We booked the four night cruise on the Murray River Princess and travelled with my husband, my sister and our elderly mum. Hubby and I booked the Stateroom as we were after a bit more luxury. It had been recently refurbished with very ... Read More
We booked the four night cruise on the Murray River Princess and travelled with my husband, my sister and our elderly mum. Hubby and I booked the Stateroom as we were after a bit more luxury. It had been recently refurbished with very nice decor, including the bathroom. The Stateroom features a coffee/tea station which most cabins do not. I did think that given it's supposed to be a more luxury option, they might have supplied at least plunger coffee or a coffee pod machine so that was a bit of a disappointment given that most people these days have a coffee machine at home and have moved passed instant coffee. My sister and Mum shared a disabled cabin which is yet to be renovated and is in need of an overhaul. The concertina door to the bathroom is covered in mould on the bathroom side… a bit gross.
The shore excursions were very nice, relaxed, informative and enjoyable. The woolshed tour and the winery tour were particularly enjoyable, and the Aboriginal Reserve Ngaut Ngaut was extremely interesting. We chose the optional coach trip from Adelaide to Mannum rather than driving… very handy. You can also drive and park in a secured area and pick your car up at the end if you prefer.
The boat is a replica paddle steamer and is really quite lovely. Four levels on board… two with accommodation cabins, one with dining, and one a sun deck. It's a shame that there are no outdoor places to sit that are accessible for the elderly (the top deck is a sun deck with nice outdoor tables/chairs but access is via a very steep set of stairs so it's not an option for those with mobility issues). The only two outdoor areas which are accessible to all are both smoking areas so there's really nowhere to sit except in the indoor lounges which we found too warm and stuffy. The decor in the coffee lounge/games area/bar is a bit tired… seats are worn with wobbly arms, and the carpet and coffee station need to be updated.
Meals were pretty plentiful but if you're a bit of a foodie you'll be disappointed. Food is a bit old fashioned as is the presentation i.e., paper doilies etc. The best evening meal by far was the final night's Seafood Buffet which was very fresh, and nicely presented. I don't really consider myself a foodie but like most young retirees, we eat out a fair bit. To be honest the food was a bit of a disappointment.
The heating in the common areas i.e., lounge/bar/dining areas, was a bit too warm for us… even my 80yr old mum found it too warm. The average passenger age for our cruise would have been mid seventies with many passengers in their eighties. The crew were VERY helpful with our elderly mum, reserving four seats for us on the end of an accessible table for every breakfast and lunch to accommodate mum's walker. Entertainment was very much geared to the elderly… Bingo, Trivia etc. Dinner music was provided by a pianist/singer who played all the golden oldies… again very much geared to the elderly.
Our Stateroom had an issue with the air-conditioning in that it had a very unpleasant 'sewer smell'. We tried using Glen 20 and kept the windows open constantly but it really was very unpleasant. Others on our cruise experienced the same issue. After the first two days we closed the vent and went without the air-conditioning which meant our cabin was pretty stuffy but we left the windows open and the smell was definitely less of an issue. We spoke with the ship's engineer about this problem and he said this is a common complaint when the wind is blowing a certain way. It's not a problem in all cabins however so it's the luck of the draw I guess.
The star of this cruise is the Murray River which is very beautiful, and the cruise crew came in a close second… they were so helpful. I personally would have liked the option to sit on smaller tables i.e., table of four, or tables of six, for a quiet dinner instead of the 'nursing home' approach. It would also have been wonderful to have some onboard activities geared to a younger audience i.e., demo cooking with local produce (Barossa produce is awesome), Barossa wines information/tastings etc. Read Less