This was our 10th cruise, 2nd with Princess. Our previous Princess cruise was on Sun Princess (sister ship) in the Mexican Riviera. Back then the Sun & Dawn Princesses were run as American ships but as they now sail full time from Australia they have been adapted to Australian tastes both in food & entertainment.
Very slow. We arrived about 1pm hoping to get onboard for lunch but when we arrived they were still disembarking passengers. Inside the makeshift terminal (we embarked at Barangaroo) it was a big mess. Very crowded with too few seats & the check in process was running pretty slow. We had to wait a long time for our number to be called before we could even line up to checked in & then we had to wait again for the number to be called to embark the ship.
The ship is still in pretty good condition. In looks she is pretty much the same as the Sun Princess. A bit awkward to get around as the aft lifts only go down to deck 7 & the glass lifts in the centre only go between deck 5 & 8. So going to dinner from our cabins aft on deck 10 we had to take the lift to deck 7, walk through to the glass lifts in the centre & go down another 2 floors to get to our dining room, which is located in the area between the aft & glass lifts.
Had an inside JJ cabin. A bit small (no sofa like RCCL cabins) but fine as I had the room to myself & there was plenty of space in the closets. The bathroom was a good size overall but the shower stall was tiny and a strange half diamond shape so a bit hard to move without coming in contact with the shower curtain.
All the passengers we met on the ship were very nice. Many were elderly (someone said the average age was 70) but there were also a few children on this cruise. Also unlike all our previous cruises the majority were Australian. A few people we met had done the around the world cruise & this around Australia cruise as a B2B so were spending 132 days onboard. Way too long for me.
We thought the food in the MDR was good for lunch & dinner however some soups were over salted (didn't enjoy breakfast in MDR, which is normally a treat for us). They were a bit disorganised with the seating & we were only 2 on a table for 8, so we asked to be moved. We ate dinner & lunch several times in the pizzeria where the food was also good & for the first time we also ate dinner several times in the buffet which was a bit hit & miss.
Entertainment & activities
The entertainment was good overall. Liked the MUTS with free popcorn in the evenings & during the day there were lots of trivia & game shows like family feud. Especially liked a horseracing game during the day called Dicey Dicey Wooden Horses where they threw dice to move horses along a grid on the floor & you could place bets for $3 per horse. There was lots of hilarity, cheering etc. The casino was very small with mostly pokies that we see in Australian casinos.
Brisbane - On our own. We went around Brisbane on the HOHO bus, which made it very easy. The Roma Street Parklands are a must.
Port Douglas - Unfortunately mum was ill so I only wondered around for a very short time on my own. Port Douglas is very small so you can easily walk to & from town/pier, although there was a bus available for a fee.
Darwin -Ships shore excursion. We took a short drive around Darwin & down to the marina, visited the Darwin museum where they have an interesting exhibit on Cyclone Tracy & then visited the Military museum.
Broome - Ships shore excursion. We took a short drive around town & over to Gantheaume Point to see the dinosaur footprints & amazing rock formations. Then went to Matsos Brewery where we tasted some amazing mango beer.
Bali - We couldn't face the 45 minute tender each way so we stayed onboard.
Fremantle/Perth - On our own. There was a short 7-10 minute walk from the dock in Fremantle to the train station where we took a train direct to Perth. Once in Perth we used the HOHO bus to get around easily.
Bunbury - Ships shore excursion. We went on a dolphin watching boat tour which was fantastic. Stayed out for about 2 hours & saw so many dolphins (a bit luck of the draw as the tour after ours saw none).Then went to the Dolphin Discovery Centre.
Albany - On our own. We took the ships shuttle into town. Wondered around the small town & had a look at a pretty church. At a kiosk in the park we booked a trip out to Whale World, which was interesting if a bit gruesome.
Adelaide - Ships shore excursion. We opted for a shore excursion which took us into the city & then out to Glenelg. Unfortunately the drive around the city did not show many things & the stop at the rundle mall was very short (by the time everyone got off the coach we barely had 20 minutes). Glenelg was a pretty seaside suburb but not much to do there in a short time other than shop.
Melbourne - On our own. We were able to buy tram tickets at a counter inside the cruise terminal & the tram stop is at the end of the pier across the road so very easy to travel into Melbourne. We went to the Fitzroy Gardens where we saw Captain Cooks Cottage & a conservatory full of beautiful flowers. The tram also has a stop of the casino.
Burnie - Due to very strong winds the captain was unable to dock in Burnie so we had an extra day at sea.
Hobart - On our own. We were overnight in Hobart & had been there previously so on the 1st day we took the ships shuttle into town & then a bus to the Wrest Point casino. The second day we again took the shuttle into town & just spent the day shopping. It had snowed on Mt Wellington so we felt it was too cold for any outdoor activities.
We had a great cruise. It was good to see places in Australia that we would otherwise probably never have seen. We are still partial to RCCL & "American" cruises but we really enjoyed this cruise & loved the ease of departing from our home port rather than having to fly overseas to emberk the cruise.