We arrived in Sydney in the rain and walked from Circular Quay to the ship at the International Terminal. On our arrival we were greeted by queues of people all waiting to get on the ship. Firstly we had to drop our bags off and then join the queue, it was a pain but with 2000 people trying to get on a ship then you have to expect queues. Once we got to the front of the queue check in was easy, after receiving your boarding card - which incidentally is also your charge card for everything you buy on the ship - the next queue takes you through customs - always a queue here. Once on board we were directed to our cabin and on arrival were happy to discover our bags already in the room.
We travelled from Sydney around Willis Island and back to Sydney, disembarking at Port Douglas, Airlie Beach and Brisbane. This was our first cruise and I cannot praise the crew highly enough. We had a great time, the ship was a good size with only 2000 passengers and around 900 crew. There was a great variety of places to eat with varying food types, the pizza's were great, the dining room had a varying menu daily and the food in the buffet was plentiful. The international café was open 24 hours and you could pick up sandwich's, cakes and biscuits at any time - it was weird that you had to pay for your tea and coffee. There were spots around the ship where you could get free tea and coffee which was convenient. There were nightly shows, trivia daily, bingo and a variety of activities which changed every day - these included craft groups, dance lessons, special subject talks. If you couldn't find something that you liked then - sorry you shouldn't have gone on the cruise. There were also 3 laundries available for passengers to use - I understand that some other cruise companies don't have laundries - this was a bonus for travellers.
We didn't do the excursions as we had been to the destinations previously so we chose to take a ride in the tenders at Airlie Beach and Port Douglas so that we could have a look at the towns, having not been there previously. We found that the Airlie Beach disembarkation took a while as we waited until (as we thought) the rush would have died down, the Port Douglas disembarkation was quicker as we headed down to disembark early. Brisbane we docked in the river and only had to walk off the ship and then catch either the shuttle bus or the river cat into the city.
Disembarkation at Sydney was so well organised, we were given colour coded tags for our bags, which had to be out the night before, and were given a time and location for disembarkation. We arrived at our location and were quickly directed off the ship, the bags were waiting for us. All bags with the same coloured tags were in their own rows, so easy to find. We had organised to be transported from the ship by shuttle bus and the buses were there waiting for us.
Thank you Princess Cruises for a wonderful experience.