My first time cruising experience with Explorer Dream was overall an average to below average experience. Possibly a consequence of both my recent broken leg and bad weather or maybe it actually was a bad cruise.
All Crew staff were and are amazing.
Boat very rocky even in calmer weather not sure if that’s normal or if that’s normal for NZ waters ??
Shows in the Zodiac Theatre were brilliant even more so given the rocky boat conditions. But you had to be quick as they filled up pretty quick once people discovered that was the only decent activity onboard
Food was good and plentiful. We enjoyed the buffet dining at the lido on deck 12. Downsides were no ice cream. Except for on the last night when they gave out ice cream. Given the amount of cakes on offer daily it felt incomplete without the ice cream to go with it lol. Also the 3 inclusive restaurants were very strict in their timings 6-9am, 12-2pm & 5-9pm generally.
We got the drinks package, which was for soft drinks, beers & wines. However there was no Pinot Noir on offer at all which is what we always drink normally in fact they only offered Cab Sav & Merlot red wines. If that was the case it should have been mentioned on the package rather than discovered on board. Soft drinks included ginger beer but was never mentioned by staff as being on offer and they only kept pushing Coke, Sprite and Fanta even in their mobile carts. We only found out cause other people were ordering it. Felt little cheated by such experiences.
Excursions on offer onboard were limited and all very expensive, minimum AUD$150 per person. Whereas you could get NZD$25-$50 shorter less time consuming tours on shore (1hour). Would have been good to have those offered on the boat.
Was hoping for self service laundry but we had to pay per garment like in hotels. So had to get out at Dunedin to avoid an expensive laundry bill.
Bad weather canceled the Milford Sounds trip which was extremely disappointing as we had hoped to make the most of our balcony rooms for that. Bad weather also led to the swimming pools being shut down for 2 days again for safety reasons nonetheless disappointing.
Efficiency of staff was amazing in all areas.
There daily dress up parties started very late, usually after 10pm by when we were always tired and seating at the event was limited. Could have easily had those events start at 8:30 - 9pm. Don’t understand why it wasn’t so.
Room was good and well serviced daily. Disappointing they didn’t accommodate inter connecting rooms given there were so many of them and even worse we were placed on 2 different floors.
Overall don’t think it’s worth the price I paid. I think the cruise is probably worth around NZD$700 per person only.