This is our 2nd trip on Journey but our first to NZ and Australia. The ship is an ideal size. Big enough to have plenty of activities and a good selection of dining options but small enough that you hardly ever have to stand in line for anything.
Both this trip and the last trip we were on, the Adriatic Sea, the service was excellent. The crew is friendly from the cabin stewards to the Captain and other officers. The ship is tastefully decorated - common areas and the cabin. The cabin was roomy enough for our 2 week cruise. There were plenty of areas to relax in - quiet and lively, indoor and outdoors.
We especially like that you normally have plenty of time in port, so you can get to know the countries and towns you are visiting.
We had an oceanview stateroom on the 4th level. The room had enough room in it for relaxing. It had a king bed, desk, small couch and coffee table. The closet space was big enough and we had quite a few drawers to work with. The bathroom had the usual small cruise ship shower with a shower curtain. Only a small amount of counter space near the sink but there were other shelves in the bathroom for toiletry storage. Free bottled water daily in the room. Also there was a free laundromat on the ship that was nice to have. Overall the cabin had plenty of room and the decor was updated and pleasing.
Auckland is a big city, pretty clean, but nothing really special about it.
Beautiful area with lots of water activity. We took a boat cruise around the islands that we arranged ourselves.
The port itself was not that interesting but if you go into town, it is a really nice resort town with a lot of sidewalk cafe with very nice beaches.
We arranged our own tour over to Rotorua and visited the Maori cultural center near some of the geothermal activity and did some zorbing which was a lot of fun. Highly recommend it!
The art deco architecture is Napier's claim to fame which was nice but that was pretty much it as far as the town goes. Not the most exciting stop but I guess they can't all be home runs.
We took an uber ride over to the Weta Cave Workshop and that was pretty amazing. They do a lot of work for the movies and had done a lot of work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy among others. We took a tour there.
Other than that we went through the Te Papa Museum which was kind of average despite the rave reviews. We walked around Cuba St and the downtown area. That was nice enough. It is a nice city sitting on the water.
Our ship arranged for a local symphony concert in St. Paul's Cathedral and that was quite impressive.