Pacific Dawn (ship)

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Pacific Dawn in Port Vila, Vanuatu in 2007.
Name: Pacific Dawn
Regal Princess (1991-2007)
Owner: P&O Cruises Australia
Princess Cruises (1992-2007)
Astamar (1991-1992)
Operator: P&O Cruises Australia
Princess Cruises (1991-2007)
Port of registry: Template:GBR (2007)
Template:BER, Hamilton
Template:LBR, Monrovia, 1992-2007
Template:ITA, Palermo (1991-1992)
Builder: Fincantieri
Monfalcone, Italy
Cost: US$276.8 million
Yard number: 5840
Launched: 29 March 1990
Acquired: 20 July 1991
Maiden voyage: August 1991
Identification: Call sign: 2AGH7
IMO number: 8521232
MMSI no.: 235059368
Status: Operational
Notes: [1][2][3]
General characteristics
Draught: 7.80 m (25 ft 7 in)
Decks: 11 passenger decks
Speed: 22.5 kn (41.67 km/h) maximum speed
Capacity: 1910 passengers
Crew: 696
Notes: [4][3]
General characteristics
(as built)[2]
Class and type: Crown Princess class cruise ship
Tonnage: 69,845 GRT
Displacement: 6896 DWT
Length: 245.10 m (804 ft 2 in)
Beam: 32.25 m (105 ft 10 in)
Draught: 7.90 m (25 ft 11 in)
Installed power: 4 × 8-cylinder MAN-B&W diesel engines
combined 24000 kW
Propulsion: Two propellers
Speed: 19.5 kn (36.11 km/h)
Capacity: 1900 passengers
Notes: [3]

Pacific Dawn is a cruise ship owned and operated by P&O Cruises Australia. She was built in 1991 by the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy as Regal Princess. The ship was originally ordered by Sitmar Cruises, but delivered to Princess Cruises, and later sold to the fleet of P&O Cruises Australia.[2]

After her multi-million-dollar refurbishment in Singapore from Regal Princess to Pacific Dawn, she operates from Australia to South Pacific destinations. She is the first ship of the P&O Cruises Australia fleet with an all-white hull, to mark P&O's 75th anniversary in Australia.[citation needed]

Concept and construction

Sitmar Cruises had started an ambitious newbuilding programme for the North American cruise market in 1985. Following an abortive attempt to order ships from the Italy-based Fincantieri, the company had placed an order for one ship, Sitmar Fairmajesty, with the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in France. Sitmar were planning to order additional vessels however, and the Italian government—owners of Fincantieri—were eager to have these ships built by an Italian shipyard. Following more successful negotiations between Sitmar and Fincantieri, the former placed an order for two 70,000 GT (gross tonnage) cruise ships with the latter, to be delivered in 1990 and 1991.[5] Although the ship ships maintained the same basic layout of the Sitmar Fairmajesty, their exteriors were redesigned by the Italian architect Renzo Piano.[6]

In 1988, while the two new ships ordered from Finatieri were in early stages of construction, Sitmar Cruises was sold to P&O Group and the decision was made to transfer the three Sitmar ships under construction to the fleet of P&O's subsidiary Princess Cruises.[6] The second of the ships under construction at Fincantieri was launched from drydock on 29 March 1990 and named Regal Princess.[1] Following successful sea trials on 5 June 1991 the Regal Princess was delivered on 20 July 1991 to Astamar, a subsidiary of P&O Group.[1][2]

Service history

1991—2007: Regal Princess

Following delivery the Regal Princess sailed to New York City, where she was officially named by the former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in on 8 August 1991.[citation needed] Subsequently the Regal Princess entered service by joining her sister ship Crown Princess in cruising out of Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean during the northern hemisphere winter, transferring to the Alaskan trade for the summer months.[1] In 1992 the ownership of the vessel was transferred from Astamar to Princess Cruises and she was transferred from the Italian registry under Liberian flag.[2]

During June 1998 during a series of cruises to Alaska, a large number of passengers on the Regal Princess were affected by a viral infection, some seriously. Following failed attempts to control the infections while retaining the ship in service, the ship was withdrawn from service for a week from 5 July 1998 onwards. During this time all linen, towels and surfaces the passenger might come in contact with were disinfected by utilising ultraviolet light and chlorine solutions, destroying the source of the infections.[7]

In 2000 the Regal Princess received a major refurbishment.[citation needed] From the same year onwards she spent the southern hemisphere summer months cruising out of Sydney, taking over Princess Cruises' Australian itenaries following the transfer of another former Sitmar ship, the Sky Princess, to P&O Cruises Australia as Pacific Sky.[8]

While on a cruise from Sydney to destinations in Asia on 15 March 2001, the Regal Princess experienced difficulties when entering the port of Cairns, due to high winds. While she made it safely to the harbour, it was decided to postpone her departure by eight hours, allowing the winds to subdue and more favourable tidal conditions. Despite these precautions the Regal Princess was grounded while outbound from Cairns, but was able to free herself under her own power after just four minutes. The ship then returned to Cairns for preliminary inspections. Due to sea conditions the hull of the ship could not inspected by divers in Cairns, and the ship was allowed to sail to Darwin for a full inspection of the hull. In Darwin minor damage to the ship's bulbous bow was discovered, but this did not threathen her safety and the Regal Princess was cleared to continue her cruise. A subsequent study to the causes of the accident concluded the Regal Princess was too large to safely traverse the narrow channel leading in Cairns, and that "commercial incentives -- may have influenced the approval process to exceed the limits of a reasonable safety envelope."[8] For the 2003 northern hemisphere summer season the Regal Princess was repositioned for cruises on the Mediterranean and Baltic Sea.[9] While on a repositioning cruise from Copenhagen to New York in August 2003 a number of passengers and crew on board the Regal Princess were infected by the Norwalk virus. The number of infected people on board eventually rose to 217, and the decision was made for the ship to drop planned calls in Greenland and Newfoundland in favour of sailing directly to New York. By the time the ship arrived in New York on 2 September 2003, one day ahead of schedule, only four people on board were still suffering from the virus. The ship was again disinfected and was able to depart on her next scheduled cruise without problems.[10]

In 2004 the Regal Princess was planned to join her sister ship A'Rosa Blu (ex-Crown Princess) in the fleet of A'Rosa Cruises, P&O Cruises' brand aimed at the German market, but the transfer was cancelled following the sale of A'Rosa Cruises to Arkona 2003.[10][11] In late 2006 the Regal Princess was due to transfer to the fleet of Ocean Village, but this too was cancelled.[11] Instead, the Regal Princess was transferred to the fleet of P&O Cruises Australia in late 2007.[2][11]

2007 onwards: Pacific Dawn

File:Pacific Dawn.jpg
Pacific Dawn docked at Wharf 8, Darling Harbour, Sydney on 7 March 2008.

Following an extensive refurbishment, the Regal Princess was renamed Pacific Dawn on 8 November 2007 by gold medalist[clarification needed] Cathy Freeman. She said: "I name this ship Pacific Dawn, may God bless her and all who sail in her." Then the traditional champagne bottle breaking over the hull took place. Following was a light and firework show. VIPs were invited to be on board during the ceremony and party. The night's events raised funds for Freeman's new charity.

In December 2009, the Pacific Dawn will be moved to its new home port in Brisbane to clear Sydney for the Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl to be based in Sydney.

In May 2010 the Pacific Dawn went into dry dock in Brisbane for extensive refurbishment.


The distinctive curved forwards superstructure of the ship, designed by Renzo Piano, was inspired by the dolphin.[6] Unlike the previous P&O Cruises Australia ships, the Pacific Dawn has an all-white hull, to mark P&O's 75th anniversary in Australia.[citation needed]

Incidents and accidents

Sydney swine flu outbreak

On 25 May 2009, the Pacific Dawn docked in Sydney Harbour. It was reported that 130 of approximately 2,000 passengers had flu-like symptoms and two five year-old boys subsequently tested positive for Swine flu. New South Wales Health authorities ordered all 2,000 passengers from the ship to stay at home, or in hotel rooms, for 7 days as a form of self-imposed quarantine.

The cases of Swine flu from the Pacific Dawn were the first reported contagious cases of Swine flu in Sydney.

On 26 May 2009, it was reported that 14 passengers from the Pacific Dawn had tested positive for Swine flu. At the time, as measured against the confirmed cases for nation States, the Pacific Dawn carried the 14th largest number of confirmed cases. It ranked ahead of the nations of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Brazil and New Zealand.

Gateway Bridge near miss

On 10 April 2010 Pacific Dawn lost power on the Brisbane River on approach to the Gateway Bridge. The pilot and tugs managed to be bring the ship to a full stop within 70m of the newly built second structure and the dead ship was towed back to Hamilton, Queensland where an investigation later determined a failure was due to a blown fuse from a saltwater leak.[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Plowman, Peter (2004). The Sitmar Liners: Past and Present. Hong Kong: Rosenberg. p. 202. ISBN 1877058254. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Asklander, Micke. "M/S Regal Princess (1991)" (in Swedish). Fakta om Fartyg. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ward, Douglas (2008). Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. London: Berlitz. pp. 510–511. ISBN 9789812685643. 
  4. "Pacific Dawn". P&O Cruises Australia. Retrieved 2008-03-30. 
  5. Plowman (2006). pp. 178-179.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Plowman (2006). pp. 195-196.
  7. Plowman (2006). p. 137.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Plowman (2006). pp. 249-253.
  9. Plowman (2006). pp. 261-262.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Plowman (2006). pp. 269-272.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Boyle, Ian. "Regal Princess". Simplon Postcards. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  12. AAP writers (April 10, 201). "Cruise ship Pacific Dawn stops just 70m from Gateway Bridge". The Courier Mail. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 

External links

de:Pacific Dawn fr:Pacific Dawn