51 Auckland Romantic Cruise Reviews

Having sailed on the Paciifc Dawn out of Brisbane last year, we wanted to save travel costs and sail from our home port in NZ. Cruise departed from Akl and have to say embarkation was much simplier and efficient in Auckland. Disembarkation ... Read More
Having sailed on the Paciifc Dawn out of Brisbane last year, we wanted to save travel costs and sail from our home port in NZ. Cruise departed from Akl and have to say embarkation was much simplier and efficient in Auckland. Disembarkation was just as painless. We had a balcony suite 10176 and was in a great spot on the ship never had any trouble with noise. Was very happy with the dining, while we spent most of our dining time in the waterfront, on the occasione we used the pantry we were very happy with the food selection. Also dined at Salt Grill on night of Gatsby party, food was fantastic and thouroughly enjoyed the very professional service from the staff who were also very accomodating when one of our party fell ill ( sea sickness). Gatsby night was a winner yet again. My only critique would be of the entertainment staff, didnt feel the same vibe and happy involvement from the crew as we did on the Dawn. Also felt the quality of bands and singers not quite at the level of those on th Dawn, with the exception of Lisa Crouch who was phenonmenal. We we all very pleased that they gave her a second show which was packed out. Service staff are the best and go out of their way to be of great service to all. As stated by others the Jewel is in need of an update as she is looking a bit tired, look forward to sailing on her again when she has a refit. Loved every port we went to, did not do any ship tours but arranged our privately. Off to cruise expo this weeknd to book the next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our first cruise to Australia and the South Pacific. We rented an AirBnB in Sydney (near KingsCross) a week before the cruise to explore the many sights. As always with Holland America, the embarkation went smoothly and ... Read More
This was our first cruise to Australia and the South Pacific. We rented an AirBnB in Sydney (near KingsCross) a week before the cruise to explore the many sights. As always with Holland America, the embarkation went smoothly and quickly. Our luggage arrived to our cabin before we did and we were able to get unpacked and ready for our adventure. We set sail in the evening while taking in the beautiful night lights of Sydney harbour. We found the ports extremely interesting and we tried to learn as much as we could in the time alloted on shore. In Hilo and Honolulu we rented a car and travelled to the many sights which were noted on the ships shore excursions. There was no need to book an excursion in Dravuni as the passengers are tendered to the Island. Don't stay on the ship as you will miss this perfect Island! We hope to return one day to spend more time with the locals. Our ship couldn't go to two ports in New Caledonia because of typhoon season so we sailed to Vanuatu instead and went on a wonderful shore excursion to a small village. This was absolutely our favourite as we learned so much about the culture. When not in port, our days were filled with cultural activities and the speakers (Alan Wright, Paul Raffaele, George Sranko) were well informed as they shared a plethora of information to their captivated audiences. Certainly our favourite! The staff were professional as always and the food divine. If you are looking for a high energy cruise this one is not for you. If you appreciate a slower, more relaxed pace make sure you book this cruise. There is a large amount of sea days which allow you to do just that. Read, play board games and cards, sunbath, learn about different cultures and join in the simple daily activities offered. We loved this cruise and can't wait to do another!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was my 4th Princess Cruise (also been on Avalon, Azamara, Oceania, HAL, Voyages to Antiquity). My 1st Princess cruise was in June 2012, did a 12-night British Isles aboard the Caribbean Princess in an obstructed OV (felt ship itself ... Read More
This was my 4th Princess Cruise (also been on Avalon, Azamara, Oceania, HAL, Voyages to Antiquity). My 1st Princess cruise was in June 2012, did a 12-night British Isles aboard the Caribbean Princess in an obstructed OV (felt ship itself was too big for British Isles itinerary but overall a very nice experience); 2nd was in Dec 2012, a 15-night Hawai'i cruise (L.A. round-trip) aboard the Golden Princess (inside cabin). I will never forget this cruise because of the great Hawai'i cultural facilitators who taught us how to play the ukulele and hula dance, and highlight for me was performing in the Farewell evening Passenger Talent Show with 70 other ukulele playing passengers; 3rd time was in Nov 2013 on a 15-night Panama Canal Full Transit cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to L.A aboard the Island Princess, excellent all around experience in an inside cabin. This review is for February 2017, we sailed aboard the Emerald Princess for 12-nights from Auckland to Sydney: The itinerary was impeccable, the food was very good, but over-all it really felt like Princess cut back on the little things that used to make Princess a cut above the rest. For example, this was my 4th "wine-tasting" event ($13 per person), and for the first time, it did not include the "complimentary shot glass" at the end with the dessert wine - This s very minor, but the biggest thing that our cruise was missing on board was a live, full time, port expert lecturer. This time, the only way to get any port information was to watch the tv in the cabin, which re-ran old episodes of a previous port lecturer, which would have been fine, except that the taped lectures were in reverse order of our Auckland to Sydney ports. We relied heavily on the kind locals at each port to give us port information and maps (as the Princess Patter cartoon maps emphasized shopping). Only when we were cruising in Milford Sound did they finally bring on board a "NZ park ranger" to talk over the public address system. Unfortunately, the PA system was very hard to hear and it didn't help that 2 very rude ladies from Spain insisted on screaming in my ear as they talked to each other the whole time, so I could not hear a word of the Park Ranger. When I asked them "por favor, I cannot hear" they spoke even louder to each other, ignoring others around us trying to hear the park ranger. Another disappointment was the Specialty Dining at the Crown Grill. We decided to forego the extra expense when their menu clearly emphasized "only one item per course per person" which was a change from 2012 when we 4 were allowed to try multiple dishes per course, and thus we were able to try almost everything on the menu as we shared our plates. Also, this was the smallest inside room I've every experienced - D123 (Deck 9, Forward). There was only one straight-backed chair that came with the vanity/desk, and no other chair/sofa in the room, so we had to use our lower twin beds for seating. Luckily we are not "room service" people, so we did not need the extra seating, but it did feel very cramped. The room steward parked his cart near our cabin but that did not bother us, especially as he was very attentive and quick in his duties. The closet space and bathroom space was adequate for 3 of us (as we are light packers). The service of all staff we encountered: servers, hosts, maitre-d's, room stewards, passenger service officers, casino staff, International Cafe servers, are all beyond reproach. While Princess corporate management may have cut back on little extra touches and niceties for the passengers, the front line staff is consistently excellent in professionalism, manner, and attention to detail and prompt service. I most highly commend our maitre'd, Carlos from Spain, for his kind attention to my daughter who has a "peanut and all tree-nuts" food allergy. He reassured her food safety for lunch and dinner every day by nightly presenting her with the next day's menus so that she could pre-select her meals, and the cook-staff ensured her food was not contaminated. Regarding the talent on-board, the Princess cast only presented 3 times in 12-nights, and the various talents brought on board for a show or two were average. While there was no crew or passenger talent show, we did enjoy the cooking demonstration presented by Executive Chef Giuseppe Pollara with Matre D'Hotel, Luigi Pascale. All ports in NZ & AU are fabulous and very easy for us to do on our own. In Akaroa, we booked with Princess the "Swim with the Hector Dolphins" excursion for $199 US. The local outfit was beyond reproach and told us before suiting up: "on this morning's excursion, no Hector Dolphins were spotted, and very unlikely you will be able to swim with them this afternoon", and they gave up the option of a lesser non-swimming excursion (with little prospect of seeing the Hector Dolphins) or a FULL REFUND. They were very kind and honest to let us have the option in advance. (ps: you can book direct with BLACK CAT CRUISES in Akaroa Harbour for a little bit of savings versus booking through Princess, the ship docks right in Akaroa Harbour). We are getting ready for our next Princess cruise, 29-nights aboard the Pacific Princess sailing Nov. 23, 2017 from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale. Bon Voyage, and happy and safe sailing to all. ps: the only reason I rated the Embarkation in Auckland as "Terrible" is because they had all non-VIP wait outside the port building in the blistering sun & heat until 1pm embark time (in all my other experiences we were always sheltered indoors). I did not mind as this gave me 2 hours to explore Auckland waterfront while my husband found shelter in a cafe, but there were some elderly people who had to sit hodge-podge anywhere they could find outside the Princesss port building as they were not allowed inside, and there was very little shade to be found outside. Passengers with privileges were allowed to embark at 11am. There was quite a bit of confusion all around, and when 1pm embarkation began for the common-folk, the queue was very disorganized, a bit helter-skelter, until we got up the escalator to the check-in counter. Everyone was very polite through-out, just disorganized. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Going to New Zealand and Australia was a big "bucket list" thing. The Princess cruise/land tour was awesome. We booked an inside cabin since we had mostly port days and spent the day at the Sanctuary during the Fiordland ... Read More
Going to New Zealand and Australia was a big "bucket list" thing. The Princess cruise/land tour was awesome. We booked an inside cabin since we had mostly port days and spent the day at the Sanctuary during the Fiordland cruising. It more than met our expectations. We used Princess excursions because we have found that they have already screened their vendors for the most reliable and knowledgable guides. We once used a van off the pier on a stop on a Panama cruise and the tour guide did not provide any admittance to venues and after fact checking some of the information I found he made things up as he went along. My time is to precious for me to waste so I won't short change myself again and waste my precious time to save a few dollars. The excursions from the ship are now memories I cherish. The land tour in Australia, The Ultimate Outback, had us being cared for as VIPs. We came home knowing we had the best experience possible for the time we had there. The representative/tour guide managed everything for us at every stop. Our rooms were high quality and the meals that were included were wonderful. I came home knowing so much about the Ausie and Aborigine cultures. It was also fun staying at The Four Seasons in Sydney, because I never book five stars. We were able to get extra time through Princess at their rate. Since it is a lot of effort to get from the USA to that part of the world this cruise is a way to make the most of your time and experience the unique part of the world down under. If you have time for the land tour it will be icing on the cake. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this ship because we wanted a modern ship which was large enough to not be too rocky in heavy seas as my husband is prone to motion sickness. We had a delightful 12 night cruise where we would often wake up to a new vista each ... Read More
We chose this ship because we wanted a modern ship which was large enough to not be too rocky in heavy seas as my husband is prone to motion sickness. We had a delightful 12 night cruise where we would often wake up to a new vista each morning when we docked at a new port. Everything about this ship is first rate where you always feel your satisfaction and enjoyment onboard is the priority of the staff across the entire ship. The meals at the specialty restaurants were amazing. The meals though in the main dining room was a bit hit and miss. So was the nightly entertainment in the Solstice Theatre. Some of the acts were amazing. Some not so good. Overall, we had a wonderful time. The highlight for us was travelling through the wondrous New Zealand Sounds. Up close and personal, it was truly a humbling experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
After sailing on Holland America Line (HAL), four times and the last on the Noordam in February 2017, we have come to the conclusion that HAL treats some places better than the south Pacific. 1. Ships meals have been reduced in quality ... Read More
After sailing on Holland America Line (HAL), four times and the last on the Noordam in February 2017, we have come to the conclusion that HAL treats some places better than the south Pacific. 1. Ships meals have been reduced in quality and service as 4 meals had to be sent back, due to; 1 being cold, 2 overcooked and dry, 3 a steak that was tough and suspect quality while, 4 the fish was again overcooked and tasteless, 5 a Pasta carbonara was dry without any sauce, some sauce was supplied after I ask for it, then it was edible. 2. The hygiene control on the ship was/is lacking, as my wife was infected with the cruise cough/flu like symptoms this was the second time (again Holland America) and yet has NEVER been infected on the other cruise lines we have sailed with. We have sailed around New Zealand 4 times, twice with HAL, once with Cunard and Celebrity X, however my wife was struck down with ship flu both times on HAL, but not on the other cruise lines. Therefore, the food/ships hygiene on HAL appears to be at fault. 3. It appears that HAL uses the sailing in Southern climes of Australia/New Zealand as a training ship or just the area with disdain, knowing that Australian/New Zealanders do not complain/demand as much as some other natation’s do/can. 4. The Gratuities that are expected are also in contrast to other means of transport, such as airlines where the crew wages are similar for respective position and ranks on HAL but only draw their wages/salary. Also, it has been rumoured that the crew do not get all the monies collected, but a proportion it goes into the company revenues. 5. Defects with the ship a. 3 windows cracked, 2 on the Crow’s Nest lounge forward windows and the 3rd on the external glass wall (ship) of the aft/rear right side elevator on the 4th deck b. 2 lifeboats had damaged entrance/exit hatches (the stitching had separated from the hatchway) allowing water to enter the lifeboat, which would jeopardise the safety and integrity of both, the lifeboats were 11 and 14. They were reported 3 times to the front desk and each time I was given incorrect/differing answers, they were finally repaired. Photos are available. c. In the Lido dining area, a glass tea bag caddie was cracked with glass splinters missing, it was reported and it was changed to another position, again it was reported and it was finally removed to??? d. The cup/mugs for tea/coffee in the Lido were not washed properly (suspect the dishwasher) with foreign bodies/food being left in/on the mugs. e. Our cabin bathroom was in disrepair as the floor tiles were adrift/lifting and the shower wall tiling grout was missing, with several areas having dark mildew type stains. As we were dissatisfied with the overall Hotel and engineering (safety equipment) we spoke to many other passengers and they were of the same opinion that Holland America have lowered their standards and treat the south pacific cruises as training. Also, you can see by the above list, this cruise with Holland America Line was not as comfortable or as pleasant as the other cruise lines we have sailed with, (some 10 in all) then being told that we must pay the gratuities, gives an idea of what they think of the south pacific, so much so that I doubt it very much that we will sail with Holland America Line again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Background - My wife and I have cruised 12 times throughout the world. We live in Texas. We pick our cruises based upon the destination and ports. We do not like “days at sea” and we use cruises to see new places, in a short amount of ... Read More
Background - My wife and I have cruised 12 times throughout the world. We live in Texas. We pick our cruises based upon the destination and ports. We do not like “days at sea” and we use cruises to see new places, in a short amount of time. I was looking for a cruise that sailed around New Zealand but I did not want a cruise that crossed the Tasman Sea from Australia. Ponant was the only luxury cruise line that had such an itinerary. The cruise started in Auckland and ended in Milford Sound (and then to Queenstown). Prior to booking this cruise I had never heard of Ponant and the reviews on various sites were not great. Here is my attempt to give more information. Pre and post cruise hotels – We did not buy the Pre or Post cruise hotel options from Ponant. However, we stayed in the same hotels as these packages and arranged our own transportation to/from the ship, at a fraction of the cost. We stayed pre-cruise at the Sofitel Viaduct Harbor in Auckland. This Sofitel is a very nice hotel located right near the harbor area. We were able to take walking tours of the city, the wharf and the museums. Our cab ride to the ship took about 5 minutes. Embarkation – Once we arrived at the ship, within the check-in window of 4 to 5 pm, we were escorted directly to the gangway. We had our photo taken at the entrance to the ship and were handed our cabin card. They did not even ask for a credit card imprint. We were escorted directly to our cabin and our bags arrived almost immediately. This was the easiest embarkation we have ever had. Ship – The L’Austral can hold as many as 250 passengers. On this trip there were approximately 200 passengers and 140 crewmembers. The ship is small but seemed to have very good stabilizers, when we hit rough waters. The ship had a small pool with padded lounge chairs, a fitness center with very nice views, and several viewing decks. In addition, the Captain maintained an “open bridge” policy. If the sign was green on the door to the bridge, you were welcome to come in and watch. The ship is French. The Captain and his direct reports were almost all from France. When the ship would make announcements, the first announcement was in French and the second was in English. About ½ of the passengers were Americans. About ¼ were French. The remaining crewmembers were from all over the world, consistent with every other cruise line. Internet is available throughout the ship at a price per minute. The internet service was very slow and did not work very well, if at all. You would be better off going to cafes on shore and get free internet. Activities and children’s club – The ship had a small library and card room plus a couple of bars fore and aft. We spent most of our daylight hours on shore so we did not participate in any of the activities. The ship had a small children’s area. On our cruise there were zero children on board. Service – Our cabin steward was excellent. Our cabin was very clean and he was very timely. We never came back from a meal or excursion and found him working on the room. Our servers in the dining room were also excellent. They were very friendly and would know us by name. Dining – The ship has two dining areas. The main dining room is on deck #2 and can accommodate all passengers. The dining room on deck #6 always had a buffet set-up for the meals. This dining room could not hold all the passengers so reservations were required. We ate 100% of our dinners in the main dining room. In the main dining room, it was “open” seating. You could sit anywhere you liked. Sometimes we ate with others and sometimes just the 2 of us. Dinner service started at 7:00 each night but often we wouldn’t arrive until 7:30 or 8:00. Not a problem. Breakfast was served buffet-style in both dining rooms although you could also order eggs and omelets, as preferred. The dinners were French cuisine. At each meal you had a choice of 3-4 entrees. You could also order a generic steak, chicken or fish dish also. The only time selection was limited to one entrée was on the Captain Welcome dinner and the Captain’s Gala dinner. For these two dinners, they suggested coats and ties. The entrée was lamb one night and beef filet the 2nd night. There was always a vegetarian option. If you like French food and cuisine, this ship will thrill you. My wife loved the food. Personally, I would have preferred simple meat, potatoes and vegetables. The chocolate desserts were wonderful. Each night 8 lucky guests were able to eat at the Captain’s table. We assumed these “lucky” guests were the high-rollers in the Owners Suites. Much to our surprise, on the 6th night of the cruise, we returned to our 4th level cabin and were invited to eat at the Captain’s Table – What a wonderful man and a very special evening. Cabin – Most of the cabins are balcony cabins. The majority of the cabins are approximately 200 sq. ft., not including the small balcony. As others have mentioned, the toilet is in a small room, by itself. In the next small room is the shower and sink. In the main part of the cabin is the bed and a chair. The balcony has 2 small chairs and a small table. On most ships, we try to book cabins approx. 300 sq. ft. On this ship, that was not an option. You went from the 200’ cabin to the large suites. The cost of the cabins increases slightly as you go higher on the ship but the cabins are the same size whether on 4, 5 or 6. Try to get a cabin in the middle or towards the front for the best ride. On this itinerary, we traveled in a clock-wise direction so you really needed an “odd #” cabin (starboard side). Get “even” (port side) if taking in reverse. Entertainment – I never book a cruise for the entertainment value. This ship had 4 dancers and 2-3 singers. We did not go to any of the main evening performances. The theatre is small but could accommodate all passengers. Ports and excursions – We had $500 of shipboard credit and we used our credit on 2 shore excursions. The cruise line offered 2-3 excursions per port. The excursions were well selected but very pricey. If we did not have the shipboard credit, we probably would have arranged all of our tours ourselves. I have reviewed the ports in more detail in the Port Review section. Here are the highlights: Tauranga – Took a tour to Rotorua arranged via Zealander. We ended-up as the only guests so we got a very personal tour. Saw geysers, Rotorua Lake area, Redwoods, waterfalls, Kiwi farm and Maori show. Napier – Took a Whirlwind Tour arranged with Hawkes Bay Scenic Tours. Once again, we were the only guests so our tour was private. We saw all the sites of Napier and had a wine tasting at Mission winery. Wellington – We rode the Red Cable Car and then did our own walking tour of the city. Picton – This was the first shore excursion booked from the ship. Their vendor was Cougar Tours. We had a boat ride across the harbor and were dropped-off for a guide-led hike along a portion of the Queen Charlotte track. Very nice! Akaroa – We booked the “Swim with Dolphins” from Black Cats. The bay has Hector dolphins. We did see the dolphins but the water was too rough to swim with them. They refunded a portion of our cost. Dunedin – This was the 2nd excursion arranged from the ship. The tour took us, by bus, to the Ortago Peninsula. On this peninsula, we saw nesting Albatrosses, nesting penguins and many very young, baby seals. A great wildlife area! Disembarkation and Queenstown – The cruise ended at Milford Sound. Milford Sound is a beautiful area in the fiords of the South Island. We met the bus at 7:30 which was earlier than we expected from the printed material (which said 9:00). Disembarkation was no problem. The cruise fare included bus service to Queenstown. In Queenstown, we stayed at the St. Moritz hotel. This boutique hotel is located within walking distance to the CBD. Queenstown is a very vibrant area with many adventurous activities. We took the gondola to the top of the mountain and hiked some trails at the top. Summary ---- Overall, we enjoyed this cruise very much. The itinerary was great and I would cruise with Ponant again. In particular, we enjoyed the small size of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
If you like an overcrowded ship (2850 max capacity with over 3000 passengers on board), hospital quality food, average entertainment and unexciting on board activities on an older ship, this is your cruise. The new menu in the Tuscan ... Read More
If you like an overcrowded ship (2850 max capacity with over 3000 passengers on board), hospital quality food, average entertainment and unexciting on board activities on an older ship, this is your cruise. The new menu in the Tuscan Grille is awful-an $18 additional up charge for a dry-aged New York that you couldn't cut with a steak knife. Suite dining was nearly empty with horrible service and a condensed main dining room menu. Older crowd from many countries. Not family-oriented Everything was always crowded, long waits to get off the ship and many of the staff acted burned out. Security staff were seen on the ship wearing body cameras which is creepy when you are on vacation. Front desk staff was non-responsive and never got back to us on questions on our bill. Spa staff are the masters of high pressure sales which you never want after a treatment-kind of kills the zen. Our itinerary was changed due to very rough seas but still had some extremely rough sea days and missed a day in the fiords. Too many sea days on this itinerary. Cabins are nice but not much sound-proofing. Did not book any shore excursions with the ship as they are so over-priced. Celebrity is not what is used to be or should I say it is a has-been. If you have been a frequent cruiser with Celebrity you will notice the cutbacks from the earlier days and whole difference vibe.There are newer, more innovative ships and Cruise lines out there where the customer experience and dining is still a priority and a much better value. Cannot recommend this ship or cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We are elite plus and have cruised with Celebrity on numerous times. Based on our last experience , they seem more like a budget line at a premium price. They have definitely lost their vibe and more of a has been. It seems to keep ... Read More
We are elite plus and have cruised with Celebrity on numerous times. Based on our last experience , they seem more like a budget line at a premium price. They have definitely lost their vibe and more of a has been. It seems to keep corporate profits up, they've made many noticeable cuts which impact the passenger experience. We will never cruise with them again. For the high prices they charge, there are far better options with other cruise lines that have new ships and a more upscale experience with better dining without all of the upcharges. The ship has a capacity of 2850 passengers and we were told by hotel mgmt that there were over 3000 passengers on the ship. International crowd with about 1/3 from US. It was impossible to find a table in the main dining room during main dining hours, long waits for elevators, crowded public spaces, long lines to get off the ship and just an overall body press. This older ship is pretty but starting to show its age. We were in a Royal suite which was in good shape, liked the bathrooms and walk-in closet. The worst part about the cabin is the lack of decent sound-proofing between floors and cabins. Don't like being awoken when . the family on top of us get in late and up early. Children running back and forth for hours, loud TV and music-spoiled the cabin experience and ability to sleep in. Complained several times but you get treated like you are a unreasonable to expect a serene environment by ship staff and security. We had security staff show up at our door wearing body cameras after we complained several times about the loud noise from cabin above. You don't want to mess with these guys-not pleasant and always remember you are under Maritime law which is scary in itself. Cabin staff did a good job and worked hard. We used to love the food on Celebrity but it has gone downhill across the board and not very good. My husband and I lost weight on this cruise. The quality of room service food was the worst we've ever had reminding us of airline food and menu is limited without an up charges for better selections. We dined in the buffet which was repetitive and just not good. The suite restaurant, Luminae was the worst on the ship. It was mostly empty, understaffed, beyond slow service and very limited menu. Twice was enough and the main dining room has better options. The Silk Road is the best specialty restaurant as far as service and menu. Tuscan Grille has a new menu which has really downscaled what onc e was our favorite. The menu in Murano is too rich for most people and not worth the upcharge. The health club was the most crowded that we'd experienced on a ship with older equipment. We had several spa treatments but thought they were overpriced and thought all of the high pressure sales after a treatment was obnoxious. We even started getting several calls from the spa each day wanting us to made more appointments. We finally had to ask them to stop calling us. The entertainment was pretty much more of the same and inferior to NCL and other ships. We noticed less live music also on the ship I'm sure due to all of the cutbacks made by Celebrity. The overall level of service on the ship was inconsistent. Some bars and food service seemed understaffed and the not usual amount of smiling faces as in the past. Guest relations acted like the passenger was just a headache and unresponsive or unhelpful on several occasions , like when we were questioning charges on the and not helping us with promised travel assistance. The weather was cool most of the time and we encountered some very rough seas for a few days and the Captain changed the itinerary for the safety of all on board. Did not book any shore excursions as they are overpriced and limited. Much better options if you do the research. Overall this was the worst cruise out of over 20+ cruises with multiple lines due to the ship being overcrowded, noisy cabin, rude staff, mediocre food and onboard experience. Very poor value when compared to Viking, Oceania, HAL, etc. New Zealand and Australia are wonderful places but there are much better options than Celebrity or RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This cruise was our 6th overall and third with Holland. We did our first 3 cruises with Princess but they were full of noisy and unruly children whose parents did not even try to control them. The staff and crew of our Princess cruises did ... Read More
This cruise was our 6th overall and third with Holland. We did our first 3 cruises with Princess but they were full of noisy and unruly children whose parents did not even try to control them. The staff and crew of our Princess cruises did not seem to care that many of the children were running amuck with no parental supervision. We found that Holland caters to a more mature clientele and that suits us just fine. I believe that there were only 5 or 6 children on the Maasdam out of 1138 passengers. The service was outstanding and the port stops were more than satisfying. I particularly want to give a shout out to the management and crew of the Lido dining room as well as the people who ran room service. We like to hike and found several very nice trails at Mauganui, Picton and Akaroa. These trails were all within walking distance of the port. I have seen some not so good reviews of the Maasdam but all I can say is that these folks would probably complain if their heads were in a vise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
best thing we have ever done as a married couple and I highly recommend to anyone who is looking at cruiseing....its the best thing and is priced more so everyday people can do more of it now....do your research well beforehand and book ... Read More
best thing we have ever done as a married couple and I highly recommend to anyone who is looking at cruiseing....its the best thing and is priced more so everyday people can do more of it now....do your research well beforehand and book well in advance, worked well for us... the islands and snorkelling in warm waters far from new Zealand is marvellous,and the shore tours are safe and well organised...couldn,t have asked for better,and you meet some very nice people for lots of laughs on this boat... STAY WELL AWAY FROM PARKWEST ART GALLERY...they ruined our trip after we bought a painting from them and have been trying to get it delivered or our money refunded ever since....just lies after lies after lies and nothing...it,s now been 7 months trying to get some sort of resolution from them...(too get our money back)....has left a real sour taste to a marvellous P and O trip... MANY MANY thanks to P and O and all who work for her....its a shame one bad apple lets you down so... Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We had the most amazing time. After reading the reviews in trip advisor we did not know what to expect. The whole trip, food the room everything was fabulous. Our main thanks to the staff especially jun jun, Donna, john, rauul and ... Read More
We had the most amazing time. After reading the reviews in trip advisor we did not know what to expect. The whole trip, food the room everything was fabulous. Our main thanks to the staff especially jun jun, Donna, john, rauul and dadaji they made our trip really comfortable and so enjoyable. We are now hooked to cruises. We had the best time and we found it real value for money the food was really good the restaurants was amazing would go back in a blink. We found the ports really good, but would have liked if they were not in a row that was a little bit too much with the kids but otherwise all was really good. We found the food to be really good, the waterfront restaurant was amazing and buffet was pretty good as well, and buying the softdrinks package was really good. We found the staff really wonderful, nothing was too difficult everyone always had a cheerful smile and were very friendly. The cabin was cleaned twice a day a big thank you to john and rauul for making my daughter's day for her 12th birthday And a big thankyou to dadaji for the dinner and making her dinner so wonderful and bring the cake she was so stoked. For the waterfront restaurant a big thankyou to jun jun and Donna you made our dinner really enjoyable and jun jun the kids really enjoyed all his magic tricks that he showed them. We would do this cruise in a heartbeat again. Looking forward to the next cruise we are totally hooked. thank you p and o for giving us such an enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 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
Overall was it worth it - yes. Would I recommend it - yes. Would I come again - yes. The details - 5 star food, some of the best I've had even the buffet had real crockery rather than melamine, but the rooms were more spacious than ... Read More
Overall was it worth it - yes. Would I recommend it - yes. Would I come again - yes. The details - 5 star food, some of the best I've had even the buffet had real crockery rather than melamine, but the rooms were more spacious than others but the quality was no better than others. Despite being given a boarding time, it didn't seem to matter what time we arrived. The boarding procedure was quite slick with no delays and a nice glass of champagne to start off with. Bags arrived at the cabin quickly. The cabin (and ship as a whole) was very spacious. A large bed and plenty of storage space set it apart from other cruises that we've been on and so did the hole in the plastic sofa upholstery and the nice stain in the carpet. The emergency drill procedure was disjointed and a couple of hundred people had to look at a regular TV screen. Some of the public rooms upholstery was worn around the edges. The waiters all tried to sell us a drinks package which became tiresome but they confessed to being on commission - this became unpleasant after a while. The first dinner was very good - drinks package selling again - but the guest dress code was not observed or enforced and this spoilt the evening as a good many people frankly just looked scruffy. Shorts and T shirts were even allowed to dinner! The waiters de-crumbed the table with a scraper - but not into a cloth, but onto the floor/carpet on 1 night and then never bothered again for the rest of the cruise. The return tender boarding service today 15 Nov 2015 was dangerous as it should have been changed to the sheltered side of the ship but instead was left on the windy side with a big swell on the sea. Raining today, but no covering over the walkways when getting off the ship for a tour. Returning to the ship in sun or rain, one line stretched into the distance with no covers for shelter. The in cabin movie(s) didn't work properly and took over 45 minutes not to download before giving up. I should have known something was wrong as the screen declared that the temperature was 140 degrees F / 60 degrees C. Guest Relations were called and they promised to fix it in 15 minutes, but that deadline came and went, so another film was attempted. Still nothing. After half an hour they reset the entire system and all was well. After a minute it cut out and I had to start all over again! And again, and again. And again on another day and whilst waiting I noticed that the signage on the balcony door was damaged; not 5 star! Hole/tear in the bed valance. Marks on the sliding cupboard door For some reason the Oceanview Cafe on Deck 14 vibrates continuously. Guest relations staff were quite surly and abrupt. Disembarkation was exactly on time but the store staff did not organise the luggage well. Finally found our luggage in Hall 1 whereas the marker was in Hall 2. 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
We have just returned from a 10 night pacific discovery cruise and thoroughly enjoyed our trip. This was our second south pacific cruise, having previously sailed on the carnival spirit which was a fantastic ship. The embarkation ... Read More
We have just returned from a 10 night pacific discovery cruise and thoroughly enjoyed our trip. This was our second south pacific cruise, having previously sailed on the carnival spirit which was a fantastic ship. The embarkation process was easy and we were on-board within 30 minutes of our 12pm check in time. entering the ship we were pleasantly surprised at how nice the ship was, yes.. the ship is an older boat which is showing signs of wear and tear but it has a great décor in the public areas and was always kept spotlessly clean. Most of the staff we interacted with were pleasant and friendly, especially the barman at the deck 12 splash bar and our cabin steward Ashadi. Drink prices range from $5.75 AUD for a can of VB, $7.75 for a pour of spirit and between $10 - $15 for cocktails. The food was good quality throughout the cruise and we ate in the waterfront restaurant for nearly every meal, the reason being that the buffet on the ship always had very long queues and limited seating. The burger bar on deck 12 was also great for grabbing a quick bite, but charges do apply after 5pm. my one gripe regarding the food is that quite often there would be nothing available as the buffet nor the burger bar was always open, and you would just have to wait a few hours until the restaurant or the buffet opened. We found the entertainment on board great, minus a few of the singers. there are 3 seating's for the marquee show every evening, which is good in case you miss the earlier sitting. there will also be events in the atrium such as circus shows and the champagne waterfall which we found entertaining. Overall we enjoyed the trip and would recommend the pacific pearl as a great way to see the islands from Auckland, but if you are willing to fly to Australia you will be able to cruise on much nicer ships which offer extras that P&O seem to have removed, like night turndown service and 24hour food available. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We chose this cruise as it was a one way trip from New Zealand back to Australia. We were on our Honeymoon and spent a week before hand travelling ourselves around the South Island. Embarkation- We were on the Concierge Class. If you ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was a one way trip from New Zealand back to Australia. We were on our Honeymoon and spent a week before hand travelling ourselves around the South Island. Embarkation- We were on the Concierge Class. If you like your in-room breakfast, definitely go this level or higher. We found out from our neighbours (who have travelled on the ship a number of times) that you only get a basic continental breakfast if you are on a 'lower class'. The embarkation process was long, there were SO many people on our level or higher - we could board at any time, but everyone wanted on straight away. It seemed that the 'lower classes' had priority as there were less than the 'priority entry' cohort. Oh, and no Sail Away party either. We were waiting for the horn to go off and people were all out on the decks to meet and greet, but there was nothing. No music, no message from the Captain to say welcome aboard even. Disembarkation- a colleague of mine was on the same cruise with us. They got off one port early (which was an option). Her husband was VERY ill and it took them 5hours to disembark the ship. Each time she asked if the authorities were there to check off documentation, they were told it would be 'just a couple of minutes'. Ship- It was beautiful. Stunning, a real 'water city'. Cabin- No storage (apart from one little cupboard. We ended up having our two suitcases on the couch and using it rather than the wardrobe as there was no place to store suitcases either. They mentioned a pillow menu... we didn't see any of it and our steward didn't know what we were on about either... Dining- RANCID BUTTER for one night in the Dining Room. We mentioned this to our waitor. Husband ended up with severe food poisoning- calling the plumber to clear the lines in the middle of the night. Tried to complain to the Guest Relations, but they were UTTERLY USELESS! They said that there was no way of telling if my husband had food poisoning without him seeing the doctor- he was STILL in the room vomiting after 24hrs (thank goodness for vitamin water to rehydrate him). They took me on the rigmarole of needing to see a doctor, it could be gastro and so on. The butter turned the nose of the waitor as soon as he saw it. Note to others, if you have any food that smells or tastes 'off', call over the Maitre De. In hindsight I should have caused a scene in the dining room, but he only had a corner of a slice of bread so we didn't think anything of it until 3hrs later when it all started... Food overall was average. It was alright considering how many they had to feed, but we had better on a P&O South Pacific Cruise. Entertainment- Not to our taste, a LOT of repetitive activities. If you are in for a more entertainment related cruise, definitely go another Cruise liner. Went along for the Scullery Tour... waste of time again... there were no fruit carvings made into animals or anything and the wait time to get downstairs was rediculous too (20mins). Service- the only person with somewhat reasonable service (and the ONLY person who gave us a smile) was our Room Steward. He was lovely and did his job. On one occasion I went down to the shop to purchase an item. There was a young lady there who was VERY snappy and had a red-hot go at me after asking when the jewellery person would be back to order a necklace. Complained to Guest Relations, but they didn't want to know about it (even though it is said everywhere to tell them about good and bad service). Ports/Shore excursions- We only did a few as it was a more relaxing cruise. The ones we did we enjoyed. In the Bay of Plenty, we did a fantastic tour around the area sampling all kinds of food (highly recommended!!). Also purchased the CD of cruise memories. We went on our honeymoon back in December 2014. Shorts they advertised in the Photography area weren't put onto the CD, even though we we asked and were advised on 4 separate occasions to different staff that they would be. Poorly made, not worth the $40+ and STILL waiting to hear back from them.. (am not holding my breath!) Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Intro: My wife and I have been on maybe 10 cruises but never Celebrity. We are active and in our mid-40’s. We live in northern California and are serious wine and wildlife lovers. I always book DIY tours and the only pre-booked tour I ... Read More
Intro: My wife and I have been on maybe 10 cruises but never Celebrity. We are active and in our mid-40’s. We live in northern California and are serious wine and wildlife lovers. I always book DIY tours and the only pre-booked tour I reserved was ‘The Squeeze’ in Rotorau. Auckland: We spent first two days in the Hilton Princes Wharf. The location was ideal. The boat docks so close to the hotel that they warm you to shut your curtains at night when the ship is coming into Aukland for privacy. On day 1, we took the hop on/off bus for $45 each. We hopped off at Kelly Tarlton Sea Life Aquarium. We were blown away by the penguin exhibit. There was a lot to see in a compact area. Next we hopped off at the Zoo. It was also compact and a good value. We saw everything in 2-3 hours. We then stopped off at Parnell to shop. On day 2, we took the 9 AM ferry to Waiheke Island for $45 with an all day bus pass. We had a great breakfast at OBC in the village and then took a cab to Jurrasic Ridge winery. If you are into wine, this isn’t to be missed in my opinion. The wines were incredible and the tasting experience was second to none. This is wine made by one man, his way. It got busy as we were wrapping up so I’d recommend getting there at 11AM when he opens the cellar door. We then walked to Cable Bay and enjoyed a tasting and lunch. The chardonnay was great and we purchased two bottle for the cruise; food was also excellent. We then walked (all down hill) back to the bus stop and went to Te Matu. It was ok but not nearly the experience we had at Jurrasic. Even if you are not a wine lover, I’d recommend a ferry to Waiheke for a lunch. Embarkation: We checked out at noon. Embarkation was very orderly and efficient but we were not ready for the heat and humidity. To my surprise, we were able to bring on as much bottled water and soda as we wanted. We had put the two bottles of wine in our checked luggage. That luggage was delayed but showed up after dinner with a message that it had to go through secondary inspection. I had a magnum bottle in my carry-on that they didn’t mention. We were in our room by 2 PM. We were in a concierge class room (Rm 1036) and found a 50% Embarkation sale for the Tuscan Grill in our welcome letter. We booked a 6:30PM and were treated to a table up against the window on the far back. We were able to eat and watch the boat sail away from Aukland at 8 PM...that was a special treat and the food and service were fantastic. It was the perfect start to our cruise. Bay of Islands: The weather was perfect in the morning. We had our balcony door open all night and enjoyed the ocean sounds and breeze. We had ordered room service breakfast for 7AM and ate on the balcony. We got a tender at 8AM and rented kayaks for four hours and paddled to the Haruru Falls and through the mangroves. We then walked to Paihia and booked ABC tour to the Kawiti Glow Worm Caves. The tour was $40 plus $20 of entrance to the cave per person. It was unique and kids would love it; for me, it was ok. Tauranga I booked RiverJet’s ‘Cruising Overland’ tour with “the Squeeze” option (http://www.riverjet.co.nz/jet-boating/the-squeeze). This tour was in Rotorua and was the highlight of the trip. It was a once in a life time experience. I made a short video. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyUNVGddonU Wellington This day was a wash...literally. It was pouring rain and we needed to do laundry. I pack up everything and headed out in search of a coin operated laundry. I found a laundry about ten blocks up Cuba Street (next to bus drop 1) called The Soap Opera. Loads were $4 each and detergent was found at the Superette across the street. I’d suggest bring enough one dollr coins as the nearby businesses get asked for coins daily. There are some very cool coffee shops on Cuba Street to pass the time. On the way home I stopped at Fork and Brewer and had an amazing Coffee and Fig Stout at the beer-tenders suggestion. If you enjoy craft beers, this was the best place I found on the trip. Akaroa: We were blessed with amazing weather. The boat docks in a very old volcanic cauldron which was the best harbor I’ve ever seen. We were surrounded by high mountains with no wind or clouds. After a bit of a tender wait, we got to the wharf and booked a bay cruise from Coast Up Close. We left the dock at 10AM and saw amazing dolphins, penguins, and fur seals. The owner Tony was great as he shared his knowledge and passion for the area. He has a great website that is worth checking out: http://www.coastupclose.co.nz/ Afterwards, we ate a snack at the Harbour Bar which was a little past the initial grouping of cafes. The fish bites were AMAZING and the beers were solid. I eat a lot of sea food and these blue cod fish bites were really amazing. We were talking about them for days. Dunedin: We took a bus to town and found the Museum, the Cadberry plant, and Speights Brewery. We didn’t take any tours. The museum was the highlight. It not only had early NZ history but a great time capsule displays from early TV, radio, and cooking up to 1980. We spend about two hours there. I didn’t care for the beers at the brewery at all but the food was good. Dusky Sound: WOW. AMAZING. We popped our champagne and had mimosas while watching some of the most spectacular scenery we have every seen. It was similar to Alaska but without the snow (and cold to go with it). We had t-shirt weather and camped out on the balcony and took about 100 pictures! The on-board Naturalist Dirk Younkermann narrated for several hours. He really added to the exceptional experience. Hobart: We booked a private van off the pier with Trevor Glover (0419-556060) to take us around the city. It was a four hour tour and Trevor was exceptional. We saw Mount Wellington, the wildlife reserve, and the city of Richmond. The wildlife reserve was the highlight but I was surprised at Mount Wellington; the weather was ideal. We saw tazy devils, koalas, colorful birds, and fed kangaroos. After the tour we grabbed some oysters at Mullins near the pier which I didn’t care for at all but still loved Tasmania. Sydney: We walked off the ship after breakfast and carried our luggage so we were flexible. We were disembarked within 20 minutes without and issues. We stayed at the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel. The room was great but beware - there was no lift so getting the luggage to the room was a workout. I really enjoyed the charm of the hotel and the location was good. We did all the top tourist sites in the three days we had. Wining and Dining: 1) Getting a table for two at rear windows of the Tuscan Grill during was a perfect start to us in Auckland! We heard the french restaurant was very good but didn’t experience it ourselves. 2) We had select seating and never had a wait; we are early diners. Great service all around and the food was mostly good. If the food wasn’t suitable, the service made up for it. We typically stopped into the Master Cellar with a picture of the menu for suggestions from the Sommelier on wine parings. The lecturing Sommelier Csaba was truly exceptional. 3) We booked the ‘Wine Connoisseur Dinner’ for $92 each. There was zero wine education and the seating wasn’t optimized. In addition, the menu was the same as our initial visit. While we enjoyed ourselves, I wish we hadn’t selected this event. The events under the lecturing Sommelier control were far better. 4) We did just about all the on-board wine events. The Privee Wine & Cheese Tasting was a replication for the 1973 Paris tasting that put California wines on the map. This was great. There was a lot of old world/new world wine education provided, I also really enjoyed the NZ and Australia wine pairing. The other events were good but those two stood out to me. Things we loved: 1) Celebrity provided an umbrella and binoculars in our room; great touch. 2) The evening canapés; We were always hungry right when they showed up! 3) Our room steward Marlon was great and made sure we had everything we needed for a great day. 4) The itinerary was amazing; every stop offered something new and unique. We are used to cruising in the Caribbean and Mexico so we were surprised that we didn’t get hounded by trinket sellers and aggressive tour operators. That’s about it....we LOVED this cruise! It exceeded our expectations in many ways.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My 8th cruise (Royal Caribbean- LOS, VOS, Cunard, Princess) and first on Celebrity. I chose this ship over the sister line Voyager of the Seas as it had a marginally better itinerary. A mistake! We were in Concierge class with a balcony ... Read More
My 8th cruise (Royal Caribbean- LOS, VOS, Cunard, Princess) and first on Celebrity. I chose this ship over the sister line Voyager of the Seas as it had a marginally better itinerary. A mistake! We were in Concierge class with a balcony and an inside stateroom just down the corridor. First the good things: 1.Biggest staterooms of any cruise ship we have been on, even the inside state room was very roomy and had lots of storage. Good sized balcony. Liked the little extras like the binoculars, umbrellas, tote bag and daily canapes. 2.Thoughtfully arranged shower stall, lots of space for the little bottles of shampoo, conditioner and bathgel plus our own stuff. Nice touch to have the little bar for feet and glass sliding doors not nasty curtains. 3. Lower level staff (room attendants, toilet attendants, waiters) all very good, eager to please, proactive, had initiative, go out of their way to serve and helpful. 4. Good lecturer Milos - humourous and engaging, although not always correct on the facts, that saved the day on some sea days. 5. Culinary events - good that they had them but the content could have been improved. Now the bad: I cruised with my 2 teenage sons who love cruising for the fine dining, shows, and family bonding over games. They normally don't bother with the teen club and we are usually happy to find our own fun playing table tennis, shuffle board and board games and for us, dancing every evening; even on the very small ships like Pacific Princess. There were none of these onboard!! The table tennis tables only get set up occasionally outside the theatre for tournaments and about 2 "freeplay" sessions during the 12 night cruise. The only board games available were checkers and scrabble and a few more in the teen club which were missing instructions and pieces but a very poor selection in the first place anyway. C'mon, which ship can't find a little deck space for shuffleboard? There were supposed to be lawn games on the lawn but it was often roped off ("The lawn is resting" and therefore a major waste of space on the top deck), so the promised (in the promotional pictures) of picnics on the lawn never happened. A few sad putters, insufficient golf balls and 3 little holes clustered together in front of the smokers corner made up all the minigolf there was. We watched every Hot Glass show even when the weather was freezing and the wind was blowing hard - there was nothing else to do! There were organised activities but many were lame like the much touted "Celebrity Life" activities. For lack of anything to do, we attended "Question of the Day": it consisted of one crew member walking around a bar quietly asking people the answer to the question: "How many Indian crew members are there on board?" and taking down their names, after half an hour of this, he announces the answer "385" and the closest answer won a t-shirt - YAWN! It is kind of sad when the most exciting highlighted event on a sea day is the lecture on Marsupials! The tour of the galley with the Q&A was well attended and a good idea. This was followed by several other culinary events that were more talk shows and lame jokes than cooking lessons. I would have preferred more focus on the chefs and their cooking than the cruise director making racist jokes at the chefs expense, when it is supposed to the a cooking event! This is a ship for organised activities only - there was simply no facility for people to amuse themselves. Very simple beginner dance classes were conducted in the afternoons, nothing for more slightly advanced dancers. There were few opportunities to dance in the evening, only 1 hour of scheduled ballroom dance music and at other times, the dance floor in the Sky lounge was not in use and only elevator muzak playing with no DJ around. We had to resort to dancing to music from an iPhone in my husband's pocket! Requests to the cruise director (about dance music) and Celebrity Life staff (about board games) early on in the cruise met with excuses and no results. Shows were hit and miss, mostly miss. The ship's singers and dancers were good and really impressive - they could dance, sing and do Cirque de Soleil type acrobatics but only put on 3 shows out of the 12 nights. The rest of the nights consisted of a single solo performer each night - 2 comedians (Brit and American), one doing some magic on the side, they started out fairly good but ran out of material after having to do a number of shows each; they were followed by a really really bad singer (Tracie something doing Celine Dion impressions that sounded nothing like Celine Dion) and a rather good violinist (Jane Cho Elecktra). Not impressed. Food in the Grand Epernay - another letdown. My neighbourhood cafe plates the dishes nicer than that! The quality of the steaks and produce was excellent but part of the joy of fine dining is the visual appeal and meat and veg thrown together on a plate anyhow just doesn't cut it. They were also very stingy with the seafood. 2 miserable prawns per main course! The appetiser sous chef was a little better and at least that gave some nice looking photos. Desserts mostly good although the planning was a little off - on the last night, 2 of the 3 featured desserts were either chocolate with banana or banana with chocolate. However, there was always a good choice of icecreams and sorbets and the standard 3 desserts of chocolate cake and creme brulee etc. Some of the Asian selections on the dinner menu were surprising good although at other times, they were the poor westernised versions (like the dry, tasteless and tough 'balinese satays" served with thai chilli sauce at lunch). We gave up on breakfast in the buffet - always very long queues everywhere and we had to walk at least 2 circuits before we found a table for 4. Waiters were overworked (busy serving food as they had a "no self service" policy) and did not clear the tables so we were not sure if the tables were vacated and could be taken over. We started having room service breakfast on port days and this was prompt and hot, plus for our concierge cabin, we could order complimentary smoothies and fresh squeeezed orange juice, that had to paid for if ordered at the buffet bar . Food was unchanging in the buffet breakfast but because of the large amount of choice, it did not get boring. There was soft serve ice cream and several tubs of different flavours including sugar free and low fat options with toppings, all afternoon till 10pm. We took only 1 ship excursion - a walking tour of Akaroa, mainly to get onto the earlier morning tender and to kill the time till the main highlight of our day there which we had organised for ourselves (kayaking with the Penguins with Pohatu Plunge - highly recommend this). The walking tour was so-so but very reasonable in price. For the rest of the ports, we either hired a car or organised private small group tours on Cruise Critic. Overall, this was not the right ship for us. We chose it for the itinerary and to try a different line as my older relatives had a good experience on it last year. We are unlikely to chose it again unless the itinerary is so unique and attractive that it can outweigh everything else (eg Galapagos Islands). We would recommend it for people who don't want to think for themselves and want to have everything organised.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
It was our honeymoon cruise, also my husband's first cruise. I have been on Star cruise before, stayed in their inside stateroom, so I know how small and noisy inside rooms could be. So for our honeymoon, I picked the mini-suite to ... Read More
It was our honeymoon cruise, also my husband's first cruise. I have been on Star cruise before, stayed in their inside stateroom, so I know how small and noisy inside rooms could be. So for our honeymoon, I picked the mini-suite to pamper ourselves. Room was big with balcony, deck chairs & table, bath tub, big soft bed with lots of pillows, sofas and lots wardrobe space. Occasionally we also get plates of treats delivered to our room - canape & chocolate & sweet bites etc. we also get welcome champagne on our first day. Our ticket did say we have priority checkin at 12:30. When we arrived at 12:30, there was already a lot of people checking in. So apparently no one sticks to the check in time printed on their ticket. After checking out our cabin, we went to plantation to have buffet lunch. The following day we went back to plantation for breakfast, lunch & dinner. As its buffet style, we tend to eat too much. By the third day we were so sick of the buffet, feel bad for stuffing ourselves, we started going to Waterfront for lunch & dinner. And we were hooked since then. You get great service, order what you want, come in small portion, so can have 3 - 4 course meal and not feel stuffed. If you make a booking, you can have same table same time every night. Food was generally great, but not the Asian food. My husband find their food quite blend. Noumea: we went to Amedee Island, which has fantastic snorkelling, glass bottom boat, great view from top of lighthouse. But the lunch provided was not too great. Their roast beef was like brick. Overall a very beautiful island to spend a relaxing day. Lifou: we did the Forest & secret grotto tour, because I like exploring caves. But I was disappointed! Their cave was so small, we basically went down a few steps to sit in the cave, sang a song coz there's echo, and came out after 5 mins. The rest of the tour we were walking through a forest, with the guide explaining a few traditional medicine the locals get from plants, show us how they hunt coconut crabs, pigs, birds. I wouldn't recommend this tour. Not far from the jetty some locals were offering $10 to take you to another cave. We should have gone with that. In e afternoon we went to Jinek bay to snorkel. They just started charging people for entering Jinek bay. $15 half a day pass. It was a nice spot for snorkelling, however there were way too many people in the water at the same time! I find its not worth it (especially the best snorkel is at mystery island) Port vila: we went scuba diving in the morning, which was a great experience, a bit scary for me but I loved it. Fnished at 1130, went back to ship for lunch, walked along the pier where the locals are selling souvenirs, dress, shirts etc. went on 1:30 tour to Cascade waterfall. It was beautiful! Absolutely recommended. We were standing under the waterfall, water was refreshing. Beautiful spot for photos. Originally we booked abseil down the waterfall, but with only half hour between the 2 tours, we changed our mind last minute. Which worked out better as we had time for lunch & the best shopping in the whole trip. Mystery island: the best snorkelling place so far, is on the other side of this island. Water so clear, corals big and colourful. More variety of fish. Gorgeous blue starfish! But taking tender boat back to ship was pain in the ass. Long queue, waited for half hr finally our turn and some rude Asian cut queue. There was no clear queue area, so beware if long q starts to form. Money: reception told me I must have local franc for first 2 islands as they don't take Aussie $, but I found out on the islands they do take Aussie $! Well i guess the Ship make money from exchange rates, coz when I change back from franc to Aussie I feel so ripped off. Shopping at vila was easy, Aussie $ all the stalls, and they don't really bargain. Set price means set price. It's not cheaper a few stalls down the road. Entertainment: love the comedy & magic show. Circus was good, but after a few nights i find them repetitive. Not a big fan of musical show so we only attended first 2, and didn't bother going to last 2. Photos: they were taking photos of us everyday & everywhere. Highly recommend their portrait photos. They take photos on deck 7 on formal nights & dress up nights. And if you don't like the photos you don't have to buy them. But doing the photo shoot itself is fun, and free. We ended up buying 4 really nice portrait photos, and got 1 free. Casino & shops are small compared to other cruises I've been on. But that's no biggie. Just don't expect to buy much from the ship. We hire snorkel gear from aqua hut. $50 for a set of snorkel for the whole cruise, which I find ok as we get new snorkel & get to keep it. Just have to return the fin & goggle. If u hire from the island, who knows if they have been cleaned and it was $15 per hire. Remember to put toothpaste on your goggle the night before, and clean with seawater just b4 you put them on. This stops fogging up and works well. They were showing some quite new movies on tv & the big screen, like life of pi, ice age, twilight breaking dawn pt 2, 007 skyfall etc. I had the best reflexology at the spa, quite costly but it's worth it. I spent $129 and get 1 hr treatment includes body scrub, leg & ankle massage, foot reflexology. Overall we had a great time, will definitely go with p&o again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Embarkation and disembarkation was very easy. We arrived early 11am for 1pm and were allowed on at 11:45. Luggage arrived promptly. Disappointed in the buffet so never went back there. Ate all our meals in the dining room and enjoyed the ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation was very easy. We arrived early 11am for 1pm and were allowed on at 11:45. Luggage arrived promptly. Disappointed in the buffet so never went back there. Ate all our meals in the dining room and enjoyed the food. Friendly staff and good service.The only problem was finding the dining room. Very strange layout on this ship. Afternoon tea was delightful. No wine package for white wines. Itinerary was good. Only did one tour at Tauranga. Very enjoyable despite pouring with rain all day. Entertainment mixed. Crowded venues for some of the entertainment which was in one of the bars. Disappointed in the fact they had no lecture series. Disappointed in the way people dressed on formal nights and in general. Inconsistent temperatures around the ship. Some places were like an ice box. Now for the big negative. Our bed was terrible. So hard we couldn't sleep the first night. The worst bed we have ever slept on on a cruise ship or anywhere else for that matter.After complaining they put on a cheesy cheap mattress topper which had not been aired and therefore gave us a second sleepless night because of the smell. In the end they brought us old ones and 2 of them. We finally slept. Could not watch TV in bed because the TV was adjacent to the bed. You could only watch by lying crosswise on the bed. How ridiculous is that. I took my own hairdryer because I read someone complain about the one in the room on cruise critic. I was glad I did because the one they provided was useless for styling short hair. It had a rectangular outlet 2"X5"! We also took along an adapter with 3 outlets(2 provided in the room) Read that on cruise critic. If only Princess had got the bed right from the start what a difference it would have made. It has made me wary of sailing with them again. 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 is our Third Cruise our first being on the Queen Mary 2 love at first cruise my partner and I were smitten by the beautiful outstanding service and the non ending sea,our next cruise was the Celebrity Millennium where my partner ... Read More
This is our Third Cruise our first being on the Queen Mary 2 love at first cruise my partner and I were smitten by the beautiful outstanding service and the non ending sea,our next cruise was the Celebrity Millennium where my partner proposed to me at dinner in the fine dining restaurant. P&O Pacific Pearl had a cruise going from Auckland around Australia so we decided to have our honeymoon on this ship.Embarkation day you could say was excellent a non event so quickly done AA++In no time when we got on the ship our room service attendant had our cases outside our cabin so impressive quick service Lizel also introduced herself , Our cabin was spacious and very clean and our room was serviced nicely each day, Lizel was lovely. the only things wrong with the Cabin was when you pulled the plug in the sink it wouldn't empty very well the Air conditioning only worked on cold so the cabin was real cold but Lizel quickly gave us another Duvet so we were happy.After packing our things away in the drawers and cupboard off to inspect the ship for lunch in the Buffet area this was the best meal of the trip. the food was diabolical but hey we could cope with it. well first thing we noticed was a few coughs on board so we decided to steer clear, they have a system in order to clean your hands with a gel. one morning we were in line a old woman with a cold coughed over the toast we looked at the server behind the counter and he shrugged his shoulders and left it there we went round the other side to get our food (yuck) They need to supply face masks for people with colds ( THIS WAS OUR FIRST DAY) Ship full of Kiwi's and a few Aussies i think we were on a ship full of old people 78 and up and to say the least they were rude pushy etc I felt sorry for the staff putting up with there bad manners and felt ashamed to be a kiwi among them.The Marquee is poorly set up the shows were not up to the standard we have had on previous cruises, the best one was the circus show the opera and Karen BeckettOkay P&O how can you run out of affordable New Zealand white wine on the SECOND DAY of our cruise they said that we drank it all and they also said that they would not be getting anymore from the ports of call so to get a bottle of wine was $46.00 and up.Duty Free shopping WHAT DUTY FREE I got my perfume in Brisbane.Don't be drawn into all the theme nights there is nothing much going on till 11pm at the dome. Getting dressed up for the formal nights were disappointing because a percentage of people were not bothered and the photos of formal nights were over priced.We dined in the Waterfront Restaurant each night Table 182 table for two but another table was next to us we met some real nice dinner buddies who now we keep in touch with. our highlight was Emilio the waiter who entertained us with magic tricks each night worked so hard to please us along side was nimfa. guaranteed you eat at that table or there bouts first class service no delays of meals being served if you let him know you have a show to go to he will make sure your served, they need your appreciation at the end of the cruise as they work so hard. The greatest let down was that during the cruise we noted people had a virus like playing dodge ball in the restaurant people were sneezing and coughing and sadly last night of the cruise my husband and I succumb to the virus and so did our dinner mates and of all things our waiter Emilio was sick too, Breakfast the next morning he was real poorly.We couldn't wait to get home, been home 11 days now in bed sick and $200.00 dollars later spent at the doctors.Our honeymoon a trip that we were looking forward one we wouldn't repeat on P&OThe highlight was the weather and the ports of call, avoid the tours there expensive we did our own thing which we enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We'd heard a lot of good things about P&O (including here), and were looking forward to our first cruise with them. While not BAD, it certainly didn't live up to it's reputation. Food was mediocre at best, service ... Read More
We'd heard a lot of good things about P&O (including here), and were looking forward to our first cruise with them. While not BAD, it certainly didn't live up to it's reputation. Food was mediocre at best, service inconsistent, entertainment was a mixed bag with some pretty good stuff and some amateur hour quality, special interest lectures were consistently poor except for those given by the cruise director himself. Aurora herself is beautiful, but seemed very cluttered, with shops stuck in the hallways. The mattress sagged and was lumpy, should have been replaced last year. Noisiest ship we've ever been on, we could hear both adjacent cabins plus our neighbors on the floor above. No WiFi in the cabins, I had to go to the computer room itself to log on.Orangery cafeteria was very disorganized, often not set up for lunch by noon. They usually ran short of glasses, and when I asked for more was often greeted by a blank stare.The pool is fresh water, which means it is very expensive to fill. So after draining it due to rough weather, they declined to refill until our next main port.Tender service at the smaller ports was extremely inefficient compared with other ships we've been on. At one port they only put 2 boats in the water - this for 1800 passengers and a 30 minute ride to shore. Only about half the passengers that wanted even got ashore before it was time to get back aboard.I could go on, but you get the idea. As I said, it was not so bad that we'd absolutely refuse to go again, but we'll take any other option first.The only excellent item was the bridge classes and tournament. We're big bridge fans (not all that good, just love it), and that ended up being the only highlight of each sea day. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Background Information My husband and I have cruised about 10 times, different ships, different parts of the world. Took this cruise to celebrate our 40th Bdays. This cruise we had Stateroom D. Oceanview Stateroom, center ship. Too ... Read More
Background Information My husband and I have cruised about 10 times, different ships, different parts of the world. Took this cruise to celebrate our 40th Bdays. This cruise we had Stateroom D. Oceanview Stateroom, center ship. Too cold for balcony use. And center ship below teak deck you can run up one flight of stairs and be outside in a minute if you wanted to get a quick pix. Never heard walkers on teak deck. And no smells in room or in halls like I read about. But the smells were reported near end of ship. Guess lots of fresh air comes off elevators midship. We had great weather entire cruise. Hotel Info Airport shuttle to Hilton Auckland is $26 for 2 people. Heard it has lots of stops, so we took a cab $65. Use reputable Corporate, Rengency or Co-op cab companies. 30-50 mins depending on traffic. Hilton Auckland is the bomb if taking a cruise. It's not pricey, it's an awesome place with killer service and you walk right out the door onto ship. If you pay for a balcony ocean view room, be aware there will be ships parked right outside your balcony at some point! In Sydney, we took 30 min cab ride to Sir Stamford at Circular Quay. Read it's a fave on Trip Advisor. If you book through hotel you will get room early in day. If you book through a discount site, like we did, you will not be allowed to check in before the advertised check in time of 3pm. So we toured the Opera House and the giant gardens across street from hotel. With this and lunch our time was full. Hotel is luxe. Get pix with costumed bellman. Staff are really nice there. Restaurant is killer pricey. We had the unique chocolate dessert. It was the MOST unique dessert, but not the tastiest. You crack open a chocolate egg and hot chocolate goo comes out onto coffee icecream I think it was. The best thing we ate here was the cheese plate, which had quince paste. We'd never had it and have since found it at Whole Foods and eat it regularly. It's a type of fruit that is used like solid honey. On apples with cheese and some wine, good goodness! For food, go in the bar. It's a good menu and everything we ate there late night after the Opera show was delicious. And they will deliver it to your room. $45 taxi to airport from hotel. On way back to U.S. we stayed at The Langham hotel in Auckland. It seems realy nice when you walk in, but our room was super cramped, dated, tiny bathroom. Liked the water carafe/glass on nightstand. Nice touch. No chocolate croissants that stay as raved about by Trip Advisor writers. Ship Info Decide when booking if you want land view inbetween sounds. Port side faces ocean. Starboard has more land views. Ship is pretty and clean. Rooms comfy, just dated. Loved walking the covered teak deck and top open air deck. Food was great. Service great. Activities/Excursions Auckland: SkyTower is 15 minute walk from hotel. Once inside, take escalators down. Whole Sky Walk takes about 75 minutes. You are suited up leaving cameras, hair bands, sunglasses, hats, jewelry.... in a locker. It's windy up there, so expect your eyes to tear a lot if it's cold. We all felt tour/walk was too long. Worth the money, just too long. My group was bored and tired of the views at the end. If walk was shorter in duration, people would leave on a way higher vibe or whatever. There's 6 people in a group and we all bought a pix at the end. They also throw in a funny certificate. There's a video to buy, but we all looked ridiculous up there and nobody bought it. If you have the $, the Rebo Cafe & Bar on bldg's ground floor was delicious. Minus 5 ice restaurant: $25 a person. Worth it in day time as it's empty. Get the peachacolada. Yum. You can choose your own music and have pix guy get some fun/crazy shots. We bought several pix. They don't let you take Anything in. Purses, cameras... all held at desk for you. You can trust them. You are suited up and it's funny trying to hold your ice glass when drinking with those big mitts. You get to smash your glass when done. Loud and fun! On ship, walk teak deck at night. It's Empty. Never did find the vibrating chairs someone wrote about. Tauranga/Rotorua Waitmo Caves w/Crosshills Gardens Lunch and kiwi house. Ship tour is FANTASTIC. Noboday had a better day than us considering all the tours choices and dinner talk later. The caves and glow worms, you see just enough to leave on such a high. The gardens lunch was beyond charming and delicious, the property and people there, I can't tell you how at home they make you feel and you just revel in all the beauty of nature. The Kiwi House was super cool/cute big birds. Napier If you can ride a bike for a few hours, you Can't Beat this excursion we took. It's not offered by the ship, but we researched a LOT for this cruise, and this was the best offered. Bike D'Vine Winery & Sightseeing Tour. Do easy Rout 1. $40 a person. The owners pick you up at visitor center and it's a 15 min ride to first stop where they get you set up on your bike with a map,safety gear, bike locks. We started at a cool wooden place called The Filter Room. $12 got us a beer/cider sampler. You can pick from lots of choices/tastes. Along the bike route are various winers, a chocolate factory, a lavender farm. We did lav farm for souvenirs (put the oil on our pillows each night of cruise, wonderful!), and went by lots of amazing scenery of wine fields and sheep fields, and a pretty tile decorated bldg, downtown shops and on to just one winery, Mission Estate. The classiest. We sat out back and had 5* service of their cheese/fruits/nuts/breads/dipping oils/wines..... It was Heaven! For a fee we just had the van driver pick us up there as I was too tipsy to bike ride back! Wellington Ship's Lord of the Rings Tour: it was a FANTASTIC day. And I went grudgingly w/my husband as I'm not a movie buff. The tour fixes that Real quick. You watch an infomational movie at the Weta Cave museum that left everyone in awe and speechless. Next you stop at the coolest cafe you'll ever snack at. It's ON the water, super contemporary. Everything's home made. Then it's off to see killer scenery and learn about movie. The guide was IN movies so has lots of inside info and great stories. He was cool to take pix for everyone whenever. Lunch will be at the most scenic garden you can imagine. Breathtaking. Food was great and served family style. Bread was cutely served in clay flower pots. Then it's off to more scenery. I am positive that the ship's tour beats any and all LOTR tours you're going to research. Picton We stayed on ship for a spa day. Place was empty so we had place all to ourselves. HIGHLY recommend this. Heated tile chairs, hot tub surrounded by windows to a great view outside, steam and sauna rooms with lovely smells... Also got a mani/pedi. Girl is great. I just don't like that they make guests face the wall while workers get ocean view. That seems messed up!!! Husband and I got the double massage. He loved his, mine was weak. You gotta speak up a Lot throughout to get what you want! Whole spa area is great with fresh juices and fruit and super clean locker rooms. Christchurch Took a taxi to the Botanic Gardens. After two hours we hadn't seen a quarter of the place, huge! Wear correct shoes for this!!! Sneakers required. All kinds of terrain on paths. Beauty beauty and more gorgeous nature everywhere we went. LOVED it! Then we met our driver downtown to take us to Adrenaline Forest. This again is NOT a ship excursion. But my husband said this place was the highlight of the Entire Cruise! For $35pp plus $10pp each way van shuttle you are taken 15 minutes north of Christchurch to an obstacle course in the trees. Various levels take you higher and higher. It is the coolest guy thing we'd ever seen, although women were doing it too. Not me though due to neck injury. You are responsible for your own safety, in that you hook yourself onto line cables as you go along. Sooo many different obstables and you'll spend hours there. We went for the last two hours and it was perfect/not crowded. A crowd would really hold you up. Do bring your own food and water. Nothing right there, but you can walk across street to bathrooms/food place. It's not close though. Do 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th course in that order. My husband is fit and couldn't do 6th. He was soo sore next day, but would go every week if he could. Dunedin/Port Chalmers Took free shuttle to Otago Museum, also free. VERY cool museum and had the best sandwich in my life at cafe. It's the smoked chix, brie, salad in pita w/raspberry sauce. Served warm. And the caramel bar is super delicious also. Super cool gift store there too if you have kids. Dine w/the Chef night: Sign up! Great fun/great food with just a few other guests. Lots of drinking involved with this event! Cruising sounds for 3 days Be outside on ship's front deck for Milford Sound. You're enveloped in stunning beauty. Crossing Caspian Sea Outside of ship will be closed. It's rough seas. Got some awesome big wave pix! We booked a year in advance to get center ship. We barely felt motion here. Hobart We did the ship's Tahune Airwalk tour. This was ok. It's a long drive to get there. The Airwalk is relativley short. Then there's a cafe for lunch you have to pay for everything. It rained and 3/4 of the tour group sat in the cafe the whole time miserable. SO, bring warm jacket in case it's windy. Bring a sturdy umbrella. Bring a rain poncho. If you're prepared, as only my husband and I were!!! you will enjoy this place. Even in the rain. We thought it romantic. The tour guide ended up being our personal photographer! Eden Cool whaling info story about famous whale that helped whalers. Capt. told story over intercom system. We didn't get off ship. Thought it a sad stop. We tried Pinnacle Grill that night. It was fine. But main dining room food was great every night, so it wasn't necessary. If you go, the lobster mac and cheese was my fave. Sydney Reserve ahead for first tour tix at Opera House, or go straight there and get in line to get them. As performers show up for practice, the rooms are closed off to the public, or you can peek in, but no pix. The first tour all the rooms were empty and we got to take pix of Eveything. We had breakfast right there in front of theatre, sidewalk cafe. Great bridge view. After tour we went to the gardens up the street. They are Huge and pretty and lots of screaming flying squirrels which we thought were vampire bats. We had lunch at Cafe Sydney, at top of bldg facing bridge/ship. It's a mod place with great sceenery and great food. But it is costly. Expect every seat taken during lunch rush. Book ahead! Don't forget to get off elevator on floor with architect business listed on pannel. There's a lucite model of the opera house we found on accident. Cool! And lobby of bldg restauant has a glass floor with a model of Sydney in the floor!!!!! Have your video camera ready as you walk around feeling like you're flying over the city. We saw Pirates of Panzance. Great show! Brisbane Not part of cruise. We stayed at Hilton Brisbane, it's SUPER. Dinner at Rhubarb Rhubarb. It's a small bar with fancy food. Need reservations. Good time. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary $30pp, $16 for photos, $1 for roo food. Wear stuff you don't mind getting dirty if you want to really enjoy animal interaction, and there's plenty of it. Go opening to close, there's that much fun to be had! It was the highlight of trip/cruise for me! Service It was great all over ship. Only complaint was laundry service. Several times clothing items were lost, but most were found/returned at end of cruise. This was distressing as we packed one suitcase to last three weeks. We were Very limited in what we had and needing EACH and every item packed. Also, several items were ruined. Things came back stained or marked or with holes in them that weren't there when we sent them off. At end of cruise we filed to get money for 5 shirts and pants, but didn't get our money's worth. I was devasted they ruined one of my formal wear outfits. Brand new, never even worn, but I sent it for pressing along with everything else once we boarded. It came back with an iron imprint. I cried. As there was a limit to how much money you could file for for damages, this item didn't even make the cut. It alone was over $300. I've Never had such awful laundry service on a ship. And RCL has the Chinese Laundry. We've actually taken stuff with stains our local cleaner couldn't get out, and they get it looking good as new! Summary Spent over $15k on trip. All the old people kept saying they were on their retirement dream vacation, but due to age they were having a hard time fitting it all in. They kept telling us we did it right, did it when young. Travel To Port of Embarkation We flew Qantas. Superb coach experience going over. Opted to pay extra for exit door seat on way home. Bathroom light and door slamming and people traffic kept us up all the way home. Not worth money/won't ever sit there again. Dining We did the Any Time Dining/ Open Seating and LOVED LOVED it. We requested a table of 6-8 and met amazing people each night at dinner. Just be sure to book your dinner reservation like the second you wake up to get the time you want. Otherwise you will WAIT to be seated. Reservations a Must for timely seating. There's 4 formal, 10 Smart/Casual. Few tuxes on formal. Lots of dark suits though. Children's Clubs The guests on the cruise were older. Being 40, we were told there were only 2 other couples close to our age. They had a couple kids and so they took over places like the teen club and lounge and .... Seemed silly to have soo much for 4 kids. Oh well. Heard they were having a great time. Entertainment First time we never went to a ship dance show!!! We booked lots of early excursions, so just weren't up to the Broadway shows. We also shut the main dining room down several times with ongoing chatting with dinner mates. The comedian was good. The ventrilaquist awful. The cellist ok. Disembarkation As easy as getting on. If there's a problem, do NOT hesitate to ask for help. Like, if you have a flight and the lines are holding up for too long, they have a separate line elsewhere on ship which can get you off quick. I'd read about that line, and we used it! My husband was a nervous wreck about how long the self service line was, seemed like the entire ship wanted to be the first off. The elevator to exit to customs was taking forever as soo many people had wheelchairs and walkers and huge luggage that took up soo much elevator space. I surprised my husband by lingering at breakfast and then getting us to the "speed lane". Read Less
Sail Date October 2010

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click