Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!
** Please post your recommendations ONLY in response to request...do not start a new thread. Thanks!
Will be on Celebrity Ship first going to New Zealand (Tauranga, Wellington, Akaroa, Dunedin, Melbourne. Then going to Sydney, Cairns, Port Douglas, Airlie Beach, Brisbane.
Question: Do we really need to book expensive excursions on ship OR can we get tours from ports? Suggestions really appreciated!!!
We are in our 60s and can walk, love historical sites, siteseeing, historical sites, shopping, good food. Not interested in beaches or water sports as we live in a state with all of that.
Cruising in March. How to pack? Cool? Cold? Warm?
Welcome to Cruise Critic!! You will find wonderful input from fellow-cruisers by going to the roll call for your cruise under Celebrity "Connections" Roll Calls. I'm assuming that you are on the Solstice and roll calls are posted by the date.
We are on the Jan. 20, 2014 Solstice AU/NZ cruise and have a fabulous group planning private excursions for several ports. Take a look at what we have organized.
Question: Do we really need to book expensive excursions on ship OR can we get tours from ports?
Just think about this: The vast majority of visitors to any city do not come on cruise ships, but nevertheless manage to explore the cities without the aid of ships' excursions - and, in most cases, without the aid of organised tours of any kind.
So if you're used to seeing cities on your own, there is absolutely no need to do anything different from what you'd normally do when visiting somewhere, so long as you know how and when you're going to get back to the ship.
- Australian spelling lesson: There is no 'U' in .-
I agree with the advice above with the one caveat.
If you plan a trip to the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns then you should consider the cruise ship's offering.
Solstice will not dock in Cairns but will be moored off Yorkey's Knob (one of our beach suburbs) and passengers will tender into shore. All of the commercial trips to the reef leave from the wharves in the CBD which are approx 20 mins by taxi or shuttle.
If you arrange a private trip you would need to ensure you were able to get yourself into the CBD in time to catch the boat out to the Reef and then make sure you get back in time to depart with the Solstice.
The ships excursion will be arranged specifically for your trip's arrival and departure time and will avoid any requirement to make a mad dash in a taxi risking missing the day out or the departing ship.
Unfortunately it will be horrifically expensive but if the GB Reef is on your list of trips to make then the ships excursion will be the easiest logistically.
Jacinta & Robert
Celebrity Century AUS/NZ Christmas Cruise Dec/Jan 2011
I agree with all the above.
If you want a reef trip...go with the ships offering ,simply due to time and logistics.
Tauranga...if you want to visit Rotorua and the Thermal Areas , a tour is a must here. You could hire a car and DIY, but if you dont know the area you could miss out on a lot.Ships tours here will take you over, its about an hours run, but you will be in a bus with about 50 other passengers and that can be time consuming. There are many private tour opereators that will meet you on the dock, or just outside the port gates , and show you so much more in the time available.
The other ports are all doable on your own.
Melbourne especially is very easy to do , and is a joy to wander around in.
Norwegian Capricorn ... 3
Star Cruises ... 2
Regent Seven Seas ...2
Don't be afraid to go out on a limb ... Thats where the fruit is.
There are some private operators that know all the factors involved in looking after cruise ship passengers (including getting back for departure time)
These operators survive, grow and expand because of their professionalism.
One of these operators advertises in a banner on these boards and from personal experience I can recommend them. Their General Manager (Iain) used to be a regular, and highly regarded contributor here some years ago, but was banned because the moderators thought he was promoting his own business too much. Many thought this was harsh particularly as they still take his advertising dollars.
They provide tours in all ports in NZ (they are actually based in Tauranga NZ) as well as a few in Australia...including Cairns.
Perhaps you could consider these...much more economical than the ships overpriced tours
SS Australis 1974 (Shirley to Aust as 10pound Pom)
P&O UK 1986 -2001 - Many times
Sapphire Princess Auk-Syd - Jan 05
Sapphire Princess Syd-Auk - Feb 07
Murray Princess - Murray River - Nov 07
Sun Princess (Northern Explorer) - Apr 09
Sun Princess - Bne - NZ RT NYE Cruise Dec 11/Jan 12
Sun Princess Syd - Bne 22-24 Oct 2012 (a quickie)
Celebrity Solstice Perth-Syd (via Bali) Feb/Mar 013
Carnival Spirit - Syd-Tas-Syd Feb 2014 (with GD Katrina)
Last edited by Flipper133; November 14th, 2012 at 03:12 AM.
Given your list of interests, Wellington is going to be a great option for you when it comes to food, sightseeing and historical sites. I'd highly recommend a tour with Zest Food Tours followed by an afternoon at Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum and home of the national art collection too. Te Papa is vast - although entry is free, when time is short a guided tour really makes sure you hit the highlights and they're not expensive. Have a look at www.zestfoodtours.co.nz and www.tepapa.govt.nz
Location: The Beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
We will be on HAL Oosterdam gong to many of the same ports. We have not booked one single ship's tours and do not intend to. In Wellington, there is their equivalent of the Smithsonian, the Te Papa Museum. I think it is about $15 NZD. In Dunedin, you go on your own do the Taieri Gorge Railroad unless there are two ships in ports or take an excursion with one of the tour guides to the Otago Peninsula to see penguins, albatros, sea lions, etc. Lots to do that does not include a ship's tour.
Sailed HAL Oosterdam, Feb. 2013
Sailed HAL Nieuw Amsterdam, Feb. 2012
Sailed Celebrity Equinox Eastern Med. 9/2011
Sailed HAL Zuideram Panama Sunfarer 2/2011
Sailed Celebrity Century 1/2011
Sailed Avalon Felicity - Rhine River 10/2010
Sailed HAL Noordam Southern Caribbean 2/2010
Sailed Carnival Ectasy 4/2007
Sailed Princess - Alaska 6/2002
In Auckland and Wellington buy a 24 hour ticket on the HOHO (Hop On Hop Off) bus $45NZ each and do it yourself....
In Wellington the Te Papa Museum in Wellington is free, I believe. The Cable car to the top for views of Wellington is $6.00NZ return.
Golden Princess - Melbourne to Los Angeles - April 2016
Diamond Princess - Tokyo to Sydney - September 2015
Diamond Princess - Singapore to Tokyo - April 2015
Diamond Princess - Sydney to Singapore - March 2015
Ruby Princess - TA to NY - Norway/Iceland - Sept 2014
Ruby Princess - British Isles - August 2014
Sea Princess - Aust Coastal - May 2014
Diamond Princess - Tasmania - December 2013
Diamond Princess - Aust to China - March 2013
Diamond Princess - New Zealand - Feb 2013
Ruby Princess - Mediterranean - May 2012
Ruby Princess - FLL to Barcelona - April 2012
Ruby Princess - Caribbean - April 2012
Sun Princess - Brisbane/Sydney - March 2012
Dawn Princess - Sydney/Melb - Dec 2011
Pacific Dawn - New Zealand - October 2011
Sun Princess - Brisbane/Sydney - July 2011
Diamond Princess - Alaska - May 2011
Diamond Princess - China to Alaska Repo. - May 2011
Sun Princess - Brisbane/Sydney - April 2011
Dawn Princess - Melb/Sydney - March 2011
Celebrity Constellation - Caribbean Thanksgiving cruise - Nov 2010
Oriana P & O UK - Sydney/Brisbane - Nov 2010
Pacific Sun - Newcastle/Brisbane - Sept 2010
Sun Princess - Sydney/Brisbane - April 2010
Coral Princess -FLL to LA via Panama Canal -Feb 2010
Pacific Dawn - Sydney/Brisbane - Dec 2009
Sun Princess - Vanuatu/New Caledonia - Feb 2009
We are just back from the Dawn P New Zealand cruise
Highly recommend Jim Archer of Archer tours in both Tauranga and Auckland
(know you didn't indicate this port, but others might be interested)
Also recommend John Hanlon of Hawks Bay scenic if you stop in Napier
Also hired a private car in Dunedin at $100 NZ pp for 4 of us to tour - great day
and intro to NZ (our first port) email me at Dall dot barley @ sbcglobal dot net
If you want more info
You can find reviews and contact info for both operators upon Trip Advisor
In Akaroa we did the ships walking tour - VERY small town -
In Wellington we took the ship shuttle into town, walked about 3 blocks and took
The tram to the top of the Botanical gardens. Walked down hill through the
gardens, stopped off in Parliament, and then walked to Te Papa - VERY good
Star P CA Coastal Oct 2014, Grand P Alaska Aug 2014, Freedom of the Seas May 2014, Volendam SE Asia March 2014, Royal P T/A Oct 2013; New Zealand, Dawn P, Oct, 2012; South America, Rio to San Francisco, Star P, Feb, 2012; British Isles, Southampton to NYC, Crown P, Sept, 2011; Black Sea, Athens to Venice, Island Princess - Sept, 2010; Fall Foliage, Quebec to Ft Laud - Crown P - Oct 2009; Yangtze River, Beijing to Shanghai - Viking River Aug, 2009; Nile River Cruise - April, 2008; Baltic, Star Princess, May, 2007; New Years Cruise, West Carib, Golden Princess Dec, 2006; Hawaii cruise, NCL Pride of America, June, 2006; Amazon cruise - Manaus to FLL - Regal P April, 2006; Mexican Riviera - Dawn Princess Feb, 2006; West Carib, Grand P, April, 2005; Mexico, Sapphire P, Nov, 2004; Alaska, Celebrity Mercury, Sept, 2004; RCI Monarch, Mexico, July, 2004; Rhine Cruise, Aug, 2004; First Princess cruise: Island P April, 1991 Panama Canal