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Lauren Spray
September 29th, 2010, 06:11 PM
We just booked. Since I did not see another thread for this sailing, I thought I would start one. We are Harvey and Lauri and we will be meeting up and sailing with our new friends, Gayle and Steve, from the UK.

Is anyone else joining us? I hope we get a lively, fun, interesting group of travelers on this thread and have lots of port and tour discussions as well as getting to know each other in the long months leading up to the cruise.

Lauri

england swings
September 29th, 2010, 06:36 PM
We just booked. Since I did not see another thread for this sailing, I thought I would start one. We are Harvey and Lauri and we will be meeting up and sailing with our new friends, Gayle and Steve, from the UK.

Is anyone else joining us? I hope we get a lively, fun, interesting group of travelers on this thread and have lots of port and tour discussions as well as getting to know each other in the long months leading up to the cruise.

Lauri
Hi Lauri,

Yes, I hope that we get loads of fun people who know a lot about the ports that we will be visiting so that we can all get some fantastic 'private' tours off the ship.

Lauren Spray
September 29th, 2010, 07:03 PM
Hi Gayle,

Thanks for joining the party. If I know you, you can't wait to get the party started.

Lauri

england swings
September 30th, 2010, 04:54 AM
Hi Gayle,

Thanks for joining the party. If I know you, you can't wait to get the party started.

Lauri
I bet we have some of the others from the Antartica troop join us ... I can feel the music begin!!!1

Lauren Spray
September 30th, 2010, 06:48 AM
Yes, let's try to bring some people from the Star with us.

Until others join, we will be talking to ourselves.

england swings
September 30th, 2010, 01:50 PM
Yes, let's try to bring some people from the Star with us.

Until others join, we will be talking to ourselves.
OR just laughing because this is soooooooooooooo insane!!!

Lauren Spray
September 30th, 2010, 02:07 PM
Now we have a new way to communicate...is that what you were laughing about and referring to as insane? Daily e-mails, 2 cruise critic threads, and phone calls and we don't run out of things to say.

Marking Time
December 5th, 2010, 11:47 PM
HI Gayle and Lauri, we have just booked this cruise and are really looking forward to it. Christmas and New Year on the high seas:D:D
We are Chris(tine) and Tim from Western Australia. First time to New Zealand for us.

Lauren Spray
December 6th, 2010, 05:00 AM
Hi Chris and Tim,

Welcome to our roll call. Happy to have you join us! I was beginning to think we were sailing by ourselves. If you booked this early, you are probably great planners, like we are.

This will by our first trip to Australia and New Zealand. Can't wait to learn all about the places we will go. Gayle and Steve have been before.

Please keep checking in with us.

Lauri

Toocool
December 10th, 2010, 10:55 AM
WOW!!! What a early planning. We are badly want to go on this cruise but we do not know how much the air is going to cost us. Since it is a holiday time, it could be expensive and we are party of four.

Any idea about the air from US?
The least expensive cabin on this ship is $1999. Did anybody get a better deal?

Lauren Spray
December 11th, 2010, 06:51 AM
Sorry, Toocool, I do not know how much the air will be for next year. Expensive, is my guess. We can start booking air 330 days out and we'll have to shop around. Some people wait and watch the airfare until the last minute to book in hopes that the fare will come down, and others, like me, like to lock in a good price when I see it. Hard to predict the best way to go.

Good luck and I hope you decide to take this cruise. Let us know what you decide.

Toocool
December 16th, 2010, 09:32 AM
Sorry, Toocool, I do not know how much the air will be for next year. Expensive, is my guess. We can start booking air 330 days out and we'll have to shop around. Some people wait and watch the airfare until the last minute to book in hopes that the fare will come down, and others, like me, like to lock in a good price when I see it. Hard to predict the best way to go.

Good luck and I hope you decide to take this cruise. Let us know what you decide.

Lauren,
I see you are sailing 12/20/2010 on Star princess. We considered this itinerary but we are going 12/20/2010 on Veendam between Santiago and Buenos Aires. Please share your experience after the trip.

Lauren Spray
December 16th, 2010, 09:40 AM
Toocool,

You must be as busy as we are doing last minute things prior to departure. We leave for Rio tomorrow. Is your cruise going to the Antarctica, too? Can't wait to see those cute penguins! I hope poor weather isn't a factor for us and that we don't have rogue waves. We are sailing with England Swings. Have a good cruise. Let's compare notes afterwards.

Espanola
December 30th, 2010, 06:21 PM
Toocool,

You must be as busy as we are doing last minute things prior to departure. We leave for Rio tomorrow. Is your cruise going to the Antarctica, too? Can't wait to see those cute penguins! I hope poor weather isn't a factor for us and that we don't have rogue waves. We are sailing with England Swings. Have a good cruise. Let's compare notes afterwards.

Sounds like we have a lot in common with each of you to date. Two Christmases ago, we took Holland America's Amsterdam to the Antarctic (starting in Valparaiso and ending in Rio). We had wonderful weather, though it was snowing when we first got to first landfall in Antarctica. Then last Christmas, we took Oceania's Nautica from Singapore to Sydney, and met some wonderful people, including some from Western Australia. We look on this trip as an extension of that one.

We are a couple from the Vancouver, Canada, area and have just got back from back-to-back cruises to the Southern Caribbean on Celebrity Summit, where we had our first. We hope to spend some time in both Sydney before we board and in New Zealand before we set off on the long flight back across the Pacific.

For the majority of you off on southern seas, we hope you have a safe voyage, and look forward to hearing about it on your return.

england swings
January 13th, 2011, 06:40 PM
HI Gayle and Lauri, we have just booked this cruise and are really looking forward to it. Christmas and New Year on the high seas:D:D
We are Chris(tine) and Tim from Western Australia. First time to New Zealand for us.
Hi Chris & Tim,

Just back from our Antartica cruise .. what a great time was had by all .. a tremendous experience and great comradery...and of course, penguins!!!! We look forward to meeting you two ... have you cruised before?

england swings
January 13th, 2011, 06:42 PM
WOW!!! What a early planning. We are badly want to go on this cruise but we do not know how much the air is going to cost us. Since it is a holiday time, it could be expensive and we are party of four.

Any idea about the air from US?
The least expensive cabin on this ship is $1999. Did anybody get a better deal?
Hi Toocool,

We are from the UK and so I can't help you with air pricing but Lauri returns to US this weekend and should be able to give you some guidance. Hope to have you onboard!

Lauren Spray
January 15th, 2011, 03:38 PM
We have been home an hour and would you believe I am already checking out our thread? I second what Gayle said...our cruise was the best!

Sorry, I cannot help with airfare at this time. I have not even started looking into it. As soon as I figure out what we are going to do, I will post some information that will hopefully be of some help.

In the meantime, I am going to relax for the rest on the day. We had 3 long flights and I am pooped!

Also..a warm welcome to Espanola. I am glad you found our thread. Hope you'll post often.

Espanola
January 15th, 2011, 10:23 PM
In the meantime, I am going to relax for the rest on the day. We had 3 long flights and I am pooped!

Also..a warm welcome to Espanola. I am glad you found our thread. Hope you'll post often.

Welcome home, Lauren (and Gayle)

Once you are rested up, I would love to compare your notes & memories with our trip to the Antarctic on the Amsterdam two years ago. Hope your weather was as nice!

I notice that you are setting off again in May on the Prinsendam. I've heard lots of good things about that ship, and last summer we almost flew to Norway to take the Hurtigruten ferry/cruise ship up and back along the Norwegian coast. I did lots of research, but ended up doing a camping trip with friends to northern BC (where we visited fjords, dipped into southern Alaska and overlooked one of the largest glaciers in North America). Hopefully some day we can make it to Norway. Enjoy! After that long trans-Atlantic and northern trip, you will really need to rest up for New Zealand.

Meanwhile, most flights and hotels are beyond the reach of their calendars, so we have to sit on our hands and wait.

Have a good 2011

Colin

Marking Time
January 16th, 2011, 03:20 AM
hi everyone,
We are flying into Sydney the night before and have just booked overnight accommodation on line. I e.mailed the hotel direct and they gave me a price.:). I like to do things well ahead as Christmas could be a busy time in Sydney. No flights available as yet.
England Swings, yes we have cruised a few times before but only with Celebrity once.They are our favourite line .
Chris

Lauren Spray
January 16th, 2011, 06:13 AM
Chris,

We also want to spend a few days in Sydney before the cruise. Any recommendations for a hotel?

Lauri

Marking Time
January 16th, 2011, 07:44 PM
Hi Lauri.It depends on where you'd prefer to stay in Sydney. Our choice is Darling Harbour( Four Points Sheraton) . I'm sorry that I can't advise you on hotels in the CBD but I'm sure there will be lots of differing opinons:rolleyes: and information on the forum for Australia and New Zealand. Happy hunting.
Chris

Bruin Steve
January 26th, 2011, 12:19 PM
Hello, everyone...
We are Beth and Steve from Calabasas, California...
We're not booked...yet...
Right now, we are strongly considering going...though we might be crazy...
It would be our third cruise for 2011 (We did 3 in 2010)...and our second long cruise of the year...and we both work full time! And it all gets rather expensive...
But I think it is an addiction...

Since Beth works for a school district, this one fits neatly into her Winter Break...but it defineitely stretches my annual vacation allotment...

Looking at flight schedules, due to the length of the flight, the Time Zones and the International Date Line, we'd have to leave LAX Thursday night our time to get there Saturday morning! And I'd be breaking my own rules if I didn't at least try to get in Friday morning and spend a night in Sydney instead...I guess we get the time back flying home...but it sure makes planning interesting...Ideally, we should fly in several days early and go visit my cousins in Melbourne...but I can't take the time, so we'll have to be content, perhaps, using our port stop in Melbourne to visit family...

Anyway, Beth is pretty much sold on this one...I may still need a bit of convincing...
My parents did a similar cruise a few years back and when I asked them what they saw, they told me "Mountains and Sheep"...I certainly hope it's more exciting than that!

What makes this route of interest to everyone else?

Bruin Steve
January 29th, 2011, 10:58 AM
Hi Lauri.It depends on where you'd prefer to stay in Sydney. Our choice is Darling Harbour( Four Points Sheraton) . I'm sorry that I can't advise you on hotels in the CBD but I'm sure there will be lots of differing opinons:rolleyes: and information on the forum for Australia and New Zealand. Happy hunting.
Chris

We've decided...it's a "go"...I've booked the cruise and the deposit will be posted monday morning...

I tentatively made a reservation for one night pre-cruise at the Four Points Sheraton Darling Harbor...$240 AUD per night including breakfast...I'm hoping that's a good deal for this hotel...

Over on the Australia/NZ ports board, a few folks are trying to convince me to go with the Holiday Inn instead ($202.50 AUD per night, no breakfast) for its location--including walking distance to the ship...

Chris, perhaps you could compare the two hotels and locations for us? Thanks.

Lauren Spray
January 29th, 2011, 05:56 PM
Welcome Beth and Steve. Glad you are joining us.

I think we have communicated on other rollcalls...at least you have answered some of my questions. Harvey and I are Bruins, too, and your neighbors in Simi Valley.

Bruin Steve
January 31st, 2011, 06:21 PM
Everyone,

Please go to this link:

https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do

...and register for the Cruise Critic Connections party...

For those of you who have never attended one, they typically hold these on the first at-sea day...Celebrity provides a room and refreshments...It is a great way to get together and meet everyone from the Roll Call and put faces with screen names...

In order to confirm the party, we need 25 people to register...

As of this writing, we only have two (Beth and I)...

Marking Time
January 31st, 2011, 07:24 PM
Hi Steve as of now we are 4. I did try last week to register but it was unavailable.I'm sorry that I can't advise on the Holiday Inn as we've never stayed there. But $240 with brekky is a fair deal at the Sheraton. We are paying $220 flat rate.But it all comes down to personal choice and how you want to spend your time in Sydney. We live on the west coast and have only holidayed in Sydney( but we do love it) so can't profess to be an expert. Maybe some Sydneysiders will post.This will be our first Christmas holiday away from home and are really looking forward to it.
Regards
Chris(tine) and Tim

england swings
February 2nd, 2011, 07:46 PM
Hi Steve as of now we are 4. I did try last week to register but it was unavailable.I'm sorry that I can't advise on the Holiday Inn as we've never stayed there. But $240 with brekky is a fair deal at the Sheraton. We are paying $220 flat rate.But it all comes down to personal choice and how you want to spend your time in Sydney. We live on the west coast and have only holidayed in Sydney( but we do love it) so can't profess to be an expert. Maybe some Sydneysiders will post.This will be our first Christmas holiday away from home and are really looking forward to it.
Regards
Chris(tine) and Tim
Hi All,

I am back .. still sorting out photos from the Antartica but getting more organized every day .. we were last in Sydney in 2006 and stayed at the ShangriLa right above the bridge and Opera House ... and where the cruise ships dock ... fantastic! I haven't checked out the prices but it was a fantastic hotel and a beautiful view out of our windows of the harbour. Oops, just found that the hotel is 410 AUD .. which is about double the Sheraton ... so, will have to re-think hotel choice now ... but may wait and see where everyone else is locating!

england swings
February 4th, 2011, 06:31 AM
Everyone,

Please go to this link:

https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do

...and register for the Cruise Critic Connections party...

For those of you who have never attended one, they typically hold these on the first at-sea day...Celebrity provides a room and refreshments...It is a great way to get together and meet everyone from the Roll Call and put faces with screen names...

In order to confirm the party, we need 25 people to register...

As of this writing, we only have two (Beth and I)...
On our recent cruise to the Antartica on the Star Princess, we had an AWESOME Meet & Greet group along ... we had about 3-4 gatherings during the cruise (over Christmas and New Years) and so many of us are not very, very good friends. Lauri Spray organized everything for us with spreadsheets updated and sent out to us with everyone's email address, cabin number, pre and post hotel information and private tours that everyone joined .. it made the cruise so much more exciting and easy with knowing what is where and who was what. Maybe we can convince her to do the same for this cruise??

england swings
February 4th, 2011, 06:33 AM
Does anyone know if Celebrity allows us to bring on our own wine??? We were able to do this on Princess and it was such a BIG SAVINGS .. not that we didn't buy any wine or anything like that but it was so much nicer having it in the cabin? Thanks.:)

Bruin Steve
February 4th, 2011, 10:40 AM
... and so many of us are not very, very good friends...

I'm sure you meant to type "...NOW very, very good friends..." ;)

I believe Celebrity allows you to bring two bottles onboard and charges a corkage fee of $25 if used in the dining room...but I am not sure how current that info is...I'd check with them...

Marking Time
February 6th, 2011, 06:03 AM
Hi Beth and Steve , I have just checked and there are still only the 4 of us registered for the connections party!:confused:

Bruin Steve
February 10th, 2011, 11:18 AM
Well, everyone...
No turning back now...
I just purchased our airline tickets...

We are flying V Australia...which means we have to fly back to Sydney (and on a 7:15 flight the day after the cruise) after the cruise to connect back to LAX...but it seems worthwhile...The fares were lower than other airlines--including taxes and fees, $1327 per person...

Departing Flight - Los Angeles To Sydney - Wed 21 Dec 2011
Depart 21:10 Los Angeles Wed 21 Dec Arrive 07:05 Sydney Fri 23 Dec
14h55m

Returning Flight - Auckland To Los Angeles - Sat 7 Jan 2012
Depart 07:15 Auckland Arrive 08:55 Sydney
Depart 12:15 Sydney Arrive 07:00 Los Angeles
20h45m

Yes, those time zone changes are bizarre...We need to leave LA on Wednesday to arrive in Sydney by Friday...But, on the return, we have to fly by way of Sydney yet arrive in Los Angeles the same day...and at an earlier time than we left Auckland!!
Who said you can't turn back time?

Anyway, now I am all set...
We're leaning towards cancelling the Four Points and going with the Holiday Inn Old Sydney...mostly for the location right by the pier...Beth seems to like that idea...

Lauren Spray
February 10th, 2011, 11:49 AM
We have now signed up for the Connections party. Look forward to meeting everyone.

Lauri

eunephron
February 12th, 2011, 02:14 PM
Hi Laurie,
I am just looking into booking that cruise. We are a family of 4 (22, 18 year old kids) and I have been searching to see what people say about this trip. I think it would be a wonderful way to spend the holidays.
Deborah

Lauren Spray
February 12th, 2011, 03:31 PM
Hi Deborah,

I hope you and your family decide to take this cruise. Holiday cruises are a lot of fun and there is always something for the whole family. It is very festive with the decorations and the festivities. People really get in the holiday spirit and bring decorations for their cabins, too. This will be our 3rd Christmas and New Year's cruise. I think we are hooked.

I hope they don't have gingerbread house making contests because England Swings and I did not do so well on the last one. Actually, our house was pretty pathetic and I was covered up to my elbows in frosting! I think Gayle will want a new partner next time.

Let us know what you decide.

Lauri

eunephron
February 12th, 2011, 06:19 PM
Hi Steve,
I am in Laguna Beach, CA and was thinking of taking this cruise (actually booked it tentatively) but wanted to price airfare. Quantas is limited in it's flight choices and runs a sale price in excess of $1800 per person. I noticed that you booked with V Australia but I am unable to book online. Can you tell me what they charge for the flights that you are taking? We are a family of 4 so airfare is pricy.
Thanks for your help,
Deborah

Bruin Steve
February 12th, 2011, 09:01 PM
Hi Steve,
I am in Laguna Beach, CA and was thinking of taking this cruise (actually booked it tentatively) but wanted to price airfare. Quantas is limited in it's flight choices and runs a sale price in excess of $1800 per person. I noticed that you booked with V Australia but I am unable to book online. Can you tell me what they charge for the flights that you are taking? We are a family of 4 so airfare is pricy.
Thanks for your help,
Deborah

Deborah,
I booked it directly over the phone with V Australia...$1327 per person!!!

eunephron
February 12th, 2011, 09:08 PM
Well, everyone...
No turning back now...
I just purchased our airline tickets...

We are flying V Australia...which means we have to fly back to Sydney (and on a 7:15 flight the day after the cruise) after the cruise to connect back to LAX...but it seems worthwhile...The fares were lower than other airlines--including taxes and fees, $1327 per person...

Departing Flight - Los Angeles To Sydney - Wed 21 Dec 2011
Depart 21:10 Los Angeles Wed 21 Dec Arrive 07:05 Sydney Fri 23 Dec
14h55m

Returning Flight - Auckland To Los Angeles - Sat 7 Jan 2012
Depart 07:15 Auckland Arrive 08:55 Sydney
Depart 12:15 Sydney Arrive 07:00 Los Angeles
20h45m

Yes, those time zone changes are bizarre...We need to leave LA on Wednesday to arrive in Sydney by Friday...But, on the return, we have to fly by way of Sydney yet arrive in Los Angeles the same day...and at an earlier time than we left Auckland!!
Who said you can't turn back time?

Anyway, now I am all set...
We're leaning towards cancelling the Four Points and going with the Holiday Inn Old Sydney...mostly for the location right by the pier...Beth seems to like that idea...

Wow, that is an amazing price!! I'll get on it. Thanks!
Deborah

eunephron
February 12th, 2011, 11:33 PM
Hi Bruin Steve,
Airfare has dropped a bit but if we fly back through Melbern, it is $115 cheaper per ticket.
I have made my reservations and thank you for turning me on to V Australia.
Do you know anything about Trip Protection and good, reputable insurance companies?

Deborah

Bruin Steve
February 13th, 2011, 01:46 AM
Hi Bruin Steve,
Airfare has dropped a bit but if we fly back through Melbern, it is $115 cheaper per ticket.
I have made my reservations and thank you for turning me on to V Australia.
Do you know anything about Trip Protection and good, reputable insurance companies?

Deborah

This is the company my TA set me up with last few cruises:

http://www.travelexinsurance.com/

We actually had to cash in on the policy on our 2008 Baltic cruise on Constellation...My Father-in-Law passed away when we were 5 nights into the cruise and we had to fly home from Helsinki...They paid us 9/14ths of the cruise fare plus a large portion of our extra air cost (which was, unfortunately, limited by the terms of the policy to 150% of our original air cost...Still, it really softened the blow...

england swings
February 13th, 2011, 07:26 PM
Well, everyone...
No turning back now...
I just purchased our airline tickets...

We are flying V Australia...which means we have to fly back to Sydney (and on a 7:15 flight the day after the cruise) after the cruise to connect back to LAX...but it seems worthwhile...The fares were lower than other airlines--including taxes and fees, $1327 per person...

Departing Flight - Los Angeles To Sydney - Wed 21 Dec 2011
Depart 21:10 Los Angeles Wed 21 Dec Arrive 07:05 Sydney Fri 23 Dec
14h55m

Returning Flight - Auckland To Los Angeles - Sat 7 Jan 2012
Depart 07:15 Auckland Arrive 08:55 Sydney
Depart 12:15 Sydney Arrive 07:00 Los Angeles
20h45m

Yes, those time zone changes are bizarre...We need to leave LA on Wednesday to arrive in Sydney by Friday...But, on the return, we have to fly by way of Sydney yet arrive in Los Angeles the same day...and at an earlier time than we left Auckland!!
Who said you can't turn back time?

Anyway, now I am all set...
We're leaning towards cancelling the Four Points and going with the Holiday Inn Old Sydney...mostly for the location right by the pier...Beth seems to like that idea...
Yes, we are thinking about staying there .. the cost and location is really quite reasonable.

eunephron
February 14th, 2011, 04:28 PM
Steve have you flown VAustralia before? I have been checking their reviews on tripAdvisor and they are not good!!
Deborah

Bruin Steve
February 14th, 2011, 05:00 PM
Steve have you flown VAustralia before? I have been checking their reviews on tripAdvisor and they are not good!!
Deborah

No. Very few people have...it's a fairly new operation. When we got to LAX for our December 31 flight to Miami for our Allure cruise, our shuttle driver was looking for another airline for a passenger who was going on that and pulled up to where he thought the airline was--only to find it moved as V Australia was now in that space...It's that recent...

I am imagining any new operation will have its bugs to work out...but, by the time we go, it will be in operation awhile...

Also, it seems it depends on what one expects...

A lot of what I found on TripAdvisor spoke about their Australia to Phuket runs...which might be a bit different...and some discussion about being transferred to "Virgin Blue"--no frills...Of course, our Auckland back to Sydney leg will be on Virgin Blue...but, it's a short hop, so no big deal...

This one seemed to be a fairly thorough and balanced review:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i10702-k2589801-V_Australia_from_Sydney_to_LAX_first_impressions_l ong-Air_Travel.html

The savings over Quantas/American are sufficient enough that I'm not going to worry about it...I know people who have raved about Virgin's other operations for years...

BTW, slightly off-topic, check out this tape of a Southwest Flight Attendant...we thought this was pretty good:


http://www.wimp.com/coolestflight/

eunephron
February 14th, 2011, 05:30 PM
Wonderful video...really loved it!!

Thanks for the more balanced review.

Deborah

eunephron
February 14th, 2011, 11:41 PM
WOW!!! What a early planning. We are badly want to go on this cruise but we do not know how much the air is going to cost us. Since it is a holiday time, it could be expensive and we are party of four.

Any idea about the air from US?
The least expensive cabin on this ship is $1999. Did anybody get a better deal?

I booked my airfare on V Australia...really good price. Paying something like $1212 per person from LAX to Sydney, Aukland to Melbourne to LAX

Deborah

Bruin Steve
February 15th, 2011, 01:09 PM
I booked my airfare on V Australia...really good price. Paying something like $1212 per person from LAX to Sydney, Aukland to Melbourne to LAX

Deborah

Deborah,
You certainly beat my fare (by $115 per person...ours was $1327)...
I'm not going to worry about it, though...
These things fluctuate...sometimes you win, sometimes you lose...
IIRC, my Sydney flight allows us to "sleep in" an additional 15 minutes, though!! ;)

eunephron
February 15th, 2011, 08:50 PM
But you beat me on the hotel price!! I have tentatively booked the Holiday Inn Old Sydney for $258 including breakfast. I think your deal was a bit better :)

england swings
February 16th, 2011, 07:00 PM
where is everyone staying in Auckland, that is, if you are staying after the cruise???

eunephron
February 17th, 2011, 01:45 AM
We will spend the night there before departing on January 7th but I still have to look into that. Let me know if you have any good leads.
Deborah

Bruin Steve
February 17th, 2011, 11:30 AM
where is everyone staying in Auckland, that is, if you are staying after the cruise???

I sorted through a number of hotels...

I asked the question on the Australia/New Zealand board here...and, as can be expected, got a number of "recommendations" all mainly because it was "where they stayed when they visited"...

I checked the TripAdvisor site...and read a lot of reviews, going well beyond the number rankings...

I considered:
Hilton
Rydges
Sky City
Langham
Mercure and
Copthorne

Hilton is highly thought of and close to the dock, but the room rate was about double most of the others...

Langham I know because they recently took over what was the Ritz Carlton here in Pasadena...and that is sort of beyond a five-star...It's the "Grande Dame" of this area...but, of course, that doesn't mean all of their other hotels are comparable...In Auckland, it appears that the location is somewhat remote comparatively...

Sky City looks nice and is in the heart of downtown...but is also a major casino and a massive complex...

Mercure gets some good reviews and is located within a block or two of the dock...but the fact that they are owned by Accor (The parent company of Motel 6 and Ibis) scared Beth off (and I worked for Motel 6 when we got married!)...

We finally settled on the Copthorne...

http://www.millenniumhotels.co.nz/copthorneharbourcity/index.html

The reviews on TripAdvisor were a bit mixed...Some complained about the decor being dated, others that they thought the air conditioning in their room was loud...We don't care about the decor for a one night's stay...and I'm hoping that if there's a problem with loud AC, they maybe will fix it before we get there...The major positive was location...It appears to be directly across from the pier...Check the fifth photo down here:

http://www.millenniumhotels.co.nz/copthorneharbourcity/gallery/index.html

The current rates are:
$190 NZD ($143 US) for a nonrefundable pay now rate
$205 NZD ($154 US) for a flexible cancelable rate

We reserved at the flexible rate

There also appear to be several other choices...
What attracted Beth (I let her make the final call) was the proximity to the ship...We'll just wheel our luggage over, check in, explore, get a good night's sleep and that EARLY taxi to the airport for the 7:15 am flight the next day!

eunephron
February 17th, 2011, 01:07 PM
Hi Steve!
Do you know how far the cruise ship harbour is from the Airport? Wondering whether we should stay closer to the airport b/c of our early departure.
Deborah

Bruin Steve
February 17th, 2011, 03:59 PM
Hi Steve!
Do you know how far the cruise ship harbour is from the Airport? Wondering whether we should stay closer to the airport b/c of our early departure.
Deborah

According to Google Maps, it's 13.2 miles...They estimate 31 minutes...

There seems to be a few hotels out toward the airport, including a Holiday Inn...but the area looks to be sort of isolated...residential on one side and industrial in the other...and still requiring a shuttle to the airport...

We figured that, with just the one night in Auckland, better to stay where there are restaurants and shops and so on...and deal with getting up a half an hour earlier in the morning...we can sleep on the plane...heaven knows we'll be spending a lot of time on planes

I'm hoping I can adjust back to my usual coach seats...For our Europe cruise in August, we're flying Business Class...and I'll probably be spoiled by those flat sleeper seats...

england swings
February 18th, 2011, 06:41 PM
Having to fly from the UK to Sydney and then out of Auckland back to the UK is actually the PITTS ... when I see how much you are paying for tickets for your flights, I am SICK ... so far the cheapest is with British Airways and will be about £5488.00 for both of us .. that will be in 'premium economy' but even economy was expensive because of having to fly into Sydney and fly out of Auckland ... so think yourselves lucky to be coming in from the US and not having to rob a bank to get to Sydney .. we haven't booked just yet so if you know anyone flying from here .. please let me know. Thanks. Also, thinking of the Holiday Inn Old Sydney and Mecure in Auckland since we are there for 3 nights before heading back.

Lauren Spray
February 19th, 2011, 10:56 AM
FYI to Americans -

Australia requires a tourist visa. You can get it on line for an AUS$20 service fee; no visa fee, though. I got it through the Australian Consulate's website. It is called ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) and takes about 10 minutes (if you are a slow typist). You will get a confirmation and a reference number. This reference number is linked to your passport and the airlines access it on check in.

It is good for 12 months from the date of issue.

All other nationalities should check for their specific visa requirements.

Lauri

eunephron
February 19th, 2011, 11:01 AM
Thanks for that information, Lauri. How about New Zealand?
Deborah

Lauren Spray
February 19th, 2011, 11:50 AM
USA is on the New Zealand list of visa free countries.

Lauri

england swings
February 19th, 2011, 06:46 PM
FYI to Americans -

Australia requires a tourist visa. You can get it on line for an AUS$20 service fee; no visa fee, though. I got it through the Australian Consulate's website. It is called ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) and takes about 10 minutes (if you are a slow typist). You will get a confirmation and a reference number. This reference number is linked to your passport and the airlines access it on check in.

It is good for 12 months from the date of issue.

All other nationalities should check for their specific visa requirements.

Lauri
Just a bit more on the info .. Brits OR EU countries do not need an Australian Visa.

Lauren Spray
February 22nd, 2011, 08:14 AM
It is just awful what happened in Christchurch. I really feel for the people who have lost loved ones, been injured or have damaged property.

I was in the middle of the Northridge quake, so I can understand what they are going through. It still brings back vivid memories. I don't think you ever forget something like this.

I was one of the lucky ones. I did not too have much damage and no injuries or loss of life to any friends or family.

Lauri

Bruin Steve
February 22nd, 2011, 12:48 PM
It is just awful what happened in Christchurch. I really feel for the people who have lost loved ones, been injured or have damaged property.

I was in the middle of the Northridge quake, so I can understand what they are going through. It still brings back vivid memories. I don't think you ever forget something like this.

I was one of the lucky ones. I did not too have much damage and no injuries or loss of life to any friends or family.

Lauri

Being a lifelong Southern Californian, I have over 50 years of earthquake "experience"...and also studied earthquakes a bit in college and add in the knowledge about construction from my career in the real estate and development arena...and I think I have a decent handle on these things...

The effects of this earthquake are actually far worse than any we've had in Southern California in my lifetime...
Think about it...65 dead in a city with a total population of less than 400,000...
The 1994 Northridge Earthquake allegedly killed 33...but that statistic is extremely misleading...it includes several "stress-induced coronary" victims...heart attacks that may or may not really have had any connection to the earthquake...really, the only deaths were in one apartment building very near the epicenter which,somehow, collapsed...and, thi is in a metropolitan area with a population estimated at around 18 Million...

Also keep in mind that this Christchurch earthquake had a Richter rating of 6.3 (compared to Northridge's 6.7)...Just a note, the Richter scale increases exponentially, not on a straight line...a "7" actually has approximately ten times the force of a "6"...

The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco area was the most devastating in California in the last 50 years...a 7.1 that killed 57...again, in relation to the population of the cities involved, Christchurch is proportionally far worse...

Also remember that Christchurch suffered through a 7.1 quake just this past September that they were still recovering from...

Of course, by some miracle, nobody died in the September earthquake...

Apparently, the problem in Christchurch this time is the same problem that caused most of the damage in San Francisco--"Liquifaction"...This is what happens to loose, sandy soil located above a high water table...When shaken, the smaller rocks and particles tend to settle (think about shaking a box of Rice Krispies)...particles find there way down through the spaces between other particles...Often, this alone is enough to compromise the foundations of building built above it...but, when there is also a high water table, the subsiding particles will displace the water, moving it upward, further compromising the structures...apparently, a lot of Christchurch is built on top of this sort of soil...

In any event, it is a terrible tragedy and my heart goes out to those affected...

Bruin Steve
March 21st, 2011, 02:06 PM
Well...
Today worked out to be quite positive for me regarding this cruise...
Celebrity is currently running a special--FREE GRATUITIES
And...
They dropped the prices over the weekend...
I contacted my TA...and, when the dust settled, I got a $440 price drop in my rate, plus free gratuities in the amount of $299 applied...
So, I've just saved $739 off of my original booked reservation!

Add in a $325 OBC from my TA and I'm $1,064 ahead on this one...

eunephron
March 21st, 2011, 03:38 PM
Steve,
Thanks so much for this information. We got room upgrades for less than what we were paying, free gratuities and a slightly lower ship board credit but who cares!! Appreciate you letting us know about this!!
Deborah

Lauren Spray
March 26th, 2011, 10:09 PM
Steve,

Congrats on the savings. Thanks for the heads up. I am going to see what I can do for us.

Lauri

Bruin Steve
March 28th, 2011, 10:49 AM
Just a reminder...
For anyone who has yet to register for the Cruise Critic Connections Party, please do so...We are currently at 14...we need at least 11 more to sign up...

Here is the link:

https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do

>>As of 28-Mar-2011, 14 guests have already signed up for the Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Party for the cruise Celebrity Century sailing on 24-Dec-2011.

Remember, in order to enjoy an official Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party, 25 must be registered for your party 3 days prior to the sail date. If your group reaches the minimum, you will receive an email confirmation. If your group does not reach this minimum, you will receive a cancellation notification.<<

Lauren Spray
April 5th, 2011, 10:25 AM
It was hard to find our thread. We are so far down the pages. Where is everybody??? Are you all hibernating for the winter or just very busy??? Come out, come out wherever you are...check in... and post here.

Who is working on their plans for other cruises prior to this one?

Well, we have been busy, too. We have been enjoying a visit from England Swings in Mexico and in Los Angeles. We are working on our hotel plans for December and January. It is funny to watch Gayle and I. We sit across from each other at the kitchen table, each with a laptop, checking out hotels and passing the information back and forth. It gets crazy! Then we go to happy hour :)

Has anyone ever checked out the website for Cruise Fellows? It is affiliated with Cruise Critic. It is a site where you set up a page for your specific cruise. We can post pictures of ourselves and get to see our fellow travelers. We can also post information about tours, informal get-togethers, etc.

I started one for this cruise and posted our picture. I have started a page for quite a few of our other cruises and members loved it! It was a good way to recognize each other, put a face to a name and find others to join tours.

The direct URL to go to our sailing is: http://*******/iy69N. Won't you please join me and post your picture?

Well, that's it for now. I hope to see your picture soon! If you need help uploading one, let me know.

Lauri

Bruin Steve
April 5th, 2011, 11:54 AM
It was hard to find our thread. We are so far down the pages. Where is everybody??? Are you all hibernating for the winter or just very busy??? Come out, come out wherever you are...check in... and post here.

Who is working on their plans for other cruises prior to this one?

Well, we have been busy, too. We have been enjoying a visit from England Swings in Mexico and in Los Angeles. We are working on our hotel plans for December and January. It is funny to watch Gayle and I. We sit across from each other at the kitchen table, each with a laptop, checking out hotels and passing the information back and forth. It gets crazy! Then we go to happy hour :)

Has anyone ever checked out the website for Cruise Fellows? It is affiliated with Cruise Critic. It is a site where you set up a page for your specific cruise. We can post pictures of ourselves and get to see our fellow travelers. We can also post information about tours, informal get-togethers, etc.

I started one for this cruise and posted our picture. I have started a page for quite a few of our other cruises and members loved it! It was a good way to recognize each other, put a face to a name and find others to join tours.

The direct URL to go to our sailing is: http://*******/iy69N. Won't you please join me and post your picture?

Well, that's it for now. I hope to see your picture soon! If you need help uploading one, let me know.

Lauri

Hi, Lauri...

Not hibernating...I just try not to post TOO much...
This is rather quiet though...Our Roll Call for our July 2012 Iceland Eclipse cruise is already at 177 posts and seems to have two or three new posts every day! Some Roll Calls just end up more active than others...Hopefully this one will pick up a bit as time goes on...

We do have two other cruises that I've been spending some time planning. Our August 10 Oceania Marina cruise is coming up the quickest and we stiill don't have half the ports planned...And I've just started planning that Iceland cruise as well...I realized we return to Southampton just a few days before the 2012 London Olympics start, so I've been scrambling the last couple of days trying to lock in a post-cruise hotel...

For this one, I am still in the information gathering stage on ports...Unlike Europe, I don't know a thing about most of these ports...So far, I've just been gathering info on local tour providers, but may end up doing a lot of shorexes...I am just so tired of arranging private tours...so, I'm waiting for Celebrity to post the shorex offerings.

I did stop by that site, Lauri...and posted a photo...I am not telling Beth, though...she probably won't like the photo...or perhaps that I posted her age!

Lauren Spray
April 5th, 2011, 01:30 PM
Hi, Lauri...

Not hibernating...I just try not to post TOO much...
This is rather quiet though...Our Roll Call for our July 2012 Iceland Eclipse cruise is already at 177 posts and seems to have two or three new posts every day! Some Roll Calls just end up more active than others...Hopefully this one will pick up a bit as time goes on...

We do have two other cruises that I've been spending some time planning. Our August 10 Oceania Marina cruise is coming up the quickest and we stiill don't have half the ports planned...And I've just started planning that Iceland cruise as well...I realized we return to Southampton just a few days before the 2012 London Olympics start, so I've been scrambling the last couple of days trying to lock in a post-cruise hotel...

For this one, I am still in the information gathering stage on ports...Unlike Europe, I don't know a thing about most of these ports...So far, I've just been gathering info on local tour providers, but may end up doing a lot of shorexes...I am just so tired of arranging private tours...so, I'm waiting for Celebrity to post the shorex offerings.

I did stop by that site, Lauri...and posted a photo...I am not telling Beth, though...she probably won't like the photo...or perhaps that I posted her age!
This is England Swings on Lauri's post but thought that I would let you know that I might be able to help you out with your Europe info since I live outside London ... so let me know what you need ... also, let me know about your ports ... we have travelled quite extensively in Europe and cruised to many of the ports probably so just let me know!!

Lauren Spray
April 5th, 2011, 01:37 PM
Well, I am once again on lauri's post but wanted to know where everyone is staying ... we are staying at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney and looking at the SkyCity Grand Hotel in Auckland ... we got some great pricing through Orbitz. Also, now thinking about excursions, private ones ... anyone interested in getting into this?

Bruin Steve
April 5th, 2011, 03:38 PM
This is England Swings on Lauri's post but thought that I would let you know that I might be able to help you out with your Europe info since I live outside London ... so let me know what you need ... also, let me know about your ports ... we have travelled quite extensively in Europe and cruised to many of the ports probably so just let me know!!
Thank you so much for your offer. We've actually traveled quite extensively in the UK and throughout Europe ourselves (7 Europe cruises plus several "land" trips) so I'm fairly comfortable about most of it...Of course, there are some gaps...
This August, pre-cruise, we're planning to spend 4 nights in Canterbury...and, though we've cruised out of Dover before, we'd never spent much time in Kent. We will have a rental car...Any recommendations on things to do would be welcome...
For next July's cruise, we're doing a post-cruise stay in London (where we've been several times)...This time, we're booked in the new Park Plaza Westminster Bridge--right behind County Hall--and just plan on relaxing, maybe taking in a West End show...
Our only UK question mark is where to spend 3 nights pre-cruise in July 2012 (likely 2 nights and return to the Holiday Inn Southampton for the night before)...Last summer, when we cruised from Southampton, we spent 9 days touring Cornwall, Devon and Dorset...So, for next year, I was thinking maybe the Isle of Wight...someone on another board suggested Chichester...Any ideas?

The European ports for which we still need to decide for our August cruise are Pont-Aven, La Rochelle, Biarritz and Oporto...Any recommendations?

Thanks...

Well, I am once again on lauri's post but wanted to know where everyone is staying ... we are staying at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney and looking at the SkyCity Grand Hotel in Auckland ... we got some great pricing through Orbitz. Also, now thinking about excursions, private ones ... anyone interested in getting into this?

At present, we have reservations for the Holiday Inn Old Sydney for the night before the cruise and for the Copthorne Harbour City for the night after...Beth likes the convenience of being as close to the ship as possible...

We would be interested in private excursions...let us know what you come up with...

eunephron
April 27th, 2011, 09:42 PM
It was hard to find our thread. We are so far down the pages. Where is everybody??? Are you all hibernating for the winter or just very busy??? Come out, come out wherever you are...check in... and post here.

Who is working on their plans for other cruises prior to this one?

Well, we have been busy, too. We have been enjoying a visit from England Swings in Mexico and in Los Angeles. We are working on our hotel plans for December and January. It is funny to watch Gayle and I. We sit across from each other at the kitchen table, each with a laptop, checking out hotels and passing the information back and forth. It gets crazy! Then we go to happy hour :)

Has anyone ever checked out the website for Cruise Fellows? It is affiliated with Cruise Critic. It is a site where you set up a page for your specific cruise. We can post pictures of ourselves and get to see our fellow travelers. We can also post information about tours, informal get-togethers, etc.

I started one for this cruise and posted our picture. I have started a page for quite a few of our other cruises and members loved it! It was a good way to recognize each other, put a face to a name and find others to join tours.

The direct URL to go to our sailing is: http://*******/iy69N. Won't you please join me and post your picture?

Well, that's it for now. I hope to see your picture soon! If you need help uploading one, let me know.

Lauri

Just posted our picture. Great idea Lauren!
Deborah

Breezey
May 9th, 2011, 11:38 AM
Hi all
Larry and Amy from Toronto joining you. We booked two nights at the Westin in Sydney (on points!) and got a great rate on Expedia for two nights at the Sky Grand Hotel in Aukland.

We will be celebrating our 35th anniversary on board.

We just got off the Allure of the Seas yesterday and now plan on focusing on what to do and see in December. We have been really lucky in booking private excursions in the past with other couples on both the Med and Alaska cruises. Has anyone looked into anything yet?

Once I get my act together (ok... unpack) will add our names to the connections party.

Bruin Steve
May 9th, 2011, 12:03 PM
Hi all
Larry and Amy from Toronto joining you. We booked two nights at the Westin in Sydney (on points!) and got a great rate on Expedia for two nights at the Sky Grand Hotel in Aukland.

We will be celebrating our 35th anniversary on board.

We just got off the Allure of the Seas yesterday and now plan on focusing on what to do and see in December. We have been really lucky in booking private excursions in the past with other couples on both the Med and Alaska cruises. Has anyone looked into anything yet?

Once I get my act together (ok... unpack) will add our names to the connections party.

Welcome, Larry and Amy...
...and Welcome back from the Allure...What did you think of her? We cruised the Allure in January and found it to be quite a different cruising experience--great entertainment...maybe a little too much structure with all of the reservations one has to make in advance....but really a fantastic ship!

As to this one, I just haven't really begun planning in any way...we've got another really big cruise coming up in August and that is sort of taking all of my concentration and planning time...So, I'll likely really get into looking at this one after we get back from that one...

The other big problem is that I have absolutely NO IDEA as to what there is to see or do in all of these ports (Except Melbourne, where we spend the day with family)...I have never been to this part of the world before and, frankly, never spent much time thinking about it...Beth has always wanted to go...and it worked into our schedule...so we booked it...I guess I will have to start figuring it out soon...

Breezey
May 9th, 2011, 02:25 PM
Thanks Steve
Allure is one awesome ship but agree. I had to book all our specialty dinners and shows in advance so a bit too structured. Now on the other hand, some of the specialty restaurants were great and our two meals in the MDR were disappointing. And the variety of things to see and do is quite incredible.

Our next cruise isnt until the Century so will be a major change as the Allure was the destination and the Century is our way of getting from place to place as I see it. We do love Celebrity but was pretty impressed by RCI (our first time). A smaller ship has a different ambiance though so am looking forward to it.

As I tend to be the vacation planner, I found a wealth of information on the port forum here on CC for our Alaska and Med cruises so will no doubt be searching out what other people suggest to do in the various ports plus got a few books already. That part of the world is new to us too and was on our bucket list.

Lauren Spray
May 10th, 2011, 09:43 AM
Welcome Breezey. I am glad you found are thread and are joining us on the cruise. It seems none of us know much about that part of the world, yet.

When you get the chance, how about posting a picture. This is what I posted previously:

Has anyone ever checked out the website for Cruise Fellows? It is affiliated with Cruise Critic. It is a site where you set up a page for your specific cruise. We can post pictures of ourselves and get to see our fellow travelers. We can also post information about tours, informal get-togethers, etc.

I started one for this cruise and posted our picture. I have started a page for quite a few of our other cruises and members loved it! It was a good way to recognize each other, put a face to a name and find others to join tours.

The direct URL to go to our sailing is: http://*******/iy69N. Won't you please join me and post your picture?

Lauren Spray
May 10th, 2011, 09:45 AM
Steve and Deborah:

Thanks for posting your pictures. Very nice ones. Very slowly we are adding more people to our group.

Lauri

Breezey
May 10th, 2011, 01:21 PM
Ok so I posted our photos. Cheated a bit. We look younger because we were then!

Amy

merimart
May 16th, 2011, 06:42 AM
:) We have booked on this cruise and will be in cabin no 8143. Today we registered for the CC connections party. This site told us that there were already 14 booked. We live near Coffs Harbour in NSW, Australia and are looking forward to visiting beauiful New Zealand. It is likely that most of the Australian passengers will not be aware of cruise critics. We were only aware of CCs because someone on our last cruise, placed a CCs sign outside their cabin. We would suggest that overseas visitors allow some extra time to see Sydney (the most beautiful harbour in the world) and get over the jet lag.

Just a reminder...
For anyone who has yet to register for the Cruise Critic Connections Party, please do so...We are currently at 14...we need at least 11 more to sign up...

Here is the link:

https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do

>>As of 28-Mar-2011, 14 guests have already signed up for the Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Party for the cruise Celebrity Century sailing on 24-Dec-2011.

Remember, in order to enjoy an official Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party, 25 must be registered for your party 3 days prior to the sail date. If your group reaches the minimum, you will receive an email confirmation. If your group does not reach this minimum, you will receive a cancellation notification.<<

Breezey
May 16th, 2011, 08:01 AM
Hi Merimart
Welcome. I stumbled upon CC years ago before our first cruise and have relied on it ever since. We will have 2 days in Sydney pre-cruise. Please do share the must sees and restaurant suggestions for those of us arriving a bit earlier.

Thanks
Amy

Bruin Steve
May 16th, 2011, 11:02 AM
Welcome, merimart!

I wish we could spend more time in Sydney...We leave Los Angeles the night of the 21st and, thanks to the magic of time zones, we arrive in Sydney early morning on the 23rd...so we, basically, just have that one day and will likely be quite tired...

Unfortunately, this being our fourth cruise for 2011, I am sort of "maxed out" on vacation days...

We are staying at the Holiday Inn near the pier so we will, hopefully, have a nice view of the harbor...

MargoK
May 17th, 2011, 01:35 AM
Hi Steve!
Do you know how far the cruise ship harbour is from the Airport? Wondering whether we should stay closer to the airport b/c of our early departure.
Deborah

According to Google Maps, it's 13.2 miles...They estimate 31 minutes...

There seems to be a few hotels out toward the airport, including a Holiday Inn...but the area looks to be sort of isolated...residential on one side and industrial in the other...and still requiring a shuttle to the airport...

We figured that, with just the one night in Auckland, better to stay where there are restaurants and shops and so on...and deal with getting up a half an hour earlier in the morning...we can sleep on the plane...heaven knows we'll be spending a lot of time on planes

I'm hoping I can adjust back to my usual coach seats...For our Europe cruise in August, we're flying Business Class...and I'll probably be spoiled by those flat sleeper seats...

Hi Guys - I am an Auckandler 'lurking' on this Roll Call as I am really hoping we may be able to join you all!

Steve has all the info right, which is good to see ;).

The Airport hotels are nice, but yes it is an isolated area and not near any alternative restaurants. But if you are happy to eat at the hotel, so you can have an early night and get an extra 1/2 hrs sleep in the morning they are a good option. If you have an early departure knowing that you won't get held up in traffic, staying by the airport can be somewhat reassuring, as all the hotels have shuttles to the airports. With early departures there is of course less risk of traffic issues.

I would allow at least 45mins to get to the airport just to be on the safe side off peak and at least 1 hr at peak times (Peak times being 7am - 9.30am and 3pm - 7pm) - we do when we are flying out and we are closer!:eek:

My DH collegues often stay at the Jet Inn, but I am not sure if they have ever needed to eat in-house.

Of course this all depends on how much luggage you have and what you want to do that day in Auckland. I could check out luggage lockers at the port for you, as I think the Ferry Terminal has facilities.

Anyway, waiting back to hear from Celebrity if there are any accessible cabins still available and then we may make a decision - fingers crossed.
As you will see from my signature, we were on the Diamond Princess for Christmas and New Year last year and had such a great time we are keen to repeat the experience, with some additional ports.

england swings
May 19th, 2011, 05:52 AM
Thank you so much for your offer. We've actually traveled quite extensively in the UK and throughout Europe ourselves (7 Europe cruises plus several "land" trips) so I'm fairly comfortable about most of it...Of course, there are some gaps...
This August, pre-cruise, we're planning to spend 4 nights in Canterbury...and, though we've cruised out of Dover before, we'd never spent much time in Kent. We will have a rental car...Any recommendations on things to do would be welcome...
For next July's cruise, we're doing a post-cruise stay in London (where we've been several times)...This time, we're booked in the new Park Plaza Westminster Bridge--right behind County Hall--and just plan on relaxing, maybe taking in a West End show...
Our only UK question mark is where to spend 3 nights pre-cruise in July 2012 (likely 2 nights and return to the Holiday Inn Southampton for the night before)...Last summer, when we cruised from Southampton, we spent 9 days touring Cornwall, Devon and Dorset...So, for next year, I was thinking maybe the Isle of Wight...someone on another board suggested Chichester...Any ideas?

The European ports for which we still need to decide for our August cruise are Pont-Aven, La Rochelle, Biarritz and Oporto...Any recommendations?

Thanks...



At present, we have reservations for the Holiday Inn Old Sydney for the night before the cruise and for the Copthorne Harbour City for the night after...Beth likes the convenience of being as close to the ship as possible...

We would be interested in private excursions...let us know what you come up with...
Well, I am taking a break and finally having a bit of spare time to check into our cruise for December and saw that I never answered you. Kent .. yes, a beautiful place, indeed. If you are in to Churchill, you must visit CHARTWELL, his last residence, a beautiful place and National Treasure. I will check out my travel box and get back to you with more on Kent. I will get back to you for sure with other ideas .. but one before I go .. Cirencester is NOTHING compared to Isle of Wight. We live in the Cotswold which is a haven of beauty and a wonderful place to tour, you would love it if you haven't ventured this far before ... places like Stratford Upon Avon, Broadway, Burford, Moreton in the Marsh, Stow in the Wold, Upper and Lower Slaughter, Bath and on and on. Check them out and see what I was talking about. More later.

england swings
May 19th, 2011, 05:56 AM
Hi all
Larry and Amy from Toronto joining you. We booked two nights at the Westin in Sydney (on points!) and got a great rate on Expedia for two nights at the Sky Grand Hotel in Aukland.

We will be celebrating our 35th anniversary on board.

We just got off the Allure of the Seas yesterday and now plan on focusing on what to do and see in December. We have been really lucky in booking private excursions in the past with other couples on both the Med and Alaska cruises. Has anyone looked into anything yet?

Once I get my act together (ok... unpack) will add our names to the connections party.
Hi Larry and Amy ... great news, we are at the Sky City Grand in Auckland also, we will have to think about transfers off the ship to the hotel once you get organized. Yes, and we are also hoping folk are interested in private excursions, so we must get on it. Take care and let us hear from you once unpacked.

Bruin Steve
May 19th, 2011, 01:31 PM
Well, I am taking a break and finally having a bit of spare time to check into our cruise for December and saw that I never answered you. Kent .. yes, a beautiful place, indeed. If you are in to Churchill, you must visit CHARTWELL, his last residence, a beautiful place and National Treasure. I will check out my travel box and get back to you with more on Kent. I will get back to you for sure with other ideas .. but one before I go .. Cirencester is NOTHING compared to Isle of Wight. We live in the Cotswold which is a haven of beauty and a wonderful place to tour, you would love it if you haven't ventured this far before ... places like Stratford Upon Avon, Broadway, Burford, Moreton in the Marsh, Stow in the Wold, Upper and Lower Slaughter, Bath and on and on. Check them out and see what I was talking about. More later.

Yes, we have ventured up in your direction before...a couple of times...I'm starting to think I've probably seen as much of the British Isles as most Brits...maybe more...

I'm starting to think that for 2012, maybe, to keep things simple, we'll just go directly by bus from Heathrow to Southampton, check in to the Holiday Inn for three nights...use one of the days inbetween to take a ferry over to the Isle of Wight...maybe explore there for a day using the bus system--therefore not have to rent a car, not have to drag our luggage around from hotel to hotel...With only three nights...two "full" days (not knowing what time we first arrive and writing off embarkation day to just waking and boarding the ship), I figure one day we'll be jet-lagged and tired, the second the Isle of Wight...

But, gosh, we've got two other cruises to plan before that one...

We would definitely be interested in any small group tours for the ports here...we really haven't had any time to research any of the ports yet though...
Does anyone have any ideas as to what to do in them?

england swings
May 19th, 2011, 05:51 PM
Yes, we have ventured up in your direction before...a couple of times...I'm starting to think I've probably seen as much of the British Isles as most Brits...maybe more...

I'm starting to think that for 2012, maybe, to keep things simple, we'll just go directly by bus from Heathrow to Southampton, check in to the Holiday Inn for three nights...use one of the days inbetween to take a ferry over to the Isle of Wight...maybe explore there for a day using the bus system--therefore not have to rent a car, not have to drag our luggage around from hotel to hotel...With only three nights...two "full" days (not knowing what time we first arrive and writing off embarkation day to just waking and boarding the ship), I figure one day we'll be jet-lagged and tired, the second the Isle of Wight...

But, gosh, we've got two other cruises to plan before that one...

We would definitely be interested in any small group tours for the ports here...we really haven't had any time to research any of the ports yet though...
Does anyone have any ideas as to what to do in them?
I am working on a Charity event that we hold every year on the 27th May and after that I will be researching the cruise and private tours ... so, keep your ears open ... I think that your idea of the Isle of Wight is the best ... just don't miss Osbourne House ... ab fab

Breezey
May 19th, 2011, 07:17 PM
Hi Larry and Amy ... great news, we are at the Sky City Grand in Auckland also, we will have to think about transfers off the ship to the hotel once you get organized. Yes, and we are also hoping folk are interested in private excursions, so we must get on it. Take care and let us hear from you once unpacked.

That's great re the hotel, has good reviews and we got it for a great price.

I was poking in on your chat to Steve. My son and daughter in law actually met in Bath. He went to study abroad for his 3rd year of university in Nottingham, she went from the US to study in Bath. A mutual friend introduced them and the rest is history. They even went back to Bath for their honeymoon. A driving trip through England is on our bucket list.

Steve - 2 other cruises this year before December? Wow luck you and your DW.

I am going to start reviewing the must do's in each port soon too.

MargoK
May 19th, 2011, 08:24 PM
Hi all. It is looking more like we will be joining you all - plenty of Accessible Cabins (well if you call 6 plenty) available. Just doing the final checks on airfares to Syndey and accommodation for the night before.

For those researching ports - we did a very similar trip last year on the Diamond, and our Roll Call http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1129580 has heaps of information through the thread. We didn't go to Burnie, Wellington, Napier or Bay of Islands.

england swings
May 21st, 2011, 06:56 PM
I have just taken two days to read all of your CC group comments on your trip last year .. what fantastic information and ideas .. I am hoping that we get a great group on this cruise ... because it hasn't been very busy??? I look forward to meeting you on the cruise.

MargoK
May 21st, 2011, 07:53 PM
I have just taken two days to read all of your CC group comments on your trip last year .. what fantastic information and ideas .. I am hoping that we get a great group on this cruise ... because it hasn't been very busy??? I look forward to meeting you on the cruise.

We had a fantastic group on our Diamond trip, no doubt about it, and it really did make the experience a step up from what we had expected.

When I get time I will 'cut and paste' some of the important bits of information and post here for everyone.

Breezey
May 22nd, 2011, 08:49 AM
We had a fantastic group on our Diamond trip, no doubt about it, and it really did make the experience a step up from what we had expected.

When I get time I will 'cut and paste' some of the important bits of information and post here for everyone.

That's terrific.
I went on the thread and saw it was very long and figured would need a few hours to go through it.

BTW did you find a lot of children on the ship last year? Know its holiday time and summer break too I believe. Just curious.

MargoK
May 23rd, 2011, 01:18 AM
That's terrific.
I went on the thread and saw it was very long and figured would need a few hours to go through it.

BTW did you find a lot of children on the ship last year? Know its holiday time and summer break too I believe. Just curious.

The only time we saw the children was on Christmas Morning lining up for gifts from Santa! But generally saw the odd couple around and they were always very well behaved. I was actually very impressed. I gather there were some issues with the older teeangers who had a curfew of 3am, being found in public areas and having to be escorted back to their cabins, but as we were tucked up in bed at that hour it wasn't a problem for us:rolleyes:

It was interesting that we had 48 different nationalities amongst the passengers and 42 for the crew. Often you would step into the lift an never know if those that you greeted with a hello would respond in English or not!!! Laughing and hand signals worked wonders.:D

I haven't pushed the GO button with the TA yet, but I am 99.9% sure we are aboard! Hope you are all prepared of a Kiwi invasion.

MargoK
May 23rd, 2011, 02:16 AM
A whole lot of information which is cobbled together from our last Roll Call. Please note we did not go to Burnie, Wellington, Napier or the Bay of Islands, so that info will come later!

We had a hugely active Roll Call which made for a wonderful trip, so here's hoping this cruise will be the same.:D

Sydney:
The Celebrity Century will be docked at Overseas Passenger Terminal (Circular Quay) We are the only ship in port On December 24th http://www.sydneyports.com.au/port_o...ruise_schedule (http://www.sydneyports.com.au/port_operations/cruise_schedule)
Things to do:
Go see the Opera House: Cost FREE
Take the Harbour Bridge Walk?: $220 AUD per person http://www.bridgeclimb.com/bookClimb/pricing.htm
Go to the top of the Summit building in Sydney and check out the floors, have a drink ?
http://www.summitrestaurant.com.au/
Take a walk around the Botanic Garden: Cost FREE
Walk around Darling Harbour: Cost FREE, unless you shop and spend money
http://www.boutiquewildlifetours.com.au/home.cfm
http://www.boutiquemountaintours.com...ains-tours.cfm (http://www.boutiquemountaintours.com.au/blue-mountains-tours.cfm)
http://www.boutiquewinetours.com.au/home.cfm
http://www.scenicworld.com.au/
http://www.wonderbus.com.au/DayTourInfo.asp
http://www.sydneytoursrus.com/
http://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/Homepage.aspx


Melbourne: Boxing Day
Dock at OWSP = Outer West Station Pier. Only ship in port.
You can take Tram 109 downtown (ship should provide shuttle to Beacon Cove tram station) or a taxi ride into downtown. The tram stop is walking distance from the ship.
We took a taxi between four of us and it was much easier than waiting for the tram. (think it was $20)
(Comment by previous CC’er - When we were there it was VERY crowded - we should have left the ship much earlier. Once we got into the city there were plenty of trams to get anywhere)

It will be Boxing Day so the CBD will be buzzing, with the Boxing Day Sales, Cricket at the MCG and Horse Racing. Some wonderful window displays for Christmas in the main shopping area.

Port Chalmers: (Dunedin) - Working port - New Years Eve
We share the wharf with the Silver Shadow today.
13 km to Dunedin (ship should provide shuttle, $15 NZD return to Octagon downtown) Town is easy to walk around. The bus operator will take USD AUD & of course NZD.
Port Chalmers is a lovely township, which we didn’t walk around last time.
Most popular trip is Taieri Gorge Railroad. http://www.taieri.co.nz/ very highly recommended
On our last Roll Call a group did a private tour with Arthurs Tours http://www.iconictours.co.nz/ (http://www.iconictours.co.nz/) and they were very happy with their day.
Larnach Castle is also popular http://www.larnachcastle.co.nz/index.pasp
This is also a very useful link on transport options – Classic Jaguar anyone?? http://www.larnachcastle.co.nz/page.pasp?pageid=49
http://www.elmwildlifetours.co.nz/home/
http://www.cadburyworld.co.nz/home.html - we found this packed when we called in!
http://www.backtonaturetours.co.nz/
Penguin Place link
http://www.penguinplace.co.nz/
Royal Albatross Colony link
http://www.albatross.org.nz/colony.html


Lyttelton: (Christchurch) – New Years Day
Not sure what will happen here in light of the 2 recent devastating earthquakes
Again a working port – you have to take a bus to get of the wharf
Free Shuttle into Lyttelton.
Shuttle into town was from memory $15 NZD each return - The bus operator will take USD AUD & of course NZD.
10 km thru tunnel to central Christchurch
Or you can use public transport - The bus 28 from port to Convention Centre, stops at Gondola (on request) where you can go up for a great view and restaurant.
Buses run frequently. This link shows bus 28 into the city (at the bottom of the page) and the timetable http://www.metroinfo.org.nz/docs/timetable-28-lyttelton-rapaki-021109.pdf

Tauranga: 4th Jan
We share the wharf at Mt Maunganui with the Silver Shadow in port that day according to the Port Schedule. Docking times will be depending on tides.
Beaches close by and Mount Maunganui – nice walk around the base of the Mount (climb it for great view
Last year a couple of local retailers put on a free bus into Tauranga city.
If you want to go to Rotorua – driving is the best option this company which we used last year to hire a minivan. http://www.ritepricecarrentals.co.nz/ (http://www.ritepricecarrentals.co.nz/) They will have cars and vans of the wharf for hire, along with other rental companies.
Also other tour companies will be there to accommodate those that have not booked anything.
www.carltontours.co.nz (http://www.carltontours.co.nz/) – a name mentioned on our Roll Call
We did a private to and this was our itinerary
Hells Gate http://www.hellsgate.co.nz/ $30 For Geothermal walk as this is all we will have time (45mins)
Agrodomehttp://www.agrodome.co.nz/11am (?) Farm Show - 1 hr long Adults $26 Kids $13
Into town centre by the Lake for lunch
Rainbow Springs (Kiwi Experience) or the Luge (next door to each other) http://www.rainbowsprings.co.nz/page/5Home (Prices see Website) and http://www.skylineskyrides.co.nz/ (Prices see Website) (1 hour). When we left there 8 Princess Coaches pulled in behind us – scary.
City Sights

Auckland:
Dock at Princes Wharf right at the bottom of town – easy walking to everywhere.

MargoK
May 25th, 2011, 04:45 AM
Hi all - Pete & I have booked, just waiting confirmation and cabin details from our TA - Oceanview on 5.

Its gone awfully quiet on this Roll Call - either everyone is still reading our Roll Call from last Christmas (information overload - sorry), checking out the links I posted or have run for cover!:eek:

I think Pete is more excited about this cruise than me - just the thought of no driving, no cooking, putting his feet up and relaxing.:) (oh and no cat to wake us at 5.45am to be feed)

Looks like CCers will be coming from a cross section of countries.

Will add ourselves to the Connections list too.

Breezey
May 25th, 2011, 08:01 AM
Margot - thanks for all the information. Already printed it off and put it in my cruise file of information. Will find the time to go through my travel book and search the port cities on google.

You are right, a quiet crowd. Suspect other trips for some before this one.

We are waiting for our 2nd grandchild any day now (first one is only 4 months old) which is keeping me preoccupied. Our daughter is due June 11th but we are all thinking the baby may come early. So I am on the computer all the time trying to finish off a few work projects to be on stand by and on call if she needs my help when the baby is born. So I check in on CC daily to see what's up.

Bruin Steve
May 25th, 2011, 12:20 PM
Welcome Margo and Pete!

Yes, this Roll Call is a bit quiet...Some are like that I think...perhaps it will pick up as we get closer...

I have three scheduled cruises, so, right now, I am following three roll calls...and this one has been, by far, the least active...

This is Post #93 on here, I believe...My JULY 2012 Eclipse cruise Roll Call, started in March, is already at Post #413!!!

It always seems to vary cruise to cruise...

Hopefull, though, many people just have other cruises and other things occupying their time for now and it will pick up later...

For our August cruise on Oceania Marina, the Roll Call was moderately active for about a year (those of us who booked right away) with a core group of maybe 10 or 12...then, within the last month or two, there seemed to be a rash of later bookings and another 6 or 7 active posters joined the thread...perhaps the same will happen here...

Margo, thanks for all of the information...You are right, it is sort of sensory overload...but when I get around to actually researching the ports, it will prove invaluable...

Breezey
May 26th, 2011, 08:39 AM
Steve - Just wanted to thank you for posting a response to my thread on Sky Suites on the regular Celebrity forum. Geez serves me right for asking. I love how people hijack threads. I am done with that... and decided not to upgrade anyway unless the prices go down a lot. We can use the money on the ship and in port anyway (or another trip in between).

Still feels a long way off, suspect that's why the Roll Call has been quiet. But I was a lurker for awhile so perhaps there are others out there.

A friend who had been in Sydney a few years ago suggested the Blue Mountains Tour for anyone who gets there a couple of days before the cruise.

Lauren Spray
May 26th, 2011, 03:24 PM
Hi all,

It has been awhile since I checked in. I thought I was subscribed to this thread and would received information on new posts. When I didn't get anything, I figured there were no new posts. Imagine my surprise!

A warm welcome to all the new people who have recently signed up. I look forward to meeting you. Even if our group is small in number, we will still make it a memorable cruise and have some fun get-togethers and activities.

I am excited to read the info from Margo. Thank you so much! It gives us a place to start as most of us know so little about the area. I can't wait to roll up my sleeves and dig in and start researching. I am really behind the 8 ball on this one.

Don't forget to go to Cruise Fellows, find our sailing and post your pictures. Some of us have already done this. (See my post #73)

MargoK
May 26th, 2011, 07:14 PM
Just spotted this thread on the Ports Board for Australia/New Zealand

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1419676

Napier is a lovely seaside city, with an abundance of things to do.

It is a great wine growing region, so if you are into visiting wineries it is the place to go, and of course the Art Deco buildings are wonderful.

My sister lives in the neighbouring city - Hastings, and we happened to be down there on the Art Deco Weekend in February this year, and it was truely amazing. On the Saturday there is a huge Car Parade, and in the evening the city centre is closed off for one big party, with bands playing and I guess 50% of the public dress in period costumes! They even have a 'Depression Dinner' and participatants walk the streets afterwards banging metal mugs, sing and dance in the street to emulate how they entertained themselves during the Great Depression.

I guess we will be spending the day with family, if they are in town.

merimart
May 29th, 2011, 10:09 PM
[quote=Breezey;29121057]Hi Merimart
Welcome. I stumbled upon CC years ago before our first cruise and have relied on it ever since. We will have 2 days in Sydney pre-cruise. Please do share the must sees and restaurant suggestions for those of us arriving a bit earlier.

Thanks
Amy[quote]
Sydney
For places to go in Sydney we would suggest that you use the public ferries. For example, catch the ferry across the harbour to Manly. When you arrive walk east through the Corso to the famous Manly surf beach (there are both harbour beaches and surf). There are lots of restaurants. From there walk to Fairy Bower. Manly is great for dinner also. The ferry ride in the evening is fantastic. For lunch, take the ferry to Watsons Bay to Doyles Fish Restaurant. Across the harbour Taronga Park Zoo can also be accessed by ferry. All day tickets can be purchased for all public transport. A must see is the iconic Bondi Beach by bus.
A very short walk from Circular Quay is the 'Rocks" area, an historical part of old Sydney has great little cafes and coffee.
If staying a few days prior to sailing the Blue Mountains are lovely eg Laura, Wentworth Falls, Katoomba etc. Tour operators would do day trips.

Melbourne
The Bourke Street Mall will be very busy because of the sales but interesting. Take a tram to St Kilda beach - the beach itself is a bit ho hum but it has a cosmopolitan atmosphere with cafes etc.
Melbourne has a spectacular Botanic Garden really worth visiting.
There would be visitor web sites for both cities

MargoK
May 30th, 2011, 01:43 AM
And add to it as we go. (hope no-one has any objections)

I am missing a few names, so any additions or corrections, just let me know!

Roll Call for Century Christmas New Year 2011

Lauren Spray - Harvey and Lauri - Mexico
England Swings - Gayle and Steve - UK.
Mucky duck - Chris and Tim - Western Australia
Epsanola - Colin – Vancouver
Bruin Steve - Beth and Steve - Calabasas, California
Eunephorn – Deborah & family (4) – Laguna Beach California
Breezey - Larry and Amy – Toronto
Merimart – ??? – Coffs Harbour NSW Australia (8143)
MargoK – Pete & Margaret – Auckland NZ (5061)

england swings
June 1st, 2011, 11:14 AM
And add to it as we go. (hope no-one has any objections)

I am missing a few names, so any additions or corrections, just let me know!

Roll Call for Century Christmas New Year 2011

Lauren Spray - Harvey and Lauri - Mexico
England Swings - Gayle and Steve - UK.
Mucky duck - Chris and Tim - Western Australia
Epsanola - Colin – Vancouver
Bruin Steve - Beth and Steve - Calabasas, California
Eunephorn – Deborah & family (4) – Laguna Beach California
Breezey - Larry and Amy – Toronto
Merimart – ??? – Coffs Harbour NSW Australia (8143)
MargoK – Pete & Margaret – Auckland NZ (5061)

Hi Margo,

Are you planning on organizing the Meet & Greet and the Xmas parties for the group? Also, what about planning some great group tours rather then getting Celebrity tours which are much more expensive?

Bruin Steve
June 1st, 2011, 01:14 PM
Hi Margo,

Are you planning on organizing the Meet & Greet and the Xmas parties for the group?

Celebrity will do all of the organizing...We just need to get 25 people to sign up here:

https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do

So far, we are stuck at 16...
If you haven't yet registered, please do...

MargoK
June 1st, 2011, 07:30 PM
Hi Margo,

Are you planning on organizing the Meet & Greet and the Xmas parties for the group? Also, what about planning some great group tours rather then getting Celebrity tours which are much more expensive?

:eek: Started the list so we could keep track of who has joined our merry band.

As we haven't travelled with Celebrity before I am not sure what is possible. On our last cruise we had KiwiPete who was the great organiser and I hung onto his coat-tails and helped organise the Luncheon (thats all!!!;)) I don't mind organising that if others are interested. Last year we did 'Secret Santa' presents during lunch - we all put in a fun $5 present in a sack and took turns at the lucky dips of gifts - was quite a lot of fun as there was 45 of us!

As for tours - we will probably not do much ashore this trip, but will be more than happy to help and advise on tours and ideas. For us, this trip will be about 'chilling out' rather than sight seeing, as we have been to all the ports except Burnie. In Burnie we plan to hire a car, as head for Devonport to visit places from my childhood, as that was where my grandparents lived in the 60's & 70's. Haven't been there since I was about 14!


Celebrity will do all of the organizing...We just need to get 25 people to sign up here:

https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do

So far, we are stuck at 16...
If you haven't yet registered, please do...

We have yet to register - just waiting on our booking number, which I should have any minute now!!! So that would be 18 ... still a bit short, but we have 6 months to get some more CCer's on board.

Bruin Steve
June 2nd, 2011, 02:31 PM
We're "moving"...
The inside cabin (#5064) turns out to have only been a temporary address...
Of course, I'm driving my TA crazy...
I constantly monitor the Celebrity website and this morning they went a little wacky...
The fare for my Category 11 held fast at $1829...but several other categories dropped...including Category 5 to $1569...

We're now in Cat 5 Cabin #8018...after adjustment in our OBC from our TA, we're netting a savings of $445...

Not a bad day!!!

MargoK
June 2nd, 2011, 05:29 PM
We're "moving"...
The inside cabin (#5064) turns out to have only been a temporary address...
Of course, I'm driving my TA crazy...
I constantly monitor the Celebrity website and this morning they went a little wacky...
The fare for my Category 11 held fast at $1829...but several other categories dropped...including Category 5 to $1569...

We're now in Cat 5 Cabin #8018...after adjustment in our OBC from our TA, we're netting a savings of $445...

Not a bad day!!!

Lucky you - don't think we get such options/specials downunder!! :( Unfortunately most cruiselines treat us like the 'poor cousins' and make us pay through the nose. Not sure how they will ever get Kiwi's and Aussies to cruise as frequently as those in the Northern Hemisphere. BUT thats life!

Looks like we might be the only Deck 5 dwellers! As we have an Accessible Cabin, there is only one option up, and that is a Sky Suite, and I can't see being 'upgraded' to that anytime soon.

Note to self - by another lotto ticket!:rolleyes:

Just signed into the Connections Party on Celebrity for Pete & I so that now takes us to 20 - only 5 to go!

MargoK
June 2nd, 2011, 08:12 PM
I was reading some other threads and was reminded of this website -http://www.thepreismans.com/ (http://www.thepreismans.com/) which has some really good information particularly about private tours. I found for our trip last year it was full of very valuable information, especially if it is someone's first time 'downunder'.

We have now booked our flights to Sydney and hotel. We arrive the day before, staying at The Menzies, which is up town a little, opposite Wynward Station. We stayed there last year, and although an older hotel, the room was perfect (their one and only accessible room!). Good rate $AUD179pn. Very handy location to the main shopping area and restaurants. There is a wonderful organic coffee shop a few doors down which had the most divine breakfasts, but I think it is closed at the weekends:( Oh and a nice wine shop to get our 2 bottle limit to take on board!

Will require a taxi to the ship, but which is fine as it is just easier.

Mecha-man
June 3rd, 2011, 04:34 AM
sorry wrong thread

Breezey
June 7th, 2011, 02:49 PM
Anyone else see the seniors' rates posted for our cruise today? We were able to upgrade to a Sky Suite (which I had actually considered and changed my mind about spending the extra money). So with the seniors rates we actually ended up saving about $50 from our original booking of a 2A. Go figure. This happened to us once before.

Margo - I had seen the Preismans site when we travelled before and found it very helpful.

Bruin Steve
June 7th, 2011, 04:59 PM
Anyone else see the seniors' rates posted for our cruise today? We were able to upgrade to a Sky Suite (which I had actually considered and changed my mind about spending the extra money). So with the seniors rates we actually ended up saving about $50 from our original booking of a 2A. Go figure. This happened to us once before.

They've actually been "blinking on and off" the last several days...I tried to clue you in with my post on June 2...We were able to move up several categories and save $445 doing it...

Yes, the current senior rate for a sky suite is LESS than the rate for a 2D balcony on our July 2012 Eclipse cruise...

But, for this one, we'll stick with that bargain basement Category 5...at least we get a big window on Deck 8...It's hard for me to justify going overboard on this one when it's wedged between a 16 night Europe cruise in a 1030 sf Oceania Suite this August and a Balcony on the Eclipse next July...I justified this expenditure to Beth with the "We'll keep it cheap" rationalization...

Breezey
June 7th, 2011, 05:43 PM
Hey Steve
Yeah I was checking on and off but was too late for yours. My daughter had a baby on June 1st so wasn't really paying attention. I randomly checked the site today.

Hey if I had all the wonderful trips you have planned until then, I would be saving too. But December is our big 3-5 anniversary so was happy to upgrade for nothing. We got a simliar sweet deal when we went to Alaska on the Infinity a couple of years ago and actually got money back from switching from balcony to SS. Interesting... Will be interested to hear about Oceania, a line we would like to try.

MargoK
June 7th, 2011, 11:15 PM
Hey Steve
Yeah I was checking on and off but was too late for yours. My daughter had a baby on June 1st so wasn't really paying attention. I randomly checked the site today.

Hey if I had all the wonderful trips you have planned until then, I would be saving too. But December is our big 3-5 anniversary so was happy to upgrade for nothing. We got a simliar sweet deal when we went to Alaska on the Infinity a couple of years ago and actually got money back from switching from balcony to SS. Interesting... Will be interested to hear about Oceania, a line we would like to try.

You are forgiven Breezey - a new grandchild is an acceptable excuse! Especially two so close together will be keeping you somewhat distracted.

Nice to have an upgrade - Pete and I have to wait a little before we can get the 'senior rates':( Does anyone know if they are only for US/Canadians or are they applicable to others?? Might be able to convince my SIl & BIL to join us at the lower rates!

News on the Aust/NZ forum is that Lyttleton Harbour will be up and running in October for the cruise season, which is good news. It is still shaking down there - a 5.5 quake just yesterday.

We have booked our rental car for Burnie - only one car rental agency (Thrifty) open as the others are closed as the 27th is a public holiday. Crazy. Mind you we are paying a premium for the day, but it will be worthwhile. It will be 35 years since I have been to Devonport, and it will be my first chance to lay flowers on my Grandparents graves.

Breezey
June 8th, 2011, 06:57 AM
Thanks Margo. From zero to two granddaughers in 4 months. Incredible.

BTW, the seniors rates are for 55 years old and over. So am a young senior :) and first time I dont mind. But forewarned these rates just pop up occasionally so not a deal all the time. There were some residents rates listed too. My understanding those are for residents of the port of departure? Correct me if I am wrong anyone.

Still haven't been doing any research. But sounds like your plans have begun and nice you can make it to Burnie.

izzy2001
June 8th, 2011, 05:28 PM
There are resident rates available for Colorado. They have been available for about 2 weeks.

MargoK
June 9th, 2011, 11:46 PM
Didn't think it would happen, but there has been a price drop of over $1500 each on an Oceanview cabin, so have asked my TA to see if it can be matched!!:D

Fingers crossed - can't afford an upgrade to Sky Suite of course. :(

MargoK
June 15th, 2011, 02:03 AM
As promised some information on these two ports and links to websites. Hopefully this will help with deciding on what to do.


Tour operators - these are links only, as I have not had any experience I cannot comment on them in any way. Hopefully others may come along and provide comment.

Wellington - arrive 8am depart 6pm
Monday 2nd Jan – Public Holiday in NZ
We are in port at Wharf Aotea Quay – 20 mins walk into city (just under a mile / 1.3km flat walk)
Ports of Wellington Cruise Brochure, has a lot of information – some listed below http://www.centreport.co.nz/images/stories/documents/brochures/Cruise_Ships_Brochure.pdf (http://www.centreport.co.nz/images/stories/documents/brochures/Cruise_Ships_Brochure.pdf)

Te Papa (Our Place) - Our National Museum is worth a MUST visit – and it is free expect for special exhibitions
http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/pages/default.aspx
Free things to do
http://www.wellingtonnz.com/know_wellington/know_what_do_city_under_5 (http://www.wellingtonnz.com/know_wellington/know_what_do_city_under_5)

Cable Car
http://www.wellingtoncablecar.co.nz/ (http://www.wellingtoncablecar.co.nz/)
Wellington City website – Botanic Gardens, Art Gallery, and Heritage walks
http://www.wellington.govt.nz/portals/visit.html (http://www.wellington.govt.nz/portals/visit.html)
Museums - Maritime is very interesting (But am biased as my late father was a Master Mariner!)
http://www.museumofwellington.co.nz/ (http://www.museumofwellington.co.nz/)
Hop on Hop Off Bus – new $30 pp (NZD)
http://www.greatsights.co.nz/wellington/wellington-citysights-hop-on-hop-off/?gclid=CKDahKfYtKkCFdIeHAodtBD9LA
Wellington Tours
http://www.wellingtonsights.co.nz/index.php (http://www.wellingtonsights.co.nz/index.php)

Napier
We are the only ship in Port, but it is a short day 7am arrival 2pm departure.Once again a NZ Public Holiday.

You can walk into Napier City – probably 15 – 20 mins flat walk.
Napier is the Art Deco capital of NZ, located in the beautiful sunny Hawkes Bay which is well known also for its great wineries

TIP - sunblock essential as you can get burnt very easily in the NZ sun, even locals are very careful.

Best of the Bay and Napier Highlight Tours
http://www.baytours.co.nz/cruiseship.php
Cities Sights Tours and Wine/Brewery Tours – has our ship listed on this page
http://www.hbscenictours.co.nz/cruise_ship.htm
Art Deco Walks and Tours
http://www.artdeconapier.com/ (http://www.artdeconapier.com/) or you can do self guided tours by buying a booklet which is available for $7.50 at the Art Deco Shop, and i-SITE, the Napier Visitor Information Centre.
Aquarium – on the waterfront by the city centre.
http://www.nationalaquarium.co.nz/ (http://www.nationalaquarium.co.nz/)

I hope all the links work.

Once again Christchurch has been hit with more earthquakes, Monday saw two large shock one over 5 the other over 6, and there have been many more since, up to 5 on the Richter Scale. Very sad as it is such a wonderful city. So please be aware our port of call Lyttleton may change or shore excursion may change. We will have to wait and see what the Celebrity decide. There is an alternative port by tender - Akaroa, but I am not sure what size ships this can cater for.

Breezey
June 15th, 2011, 09:11 AM
What a quiet group we are. I know some sign up for the party but not interested in the pre-cruise chatting. .For me that's part of the pre-cruise planning :)

izzy2001 - I assume you are sailing with us as you posted about the resident rates which incidentally I did finally understand. There were residents posted for us too the the day after the seniors' rate. Both were the same rates. Told our friends who are going on the sailing before us and they got a great break. According to my TA there is lots of space on the ship so suspect these incentives are to fill it up.

MargoK - thanks for posting all the links. I am going to research and read and decide which ones to book. Have you made any decisions yet? Anyone else interested?

Read about Christchurch and my sister in law asked if we have any concerns. Well of course we do. More concerned about the people who live there then whether they change the port. My brother and sister in law are going to NZ next month (work related otherwise they would not have chosen that season) and hope to give us some highlights and must do's.

Lauren Spray
June 15th, 2011, 09:17 AM
Thank you MargoK for all the great information. I am lagging behind on my planning, but hope to catch up soon.

Lauri

Bruin Steve
June 15th, 2011, 10:55 AM
What a quiet group we are. I know some sign up for the party but not interested in the pre-cruise chatting. .For me that's part of the pre-cruise planning :)

Yeah... a little quiet...
For me, this is all a big part of it...but, with a major Europe cruise coming up in 7 weeks, my attention seems to be focused on that one...I will definitely get more into this one when I return from that one...

We do have a lot of planning to do for this one...
I am wondering when Celebrity will get around to posting the shore excursion options? I like to consider these as an option/comparison for private tours...

As to the "Connections" meet & greet:

"As of 15-Jun-2011, 20 guest(s) have signed up for your Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party on Celebrity Century departing 24-Dec-2011."

MargoK
June 15th, 2011, 07:16 PM
Yeah... a little quiet...
For me, this is all a big part of it...but, with a major Europe cruise coming up in 7 weeks, my attention seems to be focused on that one...I will definitely get more into this one when I return from that one...

We do have a lot of planning to do for this one...
I am wondering when Celebrity will get around to posting the shore excursion options? I like to consider these as an option/comparison for private tours...

As to the "Connections" meet & greet:

"As of 15-Jun-2011, 20 guest(s) have signed up for your Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party on Celebrity Century departing 24-Dec-2011."

Steve - very envious of you heading to Europe soon. We will get there one day! Look forward to hearing all about it.

Slow bookings hopefully reflect the quiet board, and with the price drops, there should be more CCer's & others attracted to this cruise. Celebrity is not well known to Aussie's & Kiwi's, so there may be some apprehension in booking initially. One of the CCer's from our last cruise has just booked cruise no. 40 and it is the Century, but the cruise before ours. Princess, HAL and P&O Australia are what we most familiar with. Having said that on our last cruise there were only about 100 Kiwi's on the Diamond which amazed me.

Cruising has only recently taken off down here. When we cruised back on 1996 friends were rather taken aback we would cruise! :rolleyes:

As some of you are 'seasoned' Celebrity Cruisers, how long before a cruise do they open up for booking drinks packages, specialty dining etc? Being a relative novice we don't have a lot of idea of prices for anything on board.

BrusselsGirl07
June 17th, 2011, 12:30 AM
Hi everyone - we are Bill and Yvette from Canberra, Australia but Bill never posts! I was home sick today, played around on the Celebrity site which is always dangerous and now we are booked on this cruise! We have chosen as inside cabin on deck 8 - 8083 - as this was a last minute splurge. We have 3 cruises booked for next year but got amazing bargains on 2 of them - a Concierge Class room on one and an Aqua Class room on the other, so feel very indulgent!

With all of the public holidays for Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year's Day as well as public service close down days, we only have to take 4 vacation days for this cruise, so that worked out really well!

We will be celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary onboard on New Year's Eve. We will fly in to Sydney on the morning of the cruise and fly out the day we arrive in New Zealand.

We have spent the last two Christmasses on cruises. Our first Christmas at sea was with our in-laws on an 18 day cruise around New Zealand Sydney to Sydney. We did some private tours and some ship tours, and will dig out the info on that and pass it on. Not sure what we will do this time, maybe just take it easy and relax, as this trip it is quite port intensive. New Zealand is so beautiful though. It poured with rain the whole time we were in the sounds, which made it all misty and magical and lots of waterfalls running down the mountains, so hopefully this time it will be a little dryer.

OK - will gather the info on the tours we did and get back to you!

By the way, when we have gone to Sydney the night before a cruise, we have stayed here: I have also booked in the Rendezvous Stafford Hotel Sydney.

http://www.rendezvoushotels.com.au/sydney/

Nice hotel and very easy walking distance to the ship. We could see the ship from our balcony when we woke up!!

MargoK
June 17th, 2011, 01:06 AM
Hi everyone - we are Bill and Yvette from Canberra, Australia but Bill never posts! I was home sick today, played around on the Celebrity site which is always dangerous and now we are booked on this cruise! We have chosen as inside cabin on deck 8 - 8083 - as this was a last minute splurge. We have 3 cruises booked for next year but got amazing bargains on 2 of them - a Concierge Class room on one and an Aqua Class room on the other, so feel very indulgent!

With all of the public holidays for Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year's Day as well as public service close down days, we only have to take 4 vacation days for this cruise, so that worked out really well!

We will be celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary onboard on New Year's Eve. We will fly in to Sydney on the morning of the cruise and fly out the day we arrive in New Zealand.

We have spent the last two Christmasses on cruises. Our first Christmas at sea was with our in-laws on an 18 day cruise around New Zealand Sydney to Sydney. We did some private tours and some ship tours, and will dig out the info on that and pass it on. Not sure what we will do this time, maybe just take it easy and relax, as this trip it is quite port intensive. New Zealand is so beautiful though. It poured with rain the whole time we were in the sounds, which made it all misty and magical and lots of waterfalls running down the mountains, so hopefully this time it will be a little dryer.

OK - will gather the info on the tours we did and get back to you!

By the way, when we have gone to Sydney the night before a cruise, we have stayed here: I have also booked in the Rendezvous Stafford Hotel Sydney.

http://www.rendezvoushotels.com.au/sydney/

Nice hotel and very easy walking distance to the ship. We could see the ship from our balcony when we woke up!!

Hi Bill & Yvette - glad you could join us! When lurking on the board I often come across your posts.

Nice to have some one else from Downunder on board. We visited Canberra for a few days to catch up with family last year before we joined the Diamond Princess for the Christmas New Year Cruise. I like Canberra, it is so easy to get around and back in my distant past nearly moved there! Like the way once you leave the airport you are on the motorway straight to Canberra, no mucking around. (Have got terribly lost in the past)

While typing my TA has just come through with the confirmation of our price drop - ;) so we have saved $2230, not bad. ( I over estimated the savings in my earlier post:() So that means more to spend later.

Will be interested in your thoughts and recommendations on tours, being 'locals' for most of the ports we have not used tours as such before. Didn't do many of the tourist spots last year except in Tauranga. Pete (DH) just wants to kick back and see how he feels each day and go with the flow.

MargoK
June 17th, 2011, 01:18 AM
Thought I would update the list, and have added cabin numbers where they have been advised.


Roll Call for Century Christmas New Year 2011

Lauren Spray - Harvey and Lauri - Mexico (1246)
England Swings - Gayle and Steve - UK.
Mucky duck - Chris and Tim - Western Australia
Epsanola - Colin – Vancouver
Bruin Steve - Beth and Steve - Calabasas, California (8018)
Eunephorn – Deborah, Peter, Jonathan, Erica(4) – Laguna Nigue, California
Breezey - Larry and Amy – Toronto (8153)
Merimart – ??? – Coffs Harbour NSW Australia (8143)
MargoK – Pete & Margaret – Auckland NZ (5061)
BrusselsGirl07 – Yvette & Bill – Canberra (8083)

Don't forget to register for the Connection Party on Celebrity's website
https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do

As of 17-Jun-2011, 22 guest(s) have signed up for your Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party on Celebrity Century departing 24-Dec-2011.

Cruise Fellow - if you wish to post your photo so we recognise you!
http://**************

BrusselsGirl07
June 17th, 2011, 06:28 AM
OK, had a trip down memory lane and had a look at what we did when we did our first Circumnavigation of beautiful New Zealand over Christmas/NYE 2009/2010.

I have not bothered looking at Melbourne and Burnie as yet; Melbourne will be full of people at the boxing day sales (for those from the US, sort of like your Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving) and Burnie seems too tiny to even have anyone offering private tours. But I could be proven wrong.

The day in the Sounds (Milford, Doubtful and Dusky) is purely scenic and on RCI Rhapsody of the Seas we had no opportunity to get off. Be prepared for all kinds of weather from bright sunshine to pouring rain. Gorgeous!!

In Dunedin, we did a great tour with Awesome Tours, which we booked directly on their website. They offer a few tours but we did 'Natures Wonders Naturally and the Royal Albatross Colony'. It was great, we were picked up at the port and taken to a few sightseeing places such as the world's steepest residential street. Then we had a bit of free time in the actual city and looked in the shops as the tour did not start till later. Then we were driven to a nature park and transferred into these mini tank like vehicles that were fun to drive in and driven out into a wildlife sanctuary. We crossed paths there with a ships tour group, and one family had 4 bratty screaming kids so the penguins all went and hid. The guide for the ships tour really told those people off, and said they had ruined it for everyone - the parents looks embarrassed but the kids just looked sullen and sulky. We did see lots of very cute baby seals and their mothers quite close up. Then we went to the Albatross Colony which was fascinating, they are now my favourite bird. You go into a 'hide' and they fly so close to you! Saw a few other scenic things and the famous train station in Dunedin on the way back to the ship. This tour was worth doing: http://awesometours.co.nz/shoreexcursions.html

However, this time in Dunedin we are going to go to the Cadbury Chocolate Factory (which sadly only offers shortened tours on Saturdays) http://www.cadburyworld.co.nz/visit.html and then we will go on a tour of Speights brewery, as my husband is a medal winning brewer of beer, so would find this interesting and I would too: http://www.speights.co.nz/Brewery-Tours.aspx

In Christchurch we did a fabulous Segway tour, I can't say enough about how nice the owner is. I have written to him to see if we can book him again. At the time he only had 5 Segways so could take 4 people on a two hour tour at a time. If he gets back to me (who know what could have happened with all the earthquakes in Christchurch) I will let you know the availability.

In Wellington, Rhapsody was docked within easy walking distance of the city, so we walked in to see the Parliament House (called the Bee Hive for its shape) and then we lined up for the Wellington cable Car: http://www.wellingtoncablecar.co.nz/ This was quite fun and we got out at the top and walked in the Botanical gardens, then walked all the way back down and went to the Te Papa Museum http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/pages/default.aspx The Museum of New Zealand, which is fabulous. Then we walked back to the ship. This time we will either catch up with friends or perhaps see what the ship offers.

In Napier, we took the shuttle into town, and just walked around looking at the Art Deco buildings and walked along the beach. We had a nice lunch and did some shopping, there are a lot of second hand shops selling Art deco stuff. It was also NYE, so my mother in law and I had our hair done at a salon which was much cheaper than the ship and did a great job! This time, I am looking at a winery tour and have sent off an e-mail to a company that does private tours and will get back to you on that one.

In Tauranga, we had booked a private tour to Rotorua (sp?), this was an excellent excursion and we saw a little of the port town before heading off to the thermal wonderland of bubbling mud and squirting geysers that is Rotorua. Our guide also took us to some little known places that had no tourists such as a naturally heated hot stream for a paddle, and this fantastic big mud lake off the side of the road that was mesmerising to watch. I have e-mailed her and asked what the biggest group she could take is, and will get back to you all.

In the Bay of Islands the ship is tendered, and so we did a ships tour to see Glow Worm caves which was pretty impressive, and then to an amazing forest to see ancient Kiauri Trees.

So that is that! I will still se what the ship comes out with, but will probably only do 1 or 2 ship tours. Hopefully it has given you some ideas!

BrusselsGirl07
June 17th, 2011, 08:57 PM
Hi everyone – I have emailed Bay Tours and Charters http://www.baytours.co.nz/ and asked if they can do a winery tour for a group. I actually saw this itinerary on a cycling tour page, but as we are only in port from 7am to 2pm I don’t fancy cycling around worrying about the time especially after some wine tastings! They have responded very promptly, and the cost would be NZ$940 for a group of up to 11. So if 11 went on the tour the cost would be NZ$85.50 pp, if 10 went, then NZ$94 per person etc. The wineries also charge $5 per person and the brewery is $14 per person. They say that they may be able to get the tasting fees waived depending on the size of the group. I have added links in so you can see the places we would visit. Let me know if you are interested. I have also written asking what their cancellation policies are, how we pay and what happens if the ship does not make it to Napier for some reason.


Hi there - I saw this tour itinerary on another site, but don't want to
cycle the tour. Are you able to do this tour for us? We will be in Napier on Tue Jan 3 on Celebrity Century. We would need to be picked up and dropped back at the ship - the only problem is that our ship is only in port from 7am to 2pm. Here is the itinerary: Church Road Winery, Mission Estate Winery, Silky Oak Chocolate Factory, Park Estate, Brookfields Winery and beer and cider tasting at The Filter Room. Could you let me know if it is possible and the cost for various numbers - for example a group. Thanks!


Hi Yvette - Thanks for the enquiry. Yes we can do a tour like this for you, Park Estate is not operational but we could do:

8.15am Bus arrives port side


8.30am Depart (Art Deco tour of Napier on the way to Silky Oak)


9.00am Silky Oak Chocolate Factory
https://hornet.mysecure.co.nz/~silkyoak/choc-tray/agora.cgi (https://hornet.mysecure.co.nz/%7Esilkyoak/choc-tray/agora.cgi)

9.45am Mission Estate – oldest winemaker in New Zealand
http://www.missionestate.co.nz/themission/

10.30am Church Road Winery
http://www.churchroad.co.nz/2/tourism/index.html

11.15am Brookfields Winery
http://www.brookfieldsvineyards.co.nz/

12.00pm The Filter Room
http://thefilterroom.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=2


1.15pm Return Ship

The cost would be NZ$940 for up to 11 people for the private tour from 8.30
until 1.30pm. The price includes Full commentary by professional driver / tour guide. Additional costs are: Tasting fees if applicable - all wineries are $5 per person, the Filter Room is $14 per person but we may be able to get some wineries to waive the tasting fees, it will depend on the final number of you on the tour.

I hope this is of assistance to you. If you have any further queries or
would like to make a booking please advise as soon as you know, as the Cruise ship days are incredibly busy and we get booked up early.

Warm regards
Kathryn Marsh
DIRECTOR

MargoK
June 17th, 2011, 09:32 PM
Amazing what happens when one of off sick! (I have similar issues!)

Great work on the posts - much better than my offerings of links etc.:rolleyes:

The Napier tour sounds perfect - great wineries. Good value for money. The prices are good, factoring in that it is a Public Holiday. Most wineries seem to charge tasting fees to cut down on 'bludgers' who come in drink the wine and don't buy.

We recently had a lovely lunch at "The Filter Room" when we were down in Hastings (Napiers neighbouring city) for my niece's birthday. Lunch outside under the trees sipping cider and wine- bliss. But guess there won't be time for that.

izzy2001
June 17th, 2011, 11:24 PM
izzy2001 - I assume you are sailing with us as you posted about the resident rates which incidentally I did finally understand. There were residents posted for us too the the day after the seniors' rate. Both were the same rates. Told our friends who are going on the sailing before us and they got a great break. According to my TA there is lots of space on the ship so suspect these incentives are to fill it up.

Hi Breezy,
I should have introduced myself sooner. I have had this cruise booked since December. My 13 year old grandson will also be sailing.

MargoK
June 17th, 2011, 11:52 PM
Hi Breezy,
I should have introduced myself sooner. I have had this cruise booked since December. My 13 year old grandson will also be sailing.

Hi izzy - great to have you and your grandson on board. I will add you to our CCer's list.

Have you joined the Connections Party list? We are getting close to the magic 25 to have the party confirmed :D

Brunson
June 18th, 2011, 08:48 AM
Thought I would update the list, and have added cabin numbers where they have been advised.


Roll Call for Century Christmas New Year 2011

Lauren Spray - Harvey and Lauri - Mexico (1246)
England Swings - Gayle and Steve - UK.
Mucky duck - Chris and Tim - Western Australia
Epsanola - Colin – Vancouver
Bruin Steve - Beth and Steve - Calabasas, California (8018)
Eunephorn – Deborah, Peter, Jonathan, Erica(4) – Laguna Nigue, California
Breezey - Larry and Amy – Toronto (8153)
Merimart – ??? – Coffs Harbour NSW Australia (8143)
MargoK – Pete & Margaret – Auckland NZ (5061)
BrusselsGirl07 – Yvette & Bill – Canberra (8083)

Don't forget to register for the Connection Party on Celebrity's website
https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do

As of 17-Jun-2011, 22 guest(s) have signed up for your Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party on Celebrity Century departing 24-Dec-2011.

Cruise Fellow - if you wish to post your photo so we recognise you!
http://**************
We are booked. Brunson & Hunter - Atlanta, GA (#4090)

Bruin Steve
June 18th, 2011, 12:42 PM
I have had this cruise booked since December. My 13 year old grandson will also be sailing.

We are booked. Brunson & Hunter - Atlanta, GA (#4090)

Izzy, Brunson and Hunter...
Welcome to the Roll Call...

Make sure you sign up for the Connections get together here:

https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do

We look forward to meeting you onboard...

We have just over 6 months to go for this one now...plenty of planning to do...

MargoK
June 18th, 2011, 07:55 PM
We are booked. Brunson & Hunter - Atlanta, GA (#4090)

Hi Brunson & Hunter. And welcome to Cruise Critics too, although not new to cruising. Great to have you along.

Looks like we will get to the magic 25 for the Connections Party with more than 6 months to go!

MargoK
June 18th, 2011, 08:08 PM
DH (Pete) wonders if there are any CCer's that might be interested in Classic Cars in our midst? On our last cruise, in the Patter they arranged for Classic Car enthusiasts to met in one of the lounges on a Sea Day. Had a turnout of about 12, and I am sure there would have been more if people had seen the meeting!

If so, he would organise a trip to Southwards Museum - http://www.thecarmuseum.co.nz/ which is north of Wellington. It is an museum that was started by a private collector in the late 1950's and in 1979 the museum was opened to the public.


Rental Cars - Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, and Dunedin
I have found a car rental company that does rentals from an number of ports - which makes life easy. Of course there is a premium, but we did this in Tauranga last year and it was worth every cent. Prices are comparable to what we paid last year (Arrived back with 15mins to spare!) http://www.nzrentacar.co.nz/cruise-ship-port-car-rentals.html

england swings
June 20th, 2011, 05:55 PM
Thought I would update the list, and have added cabin numbers where they have been advised.


Roll Call for Century Christmas New Year 2011

Lauren Spray - Harvey and Lauri - Mexico (1246)
England Swings - Gayle and Steve - UK.
Mucky duck - Chris and Tim - Western Australia
Epsanola - Colin – Vancouver
Bruin Steve - Beth and Steve - Calabasas, California (8018)
Eunephorn – Deborah, Peter, Jonathan, Erica(4) – Laguna Nigue, California
Breezey - Larry and Amy – Toronto (8153)
Merimart – ??? – Coffs Harbour NSW Australia (8143)
MargoK – Pete & Margaret – Auckland NZ (5061)
BrusselsGirl07 – Yvette & Bill – Canberra (8083)

Don't forget to register for the Connection Party on Celebrity's website
https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do

As of 17-Jun-2011, 22 guest(s) have signed up for your Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party on Celebrity Century departing 24-Dec-2011.

Cruise Fellow - if you wish to post your photo so we recognise you!
http://**************
We are in a balcony #8129 Panorama Deck .. will get our photos up this week.

MargoK
June 20th, 2011, 06:01 PM
We are in a balcony #8129 Panorama Deck .. will get our photos up this week.

Thanks Gayle & Steve - looks like Panorama Deck is the place to be!!!!

Breezey
June 21st, 2011, 08:17 AM
Welcome all new Dec 24th cruisers.

FYI Margo since you have the list, we moved a week or so ago to 1074 after getting a "free" upgrade. Terrific that you got such a wonderful savings on your cabin.

Yvette I like the sound of the Napier tour you found. Too bad we are in Napier for such a short visit. Will check a bit more. The only part is whether we get to see the Art Deco area outside the bus and whether they can waive the tasting fees - even better.

Plus does anyone know if Celebrity will store (not confiscate) the wine we purchase? One thing I must say about our Med cruise on Princess, they had a great wine policy. Each port we went to we were able to purchase and bring wine (excellent and cheap!) to our cabins or dining room (even with the corkage fee we were way ahead). With all the wonderful wines to be had in Australia and NZ, wish they were more liberal.

And Izzy what an awesome experience to be taking your grandson on such a fantastic trip!

Bruin Steve
June 21st, 2011, 11:21 AM
>>As of 21-Jun-2011, 24 guest(s) have signed up for your Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party on Celebrity Century departing 24-Dec-2011.<<

Next one to sign up puts us over!!!

MargoK
June 21st, 2011, 07:03 PM
Welcome all new Dec 24th cruisers.

FYI Margo since you have the list, we moved a week or so ago to 1074 after getting a "free" upgrade. Terrific that you got such a wonderful savings on your cabin.

Yvette I like the sound of the Napier tour you found. Too bad we are in Napier for such a short visit. Will check a bit more. The only part is whether we get to see the Art Deco area outside the bus and whether they can waive the tasting fees - even better.

Plus does anyone know if Celebrity will store (not confiscate) the wine we purchase? One thing I must say about our Med cruise on Princess, they had a great wine policy. Each port we went to we were able to purchase and bring wine (excellent and cheap!) to our cabins or dining room (even with the corkage fee we were way ahead). With all the wonderful wines to be had in Australia and NZ, wish they were more liberal.

And Izzy what an awesome experience to be taking your grandson on such a fantastic trip!

Hi Breezy - great you received an upgrade (- Oceanview to Century Suite - wow!!!.) , maybe others will see more of that happening! I will adjust at the next Roll Call update.

Napier Art Deco - city tour - I am sure you will see most of the Art deco highlights as the city is very close to the wharf and it will not be out of the way for the tour driver to include.

Wine - yes I would be interested in Celebrity's wine policy on bring wine aboard from ports (from what I have read it is not promising). I know Princess are very relaxed about wine on our last (same as you experienced) - we took on 2 bottles on embarkation and another 2 in Melbourne. SIL & BIL did the same, so the 8 bottles did us nicely for the 12 night cruise (DH had snuck on his Rum and of course Coke was allowed) so we were all set for pre-dinner drinks each night.

Would be interested in others experiences with Celebrity particularly 'downunder' if possible. I suspect we may have an 'issue' and have to hand in for collection at the end of the cruise. And of course Australian and NZ wine is excellent - we are rather spoilt.

>>As of 21-Jun-2011, 24 guest(s) have signed up for your Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party on Celebrity Century departing 24-Dec-2011.<<

Next one to sign up puts us over!!!

Great news Steve - I was reading on one of the other NZ Celebrity threads that they had been told they were having 2 Connection Parties, so see what develops.

Nearer the time shall we organise a Sailaway Party? Leaving at 5pm means those on Early Dining will get to enjoy Sailaway before dinner.

Last year Sailaway was 8pm, which was a little difficult but it was well worth being on deck as it was rather spectacular, as it was dusk. The city lights were wonderful. Also there was 3 parties of Bridge Climbers which was interesting to watch.

BrusselsGirl07
June 21st, 2011, 07:45 PM
Hi everyone - not from personal experience, but just from reading these boards, Celebrity will store the wine for you that you buy in ports and give it back to you on the last night. This is actually meant to be one of Celebrity's rules - you are allowed to bring 2 bottles per stateroom on at the start of the cruise for you to drink in your stateroom (if you take it to the dining room there is a $25 corkage fee). BUT if people do bring wine on board at other stops, according to Celebrity policy, it will be taken from you and stored for you. However, some people say their wine was taken from them, and others say it was not, so who knows. This is from the Celebrity website:

"No beer or hard liquor may be brought onboard for consumption. Guests wishing to bring personal wine onboard with them at the beginning of the cruise may do so, limited to two (2) bottles per stateroom, but when consumed in any shipboard restaurant, bar or dining venue, each bottle shall be subject to a corkage fee of $25.00. If a guest receives a bottle of wine (in their stateroom) from a family member of friend, and that bottle(s) was purchased from our Bon Voyage Gift selection, then no corkage fee will apply if they wish to consume the bottle in the dining room or any public area. If a guest receives a bottle from an outside vendor and/or travel agent, and the bottle was not purchased through our Bon Voyage selection, then a $25.00 corkage fee per bottle will apply if they wish to consume the wine in the dining room or any other public area. The fee will be applied to the guest's onboard account. Alcoholic beverages purchased in ports of call or from onboard shops will be stored by the ship and delivered to guest staterooms on the last day of the sailing." end

Also, don't forget that when disembarking in NZ, you do have to go through New Zealand customs. You will have to declare the wine you are bringing in. Currently it is 3 bottles of spirits or liquers not exceeding 1.125 litres in total and 6 bottles of wine not exceeding 4.5 litres (a normal bottle of wine is 750ml anyway). If you go over that amount you will have to pay duty. Here is some info on NA customs allowances: http://www.aucklandairport.co.nz/ShopDineAndRelax/InternationalTerminal/Taxanddutyfreeshopping/DutyFreeAllowances.aspx

If you are then coming back to Australia, you are only allowed to import 2.25 litres of any alcohol per person, so if you had the maximum that NZ allows and try to bring it in to Australia, you will have to pay duty as well.

While on the subject of customs, in Australia and New Zealand, quarantine rules are strictly enforced, and their will be customs officers (and sometimes sniffer dogs) at the exit as you leave the ship at each port. You are not allowed to take any food off the ship into the country, and definately not allowed to take fruit, plants or seeds. This is announced on the ships and in the newsletters, but there is always a bin full of food that people insist in trying to get off the ship. They don't care what you bring back onto the ship though as long as you don't try and take anything off.

BrusselsGirl07
June 21st, 2011, 07:55 PM
Just for information, I doubt that we will dock in the port of Lyttleton and visit Christchurch. From my reading, Christchurch has closed their port to concentrate on fixing it and Christchurch.

Other cruise ships are now visiting Akaroa, 75 km from Christchurch, or a 60 to 90 minute bus ride away.http://www.akaroa.com/fpnew/fastpage/fpengine.php/templateid/204

I wrote to Celebrity and asked if this was the case or not, just for planning.

BrusselsGirl07
June 21st, 2011, 08:05 PM
Sorry about all of the posts - one last one! If you are really into Art Deco, here is a great site on Napier: http://www.artdeconapier.com/default.aspx

Bill and I lived in Belgium for three years which has some gorgeous Art Deco (but mostly Art Nouveau) buildings, so I had a great interest in visiting Napier. I was a little dissapointed, as (of course) not every building is in the style, and some just had small touches on the upper parts of the buildings. But I am sure if I took one of the walks mentioned on the site I have linked to, I would have seen more than just by walking around by myself.

Not to say it is not a lovely town, it really is pretty and I enjoyed my visit there.

MargoK
June 21st, 2011, 08:15 PM
Thanks Yvette.

Wine - Thanks for posting the details.

"If a guest receives a bottle of wine (in their stateroom) from a family member of friend, and that bottle(s) was purchased from our Bon Voyage Gift selection, then no corkage fee will apply if they wish to consume the bottle in the dining room or any public area. If a guest receives a bottle from an outside vendor and/or travel agent, and the bottle was not purchased through our Bon Voyage selection, then a $25.00 corkage fee per bottle will apply if they wish to consume the wine in the dining room or any other public area. The fee will be applied to the guest's onboard account." This is interesting! So we can get Gifts of wine via the Bon Voyage Gift Selection, we can have it delivered to our staterooms. Still means we have to buy THEIR wine. How does one receive a bottle from an outside vendor or TA????:confused:

Customs - yes Aust and NZ are VERY STRICT regarding taking food etc off ships, which we totally appreciate. You should see what some people try to bring into out airports and ports! Unopened bottles of water are OK. On The Diamond last year they kept telling passengers about this and still people didn't listen. The same for making sure you have PHOTO ID with you when going ashore - one man got very upset when singled out in Dunedin for not having photo ID. He tried the " No one told me" routine and the whole bus nearly erupted in laughter:rolleyes:

Christchurch - yet another 5.4 shake this morning followed by 13 after shocks. (more than 7000 shakes since Sept 4, when the first big one hit) So I too will be surprised if we get into Lyttleton. Akaroa is a possibility, but wonder if they may change to Picton instead. Be great if we can find out, sooner than later, but the whole situation is so 'fluid' So sad.

Breezey
June 22nd, 2011, 08:37 AM
Hi Yvette
Thanks for all the infor. For the record, wasn't really given an upgrade. The prices for Sky Suites dropped to the same price (a bit lower) than we were already paying for our balcony so we decided to switch. They had both seniors' and residents' rates reductions so we got lucky.

Re wine gifts - My experience with wine gifts from TAs was they were purchased from the Celebrity website. Don't think there is a way to get a bottle of wine as a gift otherwise. I think Celebrity needs to lighten up on these rules especially when we go to ports with such incredible wines. Our plan is to buy 2 bottles of wine while in Sydney to have in our stateroom (or bring a full glass from our stateroom to the MDR as I refuse to pay the corkage fee!) Then I also plan on hinting to our family that since we will be celebrating our 35th anniversary on the ship, any "surprise" wine gifts are greatly appreciated :) We have pretty strict custom rules so doubt we can bring home more than 4? bottles.

Yvette - not really into art deco but was hoping that a tour of wineries wouldn't result in us not seeing the sites of Napier. Such a short time in port.

So sad about Christchurch.

Bruin Steve
June 22nd, 2011, 11:08 AM
We seem to always get a bottle or two to our cabin...
Either the Champagne that comes with some cabins that we often just drink at sailaway in our cabin but sometimes we don't have a chance, so we;ll bring it to the dining room with us one night...
Other times, we'll get a gift in our cabin from our TA or from someone up the chain at Celebrity (I've made friends over time with a Celebrity/RCCL executive or two...I know one of the Celebrity regional sales reps and he's sent us a bottle of wine one cruise, and we met the CEO of RCCL on a cruise once and one cruise he sent us a nice bottle)...

Anyway, we've always brought these bottles with us to dinner and have never been charged a corkage fee...I don't really know how the wait staff knows these were purchased through Celebrity, but somehow they do...perhaps there is some marking on the bottle we've not noticed...

I think most TAs who send you a bottle as a gift do it through Celebrity...it's the easy way to send it when the TA is in Los Angeles, CA or Toronto, Ontario and the ship is in some faraway port...But, Celebrity's prices ARE at a premium and if you are going to buy through them, you might as well just buy from the wine list at dinner...

The corkage fee is really to take away the advantage of the competition...You can probably buy a similar quality wine to the one for which you pay $40 on the ship for only about $15 in port...So, if they charge you $25, they're even...

The only real reasons to bring your own wine onboard is that either 1) You are drinking it in your cabin or 2) It's a very special bottle of wine that you cannot duplicate from the onboard wine list...

I sure hope things have settled down and facilities are repaired in Christchurch before we get there six months from now...

I do know how to insure that the repairs are all completed far ahead of time...

Here in Southern California 17 years ago when we had the infamous Northridge Earthqauke, a portion of I-10, the Santa Monica Freeway, was severely damaged... It was expected that traffic would be severely impacted for months while the reconstruction took place...The Santa Monica Freeway is billed as "the busiest freeway in the world", carrying an average of 341,000 cars per day...20 days after the earthquake, Caltrans awarded the contract to rebuild for $14.9 million over an estimated 140 days...the contract contained a bonus clause whereby the contractor could earn an additional $200,000 per day for every day by which they beat the 140 days...With that incentive, the contractor finished the project in 66 days! They ended up with a bonus of $14.8 million on top of the contract price of $14.9 million! It is amazing how fast rebuilding can be done with the proper incentives in place...

MargoK
June 22nd, 2011, 06:18 PM
Update on the Connections Pary

As of 22-Jun-2011, 26 guest(s) have signed up for your Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party on Celebrity Century departing 24-Dec-2011.

Congratulations!


We are six months out and we have cracked the magic 25 - so that wasn't too hard at all.

BrusselsGirl07
June 22nd, 2011, 07:13 PM
Hi Breezey - the Napier tour does say that it does an Art Deco tour of Napier on the way to the first stop, but I assume this would be just from the bus.

Anyway, will see if there is any interest in this tour, and if not, my hubby and I will just book something else. I know the ship offered winery tours on our last trip to NZ, but from memory they only covered 1 or 2 wineries.

Great news about the CC party, I will look forward to meeting you all!

Breezey
June 23rd, 2011, 06:12 AM
Hi Breezey - the Napier tour does say that it does an Art Deco tour of Napier on the way to the first stop, but I assume this would be just from the bus.

Anyway, will see if there is any interest in this tour, and if not, my hubby and I will just book something else. I know the ship offered winery tours on our last trip to NZ, but from memory they only covered 1 or 2 wineries.

Great news about the CC party, I will look forward to meeting you all!

Yvette - Actually if there are others interested to reduce the overall price we are very interested in joining you. We are definitely not ship excursion people and much prefer touring in smaller groups. A winery tour is a lot more interesting to us than the art deco and shops. So if anyone else in our now group of 26 is interested, please let us know.

BrusselsGirl07
June 23rd, 2011, 07:04 AM
Hi Breezey - that makes 4 of us, so hopefully we can get 6 or 7 more to join us! I think the tour will be good. Last time we walked around Napier and just shopped and had lunch, so it will be nice to go to the wineries and see the countryside this time.

BrusselsGirl07
June 24th, 2011, 12:42 AM
Hi everyone - this is another private tour I will have a go at organising. This one is for Wed Jan 4, the port of Tauranga. Tauranga is a very pretty beach town, but it is also close (20 to 30 min drive) to Rotorua, one of New Zealand's most fascinating geothermal areas. We booked this company last time and just went with 4 of us. They were great. Michele is very knowledgable about the area. This is an itinerary I have asked her to do up for us. We are in Tauranga from 10am to 9.15pm, so we should be able to leave by 10.15 or 10.30am. The ship is docked, so we can just walk off.

They have two vehicles, one the 8 seater Granvia (7 pax) we used last year and the other a 12 seater LWB Ford Transit (11 pax).

Prices:
Granvia: NZ$675 (driver-guide, light snacks, full commentary, but not entry fees). Works out at about NZ$96.50 pp if you fill the vehicle or NZ$112.50 pp for 6 etc.
Ford: NZ$950 (inclusions as above). Works out at about NZ$86.50 pp for 11 people, NZ$95 for 10 etc.

**I have put the entry fees after each attraction. If we had 10 people paying NZ$95 for the car and tourguide, you would also be paying NZ$115.50 for the attractions - NZ$210.50. But for a full day out, going to some amazing places with a local driver, I think it is not too bad. However I will certainly understand if people feel it is too expensive, especially when you double it for a couple. I know the ship will do tours to these places, although probably all not in the same excursion, you would have to choose. Anyway, let me know what you think, Yvette

Hello Yvette - Here’s that short outline as requested! This is a tight schedule, especially as we probably won’t be able to leave the port until 10.30am. We’ll play things by ear on the day.

Itinerary of your volcanic venture (J) 10am to 7pm

Leave Tauranga for Rotorua via a portion of Tauranga’s beautiful coastline

Kiwi 360: tour kiwifruit orchards with a full commentary and taste kiwi fruit products. NZ$20 pp
http://www.kiwi360.com/

Waiotapu Geothermal Wonderland: tour of multi-coloured terraces and hot springs, visit off the beaten track hot stream and mud-pool. NZ$32.50pp
http://www.waiotapu.co.nz/

Te Puia: Guided tour of geysers, mud-pools, kiwi-house, Maori village and craft centres. NZ$43 pp
http://www.tepuia.com/attractions_te_puia_rotorua_new_zealand.htm

Cable car up Mt Ngongotaha for stunning views of Lake Rotorua caldera - $25 pp
http://www.skylineskyrides.co.nz/rotorua/ssr_gondola/

Head back to Tauranga with time at the Government Gardens, Lake front and Okere Falls, time permitting!


Back at the ship


The small print!
As you’ll remember we need to take payment a month in advance to confirm your booking (credit card or direct credit: whichever suits you better). I know your numbers may not be finalised until after the cruise begins, so we can be flexible with the amount you pay! Our cancellation policy is 100% forfeit of payment if you change your mind 24 hours or less ahead of the tour and 50 % if within 7 days of the tour but if the ship doesn’t visit Tauranga for some reason,
then we would refund your payment in full.

Thank you! It will be lovely to see you again, if everything works out.

Best regards


Michele Beaton,

Learning Journeys - Education Adventures in New Zealand

BrusselsGirl07
June 24th, 2011, 12:54 AM
Just for interest sake (and also worried that the price would turn people off the tour I have that I have outlined above, so thought I would see what else was available), I went looking at some other tours from Tauranga to Rororua, and they are all quite expensive, don't include as much as they are not as personalised and cost a lot more!

This one is NX$270 per person: http://www.mctours.co.nz/rotorua_wai_o_tapu___te_puia_t.html

Bruin Steve
June 24th, 2011, 05:52 AM
Hi everyone - this is another private tour I will have a go at organising. This one is for Wed Jan 4, the port of Tauranga. Tauranga is a very pretty beach town, but it is also close (20 to 30 min drive) to Rotorua, one of New Zealand's most fascinating geothermal areas. We booked this company last time and just went with 4 of us. They were great. Michele is very knowledgable about the area. This is an itinerary I have asked her to do up for us. We are in Tauranga from 10am to 9.15pm, so we should be able to leave by 10.15 or 10.30am. The ship is docked, so we can just walk off...

Yvette,
I am pretty sure this is one I can get Beth to go for...looks to be a rather complete tour...

As far as another comparison, check this out from the Royal Caribbean website (bound to be comparable to what Celebrity offers):

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/shoreExcursions/product/detail/view.do?sourcePage=shorexByPort&ProductCode=TR23&DestinationCode=

And, remember, that shorex would likely be a big bus with about 40 people...
Note: Current conversion is 1 New Zealand Dollar equals approximately $0.81.5 US...

BrusselsGirl07
June 24th, 2011, 06:33 AM
Great Steve, I will put you and Beth down as a possibility, so that is 4 of us on this one. I doubt that Michele will get approached by another group wanting to do this tour (unless someone from a ship in port on the same day looks at our thread!) but hopefully she will still be available for booking once the ship tours come out and people decide what they want to do. She was great last time, and I would like another look at Rotorua.

eunephron
June 24th, 2011, 09:46 AM
Hi Ivette,
I am just coming back to this thread after a few months of being busy planning our August trip to the British Isles. We are a party of 4 and am interested in the Rotorus tour. Can you tentatively put us as interested?
Thanks,
Deborah & Peter

eunephron
June 24th, 2011, 10:49 AM
Thought I would update the list, and have added cabin numbers where they have been advised.


Roll Call for Century Christmas New Year 2011

Lauren Spray - Harvey and Lauri - Mexico (1246)
England Swings - Gayle and Steve - UK.
Mucky duck - Chris and Tim - Western Australia
Epsanola - Colin – Vancouver
Bruin Steve - Beth and Steve - Calabasas, California (8018)
Eunephorn – Deborah, Peter, Jonathan, Erica(4) – Laguna Nigue, California
Breezey - Larry and Amy – Toronto (8153)
Merimart – ??? – Coffs Harbour NSW Australia (8143)
MargoK – Pete & Margaret – Auckland NZ (5061)
BrusselsGirl07 – Yvette & Bill – Canberra (8083)

Don't forget to register for the Connection Party on Celebrity's website
https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do

As of 17-Jun-2011, 22 guest(s) have signed up for your Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party on Celebrity Century departing 24-Dec-2011.

Cruise Fellow - if you wish to post your photo so we recognise you!
http://**************

Hi Margo,
We are cabins 9197 and 9195
Deborah

Breezey
June 24th, 2011, 11:30 AM
Yvette
Pending me figuring it out on my end, put us 2 on the list for Rotorua tours too.

BTW thanks for making my (and others) job(s) a lot easier.

Amy

Bruin Steve
June 24th, 2011, 12:54 PM
Wow, Yvette...
Looks like you've come up with a good one...Seems like we've filled up that larger Ford vehicle in less than 12 hours!

I want to thank you for taking the lead on this...I've been doing that for the past three or four cruises of mine and I know how much work and effort goes into this...For my Europe cruise later this summer, I've put together groups and tours for Saint-Malo, Bordeaux, Cadiz and Casablanca (thankfully, others took the lead for Monte Carlo and Rome)...and I am stressed just keeping track of all of the parties, the guides, the financial requirements, confirmations, etc. for those four tours...

Anything you need from us on this one, just ask me...BTW, my E-mail address is bruinsd@aol.com
(often a bit better for direct communication rather than relying purely on the message board)...

Again, Yvette, thanks...

eunephron
June 24th, 2011, 03:49 PM
We're "moving"...
The inside cabin (#5064) turns out to have only been a temporary address...
Of course, I'm driving my TA crazy...
I constantly monitor the Celebrity website and this morning they went a little wacky...
The fare for my Category 11 held fast at $1829...but several other categories dropped...including Category 5 to $1569...

We're now in Cat 5 Cabin #8018...after adjustment in our OBC from our TA, we're netting a savings of $445...

Not a bad day!!!

There you go again, Steve, saving me another $600 on the kid's cabin. Thanks for keeping us updated on price reductions!!

BrusselsGirl07
June 24th, 2011, 06:11 PM
Thanks Steve, I guess I am a bit of an organiser at heart. I work as an Executive Assistant, and at the moment I am working for a Member of Parliament at Parliament House here in Canberra. That can be an extremely demanding job with many balls being juggled constantly!

It is great that we have filled the 10 seater van!! So the people on this tour are:
Bill and Yvette
Steve and Beth
Amy and ?
Deborah and Peter plus 18yo and 22 yo

Amy (Breezey), could you let me know the name of your partner, and Deb, could I have the names of your children? Thanks! Also I see that you both only want me to put you on the list as tentative bookings. If you could please let me know as soon as possible, as I would rather we have the tour filled with definite 'yes I am coming' rather than 'I may come, but not sure' and then it is fair to others who would definately like to book on this one.

Obviously, once we do confirm this tour, I will have to hold the booking with my credit card. We can probably wait until final payment for the cruise (3 months out). The rules of the booking are basically that if the ship does not get to the port for some reason, we do not pay, however, if you just decide to change your mind and not show up on the day, payment still does need to be made, so it is a bit if a leap of faith on my part. I am going to see if she will guarantee the booking with my credit card and then we all pay her on the day rather than me pay and then everyone pay me.

If you have any questions please ask, and once you have made up your mind let me know. It will be a great tour!!

eunephron
June 24th, 2011, 07:19 PM
Thanks Steve, I guess I am a bit of an organiser at heart. I work as an Executive Assistant, and at the moment I am working for a Member of Parliament at Parliament House here in Canberra. That can be an extremely demanding job with many balls being juggled constantly!

It is great that we have filled the 10 seater van!! So the people on this tour are:
Bill and Yvette
Steve and Beth
Amy and ?
Deborah and Peter plus 18yo and 22 yo

Amy (Breezey), could you let me know the name of your partner, and Deb, could I have the names of your children? Thanks! Also I see that you both only want me to put you on the list as tentative bookings. If you could please let me know as soon as possible, as I would rather we have the tour filled with definite 'yes I am coming' rather than 'I may come, but not sure' and then it is fair to others who would definately like to book on this one.

Obviously, once we do confirm this tour, I will have to hold the booking with my credit card. We can probably wait until final payment for the cruise (3 months out). The rules of the booking are basically that if the ship does not get to the port for some reason, we do not pay, however, if you just decide to change your mind and not show up on the day, payment still does need to be made, so it is a bit if a leap of faith on my part. I am going to see if she will guarantee the booking with my credit card and then we all pay her on the day rather than me pay and then everyone pay me.

If you have any questions please ask, and once you have made up your mind let me know. It will be a great tour!!

Hi Yvette,

My children are Erica (22) and Jonathan (18).
Go ahead and make it a definite for the four of us. The tour sounds wonderful.

Deborah

MargoK
June 24th, 2011, 07:47 PM
Well done Yvette on organising the Tauranga Tour. I think you just bet our record last year for organising and filing a private tour!:cool:

We organised a private tour last year with DH Peter as driver (he is an ex tour coach driver) and on the prices quoted to you, it is a VERY GOOD DEAL. $950 for the van and driver is about right, considering that Jan 4 is a public holiday so penal rates etc would apply for an employee. Last year we paid $225 for the van plus petrol.

The big advantage is that you are in a small group, not herded around with 150 others! At Rainbow Springs (Next the the Luge - Cable Car) we had been the only mini-van there, then as we drove out 5 Princess Line coaches arrived! They had come from The Luge- Cable Car! (They had driven them over - which is crazy as it is about 200metre walk)

My only concern, is if you get caught at the Cable Car with any Celebrity Coaches you will be stuck - a couple of our people got caught. They went up, saw the queue to come down, and joined it straight away as it was already a 20 minute wait! Perhaps see if you can do that earlier in the day?

We left the port at 8.30am and arrived back at 5.15pm (15 mins to spare), so it is a long day. But will still managed to stop on the way back for our Hokey Pokey Ice Creams! (An uniquely NZ Ice Cream - truely the best!:rolleyes:)

MargoK
June 24th, 2011, 07:57 PM
Roll Call for Century Christmas New Year 2011

Lauren Spray - Harvey and Lauri - Mexico (1246)
England Swings - Gayle and Steve - UK. (8129)
Mucky duck - Chris and Tim - Western Australia
Epsanola - Colin – Vancouver
Bruin Steve - Beth and Steve - Calabasas, California (8018)
Eunephorn – Deborah, Peter, Jonathan (18), Erica(22) – Laguna Nigue, California (9197 9195)
Breezey - Larry and Amy – Toronto (1074)
Merimart – ??? – Coffs Harbour NSW Australia (8143)
MargoK – Pete & Margaret – Auckland NZ (5061)
BrusselsGirl07 – Yvette & Bill – Canberra Australia (8083)
Izzy – ?? and grandson (13) CA
Brunson - Brunson & Hunter - Atlanta, GA (4090)

Don't forget to register for the Connection Party on Celebrity's website
https://secure.celebritycruises.com/...critic/home.do (https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do)

As of 24-Jun-2011, 26 guest(s) have signed up for your Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party on Celebrity Century departing 24-Dec-2011.

Cruise Fellow - if you wish to post your photo so we recognise you!
http://**************


Exactly six months to go!

eunephron
June 24th, 2011, 08:45 PM
BTW Yvette,

Please use my email address to make contact as I am busy organizing my August cruise and may not come on to this roll call regularly.
pmrdlb at sbcglobal dot net.
Thanks,

Deborah

izzy2001
June 25th, 2011, 12:06 AM
Roll Call for Century Christmas New Year 2011

Lauren Spray - Harvey and Lauri - Mexico (1246)
England Swings - Gayle and Steve - UK. (8129)
Mucky duck - Chris and Tim - Western Australia
Epsanola - Colin – Vancouver
Bruin Steve - Beth and Steve - Calabasas, California (8018)
Eunephorn – Deborah, Peter, Jonathan (18), Erica(22) – Laguna Nigue, California (9197 9195)
Breezey - Larry and Amy – Toronto (1074)
Merimart – ??? – Coffs Harbour NSW Australia (8143)
MargoK – Pete & Margaret – Auckland NZ (5061)
BrusselsGirl07 – Yvette & Bill – Canberra Australia (8083)
Izzy – ?? and grandson (13) CA
Brunson - Brunson & Hunter - Atlanta, GA (4090)

Don't forget to register for the Connection Party on Celebrity's website
https://secure.celebritycruises.com/...critic/home.do (https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do)

As of 24-Jun-2011, 26 guest(s) have signed up for your Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party on Celebrity Century departing 24-Dec-2011.

Cruise Fellow - if you wish to post your photo so we recognise you!
http://**************


Exactly six months to go!

MargoK,
Izzy is my screen name. My name is Karen and grandson's name is Chase, who is 13. We will be in cabin 1229.
Six months, it will be time to sail before we know it.

MargoK
June 25th, 2011, 12:23 AM
MargoK,
Izzy is my screen name. My name is Karen and grandson's name is Chase, who is 13. We will be in cabin 1229.
Six months, it will be time to sail before we know it.


Thank you Karen.

I see you are from Colorado, so you will be coming from a 'deep cold' winter to the warmth of summer is Australia and New Zealand.

For those of you that have not been down under for summer, it still can be cold, so bring a warm jacket and jumpers/ cardigans. Last year we went from a beautiful summers day in Melbourne, to Hobart where is was a bit wet and even snowing on Mt Wellington (on the outskirts of Hobart). A couple of CCer's did the mountain bike ride down Mt Wellington and they were frozen when they got to the botton, even with heavy jackets! They still had so much fun.

Milford/ Doubtful/ Dusky Sounds can be very cold, particularly if you are on the forward open decks to watch the spectacular scenery. We watched from our balcony, and although it was chilly having our champagne breakfast at 7.30am, by later in the morning I just had a cardigan on. Those above the bridge of the Diamond Princess were extremely well wrapped up.

The days got warmer as we moved up the east coast of NZ.

So with clothing - layers are the way to go!

BrusselsGirl07
June 25th, 2011, 04:57 AM
Rotorua Tour from Tauranga:

OK, so the following people are confirmed on this trip:

Yvette and Bill
Beth and Steve
Deborah, Peter, Jonathan and Erica

A possibility is Larry and Amy.

Obviously as we need to try and get 10 (or 11 if there is a single interested) people confirmed on this trip to get the best price for everyone - so Amy if you could let me know as soon as possible if you and Larry would definately like to do this tour.

If there are any other people interested in coming on this trip, let me know and if a spot becomes vacant, I will let you know.

I will work with Michele on the timing and what to visit first - thanks for the advice on the possible crowds at the Cable Car, Margo K!

Tour of Rotorua
Hi everyone - this is another private tour I will have a go at organising. This one is for Wed Jan 4, the port of Tauranga. Tauranga is a very pretty beach town, but it is also close (20 to 30 min drive) to Rotorua, one of New Zealand's most fascinating geothermal areas. We booked this company last time and just went with 4 of us. They were great. Michele is very knowledgable about the area. This is an itinerary I have asked her to do up for us. We are in Tauranga from 10am to 9.15pm, so we should be able to leave by 10.15 or 10.30am. The ship is docked, so we can just walk off.

They have two vehicles, one the 8 seater Granvia (7 pax) we used last year and the other a 12 seater LWB Ford Transit (11 pax).

Prices:
Granvia: NZ$675 (driver-guide, light snacks, full commentary, but not entry fees). Works out at about NZ$96.50 pp if you fill the vehicle or NZ$112.50 pp for 6 etc.
Ford: NZ$950 (inclusions as above). Works out at about NZ$86.50 pp for 11 people, NZ$95 for 10 etc.

**I have put the entry fees after each attraction. If we had 10 people paying NZ$95 for the car and tourguide, you would also be paying NZ$115.50 for the attractions - NZ$210.50. But for a full day out, going to some amazing places with a local driver, I think it is not too bad. However I will certainly understand if people feel it is too expensive, especially when you double it for a couple. I know the ship will do tours to these places, although probably all not in the same excursion, you would have to choose. Anyway, let me know what you think, Yvette

Hello Yvette - Here’s that short outline as requested! This is a tight schedule, especially as we probably won’t be able to leave the port until 10.30am. We’ll play things by ear on the day.

Itinerary of your volcanic venture (J) 10am to 7pm

Leave Tauranga for Rotorua via a portion of Tauranga’s beautiful coastline

Kiwi 360: tour kiwifruit orchards with a full commentary and taste kiwi fruit products. NZ$20 pp
http://www.kiwi360.com/

Waiotapu Geothermal Wonderland: tour of multi-coloured terraces and hot springs, visit off the beaten track hot stream and mud-pool. NZ$32.50pp
http://www.waiotapu.co.nz/

Te Puia: Guided tour of geysers, mud-pools, kiwi-house, Maori village and craft centres. NZ$43 pp
http://www.tepuia.com/attractions_te...ew_zealand.htm (http://www.tepuia.com/attractions_te_puia_rotorua_new_zealand.htm)

Cable car up Mt Ngongotaha for stunning views of Lake Rotorua caldera - $25 pp
http://www.skylineskyrides.co.nz/rotorua/ssr_gondola/

Head back to Tauranga with time at the Government Gardens, Lake front and Okere Falls, time permitting!


Back at the ship


The small print!
As you’ll remember we need to take payment a month in advance to confirm your booking (credit card or direct credit: whichever suits you better). I know your numbers may not be finalised until after the cruise begins, so we can be flexible with the amount you pay! Our cancellation policy is 100% forfeit of payment if you change your mind 24 hours or less ahead of the tour and 50 % if within 7 days of the tour but if the ship doesn’t visit Tauranga for some reason,
then we would refund your payment in full.

Thank you! It will be lovely to see you again, if everything works out.

Best regards


Michele Beaton,

Learning Journeys- Education Adventures in New Zealand

Breezey
June 25th, 2011, 07:54 AM
Good morning

Count us in Yvette!

BrusselsGirl07
June 25th, 2011, 07:55 PM
Great Amy! Thanks for letting me know! Looking forward to the day - the geothermal parks are just amazing!

BrusselsGirl07
June 26th, 2011, 06:25 AM
Hi everyone! I don't know Melbourne well, but found this information on another roll call (thanks 'aussie cruiser'!). I saw a story this morning about the Melbourne Aquarium and they have a great Penguin exhibit. So while we were going to just stay on the ship, I think we will now go and see the Penguins! Here is the info on getting around Melbourne:

Hi everyone, thought you might like some information on getting around Melbourne. At the end of Station Pier is a tram that takes you straight to the city centre it costs $7.00 aud for a daily ticket which can be used on all trams trains and buses in the city area. Once in the city centre there is also a free city circle tram and also a free Tourist shuttle bus
The following is some information on free city transport and a great web site on Melbourne.
There is a free city circle tram and also a free Tourist shuttle bus, go to the following web site it has maps and what’s on in Melbourne; thatsmelbourne.com.au When you reach the city at Federation Square there is a large underground tourist info centre.
The Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle is a great new way to see Melbourne's attractions, and it's free!

Hop on and hop off the bus at any of the stops at key city destinations including: Melbourne Museum and Carlton Gardens; South Warf and the direct factory outlets, the city lane ways, Queen Victoria Market; Melbourne Aquarium; Immigration Museum; Southbank; the Shrine of Remembrance; Royal Botanic Gardens and Chinatown. The shuttle runs between 10am and 4pm daily. The complete trip takes approximately 50 minutes;
May I also add the bus tour to the great ocean road is a good. Otherwise if you want to see Koalas and Kangaroos then Healesville Sanctuary is a must. The wineries in the Yarra valley are Fantastic. On station pier through the gates are about 6 restaurants from Fish and chips, tapas, seafood and fine Australian dining and there are a couple of pubs within walking distance 500metre or so. There is also a small supermarket at the end of station pier.
Melbourne can be very hot in January. The weather is usually in the 30's (C) over 87 (F) and it is a dry heat.

We are off to bed soon, but for those in the US you will be enjoying your Sunday morning, so have a great day! Yvette :)

england swings
June 26th, 2011, 06:25 PM
Hi everyone - this is another private tour I will have a go at organising. This one is for Wed Jan 4, the port of Tauranga. Tauranga is a very pretty beach town, but it is also close (20 to 30 min drive) to Rotorua, one of New Zealand's most fascinating geothermal areas. We booked this company last time and just went with 4 of us. They were great. Michele is very knowledgable about the area. This is an itinerary I have asked her to do up for us. We are in Tauranga from 10am to 9.15pm, so we should be able to leave by 10.15 or 10.30am. The ship is docked, so we can just walk off.

They have two vehicles, one the 8 seater Granvia (7 pax) we used last year and the other a 12 seater LWB Ford Transit (11 pax).

Prices:
Granvia: NZ$675 (driver-guide, light snacks, full commentary, but not entry fees). Works out at about NZ$96.50 pp if you fill the vehicle or NZ$112.50 pp for 6 etc.
Ford: NZ$950 (inclusions as above). Works out at about NZ$86.50 pp for 11 people, NZ$95 for 10 etc.

**I have put the entry fees after each attraction. If we had 10 people paying NZ$95 for the car and tourguide, you would also be paying NZ$115.50 for the attractions - NZ$210.50. But for a full day out, going to some amazing places with a local driver, I think it is not too bad. However I will certainly understand if people feel it is too expensive, especially when you double it for a couple. I know the ship will do tours to these places, although probably all not in the same excursion, you would have to choose. Anyway, let me know what you think, Yvette

Hello Yvette - Here’s that short outline as requested! This is a tight schedule, especially as we probably won’t be able to leave the port until 10.30am. We’ll play things by ear on the day.

Itinerary of your volcanic venture (J) 10am to 7pm

Leave Tauranga for Rotorua via a portion of Tauranga’s beautiful coastline

Kiwi 360: tour kiwifruit orchards with a full commentary and taste kiwi fruit products. NZ$20 pp
http://www.kiwi360.com/

Waiotapu Geothermal Wonderland: tour of multi-coloured terraces and hot springs, visit off the beaten track hot stream and mud-pool. NZ$32.50pp
http://www.waiotapu.co.nz/

Te Puia: Guided tour of geysers, mud-pools, kiwi-house, Maori village and craft centres. NZ$43 pp
http://www.tepuia.com/attractions_te_puia_rotorua_new_zealand.htm

Cable car up Mt Ngongotaha for stunning views of Lake Rotorua caldera - $25 pp
http://www.skylineskyrides.co.nz/rotorua/ssr_gondola/

Head back to Tauranga with time at the Government Gardens, Lake front and Okere Falls, time permitting!


Back at the ship


The small print!
As you’ll remember we need to take payment a month in advance to confirm your booking (credit card or direct credit: whichever suits you better). I know your numbers may not be finalised until after the cruise begins, so we can be flexible with the amount you pay! Our cancellation policy is 100% forfeit of payment if you change your mind 24 hours or less ahead of the tour and 50 % if within 7 days of the tour but if the ship doesn’t visit Tauranga for some reason,
then we would refund your payment in full.

Thank you! It will be lovely to see you again, if everything works out.

Best regards


Michele Beaton,

Learning Journeys - Education Adventures in New Zealand



Yes, put Steve & I down tentatively .... thanks.

BrusselsGirl07
June 26th, 2011, 07:37 PM
Yes, put Steve & I down tentatively .... thanks.

Hi Gayle - we already have 10 people comfirmed on this tour now (max is 11), but I will put you on the 'cancellation' list in case someone pulls out. Thanks!

england swings
June 27th, 2011, 06:06 AM
Hi everyone - this is another private tour I will have a go at organising. This one is for Wed Jan 4, the port of Tauranga. Tauranga is a very pretty beach town, but it is also close (20 to 30 min drive) to Rotorua, one of New Zealand's most fascinating geothermal areas. We booked this company last time and just went with 4 of us. They were great. Michele is very knowledgable about the area. This is an itinerary I have asked her to do up for us. We are in Tauranga from 10am to 9.15pm, so we should be able to leave by 10.15 or 10.30am. The ship is docked, so we can just walk off.

They have two vehicles, one the 8 seater Granvia (7 pax) we used last year and the other a 12 seater LWB Ford Transit (11 pax).

Prices:
Granvia: NZ$675 (driver-guide, light snacks, full commentary, but not entry fees). Works out at about NZ$96.50 pp if you fill the vehicle or NZ$112.50 pp for 6 etc.
Ford: NZ$950 (inclusions as above). Works out at about NZ$86.50 pp for 11 people, NZ$95 for 10 etc.

**I have put the entry fees after each attraction. If we had 10 people paying NZ$95 for the car and tourguide, you would also be paying NZ$115.50 for the attractions - NZ$210.50. But for a full day out, going to some amazing places with a local driver, I think it is not too bad. However I will certainly understand if people feel it is too expensive, especially when you double it for a couple. I know the ship will do tours to these places, although probably all not in the same excursion, you would have to choose. Anyway, let me know what you think, Yvette

Hello Yvette - Here’s that short outline as requested! This is a tight schedule, especially as we probably won’t be able to leave the port until 10.30am. We’ll play things by ear on the day.

Itinerary of your volcanic venture (J) 10am to 7pm

Leave Tauranga for Rotorua via a portion of Tauranga’s beautiful coastline

Kiwi 360: tour kiwifruit orchards with a full commentary and taste kiwi fruit products. NZ$20 pp
http://www.kiwi360.com/

Waiotapu Geothermal Wonderland: tour of multi-coloured terraces and hot springs, visit off the beaten track hot stream and mud-pool. NZ$32.50pp
http://www.waiotapu.co.nz/

Te Puia: Guided tour of geysers, mud-pools, kiwi-house, Maori village and craft centres. NZ$43 pp
http://www.tepuia.com/attractions_te_puia_rotorua_new_zealand.htm

Cable car up Mt Ngongotaha for stunning views of Lake Rotorua caldera - $25 pp
http://www.skylineskyrides.co.nz/rotorua/ssr_gondola/

Head back to Tauranga with time at the Government Gardens, Lake front and Okere Falls, time permitting!


Back at the ship


The small print!
As you’ll remember we need to take payment a month in advance to confirm your booking (credit card or direct credit: whichever suits you better). I know your numbers may not be finalised until after the cruise begins, so we can be flexible with the amount you pay! Our cancellation policy is 100% forfeit of payment if you change your mind 24 hours or less ahead of the tour and 50 % if within 7 days of the tour but if the ship doesn’t visit Tauranga for some reason,
then we would refund your payment in full.

Thank you! It will be lovely to see you again, if everything works out.

Best regards


Michele Beaton,

Learning Journeys - Education Adventures in New Zealand



Well, just talked with Steve (he was on location in Paris, so just back) and he says that he is not sure that he wants to tie up that many hours on the tour you mention (I think he is more interested in swimming with the dolphins and we will be going to the Maori function in Auckland because we are there for 4 days after the cruise) ... so, I will have to say 'no' now and research a bit more .. and if he decides later and there are still places, good for us .. but no worries ... as I always say .. whatever be ... be!!!! Anyway, just a note that if there are any 'seniors' in the group going .. you get a break on the entrance fees for some of the places .. and, if you put down previously before the visit that you are a 'group' you might even get a bigger discount .. it is worth a try, if you know what I mean. Thanks again .. I know it will be great!

Breezey
June 29th, 2011, 09:10 AM
Guess we will be a bit quiet with summer vacations (except for out Australian and NZ friends). Our summer is going to be pretty quiet. Other than renting a lake cottage with the entire family for a week, no other vacation of travel planned. Sigh..... But for all those travelling on cruises and land, have a wonderful summer.

I have finally started to do some more research. Thanks to Yvette, two of our port days have been planned.

For those staying on in Auckland or have been there before, wondering what you have found as highlights. We are only there for two nights post-cruise so trying to figure out must do's. Our last full day is Saturday so thought it would be nice to take the ferry to Waiheke Island. Anyone been? Is it doable on own or best to take a tour which includes vineyards, etc. Plus since it's summer holiday there, would a Saturday be crazy?

Gayle - are seniors' rates 65? Know in some areas it's 55.

england swings
June 29th, 2011, 01:08 PM
Guess we will be a bit quiet with summer vacations (except for out Australian and NZ friends). Our summer is going to be pretty quiet. Other than renting a lake cottage with the entire family for a week, no other vacation of travel planned. Sigh..... But for all those travelling on cruises and land, have a wonderful summer.

I have finally started to do some more research. Thanks to Yvette, two of our port days have been planned.

For those staying on in Auckland or have been there before, wondering what you have found as highlights. We are only there for two nights post-cruise so trying to figure out must do's. Our last full day is Saturday so thought it would be nice to take the ferry to Waiheke Island. Anyone been? Is it doable on own or best to take a tour which includes vineyards, etc. Plus since it's summer holiday there, would a Saturday be crazy?

Gayle - are seniors' rates 65? Know in some areas it's 55.
I think that everywhere is different .. sometimes it is 55, sometimes it is 60 and sometimes it is 65 ... but they don't really say on the websites ... just that it is cheaper for 'seniors' ... but since I will be 65 on the cruise, I think that I can get away with 'senior' .. ho, ho!!! Your trip to the island sounds good, I will check it out and maybe we can all go together .. I may be 65, but I act like a kid ... so no worries there!

Breezey
June 29th, 2011, 01:13 PM
I think that everywhere is different .. sometimes it is 55, sometimes it is 60 and sometimes it is 65 ... but they don't really say on the websites ... just that it is cheaper for 'seniors' ... but since I will be 65 on the cruise, I think that I can get away with 'senior' .. ho, ho!!! Your trip to the island sounds good, I will check it out and maybe we can all go together .. I may be 65, but I act like a kid ... so no worries there!

I sent an email to Ananda Tours which has a pretty good website. Check it out.

BrusselsGirl07
June 29th, 2011, 06:58 PM
Everything is very quiet! I am sure it will pickup closer to the cruise, and we may get some new faces on our roll call as well!

Re seniors rates, some of the sites I have looked at say they only give that discount to NZ residents.

Amy - hopefully some others will be interested in the Napier wine tour or we will have to forget about that one. I know the ship will do wine tours but doubt it would be as extensive.

I wish Celebrity would hurry up with the excursion schedule so we can see what they are offering as well.

MargoK
June 29th, 2011, 07:15 PM
Guess we will be a bit quiet with summer vacations (except for out Australian and NZ friends). Our summer is going to be pretty quiet. Other than renting a lake cottage with the entire family for a week, no other vacation of travel planned. Sigh..... But for all those travelling on cruises and land, have a wonderful summer.

I have finally started to do some more research. Thanks to Yvette, two of our port days have been planned.

For those staying on in Auckland or have been there before, wondering what you have found as highlights. We are only there for two nights post-cruise so trying to figure out must do's. Our last full day is Saturday so thought it would be nice to take the ferry to Waiheke Island. Anyone been? Is it doable on own or best to take a tour which includes vineyards, etc. Plus since it's summer holiday there, would a Saturday be crazy?

Gayle - are seniors' rates 65? Know in some areas it's 55.

As I live in Auckland I guess;) I am most qualified to answer about our port!

A day trip to Waiheke Island is probably one of the most popular things to do for tourists. Lovely ferry ride, and plenty of options of how to spend the day - wine tasting just being one.

It is a few years since I have been over there (you know how it is, locals get a bit blazay about what is right on their doorstep) but the beaches are great, cafes lovely and wineries are world class. It will be busy, but then it is summer and for many it will be the last weekend of their summer holidays before heading back to work on the 9th (like me!)

The ferries go from downtown and it is all easy, book on the day. Senior rates - mostly just for locals, sorry. I would wait until you are in Auckland to book, then depending on the weather and how 'battle weary' you are from cruising you can decide what to do!

On arrival on the 6th I would be checking into your hotel, perhaps do the hop on hop off bus around the local tourist spots (again at the waterfront) or if you enjoy walking you can walk along Tamaki Drive to Mission Bay (7.3kms), or if you are very fit to St Heliers (9.9 kms)! Or you can catch the locals buses that go that way!

I don't know much about local tour companies, but if wineries are your thing - Out West has a huge number of excellent wineries, so plenty of tour companies.

MargoK
June 30th, 2011, 01:37 AM
Hi - I was at work when I posted earlier today and the computer was having a little hissy fit, so I didn't get around to posting more links and details! (For some reason it kept thinking I was on a website which should be blocked - well may be true, should have been working, but it was weird):confused:

Anyway

Fullers Ferries http://www.fullers.co.nz (http://www.fullers.co.nz)
There are a number of destinations around the Hauraki Gulf which may be of interest.

Waiheke Island
http://www.fullers.co.nz/destinations-tours/waiheke-island.php (http://www.fullers.co.nz/destinations-tours/waiheke-island.php)


And this is a list of tours
>> Explorer Tour (http://www.fullers.co.nz/destinations-tours/waiheke/waiheke-explorer-tour.php)
>> Taste of Waiheke (http://www.fullers.co.nz/destinations-tours/waiheke/taste-of-waiheke.php)
>> Wine on Waiheke (http://www.fullers.co.nz/destinations-tours/waiheke/wine-of-waiheke.php)
>> Walk Waiheke (http://www.fullers.co.nz/destinations-tours/waiheke/walk-waiheke.php)
>> Bike Waiheke (http://www.fullers.co.nz/destinations-tours/waiheke/bike-waiheke.php)

So there is variety.

Seniors discount is only for NZer's - we have a SuperGold Card (has been quite controversial as you have to be over 65, and you can travel free off peak times, and the oldies take packed lunches and thermos flasks, which really annoys the Islanders as they don't spend money in the cafes!!):mad::rolleyes:

Here are some other links of tours that may be useful

http://www.coast2coastnz.com/ (http://www.coast2coastnz.com/)

http://scenicpacific.co.nz/auckland-day-tours.htm

Plus if anyone is interested in sailing or fishing charters, there are plenty to chose from.


Must do's in Auckland:

Auckland Museum
The Domain & Wintergardens - where the Museum is located
Marine Museum on the waterfront which also houses a great tribute to Sir Peter Blake, a world reknown sailor, the Americas Cup and Yachting
Auckland Zoo
Museum of Transport & Technology (MOTAT) next to the Zoo
Our beaches in the city and out on the west coast - Piha is a magnet for surfers
Sky City and the Sky Tower

Please feel free to ask me questions, I don't mind doing some homework if there is something in particular you would like to know about.

Breezey
June 30th, 2011, 06:54 AM
Everything is very quiet! I am sure it will pickup closer to the cruise, and we may get some new faces on our roll call as well!

Re seniors rates, some of the sites I have looked at say they only give that discount to NZ residents.

Amy - hopefully some others will be interested in the Napier wine tour or we will have to forget about that one. I know the ship will do wine tours but doubt it would be as extensive.

I wish Celebrity would hurry up with the excursion schedule so we can see what they are offering as well.

Oh no. Is it too expensive just the 4 of us? Anyone else interested? Sounds like a great day.


And Margo - Thanks so much for all your recommendations. Lots to think about and see in the short time we will be there. Haha, the seniors' rates questions were asked tongue in cheek. Just turned 55 which made me officially eligible to get a 20% discount at our local pharmacy chain on the last Thursday of every month and pass the Celebrity seniors' rate test. :) I know everywhere else its 65. I will wait it out LOL

BrusselsGirl07
June 30th, 2011, 06:54 PM
Hi Amy - the winery tour of Napier info is at post #122 - it is NZ$940 for the bus and it can take 11, but if we got 10 people on the tour it would be $94 each. But if we don't get enough interested, there are lots of other tours - but would just mean going with a larger group.

Kiwi Kruzer
July 1st, 2011, 01:14 AM
Hi everyone,
Two more to add to the Roll Call
We are David and Barry from Orewa in Auckland. We are booked the 12 Dec cruise from Auckland to Sydney and today booked the return cruise on 24 Dec to cruise, rather than fly back home:D
Looking forward to catching up with everyone, and to having Christmas and New Year on board.

MargoK
July 1st, 2011, 01:20 AM
Hi everyone,
Two more to add to the Roll Call
We are David and Barry from Orewa in Auckland. We are booked the 12 Dec cruise from Auckland to Sydney and today booked the return cruise on 24 Dec to cruise, rather than fly back home:D
Looking forward to catching up with everyone, and to having Christmas and New Year on board.



Welcome David and Barry :cool: - just been on the Australia/NZ board and noticed an addition to your cruise list!! Good to have another Kiwi on board and a well travelled one who is a mind of information! Hope you managed to get a decent fare, as the prices all went back up this week :(.

(David and Barry were on the Diamond last year for Christmas /New Year. Wonder who else we can convert:eek:)

Kiwi Kruzer
July 1st, 2011, 01:48 AM
Welcome David and Barry :cool: - just been on the Australia/NZ board and noticed an addition to your cruise list!! Good to have another Kiwi on board and a well travelled one who is a mind of information! Hope you managed to get a decent fare, as the prices all went back up this week :(.

(David and Barry were on the Diamond last year for Christmas /New Year. Wonder who else we can convert:eek:)

Thanks Margo....
I said to Barry today that Margo will think we are stalking her:D
but when we looked at the cost of flying back on Christmas Eve/Day, we had another look at the Celebrity site, and noticed the next grade down was at a very good price, so followed it up, and got a good deal. We have to change cabins in Sydney, but we did that last year and its no hassle.
Nothing like having Christmas and New Year at sea.

BrusselsGirl07
July 1st, 2011, 07:55 AM
Yay David and Barry - welcome!! I saw that you were on the cruise before this, so it will be fun to just stay on and cruise on home again!!

We spent the last 2 Christmases at sea. Both on Rhapsody, but last year a short South Pacific that was just Christmas and the year before a much longer one that included both Christmas and NYE. I love Christmas on board and NYE is also our anniversary so twice the reason to celebrate!!!

It will be interesting to see the differences between Rhapsody and Century in the way they celebrate. Can't wait!!!!!!

Breezey
July 1st, 2011, 08:59 AM
Hi Amy - the winery tour of Napier info is at post #122 - it is NZ$940 for the bus and it can take 11, but if we got 10 people on the tour it would be $94 each. But if we don't get enough interested, there are lots of other tours - but would just mean going with a larger group.

Yep I saw it that. Not fans of large tour buses, so optimistic that as we getting closer and summer holidays for many are over, we get more people interested.

And welcome David and Barry.

MargoK
July 1st, 2011, 07:31 PM
Thanks Margo....
I said to Barry today that Margo will think we are stalking her:D
but when we looked at the cost of flying back on Christmas Eve/Day, we had another look at the Celebrity site, and noticed the next grade down was at a very good price, so followed it up, and got a good deal. We have to change cabins in Sydney, but we did that last year and its no hassle.
Nothing like having Christmas and New Year at sea.



We are flattered that you thought we thought you might be stalking us!!:eek:

Mentioned it on my facebook page (no names) and Kimeeze got all excited and wanted to know who! And she is supposed to be busy today as her youngest daughter is getting married :cool:. I did relent and tell her, can't have her distracted on such an important day! As you know they are booked on the DP out of Auckland 29/12. Can't see them jumping ship however as they want to be home for Christmas this year - I have already tried. :(

Kiwi Kruzer
July 1st, 2011, 10:05 PM
Just checked the numbers for the Cruise Connection Party and it is up to 24. We will get our booking number on Monday and will then register so takes it up to the required number. From there on it can only get better.:)

MargoK
July 1st, 2011, 11:36 PM
Just checked the numbers for the Cruise Connection Party and it is up to 24. We will get our booking number on Monday and will then register so takes it up to the required number. From there on it can only get better.:)

Some one has pulled out as we were at 26 the other day! No problems the Kiwi Guys will make sure it happens:cool:

Just been watching some of the Wimbledon Tennis - Mens Singles Semi's (well 5hrs of it) first time I can remember the local TV having 5 hours live during the night. Great to see some of the worlds top players on court. And hoping to see our own Maria Erakovic in the continuation of her doubles semi final which was stopped due to bad light ... could be a nail bitter!:eek: Only question is, will I still be awake to watch it, and will it be on TV Live????

cinogirl
July 4th, 2011, 09:17 AM
Hi, My partner and I (Colin and Patty) are thinking of booking on this cruise. Just getting quotes from different sites before we decide. We're also from Canberra, although I'm originally from Napier. :-)

Breezey
July 4th, 2011, 05:25 PM
Everything is very quiet! I am sure it will pickup closer to the cruise, and we may get some new faces on our roll call as well!


Amy - hopefully some others will be interested in the Napier wine tour or we will have to forget about that one. I know the ship will do wine tours but doubt it would be as extensive.

I wish Celebrity would hurry up with the excursion schedule so we can see what they are offering as well.

Hi Yvette
I looked on the Bay Tours website and while its not as extensive as the one you had hoped to put together, I asked about options and received this:

Hi yes we can arrange this. We would collect you from the port at 9.30am and return you to the ship at 1.00pm
The cost of the morning tour is NZ $95.00
2 to 3 wineries
1 x specialty food outlet
Hawke’s Bay Lunch Platter at a winery

Typically there would be around 8 to 10 passengers on this morning tour.

If you would like to make a booking or have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me


I may put a hold on two spots in case we cannot get a group for the itinerary you were hoping to and perhaps let her know this is pending us getting a CC group. What do you think? Anyone else?

Breezey
July 4th, 2011, 05:28 PM
Hi, My partner and I (Colin and Patty) are thinking of booking on this cruise. Just getting quotes from different sites before we decide. We're also from Canberra, although I'm originally from Napier. :-)

Colin and Patty, hope you can find great rates and book the cruise. Are you able to buy from agencies overseas? My friends use Crucon Cruise Outlet and get great deals. (Am I allowed to say that?)

Kiwi Kruzer
July 4th, 2011, 05:46 PM
Sorry folks....we will not now be joining you for this cruise.:(
We put a hold on the cabin on Friday , so had the weekend to think it all over, but things have changed , so have let it lapse. Still doing the 12 Dec cruise, so its now back to , we will getting off, when you are all getting on.:D

Maybe next year we can do a Christmas and New Year cruise.:rolleyes:

MargoK
July 4th, 2011, 09:02 PM
Hi, My partner and I (Colin and Patty) are thinking of booking on this cruise. Just getting quotes from different sites before we decide. We're also from Canberra, although I'm originally from Napier. :-)

Hi Colin and Patty - hope you can sort out a good deal and join us. I guess you have seen we have another Canberra couple in our group - Yvette & Bill

Sorry folks....we will not now be joining you for this cruise.:(
We put a hold on the cabin on Friday , so had the weekend to think it all over, but things have changed , so have let it lapse. Still doing the 12 Dec cruise, so its now back to , we will getting off, when you are all getting on.:D

Maybe next year we can do a Christmas and New Year cruise.:rolleyes:

Well that is disappointing, such is life.

cinogirl
July 5th, 2011, 08:27 PM
Hi. Yes Margo, I saw the posts from Yvette. I work near Parliament House as well, small world. Breezey, I emailed Crucon but Celebrity and a few other ships have changed their policies concerning passengers that reside outside of the United States. Royal Caribbean, Azamara and Celebrity's new policy states that people must be have a United States citizenship/residency and a United States address in order to book with a U.S. travel agency. Thanks anyway, it was worth a try. The cheapest I've seen it here so far (for an inside cabin) is $1,731 including pre-paid gratuities, port charges and government fees, plus an airfare from Auckland to Sydney for around $230.

BrusselsGirl07
July 5th, 2011, 08:50 PM
Welcome Colin and Patty - hope it all comes together and you get to book this cruise!

David and Barry, sorry to see you won't be joining us.

Amy, if we don't get a tour together for Napier on our board here, I may just see what else I can find. We may get more people interested, I will repost the details of the winery tour in a couple of weeks and see if we can get some more interest. I would go ahead and hold spaces in the other tour for you and Larry but be sure to check out their cancellation policy before you pay a deposit.

Breezey
July 6th, 2011, 05:43 PM
Hi. Breezey, I emailed Crucon but Celebrity and a few other ships have changed their policies concerning passengers that reside outside of the United States. Royal Caribbean, Azamara and Celebrity's new policy states that people must be have a United States citizenship/residency and a United States address in order to book with a U.S. travel agency. Thanks anyway, it was worth a try. The cheapest I've seen it here so far (for an inside cabin) is $1,731 including pre-paid gratuities, port charges and government fees, plus an airfare from Auckland to Sydney for around $230.

That's weird and interesting re Celebrity's policy which I will double check. I booked our NZ cruise and one we took on the Allure of the Seas in May through my daughter in law's mother who is a travel agent. She lives in the US and I live in Canada but happy to give family my business. Plus our friends only last week booked a January Celebrity cruise through Crucon. Mmmm. Maybe its more of the issue that you are overseas? Well hope you find a good deal regardless and can join us.

Breezey
July 6th, 2011, 05:47 PM
Amy, if we don't get a tour together for Napier on our board here, I may just see what else I can find. We may get more people interested, I will repost the details of the winery tour in a couple of weeks and see if we can get some more interest. I would go ahead and hold spaces in the other tour for you and Larry but be sure to check out their cancellation policy before you pay a deposit.

Not that anxious about booking just yet. And then need to decide whether we need two full day wine tours on one vacation (Napier or Waiheke Island). Leaning towards Napier if you can find others since the Waiheke one would be the day before we leave Auckland to come back home. Wouldn't mind opinions.

WillNeil
July 7th, 2011, 09:13 PM
Hi All
Neil and William here we live at Kirribilli Sydney so see all the cruise ships sail in and out from our apartment. We have just booked the Christmas Cruise on Century. Our 25th cruise and our first with Celebrity. Really looking forward to Christmas at sea again. We have also just registered for the Crise Critic party.

cinogirl
July 7th, 2011, 10:35 PM
I'm jealous - what a great place to live. This will be our first with Celebrity too, it sounds like a nice ship.

BrusselsGirl07
July 9th, 2011, 06:48 AM
Hi Will and Neil, welcome! It must be amazing having views of the cruise ships as they come in and out! This will be our third Christmas in a row at sea, we were going to stay at home this year, but just love being on board and having a stress free Christmas.

MargoK
July 11th, 2011, 01:19 AM
Hi All
Neil and William here we live at Kirribilli Sydney so see all the cruise ships sail in and out from our apartment. We have just booked the Christmas Cruise on Century. Our 25th cruise and our first with Celebrity. Really looking forward to Christmas at sea again. We have also just registered for the Crise Critic party.

Welcome Neil & William - like Pete & I, you are Celebrity newbies and unlike us, experienced cruisers!

I'm jealous - what a great place to live. This will be our first with Celebrity too, it sounds like a nice ship.

Patty - I take it you and Colin are coming along for this cruise! And you will be new to Celebrity too! Hope you got a reasonable deal. It's a bit tough not being able to go thru' online USA agencies, but thats life - just have to get on with cruising.

So to summerise our numbers (The numbers in brackets are cabin no's):

Roll Call for Century Christmas New Year 2011

Lauren Spray - Harvey and Lauri - Mexico (1246)
England Swings - Gayle and Steve - UK. (8129)
Mucky duck - Chris and Tim - Western Australia
Epsanola - Colin – Vancouver
Bruin Steve - Beth and Steve - Calabasas, California (8018)
Eunephorn – Deborah, Peter, Jonathan (18), Erica(22) – Laguna Nigue, California (9197 & 9195)
Breezey - Larry and Amy – Toronto (1074)
Merimart – ??? – Coffs Harbour NSW Australia (8143)
MargoK – Pete & Margaret – Auckland NZ (5061)
BrusselsGirl07 – Yvette & Bill – Canberra Australia (8083)
Izzy - Karen and Chase (13) Colorado (1229)
Brunson - Brunson & Hunter - Atlanta, GA (4090)
WillNeil – Neil & William – Sydney Aus
Cinogirl – Colin & Patty – Canberra Aus


Don't forget to register for the Connection Party on Celebrity's website
https://secure.celebritycruises.com/...critic/home.do (https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do) And the party is ON AGAIN! We have the numbers

As of 11 July-2011, 26 guest(s) have signed up for your Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party on Celebrity Century departing 24-Dec-2011.

Cruise Fellows - if you wish to post your photo so we recognise you!
http://**************

Bruin Steve
July 11th, 2011, 01:37 AM
Roll Call for Century Christmas New Year 2011

Lauren Spray - Harvey and Lauri - Mexico (1246)
England Swings - Gayle and Steve - UK. (8129)
Mucky duck - Chris and Tim - Western Australia
Epsanola - Colin – Vancouver
Bruin Steve - Beth and Steve - Calabasas, California (8018)
Eunephorn – Deborah, Peter, Jonathan (18), Erica(22) – Laguna Niguel, California (9197 & 9195)
Breezey - Larry and Amy – Toronto (1074)
Merimart – ??? – Coffs Harbour NSW Australia (8143)
MargoK – Pete & Margaret – Auckland NZ (5061)
BrusselsGirl07 – Yvette & Bill – Canberra Australia (8083)
Izzy - Karen and Chase (13) Colorado (1229)
Brunson - Brunson & Hunter - Atlanta, GA (4090)
WillNeil – Neil & William – Sydney Aus
Cinogirl – Colin & Patty – Canberra Aus

Okay...I finally jumped in and "fixed" the name of Deborah and Peter's home town...At some point, I just have to step in with my editor's pencil...It's "Laguna Niguel"...You've been leaving the "l" off....

I just had a little adventure with V Australia...
I was checking on my flights and I noticed they moved my return flight from Auckland to Sydney (to pick up the connection to LAX) from 7:15 am...which was early enough...to 6:00 am!!! I complained a bit and they moved me to the flight home via Melbourne...which now leaves at 6:30 am...not very good either, but now we can sleep in until 4:00 am rather than getting up at 3:30 am...

Figuring we need to check in at the airport before 5:30 am and it's a half an hour from the hotel to the airport, then adding 15 minutes to be on the safe side with getting luggage in and out of the trunk and any line at check-in, it means leaving the hotel by 4:45 am...so, we'd better set the wake-up call for around 4:00 am!!

I guess we can sleep on the plane...

BrusselsGirl07
July 11th, 2011, 03:09 AM
Hi Steve - sorry about your flight. I hate those super early morning flights and will go out of my way to avoid them at all costs, but sometimes it is unavoidable. You are right though, you can sleep on the plane. Our flight home from Auckland was changed as well, but only by 15 minutes.

MargoK
July 11th, 2011, 07:31 PM
Okay...I finally jumped in and "fixed" the name of Deborah and Peter's home town...At some point, I just have to step in with my editor's pencil...It's "Laguna Niguel"...You've been leaving the "l" off....

I just had a little adventure with V Australia...
I was checking on my flights and I noticed they moved my return flight from Auckland to Sydney (to pick up the connection to LAX) from 7:15 am...which was early enough...to 6:00 am!!! I complained a bit and they moved me to the flight home via Melbourne...which now leaves at 6:30 am...not very good either, but now we can sleep in until 4:00 am rather than getting up at 3:30 am...

Figuring we need to check in at the airport before 5:30 am and it's a half an hour from the hotel to the airport, then adding 15 minutes to be on the safe side with getting luggage in and out of the trunk and any line at check-in, it means leaving the hotel by 4:45 am...so, we'd better set the wake-up call for around 4:00 am!!

I guess we can sleep on the plane...

Steve - Thanks for the proof reading - you know I looked at it several times and thought I had corrected it, but of course hadn't!! Comes from being a Kiwi and not being familiar with some areas around the world! (thats my story and I am sticking to it!):eek:

Those early flights -the only benefit is there is very little traffic as it is off peak. I wonder if you have left enough time for checking in, as I thought you needed to check in NO LATER than 90 minutes before hand for Australia and longer for USA. May be different if you are travelling Business or First Class. When we fly to Aussie we always allow 2 - 2 1/2hrs especially with the wheelchair etc. (And I hate rushing).

When we fly to Sydney, we are flying on a 1pm flight, just so we don't have that early morning rise - I want to be in holiday mode as soon as possible!;)

Not long until you are off to London for you Europe trip! Look forward to hearing about that in due course.

Bruin Steve
July 11th, 2011, 08:39 PM
...I wonder if you have left enough time for checking in, as I thought you needed to check in NO LATER than 90 minutes before hand for Australia and longer for USA. May be different if you are travelling Business or First Class...

In trying to calm my upset, the V Australia Customer Service person, Jenny, told me that they SAY two hours but that, not to worry, we just need to be there one hour before the flight...We are taking her at her word...

But, I'll probably be nervous and try to make it an hour and a half...

MargoK
July 11th, 2011, 08:48 PM
In trying to calm my upset, the V Australia Customer Service person, Jenny, told me that they SAY two hours but that, not to worry, we just need to be there one hour before the flight...We are taking her at her word...

But, I'll probably be nervous and try to make it an hour and a half...

Sorry! didn't mean to alarm you. :o At that early hour check-in is 'usually' not so hectic, so you should be alright. If I get a chance I might make a call locally to see what they 'locals' think.

Post 201!!:cool:

MMDown Under
July 11th, 2011, 10:00 PM
Sorry! didn't mean to alarm you. :o At that early hour check-in is 'usually' not so hectic, so you should be alright. If I get a chance I might make a call locally to see what they 'locals' think.

Post 201!!:cool:

I checked on the internet also, MargoK -

Checking In with V Australia -

Rushing and stress takes all the fun out of international travel. To make sure your check-in goes off without a hitch, we’ll be ready and waiting to check you in 3 hours before your flight's scheduled departure. Check-in will close 60 minutes before your flight’s scheduled departure.

We do not currently provide the ability to check-in through our website - we hope to offer this service in the near future.

Each of our Cabin Classes and Velocity Gold and Silver Members will have a dedicated check-in queue and personalised service from our fantastic V Australia Ground Crew to ensure a smooth transition through the airport terminal.

Please keep in mind customs and immigration procedures and give yourself plenty of time to check-in and go duty-free shopping before boarding.

Be prepared for an efficient check-in by making sure you have your passport and travel documents ready, and remember the new enhanced security measures for what’s allowed onboard on international flights.



http://www.vaustralia.com.au/before-you-fly/checking-in/

Then thought at that early hour, it shouldn't be a problem as long as he could get through check in prior to one hour before the flight.

MargoK
July 11th, 2011, 10:05 PM
In trying to calm my upset, the V Australia Customer Service person, Jenny, told me that they SAY two hours but that, not to worry, we just need to be there one hour before the flight...We are taking her at her word...

But, I'll probably be nervous and try to make it an hour and a half...


Made a phone call.

Minimum check in is at least 90 minutes, but that recommend 120 minutes. Check in actually closes 30 minutes before a flight. From talking to Customer Services, it is a 'code share' flight with Pacific Blue

http://www.vaustralia.co.nz/before-you-fly/checking-in/index.htm

http://www.flypacificblue.com/Personal/Flightinfo/Attheairport/Check-intimes/index.htm

I know it is months away, but all the little details do count.

MargoK
July 11th, 2011, 10:06 PM
I checked on the internet also, MargoK -

Checking In with V Australia -

Rushing and stress takes all the fun out of international travel. To make sure your check-in goes off without a hitch, we’ll be ready and waiting to check you in 3 hours before your flight's scheduled departure. Check-in will close 60 minutes before your flight’s scheduled departure.

We do not currently provide the ability to check-in through our website - we hope to offer this service in the near future.

Each of our Cabin Classes and Velocity Gold and Silver Members will have a dedicated check-in queue and personalised service from our fantastic V Australia Ground Crew to ensure a smooth transition through the airport terminal.

Please keep in mind customs and immigration procedures and give yourself plenty of time to check-in and go duty-free shopping before boarding.

Be prepared for an efficient check-in by making sure you have your passport and travel documents ready, and remember the new enhanced security measures for what’s allowed onboard on international flights.



http://www.vaustralia.com.au/before-you-fly/checking-in/

Then thought at that early hour, it shouldn't be a problem as long as he could get through check in prior to one hour before the flight.

SNAP - you just beat me to it MMDown Under!

cinogirl
July 12th, 2011, 02:56 AM
Hi, just sent off the booking form for the cruise so hopefully it'll be confirmed tomorrow. What does everyone think of dining times? We usually book the later sitting, even though 8.30pm is way past our usual dining time. What time is the earlier seating? What size tables do they have on the Century (6 seater, 8 seater, 10 seater?). I know a lot of people like free time dining, but we've usually enjoyed the set dining table, where you can get to know people a bit better over time (we've always been fortunate in our table companions - so far). Sorry for all the questions - I tried to find the answers on the Celebrity site but couldn't.

Bruin Steve
July 12th, 2011, 03:27 AM
Hi, just sent off the booking form for the cruise so hopefully it'll be confirmed tomorrow. What does everyone think of dining times? We usually book the later sitting, even though 8.30pm is way past our usual dining time. What time is the earlier seating? What size tables do they have on the Century (6 seater, 8 seater, 10 seater?). I know a lot of people like free time dining, but we've usually enjoyed the set dining table, where you can get to know people a bit better over time (we've always been fortunate in our table companions - so far). Sorry for all the questions - I tried to find the answers on the Celebrity site but couldn't.

Main (Early) Dining on this cruise is at 6:00 pm (It does vary--on our Eclipse cruise next July, it's 6:15)...

We always do Early seating...but, it's really a matter of personal choice/lifestyle...

On this particular itinerary, except for Tauranga (We'll likely do the specialty restaurant--Murano--that night), the ship leaves port at 6:00 pm or earlier in every port...so, you really have to be back onboard around 5:00 or earlier...For us, that is enough time to dress for dinner...and when we get back from port, we're usually hungry. With Early seating, you are done with dinner by 8:00 pm...which leaves a whole lot of evening for other activities--show, karaoke, piano bar, whatever...Having the early seating meshes well with the entertainment schedule each night...

Of course, that is our preference...Other people like to have a lot of time to dress for dinner, then have a few cocktails...and don't care as much about entertainment...

Neither fixed seating rushes you through dinner, it's a leisurely pace...So, it really depends on how you like to structure your evening onboard...

BTW, we also like having a set table assignment with regular tablemates and waiters who get to know us...

As to tables, there are a variety--everything from 2 to 10...We always request a large table--better for conversation, livelier, etc. But as of late, we haven't had as much luck getting it...and have had some 4s and 6s...

As to open seating, we've become accustomed to it when cruising Oceania (all open seating)...but I think it works better on smaller ships with no traditional seatings...It's also good for itineraries with late hours in many ports where you may get back onboard at different times every day...but it does mess with the show times...and my wife loves hitting all the entertainment each night...

Breezey
July 12th, 2011, 08:55 AM
Steve - crazy timing for a flight for sure. We had such a problem getting tickets using our Air Canada points over winter break that in the end we are going Air Canada via Vancouver one way using points and then coming home we are flying Air New Zealand (trying their super economy) returning to LA and then from LA to Toronto with Air Canada points. Our flight to LA leaves Auckland 7:15pm. Then we have 5 hours in LA. So crazy long day of travelling. I hear it takes at least a week to get over the jet lag when travelling to Australia/NZ.

Cinogirl - we are my time dining people. Used to do late seating so we could relax after a day in port and not rush to get dressed. But then we found out with late seating, our whole evening was done and nothing worse than going to bed with a full stomach. Once flexible dining was offerred we jumped at that. While I agree you lose developing a relationship with the same table mates, sometimes its not a bad thing. In the end, we tend to eat around 7:30 (unless there is show we want to see or its a non port day), have met people on the cruise that we sometimes dined with of choose to eat on our own after being out all day. Also if we find a waiter we like, never had a problem asking the Maitre D to have a regular table in the same area each night. It's really a personal preference for sure. Plus we will probably do the specialty restaurant once or twice.

And welcome to any new cruisers!

MargoK
July 12th, 2011, 06:19 PM
We have opted for Select Dining, as we did Anytime Dining on the Diamond Princess and enjoyed the flexibility. They have 4 dining rooms for Anytime dining only. We found on the Diamond we ate about 6.45 - 7.15 and never had any problem being seated.

Having said that we travelled with my SIL & BIL, so always had a table for 4. We are quietly hoping they will join us again.... so a wait and see game!;)


At breakfast and lunch, the times we dined with others we enjoyed meeting a variety of people. The Maitre'd kept putting us at tables for 4 often, then cleared the other settings before we could say we would like to share!! Couldn't work out why he thought we didn't want to share...:confused:

One lunch we had a great bunch and we chatted on and on, until we were told to leave!:eek:

Shall I add the dining selections to our Roll Call list perhaps???

Cinogirl - good to hear you have made the commitment to join us.

cinogirl
July 12th, 2011, 10:35 PM
Thanks Margo. I think adding dining selections to the roll call is a good idea. I'm waivering now, after reading other's reasons for their choices. 8.30pm is very late, we're not really night owls. Margo, do you have any knowledge of the hotels near the port? We're looking at the Copthorne because I think we can walk from the ship to it, the Mercure Auckland (we've stayed there a few times) or the Hotel Grand Chancellor. Not sure what we're going to do for the 2 nights we're there as we've done all the sightseeing on previous trips (and the Outrageous Fortune exhibition at the museum has closed - it was the only thing I wanted to see last time and I missed out!) :-)

BrusselsGirl07
July 13th, 2011, 12:10 AM
We did early seating on our first cruise as that was all that was left, and found we were always rushing to get ready and missed sail aways. We changed to late dining for all of our other cruises and prefer this as it is much more relaxing, but agree it is not that fun to go to bed on a full stomach. Late dining usually finishes around 10.15 - 10.30pm. We then go for a walk around or a dance to try and digest our dinner before bed.

We always ask for a big table, but have always ended up with 6. I should check when we board and have that changed. I like a big group of chatty people!

I would like to try Select Dining, but I really do like sitting with the same people each night and talking about the day and what they did, and even where we are all from etc. We have also been lucky except for one time.

And on this cruise where we are celebrating Christmas and New Year's Eve, it would be nice to be with a group of people. I think I will stick with the late dining on this cruise, although may rethink and choose Select Dining on our 18 night cruise in Feb.

We will also book a night or 2 at Muranos on this cruise.

MargoK
July 13th, 2011, 06:29 PM
Thanks Margo. I think adding dining selections to the roll call is a good idea. I'm waivering now, after reading other's reasons for their choices. 8.30pm is very late, we're not really night owls. Margo, do you have any knowledge of the hotels near the port? We're looking at the Copthorne because I think we can walk from the ship to it, the Mercure Auckland (we've stayed there a few times) or the Hotel Grand Chancellor. Not sure what we're going to do for the 2 nights we're there as we've done all the sightseeing on previous trips (and the Outrageous Fortune exhibition at the museum has closed - it was the only thing I wanted to see last time and I missed out!) :-)

Copthorne Harbourside - old and dated, but cheap. Stayed there twice for our staff Christmas weekends, and on the second occasion remembered why I hated it the first time!!! A lot of street noise late at night, particularly Fridays and Saturdays.

Mercure - have not stayed there so cannot comment, but just as handy. As you have stayed there you know what it is like.

Sebel Suites - not stayed there but friends did recently when visiting from Christchurch and I was very impressed. Small Suites but handy location.

Rydges - worth consideration. Friends stayed there last weekend when they came up to Auckland for my significant birthday bash:eek: They were very impressed. And again reasonably handy to everything.

Skycity or Skycity Grand - the casino and Skytower. Again reasonably handy but have not stayed there.

Stamford Plaza - for a 'splurge'. One block up from the waterfront. Important to pull curtains when lights on in the room otherwise you are very visiable to all!!:eek::p (Use to work across the road and we saw some real sites!!!)

I would not go further 'uptown' as the best restaurants are at the Viaduct and Princes Wharf.

One New Years Eve we stayed at the Rendevous which is 'uptown' Loved it great spot to watch the fireworks and excellent restaurant.

At the end of the day it does come down to your budget and what you want to do on your days in Auckland.

Bruin Steve
July 13th, 2011, 06:40 PM
We booked the Copthorne...mostly because Beth liked the idea of rolling right off the ship and into the hotel...and not dealing any more than that with the luggage and all...she said she's willing to put up with dated decor...it all looks the same in the dark...and, we'll only be there one night--and with V Australia changing our flight to 6:30 am, it won't really even be a full night! Street noise? Beth can sleep through anything...and I'll be so nervous about getting up at 4:00 am that I won't sleep all that well anyway!

BTW, I checked our reservations at the Copthorne the other day, and the rates went down $60 since I originally booked...so, I canceled and re-booked...

MargoK
July 13th, 2011, 06:56 PM
We booked the Copthorne...mostly because Beth liked the idea of rolling right off the ship and into the hotel...and not dealing any more than that with the luggage and all...she said she's willing to put up with dated decor...it all looks the same in the dark...and, we'll only be there one night--and with V Australia changing our flight to 6:30 am, it won't really even be a full night! Street noise? Beth can sleep through anything...and I'll be so nervous about getting up at 4:00 am that I won't sleep all that well anyway!

BTW, I checked our reservations at the Copthorne the other day, and the rates went down $60 since I originally booked...so, I canceled and re-booked...

I really feel for you both with that awfully early flight, and I agree, you won't be there long enough to need to worry about the decor! Interesting you have rebooked at a lower rate.

At the moment Auckland (& NZ) hospitality industry is fully focussed on the up coming Rugby World Cup, so accommodation and restaurants are ramping up prices etc, which is plain wrong, but what can you do! I am over the Cup already! :(

Come the end of November onwards they will be looking for punters, so prices should become a little sharper.

cinogirl
July 13th, 2011, 11:43 PM
Many happy returns for your "significant" birthday Margo.

Breezey
July 14th, 2011, 01:03 PM
Clearly this ship needs to fill up. Today, Cruisecon had a pile of offers including about a dozen sky suites on deck 12 which are still available. Dont know how they can offer pre-paid gratuity and large OBC. Oh well.

Met with friends who travelled by land for 5 weeks through NZ last summer. Waiting for them to give us the highlights of each port to help inform our planning. Since we are in Auckland for 2 nights after the cruise (got a great deal at Skycity Grand but dont dare to look again to see if fares went down), thinking we may just do our wine tours on Waiheke Island on the Saturday rather than in Napier since we have a short time in port that day

Marg - are we crazy to cross the ferry on a Saturday during summer?
Gayle (aka England Swings) - you have been quiet, are you still thinking of doing that too? I can send you the link for the tour company I contacted?

Yvette - do we need to give any deposit for the tour you organized in Tauranga?
BTW your idea re seating makes sense considering two holidays on the ship. May need to reconsider our plans.

For those famliiar with or from Sydney - We arrive on Thursday. Are the Blue Mountains a must do/see? Just trying to figure out what to expect re jet lag and how we plan our short time in Sydney.

MargoK
July 14th, 2011, 05:55 PM
Clearly this ship needs to fill up. Today, Cruisecon had a pile of offers including about a dozen sky suites on deck 12 which are still available. Dont know how they can offer pre-paid gratuity and large OBC. Oh well.

Have been keeping an eye of pricing, no changes downunder at this stage, which is a pity as it would attract more locals who have only ever had P&O Australia, Princess Lines & HAL, so could be weary of new players in the market. Personally competition is GOOD.

Met with friends who travelled by land for 5 weeks through NZ last summer. Waiting for them to give us the highlights of each port to help inform our planning. Since we are in Auckland for 2 nights after the cruise (got a great deal at Skycity Grand but dont dare to look again to see if fares went down), thinking we may just do our wine tours on Waiheke Island on the Saturday rather than in Napier since we have a short time in port that day.

I am sure you will enjoy Skycity Grand. ;)

Marg - are we crazy to cross the ferry on a Saturday during summer? .

No not at all - it will be busy. Perhaps we are not quite as use to busy as visitors are:rolleyes: Summer is the best time to enjoy Waiheke, especially if doing wine tours. I did a wine appreciation class tour there back in the late '80's before the wineries became 'popular' on Waiheke and it was a real treat. There are some great restaurants too.

I will see what I can find out about tours. I will have a chat to DH Pete, as he often as to recommend such tours etc to visitors thru' his work.

MargoK
July 14th, 2011, 06:00 PM
For those famliiar with or from Sydney - We arrive on Thursday. Are the Blue Mountains a must do/see? Just trying to figure out what to expect re jet lag and how we plan our short time in Sydney.

Breezey - just spotted post 96 on the cruise before us with some good info for you on Blue Mountains etc.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1338455&page=5

Breezey
July 14th, 2011, 07:22 PM
[

I will see what I can find out about tours. I will have a chat to DH Pete, as he often as to recommend such tours etc to visitors thru' his work.[/QUOTE]

That's great. Thanks! I got a response from Ananda Tours which seemed to have smaller groups. Know anything about them?

And thanks for that link from the sailing before us. Makes sense to check in to see what others have planned. Will follow their thread too. Interesting that the Australia/NZ ports of call forum is not very active.

MargoK
July 14th, 2011, 08:08 PM
As you can see I am working hard at work;):D

These are the links I have found, but as a local I have not experienced:rolleyes:

Back in the 80's Waiheke had two vineyards - Stonyridge and Goldwater Estate, and growing wine then was considered very radical!!! Back then the island was seen as a place for alternative types and hippies. You couldn't give away land (Had an acquaitance who took years to see her small section!) and today only those reasonably well off can afford land!!!

http://www.waihekeislandwinetours.co.nz/ (http://www.waihekeislandwinetours.co.nz/)

http://www.fullers.co.nz/destinations-tours/waiheke/wine-of-waiheke.php (http://www.fullers.co.nz/destinations-tours/waiheke/wine-of-waiheke.php) - Fullers operate all the ferries on the Waitemata Harbour

http://www.ananda.co.nz/ (http://www.ananda.co.nz/) - this is the one you found and it looks good. Has a lot of detail and restaurant information.

http://www.nzwinepro.co.nz/ (http://www.nzwinepro.co.nz/) - cover not just Waiheke but the greater Auckland area, as there are some great wineries in other areas.

For Australia/New Zealand - also read their separate forums as there is often local discussion about ports etc.

BrusselsGirl07
July 14th, 2011, 08:14 PM
Larry and Amy (Breezey) - we will need to give our credit card details to the tour organiser, which is what I did last time as well. She only charges once we have done the excursion. Your credit card will then be charged with the NZ$ amount and your credit card company will convert it to US$.

Wilcoam
July 14th, 2011, 08:23 PM
Hey Breezy (and everyone else)

Family of 6, split between Bahamas, Los Angeles, and Toronto, looking at joining this holiday sailing

Unfort, we're late to the game, and looking into pricing - I usually use the 'compete method', but was told by direct by X there's an Ontario, Canada, and Senior special on now for new bookings, but would be highly interested in any OBC and Pre-Paid Gratuities specials if you can point me in the right direction, am an Elite X Pax if that helps

Thx so much

jc
toronto

Breezey
July 15th, 2011, 12:39 AM
Hey Breezy (and everyone else)

Family of 6, split between Bahamas, Los Angeles, and Toronto, looking at joining this holiday sailing

Unfort, we're late to the game, and looking into pricing - I usually use the 'compete method', but was told by direct by X there's an Ontario, Canada, and Senior special on now for new bookings, but would be highly interested in any OBC and Pre-Paid Gratuities specials if you can point me in the right direction, am an Elite X Pax if that helps

Thx so much

jc
toronto

Hi JC - Welcome. CRUCON Cruise Outlet (on line) had specials. My friends booked their Dec 12th NZ cruise through them and got a great deal. Their website has direct lines to call. I found the senior and resident rates on X website and friends called CRUCON and they matched it even after they had booked but they had OBC and pre-paid grats so fantastic deals. Good Luck.

Yvette - did you give deposit already. Tell me who to contact and I will give them my info.

Why am I up in the middle of the night?

MargoK
July 15th, 2011, 12:49 AM
Why am I up in the middle of the night?

Good question!!!!:rolleyes: I am exempt because I have just got home from work. It was a hard week - NOT! (I am blessed with a rather cushy job!)

Wilcoam - do hope you can all join us. We are starting to get quite a good number on board, so more chance of activities on and off the ship!


Everyone Else - as Cinogirl has suggested, those that would like their dining preference added to our roll call listing, please post the details in due course.

Thanks

Margo

BrusselsGirl07
July 15th, 2011, 05:19 AM
Hi Breezey - we only have to provide credit card details one month before the tour. However, if someone else contacts her to book her on the same day, she will let me know and we can provide our cards details then to guarantee her services. So at the start of November, I will provide the company's email address and you can all send your details to her.

cinogirl
July 17th, 2011, 06:09 AM
Isn't it always the way? I paid our deposit on Friday and tonight I got an email saying Celebrity bonus onboard credit sale starts Monday...

BrusselsGirl07
July 18th, 2011, 04:52 AM
Isn't it always the way? I paid our deposit on Friday and tonight I got an email saying Celebrity bonus onboard credit sale starts Monday...

It is a great feeling to have a cruise booked!!!

Did you book direct with Celebrity? Just cancel and rebook. If you booked with an agent, see what they can do for you.

I booked direct with Celebrity, but my category 10 inside is selling for $200 more than when we first booked it, so no point cancelling and rebooking for $150 OBC.

cinogirl
July 18th, 2011, 10:24 PM
I booked with a travel agent and apparently they asked Celebrity if we could get the OBC but they said no. They also said that cancelilng and rebooking would cost us our $1000 deposit because we're outside cancellation time. Disappointing but not enough to keep me from being excited that I'm going on a cruise. :-)

MargoK
July 19th, 2011, 01:36 AM
I booked with a travel agent and apparently they asked Celebrity if we could get the OBC but they said no. They also said that cancelilng and rebooking would cost us our $1000 deposit because we're outside cancellation time. Disappointing but not enough to keep me from being excited that I'm going on a cruise. :-)

I am sure you will soon forget the OBC as the cruise gets closer!;)

When you have your cabin no etc.post the details and I will add to Roll Call List.

And don't forget to join the Connections Party - click the link at the top of the page.

cinogirl
July 19th, 2011, 05:02 AM
Exactly. I was happy with the price I booked it for last week so I just have to remember that. We're booked at a "guaranteed cabin" and I don't think we find out the cabin number til we check in. I'll join the Connections party now though. :-)

BrusselsGirl07
July 19th, 2011, 07:48 AM
Hi Cinogirl - you will find out your room number before you board. And fingers crossed you may be lucky and be upgraded!

On the cruise we doing in Feb 2012, we had originally booked an inside cabin, and were allocated our room a few weeks after booking. But then we took advantage of a brief, spectacular price drop that enabled us to move from an inside cabin to a Concierge Class balcony!!!! Very happy to have a balcony on an 18 night cruise!!

We are in an inside cabin on this cruise though. We sleep really well in an inside - when you turn out the lights it is pitch black!!

Bruin Steve
July 19th, 2011, 11:58 AM
Hi Cinogirl - you will find out your room number before you board. And fingers crossed you may be lucky and be upgraded!

On the cruise we doing in Feb 2012, we had originally booked an inside cabin, and were allocated our room a few weeks after booking. But then we took advantage of a brief, spectacular price drop that enabled us to move from an inside cabin to a Concierge Class balcony!!!! Very happy to have a balcony on an 18 night cruise!!

We are in an inside cabin on this cruise though. We sleep really well in an inside - when you turn out the lights it is pitch black!!

Cinogirl...They could assign you a cabin ANY time...either your TA will let you know....OR just keep logging in to the Celebrity website and "Manage my reservation"...sooner or later, it will pop up there...hopefully, you get upgraded...we've always had some pretty good luck with guarantees...

Yvette,
Nothing wrong with inside cabins...we've booked a few here and there...usually, we check the rates...if the differential between inside and balcony is great, we'll just save the money and go with the inside (If it's small, we love getting a balcony)...
I usually say "Just get me on the ship"...
I find that I spend most of my time, in port, in the dining room, at shows, in bars, in various venues...and the only time I am in the cabin is to sleep and change clothes...and all of the cabins look about the same with the lights off at night...

For this one, we originally booked an "inside"--It was our way of economizing. We are in a MAJOR suite for our cruise next month and we are in a balcony cabin on Eclipse next July...so taking an inside was a way to rationalize squeezing in an extra cruise in between the other two...

But, thanks to a temporary price drop, we were able to move up to a Category 5 and save almost $500 doing it! Even if we could cancel and rebook to grab that brand new OBC deal, it would not be worth it as the rates have gone up...

Trend
July 19th, 2011, 01:31 PM
Hey Breezy (and everyone else)

Family of 6, split between Bahamas, Los Angeles, and Toronto, looking at joining this holiday sailing

Unfort, we're late to the game, and looking into pricing - I usually use the 'compete method', but was told by direct by X there's an Ontario, Canada, and Senior special on now for new bookings, but would be highly interested in any OBC and Pre-Paid Gratuities specials if you can point me in the right direction, am an Elite X Pax if that helps

Thx so much

jc
toronto
Just to let you know I have been on 15 Celebrity cruises and always book with an agent and it became very useful once when my luggage was lost. It is Vission Travel and she is a cruise specialist named Sheila Parsonage.

cinogirl
July 20th, 2011, 03:17 AM
We love the inside cabins as well, because we sleep so well. And we're only ever in the cabin to sleep or change clothes. Of course I'd love a suite, or even a balcony, but at this stage we can't afford that. Maybe one day ... :-)

Breezey
July 21st, 2011, 07:23 AM
Its going to be the hottest day in Toronto on record today (38 C with a humidex of 48!)
Thank goodness I have a home office.

Where are all our other fellow cruisers? Perhaps on summer vacations? I know that some sign up for the cruise connections party but don't chat :)

Wilcoam - did you book?

Anyone get any further with figuring out what to port? I am still wondering whether we are better off doing a wine tour in Napier over one in Waiheke Island (while in Auckland). Margo, I gather that Napier has more of the renowned ones?

We are definitely going to do the Blue Mountains in Sydney and am trolling through some of the other roll calls to see what others are organizing before us. Plus my brother and SIL leave in a week to NZ (yes odd time to go but its a business trip) and hoping he has some great ideas for us when he returns.

cinogirl
July 21st, 2011, 07:33 AM
I want to see what excursions are offered by Celebrity before I decide what we're doing. Anyone know when they will show up on the website? Napier/Hawkes Bay region is better known than the north I think. Marlborough region in the South Island has even nicer wines (in my opinion). Wines are cheap to buy in supermarkets in NZ. Your brother & SIL are going to be COLD!

Breezey
July 21st, 2011, 10:30 AM
I want to see what excursions are offered by Celebrity before I decide what we're doing. Anyone know when they will show up on the website? Napier/Hawkes Bay region is better known than the north I think. Marlborough region in the South Island has even nicer wines (in my opinion). Wines are cheap to buy in supermarkets in NZ. Your brother & SIL are going to be COLD!

Haha, I know! My SIL is not happy, she really wanted to come on the cruise with us. But my brother has a conference to go to so timing is crappy.

I am hoping that Celebrity is a bit light on the letting us bring a bottle or two while in port. I know their policy re alchohol but geez Princess let us bring some fantastic cheap bottles of wine back to our cabins after each port in the Med. A shame to be in NZ and not be able to enjoy your wine each night after a long day in port.

Bruin Steve
July 21st, 2011, 10:34 AM
Its going to be the hottest day in Toronto on record today (38 C with a humidex of 48!)
Thank goodness I have a home office.

Where are all our other fellow cruisers? Perhaps on summer vacations? I know that some sign up for the cruise connections party but don't chat :)

Wilcoam - did you book?

Anyone get any further with figuring out what to port? I am still wondering whether we are better off doing a wine tour in Napier over one in Waiheke Island (while in Auckland). Margo, I gather that Napier has more of the renowned ones?

We are definitely going to do the Blue Mountains in Sydney and am trolling through some of the other roll calls to see what others are organizing before us. Plus my brother and SIL leave in a week to NZ (yes odd time to go but its a business trip) and hoping he has some great ideas for us when he returns.

We don't know how hot it is where we live...
WeatherUnderground.com says a high of 88°F (31ΊC) is expected today...Accuweather.com says 82°F (27.8ΊC)...
It really all depends on which weather station they are using...Our town is in the Santa Monica Mountains and it's always 5-10 degrees °F hotter down at the bottom of the hill than it is up here where we are--probably about a 1500-1700 foot change in elevation, plus, up here we get the ocean breezes coming off the Pacific from neighboring Malibu...

And, of course, here "humidity" does not exist...They don't even report it on our local weather reports...

We are not YET on our summer vacation, but it is getting close--two weeks from tomorrow...and it does have me somewhat preoccupied right now...to the point that I can't concentrate on port tours for NZ as of yet...

I am not entirely sure about visiting wineries...We sort of live in Wine Country ourselves (or close to it)...we are about an hour down the coast from Santa Barbara...and we used to live in Santa Barbara...The Santa Ynez Valley just north of Santa Barbara is the Southern California Wine Country made famous a few years back now in the movie "Sideways"...Plus, our upcoming cruise in Europe has a number of stops where we have little choice but visit wineries (La Rochelle, Bordeaux)...I am afraid we may be "wined out" by the time we get to this one...But, I guess I need to study my options of "what to do" and, if wineries seem to be the leading choice, then wineries it will be,...

MargoK
July 21st, 2011, 06:13 PM
Its going to be the hottest day in Toronto on record today (38 C with a humidex of 48!)
Thank goodness I have a home office.

Where are all our other fellow cruisers? Perhaps on summer vacations? I know that some sign up for the cruise connections party but don't chat :)

Wilcoam - did you book?

Anyone get any further with figuring out what to port? I am still wondering whether we are better off doing a wine tour in Napier over one in Waiheke Island (while in Auckland). Margo, I gather that Napier has more of the renowned ones?

We are definitely going to do the Blue Mountains in Sydney and am trolling through some of the other roll calls to see what others are organizing before us. Plus my brother and SIL leave in a week to NZ (yes odd time to go but its a business trip) and hoping he has some great ideas for us when he returns.

Amy - oh for low humidity. Glad you used C temps as I have forgotten how to judge temps in F!!!! During summer the humidity in Auckland can be awful, late Jan and Feb are the worst months generally speaking. I work in the Air Con industry and they a traditionally our busiest months!

As to whether wineries in Napier and better than Waiheke - like all good wines and food it is very subjective! :rolleyes: Stonyridge on Waiheke has had some of the best reds over the last couple of decades. BUT Waiheke is not just about wines. Napier (actually Hawkes Bay) has more wineries due to size if anything!

Where are you brother and SIL headed for in NZ for their business trip??
We have the Canadian and American Ice Hockeys players here at the moment doing exhibition matches. DH is taking his boss to the game tomorrow night. I know absolutely nothing about the game but the boss is 'dropping the pin' or something!!!:confused:

Our Connection Party Numbers are up to 28 as of last night. Will leave it a while before I do a new Roll Call update.

Still looking for some missing names for some those registered, and for those who are happy to advise their cabin nos and dining times.

Steve - can't possibly have you 'wined out'!!!:eek: You will have to pace yourselves!

Celebrity Excursions - asked on the Celebrity board when we can expect excursions to 'appear' and got Zip response, so we just have to wait!!!

I did a bit of surfing about Burnie yesterday, and didn't find an awful lot the interested me, and some of the tourist attractions I did check say they are closed on public holidays! Could be a problem as 27th Dec may well be considered a public holiday as in lieu of Christmas Day which fails on a Sunday.

I understand Christchurch is very much a question mark. I tried to get onto the Lyttelton Port Website yesterday without success. Christchurch had another 5.1 this morning - it is never ending. It would be a shame to miss Christchurch, but wonder if we may go to Akaroa or Picton instead. Akaroa is a bit close to Christchurch and with ongoing quakes wonder if Picton may be better but excursions would be somewhat limited.

BDKnel
July 22nd, 2011, 12:45 PM
Hello All,

I just booked the Kneller Family on this Holiday Cruise.
This will be our 8th Cruise. It will be our 6th Cruise with Celebrity.

We are:
Bill (Age 58), Doreen(Age 50) and our Son Danny(Age 21)
We live in a Suburb "Elk Grove Village" just west of O'Hare Int'l Airtport (ORD)Chicago, Illinois.
We have Late Dining and will be on Vista Deck (9230)


I will have to read through all the posts here to get up to speed on Excursions and fellow passengers. I signed up for the Cruise Critic Connections Party. It said there were 31 people registered.

MargoK
July 22nd, 2011, 07:27 PM
Hello All,

I just booked the Kneller Family on this Holiday Cruise.
This will be our 8th Cruise. It will be our 6th Cruise with Celebrity.

We are:
Bill (Age 58), Doreen(Age 50) and our Son Danny(Age 21)
We live in a Suburb "Elk Grove Village" just west of O'Hare Int'l Airtport (ORD)Chicago, Illinois.
We have Late Dining and will be on Vista Deck (9230)


I will have to read through all the posts here to get up to speed on Excursions and fellow passengers. I signed up for the Cruise Critic Connections Party. It said there were 31 people registered.


Welcome Kneller family, great to have you join our group. I am sure as the numbers grow so will the private excusions. Good to see our numbers for the Connections Part have grown, means we will 'keep' the party!

I managed to get onto the Lyttelton Port website yesterday for Christchurch, and the Cruise Ship list is EMPTY and I couldn't find any other information, so it looks like we need to wait for a decision from Celebrity.

Update time I think:

Roll Call for Century Christmas New Year 2011

Lauren Spray - Harvey and Lauri - Mexico (1246)
England Swings - Gayle and Steve - UK. (8129)
Mucky duck - Chris and Tim - Western Australia
Epsanola - Colin – Vancouver
Bruin Steve - Beth and Steve - Calabasas, California (8018) Early Dining
Eunephorn – Deborah, Peter, Jonathan (18), Erica(22) – Laguna Niguel, California (9197 9195)
Breezey - Larry and Amy – Toronto (1074)
Merimart – ??? – Coffs Harbour NSW Australia (8143)
MargoK – Pete & Margaret – Auckland NZ (5061) Select/Anytime Dining
BrusselsGirl07 – Yvette & Bill – Canberra Australia (8083) Late Dining
Izzy - Karen and Chase (13) Colorado (1229)
Brunson - Brunson & Hunter - Atlanta, GA (4090)
WillNeil – Neil & William – Sydney Aus
Cinogirl – Colin & Patty – Canberra Aus
BDKnel – Bill, Doreen & Danny – Chicago, IL (9230) Late Dining


Don't forget to register for the Connection Party on Celebrity's website
https://secure.celebritycruises.com/...critic/home.do (https://secure.celebritycruises.com/cruisecritic/home.do)

As of 22 July-2011, 31 guest(s) have signed up for your Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections party on Celebrity Century departing 24-Dec-2011.

Cruise Fellow - if you wish to post your photo so we recognise you! http://************** (http://**************)

BrusselsGirl07
July 23rd, 2011, 04:29 AM
Welcome Bill, Doreen and Danny!

Margot, thanks for keeping our roll call updated!

CinoGirl - wasn't it a beautiful day in Canberra today? Cold, but beautiful sunshine and blue sky.

A CostCo opened up here in Canberra today, the third in Australia. We went for a look, but did not buy anything as the queues were too long. But it looked just like the one in Minnesota we went to with friends.

Talking about Christmas plans with friends today, and so glad we have booked this cruise - can't wait!! Very excited to see what Century is like.

cinogirl
July 23rd, 2011, 06:53 AM
Hi Yvette, we're in Merimbula for the weekend and it's cold and raining off and on. :-(.

I went to Costco for the opening yesterday at 7.30 am and took Colin back at 5pm and both times there was hardly anyone there. Not as cheap as US Costcos but still good. Colin loved all the food sampling. Our church minister neighbour is American so they were very excited to get Costco. Hope it does well.

153 days til the cruise - can't help getting excited already. :-)

Breezey
July 23rd, 2011, 08:14 AM
Welcome Kneller Family!

Margot - you can add that Larry and I are anytime dining. And thanks for the info re wineries. So tell me more about your experience with Waiheke and what else we can do perhaps on our own rather than take a formal tour.
You were asking - My brother's friends live in Wellington (where there is some law conference that he is attending) but they arrive in Auckland and sounds like they will be going to a few other places too (not sure where). They are there for 2 weeks, leaving this Thursday.

Steve - Love Santa Barbara! And you are one lucky guy to be living near the ocean. We can stand the heat but not the crazy humidity. As Margo suggested, kind of tough to avoid wineries in a country that makes fantastic wines. We have some great vineyards about 90 minutes from here in Niagara. Guess best known for "ice wine" and some great whites (personally could pass on most of Niagara's reds).

Cinogirl - I googled trying to see if there were any previous listing of shore excursions. While we dont usually take the ship's excursions, it does give good reference of the highlights of what to see in each port.

Bruin Steve
July 23rd, 2011, 12:41 PM
...I googled trying to see if there were any previous listing of shore excursions. While we dont usually take the ship's excursions, it does give good reference of the highlights of what to see in each port.

Check this out...

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findacruise/ports/group/home.do?dest=AUSTL&componentTypeCategoryId=3

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Shore Excursions are usually pretty close...
Her you can click on each port and find the RCCL offerings...

BrusselsGirl07
July 23rd, 2011, 06:01 PM
Steve, thanks for that link, the tours that RCCL offer sound great. And it makes sense that Celebrity will offer the same tours, especially as they won't have another ship in the same area at the same time. Radiance is also doing a New Zealand Christmas and NYE cruise, but they leave Sydney on the 18th so we are never in the same port at the same time.

eunephron
July 23rd, 2011, 07:06 PM
Hi Margo,
We are eunephron; Peter, Deborah, Erica & Jonathan and we are late diners.
Deborah

MargoK
July 23rd, 2011, 10:21 PM
Check this out...

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findacruise/ports/group/home.do?dest=AUSTL&componentTypeCategoryId=3

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Shore Excursions are usually pretty close...
Her you can click on each port and find the RCCL offerings...

Thanks Steve - just my luck when I go to the link, its "closed for Maintenance"!!!!!:eek:

Thanks Deborah and Amy - have updated the list for dining seating for next update.

Amy - your family have picked a bad time to visit, we are just getting the first blast from the south pole, and listening to the car radio on the way home this afternoon it sounds like there is heavy snow and ice in the South Island and the weather is heading north:eek: Only four weeks ago the southern skifields were crying out for snow! :rolleyes:

MargoK
July 23rd, 2011, 10:39 PM
Have been lurking and contributing to other Century Auck - Sydney cruises and someone was asking about sailing on the Waitemata Harbour, and I found this website that has some great information.

http://www.explorenz.co.nz/Pride-of-Auckland/index.html

The Maritime Museum next to Princess Wharf where the ship will dock is well worth a visit too.

Just spent this morning at the annual Speedshow (cars and motorbikes) acting as the 'handbreak' for DH who is building up not one but now two Ford Mk1 Escorts! He thinks we have a bottomless bank account. It is rather cold and windy outside, so now I am having some 'me time' in the warmth of 'the office' - he is making banging noises in the garage now!

Wilcoam
July 24th, 2011, 02:36 AM
Big thank you for everyone here for all the TA advice, as my family kind of lucked out re timing of booking this sailing late

Us Torontonians got an incredible Ontario Resident special
The Seniors got the same special
X announced a nice OBC this past Monday ($150.00 to $500.00 per cabin)

So, we're in
Family of 7
Tara & Jeff (Toronto)
1235
Either Late or Anytime
Our 6th Celebrity Sailing
First time for all our other family members
First time for any of use in AUS or NZ

It's one of my wife's travel fantasies to snorkle the Great Barrier Reef, pre cruise, so if the Kiwi's or Auzzies have any great local snorkeling or resort advice, please pass it on

MargoK
July 24th, 2011, 03:14 AM
Big thank you for everyone here for all the TA advice, as my family kind of lucked out re timing of booking this sailing late

Us Torontonians got an incredible Ontario Resident special
The Seniors got the same special
X announced a nice OBC this past Monday ($150.00 to $500.00 per cabin)

So, we're in
Family of 7
Tara & Jeff (Toronto)
1235
Either Late or Anytime
Our 6th Celebrity Sailing
First time for all our other family members
First time for any of use in AUS or NZ

It's one of my wife's travel fantasies to snorkle the Great Barrier Reef, pre cruise, so if the Kiwi's or Auzzies have any great local snorkeling or resort advice, please pass it on


Great news that you can all join us down under. Nothing like celebrating Christmas & New Year as a family on board. We found last year there were heaps of large family groups which is great. Christmas morning watching all the kids lining up for a gift and photo with Santa (well on the Diamond they did - guess there will be something similar on the Century).

At least you managed some OBC to soften the cost blow, and a bonus you got a resident at senior rates - take them when you can;)

I cannot help with the snorkling requirement, but someone will come along who can.

Fire away with all your questions as I am sure there are plenty on here that can help with local or acquired knowledge.