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Based in Brisbane, Pacific Dawn was refurbished in 2014 and was the first to showcase P&O’s new look. Aside from the new colors of navy and white and the “Like No Place on Earth” tagline, Dawn received new public spaces, restaurants, upgraded cabins and even an Edge Adventure Park, which offers fun stuff like rock-climbing, zip-lines, a funnel climb, and more. With a capacity to carry more than 2,000 passengers and a largely Australian clientele, Dawn finds a perfect balance between being a party cruise and a family-oriented ship. In true Aussie fashion, the dress code is mostly casual, although dressing up is encouraged in cocktail nights, and for the themed parties (a staple on P&O cruises).

Accommodation

The last two makeovers Pacific Dawn went through gave major improvements to its accommodation, including the addition of 20 family-friendly connecting cabins, along with upgrades to the suites and mini-suites. It has more than 795 cabins, 171 of which are insides, 440 are outsides, and 134 have private balconies. The ship also has 36 mini-suites and 14 suites. All cabins have hair dryers, safes, bedside tables, telephones and the other usual room amenities. TV sizes vary by room category, and have a range of movies and channels. Since 2014, improved in-room services include the addition of express ironing and shoe-shining. Higher-category rooms and suites are more spacious, and have increasing levels of luxurious room additions. The overall room decor is easy on the eyes and artwork adorns the walls.

Food

The Waterfront restaurant, refurbished in 2014, is Dawn’s main dining room. Breakfast is served from 7.30-9pm and features an extensive selection on the menu. Lunch is from noon to 2pm, with a menu of seven entrees and 11 choices for dessert. Dinner is from 5.30-9pm, with a menu that changes nightly, except for the six “all-time favorites”. Guests who wish to dine casually can do so at the Plantation restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet-style. The restaurant within a restaurant, Luna, is found inside the Plantation and serves dinner only, with a menu that changes cuisine throughout the cruise. Salt Grill, created by celebrity chef Luke Mangan, offers a fine-dining experience for dinner, and opens for lunch on the last two days of the cruise. Room service is available 24 hours a day.

Activities

Pacific Dawn has the Aqua Spa on deck 2, equipped with a luxurious Thermal Suite VIP area, which has a sauna, steam room, heated ceramic beds and tropic shower. The Aqua Spa also offers different massages (including a couples’ massage), facials, men’s barbering services and youth-enhancing treatments. The fitness room is outfitted with weight and aerobic equipment, and has professional staff available to teach different classes such as yoga and Pilates. Guests must be 16 years or above to use the gym equipment. Others can use the jogging track on the top deck.

Families

Pacific Dawn is definitely geared towards being a family-friendly ship, with interconnecting cabins and enough activities to keep kids and teens busy on a daily basis. At Turtle Cove and the Shark Shack, the kids can enjoy activities like face painting, arts and crafts, story time, fun games and more. Kids under three can enter as long as they’re accompanied by a parent. The joint room for HQ and HQ+ on deck 14 is the venue for teens to hang out and have fun, and is outfitted the latest consoles and video games, a jukebox and a lounge area. In-cabin babysitting is offered on board for ages 10 and below.

Verdict

Dawn is aimed at passengers who want to have a fun-filled cruise; entertainment is a fundamental aspect on the ship, with multiple facilities and an excellent staff who work very hard to please.

– Cruise Passenger 

“A fun ship, especially for families, but expect to pay extra for some activities”

– Cruise Critic 

n/a

– Berlitz

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