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Posts posted by aussiebossyboots

  1. 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.

  2. 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.


  3. 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.

  4. 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:classic_sad: 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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....

    • Like 1
  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. This is a great topic, many thanks for the information.


    We are booked on the Sea Princess departing Brisbane on 12 January.  When I log into our personal information, the site states the address for two wharfs:


    1. Port of Brisbane

    2. Portside Wharf


    The information does not specifically state which wharf our ship will depart from. 


    Thanks for the information about the Portside Wharf which currently only displays information to 31 December. 


    Looking at this information the Sea Princess docks here regularly, so can I presume it will do so for our sail away as well?


    Thanks in advance.

  12. My biggest problem is fitting all the food in unfortunately.  Though my husband is always tempted by a (or more) delicious pastry.  Because I will be celebrating my birthday on this cruise we have done the unbelievable for us - ordered the Ultimate Romance Package from P&O which includes canapés every night so more food to fit in.


    May be we should just walk back:classic_rolleyes:

  13. Yes, it is a ship excursion - it is the Aquanature - 2 hour snorkeling trip commencing at 8.45am (presume this time is 'meet time' on the ship).  Estimate we should be back on the ship by 12 noon at the latest as there is another excursion in the afternoon at 12.30pm. 


    Estimated Timing:


    • In a taxi or Hop/Off by 1pm - that gives us 3 - 3.5 hours to visit Anse Vata Beach & Lemon Bay.
    • Back to cruise shuttle bus stop by 4.30pm for a 5.30pm departure

    Being panic merchants about missing the ship, we are always back at the ship/ship shuttle 1 hour before departure.  Hence the need to ensure our return transport from Lemon Bay or making sure we have enough time to walk back.


    Will make note of last shuttle bus timing.



  14. Thanks everyone for all your suggestions it has been really helpful.  I have been able to locate the Container Terminal and yes it is very close to the Main Cruise Terminal. 


    If the afternoon has fine weather we have a couple of options:


    1. Taxi to Anse Vata Beach - walk back (about 1 hour - we should have nearly 2.5 hours) via Lemon Bay to the cruise shuttle bus stop.

    2. Hop On/Off Bus to Anse Vata Beach - walk to Lemon Bay - drinks at La Barca and then Hop/On back to the cruise shuttle bus stop.


    Then may be a pastry at Les Petits Choux and check out the Noumea Duty Free.


    Cheers and many thanks again.

  15. Just going to New Caledonia so no Vila.  We did Vanuatu for a week earlier in our travelling days.  We have only recently discovered cruising (getting older so it is easier).  Have only done two so far with Cunard in Europe and Canary Islands, but need to stay closer to home this 12 months due to family requirements.  So trying P&O mainly for timing and being closer to Australia.


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