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Stickman1990

Live: A Plane, Car, Cruise & Train – Crystal Serenity Auckland - Perth 5-20 Feb 2019

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Well I really wanted to say Trains, Planes and Automobiles and a Cruise – but there wasn’t enough space in the title…

 

I’ll be doing a live thread on our cruise on Crystal Serenity from Auckland, New Zealand to Perth, Western Australia and then after a few days in Perth touring the city, Margaret River wineries and Rottnest Island, our train trip across Australia from Perth to our home city, Sydney on the Indian Pacific

 

Yes there is a plane and an automobile in there as well as we will fly to Wellington, New Zealand tomorrow and spend 10 days travelling by car around the North Island – via the “ports” (sometimes visited by Crystal’s ships) of Wellington, Napier, Tauranga (well almost as we’ll be in Rotorua) and onto Auckland. It’s going to be nice holidaying close to home and avoiding the long trek across the Pacific or to Europe – a simple 3 hour flight to start the holiday

 

The cruise is leg 2 of World Cruise 2019 and is relatively short at 15 days – we will visit a number of ports, Busselton and Albany in Western Australia and Kangaroo Island in South Australia for the first time as well as others we’ve visited before including Sydney (ok we live there), Hobart, Adelaide (where it was 116 degrees F / 46 C yesterday) – we finish in Freemantle the port near Perth

 

We are looking forward to seeing the “new” Serenity after the refurbishment last year and see how the dining locations are working (we’ve sailed on Symphony so are familiar with the concepts of Waterside, Marketplace, Umi Uma, Prego, Silk and Churrascaria) - we also have high hopes for one of our favourite lounges - the Palm Court which was in need of some TLC 

 

Interestingly some of the more challenging seas we’ve experienced have been in the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia and the ocean to the South of Australia through Bass Strait and to the Great Australian Bight – so it will be interesting to see what is dished up to us by Mother Nature

 

We last sailed Serenity on the first leg of WC 2018 from LA to Sydney – and enjoyed the vibe of the World Cruise – so it will be interesting to see how it goes joining the cruise after the first segment as “segmenters” (I should add that we don't expect any issues). We are looking forward to catching up with some of the crew including of course Stacey the WC Hostess, including enjoying trivia sessions with her on sea days and we know a number of guests on both the WC and on this segment so will also enjoy catching up with them

 

Fresh in our minds is our cruise last December on Seabourn Encore – so I am sure we will draw comparisons with that experience – we will certainly miss the spacious standard cabin on Encore but are looking forward to the service, food

 

Everyone’s cruising experience is different – so I’m pretty sure that will be the case on this cruise and multiple blogs will add to the experience of those following along at home. I hope others on board join in and add to the discussion as time permits

 

Cruise site - https://www.crystalcruises.com/voyage/auckland-to-perth-ocy190205-15

 

Indian Pacific Train - https://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/trains/the-indian-pacific/holiday-packages/perth-to-sydney

 

I'll check back in a little closer to our cruise with an update

 

Itinerary and Ports.jpg

 

IP3.JPG

Edited by Stickman1990

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Wishing you a wonderful trip...looking forward to following along.

 

nancy

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Sounds like quite an adventure. We disembarked a Celebrity cruise in Perth and fell in love with the city and area.

 

Looking forward to your inclusion of the Indian Pacific rail trip. I wonder if Roy has travelled aboard it as well......

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Bon Voyage, Stickman - have great trip and looking forward to reading your Live blog. Hope you encounter some cooler temperatures in NZ!

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We are on Serenity now, and will be on the trip with you from Auckland to Perth and on the train back to Sydney.  It should be an interesting addition to a great trip on Crystal!

 

Karen and John

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Sounds like a fantastic trip. It will be very interesting to follow along. Thanks for posting and have a wonderful time!

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We are counting down the days until we leave for Auckland on Wednesday. Forecast here in Toronto tomorrow is a HIGH of -10 C with a windchill of -20 C (that is 20 F and -4 F), and it is supposed to get colder after we leave!

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Hi Stickman 1990!  I will be looking for your posts.   I am interested in the Indian Pacific Train portion of your trip, but I have already paid for mine so it's a done deal...if you hate it I can't cancel!  I hope it's as enjoyable as advertised! I'm also hoping to go to Rottnest Island  (Quokkas!) I sure hope the temperatures comes down for all of Australia...you are too hot even for a California person who experiences 105F (41C) each summer. (I'm 45 miles east of San Francisco!)

 

Bon Voyage!

~Nancy

Edited by oakridger
fixed miles

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I will be reading along too.i can not Waugh to Auckland to start having more port days than sea days.  I will love reading what an Ozie thinks of the ports and the train.

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Looking forward to it. My father-in-law lived in Perth for many years and we never got there to visit. The kids were a bit young to go, so I look forward to "visiting" it through your posts.

The train sounds interesting.

 

Nancy

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21 hours ago, BEAV said:

Sounds like quite an adventure. We disembarked a Celebrity cruise in Perth and fell in love with the city and area.

 

Looking forward to your inclusion of the Indian Pacific rail trip. I wonder if Roy has travelled aboard it as well......

I know you will have a wonderful journey at sea on Serenity, and traveling by car, but, like Beav,  I am very excited to read about your train across Australia! It sounds like you will have familiar fellow travelers.

Have a terrific time, and safe journey!

 

Ricki

Edited by ricki

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This sounds magnificent.  Enjoy to the fullest!

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And so it begins!

 

In the last three days we have been hit with 36 cms of snow (about 14 inches for our American friends), much of which drifted into piles about twice that high, and all of which needed to be shoveled off the driveway and other places. The forecast temperature for tomorrow when our limo arrives is - 24C (-11 F), including the windchill!!! And YES we are looking forward to leaving!!😁😁 See you onboard Terry!

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Safe travels Larry - and all those making the long journey to Auckland for next Wednesday’s embarkation. We look forward to meeting you on board 

 

We arrived in Aoteoroa (Maori for New Zealand) on Saturday after a short 3 hour flight to Wellington where we picked up a rental car which we will use to drive up the North Island stopping at various Ports where we will have an overnight or two in each 🙂 

 

We flew over on Qantas on a small Boeing 737 - I don’t think you’d want to do it on anything smaller - no wide bodied jet for us this time. The only interesting thing about the flight was having to catch a bus from the terminal out to the plane which was parked on the apron of Sydney International airport where we boarded via the stairs - so we can now add “Bus” to our list of modes of transport

 

CB8A5FA7-9DD5-4CAF-BA19-1619856D3883.jpeg

No airbridge on this flight

 

We flew in over Picton, the port for the Marlborough Sounds and gateway to the Marlborough wine region and as we came into Wellington over the Cook Strait we could see white caps on the water - that stretch of sea can certainly provide some exciting experiences when the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet 

 

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The Marlborough Sounds

 

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Choppy seas in Cook Strait

 

We then drove a couple of hours north and on the way out of the city saw that Seabourn Encore was in Wellington for the day - how fitting it should be here as our last cruise in December was on her 

 

The Wellington region is enjoying a heat wave - the warm winds from Australia have reached across the Tasman and much of New Zealand is experiencing temperatures up to 30 degrees Celcius (around 86 F) which is hot by their standards - but without the sapping humidity that Sydney gets when it gets above 30 degrees. I’ve looked at the forecast for Auckland next week and it’s not as hot but should be a pleasant temp to thaw those travelling from the Northern hemisphere out - and for those on the first segment they might actually find it a bit chilly after the time in the Pacific (but don’t worry it will be more than warm enough once we reach Australia) 

 

We did travel back down to Wellington where we lived for 25 years before moving to Sydney and toured the city visiting old haunts and enjoyed a walk through the Botanical gardens and Lady Norwood Rose Gardens and a ride on the Cable Car as well as taking in the sites from Mount Victoria, all sights enjoyed by those visiting on cruise ships - it was a lovely day to enjoy our old home city. There were a couple of other cruise ships including Azamara Quest and the Ovation of the Seas (rather large) in port for the day - so Wellington is a popular stop over during the summer

 

EE606599-DFB8-46F0-B32A-6FA4E58AACA7.jpeg

The Lady Norwood Rose Gardens

 

ECA9CBC2-DB5F-4784-B781-93C96538126C.jpeg

The Wellington Urban Motorway - unfortunatrly it split a early settlers cemetery in two 

 

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The view from the Cable Car

 

ECD0AD9A-4CC2-4A39-BD74-0544DD16FCDE.jpeg

Wellington City and Harbour from Mt Victoria - the cruise ships are top right

 

E559709B-93F5-427F-A7ED-E83AC3D1B0CA.jpeg

Wellington City from Mt Victoria

 

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Wellington Airport - always a memorable experience landing on a windy day!

 

67655D2A-9302-44C7-A52D-90738B704354.jpeg

The view of the harbour up to the Hutt Valley from Mt Victoria

 

We then drove further up the island for a couple of hours, enjoying the lush green landscape and of course the inevitable flicks of sheep as well as a lot of crops and arrived in Hawke’s Bay which is a lovely port many of you will have visited. Today the Viking Orion was in the Napier port and we could see groups of passengers walking around the city enjoying the famous Art Deco buildings which we built after a major earthquake destroyed much of Napier in 1931

 

The region has many wineries - we will visit some old favourites tomorrow but names like the Mission, Church Road and Te Mata as well as many boutique wineries are producing great Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernets. This road trip is fast turning into a food and wine tour - last night I enjoyed a large plate of 24 New Zealand Green Lip Mussells in a creamy chilli broth - they were superb!

 

DE5617B8-F56E-4A50-8F50-C02F25FE9188.jpeg

Green Lip Mussells - divine!

 

We still have a week to make it to Auckland - so a leisurely drive and further exploring and feasting awaits as we enjoy stops in Rotorua, Ohope Beach (both near the port of Tauranga) and then onto Auckland with a couple of days to spare and to explore some of the vineyards on Waiheke Island maybe

 

The other highlights of my day today was booking both another land holiday back in New Zealand later this year to spend sometime enjoying the sights which will include a “cruise” (well a 3 hour ferry trip actually) across Cook Strait, as well as booking our flights to Los Angeles next January to join the World Cruise segment back across the Pacific on Crystal Serenity to Auckland, New Zealand - today was actually the first day the flights could be booked - so first in best dressed and we have our preferred seats locked in!

 

I have to say I’m enjoying hearing about LeeAnne and Les Picantins adventure on Symphony at the moment - it looks like they’re having a great time - but of course there’s nothing like being there yourself so next Wednesday can’t roll around fast enough 🙂 

 

Edited by Stickman1990

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Those mussels sure do look delicious! We loved Wellington when we there on Symphony. Great that you booked your tickets to LA, we always heave a sigh of relief when that segment of the planning is accomplished, when using points that is which we try to do more often than not. Continue to enjoy and thanks for the updates!

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Great update.    I am seriously envious of both the green lip mussels and your tour around the North Island - especially the winery visits!!  I really must try and get back down there as I loved both the North and South Islands and would really like to spend time exploring more of both...

 

Anne...

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Last time I was in Wellington was on the Quest. She did a great evening at the museum. Add in two whole days there. Just lovely.

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1 minute ago, ellbon said:

Last time I was in Wellington was on the Quest. She did a great evening at the museum. Add in two whole days there. Just lovely.

 

It is a great museum and located on the Waterfront - Te Papa - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museum_of_New_Zealand_Te_Papa_Tongarewa

 

That was our “Plan B” if the weather hadn’t been kind to us - they are currently hosting an exhibit of the Terracotta Warriors from China that would have been good to see 

 

There is an old tourism slogan they used to use for Wellington - “You can’t beat Wellington on a good day” - so true but the challenge is unfortunately those good days (weather wise) don’t come all that often - the wind and exposure to bad weather blown in from sea or up from Antartica can bring some shocking storms

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2 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:

 

It is a great museum and located on the Waterfront - Te Papa - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museum_of_New_Zealand_Te_Papa_Tongarewa

 

That was our “Plan B” if the weather hadn’t been kind to us - they are currently hosting an exhibit of the Terracotta Warriors from China that would have been good to see 

 

There is an old tourism slogan they used to use for Wellington - “You can’t beat Wellington on a good day” - so true but the challenge is unfortunately those good days (weather wise) don’t come all that often - the wind and exposure to bad weather blown in from sea or up from Antartica can bring some shocking storms

Then I was truly blessed. I had two prefect sunny days there. Day one was the museum. I walked around after and joined the ship at museum for live music event before going back to ship.somehow manage a massage and Cuba Street. The second day was th cable car up and the walk down thrust the gardens and a drink and easy walk to ship.

 

i remember tons of locals just sitting in bean bag chairs drinking.

 

i saw the Aztec mind blowing  exhibit there.i will never forget.

 

 

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After 55 hours in transit, via Dubai, on Emirates, we arrived in Auckland yesterday and are settled into the Hilton Princes Wharf, where we will have, we hope, and if we are awake, a perfect view of Serenity when she arrives tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM. Of course there is the little matter of the Carnival Spirit being docked at Princes Wharf tomorrow, so she might block our view! :classic_biggrin: Going out for a wine tasting tour on Waiheke Island tomorrow, and very much looking forward to boarding Serenity on Tuesday! 

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