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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I am on board this ship attending a genealogy conference. Thank goodness I AM attending a conference because the overall options for things to do on this ship are terrible. Everything is aimed at young families - the ones where the parents ... Read More
I am on board this ship attending a genealogy conference. Thank goodness I AM attending a conference because the overall options for things to do on this ship are terrible. Everything is aimed at young families - the ones where the parents traipse off and have a good time but leave their brats to run amok and annoy fellow guests. Then there is the food - the Windjammer is terrible, all food is well overcooked and what is not eaten is served up the next day in a variety of stir fry's and casserole-type dishes. The Sapphire Dining Room is just as bad. The only decent meals are to be had in the speciality restaurants which leads me to think they make the general food so bad you will naturally take up the specialities! It would also appear that the shore excursion staff are not kept informed about any changes to excursions until the very last minute and are not able to get the message out to its passengers. For one excursion I was booked on, I was complaining about the change of date at such late notice (the evening before) when several other passengers advised they had had 4 date changes to the same excursion. Was also booked on the Tour of the Ship only to be told while waiting for the tour to commence that it would not be happening because we were sailing through the Torres Straits and no one is allowed to enter the bridge or engine room on this day. HELLO why was the day available for the booking in the first place when the organisers would have known we would be travelling through those Straits on that day. Arrived in Darwin to be told our collected tour group (who had to meet at the fore theatre room on Deck 3 had to walk up to Deck 4, across to the aft elevators and go down to Deck 1. We get down there having had to wait many minutes for elevators (they only take so many people) to be told, no you are exiting from Deck 4. Up we go again to find we have to disembark down the steepest, wet, gangway I have every seen. Our group consisted of many elderly persons with mobility problems including a totally blind woman with a stick. Surely this is a health and safety risk just waiting for a passenger to have a fall and sue the pants off of Royal Caribbean. I have done several cruises with their sister company Celebrity and the difference between the two is staggering. Royal Caribbean - Explorer of the Seas - no longer supplies fresh water jugs to your cabin; no longer gives you that little chocolate on your bed making you feel special; instead of two cabin stewards there is only one very overworked steward; the conference room in the fore of the ship has only 1 toilet for up to a hundred people. Then there is the state of the elevators, one of which kept breaking down - to be honest it was the one you could rely on because it wasn't working with the others continually whizzing past your floor or staying on each deck for around 4 or 5 minutes minimum. Much quicker to take the stairs but not suitable for the elderly or those with mobility problems. I could go on but then I'd only be seen as a whinger - along with at least half of the passengers on this cruise. My advice - pay the extra and go with Celebrity or its ilk. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our first time cruising with Royal Caribbean and it will be our last. On a number of occasions we raised our concerns with the management of the ship. Concerns raised include stains on towels ( which looked like blood on one ... Read More
This was our first time cruising with Royal Caribbean and it will be our last. On a number of occasions we raised our concerns with the management of the ship. Concerns raised include stains on towels ( which looked like blood on one occasion and mascara on another) on the first occasion I rang the Hotel director, whose number was in the cabin, re the towel issue to be informed that someone would be down with clean towels , ( I am still waiting) and the to be asked how I got his number, the card din the cabin disappeared that evening. The next night we had the issue of what looked like mascara stains, this time I went to the guest services desk. The towels were replace and we had a visit from the deck supervisor. On the first sea day between Sydney and Brisbane, when the weather was poor. There is insufficient break away areas for the number of passengers that were on the ship. The promenade area was parked like sardines and some bright spark then decided to run the morning Zumba class in that area. We were on My Time dining, for the first seven days of the cruise, all 4 of us thought the food was poor and the service was shoddy. After the mid cruise questionnaire, where we raised the issue of service, quality of food, things did improve drastically. There appears to be a significant number of middle managers/supervisors standing around in the dining room doing little while the waiters and assistant waiters are running around Unfortunately due to the swell two ports, that were tender ports were missed. But the at Darwin, you had to be a mountain climber to get on and off the ship due to the extreme angle of the gang ways. I requested to see the health and safety officer plus a copy of the risk assessments for the gang planks at Darwin in at least 4 occasions, I have still not received anything despite being informed by 4 staff that someone will be in touch and it being logged - still waiting! The cabin was good, for an accessible cabin but it was showing its age. Bed linen was rather thin. Entertainment- the dancers/singers were good and delivered 3 strong performances as did the ice skaters. We didn’t attend the other shows. We thought the range of activities on offer through the sea days were weak. Given our experience on this ship, with a management team who on the face of it, say yes but then totally ignore passengers comments. We will never cruise Royal Caribbean again Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
we chose this ship because it was new but it is badly designed you have to go to different floors to get from one end to the other end of the ship food was average would not sail again on this one found the sun and diamond princess ships ... Read More
we chose this ship because it was new but it is badly designed you have to go to different floors to get from one end to the other end of the ship food was average would not sail again on this one found the sun and diamond princess ships are better. Not enough cover around the pool area dance floor between the pools was a wasted space not enough seating for 3500 people no entertainment on pool decks just movies no good for families used passengers as entertainment with line dancing every day played lawn bowls in front of lifts .this ship is ok if you are over 70 and you like gambling or wake up in the morning have breaky then lay at the pool and sleep until lunch have lunch then go back to the pool and sleep until dinner when you have finished dinner they are ready for bed same again next day. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Choose the cruise for ease of journey and a number of places in New Zealand we had missed previously. We were impressed with Dunedin and fascinated with the history and beauty of Napier. Having been to Auckland before we decided to take ... Read More
Choose the cruise for ease of journey and a number of places in New Zealand we had missed previously. We were impressed with Dunedin and fascinated with the history and beauty of Napier. Having been to Auckland before we decided to take the ferry over to Davenport, an easy choice as the ferry is right on the wharf where Majestic Princess docked. It was a lovely 15 minute ride which showcased the harbour and the little town itself was pretty and very visitor friendly; we had lunch there and browsed interesting shops before returning to Auckland. The itinerary Proved to be just the ticket! Every staff member we encountered on the ship were without fail, friendly, efficient and helpful, from wheelchair assistance at embarkation and disembarkation, to dining and stateroom staff. Caught up with all the latest movies under the stars and in cabin and really enjoyed The Crown grill, La Mer and Alfredos. Symphony dining staff were also superb. Joined the pop choir and made some new friends ….All in all loved it and are excited to return next year. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
My family needed a cruise suitable for our range of ages and tastes and this family friendly, low stress cruise absolutely matched our needs. Very clean ship inside and out with friendly staff and fun entertainers. We travelled from ... Read More
My family needed a cruise suitable for our range of ages and tastes and this family friendly, low stress cruise absolutely matched our needs. Very clean ship inside and out with friendly staff and fun entertainers. We travelled from Sydney, Australia to Melbourne and Hobart and then went to New Zealand getting stops at Port Chalmers, Akaroa, Tauranga and Auckland. There was a large variety of activities that suited the seniors in our group as well as the younger cousins, too. From Zumba to Bingo to jaw-dropping production shows, we were thoroughly entertained onboard. Food was easy to acquire and change to our tastes as necessary for those with food allergies. I am pleased to note that there were accessible shore excursions and the entire ship was accessible for people with mobility issues. The outside and inside of the ship were truly majestic, with details everywhere to enhance the experience for guests of any culture. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We are cruising for several years now with Norwegian and we are pleased with their service and free style cruise is what we liked most. My wife have never been to Australia, Indonesia and Singapore so I decided to take her to that cruise. ... Read More
We are cruising for several years now with Norwegian and we are pleased with their service and free style cruise is what we liked most. My wife have never been to Australia, Indonesia and Singapore so I decided to take her to that cruise. We had a balcony a couple besides our stateroom is my wife's high school classmate from 1971 and 6 other new guest with NCL and first time cruisers. We had a great time and and had a lot of specialty dinners. Our group had received a lot of surprises from the Senior Officers that we have met on previous cruises with Norwegian and made our cruise more enjoyable not only for us previous cruisers but for our 6 other friends that we brought with us. They even sent fresh tropical fruits from Indonesia was sent to all our cabins. Shore excursions was great that we all got into the same bus every time we book. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose this cruise because it was hubby’s bucket list trip to go to Australia and I wanted to go to NZ. Solstice is showing her age a bit...things are just looking a little worn...some holes in our cabin drapes, chairs in the public ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it was hubby’s bucket list trip to go to Australia and I wanted to go to NZ. Solstice is showing her age a bit...things are just looking a little worn...some holes in our cabin drapes, chairs in the public areas are a worn...that type of thing. If you look passed all those types of things then Solstice is still a beautiful ship. Food this time out for me was a bit of a disappointment. Had to send one dinner in the MDR back all together. There was a good mix of choices. They were free with the lobster on the night they served it which hubby was quite happy with. Staff were marvellous, Joaquim our cabin attendant was very good with our request to get the night light in the bathroom fixed and sorting out a different appie plate for us in the afternoon. He was very helpful and pleasant and attentive to all our needs. Martini Bar staff were lovely too. Thank you Alin! MDR staff were wonderful although I gave them such a bad tim*e trying to get them to stop calling me madam...had fun though. Entertainment wasn’t an attraction for us...we previewed the early show after dinner to see if it was something we wanted to see. Over a 16 night sailing I think we only took in maybe 4 shows. There were special ABBA or Queen music nights in Sky Lounge we attended instead. Ports were all good. Excursions for the most part were good. Some narratives were better than others. The Adelaide excursion we went on the commentator sort of stammered and repeated himself. The sound system on the bus wasn’t working right or he wasn’t talking loud enough but half the bus couldn’t hear him. I was quite surprised by the number of people with walking/travelling aides on this cruise. I know I am not a spring chicken but I found it frustrating trying to move freely sometimes because of the number of people with scooters etc. I understand now that the longer the cruise the more chance you have of that happening. So if you are young and want more action.....think on. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
First cruise with Celebrity, had previously done 2 Alaskan cruises with HAL. We prefer a more sedate and classy vibe, but the reviews for the analogous HAL cruise ship were poor in comparison. In general I think this cruise is targeted ... Read More
First cruise with Celebrity, had previously done 2 Alaskan cruises with HAL. We prefer a more sedate and classy vibe, but the reviews for the analogous HAL cruise ship were poor in comparison. In general I think this cruise is targeted towards the livelier of the older crowd. Itinerary was fine. I would've preferred fewer cities and more nature. It's a bit of a tradeoff, though, since it'd be difficult to get rental cars. Didn't do any excursions, just went touring independently. Good: * Crew is excellent. They work so hard and really aim to please. My impression is that they're asked to do a lot. * Handicap accessibility and assistance. My dad is in a wheelchair, and we found no issues getting around or sitting anywhere. The crew were very accommodating. In particular, they were very helpful whenever we tendered. It can be tricky helping someone who can't really walk to step on and off a rocking tender boat, but the crew kept my dad safe at all times and just did a really commendable job. * Food overall. We didn't do any specialty dining. We did Oceanview Cafe buffet for breakfast and lunch. Excellent variety. Quality was good but I can see room for improvement there (some items were verging on stale). We usually did Grand Epernay for dinner, where the meals were higher quality than the buffet, as expected. We did Grand Epernay for lunch once, and it was quite good. * Entertainment overall. * Live music overall. * Gym was well-maintained. Equipment was abundant and clean. Not great: * The library. Maybe we've been spoiled by HAL, but on the Solstice it's just an extra space that was made into a library. Furnished decently enough, but it's small, and exposed to the atrium, meaning it's potentially noisy and with no outside views. Not a single ottoman here (or anywhere on the ship, for that matter, I don't think). No happily falling asleep on accident as you lean back in a comfy chair, reading a book, with the ocean in the background. * There are no quiet and unexposed public spaces on the ship with a view. * Two of the smoking areas are indoor-ish, on the 12th floor by the pools. * Music is constantly pumped everywhere, so you feel like you're always in a shopping mall. I found this to be less than classy. There are likely some areas where there is no music, but I remember far more places where music seemed inappropriate. For example, I remember being in the Sky Lounge (a confusing space in itself - more on that later) on the morning of entering Milford Sound, before sunrise, and for some reason Eye of the Tiger and some other song with "sex pot" in the lyrics were playing loudly. Just really conflicted with the mood you would expect so early in the morning, which should be serene, peaceful, to be gently introduced to the splendor of nature. * Or maybe it was just the choice of music. In general the music aesthetic was as if you put "Lisa Loeb - Stay" into Pandora. Why not some classical instead? * There are way too many bars on this ship, especially in the nicer parts of the ship. I wonder how the friends of Bill W feel about that. Anyway, if there's a nice space, there's a high probability that there's a bar in it to take it down a few notches. Examples: Sky Lounge and the Lawn Club. This ties back to confusing spaces. Sky Lounge is a potentially relaxing part of the ship, yet there's a bar and dance floor in it, effectively removing the relaxation potential. * Lots of up-selling. It's easy to decline but I found this to be tacky, and felt bad for the crew who have to do it. * Port information is not given along with the daily infosheet. You have to visit Guest Relations to get the port's infosheet. It's too easy to take a cynical view of why this is done. * Very expensive laundry service, whereas it's a non-issue on HAL. What we ended up doing was dropping off our laundry at Mall Drycleaning in Wellington (day 8 or 9 of cruise - we had another destination after the end of the cruise) on Johnston St, then picking it up at the end of the day before boarding. It was about 30 NZD for straight wash-dry-fold of about 4 large reusable shopping bags' worth of clothes. That's compared to 50 USD for one small bag on the Solstice only about 4 or 5 days into the cruise. Quibbles: * Not enough turnover on the pizza in Oceanview Cafe led to oftentimes surprising staleness. * Guest Relations crew should feel more OK to say when they don't know something but that they'll try to find the answer we're looking for. * I think it would be OK to call "music trivia" what it really is, which is "name that tune". * There were oftentimes typos and grammatical errors in the daily infosheet. There were also a lot of fluff sales-y phrases, where simple, accurate descriptions would be better. * There was some issue with linking expense accounts to each person in our party. Online, I had assigned everyone in my family to my credit card, but I still had to go to Guest Relations to swipe my card to associate it to each person. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise based on several friends were also attending. I get severe sea sickness and always avoided cruises. When we arrived at the port, I was overcome with the size of the ship, and how I would be with another 3000 people. ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on several friends were also attending. I get severe sea sickness and always avoided cruises. When we arrived at the port, I was overcome with the size of the ship, and how I would be with another 3000 people. The staff assisting us at embarkation were friendly, knowledgeable and made us feel welcome. The ship was impressive, so many different areas to meet friends or take some time to yourself. I never felt there were too many people, the ship has an amazing capacity to allow one to find their space to do what ever suits their mood. I met new friends, ate good food, was pampered in the Lotus spa, danced the night away in several bars and had a smile form day 1. Needless to say I wasn't sick. This ship had a little rough weather and I was fine. I'm looking forward our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
ship was very nice, crew on board were great. the cruise directors team were fantastic one helped with a temporary fix to the brake cable on my walker. we were surprised to find that there no longer cups given with drink package but ... Read More
ship was very nice, crew on board were great. the cruise directors team were fantastic one helped with a temporary fix to the brake cable on my walker. we were surprised to find that there no longer cups given with drink package but instead got two large bottles of water, we had planed on keeping the cups to use as gifts and feel that the bottled water was a waste. the dinning room team were excellent in looking after us making sure i knew which foods were safe for me to eat with my food allergies. we enjoyed the shows but feel that there is not enough seating for passengers with disabilities, there should also be a way of stopping people standing at top of stairs and blocking the view of the people sitting at back of theater, i was sitting next to stairs and heard lots of arguments over this. the only negative for me was that my walker could not get past the steward trolleys in hallway when i was trying to get to or from room. once i was stuck for ten minutes until a crew member came past and moved trolley for me to get to room. i have not had this on other princess ships. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise simply for the itinerary. We didn't make it to the fiordlands due to weather, which we understand. The ship seemed understaffed and I've definitely been on happier ships. Late embarking led to harried crew ... Read More
We chose this cruise simply for the itinerary. We didn't make it to the fiordlands due to weather, which we understand. The ship seemed understaffed and I've definitely been on happier ships. Late embarking led to harried crew ordering us to our muster station, where we were told to move when we tried to put our heavy carry on luggage and stroller down. So sitting on a step which was the only available seating, we waited 40mins for the muster briefing to begin. Time enough I would have thought to drop our hand luggage and stroller in the cabin. When we did get to our cabin, it was to find a dirty plate with cold food under the bed along with a dirty sock and paper. I won't mention what was near the drinks tray, suffice to say the room felt vey dirty. Again I blame understaffing. The attitude of the crew improved toward the end of the first week however, the emphasis on 'cruise status' and the colour of your ships card was obvious all through the cruise. Very disappointing. The upper bunks in our cabin were incredibly uncomfortable, with mattresses like cement. We initiated a roster system so the adults could take turns having a comfortable nights sleep in the lower bunk. Princess it seems have iniated a Third Class system, keeping tradition with the Titanic. While there were some fun moments, those aimed at a younger demographic for a change, they were far and few between. Our grandson loved kids club, and was cared for beautifully by them. Sadly there were no really child friendly outdoor areas, and instead of an adults sanctuary, which was in fact the whole ship, we could have done with a family sanctuary, one to keep out the grumpy older passengers. We are a fit 63 years old, yet on this ship I felt 30 years old still the overly loud music played near the pool was a poor effort to acknowledge younger minded passengers. I'm a retired RN, and I understand the special needs of the elderly however, almost an entire ship devoted to them alone is too much. If the line only wants that demographic on board they should be fair and state as much in their marketing. Traditional dining in the Rigaletto restaurant was fantastic. Our waiter Rod and assistant waiter Joel were unbelievably caring and attentive. Service was impeccable. They were incredibly patient with our grandson and intuitive of our needs. We can't thank them enough. Buffet dining was relatively bland and hot foods were especially lacking in variety at breakfast and lunch. Food options it appears were sacrificed for a larger seating area, which given the number of passengers who ignored signs designating tables for the disabled, it seems there still weren't enough. We had no trouble finding a table somewhere everyday though. We paid over $600 to go to Hobbiton on a bus with non-existent air-conditioning for an hour both ways, were rushed back to the bus because the driver gave us the wrong time. Too huge a group meant standing for too long in the heat, with a couple of people close to fainting. Not worth the cost. Price of alcohol on board was phenomenal. A bottle of wine on board selling for $55 can be bought for $30 in Australia. Wine by the glass averaged at $15 a glass. Cocktails averaged at $15 a glass. Our cabin was noisy on port days as the ship docked and the disembarkation equipment was erected. On one night at 10.30pm a balloon drop party with loud rock and roll music was held 100 metres from our room and went on until 11.05pm, waking our grandson and his designated babysitter - grandfather, but then again third class doesn't count. Considering the complaints we had to hear from certain upper deck passengers when forced to queue at ports, I understand the need to inflict the party on us. If I sound a little unhappy it's because I am, an expensive, long anticipated holiday was a disappointment. Princess line please be honest in your marketing approach, and try to remember the colour of your cruise card just depends on how many repeat cruises you make. Mine will forever remain the colour it is. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Traveling with a disabled person, was concerned that it would be a nightmare but was very happy with the attention given that made sure our trip was comfortable. Every issue and concern was resolved immediately. Embarkation and ... Read More
Traveling with a disabled person, was concerned that it would be a nightmare but was very happy with the attention given that made sure our trip was comfortable. Every issue and concern was resolved immediately. Embarkation and disembarkation was easy. Sydney was an absolutely beautiful pier. The food and service at Cagneys was delightful. Selection of food was varied and very good in all other restaurants. Felt the taste of the food of the Chinese restaurant Chin Chin did not live up to my exceptional experience in the Norwegian Gem. Not sure if they modify the food taste and spices based on where in the world is sailing from. The tours were all good to excellent. My cabin Stewart was one on the best I ever had and I have been on dozens of cruises. The disability officer on board was exceptional. We were lucky and had exceptionally smooth voyage with minimal rough seas. The entertainment was varied and unquie. The cirque Bijou was mesmerizing and worth the trip. One on the better shows I have seen. The other shows were good as well. Had great lounge singers. Fell in love with Carrie who played guitar and sang songs in some of the lounges. Had small glitches in the 13 days aboard but every one was resolved to my satisfaction. Pleased with the customer service orientation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
All ports were good. Cruise Tours were very expensive so we organised our own. Left from White Bay and getting aboard was smooth and easy. Once we departed things were a bit disorganised. On stern pool deck there was a table of drinks but ... Read More
All ports were good. Cruise Tours were very expensive so we organised our own. Left from White Bay and getting aboard was smooth and easy. Once we departed things were a bit disorganised. On stern pool deck there was a table of drinks but no assistance from wait staff as to price/type of cocktail. There was none of the usual atmosphere of departure (same at every port). Only advantage was going under Harbour Bridge. Cabin was fine albeit a pretty small balcony. Whole ship needs a real freshen up/full refurb. Lido lounge food was average. Some hot foods not hot but if asked for fresh cooked steak/fish then this was done (that's the clue!). Breakfast omelette was the best choice. Entertainment was very ordinary. Magician/Comedian was good. movies were on a very small screen and sound ordinary. Cabin staff were excellent. Stern Pool Bar staff were great, especially Troy! This ship seems to cater to older travellers. I'm 58 and there weren't many younger than me. Most people we spoke to were not happy with entertainment, bar times, Lido Market food. The day time food demos were good. Trivia bar quizzes were ok as were bar happy hours (if you could work out where/times). in summary, cabin was very good, quiet. Whole ship was immaculately clean. All Bar staff and some Lido Market staff were excellent. Dining Room was top shelf, staff, ambience and food. Would I travel Noordam again? No.Have travelled Celebrity before and they are chalk and cheese apart. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
This cruise was our 'move-over' cruise from 2016, so we were upgraded to a Club Class Mini Suite. We combined this with the New Year cruise so had 25 days aboard the Majestic! We have been on many New Zealand Australia ... Read More
This cruise was our 'move-over' cruise from 2016, so we were upgraded to a Club Class Mini Suite. We combined this with the New Year cruise so had 25 days aboard the Majestic! We have been on many New Zealand Australia cruises, so for us the ship was the destination. We also had the pleasure of cruising with friends we met on the Diamond in 2010, plus introduce another friend to the pleasure of cruising. Embarkation was easy, although dropping off the luggage in the morning was a mission due to the traffic on the wharf. Also dropped off our Aussie friends at the same time (11am), who boarded and they were in their cabin before DH got home (12 kms away!) When we embarked it was fast and smooth. Ship: Lovely new ship with a slightly weird layout due to being configured to the Chinese Market. Same layout as Royal and Regal but some areas used differently. Found it easy to get our bearings and the electronic signage all over the ship was great. Vines became our pre-dinner hangout (with tapas provided) and Crooners our after dinner spot, and before and after shows as it was adjacent to the lower access to the Princess Theatre. TIP: wheelchair and walker users - there are areas on the lower level of the Theatre where you could sit and be in close proximity to the stage, which was wonderful. Cabin B433 - Accessible Club Class Mini Suite Lovely large cabin with angled balcony which was sheltered because of the forward decks being further out. Heaps of space and heaps of storage. Has a pullman bed and large pull out sofa (great for a family of four). Hardly saw the steward and the service did not seem to be any more than a standard cabin. Dining: Dined a couple of times in Club Class and then gave up as no one seemed to share and our friends were Anytime Dining, so joined them instead. BUT dined there each day for breaststroke as there was always a queue and we could go straight in without waiting. Service was amazing. Menu no different to the other MDRs. Entertainment: Great shows and entertainers. Went to all but a few, usually to the late show as it was easier and less crowded. Crooners and Vines: Barman were fantastic - great service and great fun. Crown Grill - wouldn't bother again as the atmosphere was missing and frankly the meal no better than the MDR La Mer - wonderful (try and get a window seat). Food amazing and so was the service. Our gluten free friend was well catered for. Alfredos - great Pizza and fantastic desserts. Sometimes there was a queue and a wait time on the pizza but that was no biggie. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My 10 night cruise on Ovation of the Seas ( Sydney to NZ and return) was my 8th cruise so I know what I like by now and what I expect. Mainly I want a comfortable room for my friend and I. am in my 60s and my friend is early 70s. I go on ... Read More
My 10 night cruise on Ovation of the Seas ( Sydney to NZ and return) was my 8th cruise so I know what I like by now and what I expect. Mainly I want a comfortable room for my friend and I. am in my 60s and my friend is early 70s. I go on cruises to relax and love to be in the water so a good pools and jacuzzis and thermal suite is what I want. Disembarkation was not so good, We keep our bags and go off when we like which was about 9am. The queue went for a long way winding around past the elvavtor area where people are trying to access. Not good. One thing unsettling on this cruise was the first ship ever that we did not have our life jackets in the room. At the muster station practice, we were told, in an emergency they would be handed out to us here. There must have been 200-300 in our area, crammed in like sardines in a hallway/walkway. TVs popped out of the walls but with so many people I could not see it. Can you imagine how long this would take to bring over 4000 life jackets and distribute them? I shudder to think. Panic and chaos. I believe I have the right to my own life jacket 24 hours a day and that is in my room. Our Cabin- was on DECK 6 starboard. Paid for a balcony and got a view of the tender boat. Did not even sit out there once. Also there is the smoking tent on Deck 5 starboard side.Disgusting! Why can they not have an exhaust fan instead of it blowing up on to balconies above. Also party people down there at night, They should not be doing bar service to here. Let them suck on their cig and go back inside, not sit out their for hours. Room has so much mysterious noises. I had no sleep even with ear plugs. Maintenance man was called and he could hear one of the noises from the window area and he said I am hearing this from many rooms. I said I have never heard noise like this on any other cruise ship. Neither had he and he had worked on many. I will be making a you tube clip on this noise problem in the future. FOOD- was not so good, I like unpretentious food but on a cruise I expect a bit special. Irish Stew is not special. 4/10 nights I got food from buffet and took it to my room. Walked out of a dining room after no service apart from water for over 15 minutes. The gluten free section is helpful but everyone uses it and this can lead to cross-contamination which voids the whole concept. Only one meal is GF on menu in dining room or sometimes the same as what you had last night- very poor. I had salmon- not special have this at home once a week. Boring. Staff on cruise ships need to dining ettiquette. Leaving your cutlery on the side means you are still eating. Placing them straight up and close in front of you means I am finished. Stop taking peoples plates! Thermal suite is a few heated tile beds, I think 6? with 2 sauna and 1 shower at either end of the beds looking at the door, No view of the sea. NO SPAS to sit in and have a chat to others, so I didn't pay. for that Cramped tiny room. SO disappointed! The solarium is great but kids wander in here all the time which is annoying. There is nothing to do during sea days. Limited activities Library is upstairs from TWO70 so noisy and mostly Christian books. We went to a kids 3D movie as there was nothing else to do. The Music Hall is a great venue but it is far too small. Cramped seating areas and access to dance floor in front of where everyone stands as no-where to sit. SHIP AREAS -TWO 70 is the best part of the ship. It is at the aft with huge glass windows and great views. This room is full of high tech and the massive robotic TV screens are the stars of the cruise. One day when I sat in their with nothing to do sewing the hem on my trousers, a short animated film came on using these screens. It was amazing! They should get more cinema like this. It was not even advertised on the program. The TWO &) space is usually full of people as if you don't want to hang about the pool or a bar this is the only place to go. Hence the tiny cafe next to it is overflowing. At one of the entrances of the Cafe TWO 70, they have a tall table with stools right in front of the entry, so people have to walk around it carrying their coffee and balancing a plate. Do people who design these spaces actually use them? They should provide small trays to carry food or someone is going to get hurt or burned. I had to get our coffee while my friend minds the seats in TWO 70 lounge, as if you see a spot you have to grab it. Then I have to go back, queue and get some food. On the first day they had GF bagels here,but never again on the whole cruise. At one point when they said no GF bread here for a sandwich I asked them to call and find some. They did not think to do this. So I had to wait 20 minutes or more for a sandwich. Not good enough. This also happened every time I went to the Cafe Promenade for a snack. No GF sandwiches or cookies. So I said please go get some. This annoyed them as they were busy, but as the cruise went on things improved here. This tiny cafe is always full. This overcrowding could be avoided by doing a high tea at some of the bars. Most of them sit there idle during the day and are under utilised. Put some food in there and the people will use these empty spaces. The theatre is another huge space that is under used. They could put more on here- perhaps a movie EVERY DAY. The movie we saw was Indredibles 2 which is rather old now. There were movies up on deck but it was rather cold. They had blankets there to use, Went to see a move one night at 10.30 pm so they are aimed at youths I suppose. We were the only older people there. On the whole the ship is very crammed. Shops are very ordinary with bad service. My friend wanted to buy a watch and the service was so bad. The attendant went to talk to someone else and after 10 minutes waiting we left. There is no grand atrium. At the captains welcome good luck trying to get a glimpse of the proceedings. The whole ship is just a huge hotel block with a few amusements on top, a theatre that is no bigger than mid size ships. GO 30 minutes earlier to shows to get a seat. FAMILIES AND KIDS- this cruise finished a few days before Christmas and there was lots of big family groups and kids and many teens. Groups of teens were hanging around elevator foyers and kids running up and down hallways and stairs and slamming their room doors. One kid actually ran right into me as I was holding the stair hand rail. I could have taken a tumble down. The ship was crammed to capacity, which I read is to 4,905. I think there must have been this many on board as when I walked down the corridor I could see kids beds made up everywhere crammed in all over the floor. That's another design fault- there seems to be no bunk beds. So a family in one room paying for 4 is only getting 2 real beds. Kids have to sleep on the very hard sofa, which is long but not wide, and a cot on the floor. Good luck moving around your cabin with all that set up. Kids love bunks and it gives them their own space, BRING BACK BUNKS> The program for kids and families was good however. They had some silent discos and Dreamworks characters and photos sessions. Families I talked to seem to be having a good time. LEAKING BATHROOM- Down our hallway there was 2 or 3 fans blowing continuously in a vain attempt to remove the smell on our deck. A bathroom had broken plumbing and it was leaking all over the carpet. I read about this on the internet weeks before and it was still not fixed. I complained and they got a manager out to see the problem. I saw him standing there telling staff to take away the fans. A day or so later I walked by in my sandals and sqwelch my feet and shoes were soaked in someones bathroom waste. I had to go back to my room, wash my feet and the rest of the trip use the hall on far side and walk all the way around the back to avoid it. You could smell the odor from when getting off the elevator. Not good enough, In 10 days they did nothing to repair this. I was assured it was just water, not toilet. Hmmm, water does not smell like that. It is grey water and that is bad, Make sure you wash your hands continuously! The poor people in these rooms had the noise from the fans all day and night. DECOR- my friend had a phrase he repeated everywhere on the ship. When I remarked on the fake laminate tiles in the bathroom to the plastic Buddhas in the shelf in the dining room- cheap as chips, he would say. To sum up, Ovation is nothing special. It is not the grand and luxury ship I was expecting. It sure looks grand and impressive on the outside- but inside it falls terribly short. With crammed dining and public spaces and there is nothing grand about Ovation. Its decor is cheap and the food is basic and no frills, obviously pushing you toward something decent in the pay restaurants. I didn't not bother with these, so cannot comment on them. A huge amount of decor money has gone into a million dollars of art works which are lovely but I feel largely go un-noticed. They could be used to run art tours which would make a fun activity of this wonderful resource. There are things on, that are not advertised so passengers do not know, such as chocolate dessert night in the buffet. My bed was hard, the noises in my room made it intolerable. It was in total the worst ship I have ever been on.The queues for food have been alleviate somewhat as they have set up a buffet breakfast in one of the dining rooms. But you never know when things are open, they change everyday. There is just not enough space to go anywhere or do anything. I will never go on a large ship again and probably back to other companies after this awful cruise and no service or regard for my membership.. I went home and stayed the week in bed and even missed Christmas I was so exhausted. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to have Christmas and New Year on a cruise and the HAL had been recommended by some American friends. We had a wonderful surprise when we were upgraded from a SS midship to a Neptune suite at the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to have Christmas and New Year on a cruise and the HAL had been recommended by some American friends. We had a wonderful surprise when we were upgraded from a SS midship to a Neptune suite at the back of the ship.A really big cabin with an L shaped veranda at the back. Having access to the Neptune lounge was a plus, the 2 concierges could not have been more friendly and helpful and the free capuchino was another plus! As a handicapped person I did find the long distances to other places on the ship was a problem,which was why we booked midship, but we worked around that problem by choosing room service a lot of the time.We had some problems the first few days, with cold food and missing items, but after a visit to the desk and a talk with Gilroy, the maitre d, it was soon fixed. Our main problem, which caused us to leave the cruise after the 1st section, was the ship's doctor.We had problems understanding him, and the other medical staff, and he did not seem to understand us.He seemed to be very unsure about what procedure to take, even after speaking to my own home doctor on the phone. He did not seem to have had any experience with my problem, a U.T.I. and said that he was not happy about me staying onboard for the last 2 weeks of the cruise in case the infection got worse and he would have no facilities to help if we were at sea or in the small islands that were next on the itinerary. So we had to leave the cruise after the 1st 2 weeks of what should have been 4 wonderful weeks. So much for our much anticipated month in the Pacific!! Now I have to deal with our travel insurance office and try to get reimbursed for the 2 weeks we missed. NOT how I expected to be spending my time at New Year!! This was our 1st and last cruise with H.A.L. after 27 cruises with Princess I think we will be staying with them. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise because we have heard so many good things about NZ. Also this was our 2nd time on the Sun Princess. NZ was great and we were blessed with good weather. The buffet is your average food on Princess, not much has ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have heard so many good things about NZ. Also this was our 2nd time on the Sun Princess. NZ was great and we were blessed with good weather. The buffet is your average food on Princess, not much has changed. It really needs to improve. There are so many easy interesting dishes that can be added to the buffet without costing a fortune, and for appeal. Every breakfast you see is the same things, eggs, bacon and cereal. I was a bit shocked to see fruit loops for breakfast - this stuff is full of sugar and so unhealthy. Hot chips for breakfast; really. The Chinese congee was inconsistent on a daily basis. The condiments were always empty. In the additional, there should have been some kind of protein available, such as cooked chicken or meat to add to the congee. I think a yum cha station could be of some benefits- made to order. Fine dining was either a hit or a miss. The lobster and prawns, beef wellington and lamb rack was outstanding. There should have been a cuisine theme night showing other international dishes. Some Asian and Indian dishes were not of standards. The German Oktoberfest was terrible, and we were in the month of December. Hygiene and customer service was outstanding. The cooking demonstrations was terrible and it’s the same dishes as usual. The kitchen gallery tour was terrible too, did not see cooks working, just work stations. Entertainment was okay, but not great. Freddy Mercury impersonation was good, however I wanted him to play more piano. Okay he lost his voice after so many nights singing and this can happen. The piano player, Liam ? was okay, but he has to stop hitting the keys, just play smoothly. I e seen better pianist on Princess. Overall, the Sun Orincess was Ok, on this cruise there was a lot of elderly people, getting tender took forever, but you learn to find patience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The ship was great the Service was great there was heps to do if people came off the ship and said there was annoying to do they are crazy. every minute of the day there was some to do like bingo, kid club for the kid, pool, shows, ... Read More
The ship was great the Service was great there was heps to do if people came off the ship and said there was annoying to do they are crazy. every minute of the day there was some to do like bingo, kid club for the kid, pool, shows, seaplex, xboxs, walking track, noth start that goes up in the air, flowrider, ifly, rock climbing wall, slpashaway bay,the living room for the teens, solarium for mum and dad, shopping and then go to two seventy for a coffee every night we went to the music hall. The dining was great there was never problem with the food was so good. The line up was that big of wait it was like a 5 min wait to do thing I went with a group of 11 people it was so fun. I went to kid club ever day it was so fun and the pool most days. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because of the destination. The included airfares sold it for us. Our accessible cabin was a good size and in general easy to use. We couldn’t access the balcony for a couple of days because of lack of a ramp. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the destination. The included airfares sold it for us. Our accessible cabin was a good size and in general easy to use. We couldn’t access the balcony for a couple of days because of lack of a ramp. I think disabled passengers should be consulted in the design of accessible cabins. There were small problems with the thresholds in the cabin that could have been easily improved without going to the extent they have with little benefit, eg the ramp into the bathroom. The staff in general were excellent. We chose set dining and found the overall quality of the food served to be of a high standard. We really enjoyed the evening shows in the theatre and Vista lounge. Some more seating for carers in the wheelchair section should be made available. The highlight of the cruise for us was Milford Sound, absolutely breathtaking! The return leg from Auckland was rough but didn’t worry us. We have no hesitation in recommending the Golden Princess New Zealand cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
It was a bucket list trip and my husband & I were celebrating our anniversary and a birthday. We stayed in Sydney for a week before boarding the ship. We stayed at The Meriton Apartment Suites in Mascot. It was beautiful and well ... Read More
It was a bucket list trip and my husband & I were celebrating our anniversary and a birthday. We stayed in Sydney for a week before boarding the ship. We stayed at The Meriton Apartment Suites in Mascot. It was beautiful and well maintained. It was 2 blocks away from the train (which was the best way to travel).We saw a lot. We prepared dinner with a chef at the famous fish market school; we secured tickets to the only performance of Beethoven Seven at The Sydney Opera; we went to the aquarium, the museum, and the zoo. We had fabulous meals at The Tower 360. The view was stunning. We went to Hyde Park and saw some beautiful statues. Embarkation day was a little chaotic. People were standing around and it got congested. I think additional staff would have alleviated this issue. Disembarkation was smooth. The ship was absolutely stunning! It was bright, clean & well maintained. We stayed in a balcony cabin which had plenty of room and drawers. It was well maintained. There were many dining venues. We ate at several of them. The food was the delicious. We tried The Main Dining Room, Solarium Bistro, Chops Grille, Café@Two70, Jaime's & The Windjammer. There was a plethora of entertainment and activities onboard. Of course we couldn't see or do them all but, we had fun trying. The shows were of high quality and well presented. We enjoyed the dance classes. We attended every class of the ballroom dancing led by Nia & George. We had sooo much fun and it was good exercise! We also went to the Mob dance classes led by Luane. All of us, who attended the classes, actually presented a routine on the Promenade deck and we also received certificates. This was definitely a 'feel good' experience. The service was exceptional. The head waiter, Sinddharth Singh, had a special entrée and dessert prepared for us to celebrate our special events. The waiter, Dias. who was assigned to the area where we ate breakfast remembered what we liked to eat; how we wanted it prepared and when we preferred to have our coffee. If we saw any of the staff out and about, they always asked if we needed anything and wanted to know how our day was going. Our stateroom attendant was very friendly and responsive to our requests. He outdid himself with decorating the cabin for my husband's birthday and leaving a personal note. We went on a train tour in Nouvelle, Caledonia. We saw plenty of sites and stops were made for photos. We walked around at Mystery Island. It was beautiful and the water was turquoise. There were several planned activities on the island. We had such a great time that we booked again on the Ovation. This time we'll cruise from Sydney to New Zealand. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We have previously sailed with all the big liners so the decision to book with Princess was a no brainer! Princess are at the top their game?? Are they not?? Or so we are led to believe!! We booked 12 months in advance and couldn’t wait ... Read More
We have previously sailed with all the big liners so the decision to book with Princess was a no brainer! Princess are at the top their game?? Are they not?? Or so we are led to believe!! We booked 12 months in advance and couldn’t wait for our trip to come around - We booked and paid for all specialty dining and shore excursions prior to departure - However 3 of our 7 shore excursions were cancelled prior to sailing and we were told via email that the money would be returned to us in the same manner it was paid ie; into our bank account - Yet it wasn’t, after 3 weeks we had received nothing, so we contacted Princess to query where our refund was? We were informed that the money had been credited to our “onboard” account?? Yet we were not even on board?? Are you serious? We didn’t cancel these bookings, Princess cancelled these bookings (and well before sailing) and only after requesting to speak with the manger were we provided with the refund we were entitled!! So our cruise finally arrives, we pre-ordered drinks and snacks for our balcony ready for the sail out of Sydney - 4pm The prawns were described as 10 pieces served on ice with cocktail sauce?? What eventually arrived was 50+ pieces of frozen, unclean, wet, slimy, imported prawns .. Bait prawns could be helpful in describing what arrived but even bait prawns are bigger than the rubbish that we received .. I called room service and advised them that the product we received was definitely not as described on the menu and requested a full refund!!! The room seadvice mgr agreed that the product was of very poor quality and agreed to the refund - Once again credited to our on board account! It’s becomming clearer that Princess will rip you off every chance they get - The passenger must pay even though the cruise company is at fault!! Three days in and another 3 shore excursions are cancelled - We receive notice the night before each excursion (because that’s plenty of time to make new plans for the day ahead) But this time we actually got a an explanation - “Not enough people were interested in the excursion you booked” Well Princess, if you know that your clientele is 80% elderly, why on earth offer excursion options like quad biking, 4 wheel driving and jet boating that only appeal to the odd 20% of passengers? Only to disappoint them and cancel the night before? Maybe you need to revise your excursion options .. This cruise was one problem after another, not only for us but it was common talk amongst guests the the shore excursions were problems for many of them, with cancellations the night before, changes to excursion itineraries without notice, excursion duration shorter than described, itineraries not as described, meals not as described, locations not as described - All common problems with no apologies, reimbursements or refunds .. Honestly, we couldn’t wait to get off the ship, we had very little options on board once our excursions were cancelled .. We saw very little of the country we had paid so much money to see!! We didn’t pay top dollar to stare at the 4 walls of our stateroom, yet that’s exactly what happened! The dining room food was ordinary, not much variety, even the buffet was lacking in appeal .. The specialty restaurants were nice, but we also pay more $$ for these so no surprises here!! This list of problems we had goes on, but who has all day to read about it?? The ship is beautiful, immaculate and the employes are wonderful but unfortunately this doesn’t make up for the personal expense of such a poor experience .. We could have flown to NZ and seen much more for half the cost of this cruise .. Not happy princess, never again! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We actually did most of Australia, joining the cruise in Perth, followed by a back-to-backcruise to New Zealand. A total of 30 days. What we have discovered over several years of cruising is that cruise success is tied to the Captain. The ... Read More
We actually did most of Australia, joining the cruise in Perth, followed by a back-to-backcruise to New Zealand. A total of 30 days. What we have discovered over several years of cruising is that cruise success is tied to the Captain. The tighter the ship, the better the cruise. This ship was well run and the crew was awesome. And a change of Captain 3/4's of the way through didn't change things. This was our first time in a "Sea" Class Princess ship. Total passengers 2000, average passenger count 1900. Our opinion is that the public areas are too small. Inside cabin passengers tended to sit in the bars and read, blocking others who wanted bar access. To be fair it was cool in NZ so sitting outside wasn't always an option. We had a basic balcony room which seemed small to us. Our room attendant was great though, and we enjoyed our balcony. The itinerary was very good and we took advantage of seeing the different parts of Australia. We had only had been to Sydney prior, and NZ was beautiful. We have also discovered that the longer the cruise, and the more sea days, equates to older and many more medically challenged passengers. That isn't a bad thing, but it is a data point most people should understand. We don't go to the restaurants on ships anymore, only the buffet. If you have to wear long pants I won't go. And the Horizon Court Buffet on this ship was the best layout we have ever seen. Lots of room and large isles make it easy to move. I should also state that one of the reasons that we like Process is because we feel they are more flexible than most cruise lines. They allow excursion cancellation within 48 hours and BIG POINTS for having laundarmats on most floors. Having said that, this ship had two washers and two dryers on most floors which is a reduction from 4 and 4 on other ships. Add to that the machines were substandard at best, and the advantage to Princess is eroding rapidly. Whoever made the decision to choose these inferior machines should have been fired - period. Or, is it a strategy of Princess to get passengers to pay for laundry due to the frustrating experienced of washing your own clothes? (and saving a lot of money)... We probably won't book another Princess Sea Class Ship as we didn't care for the lack of public space. We still prefer Princess, but if they continue to 'cost cut' on the passenger experience we may find another cruise line. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Never seen so many wheelchairs of all shapes & sizes, walking frames, walking sticks. Not a cruise for young or even middle aged. Lifts were a nightmare, waiting times, crammed full & stopping all floors. I had more exercise ... Read More
Never seen so many wheelchairs of all shapes & sizes, walking frames, walking sticks. Not a cruise for young or even middle aged. Lifts were a nightmare, waiting times, crammed full & stopping all floors. I had more exercise walking up stairs than all the other 5 cruises we have done put together & actually didnt put on any weight. Going anywhere & doing anything in a group was very slow, crowded, so have to be prepared to be patient otherwise avoid this cruise. The Majestic itself looked old classically decorated, furnishings, carpets, nothing much modern about this ship although the internet worked better than any other liner we have been on & I could actually get reasonable internet in our cabin, te full internet package that is, the other packages are crap. We loved the area on 17th called Hollywood, also parts of the market buffet being always open so you could eat out of normal hours thus avoiding worse of crowds. Staff were great. Dining room food mostly pretty ordinary. Paid for chinese Harmony twice mainly for a change & it was okay. Would have gone to other pay restaurants but put off by other guests comments. Alfredo's was good. Noise was a bit of a problem with people slamming front doors during the night. Also hated the Captain blasting his updates into the cabin. New Zealand was okay, interesting bit too much like Australia & Tassy for us to get too excited about. Overall a 5 or 6 out of 10 compared to Med cruise Venice to Barcelona last year of a 9 & asian grand year before of 8, River cruise year before that of 9.5. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The ship is a smaller on then the P&O Jewel and the P&O Dawn which makes it much easier to get around and to learn the lay of the land. Half the amount of passengers, than the Jewel or the Dawn make it infinitely more hygienic. We ... Read More
The ship is a smaller on then the P&O Jewel and the P&O Dawn which makes it much easier to get around and to learn the lay of the land. Half the amount of passengers, than the Jewel or the Dawn make it infinitely more hygienic. We spent a delightful week without the smell of effluent which is always a bonus. Loosing the smell of effluent on the open decks is always a delight, as is not contracting a bout of Novo Virus. The Aria is not a new ship but it has been looked after well. There are clean carpet, wallpaper and curtains with no stains decorating the whole ship. The upholstery on seats is in good condition as is bench tops, tables and other furnishings. The ship has been renovated but there are signs of age here and there. Being wary of the Novo virus I didn't swim in the pools but they appeared quite clean and smelled fresh. The main pool has a dome over the top and they do not hesitate to close it if the weather has even the slightest change. Theatre There's a small intimate theatre where films are shown several times a day. The screen is the same size as our largest television at home but can been seen easily enough from all over the room. Parents tend to use the theatre as a baby sitting area and have no problem dumping kids of all ages there, leaving them unsupervised to the annoyance of anyone who actually went to see the film. This was major turn-off and I was put off going back. Restaurants The Pantry, the main eating area is like a food court in any shopping mall. You walk around choosing from each different 'stall' what you feel like eating. Don't be afraid to put you plate over the counter and ask to have the chips put on the plate you already have food on. Don't be afraid to ask for a bigger serving either. This new idea is to stop pigs from loading their plates a foot high with food they will waste, to stop dirty people from pawing the slice of bread that will end up on your plate, to stop mouth-breathers from coughing/sneezing all over that same slice of bread. And it works. You know the food on your plate is as clean as it can be for you. After a couple of meals form The Pantry though, everything started to taste the same. There's a lot of choice there but nothing is exciting. Believe me, I know how that sounds but it is what it is. In other restaurants the meals are ordered by you and served to your table by wait-staff. We ate in The Waterfront and The Dragon Lady, you should too, they are a nice experience for you and are part of your package but you have to book into them. I don't know why you have to book because there are always empty seats everywhere maybe its to add to the ambiance. These meals are a little more exciting and we enjoyed the change of scenery. Note: a glass of Cab. Sav. red in The Dragon Lady was $13.00 with the bottle being $49.00 the same bottle in the bar upstairs was $28.00. Seems everyone thinks corkage is a big thing. I don't mind a surcharge because its a dining room but that $21.00 mark-up, is over the top. We are on a ship ! Surely, it all came from the same storage pallet ! One thing we did do, each night we visited a little shop in The Pantry and had the girl put together a cheese platter which we bought back to the cabin to have with a wine and a movie. A small indulgence that we enjoyed very much. The Beauty Salon (These days it's called a Day Spa 'sheesh') We bought the 10,20,30 package from the salon Elemis and did not regret it. If you can't afford all of them and need to choose one, buy the seaweed wrap. The attendant named BM is wonderful, ask for her if you can. She sure knows how to spoil you and leaves nothing to chance. Every little detail is attended to and you are made to feel quite special. BM never missed saying hello to me when she saw me around the ship later and even made some time in her very busy schedule to stop and ask me how I was feeling for the rest of the week. I cant say enough about this attendant, she has a wonderful skill she is an ultimate professional that has a very personal touch. I thoroughly enjoyed the Fire and Ice mani-pedi with Chi-Chi who is such a lovely person and certainly knows what she is doing and Zen who did my crystal massage is an excellent professional. We went to a couple of seminars such as the “How to Get Your Metabolism Going” and “Feet and Posture” (or something like that). They were interesting and we would have attended more except for the 'hard sell' at the end of everything in which you participate. I totally got sick of having to listen to the spiel of how I really needed to buy this or that product just because I turned up. This made the seminars/talks/conversations very impersonal and I came to feel like I was being perceived as nothing more and an open wallet regardless of how it was disguised. So if you attend these things be prepared for that hard sell at the end because, regardless of how personal they are making it all feel, they are going to go for your money just as soon as they get to it make no mistake. Cabin We had a balcony cabin and there's a lot to be said for that. We came on a weeks cruise just to catch some well needed R&R (work life balance n all that) so we indulged in some massages and the balcony. We spent a lot of time sleeping, resting and getting away from people , the cabin with the balcony was ample room for us to stretch out and sleep, watch TV (lots o free DVDs available) eat and relax. There are a few things aging in the cabin, some cracked tiles, worn metals, scratched surfaces on the porcelain, just little things like that but on the whole the cabin is comfortable. We must remember that The Aria is not a new ship. Cabin Attendants I talked to various passengers around the traps and most were pleased with their cabin attendants. I was however surprised to see that I was not the only one that was not completely happy with the cabin service. The cabin was clean, don't get me wrong but the service, while cheerful, was not always satisfactory. For instance, one day we had to make our own bed, towels that we left on the floor were not always replaced and requests were not always attended to, I ordered two DVDs for a nights viewing, when they had not been delivered by lunch, I reminded the attendant of my request, then again at 4pm and again at 6 with the reply, “I will get them for you before 9pm” they never came that night but were at our door the next morning but just a little too late. I know these are small things but they add up, over a week. Miscellaneous Even though you are only cruising the Whitsunday Reef, ring your mobile provider and have them turn off international roaming. I manually turned off IR on my cell but my provider still charged me for international rates even though we never left Australian waters then my data went over the limit and I was charged international pricing for this as well. I now have to have one of those extra long calls to Telstra. Don't bother taking the walking jaunt around the ship on Deck 6 while it would be lovely, there are always a bunch of smokers out there waiting to make you feel sick. It's hard to believe some people still smoke in 2018 but there they are, on Deck 6. In my time, smoking will be made illegal in all public places eventually, even on the Aria but not just yet. To all the smokers reading this, Namaste. The washing machine is 3 x $1.00 coins (28 minutes cycle on normal/warm) and the dryer is 3 x $1.00 (45 minute cycle) free detergent. Free games such as Jenga, Scrable, Chess are available on the floor with the internet stations. Internet packages are available but are very expensive. 90 Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose the cruise because while we have travelled to many other parts of the world we really need to see more of our own land. We combined the cruise with self drive land content before and after and were overwhelmed by the beauty of the ... Read More
We chose the cruise because while we have travelled to many other parts of the world we really need to see more of our own land. We combined the cruise with self drive land content before and after and were overwhelmed by the beauty of the north of Australia. There was a bit of a mess embarking as the papers were late arriving and the meeting point had changed but the Visitors' Centre in Broome was very accommodating. All was soon forgotten when we boarded, greeted by senior staff and with a glass of bubbles, we were escorted to our cabin where our bags were waiting. Our cabin, 508, was very comfortable, with plenty of space for our belongings, and the screen in the bathroom giving a view of the outside from the shower was exciting, as well as acting as a source of light. Our attendant kept everything very clean and was helpful in a range of small ways. I have never had such a thorough lifeboat drill, leaving the theatre to fetch our life jackets, donning them, being checked off and then shown row by row to the lifeboat boarding area. This attention to safety was also shown by the zodiac with the doctor, and a senior officer accompanying all excursions, people on hand to assist with difficult parts of walks and a briefing each evening on how rigorous the next day would be. There always seemed to be entertainment in the main lounge, a singer, classical pianist or a mood music, and on the only sea day there were two short documentaries related to the area. The main lounge and the observation lounge as well as the outdoor areas gave plenty of places to relax, read, talk, play games or just watch the passing views. Even at night it was very pleasant to take the air and look at the stars. The main entertainment however was the excursion program, and what a program. After the evening briefing we looked forward tot he sights of the next day and weren't disappointed. The zodiacs were manned by mainly young, but always very enthusiastic and informative members of the expedition team. We saw whales, turtles, rays, many varieties of birds, crocodiles, dolphins, and some lucky passengers saw a dugong. On shore we visited rock art sites from different periods, and a beach with strange shaped rocks of significance to indigenous Australians, as well as venturing up rivers and gorges. The sunsets were amazing, and the sunrises were probably also spectacular judging by the light I saw early one morning! It was the most wonderful experience to go out on a zodiac and then return to a ship with excellent French food and wine, good company and a warm ambiance. Read Less

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