We chose Princess Cruises because we wanted to see New Zealand. This was our 9th Ocean Cruise with various cruise lines, and we have also been on 10 River Cruises, mostly with Viking.
We chose Anytime Dining, not wanting the alternatives of either an early sitting (5:30pm) or a late sitting (7:45pm) and not wanting to use the buffet on Deck 14. We had to wait outside the dining room, sometimes for as long as 30 minutes, when we wanted a table on our own. Hardly anytime dining, so we mostly said we were willing to share a table with others, which has its drawbacks. I often had to wait more than 30 minutes for my one breakfast dish, while others at the table were having fruit, muesli, pastries, etc.
We went to the buffet a few times, either just before or just after an excursion, but it was awful, standing around looking for a table which was just about to become available, and trying to grab it before someone else got there first.
We only went to the Princess Theatre once, as it was far too loud, same as with the Movies Under the Stars. I said to my daughter that they should take into account the average age of the passengers when setting the volume. She said that they probably had done just that!
I drink cider, so my choices were limited, either Strongbow, which is not to my liking, or Angry Orchard, which was fine. Except when the ship ran out of them after the first week. Fortunately, I found that the Wheelhouse Bar on Deck 7 had Bulmers Cider on draught, unfortunately it was only open in the evenings.
Any more complaints? I thought the bar prices were a bit on the high side, Aus$ 8.75 for a 330ml bottle, and Aus$ 12 for a pint.
Excursions were also a bit pricey; we pre-booked one with Shore Trips and Tours before we left home, and it was about half the price of the equivalent ship's excursion.
What did we find acceptable? Embarkation and Disembarkation were well organised, cabin was kept clean, the food in the restaurant was excellent, the bar staff were always cheery, and Midnight Duo were our favourite entertainers.
3 of us in the cabin, but we managed ok.
We had 3 days in Brisbane before the cruise, and most of the last day after the cruise before our flights home. We went to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary using public transport, and we used the free City Hopper to get around. Both excellent.
Got off the bus at Baldwin Street, and climbed to the top. Got on the next bus until the railway station. Then walked to the Octagon, did some shopping and had a drink.View All 45 City Tour Reviews
Spent too much time on the bus, so didn't have a lot of time in Christchurch. We liked the free tram ride around the city centre. Had a snack in a cafe with free WiFi, bought some souvenirs, and visited the cathedral and the memorial chairs. Then had a drink and got back on the bus to Akaroa.View All 44 Christchurch City Tour Reviews
Walked to the Te Papa museum, spent a couple of hours there, and walked back to the ship. It was a Sunday, so not much else to do if you don't fancy the cable car.
Got the shuttle bus into town, and had a walk around the shopping precinct. Had a coffee in a cafe with free WiFi. Bought a couple of souvenirs. Then back on the shuttle bus to the ship.
Much better than the cruise ship's equivalent, and much cheaper. The highlight of the cruise was visiting Whakarewarewa, the Maori village.View All 63 Rotorua Reviews
Bought tickets for the Hop On Hop Off buses, went round both circuits, and got off at the Sky Tower. Went up to the observation floor, then had a drink in the cafe, and took some photos.View All 38 City Tour Reviews
Been to a similar tower in Toronto, so knew what to expect.View All 14 Sky Tower Reviews