Getting to the ship, we caught a taxi from Melbourne airport to the dock and it cost $63,the taxi was able to take us right up to the passenger lifts at the terminal building. Do not catch public transport as its a long walk from the the nearest tram stop to the ship. We were on board at 12 and were in our cabin by 12.30 and eating lunch by 1pm.
Our cabin was on deck 9 C307 Caribe deck, it was a Double Deluxe ocean view cabin, much bigger than a balcony cabin minus the balcony, our cases fitted snugly under our bed, the bed was comfortable to sleep in, pillows were far too soft and they felt like they had feathers in them. When the seas were rough the cabin creaked and rattled. The cabin was closely situated to everything.
Food, Venetian dining room, 1st sitting 5.45pm, the food and service was excellent, we occasionally ate lunch there and had all our evening meals there, only had breakfast there on one occasion, mainly when the seas were too rough to eat on deck 14 in the buffet. We sat at a table with and elderly English couple from Queensland, they were such a lovely couple, we didn't get to say good bye to them, Jack l hope that you both had a wonderful time and had a safe trip home, it was such a great pleasure to be seated at table 190 with you both.
Drink package, we bought 2 Ultimate Kids packages at $143 each, this allowed us to drink soft drink, root bear, mock tails, fruit juice,milk shakes, smoothies and hot chocolates all day every day for the entire cruise, it works out at $11 AUS a day PP for all of those drinks, we thought that it was good value, my husband suggested that next time we might just get one package and then also buy a coffee card.
Soft Serve Ice cream, between 11 and 6pm on deck 12 you can have free soft serve ice cream from the Sundaes ice creamery, it is the best soft serve ice cream that l have ever tasted on a cruise ship, many people chose to get vanilla and chocolate ice cream mixed together.
Entertainment, was very good, the theatre is quite small, only holds around 600 people, so to get a seat get there 30 minutes before the show as you are not allowed to reserve seats for anyone, many people were disappointed when they missed out on seeing a show. The show are usually run a couple of times so that you don't miss out.
Casino, we enjoyed playing their slot machines, they have 80 of them ranging in price from 1c,2c,5c,10c and $1 machines, we never played at the tables, our budget was $20 PP each night, we are little spenders when it comes to the slot machines.
They also have entertainers in the Vista lounge every night, singers and comedians performed in there, also they had trivia games, horse races and bingo in there as well, we never took part in any of those activities.
Passengers, mostly they were over 55, some young families were on board with their children as it was school holidays. l am 48 and my husband is 60 so we never had a problem with the range in ages.
Activities on board, bingo,trivia,ping pong,WII sports, movies under the stars, theatre shows, discos, dancing, Craft,theme nights, eating competition, art auctions, the usual activities that are on board cruise ships.
Weather, was cold wet and windy, temperatures ranged in ports from 10 to 19c, winter conditions, you needed to take a jacket with you when going off the ship. We only had sunny weather on our way back home to Australia. l am prone to getting sea sick, only a couple of times did l feel off colour, sleeping in a cabin on a higher deck is no fun when the sea is rough as the higher up you are the more movement is felt.
Shuttles into town, they were fairly priced, a return trip was between $10 to $15 AUS PP.
Shuttle to the airport, $24 AUS PP this was very cheap, l don't know if it was the same price to get to the ship, there was a 90 minute wait for a taxi from the dock so it was much easier to catch the shuttle and cheaper.
Ports, this was our third cruise to NZ, we have also cruised on the Sapphire Princess and Rhapsody of the Seas.
Crew, they were all very friendly, the only person who l thought was a bit abrupt in his manner was some one who was managing the Internet cafe, he spoke down to passengers and never seemed very friendly.
Internet on board, very slow and expensive, we purchase 150 minutes for $ 75 and had our own net book, it was a waste of time purchasing any of the packages, many passengers complained about the Internet, it was much cheaper to look for an Internet cafe in port, we only logged on for 30 minutes at a time and it cost us $ 2 NZ, much faster and cheaper as well, most cabins did have Internet service.
Shops on board, there was the usual ones, jewellery, smokes, spirits, cameras and photos, clothing, bits and pieces, the DVD of the cruise was $44.95 AUS and there was more than one, life on board $44.95, ports visited $44.95 usually the reflections DVD has life on board and ports visited during your cruise.
Ports, we enjoyed doing our own thing, as this was our third trip to NZ we did not do any tours, we chose to do some walking around town and look at the local shops instead.
This cruise ship is very pretty, the buffet was smaller than other ships, at peak times it was hard to find a seat to sit and eat at, port days were the worst, you need to get there early or go later.
There is no sky deck to sit at during sail away, no seating is positioned so that you can look out a window other than in the main dinning room, the lounge areas were poorly set out for looking out to sea.
My husband and l did have a relaxing time whilst on board the Dawn Princess, New Zealand is a very beautiful and friendly country to visit.