Review of the Australian cruise.
We sailed on the Dawn Princess from March 31 until April 28/2013. The cruise was a circumnavigation of the continent of Australia.
I loved the ship, the Dawn is beautiful. She is in need of an overhaul but nothing serious. She is due for a refit next month I believe.
The tinier was great. There were several sea days but they were mixed nicely with Port days. The ports of call were grand and we enjoyed every one.
The staff was excellent, the service was great.
The menu was different than we were accustomed to. There was a lot more fish with strange names. A lot of the menu names were different and basically I liked the food on the ocean better than I liked the meals on The Dawn Princess, but the food was good.
Would I take this cruise again??? Probably not!
When I began this cruise I was not aware of the dual policy regarding tips.
When we were on the Ocean Princess we made friends with a lady from Sydney. When we went to say Good Bye to her she said..." remember NO TIPPING, tipping is not part of our culture and we do not want it to become part of the culture."
I really didn't think much about it at the time, but on the ship I learned that the passengers from Australia do NOT have tips put on their bills. They do not believe in tipping and the company respects that. BUT the people from other countries including Canada have that 11.50 charge put on their bill every day.
At first someone said that the Australian cruise cost must have the tips already built in , but the one couple we got to know quite well told us what they paid and that doesn't appear to be the case. But I am aware that fares vary greatly even in the same country.
I know we could go and have the tips removed but that is not the principle of it. Why should I be embarrassed by having to go to the desk and removing the tips if others do not?
The cost of things on board are very different on cruises the originate from Australia. We were passengers on the Ocean Princess in March and cocktails were$ 6.95 US, on the Dawn in April cocktails were$ 11.00 AU.
Ten dollar day became 12 dollar day
Champagne breakfast went from 35 dollars to 43 dollars.
The 25 dollar wine tasting became the 39 dollar wine tasting. All of these prices were in Australian dollars which made it even higher...
So it appeared to us that because there was no tipping the prices of everything were jacked up to compensate.
The injustice of having to pay tips when others didn't and to have to pay higher prices for everything was very unsettling.
For that reason I would hesitate to book another Princess cruise that originated in Australia. I will check carefully if ever I decide to return" down under."
The demographic on this cruise was also very different from what we experienced on other Princess cruises as well. The passengers were MUCH older. The number of walkers and canes and scooters and wheelchairs was almost funny. It is good that older people continue to travel but the lines for everything was so very much slower because such a big percentage of the passengers had mobility issues. I was told by another passenger that this cruise was advertised as a special cruise for seniors. I have no proof of that but if it was promoted as a seniors cruise in Australia, those of us in North America and the rest of the world should have been told about it. I would not have booked a cruise that was especially for seniors. The entire dynamic of the ship changes when the average age is 84.
Both the issue of tipping and the issue of age are things that people should be made aware of before they book so they can decide whether or not that is something they want to deal with.