The service and facilities on this ship are exceptional. The Captain was very visible as walked the decks. I suspect his attention to detail and random conversations with guests and staff has a lot to do with the excellence of the ship.
Friday - SYDNEY
Plane landed, through customs and inspection. Bought a couple of soft drinks, in the bottle, for $12. Had a wild ride in an airport shuttle bus. Lots of one way and crowded streets, even at noon. The flight delays and airport to hotel travel time brought us to the hotel late enough to go straight to a room. A swim and a shower later and off to lunch. Went to see the train station across the street, Wynyard station. Lots of fast food and shops but lunch service ends at 2:30. Did find a nice chicken sandwich place and had a good meal. We walked through "The Rocks" area, the cruise terminal, and city center. Lots of interesting things.
Saturday - SYDNEY
Boarded ship. Spent afternoon unpacking. Exploring. Then dinner with Australians. Very entertaining people. Have learned from our travels that English is difficult to understand in England, not Australia. Who knew? South African girl, America couple, & Australians on airport shuttle. I so love international travel.
Sunday - CRUISING
We are somewhere in the Tasman Sea. Never said that before. Just taking it easy in the cabin. Tonight, dress-up dinner. Tomorrow, the climbing wall.
Monday - CRUISING
No wall climbing; too windy. Diamond Lounge has become our hangout with 3 other couples.
Tuesday - MILFORD SOUND to QUEENSTOWN
Beautiful as promised. Amazing to be inside a Lord of the Rings movie set.
Wednesday - QUEENSTOWN to DUNEDIN
Sheep & deer farms. River rafting, bungee jumping available in area. Watched a girl bungee from a gorge bridge. Nice tea at a winery.
Thursday - AKAROA
Went to shore on 1st tender. Felt sick. Back on board to doctor. Got antibiotics. Went to bed.
Friday - WELLINGTON
The windy city. Went on WETA studio tour. Saw Lord of Rings film sites. Learned a weta is a 6 inch cricket. The name means "everything ugly". Since they were monster makers, that made sense.
Saturday - CRUISING
Still no climbing wall, too windy.
Sunday - TAURANGA
Kayaked in the Bay of Plenty. The town is Mount Maunganui. Beautiful tropical beach.
Monday - AUCKLAND
Big city, lots of World Class sailing. Canyoning amazing. Serious 150 ft. waterfall repel. One short leg of climb, actually in the waterfall. Great trip, serious canyoning.
Tuesday - BAY OF ISLANDS
Thank goodness the town supplies a free bus to town from the dock. Little tiny town, Piah. Very friendly. Bought an ice cream bar, the stick said "free bar", so got another, free. DW found an apron at a craft fair. The lady at the post office arranged for her to get exactly the amount of NZ currency needed for the apron.
Wednesday - CRUISING
Thursday - CRUISING
Nice! The sun is out, we are by the pool. Soon the belly flop contest begins. Then, bar-b-q lunch, poolside. Like a weekend at home with neighbors in a yard that moves constantly. Earlier we worked out at the gym. Perfect set of resistance machines, love it. No plans for the day. Ship docks in Sydney tomorrow. Time for some packing.
Friday - SYDNEY
Approaching Sydney harbor. Warm and Sunny. So, we are snow birds, fleeing the frigid Southern California winter, for the warm Australian summer. Well, we would be if it was actually cold in So. Cal. Finally climbed the wall. Did better than expected. Had the last gathering in the Diamond Lounge. Traded emails with the people. Packed & put out the luggage. Only PJs & 1 set of clothes to wear.
Saturday - SYDNEY to HOME
Had nice trip to airport. Special waiting lounge on ship. Nice bus ride to airport. Great pumpkin bread snack while waiting in a comfortable food court. Then through ticket line, customs, inspection, and one more pat down at the gate. Got early boarding and just settled before the rush and 13 hour flight.