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Everything posted by aussiebossyboots

  1. Thanks everyone for your replies. Yes, we are going to the Conflict Islands and I have booked the Princess Excursion to the snorkeling platform just because I am not a very strong swimmer (though Hubby will be there to help). We will then do our own thing for the rest of the day. Regarding Alatou, I have finally managed to find an operator who offers a simple snorkeling trip to an island abut 20 minutes drive away (+ short motor boat trip), including a visit to the market and a local school who will accept payment on the day. So this makes me feel much better than transferring money to a bank account weeks ahead of our arrival. Cheers,
  2. I am dealing with a couple of local agents to organise a day trip for snorkeling. Both want prepayment, a 50% deposit now, and the balance 2 weeks before arrival. The amount for one of the day trips is, in my opinion, substantial, but still $218 less than the Princess excursion, but of course the Princess excursion I believe is more substantial and probably worth the extra money, but I am not prepared to pay $718 for the day trip for 2!! Another agent, in another port in Papua New Guinea is happy with us turning up and paying the amount in AUD$ on the day. Your thoughts on prepayment would be very helpful. Thanks in advance.
  3. Well it is Papua New Guinea and I have read similar experiences across the board. We have decided to go with Rabaul Cruise Tours (they work with Kokopo Tours). They have a stand at the cruise dock, take cash AUD on the day so no pre deposits which a couple of other operators were asking for. We will be transported to the Rapopo Plantation Resort for the morning snorkeling and lunch and then will join an afternoon tour returning to the ship by 3pm they have guaranteed. This is important as the ship departs at 4pm. We are not really interested in the afternoon activities but will just join along for the ride. If they get us to the ship earlier all the better as I will be a lot less anxious. Cost AUD$150 per person. Reviews of the snorkeling at Rapopo Plantation Resort are good, they also have a dive operator so maybe we can add on another activity. I will report back at the end of the cruise. Thanks for your comments.
  4. Hoping you guys can help. We are booked on a Sea Princess cruise (ex Brisbane) in January to Papua New Guinea and our main focus is snorkeling. Princess doesn't offer any snorkeling opportunities in Rabaul so we are looking at a local tour operator. Rabaul Cruise Tours (no reviews on Tripadvisor available) in association with Kokopo Tours (mixed reviews) offers the following option: Snorkel and Swim (morning) and in the afternoon tour the area (not interested). The snorkel/swim is done at the Rapopo Plantation Resort which has good reviews for this activity with a great sandy beach and nearby reef so happy about that. The cost meets our budget so not an issue, but getting back to the ship is!! We would rather get our own transport there and back and just use the resort facilities but I know that PNG really doesn't have that sort of reliable service. We are not interested in the afternoon activities of touring the area. Does anyone have any experience with a local operator that can provide this transfer service? I will be trying to contact the resort to see if they provide this service, but thought in the meantime I would like to ask if anyone on this forum can make alternative suggestions or know of a transfer service. Many thanks in advance:)
  5. Agree, went on P&O recently (first time) and the coffee was much better than Cunard!! In fact we didn't like the coffee on Cunard at all and couldn't wait to get to port. We had a P&O coffee every day, it was just like any café at home.
  6. Well I may now live in Canberra (suffering today) but I am not originally from Canberra. Also I am a 'Frog' and really feel the cold. Even swimming at Surfers in March is just OK! Looking to Papua New Guinea on Sea Princess in January 2020 - now the sea temperature should be all OK for me then
  7. Yes, I agree there was dancing every night almost in the Queens Court. I love to dance but unfortunately married to a man who just can't and he has tried. We did enjoy watching all the other people dancing pre dinner, we were on the late sitting and our routine was to go to the Queens Court, have a drink and enjoy watching. We tried the disco a couple of times (once it was New Year's Eve) but it just didn't kick off early enough for us.
  8. The sea temperature on the day in Noumea (according to the operator) was 23 degrees Celsius (about 74 degrees Fahrenheit). Everyone was asked to put on a wetsuit. The two guides both had full wetsuits including head covers. The water was cold for me. I had on a 3mm 'shorty' it covered me to my knees and to my elbows and when I got into the water it took my breath away which added to my confusion and combined with the strong current made me loose my focus. But that was me, I feel the cold. I used this wetsuit for all of our snorkeling adventures and was very grateful that my husband insisted on me purchasing it prior to the cruise. There is no way I would have gone into the water without it. And I was still cold. On the land it was quite warm for a couple of the ports, however we encountered a low pressure which cooled the air temperature considerably towards the end of the cruise. For the second last port, Mare, it was really cold and windy on shore, it ended up raining and all the passengers were back on board well before the set time. For the Isle of Pines, we missed the port due to rough seas/weather. I want to do this cruise again but will choose April or October/November.
  9. Quad biking is out 100%. I am surprised that Princess is offering this tour. After reading a Tripadvisor review it would be a dangerous thing to do, especially for us at our age. The potential to fall off is there unfortunately. The trike bike might be an alternative as you have an experienced rider taking you around while you sit at the back with a seat belt. Expensive though at NZ$115 for 25 minutes, but this is for the trike which can hold two passengers. But you (lyndarra) make a good point about checking our travel insurance to make sure that this is included just in case. Thanks for the heads up.
  10. Sorry.... need to wear my reading glasses, meeting place is Sailsbury Avenue, Mt Maunganuia. Still a good option.
  11. Thanks for the link dillpickle48, this is a great idea and they have a short tour that will take us up to the top of Mount Maunganui so that will save the legs. It's on the list for booking. Cheers,
  12. We have done two Cunard cruises and they were both wonderful. Yes, you can take all the wine on board as you wish, but there is a corkage charge of US$20 (I think) if you take the bottle to the dining room or anywhere else on the ship. We also took a bottle of Scotch on board and had a wee bit while we were getting dressed - no problems. The gratuities are not included, but you can have them removed by visiting reception and signing a form. The dressing was not difficult - a jacket for hubby and a dark suit for formal nights. He took his black suit and tie. There were lots of Tuxes but no one made us feel bad about this. I just took a couple of evening pants and one long skirt with a few tops for formal nights. On regular dining nights I just wore some of my regular clothes that I wear to work - no jeans. I read recently that Cunard have lowered their dress standards for the Pub in the evening. And of course in the buffet you can wear anything as long as you are covered. I agree that the shows are amazing - like really amazing, and they also have a great cultural program in the afternoons with opera/classical music which we really enjoyed. You must do the afternoon tea - it is included. We dined in their Verandah restaurant and it was also fantastic. But really the food in the main dining room was absolutely lovely, we had no complaints at all. The Queen Elizabeth is a great ship, very easy to navigate and very stable. We did the North Atlantic crossing from Southampton to the Canary Islands in December and although it was a bit rocky the ship really handled the journey very well. Loved Cunard... going on our first Princess journey in November so I cannot compare.
  13. Thanks everyone for some great suggestions, the itinerary is really coming together. dillpickle48 - I wanted to do a quad bike tour through Princess but after reading a couple of reviews on Tripadvisor that mentioned people falling off and I have absolutely no experience on one of these - but the V8 Trike tour may be a good alternative - will speak to Hubby about this one.
  14. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I have been away travelling for work and don't like using my Iphone. These are the tours we may book: Auckland - Waikeke Island and wine Tour with Princess Bay of Island - Haruru Falls Kayak with Princess Napier - DYI Heritage Walk and hoping to get a vintage car tour - but they are very expensive. There are also some good walks around - Sea Wall for Murals/Bluff Hill Lookout Walk Dunedin - getting a transfer to town and DYI. Good Company Tours does a transfer and an afternoon town tour for NZ$40pp so that may be on the cards Wellington - DYI again and the Cable Car & Te Papa Museum Tauranga - Thought we would do a quick town visit and then return to walk Mount Maunganui (around the base), the hot salt pools or walk over to Moturiki Island Akaror - Jet Boat maybe and just the town DYI. There is also the Rhino Walk but I need to research this more Does the above look OK? Any other suggestions? Many thanks for your comments.
  15. Now we are booked on Ruby Princess departing Sydney on 22 November. Any and all recommendations very welcome. As it will be Hubby's birthday on the cruise we will be doing the Chef's Table - good eating is very important. Now looking at options for shore excursions so if you have any recommendations please let me know. White water rafting and winery tours come to mind. Really excited.
  16. Hi Makawe The morning snorkel worked very well and gave us plenty of time to change/eat and spend the afternoon on the Hop On/Off bus which was 1000 francs per person. To be honest, this was our first snorkel in 20 years and we had a few issues getting into the water and getting started so we were at the back of the group of snorkelers so the water wasn't very clear and in comparison to the rest of the group we didn't see as much as, particularly me as I was struggling a bit to swim against the current and my husband was more concerned about me that seeing the little fishes. The current was quite strong (for me) so when I first dropped into the water I drifted away from the boat and panicked. We did manage to see quite a few fish and a turtle. The others on the excursion were absolutely 100% thrilled with the trip. The organization of the trip was excellent, they provide all the gear so no need to take anything, just wear your swim suit. In fact, if you use their gear, you can just rinse off (they have fresh water available) change into your clothes and go off the boat for your afternoon walk without returning to the ship. Our group was broken up into two groups and because we took our own gear they thought we were all OK. I would certainly recommend the trip if you are good snorkelers. However, we did have a couple of younger children and some teenagers who seemed to manage quite well. It was a professionally organized trip.
  17. We would be happy to return and do Amedee Island or Duck Island for easier snorkeling for our age group. Looking at a Princess Cruise that goes to Fiji and also calls in at Lifou and Noumea. We really enjoyed the snorkeling in Lifou. Unfortunately we didn't get to the Isle of Pines due to weather/waves so that is also on the to do list.
  18. The Ultimate Romance Package framed our holiday - each day there was an offering made to our stomachs by the Gods in the Kitchen & Bar!!! Eventually we had to give some of the offerings to our Cabin Stewards, hope that was OK and they enjoyed them. The room service breakfasts were even larger that we ordered because they added extra bits. At the end of 10 nights I really do not want to see another chocolate covered strawberry again.... well for at least another month. The extra mini bottles of champagne came in handy for pre dinner drinks in the Ocean Bar. We used the OBC from this package to eat at both Shell and Bones and 400 Gradi and agree that 400 Gradi is much better. Shell and Bones was really strange, my husband ordered the lobster and got a whole lobster and nothing else. I ordered the chicken and got a WHOLE chicken!!!!! We ordered sides and they were a very large portion and the corn was frozen and looked/tasted like it was sitting in boiling water for over 1 hour. There was enough food to feed at least 4-6 people. Strange! Yes, the rooms are small but adequate. Overall the service level of the P&O Explorer was exceptional, what a great bunch of staff. We only saw two shows but they were great especially the Great Gatsby Night. Loved the bands especially Dusk to Dawn in the Blue Room - amazing singer and piano player. We also met some wonderful people who were very friendly. Overall we had a 100% fantastic time. Thank you everyone for your suggestions and comments because they really added to our overall enjoyment.
  19. The Chef's Table was the highlight meal of our cruise - many thanks for making the suggestion. Yes it was expensive, but totally worth the experience. They had a second Chef's Table and I wish I knew as we would have booked for the second one even if it had the same menu. We also did the dinner/show Love Riot combo. The same chef that prepares the Chef's Table also does the pre dinner meal and it was again amazing - 5 courses without wine. It made the whole evening an event especially the walk from The Waterfront (special area) to the Black Circus for the show was an event in itself. We loved the show, the acts were fantastic, but not too sure about the language and the other elements of the show. The Ultimate Romance Package is a must do... amazing value and it framed every day of our holiday. I will report on it in my other post. Many thanks....
  20. Hi Everyone, just thought I would report back and say a big thank you for all your suggestions. Our visit to Noumea worked out perfectly. We did the 'off the boat' snorkeling trip which was a bit difficult for us after 20 years of not snorkeling but we eventually, with the help of the operators, got our fins wet and managed to keep up with the much younger generation. It was a great. We arrived back to the port by about 11.30am-12 noon and managed a quick shower/change and a sandwich in the buffet and back on shore again. We took the Hop On/Off bus to Lemon Bay and walked to Anse Vata Beach and then caught the bus back to the town to have a pastry at Les Petits Choux. Very nice and very easily done all within the time limit allocated. Cheers
  21. I have been in touch (email) with AMF Magnets and ordered their 22kg magnetic hooks which hopefully should be delivered by early next week. Will test them out on our cruise on 9 July and then report back on their efficiency. Cost was AUD$7.66 each + postage. The price gets cheaper with increased quantity, but I only wanted 4. Thanks for all your suggestions. Now to find a Reject Shop to look for the sun lounger clips.
  22. Wow! didn't know that. Well tell Hubby as he is attached to his watch.
  23. Thanks again, have sent an email to magnets.au. Having purchased from them before, they were very reliable and the hooks arrived really quickly. Cheers,
  24. Thanks. I actually bought the 5.5kg magnets from magnetsau but they were not strong enough. I will try to contact them by phone to discuss which magnets are the best option. Cheers. Any information on sun lounger clips?
  25. Dear Aussie Cruisers I have been looking for magnet hooks and sun lounge towel clips to purchase locally in the ACT. Tried Bunnings & a travel shop - not available. I did purchase some magnet hooks on line through Ebay (AMF Magnets) that were supposed to hold 5 kgs, but unfortunately on the cabin wall only managed to hold my shawl!! If you know where I can buy these hooks & sun lounger clips anywhere in Canberra or Sydney please let me know. Thanks in advance.
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