Hey everyone! Been a while since I’ve blogged, so it’s time to give you the first set of cruise updates (and photos!) from my 28-day cruise from Sydney, Australia up to San Francisco, California! The ship’s been entertaining so far– most of the passengers are Aussies, and it’s really strange being the “foreign” guest!
So we flew out on the 12th from LAX and, after a 6-hour-layover in
And the harbor bridge completely dwarfed it:
We wished that we had more time to spend in
This is a place where I could wander the streets for a week and still not see everything.
Once boarding the boat, we had a couple of days at sea before we hit
And then, we landed in
Yaaaaay! And what an excellent tourguide he was around the city, too! (Thanks, Ivan!)
So what’s one of the signature sights of
After being whisked up some 186m’s (in a glass-bottom elevator), we landed on an observation deck with glass floors and an amazing view that spanned from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean!
Hey, look! The Sun Princess!
We also went up to the 220m-high viewing platform, which didn’t have the glass floors, but offered even more of a view. Now, it’s bad enough being on the 186m-high deck WITH the glass floors and the signs plastered on the walls informing you that the glass is as strong as concrete. But what’s worse is the Sky Walk, which is a ring that goes around the tower– WITHOUT hand rails, out in the open (but yes, with a harness to keep you in). We weren’t quite that crazy (but almost were– yet had second thoughts after standing on the glass floors a little while). Then they had the Sky Jump; yes a harness is involved with this, as are a couple of ropes (and a landing target)– they hook you up and then drop you for some 18 seconds. And you’re basically free falling the whole way. We watched people do this, and most of the time we got the impression that the instructor shoved them off the edge in order to make them do it…..
After getting woozy from being so elevated, we came back down to Earth and strolled through Albert Park, up to Auckland University.
Talk about another motley of architectural styles! The Business building was new and, for the most part, looked like it was made out of glass– windows and glass jutted out into the open air, the whole building taking on the shape of a boomerang. On the contrary, other buildings appeared to have been there a century or two; cute little pink, blue and green gingerbread houses, which apparently were offices and not classrooms (yet one very old building housed History classes. How apropos!) We also saw a Maori meeting house, but sadly never witnessed a live Haka. (That’s their dance/ritual/ceremony to scare/frighten off their opponents and enemies). After perusing the University, we went to the Auckland Museum and soaked up more traditional Maori culture, saw a bunch of stuffed birds (including kiwis! YAY! Too bad they were stuffed, I wanted to see a live one, but they’re nocturnal. We think they’d make excellent pillows; so plump and soft and fuzzy)…. The top floor housed World War paraphernalia, which was like taking a trip in a time machine– old bars and shops were set up just like they would have been seen decades ago.
By now, we’d walked several miles and our feet were getting tired, so we took a bus down and around through town, did a little shopping and headed back for the ship. After bidding farewell to Ivan, we sailed off. Auckland was really pretty at night:
That day went way too fast.
We had a couple more days at sea and today anchored in the waters near Dravuni Island, Fiji, where we took tenders out to the beach.
The water here was crystal-clear! Coming from the tender, one could easily assume it to be blueberry Jell-O. The sand was blindingly white, but once adjusted to, all sorts of treasures could be found– there were smooth white shells disbursed near the jungley-part by the shore, sticks of coral were everywhere and hermit crabs clambered around in their colorful shells. The sand was great for foot exfoliation… More than anything, Dravuni was THE PERFECT beach: lots of sun (with a few clouds when it got TOO hot, plus there was the ocean), a gentle breeze, super-calm waters… Tons and tons of vegetation (not to mention coconuts, which we almost had a lovely bunch of)!
We took the last tender back to the ship, and there was seemingly some confusion about the amounts of passengers that came off the boat in comparison with those that were going back to the boat. Looking out the windows of the tender, I saw that they had a bunch of villagers all looking around for the ‘lost passenger’. Eventually the crew members of the ship came back on– I didn’t see a final passenger, so either someone got left behind or there was a miscount. The captain announced that they had “found their lost passenger” when we finally shoved off, so I wonder what the deal behind that was!
We have another day or two at sea, and then we’re off to