The Dawn Princess: A Huffington Post Travel Cruise Ship Guide

08/18/2011 11:45 am ET | Updated Sep 24, 2011
  • Summar Ghias The Huffington Post

Princess Cruises' Dawn Princess is a popular floating resort. The waters are crowded with sea-worthy vessels, so to make planning easier, we've done all the prep work for a cruise vacation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on cruise ships, here is a tip sheet offering all the key information one could ever need to know about the Dawn Princess.

Cruise Australia And The South Pacific

The Dawn Princess sails from Australia year-round to a variety of destinations, including Asia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Tahiti and the South Pacific. It also embarks on a world cruise spanning more than 100 days. The ship tours Australia on a 28-day journey, with stops in cities such as Brisbane and Adelaide. For a shorter vacation option, try the 14-day cruises to Fiji and the South Pacific, with ports of call including Lifou, New Caledonia and Port Denarau. New Zealand trips span 13 days, while Asia trips are 12, 14 or 26 days long and involve stops in Bali, Ko Samui and Ho Chi Minh City.

Small Ship Intimacy

The Australia-based ship is a relatively large ship with small-ship intimacy. The boat was christened by the original cast of "The Love Boat" and offers 1,990 passengers the opportunity to inhabit 975 staterooms, of which 603 are outside cabins; more than 400 have balconies.

Movies Under The Stars And More

The Dawn Princess has four pools, five whirlpool spas and computerized golf on board. The ship's casino has table games and 165 slot machines, and the Movies Under the Stars outdoor theater utilizes a giant 300-foot LED screen to show a range of movie offerings for the entire family. Princess also offers @Sea themed educational events, such as Ballroom@Sea dance classes and @Sea scrapbooking and ceramics classes.


About 70 percent of the Dawn Princess' outside staterooms have balconies, and complimentary room service can turn into private balcony dining upon request. Cabin square footage varies dramatically, ranging from 135 square feet to a more luxurious 695 square feet. Various rooms have multiple flat-screen TVs, and 100 percent Egyptian cotton linen and mini refrigerators are standard amenities.


Shorter, two-day repositioning trips around Australia (from Melbourne to Sydney, for instance) start at just $195 on the Dawn Princess, with suites costing $695. Twelve-day Asia trips start at $1,995, with intermediate balcony staterooms averaging $2,995 and suites costing $4,795. Thirteen-day New Zealand journeys start at $1,499, while 14-day Fiji and South Pacific trips start at $1,699.

Bora Bora Aqua Safari Excursions

According to, some Dawn Princess guests thought the views of marine life on the Bora Bora Aqua Safari Helmet Dive excursion were worth the price. More off-the-beaten-bath excursions include a visit to the Waitomo Glow Worm Grotto in Auckland, New Zealand, which some passengers also deemed a highlight of their trip.

Dining Options

There are two main dining rooms, a 24-hour Horizon Court buffet, a pizzeria, steakhouse, wine and caviar bar, hamburger and hot dog grill and patisserie on board. The Dawn Princess does not offer the cruise line's "Anytime Dining" option. Instead, dinner in the dining rooms is served in two sets, starting between 5:45 and 6:30 p.m., or 8 and 8:30 p.m. Breakfast and lunch are served from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and noon until 1:30 p.m. Afternoon tea is served daily in the main dining room from 3:30 until 4:30 p.m. Dawn Princess passengers booked in cabins with balconies can also request for a private balcony dinner, served restaurant-style on the veranda.

Maiden Voyage

This ship was built in Italy and made its inaugural voyage in May 1997. It underwent a makeover in 2009, with a general refurbishment and the addition of the Movies Under the Stars and an adults-only sanctuary.

Safety Record

According to the Brisbane Times, the ship was caught in a swine flu scare when two passengers' health cards showed they had just recovered from influenza type A. However, all onboard passengers displaying flu-like symptoms tested negative for swine flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was a case of gastrointestinal illness among passengers in 2005. It was remedied for the next voyage by additional cleaning and disinfection procedures. The cruise ship also made the news in 2007 for failing to travel at safe speeds around whales, injuring one near Alaska, according to Reuters.


The Dawn Princess leaving the harbor in Sydney, Australia.

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