Princess Cruise Tour in Australia

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#1
London
134 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Has anyone taken one of the Princess land & cruise tours in Australia? We are thinking of booking one but wanted to get opinions first. Have seen some reviews online but nothing comprehensive.

Also, would like to gather opinions on whether the land tours are good value. The Australian ones for six days seem to cost over £2,000 which is in fact more than the cost of a 13 day cruise in a mini suite. Despite this they seem to sell out as the ones in March 2018 have done so. We're looking at March 2019.


Any info would be appreciated.
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#2
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
28,860 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
You can do a land tour on your own...far better. You save some money, customize it to your interests, spend more time at locations of the most interest to you, and avoid the downfalls of all cruise line excursions- large groups of people, of which at least 2 will be unable to tell time and be on time when required.
#3
pa
6,689 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Some years ago when we took an Australian 8 night pre-cruise Princess Cruisetour. We did spend 4 nights on our own in Melbourne and Sydney prior to the cruisetour start . There were 38 of us. There were 4 flights within Australia, three of which were somewhere in the 4 to 5 hour range. All hotel accommodations were high class. Our guide was with us the entire tour. It was very well run and we enjoyed it. Can you do better on your own, maybe. You can look at an Australian travel tour to compare the pricing. To book a comparative itinerary yourself, leg by leg, would take lots of planning, flights, hotels, boats, chairlift, land transportation, and all that.
#4
New Mexico
14,602 Posts
Joined May 2004
We did the 6 day tour post-cruise last year.
--As for value, nope, it is pricey, and I am sure you could create your own plan for less cost.
--As for interest, it was great! Barrier Reef snorkel day is a fond memory, as is sunrise and sunset at Uluru/Ayers Rock. Our total group was three big busloads, each with their own tour leader. One was ditzy (as in misplacing tour tickets, losing track of who was in her group) but was rescued by the other two. One was regimental in her lack of flexibility, and the third was a real gem. She was a very experienced tour leader who saved the day a couple of times when there were glitches.

Overall, we are very glad we took the tour, particularly since this was to be our one and only trip to Australia. There were a couple of missteps: Hotel at Port Douglas under renovation without a real dining room and only limited food service in a tent, bags left out in rain instead of being moved under portico. Unavoidable and unpredictable flight delays caused 2/3 of the group to miss one afternoon's activity. (But the third that didn't had to take a 6 am flight, awakening at 4)

The star tour leader arranged for everyone to attend an expensive 'dinner under the stars at Uluru' on the house as a sort of make-up gift for the glitches, and we felt it was a fair trade. (In fairness, I must add Princess already had given us all a 25% cruise credit for a future booking because of bad weather causing us to miss two ports and the fjords--and yes, the credit was calculated on the entire cruisetour price)

I say this only to advise that YMMV; if you plan on visiting again, If you only have a passing interest in either Uluru or the Reef, if you have specific wishes not part of the tour. Were we to go back, I likely would book it myself now that I know what we enjoyed the most. But for a first visit, we wanted to leave the logistics to someone else. We did book Sydney a couple of extra days after the tour, as well as days in Auckland pre cruise.
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#5
Vancouver, BC
17,519 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
We did 3 weeks in AU last year and found it very easy and economical to get around on our own. Flying within Australia was a breeze. I certainly wouldn't pay £2000, that's really high.
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#6
5,039 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
We did Australia/New Zealand last year. We signed up with Kensington Tours who will custom a tour for what you want to do. It was nine days pre-cruise starting in Auckland and ending in Sydney for a couple of nights. They were a joy to work with as we changed things around several times with nary a complaint from them. We flew into Auckland and from the time we landed until we finished in Sydney and boarded our ship for the cruise, they took care of every detail. Flights (Houston to Auckland, Auckland to Brisbane; Brisbane to Cairns; Cairns to Ayers Rock; Ayers Rock to Sydney, Auckland to Houston) hotels, tours. Most of the tours were just the six of us in our group. The only time we were in a larger group was at Ayers Rock for dinner and later sunrise breakfast transport, transport to the GB Reef excursion. The guides were excellent and went above and beyond in helping us--like finding dinner reservations on Valentines Day, best shops to go to, interesting food to try, etc. Hotels were all top of the line. We were nine days on the excursion. It cost about the same, if not less, than what Princess wanted for their five day excursion. The biggest difference is we didn't go to one place Princess did (can't remember what it was offhand) but we weren't nearly as rushed as we would have been with the Princess pre-cruise. We got more time at Ayers Rock, for instance. The included breakfasts were so big that we really didn't need more than a snack for lunch.

On the cruise, we arranged all the land tours we could with Viator. Cheaper, smaller transport, great drivers who truly love their locations and are delighted to tell you about it. A couple we had to do through the cruise due to time constraints, were very good, no complaints.
#7
London
134 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Thanks all for your responses.

I have done some research pricing up individual items and there is obviously some mark up as you would expect. I estimate about 20%. It's the convenience factor that this mark up is paying for. Recognise it's very much a whistle stop tour but it covers the two bucket list places Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef. It'll be a once in a lifetime trip. We will be travelling from London and plan to stay in Sydney for a few days beforehand to get over jet lag and see the city. We're reasonably young (45 and 60) so should be able to cope.

I checked on Kensington Tours who do a nine night itinerary similar to the six night Princess one. Might include a few more activities and will be more relaxed. That is US$3,400 excluding external flights. Adding flights would probably be another $1,000. Overall pretty close to Princess but for more days just like Tucker in Texas said.

Looking at the roll calls for 2018 there are plenty of people doing the same land tour. In fact the land tours for March 2018 are all sold out so obviously quite popular. Slightly cheaper than 2019 though no doubt due to the fall in Sterling.

We're going to give it a go but thanks for your input. Happy to hear other experiences if anyone has them.
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#8
5,039 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
If you do Kensington, they include a sunset dinner and a sunrise breakfast which I don't think Princess does. They, also, had an evening tour of Ayers Rock. One thing to do is to get one of those screen thingees that go over your head. The flies will carry you off during the day time. At night, they must go to sleep because they were not a problem at the sunset dinner. Unfortunately, the only flight from Cairns to Ayers Rock is very early in the morning. Hence, we had a long wait to get in our hotel room. This might be a good time to have some snacks in your pocket or go to the market (shuttle will carry you there) and buy one if you haven't gotten one at home. Our sporting good store sells them.

The hotel we were billeted at at Ayers Rock (Sails in the Desert) had free washing machines! With time between the breakfast and sunset evening tour, we had time to do the wash. We made sandwiches at breakfast to eat for lunch that day. They must be used to it at the hotel because the help happily supplied us with to go boxes (lol). There were refrigerators in the room.

In Port Douglas, the hotel we stayed at (Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple) had a very pricey and limited dining room menu for evening supper. There are no outside restaurants around and a shuttle to town was 8 AUD each way. We found that we could do better by ordering from room service as they had "lighter" fare--excellent chicken sandwich--which was not available in the evenings in the dining room at pretty reasonable prices. The breakfasts were outstanding as they were everywhere they put us up.

Kensington arranged all our flights coordinated with their tour. We did have to pay a fee but it was worth it. The fares were in line with what we could have gotten on our own.
#9
Vancouver, BC
17,519 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
If you end up at the Pullman just walk along Reef Street until it turns into Barrier and there's a place called the Beach Shack. Really, really good pizza.

Now if you're looking to do it on your own I can't recommend this guest house any higher. Loved Port Douglas
https://www.tripadvisor.ca/VacationR...ueensland.html
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#10
5,039 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by Cruise Junky
If you end up at the Pullman just walk along Reef Street until it turns into Barrier and there's a place called the Beach Shack. Really, really good pizza.

Now if you're looking to do it on your own I can't recommend this guest house any higher. Loved Port Douglas
https://www.tripadvisor.ca/VacationR...ueensland.html
I was talking about the Pullman Sea Temple which is out of town.
#11
Vancouver, BC
17,519 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Originally posted by Tucker in Texas
I was talking about the Pullman Sea Temple which is out of town.
So am I. The hotel is right through the trees from this guest house and an easy walk to the pizza place I referenced.
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September 2017..Solstice Vancouver to Hawaii
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April 2018...Kauai Land Trip
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Crete Land Trip 2017/Australia Land Trip - Celebrity Constellation - Greek Isles 2016/Hawaii Land Trip 2015/Christmas and New Years in Hawaii/European Christmas Markets - Land Trip/Hawaii - VCR Celebrity Solstice 2014/Paris Land Trip/Hawaii Land Trip X 2 - 2013/Grand Med. - Ruby Princess/South of France 2012/Hawaii - Land Trip 2012/Hawaii - Land Trip - 2011/Panama Canal and Florida Keys - Coral Princess - 2011/Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - 2010/France 3 Week Land Trip - Burgundy/Loire/Normandy/French Riviera/Provence 2010/Mexican Riviera - Sapphire Princess 2009/Coastal - Sapphire Princess 2009/Alaska - Voyage of the Glaciers - Zuiderdam - 2009/Greek Islands cruise + Monaco and Paris by land - Grand Princess - 2008/Land Trip - Maui - 2008/3 Week Land - Paris to Rome - 2007/Hawaii - Pride of America - 2007/14 Day Caribbean - Sea Princess - 2006/Coastal - Dawn Princess - 2006/Barcelona to Venice - Millennium - 2005/UK & Ireland - Land Trip - 2004/AI Mexican Riviera -2003/Coastal - Island Princess - 2002/Maui - Land Trip x 2/Alaska - Dawn Princess - 2001/UK Land Trip x 3/11 Day Circle the Caribbean - Splendour of the Seas - 2000/Mexican Riviera - Rhapsody of the Seas - 1999/2 Week Land Bermuda - Girls Trip - 1997/Married - Maui - 1997
#12
5,039 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by Cruise Junky
So am I. The hotel is right through the trees from this guest house and an easy walk to the pizza place I referenced.
Thanks for posting this information, just wish I had known it before we got there (lol). The villa sounds wonderful!
#13
North East England
78 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
[quote=Geoffa30;52936050]Has anyone taken one of the Princess land & cruise tours in Australia? We are thinking of booking one but wanted to get opinions first. Have seen some reviews online but nothing comprehensive. Also, would like to gather opinions on whether the land tours are good value. The Australian ones for six days seem to cost over £2,000 which is in fact more than the cost of a 13 day cruise in a mini suite.

I did the Ultimate Australia in March following a NZ cruise. I think much depends on what time you have available. Me and hubby still work full time and there is a limit to how much leave we can take. In our case we wanted to fit in as much as possible in the 7 nights. Yes its expensive but I don't think we could have done this ourselves and enjoyed it. For example when leaving Cairns the tour bus took us to the Skyrail to Kuranda. We then had some free time in Kuranda (I got to cuddle a Koala which was a definite highlight of the tour) before the bus picked us up and took us to the airport for the flight to Darwin. Not having to figure out how we could have done this with suitcases in tow etc made this organised trip worth it for us.
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Sheila





2017 - Emerald Princess - Auckland - Sydney + Australian Land Tour
2016 - Sapphire Princess - Malaysia & Thailand Grand Adventure
2014 - Diamond Princess - Singapore - Yokohama
2008 - Diamond Princess - Alaska
#14
essex uk and calabria italy
657 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
[quote=bwindi;52973974]
Originally posted by Geoffa30
Has anyone taken one of the Princess land & cruise tours in Australia? We are thinking of booking one but wanted to get opinions first. Have seen some reviews online but nothing comprehensive. Also, would like to gather opinions on whether the land tours are good value. The Australian ones for six days seem to cost over £2,000 which is in fact more than the cost of a 13 day cruise in a mini suite.

I did the Ultimate Australia in March following a NZ cruise. I think much depends on what time you have available. Me and hubby still work full time and there is a limit to how much leave we can take. In our case we wanted to fit in as much as possible in the 7 nights. Yes its expensive but I don't think we could have done this ourselves and enjoyed it. For example when leaving Cairns the tour bus took us to the Skyrail to Kuranda. We then had some free time in Kuranda (I got to cuddle a Koala which was a definite highlight of the tour) before the bus picked us up and took us to the airport for the flight to Darwin. Not having to figure out how we could have done this with suitcases in tow etc made this organised trip worth it for us.
Hi,we done this also in 2013.Just google princess ultimate Australia landtour,it covers most of Aus highlights.The crododile shaped hotel in the national park outside Darwin was a bit pants but that was the only choice anyway in that area.The tour is full on with getting up at stupid oclock a few times for flights,but the same guide is with you throughout and I would recommend it for a 1 off condensed experience of Aus,cheers,Brian.
#15
London
134 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Originally posted by bwindi
I did the Ultimate Australia in March following a NZ cruise. I think much depends on what time you have available. Me and hubby still work full time and there is a limit to how much leave we can take. In our case we wanted to fit in as much as possible in the 7 nights. Yes its expensive but I don't think we could have done this ourselves and enjoyed it. For example when leaving Cairns the tour bus took us to the Skyrail to Kuranda. We then had some free time in Kuranda (I got to cuddle a Koala which was a definite highlight of the tour) before the bus picked us up and took us to the airport for the flight to Darwin. Not having to figure out how we could have done this with suitcases in tow etc made this organised trip worth it for us.
Thanks Bwindi. Good to hear you enjoyed it. We have booked the six day Australian Outback tour following by a 13 day cruise around New Zealand. Depending on how my work feels about an extended holiday, we'll be in Sydney for three nights beforehand. Of course the flight from London adds further days so could be off work for over 3 1/2 weeks which might be tricky. Really looking forward to it. Good job it's two years away as need to save like mad.
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#16
London
134 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Originally posted by brian1
Hi,we done this also in 2013.Just google princess ultimate Australia landtour,it covers most of Aus highlights.The crododile shaped hotel in the national park outside Darwin was a bit pants but that was the only choice anyway in that area.The tour is full on with getting up at stupid oclock a few times for flights,but the same guide is with you throughout and I would recommend it for a 1 off condensed experience of Aus,cheers,Brian.
Thanks Brian. Googled what you said. Should I be looking for something in particular (e.g. your review) or just the general information that comes up?
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#17
essex uk and calabria italy
657 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Originally posted by Geoffa30
Thanks Brian. Googled what you said. Should I be looking for something in particular (e.g. your review) or just the general information that comes up?
Hi,sorry,just the info of that tour.I didnt realise you have already booked a tour,cheers,Brian.
#18
I come from a land down under
22,256 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
I wouldn't do the land tour with them, cheaper to do it yourself.

And if you pop over to the "Australia and New Zealand Cruisers" Seb forum with any questions you'll get a lot of help.
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#19
Australia
1,213 Posts
Joined Aug 2014
Sure you could do the Aussie Outback trip on your own but you'd almost certainly need more time and therefore extra costs for daily expenses like land travel, food and accommodation. The distances to be travelled between these places in such a short period would be a logistical nightmare. Sometimes people forget that once the plane lands they actually need land transport between airport, accommodation, attractions. For a quick overview of some of Australia's special and unique attractions I think it's a good tour/price and with Princess you have the added guarantee that they'll get you to the ship/plane on time.

We've done a couple of Princess cruise/tours and found them to be good value for money if you'll probably never return to that part of the world again.
#20
Sacramento
39 Posts
Joined Dec 2015
We did the same tour following a New Zealand cruise on the Emerald Princess. Our tour guide, Melissa, was fantastic. Everything was taken care of in first class style. There are times I make all the arrangements myself as I did when we walked the Camino de Santiago for 38 days in Spain. The arranged tour was a treat. Staying in five star hotels isn't something we ever do, so we were spoiled. We even ordered room service when we stayed at The Four Seasons (had to pay ourselves for the meal.) That was first class room service. The included meals were top notch too. I have no regrets about the money we spent on this tour and would do it again in a heartbeat. We were taken to all the venues, everything was taken care of. My husband got to dive and I got to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. We learned about the Aboriginal culture, so many unique facts. We did not have to think about any arrangements. Our luggage was taken care of and check ins were done for us. Sometimes it is nice to just sit back, relax, and let someone else take care of you. In fact I am now looking into using Princess for a Machu Picchu tour in 2019, another bucket list item. [quote=bwindi;52973974]
Originally posted by Geoffa30
Has anyone taken one of the Princess land & cruise tours in Australia? We are thinking of booking one but wanted to get opinions first. Have seen some reviews online but nothing comprehensive. Also, would like to gather opinions on whether the land tours are good value. The Australian ones for six days seem to cost over £2,000 which is in fact more than the cost of a 13 day cruise in a mini suite.

I did the Ultimate Australia in March following a NZ cruise. I think much depends on what time you have available. Me and hubby still work full time and there is a limit to how much leave we can take. In our case we wanted to fit in as much as possible in the 7 nights. Yes its expensive but I don't think we could have done this ourselves and enjoyed it. For example when leaving Cairns the tour bus took us to the Skyrail to Kuranda. We then had some free time in Kuranda (I got to cuddle a Koala which was a definite highlight of the tour) before the bus picked us up and took us to the airport for the flight to Darwin. Not having to figure out how we could have done this with suitcases in tow etc made this organised trip worth it for us.
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