This was our sixth cruise and the 4th line we've been on. We liked the ability to visit Australia and New Zealand in one trip. Most of the ports were very interesting, with the exception of Picton, New Zealand. The ship is older and has low ceilings with often dark carpet, ceilings or walls which makes public spaces seem small. We were usually back at the ship for dinner and ate in the dining room. The food was mixed, sometimes very good and sometimes not good at all.
This is the only line we've been on with fixed seating. When they issue your ID card it includes your table. If we had chosen anytime dining I'm sure this wouldn't be an issue, but we like having the same wait staff who know our preferences. We were on our anniversary so not having a table with some quiet and privacy was a big negative.
All the staff on the ship were very friendly and the room stewards and wait staff were excellent. The only frustration was taking eight days to properly fix our toilet.
The in room entertainment is from the dark ages. We had a balcony room and the TV was small and in a corner so not convenient to watch, the remote didn't have numbers so you had to scroll slowly to get from one channel to the next, there had few non-news stations to choose from, reception was good to poor and the TV guide can't be advanced so if it 10 pm when you turn on the TV and the guide is at 6 am you have to wait a couple of minutes before it gets to 10 pm. There is a DVD player so you can go to the front desk a get a DVD but I don't think any are movies released within the past 10 years.
We typically do shore excursions because the cruise line excursions tend to be less organized, slower getting started and are over priced. We used Zealander and Canterbury Leisure Tours and we very pleased with both. We did an excursion with the ship in Napier, Hawke's Bay Express which was fine.
Melbourne is probably the most confusing port. Go to the terminal at Pier Station and by Tram or Bus tickets. The Tram is a bit faster but you have to walk a block to get to the stop, so if the weather is bad, take the bus.
The ship is older so the cabin is smaller than most we've been on. The cabin was clean and it was nice having two closets, his and hers. The safe is very small and my iPad wouldn't fit. Not all our luggage fit under the bed because there are two large drawers with blankets installed under the bed. We had to use closet space to store a carry-on. The toilet didn't work properly for about half the trip. Not sure why I had to make 5 trips to the front desk and finally Guest Relations to get it done. The door to the cabin is finicky and sometimes difficult to open. When we booked our choices were limited but I liked the fact that the cabin his rooms on the decks above and below, there is no cabin or utility door immediately across from the cabin door and the cabin is in on of the extended areas of the ship which was good for viewing. In other words, the ship has some areas that extend further than other areas. It was also on the starboard side which is the side most of the ports and land areas can be seen from.
We visited a Moari village in Rotorua which was very interesting and had lunch at a nice spot along the coast. A brief bee factory tour was ok but not why you go to New Zealand. Also, they don't allow imported honey so it's about 5 times more expensive than in the U.S.View All 63 Rotorua Reviews
It looks like an old steam engine train pulling classic style pullman cars. It's an interesting tour and narration around the art deco buildings in town.View All 17 Hawkes Bay Scenic Tour Reviews