20 Auckland First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

First time cruisers. Had a fantastic time, totally waited on hand and foot. A real holiday! I would recommend everyone do at least one cruise in their life. its worth every penny. I am addicted and ready to book another. Being our ... Read More
First time cruisers. Had a fantastic time, totally waited on hand and foot. A real holiday! I would recommend everyone do at least one cruise in their life. its worth every penny. I am addicted and ready to book another. Being our first cruise we had nothing to compare it to, overheard people complaining about food quality had gone down hill. However, there are a lot of choices and certainly do not go hungry, the menu changed every night at the Waterfront, excellent waiters. We found all staff very helpful and extremely friendly. They must love their jobs to be so positive all the time. I did find I spent more than I thought I would on the lovely cocktails, waiters were always there to offer another. NZ ice cream is over priced at $6 a scoop. What the heck, if you're on holiday make the most of it. Attitude makes a huge difference, I don't understand how anyone could complain or not enjoy it! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
As first time cruisers and after reading mountains of negative Pearl Cruise Review's I was most reluctant to go and nervous as heck! My goodness all hesitations, expectations and nerves went right out the window. For first time ... Read More
As first time cruisers and after reading mountains of negative Pearl Cruise Review's I was most reluctant to go and nervous as heck! My goodness all hesitations, expectations and nerves went right out the window. For first time cruisers considering a 'real holiday break' let me share our experience; Initial first day check in/boarding - you will experience queues with a small wait time but the lines move fairly quickly. I have to say its much better than airport queues! Once you get to the check in counter you must produce your passport, tickets and visa/credit card/debit to register in their system. You will be have a your photo taken and be given a cruise swipecard which you will use for the entire cruise. The card gives you entry into your cabin and ability to make purchases onboard. Your luggage is taken away before the check in process and taken to your cabin. These are usually waiting outside your cabin waiting your arrival. Once onboard - we had a 12.30pm check in process so by the time we were onboard it was lunchtime. We made our way to our cabin Deck 6 arriving to our bags having been delivered safely. After a brief cabin tour and bags dumped we ventured to Plantation Restaurant for a buffet lunch. Port Hole Cabin - spacious, comfortable, clean, good water pressure in shower and tonnes of hot water, plenty of wardrobe space and drawers for clothes, coat hangers galore, safe to lock away valuables, small bar like fridge, flat screen TV, huge queen bed, lotsa pillows if you want them and a bigger than port hole window. Room stewards - we had 2 who looked after our cabin attire twice daily. Andrew & Ganjor introduced themselves soonest we arrived with a meet & greet and explained the daily housekeep routine. Cabin was cleaned every morning, clean towels provided and bed made. Early evening they would return and turn back then, leave chocolates on the bedside, a newsletter with the following days programme and at times quirky little animal characters made out of towels. These made us smile and it was lovely to return to a tidy room. Awesomely friendly, and hardworking. Andrew & Ganjor were the best! Dining options - Plantation (Buffet) and Waterfront (Al la Carte)'Restaurants are included in your fare. Breakfast. lunch & dinner. Less children dining in Waterfront and a perfect option here if you want to meet different people. Plantation has queues whereas Waterfront you require to make reservations. Al la Carte was our choice as you met new people at every meal and you were served upon. One thing that impressed me was every waiter and waitress we were served by always remembered our drink or food choices. On most occassions no sooner you arrived to your table your options were there. You were always greeted as Sir or Ma'am and all most attentive. Meals were always quick. Menu's changed each day except for a small few and choices were plenty. We ate like kings n queens! Onboard activities/entertainment - everyday is loads to do. You can do as little or as much as you like. Most activities are free and some do charge a fee. Your daily room newsletter tells you what's on each day and whether there is a cost or not. There are shows, dress up theme nights which is fun and live bands and performers. You can even sing a little karaoke or enter Pacific Pop Stars (NZ Idol equivalent). We didn't do the dress up theme nights but did join in anyway. After 5.30 is more formal dress and during cocktail evenings it is the even more formal i.e shirt/dress pants and dress/heels for the ladies. One small thing we would have liked to have had, is a bar without the loud music in the evening to sit and enjoy a quiet drink or at least hear conversations amongst company. Pool side - 2 spa pools in an adults only area alongside a bar and a pool each for both kids and adults. The spa pools were often full and I felt the swimming pools were small for a ship this size. But great facilities all the same! Lotsa seating space around pool areas, food options and waiters/waitresses on hand for those cocktail orders. Shopping onboard - the last couple of days there are specials or discounts on watches, jewellery, perfume, clothing, alcohol and so on. If you can refrain from buying till then, then buying is cheaper. All prices are AU $. Chocolates, ice cream, food from the Grill can be exorbade prices. Aqua Spa - dont be enticed to have too many beauty treatments here. Their prices are HUGE. Nice to do but you are paying big. They use very pushy tactics to suck you in which put me off entirely. Shore tours - booking tours onboard will cost you more in most cases. We took the risk of waiting until we arrived onshore and browsed the local tour operators. This saved us quite a bit. Some local operators will even personalize a tour to your liking. Laundrys - there is one on each level (I think). These take Aussie coins only. Machines are 2 x $1 coins and dryers 3 x $1 coins. Coins can be got at reception. We took our own laundry liquid inside an old shampoo bottle otherwise you pay for it onboard. When going onshore you can venture back n forth to the ship as often as you like. Tender boats are used in some ports which means a queue time. But worth sometimes going back onboard for lunch especially when this part doesn't cost anymore! Currency used - all our Port stops were in Australian dollars or if you had Franc this was used as well. Onboard again, AU $ and cruise swipecard is used for purchases onboard only. ATM machines are available onboard as well for cash to use when at port stops. Sea sickness - Paihia Bomb works. This can only be bought from Paihia Pharmacy. I purchased over the phone. We had the last 2-3 days of rough seas but at no time did I feel unsafe or sick. Think I had me sea legs on by then.... Crew members - every one of them were attentive, friendly, outgoing, welcoming and some became friends. Would we cruise again? ABSOLUTELY yes! We are already planning our 2nd cruise. I think we have the cruise bug a term used by many onboard the Pearl. We loved it and hope you do too it's a lot of fun and of course a 'real holiday break' Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise it was perfect for our family or two older and two younger kids, there was something for everyone. The people is what made the cruise, the staff were amazing, our room steward marvin was so awesome, we ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise it was perfect for our family or two older and two younger kids, there was something for everyone. The people is what made the cruise, the staff were amazing, our room steward marvin was so awesome, we felt like we were leaving behind a friend. The boat itself was not so great, on the ridiculously hot days the air conditioning in a lot of places was hotter than being outside, you could not stay in your room for long periods as it was ridiculously hot, apparently a common problem according to staff. Food in the plantation restaurant was very hit and miss, throwing white sauce on yellow broccoli does not make it any more palatable, a lot of the meals were leftovers redone and obviously so, one night was so bad, they paid for us to eat at the outside grill! However breakfast and lunch was always good it was only dinner that was an issue. Kids club was great, the family pool was far too deep to enjoy with young children, and was mostly closed due to weather and the kids pool was only open one day of the entire cruise. The entertainment was brilliant, the parties we really enjoyed, and the cocktail classes are well worth taking. Tonga was amazing, we didn't do a shore tour instead we paid a local taxi driver to take us around and it was a really lovely day, the second day we did the same. Fiji we paid for a snorkelling tour which was exceptional and worth every cent, then caught the $1 bus to see more of the island. Would we cruise again, absolutely the good parts outweighed the bad, but it is time Pacific Pearl was either seriously overhauled or put out to pasture Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I am a 23 year old male, single and a full time student. Decided to treat myself to a little holiday, and started to research cruising. I took the plunge and booked myself on the Golden, for a short row over the Tasman from Auckland to ... Read More
I am a 23 year old male, single and a full time student. Decided to treat myself to a little holiday, and started to research cruising. I took the plunge and booked myself on the Golden, for a short row over the Tasman from Auckland to Melbourne. To be completely honest with you, after experiencing a cruise - I will never go back to land based holiday's. Embarkation in Auckland was fantastic and smooth. I arrived at 11.00, dumped my luggage and proceeded to the passenger area. Filled all my forms in, and sat there with my heart pounding for the next 20 odd minutes, until we were given the all clear to start boarding. The process was smooth and easy, and I was on board, in my cabin by 12. It certainly was overwhelming, travelling on such a big ship as my first cruise. It seemed to take forever to walk from one end to the other down the "never ending corridors" but I didn't mind the long walk - gave you chance to burn off the 15 times you'd eaten during the day. The ship was presented beautifully. I especially fell in love with the Piazza, having my morning coffee at the International Cafe. The Piazza was also host to a lot of social gatherings, and certainly had a lot of fun here. The food I thought was fantastic. I only ate in the MDR on one night, and unfortunately missed out on booking at table at the Crown Grill, so ended up eating in The Horizon Court buffet for the rest of my dinners. I found the food in the buffet to be fantastic - everything was cooked perfectly and seasoned to perfection. I also thought the redesigned layout helped the flow of passengers and having only one entry and one exit kept everyone in an orderly fashion. I also particularly liked Prego's Pizza - traditional American style pizza which was delicious. The Trident Grill, was, OK. The entertainment was, again, fantastic. I enjoyed Pearson & Harvey, who were a comedy duo from Australia. Combining a range of performances from song, to instrumental and of course comedy - contributed to a brilliant show. They performed twice, each time with different material. I also thoroughly enjoyed the International Crew Talent Performance on the last night ... definitely a must see! Unfortunately I didn't get chance to see the production show Motor City. The staff throughout the ship were amazing. Ever so polite, attentive and ready to help you with whatever you needed. My cabin steward, Dindo, was my knight in shining armour during my cruise. I was also impressed that it didn't take long at all for the bar staff to know what you drink! Cruise Director Neil and Assistant Cruise Director Corey ensured we all had a great time. My only gripe is the fact that you get penalized when you travel solo. Having to pay double is ridiculous and quite frankly a rip off, however I am not going to let that discourage my from my next cruise! Overall, a brilliant and fantastic holiday for me. I was so sad when I disembarked, and am thinking about my next cruise while I write this review. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our first ever cruise having been well seasoned land travellers and also having visited New Zealand some years back this was a good place to start. it was also pointed out by fellow passengers that we had chosen well for our ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise having been well seasoned land travellers and also having visited New Zealand some years back this was a good place to start. it was also pointed out by fellow passengers that we had chosen well for our first cruise. We agree! Embarkation procedures in Auckland went smoothly, just the usual form filling. Once on board we went up to Windows cafe for some lunch while rooms were being made ready. It was very busy as to be expected. We were seated next to a lovely Canadian couple who gave us the low down on cruising. Off to our state room which had a verandah and we were very surprised. We had read many reviews and were a little apprehensive, but the room was bigger than I expected. The bathroom was much as expected but me being small I was happy, hubby however had other thoughts. Yes, the bathrooms are small. Plenty of wardrobe space with loads of hangers. Richard and Denis our state room attendants were marvellous and kept our room clean and tidy and it was always made up by the time we got back from breakfast. The food in Discoveries was good and the wait staff were wonderful always smiling and friendly. We ate in Prime C once and Aqualina twice, to be honest I wish it had been the other way around. Aqualina was nothing special regarding food infact Discoveries was much better. The ship had a very happy atmosphere about it, fellow passengers were helpful with tips for future cruises. The main gripe about our cruise was lack of free Wifi, while in port this could have been provided. It was quite noticeable the number of people getting off the ship at various ports heading into town to get free Wifi access. For all inclusive it should be possible to be able to check a few emails. Shore excursions seemed overly expensive. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My husband and I are both first time cruisers so were not sure what to expect. We got on in Auckland, we live there so just got dropped off, embarkation was so smooth, we were on the ship in half an hour and our bags delivered within the ... Read More
My husband and I are both first time cruisers so were not sure what to expect. We got on in Auckland, we live there so just got dropped off, embarkation was so smooth, we were on the ship in half an hour and our bags delivered within the hour. We had an interior room in the middle of the ship. Perfect, no rocking. Ours was slightly bigger as we had the wardrobes at the end of the room. Bed made with fresh sheets every day, turned down at night, towels changed 2x day. Service from all the staff was amazing, so polite. One waiter we had was a bit grumpy, think he needed to move on and get off the ship. Photos - if there is a package deal take advantage of it, - we did and ended up with amazing photos, formal and casual. We did anytime dining so got to meet new people every meal. Once we had dinner in the main dining room when it was our anniversary, we got a cake and they sang happy anniversary to us. Excursions, we did our own thing except my husband did the weta workshop tour thru the ship in Wellington. In Dunedin we did do the Larnoch Castle tour which also included a hop on hop off ride around the city. That we went to the information site and booked. Entertainment, we went to a variety. Check your daily patter and highlight what you would like to do or you will miss out on things, We went to the Crown Grill and Crab Shack - both which you pay extra for $25pp and these restaurants are well worth the money. Disemarkation day - again so quick and simple. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Decided to go on the Christmas cruise for a change with my husband and our two teenage boys. Even though we are New Zealanders we thought it would be cool to see NZ coastline from the sea. We have travelled a lot but never on a cruise. On ... Read More
Decided to go on the Christmas cruise for a change with my husband and our two teenage boys. Even though we are New Zealanders we thought it would be cool to see NZ coastline from the sea. We have travelled a lot but never on a cruise. On the whole really loved Celebrity Solstice, the room, food and also the entertainment. The itinerary was just great with a mixture of port stops and days at sea. We hired rental cars to tour and took one excursion on the train in Dunedin. You will see some of the most spectacular scenery that NZ has to offer. Of course my views might not be the views of others on the cruise as we are all different, especially in respect to food quality and enterainment value. Was a bit concerned about two things, 1. was level 7 too low on the ship and 2. would there be too many kids?? Level 7 is the best value, central location on the ship Fortunately neither eventuated and I feel that the two level 7 balcony cabins 7278 and 7282 we had on the central hump are some of the best value cabins for their central location to the lower common areas. If the lifts were slow then it was an easy walk down to the dining rooms or else to disembark from the ship. Also there is minimal motion in rocky seas. I would recommend the 2A cabins on the central hump which look straight down to the water from the balcony and the starboard side for doing the akl-sydney trip. The forward part of the ship seems to be the 'adult' part of the ship with the adults only solarium and spa and gym areas. A well run, clean ship I thought the ship was well run, very clean and the cabins very well designed from an organisational and space point of view. I used cruise critic extensively to check out which are the best cabins. However I would warn against taking too much notice of all the minutiae/one off rants of the various reviewers of this ship. On the whole it's a great product. The ship was full but there are lots of areas to go to. There was a majority of aussies, and americans, then some english, Canadians, 150 other fellow New Zealanders and the balance made up of predominantly asian passengers. There were about 200 kids on board, many family groups and also many elder (65+ couples)passengers, whom on talking to them, seemed to have been on multiple cruises. Didn't notice the kids,too much. All fellow cruisers seemed to have made the conscious decision to vary from their usual Christmas routine and go on the cruise. The ship was decked out beautifully with Christmas decorations. Anyway here is a summary of my pros and cons (you might call it a rant!). Pros • Well designed cabin, comfy bed • Extremely clean - thank you room attendants Raquel and Larry for your impeccable service • Staff all very polite and eager to help • Well maintained ship • Consistent level of food in the Ocean view buffet where we ate most with the kids. Not fine dining, but an acceptable buffet. Excellent sweet melon fruit especially • Main dining room was pleasant to eat in every night. Consistent standard of food, you can treat it like degustation and have seconds of dishes you like -no questions asked • Efficient embarkation, lots of checkin staff. Even though we had no prioirty boarding it didn't take long. • Queues not that long for dining • Excellent meals at the Murano and Tuscan Grill speciality restaurants. Flambe lobster at your table and the soufflé dessert were exquisite. • Loved the lobster served in the main dining room on Xmas day, we were even allowed seconds!! • Loved the musical performers Hayden Smith and Jane Cho electrical violin, Bayne Bacon was hilarious and a great musician too • Eddy, the cruise director bought a bit of an 'english' flavour to the cruise with his wit – He worked hard with Pete the activities manager in cajoling people, who have seen and done everything, to show some form of life! • Enjoyed the onboard Apple certified trainer, Charles's, iPad, iCloud and ios workshops, although I feel he could run an advanced class as well as some particpants were extreme learners! • Enjoyed naturalist Dirk’s commentary of the Milford Sounds and also his lectures. • Loved the beautiful photos the photographers take round the ship but print price a bit expensive. Bought them anyway • Mast grill burger bar level 14 has very nice burgers. • Loved an excuse to dress up – lots of ladies with lovely clothes and sequins at night. Cons • Lots of areas to spend your money on board, all in USD. Not good if you come from NZ and converting back to NZD. Maybe they could offer an Australia/NZD price as well. • Wouldn't buy the beverage package again, we were mobbed on embarkation to sign up for a beverage package by several staff and ended up spending $700usd on non alcoholic package alone for 4. We struggled to get our money's worth. You get tea, coffee and water with meals anyway and if you didn't buy the package but paid for a few drinks then you still probably wouldn’t reach the cost of the beverage package. • It appeared that a lot of others had obtained a reasonably priced but high level floor with inclusions such as the beverage package and also internet and tips paid for in their fare. Not sure if they booked early or negotiated with their agents. • Silk Harvest restaurant was the only disappointing paid for outlet. Sushi ok and asian fusion dishes very average. My tips for this trip would be: • Shop round for lowest fare via internet and agents, get drinks package and internet included if possible. I booked in April and monitored the fares and can let you know if went gradually higher with the good cabins selling out. The cruise seemed to be sold out about October. • Take a Go Travel water jug, set to 110 v and you can make your own tea in the cabin without having to wait for room service, you would need cups and long life milk and teabags. • If you are getting a prepaid NZ cell phone SIM card to use in port with your iphone the Spark coverage is better than the 2degrees coverage although you will lose signal 30-60 mins out from the coast. • Use Pocket app or Apple reading list to load up some reading! • If travelling together try and get interconnecting rooms on the hump and get them to open back the glass panel so you can backwards and forwards on the deck. Would have to get in quick as the central hump cabins go quickly. • Book speciality restaurants before getting on the boat works out cheaper than buying on board. • Take a variety of layered clothes from high summer to decent wind breaker jacket, from sandals to sneakers. There is all manner of temperatures on the boat and when you go outside to the front it is definitely cold but you want to be out there for the sail ins and sail outs. All in all had a wonderful cruise, really enjoyed our first cruise. Celebrity Solstice is lovely and the company runs a well oiled ship. The well trained staff are the stars of this company. New Zealand scenery is spectacular. Even if I do say so myself coming from New Zealand. I believe you could have several different experiences on this ship depending on what level of cabin you booked. For families it is a mid range product with buffet style food most of the time or if you booked the aqua spa or suite cabins it would be very different with the spa inclusions and exclusive speciality dining. There were definitely a few high net worths on the ship but you didn't encounter them in the ocean view buffet!! What I liked was the variety of being on a bigger ship. Although at times it felt a bit impersonal due to the size and really the only staff you encountered regularly were your cabin attendants. There are a lot of inducements to spend more on board you just have to exercise restraint. I would travel with celebrity again if I could get a good fare and included Internet and beverages. I booked onboard to go on an Alaska trip with them in September. Will travel level 7 again on the Solstice. A memorable trip and we got to spend some quality time with our boys. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was the very first cruise for me. I'm glad that my wife made all the arrangements from the flights to and from Honolulu , hotel bookings, cruise itinerary, excursions, and the visits in Sydney after the cruise. I had a marvelous ... Read More
This was the very first cruise for me. I'm glad that my wife made all the arrangements from the flights to and from Honolulu , hotel bookings, cruise itinerary, excursions, and the visits in Sydney after the cruise. I had a marvelous time traveling with her as well as my 90 year old father and 40 yr old niece. We had adjacent cabins and the crew removed the partition between our balconies so that we could share some space there. Our cabins were on the 8th floor towards the aft of the ship. If you have never seen New Zealand before, I would heartily recommend going the cruise ship route. It enabled us to see many points of interest without having to unpack, plus all your transportation is taken care of, and you never have to worry about finding meals for most of your travel. The Solstice is a beautiful ship and we took full advantage of many of the amenities on board including the gym, casino, showrooms, upgraded dining, Cafe Bacio, Canyon Ranch Spa, and shore excursions. There were only a couple of negatives. While initial boarding was efficient and smooth, I can't say that the disembarkation from the ship in Sydney at the end of the cruise was the same. It seemed to be a free for all with everyone scrambling to find their luggage and go through the scrutiny of Australian immigration/customs. We never had a problem with getting into the main dining hall on a timely basis, even though we did not have reservations. Service was generally quick and attentive. I personally didn't enjoy the challenge of finding seating for the four of us during breakfast and lunch at the Oceanview buffet. It tends to get pretty crowded at those times. I have to take a moment to praise the services of our cabin attendants Isaura and Averon. They were great. Also , nearly all of the casino personnel were very polite and professional. I would have no issue with booking my next cruise with this ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My partner and I thouroughly enjoyed our 10 nights of sailing............. Highlights, it is really hard to pick one thing out…………….. 1. The staff were amazing, from the housekeeping staff to the bar staff in ... Read More
My partner and I thouroughly enjoyed our 10 nights of sailing............. Highlights, it is really hard to pick one thing out…………….. 1. The staff were amazing, from the housekeeping staff to the bar staff in Connextions . 2. The Entertainment was awesome (and entertainment staff) always something to do! 3. Food was brilliant – Plantation and Waterfront restaurant staff were fantastic 4. Room was clean and comfy, I like the idea of having bed made and turned down at night. 5. Dayspa was very relaxing and staff were brilliant (I love being pampered) 6. Ports were great, loved Denerau (I have decided to win lotto and live the dream on a yacht LOL), Suva was good to see although it was raining and hot, Tonga was beautiful. The ship had a fair few plumbing issues (burst water pipes, leaks….etc) but all the staff were so professional, they never got flustered just got on with the job at hand, nothing was a problem. It was our first cruise and we met and partied with some amazing people! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I'm a first time cruiser but won't be in a rush to return. The Pacific Pearl was just okay! Alot of the staff were friendly but quite a few were rude and some were nonchalant and unhappy. The evening entertainment was moderate ... Read More
I'm a first time cruiser but won't be in a rush to return. The Pacific Pearl was just okay! Alot of the staff were friendly but quite a few were rude and some were nonchalant and unhappy. The evening entertainment was moderate to terrible. I had to leave one show after 15 minutes it was so crap. Also, the cruise director was very annoying, repeating herself every evening on stage. The ship has two small spas/jacuzzi's which was a squash for more than 8 people and it would have been good if they were either bigger or they had a few more of them. We ate dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant one evening but the risotto was completely bland and the pizza was disgusting. Because of this we ate at the only other free restaurant, The Plantation, every day. But after 6-7 days I was sick of the options for each sitting as the breakfast was always the same, lunch the same and dinner the same each day. My travel companion had been on a Princess cruise a few months ago which she couldn't stop raving about and comparing against the Pacific Pearl. She felt the Princess cruise was 5 out of 5 and the Pacific Pearl only 3 out of 5 at best. Due to a cyclone heading toward New Caledonia we couldn't go to Lifou or Noumea understandably but there was no compensation at all like a glass of wine or a credit to each cabins account. A few positives to end the review: we had a great cabin: big porthole, comfortable beds, wardrobe space with coat hangers, tons of drawer space. The gym is good with plenty of equipment for a ship. Basically, if you want to go on a cruise maybe avoid the Pacific Pearl and try a Princess ship instead. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My Wife, Daughter & her Friend, returned from a 10 night cruise of Vanuatu/New Caledonia Islands yesterday, thoroughly enjoyed the experience! Cabins were well presented and very tidy, service from Myron was excellent. Food and the ... Read More
My Wife, Daughter & her Friend, returned from a 10 night cruise of Vanuatu/New Caledonia Islands yesterday, thoroughly enjoyed the experience! Cabins were well presented and very tidy, service from Myron was excellent. Food and the service we received from the staff at the Waterfront Restaurant was great, quick and friendly. Thank you to Andreas, Diormry and the Wait staff. If A La Carte is not your thing, then the Plantation Restaurant is where you can eat all you want for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. My Daughter and her friend (both 14) are introverts so they were not out there in HQ every day, in fact they enjoyed a few of the activities but spent a lot of time in the cabin watching TV, they said that they enjoyed their Cruise. We enjoyed the island visits and made sure to do some snorkeling, swimming and kyaking, take your own goggles and snorkel if you have them, you can hire them for the trip or buy a pair for $50 Aussy. My Wife and I enjoyed the evening shows and attended all except the 1st one (didn't know about them). We found them to be very entertaining and enjoyed listening to Pascal in the Orient Bar after each show. The Pacific Band are great musicians who know there thing and were always good to listen to while having a night cap in the Atrium. The staff work hard and long to provide a service which I rate a 4 out of 5. The ship apparently small in comparison to others out there, lacked a Movie Theater but seemed to cater well for teens. The Gym is small but adequate, just as well a small number of passengers used it regularly. The laundrettes (2) had plenty of washers and dryers and there was never a long wait if everyone decided to do there washing around the same time. Over all there are plenty of activities for everyone to do on board if you want. It all comes down to what you make of it. This was the best holiday I've had, and will definitely look to other Cruises when I want to go on a true Holiday! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We sailed from Auckland to Adelaide on this beautiful, elegant ship and were wowed from beginning to end. We were upgraded to a balcony cabin 8103 and thought we were just so lucky. It was roomy, had a balcony which was a bit covered by ... Read More
We sailed from Auckland to Adelaide on this beautiful, elegant ship and were wowed from beginning to end. We were upgraded to a balcony cabin 8103 and thought we were just so lucky. It was roomy, had a balcony which was a bit covered by a lifeboat, but at least we could open the door and sit outside in the sun and get fresh air. The beds were so comfortable, the bathroom considerably more than adequate and the whole stateroom experience was so much better than we expected. Couldn't fault any services, entertainment, food, facilities or anything about the whole experience. Camilla, our stewardess was superb and just so helpful. A huge tick to her. We loved the English afternoon tea and made a point of attending each day. The food was out of this world - couldn't be bettered. All in all it was a marvellous 8 days. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We booked this cruise almost a year in advance to celebrate our both being retired and now able to travel The cruise itself was, for the most part, wonderful. However, the travel service left us down. The ship and cabin were ... Read More
We booked this cruise almost a year in advance to celebrate our both being retired and now able to travel The cruise itself was, for the most part, wonderful. However, the travel service left us down. The ship and cabin were beautiful. The cabin did need some maintenance such as the grout coming loose in the bathroom. All staff that we came into contact were exceptional, and they are a large asset for Oceania. Food was also exceptional, and we enjoyed both the specialty restaurants as well as the main dining room. Much appreciated not having set time for seating and not having any formal nights (one of the reasons we are returning to Oceania, see below) Although we did not expect high entertainment, what was offered was a disappointment. In addition to the evening shows being amateurish, the television choice was poor. The music available in the cabin was also poor. Even choosing "classic rock" or "favorites", many of the selections were some weird music. This is an area Oceania should work on. Loosely related to entertainment, the library was pleasant and had an adequate selection. Our disappointment with Oceania comes with communication and travel service. This cruise disembarks one at 8 AM and the flight home was at midnight. We wondered what to do with out luggage all day long. When we called Oceania guest services they basically said "You're on your own" - spent some time looking into storage, etc. and eventually thought we'd just slough it along to the airport and rent a car to carry it around all day. To our surprise, once we were on board, it seems that Oceania would transport luggage to air port and keep it. Would have been nice if their guest service would have told us that. HOWEVER, the biggest disappointment came in our flight arrangements home. We had upgraded to business class. (This MORE than DOUBLED the cost of the cruise, but felt this would be a once in a lifetime indulgence) Everything went well over to cruise and back until we landed in LA and were surprised that the remainder of our flight to Philadelphia and then Pittsburgh was booked in coach. When we had originally received our flight information, all legs were in business (or first) class. Shortly before our trip, the last leg time was changed and no class was listed, but we had no reason to think that it had changed. Our travel agent has acquired a return (as a credit) of a small portion of the fee of the home trip upgrade cost. We are beginning a part of our life with time for a lot of travel. While on the cruise, we had decided to just stay with Oceania. However, having a surprise (and kind of a bait and switch) on the trip home, we were about to look into many of the other cruise lines out there. Because the cruise itself was the type we appreciate and with the credit, we have now booked another Oceania cruise for one more try. Not sure if we can trust the travel service. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Caught the Pacific Pearl from Princes Wharf, checked in promptly so we could check out our cabin and take a quick tour of the ship. Our cabin steward, Alvin was polite and courteous and he is an excellent steward. Our cabin was located on ... Read More
Caught the Pacific Pearl from Princes Wharf, checked in promptly so we could check out our cabin and take a quick tour of the ship. Our cabin steward, Alvin was polite and courteous and he is an excellent steward. Our cabin was located on the 6th deck which we found out to be the best - more on this later!!! The staff are awesome and should be commended for their talents. First, the food - buffet was excellent as we ate here most of the time, Waterfront was alright, just needed to change the menu a little as the dishes seemed to be the same everytime we went there. Salt Grill was excellent, from the entrees to the mains. The scallops were big and juicy and the steamed barramundi was to die for... Thumbs up from me!!! Be careful with the shore tours. It seems to be cheaper booking onshore rather than on the ship for Noumea and Port Vila. Lifou is good for swimming. Apparently, a $15.00Aud per person tour was disappointing from our fellow passengers which was not worth that amount. Port Vila watch out for the taxi drivers, basically a cut throat business. They will also try to rip you off with tours of Port Vila, most are genuine offering $20.00Aud per person for a tour of the island, the others will try and squeeze alot more out of you!!! Bargain the price of the taxi first before you hop into their vehicle. Port Vilas roads are in a shocking state - big potholes, don't buy anything from the vegie market especially the fish. Duty free shops are very reasonable with the alcohol and tobacco prices. Mystery Island is good for snorkelling, swimming and is picturesque, watch out for the jellyfish!!! The shows onboard are entertaining as with the daytime activities. Alcoholic beverages are expensive as with the non alcoholic drinks but take advantage of the water dispensers offered in all the bars. Note that 24 hour tea, coffee and water is also on Deck 12, smoking is permitted on Decks 7 & 12 - surprised they allow smoking on the cruise ship. Thumbs up all round. Definitely will be back!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We are late bloomers when it comes to cruising and recently completed our first cruise on the Celebrity Century sailing from New Zealand to Australia and disembarking in Fremantle W.A. We are now well and truly hooked and already ... Read More
We are late bloomers when it comes to cruising and recently completed our first cruise on the Celebrity Century sailing from New Zealand to Australia and disembarking in Fremantle W.A. We are now well and truly hooked and already researching our next cruise - hopefully to Asia. I know we have nothing to compare it to, but the Century was absolutely fantastic! I cannot speak highly enough of it. The staff were amazing - so cheerful and friendly - no request was ever too much trouble. We had a Concierge Class balcony cabin which was compact but very comfortable. We had hoped to have breakfast most days on the balcony, however, we tried a couple of times but it always arrived cold. We ate most of our meals in the Grand Restaurant as we are not huge fans of buffets and found that the food there was not very hot either. Now my husband is a Health Inspector so this is a huge "no no" with him! We also ate in the specialty restaurant Murano on several occasions and it was magnificent. We had a couple of late lunches up at the Burger Bar by the pool and they were very good. One gripe we had was with the Premium Drinks Packages that we purchased. We do love our wine and the package included wine by the glass up to $12. However, the only place that you could get these premium wines was in Murano, where you were already paying extra to dine there. We did speak with the Bar Manager and he arranged for us to have two of our favourite wines from Murano available in the Grand Restaurant which was nice. Also regarding the wine, we love our NZ sauvignon blancs and Australian reds. We thought, cruising around NZ and Aust that they would have a good selection of these. However, most of the wines were American and I have to say, did not "float our boat". We would take a drinks package again (but not the premium one) as it was good to be able to grab as much bottled water as we liked and have fresh squeezed juice or smoothies with our breakfast. The martinis in the Martini Bar were good too as were the liqueur coffees in the Cova Bar. However, nothing could put a dampener on our experience and we are still buzzing and wishing we were back on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We went as a family who had never cruised before - Dad, Mum and 15 year old daughter. Having read some reviews, good and not-so-good, we were unsure what to expect but went with an open mind, not expecting an utterly luxurious ... Read More
We went as a family who had never cruised before - Dad, Mum and 15 year old daughter. Having read some reviews, good and not-so-good, we were unsure what to expect but went with an open mind, not expecting an utterly luxurious top-of-the-range experience, and we really enjoyed it! Our cabin was on deck 8 and had a window. I would describe the cabin as "perfectly adequate". The drawers and cupboards were quite old and tired, but they held all our clothes just fine, so what more could you ask?! The shower and toilet worked fine. Our 15-year-old daughter soon got involved in the teens HQ+ centre, and enjoyed herself immensely. Not all the events were to her liking, not being a PS3/Wii fanatic, but she made friends with a bunch of other teenagers and had a great time. The food was fine. We generally ate at the buffet "Plantation" for breakfast and lunch. Yes there was sometimes a queue, but it moved quite quickly and I didn't see anyone getting annoyed at the 5 minute delay. There was plenty of salads, fruit, hot food - I think the variety was good for a 10-night cruise, but I could see myself getting a little bored if I was on the cruise for a month. But then many people went to the burger place just outside on deck 12 for a burger or hot-dog, which probably adds to the variety. For dinner we preferred the more formal "Waterfront" restaurant, where the menu and the food were lovely - not Michelin-starred restaurant exquisite, but I had no complaints. There were two evenings where the food was not quite as good as I would have expected, but overall it was very good. One of the very few complaints I had was that when we had a bottle of wine saved from the previous night, they had a lot of difficulty finding the bottle the following night. One bottle was lost (but it only had maybe half a glass in it, and the supervisor presented me with two full glasses for free so that was okay), one bottle was brought out half way through the meal, and one bottle wasn't located until after we had finished our dinner, which was a bit pointless. The shows were top quality. We thoroughly enjoyed all the evening shows and found the dancers and performers to be highly professional. There was one comedian that my wife went to and found not to her liking, so she left after 10 minutes. But honestly, one bad show out of around 15 - 20 is not bad (and you've already paid for them as part of your cruise ticket, so we figured we would go to all the shows and just leave if we didn't enjoy one). The Marquee is not perfect - if you choose the wrong seat then you'll be sat behind a pillar and unable to see anything - but the secret is get there in plenty of time to choose a good seat. If the 7:30 show is packed, just go to the 9:30 show. Ports: We visited four ports. We booked a shore tour at Nuku'alofa, which was good. Vava'u was pointless - the town was grubby and litter everywhere, I don't think the locals wanted us there - apart from the people selling crafts in the stalls on the dock who were VERY pushy. Dravuni Island was magical - we walked along a gorgeous beach, went snorkeling in crystal clear water, it was fantastic. Suva in Fiji, we just went for a walk through town and visited the museum which was interesting - we did have to beat off the taxi drivers though. The 15-year-old did a Flying Fox tour (which is really more of a Zip Line) and loved it. In summary, we found this cruise very enjoyable. No, the Pacific Pearl is not a 5-star hotel, and it is not a Michelin-starred restaurant. But we enjoyed it and would recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
First time cruising went on our honeymoon and had a great time. The ship , service, food and entertainment were all fantastic. There is never an excuse to be bored! Meet some great people really enjoyed dining with different people each ... Read More
First time cruising went on our honeymoon and had a great time. The ship , service, food and entertainment were all fantastic. There is never an excuse to be bored! Meet some great people really enjoyed dining with different people each night. Was a bit apprehensive about the ship prior to going reading some posts below but what can I say they must be the moaning, grumpy lot that think they are something special. The entire experience was great and if you don't have a good time and enjoy every moment on the Pearl then you are just robbing yourself of a great time! Must Do's - Salt Grill, Comedy Shows, Casino, Top Deck movies, Coffee Shops, Relaxing and Drinking Cocktails Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Good value overall, though looking back we wish we had done more research and looked at other ships and taken closer attention to the Ports. Early on in the cruise we heard entertainment staff saying that of the last 12 cruises that ... Read More
Good value overall, though looking back we wish we had done more research and looked at other ships and taken closer attention to the Ports. Early on in the cruise we heard entertainment staff saying that of the last 12 cruises that have been scheduled to go to Norfolk Island, theyve only successfully docked there twice. ASccordingly the same thing happened to us. I have to wonder why they bother continuing to include Norfolk Island in their itineraries if this is the case??? All the other Ports of call were awesome! No complaints there. We felt the food offerings were very average, and despite getting a letter in our room on the day of arrival telling us to visit the chef in the main restaurant, we found that being vegan on a ship is not easy. We were having to pre order meals the day before, from tatty photocopied menus and having to basically dictate how to make things vegan. Never mind lost a few kgs on the cruise instead of as expected gaining it. Anyway on the upside had a couple of cool wins at the Casino! Very happy about that as we didnt take enough spending money. Oh and loved the Duty Free in Vanuatu. $30AUD for cartons of Dunhill with 2 free packets included! I felt like I was robbing them, LOL!My only other complaint was at the booking process. We booked midship Level 9 and got an upgrade to Level 10 right up the front. We did not consider this an upgrade in fact specifically wanted to be mid ship. We asked to turn down the upgrade but they had then sold out the category we booked in by upgrading others into it. After I complained quite alot, we got moved to Level 10 back of ship but certainly still not in the middle as we booked. Not so good for our sea sickness!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was our first cruise (The Bounty Discovery May 2011) and I am very pleased to say it won't be our last, we enjoyed everything this ship and it's crew had to offer, we ate exclusively at the waterfront restaurant, it was very ... Read More
This was our first cruise (The Bounty Discovery May 2011) and I am very pleased to say it won't be our last, we enjoyed everything this ship and it's crew had to offer, we ate exclusively at the waterfront restaurant, it was very pleasantly decorated, clean, light and buzzing with activity from the dozens of friendly waiters and waitresses, we loved it, plenty of selection on the menu with daily specials to tempt you to eat to much all the time.We attended all of the shows, much better standard than we imagined they would be, and the comedy shows i.e. The Liars club and Celebrity Heads with Peter Byrne were hilarious we haven't laughed so much for years.Plenty of other things to do, in fact we had to plan our day around the various activities I.E. Scrabble club for wife, Cocktail mixing course for me, wine tasting, lectures, Trivia competitions etc etc.Unfortunately we couldn't disembark at Norfolk Island due to a big swell but did a circumnavigation of the island with a commentary from the bridge by the local shore agent. Noumea we did our own thing and took the local bus to the beaches, enjoying saying Bonjour to the little children.Lifou was lovely snorkeled and had a cold beer on the beach, turning around to see the ship anchored in that deep blue pacific ocean was a site to behold.We struck lucky in Vila capitol of Vanuatu, the down town area wasn't much to see other than the market, we managed to get across to Iririki resort ( Free Ferry )and enjoy there infinity pool some lunch and more cold beer fantastic.Next and last stop was Mystery island, what a delightful place, white white beaches, snorkeling, market, crayfish to buy, friendly natives, and all on a tiny island flanked by a lagoon and coral reef just like the postcards.Unfortunately it was back to Auckland after that.The only negative comments I have to make is everything is priced in Australian dollars so 20% more expensive than they appear and a coin dispenser for the laundry would help ( who carries Aussie coins around on them in New Zealand )if you don't have any you have to queue at reception to get some, an even better idea would be to have the laundry free!Not wanting to end on a negative note we enjoyed everything about this cruise and when you think the cost was about NZ$500 pr day for two this included your accommodation, all meals, shows etc we would go again tomorrow. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
For our first cruise we decided to travel in familiar territory (Australia and New Zealand) so that we could focus on the cruise rather than the destinations. We had looked at a large number of possible cruise lines but thought that HAL ... Read More
For our first cruise we decided to travel in familiar territory (Australia and New Zealand) so that we could focus on the cruise rather than the destinations. We had looked at a large number of possible cruise lines but thought that HAL would be the right demographic for us (active couple, 59,62, retired) and we were proved right. Boarding the Volendam at Auckland went very smoothly and we spent the afternoon familiarising ourselves with the layout of the ship - it seemed very spacious and well laid out, easy to get around. We had been upgraded to Deck 2 and the category L cabin was large enough for us with plenty of storage space. (We did not spend very much time in the cabin at all - only slept there for about 6 hours a day!) The cabin steward was always very cheerful and helpful with very unobtrusive service. (We enjoyed the towel animals very much and were slightly disappointed to discover that it wasn't just for us, but a standard feature!) One slight glitch with the dining seating was soon rectified after boarding and we opted for open dining which suited us very well. We had dinner most nights in the Rotterdam with two nights in the Canaletto and one in the Pinnacle Grill. We took all breakfasts and lunches in the Lido. The standard of the food preparation, taste and service was excellent throughout, and on returning home we are finding it difficult to return to catering for ourselves! It required a great deal of self-control to limit our eating so as to not put on too much weight. We walked around the lower promenade deck 7 or 8 times every morning and went to the stretch sessions at 7am everyday in the Gym (this is a really good idea to get you going in the morning after a busy evening), as well as dancing every evening which helped keep the activity up. The provided entertainment in the Franz Hals Lounge was generally of a high standard and we greatly enjoyed the jazz trio (the Neptunes) and the HALcats, to whom we danced every night. The solo pianist Matt in the Piano bar was also very good and provided many hours of listening pleasure. We did not take part in many of the organised activities this trip but there were such a large number of them, catering for all sorts of interests, that you could easily spend the whole day taking part. There were a large number of areas in the ship where you could settle down with a book, sudoku, etc. or just watch other people, always a fascinating activity. The Explorations Lounge and the Cafe were very good resting places and the Library provided plenty of books even though we had our own e-readers. The Internet access fees were exorbitant and slow, even by Australian standards, and we did not bother. Nowadays it should be possible to do much better, particularly by using a caching server on board. We suggested that e-books could be easily provided (particularly the free ones from Gutenberg, etc.) but the Librarian thought that it would take a long time for HAL to do such a thing. Come on HAL, such things are cheap and easy to set up and your guests would love you for it (we saw a large number of people with computers and e-readers so the audience is ready for such services), just get a competent IT consultant (I am available at very reasonable rates :-) ) to organise such things for your whole fleet - you could be up and running next year! Despite the poor weather for most of the trip, apart from Milford Sound which put on a spectacular display, we had a ball and have signed up for some more cruises with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010

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