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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I had an assumption that all cruise`s were for old fat people, how wrong I was, my parents shouted my wife and 3 boys aged 4-8-11 and my brother and my two nieces. Absolutely blown away staff are some of the most beautiful people we have ... Read More
I had an assumption that all cruise`s were for old fat people, how wrong I was, my parents shouted my wife and 3 boys aged 4-8-11 and my brother and my two nieces. Absolutely blown away staff are some of the most beautiful people we have meet they remind me of the fijian`s, warm, humble, caring, genuine they were the highlight of the trip without a doubt. The boat is almost as good its is better than some 5 star hotels we had a junior suite that was well appointed had two bathrooms and plenty of room four us and storage for all our stuff was on deck 10 room 218 been mid ship when there is a bit of a swell is a blessing less movement. Hard to find information about activities before you, go but easy enough once on board. Book things as soon as you get on as you may miss out especially for I-Fly and North star the viewing arm thingy majig. Food is really good caters for al,l my wife is a vegetarian even she was happy. Take a clothes line as they charge like wounded bulls for laundry. If you like a drink or to get the drinks package they make the drinks strong so none of those weak bar drinks here !. For kids suits under 3 and over 8 years of age, our 4 year old fell in the weird zone things like bumper cars, rock wall, trapeze and roller skating he was to young to do. They do have a great kids club for all ages but we never used it. great used to taking the stairs the lifts are pain full none seem to be available always full. We will remember this for a lifetime helped when my parents paid for it stunning stunning stunning Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Sun Princess was recommended for my age and wanted relaxation. I’m a solo cruiser and had a fantastic time. Embarkment and disembarkment ran so smoothly best I have ever had, room was clean no noise factor at all, service from crew was ... Read More
Sun Princess was recommended for my age and wanted relaxation. I’m a solo cruiser and had a fantastic time. Embarkment and disembarkment ran so smoothly best I have ever had, room was clean no noise factor at all, service from crew was very polite and courteous and you could actually have a laugh with them, dining was good share restaurant brilliant steakhouse brilliant horizon food was average never ate in the dining rooms as I couldn’t get a table for one so I missed out there, entertainment and activities were great only disappointment was we had a lot of bad weather (Mother Nature was not kind to us at all) and a lot of shore excursions were cancelled it would of been nice to have some extra activities added to break some of the extra time we had spending on board due to the bad weather. If you like relaxation and not a lot of children on board this is the cruise for you as it met all my expectations I must say I did come back home renewed. My highlight was the scenic cruising through Floridian national park. I actually got home and booked my next cruise on the same ship to Fiji in January and plan on booking again to New Zealand hopefully I’ll choose the right time of year to go though so I can get to see the sites I really wanted to visit Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Having travelled a few months ago to Tasmania and enjoying myself decided on another cruise on Explorer, what a terrible cruise, Kids allowed to run a muck. I have never seen soo many snotty nosed crying uncontrollable kids. I came on this ... Read More
Having travelled a few months ago to Tasmania and enjoying myself decided on another cruise on Explorer, what a terrible cruise, Kids allowed to run a muck. I have never seen soo many snotty nosed crying uncontrollable kids. I came on this cruise to enjoy myself and some down time not to put up with children whos parents cant be bothered looking after them properly. The smoking on deck 7 near the Explorer bar was just awful creeping up to deck 8, the smell of pot on the Oasis deck that had been smuggled on board by a group as well as crew members smoking on deck also the amount of Adults allowed to drink in the spas and crew serving them. Where was the Security? fights beaking out on the ship.The disgusting Pantry floor and windows, went in for breakfast usual time 6.30am and floor was filthy from night before this continued all the way through the cruise so I ate in my room. What is up with the tender boats? sending back empty tender boats being told not to get on them when people are waiting to go back to ship. "Note to photo staff" when someone tells you four times they dont want the full photo package listen to them, very pushy. Why is the food not served at the proper temperature? COLD FOOD. I did not appreciate my cabin steward coming into my room whilst I was at breakfast, EARLY, to clean it at least wait till I put up the CLEAN MY ROOM SIGN. Watch the dogs on Isle of Pines they bite! and there are a few not so nice characters watching your possessions keep an eye out, as well as some not so welcome signs. I DO NOT recommend this ship for elderly passengers unless you enjoy unruly kids and second rate service save your money go elsewhere. I wont be cruising with P&O again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Embarkation was very smooth and quick. Our cabin was clean and there was a short wait for our luggage to be delivered to the room but we had no concerns. Good times pamphlet was easy to read with lots of interesting activities to ... Read More
Embarkation was very smooth and quick. Our cabin was clean and there was a short wait for our luggage to be delivered to the room but we had no concerns. Good times pamphlet was easy to read with lots of interesting activities to do. Waterfront restaurant had good food and was easy to get into with and without a reservation. The Pavlova dessert was AMAZING. Highly recommended even for the $9 price tag. Seven / Let's Misbehave / Rock shows were awesome - very talented entertainment staff always great shows. just magnificent. I love walking along the promenade deck except when portions are roped off and you have to detour back inside the ship to continue the lap and when you have to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke (that definitely ruins the experience of walking around the ship and enjoying the seas air and views). Breakfast is always the worst meal of the day on cruises but breakfast under this new Pantry layout was DISGUSTING. The hot food (bacon, eggs, etc) were always cold and waiting in line for toast made it even colder. It is really difficult to get seats in The Pantry and the food is getting even colder by the time you find a seat. if you stay away from hot food and lines even the cold breakfast foods like yogurt and fruit were inedible. The Pantry is so chaotic - people walking every which way and people walking through the food area when they are leaving. no hand washing was enforced and broken soap dispensers was ignored by the staff. The staff were very slow in cleaning the tables in The Pantry which led to less tables being available and it was difficult to get a staff members attention is you wanted them to come clean a table for you. This was also noticeable around the ship as large stacks to used plates and cups were seen every including in elevators and under stairs. It may be a cruise ship and staff are there to pick up a lot of items but people can be sucks pigs leaving their leftovers everywhere. The Pantry at Lunch was not much better - too chaotic and too difficult to get seating for terrible tasting food. i recommend avoiding The Pantry at all costs. The opening times of the Pantry was awful. if you wanted a snack outside of The Pantry opening times there was nothing available unless you were willing to pay extra money. No sweets on offer between lunch and dinner times except the $5 a scoop ice cream. also the Pantry only offered Apple & Orange Juice with breakfast after than you could not get any drinks other than tea and coffee in the Pantry. No staff available to ask about getting other drinks with lunch?? the watersides were fun but lots of rules and issues about earrings. we took off our big earrings and went on the slides twice but then suddenly they changed their minds and we could not slide with any earrings in even small sleepers that were not going to come undone. make up your minds. many children were unsupervised as well and very pushy when trying to get past you on the stairs up to the slides. 18+ area was nice except for a couple of very loud annoying drunk women cackling away for 4 days and people hogging the hot tubs for many hours & not sharing. getting drinks was a slow process sometimes especially if you wanted to ask the bar tender any questions who would answer 1 then serve somebody else. Mock tails were never mentioned on any menus and had to be asked for specifically and then the bar tender would walk away to serve someone else without waiting for our order. Swim towels available in the rooms was much more helpful than other ships where you have to search for towels yourself and then walk back to the pool you want to use. Spa services are so expensive! $39 for an eye brow wax and then they try to sell you a special brand of face toner and cleanser for $60 each. what a rip off. Dinner at the Dragon Lady was excellent. Dinner at Angelo's was lovely, though the portion sizes were a bit small. getting drinks around the ship were sometimes a but confusing, the menus all said Pepsi / Pepsi max drinks but when you asked for Pepsi the staff looked at you blankly and said they had Coke / Diet Coke. also for non coffee drinkers it's difficult to get a non coffee drink. the menu only offered coffee flavored drinks and when a Iced Chocolate was asked for the staff would still make an Iced Chocolate Mocha even though they promised a non coffee Iced Chocolate. they even seemed confused when asked for a simple hot milk drink. entertainment activities was mostly fun though the paper flower making class was a bit ridiculous. the teacher did not explain / show the steps very well and when you asked for help or for her to repeat the steps she was slow at acknowledging us. learning the steps for the Gatsby flash mob was fun but when the time came for us to do the dance in the Atrium it was far too crowded and not enough space for the steps we were taught including Charleston kicks. it became very claustrophobic on the dance floor. we were promised confetti at the end of the dance which did not occur. The photo department...terrible photos and terrible prices! we are all dressed up in Gatsby outfits but the photographer cut off our fingers and outfits and was bamboozled when we had our own poses already chosen. all they want you to do is stand in the same spot every time and then they don't really check if you have closed eyes. the new digital kiosk system can make finding your photos easier but each staff member trained differently or incorrectly gives you different information. e.g. 1 staff member said you can only order digital copies from the kiosk and physical copies you had to find yourself in the many boxes of mixed photo graphs where another said you could order digital and physical copies from the kiosk (but after i had already spent 30 mins or more searching through the multiple piles of mixed photos for any photos of my group). shore excursions... we went to Moreton Island and we booked the snorkeling tour and the feeding the Dolphins tour. we were told to get a tender at least 90 mins before our tour time to make sure we didn't miss the tours but then we were so early for the tour that we were waiting for an hour for our tour to start. we were also not given enough information and were not told to dress in our swimmers before hand. once in the wet suit snorkeling was a beautiful experience. highly recommend. afterwards we had to wait for our next tour. so had a late lunch and a beach swim but still ended up waiting for many hours before the Feeding the Dolphins tour started at 5pm. the tour size was enormous! at least 100 - 200 people. we then had to wait another 90 mins while a buffet was served (which we could not eat as we had had lunch not long ago) & a dolphin presentation was held, before we even saw a dolphin. then we were joined by another 100 people from the island who wanted to feed dolphins before were were allowed to line up and grab our fish to feed to the dolphin. once in the water it was a very quick few seconds where the dolphin snatched the fish from your fingers a photo was taken and you were pushed back onto the shore where P&O staff were waiting to rush you on-board a boat to tender you back to the ship. lots on long waiting time for a very quick experience and then being rushed back onto the ship. shopping on-board ship is the usual clothing and jewelry - it's fine as long as you fit into small/medium sizes, anything bigger than a large is not catered for. it's all very expensive even when 50% off. i do enjoy cruising but there are a lot of little things that made my Pacific Explorer Experience not perfect. 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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Travelled to Tasmania, Port Arthur. WARNING! if you have mobility issues or are overweight Port Arthur is not for you! Dont listen to the wingers this is a great ship. Food and entertainment were very good ate mainly in the Pantry, up to ... Read More
Travelled to Tasmania, Port Arthur. WARNING! if you have mobility issues or are overweight Port Arthur is not for you! Dont listen to the wingers this is a great ship. Food and entertainment were very good ate mainly in the Pantry, up to date movies in your cabin, the Sanctuary was good to go and hide and soo peaceful. Adults only area was good a little small, my only complaint was there is a designated smoking area, however it did not stop some smokers from leaving the area to take photos around you and therefore you were subject to smoke, very disrespectful. Cabin stewards are always the best, reception staff very good in fact did not have an issue with anything on the ship unlike Pacific Eden which should be sunk and used as an artificial reef although I think even the fish would be too scared to go on board. I only have good tings to say about this ship.I have done 7 cruises, 5 with P&O and booked this ship for next year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
a quick 4 night getaway on Pacific Explorer. This is my third time on this ship, and actually like the interior. The cruise was out of White Bay as there was a bigger ship in the OSPT in Circular Quay. Our cabin was a mini suite, and ... Read More
a quick 4 night getaway on Pacific Explorer. This is my third time on this ship, and actually like the interior. The cruise was out of White Bay as there was a bigger ship in the OSPT in Circular Quay. Our cabin was a mini suite, and quite tastefully furnished. The beds were comfy and the pillows are actually fine (previously the pillows had been a contention on other P&O ships). The weird thing about the mini suite is the setup of the bathroom. The shower and bath are in one area, and through the door is the toilet and sink. This means that you can't get out of the bath and brush your teeth without having to go next door to the single sink. Our cabin stewards were friendly and gave us a lot of attention. Although they didn't introduce themselves till the second night. The room was serviced twice per day. The balcony is a bit small for a mini suite, not in length but in depth. Food was actually not bad at all. We went to a taste of salt (excellent and well worth the $99 per person cover charge). We also tried Dragon Lady and Angelo's as well as Shell and Bones. The disappointing thing is that if you actually want a decent meal, you have to pay for it. No drama if it's reasonably priced. Angelo's was the star of the free meal selection. The pasta was warm and tasted excellent. The secret bar is the Bonded Store, and I can highly recommend you find this small out of the way place, it's by the blue room. Blink and you'll miss it, as it's hidden around a corner. The "nightclub" which is situated in the Blue Room after about 11:30pm was always full. I've seen this either empty or over capacity on different cruises. I guess it depends on the itinerary and if the drink packages are in operation. In Moreton Island, we took the Quad bike tour. Enjoyed this very brief excursion, and maybe P&O might consider doing a longer version, as we just drove around in the sand around a made course. Fun to drive, but not really exciting views. Overall not a bad cruise, better than other P&O cruises I've been on before. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Celebrity Solstice 14/01/18 – 8 day New Caledonia Embarkation: Excellent embarkation - 15min, welcome champagne on arrival what could be better. Ship information: Absolutely beautiful ship, very tastefully decorated and it was kept ... Read More
Celebrity Solstice 14/01/18 – 8 day New Caledonia Embarkation: Excellent embarkation - 15min, welcome champagne on arrival what could be better. Ship information: Absolutely beautiful ship, very tastefully decorated and it was kept spotlessly clean. I especially liked the grass area on deck 15, just stunning and a real treat to have grass between your toes at sea. There were also lots of shady areas outside and a beautiful adults only pool area. Cabin: I chose a Concierge cabin (AFT) 9378. It was a fabulous cabin and had a beautiful bathroom. There was heaps of storage but there wasn’t as much hanging space as I’ve had on other cruises. Be warned, there is no balcony roof so you are in the weather and the outdoor furniture is very weathered. The curtains were a little torn and need replacing. Service: The crew are amazing on this ship and generally seem very happy. Fantastic 39 yr old captain: Tasos Kefetzis, played basketball with kids and table tennis in the atrium, he was very visible and had a great sense of humour. My cabin steward: Kifec kept my room very clean and serviced it twice daily anticipating my needs. The staff in the Martini bar were true entertainers and a special mention goes to Abibi and Kopi. Port tender process the best I’ve had - very well organised. Dining: The food on this ship was excellent. I had some lovely sushi on the first night at Sushi on 5. The buffet was very clean with a great selection of food. I chose the anytime (Select) dining option in the main dining room. It also had delicious food and I discovered you could ask for an Indian menu – great curries. Riedel glassware in the restaurants.Beautiful cocktails in World Class bar and great coffee in the d’ Bacio Café. Entertainment: Excellent vocalists in the production shows. The production show Amade was fabulous, as was the Rock show. The magic show was also of high standard and very funny. There was always something fun going on – pool parties, great music and dancing in the atrium, cooking demonstrations etc. Disembarkation: Smooth – I chose to take off my own bags as I had an early flight Small Negatives: If you don’t have a drinks package drinks are very expensive and in US dollars. As I was in a Concierge class cabin, there were too many in room phone messages. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
It was something different, than a normal sea cruise. And what a surprise, did not expect the cruise would be so beautiful, and adventurist, while being so relaxing, and fun. The crew always tried to make sure your experience was ... Read More
It was something different, than a normal sea cruise. And what a surprise, did not expect the cruise would be so beautiful, and adventurist, while being so relaxing, and fun. The crew always tried to make sure your experience was everything you could want. Did not realize the Murray River was so gloriously beautiful. The swans on the river each morning was a real majestic ballet of grace to watch. Embarkation was run very smoothly, and we were settled in our cabin within 15 minutes of arriving at the ship. It was well appointed, with bar fridge, coffee/tea making facilities, free chocolate bars, an assortment of luxury toiletries. The queen bed was very comfy. the room was larger than the cabins we normally have on our sea cruises. The for and aft lounges are very comfy, and a grand place to meet the other passengers. I would thoroughly recommend this cruise as a must do at least once. We will be doing it again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
The ship was great the captain was fantastic was involved in lots atctivities The Cabin was great The service and staff was excellent The tenders to the ports was very bad we had to wait a very long time it's was to far away ... Read More
The ship was great the captain was fantastic was involved in lots atctivities The Cabin was great The service and staff was excellent The tenders to the ports was very bad we had to wait a very long time it's was to far away for the port Shore excursions very expensive but had a fantastic time Entertainment was not enough need to be more Didn't have a laundry place on the boat so a family can do there laundry The laundry offer was very expensive for everyone We travel as a big group of 20 Yes we will go again I was absolutely blown away with this company, I loved everything about them. The best part for me was the drinking package and service I received. The food was perfect. I loved the fresh salads, always fresh fruit, many choices for lunch and dinner. The desserts were beautifully presented by a very exuberant pastry chef Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Firstly I start by saying I've been on 27 cruises and there are good and bad points on every cruise. I’ve cruised with P&O, Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Australia. This is my opinion only, everyone has ... Read More
Firstly I start by saying I've been on 27 cruises and there are good and bad points on every cruise. I’ve cruised with P&O, Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Australia. This is my opinion only, everyone has differing tastes. An experience for a first time cruiser will generally be different to that of an experienced cruiser. I chose this cruise as I wanted to try NCL. The people on board this cruise consisted of only 230 Aussies (surprising for a cruise out of Australia), 430 Germans, UK, Canadians and USA, Asians. There were very few children on board. Embarkation: Terrible, probably the worst I’ve experienced. We were queued and standing for several hours. I really felt for the elderly passengers. The hold-up/bottleneck appeared to be in the Customs area (there were only 4 officials processing when I went through). Cabin The Good: good size bathroom and shower. The shower had a sliding door not a curtain; however you needed to sit sideways on the toilet. They have little swimming fish printed on the carpet in the hallways showing the direction to the bow. My room was located above the theatre but I wasn’t interrupted by noise. The Bad: very small, poorly designed room, very tight to get round the bed and I kept hitting my head on the bunk bed (which was raised) and the light fittings in the bed head. No room steward name in the room and when I introduced myself on the second day of the cruise she never gave me her name and never greeted me by name, also general poor attention to detail in room. Very few TV channels other than cruise line advertising. There were too many loud entertainment announcements outside the cabin and in public areas (disruptive), cabin walls are very thin and you can easily hear neighbours, mattresses need replacing - they’re old and lumpy. Entertainment The Good: Entertainment was better than average, Burn the floor was excellent, as was Cirque Bijou, the physical comedian and the acrobats were great. Good Australian cruise director: David Food The Good: good variety in main dining room menu and service in the main dining rooms was excellent. Flexible dining and dress options are good however as I was traveling solo if I wished to share a table for dinner it was usually a table for 4 so I ended up sitting next to a couple, good glassware in main restaurants The Bad: average, lukewarm food - the food in the main dining room had been prepared well in advance and tasted like it had been sitting around for quite a while (often lukewarm and stale bread with dinner). The Garden Cafe is like a cafeteria and the quality of the food is poor with cheap artificially flavoured ingredients. In the outdoor areas, drinks are served in disposable plastic cups. They ran out of many items; my wine on day 2, fresh fruit was limited (they ran out of water melon on arrival to New Zealand) they have a mojito bar and ran out of mint! they ran out of fresh milk and had milk in little UHT containers. I actually lost weight on this Cruise General The Good: great wide decks, good lifts and onboard communication screens. Port arrivals and disembarkation were well organised. Most of the staff were friendly and offered good service The Bad: very dated décor, low ceilings and very dark throughout the ship especially in the restaurants. General cleaning and removal of rubbish around the vessel was not up to standard. Empty cigarette packs and dirty glasses were noticed in some areas for 3 days before they were cleaned away. Room service dirty dishes left in hallways for many hours. Drinks were very expensive as an 18% gratuity is added to each purchase and then USA to Australian conversion. A very expensive $39 US for airport shuttle (double the price of Australian cruises), Shore excursions were also very overpriced. Smoking is allowed in Casino. Staff often talked amongst themselves in their own languages in front of guests. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Wanted to try a larger ship as travelled many times on RCL. Well despite the negativity I have read, it was not applicable. Fabulous ship, excellent memories made with lots of new and exciting friendships which I am certain will blossom ... Read More
Wanted to try a larger ship as travelled many times on RCL. Well despite the negativity I have read, it was not applicable. Fabulous ship, excellent memories made with lots of new and exciting friendships which I am certain will blossom beyond this sailing. Embarkation – Quick speedy and efficient. Porters were waiting on the right side for bag drop off, on entry quick health form completed, allocated an RCL member to process and onboard we went. Smooth painless and done within 20 mins from start to finish. Onboard – Guest Services – As I was travelling with a minor their seapass card has to have a spend limit put on. Quick and easy, once in the line an RCL member helped fill out the relevant paperwork and we were free to start our holiday. Safety Drill –Instructions are on the back of you cabin door and your seaspass has you assigned station. Lots of RCL staff more than happy to assist you. Dining – Amazing! Before I embarked I was quick shocked at the reviews. I am so glad they were not relevant. Food in the MDR was outstanding; I went to Italian and was suitably impressed. Every night our servers/chefs/wait staff did something new to entertain the guests. As dining is a huge factor for my family it was lovely to see such drive and effort made to ensure we had a pleasant experience. Murder Mystery Dinner – If you haven’t done it try it. Was so much fun, the actors play a part you have a wonderful dinner and figure out who did it. Well worth the money. DreamWorks Breakfast – A must for little and big kids alike, was a great laugh. Just order eggs over easy sunny side up were a little too sunny. Cabin – Well I am delighted to say I had the pleasure of staying in Cabin 1854 a Family Panoramic View that is now classed as a suite. The views were spectacular and the position right at the front behind the pool bar and above solarium was excellent. Cabin was clean, neat tidy. Cabin steward was named Angel, well he was indeed that. He was fun, respectful and did his job to a very high standard. I couldn’t take him home unfortunately something about against the rules. Hairdryer provided and US electrical ports, so BYO adaptor. Ample cupboard space for hanging or putting away clothing. Facilities onboard – shops were varied, café promenade was fabulous for coffee and library was excellent. Children’s books are also available. Entertainment – OUT OF THIS WORLD. Great shows, Jamie the cruise director and his team were fabulous. They really enjoyed themselves and the acts showed passion and drive. The move it move it parade was a hit with all passengers young and old. Ice Shows x 2 both excellent those girls and boys were fabulous. Pig n Whistle – Well everyone has their favorite watering spot and this was mine. Carlo, musician was outstanding and I mean WOW had the place rocking to his vocals and guitar work. If you are looking for romance look no further, if you want to enjoy time that someone special, like I did, this is the place to be. Soft sounds and the perfect romantic venue. Many happy memories and many friendships made. Gym/Spa - Well I have been to some gyms in my time and given the amount of food consumed, I definitely needed to work some off. Equipment great, clean and in working order. Great views to get rid of those excess pounds. Theatres – Located decks 3 & 4 easy to access and wheelchair accessible seating provided. RCL meet n Greet – Host was fabulous however many members didn’t get their invite even though they registered. For this particular sailing there was no role call and a Facebook Page was created to chat about all things cruising and RCL. Cruise critic this is something that needs attention as emails were sent to amend but was not rectified. Summary – This ship is quite large however the staff onboard were all singing. I mean right down to the maintenance people. Management have done an excellent job, a happy crew makes for a happy cruisers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
This cruise was fantastic! I've heard that this was one of the last circle Australia cruises, because the industry is now cutting back in Australia. We cruised out of Sydney and visited Brisbane, Cairns, Alotau, Darwin, Broome, ... Read More
This cruise was fantastic! I've heard that this was one of the last circle Australia cruises, because the industry is now cutting back in Australia. We cruised out of Sydney and visited Brisbane, Cairns, Alotau, Darwin, Broome, Geraldton, and finally, we ended in Perth, Australia. The ports and shore excursions were excellent. Food was wonderful, most nights we ate in the dining room, our waiters were Tarra and Bagus. Both were excellent, the best waiters we have ever had, I think that if you cruise on Sun Princess, I would ask for them, they really go the extra mile to ensure your vacation is an amazing experience. For lunch, we mainly ate in the buffet, and with a smaller ship, you must remember that they are not that many specialty restaurants. The steak restaurant was part of the buffet that they sectioned off at night, and the only other speciality restaurant was Share, by Curtis Stone. We did not eat there, because we didn't like the thought of sharing food with other people. We stayed in a Mini Suite, and for 2 people, it was the perfect size. I believe that the closet space was small, especially with a 17 day cruise, but it was manageable nonetheless. One of the best things about Princess are the free movies that you can watch on TV, this was a really nice feature, especially with a 17 day cruise, with a lot of sea days. All in all, we had an amazing time on the Sun Princess, and are very happy that we took advantage of the cruise, as it is no longer offered by Princess. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I went on this cruise with my mother,my very first cruise...but now I am hooked, everything about this ship was amazing,I have a fear of heights,so I expected this to be a problem,but the moment I boarded on deck four and turned the ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my mother,my very first cruise...but now I am hooked, everything about this ship was amazing,I have a fear of heights,so I expected this to be a problem,but the moment I boarded on deck four and turned the corner to the lifts I discovered for every glass lift there is also an enclosed lift (none glass lift).so all the anxiety I had about this was gone, Our room was amazing with a big balcony and plenty of space to move around.Our room service attendant (Romeo) was amazing he went above and beyond to do anything for us. Our dining experience was also amazing our waiters Aliston and Jonnes greeted us every night saying our names and there was nothing we could fault,the food was awesome with a great menu to choose from. The ice skating show was something not to be missed,it was outstanding on our 11 night cruise there was two different shows and 100% worth seeing. The night shows in the theatre were maybe for the oldies my mum loved them ,but I felt I would rather be down in a bar listening to some music. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Round Australia itinerary was a perfect close to our touring of the more visited areas on land. We often do private tours, but the ships tours were very good, but a bit more expensive which is typical of cruise ship tours. Some port ... Read More
Round Australia itinerary was a perfect close to our touring of the more visited areas on land. We often do private tours, but the ships tours were very good, but a bit more expensive which is typical of cruise ship tours. Some port visits were quite short so the ships excursions were much more relaxing. Our cabin was C633. We had wanted a balcony but there were none available. We enjoyed this cabin as it was quite roomy. All cabins on board have large flat screen TVs which is amazing. The TV choices are amazing. From live TV to very recent movie choices on demand. The best we have seen on a ship. The Pop Choir was a terrific experience particularly for us as we have never sung in a choir ever! Good fun. I was a little disappointed in the food generally but there were many choices. Room service was very efficient and the staff delivering were friendly and happy. Although we were cruising in Australia, we tipped $2 each time that Room Service delivered and they were very appreciative. I would recommend this cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
The opportunity to travel on QM2 was too good to pass up and the 5 night itinerary afforded me the opportunity to travel in a Queens Grill suite. The itinerary was a round trip from Sydney, visiting Port Arthur and Hobart. Embarkation ... Read More
The opportunity to travel on QM2 was too good to pass up and the 5 night itinerary afforded me the opportunity to travel in a Queens Grill suite. The itinerary was a round trip from Sydney, visiting Port Arthur and Hobart. Embarkation was at Sydney's overseas passenger terminal at Circular Quay and went smoothly, but there was nothing special as far as Queens Grill privileges was concerned except to bypass the general queue, which is always nice of course. The staff here are always friendly and helpful and this embarkation was no exception. Stepping aboard the ship was very exciting but unlike Celebrity Suite class there was no one to greet you or direct you to your suite, or take you too a lovely club to wait for your cabin and enjoy a drink. There was however, a lift attendant to control the massive queue waiting to go up to their cabins. It turns out the lifts at stairwell B can best be described as Bijou, so I gave up and used the stairs. My Grill suite was 9002 at the front of the ship. On opening the door I was delighted. Very tasteful. Plenty big enough for me, with a large bathroom, whirlpool bathtub and lovely bar area. The balcony was generous with 2 wicker chairs, and the benefit of this cabin's location was that there was no lifeboat or tender blocking any view. You do however get a fair bit of noise when the tenders are launched. There was also a rattle noise from a mysterious spot noticeable at night, but it didn't disturb me too much. Bed and linen were lovely. Lovely bar set up. Champagne and Godiva chocolates a lovely touch. A note for less agile people the bathroom is shower over tub and the tub is deep. I dined in the Queens Grill. I was expecting great things of this and was somewhat disappointed. Same food as Britannia restaurant. A table right at the serving area nowhere near a window. I was expecting individualised treatment. Having said that, the waiters were delightful, most of the food was pleasant, and the company at the table lovely. The head waiter was almost invisible. Luminae on Celebrity is far superior. I also used Carinthia Lounge for lunch and found it to be very pleasant. Barely used Kings Court. I loved Sir Samuels, Veuve Cliquot bar and the Commodores Club. The drinks selection was classy and amazing, and hot chocolate to die for. Excellent coffee too. Service. If you want Joie de Vivre and chatty service this ship is not for you. Most of the service was very discreet, some of it was just plain surly. If this had been a longer trip I know some of the crew would have opened up more. My butler and attendant were lazy. I usually leave a generous tip, not this time. No interaction with them at all. Wine and food waiters in the Grills were gorgeous. I didn't bother with the Concierge lounge as the concierge was surly and it offered little in comparison with offerings on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. I would not recommend Queens Grill if you are looking for added extras as they just aren't there. Pay as you go in the Grills Lounge. Much prefer Michael's Club on Celebrity. No tender priority either. The ship itself is gorgeous and beautifully maintained. A real pleasure to sail on her and her solidity is beyond question. The Cunard history is a treat to soak up.the library and bookshop are delights I found too late in the cruise. There is a well appointed gym. Classy and genteel entertainment offerings. There is a board game corridor. I didn't use Canyon Ranch Spa. The ports were two of my favourite Australian places and we were greeted with fine weather. Port Arthur was a tender port and everything was run very smoothly. Lovely double deck tenders too. I didn't partake of any ship's tours. I would definitely cruise with Cunard again, as despite my niggles, it was a lovely experience and still felt special. I would probably choose an Interior cabin and just enjoy the facilities of the ship. For perks I will travel Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
• We would like to see bad sheet change every 4 days not 7! • Table tennis area windy, some digital timer to be on the game for each machine to be fare. • Main dinner restaurant need more verity food no much choice did not ... Read More
• We would like to see bad sheet change every 4 days not 7! • Table tennis area windy, some digital timer to be on the game for each machine to be fare. • Main dinner restaurant need more verity food no much choice did not bidder to use it. • Would like to see some Turkish food in Windjammer café or in restaurant • Urgent rules for spa /sauna area, Eg before and after spa entry must have a shower. Peoples enter the spa after the Gym with sweaty body, • Breakfast in main dinner room take to long, must be buffy style. • The workers very tight, need 1 day rest 12hrs 7days 7 months they are human not machine! • The pool area very wrong designed, pool size to small for amount of peoples in the ship 3000.Can’t see the big screen because of spa cover. • Shore excursion on the ship very expansive did not use it. • The pool area very slippery when wet foore need to be slip prove. • More verity cheese need it for breakfast, Mediterranean style • In the shower need seat for elderly peoples. • 10/10 Windjammer café, enjoy flower ride ,rock climbing t/tennis, basketball area Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2017
I had never been to Australia/New Zealand. This cruise was only New Zealand and most ports were just like big American cities. Didn't see any cool animals. Shopping wasn't very good. I even went to a dollar store where ... Read More
I had never been to Australia/New Zealand. This cruise was only New Zealand and most ports were just like big American cities. Didn't see any cool animals. Shopping wasn't very good. I even went to a dollar store where nothing was a dollar. The women's T-shirts I bought in XL were all too small. Food on the ship was ok - food in the ports was much better. They even ran out of lobster before the last formal night when they always have lobster on the menu. Most of the passengers were Australian and all of the entertainers were Australian including the cruise director. One comedian talked so fast, I didn't understand a word he said. The shows were shown on 2 nights both performances to accommodate so many people. So once you saw that show, there was no alternate entertainment which seemed strange on such a large ship. A lot of the things to do on the ship were geared toward children and young adults - not a whole lot for seniors. I would like to go back to Australia next time on a smaller ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
because this cruise departed auckland and returned to auckland first to melbourne down to the south island of new zealand travelling via milford sound , dusky sounds port chalmers ( dunedin), akoroa ,wellington, gisbourne ,tauranga , ... Read More
because this cruise departed auckland and returned to auckland first to melbourne down to the south island of new zealand travelling via milford sound , dusky sounds port chalmers ( dunedin), akoroa ,wellington, gisbourne ,tauranga , auckland travelled alone on this voyage on the golden princess cabin chosen was inside due to economics but next time would choose balcony small but well appointed and comfortable quality bedding clean and tidy cabinets showing some signs of wear ( drawer knobs loose ) Dining : a truly remarkable experience -- wide variety of styles and and top notch food , attentive staff , nice ambiance , Entertainment : broadway production quality well staged - fantasic audio system crystal clear although could do with turned down a notch Activities : endless and varied no one could be bored changing daily Service : your wish is our command type deal nothing too much trouble 24hrs a day attentive obliging friendly staff Shore excursions : well organised , syncronised, knowledgable staff very hot day in akoroa tenders used to take to shore on return at jetty while waiting for tender chilled facecloths and chilled water served ( nice touch ) overall a gratifying experience - top chefs very attentive staff international cuisine and a very clean tidy ship with accent on hygene Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Just returned from the Tassie cruise (23 – 28 Jan) and I wanted to comment on our experience (having noted some negative feedback from others on the NZ trip) We are seasoned travellers although this is only our 2nd cruise (previously ... Read More
Just returned from the Tassie cruise (23 – 28 Jan) and I wanted to comment on our experience (having noted some negative feedback from others on the NZ trip) We are seasoned travellers although this is only our 2nd cruise (previously we sailed with Carnival Spirit to New Caledonia) We were a party of 5 and all had a great time. Plenty to do and lots of options for food and beverage. Some tips/points to be aware of: (meant as helpful advice not criticism!) All prices on board are US$ and there is an automatic 18% service charge on most items you need to pay for (speciality restaurants etc.) see below: Cabins (well at least ours) didn’t have Aus plug sockets so bring an EU or US adaptor (there were 2 USB hubs for phones, ipads etc) The voltage didn’t support an aus hair dryer (the new dyson) or a hand held steamer – there was a hair dryer in the cabin though. If you have a power board or alcohol in your check in luggage it will be held in a secure area and not delivered to your room (they x ray all items) so you’ll need to visit deck 2 to collect your bags once under way. (power boards are held and given back when you get back to Sydney) - not end of world but a hassle on day one you don't need so just be mindful? Bags are checked (X rayed) when you return from shore tours and alcohol etc is kept and delivered back to you the night before you dock. There was no option/laundry room to wash or to iron your own clothes – you can get them done by room service but there is an additional charge (as around $4US for a man’s shirt to be ironed) I had some creased clothes straight from the laundry basket at home (planning to iron them when I had more time in the planning and packing mayhem pre-trip) so they stayed in the case and I made do with what I had – 1st world problem! LOL The ship holds around 5,000 guests so some shows, dining options and attractions get booked out early and queues on day 1 were massive so book on-line in advance if you can or wait a day or so and you should be able to book/see most options. A lanyard to hold your key card (ID And all charges are via the card) is useful – we saw a few cases where people had lost them (including a young kid who’s card was then used by others to charge items). Go with a happy attitude and you’ll likely have a great time (we encountered a few who were determined to be unhappy and they were!) General feedback: A very very good operation. - the boat is super modern and has some amazing features and benefits! Check in process was prompt and efficient. Room was well presented, spacious and functional and cabin staff did a great job of keeping it clean and tidy. We tried quite a few of the food options and were happy with pretty much all:- Windjammer was the “food court” area with a wide selection of smorgasboard and made to order options (there was also a gluten free section I noticed) Plenty of healthy options and I’d be surprised if anyone left hungry or couldn’t find something they enjoyed. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner there at various stages and had no complaints – clean tables, good food, well cooked and presented and staff were friendly, efficient and cheerful. We ate at Izumi one night (Japanese) – we paid extra for this but were very happy with the food, service and experience. We chose “anytime dining” which gave us an (complimentary) option of Silks or American Icon to choose from (deck 4) – both a la carte, similar menus and again great food, service and hospitality. You can reserve tables in advance when on board but may experience a short wait on arrival during the busy dinner periods – no drama’s they’ll seat you asap and they won’t run out of food! Staff were fantastic, wine prices were reasonable (we didn’t take the drink package options) There is a free hot dog stand near the kids entertainment quarter – some options not available when we had one but still – free hot dogs!! A free pizza parlour (next to the pub on deck 4) Mmmm...Pizza! The pub staff were great – draught Heineken at $8US a pint and I like a scotch egg – theirs were fantastic! We saw both shows – Legs, live love and Pixels – both great (pre-book shows preferably if you can – we didn’t but got in on stand by as we just turned up but there was a slight wait until the reserved patrons had gotten in. Bingo was popular – mind you some were taken aback at the cost of a book of 5 for 4 games which was $49US and another session was $20 US for one game of full house for a book of 5 – we won one session though and got $500 US so happy happy happy, smiley smiley smiley!! Trivia comps were fun, pools popular with kids and adults alike and the sports courts/dodgem area popular and although there were queues they made sure they moved it along and everyone had a turn. The ifly sky dive simulator was popular and bookings essential – note there are height and weight restrictions – if you are under 6ft and weigh over 104Kilo – no go and there are also restrictions for people over 6ft so worth checking before your allotted slot if you get one? Your trip bill is automatically charged to your nominated credit card at the end of the trip (there are cash options) – be careful and check the small print as to the rate they use to convert from US $ to Aus plus they Royal Caribbean also charge a 3% fee on top (as well as an automatic gratuity of $13.50 US per person per day) We have an international currency debit card (ours is Commbank but most banks offer them) and we loaded it with US dollars at a good rate before we travelled and paid the bill in US dollars using that card which saved us a fair bit. You can check your bill by using the on-board app (check your trip booklet when you book and pay for your trip) or via the TV option in your room or at guest services - Note queues on the night before arriving back to Sydney and the morning of disembarkation were long so best to check and sort things out sooner than leave it to the end of the week if you have any queries? The spa offers some great packages and the steam/sauna option was lovely but a bit pricey at $200US a couple. To help offset the increased calorific intake (!!!!!) I used the gym each day and plenty of machines available (usual sort of stuff for most well equipped gyms) and there were a number of complimentary or pay as you go options for classes/training or seminars. We didn’t get to use the North star “eye” as it was booked solid. Plenty of on-board shopping (including Cartier and other high end stores) Bags are checked (X rayed) when you return from shore tours and alcohol etc is kept and delivered back to you the night before you dock. The boat docked in Hobart very close to Salamanca so an easy walk to some great things to see and do - there were a number of trips you can pre-book plus minibuses and private hire cars waiting to offer their services for trips to points of interest. We know the town well so did our own thing including a day trip to MONA which was great as always. In Summary – we had a great time and from the general chats we had with others they did too. Some people (only a very few) were just plain rude and grumpy but I guess a cruise can’t work miracles so read in to that what you will. A real mix of nations and everyone (most) seemed keen to have a good time and interact well with other guests. All meals were well cooked, well presented and there were plenty of options – great! – well done to the chefs and support crew – your efforts are recognised and appreciated by many. Entertainment – great – some amazing shows and plenty to keep us all amused – but still plenty of space on board to sit and relax with a book or a cocktail and people watch if you wished. Staff – excellent – not a bad word to say about any of them – each played a part in what was a great holiday experience. A big boat with a lot of people on board but very well managed and well organised – credit to the whole crew – well done and thanks! We had a 9.15am slot to assemble to leave the boat, were called at 9.20 and off the boat at around 9.30 and in a taxi - easy! Just read the info sheet they give you the night before and follow the instructions - Easy Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
I had a good cruise but it was not as relaxing as other Princess cruises I have done due to it being in the school holidays and the fact that they had unruly feral children aboard that were allowed to disrupt and spoil other peoples cruise ... Read More
I had a good cruise but it was not as relaxing as other Princess cruises I have done due to it being in the school holidays and the fact that they had unruly feral children aboard that were allowed to disrupt and spoil other peoples cruise experience by running, jumping, somersaulting and bombing into the swimming pools. As an adult the only time you could swim without children hassling you was in the early hours until 10:00am when the little terrors were still fast asleep. Even worst the aft stairwell was littered with empty plates, empty glasses, food scraps and garbage. The worst part about this cruise was that Princess did not attempt to control the behaviour of the children and as a result it tipped the balance from what could have been relaxing when they neglected to care about the cruise experience of guests not travelling with children. Other bad examples were wet seats in the atrium and in particular Crooners Bar where some absolute pig of a passenger(s) had come with wet swimmers from the pools and sat in the lounge chairs. Absolutely disgusting! Further more at time when I was on my balcony many bottles appear to have been thrown from the side of the ship which I began to suspect that children had placed notes in hoping that they will one day wash ashore. My word of warning is in Australia avoid cruising with Princess in the school holidays. Entertainment: This was exactly the same standard as every other Princess cruise I have done. I was very satisfied with the entertainment and shows and could not fault them in anyway. The structure was however frustrating that most shows were at 7pm and 9pm instead of 8pm and 9:45pm like every other Princess cruise I have been on. This was annoying because anytime dining did not start until 7:30pm and meant that if dining service was slow then you would miss out on the 9pm show if you like to see entertainment after dinner. I can only fathom that the change was done do appease little children and their bed time during the school holidays despite the fact that the vast majority of passengers were grown adults. Scheduling was very bad for this ship. Food: Excellent quality of food on the upper decks, buffet and Crown Grill. I absolutely loved the hamburgers and pizzas from near the Neptune Reef and Pool. Main Dining Rooms had good food but when the ship is based in Australia all the Princess favourites are removed and replaced with "crappy Australianised" menus of food that Australians do not eat. One example is that delicious "Baked New York Cheesecake" that is an all time favourite dessert is not available ever if the ship is based in Australia. It is replaced by a rather crappy and underwhelming pavlova that Australians despise. Deck Access: Very poor connection to outdoors and flow with the aft decks from 15 to 19. On the port side of deck 17 from the MUTs it was impossible to walk aft due to barricades however on the starboard side it was possible. Unlike the Diamond and Sapphire Princess, the rear of Skywalker’s nightclub had a rear veranda and open deck access with stairs to the levels below. On Emerald Princess, this area existed but was barricaded off and labelled as an emergency exit. One cannot fathom the difference in rules given the ships share the exact design feature. Open deck access is important for scenic cruising and being on deck during port entrance and departure. Internet: Extremely poor bandwidth and access issues. Continual intranet dropouts during peak times as the wireless connection for the local network was not powerful enough to maintain demand. At quiet times, like during the early hours of the morning the internet worked brilliantly so this proves that when excess passengers were awake that the internet had a problem. This issue does not exist on the Diamond Princess or Golden Princess. Lastly in comparison to the Golden Princess, Sapphire Princess, Diamond Princess I found the Emerald Princess to be overcrowded and had insufficient staff to cater to all passengers. The other ships I have been on are much more relaxing and have less passengers than the Emerald Princess and in my opinion are much better ships. The Diamond Princess which is my current favourite appears to be in much better condition. My next cruise with Princess will be Diamond Princess based in Japan. I have always been happy with these cruises and unfortunately Emerald Princess in Australia has disappointed me. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Yes, there were long queues at embarkation but it's a world wide issue as port authorities ignore the need to rethink the embarkation process/facilities. All cruise lines are limited by the design of the terminals. Port authorities ... Read More
Yes, there were long queues at embarkation but it's a world wide issue as port authorities ignore the need to rethink the embarkation process/facilities. All cruise lines are limited by the design of the terminals. Port authorities need to allow for multiple entry points to the ships instead of funnelling thousands of passengers into one entry point. Enough said. Once on board, the Princess crew were all over the place providing assistance to locate our cabins. Food was already being served and it never stopped for the eleven days we were on board. The decor on the Emerald Princess is tasteful and subdued with a mix of many shades of blues and browns but lacking a little pizzazz. Nonetheless all areas and venues are clean and comfortable. Our mini-suite (D526) was immaculately clean and our cabin steward couldn't have been more helpful and responsive to our requests. As cabins go our mini-suite was very spacious and comfortable. When selecting the cabin, we didn't realise the balcony was open/visible to the decks above but worse, there was no relief from the sun. We did change the pillows for smaller ones as the standard ones were so big and luxurious we were almost smothered as our heads descended into pillow overload. The air-con all over the ship was on the cold side for my liking so make sure you take some longer sleeved items and a cardi/jacket. Of course you can buy on board! We didn't bother with the specialty dining venues (at additional cost) as the food in the main dining rooms was perfectly fine. A few misses but in the main, the options were many and varied and well cooked and presented. Still amazed at the precision and quality considering the number of passengers. We chose "anytime dining" and shared tables at lunch and dinner and we met many delightful people, some of whom we will keep in touch with. Great staff in the dining rooms too. We are not fans of buffets but when in port, it's the main eating venue on board. Food was fine. A tip for coffee lovers... there is often a long queue to order lattes etc. in the International Cafe (deck 5) despite having to purchase them. Just sit down at a table and flag a waiter who will order for you and deliver it to your table (even if you want takeaway). There is a variety of entertainment from musical stage productions, to comedy, mood music, ballroom dance lessons, line dancing, Zumba, a full gym, in cabin TV/movies, a giant screen for movies under the stars, a kids club, games on deck, art auctions, shopping sales, spa services, competitions, giveaways and if that's not enough you can attend churches services too! Excursions are not always good value for money but if you do your own thing you really need to do a lot of research beforehand and be aware if you don't get back to the ship on time, it doesn't wait for you! Some South Pacific Islands are really beautiful like Isle of PInes (not visited this trip) and Champagne Bay but Noumea is very tired looking and the locals not particularly friendly. Port Vila is run down and dirty but the people are all very friendly and chatty. Of course there is no need to go ashore as the entertainment just keeps going on board. We met many people who have cruised on Princess ships many times and some debatable incentives are offered for loyalty. There are still other cruise lines I wouldn't mind trying but I have no hesitation in recommending the Emerald Princess and may well cruise on her again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Crystal Symphony cruise departing on January 5, 2017 I chose the cruise for two reasons. One was the ports of call and the area that the cruise was visiting. The other was the fact that it was a bridge cruise and I wanted to but ... Read More
Crystal Symphony cruise departing on January 5, 2017 I chose the cruise for two reasons. One was the ports of call and the area that the cruise was visiting. The other was the fact that it was a bridge cruise and I wanted to but participate in playing bridge and learning bridge I loved the luxury of the cruise. The service was excellent especially the young lady who took after me in my room when I was sick for a few days. The food actually was not up to my measure I guess because I really don't like complicated foods and very often I would order something that did not meet my expectations All in all I would cruise with Crystal again. It is nice to be taken care of and envjoy and such luxury The two is provided by the crews were excellent and certainly meant by expectations, they were well organized and well thought out . My only criticism and it is a serious one is that when I had my hair washed and blown out I was offered a little special conditioner and a teeny tiny tube. I was told that they wash and blow out what's going to cost me $43. When they showed me the bill they had added an extra $76 for this exceedingly tiny little tube of something. I should have complained but it was the last day of the cruise and I didn't have the opportunity. However I I will send a letter to the cruise company because I thought this was an out rages rip off Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We chose this cruise as it fitted in with our annual company closedown in January each year, when we must take most of our annual holiday leave. The price was great for this peak holiday time in Australia. Both the embarkation and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it fitted in with our annual company closedown in January each year, when we must take most of our annual holiday leave. The price was great for this peak holiday time in Australia. Both the embarkation and disembarkation processes ran extremely well, no queues All food was fresh and good quality, with the dining room providing gourmet meals each night. We initially asked for extra vegetables with our meal, thereafter a separate plate of steamed vegetables was automatically provided for our table to share each night. Dining room service was excellent. The free food on the swimming pool deck was welcome, we have cruised with other lines three times & always needed to pay for food outside the dining room & cafeteria. In addition, each day a self-serve Mexican food bar was set up on that deck, enabling us to enjoy tacos & nachos - the pulled beef was yummy! WE dined in the Pinnacle Grill for lunch on two occasions. For an extra US$10 per head for three courses plus tea or expresso coffee, this was most worthwhile. The prawn bruschetta (entree) & seafood in tomato broth (main) were highlights. We were each able to take a 750ml bottle of wine aboard on embarkation, which we could drink in our cabin. To take a bottle to the main dining room incurred a corkage fee of US$18. When we visited a wine region in New Zealand, we were each permitted to take a further bottle aboard for use in the dining room, without incurring the corkage fee. A good move by Holland America. The first sitting for dining was at 5.30pm, which meant we sometimes missed dining there due to still being ashore on port days, or missed viewing the ship's departure from ports as we were in the dining room. In hindsight we would choose the later dining option. Our major gripe was with the cost on internet on board the ship, very expensive. Also quite slow according to those who did use it. Accordingly, we waited for port days to use free wifi at local libraries or cafes. However, in NZ this was not always satisfactory as it appears they are still using 3G, at times we were unable to read incoming emails & text messages, & most times could not send emails, although text messages were fine. The entertainment on board was first class, ranging from an in-house band, in-house singers & dancers, to guest comedians, musicians, & singers. There were a variety of classes especially on sea days, including a unique series of computer classes dealing with all aspects of Windows 10, & also several computer Q & A sessions .Everyone found these classes very helpful. Other activities included cooking demonstration, DIY cocktails, galley tour, fitness classes, health & beauty talks, excursion previews, just to name a few. We didn't take any ship organised excursions, mainly due to cost. As we travelled with another couple, we hired cars at two ports to travel further afield, & noticed other groups especially families, did this as well. One excursion I saw advertised privately online prior to the cruise for NZ$50 (Napier town tour 1 hr), yet the ship charged US$69 for exactly the same tour, with the same company, which was double the price (taking into account the exchange rate). This is something cruise ships need to look at closely, to encourage more use of their own shore excursions. For the cost of our cruise, we would definitely sail with Holland America again! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Went on this cruise with my family, to Airlie Beach and Surrounds, the destinations were beautiful, and the staff onboard were incredible kind and patient. Being my first cruise, honest to say it was relaxing and the seas were calm, ... Read More
Went on this cruise with my family, to Airlie Beach and Surrounds, the destinations were beautiful, and the staff onboard were incredible kind and patient. Being my first cruise, honest to say it was relaxing and the seas were calm, however on the last day it was a little choppy. Food was good, some variety, in the major restaurants the culinary techniques could be a little more sophisticated. Drinks prices were at a reasonable price. The parties were outstanding! Very lively and talented performers on the ship, especially the musicals performed, they were magnificent. Bianco and White Parties were such fun! Mixology classes/ Tequila Tastings are a must do, especially if you are hungover from the night before from the incredible parties, as was I, it really helped wake me up! We made incredible cocktails, and the best thing was that we got to drink them too! Cabins were neat and clean. But we were hardly in our room because there is so much to do and see when your onboard. Service: Shoutout to Ajay and Andrew the two cabin stewards on our level were always positive and so kind! Overall I loved cruising onboard the Pacific Aria, and I am planning another cruise! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Ovation of the Sea- Syd/Tas/NZ/Syd 15th December 2016 Embarkation/Disembarkation Ironically Ch9 was doing a live telecast from the ship and they were heavily promoting it as the “ Love Boat” including the presenters heads in ... Read More
Ovation of the Sea- Syd/Tas/NZ/Syd 15th December 2016 Embarkation/Disembarkation Ironically Ch9 was doing a live telecast from the ship and they were heavily promoting it as the “ Love Boat” including the presenters heads in buoys !, it should have been a warning. Our experience has shown from “Allure” and now “Ovation” that RCL has this down to “pat” and all move fairly quickly and smoothly providing people stick to the RCL guidelines and time slots given with your paperwork, the hold ups ,if any, normally comes from Customs, having said that, both on and off the ship on the 15th/30th December was very fast for us. Plenty of Taxi’s were also available. Cabin etc Our balcony cabin was on deck 13 and it was a little longer than normal, however, it was not as wide, therefore the balcony was very small, having said that, it worked well for us, the shower in these smaller type rooms was very roomy and possibly one of the better we have experienced in the thousands of nights we have now spent at sea over the decades- there was no toiletries. We booked this cruise 8 months out to experience the ”premium ship” and the “bells n whistles”, we were told by RCL themselves at the time of booking that deck 13 was the only cabins ( at a premium) that were available, this we have since found out not to be true, deck 13 has above it the Pool and the Windjammer- therefore I would not recommend this even if it was the “last of the balconies” The “paperless” approach that is being taken left the room with NO information in relation to how to do anything unlike previous cruises where there was a iPad in your room to book shows etc.,( or the TV) this was not the case nor was our TV working and when it was fixed it did everything other than ROYAL IQ, ( there are 2 iPad’s at the elevators so you will need to line up at times) It appears there is at least 2 balcony cabin “layouts” a. with the bed closer to the bathroom and the divan next to the balcony door/window and b. the other way round. If you like lying in bed and looking at the ocean then make sure you have layout “b” although it is a tight squeeze between bed and window. A very common complaint from many women was that the toilet paper was rough and a thin single sheet of poor quality so you may consider bringing on your own, albeit it this is supposed to be a “premium ship and cruise” where you are paying up to 30% more for a similar itinerary on a similar “star” ship The TV in the cabin has a great picture, it has the normal channels HOWEVER it doesn’t offer the movie that was shown the day before and your only offering in movies is to purchase them at US$ 12 so a movie will end up costing you around AUD$ 15-18 ! there is no on board Show Channel because there is a total lack of this type of entertainment on the ship. The telephone has Chinese as the 1st language and English the 2nd as with much of the information on the ship. Ports The good itinerary ( only port lacking was Napier) started with our first port of call Hobart with all as expected, however we ran into very poor weather and had 3 days of the “premium bells n whistles” shut down while crossing the Tasman from Hobart to Milford Sound where we entered the sound and sat for 6 hours having being told the day before we would be not calling into Dunedin and instead going up the west side of the south island into Wellington, then onto Picton a fantastic small port that each year keeps re inventing / improving itself for cruise passengers ( much like Napier has) and certainly a port you want you to go back to then onto Tauranga ( the locations is really the port of Mount Maunganui and you can get a “express bus” into Tauranga for $10 return. (It amazes me for over a decade they have been charging / treating tourists all over NZ that a AUD$/US$/GBP has the same value as a NZ$ and in many cases will give you back a NZ$ for change, this is so petty and shows such a poor light to visitors and why the NZ Tourist Commission hasn’t put a stop to it fails me) such is the case in this port. What I found amazing is there was no port “sail away” music in any port and what you must see is this clinical uninviting ship steam out to sea, in Tauranga a perfect opportunity was lost of promoting the ship and the perception of the cruise when we had possibly 10,000 people crowded onto the beach, docks, jetty and rooftops and a fantastic flotilla of around 50 craft that stayed with us all the way out until the pilot got off and still not one single happy party Sail Away music was to be heard, really sums up the ship, not inviting, not fun, not appealing, Then it was onto Auckland and the shock was it is a tender port ! but the worse part was still to come in that the ( I will use RCL daily Compass “we will be offering a FREE return tender service- WOW FREE TENDER AYE”) was that the tenders didn’t go into Queens Warf or Princes Warf but down into Viaduct Marina some 7 blocks away from Queens street ! Downtown Queens St is all gone ( yes even the Warehouse gone!) so maybe given 12 months there will be a more visitor useful and friendly region but at the moment those who head straight to that part of town will find it a long long walk to find all has changed. The additional problems of the tenders is that both the marine and foot traffic caused mayhem for both locals and cruisers & requires RCL to be much more firmer with Auckland Council and say it is Queens or Princes Warf or nothing to be honest IMHO. There is no Map or Information relating to ANY of the ports to take ashore. If you haven’t booked a Shore Excursion your on your own so to speak. FOOD The ship is homed in China and what we saw was the Chinese Head Chef, the Sous Chefs, Chefs and Cooks are Chinese far more than normal on a RCL cruise and to be honest it trashed the RCL brand as they simply can’t do western food, the offerings were/are the same every night and bland, and as far as cakes / sweets they have no idea, the same 2cm square cake/deserts in a different color on tray after tray, meal after meal, and as for pastries there is none, other than the “Danish” for breakfast. As a example the Napoleon slice is “pastry” and filled with some water based gunk product with no cream in sight, just not worth the calories and as for the red velvet cake it is coloured sponge and very poor. If you enjoy this part of your meal give the entire ship a miss at this stage. ENTERTAINMENT RCL have at every point of entertainment gone out to break the 80/20 rule to prove you can ruin a great brand and product in one or 2 cruises. Ovation was to be a premium cruise, on a premium brand, and what they delivered was substandard offerings at almost every point. The “bells n whistles” of this ship that people were prepared to pay up to 30% more than other cruises were, when they were working, or if you could get a booking for the few, offset by poor overall entertainment. If you are a child/teenager or part of the lycra set ( the gym is well equip however ALWAYS overly crowded) then you would have had a fair sort of time with things to do, however, as for the other 4000 passengers, you were left with Trivia every hour and THAT WAS IT in general ! , the Daily Planner ( I am sure someone called it that in jest) was so sparse of things to do that they repeated in a space of one hour the same feature ( ie Flow Rider) 3 or 4 times so the 6 or 7 items made it look like there was entertainment on the ship for most of the guests day after day. On a ship with 4600 guests the Morning Show has a following where maybe as many as six (6) people will do a shout out, or answer the riddle of the day, and that starts the Cruise Directors day with more trivia with his side kick the “Activities Manger” and I use that term very loosely, taking part and promoting her Zumba class in between the commercials to spend more money on everything you can think of. While both seem like nice people, the cruise director apart from self-promotion and a narcissistic self indulged plugging his DVD you can buy on boardwalk and what Trivia he is taking on the day is about it as there is nothing else on. The manager of the Windjammer has daily jokes & thoughts and had everyone up doing the twist so he was offering more entertainment that the Cruise Director. The entertainers and what shows there are on a 2nd or 3rd rate and not what RCL is renowned for, I guess that is because of the large Chinese numbers. Because of the lack of entertainment when there is something on the rooms are far too small to seat a ship of 4600 people, therefore you are asked to stand ( even in a 90 min movie!)if you can cram in BELLS N WHISTLES Most of these were all shut down with 3 days of bad weather and the results were disastrous. SEAPLEX-huge open floor capable of hosting everything from basketball, soccer & cricket etc and often around 200-300 people would gather to watch or participate CIRCUS SCHOOL- on Seaplex and you would have maybe up to 50 people involved DOGGEM CARS- on Seaplex and averaged the same group of people however too many breakdowns spoilt it for many. Flow Rider- fantastic ride however with only 2-20 at any given time wanting to use it again its also for a select few- you can pay for private lessens. IFLY- another fantastic experience HOWEVER on the 5th day of the entire cruise, it was totally booked out ( for your 58 second fly) and you had to really fight to even get in the hope of being so grateful to be considered as a standby- disgraceful- having said that, on the final day some had been able to get as many as 3 or 4 flys in, so the management of this was sloppy, poor & possibly not Kosher ?. NORTH STAR- again this was totally booked out and what was decided was that the 30min ride and 360 degree would be cut back to 10 mins and a up and down experience only, not the promised 360 degree experience- shabby and nothing more than a very basic outdoor experience. The problem is the ship has too many passengers with too few timeslots available for some of these experiences and I would be wary of paying such a premium cruise price to maybe get on these. BIONIC BAR – primitive robotic arms and primitive software driving it ( my wife has a “Scan n Cut” that has far more clever software) and is really below the standard of some of the other “B n W” offered on the vessel –still it is on board revenue for RCL SUMMARY Despite my poor review of Ovation, we love the RCL brand and product, however this ship is not for those that like what you normally get from RCL. The ship is not the best in “southerly” winds and is terrible in swells, the lack of entertainment is the worst we have experienced and certainly not up to a premium cruise. There was a gastro outbreak on board however little wonder when you consider the poor hygiene some of those passengers had. A excellent format was when entering Windjammer you were sent to a washing room with maybe 10 taps and soap to wash your hands, however the failure here is the staff is more interested in saying washi washi than having someone ( or video) in the room to make sure that passengers DID wash their hands or simply walk through it as many did as was the case with certain groups, and on several occasion I watched as people took the USED paper towels out of the rubbish bin and wiped their hands with them-RCL need to understand that if you have charged a premium price for a cruise then you need to offer some entertainment for the masses and not keep trying to squeeze the lemon to the point where people on principle do not want to spend any more money to go to seminars or additional charges for entertainment. The sooner Ovation gets back to her home port in China the better and let RCL Australia recover from this terribly planned season on a substandard cruise experience. Read Less

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