Dawn Princess was the second Sun Class ship in the Princess fleet. She's the sister ship of the (younger) Sea Princess and (older) Sun Princess. She's a mid-sized ship that offers a wide range of onboard amenities, not quite as large as the ships that Princess has more recently released (such as the Ruby Princess and Emerald Princess). With over 400 staterooms with a balcony, Dawn Princess is able to offer a nice value relative to her competition. Some of the more popular onboard features include two show lounges that feature nightly entertainment, a casino and a spa.
During 2009 Dawn Princess underwent a two-week drydock in Australia, during which she received many of the signature features that Princess Cruises has become known for. Among the features are a huge 300-square foot Movies Under the Stars poolside LED screen, a remodeled photo gallery, new carpet and upholstery, new silicone paint for the bottom of the ship's hull, and an adults-only oasis called The Sanctuary.
Dawn Princess will be featuring cruises in the following regions (subject to change, based on the cruise line's discretion):
2012: Australia & New Zealand 2013: Australia & New Zealand, Europe, Orient Far East
Dawn Princess does not offer quite the selection of accommodation types as the younger ships in the Princess fleet, and her staterooms are somewhat smaller than those found on such ships. However, there is a nice selection of stateroom types available onboard Dawn Princess, from basic interior staterooms to much larger 500+ square foot suites. All of the staterooms onboard Dawn Princess come with a bathroom (with a shower), closet, refrigerator, TV, hair dryer, safe and phone.
Interior Staterooms: Dawn Princess' interior staterooms are about 135 to 148 square feet, and feature two twin beds that can be converted into a queen-size bed. Interior categories (in order of usual cost, from least expensive to most expensive) are N, M, L, K, J, JJ, I and II. Category N and M staterooms can only accommodate up to 2 people, while the rest of the interiors can accommodate up to 3.
Oceanview Staterooms: The oceanview staterooms onboard Dawn Princess have all of the amenities that an interior stateroom has, plus they have a picture window. Categories HH, G and GG have obstructed views. Categories DD, C and CC are classified as Deluxe Oceanview Staterooms, as they are larger than Dawn Princess' standard oceanview staterooms. An obstructed view is when there is something on the outside of your window that's blocking your view (such as a lifeboat). These staterooms are about 135 to 173 square feet, depending on the specific room. The only oceanview staterooms that can accommodate over 2 people are categories GG, FF and E.
Balcony Staterooms:The most basic stateroom with a balcony onboard Dawn Princess is called an Oceanview Double with Balcony. Such a stateroom is about 178 square feet, including its balcony. Amenities in such a room include everything an oceanview stateroom has, plus a spacious closet and a sitting area with a desk. Categories (in order of usual price, from least expensive to most expensive) are BF, BE, BD, BC, BB and BA. The main difference between these categories is the location of the staterooms (within each category) on the ship. The only standard balcony staterooms that can accommodate over 2 people are categories BC and BB.
Suites: The most basic suite onboard Dawn Princess is a Mini-Suite with Balcony (which are categories AC and AB). The category AC mini-suites are about 359 square feet, while the larger AB mini-suites are about 471 square feet. These staterooms feature everything a standard balcony stateroom does, plus a walk-in closet, sitting room area with a sofa bed, two TVs (instead of just one), and a bath with a tub and shower. Mini-suites can accommodate up to 3 passengers.
The full suites onboard Dawn Princess (category AA) have all the amenities that a mini-suite does, plus two sinks in the bathroom (instead of just one). Such accommodations are (on average) 539 square feet in size, as they range in size from 516 to 695 square feet (depending on the particular stateroom). These suites can accommodate up to three passengers.
The dining setup onboard all Princess ships is known as Personal Choice Dining. This gives you the choice of traditional or anytime dining. Traditional dining means that you have to select between an early (at 6:00 pm) or late (at 8:15 pm) seating time, where you will have dinner at the same table each night, with the same people and same wait staff. Anytime dining is where you do not have an assigned table or wait staff for dinner. In such a setup you would just show up when you want to (within the appropriate dinner hours, which are 5:30 pm or 6:15 pm, depending on the dining room, until 10:00 pm) and would be seated at the next available table. Breakfast (served from 7:30 am to 9:30 am) and Lunch (served from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm) are at the same time each day of the cruise, regardless of the type of dining you've selected. You will be assigned a specific dining room, regardless of which dining setup you choose. The menus are the same at each dining room, so it doesn't really matter which one you're assigned to.
Dawn Princess has two main dining rooms: Venetian Dining Room (located on the Emerald deck; used for traditional dining) and Florentine Dining Room (located on the Plaza deck; used for anytime dining).
Sterling Steakhouse is Dawn Princess' specialty restaurant, with a great menu and attentive staff. This upscale venue features cooked-to-order meats and is open for dinner only (from 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm), Sterling has a $15 per person cover charge (subject to change) and is located on the Lido deck, at the Horizon Court.
There are many casual dining options onboard Dawn Princess. Among them are the Burger and Hot Dog Grill (called the Balcony Grill; open from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm), the Horizon Court (a buffet that's open 24 hours), a pizzeria/trattoria (called La Scala; open for lunch and dinner), a patisserie (open from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm), an evening bistro (from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am) and an ice cream bar (called Sundaes; open from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, but there is a charge for the ice cream). Besides all of those options, afternoon tea is served from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm on each day of the cruise.
Ultimate Balcony Dining is a special option offered onboard Dawn Princess. Breakfast is available from 7:00 am to 11:00 am on select days at sea, while dinner is available from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm on any day of your cruise. Of course, this is only available to guests whose stateroom has a balcony and does have a per person cover charge (the cost of which depends on the specific meal you choose). An example of an entree you can enjoy for dinner is fresh lobster or steak.
Don't forget that 24 hour room service is available for all passengers. There is a basic complimentary menu, but it's an excellent option for a late night snack, or for when you're feeling a little lazy and would rather the food come to you. There are a few items on the menu that you can order at an additional cost, such as bar drinks.
There's a wide range of things to do onboard Dawn Princess, including many entertainment options. The most popular of them might be the Princess Theater, located on the Promenade deck. Nightly shows are performed at this venue, including Broadway-style production shows, comedians, singers, dancers, magicians and acrobats. Also on the Promenade deck is the Vista Lounge, which has a bar and is primarily used for secondary shows. The Grand Casino is located one deck up from the theaters, on the Emerald deck. It can get quite busy in the casino (especially after the theater's shows end each night).
Active cruisers looking for sports and fitness-related activities will have a bunch of onboard options.
The Sports deck is the highest deck on Dawn Princess and is where you can find the Sports Court and Splash Pool. One deck below, on the Lido deck, is a shuffleboard court. On the Riviera deck you can find digital golf simulators. The fitness center is located in the area of the Lotus Spa, and features an aerobics area.
Dawn Princess features a few bars and lounges. Among them are the Atrium Lounge & Bar, the Wheelhouse Bar (a relaxed nautical-themed bar), Magnums (serving champagne, wine & caviar) and Jammer's (a nightclub featuring a dance floor, typically open until the early morning).
One of the most popular decks onboard Dawn Princess is the Riviera deck. This is because on this deck you'll find the ship's main outdoor pool (the Riviera Pool), as well as two hot tubs, a bar and a bunch of outdoor lounge seating. Also located on this deck is the ship's spa (which includes a beauty salon, pool and two hot tubs) and fitness center, as well as the teen and youth centers.
One deck up onboard Dawn Princess is the Lido deck, where the Horizon Court (a large buffet area, serving a bistro menu 24-hours a day) is located. Also on this deck is the Balcony Grill and a bunch of additional outdoor lounge chairs.
The 24-hour internet cafe (with wireless access) is located on the Promenade deck. Located nearby is the library and photo gallery. One deck below, on the Emerald deck, there are various duty-free boutiques.
In the case of an emergency, or even if you just don't feel good and need to see a doctor, there is a medical center located on the Fiesta deck. Please be aware that Princess will charge you for any medical attention you receive from their onboard doctor. That's why it's always a great idea to purchase traveler's insurance.
For dinner, there is a certain dress code in place on a Princess cruise. Depending on the night, there may be a smart casual or formal dress code. The number of formal nights on your cruise depends on the length of your cruise (see the chart below for details). Please be aware that the number of formal nights on your cruise is subject to change at the ship's discretion. Princess considers smart casual to be the same as what you'd wear if you were going to a nice restaurant at home. Formal night clothing is considered by Princess Cruises to be tuxedos, dark suits or dinner jackets for men, and evening gowns, cocktail dresses or elegant pant suits for women.
Here's a general guideline (subject to change) that Princess Cruises provides for its nightly dining types:
# of Formal Evenings
# of Smart Casual Evenings
3 to 6 Days
7 to 13 Days
14 to 20 Days
21 to 28 Days
The youth & teen program onboard each Princess ship is for 3 to 17 year olds. Children under 3 are allowed to visit the youth program if they're with a parent at all times.
Fun Zone Activities are available for children 3 to 12 years old. This program is divided into two age-based groups, Princess Pelicans (ages 3 to 7) and Shockwaves (ages 8 to 12). This program offers activities that may include arts & crafts, discos, movies, cartoons, scavenger hunts, educational programs, t-shirt coloring, theme parties, pajama parties and video games.
The Teen Center onboard each ship (except Pacific Princess and Ocean Princess) features a Playstation 2, new movies and music, giant screen TVs, card games and board games. Activities for teens include teens-only dance parties, t-shirt painting, mocktails, pizza parties, hip hop dance classes and teen dinners. Onboard the Grand Princess and Golden Princess there is a separate Jacuzzi and sun deck just for teens.
Group kidsitting is available for children ages 3 to 12 and is available on all Princess ships, except for Royal Princess, Ocean Princess and Pacific Princess. It's available from 10 pm to 1 am and costs $5 per hour per child.
Princess will only operate a youth & teen program onboard Pacific Princess and Ocean if 20 or more children ages 3 to 17 are onboard that particular sailing. Those ships do not have the youth & teen facilities that the rest of the fleet has. The age groups listed above may vary onboard the Diamond Princess, Caribbean Princess, Sapphire Princess and Star Princess.
Princess automatically charges your onboard account $10.50 per person per day ($11 per person per day for mini-suites and suites) for a Hotel and Dining charge. This fee is shared amongst the staff, including the wait staff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, galley staff and laundry staff. The casino and spa staff do not get any of this money. If you feel that this fee is too high or low it is at your discretion (before the cruise ends) to go to the passenger services desk to ask them to adjust it to an amount that you are comfortable with. A 15% charge is added to any bar charges (including drinks ordered in the dining room). This is shared amongst the beverage staff (and their support staff).
Because of these automatic charges you don't really have to worry about tipping, unless you find that a staff member that deserves something extra (or if you'd like to tip a casino or spa employee, since they don't get a share of the standard charges).
The official minimum drinking age on all Princess cruise ships is 21. You may bring one bottle of wine and/or champagne onboard the ship to celebrate a special occasion, all of which will be subject to a $15 per bottle corkage fee (subject to change). Alcohol purchased at any port of call cannot be consumed onboard. It will be collected at the gangway by the staff and returned to you on the last day of your cruise.
The gambling age onboard all Princess cruise ships is 21 years of age.