Saturday, January 21, 2017

Cruise end 👎

When we left Wellington three days ago we were headed for the Malborough Sounds for a day of scenic cruising before heading back to Sydney. However the scenic cruising day had to be cancelled when a bad storm hit the area.
So the Captain announced that our navigation back had been altered to avoid the worst of the storm. 
From there it got very rocky on the ship particularly at the aft where our cabin was.
That evening as we left Wellington we hit some unpredictable strong winds and the ship suddenly listed to one side. The captain announced that we had just hit 80 knot winds and that they were transferring ballast to compensate and return the ship upright. We soon turned into Cook Strait and it improved slightly.
Here is a photo I took showing the tilting of the ship.

That night was very rough with lots of creaking and movement. We were woken in the middle of the night when the ship listed again and our tray of mini bar supplies including glasses and alcohol went tumbling onto the tiled floor making a very loud smashing sound which was scary in the middle of the night to wake up to. Not long after the captain announced what had happened but reassured us that the ship was safe and all was under control.

We eventually went back to sleep and the next three days at sea were rocky and bumpy so we all had to take care. Pools were closed and decks were closed which made exercising a little difficult!
We arrived safely back in Sydney this morning to sunny skies. 
Another trip has come to an end. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Wellington, New Zealand

Today we are in sunny and windy Wellington. 
We have chosen to do our own thing today and go ashore to have lunch and go for a walk in the city. 
We looked for an Italian restaurant on Yelp prior to arriving and when I saw the Pizzeria Napoli I knew we had to try it. We have been to every Pizzeria Napoli we have found in ea h city we travel to, we have been to one on Adelaide, Barcelona and now Wellington.
We had a nice sleep in, a leisurely breakfast and then Michael went for a swim with his friends.
At around lunch time we got off the ship. As we are in a working port, there is no pedestrian traffic allowed on the wharf so the city has put on a shuttle bus service for us all day going to and from the ship and the city. We took the shuttle and got off in town and then went to our restaurant.
A bit of a hole in the wall place but these are always the best! 
We had a nice pizza lunch and then proceeded to have a long walk back to the shuttle buses. Wellington is a nice city and we browsed the shops as we walked.

Nice sunny day, plenty of exercise and a day out in Wellington!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Picton, New Zealand

Today we are in Picton, New Zealand, a town in the heart of Marlborough wine country.
We have chosen to go on an excursion to a chocolate factory, a brewery and a world war I aviation museum. A strange combination but a lovely way to see the countryside too.

It's very rare that we have been here and been met by sunshine but today we are in luck, a beautiful summer's day, sunny and 23 degrees!
Here is the view from our balcony.


We met in the princess theatre to await our tour group to be called and at about 0830 we set off with our small group on a mini bus to our first stop the chocolate factory where we bought two small boxes of chocolate for $42, expensive but yummy and of course aiding the local economy.

After this quick stop we headed off to a local micro brewery where our group got to taste a number of boutique beers.


Then off to a tour of an aviation museum that houses World War I planes, some real, some replicas. Our guide was very informative about the aircraft and the war in general.
Here are some photos

A plane crashed into a tree 
 The red baron's plane
A scene depicting the demise of the Red Baron at the hands of the Australians.
A good excursion.
We returned back to the ship in time for lunch and some relaxation on board before we sail to Wellington tonight.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Dunedin, New Zealand

Today we arrived in Dunedin after a few days at sea. The last day and a half were pretty rough so I spent most of my time laying down!!
The weather here is a drizzly 14 degrees, summer in Dunedin!!
We had a late breakfast and at 12.45 met our excursion bus ashore for the City, Olveston house and Botanic Gardens tour. We have been to Dunedin many times so we chose this excursion as a change from what we have done in the past.
The tour of the city was very informative, Dunedin, Gaelic for Edinburgh, has a rich history. We then visited Olveston House, a man or built in the early 1900s by a wealthy family. The home and all its contents were donated to the city when the last heir passsed away. I wish I could show you photos but we weren't allowed to take any. I am a Downton Abbey fan, for those of you who have seen the show, I saw so many similarities in this home, the drawing room, sitting rooms, games rooms, butler's pantry, the kitchen, servants quarters and much more. Our guide was very informative and I enjoyed the visit.
Afterwards we went on to the botanic gardens, they were nice but as it was starting to rain we didn't get to see much.
Still a nice afternoon, now back to the ship....

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sydney - cruise turnaround day

Yesterday was the end of the first part of our back to back cruise, the 8 night Tasmania and Melbourne  portion and we returned to Sydney to disembark all the passengers and embark new ones for the 11 night New Zealand cruise.
We received a letter in our stateroom the night prior giving us instructions regarding the procedures for this day.

The first cruise was a domestic cruise so there was no need for customs or immigration processing. 
Even if we were staying in for the New Zealand cruise we needed to be processed out of the country by customs and immigration staff.
Last time we did this on Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas, the customs staff came on board the ship so we didn't need to go ashore to he processed.

This time our letter was very confusing so we asked at the Passenger Services desk and they told us we had to get off at 10.00 am and would not be allowed back on until 11.30.
This was after we had been told 3 different things by 3 different staff members and our letter said none of this.
Anyway, whilst we were not keen to get off and fight our way back on with 3500 embarking passengers, we got off the ship and went for a walk and stocked up on some goodies for the next 11 nights. 
We returned to the terminal at 11.00 and went straight up to the waiting area and then waited to board with the first group of boarding passengers.
We took some nice photos ashore so that was worthwhile.

Once back on board we had some lunch and then  relaxed.
We did not have to attend the emergency drill again.

The afternoon cleared up and we took some nice shots of Sydney harbour from our balcony.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Excursion to Ballarat Wildlife Park and Sovereign Hill

We have been in Melbourne since yesterday and had an overnight stay in port. Today we have an all day excursion to Ballarat, first visiting a wildlife park and then onto the famous Sovereign Hill. 
A very hot day already this morning which has made the visit somewhat unpleasant but we will make the best of things.

At Sovereign Hill, we spent our time walking through the town admiring all the shops and looking at the miner's accommodations.


Saturday, January 7, 2017


We collected our pilot this morning at 0630 for the long transit into Port Philip Bay to our berth in Port Melbourne.
It was a beautiful morning.
 We arrived at our berth at around 10.00 am.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Scenic Cruising through Wineglass Bay and Oyster Bay off Tasmania

Today we are at sea cruising through a scenic area off Tasmania, Wineglass Bay and Oyster Bay.
Lovely scenery.

Our stateroom is on the back of the ship so as I sit here viewing the scenery I have the marvellous roar of the ship's wake to soothe the senses. It is very relaxing to listen to