We chose this trip from Sydney to New Zealand to enjoy a cruise and to see some of New Zealand. We flew from Hobart, Tasmania to stay with our son in Sydney the night before. We weren't due to embark until 4.00 pm but we arrived at the terminal around 2 45 and we were very impressed with the embarkation process. I think it took only about 15 minutes to get to our cabin and our luggage had just arrived at the cabin door.
Our cabin was a mini suite on deck 9 dolphin. It was a wheelchair accessible cabin even though we didn't require a wheelchair cabin. It was available when we booked and is quite a bit more spacious than ordinary mini suites. We had a big bathroom and a couch with a table and one chair. Our cabin steward was excellent and kept our room immaculate and made the bed and changed the towels morning and night. He was so friendly and nothing was too much trouble. The balcony was a good size.
We had anytime dining and usually had our meals around 7.30. We ate in Di Vinci or Michelangelo. The menus were the same and the quality of the food was excellent. The receptionist in Di Vinci greeting us every morning and evening and was so friendly and helpful. We occasionally had lunch at the Horizon buffet but we didn't eat much on those days as the cooked breakfast kept us going until dinner time.
We enjoyed pre dinner drinks at the Crooners bar listening to David Juneau. He certainly is talented and the staff were excellent. The only problem is the seating is limited. We also enjoyed Emerald Tide an Irish band that I am sure will go places. The other band were good too. We found limited seating in all the bars. On a personal note we found this ship too big for us having been on 2 smaller ships.
We thought drinks were over priced. My favourite drink prosecco was $13 a glass. On our previous cruises there was always a happy hour which didn't happen on this one. We also found the coffee was terrible and felt we shouldn't have to pay for it and being in a mini suite we thought the bottled water would be free.
We found most of the staff throughout the ship were friendly and helpful. The only problem we found was with some of the photographers(not all). We had our photo taken one night but every other night we felt like we were trying to dodge them as they were so persistent and one in particular was rather rude when we said we didn't want one.
We only booked one shore excursion with Princess which was in Wellington to a sheep property which included a beautiful morning tea (the best sausage rolls ever). The scenery was brilliant we travelled in a bus from the ship all around the bay to the property on top of a hill. The views were spectacular and we saw the dogs rounding up the sheep. Well worth doing. In the other places we wandered around ourselves and in The Bay of Islands we caught the ferry to Russell Island which is good value.
In conclusion this cruise was so relaxing and the 2 weeks just flew by. Overall everything was very good. Disembarkation was easy and princess had arranged buses for those who wanted to go to the airport.
Excellent, spacious and clean