I loved the small size of this ship. You never got lost and I found the fellow passengers very friendly. New Zealand is an amazing place to visit.
5 out of 5
Embarkation was seemless. Quick, friendly, helpful and on the ship in no time at all.
Food and Dining
2 out of 5
I never tried the specialty restaurants which other passengers said were well worth it. The dining room had nice food, not brilliant but good enough. The variety wasn't huge and many menu choices were repeated over and over. As gluten intolerant and wheat allergy I have issues wherever I dine. While the main dining room offered GF choices I got a little tired of fresh fruit or 'shrimp' cocktail as entrée. For the entire cruise there was only one other choice. The main meals also offered GF choices but when I asked could some meals be prepared GF this could not be accommodated. I am used to coated food being off limits however I found the lack of choice once again limiting more than usual. The buffet offered plenty of food. I certainly didn't starve and yes I did put on weight and over ate however I was disappointed that the bread was always frozen not fresh and that simple things like pancakes were never offered or when available hash browns were not gf. These are such easy things to accommodate. There was a decided lack of healthy choices. A lot of the food was very fatty and many of the gf choices were casseroles. Sure there was fresh fruit and salads but many of the salads appeared out of a can and the only lettuce I saw was iceberg. There were sugarless cakes which of course were not GF except occasionally in the dining room. I did notice there was sugar free maple syrup and I think there was an obvious slant towards a diabetic diet (if you could walk past all the mince, fat dripping bacon and assortment of donuts, pastries and breads). It's a good thing I like crème brulee otherwise my desert choice would also have been limited.
I do seem like I am being picky but on a cruise with another company each night I could review the menu for the next day to be able to make suggestions and choices, fresh gf bread was offered and even delicious and an attempt at variety was made.
The small cafe's around the ship offered absolutely no gf choices except, once again, fruit. In addition I found the buffet evening serving times limited.
For future travellers take note of the safety aspects of getting hot water for tea and coffee. This is done through the bar and there can be quite a line up for hot water or morning coffee.
5 out of 5
The gym was well equipped and daily free yoga/stretching and abs classes were a bonus. No matter what time of day I went it was never overcrowded. There was a full complement of treadmills, rowing machines, fitness machines, benches and free weights. Yoga mats were provided and towels and wipes were always available. The pools were clean, accommodating and well serviced. The only problem was the one small spa in the adult only area. This was the general lobster roasting place for a select group and it wasn't easy to get a place. I noticed the two spas in the family area were never full (interesting). I did sign up for the rock climbing but weather didn't permit my try out.
4 out of 5
The stage shows were mostly good quality and enjoyable. Bands and duets or individuals played around the ship in various locations and these were quite good.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
For the most part the staff were friendly with some more friendlier than others. The buffet staff were decidedly not a happy crew however the wait staff were. In the main dining room we were made quite aware of the poor pay and conditions, practically every night in fact. This was something we were aware of and intended tipping quite liberally however I admit I don't think the service or attitude warranted it. Our room steward was lovely and when we ordered room service the staff were friendly and seemed genuinely surprised but delighted when I tipped them.
3 out of 5
I constantly saw staff cleaning and wiping down public areas. I felt this was overall a very clean ship. I had read previous reviews about the age of the ship and I have to say that while the carpets need a revamp overall I don't think the ship looks old or tired. However the layout and use of areas is questionable. The public toilet areas seem directed more towards décor than providing adequate cubicles, the lifts are problematic, with one central bay and a line of lifts with a very quiet and quick notification you always miss the lift. The stairs however are well maintained and clean and never crowded. The central (centrum) area where they chose to host many entertainment events is small and seating is limited. With views from all the decks I suppose the company thinks this makes up for lack of seating on the main deck area but it really doesn't. Alternatively a large room with a wonderful dance floor was relegated to bingo and karaoke. The cinema was also very small and steep.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
Previous reviews said the beds were uncomfortable but I found the bed comfortable and the linen clean and well maintained. The room was tired and old but functional. The bedside cupboards were quite 'fragile' and i had to be careful every time I opened the draw or they would tip over. The curtains were very dusty and needed a good clean. We realised that the cabins only really received a perfunctory clean however our steward would replace towels several times a day.
Don't expect a 4-5 star ship but this small ship had mostly friendly staff and very friendly fellow voyagers, go for the trip and the places you want to visit not the on board entertainment or activities and definately not the food.
I didn't realise this slice of heaven was here. I definatley want to go back. I only chose a local tour instead of one of the longer, tiring trips across land but realised what a lovely place this was.
Auckland, although a lovely harbour is just another city and i didnt get to do what i really wanted to ie to visit the wild west coast. Instead i chose once again a small local tour and while this was interesting the main CBD was not the shoppers mecca I expected and returned to the ship sooner than expected.
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