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563 Auckland to Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

This cruise was our 1st cruise and reasonably short, but long enough to know if we would enjoy cruising. Being a Chinese owned ship, it was mostly Chinese workers where 1/2 of them would wear face masks (which made it very hard to ... Read More
This cruise was our 1st cruise and reasonably short, but long enough to know if we would enjoy cruising. Being a Chinese owned ship, it was mostly Chinese workers where 1/2 of them would wear face masks (which made it very hard to understand someone with an accent let alone wearing mask also). Two of the three free restaurant were often full as they didn't sit people together!!!! We had a table for 6 more than once with just the 2 of us. The pavilion did a banquet which was all brought out together and never kept hot. The dream dining room had the same seating arrangements and a choice of 3 meals from set menu. These guys were so busy that the plate was taken out from under you and next course given when you hadn't finish last mouthful. The food in all restaurants was Luke warm. GST +18% SURCHARGES were placed on all non inclusive items. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Cruise was around NZ. Excellent shows however not much else to say anything good about.Although while i think about it, the shower was good and the bed comfortable. Here are just a few random issues, not every complaint as I ... Read More
Cruise was around NZ. Excellent shows however not much else to say anything good about.Although while i think about it, the shower was good and the bed comfortable. Here are just a few random issues, not every complaint as I don't want to bore you just warn you. We (2 women) shared a cabin and had issues with the room attendant coming in to the room 2-3 times a day (that we knew about) DESPITE not putting card out on door saying room needing attention. Talked to him and said did not want him to come in but he still did even the same evening after I spoke to him. He understood clearly as he said "I just want to make you happy"... Both of us found it very creepy and felt uncomfortable. Complaint emailed to cruise line today. Plenty of food available but not much variety. We got drink of warm water when asked for water no ice. Bread in the 'posh' restaurant was stale, didn't try it in the casual one. Trips ashore too short but the worst bit about going ashore was trying to get back to the ship.The buses that were supposed to pick up didn't show at Dunedin, fortunately 2 staff members and a man from the bus Co were there so they phoned the ship and bus co. Buses FINALLY arrived but last one got back to ship after the curfew. Another wait at the Wellington stop but fortunately not so long although buses still not regular as we had been advised they would be. Trip to Gisborne was via tender boats and there was extreme difficulty getting on and off those especially for those elderly or with mobility issues. Again last load got back to ship after curfew time. Extremely stressful for all. Balcony door heavy glass one.As you closed it, it dropped in the track which jolted you if holding on to handle with both hands trying to close it. This was a common fault as we asked others. Jarred my back. Heard muffled announcements coming from hallway while in cabin but by time got out to corridor to listen the english version had finished and they were doing the chinese translation so no idea what was said. Only heard one broadcast into our room and that was by captain telling us we were going to have rough weather. This was a DAY late as we had been experiencing it since the previous afternoon, possibly it was a recording from day before?? As i said, just some of the things i wanted to mention Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Got what we thought was a good deal & really liked the itinerary. Unfortunately the times in port were very restricting for example we didn’t get ashore in Napier until 5.30 pm when most everything was closed & only had 90 ... Read More
Got what we thought was a good deal & really liked the itinerary. Unfortunately the times in port were very restricting for example we didn’t get ashore in Napier until 5.30 pm when most everything was closed & only had 90 minutes there. Dunedin & Wellington had to be back on ship really early. Complimentary food in MDR & Lido was just awful - stale bread, little choice, lukewarm or cold food, meat often really tough, minimal breakfast cereal choice & the same fresh fruit apples, orange, pineapple & melon every day - no berries or soft stone fruit, which given the season is ridiculous. No juice only cordial & water was not particularly cold. Extremely small portions in the MDR. The Pavillion was slightly better. The best meals we had were the barbecue on the first night (included in fare) & meals in the Blue Lagoon & the Italian pizza/pasta place which we had to pay for. Our original cabin was dreadful, small, smelly & dark - meant to be an oceanview stateroom, but only had a tiny porthole which had to be closed in rough seas! However guest services were very responsive & we were transferred to a better cabin. Bathroom was good, nice to have a roomy shower. Bedding also good, comfy & clean. Unfortunately we had rough seas for 3 nights & the wardrobe doors kept crashing open & closed - eventually we rammed open with life jackets! Most of the staff we had direct dealings with were wonderful - friendly & helpful. Communication was poor & not clear - very difficult to understand announcements. Guest services were right next to the Piazza, where a lot of activities took place, making it difficult for people to hear or be understood. Apart from the shows, the entertainment was cringeworthy & the spaces where activities took place not the best. Would be good to see more & smaller public spaces. There should be a separate swimming pool/water area for the children as the only pool was small & deep. Waterslide good. There were not enough loungers out around the pool or on Deck 13. We loved the area at the back of the ship off the Lido grill & spent a lot of time their reading & talking with other guests. It was nice to cruise with lots of kiwis! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The stateroom was awful. The bed was as hard as a rock, and the bathroom too small for me at 6'4". The TV didn't work. The soap dispenser is a tube you have to squeeze, which was painful with my arthritic thumbs. The ... Read More
The stateroom was awful. The bed was as hard as a rock, and the bathroom too small for me at 6'4". The TV didn't work. The soap dispenser is a tube you have to squeeze, which was painful with my arthritic thumbs. The wi-fi is not free and costs A$30 for the week. Even a grubby motel will give you free wi-fi. There are three restaurants included in the fare. The Pavilion Chinese restaurant served the worst chinese food the 4 of us have eaten. The Dream Restaurant is a western restaurant where the food was bland and not well prepared. The only bright spot was that the food was served by waiters and waitresses, except at breakfast. The Lido is a self serve buffet with equally bland food which we avoided most of the time. There are other specialty restaurants which apparently charge restaurant prices, although we hardly saw anyone in them. Alcohol is extra and not included. There is one lounge bar Palm Court, with entertainment which we were evicted from so they could hold a private function one night. Totally unacceptable. It has very uncomfortable chairs, and can accommodate about 250 on a ship which can carry 2,800. There is no quiet space to sit and read except your stateroom on a very uncomfortable chair. The outside Lido area by the pool has awful music blaring out all the time. Going ashore was a nightmare. We arrived in Napier on day 2 and by the time we got ashore and were bused into town it was shut. We found a pub and were charged $25 for a beer and glass of wine. In Gisborne on our second last day we waited in a queue 100 metres long in hot sun for over 30 minutes for a tender to take us back to the ship. They only have 4 tenders and didn't expect everyone to wait so long to return. The tour of Milford and Doubtful Sounds was good, but there was no commentary about what we were looking at or how the sounds were formed. Cruising was always out of sight of land which was a real shame, as we had no idea where we were. All in all a disappointing first and I have to say, last cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Based on the price, we thought Ponant would be a really nice cruise, but we were disappointed in comparison to other top-notch cruise lines we've enjoyed. Many incidents were individually small things that would have been easily ... Read More
Based on the price, we thought Ponant would be a really nice cruise, but we were disappointed in comparison to other top-notch cruise lines we've enjoyed. Many incidents were individually small things that would have been easily overlooked IF the overall cruise or friendliness of the staff would have exceeded (or even MET) our expectations. As our cruise progressed though, the tiny annoyances added up to a point where we felt disappointed overall. Here are just a few examples: The embarkation process was disorganized. It seemed that all passengers were instructed to embark at the same time (4 pm) ... yet we all waited significantly past 4 pm in a very hot, stuffy terminal building - with no idea when we'd actually be able to board, or in what order. Without understanding WHY a big group from Tauck Tours was led ahead of the rest of us who had been waiting longer, and even AFTER they all boarded, there was confusion as to when the rest of us could go. When we finally got to our stateroom, one of our bags wasn't delivered until we went to ask for it, and when disembarking after the cruise, we were told we had to have our suitcases in the hallway at 7 am, but at 8 am when we went to breakfast, our bags hadn't even been picked up. We had a car waiting for us at 8:30 -- we changed it to 8:45 am, but even then our suitcases weren't out on the dock yet, so our taxi had to wait. Another example ... after suddenly learning that the "captain's gala" night would be the night after we boarded, we were dismayed to learn that any clothes we asked to have ironed could not be guaranteed back to us for up to 48 hours. We made a simple request at the reception desk to please have brief access to an iron so our formal wear could be presentable (we'd been traveling for 3 days/nights so our dressier clothes were VERY wrinkled). We were told "for safety reasons" we couldn't use an iron, whether in our room or ANYwhere on the ship in order to make our clothes presentable for the gala. Viking and Crystal ocean cruises are very safe, yet they both have small rooms where guests could take a few moments to iron their clothes before a formal night -- with irons that automatically shut off if left unattended. A few days into the cruise, Ponant left a questionnaire in our stateroom asking for suggestions to make the cruise better, and I took the time to explain how a 24-to-48-hour turnaround for clothes to be washed or pressed was not quickly enough -- given that the first formal evening was in LESS than 24 hours from the time we boarded the ship, AND that we had no access to an iron. They never took the time to speak to us about our concerns -- instead they left what we felt was a rudely worded letter at our stateroom ... restating their "safety reason" argument. Even worse .. their letter included wording along the lines of the fact that THEIR guests don't expect to iron their own clothes. (Guess we weren't considered their guests)! We would have gladly paid what they quoted for our clothes to be ironed IF we could have had them back in time for the gala. Later during the cruise we overheard a guest at the reception desk pleading for her underwear to come back from the laundry because she was completely out - but the receptionist was just as aloof with her, curtly restating their 24-48 hour laundry return policy. Compared to cruise lines where the focus is on accommodating requests from guests, some of the staff on Ponant seemed to have such an unfriendly attitude ... reception desk staff rarely even looked up from their computers, offered a smile, or even a "good morning". Ponant never bothered to address our concern over why the gala night was held so soon after boarding -- when we had no way to get wrinkles out of our clothes, so, I felt it futile to fill out their evaluation form at the end of the cruise. The food was good for the most part, but not exceptional -- and on 3 separate occasions when we ordered a particular meal (i.e., their featured choice of a quinoa dinner) they just delivered a totally different meal (pasta with shrimp) without ANY explanation whatsoever. They just plopped the pasta in front of me and quickly walked away. Only in 1 instance did they offer an explanation (they had run out of one of the featured salmon choice my husband had made). To be fair, some of the staff were VERY friendly and helpful, but more than a few were not, and we found that unusual for this price-range cruise. For example, one evening when we went to the bar at the observation area, we asked the bartender to make us a cocktail with gin, fresh lime juice & a bit of sugar. He told us he didn't have lime juice (we learned the next day that the downstairs bartender DID have lime juice and was happy to make that drink for us). The observation deck bartender who told us he couldn't make anything with lime juice told us he might be able to get lime juice downstairs, BUT that we'd have to pay an extra $1 for it, and we felt that was outrageously petty. Maybe Ponant's focus is to cater to all the Tauck guests, but not the rest of us. We weren't the only people on board who felt this way -- others we met from various places around the world had similar feelings. On several occasions, we were simply chatting with people at our table after "mealtime" (and we were NOT asking to be served anything else) ... but still, we were told we had to leave the table. There aren't many places on Le Laperouse where people can gather and chat (or often the other areas are crowded with no seating available) so we felt it was unfriendly for them to "kick us out" of the dining room when it as obvious we were just talking, AND all our place-settings had already been cleared. Not all the time, but more times than we could count, we had to flag someone down in the morning to bring coffee or in the evening to bring wine -- even after we'd been seated for at least 10 minutes. Also, at bars, instead of the staff offering nuts or snacks with our cocktails, we had to specifically ask if they had a salty snack to have with our cocktails. ONLY then would they reach beneath their counter to give us some nuts! Additionally, we would have appreciated some educational sessions in the theatre each day, with informative information about our next port -- but we only learned a bit about our next port from the daily newsletter left on our beds at night. I mention these examples just to give others an idea of times we didn't feel like appreciated guests. Maybe if this had been our FIRST luxury cruise, we might have had lower expectations and would have nothing to compare it to -- but every other cruise we've been on has been superior with how organized, friendly, and helpful they were. We're easygoing and usually happy with even slightly above average service (especially when it's obvious the staff is eager to go-the-extra-mile on simple requests) but unfortunately, for us, Ponant was disappointing in enough aspects to ever return, or recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My wife and I booked this cruise on impulse on a one day special. This ship normally operates in the Asian market The Ship had been recently upgraded and was overall good. Lacked a quiet lounge for reading, relaxing.and ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise on impulse on a one day special. This ship normally operates in the Asian market The Ship had been recently upgraded and was overall good. Lacked a quiet lounge for reading, relaxing.and conversation. The ship has upmarket palace rooms, they have there own exclusive restaurants and pool area. The other cruises we've been on have the expensive rooms but don't rope off parts of the ship. Has an us and them vibe. The included food was in three dining areas, European, Chinese, and the buffet. The food ranged from very good to very average. We generally avoided the buffet, I'm sure passengers made use of the specialty restaurants, but quite expensive. I guess they can't make the included food too good, else why would you go there. I would say the included food was better on all the other cruises we have been on. The entertainment was some of the best we've seen. Don't be late, or you won't get a seat. The crew were great for there helpfulness and attitude. Language was an issue at times. The main thing that made this cruise enjoyable for us was the weather and the ports. we really hit it lucky with beautiful hot clear blue skies. We did one ship excursion.( Wildlife Dunedin)It was a fascinating and fun day with knowledgeable tour guides. we looked after ourselves for the other ports. Mid cruise questionnaires would help the Management learn our market faster and fix niggling problems on the fly. In conclusion, this ship isn't that far off the mark. They will need to improve more in the australasian market. There is a lot of competition. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was my 3rd cruise on the NCL Jewel and it did not disappoint. I am a solo traveler and NCL is the best for solos. I always get an oceanview cabin on deck 5 midship. So comfortable and close to mid and forward elevators always ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise on the NCL Jewel and it did not disappoint. I am a solo traveler and NCL is the best for solos. I always get an oceanview cabin on deck 5 midship. So comfortable and close to mid and forward elevators always quiet. Our solo activity leader was awesome making dinners for the group getting group seat at the shows and making sure we all had a good time. The activities were excellent and my favorite is the dance lessons. They do lack a bit in Enrichment activities The pool and hot tubs were warm. Loved the ports and going thru the sounds perfect itinerary to see New Zealand. Food was excellent at all venues but Cagney's had to be the best love the truffle mash potatoes. The shows were really good and I especially enjoyed the Cirque show its not to be missed Awesome crew and room steward. NCL shore excursions are pricey so I looked into private ones which I highly recommend doing. The private ones are small groups normally and much more interesting then NCL excursions. Several ports I just went around on my own after researching and many were easy to walk around. Embarkation was the fastest I have ever experienced in 9 cruises with NCL and so easy. Disembarkation was well run and smooth. I would go again in a heartbeat and look forward to being on the Jewel again. I enjoy the NCL cruises so much as a solo I have 2 more booked Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We selected this ship and itinerary because we wanted to visit this part of the world for the first time. Cruising seemed an ideal way to see a lot of New Zealand including the sounds on the South Island. We planned our own air since we ... Read More
We selected this ship and itinerary because we wanted to visit this part of the world for the first time. Cruising seemed an ideal way to see a lot of New Zealand including the sounds on the South Island. We planned our own air since we wanted to stay an extra few days in Auckland at the beginning and Sydney at the end. More on this later. The Norwegian Jewel was just refurbished and it’s clean overall. If you’ve been on other Jewel-class ships, this will feel comfortable. There are a few differences (no Atrium Bar, for example) but they were small things. The crew kept saying that this was the “friendliest ship” in the Norwegian fleet, and I must say that they lived up to this billing. Embarkation was smooth and quick. We arrived around 12:30 pm so the crowds had not started growing too large. Disembarkation went smoothly also, but was a bit jammed up at 9:30 am since it seems that is when many people want to leave. Entertainment was very good overall. The main thing that kept it from being excellent was a comedian-magician near the end of the cruise. He was trying to be funny during his interactions with the audience, but it mostly came across as creepy and unfunny. I think they were giving him a trial, as he was really not up to the level of the other performers. The other professional shows were amazing, high quality and professionally done. The lounge bands were typical for cruises: decent and competent, but not really inspiring. The food onboard was excellent overall, but we only went to a few venues. For the free venues, O’Sheehans has the most unique menu choices and the longest hours. Tsar’s Palace (main dining) was our preferred sit-down restaurant for dinner, with good service and tasty food. Azura (the second main dining room) appears to be where they train newer staff members; service wasn’t as consistent. We grabbed a snack a couple of times in the Garden Café, and that was reasonable but seemed always busy. For the specialty restaurants, we went to Cagney’s, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, La Cucina, and twice to Moderno (overall, our favorite). We bought a 6-dinner package, so the cost per meal was less than $30. Our Free at Sea offer included Wi-Fi, ship to shore phone, drinks package and $50 per port shipboard credit per tour booked. One issue we had with the Wi-Fi: most ships allow you to connect to the NCL app while you're onboard without using your package minutes. Not on the Jewel: my app said that I had to connect to the Wi-Fi in order to use the app, which would burn up the minutes. You can buy more time, including unlimited, but it costs. I’m planning to comment to NCL about this. The enrichment talks were mostly good, although the educational talks were somewhat dry and not engaging. Ports: Overall, the ports provided a wide range of opportunities for tours and local exploration. The time in each port was a good fit for the number of activities available in each. Auckland: We stayed at the Avani Metropolis for three full days before embarking on Monday. We took a tour to Hobbiton and the Glow Worm caves on one day, which we booked in advance. We toured Waiheke Island on a wine tasting day, which we booked once we arrived in Auckland. We had a day free to walk around the city and meet up with other cruisers from the roll call for a casual sunset snack. Embarkation day is available to do a few things, if you don’t mind boarding relatively late (4:00 pm is the latest possible), but note that you can’t get off the ship once you’ve boarded. Bay of Islands: a beautiful location. We did not plan anything in advance, and we found there were many tours available from local providers once we got off the ship. We took a fast boat ride out to the Hole in the Rock and had a great time, then walked around the town. There’s a free shuttle from the tender dock into town (and back, of course). You can walk but it’s a bit far. The Treaty Grounds is near the tender dock, but it’s not free to go in and walk around. Tauranga: We booked a tour on our own to the Te Puia Geothermal Valley and Maori cultural show. It turned out to be a private tour for the same price as a group tour. Most of the other tours went to Hobbiton and the Glow Worm caves, and we felt that we made a good choice to do this tour earlier. Napier: We took an Art Deco tour through the ship, which was probably a good idea due to the limited number of tours. This tour started with a drive around the residential areas, followed by a walking tour that was done early enough to have time to walk back around the town. Picton: We booked a day-long wine tasting tour on our own, in advance. We were a group of 11 and we had a great time. Getting back in time was no problem, and the smaller group size let us visit smaller wineries. It seemed that many people do a wine tour here, as we saw a lot of other tour groups. Akaroa: A nice little port town. We took the Black Cat harbor cruise and saved money by booking it upon arrival. We saw some nice dolphins, seals and lots of birds. We walked around town and enjoyed seeing the historic buildings. Dunedin: We took the ship tour to Nature’s Wonders, which is a private wildlife park about an hour and half by bus from the ship. We saw a lot of seals and a few nesting penguins. We did not have a lot of time to visit Dunedin on the way back. They did offer to drop people off in Dunedin if they wanted. Note: there is no free shuttle between Port Chalmers and Dunedin (round trip is $10 NZ per person). Cruising the sounds: The weather was cooperative and the clouds that hugged the coastline did not extend very far into the sounds. As a result, we had beautiful conditions in all three sounds. We feel fortunate, as the cruise before us could not visit the sounds due to high winds. At sea (2 days): About what you’d expect. The first day, the weather was a little rough and windy for our cabin crawl, but we all managed. The weather the second day was much warmer and less windy, so it was a good day for the pool and deck. Sydney: We stayed 5 days including debarkation day (you should have most of the day available). We stayed at the Sydney Harbour B&B in The Rocks, near the top, so we got lots of exercise walking up and down the stairs. It was also Australia Day on Jan. 26 (Sunday) so we couldn’t do a lot of regular activities due to disruption of the ferry schedules. We toured the Opera House on Saturday morning and attended a concert there in the afternoon. If you have the choice, take an early tour (9:30 at the latest) so you can visit the concert halls that may be closed later in the day for events. We also visited the Tauranga Zoo, but bad weather delayed the opening of the Sky Safari (tram from bottom to top). We'd definitely go back on a similar itinerary, but we would pick one with more ports in Australia or maybe plan some more land time on our own. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was my first ever cruise at the age of 48 with my 2 girls, aged 10 & 18. Being from NZ it was nice to do a 7 night cruise around NZ. Stopping at Bay of Islands, Akaroa, Picton & Napier was nice. While I have been to most of ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise at the age of 48 with my 2 girls, aged 10 & 18. Being from NZ it was nice to do a 7 night cruise around NZ. Stopping at Bay of Islands, Akaroa, Picton & Napier was nice. While I have been to most of these places with the exception of Akaroa it was nice to go there again as it has been some years to certain places and it was great to catch up with some family members in Picton & Napier that we don't get to see often. The ship was amazing, heaps of entertainment and activities so you could do as much or as little as you wanted. Food was amazing & I can honestly say that, myself and 1 of my daughters are Coeliac and we sure did not go hungry. The main place we ate at was The Lido and Min who was the Restaurant Manager was just amazing. The crew were just amazing and my 10 year old got lost on the 2nd day on board and she was looked after amazingly by the crew and the reception area, I was so thankful and appreciative of the way they cared for her and made her feel comfortable. Cabins while small have all that is needed. Having a balcony cabin was fantastic as it was nice to just relax in our room with the door open & be able to watch the water and have the fresh air. The biggest problem was the going into Port and having to get Tender boats, you would collect a ticket for the time that you wanted to go on the tender but those time tickets were never checked and it would often take over an hour from your chosen time to actually get to Port. I think people were ignoring the time they had selected and just going when they were ready so we started doing the same. There was also often a long wait to get from Port back to the Ship as everyone was heading back at the same sort of time. Along with this I do have to say that the crew getting you on and off the tender boat were amazing at safety and helping you on and off the boat, very reassuring. All in all my girls and myself had an amazing holiday and thank the crew on board for their wonderful service and help. The always available food and the fresh fruit was just incredible and I would go back again just for the food to be honest. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Viking is noted for being an above average cruise line. Unfortunately this particular cruise started out substandard for Viking. I made comments early on in our cruise and was really pleased with the quick feedback and attention to my ... Read More
Viking is noted for being an above average cruise line. Unfortunately this particular cruise started out substandard for Viking. I made comments early on in our cruise and was really pleased with the quick feedback and attention to my comments made by Viking staff. The staff on the ship were all exceptionally friendly and attentive. The food was very good-especially in Manfredi's-my favorite. Did not care for the Chef's table but that is more related to what was on the menu for the evenings I attended. The educational talks were excellent and it was great to be able to watch them on my own schedule, in my own cabin, on my own TV. The cabin was beautiful and comfortable with the best shower I have ever experienced (so much pressure). The amount of storage in the cabin was excellent--we did not even fill up all the drawers. The nightly entertainment was very good. The cruise director, Brian Rodriguiz was amazing--what a talent. For me I would have liked more options for shore excursions. I would have liked more hiking options-or other active excursions. I was disappointed in some of the included tours and found it unfair that on certain days I had to choose between included tours and optional tours rather than being able to do them both. This was due to scheduling overlap. This did not occur on the Viking River cruises we have taken. I was not happy with the arrival at the airport or the departure. This was disorganized. The post trip in Port Douglas was nice. The hotel was excellent. The ship is beautiful. I loved the itinerary and highly recommend it be added to everyone's bucket list. I do recommend Viking and the Orion is a beautiful ship. Love that no children are on Viking cruises. Love that everything is included on Viking cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Auckland to Sydney. The only disappointment was the final day in Sydney being too short, and apparent confusion amongst Viking staff about water shuttles from wharf to attractions. Arrived Sydney at 1PM, and cruise ended next morning ... Read More
Auckland to Sydney. The only disappointment was the final day in Sydney being too short, and apparent confusion amongst Viking staff about water shuttles from wharf to attractions. Arrived Sydney at 1PM, and cruise ended next morning .. only half a day for this great city. Directions we received from Viking shore team sent us as pedestrians thru an active working dock area to a non-existent shuttle. Wound up taking taxis at $60 to access Australian Maritime Museum, one wharf away from the ship. Otherwise, everything aboard ship, and all the organized shore excursions and enrichment sessions exceeded expectations. Food in all dining venues was excellent. Even had a special cake for 50th anniversary in Chefs Table. The Viking label Aquavit ( aged aboard a Viking ship on a round the world cruise) only available on Viking ships, was excellent ... much better than any other Aquavit aboard. Be sure to ask specifically for it, as they tuck away the bottle in the back of the bar fridge. Participated in the Kitchen Table experience with the Orion Executive Chef on a trip to the market in Melbourne, and dinner prepared by him that evening. Excellent commentary as we shopped in the market, and an enjoyable meal. A couple participants were disappointed that they did not experience hands-on slicing and dicing food preparation, as they were led to believe from the event description, but we, personally, were not disappointed ... who could top the preparation by the Viking kitchen? Also went on the Best of Australia extension to the outback. Terrific experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Clean ship, great staff, great tours (included and extra) never disappointed with anything! Food was outstanding, entertainment top notch! Well organized activities. Although a non stop 15+ hour flight I would do it again. Viking phone ... Read More
Clean ship, great staff, great tours (included and extra) never disappointed with anything! Food was outstanding, entertainment top notch! Well organized activities. Although a non stop 15+ hour flight I would do it again. Viking phone support staff very helpful leading up to the trip. JUST WOW!! Viking Orion was fun we always felt welcome and were treated with utmost respect, from the Captain to the people who cleaned our rooms. They are very happy people who love their jobs and they show it with warm smiles and conversations. The Cruise Director, Brian R. was multi talented and it was a joy to hear him and his wonderful team of entertainers sing. Back to cleanliness, ever minute I was on the ship everywhere we went the staff was cleaning and I must say I felt very safe onboard. All ports were great and we did the included and also an additional tour each port. This cruise was so good we booked another Viking cruise next year!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Visiting New Zealand was on my bucket list. The trip was a way to celebrate my retirement. I was impressed by the beauty and cleanliness of the ship. Every room had an outside balcony. The food was made from fresh ingredients and ... Read More
Visiting New Zealand was on my bucket list. The trip was a way to celebrate my retirement. I was impressed by the beauty and cleanliness of the ship. Every room had an outside balcony. The food was made from fresh ingredients and beautifully prepared! I went to the spa often and felt renewed each time. The staff were friendly, competent, and available. I enjoyed the presentations from the historians and the beautiful music from the musicians. Even though the Orion was at capacity, the ship never felt crowded. There were lots of cozy places to relax and visit. I participated in the Kitchen Table experience, meeting a chef and preparing a delicious meal. I loved both the included and extra excursions that I participated in. Handing out water to us each time we left the ship was helpful . As a nurse, I also appreciated the emphasis on washing hands when entering the restaurants. A fabulous experience!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Over a week, Sunday to Sunday, we went down and up the east coast of NZ. We were scheduled to circumnavigate NZ - going down the west coast after going past Cape Reinga, and then into Doubtful and Milford Sounds in Fiordland, but very big ... Read More
Over a week, Sunday to Sunday, we went down and up the east coast of NZ. We were scheduled to circumnavigate NZ - going down the west coast after going past Cape Reinga, and then into Doubtful and Milford Sounds in Fiordland, but very big swells (reputedly 8 metres) forced a change of plans. EVERYONE was really disappointed, as the Fiordland part was a main attraction, but better to be safe. Sometimes conditions dictate and priorities for safety overrule. Every cabin received a credit for $100 AUS. in compensation. Bad luck, that's all. All staff on board get 10 out of 10, a top effort by them in every respect. The cabins (staterooms) are really comfortable and have everything that you might want. Despite the unclear info supplied, there are 230v sockets in the cabins that accept a standard NZ (and Ozzy) 3 pin (or 2 pin) as well as British and European plugs, as well as USB sockets. The restaurants were very good - plenty of food and options. The entertainment in the Zodiac Theatre was particularly incredible. An absolute not to be missed, - you must get your seat there early (go 30 mins early) or you may miss out. Its ok watching everyone file in. The wifi is sold in packages, (none free) and our friend bought one, but never got it to work. In this day and age, no free wifi is a rarity, and a disservice to the cruise as anyone who was allowed (say) 300Mb per day would be sending photos and messages to friends thereby increasing publicity, so the meanness about this is a shot in the foot. World Class entertainment with 7 piece band in the Palm Lounge most nights, including visits from the incredible dance team. We Loved it all (bar the no wifi.). Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My first time cruising experience with Explorer Dream was overall an average to below average experience. Possibly a consequence of both my recent broken leg and bad weather or maybe it actually was a bad cruise. All Crew staff were and ... Read More
My first time cruising experience with Explorer Dream was overall an average to below average experience. Possibly a consequence of both my recent broken leg and bad weather or maybe it actually was a bad cruise. All Crew staff were and are amazing. Boat very rocky even in calmer weather not sure if that’s normal or if that’s normal for NZ waters ?? Shows in the Zodiac Theatre were brilliant even more so given the rocky boat conditions. But you had to be quick as they filled up pretty quick once people discovered that was the only decent activity onboard Food was good and plentiful. We enjoyed the buffet dining at the lido on deck 12. Downsides were no ice cream. Except for on the last night when they gave out ice cream. Given the amount of cakes on offer daily it felt incomplete without the ice cream to go with it lol. Also the 3 inclusive restaurants were very strict in their timings 6-9am, 12-2pm & 5-9pm generally. We got the drinks package, which was for soft drinks, beers & wines. However there was no Pinot Noir on offer at all which is what we always drink normally in fact they only offered Cab Sav & Merlot red wines. If that was the case it should have been mentioned on the package rather than discovered on board. Soft drinks included ginger beer but was never mentioned by staff as being on offer and they only kept pushing Coke, Sprite and Fanta even in their mobile carts. We only found out cause other people were ordering it. Felt little cheated by such experiences. Excursions on offer onboard were limited and all very expensive, minimum AUD$150 per person. Whereas you could get NZD$25-$50 shorter less time consuming tours on shore (1hour). Would have been good to have those offered on the boat. Was hoping for self service laundry but we had to pay per garment like in hotels. So had to get out at Dunedin to avoid an expensive laundry bill. Bad weather canceled the Milford Sounds trip which was extremely disappointing as we had hoped to make the most of our balcony rooms for that. Bad weather also led to the swimming pools being shut down for 2 days again for safety reasons nonetheless disappointing. Efficiency of staff was amazing in all areas. There daily dress up parties started very late, usually after 10pm by when we were always tired and seating at the event was limited. Could have easily had those events start at 8:30 - 9pm. Don’t understand why it wasn’t so. Room was good and well serviced daily. Disappointing they didn’t accommodate inter connecting rooms given there were so many of them and even worse we were placed on 2 different floors. Overall don’t think it’s worth the price I paid. I think the cruise is probably worth around NZD$700 per person only. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was chosen for its itinerary. This had the most convenient stops for our family reunion of 45. BUT DREAM DOES NOT CATER TO BIG GROUPS. 2 months before embarkation, we requested for dining reservations so we could dine together. Our ... Read More
This was chosen for its itinerary. This had the most convenient stops for our family reunion of 45. BUT DREAM DOES NOT CATER TO BIG GROUPS. 2 months before embarkation, we requested for dining reservations so we could dine together. Our travel agent forwarded the email sent by dream reservations that this could only be done upon embarkation. We showed this to reception manager Aston Tan who said THEY DO NOT DO THIS SERVICE. IT’S FIRST COME FIRST SERVE. Our family reunion did not turn out to be one. What a disappointment! So, if you’re cruising as a group, DON’T GO WITH THEM. They’ll make it so hard for you to be together. Food was bad. Meals included in the cruise fare can only be had at the Dream Western fine Dining Room, the Chinese fine Dining Room and the Lido Buffet. Meat was over cooked, tough. In the Chinese one, all entrees meant to share...all entrees meat and vegetables mix with sauce, the scallop was over cooked, so rubbery. Also, all serving staff were not trained to wait on tables. I can’t count anymore how many times their elbows were right on my face. Other restaurants were considered as specialty .. pay extra for these. Even popcorn and ice cream had to be paid for Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Chose this cruise purely to sail through the Fjords of New Zeland and set up 1TB of memory on a brand new phone at huge expense to record it all.. We took a new $400 massager for pre existing ailments which got confiscated at ... Read More
Chose this cruise purely to sail through the Fjords of New Zeland and set up 1TB of memory on a brand new phone at huge expense to record it all.. We took a new $400 massager for pre existing ailments which got confiscated at embarkment. All meals are extremely sub par,tasteless and repetitive...hope you like pork..Bacon is always hard ..ALWAYS..The meals you pay for in the total price are terrible but if you want to eat a nice meal then add $35 and you get fantastic ,small but yummy lobster tail and a steak they try to convince you is fillet, although it's 8mm thick and tastes nothing like a fillet steak. Service is excellent..About 1 in 10 of the staff smile..those that do are wonderful others seem as if it's a burden.. Cups are ridiculously small.. Flavour of coffee tea and juices are ok. 24 hour food options are an absolute joke..saw many go, look and leave.. Everyone you spoke to onboard had negative things to say about the food quality and lack of decent selection to room service and 24 hour bar. We didn't dock at 1 port and also due to weather the captain turned the ship back and we never went to the Fjords.. 3 days at sea and room service had me waiting on the phone 20mins then it just hung up on me..this happened twice.. Room service soup portions are extremely tiny..it would take about 8 to fill my bowl at home. Beds and pillows are exquisite. Our room server is called Manu and is outstanding and extremely accommodating .. Toilet has blocked twice and not flushed about 8 times so far.. That was sooo embarrassing.. Internet has upgraded mid trip to the new beaut fast perfect medallion class..it is excellent.. Large t.v. is ok BUT you CANNOT IN ANY WAY stream your own content on it or connect your phone or tablet or laptop via Bluetooth, HDMI or any cable for that matter, or wifi.. You are stuck with the very very small option choices available...decent choices but so few of those.. I was looking forward to sitting in a heated spa and watching movies under the stars... Well they net off the pool and spas late afternoon and you CANNOT access them!! Was ghe whole point of the ship experience.. The entertainment is boring but I understand why as it caters to the elderly who are 95% of the passengers. Average age is 60's to 70's. First night comedian ,everybody said, got pity laughs..I knew most of the punchlines from his stolen material before he said them. Dance shows look like high school musicals and singers wouldn't get far on "the voice". Very average entertainment indeed. Showers are excellent for pressure and temperature control.. Ship presents well.. Hotdogs are great.. Pizzas are a joke as you only get 2 toppings and they are so plain and flavorless.. DO NOT WASTE YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY ON A DRINKS PACKAGE.. Just to break even I would have to be able to drink 210 stubbies of beer in under a fortnight AND be able to go on all the shore excursions ..remember its only worth it if your gunna drink all day EVERY DAY. The shops sell everything at a huge markup ..one example is their binoculars which are $45 to $49 online are over $150. Captain said the pools were getting drained due to swell. The elevators take forever..the buttons to close the doors don't work.. The casino falsely posts the tables are $2 tables but forces you to make $10 minimum bets ..I am a very experienced casino player and have never seen a table say $2 minimum and have it explained as," That just means they are $2 chits but you have to use 5 of them minimum". They clearly have just began this facard as there were a few confused croupiers as well .. And the cherry on the top.. They added the princess logo as an extra place on the roulette table with 2 zeros..money hungry greedy casino that took any fun out of it. I love casinos..Avoid this one as they stacked the odds against the player far more than usual and as it's only during international waters that they are open, they are governed by NO LAWS.. People go on princess to get away from kids as we saw maybe 8 the whole ship coz there's nothing to do.. Bring your own entertainment As for destination ,it is the weather that determines at the last minute if you can go or not.. You pay for accomadation and food and there are no refunds.. I've had positives to say but mostly negitives.. 2 years planning 1 years saving 3 days in bed coz nuffin to do..here's an example of there onboard "entertainment" Went to a darts "tournament".. Loads of 'board out of our scones blokes showed up to play darts...were blokes ...love darts.. All wondering if its teams like pub darts.. Will it be 501?..Shanghai ? So excited... "Ok everybody put names down here and as I call your name throw 3 darts and go for highest score". .maybe highest score starts??...NO!!! Step up twice and add both scores together...done that.. Ok Joe Blo got highest score and is the winner...seeya folks.. I had 2 goes and that was the much anticipated "darts tournament". Everybody was dissapointed saying "is that it". But everything ends in "was that it?" Overpriced and underserved.. 11 grand we paid for 3 nice shore cruises nice scenery and crap food.. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Intro This was our first Princess cruise, having sailed previously with Carnival and P&O Australia (loyalty recognition rocks!). Pre-Cruise We had booked through Princess Cruise Planner and unfortunately this caused all of ... Read More
Intro This was our first Princess cruise, having sailed previously with Carnival and P&O Australia (loyalty recognition rocks!). Pre-Cruise We had booked through Princess Cruise Planner and unfortunately this caused all of the issues we experienced on the trip. Due to his error he had to cancel our booking and rebook, which then lost our cabin and he couldn’t get it back. We ended up on the guarantee list and was allocated a cabin about 10 days prior to departure. However, the main issue caused was that we had booked a vow renewal package as it was our 10-year anniversary while on the cruise. While he assured me, it had been transferred (and two subsequent calls to the contact centre also confirmed this) when we arrived there was no letter about it. While the guest services team on board offered to investigate it, we ended up not having it. I was very upset as if someone had told me it was cancelled; I would have simply rebooked it in the required timeframe. Embarkation This was very straight forward and seemed well organised. The wait was not long, and we were on the ship and having lunch within 45min of arriving at the port. The muster drill was held at 5pm and for us was in the casino (muster station B). We got there 30min early as my husband needed to sit and we couldn’t afford to not get a chair. However, we needn’t have worried as there was lots of seats. I was surprised that it was only an audio recording we listened too and watched a crew member put on a life jacket. The video in cabin seemed to be longer / more informative. But not complaining as it was one of the best in the terms of inside, with seats and not needing to bring the life jacket! Cabin (P302) This was a mixed bag for us – having lost our cabin due to Princess Consultants error we ended up on the guarantee list of a sold-out holiday cruise. We ended up with an Ocean view cabin on deck 5 (which is an upgrade from the obstructed view we paid for). However, it was at a junction of the ship and therefore the entryway was very narrow – 63 cm (the room service staff had to turn the tray to carry it into the room!) This was an issue for us as even though we have the most compact mobility scooter especially designed for travel it would not fit through the door without being completely disassembled. This meant we couldn’t use it easily and ended up limiting our activities on the ship. The cabin steward Alen was so fantastic – in addition to being top notch at doing his role he we had a chat every day and on formal nights he made sure to find us so he could take photos for us while all dressed up. The cabin itself was fine, no issues apart from the fridge not working. We didn’t even think to let Alen know but he must have worked it out as maintenance came and fixed it. The location was great – a short walk to get coffee and close to the lifts. We were concerned that it might be noisy, but we slept through the New Years Eve party that was held in the Piazza and never heard a peep. Food Due to dietary issues and preference we are very fussy eaters. We have struggled on other cruise lines but not on Princess. The food was outstanding - lots of choice, good quality and delivered hot. We had traditional dinning at the early sitting and had a great serving team (Joven and Richard). Nothing was a bother; they knew our habits and always gave great recommendations. We either had room service or went to the buffet for lunch. Happy with both – room service would have got rave reviews except on the last sea day I got burnt chicken tenders and cold chips. Earlier in the cruise the food was perfect, although once we had an almost hour wait. This was an anomaly as most other days it was fine. One thing to note – on the days it was rough they had a reduced menu as they were unable to use the fryers for safety reasons. Not really a food issue but we were assigned the Botticelli restaurant which could only be accessed via deck 7. This meant we had to go up from 5 to 7, walk to the other end of the ship and then down to 6. In general, this would have been ok but for a person with mobility issues this was a real hassle. Considering we had multiple notes / flags on our account re mobility and completed the special needs form it would have been great if we had been put in a different dinning room. I know we could have gone to anytime dinning but our next table people were so fantastic we didn’t want to leave them. Entertainment Like food, this is very subjective. We enjoyed the shows and the guest entertainers seemed well received. If you ever get the chance to see Jon Darsk do it! Even if you don’t like classical music he is a flamboyant pianist entertainer and you can not help but admire his skill. The standout for us was the Pop Choir – Jeremy the Asst Cruise Director was our Choir master and it was a such a positive & affirming experience. By the end of the cruise we were on nodding acquaintance with most of the 70 participants. The negative was the lack of seating in public areas - particularly the piazza. On previous cruise lines we have spent a lot of time listening to music in lounges but on the Ruby we often could not find seats in venues. We missed a number of events because of this - the must do events required arriving 45-30 min early. Excursions We had one excursion cancelled by Princess (in Hobart) but the Melbourne one was great. I understand the comments re price of ships tours, but for us the quality of the experience made it worth it. With mobility issues these were catered for and made the excursion more relaxed and comfortable for us. Disembarkation We had wheelchair assistance and booked a transfer via Princess. Everything went super smooth – we were off the ship and at the airport within an hour of our call time. Overall We had a great cruise and subsequently booked the for the next 2 years. We had some limited medallion features rolled out on our cruise and can’t wait for the full experience. Our little issues did put a damper on some of the experience, but I know I was not forward in expressing my disappointment or advocating for ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise line because of our travel agent and the 8 different ports available. embarkation went smoothly, however the disembarkation was so crazy. there wasn't enough room or order for all passengers to be in the same ... Read More
We chose this cruise line because of our travel agent and the 8 different ports available. embarkation went smoothly, however the disembarkation was so crazy. there wasn't enough room or order for all passengers to be in the same place at the same time. our cabin was nice, we reserved a balcony room and it was worth it. might upgrade to the next room though if we were to cruise again, the shower was pretty small (but doable). there were many activities but mostly for older people, not much for a thirty something to do unless you decide to over pay for drinks and get drunk enough to do karaoke. definitely need a better beer selection, maybe add a craft beer bar or something. there were only lounges for older people or activities for children. The younger "clubs" were just too young for us, like i said, not very 30-year-old friendly. anytime dining was good and our serving staff for formal dining were lovely. stateroom was always kept clean. my husband and i probably wont cruise again, it just wasnt our thing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The itinerary was exactly what we wanted. Both islands for New Zealand and Hobart Tasmania (our favorite), Melbourne and Sydney for Australia. Unfortunately, a storm and heavy seas caused us to miss Akaora and Fiordlands and gave us a ... Read More
The itinerary was exactly what we wanted. Both islands for New Zealand and Hobart Tasmania (our favorite), Melbourne and Sydney for Australia. Unfortunately, a storm and heavy seas caused us to miss Akaora and Fiordlands and gave us a number of days of rough seas and cold days. Not the fault of Princess and the decision of the captain was understandable and appreciated . Safety first. The crew and staff were outstanding. Favorite port was Hobart Tasmania, What an enchanted place is Tasmania! Art, history wildlife, pastoral countryside. Our cabin was large and well appointed and the cabin steward was wonderful. The price for the cruise was good, as long as you don't want anything other than a cabin, tap water and coffee/tea and pretty standard food. On the ship it was disappointing that so many things cost extra, - soft drinks, bottled water, "gourmet" hamburgers, ice cream sundaes, gelato, specialty coffees and IMO not good value for the money. Of the three (Share, Crown and Salty Dog Pub) only the Share specialty restaurant was worth the extra charge. Food at meals in the buffet was plentiful, but pretty average. Steaks available at every dinner in the formal restaurants, but $24 (Aus) extra. Drink packages and wifi were expensive, but wifi was excellent. You have to be a pretty heavy drinker to make the packages worthwhile. The excursions were expensive compared with those available through tour companies at most ports on shore (hint - book ahead), but most were good. We liked the train at Dunedin and were glad we booked through Princess as it picks you up at the port, rather than having to catch the other train in town some miles away. The ship was built in 2008 and had been nicely refurbished a couple of years ago, but rust showing outside and on the balcony. Interiors were very lovely. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We just completed a very enjoyable cruise to New Zealand on the Ruby Princess. It was our first time cruising on Princess although have cruised many times with other companies. The ship was recently refurbished and everything was in good ... Read More
We just completed a very enjoyable cruise to New Zealand on the Ruby Princess. It was our first time cruising on Princess although have cruised many times with other companies. The ship was recently refurbished and everything was in good working order and nicely presented. Everything was spotlessly clean and neat. We were upgraded to a suite which was a fantastic experience with all the added perks like access to the thermal spa, complimentary laundry, afternoon tea in the lounge and separate dining room access and seating. It is an American ship and all plug points are US. They do however provide one Australian converter plug. The cabin was roomy and spacious. It was an accessible cabin so only had a very large shower, no bathtub, which was perfect for us as we do not use a bath anyway. Lots of cupboard space and drawers to unpack in. The only downside to this cabin was the position as it was directly below the walkway from one pool to the other and we constantly heard footsteps or trolleys rolling along the passage when we were in the cabin. People warned us about the weather at this time of the year and boy did it come true. Three days of very rocky sailing and missing two ports, Akaroa where we planned to swim with the dolphins and the Fjordlands which we were so looking forward to sailing through. Food was ok but a bit limiting for vegetarians in our party. Service at the restaurant was first class especially that we were in a special section for suite guests. Entertainment was mediocre and pretty ordinary for this class of ship. Pools were fantastic as there are two adult only pools and found chairs quite easily. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We boarded the Ruby princess in Auckland for a 14 night cruise over new years all the way to Sydney. As we boarded the ship which was fine & easy to do, there were no offices to greet us just custom people, ( in the past we have ... Read More
We boarded the Ruby princess in Auckland for a 14 night cruise over new years all the way to Sydney. As we boarded the ship which was fine & easy to do, there were no offices to greet us just custom people, ( in the past we have always been greeted by offices ) made our way to our balcony cabin on deck 11, our room service man was there, nice enough man, I asked what type of animal would he make for the bed ( his reply I CAN'T be bothered & DON'T have time to make them ) NOT the best start, overall he was ok. I noticed in the atrium 24 lights on the ceiling were not going & many more on the walls also out. In the main theatre there were over 60 lights out! Up on decks every third fourth light was out ( lack of pride on this ship ) The food in the breakfast / lunch buffet was plain, bacon was burnt to a crisp the eggs were luke warm at the best, alot of stews etc & cakes? Not alot of fruit or health options. The entertainment was sad three or four passable performers all the rest were a joke. Two of them opening with the same JOKE!! Tea -- ordered beef casserole and received a nice piece of steak ( not a mistake ) -- ordered pork ribs and received pork steak ( again not a mistake ) -- wife ordered chicken rapped in bacon ( NO bacon on the plate at all ) The person who writes the menu needs to talk with the chiefs. On the tenth day at sea they ran out of Limes , ginger beer & Pinot Noir red wine, they said they would ask for more to be loaded at the next port! Never happened. We had some Pinot Noir in our room was NOT allowed to bring to the table!! 14 nights on the cruise and never sore the captain once only heard him on the intercom telling us about the weather and ports we would miss because of it. Waste of time as we could not understand him anyway. Bingo on the last day, a cruise to be won ( nice ) as the time went on we with 6 others were down to 1 x number to go when a man stood up saying bingo, the lady running the bingo with all her carry on etc didn't even notice him and called another number! Several people spoke up but as another person said bingo it would be a play off -- a first man missed out!! We were playing on tablets so he had proof he won BUT no they gave it to the second winner. THIS WAS VERY WRONG. I for one will never board another princess ship they are poorly looked after. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We were super excited for this cruise and left feeling disappointed as it definitely did not live up to expectations. Yes we missed 2 ports of call due to bad weather but that is nothing Princess can be held responsible for. What they can ... Read More
We were super excited for this cruise and left feeling disappointed as it definitely did not live up to expectations. Yes we missed 2 ports of call due to bad weather but that is nothing Princess can be held responsible for. What they can be held responsible for is how they choose to amend guest entertainment so we actually had something to do during the extra at sea days (7 out of 14). Highlights and lowlights as follows: - super comfy beds and pillows - fantastic cabin attendants - Thanks Jesse! - no live music during lunchtimes on deck - no live music at 5 pm (sorry classical piano sometimes in the atrium) - no happy hours (previous Princess Cruises had 2 a day) - bands only played for 45 minutes then you were forced to move venues (if another band was playing) otherwise it seemed they wanted you to go to bed. - great service in Vines Bar - great service in Dining Room -Stale bread rolls and bread at breakfast (in buffet) - not quite stale but not freshly baked bread at dinner - good food in dining room but not as on the mark as previous Princess Cruises - Boring Art Auctions taking up a full venue for too long on sea days - Main daytime entertainment which did not change on any day - line dancing, quizzes, trivia, bingo, "diamond viewing", "pamper parties (aka please buy these salon products), foot analysis zzzzzzzzzzz. Mix it up Cruise Director - this is your job. Be creative! - On the sea days because the weather was bad it was impossible to get a seat in any of the indoor areas. - Some better quality wines were available by the glass in some bars but not in the dining room. Very frustrating! - Guest entertainers mediocre to poor. A couple of "world class" comedians and entertainers were touted which no one had ever heard of. - easy embarkation and disembarkation - We found the drinks package to be worth it. AUD 90 per day as it included coffee, juice and soft drink. There was a limit of 15 alcoholic drinks per day but you would have a serious problem if you got near this limit. However, during the whole day if you had say 4 glasses of wine at $15 per glass, 3 coffees, sparking water with dinner and a few soft drinks during the day and maybe a nightcap or cocktail at night there was no trouble in exceeding this amount. - Medallion internet was great, however not sure about the Medallion - a little too much like big brother watching as you can now be tracked wherever you are on the ship. Also conscious of the wastage as Medallions are single use only. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise as an celebration of my birthday. The Ruby did not meet our expectations at all. The staff was not at all customer oriented and for the most parr were just going through the motions. The buffet was subpar. The Vines ... Read More
We chose this cruise as an celebration of my birthday. The Ruby did not meet our expectations at all. The staff was not at all customer oriented and for the most parr were just going through the motions. The buffet was subpar. The Vines lounge was excellent and a great offering. The staff in this lounge made our cruise. Overall This was by far the worst cruise we have taken and we have taken 7, with four of those on previous Princess cruises. The entertainment was good and varied. The overall condition of the ship and staff would barely rate a two star hotel rating. The “Share” restaurant even though you had to pay extra to experience it was outstanding. A true dining delight. The Grill on the other hand is not worth the $35.00 per person to eat a steak. The $19.00 dining charge to eat pub food in the Salty Dog is a joke .This cruise would not make a first time, or even an experienced cruiser want to take another Princess cruise. We were disappointed that we did not get to two of the destinations on the itinerary certainly not the fault of Princess. The disappointment was even further exasperated by Princess not even making any overtures to the passengers. Any airline would have given the passengers miles etc. Princess didn’t even offer to by you a drink. I will think twice before I go with Princess again Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We book based upon itinerary, but have taken four long cruises on Princess. For this cruise we had Club Class D503. Platinum Membership. Pros: a. Crew members were very friendly and helpful. They brought a lot of enjoyment to our ... Read More
We book based upon itinerary, but have taken four long cruises on Princess. For this cruise we had Club Class D503. Platinum Membership. Pros: a. Crew members were very friendly and helpful. They brought a lot of enjoyment to our cruise. b. The Club Class dinning is very good to excellent, well worth it. c. Many of the excursions we took were well done: bike & wine tour, bike & wildlife tour, etc. Cons: Although the ship had been refurbished about two years ago it is showing its age. a. The bathroom floor appeared dirty from wear as well as toilet and bathtub. We know they were clean (we had a very good steward and appreciate all his hard work). b. The bathroom had a slight mildew smell, and we think it was from the toilet water which often had black specks in it. That water is separate from the drinking water which was fine. But it points to the age of the ship. Never experienced this in our many years of cruising. c. One of the cabin mirrors was damaged from what appear to be nail polish remover (something that would etch a mirror). d. The exterior of the balcony had many rust spots as well as the hull (more than you might expect with regular maintenance). e. We could rarely use the Prominade Deck because it was either bad weather or on good days they were refinishing it (a little maintenance during a cruise is expected but this was major work). We could definitely notice a lowering of food quality in the buffet compared to our last Princess Cruise (about 1.5 years ago). a. The buffet food for breakfast/lunch seemed more overcooked and varied little during the entire cruise. b. Exterior venues like hamburger, pizza and ice cream were fine. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019

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