We must've been lucky as the Sun Princess cruise immediately before ours had many problems both technical and weather issues... BUT our cruise departing Sydney 29th October for 13 nights to New Zealand was perfect! No technical issues nor inclement weather in sight! We visited every port on the itinerary.
This was our second cruise to New Zealand but this time using a different cruise line and ship. The crew were friendly and very attentive, nothing was too much trouble. We loved the dining options on this ship! Verdi's Pizza Restaurant was amazing and definitely not to be missed... we ate here many times. We ate at the Marquis Dining Room on formal night and another 2 occasions and our waiter, Ronaldo, was fantastic (and funny). The rest of the time we ate at the Horizon Buffet, The Terrace Grill or the International Café. Speaking of which, the International Café was the best! Great coffees and to-die-for cakes, pastries and cookies!! This area of the ship was always well frequented so it was hard getting a table sometimes. The coffee card is a great idea and saves time and money. There was some super entertainment in the theatres and show rooms including magicians, comedians and musical acts. All were great fun! There's plenty of other on-board activities to keep you entertained during sea days. As our cruise was during Halloween, it was amazing to wake up early in the morning to find the ship completely decked out in cobwebs, spiders, skeletons etc and the crew did an awesome display of pumpkin carvings! We took part in a Halloween Scavanger Hunt, which was a real treat!
All the ports we visited were fantastic. As we had done all shore excursions on our previous cruise, this time we decided to get off in the ports and just explore on our own. Favourites would be Bay of Islands (ferry over to Russell), Napier and Akaroa. Sailing through Fiordland was breathtakingly beautiful.
Embarkation and debarkation at every port went smoothly and efficiently. Everywhere we went crew, staff and New Zealand authorities were polite and friendly.
Our oceanview cabin was on the smaller side, but still managed to store everything. The bed was super comfortable and the bathroom products and towels plentiful. Alan our steward was so efficient. He greeted us every time with "hello, Mr & Mrs .... " and it seemed like he was on duty 24/7.
Summing up we couldn't fault this cruise, the crew or the ship. We had a fun time and can't wait to do it again. If there is one 'downer', it's the cost of photos. Therefore it's a shame to see them taken, printed and presented beautifully... only to be taken down and thrown away when they're not purchased. There must be a better way of doing this, other tourist destinations (Disneyland) have much better ideas whereby you pay one up-front cost and have as many taken as you want and they're emailed to you in a file.