I planned my Australia and New Zealand vacation with Princess Cruises so I could see the most I could within the 24 Days I had down-under. I did this even though Princess Cruises does not have a single supplement so I paid suite passage for two people. Princess Cruises was the only cruise line that offered the land tour. Since this was my first trip to the region I wanted to see as much of Australia and New Zealand as I could. The vacation started with a tour that took me from Sydney to Uluru then to Carins and back to Sydney before boarding the Princess Cruise ship the Ruby Princess for a 12 day cruise around New Zealand. I planned to complete my trip with two days in Sydney after the cruise. Mistake number one was thinking Princess Cruises would delivery on their commitments and provide assistance and keep me informed. Princess Cruises did however meet their cruise contract terms. However, this does not mean they were at all worried about me enjoying my vacation.
I do want to say the Uluru and Cairns tour operated by a local Australian tour company was just wonderful. This might have set my expectations for the cruise. The three hotels we stayed in during the land tour was great the Hyatt Regency is in Darling Harbor and a short walking distance to the Opera House and Botanical Gardens. Just plan plenty of time if you walk (30 minutes each way) however it is easy to get around Sydney. The Airport Transfers contacted by this tour operator were handled very well with no issues. The Desert Garden Hotel in Uluru is the place to stay when traveling there. The two days were will planned the highlight was the aboriginal demonstration and program put on by a local group the Red Spaces Cultural Tours (I will do a separate review of this fantastic program). After the visit and this program, you leave Uluru with a greater appreciation of the Australian aboriginal people and importance the mountain was to their life in the outback. Off to Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef and Kuranda Rain Forest. While the tour provided a great experience in Cairns for the short two days we were there, you will want to plan more time. The rain forest has many trails you can explore and we just did not have the time. The land tour ended with a quick overview of Sydney and stop at Bondi Beach. I will do a separate review of the tour as this rating is not a reflection of that experience.
This is where a good vacation experience ended and dealing with rude and unresponsive cruise ship staff begin. The written instructions/directions that are provided mean nothing it seems the Ruby Princess is an exception as explained to me by a Guess Services staff member assigned to address my concerns.
Cabin was well appointed. The telephone service was poor at best. Guess Services said the called but I never receive a voice message.
Decided to tour on my own and had a great city tour
To much time for the short time you have in Napier. Consider other activities