103 Auckland Family Cruise Reviews

We flew from London to Auckland via Emirates. Everything ran as per schedule and we arrived in New Zealand 3 days prior to the cruise. It took about an hour or so to go through immigration and customs before leaving the airport. However ... Read More
We flew from London to Auckland via Emirates. Everything ran as per schedule and we arrived in New Zealand 3 days prior to the cruise. It took about an hour or so to go through immigration and customs before leaving the airport. However apart from usual bag checks no other checks like temperature monitoring were being carried out at the airport. We were transferred to our central Auckland hotel called Citylife heritage hotel. We were given a one bedroom suite on one of the top floors of this hotel which had beautiful views of the city and harbour. We had breakfast included at the hotel which was great and there were plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby for lunches and dinners. The hotel was in a great location, situated on the main shopping street, Queen street. Sky tower was 5 mins walk away. We spent the next 3 days sightseeing around Auckland. Took hop on hop off bus to tour around Auckland, went up the sky tower for great views of the city, took a ferry to Devonport for views of Auckland from Mount Victoria. Also visited museum and botanic gardens. On our third day, we took a full day excursion to Rotorua to visit Tepuia and Wai-o-tapu geo-thermal sights. Very interesting day visiting these lovely sites and also saw a kiwi bird at Tepuia. On our return back to Auckland there was heavy rainfall which the country desperately needed after a very dry summer. Thankfully this was the only rainfall we saw in our entire trip. The next morning we did a bit of souvenir shopping on queen street before being picked up by our trasnsfer service to be taken to the dock to check in for the solstice New Zealand cruise. We thought it would take a long time to board the cruise as they were going to do extra checks like temperature monitoring etc. However no sooner we got there, our temperatures were promptly recorded and after getting the all clear, we handed our luggage to one of the porters. We proceeded to the check in area where the queue was minimal and were checked in to board the ship in 10mins. This was one of the fastest boarding we have experienced for a cruise. The whole process from arrival to boarding ship took under half an hour! As soon as we entered this beautiful ship, we were given champagne and asked to proceed to buffet as staterooms were going to be ready by 1pm. There was plenty of food choice for lunch from pizzas to sandwiches to Indian, Mexican, Chinese, vegetarian/vegan etc. After we finished lunch, we went to tour the ship which was similar to the Reflection we had been on 6 months prior to this cruise. 2 outdoor and 1 indoor pools, 2 tier theatre, cinema, casino, plenty of bars and cafes, around 4 speciality restaurants, outdoor screen by lawn area etc. Lovely ship and everything seemed nicely maintained despite a refit scheduled in 2021. We were soon asked to proceed to the staterooms soon after 1pm. Our cabin was a balcony cabin on deck 7 on the starboard side of the ship towards the front elevators. Great location for the theatres, Sky bar and cinema. Bit further to walk for dining areas but we got used to it very soon. When we got to our cabin, all the luggage had already arrived which was great! The cabin was once again very similar to our cabin on celebrity Reflection. Lovely bathroom with shower cubicle with glass doors. Good size balcony with 2 retractable chairs and a table. The room had plenty of storage space, a big sofa and a huge flat screen interactive tv. All in all, a very pleasant cabin which was looked after by our cabin steward Joaquín. The master of the ship, captain Alex, was one of the best captain we have ever had on a cruise. He was hilarious and we eagerly looked forward to his daily announcements. More importantly he kept us reassured and worry-free through out the cruise as we were travelling at a time when the whole world seemed to be affected by the coronavirus. Moreover we saw him regularly saw him and his officers throughout the cruise. We departed Auckland after 6pm soon after the safety drill was completed. We had lovely views of the city as we sailed toward Tauranga, our first stop. We docked in Tauranga next day at 10.30am. As we had booked a 'Hobbiton film set' tour for 12.30pm, we went to explore nearby area in the morning. we hiked up Mt. Maunganui in the morning where we got lovely views of the ship and surrounding area. Went back to ship for 12.30 whereby we took a coach to see the lovely film set where some parts of Lord of Rings and Hobbit trilogies were filmed. Spent around 3 hours at this magical place before returning to the ship around 4.30pm. As the ship was not leaving Tauranga till 10pm, we had local Maui performers come and do a traditional show in the theatre and included Haka dance too. We had a sea day in between followed by 3 consecutive stops. The first stop was Picton in South Island which was extremely picturesque. We had a lovely sunny day and we did a Marlborough train tour to Blenheim which was really a scenic journey passing through many vineyards. We got off at Blenheim and had a few hours to spend in this town before taking train back to Picton. Once we got back, we looked around Picton and the beautiful scenery around the area before taking back shuttle to ship. The next day we tendered in Akaroa. However the tendering process was very quick and efficient. We did a tour to Christchurch. It was a lovely picturesque journey to Christchurch and we had an excellent tour guide/driver who was very informative. When we got there we toured the city on the colourful trams and although the city is still rebuilding from the earthquake around 10 years ago, we loved the city for its vibrant atmosphere. We returned back to the ship and sailed towards Dunedin (Port Chalmers). We were advised by the captain that night that NZ prime minister had announced that all cruise ship ports in NZ would be shutting next day and if anyone entered the country from a foreign country including Australia, they would have to self isolate for 14 days. Hence anyone wishing to get off at Dunedin would be allowed to. This was our last NZ port anyway so we didn't miss any of the NZ ports. However due to the self isolation policy, around 180 guests left the ship in Dunedin. In Dunedin, we had a tour booked to see sights of Dunedin and visit Speights brewery. This was an excellent tour as it covered quite a few areas of Dunedin like botanic gardens, the railway station (most photographed building in all of NZ) and also a very informative trip to the brewery. After the tour of brewery we were given lots of good sized samples of various beers to try. Returned back to ship after 4 hours and then went around Port Chalmers Local area to have a look at this lovely small town. The next day we were visiting the national fjordland area (dusky, doubtful and Milford sounds). As we were not docking there, we were allowed to visit this part of New Zealand. It started off a bit overcast when we cruised through dusky sound but weather kept improving through the day and by the time we got to Milford sound, it was very warm and sunny. The captain gave us a surprise by rotating the ship 360 degrees at Milford sound to view one of the gorgeous waterfalls there so every side of the ship could get great views of the falls. We also saw lots of dolphins sailing alongside the ship once again pointed out by the captain and cruise director. During the sail into other sounds, we also saw seals and plenty of different types of birds. Had a great day visiting all the sounds and our trip to NZ wouldn't have been complete without without visiting these sites. We were supposed to have 2 sea days before docking in Eden. However Australia announced they would be closing all ports to cruise ships. Hence we missed Eden but were given onboard credit for missing that stop. So we ended up with 3 sea days. We were slightly concerned whether we would be allowed to disembark in Sydney but we needn't have worried as captain Alex announced that we were given permission to disembark in Sydney and would be arriving there the night before. However wouldn't be allowed to leave the ship until the scheduled day of departure. So apart from missing Eden, we didn't have any other itinerary changes and were very lucky that everything ran smoothly and no one fell ill onboard. The ship staff were always cleaning around the ship and made sure everyone washed their hands and used hand sanitisers regularly. We dined in main dining room on level 4. Although we were on anytime dining, the hostess Carla (who remembered our names daily) always ensured she was gave us table by the window with the same waiter every night. One of the best hostesses we have seen on a ship. Our head waiter Rejoy was excellent and ensured all our needs were promptly met. His assistant Goolfee was great too but was moved to one of the speciality dining rooms later. However his replacement was great too. Wine steward Paul gave us a good selection wines daily. Since we had outstanding service in main dining room, we didn't need to visit any of the speciality restaurants. However those who visited some of them like Murano, had a great time. Food was great and loved all the choices on menu. All the shows in theatre were great. There were some guest presenters like a British magician, Australian singer and a violinist. All were very talented and enjoyed their shows immensely. The production shows were brilliant and loved all 4 of them. They included 'Rock city', 'Broken strings', 'Amade' and 'Euphoria'. The singers and dancers did a great job and we got to see how they work and train on one of the sea days when we were given a complimtary tour of the backstage areas. The cruise director Kelly did and excellent job and together with her assistant Patrick, they ensured everyone was kept entertained during the various parties on the ship. Loved the balloon launch night and st. Patrick's day party. However disappointed that Abba night was not held in foyer as the charm was lost when it was held in sky lounge. There were quite a few talks, trivial, games and shows organised on the sea days to keep us occupied. However apart from one film shown in theatre on first sea day, no other films were shown in theatre during the cruise which was slightly disappointing. Films were shown on the screen by the lawn and at celebrity central but these are not ideal venues for film screening. Hence I would recommend solstice to show more films in theatre like they had done on our previous cruise on Reflection. Disembarkation ran very smoothly and we were off the ship by 8am in Sydney. We were at the airport by 11am and luckily our flight went on time later that day. Sadly lot of flights were cancelled as the world prepared to lock down due to coronavirus. On the whole, I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to visit and see sites and sounds of NZ in a relaxed way. We were immensely lucky that everything ran smoothly from start to finish and captain Alex and his team did a marvellous job to keep us safe and entertained through out the trip. Hoping the world can get over this virus quickly and cruises and travel can restart soon. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Just like to start of by saying -Thank you so much for such an amazing experience. Everything from the cabin we had to the atmosphere/entertainment and food, comfort it was all well above excellence. Everything was absolutely above ... Read More
Just like to start of by saying -Thank you so much for such an amazing experience. Everything from the cabin we had to the atmosphere/entertainment and food, comfort it was all well above excellence. Everything was absolutely above expectation and it was my first time on a cruise and it goes beyond words to explain how wonderful it all was. Our cabin was comfortable, spacious, clean and had all the facilities we needed. The services throughout the cruise including all the facilities and cleanliness were excellent. Definitely deserve over 5 stars. Meet amazing people, the atmosphere was wonderful the food and cocktails were divine always! With so much variety to choose from and such great entertainment. A BIG thank you! to Marvin (our waiter) and his team for always providing such a lovely service! Such a friendly, lovely team thank you! Exceptional teams, the services were all excellent. An experience to never forget. Thank you! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Chose this cruise for the itinerary Auckland to Melbourne ,on a positive note excellent staff both in level of service and quantity ,no issue with getting drink etc having sailed with NCL and RCI Celebrity and the quality of food was ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary Auckland to Melbourne ,on a positive note excellent staff both in level of service and quantity ,no issue with getting drink etc having sailed with NCL and RCI Celebrity and the quality of food was Superior . Itinerary was excellent with the over night in Sydney (although we did have to return to ship by 9.30pm) ,generally the entertainment was very good but the organisation and scheduling was poor ,for example for the house band played for a max 45 minutes session then stop (even if dance floor full)with no interim entertainment ,subsequently mass exodus from the audience leaving a 90% empty ,plus overlapping events and confusing use of venues where you had to keep skipping around to attend events ,it was a real struggle for the entertainment staff to keep the 2800 odd passengers to stay up any later than 10.30 pm ,during the day the ship had the feel of a carehome (I am 55) ,party ship this isn't !.felt really sorry for the Dj starting at 11ish with empty dance floor, however Patrick (activities manager )is destined for better things with his energy and enthusiasm . Another annoying issue was the 3 levels of drinks package ,never had this before where you could only have certain drinks and the premium drinks you could have were only available in 1 bar Tendering absolute debacle 2.5 hours to get off at bay of islands . The ship is looking very old and tired ,in need of a refurb and not by adding speciality restaurants at the expense of venues ,absolutely no WOW factors Not sure why the Captain was vying with the cruise director for entertainment value ? Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I was actually looking for a 12+ night cruise and I chose this cruise as it was going around New Zealand. I have travelled a fair bit of New Zealand by land and thought it would be nice to see some of the hard to get to places from the sea ... Read More
I was actually looking for a 12+ night cruise and I chose this cruise as it was going around New Zealand. I have travelled a fair bit of New Zealand by land and thought it would be nice to see some of the hard to get to places from the sea i.e. Gisborne, Dunedin, Milford. This was a re positioning cruise to Sydney. It was a 7 night cruise and I saw the following cruise went around Tasmania, so I booked that as well. This gave us a 14 night cruise. We booked an Oceanview cabin on deck 5 mid. This was a good location as there was minimal roll and very handy for disembarking at ports. We made a point of always using the stairs (mostly), this was a good way to offset all the good food we were consuming. Speaking of food, we mostly ate in the Dream Dining room where the food was great! A good selection with choices to satisfy choosy palates. OMG the entertainment was amazing! We had heard the entertainment was a must see and we weren't disappointed. We made sure we saw a show every night! Explorer Dream is a nice clean ship. The crew are always cleaning and polishing. The crew were possibly what topped the whole experience. Very friendly and always willing to help. no request was too small or too hard. Anything you want, they will get it for you if they can. A must see for me was the Captains Bridge. This is a gem. This is a room accessed from deck 12 front lounge via a spiral stair case. This gives anyone a 24 x 7 view into the Bridge! I did a Bridge tour for more detail too. A would definitely sail with Explorer Dream again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
As promised, here I come with my detailed review of the Explorer Dream. On 2 Feb, we boarded the cruise at Auckland. We thoroughly enjoyed right from the time we checked in our luggage. Contrary to my doubts that there would be a long ... Read More
As promised, here I come with my detailed review of the Explorer Dream. On 2 Feb, we boarded the cruise at Auckland. We thoroughly enjoyed right from the time we checked in our luggage. Contrary to my doubts that there would be a long queue waiting for baggage drop, I was pleasantly surprised that there was hardly any que and the helpers were too quick to take my luggage from me. Then came the boarding part and what a smooth boarding was it. Once again, due to concerns of Corona virus, I was thinking about long wait. Dream cruises had devised plans not to cause inconvenience to low risk passengers. We were already on deck 7 Grand Piaza within a few minutes. Welcome soft drink was offered but I am not a fan so let that go. I was approached for a drink’s package and found $75 package for 10 drinks irresistible. Why wouldn’t I when premium beer was on offer. We then made our way to the Lido for afternoon tea. We were impressed with all the precautions and cleanliness. As I am not a big eater, I enjoyed small portions, but could see several people digging on hard on the delicious food. I was impressed. As were several friends with partners, we headed to our cabins. What a treat? I was impressed with my Ocean View State Room on Deck 9. Several power socket options, USB charging options, fridge, cleanliness of the bed and bath room and the views from our balcony. I thoroughly enjoyed the sunrise from balcony every morning with a hot cup of tea. We had our first dinner at the Lido. With good spread of food, I could not complain as I am not a big eater. Some people did find the spread a bit too limited as compared to some cruises. Our second dinner was at the Dream Dinning Restaurant (inclusive with the cruise fare). The staff that greeted us at the entrance of the restaurant and those who served food were all very pleasant. I was highly impressed the way they tried very hard to ensure that we were treated well. There was no need for advance booking. Just queue up. Although, it was a very popular dinner venue so sometimes we had to postpone our meal until the time there was space for our whole gang. We enjoyed the shows every night. The quality was amazing. We visited, Gisborn, Wellington, and Dunedin and enjoyed the outing including arrangements for shuttle and sightseeing. I can provide more info if required. Here I will not elaborate that as the review is for the cruise not for sightseeing. There were several on board activities and I personally loved the trivia, Pingpong and dancing. It was an amazing bonus when lovely Russian dance instructor picked me to be her partner in demonstrating the dance moves. She is beautiful, graceful and of course skilful. Every morning I enjoyed the gym and burnt few calories as lovely food and drinks would have otherwise added extra kilos around my waist. There was lots of food, programs, activities and not enough time at hand. I would love to take Explorer Dream again and enjoy the lovely cruise and company of amazing staff and activities. I hope I can get my old cabin every time I cruise in future. All the best all cruisers and enjoy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We wanted a short cruise before summer and thought we'd try this new cruise line. WE paid quite a lot for a balcony cabin but there was not much space in there. Embarkation etc was very quick, no problems at all. Staff were very ... Read More
We wanted a short cruise before summer and thought we'd try this new cruise line. WE paid quite a lot for a balcony cabin but there was not much space in there. Embarkation etc was very quick, no problems at all. Staff were very friendly and plenty of staff available. Food was a definite weak spot. Most food was Asian, not to our taste, but the so called Western food was not good at all, in fact we called this out Jenny Craig cruise as I am sure we lost weight !! The entertainment however was another matter, and it was the best entertainment we have seen on 13 cruises. The shows were spectacular without exception and the day time quizzes etc quite good too. If this cruise line comes back to New ZEaland next season I hope it rectifies a few things. One thing, is the gratuities,. which have to be paid before they would give a cabin confirmation. Visiting ports was disappointing as often we only had 2 or 3 hours ashore. WE arrived at Napier for instance late afternoon when all the shops were closed. . I wouldn't choose this cruise line again. 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
We have cruised the world many times but sadly never around NZ and the opportunity to sail around nz on Explorer Dream and visit the magnificent Milford and Doubtful sounds at a very good price for a balcony cabin seemed a good deal. ... Read More
We have cruised the world many times but sadly never around NZ and the opportunity to sail around nz on Explorer Dream and visit the magnificent Milford and Doubtful sounds at a very good price for a balcony cabin seemed a good deal. Sadly the rooms are quite congested compared to say Princess cabins, the food - not bad in the sit down dining rooms but the Lido buffet area really congested and a very limited and ordinary food selection once again compared to other lines. Then the extra charges on board like believe or not English Breakfast tea , all cakes and pastries apart from one or two basic types air the meal times, Ice Creams etc. The ports of call where fine if the arrival times allowed time to do something. An example was arriving in Napier at 2.30 pm until 11pm but the shops all close at 5pm so nothing to do so returned to ship. Dream Cruises at fault as they knew this not the port of call. Other ports had problems as well. The staff are really quite good though and the Entertainment on board is absolutely outstanding (apart from the cruise director being below standard) and far superior to anything we have seen on multiple voyages before. This made the cruise somewhat memorable despite the other faults. Would not sail with again sadly. 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
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
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
This cruise was on our bucket list and we have been looking forward to it for a long time. We got on the cruise ship with no problems. When we went up to the Lido deck the windows had not been cleaned from previous cruise. This was a 2 ... Read More
This cruise was on our bucket list and we have been looking forward to it for a long time. We got on the cruise ship with no problems. When we went up to the Lido deck the windows had not been cleaned from previous cruise. This was a 2 week cruise and they never cleaned them. By the end of the cruise, it was very hard to see out of them while you ate. The food was very disappointing. Not a lot of variety, just cooked differently each night. It took 2 hours to get your meal from start to finish in the dining room. We never saw the maitre-d except the last night of cruise and he came to the table to say hi. We felt like the cruise ship was very understaffed. Needless to say that is why it took so long in getting the food. The entertainment wasn't great. We were very disappointed in the overall cruise. Due to inclement weather, no fault of theirs, we missed 1 port and fjords. I spoke with a representative in regards to our concerns but she was not interested. We've sailed with multiple cruise lines including Princess before but this will definitely be our last with Princess. Very expensive for what we got. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Explorer Dream. Around New Zealand. Embark 29th December 2019. Disembark 05th January 2020 Firstly, this is certainly not a luxury boat, as was described to us from a Genting Cruise agent at the 2018 Cruise expo in NZ (and what prompted ... Read More
Explorer Dream. Around New Zealand. Embark 29th December 2019. Disembark 05th January 2020 Firstly, this is certainly not a luxury boat, as was described to us from a Genting Cruise agent at the 2018 Cruise expo in NZ (and what prompted us to book), and it is unlikely that we'll want to travel with Genting again. Cabins: Whilst of an adequate size, ours with a balcony that could seat 2 chairs, the rooms had not been vacuumed prior to us embarking, and rooms were not consistently serviced throughout the cruise (ie we had to ask for a soap refil, sometimes towels were taken to be washed but not replaced, some evenings you would get your bed turned down). There was a (very very small) mini fridge onboard and a small kettle with cups so you could make your own tea and coffee. Service: Service/waiting staff throughout the dining rooms were more often than not avoiding eye contact so as not to serve anyone. Any service had was extremely slow and convoluted (especially when it came to ordering drinks - the 'system' for ordering changed multiple times each day). Most staff carry walkie-talkies and use them all the time. This was especially uncomfortable in the Dream Dining Room - with staff chatter and the squawking of radios making it a very unpleasant experience. Entering the restaurants you're often met with someone at the door who clearly would rather be elsewhere. There was one standout exception to this; a young man called Ramli from Indonesia. At the end of the cruise we made special mention to him of his incredible service, and he just beamed with happiness. So we passed this back to him manager too. So many of the waiters could learn a lot from Ramli! Additionally, in the Dream Dining Room, service is not consistent. On our first dinner here we were seated at a shared table (most tables are shared), and our order for the entire meal was taken. We were never asked for a drinks order, and it was difficult to get the attention of anyone to enable us to order drinks (which finally happened after the appetiser and entree courses). On our second dinner, the Dream Dining Room was booked until 9:15pm, so had a late dinner seating. This turned out to be a mistake as the restaurant closed at 9:30pm and they clearly wanted us out fast. We ordered drinks upon seating (learning from the previous experience). These didnt come. We asked where they were and were told that the girl taking out order was not the drinks girl, so were asked to re-order (even though the original girl was standing beside this new waiter!). 5min later, before drinks nor any food arrived we were told that it was the last call for drinks because the bar was closing. Puzzled, we asked how this could be, since we had been told to dine at this time. We were told just to order more drinks now and stack them up as the bar was closing (this is despite trying to order a juice and a coffee earlier in the day, and told we cant stack drinks - that they can only be had one at a time). At this particular dinner, despite a quick serving of dinner, dessert was never served - not such a bad thing as dessert is not much more than a selection of finger cakes, or a couple of slices of cheese with stale crackers. Drinks: Drinks packages was one thing we enquired about prior to embarking, and information returned was limited. We got the sense that only water would be available onboard, therefore we pre-purchased the 'Classic' drinks package prior to embarking. This allowed for fruit juices, tea/coffee and house beer and wine. The selection was fine, however the fruit juice was the same nasty cordial served in the dining rooms - not fresh fruit juice which would cost more. As it turned out the dining rooms did have tea/coffee and cordial available free - however the free coffee was disgusting. Fortunately the package allowed for cafe coffees (much much nicer) throughout the ship. FYI we did order a rum and coke each on the final night (to use up a ship credit we got) but at 9AUD per nip + 18% gratuities + 15% GST for being inside NZ made it extremely expensive (at ship exchange rates our 2x double rum n cokes cost the equivalent of NZD57!) so if other guests are wondering what drinks package to purchase, this could be of interest! Entertainment: One thing they did do extremely well were the shows in the Zodiak theatre. The Ship dancers and the entire production were excellent. The magic shows were a highlight too. Its definitely worth not missing any of these. There was only 1 evening where there was no show in the theatre. Every other night the shows are repeated, so guests have the option of an early show or a late show. But beware that the early show does not give you enough time to eat afterwards - as the closing time in the restaurants is not 'last seating'. Its when the restaurant is fully cleaned and empty - which begins 45mins before the end of 'service'. Additionally, we were on the New Years cruise, which held special parties (and a special production from the entertainers) for midnight celebrations. These parties were very well done and so much fun! Food: Very average. The buffet (at 'Lido') has plenty of selection, but is not much different to your average RSA. Dream Dining Room meals are the same as the buffet but extremely small portions (and the cuts are no better - for instance the beef steak is equivalent to your thinnest grisliest schnitzel which has been braising in its own juices for way too long). We gave the Dream dining room a second chance, but stuck with the buffet thereafter - at least you could pick your own meal, and size, and the radio squawking was not quite so bad! Whilst food was average, there was certainly a lot of it on the ship, so unless you have special dietary requirements you wont go hungry. Be wary though if you're gluten intolerant or have any food allergies (another guest, with a son who has Celiac Disease, was in tears because they could not adequately cater for him). Guests: This was definitely a cruise for old and young alike. It had something for everyone. The fact that there were kids and babies onboard was definitely not an issue for us (and we prefer to not holiday with kids). We met lots of wonderful, friendly, happy, like-minded, travellers onboard. Onboard/Offload experience: Very well done. In and out of Auckland was very swift and easy (the best I have experienced around the world). However it would be worth noting that our ticket told us to board between 6:45pm and 7:30pm on day of sailing. However as it turned out actual boarding began from about 2pm. We did go in early and after enquiring were invited to board straight away - at 3pm! If we had left boarding until later we would have missed dinner and arrived only just in time for the emergency drill. We appreciate that they probably want to stagger guests entering, but we thought it very unfair that we would have otherwise missed a whole afternoon's worth of activities. Getting on/off at the various stops around NZ was certainly easy. There was never any rush, nor was there a need to keep us hoarded up in a theatre waiting for our ship offload time (as experienced on other liners). You got an offload ticket the night before with your set time, and you're ready to go - albeit they dont always ask for your tickets again when you go off! Just remember to take your passport or other photo ID, as this was a must for going back onboard. Itinerary: This was a cruise around NZ, but when booking we asked where exactly it would sail there was no definitive answer back from Genting (ie do we go around Cape Reinga or not?). As it turns out we did fully circumnavigate NZ. Surely this is a bonus to be sold! Unfortunately we sailed so far out at sea that there were very few times that you could get a glimpse of the land whilst sailing (this was a real shame). Fortunately there were plenty of onboard daily activities to take your attention during the day. The Ship: This ship was advertised as a ship that has been wholly refurbished. Onboard we were told that this total refurbishment took only 6 weeks to complete. What we saw was a very tired ship with some new carpet, and some new furnishings and fitouts in places. On the whole: It definitely felt like everything was an up-sell on board. Only 3 restaurants were free. The rest (in the open areas of the ship) had an additional fee. Also, apart from the Bingo games (at AUD25 per game) you got very little for winning competitions onboard as a part of the daily activities - for instance I won 2 seperate activities and barely got enough tickets from each combined for a ping-pong ball with a micro sized plastic car inside - akin to what you get out of Christmas crackers!! Finale: We have been on some lovely, luxury, ships in the past. So our expectations (and expectations set from the cruise expo agent) were high. For this reason we were extremely disappointed. Had we not sailed luxury in the past, then it is likely that our feedback would be different (we spoke to a number of other guests who had never cruised before and thought that this was a good holiday. Equally there were many guests, who like us, held the same frustrations throughout). If we were told that this is of a similar standard to P&O, or some other average ship, then this would have met expectations. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise as a great opportunity to spend time with family and see NZ from the seas. It seemed like a great idea and that's what it remained - a great idea. The reality was awful and I would never take a cruise with this ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a great opportunity to spend time with family and see NZ from the seas. It seemed like a great idea and that's what it remained - a great idea. The reality was awful and I would never take a cruise with this line again. I have cruised before on other lines and the Dream line is so sub par and average that I left the ship feeling relieved to be off it - not the anticipated way they wanted to have guests leaving! My real feeling on this is it's a great example of a company entering a market and clientele they know nothing about and simply not doing any research or homework. To be fair, I have specified which bits were average ( there was nothing outstanding) and which bits were simply awful. I am hoping the feedback helps others before committing to the steep costs and overpromising of the cruise line as well as help the company know what they should do better. Frankly, they did not seem open to feedback on the cruise so this could be hoping for too much! Cabins - outlined below Food - just awful with VERY limited choices or changes. Three main restaurants - the Lido buffet - average and like eating in a hospital cafeteria, The Dream dining room had average middle of the road food and the Pavillion - Chinese which was simple AWFUL the day we ate there with cold congealed food. A note as well: all patrons at dinner (including children and tots ) expected to wear long trousers. My son at 12 did not have long pants but we tried with his dress shorts and a collared shirt and shoes and were turned away so be warned! This limits your choice to the Lido only. Hours for food were also very limited as far as cruises go so you felt under pressure to get to the food areas in time to eat - a bummer on holiday! Snacks were the same every day and gross plus only available in one part of the boat. Bars only had peanuts as a snack and only when you asked which I thought was really poor form. Food was not replaced quickly and was mostly cold and often congealed. The swipe card system felt very dated and antiquated and the packages were expensive for what you got. Service was slow and I felt like we were always waiting for drinks, which arrived separately for our group on almost every occasion and they ran out of rose, shiraz and other options three days in. They needed to swipe your individual cards each time you did anything even if it was included in your package - I have never experienced this in modern times where wristbands are almost always used. It was frustrating and they had no wait staff on the pool deck circulating. I was also frustrated with obtaining the bottled water in my package - they tried to press tap water on me or bring me already opened water - I had to be really firm to get my water unopened. One highlight was the pizza / pasta bar. While this was not included in any of the food packages, the food was well cooked and not too expensive and the staff here were really awesome - Jorrie and Gede made our lives much better and the chef and the rest of the team were really accommodating. No burgers or other sandwiches really available except in the Dream dining room or the upstairs bar on the top deck which had to close a lot due to the weather so options were really reduced. A menu re think would be a GREAT idea. Kids and pool goers don't really want to do a buffet when they are outdoors. Activities: Very average and areas where everyone had to congregate for bands and shows were crowded without enough seating. The shows were weird times - 7.30 and 9.30 which meant you were rushing from dinner or it was just too late. Activities for youth / early teens was EXTREMELY limited to the arcade area and ,again ,not included in the package and cost $2-6 per game which meant they could blow through $50 quickly. No activities or hang outs for my tween and no mechanism for meeting any other kids through designated movies or activities aimed at their age groups Pool: tiny with only 1 for the whole boat - misleading as photos show 2 but only one is for general use - the other is limited to the Palace guests. Water was also freezing and more like an arctic plunge pool.Slide which should have been a hit with the kids was too slow and long queues. Not enough sun loungers and one row was right by the smoking area of the boat which was super unpleasant for us non smokers Technology: WiFi was fine thankfully or my tween would have been unpleasant! The Dream App which promised the ability to check your bill, see upcoming activities and book shore excursions simply didn't work at all for any part of the cruise so you had to line up manually to do any of the usual things you could do online. Bag check out was the evening before which made it tricky to know what to do with toiletries and PJs etc in the morning. There's probably more I could think of but that's enough I'm sure to give you an idea of what to expect (or not expect) from your cruise. My feeling is that this is a cruise that sets out to say it is one thing but actually is only interested in doing things their way and make as much money as possible without consideration for the guest experience. Every other cruise I have been on makes it easy for you to eat , drink, relax and meet new people - this is the total opposite and I will not be back. It was double what I paid for other cruises which were true all inclusive where you knew what you were up for before stepping on board. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I have never been on a cruise before and, I have to admit that I will never forget this experience. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Our mini-suite room was great: comfortable bed, air-conditioned, safe box, ... Read More
I have never been on a cruise before and, I have to admit that I will never forget this experience. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Our mini-suite room was great: comfortable bed, air-conditioned, safe box, minibar, movies on demand and the ensuite bathroom that was small but pleasant. Anytime dining was just amazing. Lots of quality food options were available - Mexican, Italian, French, vegetarian. My favorite place was BAKERY :) The room service is so quick and there were no separate charges. It was a 12-nights on the cruise and has no boring moments because the cruise has a wide range of entertainment programmes throughout the day. Also, it was so big that you will find a new place every day when you explore it. The staff is very friendly and helpful. The events organized by cruise were fabulous :) Fully recommended this ship to all age group of people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Chose this cruise as the timing was right for our time off work and had heard princess was a great cruise line. We have been on Celebrity and Carnival previous and my wife and I are in our late 30’s. First impressions was this ship is ... Read More
Chose this cruise as the timing was right for our time off work and had heard princess was a great cruise line. We have been on Celebrity and Carnival previous and my wife and I are in our late 30’s. First impressions was this ship is huge.. and it is.. But at the same time it never really felt too full even though there was 4100 passengers. The only exceptions were the theatre and buffet at peak times. Good points: * Room staff - friendly, love a chat and very good at what they do. 100% rating here! * Dining room food and experience - used anytime dining and never waited longer than 5 or so minutes for a table. Once in there the quality and choice was great! Menu always changing and plenty of options. Even for my vegetarian wife. * Room - inside cabin. Plenty of cardboard space and very comfy beds and pillows. * Hollywood adults only area - Great place to chill out and apart from the day in the fiords always had chairs available. Must admit it didn’t seem like a cruise full of kids though - unlike Carnvial last Xmas. * Room service - only really used for Breakfast and there was no charge. It was always on time and always hot! * excursions - never went on any organised via the ship. Found plenty to do onshore ourselves. * Port stops - ship always on time and easy on and off. Only had 1 tender port at Akaroa and even that was well organised. * Condition of the ship - very good! And so it should be as it is only 3 years old.. there was always crew making sure the high standards were kept up. Not so good points: * Theatre too small for the more popular shows - need to be there 1/2 before. Some shows they even had to have a 3rd viewing the day after in the middle of the day. * Buffet - although quality of meats and pastries was great the buffet itself lacks variety.. got a bit boring so we avoided in the end. * Organised activities onboard during sea days were very limited and average compared to other cruises we have been on. And the weird thing was so many were ‘unhosted’ by princess staff.. it was turn up and organise yourself. Hosted things were quizzes and dance classes and odd games that were held sometimes in odd places on the ship as there really weren’t many places that they could hold them. * Piazza - the place were most things happen on the ship. So busy and only limited seating even though it is 3 levels high.. the only real place on the ship to dance and very limited space. OTHER INFO: Drinks - beers approx from AU$8 and cocktails from AU$11. Drinks package was AU$86 per day but we didn’t have. Coffee AU$4 each of coffee card AU$38 for 15 coffees.. barista coffee quality hit and miss depending on who makes it - there are about 5 options for where to get barista on the ship. Room Service - limited menu but it is all free unless ordering pizza where there is a AU$3 charge. Pay Extra restaurants - unusually didn’t try these this time so can’t comment. We were more than happy with main dining room food. BYO - not well advertised but you can take your own soft drink cans (soda) onboard and also 1 bottle of wine per adult with no charge. Just make sure you carry them on and don’t put in suitcase as it will delay you luggage arrival to your room. Internet - 12 night cruise - social plan was AU$99 limited to 300MB per day - premium was AU$150 500MB per day - ultra premium was AU$199 700MB per day. Internet generally quite slow especially on sea days when everyone was using. Can share plan between devices but only one can use at once. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise for the destinations. We ( family of 5 ) are Platinum cruisers on Princess and frequent cruisers on many other lines. We had two rooms on this cruise. A deluxe balcony and a mini suite. REVIEW: Embarkation ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destinations. We ( family of 5 ) are Platinum cruisers on Princess and frequent cruisers on many other lines. We had two rooms on this cruise. A deluxe balcony and a mini suite. REVIEW: Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. SHIP: This ship is way too small for the number of guests it serves. The Princess theater never had enough seats for people. The buffet dining area was a joke !!! Very hard to find a place to sit. Hallways are very narrow and the layout is crazy. You are constantly running into dead ends and have to go up two floors, cross over, then back down !! FOOD: Buffet food was always the same ! One day there was a "seafood" section and it was as if people had not eaten in days. A total feeding frenzy! The dining room selection was boring and the service took forever !! We ate in the "Grill" one night and it was very good. It is just annoying to have to pay for a restaurant on a cruise. ENTERTAINMENT: IF you could find a seat, there were a few shows. They were just ok..nothing memorable. They repeated the same shows two nights in a row. SERVICE: The waitstaff and the room stewards were very nice and helpful. The customer service counter staff as well as the excursion desk staff were rude and very curt. CABINS: The mini suite was snug for 3 people. The sofa that makes into a bed is NOT a pull out sofa. It is a twin daybed configuration so don't expect a full size bed ! The twin beds are the most narrow beds I have seen. The deluxe balcony room was very small. The bathroom was tiny. The shower had the old fashioned shower curtain and so you always had water on the floor. You could literally stand in the shower and reach over the toilet and use the sink...it was that small. You can not open the bathroom door and have someone be using the closet. Not enough room for two people. There are two nightstands with two small drawers each. That is it !!! Our children, ages 26, 28 & 31 were bored most of the time. During the sea days, there is nothing to do during the day. Thank goodness for a few silly game type shows in the Princess Live theater. This cruise did not have many people of that age bracket on board. The major population was Asian, then Australian, Canadian and a few of us Americans. Average age was 60 probably. EXCURSIONS: In Hobart we took the excursion to an animal preserve. What a disappointment ! Yes, it is wonderful that they are helping injured animals and I respect that...BUT.... the excursion was 12:30 - 3:30 and the animals are all nocturnal except for the kangaroos . Obviously, one does not see many of the animals because they are in their habitat asleep !! In Tauranga we took a private tour to the Hobbiton and it was great. OVERALL: We loved the destinations but were VERY disappointed with the ship and the cruise. This was not the usual Princess cruise so if you plan on taking this, just prepare yourself. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
we chose this cruise as we wanted to try a new ship in the princess line, and to experience NYE with family in New Zealand and catchup with my daughter in Melbourne. We overall enjoyed the cruise and thought the design of the ship ... Read More
we chose this cruise as we wanted to try a new ship in the princess line, and to experience NYE with family in New Zealand and catchup with my daughter in Melbourne. We overall enjoyed the cruise and thought the design of the ship beautiful but missed the sky walker bar, and other lounge areas that are on the older ships like Regal Princess, the marketplace was too small and food choices ordinary, staff were unfriendly had no joy, there was a definite lack of service on this ship in the dining rooms and buffet. If you wanted a drink with dinner or lunch you had to look for a waiter yourself in the buffet. The piazza opens out over a number of levels and is the main hub for entertainment so no quiet areas to sit and have a coffee with friends, the walking track is split in half so you have to go through the basketball courts to get to the other side, unlike older ships this is a design fault. The gym is well equipped and the adult hollywood pool bar is a great innovation with only two hot tubs though it can get a bit crowded on at sea days. The menu needs updating in all dining rooms everyday same things on offer, and when special seafood days are planned in the marketplace buffet, staff should serve passengers portions or control number of plates taken by passengers. Also only two washbowls at the buffet are not enough and staff should be there to monitor hand washing to stop infection, we watched big groups of people walk in and not wash their hands. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My boyfriend wanted to go to Australia so we booked this cruise. New Zealand was amazing and so was Tasmania. We had a balcony room which was amazing for the Fiordlands even though the weather wasn't great that day it was still an ... Read More
My boyfriend wanted to go to Australia so we booked this cruise. New Zealand was amazing and so was Tasmania. We had a balcony room which was amazing for the Fiordlands even though the weather wasn't great that day it was still an amazing experience. We went a few days prior and spend some time in Auckland New Zealand which was a wonderful city and then spend a couple days in Sydney Australia as well.. A trip of a life time and thanks to Princess Cruises we will for sure be taking another one of there cruises . The food on the ship was also great. We did anytime dining so we could pick and choice when we wanted to have our dinner. The buffet was a bit crowded but thats to be expected. The Harmony Restaurant and Sur La Table were also great for an additional charge. There were also plenty of activities during sailing days as well. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
First ever cruise with princess line, all I can say is that we were very disappointed from start to finish. The list is to long for me to write about, it started from getting on the boat until we disembarked. The room was great, the ... Read More
First ever cruise with princess line, all I can say is that we were very disappointed from start to finish. The list is to long for me to write about, it started from getting on the boat until we disembarked. The room was great, the food was a joke !! I don’t think I’ll ever travel on the princess line again . Have been on many other cruises before but this one was a huge disappointment. How the hell can you run out of food 3 days running, not have the wine you drinks on board, even though it’s on the wine lists , waiting for nearly 2 hours for our entrees in the crown grill, not having a blender at the bar to make iced coffees that were on their bar drinks list , and the list goes on. Better step it up Princess line , you’ve lost me as a customer, and I’ve done 7 cruises this year , no more with you... Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
New to NZ market. This ship was attractive. Staff were inexperienced and hospitality training was obviously not given ,waiting for drinks for at least 30 mins after ordering.System was failing in ordering and receiving information . ... Read More
New to NZ market. This ship was attractive. Staff were inexperienced and hospitality training was obviously not given ,waiting for drinks for at least 30 mins after ordering.System was failing in ordering and receiving information . Language barriers made it difficult to order drinks and food. Dining experience was terrible as tables could not be booked which was frustrating and caused problems. This ship catered for Asian travellers. Amount of seating was poor.Public areas lacked seating and ambience only 2 areas. Waste of space with Mahjong lounge this could have been a nice piano bar ?.Communication was very poor and absence of cruise director was obvious only being present at shows. Marketing for NZ and Australian travellers was not a priority before taking on this market and should have been undertaken to ensure satisfaction. Service staff were more than pleasant and willing to please but most had trouble understanding English. Food was average but plentiful. Pool area was great but again lack of seating and loungers.Entertainment was average some shows excellent others weak and child like. Shore excursions too short in time. Lack of souvenirs available to purchase . Theatres were only used for shows but should have been utilized for the likes of bingo and game shows leaving other public areas for relaxing in. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The good: Entertainment with European performers. Good sized cabins with very good bedding, good towels and tea/coffee maker. Good pool and spa pools (even if some jets were not working). Fresh fruit at breakfast especially ... Read More
The good: Entertainment with European performers. Good sized cabins with very good bedding, good towels and tea/coffee maker. Good pool and spa pools (even if some jets were not working). Fresh fruit at breakfast especially pineapple when available. The Bad: Slow and poor service in lounge and restaurants. Food mostly not hot, several times not properly cooked and orders often mixed up. Cooks don't seem to know how to prepare western style food, for example bacon was nearly always under-cooked and became a greasy mess. Poor choice of breakfast cereals and bread, pastries and croissants not enticing. At the Lido buffet some effort is made to keep food hot but it is ineffective and the food is mostly only warm. Wine waiters very slow to take orders and deliver drinks (often arrived when meal nearly finished). Drinks in lounge often took 20 to 45 minutes to arrive. If you bought a drinks package it would be poor value if you could not get drinks served in a reasonable time. Of the 14 restaurants, cafes & other eating places, only 3 were "included" (free) the other 11 you paid additionally. The 18% service charge (plus 15% NZ GST) is a joke when "service" is so poor. The service charge was not clearly shown on prices of products or services and seemed to be inconsistently applied. Mix of staff from Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Viet Nam, China etc. resulted in varied English language skills and probably contributed to varied service to passengers. Compulsory payment of gratuities made it difficult to reward individuals who were better than average. Many seats in the theatre were faulty with the fold down seat flopping down past a normal seating angle and also causing problems when the seat was folded up as it impeded passengers trying to pass along the rows. The Dream Cruises web page for this ship states that this is a "new vessel" and other promotional material states that it was "Refurbished in April 2019". Neither is true, most of the the "Refurbishment" was adding a new showpiece; The Palace, a luxurious complex comprising 42 suites, private restaurant, bar, lounge and casino, plus an expansive pool deck. The fares for Palace suites are way beyond the means of typical NZ & Australian passengers. New restaurants and cafes were also added. But there is very little evidence of refurbishment of cabins and most public areas. While all the above may seem overly critical of food and service, it is the consensus of our group of 16 (and others) on this cruise. For many of us the food and service are significant aspects and a major part of the reason for for going on a cruise. It would not be difficult to improve the items outlined and hopefully Dream Cruises will address these issues promptly or their venture into Australia and New Zealand waters could be disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Cruise Auckland Auckland, Visiting Bay of Islands, Milford and Doubtful Sounds, Dunedin, Wellington, Napier, Auckland. 5 New Zealand Adults Xmas day in the Sounds was simply amazing couldn’t have had a better day we were blown away ... Read More
Cruise Auckland Auckland, Visiting Bay of Islands, Milford and Doubtful Sounds, Dunedin, Wellington, Napier, Auckland. 5 New Zealand Adults Xmas day in the Sounds was simply amazing couldn’t have had a better day we were blown away by the serene atmosphere. We had a pretty rough trip down the west coast but rest of the trip was reasonably calm. The visits to each town were great but short on time. With regards to the ship there were some good features but a lot of disappointing features. The boarding and disembarking processes were well managed in each town. We were not allowed to take any fruit or food on board. In Napier there was a food market with amazing fruit boxes and I noticed one person had brought one and had to throw it out...a bit odd as we were in NZ with NZ fruit. Most of the Sailing however is in International Waters? GST is charged on drinks if you are on shore but not if in International Waters, so buy the Drink Vouchers when when out at sea. On our first day the Safety Drill was very poorly done, communication over the speaker was was very difficult to hear and understand what was being said, there was a lot of other noise around and the crew did not seem to know what to do as they did not speak English. A lot of the passengers did not listen to the instructions being announced on the speakers and they kept talking making it difficult for others to hear. We received a notice the next day to say that because we did not attend the drill we had to do it again but we had attended? but we were happy to do it again and it was easier the second time as there were less passengers. Communication: When all loud speaker announcements were done in English the Non English passengers continued to talk and same when announcements in Chinese the English passengers talked. All announcements should have been done twice in each language to ensure we could understand and hear what was required. The announcements did not go into the cabins so we often did not know what was happening. Cabins: The whole ship was not fully renovated most of the work had been done in the Palace Suites, our cabin a seaview was comfortable although the toilets on our deck 8 were constantly out of action particularly in the morning. Cabin 8002 where our Daughter was, was too close to the front they experienced a lot thumping during the night especially when going down the West Coast, this was very disappointing particularly for a first experience on a cruise. We had to give them some sleeping tablets for each night to get some sleep. Cabins 8522 and 8526 we experienced constant vibration on the beds which was quite disturbing during the night. My Sister in 8526 was very sick (along with many other passengers) on the second night going down the west coast, there were no green apples openly available which is normal on a cruise we had to ask for one for her to eat and no sea sickness tablets to purchase only wrist bands. We were not allowed to take food out of the Lido to our cabins. Food: The Lido: Sugary orange cordial drinks was free, no free fruit juice for breakfast. Hot chocolate instead of tea or coffee was not free. The Cakes for morning and afternoon tea were always the same tiny sugary/gelatine/sponge mixes. Continental breakfast was very limited and never the same each day muesli only on one day. Barely any fresh fruit. Lots of cooked and fried food choices - Chinese, Thai, Curry. Xmas Dinner was done on the 24th the food was pretty basic, they did a Turkey and Ham but it was not cooked properly...disappointing. The Ham was very watery and fatty. There are only three free restaurants- Chinese was authentic Chinese and set menu. Lido was Buffet and lots of choice but food tasted like it had all been cooked in oil, limited veggies but some salads. Often we could not get in to dine as too many passengers were dining there so had to wait. The Dream Dining was a set menu each day and the meals were ok but very very small, the guys went up to the Lido to get more food. It was noisy in this restaurant as it’s in the back part of the ship near the propellers. Good options and reasonable cost if you wanted to pay for meals in the other restaurants but many of these places were in a noisy children’s game machine areas. The main front lounge area “Palm Court” was a nice area but there was constant activity on the stage, music, exercising, quizzes and the sound system was very loud with English being the second language of the announcers so having a quiet drink was near impossible. Ordering a drink often took a long time, often went up to the bar to order it rather than wait for service. The Library was in the same room so no quiet space to read or play games. A Casino was also on the other side of the Palm Court but never seemed to be used, we sat in there for some quiet time but got moved out. There was a total lack of indoor and outdoor spaces with quiet areas to relax or read a book not even a deck chair on the main promenade decks they were only available by the noisy pool areas. Where it could have been possible to have reading areas they were taken up by duty free shopping places. Three very large areas on the ship were dedicated to pokey machines and casino areas and were not very well occupied. Smoking areas were impossible to avoid which was disturbing at times. Staff were polite but many did not understand English well. Online check-in/Onboard App did not work. We did not get pre cruise information about their theme nights and this was very hard to find on their website. The Shows in The Zodiac Theatre were dramatically lit up with lazers but story line very strange, some good dancers. We walked out of one show and didn't attend them all. Musicians and music around the ship was limited and nothing out of the ordinary. Piano player was ok. So to sum up we would not choose this cruise line again, my sister has cruised with P&O in Australian and she says it was a completely different experience with lots of entertainment, food was all free at lots of restaurants and quiet spaces all over the ship. We think this itinerary and ship has been designed for the Asian market not for the 70% of Aussies and Kiwis who where on board this time. So a great experience to travel around NZ at Xmas time with the family and enjoy a quick look at the towns - not a lot of time in each town if you want to explore more, we did not pay for any excursions did our own thing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was the worst cruise ever, having previously done 11 ocean and 2 river cruises Cabin small no fridge. The drawers would not stay closed had to wedged closed. The Lido very minimum selection cereals, no orange juice or iced ... Read More
This was the worst cruise ever, having previously done 11 ocean and 2 river cruises Cabin small no fridge. The drawers would not stay closed had to wedged closed. The Lido very minimum selection cereals, no orange juice or iced water the cooked food was consistently cold and slow to refill items. The main restaurant not taken to your table, this caused us to be missed out. No attention to detail as our main got missed. Had to get two drinks as the wine waitress was to busy to come back. The charges for the playstation is excessive this ship is not very child friendly. The timetable needs amending to get to ports later and leave later ot increase the days to make this possible. Example getting into Napier 2 hours before things open. The theater had seats marked for The Palace made you feel like second class I would not recommend this company Read Less
Sail Date December 2019

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