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Little Monty

Australia - New Zealand Dec / Jan review

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Compensation for missed ports?  You're lucky.  I've never gotten that on any cruise line I've been on. 

 

Only 4 sea days?  Hard to cover much of Australia and NZ without sea days.  Our upcoming cruise on another line has a LOT.  I'm learning how to deal with them, however.  Hope Viking put on extra activities on those days...some of us don't know how to relax.  Sounds like you do, though - good for you!

 

Anyway, thanks for the review.  And enjoy your Empires cruise.  We did that - wonderful!  I didn't do a review or post CC, but my photos are here: https://pbase.com/roothy123/root&page=all   There is a good amount of narrative to go along with the photos.  You'll have to scroll down to the gallery "Venice - Sept. 2015."  The galleries following the Venice ones are for Kotor (be looking outside close to sunset as you sail away from Kotor in the Bay of Kotor), Dubrovnik, etc.  I don't think you go to Pula (long tendering, lots of people complained) or Istanbul (no longer visited by cruise ships, such a shame!) 

Edited by IWantToLiveOverTheSea

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On 1/15/2019 at 10:26 PM, Little Monty said:

Too late to edit my original post .. but just add - please extend your stay in Sydney. We spoke to a number of passengers on the final evening who were leaving the next morning - all who greatly regretted not staying on. You don’t need to extend with Viking but please do stay a while. Anywhere or anything on or around the harbour is wonderful. 🙂

We are going to be in Sydney after our cruise ends next February.  Can you recommend an area that is convenient to the sights and also transportation to the airport?  It looks like there is a rapid transit option from the city to the airport.  We will have about a day and a half to explore prior to our flight which leaves at 3:45 pm.  If you know of specific hotels that are reasonably priced, we would also appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks

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On ‎3‎/‎25‎/‎2019 at 11:59 PM, IWantToLiveOverTheSea said:

Compensation for missed ports?  You're lucky.  I've never gotten that on any cruise line I've been on. 

 

Only 4 sea days?  Hard to cover much of Australia and NZ without sea days.  Our upcoming cruise on another line has a LOT.  I'm learning how to deal with them, however.  Hope Viking put on extra activities on those days...some of us don't know how to relax.  Sounds like you do, though - good for you!

 

Anyway, thanks for the review.  And enjoy your Empires cruise.  We did that - wonderful!  I didn't do a review or post CC, but my photos are here: https://pbase.com/roothy123/root&page=all   There is a good amount of narrative to go along with the photos.  You'll have to scroll down to the gallery "Venice - Sept. 2015."  The galleries following the Venice ones are for Kotor (be looking outside close to sunset as you sail away from Kotor in the Bay of Kotor), Dubrovnik, etc.  I don't think you go to Pula (long tendering, lots of people complained) or Istanbul (no longer visited by cruise ships, such a shame!) 

 

I've always said it is better to be lucky than good .. but yes it was a pleasant surprise.

 

And thanks for the link to the photos - I will look through them (and yes, Istanbul is a place I still want to get to .. one day). LM

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4 hours ago, Islandbc said:

We are going to be in Sydney after our cruise ends next February.  Can you recommend an area that is convenient to the sights and also transportation to the airport?  It looks like there is a rapid transit option from the city to the airport.  We will have about a day and a half to explore prior to our flight which leaves at 3:45 pm.  If you know of specific hotels that are reasonably priced, we would also appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks

hello Islandbc and thanks for the message.

 

There are a number of 5 star hotels with 5 star prices around the harbour - but this is the one we use and can recommend;

 

https://www.therocks.com/stay/holiday-inn-old-sydney/

 

The hotel is perfectly positioned, reasonably priced, and has good amenities.

 

If you are lucky enough to berth at Circular Quay (which is located between the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House) you can literally walk to / from the hotel (about 300 yards). If you berth at White Bay (as we did) it is a 10 - 15 min taxi ride to the hotel.

 

Either way - the hotel is in an ideal position to walk to the key points of interest around the harbour area. Once you have walked to the Opera House, through the Botanical Gardens, across (or above) the Harbour Bridge etc - make sure you try the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly (or Watsons Bay) and back if you have time.

 

The train to / from the airport leaves from Circular Quay railway station, about 500 yards from the hotel. It is only about 20 min from Circular Quay to the airport station.

 

February will likely be quite hot and possibly quite humid, so come prepared.

 

And wow .. I've just looked up Salt Spring Island on the map. What a great location. We visited BC / Alaska etc a few years ago and loved it.

 

Enjoy the planning and the trip. Regards, LM

 

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I second the Holiday Inn in the historic Rocks area. Perfect location and not eye wateringly expensive. If you want something a little more upmarket there’s a Four Seasons and  Shangri La very nearby too. Ask for a room with bridge/harbour/opera house views.

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The new Sofitel in Darling Harbor is fantastic. Stayed there at the end of a cruise for several nights. Easy walking to downtown, maritime museum, restaurants and transportation. Highly recommend. 

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On 3/25/2019 at 12:52 PM, Little Monty said:

hello Islandbc and thanks for the message.

 

There are a number of 5 star hotels with 5 star prices around the harbour - but this is the one we use and can recommend;

 

https://www.therocks.com/stay/holiday-inn-old-sydney/

 

The hotel is perfectly positioned, reasonably priced, and has good amenities.

 

If you are lucky enough to berth at Circular Quay (which is located between the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House) you can literally walk to / from the hotel (about 300 yards). If you berth at White Bay (as we did) it is a 10 - 15 min taxi ride to the hotel.

 

Either way - the hotel is in an ideal position to walk to the key points of interest around the harbour area. Once you have walked to the Opera House, through the Botanical Gardens, across (or above) the Harbour Bridge etc - make sure you try the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly (or Watsons Bay) and back if you have time.

 

The train to / from the airport leaves from Circular Quay railway station, about 500 yards from the hotel. It is only about 20 min from Circular Quay to the airport station.

 

February will likely be quite hot and possibly quite humid, so come prepared.

 

And wow .. I've just looked up Salt Spring Island on the map. What a great location. We visited BC / Alaska etc a few years ago and loved it.

 

Enjoy the planning and the trip. Regards, LM

 

Yes, Salt Spring Island is a great place to spend spring, summer and fall.  

Just looking at the map and locations of hotels in Sydney.  Holiday Inn is fairly pricey at this time, but will continue to watch for deals.  Are there other areas that are interesting for 1 1/2 days in Sydney?  How about Rushcutters, Darling Harbour ...etc.?  We are OK with using public transportation, but don't want to spend all day on trains or buses.  Thanks for your input.

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9 minutes ago, Islandbc said:

Yes, Salt Spring Island is a great place to spend spring, summer and fall.  

Just looking at the map and locations of hotels in Sydney.  Holiday Inn is fairly pricey at this time, but will continue to watch for deals.  Are there other areas that are interesting for 1 1/2 days in Sydney?  How about Rushcutters, Darling Harbour ...etc.?  We are OK with using public transportation, but don't want to spend all day on trains or buses.  Thanks for your input.

 

Booking so far ahead I think you will be able to pick up a deal. Perhaps contact the hotel directly to see if they have any special deals to offer. As you suggest keep checking and keep an eye on prices through some of the booking websites;

 

https://www.wotif.com/

 

wotif was originally Aussie, now owned by Expedia but still does a good job.

 

If I was travelling from the other side of the world to visit Sydney I would stay on or near the harbour / near the Rocks area (ie near where the Holiday Inn is located). Rushcutters Bay is a fabulous (expensive, very expensive) area to live but it is not where I would stay. Darling Harbour has some places of interest, but I would stay elsewhere and visit if there are places of interest to you.

 

Of course I don't know your interests and you may prefer something away from the hustle and bustle of the Rocks area - in which case perhaps Balmain or Balmain East might do the trick (close to the centre, good ferry services, plenty of history and good food options).

 

Enjoy. LM

 

 

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March 2020 my husband and I are booked on this cruise and as well as the cruise following from Syndney to Bali.  We look forward to meeting Bevan, the Activities Director again.  He was Director on our British Isles Explorer trip last year.  We have booked a condo in Aukland for a month before the cruise begins as the flight from Toronto is so long, may as well take advantage of being in NZ.  We appreciate the reviews, good and bad from all of you.  We have taken many Viking cruises and will continue to do so as long as the destinations are on our bucket list and Viking does not disappoint us.  

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Seems that our 2020 Viking cruise will dock at White Bay terminal.  Do you know if Viking provides a shuttle from the ship to the city center?

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1 hour ago, Mitina said:

Seems that our 2020 Viking cruise will dock at White Bay terminal.  Do you know if Viking provides a shuttle from the ship to the city center?

We did the cruise this past March.  We were pleasantly surprised that Viking arranged for a boat to take you to Circular Quay right by the Museum of Contemporary  the day of embarkation.  We did a back to back from Auckland to Sydney & then Sydney to Bali and had a free day to do things in Sydney.  The reason we were pleasantly surprised is that I had emailed Viking and they said that there wouldn't be a shuttle to the CBD area from White Bay Terminal.  It really made a difference because it is not easy to travel from White Bay to Circular Quay.  

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2 hours ago, SM77 said:

We did the cruise this past March.  We were pleasantly surprised that Viking arranged for a boat to take you to Circular Quay right by the Museum of Contemporary  the day of embarkation.  We did a back to back from Auckland to Sydney & then Sydney to Bali and had a free day to do things in Sydney.  The reason we were pleasantly surprised is that I had emailed Viking and they said that there wouldn't be a shuttle to the CBD area from White Bay Terminal.  It really made a difference because it is not easy to travel from White Bay to Circular Quay.  

 

Thank you SM77.  I've been following these posts, as we are doing what you did, but in March 2021.  Auckland to Sydney and Sydney to Bali.  A couple questions:

- Did you have the same stateroom for both?

- Did you have to re-check in on the 2nd portion while in Sydney?

- More important:  how was the trip across the Tasman Sea (the wife is a bit nervous about high seas) ?

- Any particular tours/excursions to make sure to take?  or make sure to avoid?

 

We've been to both Auckland and Sydney a couple times, so likely would do our own thing in those places.

Thank you and Happy Cruising.

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2 minutes ago, CCWineLover said:

 

Thank you SM77.  I've been following these posts, as we are doing what you did, but in March 2021.  Auckland to Sydney and Sydney to Bali.  A couple questions:

- Did you have the same stateroom for both?

- Did you have to re-check in on the 2nd portion while in Sydney?

- More important:  how was the trip across the Tasman Sea (the wife is a bit nervous about high seas) ?

- Any particular tours/excursions to make sure to take?  or make sure to avoid?

 

We've been to both Auckland and Sydney a couple times, so likely would do our own thing in those places.

Thank you and Happy Cruising.

 

CCWineLover,

 

We did book the same cabin - make sure that you can do that.  

 

You do close out the charges on the onboard account for the first leg and you are issued a new ID card for the second leg.  You will need to give reception your credit card again.  I had entered the cc info online in My Viking Journey and it only applied for the first leg so I had to give Viking a credit card number for the charges on the second leg of the trip.   Not sure if they fixed that issue yet.  Also for some reason our dinner reservations for the 2nd leg got messed up and we had to make sure that what was selected online was still there.  Maybe that software issue has been fixed.  

 

We mostly did the included bus tours which was fine for us.  We loved almost every port in New Zealand - such a beautiful country and particularly loved sailing into Tauranga, NZ (Mt. Maunganui).  We skipped going to the hot springs and just enjoyed the included bus tour of the immediate area.  The port is really lovely.

 

We did the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane - just loved it - but be prepared for the heat & humidity.

And we did go to the Great Barrier Reef at Whitsunday Islands.  Probably too basic for seasoned snorkelers but great safe experience for novices.  Komodo Island is a must unless it's closed; try to go early in the day, I think the dragons are more active in the AM.   I think if you read my posts about the cruise, you will get a better sense of our excursion experiences.

 

With regards to the Tasman Sea, definitely bring motion sickness meds or patches, etc.  I do get seasick and made sure that I had my patch on.  It was a calm crossing and a number of people did get seasick.  I did not but I don't think I would have been OK w/ a third day on the Tasman Sea.  

 

I had not been to this part of the world and I wished that I had more time in Sydney.  To be honest, I think it would have been better to go from Bali to Sydney, Sydney to Auckland.  I found the weather to be particularly hot and humid in Indonesia and for any Australian port north of Sydney.  The weather in Hobart, Melbourne, and New Zealand was much nicer.  Hope this helps!

 

 

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, SM77 said:

Komodo Island is a must unless it's closed; try to go early in the day, I think the dragons are more active in the AM.   I think if you read my posts about the cruise, you will get a better sense of our excursion experiences.

 

Thank you so much SM77 for the detailed information!  Very much appreciated.

Quite frankly, we had read from others that going the other direction in December (Bali to Auckland) would actually be worse weather, plus we have another Viking Ocean cruise scheduled for December!

 

We'll take a look at your posts on your cruise for more info.

 

Wondering if anyone else does the 2 cruises B2B (Auckland-Sydney and Sydney-Balie)?  I'm sure there must be others.

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