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rockgarden

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About rockgarden

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Brentwood, CA, USA
  • Interests
    Golf, cruising, reading
  1. Ellis - just for your information - you can get your visas for free. We flew via United, called their reservations to check up on visas - no charge. Just give them your passport information and it is arranged. No confirmation, but later on we did phone again just to make sure that it had been done for both of us. United plus other airlines have an agreement with Australian airlines that is reciprocal - they get their US visas for free as we do with Australian Remember when you leave Auckland there is a $25 exit fee - cash - to be paid at the airport. We did not do anything through Princess. Made our tour arrangements for the Blue Mountains - $82 Aus.dollars - exceptional service. Bid on Priceline.com for our hotel (as was only two of us) five-star - came up with Sydney Harbor Marriott - across the street from Circular Quay where Sapphire docks so you could if you wish walk to the ship. We did our own transfer service. Just got a cab when we arrived. Quite a line but dozens of cabs so didn't take long. We found it much easier than waiting for 40+ other people to board the Princess bus, loading luggage etc. From the Marriott it is exceptionally easy to walk to the Opera House, Ferries, the Docks area, and if you have time go to the Pitt St. Arcade(s) to shop. If u r economizing, don't eat around the Circular Quay area. Our hotel had a buffet which, if you have a large appetite, is very good. However, I paid $13 AUD for a bowl of Rice Crispies, DH paid $33 AUD for 2 eggs, bacon, hash browns (looked like McDonalds), toast and I think he had grilled tomatoes also. Next day we ate at a very small cafe just outside the hotel and he had a full English breakfast - 2 fried eggs, french fries or hash browns, grilled mushrooms, tomatoes, sausage - plus toast and coffee - for $9.80 AUD. Depends on you - in other places we have just said, "We paid --- for this cruise, so why start economizing now." We also made our own air arrangements and came out better on that, also.
  2. rockgarden

    Tipping/Gratuities in Australia?

    Jennie - you are certainly right about that. Depends on what they do and how they do it. If all one does is pour a cup of coffee, forget it.
  3. rockgarden

    Tipping/Gratuities in Australia?

    We just returned from Australia and New Zealand. We knew about the "no tipping" and found it to be totally incorrect while we were in Sydney. In fact, a tour guide told us that the information I had from the Cruise Critic boards was not true, a baggage handler also said the same. Every restaurant we ate in had a the word "Gratuity" in its own space at the end of the bill. Was also told that because New Zealanders don't like to tip anyone, that cancels out the expectation of tips in New Zealand. They are not going to tip so why should anyone tip them!!! However, unlike in the U.S., there are no cups on the counter for tips in any small coffee bar or other sandwich bars. Perhaps it was not so in the past, but the younger generation thinks it is a great idea whether they get a good salary or not. Any little helps.
  4. rockgarden

    For Kiwi Cruzer

    Thanks for the information. Yes, you are right - this could happen anywhere. But - it is good to be reminded to be aware and alert at all times. Thanks again. Rosemary
  5. rockgarden

    For Kiwi Cruzer

    I forgot to ask you about the incident in Sydney Airport. What happened and how? It might be good for everyone interested to know just what their approach was and how you avoided getting ripped off. Rosemary
  6. rockgarden

    What time does it.....

    Hi, Este From what I can see, sunset is around 8 to 8:30 in Aus and NZ. I knew it would be earlier than us here in the U.S., but not so early. When we go to England in summer, it stays light until around 10:30 pm - just seems like you have forever to go places and get things done. Lovely. Anyhow, have started packing. One case is almost done, so I closed it and picked it up. Felt like 100 lbs - but got on the scale, then picked it up and the lbs went up only 45. United allows 70 lbs each case, two p/p, for international, so I guess we are ok. How are you doing? Rosemary
  7. rockgarden

    What time does it.....

    Thanks Globaliser. Will do. Rosemary
  8. rockgarden

    What time does it.....

    In January - what time does it get dark in Australia (and New Zealand. Just interested - we will be driving in New Zealand and need an idea as to how late we can expect daylight. Thanks.
  9. Hi, Galelynn - me again from Brentwood. If you look further back in this forum, you will see I posed the same question. According to responses, it is much more economical to get a taxi. Rosemary
  10. rockgarden

    Marks & Spencers

    Thanks, Mickeyd. Will make a note of those two. Don't know how much time we will have to shop, but I would like to take a look and just compare. Rosemary
  11. rockgarden

    Marks & Spencers

    Thanks, Globaliser. I know at one time they were in Canada, so thought perhaps Aus. had them. Too bad.
  12. rockgarden

    Marks & Spencers

    Anyone out there...............is there a M&S in Sydney? If so, is it a big one and is it in the city centre? I was just thinking (after I wash my husband's M&S pants) that he could purchase a couple of pairs of pants while we are there. They are so good - just put them in the washing machine, hang dry, and they come out like new - no wrinkles, still a sharp crease and no need to press. Wonderful pants.
  13. rockgarden

    United Airlines - Flight Attendants Strike

    Hi, Galelynn We are in Summerset III. Do you play golf? Everyone around here seems to be getting "into" it - even me. We are liking Brentwood more now - when we moved in there were absolutely no shops and very few restaurants, not that we eat out that much but it is nice to have a little more choice other than Jack-in-the-Box or KFC!! Was Alistair Greener the Activities Director (or whatever they are called)? Was he good? If so, I hope he is still on the ship. I did read that maybe he is going on leave soon. Rosemary
  14. rockgarden

    Casino 3 percent charge

    Baxter, you are right, but I still think it is a cheapskate way to handle cash in the casino.
  15. rockgarden

    Casino 3 percent charge

    Well, thanks for that - I thought that Princess might just be the same as Celebrity or RCCL - no charge - they just change your money to whatever you need. So, the way to go is to charge it to our Visa and we will get the miles. I suppose the next thing will be that the other cruise lines will start doing the same once they start changing their machines over to newer models.
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