The ports: varied and fun. We did NO ships tours. Booked all things on our own, but mostly journeyed into town and wandered around until we found something that interested us.
The weather: from 90 and humid all the way down to around 40 and dry! How to pack??? Layers!!!
The staff: went out of their way to be helpful. Our cabin steward, Pan, was wonderful!!!!
The dining: well, it was hit or miss if you tried eating around 8pm. :( We had anytime dining, but decided to stick with a waiter we LOVED at an earlier hour in the Pacific Moon at table 414. Ask for Marius and Jesus and you'll have a FABULOUS dining adventure. We got a new joke every night! Beware of the chefmade Lemoncello...it's tasty as all get out, but deadly!!! Oy, my head!!!
The entertainment: well, let's just say it wasn't to my liking. ;) The pianist was just plain horrible, but lots of people were dancing to him. Hmmm, no accounting for taste. Also, the production shows had wonderful, accomplished dancers, but the male singers were quite amateurs. (full disclosure: I ran a theatre company for 8 years, have 30 years experience in live productions, and used to do casting for films...I might just know what I'm talking about)
Not to miss: the Aquarium and Wildlife Park on the pier at Darling Harbour in Sydney! See the Dugongs(manatees), sharks, giant crocodile at the aquarium then head down the pier to get your picture taken with a koala (extra charge). Buy the pass and save 20% or more...you can get it at the Aquarium ticket booth. In Auckland...Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Adventure was so much FUN!!! But I'm obsessed with penguins.
Post cruise lodging: Radisson Hotel & Suites Sydney (Chinatown). What a wonderful hotel! A block from the monorail (get the day pass), walking distance to many fun/interesting/wonderful sites.
The worst thing: Having to fly for over 20 hours to get to Australia!!! That, AND having to leave the land down under so soon.
The best thing: Finally getting to go to Australia AND New Zealand with my loved ones!!! We're already talking about going again and circumnavigating the continent!!!