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HAL Australia/New Zealand


lizzyg

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Hi Everyone- there aren't many people who have commented on their Aust/NZ experience on HAL. Do you pay in Aus dollars (you do on Princess). Also do you have to bring an adaptor for the power points. And do you LOVE cruising in Aus/NZ or it it very rough sailing across the Tasman.

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We were on the Statendam Nov/Dec. '06. We had a great cruise, started Auckland and cruised to Sydney. The Tasman Sea was very kind to us, it was too rough a crosssing at all. We are booked for a circumnavigation cruise around Australia for 34 days in March 2010, but so far we have heard from very few who will taking this cruise. It has been changes several times from 29 to 34 days, from starting in Auckland to now from Sydney.

We had a really great cruise and the time spent in Auckland (2 days) and Sydney (5 days), everything was good and enjoyed it. Would certainly recommend a Hal cruise to down under.

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lizzyG- We've done several "grand" cruises in the South Pacific that included Australia and New Zealand and enjoyed them tremendously. We will be leaving in SEptember on the "Amsterdam" for the 2009 which is this fall's "Grand" that includes MANY Aust/NZ ports -and we are booked for next year's [2010] Grand Fall/Asia cruise. For us it eliminates REALLY long flights and we are retired after working FOREVER; and are ready for our "Window of opportunity" cruises to see the world we've only read about -while we both still have good health.AND we have the time for a two month cruise!

HAL has been our cruise-line of choice for these cruises. Of course Sydney and Auckland are great -but one of my FAVORITE ports [2002] was "Broome" in western Australia;VERY rural and welcoming plus chocolate diamonds. wildlife, and RED soil! The perfect contrast to places like Sydney!

We have LOVED being visitors in YOUR countries and feel wonderful about returning!

Anne

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We were on the Statendam in January of 2007 from Aukland to Sydney. It was wonderful! We flew in to Aukland a day early (which I highly recommend), and then flew from Sydney to the Coral Reef area (land tour with a different tour company) where we spent three more days before flying home. We didn't want to leave!

 

The crossing to Tasmania was pretty rough, but kind of fun, actually--to see the huge waves crashing across the side of the ship.

 

We loved every single port. We took ship excursions at many stops and they were all great! In Christchurch and Wellington we just went out on our own, using the very good local bus transportation to explore.

 

It was such a great trip that we'd do it again in a heartbeat--except that there are so many other great places to cruise to, and life is short!

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We just did the NZ/AUS on the Volendam in Jan./Feb. of this year. We loved the itinerary and would do this trip again in a minute just because of this. The Tasman "behaved" for us and was not too bad. On HAL you use US dollars on the ship and NZ and AUS dollars in the respective countries. The ship also uses US power in the cabins.

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Hi Everyone- there aren't many people who have commented on their Aust/NZ experience on HAL. Do you pay in Aus dollars (you do on Princess). Also do you have to bring an adaptor for the power points. And do you LOVE cruising in Aus/NZ or it it very rough sailing across the Tasman.

 

We were on the Volendam this past January for the New Zealand/Aust. cruise. We sailed out of Auckland. And as others have mentioned, it would be wise to arrive a day early (We did not). Boy, were we tired and it was cutting it close with just five hours to board the ship when we arrived. (too close for my comfort zone).

 

The Tasman Sea was fun! (Tasman known to be roughest sea in the world) Captain Bos made an announcement about an hour before entering the sea saying that it would be rough and to take anti-sea sickness meds if needed. I did and was VERY glad.

 

It was a gloriously warm day with clear blue skies when we entered the Tasman Sea, but the waves/rollers were about 9 to 15 feet high due to an approaching "southerly" from Antarctica.

We were in our cabin for a time down in steerage and it was fun to watch the waves crash against our oceanview window!

 

The "rollers" caused some breakage of glassware in the main dining room. At dinner we had a few rollers crash against the windows, but the pax loved it and we all clapped when it happenedicon10.gif

 

It goes without saying...always take your own little first aid/med kit. It is helpful to have meds handy to avoid the hassle of having to run down to the infirmary or to the front desk.

 

We booked everything as a package through HAL. It was convenient because all of the transfers were handled for us and supposedly they would help us out if a delay occurred.

 

Be aware that if you book your flight with HAL that they will tend to choose flight and connections that aren't the greatest. I wish we had paid extra for the diversion fee? (correct term???). This allows you to choose the airline, the time of flight and just ONE connecting flight. We had three flights from Seattle to Auckland:eek: NOT FUN! Plenty of flights were available with the coveted one connecting flight.

 

Yes, you use Aussie dollars. You want to exchange your money at the front desk as early as possible . We did and avoided the loooong lines by those folks who waited until the last minute to do so. Don't forget that when you are heading to New Zealand that you must exchange back your Aussie dollars for the New Zealand dollars. My husband remembered to do this, thank goodness! HAL charges $3.00 (American) fee to do this (very reasonable).

 

Don't forget....before you return home to get rid of your foreign money. Course, we kept some coins as tokens of our great trip.

 

If you are staying in a hotel before or after, you will likely need an adapter.

You won't need one on the ship icon7.gif

 

We LOVED our 14 day cruise. I only wish that it could have been a longer one that included more ports in Australia. I believe HAL does have such an itinerary offered now.

 

There is so much to see and do. I happen to love animals and plants and so our shore excursions were geared towards that.

 

Sailing through the Fiordland National Park was AWESOME. We hit one of the few days that was sunny and warm (rainfall usually 28 feet per year!)

The top 10 feet of water in the Fiordland is freshwater due to heavy rainfall. It was gorgeous!

 

If you have any more questions about specifics, just ask.

 

I am a "Lord of the Rings" fan and was enthralled with the Lord of the Rings guided tour in Wellington, conducted by a New Zealand actor who had a small part in the third movie, "Return of the King"...he was Harad Leader #1 and rode an elephant/woolly mammoth type creature. He was riding the beast in the scene where Orlando Bloom (Legolas) climbed the leg of the mighty beast and used his bow and arrow to take out the Harad Leader (Todd Rippen).

 

Funny...Todd never got to meet Orlando Bloom as it was all put together in the studio, of course. He did meet the other actors and Peter Jackson as well. Enough of my rambling....you can tell I am a LOTR's nutcaseicon11.gif

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I did the 42 day Hawaii, South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia cruise in September 08. This included the 14 day New Zealand/Australia portion you are booked on. New Zealand was fantastic, if you like animals select all the animal related excursions. The Gannett colony was absolutely the best, but I'm not sure it's available this time of year.

 

The only rough water we had during the 42 days was the day and night we entered the Tasmanian Sea. We were not allowed on the outside decks for 26 hours. Once we were in the shadow of Tasmania things calmed down.

 

The flight from the US (I had to do it only when I returned) is a real killer. I would suggest arriving TWO days in advance. Auckland has a lot to offer as does Sydney, so depending where your cruise begins you can't miss.

 

Have a great trip, I'd love to go again!

 

Greg

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Arwen, I agree that the HAL air is really awful and I don't think the "air deviation" helps any at all. We paid it and were in the worst seats in the worst aircraft I have ever been in. The only saving grace was we were able to pick the days we arrived and left. Qantas was awful from LAX to Auckland and great from Syndey to LAX. By the time we actually took the trip we could almost have gone Business Class with what we paid HAL for the tickets. I also agree that it is much better to go a couple of days before your cruise and even stay a couple of days after. We stayed over a couple of days in Sydney and had a great time.

Next time we will do our own air and if it is screwed up I will take the responsibility.

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Hi Everyone- there aren't many people who have commented on their Aust/NZ experience on HAL. Do you pay in Aus dollars (you do on Princess). Also do you have to bring an adaptor for the power points. And do you LOVE cruising in Aus/NZ or it it very rough sailing across the Tasman.

 

 

You pay in US dollars so be careful as your Australian dollar is low against the green back, you will need an adaptor for the power points. The trip was fantastic and the weather beautiful, the ocean including the Tasman like a milk pond and of course the Volendam and her crew was the icing on the cake.

 

With the economy being the way it is I would hold back booking as the prices are high at this time, I have no doubt they will drop so keep watch on the prices and have a good cruise.

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Arwen, I agree that the HAL air is really awful and I don't think the "air deviation" helps any at all. We paid it and were in the worst seats in the worst aircraft I have ever been in. The only saving grace was we were able to pick the days we arrived and left. Qantas was awful from LAX to Auckland and great from Syndey to LAX. By the time we actually took the trip we could almost have gone Business Class with what we paid HAL for the tickets. I also agree that it is much better to go a couple of days before your cruise and even stay a couple of days after. We stayed over a couple of days in Sydney and had a great time. Next time we will do our own air and if it is screwed up I will take the responsibility.

 

Gsel... thank you..."deviation fee"...I just couldn't remember that term for the life of me....well at least I knew it started with the letter "d" LOL. Thanks for passing along the fact that a deviation isn't that helpful despite the extra fee.

 

I agree with you about booking your own flight and arriving a couple of days early. Sure wish we had done that. What a rough day we had with about 20 hours flight time and then only five hours to board the ship!!!! We must have been out of our minds:eek: But we placed our faith in HAL completely. Not doing that routine again!

 

By the way, I checked into the cost of business class and I was quoted $18,000!!!!!!!!!!! NO LIE! First class? $25,000. I checked this out with some other folks because I just couldn't believe it, but it was true. Gsel: were you quoted a price for business class with Qantas?

 

By the way....I have read reviews and it looks like Air New Zealand is the way to fly. Our flights with Qantas were what I expected but absolutely grueling IMHO. A looooong flight for a wonderful cruise though icon7.gif

 

For those who, for the first time, need to book an international flight...here are some hints.... check out seatguru.com (part of tripadvisor.com) as they have all airlines listed with deck plans of all aircraft and a chart to show you the worst, best, and neutrally rated seats.

 

When booking with Qantas (unsure about Air New Zealand) you will not be assigned a seat until you check in for your flight...but you can go online, no earlier than 24 hours before your departure and "pick a seat". Forget trying to call Qantas to do this task...you will be put on hold forever!!!

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Qantas I would never use, customer service non existent as far as the telephone goes take your lunch. As I write Air New Zealand is still charging fuel levy.

 

:mad::mad:

 

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

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Arwen,

We were told both business and F/C were "full" and unavailable. (sure!) Were also assured of seats and given seat assignments which meant nothing once we got to LAX. DH was at one end of the coach cabin and I was at the other. This was the case for our whole group. We were all given window seats also. Qantas was once a wonderful airline, but never again! Air New Zealand next time!

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To all who are writing about air from Us, the original poster is from Australia!

 

We did the Aus/NZ in December/January this year. It is fabulous. Our air was on Air New Zealand-premium economy. Not quite first class, but infinitely better than steerage. The seats were wide and far apart. There is indiviual videos for movies gamesa and books on tape. Food was great. And it was only $3000 from Chicago to Auckland and Sydney back to Chicago.

 

As far as power goes, the cabin had both voltages, but bring a power strip. There is only one outlet in the room. Hard to charge cell phones, cameras, laptops and a curling iron etc at the same time.

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The only rough water we had during the 42 days was the day and night we entered the Tasmanian Sea. We were not allowed on the outside decks for 26 hours. Once we were in the shadow of Tasmania things calmed down.

 

 

Greg

 

Can I just clarify something:

The TASMAN SEA is the body of water between Australia and New Zealand. It's often referred to as 'The ditch'. BASS STRAIT is the body of water between southern mainland Australia and Tasmania.

 

LizzyG - if you're cruising between, say, Hobart and Melbourne/Adelaide you can expect a few rough hours most of the time. If you are cruising between, say, Sydney and Auckland, crossing the Tasman Sea can often be quite calm - or at least calmer than you'd expect. Obviously there are times when it's choppy but don't let that put you off what is a fantastic cruise experience. :)

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As another poster pointed out, there is a 120V 60 hz outlet which accepts US style plugs. There is also a 240V 60 hz outlet which accepts european style plugs. Assuming your ANZ equipment would be happy with 60hz, all you would need is a plug adapter and a ANZ style power strip.

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Thank you for your replies. I am even looking more forward to my cruise in December. I'm hoping that the Aussie dollar will go through the roof by December.

You guys are great! I love reading all your stories. Thanks again - Lizzy G xxx

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