06 January 2005 Departure from Auckland NZ 07 January At sea 08
January Wellington NZ 09 January Christchurch NZ 10 January Dunedin
NZ 11 January Fjiordland NZ 12 January At sea crossing the Tasman
sea 13 January At sea crossing the Tasman sea 14 January Hobart
Australia 15 January At sea 16 January Melbourne Australia 17
January At sea 18 January Sydney Australia
We are Australian, married a "Baby boomer" couple still working.
Our occupations are Coordinator of Travel courses at a Travel
College, and Registered Nurse. This was our sixth cruise in total
4th on P/O Princess. We will talk in this report about the cruising
experience and briefly on some of the ports of call.
Firstly may we say that it was great to see so many Americans
and Canadians cruising in our part of the world. We hope you
enjoyed the experience and would love to see you back again. We
really enjoyed sharing experiences with you all.
The report is split into 4 sections 1/ Prior to the cruise 2/
The cruise experience 3/ Ports of call 4/
PRIOR TO CRUISE
We arrived in Auckland 3 days prior to the cruise departure and
stayed at Rydges Hotel which is about a 20 min walk to the shipping
terminal. The streets are well paved so you can wheel your luggage
easily. Rydges is a comfortable "no frills" hotel reasonably priced
with an excellent restaurant adjacent. We really enjoyed our meal
there. There is a lot to see in and around Auckland so several days
prior to cruise start would be a good idea. A cruise on the harbour
or a visit to one of the offshore islands, wine tastings, a ferry
to Devonport across the harbour would be some of the things you may
want to do. You can obtain discount voucher booklets for a range of
attractions around Auckland and thus be able to save quite a bit of
money. Viaduct Harbour is a great dining area near the Sapphire
Princess berth where the America's cup yachts where berthed during
the races. There are quite a few excellent restaurants here for you
to choose from. We liked V Grill, good food, service and not too
As many people have stated in reports previously it is essential
that you arrive at the cruise departure point at least the day
prior. It is extremely dangerous to arrive on the day of departure
as quite a few people found out on this cruise when their luggage
failed to arrive before departure of the ship. You only need a
flight delay and you have big problems.
On our departure day 6th January at about 8.30am we walked to
Sky Tower which is about 5 minutes walk from Rydges and took the
elevator to the top and where rewarded with a magnificent view of
Auckland and the Sapphire Princess at her Princes wharf berth. Sky
Tower is about 80 stories high so the view is spectacular and a
must when in Auckland. If you are lucky you may see people
undertaking a bungy jump from almost the top of the tower. They
allow a discount of 10% is you have one of the discount
THE CRUISE EXPERIENCE
We left our Hotel at about 10 am and walked down to the ship.
Embarkation on our tickets was scheduled to start at 12noon but
from previous experiences we have sometimes boarded early and we
like to get onto the ship as early as possible. No information was
provided with our tickets by Princess as to exactly where we had to
go to check in. The Princess wharf area is quite large and there
were a lot of people like us who were there early and as confused
as us as to where to go. Luckily we walked alongside the ship and
came to a gate where porters where collecting luggage from
passengers. We were then told that you had to go and line up on the
other side of the building just south of the main entrance to the
Hilton hotel. That was fine and we joined the quite large queue
ready for check in. By this time it was probably about 10.30am.
Princess must in future provide a little map with the tickets
showing the procedure for dropping baggage off and then
embarkation. They must also put up some clear signs as people are
approaching the wharf telling them what to do with their luggage
and where to go to join the queue. At this time there were quite a
few people complaining about their attempts to find out where to go
for checking in. Some of them had been dropped off in taxis at the
queue with their baggage and they then had to take their baggage
round to the gate where the porters where. You can imagine how
happy they were and this is not a good way to start a cruise.
The area where you had to queue had no seats and some of the
older people were wanting to sit down and couldn't do so. Princess
should look at some other method of embarking passengers rather
than get everyone to queue up. Maybe passengers could be given an
exact time to be there rather than have 1000 passengers trying to
board at the same time.
Apparently there had been some problems with the disembarkation
process and there were still people coming off the ship at 11.45am.
We heard rumours of immigration computer problems but what ever it
was we didn't start the boarding process till 12.15pm. What
followed was a complete shambles and most of the passengers were
extremely unhappy with Princess and New Zealand Immigration
although we feel it was more Immigration's problem than Princess
They started to form a second queue as there were people
blocking the entrance to the Hilton Hotel at about 11.30pm At
12.15pm we entered the terminal but the people in the second queue
who had not been waiting nearly as long as those in the first queue
started to move in at the same time as us. They should have held
these people back as there were a lot of people in the first queue
unhappy about this. Then the first major problem emerged. . You all
have to fill out immigration forms. Why couldn't these forms have
been sent out with the tickets so people could have them ready? Why
couldn't some laterally thinking person in New Zealand Immigration
have given the people the forms outside so they could be filled in
whilst the passengers where waiting for checkin? That would have
saved a lot of time and allowed the line to move much quicker and
there would have been no agitated annoyed people. Take note NZ
Immigration!! A lot of people who had been lined up for 2 hours
stopped to fill out the forms and lost their place in the queue.
Don't stop just keep moving and fill the form out as you go along.
You have plenty of time to complete them before you get to
The procedure then to get onto the ship took about 11/2 hours.
We know security has to be very tight these days but the procedure
must be streamlined better. We think there are a lot of Princess
passengers who will think long and hard about embarking in Auckland
in future unless things are improved. There were plenty of Princess
staff to help with the Princess check in and I thought this part of
the proceedings worked very well.
Once we were on board the ship we dumped our hand luggage and
did what we always do head to Horizon court on the 14th deck for
the buffet lunch. If you like a nice cold drink then I suggest you
purchase the coke card which costs USD 30.00 and allows you
unlimited soda and coke drinks whilst on board the ship. You will
save money this way over the whole cruise. The sticker is stuck to
the front of your cruise security card. Previous reviewers have
stated that the waiters were a little slow in providing the soda
and coke drinks but we didn't find that on this cruise
Getting off the ship at Sydney was very simple. Immigration had
been completed in Hobart when we first arrived at an Australian
port and in Sydney Customs were very efficient. Groups of people
doing different things were colour coded. We were off the ship in
20 minutes and on our way to the airport for the short flight home.
We would recommend the Princess Airport transfers in Sydney which
only cost USD 24.00 per person and was quick and efficient. The
taxis or shuttles are not that much cheaper.
The ship in general
Firstly we think the Sapphire Princess is a great ship and we
certainly would like to cruise on it again. Some people aboard
found the size of the ship a little overwhelming and they thought a
smaller ship would be more to their liking. We can understand that
but we like the larger ships with more people on board. Although
there were approximately 2700 passengers on board we never felt
crowded. We didn't get a chance to use the gym, lotus spa or the
casino so can't comment on those.
There was a shipboard orientation tour at 3pm on the first day
and as this was the first time on the Sapphire Princess we tagged
along. It lasted for about 30 minutes and we would recommend it.
Ralph took some shots of the ship which my Travel students will get
to see in due course. This was followed by the safety and security
drill prior to departure from Auckland which all passengers have to
attend unless they are doing back to back cruises on the same ship.
This drill lasted for about 30 minutes.
One of the first things you should do on day two of the cruise
if you are not American, Canadian or British is to check and see if
you have the right colour Princess cruise card. If you have
completed more than one cruise and have been given a blue card you
should see the Captains Circle membership officer to make sure she
has you on her list for the Captains circle party and for what its
worth she will get your card colour changed. This cruise card acts
as your room key and security card whilst on the ship. It is
deactivated as soon as you leave the ship for the last time at the
end of the cruise. For some reason only Americans, Canadians and
British appear in the Princess data base for Captains circle. This
problem should be immediately rectified by Princess as it is
embarrassing for other nationalities. By the way there were approx
1300 Americans, 400 Australians, 300 New Zealanders and quite a few
British together with a smattering of other nationalities on
Princess cruises add a USD 10.00 a day per person amount to your
bill and that covers your tipping for the total cruise. This is
done so that people employed on the ship who are not in direct
contact with the ship can also receive something. If you don't like
this idea you can negotiate with the Pursers office to have the
amount reduced if you wish. We knew some people who did this as
they had 2 small children who also were charged 10.00 and they
thought this was not fair. We have no problems with this
arrangement and in fact several people ie our room steward Jose and
a Hungarian couple Judit and Balazcs waiters in the Sterling
Restaurant who gave us exceptional service got a little bit extra.
Jose was extremely efficient and everything in our cabin was
perfect. We asked for several small jobs to be done in the
afternoon and by dinnertime they were attended to.
The self-service laundries were spacious with plenty of washing
machines, dryers and ironing facilities. Change machines and
laundry powder dispensers were available in each laundry. Cost of
laundry - USD $1.00 each per wash, per drier and for the washing
powder dispenser. The machines accept US quarters 0.25c. Early
morning or late at night or when the ship is in port and everyone
is off the ship are the best times to do your washing. On sea days
and between 4-6pm on port days the laundries can get very busy.
There also seems to be only two irons per laundry.
If you are using several appliances in your cabin at the one
time it might be an idea to bring an adaptor board, as there is
only one general plug. This is a USA type plug so if you are coming
from another country you will need to bring an adaptor.
On sea days there is always plenty to do. In fact sometimes
there is too much and you find yourselves having to choose between
several things. One of the improvements that could be made on the
ship is to the Princess Patter, which is the newsletter that you
receive each evening after you have had dinner. We think the layout
of the newsletter could be improved. Sometimes you have to really
search to find the information you need. We think similar topics
should be grouped together and maybe a tear off part with whats on
for the day so that people can detach it and take it with them
during the day or night rather than take the whole newsletter.
Quite a few people were making the same comments.
We were extremely impressed with Skywalkers, which is situated
at the back of the ship. At nighttime it is a disco after 10.30pm
and during the daytime is a restful area for reading and just
watching the sea. We had a rough day crossing the Tasman and it was
great to sit on the side wing and look right down the left side of
the ship to the Bridge and notice the pitching motion of the ship.
The chairs in sky walkers are extremely comfortable. During the
daytime you can always get a seat there.
The library has a very good selection of books and you can take
a book out of the library now without checking it out. You just
have to remember to return it. If you try and walk off the ship
with the book you will get a rude shock as there is a security
device implanted in all the books!!
Ralph enjoys a jog and Jean enjoys walking. We both used the
Promenade deck for our activities usually early in the morning as
there were fewer people around. You will have to climb some stairs
at the front side of the ship but they aren't a problem.
The internet café is very large with lots of computers.
We never had to wait to get on a machine and the cost was extremely
On our last cruise the quality of the shows was a little
variable. Not so on this cruise. We both thought all the shows were
excellent particularly the comedian Bobby Dennis from Sydney.
Absolutely fantastic don't miss him if he is on again.
If you lose your way on the ship particularly early on in the
cruise just look for the ship location map and that will help.
After a few days most people were finding their way around without
too much trouble. The carpets on the left/port corridors are in
Blue and on the right/starboard side are red in case you are not
sure what side of the ship you are on. It does happen
Our biggest complaint about Princess cruises was that
particularly in the restaurants when we ordered a bottle of wine we
had to always ask for our receipt with the amount of the purchase
shown clearly. In all other parts of the ship ie the bars, photo
shop etc you always receive a receipt. Princess need to immediately
correct this so that for every purchase on the ship you have a
receipt. The night before you disembark you will receive your final
account and all of your purchases should be shown. We strongly
recommend that you get a copy of your account every couple of days
so you can keep a check on your spending as you go along because it
is so easy to forget what you have spent. We keep a sequenced
record of all receipts and cross them off on the account every
couple of days. If you don't do this you might have a problem at
the end trying to remember all your purchases and this is not a
nice. Feeling at the end of the cruise.
There is no designated card room on board so all the bridge
enthusiasts on this cruise spread themselves out in all sorts of
locations around the ship.
We believe very strongly that their should be signs at various
points around the ship and in the Princess Patter alerting
passengers to the dangers of exposure to the sun. We have a
particular problem with people getting skin cancers here in
Australia. Passengers should be warned not to stay out in the sun
for too long and to have plenty of protection whilst doing so.
The cooking demonstration and tour of the galleys is usually
done on the 2nd last day and is worthwhile doing. The Executive
chef was also promoting its cookbook, personally signed by him. We
bought a copy and it has some great recipes.
They also had a tour backstage which again we found very
interesting. We were introduced to some of the performers in the
show. They were extremely helpful and everyone was congratulating
them on their excellent performances.
We had one very rough day crossing the Tasman with 16-20 foot
waves and a few people were feeling a little unwell. Don't let this
put you off doing a cruise because there are lots of things that
can be done to take away that feeling such as patches, seasick
The debate regarding 1st or second dining room sitting versus
Anytime dining continues. We prefer anytime dining and what we try
and do is make bookings for the next night the day before. As soon
as we arrived in our cabin we rang the concierge desk and made
bookings for the Sterling restaurant for the first night and for
Vivaldi's the specialist Italian restaurant for the second night.
We book for 8.15pm but bookings can be made prior to 6.15pm or
after 8pm for any of the 4 dining rooms catering for anytime
dining. If you are on 1st or 2nd sitting dining you must dine in
the International dining room although you can book into the 4
Anytime dining rooms if you wish for a change. If you are on
anytime dining you can only go into the 4 specialist dining rooms
not the International dining room. You can order anything off the
International dining room menus for all 4 restaurants. These menus
are available for all meal sittings. As well each of the special
restaurants have their own special menus ie Sterling is a steak
restaurant and so steak features prominently on their menu. This
was Ralph's favourite place and he loved the Rib eye fillet and the
New York Sirloin steak. Vivaldi's has an Italian theme and we
thought also was very good. Both these restaurants are side by side
on deck 5. Santa Fe has a Mexican theme and together with Pacific
moon are side by side on deck 6. We dined in both of them but had
the international menu. As we have been to Sabatini's specialty
restaurant on several occasions previously we didn't dine there
this cruise. There is a USD 20.00 cover charge per person.
In all of the restaurants waiters always asked us if we were
enjoying the meal. One one occasion there was a misunderstanding
and two dishes Ralph had ordered were bought out at the same time.
They offered to take the second dish straight back to the kitchen
and replace it with another when I was ready.
If you really can't decide between the Lobster and the Pheasant
order both or if you like the Lobster so much then order another
serve. It doesn't matter. You can do this at any time on the ship.
Yes that did happen to me on several occasions.
The buffet at Horizon Court on deck 14 was quite acceptable.
Everything seemed fresh and we thought the food tasted fine. Many
people go up to Horizon Court and pile their plates up with food
and return to their cabin to eat. Particularly those with balcony
The great advantage of anytime dining is that even though you
have made a booking if you want to adjust the time you can without
too many problems. It is possible not to have to make any bookings
and you can line up to get in. Sometimes you might have a little
wait so it is better to book even if you have to change the
Many people want to dine in Sterling as their menu is very good
so we strongly suggest booking there. We think in the past there
has been problems with people lining up to get into this restaurant
for a long time and this may be the reason why Sterling as well as
the other 3 Anytime dining restaurants have introduced a policy of
no bookings between 6.15pm and 8pm so as to cater for walk up
diners. We had a Hungarian couple Balazcs and Judit looking after
us for about 6 meals. We liked them so much we asked for them when
we first entered the restaurant. Look out for them if you are
dining in the Sterling restaurant.
The wine list in the restaurant is a great improvement on our
last Princess cruise with much greater variety and reasonably well
We had all our breakfasts in either the Santa Fe or Pacific moon
restaurants as they are the only ones open. You only alternative is
Horizon court, which is open 25 hours a day or you can have room
service. We think the restaurants should be open a little longer
for breakfast and lunch. They are open 7.30-9.30am for breakfast
and 12-2pm for lunch. Sometimes it is hard to get there because so
much is happening on the ship.
We think the icecream stall where they charge extra could be
eliminated as people can get free icecreams between 3.30pm and
4.30pm in Horizon court and different flavours of icecream are
always available at lunch or dinner in the restaurants. The
open-air Trident grill and Pizza bar near horizon court were very
popular and we enjoyed the hamburger and pizza that we had
Afternoon tea between 4.30 and 5.30pm where you have cakes and
tea or coffee is worth the experience.
Overall the meals and service were excellent breakfast, lunch
and dinner right through the cruise. We had no complaints at
We don't always have a balcony cabin it depends on the cruise.
We went for a balcony on this one because it is summer time here
and we thought we would be able to sit on the balcony a lot. As it
turned out the weather was quite cold and wet and we didn't get
onto the balcony as much as we wanted to. Also we were going into
some great ports with spectacular views ie Sydney, Wellington, and
Hobart. We are thinking of going on a Trans Atlantic cruise later
this year and will probably book an inside cabin on this one as the
weather on the Nth Atlantic could be marginal at best. It depends
where you are. One very important point to bear in mind with cabin
selection. Always keep away from stairs and try and get a cabin in
the middle of the ship or towards the rear so as to avoid motion of
the ship in a storm. We had some rough weather on the Tasman and at
the front of the ship you noticed the forward motion of the ship
quite a bit whereas in the middle of the ship there was really not
a lot to worry about.
On Dolphin deck 9 most of the outside balcony cabins are mini
suites and have a large totally open to view from above balcony.
Our balcony was half open but only half the size of the mini suite
balconies on deck 9.
We feel that you either get an inside cabin or a balcony cabin.
A cabin with a porthole is more expensive than an inside cabin and
we think a waste of money as you can't feel the fresh air or lean
over the balcony. If you have an inside cabin you are only several
minutes from the promenade deck or the open decks above.
Your security card gets you into your cabin. Make sure when
leaving your cabin that your door is properly closed. On several
occasions our door did not properly close. There wasn't any clock
in our cabin, luckily we brought our own.
The design of the cabin made good use of mirrors to enhance the
feeling of light and maximise space. The open space wardrobes
without doors provided plenty of hanging and storage space for our
requirements. Our main cases fitted side by side quite comfortably.
Bedside lights have dimmer switches. Soaps and towels were changed
twice a day. There is a safe in every room and our cabin had a
fridge as well as 2 chairs, 2 lollabouts and a table on the
balcony. Outside your door on the side is a letterbox with your
cabin number on it so that the any newsletters or other information
can be left for you.
If you wish to drink wines in your cabin Princess seem to have
no problems with you purchasing wines or champagne and bringing
them on board at embarkation or at the ports of call. I am not
quite so sure about spirits though. We wanted to have some drinks
on our balcony from timer to time and Concierge brought up wine and
champagne glasses for us to use for the entire cruise. You can take
these wines into the dining room but you might be charged a USD
10.00 corkage fee.
They charge for spring water in your cabin so we always take a
water bottle with us and go up to Horizon Court and fill the bottle
up with fresh water from there.
PORTS OF CALL
If you are like us and like to get up early to watch the arrival
into the various ports we would suggest if the wind is not blowing
too much you go to the observation point on top of the bridge at
the front of the ship. If the wind is blowing then maybe deck 7
promenade at the bow will give you some protection and nearly as
good a view. Other options are deck 15 at the front where you are
slightly protected with glass windows or Skywalkers at the rear of
the ship but the views straight ahead are somewhat blocked by the
funnel. We thought the best ports to sail into and ones you must
get up early for are Wellington, Hobart, Melbourne and offcourse
Sydney. Be careful sometimes the ship arrives early. It might show
an arrival time in port of 8am and you might be docked at 6.30am.
That happened to us a couple of times so I always set the alarm
On departure of the ship I think the above also applies.
If you don't want to book any of the Princess cruises at all the
ports you will have a choice of shuttles, limousines, and local
coach tours all vying for your business. Don't forget to get the
best price. If there is a group of you a shuttle will work out to
be a very economical way of getting around. Some people think the
Princess tour prices are a little steep. That may be so but I know
from previous tours that you generally get value for money on the
tours and doing your own thing doesn't appeal to everyone.
If you are travelling independently you need to make sure that
you get back to the ship at least 30 minutes before sailing. The
ship will not wait for you and I believe we left a few people
behind in one of the ports. I can't remember which one now. If you
are on an official Princess tour and the coach is late back the
ship will wait for you. This happened on several occasions on this
As we knew most of the ports very well we opted to do our own
thing but I will pass on some thoughts to you, which may be of
In every port the local tourist authorities had small tourism
stands manned by local people with a wealth of knowledge of the
area. They all had lots of brochures to hand out and I was most
impress with the way they all tried to help everyone.
You will be asked to take photo ID and your Princess cruise card
with you whenever you disembark the ship in any port. You will need
to show both to get back on board the ship.
Arrival into Wellington is quite spectacular with the city
appearing at the front of the ship as you sail in. As quite often
happens in Wellington it was wet and we opted to have a look around
the town. There is plenty to do there and I really don't think a
tour there is necessary. You can get a free shuttle to the city
centre or if you are feeling energetic you can undertake a 15-20
minute walk from the ship to the Railway station where you can
board the yellow circle city busses and tour around the city. These
busses come along every 15 mins or so and you can get a timetable
when you get on board. We did a complete city loop, which took
about 20 minutes just to get our bearings. It will cost you NZD
6.00 for an all day hop on hop off pass which takes you past many
of the important sights in Wellington such as the Te Papa and
Maritime museums which are about 1 stop away from each other. Both
these museums are excellent and require a few hours to enjoy. You
can also get off at the major shopping area, the New Zealand
Parliament house and the famous church near the railway station,
which is worth a look. You must stop at the Mt Victoria rail car
stop where you can take a 15 minute journey to the top of the
mountain for a fantastic view of Wellington and the Harbour. Pray
that the weather is good. We were lucky as the morning was very wet
and murky and we waited till the afternoon when everything cleared
away and we had a great view from the top. Spend some time
wandering the park reserve at the top of the hill. It is quite
beautiful. All of the above will keep you very busy in
To get back to the ship again a 15-20 minute walk and I seem to
recall someone else in a past review giving a warning to people to
make sure they cross over to the right hand side of the road before
you reach the rail signals as there is a big bend in the road near
the ship and if you stay on the left hand side you will have
trouble crossing the road as it is extremely busy and you can't see
what is coming. The cars come round the corner at high speed so it
is rather dangerous. One gent was almost hit by a car, as he didn't
move quickly enough across the road.
You will arrive at the port of Lyttleton which is about a 30
minute coach transfer to the Christchurch city centre costing NZD
6.00 each way. There is plenty to keep you busy in the city of
Christchurch without going on a tour to the country side. If you
look at the Princess tours you will see an all day train ride on
the Trans Alpine Express which you can do from Christchurch. Indeed
Christchurch is a beautiful city settled originally by the English
and one of my favourites in this part of the world. This is a very
difficult decision what to do. All I can say is maybe look at the
city first time and do the train trip next time you are in
Christchurch because I am sure you will be back again.
If you decide to stay in Christchurch there is much to do. Here
are some thoughts, which will take up the day. Look at the
Cathedral on Cathedral Square right in the town centre where the
coach will drop you off, do some shopping at the stores around the
Square. Possum and merino lamb cardigans are a very good local buy
and a lot of the shops don't mind knocking something off the price
for you. Once you have looked at Cathedral Square go down and walk
along the Avon River, which is quite beautiful scenery. You will
think that you are walking along some of the beautiful rivers in
England. You can even go for a punt ride on the river if the
weather is acceptable. By now it probably will be time for a drink
and we stopped at an English style pub called the Bard on Avon
about a 5 minute walk from Cathedral Square. This pub had many
English beers on tap as well as Irish Guinness and Murphy's stout.
The meals there look excellent, big serves and there were lots of
locals drinking there, always a good sign. Extremely friendly
service. Next walk or get the circle city tram for a 5 minute tram
ride west of the city to the Arts Museum and the General Museum and
Botanical Gardens. Absolutely excellent all of them.
You can get a pass on the circle city tram for the day if you
don't want to walk around.
If you have time you can get a local bus to the Antarctic
centre, which is well worth a look. This museum is about 15 minutes
from the city centre out towards the Airport.
On the way back to the ship if you have time it is possible to
walk to the local bus depot about 5 minutes/2 streets south of
Cathedral Square and get a local bus number 28 to the cable car
ride on the top of the Lyttleton hills. This bus leaves about every
30 minutes and the trip takes about 30 minutes. We didn't do this
as we ran out of time but will certainly do so next time we are in
Christchurch as we were talking to people on the ship who said the
view was spectacular looking back to Christchurch and towards the
ship. Apparently once you finished the cable car ride they were
providing busses to the Lyttleton bus depot and a free transfer
from there back to the ship. The cable car ride each way takes
about 10 minutes.
DUNEDIN You will arrive at the port of Port Chalmers, which is
about a 30 minute coach transfer to the Dunedin city centre costing
NZD 6.00 each way. You will be dropped off at the Information
centre right in the heart of the city at the Octagon. We purchased
a city sights tour from the information office. It cost NZD 15.00
per person and lasted for one hour and we were taken around on a
double decker bus with an excellent guide. We thought a very good
introduction to Dunedin, which was first settled by the Scots. Once
that tour was completed we booked another one out to Lanarch Castle
and I think this is a very good tour to do because not only does it
give you a good look at the castle and the gardens it affords some
wonderful views as you travel along the coast on the way there.
This tour takes about 2 ½ hours and drops you back at the
Octagon. Shops are nearby with Lyle and Scot knitwear very good
prices here. Back to the ship on the transfer.
The Sapphire Princess weather permitting cruises through the
most southerly sound known as Dusky Sound and then enters Doubtful
Sound finally arriving at Milford Sound the best known of the
Sounds. It rains and you have low cloud approximately 260 days of
the year here so you need a good day weatherwise. You can be lucky
sometimes we had a perfect day. You do not get off the ship but get
a good vantage point and keep the camera clicking. A magnificent
part of the world.
HOBART Arrival in Hobart is at Constitution Dock about 10
minutes walk to the centre of town past the docks where the Sydney
to Hobart yachts arrive. Again there are very good tours of the
city for AUD 15.00 hop on hop off similar to Wellington. Tickets
for these tours can be purchased from the information office one
block past Constitution dock on the main street about 10 minutes
walk from the ship. We decided to book at tour to the top of Mount
Wellington, which left at 12 noon and cost AUD 22.00 per person. In
the meantime we went for a walk past Salamanca Place, which is a
mecca for shopping and very near the information centre. From there
we walked through Battery Point through a couple of beautiful parks
then back to do the tour. The weather was excellent and the view
from the top of the mountain was superb. After the tour a quick
walk around the city and then back to the ship. We like walking as
much as possible because it helps to get rid of the bulge. You all
know what I mean. Leaves a little bit of room for tea that
The ship docks at Station Pier the port for Melbourne, which is
a little way out of town. Again you have a choice of doing your own
thing or taking tours. If you want to travel around on your own
there is plenty to do. We would suggest you get off the ship and
walk to the end of the pier near where the tram stop is. Purchase a
metro pass costing AUD 5.00 per person, which allows you unlimited
travel on the busses, trams and trains around Melbourne for the
whole day. It will take you about 20 minutes to travel into the
centre of Melbourne on tram 109. On your return to ship look again
for tram 109 to Port Melbourne. About 2 stops before reaching the
Collins Street - Elizabeth Street stop which is in the centre of
the city you must get off the tram and go to the top of the Realto
tower for a great orientation view of Melbourne. You then must
visit the famous Victoria markets about 3 stops from the centre of
the city. Melbourne is a city of Parks and Gardens so a walk
through Fitzroy Gardens is a must. St Kilda to the south a busy
café scene is worth a look as is Lygon Street to the north a
mecca for restaurants and the café society. We are very
familiar with Melbourne so walking around is fine for us but for
someone new to Melbourne We might suggest a tour to the Yarra
Valley and the Dandenong ranges where you can ride on the steam
train "Puffing Billy" This is a great trip.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Sapphire Princess and are now thinking
about our next cruises, possibly Baltic and Northern Trans Atlantic
later this year. We will be looking for reports from other people
who have done these cruises.
Special praise for the Cruise Director Alistair Greener and his
Assistant Frankie together with the rest of the staff who performed
beyond expectations. Special praise also for all the people who
keep the ship spotlessly clean. Cleaning goes on around the clock
24 hours a day.
If anyone wants any other information please email me at
email@example.com and we will do what we can to help.