Help with excursions on an RC 11 Day Queensland Cruise

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#1
5 Posts
Joined May 2013
Hello.

This is my first post, so I'm unfamiliar with the language used in this forum. My apologies if use a term incorrectly.

My husband and I are planning our dream vacation to Australia. We have decided on the 11 Day Queensalnd Cruise with RC, and I believe the ship is Rhapsody. Has anyone else taken this cruise? If so, do you have any tips?

I'm having a hard time booking excursions because most look really fun and exciting, and I'm not sure how to determine which ones are worth the extra expense. Any ideas?

I'm also trying to decide if I should upgrade to a suite; it seems like a good investment but I'm not sure because I've never upgraded before - I generally stick with a balacony.

Thank you so much and I look forward to your feedback.
#2
Country NSW, Australia
576 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Hi

We have done this cruise twice, both on Rhapsody. Guess that tells you we enjoyed it!

Might be worth looking to see if you have a Roll Call for the cruise - depending on when you are going.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=270

You will probably have an overnight in Cairns which is great because you have options for what you may want to do such as Kurunda Rainforest via Train or Skyrail, Great Barrier Reef, walking around the Esplanade etc etc.

Really need to know what sort of things you like to do before advising what there is - do you like wineries, or cruising along the river or do you like adrenalin type activities?

Kirrarne
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#3
Arlington, Virginia
2,600 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
As the previous poster stated, we really need to know your interests before we can recommend excursions. But the one excursion that I would say you definitely need to do is the Great Barrier Reef excursion in Airlie Beach. The GBR is a World Heritage area and is not to be missed.

Unfortunately, you do not have time in Cairns to do a GBR tour on your own. The boats leave Cairns around 8:30 am and don't return until 5pm. You get in too late on day 1 and leave too early on day 2 to do this. So your only chance will be at Airlie Beach.
#4
California
184 Posts
Joined May 2010
My experience was with Rhapsody of the Seas. I booked the ships Brisbane Koala Sanctuary I would do it again enjoy seeing so many of the animals unique to Australia. My ship also went to Carins and I took an 1/2 day independent tour of Green Island ($79.00 AUD +$7 stringer suit and $2 for a locker). I saw many more type of hard and soft coral at Green Island and more and larger fish. Even found Nemo in his sea anemone (a clown fish)! The best viewing was by the pier you could just walk to the loading dock and jump in.

Besides being cheaper $249 USD for Airlie Beach vs. $82 AUD; the ferry ride was much shorter 45 mins for Green Island vs 2 to 2.5 hours to Reefworld Platoon. The water was much rougher at the Paltoon and 6 women were saved of the water by life guards during our short visit and one man from our ships tour sadly died. I was bruised from the ropes and others snorkelers kicking while try to get out of the water.

I hope that my information helps you make an informed decision. Enjoy your cruise!
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#5
Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia
102 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
IMHO if you have time constraints in Cairns I'd suggest you do the ship's GBR tour (surely they'd have one) out of Cairns. The further north you are, the better to see the GBR. The Outer reef is better than the inner reef, inner being the Low Isles. We heard complaints on our last cruise about the tours to GBR from Airlie Beach with poor visibility and not much to see.
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2017 May | Sinorama Gold 8......|..4 nights Yangtze River
2017 Feb | .Voyager of the Seas..| .9 nights South Pacific Islands
2016 Sep | .Celebrity Reflection..| 10 nights Italy, Greek Isles, Turkey
2016 Jan | .Explorer of the Seas..| 14 nights New Zealand
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#6
Country NSW, Australia
576 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Completely agree about doing a GBR out of Cairns v's Airlie Beach. You will have time - depending on tides etc. Rhapsody is one of the only ships to actually get right in and dock compared to other ships that have to tender in and out of Cairns. You may miss a tour for GBR the first day, but you will make it on the second day. On both of our trips on Rhapsody doing this cruise, we left Cairns at 6pm, the tours to GBR get back at around 5.15 - 5.30pm.

We did the Airlie Beach ship tour and were disappointed. We couldn't see alot and there were alot of people on the platform or out in the water and you did get kicked alot.

We did the independent Green Island tour and it was great. You have a choice of how long you want to stay out there (1/2 day or full day). If we did it again, would opt for the full day - saw alot more out there.
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#7
Sydney
98 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
just do your research before booking any tours on the ship.

Sometimes the cruise companies will charge over 100% more than booking your shore excursion independently.

Heidi at Visitcairns.com.au sorted out our Cairns and Port Douglas shore excursions and reef trips. She even got our Kuranda tour to wait for us when we were delayed on our ferry transfer.
#8
Sydney, Australia
1,380 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
we did this Rhapsody cruise in Mar 2011 & had such a great 1st cruise we have been on another 3 and will do another in Oct.

In Cairns, where we overnighted, we did the ship's tour to the Daintree on the arrival day, which was great and was like 9-10 hours. On the 2nd day in Cairns we did ships tour Skyrail, Kuranda & Cairns which was 1/2 day & was again good.

We did ships tour to GBR from Airlie which was good. It's a long ride out and back, but the catamaran picked us straight off the ship and returned us to the boat, so no tenders for us

In Newcastle & Brisbane we stayed on the ship as we have been there many times and just wanted to relax on an almost empty ship.

Do your research and enjoy!!!

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#9
Central Minnesota
1,013 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
DH and I just book this cruise on Rhapsody for Oct. 2014. I'll be doing a lot of research for the different Ports. It doesn't look like RCCL offers a GBR excursion in Cairns, only Airlie Beach. I prefer to book my own tours rather than the ones from the ship any way, so I would also like any info you all would like to share! So excite fo this vacation!
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2003 Carnival Sensation - Western Caribbean
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2014 RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas - Australia
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#10
5 Posts
Joined May 2013
Originally posted by Hard-habit-to-break
Hi

We have done this cruise twice, both on Rhapsody. Guess that tells you we enjoyed it!

Might be worth looking to see if you have a Roll Call for the cruise - depending on when you are going.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=270

You will probably have an overnight in Cairns which is great because you have options for what you may want to do such as Kurunda Rainforest via Train or Skyrail, Great Barrier Reef, walking around the Esplanade etc etc.

Really need to know what sort of things you like to do before advising what there is - do you like wineries, or cruising along the river or do you like adrenalin type activities?

Kirrarne
Thank you so muhc for your response; I appreciate the information.

My husband and I enjoy most anything; from hiking, to sailing, to hot air balloon rides; we enjoy it all. Neitehr of us is certified to dive so diving trips are out, but snorkleing is okay. I have never been to winery but I'm sure I would enjoy it as I really enjoy various wines.

Does this help?


Thanks again.
#11
5 Posts
Joined May 2013
Originally posted by Chmielel
My experience was with Rhapsody of the Seas. I booked the ships Brisbane Koala Sanctuary I would do it again enjoy seeing so many of the animals unique to Australia. My ship also went to Carins and I took an 1/2 day independent tour of Green Island ($79.00 AUD +$7 stringer suit and $2 for a locker). I saw many more type of hard and soft coral at Green Island and more and larger fish. Even found Nemo in his sea anemone (a clown fish)! The best viewing was by the pier you could just walk to the loading dock and jump in.

Besides being cheaper $249 USD for Airlie Beach vs. $82 AUD; the ferry ride was much shorter 45 mins for Green Island vs 2 to 2.5 hours to Reefworld Platoon. The water was much rougher at the Paltoon and 6 women were saved of the water by life guards during our short visit and one man from our ships tour sadly died. I was bruised from the ropes and others snorkelers kicking while try to get out of the water.

I hope that my information helps you make an informed decision. Enjoy your cruise!
Thank you so much! It sounds like you had an amazing experience!

The koala Sanctuary is one excursion I was considering but hesitant to book. I am so excited to see all the animals of Australia and really want a hands-on experience and your information has really helped me make an informed decision.

Thanks again!
#12
ontario, canada
4,698 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
For those of you you have been to Newcastle before can you tell me where the ships docks? Are we close to the train station or Ferry station or over the bay from there?
#13
Australia
1,040 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Originally posted by havetorun
Thank you so muhc for your response; I appreciate the information.

My husband and I enjoy most anything; from hiking, to sailing, to hot air balloon rides; we enjoy it all. Neitehr of us is certified to dive so diving trips are out, but snorkleing is okay. I have never been to winery but I'm sure I would enjoy it as I really enjoy various wines.

Does this help?


Thanks again.
Diving trips often take out snorkelers. The good thing about them is that the pax on board are a little more hard core so keen to get in the water & see the reef & fish etc. have you thought about a day dive where you are hand held by the instructor & taken under water in full dive gear?? That is also an option. I think they call it an introductory dive.
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