We chose this cruise because it was in the school holidays and we had not been to New Zealand before. Whilst this cruise was perfectly fine and we enjoyed it, it was not up to the standards we have come to expect from cruising. For example, the service in the dining room was poor compared to all our other cruises. On a number of occasions we had to wait a long time before we even got our menus and then there were also considerable waits for our food to arrive. We had set dining which is our favourite as you get to know your wait staff and they get to know you. On past cruises, by the second night, the wait staff have your drinks ready and waiting by the time you arrive for your meal. This happened once. We had to order our drinks every night (the exact same drinks). Also my mum liked to have a glass of ice each night and she had to always prompt the wait staff for it.
The other issue I had was with the menu. There was an over abundance of fish and seafood choices which is great if you like that but not being a fish or seafood eater I found it a poor menu for me. There was never much in the way of a choice for chicken or vegetarian. A number of nights I ended up not eating in the dining room while my family ate and then went up to the buffet (Horizon court) to find something. The buffet was excellent. I do like the set out of it. You have to sanitise your hands before you enter the buffet area. I liked that it was separate from those looking for tables. We often found it hard to find a table to sit at though. Not the fault of anyone, just an observation. I did really like who the Horizon court was set out. The food was really good for the most part with lots of choice. Room service was fabulous and it always arrived really quickly and hot. I could not fault this at all.
The cabin was great. We had ice in our room every day/night. We only had one cabin steward on this ship and usually we have two. It wasn't unusual for us to go out in the morning for breakfast and trivia and come back and find our room had not been cleaned yet. Not a problem for us but not the same as other cruises. The balcony was huge but a little old looking and rusty. We didn't end up using it too much because the weather was rainy and it was quite cold out there. I did often open the door and just lie on the bed at night listening to the waves which was lovely at night.
Entertainment was ok. Most of the shows in the theatre were the Princess dancers and singers. They were good but I like a bit of a mix up there. The entertainers that they had come on board mostly performed in one of the bars and I thought this was a bad idea. The bar area was never big enough for the amount of people wanting to attend and there were always people standing. One show we didn't get to see because we couldn't be bothered trying to see past those standing at the back. Also the number of kids attending late late shows and not being controlled by their parents was shameful. At one show they were interrupting the magician the whole show and being a nuisance and their parents were nowhere to be seen. I don't understand why the ships staff don't step in.
The ports of call were fabulous and we had wonderful weather for those. We did not do any ship tours as we find them quite expensive. The tours we did were ones that we found through Tripadviser. They were all fantastic, especially the seals in Akaroa. We were within metres of the babies and it was quite breathtaking. Just the seven of us on a tour with a guide. The only hiccup we had was the weather started off being bad on that day and they cancelled the tenders off the ship. We thought we were not going to be able to get off but that ended up changing, just like the weather and we just made it off on time for the tour.
Embarkation and disembarkation was well organised. We were with my parents who are platinum so we had priority boarding which was fantastic. Although I think that the boarding without it would have been fine, just would have taken a little longer. Hint, don't take on a powerboard as my mum got caught and it delayed getting her bag onboard until quite late on the first evening.
The cabin was very good. Balcony was a little rusty and old looking but it was fine. Shower was small and I hate those small showers with the curtain. The curtain wasn't long enough so the water just leaked out into the bathroom itself. The toilet stopped working on one day but it was fixed within the day. Apparently it was an issue on the whole deck we were on. Lucky we had family on another deck so we just used their toilet until ours was fixed.
Didn't spend much time here as we have previously. Plenty to do though
We had a bus for 30 for the 7 of us as the smaller bus was not available. The driver basically took us to wherever we wanted to go. We went for a drive up over the mountains to a place where you can view the seals. It was too cold for us to venture down to them and we had a tour the next day in another port so we were not too concerned. We also had a wander in the town and saw the railway station and we went to the steepest road in Dunedin which was a hard trek walking up. Not for the faint hearted.View All undefined undefined Reviews
This was a fantastic tour for a small group. We were a party of 7 with four adults and three kids. This tour was definitely the highlight of our trip to New Zealand. Paul has a wealth of knowledge and his property is fabulous. The views were amazing and we were not disappointed when we got to the area where we could view the seals. You are able to walk down right to the area where they are and you have baby seals all around you hidden in the nooks and crannies of the rocks. It is amazing how high they can climb. On the way to the see the seals Paul managed to catch a baby rabbit and we all got to have a hold and get photos. This was also a highlight although very unexpected. Paul provided tea/coffee and cold drinks and home made banana cake. We loved this tour and would highly recommend. The day was perfect and we couldn't have asked for a better host.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Pretty little town but very small. It was nice just to stroll through the town and look at the markets and the shops. Very busy though with the cruise ship in and some of the shops were too full of tourists to actually get in and look.
This is where they lock you in a room - the one we did was called the Lab, and you have to work out all the clues to escape. This was fantastic fun for our whole family ages ranged from 11 - 70. It was awesome.View All undefined undefined Reviews