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  #1  
Old September 30th, 2012, 11:12 PM
Luci's Mom Luci's Mom is offline
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Unhappy Princess Excursions in New Zealand and Australia

It's very confusing to know if excursions are going to be as good as they sound. Any suggestions or no-no's for the New Zealand/Australia ports for Princess? In particular -- the train trips our of Wellington and Akaora? Thanks for your help!
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  #2  
Old October 1st, 2012, 04:21 AM
Keith1010 Keith1010 is offline
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I think it's far better to post a summary of excursions you are considering and we can give feedback.

Another option is to post the ports you need information on and ask for recommendations on what to see.

Keith
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  #3  
Old October 6th, 2012, 09:58 AM
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Annatoo Annatoo is offline
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Default Tranz Alpine ex AKAROA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luci's Mom View Post
It's very confusing to know if excursions are going to be as good as they sound. Any suggestions or no-no's for the New Zealand/Australia ports for Princess? In particular -- the train trips our of Wellington and Akaora? Thanks for your help!
Since the earthquake in Christchurch cruise ships anchor at AKAROA. It is a quaint french influenced fishing town which is easy to stroll around. Princess and independent operators run various tours further afield - involving 3hrs of scenic travel Christchurch return. The TranzAlpine train journey is fantastic as long as you are prepared for a BIG day. The Antarctic Centre is excellent with more time to see a little of Christchurch city. Contact info@discoverytravel.co.nz for details of both.
I'd recommend Te Papa Museum and Wellington Cable car although not sure what the rail journey involves from Wellington.
DUNEDIN has the TAIERI GORGE rail journey as outlined by Princess - and this can only be booked through them
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  #4  
Old October 6th, 2012, 10:17 AM
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TLCOhio TLCOhio is online now
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Default Your Detailed Needs, Interests??

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Originally Posted by Keith1010 View Post
I think it's far better to post a summary of excursions you are considering and we can give feedback. Another option is to post the ports you need information on and ask for recommendations on what to see. Keith
Excellent above suggestions by the super wise Keith. Plus, share more about your party size/make-up, budget, ages, personal and travel interests, past world travel experience, etc. Tell us more!! How much are you interested in nature, scenery? Countrysides vs. cities? Museums, food, wine, art, music, shopping, history, architecture, culture, etc.? How much of it in a leisurely style versus fast-paced? Then, with more detailed and specific information from you, we can make better, more specific suggestions on what best fits your needs and interests.

Here are a couple of other suggestions to help you and other future travelers. FIRST, scroll back through all of the earlier postings. You will see many different items on ports you would visit and/or at the board for each separate cruise line in planning for your upcoming cruise. SECOND, do a search on these boards by each city and you will see lots of postings on various subjects connected with each port stop.

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio


Did a June 7-19, 2011, Solstice cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Enjoyed great weather and a wonderful trip. Dozens of wonderful visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc., on these postings. We are now at 105,894 views for this live/blog re-cap on our first sailing with Celebrity and much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:
http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/s....php?t=1426474
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  #5  
Old October 7th, 2012, 09:16 AM
sunsetsuzie sunsetsuzie is offline
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Default New Zealand/Australia Diamond Princess Jan-Feb 2013

Looking for feedback regarding excursions for the following ports Jan/Feb 2013:

Jan 26, 2013 Tauranga , New Zealand
Jan 28 Wellington
Jan 29 Picton
Jan 30 Akaroa
Jan 31 Dunedin (Port Chalmers)
Feb 1 Fiordland National Park
Feb 4 Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Feb 6 Melbourne
Feb 8 Sydney
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  #6  
Old October 7th, 2012, 06:30 PM
room010 room010 is offline
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It's impossible to answer such a general question without knowing your specific interests or needs. The cruise companies usually provide a fairly detailed summary of what each excursion offers so pick the ones that specifically appeal to you and I'm sure someone here can tell you more. As TLCOhio says, there is a lot of this information here already if you look through the appropriate sub-forums and/or make use of the useful but frequently ignored Search function.

And even in this digital day and age a good old fashioned guide book, eg Lonely Planet, for each country can often reveal hidden gems of useful information.
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  #7  
Old October 7th, 2012, 07:16 PM
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Default Using Print/Visual Books, Other Resources??

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Originally Posted by room010 View Post
It's impossible to answer such a general question without knowing your specific interests or needs. The cruise companies usually provide a fairly detailed summary of what each excursion offers so pick the ones that specifically appeal to you and I'm sure someone here can tell you more. As TLCOhio says, there is a lot of this information here already if you look through the appropriate sub-forums and/or make use of the useful but frequently ignored Search function. And even in this digital day and age a good old fashioned guide book, eg Lonely Planet, for each country can often reveal hidden gems of useful information.
Appreciate the added comments from room010. Great, wise mention on being a little old-fashioned and retro with those print books, too. Smart!!

Looking forward to our Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Celebrity Solstice sailing, departing Sydney, doing 14 days, finishing in Auckland. Plus, doing some pre-cruise options for Kangaroo Island near Adelaide and then the Great Barrier Reef before departing from Sidney’s scenic harbor. And, probably post-cruise in Queenstown and stopping in Tahiti on the way home to break up that long, long flight back.

From our previous travels to many great cities/ports of Europe, here are some of my book and research tips. You might grab, maybe from your public libraries or ask for them to do a book transfer they can process for you, such super excellent visual books such as Eyewitness, Insight, etc. Rick Steves, Fodors, Frommers, etc., can work well, too. In my opinion, no one travel book has it "ALL", perfectly and completely for all of your needs. Right now for down under, I have a big stack of all of the major travel books from the library for these two countries.

These resources, especially the visual ones, can help you better figure out your priorities, in advance, for what you want to do and see. That early research is very important. Don't wait until you get on the ship to "GUESS" what might be of interest. I always build a "file" on my laptop computer for each port stop with highlights from that reading and then pulling up stories/articles from the travels sections of the New York Times, Telegraph of London, Wikipedia, etc. All of those help to consider your many great options. Amazon can be very good in providing such books at reduced prices, plus some used books websites. Lots of great options!!! Especially in these days of the Internet, it makes things easier to research and plan ahead. You can use Google.com for great access to various text items, plus a wide variety of visuals and maps. One option for some private tour and other local options is to contract the tourism office in each of your ports. You can use Google.com and put in the search term such as "city/port name tourism office". Then follow-up to each of those office by e-mail, ask your questions, get their suggestions, options to consider, etc.

As you pull together this info, it easier to go back to read, re-read items, pull out key highlights using the cut and paste computer features, etc. For our New Zealand and Australia early 2014 "adventure", I have already pull together over 600 pages of info, news clips, options, etc. Then, there are my photo files. I will search Google.com in the images section to look at visual examples for these key places we are going to visit for the first time. The visuals in both travel books and from the Internet really help get a "picture" for what you want to do and visit. On such cruises, our port time is limited and you need to consider the many good options.

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio


Did a June 7-19, 2011, Solstice cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Enjoyed great weather and a wonderful trip. Dozens of wonderful visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc., on these postings. We are now at 106,229 views for this live/blog re-cap on our first sailing with Celebrity and much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:
http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/s....php?t=1426474
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  #8  
Old October 8th, 2012, 08:44 AM
sunsetsuzie sunsetsuzie is offline
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Default Thank you

Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions. I'm new to cruise critic and now am understanding better how it works. I am seaching through all the posting regarding the different ports that we'll be visiting and have found some very helpfu info. I will post more specific questions as needed. Thanks everyone!
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  #9  
Old October 10th, 2012, 07:16 AM
whimsy7 whimsy7 is offline
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we were on the sun princess in 2011 so able to give some feedback.
tauranga - if possible, do visit rotorua for its unique geothermal sites.
wellington - we enjoyed our visit to the te papa museum.
fiordland - a day of cruising in the beautiful sounds. we were lucky to see a pod of dolphins there. we were there in february ie summer but it was cold and windy out on deck that day. we were prepared with warm jackets and scarves but others were not and either froze out there or watched from inside.
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  #10  
Old October 11th, 2012, 07:20 AM
sunsetsuzie sunsetsuzie is offline
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Default Thank you Whimsy7

Thank you for your feedback! We now live in SOuth Florida, however after living in upstate NY and Canada, seems as though NZ & Australia's summer climate's can be quite varying in temps, one day can be very warm/hot , next very cool , rainy etc.
Again thanks!
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  #11  
Old October 17th, 2012, 05:27 PM
krigaren1 krigaren1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luci's Mom View Post
It's very confusing to know if excursions are going to be as good as they sound. Any suggestions or no-no's for the New Zealand/Australia ports for Princess? In particular -- the train trips our of Wellington and Akaora? Thanks for your help!
Hi there ... In regards to the Princess Shore Excursions onboard, you get what you pay for - overpriced guided impersonal excursions. These tours have a mark-up of 150 - 200% and is where the cruise lines recoup costs. If the quality is good - well thats in the eye of the beholder, though having paid $250USD for a day tour, I guess you're not going to complain or admit otherwise bad feedback? Alternatively, you'd be browsing CC message boards for cheaper options?
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  #12  
Old October 20th, 2012, 05:40 PM
Iowa Boy Iowa Boy is offline
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Default Train in Dunedin

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Originally Posted by Annatoo View Post
DUNEDIN has the TAIERI GORGE rail journey as outlined by Princess - and this can only be booked through them
You can also book the train directly, but you have to go the Dunedin train station to catch the train, we are planning on a taxi to the train station. This reduces the cost by more than half.
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  #13  
Old October 20th, 2012, 05:48 PM
Iowa Boy Iowa Boy is offline
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Default On the same cruise

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsetsuzie View Post
Looking for feedback regarding excursions for the following ports Jan/Feb 2013:

Jan 26, 2013 Tauranga , New Zealand
Jan 28 Wellington
Jan 29 Picton
Jan 30 Akaroa
Jan 31 Dunedin (Port Chalmers)
Feb 1 Fiordland National Park
Feb 4 Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Feb 6 Melbourne
Feb 8 Sydney
We are on this same cruise, you can find more posts on the cruise critic roll call board, where you go the Princess Cruise line, then the Diamond Princess, then to this cruise.
We have several private tours already scheduled, with the one in Hobart with Great Expeditions, doing the Top 4 tour. There is still space available on this tour, check out their website at greatexpeditions.com.au.
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  #14  
Old October 24th, 2012, 05:53 PM
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cruisechaos cruisechaos is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsetsuzie View Post
Looking for feedback regarding excursions for the following ports Jan/Feb 2013:

Jan 26, 2013 Tauranga , New Zealand
Jan 28 Wellington
Jan 29 Picton
Jan 30 Akaroa
Jan 31 Dunedin (Port Chalmers)
Feb 1 Fiordland National Park
Feb 4 Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Feb 6 Melbourne
Feb 8 Sydney
As others said, it is difficult to make recommendations without knowing what you are interested in. We did most of these ports last year and all I can do is provide feedback on what we did and saw (I have also included links to our blogs for those days in case you are interested in reading a review of our experience and/or see pictures):

In Tauranga: I would recommend going to Rotorua. We ended up just staying in Tauranga though because we had spent 3 days in Rotorua before our cruise and we had also looked into doing White Island (but our ship got into port to late).
Our day in Tauranga: http://www.thenextjourney.com/category/new-zealand/
Our time in Rotorua: http://www.thenextjourney.com/2011/0...als-and-te-po/

Wellington: Depending on what you are interested in … we did Zealandia while on the ship and enjoyed it (long hikes but lots of endangered animals. We spent one full day in Te Papa pre-cruise (loved it!). The other day pre-cruise we did the Cable Car, Botanical Gardens, Beehive, and Mount Victoria (If I had to do it over again I would skip Mount Victoria … not that I didn't like it just too much to do in one day).
Our day at Zealandia: http://www.thenextjourney.com/category/new-zealand/
Our two days pre-cruise in Wellington: http://www.thenextjourney.com/2011/08/wellington/

Picton: We did Picton on our own before the cruise but while there we rented a car and sample wines at three different vineyards along the Marlborough Wine Trail (Allan Scott, Cloudy Bay, and Herzog).

Akaroa: We walked around town then swam with dolphins with Black Cat Cruises
Our day in Akaroa: http://www.thenextjourney.com/2011/1...lphins-almost/

Dunedin: I would recommend the Elm Wildlife or the Taieri Gorge Railway
Our day on the Taieri Gorge Railway: http://www.thenextjourney.com/2011/1...ng-on-a-train/
Our day with Elm Wildlife Tours (pre-cruise): http://www.thenextjourney.com/2011/0...tlins-dunedin/

If you have any specific questions, please feel free to send us an e-mail through our website and we would be happy to help!
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  #15  
Old October 24th, 2012, 06:09 PM
Aquarians Aquarians is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisechaos View Post
As others said, it is difficult to make recommendations without knowing what you are interested in. We did most of these ports last year and all I can do is provide feedback on what we did and saw (I have also included links to our blogs for those days in case you are interested in reading a review of our experience and/or see pictures):

In Tauranga: I would recommend going to Rotorua. We ended up just staying in Tauranga though because we had spent 3 days in Rotorua before our cruise and we had also looked into doing White Island (but our ship got into port to late).
Our day in Tauranga: http://www.thenextjourney.com/category/new-zealand/
Our time in Rotorua: http://www.thenextjourney.com/2011/0...als-and-te-po/

Wellington: Depending on what you are interested in … we did Zealandia while on the ship and enjoyed it (long hikes but lots of endangered animals. We spent one full day in Te Papa pre-cruise (loved it!). The other day pre-cruise we did the Cable Car, Botanical Gardens, Beehive, and Mount Victoria (If I had to do it over again I would skip Mount Victoria … not that I didn't like it just too much to do in one day).
Our day at Zealandia: http://www.thenextjourney.com/category/new-zealand/
Our two days pre-cruise in Wellington: http://www.thenextjourney.com/2011/08/wellington/

Picton: We did Picton on our own before the cruise but while there we rented a car and sample wines at three different vineyards along the Marlborough Wine Trail (Allan Scott, Cloudy Bay, and Herzog).

Akaroa: We walked around town then swam with dolphins with Black Cat Cruises
Our day in Akaroa: http://www.thenextjourney.com/2011/1...lphins-almost/

Dunedin: I would recommend the Elm Wildlife or the Taieri Gorge Railway
Our day on the Taieri Gorge Railway: http://www.thenextjourney.com/2011/1...ng-on-a-train/
Our day with Elm Wildlife Tours (pre-cruise): http://www.thenextjourney.com/2011/0...tlins-dunedin/

If you have any specific questions, please feel free to send us an e-mail through our website and we would be happy to help!
Kia ora,
As a Rotorua resident I was interested in your blog on Rotorua. Most impressed! Pleased you enjoyed your visit.
Aquarians
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  #16  
Old October 24th, 2012, 06:21 PM
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midwestsolo midwestsolo is offline
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Hello Iowa person! Exciting to see someone from my state also cruising! I will be on the Sea Princess around New Zealand next month!
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