P&O Cruises Australia MV Pacific Dawn

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Please Note: Cruise-Australia and my other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any of the cruise companies nor any travel or cruise agencies, etc! The author has been in the Passenger Shipping industry for a very long time and although now semi-retired, but I am delighted to share all my knowledge with those who love to take their vacation by sea! Thus I continue to write on worthy Cruise Companies and their wonderful Ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure, but more so to ensure that you, my wonderful reader will make the best-informed choice possible!

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Photograph provided by & © Carnival/P&O Cruises Australia

Please Note: All photographs are by © Reuben Goossens and associates, Hun-Eng Tan & Kosta Specis, unless marked otherwise.

Many do not realise that the two excellent ships that today are lovingly known as Brisbane’s MV Pacific Dawn and Sydney’s Pacific Jewel were originally planned and designed by one of the greatest Italian shipping companies by the name of “Sitmar Line,” which later became the greatly loved Sitmar Cruises. Although they are no longer known as such, yet under the name of V.Ships they continue one of the worlds largest shipping management companies, as well as owning and operating the ultra deluxe, boutique cruise company Silversea Cruises, operating six superb all suite ships!

In the days of their older ships, Sitmar Cruises had ships such as the TSS Fairwind and TSS Fairsea, which were two beautifully, rebuilt Cunard liners; however later when the company had been obtained by P&O/Princess they were renamed Dawn Princess and Pacific Princess respectively. However, Sitmar had also signed a deal to build the magnificent MV FairMajesty with Chantiers de l’Antlantique. However, as history proved Mr Boris Vlasov the great leader of the Sitmar group of companies sadly passed away and it was a short time thereafter that Sitmar was taken over by P&O and the FairMajesty was renamed Star Princess and today she is one of the ships in the P&O Australian fleet, and is now named the MV Pacific Pearl! However, before Mr. Vlasov’s passing V.Ships also met with senior naval architects from the famed Italian ship builders Fincantieri to build two further great and magnificent and as it was considered the most advanced cruise ships ever to be built by them at Monfalcone Italy. These two ships were called, “the Dolphins.”

The first to be completed was the MV Crown Princess, which was refitted in 2013 but as P&O Cruises Australia Pacific Jewel based in Sydney. Next came the MV Regal Princess being the recently and beautifully refitted and fully upgraded P&O Cruises Pacific Dawn, which is based in Brisbane!

Thus the superbly designed 70,285 ton MV Pacific Dawn, was originally designed by some of the most famous maritime architects, Enrico Buschi, Gianfranco Bertaglia and Renzo Piano who are renowned as being the finest and top designers. Renzo Piano is famous around the world for his many architectural creations, both on land and on the sea.

When these ships were built, they inspired a whole new era of sea-going innovations for Renzo combined what is called a brand new style of “maritime design that was inspired by nature” and this can be seen in both Pacific Jewel and Dawn’s overall and most pleasing design, especially their forward upper section. Pacific Dawn’s famed for her rounded “The Dome” that is a superb lounge and nightclub, sitting atop of the bridge and the design is intended to resemble a dolphin gracefully moving through the water. This innovative design gives her delightfully sleek and rounded lines.

MV Pacific Dawn shows off her fine lines and that famed rounded dolphin like “dome” topside forward

She is seen here at anchor just off beautiful Lifou at the wonderful Pacific, but French Island of New Caledonia

Whilst on the Pacific Dawn the entire Dome is a huge and a spectacular lounge and bar, whilst the Pacific Jewel was with one of Carnival’s German cruise companies, sadly they ripped out the Dome lounge and replaced it with a massive Spa, which was a travesty. Although the good news is that in the recent 2013 refurbishment P&O have added a new Library area, and a spacious portside lounge and bar in the Dome area that will be the new nightclub at night. This is a great improvement! Obviously, the Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel and the Pacific Pearl are three wonderful ships and I van highly recommend them for I have sailed on two of these to date and an due to sail on the Pacific Dawn again in May 2014, not as a guest, but as a full fare passenger!

MV Pacific Dawn Maiden arrival in Brisbane


Pacific Dawn seen at Brisbane's Portside Cruise Terminal December 19, 2009


The author on Pacific Dawn’s starboard bridge wing

A Comprehensive Tour of the Pacific Dawn:

As the Pacific Dawn arrives in Brisbane to be based here, I was invited on board for her official welcome with P&O’s CEO M/s Ann Sherry and Kathy Freeman, who happens to be her Godmother. I visited her bridge and had a delicious lunch in the waterfront Restaurant.

Thus, I am delighted to welcome you aboard the Pacific Dawn as I am delighted to take you on a tour of this wonderful cruise ship, which has made her home in Brisbane. I am sure that you will soon discover that this amazing ship has been one of my favourite ships for a very long time, even before she became the Pacific Dawn! Obviously I highly recommend her to all who are thinking of going on their very first cruise vacation, or those who are contemplation heading off for their next one!

There is no doubt that the MV Pacific Dawn offers many superb venues as well as excellent accommodations. But better still, P&O Cruises Australia, and I am speaking from longstanding experience, has a friendly an efficient and fully experienced crew who are always at hand to tend to your every wish. But better still the food on P&O is simply to say the least, “unbelievable delicious.”

But, I better get off the bridge and take you for a walk around the ship!

Reuben Goossens.

Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Maritime Historian, Author and Lecturer.

In the Passenger Shipping Industry since 1960!

Update: Since first writing this feature the Pacific Dawn has undergone a comprehensive refit in 2012, and there have been some extensive interior changes, for example the amidships Bengal Bar has been completely refurbished and it has become a delightful British style, but very elegant “Orient English Pub.” It has some new comfortable Chesterfield lounges to add to the tone of the venue, whilst at the bar has a wide range of draft beers and ciders that will be on offer. Also the Promenade Lounge just aft has seen some dramatic alterations and is very attractive. The ship including the hallways, the Showroom have received new carpets and the latter has been extensively refurbished with new upholstery. The Waterfront as well as the Plantation Restaurants have both been refitted and look fresh and very different that it was in 2009.

Aft of the Plantation Restaurant there has been a new innovation with the introduction of screens that create a more intimate setting for the popular Pan-Asian restaurant “La Luna.” In addition, on the top level of the Atrium that was previously the “Bacchus Bar” has now become the modern “Mix Cocktail Bar.” I must not forget the cabin changes, for all her suites and mini-suites will be completely upgraded with new carpets, furnishings and artwork by the famed Sydney photographer Toney Rae. Another popular change has been that a good number of standard cabins have become interconnecting cabins. These new interconnecting cabins will be configured as quad-quad, twin-quad or with twin-twin bedding, able to suit the dynamics of different travelling parties, be it families, or friends travelling together.

Outdoors, she will finally was given a giant state of the art LED Big Screen located far forward of Lido Deck high above Deck 14, providing movies, features, concerts, sports and other shows. These screens on the other two ships have proven to be a huge hit with passengers!

Pacific Dawn is now a revitalised ship with so many new and exciting features, therefore her past passengers who have loved her for such a long time will be overjoyed with her new venues and the brighter new buffet and a smarter and far more glamorous International Show Lounge! There is no doubt that today she is indeed a superior cruise ship! However, just for interest, soon a new adventure park will be added, with rock climbing, and a host of adventurous features for those who dare, but they are from all ages!

Soon there will be a new feature with brand new photographs of all her interiors!

Here we see the Pacific Dawn berthed in Noumea

Queenslander’s are most fortunate, for the Pacific Dawn is indeed the best cruise ship to be based in Brisbane! There is no doubt that she is a revolutionary ship and she sets new and very high standards in cruising for Queenslanders to enjoy! The ship offers great comfort on board as well as being a cruise ship that offers smooth sailing thanks to her superior design and construction!

The Plaza Atrium looking forward - On the right is Reception whilst on the left is wonderful “Charlie’s” Coffee Lounge

Pacific Dawn’s interiors was designed by top interior design firm “H. Chambers Company” of Baltimore USA and Pacific Dawn exudes a soft and a somewhat understated decor. You will find the crisp corals of blue’s and aqua tones, which are combined with superb woods, granites and polished metals, all of which adds to her delightfully fresh interiors. The overall feel is one of spaciousness, yet she has that relaxed and comfortable feel! She has a three level Atrium that compliments her elegant interior design of this beautifully designed cruise ship, which I can assure you is a joy to sail on!

Let us go and view a range of her venues!

The Marquee Theatre


The multi-level Marquee Theatre

The multi-level “Marquee Theatre” located far forward on Deck 7 and the balcony on Deck 8. Each night there will be exciting entertainment be it one of the grand production shows or the vast variety of entertainment on offer. The Show Room features state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems. Pacific Dawn has a professional theatre troupe and there are several bands that perform in various lounges around the ship as well as the ships pianist. On each cruise there will be a variety of guest artists that may be comedians, musicians, vocalists, and other performers, etc. The list is endless. There is also a special adult only comedy shows available in one of the lounges on various nights.

The upper Lever of the Show Room on Deck 8


At night the Show Room comes alive at it is time for a big show! Deck 7.



Above and below: Showtime! 



The Dome on Deck 14


On each side there is a grand arched hallway to the “Dome” – This is portside looking towards aft the exit

Situated forward and atop of the ship is the famed “Dome” and this is a unique venue that accommodates several distinct areas under one huge curved roof. The Dome is 19ft (5.8m) high in the center and the room measures an impressive 13,000 square feet. Curved glass outer windows are extenuated with rounded bone-white whale like “ribs” arching from ceiling to floor. There is a huge bar located in the center aft of the Dome as well as a circular dance floor adjacent to the stage on the center portside were live bands will perform nightly. The observation area is separated by low partitions creating different levels. In addition the Dome has special lighting techniques that create a different mood in each area. However, during the day it is a popular venue for just sitting near a window enjoying the view and possible just reading your favourite book. However, during the day, the venue is also used for dance classes and other classes, etc. But it is at night when the Dome really comes to life as the bands strike up the music and dancing commences and then late at night the DJ continues the party until early in the morning.

The Dome is one of the most spectacular venues at sea, and it has a grand view to go with it!


The Dome’s huge Bar 


The centrally located (amidships, but portside) bandstand and the DJ base


Floor to ceiling curved windows let in light into this venue – the views from any part of this venue is wonderful!


There is a variety of seating, for comfortable lounge chairs to leather round and square stool like seating near the bar

The closer you get to the windows the more comfortable the seating gets, and it is a very popular daytime spot!


The fine view of the great Dome


The Plaza Atrium

The heart of the Pacific Dawn is the elegant three-story Plaza Atrium, which is highlighted by a grand staircase and features granite and polished metal accents and a waterfall cascading down in a decorative pool at the bottom. The lower level Deck 5, houses the Lobby Lounge and the reception area as well as ever popular “Charlie’s” with a Bar serving pastries and Barista coffee specialties.

The three level Plaza Atrium looking down from Deck 6 to aft and the grand staircase and wall waterfall


 Lover level and the grand piano located forward of the atrium – Deck 5


 Looking down from the top level - Deck 7

On the upper levels of the Plaza Atrium passengers will discover The Galleria on Deck 6, which has a fine duty-free shopping arcade offering everything from fine jewellery, crystal, perfumes to fashion apparel. The top level completes the scene with the delightful Bacchus Bar, as well as another shop and the photo and video shop located on each side of the ship.

Forward Atrium stairwell down on Deck 7 – Sadly these wonderful murals have gone and replaced by off-white plain walls


Looking up to the upper levels of the Plaza Atrium and atop on Deck 7 we can just see the intimate “Mix” bar


The Reception – Information Desk – Deck 5


The sculpture behind on the wall of the Reception Desk


Charlie’s Café on Deck 5 of the Atrium has a Bar serving excellent Barista coffee specialties drinks and delicious pastries


Above & below: Two further views of the delightful Charlie’s Café but when we were there the service was painfully slow!



Promenade Deck - 7


Aft on top of the atrium is the all-new and exciting blue “Mix” Bar


As can be seen above, on both sides of Promenade Deck there are long passageways with tables and comfortable seating that leads to the next two lounges “The Orient’ and “Promenade Lounge” and far aft is the magnificent Waterfront Restaurant.

The first lounge just aft of the Atrium is the now elegantly appointed “The Orient.” Having had a recent refit this venue has had a complete change and has become a magnificent Sports style Pub and it is filled wit a good variety of sports memorabilia, yet as can be seen here there are cosy corners for a quiet drink.

The new and elegant new “The Orient” Pub

Photograph provided by & © P&O Cruises/Carnival Australia


A cosy corner of “The Orient” Pub

Photograph provided by & © P&O Cruises/Carnival Australia


The hallway leading aft to the Art Gallery and the Restaurant

The next venue is the Promenade Lounge that has an all black curved bar set against the forward wall, and there are two huge alfresco murals well placed on the aft walls. There is also a raised stage featuring a grand piano and a small dance floor. The room is furnished in blues and gold’s with granite round table tops.

The Promenade Lounge and Bar is a colourful venue even though having an all black bar



Above and below: This delightful lounge has a grand Piano, thus has music



Other Venues up on Dolphin Deck (8)

Other facilities on board are up on Deck 8 where you will find the massive Casino and the Legends Sports Bar located almost directly above the atrium ceiling. Forward near the entrance of the upper level of the International Show Room there are two popular venues. On the starboard side is the beautifully timbered Library and on the portside the Internet Café.

The main Casino Hall


Along the two sides of the casino is the Legends lounge areas with large screen sports on screens at both ends of the room


The Library is an elegant room and has a glazed cupboard with memorabilia. There are ample books for a cruise


A cosy spot to read or even play a game of cards


The Internet café


Dinning Venues & Cafes

Aft on Deck 7 you will find Pacific Dawn’s main dining room, the Waterfront Restaurant. It has an intimate and elegant environment and atmosphere and this has been achieved by cleverly placing dividing walls and superbly glazed panels enhancing the beauty of thus fine room. However, no matter the elegance of the venue it is by far outdone by the chefs in the galleys, as P&O’s chefs create some of the finest cuisine on the South Pacific and the author having been on the Pacific Dawn and other P&O ships can attest to this!

The Waterfront Restaurant is elegantly appointed in fine timbers and etched glass dividers


One of the different glazed dividers in the Waterfront Restaurant

Aft on Deck 12 you will find the “Plantation Restaurant,” being the ships Buffet that offers indoor/outdoor breakfast and luncheons as well as open sitting evening meals, as Pacific Dawn now offers “Your Choice Dining”, therefore you can dine with whom you wish, as well as “when and where you wish” giving you a choice of where you wish to dine! The superb a la Carte meals in the Waterfront Restaurant and copious Buffet style meals in Plantation Restaurant are all included in your fares.

Plantation Restaurant Buffet where you can sit indoors or outside in the sun or shade!

Then there is the “Lido Café” is ideal to enjoy an ice cream, a cook drink or head there for a Barista espresso or Cappuccino from just A$2. The Lido poolside bar serves drinks in an easygoing setting.


Above and below: The Lido Café located forward on Deck 12 portside has an indoor and outdoor area




Above and below: Lido Café has a delightful alfresco seating arrangement


However, for something really special the Pacific Dawn also has two optional dining facilities. 1. “La Luna” that offers Steaks and Seafood and other superb meals and 2. Luke Mangan's famous “Salt Grill” offering one of the finest dinning options at sea! Both are available at a low additional cost.

The Grill is located in a section of La Luna, but at night this venue takes on a whole new and a romantic feel.

You will note that the ceiling and surrounds is quite different to the main section of the mostly the main buffet area


Luke Mangan seen on board the Pacific Dawn in Brisbane, he does join the ship on certain cruises!

This photograph has been provided by Carnival Plc/P&O Cruises



Above and below: Here we see the elegant interior of the world famous “Salt Grill”

This photograph has been provided by Carnival Plc/P&O Cruises



Outside the highly acclaimed Luke Mangan's “Salt Grill”


Decks 10 & 11

Located far aft out on Deck 10 is the excellent Adult only “Oasis” Deck and its private bar. This is the ultimate spot on board that overlooks the stern of the ship and its wake, for all those who have that desire to escape the busy Lido Deck above, and on busy school holiday cruises, the young generation who are not permitted in this area! It is furnished with excellent and comfortable sun lounges in either full sun or shaded areas!

The exotic “Oasis”

Once again, aft on Deck 11 there is a wonderful deck area with normal ships deck and sun chairs and tables, but here you will find two heated Jacuzzis for your pleasure. Again there are those great views over the stern of the ship and it is just a great place to be!

The two Jacuzzis and spacious deck aft of Deck 11


Pools fitness and Lotus Spa

Fitness enthusiasts can enjoy the Gym and the spacious Aerobics Room Deck 2. The Fitness Centre is fully equipped with a wide variety of equipment including Keiser-300 weight machines, exercise bikes and up top there is a jogging track. At the Fitness Centre you can also enjoy the sauna or the steam room.

For both men and ladies, a superbly equipped and fully trained staff will be at hand in Pacific Dawn’s Hair and Beauty Salon to take care of all your needs. Then for those who wish to luxuriate and be pampered, then head for the Lotus Spa and enjoy one of the vast range of massages on offer and relax and make your cruise simply special! Deck 2.

In addition there is a huge LED Screen that will provide a host of entertainment, on offer are movies, music videos, live or repeat sports or shipboard entertainment, its all there to enjoy and not to forget movies come complete with warm pop corn! View from decks 12 & 14.

Looking towards the Lido Café (left) and Luke Mangan’s “Salt Grill (right)

But above is the large LED Movie screen for great on board entertainment!

In addition there is also the famous “New Zealand Natural Ice Cream” available! Pacific Dawn is offering more and more choices for every age, thus no matter your taste, there is always something for you to enjoy! And yes, there is always a great cup of coffee or tea available!

The delightful and tasty NZ Natural Ice Cream Bar located on Deck12

This photograph has been provided by Carnival Plc/P&O Cruises

Lido Deck features two fine swimming pools, one even has a waterfall as well as an in-pool bar and there are two whirlpool hot spas. At night the central covered area is used for a variety of entertainment purposes, thus it is a place to fun, day in and also at night!

Lido deck offers two swimming Pools, one with a swim up bar as well as the whirlpools for your enjoyment!



The feel of spaciousness plays a mayor part on this ship’s overall design and accommodations are some of the best found in the cruise industry. She sports no less that 184 private balconies. All Suites and Mini-Suites have a balcony, sitting room areas and bathtubs. They measure between 587 and 360 square feet, respectively.

Standard cabins measure an impressive 190 square feet and cabins with balconies are 210 square feet. All staterooms feature the latest in amenities, including large walk-in closets, ample drawer space, refrigerators, flat screen LCD TV, guest safes. All twin beds convert to a queen sized bed. Except a very few, all Ocean View cabins feature large picture windows. There is a vast array of accommodations available, thus be assured, there is a cabin to suit your pocket.

Pacific Dawn accommodates 1,596 passengers when utilising lower beds only and up to 1,950 passengers when using ALL beds, lower and upper berths. However, as many couples tend to cruise, the maximum number of passengers is hardly ever reached, thus the usual general passenger capacity is between 1,700 and 1,850 passengers, but as I said, this can be variable, especially during school holidays.

The Suite has a separate Lounge and a full width balcony. The bedroom is seen on the left

This photograph has been provided by Carnival Plc/P&O Cruises


A comfortable twin or double bed cabin with a private balcony

This photograph has been provided by Carnival Plc/P&O Cruises


Here we see an interconnecting balcony cabin, ideal for families

This photograph has been provided by Carnival Plc/P&O Cruises


A standard twin bedded cabin, made up as a double bedded room – see below

There are interconnection twin bedded rooms available as well!

This photograph has been provided by Carnival Plc/P&O Cruises



Above and below: This is a standard outside twin – Economical inside cabins are similar, but without a window

This is cabin 5190 located portside on Deck 5 and it proved to be just fine!

The next three photographs are cabin 5190 Grade OC


Note the spacious desk and the flat screen TV


The walk in wardrobe


Looking at the basin, mirror that hides the 2 small toiletries cupboards, but there is plenty of other space available! 


 Here we see a twin room with two uppers down and is sold as a four berth cabin

This photograph has been provided by Carnival Plc/P&O Cruises



Above and Below: We see just two of the younger set’s facilities

which are superb and well supervised with heaps of games & activities?

Photographs provided by Carnival Plc/P&O Cruises




Above and below: Pacific Dawn has a wide and a spacious Promenade Deck



MV Pacific Dawn departs Brisbane for another wonderful cruise of the Pacific


MV Pacific Dawn Index:


Pacific Dawn - Introduction 2009.


Deck Plan – Covering all her deck Decks.


Check the latest Australian Cruise News

for changes to be made to Pacific Dawn in 2017



MV Pacific Dawn Index:


Pacific Dawn - Introduction 2009.


Deck Plan – Covering all her deck Decks.


Check the latest Australian Cruise News



Visit the many features of Cruise Companies sailing from Australian ports:

P&O Cruises Australia:

The author’s new 18 day South Pacific: Pacific Aria Cruise Review  ex Brisbane Aug 15

MV Pacific Dawn & MV Pacific Dawn’s Refit in February 2017

Pacific Pearl sold in 2017 / Pacific Explorer ex Dawn Princess

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MV Aurora / P&O UK Cruise Ships

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MV Diamond Princess / Sun Princess & Sun Class Ships


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