What a great cruise, relaxing, great sights, made a lot of new friends and had a lot of fun doing it.
We were picked up on time by bus from Adelaide. one of three stops before heading of to Mannum, the town that the paddlewheel ship departs from, John the driver was a bit of a hard case, and the 2 1/2 hour trip flew by with John's rendition of the local area and history.
The ship itself is beautiful and takes 120 guest (only about 90 on out trip). I do recommend a stateroom if you don't like smaller cabins but most people seemed happy with the size of the room as it's really only a place to sleep and shower. The bar is great and stock everything you need, The dinning room is spacious and doubled as a place to do most games, meetings, lectures and videos. The Paddlewheel Lounge is, well next to the paddlewheel and has quite a background noise of the slap slap slap and a bit of vibration. The lounge was still very popular and it isn't a major problem. There is a laundry, spa and exercise area. The sundeck right on top is a great place to sit and watch the great sights and wildlife pass you by. The sights were awesome and the ecology is alive and ready for photos.
The first day, the Murray Princess left at 5pm (an hour late but it didn't really matter) and we cruised to our first over night spot. We sample our first meal. The food was very good, there was two choice of entrees, two choice of main and two of desert, all delicious and done to perfection. This was the format for most lunches and dinners with a wide range of dishes and no complaints from anyone. Breakfasts was a buffet of cooked, continental and fruit and toast with some minor variations each day. There were several "special" meals such as the BBQ one night on the river bank, Good food including kangaroo steaks and they even set up a bar. A champagne bush tucker breakfast is available the next day at a price and was well worth it, three courses and very tasty. The Captain's Dinner was another excellent meal with a difference but I'm not letting the cat out of the bag for that one!
Entertainment (other than the food and drinks) was also of a high standard with piano music during lunch and dinner. Trivia afternoons, Bingo (not me though), a visit to an aboriginal archeologist sight, guided by the local tribe members with a climb up a cliff (stairs) for a great view of the Murray river and surrounding area. We also stopped for at the small town of Swan Reach (locals were very friendly), had a visit to a winery and more importantly a tasting of their wines. A visit to a farm for a sheep show and viewing of local wild life... the list goes on.
The staff were excellent. Always keen to help and Kevin (cruise director) was always on the ball. The most important man on the ship (Gary the barman) was tireless in supplying the required sustenance till late in the night. The Captain and the First Mate were very approachable and a visit to the wheelhouse was no problem for them. They were very knowledgeable and had some great stories about life on the paddlewheel ship. There were so many staff that I haven't mentioned that made our stay great.
And yes they even had wifi, Useful for making my friends jealous via all the pics I posted on Facebook. Most guests were retired but there were several couples around our age (47 & 55) but age differences were not a problem. We made many new friends, were always talking with someone new,.
The boat wasn't perfect but it was good enough, the price seemed a little high until you take in account of all the staff and all of things we did and then it seems quite reasonable. The food.. absolutely spot on!
Would I do it again? In a heart beat!
As good as a hotel room, although the bathroom is small. Tea and coffee and minibar were available to us and the bed was very comfortable complete with electric blanket. Bed was turned down every night and the obligatory chocolate on the pillow.