In its former life as Regal Princess, the ship had an acceptable number of rooms with balconies: 184 out of a total 795. By today's standards, however, that's not many, especially for a ship that chases summer weather around Australia and the South Pacific. But the last two makeovers have made major improvements to accommodations, including the addition of 20 family-friendly interconnecting cabins and upgrades to the suites and mini-suites.
Of the 795 accommodations, 171 are inside cabins, 440 are standard outside cabins, and 134 are outside cabins with private balconies. There are also 36 mini-suites and 14 suites --all with private balconies.
All cabins include small safes, hairdryers, bedside tables, work desks, shower, shampoo dispenser, telephone, table and lounge chair and unstocked fridges as well as televisions of varying sizes. There is a range of movie and TV shows as well as in-ship info channels, kids movies, destination promotional channels, several Australian news channels and the BBC.
Inside: These cabins are darker because they have no windows, but if all you need to do is sleep in your room, they are ideal. Many older couples and regular cruisers prefer them, as they are such good value for money. The inside cabins, spread across Decks 5 to 11, are the same size and configuration as standard outsides, but they can accommodate up to four passengers. Five wheelchair-accessible inside rooms are located on Deck 11, plus another one on Deck 8.
Ocean-view: Standard outsides, located across seven decks, measure 17.6 square metres (189 square feet, with either picture windows or portholes). They sleep between two and four by way of a queen-sized bed, which can be configured as twins, and one or two pull-down upper berths. Some standard rooms connect to other quad-share outside staterooms, ideal for larger families and groups of friends. Double-bed or twin-bed cabins are spacious enough, but with two suitcases and two roll-on bags much of the spare space is utilised. There is ample closet space for two people, with nine closet drawers and eight bedside drawers, plus a small cabin safe, a desk and chair, and one chair. There is no minibar, but there is a mini fridge. Four of the oceanview cabins on Deck 8 are wheelchair-accessible rooms with an obstructed view.
Balcony: The obvious difference is the open balcony, which is great to have for some extra space, particularly for those travelling with children. The rooms, on Decks 10 and 11, are slightly bigger than ocean-view cabins, at 19.5 square metres (210 square feet) and sleep two, although a lower berth can be removed to accommodate a cot.
The overall decor is easy on the eye, with a blue-and-white carpet, cream coloured drapes, and off-white walls adorned with a couple of pieces of artwork. The only other freestanding furniture is a small easy chair, a desk chair and a small high table. Tiny and old-fashioned bathrooms provide an unwelcome reminder of Pacific Dawn's heritage but there is ample storage for toiletries and good water pressure in the shower cubicle, which has a low step. Balconies are narrow with a door opening outward, two upright chairs and a small table.
Deck 10 has six balcony cabins with three- or four-berth options, and 124 double-bed cabins. Deck 11 has three wheelchair-accessible balcony cabins.
Mini-Suite: Mini suites are substantially larger with a more open balcony and much larger bathrooms. The 36 mini-suites on Deck 11 are 34 square metres (366 square feet). Most mini suites sleep up to three people with a single rollaway bed in the sitting room area. Extra perks include bathrobes and slippers, fresh flowers and fruit, a welcome glass of Champagne, turndown service, and complimentary shoeshine.
If you have mobility issues, it is worth noting mini-suites have the shower over a bathtub. There are numerous grab rails but it is a high step into, and out of, the bath. If in doubt, opt for one of the two mini-suites configured for passengers with mobility issues
Suite: The 14 suites are 51.8 square metres (557.5 square feet), each with a deep, long balcony and outdoor furniture. Located on Deck 11 forward, suites sleep up to four people using a rollaway bed and a cot; the one exception is a cabin configured for physically challenged cruisers, which sleeps two. Suites each have a roomy living area, a bedroom with a spacious walk-in closet and a large bathroom with a tub and separate shower. A separate toilet is a bonus as it can also be accessed from a doorway at the entrance to the suite.
Amenities include flat-screen televisions, iPod docking stations, DVD players, Nespresso coffee machines, and perks such as a glass of sparkling wine on arrival, complimentary laundry service, complimentary bottled water, personalised stationery and an invitation to the senior officers' private cocktail party on cruises of five nights or longer. Room service breakfast is complimentary for suite passengers, as is the daily in-cabin afternoon tea.
Accessible: Pacific Dawn has 13 wheelchair-accessible cabins. These include wider doorways, no thresholds into the bathroom and more handrails around the bathroom. Wheelchair-accessible rooms are twin only.