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TLCOhio

Solstice Live: Australia/NZ/Hawaii, Many Pix’s, Jan. 20-Feb. 3

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Thanks for the trip report Terry. The Wife & I are heading to Sydney, then Auckland for the March 22 Solstice sailing in about 7 weeks and I am enjoying the commentary and pictures.

 

Have a great cruise,

 

Chris

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cwtravel: Thanks for the trip report Terry. The Wife & I are heading to Sydney' date=' then Auckland for the March 22 Solstice sailing in about 7 weeks and I [b']am enjoying the commentary and pictures[/b]. Have a great cruise, Chris

 

dangler25: another follower. Thanks Terry for all the great photos and insights!!! Duncan (AussieCruiser) suggested I check your blog for ideas for a planned trip in 2014. Great info and new places I want to see- I'll never get it all in but will have fun trying!! Btw- you'll be happy to hear we're in the throes of another Polar Vortex- and your group is missing it!!! Rosa

 

aussie cruzer: Welcome Down Under Terry' date=' [b']Another great "live" your doing[/b]. Have a great time on the Solstice.

 

VK3DQ: Er Ummm. its Sydney Terry not Sidney.. but we will forgive you if you look after Solstice for us .BTW please report as to Volume of the on board music. Best regards. John & Jean

 

MicCanberra: Great to hear the Aussies are such a friendly lot. I'm expecting them all to be like MicCanberra' date=' permanently smiling. I think we are for the most part happy people, although there are always acceptions. I hope your journey to australia is a great one and the weathe ris kinder than our cricket team (at the moment). [/quote']

 

Appreciate so much ALL of the nice, helpful comments, suggestions and questions. Very, very great to get such wonderful interest and involvement. This live/blog is now at over 3,000 views in just its first three days. Keep it coming!! I will do my part with lots of pictures and travel details.

 

It's near 8 am on Wednesday, Jan. 22, as we are sailing south from SYDNEY (sorry about my spelling goof!!) We have a Sidney in Ohio and I was in a rush to shoot out a quick note as we were getting ready for the sailing away from that great Sydney harbor. Good to have people paying attention. I'm sure there might be one or two more typos to come. So much to share and so little time.

 

All is doing well on the ship for the start of this much-needed sea day. It has been busy, busy since arriving in Australia on Jan. 12. Lots of flights (eight to be exact in this time period) and five different places to stay during this opening time period. BUT, great news, we are now on the ship for 14 straight days. All unpacked and settled in. That is one of the super pluses for doing a cruise. You have a base and do not feel like you are living out of a suitcase, messing with moving the luggage, unpacking, packing back up, etc. In the next four days, we will have three sea days. Got to get rested up for REAL ADVENTURE in New Zealand.

 

Last night was my first dinner in the Main Dining Room (MDR). Worked very, very well. Great staff. Wine was pouring and pouring very well with our free drinks package courtesy of Celebrity Cruise and one of the booking bonus plans. I missed dinner on the first night while the ship was doing its overnight in Sydney harbor as I was out . . . goofing off . . . climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. All of the way to the top, 404' above the water. Great fun. Pictures to come. More details later.

 

So far on music, I have not notice much too loud. BUT, it will take a number of days moving around the ship to better sample and answer that question.

 

Great to have continued excellent follow-up from MicCanberra. YES, the Aussie people have been super wonderful with everyone we have encountered in Cairns, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and Sydney being in that warm, helpful and super interesting categories. As I understand those in New Zealand are not only super nice and friendly, but maybe even better than the fine people of Australia. We expect that from all I had read and heard previously. BUT, to experience it first-hand is one of the joys on this trip.

 

Have a bunch of pictures picked out and uploaded to my PhotoBucket account. I'll start now to be sharing here on this board more and more of these visuals. Sorry for so many, but Sydney and the other previous places have provided so super much "eye candy" to be posting.

 

There was an earthquake in NZ. But in talking with the ship's Hotel Director, Thomas Brady, at our Cruise Critic Sail-Away Party on the 15th level Sunset Bar, there will be no disruptions to our cruise schedule there. From the Sidney Morning Herald: "A sizeable earthquake has struck the lower half of New Zealand's North Island, knocking power out for a while in the town of Eketahuna, as well as causing property damage between Wellington and Manawatu. The US Geological Survey said the 6.2 magnitude quake struck about 3.52pm (1.52pm AEDT), 34 kilometres south-south-east of Palmerston North at a depth of 28 kilometers. The quake was widely felt in Wellington." For the full story, see:

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/earthquake-rocks-new-zealand-lower-north-island-20140120-3146i.html

 

By the way, we got to meet in person last night at this sail-away party, lots and lots of the super nice people from our very active, pre-cruise Roll Call on these Cruise Critic boards. This included Mike and his wife from South Florida. Mike did our incredibly detailed reports on all of the people who signed on for this roll call. 100+ folks on our roll call!! Over 66,000 views on this great sharing devise for our cruise.

 

Much more to come. The adventure is just starting!!

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Did a June 7-19, 2011, Celebrity Solstice cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Enjoyed great weather and a wonderful trip. Dozens of wonderful visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc., on these postings. We are now at 158,754 views for this live/blog re-cap on our first sailing with Celebrity and much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474

 

 

Here is a view of the Solstice and Harbour Bridge from the Opera House area:

 

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As we walked to the Opera House around Circular Quay, here is a fun, costumed character to promote the Captain Cook tour ship (that we took on Jan. 19) plus an interesting local “character” who was talking with him. Great people in Australia. Fun and enjoying life!!:

 

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Here is the view from our ship room balcony on the port side of the Solstice showing the famed bridge, some historic Rocks buildings, a newer Hyatt hotel and a P&O cruise ship crossing under the bridge. Great sights and views all around in Sydney. It is a photographer’s dream city!! Our room is on the angled out port in the middle of the ship. Great location for seeing the sights and having quick, easy access to the ship’s main elevators.:

 

SidneyTwo13_zpsacc53e1b.jpg

 

 

As we were walking back to the docked Solstice, here is an interesting White Ibis (I think that is the bird’s name) with its unique long beak. Plus, you can see the ship and harbor area/activity shown in the background:

 

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Here is a JetBoat going under the famed bridge with Luna Park showing in the background. At night, Luna Park is lighted up so wonderfully. It was great to see this park with all of its lights from the top of the bridge during my walk of that tall and dramatic Sydney icon.:

 

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Here’s my super patient wife, Penny, with the Solstice shown in the background from this location near the Opera House. My wife does not really like getting her picture taken and gets legitimately frustrated by all of the stops and distractions for me to do all of these pictures, etc. BUT, we have survived nearly 42 year of marriage with my bad habits. This trip is celebrating her retirement from many years being a high school nurse and all of the years of getting up so early and dealing with Ohio winters. Enjoying this great, warm weather down under!!:

 

SidneyTwo7_zps9405edd4.jpg

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Thanks for the kind words Terry.:)

I am loving your review and of course the pictures. Yes, the key to a long and happy marriage is having a loving and understanding partner that will put up with all our faults.:D

Edited by MicCanberra

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Thanks for the kind words Terry. I am loving your review and of course the pictures. Yes, the key to a long and happy marriage is having a loving and understanding partner that will put up with all our faults.

 

Was I crazy or stupid? Or, both? On Monday, Jan. 20, at 7:50 pm, I reported for “duty” in doing the BridgeClimb. This is something that I had been considering and “lusting” after for many, many months leading up to our visit to Sydney. I was debating doing a helicopter tour over Sydney’s harbor versus the BridgeWalk. Or maybe both!!?? But with our limited time of only two and a half days in Sydney, I was only going to be able to be one of these great option. Then, there was dodging the weather questions on “scattered showers” for part of this time in Sydney. In picking the Monday night option, it had a couple of pluses. It could “fit” on the schedule with the 11 am Tuesday Opera plans, plus it was a little cheaper at only $198 in Aussie dollars.

 

Overall, I was super, highly impressed by the organization and professionalism of the folks who have put together and run these tours since 1998. The maximum size of each group is 14. Not too large. Our group was 13 brave souls, all much younger and more agile than me. Each group’s leader is very focused on checking if anyone is going to have any problems with heights, being safe, etc. Not a problem or challenge for me in those categories.

 

We change into a specially-designed jumpsuit with lots of “hooks” in order to make sure that every item (hat, earphones to hear your leader, cleaning cloth, glasses, etc.) are connected and tied-down. No cameras, phones, loose items!!! You go through a metal detector to make sure that nobody tries to cheat. Then you go up and down a ladder system to test and get used to climbing with the connected slider/wire that keeps you hooked up during the entire period walking across and up, up on the curved bridge structure. PLUS, getting back down safely.

 

It is a decent walk getting to the point where we started climbing up. Some of the passages are a little narrow. Then there are three decent sets of upward steps, including going throughout the middle of the six lanes of road traffic on this structure. All very safe and fairly easy to do. Just takes a little time and patience.

 

Then you get to the arched section going up, up and UP!! At a couple of points, our group leader stops to do individual pictures documenting our positions and travel to the top of this amazing bridge. She was giving lots of background on the bridge, its construction, the area, Sidney’s history, etc., during our walking up through their headphone/wireless sytem. It was great to see up close how this bridge was designed, done and completed in 1932. It took eight years to build and was done by a UK steel company that had never built a bridge before. But, it has stood the test of time and is clearly a world-class icon in a setting that is so beautiful and interesting.

 

NIGHT AND RAIN: Yes, this trip up was at night. And there was a little mist that got a little heavier at times. BUT, we had rain pants and then a rain jacket that worked very well. These two conditions made things a little different, but it also added a nice “cool” factor to the total experience.

 

Big thrill, excitement? There was a couple (he from Brisbane and she from South Africa) who got engaged during our journey up the big arch. Fun!! Nice ring! They had been dating six month. Great couple. BUT, even that ring had to be “attached” so that there would be no risk for things floating away and/or dropping to below.

 

Overall, YES!!, it was a wonderful and exciting experience. Seeing this structure “up close and personal” helps one to better appreciate its achievement and places on the roll of great places in the world. Won’t forget this one!!

 

MORE BRIDGEWALK DETAILED INFO THAT I POSTED EARLIER on out Roll Call:

On the Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb, I have done several searches on the Aussie/NZ board of Cruise Critic, plus other digging. One of the best sources was from the TravelAdvisor website comments section from those many, many who have done previously this great adventure. I was able to ask questions of those who had done this climb and they provided some added, very helpful info.

 

Clearly nobody has complained that the price was too low. BUT, overall, most everybody said this experience was super awesome and a true "once in a lifetime" thrill. As I analyze the various comments and gain added insights, it is clear that, YES, I definitely want to do "IT", but that weather and timing will be key factors to consider. I also got some items that might be helpful in sharing from my e-mail last week to their website (admin@bridgeclimb.com). Here is most combined summary on what has been learned so far:

 

1. ADVANCE BOOKINGS: Climbs for January 2014 will be released in late 2013. Generally speaking, they are released for sale approximately three months prior. I will check in early and mid January 2013 to see how the various times are booking up for a few days to a week ahead. Personally, I don't want to lock in too early for a booking/timing and discover that I would have a weather problem at the day/timing of the climb. It does not seem that things get totally booked too far ahead, allowing added flexibility. I will monitor it to confirm that assumption.

 

2. DIFFERENT TOURS: There are three tour options. The Express Climb that is somewhat new and for those short of time. You can do this tour in 2.25 hours. You have more staff and are in a little smaller group. You climb through the inner arch of the bridge, crossing over catwalks and stairs, still making your way to the top summit of the bridge. But some rate this option as a little rushed and missing the thrill of walking up, up the top arch of the bridge. The original 3.5 hours bridge climb gives you uninterrupted views up the outer bridge arch all the way to the summit. This tour is the one most offered at a much wider range of times morning through night. Third, is more of an "internal" tour that takes you to the top, but gives you more details and insights for how this bridge was constructed. You still go to the top, but it focuses on those background aspects in building it. My current plan would be to do the longer, full arch top walking tour.

 

3. TIMING FACTORS/CONSIDERATIONS: There is a more costly, sunrise/dawn potential, but that is only offered once a month, first Saturday of each month. We'll be there mid January 2014, so that potential is out. Given all of the other things to do later in the day and for the evenings, morning might be better on my schedule. But, in the mornings, the lighting angles would not be as good for the positioning of the sun and how it lights faces and background buildings for such photos. Can’t change the sun positioning, so my tentative game-plan will be to aim for that 2-4 pm afternoon timing, checking advance weather options and go for this timing.

 

4. TOUR COSTS: For July 2012-June 2013 pricing: it is, Day, Monday - Friday, $218; Day, Saturday - Sunday, $228; Night, Monday -Sunday, $198; Twilight, Monday - Friday, $278; Twilight, Saturday - Sunday, $288. Twilight might be nice, but I’m not sure it would be worth the added cost.

 

5. PHOTO OPTIONS: You get one picture of the group at the top for "free" (included in the overall price), but if you want more you can get two 6x8" size for $30 or larger group on a USB stick for $100. It's way overpriced, but, if you have a good guide taking the pictures, that larger digital option could work out well. They will take some individual pictures and getting a larger group in this format could work out well to share and keep alive this "great adventure" in my old age.

 

6. OTHER FACTORS/ITEMS: As you are doing this tour, you wear an audio headset so that the guide can give you lots of info and tips on things to see from this spectacular vantage point, background about the bridge's building, etc. This seems very helpful, plus it has some good safety advantages. There are lots of short stops during the climb up, making things easier for those of us who are kind of "middle-aged", plus allowing folks to see more, etc. If asked "who wants to go first", quickly say YES! That puts you closer to the guide and picture taker. The first two people get, by far, the best photos. Lots of advantages to be quick to volunteer.

 

7. ADDITIONAL SECRETS?: Don't drink too much water before you start. There are no bathrooms once you get out onto the bridge. Avoid alcohol!! Every climber will need to pass a breath test (for a blood alcohol limit of 0.05% or less) before being allowed to Climb. Your BridgeClimb ticket also gives you entry into the first pylon. Either visit before or after your climb for more of the history of the building of the bridge, plus some excellent views. Many come just for the BridgeClimb and do not visit the pylon, missing out on this additional experience, key place for high-level photos, etc.

 

YES, much appreciate the wise and good comments from MicCanberra. As someone said on this trip: "A happy wife is a good life!". Will keep trying to work that way.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

Here is the Harbour BridgeClimb starting point, reception area, then we went upstairs to the area where you start to get briefed, equipped and trained for this journey to the TOP!!:

 

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Here are two different views of me on the Sydeny Harbour Bridge with a little night and light rain action. You can see the Opera House, Solstice and Sydney skyline in the background. :

 

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SidneyTwoBridge1_zps5b41f3ea.jpg

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Terry this is like traveling for free!!!!. As most of you know its a lot of work to do a live report. I tend to check the board several times a day for new postings and am always excited to see a new one.

Terry we all really appreciate what you are doing. No questions yet, but havent had time to look at the pictures and photobucket is blocked where I work boo

Norma

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Thanks for posting. We will be sailing on March 22nd from Auckland to Sydney. Looking forward to your blog. Great pics.

 

Johanne

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Thank you so much Terry for this wonderful blog! We are in the process of planning our trip to Australia in 2015 and you will never know how much you have helped us. We really appreciate the time you are taking to do this!

Susan

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What a wonderful review of th ebridge climb and all the details and a few tips as well. Great stuff Terry. I now your face in my mind when I read your posts, so I feel as if you are talking to me rather than me reading, (friends without ever meeting).:D

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Fabulous review. Looking forward to reading more over the next 2 weeks. Did you know that 'our' Paul Hogan ( aka "put another shrimp (prawn) on the barbie"), was a painter on the Sydney Harbour Bridge before he found fame and fortune.

Rest up before beautiful NZ engulfs you!!

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rvlandandsea: Thanks for posting. We will be sailing on March 22nd from Auckland to Sydney. Looking forward to your blog. Great pics. Johanne

 

Suzilynn: Thank you so much Terry for this wonderful blog! We are in the process of planning our trip to Australia in 2015 and you will never know how much you have helped us. We really appreciate the time you are taking to do this! Susan

 

Appreciate the nice follow-up and comments from Susan' date=' Johanne and the others. Glad to be helping those planning future trips down under.

 

Wanted to share some added details and visuals on the Sydney Opera House. On Monday, we did the [b']Opera House tour[/b] and had a great, smart and very entertaining guide. And then on Tuesday at 11 am, we went to see one of their opera production, The Magical Flute, by some guy of the past calling himself . . . Mozart. Great and interesting tour. Lots more good visuals to come.

 

WOW! and Super Wow! on both experiences and learning so much. The one-hour tour took us inside three of the theaters, including both of the big ones. We also toured a smaller theater that seated about 550 and was being used for a production about native Aussie soldiers in World World I.

 

On this tour, you appreciate several unique factors in addition to what I had read and researched prior to our trip.

 

1. It was somewhat “luck” and chance that this Danish architect got picked to do this job. His “sketch” was very bold and rough, plus without many of the details for how to actually build this “flying sail” design. He was not an “established” architect with a big name and lots of experience in taking on such a massive project.

 

2. They skipped most of the more conventional ideas with squares and boxes for this “free-flowing” structure on a Sydney site that had lots of history and local connection.

 

3. Building “it” and making all of the levels and mechanics function for these two big theaters and the three smaller ones was a big challenge. There were big cost over-runs and delays, budgets got blown out, the architect got fired before completion, etc.

 

4. Last fall, they celebrated the 40th anniversary of its dedication by Queen Elizabeth II. There is clearly a “love affair” with its unique beauty and icon status.

 

5. We walked in and around this parts of the harbor lots and it was always, busy and happening, in a great way.

 

We really loved the Magic Flute opera that we saw. This version had many design concepts by the Broadway star who did the magic for the Lion King. You could see that “edge” from her creative ways to stage this production, the complex set changes, the costumes, etc. This smaller 1400-seat Joan Sutherland Theatre, where operas and ballets are done, has a stage with a large, rotating circular portion in its middle. They used those creative options to the maximum. It was a big cast with a full orchestra. We are not opera experts, but it “ALL” was impressive to us and the audience.

 

Below are a series of my pictures in connection with this structure and its many great parts. It’s not just for operas or orchestras. Lots happens here each week. And, we got to be part of the fun and excitement.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Celebrity Solstice Visual Highlights? From our June 7-19, 2011, Solstice cruise from Barcelona that had stops in France, Italy, Kotor and Dubrovnik, I have pull together a number of wonderful visuals of the Solstice, its features, food, entertainment, options, etc. We are now at 15,634 views for this shorter version of my larger full review of that cruise and all of the port pictures/details. Check these postings and added info at:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1803477

 

 

Inside the Opera House, we are at the tart of our one-hour tour in the area of the complex with its smaller theaters. We saw a nice video on the construction of these theaters and this whole complex.:

 

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Here we are in the Joan Sutherland Theatre intermission lobby with its unique glass structuring that overlooking the harbor. Second is another angle from this area to show its unusual construction design/style.:

 

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Outside of the building, we were able to see and feel these tiles that were special made in Sweden. These roof tiles are actually made of two different tone on outside of Opera House roof. If these tiles were pure white, it would be too bright and glaring. :

 

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Here is our Opera House guide giving us added background in main entrance lobby of the Joan Sutherland Theatre. Lots of wood on many of the inside surfaces of this structure. High, soaring ceilings here.:

 

SidneyTwoA2_zps5221d8b5.jpg

Edited by TLCOhio

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Here are three more visuals for the Opera House. More to come a little later when I have more time to pull it together on another sea day those added pictures.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

Here are more Opera House visuals, including from one side showing roofs/angles up close with the bright sun's reflections. Second is from between the main sections of the this complex.:

 

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Unique angles from Opera House with the Solstice showing through the gap or window :

 

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Before starting or ending your cruise in Sydney, you need to think about how much time to spend here, what you want to do and and see, etc. PLUS, most important where are you going to stay in making your logistics work and be handy. Here are some details on where we stayed in Sydney prior to boarding the ship. It’s the Four Seasons Sidney. Great name in luxury hotels. And in Sydney, they have a super location. Next to the Rocks historic area, very close to the ship boarding area, right near the ferry areas, handy to the Opera House. And this hotel is right on George Street that is close to the prime shopping and other business locations.

 

Through our skilled travel agent that I can’t name here on these CC board, she and her agency had a great deal through their travel consortium. We did one night there at 295 AUD or about $260 in our US dollars. We got an upgraded room with a nice harbor/Opera House view. BUT, as they say on TV . . . “Wait, there’s more!”. We had breakfast included in that price and had $100 in food and beverage credits as a part of the “deal”. Wonderful staff, wireless Internet, first-class facilities, big swimming pool, etc. Below are a few of my visuals in connection with this great hotel.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

From the harbor area, here is a view of the Four Seasons Sydney with other nearby buildings in this central business district area.:

 

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Here is the Four Seasons Hotel name and logo on granite with the reflections of the street showing from George Street that it faces.:

 

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Here are three views inside the Four Seasons Sydney. First, the staff greeting us at The Woods dining location. Nice flowers!! Second is an overview of the main lobby’s three-story atrium. Third is one of the staff members in one of several breakfast buffet serving area on our final morning there before boarding the Solstice.:

 

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I think we are for the most part happy people, although there are always acceptions. I hope your journey to australia is a great one and the weathe ris kinder than our cricket team (at the moment).:D

 

Well, I'm watching the weather closely, but not the cricket.

It would be rude not to smile with all that sunshine every day. :D

I'm worried I won't want to come home after the cruise, not that I ever want to come home, but I think Australia is going to knock our socks off.

 

Terry, nice to see the Solstice from that angle, through the Opera House. :)

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Wow fantastic price on the Four Seasons hotel! We cannot touch a basic room in that area of Sydney on our dates in March and April.

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Terry, great pics and blog as always. Its so nice to see a rare photo of your goodself too, nice one! I'm checking daily for your updates. :D

 

Will you please give our congratulations to your lovely Penny on her retirement. She deserves a wonderful cruise and I am sure you have arranged everything in advance so well that she will love it. I just know you will both love NZ, my best country in the world for sure! :)

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Well, I'm watching the weather closely, but not the cricket.

It would be rude not to smile with all that sunshine every day. :D

I'm worried I won't want to come home after the cruise, not that I ever want to come home, but I think Australia is going to knock our socks off.

 

Terry, nice to see the Solstice from that angle, through the Opera House. :)

 

Yes, we do get a lot of sunshine, Australia has fantastic big blue skies that a lot of people envy. Just make sure you cover up and wear sunscreen or you will burn quickly.:D

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Wonderful travelogue with incredible photos and your tips are worth saving for when I can make my bucket list trip to Australia.

 

I read every post on your Mediterranean trip.

 

Thanks,

Gail

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It is now Friday morning at 8:45 am as we are crossing the Tasman Sea from Australia towards New Zealand. This sea, which can be rough at times, is doing fairly well, given its reputation. We have today and tomorrow for this long, long crossing. Then on Saturday, we arrive in Milford Sound to start some sampling of these famed fjord areas at the SE part of NZ's South Island. We will be getting off of the Solstice in Milford Sound to do our overnight trip to Queenstown.

 

For Queenstown, here are the weather forecasts from AccuWeather for those two days there: Sat., Jan. 25, an afternoon shower, high of 70°, low of 50°; Sun. Jan. 26, an a.m. shower; partly sunny with a high of 63° and a low of 45°. We knew and expected a little cooler weather there in southern NZ. BUT, those temps are much, much better than what has been hitting Central Ohio and other parts of USA during the past few days. Glad we headed south to where it is much warmer and nicer. PLUS, no snow or ice here.

 

Speaking of weather, we had yesterday in Hobart, Tasmania, the most totally perfect day one could expect and dream about. It was a high of 75° there and feeling like 77°. Perfect blue skies, great sun and light, wonderful touches of clouds in the sky that made things look so wonderful. You will see proof, soon, in the various pictures.

 

Where did we go? It was Port Arthur, the famed penal colony from Australia's mid-1800's past, then to the historic town of Richmond with the oldest bridge in this whole country (still works, we drove across this old stone structure) and then went to the Bonorong Wildlife Park. That last stop had lots and lots and Kangaroos (including mothers with their little Joeys in their pouches), plus wombats, emus and the famed Tasmanian Devil. Have lots and lots of pictures from yesterday's visits to share. Plus, many earlier have been uploaded and just need to be posted here.

 

Appreciate the interest in these postings. Now over 4,800 views in such a short time period.

 

Back later today with much more!! Appreciate all of the nice, continued comments, etc.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Did a June 7-19, 2011, Celebrity Solstice cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Enjoyed great weather and a wonderful trip. Dozens of wonderful visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc., on these postings. We are now at 159,144 views for this live/blog re-cap on our first sailing with Celebrity and much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474

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gfkcruiser: Australia Trip. Wonderful travelogue with incredible photos and your tips are worth saving for when I can make my bucket list trip to Australia. I read every post on your Mediterranean trip. Thanks' date=' Gail [/quote']

 

MicCanberra: Yes' date=' we do get a lot of sunshine, Australia has fantastic big blue skies that a lot of people envy. Just make sure you cover up and wear sunscreen or you will burn quickly. [/quote']

 

Essexlass2: Terry' date=' great pics and blog as always. Its so nice to see a rare photo of your goodself too, nice one! I'm checking daily for your updates. [b']Will you please give our congratulations to your lovely Penny on her retirement.[/b] She deserves a wonderful cruise and I am sure you have arranged everything in advance so well that she will love it. I just know you will both love NZ, my best country in the world for sure!

 

CRUSINGFAMILY: Wow fantastic price on the Four Seasons hotel! We cannot touch a basic room in that area of Sydney on our dates in March and April.

 

u2cruiser: It would be rude not to smile with all that sunshine every day. I'm worried I won't want to come home after the cruise' date=' not that I ever want to come home, but [b']I think Australia is going to knock our socks off.[/b]

 

Appreciate the kind comments from Gail and others. That's real "punishment" to read through ALL of my posts from that Med 2011 trip on the Solstice. Those were great areas to see and share. This 2014 trip has more of nature and that kind of beauty, travel interests.

 

Yes, for MicCanberra, we did get to enjoy spectacularly those great Aussie blue skies yesterday on Tasmania. My pictures upcoming will prove it.

 

For our UK friend, my wife was very touched by your "congratulations to your lovely Penny on her retirement". She is enjoying things so much. She is off to the spa now to figure out some time there. This is a fairly port-intensive cruise, so our time window to book there are a little limited.

 

Agree 110% with u2cruiser that Australia does "knock our socks off"!! Excellent way to summarize things. Below are more from Sydney and our sail away on the Solstice. This will be in several parts. PLUS, more to come!!

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Celebrity Solstice Visual Highlights? From our June 7-19, 2011, Solstice cruise from Barcelona that had stops in France, Italy, Kotor and Dubrovnik, I have pull together a number of wonderful visuals of the Solstice, its features, food, entertainment, options, etc. We are now at 15,771 views for this shorter version of my larger full review of that cruise and all of the port pictures/details. Check these postings and added info at:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1803477

 

 

In doing the BridgeWalk during our first night on the ship, I missed dinner in the Main Dining Room that first evening. But here are two quick "eye-candy" or "Food Porn" samples for my first night there enjoying this veal dish, plus dessert with this cherries-ice cream dish. Both super excellent. Wonderful night there in the MDR with the wine flowing and good company. Excellent staff service. :

 

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From our balcony on the port side, we had great and up-close views of the Bridge and Rocks area. Plus, after our first breakfast there, here are views of an Aussie friend paying a nice visit to our dining table to help "clean up"!! Fun!!:

 

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They can be very cheeky, but nowhere near the cheek or the size of the gulls at ST Ives, (Cornwall) in England. Those ones take off with small dogs.:eek:

Edited by MicCanberra

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Here is more on our sail-away from Sydney, plus added views and details to come. Let me know any questions, comments, interests, etc. Happy to share more.

 

More to come! Just starting our adventure in New Zealand.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

As the Solstice starts its sail-away, here is that view from the top, back of the ship. Lots and lots of super great memories from Sydney during our only two-and-a-half days there.:

 

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Here is our wonderful roll call Chart Master Mike from Miami, capturing some of our Cruise Critic group (good folks from Kansas and South Carolina) during our sail-away party at the Sunset Bar on the magical 15th level of the Solstice. Such a wonderful location to soak up the spectacular sights during this sail-away. I am keeping some names secret of folks pictured in case they are members of the government “witness protection” program.:

 

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As we sailed away on the Solstice, here is a nice view for one of their key government official’s residence. It is just the Prime Minister’s home and entertaining place that is used part of the time at this super scenic point in this world-class harbor setting. He didn’t invite me over during our visit. It is in an area call Kirribilli. This house looks big enough to fit all of my junk and needs! The Aussie PM also gets a nice home, called The Lodge, in their national capital of Canberra.:

 

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Here is one of our final samplings of this famed Sydney Harbour Bridge. Both the Opera House and this bridge are the two biggie “icons” for Sydney. To be able to explore, visit and experience each of these “up-close and personal” and in-depth was one of our best memories for visiting this town. Both of these were dramatic, untested designs by people without much of a track record for doing big projects. But each one worked out exceptionally well. Neither are average, boring, bland and/or the same-old looks you can see in every other town in the world. That daring is part of what makes Sydney so special!!:

 

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Here is one of our final views of the soaring Sidney skyline as we were at some distance away on the back of the Solstice during our long and exciting sail-away journey. Lots of fancy homes to see during this sailing out through their harbor areas. Plus, many sail boats, nice lighthouses, inspiring architectures, great natural settings, etc.:

 

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As you pass out through this twisting and dramatic Sydney harbor, here is one of the views to the north of the major cliffs that have faced and battled the seas on the east side of Australia. Great Sydney memories!:

 

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They can be very cheeky, but nowhere near the cheek or the size of the gulls at ST Ives, (Cornwall) in England. Those ones take off with small dogs.:

 

Appreciate the good points on the sea gulls in Sydney not being too big. Have Cornwall on our future "to-do" list.

 

More below from our wonderful walking tour of main Sydney.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

On our last afternoon in Sydney, we did a nice walking tour with great details, tips and insights about this town and its interesting history. Our guide was from the “Free Tour” group that works for tips. Our guide is a teacher who has traveled lots, was excellent in his Sydney/Aussie knowledge and fun, too!! It started at 2:30 pm at their City Hall. It included seeing the Queen Victoria Building (now a three-level shopping area), Westfield Tower, St. Mary’s Cathedral (just finally completed 14 years ago and Australia’s largest), Hyde Park, plus other sights in this sprawling central business district. This area mixes older, classical buildings from their native sandstone, plus soaring new skyscrapers with innovative designs, etc. Lots of people and activity in these wonderful downtown areas. Learning how their first hospital was built there (from a profit-sharing deal with rum sellers) was interesting. Yes, I rubbed the large brass pig at this historic hospital site. In this group of pictures is a statue of their first Governor, Macquarie, who shaped much of the early development here.:

 

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More fun and beauty from Sydney, etc.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

OPERA MAGIC FLUTE:

 

Here are few more visuals from our enjoying on Monday morning the performance of The Magic Flute in the Joan Sutherland Theatre of the Sydney Opera House complex. Sorry, they do not allow pictures during this opera performance. Wish I could have taken pictures as the cast, costumes, staging and sets were beyond great. Really first-rate, innovative and so very professional!! Plus, done in English, too!! That helps. The second view is of the theater interior during the intermission. The second and third shots show the reception area for refreshments during the opera intermission. Notice the nice red carpet, plus the views out to the harbor and seeing the famed bridge. Also, it is good to appreciate the details for how all of this steel and glass were put together in this part of this structure. Not your normal, bland, boring building design.:

 

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ANOTHER MAIN SYDNEY DOWNTOWN VIEW:

 

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Here is Neil from Wyoming and his wife enjoying the Circular Quay with my wife and me during our walking around in this great town. A nice visitor from New Zealand with a Canon camera was nice enough to use my camera snap this picture that also shows the Solstice in the background:

 

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