Sail Date: January 2019
I travelled with another seasoned cruise couple (over 80 cruises) and had a balcony room to myself on Deck 11. First thing I noticed was that - being out of Australia - it was decked out as from America - ok....they are from America ... Read More
I travelled with another seasoned cruise couple (over 80 cruises) and had a balcony room to myself on Deck 11. First thing I noticed was that - being out of Australia - it was decked out as from America - ok....they are from America but have been sailing out of Australia for years now. The majority of patrons were Australian so why were the shops etc - not Australian based, selling Australian good and snacks?? I had an issue with the food - in the BUFFET the choice was fine although I could not eat any of the preprepared hot food as it mostly came in plastic bags and simply heated and reheated. Who knows what was in any of it. The sweets looked great, were creative enough, although, again, I could not eat it after tasting some initially as, for example, the APPLE CRUMBLE was 10% apple, 90% crumble if you were lucky (shame). no icecream either. The premade coffee was disgusting ... and I am not too fussy .... but I saw them remove this premade coffee from under the dispenser and saw it premixed coming out of a plastic bag. I have never seen that before not did I ever think I would. I had no issue with the dining areas although you only had one choice of dining as such that was included in your fare. The paying extra restaurants were relatively empty for the 14 days. That tells you enough. Another thing was the entertainment. It was ok. The shows were nothing to write home about and the guest artists were good but again, not great. They only went for 1/2 hour - never experienced that before. You no longer sat down and you had to get up and leave again :-)) There were no movies in the movie theatre - instead they were all on top deck out in the weather. When they were on, the sound was so loud you could not hear anyone talking to you. Such a beautiful theatre too. I have been on another cruise where this theatre was used for movies (as it should) and the ambience and mood was fantastic. I left an item on deck one evening and on realising, went back early the next morning and it was not there. I reported it missing and was told it will be handed in within the next 24 hours or so. It wasn't so I requested security to look at the video of the area that night. Reception staff told me that it was not important enough an item (of no value to them) to have security go through the footage. Luckily, it was handed in days later and very suspiciously so. No matter ... I have it back. The excursions were good and well organised. shuttles to town centres were great, embarkation was fast, disembarkation was also fast. So ... would I go with them again - probably but I would know what to expect. Value for money????? To be fair - probably. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise based on itinerary primarily, followed by our previous positive experience with a Princess. Embarkation at Sydney was smooth and our rooms were ready at check-in. Luggage arrived to the cabins before dinner. ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on itinerary primarily, followed by our previous positive experience with a Princess. Embarkation at Sydney was smooth and our rooms were ready at check-in. Luggage arrived to the cabins before dinner. Staterooms were standard, storage adequate, bed was above average. Stateroom was reasonably clean, light fixtures dusty though. Entertainment options were above average (kept us busy and happy on those days at sea). The evening productions were very good, some excellent, and there were 2 options to see each night (timed so you could see both). We chose the “dine anytime” option which worked well for us....sometimes eating at 5pm....sometimes as late as 7:30. The food options were pretty good. They were able to accommodate our lactose intolerant friend as well as having gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegetarian options. We paid for the internet....turned out to be slow, spotty service but it eventually got the job done (I do not recommend a “—-“ minutes plan. That would be beyond frustrating!). We did not eat at the “specialty” restaurants. Not impressed by the menus or the extra charges. My observation was that they were wasted space on the ship as very few of the other passengers went to them either. Disembarkation process was also smooth and organized. Overall, I am very pleased with the cruise for the price (a good value for the $$ spent). We Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife (a travel agent) and I travel a lot and cruise often; at last count, 52 cruises on 14 lines, giving us a fair basis for comparison. We booked back-to-back cruises on Sun Princess for 13 nights in New Zealand and 14 nights in Fiji, ... Read More
My wife (a travel agent) and I travel a lot and cruise often; at last count, 52 cruises on 14 lines, giving us a fair basis for comparison. We booked back-to-back cruises on Sun Princess for 13 nights in New Zealand and 14 nights in Fiji, departing Sydney in both cases, based on a prior favorable experience in Alaska on this line and because New Zealand and to a lesser extent Fiji were on our bucket list. I won't dwell in this review on the ports themselves, which vary from idyllic (e.g. Bay of Islands and Napier, NZ) to grimy and dangerous ( e.g. Suva and Lautoka, Fiji). Certainly the port selection and itinerary could have been much better on both cruises but some things are beyond anyone's control. What is in control of the ship, however, is the cruise experience. In this regard, Sun Princess is a fail. It is the quintessential "old-school" cruise experience dumbed down to accommodate the masses and falls into that growing pool of cruises based entirely on budgets that nickel and dime customers to the point of annoyance, and in that regard I have no love for "The Love Boat" and wish it a speedy and short journey to decommissioning. For starters, the condition of the ship is appalling. Tiny rooms typical of 50s ships can be forgiven, but nonfunctioning spa tubs, showers and sinks in public rooms cannot. There is literally rust, missing and broken tile, clouded windows and a worn and tired look everywhere. To it's credit, my bed was excellent and the TV and other room amenities were fine, including the balcony, but I could not escape a cramped feeling. To some extent, the worn and torn look of the place is offset by the things Princess does right--efficient embarkation and disembarkation, snappy room service, attentive steward and dining staff but even these are overwhelmed by my chief complaints: poor food and a pervasive nickel-diming atmosphere that destroys the cruise experience. Princess charges $35 per person in it's Curtis Stone, Kai Seafood and Sterling Steakhouse restaurants. The two former ones are merely bumpouts in the hallway and I don't see why I should pay to dine with traffic walking past, an opinion shared by others because these restaurants were empty for lunch and dinner. It also has hefty drink charges, charges for anything beyond a basic coffee, charges $3 for room delivery pizza, charges nosebleed prices for soda, water, internet, laundry, and even had the gall to charge people $15 for a bus to the town of Lautoka after docking at an industrial dock! It's shore excursions are double the price of similar excursions offered on shore at each port of call and, of course, one must run the gamut and annoyance of ship's photographers, cheap art auctioneers and cruise ship jewelry hucksters every single day, over and over. One has a choice of dining at a preset time with a table of others or "anytime" dining in the Grand Dining Room, where you can choose to dine alone or with others. We like the shared concept, pioneered by Norwegian some years ago and found meeting others (in these parts 90% Aussies) to be the best part of the cruise. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the food. In two cases, my fish was absolutely inedible; most meals were tasteless and underseasoned; small portions, especially of beef. Amateurish presentation, half-cooked vegetables, the list goes on. While I am no "foodie' I can state categorically that for a cruise ship this food was below average. The Buffet, however, was even worse. I simply could not find anything comparable to an all-you-can-eat-kids-eat-free in any suburban shopping mall. In this regard, Princess has formal nights, a custom from the old days except on Cunard and a few others. Since they do not have the class or foresight to offer the full Main Dining Menu in the buffet or stateroom on those nights, my wife and I went to the Buffet; available food was so poor we spent "formal night" in our room eating a hamburger, a fact which I will always associate with Princess. Since this review is already lengthy I will pass in stating that entertainment was the usual fare, not bad. Kids are permitted and generally monopolized all but the adults only pool and were running everywhere; the casino is small, does NOT offer video poker but has a few blackjack tables and reel-type arcade slots. My wife and I are planning a full Australian cruise and to drive New Zealand, the best way to see it, as well as a number of other adventures. However, after this experience we're back to smaller ships on higher rated lines. Sorry, Princess. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We are a retired couple, but still pretty active. We chose this January cruise because we wanted summer weather in the middle of our US winter, and because the dates were just right for us. Australia and New Zealand were interesting, and ... Read More
We are a retired couple, but still pretty active. We chose this January cruise because we wanted summer weather in the middle of our US winter, and because the dates were just right for us. Australia and New Zealand were interesting, and we had a great time doing a lot of walking and hiking. We are not much into the excursions that involve a long bus ride, although some riding in buses is inevitable. So without trying to say what is good or bad, here are a few facts that may be relevant to you. 1. The airplane ride from the US is a long one. 15 hours from LAX Sydney. But we payed the extra $150 for extra leg room on the American flight US to Sydney. They fed us well, there are plenty of movies to choose from, and with noise cancelling headphones you can listen the movies or music without having to crank up the volume. So having set our minds to it, and planning when we would sleep, it was OK. We returned on Qantas on an Airbus A-380, the world's largest airliner.. Even in coach, the seats are wide and there is reasonable leg room. 2. We arrived in Sydney and spent two nights at the Harbour Rocks Hotel, a little boutique hotel 10 minute walk from the ship terminal, the train station (we rode the train from the airport -- easy), excellent buffet breakfast, and reasonably priced. Got opera tickets well in advance. Good opera at the iconic opera house, which is also a short walk from the hotel. Enjoyed a couple of ferry rides on our Opel Card (a good deal.) You can check out interesting things like the Botanical Gardens, a ferry ride to Manly Beach ( a little beach town catering to tourists with a mile or two of boardwalk along wide sandy beaches), Luna Park (an old fashioned amusement park with no admission fee), a walk across the bridge, the bustling central business district, etc. 3. The passenger ship terminal seems to accommodate only one ship a day, so it is easy to find your way. We were given a time to arrive for embarkation. Little or no waiting to get registered and onto the ship. 4. We were on deck 11, with a balcony, mid-ship. Stateroom was very small. Comfortable queen bed, desk with a stool, one chair, balcony with two chairs. Maintained clean, Our steward, Carmello, was always easy to find, and kept the room tidy and supplied with ice. 5. Ship's condition. Big windows in the buffet to look out, but because of the age, they are water spotted with minerals that the routine washing doesn't help. So the view out of the windows is not pristine. At one place on the promenade deck we noticed a distinct bad smell, like raw sewage. It was there the entire trip. Could also smell inside at various places sometimes. At 2,000 passengers, the Sun is one of the smaller in the Princess fleet. Expect this ship to be in the Princess fleet for one more year. 6. Passengers -- about 150 Americans, over 1,000 Australians, some British, quite a few Asians. Several families, so the swimming pools are mostly children's attractions. Don't plan to swim laps. There is an adult only pool and sunning area called Serenity, but like many things on Princess, it costs extra, and not a trivial amount. Also, don't expect to have a private breakfast table at the buffet, it is just too crowded. But everyone was nice in inviting you to share a table. 7. Extra cost for many things -- wifi, laundry, laundry soap, ice cream, hot chocolate at the buffet (free if you eat breakfast in the dining room), soda pop, and of course, the to-be-expected spa and salon services. None are cheap. 8. Photographers. Professional Princess photographers are everywhere asking to take your picture. Of course, you can find the prints to purchase at a hefty price in the photo studio. Sometimes there are with pirates, comic characters, or show girls to pose with you. 9. Entertainment -- the Princess dancers and singers are lively young people. How they change costumes so quickly between numbers is amazing. The music volume is turned up close to the threshold of pain. Some of the young women's risque costumes and provocative body movements offended some of the passengers we spoke with at our dinner table. We liked their initial performance, but grew tired of them in subsequent shows. Some of the special entertainers were excellent. We were blown away by Amber Jade, an extremely lively young lady who sang and played a wide variety of music on a saxophone and clarinet. May sound boring to you, but don't miss it. Everyone we spoke to loved her. And equally energetic, and highly skilled, was a violinist who played gypsy, bluegrass, classical, and jazz -- Ian Cooper. The musicians in the 7 piece orchestra were absolutely outstanding. They accompanied the ship's singers and dancers, and well as the special entertainers. A couple of other entertainers, a comedian and a juggler were interesting, but less memorable than the others mentioned above. There were also a couple of other singers who sang very close to their microphones with the volume very loud. Some of the jokes used by the cruise director and the entertainers were a bit suggestive, but none were dirty. 10, Weather -- although January is summer down under, bring your umbrella. We had several days of spotty rain. Still there was enough sunshine to allow for some good beach swimming. The best beach days for swimming in the surf or tanning on the white stand were at Manly Beach (Sydney) and Tauranga (Mt. Maunganui). 11. Ports of call -- (a) Bay of Islands. Tender in to a dock right next to the Treaty Grounds, best place to learn about NZ's history and culture. Admission is reasonable -- pay at the door, don't need an expensive excursion. The Maori dancers at the old meeting house on the treaty grounds were a highlight. They are very entertaining with their war dances. No extra fee. They also like to have you take pictures with them after the show, and don't ask for tips. Princess provided a free (!) short shuttle into Paihai. Plenty of places there to grab a lunch, walk along a beach made up of tiny sea shells, and swim in the surf. (b) Auckland -- a big,busy city. It was Sunday, so we attended church and just walked around town. (c) Tauranga, actually Mt. Maunganui. Within a short walk from the ship is the mountain with a one-hour trail to the top. The trail is steep, and includes walking through green sheep pastures that slope down into the ocean. View from on top shows that this town is like a peninsula surround on three sides by water. Very beautiful views typical of New Zealand with mountains rising up out of the ocean. (d) Napier -- this town markets itself because of a few Art Deco streets. Interesting to walk around, or you can pay to ride in a classic old car. There is a nice hike to a bluff overlook. Not cheap, but a little shop called Opossum store and museum is maybe the best place on the itinerary to learn about and buy New Zealand's nice wool products. (e) Picton. Beautiful cruise up the channel. Tiny town but with lots of cute shops and eateries. One hour steep hike up to a bluff overlook on a loop trail through trees. About 45 minutes to get back down, and walk through some of the towns residential areas. (f) Akora. Only place we bought an excursion. It was to a sheep farm where we saw an impressive display of sheep dogs herding sheep, a sheep shearing demo, and scones on the patio of the farm's owner. Pleasant ride in a mini-van through lush green hillsides. The town itself is a interesting little place to explore in less than an hour. Good places to eat and to get some creamy New Zealand ice cream in a variety of flavors. (g) Dunedin. This is a good sized city. And although it is listed in the itinerary, the ship actually docks in Port Chalmers, a small town with not a lot going on. To get into the city, you have to pay for a Princess Shuttle ($20 per person) to get into Dunedin. This is a university town and also has New Zealand's oldest botanical garden. From the bus stop in the middle of the city to the picturesque train station, through the university campus, to the botanical garden is about a 40 minute walk, with things to see all along the way. Also, free wifi in the ship terminal. (h) Fjorland cruising -- weather did not permit us to go there. Big disappointment, but unavoidable. So we cruised back to Sydney between NZ's south and north islands. Some pretty good waves. A few people got seasick. 12. Dining --like other cruise ships, very nice food in the dining rooms served by skilled waiters, (Oliver and Jake are masters.) You can choose reserved dining -- same time and same table every night. Or you can choose the anytime dining room. But dining rooms serve the same menu and look the same. But you can't switch back and forth. If you go for anytime dining, you forfeit your spot for reserved dining. We opted for the reserved dining at 5:15. Then we had time to hit the first show at 7:30. One night we didn't make it back to the ship in time, and the anytime dining room accommodated us without jeopardizing our reserved dining. 13. Conclusion -- we had a good vacation, and nothing Princess did spoiled it. Hint: if you like to play scrabble or rumikub, bring your own. Although these games are in the library, people hoard them and must take them to their rooms. And some had missing pieces. Another hint: if you are into Manuka honey, study up before you go. Arm yourself with prices for each UMF level available on the internet, then you can decide if you want to pay the prices at the gift shops. Also pharmacies usually carry a variety of Manuka honeys in the various UMF levels. 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Sail Date: January 2019
First time Princess cruisers, a good trip on an old but reasonably good small ship. The ship was very clean and the crew were continually doing some sort of maintance every day. All the staff were very friendly and very efficient no ... Read More
First time Princess cruisers, a good trip on an old but reasonably good small ship. The ship was very clean and the crew were continually doing some sort of maintance every day. All the staff were very friendly and very efficient no request was too hard for them. They were happy and always smiling Cruise Director DuVaul Gamble was excellent best CD we have ever had and we have been on many many cruises. The production shower were outstanding especially Bravo but there was little pool side activities, the area was under utilised. Fine dining was the best we have ever had at sea could not fault any meal. All the meals were served hot which is a real surprise given the number of meals being served at once. The food in the Horizon Court was horrible always looked like left overs from a few days ago and there was very little variety.D Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Don't sail on this ship. it's only princess ship we've sailed on, so can't speak for all ships, but in general, i would recommend paying more and getting more, because princess charges extra for everything. Their ... Read More
Don't sail on this ship. it's only princess ship we've sailed on, so can't speak for all ships, but in general, i would recommend paying more and getting more, because princess charges extra for everything. Their flight arrangements involved many hours waiting in many airports. while we did like premium economy of air new zealand, it was truly inconvenient to have to fly into aukland, then fly to sydney to get on ship and then sail back to new zealand...and the reverse on leaving ship. direct flights to and from sydney are available...make your own arrangements, or insist on direct flights. Balcony room smelled, was drab and rundown with miniscule bathroom with chips and gouges, ridiculously small, rusted metal balcony with paint chips on chairs. ship itself was rust ridden and they were whitewashing it while in ports. only the public areas looked like they were maintained. Food was usually terrible. internet was spotty and expensive. Some of the excursions were good, but always rushed. never enough time to explore port cities. we didn't compare prices for on shore tours, but told by other passengers that princess prices were exorbitant. best excursion was swimming with dolphins. Worst was waitomo glowworms, ignore those trip advisor reviews...basically spent 15 minutes walking in cave and 15 minutes in boat looking at one dome of glowworms...after a 3hr drive there and 3 hrs back...cost $299 and not worth it. Highlights were some of the shows (though always really loud, bring ear plugs) and entertainers. Read Less
PrincessCruises3, Social Team, Princess Cruises has responded
Hello SEABEA45, we are truly disappointed to hear that your recent Sea princess voyage did not live up to expectations. We strive to provide an enjoyable cruise vacation for all of our guests and wish that you had a better experience.
Sail Date: January 2019
We, FIVE OF US, Nan 2 daughters and 2 gtranddaughtets, wanted to visit NZ also go on a Cruise, so both was ticked. We made our booking and off we sailed. Getting on ship to commence our Cruise was very smooth, no delays, actually very ... Read More
We, FIVE OF US, Nan 2 daughters and 2 gtranddaughtets, wanted to visit NZ also go on a Cruise, so both was ticked. We made our booking and off we sailed. Getting on ship to commence our Cruise was very smooth, no delays, actually very impressed how well organised it was. Our luggage was delivered to our Cabins, excellent. Both our Cabins were well furnished, the beds comfortable, very clean,lots of room to unpack and put our clothes etc away. Everything we needed was supplied. The dining in Horizon was great, lots of food to choose from,also no need to rush as food was on going quite late,we especially liked dining in The Regency, we had to book ahead however this was not a problem. The food and service was top class. Lots of entertainment going on all through the day for young and old, bingo, trivia,production shows, craft,Movies etc. Duty free shopping on board is quite good, but we were getting over it by day 3 especially with the continuous leaflets to try and get you to buy. The art much the same, however the paintings were beautiful. We enjoyed everything about New Zealand, such a beautiful place, very clean and no huddle and bustle in traffic. We did a bit of everything- The Hobbit tour was absolutely worth doing,even though we happened to get a lot of rain, we went canoeing so good, also we shopped as well as checked out some history in the Museums, visited some beautiful churches, went to some local markets and talked to the locals over all lots to do and enjoy. Each time getting on and off ship was very quick, the crew are very polite and helpful. When we returned to Sydney, we all agreed that we had fun and possibly in the near future we shall take another Cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We had an enjoyable cruise on the Sun Princess, the overall service from staff is wonderful. The food in the dining room was very ordinary, the buffet was very good with a nice variety of freshly cooked food each day. To be honest about ... Read More
We had an enjoyable cruise on the Sun Princess, the overall service from staff is wonderful. The food in the dining room was very ordinary, the buffet was very good with a nice variety of freshly cooked food each day. To be honest about the ship itself the Sun Princess is a plain ship with nothing flashy about it, it is a good design and easy to find your way around. The exterior of the ship is an embarrassment to the Princess line, I know it's an older ship but there is soo much rust weeping down the sides and covering a lot of the external steel areas of the ship, it really needs cosmetic attention urgently. The balcony cabin A408 Aloha deck was quite good, clean and the bed comfortable. There is a vile smell around the ship particularly around the outside promenade deck making it an unpleasant walk outside. We have done twelve cruises with varying cruise companies including several with Princess cruises before this one but this ship cosmetically was a disappointment and not what we expect from Princess. The entertainment in the Princess Theatre was good and most musicians around the ship were also good. We did enjoy visiting Moreton Island our only port on this short cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We took this cruise because that is where our Zumba teachers booked us. It was only 4 days but we really needed at least 7 days. The bistro unfortunately was tasteless cafeteria food. The dining room was good food and good ... Read More
We took this cruise because that is where our Zumba teachers booked us. It was only 4 days but we really needed at least 7 days. The bistro unfortunately was tasteless cafeteria food. The dining room was good food and good service. The 4 Zumba classes were fantastic. Moreton Island unfortunately had nothing of interest, except the beach, for those not taking any excursions. The excursions were no good for us that do not swim nor snorkel. The shows were of excellent quality, but too short (only half-an-hour each). Previous cruise shows were 2 hours each. The American coffee on board was absolutly disgusting. It was an Australian cruise and therefore should have had Australian style coffee. It took us 2 days to work out how to work out the shower controls. There were no instructyions in the room and no one told us that the taps turn the reverse American way, not the normal Australian way, therefore when we wanted hotter water, it turned cold instead. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
My partner and I had been discussing going on a cruise, so we decided on this 13 day one to the pacific islands. I know it might cost a bit more but I would recommend that people take a balcony room, it was fantastic, it was great to be ... Read More
My partner and I had been discussing going on a cruise, so we decided on this 13 day one to the pacific islands. I know it might cost a bit more but I would recommend that people take a balcony room, it was fantastic, it was great to be able to sit outside and enjoy the fantastic view and also be able to sit and relax while enjoying a good book or a drink. we were over the moon with the service from all the staff on board, especially our room stewards who had a thankless task, but kept our room pristine and also were very courteous and well spoken as well. The only down side for us was the excursions needed to be more imformative and if anything truthful, we had a couple of days where we wouldn't have been better organising our own days. We would recommend that people do a bit more research on the places that they are visiting and maybe are able to save some money by booking with the local operators, instead of booking onboard. But besides all that we have put a deposit down for a 2nd cruise hopefully in 2020, which says how great the cruise was, high recommend the experience. Bill C612 Read Less
Sun Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.8
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.6
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 4.0

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