We chose this crew for the itinerary, and their "J" inside cabin rooms. Much about this cruise was amazing, but a few items need work.
ITINERARY - Can't complain here. The time in shore was adequate on all but Napier, and I prefer a cruise that has its concentration of days at sea at the end of the cruise, so I return to work rested.
SHIP - Our "J" category rooms were HUGE! This ship is scheduled for dry-dock in September, so I don't know if these rooms will remain as is. For this longer cruise length, we loved the extra room - without the extra price. In general, this ship needs an update, but obviously, Holland America already knows this. Although I found the decor dated, and a few spots were showing wear, the ship was spotless. I also think the arrangement of some of the public areas could be modernized - especially the gym and the buffet areas which would benefit from more square footage and more glass area. I would like to see the buffet area have glass along the entire front of the ship with doors directly leading to the deck, rather than locating service areas between the buffet & the lido deck.
Best inside cabins at sea. L shaped sofas. TONS of storage! Really nicely arranged bathroom. Love the medicine cabinet. 3 closets. Under bed drawers. Vanity with stool with storage. Well thought out - and handiest location on the ship.
Did a private tour of Hobbiton prior to boarding ship and another to Weiheke Island. Excellent.
Private tour of Rotorua which was good.
Segway tour of Wellington & Speights Brewery on our own. Wonderful, even though it was a little chilly. Happened to run into a Highland Marching Band competition, which was wonderful. And free!
Hawkes Bay Wineries - Excellent Wine!