This was a first cruise experience for my partner and I, to give some context, we have no children, earn a very good wage and holiday a couple of times a year, usually in Europe. Our friends and family had recommended cruising so we thought we would give it a go as a quick break away.
We embarked in Sydney to a room that was on first glance clean but small, however after a little closer look I noticed dried blood on the drinks tray and then we noticed dried blood all over the sheets.....it was a nice introduction to our room.
We went for a walk around the ship, and found the golf driving range - 3x old squashed plastic balls and a couple of rusted Iron's, the ping pong table - in constant use by every child on the boat, the hand ball court again in constant use by all the teenagers, adult only pool area - in constant use by children, the shops were terrible, very limited in what was available ie 6 books to choose from, no magazines and lots of clothes with elastic waistbands.
We were unable to find any of the specialist restaurants mentioned in the brochures and then we told that the 'Steakhouse' is a partitioned off area of the buffet that only opens at night. There are no other restaurants, so slim pickings if you are a vegetarian like me. So we settled on the deck to watch Sydney disappear with a (over-priced) cocktail in a plastic glass and listened to a very loud 80's band.
We went to the formal dining restaurant on the first evening, the service was disjointed. Food appalling - prawn cocktail for me, the prawns were not Australian or NZ and looked like the type used in Fried rice - tiny, frozen and tasteless. My partner had a Spring Rolls - undercooked, tasteless and fatty. The mains were just as bad and desert was sugar with a extra serve of sugar. The food and drinks were the biggest disappointment to me, we were travelling from a country that has fantastic natural foods to a country renowned for its food and on-board everything was imported from a cheap port in Asia, powdered milk, powdered scrambled eggs, stale bread, reconstituted mashed potato. I have never eaten food as bad as on this cruise even in a hospital canteen. It was terrible. We ended up buying cheese and fruit in Port and smuggling wine on board so we could drink and eat on our balcony.
New Zealand is lovely a place of great natural beauty and welcoming people, but we jumped ship and headed home after 6 days of our 14 night cruise as we could not stand the boat a single day longer.