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About stretchcruz

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Tucson AZ

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  1. I sucked it up and did the Komodo Dragon tour. Included. About an hour and a half of walking. Yes, it was hot. There was more shade than I anticipated. Our guide was very informative and knowledgeable and we had 2 guys with forked sticks to fight off the dragons. We saw lots of dragons and a few wild boars and some deer hanging out on the beach waiting to be eaten by a dragon. Lots of pretty foliage too. At one point in the hike he gave us the option to stop and rest while the rest of the group hiked up and down a hill to a savannah. We all chose to hike the hill. Next time I wouldn't as it was a single file trail with lots of roots and rocks. One lady fell but she's ok, and my husband got stabbed by tamarind thorns but he's ok too. At the end we walked through a shopping area. I probably would have looked and bought something but I just felt accosted. So many people yelling come look, come see. It was uncomfortable. What they had, basically, was t shirts, painted masks and bowls and dragon carvings. There are children in canoes paddling around our ship begging passengers to throw coins that they will dive for. One of the kids was bailing water as fast as the other was paddling. Then when the tender pulled up to the ship they came alongside the tender putting fake pearls on the floor of the tender to sell. It was sad. As we were walking up the pier to the tender there was Viking staff there spraying us with some kind of cold spray, giving us mango juice and cold towels, and water. I'll stay it again, it was HOT!!! It was so nice to shower and change. I'm so sad that this is almost over. We just got notification that we are tendering into Bali. Our tender is scheduled to leave at 9 AM so I had to contact our driver to meet us later. Should be interesting!
  2. We are getting off in Bali. 5 weeks off of work was a lot for me!! We have 2 nights at the Melia Bali then a night in Hong Kong on our way to Tucson. I think that the ship handles the seas just fine. We feel a little rocking sometimes, but we are on a ship! I find it soothing. Tomorrow is Komodo. I'm not sure what to do. They are saying 1 and a half to 2 hours walk. Normally, no problem! But the humidity/heat has me double thinking. They are saying to bring umbrellas as there is no shade. I'll let you know. Went to a Q and A with the entertainers this afternoon. So talented and personable.
  3. I must have slept through the rough seas! It's nice today, just done with my run in the spa pool. SM77 I'm sorry that you haven't been feeling well. Glad somebody else is complaining about the heat!😁😁
  4. We are doing fine. Seas are good. Talked to a few folks this evening who weren't sleeping (like we were) who said that the "squall" was bad, that they saw chairs being blown around and crew jumping into the aft pool to rescue cushions. One of my CC friends had gone ashore at 7 AM and got stuck for awhile in the security shelter. She said she took a picture of about 15 crew members trying to hold down the Viking tent. She said it wasn't flattering, showed butt cracks and fat rolls and she threatened to post it everywhere! LOL!! But all is good. We skipped lobster night in the main dining room (we don't eat seafood) and went to the World Cafe for the French dinner. It was really good. Tonight Viking is doing a staff appreciation night in the World Cafe at 10:30. They will, hopefully, get to eat some of the great food that we did tonight. They will be served by the officers and then have a dance party on the crew deck. Boy, do they deserve it! And since we turn our clocks back an hour and a half tonight, even better!!
  5. We were in Darwin yesterday and this morning. Yesterday we had a private tour with 8 other folks from CC. Ethical Adventures. We got to Darwin at 10 AM instead of 1 or whenever we were supposed to. I emailed Rob and he emailed everyone and he picked us up at 12:30. A nice day with Rob. Hot. Very very hot. I am not dealing well with the humidity. We went on a walk at Berry Springs (I think) then a few other parks and for a beer. Rob was great, so informative and personable. He drew us a map on a napkin to explain cyclones Trevor and Veronica. We've been very lucky outrunning them. Overnight last night the Australian air force evacuated hundreds of people to Darwin as they are expecting Trevor to be Category 5. He brought us back to the ship and that shower was incredible. Planned to go out this morning to maybe shop. Still haven't bought anything in Australia. This morning the ship felt like it was rocking around when I woke up and then we heard our first ever announcement in our cabin! Captain said that there was a squall and they had to take in the gangway. It was pretty windy and rainy but it passed and they reopened the gangway for a few hours. In the meantime I went to run in the spa pool so ended up not going ashore. Currently we are at sea. Smooth sailing and the sea is turquoise. Beautiful. The staff on this ship is still exceptional. They greet us by name , they smile, they laugh. Service is impeccable. I have been so impressed! Today there was a safety drill at 10 AM. I was in the spa pool. The firefighters came in, fully garbed, hoses and all. I was very impressed. They were professional, serious, and concentrated on their jobs. Very very happy with this cruise, the ship, and especially the staff! My only complaint is the hot, humid weather that is taking its toll on me. But nobody can do anything about the weather! Can't believe it's almost over. Tomorrow is my birthday (a sea day) and we are going to Manfredis. Yay!!
  6. We are doing fine. Tonight, however, we spoke with someone who had no idea that we weren't going to Thursday Island tomorrow or anything about the storm. Frankly, we wouldn't either if our dinner companions hadn't told us. Today they had us fill out a form regarding our experience so far. I praised the crew and management. The only thing negative I said was that we didn't hear the announcement. They called tonight to say that all announcements are not in the rooms. We are having a great time and in 3 weeks my only complaint is not hearing the captain's announcement. (Besides the included tours). I haven't looked at tomorrow's daily (we were supposed to be at Thursday Island) but I would assume that they would address the cancellation, why, and add more activities!
  7. I'm still here and we are rolling a little bit as we are avoiding Cyclone or Typhoon Trevor! No complaints. SM 77 have we met onboard?
  8. Apparently we are not going to Thursday Island Australia. The captain made an announcement that we didn't hear in our stateroom this evening before dinner. There is bad weather there I believe he said. We were to have a sea day tomorrow, then Thursday Island. We found out from our dinner companions. Our waiter said yes, there is a typhoon. Hopefully a language barrier thing, but, regardless, they are looking out for our safety. I just wish that we had heard the announcement or had something written delivered to our stateroom. I'm sure it will come tomorrow. Someone said that the captain said that the seas would get rough, but it's like that old game of telephone when we were kids. I called the desk and they confirmed that we were not going and the captain was evaluating options. We had a private tour booked there and I'm sorry that we are missing it. I feel really sorry for the crew who now have 3 sea days. They already work 7 days a week 7 months in a row and now they have to work even more.
  9. Today is Cairns. Did the included. It was fine, drove around, stopped at a beach with a long jetty where folks were fishing. Pretty views and since it is Sunday nice to see the kids learning how to fish from their grandparents. Went to the botanical gardens which were spectacular, wish we had more time there. Then drove around more. He dropped us off downtown, those that wanted to, and we went walking to search for something to bring home. Aussies are so friendly! We were on a street looking at a map and 2 workers came out of a Eurocar shop to see if they could help us find anything. We followed their suggestions but it got so hot that I couldn't deal with it anymore. Drank 6 bottles of water. Had to head back to the ship. The humidity is something that I am not dealing with well at all. Yesterday was Townsville. Went on a paid for excursion to the Billabong Sanctuary, thanks to friends who gifted it to us. We enjoyed the Sanctuary very much. We had a private guide in the sanctuary who took us around and explained a lot about the animals. My husband held a snake and a crocodile and we got up and close to koalas. The guide's name was Jess and she was fantastic. Our tour guide on the bus, however, was horrible. She spoke in a monotone, seemed to not understand the plan of the day, and she was downright awful. Our bus driver, however, was great. He kept interrupting her with his microphone, thank goodness. Without him the city tour part would have been unbearable. The AC in the bus was not working well. The day before we were in the Whitsundays. Airlie Beach. My itinerary said Hamilton island but I assume it changed and I didn't know. Did the included. Not good. Our bus driver seemed to think we were going someplace else, then they dropped us in this town called Persepine (sp?). The folks in Persepine were so happy to have cruise ship visitors. They blocked off a street and had policemen there to direct traffic (there wasn't any). When we got off the bus he told us we'd have an hour there. Then someone came on the bus and said an hour and a quarter and he'd meet us at the end of the road, ask anybody where. There were ladies set up when we got off with a quilt show benefitting the hospital. Wonderful charity but we are not going to buy quilts to go home with. There were folks dressed up in period costumes despite the oppressive heat. They kept thanking us for being there. Problem is, nobody told us why we were there, what to see or do. There were no shops or booths with native things or any real direction. There was an historical society display down the road and they asked if we had been there. No, no idea it existed. We all just kind of congregated in the lobby of a Big Lots type store to wait for the bus back. At least it had air conditioning. Walking back to the bus one of the "ambassadors" asked if we'd been to the park. No, what park? She said that there was music and giveaways. As wasted a day as I felt that I had, I felt even worse for the people of Persepine who were so excited to have cruise ship people there. We were not prepared or told where we were or what to see. We have not received comment cards for our last 3 excursions. The ship is, still, FANTASTIC. Every crew member goes above and beyond. They all smile, greet us, it is a wonderful atmosphere. Yesterday after spending time in the spa pool exercising I came back and showered and decided I didn't want to get dressed again. Put on my pjs, hubby did the same, we ordered room service. Delicious chicken breasts and sides and they brought the included beer and wine too. Nice restful evening.
  10. Thanks for the pictures! ACN there are 25 people onboard doing the entire Auckland to Vancouver. Had a good day in Brisbane but it was SO HOT! We did an optional paid for excursion to the Australia Zoo. It was pretty good. The heat took away from the experience but that can't be helped. A lot of animals just hiding out and we couldn't find them. We did get to hold a koala for a photo op. Our guide said she'd take pictures of all of us with our cameras but they were horrible. Luckily the one the zoo took wasn't bad and it was included. I live in AZ so the humidity is killing me. I drank 8 bottles of water there!! Continuing to have a great shipboard experience. The entire staff is marvelous. Our stateroom stewards even bring clean wine glasses every day. The staff's ability to remember names is unbelievable. At sea today, Whitsundays tomorrow. They are having a gathering this afternoon for those of us who are back to back.
  11. We, as well, had a good included tour in Newcastle. Good driver, good history and commentary. We got off downtown and they had local people in red shirts with "ask me" buttons on. One of them told us about a nice walk that we took (ended up at one of the same beaches that we saw on the tour but that was fine). Circled around and ended up back in the city centre. Had a meat pie from a food truck for lunch. It was good! Very friendly locals. Beautiful sea views and a nice little town. At sea today.
  12. Our Auckland included tour yesterday was actually good!! Unfortunately it was raining and overcast but our guide was good. She was very informative....as a matter of fact she never stopped talking! But she had a lot of good information and stories. She got off of the bus and showed us around at Bondi Beach and Mrs. McQueeries (sp?) Point. She gave us some good ideas of what to do today. It was easily the best included of our cruise despite the weather. Pictures won't be great but what can you do? Had dinner last night at the Restaurant to say goodbye to our friend Angela the head waiter. She's going home today to Macedonia for 6 week vacation. Last night at 8:30 the cruise director came on the loudspeaker (only happens at noon) to say he had a special show at 9:15 of Aborigine dancers. Kind of strange, less than 45 minute notice with most people packing. We were tired and went to bed. Today took the ferry to Manly's Beach. Walked to Shelly Beach. Beautiful day...but HOT!! Was so happy that the sun was out and it stopped raining then once I got all covered with sweat and I was hot and bothered I wished it was cooler!! Funny how that happens. Drank 5 bottles of water, got back on the ship at 4:45 just in time to split a burger at the pool bar for our first food of the day. I'd love to come back to Sydney some day. Beautiful city, friendly people!!
  13. We are still really enjoying our cruise. Disappointed in many of the included shore excursions but I can address that in the future. We did fill out comment cards. Yesterday, in Melbourne, we had the best one of the cruise....our driver/guide was very entertaining and informative. Interesting that other folks on an included that we had dinner with last night had both a driver and a guide. We were allowed off twice for 50 minutes each time which was great. Cane back, had lunch, then went for a walk along the shoreline. Next time I need to do more research. I think our Australia portion of this cruise will be better as I have planned some privates and a few optionals. Service on this cruise is great. The staff are wonderful, food is good, no complaints here. One weird thing is that tomorrow the captain's reception is at 9 PM in the Star Lounge followed by the show....the Beatles show at 9:15. Doors open at 8:30. The first Beatles show is 6:30, in the middle of our dinner reservation. Seems like it may be pretty crowded in there. Last time they did the farewell in the atrium. We will see! We've had great crew interactions, the ship is gorgeous and we are enjoying our fellow passengers. Can't complain about the weather either!!
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