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Live, Terry/Ohio, “New” Regatta: South Pacific/NZ, Pix’s


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Cruise Critic encourages us toWrite a Review”!  Here goes, again, in live, blogging style. Later, you can see links to our various previous cruise blogs and picture postings. Three live/blogs are now over 229,000 views.  Visuals make a big, interesting difference, sharing the beauty and drama from these wonderful and varied regions of the world.


Tell us what you like, ask any questions, offer specific suggestions, etc. Don't be shy!! Love the interactive nature of live/blogs, getting feed-back and comments as we travel, etc.  Or, helping answer questions about this ship, these scenic locations, etc.   


This cruise is mainly about seeing the exotic South Pacific for the first time.  PLUS, escaping a week early from the Midwest winter by doing a week of exploring New Zealand’s North Island by car. In early 2014, we did various NZ exploring in Wellington, Napier/Hawke’s Bay and Cape Kidnappers/gannets, Tauranga-Rotorua/Maori culture, Bay of Islands/sailing and Auckland plus nearby Waiheke Island.  On the South Island, we previously did Milford Sound, Queenstown, Dunedin and Akaroa/Tranz Alpine rail/jetboat adventure.  This was during a cruise, from Sydney to Auckland, doing our first visits to Australia and New Zealand in 2014.


Below is a map/graphic layout that I prepared on my MacBook Pro laptop to illustrate our overall schedule and timing.  This is our second cruise with Oceania. Many more details to share, but we will start out with a quick mix of different visuals.  Don’t most smart people like eye candy”??


From our first afternoon and evening on the newly referbished Regatta, we have been very impressed.  We have a basic balcony suite and love the size, features, places to unpack our stuff, electronics, etc., etc., associated with this new design and lay-out.   More on those details later.  Also, the pictures below have uploaded in reasonable fashion.   It is ship's Internet, but things technically are working fairly well.   For the picture uploading, I was helped as I "down-size" them in preparing to post.  All going well as I sit in the 10th floor Library of the Oceania Regatta.  Wonderful views from here and so quiet and comfortable for such writing early in the am.  Plus the sun and calm, blue seas as we sail towards New Caledonia. 


Since we had visited Bay of Island six years ago and did a private sailing adventure, etc., at that time, we played it fairly low-key today.  Fortunately our tender took us directly to Paihia and then we caught a ferry over to historic Russell that had been New Zealand's first capital.  Then we got "more daring" with a motorcycle ride around the area to see the highlights and sights. This included from high vantage points, including for one location where Queen Elizabeth had visited during her first NZ visit.  It's called "Queen's Point".  Sounds good!!   See more visual evidence below.  Yes, the motorcyle was "air conditioned".   Excellent fun!!  Perfect weather, temperatures and super sunny to start our cruise!!


THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio


Barcelona/Med: June 2011, with stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Great visuals with key highlights, tips, etc. Live/blog now at 250,622 views.



Below is an overall graphic that I prepared to summary our trip plan and scheduled port stops.  All is subject to change as the "situation" in China with their virus, plus other factors have caused have stops skipped for American Samoa and New Caledonia's Maria Island.  But, Oceania had added two overnight stops, plus added local cultural/entertainment programs to be performing on the ship.  Must be flexible??!!:

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Below is the view of the Oceania Regatta in Bay of Islands, New Zealand, our first port stop.  Plus, sample visuals of our adventure ride on a super hog motorcycle.  Great sights and fun!!  Plus, seeing their super scenic Long Beach near the historic town of Russell that overlooks Oneroa Bay.:

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Our past cruising?  We have done thirteen different cruises. First was June, 2006, on the 204-passenger Seabourn Spirit, Athens to Istanbul, enjoying Greek islands and Turkish coast. Late July, 2008, was on the 940-passenger Crystal Symphony, Dover/UK to Stockholm, for the Baltics and Russia, including both St. Petersburg and Moscow. July, 2010, was on the 296-passenger Silversea Silver Cloud from Copenhagen for Norway’s dramatic coast, being above the Arctic Circle to the top of Europe.  June, 2011, was from Barcelona for Italy and Croatian Coast, on this same 2850-passenger Celebrity Solstice that we enjoyed for two weeks from Sydney to Auckland in early 2014. In 2015, we escaped the cold winter with 26-days doing a return to the Silver Cloud for two back-to-back cruises going a thousand miles up the Amazon River and visiting ten different Caribbean islands.  Early 2016 was South Africa, including ten days on the Silver Cloud, plus Botswana and Cape Town.  In March 2017, we did 15 days on the 2200-passenger Island Princess through the Panama Canal from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco.  For June, 2017, it was Lisbon/Portugal during eleven days on the Silversea Silver Spirit to Rouen/France with added pre- and post-time for land options in those two great and historic countries.  Early 2018 was our first river cruise for doing Southeast Asia.  We were on an Avalon ship with 33 passengers on the Mekong River, plus many other pre- and post-cruise cities/stops.  In late 2018, it was a 20-days, first with Oceania, Athens to Dubai, exploring Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the Middle East.  In late July 2019, it was our sixth with Silversea, experiencing Western Canada and Alaska for the first time.


All seven cruise lines are different and generally very good, etc.  Which cruise is best? The honest answer is . . . “It depends!!!”.   Ports, schedules, timing, food, entertainment and prices can and do vary.  Personally, the biggest plus with smaller ships is being able to better connect with fellow passengers and the staff.  Plus, avoiding the “crowded hustle” that can happen on some larger ships. Our personal priority is driven by THE ITINERARY!  We are not “float on a boat” types.  Nothing wrong with doing that.  We just like to see and explore different and interesting areas/cultures of this unique and changing world!!


Our early 2021 plan?  Next winter, for our first time, it would be, hopefully, the Galápagos Islands.  Sound interesting? 


Don't be shy with any and all questions about Oceania and the Regatta, these ports and stops, etc.  This ship was completely “re-done” and totally updated in September 2019.  


Also, look forward to learning more from those who have visited these South Pacific locations and/or hearing about any information needs or tips for us. 


THANKS! Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio


Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise from Copenhagen, July 2010, to the top of Europe. Wonderful scenic visuals with key tips. Live/blog at 238,754



Here is a quick sampling of round-the-ship views, starting with the sunny pool area during our first sea-day. Plus, a few quick samples of the "new look" on the Regatta since its September 2019 re-do of colors, designs, fabrics, passenger rooms, etc., etc. Lots of use of white, gray, etc.  Definitely fresher and more contemporary compared to what we experienced on the Nautica in November-December 2018.  More ship and room pix's and details to follow later.  Let me know about any areas of questions with these new "looks" and details.:

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Food?  YES, it has been very, very good!!  Below are just a few quick samplings, including of the super friendly staff at the Terrace Cafe for lunch and breakfast.  Third is an example for why we love to dine outside on the back deck of the Terrace Cafe.  The fresh air and sea is great to experience there.  Bring back memories?:







Plus, from our first night at the Grand Dining Room, here was my sampling for the green-lipped mussels, the tasty beef dish and dessert.  Look good?  It was!!:






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11 minutes ago, CintiPam said:

Terry, greetings from your neighbor to the south.  Loving your photos; I never have seen that type of bike previously.  New Zealand is on my bucket list for a driving trip so I will be enjoying all your photos!


Appreciate Pam's great comments and follow-up from neighbouring Cincinnati.  Will have lots more to share about the full week prior to starting our cruise when we drove about a 1000 miles exploring the NZ North Island.  Below are just a few to start. Many more New Zealand details and visuals to be posted during the upcoming days.  Need to go now to breakfast and the first morning lecture presentation. 


PACIFIC ISLANDS BACKGROUND & RESEARCHING:  In preparing for this trip and doing this live/blog, I did a wide range of web searches, checked all cruise line descriptions/summaries for these locations, reviewed public library books such as Frommers, Fodors, Eyewitness, etc., looked at Wikipedia and sought newspaper stories done on these South Pacific sites.  To be posted are some advance summaries from these many and varied sources.  This helps us be prepared for the history, culture and background to better understand these varied locations.  In these many locations, there was an interesting mix of explorers and/or settlers from Spain, France, Portugal, England and the United States influencing the “MIX” for these varied ports. 


Visited the Hobbiton Movie Set prior to the cruise state and we enjoyed the super good NZ food and wine.  Very, very dry here on the NZ North Island.  Hobbiton needs to do daily watering to keep the flowers and grass looking wonderful there.  It's been more than 45 days since Auckland has had any measurable rain.  See visuals below as to the impacts from the dryness in this region. 


THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio


Sydney to NZ/Auckland Adventure, live/blog 2014 sampling/details with many exciting visuals and key highlights.  On page 23, post #571, see a complete index for all of the pictures, postings.  Now at 229,133 views.



From the Hobbiton Movie Set during our week exploring the NZ North Island, here are a few visual samples for this super colorful and highly interesting site that is very popular here.  In the final picture it gives a sample for the dryness affecting these beautiful countrysides on NZ's North Island.  Anyone a Hobbiton and/or Lord of the Rings fan?  Been to this location?  The flowers and set details are amazing!!:

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This is a great review of ‘new’ Regatta and New Zealand.  We are anxiously awaiting the listing of the Regatta 2021 Australia circumnavigation cruise and I’ve been eager to see how she looks.  Have visited Sydney and Melbourne, can’t wait to get back.  I love your pix of NZ, we road-tripped both north and south islands in 2017.  Hobbiton is a MUST, the Coramondel peninsula is gorgeous, as is Milford Sound, Queenstown, and Mt. Cook.  It’s one of the best countries on the planet.

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Just now, catsngoats said:

This is a great review of ‘new’ Regatta and New Zealand.  We are anxiously awaiting the listing of the Regatta 2021 Australia circumnavigation cruise and I’ve been eager to see how she looks.  Have visited Sydney and Melbourne, can’t wait to get back.  I love your pix of NZ, we road-tripped both north and south islands in 2017.  Hobbiton is a MUST, the Coramondel peninsula is gorgeous, as is Milford Sound, Queenstown, and Mt. Cook.  It’s one of the best countries on the planet.


Appreciate this excellent follow-up from our USA "neighbor" in Arizona.  My guess is that right now, there are lots of questions in planning for cruise schedules in Asia, Australia, etc., for later this year and in 2021.   The current situation in China is serious and has affected many ships in the region, the ports that will accept them, etc., etc.  On this sailing, about a month ahead, Oceania announced that no one from mainland China or those who had recently visited there would be allowed on this ship for our sailing.  Oceania was one of the first to announce this tighter safety/health police  Their full fare would be refunded to those connected to mainland China.  There were also new, tighter checks on health history, taking of a non-touching body temperature when boarding, etc.


For New Caledonia that we will be visiting tomorrow morning, here is some background from my research:  While these islands do not have the name awareness and “buzz” compared to some of our other, later stops, those in the know, rank these islands very highly.   Lonely Planet says: “New Caledonia's dazzling lagoon surrounds it with every hue of blue, green and turquoise. The light and the space simply delight your senses.”   From this book, they also share: “With New Caledonia's sunny bays for swimming in, waterside restaurants and resorts for living it up, and a thumping, invigorating nightlife, Noumea is a city of stylish splendour.” 


A World Heritage site, New Caledonia has a charming mix of French and Melanesian.  This publication summarizes: “a warm hospitality sitting beside European elegance, gourmet food beneath palm trees, sand, resorts, and bungalows. Long gorgeous beaches are backed by cafes and bars.”  From the Sydney Morning Herald, they highlight the French flair of Noumea, saying “There is nowhere else in the South Pacific quite like the New Caledonian capital. Stop in for a café au lait in one of Noumea’s sophisticated cafes and you would be forgiven for thinking you were in a French provincial town – if more French provincial towns had palm trees.”  This newspaper said Noumea has one of the Pacific's best dining scenes, plus an archipelagos of islands that lie protected inside the world's second largest reef.  They give this warning: “Like French Polynesia, New Caledonia's prices are the highest in the Pacific. Many items are imported from France and taxes for visitors are among the highest on Earth.”   


Noumea is rated as the Pacific's cultural hot-spot, with museums, art galleries, colonial-era mansions, theaters and gastronomical restaurants all on a peninsula surrounded by beaches.  Noumea started as a penal colony, but evolved to a charming metropolis.  Today, it has almost two thirds of New Caledonia’s population. Go beyond and you'll discover the world's longest continuous barrier reef. This location has an 8,000-square-mile lagoon is ideal for sailors, fishermen, divers and snorkellers. It is also home to islands with secret caves and fresh-water lagoons.   New Caledonia has a large percentage of Kanak people, the indigenous inhabitants who live in tribal areas across the country.  Noumea’s center and Place de Cocotiers, the main park, are located close to the harbor and several churches there date back to the late 19th century. One attraction we plan to visit is their aquarium at Anse Vata that is rated as world-class.  Another key architectural attraction is the Tjibaou Cultural Center with a structure resembling sails.


Here are a couple of key media descriptions for this area: “where the South Pacific meets the Riviera” and the “Paris of the Pacific”.   More details later.  Today, our morning destination speaker will be sharing more about New Caledonia. 


Below is more as to what we did in a rental car starting Monday, Feb. 10, after arriving from LAX and our 13-hour+ flight from LAX.


THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio


Venice: Loving It & Why??!!  Is one of your future desires or past favorites? See these many visual samples for its great history and architecture.  This posting is now at 86,792 views.



On our way to Coromandel, NZ, here are a couple of the views showing the beauty of the New Zealand countrysides mixed in with their dramatic coast lines in this scenic area east of Auckland.  However, you see the dryness for the NZ North Island.  Not green and lush as we remembered things from our first visit in 2014.:

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In Coromandel, here are two items of "visual evidence" for proof that the NZ food is good.  First, some mussel chowder with fries, etc.  Second is my wife's mix of veggie treats that she rates among best she has ever tasted.  Both enjoyed with NZ wine.  Excellent!!:





This was our first NZ sunset from Wyuna Bay Road near Coromandel.:



At Coromandel, their Driving Creek narrow-gauge railway is a top attraction and so interesting.  Loved it!!  It climbs up, UP through diverse forest areas, past unique pottery designs, etc.  More great views and sights, plus fascinating tunnels and bridges!!:





At nearby Whitianga and Mercury Bay, we enjoyed their Pacific Ocean beaches and sights, including these three cute Oystercatcher birds.  Fun!:



On our second night in Coromandel, here is one sample from Peppertree where we had some of New Zealand's Green Lipped Mussels.  Yes, they are large and very tasty.  Harvested right here.  So fresh and good!!  Any others previously had these famed NZ mussels?:


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Here is ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: New Caledonia’s main island, Grande Terre, is the third-largest island in the South Pacific after New Zealand and New Guinea.  New Caledonia was named in 1774 when British explorer Captain James Cook saw the steep emerald cliffs of Grand Terre’s north-east coast and thought of Scotland. Separated by a mountain range, the lush and tropical east coast contrasts with the cattle country of the west, where rolling pasture blends into forested peaks.


New Caledonia is home to about 10 per cent of the world’s nickel reserves, and nickel mining is a major part of the economy. Souvenirs?:  Impress your friends with vanilla from Lifou, highly-rated by Paris chefs!


We are planning to do lunch at Chez Toto Restaurant, 13 Rue Auguste Brun|, Noumea.  It is ranked #8 of 268 restaurants in Noumea by TripAdvisor and has outdoor seating.  One reviewer said: “The restaurant is in the Latin Quarter and sports a dark red painted exterior and would not look out of place in a Parisien side street.”  


For Wednesday-Friday, Feb. 12-14, we were at Lake Taupo, staying in Oreti Village Resort. We were overlooking New Zealand's "Great Lake", better known as Lake Taupo and nearby to Tongariro National Park. This lake is the largest in their amazing country.


THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio


Amazon River-Caribbean 2015 adventure live/blog starting in Barbados. Many visuals from this amazing river and Caribbean Islands (Dutch ABC's, St. Barts, Dominica, Grenada, San Juan, etc.).  Now at 65,770 views:



From nearby Whitianga and Mercury Bay in the Coromandel area, here is another view of their Pacific Ocean beaches and sights.   Fun and inspiring!::

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At Lake Taupo, here was one of the views that afternoon.  Lots of relaxing, scenic views from our balcony location overlooking New Zealand largest lake.:



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Here is more about the Bay of Islands that we visited and enjoyed so much in early 2014 when we had a private charter sail boat for our small group with a Captain who was on the New Zealand Olympic sailing team.  This scenic location offers  much more than just broad vistas of the sea and blue skies.  It is about beaches, boating and varied water sports.


The Bay is the birthplace of modern New Zealand. Here the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, establishing British rule and granting the native inhabitants what was supposed to be "equal" status. That is another longer debate and discussion!!  The area is rich in legend and mystery.   Bay of Islands has long ties to the original Maori, plus to more recent whalers, missionaries and New Zealand's earliest settlers.

The Bay of Islands has lured explorers for countless centuries. The Maori say that Kupe, the great Polynesian adventurer, came here in the 10th century. Captain Cook anchored offshore in 1769, followed by assorted brigands, traders, colonists and missionaries.  Per Wikipedia, Bay of Island became renowned internationally for its big-game fishing after American author Zane Grey wrote of it in the 1930's. The bay itself is an irregularly-shaped 10 miles-wide, 100 square mile area a natural harbor that contains 144 islands.


THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio



AFRICA?!!?: Fun, interesting visuals, plus travel details from this early 2016 live/blog. At 48,774 views. Featuring Cape Town, South Africa’s coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta.



Bay of Islands is a tender port for most ships.  Fortunately, our shuttle took us direct to Paihia where there were different crafts, etc., being offered.  Very arty community here with many options for tours, excursions, etc.:

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As we took the ferry over to the history town and first NZ capital of Russell, here was view of older sailing ship with our Regatta and the Celebrity Solstice being anchored in the background.:



Here are some more views and samples of sights as toured the Russell area on our giant "hog" motorcycle. In the second picture, you can see the Regatta anchored in the distance. Loved the older, traditional architecture in this town.  In the next to last picture is the oldest church that still in existence in New Zealand.  Plus, one local flower where a bee was busy working!:










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Now some almost "live" coverage of a cooking demonstration that was just completed.  Below are two of my visuals to illustrate what the ship Executive Chef and the top chef for the Italian speciality dining venue were "cooking up".  Both have a great sense of humor, plus you can tell by their body types that both like to experience, often, good food!!  The Executive Chef for the Regatta now is Raffaele Saia.  From talking with him a couple of times, he seems to really love his job and is providing a first-class dining product. 


THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio


Kotor/Montenegro:  Exciting visual samples, tips, details, etc., for this scenic, historic location. Over 47,393 views.



Here are two visual samples for the cooking demonstration this morning in the Regatta Lounge.  Good turn-out on this second sea-day before we arrive tomorrow in New Caledonia:

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From last night's Regatta Captain's Reception, here is a view of the Executive Chef and some of the other top officers of the ship.  Second is Captain Atanas Kostadinov from Bulgaria.  Third is Cruise Director Corry Powell from southern Illinois.  The General Manager is Claudio Melli from Bologna, Italy.  Both Corry and Claudio were at our Cruise Critic "Meet & Greet" giving updates and details with schedule adjustments.  We will have for two or three of our overnight port local talent and performers coming on the ship as a bonus.  The ship GM preferred that I not show his picture.  We chatted at some length on several issues, including about the challenges with ID theft and how social media can be misused.  Very smart and sharp GM!!  If there are any problems on the ship or service needs, they you to let them know soon. Not just waiting till the end of sailing survey.  By the way, that final review will be now be done on-line.  No using paper for that process that the staff values so much.:






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To finish from day two of our cruise, at Bay of Islands, NZ, Tuesday, Feb. 18, tendered,  8 am-6 pm, below are a few more visuals to reflect the variety of activities and options available in this popular, scenic New Zealand location. 


THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio


Dubrovnik!  Nice visual samples, tips, details, etc., for this super scenic location. Over 47,070 views.    



From NZ's Bay of Islands, first is a full view of the Oceania Regatta while it was tendered.  Next are examples for the wide variety of activities available, including for being in the water, going up, UP in the air, crossing the channel on one of the frequent Russell ferries and a cute bird we enjoyed while seated on a bench overlooking the beach and water.:

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For this "new" Regatta, below are a couple of additional visual samples.  More to come.  Plus, happy to respond to any special requests.  First, this picture shows refreshed look inside of the four main ship elevators.  Lots of white and gray!!  Looks fresh and nice.  But, I am not sure how well all of that white wood will hold up given the "wear and tear" that will be happening to these re-done Oceania ships in the coming months and years.  Second, is the library on the tenth floor.  It's one of my favourite locations.  Usually not crowded and having such comfortable, over-stuffed leather chairs!!  Compared to what I saw a year plus ago on the Nautica, it seems that they did not alter this library design, furniture and decor.  It's a classic and probably did not need to be improved or changed.:




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Coromandel Town has history from New Zealand's early gold mining and logging days. Set on a natural harbour, the town was named after the ship H.M.S Coromandel, which called here in 1820 to collect kauri logs to make spars for the British Royal Navy.  The ship was named for India's Coromandel Coast.  A gold strike in the late 1860's saw the town' population go up to 10,000. Coromandel's serious mining days are over, but the town has New Zealand’s last fully functional stamper battery.  It is still on its original site and working on a daily basis.  The population was 1,750 as of June 2018.

We visited and super enjoyed the nearby Driving Creek Railway and Potteries.  This is New Zealand's only narrow-gauge mountain railway journey climbing through regenerating native Kauri forest. This rail route has unique pottery sculptures and tile murals that line the track with great views over the Hauraki Gulf from the cutely-named "Eyefull Tower".  The railway includes two spirals, three short tunnels, five reversing points and several large bridges taking you to the top of the hill. The "Eyefull Tower" lookout building gives easy views over the Hauraki Gulf and nearby islands.  The man who originally built the railway used it to bring clay to the potteries and wood to the kilns.  It is located a mile and a half north of Coromandel. 


THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio


Athens & Greece: Many visuals, details from two visits in a city with great history, culture and architecture.  Now at 34,806 views.



The town of Coromandel has a variety of interesting old buildings going back to its gold rush days.  Below are a couple of examples.:

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From the Driving Creek Railway and Potteries, here are some additional visual samples.  Going through these wooded area with various bridges and tunnels, plus many pottery items lining the route made things unique and interesting.  The second picture shows my wife with our train's engineer who piloted us up and back.  Third is a dramatic view from the top of this location overlooking the nearby islands and water locations.  The final picture in this group is of a direction/KM distances from this spot to other places in the world. Notice the cute play between the Eiffel Tower vs. their "Eyefull" scenic tower?:

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Your trip looks wonderful.  I was curious how you arranged your hog motorcycle ride around Russell? I do not recall seeing anyone on them when we were there.  Since we will be visiting Bay of Islands again in 2021 this is something that would interest us. 

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3 hours ago, mauimary said:

Your trip looks wonderful.  I was curious how you arranged your hog motorcycle ride around Russell? I do not recall seeing anyone on them when we were there.  Since we will be visiting Bay of Islands again in 2021 this is something that would interest us. 


Appreciate these great follow-up and comments.  Plus, a couple of good questions!!  Am up now in the Horizon Lounge watching as we are doing our sail-in to Noumea, New Caledonia. Big city with lots of commercial and residential activity/structures.  


On the motorcycle "HOG", it was just luck. Not advanced planning  As we arrived, it was sitting at the end of the pier in Russell.  Talk to him, sounded great and said "YES!".  For Mrs. f, no, our cruise does not go to Australia/New Guinea/Komodo.  Focused in these key South Pacific islands as shown in the original graphic/map.  Keep posting the good questions and info needs.  Many more pictures and details to share.  Need to get ready for breakfast and our 9 am shore excursion. 


THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio



Lisbon, NWSpain, Bordeaux/Brittany: Live/blog, June 2017 from Portugal to France along scenic Atlantic Coast.  Now at 30,257 views.  Many interesting pictures, details for history, food, culture, etc.:


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Need more pictures and highlights?  See below!  This morning, our ship tour was: "Discover Noumea & Aquarium".   9:15-11:15 am. This provided a small sampling of Noumea before going to their aquarium.  We drove past Noumea's most popular park, the Place des Cocotiers, and then on to the Ouen Toro lookout.  New Caledonia boasts a barrier reef second in size only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef and has the world's largest lagoon. We were able to sample much of New Caledonia's underwater world at the Noumea Aquarium, which was founded in 1956. Took over 200 pictures there.  Many colorful and very interesting sea creature varieties there.   Will share the "best of the best" later after reviewing and editing. Weather here now is perfectly-clear blue skies and a high today of 88F.  Getting kind of warm. Hate to complain??!!


THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio


Panama Canal? Early 2017, Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco adventure through Panama Canal.  Our first stops in Colombia, Central America and Mexico, plus added time in the great Golden Gate City. Now at 29,741 views.



Here is the view of the Oceania Regatta as we exited in preparing to do our morning excursion today.  In the background, you can see a small portion of the Silversea Silver Muse that we super enjoyed last summer going from Vancouver to Alaska.:

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Last night we did the Pan Asian Buffet in the Terrace Cafe.  Nice variety of options and some very good tastes.  Good "change of pace" from the Grand Dining Room and the ship's excellent speciality venues.  Below is a sampling of the people serving there and a few of the food selections.  Loved the big shrimp with its super sauce!!  The fourth visual shows two of the potentials with the the Claypot Caramelized Chicken on the left and Sweet/Sour Pork on the right side.  Some of these dining items are taken from what is served at the Red Ginger dining venues on some other Oceania ships.:

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From last night's first full production program, here are two of the singers from the "Good Lovin'music/dance program.  It is a totally new cast and they did a very good job in their first full live show.  Nice voices, good dancing, etc.  It spotlighted 1960's pop, Motown, etc., hits.   Three more full-cast programs are scheduled for later in our cruise.  Have also had a good performer who did a combination of magic and comedy, plus a young singer with a great voice and nice stage presence.  Nice evening programs so far.  Not Broadway or London's West End, but works well for needs on this size of a ship!!:


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Thanks TLC for such wonderful reporting on your trip.  Photos are great too!!  The ship looks to be in good shape.

 Am definitely interested as we are scheduled to do this same cruise in Feb. next year.  

Would like to know how the waters are throughout the journey as I do have some issues with motion. 

Have been on the Regatta previously but on itineraries that didn't really involve much in the way of very open seas.

Will continue to enjoy your upcoming postings.



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Wow!  Thank you, TLC so much for your time and effort are you have put into this amazing blog! We will be on the Regatta in just a few short weeks on March 15! It is wonderful to preview our trip through your eyes. Have you noticed any alterations due to the Coronavirus?  It is wonderful to see the smiling faces of the always friendly Oceania crew! 

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4 hours ago, Globe said:

Thanks TLC for such wonderful reporting on your trip.  Photos are great too!!  The ship looks to be in good shape.  Would like to know how the waters are throughout the journey as I do have some issues with motion. Have been on the Regatta previously but on itineraries that didn't really involve much in the way of very open seas.  Thanks,  Globe


Super appreciate this excellent question from Globe, plus the nice comments and follow-ups from Verokaren and Paulchili.  So far in this cruise, all has been calm and easy seas from Auckland to Bay of Islands (as expected), plus during the past two days of sailing from NZ to New Caledonia.  No challenges or issues that I observed or experienced.  BUT, as they say in TV commercials, "Mileage may vary."   Same in sailing.  We have clearly been in totally open seats during the past two days.  Maybe that calmness is normal.  Or, were we lucky?  Will ask more of other experienced in these areas and share any of upcoming conditions.  


As to Verokaren's good question, much is happening all over, affecting many schedules in key parts of Asia and the Pacific.  Friends just had their Japan-only cruise for April scrubbed by Holland American. It would have been on the Westerdam that has been so severely impacted.  Our travel agent sent me a note yesterday that "Oceania has just announced that none of their cruises to Asia, including Japan, would  be  sailing  through the end of June."   


On our ship, as we were coming back from our morning excursion, they used the non-touch body temperature check to confirm that we were OK to re-board.  For our upcoming stop in Lautoka, Fiji, local officials are coming on the ship, first, to check passengers and review added paperwork for health conditions about each passenger.  Earlier on the Sydney to Auckland cruise, staff had to do much extra cleaning and work to scrub down this ship and provide more protection.  


THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio


From late 2018, see “Holy Lands, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Dubai, Greece, etc.”, with many visuals, details and ideas for the historic and scenic Middle East. Now at 17,959 views for this first sailing with Oceania on their Nautica.  Connect at:



From the visit this morning to the Noumea Aquarium, here are a few visual samples.  Yes, loved the variety and color the various creatures, plus the coral, etc.  This first group is from a couple of the smaller tanks.  Overall, it required some time and effort to narrow down the 200+ pictures taken to a priority, smaller group.  Many more to share.  Fascinating to observe and experience!!:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!)







Here is one member of our group snapping a picture of this fairly large tank used to display these creatures.  Second is an outside park areas where they had some native people's carved wooden poles.:





Here are just three visuals from the largest tank where sharks, rays and other water creatures entertained us at this Noumea Aquarium.  This large, second picture is of a  Napoleon fish or humphead wrasse that is found mainly on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region.  This big fellow came over to me, as if knowing I was taking pictures.  He was clearly wanting to "perform".  Up close and personal, right next to the glass.  Also captured a nice one-minute video for our two grandsons of these large fish in this massive tank with such interesting coral, etc.:






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I have another question but it's related to your flights on this trip.  Did you do this through Oceania or on your own and wondering whether your flights are convenient for your departure in Papeete?  Know you will disembark the vessel in the a.m.

Trying to figure out the best route and airlines specifically from Papeete to U.S. west coast.  



Some lovely shots from the Aquarium.

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19 minutes ago, Globe said:

TLC, I have another question but it's related to your flights on this trip.  Did you do this through Oceania or on your own and wondering whether your flights are convenient for your departure in Papeete?  Know you will disembark the vessel in the a.m.

Trying to figure out the best route and airlines specifically from Papeete to U.S. west coast.  Thanks,  Globe        Some lovely shots from the Aquarium


Great added questions from Globe.  Happy to share more background info.  As noted, do not be shy with any and ALL request for added information or background needs.  Yes, we did our air through Oceania as a part of the O-Life package.  BUT, we made some special requests to get the timing and requests we desired.  This included non-stop between Columbus and Los Angeles/LAX.  Wanted to skip going through Chicago or DFW.  This also included for using American Airlines so that we could gain the Frequent Flyer miles, plus be better able to obtain extended legroom seating.  It cost a little extra, but it has been very worth it, so far.  For returning from Papeete to the U.S., most of the flights from Tahiti leave late evening.  We will get off of the ship in the am, but have arranged a private tour during the day (in, most important, an air-conditioned van).  That allows for us to be sampling sights there and staying cooler. Then for the four or five hours at the airport that late afternoon and evening, we arranged and paid extra for booking in the Air Tahiti Nui Business Class lounge.  Cost a little extra, but it will be cooler and more comfortable.  As we have been warned, Papeete and its regular airport waiting areas can be hot and not ideally comfortable.  Does this help?  Need more?    


Now getting ready to depart at noon on Saturday, Feb. 22, from Noumea, New Caledonia.  We were docked here after the need to cancel the stop at Maré Island, New Caledonia, due to the local Chiefs there being concerned about the risk from any viruses spreading.  Next on Sunday, Feb. 23, we will be in Port Vila, Vanuatu, docked, 8 am-7 pm.


Many more fun pictures next to be posted from our exploring this morning at the market in Noumea.  Nice, cooperative people.  Lots of fun visual sampling of the various items offered at this market, seeing the locals there, etc.  


THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio


Last summer completed Calgary, Jasper/Banff National Parks, Western Canada Rocky Mountaineer rail adventure, Vancouver, sailing up to Alaska, post-cruise excursion to Denali, etc.  Lots of visuals and details from our first visits to these scenic areas!!  That live/blog is at: 



Here is how the Regatta looked this morning while docked in the Noumea, New Caledonia, port.  Was getting hot this am.  Expected to be up to 88F this afternoon here.:

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In the main park/square at the heart of Noumea, you can see this French/Europe influence with the statue and fountain, plus shown are nice, colorful flowers on this tree, plus a piece of art reflecting more of the native culture/style.:






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Now for some Saturday market morning fun from Noumea.  Nice crowd and mix of people there and many varied offerings.  Sorry that it will require a two-part series of posts.  So much to share from our time there. 


THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio


Barcelona/Med: June 2011, with stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Great visuals with key highlights, tips, etc. Live/blog now at 250,622 views.



At the Noumea market, we started in the fish area.  They had a large variety of options.  This market is located right next to one of their main marinas.  Much to see and experience here.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!)











Here is a woodworking artist with some samples of his crafts being offered at the market. Second is a preview for what will be coming next with my picture postings from the produce, etc., part of their market.:





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