A Travellerspoint blog

Fiordland National Park

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


View 2012 New Zealand Christmas on greynomadm's travel map.

Busy day in store today:
0700 Enter Milford Sound
0910 Exit Milford Sound
1210 Enter Thompson Sound
1315 Exit Doubtful Sound
1435 Enter Dusky Sound
1555 Exit Dusky Sound

We figured there would be competition for the best vantage points so we set the alarm for 0500 and were at breakfast by 0530. Early indications didn't look promising, the sea was relatively calm but there were heavy clouds and rain squalls. Dressed appropriately for the cold and strong wind we approached Milford Sound. A bit more sunshine would have made it a magical experience but it was pretty good regardless.

The Captain maintained his timetable and we were up on deck most of the day. At times the wind was so strong it was impossible to hold the camera steady, at other times the wind dropped completely.

We managed to fit in a 'slide show' by the Ranger, Ian Thorne. He has spent 40 years working in the area as a guide, ranger and conservationist. His images were amazing and included pictures of animals and places not many people have seen. The mainly flightless native birds are under threat from introduced predators. Even the forests are under threat from the introduced possums who are multiplying at an alarming rate.

The pastry cooks have been busy !! The atrium is filled with a complete make-believe village made of iced gingerbread, just amazing the trouble they go to.

Dropped into the cabin for a short nap before dinner and decided not to bother getting changed for dinner and had a more than adequate meal in the Buffet. There is always an amazing collection of cakes to choose from.

Despite the nap we're both feeling lethargic and have decided to watch another movie rather than go to a questionable live-show in the Vista Lounge.

Port Chalmers, gateway to Dunedin, is tomorrow's destination.

Posted by greynomadm 22:19 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Second Sea Day

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Today started with a brisk walk on deck, Jenny prefers Deck 7, I like the variety of Deck 14. It was interesting to watch the crew preparing the pool area for the day. The unstacking and positioning of sun-lounges keep about 12 crew busy for the best part of an hour. It was interesting to see people wrapped in blankets lying on the lounges in the brisk cool breezes with temperatures struggling to reach 18 °C.

Joined Jenny for breakfast and chatted with another crew member we recognised from the March cruise. Back to the cabin to change for the day, Jenny to craft and I'm off to see the Chef and Bartender Challenge, the chef cooked two dishes and the bartender mixed three different drinks. Three ladies from the audience tasted the offerings and had to vote on which offerings they liked best. The chef won 2 to 1.

The Fruit and Vegetable Demonstration was held indoors in the Atrium, there was a massive crowd occupying every vantage point.

The Horizon Court Buffet featured "sushi". Massive platters were turned into works of art using the different forms of sushi to create mosaic patterns. The carved figures were truly amazing.

All this activity has made us a little tired and we dozed off for a while after lunch. I think we overdid it a bit and were asleep for some hours. Woke up in time to get dressed for the formal night. Dinner was up to the usual high standard and the waiters all looked very smart in their formal rig.
The captain's Champagne Waterfall was so crowded it was almost impossible to see what was going on. We'd experienced it before so I scoffed down a drink and we retired to the cabin to watch a movie on the TV. "Mirror Mirror" staring Julia Roberts and Lily Collins was a very entertaining twist on the story of Snow White.

Tomorrow we arrive at Milford Sound and cruise through a number of these spectacular gorges - depending on sea and weather conditions. We'll be on deck for most of the day.

Goodnight for now, more tomorrow.

Posted by greynomadm 00:29 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Sea Day Sydney to New Zealand's South Island

Monday, 17 December 2012

The clock was put ahead by an hour overnight resulting in a short night. The ship's been a bit lively and there are paper bags available in the stair-wells. There were some very loud crashes during the night as the bow ploughed through the waves.

The promenade deck is closed because of the strong winds and spray from the waves. I tried to walk on Deck 14 but it proved close to impossible. I almost expected to see Mr Paul sitting there with his GPS and charts he was always there about dawn.

Not a lot of activity this morning so I will be spending time with the Kindle. Spent some time reading and visited the Future Cruise Desk. By placing a $100 deposit now we earn about $125 each in on-board credits when next we book a Princess Cruise.

After lunch we attended the Princess Theatre for the screening of the movie "Arbitrage" starring Richard Gere. Great entertainment, a well acted movie with quite an involved plot.

Dinner in the dining room was rather long-winded. Our waiters don't appear to have their act together and our table was still waiting for mains when others were finishing their deserts.

This evening's show featured the comedian Kenny Bennett, the funniest part of his show was his outfit of black and white check down to his socks and shoes.

Wandered up to the buffet for coffee and some nibbles. Back to the cabin to finish this entry and to advance the clocks by another hour.
The ship continues to pitch and roll but more gently than last night. We'll sleep well tonight.

Posted by greynomadm 01:54 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

All Aboard

Sunday, 16 December 2012

After a very restful night we got up and I went for a short walk to watch Sydney awake on a Sunday Morning. It took no time at all to pack up and we were well and truly ready to check out at 10. Stepped out onto the footpath and had a taxi pull up eager for a fare. It took some time to convince him that we knew where the ship was berthed but he agreed to take us there and onto the other location if we were wrong.

It was interesting once again to watch the petty officials set up the 'stock yard' for the check-in process. No sooner had one set it up along would come another to change the layout. This happened at least four times and finally there was a huddle of six of them trying to come to a consensus. You'd have thought that by now they'd had enough practise.

Being "Platinum" entitled us to preferred status and put us in a select queue. We were one of the first aboard and dropped our carry-on in the cabin. The cabin is yet another different configuration and is longer and narrower than what we've previously stayed in.

Lunch at the Horizon Court Buffet brought a surprise, Jeffrey the waiter, from the Cherry Blossom cruise surprised us. It was great to catch up but unfortunately we're not assigned to his station. Our assigned table is a table for 10 and we asked the Maitre d'Hotel to see if he could find us a smaller table. Within an hour or so we'd been re-assigned to a table of four. The other couple appear nice enough and we certainly share some opinions on a number of things.

The 'show' tonight was mainly an introduction to the 'singers and dancers' and the Cruise Director's staff. The most interesting bit was a magician - James Michael, it will be interesting to see a full show from him.

A quick visit to the shops for those essentials that might sell out and back to the cabin to complete this entry.
Sea day tomorrow

Posted by greynomadm 02:53 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Moruya to Sydney

Saturday, 15 December 2012


View 2012 New Zealand Christmas on greynomadm's travel map.

Under a threatening sky we set off in my mate's car to the Moruya Bus Stop. The Premier coach arrived right on schedule and we settled in for the long trip to Sydney. Break for morning tea in Batemans Bay and on to Nowra for the lunch break.

Leaving Nowra we were diverted off the highway because it was blocked between Bomaderry and Berrie. There had been a collision between a B Double propane tanker and a HiLux ute, both drivers were killed and the road had been blocked for over 12 hours. There was a passenger to be dropped off in Berrie and the driver made a significant detour to get him there.

The driver made good time for the remainder of the journey and despite a further delay due to some street disturbance we arrived at Central right on time.

A short walk down to the The Great Southern Hotel on George Street. We haven't stayed here before but were quite impressed by the location and the standard of the hotel. The restaurant also serves up a hearty meal for just over $10. Chicken Schnitzel for Jenny and a Beefburger with the Lot for me.

After dinner we used the City Circle train to go to Wynyard to take some photos of the tree in Martin Place. On to David Jones to see the decorated shop windows, there was quite a crowd doing the same thing.

On to St Mary's Cathedral where there was to be a 'light show' but with light rain and almost an hour to wait we headed back to St James Station for a train to Circular Quay for some photos of the Bridge and Opera House. Back on the train to Town Hall Station where there was another 'light show'. Back on the train to Central Station and a short walk to the Hotel.

Hope the photos are worth the effort required to get them. Not sure how they will turn out without the use of a tripod.
No free internet at the Hotel so will hold this until we're aboard the Sea Princess.

Posted by greynomadm 02:50 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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