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17 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Australia & New Zealand

already had completed two cruises on the sun princess and wanted to expierence a different ship,was very dissapointed with emerald princess in our opinion the sun princess expierence was a lot better,the layout of the emerald did not suit ... Read More
already had completed two cruises on the sun princess and wanted to expierence a different ship,was very dissapointed with emerald princess in our opinion the sun princess expierence was a lot better,the layout of the emerald did not suit us,the dining room meals did little to encourage you to return,we went to the dining room five times and the menu hardly altered.the waitress we had was very good and our other dining room guests we also very nice people we even recieved an invitation to visit one couple in anchorage alaska,the princess singers and dancers were out of date by a long we heard and agreed with many people complaining that the songs and dances they performed were very that old hardly anyone could relate to them,if it wasnt for the guest enternainers eg the sandman,the juggler and the guest singers i would have rated the entertainment terrible.we will never cruise on princess again and will advise friends to avoid princess cruising Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Our second NZ cruise. One different port ,Picton. Enjoyed onboard activities, did our own thing for tours, found most onboard offered tours too expensive. Food was excellent, we dined any time, buffet and dining room. Entertainment was ... Read More
Our second NZ cruise. One different port ,Picton. Enjoyed onboard activities, did our own thing for tours, found most onboard offered tours too expensive. Food was excellent, we dined any time, buffet and dining room. Entertainment was excellent and kept us amused. This was the largest cruise ship we have been on so we were surprised at the crowds when anything was on, ie, shopping sales, getting a coffee from the coffee shop etc. The theatre was always filling an hour before the show. You had to be quick to get decent seating. We were lucky with the weather as well. Port Chalmers (Duneden) was first port after Fiordlands cruise by. We were visiting the railway station for look see and found the SilverFern train ready to depart for a 90 minutes run up the coast for $50per head. Excellent value and very scenic. Okaroa was fantastic as usual, very popular. Picton was something new. Enjoyed the scenery and did a local area tour through iCenter. Napier was great. Did a local tour through iCenter. Tauranga ,we did the Hobbiton Movie Set tour through iCenter and it was $110 cheaper then ship board tour. Auckland we did own thing and went to Skytower . Bay of Islands we had fog so tenders delayed for an hour but we stayed extra hour in the afternoon. We did ferry to Russell and had lunch there. Overall, excellent cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Wanted to cruise from Australia and had never visited these areas. Started our holiday with two nights in Sydney at the Phillip Street Travelodge. Excellent location and easy to get to Cruise Port. We have previously cruised on the ... Read More
Wanted to cruise from Australia and had never visited these areas. Started our holiday with two nights in Sydney at the Phillip Street Travelodge. Excellent location and easy to get to Cruise Port. We have previously cruised on the Golden Princess out of San Pedro and this ship was very similar in size. It did seem a little more crowded at times but we always found plenty of areas to enjoy. We chose a balcony cabin on Caribe deck C623 and this was a great location with very little movement. Our stateroom steward looked after us well and always had a cheery greeting. We enjoyed most of the shows and trivia sessions and our choice of "anytime dining" suited us well. Mainly choosing to dine at 7.30pm we were often with the same people and there was lots of friendly chatter. The meals were not large but plenty of choices and we enjoyed them all. We chose to have breakfast in the Horizon Court and there were so many choices. Plenty of fresh fruit which I enjoy. A birthday on board was celebrated in style. There were two formal nights on our 11 night cruise and most people made an effort dress for these. We didn't take any of the organised tours this time, preferring to make our own arrangements when we arrived on the Islands. Always heaps of taxis at ports. Loved Mystery Island for swimming and also Champagne Bay, although we did have quite a wait here for the tender to take us out to the ship. Embarkation and disembarkation were quick and easy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Good cruise, ship of high quality appointments, entertainment good, weather a bit average, food good, service ok. Did this cruiser at a special price, half price deal, to celebrate Wedding anaversary, have been to the islands before, very ... Read More
Good cruise, ship of high quality appointments, entertainment good, weather a bit average, food good, service ok. Did this cruiser at a special price, half price deal, to celebrate Wedding anaversary, have been to the islands before, very humid weather, ok on the ship. Enjoyed overall cruise, stage shows and dancers were very good, entertainment staff were very good, all venues were good, art auctions were very average, very little room to sit in the Explorers Lounge, too many painting on show, could have been done in other venues on the ship, hosts very poor also. The Medical staff / Doctor save an elderly woman's life, with a blood transfusion during the night, 1 day out from Sydney, thanks from a call for help, for blood donors, from passengers, on the cruise. Amazing result from all concerned, along with a very great full husband, who was overwhelmed with the response, All ended well with the woman, delivered to Hospital in Sydney, when the ship docked. Now that's a great result, hope she recovers well. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We wanted a Cruise that would in compass New Zealand and Australia, Princess fitted the itinerary adequately. However although we enjoyed the cruise overall we felt that it didn't reach our expectations and lacked the little bit ... Read More
We wanted a Cruise that would in compass New Zealand and Australia, Princess fitted the itinerary adequately. However although we enjoyed the cruise overall we felt that it didn't reach our expectations and lacked the little bit extra appeal that might make us automatic returning customers. As this was our first Princess cruise we are not sure whether it was just this particular Ship Emerald or the general cruise line itself? The ship seemed difficult to find ones bearing at times and to get to specific area like the Share Restaurant and Adigo Bar. The dining arrangements were much the same as other cruise lines, we were anytime dining in the MichAelangelo restaurant. The food was good the menu was much the same every evening and was lacking in variety, the restaurant staff lacked etiquette at times and would clear your plate before your partner had finished their meal something I would expect in the Horizon Restaurant which in fact was the exact opposite. Both Speciality Restaurants the Crown Grill and Share were enjoyable and made up for the disappointment in the other restaurants. Everything about Horizon restaurant was terrible probably the worst we have accounted. We did book some excursions and these were good but heavily over priced as normal for cruise lines, however the debacle at Gisborne with the tenders due to the rough waters leaves a lot to be desired, not that anything could have been done about the weather and safety was paramount but the the lack of water, shelter and basic information to let people know what's going on was poor. We found that thoroughout the cruise the lack of visibility of ship officers was noticeable compared to other ships which seemed odd particularly when things might be going wrong and safety might be of some concern. Like the Tender debacle mentioned above, people standing all the way up on either side of staircases whilst watching or listening to events in the Auditorium during rough sees us only asking for an accident to occur it was probably by sheer luck nothing occurred. Oddly the announcement over the ships intercom warning people to hold on to rails during rough sees seemed pointless if they are obstructed as I mentioned above. Overall we had a good cruise not great it could have been considerably better but this was lacking on this particular Princess Ship, not sure we will try Princess again it would have to have a spectacular destination and itinerary and probably a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I chose this cruise because it has been on my list of places to visit all my life. I am a gardener and have always heard of the unique horticulture in New Zealand and Australia. Staying one night at lovely affordable Crown Plaza Hotel near ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it has been on my list of places to visit all my life. I am a gardener and have always heard of the unique horticulture in New Zealand and Australia. Staying one night at lovely affordable Crown Plaza Hotel near the port in Auckland I had plenty of time to see the city and prepare for the cruise. The embarkation process was one of the smoothest processes ever. The port was so easy to get to using Uber and everyone was so kind and helpful. I have cruised on the Emerald a couple of times and was not disappointed on this one either. The chef is excellent and prepares the most delicious foods. The activities onboard and excursions were fun. I visited some of the ports on my own which saved money since I knew what I wanted to see. I visited Christchurch in Akara thru the ship tours since we still cannot dock there due to the earthquake damage to the docks several years ago. It was worth every dime. I had a comfortable balcony cabin on deck 14 mid-ship. It was quiet and close to everything. The service was top notch by all the crew. I stayed 3 days afterward in Sydney which was plenty of time to see the sights. I bought a Opal Card and traveled all over public transportation (subway, train, bus, ferries) for 40.00. This cruise is much too far for me to do again since I live in the US. But, it is very popular among Australians and New Zealanders. I spoke to some of them that had done this same cruise as many as 10 times. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Going to New Zealand and Australia was a big "bucket list" thing. The Princess cruise/land tour was awesome. We booked an inside cabin since we had mostly port days and spent the day at the Sanctuary during the Fiordland ... Read More
Going to New Zealand and Australia was a big "bucket list" thing. The Princess cruise/land tour was awesome. We booked an inside cabin since we had mostly port days and spent the day at the Sanctuary during the Fiordland cruising. It more than met our expectations. We used Princess excursions because we have found that they have already screened their vendors for the most reliable and knowledgable guides. We once used a van off the pier on a stop on a Panama cruise and the tour guide did not provide any admittance to venues and after fact checking some of the information I found he made things up as he went along. My time is to precious for me to waste so I won't short change myself again and waste my precious time to save a few dollars. The excursions from the ship are now memories I cherish. The land tour in Australia, The Ultimate Outback, had us being cared for as VIPs. We came home knowing we had the best experience possible for the time we had there. The representative/tour guide managed everything for us at every stop. Our rooms were high quality and the meals that were included were wonderful. I came home knowing so much about the Ausie and Aborigine cultures. It was also fun staying at The Four Seasons in Sydney, because I never book five stars. We were able to get extra time through Princess at their rate. Since it is a lot of effort to get from the USA to that part of the world this cruise is a way to make the most of your time and experience the unique part of the world down under. If you have time for the land tour it will be icing on the cake. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was a cruise that has been on our bucket list for years. We took the Princess Cruisetour. Land tour of Australia and then cruised New Zealand. Do land tour first because it is a very active tour. You get a couple days rest after on ... Read More
This was a cruise that has been on our bucket list for years. We took the Princess Cruisetour. Land tour of Australia and then cruised New Zealand. Do land tour first because it is a very active tour. You get a couple days rest after on Cruise ship. We were a bit disappointed that Princess changed the itinerary on the Land tour portion of Australia 6 weeks before we cruised. We missed a Port Douglas and we were looking forward to seeing it. The Land tour was still fantastic. We had the most wonderful tour guide- Melissa who kept us on time and was a wealth of information. Keep in mind November to April is the rainy season but still the best time to go , especially in the North with the rain forests. We lucked out and the rain it rained twice while we were traveling on the bus. The land tour has 4 flights so you are up early a couple days and fly in late one evening. Ayers Rock was nice to see but it was a lot of travel time to see a large rock in the desert. They were having the most rain ever recorded in the Outback so it was very green when we were there. We stayed at Shangri La Hotel in Cairns. Very nice hotel and the marina was on the door step so you walked to the Catamaran to take us to the Great Barrier reef. The New Zealand cruise was very nice. The Ship was again in very good shape and we sailed in February when all the Kids from Australia and New Zealand were back in school from Summer vacation. Don't sail during their summer vacation. (Mid Dec to Late January. It will be crowded with kids. A couple of nights the entertainment was not up to Princess standards. The remaining nights were very good and more in line with Princess standards. All the pools were closed for first 5 days at sea for maintenance. Very poor planning by Princess. They should have closed one pool at a time. Keep in mind that the weather is pretty cool at sea 14 - 18 Celsius until you reach Picton. We loved Tasmania. We toured the Mount Field National Park & Russell Falls . If you can, start at the top of mountain and tour the giant trees and then you walk down stairs to Russel Falls. Otherwise you have a long climb to get to top. Also Bonorong Sanctuary is a must see. You get to pet and feed the Wallabies and Kangaroos. Lots of other animals native to Australia. We ended up missing two ports because of heavy fog. Dunedin and Akaroa. It made 5 days at sea so everyone was anxious to get off the ship when we finally docked at Picton. We took the Marlborough’s Rural Heartland Tour with MOLESWORTH tour . The lunch was fabulous, we stopped at Oak Tree Cottage that served private functions. We also got to stop at a Winery . We did not find Napier very interesting. Te Mata Peak was nice and we did stop at a winery. We heard the Cape Kidnappers tour was nice. Unless you are an Art Deco fan I would skip this tour. One of our favorite stops was at Tauranga. The Tamaki Maori Village and the Rotorua Te Puia Thermal Reserve. The Geysers and mud pools were fascinating. The Tamaki Maori show was great. We booked our tour with Amazing Day Tours. Bruce was a fantastic tour guide. Bruce is sometimes able to get one of the men in his tour selected as "Chief for the day" which is fun and gets your group front row seats for the show. We ended cruise at Auckland and had booked our flights through Princess. It was much cheaper and they took very good care of us & luggage. If you book air with Princess they do not let you choose your ship departure time.The only negative is you are at the airport before 10:30 AM ( Sometimes earlier) and most flights are between 3 pm & 8 pm. If you book air with Princess make sure you go to front desk 4 days before cruise ends and request as late a departure as possible. Usually around 9:20 AM otherwise they will give you a 7:35 AM departure which makes a very long day at airport. Even with a couple missed stops this was a very good tour & cruise. I would highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose Princess Lines because we were not happy with another cruise line we had sailed on twice before and this time we were definitely not disappointed . Embarkation and disembarkation was well organised and staff were friendly .We ... Read More
We chose Princess Lines because we were not happy with another cruise line we had sailed on twice before and this time we were definitely not disappointed . Embarkation and disembarkation was well organised and staff were friendly .We chose a balcony cabin ,mid ship on Aloha Deck which suited our needs perfectly . Good size cabin and balcony and bathroom was adequate . Loved the clothes storage ,plenty of shelves and hanging space . The cabin was super clean and looked after very well by our friendly steward . In fact the whole ship was kept in immaculate condition , not a speck of dust anywhere ! Emerald Princess is a magnificient ship and is well maintained. As on most cruise ships anytime dining is a bit hit and miss , we have decided when we cruise again we will use traditional dining as then you can be sure of a table ! Food was good and plentiful and we enjoyed the buffet even though it was difficult to find a seat on most occasions . We did visit a specialty restaurant on two occasions and we found the service , food etc excellent , our only problem was that the meals were too large ! Entertainment was mediocre but this is expected now on cruise ships and the usual activities were provided . The gym was excellent with a lot of equipment and all well maintained .Had a visit to the hairdresser and came away completely satisfied .Bar service was excellent especially at the Explorer Bar . Our only problem on this cruise was that some drinks were charged to our account even though we had a drinks package and these were drinks which were not purchased by us . Also two airport transfers were charged incorrectly to our account . My husband and I wasted a lot of time sorting this out with a customer service staff member .We enjoyed all our ports in New Zealand .We were unable to cruise in Milford Sound due to a accident to a staff member on the ship and we were held up in Dunedin but the Captain kept us well informed of the situation at all times . It was a pleasure to cruise on this wonderful ship . Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We had a good time but the ports were a disappointment despite having visited them before. We took this cruise because we had such a good time on a similar itinerary a year ago. We had to skip Mystery Island. It was too rough for the ship ... Read More
We had a good time but the ports were a disappointment despite having visited them before. We took this cruise because we had such a good time on a similar itinerary a year ago. We had to skip Mystery Island. It was too rough for the ship to get into the bay....The fault of the weather? I question that because the Emerald skipped it last time it was here too. Either the ship is too large for this port or the captain overly cautious. On Liffou (spelling?) we walked to Jenik Bay only to learn that you had to buy tickets for the reef on the ship. I watch the program on the port twice and np mention was made of this change. We were here a year ago and the tickets were cheaper and available at the Bay. It would have taken too long to buy tickets and return. We were not alone in our disappointment. Noumea continues to baffle me- why stop here? Lack luster port! I was also disappointed I the dining room food. The food was good but seldom great. re they trying to push people to the up-charge restaurants? On of Princesses signature dished Fettuccini Alfrado has been change by the dropping of the cheese baskets, disappointing many guests. BRING IT BACK! The dessert selection was very limited. Only one dessert was so good that I declared it banned from my kitchen because I would not be able to leave it alone. As usual, most staff were wonderful, with a few less than such, but when you work such long hours under high pressure to be perfect, who can blame them for being human? Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Yes, there were long queues at embarkation but it's a world wide issue as port authorities ignore the need to rethink the embarkation process/facilities. All cruise lines are limited by the design of the terminals. Port authorities ... Read More
Yes, there were long queues at embarkation but it's a world wide issue as port authorities ignore the need to rethink the embarkation process/facilities. All cruise lines are limited by the design of the terminals. Port authorities need to allow for multiple entry points to the ships instead of funnelling thousands of passengers into one entry point. Enough said. Once on board, the Princess crew were all over the place providing assistance to locate our cabins. Food was already being served and it never stopped for the eleven days we were on board. The decor on the Emerald Princess is tasteful and subdued with a mix of many shades of blues and browns but lacking a little pizzazz. Nonetheless all areas and venues are clean and comfortable. Our mini-suite (D526) was immaculately clean and our cabin steward couldn't have been more helpful and responsive to our requests. As cabins go our mini-suite was very spacious and comfortable. When selecting the cabin, we didn't realise the balcony was open/visible to the decks above but worse, there was no relief from the sun. We did change the pillows for smaller ones as the standard ones were so big and luxurious we were almost smothered as our heads descended into pillow overload. The air-con all over the ship was on the cold side for my liking so make sure you take some longer sleeved items and a cardi/jacket. Of course you can buy on board! We didn't bother with the specialty dining venues (at additional cost) as the food in the main dining rooms was perfectly fine. A few misses but in the main, the options were many and varied and well cooked and presented. Still amazed at the precision and quality considering the number of passengers. We chose "anytime dining" and shared tables at lunch and dinner and we met many delightful people, some of whom we will keep in touch with. Great staff in the dining rooms too. We are not fans of buffets but when in port, it's the main eating venue on board. Food was fine. A tip for coffee lovers... there is often a long queue to order lattes etc. in the International Cafe (deck 5) despite having to purchase them. Just sit down at a table and flag a waiter who will order for you and deliver it to your table (even if you want takeaway). There is a variety of entertainment from musical stage productions, to comedy, mood music, ballroom dance lessons, line dancing, Zumba, a full gym, in cabin TV/movies, a giant screen for movies under the stars, a kids club, games on deck, art auctions, shopping sales, spa services, competitions, giveaways and if that's not enough you can attend churches services too! Excursions are not always good value for money but if you do your own thing you really need to do a lot of research beforehand and be aware if you don't get back to the ship on time, it doesn't wait for you! Some South Pacific Islands are really beautiful like Isle of PInes (not visited this trip) and Champagne Bay but Noumea is very tired looking and the locals not particularly friendly. Port Vila is run down and dirty but the people are all very friendly and chatty. Of course there is no need to go ashore as the entertainment just keeps going on board. We met many people who have cruised on Princess ships many times and some debatable incentives are offered for loyalty. There are still other cruise lines I wouldn't mind trying but I have no hesitation in recommending the Emerald Princess and may well cruise on her again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Great ship. Fantastic food, the buffet was different every day, which was a nice change. Food in restaurant was first class. We got room service a few days for breakfast. It was delivered promptly & was basic but adequate if you want a ... Read More
Great ship. Fantastic food, the buffet was different every day, which was a nice change. Food in restaurant was first class. We got room service a few days for breakfast. It was delivered promptly & was basic but adequate if you want a light breakfast. There are lots of areas to go dancing, &'he music was great, except for the recorded ballroom music....it was boring & sounded like the music that you would learn dancing with. The entertainment was awesome on the nights we went. Lots of stuff to do on board if you wanted to. Even though the ship was full, it didn't feel overcrowded, we always found a seat. No towel animals or carvings anywhere Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We really expected the cruise to be a tad more festive, than it was. Having said that, the ship was decorated lovely and most of the staff wore Xmas Hats, but Xmas Day was a let down. We would have liked the lunch to be a full on Xmas type ... Read More
We really expected the cruise to be a tad more festive, than it was. Having said that, the ship was decorated lovely and most of the staff wore Xmas Hats, but Xmas Day was a let down. We would have liked the lunch to be a full on Xmas type lunch, with all the trimmings....baked ham, turkey, chicken, plum pudding and maybe Santa walking through the dining rooms, but it was a basic every day lunch. The dress code has deteriorated on Princess of late, I'm really sick of seeing "Yobbos" lining up for dinner, wearing clothes they have been in all day and baseball caps, I'm no snob, but a bit of class and effort please! The weather in New Zealand was shocking, but that isn't a Princess fault , but a chance you have to take in a country with unpredictable weather. For us, the ship was beautiful, but just too big, with too many passengers, we much prefer the smaller ships, for their intimacy and friendliness. Overall we had a good time, but have enjoyed better Princess cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Our best friends were offered a great deal and asked if we would join them. We did, as too did another of our friends...we all booked on Aloha Deck, mid ship Portside. We have all cruised before, My wife and I, seven cruises with APT, ... Read More
Our best friends were offered a great deal and asked if we would join them. We did, as too did another of our friends...we all booked on Aloha Deck, mid ship Portside. We have all cruised before, My wife and I, seven cruises with APT, P&O AUS, P&O Europe, CTC and Norwegian plus self drive and coach tours of USA,NZ, Tasmania, Fiji UK Europe. I have a partial disability after a broken neck, other spinal problems, balance, knee and shoulder problems and at times use a walking stick. Everything was great until the WALK from Sydney domestic to International to meet the shuttle. asking for some assistance I was ignored. Arriving at the dock, Yippee I was 'Forced' into a wheel chair where a lovely attended got us straight to our cabin. From here things deteriorated. I would estimate about half the passengers were Asian and I was pushed in and out of elevators, being tripped and falling, knocked over on stairs, shoved aside at the buffet, people going the wrong way, children pulling food out with their hands and replacing it if they did not like it, running around everywhere even in the dining areas, climbing over and on tables and chairs Throwing half eaten food and plates in The Davinchy ding room. There was an influx of flies at sea and staff closed doors to the outer decks from the dining areas...did this worry them? 'no' they pulled the barricades away and then left the doors open...I am sure they could not read English directions. Coughing and sneezing was rife...I and my friend are now suffering from an exceptionally bad chest, throat and ear infection, as well as a couple of others we have been in contact with. The cabin (except for the Tiny shower), cabin staff and crew were really great.....we did feel the cruise was excessively expensive in many ways. We would still rate the Norwegian Star as the best we have cruised. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We wanted to have a little break before Christmas, use a credit with a TA and try one of Princess' newer and bigger ships. Service was excellent. The new bed was FANTASTIC Food in MDR (evening meal) was top class. MDR ... Read More
We wanted to have a little break before Christmas, use a credit with a TA and try one of Princess' newer and bigger ships. Service was excellent. The new bed was FANTASTIC Food in MDR (evening meal) was top class. MDR Lunch quality good but limited variation MDR/Buffett selection did not vary much (if at all). Food quality still good. Entertainment was generally good. On board singers & dancers production show very good. Most "visiting" acts good. Dance Band should have been on P&O as they tended to stray to "younger" music. Kory in Crooner's Lounge is a Must See. The ship didn't give much information to assist with independent touring at the 3 ports but then most are only interested in selling their packages. We had good weather which enabled the ship to enter and do a 540 degree turn in Wineglass Bay. The ship handled 3 crossings of Bass straight without moving in unusual/disturbing ways but I think we had swell no bigger than 2-3 m. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The Emerald Princess is a sister ship of the Ruby and Crown Princess on which we sailed before. Hence we felt immediately at home after a smooth embarkation in Sydney. We especially like the coffee corner “International Café” ... Read More
The Emerald Princess is a sister ship of the Ruby and Crown Princess on which we sailed before. Hence we felt immediately at home after a smooth embarkation in Sydney. We especially like the coffee corner “International Café” which has the possibility to buy a coffee card for 15 specialty coffees at a pretty competitive price. Such a card gives you the right to consume unlimited specialty teas (we like the wonderful Ginger tea) and hot chocolates. To go with the coffee pretty nice complimentary cakes and snacks are available, as well as high quality ice creams for a budget price (3 scoops for EUD 1.50). Apart from the fact that this is a very cozy place, the service is impeccable and friendly. Most days we had just a snack in the International Café for lunch. Initially we thought the prices on the Emerald had risen considerably since 2015, until we discovered that on this cruises prices were in AUD instead of US$: ca 30% less! Another area of the ship we liked very much (weather permitting) is the Horizon Terrace on the back of deck 15 and 16. Over there no loud music is played. The Sabatini lounge is also a quiet place suited for reading, but here one sometimes feels a bit isolated from life on the ship. When the weather is such that not many people want to sit outside (the crossing of the Tasman Sea was pretty windy wit rough seas), there is a lack of inside seats, above all in the International Café and the Piazza. It should be remarked that the port lectures were excellent. Usefull information on what to do and how to do it independantly, not just advertising the ship tours (as is the case with many other cruiselines). We consider this class of Princess ships as a benchmark for middle class cruise liners. There are small shortcomings compared to the ships more up-class cruise companies like Oceania or Regent, but the price is in compliance therewith. We made deposits for future cruises with Princess, so will certainly be back. STATEROOMS We had an inside cabin which was on the small side (but big enough and adequately furnished). It is advisable to have the beds separated with the access area between them. That way the cabin appears to be much bigger. The tiny bathroom is supplied with good amenities. SHOWS During the 13 day trip we got 3 great production shows in the theatre. The guest shows in the theatre were of mixed quality. Some were really nice but e.g. the one man comedian shows were for non-Australians incomprehensible. Initially the theatre shows were at 8:15 and 10:15 pm. The result of that timing was that the first show was usually overcrowded while for the 2nd show the theatre was almost empty: much to late considering the port intensive itinerary (which calls almost each day for an early rise) In the course of the cruise the theatre times were –whenever possible- changed to 7 and 9:30 pm (like I knew them from previous Princess cruises). Much better. That way one could go to the 1st show (ending around 7:45 pm), have dinner and -if one liked the show- visit it another time. Apart from the shows in the theatre there was almost every evening a fantastic Canadian humoristic piano entertainer in the Crooners Bar. Better than many of the guest entertainers in the theatre. By consequence almost all nights the Crooners Bar was crowded to the rim. RESTAURANTS We had dinner mostly in the Michelangelo dining room where we got good service. Food quality was similar to a mainstream city restaurant, with a good choice. During formal nights a bit more exquisite courses were offered (e.g. lobster). Princess obviously tries to have passengers asking for less courses. In previous years the main menu offered 4 courses (cold appetizer, warm appetizer, main course, dessert), now only 3. Of course one could still always order 2 appetizers, but one is less stimulated to do so. Because of the low ceiling of the dining room the noise level is pretty high, especially for tables in the middle. On a 6 seat table it is by consequence almost impossible to have a conversation with people on the other side of the table. PORTS Apart from the crossing of the Tasman Sea (2x 2 days) + a day cruising in the fjords, every day was in essence a port day, which is great. We were very lucky to experience the Milford Sound with sun. We managed to visit the other scheduled fjords as well, which –as I understand it- is often not possible. In all ports we arranged the tours directly with a local agency or hired a car and made our own tour. If you rent a car you should be aware of the fact that on some highways in New Zealand an electronic toll is due. E.g. a small part of the highway from Tauranga to Roturoa. For foreigners the payment process is pretty cumbersome. However, detours using business loops are available and clearly indicated. CAR RENTAL WARNING We encountered a problem when we tried to collect a reserved and prepaid car in Auckland (from EZI Car Rental, booked via a European booking agency). They refused to accept my Dutch driver’s license (which contains almost no Dutch text: just name, etc.) and hence would not deliver the car. They claimed that an International Driver’s License was required. Their behavior was very stubborn and almost rude. I managed to get as yet a car from another rental company a bit further in the street (at extra costs). There I was told that the requirement of an International Driver’s License depends on the insurance company with which they have a contract. For 2 other car rentals in New Zealand my Dutch driver’s license was accepted without any problem. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this ship for the Itinerary as we hadnt been to New Zealand for a long time, especially the South Island. Boarding was a breeze due to our Platinum status gained from sailing with P and O UK and Aus. We were on in about 10 ... Read More
We chose this ship for the Itinerary as we hadnt been to New Zealand for a long time, especially the South Island. Boarding was a breeze due to our Platinum status gained from sailing with P and O UK and Aus. We were on in about 10 minutes. The ship is very nice with great and numerous entertaining areas and bars. We particularly liked Crooners, Wheelhouse Bar, Club Fusion and Explorers and drinks and canapes in the Skywalkers bar for Elite members from 5-7pm. We found the lack of a forward facing lounge area with views ahead especially during the cool and rough weather we had on our sea days. This area is taken up by the Princess theatre, the Solarium and the gym, what a waste. Skywalkers had nice aft views but we really missed our forward facing lounge. B+ Our cabin a minisuite on Deck 9 Dolphin deck, was just aft of the aft lifts and stairs so in a very convenient position. However, when at anchor when tendering the noise and vibration from the engines keeping the ship steady was really awful and it was impossible to stay in our cabin. It wasnt noticeable midships or aft on higher levels. This cabin also had some toilet issues, as we had a toilet that flushed several times rather than once and got noxious smells everyday at some time. B- Dining - we chose anytime dining and were seated in Michelangelos restaurant. We also tried Da Vincis one night and that seemed calmer and less busy. Food was good, with the last formal night dinner being excellent, otherwise just average. We really enjoyed the International Cafe for light breakfasts and lunches, but found the buffet in Horizon Court and Caribe Cafe a bun fight. Badly laid out so full of people in tiny areas all trying to access a small area with the food they wanted. Chaos reined, We went early or late. Dining B+ We tried Crown Grill, Share by Curtis Stone, the Salty Dog at the Wheelhouse and enjoyed all three very much with excellent food and service. A+ Entertainment was only just passable with some of the singing and dancing shows laughable except for one. B- There was a singer John Bowley that everyone liked who was on two nights but we didnt think he was worth another night. There was a lady singing Dusty Springfield who was good and Elton Jack who was fabulous.B+ The ships band was very good. Cory Simon the Piano lounge entertainer was the best entertainer on the ship, and Liquid Blue the band were also excellent. A- We found the activites during the sea days very boring and based around selling, trivia, art auctions and talks, make up talks and tips, acupuncture, discussions on poor digestion, stress and acute pain - THIS IS ENTERTAINMENT!!!! We dont think so and neither did lots of others. Entertainment D- CD was very funny and entertaining but this was his last cruise. Service - both our cabin attendant and most of the staff in restaurants, the International Cafe and bars were excellent. A + All ports were fabulous and we enjoyed visiting them as they were small towns, with lovely shopping, cafes and very friendly people. A+ We didnt do any shore excursions so cant comment, but what we saw compared to what we booked ourselves was wildly overpriced. Overall a very enjoyable cruise to New Zealand, but we would have to think before we chose Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Emerald Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.5 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.0

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