We arrived in Auckland a couple of days prior to the cruise. Caught the airport bus into town which dropped us off about a block from the Crowne Plaza, which was a 10 minute walk from the pier. We spent the two days recovering from the flight, touring around Auckland and eating some good fish and chips and mussels.
Boarded the ship around 2 o'clock without a problem. We chose the 6 o'clock seating and were placed with 3 other delightful couples. We ate all our evening meals in the dining room. The service and both quantity and quality of food, and the presentation, were more than adequate, probably just short of excellent. The entertainment was what one would expect, with a couple of excellent comics and adequate singers and dancers. The Cruise staff was engaging, especially the cruise director, who was everywhere. We had an inside cabin up high. It was roomy enough and the steward kept it spic and span. If I had any complaints at all, it was the fact that the fitness center was too small and had a poor mix of machines. Only 2 stationary bikes in use all the time and 6 or 8 stair steppers never in use. And secondly, the coffee bar had no sugar free syrups for the Mocha or Latte for those of us on restricted diets.
Other than these minor irritants, the experience was enjoyable. The itinerary was obviously the high point of the cruise. We matched up with other couples we met on cruise critic for private tours at all the stops except Wellington and Melbourne which we did on our own. The highlights were the geothermal formations at Tauranga, the Mail Run in Akaroa and the Wildlife Sanctuary at Hobart. It was a good time.