Arrived in Sydney a couple of days before stayed at the Medina Grand Sydney, good hotel, near Darling Harbour, with kitchenette which help cut the costs, very expensive in Sydney, we found the best way to get around was the hop on hop off bus.
Very smooth boarding ship almost no waiting, nice large cabin.
Our first day was at sea was cloudy,cold winds, in fact all our sea days were
overcast with some rain, we just had one sunny day where it was nice to sit out on deck, so take some warm clothes.
We dined in the Rotterdam open sitting, the waiters seemed friendly, but no sign of managers or maitre'de, so when our food arrived cold, there was not anyone nearby to sort it out, all the waiters had gone to the kitchen. We complained the next day things improved slightly, but much below the standard I was expecting, we eventually found a table with good service and stuck to that one.
Throughout the ship there was a distinct lack of managerial staff, even when the captain introduced his crew there was only about 6 of them, amazingly they all appeared on the last couple of days when tips were due. Front desk were very offhand about any enquiries,we had problem with noise behind our cabin during the night.
No Captains Cocktail party, very limited on board daytime entertainment, which was very badly timed, several things clashed with meals.
Our first stop was Melbourne, nice city, free shuttle,
easy to walk around.
Then onto Burnie, Tasmania, lovely people, go to the I centre to pick up all the tours, free shuttle to it.
I have listed some port info, but Picton not on list, little town, pretty, Aquarium a bit dated. Napier charming Art Deco very walkable.
Tauranga, for Rotarura, a must if you have not been. We had, so picked up a local tour which was really good.
Final day at sea, told if we wanted to see sun over White Island, be up at 6.30a.m.( no sun) but we then proceeded to go round and round this tiny island a least 6 times almost till lunch time, till you felt dizzy.
I really missed seeing the Alps and the Glaciers, but that trip was Â£1200 for two. In hindsight I would have left out the cruise and taken a coach trip from Christchurch. Still better luck next time with our cruise, I don't think it will be HA.