we had booked this cruise 12 months ago and was quite expecting it to go all out for "american christmas" and "new years eve" whilst being in the middle of the ocean.
we travelled to sydney by two hire car's as there was six of us and arrived at circular quay to take back the hire car. i did not like the fact we had to wait 4 hours to get into our room as we had a lot to cart around the ship until the time we where allowed to our room. as the other p&0 boat we have been on we could go straight to our room with no worries.
my daughter recieved her luggage bag before us and we had to wait about 2 hours before our luggage arrived lucky we did not need clothes for dinner. we had my time dinning in the restuarant but come across a few problems on the first couple of days and adventually got it sorted out. the waiters and the drinks waiter was excellent and our food was always hot at dinner time.
the coffee was not the best by the time we got to new zealand i was wanting a proper coffee and was having coffee withdrawals and constant head aches.
the fridge in our cabin was not actually a fridge it was just a cooler we had to ask to get a fridge put into our cabin as we needed to store medical products for a family member.
embarkation was quick onto the ship and at one of our ports we had a problem with the security officer's not watching what they where doing on embarkation and the word was said " put all your items cameras and items into your bag before boarding" this was done and then they were jamming bags into the converybelt and pushing bags roughly whilst speaking on phone and cb radio and then our bag and camera dropped off the gang way onto the ground. unaware of the camera being broken until we got up stairs we then went down to customer relations and spoke to them about it, still unresolved but was leant a camera whilst on board until the end of the cruise. so ensure you put your camera into the containers as you board and make sure someone get's it off the converyer belt at the other end.
there was an advertisement on the tv in the cabin about doing the "all access tour" this was very disappointing as it was not advertised enough for passengers who really wanted to do this tour and then when enquired at the desk when boarded the staff was unaware of how to direct passengers to the right person to help them with this enquiry. and then when we went back about it, it was already full and no space for people who really wanted to do it.
the staff at the customer relations desk are all at different levels of answering information and unaware of how to answer customers appropriatley and have to refer to other staff members for answers and are trying to train other staff whilst you are enquiring information from them.
the lifts where good but was always full of people cramming into them and the children pressing the buttons so it would not stop on the floor you wanted it to stop on.
kids club was excellent great staff and always excellent with the children we only have one child and she loved the staff at kids club and always wanted to be in kids club socialising with the children and staff. we would like to thank "no hair Pierre and step up steph and the rest of kids club staff for their excellent care of our daughter whilst on board the voyager of the seas".
cabin staff: our cabin staff was great we arrived back from port days with towel animals in our room on most days and she got to know our names quite easily even with the lack of her english language. ming rocks.
christmas on the boat was not what we expected it to be, santa arrived in studio b to give present to all the children on board the boat and they gave my child a "explorer's lunch box" (from kids club). during the days before christmas there was not much carol singing or anything really associated with christmas other than a big tree set up in the promenade where you can take photos of. and christmas dinner was not what you can normally have there was christmas puddging on the special red list for dinner in the dinning rooms.
but other than that i think they let the australians down with the way they done christmas. and not enough christmas decorations in the dinning room.
We where suppose to go on a bus tour to the the lord of the rings but we missed our bus, as our friend told us the wrong embarkation time for the bus. so we walked around to the i site and got on the "hop on hop off bus" and had a tour around auckland and then we decided to hop off at sky tower.
so we went and had a look at the sky tower and went up to the main observatory deck and took some great pictures of us standing over the top of the voyager of the seas. we had some nice lunch at the cafe in sky tower and then wandered back to the ship by our own means.
next time we are going to check out the tram that we found from looking down from sky tower apparently it is still in action and we want a ride.
We went on the green bus hop on hop off tour bus into dunedin and these guys are excellent. "ralph owns the company and has a couple of buses that run this excellent tour" they take you to the best stops in dunedin and you can get out take some pictures and then hop back on and go somewhere else. you get a sticker to wear and you can hop on and off the bus as you like as long as you know when the last bus is to get you back to the ship.
There is a full commentary done by the driver whilst driving around on this hop on hop off bus.
we stopped near the steepest street in dunedin and had photos taken and then went to the tourist shop and you can get a certificate for saying you walked up it whilst you only took photos at the bottom of it.
the taxi's in dunedin suck as we went on the hop on hop off bus to the museum and then we could not get back to the ship as easy as we wished to so we tried calling a taxi but they where too busy taking other passengers around, we ended up walking back half way to the i site tourist centre and then flagged down a taxi for the ones who where struggling to get back. and waited paitently to go back on the hop on hop off bus back to the ship.
great cheap souveniors from the chemist next to the i site tourist shop.
we also went to picton and went on a tour with the maori experience and went out to marlbourgh to blenhiem it was a great tour and the maori warrior and dancers where excellent.
we got photos taken with them and had morning tea provided to us and found this was a great tour to take with children and family and they are very adaptable to new comers and the chief that was picked from our bus tour was good. and we even done the "hungi" the way that the maori greet people.
i would love to go back and do this tour again down the track as they are only starting to get this a operational tour and it is family based maori experience. they sung and danced and the performers where only children and they were excellent.
we then went to "the vines" for afternoon tea and had ice cream and got to have a look through and taste the fudge and wine if we so decided too.
we travelled by a tour to the tu papa thermal baths / geysers
and we walked around with a tour guide to learn of the maouri history and to see the kiwi in it's natural habitat.
it was great the air smelt like rotten egg's and it only took a hour to walk around with our tour guide around the site and then we learnt how to do the hawka by the tourist guide and to take pictures of the geysers and the geysers let off spraying water at us and it was quite cold water even though the rocks where we had previously stood where quite hot.
the most rememorable moment of this trip was the other two in the front seat who had come from down the back of the bus they slept and snored all the way to the site and then they slept and snored all the way back to the blue thermal baths for afternoon tea. so they did not really get to see much of routeroa.
we had a great driver "ron" who drove us past mt monuagneua on the way back to the ship. it was like pitt street reminded us of the foreshore around newcastle in summer.
we independently went around wellington by catching the shuttle bus to the tourist i site centre and then went and done the cable car ride to the top of the hill and then had a look around and went back down and found a nice old style pub and had some expensive battered fish but was well worth it. And then went to the tu papa museum and walked around their it was very interactive for the children and then went back onto the ship to be ready to sail off again. we seen a massive sting ray in the water near the museum where the children climb up the some stairs and can dive into the water.
there is also a cab you can pay to take you around the sites of wellington for $60.00 it was a pity we did not know about this before we walked around wellington.