I couldn't find any fault with this cruise. I overnighted at the Mercure Hotel in Auckland and boarded the Emerald Princess the following morning. There were no problems and I loved my outside stateroom on deck 5, near the art gallery - a perfect position for all activities. The cabin was as expected, with great mattress/pillows giving me a good night's sleep. However, I wish they'd replace the shower curtain with a screen. We were blessed with perfect weather with the exception of seas turning nasty in the afternoon at Gisborne (didn't think much of this port) which delayed the tender operation and made for a scary return journey. I went on a private tour in Gisborne with Gisborne Tours and I wouldn't recommend them - very unprofessional and over-priced at $120. No information or commentary was provided. However, my private tour with Relaxed Tours in Dunedin was fantastic. Everyone enjoyed it. Seven hours with a knowledgeable driver and tour guide for just $70 - a bargain. I booked the Sanctuary for the scenic cruising and it didn't disappoint. Milford Sound is spectacular. The meals remain a highlight on Princess cruises (much better than P&O and a little better than Royal Caribbean). Anytime Dining operated without a hic-cup and I rarely had more than a few minutes' wait for a table. Theatre entertainment could have been better although the Scottish pianist in the Crooners Bar was hilarious - his jokes had the passengers crying with laughter. The singers/dancers remain fantastic, and the cruise director was one of the better ones. All in all a fantastic cruise and I'm looking forward to my next time with Princess.
I love this cabin position on deck 5 starboard as it's a few steps to the International Café, atrium, Michelangelo restaurant, and close to the theatre, casino, shops, bars, etc (decks 6 and 7). There was no noise except when berthing which was usually the same time to get out of bed.