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12 Sydney (Australia) to Trans-Ocean Cruise Reviews

Cost good for a repositioning cruise...Ship was generally good as it is quite new. BUT cabins are small as are the bathrooms and balconies. The pillows are awful felt like I was sleeping on a marshmallow and when I requested a better ... Read More
Cost good for a repositioning cruise...Ship was generally good as it is quite new. BUT cabins are small as are the bathrooms and balconies. The pillows are awful felt like I was sleeping on a marshmallow and when I requested a better pillow was given 2 pillows squashed into one pillow case. The mattress is ordinary. The ship's PIAZZA is ok at first.... BUT is very noisy and if you want to watch some thing you have to get there early in morning as the same people monopolise the seating 24/7. The same can be said of the Cabanas and seating around the pools. The ship is set up for the Chinese market with too many areas for gaming ie the 16th and 17th decks. There are not enough interesting activities such as Wine and other Alcohol courses or food demos and tasting times , or even interesting craft courses...there is too much emphasis on the Art shows and Bingo. The long days at sea need more activities. The LIBRARY was a disgrace it effectively did not have any books from day 1...it needs to be bigger and have staff looking after it. The so called SALES in the shops are ridiculous the same stuff, that is mostly junk is put out daily. There could be more interesting food stalls around the pools that could change regularly...the ice cream was the same flavour every day. The off shore tours were boring and not particularly well run. not really good value for money Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are Canadians who were travelling in Australia. We wanted to take a series of cruises back to North America from Australia, and see parts of Asia at the same time. We chose this itinerary because it got us to Asia, where we then ... Read More
We are Canadians who were travelling in Australia. We wanted to take a series of cruises back to North America from Australia, and see parts of Asia at the same time. We chose this itinerary because it got us to Asia, where we then continued on other ships. Our whole experience was incredible. The ship was sparkling and new, and had great facilities. On our 14 day cruise, we had 11 sea days, which is a lot-but we loved every second of it. Activities The days were packed with things to do. There were daily sports competitions, including ping pong, soccer, and volleyball, and trivia in the lounges and other game shows you could enter. The activities staff ran choir and 2 dance classes (Thriller and Lady Gaga) which then all put on a talent show on the last day. We went on the (no extra cost) North Star and took great photos. You can get really good shots of the whole ship. Or if you are in port, you can get a good view of the area. We paid for lessons on the flow rider which got us an hour group lesson with lots of turns. It’s very easy and I recommend you try it, at least the body boarding. We had really hot weather so the pools were always welcome, but even on a full ship I never had trouble getting a chair. Having to sign out towels was the only annoying part. I prefer other ships where you can just help yourself. The fitness classes (cycling, TRX, conditioning) were good. I just don’t like getting up early to attend but I loved being able to swim afterwards, and then still having time for breakfast. Dining We liked the food. The Solarium bistro is buffet salad bar and apps then à la carte mains, and we gound the food delicious. Other than that, we ate at the main buffet which I thought had a good variety. I especially liked making my own soup where you choose a broth and veggies, and the chef cooks it for you. They have hamburgers at every meal but never veggie burgers, and I think they should add them as an option. Cabins We had a balcony cabin and a studio. I was in the studio by myself and it was perfect. Lots of storage space above the bed and I had a lot of luggage because I was travelling for 5 months. The virtual balcony screen actually made a big difference and I kept thinking it was a real window. My patents’ balcony room was beautiful and right next door. Both rooms were very clean and comfortable. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This is our fifth cruise on the Queen Mary 2 and this last trip was 63 days long and I really think they have lost sight on what sort of ship they are trying to have. Refinement seems to have disappeared and has been replaced with ... Read More
This is our fifth cruise on the Queen Mary 2 and this last trip was 63 days long and I really think they have lost sight on what sort of ship they are trying to have. Refinement seems to have disappeared and has been replaced with indifference. There is no contact in Sydney and speaking to someone in the Phillipines about a problem in Brisbane could not be resolved as the person on the other end of the phone was clueless where Brisbane even was. We were promised to be emailed on two occasions before we left in March and are still waiting. The food and service was anywhere between 2 to 10 out of 10 and not consistent. Queuing to get off the boat took hours and many people had walking sticks. I could go on and on with the problems we had. We used to love being on the Queen Mary but many of the staff could not have cared if they served us preferring to chat amongst themselves. Others bent over backwards to help. We missed Darwin because of a cyclone which was totally understandable but then missed Bali because of a religious holiday. Surely they knew about it before they worked out their itinerary. We also missed Naples and Brunei. We have also booked for this August on the other two Queens so at least our expectations are very low. They are now not sure if they can cater for my gluten free diet although we are now platinum members- over 100 days with them- so am hoping I do not get sick. There is no one to contact. They have our tier wrong on our personaliser and have told us for 4 weeks that it has been fixed. Still not fixed. Their idea of telling us things we want to hear rather than fixing things is unreal. There is no attention to detail. Very dissatisfied especially considering the cost Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Room: Neptune Suite 011, Jan 18-Feb 25, 2018 Australia-NZ-trans pacific from a 5 star Mariner. We took a shorter version of this cruise in 2017 on the Noordam and were pleased. This year we decided, after viewing the beautiful brochures ... Read More
Room: Neptune Suite 011, Jan 18-Feb 25, 2018 Australia-NZ-trans pacific from a 5 star Mariner. We took a shorter version of this cruise in 2017 on the Noordam and were pleased. This year we decided, after viewing the beautiful brochures of upgraded, modern suites, to do a once-in-a-lifetime second mortgage splurge and do the 36 day version. As usual, the staff and crew of the Maasdam were incredible, friendly, accommodating and helpful. In fact, they are the prime reason we love Holland-the crew. However, the ship is a different story. We first sailed on the Maasdam in 1998, and were a bit concerned about its age, but the cruise brochures and Holland website showed these modern, beautiful suites with wall mounted TV's, desks and 21st century furnishings. Here is the unvarnished reality: The suites have not been updated and are old and tired with no wall mounted TV as shown, but rather an ancient counter top TV, accompanied by old decor, furniture, cabinets and layout. When we entered the room for the 1st time we were greatly disappointed and immediately felt mislead, but we were willing to overlook this for the sake of the cruise. Read On Our first night, we found that the closet doors were broken and rolled back and forth all night keeping us awake. We had them "fixed" twice during the cruise, but the runners and doors are so old they are not fixable. We could live with this, too. The noise however did not bother us because we were awakened every single morning for every single day of the cruise between 5:45 and 6:00 am to the sound of a freight train-which was a cart in the Lido deck just above us apparently being rolled into position for the day. The air conditioning in the cabin was unable to keep the room under 78 degrees for 3 weeks. Water pipe leaks in the hall occurred not one, not two, not three, not four, but 5 times during our cruise, and one night a main line burst flooding many cabins, requiring carpet replacement and displaced guests. During the cruise we had not one, but two breakdowns in the tender boat recovery system requiring delays. Our summary of the ship-we left feeling totally mislead by Holland America corporate offices and concerned for our safety on a cruise ship with this many visible signs of decay. There are no circumstances that would cause us to board this ship again-we fear for our safety. Again, this is no reflection on the fantastic staff who continue to make Holland such a pleasant experience, we even had tears in the eyes of two wonderful employees our last night on the ship. The ports were excellent, the tours were for the most part very good, and the on-board experiences and entertainment were more than acceptable. This is not all wine and roses, again. We noticed early on that the food quality from 207 had declined enough that it was noticeably bad. We are NOT gourmet foodies, so it is rare for us to even notice, but within a week we decided that another night of anything with sauce on it was unacceptable. Throughout the cruise nearly every entree had some flavor-covering sauce and the meals just were not what we had become accustomed to over the years. Frankly, we had decided before all of the maintenance issues that the food had declined so measurably that we were going to look into another line-this from a 5-star Mariner. We did eat in the Pinnacle Grill on 3 occasions, and every time that was a wonderful experience with excellent food. Our cruise was concluded, for the 2nd straight year with a disembarkation that was a disorganized mess. Last year we were put on the wrong airport tour, this year we ended up paying for an airport cab because the prepaid ship to airport transportation was not provided, at least in any clear manner and we are intelligent, alert, clear-minded experienced and still working travelers (I fly for a living!) To summarize our experience, after over 500 cruise nights with Holland we have decided not to cruise with them again. The people are wonderful, but Corporate decisions have made this ship just another Carnival journey instead of a Holland America experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Australia to Singapore We, a party of 4, had sailed from Perth to Sydney via New Zealand 2 years ago & decided we'd like to do another, we decided on this cruise because we'd been with Celebrity twice before and they had ... Read More
Australia to Singapore We, a party of 4, had sailed from Perth to Sydney via New Zealand 2 years ago & decided we'd like to do another, we decided on this cruise because we'd been with Celebrity twice before and they had been very good, how have they got things so wrong. 1. Embarkation was fine bag drop at the cruise terminal and then had a stroll around the Opera house until our time to get aboard and our balcony room was also ready for us to inspect, a good start. 2. We had each decided to buy the Premium beverage package which we did...we love our wine and beer and cocktails. I'd priced this up before leaving the UK at $65per day which I was told, by the Celebrity staff in the UK, included the 18% gratuity, only to find that in Australia it's $77 per day, reason Aussie don't like tipping so the 18% gratuity is now included in the price. Nowhere in Celebtity's literature is this mentioned, not happy bunnies. When I went to complain about this to Guest Relations showing them an e-mail I had with me they stuck to their script that that's the price and I'd have to contact head office to complain. We got a gift certificate of £75 pp for all the inconvenience we've had but not admitting they were wrong but as a good will gesture. 3. Laundry, don't use if want your clothes ruined. My wife sent down 2 pairs of her trousers for pressing, as irons are banned, and when they came back they were ruined, she hadn't even worn them. The trousers came back with a white powdery coating on them and were shiny totally ruined. She went to Guest Relations showing them the problem and they told her to give them back to the laundry to see if they could make them any better, this time the other pair had a snag, like a pull near one of the pockets again down to Guest Relations who offered initially $30 compensation for both trousers then changed it to per trouser. 4. The organisation for tendering when you want to do your own thing and not a ship's excursion was very poor, We were told to get your tender tickets only when you're ready to go ashore but tenders didn't start before 9.30am, half the morning gone. We got our tickets at 10am for Cairns and actually got into Cairns at 1pm total joke. Talked to a couple who were on our tender who just got the same one back when thay saw the queue for the bus into Cairns. 5. Excursion prices are very expensive. The coach transfers by Celebrity which I personally believe should be free into the ports we visited as they weren't near the towns , except Darwin, were expensive Brisbane was $22 pp, Airlie beach $5 local bus, Cairns $22 I think, Darwin $5 local bus, Bali did our own tour for $25 each for 3-4 hours. Your bus tickets are non-refundable if you decide not to use them. 6. Overall the food on the ship was fine, if you didn't like something the waiters would change it. We ordered early morning tea for our stateroom one day but found that was lukewarm so didn't bother again. how is it that you can't get a decent cup of tea aboard cruise ships. One thing that didn't work in the main restaurant was the dress codes we saw people sat for dinner in tee-shirts, shorts & trainers and not very clean ones at that. 7. One annoying thing was we were always asked if we wanted speciality dining every time we went into the Ocean View Cafe which we always declined, why would you want to pay extra. If I wanted speciality dining I would have booked prior to coming on board. 9. The Martini & World Class bars on decks 4 & 5 were our favourites for cocktails. We went to the Ensemble Lounge for a pre dinner drink and sat at a table waiting for a waiter to take our order but no body came so we sat at the bar and some people sat at the table we'd just vacated and as if by magic a waiter appeared. To be honest this lounge was scruffy and had bits of nibbles all around the floor of that table not a nice experience, so we headed back to the Martini bar where we got served straight away. we did complain to a member of staff about our experience but we didn't hear anything from Guest Relations. Also a mention must go to Café al Bacio and the very funny Alexandria who had us in stitches whilst dishing out coffee & cake. 10. Room attendants were always polite and nothing was too much trouble couldn't fault them at all. 11. We went to a couple of the shows and they were about average nothing good enough to bring you back. After the 9.00pm show there wasn't much else going on even in the Sky lounge which is supposed to be the night club on ship, even here you would only get around 2 dozen people in here. the only time tis lounge was full was when the daily 3.15 & 3.45 quizes were on. We met some really nice people over the holiday but things have definitly taken a downward turn for Celebrity and I can't see us sailing with them in the near future. Solstice was going in for a minor refit when in Singapore so I'll keep an eye out to see any reviews. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This review joins others covering the recent cruise from Sydney to Singapore on the Celebrity Solstice. As with my other reviews on this site, I always want to start by describing myself as someone you will find at the bars, restaurants, ... Read More
This review joins others covering the recent cruise from Sydney to Singapore on the Celebrity Solstice. As with my other reviews on this site, I always want to start by describing myself as someone you will find at the bars, restaurants, gym and casinos - not the shows. First to confirm what others have said - the ship is tired in places. (No comparison, for example, to the Diamond Princess, which was truly spotless.) I don't think the 9 day dry dock that was scheduled at the end of the cruise (and which is now presumably complete) could possibly be enough. For example, in my (Royal) suite, trim was missing from a couple of the doors, reflective film on the glass on my balcony (making part of the signature X that you can see mid-ship when you look at the ship from a distance) was peeling in a number of places and more than a little bit of rust was pushing through the white paint on the balcony. Also, even though drinks and specialty dining were included in my fare, I can see why people are commenting on the shameless commerce sales job on drink packages and specialty restaurants - which was constant....and I agree that north of $75/day is too much for the premium booze package. The shore excursions were not that great. Getting to them was ok - typical meet in the showroom and get your numbered sticker - although the person in charge at the microphone treated the passengers much like a third grade teacher handling her unruly students. From the tone of the voice and repeated commands the words "ladies and gentlemen" morphed after a while to sounding like "boys and girls"........... Finally, although I had priority, if you had to get off the ship via tender - good luck. The ship did hire local (faster) vessels to assist - but it was still slower than normal for a ship that size getting off. I found the staff overall to be very friendly - everywhere, including the casino. The food was good - about the same as most other large cruise ships. I generally look to the buffet to judge/compare food and the food here on the solstice was better than most. The coffee is good - unlike most similar ships. I found that there was adequate seating - and prompt clearing of tables. In this case even better than the Regent 7 Seas. My only comment is that they lacked a full selection of condiments - no A-1 (I finally found some in the Tuscan Grille - they may have had a secret stash), no green Tabasco and, believe it or not, no regular good old yellow mustard (you had to go to the hamburger grill 6 decks up to find any). Celebrity - Coleman's Hot yellow mustard (English - super hot) and Dijon just does not cut it. To be fair, this cruise was at the tail end of a series of cruises outside of the US and the ship was headed to dry dock - so inventories may have been down. The bars had the best selection of booze of any ship that I have been on recently. At the Martini Bar the selections of vodka included many brands, including Chopin (which Regent seemed to conveniently run out of on my last trip) and Imperia that was bottled in Saint Petersburg....but watch out - its $15 per drink at that bar. There is also very little knee room at the bar - you almost have to sit sideways. If you want the best free pour - go to the bar in the casino. The Ensemble bar outside the specialty restaurants is the most pleasant visually and also had pretty good low key entertainment, including a classical duo (wedding style) and pretty good lounge show acoustic guitar artists. These acts toured the entire ship, but they pretty much ended up at this bar between 7pm and 9pm. The other bars were ok - but nothing special. Drinks were around $13. The casino is very good and large - one of the best. The staff is friendly, they have a regular sized craps table (regular 5-4-3 odds), single deck 21, three card poker etc. etc. Moreover, the slots seemed to pay out pretty much like Vegas - I even saw some lady hit the 1000 on the Wheel of Fortune........which is pretty unusual. The gym is great - large with plenty of equipment and located right at the bow of the ship with a great view. The guy in charge of the gym was friendly (one review had a negative comment - which is not deserved in my opinion). Further he held pretty good yoga and exercise classes - which is not necessarily the norm on most cruise ships. I did not eat in the main dining room - which is huge on two levels. I had access to the Luminae restaurant - which is an extension the main dining room for suite guests. The menu is very limited and the service was sometimes slow. The specialty restaurants are ok - with the Tuscan Grille (or Grill?) being the best. It doubles as the steak house. If you want to spend your money in these restaurants, wait until you get on the ship and look for the "up-sell" stations outside of the buffet which offer discounts on these restaurants. As noted above, I splurged this time on a Royal Suite -which was very nice. The bed was comfortable and there was enough water pressure. the drain in the shower was slightly slow - but not bad enough to call someone. The air conditioning worked well - quiet with easy controls. I did not feel any vibration. There were ample lounges around the pool - due in part to the ship's policy of not allowing guests to "hoard" chairs by leaving a book or a hat on them all day. If something is left like this it is taken to guest services - great idea. One or two of the acts who played by the pool were way too loud (as commented on by others) - you could not hear yourself think. The public restrooms were clean and attractive. Many of the most popular locations seemed to have a resident steward to make sure everything was clean. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I chose this re positioning cruise because I wanted to sail up the eastern coast of Australia and the great barrier reef around Torres Is. It ended up at Singapore which is a place I've heard many positive things about. I must say I ... Read More
I chose this re positioning cruise because I wanted to sail up the eastern coast of Australia and the great barrier reef around Torres Is. It ended up at Singapore which is a place I've heard many positive things about. I must say I wasn't disappointed. The cruise and the service as well as the food and entertainment exceeded my expectations. Although some people have said the VOS is a bit tired, that's not what I saw. A $100 m upgrade saw it revamped with new carpet. They did take out some bars and added more cabins though. One criticism is there seems fewer places inside to just read a book in a corner somewhere. If you find a spot sooner or later there will be a activity there and you have to move on for peace. Some people complained that there wasn't a place you could just play cards at a table for 4 inside. Although we had times for embarkation we found that when you arrived you just moved forward and did it smoothly. Well done guys. Over all the entertainment was very good with some misses. There was always something going on. crossing the equator was a great ceremony with king Neptune making an appearance. My room attendant was great. I had a query about something in my room and he went out of his way to fix it. I won't say what it was, but I'll sure use it next time. We had 2 lots of 4 days at sea and I thought my wife would go crazy, but she always had somewhere to go. There was something though. We had a hypnotist do a show and put a number of people under. One person was not 'right' several days later. OK for the hypnotist he got off the next day but not so for this poor guy. We had visions to do some alternative dining, but the service and the food in the MDR and the Windjammer kept us satisfied for 14 days. Although the staff worked very hard, they seemed to enjoy them selves more than some other cruise lines we have been on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We have previously cruised with Royal Caribbean on 5 occasions over a 10 year period, two Caribbean, two transatlantic and one from Spain to Singapore. This cruise was an alternative form of travel from Australia to Europe, one leg via ... Read More
We have previously cruised with Royal Caribbean on 5 occasions over a 10 year period, two Caribbean, two transatlantic and one from Spain to Singapore. This cruise was an alternative form of travel from Australia to Europe, one leg via cruising and the second leg flying from Singapore to Europe. The ship was the oldest and smallest of the Royal Caribbean fleet we have sailed on and it was looking tired despite the recent refurbishment. The cabin was satisfactory however the inclusion do two additional arm chairs was unnecessary. We prefer 6.00 dining preference however had not been advised this time had been altered to 5.30 on this particular ship and on arrival could only change to 8.00 as "my time dining" was booked out. The service at the bars was a little slow and pool bars did not have the usual bar staff walking around the deck. The cabin attendant maintained the room to an acceptable standard, my husband met him on day 1, however I did not sight him until day 9. We had not experienced this on previous cruises. The Windjamer and Dining Room standard of food was lower than previously experienced especially in comparison with the Qantum of the Seas 2015 trip from Spain to Singapore. As this was a relocation cruise the ports were limited. Penang would have been a better port the Port Klang for an overnight stop prior to Singapore. The speciality restaurants were good, however the staff in the Japanese one were not knowledgeable with the unique Japanese cuisine. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
GOLDEN PRINCESS APRIL 6-27.2016 SYDNEY TO HONG KONG I am a Platinum cruiser, and this is my 11th voyage on Princess, 1st time on Golden Princess. Golden Princess is similar to Diamond Princess, Grand Princess, Sapphire Princess, the ... Read More
GOLDEN PRINCESS APRIL 6-27.2016 SYDNEY TO HONG KONG I am a Platinum cruiser, and this is my 11th voyage on Princess, 1st time on Golden Princess. Golden Princess is similar to Diamond Princess, Grand Princess, Sapphire Princess, the last major refit was 2009, and the ship is starting to show some sign of ageing, having been launched in 2001. Overall solid business class condition, the food and entertainment still consistent and good standard. Firm and favorable recommendation to anyone wanting a good quality, big ship cruise experience. A very important tip for cruisers is found out when your ship of choice had its last refit. New ships no issue, but if the ship is over 5 years old, well worth considering this when weighing up choices, Travel industry is getting better at providing this information, but overall improvement is required My critique, is based on my many cruises and any criticism is aimed only at seeking improvement Embarkation Ship boarded at Sydney. More confusing than normal and large crowd waited in one spot just prior to last entry desk requirement. Not a significant problem, but good signage, and constant attention to boarding etiquette by Princess, will ensure embarkation remains finely tuned. I would suggest the preferred “Line” for return cruisers, should be just for Ruby, Platinum, Elite guests. The ship in general The Golden Princess is a large ship, 110,000 tons. Its last refit was 2009, and the planned 2015 refit appears to have been postponed The moving escalator on the 15th floor to Sky Walkers (see Cruise Passenger magazine review 2016), was not working, and two of the retail shops opened during the voyage, and renovations to the children’s area continued throughout the voyage. Only small issues, but regular cruisers note this. Some people aboard found the size of the ship a little overwhelming and they thought a smaller ship would be more to their liking. We can understand that but we like the larger ships with more people and facilities and choices on board. Although there were approximately 2500 passengers on board, it did not feel crowded. So many choices, which is the great delight of cruising, as little or as much to do as you like. Some passengers take that for granted, mumbles here and there, but we value the great choices available! Used the Gym fitness machines each day, great to see Princess unlike Celebrity Solstice do not drown you out with music in the Gym, silence is golden! Good on Princess for this decision, if you want to listen to music, you can do so with your own devices. An irritation and also unsafe practice, was children fewer than 16 were allowed to use the Gym, supervised by parents. What is supervision? Children under 16 should not be allowed in the Gym, with powerful machinery etc. Change your policy Princess, someone is going to get hurt in that environment and the Gym is not a playground. Pools and spa facilities as you expect, available, and nice, off peak the time to go, pools can be cluttered during the day Princess cruises add a USD 12.50 a day per person amount to your bill and that covers your tipping for the total cruise. This is done so that people employed on the ship who are not in direct contact with the ship can also receive something. If you don’t like this idea you can arrange with the Pursers office to have the amount reduced if you wish, and envelopes for tips are available. We were impressed with Sky Walkers nightclub and daytime lounge, which is situated at the back of the ship 16 floors up. At night time it is a disco after 10.0 pm and during the daytime is a restful area for reading and just watching the sea. On days when the sea is rolling you can sit on the side wing and look right down the left side of the ship to the Bridge and notice the pitching motion of the ship. The chairs in sky walkers are extremely comfortable. During the daytime you can always get a seat there for reading or quiet time. However the very steep incline to the area, and the fact the escalator was not working, limited use. The other bars and public seating areas of the Golden Princess were excellent, roomy and stylish. A highlight of the trip was the quality of the spot entertainer’s e.g. a wonderful female singer Acoustic, and other excellent Piano player or singer options, Princess does this well, and listening to these spot artists, can make a cruise very pleasant. The shopping available on the ship is the normal 5 retail stores, with a nice range of goods. Watch and clothing sales abounded, and the 3 hour clearance scrambles, seemed to have a better quality of stock than usual. Perhaps I came to that view picking up two tops for US$20 The Internet café is roomy and is taking over space previously for library users. Both are needed, and the balance between books and computers needs review. As mentioned the internet café is large with lots of computers. Floor shows in the evening, and specifically the Princess Theatre Dance Company and singers were excellent. They did 5 presentations, equal to Conrad Jupiter’s stage show levels and two of the shows were specifically designed for the Golden Princess smaller and alternative show stage Vista lounge. Main show entertainers covered a wide range, all of excellent Cabaret standard. Loved the Western Australian vocalist, name escapes, wonderful entertainer. Overall the formal and stage entertainment was of good quality, all part of your travel package Solid range of late release movies shown on upper deck, available in room, or at advertised locations. Good work here Princess, my wife watched more than a few while reclining in the cabin. Formal history or lectures by a guest presenter are always a feature of Princess Cruises. This time the presenters style and topics not my cup of tea, but this type of presentation adds substance to cruise experience. A minor note, a little bit more detail on what the presentation is going to cover would be helpful Excellent range of cooking demonstrations, wine tastings excellent range of choices every day, including the usual bingo, table tennis, bridge games. Art shows were very visual. Great walking deck, and a daily stroll or 2 around the decks is a beneficial exercise and enjoyable. 3 times around the circuit equals a mile, and we try to build this activity into the daily routine, keeps some of the likely weight gain down. Soft freeze cone ice-cream available at no cost throughout the day, a nice treat. The weather conditions throughout were very good and no rough days at all, so the luck ran our way. However motion sickness can be an issue, and any cruise if you are susceptible, prepare in advance. Dining Traditional 1st or second sitting evening dining room sitting versus anytime dining are great options. We prefer anytime dining, and there were 2 choices plus the 24 hour buffet, plus the 24 hour International Café, and the open deck grill and Pizza bar options. We dined most days buffet breakfast in the Horizon, often had lunch in the traditional dining room (not available in the evening for anytime diners) and then at night, in one of the 2 anytime restaurants. Menu in each is the same as traditional dining restaurant, but we liked the change of waiters, décor and loved being able to eat anytime in the evening between 5.30pm and 10pm. If you had not booked, there was sometimes a small wait, but no great problem. Two specialist restaurants are available. The Crown Grill (steak) restaurant with $25 surcharge per person was in my view not great value, but the specialist Italian restaurant at $25 surcharge per person was excellent. The buffet at Horizon Court was good value, everything seemed fresh, lots of choice and we thought the food tasted fine. Open most hours was great. Service was good, and their breakfast buffet top class. You read some sharp comments about the cruise buffets; I think they offer excellent value, wide choice and sound presentation. You must be a very fussy eater, if you complain about substandard Princess cruise buffets. A nice touch each afternoon was the English High tea served by waiters in white gloves 3.30-4.30pm, in one of the main dining rooms. Room Service Available 24 hours at no charge, limited menu but pleasant. Our cabin We had an inside stateroom on the 11h level. Pleasant, but the room was suitable for 4 persons and the 2 spare beds were attached to the wall side rather than the roof, which cut down space. We made the decision not to have a balcony cabin, on cost differential and because we are familiar with most of the Ports we visited, and it was the right decision for us. The design of the cabin made good use of large mirrors to enhance the feeling of light and maximize space. The open space wardrobes without doors provided plenty of hanging and excellent storage space for our requirements. . Our main cases fitted side by side quite comfortably. Bedside lights have dimmer switches. Soaps and towels were changed twice a day. Bathroom shower was pressure excellent. Air conditioning was excellent. There is a safe in every room and our cabin had a fridge. Outside your door on the side is a paper holder with your cabin number on it so that the any newsletters or other information can be left for you. The Television was relatively small, but functional. We struck some noise transference from the resident poolside band, not a biggie but a number of fellow passengers were complaining. The band was extremely loud, and Princess need to establish some protocols on decibel levels. If you wish to drink bottled wines in your cabin Princess seem to have no problems with you purchasing wines or champagne and bringing them on board at embarkation (Small print says 2 bottles). You can take these wines into the dining room but you will be charged an USD15.00 corkage fee if you take them into the dining rooms They charge for spring water in your cabin so we always take a water bottle with us and go up to Horizon Court and fill the bottle up with fresh water from there. PORTS OF CALL Big ships often mean you are located long distances from City. Ships are coy re detail on Port facilities, and access to City location. They want you to utilize on each occasion the formal ship tours, which are well organized, but costly. Independent travelers are tolerated, but they limit information as a means of keeping the formal tour numbers up. The internet is surprisingly limited re detailed information on Ports of Call (often very dated too), and guide books like Lonely Plant, virtually ignore it. There are some good sites with information, but the Asian, Pacific, Australasian area are the least serviced by good travel sites or blogs. A pressing need for someone to take this on as a project, I might be tempted at some stage. • Sydney ( berth is opposite the Opera House, right in town) • Brisbane (Fisherman’s wharf industrial Port. Long distance to Brisbane City) • Darwin, Right in town. Nice pretty spot, with lovely waterfront • Bali a Tender Port, it was a nice and busy ride in, good distance away from major attractions • Singapore- Big, vibrant, cruise berth reasonably handy to attractions • Bangkok Laem Chabang (2 hours each way from Port to Bangkok) • Ko Samui: tender port • Ho Chi Minh City ( 90 minutes each way on Bus to City) • Nha Trang (Tender port. Beach resort. Free Shuttle into Central area) • Hong Kong, reasonably handy Port to main city attractions, but more than walking distance Disembarkation Getting off the ship at Hong Kong was well organized but surprisingly Hong Kong is not set up for taxi service, long waits, massive queues and very poor directions and signs. This needs to be rectified. Princess did provide buses at a high charge (US$29 per person) but only to key points, where one had to transfer to a taxi or other form of transport. Messy in all elements. Get your act together Hong Kong cruise terminal. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Having had 2 wonderful Princess cruises, 2014 Sea Princess, Sun Princess, our best so far, this relocation cruise to Asia / Japan, was disappointing. Embarkation checkin process was good, The Balcony Cabin was good, cabin attendant Eban ... Read More
Having had 2 wonderful Princess cruises, 2014 Sea Princess, Sun Princess, our best so far, this relocation cruise to Asia / Japan, was disappointing. Embarkation checkin process was good, The Balcony Cabin was good, cabin attendant Eban excellent, bar and waiting staff very good, Dinning room Vivaldi, very good. Food was good, nice appointments. Ship appointments very classy, nice pools and spa areas. Entertainment below standard, by princess standards, 3 or 4 High Class entertainers, only did 2 or 3 shows over 17 day cruise, Dance Shows were very good, only went 30 mins to 40 mins, Princess backing band very good, along the UK Band, THE SOUNDS- excellent, could have done more shows. Other entertainers were average. The use of Venues, Club Fusion, great cabaret area, wasted opportunity, Wheelhouse Bar lovely venue, entertainment very average, Crooners bar entertainment venue, very good also, had different shows in there, karaoke should have been left in here, was quite good for that and had some very good people perform, very entertaining. Explorers Lounge great venue also, again not used to full potential. The Atrium, deck 5 midship, had lots of activities, all sea days, very good, In The Atrium, pre dinner shows we good, piano & Vocal entertainment after 8 pm ok. Shore excursions were OK, some very average, tour buses very good, staff on tours excellent, embarkation from ship to port tours,need a bit more organisational skills. The Cruise Entertainmemnt Directors, lacked communication and organisationall skills. We will re think who we Cruise with next time, after a Dissopointing relocation cruise, Princess was not up to their usual high standard, wonder if the change of Management has any thing to with that. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
General: I took the cruise on the Arcadia 1-17 March 2016, Sydney-Brisbane-Yorkey’s Knob (Cairns)-Alotau (Papua New Guinea)-Manila-Hong Kong. The Arcadia caters largely for the over-65s, mainly British clientele, some of whom seem ... Read More
General: I took the cruise on the Arcadia 1-17 March 2016, Sydney-Brisbane-Yorkey’s Knob (Cairns)-Alotau (Papua New Guinea)-Manila-Hong Kong. The Arcadia caters largely for the over-65s, mainly British clientele, some of whom seem to spend most if not all the year cruising. Pricewise, the cruise is good value. Perhaps because of that, the ports of call were not particularly interesting and nor was the entertainment on board but if you want a relaxing time at sea, this ship will satisfy. Incidentally, I found Alotau one of the more interesting stops but I didn’t take any of the package shore excursions – I booked my own in advance through the local travel agent, Villink, located in the Alotau International Hotel. It was less touristy, the car was air-conditioned and I believe I learned more; and it was at a lower cost that the similar on-board shore excursion on offer. Don’t expect decent WiFi even if you are willing to pay the extortionate price charged for WiFi use on board – speeds are very slow, so at 50p a minute, best to wait to the next port of call to log-in. There were two safety alerts (a fire in an elevator; smoke from the incinerator) during the cruise. They were efficiently dealt with though I don’t understand why passengers were woken at 3.00 AM to tell them of the first alert (without further instructions or directions being given). Unless passengers are instructed to do something or to act in a particular manner (even it is only to stay in the cabin), I can’t see the purpose of ruining their sleep, causing panic (some passengers commented that they were concerned), or create unnecessary interest that might obstruct the crew (some passengers wanted to see what was happening). If this is an established safety procedure, it is a bad one and needs to be rethought. There is Sunday Christian worship and regular Christian Fellowship meetings take place. No other faiths are generally catered for though Jews do get to meet for the Jewish Sabbath. Observant Jews and Muslims need not apply (see ‘food’ below). The ship is generally well run, though I did get a sense of complacency, especially as regards the kitchens/restaurants. Overall, the ship is of the quality of a 3-star hotel but occasionally rises a notch higher. It needs to be said that most passengers were happy with the ship. Pros Friendly, efficient cabin stewards. Most staff are friendly and helpful. Dining options are adequate and cuisine quality acceptable, though not exceptional. Complaints do get actioned and rectified. P&O has been in the business a long time so knows what to expect – embarkation and disembarkation at ports of call are generally efficiently handled.. Good value for money overall (though some shore excursions are over-priced). Self-service laundry facilities are available on board (though cramped and insufficient for overall demand – be ready for some frayed tempers if you have not cleared your machine immediately after it has completed its cycle). There some nice, comfortable places to sit and while away the time looking out to sea, in particular the Crow’s Nest at the front of the ship. Cons Entertainment is basic and not generally high quality though there were some acts that were so good (e.g. Fogwell Flax) that the Palladium Theatre could not accommodate all demand. The films screened are basically DVDs (not in HD) and start times do not always accord with the printed schedule. The programme of talks is adequate and one or two even interesting but overall, worthy rather than stimulating. The scheduling was also not ideal as the talks frequently clashed with teatime etc. (see below). The talks had no relationship to the places being visited –e.g. on the history of Australia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Hong Kong etc.. Of course, there is a Port Talk before each port of call but that is more about sights, shopping and shore excursions, with modest historic background. The food is generally unexceptional. The ship does not cater well (at all?) for people with special dietary needs For example, it was not uncommon for 50% of the eight main course dishes on offer to contain pig products in some form (of the 4 main course choices during one lunchtime, 3 had pig products in them); and no effort was made to keep such products separate either in preparation or presentation from other dishes. There was usually one vegetarian option (out of 8) for dinner in the Meridian dining room. It is easy enough to keep pig products separate from others, to use a different griddle for grilling pork from other meats etc. but no such effort is made. Although most of the clientele might be reliving the 1960s and 70s, there is no reason for P&O not to make an effort to accommodate the 21st century (see also comments on electrical sockets and wifi). Also there doesn’t seem to be any great effort to give a taste of the cuisine of the ports to be/just visited (other than Australia). For instance, Papua New Guinea produces cocoa, coffee, bananas, fish, sago, cassava, yams – none of these appeared on the menu. Of the two main restaurants, the Meridian provides a silver service dining experience. The food can be good but too often is below par (e.g. sometimes microwaved and, consequently, dry and unappetising dishes often served lukewarm). There is also an element of complacency evident in the preparation – e.g. a mass-produced tart base is used for too many dishes. One particularly egregious example was a ‘macaroon tart’ which was the offending tart base filled with something that tasted like ‘Angel Delight’ with half a macaroon biscuit shell on top. The same tart base (a typical mass-produced casing used for quiches, tarts and anything else that comes to mind) was used two days later for a rhubarb and apple crumble ‘tart’. Cooking for large throughput is not easy and complacency has to be guarded against. One thing about the Meridian – it opens very late for breakfast (07.30 when in port, 08.00 on other days). Bearing in mind the age of the ship’s clientele, elderly folk who have difficulty sleeping, this is far too late. Also, on port days one wants to disembark as early as possible. A start one hour earlier would be better. The Belvedere is self-service and gives too much the impression of a staff canteen, in choice of dishes, layout and even smell. The quality varies from mediocre to passable. Access to the food is also not always easy – try pouring the soup without spilling it! A few design and style changes could easily make it a lot more appealing. The smoothies on offer are far too sweet (like most things on board, at least for my taste) – not really smoothies as I know them. With so many elderly passengers, diabetes might be a problem that needs to be more widely addressed (it’s not just sufficient to offer the occasional diabetic pastry). The specialty restaurants (Ocean Grill, Sindhu) are both good but the menus are fixed for the duration of the voyage so a couple of visits will mean you’ve exhausted the dishes you want to eat (or that don’t appear elsewhere on the ship). I was a little surprised to find that the Sindhu did not use tablecloths. Tea time was very short, lasting 45 min so if you arrive late, expect to be rushed out. Scones were usually acceptable, though sometimes stale. Clotted cream was served, so full marks (in the Meridian only) for this. It was impossible to find a decent cup of coffee on board. There were 3 establishments claiming to serve Costa Coffee (admittedly, not the best of the international chains) but if they were representative of Costa Coffee generally, then it’s time for a change. Why can one not get a decent espresso or cappuccino elsewhere? The attempts at cappuccino in the main restaurant were more like coffee dregs soaked in warm water and then swamped with milk. The baristas need some proper training. I also object to the misleading WiFi sign appearing at these 3 establishments – there is no free WiFi on board and the WiFi in the Costa Coffee places is the same as that for the ship as a whole (and available only at great cost). Drinks – the price of on-board drinks is comparable to what can be found in the UK (outside central London). The duty and tax savings are, therefore, not passed on to the passengers. Although good hygiene is important, the anti-bacterial gel that was not only offered at the door but almost forced on diners entering the restaurants, made one feel rather like being at school or hospital ward (doubly unwelcome when one takes into account the average age of the passengers). More effective would be issuing facemasks to people with coughs and sneezes! It was all a bit too much. And the injunction to wipe down machines after use in the gym was usually obeyed by the passengers but often ignored by the staff themselves. The gym is an adequate size/ well-equipped considering the age of the passengers, but might become inadequate if the average age fell by say 10 years. Incidentally, the gym is open between 08.00-20.00 only. As there is little or no supervision in the gym, I don’t understand why opening hours are not extended (to, say, 07.00-21.00). The Library has a reasonable stock of classic and modern fiction but not much in the way of good non-fiction (a lot of books on birds and a big collection on, often outdated, travel guides. In some ways this is understandable in view of the cost of books these days). There is comfortable seating in the library itself but there could be more of it. Although the Arcadia’s ‘Helpful Information’ claims that cabins are equipped with British style electrical sockets, in fact there is only one such socket in the cabin and generally the ship has US-style sockets throughout. Adapters were supplied by Reception (after the deficiency was raised as a concern). The ship lacks also an adequate number of power points in public areas to meet the needs of the modern age, for charging phones, computers, tablets, cameras etc.. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The ship was cold 18-19 degrees - staff didn't respond until the last few days of cruise and then temperature rose to other extreme 28 degrees. Passengers all developed illness whilst on board. Some staff were very good but ... Read More
The ship was cold 18-19 degrees - staff didn't respond until the last few days of cruise and then temperature rose to other extreme 28 degrees. Passengers all developed illness whilst on board. Some staff were very good but generally staff needed customer service training. The ship ran out of basic supplies like cough medicine, hot chocolate, berries etc which meant passengers had to buy their own at various ports. Some of the fruit on display was rotten and they commented " it just discolouration". Not enough spoons to stir drinks - had to use forks instead, Queues to get off the ship at ports poorly organised (2.5 hour wait at one port). T shirts got burnt through soot coming out of chimneys on two occasions. To cap it all I tried to call Cunard to provide comments and they weren't interested - they asked me to hold the line while transferring me to someone more senior and following a 15 minute wait I was cut off. Worse cruise I've ever been on. Only thing I enjoyed was the Bridge classes Read Less
Sail Date March 2015

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