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Sea Princess Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
552 Reviews

Ship is a retirement village at sea

Sea Princess Cruise Review by Amoebe

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2019
  • Destination: Australia & New Zealand
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview

We chose this cruise simply for the itinerary. We didn't make it to the fiordlands due to weather, which we understand. The ship seemed understaffed and I've definitely been on happier ships. Late embarking led to harried crew ordering us to our muster station, where we were told to move when we tried to put our heavy carry on luggage and stroller down. So sitting on a step which was the only available seating, we waited 40mins for the muster briefing to begin. Time enough I would have thought to drop our hand luggage and stroller in the cabin. When we did get to our cabin, it was to find a dirty plate with cold food under the bed along with a dirty sock and paper. I won't mention what was near the drinks tray, suffice to say the room felt vey dirty. Again I blame understaffing.

The attitude of the crew improved toward the end of the first week however, the emphasis on 'cruise status' and the colour of your ships card was obvious all through the cruise. Very disappointing. The upper bunks in our cabin were incredibly uncomfortable, with mattresses like cement. We initiated a roster system so the adults could take turns having a comfortable nights sleep in the lower bunk. Princess it seems have iniated a Third Class system, keeping tradition with the Titanic.

While there were some fun moments, those aimed at a younger demographic for a change, they were far and few between. Our grandson loved kids club, and was cared for beautifully by them. Sadly there were no really child friendly outdoor areas, and instead of an adults sanctuary, which was in fact the whole ship, we could have done with a family sanctuary, one to keep out the grumpy older passengers. We are a fit 63 years old, yet on this ship I felt 30 years old still the overly loud music played near the pool was a poor effort to acknowledge younger minded passengers.

I'm a retired RN, and I understand the special needs of the elderly however, almost an entire ship devoted to them alone is too much. If the line only wants that demographic on board they should be fair and state as much in their marketing.

Traditional dining in the Rigaletto restaurant was fantastic. Our waiter Rod and assistant waiter Joel were unbelievably caring and attentive. Service was impeccable. They were incredibly patient with our grandson and intuitive of our needs. We can't thank them enough.

Buffet dining was relatively bland and hot foods were especially lacking in variety at breakfast and lunch. Food options it appears were sacrificed for a larger seating area, which given the number of passengers who ignored signs designating tables for the disabled, it seems there still weren't enough. We had no trouble finding a table somewhere everyday though.

We paid over $600 to go to Hobbiton on a bus with non-existent air-conditioning for an hour both ways, were rushed back to the bus because the driver gave us the wrong time. Too huge a group meant standing for too long in the heat, with a couple of people close to fainting. Not worth the cost.

Price of alcohol on board was phenomenal. A bottle of wine on board selling for $55 can be bought for $30 in Australia. Wine by the glass averaged at $15 a glass. Cocktails averaged at $15 a glass.

Our cabin was noisy on port days as the ship docked and the disembarkation equipment was erected. On one night at 10.30pm a balloon drop party with loud rock and roll music was held 100 metres from our room and went on until 11.05pm, waking our grandson and his designated babysitter - grandfather, but then again third class doesn't count. Considering the complaints we had to hear from certain upper deck passengers when forced to queue at ports, I understand the need to inflict the party on us.

If I sound a little unhappy it's because I am, an expensive, long anticipated holiday was a disappointment. Princess line please be honest in your marketing approach, and try to remember the colour of your cruise card just depends on how many repeat cruises you make. Mine will forever remain the colour it is.

Amoebe's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Cabin OC P340

Upper bunks terrible, mattreses like cement. Smallest quad cabin I've stayed in. Handy to everything however noisy on port days very early on, balloon party night a nightmare.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Great for waiting to embark, excellent shops and cafes near the cruise terminal.

Fantastic tour with highlight being taken to the Mountain top for photo options and views of the incredible countryside. Very comfortable bus.

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We walked to the Cable car and visited the Botanical Gardens where our grandson could gain some exercise in the fantastic playground.


We loved beautiful Napier. We visted their beautiful, clean well organised children's playgrounds, shopped, and then walked to the old Gaol. Following our visit there we visted the heated salt pools for wonderful swim.

Hobbiton Movie Set

Incredibly expensive, uncomfortable bus ride on a bus with no airconditioning, too large a group, rushed visit due to too large a group and driver giving wrong time to leave. We chose this ship in great part for this tour, what a terrible mistake.

View All 53 Hobbiton Movie Set Reviews

We caught a cab to Kelly Tarltons Seaworld where we had pre-purchased tickets for the behind the scenes tour. A fantastic day for all of us from seeing the wonderful sea creatures to spending the day in a very comfortable environment. Our grandson loved it, especially the free shark bus shuttle back to the ship.

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