We planned this cruise for some time with other members of our family, always fun to co-ordinate! Wasn't too sure of the cabin selected by the agent and sure enough as the location suggests we were near the gangway exits and it wasn't too peaceful. We could have been moved but persevered as it turned out to be very handy for us. About a month before the cruise I broke my ankle quite badly, which put me into a wheelchair with some limited mobility on crutches - bugger! The location of our cabin now became very handy and I could just make it on crutches to the Explorers Bar where the drinks were fantastic and the service superb. We spent a fair bit of time at this wonderful Bar.
Embarkation/disembarkation via the Sydney International Tent at Barangaroo was better/quicker than expected and I must say that it was probably better than the OS terminal, certainly easier for motorised access.
I found the main dining room food to be excellent most times and no worse than More
very good at others. If I found something not to my fancy, I didn't order it again and on the other hand if I particularly liked something, I did have it again. Sometimes things weren't quite as ordered but I put that down to Aussie accents being misunderstood by the otherwise wonderful staff. We were a group of 9 people, with me in the 'chair, so requested to be seated together for dinner. Our Maitre'd arranged this with patience & grace and our waiters were truly wonderful. The food court was rarely used, but proved adequate and most convenient. Afternoon tea was wonderful and a highlight.
The shows/entertainment were varied and interesting. The tours arranged by Princess are what they are. Rather expensive but the few we had were good.
My Mother in Law is elderly and joined us on the cruise. Unfortunately she was taken ill, seen by the ship's doctor and medivaced off in Dunedin. She was operated on in Dunedin and rejoined us a few days later in Wellington, in much better health. A rather expensive exercise but so well handled by Princess that we were amazed. All necessary arrangements for her were handled by Princess and we were kept informed of proceedings constantly. Now, in addition to the above I must say that the potential for a holiday to be ruined by being stuck in a wheelchair just didn't materialise on my Princess Cruise. They went out of their way to accommodate me and although I wouldn't "damage" myself again just to be cared for, I wouldn't hesitate to do another trip with Princess if I was stuck in a 'chair.
All the staff we had contact with provided good service or better. Our room steward was most helpful and kept our room in top shape. He always appreciated us using the "service room" tag when we remembered too!
Will we sail again with Princess, too right. We are trying "another brand" this year so we will have something to compare. Less
Room P347 on Sea Princess. Typical Princess cabin with four bunks, plenty of storage and a small bathroom which handles one at a time! Quite noisy, it is one cabin away from the port access openings so if you dock on that side there is noise from an early hour as the crew set up. Didn't notice any noise from the lifts, but a major crew accessway is directly opposite the door and the constant comings & goings by the crew were quite audible. Handy to the Explorers Bar, lifts, customer services and Atrium it was very convenient if you had limited mobility.
Big bustling Auckland. If we docked any closer we'd be on the road! It may not be the capital, but it sure is busy. We went to the skytower, wifey & No. 1 daughter did the walk of terror(!), No 2 daughter & I sat inside out of the rain with warm drinks. The skytower is a little touristy but quite essential to visit. If you're keen you can do the walk, or even jump, and the skycafe was really good with fantastic views. Although cloudy for us, they told us we can see from sea to sea on a clear day.
We anchored at Akaroa and tendered ashore. No problem with the 'chair, hobbled on with crutches and support from the crew while they stored the 'chair on board. Akaroa is a beautiful town on a beautiful harbour and we had perfect weather for it. "Fesh & Cheps" at the HarBar was wonderful. Maori greeting in the park was wonderful as well.
Lovely area, beautiful city. The immediate family, wife two daughters & me "rolled" around through town then hired a Taxi for an hour for a personal tour, which was great. Bus ride into town was exciting! Cadbury factory was fun. The railway station is a magnificent building too.
What a beautiful place. Lovely art-deco town with beaut shops, an ocean facing beach and distant hills. Another beaut shuttle bus service. The daughters did a tour from here to a farm and lookouts that was very good. A real highlight was the vintage car display and Jazz band playing at sailaway. Well done Napier!
Another lovely port. Being on a modern ship provides one with great views of the district. This area is very pretty and Tauranga is a surprisingly large town. We pre-booked a "minibus" through Pegasus Rentacars and took the family to Rotarua for the day. A long day, Rotarua was spectacular (and very smelly!) the drive was very scenic and we stopped at a Kiwifruit farm for a look too. Must say, Pegasus were great. They handled the change of driver from me to wifey with no issues. The bus was waiting for us where they said it would be, the lady helped re-arrange the seating to accommodate the wheelchair and return was even easier. I wouldn't just use Pegasus again, I highly recommend them.
For a city, Wellington was really nice. Like most people we took the cable car up, but then took it back down again. I didn't fancy running out of brakes going down through the gardens by wheelchair! We also took a taxi to the rose gardens which were superb, just the right time for blooms too. Being Wellington it was windy but, if it wasn't, we'd be disappointed. Once again the shuttle bus service was most efficient.