Sydney to Auckland December 2013: Diamond Princess Cruise Review by bingosnotmything
Overall Member Rating
Sydney to Auckland December 2013
Destination: Australia & New Zealand
Embarkation: Sydney (Australia)
Very helpful, friendly and well organised staff at embarkation and disembarkation made both very smooth and fast. We travel light and didn't check bags, preferring to wheel our own rollerbags,
Our cabin and the ship generally was in good shape, very well maintained. Our cabin was a mini-suite with a covered balcony. One of the reasons this was our 3rd time with Princess was because we especially like their mini-suites compared to other cruiselines we have tried. We spent a lot of time relaxing on the balcony and in the spacious sitting area.
We found all crew members we encountered to be friendly and genuinely wanting to help us enjoy the cruise. I got the feeling that crew morale was very high on this ship.
Food quality was surprisingly good and consistent for a large ship. We only used the buffet once, preferring the choice of formal dining rooms. Only one meal was, we felt, below par. A handful of dishes were More very good indeed, equal to what you would expect from reputable fine dining restaurants in a major city. The optional Italian and steakhouse restaurants provide a more intimate atmosphere and serve dishes using more expensive ingredients. On formal nights they increase the food budget for the main dining room meals (lobster one of the 2 formal nights).
We prefer cruises with sea days and port days roughly balanced, so this itinerary suited us. All ports visited on this cruise were worth visiting: Melbourne, Hobart, Port Chalmers, Akaroa, & Tauranga. Due to the highly developed cafe/restaurant culture in Australia and New Zealand, it was possible to find top notch (better than on the ship) coffee, wine and fresh food at each stop. The day spent cruising through Fjiordland was a scenic highlight. We usually make our own shore arrangements, and this was easy to do on this itinerary.
Onboard entertainment and activities were plentiful, but these are not aspects of cruising most important to us.
Overall, for us it was a very enjoyable cruise, just the thing to end a very busy year.
A few tips:
If you prefer a table for 2 at dinner, it is best to make a reservation outside of the most popular 6.30-7.30 timeslot.
The Diamond has good laundry facilities at very reasonable cost. You need US quarters to operate the machines (obtainable onboard).
If you don't come from North America, the Diamond, as a US based ship, gives you the chance to sample a few American specialities (pecan pie, California wine etc).
In Hobart, it's an short ferry ride to the MONA art museum. Princess do not offer an excursion, probably because some of the displayed work is quite confronting, and also because there are stairs to climb. Less