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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We decided to do this small cruise as a perfect relax to break what has been a very busy year. Embarkation was a breeze as this was a stop on a longer cruise so only about 200 got on at the same time. From Customs to the ship in under 10 ... Read More
We decided to do this small cruise as a perfect relax to break what has been a very busy year. Embarkation was a breeze as this was a stop on a longer cruise so only about 200 got on at the same time. From Customs to the ship in under 10 mins. We took a cruise on the Emerald earlier in the year and although the ships were approx. the same size, the Golden seemed to have far more space and felt perfectly limited for a great passenger experience. Did not really go to any of the entertainment save the daily trivia, but did venture out and sadly went to the Blues Brothers show which was pretty average. Friendly staff and definitely the best food we have encountered on a Princess ship. I would highly recommend this ship and will be looking out for another adventure on her in the near future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
I grabbed a four night cruise from Auckland to Sydney for a change from flying and thoroughly enjoyed my little maritime interlude. Most of the other passengers had either done the complete 100 or so days or half that from New York. ... Read More
I grabbed a four night cruise from Auckland to Sydney for a change from flying and thoroughly enjoyed my little maritime interlude. Most of the other passengers had either done the complete 100 or so days or half that from New York. They seemed to be an older crowd and a contented and relaxed lot so all was well. I didn't bother with the Dining Room and ate in the Horizon Buffet for my meals. I was very pleasantly surprised at all they offered. This ship has traditional first and second sitting in the Dining Rooms and 5.30pm is too early for me and 8.30pm is too late. Obviously I have been spoiled by my MyTime dining on so many of the other cruise lines and ships. The Tasman was a bit wild and we sailed a long way south to avoid a swirling weather pattern but that didn't delay us and we avoided the worst of the weather and arrived on time. I am due to spent 12 nights on Sea Princess in October (Fremantle to Singapore) and back in an outside cabin again. I'm very much looking forward to this trip on the lovely Grande Dame of the Seas. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We took this particular cruise ship as it was going to places we would never have got a chance to see otherwise - French Polynesia mainly. Our expectations were high and they were met. Embarking was easy at Auckland - virtually walked ... Read More
We took this particular cruise ship as it was going to places we would never have got a chance to see otherwise - French Polynesia mainly. Our expectations were high and they were met. Embarking was easy at Auckland - virtually walked right on. We booked an obstructed view cabin and we were more than happy with it. Although the view was partially blocked we did get a good amount of natural light coming in. The room was spotless and our steward was wonderful. Fresh towels all the time! Although some parts looked a bit tired it didn't matter because everything was so clean. We couldn't believe there was so much food available- you could eat 24 hours a day if you wanted. We had booked the Anytime Dining and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The food was good, at times very very good. The waiters, on the whole were great, pleasant and entertaining when you wanted (there will always be a few exceptions to the rule). The service was excellent. It took awhile to get used to all the hand washing required but as no one came down with any stomach bugs, I guess it worked! We tried the pizza (excellent) the Hamburgers (great), the ice cream (not so), the International Cafe (excellent) and the Horizon Court (also excellent). The Pub Lunches were a great idea and very popular. We did not try the specialty restaurants as we would not have been able to do justice to the menu - we are both quite small eaters. The entertainment was very good - the string trio that played late afternoon was amazing. Some of the acts in the theatre were of an extremely high standard, but unfortunately some of them were pretty awful. It didn't really matter as we always found something to do. The shore excursions were booked online before we left and we were very satisfied with them and gave good value for money. No problems getting off or on the ship by the ships crew and security. We went to quite a few art auctions and found them entertaining and enlightening. The only gripe I had was the high pressure sales in some of the onboard shops - especially the Effy jewellery - they would not leave you alone to look without pressure to try this and that. Sometimes it is nice to look and not buy all the time. Most nights there was a leaflet left in your mail box talking about more sales! There was a good selection of items in the other shops case you forgot to pack something and the Vines store had everything you may have forgotten - from bug spray to indigestion tablets! The internet and library were both busy but we never had to wait, and the internet package we purchased was reasonable considering we were in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! The passengers were on average over 60 on this cruise but there were a few younger families and about half a dozen kids - honestly, we did not even notice that they were there. We would ask that the PR staff take a look at the ages of the people travelling and plan accordingly - we are not into rap and teen music! We would definitely sail again on a Princess cruise ship, including the Golden Princess, should the opportunity arise. Thank you for a great memory. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This was our second cruise on the Golden Princess and not a lot had changed in 12 months. Apart from our cabin steward, who was great, most of the other staff we dealt with seemed to be suffering from the after effects of the big storm in ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Golden Princess and not a lot had changed in 12 months. Apart from our cabin steward, who was great, most of the other staff we dealt with seemed to be suffering from the after effects of the big storm in the Tasman Sea on the way from Melbourne. We joined the ship in Auckland, boarded just after 8pm (instead of 1pm due to the bad weather) and weren't even allowed a quick meal before we were hustled away for a lifeboat drill. On the previous cruise the spa pools round the swimming pool weren't working properly. This time, I asked someone in the spa pool how it was and they still weren't working properly so I flagged that. The TV programme was terrible with no written programme so you couldn't even plan to watch something good. The worst part was feeling that because we joined the cruise in Auckland (advertised as an Auckland to Auckland cruise) we were there on sufferance. There was no welcome letter from the Captain, no information on ports or trips were given to us at the beginning of the cruise and when we reached Melbourne we got no map of the city at all. We had to ask at the desk and they printed one off for us. At every end and turn we got "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie" shouted at the audience as if there weren't over 200 Kiwis on board as well as other nationalities. We had a wedding anniversary on board and met a couple who married on the same day so we decided to have lunch together to celebrate. We had a note from the ship saying that if we told our waiter of the occasion they would provide a surprise. On exiting the dining room I asked about "the surprise". I was told we had to bring the note to get the surprise, as if the ship didn't have a record of it. In short, I would not travel on the Golden Princess again. We have travelled on the Diamond Princess and it was great and we're booked on that for our next big cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
This was our 1st cruise as elite members , we were looking to be fed ,watered and entertained as well as our last 14 cruises, with just maybe a little more service or recognition .we are average working class people who enjoy cruising for ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise as elite members , we were looking to be fed ,watered and entertained as well as our last 14 cruises, with just maybe a little more service or recognition .we are average working class people who enjoy cruising for our hard earned money. We highly disappointed with the emerald princess We live in new zealand , chose this cruise to see the fiords and visit hobart . Not disappointed with aspects of this part of the cruise , but as to the ship itself ,not happy at all . The vibration thru some parts of the ship are very questionable & daunting . The elite status gave us a 1 time mini bar which we were informed pre - cruise we could change for 2 coffee cards . when tried to do on board , they told us could not be done , they have never heard of such nonsense. We did not use any other elite entitlements after that, due to any more disapointments. This is probably our last cruise with princess, have really enjoyed the last 15 years with them, but sadly it has ended in a negative. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
We chose this cruise for the opportunity to see NZ and Australia. We did not think that that the ports of call were at all interesting. Fjordland National Park cruising was disappointing (after having seen fjords of Norway especially) ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the opportunity to see NZ and Australia. We did not think that that the ports of call were at all interesting. Fjordland National Park cruising was disappointing (after having seen fjords of Norway especially) I expected to see more beautiful countryside in New Zealand, but found that it was very bland. I guess that a person should tour through interior of NZ in order to experience the cultural side and the beauty. We will not travel back there to do so however. Ships excursions were costly and not as good as other places we have cruised to. We did think that The Emerald Staff did a good job in organizing the disembarking and re entry to ship from tours though. We ate in The Crown Grill once ...vegetables were not tasty, potatoe was dry, steak was decent, but not above average. The overall food temperature was "warmish" The service was a little slow. The experience at Crown Grill did not encourage us to try other specialty restaurants. We found that the food was much more tasty at The Buffet, even though it was crowded most times. We found that the local people of NZ and AUS were some of the most friendly arouind the world. But cruising NZ does not give a person a good view of the country. Our overall experience of this trip was below average. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We wanted a Cruise that would in compass New Zealand and Australia, Princess fitted the itinerary adequately. However although we enjoyed the cruise overall we felt that it didn't reach our expectations and lacked the little bit extra ... Read More
We wanted a Cruise that would in compass New Zealand and Australia, Princess fitted the itinerary adequately. However although we enjoyed the cruise overall we felt that it didn't reach our expectations and lacked the little bit extra appeal that might make us automatic returning customers. As this was our first Princess cruise we are not sure whether it was just this particular Ship Emerald or the general cruise line itself? The ship seemed difficult to find ones bearing at times and to get to specific area like the Share Restaurant and Adigo Bar. The dining arrangements were much the same as other cruise lines, we were anytime dining in the MichAelangelo restaurant. The food was good the menu was much the same every evening and was lacking in variety, the restaurant staff lacked etiquette at times and would clear your plate before your partner had finished their meal something I would expect in the Horizon Restaurant which in fact was the exact opposite. Both Speciality Restaurants the Crown Grill and Share were enjoyable and made up for the disappointment in the other restaurants. Everything about Horizon restaurant was terrible probably the worst we have accounted. We did book some excursions and these were good but heavily over priced as normal for cruise lines, however the debacle at Gisborne with the tenders due to the rough waters leaves a lot to be desired, not that anything could have been done about the weather and safety was paramount but the the lack of water, shelter and basic information to let people know what's going on was poor. We found that thoroughout the cruise the lack of visibility of ship officers was noticeable compared to other ships which seemed odd particularly when things might be going wrong and safety might be of some concern. Like the Tender debacle mentioned above, people standing all the way up on either side of staircases whilst watching or listening to events in the Auditorium during rough sees us only asking for an accident to occur it was probably by sheer luck nothing occurred. Oddly the announcement over the ships intercom warning people to hold on to rails during rough sees seemed pointless if they are obstructed as I mentioned above. Overall we had a good cruise not great it could have been considerably better but this was lacking on this particular Princess Ship, not sure we will try Princess again it would have to have a spectacular destination and itinerary and probably a different ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This was my 4th Princess Cruise (also been on Avalon, Azamara, Oceania, HAL, Voyages to Antiquity). My 1st Princess cruise was in June 2012, did a 12-night British Isles aboard the Caribbean Princess in an obstructed OV (felt ship itself ... Read More
This was my 4th Princess Cruise (also been on Avalon, Azamara, Oceania, HAL, Voyages to Antiquity). My 1st Princess cruise was in June 2012, did a 12-night British Isles aboard the Caribbean Princess in an obstructed OV (felt ship itself was too big for British Isles itinerary but overall a very nice experience); 2nd was in Dec 2012, a 15-night Hawai'i cruise (L.A. round-trip) aboard the Golden Princess (inside cabin). I will never forget this cruise because of the great Hawai'i cultural facilitators who taught us how to play the ukulele and hula dance, and highlight for me was performing in the Farewell evening Passenger Talent Show with 70 other ukulele playing passengers; 3rd time was in Nov 2013 on a 15-night Panama Canal Full Transit cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to L.A aboard the Island Princess, excellent all around experience in an inside cabin. This review is for February 2017, we sailed aboard the Emerald Princess for 12-nights from Auckland to Sydney: The itinerary was impeccable, the food was very good, but over-all it really felt like Princess cut back on the little things that used to make Princess a cut above the rest. For example, this was my 4th "wine-tasting" event ($13 per person), and for the first time, it did not include the "complimentary shot glass" at the end with the dessert wine - This s very minor, but the biggest thing that our cruise was missing on board was a live, full time, port expert lecturer. This time, the only way to get any port information was to watch the tv in the cabin, which re-ran old episodes of a previous port lecturer, which would have been fine, except that the taped lectures were in reverse order of our Auckland to Sydney ports. We relied heavily on the kind locals at each port to give us port information and maps (as the Princess Patter cartoon maps emphasized shopping). Only when we were cruising in Milford Sound did they finally bring on board a "NZ park ranger" to talk over the public address system. Unfortunately, the PA system was very hard to hear and it didn't help that 2 very rude ladies from Spain insisted on screaming in my ear as they talked to each other the whole time, so I could not hear a word of the Park Ranger. When I asked them "por favor, I cannot hear" they spoke even louder to each other, ignoring others around us trying to hear the park ranger. Another disappointment was the Specialty Dining at the Crown Grill. We decided to forego the extra expense when their menu clearly emphasized "only one item per course per person" which was a change from 2012 when we 4 were allowed to try multiple dishes per course, and thus we were able to try almost everything on the menu as we shared our plates. Also, this was the smallest inside room I've every experienced - D123 (Deck 9, Forward). There was only one straight-backed chair that came with the vanity/desk, and no other chair/sofa in the room, so we had to use our lower twin beds for seating. Luckily we are not "room service" people, so we did not need the extra seating, but it did feel very cramped. The room steward parked his cart near our cabin but that did not bother us, especially as he was very attentive and quick in his duties. The closet space and bathroom space was adequate for 3 of us (as we are light packers). The service of all staff we encountered: servers, hosts, maitre-d's, room stewards, passenger service officers, casino staff, International Cafe servers, are all beyond reproach. While Princess corporate management may have cut back on little extra touches and niceties for the passengers, the front line staff is consistently excellent in professionalism, manner, and attention to detail and prompt service. I most highly commend our maitre'd, Carlos from Spain, for his kind attention to my daughter who has a "peanut and all tree-nuts" food allergy. He reassured her food safety for lunch and dinner every day by nightly presenting her with the next day's menus so that she could pre-select her meals, and the cook-staff ensured her food was not contaminated. Regarding the talent on-board, the Princess cast only presented 3 times in 12-nights, and the various talents brought on board for a show or two were average. While there was no crew or passenger talent show, we did enjoy the cooking demonstration presented by Executive Chef Giuseppe Pollara with Matre D'Hotel, Luigi Pascale. All ports in NZ & AU are fabulous and very easy for us to do on our own. In Akaroa, we booked with Princess the "Swim with the Hector Dolphins" excursion for $199 US. The local outfit was beyond reproach and told us before suiting up: "on this morning's excursion, no Hector Dolphins were spotted, and very unlikely you will be able to swim with them this afternoon", and they gave up the option of a lesser non-swimming excursion (with little prospect of seeing the Hector Dolphins) or a FULL REFUND. They were very kind and honest to let us have the option in advance. (ps: you can book direct with BLACK CAT CRUISES in Akaroa Harbour for a little bit of savings versus booking through Princess, the ship docks right in Akaroa Harbour). We are getting ready for our next Princess cruise, 29-nights aboard the Pacific Princess sailing Nov. 23, 2017 from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale. Bon Voyage, and happy and safe sailing to all. ps: the only reason I rated the Embarkation in Auckland as "Terrible" is because they had all non-VIP wait outside the port building in the blistering sun & heat until 1pm embark time (in all my other experiences we were always sheltered indoors). I did not mind as this gave me 2 hours to explore Auckland waterfront while my husband found shelter in a cafe, but there were some elderly people who had to sit hodge-podge anywhere they could find outside the Princesss port building as they were not allowed inside, and there was very little shade to be found outside. Passengers with privileges were allowed to embark at 11am. There was quite a bit of confusion all around, and when 1pm embarkation began for the common-folk, the queue was very disorganized, a bit helter-skelter, until we got up the escalator to the check-in counter. Everyone was very polite through-out, just disorganized. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
I chose this cruise because it has been on my list of places to visit all my life. I am a gardener and have always heard of the unique horticulture in New Zealand and Australia. Staying one night at lovely affordable Crown Plaza Hotel near ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it has been on my list of places to visit all my life. I am a gardener and have always heard of the unique horticulture in New Zealand and Australia. Staying one night at lovely affordable Crown Plaza Hotel near the port in Auckland I had plenty of time to see the city and prepare for the cruise. The embarkation process was one of the smoothest processes ever. The port was so easy to get to using Uber and everyone was so kind and helpful. I have cruised on the Emerald a couple of times and was not disappointed on this one either. The chef is excellent and prepares the most delicious foods. The activities onboard and excursions were fun. I visited some of the ports on my own which saved money since I knew what I wanted to see. I visited Christchurch in Akara thru the ship tours since we still cannot dock there due to the earthquake damage to the docks several years ago. It was worth every dime. I had a comfortable balcony cabin on deck 14 mid-ship. It was quiet and close to everything. The service was top notch by all the crew. I stayed 3 days afterward in Sydney which was plenty of time to see the sights. I bought a Opal Card and traveled all over public transportation (subway, train, bus, ferries) for 40.00. This cruise is much too far for me to do again since I live in the US. But, it is very popular among Australians and New Zealanders. I spoke to some of them that had done this same cruise as many as 10 times. Read Less
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