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NZ'rs - Your Opinions, please.


rockgarden

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Princess Line has two hotels where they place passengers - in Auckland.

Carlton Hotel and Sheraton Auckland. Which one is the most convenient to the ship dock? Whichever - is it also close enough to visit the Sky Casinos at night? Their charge is (for both) $129 each person for one night, $199 each person for two nights. For $349 per person, the two nights would include the glow worm grotto. (Is $150.00 each a good deal to visit the glow worm grotto? - not forgetting, we would probably be ona bus with 40 other people)

 

I know, I could research this on the internet, but you are all so knowledgeable that I decided my best answers would come from you all.

Thanks.

Rosemary

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Hi Rosemary,

 

Both Hotels are great.

 

The Sheraton is situated on a rise overlooking Auckland,

but is now surrounded by other high rise buildings.....

so if you wanted a view you would have to pay extra........

it does provide a shuttle downtown......

 

The Carlton is about mid town,handy to shopping,

and an easy walk to Sky City Casino.

From both hotels you would have to take a Taxi to the pier......

Waitomo Caves will be a full day tour......

but you get to see the NZ farmland.....and great scenery......

 

The caves are awesome........

 

Can't comment on costs ...thats over to you......

 

All the best

David.

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Dave, thanks for info. I now have reservations at the Sheraton - which is where the cruise had us scheduled - only I got it for just more than half their price. So, am feeling very accomplished at present.

My next foray into the world of the internet is to investigate the Glowworm caves and other trips.

thanks again.

Rosemary

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Estebofarr

We will be on the January 18 sailing from Sydney. Too bad - we could have met up and celebrated. How are all your plans going? We have done the important items - no tours as yet. Will have to do research and with the help received from the well-informed people on this board should be able to have everything arranged before we set off - I hope. Anyway, sometimes it makes a trip more interesting if everything is not planned and we do things on the spur of the moment.

Good luck on your trip. If you find out anything interesting, let me know.

thanks.

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Currently we have the Princess air and pre and post stays but they are so expensive. We are looking into an air consolidator to save a bit on the air and hotels and am hoping is we get that our online friends can set us up with reasonably priced hotels in Auckland and Sydney. I'm sorry, too that we're not on the same cruise. Its always fun to meet someone ahead of time and then meet up in person. Do you have all your air and hotels, yet?

 

Janis

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Yes, we have both hotels pre and post and not thru Princess.

Went to Priceline.com and bid $140 per night on a five star hotel in Sydney.

Came up with the Sydney Harbor Marriot which is, supposedly, across from where the Sapphire docks. Everyone else in our group is staying at the Four Seasons and paying Princess prices - also taking the day tour to the Blue Mountains. Am going to get that tour via the internet - I have various places to check out - info received from this board. May not be cheaper than Princess, but we won't be travelling on a bus with 40 other people.

Auckland - got the hotel through Expedia.com - this is the one where Princess was going to place us - Sheraton Auckland for total (for 2) of $260.98.

Shall write to both of these hotels re. bed size, etc., and to see if we are

or may get a harborside room.

I think we may be stuck with Princess air but will pay the deviation fee so that we can, at least, choose our flights. I haven't been into all the areas to check pricing just recently, but it seemed they were running 1800 to over 2,000 per person, whereas Princess around $1400.

Hope this helps. Try Princeline - I really didn't know what to bid but thought $140 sounded good - I just may have got it cheaper - who knows.

Good luck. Let me know what you come up with.

Rosemary

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Right now we have it all with Princess but am waiting to hear from the consolidators. We like the security of going with Princess but don't enjoy paying dearly!

 

I'm going to save your ideas and see what I can come up with. I've never bid on a hotel room before. Makes me a little nervous.

 

Good to have someone to share ideas with.

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Just bid for a five-star hotel. First time for me to do this. I have never done it in the past because of being nervous as to where we would end up, but I haven't read anything bad about doing it this way.

We are going to get a taxi to the hotel in Sydney. Have never done the cruiseline transfers - again because of the hassle of getting on a bus full of people all loading up their luggage, some not showing up on time, then getting to the airport all at once. We took a taxi in Barcelona and got to the airport so far ahead of everyone else on the busses. It would have been horrendous because the airpot was so busy anyway. Same deal in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

We haven't done any tours from the ships on recent trips - took Red October in St.Petersburg - fabulous - only ten of us in an air-conditioned van. Same in Rome - our driver knew everything about anything in Rome, we bypassed long lines of people waiting to get into the Cistene Chapel. the Colisseum, etc. because he knew all the ins and outs of what to do. Another problem with the busses is - they can't park as close as a much smaller vehicle. Because their livlihood depends on tourists, these people are very aware of how important it is to get back to the ship on time, so there was no problem with that.

Now, we will figure out what to do in Sydney and Auckland - plus the other ports. Hopefully, can come up with something in all places.

Good luck.

Rosemary

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Hi Rosemary,

My mother and I are on the January 18th cruise with you. She is from San Diego so your are practically neighbors. I got my hotel in Sydney through Priceline also. I paid $150 for the 5 star Westin. I was thrilled with this. We are staying post cruise at the Hyatt Regency. We told our TA that we wanted to get our air through Princess but she checked on it the other day and they said they had no available seats on the days we wanted (we are going 2 days early and staying one night in Auckland.) So we ended up getting our own air which was over $1800 a piece. You had better check with Princess to see if you can use their air if you don't use their pre and post cruise packages. I have been checking airfare since January and it has never gone under $1800. Everyone has to fly out of LAX and we didn't want Princess to give us a non-direct flight. The air time is long enough as it is. I haven't seen many people on our cruise on this board so it was fun to see your posts. Hope to hear more from you. Carol

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Great. Pleased to hear from someone going on the same trip.

I really haven't investigated the Princess offer as far as it being a combination of air and hotels. When I checked various cruise outlets (Expedia, Travelocity, etc) they quoted cruise only or cruise with airfare. No mention of having to purchase a hotel/air package.

We are a group of about 10 couples and all of us have the air on our

cruise document with the option to cancel and obtain our own air if we like.

I think everyone but me {and the other half) have already made their arrangements with Princess and I am the only one holding out - am not used to having someone else make air travel for us (T.A. this time). If you go to the boards and check under the Princess board you can read about one passenger's experience with booking the air through Princess on Japan Air Lines. Doesn't give me a feeling of confidence and have heard of some dreadful arrangements made - flying to Washington D.C., and then back to the West Coast. So, tomorrow I shall phone Princess and ask them about their air deviation and seat availability. shall let you know the results.

In the meantime, shall check out the Meet and Mingle listings to see if there is anything going. In any case, we should meet somehow, somewhere.

Shall post again when I have any information.

Rosemary

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Hi Rosemary & Carol,

My husband and I are on the Jan 18th cruise also. I booked the Holiday Inn in Darling Harbour for $116.00 a night. We will be there 2 nights before the cruise. I also booked the Sky City in Auckland for 2 nights after the cruise for $121.00 a night. We have never been to Australia or New Zealand so I am not sure how good the location is for these hotels. The price is right so I can't complain. We booked a tour to the Blue Mountains in Sydney. It includes lunch and a cruise of the harbour. We also booked a wine tour in Auckland with lunch included. It's so good to see someone else going on the same cruise.

Marcy

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Now we are six. Great. Who did you book your Blue Mountain tour through?

Is this a tour where, if you have a total of 8 or so, the price comes down.

this is what we did in Russia - total of ten brought the price down quite a bit and was not too many people.

In any case, am still doing research but first have to get the air question settled.

Rosemary

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Rosemary,

I have the info for the Blue Mountain tour at home. I will bring it to work tomorrow and give you all the info. The tour is in a small van that holds 9 people. It is an all day tour and the price was only $65.00 USD each. I'll give you all the details tomorrow. We were really lucky to be able to use FF miles on United to book our airfare. We will go first class from CT to LAX and them Business class from LAX to Sydney, Business class from Auckland to LAX and the first class from LAX to CT. It was only 90,000 miles each which we thought was not that bad for First and Business. My husband is recently retired and traveled the world for many years, that's why we have so many FF miles. Hope you get you airfare soon without any problems.

Marcy

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Marcy]

I am jealous. I too have enough miles to go business on Continental (partner)_ but was told no seats available. We currently have Princess air but I am interested in the Blue Mountain tour as well. Could you post the info here when you get it?

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Marcy,

Are you flying from LAX on Jan 14th? Mom and I will be on the 10:30pm flight. Unfortunately we don't have any FF miles so will be back in the cheap seats. I did get two bulkhead seats so at least we'll have some leg room. This is Mom's and my first Princess cruise. We have been Celebrity cruisers in the past but we're really excited about cruising on the brand new Sapphire Princess. We should all know each other very well by January.

 

Carol

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Well, I got the info from my TA that there were no seats available on the 13th of Jan., so will wait and hope that more open up - TA said very possible.

I am still checking though. I did think that perhaps we could reserve a flight from SFO to Sydney and back and then fly from Auckland to Sydney in time to catch our flight. Am full of wonderful ideas that never seem to quite work out - I think the airlines have everything covered so that we pay the full price whatever. My problem is I don't trust the TA - thinking that they want to make as much money as possible and because on checking other cruise outlets, was quoted $1409.00 as the Princess air but our TA has it down as $1473. Checked the other day at Princess and the girl confirmed it at $1409.

Called again today and this time was told would have to check with TA.

Anyway, will continue a search but will probably end up paying the $1800 or so.

Any news on the consolidator flights?

Rosemary

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Hi Rosemary,

We were told when we booked our Princess cruise in February that the airfare was $1299 through Princess so we said we would take the Princess air. Then when our TA called them the other day they said there were no seats availabe on January 14th or January 31st. I don't understand this but we didn't want to wait any longer so I went ahead and booked directly through United. We will actually be flying Air New Zealand home as United doesn't fly into New Zealand. We felt better about booking our own times and making sure we got direct flights both ways.

Carol

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You are getting a bargain with Princess. We were quoted high $1600 (don't remember exactly) and with tax over $1700 that's it. For 1200 I would have done a dance. One of the flights that was suggested was Tampa, Chicago, etc. and I am not thrilled to go to Chicago in January if I don't absolutely have to. Just asking for weather problems.

 

We currently have two days in Auckland, precruise and 2 post looking for 3 post. No hurry to go home.

 

When you bid on hotels do you have to pay for them at the time of winning the bid or can you pay when you get there?

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Hi Everyone,

Here is the info for the Blue Mountains Tour.

First of all it is called Blue Mountain Wildlife day Tour with River Cruise.

Wed site: http://www.activitytours.com.au/bluemts.htm

They pick you up at your hotel. You visit Featherdale Wildlife Park. Stop at the Sydney 2000 Olympic site. Lunch and a drink included. National Park walk. Three Sisters at Echo Point. Walk through rainforests. Throw a boomerang. Visit the Senic Skyway and Scenicsender the steepest railway. See mountain villages of Katoomba and Leura. visit Sublime Point. Enjoy afternoon tea. Cross the Nepean River and finish you day taking a river cruise from Homebush Bay down the Parramatta River into Sydney Harbour. Max of 19 people per tour. $AUD 84 ADULT Hope this helps.

 

Carol,

Yes, We will be flying out of Lax on Jan 14 also. I don't have my tickets at work but I will check to see what time my flight leaves. I think we might be on the same flight. Wouldn't that be great!

Marcy

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Carol - same thing with me. Not necessary to have hotel with them, but no available seats on the 13th. I don't understand why, but perhaps the air plus hotel pax get the first available.

Janis - any new from your consolidator inquiries? I tried a few, but didn't come up with anything worthwhile. So far, Cheap Tickets has been the best at $1822. Will continue checking all my sites and if I come up with anything will let you know.

Marci - great. made reservation for the 16th same tour as you. Thanks so very much.

You are lucky with your FF miles. We have a lot also, but with British Air so won't work in this case. I go to England twice a year, so they are adding up, plus my Visa card collects the miles, also.

 

Am now thinking of renting a car in Auckland - from all reports, it is very easy to drive around in New Zealand and it would be simple to pick up a car and drive out to the Glow Work caves - get to the highway and just drive. Then, drop off at airport. Will let you know results. Sydney is a different story - narrow roads, very busy streets - so, individual tours and taxis are the name of the game here.

Rosemary

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