This was my 15th cruise on Princess, and would put me over 150 days at sea. My wife has credit for 1 additional cruise, so we did qualify for Elite benefits based on her cruise history (so free laundry on the long cruise!). There were about 450 Elites on the cruise, so that laundry did take up to 3 days to be returned. We had a wonderfully relaxing crossing. Seas were a little rough leaving San Francisco, and we did skip the port of Napier and the scenic cruising of Marlborough Sound due to weather (they did add the port of Bay of Islands, and took us back up north to head to Sydney, rather than a more southerly (and bumpy) route.....although it was still pretty bumpy.
The ports were all great. Took the Hoppa On, Hoppa Off bus in Hilo, shark cage dive in Honolulu (wow, but a really small ship heading out, and they cancelled the next tour, although the weather got much better on the way back, and they could have done that tour), snorkeling (2 places, one had rays and sharks) in Bora Bora, a private tour Segway tour in Papeete, a private tour of the national park in American Samoa, 12 mile bike ride in Auckland, the river rafting over the 21 foot waterfall from Tauranga, and parasailing in Bay of Islands). While some hiccups, enjoyed the tours, and would take them all again.
Enjoyed the cruise director and the entire department. The food in the buffet didn't have enough vegetable choices. The food in the main dining room was OK, but not stellar. Lobster was undercooked one of the two days. We almost exclusively had seafood dishes, which were mostly OK (always could use a little more spice or flavor). Also like the pot pie. One of the wait staff could play the guitar, and we enjoyed talking him (and he quickly remembered to always see that we got a table for 2 by ourselves in anytime dining.....and we surprised him once when we barged in on him in a somewhat private hallway while he was practicing a song.
Loved the location of the cabin!!!!! We felt it had plenty of room. We called the pool in the back our backyard.
San Francisco is so dirty these days (but we took BART to the cruise)
Had been to the Big Island before, just not Hilo itself, so this worked perfectly for us.
Didn't know that we would be in the water with the sharks, which was cool.
Loved the entertainment, loved the snorkeling and shark and stringray encounters, liked the boat, loved the scenery.
Was nice enough. The free food, beer, and coconuts to drink were nice touches at the end!
They should have told us how long it was before we signed up (12 miles, which was a bit long). Weather was mostly OK, but it did pour for about 15 minutes.
They provided everything, and it was fun. One raft did overturn, but nobody got hurt.