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coyboy1971

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About coyboy1971

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Kailua Kona, Hi
  • Interests
    Adopted greyhounds, cooking, reading, travel.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Azamara, NCL, RSVP
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Santorini

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  1. Agree with poster below for an iconic dinner. Best lunch: the “B Double El T” (bacon, lobster, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich at the nearby Moana Surfrider’s Veranda (start with hamachi crudo). The Moana shares room charging privileges and elite guest perks with the Royal Hawaiian. Best Thai: Noi Thai on level 3 of the Royal Hawaiian shopping center is the best Thai food I’ve had outside of Bangkok.
  2. I had a very good experience booking with Viking Air today... I did the business class upgrade w/Viking Air Plus. Customer service agent was extremely friendly. It was a complicated itinerary with the extensions, but she was able to get me on my preferred carriers (my husband and I are both United Global Services/Star Alliance Gold) by playing with code shares and by my willingness to be flexible and take a short connecting flight on the outbound. It all came in under the contract with no add/collect. I ended up with: SFO-LAX-LHR on United Bergen to Oslo on SAS Oslo to FRA on SAS as a LH codeshare FRA to SFO on United as LH codeshare I tried booking the same exact flights directly with United and the business class fare was coming in at $17k per person, so using Viking was a huge savings, and once booked, everything immediately populated in my United App so I am confident my FF status carried thru. That being said, I had to be patient and work with her as she bid the flights... the call was 1 hr 4 minutes long! LOL.
  3. I really like Bite Me Sportsfishing charters. They offer 4, 6, and 8 hour charters. The boats and people are really nice. Remember, you don't have to go more than 10-15 minutes out of the small boat harbor to be in 2000' of water so the 4 hour trip from 10:30-2:30 will probably be fine.
  4. Disembarked today. I am going to miss breakfast in the Haven with Jenzer! Overall this was our second favorite NCL cruise (read my June 2011 review from the Jade, Venice-Greek Isles). I’ll post some final thoughts in a few days when I return to reality. Disembarkation at Sydney was pretty painless for us - then again, we had VIP escorted walk-off by Concierge Caeser. For the rest of everyone it looked like bottlenecks and long lines. Cheers for now! Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. My present sailing on the Jewel has had a hosted GLBT/FOD every night at 6:30 pm. Group size has fluctuated from 20+ to 6 or 8 depending on competing events. Lots of nice travelers. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. A few of the nice amenities I like about our suite... The bedside sconces with USB port for charging devices. (Cable not included). The Bulgari bath products. The Lavazza machine, well stocked with regular and decaf capsules, milk for making lattes and cappuccinos, and Tea Forte teas provided in English Breakfast, Green Jasmine, and Chamomile Citrus. The large bottles of Aqua Panna and Pellegrino. However, drinking these will cost you $11 for both. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. Yesterday in Akaroa was wonderful. One could simply walk off the dock and spend all day wandering around this little town with its cafés and art galleries and shops and pretty beaches...but off we went in our little BMW M-Sport 120i Convertible to try driving on the left for the first time. It was a bit unnerving at first, but by about 20 minutes, I had the knack of it. My husband, sitting in what would be the driver’s seat back home with no steering wheel in front of him spent the day gripping the handholds with white knuckles worried we were about to careen to our deaths off the left shoulder at any moment. Ahh, the thrills of Top down motoring! Our first stop was the cheese factory in Barry’s Bay where they were making cheese as we arrived. After a few samples we chose their double gold medal winning aged Gouda as our favorite. Hitting the road again, we meandered down French Farm Road past vineyards and pastures filled with shorn sheep, and sweeping views of the bay. It was so nice to be off on our own and not part of a tour. The car company gave us a Garmin full of places to visit, so we decided to drive to Governor’s Bay to have some fish & chips at the Governor’s Bay Hotel. This was a fun trip with some crazy curvy mountain roads to test out the BMW’s handling. After lunch we motored back to Akaroa and turned in the car. As a reward for not killing us, I treated myself to a cup of locally made hokey-pokey ice cream at the Akaroa Creamery. Delish! Tending operations were smooth and easy and once we got back on board it was time for a dip in the Haven pool, a refreshing libation, and a quick nap before sail away. Rufino, our Butler, iced down our bottle of French Peak Winery Chardonnay (Biodynamic and Organic and wonderful) we picked up in town, and brought us plates of tea sandwiches and fruit to enjoy along with our Gouda for sail away. Another perfect day of vacation. Our evening activities were a stop for a couple of sushi rolls at the sushi bar. The spider roll is made to order with soft shell crabs that are flash fried in a jiffy. The sushi bar is another highly underutilized and under appreciated spot on the Jewel. It’s a limited menu for sure, but what they do, they do well, and the chefs are eager to please. After we polished off a “two timing tuna roll” and a “rock and roll” we ambled over to the theater where Ceasar the Concierge was greeting Haven and suite guests. The shop was one of the outstanding “Burn the Floor” productions. I counted at least 15 dancers on stage, and the live band is terrific. This is a really fun broadway style production that features a lot of popular songs from Prince, James Brown, and many others woven loosely into a story set in a swinging nightclub. Fun! Worn out from our day, we returned to the suite to find the cutest towel animal on our bed. Anteater? aardvark? Adorable for sure. Today is the last port call in New Zealand at Dunedin (Port Chalmers). Tomorrow is a day cruising the sounds of the southern fjords, starting with a hosted viewing party in the Haven. Until next time... Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  8. It’s always nice to start the day with breakfast in the suite delivered by Rufino, our very pleasant Butler. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  9. Yesterday was just an abundance of beauty on the water at Picton. We chose a scenic cruise on Queen Charlotte Sound through the ship’s excursions. This was interesting because although we were docked, the tour boat pulled up alongside and we boarded directly from the Jewel via a hatchway on Deck 4. Cool! The sounds are lovely, with lots of sea birds and million dollar holiday homes. A 2 hour cruise was perfect. Sail away through the sounds and out through the narrow passage of Tory Straight into Cook Straight was a real treat to enjoy from our balcony. Our Butler provided some crudités and a bottle of Chardonnay for the experience. Ahhh...the Haven! Dinner back on the ship was La Cucina which has become our favorite specialty restaurant. Service was excellent and the maitre’d was constantly about the dining room checking on drinks and food and experience. The food was outstanding. Knockouts were the shrimp fra diavalo and the chocolate tart, either of which could be on a high end restaurant menu. I also noticed some information on a regional wine program...it’s not been promoted very much so I’ll need to investigate further. Today is Akaroa. I have rented a BMW convertible to explore the hills. It will be my first time driving on the left, so if there are no other posts, you’ll know it was a failed experiment. Enjoy these pics! Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  10. Docked today in Marlborough Bay at Picton. Planning to do some scenic cruising on Queen Charlotte Sound. The sound is quite serene after crossing choppy Cook Straight. Dinner night before last in Azura was disappointing. We were seated in the overflow dining area adjacent to Le Bistro with mismatched furniture from Moderno and Chaney’s and even the waiters were wearing a mish mash of uniforms from O Sheehan’s and Azura. Food was just okay. Long pause between course made me think it had sat under the plastic lid for awhile. The show was “Australia’s Doctor of Laughter.” It was billed as a laughter is the best medicine type thing but a lot of the humor was cliché or just poor taste (lots of jokes about marriage and the wife back home). Meh. Wellington was a spectacular Port. Free shuttle to the CBD and you could easily get about to what you want to see from there, or shop the department stores. We toured the outstanding Wellington Museum which focuses on the history of the city and influence of the sea. There was a very moving exhibit on the tragedy of the shipwreck of the Wahine, with excellent archival footage and items recovered from the wreck. The third floor is a very amusing pop culture exhibit. Free to the public with a great museum shop. Directly across is the Academy of Art which was holding a sale for students and faculty of some very nice contemporary artwork. Lunch at Shed 5 was splendid, with amazing seafood and excellent service. Would love to spend another couple of days in Wellington. Dinner was back at Tsar’s and the food and service were excellent. I had a mouth watering swordfish carpaccio and a hearty dish of gnocchi and turkey scallopine with sage sauce. Dessert was a flavorful banana soufflé with whiskey sauce. Just terrific with good service too! The show was the outstanding Club Band on the Run. 1970’s music (funk, disco, and rock) and some really good dancers who were also very easy to look at! Attached is the view we woke up to in Marlborough Bay. Cheers! Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. Ahhh. Been in lazy vacation mode. Dinner at Le Bistro the first night was delicious. Went with the escargots, the onion soup, the duck, and the chocolate Napoleon. Food was top notch and service was excellent but the pace at which the courses came out was languid at best. Seated at 7 pm and finished dessert at 9:40 pm, so we missed the show. Oh well. On vacation, so don’t rush. The GLBT/Friend of Dorothy was fun...more than 2 dozen folks showed up and there were new additions the next night. Good mix of people from Europe, North America, and Australia. Ages from late 20s to 70+. Hector is hosting the event. His energy level is high. Lol. Didn’t see much in Tauranga. The weather was foul (high winds and blowing rain on and off) so just stayed on the ship. Turns out the Haven Courtyard Valet was on the Pearl and we knew him previously as our deck ops person who took care of our hot tub and deck areas in the DOS on the Pearl. His name is Jenzer and he hopes to make Butler soon. He’s certainly a “vacation hero” and goes above and beyond. For us it will be breakfast in the Haven courtyard with Jenzer pretty much every day of this cruise. Last night was the captain’s reception with Haven, Suite, and Platinum guests. They held it in the Haven courtyard with live music, abundant passed canapés, and passed wine, beer, and colorful “martinis.” It was quite lovely, though rough seas and high winds made the pool and drinks a little bit sloshy. After the reception and a stop by the GLBT/FOD gathering we had dinner reservations at Tsar’s Palace which was packed. The gold Haven key and a reservation in advance meant we were whisked right to our table. Dinner was once again excellent. Crab cakes were tasty and for entrees we chose the Hake fillet and the rotisserie chicken, both hit the spot. Desserts were pretty good - cherries jubilee for me and chocolate lava cake with stracitello gelato for DH. Service was friendly, efficient, and speedy. 3 courses in one hour, so we did a little shopping (some good discounts on Bulova and Citizen watches), breezed by the show band playing big band music in Fyzz, and landed in the Stardust Theater in our Haven reserved balcony seats for the show. Ceasar, the Concierge stopped by to make sure everyone was having fun and the show began promptly at 9:15 pm. The show was called “The Tap Pack” and it was a Rat Pack style tap dancing show with 4 very talented young men from Australia. Definitely a nice way to end our evening. The ship was really rocking and booming from time to time, and it was amazing how these guys stayed upright with some of their fast paced tapping. We had a cute little towel dog for turn down. Today is Napier, weather is gorgeous, and we are doing some wine tasting around the Hawke’s Bay region. Cheers for now! Here are some pictures of arrival at Tauranga and Napier to enjoy. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  12. Bye bye Auckland. Next port is Tauranga, NZ. Captain is Kenneth Harstrom Concierge is Caesar Lanic (super nice) Cruise Director is Tahani Dinner tonight at Le Bistro. Will post a bit more tomorrow. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  13. A very nice touch are the USB ports built right into the bedside sconces in the master bedroom. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  14. Our 2 BR H4 in the Haven looks great. I haven’t found anything evident of wear and tear...the soft gold decor from the 2014 refresh is a nice change from the vibrant green and hot pink colors before. This is such a great room category whether you are in the Haven or the non-Haven family suite. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  15. Rooms on deck 14 and decks 8-11 were ready by 1 pm. The Haven is looking great. Neat and tidy and fresh as ever, despite going in for dry dock later this year. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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