My husband and I went on our first Cruise to New Zealand from October 7 to October 20, 2013, on the Sea Princess. Unfortunately, my mother in-law broke her foot a week before we sailed, so she was wheelchair bound. Her room was too small to fit the wheelchair, so she had to hobble into her stateroom on a frame...very awkward, especially when the ship was being tossed about by rough seas! The showers didn't have any ventilation, so at times, was stifling!
It was disappointing to have missed out on the South Island, due to 'inclement weather conditions'. I believe we missed out on the best part of our Cruise and in fact, New Zealand. I don't know whether the stabilisers were working or not, but the Sea Princess really struggled crossing the Tasman. I believe at one stage, the ship actually breached to one side! (very harrowing) I couldn't fault the staff; most were lovely and went out of their way to help you. The food was well presented and there was plenty of variety. The dining-in experience in the Rigoletto Dining Room was a blast...our waiters were gorgeous! The rooms were clean and we had a lovely view from our balcony and the beds were comfortable and serviced twice a day.
I agree, the Sea Princess did cater more for the older population, but we did try to make the most of it. I even played Bingo! My one big complaint was the overwhelming smell of rotten eggs (Sulphar) that permeated throughout the whole ship for the entire 13 days. It was in our stateroom too and seemed to be coming from the air conditioning system. It become more intense on the Deck 12. This made my journey unbearably nauseating. Totally unacceptable! But what I found more unacceptable was that there was no explanation nor an apology from the Captain. We would really like to go back to New Zealand, but next time, we'll be flying. Maybe a cruise in the future, but perhaps in calmer waters and when we're close to retirement age.