This was a very unorganized and disappointing experience, you would think this was the first time they put together a cruise and not an established name in cruising.
4 out of 5
The embarkation went extremely smooth and fast which gave me high hopes for this trip, but I was quickly brought back down to reality by the end of the first day.
Food and Dining
2 out of 5
So this was my first time sailing on a Princess Cruise and I’m not impressed. We sailed from Auckland New Zealand to Sydney Australia and we were supposed to have five ports along the way. The embarkation went extremely smooth and fast which gave me high hopes for this trip, but I was quickly brought back down to reality by the end of the first day. When we got to our cabin it was pleasant enough, I stepped out on our balcony and was surprised at all the rust I could see, and noticed that the wire conduit above the balcony had three of its supports corroded all the way through and was only being held up by the wires the conduit was supposed to be protecting. I let maintenance know about the issue and they did fix it rather quickly (zipped tied by that evening and fixed within a couple days), but that made me question what kind of inspections and maintenance practices they utilize at Princess? Three mounts don’t corrode all the way through overnight. My doubts in their maintenance practices were reinforced throughout the cruise as I saw numerous leaks, one that closed down part of the buffet for lunch and another on our deck coming out of a light fixture in the ceiling only to name a couple. That evening on the first night we made our way down to the traditional dining room and the wait staff seemed to be in a hurry, this is something that was common on the 12 day cruise making the dining experience feel rushed and not that enjoyable. The food at the traditional dining was okay, I’d say of average quality nothing to brag about, but still leaps and bounds better than most of the buffet food. The buffet was well below my expectations, the options were lacking and the quality wasn’t there. On top of that the seating availability was severely lacking. It also seems like the only reason they offer you free coffee at the buffet is to make you want real coffee and spend money on the “Premium coffee” they sell at the bars.
Another thing that really bothered me, it felt like I had paid to go to a timeshare presentation. Around every corner and every time you sat down for a meal someone was trying to sell you something or up sale something you already bought. I realize they are trying to make money, but how many times do you have to say no to the same sales pitch!?
Things just got worse as the cruise progressed; we missed two ports due to weather. Now I don’t blame them for the weather, but I do blame them for the way they handle such issues. Turning what should be port days into another day a sea I don’t feel is an adequate substitute. I think they should have a backup port or some sort of plan B for these kinds of instances. Most people cruise for the ports that are advertised and not the days at sea. I would have rather seen a different port than the one advertised than not see any part of the country that I took this trip to see. I know they say the itinerary can change at any time and without notice but I feel like I ordered a 24oz steak and got a can of SPAM instead but for the same price.
Also customer service seemed to be lacking, it seemed like most of the crew were just there to collect a pay check and had no interest in providing much in the way of service. That’s not true for everyone but I’d say only about 1/3 of the crew seemed helpful and like they didn’t hate their job.
Overall I was extremely disappointed with my experience on the Diamond Princess, and I won’t go as far to say that I will never sail with them again, but they won’t be my first choice and I will never recommend them.
2 out of 5
We went to the start gazing, kind of underwhelming. The crew member who drew the short straw to lead this didn't really know anything about astronomy. He pointed out four constellations that he had memorized a few facts about. We also went to the fiordland presentation where a retired conservationist talked about the fiordlands but it was more like a presentation of his hiking and family outing photos and videos it really brought little to no added value.
2 out of 5
We only went to a couple of the shows, not really our thing. My wife enjoyed the Adele experience.
Service and Staff
2 out of 5
Although we had some good service it was few and far between. Most of the crew seemed to hate their job and were only there to collect a pay check.
2 out of 5
When we got to our cabin it was pleasant enough, I stepped out on our balcony and was surprised at all the rust I could see, and noticed that the wire conduit above the balcony had three of its supports corroded all the way through and was only being held up by the wires the conduit was supposed to be protecting. I let maintenance know about the issue and they did fix it rather quickly (zipped tied by that evening and fixed within a couple days), but that made me question what kind of inspections and maintenance practices they utilize at Princess? Three mounts don’t corrode all the way through overnight. My doubts in their maintenance practices were reinforced throughout the cruise as I saw numerous leaks, one that closed down part of the buffet for lunch and another on our deck coming out of a light fixture in the ceiling only to name a couple.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
Nothing to brag about, the steward kept it clean but didn't go above and beyond in anyway. On Norwegian we always came back to our room and had towel animals on our bed... nothing like that on Princess. The small things do make a difference, but Princess can't even seem to handle the big things.
Don't bother, look for a similar itinerary on a different cruise line.
We did the kayaking, thermal pools and glowworm cave no complaints here the guides were wonderful the kayaking was a fun workout and the thermal pools were relaxing. The glowworm cave really doesn't compare to the bigger well advertised caves you can see elsewhere but was still an enjoyable experience.
We went on a wildlife cruise in the harbor where we got to see royal albatross and some fur seals along with other sea birds. After the two hour cruise we took a shuttle to Dunedin and stopped at Cadbury and loaded up on chocolate. Overall a great day not being on the ship.
Beautiful city, we did have issues with customs. I say we as in the whole ship, customs was very slow and delayed our excursion by almost an hour. This meant we didn't get as much time at Russell falls as we wanted or intended but the falls are beautiful and we saw a wild wallaby. Then we went to wine tasting and lunch followed by a sheep herding and shearing demo. We finished our afternoon at Bonorong wildlife sanctuary where we got to feed and pet kangaroos and see other native species of wildlife like Tasmanian Devils. A wonderful day overall.
We took a ship excursion to featherdale wildlife park where we spent an hour then went and spent the rest of the day at the blue mountains national park. Overall a good day before they dropped us off in downtown Sydney.
3 out of 5
Disembarkation went rather smoothly, nothing to note one way or the other.
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