My wife and I had wanted to do a cruise around both the North and South Islands of New Zealand for a number of years.
The only cruise line that was available in November 2016 for this holiday cruise was the Princess Line, in particular the Emerald Princess and so we booked a 13 night cruise around both islands leaving and returning from Sydney.
We had been on two previous cruises in 2014 and 2015, with a different cruise line with a large X as its logo and we had enjoyed them both immensely.
The boarding procedure at the Sydney Overseas Terminal at Circular Quay was well handled and we were on board within 40 minutes.
Whilst our luggage was being loaded and transported to our suite with our own balcony, we decided to have lunch at the main buffet and that was our first big disappointment, the food that was presented was below average for a cruise liner of this class.
Both my wife and I returned to the table with virtually nothing on our plates as there was just nothing that looked appealing.
We then headed to our suite on deck 8 and found the layout and the quality of the accommodation to be excellent, which was a relief.
On our first night at sea we had opted for the late dining at 8.30pm and found ourselves on a table with three Chinese couples who were the rudest people we had come across in our cruising to date.
The meal was acceptable but the company was woeful and at the end of the meal we arranged to be moved to another table and the earlier seating time of 7.00pm as we discovered that the nightly entertainment in the theatrette was on from 8.00pm to 8.45pm.
For the remainder of the cruise we dined with an elderly Australian couple from Tenterfield in NSW and they were wonderful company.
The other disappointing aspect of the cruise was the nightly entertainment, which could at best be described as average and think I'm being kind with that appraisal.
The other astonishing aspect of the entertainment was with a packed theatrette with an audience of 1500 passengers, each "entertainer" performed for 45 minutes and not one minute more.
Now that the bad news has been covered the cruise itself was excellent as we cruised down to Fiordland, including Milford Sound and then up the east coast of the South Island, where we visited Port Chalmers/Dunedin, Akaroa, and Picton and then the North Island where we visited Napier, Tauranga, Auckland and the Bay of Islands before returning to Sydney.
The staff on board the ship were courteous and professional at all times and they helped to compensate a little for the other disappointing aspects of the cruise.
When I pay $8,000 for a cruise I expect better meals and entertainment and we won't be doing any more cruises with the Princess Line.
An excellent suite on the port side of the ship with a compact balcony that provided excellent views all the way up the east coast of both islands.
Very clean and serviced daily.
The two television sets were unnecessary and there were no Australian channels which was ridiculous on a cruise from Australia to New Zealand.
We got off the plane and travelled by bus to Circular Quay where we embarked on to the ship. The view of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House are always excellent.
An very comprehensive tour of the city and the suburbs with very informative commentary from the personable bus driver.
A beautiful train station in the middle of Dunedin. We were only allowed a 10 minute stop to have a look and take some photographs, which was enough time.
It was part of the overall bus tour of Dunedin.View All 2 Historic Pubs of Port Chalmers Reviews
A wonderful old castle on top of the hill surrounded by beautiful gardens.
The guided tour was a bit too brief but the Devonshire Tea was very nice.View All 36 Larnach Castle Reviews
A superb historical house and the guided tour was excellent.View All 13 Olveston House Reviews
An excellent cruise conducted by local husband, wife and dog.
We saw Hector Dolphins, penguins and other sea life and enjoyed a glass of wine.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We had a walk around Picton and enjoyed the scenery and the town.
We drove by bus to Havelock Harbour and we spent a very enjoyable two hour cruise, which explored the local mussel farms and had a wonderful pre snack of fresh mussels and a glass of white wine surrounded by the natural beauty of the area. One of the highlights of the holiday.
Probably the most disappointing tour, the local Maori kids gave us a traditional welcome of sorts, but they were very young and only just learning the traditions themselves.View All undefined undefined Reviews