We cruised to New Zealand in February 2013 aboard the SEA PRINCESS for 13 Nights.Before going on this cruise I searched all cruise reviews to see if they offered any information for 1st time cruisers but could find little to help me.
Here is an insight to our cruise that I hope will help other people who have not cruised before.
Once on board the excitement of our 1st cruise really set in. On the advice of other people who had cruised before, we paid our Cabin Steward A$50.00 BEFORE we sailed and told him there would be another A$50.00 at the end of the cruise if he looked after us. What a great idea this was.Every day our cabin was cleaned spotlessly with our our bed turned down every night with chocolates on the pillow.Even if we had a sleep during the day our bed would be remade ready for us to sleep in at night.On Valentines Day the cabin steward took the time to roll our towels up into the shape of hearts with extra chocolates on the pillow. A nice touch.
For those who are thinking of doing their Laundry on board you can almost forget about it. There are a TOTAL of 6 Washing Machines and 6 Dryers on board which is ridiculous considering the amount of people on board. Unless you are prepared to spend a couple of hours watching your laundry being done, you will be in in for a shock. If you leave your Laundry unattended, other people will come along and take it out of the machines and throw it on the floor to get their washing done. The price of having your laundry done for you will send you bankrupt. We worked out that it would cost over A$100.00 for one load to be done for you. You would be better off to take more clothes or wear the same clothes twice as we did and so did about 75% of other passengers. The sea air will camouflage any smell from wearing the same clothes twice!!!!
The alcohol prices on board are VERY VERY EXPENSIVE. Beer will cost you between A$7.00 and A$8.00 per bottle (Corona and Crown Lager) and spirits are about A$7.50 per glass. We did NOT tip the bar staff as we learnt that a 15% gratuity fee was factored into the price of drinks.
Food on board was average but adequate. We ate on our shore excursions to break up the boredom of the ships food. A nice steak or a meat pie tastes really good after the food you have on board. On the last night of our cruise we ate on board at the Sterling Steakhouse. For a cover charge of A$20.00 per person, you can have a 3 Course meal. The steaks they served were the best I have had in a long time. You have to make a booking for this so get in early. Well worth it.
For those who travel WITHOUT Travel Insurance are crazy, particularly those with a PRE EXISTING medical condition. Unfortunately one of the people we travelled with had a pre existing medical condition and had to be evacuated off the ship for hospital treatment. Her out of pocket expenses were over A$10000.00 (A$7000.00 for the ships hospital treatment), so be very careful when taking out Travel Insurance and if you have a pre existing condition, declare it to your Insurers and make sure you are covered for EVERYTHING and read the terms and conditions of your policy before it becomes a very expensive lesson.
The shore excursions offered on board are once again, VERY EXPENSIVE. In every port there are tour operators on the wharf who offer your the same tour that the ship does for half the price. One tour on board was A$339.00 and the same tour offered by one of the operators on the wharf was A$86.00. Organise your tours on shore for you will save quite a lot of money and you can customise your excursion to do what you want to do.
Apart from the above, we had a great time on this cruise and the hospitality shown by ALL the crew was wonderful. I am currently looking for a second job to pay for this great time we had.
I hope this review will help a lot of other 1st time Cruisers.