Scenic Cruising: Food!

One of the most delightful sights on a cruise is in the Dining Room for dinner each evening, with wonderful meals served by friendly, helpful waiters. We have been most impressed with food on the Princess line. Our waistlines are testament to that. Even when you are trying to be reasonable, three course dinners every night tend to take their toll!

Enjoy some of the delectable dishes vicariously. No calories in looking!

From appetisers and entrees,

Delicious seafood

Smoked salmon

to mains…

Lobster tail and prawns

Lamb shanks

Salmon fillet

perfect

Beef Fillet Medallions

and of course, desserts…

Great presentation

Delectable Dessert

And as I post this to my blog, we are getting ready for another cruise leaving tomorrow. Somehow we are doing two cruises in one month, and it’s not our thirtieth anniversary for another eleven months. Perhaps we’re just celebrating early?

Lucky us!

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Scenic Cruising: Fiordlands

Although our last port of call was officially Port Chalmers, there was still a little more to come, or a lot if you’re talking about scenery, with scenic cruising through the Fiordlands, the main attraction being Milford Sound.

Below are photos from both last year, 2013, and this year.

Dutchy on the balcony

Dutchy enjoys the sunrise from our balcony.

sunrise from our balcony

This was one day it really made the balcony worthwhile.

Room service with a view

Ordering a little room service made the view even more enjoyable.

Amazing formations

Scenic cruising NZ

The sky was a beautiful blue this year, unlike last year’s overcast weather. Last year we were on deck because we had an interior stateroom.

Scenic cruising from 2013??

Fiordlands, NZ

Spectacular waterfalls NZ

Little boat under the waterfall

The five and six metre swells later that day created a wave effect in the swimming pool.

Creating a wave pool

All too soon it meant we were on our way home, but there was still more fun to be had.

Sixth Port of Call: Port Chalmers

Gateway to Dunedin, which is situated 12 kilometres away, lies Port Chalmers. On both visits here we have opted not to go further afield to visit the Scottish-influenced town.

You can often get some good photos from the deck of the cruise ship. In 2013 the Dawn Princess was berthed next to the Diamond Princess, while this year we seemed to be stalked by a Silverseas smaller ship named Silver Whisper.

Port Chalmers

Port Chalmers

Port Chalmers

Port Chalmers

Some good views were found on our initial walk last year up to Lady Thorn Dell.

signpost to Lady Thorn Dell

On the way up to Lady Thorn Dell

Two Princesses Dawn and Diamond

This year Dutchy stayed onboard, except to go to the free Wi-fi tent provided by Port Otago. Many ports, especially the smaller ones, seem to offer this service, perhaps to encourage you to go onshore, and then maybe support the local economy?

One of the lovely old buildings

It left me free to explore the shops by myself. I met Dawn, who runs Aurora, a shop that sells cloches designed and made by Dawn herself, plus restored furniture, another skill she has. I had a lot of fun trying on her hats, and was sorely tempted to purchase one. They are not cheap, at $85, but when you consider they are original works of art and certainly not mass-produced, the figure is not unreasonable.

Aurora Designs

Dawn the designer

I was lucky enough to find a book of sheet music with 120 Superhits from the 50’s 60’s and 70’s from a second-hand bookshop. Then I went into a vintage clothes shop, and the lady there took a shine to my sheet music book and we ended up singing Stormy Weather together, much to the amusement and entertainment of the other customers. My other souvenir from Port Chalmers is a vintage skirt that reminds me a little of a couple of teatowels stylishly held together.

sheet music

vintage skirt

When I returned to the ship a lot of people had finished utilising the free Wi-fi, so I was able to get a seat and do some serious blogging before the Dunedin shoppers arrived back on their shuttle, all wanting to use the internet. Good timing on my part!

Fifth Port of Call: Akaroa

Being a francophile, (someone who loves all things french), I like Akaroa because of that influence.

Akaroa French Connection

This port requires taking a tender, as the bay is too shallow for a large cruise ship. It necessitates cruise passengers obtaining a ticket so that first in gets to go ashore in groups of ninety-five. The trip across took at least twenty minutes.

???????????????????????????????  Seagulls at Akaroa

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Akaroa

My arty shot in Akaroa

A different kind of self portrait

You can take a picture of yourself in a portrait, which is rather fun.

Obvious French influence

Pretty street sign

Akaroa

Returning to the Dawn Princess on the tender

Akaroa from our balcony

Third Port of Call: Napier

Known as “the Art Deco capital of the southern hemisphere”, Napier is nestled in Hawke’s Bay on New Zealand’s North Island.

Devastated by an earthquake in 1931, it was decided to rebuild in the original Art Deco style, with covenants limiting modern construction.Occasional buildings survived, such as a little row of single-fronted terrace homes dubbed The Six Sisters.

Napier  (5)

I adore all the fascinating doors and windows. There is something so stylish about this architecture.

Napier Art Deco Doors

The Daily Telegraph

Art Deco ornaments

My souvenir from Napier last year (2013) was a lovely silhouetted lady lamp, which I don’t seem to have a photo of at the moment. On my return home I shall edit this post to add photographic evidence of my purchase.

Charleston Chic shopfront

I found a beautiful silver, marcasite and black onyx ring at Charleston Chic, an early birthday present, which I have to wait for until July, but which I was allowed to wear once on the cruise. Photo later, if I remember!

We enjoyed Napier so much last year that I had the idea to bring some art deco fashion with us, set the camera to black and white, and have ourselves a little photo shoot this time. The wig and feather boa was in my luggage, and then I bought a lovely cotton parasol to complement the outfit. I love time travelling!

My New Parasol

Accosting a passer-by, I asked her to take a photo of the two of us, strategically placed in front of two vintage cars and with an old  building in the background. Dutchy(Quiquinou) was in place, the camera was ready. All she had to do was hold the camera exactly as I had and wait for me to take up my position. This is the resultant portrait.

Napier time travel

Operation Art Deco was successful!

Fourth Port of Call: Windy Wellington

Here is a little visual to show how Windy Wellington, at the bottom of New Zealand’s North Island, achieved its nickname.

Wellington hairdo

From CentrePort Wellington, shuttle buses are available to take you into the CBD for NZ$5 each way. However, it is not an onerous walk, taking approximately 15 minutes. We even walked back from the Museum, at a good pace, in about 20 minutes.

In 2013, we chose to take the Cable Car up Mount Wellington and walk back down, wending our way through the Wellington Botanic Garden.

This way to the Cable Car

View from Mount Wellington

View from Mount Wellington

Zooming in on the Dawn Princess

The walk back down, which finishes at Parliament, takes about 40 minutes, including capturing a few photos for posterity on the way – all good for working up an appetite for another delicious three-course dinner on the Dawn Princess.

Follow the pink flowers

No Relation

Hydrangea

The Long Walk Down

This year our main plan was to get some of our favourite cruise photos printed. Apparently in NZ you can do this at a pharmacy. We checked one out but decided for our 27 prints it was a little much at 80 cents each. The Kodak shop’s machine was out of order, and wouldn’t be online until the next day, when we would already be in Akaroa. Someone helpful suggested Harvey Norman, which entailed even more walking.

We enquired at the counter to find there may be a 2 ½ hour wait. Oh dear, we didn’t have that much time to play with before the ship sailed, because we had had a slow start to the day. However, when I explained our dilemma, the helpful photo assistant managed to fit us in the queue, telling us to come back in twenty minutes. Even better, they were only 15 cents per print.

Meanwhile, I was hungry, having been off the ship and walking for hours, so I set off to find both a toilet and some fruit to tide us over. Ending up at Moore Wilson’s, a sort of buy in bulk/department store, I found out that they have two separate areas, one for household goods, and another for fresh food. I also discovered that while they didn’t accept credit cards, my eftpos card wouldn’t work either. Off I went to the ATM, which Dutchy/Quiquinou had suggested I do in the first place. Okay, I admit that this time he was right, a rare occurrence I know….

All that for a 65 cent banana which we shared! But the photos came out well and a good day’s exercise was had by all.

Where the Old Meets the New

Pretty Reflections

Port of Wellington viewed from the ship

Second Port of Call: Tauranga

On the eastern coast of the north island of New Zealand lies Tauranga. A working port, it is also the gateway to Rotorua and Matamata.

Last year on this cruise we opted to do the Wai-o-Tapu and Rainbow Springs tour. Often costing about $150 per person, one of the advantages of booking a ship-organised tour is that if there are any delays, they will hold the ship until your arrival. However, if you go off on your own and get held up, there are no guarantees that the ship will still be there, in which case you would have to make your way to the next port under your own steam.

Dawn Princess

Wai-O-Tapu

Thermal pools

bubbling mud

For something different, or more so ironic, this tour included a buffet lunch aboard the Lakeland Queen before heading down to Rainbow Springs.

volunteer on the Lakeland Queen

This year’s tour was to visit the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, an hour’s coach drive from the port of Tauranga. We tend to only book one tour per cruise; partly from a monetary point of view, and also because then that one excursion seems more special.

There is a guide who provides a running commentary as you wend your way through the adorable hobbit holes. Attention to detail is obvious and enchanting. Let the pictures speak for themselves. For those observant people, look closely at what I am wearing: same colours, but different items of clothing!

Hobbiton Movie Set NZ

Hobbiton Movie Set NZ

Hobbiton Movie Set NZ

Hobbiton Movie Set NZ

Hobbiton Movie Set NZ