I've been on 5 cruises, 4 of them 13 nights or longer and Noordam has the best cruise director, Kieron Humphrey. Kieron could double up as on-board entertainer anytime. I dare say he was a better comedian than some of the featured comedians. He dressed well and sang wonderfully. Made a great trivia/game host too.
Christina, the culinary host was fantastic too. She was enthusiastic, organised and kept me engrossed and entertained throughout each cooking activity (I attended all of them). The recipes were well chosen (simple and tasty) and her choice of demonstrating chef/crew were excellent. If they could not express themselves effectively, she was fast and clear in interpreting their thoughts.
The onboard entertainment cast was very average. lets say I would prefer the singers to sing and the dancers to dance and not do both.
Excellent Cabin Attendants
Big super king size bed
Not too bad toiletries
Smoking balconies (you can smell the smoke from smokers)
Soap is hard to wash off (should be replaced with liquid hand soap)
Squeaky cabinet doors (especially during rough sea days)
Right in the city with easily accessible public transport. There is a nearby supermarket too.
I went on a climb up Mount Maunganui (20 minute walk from where the ship is docked). I picked the moderate climb and it took me an hour with regular stops to catch my breath. The view was great at the summit. In the afternoon, I went fro a walk along Maunganui Road (5 minutes from the cruise terminal). It was a pleasant street with local souvenirs, some made overseas and lots of pubs and cafes.
A free shuttle took me from the cruise terminal to i-Site centre in the city. The city was small and I covered it all within an hour. Had a $1.50 sausage roll and flat white at the Ankorwat Cafe (Cnr of Dickens and Dalton). Great supermarket at the circle on Station Street.
I did not take the cruise excursion but booked Walk Wellington at $20 (www.walkwellington.org.nz) and had Keith as my guide. He spent 3 hours carefully meandering through the roads and sites stopping to tell stories and history. The walk ended in Civic Square where i-Site is. I chose to spend the afternoon at Te Papa Museum of New Zealand. Entrance and wifi are free. Try the Gallipoli exhibit. It was powerful and engaging.
Tender port at Akaroa. There is nothing at Akaroa. But I met the lady boss of "BookaTour Dunedin". Dunedin is the next port of call. I suggest you put your name (free) on the list for a half/full day tour in Dunedin.
Hobart is an average city. If you havent' seen a kangaroo or koala up close, I suggest you take an excursion out to the country to meet them.