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Experiences on our 40 day Maasdam cruise which started Oct 7, 2019


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Thanks for posting your experiences - they have been really interesting to read ; we are looking forward to cruising on the Maasdam next year, visiting New Zealand & Tasmania; it will be our first time trying HAL, so your reports have really been helpful on what to expect. 

Cheers, Deb

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Regarding lectures covering aboriginal culture, Dr Anita Heiss, an accomplished aboriginal author, boarded in Adelaide and has been giving some very thought provoking talks the last few days and is scheduled to give a few more before the cruise ends in 4 days. For me going to her talks has really been rewarding and an area of knowledge that has been pretty much overlooked, except for maybe a few evolutionary references, on the cruise up to this point. 

Edited by Ken the cruiser
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We have arrived at Melbourne ahead of the storms, sort of. When we got within 100 feet of the pier when I took the picture, the winds started to quickly pick up to over 40+ mph with accompanying rain clouds, so we pulled away instead of being blown into the pier. Now we are just waiting for the tug boats to hook up to us before we try again as the storm has past and there is blue sky and calm seas everywhere. 

E31D104D-4AA7-4EBA-986D-01341B33972B.jpeg

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3 hours ago, daisybertie said:

The view from the starboard side of the Maasdam. Dark clouds, some rain and a beautiful rainbow. Very windy afternoon and some folks got caught in hail. Hopefully tomorrow will be better weather, so we can venture into the city. 

43D57C68-5C7F-477C-BB99-9E21A4F67FB6.jpeg

 

Love the rainbow.

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On 11/11/2019 at 12:14 AM, Ken the cruiser said:

I think it was a combination of the rough port conditions today along with some forecasted 30 ft swells in the evening hours along with a storm brewing in the west we would be cruising through after we left Kangaroo Island on the way to Melbourne.
 

We’re glad the Captain made the tough decision and we’ll just have to wait to see the seals on another cruise. 

Yes, very disappointing but completely understandable.   I think they were worried that once on the island, tenders wouldn't be able to bring passengers back.  It was indeed rough upon our early docking in Melbourne.  A tug had to be brought in to bring the ship to the dock.  Too much wind for the thrusters.  And too much wind for us to get much beyond the end of the dock during our early arrival time in Melbourne.  Hoping for better weather today for tour to Healeville animal park and the wine region.    And really hoping rough seas do not interfere with our call in Tasmania.   Two lost ports were tender ports and hopefully we can get into Burnie which is not a tender port.

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Went on a 5.5 hr excursion called “In the Wild! Kangaroos and Koalas” and we saw just that. The only downside was that the temps were in the low 60s with a lot of wind. But all in all we braved the cold and had a great time! Now it’s on to our last port, Burnie Tasmania, before we finish up in Sydney in a few days. 

Edited by Ken the cruiser
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On 11/11/2019 at 5:01 PM, Ken the cruiser said:

Regarding lectures covering aboriginal culture, Dr Anita Heiss, an accomplished aboriginal author, boarded in Adelaide and has been giving some very thought provoking talks the last few days and is scheduled to give a few more before the cruise ends in 4 days. For me going to her talks has really been rewarding and an area of knowledge that has been pretty much overlooked, except for maybe a few evolutionary references, on the cruise up to this point. 

 

So glad that you enjoyed Melbourne.

I am thrilled that Dr. Anita Heiss has joined your team of presenters.  Her contributions will vastly widen and clarify your exposure to Australia and its peoples.  This will improve your journey so much.  I am happy for you and also for four of our friends from the Pacific Northwest of the USA who are also on board ms Maasdam.

Barbara 

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5 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Went on a 5.5 hr excursion called “In the Wild! Kangaroos and Koalas” and we saw just that. The only downside was that the temps were in the low 60s with a lot of wind. But all in all we braved the cold and had a great time! Now it’s on to our last port, Burnie Tasmania, before we finish up in Sydney in a few days. 

 

That excursion to see the Kangaroos and Koalas would be our choice as well.  60's is great but not the high winds.

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Highly recommend an excursion which includes Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary.    This is a division of the Victoria Zoo which naturalist Chris Cook is affiliated with.   We had our first great view of a platypus and of Tasmanian Devils.   The platypus is in a tank in the nocturnal building.  The Devils are in a large outdoor enclosure where they ran around right in the view of visitors.  Wonderful park with many helpful docents.    We were on the Wildlife and Wineries tour.  Had lunch and tasting at one winery and then one more before a city tour on the way back to the ship.    Lunch an.d wineries were good but if going again, would choose one that spends more than two hours at wonderful Healesville.   The Yarra Valley is beautiful.

We just docked in Burnie.  So glad we made it to Tasmania!   Going to Wings Wildlife Park and Gunns Plains Cave where I really hope to see those glowworms.   Missed glowworms, platypus and devils on our first cruise in Australia and hope to make it three for three after today.   

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Yes, he was. We were also given a nice little pin to wear and a very useful map. Took the shuttle bus into town and visited the museum, which was interesting. The local volunteers were very friendly and eager to help. The town was very clean, very little traffic and no graffiti that I could see. What a contrast to Melbourne yesterday! The weather has driven us back to the ship early though, the wind is rather cold. It is 15 degrees centigrade here, but feels like 5 degrees! We are watching them load shipping containers onto a large ferry moored next door to the Maasdam. Very interesting. Would love to come back to Tasmania when it is a bit warmer!

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Gee, the mayor wasn’t there to greet us when we left the ship to go on our Gunns Plains and Wings Wildlife Park tour at 8:45 am. Just Kay, our travel and former cruise director was out there braving the cold when we left the ship. But, to be honest, we really weren’t looking too hard for him as we were focused on getting on the bus.
 

Both the cave walk and the wildlife park were great and would not hesitate to recommend a visit if you plan on coming to Burnie anytime soon. 
 

Next and final stop, Sydney! Yea!! 

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17 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Gee, the mayor wasn’t there to greet us when we left the ship to go on our Gunns Plains and Wings Wildlife Park tour at 8:45 am. Just Kay, our travel and former cruise director was out there braving the cold when we left the ship. But, to be honest, we really weren’t looking too hard for him as we were focused on getting on the bus.
 

Both the cave walk and the wildlife park were great and would not hesitate to recommend a visit if you plan on coming to Burnie anytime soon. 
 

Next and final stop, Sydney! Yea!! 

We were on the same tour and I didn't know it!   Very interesting but big contrast with that private animal park and Healesville (and the Billabong Sanctuary as well). For those reading, Wings is a private park.  The standards of care are not up to those I saw at two other parks on the mainland.  Trivia partner went to the other one which looked nicer for the animals.  Wings is very near the caves so the two pair well for an excursion.   The cave tour is strenuous.  The 200 steps weren't so bad but the stone ladder down a wall was not for the timid.  No greeting for us!

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Well, this is our last sea day and as I’m sitting out on the balcony enjoying the calm seas and warm sunshine one last time, I find myself reflecting on what may be our last HAL cruise. 
 

We chose this specific cruise because we have been wanting to do a circumnavigation cruise around Australia for years and the fact that it was a Maasdam in-depth EXC cruise in the Australia spring time made it pretty much of a no brainer.
 

Of course, being 4 stars with free laundry and able to book the perfect cabin also made it that much more worthwhile.
 

The EXC lectures were very informative and quite plentiful on sea days and the HAL excursions, except for maybe the one at Exmouth, were all very well done and appropriately priced.  
 

As usual the servers, stewards and bartenders were all top notch and the Internet service was quite acceptable considering some of the remote locations we cruised in. Did I mention I’m on the balcony typing this. 
 

The food, both in the MDR as well as up at the buffet, was always cooked perfectly to our tastes and we were never left wanting for more. 
 

So, thank you Maasdam for first taking us from Auckland around some of the New Caledonia islands and then completely around Australia safe and sound in very comfortable surroundings with a ton of fond memories and pictures to reflect on for many years to come!

 

Who knows maybe HAL one day will come up with a similar in-depth EXC program for the Mediterranean on one of their other smaller ships. Hope so! But in any event we will always have this cruise as a wonderful memory to look back on. 

Edited by Ken the cruiser
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48 minutes ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

Can't believe your cruise has come to an end.

 

You and friends have given us a wealth of information.

 

Glad you were able to enjoy one of the very few (if HAL continues them) in-depth EXC cruises.

Thanks! It will definitely be one of the cruises we will not soon forget, that’s for sure. 

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