We (family of five) just returned on Sunday 22 Dec from a 7 day cruise around New Zealand.
* Friendly/Effective Service from crew (seriously the training has been top notch!)
* Excellent Food Quality at included European restaurant (Lunch and Dinner/good fresh fruit and veg and good meat not to be found on European cruises) Kudos to the buyer.
* Excellent Main Shows Entertainment (people just loved the shows)
* Very Good catering to both Asian and European cultures onboard (very difficult to do)
* Good/Effective use of an old ship
* Reasonably priced drinks/drinks packages
* Very Few annoying announcements
* Poor communication about processes
* NOT NOT NOT "Luxury" level cruising - total marketing blunder bound to disappoint
* VERY hard DOUBLE sized mattresses (not good for some).
* Tired old ship - not FULLY renovated nor modernized (Main dining room carpet: are you kidding!?)
* Horrible Chlorine filled water and sugary "fruit" drinks. Water smells like pool water, you will not want to drink after smelling it.
* Many technology based services simply did not work (online check-in/Onboard App)
* Lack of indoor spaces with quiet or relaxed instrumental music
* Odd food failures (cannot seem to do European breakfast well, wtf is "beef-bacon"? Where is the bacon-bacon?)
* Time at ports - early and short (hard one to fix)
* Too short dinning times (no sleeping in for you if you like to have breakfast)
* Shipboard currency is Australian dollars when less than 10% of passengers were Australian and all the ports of call were in New Zealand (in part meaning buskers/charities/street vendors out for the cruise passengers business will have seen very little benefit as few will be holding NZ cash).
Having said all that, we had a very enjoyable cruise and the reality is that cruising is a complex multi-faceted experience so in the end your mileage is subjective depending on your attitude and what is important to you. I hope the Dream Cruises venture in the Australian/NZ market is a success. Its great for the economy (particularly for the small towns) and the crew were so nice, one wants them to have goods jobs.
Full disclosure though, we only paid a very discounted fare of $NZ427pp AND were lucky enough to pull $400 of that back out of the casino. :-) So very economical holiday for us. With the overall product being of such mixed quality, I do not think I would be happy having paid full fare.
In reality Dream Cruises is not "luxury", it's very much at the P&O level of cruising (for Aus/NZ), which is the budget level. My advice would be to definitely consider a Dream Cruises cruise but don't pay top dollar thinking you are getting a top rate cruise experience, the experience is going to be very mixed.
P.S. Beer AU$7 Soda AU$3 Cocktails(strong)AU$12 Wine(good) glass AU$7 bottle AU$20/25 (all prices plus 18% gratuity plus GST)
Meh. Cabin was functional. Old cabin in an old ship. We knew what we might be in for with an inside cabin. Didn't suit us. Back to balcony next time. Electric sockets European/UK, with renovated cabins have China/AUS/NZ. My partner found bed WAY too hard and small. Cabin was thankfully quiet but moved around a bit due to position on ship.