We only did the first leg. We boarded in Sydney, cruised to Auckland, New Zealand and stayed there two nights. We had four nights at sea until we reached Tahiti, Moorea an Bora Bora, where we stayed a night at each place. Five nights at sea followed until we reached Hilo, Hawaii where we stayed for one day. We ended our leg in Honolulu for a total of 17 or 18 days, depending who you talked to. We crossed the international date line and did April 10 twice. I have the papers to prove it.
Now for the details:
We flew from Indianapolis to Chicago to LAX, so that we could catch the United flight to Sydney which left at 10:00 pm. We got to LA with several hours to spare since this is the one flight I wanted to be sure not to miss. The 14 hour flight actually wasn't too bad, given that it was 1:00 AM Indiana time when we started AND the Ambien I took soon after I got on the plane. We had entertainment-- movies, tv shows, music, etc.- but I soon drifted off to sleep and slept 6 or 7 hours.
We arrived in Sydney about 8 AM. I know this because we were the first or second plane to land and 8 in the morning is the earliest planes are allowed to come in. We went through Customs-- not a big deal, there is always a line, gathered our luggage and proceeded to the taxi stand. I had been in Sydney 2 years ago and the taxi we took then cost $50 for the two of us. This time we needed a van type taxi since there were four of us. From the airport to our hotel in the Rocks area was around $80 Australian. They do take credit cards by the way.
We got to our hotel, the Park Hyatt, a bit after 9 AM. I was worried that we'd be sitting in the lobby for quite a long time since we were so early. To my surprise, they took our bags, gave us our room keys and then took us to our room and gave us a tour! They were VERY nice! The Park Hyatt is a great location for going on a cruise since it is only about 300 steps from the terminal in the Circular Quay. It has an outstanding view of the Opera House as well. It is also VERY expensive. My wife and I, as well as our friends, are all retired. We got a deal to get these rooms at the price we did. I'll post a picture taken from the pool area.
From the pool area by silentdad, on Flickr
We were going to stay there for 3 days before the cruise to get over the 15 hour difference in time between Eastern time and the time in Sydney.
During those three days, we walked around the town. I must say that Sydney is a beautiful city and a great place to walk in. The food is quite expensive though. 18 dollars for a chicken sandwich and $4.50 for a coke-- no free refills. Ah, well, that's travel. We took the ferry to Manley- a seaside resort, walked to Darling Harbor so my wife could get a Hard Rock pin- she collects them- and went to Woolworth's, a store that is definitely not a five and dime store. We slowly adjusted to the time difference, saw a lot of neat things (Opera House) and took many pictures. Everyone in our group loved Sydney.
Next up: Boarding of the ship.
Here's a pic of the Terminal taken from our room.
View before ship arrives by silentdad, on Flickr