Looking out over the pool and water park of the newly refurbished Pacific Dawn, it’s easy to see that the Brisbane homeported ship is a perfect getaway for children and families.
She’s been refurbed for the younger family-oriented Queensland market – emblazoned with the Southern Cross across her hull, she has a more relaxed and casual feel.
Cruise Passenger is on board the ship, which has been fitted out with a new splash park, waterslides and as well as new public areas.
While we were bound for Airlie Beach for a day of fun in the sun and shore excursions, the devastation of Cyclone Debbie, which has ripped through much of north Queensland, has altered the itinerary to a “cruise to nowhere”.
But despite this, it has not dampened the spirits of the cruisers who are enthusiastic in enjoying everything the ship has to offer.
As the weather has been sunny and calm at sea, families pile onto the sun decks from morning to soak up the good weather.
P&O has installed two heart stopping waterslides – one slide kitted out in disco lights and dance music as you race down, and the other with twists and turns that go over the edge of the ship.
For the adrenalin junkies, there is the P&O Edge which has a number of activities which includes a rock climbing wall, segues, plank walks and even a zipline from one end of the ship to the other.
Those who have cruised on the Pacific Dawn prior to her refurbishment can see that the other major changes to her are in the interiors and public spaces.
P&O’s successful concept of The Pantry, which has nine different cuisine outlets, has been a big hit with the local market. During lunch and dinner, guests can dine on roasts from the carvery, Mexican burritos and tacos, Indian curries, Chinese stir-fries as well as delicious desserts. I highly recommend the beef burritos which seems to be one of the most popular lunch items.
By night, a section of The Pantry is cornered off to become Shell & Bones. The a la carte restaurant serves fresh hot and cold seafood platters for two. And it’s great value for money starting at just $40 for the platter. Also, try the lobster mornay. For just $20, it’s pretty great value for money.
The other areas which have undergone a major revamp is The Orient bar which has Cuban inspired décor – think succulents, white and green floral printed arm chairs and lounges as well as cane rockers.
The Promenade Bar has had minor updates to the décor but now, there are specialty P&O mixologists at the bar. Tell them your favourite flavours and booze choices and they will concoct you a mean cocktail.
Also part of the refurbishment is the new Elemis Spa. It has an extensive range of treatments available including everything from pedicures, waxing to hot stone massages and seaweed body wraps.
The spa also has a special thermal suite and for just $20, you can utilise the spa, sauna, steam room and hot bed for the entire cruise – highly worth it.
But while there is so much more to write about this wonderfully refurbished ship, yours truly is off to try out the zipline and rock climbing on P&O Edge.