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gypsy lady

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  1. Thank you for your reply. Is it a long bus trip to the site?


    Since Dubrovnik is a tender port, once off the tender you walk about 2 minutes and you're there. It's right in the center of the city. And yes the entertainment was the Cellist Anna Ruckner. She gives a 150% what a performance. Nothing like what u think it will be. Enjoy.,


    Gypsy lady

  2. It definitely comes back very nicely pressed. I can't remember the exact price but it was around $20 in late 2014. To be honest, I think it's such good value that I don't look anymore! You can also send single items as well.


    I understand your husband's problems with itchy skin and the need to use a special detergent but I have to say that I have very sensitive skin and can't use many detergents, shower gels etc but I have never had a problem on Azamara.


    Thanks so very much for the additional info.



  3. Will be in Hawaii on December 7 and we are interested in doing a tour of Pearl Harbour on December 7, has anyone done this before? If so what's the best way to do this? We won't be on a cruise instead, we're staying in Oahau. Do the tour companies set this up or is it even done on Dec 7 due to the memorial service that day?



  4. Appreciate the continued interest and comments from so many. Especially like the excellent work by MicCanberra and boeckli for providing the added specifics on my post number 22 about the details to answer the good question from alexandra cruiser. Good work and attention to details by them to jump in and do that sharing. This live/blog is now over 15,660 views!! Keep up the great involvement. So much more to come.


    Glad so many, including quilter06, patty and others, are using this live/blog to help prepare for their upcoming trips/adventures to this part of the world. Good luck on your trips. Later in February, I will do more comprehensive summaries for some added details on our sources for setting up certain of these trips and why we made our choices in certain ways.


    For Queen of the Queen, Akaroa is a tender port. We had a ship tour, so the timing worked fine with no problems going ashore for us. Coming back, we were the last group to sail on the last tender. Due to slowness with one other ship tour doing the TranzAlpine rail, we did not get back on the ship till 7 pm, an hour later than the scheduled Solstice sailing time. It all worked without any problems as we were on a ship's tour and they are guaranteed to wait for us. Akaroa is a very small and cute little village. Not well equipped, however, for big ships and all of the masses of buses. The secret here? Call guest relations the night before and find out when and where for that Akaroa day they will be handing out the "Tender Boarding Passes". That helps you get priority timing to get off of the ship that morning at the better times. If you wait and just show up, you will lose valuable shore time to get off of the ship and arrive in the port in a timely manner. One of the big, tragic challenges for doing tours in this area is the added time it takes to get from Akaroa to many of the key, nearby areas. It adds about an hour for the additional travel time to twist through the scenic hills above this port, plus to get back. For Queen of the Queen, what type of private tour are you planning?


    It's now approaching 7 am on the ship as I get up (while my wife sleeps) to do lots of work on the huge pile of photographs taken and needing review, edit fine-tuning, uploads to Photobucket, etc. Just from yesterday alone, there were about 450 pictures to check through. WHY??


    WOW!! What a day in and around Napier. Not many ships dock here. It is a great town and area, but this was the first time for our Captain and as I understand the Solstice to be docked here. This is the second busiest port for NZ. Huge amounts of timber on the docks here going out to China, plus so much else being exported from this area. The call it the "Bay of Plenty" with good reasons. Lots of nice wineries here. Saw a wide range of crops and fruits being grown in this area that generally has very good weather. Never gets too cold here, even in their winter. Rainfall amounts are not too heavy in this part of NZ.



    We had super high expectations here due to the advance research, checking Bing.com pictures, etc., but those big hopes were vastly and dramatically exceeded by the real life experiences of yesterday. WOW!! Times five, plus more.


    1. Get off of the ship and met by our experienced guide, Jo and Joanna. Great, warm, funny, sharing person who has lived her whole life here. Her family owned "The Farm" before Tiger Fund billionaire Julian Robinson bought the nearly 6,000 acres that compose Cape Kidnappers. She knows this territory so well, can answer every little question, etc., etc. As departed the ship, the Captain was there and agreed to do a picture with some of the ladies in our group. We congratulated him on the docking in this tight, challenging port.


    2. Drove through quaint Napier town, along the shore area in going towards Cape Kidnappers, seeing and learning so much of interest about the agriculture, weather, economy, etc. for this great NZ region.


    3. There were fourteen of us in our private group from Central Ohio. We were in a large (but not too large) of a four-wheel drive bus that took us throughout the private gates to enter this protected area. We drove through great stands of forests, deep ravines, up to scenic hilltop areas, over challenging terrain, etc. We went this morning to the first of seven different gannet nesting areas. We were up close and personal to see (and smell) thousands and thousands of these super cute and interesting birds. Only about 100-200 people each day get to come back here. We feel so super fortunate to be here and have a guide who knew ALL of the background and details. You'll see the pictures soon and then you will understand why I am so glowing in these comments. We went to several other vista points, learned more about Captain Cook, his experience here in 1769 (as I recall the date) and why it is named Cape Kidnappers.


    4. On our way to lunch, one person in our party wanted to stop at the golf course pro shop to look at some shirts from this location to buy for a family member. Did I mention a golf course? YES!!! This is only the 23rd best golf course in the whole, complete WORLD!! From the outside, this structure looks like a marginal exterior of an old farm building. BUT, the inside is so nice, well done in a hyper tasteful manner. Plus, having free wi-fi, rest rooms, etc. Great, highly enjoyable extra stop. The pictures will tell more. By the way, this is a public golf course, but you need to check and book ahead. To stay here, the most basic of the 23 rooms and suites here start at $1000 a night for a couple. You can spend lots more, if you want the better accommodations.


    5. Next to have lunch. Not McDonalds here. There are four chefs working on lunch for us and the two other tables of visitors here this day at this scenic location's lodge building. First, the General Manager, Hannah Butler, greets us and give us a personal tour of this facility that is styled and decorated in an understated, highly-tasteful manner. Class? It does not get any better than this location or the three-course meal we enjoyed. WOW, again and again!! The fourteen of us are seating at a large table in a special, glassed-in, but open area with views out to the Pacific Ocean, seeing all of the scenic hills and great terrain. It just us, the views, great food, etc. This golf course and lodge/dining facility opened only six years ago in 2007. The pictures will prove all that I am saying.


    6. In doing a private tour, the key advantage is the ability to adjust and adapt our schedule/plans as we deal with a world-class location and a perfect, sunny day that was also very cool and comfortable. We decided to head towards Napier with its special art-decco buildings for shopping and walking around in their compact and enjoyable down. Good plan. Plus more time to drive out through this 6,000 acre farm with its sheep, woods, sights, views, nature, etc.


    7. BUT, Jo tossed out a nice, added option. She is an excellent artist in oils. One of her large paintings was hanging at The Farm's Lodge, plus many are in galleries in Napier. Would we like to stop and see her studio? She lives in a beach-front house in the town just north of Cape Kidnappers. Our answer? Yes! It was super worth it. Lots of interesting plants on her grounds, nice to see more of her work, look at her section of the beach, etc. This all added to the "personal touch", learning more about life here, etc.


    8. Napier was wonderful and charming. Great stop, took lots of pictures, stopped in a local bank (with free wifi), talked with the local pharmacy owner, etc. Our ladies didn't buy too much here. There was a special local ice cream they got here and we enjoyed. About 45 minutes to enjoy this great little town with such character and charm as it re-built after its devastating earthquake and fire of 1931.


    9. Back to the ship where a bunch of old 1930's cars and a jazz-style band was there to greet us, thank us for visiting Napier. YES!! We super liked this port stop. More details with all of the pictures to come in the upcoming posts. Plus more on why the great combination of an excellent travel agent, plus smart, focused research by the traveler personally in advance makes the best, winning combination to create days like yesterday in Napier.


    Sorry for being so long in this summary, but when we have had this good fortune during a day, it is fun to share.


    For Sat, Feb. 1, in Tauranga, AccuWeather (that has been very, very good in their predictions and info so far on this long trip), they are saying . . . mostly cloudy and breezy, high of 72° and low 57°. We'll take it!! For Auckland on Mon., Feb. 3, the latest update show it will be mostly sunny and nice, high of 72°, low of 60°; Tues., Feb. 4, mostly cloudy with a shower, high of 75°, low of 65°; Wed., Feb. 5, partly sunny, a few showers with a high 76° and a low 63°. Why worry on the weather? Got to decide whether to wear shorts or now!! Shorts and short-sleaved Polo shirt worked perfect yesterday at Cape Kidnappers, especially knowing of the winter weather back home in Ohio.


    As we plan ahead for Waikoloa Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii, those four days are looking to be: Wed., Feb. 5, sunshine and some clouds, high of 82°, low of 67°; Thursday, Feb. 6, mostly cloudy, high of 79°, low of 69°; Friday, Feb. 7, a little afternoon rain, high of 80°, low of 66°; Sat., Feb. 8, a shower in the afternoon, high of 79°, low of 65°; Sun., Feb. 9, partly sunny, a few showers, high of 79°, low of 65°. Can we survive with that kind of weather for our first visit to the famed Big Island? YES!!


    THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio


    For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now over 132,821 views.



    We are also doing a similar cruise in October that stops in Napier. I would love to have the email address or link to this tour your group did for a group that I have on my cruise. If you can share I would love to get in touch with them to try and set up something like this. It sounds wonderful.


    Gypsy Lady

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