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Everything posted by SinbadThePorter

  1. That's very interesting. Like a lot of people I never gave much thought to where all the waste goes on a cruise. From MARPOL it looks like treated sewage must be dumped more than 3 nautical miles out to sea and untreated sewage dumped more than 12 nautical miles out to sea. Out in the middle of the Pacific where there aren't many nutrients, I imagine such dumpings could result in considerable plankton blooms.
  2. Remember to slip, slop, slap. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7nocIenCYg The flies are seasonal but you are there in the height of their season. That said, they can vary from only really annoying to driving you insane. Long sleeves are a good idea, the long pants may be a bit hot. I'd prefer to use some sun screen. The NZ fiords are a long way south and don't underestimate how cold they can get even in summer. The rest of NZ should be warm enough though, or at least not cold.
  3. We always leave a tip, but we get confused as to whether it should be 15%, 18% or 20%. Also it's not always clear who you should tip and who you shouldn't. Or why. On the whole from the outside it appears arbitrary and unfair, but when in Rome. In regards to your trip, the flies in the Outback are terrible. Sometimes unbelievably bad. You will need a tactic such as a fly net over your hat (always wear a wide brimmed hat, not just a baseball cap) plus some sort of repellent. There is a local product called Rid which works well for me. You can also get it as a combination with sunscreen. Added bonus it will keep away mosquitoes when you are in Cairns, where they bite all day, not just at night.
  4. The problem is that it's an importation of a practice that is not needed nor wanted here. Every time you tip, it entrenches that practice just a little bit more. What you do on your vacation in a different country has impacts that extend beyond that vacation.
  5. A bus from Sydney to Cairns to Ayers Rock and back to Sydney in six days would be a sight to see.😀 Although I do understand you mean the tour bus for when you get to each destination. I'm not suggesting you change your plans, but if you have six days to spend in Sydney, Cairns and Ayers Rock. Don't. Spend those six days at either of Sydney, Ayers Rock (aka Uluru) or Cairns. Going between those places is like taking a six day tour that covers New York, Florida, Montana and then back to New York. It can be done, but should it be done?
  6. Can I ask what was involved in your re-fare? I often see it talked about, but I have no idea how you go about it. Do you have to cancel the original booking and rebook? If so, do you lose OBC or deposit, and maybe also risk losing your chosen cabin?
  7. I was on her last year, but I think that will be the last time. She's an old ship now and not very well kept up. There was a refurbishment a few years ago that spruced up some of the public areas and added the water slides. The cabins are looking very worn and tired and the steel superstructure is slowly disintegrating. I found the food to be bland and repetitious, but that's the case on all P&O ships.
  8. Not being a lawyer my opinion is worth as much as it costs, but I suspect that under Australian Consumer Law gratuities cannot be compulsory unless they are included as part of the advertised fare. Even if they are an American cruise line, they are selling a product in Australia and are subject to Australian law. I seem to recall that NCL did/does allow gratuities to be withdrawn when on board, but they require some sort of paperwork and the reimbursement was made to be some weeks after the end of the cruise.
  9. Just think of the positives.😀 Easy access to the forward lifts. Just a hop from the Pantry and a step to the NZ Ice Cream store. Very rough seas right now, but in two weeks the seas may be as smooth as silk. Who knows? Keep up the positive vibes.
  10. I sent a query about the new drinks package to Princess and this was the reply: "Thank you for contacting Princess Cruises regarding Premier Coffee and Soda Package. We appreciate you getting in touch with us. Please be advised that for AUD ships, Premier Coffee and Soda Package will not be available at this time for pre-purchase on Australia voyages but may be purchased onboard once available. In addition, there is no timeframe for the availability of the package. Furthermore, there is no non-coffee and non-alcoholic drinks package available at the moment."
  11. Not impressed. In Australia we didn't even have the option of buying the Soda package in advance, you had to buy it on board. I don't like coffee. Don't like the taste, don't like the smell. Why coffee has to be attached to a soda package I don't know. Does this also apply to kids? If this is true locally, I'll be carrying onboard a 24 can carton of my favourite carbonated beverage.
  12. I think Princess is the most booked out of the major cruise lines. HAL, P&O Oz, Carnival and even RCI will often have last minute value fares, whereas Princess generally doesn't have to because their cruises sell out earlier and more often. I'm talking locally here, cruises far from home are a completely different ball game. The trick is flexibility. If you must have a certain cabin, on a certain ship, doing a certain itinerary then that flexibility is lost.
  13. NZ by a mile. If you haven't seen NZ, you need to see it. Try to stay within walking distance of Circular Quay. It's the hub for seeing both the city and the harbour. Also for boarding the cruise. It will be expensive, but the favourable USD/AUD exchange rate should cushion that blow. While in Oz/NZ you don't need to tip, so you also save money there.
  14. So there is no problem with you ever spending the night as a guest in someone else's cabin. I wonder if Princess records will be open to subpoena?
  15. That first one would be the Sapphire Princess in November to December 2020? Good time of year, just before the school holidays. It takes in pretty much the whole of the Australian coastline between Port Lincoln and Port Douglas. An excellent choice if you go with it. Melbourne is a fine city to visit, just that it lacks some of Sydney's attributes, but that would be covered by your Queensland cruise anyway. Of course for your next Australian cruise, you could try a circumnavigation of Australia and/or side trips to Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji.😎 Whatever you choose, remember to take it easy and go with the flow.
  16. I am also on the Ruby in November. I had a problem with EZAir on the Princess personaliser because my TA had given me Sydney as my origin city despite having my address, so it would not allow me to see any flights.
  17. That would be OK, but a lot of people are more time poor than cash poor, so cruising makes a lot of sense. Particularly if you are used to traveling that way. For me the trouble of packing up and unpacking, getting to the next form of transport, traveling through some rather unimpressive or repetitive scenery, just to get to the next place you want to go, is not ideal. I'm in favour of getting a taste of a place, then going in depth if it warrants it. For that first (or second) taste, cruising is perfect. No matter how you do it, unless you keep coming back, you'll never see everything anyway.
  18. I think you would regret having come all this way and didn't take a cruise out of Sydney Harbour. The Opera House, the Bridge and the Harbour. Melbourne has nothing like it. The "cultural superiority" of Melbourne is something that exists mostly in the minds of Melburnians to make up for what the city lacks in scenic attributes. The only cruising advantage Melbourne offers over Sydney is shorter access to Tasmania and Kangaroo Island. You haven't said what destinations your cruises are heading to, but if you come to this part of the world your top priority should be a New Zealand cruise. Which are best done from Sydney.
  19. Only the first of those cruises covers Australia. The second the South Pacific islands. The third New Zealand. The Australia cruise starts and ends in Melbourne, which is a nice city to visit but doesn't add anything to the cruise. In Australia you are generally better off using Sydney as your jump off point. Sydney is also a better place to spend a few days looking around. New Zealand is far more scenic than Australia. Australia has the Great Barrier Reef. The Pacific Islands are postcard tropical islands without all the development you see in the Caribbean. All are friendly places. If you are unsure what you want to see, I'd recommend a cruise from Sydney around New Zealand and back to Sydney. Spending several days sightseeing in Sydney before and/or after the cruise. Ruby Princess, NZ, 13 nights, 8th March 2020 Radiance of the Seas, NZ, 13 nights, 14th March 2020 Late March is getting towards the end of the local cruise season when the weather gets cooler and less pleasant. If you can swing it, I'd recommend February as a better time for New Zealand.
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