MV Pacific Explorer Cruise Ship, ex Dawn Princess

Please Note: Firefox & Google Chrome other search engines may not suitable

Please use Internet Explorer” - “Google for this page to load perfectly!


Please Note: Cruise-Australia and my other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Please be assured that I am NOT associated with any cruise company or any travel or cruise agency, etc! The author has been in the Passenger Shipping industry for a very long time and although I am now retired, but I am delighted to continue to share my vast 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 readers will make the best-informed choice possible on which ship will be just right for you!

Please Note:

All Photographs were provided by & © MG MEDIA Communications on behalf of Carnival/P&O Cruises, unless stated otherwise

Page One

Australia’s Ever-Growing Cruise Market

Considering the ever-growing Australian cruise market with new ships constantly arriving on the scene, P&O Cruises Australia certainly changed the scene when in 2015 for the MV Pacific Aria, ex Ryndam and her sister the Pacific Eden, ex Statendam arrived in Australia. The certainly made a huge impact in the Australian cruise market, bringing a new style of cruising into our scene! And I am pleased to say, that personally I have already cruised on the Pacific Aria from Brisbane twice, and both cruises were simply magnificent, and they came far above my expectations! So much so, that I have booked three further cruises in 2017. As my February 2016 14-day Papua New Guinea Cruise and August 2016 18-day South Pacific Cruise Reviews will prove, P&O have certainly become the pace setters within the Australia cruise industry and market. Their ships are offering countless new exciting innovations and new luxuries never seen before, as well as enhanced quality of dining, with more free dining options available that ever before!

MV Pacific Aria is seen berthed at Port Vila, Vanuatu

Photograph by & © Mr. Hun-Eng Tan of Cruise-Australia

Under the P&O Cruises Australia banner in 2015 two identical ships the MV Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden were introduced to the Australian Cruise Market and with great success! These two fine ships operate together with the MV Pacific Dawn and the Pacific Jewel. Together, these four ships will be joined in June 2017 by the exciting MV Pacific Explorer, which was previously the greatly loved Dawn Princess and will have been given a massive refit whilst she was in Singapore, the same yards the Aria and Eden received their amazing transformations! When the refitted Dawn Princess arrives in Sydney, the Pacific Pearl will have already been sold to a British Cruise Company and she will be renamed “Columbus” and operate from British ports.

A Great Future for P&O Cruises Australia:

Under the P&O Cruises Australia banner, the recent new swing commenced with the arrival of the MV Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, for Australian cruisers quickly came to love these amazing ships, with their excellent décor and superior onboard style and their newly introduced quality cuisine, all of which will be slowly incorporated throughout the P&O fleet, beginning with the MV Pacific Dawn which will receive an amazing new interior look, followed by the MV Dawn Princess, which is due to be transferred to P&O Cruises and she will be officially renamed the Pacific Explorer!

Carnival Australia’s Executive Chairman Ann Sherry made the following statement;

“We are pleased that the addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden to our home brand P&O Cruises’ fleet taking it to five vessels was identified as one of the two major factors in the stunning 45 per cent increase in the number of homeport ship visit days,” Ms Sherry said. “We are also very proud of the extent to which our ships have opened up cruising to so many regional ports around Australia with the addition of 16 destinations in recent years. Cruise tourism is the most successful growth sector of Australian tourism and we are delighted the economic benefits are being experienced so widely.”

Introducing - A New Arrival in 2019:

The truth is that demand is so great for cruise vacations, that P&O has officially announced that P&O Cruises will take delivery of the Carnival cruise ships built in 2007. This being the 114,147 ton MV Carnival Splendor having a guest capacity of 3,012 Guests (twin bedded) to 3,780 (all berths), and she has a crew of 1,150.

Once she will be delivered to P&O Cruises, she will be given a massive refit in order that she will match the style of venues as found on board the new P&O fleet, and she will commence cruising in 2019. Provisionally, I have given her the new name of “Pacific Navigator,” as she will no doubt navigate the South Pacific and New Zealand long into the future!

The Carnival Splendor is due to become a P&O ship in 2019, and will P&O name her the “Pacific Navigator?

Above we see a photograph of the Carnival Cruises - MV Carnival Splendor. Although her external design will not be altered a great deal, however, I am sure that her funnel will see a great change as her traditional large Carnival smoke dispersion wings may well be clipped! What does delight me is that this ship does have a promenade deck that goes almost around the deck, but just not around the stern section.

Here is a reworked view of what the Pacific Navigator will look like

but I assume she will also receive the Southern Cross bow logo, like the Pacific Explorer

For the time being I have named the new ship; “Pacific Navigator, not that Mr. Sture Myrmell P&O’s President will use this name, but it would be wonderful if he did!

A new page covering this ship will come on line soon.

Other Fleet Changes:

In addition, P&O Cruises has also announced changes to its fleet line-up in order to cater for the ever-growing popularity of cruise vacations from Australian ports. Therefore we will see the ever popular Australian-based Dawn Princess end her career with Princess Cruises and she will be transferred to P&O Cruises Australia mid 2017, and she will replace the *Pacific Pearl, which has been sold to a British based company “Cruise & Maritime Voyages” (CMV).


MV Dawn Princess Final Voyage before becoming the Pacific Explorer:

MV Dawn Princess, will be completely transformed into P&O’s exciting all new MV Pacific Explorer in June 2017

Photograph taken by & © Reuben Goossens

The Dawn Princess will depart on her final official Princess cruise from Sydney on April 27 and from Brisbane on April 29, 2017 and operate the “Northern Explorer” cruise to Fremantle (Perth) arriving there on May 14. The name of this voyage is aptly named considering the new name which she will soon have placed on her bow and stern!

During the aforementioned cruise, she will visit the following ports Yorkey’s Knob (Cairns), Port Douglas, several in PNG, Darwin, the Kimberley Coast, Broome, Geraldton and then to Fremantle. This voyage may be taken as a single cruise to Perth and then fly back to your home port, or it can be continued from Fremantle for the additional 12 night “Treasures of Asia” cruise, which will call in at Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi, Phuket and will conclude in Singapore on Day 13. Thus, for those who boarded in Sydney it will make this a 28-day cruise, or from Brisbane a 26 day cruise. Once passengers have disembarked in Singapore they may decide to remain for several days and then fly home, your travel agent can arrange a special package with transfers and flights, etc.

In Singapore the Dawn Princess will enter the SembCorp Marine Ltd shipyard, where she will under go a complete and one of the most extensive transformations ever to make this already fine ship an ever far better ship, and she will become a genuine P&O Australia cruise ship that will be officially named the Pacific Explorer when she arrives home in Australia!

Pacific Explorer’s Maiden Cruise:

She will depart Sydney for a 10 night South Pacific Cruise on June 22, 2017. Visiting Noumea, Lifou, Port Vila, Mystery Island and the Isle de Pines, returning to Sydney on July 2.


P&O Cruises ~ MV Pacific Explorer

During the Dawn Princess’ massive refurbishment there will be a host of exciting and fabulous new features installed, which includes some of the most beautifully appointed Lounges, Bars and Restaurants, as well Stateroom upgrades!

In addition the Pacific Explorer will be given the popular P&O Edge Adventure Park installations, including the flying fox, etc, but for the very first time ever, there will be a children’s Waterpark located within the louvered brand new aft stylised funnel casing, as well as a multi-level Water Slide located directly aft of the funnel! Pacific Explorer is bound to be a ship of innovation in many more ways than one as this feature will reveal!

MV Pacific Explorer


Above & below: Aft within the louvered funnel housing is the Waterpark and outside directly aft is the Water Slide


MV Pacific Explorer

Once her refit is completed she will be 77,441 GRT she will accommodate 1,998-guests making her the largest cruise ship to sail under the P&O Cruises’ Australia banner, that will be until the new 135,500 GRT 4,200 to 5,000-guest cruise ship arrives on the scene in 2019/2020.

As we will see below which are advance promotional images provided by Carnival/P&O Cruises of the wonderful all new venues, which will be featured onboard Pacific Explorer and as you will see, they certainly look very exciting. I will commence with the Atrium and the 1: Lounges and bars, then the many 2: Dinning Venues and conclude with her Decks and Pools, etc!

1: Lounges and Bars:

Even though I personally know the ship extremely well as the Dawn Princess, some of the venues slightly confuse me as where they could be, for the truth is there is not yet a detailed Deck Plan available. There will be some that I will know, as they are obvious knowing the deck plan, and I will indicate them by deck and location, etc.

MV Pacific Explorer

Here we see the Reception on the starboard side of the Atrium on Deck 5, where on the three levels

there are also Tours Desk, Restaurants, Boutiques, a Shop, Bars and a wonderful Café


MV Pacific Explorer

The Café is located in the portside of the Atrium, Deck 5 and is simply a perfect

place for an Espresso Coffee and piece of cake, pastry or a snack


MV Pacific Explorer

The Summer Pub is located just forward of the Atrium and the lifts on Promenade Deck (7) or directly aft of the Marquee Theatre

This spacious venue offers light through large windows and has furnishing reminding us of days gone by, a very happy place indeed!


A new style Cabaret style Night Club, which I assume is located where the previous nightclub was on

Promenade Deck (7) amidships next to the circular stairs up to the Casino


MV Pacific Explorer

An all-new Bar - I believe this could be the new Bar in the Atrium Lounge forward on the starboard side


This is a new venue; named “The Bonded Store” being a bar in association with the award-winning Archie Rose Distilling Co

Every cocktail or drink will feature Archie Rose’s handcrafted spirits, being a first for an Australian-based ship


MV Pacific Explorer

The Blue Room – This venue is based on that found on both the Pacific Aria and Eden, but is quiet different


MV Pacific Explorer

The aft Showroom and Bar is located far aft of Promenade Deck (7) and this venue

has had an amazing make over as it now simply looks superb to say the least!


MV Pacific Explorer

The Casino is located on Deck 8 and can be reached via the Atrium lifts or the spiral stairs

Here we see one of the many Tables on the left and just a few of the Pokies in the room aft of the Bar

2: Dinning Venues:

MV Pacific Explorer

Waterfront Restaurant is either the one on Deck 5 or Deck 6 and is reached from aft of the Atrium


MV Pacific Explorer

Angelo’s Restaurant offering delicheos Italian dishes! Located on Deck 5 or Deck 6 and is reached from aft of the Atrium


MV Pacific Explorer

Dragon Lady Asian Restaurant has become a hit on the Pacific Aria & Eden!

Located beside Angelo’s on Deck 5 or Deck 6 and is reached from aft of the Atrium


MV Pacific Explorer

What can we say about the famed Luke Mangan’s “Salt Grill” the ultimate in fine cuisine!

The Salt Grill is located overlooking the ships pools


MV Pacific Explorer

The wonderful Pizzeria is yet another delicheos dinning option

and it is located forward on the top level of the Atrium on Deck 8

3: The Pantry:

MV Pacific Explorer

The Pantry is more like a Grand Food Court with food outlets, where the only difference is, for great food you do not have to pay!


MV Pacific Explorer

“Stix” offers a variety of great Asian food and it is very popular on ships that have “The Panty” on board there are various outlets such as

“Hook’s Fish & Chips,” the “Curry House,” “Kettle & Bun,” “Sugar Bar,” “Mexicana” and the “Fat Cow” just to name some!

As many P&O passengers have already discovered on the Pacific Aria, Pacific Eden and Pacific Jewel that “The Pantry” has replaced the old and tired Buffet. For a small number of past passengers it did not prove to be very popular, but soon enough, the majority began to realise that this Food Court Style venue was a far superior option. Why? For the variety was better and the food was fresher and it was generally hot! Indeed, you can still obtain food from different outlets, for some in the early stages did not think that this was possible, but of course it is still a completely free of charge dinning venue, thus eat as you desire!

Now let us look at the various Venues available in The Pantry:

Hook’s Fish & Chips offers crispy battered fish together with fresh hot chips that will have the perfect amount of crunch! There will be daily specials available, such as crumbed scallops, salt and pepper squid, and herbed calamari rings. And this is available for you on a P&O cruise!

Fat Cow welcomes all those who are genuine meat lovers, for here you will find quality cuts of meat that will delight you! The range is vast from beef scotch fillets will melt in your mouth. Then there are the delicheos racks of lamb, roast pork with crackling, tender carvings of beef, chicken, succulent legs of lamb and cured hams. Now, who would want that old style buffet when all this is available, and there is so much more to come!

Mexicana, you can have either a hard or a soft shall taco, filled with all your favourites, including the salsa, pickles, chilli as required and guacamole, together with some lime and cheese. Now that sounds like a great meal or possibly, an in-between meal snack?

Kettle & Bun offers freshly baked bread, and expertly made sandwiches with a variety of fresh toppings and salads, as well as mouth-watering soups. Thus, pending on taste of the day, you can mix and match and make a perfect combo meal.

Curry House, “Some Like it Hot” then others may like it mild, but what ever you choose the curries here are traditional and offer the classic flavours, including the Tandoori style. Meals come complete with homemade breads, chutneys, raitas and pickles. Enjoy.

Sugar Bar offers a variety of sweet cakes, pastries and individual desserts all freshly made onboard.

Outdoor Spaces, Pools and Activities:

MV Pacific Explorer

The Main Pool Deck - Deck 12


MV Pacific Explorer

Aft Pool with the Water slide far aft looking down to the Pool from Deck 14


MV Pacific Explorer

Here we see the Adults only Oasis retreat is located aft on Deck 12 and on 11 it has

a circular Pool below under the covering, as well as two Hot Tubs on either side


The lawn bowls and Adults only retreat is located aft on Deck 11

And can be reached via two stairs from the Oasis above

In Conclusion:

Having sailed on the ship whilst she was the Dawn Princess I can say that she is certainly an excellent sailing ship regardless the weather and having spent 106 days on her during just a single voyage, we did sail through all kinds of weather and the ship handled perfectly! In addition, her overall lay out is very pleasant, and she has a beautiful three level Atrium, which from what I have seen above will be much better still after her refit!

However, it would be amiss of me, if I did not mention that I did find one negative onboard her and it applies to her identical sisters built. The problem in question relates directly to their design, and therefore we cannot blame P&O for this problem, for they would have to rip our the heart of every deck out just to fix this, and that would be too costly, considering there is a much cheaper remedy for them, as well as a way to look after their guests, and that is to remove the upper berths in all inside cabins, for they are very, and I do mean very small!

To be very honest I will offer two opinions below; 1 = The Bad – being the Inside Cabins & 2 = The Good - Promenade Deck & the Ship in General.

Inside Cabins:

1. The Bad - Inside Cabins.

It should be noted that in general her interior cabins are very, and I do mean very small. I had emails from people saying that they found that the cabins on the Pacific Eden were small, but believe me, they are grandiose compared to those on this ship and here are the facts. Both the Pacific Eden and Pacific Aria were Holland America Line ships and thus they came from a luxury cruise line. The fact is that their smallest inside cabins were 182 sq-ft to 197 sq-ft, whilst those inside cabins on the Dawn Princes to become the Pacific Explorer are just 135 sq-ft to 148 sq-ft thus rather small indeed. In addition the bathrooms on the Eden and Aria are far superior!

In-fact, whilst I was on our Dawn Princess world voyage a number of the comedians seemed to have a feast when it came to the much maligned inside cabins and their tiny bathrooms in which it is almost impossible to dry yourself, as there is no room and often you just had to get out into the cabin do this. Thus you showered when are alone in the room and locked the door, or if you are travelling with your special loved one! These very small inside cabins are known as “broom closets” and the shower stall is so small, you can only just turn around in them and if you a little on the, well lets say,  plump side, you will be literally “wall to wall.” The toilet seems to be squeezed in and there is little to no floor space in the bath space, called a bathroom, which is an insult! Therefore, I suggest that these cabins are only ever purchased for 1. If you are a solo traveller; 2. A couple, or two travelling together, but NO MORE!

MV Pacific Explorer

Above: Here we see an inside cabin, which is shown on Princess Dawn Princess Deck Plan, but regardless the grade you are looking at, this same image comes up. But this photograph is in fact the most expensive Inside Cabin on the ship, being Grade A1, which is sized 148 sq-ft and is a genuine twin bedded cabin! However, considering that so many of the inside cabins are just 135 sq-ft and also upper berths, you will find there are no pictures nor fancy wallpaper and not even a chair as per the cabin shown, but just a hard stool. Yet, as I said, this photograph is shown for every inside cabin on the ship. But, as always, there is that typical disclaimer stating, that not all cabins will look like this, the only thing is that you will have to go and search the fine print to find it!

Let me tell you in the most simple of words, life will be a total hell for 3 or 4 persons in any of these very small and confined inside cabins, as the air-conditioning on this ship was never that great! Wardrobe space is also rather limited and it was never designed for four people in a room. I recall that there were four individual lady friends who were travelling together and they said that they made the biggest mistake in booking their inside cabin, as they had to get up scheduled, as there was not enough space for two at a time, the bath room was so small, it was a disaster, etc. However for short cruises these cabins will be fine, providing they are only sold as twin bedded rooms!

2. The Good - Promenade Deck.

With a large two excellent Swimming Pools on Deck 12 and ample Hot Tubs, A jogging track on Deck 14, as well as ample Deck spaces topside for a host of sports as well as net games, etc. But more so, the Pacific Explorer has a wide and a full walk-around Promenade Deck.

MV Pacific Explorer

Pacific Explorer has a genuine full walk-around Promenade Deck (7) - starboard side looking aft

Photograph by & © Reuben Goossens

Sadly, all of those new massive Carnival ships currently being built sadly have no walk-around Promenade decks as we know it, for tragically this space has been taken up by the ships 18 lifeboats/tenders and there is just over a metre or so where you can actually stand at the side of these ships and look at the ocean and this is only near the glass housing of the atrium and that is about it. There is a very narrow passageway behind the lifeboats, but the view to the sea is blocked by the lifeboats and it is mostly not accessible anyway.

Overall, the Pacific Explorer is and will be a superb ship and will offer a completely new style of cruising for P&O Australia, just as the Pacific Aria and Eden have done, and I have sailed on the Aria three times to date and it has simply wonderful! Thus get ready to book, for the Pacific Explorer will be a popular ship, as she has so much to offers, including the new children’s and younger generation activities which are now available onboard!



*Pacific Pearl’s Future


MV Pacific Pearl is seen arriving in Sydney on a very foggy day!

MV Pacific Pearl has been with P&O Cruises Australia since 2010, and she has been a very popular ship and I am certainly very sad to see her go, personally I would have preferred for the Pacific Dawn to have been disposed off, for when I last sailed on her she was sadly not in the best of shape, being a bit of a rust bucket to say the least, but for some reason, I would assume that there was better money on offer for the Pearl, being a ship in perfect shape!

Therefore, with the arrival of the Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden in 2015, and the newest arrival of the exciting Pacific Explorer in 2017, as well as a the ex MV Carnival Splendor due to arrive in Sydney in 2019, the Pacific Pearl has been sold and she has been obtained by a British based company named; “Cruise & Maritime Voyages” (CMV), who have announced that her new name will be … MV Columbus.

Here we see a promotional image of the Pacific Pearl with her new livery and renamed Columbus for CMV Cruises UK

Image provided by & © Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) England

This concludes Page One ~ On Page Two you will locate MV Pacific Explorer’s Deck Plans and her Accommodations:


P&O Cruises Australia - INDEX:

MV Pacific Explorer:       77,441 Gross Tons – 1,998 passengers (lower berths).

MV Pacific Jewel:       70,310 Gross Tons - 1,950 passengers (all berths).

MV Pacific Dawn 2017:       70,285 Gross Tons - 2,000 passengers (all berths).

MV Pacific Aria Reviews:       55,820 Gross Tons - 1,500 passengers (all berths).

*MV Pacific Navigator:       114,147 Gross Tons - 3,780 passengers (all berths) due in 2019.

*A provisional name:       Chosen by Reuben Goossens; Author of &, however this name may not be used by P&O Australia, but it would be the perfect name for this amazing ship!


Return to the - - INDEX


To Email the author … Click Here


Classic Liner Enthusiasts visit … &

Where the ships of the past make history & the 1914 built MV Doulos Story

Where you will discover over 700 Classic Passenger & Passenger-Cargo Liners!


Photographs on & .net are: 1. By the author. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by Shipping Companies and their Publicity Companies as well as by private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided without details regarding the photographer concerned., therefore I hereby invite if owners of those images to be so kind and make them-selves known to me, in order that due credit may be given!!

This notice covers all pages, although, I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displayed on each page, that is, when a page is updated!

Cruise-Australia is owned/operated and © Copyright by Reuben Goossens - All Rights Reserved