We had previously done the 4 day cruise from Auckland to Sydney and wanted to experience a longer cruise onboard the Diamond Princess as we had enjoyed that, and chose the Xmas cruise for something a bit different. We were looking forward to relaxing by the pool and not have to worry about hosting Christmas!
We stayed near Darling Harbour prior to embarkation, which had plenty to see there. The children's park was excellent and dining at the waterfront was handy to our hotel. We took a taxi to the wharf (about $17) and embarkation was very smooth though we had been emailed in advance that there would be a delay. Once onboard we settled into our cabin, met our very friendly and attentive steward (who would make cute animals out of towels for us when he prepped our room) and went to the Horizon Court for lunch. Young families had already settled at the covered pool and we soon joined them. We travelled with our 8 year old son who we booked into the kid's club on some days. He seemed to enjoy the organised activities for the 8 to 12 year olds and enjoyed meeting Santa on Christmas Day in Dunedin. All the children received a stuffed toy as a present, which was a nice touch.
We had an internal cabin at the aft, usually quiet, except for the sound of loud voices of other guests returning to their rooms sometimes was a bit noisy. It was handy enough to stairwells and the laundrette. You pay around $7 to do one load of washing, that is added to your account.
Plenty to do for families in Sydney. Staying in Darling Harbour is reasonably handy to Circular Quay/The Rocks via taxi, but anywhere in the CBD is handy to the where the cruise ship is docked.
Quaint with a French feel.
Probably not a lot to see in the township. Surrounding areas are wine country.