This was a cruise that has been on our bucket list for years. We took the Princess Cruisetour. Land tour of Australia and then cruised New Zealand. Do land tour first because it is a very active tour. You get a couple days rest after on Cruise ship.
We were a bit disappointed that Princess changed the itinerary on the Land tour portion of Australia 6 weeks before we cruised. We missed a Port Douglas and we were looking forward to seeing it.
The Land tour was still fantastic. We had the most wonderful tour guide- Melissa who kept us on time and was a wealth of information.
Keep in mind November to April is the rainy season but still the best time to go , especially in the North with the rain forests. We lucked out and the rain it rained twice while we were traveling on the bus. The land tour has 4 flights so you are up early a couple days and fly in late one evening.
Ayers Rock was nice to see but it was a lot of travel time to see a large rock in the desert. They were having the most rain ever recorded in the Outback so it was very green when we were there.
We stayed at Shangri La Hotel in Cairns. Very nice hotel and the marina was on the door step so you walked to the Catamaran to take us to the Great Barrier reef.
The New Zealand cruise was very nice. The Ship was again in very good shape and we sailed in February when all the Kids from Australia and New Zealand were back in school from Summer vacation. Don't sail during their summer vacation. (Mid Dec to Late January. It will be crowded with kids.
A couple of nights the entertainment was not up to Princess standards. The remaining nights were very good and more in line with Princess standards. All the pools were closed for first 5 days at sea for maintenance. Very poor planning by Princess. They should have closed one pool at a time. Keep in mind that the weather is pretty cool at sea 14 - 18 Celsius until you reach Picton.
We loved Tasmania. We toured the Mount Field National Park & Russell Falls . If you can, start at the top of mountain and tour the giant trees and then you walk down stairs to Russel Falls. Otherwise you have a long climb to get to top. Also Bonorong Sanctuary is a must see. You get to pet and feed the Wallabies and Kangaroos. Lots of other animals native to Australia.
We ended up missing two ports because of heavy fog. Dunedin and Akaroa. It made 5 days at sea so everyone was anxious to get off the ship when we finally docked at Picton. We took the Marlborough’s Rural Heartland Tour with MOLESWORTH tour . The lunch was fabulous, we stopped at Oak Tree Cottage that served private functions. We also got to stop at a Winery .
We did not find Napier very interesting. Te Mata Peak was nice and we did stop at a winery. We heard the Cape Kidnappers tour was nice. Unless you are an Art Deco fan I would skip this tour.
One of our favorite stops was at Tauranga. The Tamaki Maori Village and the Rotorua Te Puia Thermal Reserve. The Geysers and mud pools were fascinating. The Tamaki Maori show was great. We booked our tour with Amazing Day Tours. Bruce was a fantastic tour guide. Bruce is sometimes able to get one of the men in his tour selected as "Chief for the day" which is fun and gets your group front row seats for the show.
We ended cruise at Auckland and had booked our flights through Princess. It was much cheaper and they took very good care of us & luggage. If you book air with Princess they do not let you choose your ship departure time.The only negative is you are at the airport before 10:30 AM ( Sometimes earlier) and most flights are between 3 pm & 8 pm. If you book air with Princess make sure you go to front desk 4 days before cruise ends and request as late a departure as possible. Usually around 9:20 AM otherwise they will give you a 7:35 AM departure which makes a very long day at airport.
Even with a couple missed stops this was a very good tour & cruise. I would highly recommend it.
Our Cabin was very nice. Larger than most interior and only paid a few dollars more for it. Just make sure you do not choose the front of the ship which is over the Princess Theater and more movement of ship.
It was cold and raining. Was not able to enjoy the beach.
Nice overview of City. It was raining so it was the best time to be on the bus.View All 22 City Tour Reviews
Great stop at Bonorong. We arrived just before many of the tour busses so it was not too crowded.View All 31 Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary Reviews
Very good tour guide. Knew the cruise line tours started at bottom of hill and walked up to Russell Falls and back. We started at top and saw Giant trees and ferns then walked down stairs to Russell falls and was picked up at bottom of hill.View All 7 Mt. Field National Park Reviews
Walked down stairs to Russell Falls. Much easier.View All 4 Russell Falls Reviews
Great tour of countryside and wineries. We stopped at farm to watch Sheep sheering and herding by Sheep dogs. Also had a fantastic lunch at Oak Tree Cottage.View All 18 Taste of Marlborough Reviews
Independent tour operator. Tour had too much Art Deco and not enough of countryside.View All 16 Napier Art Deco Tour Reviews
Tour operator Van broke down at Winery and had to wait for him to get family car to finish tour. Talked him down in price due to experience.View All 16 Winery Tour Reviews
Did stop at top of Te Mata Peak.
Great tour of the Geothermal springs. Highly recommend this tour.View All 40 Geothermal Springs Reviews
Great tour of the Tamaki Maori Village. Great experience.View All 63 Rotorua Reviews