The embarkation was, to put it mildly, a shambles, but this was not altogether the fault of Princess . The port of Brisbane has only a small cruise terminal which was already occupied by another ship, so we had to be bused to the industrial terminal miles away. The process of getting us on the buses was long and we waited for about 4 hours on a hot day (we were in the shade but there were few seats for 2000 mostly elderly passengers), so when we finally embarked we were tired, hungry, thirsty and rather fed up.
The cabins were very satisfactory (we were a group of 3 couples and were all happy with our accommodation). The cruise staff on board did everything to make our trip great, with one exception. The first evening on board we went out on to the small front deck on Baja (10) deck after dinner. It was a beautiful clear evening and we stayed there for about 20 minutes before we started to feel cool and decided to return. The doors through which to return to the passageway had been locked in the meantime. One of our party had their mobile phone with them, so we tried to signal SOS, using the phone light, to the bridge which was in full view above us. No-one took any notice. We tried to phone Princess; no luck, just a recorded message. In desperation we finally phoned 000 (the Australian emergency phone number) and this would have worked, but at that stage another group arrived on the deck above us and we were able to call to them to get a crew member to unlock the doors.
The crew member who had locked the doors originally had failed to check that the deck was empty, and anyway, why lock the deck doors at all in calm weather? Also the pursers desk, after our reporting of the incident, failed to get back to us with either an apology or explanation.
The remainder of the cruise was very good after this less than promising start. We had mostly great weather and beautiful scenery, cheerful crew members and good food (especially from the bakery, wonderful bread).
Most of our shore excursions were good, though the Auckland Maritime Museum and harbour cruise was not our favourite (the guide liked the sound of his own voice and was sarcastic at the expense of a couple of partly disabled participants and the cruise itself was only 20 minutes). on the other hand, one of our highlights was a rafting trip down the Mohaka River near Napier, which we had been a little nervous about (our ages are 74 & 79), but it was both exciting, fun and safe.
Altogether a wonderful trip, but I would like to see better communication from some senior crew members.