Grand Pacific Cruise Part 1

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 Auckland, landed in Sydney, Australia with just enough time to ride from the airport to the ship. The ship was parked next to the harbor bridge and the Opera House. The Opera House is SPECTACULAR!

1syd

2syd

And the harbor bridge completely dwarfed it:

3syd

We wished that we had more time to spend in Sydney. Driving around was really intriguing– the buildings seemed so old in their architectural style, yet so modern because of their astounding height! Unlike San Diego, ALL of Sydney seemed to be tall; there were patches here and there of skyscrapers, but overall everything was TALL.

4syd

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 Auckland, New Zealand. These two days were necessary to adjust to the jetlag (not that jetlag was that big of an issue with MY sleep patterns, but adjusting to ship life took a little getting used to). I’ll say that this ship’s speeds are at about a 2.5: slow, slower, and… ALMOST stopped. Stopped in the buffet and the Atrium, yes, but overall crowds move really swiftly. And people actually use the stairs! Elevators are generally more popular than the stairs…

 

And then, we landed in Auckland, NZ, where I was able to finally meet my e-pal Ivan (of almost 4 years)!

1ac

Yaaaaay! And what an excellent tourguide he was around the city, too! (Thanks, Ivan!)

So what’s one of the signature sights of Auckland? The Sky Tower. Thankfully, the clouds had lifted a little so its top was visible. Naturally it was the first thing we gravitated to (and we saw a bungee ride on the side of the street, but that wouldn’t COMPARE to what we were about to see).

Again, like Sydney, the architecture of Auckland was quite mixed. Lots of new glassy buildings mixed with older stone-architecture buildings. Very cool! And the Sky Tower‘s apparently the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, at 328m’s in height. (Yes, that’s taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris!)

2ac

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!

3ac

4ac

Hey, look! The Sun Princess!

5ac

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.

6ac

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:

7ac

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)!

dravuni

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 Apia, Samoa! The waters we’re in aren’t too amazingly populated, so satellite is apparently going to come and go while we’re out here. More updates to come, but probably not for another few stops. Until then…. Tofa Soifua (Goodbye and good luck!)

2 thoughts on “Grand Pacific Cruise Part 1

  1. there always seems to be some kind of lost passenger or man overboard with your cruises 😛

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *