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This review will be quite critical of the ship and how it is managed. Given that the ship will be going in for refurbishment in April/May of 2018 and hopefully that will make a big difference. Our experience did not get off to a good start. From the moment we stepped on the ship you could detect the odour of mould or mildew. It was strongest in the Princess Theatre and I did notify Guest Services and it still took another 10 days before something was done about it but it was still noticeable as we sat in the theatre for disembarkation. At other times you could distinctly smell the odour of sewerage gasses especially in the Wheelhouse Bar at times and occasionally in our cabin. These were not our major complaints though. On our first day we arrived at our cabin B325, an interior room, to a distinct drone throughout the room, especially in the bathroom and near the bed. Trying to sleep that night was difficult and when I was lying on my side with my head on the pillow it sounded like I was sleeping over the engines (something others complained about as well). Throughout the night there were other strange noises coming from behind the cabin mirror. After 3 days of this and having someone check out the noise, it was there again. It sounded like there was an animal scratching behind the mirror. At about 6:00 A.M. my wife rang Guest Services and told them we would not spend another night in that room. Within 5 minutes someone was up there checking it out but left soon after. About 11:00 I went back to Guest Services to find out what was happening and waited another hour for a manager to become available. We then had 3 staff up in the room trying to identify the noise which was now so loud that the technician could not understand why the people in the next cabin hadn't complained about it. Soon we were moved to cabin B408. B408, another interior room, was much better but the cold water pressure had to be fixed and soon after the air conditioner developed an annoying ticking which was fixed soon after as well. The only other noise that was there I fixed with a door stopper I had brought along. Unfortunately we could only stay in this room for about 4 days as it was booked by someone else further along on the cruise so we were moved to C409. C409, a balcony room, was nicer and more spacious but the air conditioner was quite loud even with my ear plugs in. The light from the corridor outside also shone in the room from around the sides of the door, this was something we didn't experience in either of the interior cabins. The water pressure in this bathroom also had to be fixed. We stayed in this room until the end of the cruise and even if they had offered us a suite we didn't want to pack our things again. So we were not happy with any of the rooms we were in but B408 was the best of the 3. Overall I was quite impressed with the ship from outside. It looked like it had been recently painted, even the interior was quite nice but the smell was very off putting. We did not look forward to going to the Princess Theatre for the shows. The dining experience was mixed. We had "Anytime Dining" but it was anything but. You just couldn't turn up at any time and expect to get a table for 2, they were giving preference to people who would share a table. We wanted to dine at about 6:00 but if there were no tables available they would give you a buzzer and call it when one was available. We were told we could book but you could book between 5:45 and 7:15 as it was only available for walk-ins. So too small a dining room and not enough tables for 2. You would be better off getting allocated dining, and Princess would do better by their customers if Anytime Dining was not available on this ship. The food can only be described as very good. Some of it was fantastic and some of it was good. The only problem I had with the menu was some nights there was a lack of variety or some of the dishes were too spicy for my taste. You can't please everyone but they did a good job with the meals. Just be prepared to not get things you may have ordered as extra, due to the language barrier that is occasionally present. We did have one dinner at the Steakhouse and I can honestly say it was one of the best steaks I have ever had. The food was delicious even though I would never have ordered some of the dishes at a normal restaurant. The staff were pleasant and very conscientious with your order and repeated the order to ensure you got exactly what you wanted. For great steak and only $29.00 per person for all you can eat if you want, just order it off the menu. We checked out Curtis Stone's on board restaurant Share. We might have gone there except the maths didn't work out. It has a set menu option for $39.00 per person, $10.00 each more than the Steakhouse, and you could also order a la carte if you wanted. The main discrepancy was if you took the set menu and ordered the most expensive items on the menu it was only about $36.50 in total. Not true value for money with that one. One thing about the dining is the bread. It is fantastic. Nice crispy crust rolls and grissini. If man could live on bread alone then Princess Cruises would have the market. The shows were great. The Princess dancers and the band did a fantastic job. The other entertainers were also great. We didn't go to most of the other daily activities other than the trivia. One thing Princess does have is happy hour so if you like to drink look out for it. On this cruise to New Zealand the ports were good. Fjiordland was one of the highlights of our trip. Of course the shore excursions are overpriced but they offer the advantage that if you are late back to the ship they will wait for you. We did 5 shore excursions. Napier, just a bus tour and it was fine at just $35.00. In Tauranga we did the Hobbiton film set trip and it was a must for any Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans. It is very expensive and can only be done on a guided tour even if you were to organise the excursion yourself. In Wellington there was another Lord of the Rings excursion where you visited locations where the film was shot and some of the studio. This is not the spot where the Hobbits live, mainly the forest areas with lots of walking up and down steep ground so you will need to be fit and able to walk. Many people we spoke to complained that it was not value for money unless you want to visit the studio and see the props. In Auckland we visited a couple of wineries and it was good. In the Bay of Islands my wife did a lunch cruise to Russell Island and was a little disappointed with it. I went fishing and had a great time. In regard to shore excursions I have found that you need to pick and choose carefully, especially in New Zealand. Dunedin was no great town to visit and Wellington was much the same, just bigger. If you are intent on purchasing duty free then you will be disappointed. I could not find any duty free shops in any of the cities. It appears they are only located at the airports. In Wellington I did find a liquor store that had Grand Marnier cheaper than I could purchase it in Melbourne, so check the prices in the local bottle shops to compare if it is worth it. We found the service from the bar staff and waiters to be quite good. The Guest Services was a disappointment. Our requests for things to be fixed were taken down but there was only the occasional follow up to see if the issue had been resolved. The Golden Princess was much better. However, different staff on future cruises may give you a better service.

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Sun Princess Cruise Review by axtyr

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This review will be quite critical of the ship and how it is managed. Given that the ship will be going in for refurbishment in April/May of 2018 and hopefully that will make a big difference.

Our experience did not get off to a good start. From the moment we stepped on the ship you could detect the odour of mould or mildew. It was strongest in the Princess Theatre and I did notify Guest Services and it still took another 10 days before something was done about it but it was still noticeable as we sat in the theatre for disembarkation. At other times you could distinctly smell the odour of sewerage gasses especially in the Wheelhouse Bar at times and occasionally in our cabin. These were not our major complaints though.

On our first day we arrived at our cabin B325, an interior room, to a distinct drone throughout the room, especially in the bathroom and near the bed. Trying to sleep that night was difficult and when I was lying on my side with my head on the pillow it sounded like I was sleeping over the engines (something others complained about as well). Throughout the night there were other strange noises coming from behind the cabin mirror. After 3 days of this and having someone check out the noise, it was there again. It sounded like there was an animal scratching behind the mirror. At about 6:00 A.M. my wife rang Guest Services and told them we would not spend another night in that room. Within 5 minutes someone was up there checking it out but left soon after. About 11:00 I went back to Guest Services to find out what was happening and waited another hour for a manager to become available. We then had 3 staff up in the room trying to identify the noise which was now so loud that the technician could not understand why the people in the next cabin hadn't complained about it. Soon we were moved to cabin B408.

B408, another interior room, was much better but the cold water pressure had to be fixed and soon after the air conditioner developed an annoying ticking which was fixed soon after as well. The only other noise that was there I fixed with a door stopper I had brought along. Unfortunately we could only stay in this room for about 4 days as it was booked by someone else further along on the cruise so we were moved to C409.

C409, a balcony room, was nicer and more spacious but the air conditioner was quite loud even with my ear plugs in. The light from the corridor outside also shone in the room from around the sides of the door, this was something we didn't experience in either of the interior cabins. The water pressure in this bathroom also had to be fixed. We stayed in this room until the end of the cruise and even if they had offered us a suite we didn't want to pack our things again.

So we were not happy with any of the rooms we were in but B408 was the best of the 3.

Overall I was quite impressed with the ship from outside. It looked like it had been recently painted, even the interior was quite nice but the smell was very off putting. We did not look forward to going to the Princess Theatre for the shows.

The dining experience was mixed. We had "Anytime Dining" but it was anything but. You just couldn't turn up at any time and expect to get a table for 2, they were giving preference to people who would share a table. We wanted to dine at about 6:00 but if there were no tables available they would give you a buzzer and call it when one was available. We were told we could book but you could book between 5:45 and 7:15 as it was only available for walk-ins. So too small a dining room and not enough tables for 2. You would be better off getting allocated dining, and Princess would do better by their customers if Anytime Dining was not available on this ship.

The food can only be described as very good. Some of it was fantastic and some of it was good. The only problem I had with the menu was some nights there was a lack of variety or some of the dishes were too spicy for my taste. You can't please everyone but they did a good job with the meals. Just be prepared to not get things you may have ordered as extra, due to the language barrier that is occasionally present.

We did have one dinner at the Steakhouse and I can honestly say it was one of the best steaks I have ever had. The food was delicious even though I would never have ordered some of the dishes at a normal restaurant. The staff were pleasant and very conscientious with your order and repeated the order to ensure you got exactly what you wanted. For great steak and only $29.00 per person for all you can eat if you want, just order it off the menu.

We checked out Curtis Stone's on board restaurant Share. We might have gone there except the maths didn't work out. It has a set menu option for $39.00 per person, $10.00 each more than the Steakhouse, and you could also order a la carte if you wanted. The main discrepancy was if you took the set menu and ordered the most expensive items on the menu it was only about $36.50 in total. Not true value for money with that one.

One thing about the dining is the bread. It is fantastic. Nice crispy crust rolls and grissini. If man could live on bread alone then Princess Cruises would have the market.

The shows were great. The Princess dancers and the band did a fantastic job. The other entertainers were also great. We didn't go to most of the other daily activities other than the trivia. One thing Princess does have is happy hour so if you like to drink look out for it.

On this cruise to New Zealand the ports were good. Fjiordland was one of the highlights of our trip. Of course the shore excursions are overpriced but they offer the advantage that if you are late back to the ship they will wait for you. We did 5 shore excursions. Napier, just a bus tour and it was fine at just $35.00. In Tauranga we did the Hobbiton film set trip and it was a must for any Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans. It is very expensive and can only be done on a guided tour even if you were to organise the excursion yourself. In Wellington there was another Lord of the Rings excursion where you visited locations where the film was shot and some of the studio. This is not the spot where the Hobbits live, mainly the forest areas with lots of walking up and down steep ground so you will need to be fit and able to walk. Many people we spoke to complained that it was not value for money unless you want to visit the studio and see the props.

In Auckland we visited a couple of wineries and it was good. In the Bay of Islands my wife did a lunch cruise to Russell Island and was a little disappointed with it. I went fishing and had a great time.

In regard to shore excursions I have found that you need to pick and choose carefully, especially in New Zealand. Dunedin was no great town to visit and Wellington was much the same, just bigger.

If you are intent on purchasing duty free then you will be disappointed. I could not find any duty free shops in any of the cities. It appears they are only located at the airports. In Wellington I did find a liquor store that had Grand Marnier cheaper than I could purchase it in Melbourne, so check the prices in the local bottle shops to compare if it is worth it.

We found the service from the bar staff and waiters to be quite good. The Guest Services was a disappointment. Our requests for things to be fixed were taken down but there was only the occasional follow up to see if the issue had been resolved. The Golden Princess was much better. However, different staff on future cruises may give you a better service.
axtyr’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin IC B325, B408,
Our three cabins, B325, B408 and C409 were all noisy to some degree and required issues to be fixed. Not happy with the rooms at all.
Riviera Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins