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.
No pen in the cabin. Previously there was always a pen. This was the most commonly discussed annoyance among passengers. Why provide a notepad if you're not going to provide a pen? The cost of those pens, as marketing tools, is probably negligible. I know it's not a big deal and I did have my own pen but still, it rankled because if this is how Carnival are going to strip down the Cunard brand it's a pretty stupid thing to do.
I ate in the Lido a couple of times for lunch and with a group of non Grills friends at dinner. What can I say? Presentation was dreadful, selection seemed to be limited and I noticed that people were queuing up for whatever was going to be cooked on the spot - there was nobody to cook it! On one occasion one side of the Lido was blocked off because the "chef wasn't ready!" It was 12.20pm for goodness sake.
For the first few days I had breakfast in my room. Big disappointment. Again, presentation was zero, portion sizes were so small I began wondering if I ought to order two breakfasts. A piece of bacon that measured less than 13cm in length (5 inches for non metricated folks), scrambled eggs - almost cold, presented in two small rounds. Coffee cold - every single time. Yes, I had a coffee maker and I could have made my own, but I chose not to because previously the coffee was always hot. On three occasions I had no knife on my tray, so not sure how I was expected to eat my breakfast and spread butter on my toast. Lucky I had that fruit bowl because I had a knife I could use. Yes, I could have probably complained to somebody about my breakfast but I also understand the logistics of keeping food warm etc. The lack of cutlery was another problem altogether which I felt reflected the lack of care I sensed in the Lido.
Maybe the variety in the Lido was due to the fact we were cruising in the southern hemisphere when many northern hemisphere items (especially fish etc.) are not available. But the overall impression I had regarding the Lido was that the staff didn't care. Food ran out and was not replaced in a timely manner.
Despite these issues, I still enjoyed the cruise and have booked another one.
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.
I don't eat shellfish but I friend wanted to go so I tagged along. Beautiful scenery and learning how they mussels grow etc., was informative. On board passengers were treated to a mussel feast (bread and olive oil etc., for non mussel eaters). All up they ate 20kg of mussels!View All undefined undefined Reviews
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.
This tour was exceptional. We headed out on the Monarch to the entrance of the harbour, spotting a couple of Little Blue Penguins along the way. Quite a swell out in the open sea but only one person was unwell. Crew bring around coffee, tea and delicious shortbread. Warm jackets are provided as are binoculars. We spotted several albatross - take your breath away when you see them in full flight. In addition there were a few fur seals and up on the cliff face were baby Albatross. Fantastic tour, thoroughly recommend.View All 14 Otago Harbor Wildlife Cruise Reviews