Pacific Explorer (34944590483) (cropped).jpg
Pacific Explorer in Sydney, Australia, 2017

Dawn Princess (1997–2017)

Pacific Explorer (2017–present)
Owner: Carnival plc
Operator: P&O Cruises Australia
Port of registry:
Route: Australia and New Zealand
Builder: Fincantieri, Italy
Cost: US$300 million
Yard number: Monfalcone 5955
Launched: 11 July 1996
Maiden voyage: 10 May 1997
Refit: June 2009
Status: In service
Notes: [1][2]
General characteristics
Class and type: Sun-class cruise ship
Length: 856 ft (261 m)
Beam: 105.6 ft (32.2 m)
Draught: 27 ft (8.2 m)
Decks: 10 passenger decks
Deck clearance: 10 ft 6.3 in (3.208 m)
Installed power: 46,080 kW (combined)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric; two shafts
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph) (maximum)
Capacity: 1,998 passengers
Crew: 924
Notes: [1][3]

Pacific Explorer (previously known as Dawn Princess) is a cruise ship operated since June 2017 by P&O Cruises Australia, a cruise line brand owned by the Carnival Corporation & plc. It is a Sun-class cruise ship built by Fincantieri, Italy, in 1997, and features eight restaurants, four swimming pools, five hot tubs/spas/whirlpools, seven lounges and bars, and two children centres.

She is the sister ship to Sun Princess, P&O Cruises' Oceana (former Ocean Princess) and Sea Princess. Pacific Explorer and Sun Princess differ from Oceana and Sea Princess by having exterior bridge wings. Oceana and Sea Princess have internal bridge wings.

Princess Cruises

Ports of call

Dawn Princess in Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska, United States. Taken in 2006 from Sun Princess

Dawn Princess was targeted to replace Pacific Princess, sailing Australian waters between October 2006 and March 2007, to become the largest ship ever to be based in Australia, but these plans were eventually replaced by Sun Princess as well as being served by Pacific Dawn (previously christened Regal Princess). Dawn Princess began sailing in Australia as of 24 September 2008 with a 28-day itinerary circumnavigating the country, after a month serving Hawaii, Tahiti, and the South Pacific.[4] From this point on, Dawn Princess remained in Australia permanently sailing from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth alongside Sun Princess under the Princess brand until it was transferred to P&O Cruises Australia and renamed Pacific Explorer.


In June 2009, Dawn Princess was dry-docked in the Port of Brisbane, Australia, for refurbishment.[5]

In June 2017 Pacific Explorer was dry-docked in Sembawang Singapore, for refurbishment and re-branding from Dawn Princess. February 2020 Pacific Explorer Dry Dock for February 12 to February 27 for refurbishments and maintenance

Accidents and incidents

On 31 October 2011, it was announced that a technical fault in the propulsion system caused the ship to sail at reduced speed, which would cause a delay in the departure of its next cruise scheduled to depart from Sydney on 1 November 2011. This fault was not deemed to compromise safety of passengers and crew.[citation needed]

On 25 September 2017, it was announced on board that there had been an outbreak of gastroenteritis onboard Pacific Explorer. However, at this time there was an outbreak of gastroenteritis in Sydney. This suggested the presence of a norovirus on board the ship. The following decks were affected: Decks 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14 which contained the Pantry Buffet Restaurant. To help limit the spread, hand washing was mandatory all over the ship. In the two teenager kids clubs every hour the rooms would be cleared and disinfected and hand sanitizer was passed around every 30 minutes. Cruise operations continued as normal and the itinerary was not changed.

P&O Cruises Australia

Pacific Explorer at Sydney Harbour in November 2017

On 7 October 2015, Carnival announced that Dawn Princess would be transferred in May 2017 to its Australian subsidiary P&O Cruises Australia as Pacific Explorer.[6] Dawn Princess entered drydock on 26 May 2017 in Singapore (Sembawang) for conversion to Pacific Explorer to be released for cruises on 22 June.[7]

It was re-registered to the United Kingdom and arrived in Sydney, New South Wales on 19 June for a 3-day stay before conducting its maiden voyage to the Pacific Islands. She was christened by the Nickelodeon Studios character Dora the Explorer on 2 July 2017 at Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal after arriving from its maiden voyage.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Advanced Masterdata for the Vessel Dawn Princess". VesselTracker. 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  2. ^ Ward, Douglas (2005). Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. Singapore: Berlitz. ISBN 978-9812467393.
  3. ^ Ward, Douglas (2008). Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. London: Berlitz. pp. 335–336. ISBN 978-981-268-564-3.
  4. ^ "Princess Cruises : Australia Coastal". Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Dawn Princess Drydock". Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Dawn Princess to be Transferred to P&O Australia". Cruise Industry News. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  7. ^ "P&O Unveils exciting new features on Pacific Explorer". 7 July 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  8. ^ Staff, C. I. N. (2 July 2017). "Pacific Explorer Christened in Sydney".

External links