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Pacific Dawn Ship Details

Pacific Dawn

Pacific Dawn

Pacific Dawn is the cruise ship of choice for couples and families, and it’s easy to see why. Sailing Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, this P&O superliner is packed with fun and activities for all ages, plus nine bars and lounges, two restaurants and a spa and fitness centre. One of its most popular features is The Dome, an expansive entertainment venue overlooking the ocean. And the best part is the whole experience makes for a highly affordable holiday option.

A little history

Built in 1991, the cruise ship first sailed from Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard under the name Regal Princess. She served a time under Princess Cruises, before being sold to P&O Cruises Australia. Prior to her maiden voyage with P&O, the ship underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation and was renamed Pacific Dawn on November 8, 2007. In 2009, Pacific Dawn sailed to her new home in Hamilton, Brisbane, to the delight of Queensland cruisers. A year later saw another huge makeover, adding the Salt Grill by Luke Mangan restaurant, and in 2012 her interior was brought in line with modern cruise ships.

Ship’s design

Designed by eminent Italian architect Renzo Piano, Pacific Dawn has her own unique personality. On the exterior, she shows off an all-white hull reminiscent of the P&O ships from the 1930s and a distinctive curved forward inspired by the shape of a dolphin. On the inside, recent refurbishments have brought Pacific Dawn up to par with her fellow modern cruise ships. She may not have as many balcony rooms as her siblings, with only 134 of 795 rooms, but the design of her staterooms and public areas oozes style and charm. At 70,285 tonnes and 245 metres long, the ship can comfortable carry 2,052 passengers and 660 crew. She has a maximum speed of 22.5 knots (41.7 km/h) but is happier at her cruising speed of 20 knots (37 km/h).

On board Pacific Dawn


Pacific Dawn offers 795 staterooms for guests. There are 440 standard exterior cabins, 134 exterior cabins with private balconies and 171 standard interior cabins. What she lacks in balconies, she makes up for with a large number of interconnecting cabins to suit families and groups. Most standard staterooms can also be configured to sleep a maximum of four passengers. There are also 10 wheelchair accessible cabins.

The upper decks are home to 14 suites and 36 mini suites – all of which include private balconies. The suites are a very generous 51.8 square metres in size, with a large bathroom, walk-in wardrobe and spacious living area. Passengers in the suites can also enjoy the luxuries of a free laundry service, bottled water, Nespresso coffee machine, and an invitation to the senior officers’ exclusive cocktail party. The mini-suites span around 34 square metres and guests enjoy fresh fruit and flowers, free bathrobe and slippers, welcome champagne, plus the added treat of canapés on cocktail nights. Both suite and mini-suite guests also enjoy a pillow concierge service.

The ship’s most recent makeover gave the cabins new flooring and furnishings, as well as artwork by Sydney photographer Tony Rea. Most staterooms have a flat screen TV, bathroom, fridge and security box.

On Deck Adventures

When the sun’s shining, Pacific Dawn’s deck is the place to be. There are two pools, with one for adults only, and two hot tubs.

For the sports-inclined, take to the jogging and walking track or challenge friends to a game of table tennis on the sports deck.

On the Lido Deck, you’ll also find a huge outdoor LED screen where you can watch concerts, movies and live sports from the comfort of the pool or sun-lounger. For some kid-free time, the Oasis provides an intimate adult-only retreat complete with bar service and comfy day beds.

Spa Dreaming

Featuring P&O’s famed Aqua HealthSpaFitness centre, Pacific Dawn has relaxation down to a fine art. There’s a range of treatments on offer for an added fee, including acupuncture, facials, massages, reflexology, teeth whitening and exclusive men’s treatments. The fitness centre is small but perfectly formed with cardio equipment and weights, as well as health workshops (free) and fitness classes (extra charge).

For a little pampering before a special night out, the professional hair and beauty salon will have guests looking and feeling their best. Choose from a menu of hair styling, barber services, hair colouring, manis and pedis, waxing and more. The ship also boasts an adults-only pool, steam room and sauna.

Daytime Fun

There’s never a dull moment on Pacific Dawn. During the day, passenger’s can join in with group activities such as salsa dance lessons, karaoke, bingo, trivia, and arts and craft classes. Head up to The Dome for 180-degree views of the ocean over a quiet drink, or take part in the Zumba class on the dance floor. The Marquee Theatre hosts lectures, food and wine tastings, mixology classes, and cooking demonstrations. Sports lovers should head to the pool deck to watch live sports on the big screen, including the major sporting events. Or you can get away from it all and lose yourself in a book in one of the many relaxing lounges.

Kids only

P&O’s Pacific Dawn is a fun family holiday thanks to its age-specific kids’ clubs. Kids are in the safe and capable hands of the Youth Activity Team, who organise a whole range of activities and fun. Plus because the kids’ clubs are open until 10pm, parents can enjoy some “me-time” for most the day and night.

For ages 3 to 6, Turtle Cove is home to talent shows, movies, scavenger hunts, cartoons and discos. For the slightly older 7 to 10 year olds, Shark Shack provides much of the same but with a wall of video games added in.

Tweens and teens up to age 17 have their very own headquarters in a separate part of the ship. Named HQ and HQ+, their programs feature pizza parties, mocktail making, hip-hop classes, sports, talent shows and more. Or they can simply hang out with newfound friends in their fun lounge, playing video games and watching music videos.

As on all P&O ships, group baby-sitting is available at an extra fee per child, per hour.



By far one of the most exciting features of Pacific Dawn is The Dome. Located on deck 14, this vast entertainment area has something amazing to offer every hour of the day and night. During the day, you can bask in the glorious ocean views. And when the sun goes down, The Dome transforms into a buzzing hub of live entertainment, dancing, comedy, theme nights and more. And as the clock strikes 10.30pm, everyone moves to the dancefloor as The Dome becomes a lively nightclub.

But that’s not all the ship has to offer. There are a total of nine bars and lounges to choose from. The English-style Orient Pub is the perfect spot to enjoy a cold pint with friends, while the mixologists at MIX Cocktail Bar will shake up your favourite cocktails and start the night in style. If live music is more your style, the Promenade Bar won’t disappoint. And you can always try your luck at Players Bar and Casino.

Next, head over to the two-tier Marquee Theatre for Broadway-style shows, comedy, music, movies, or even a game of bingo. The large LED screen wall is an eye-catching addition to live productions, which spans from Motown performers to interactive family shows.

Along with trivia and karaoke in the Orient Pub, theme nights are all part of the fun on Pacific Dawn, so don your rock ‘n’ roll gear and get stuck in.

Food Glorious Food

P&O has invested a lot improving the cuisine on offer on Pacific Dawn over recent years, and the results speak for themselves.

One thing you’ll notice on Pacific Dawn, as with all P&O ships, is the focus on local produce. Quality grass-fed beef from Australia and cheeses from the famous King Island Dairy is on offer in the restaurants, while cafes serve Tanna Coffee from Vanuatu. 

The ship’s main restaurant is The Waterfront, which serves up an international menu in a traditional or open seating style. It might be the largest restaurant, but there are plenty of intimate tables to be found for couples.  To the rear of the venue, the Wine Room lets you dine while surrounded by rows and rows of wine and champagne.

A cruise on Pacific Dawn isn’t complete without dining at the Salt Grill by Luke Mangan. The first ever Australian celebrity chef at sea, Luke Mangan has designed a special menu of his mouthwatering signature creations for both lunch and dinner. It might be an extra charge, but it’s worth every cent.

Another of the ship’s newest specialty restaurants is Luna. Here you can choose Asian delicacies from the rotating Thai, Chinese and Japanese menus.

A more casual buffet style is on offer in Plantation for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a snack by the pool, The Grill serves up hearty Aussie fare such as sausage sandwiches, pies and burgers. If it’s sweet treats you’re craving, the New Zealand Natural Ice Cream parlour is worth a visit. Or relax with a coffee and snack in Charlies.

For something special, guests can book in for the Chef’s Table experience. You’ll be greeted in a cocktail and canapé reception, leading onto a tour of the galley by the Executive Chef. Back in the Wine Room, you’ll enjoy an indulgent degustation menu with wine pairing.  This experience is so highly sought after, the ships limits it to once per passenger, per cruise.

Room service is also available around the clock, with a late-night pizza delivery option between 11pm and 6am.


Everyday Conveniences

Most everyday conveniences can be found in the ship’s three-story atrium. A vast space with a grand staircase and plenty of relaxing lounge areas, the atrium is home to the reception, shore excursions desk, duty-free stores and souvenir outlets. Families will be pleased to hear there are self-service laundries with ironing facilities. There’s also an internet café with lots of computers and a library with a variety of books and board games.  Plus, because the ship is based in Australia, the currency and electricity plugs are all Australian.


Staying connected

While the ship doesn’t provide Wi-Fi connectivity throughout, there are hotspots around the ship and an internet café provides computer and internet access around the clock. There’s a range of internet packages available, starting from 100 minutes, or you can opt to pay as you go.


Getting Around

Pacific Dawn offers 11 wheelchair accessible rooms and lifts between the passenger decks.


Something you didn’t know

In a former life, Pacific Dawn was christened as Regal Princess by Margaret Thatcher, the UK’s Prime Minister, in 1991. She was later renamed Pacific Dawn by the Olympic gold medalist, Cathy Freeman, in a ceremony celebrating P&O’s 75th anniversary in Australia.


Name Pacific Dawn
Owner P&O Cruises Australia
Operator P&O Cruises Australia
Cost US$276.8 million
Christened 8-Nov-07
Maiden voyage 1-Aug-91
Class Crown Princess-class
Capacity 2020 passengers
Crew 660 crew
Tonnage 70,285 GT
Length 251 m (823 ft)
Beam 32.3 m (105 ft)
Height 52.4 m (171 ft)
Draught 8.2 m (26 ft)
Decks 11
Speed 22.5 knots (41.7 km/h)
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