This was my first cruise, I went with my sister and my 80 year old mother for her birthday. Debarkation was extremely easy, we were scheduled to board mid afternoon, but when we arrived there was someone to take our luggage so we could stroll around the quay. The ship looked enourmous. Process was quick and in no time we were on board. Cabin already had our luggage and there was plenty of room to put our clothes away and stow our luggage. Lovely verandah. Had my first cocktail as the ship left port. Always worried about the first day at sea that I would be bored, the day went so fast. We found the shops which with every purchase there was a ticket to put in a jar and each night a ticket was drawn for a great prize. We ended up going every night and the Store Manager made it extremely entertaining, I also enjoyed the bargains available, something different each night.
Waiting staff in the Empire Dining room were wonderful, they had a wonderful singing waiter with an awesome voice, and the waiters themselves were very entertaining, and even remembered you. One drink waiter knew my favourite cocktail. One morning we were on lido desk and Mum thought she would like pancakes, this was well after breakfast. I went to the Lido Restaurant and asked if there were any pancakes left. I was asked to wait and he apparently went down to the kitchen and made up a new batch just for Mum, that is service.
As to my Mum, she is 80 years and has a walker and the staff were extremely courteous and helpful with her. First port of Call the Bay of Isalnds we had to go onshore on Tenders, two crew members helped mum downstairs and onto the tender, it was choppy but they timed it beautifully to get her on board then another crew member followed with her walker. At all ports it was the same very helpful and courteous and always willing the help Mum. This really enabled her to enjoy her holiday as I think see thought she would be stuck on the ship.
Our Stewart Katut was wonderful, thoroughly enjoyed the towel animals and he was so helpful, even to securing an extra chair for the balcony and searching for a missing hearing aid, and laughed good naturedly when it turned up in a shoe.
Entertainment was OK and some really good and enjoyed our hot rock spa. Overall I enjoyed my trip and am looking forward to my next cruise to Alaska.
Great tour, bus driver was very entertaining and very helpful to elderly Mum and her walker. Had been to Devonport before but gave a great tour of the North Shore I had not need. We were then able to stroll around Devonport and they also provided a Ferry ticket back to Auckland.
This was the saddest part of the Trip. Had previously spent time in Christchurch pre earthquake but was not prepared to see the city centre totally gone. Anyway we did the winery tour, where we stopped for lunch, very enjoyable. Then taken into Christchurch, firstly for a tour of the Gardens and then for a ride on the Punt. Going down the Avon you could not see the destruction so very peaceful and enjoyable (apart from having trouble getting off the punt. (I do have to make note that the company was advised of my Mum and her walker and they arranged a chair for her, I do compliment the cruise line and tour people for their thoughtfulness). We Christchurch going past the city centre (which does not exist anymore) I shed quite a few tears over that, remembers places we had been which no longer existed.
Did notice that Akaroa where the ship docked was quite festive, with craft markets etc for the passengers.
I do have to admit that I would have loved to go on the Arthurs Pass excursion, which was offered as a tour but when we got to the tour desk discovered it was not offered. I imagine they had some hiccups with the Travel people, but this was the inaugral cruise so some hiccups could be expected, hope they offered it on future cruises as it is a great way to see the hinterland and spectacular scenery of the south island.
Took the Taieri Gorge Railway, thoroughly recommend it. Lovely morning tea and lunch. and stop at wonderful Craft Market that only comes out for the Cruise Ships.
My sister and I went into Dunedin for a look while Mum took the train back to the Ship.
When it left it was lovely to sit on the balcony and listen to the Pipe band playing as we sailed away.
Took the Duck which gave an excellent introduction to Napier. The ship was greated by cars and people in Art Deco area costumes. Sister and I then went into the city. Loved Napier such a beautiful city. When the ship left we were serenaded by a barbershop band.
Great trip, Bus Driver very informative and entertaining. Cruise and lunch on Lake Rotoroua was great. We were then taken to Hells Gate Thermal Park. Did a short walk with Mum on her walker then she was invited to sit in the shade at the Hukka area while the rest of us went further out. I was glad as Mum did get a look at the thermal area but should would not have been able to go further. Then at the end we were escorted back by one of the Rangers to make sure she got back to the bus OK. Overall a great introduction to Rotora.
We did our own thing in Wellington, TePapa and the Cable Car. Thoroughly enjoyed the day.