I’m back in the Country from NZ!

Breakdown of my first ever P & O cruising experience.

The first four days I was I was pretty crook and took awhile to adjust to the constant swaying. After speaking to a couple of staff they advised it was probably not wise to drink the tap water. Once I stopped this and started drinking bottled water I felt fine and no longer took any travel sickness pills for the remainder of the cruise.

The Food…
was sensational, delicious and extremely abundant!
It felt like the buffet was never ending!
(Several people mentioned it was unpleasant observing the majority of the passengers who were obese and a high percentage morbidly obese overusing the buffet facilities.)

I visited the onboard gym quite a few times and took several dance classes (Salsa, Swing, Rhumba, Cha Cha, Merengue, Waltz, Irish (River Dance) & Beginners Jazz) for exercise plus used the onboard stairs at every opportunity.

The service and food in the a la carte restaurants for dinner was nothing short of excellent and extremely professional. The staff were amazing. I have never experienced such extraordinary service, helpfulness and friendly people! This applied to all the staff on board in all the areas. The Captain mentioned there were over 680 staff from 30 nationalities and said, “If they can work together and get on so well, why can’t the rest of the world?” I AGREE!

General unknown info being a first time cruiser
I felt the cost of the internet was far too high, the best deal on offer was ($100 for 250mins), especially as I am a graphic and website designer with my own business and need to work onboard daily using the internet.

Unless you advise otherwise on the first day of boarding $7.50 is deducted from your credit card daily for a staff tip charge (I was advised of this from other passengers). It may be more discreet if this was included in the ticket price or the staff paid adequately for the excellent job they do.
From several sources it seems the majority work 12 – 16 hour days making $1600-$2300 a month which doesn’t seem to equate to a very high hourly rate? (though staff don’t pay any tax being in international waters). I tipped the staff that looked after me personally as they were sensational. The money that is deducted daily also goes to all the people behind the scenes you don’t see doing a great job such as the laundry and kitchen staff.

Many passengers mentioned they found the fluctuating prices unfair, as in the cost they paid for their cruise in comparison to others, there were variances of thousands of dollars, especially with last minute bookings receiving huge discounts. (Of course how many in the room and what sort of room effects these costs also.)

Many commented the photographs were extremely overpriced. If you hold off till the last couple of days they are discounted. Even discounted they are still pricey and if not brought, I was told thrown in the bin…would you not just sell them for $5 or $10 dollars?

Ear plugs are essential for a good nights sleep!

The onboard activities and entertainment were excellent and around the clock, there was a large range of variety to suit all ages and no room to be bored or not entertained!

The Tours & New Zealand
The tours were extremely well organised, had variety, were reasonably priced and well supervised. The sights and the country was absolutely beautiful.
The disembarkment from the boat was a slow process due to the numerous elderly and overweight passengers and particularly when getting on and off buses at the various stops throughout the day. Being a woman that is always on the go, I had to practice my patience skills and try to slow down a fraction for my sanity!

Cruising through Milford Sound was spectacular, amazing and very chilly.

Dunedin was fun with a tour of the city including Olveston House, the Museum and the Botanical Gardens. Then some NZ beers with locals and an amusing impromptu karaoke session including songs such a Waltzing Matilda, Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, I come from the Land Down Under, Up there Cazaly and A Pub with no Beer!

Christchurch it was off on a tram around the city, a punt ride then up the gondola (skylift)

Wellington, firstly it was off to Parliament House, which was extremely interesting. Then the Botanical Gardens, Museum and Tram / Gondola ride.

Tauranga, was a look around town then a helicopter ride followed by Hawaiian party night (Pictured here with Ugly Dave Gray).

Auckland it was off around town on the Explorer bus, up to Mount Eden then a quiet dinner with my friend Lee’s sister, Elisha.

I’ve heard the shorter cruises have more variety in passenger ages so let’s see how my Vanuatu trip for 7 days turns out on the 21st of this month…

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