1. Home
  2. Cruise Styles
  3. Family Cruises
  4. Family Cruises Cruise Reviews

21,858 Family Cruise Reviews

I had been watching cruise pricing for a Spring Break cruise out of Galveston or NOLA for sometime. When NCL added the 3rd and 4th free perk the price dropped a ton and I pulled the trigger on the Getaway cruise for my family of four. We ... Read More
I had been watching cruise pricing for a Spring Break cruise out of Galveston or NOLA for sometime. When NCL added the 3rd and 4th free perk the price dropped a ton and I pulled the trigger on the Getaway cruise for my family of four. We had done this itinerary before out of NOLA on the Dawn and loved it. We convinced another family to join us so it was a group of 8 on this trip. We all ended up having an amazing trip on the Getaway. Cabin: We had a Family Balcony on the 12th Floor. This room had a queen bed by the door and a couch and pullman for the kids. We normally sail inside but getting all the perks with the balcony made this cheap than an inside and still able to get the dining and drink package. Room was fine and it was nice having the balcony although the balcony is small on this ship. The only issue was that the sink water always started scolding hot and needed to run for a while to cool down. Our Steward was great and we received towel animals even though NCL does not do them anymore(our friends with a different steward also received them so it seems they still do it for rooms with kids). Complementary Dining: For dinner we ate at Savor once, Tropicana Room three times, and O'Sheenans once. Tropicana just feels more like a cruise ship dining room. Large and open with live music as opposed to more of a land based restaurant feel of Savor/Taste. Food ranged from good to excellent with no complaints from anyone in our group. Service was great with meals taking around 1:30 to 1:45 which is fine when you are eating a 4 course meal(we always ordered multiple apps). At O'Sheenans we ordered several apps. Wings were very good and Artichoke dip was ok. Burgers were very good also. We did the buffet for breakfast and lunch/post port meals everyday. We thought the buffet was good for a buffet. Most of the stations stay the same day to day with one or two having rotating items. The ship went to enhanced sanitary procedures on day three so their was no self service. That meant it was pretty much all hands on deck for the crew. We had engine room crew and spa crew serving our drinks and I even had the General Manager squirting ketchup on my plate. I felt bad for the crew but it was needed with the current climate/fear. Specialty Dining: We ate at Cagney's and Moderno's with our credits. Both were excellent. Our waiter at Cagney's pointed out that we could get multiple app and sides and one entree. I have read complaints that the crew was pushing only one of each but that was not our experience. On the last day we still had one credit so decided to try American Diner and it was a big mistake. There was only two other tables and everything took a long time to come out. We could see some of our items sitting under the heat lamp for a while. The nachos were one that was and although the taste was good, most of the chips were soggy. I had the Lobster Sliders and the pieces were small and probably cooked days ago. We came away very unimpressed. Entertainment: Almost all of the entertainment was excellent. Million Dollar Quartet was amazing and high energy. The dancers at Burn the Floor were really good and we couldn't believe that were going to have another show an hour later. At Syd's we saw the house band twice and Back in the Day another night. The house band was really fun. They announced at the 80s Prom on the last night that their contract was over and this was their last night. A lot of tears shed between the singers and their handler. Back in the Day is a 80s hair band tribute. They play all the great hair bands from the 80s. They also have a show in the main theater the last night but it conflicted with our Moderno reservation or else we would have been their. Howl at the Moon was fun. The setup is a little awkward since they are using the comedy club. I am use to tables and bar setups on land based HatMs but this was more of chairs setup facing the stage. Still was a lot of fun. The players were changing words around in songs to joke about the current situation, ie changing Sweet Caroline to say not touching you, don't touch me. We also saw a few of the bands playing in the atrium and thought they were good. We also went to the 70s/80s deck party and the Latin deck party. Our cruise director, Vincent, was fun. He is all about getting dressed up in different suits and outfits. He wore a gold disco outfit with a huge 70s fro and platform shoes for the deck party. Activities: This was the biggest ship were have been on with it coming in a little bigger than the Vista. We are bigger boat people. I like that there are so many more bells and whistles than the smaller boats. My wife can sit on a lounger all day but that is not me or the kids. We did the ropes course several times. The walk the plank that goes eight feet over the side of the ship is a little unnerving but we all did it. There are 5 different levels of waterslides including two slides that the floor drops out from under you. I paid for the Arcade Package and it was well worth it. There are plenty of green swipe games although some need to be re-calibrated. We did a few of the trivia games and karaoke and they were fun. All in all we had an amazing time. This was the last cruise before the shutdown. They ship was pretty full but I know there were cancellations. What ever the number of cruisers were they should make that the capacity. Nothing seems really overcrowded and we did not have to wait for anything. We were even able to find seats in the atrium/Syd's and HatM after the shows already started. There were people standing in the venues but that is the normal at land based venues. This is our third NCL cruise and while we are never tied down to one cruise line, we would cruise NCL again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
20 of us from the Houston area sailed on March 8th - our spring break. While we considered cancelling, we made the decision to go forward not knowing that this would be the last sailing for the Joy for a while. It was absolutely amazing ... Read More
20 of us from the Houston area sailed on March 8th - our spring break. While we considered cancelling, we made the decision to go forward not knowing that this would be the last sailing for the Joy for a while. It was absolutely amazing how the ship was sanitized. Everyday a new process was implemented. throw pillows were removed from cabins and common area, tables were not set until people sat down. Salt and Pepper plus sugars were now on plates to be thrown away after each meal. People were not allowed to touch any food - if you wanted a glass of water, the crew got that for you. If you wanted Ketchup - the crew poured that on your plate. No one could touch the merchandise for sale. Hand washing required to enter the buffet along with sanitizer. Cabins cleaned at least 2x a day. Decks powerwashed nightly. Balconies powerwashed. Constant wiping down of common areas including the baseboards in the halls. To my knowledge, no one was sick and in fact, we felt very safe on this ship with a crew dedicated to ensure that we were safe. Thanks NCL for a vacation we will all remember for a very long time. Thanks to the Joy crew for taking such good care of us! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this cruise on 2/6/20 based on the itinerary and low price that went even lower after we booked. We flew into Puerto Rico on Friday, 3/6 and satyed3at the Caribe Hilton (amazing) while enjoying the forts, Old San Juan, some great ... Read More
We chose this cruise on 2/6/20 based on the itinerary and low price that went even lower after we booked. We flew into Puerto Rico on Friday, 3/6 and satyed3at the Caribe Hilton (amazing) while enjoying the forts, Old San Juan, some great restaurants and an excursion to El Yunque rainforest. EMBARKATION Arrived around 1:00, got tested for temperature, checked in on priority (Platinum), filled out some paperwork, got our key cards and were on the ship within 15 minutes of our temp check. DISEMBARKATION Not as smooth, but once we figured out what line to get in, we waited about 45 minutes and then were about the first 100 or so people let off. Going through customs was easy (no paperwork or questions) just held our passport by our face and walked right through. DINING Ate a 5 of the specialty restaurants and enjoyed each except for La Cucina where it took us 1.5 hours just to get served 2 courses. We ate mainly in Taste for breakfast but for a couple of early morning meals at the Garden Cafe. BARBADOS Did NCL Excursion with bus transport to Carlisle Bay Beach (beautiful) that included a welcome drink, lounge chairs and an umbrella. ST. LUCIA Did NCL Excursion for Soufriere by Land/Sea that was phenomenal. Our tour guide, Cindy, was fantastic and knowledgeable about the island and its history during our journey via small bus along the numerous twists/turns and elevated changes with a few stops to see the Pitons and amazing water views below, with our final journey via catamaran to view the Pitons and scenic coastline. ANTIGUA We booked our own excursion to Blue Waters Resort for $65 pp that included use of resort facilities (pools, beaches, water sports) but no food or drink. If you want the all inclusive the cost is $150 pp. NCL charges $349 pp (includes transportation) but we only spent $18 total for the 15-minute ride via cab from the port. You need to book this via phone directly with this beautiful and luxurious resort. TORTOLA/BVI We booked an excursion on our own via Kuralu Too for a small group (we were 2 of 20) that included 2 great snorkel spots and then almost 4 hours at Jost Van Dyke where we enjoyed the food & drinks at The Soggy Dollar Bar, the beautiful beach and warm water. ST. THOMAS We did the skyride that is but a short walk from the cruise pier that provides a quick, enclosed gondola ride to the top, while providing some amazing views at the top. Afterwards, we took an open air cab ($8 pp) to Magen'd Bay Beach to soak up some last minute beachtime at this Top 10 rated beach. ENTERTAINMENT Howl at the Moon - 5 stars! Burn the Floor - 5 stars! Epic Beatles - 4 stars SERVICE 5 Stars across the board but for a brief service glitch while eating at La Cucina. Our room steward, Irwin, was fantastic, pleasant and did a great job. We received greetings duiring our long walks in the room hallways from everyone each time we passed them. We secured POSH passes and got more than our $ worth ($59 pp) especially as our cruise was extended 2 extra days. INTERNET 1 star as I truly hope NCL addresses this really bad system they use. This was never more under the spotlight than when we were told at 6:30 AM on the day we were to leave Puerto Rico on Sunday, 3/15 through Tuesday, 3/17 where trying to make a call or change a flight via the internet were next to impossible. The extra 60 minutes were a nice gesture but were virtually useless when needed. PUERTO RICO A beautiful island that provides a rich Caribbean history, great restaurants, bars and our hotel (Caribe Hilton) was a resort we will go to again. We were upset that our ship was turned away on 3/15, and felt especially sad for the many PR People that were so close to being home, yet wre turned away like rest of us. NCL Thank you for a great cruise, wonderful service and getting us safely to Port Canaveral (no extra costs). We look forward to cruising again on NCL! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This is my first review on Cruise Critic (pardon the length - I hope this is helpful for those who are interested). Encore was my 7th cruise - sixth with NCL. This was Encore’s last voyage before the major cruise industry shut down due ... Read More
This is my first review on Cruise Critic (pardon the length - I hope this is helpful for those who are interested). Encore was my 7th cruise - sixth with NCL. This was Encore’s last voyage before the major cruise industry shut down due to COVID-19. On that note, kudos and appreciation to the crew who worked tirelessly to keep passengers and crew safe and healthy. Each day, we noticed additional measures were put in place, including the cancellation of some events, crew serving passengers at the buffet instead of each grabbing the utensils themselves, tables in the dining room only being set once seated, paper menus, crew not handling keycards, and, of course, additional hand washing and sanitizing, to name just a few. Embarkation for this cruise took much longer than any previous cruise; partly because we couldn’t get to the port until the busiest time, but mostly because the additional screening (taking temperature and checking passports) to ensure ill people did not board. Once on board, my wife, 7 year old daughter and I marvelled at the “new-ness,” the size and the beauty of Encore. I quickly went to make reservations for dining and some of the activities. The lines for this were shorter than I expected and I was able to get most of my reservations quickly and easily. Do this on your first day on board. We ate at the Local (what is called O’Sheehan’s on most other NCL ships). There’s more space for The Local on this ship, and the food is just as good - though I missed the meat loaf this time. We looked to get our keycards hole-punched for our lanyards and were told these new keycards cannot be punched. The use a tap-system rather than a swipe-system and a hole-punch renders them useless. Conveniently - for NCL - they sell lanyards with a plastic pouch for your card for $10 - $12 on board. (And you can’t buy the plastic pouch separately.) Save the $ and just bring your own. Here is a bullet-point rundown of what’s on Encore that we really loved: - food; we only ever eat in the main dining rooms and the food on NCL is always delicious. We’ve heard great things about the specialty dining rooms but feel there’s no reason for us to try them yet as the food that’s included in the price is so good. - entertainment: Choir of Man and Kinky Boots were the best combo of main shows of any cruise I’ve been on to date. We watched Choir of Man twice, we loved it so much! Kinky Boots was so well done - a huge cast, 1:45 min show without intermission; it felt like Broadway. We took our 7 year old because she loves musicals and didn’t find the content all that inappropriate actually and the language was much better than other shows we’ve seen. Your call, if you sailing with kids. The two comedians were quite funny but we prefer improv and would love for NCL to renegotiate a contract with Second City and bring them back. - casino: we don’t ever gamble and appreciated the casino’s enclosed smoking area, keeping the smell of smoke in the public areas to a minimum. - kids aqua park: perfect size and amenities, my 7 year old loved it. - activities: lots to do for all ages; not enough time. I took my daughter with me in the go-carts for one session ($15 for about 5 or 6 laps). I did the VR experience in the Galaxy Pavilion - it wasn’t busy so I did the $29 for one hour deal. I tried 14 of the games and must admit I felt a bit woozy doing them in such rapid succession. I did the escape game BAMboozled - our team won! The Beatles show was over-crowded; great sound but a boring show actually (I expected better, given the other reviews here but perhaps didn’t give them a fair shake). - the Observation Lounge on Deck 15. A great place to relax, especially on rocky sea days. Not once did I feel like the ship was crowded or congested. - cabin: we usually book an interior room and this time we were assigned an accessible room with additional space. - wine package: I could never drink enough alcohol to make the all-inclusive drink package worthwhile, and my wife doesn’t drink at all. I usually take a few bottles of wine on board and pay the corkage fee, but this time I did the Viva Vino - 4 bottles for $110 + grat. This worked well, though still more expensive than paying corkage on my own bottles. What could have been better (certainly not make-or-break): - coffee; only good coffee on the ship is the Starbucks (extra $) - timing of the call in San Juan: arriving at 5:30 pm doesn’t leave chance to do much of anything - the ship is loud: the band on the pool deck, the blaring muster drill in the theatre, even the relentless creaking in staterooms and common areas during pitch and roll - just annoying more than anything - I’m no designer, but what is that strange chandelier hanging in 6-7-8? Not elegant. - I missed the live music in the Manhattan Room Excursions San Juan - as mentioned, arriving at 5:30 was not ideal. We walked around and bought a souvenir. St. Thomas - purchased an excursion through Godfrey Tours. I tried to give Godfrey a suggestion to give better directions as to where to find him - strangely he started arguing with me about it. Simply put: when you get off the ship, ask someone to direct you to the “pre-arranged tour” meeting area. 3rd party tours, not booked through your cruise line. That said, the tour was great! Very informative (did every hurricane hit St. Thomas?!?), and we loved our time at Megan’s Beach. Tortola - did nothing here except look at the shops within the cruise port. We did note how clean this port area was compared to St. Thomas. Will do something more elaborate here next time. Great Stirrup Cay - we made it! Tendering was possible this time. First time in three tries for my daughter; second time in four tries for my wife and I. Beautiful place, but NCL really has to build a pier here to ensure making this port of call. Shout out to a few crew members (we filled out our Vacation Hero cards but forgot to drop them off): - Henry - waiter in the Manhattan Room; friendly and quick service - John Milligan - pianist in the Observation Lounge who invited members of the Choir of Man and Kinky Boots to sing as he accompanied. I want to quickly address some of the major criticisms of Encore by other reviewers. ** Not enough space for sunning around the pool. I can see this being an issue, but we are not pool people or sun-worshippers so it didn’t bother us at all. We could always find a lounge chair in a shady part of the pool deck near the Kids Aqua Park. If this is a major priority for you, consider a different ship or purchase the Vibe Club. ** NCL “nickel and dimes” you. Yes. And thanks for doing so. By not including all the extras in the initial fare, passengers can pick and choose what they want to experience rather than pay up front for all of it. It keeps the price down, lets me pay for the activities I want to do, and minimizes long line-ups. We absolutely loved this cruise. A wonderful mix of active and relaxing vacation. Encore has a few kinks (no pun intended) but is a spectacular ship. We would love to sail on her again. NCL in general meets our family’s desires - great food, lots to do (or not to do), top rate kids programming and amenities, affordable. It’s remains our cruise line of choice. Thank you NCL for a great week - especially given what was going on in the world at the time! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We love to cruise, we find it relaxing and love spending quality time with the family. We always enjoy the entertainment and love taking part. Its definitely easier on the 2nd cruise.. the food in the buffet it delish. Love the variety.. ... Read More
We love to cruise, we find it relaxing and love spending quality time with the family. We always enjoy the entertainment and love taking part. Its definitely easier on the 2nd cruise.. the food in the buffet it delish. Love the variety.. the evening restaurant dinner is lovely too. We loved our waitress, Jes on this cruise, so friendly and caring. My son enjoy juniors club a lot more this time. He also enjoyed the putt putt and tennis on the top deck. The theater shows were top notch. Looked forward to the shows every night. Didn't get to see Pomene , which was kinda sad. But found some entertainment and swam. The disembarkation took longer this time. I'm sure its because of the department health forms that needed to be filled out. We were very impressed with the sanitization on board .. going in and out of the buffet. Well done MSC.. we love to cruise with you Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Definitely a more European feel, so maybe not suitable for American families with young kids. The food was wonderful with a buffet running most of the day and several dining rooms. We were in the Marco Polo dining room which had amazing ... Read More
Definitely a more European feel, so maybe not suitable for American families with young kids. The food was wonderful with a buffet running most of the day and several dining rooms. We were in the Marco Polo dining room which had amazing and tasty food each night. The waitstaff doesn't bend over backwards for their guests, which I assure all you boomers is not actually rude, and a lot of them speak limited English, so just be smart about how you order things, and don't expect them to run around the ship getting you fancy drinks that aren't available in the dining room, get them yourself. The pool felt a bit crowded on the days at sea but get yourself a spot on the upper side decks with a view of the ocean and it's absolutely amazing. The bars are quite nice and well placed outside of the dining areas and theater. I think the entertainment and nightly shows were my favorite part. The shows usually featured signing and dancing and the acrobatics were very good. If you get a chance to see the Addams' Family show definitely go for it as it absolutely blew me away. The entertainment staff is a lot of fun and definitely works super hard to make your time not in port a memorable one. Again, just keep in mind that this is a more European feel if you're an American boarding for a Caribbean cruise and all will be perfectly fine. Also the guest relations are some of the most resilient people I've ever met, so don't expect a room upgrade under any circumstances; my cruise was during the COVID-19 outbreak with a much lower number of guests than usual and even so the best we got were chocolate covered strawberries after asking 3 days straight haha. All in all this was an absolutely amazing cruise and I think next time I'll skip out on Carnival and Princess and go for an MSC cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We cannot praise the Captain and staff of the Golden Princess enough! We have just returned from a 13 day cruise to New Zealand that was cut short by 4 days because of the current global crisis. During this uncertain time we were kept up ... Read More
We cannot praise the Captain and staff of the Golden Princess enough! We have just returned from a 13 day cruise to New Zealand that was cut short by 4 days because of the current global crisis. During this uncertain time we were kept up to date at all times as the situation developed and were treated with the utmost respect. The food onboard was incredible and nothing was too much trouble for our waiters Edzel and Michaell in the dining room. There were many varied activities to choose from and we had lots of laughs participating. The staff were fastidious with hygiene, regularly wiping surfaces after use. Although we were disappointed that we only set foot on land for 1 day due to port restrictions we still had a very relaxing holiday on this lovely ship. A big thank you from my husband and I. We will definitely sail with Princess again sometime in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We flew from London to Auckland via Emirates. Everything ran as per schedule and we arrived in New Zealand 3 days prior to the cruise. It took about an hour or so to go through immigration and customs before leaving the airport. However ... Read More
We flew from London to Auckland via Emirates. Everything ran as per schedule and we arrived in New Zealand 3 days prior to the cruise. It took about an hour or so to go through immigration and customs before leaving the airport. However apart from usual bag checks no other checks like temperature monitoring were being carried out at the airport. We were transferred to our central Auckland hotel called Citylife heritage hotel. We were given a one bedroom suite on one of the top floors of this hotel which had beautiful views of the city and harbour. We had breakfast included at the hotel which was great and there were plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby for lunches and dinners. The hotel was in a great location, situated on the main shopping street, Queen street. Sky tower was 5 mins walk away. We spent the next 3 days sightseeing around Auckland. Took hop on hop off bus to tour around Auckland, went up the sky tower for great views of the city, took a ferry to Devonport for views of Auckland from Mount Victoria. Also visited museum and botanic gardens. On our third day, we took a full day excursion to Rotorua to visit Tepuia and Wai-o-tapu geo-thermal sights. Very interesting day visiting these lovely sites and also saw a kiwi bird at Tepuia. On our return back to Auckland there was heavy rainfall which the country desperately needed after a very dry summer. Thankfully this was the only rainfall we saw in our entire trip. The next morning we did a bit of souvenir shopping on queen street before being picked up by our trasnsfer service to be taken to the dock to check in for the solstice New Zealand cruise. We thought it would take a long time to board the cruise as they were going to do extra checks like temperature monitoring etc. However no sooner we got there, our temperatures were promptly recorded and after getting the all clear, we handed our luggage to one of the porters. We proceeded to the check in area where the queue was minimal and were checked in to board the ship in 10mins. This was one of the fastest boarding we have experienced for a cruise. The whole process from arrival to boarding ship took under half an hour! As soon as we entered this beautiful ship, we were given champagne and asked to proceed to buffet as staterooms were going to be ready by 1pm. There was plenty of food choice for lunch from pizzas to sandwiches to Indian, Mexican, Chinese, vegetarian/vegan etc. After we finished lunch, we went to tour the ship which was similar to the Reflection we had been on 6 months prior to this cruise. 2 outdoor and 1 indoor pools, 2 tier theatre, cinema, casino, plenty of bars and cafes, around 4 speciality restaurants, outdoor screen by lawn area etc. Lovely ship and everything seemed nicely maintained despite a refit scheduled in 2021. We were soon asked to proceed to the staterooms soon after 1pm. Our cabin was a balcony cabin on deck 7 on the starboard side of the ship towards the front elevators. Great location for the theatres, Sky bar and cinema. Bit further to walk for dining areas but we got used to it very soon. When we got to our cabin, all the luggage had already arrived which was great! The cabin was once again very similar to our cabin on celebrity Reflection. Lovely bathroom with shower cubicle with glass doors. Good size balcony with 2 retractable chairs and a table. The room had plenty of storage space, a big sofa and a huge flat screen interactive tv. All in all, a very pleasant cabin which was looked after by our cabin steward Joaquín. The master of the ship, captain Alex, was one of the best captain we have ever had on a cruise. He was hilarious and we eagerly looked forward to his daily announcements. More importantly he kept us reassured and worry-free through out the cruise as we were travelling at a time when the whole world seemed to be affected by the coronavirus. Moreover we saw him regularly saw him and his officers throughout the cruise. We departed Auckland after 6pm soon after the safety drill was completed. We had lovely views of the city as we sailed toward Tauranga, our first stop. We docked in Tauranga next day at 10.30am. As we had booked a 'Hobbiton film set' tour for 12.30pm, we went to explore nearby area in the morning. we hiked up Mt. Maunganui in the morning where we got lovely views of the ship and surrounding area. Went back to ship for 12.30 whereby we took a coach to see the lovely film set where some parts of Lord of Rings and Hobbit trilogies were filmed. Spent around 3 hours at this magical place before returning to the ship around 4.30pm. As the ship was not leaving Tauranga till 10pm, we had local Maui performers come and do a traditional show in the theatre and included Haka dance too. We had a sea day in between followed by 3 consecutive stops. The first stop was Picton in South Island which was extremely picturesque. We had a lovely sunny day and we did a Marlborough train tour to Blenheim which was really a scenic journey passing through many vineyards. We got off at Blenheim and had a few hours to spend in this town before taking train back to Picton. Once we got back, we looked around Picton and the beautiful scenery around the area before taking back shuttle to ship. The next day we tendered in Akaroa. However the tendering process was very quick and efficient. We did a tour to Christchurch. It was a lovely picturesque journey to Christchurch and we had an excellent tour guide/driver who was very informative. When we got there we toured the city on the colourful trams and although the city is still rebuilding from the earthquake around 10 years ago, we loved the city for its vibrant atmosphere. We returned back to the ship and sailed towards Dunedin (Port Chalmers). We were advised by the captain that night that NZ prime minister had announced that all cruise ship ports in NZ would be shutting next day and if anyone entered the country from a foreign country including Australia, they would have to self isolate for 14 days. Hence anyone wishing to get off at Dunedin would be allowed to. This was our last NZ port anyway so we didn't miss any of the NZ ports. However due to the self isolation policy, around 180 guests left the ship in Dunedin. In Dunedin, we had a tour booked to see sights of Dunedin and visit Speights brewery. This was an excellent tour as it covered quite a few areas of Dunedin like botanic gardens, the railway station (most photographed building in all of NZ) and also a very informative trip to the brewery. After the tour of brewery we were given lots of good sized samples of various beers to try. Returned back to ship after 4 hours and then went around Port Chalmers Local area to have a look at this lovely small town. The next day we were visiting the national fjordland area (dusky, doubtful and Milford sounds). As we were not docking there, we were allowed to visit this part of New Zealand. It started off a bit overcast when we cruised through dusky sound but weather kept improving through the day and by the time we got to Milford sound, it was very warm and sunny. The captain gave us a surprise by rotating the ship 360 degrees at Milford sound to view one of the gorgeous waterfalls there so every side of the ship could get great views of the falls. We also saw lots of dolphins sailing alongside the ship once again pointed out by the captain and cruise director. During the sail into other sounds, we also saw seals and plenty of different types of birds. Had a great day visiting all the sounds and our trip to NZ wouldn't have been complete without without visiting these sites. We were supposed to have 2 sea days before docking in Eden. However Australia announced they would be closing all ports to cruise ships. Hence we missed Eden but were given onboard credit for missing that stop. So we ended up with 3 sea days. We were slightly concerned whether we would be allowed to disembark in Sydney but we needn't have worried as captain Alex announced that we were given permission to disembark in Sydney and would be arriving there the night before. However wouldn't be allowed to leave the ship until the scheduled day of departure. So apart from missing Eden, we didn't have any other itinerary changes and were very lucky that everything ran smoothly and no one fell ill onboard. The ship staff were always cleaning around the ship and made sure everyone washed their hands and used hand sanitisers regularly. We dined in main dining room on level 4. Although we were on anytime dining, the hostess Carla (who remembered our names daily) always ensured she was gave us table by the window with the same waiter every night. One of the best hostesses we have seen on a ship. Our head waiter Rejoy was excellent and ensured all our needs were promptly met. His assistant Goolfee was great too but was moved to one of the speciality dining rooms later. However his replacement was great too. Wine steward Paul gave us a good selection wines daily. Since we had outstanding service in main dining room, we didn't need to visit any of the speciality restaurants. However those who visited some of them like Murano, had a great time. Food was great and loved all the choices on menu. All the shows in theatre were great. There were some guest presenters like a British magician, Australian singer and a violinist. All were very talented and enjoyed their shows immensely. The production shows were brilliant and loved all 4 of them. They included 'Rock city', 'Broken strings', 'Amade' and 'Euphoria'. The singers and dancers did a great job and we got to see how they work and train on one of the sea days when we were given a complimtary tour of the backstage areas. The cruise director Kelly did and excellent job and together with her assistant Patrick, they ensured everyone was kept entertained during the various parties on the ship. Loved the balloon launch night and st. Patrick's day party. However disappointed that Abba night was not held in foyer as the charm was lost when it was held in sky lounge. There were quite a few talks, trivial, games and shows organised on the sea days to keep us occupied. However apart from one film shown in theatre on first sea day, no other films were shown in theatre during the cruise which was slightly disappointing. Films were shown on the screen by the lawn and at celebrity central but these are not ideal venues for film screening. Hence I would recommend solstice to show more films in theatre like they had done on our previous cruise on Reflection. Disembarkation ran very smoothly and we were off the ship by 8am in Sydney. We were at the airport by 11am and luckily our flight went on time later that day. Sadly lot of flights were cancelled as the world prepared to lock down due to coronavirus. On the whole, I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to visit and see sites and sounds of NZ in a relaxed way. We were immensely lucky that everything ran smoothly from start to finish and captain Alex and his team did a marvellous job to keep us safe and entertained through out the trip. Hoping the world can get over this virus quickly and cruises and travel can restart soon. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click