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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We loved the itinerary, but were so disappointed to find that our excursion had been cancelled last minute by Princess with no offer to help replace it. So we were on our own in Wellington. Then the ship had a delay with fog in Dunedin ... Read More
We loved the itinerary, but were so disappointed to find that our excursion had been cancelled last minute by Princess with no offer to help replace it. So we were on our own in Wellington. Then the ship had a delay with fog in Dunedin and could not dock an hour later because the tides were too low for this immense ship. The one Princess excursion to Waitupo and Rainbow Springs that was not cancelled was excellent! We also loved the Milford Sound fiords day. The entertainment on the ship was also very good, with Magic, Encore, and musical productions. It’s important to get there at least 30 minutes ahead if you want a seat though. Restaurant service in Anytime Dining was good with Ferdie as our favorite waiter. We were also extremely frustrated with erroneous bar charges that took multiple trips to the desk over several days, along with phone calls. Each time we were assured that it was corrected only to find that was not true. ( We had ordered just two glasses of wine one night but were charged for six!). These were finally corrected just an hour before we debarked. All of this left a very bad taste with Princess! We have never experienced problems like this on other cruises including Norwegian, Holland America, Gate One, or Azamara. We have already scheduled future cruises with Azamara and Celebrity, and will probably not sail on a large Princess ship again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Found ship hard to move around, to many pinch points for the number of people moving through, can't walk around ship on any level. Dining Service was slow and unfinished. Entertainment was all at once, seems to stop everyone doing ... Read More
Found ship hard to move around, to many pinch points for the number of people moving through, can't walk around ship on any level. Dining Service was slow and unfinished. Entertainment was all at once, seems to stop everyone doing everything as not nearly enough space for everyone.Cabin was suitable for our needs, Hollywood area was good, but with no open air smelt of chlorine which upset my nasal issues. Wave bar aft was nice but you had to get a spot out of the wind. Activities seemed to be set up in walking areas in atrium as not enough spaces around the ship so you had to go around the atrium with hundreds of others.staff were mostly friendly but had some experiences with some that were not so great. Embarkation & did embarkation was a breeze, even on tender ports things went smoothly. This ship you will either like or dislike. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Overall the cruise was ok, it was a Christmas holiday cruise. The service was poor, the food was of a poor quality with the same items repeated every few days. The specialty French Restaurant La Met was amazing, the steakhouse, Crown Grill ... Read More
Overall the cruise was ok, it was a Christmas holiday cruise. The service was poor, the food was of a poor quality with the same items repeated every few days. The specialty French Restaurant La Met was amazing, the steakhouse, Crown Grill was extremely disappointing! I would have to say that overall the entertainment was limited and quite lame - unless you like to dance in the Piazza or attend some limited time jewellery sales pitch!, which seemed to be the only thing promoted each day. While there were some great staff onboard, the majority were uninterested and couldn’t be bothered. The Marketplace essentially served as a staff canteen in the evenings. The ship however was super clean and well kept, as expected given it’s just a year old. The skywalk was cool for the first few days but after that it got a little boring and didn’t seem to have a purpose. They should have put an extra lift or two in because there certainly isn’t enough! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Majestic Princess, Auckland to Sydney, 18 December 2018 Context: We had previously cruised on the sister ship, Regal Princess (Baltic, August 2018) We note that Majestic Princess has been specifically configured for the Chinese market, ... Read More
Majestic Princess, Auckland to Sydney, 18 December 2018 Context: We had previously cruised on the sister ship, Regal Princess (Baltic, August 2018) We note that Majestic Princess has been specifically configured for the Chinese market, this may not be a good thing when the ship is based, albeit temporarily, in other parts of the world such as Australia. Overall: We judge “Regal” to be far superior in many respects, in particular: • “Majestic’s” roofed-in Hollywood Pool Club is nowhere near as user-friendly or relaxing as Regal’s “The Sanctuary” – which is open to the air. There was always an overpowering aroma of chlorine in the Hollywood Pool Club – possibly attributable to the lack of ventilation. • Regal’s main dining menu selection, food quality and service was significantly superior to that on offer throughout the cruise on Majestic. On the final night of the Majestic cruise the main course had only four items – no meat or fish, one game dish. Table service was indifferent: it was not unusual to have to wait up to half an hour after being seated for menus to be presented. We were disappointed at the very ordinary standard of the Christmas Dinner. This was not four or five star dining. • Even though passenger counts were very similar, “Majestic” always seemed to be very crowded, no matter which part of the ship you were in. It does need to be said that some other dining options on “Majestic” were of a good standard, in particular the lunch buffet, Alfredo’s Italian, and the “English Pub lunch” that was offered twice during the cruise in the Crown Grill. Room service was consistently prompt. Entertainment: Without exception, the stage performances on Regal Princess were exceptional. Not so on her sister ship. The first production show on “Majestic” – “Viera” – was entertaining. Regretably, this standard was not maintained at other performances, with the exception of that by a featured solo artist, singer Will Martin. The “tribute show” to the iconic band “Queen” was a disgrace in every respect, so much so that guests (including ourselves) began leaving the theatre soon after the performance started. The sound was overly loud to the point of being painful – patrons were observed covering their ears and removing their hearing aids: all in all we judged this show to be an insult to the memory of Freddie Mercury. Censorship of the internet: After buying an internet package we discovered that access to some websites was being blocked. In particular we could not access websites operated by two New Zealand Government agencies – The New Zealand Racing Board and the Lotteries Commission. (At this point the ship was actually in New Zealand waters) This was taken up with the internet manager on board, who claimed the ship had the right to block any access it pleased – and asserted that this was outlined in his briefing on internet use (presented on the first day) and in the conditions when signing up for the service. We absolutely reject those claims; he did not and they were not! When pressed further he became somewhat more aggressive and said that if we didn’t like it, that was just too bad! He refused a part-refund of the cost of the package. We suggested to him that the reason for this censorship was to eliminate any form of competition for the ship’s on-board casino and other gambling options. He did not refute this. We fully accept that the ship (or any other internet service provider) should take steps to control access to websites that might be objectionable or illegal. This was not the case here – the sites were completely legal and legitimate. These comments have been referred to Princess via our travel agent. We have not had the courtesy of a response. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I was very dissapointed in our cabin. Firstly theres no excuse for filth. My sheer nylon curtains were absolutely filthy and asked them to be removed and cleaned. Secondly we couldn't and i mean couldn't open the door to the ... Read More
I was very dissapointed in our cabin. Firstly theres no excuse for filth. My sheer nylon curtains were absolutely filthy and asked them to be removed and cleaned. Secondly we couldn't and i mean couldn't open the door to the balcony, so much so they had to take it off in Bay of Islands and put new rollers on. Thirdly the carpet in front of the couch was soaked from the bathroom leaking. That was easily fixed by just cutting the carpet out and putting in new carpet. Fourthly they were working on our balcony 2 days and left a note that they would be back a third day to work on it again (rust) I went down to the guest relation and told them they were not to come into our cabin again under any circumstances. Then on the third day before the finish of the cruise both my husband and I got sick, really sick I mean. I went to the doctors on the ship and after paying $500 for an injection and 10 antibiotics which cost $120 AUD. Now three weeks later I am still sick, it went to pheunomia, I am still on antibiotics. I feel that they are not sanitising properly. There were so many people sick. At the doctors they tested me for influenza and something else which they said I didn't have, but on the TV when we got home it said it takes 24 hours for the results to come back for influenza. So who knows???? Other than all that I personally love this little ship but the cabins need updating. The staff are wonderful and the food is wonderful too, especially at nighttime. They did compensate us with 20% off a future cruise based on the price that we'd paid for this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We booked this particular cruise based on its inclusion of Tasmania and that it was on the newest ship in the fleet. Surprisingly, the food was consistently mediocre and the staff was inconsistently friendly - both of which surprised us ... Read More
We booked this particular cruise based on its inclusion of Tasmania and that it was on the newest ship in the fleet. Surprisingly, the food was consistently mediocre and the staff was inconsistently friendly - both of which surprised us compared to past Princess cruises. Worst of all, however, was the surprise at check in, in Auckland, where Princess demanded proof of Australian visas. The visa process states that no further proof is required once obtained. Without proof, we were told we would be removed from the ship prior to sailing. We learned that about half of the passenger manifest was unable to immediately produce proof of visas. We did finally locate the needed proof in our emails. But to have traveled 30 hours to face possible forfeiture of the cruise was not a good way to start things off. Certainly, Princess could have been more clear about this requirement well before the trip started. We did contact Princess after the trip about this issue, but have not heard back. Internet access and performance was poor compared to other cruise lines. Otherwise, the entertainment was excellent, the ship is beautiful, the scenery outstanding, and the land tours mostly top notch. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
My husband, and I planned on this cruise for over 2 yrs. We were so excited to visit a part of the world we did not see before, and like the list of ports we would visit. When we booked this cruise (on board the Regal Princess on a prior ... Read More
My husband, and I planned on this cruise for over 2 yrs. We were so excited to visit a part of the world we did not see before, and like the list of ports we would visit. When we booked this cruise (on board the Regal Princess on a prior cruise), we were given information the Diamond Princess was going to be a newly refurbished ship, with upgrades throughout. What was not told to us was the Diamond Princess did not have the Princess exclusive International Cafe, Vines, or the Pizzeria! These are Princess passenger favorites! The Piazza had always been a great meeting place with friends for a coffee/pastry/dessert/wine & pizza, and all of the above. While that was disappointing, we made the best of it, and found other places to meet. The weather was uncooperative at best. We missed not one, but two ports. Excursions were cancelled, we had more consecutive days at sea in rough weather. There were more than two times the doors were roped off so that we could not exit the ship to stand/walk outside. I realize it was in the nature of safety, still it was disappointing. The pools were drained, again due to the poor weather. The movies under the stars played but you couldn't enjoy due to high winds, and rain on, and off. The rug at our slider door (D409) had to be pulled up, and towels placed due to water getting into our cabin from the high swells. This went on for a couple of days. The bathrooms are old with mildew on the shower walls. On days you could stand on your balcony you could hear "crickets"..no literally..Crickets! I thought it was my imagination hearing cricket all above me. It was while I was walking on the 15th deck did I actually see them! Alive, and dead - crickets everywhere! When questioned about it, I was told they always get bugs from Auckland! That would be yet another thing we were not informed about when we booked. It would have made the difference of booking this particular cruise or not. Princess did not seem concerned with it at all. No! Bugs, and critters do not belong on a luxury cruise liner no matter where it sails!To soften the blow of the many disappointments on this cruise, the Cap't. relayed a refund of $100 AU to be used on the ship, as well as a 15% discount of what we paid for this cruise to be used on a future cruise. While you have 2 yrs. to book when you purchase a future cruise on board, this 15% discount needs to be used by end of 2018. Poor planning in my opinion. Keep it consistent with rules of the future cruise program. So while we had a great time with friends, and the food of course was terrific, the service staff always wonderful, after being excited for 2 yrs. waiting to sail in this part of the world we left feeling we didn't get to see what we planned for. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Embarkation was fine and we were on the ship within 45 minutes. Cabin was fine. Staff in all the bars and restaurants were great. The buffet is not big enough for the amount of people on the ship with the usual walking around and around ... Read More
Embarkation was fine and we were on the ship within 45 minutes. Cabin was fine. Staff in all the bars and restaurants were great. The buffet is not big enough for the amount of people on the ship with the usual walking around and around trying to grab a trouble at breakfast and lunch was a pain!!!!!! Especially with so many days at sea people were using the tables to play cards. First port of call was Tauranga where we did the tour to Hobbiton was good even though I've never seen any of the films!!!!! When we got back to the ship then was an announcement from the captain that we wouldn't be stopping at Akora because of high winds and the ship would be staying in port until 4am the next morning and you could get off but had to be back onboard by midnight. We then spent 3 days in rough seas,caused by cyclone Gita, to get to Port Chalmers for Dunedin. We used the shuttle to get to Dunedin from the ship good value at $15. Didn't do any excursions but had a walk around the station and town then got a cab to the castle which cost $110 round trip and the driver gave us a bit of a site seeing trip great value for four people. Not a lot to see or do in port Chalmers just a couple of pubs and some takeaways. The scenery leaving port is loving . Next day was cruising fjord land which was spectacular and one of the highlights and we we told only one in four ships gets in due to weather. The next two days were spent crossing the Tasman Sea in really rough seas!!!!! Next stop Hobart where we got a cab to Bonorong wild life park where we fed kangaroos see koalas wombats and Tasmanian devils. Great few hours and can easily be done on your own. This was followed by another sea day on which we were told we wouldn't be going to Melbourne because of winds and the narrow channel that is used to get to the dock so more circling around the Tasman sea for two days until we reached Sydney. We only heard from the captain when it was to make an announcement that we weren't going to dock somewhere,it was his last cruise before retiring. Not really a lot went on on all the sea days we had just the usual quizzes, bingo, and art auctions and lectures. The occasional band by the pool for an hour weather permitting but not much else. We were refunded $100 for missed ports of call and $39 for port taxes plus 15 per of the price of your cruise to come off another cruise with Princess. Don't get me wrong we did have a good time and met some lovely people but all the sea days made it feel a bit like Groundhog Day which by the way was shown on movies under the stars!!!!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Cruise overall was good. Not spectacular, but good. This was our fifth cruise with Princess, and we were a bit disappointed with the myriad of “little things” that occurred or didn’t occur on the cruise. Such as, no “happy ... Read More
Cruise overall was good. Not spectacular, but good. This was our fifth cruise with Princess, and we were a bit disappointed with the myriad of “little things” that occurred or didn’t occur on the cruise. Such as, no “happy hour” in any of the bars on the ship. Several of the lifts were “under maintenance” for extended periods. Some public rest room areas were a bit unkept. Cabin TVs not working for most of the cruise? (Though they did credit guests for this). So the cruise was just not up to the level of what we had expected from Princess. On the positive side, entertainment was great! The ships singers and dancers were very good. We went to most of the main theater shows and were pleased with all of them. Other entertainment through out the ship was also very good. The food was up to par for Princess. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners were Princess quality. We ate at both Sabatini’s and Sterling Steak House and were very satisfied with the speciality dining. Though I did not like the “attitude” we got from the server at the Trident Grill when we asked for a few more French fries. What’s the big deal? There were three of us and all we wanted was maybe 25 cents worth of more French fries! And there wasn’t anyone behind us in the line. Itinerary was great! Fijordland cruising was spectacular! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We went on this cruise because we wanted to join our friends and see New Zealand and Australia. There were too many (five) days at sea and not enough things to do that interested my husband and I during the day. Glad we had a balcony ... Read More
We went on this cruise because we wanted to join our friends and see New Zealand and Australia. There were too many (five) days at sea and not enough things to do that interested my husband and I during the day. Glad we had a balcony because it was difficult to find a place to sit in the public areas when at sea. This will be the last large ship we will go on because there are too many people (3000). Would rather go on a cruise that includes everything instead of paying extra for beverages, internet, shore excursions. Suppose the base price appeals to more people and families. The Diamond Princess needs an update. Food was ok and service was fast and friendly. We had no trouble with making dinner reservations in the different dining rooms. The entertainment was average at best. Getting on and off the ship was efficient. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Because we have cruised previously.with Princess and found them to be faultless ——except for this cruise..Because of the following,toilet holding tank dumping at sea is this a usual procedure? Strong toilet stench coming from vents ... Read More
Because we have cruised previously.with Princess and found them to be faultless ——except for this cruise..Because of the following,toilet holding tank dumping at sea is this a usual procedure? Strong toilet stench coming from vents espcially on the STBD side at deck 7 level. No Happy hour on this cruise.previous cruise have had these. Blue smoke coming from funnels especially in Picton and the Fiords.(l was told this was impossible by on of the Offices.photo evidence to prove. Cruising NZ one would of had our famous Green Lipped Mussels on the menu -but no. Coffee on this ship was terrible as voiced by many passengers. Due TV being down no idea where we were duriing the cruise very few reports from the bridge unlike previous cruises. Very unfriendly waitress from Ukraine on one Overall definately not in the same street. Feed back from Princess will definately be a factor for using this cruise line again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This was our second cruise on the Golden Princess and not a lot had changed in 12 months. Apart from our cabin steward, who was great, most of the other staff we dealt with seemed to be suffering from the after effects of the big storm in ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Golden Princess and not a lot had changed in 12 months. Apart from our cabin steward, who was great, most of the other staff we dealt with seemed to be suffering from the after effects of the big storm in the Tasman Sea on the way from Melbourne. We joined the ship in Auckland, boarded just after 8pm (instead of 1pm due to the bad weather) and weren't even allowed a quick meal before we were hustled away for a lifeboat drill. On the previous cruise the spa pools round the swimming pool weren't working properly. This time, I asked someone in the spa pool how it was and they still weren't working properly so I flagged that. The TV programme was terrible with no written programme so you couldn't even plan to watch something good. The worst part was feeling that because we joined the cruise in Auckland (advertised as an Auckland to Auckland cruise) we were there on sufferance. There was no welcome letter from the Captain, no information on ports or trips were given to us at the beginning of the cruise and when we reached Melbourne we got no map of the city at all. We had to ask at the desk and they printed one off for us. At every end and turn we got "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie" shouted at the audience as if there weren't over 200 Kiwis on board as well as other nationalities. We had a wedding anniversary on board and met a couple who married on the same day so we decided to have lunch together to celebrate. We had a note from the ship saying that if we told our waiter of the occasion they would provide a surprise. On exiting the dining room I asked about "the surprise". I was told we had to bring the note to get the surprise, as if the ship didn't have a record of it. In short, I would not travel on the Golden Princess again. We have travelled on the Diamond Princess and it was great and we're booked on that for our next big cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We wanted a Cruise that would in compass New Zealand and Australia, Princess fitted the itinerary adequately. However although we enjoyed the cruise overall we felt that it didn't reach our expectations and lacked the little bit ... Read More
We wanted a Cruise that would in compass New Zealand and Australia, Princess fitted the itinerary adequately. However although we enjoyed the cruise overall we felt that it didn't reach our expectations and lacked the little bit extra appeal that might make us automatic returning customers. As this was our first Princess cruise we are not sure whether it was just this particular Ship Emerald or the general cruise line itself? The ship seemed difficult to find ones bearing at times and to get to specific area like the Share Restaurant and Adigo Bar. The dining arrangements were much the same as other cruise lines, we were anytime dining in the MichAelangelo restaurant. The food was good the menu was much the same every evening and was lacking in variety, the restaurant staff lacked etiquette at times and would clear your plate before your partner had finished their meal something I would expect in the Horizon Restaurant which in fact was the exact opposite. Both Speciality Restaurants the Crown Grill and Share were enjoyable and made up for the disappointment in the other restaurants. Everything about Horizon restaurant was terrible probably the worst we have accounted. We did book some excursions and these were good but heavily over priced as normal for cruise lines, however the debacle at Gisborne with the tenders due to the rough waters leaves a lot to be desired, not that anything could have been done about the weather and safety was paramount but the the lack of water, shelter and basic information to let people know what's going on was poor. We found that thoroughout the cruise the lack of visibility of ship officers was noticeable compared to other ships which seemed odd particularly when things might be going wrong and safety might be of some concern. Like the Tender debacle mentioned above, people standing all the way up on either side of staircases whilst watching or listening to events in the Auditorium during rough sees us only asking for an accident to occur it was probably by sheer luck nothing occurred. Oddly the announcement over the ships intercom warning people to hold on to rails during rough sees seemed pointless if they are obstructed as I mentioned above. Overall we had a good cruise not great it could have been considerably better but this was lacking on this particular Princess Ship, not sure we will try Princess again it would have to have a spectacular destination and itinerary and probably a different ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This was my 4th Princess Cruise (also been on Avalon, Azamara, Oceania, HAL, Voyages to Antiquity). My 1st Princess cruise was in June 2012, did a 12-night British Isles aboard the Caribbean Princess in an obstructed OV (felt ship itself ... Read More
This was my 4th Princess Cruise (also been on Avalon, Azamara, Oceania, HAL, Voyages to Antiquity). My 1st Princess cruise was in June 2012, did a 12-night British Isles aboard the Caribbean Princess in an obstructed OV (felt ship itself was too big for British Isles itinerary but overall a very nice experience); 2nd was in Dec 2012, a 15-night Hawai'i cruise (L.A. round-trip) aboard the Golden Princess (inside cabin). I will never forget this cruise because of the great Hawai'i cultural facilitators who taught us how to play the ukulele and hula dance, and highlight for me was performing in the Farewell evening Passenger Talent Show with 70 other ukulele playing passengers; 3rd time was in Nov 2013 on a 15-night Panama Canal Full Transit cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to L.A aboard the Island Princess, excellent all around experience in an inside cabin. This review is for February 2017, we sailed aboard the Emerald Princess for 12-nights from Auckland to Sydney: The itinerary was impeccable, the food was very good, but over-all it really felt like Princess cut back on the little things that used to make Princess a cut above the rest. For example, this was my 4th "wine-tasting" event ($13 per person), and for the first time, it did not include the "complimentary shot glass" at the end with the dessert wine - This s very minor, but the biggest thing that our cruise was missing on board was a live, full time, port expert lecturer. This time, the only way to get any port information was to watch the tv in the cabin, which re-ran old episodes of a previous port lecturer, which would have been fine, except that the taped lectures were in reverse order of our Auckland to Sydney ports. We relied heavily on the kind locals at each port to give us port information and maps (as the Princess Patter cartoon maps emphasized shopping). Only when we were cruising in Milford Sound did they finally bring on board a "NZ park ranger" to talk over the public address system. Unfortunately, the PA system was very hard to hear and it didn't help that 2 very rude ladies from Spain insisted on screaming in my ear as they talked to each other the whole time, so I could not hear a word of the Park Ranger. When I asked them "por favor, I cannot hear" they spoke even louder to each other, ignoring others around us trying to hear the park ranger. Another disappointment was the Specialty Dining at the Crown Grill. We decided to forego the extra expense when their menu clearly emphasized "only one item per course per person" which was a change from 2012 when we 4 were allowed to try multiple dishes per course, and thus we were able to try almost everything on the menu as we shared our plates. Also, this was the smallest inside room I've every experienced - D123 (Deck 9, Forward). There was only one straight-backed chair that came with the vanity/desk, and no other chair/sofa in the room, so we had to use our lower twin beds for seating. Luckily we are not "room service" people, so we did not need the extra seating, but it did feel very cramped. The room steward parked his cart near our cabin but that did not bother us, especially as he was very attentive and quick in his duties. The closet space and bathroom space was adequate for 3 of us (as we are light packers). The service of all staff we encountered: servers, hosts, maitre-d's, room stewards, passenger service officers, casino staff, International Cafe servers, are all beyond reproach. While Princess corporate management may have cut back on little extra touches and niceties for the passengers, the front line staff is consistently excellent in professionalism, manner, and attention to detail and prompt service. I most highly commend our maitre'd, Carlos from Spain, for his kind attention to my daughter who has a "peanut and all tree-nuts" food allergy. He reassured her food safety for lunch and dinner every day by nightly presenting her with the next day's menus so that she could pre-select her meals, and the cook-staff ensured her food was not contaminated. Regarding the talent on-board, the Princess cast only presented 3 times in 12-nights, and the various talents brought on board for a show or two were average. While there was no crew or passenger talent show, we did enjoy the cooking demonstration presented by Executive Chef Giuseppe Pollara with Matre D'Hotel, Luigi Pascale. All ports in NZ & AU are fabulous and very easy for us to do on our own. In Akaroa, we booked with Princess the "Swim with the Hector Dolphins" excursion for $199 US. The local outfit was beyond reproach and told us before suiting up: "on this morning's excursion, no Hector Dolphins were spotted, and very unlikely you will be able to swim with them this afternoon", and they gave up the option of a lesser non-swimming excursion (with little prospect of seeing the Hector Dolphins) or a FULL REFUND. They were very kind and honest to let us have the option in advance. (ps: you can book direct with BLACK CAT CRUISES in Akaroa Harbour for a little bit of savings versus booking through Princess, the ship docks right in Akaroa Harbour). We are getting ready for our next Princess cruise, 29-nights aboard the Pacific Princess sailing Nov. 23, 2017 from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale. Bon Voyage, and happy and safe sailing to all. ps: the only reason I rated the Embarkation in Auckland as "Terrible" is because they had all non-VIP wait outside the port building in the blistering sun & heat until 1pm embark time (in all my other experiences we were always sheltered indoors). I did not mind as this gave me 2 hours to explore Auckland waterfront while my husband found shelter in a cafe, but there were some elderly people who had to sit hodge-podge anywhere they could find outside the Princesss port building as they were not allowed inside, and there was very little shade to be found outside. Passengers with privileges were allowed to embark at 11am. There was quite a bit of confusion all around, and when 1pm embarkation began for the common-folk, the queue was very disorganized, a bit helter-skelter, until we got up the escalator to the check-in counter. Everyone was very polite through-out, just disorganized. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This is a cruise to connect with the dawn princess coming from sydney on the 9/02/17 .embarkation was no problem because there were only 430 new passengers in auckland . We had a shore tour before we got on the ship . It was a bus trip to ... Read More
This is a cruise to connect with the dawn princess coming from sydney on the 9/02/17 .embarkation was no problem because there were only 430 new passengers in auckland . We had a shore tour before we got on the ship . It was a bus trip to davenport with a ferry trip back to the ship on your own ,all in all a very good tour . This was our first cruise with golden princess to test the ship for the future . We just had 11 fantastic days on the dawn princess !! we had fixed dining ,and staff working in the dining room were excellent ,but the meals were not the same standard as on the dawn . Horizon court was fine . The general layout of the ship not very passenger friendly on a short cruise.. 90 % of staff very friendly 10% did not want to be there . disembarkation was a shambels . When things went well they told you so every opportunity , when things did not go to plan they did not tell you untill after the event . We had people passing out in congested hallways leading to the meeting areas. As we got to the luggage pick up area one small peace of luggage was missing , having booked seats on the airport shuttle we had to go and catch that bus . On the bus we talked to several people that had luggage missing ,all the same color and number tag. i contacted princess the next day ,they knew nothing about it . Left all the information required to contact me as soon as they had news of what happened . At this stage 48 hours no news . Overall not a nice experience !! Will we Sail on Golden again "Not likely Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This cruise suited our dates, and length of time. I also thought for a first cruise, a bigger ship would be best. Princess also appeared to have a consistent acceptable standard, and generally very good reviews. The Golden Princess is an ... Read More
This cruise suited our dates, and length of time. I also thought for a first cruise, a bigger ship would be best. Princess also appeared to have a consistent acceptable standard, and generally very good reviews. The Golden Princess is an older ship and I was pleasantly surprised at how presentable most areas were for its age, but this ship needs a renovation and we were not the only people who thought so. Our mini-suite cabin was immaculate and clean, and steward service excellent. I did not choose the position of our cabin on the Dolphin deck, but can vouch for this level as in having uninterrupted views from balcony to the water and for being extremely quiet. The coffee was the International Cafe was top notch and of a generous portion. We could not find fault with any dining or bar service. Preferring the dining rooms for meals, we only ate at the buffet twice and while the food was just OK (I felt like I was eating in a very busy shopping centre food court), it was the musty smell coming from either the carpet or surfaces that was very off putting. I was hoping our two available dining rooms for anytime dining would be different from one another in food and decor, but being almost identical, this same environment every night became a bit tiring. The food was very good, with small portions. We ate at the Crown Grill one night, and it was my favourite meal of the entire cruise, the exquisite food and the setting. I was disappointed with the Sabatini restaurant and the food, it just felt like an extension of the dining rooms. The food at the International Cafe is set up for those who want sweet, unhealthy fare. I was disappointed that I could not get a savoury healthy slice of loaf or muffin with my coffee and had to resort to a quiche or salad instead. We expected more roving musical or performing arts entertainment throughout the day, of which there was none. Only three theatre performances had the wow factor, and the general music provided on the ship is definitely in favour of those born in the 40's and 50's. We did not do shore excursions but explored on our own, and enjoyed these days. The general procedures getting on and off the ship were smooth and with good organisation. We did not travel with children. Yes, we will cruise again, but not for a while. I will most likely look at another cruise line. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We are a retired couple cruising for the 4th time on Princess. This trip was on my husband's bucket list. We booked 10 days in Australia through a private travel agent--had excellent hotels except in Ayers Rock. The ship ... Read More
We are a retired couple cruising for the 4th time on Princess. This trip was on my husband's bucket list. We booked 10 days in Australia through a private travel agent--had excellent hotels except in Ayers Rock. The ship condition was shabby. Many of the chairs in the public areas were simply worn out--dirty with cushions that were flat and hard. Activities were just okay. They usually had one special activity each day, but the rest were repetitive and not well attended. Service was generally good. We did not use any port and shore excursions due to the exorbitant cost. We took private tours in Picton (Jade Tours) and Akaroa (ES Tours). In the other ports we used public transportation or walked. We took a wine tour in Picton that was excellent - 5 wineries and the candy factory for about 1/3 the price of the ship's equivalent and twice the wineries. In Akaroa we went to Christchurch and it was quite good. The Diamond is definitely due for refurbishing! Our bed and pillows were hard and lumpy. The lamps were corroded, the hairdryer overheated every time I used it. When got to our cabin there was a terrible odor around the bathroom and closet. We complained, and while they were responsive to our complaints, it took 3 or 4 days to get rid of the odor. When we asked about moving to another cabin, they said the ship was completely full. We thought the entertainment was quite good--some better than other, but that's partly a matter of taste. We encountered bad weather and were unable to get into Dunedin and the Fjords, which was very disappointing, and led to 4 days at sea in dreary weather and rough seas. The captain made the right decision, I'm sure, but the 4 days at sea were boring. I didn't feel they did much extra to provide entertainment. That also meant that the planned evening entertainment was repeated, but that wasn't awful. We do feel Princess was very fair about the missed port and Fjords--they refunded our port taxes and gave us a generous credit toward our next cruise. Disembarkation. Behind schedule, and it was pouring rain. My luggage was obviously left sitting in the rain, because everything in my bag was wet when I got home 24 hours later. My husband's bag was not as wet, a book he packed in the outside pocket of his bag got quite wet. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
We took a cruise on the Diamond Princess from Auckland NZ ending in Sydney Australia. We had some good experiences and we had some disappointing ones...please allow us to share: Pro's: 1. Great food, did not tire of even after 12 ... Read More
We took a cruise on the Diamond Princess from Auckland NZ ending in Sydney Australia. We had some good experiences and we had some disappointing ones...please allow us to share: Pro's: 1. Great food, did not tire of even after 12 days 2. Some good head waiters in select resturaunts...find them and you will get great service...get the wrong ones and you will be disappointed if not insulted. 3. Antidotally, the age of fellow cruise members were closer to 70...if you are under 60 you may not like this. 4. We had great cabin Steward but ran in to some bad ones. Con's: 1. Some bad egg head waiters and cabin stewards 2. Cheap watches sold that after day one broke. 3. Shore excursions...we took 5 excursions (one in every port)...all of them had a cattle herding mentality, being herded, rushed, often with no time for bathroom breaks, gift shops, and not being rushed. Some rude tour guides. Princess Cruises has done a sub par job of managing and monitoring their shore excursion contractors. Brought up issues to tour and customer service managers aboard the princess and they failed to satisfactory remedy. Our advice, if you have the time and eneryg, go on your own and avoid the Princess shore excursions. 4. Cabin maintenance is poor. We had an inop AC, burned out lights, balcony door would not properly latch, rubber residue in toilet, and problems with noises and hardware missing off balcony curtain and slider. It took three attempts to management to correct all the discs, the final of which happened on day 10 of the four day tour. We saw several other cabins where their toilets overflowed (nightmare) and the elevator buttons are sticky. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My experience on the Sun Princess Dec 8th - Dec 21st had good moments and bad moments I was on a cruise from Auckland to Auckland and I got onto the ship thinking I was getting on the ship at the 'beginning' of a cruise and ... Read More
My experience on the Sun Princess Dec 8th - Dec 21st had good moments and bad moments I was on a cruise from Auckland to Auckland and I got onto the ship thinking I was getting on the ship at the 'beginning' of a cruise and getting off at the 'end' of a cruise. It wasn't until I was on the ship and noticed that my cruise card had the wrong disembarkation date on it that I discovered that I was technically on bits of two different cruises. This is something that Princess could have let the Auckland passengers in on (there were 300 of us) before we got on the ship - as most of the Aucklanders that got on were under the same impression as I was - I still would have done the cruise but it would have been better to know as I would have arrived at the terminal earlier to get onto the ship earlier. Firstly the weather was fantastic and the crossing of the Tasman - there and back - was the smoothest trips I have ever had and I have crossed the Tasman 8 times My cabin steward was fantastic and the head waiter, waiter and junior waiter at my table in the Regency dining room were also fantastic The chefs/cooks in the International cafe were excellent as well That is probably where the positive ends I normally don't eat in the buffet but I did have to on 2 occasions and I found it to be just awful. The food was horrible and I found it difficult to find more than 3 mouthfuls of food that I wanted to eat. That is really only where the bad started I was on the ill-fated Norovirus outbreak cruise and I am guessing they are still in the middle of the outbreak now. The benefit of a norovirus outbreak is that everything is served to you - right down to little packets of salt with dinner. The bad thing was that the staff became so over worked that the service became surly. I understand it is so much more work having to do all of the serving BUT it's a cruise ship - it's the perfect environment for Norovirus to breed so they should be used to it or at least prepared for it (My dinner service was exceptional every night - so why couldn't the other meals be the same) I have food allergies and I have to say that I was quite disappointed with how the kitchen handled this. I was given a menu every night for the following night by the head waiter and I thought it was so if there was something that I wanted to eat and it had the food I was allergic to in it they would change it so it was ok for me. With a citrus allergy I have issues with a lot of sauces and I found that if a sauce contained citrus they just didn't use it - which meant that a couple of times I had very dry meat or fish so I ended up having to order something else. Also a couple of times the kitchen served me food with citrus and the only reason I didn't end up with it was because of my amazing waiter and junior waiter catching the mistake before it got to me. All the ports of NZ were awesome and being a Kiwi and getting to see places I have never seen before was great. The entertainment was ok - the shows would have been amazing if the dancers had been a little better at their jobs. I have seen a couple of shows on other Princess ships and they were spectacular with the right dancers. The male and female singers were excellent though. They made the shows better because of their excellent singing. As the average age of my cruise was 62 for the first half and 57 for the 2nd half the music was more suited to an older crowd so I didn't really get into all of the other shows and performers - I am in my 30's so a little bit of music for my kind of taste would have been great. I did find the cruise director to be very funny though. I always liked his little 5 mins of jokes and banter at the end of the shows in the Princess Theatre. One thing I did find quite annoying was the people constantly at us to buy stuff, up sell etc - telling me I really should buy a coffee card and when I would tell them that I don't drink coffee they would still try to sell me one???? Getting your photo coming off the ship, going onto the ship - they can get quite aggressive about it. Why should I have to wait 5 mins while you take photos of 10 other people when I am NOT going to buy an overpriced photo When we arrived in Sydney this was the most badly organised port I have ever experienced and I have been on 9 cruises with lots of ports. My mother and I booked a shuttle from the ship to Circular Quay (this was through the ship) $20 each and was a pick up at the ship at 0900 and a pick up at Circular Quay at 1400 the only other option was pick up from ship at 1000 and pick up at Circular Quay at 1500. As my mother has mobility issues this seemed like the best option as we were going to get on a train and the train is right there. First issue of Sydney is that we were directed into the Customs queue and not the transit passengers queue - I questioned it and was told we should be in the customs queue. It was already 0900 and our shuttle was leaving at 0900. We spent 20 mins in the queue and finally got out to our shuttle - half of the bus was in the queue where I was so the shuttle hadn't left yet. We didn't get on our way until approx 0930 and the driver informed us before we got on the bus that he would be dropping us off at the opera house and picking us up from the opera house at 1300. I disputed that with him and advised that we had been told 1400 for pick up. He said it was 1300 and if we weren't on the bus at 1300 he would leave without us and we would have to find our own way back to White Bay. As I got on the bus I asked a couple of people that I had become friendly with if they thought pick up was 1300 or 1400 and they all said 1400. We were not given an option to stop at circular quay as we had been advised and there is not much but the opera house where we were dropped off. I asked the driver how far away a shopping mall was from where we were and he pointed up a hill and advised 'a couple of blocks' I advised my mother has mobility issues (asthma) and can't walk up hills like that where else could we go. He advised as a favour he would drive us to the shopping mall a couple of blocks up the road (another 12 - 15 people also took him up on this) His idea of blocks and my idea of blocks are a little different - it was about 4 or 5 kms and most of it was up hill. The mall he took us to consisted of stores like Gucci - so definitely out of my price range. We spent about 2 hours in a cafe at the mall as there wasn't anything else to do. We headed back to the Opera house and we arrived early so we didn't 'miss' the 1300 deadline. Well the bus didn't even show up until 1315 After I got back onto the ship I went and spoke to the excursion department and was spoken to by the women who I think is in charge, She advised me that it was my mistake that I got the pick up time wrong and she didn't care when I advised there was a full bus of people who thought the same as me, she apologised to me saying that she was sorry I got the wrong idea???? Ummmm really??? Not sure that is an apology - she wouldn't even touch on the fact that the driver would only drop us off at the opera house and we were advised by the 2nd bus load of people that there should have been 4 different drop off points not just one and after a number of people had complained they started refunding people who had to get taxis - but we didn't get a receipt for ours so didn't get a refund. The excursion dept would not consider refunding anyone for the actual shuttle. I certainly hope Princess looks at that company and/or driver and re-consider their contract and the excursion department needs to look at how they speak to passengers and explain what the excursion entails and if they get it wrong they need to acknowledge it and just refund the money because of their screw up - it's not like it was a $200 excursion. Over all I had a great cruise - I met some awesome people and had lots of laughs with them and received some awesome service from some of the crew. The bad bits wont stop me going on more cruises as they are what you make of them. I just think the bad needs to be pointed out as well as the good!!!   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Diamond Princess 23rd December 2013 to 4th January 2014 Auckland to Sydney Embarkation The Auckland cruise terminal was very efficient. Check in and embarkation was quick and smooth. Being relative early around 11.00am we had an easy and ... Read More
Diamond Princess 23rd December 2013 to 4th January 2014 Auckland to Sydney Embarkation The Auckland cruise terminal was very efficient. Check in and embarkation was quick and smooth. Being relative early around 11.00am we had an easy and flawless passage, being on ship within 45 minutes. The cabin was ready as soon as we boarded the ship and our steward was an absolute delight. First Impressions We quite often cruise over Christmas – New Year period to get away from the rat race. This cruise was a big disappointment. As soon as you get on board you are hounded by staff trying to sell Wine Packages, coffee cards, soft drinks packages, wine tastings etc. not a pleasant experience. All the staff with very few exceptions seemed like it was an effort and a hindrance to carry out the simplest of tasks. Even getting the attention of a drink waiter was an effort some nights. We had Christmas Day and New Years Eve onboard so there is a premium to pay for the extras. But! There were some very good decorations throughout the ship but no extras. Christmas Day consisted of Santa being in the atrium for 2 hours. Christmas lunch was a few slices of ham. Dinner wasn’t much better but we were offered sliced turkey and pudding. New Year's Eve also barely happened. Some of the outside areas were blocked off early in the night for some unknown reason and the outside bars closed early. The atmosphere was less than celebratory. A balloon drop for New Years Eve was probably the extent of it. Both days are done better by other lines. Hygiene Where are the hand sanitizers? This was the third cruise line we had been on in the last 18 months and by far the least hygienic. The public areas don’t seem to get cleaned down at regular intervals and dispensers are only near the food lines. On a previous cruise with another line you were not allowed to board the ship until you had sanitised your hands, this should be standard across the cruise industry. Shore Excursions Everybody knows you pay a premium for tours booked through Princess. New Zealand tours are modified to cater for the cruise industry, cutting short some journeys so that you are back on time. Those who booked private tours generally failed to meet the departure times because of the slow disembarkation of 2000+ passengers. So in that respect the Princess tours suddenly seem better value. On this cruise we booked two tours and found them both to be excellent. A little overpriced but still worthwhile. Akaroa: Dolphin watching harbour cruise. We were on a small boat that was moved around a lot by the swell. Quite a few people were seasick. But we did see dolphins, seals and penguins so the object was achieved. Port Chalmers/Dunedin: Taieri Gorge Railway and Lanarch Castle. We were very impressed with the train trip through the gorge. The staff were great and very informative and the meals were good as well. Same for the castle, the driver was very good and we had a very comfortable coach. All in all a great day. Ports Tauranga: A very easy going port, a NZ beach town, with lots of shops and quite enough to occupy the day. We walked around and stayed in the port area. There is a great walk up the nearby knoll with spectacular views that fills in a few hours. The beaches in the area are also spectacular. Akoroa/Christchurch: Lyttleton is still closed. Akaroa is the alternate stop and tenders are used to get you ashore. It's a very quaint harbour village. If you want there is a bus available on shore that will get to back and forth to Christchurch. Judging by the crowd at every coffee shop, café and restaurant, I figure that most people agree with me that coffee onboard is pretty bad. It’s an easy walk around the village with plenty to see for a few hours. Check out the fudge at the market, it’s fantastic. Port Chalmers/Dunedin: We boarded the train straight off the pier and spent the entire day on a tour. Hobart and Melbourne: I’m an Aussie so I’ve been here hundreds of times. The yachts from the Sydney to Hobart yacht race were still in town and available to walk around the piers to have a look. Food The biggest disappointment! Based on previous cruises the food standard has fallen to a lower level, in all of the outlets. This is the first cruise I have been on where in the main dining room two main courses and one desert were inedible. This was a first for me to send back meals because they weren’t good enough. Plus some of the food choices at the buffet were substandard as well. International Dining Room I prefer to eat at a regular time, so we enjoyed the same company each night at our table. The standard of service for our table was not the best we have experienced, on a number of occasions the waiter did not deliver the correct menu item ordered and the meals were also returned. But my biggest bugbear was the head waiter made no apologies for the poor food, but just explained that she would provide the feedback to the chef. Entertainment Well below par. I’ve seen better shows at my local club. Another disappointment! The bands were very good and very personable. As a dancer it is important to me that the music caters for my feet, and to a large extent these guys did that. I’ve got to say that ship has the best dance floors of all the ships I have been on. Overall This is meant to be a five star ship. But it did not meet my expectations of five stars and struggled to meet four stars. I would need to think long and hard before I book another princess cruise. The service levels were low and the cruise was not up to scratch. Our diner party, both platinum travellers, on our table were also very disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
PRINCESS CRUISES DIAMOND PRINCESS When we booked our 35 day cruise, taking us some 13,000 miles from Auckland to Beijing with 16 stops in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and China we wondered how Princess could meet ... Read More
PRINCESS CRUISES DIAMOND PRINCESS When we booked our 35 day cruise, taking us some 13,000 miles from Auckland to Beijing with 16 stops in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and China we wondered how Princess could meet the standards we have experienced on Cunard and Holland America at a cost of only £140 per person per day on a magnificent ship and in a mini suite with one of the largest balconies imaginable. The answer is they can't and they make little pretence of trying to. That is not to say the cruise -- which we thoroughly enjoyed -- wasn't good value. But it's a distinctly downmarket product. One gets a sense of this with the first cup of coffee. The mugs in the Lido (or the Horizon Court as Princess calls it) are melamine, as are the plates. And the coffee is pretty much undrinkable. The food there is however, very good. Bland, of course, but varied and with simple things done well. I would rate their production of breakfast as highly as anything we've experienced at sea with first class eggs, excellent corned beef hash and lean English bacon alongside the crispy American variety. The Lido is really where Princess put most of their catering effort and, in their defence, they are responding to what customers want. Huge portions are the priority and day after day, meal after meal, we watched cruisers fill the enormous oval dinner plates with massive helpings. Not surprisingly, many of the cruisers were as massive as the portions they loaded onto their plates. But in the formal restaurant, things are disappointing. Formal dining may not last much longer on Princess. On the second, 8.15 sitting, we sat in a frequently half full restaurant where the service was very good but where the food was largely mediocre and sometimes simply poor. If only it had matched the quality of the prose on the menu. One night, between Hong Kong and Taiwan, the six of us ordered Rib Eye steaks which were huge in size but with so much gristle that not one of us would have paid for them in a restaurant. The beef was almost always lacking in flavour and the kitchen perpetually struggled to produce steaks or prime rib which met our requirements. One night, medium rare beef would be nearly blue and on another almost well done. Vegetables were sad, the soups inevitably uninspiring and everything was served with far too much salt. We drank so much water at dinner that we always left the table feeling bloated. There are good things about Diamond Princess. The ship is magnificent with six pools and eighteen bars and its size meant that it coped superbly with some unusually difficult weather including, at one point, 30-foot seas and a force ten gale. The staff are always well presented, always wonderfully welcoming, and we found the bar staff outstanding. The Crooners Bar produces Margaritas to die for. But the entertainment was generally very poor with puerile comedians and two Cruise Directors convinced that their job was all about presenting an imbecilic morning show on stateroom TV. Movies Under The Stars provided an exception. The picture quality was good, the sound quality excellent and this was a delightful way to watch the cinema late at night. The cabins are the usual high quality. We had D736 a mini suite but designed for disabled customers and with two beds which would not easily fit together. But by compensation we had a huge bathroom and a magnificent balcony of double the normal size and with views to the rear as well out to sea. We had just one cabin steward who had to cope with twenty rooms on his own and we soon realised that it was impossible for him to respond promptly or sometimes at all to additional requests. The customer base is a little different to our previous experiences on Cunard and Holland America. There was little formality and only a minority of men wore tuxedos on the half dozen formal nights. On the other nights smart casual really meant that anything goes, including shorts and lots of blue denim jeans worn by men who were old enough to know better. Baseball caps in the formal dining room were a common sight. So our verdict on Princess? Good value but this is an economy product. Nothing wrong with that. But if you have enjoyed the standards of lines like Cunard or HAL (even though they might cost more) you'll find Princess seriously lacking. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
We arrived in Auckland after a very unpleasant flight on Air Pacific using American miles, uncomfortable seats, bad service and a terrible stop at Fiji airport which was completely disorganized and inadequate. Doing it again we would ... Read More
We arrived in Auckland after a very unpleasant flight on Air Pacific using American miles, uncomfortable seats, bad service and a terrible stop at Fiji airport which was completely disorganized and inadequate. Doing it again we would rather pay than fly on Air Pacific. The Qantas return from Sydney was very comfortable on the new 380 and service was 100% better. We stayed at the Hilton Auckland on the pier adjacent to the ship-very nice and also convenient for city walking. 4 days was more than adequate for Auckland-there is a tower, a very fine museum, ferry rides to islands, very attractive port area with many restaurants and very expensive food-$20 hamburgers except at McDonald's and $6 coffee. Boarding for the cruise was fairly efficient even though the ship was completely full-too full. However, everything was crowded almost all the time, dining, shows, buffet-too many people for the space and services. We had to arrive for a show 30 minutes prior to get a seat and sometimes that wasn't enough. Our cabin had a partially blocked window. It was adequate but not luxurious. The Princess arrangement with the closet in front of the bathroom as a room divider works well. Probably the worst feature of the ordinary princess cabin is the tiny bathroom. I really don't know how large people manage? First port was Tauranga-very pretty-nice weather. We took a tour to the Maori area and show. Some interesting historical information, native dancing but a very informal setting in sort of a plain community center type building. Second port was Akaroa due to earthquake in Christ Church. Akaroa is a little village on an attractive bay (volcano caldera) ,however, there isn't much to do there. We took a local tour around the countryside to a cheese factory and some scenic overlooks. Third port was Dunedin-interesting city with Scottish flavor-getting to city involves 30 minute bus ride as ship is unable to navigate to inside harbor. We took a very nice guided city tour of entire area on our own from city tourist bureau. Nearby art museum had a very pleasant cafe on the street where we ate lunch. While we were in Dunedin, a cold and windy day, the captain of the ship announced that we would not be going any further south as scheduled due to a big storm and that we would not be seeing the New Zealand fjords. That was disappointing but, of course, safety is the first concern. As a result we turned back north to cross through the Cook Strait, the body of water between the north and south islands of New Zealand. The captain said this was 900 miles out of the way. So, we entered the Tasman Sea on our way to Hobart Tasmania. For two days the seas were extremely rough! The captain had to stop the ship because the waves were so high. It was a force 9 or 10 storm with 30 foot waves and extremely unpleasant and more unpleasant for those of us who were seasick for 2 days. This was my 7th trip on a big ship and the first time being sick. After 3 days at sea we finally made it late into Hobart, Tasmania. The captain gave extra time in port due to the delay, and he did keep the passengers fairly well informed. In Hobart we took a ship tour to the animal park to see kangaroos and other Australian wildlife. Interesting to see the animals up close-you could pet the kangaroos and koalas, but the park was very small and the facilities were crude and undeveloped with little muddy paths. You would expect a more developed organized setting for such a large group of visitors. Next port was Melbourne, nice port facilities, but it was necessary to take a shuttle bus into town. The shuttle services were very inefficient and apparently not prepared to take the number of people needing the service. In hindsight we would have taken a taxi which we did on the return to ship. Melbourne has a free trolley that goes around the city so we had decided to go on our own- good idea except that the trolley and the available buses were so crowded you couldn't get on or off. What should have been a good experience turned out to be mostly unpleasant on a hot day. We did make it to the big market and to Captain Cook's cottage. Melbourne has beautiful parks and I'm sure is a fine city under different circumstances. Another sea day and then Sydney. We arrived in Sydney early morning and ate breakfast as we glided by the Sydney Bridge and opera house-one of those iconic experiences. The port in Sydney is right at the Rocks and Circular Quay -very convenient for most hotels or a short taxi ride. We stayed at the Sydney Hilton-very nice ultra modern hotel and very convenient for walking around the city. In my opinion Sydney was the best port and most beautiful city. We went to a performance at the opera house, toured around the historical area on our own and went to the botannical gardens -all very attractive. However, be warned restaurant food in Sydney is considerably more expensive than comparable in U.S. This cruise, in my opinion, has too many at sea days,6. The food was typical Princess food, good and plentiful, but mostly not gourmet. The main show entertainment was very good, however, shows in bar areas were almost impossible to get into. There was a good lecturer on board who has written several books about the history of cruise ships and cruising, John Maxton Graham, and we enjoyed his lectures. Worst problem on ship was overcrowding. If we take another Princess cruise it will not have so many "at sea days" and hopefully will not be so overbooked. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Well here we are back from our first ever cruise so far from the UK, boarding in Auckland and finishing in Sydney, What we wanted was to experience something really new so the Diamond Princess arrives in Australia. So what culinary ... Read More
Well here we are back from our first ever cruise so far from the UK, boarding in Auckland and finishing in Sydney, What we wanted was to experience something really new so the Diamond Princess arrives in Australia. So what culinary treat do we get as the restaurant theme>>>THAI. Amazing !! Who'se idea was that ?? We never got the feel of the great food experience of our being anywhere near New Zealand or Australia on board. All the boat is is a little America and that is who it caters for. We were told that is because the Americans were the majority of the passengers but that was not the case, there were 1100 compared to 1500 from the rest of the world. We also had one of the best weather days twice taking over three decks by the big screen showing American football with all the accompanying noise, plus barsscreening the matches. No thought of the odd soccer match which is recognised world wide, but no just satisfy the USA so called majority. The entertainment was very poor just the same show each time, singers and dancers with a different theme. On the plus side it's a great ship, the staff are briliiant and the drink prices are really good especialy with the after eight offers, but that is our last trip on an American owned line. We go to America regularly but do not want another little America on waterthank you very much. Richard & Lorna Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
After traveling 22 hours from NJ and having a lovely flight business class on Air New Zealand we were excited to join our 7th cruise (a first with Princess) in Auckland - even though it was 7AM our enthusiasm was high - soon to be drowned ... Read More
After traveling 22 hours from NJ and having a lovely flight business class on Air New Zealand we were excited to join our 7th cruise (a first with Princess) in Auckland - even though it was 7AM our enthusiasm was high - soon to be drowned by the "in-hospitality" room set up by Princess for the prepaid transfer from airport to ship - We were trundled unceremoniously to a cold convention center dining room and left to "munch" at 7AM on coffee, tea, water and cookies - yes, cookies - maybe we are conservative but cookies after 24 hours of travel not a hint of a continental breakfast and worse yet, toilet facilities were 2 floors away and now, in a strange city, dead tired we were told there were restaurants etc nearby if we chose to leave the convention center - the Princess rep, Nick, was annoyed at our dismay, and we were further annoyed to find that we were literally within walking distance of the pier where there were many easily accessible places to relax and get a bite to eat - even a lovely Hilton Hotel where some of us would have gladly rented a room for the day while waiting to board rather than sit at a dining room table with no amenities and a Princess ground staff merely interested in keeping us confined. Well, we thought this is not Cunard, not Regent and not Holland American (our previous cruise providers). On board we found a lovely cabin, poor cabin service, a wonderful dining room staff and less the wonderful food,a Lido deck that was reminiscent of a college cafeteria and many sea days with nothing spectacular to do unless you paid an extra fee. Tours were outrageously high priced and offered less than one would expect for the money (many other passengers agreed). Getting a TV schedule was difficult. All in all would we cruise Princess again - NO, based again on the fact that our prepaid transfer to the airport in Sydney was a complete disaster and no one from Princess was at the airport to 'help' as promised with airport staff telling us that "they always say they will be here but they never are". Think twice before you go on the Diamond (which by the way is really the old Sapphire because the Diamond burned and the Sapphire was renamed - bad luck the ship's crew says - We say just a bad choice. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
In order to keep this organized and simple, I have broken this review out into several categories: General Information Having been on 2 cruises prior (still a newbie to cruising really) my husband and I decided to do a cruise to our ... Read More
In order to keep this organized and simple, I have broken this review out into several categories: General Information Having been on 2 cruises prior (still a newbie to cruising really) my husband and I decided to do a cruise to our favorite place on earth - New Zealand. This was our second cruise together but the first on Princess. We arrived in Auckland the day before sailing and did independent activities prior to embarkation on the Sapphire Princess. Embarkation Embarkation was extremely easy and fast. We arrived at 215pm as I had read that if you try to get there early it is a madhouse and generally results in long lines. We chose to do a tour in the morning and arrive after 2 to see if that would help. It did, we walked onto the ship in under 10 minutes. Our luggage wasn't delivered by 5pm and my husband had to go hunting for it as they had recorded that it had been. We had seen it in the hallway farther away from our cabin at one point, but when we returned from dinner - it was gone and someone else's luggage was at our door. The situation was corrected though and after some tracking down - we had our luggage unpacked. Stateroom Our stateroom was really nice. It was technically classed as an oceanview but did in fact have a balcony that was available to use at all times. Our cabin was directly at the front of the ship on deck 10. Princess said that they locked the door when we were at sea, but that wasn't the case. The stateroom was large and roomy and had lots of storage. The shower was larger than expected and other than not having a sofa or chairs to sit in (other than the deck chair and one other tiny chair) it was great. Activities We found that the number of activities on sea days (there were 6 days you didn't leave the ship on this cruise) were seriously lacking. The crowd was MUCH older and the activities were obviously geared towards that demographic. Now I understand that there are going to be some 50+ people and generally speaking that is the vacation of choice for the more senior people, however, we weren't expecting more than 70% of the ship to be over 60. My husband and I are late 30's and on previous cruises have had a much more varied amount of age groups and activities to support them. Service The service was always pleasant and we generally received prompt and courteous treatment. It didn't feel like anyone was going above and beyond though - only that they were doing the minimum. I completely missed the little "towelgami" animals that other lines do for you and was very disappointed. Our cabin steward was very good though and accommodated all our special requests with a smile. Shore Excursions The shore excursions were VERY well organized - more so than on other lines. We assembled each day in a specified meeting place and were escorted off the ship to our transportation. It was great and the shore excursions were mostly worth the money. A couple of points to note, one was late departing due to uncontrollable circumstances, but then COMPLETELY rushed and the driver wasn't a good tour guide at all. Others told us about the local industry, housing prices, etc. He was very limited and our tour was kind of rushed. The only other negative observation about the tours was that due to the number of people on them, sometimes they felt rushed and crowded, to be expected, but worth mentioning because I hadn't thought about that. Dining Ok, so this is the one area that I have very few positive comments to make. On other cruises the food has been completely 5 star. In this case, it was very cafeteria like. We ate in both specialty restaurants as well as all meals (B, L and D) in the Horizon Court buffet and all of the other dining rooms. There was usually one good thing about a meal in the dining room (i.e. the appetizer, the main or the dessert) but generally speaking it was all just ok. Nothing was "terrible" but nothing was 5 star either. The sterling steak house was just a sectioned off portion of the Horizon Court and was just average. Sabatini's was good but again not great. All the steaks seemed to have oil on them, not sure why they'd cook steak in oil, but whatever. Room service was quite disgusting...cold and very limited. We were both very disappointed with all the food and were pretty happy when we could pay for lunch in port. On the positive side, the fresh pineapple was awesome on the breakfast buffet and we discovered (on the last day) the free ice cream at 3pm in the Horizon court. Entertainment Geared towards the older crowd for sure, we were excited that there was a comedy act on the ship - the performer must have been nearly 90 and wasn't funny at all. The magician was great but that was about all. The game shows in the lounges again weren't highly participated in so weren't that much fun. Overall it was ok - but generally we just caught up on our sleep in the evenings. Disembarkation This was again - very well organized and very quick. The only thing was that in Sydney when you disembark, it is very much - leave the ship and fend for yourself. No one from Princess in the disembarkation lounge to help - no phones to call hotel shuttles, etc. But overall pretty quick and organized. Summary Overall - it was an ok experience. It was definitely fun visiting all the ports of call, but had this been our first cruise it would have been our last. I guess it's a combination of "know your cruises and lines" and poorly executed service, dining and entertainment. That being said, I would still recommend it but only to those that want a VERY low key holiday. We will be avoiding Princess in the future only because we're not in that category yet. Read Less
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