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Mike From Syd

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Everything posted by Mike From Syd

  1. Best advice would be to just relax. You deserve to enjoy yourself just as much as the couples, families, etc. I recently did my first solo on a cruise to New Zealand on Ovation of the seas. The solo meet ups were a bit hit and miss, but I still met lots of nice friendly people. I was on the late dinner seating in the MDR at a large table (for ten). Some nights there were 2 to 5 of us for dinner and we all got along really well and there were a couple of nights I dined at that table by myself (as the others booked specialty dinning) but the wait staff were quite friendly and I felt very welcomed and looked after. The MDR food was surprisingly good too (my opinion anyway). If you want to do something just do it. Being on my own did not stop me going to shows, using the spas, drinking at the bars, going on excursions, etc. Sometimes I would write in a journal to keep myself busy if there was no conversation going on in the bars or when I was waiting for my breakfast. I think what helped too is I put myself in the right frame of mind before my holiday. I told myself not to expect to make friends and just relax and be happy that I was not at work. Lucky for me I met some nice people and the staff were all polite and friendly. Have a great holiday!
  2. Hi Eric, At Tauranga there is a mountain that you can see from where the ship is docked. I can't remember the name of the mountain. I walked up this mountain and took lots of photos of the beautiful views of the beaches below and of the ship, as well as the sheep that I passed along the way. Make sure you take water with you and remember sun protection if you choose to do this - which is good advice for all of the ports you go too. I had a tour of Larnach Castle booked for Dunedin, but our itinerary was changed and we went to Picton instead. Mike
  3. I was recently on Ovation and heard from my dinner table mates that the galley brunch tour was a few courses and nothing special. When I did it on Voyager a couple of years ago it was amazing. A buffet with different cheeses, salads, prawns, fancy desserts served in champagne flutes, pastries etc - it was bananas! Heaps of delicious foods. We also ordered a main from a menu of about 5 different mains. I told my table mates all about this and when they did the tour (on Ovation) they were disappointed with their meal. I know food can be subjective though. Some people have a more refined palate and others can be happy with a lower standard. Different people have different tastes.
  4. If you have a beverage package you can get your coffee from Le Patisserie but the food costs extra there. I mention this because its usually not as busy as the coffee bar at the windjammer in the morning. There are also a couple of dinning rooms open for breakfast (no extra charge) which are not as busy as the windjammer. Go to the buffet one as the one with table service (called Silk) was slow and they got orders mixed up. One of the dinning rooms has a salad bar (no extra charge) at lunch with all sorts of yummy things - chicken, cheeses, hams, antipasto - and also a dessert bar. I think this was American Icon. Someone already mentioned Solarium Bistro for dinner. You book for this and it is considered specialty dinning but does not cost anything. Food was very good and reasonably healthy - dips, antipasto etc as well as a main that you order from a menu. Cafe at 270 is mostly free (a few cakes at the coffee bar cost extra) and is open for breakfast and lunch. they do a delicious grilled cheese sandwich called Harvest. It is ham, brie or camembert cheese with slices of granny smith apple on a fruity bread (cranberry maybe?). I enjoyed this with a glass of wine on my balcony. Lastly I was assigned the Chic dinning room (no extra charge) for the late dinner seating where both the food and service were great. I was a solo and they treated me very well. In fact all the staff on the ship were great. Don't forget to show up early for the shows if you want better seats. Happy Cruising!
  5. Ovation of the seas is a beautiful ship. Plenty of bars and places to eat (both complimentary and specialty), lots of activities, great entertainment (shows with acrobatics, etc) and the captain is quite handsome also. The only downside I can think of is having to get to shows really early to get good seats and having to get a tender to most ports (she is huge after all) however I have to say the tendering ran quite smoothly on my recent cruise to New Zealand. Also the gay meet ups in the evening were a bust but this might be because they were at 7pm when a lot of people would have either been at dinner or a show. However I did meet heaps of lovely straight people. This was my 2nd time on Ovation and my 1st time solo and the staff were very nice to me especially in the Chic dinning room (I was on the 8pm seating) where the food was surprising good. I hope this helps. Mike
  6. Hi Eric, I have not done Hobbiton and even though I have not seen most of the movies I went to the Weta Workshop in Wellington and found the tour quite interesting. We were shown a lot of props, costumes and got to learn how they made some of them. There was also a room where we were allowed to take photos and there was a man working on a sculpture that actually stopped and explained what he was doing. Also in Wellington I went to Te Papa museum which had a lot of traditional Maori artifacts and huge figures showing scenes from war which were actually made by Weta Workshop. I also did the tour of parliament which was the least interesting of my day out in Wellington. In Auckland I did a local tour (not from ship) called Auckland Free Walking Tour. It went for about 2.5 hours, is easy to find when you get off the tender and its an easy cheap activity - most people gave a $5 donation at the end of the tour. They are volunteers after all. The lady running the tour was quite informative and friendly and she offered sunscreen. I'm not sure if the link will come through, but here it is: https://www.afwt.co.nz/aboutus It was actually good to see the silvery glow of the worms in the dark of the cave (at Bay of Islands). I don't think we have anything like that in Australia, but forests and bush - we have plenty of that. Unfortunately a lot of it is on fire lately. Another thing is you are not allowed to take photos in the cave. What other stops is the ship making? Do you have questions about the ship? Mike
  7. Hi Eric, I was recently on Ovation and did the glow worm cave and kauri (I think thats how you spell it) forest tour which was a 4 hour excursion that I purchased when on sale in the cruise planner for AUD $109. I don't think I would do this again. Unless you are a serious nature lover or a kid its not that interesting/exciting. Half the tour is spent on the bus (although I think that is the case with a lot of the tours in NZ) so you end up spending about 30-40 minutes in the cave. The forest was a nice walk but again not that exciting. The upside was both the driver and the two guides were friendly and professional and did their best to answer questions. Just a tip: use the toilets when you get off the tender. There were no toilets at the forest and the mens room near the glow worm cave had limited facilities. I hope this helps. This was the second time I went to NZ on Ovation of the Seas so if you have other questions about the ports or the ship I might be able to answer them. Happy Cruising!
  8. When my partner and I were on Voyager OTS about a year and a half ago we ordered two servings of the rum baba each soon after seeing it on the menu that night in the MDR. It did not disappoint. I mainly remember the rum syrup that the baba was soaked in was delicious - not too strong but not too sweet/rich tasting either. I'm hoping to experience it again this December on Ovation, however I won't be upset as there will of course be plenty of other food to enjoy/experience. Is it possible to check out the menus on the TV in my cabin?
  9. What about purchasing booze at the ports of call in NZ? Is there a limit? I understand they store it until the last night.
  10. Hi Sorry if this has been discussed already or if it is a stupid question. My father has a few bottles of his delicious 2008 vintage home made red wine left and I am considering bringing one or two bottles on board for my December Ovation OTS sailing. Is it OK that the wine is home-made, has little preservative and is contained in sterilized re-used commercial wine bottles? Also I was wondering if I could get away with packing a cork screw in my suitcase. Obviously I would not pack the wine in my suitcase - I would openly declare it in my carry on when boarding. I thought it would be a nice touch if I get involved in my first cabin crawl. Happy cruising.
  11. Hey Jandex, Just wanted to know how your cruise this month on Ovation turned out Any particular things I should look out for - dining, shows, etc? Did your 5 night dining package work out? Did they have the fancy dessert buffet with the chocolate fountain at the Windjammer on the last port of call night?
  12. Maybe if I time it right I could get room service breakfast on the day we sail through the sounds and enjoy it on the balcony while taking photos of the first sound. Hopefully it won't be too cold/windy to enjoy breakfast on the balcony.
  13. Hi folks, I will be sailing on Ovation OTS Sydney to NZ round trip in December as a solo (in a studio balcony cabin). I understand that if I get the Royal Up offer email I will be charged double for the bidding. I would like to hear the experiences of other Sydney Solos in regards to Royal Up - how your upgrade turned out, accepted bids, not accepted bids, etc. I have a feeling I would just be better off staying in my shoebox cabin on deck six - at least the balcony is quite spacious considering the inside of the cabin. Still curious to know how it turned out for others. Thanks.
  14. Hi, thought I would try to revive this post/thread. Also happy to hear from anyone who has sailed on Ovation or other quantum class ships as a solo and what was their experience. Thanks.
  15. Hi, thought I would try to revive this thread. Also interested in hearing from people who have sailed on Ovation or other quantum class ships as a solo and what was their experience. Thanks.
  16. Just wondering which night the rum baba is usually served in the MDR on Royal Caribbean. I will be on Ovation OTS in December. Thanks.
  17. Hi All, A bit of a silly question. Is it easy to get to Kmart from NZ ports of call. I will be on Ovation OTS in December and was thinking of popping in perhaps when in Auckland or Wellington. I don't expect it to be much different from Sydney Kmart but you never know I just might happen to run out/forget to pack something and as sad as it may sound to some people it is one of my favorite stores. Thanks.
  18. I wonder if I time it right I might be able to enjoy a continental room service breakfast on the balcony of my cabin while taking photos of the first of the sounds on my Ovation OTS cruise in December. Hopefully it won't be too cold/windy to do so. Also not sure about the obstructions on my deck six balcony. Happy cruising everyone.
  19. Hi, Doing my fifth cruise with RC on Ovation in December and have not tried room service yet. The continental breakfast will most likely not be free forever so I plan on getting it at least once during this cruise. Apart from the first and last day of the cruise is room service breakfast available every day of the cruise? What do you recommend from the room service continental breakfast menu? Also has anyone done the C and A Society breakfast on the last day of the cruise? Is it worth it or are we better of with the last minute face stuffing at the Windjammer? Thanks.
  20. With some of the best features from other Royal Caribbean ships, Radiance offers plenty of diversity while maintaining an intimate vibe afforded by its modest size. (Note: An extensive upgrade is scheduled for 2020.) Has anyone else got info on this? What will the upgrade include? If it's true and a descent upgrade it would work out perfectly as I'm considering doing the B2B that goes all the way around Australia in 2021 for my 40th birthday. It would be my 5th cruise with Royal, 2nd time solo, 1st B2B and first time on Radiance. My first cruise was on Rhapsody of the Seas - is Radiance similar? Thanks and happy cruising.
  21. Hi, Anyone else on this 12 night round trip from Sydney to NZ? Thanks.
  22. Hi, Just wanted to know if any other solos on here will be on the Ovation of the Seas on 4th December (Sydney to NZ). Thanks.
  23. Hello, I have noticed the Chops Grille menu includes coffee cocktails/alcoholic coffees. Does anyone know if these are covered by the deluxe drinks package? Thanks.
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