Never been on a cruise? Here’s what to expect……

Last year I had a few days leave and I thought I would pop on a short four night cruise from Auckland to Sydney. For those of you who are interested in doing a cruise but hesitate because you don’t know what to expect, this will give you a great overview of life on a cruise ship. This is my cruise experience and all tips, tricks and suggestions are all from my own experience of being on 15 cruises



It’s a beautiful day in Auckland, so I decided to take the train to downtown Auckland, it doesn’t get any easier than getting dropped off at the train station and enjoying a stress free journey into town, I have over packed as usual but it’s only four nights so my luggage isn’t too heavy to manage.

I meet my friend Karen at Queens Wharf where our ship, Sea Princess is waiting. We drop our bags off at the bag drop and head upstairs into the cruise check in area.

HINT: In Auckland bag drop is just outside the cruise terminal building, this is where you can put on your luggage labels, they will have staplers here or if you forgot your luggage labels they will have more here.


This is Karen’s first cruise and she is super excited and I am enjoying seeing the cruise process through the eyes of a newbie! We have to fill out the health questionnaire which is a requirement for everyone getting on the ship and then head straight to check-in.

We hand over our boarding passes and get all checked in, we are given our cruise cards, a map of the ship and they take an imprint of our credit cards which will go on our on board accounts

HINT: Check-in is similar to an airline check-in but in Auckland the luggage has already been taken. If you get a bit lost or don’t know where to go there are so many port staff around that will be able to help you, just ask.  


Once we go through customs there is an x-ray machine to go through and then we are on the ship!! Woohoo!!

HINT: If you are doing a short 3 night cruise – Auckland return and you are a NZ Citizen you won’t need a passport, just some photo ID


The first time you go onto the ship the security will check your cruise card and take your photo.

Once this process is done we are free to explore.


We start by heading to our cabin and checking it out. We are in an inside cabin and it’s pretty spacious.

(Check out my next blog for cruise cabin information)


After dropping off our carry-on bags and jackets we decide to head to the Horizon Court buffet for a quick lunch and then we are off to explore the ship.

HINT: One thing I like to do is unpack everything after lunch on my first day and then the suitcases can go under the bed (if your suitcase doesn’t go under the bed ask your cabin steward if they will store it for you)

As with every cruise no matter where you are in the world you will need to attend a passenger muster drill, this is where the crew will take you through the safety requirements, make sure you know where to go if there is an emergency and you get to try out your lifejackets. This will be on the newsletter in your cabin and you will hear multiple announcements advising of the drill. Your muster station information should be on the back of your cabin door


With all of the excitement of day one we decided to take it easy and after dinner we headed off to Karaoke and a few cocktails.

HINT: Before you go to bed check the daily newsletter (on Princess it’s called the Princess Patter) to see what activities you might like to do the following day




Today began bright and early with stretch class at 0700. What a great way to start the first day on a cruise. With so much to do in the Patter for today it is going to be busy busy.


As this is a 4 night cruise from Auckland to Sydney there are no ports to visit, so this cruise is all about relaxing and having some fun.


HINT: On a cruise you can do as much or as little as you like. If you want to lay by the pool you can. If you want to find a nice quiet corner to read a book you can or if you want to participate in all the different activities on the ship you can do that too.

Trivia is always a laugh, especially when some of the teams get super competitive and I especially like Bingo, although I have never won cruise ship bingo it is always a fun time.





With so much to do everyday you would have a hard time being bored!!

























After a busy day of activities I always like dressing nicely for dinner, in the main dining room you need to dress smart casual – so no shorts or jandals.


The last evening is always a sad time when you know the cruise is coming to an end, hopefully you have already visited the future cruise consultant and booked your next cruise or put down a future cruise deposit.

HINT: The evening before you disembark you will be required to put your luggage outside your cabin, so you will need to keep a small bag with your clothes for disembarkation day. All of your luggage will be taken downstairs in preparation for it to be off-loaded in the morning and it will be waiting for you on the pier when you get off the ship. You will be given coloured tags to put on your luggage and this determines when you get off the ship, if you are given a time that doesn’t suit speak with your cabin steward or the passenger services desk. 


We were sad to leave our cruise but had a fantastic, busy time, full of activities and laughs. Meeting lots of new people and getting to experience some fantastic service and spectacular food.


Sea Witch 25%
Dessert - 25%
Deck 7 - 25%
Pool area 25%







Share your comments:

(required to prevent spam, your email address will never be displayed to the public)