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Sail Date: January 2012
Stayed at the Hilton in Auckland, so getting to embarkation was easy. Walked out the front door of the hotel. Made a left and walked about 50 yards to the Celebrity Tents set up for taking luggage. Embarkation- Smooth...with exception. ... Read More
Stayed at the Hilton in Auckland, so getting to embarkation was easy. Walked out the front door of the hotel. Made a left and walked about 50 yards to the Celebrity Tents set up for taking luggage. Embarkation- Smooth...with exception. You could tell the conference center in Auckland that was used for emabarkation was never designed for that purpose, as its quite the maze of customs, ships personnel, and luggage handlers both inside and out. Very grateful though that the process itself was smooth and flowed well. Was impressed though that they had planned for everything with tents set up outside the conference center with shade and free bottle water available should the lines go out the doors. Ship itself-The Century is the oldest ship in Celebrity's fleet (1995) and was given a 55+ million dollar makeover in 2006. It was money well spent as the ship has the outward appearance of a newer vessel, but with some real beautiful ocean liner amenities' that are forgotten on the newer vessels. You see the details on decking, dining room, and public areas that just wow you with the intricacy of a different era of workmanship. It's funny, Century was the first ship I sailed on with Celebrity 15 years ago (when Celebrity was still part of the Chandris family holdings), and was so glad to see they held true to its grandeur during the refurbishment with details that could be easily forgotten to cut costs, but they weren't. It was as grand this time as it was 15 years back. From the information I could gather after returning, Celebrity has the youngest fleet amongst its competitors with an average ship age of 8 years. Its two main competitors Princess has an average age of 10 years, and Holland America 12 years. Service to me is what puts Celebrity into a class of its own compared to other lines and Century was no exception. By about day three the stateroom attendant, his assistant, and the butler, along with our waiter and assistant waiter knew me (as well as the rest of my table mates) by name. I always feel pretty honored that they take the time and effort to learn peoples names even though odds are they won't see most again. One service feature I noticed this cruise that I don't remember from previous voyages was on about day 4 they left "Attention to Detail" cards in our room, a form that was signed by the Hotel Director asking for your inputs on things they could do immediately to make your cruise better, items that could be addressed and corrected on board. I was very pleasantly surprised by the follow up on these cards. Handed mine into the guest relations desk, and gentleman there asked if he could read it. He did and asked if it would be all right to pass the comments directly on to the appropriate department heads, which he did, as my two items were corrected in less than 24 hours. The other part of this "attention to Detail" card that I found remarkably effective were the follow up to the positive comments that were made on the card. The next night at dinner the Asst matre d' came over and thanked me for the comments I had made regarding our assistant waiter and the asst matre d' service so far in the cruise. I think sometimes it's easy to give attention to detail criticism, but equally if not more important to give the praise to people doing an excellent job so to reinforce their actions. It really was interesting discussing with people at our table of 10 to hear what they put on these cards, and hearing the follow up every one received. Of course a few of the comments passengers made on these cards were downright silly in my opinion, but the follow up on every single item was given serious attention to correct the item to the guests satisfaction. Cabin-Absolutely loved the sky suite. Big balcony with two loungers and a table with a couple of chairs. Plenty of storage throughout room. Bathroom was all white marble with a jetted tub and shower. Fresh fruit and canapes brought by every day, Ports-All were beautiful but especially enjoyed Akaroa in New Zealand, and Melbourne in Australia Dining-MDR is my favorite, can't think of any meal I was disapointed with. I could live on just appetizers, soup, and salads for a whole cruise. Do admire the creativity of the dishes. The short ribs were to die for. After being spoiled by the larger buffets on Solstice class, the one on Century was a bit more scaled down. Excursions-Didn't do many this trip as the ports are smaller and most everything is close to pier side. Did a real nice Celebrity walking tour in both Wellington and Melbourne, that were a great value (~$40) for 4 hours, and found them informative and a good overview. One thing I loved about Century was the wood. The polished wood decks, the paneling in the main dining room, and just the beautiful details throughout. Disembarkation was easy, seems everyone just leaves, no matter what time their suggested times are Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
Concierge Class. I paid some extra hard earned $$ for extra products/services. Most of which I did not see. There was No Pillow Menu, There was NO flowers in the cabin- not even a petal, the toiletries were so plain that it was almost ... Read More
Concierge Class. I paid some extra hard earned $$ for extra products/services. Most of which I did not see. There was No Pillow Menu, There was NO flowers in the cabin- not even a petal, the toiletries were so plain that it was almost embarrasing. No complimentary tote bags- (was meant to get 2 bags)- I did get a bag when I asked for one. There was fruit daily, all be it an 3 pieces of fruit. The full bottle of champgne on arrival was great, and I took a bottle stopper so I drank from that 1 bottle for the 3 nights. I did get priority boarding. Others complained about waiting 90 minutes to get on the boat,so the priority boarding was reasonably fast. But there was no photographer at the Priority boarding. I like getting a photo when I board the ship. As I was on my own I always managed to get the Select Dinning. SO not sure if the priority worked there. But what I did get that would fit in with Concierge class:- when I boarded I asked for a kettle. My cabin steward told me that after talking to his supervisor that I could not have a kettle, but he would bring me twice a day a thermos like container to my cabin. And true to his word he did exactly that. This is the sort of service I expected from Conceirge Class, and I am grateful for that. There were binoculars and a big umberalla in the cabin which is also part of the Concierge service. I think I was meant to get ice every day- never saw that. Perhaps my thermos made up for that. The Celebrity Solstice Ship is amazing. The 6 glass elevators travelling from deck 2 to deck 4 is amazing. I have read people complain about the noise travelling up them. But I found that this added to the atmosphere. The ship had so many bars, but people seem to congergate around the main 2 or 3. I think the staff were a bit light on at those bars at times. I chose Select dinning. The Select dinning were on the top floor of the restaurant. The food was great, but I was dissapointed to get a warm glass of chardonay on my first night. The entertainment on the 3 nights were great. The average 45 minutes that you get on a cruise. The little side shows that were put on by the entertainers were great as well. They were mainly done in the attirum area. The cabin- was great. The lounge was larger than expected. I guess this would sleep a 3rd person. The balcony was quite large, as I was on the HUMP. The bed was really comfortable. The blinds were a really good block out, so much so I slept in the 2nd morning. The toiletries were below expectation for Concierge class. Just adequate. A good sound proof cabin. I was expecting noise from the buffet above but it was okay. I could just hear the bangings of cabin doors- People just need to be considerate when closing their doors. This a problem at any hotel/ship. One big NEGATIVE- is that the ship has NO Laundry facilities. You cannot iron anything. On a longer cruise this would be a night mare! Also you are not allowed to take many electical items on board that other ships would allow, like power boards. I would guess that hair straightners etc. would not be allowed. The Casino- Be WARNED. The ship only takes US $$. So you can change your AUS into US at the casino counter- but the exchange is highway robbery. OR you can take money out from your on baord account. This is always highway robbery, they give you a poor exchange, and then when the money goes through your account you get the exchange again and international fees. I think I worked it out that on the $1200 I ended up gambling with there was about $250 of lost exchange and fees. I would have been better getting my exchange here first and going on the ship with my US$$. Drinks package- I had the classics non alchohlic. I really did not drink the $16 a day. I would not do any drink packages again. Would defintely go on the Solstice again. But would most likely just chose an ordinary balcony cabin, take my own thermos and get hot water from the buffet. And take US$$ with me for the casino. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
I have cruised Crystal for the last few years and had many friend joining me every year from all over the world , this was our meeting place once or twice a year I have a very stressful job going on vacation to relax is a must for me ... Read More
I have cruised Crystal for the last few years and had many friend joining me every year from all over the world , this was our meeting place once or twice a year I have a very stressful job going on vacation to relax is a must for me for the last 2 year I can see the deterration of the quality of service , food , entertainment and over all maintenance of the 2 ships( the worst front desk customer service ever ) the cruise line deleted many expensive meals lowered number of staff , bad house keeping , Some guest found dirty laundry in their cabin when they checked in ... really 6 starts cruise ship. Really .... The Staff is miserable ,over worked and under paid , they also noticed the change from a luxury cruise line to average since the sale of this cruise line 2 years ago. I get a call early morning from the Captain looking for a missing male guest asking me if I know the where about of this guy I found out that he called all the female guest that day asking the same questions this is not how I wish to wake up on my vacation .... the guy was drunk and did not return to his cabin I tried to reach out to cruise line headquarters in Los angles as will as Eddie ( CEO)via emails and phone calls "All I got was sorry, we try to do our best , we are 6 stars cruise line" ....really I would save my money and find a better cruise line , I will never cruise with this cruise line as are many others to cruise with where I would have a great time in a clean environment ,great food ,pleasant atmosphere and stress free bon voyage Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
This was my 18th cruise and 3rd with Princess Cruises. It was a short cruise and great value. I booked an inside cabin but was upgraded to a balcony cabin and an excellent price. Embarbation was good efficient and quick. Staff were ... Read More
This was my 18th cruise and 3rd with Princess Cruises. It was a short cruise and great value. I booked an inside cabin but was upgraded to a balcony cabin and an excellent price. Embarbation was good efficient and quick. Staff were friendly and helpful, White Bay facilities were excellent. Very helpful for elderly and disabled people. Ship was in good condition for its age and nice decore. Cabin was clean and well presented. The cabin Steward introduced himself friendly and helpful spoke good english. Well done. Dining options were good. I used the Bistro and the Regency Dining room. Bobby our waiter was great happy, friendl and helpful. Service was effient and appropriate not slow or intrusive. Food was average for this type of ship. Entertainment was excellent good show in the main theatre the entertainers do a fantastic job great singing and dancers Well done very enjoyable. Bars wee good with good choices in drinks and exceptional entrainment Enjoyed this cruise, great price and would recommend Princess Cruises Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
My last cruise was in 2013 with the Celebrity Solstice so I am comparing the two cruises, as the ships are of similar size My greatest pleasure when sailing is playing in the casino. I was aware that half the casino was designated ... Read More
My last cruise was in 2013 with the Celebrity Solstice so I am comparing the two cruises, as the ships are of similar size My greatest pleasure when sailing is playing in the casino. I was aware that half the casino was designated "smoking" however I believed there would be partitions to separate the smoking zone. Not so! From the second night of the cruise I suffered sinus problems and this is still continuing. Australians are used to smoke free zones and expect this as the norm. Embarkation in Singapore was confusing as the instructions sent us to the wrong port. After finally arriving at the right place the waiting conditions were appalling - 2 hrs. Dining - my daughters and I had "my time" dining allowing us to eat whenever. However at breakfast we were not allowed to sit alone in our threesome - they wanted us to share. We therefore had to wait . I am 86 and hard of hearing but that didn't seem to matter to staff . Other people in threesomes were given their unshared tables ahead of us. We were disgusted and I will now take a walking stick everywhere as that must be the secret. The waiters overall were very attentive and did a wonderful job. Special mention for Regan and Benjamin , table631, who we couldn't fault . Our cabin steward Edwardo was extremely polite and helped make the cruise enjoyable. Cabin - 8200 was very comfortable for the 3 of us but always smelt of smoke. The Promenade is badly situated and young children are having to walk through loud drinkers who are talking roughly. No I would not travel with this ship again nor would I recommend it to anyone. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
I got to the pier by Public transport , left early to get there early and to cover any possible delay the public transport could have thrown at me , none, I had lunch at a cafe near there and looked at her and how huge she was. at about ... Read More
I got to the pier by Public transport , left early to get there early and to cover any possible delay the public transport could have thrown at me , none, I had lunch at a cafe near there and looked at her and how huge she was. at about 12.50 I decided to line up , my check in was meant to be 1.30 but as i felt that by the time i got to the front it would be that time I didn't see any wrong in lining up at the time i did. it moved nicely , i got to where the truck was for bag pick up and a few of us got told if you don't mind and can do so walk to the next pick up point you are most welcome to do so , so a few of us did just that . Got to the bag pick up point [where people get dropped off in taxi's etc ] and handed my bags over and up i went . I was directed to fill out some forms which I did then lined up in the next Que . that didn't take long and the next thing had my card for my room. next stop was customs and claiming my GST of my purchases . that all went smoothly and then through the photo stops etc i took some pictures as well of the ship and got another photo for my cruise card done then onto the ship i went and up to my room . I met my Steward Ariel , a lovely guy polite and always willing to help , very hard working as well. I then went off and explored . Such a huge ship inside and out , all the staff i met had a smile all said hello they all got to know me and that day i had my cowboy hat on and got called cowgirl/boy by a few all with a smile . Time the ship left port watched and took lots of photos of that happening, then it was dinner time. I had chosen first sitting for my dinning experience as I find i don't always sleep well after late dinners though mind you I probably should not have worried about that with lots to do and see you don't always get to bed early anyway , met my waiters Daniel from Serbia and Phinyo from Thailand , they are Gems , such lovely guys with wonderful smiles and always ready for a chat and a laugh , willing to suggest what meal might be nice and if you could not make your mind up they would give you both choices , happened to me many a time with the entrees , they got to know the drink of choice and you were set for a lovely dinner , my table companions were great always had a chat with them . movies shows what ever you wanted to do fantastic . used the skywalkers disco area a couple of times to read a book though did fall asleep doing that too to wake up in the middle of fog . found the gym and used it a couple of times , walked around the boat when I could . Never ended up at a speciality restaurant as I was enjoying the company at my table . Found a couple of people that did not know the manners of letting people out of lifts before going on and politely let them know about it . other then those couple i didn't encounter many people like that they were all great and looked to be enjoying themselves and most treated the staff great from what i saw as well which is great as well . The Photographers were great , had my favourite who took a great photo of me and he was and is a great guy always polite with a great sense of humor . We got into all ports, we had the wind pick up as the last tender left Akaroa which made it slightly harder to get to the ship but the ship and the crew on the tender did a great job and all got on Golden safely , a poor kayaker got caught by the wind and fell out , a passenger saw this and alerted the crew , they sent a tender to help as well as alerting the authorities, he was wet but ok and was walking on the beach and no longer needed the ships help the authorities were at hand for him if needed . We only missed Dusky sound , the shore tours I did were awesome as and the shuttle buses services where you needed them to get into town were great too . I did the ultimate ship tour and loved it , due to a technical problem that caused Golden to lose power for a little while we missed the bridge at the end of the tour , but they got us to the bridge the next day which was awesome as , warning to those that like sun bathing etc in the nude etc , do remember this the bridge has cameras on either side and are on the bridge like side mirrors , if you are on your balcony with nothing on they will see you and have already seen some um interesting scenes . When the Ship lost power and we stopped in the middle of the cruise back to Melbourne the Captain kept us all informed at all times the weather was good and at the time sea was quite calm which was probably a good thing . when we started off it was at half speed then an hr or so later full speed My Cabin was clean the bed was comfy as the balcony was awesome as . Tim the cruise director was awesome as was his side kick Corry they did a show that was a one off and it was funny as and the tribute shows we had were great I saw the queen one and the beatles one they were fantastic the sand man that did pictures with sand was awesome as the show by the crew at the end of the cruise is worth seeing too. If you see a movie outside you can get more than one blanket as well but do wear worm clothes , missed the star gazing due to clouds sadly. 2 and a half laps around deck 7 is 1 mile long they do have childrens club of some sort I did see a room and a youth teenage room or two as well . I had a massage though was not going to as they aren't cheap but decided to as my back was aching , I got a hot stone massage and it worked the aches away , they do a little push at the end to buy a product but you can say no , I thought she was going to give me a free sachet for the bath but thought best to ask how much , and it was from a box of them for sale so I politely said no . There is a pizza and burger place on deck 14 as well as free ice cream and Horizons the buffet . The unlimited drinks card is awesome , loved the mocktails I got it as well as hot chocolate and lemonade drinks etc , the coffee card was good too, I had no need for an alcohol card which would have covered all that as I don't drink that much to warrant that cost . They had a shooter glass that had different coloured bases that you can collect , in the dining area's they cost $3 outside them they were $7.50 each , they have blue , green ,red, orange , yellow and clear glasses . I did Piha Bush & Beach Eco Tour, Tamaki Maori Village, Gisborne Craft Beer Brewery & Lunch, Zealandia Eco Reserve & Otari Wilton Bush, Wildlife Cruise 1 Booked , Scenic Akaroa By Double Decker Bus , Olveston House & Larnach Castle loved them all , they were all great and i would do them again . The service everywhere I went be it a bar or the front desk or the restaurant or bistro or my room attendant or the guys when you go ashore or the photographers was fantastic can not fault any of them . Disembarking from the ship was good though I stressed on the card on what I had to declare etc so if I was unsure i clicked yes , safer that way , if I didn't need to won't matter , I was off the ship I reckon in around 10 minutes if that , was easy as and very smooth running . I caught a tram to the city as I was staying at the Pensione hotel, [Highly Recommend if you want clean cheap accommodation have had no problems with them in the times i have stayed there ], due to seeing a concert that night from ACDC which as awesome and just got home after lunch with all but bags I think I will be sleeping in tomorrow . Had an awesome time , I will cruise again when I save enough money to do so again and if lucky will be on Golden again, she is one lovely ship and the crew are awesome . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We did a back on back, so cruised for 20 days. Tasmania, Pacific Islands and New Zealand. The upgrades that have been done are excellent, especially the Flow Rider. Good entertainment for all and wonderful caring staff. This was our ... Read More
We did a back on back, so cruised for 20 days. Tasmania, Pacific Islands and New Zealand. The upgrades that have been done are excellent, especially the Flow Rider. Good entertainment for all and wonderful caring staff. This was our third cruise on this ship and we have no complaints. Ice shows were excellent, Main productions were good, Comedy was good. Food was good as usual, no excuse with the selections available If you get to Diamond, you will see the next level of service. Just excellent service and extremely helpful and professional staff. So its really worth it to stay Loyal to Royal. It was that good that we have booked another cruise on Voyager. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
I was very impressed with the boarding at Hamilton harbour. I have been on 21 cruises since 2008 from 2 star to 6 star cruise ships all over the world, this was the fastest and easiest boarding i have ever done in 20 minutes from the ... Read More
I was very impressed with the boarding at Hamilton harbour. I have been on 21 cruises since 2008 from 2 star to 6 star cruise ships all over the world, this was the fastest and easiest boarding i have ever done in 20 minutes from the entrance to the terminal to my cabin. I was having lunch in 50 minutes. The ship, I found to be well presented and maintained since being refurbished. My outside cabin was clean and well presented. Very comfortable. A medium size ship with 1600 passengers was not crowded, well staffed with no cues and well serviced. The staff were friendly, helpful and gave excellent service. It was the most Ozzie cruise with a range of ages and not the foating nursing home that you usually get. Lots of families, kids and young people. Polite, friendly happy, no hassles or complainers that I came across. Food was hit and miss the Pantry was a served Bistro where the menu was much the same every day and ordinary but OK. The Waterfont Restarant was the main dining room, the service was ok and the menu was good and bad. You had to book for the speciality reataraunts such as Angleos( Italian) and Dragon Light ( Asian) I didn't try the although most people were happy with the meals. Entertainment was good with a good selection of bar entertainment and main shows. If you want a good value family cruise holiday then this was great value, I don't know what people are whinging about. I enjoyed this cruise and would recommend it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2016
I very much like Radiance of Seas ship, is a lovely ship and prefer this siz of larger Royal Caribbean ones. On this cruise were quite a few noisy children running up and down stairs - where were parents? Plus loud pre teens yelling at ... Read More
I very much like Radiance of Seas ship, is a lovely ship and prefer this siz of larger Royal Caribbean ones. On this cruise were quite a few noisy children running up and down stairs - where were parents? Plus loud pre teens yelling at each other from centrum on different levels. I believe Security Staff should take care of incidents such as this. Only went couple times to Theatre for shows as not into Comedians. Production Shows excellent as was Tango Show. Service onboard very good. Only activity went to was Diamond Club for Happy Hour drinks and Breakfast which was excellent. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
I am a 23 year old male, single and a full time student. Decided to treat myself to a little holiday, and started to research cruising. I took the plunge and booked myself on the Golden, for a short row over the Tasman from Auckland to ... Read More
I am a 23 year old male, single and a full time student. Decided to treat myself to a little holiday, and started to research cruising. I took the plunge and booked myself on the Golden, for a short row over the Tasman from Auckland to Melbourne. To be completely honest with you, after experiencing a cruise - I will never go back to land based holiday's. Embarkation in Auckland was fantastic and smooth. I arrived at 11.00, dumped my luggage and proceeded to the passenger area. Filled all my forms in, and sat there with my heart pounding for the next 20 odd minutes, until we were given the all clear to start boarding. The process was smooth and easy, and I was on board, in my cabin by 12. It certainly was overwhelming, travelling on such a big ship as my first cruise. It seemed to take forever to walk from one end to the other down the "never ending corridors" but I didn't mind the long walk - gave you chance to burn off the 15 times you'd eaten during the day. The ship was presented beautifully. I especially fell in love with the Piazza, having my morning coffee at the International Cafe. The Piazza was also host to a lot of social gatherings, and certainly had a lot of fun here. The food I thought was fantastic. I only ate in the MDR on one night, and unfortunately missed out on booking at table at the Crown Grill, so ended up eating in The Horizon Court buffet for the rest of my dinners. I found the food in the buffet to be fantastic - everything was cooked perfectly and seasoned to perfection. I also thought the redesigned layout helped the flow of passengers and having only one entry and one exit kept everyone in an orderly fashion. I also particularly liked Prego's Pizza - traditional American style pizza which was delicious. The Trident Grill, was, OK. The entertainment was, again, fantastic. I enjoyed Pearson & Harvey, who were a comedy duo from Australia. Combining a range of performances from song, to instrumental and of course comedy - contributed to a brilliant show. They performed twice, each time with different material. I also thoroughly enjoyed the International Crew Talent Performance on the last night ... definitely a must see! Unfortunately I didn't get chance to see the production show Motor City. The staff throughout the ship were amazing. Ever so polite, attentive and ready to help you with whatever you needed. My cabin steward, Dindo, was my knight in shining armour during my cruise. I was also impressed that it didn't take long at all for the bar staff to know what you drink! Cruise Director Neil and Assistant Cruise Director Corey ensured we all had a great time. My only gripe is the fact that you get penalized when you travel solo. Having to pay double is ridiculous and quite frankly a rip off, however I am not going to let that discourage my from my next cruise! Overall, a brilliant and fantastic holiday for me. I was so sad when I disembarked, and am thinking about my next cruise while I write this review. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Just back from a 4 night cruise on the Pacific Aria - we specifically chose a 4 night due to the negative reviews here and we didn't want to be stuck on a boat we hated for a long time. First up - Aria is a beautiful ship, the ... Read More
Just back from a 4 night cruise on the Pacific Aria - we specifically chose a 4 night due to the negative reviews here and we didn't want to be stuck on a boat we hated for a long time. First up - Aria is a beautiful ship, the makeover has been done extremely well and the interiors, especially the public areas have been done beautifully. The staterooms have been given a makeover with new beds, which are fresh and comfortable, the built in robes do show some signs of wear but nothing to worry about. We found the staff to be friendly and helpful, of course some are still finding their feet, but all in all we were very happy with service. Food sometimes was a little cold, in both the waterfront restaurant and also from the Mexican restaurant in the pantry, but sometimes Mexican meat gets cold fast. We were surprise how much we liked the pantry, especially since we dislike buffets in general and steered well clear in our last cruise. Waterfront is a beautiful restaurant and there are a Good selection of choices available, we especially liked the theme specials that differed each evening, Dragon lady also has an amazing ambience, however food here was lukewarm at best, with dishes not having good flavour or simply just lacking something. Soft shell crab was too greasy, the beef cheek was served sliced which was disappointing when expecting a chunk of beef cheek. Salt grill is exceptional, excellent service and the food was the best on the ship. Highly recommended. The bars on the Aria are great - they are small and cosy and so much better than the larger bar concepts from the older p&o ships. Entertainment was fantastic, with live acoustic singers - the piano guy Anthony in Mix and Gordon guitar in casino bar were exceptionally good. The pacific show and music from the Gatsby party was outstanding. We bought the thermal suite package which was great, however the aromatherapy room only functioned one day and the men's sauna was off cold one day. Both issues were rectified by Amber the spa manager who was helpful and apologetic. The only major issue we had on the cruise was our toilet not flushing. We reported it to the cabin steward, and also followed up with reception and nothing was done. 3 days in we complained to a manager who followed up, and on the final day we eventually got a response that someone had looked into the toilet and it as working - it wasn't. The most frustrating thing wa she lack of response from anyone about the issue. It took 4 days just to get someone to tell us they had looked at the issue. Not sure how anyone can know what is being done when there doesn't seem to be a linked computer system on the ship with notes linked to each cabin? Biggest thing was we didn't want to let that issue spoil our cruise. Overall, Aria is a beautiful ship and the crew, although new, are doing a fantastic job. We met people who had been on the inaugural voyage and also said the improvements were a 180 turnaround, initial negatives were mainly resolved. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Needing time away, this was a fantastic break away which met every box for me. You can met as many people as you like or just spend time on your own, the choice was yours which was great!! . Embarking was a bit slow, but hay, over ... Read More
Needing time away, this was a fantastic break away which met every box for me. You can met as many people as you like or just spend time on your own, the choice was yours which was great!! . Embarking was a bit slow, but hay, over 3000 people, that's normal! Loved the info touch screen on every floor by the stairs/lifts. Helped a lot till I got to know my way around. Things to do to please everyone. Loved all that I went to. Loved the "my time" dining and windjammer along with the snack bar, coffee, ice cream bar on the 5th floor:) I'm veggie, so found a pleasant surprise by a lot of choice for me!! Some people will complain about getting ashore for booked tours. Not only did the Captain apologize but people also go refunds on part of those tours. The next few ports, the captain made sure we got to the next port WAY ahead of time. Sometimes things happen which can not be fixed on board due to shore regulations. Being my first cruise, I got hooked and would go again in a flash!! Unpack once and pack once, ggreat!! Plenty of bars around the ship to serve cold drinks. Smoking is limited to one side of the ship on level 5 outside and level 11 outside on the same side. Plenty of pools and spas and one for adults only which is great. HUGE outside movie screen was awesome. Loved the self serve ice cream up on the pool deck :) mmMMmm Very little noise in this room. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Chose this cruise as a great way of getting to Sydney after a four day holiday in Singapore. Positives of this ship are: Very good sized bathroom with ample storage for you toiletries. Great shower quite large with a glass screen. ... Read More
Chose this cruise as a great way of getting to Sydney after a four day holiday in Singapore. Positives of this ship are: Very good sized bathroom with ample storage for you toiletries. Great shower quite large with a glass screen. Excellent food and service in the main dining room and I will stick my neck out here and say it is better than Cunard's Queens Grill. We are frequent Qunarders in the Grills. Good selection and high quality food in the Ocean View Cafe. Extremely helpful and attentive cabin steward. Navigating your way around the ship is easy, it is very well designed and easy to find your way to the different venues. Negatives From the moment you embark you feel every conceivable effort is made to extract as much money as they can from you. The hard sell of the drinks packages, the constant reminders of the speciality restaurants who set themselves up outside the ocean view cafe to catch you going in. The constant plugging by the excursion staff to purchase bottles of water, even though they were free on our coach in Bali. The astronomical changes for internet access. I had to find Internet cafes in port. No laundry on board and the cost of laundering you clothes prohibitive also pressing the odd garment far too expensive. Some of the enrichment activities were chargeable i.e. How to use your apple devices and some gym classes also chargeable. Everywhere you went you could hear conversations of people utterly disenchanted with all of these charges. I know this is par for the course on cruise ships but Celebrity seem to take it to a whole new level. Very little was done for Solo passengers, no meetings booked in the daily cabin delivered paper. I asked at customer relations if that could be done the only thing they were prepared to do was put it on the notice board on deck 3, hence very few people knew about it and didn't turn up. Absolutely nothing else was done to enhance the Solo passengers cruise, so if you are solo I do not recommend celebrity. The treadmill in the gym stops after you have had 30 minutes and according to a surly gym manager it is to allow everyone a chance to use them! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This is the third time I have cruised on Golden Princess and brings my total number of nights on this ship to 36 nights. Overall for me it was good to see the ship again and they really know how to look after you. Upon boarding I had ... Read More
This is the third time I have cruised on Golden Princess and brings my total number of nights on this ship to 36 nights. Overall for me it was good to see the ship again and they really know how to look after you. Upon boarding I had my allocated balcony cabin on Lido deck and the steward welcomed me back with delivery of the elite mini bar set up as per usual. Each night I was given complimentary passes to the alternate dining venues like Crown Grill and Sabatini's. I got a letter saying that I was on the most traveled list and that this was to thank me for my continued loyalty. I was able to decide on each night which restaurant I wanted to eat in and they would accommodate me. I think part of this has to do with the fact I also currently have 3 future cruises booked with Princess On the second afternoon I received a 75 minute Swedish massage paid for with the extra on board credit I was issued. The spa was quite busy that evening but I was given a time without any problems at short notice. The staff are mostly Chinese in the spa who give the massages and this was apparently because in Asia the majority of the passengers are now Chinese and this is becoming a big passenger group for Princess now. The ship had previously come through Asia. The cabin was in relatively good condition. The beds were pushed together to make a double however I felt one of the beds the mattress was completely deflated and indented into a weird crater type position. The balcony furniture was in excellent condition and the railings appeared to have a new coat of varnish. The cabin was very clean. I also got to spend the remaining credit on some clothing in the boutiques on board thanks to great booking deals given. I also got the usual wine tasting invitation for the 1st day at sea. Overall I was happy with the experience I received. Passenger mix was different. Some clearly regular cruisers, others clearly first timers and others who looked like they did not belong. Some of the funny things I noticed was the queues on one side of the buffet line that I walked straight past only to find no queues at the open serving line on the other side. I guess some people are sheep and enjoy joining long queues opposed to walking a few more meters to find out if there is less people on the other side! Same thing when departing the ship there were long queues of people waiting to use the lifts. I walked straight past these people to find an empty and perfectly satisfactory escalator. The only real issue I have with Princess operating out of Australia is that they tend to remove their usual wine and drink menus and replace them with an Australian version. To some it may seem a good idea but to me it takes away that home away from home feel that Princess offers when you board one of their ships. It was disappointing not to be able to order my favourite wines from past sailings or have certain drinks that I always enjoy on Princess ships. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Having cruised only once before with Royal Caribbean, we tried Celebrity Solstice because the timing suited and the ship got great reviews - deservedly! We booked through Vacationstogo.com - they were excellent! We booked an inside ... Read More
Having cruised only once before with Royal Caribbean, we tried Celebrity Solstice because the timing suited and the ship got great reviews - deservedly! We booked through Vacationstogo.com - they were excellent! We booked an inside stateroom because we only sleep in the stateroom and this was true of this cruise too. There was too much to do elsewhere. The shows at night were excellent with a wide variety of sensational acts. Some nights we would have 2 courses to get to the 7pm show then have desert in the Cafe. Other nights we would have the complete meal in the Dinging Room then go to the 9pm show. The food in the main dining room Grand Epernay was well above standard and then we spent one evening at Murano. Murano would equal any 5 star restaurant. Particularly if you are lucky enough to get Ibraham as your waiter. We selected fixed time dining on a table of 6 people so met 2 other couples and got on so well, we looked forward to dinner each evening (I hope they did too). This is not a ship to get bored in. There is everything from the well-stocked library across two levels to a range of bands and singers during the evening and night at various locations across the ship to guided behind-the-scenes tours of various aspects the ship to dancing and shows. There is also the specialty Corning Museum of Glass exhibitions of glass blowing daily which is absolutely fascinating to see. We did not book the ship's shore excursions preferring smaller more intimate tours we booked ourselves so can't comment on these. As members of Cruise Critic, we attended a morning tea hosted by the ship and attended by some of the senior crew where we had the chance to meet some really interesting Cruise Critic members and formed friendships from day 1. I would highly recommend the Celebrity Solstice. There were 2 staff members who were particularly good - Deborah from Guest Services and Ibraham from Murano. Celebrity should be extremely proud to have these staff. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I enjoyed all aspects of my cruise. The food in grand dining room was great. The buffet had huge range, but very hard to keep food hot. Loved the variety. Their home made ice cream was a treat. Sushi on five was a real delight and ... Read More
I enjoyed all aspects of my cruise. The food in grand dining room was great. The buffet had huge range, but very hard to keep food hot. Loved the variety. Their home made ice cream was a treat. Sushi on five was a real delight and my favourite. All staff were awesome. Huge range of nationalities and all so polite and accommodating. I did not have a drinks package and was only asked twice if I would like to purchase one. Entertainment was mostly good. Some entertainers very good and two of them hopeless. Getting on and off the boat at all our ports was well orgainized and very quick. I embarked at 4.15 with no queues. Process took about 3-5 minutes from dropping back off to walking on. Disembarking, at 7.05am, I was in my hotel in Sydney at 7.25am, I would call that extremely quick. Will be looking out for another cruise to do in 2018. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Four night cruise from Sydney to Moreton Island. This was our second cruise, our first being nine nights to New Caledonia on Carnival Spirit in Feb 2016. Embarkation at the White Bay Container Terminal was fast and efficient. ... Read More
Four night cruise from Sydney to Moreton Island. This was our second cruise, our first being nine nights to New Caledonia on Carnival Spirit in Feb 2016. Embarkation at the White Bay Container Terminal was fast and efficient. Navigating into the carpark beforehand was more of a challenge, but we found our way in eventually (the gps was completely out of its depth). Our balcony room on level nine was roomy enough and adequate for our needs. Our luggage was delivered within a reasonable timeframe. Disembarkation was also very smooth. Dining The Pantry - crowded and stuffy. Quite often long lines for food and usually very difficult to find a place to sit. The layout makes it feel very cramped, and air con seemed to be absent at times which makes it worse. The use of round coffee tables throughout this area also detracts from the experience - low round tables with long, straight bench seats simply don't work. The food itself is of average quality, but it is a good idea how they have staff serve the food rather than self serve as this alleviates hygiene concerns. The Waterfront This is main dining room and we had two breakfasts and two dinners here. The breakfast menu is the same each day and the service was good and the food was hot. The dinner menu changes each day. The service was generally good, the meals were hot on arrival. Food quality and portion sizes were acceptable, though a little small. At our first meal there we ordered mango brûlée for dessert. Yuk. No hint of mango in this dish which consisted of a shallow dish with a thin layer of something like baked custard in it. Salt Grill $49 aud per head - bookings essential. Due to the popularity of this venue we had to accept a 5:30 booking for dinner. Food quality was very good and the service also very good. Flavoursome meals here which contrasted with the tendency towards the bland at the other restaurants. Desserts were also very good. Dragon Lady - modern Asian fusion. Very good service. Food portions were ridiculously small. Main meals would have been considered entrees anywhere else. Desserts were poor. We tried the mango with sticky rice, but again no trace of mango to be found, we also had the chocolate slice which seemed to be made from gelatin and even though it looked like chocolate, it didn't taste like it. Angelo's - Italian restaurant, others in our group had dinner there on the first night and reported that it was terrible and strongly recommended that we avoid it. So we did just that. The dining experience for us on Carnival was better across the board. There was good coffee to be had from a couple of locations -$- ocean bar on 8 and the ice creamery on 11. Entertainment In this area P&O had the edge over Carnival IMO. We really enjoyed the Blue Room with the jazz or blues band each night. Real music played by musicians has always been my preference as opposed to carbon copy cover songs. The acoustic guitar player, Troy, was very good too, playing recognizable covers but well and truly in his own style. The song and dance shows in the large auditorium were not much different to what we had seen on Carnival and are ok if you like that sort of thing. The theme nights were both great, the Gatsby Party on the second night was well attended throughout the various bars on level 8 with maybe half the people making some kind of effort at dressing in theme. Lots of dancing and even some free glasses of champagne being handed around. Would have been nice if the entertainers had dressed in theme too (I am talking about the blues band here.) The White Night party on deck 11 on the third night was great fun too. Pumping music a mixture of DJ and live band worked really well and a fair percentage of those in attendance were in white (to some extent). Steady Eddie was great on the final night. More comedy would not have gone astray. The only time we found ourselves relocating to another bar to escape an act on stage was the final night during the 'staff jam session' in the Blue Room. Not good. The Staff Most staff were attentive and cheerful, but some were decidedly not so. No eye contact and seemingly more intent in returning to other things. This was quite noticeable from day one on this ship. Carnival has a sizable edge over P&O in this area. The Cruise Our cruise started by not starting! Our departure time of 5pm came and went while we sat expectantly on the outside rear deck with cocktails in hand. Eventually an announcement came over from the captain 'on the bridge' that due to a malfunction with the electrical control system out departure would be delayed. Long story short, it took a day and a half to resolve the issue so Moreton Island was dropped from the itinerary and we cruised in the ocean for two days. All passengers were promised a full refund of their cruise fare. I am sure that many, like myself, compensated by drinking more than they may have done otherwise and this may have contributed to the enthusiastic participation and dancing on both party nights! Overall - we really enjoyed our cruise on the Pacific Eden with our group of family and friends. Highlights were the party nights and the onboard live entertainment. The bar areas were all very nice. Downsides were the food which was generally mediocre, and the unforeseen technical issues which unfortunately denied us a full day of travel. 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I like Royal Caribbean as a cruise liner so was keen to try their latest edition to their fleet - Ovation Of The Seas.   Well.    What a big ship.    Was it going to be too big?     This is what I wanted to find out.      ... Read More
I like Royal Caribbean as a cruise liner so was keen to try their latest edition to their fleet - Ovation Of The Seas.   Well.    What a big ship.    Was it going to be too big?     This is what I wanted to find out.      I was impressed. Cabin staff were very friendly and helpful - I had no problems and if I did - they were only too willing to help me out. The same with the Windjammer and the Chic restaurant (which is the dining area I booked into as my dining time).   The staff seemed new to the ship and were keen to make my stay and experience a pleasant and friendly one.      I had no problem with food from Windjammer and I LOVED the service and food from Chic.   I had no queues, no waiting only service.   If other passengers were experiencing problems - I wasn't. Loved Jaimie's - had two lunches at this restaurant and had an awesome time - thank you Andre (hope that's how you spell it).   Loved the menu, loved the presentation of the food and it was tasty.    Thanks also to the Manager there who took time out to answer questions we had about the restaurant.   Very friendly, very informative, no rush - just pleasant and happy to assist. LOVED my coffee card package (best every - thank you Royal Caribbean). I decided this cruise was to be more relaxing this time.   More time out - reading and resting.    This I did.    Plenty of areas on the ship to grab a quiet spot.    I did do shuffleboard (Love shuffleboard), IFLY (just a shame I could only get to do one fly).  You are allowed one complimentary reservation per week - then you just have to wait in line to see if someone doesn't turn up for their reservation so you can have a go.    This just never happened so I had to be satisfied with one go.   The North Star however, I was able to have two goes.    Loved it.   I waited in line and had no trouble getting on.    The bumper cars were fun.   I had a ball.   There was a wait though.    The wait was longer than an hour.   This didn't bother me as I was happy watching and enjoying talking to people around me and everyone having fun. Some passengers did experience some problems but for me I was happy. My only concern was behaviour of some children on board.    Being school holidays and Xmas I expected kids.   Children have great facilities on board this ship - plenty to keep them happy and occupied.   A little more parental control or staff controlling when in general area of ship would have helped with regard to boundaries and behaviour.   They upset a few passengers with their wild play.    They were good in the pool though.    I would also like to see a little more "adult only" time on deck 15.     Every time I went to play ping pong, xbox or air hockey  I couldn't get to play - and it was packed with kids (understandably) but I know a few adults who would loved some time in this area. 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
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
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
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
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

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