This was an interesting cruise--one that I had wanted for several years. I learned a lot about Australia and New Zealand and New Caledonia that we don't hear much about in the United States. Although our captain had to make decisions about health care and windy conditions, the alternatives were just fine. The ship conditions (food) were good.
5 out of 5
No long line, efficient.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
Some of the food was too fancy, but the Lido always had a variety from which to choose, Even if the Lido and dining room is closed, there are other options for food any time of the day.
5 out of 5
The EXC presentations were excellent. I like to just relax on a cruise, so I don't do a lot of activities, but there are plenty so no one should claim boredom.
3 out of 5
Showroom performances were repetitious especially on the first 21 days part--a men's singing group four days. I prefer more variety. The instrumentalists were good.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Service is always excellent, both room stewards and waiters, plus guest services and excursions people, and even maintenance people are always friendly.
5 out of 5
The elevators are fast.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
Oceanview window -- comfortable room, although I miss having a refrigerator,. However, the stewards brought us extra ice. Size is standard, and not a problem.
Enjoy the peace and view in the crow's nest. Decks 6, 11, and 12 have good viewing for photos or watching the sailing.
Took the free shuttle to town then took the cable car up the hill. Then there was a free shuttle to Zealandia reserve ($18), which was very interesting. The cable car museum is also nice. Also wandered in town to find KnitWorld.
There was an old auto show and music at the port. I also enjoyed the Opossum Shop (free shuttle to town)--bought yarn plus saw their great exhibits about the possums. Also found a discount store. We also enjoyed walking along the black beach. Great place to visit!
Rotorua, New Zealand
5 out of 5
Good view of Mount Maunganui. I took a taxi to church, but then afterward we could wander around the port and the beach lined with Norfolk pine trees.
Enjoyed this port! There's a passenger bridge and walkway to Queen Street. I found NZ Fabrics and Yarns, 17 East Customs Street (entrance on Queen Street). Wonderful yarns, fabrics, and many kinds of needlework. We went up Victoria Street to the Sky Tower, which had great views. There are lots of stores as one wanders back to the portl
There is a nice trail from the tender area to the ferry pier--a walking path with lots of carved former trees, sort of like totem poles, that show a face and animals in the designs. I don't often walk, but this was a pleasant, interesting trail (and shady). Tourist tents are the other direction.
Free WiFi in the terminal! Also shops, Within walking distance is a nice park (Place des Cocotiers), statues, sculptures, a cathedral, and stores. There is a supermarket/general store near the pier. The blue-roofed "City Market" buildings were not open for business.
Here we took an excursion to experience the Great Barrier Reef by going on a catamaran to a pontoon station that had opportunities for people to snorkle and dive. We took the semi-submersible boat 3 times to see the Reef and beautiful coral, Lunch was served on this excursion, that lasted all day but was the best place to take an excursion to the Great Barrier Reef.
I'm putting 5 stars on lots of these ports, but I did thoroughly enjoy them. This port had a $5 shuttle to the town center and Stokes and Flinders Street. There was a free "Strand Loop" shuttle bus (2.5 miles). We went to the Aquarium ($22) just in time for the turtle talk. It's the largest living coral reef in an aquarium and was interesting, Back at the City Center we went to Woolworths and also Mary's Bookstore. The terminal had souvenir vendors.
It was warm, 31C or 88F. Walking area with a skybridge and walkway. St. Mary's Church was one goal, with stores along the way and a street musician and WiFi in the area. At the terminal were souvenir shops.
One had to be on an excursion to be able to go to the island. The walk on this excursion was good with sightings of the Komodo dragons. The tendering was not organized well and we were waiting in the tender at the port for 25 minutes in the heat. After the walking tour, the vendors were very aggressive for Komodo dragon souvenirs.
The visitor information people handed out information printed on cardboard fans--nice thought for this hot day, We took a shuttle to the end of the pier. In the town there were stores and areas for WiFi. We went to St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, and at noon the new bells were run for the first time with a nice ceremony. I could see the lighthouse as we left the port.
I was glad for the overnight stay. The first day we took an excursion to Caversham Wildlife Park in Perth. I saw a kangaroo in a field on the way, At the Park we could pet a koala and a wombat, and we could walk among the kangaroos. It was nice to have an hour of free time after the main tour. We also got to see a Cassoway during our free time. The excursion included a cruise (Captain Cook) on the Swan River back to Fremantle. There was a free shuttle from the pier to the visitor center at King's Square in Fremantle. The center of town was nice and had WiFi. We went back to King's Square the next day and enjoyed the town.
There was a free shuttle to York Street Information booth. There was a beautiful library (WiFi) and then we went down York Street (nice WoodWorks store) to old Gaol, museums, and Brig Amity. We walked back along a curved walkway to the Maasdam. There were lots of memorial quotes in the rock work path and an ANZAC Memorial area.
Glad we could arrive the evening before and have extra time on an unexpected overnight. I got a Miki card ($15) to take a bus or train to the town center and beautiful stores (and a large yarn/knitting/needlework store 234 Collins Street. I walked over Queens Bridge to get there. The 109 tram back to the ship was on Collins Street. There is an IGA and restaurant in that area near the port. It is about a 500 meter walk from the ship to the parking area and a little more to the bus or tram. The next day we met friends who gave us a private tour of Melbourne. I wouldn't mind spending more time there.
Excursion Tassie Wildlife went to Wings Wildlife Park where we could see them feed the Tasmanian devils, We could also walk among the kangaroos and see lots of other animals. It was really interesting. There was also a free shuttle to the town, and Makers' Workshop. Makers' Workshop had wonderful paper sculptures and displays, plus other displays (and free WiFi), along with shops to spend the rest of our Australian money before we end the cruise.
5 out of 5
Going through customs was faster than I expected. We took the HAL transfer to the airport.
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