noisy The Pantry was overcrowded we couldn't find a table Luckily we ... Read More
Wouldn't have liked more than 4 days on this ship 4 nights was just enough The kids water area was extremely busy Pool area very busy and noisy The Pantry was overcrowded we couldn't find a table Luckily we booked our table in the waterfront restaurant and ate there every night the trick is to book your table immediately on boarding The adult area at the back of the ship was very quiet nice place to relax but a long walk to the pool The weather was very hot and unfortunately the pool area was extremely busy so cooling off in the pool was not enjoyable I Started to feel slightly unwell on the last day, I've now been bed bound for the last few days with sever flu symptoms, my husband also very ill Anyone going on a cruise please get a flu vaccination a few weeks before departure Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
First cruise for us. It was my husband's surprise 50th gift. We never made it to any of the shows, or any of the parties, nor did we partake in any activities. Instead, we spent our three days wandering aimlessly throughout the ... Read More
First cruise for us. It was my husband's surprise 50th gift. We never made it to any of the shows, or any of the parties, nor did we partake in any activities. Instead, we spent our three days wandering aimlessly throughout the boat, stopping regularly to eat, drink, watch wave patterns, and shop duty-free. It was exactly the break we needed forcing us to smell the roses. We travelled nowhere in particular and did the lazy-circle more than once without even knowing it. The staff were amazing. So polite and so friendly but clearly scarred by previous experiences with unkind passengers. There was no rest for the staff but not once did they complain. Food was incredible actually with lots of variety and a daily menu change. Our last lunch included prawns and mussels. It was so easy to eat healthy on this sea-break. But it was also a carb-lovers delight so we were never left feeling hungry. Service at The Waterfront was high class with speed and professionalism at every meal. Entrees are small but there is nothing to stop you from then going to The Pantry for a top up. Yes, there were lots of bogans and loud mouth swearing teenagers but we managed to find peace and quiet every time we sought it out. And yes, we too found an item from a previous traveller, however, having stayed in many hotels over the years we were not surprised at all. Room attendants do not have the luxury of time in these scenarios, in fact, they have approx. eight minutes to clean each room before the next lot of passengers embark. Again, I want to celebrate the staff. My hat goes off to anyone who can put up with daily abuse from drunk and/or entitled passengers and still come back on shift with a smile. Thank you to our stewards Mel and Mai. You made us feel very special. We will remember our maiden voyage fondly, because of you. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I have done 53 cruises and this would be in the top 5. Every thing was great,. The staff was fantastic. They soon learned your name. The Pantry food was great. Especially the asian soups which was special. The Waterfront restaurant was ... Read More
I have done 53 cruises and this would be in the top 5. Every thing was great,. The staff was fantastic. They soon learned your name. The Pantry food was great. Especially the asian soups which was special. The Waterfront restaurant was so-so.and the speciality dinning was ordinary but cheap at $30 Lots of kids on this cruise 470. Lots of young couples. A old and dated ship but lots of character. The smallest balcony I have ever had, about a meter wide. Then cabin was good, clean and well maintained. Entertainment was fantastic, great broadway shows. Comedian was great. When you consider the cost which was cheap as a sole passenger. It was value for money and I would do it a again and again. The staff made the cruise they were exceptional I loved them. The Orient bar had the cheapest beer on tap I'm have ever had $6 a schooner. I would recommend this ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
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. ... Read More
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. The waterfront restaurant on the other hand is wonderful. Was always able to get a seat[only 2 of us] and always enjoyed the food [all 3 courses of it] The only negative I have about this restaurant was that I arrived at 9.15 for breakfast[suppose to stop serving at 9.30] after running late from the spa and was told by front staff that they were closing early , so I couldn't have breakfast. Not good service guys! But in general the staff & food was above average in this restaurant We didn't try room service at all on P&O as you have to pay for it [free on Princess cruises] Where P&O did excel was its inside common area bars[obviously where most of the refurbishment had been done.] The Orient , Dome and Promenade bar, were absolutely stunning. Also the bar staff DEFINITELY gave Princess cruises bar staff a run for their money. They actually make their cocktails from scratch[not using premade mixes like on Princess] And they were delicious! A definite to do is the mix academy class run in the promenade bar. You get to make 4 cocktails for $25. !!. Hubby also loved that he was able to get a XXXX gold for $5.95 a can in these bars[they call it banana juice] Way cheaper that beers on other ships. Also another fun thing on P&O was its elevators[again done in refurb] lots of interesting scenes inside rather than plain boring walls. We also weren't constantly harassed to have our photos taken [which to us was great] and attend art auctions which are big on Princess. Probably one of the biggest disappointments on this ship was the pool[If you can call it that] deck. What a disaster!!! 1 VERY small pool [have seen backyard pools bigger] that for anyone with disabilities would have been a nightmare to get in & out of. Looks like there were suppose to be fountain going in it , but they weren't working. There was a kids water park which looked great , if you were a young child. But kids over a certain age did not seem to want to have anything to do with it making the swimming pool absolute bedlam. The couple of spa's on the deck were again only tiny spa's like you have at home. So what is usually a nice relaxing day at the pool definitely wasn't happening aboard the Dawn. Another thing I found absolutely ludicrous was the fact that the pools & spas get netted off at 8.00 in the evening. Seems crazy to me considering we live in the tropics. On other ships they at least leave them open until after the outdoor movies have finished. As people seem to like lying in the pool or spa to watch the movie. Not sure what time they were open in the morning , but did hear some people complaining[so many complaints from people] they had gone for an early morning swim and it was still netted off. The pool deck in general was a disaster area . Furniture generally looked like it had been picked up from the side of the road, Hazard tape was everywhere & where was the staff? It was only on the day before we were due to get off, that were actually saw staff going around asking if you wanted them to get you a drink[ I was thinking that this was not a service offered by P&O. I know the ship had been through a cyclone previously, but I do think that cruisers should have been notified about the damage done, then they could decide if they wanted to continue on a substandard cruise, or rebook later. Feel this was definitely money grabbing on your part. The main bar on the pool deck was not open until in the evening [as the cover had been damaged in the cyclone[ So a small pop up bar had been made. Don't know how many times we had warm drinks from there [actually soft drink came straight out of a warm can over ice] Not good enough P&O[ you guys are suppose to be leaders in the cruise field] . Staff were VERY low on pool decks . Chairs had towels over them for hours with people wandering round looking for seats , but not knowing if they could sit their. Actually stall seemed to be light on everywhere As I was on this cruise for my birthday decided to treat myself to the spa [a facial massage package] What a lovely looking area that was . Staff was wonderful. Chang[mu therapist ] couldn't have been better. Pity my peaceful massage was constantly disturbed by BEEP BEEP BEEP, BANG BANG BANG. Chang informed me that they were fixing something in the engine room. Definitely not the relaxing experience I was craving[But again thank you Chang for trying] Think that's about it apart from letting you know you will have to pay for shuttle buses to town[free on other cruise] and that public toilets constantly seemed to be under maintenance. Heard so many complaints aboard this ship[actually the only positive thing I heard was" well I suppose you get what you paid for'" ] When I got home I compared the per night rate for this cruise aboard P&O and the per night rate we paid on Princess at the end of last year and the difference was less than $50 a night per cabin [and that was sailing at Christmas time] So I really don't feel that " this was a cheap cruise" statement is warranted. To All the staff on the Dawn, I feel sorry that you have to work on such a substandard ship .but you do the best you can with what you have[heard 1 passenger refer top it as a ferry] Would I ever travel with P&O again, yes would give them another try. Would I travel on the Dawn again NEVER!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We enjoyed this cruise very much, partly because it was our first time to New Guinea but perhaps also because (this being our fifth cruise on 'the Dawn') our expectations regarding this old tub were blunted long ago (I say it ... Read More
We enjoyed this cruise very much, partly because it was our first time to New Guinea but perhaps also because (this being our fifth cruise on 'the Dawn') our expectations regarding this old tub were blunted long ago (I say it fondly). Though built in 1990 and last refurbished in 2017, she looks about my age (70 this year). We're both a bit tired and very wrinkled. To begin with, there were two big negatives (and a few smaller ones). First, having boarded at 11am, I did not receive my luggage until about 5 pm, when a note was attached to our cabin door telling me (peremptorily, because that's how you treat suspected crims) to visit Deck 3, where my bag would be opened in my presence and the contraband therein (identified by an unknown but not too efficient process) extracted. I did as I was told. The culprit, an innocent bottle of Gaviscon, was nestling on top of my shirts. Without apology (though without rudeness either) the young staff member hastily allowed me to depart. He did not even sniff the contents. No doubt he could tell (from a few remarks of mine) that such a move would be unwise. I think my anger was justified (though it was not the young man's fault). Maybe I should have known better. But if P&O were half as concerned with good customer relations as they are with their profits from alcohol, they would tell customers very clearly in pre-cruise advice not to pack bottles in their luggage. This would seem to be simple enough. The second hiccup occurred when we retired that night (early, as befits our age and health). Our cabin was close to the atrium where loud music continued until well past 10 pm. Throb, throb, throb. Next day, our cabin was exchanged with no fuss and, indeed, the young lady on reception went out of her way to be pleasant and helpful. Mind you, we were initially warned that an exchange might not be possible because P&O ships tend to sail fully booked. So, good luck, rather than P&O management, was mostly responsible for the good outcome here. The food in the Waterfront Restaurant is not good at all, very hit and miss. We booked for five evenings, but did not survive the first. I had a positively monstrous concoction: a base of dry rice and/or couscous (I couldn't tell what it was), black in colour and tasteless (another diner later said it 'looked like dirt and tasted like dirt), topped with a very few pieces of battered eggplant and artichoke. My friend had sliced beef that was so salty as to be inedible. Some diners at our table were happy, but we did not return to the Waterfront, and from the number of complaints we heard about its food we evidently made the right choice. The Pantry was a different story. The food varied from OK through good to excellent. The curries are nothing short of superb, and are served with a great range of condiments, chutneys etc. It is a pity, though, that the cheapest quality short-grain rice is used in this Indian (and Asian) food. It rather spoils it. My only other complaint about food in The Pantry is the bread served at breakfast, which is clearly obtained from Coles (the $1 per loaf stuff). Another negative: a so-called 'market' is held in the Dome once during the cruise, and involves some of the merchandise found in the Atrium shops. But while a very few items may be reduced, most are not. I checked out the mugs and Billabong shirts ($18 and $70 respectively, as in the shops). Nothing but a grand deception! The musical entertainments on this cruise were also good. The Drawbridge Duo was 'standing room only' every night and deserved their popularity, as did an African American solo pianist. We don't go to the nightly stage shows, because on past cruises on this ship they have been either cringeworthy or ear-shattering or both. The talks on the wartime history of the places visited were very worthwhile. One of the most striking features of a cruise on the Pacific Dawn is the easy going friendliness of staff and passengers alike. The staff cannot be faulted (though one girl on the breakfast toaster was always a bit grumpy - not a morning person, but we can empathise!). Smiles and greetings are frequent and natural. The same applies to the passengers, who are very friendly on the Dawn. All in all, a very enjoyable trip. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
To give this review some context we are somewhat experienced cruisers having been three times on RCL, twice on Carnival and once on Celebrity, three of those cruises were for nineteen nights and the rest shorter. Pacific Dawn is an ... Read More
To give this review some context we are somewhat experienced cruisers having been three times on RCL, twice on Carnival and once on Celebrity, three of those cruises were for nineteen nights and the rest shorter. Pacific Dawn is an older and smaller ship than most we’d been on but after the refurbishment the interior of the ship is typical of most ships and in good condition. The ship had recently been affected by Cyclone Oma so there were more than the usual signs of surface rust showing, the crew were always painting whenever conditions allowed. Cruise ships are like aircraft they are constantly in use, a docked cruise ship is just eating money, so a quick turnaround is always the norm, this necessitates maintenance being done whilst a ship is on a cruise. Overall, we thought the Pacific Dawn was well maintained and in good condition considering its age. Our cabin was a suite (SA) on deck eleven, it was very comfortable, the carpets and everything that wasn’t nailed down had been replaced during the refurbishment. That said we aren’t 5 Star travellers, preferring budget airlines and better rooms in 4 star hotels instead of standard rooms in 5 star hotels. Without question the best thing about this ship are the crew, an amazing bunch of people, they were always, friendly, smiling and helpful. We ate in both the Main Dining Room and The Pantry as well as room service breakfasts on most mornings, the room service breakfasts were excellent as were some of the meals in the other two venues, however we felt that choices in the MDR were somewhat limited and seemed designed more to impress than please, a lady on an adjacent table received a turkey breast that was so tough she couldn’t cut it and it was replaced by another, somewhat better but still tough. Some of the meals were excellent, barramundi in filo pastry, Italian meat balls and lasagne with quinoa spring to mind, my wife who is less adventurous found most of the meals a bit too exotic and settled for soup and desert on many nights, she was obviously disappointed (her waistline wasn’t!) Here again the staff were excellent! Our experience in the Pantry was similar with their breakfasts quite good when we ate there but on occasions the food was pretty ordinary, on the first day I had an Asian dish with beef that was very tough, on another occasion they had a lot of cinnamon and sugar donuts which looked lovely but required some serious chewing to eat. On the other hand the fish and chips were excellent, the deserts were variable some good some not so good which pretty much sums up the food generally. The Pantry is an excellent concept as long as it is well staffed and in our experience it was, there is no doubt that having all of the food served from behind glass will limit the gastro problem as people can’t drop a spoon on the floor and put it back, taste food off the spoon and put it back etc etc as is sometimes seen in the traditional buffets. The eating areas are also divided into smaller areas which avoids that cafeteria feeling of some ships. We had drinks before dinner most nights in the Cocktail Bar on deck seven overlooking the Atrium, the service was good but they repeatedly ran out of martini glasses and had to serve them in a wine glass and a beer glass was no where to be seen. Pretty poor form for a cocktail bar. Like all cruises common sense is required if you don’t want to search for a table in the Pantry don’t go at peak times, the same can be said for going ashore by tender, after all it’s a holiday, will another half hour ruin your day? We didn’t go to any shows but we did go ashore in Alotau to the Cultural Festival which was excellent, didn’t in Kitava because it rained on and off, Rabaul was a fascinating place and really took some getting used to because people would come up to you, introduce themselves and thank you for visiting Rabaul, one of those situations that invariably invokes the “what are you selling response” but these people were genuine and a refreshing change to the usual run of spivs and hawkers you come across on shore visits. We also went ashore in Kiriwina and had a swim as well. All of the islands were worth a visit but be sure to have reef shoes, the coral can be very sharp, even on some of the beaches. Regardless of the ups and downs we enjoyed our cruise to PNG, there were a good range of people on board, a few children but overall a well-behaved and friendly crowd. Would we cruise again with P & O? Probably not, but we choose cruises by itinerary and when we booked this was one of few cruises going to PNG, that has now changed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our first cruise on the Dawn ( been on all the others), was a bit worried as other people had reported it as a bad experience. However, I was very satisfied. We were lucky with the weather and got ashore all ports, P&O ... Read More
This was our first cruise on the Dawn ( been on all the others), was a bit worried as other people had reported it as a bad experience. However, I was very satisfied. We were lucky with the weather and got ashore all ports, P&O organized some lectures on board which was very interesting. Alotau - been twice previously, there isn't really much to see there. There was two new places to go drinking - one just after leaving the dock on the left, it was a big hut with natives singing and playing instruments. Beers were $5 or 10 Kina. Keep walking and arrive in town and a new resort ( Imperial I think ), it was really good with new pool and great gardens ( it was full of Aussies) beers were $5.50 or 11 kina. Ship tours were available but most people didn't like them. Lots of beetle nut chewing and spitting everywhere, also watch out for pick pockets here. Kitava Island -Tender ashore. Very lovely place, lots of natives selling junk ( I mean interesting items). Everywhere there is schools singing and hospital etc people after your money - make sure you take some small kina with you as they have nothing and all is appreciated. Snorkelling is good especially over the small island ( 5 kina a trip- by speed boat or sailing vessel) Kiriwina Island - been once before. They put on a big dancing show and usually a cricket game ( but bus broke down so no cricket this time), people follow you everywhere wanting you to pay them small money to show you around. You need to go past the small island to find any coral alive and the shelf drop off is where the fish etc are at. Rabaul - been once may years ago. You can just get off and get a tour ( the same company I used 3 years ago) less then half price from ship. Interesting thing I noted - the ship tours travel in convoy with a armed guard in first van and a spare empty van at the rear in case one breaks down. The tours to volcano and old war sites are interesting and now have air conditioned vans. Not much to see in town. Conflict Islands - never been - beautiful - It's owned by some rich Australian I heard. Everything is expensive beers are $10. Walk to other side of island and swim out to the coral and fish ( fair distance but it's salt water so can float most of the way ), great for coral and fish ( probably the same as the best I have seen at Mystery Island). No locals to hassle you. Cabin - Was a 4 berth but only two of us, but it was fine for size and clean. We had lots of problems ( air conditioning, cold water stopped, plug stuck in sink, noisy neighbours ) but reception got it all sorted so that was fine. Food - There is the Waterfront and Pantry for free eating, we never bothered with the Waterfront as we heard it was booked out after 1 day ? Pantry food was fine, of course it was crowded at times but you could always find a seat or stool somewhere. Dessert bar had too many cakes as usual, but did have fruit salad, but no ice cream. The Orient ( where most trivia's etc was held was very noisy from the bar and ice crushing machine going all the time. Atrium as usual had very little seats, almost impossible to get one for shows or trivia's etc. Entertainment was OK, a few fill in shows, but that's normal. Duty Free - what a joke , it should say extra duty, drinks were at least double prices in Vila. Exchange rate on the ship from Bank was $1 = 2 kina. Entertainment team were OK, Cruise director Ben was a very bubbly person and always said hello to you, seemed a really nice guy. Unable to walk all the way around the deck 7 only up and down each side. Get to gym early ( it says opens at 6:30am, but it was always open at 6am. Beers on board ranged from $6 up and wine was $9.50 up per glass. No tender tickets were used on this cruise, just line up early. Laundry was 3 x $1 coins for washing, we just hung up our clothes in room to dry. Overall it was a great cruise, especially as we met such lovely people on board ( mostly from Brisbane of course ). Prices for cruises out of Brisbane are more expensive then out of Sydney. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Having just returned from the Airlie beach cruise I thought i would share my thoughts on this cruise. 1/ Ship overcrowded, especially at meal times. 2/ The Pantry, worst food I have ever had on a cruise (and I have been on a few). No ... Read More
Having just returned from the Airlie beach cruise I thought i would share my thoughts on this cruise. 1/ Ship overcrowded, especially at meal times. 2/ The Pantry, worst food I have ever had on a cruise (and I have been on a few). No room to sit & P & O in their wisdom decide to shut half of it at dinner time to allow them to open a restaurant in the same area. The idea of the Pantry doesn't work, long ques waiting for servers to dish out the food. Take a leaf out of other cruise lines and revert back to Buffet style dinning. Same food virtually ever meal. 3/ Understaffed, trying to find a waiter on the pool deck is like trying to win the lottery. When you walk up to the bar you are not given receipts for drinks, so you have no idea what the staff are charging you. 4/ Ship is in bad need of maintenance, rust everywhere, stained floors, windows you cannot see out (dirty need cleaning or replacing) nearly all areas of ship had unpleasant smell. All in all a very disappointing cruise for our first & last cruise with P&O, we will be sticking with Royal Caribbean & Princess Cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Departed Bne on Sat 16Feb - departure delayed due strong winds from Cyclone Oma. Instead of 2pm - departed at 10.30pm which meant we had to miss Noumea. Captain & all the crew were very helpful & because Bne Port was going to be ... Read More
Departed Bne on Sat 16Feb - departure delayed due strong winds from Cyclone Oma. Instead of 2pm - departed at 10.30pm which meant we had to miss Noumea. Captain & all the crew were very helpful & because Bne Port was going to be closed on the weekend, our cruise was extended by 3 days & we did get to visit Noumea. Some rough seas. We were on Deck 5 & water went completely over our window on a couple of occasions. But it was the best cruise because the Captain was constantly updating us & the Cruise Director & staff did their best. Free champagne on the Gatsby night & because we docked at Fisherman's Island, they provided free shuttle buses to the usual port. Food was good, loved the Pantry & always managed to find a seat. Tried Shell & Bones Restaurant & had lobster - delicious & only $29 extra. All in all the staff were wonderful & we got 3 extra nights for free. Entertainment in Theatre was spectacular. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Third time cruising with PnO, family of four (kids 10 and 12). We just got back from our amazing week on the Dawn, we were blessed with calm seas and great warm sunny weather, with just the odd shower on port villa stop. But ... Read More
Third time cruising with PnO, family of four (kids 10 and 12). We just got back from our amazing week on the Dawn, we were blessed with calm seas and great warm sunny weather, with just the odd shower on port villa stop. But that's out our PnO's control and not what you want a review on. Food - 8.5/10 Overall we were very happy with the food on board, catered very well for two travellers with gluten intolerance. Our preference was the waterfront restaurant, both for choice of food and service, pantry only used when activities or shore days restricted our waterfront restaurant option. Pantry is quite crowded at peak times but this shouldn't be a criticism in my opinion as everyone has the choice. Avoid the crowd where possible to enjoy your eating experience. Highlight was the seafood platters in the shell and bones restaurant (extra cost) which was a beautiful and special meal on board. Didn't use the salt grill. Food service - 8/10 Our regular waiter Emerson was great, attentive, prompt, polite and recommended the best items on the menu each night. On one occasion (at an alternate seating) a food request (for one of the kids) was completely ignored, which was frustrating at the time, but solved by a trip to the pantry for another meal. Occasionally the wait for food was slightly longer than we wanted but it was during peak times and just gave us more time to chat about the day past. Entertainment - 9/10 Never once felt like we had nothing to do, in fact we felt unable to do everything we wanted on the program as there was so much to do. Sail away party was great (won free beer!!!), theme nights were great (Bianco, formal, Gatsby), they also had a 'back to school' night which had little interest or participation but that didn't worry us. Ben the cruise director was great. Christian was also particularly good and the rest were professional and entertaining. The shows were good, family enjoyed them however some song and dance shows aren't my thing so I wasn't fussed. Comedy nights were fun. Name that tune in the orient bar was a must and provided great atmosphere with 100+ people singing along to some classics after the music stopped. Cleanliness in general - 7/10 The biggest issue with cleanliness is the pigs who think it's OK to leave plates, cups, rubbish in lifts, hallways, upper decks etc. Whilst it is the done thing to leave it all on tables (cleaned away fairly quick most of the time), it is frustrating to see rubbish and dirty plates around the ship. I understand why there are no bins around but it was frustrating having to leave bottles or cups on tables, when other people want to come and use that space. I often walked used bottles or cups to the bar so to not leave them around. Note to others - don't be the pig and everyone will enjoy a cleaner ship. Rooms - 7/10 We were holidaying on a budget and didn't have a flash room, on level 9 towards the front of the ship. The set out of previous rooms felt bigger, often found we were in each others way when all in the room as it was tight. Only an issue a few times a day when getting ready for dinner etc. Cabin steward was polite and prompt however didn't feel like he went above and beyond like previous cruises. Pillows were shocking is probably my biggest gripe. Mabye we were spoilt previously? In any case we managed and didn't go on the cruise to hang in our cabin so it didn't affect the enjoyment of the week that much. Getting on and off - 9/10 It's a big ship, there's alot of people, often doing the same thing at the same time, expect some waiting in cues. Nothing felt like a major hassle. Well organised and as quick as it could be considering the number of people. Noumea - 5/10 Been there 3 times, like it less each time, expensive, less 'pretty' than other stops, just something about the vibe there that says 'get back on the ship'. If we go again, I'll probably consider not getting off. I would like to see the aquarium but with a 3pm arrival it doesn't leave much time to go there before closing time. Lifou - 9/10 Beautiful location, beautiful people, chilled out shopping in the local markets, great spot to swim and relax with a beer or two. Felt safe the whole time. Love it. Port Vila - 9/10 Have improved the market area, used to be hassled by the locals for day trips as you walked through the markets however now seem to have control on when they can approach you (outside the fence line). Negotiated a good deal for an air-conditioned van for the day $150 for the day for 6 people. Went to blue lagoon (11/10) which is a must, had a village tour (from vehicle) which was interesting, had the option of turtle feeding and waterfalls but choose to head to Vila early and get into the markets before back on ship. Best duty free shop on earth? Is a must. Very enjoyable day even though I've been there 3 times. Overall - 9/10 As long as you remember your on a budget ship, and look at the positives and ignore negatives which are out of the control of PnO you will have a great time. We thoroughly enjoyed our week and the minimal negatives way outweigh the positives. Can't wait to book again we are hooked. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We've done a few cruises now, the Pacific Dawn about 8 years ago, Royal Carribean and MSC so generally have the gist of cruising worked out. We know the Pacific Dawn is a bit old and dated but with an 8 & 10 year old chose the ... Read More
We've done a few cruises now, the Pacific Dawn about 8 years ago, Royal Carribean and MSC so generally have the gist of cruising worked out. We know the Pacific Dawn is a bit old and dated but with an 8 & 10 year old chose the ship for the convenience of sailing from Brisbane where we live and the promise of a recent refit. Except for a missing suitcase ship boarding went well and the ship itself wasn't too bad, what you would expect with clean rooms and generally clean ship. Once onboard there was the usual up sell of alcohol packages, services, shore excursions etc, no surprises. The ports of visit make this cruise good anyway but we were disappointed with general P&O way of doing things compared to the identical cruise we did with Royal Carribean, this time 3 years ago. While the boats and activities were similar, we sailed on the Legend of the Seas, RC just seemed more organised, communicated much better and the cruise went much easier. P&O's left hand does not know what its right hand is doing. In particular: Things we really liked about our recent Pacific Dawn 7 day Pacific Cruise: * Edge activities, ropes, zip line etc, kids loved it and team running it were awesome! * Waiters and room staff, as always they work so hard and are always friendly. * Food good although see below about seats and waiting. * Ports of call, good. Things we disliked about our recent Pacific Dawn 7 day Pacific Cruise: * Too much drinking and encouragement of drinking. On the first day we couldn't find the TV remote and the recurring P&O message about responsible service of alcohol kept playing but from what I witnessed the reality did not match the rhetoric. * Our room was near the main entrance and the music would flow straight through the walls. I get they're trying to keep the party going but at 11:30 at night when the music is still pumping and the kids can't sleep this is not much fun for us. * A lot more extra charges on P&O, extra for this extra that, even extra for some menu items within the standard restaurant which is part of the including price. * First in best dressed policy, getting seats at a dinner table was about booking the best tables early which we weren't informed about and ended up at a 7:45pm table, not ideal with kids. * We NOW know the Natural Aquarium at Lifou had to be booked even before boarding, would have been nice to have been told before the 1k trek in the blazing sun. Lots of us got caught out with this one. * Lack of seats at the 'Pantry' which is the main buffet eating area. * Arriving at Noumea at 3:30pm, not sure why, Royal Carribean on the same itinerary had us there in the morning. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
As our previous cruise with P & O was so enjoyable. This one was unpleasant cost a lot more, duty free was cheper in Australia. Don't travel with them. Not enough room in the comon areas for any type of ... Read More
As our previous cruise with P & O was so enjoyable. This one was unpleasant cost a lot more, duty free was cheper in Australia. Don't travel with them. Not enough room in the comon areas for any type of entertainment. All shore excursions very expensive if you book on line shore tours at least 50% less. Very noisy are only catering for the party crowd who will buy there over priced cocktails. Don't waste you time or money find another cruise line. See cabin review below, torn bedding used on beds. Cotaninated water supply so the whole ship stunk as every one had the runs, the only solution was very highly priced bottled water & 1.95 per 1.5 bottle on Australian soil and & $ 4.95 per bottle on boat with no way to have a tea or coffee as it was all made with ships water supply, even the steam to heat the milk for lattes ect. Not to mention drinks with ice. You also have to atrange your travel from Brisbane Airport to Portside dock. That's another $ 50.00 for the 2 trips. As long as you like hot curry, hot Mexican or fish you should be ok for food. Pandora and othe duty free shops cheaper on land paying duty and taxes. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
First time cruising and had mixed expectations about what to expect. I can honestly say after this experience I will never cruise again with P&O. 1. Drinks Package: Purchased this after paying $750 for the 8 day package. Seemed ... Read More
First time cruising and had mixed expectations about what to expect. I can honestly say after this experience I will never cruise again with P&O. 1. Drinks Package: Purchased this after paying $750 for the 8 day package. Seemed like good value, and was, but the only down side was the drinks are watered down and nine times out of ten you only get half nips for the cocktails. Seems to be the general consensus with everyone that I talked with on board. When you pay good money, you expect value, not in this case. 2. Gambling: Observed from a distance and staff were happy to continue taking thousands of dollars off patrons why they were quite clearly intoxicated and unable to make logically decisions. As soon as they leave the table, cut them off from drinks and say they have had enough for the night. Quite clearly this should have happened long before it got to this stage, and they had wasted thousands on gaming. My belief is, if you can't drive a car at 0.05, why should you be allowed to gamble away your life away while being heavily intoxicated and under the influence of alcohol. 3. Rooms were out dated and had quite a fowl stench coming from the carpet, which appeared to be damp, and window clouded and full of mould. Only view was of a cloudy and overcast window. 4. Entertainment for adults is limited, kids movies shown throughout the day, and kids allowed up in adult only areas till 1130pm at night, which allows 2.5 hours child free until the venue closes. Adult only area has two hot tubs that hold 10 people maximum and 10 sunlounges. This makes sense when there is nearly 1000 adults on board, not!!! 5. Food was okay from the pantry, but would pass on breakfast and dessert in the future. Toast was stale and cold and seemed like it had sat there for 24 hours. Simple fix would be to allow patrons to toast their own. Luke Menigan and New Zealand ice cream best part of the trip and great value for money. All in all, mixed experience and views. Would do another cruise, but just not with P&O as I believe you are blantaly ripped off by a company that only cares about its profits, and not providing patrons with what they have paid for. Please be aware and read reviews before cruising. Read Less
6 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
8 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
7 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 ... 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
4 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
5 Helpful Votes
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
Pacific Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 3.7
Dining 3.5 3.3
Entertainment 3.5 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 3.6
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.1
Family 5.0 3.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.2
Enrichment 3.0 3.0
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 3.0 3.4

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