I previously sailed on the Queen Elizabeth two years ago, San Francisco to Auckland and enjoyed every minute apart from one or two minor irritations. So, when the opportunity to cruise Melbourne to Melbourne came up, I jumped at the opportunity. Cruise 911, Melbourne, Picton, Wellington (overnight), Akaroa, Dunedin (Port Chalmers) and cruising the Fiordland National Park. The itinerary was great, enjoyed all of the ports and cruising Doubtful and Milford Sound was wonderful.
Embarkation was a total shambles and if I hadn't been using a walking stick who knows how long it would have taken me to board. My boarding pass/ticket stated embarkation time was 12.30pm. I joined an exceptionally long queue in sweltering heat - no shade - and when I got to the top of the queue was told embarkation time was 1.30pm. A friend who had 1.30pm on her ticket, was told her embarkation time was 3.30pm. Seriously? I understand some people fainted because of the conditions. It seems to me that the Victoria Port Authority need to lift their game if Melbourne wants to attract more cruise ships. While their staff tried hard, it doesn't help that the facilities are hopeless. Thank goodness Cunard's check in staff were fabulous.
I received an unexpected upgrade from Britannia to Princess Suite. My cabin steward was fantastic, the room was exceptionally clean and the fruit bowl was replenished on a regular basis. Dining in the Princess Grill was out of this world. But there were aspects of the cruise I found disappointing.
Slightly larger than a Britiannia cabin, it was extremely clean and tidy. Nice bottle of bubbles to welcome me. Francisco, the cabin steward, was attentive and helpful. The shower is over a bath in these rooms. As I have a minor mobility issue I was a bit concerned at getting in and out of the bath to have a shower, however, there are two very sturdy hand rails and it was no problem at all. Bathroom was spotless. Plenty of wardrobe space and lovely kingsize bed. There was an Ily coffee machine - with pods - a kettle, plenty of teabags or instant coffee - although it is pretty awful stuff. Everything is presented nicely in a wooden box together with sugar and cookies.
Fantastic place. We have two days here. On the first day I met up with a friend I worked with many years ago. We had a great day and the weather was fantastic which was a bonus because Wellington's weather always gets a bad rap. Second day I spent cruising around the shops. It's a nice city, quite compact and easy to get around.
I marked it as very good but in fact I wasn't able to go ashore because my balance wasn't sufficient to get in and out of the tender safely. So I stayed on board and took lots of photos. From all accounts it's a great place and it's certainly very beautiful.