On 8 January 2018 I went on my first ever cruise. I had been interested in going on a cruise for ages, years in fact, when I found out about a cruise going from Adelaide, South Australia to New Zealand and return from a friend and it got me excited about going on this cruise that was leaving from my home port! What the added bonus was to the cruise was there would be no plane flights, no hotel stays interstate, equals a bonus! When I spoke to another friend about it, they were in on it too, so we booked, paid the deposit and bingo, cruise here we come! Not only was it my first cruise, it was the first time that the Golden Princess was going from my home port to New Zealand, so for the both of us, it was a first.
The ship, the Golden Princess is beautiful and I instantly fell in love with the her but what was there not to love? She was going to be our home for the next 17 nights. The ship is easy for people to find their way around without too much trouble. The crew were wonderful, friendly, courteous, welcoming and they have a great sense of humour. Nothing was too hard for them and they made sure that the passengers have a wonderful time onboard.
The activities organised by the Cruise Director’s Team were varied so that there was something for everyone and if you missed something the first time around because you were busy doing something else on the day, there was opportunity if the activity was a popular one to be repeated later in the cruise. The cruise director team we had on the ship, kept us highly entertained with their humour and their love of fun. They knew how to tickle my funny bone!
My friend and I were in cabin, A257 on the Aloha Deck which has the aft elevators and stairs nearby and the cabin itself has cabins both underneath and up on the upper Lido Deck as well so you’re not near the public areas of the ship. Getting to places on the ship from the cabin is easy too. Some places are easier to walk to than others though. Since my friend and I spent a lot of time on the pool deck and in the Horizon Court Buffet on Deck 14, our cabin on Deck 12 was conveniently located for us.
During the cruise we only went to our dining room once, as we were assigned to the Caneletto Dining Room on Deck 6 right at the back of the ship and eating in the dining room wasn’t really our thing, so our meals were eaten in the Horizon Court Buffet, Prego’s Pizzeria or from the Trident Grill on the Lido Deck as we preferred the relaxed atmosphere over the Dining Room. There was always a good selection of food to choose from in the buffet and more choice.
On the cruise, we didn’t have shore excursions planned or booked but did our own thing in the ports we visited in New Zealand. I do recommend the hop on, hop off buses in Auckland though as you get to see around Auckland. We also went to the Cadbury chocolate shop in Dunedin and luckily for us, the crew who have to do their emergency crew training every 14 days, it was their day to do the emergency crew training. When it comes to visiting the chocolate shop in Dunedin, the crew go there with their large suitcases and buy up big! True story. I also recommend the historic train station in Dunedin as well. Dusky Sound and Milford Sound is a must see on a cruise… the views are out of this world! For shopaholics, there’s the town of Wellington which is a shoppers paradise! Just remember to not spend all your money!
For a good feed of fish and chips, or as the New Zealanders call them, fush and chups, Akaroa and Dunedin are two towns to visit. I found my feed of fish and chips in Dunedin at Best Cafe on Stuart Street which is between the Cadbury chocolate shop and the historic train station.
The entertainment onboard in the Princess Theatre or in the Explorers Lounge was some of the best entertainment I’ve seen, whether it be singing, dancing, karaoke, jugglers, comedians and everything else in between, it was always good.
Disembarkation Day is sad when your holiday is over but the Disembarkation process is smooth and you are given all the information you need to know prior to the day, if in doubt, the staff at the Passenger Service Desk will answer your questions.
In summary, I would love to repeat the cruise again as I had the best time. I loved it so much, I was thinking of how I could stowaway on the ship, that’s how much I loved it. It was my happy place in my ship bubble but all good things must come to an end. I highly recommend the cruise to others though and I hope that you have a wonderful time just like I did.
Until next time