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CelticMutt

Live from the Orion - Sydney to Auckland - 2/10/19

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Thanks so much!!  We will be sailing into Sydney Harbor March 9? from Auckland on our way to Bali. Can't wait!!!!

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We had a wonderful breakfast and a good three or four hours at the pool. Fish and chips for lunch which were as good as that from a Kearny, NJ  fish and chip shop!  

But we are sailing south into a depression and the weather changed very quickly and significantly. Cloudy, raining with 9 to 12 foot seas! (Not a problem; we are experienced Cruisers and boaters!)

We have reservations at the Chef’s Table this evening and are looking forward to dinner and the show afterwards. 

Tomorrow we have our morning scheduled for a land and order two more of Melbourne. The weather could be a bit chilly, but the rain looks like it will taper off.

We have reservations scheduled over the next nine days for three out of four of the planetarium shows and are really looking forward to that as well. Will fill you in on them more later. Signing off; we hear a martini in our future!

Skål!’

Bill

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Writing this the afternoon of Wednesday, February 13. The weather remained excellent yesterday up until about 2 o’clock when we sailed into a depression. Seas got rough and the sun disappeared. No big deal we got some sun, a swim and broke it off a bit early to get dressed for dinner at the Chef’s Table.

For those who don’t know, the chef‘s table has a fixed menu - no choices - that varies every three days or so. Last night was a spicy Asian combination that can be paired with wines (25 bucks if you haven’t taken the silver package; No extra charge if you have.)  One of our party cannot take spicy foods and the chefs/waiters were very accommodating to make sure that she got a bland version of the same items. I am a big fan of Asian Food and found the five course meal  to be good, but not great! The wine pairings were, however, excellent and since we have the silver package (does this is come as any surprise to you!?) It was a nice advantage. We then went to the evening show in the Star Theater.  I am normally and entertainment snob when it comes to cruise ship talent. We live about an hour out of New York City and have the opportunity to see a lot of musicals and have the (my wife says) annoying habit of comparing the entertainment.  I know the kids try hard, but sometimes it can be brutal! Last night was an obvious exception! There were four young entertainers – two young women and two young men who performed the best of ABBA. They were excellent! It might have been the best show I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship!  Admittedly there were a couple of adult beverages consumed before hand, but I’m still saying that these kids were great! The ride down to Melbourne was pretty rocky,  but I am told that that can be pretty common for this stretch of water. The motion didn’t bother me, but the damn cold did! I use a CPAP (is that too much information?) And a stuffy nose can make for a pretty restless night. 

Melbourne was in the high 50s Fahrenheit when we arrived – a significant departure from Northern Australia. We had the Scenic land and water city tour of Melbourne and the harbor planned.  As I was feeling pretty punk this morning, I let my wife and our two traveling companions do the excursion on their own.  Glad I did! They collectively rated the tour a two out of five. A lot of on and off buses and short stops. This seems to be a relatively common complaint on some of the excursions Viking has been scheduling lately, so I hope someone at the home office works on this And starts coming up with certain better use of our land time.

Our traveling companions just left for the kangaroos and Koala tour – the one that we got close out of early on in the booking process. Viking did add another similar excursion but it was an all day affair - seven hours and $250 per person - so we decided to let things be, especially considering my lingering on death’s door! (“Bring out your dead!”)

Undecided what to do for dinner tonight since our traveling companions will probably not make it back in time. But we are looking forward to an avant guard opera show being shown in the Star theater. Will report more tomorrow!

Sea day tomorrow on the way to Tasmania so hopefully the additional rest will speed my recovery!

À votre santé!,

Bill

ps: Every woman reading this is saying to themselves that men are such babies! Guilty!

 

CAB64D7B-04BE-42D3-B2E4-CAC0CD843FF7.jpeg

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 Valentines day at sea; kind of unique! (And yes I did remember to bring cards with me.) DW is currently at the jewelry shop. I’m hoping she is merciful!

Our traveling companions who went on the kangaroos and Kuala sunset tour last night said it was delightful and would highly recommend it. Sorry we missed the opportunity!

Dined in the restaurant last night and both of us had the prime rib with Yorkshire pudding. Excellent and done perfectly to our Specifications.

 As I indicated, we went to the opera show at the star theater last night. While the five singers undoubtedly were very talented, Opera is just not my bag. There was nothing really unique about the performance as I had expected. 

 We finished off the evening with a nightcap in the explorers lounge since our traveling companions had returned. Daniel, the ships resident guitar player was performing. He is very very good! Also discovered a new cocktail  that I am really liking it! Rum and Bailys. Might not sound like too much, but it is very good! Viking now carries Mount Gay rum on board.  A big step up from the Bacardi that we had the last couple of cruises. 

We are on our way to Hobart in Tasmania and the weather is a mix of sun and clouds - 63°. Seas are 8 ft, so we’re rocking and rolling a bit.  A bit chilly so they have the pool cover up.

Manfredi’s for dinner tonight and I am really looking forward to the ribeye! 

My cold is getting better after a Couple of days of rest and a combination of vitamin C and zinc. So I should be all set for our tour of Hobart.

Å’kålè ma’luna,

Bill

 

 

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Hi Bill, I just found this thread. Try to sample a scallop pie when you are in Hobart as they are a culinary delicacy unique to Tasmania. It will be Friday tomorrow so Salamanca Markets won't be open (Smith's Pies are excellent). If you do the Richmond excursion the local Richmond Bakery does an excellent scallop pie. 

4EA7B3B2-DADB-49C6-BB42-438CC5F476B6.jpg

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11 hours ago, ColW55 said:

Hi Bill, I just found this thread. Try to sample a scallop pie when you are in Hobart as they are a culinary delicacy unique to Tasmania. It will be Friday tomorrow so Salamanca Markets won't be open (Smith's Pies are excellent). If you do the Richmond excursion the local Richmond Bakery does an excellent scallop pie. 

4EA7B3B2-DADB-49C6-BB42-438CC5F476B6.jpg

We will be doing a oyster form and winery excursion and the ship leaves port kind of early, but will try to follow your recommendations! Thanks so much!

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The fresh Tasmanian oysters are excellent, especially when paired with a chilled chardonnay or pinot. I'm not sure if you will find a scallop pie near the Orion's dock in Hobart and suggest you ask a few locals near the dock if there is bakery nearby that sells scallop pies.

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Thanks again so much for your review. We leave in a week and I am now going to take some stuff out of my suitcase and replace it with cold weather clothes! I'm in AZ and was expecting summer there but it sounds chilly....

Hope you enjoyed your ribeye! Manfredi's ribeye is SO good!!

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1 hour ago, stretchcruz said:

 We leave in a week and I am now going to take some stuff out of my suitcase and replace it with cold weather clothes! I'm in AZ and was expecting summer there but it sounds chilly....

 

 

You might need to cover all bases.

 

It is 80F in Sydney today, 82F in Brisbane and 90F in Cairns ... but only 68F in Hobart and Dunedin. 

 

I probably should have asked .. are you travelling thru to Bali ? If not my advice about Cairns / Brisbane temp's is probably not really relevant :classic_biggrin:

Edited by Little Monty
error

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Yes, we are Auckland to Bali, so we'll need it all! Just like a few years ago we did Barcelona to Stockholm....short sleeves in Barcelona, down jackets and hats and gloves at the end and they deiced our airplane!!

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20 hours ago, stretchcruz said:

Thanks again so much for your review. We leave in a week and I am now going to take some stuff out of my suitcase and replace it with cold weather clothes! I'm in AZ and was expecting summer there but it sounds chilly....

Hope you enjoyed your ribeye! Manfredi's ribeye is SO good!!

Stretch, we couldn’t get the pie in Hobart – not enough time! But they had it on the menu in the ship’s restaurant last night. It was outstanding! Thanks so much for the recommendation.

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I didn't recommend the pie, it was ColW55 who lives in Australia....plus we don't eat seafood:classic_blink: BUT we sure love the ribeye in Manfredi's!!

This will be our first trip "down under"

Thanks for posting!!

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On 2/14/2019 at 10:20 PM, ColW55 said:

Hi Bill, I just found this thread. Try to sample a scallop pie when you are in Hobart as they are a culinary delicacy unique to Tasmania. It will be Friday tomorrow so Salamanca Markets won't be open (Smith's Pies are excellent). If you do the Richmond excursion the local Richmond Bakery does an excellent scallop pie. 

4EA7B3B2-DADB-49C6-BB42-438CC5F476B6.jpg

We will be doing a oyster form and winery excursion and the ship leaves port kind of early, but will try to follow your recommendations! Thanks so much!

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 We were able to sleep in a bit yesterday because our excursion didn’t leave until 11. However, because there were two other ships in port the Orion was anchored and we had to be tendered in. Therefore we were actually up and out at 10:15.

We did the oysters and winery excursion with a relatively small crowd.  Nice because it limited the amount of time it took to get on and off the bus. Hobart is a pretty little city and because of the size of our tour, Russell, our excellent tour guide, and was able to give us a more extensive overview of the countryside after we made our two primary stops. 

 The oyster “farm“ was a bit of a disappointment. First of all it was more a demonstration of the farming rather than the ability to actually see the oyster growth baskets which were pretty far in the distance. It was kind of interesting to hear how they grow the oysters from Spats to full grown 2-3 year olds.  After the short lecture we or given a tray of six of their oysters with a sampling of a couple of their own wines. I must say I don’t have much of a taste for Tasmanian oysters. They weren’t served with any sauces which is a problem in my mind. But more to the point the taste wasn’t very good. We’re used to Gulf oysters which we considered to be far superior. The next stop was at the Puddleduck winery, a small family owned concern. (Puddling is what they referred to when the ducks look for food on the bottom with their butts sticking up in the air!)  They had some interesting wines and it was fun to feed their large flock of local ducks.  After about an hour stop at the winery we had the opportunity to do a nice 45 minute drive around the southern part of the island to explore a bit more. Then back to the ship for a late lunch at about 330.

As I indicated earlier, we went to the Restaurant for dinner and I was able to enjoy the scallop pie recommended by Colw above. (Sorry about the wrong affirmation, but you were absolutely right about how wonderful the pie was. Sorry that I didn’t quite agree with the virtues of the Tasmanian oyster! :-))

 We experienced our first show in the planetarium at about 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon as well. The show wasn’t quite what we expected. I was looking for more of a scientific presentation but the show was a 45 minute science-fiction movie about the first manned flight to Mars. Interesting enough but a little bit schmaltzy!  We have tickets for two more shows, so we’re hoping that they get a little bit better. The next one is about “space“, so hopefully they’ll be a little bit more science involved in that.

We lost an hour sleep last night as we travel east toward toward New Zealand. As I write this we are in the middle of the Tasman Sea.   Hazy sun and outside temperature of about 62°F so the cover is up over the pool. We will be hitting the chef‘s table for dinner tonight and I understand that they’ve changed the menu from Asian to Mexican. More on that tomorrow.

That done There is a bloody Mary on the table waiting for me!

Bottoms up!

Bill

 

CA309B0E-9051-4292-840D-188A19E8F961.jpeg

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Hmmm....we didn't do the Chef's Table because of our aversion to seafood, and when we looked at the different menus we really couldn't find one that we would like. If they changed the menu after we booked I doubt that we would be happy...

Thanks, again, for posting.

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Hi Bill, if you had a scallop pie on the ship when you were in Hobart if probably came from Smith's Pies in Hobart. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I'm disappointed the oysters you tried were not better. We ate dozens of oysters in Tasmania and found the ones at Bruny Island to be the best. They were shucked while customers waited and they were absolutely delicious and served both natural and cooked and with a variety of sauces. I looked at the excursions that Viking offered for Hobart and wonder how much they charged for the 'Tasmanian Sojourn' excursion as this would have been my pick from the excursions on offer. 

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Hi Stretch, the beef in Tasmania is outstanding -  grass fed and packed with flavour. Hopefully the ship will feature Cape Grimm or Robbins Island beef on the menu when you are in Hobart.

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4 hours ago, ColW55 said:

Hi Bill, if you had a scallop pie on the ship when you were in Hobart if probably came from Smith's Pies in Hobart. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I'm disappointed the oysters you tried were not better. We ate dozens of oysters in Tasmania and found the ones at Bruny Island to be the best. They were shucked while customers waited and they were absolutely delicious and served both natural and cooked and with a variety of sauces. I looked at the excursions that Viking offered for Hobart and wonder how much they charged for the 'Tasmanian Sojourn' excursion as this would have been my pick from the excursions on offer. 

Sorry, Col,  we didn’t do that excursion And can’t find it listed in any of my documentation.

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4 hours ago, ColW55 said:

Hi Bill, if you had a scallop pie on the ship when you were in Hobart if probably came from Smith's Pies in Hobart. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I'm disappointed the oysters you tried were not better. We ate dozens of oysters in Tasmania and found the ones at Bruny Island to be the best. They were shucked while customers waited and they were absolutely delicious and served both natural and cooked and with a variety of sauces. I looked at the excursions that Viking offered for Hobart and wonder how much they charged for the 'Tasmanian Sojourn' excursion as this would have been my pick from the excursions on offer. 

Sorry, Col, And can’t find it listed in any of my documentation. we didn’t do that excursion And can’t find it listed in any of my documentation.

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On 2/9/2019 at 9:42 AM, CelticMutt said:

 We Arrived safely in Port Douglas at about 11 o’clock in the morning. Room wasn’t ready yet, but we had lunch and then were able to check in.

The hotel and grounds are  (were)  Beautiful, but are becoming a bit shabby. Sheraton just took over the property and hopefully will make some improvements. We upgraded to a swim out pool room, and the pool floor was so dirty with algae that it was actually slippery. The grounds are beautiful and extensive, but it means doing a fair amount of walking so  be warned if ambulation is a bit of a problem. We did the Braintree Rain forest tour yesterday. Might as well have been me Braintree deluge forest! We got soaked but their experience was wonderful and the indigenous local guide was excellent!

 Just a note that cocktails in the hotel or a ludicrously expensive. A namebrand martini during happy hour was $24Australian (18 American) and was limited to a ounce and a half!

We went into town for dinner last night at 2 Fish for bug tails - basically big crawfish - in a curry cream sauce.  Wonderful!

Waiting for the excursion to start, but no Viking representative to give us any information! Come on guys!

 Off to the great barrier reef excursion. Will fill you in more when we get back.

 

Slainte!

Bill

 

 Our traveling companions  posted this quick review of the Sheraton in Cairn.  Just an added perspective, “Well the first day I sat for breakfast my chair broke without warning! Happy hour at your bar daintree was dissatisfying as special happy hour prices were not available for premium liquors, which no one told us DID NOT apply! The salt water lagoons were full of algae. The last night we had dinner you ran out of menues! Need I say more!?”

In fairness I’d give the hotel a 5/10!  Nice beat beat but hard to dance to!!!🥴

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 Nice relaxing Sea Day. Weather not great but a bit of sun through the tractable roof made the pool comfortable.

Chef’s Table has rotated their menu to Mexican tonight - which is one of my favorite cuisine‘s, so I’m looking forward to it. 

As I said, I love the ship, but sometimes Viking’s paperwork can get a bit obfuscated! My lovely wife has a massage scheduled for tomorrow, but it’s down under my name. Big deal? Absolutely not, but just little things that keep on cropping up that you wish they would assign to someone with a little bit in the more business acumen. 

 More about the Mexican cuisine at the Chef’s Table tomorrow.

Mabuhay!

(For all of the wonderful Filipino personnel giving us such great service on the ship!) 

Bill

 

 

 

9D43D183-9A81-469C-8FD1-9E8AFFE44D4D.png

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BTW, if anyone wants to contact me directly with a question without having to go through CruiseCritic, my direct Email address is 

celticmutt”at”icloud”dot”com

(@ and .)

건배,

Bill

 

55FC4B72-F99A-45F0-8DFC-282CD3FA1C3A.jpeg

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Hi Bill, The Tasmanian Sojourn is advertised in the current online advertising for the Australia & New Zealand cruise - looks great. Shame it wasn't available for your cruise.

 

Screen Shot 2019-02-16 at 10.59.29 pm.png

Edited by ColW55

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