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89 Australia & New Zealand Holiday Cruise Reviews

Have to say our room attendant, waiters and drink waiter staff of an evening made a trip amazing, nothing was too much of a problem and they went beyond to make a cruise memorable. Overall our cruise was great, ship was spotless, food ... Read More
Have to say our room attendant, waiters and drink waiter staff of an evening made a trip amazing, nothing was too much of a problem and they went beyond to make a cruise memorable. Overall our cruise was great, ship was spotless, food was great, entertainment of a night some were great others alright then some that we walked out on, everyone's tastes are different, what we don't like others may love, overall a very relaxing 12 days. Now for the downside, I would suggest you not get involved in the up sell. I was lucky enough to win a spa prize which was for a $100 US dollars treatment, was really looking forward to this but when attending I was told the treatment was $168 US dollars ok that find but you have to pay Gratuities on your prize which was $29.53 US dollars, sort of left a bad taste in my mouth, then they tried to sell me products at a price of $880 US dollars odd, yeah right. They also have guessing competions in regards to Jewellery and watches, you are lead to believe that is what you are going to win, wrong, what you receive is a very cheap piece of cheap jewellery eg, pretend Pandora bracelet that they sell for roughly $19 US dollars Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was my first time on Princess cruises, and I must say i was not disappointed. On the first night at dinner I was sat at a table of other solo travellers all aged between 64 and 86. I have no complaints regarding the Dawn Princess, ... Read More
This was my first time on Princess cruises, and I must say i was not disappointed. On the first night at dinner I was sat at a table of other solo travellers all aged between 64 and 86. I have no complaints regarding the Dawn Princess, yes she is showing signs of wear and tear but aren',t we all as we age. Christmas was very well done especially for the children. New Year was so much fun up on the pool deck.I would choose Princess in a flash and recommend them to anyone asking my opinion.If I had to gripe it was that my cabin was smaller then other cruise ships I have been on.I loved Jo LIttle, Babbba and Fusion class acts in the Theatre.A huge thank you to our waiters Tyrone and Raj, you certainly made mealtimes pleasant. Also to Runiel who kept my cabin spotless he was always smiling The problem I had with my lights was fixed promptly and.the follow up from customer service very good.especially the chocolates. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The reason we choose this cruise, well just to be away from the family for a change over the Christmas & New Year and we were not disappointed The ship & crew were fantastic, the food again was really, really great with plenty ... Read More
The reason we choose this cruise, well just to be away from the family for a change over the Christmas & New Year and we were not disappointed The ship & crew were fantastic, the food again was really, really great with plenty to choose from The ship was decked out in Christmas decorations & New years eve was a blast, with great entertainment on the Lido pool deck Fiji was not to our liking due to the locals being a little over the top. Mystery Island was a blessing however. Maybe we should have done some shore excursions as some of the other passengers did and were very pleased with their decision. Also met up with some great passengers and had a very good time. We had a great choice of food with goose for Christmas eve & the Pinnacle grill was fantastic with great food & service. To sum it up, we loved the cruise, the staff, the service and the people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Wow so much to say. came into Sydney harbour by river ferry coming around the back and side of this amazing ship. Boarding was a breeze a few rather long queues but that was to be expected as the ship had to board three and a half thousand ... Read More
Wow so much to say. came into Sydney harbour by river ferry coming around the back and side of this amazing ship. Boarding was a breeze a few rather long queues but that was to be expected as the ship had to board three and a half thousand people. once we were finally through the Embarkation process walking across the gangway was so nerve racking wondering what is the ship going to be like? what awaits us just around the corner? when we got around that corner and set foot on-board the truly amazing M/S Emerald Princess we certainly were not disappointed it was beautiful as it was a Christmas cruise there was tinsel Christmas trees and all sorts of other decorations everywhere which was a lovely touch. Now to the cabin my first time in an interior cabin so didn't really know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised the cabin was roomy well designed and actually quite a pleasant room although the bathroom as always with cruise ships was tiny. The Dining OMG the choices for dining on-board was incredible, three dining rooms, three specialty restaurants plus the buffet, Café Caribe, the grill, a pizza place/ ice-cream place and a fantastic little café in the Atrium called the International Café a tip book early for Crab Shack, Share and Crown Grill all of which are very popular this can be achieved through the stateroom phone by pressing the dining reservations button or by calling 6219 from any phone on-board (only the stateroom phones have the speed dial function). entertainment and activities the night-time shows is unfortunately where Princess fell short personally I found some of them to be rather amateurish I personally quite enjoyed the Princess signature show Magic To Do although they could have done more to hide the wires, the activities were quite enjoyable especially the trivia which my family spent a lot of time at all in all the entertainment and activities were abit of a let down (the Trivia was fun though). The service WOW each and every crew member was pleasant smiling happy to help you in anyway possible always with a huge smile (especially in the case of Kefang who worked at the international café as a buffet steward she was always smiling) the cruise director Duke and the assistant cruise director Matt were hilarious always cracking jokes and making fun of each other a true delight to be around. The ports and shore excursions WOW WOW WOW New Zealand is an incredible place a truly breathtaking country starting off in the Bay of Islands right up the top of the North Island we did the Waitangi Estuary by sea kayak shore excursion kayaking up to a small waterfall and back with a short break a 2 hour shore excursion truly amazing next was Auckland an unfortunate let-down very much like Sydney not really anything truly exciting there this was followed by the best port of the entire cruise Tauranga where we went to the Tamaki Maori Village just outside Rotorua what a day we were on a bus for about 90 minutes from the berth at Mount Maunganui to Tamaki both the guide and the driver were always cracking jokes and telling us about the areas we were passing which made the bus trip quite enjoyable then we arrived at Tamaki we were met by a traditional Maori welcome ceremony where the Maori warriors made sure that we came in peace and weren't going to attack them which was quite a show we then went into the village and were split up into small groups at which point we went to different huts to learn different things about Maori culture and history which was rather interesting and fun we then went to learn about a traditional hangi which is a Maori way of cooking after this we moved the meeting house where we were entertained through a number of Maori performances including the famous haka and a performance of a Maori love song called Pokarekare Ana after this it was meal time where we enjoyed a traditional Maori hangi feast which was delicious once this was over we had a bit of time to browse the gift shop and take some photos of the village before it was time to head back to the ship we said goodbye to Tamaki and headed out to the bus we then commenced the 90 minute return journey to Mount Maunganui berth where our ship was docked during this trip we were given a bit of a private performance with our guide singing some Maori songs until we reached Rotorua and she was dropped off we then went for a drive through the nearby gardens and had a look at a rather large building within the gardens before continuing our journey back. next was Christmas Day which was a sea day transiting between the north and south islands Christmas day was quiet and relaxing which was nice it was also a formal night there was Santa's arrival Christmas carols and much more our next port was Picton where we went on a hike and scenic cruise up the queen charlotte track and sound which was beautiful after this relatively easy hike and scenic cruise we were dropped off in the Picton township and had a bit of a look around a market and the town which was quite a nice quaint little rural New Zealand town right on the water which was lovely. Our next port was Wellington which is of course New Zealand's national capital and an awesome city first thing we did was get the famous cable car up the hill and walked back down through the botanical gardens which were really pretty after this we walked around the great city and had very necessary retail therapy we also enjoyed some on NZ's famous fush and chups as they would say we returned to the ship happy and content after a great day looking around an awesome city. next was Akaroa a quaint little French town quite a nice place actually at this port we did the double decker bus tour which was quite enjoyable during this tour we travelled form Akaroa to the famous hilltop hotel for a photo opportunity and pit stop we travelled through a number of quaint little towns the view from the hilltop hotel was breathtaking right over the many bays. Next was our final port of the cruise Dunedin a lovely small Scottish city with quite a lot to see including a Cadbury chocolate factory (the obvious highlight) as well as a great little Scottish shop quite a nice little southern New Zealand city. our final day in New Zealand was spent on a scenic cruise through the absolutely amazing Fiordland National Park through the dusky doubtful and breathtaking Milford sounds a truly breathtaking part of an amazing country. The next day was New Years Eve and of course it was party time and also the cruises third and final formal night they had three different on-board venues with parties celebrating New Years they were the Piazza, the Wheelhouse bar and the Explorers Lounge the Piazza had a live performance form the Emerald Princess party band (Liquid Blue) and a gold and silver balloon drop at the stroke of midnight a great night all in all. Our final night on-board was when my family went to the Share by Curtis Stone specialty restaurant located on deck 16 aft a truly amazing restaurant the six course meal was exquisite and the service was impeccable and the restaurant itself was beautifully designed. all in all a very very enjoyable cruise would definitely recommend Princess Cruises to anyone who wishes to have a relaxing luxurious and enriching cruise. Disembarkation was a breeze as well in and out of the terminal in less than half an hour. Would I travel with Princess Cruises again in short yes definitely although it is not my kind of line as I prefer to have activities galore, water parks, water slides heaps of pools a young persons fun cruise I would definitely go with princess again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise as we had sailed on Holland America before and wanted to be away at Christmas. We were not disappointed. Embarkation was trouble free with quick access to the ship. We sailed this time in a forward cabin 704 which ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had sailed on Holland America before and wanted to be away at Christmas. We were not disappointed. Embarkation was trouble free with quick access to the ship. We sailed this time in a forward cabin 704 which is an accessible cabin. Cabin was spacious but found being forward was noisier that being mid ship or stern with the sound of the ropes and anchor noises. During rough weather the waves tended to go up into the anchor area and caused this to bang against the boat. This did only happen on two occasions during the trip. We ate most of our meals in the Rotterdam room and out attendants, Hendra and Juli could not be faulted, they were friendly, professional and helpful. They did everything they possibly could to please. Noel, our sommelier was friendly, knowledgeable and was always at the ready to supply our drinks. The staff in the Crows Nest and Mix Bar were exceptional. Overall the crew seemed happy and engaging. Although the entertainment is more low key than in some of the more family orientated ships like RCA, Princess or Celebrity, we found the entertainment more than enough, after all this is a place to relax as well as enjoy oneself. The trivia times were great fun, with A/Cruise Director Joep being a great compere. There was plenty to do on board if you wanted to, I had great intentions of checking out the cooking demonstrations in the culinary arts centre, but never got there. There is a well stocked library which has many board, card games and relaxing cafe and lounge in which to play them as well as trivia, movies, shows, art auctions, a casino, dance classes. I enjoyed the size of the ship, it was the friendliest ship I have ever been on, this goes for fellow passengers and crew. One of the reasons for choosing Holland America was because there was no flow rider, ice skating rink, no needless bells and whistles and therefore not too many children. Those that were on board enjoyed the Hal's Kids Club and were on the whole well behaved and well mannered. The ports were great and most of them had shuttle buses (including accessible ones) to take you to information centres in the city centres. Also many volunteers were on hand to assist. Only port I had a problem with was Tauranga due to my mobility but local port authority kindly drove us to the port entrance. Overall, I think more should be done about facilities at ports but this is not a Holland America issue. Having travelled on RCA earlier in the year and being on board with a large amount of people having to wait in line was a problem. There is also a lack of room in the public areas due to adding in paying restaurants and making these areas smaller. This is not the case on Holland America, no waiting for lifts, plenty of room in the public areas if there was an activity happening. Smaller ships have their advantages. Debarkation went smoothly. Overall we had a wonderful relaxing and enjoyable holiday and would step back on board in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We cruised on the Pacific Aria for Christmas. We had a wonderful time. Everything was great. Staff & crew were friendly and helpful. Our cabin & balcony was much bigger than we expected and our bed was very comfortable. We did ... Read More
We cruised on the Pacific Aria for Christmas. We had a wonderful time. Everything was great. Staff & crew were friendly and helpful. Our cabin & balcony was much bigger than we expected and our bed was very comfortable. We did have a fridge in our cabin and yes it was cold. Everything was spotless and very tidy. Our cabin stewards were really great. Always greeted us with a friendly "Good Morning" and a smile. The restaurants were really lovely, the food was always hot & very tasty [plenty of it, never felt hungry afterwards]. We didn't mind having to line up to book Angelo's or the Dragon Lady restaurants. We loved the new idea in the pantry for lining up for food. Much more hygienic for everyone. Great selection and very tasty. All the shows were great. We thought the renovations of the ship were really lovely, very posh and classy. The shops had a great range of different items to buy, not too expensive either. The ports & shore excursions were great, loved the free time to just wander around & shop. The only downside was the whingers. We have cruised many times on different ships, but never have we heard so many people whinge, moan & criticise the ship, crew, meals, shows & restaurants. In our opinion, it is obvious they don't like to be out of their comfort zone, so instead of them annoying other people like us with their comments, maybe they should just stay home or holiday some other way. We would certainly recommend the Pacific Aria to our friends and family for a lovely restful holiday, minus the whingers we hope. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
15th Cruise (2nd on RCCL) in our 50's. All previous reviews about Voyager are mostly correct. If you have a Suite or are Diamond status or higher then you can escape the crowds generally. LIFTS These are always crowded with long ... Read More
15th Cruise (2nd on RCCL) in our 50's. All previous reviews about Voyager are mostly correct. If you have a Suite or are Diamond status or higher then you can escape the crowds generally. LIFTS These are always crowded with long waits and are very hot. WINDJAMMER On Sea days it is very difficult to get a seat. Food is generally OK with lots of variety. Desserts are average. Announcements are made for you to move out once finished  eating. Walking areas like public freeway traffic. COFFEE Coffee from Cafe Promenade (Starbucks) is good if customised but has no table service area. Service was quick with short queues generally. LOUNGES AND BARS Due to $80 Million refurbishment there are less lounges and bars to sit in (due to addition of extra cabins) REFURBISHMENT (EXTRA CABINS) Ship CANNOT cope with the extra people they have added. Ship's original capacity 3138 has expanded to 3700-3900 SAPPHIRE DINING ROOM We had 6pm seating. Menu changed every day (also menu has a Classic - Always available selection) Very good variety. Temperature problems with food - Soup - luke warm and Fish never hot. After making a complaint to Head Waiter all future meals on our table were always hot and service significantly improved. JUNIOR SUITE Very comfortable (Cabin 1612) lots of space and well maintained by cabin steward. ENTERTAINMENT Very lacking. Two nights in La Scala theatre there were no shows on (only played a movie). Only two main production shows. The singers/dancers had an easy cruise. The rest were guest entertainers with mixed standard (please avoid the Hypnotist - unless you want a nap) GYM Equipment is good and reasonably large area. Plenty of cardio equipment. Music is way too loud for comfort. Noisy spa in centre of gym area. Some staff with attitude. DIAMOND STATUS LOUNGES Excellent - especially to escape the masses. One lounge on deck 14 and a Diamond area for breakfast and lunch in the Sapphire dining room (deck 4 left side at rear). ROYAL PROMENADE Nowhere to sit. Too crowded on theme nights. Dancing is impossible - the area blocked by crowds standing around or through traffic. No view of the ocean. SUMMARY If you need to cruise on RCL then the Radiance of the Seas is a much better choice. Voyager has a public crowd feel about it. Better still try another line (CELEBRITY or PRINCESS) for more intimate cruising. COST CUTS by RCCL: No free lobster night. No baked alaska night. No chef's parade. No chocolates on pillow. No toiletries for balcony or lower. Windjammer closes at 9pm (no supper provided). No fruit carving demonstrations , ice sculpting or cooking demos. No enrichment classes. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Where to start..... Having cruised on Radiance last year, and knowing this ship had been overhauled, we were really excited and had huge expectations. Because our last cruise was so good we talked up RC and how good their ships were. 7 ... Read More
Where to start..... Having cruised on Radiance last year, and knowing this ship had been overhauled, we were really excited and had huge expectations. Because our last cruise was so good we talked up RC and how good their ships were. 7 people, all first time cruisers and 1 being the mother in law booked to come on with us. For us being Crown and Anchor members, check in was excellent. 2 of our friends however had to wait 3.5 hours in line to get on. This is not acceptable at all and yes they were in their designated time slot. So we all head to our cabins. Ours was really good, no complaints there, at first. 2 of our friends had booked a suite and we were very supised to see how basic and small it was, especially for what they paid. As I said, ours was really good except that the air con did not seem to work and the fridge was not cold. Luckily the weather wasn't very good and it didn't get hot. First thing we noticed was that the staff didn't seem as happy as the Radiance staff. Then the line ups started. They were ridiculous, having to line up like cattle to get a feed. Even in the dinning room where we made reservations, we still had to wait upto 45minutes. 2 of our friends waited 2 hours fo their table. What a joke. Even waiting to speak to someone from guests relations had massive lines every day. Dont try and get a decent quick coffee, you'll wait ages for that too. Only one cafe on the whole ship which also serves the Ben and Jerrys icecream. They didn't tell anyone until near the end that you could purchase coffee from the Schooner Bar or Windjammers. The coffee is horrible, definately not worth the money but is better than the brown water they give you for free. The food in Windjammers was horrible. Definitely not what we got on the Radiance more like P&O. It was the same slop every night. The dinning room wasn't much better. Same food, just dressed up. The food in the restaurants however was amazing. We ended up eating at them everynight instead. Yes, we had to pay but it was well worth it. If your looking for a relaxing child free cruise, then forget Voyager. The place was overrun with them. Their junior curfew was 1am, how ridiculous is that. They were running all over the place causing havoc. They were even in the bars. When we questioned why children were in the bar at midnight whilst adults were drinking and having adilt conversations, we were told that they are more lenient around that time as there weren't as many guests around. Serious. There was even a case where a elderly person had their arm broken by being knocked over from a child running around unsupervised. My husband and his friends witnesed a brawl in the arcade between 2 unsupervised boys that had to be broken up by security. This just isn't good enough. Another thing we encountered was not alot of general beer. On the Radiance there was all the beer that you get at the pubs, clubs etc. My husband asked for a tooheys extra dry, none, carltons dry, none. The were told it was coming in 2 days from Singapore! So they started drinking Caronas, they ran out on day 5. Everytime they asked when the ship would be restocked they were told in 2 days. They never resocked anything. We also noticed around day 8 that the cocktails were being iced up heaps. One thing we were really impressed with RC was that they were not shy with their alchol nips. Not with Voyager. I had one cocktail that had no alchol in it at all. There are so many things that went wrong, it was just a nightmare. They were definitely understaffed and over populated. A few staff members we spoke to told us that most of the staff were miserable and couldn't wait for their contracts to end so they could get off. Everyone we spoke to felt the same. We did not encounter one person who had something nice to say. There were even numerous people that got off and flew home. I wanted to but unfortunately my husband does not fly, so I had to stay on until the end. You can imagine how bad we felt for our 7 friends who we brought on with us. This cruise has ruinen their thoughts on cruising again with 4 of them saying they will never cruise again. Voyager has alot to answer for.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We are a family of 3. This was our 3rd cruise with Princess. Previously we cruised with Dawn to Brisbane and Sun to Melbourne, one way. Both the Dawn and the Sun catered to all types and we had a good time. I wanted to try the Diamond ... Read More
We are a family of 3. This was our 3rd cruise with Princess. Previously we cruised with Dawn to Brisbane and Sun to Melbourne, one way. Both the Dawn and the Sun catered to all types and we had a good time. I wanted to try the Diamond Princess for its size. The ship is big and at times you wonder where everyone is, but on this cruise it was full - 2823 paying passengers. Embarkment and disembarkment went smoothly. We planned to get on board early, like 1.30pm, but when we boarded there were 100 people boarded already. We dropped our carry ons and our suitcase was already there in our stateroom. Also we booked the last room on this cruise. We headed to the Horizon buffet and stopped by to purchase the Soda package. After lunch we walked around the whole ship to get an idea where things are. On this cruise there was no drinks package and it was credited to our account. You buy as you go. The food in the buffet is always good. From housekeeping to dining, all staff were attentive and professional. We encountered a little problem with fine dining. On the first night the lines were massive and when we reached to be served we were told to go to reception and from there to see maitre D. At the end we got to International buffet and we stayed a few nights to be waited on. If you have food intolerances let them know in advance or note it in your bookings. We ordered many of the dishes. Lunch in fine dining was not good - ordinary. Best to eat at the buffet. Dinner excellent. We did see a few people in casual clothes on semi formal nights and also on the other cruises. I guess it's not a policy. Hmm thinking of wearing shorts on my next cruise just to see what reactions. Staff at the restaurants will try to get you to purchase drinks, be strong and simply say no. Wines are very expensive with the gratuity fee. If you intend to buy wines check out the buffet where it can be purchase at a discount price and you can take it to any of the 4 free fine dining restaurants and also if you don't finish the bottle they will store it for you for the next night. We didn't dine at any of the paying restaurants and on some nights it was empty. Activities were good as well as entertainment - this depends on what you like. Karaoke was bad, you have to search for song on an iPad and when you do find it try to remember the number so the staff can retrieve the song. There weren't that many songs and most people left which you can't blame them. There were too many excuses. We did our research on this cruise and we brought emergencies items e.g sunburnt spray and cream, medications, highlighters for bingo and to mark activities on Princess Patter. On 2nd day we told reception we don't want to pay for the gratuity fee and I signed a form and it was automatically credited, no problems. This cruise suited for the oldies and families, not so much for the 18-20s, but they manage to find others and party on. 18 years old were allowed to purchase alcohol on this cruise, but they don't tell you when you book. A lot of the oldies hung out at the piano, Croonies bar and they know how to party. Can't wait to get to Ruby status. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My family and I recently went on a cruise on Voyager of the Seas to New Zealand, leaving the 9th December from Sydney and returning on the 20th of December. This is our second cruise with Caribbean, the first being on Rhapsody of the Seas, ... Read More
My family and I recently went on a cruise on Voyager of the Seas to New Zealand, leaving the 9th December from Sydney and returning on the 20th of December. This is our second cruise with Caribbean, the first being on Rhapsody of the Seas, which we absolutely loved. Firstly, we all thought that the ship itself was pretty amazing. The facilities and the overall look of the ship were fine. It was very clean and our room attendant was really lovely and nothing was too hard for him. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives end. This cruise was SO incredibly crowded. We had to line up for up to half and hour just to get a cup of sub-standard coffee. The Windjammer was completely over crowded for every meal. It was impossible to hold a table and leave it to go and get seconds, as upon our return it was ALWAYS snapped up by other passengers. The food in the Windjammer was very average at best. The food in the restaurant, however, was marginally better. There was no actual little cafes available for during the days when meals weren’t available to us in the buffet or restaurant. The only place we could get snacks was along the Promenade and that food was rubbish. On Rhapsody they had lovely little beef rolls and salads to snack on during the day. The service was completely different to our first cruise. On Rhapsody, we had wait staff constantly asking us if we needed anything. We didn’t have to walk through the crowds to find a drink. With the Voyager, it was the opposite. We could barely ever find available (not-run off their feet) staff to ask for things or direct us to places. Waiting for lifts became a nightmare and in the end, I used the stairs - this is the first cruise i've ever been on where I was forced to lose weight, not just from using the stairs everywhere, but also the lack of good decent food. (so i guess that had it's positives) I enjoyed the spa days that i had on board. I had four or five various treatments done and even though they were all lovely and relaxing, the hard sell at the end was VERY annoying. One lady even sat silently staring at me after her sales pitch, until I’d made a commitment to purchase the products (which in the end i refused to do). The service was so stretched to its limits, that I even had the gratuities reversed, something I have never done before. I then made sure the people who deserved our tips, received them.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Well just got back from a wonderful cruise on the Century and i am so glad I didn't pay too much attention to the negative critics because we had an absolute ball. The embarkation went quikly and smoothly with a warm and friendly ... Read More
Well just got back from a wonderful cruise on the Century and i am so glad I didn't pay too much attention to the negative critics because we had an absolute ball. The embarkation went quikly and smoothly with a warm and friendly welcome both on land (Sydney) and on Ship with a refreshing drink. The crew cannot be faulted in any way always there and ready to attend to all our needs. Food to die for fresh and must go to grand restaurant you will feel like a king/queen. Our cabin was an inside quad (two bunks and a double, just ask for the two beds to be joined) on deck 8 midship (room 8067), perfect location close to restaurants, theatre and other lounges, we never heard a sound and slept like babies. The house band rocks as all entertainers.. the pool area is kept clean and there is always a spot in the sun or shade without having to fight for it. The port stops (Neumea, Mystery Island, Suva, Loutoka and Isle of Pines) were great the weather only turned on one stop but still managed to get off for a wonder, Neumea is not that exciting on sundays and holiday everything shuts. We never book excursions with the cruise as it is dear and there are local tours as soon as you get off the ship you can bargain for and are the same exoerience. The islands do take AUD but bring small change for Isle of Pines, Fiji and Mystery Island as they tend to not always have change. Celebrity only deals in USD so be prepared .. they do take AUD but when you cash in your credit at the end of the cruise (if dealing with cash) you might be left with a couple of USD in your poket. Teens club was great, my teen boys had a ball and have made great friendships.... All in all the best cruise we have been on and all thanks to the high standard of service and friendliness of crew. Thank you Century Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
EMBARKATION Embarkation was at Princess Pier, Melbourne after flying in fom Adelaide that Morning  And bussing to pier from airport Booking in took about 45 mins and we were on board in no time After dropping our hand luggage to our ... Read More
EMBARKATION Embarkation was at Princess Pier, Melbourne after flying in fom Adelaide that Morning  And bussing to pier from airport Booking in took about 45 mins and we were on board in no time After dropping our hand luggage to our cabin (deck 8, Dolphin 344) we were surprised to find our cases already delivered to our cabin. We then went to the buffet for a latel lunch CABIN We had cabin 344 on Dolphin deck, an obstructed view which was not too badly obstructed at all It was very small with a cramped bathroom so much so that when I sat on the toilet the bathroom door had to be open for my feet to hang out through the door. Access to the wardrobes was not possible with the bathroom door open. There was a fridge in the room. An Australian type power point (one only) was in the room above the fridge. We had a double adaptor which met our charging requirements adequately. I am not sure if power boards are allowed to be brought on board. A small safe was also in the room. No tea making facilities were supplied and the only water available was from the hand bowl in the bathroom. The shower space was adequate and I am a big bloke and did not have any difficulty showering. The shower was very good with plenty of pressure and hot water. A retractable clothes line was in the showe space. Liquid soap and shampoo were supplied on the wall in the shower and a cake of soap appeared every couple of days for the hand bowl. The was more than adequate clothes hanging space in the wardrobes and coat hangers were in plentiful supply There were also plenty of drawers in the cupboard between the singles beds. We asked for twin beds as if they were made up into a queen size bed there was barely enough space to get around each side of the bed. Two very soft pillows were supplied for each bed and the mattresses were very comfortable and soft. Suit cases when unpacked fitted easily under each bed out of the way. A hair dryer ws supplied but we did not use it so cannot comment on it's usefulness Fresh towels appeared at least twice a day. We requested a jug of ice each day and Roberto our steward made sure it was there daily. We hardly saw our steward as he knew when we were at breakfast or not in the cabin and it was always cleaned and made up unobtrusely when we were not there. Likewise at night when we were at dinner the room was turned down for the night withe the choccies on the pillows It was noisy outside our cabin as a crew entrance to and from the service areas of the ship was opposite our cabin door but the noise didn't bother us too much DINING we had first sitting dining in the Florentine dining room on a table of eight. Our table companions were a good bunch and we all got along fine. There were three Americans on the table (not too many of them on the ship at all) and the rest of us were Australians Our table and drink waiters were excellent and nothing was too much trouble for them. The food was of the usual Princess high standard and was served exquisitely the menu choices were extensive and if something you wanted wasn't on the menu the waiters usually found something to your liking The Lido buffet we found to be good with a good variety of food and we had no trouble finding seats The food was always hot and the buffet waiters were always very helpful especially getting you hot drinks We did not try out the specialty Stirling steak house. We had several pizzas from the pizzeria and they were very good with good service. Pasta and salad dishes were also available. We did not try the grill bar on deck 12 ENTERTAINMENT A mixed bag with most of the live shows,especially the ship's orchestra and dancers very good A "pop violinist" was the highlight of the visiting performers as was a NZ comediaThe string quartet were also good mainly playing in the atrium but they did do a stage performance in the theatre one night which was excellent. The was a bloke on the piano on deck 7 in the Atrium who sang popular songs to his own accompiament but he was a woeful singer It would have been much better if he just played the piano and shut up The two singers in the Wheelhouse bar were very good and popular with the passengers Trivia was held twice a day and some days three times and was popular and well attended NOROVIRUS The cruise immediately before ours had an outbreak of norovirus with reports of 400 plus being affected by it. Our embarkation in Melbourne was held up while the crew disinfected the whole ship for the first couple of days passengers were not allowed to serve themselves in the buffet with waiters handing out whatever portions onto your plate. In the main dining rooms bread rolls and butter portions were not placed on he tables but were served to you by the waiters After two or three days things returned to normal but not before my wife became very ill before we reached our first port at Auckland and me coming down 2 days later. We experienced violent vomiting and dihoearrea for 24 hours.We were both quarantined to our cabin for 24 hours each time with the nurse checking on us periodically and giving me an injection The "Hit Squad "came in 3 times a day and disinfected the whole cabin. Strangely enough, our diagnosis was ACUTE GASTROENTERITIS AND NOT NOROVIRUS. I think by this time norovirus had become a dirty word on the ship and no one wanted to hear anymore about it. I cannot speak highly enough about the medical staff and the "hit squads" who did the disinfecting. The only thing I am upset about was that I was of my tucker for over 2 days THE LIFTS This turned out to be a major annoyance to most passengers. The lifts were totally inadequate to service the requirements of passengers. On the forward lifts one lift was out of service for practically the whole cruise. The other lifts ere out of synchronisation with three lifts being at the same decks at the same time to be more than a coincidence. This needs to be attended to urgently bt Princess DISEMBARKATION Went very smoothly with us being off the ship when called and on the airport bus within 25 minutes. No complaints her SUMMARY All in all despite my grizzles and our bout of sickness, we had a good cruise Princess lived up to their high standards despite "Dawn" showing her age with rust being continuously being painted over, carpets being replaced while we were aboard, furniture in public areas showing obvious wear and tear and other fittings looking tired. I believe she is due for a refit about May so those things should be attended to We will be back JOCELYN &JOHN Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our tenth cruise,5th with celebrity twice on Solstice.Did this same so called Christmas cruise 2 years ago.Last time it was very good this time terrible.Did not mention FATHER CHRISTMAS ,who is this CRINKLEBUM that so called ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise,5th with celebrity twice on Solstice.Did this same so called Christmas cruise 2 years ago.Last time it was very good this time terrible.Did not mention FATHER CHRISTMAS ,who is this CRINKLEBUM that so called cruise director JC was always on about?Did not see FATHER CHRISTMAS giving gifts to children as was the case on the other CHRISTMAS CRUISE.The CHRISTMAS fare on Christmas day for lunch and dinner was non existent. There were no party hats, bonbons,tinsel or anything on the tables, PITIFUL. Regarding food, Epernay dining rooms food was very average but staff as always were very good,food deck 14 Oceanview cafe was less than inviting with little choice and variety, 3 food bays with same food on all. In my humble opinion JC is not employing quality entertainers( AUSSIE BOYS AND NEIL DIAMOND ENTERTAINER) excepted.There were other issues, these were the main ones. Many other passengers commented about the lack of Christmas cheer. If u are not going to celebrate CHRISTMAS, then dont advertise it as a CHRISTMAS cruise!!!!!!!! We have friends two couples, who are contemplating this cruise next year, will advise them to think again and check if SOLSTICE will celebrate Christmas next year. Standards on Solstice have definitely dropped. THE BEAN COUNTERS ARE CERTAINLY ABOUT. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My husband and I went on New Year’s Eve cruise leaving Sydney 29 December 2014 on the Voyager of the Seas for 14 nights around Fiji and New Zealand. Last year we did a similar cruise for New Year’s Eve on Princess around Fiji and New ... Read More
My husband and I went on New Year’s Eve cruise leaving Sydney 29 December 2014 on the Voyager of the Seas for 14 nights around Fiji and New Zealand. Last year we did a similar cruise for New Year’s Eve on Princess around Fiji and New Caledonia and enjoyed it so much we wanted to experience it again. Overall we had a great time on Voyager but there was a lot to be desired. We read up on the Voyager of the Seas and liked that it had an $80M renovation although included 700 more passengers. Ultimately, this made the cruise overcrowded which was a common complaint amongst passengers. The promenade was beautifully renovated/amazing space but with designer shops, 1 pub and small 24 hour café. Embarkation was easy. CABIN Our deluxe balcony cabin on Level 8 was big and comfortable with a three seater couch. Lots of cupboards and storage space. This was a big plus for us. FOOD Overall the food was of a poorer quality compared to other cruises. (Anything for RCL to save a dollar). Windjammers was newly renovated but not enough seating for the extra passengers. The food was very average and much the same food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It started to feel like a cafeteria. The only food that served 24 hours was a small café with pizza, cakes and coffee which did not cater for over 3,000 passengers. Coffee was awful. The Sapphire Dining Room was beautifully renovated but the meals were hit or miss. Waiters were great. I once ordered Venison but was told it was really beef! Chicken Cordon Bleu was a dry crumbed chicken. Lacking presentation. No lobster night but you could order lobster each night at a cost of US$40! Gone are the Bombe Alaska and theme nights. Bars were all understaffed with so many more passengers it became a common waiting game. Drinks were expensive and I noticed many cocktails had no prices on them. Surprise, surprise! The pre paid drink packages were all based daily and not the entire cruise which made it expensive. New Year’s Eve was great! A formal night. Party on the pool deck with a live band and the promenade was crowded with balloons falling down at midnight. Something to remember! ENTERTAINMENT A common complaint amongst passengers was “there is not much to do”. Lots of karaoke with finals at the end which was really good. The Love & Marriage Game is always fun. There was 3D movies (with glasses) in the La Scala Theatre but not enough over 14 days. One afternoon a really good film was cancelled as the rights to the film had expired so we watched half an animated movie. Not good enough! The theatre was under used during the day. A new smaller screen has been addedd on the pool deck for afternoon movies but was noisy from the pools and obstructed viewing. They could have had music videos during the day and make it lively. There were movies some nights around 8pm but who wants to sit outside in the cold. The Ice Show was really good but the live theatre each night was hit or miss. Out of the 14 nights we enjoyed the hypnotist, Rod Stewart impersonator and Mario Queen of the Circus but everything else we found pretty average. I went along to a card making class which consisted of a kit and make it yourself. I also went to a Ladies Pamper Party one day in the gym but was all about trying seven different facial products and trying to sell them. Also free health seminars in the gym and then signing up for more US$$. Amazed that the gym was free! There was a terrific big round spa in the gym which we used with pleasure. I enjoy reading on a cruise but the library was more of a walk through with noise everywhere and no quiet spots on the ship to read except for the cabin. STAFF Staff are a credit to the Voyager with all staff being friendly but they work long hours for smaller pay. This includes waiters, cooks, cleaners, barmen etc but I can’t say the same for the entertainment crew. I think they could have done better with the activities. NOTE that Voyager of the Seas and all RCL cruise prices are in US dollars so don’t forget to convert to Australian currency throughout the cruise as you will get a nasty bill at the end of the cruise. As with all cruises a plastic Sea Pass (Credit Card) is used and your spending can be viewed on the TV. Lots of unhappy customers at the end of the cruise complained about the bill. We conservatively spent just over $700 but was actually $1,000 Aussie dollars. At a Q&A with the captain a passenger asked why there is no chocolate on the pillow any more which he then replied… with the renovation you need to cut costs somewhere. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves but Voyager of the Seas and also Oasis of the Seas which we have previously done is all about BUMS ON BEDS, spending US$$ and not value for money. PORTS Latoka and Suva, Fiji These ports were not worth visiting. It would have been so much better to see the Fijian islands. Both are very poor and underdeveloped cities. Full of the same Indian shops and were told many times to watch our bags. Very unwelcoming. We have been there before and unless you want to see the real Fiji you need to take tours which can find off the ship. Cruise tours are way overpriced. Note that all ship prices are in US dollars so don’t forget to convert throughout the ship. Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington, New Zealand Having been to NZ before we took the Hop On Hop Off in all three cities.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I have recently returned from a 14 day New Years Eve cruise to Fiji and New Zealand with my husband and 11 year old daughter. Having previously sailed with P & O, which we enjoyed, we were really looking forward to our cruise on a ... Read More
I have recently returned from a 14 day New Years Eve cruise to Fiji and New Zealand with my husband and 11 year old daughter. Having previously sailed with P & O, which we enjoyed, we were really looking forward to our cruise on a 'bigger and better' ship. To say that we feel let down by the experience is an understatement. The trip started well, embarkment was relatively easy (although we did have our power board taken off us before boarding), and we explored the ship, excited at all the new features. However, when I took my daughter to book her into kids club, I was warned that it was 'first come, first served' as there was over 900 kids on board. This was the start of what turned out to a very unenjoyable experience. Let's start with the kids on board. Despite seeming to have so many options for the kids to do, in reality there was not much at all. The ice skating rink was only open for the passengers to use a handful of times in the 14 days. The rock climbing wall was only open a few hours a day, and as such, had very long waits to get on. The flowrider had height limits, and therefore only teens could do the stand up, and only over 10's the body boarding, which was also open limited hours and had very long lines. With the kids clubs full, the kids had nothing to do, and a ship full of bored children resulted in kids hogging the spas, playing up in the pools, running amok in the hallways and stairwells and playing around in the lifts. Speaking of the lifts, with the Voyager's very expensive makeover, came a lot more cabins and therefore a lot more passengers. This made the ship very over crowded. The lifts on the ship cannot cope with the extra passengers. Many times we would have to wait over 5 minutes for a lift to arrive, and then we would find that it was already packed full. I would have to say that I used the stairs more often than the lifts as it was usually the only option (I wouldn't normally mind using the stairs, except I have a knee injury, and needed panadol and neurofen to help me to sleep each night because of this). The overcrowding (and lack of staff) was a problem thoughout the ship. Everything that you wanted to do, or buy, required a lengthy line up. The only (half) decent coffee on the ship (the free coffee tasted like dirt), was at the Cafe Promenade. Here the lines were up to 20 metres long, with only 2 staff serving (this counter also served the Ben and Jerry's ice cream and the soft drinks). The coffee was also not cheap at $5.95 American (do the conversion). We ended up buying our own coffee at the first port. I had also paid for a soft drink package on the ship, but barely used it, as being served at the understaffed bars took so long that it was just easier to get water from the windjammer. The windjammer was also a disappointment. In 14 days the food barely ever changed (only when they started running out of food towards the end of the cruise). Breakfast was exactly the same every morning, and there was the same food served for lunch as for dinner, and this had very few variances. I am vegetarian, and I basically ate either pasta and sauce with salad, or vegetable curry, for lunch and dinner for all 14 days! (We don't eat in the restaurant as my husband gets seasick in the closed in room. On our last cruise we found that the buffet was a nice option). Now to the (lack of) entertainment. This was the biggest gripe that I heard on board. Every single person I spoke to complained about how bad the entertainment was. My husband was very excited that with the refurbishment, they were installing a big screen on the deck. My husband is a smoker, and on our last cruise he spent many hours relaxing on the deck watching shows on the big screen. Well he was extremely disappointed! In the first 2 days all that was played on the screen was Spider-Man 2 (5 times), and after that, there was 2 movies a day (the same movie at 4pm & 8 pm), and very, very rarely they put something else on for 1/2 an hour. The rest of the time the screen had 'Welcome to Royal Caribbean' written on it! New Years Eve was also a big disappointment! I have seen videos online of other cruise lines throwing huge parties, with acrobat shows (and similar) on the deck and was looking forward to what they would do (I really should have known better by then, as it was 3 days into the cruise!) Well, we went to the deck early to get a good seat, sat there for two hours, and at midnight we got a glass of champagne, a countdown from 20 and some popped streamers! Apparently in the promenade they had balloons! A band played on into the night, but that was it! The nightly shows were also lousy (the few that there was). A Rod Stewart impersonator who cleared the room, a very unfunny comedian, a classical pianist (not everyone's cup of tea), a boring hypnotist (spent most of his time on stage hypnotising people and ran out of time to do much else). The 3D theatre showed the same 2 shows for the entirety of the cruise, and although the ice show was brilliant, there was only one show performed 5 times to accommodate all the passengers. The trivia was in the very small bar areas and the larger Star theatre was unused for a large amount of time. Most of the 'things to do' on the cruise compass involved drinking, gambling or other ways to take our hard earned cash. To finish, I'd like to say that Never Again will we sail with Royal Caribbean, and my husband says that if he'd seen a P & O ship passing by, he would have jumped overboard and swum to it!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We went on a 10 night Christmas cruise sailing from Fremantle to Bali and back again with a large family group. We had our 2 year old son with us and found the boat to be less than suitable even though we called and asked first. We knew in ... Read More
We went on a 10 night Christmas cruise sailing from Fremantle to Bali and back again with a large family group. We had our 2 year old son with us and found the boat to be less than suitable even though we called and asked first. We knew in advance there was no kids club and organized ourselves with craft and toys to keep him entertained. Honestly it was hard work. There were five children on board and only two high chairs, so meal times were a battle for the high chair. The outdoor pool is VERY deep and has only a ladder for entry / exit which was fine for our boy but none of the other children. The food was the same, day after day. Certainly not gourmet. I think they mainly cater for the elderly which is fair enough because that is 90% of the passengers. There is no babysitting available at all so every evening we had to retire at 7.00pm with our son. We did stay out one evening until 9.00pm, and the cabaret show featured fire jugglers - despite the constant warnings of the risks of fire on board. The curtains in the cabin may as well not be there, they do not block out any light at all. If you are not an early riser, make sure you book an inside cabin. Be sure to book a cabin in the centre of the boat, we were up the front and averaged three hours sleep a night. The rocking and noise was unbearable. Every time we hit a wave it was like a cannon going off. Our family in the middle of the boat didn't experience any rocking or noise though. We had to take our own bed rail for our son (they don't supply them) so make sure you get one before you go. Be sure to take your own pillow. I have never had a neck complaint in my life but after three nights sleeping on their pillows I had to visit the Hospital and have injections for the pain, and two physio visits since I got back. They didn't have any other pillows available. The staff were fantastic. Our cabin manager was brilliant and our room was always spotless. If you wanted to make it a "Booze Cruise" they offered a drinks package for $28 per person per day, where it was all you could drink house wines (which were actually very nice), spirits and cocktails. You had to sign up for the whole duration and everyone in your cabin had to sign up. The organized activities throughout the day were very popular and well attended, not suitable for kids though. The staff tried to organize one activity a day for the kids but it never worked out very well - they had one glue stick and one pair of scissors for five kids to share etc etc. I would rate this cruise honestly as two/three star, there is nothing wrong with that as long as you pay accordingly so wait until you get a good deal. It is not luxurious and not suitable for kids. Also, we packed our four bottles of duty free purchased on board in our luggage to be taken off by the porters, two bottles were smashed when we collected our baggage and there was not a soul to be found to report it to once off the boat and through customs. Pack very carefully anything they are moving for you! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I boarded Queen Elizabeth in Southampton on December 23rd and spent Christmas and New Year on board before returning to Southampton Jan 6th.2015. I then crossed to Hamburg and back before setting off on my half of the World Cruise Jan ... Read More
I boarded Queen Elizabeth in Southampton on December 23rd and spent Christmas and New Year on board before returning to Southampton Jan 6th.2015. I then crossed to Hamburg and back before setting off on my half of the World Cruise Jan 10th., finally disembarking in Auckland on Feb 27th. Having enjoyed over 40 cruises to date, reaching Diamond Tier on both Seabourn and Cunard, I feel more than qualified to give a frank and fair review of my own experiences of the Queen Elizabeth My first cruise on the ship was in April 2014 from Dubai to Southampton and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. However, I did decide that April that my next trip would be in a Club Class cabin in order that I would dine in the splendid and comfortable surroundings of the elegant Club Restaurant. There I recently enjoyed over 2 months of wonderful service. The Maitre'd Tetiana was first class. Elegant, attentive and charming. As were my server Lhea and Sommelier Miroslav. 3 top professionals who all went to great lengths to ensure that my every wish was catered for. On the first night, I requested bread sticks.These were brought immediately and presented on my table every night without further reminders. Miroslav's knowledge of wines, plus him charm and humour were exemplary and between us I explored a wonderful wine selection throughout my cruise. Personally, I found the Eastern European staff to be mainly very good. Of course, some are better than others and this applies to ALL nationalities, but '' you'll never please.............'' Due to the high number of cruises I have enjoyed on Seabourn, one of the world's top lines I am aware that standards are higher on that line. However, cost for cost, I find Cunard better value £ for £ I am booked again on the Elizabeth for 7 weeks starting November 18th and very much looking forward to embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The reason I chose the diamond princess was so I could escape all the madness that surrounds Christmas . So husband and three adult children set of and what a wonderful time it was. No worries about what to eat on Christmas Day, who's ... Read More
The reason I chose the diamond princess was so I could escape all the madness that surrounds Christmas . So husband and three adult children set of and what a wonderful time it was. No worries about what to eat on Christmas Day, who's house to go to, who to invite, who not to offend. The most relaxing and enjoyable Christmas for a long time. Food is in abundant, shows entertainment and organised activities are plenty, but also time to relax as much as you want also. The cruise staff are a pleasure to watch in action and certainly make you feel special . Nothing is too much trouble for the wait staff and again they are in abundance . recommend this cruise for anyone with children as again they have young clubs on there and all day activities. Most of the children on board were well behaved some got a little bit loud at times. The best thing was having no internet connection so everyone you met on decks did not have their face in a phone so had to make conversation with you and look you in the eye. Recommend to anyone.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
After sailing with other cruise lines in the past and having a blast, we decided to sail with Princess for the first time due to the itinery they offered over the holiday period. Biggest mistake I have ever made. I don't normally ... Read More
After sailing with other cruise lines in the past and having a blast, we decided to sail with Princess for the first time due to the itinery they offered over the holiday period. Biggest mistake I have ever made. I don't normally complain and have spent just as much time writing raving reviews on here about our other great cruises, but this was a disaster. We checked our bags in at the luggage drop off at 10 am and went and did some final shopping in Auckland and then checked in to the ship at 12pm. Check in and embarkation was quick and smooth. 2 of our three bags arrived sporadically throughout the day. Cabins are much smaller than we are used to and showers are tiny so don't even think about this ship if your a bigger person. 6 pm and our bag still hadn't arrived. After several requests to our cabin steward and the ship due to leave the dock I was told "don't worry" by our steward with quite a bit of attitude. As the ship was pulling out I call the steward to ask him to find out if my bag was at least on the ship, to this again the response I got was "don't worry". At this stage I was worried and was fed up with his flippant attitude and asked him to find my bag as this was the luggage that had all of our clothing. No more than 2 minutes later there was a knock on our stateroom door where our cabin steward was standing with our missing bag which he felt the need to throw at me and walk off without saying a word. I was dumbfounded, and contacted passenger services to complain about what had happened. And we hadn't even left the heads yet. Let's just say the service didn't get any better. The ship ran out of white wine on day 2 of a 12 day Christmas new year cruise. Most of the bars closed at 7pm and others didn't open till 5 forcing you to walk half the ship to get a drink. One afternoon I was in the Churchill lounge reading a book and felt like a drink so had to go to the casino as it was the closest bar open and asked for a glass of Pino Grigio. The girl behind the bar quite sharply responded " we don't have any" and after looking me up and down added " the only bottle of white wine we have here is $70 a bottle", as if I couldn't afford it. As we were travelling with my partners family we decided to try Vivaldi's on night 2, the head waiter was extremely rude and denied us entry to a half empty restaurant because we were on anytime dining. Last I was led to believe anytime dining means "anytime". We did find out later that Vivaldi's is the only restaurant on board that has a policy of anytime starting at 8:15pm, however the waiter should have handled it much better. All the staff with very few exceptions, seemed like it was an effort and a hindrance to carry out the simplest of tasks. Christmas Day was a non event apart from Santa being in the atrium for 2 hours for the kids in the morning there was nothing special organised. Christmas lunch was had in the buffet and the only thing that even made it slightly Christmassy was sliced ham. Dinner was a bit better with sliced turkey and pudding in the dining rooms, which made a few people on the ship, including me, sick. The choice of food was non existent throughout the cruise and felt like we ate the same things for 12 whole days and the anytime dining rooms all served the same food, which we found out later is not normally the case. The dining rooms were also extremely hot and overheard severally passengers complain. The wait staff were clumsy and frequently got orders wrong. We did, however, participate in the chefs table, which I would highly recommend as it's well worth the money. New Year's Eve also bearley happened. The top decks were blocked off from about 8 pm so no acces to the forward smoking area was allowed and all of the outdoor bars closed at 7pm. We thought we'd try sabatinis (a $25 per head specialty Italian restaurant) for New Years. Food was good but found out later that evening that the same menu was served in the anytime dining rooms at no extra charge so I would like to know what we paid the extra for. The only thing organised was a ballon drop which went off early so we missed it. The atmosphere was less than celebratory. The only place to go was skywalkers nightclub which again was way to hot and the crew pretty much took over the club once their shifts finished. It was the first New Years ever that I bearley made the countdown before I went to bed, extremely disappointed. The entertainment onboard is certainly left to be desired, if you could find it at all. There was nothing on the open decks and the quality of what was available was ammiature. For the first time ever we actually considered disembarking early. The final straw for us was on the last night. I cracked my head open getting into the pool. After having it attended to by a paramedic and being told it only required a few band aids, woke up the next morning to a blood soaked pillow. I went down to the medical centre to have it looked at before disembarking to be greeted with " oh YOUR the guy from last night" with a snide tone. After being assessed by the nurse, who was one of the few polite people on board the doctor came in and assesed the wound. Never before have I been judged so much in my life. After a clean up and some steri strips the head of security came in. Let me tell you this guy needs a job in Guantanamo Bay. Falling short of calling me a lier, he stormed out and slammed the door. I have never been so humiliated in my life. Oh and they charged me $200 for the experience. This was the worst holiday of my life and will never travel with Princess Ever again, and if you want to enjoy your holiday that you spend your hard earned money on, I suggest you don't either. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We arrived in Auckland 3 days early to look around and was not disappointed it is a lovely place, come time to board the ship I was a little disappointed in the time and conditions that it took to get aboard very slow and very hot and ... Read More
We arrived in Auckland 3 days early to look around and was not disappointed it is a lovely place, come time to board the ship I was a little disappointed in the time and conditions that it took to get aboard very slow and very hot and uncomfortable , but once on board things started to change the cabin was great quite roomy and the décor was lovely very quite no noise at all even one rough night of weather and very little wind noise. The staff are fantastic right down to the lads that attend to the toilets they are so happy go lucky they truly enhance the trip our dining staff were so good I had my head waiter choose my meals for me and I was never disappointed. If I have a sour note I felt the entertainment left a bit to be desired the theatre shows were very average compared to other cruises that I have been on I walked out on three shows and I have never done that before, the smaller acts around the ships bars and so forth were quite good it was just the main entertainment. Specialty dinning was lovely Silks was a little spicy for my taste but the two others were great over all yes I would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We were 2 of group of 6 travellers, embarking on this ship was pleasant, friendly. Room availability with no hold up, luggage arrived 10 - 15 minutes later all good. ship is beautiful, very large, from memory 3,200 passengers, short ... Read More
We were 2 of group of 6 travellers, embarking on this ship was pleasant, friendly. Room availability with no hold up, luggage arrived 10 - 15 minutes later all good. ship is beautiful, very large, from memory 3,200 passengers, short version; room staff were excellent, wait staff in dining were also excellent, food 90% of the time in restaurant was great(needs a little more variety) based on this little information cruise was well worth the experience. OK! Windjammer Cafe very unimpressed; food for 99% of cruise was attractive but very cold every day same variety(none) if you venture to grill part of Windjammer you could have fresh cooked eggs & omelets for breakfast, Lunch salads were best choice (limited variety though) & dinner again if you chose grill for this you could have pasta cooked in front of you. We only dined there for dinner twice.(thought we would give them a 2nd chance to heat food & offer a variety, but no.)Staff in Windjammer were limited in helping with any request, very unhygenic tables were alway sticky to touch. Persons Desk on the few times asking for some assistance was difficult as they struggled with interpretation of your request & not having information on what was asked of them without having to ask someone else. These people are trained for this position & still don't know!. Entertainment on this ship (shows, etc) were great, well done & ice show excellent. other daytime entertainment i thought was limited & most of the time too short with little variation. to be cont. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My husband and I have just returned from our Sydney-New Zealand cruise. Holland American Line were very professional and provided excellent service. The Oosterdam is a beautiful ship that offered dining in the Vista (either open dining or ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from our Sydney-New Zealand cruise. Holland American Line were very professional and provided excellent service. The Oosterdam is a beautiful ship that offered dining in the Vista (either open dining or fixed seating), an italian restaurant and the Pinnacle. All offered excellent meals and a great choice of meals. We really looked forward to the Christmas meal however it was a bit disappointing. However they excelled on News Years Eve. I would recommend prepurchasing the drinks package. We found the Navigator Package with 7 bottles of wine lasted the 14 nights. Staff will store your wine for the next night if you don't drink it all. We knew the Holland American Line would have an older demographic, however we were surprised how many elderly people were on board. All with their walkers etc, which did slow things down at times. For the family Christmas cruise there were 152 children on board - I think I saw a total of 8 children - they were occupied in the HAL children's club. Entertainment was excellent and there were so many activities on ship that we couldn't do them all. Would strongly recommend purchasing the verdandah rooms on the Port side to enjoy entering each Port when going from Sydney - New Zealand. Think about which direction your ship sails so that you can enjoy the land views as you enter each harbour. Very informative staff on each port with a lot of information provided. However do your research as you may still pick up better deals on line rather than through the cruiseline. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was the first cruise we had had as a family and with friends and other family members joining us it made this Christmas vacation even more special. We chose to have a junior suite which made getting on the ship so easy and extremely ... Read More
This was the first cruise we had had as a family and with friends and other family members joining us it made this Christmas vacation even more special. We chose to have a junior suite which made getting on the ship so easy and extremely fast(highly recommend if you want to avoid the long ques). First impressions when arriving at the wharf in Sydney was OMG the ship is huge and so spectacular sitting just metres from the roadway. Once on board it was like entering a palace, the Radiance is beautiful and of course we had the added bonus of the Christmas decorations and massive Christmas tree in the centrum. The room was great, plenty of space and the bathroom and wardrobe were better than we imagined. The beds are huge and the balcony offers a great view. In the room we had a fold out couch for my two children and there was still room to move around the cabin with this set up. The room was attended as often as we requested and our room attendant Dennis was top notch, nothing was too much trouble, a credit to RCCL. Speaking of the staff, firstly Ive mentioned how much care and detail the deck 10 room attendants take, most of my family were on deck 8 and they commented that their attendants were just as dedicated as ours were. In the bars around the ship there were plenty of happy faces and never any problems getting served a cocktail or 3. In particular Terry in the Quill and Compass was terrific and a nice guy to chat with. Of course our favourite place on the ship was the Schooner Bar were we were served by Jay. He is amazing and one of the nicest people you could ever meet. He went out of his way to not only keep us happy but any request we made for a drink for the kids was no trouble. He is the absolute best and RCCL you had better hold on to him. Our Dinning room waiters were polite and entertaining, the kids were well looked after and the quality of food was of a very high standard. In fact we had no complaints with any of the food available in the many restaurants and cafes and the tables were maintained and cleaned regularly by all the staff working in them. The entertainment was everywhere whether it be some easy listening to someone playing the piano, live music on the pool deck right through to the special guests they had performing twice a night in the theatre. The quality was very good and the dance shows although not quite as spectacular did still provide a good level of entertainment. To add to the entertainment on the ship, The Captain was fantastic, very informative and often could be seen walking around and talking to passengers. My wife and I didn't use the pools although our children managed every day, they were a little crowded which was to be expected as the weather was beautiful during the cruise. I managed to use the gym facilities quite a few times and they are first class, plenty of equipment and hygiene is a strong point right through Radiance Of The Seas so you never felt uncomfortable using the machines available. Of course with all the good there were some bad, well not really bad but the ports we stopped at were a bit disappointing. We tendered off Airlie Beach and Cairns and stopped in a working dock in Brisbane miles from the city which offered little or no views to admire. The tenders were free and the welcomes at the docks were great from the locals but the shuttle buses required to get into the towns were extremely overpriced and I feel that they should have been included in your cruise rather than an extra expense. In all honesty knowing what I do now I would have stayed on board rather than visit the towns for just a few hours. Newcastle was an exception. Although the ship docked in a working port, the shuttle bus was supplied for free and we were pleasantly surprised what an interesting place it was to visit. To add to this all the locals lined the shores as we arrived and left waving which made you feel that little bit more special. Disembarking at Sydney was so quick and smooth it made the ending of a fun holiday that little bit easier to handle. The people at the international terminal in Circular Quay do a great job. Overall our experience on the ship was fantastic and would not hesitate to take another vacation on The radiance Of the Seas and highly recommend others to give them a try. We hope to experience more of RCCL in the coming years and to receive their high standard of passenger comfort and service again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My wife and myself decided to leave all of the work of Christmas and new year and let somebody else do all of the work to somebody else. Finding this cruise was by accident whilst surfing the net for particular travel destinations rather ... Read More
My wife and myself decided to leave all of the work of Christmas and new year and let somebody else do all of the work to somebody else. Finding this cruise was by accident whilst surfing the net for particular travel destinations rather than seeking out Costa as a cruise of choice. Having never been on a Costa ship and the deal being ever so good, we took the plunge and booked the cruise thinking that an Australian-New Zealand cruise would see many other English speaking guests embark at Melbourne and enjoy a Christmas and New Year break at sea. That was not so as the total passenger numbers totalled approximately only 800 (can carry approx 1800), the majority being made up of Italian (it is an Italian cruise liner after all), French, German and Russian passengers. A significant number of these passengers could not speak or did not try or want to speak English. This was a bit disappointing. Still trying to be positive just after sailing and trying to engage with other passengers with our limited Italian or French speaking skills, we soon formed the opinion that we were a hindrance to some passengers who perhaps wished us not to be on board. An Italian speaking Australian passenger, travelling with her husband and friends advised us she was mortified by some of the comments made by some Italian passengers in their language that were very derogative to non European travellers. I suppose that is the risk you take when taking a cruise on a ship with full prior knowledge of English not being the primary language. Our cruise commenced in Melbourne, Australia and believe it or not the compulsory lifeboat training drill was at 1.00am in the morning of the first day of departure. Absolutely ridiculous and these sentiments where echoed by all and sundry who presented their required attendance card to staff who marked you off as attending. Those that did not attend promptly were identified and found in their cabins and marched to their stations. There certainly was an assortment of clothing attire ranging from bedtime wear to suits. Quite amazing picking that time to do a drill. It was an unusual cruise atmosphere for us and apart from the ability to veg out for 21 days reading or sleeping, their was very little else to do on board. This ship has no theatre having been removed during the recent refit and replaced with a lavish day spa type area where you apparently can pamper yourself silly for an exorbitant fee. Over all our experience of the Costa Line and this ship was quite poor. The meals in the dining room were good to average. The cafeteria meals were poor to average. The staff though were attentive and tried their best. Smoking on board the ship is woeful and it was very unusual to see Senior and Junior ships staff, smoking, drinking coffee and cool drink (hopefully) in lounges in full view of paying passengers. This is the first time we have seen this done. Personally, we do not think that is professional. To the ships credit, the costly refit has been done well, but again the rocking and rolling of the ship with associated creaking sounds is a bit disconcerting and irritating. Not having free tea and coffee and cold/hot water available 24hrs a day is also something new to us and although the coffee costs throughout the ship were 2 to 3 euro per tiny cup it just was not worth it. In summary, you pay for what you get but if I had paid a full fare to be on this cruise instead of the heavily discounted fare we got I would have been banging on someones door demanding my money back. My advice to English only speaking passengers intending to travel with Costa, think again or take language lessons prior to the cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Celebrity Solstice - Australia/New Zealand 12-23-2012 to 1/4/2013 12 night pacific cruise With over 20 cruises under my belt, I looked at this cruise as one of the ultimate cruises to go on. Coming from "The States", it is ... Read More
Celebrity Solstice - Australia/New Zealand 12-23-2012 to 1/4/2013 12 night pacific cruise With over 20 cruises under my belt, I looked at this cruise as one of the ultimate cruises to go on. Coming from "The States", it is not often that we get to travel so far. This was our first trip to Australia. This was also our first cruise on Celebrity. I had to say our expectations were pretty high for this trip. The cruise ship especially. In short, some areas surpassed while other areas fell short. Keep in mind that this was a holiday cruise with over 450 kids on the ship. Not the typical celebrity experience. Pre-cruise 12/19 We booked our cruise through a TA with insurance. We also booked our air through choice air. Choice air was very limiting for us. I would not use them again. Difficult to deal with when Qantas pulled out of Auckland for the LAX direct flight. You can get better deal going through the airlines directly. They also had changes without communication to us. Definitely no more Choice air for us. Since we were flying from Atlanta, we would most likely book Delta next time. Now, I have to say, the Qantas Airbus 380 was an amazing plane. We flew from ATL to LAX on delta. We stayed a night at the Marriott LAX. Wonderful hotel with free transfers. We did walk about 10 minutes to go to the In-and-out. Yum! We stayed a night in LA before our overnight flight to Sydney. 12/20 We got to rest up and enjoy some time in LA. We took the 10:00 flight out. Definitely pay for the upgrade to premium economy. It is worth it. Economy is a little bigger than our economy in the US, but still looked painful for a 15 hour flight. The service on the plane was fantastic. Could not asked for a better flight. It was a little bumpy during the night due to the airstreams, but still not bad. We skipped a day due to the international date line. 12/22 we landed in Sydney. We stayed at the Marriott Quay. (Pronounced "key") Very nice rooms. Easy access to everything in downtown Sydney. We booked the bridge climb a few months prior. The express climb, same climb, but less time to prep due to groups. An amazing experience that you should not pass up. We ate at Sydney Cafe. Wonderful view! Pricey. We rode the hop-on-hop off bus for a tour. We took the ferry over to the zoo and spent some time in the zoo. US credit cards were no issue. You also have Internet access in the hotel and at several of the coffee shops around. The hotel does have a US conversion power plug. The cruise ship is set up for the different types too. You will not need to buy one. 12/23 the hotel held our bags. We took a tour of the Opera House. You definitely need to see this. Amazing. If possible, book a show. There are 5 theaters in the opera house. Concert hall is the biggest, followed by the opera hall. There are three other smaller venues too. We got back to the hotel and took a cab over to the ship. It is a relatively short walk to the ship if everyone can carry their bags. Once we checked in at the ship... We went back out to finish our time in Sydney. 12/24 the ship was still in port. We took a full day excursion to the blue mountains. It is a long drive out to the mountains. It is very pretty. I reminded me of the blue ridge mountains. The steep train ride was fun. The view of the cliff, three sisters, etc was nice. Not sure if it was worth the price. I probably would of done more in the city. If you have not seen mountains, I would recommend it. If you have seen the Grand Canyon, then skip it. We got back late to the ship while the safety drill was going. This was not a problem since we booked through the cruise line directly. Since we missed the drill, we had to go down for a 20 minute presentation the next day. We left out and had a beautiful journey from the dock. The cruise.... The ship: Celebrity knows how to build unique and beautiful modern ships. The Solstice is in excellent maintenance. The carpets are in nice shape. Very little signs of wear and tear. The feel is very modern and crisp. Stateroom Our room was on the 11th floor - room 1596. Our other family members had the room next door 1594. This floor is the Aqua class. We actually received the upgrade as a very nice gift from our family. There are no kids on this deck. You get free access to Blue dining room. You get daily water and teas in your room daily. Special soaps etc. You also get access to the front spa relaxation room at the front of the ship on the same floor. The rooms were not any bigger than the standard balconies. Is it worth it, maybe for some. You do not get any discounts for the spa. You get a nice coupon book with some goodies in it though. We used the discounted laundry service twice. The storage in the room is pretty good. There are other ships with more storage from a room this size. The interactive system on the TV is the best. Lots of recently released movies that are free and available. The balconies are larger on this ship. Nice balcony with table, 2 adjustable chairs with footrests. The view is a little limited for this floor due to the overhang that goes across. Good coverage for rain though. When you are taking photos, it can get in your way. Noise in the rooms are less due to no kids. The only problem is the pool deck is above you. There will be foot traffic and sliding chairs during the early evening and mornings. Not real bad, but if this bothers you, you may want to move down a floor or two. Deck 11 is the top floor for rooms. The bump outs in the aqua class may be a better choice if you do not want the obstruction. Our room attendant was amazing, one of the best. No issues there. This met my standards for the aqua class on Celebrity. Dining rooms Ocean View cafe - this is their version of the Lido/Windjammer. This is one area that Celebrity let me down. There was no difference from this versus the many other cruise lines out there. Service was lacking here. I wish cruise lines would improve this area. They need to learn from Disney on this. Allure of the Seas is the only other ship that seemed to master this. Wait times for special foods could be reduced with more staffing. Clean-up and table service cold be improved also with more employees. They do have a bar in here so you can get quick access. We purchased a soda card. We got cans of soda with ease directly from the bars. Line cutting here seems to be a little bit of problem. You can stand there and be the next in line, yet someone walks up and they take care of them first. Come on Celebrity, you are better than that! Improve your table service. More people making drinks and more people serving drinks would help. Also, the employees here do not seem to be very happy. I saw several times where employees were arguing with other employees. That is not good. Work as a team folks. Food quality was pretty good. Best pizza out of all the major lines. Wow! Pasta bar is great, but the service is very slow. Great salads! More variety with desserts. Great ice cream and gelatos! The oriental chicken need to be improved. The fajitas are good, but you need better taco meat etc. Please improve your Mexican food station. Much better with Allure. Blue dining room - not impressed. Service was severely lacking. You had to wait to be seated during the busier times. It is all first come first serve with different servers that are killed with several tables. One time, we asked three times for a drink. This is the worse part of the ship in my view. It should be a highlight. A star for those who book Aqua Class or Suites. I got an excuse that it was due to the different cultures eating at different times than the western cultures. Adapt, compromise, adjust... Staff up and fix this. The food was better in the main dining room. Main dining room - wonderful. Charles was our matre'd. He was fantastic. He worked us in with some amazing servers. You would ask for something flexible, and they would not blink. They would serve it. Wow. Wonderful service that met my expectations of Celebrity. The food quality was very good. The drink service was fantastic. No issues here. Specialty Restaurants - wonderful choices. Our favorite that we ate at twice was The Tuscan. It is an Italian inspired steak house. These Omaha steaks were absolutely amazing. Cooked to order with perfection every time. When the place got busy, the service did from down some. Samuel, the manager, took care of anything we needed. Alexander was a terrific server. Need more dessert options. Bar service - overall, the bar service is pretty good. Easy access to drinks. The Ocean View cafe was the only area that needed improvement with this. Shopping - the shopping choices are pretty good. It is catered to the bigger spender. There are not many t-shirts, candy etc options. The art shows is a big part of the cruise. Your typical park west art auctions. Here is the deal, if you want to buy art... Just talk to them directly. They will bring out what they have and make you a deal. The best art we got were not purchased during the auctions. If they know you are serious, they will go out of their way to help you. Pools - easy access to pools and towels. You do not need to sign out for towels. They have plenty of them. The solarium is very nice. There are plenty of spas. The pools are well kept and open almost all of the time. Spa - pretty standard like all of the other cruise lines. The views in the massage rooms are not like Disney Dream or Allure/Oasis. Embarkation Easy process at the Sydney port. You check your bags. Tipped a few dollars. Walked in. The lines were not bad. Since we had two days in port, guests getting on the ship were spread out over the few days. Gratuities for the cruise were taken out each day as a daily rate. Not one big payment. Aussies do not tip typically. You need to stick with the auto deposit, pay the folks directly the same or more, or take Carnival that has a no tipping policy for their Australian cruises. These people live on tips. Seas were calm all cruise long. Even when we had larger waves, the stabilizers worked extremely well. No issues at all going over the Tasman Sea. Sea Day after embarkation - Formal night #1 Melbourne - pronounced Melbin. A very modern city. We took a tour of the city and the Animal Preserve. Great stop. Up close to the signature animals. Puffing Billy was a great train ride. Lots of flies at the winery lunch and visit. 2 Sea Days - Enjoyed the ship! Relaxed. Spa visit. Fjords and Sounds Day - Have your camera ready. Reminded me of Scotland and Alaska combined. Beautiful pictures - postcard views. Weather will vary, but still beautiful. Dunedin - pronounced "dun eat'n". A Scottish based city that we really enjoyed. We took a tour of the city, including the walk of the steepest street in the world - Baldwin St. A visit to the Botanical Gardens was nice. We booked a private tour through the Cadbury Factory in town. Wonderful. Lots of free Chocolate. The price was $16.00 each - somewhere around there. Book online ahead of time. It gets busy. Arkoa - (however you spell it) the replacement tender spot for Christchurch. The only tender spot. One of the prettiest port stops on the cruise. We took the very long bus ride up through the mountains. Lots of beautiful views. Then we travelled into the Alps. Saw a sheep show and ate lunch at a old ranch. We rode the train back down the mountain. Hobbits, Lord of the Rings, and Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe were filmed in these areas. Outstanding, but long day. Nice little town at the port to visit. Wellington - This is a very modern city. They are very proud of The Hobbit movie here. I believe the studios are nearby this town. We toured the city. The cable car up the side of the mountain was nice. This was followed up with a visit to Zealandia. A sort of Jurassic park that is trying to recapture what life was like before humans arrived. Great photo opportunities for nature and rare animals. Another nice day at sea. (Formal night #2 - only two for this cruise.) Tauranga - Our last day was a trip to the countryside to ride a jet boat! What a blast we had! You must do the river jet boat ride if you want a fun thrill. Everyone had so much fun. Kiwi capital of the world here. Lots of Kiwi all over. This is a retirement and vacation community with lots of beaches nearby. Lots of things to do here. I wish we had more time here. Auckland and debarkation - Our end to the cruise. Debarkation was very smooth. No issues. All sorts of options for times etc. Easy customs process. Luggage service was fine. the best part is that we stayed in the Hilton Hotel. The Hilton Hotel shares the same building as the terminal. You walk out. Take a right. Walk about 50 steps. You are at your hotel! Very pricey, but nice. Ask for the conversion if you need it. The wall outlet conversion in 220. the can give you a 110 transformer if you need one. Safer for smaller appliances. Auckland was a beautiful town. We went to the Japanese steak house across the street from the Ferry Building. The hotel service was top notch. Easy access to cabs for a ride the airport. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the airport. Early morning may only take 25-30 minutes. The airport process went smooth. Amazing international terminal with lots of shops in Sydney. We flew back to LAX via Sydney. Gained back a day. First time in my life where I left at 6:00 am on a Saturday, flew 22 hours (flights and holds), and arrive the same day at 6:20 am on the same Saturday. We stayed at the Marriott LAX again. We took a $25.00 cab ride to Manhattan Beach. We ate at an amazing restaurant called Rock'n Fish. Say hello to Matt for me. Tell him the Clemson folks from GA referred you. Matt is the GM for the location. Best seafood on the entire trip. Wonderful atmosphere. Please e-mail me if you have any questions. This is a once in a life time trip for most. Enjoy it! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012

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