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About RubyRedDeb

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Qld Australia
  • Interests
    Fossicking & Lapidary, Nature & Wildlife, Poultry, Cruising
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Have cruised with P&O Aus, RCI, NCL & Carnival - Royal Caribbean being my favourite so far
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    New Zealand

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  1. We are also considering this cruise in 2021, have been to New Zealand twice ( with a 3rd upcoming cruise there, this time on the Maasdam) ; looking to stretch our wings further afield - visiting Antarctica for me is an absolute bucket list dream , even if it's just a drive by so to speak. We are tossing up between this and a cruise in Alaska.
  2. A wonderful video, thank you for sharing - it gives a real immersive sense of being there on the cruise.
  3. We are cruising from Sydney to Auckland on her in Feb - our first time on HAL & really looking forward to it. We've mostly cruised on RCI, as well as others ( bells & whistle type ships), but chose Maasdam because the itineraries appealed to us, being port intensive and visiting some places the larger ships don't pull in at, that and idea of interesting lectures - especially from a naturalist; scenic cruising, meeting like minded people & exploring on the zodiacs.
  4. Some tours - especially so in Wellington we found had less availability, that may have been either due to the fact there were 2 ships in port with a total of over 5000 passengers, or that the cruise ships had bought all popular tour tickets to sell through their shore tour system. At the I-Site there, we were told that a tour i wanted to go on ( Seal Coast Safari) was only available to be booked through the cruise ships...( Yes i have booked it this time :) ) . Tauranga though had plenty on offer when we arrived. If there was something you really didn't want to miss out on - i'de probably book it through the ship just so you don't miss out.
  5. Sorry - i can't remember who it was, at Tauranga port, there was a pop up I-Site that you pass through from the port into town, with a range of tour guides offering a variety of tours; from large groups to small ones, we simply browsed through the selection available for a tour that sounded like something we'd really enjoy , some nature, some scenery, some geo thermal & culture - & then a bit off the beaten track. The small group ones are more flexible i've found in taking you to extra points of interest.
  6. Hi jtsbusiness, we've done this cruise twice ( though not with HAL- until mid Feb on the Maasdam ), we tend to opt for nature & scenery based tours. Things we really enjoyed on our last 2 visits were Port Chalmers - we took a tour out to Tairoa Head - about 1.5 hours drive, travelling through Dunedin past picturesque villages along the waterfront to the cliffs where albatross nest & to a nearby fur seal colony. Good close & clear views of the fur seals - the albatross were further away, but the expansive views of the colourful cliff faces were fantastic. Port Chalmers itself has an historic church well worth visiting if you enjoy architecture - it's open to cruise ship visitors. Picton - once away from the working port, has a lovely harbour, peace park, scenic walking tracks along the water past the marina. Authentic feeling Irish Pub, & cafes serving locally caught fish. We didn't do any tours here - just enjoyed wandering & taking photos of the plant life & scenery. Wellington - we booked at the I-site a small group tour ( 4 of us) to explore along the shipwreck coastline, the guide took us to the native botanical gardens - spent around 40 mins there, then around points on interest and onto the shipwreck coastline drive - which we loved, it was so wild with rocky crags jutting out of the sea...We have also taken the cable car up to Kelburn - and wandered back down through the Wellington Botanical gardens (lovely) rose gardens & through the historical graveyard filled with ancient headstones. Napier - we love Napier. The Gannet colony tour was awesome. Traveled out to Cape Kidnappers' passing into an expansive private wildlife protection zone , pulling up right next to the colony. Both the birds - with their chicks & the views were really something...Wandering around Napier itself - lovely Art Deco buildings, Sunken Gardens (near the beach) , plenty of walkways along the beachfront..And i have to mention - if you like historical cars - you can book a tour in one at the I-site for a 1/2 hour or more - my husband went for a jaunt in an MG - said it was so much fun, driving around all the points of interest, winery & chocolate factory was only meant to be for 1/2 an hour, but he & the driver were enjoying it so much it went for 2 ( he wasn't charged) Tauranga - the Hobbiton set was good, especially if your are a LOTR's fan; for a wander there are walking tracks around Mt Maunganui. Small group tour to Te Puia Geothermal area we enjoyed - the Pohutu geyser was quite active, bubbling mud pools & sulfur encrusted vents, the Maori cultural performance very interesting.
  7. Looking forward to reading all about your experiences of an EXC voyage - we are going on our first Maasdam EXC cruise to Tassie & New Zealand early next year. Bay of Islands is beautiful - last time we were there we went on a trike tour of the area, then took a ferry over to Russell, had an awesome seafood chowder ( from locally caught fish ) for lunch at the cafe overlooking the calm water of the bay.
  8. 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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