We had heard fabulous things about this cruise line so we’re keen to experience it. We have travelled on two other cruise lines- Carnival and Holland America. So we aren’t inexperienced cruisers.
We had also heard how beautiful the cruise to this part of New Zealand is and were looking forward to the trip. On departure day we received a text to say the ship had arrived late so our embarkation time had changed. There were long lines to board the ship as a result. It was not clearly indicated where to drop your bag. The process to board was long but moved fairly well. You weren’t allowed into your cabin before 2pm. Many people were already on board enjoying their drinking package!
The ship itself is very large. At times you have a lengthy wait for a lift and they are full. Of course you can use the stairs. The main dining area prefers you to book every night. Actually you need to book at all the restaurants. In terms of the drinking package each guest has to buy the same package so if you buy the deluxe package and your partner doesn’t drink alcohol too bad they have to buy it also. For the package to be of value you have to consume a lot of alcohol every day. There is no wine package. We did however purchase the coffee / tea package which was great.
We found the food on board to be disappointing. We ate in Windjammer, main dining room, Jamie’s Italian and Chops Grille. Jamie’s Italian and Chops Grille were fantastic. Excellent food and service. Would recommend purchasing the specialty dining package as it reperesents good value for money.
Entertainment was disappointing except for an INXS cover band who were fantastic. Get to the entertainment in plenty of time otherwise you won’t get a seat due to the number of guests.
Can’t really comment on the pool area as it was too cold to use the one and only outdoor pool. There are 2 indoor pools, one being for adults only. This are was nice but seats are reserved early with no one using them. If the cruise had of been to the South Pacific then the main pool area would be too small for so many guests.
Disembarkation is a nightmare! Lots of guests were getting very cranky the day we left. Very disorganised. Communication was poor
Our cabin was a balcony cabin. They are quite long but not wide. Plenty of storage space and the bed was comfortable. We had very rough seas on the way to NZ and our door way to the balcony squeaked all night on our first night. We did get that fixed the next day and everything was fine after that.
In terms of the ports we didn’t make it into Dunedin. The fiords are stunning. In Wellington we wasted half the day waiting to get off the ship for our tour. We would’ve preferred to hop off and have a look around and then do our shore excursion. Picton is fabulous- take the time to walk around the town and if you get the chance do the wine trip to Marlborough.
I’d definitely go back to New Zealand but would do a self drive trip.
In terms of Royal Caribbean I won’t cruise with them again. There were too many boxes not ticked especially when compared to the other lines we’ve travelled with eg Food is better in Carnival & Holland America, Entertainment better in Carnival. Getting in and off the ship is better on both the other lines also.
Good storage. Balcony not huge but big enough. Bed comfortable