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 April 18, 2009

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deanpierce



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PostSubject: April 18, 2009   April 18, 2009 Icon_minitimeThu May 01, 2008 4:44 pm

I am scheduled on Dawn Princess' departure from Sydney on 4/18/2009 for their 35-night South Pacific cruise. I am looking for recommendations on Australia touring prior to embarkation as well as suggestions for shore excursions recommended in such places as Papeete, Moorea, Fiji, Tonga etc. I am also interested in feedback on travelers' experiences on different U.S.-Australia air line experiences...such as Quantas -vs- U.S. lines such as United. Thank you!
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HelenB
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HelenB

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PostSubject: Re: April 18, 2009   April 18, 2009 Icon_minitimeThu May 01, 2008 7:39 pm

We did the Sapphire Princess 12 days cruise from Sydney to Auckland in January. The airfare was outrageously expensive (given that January is their peak summer time) but I found a good special on Air New Zealand if we left before the end of December, so we grabbed it.

We had a wonderful experience on Air New Zealand. We were traveling with 2 small children and Air NZ really did a lot to make the long flights nice for them, including discounting the child fares. Outside of that, they had decent legroom for basic economy, and every seat had a personal video display device on which you could watch movies on demand or play video games. The games were pay extra, the TV/movies were included.

The meals were also good quality as well, and we even earned air miles on United. I heartily recommend Air New Zealand, if you can get a good fare.

Since we left early, we arrived in Sydney on Dec. 31 and managed to sleep off our jet lag for a couple of hours before heading to downtown to watch the fireworks over the Opera House. The next morning we took a package trip up to the Great Barrier Reef.

If you're interested in visiting the reef, I highly recommend staying at one of the resort islands. We bought a Jetstar package (Jetstar is the discount arm of Quantas) and enjoyed every moment of our stay at Daydream Island. We also took a trip out to Reefworld, to experience another part of the reef up close. But Daydream Island was on the Reef as well. Until we were planning our trip, I just didn't realize how big the thing was. It's longer than half of Australia's eastern coastline!

After 4 nights on Daydream Island, we flew back to Sydney and met up with friends who took us to dinner in Sydney Tower. We spent the next 2 days walking around Sydney to see the sights locally, and on our last day before boarding the cruise ship we took a tour of the Blue Mountains, which included a stop at Featherdale Wildlife Park. Both were well worth the time. We had a terrific guide who along the way stopped to give us Boomerang and Digeridoo demonstrations, and we all got to try then out. Imagine a daya where you get to pet kangaroos and koalas, see the Three Sisters, meet native Aboriginals, throw a boomerang and play the digeridoo. Pretty much all of Australian sterotypes in one day! We had a fabulous time.

We stayed at the Novotel Menzies which was easily walkable to the cruise ship, yet not nearly as expensive as those hotels close to Circular Quay.
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mezza
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PostSubject: Re: April 18, 2009   April 18, 2009 Icon_minitimeThu Jan 29, 2009 7:04 pm

April is the best month in Sydney - t-shirt warm during the day but sweater cool at night.

Sydney is big and you can walk around city easy enough. There is a hop on, hop of bus, if you like wandering around the usual museum and Mints kind'a stuff. Darling Harbour by ferry is nice for tourist shopping, lunch and it is also close to Chinatown and markets. The Zoo by ferry is also great - it has great views of the harbour. Manly by ferry is also worthy of a visit. Providing the ship will be docked at Circular Quay, the ferries are right there and you could probably spend the day on the harbour by ferry. Also close by, near the Opera House, is the Botanical Gardens and well worth wandering through

Outside of Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a MUST - about 1.5 hrs away, the sights are well worth seeing. You can go by train but would be limited to get to the lookouts and walks. If you hired a car for the day, you could spend the day or stay the night - the hotels are generally resort syle- then you could do the walks and see the best sights. There are however, plenty of organised tours there

Featherdale Park is great for Koalas - very cute, Other reptiles and wildlife can be seen at the Aquaruim and Wildlife Centre at Darling Harbour
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Guest
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PostSubject: Re: April 18, 2009   April 18, 2009 Icon_minitimeThu Jan 29, 2009 7:12 pm

Hey Mezza, we have a group planned for 2012. Why don't you come on over to our thread and help us plan! Here's the link:

https://cruisefreekforums.forumotion.com/group-cruise-proposals-f35/australia-group-cruise-2012-freeks-down-under-t2195.htm
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mezza
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PostSubject: Re: April 18, 2009   April 18, 2009 Icon_minitimeThu Jan 29, 2009 10:28 pm

I've been there lurking Paddy pirat
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PostSubject: Re: April 18, 2009   April 18, 2009 Icon_minitimeThu Jan 29, 2009 11:34 pm

In Darling Harbour there is a shop which sells native art and instruments. They have a terrific free show several times a day, maybe half an hour in duration. It is a talk by a native Australian who describes his checkered life and gives demonstrations on the digeridoo to the backdrop of a terrific slideshow which fills the wall behind him.

queen
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NDJollyMon
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PostSubject: Re: April 18, 2009   April 18, 2009 Icon_minitimeFri Jan 30, 2009 1:54 am

Great information...thanks.

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Pete

April 18, 2009 CruiseAnimationPete
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PostSubject: Re: April 18, 2009   April 18, 2009 Icon_minitime

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