We have previously cruised 4 times with P&O from Southampton,though we would prefer a Departure port in the North, but we had wanted to cruise New Zealand in particular to celebrate a number of personal landmarks and the itinerary for our cruise met our wishes.
Our cabin which was a signature suite on deck 6 was very good and whilst our stewards,there were 2 of them working as a team,maintained the room well we did feel at times they were keen to get us out of the room so they could finish their work especially in the evening when we didn't go to dinner until after 8 but not much after.
We ate downstairs in the main restaurant, partly because our first encounter with the lido deck restaurant was chaotic and even more so at breakfast,when you couldn't necessarily get your full cooked breakfast from one station, but mainly because the service in the formal restaurant was very good.
The restaurant reception staff and waiters were very friendly and most welcoming.The food was good rather than excellent though if you like your vegetables especially greens then don't hold your breath and nor would I recommend bothering with the afternoon tea which compared to P&O was a big disappointment.
Our ports of call were interesting throughout our trip though the weather was not always so kind.We had prebooked two exercusions,both related to our like of the Hobbitt and Lord of the Rings but the price,over £700 for just two of us seemed very expensive,the fall in sterling to the dollar didn't help ,but even so it was still costly and put us off booking others though we did really enjoy both trips.The fact the sun shone both days helped.We made our own way at the other ports but bad weather at Wellington and Picton and to a lesser degree Dunedin meant we were restricted in what we managed to see outdoors though in Wellington we did spend an excellent few hours at the Te Papa Museum
We didn't make full use of the evening entertainment partly because our itinerary was for port after port for the first 6 days and we didn't want to stay up late but also because we weren't particularly excited by what was on offer.What we did see was OK but no more tthan that except where we treated to a one off performance of the didgeridoo which was fun as well as entertaining.
Whilst the initial cruise costs was reasonable the add ons of the gratuities 27US dollars per day and the 15% service charge on drinks seemed excessive when the latter was not cheap to start with.
One gripe was that we were scheduled to go to Burnie then Melbourne but this was changed.Although we were informed a few days before leaving the Uk we had ,and we know of others it affected ,arranged to meet people,in our case relatives in Melbourne on the Saturday.Due to the change we were only able to meet up with our cousin but not her husband.Whilst the reason given though only after we had been on board a few days was that there were insufficient immigration personnel at a Burnie to process all passengers into Australia I would have thought this would have been known much earlier and to be honest at the time the cruise details were first put together.The irony was there were not that many in Melbourne to be honest!
Did we enjoy our cruise.Yes.would we use HAL and the Noordam again.Yes but only in the right circumstances as overall we would still prefer P&O if in a Europe especially a boat like the Arcadia which is similar in design and layout to the Noordam but we feel has more character.
Plenty of room and fixtures.Having a double sink was a bonus and the bathroom overall good size with room for us both when needed.Good size and well furnished balcony though due to the weather and the number of consecutive ports we weren't able to use as much as we had hoped.Cabin Staff did all that was asked of them though as stated in my main review perhaps were too eager to get us out of an evening so they could clean and finish their shift.
Good space to have room service breakfast which we did a few times...and would recommend.
Don't try the whirl pool in the bath as It seemed like it might explode in a shower of water
Lousy weather,very windy and raining but Te Papa Museum one of the best we have ever been in made up for this
Nice architecture but not much to do in the town but quayside send off by jazz band most entertaining
Drive through beautiful countryside and good fun with excellent driver commentator and onsite guideView All 53 Hobbiton Movie Set Reviews
Arrived by air day prior.Did some sightseeing on that afternoon including the skytower which we enjoyed.
Such a shame about the weather.Very wet and windy.The small town and surrounding landscape look great.We did venture out but returned to the boat after a couple of hours.I went out again and took in the Edwin Fox Museum,an old sailing ship,which was actually very interesting.The volunteer staff were so nice.
Interesting drive through different terrain arriving at where they filmed Scenes from Lord of the Rings.
Such a wonderful countryside and a fun time with the photographyView All undefined undefined Reviews
Took the local hop hop off bus.Went the full round, it was raining again,had a coffee and went again.Stopped of at the Botanical Gardens as the sun had come out.Intersesting history and architecture such as the railway station.
Took the local hop on hop off bus.Enjoyed the scenery and a walk along the river bank and later the promenade.Great fish and chip shop...the Octopus Fish Shop...we actually had battered scallops and calamari...must try place!
Took hop on hop off bus with our relative who met us there.Nice city but not much time due to having to go through immigration procedures.
Small but interesting town.Great shop selling only locally made craft goods on the Main Street and a walk down to the bay off Museum Street worth doing and great view and the sound of the waves.
Our final port of call.Left the ship and stayed for 3 nights near Chinatown.Did the usual things,the Opera House,Ferry to Manly,etc.
Fantastic place with good transport links.Buy an Opal card as it saves a lot of hassle if you want to get around.