1 Melbourne to South Pacific Princess Sun Princess Cruise Reviews

Embarkation-We arrived at the Port of Melbourne at about 1pm (for a 4pm departure) with no idea exactly where to go. My son drove us in and we were ushered into a 2 minute parking spot and as I got out, a woman there helped us unload. I ... Read More
Embarkation-We arrived at the Port of Melbourne at about 1pm (for a 4pm departure) with no idea exactly where to go. My son drove us in and we were ushered into a 2 minute parking spot and as I got out, a woman there helped us unload. I got an impression of quiet frenzy as she packed our cases onto a trolley and they were whisked away and my son directed to move on as we quickly tried to wave goodbye. Forget tipping the people taking your bags on the trolley, there was no time-he was off and running before we could turn around. And some of the bags were outside our room before we even arrived onboard. After the bags were taken, we just followed the crowd and although there was a longish queue it moved fast and we were through in good time-I was impressed on how organized everyone was for us. So... onto the ship with no hassles. I am middle aged and booked with 2 other couples-so three cabins altogether. The others left arrangements to me and I booked all three at the same time. We booked the category K inside cabins and were upgraded a couple of weeks before we left. Nice. Except-my friends were given cabins next to each other on deck 10 at the back of the ship while my husband and I were given a cabin on deck 9, towards the front of the ship. This was very poor treatment of us, I thought. I did contact my agent about this a couple of weeks before we sailed, just to ask if we could at least be on the same floor, and she emailed the request on but to no avail. This was possibly the most annoying aspect of the whole cruise as it was a long walk between cabins. I found out there were free phone calls between cabins but this wasn't explicitly clear even in the information booklets. My advice to anyone going with others is to specify that the cabins be in the same area. There was a difference in cabin sizes. Two of us had long thin cabins and the other couple had a larger corner cabin. We had requested queen bed but arrived to find it set out as two singles, each bed up against the wall. One look at the narrow space between beds and we left it that way. But overall-the cabins were a marvel of design. We had a triple wardrobe, a bench with a tub chair and I appreciated the little pull out clothes line in the shower. The service was good-the rooms were cleaned up and towels replaced twice a day. No complaints but we didn't become close to the man servicing the room either. One of our friends found the service intrusive in that there would often be a knock at the door to ask what time she was leaving for dinner, going out etc. In the end she used to hang a 'Do not disturb' on the door all the time she was in there. The other couple commented they thought there might be bed bugs as they had a few bites. I had a couple of bites too, so maybe the ship needs to check out that aspect. Cruise passengers. We had a big range of ages from babies to older. It was summer & school holidays so lots of teens and families but there were absolutely no hassles. I saw the teens in the lifts, with towels, on their way to the pools, but they were well behaved. Possibly they tended to take over the hot tubs and pools during the day but that didn't worry us unduly. On our last full day we all went to a hot tub at about 9am-no one else was around so we took it over for an hour and at least felt we had 'done it'. Food-very good in most respects and a lot of healthy options. This applied in both Horizon court and in the dining room. We loved the Horizon court buffet. Each day there seemed to be a theme-Malaysian, Italian etc so we couldn't complain of a lack of variety in the buffet. At peak times it was pretty hard to find a seat sometimes though. If I had a complaint it would be the desserts were pretty ordinary. There were little cake slices and jelly, that sort of thing, but nothing really tempting or anything more substantial. Dinner time in the dining room-the desserts were not bad, but don't expect anything traditional or special like nice warm sticky date pudding and icecream or hot apple pie. Overall the dining room was excellent though. We were seated with our friends. One of my friends has to eat gluten free and the service was excellent, with the head waiter coming over each night to show her the menu so she could choose what she wanted. She did not have a special menu, they just ensured whatever she chose was cooked without wheat products. They even cooked her a special coeliac bombe Alaska which looked better than ours as the one we got was pretty revolting I thought. If you have special food needs then they will do right by you but make sure you mention it in the personalizer. My husband bought a coffee card and I have to say, the cappuccinos were in a substantial cup and he enjoyed them a lot, though they were very hot to start with. We tried the pizzeria-excellent. All in all, excellent service and we were surprised at how fast the restaurants managed to serve us. Entertainment. Very good. I was really worried about this as I had read about how crowded it got and how we would need to be there well ahead. On the whole, there were no hassles. We were on second dinner sitting, which meant we had to go to the shows that started at 10.15pm or 10.30pm and I would say you could walk in a couple of minutes before most shows and get a seat. Maybe not a row of seats together, but a seat here and there. One night for the big show we got 6 seats down near the front about 15 minutes before the start. I went to a few movies-got a seat after starting time, no worries. The most crowded thing in the daytime was a cooking demo towards the end of the cruise, which was followed by a galley tour. Now, that WAS packed. I enjoyed the art lectures and we even had a professor to talk about flora and fauna of the sth Pacific. Great. We didn't want second dinner seating but that is what we got. The biggest hassle was having to go to shows that didn't even start till 10.30pm or 11pm. Hey, I am not a spring chicken any more, I get tired. I like to be up early, in bed before midnight. It would have been better if at least some of the main variety shows had been on earlier eg 6.15pm, so we could make it to the dining room by 8pm. There were a few things they put on a bit earlier but not early enough as it would have meant us having to miss dinner in the dining room. That's not fair. You get penalized if you are on second dinner seating, as far as I can make out. The shore excursions. Loved them all. The one thing that upset us a bit was our last spot-Isle of Pines. This was exceptional-the best snorkeling in calm waters. But practically no details at all about it in the daily news sheet and no advice about snorkeling being available. In fact, there were several stalls along the way with people selling things. I didn't have any money on me as I had been given the impression there was nothing there much except water. We booked quite a few shore excursions through the personalizer before we left. Great idea to do this as some tours book out. Don't leave it till you are on the boat or you might miss out. It was worth the extra to go this way as the people met the ship, dropped us back to the ship-never any hassle. Noumea-Bus trip around $29pp. Pretty good, gave us an overall impression of the place. Glass bottom boat-excellent. We all enjoyed it. Vila. Rainforest walk/cascade falls. Excellent, informative guides. Jet boat ride-cancelled due to engine troubles-we were disappointed but what can you do. Lifou-Melanesian hut. Okay. Very genuine guides but would have been better if they could have told us more about a couple of places. I think they struggled a bit with English. General comments. If you want to catch a cruise leaving from Melbourne, as we did, don't hang around thinking prices will hit rock bottom because they don't. We're a captive audience with not much competition, but all the same, it is worth it for the convenience and not having to worry about weight limits. The ship itself-overall good condition. Some of the furnishings are showing a bit of age eg some tables up in Horizon court with cracked tops etc. Not a big issue by any means, I just mention it. Planning should be for the convenience of passengers and not staff but I suspect that isn't always the case. For example, there was a HUGE party night with huge buffet desserts etc on at about midnight and dancing after that. It was on a night when we were landing at Isle of Pines next morning. Why??? It would have been much more logical to hold it the following evening after we had been to Isle of Pines, as there were no more ports and the following day would have been a sea day, so people could have slept in. One of my friends went to the big party night and ended up missing lots of time at Isle of Pines as she slept in and she is still upset about it, as she didn't know how good Isle of Pines was going to be. None of us did. Apparently lots of ice carving/food carving was present at that late night buffet and was spectacular but although we were told there was a wonderful buffet on, I did not go as no one said anything about the carvings. Look, we ate a 4 course meal at 8-10pm. Who feels like then going to a big buffet at 11.30pm? That was our thinking. I would have gone for a look though if I had known there was extra there. Formal night-champagne fountain etc-too crowded. We were about 3 floors above it and still could not get near a railing to even glimpse it for 20 minutes. Another gripe. Towards the end of the cruise, in the dining room, our main waitress started a speech to us about how to fill in the cruise evaluation forms and how nothing less than an excellent was good enough. This was very important for them and their jobs etc Now I know this is probably true but I object to being told what score I should be putting on an evaluation form as it rather defeats the purpose. There looked to be a nifty little computer section on the ship and I did miss my computer sessions but they charge the most outrageous price-I think it is something like well over a dollar a minute, with slow connection. I am sure their 'Full suite' passengers probably get free time on these as I saw some people in there, but for us ordinary passengers the price is out of reach. I think it is about time cruise ships got with the program. The internet isn't some luxury, it is about time they brought connection costs down and made it accessible so that all passengers could at least afford to send off an email or two. Overall-a good cruise, well organized but if you are going cruising, try to choose a cruise with lots of stops at different ports. Our cruise was 14 days, that was okay. Much longer and too many sea days would start to pall I think. Don't let any negative comments I've made turn you off. I am just being detailed. Basically, we had a great time, the queues were never too bad, even though we went in peak holiday season and the weather was balmy and not too hot. There is nothing nicer than standing outside on deck 7 at night, watching the waves and feeling a warm breeze. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Sun Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 3.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness & Recreation 3.0 N/A
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 5.0 4.3
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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