Auckland, New Zealand – 07:00 to 22:00
Our final port of call on this grand voyage around the world, before sailing into the magnificent Sydney Harbour on Friday morning. Having been in Auckland twice before, many years ago, I recall it as a spectacular arrival and was fully intending to be out on deck enjoying the sights. However, waking up my usual 04:30 I was serenaded by two minute blasts on the ship’s whistle. It wasn’t foggy, but with rain reducing the visibility, it was pointless heading our with the camera.
Temperature: High 15C/59F, Low 10C/59F
Wind/Weather: Windy, Heavy rain at times, completely overcast. Basically a typical winter/fall/spring day in Vancouver.
Throughout the early morning Sea Princess maintained S’ly courses, following the New Zealand coastline before entering into the Hauraki Gulf. We boarded the pilot about 05:45, initially altering to port around Rangitoto Island, before altering to stbd towards our berth. By 07:00 we were securely berthed stbd side alongside Queen’s Wharf.
Shortly before 22:00 the Captain let the lines go before thrusting Sea Princess off the berth. We retraced our path out the harbour, disembarking the pilot about 23:00, at which time we set a course along the coast.
Our plan for today was to jump on a ferry at the adjacent pier and spend the day over at Devonport; however, the view from our balcony, or more precisely the lack of a view, dictated alternate plans. When Judi woke and checked facebook, our daughter was online, so we immediately logged onto Skype and chatted for about 1/2 hour. Fortunately, the bandwidth was good, so the video worked and we got to again see our grandson. By the time we finished, the dining room was closing, so we headed up to Horizon Court for breakfast. As usual, everything was lukewarm, so I enjoyed some fresh fruit and yogurt.
After breakfast we got the rain gear out and headed ashore with laptops, initially stopping at Starbucks for tea. Their wi-fi was limited to 1 hour or 100 Megs, and was so slow that you used the hour before hitting the data limit. Next we moved to an Irish Pub, Father Tims which was on a side street off Queens Street. Very old world with lots of wood, they had a great selection of beers. I tried the Murphy’s Stout and also a Montieths. For lunch we both had the steak and Guinness pie and chips. Very tasty.
Heading back to the ship, Judi checked out a few souvenir shops, finding a badge for her blanket. Just before heading through security, I noted a few tables and chairs with some crew and pax obviously logged onto a wi-fi signal. May as well give it a try and we were pleasantly surprised at the signal strength and bandwidth. Impressed, I decided to try and download the free Windows 10 upgrade, a 2.7 Gig file. Surprisingly it actually worked, just took almost three hours to download and then a further hour to install. Regardless, I am now learning the changes they have incorporated into Windows 10. So far, it looks good.
Dinner was open seating in the dining room, so we headed up to Horizon Court, where they were cooking sweet and sour prawns and for dessert they had an excellent peach and blueberry cobbler. Since it was quiet, we chatted to Placido, the excellent Head Waiter from the Steakhouse/Horizon Court. After dinner we headed down to Princess Theatre for the, “Haka The Legend Folkloric Show”. Performed by local performers, it included traditional songs, music, dance and costumes representing their Maori culture. While they have obvious similarities to the Polynesians, the traditional clothing has been adapted probably for the cooler climates and the music had a definite a more war like influence. A most enjoyable performance.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.