Jump to content
onespots

Just returned on Celebrity Solstice 14 night cruise to Australia & New Zealand

Recommended Posts

First I would like to thank all the people who responded to me many months ago about planning for this trip.

The Port Douglas advise was extremely valuable & I'm glad we lodged there instead of Cairns. It was quite warm in Port Douglas for November & we enjoyed all the activities the town has to offer & a smooth ride out to the reef for some snorkeling.

 

Our accommodations in Sydney were very nice as we stayed in the Meriton serviced apartments about 5 kilometers from the Harbor Bridge & Opera House. Then on Saturday embarked on the Solstice to begin our next journey. The port area was under a lot of construction making it difficult to get to the proper area to receive our luggage. The process time with Celebrity was about 1 hour.

 

Our cruise was just great & the weather was quite good, except for a bit of our time in Doubtful Sound. We found the service levels to be good throughout the entire ship. Only exception would be the Martini Bar. Our dinning staff was terrific & sommelier exceptional. People aboard were very friendly & engaging. Food was okay to good as you would find on most mass market companies. Second show in the theatre was generally filled & the entertainment about what you would expect on a cruise ship. I know we just scratched the surface of these two beautiful countries & would hope to return again someday.

Once again Cruise Critic proved to be a valuable tool in planning our holiday.

 

Happy Travels, John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First I would like to thank all the people who responded to me many months ago about planning for this trip.

The Port Douglas advise was extremely valuable & I'm glad we lodged there instead of Cairns. It was quite warm in Port Douglas for November & we enjoyed all the activities the town has to offer & a smooth ride out to the reef for some snorkeling.

 

Our accommodations in Sydney were very nice as we stayed in the Meriton serviced apartments about 5 kilometers from the Harbor Bridge & Opera House. Then on Saturday embarked on the Solstice to begin our next journey. The port area was under a lot of construction making it difficult to get to the proper area to receive our luggage. The process time with Celebrity was about 1 hour.

 

Our cruise was just great & the weather was quite good, except for a bit of our time in Doubtful Sound. We found the service levels to be good throughout the entire ship. Only exception would be the Martini Bar. Our dinning staff was terrific & sommelier exceptional. People aboard were very friendly & engaging. Food was okay to good as you would find on most mass market companies. Second show in the theatre was generally filled & the entertainment about what you would expect on a cruise ship. I know we just scratched the surface of these two beautiful countries & would hope to return again someday.

Once again Cruise Critic proved to be a valuable tool in planning our holiday.

 

Happy Travels, John

 

 

Great to hear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John, I'd like to hear more about the advice you received of Port Douglas vs. Cairns. We're going to Cairns for 3 nights after our Sydney/Fiji/NZ cruise, with the primary goal of seeing the GBR. (currently have a day trip scheduled to Green Island) Family of 4 with 2 kids, we currently have reservations at the Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort in Woree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We will be staying in PD after 1/22 Solstice cruise. Any recommendations? Staying at By the Sea and doing reef and rainforest tours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John, I'd like to hear more about the advice you received of Port Douglas vs. Cairns. We're going to Cairns for 3 nights after our Sydney/Fiji/NZ cruise, with the primary goal of seeing the GBR. (currently have a day trip scheduled to Green Island) Family of 4 with 2 kids, we currently have reservations at the Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort in Woree.

 

Recommend Port Douglas over Cairns. The latter is the largest town in the North, whilst Port Douglas is a tropical resort town, with a beautiful long beach, close to Daintree.

 

Port Douglas is where the GBR and rainforest meet. If you have time, I recommend a drive north to Daintree and Cape Tribulation.

 

http://www.pddt.com.au

 

I would also recommend a trip to GBR rather than Green Island.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your report back, John. Pleased to hear you enjoyed your cruise, as well as Port Douglas, a beautiful part of Queensland.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Recommend Port Douglas over Cairns. The latter is the largest town in the North, whilst Port Douglas is a tropical resort town, with a beautiful long beach, close to Daintree.

 

Port Douglas is where the GBR and rainforest meet. If you have time, I recommend a drive north to Daintree and Cape Tribulation.

 

www.pddt.com.au

 

I would also recommend a trip to GBR rather than Green Island.

 

Well now I'm confused. I realize Green Island isn't deep in the GBR, but it's still part of the reef, and you'll see a sample of the coral and marine life, no? What's a good place or company that does a better GBR day trip?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well now I'm confused. I realize Green Island isn't deep in the GBR, but it's still part of the reef, and you'll see a sample of the coral and marine life, no? What's a good place or company that does a better GBR day trip?

 

You can visit the GBR from Port Douglas. I have visited the GBR reef lots of times, but I'm sure someone will have a more recent day trip recommendation from Port Douglas. My favourite place to stay on an island on the southern part of the GBR is Heron Island.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the drive between Cairns airport and a hotel in Port Douglas easy?

Suggestions for a tour of Daintree?

Kuranda train or tram.. is it worth it? What is the appeal at the top of rail(Kuranda)? Just a market or more? Can you drive to it?

Ideas for someone who is going to forgo the GBR.

Shopping in Port Douglas?? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is the drive between Cairns airport and a hotel in Port Douglas easy?

Suggestions for a tour of Daintree?

Kuranda train or tram.. is it worth it? What is the appeal at the top of rail(Kuranda)? Just a market or more? Can you drive to it?

Ideas for someone who is going to forgo the GBR.

Shopping in Port Douglas?? :)

 

Why not get a shuttle to Port Douglas. The road is OK, a bit windy in parts and narrow. There are some gorgeous views so best enjoyed from a shuttle. There are plenty of shuttles running between PD and Cairns airport. We've been to PD a number of times and only rented a car once - and that was because we want to go the very long way round via Cooktown.

 

Kuranda is a small town, shops, restaurants, butterfly sanctuary, a bird park, a koala park. More things than you can fit into one days there. http://www.kuranda.org/ The scenery from both the train and the skyrail is stunning. The skyrail allows you to get off a various points to see the rainforest close up. You can drive there but, again, it's a narrow, steep, winding road so why bother.

 

I recommend Tony's Tropical Tours for a Daintree trip. https://www.tropicaltours.com.au/

 

There are plenty of shops in Port Douglas, catering from all tastes, souvenirs, clothing, books. There are some great restaurants and cafes too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eclipse shuttle and Tony’s tropical tour were recommended by our PD hotel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is the drive between Cairns airport and a hotel in Port Douglas easy?

 

Why not get a shuttle to Port Douglas. The road is OK, a bit windy in parts and narrow. There are some gorgeous views so best enjoyed from a shuttle.

 

We first visited the area in 2003 and hired a car for our week long stay, that road (Cook Highway) soon became one of my favourite drives. So when we returned last year while on the same cruise as OzKiwiJJ we hired a car at Yorkies Knob for the second day so that we could get to Freshwater Station for the trip up to Kuranda.

 

It was also our intention to take the drive up to Port Douglas afterwards but unfortunately when we set off the skies opened big style. We made it as far as Rex Lookout before turning back. Such as shame but still nice to see it all again albeit wet!

 

 

33577268741_1717673c29_c.jpg

 

33577267151_73bf032941_c.jpg

 

We are just going to have to go back at some point so I can once again drive it with the sun shining!

 

33577239681_1cfc2f6cde_c.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John, I'd like to hear more about the advice you received of Port Douglas vs. Cairns. We're going to Cairns for 3 nights after our Sydney/Fiji/NZ cruise, with the primary goal of seeing the GBR. (currently have a day trip scheduled to Green Island) Family of 4 with 2 kids, we currently have reservations at the Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort in Woree.

 

 

 

We are Cairns locals. Coconuts is nice and great with kids but it is far out of town. It's a 20 minute drive to town or 10 mins to closest shopping centre. It's not really an issue if you have a car but the public transport in Cairns is pretty crap. Just wanted to let you know. It is a nice place to stay though and as I said great with kids. We live about 5 minutes from there. Just MHO. Green Island is nice but outer reef trips are definitely better to see the reef. A lot of the coral around Green Island is sadly dead from everyone walking on it for years. Don't get me wrong it's still nice but if you are coming a long way to see GBR I would do an outer Barrier Reef trip to one of the pontoons. Anyway, as I said just my opinion. Port Douglas is great too, about an hour's drive from Cairns. Nice hotels and you can do reef trips from there as well. Lots of great restaurants and boutique shops. Hope this helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have a bit more time in port Douglas (or Cairns), here is a FULL ON long day trip. A 4WD vehicle tour to Cooktown and back.

This is not something for the faint hearted, or folks with bad backs or who are in need of walking aids.

Early departure from hotel, drive via Cape Tribulation to Cooktown via some serious off roading through the jungle / rain forest. See aboriginal settlements, awesome sights, probably loads of wild animals, way out of the way pubs. Usually lunch in the town of Cooktown. Then return trip via the very different inland "highway " and over the mountains eventually back to Cairns or PD.

Not cheap at around AUD 300 or so per person, but a spectacular day.

Google daytrips Port Douglas to Cooktown and you will find operators.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the posting, doing this cruise in about 6 weeks with friends so good to hear about a nice experience.

 

Great to hear that your "down under" adventure went well. For Kim and others planning on a future visit to these wonderful regions and needing ideas, please check out my live/blog below. Lots visuals and potentials to consider in both Australia and New Zealand.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 194,078 views for this posting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WILDBLUE, Also upcoming cruises on Solstice. Read GREEN ISLAND Coral is all bleached out. Check it out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"but the public transport in Cairns is pretty crap."

 

 

going to visit Tjapukai DIY by bus from Cairns and back. Schedule is every hour from downtown bus station. Do you recommend we not take the bus? Or perhaps take an Uber? Not going to drive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone have a link then, to a GBR day trip that they’d recommend OTHER than Green Island? I can’t find any actual trips, only people saying to do something else

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Google "wave dancer low isles".

Of all the GBR tours I've done, this was the nicest (And THAT trip I took four times already)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Sailaway trip to the Low Isles is pretty good too. The snorkelling is actually quite decent there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check out Reef Magic. I have not been as I am planning a trip, but they get good reviews on TripAdvisor. They take you out to a platform where you can snorkel, go in a glass bottom boat, or a semi-submersible, or they even have an underwater viewing area. You can also scuba or SNUBA or helmet dive. I also heard that the coral on Green Island is pretty washed out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Explore the Night. Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win win a free cruise for two with Azamara Club Cruises!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Community Contests
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×