This was our first cruise with Princess and we loved it. We arrived a night before the cruise and stayed at Waldorf Celestion Apartments Hotel which was booked on Hotels.com for about $100 per night. From this hotel we walked to Sky City, The Auckland Museum and to the ship. The day of embarkation we arrived at the ship after 2PM, as they recommend and had no waiting. The Diamond Princess was lovely, larger than ships we have been on in the past. We had a cabin with a window. The room was plenty large enough for the 2 of us with adequate storage. My husband thought the food on this ship was better than other cruises we have been on. We did go to Sterling Steakhouse that cost an extra $20/person but did not think the food was any better than the regular dining room. We opted for 6PM traditional dining which I really liked. Our waiter, Jeff was with us every night and did a great job. It was also fun to sit with the same 6 people.
Ports of Call: We did private tours at each stop.
Tauranga: We went with Terry Tours to Kiwi 360, Lake Rotorua, Ti Puia, Government Gardens and around Tauranga. John was very knowledgeable and professional. It was nice riding in his van with just 2 other couples.