Apologies for the delay in writing this review.
We cruised as a family of 4, myself and husband, mid 40s and two children, an 11yo and 15yo.
We chose and booked this cruise about 1.5 years before sailing, as we found a fantastic deal with good OBC. It was our 2nd cruise, and first with Princess Cruises. Our first was with Royal Caribbean. We chose Princess as we just wanted to compare and they seemed to have better prices on things like drinks etc. Also, no gratuities required if departing and returning to Australia (although of course we tipped those that stood out anyway in cash) and it just seemed to work for us. So even though we've only done 2 cruises, we were all in agreement that we preferred Princess over RC, for many different reasons.
Our mini suite was a good size for a family of 4. One double for mum and dad, one pullman/bunk that came down from the ceiling and a sofa bed that came out of the sofa. Only problem was the kids fighting over the beds so you have been warned that they are different! I had to bribe one $$ to sleep in the bunk. But I was prepared for that and she got her own holiday money to spend out of failing to get the sofa bed. We asked our stateroom attendant if he could put it back so we got the lounge space during the day. We had a coffee table, a full sized 3 seater sofa (that turned into the sofa bed at night) and an armchair. Nice amount of space for 4 of us. Winner!
It was clean but there was an odd smell occasionally near the balcony for the first few days..I think maybe the carpet had gotten wet? I wasn't sure but the carpet could very easily get wet if someone leaves the door open as the balcony is completely uncovered. Not so great, but more because it's totally unusable even with a tiny bit of rain.
Otherwise it was a great room, quiet spot and no noise from anywhere above or below. There was however some vibration at times but not for long.
Well maintained by friendly room attendant.
I don't think I could go in any other room but a mini suite if travelling as a family. Well worth the extra $$.
Stepped straight off the ship and was in the middle of the city within minutes. Take a ferry to Devonport or further afield as Auckland city is just another city.
Got on a shuttle to the centre of city where we were greeted by city volunteers who helped us with information on what we wanted to do that day. We caught a bus out to the Weta Cave in the suburbs where we did a tour but you must book these in advance. (we booked while waiting for the bus!) Then back into the city, the Te Papa museum, the Cable car and this fabulous little perfumery at the top of the Cable Car. Nice day, again, poor weather.