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Dawn Princess Fremantle to Singapore Cruise

Home > Perth > Romantic | Family | Cruises | Travel
by Ashayla Webster (subscribe)
Ashayla is a freelancer of all kinds; model, photographer, stylist, designer, writer and singer.
Published April 21st 2016
Cruises, not as expensive as you think

$1,750 for twelve nights' accommodation. $1,750 covered breakfast, lunch and a four course gourmet dinner every day, with room service or snacks on demand. $1,750 for entertainment; comedians, dancers, musicians, live game shows, movies under the stars, educational lectures, arts and crafts, pools, spas, dance parties and full access to a gym. $1,750 for transport from Fremantle to Singapore with stops in Bali, Kuala Lumpar, Penang, Langkawi and Phuket.

My partner and I stopped for a photo in the atrium.

$1,750. That's just $146 a day to live on board the Dawn Princess of Princess Cruise Lines.

There's this conception that cruising is expensive, something for the other side of society, those silver spooners, and I suppose in many cases this thought is quite true, but cruising can also be done on a budget. Did I mention that I only spent $1,750?

I never thought of myself as the cruising type and my partner and I were a little hesitant about our trip right until our first night on the ship, we were off on a family holiday with my parents and sister after all. Right away it seemed that we were not the usual suspects as we were twice mistaken for crew members (by actual crew members) before we had even made it off the gangway. At twenty-three and a rather baby faced twenty-nine, we were probably the youngest adults there. There was a great deal more children than we expected, even a few teenagers, but no one around our age. It may sound depressing at first, but it suited us just fine, secretly, we're really an old married couple. I've since found out the Carnival Cruises cater especially to our age group.

Amazing food!

Being on a ship, and the daughter of a sailor that has seen the insides of many ships and boats, we were expecting the cabins to be quite snug and were surprised to find how spacious they were. We had opted for an interior room as this was the cheapest option. I think the cabin actually ended up being larger than the hotel room we had booked in Singapore! Quite satisfied that we would not be living on top of each other….well kind of, there were bunk beds and my partner instantly reverted to his childhood days as he claimed the top bunk…we set off to explore the ship before our twelve day "Treasures of Asia" journey.

Talk about decadence! I have never stepped foot inside of a five star hotel. I always felt their exteriors to be quite harsh and cold, the porter's eyes following you as you passed, silently judging your Kmart jeans. Well, I'm sure they don't actually judge, but the general exterior of them have kept me well away from the fancier of hotels and shops. Though the interior of the Dawn Princess was more decadent then any place my partner and I had been before, it felt comfortable, much more comfortable than I expected it too. Normally, expensive things give off the "don't touch" vibe, a flash back of my mother telling me to put my hands behind my back when entering certain stores I'm sure, and though the fondness of mirrors on the ceilings was a little comical to us, the general décor was inviting and screamed luxury you can actually take your shoes off and put your feet up on. The crew members were even more inviting. Everywhere we went we were greeted with a warm smile, polite nod of the head and small greeting. The smiles were contagious too.

Eventually, after a lap of every deck and watching the ship pull away from port, we wandered back to the cabin to change for dinner. Swapping my jeans and geeky t-shirts for a dress simply to eat felt a little…much…at first, but after a few days it actually started to feel nice. Dinner became something even more special then the amazing food and, let's face it, there's something romantic about low twinkling lights, a flower on the table and your partner in a dress shirt holding your hand as you sip water from a wine glass. I think dinner quickly became my favourite part of every day.

Upon entering the gorgeous dining room I would be greeted, a server would pull out my chair for me and place a napkin on my lap, before I could blink my water glass was full, a basket of fresh baked bread was placed on the table and a menu was handed to me. My family and I would deliberate over meal choices, could we fit a full four course meal, what drink would best compliment the meal, quizzing each other to see what the price of each dish would be in a restaurant back home etc. The staff were very helpful in their suggestions and explanations of items I had never heard of as well.

When the dishes were placed before us they were simply stunning, a work of art in just presentation. Multiple foodgasms occurred every time food hit my tongue. I'm salivating just remembering. To be honest, I think our wait staff, who remained the same every night, were slightly amused by us yokels and how enthralled we were with our meals. They were only too happy to oblige when we asked for a second helping. One night, they cheered on my partner as he determined to consume three servings of dessert. For breakfast, lunch and dinner we had the choice of dining or buffet, we usually opted for the dining as we preferred the atmosphere and quality of food. Snacks were forever available and, should you be lying on deck by the pool, staff would wheel around trolleys of ice and beer or cookies and milk.

My sister dancing on deck on a themed night.

Whilst we were never short of food, we were equally abundant in entertainment options. Every evening the "Princess Patter" would arrive in our room to inform us of the goings on about the ship for the next day. We would usually start our mornings with some trivia, but there were exercise classes, lectures of the ports we would attend, classes on playing poker or photography, art auctions and that was usually before lunch. There were movies in the theatre and again under the stars on deck at night.

There were dance classes, game shows, treasure hunts, get-togethers, karaoke and the more spectacular dance shows, professional musicians and comedians came out at night. There was always live music somewhere in the ship, from the stylish and poised Ukrainian string quartet, to the cheeky Irish piano-man, to the rocking band "Reprise". There were themed nights and parties and that was just the entertainment put on by the crew. The ship itself had a number of pools, spas, a gym, a day spa, basketball court, shuffleboard spots, a nightclub, casino, numerous bars, a library, art gallery, basketball court, internet cafe and finally televisions in the room if one felt more inclined to lounging in private.

Travelling from port to port, including customs, was handled entirely by the crew. Anything we needed to know was granted to us, forms to be signed were placed in our staterooms and many passengers took the options of booking tours in each location. My partner and I attended a tour in Kualar Lumpar as the ship pulled into Port Klang, about a ninety minute drive from the major city. This tour cost us $99 and included everything. My hand only entered my wallet when we found ourselves in a market place with free time for some shopping.

My family winning an onboard game...

Of course, there are further costs involved when cruising. For instance, drinks are not included on the Princess ships, though there are various packages available and the price of drinks is relatively low. My father spent, on average, $7 per spirit and mixer (I know right?!) and the cocktails were not much more expensive. My partner and I, as non-drinkers, opted for the ultimate soda package. This package granted us unlimited juice, tea, hot chocolate, soft drink and mocktails for the entirety of our cruise for the low, low cost of $8 a day. I can safely say we well and truly abused the unlimited nature of this package. Who wouldn't when hot chocolates in our home town are $4 each and mocktails start at around $10!

On top of the $1,750 we did spend some money on souvenirs, a tour and drinks, but it turns out we had over budgeted anyway. My bank account was quite happy with me! All in all, the cruise component of our trip cost my partner and I, individually, less than $2,000. Well, it did once travel insurance compensated me for a quick trip to the Doctors.

Taking into account accommodation for twelve nights, the abundance and quality of food, the various entertainments, our sudden mocktail addiction and the travel from Fremantle to Singapore with multiple stops, every penny was well spent. The value for money surprised us greatly and this, along with the experience we had, has greatly changed our opinion of cruising. Despite having returned to our day jobs for just under a week, my partner had already decided upon our next big holiday and even a mini one until then, both on cruise ships. I think he's addicted.

Crossing the line celebration

Quick tips

  • You can save money on your room by sharing it with a third or fourth person. This can drop your costs from $100 to $500 each.

  • Why pay for a larger room? Our interior stateroom was a good size and very closes to the major entertainment points.

  • Cruises run a cashless system, with everything billed directly to your account. You can keep an eye on your spendings by checking your account regularly.

  • Keep an eye out for deals on websites like Cruise Critic and Cruise About.

  • Australian cruises do not have alcohol packages, but they do have other beverage packages that can save you money.

  • Skip the Cruise run tours where you can and explore by yourself.

    The sunrises and sunsets were stunning.
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    Your Comment
    Great article! I did the same cruise in reverse last year on the Sea Princess. Reading this makes me want to do it all over again!
    by MaggieVP (score: 2|609) 1882 days ago
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