I must admit to being sceptical and very stressed on boarding our first ever family cruise. We chose Princess from recommendations by others, and chose this itinerary as was wholly within Australia and didn't require passports.
I travelled without my husband - and took my 16 yo intellectually handicapped daughter, plus my other 12yo daughter - so my circumstances were no doubt vastly different to the many relaxed retirees we found onboard.
Embarkation was just 'ok' as we suffered an initial 'rookie' hiccup - in that we weren't given a plastic 'boarding card'. These were issued on check in to seemingly every other passenger - except us (ugh!!). But this was quickly resolved by a kindly Princess staff member and we were ushered onboard at the allocated deck boarding time of midday.
We loved our little cabin and it was kept beautifully clean twice per day by our quiet, but hard working steward Francis.
The balcony was the best decision we ever made and I will never stay in anything less! We were able to stay in complete privacy and luxury as we enjoyed scenic cruising up the east side of Tasmania - bliss!!!!!
The only negative comment I will make is probably another 'rookie' error. As mentioned in my comments - my two girls and I spent a lot of time in our rooms watching the fabulous tv (and avoiding the crowds). Our room had 3 beds - but one of them was suspended from the roof and was (annoyingly) tucked away from 9am until 7pm.
When we arrived on board - only two beds were made up and I made the embarrassing phonecall to reception to ask 'where the hell is my 3rd bed??' - only to be told, in a knowing voice, 'it's in the ceiling madam and will be lowered at turn-down tonight'
I'm not a passenger who likes to make a fuss so we put up with this for the first 3 days - but by day 4, my poor little 12yo was complaining of having no where to 'lay' during the day - so I rang and had it lowered. I should have done this on the first day because the steward happily kept it down 24 hours a day from then on!! Doh!!!
Sailing out of Sydney Harbour should be a bucket list item for everyone! The ferries all honking their horns added further excitement against the backdrop of the magnificent Opera House and Harbour Bridge
Tenders were expertly handled and there was minimal waiting time.
A beautiful, picturesque, yet eerie place to visit - and the history is astonishing! Would love to go back one day and do a ghost tour!!
We just did our own thing and mostly visited the CBD and Constitution Dock. The huge sheds at the Dock were more aimed at cashed up older tourists and not kids - so we found the CBD and its shopping precinct more to our liking.
I love Melbourne - normally - because I always fly there.
But sailing in with 3000 passengers in the middle of a heatwave was nothing short of a nightmare.
We were ushered onto a 'bus' (destination unknown??) which dumped us at Federation Square - 2kms from where we needed to be - and no other stops offered.
The 109 Tram service back home to the Port stops almost 1km from where the ship docks - and once again , after an already exhausting day in the heat - this just pushed us over the edge.
Huge queues for taxis (which were spasmodic) led to ugly scenes, queue jumpers and much frustration.