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  1. We recently visited the charming port of Napier and did not take any of the vintage car tours (we did the Hawkes Bay Express Train - delightful!) however, we spent the afternoon in the area and saw many vintage cars - many are parked across from the i-Site Visitor Centre where are ship shuttle (Regatta) dropped us off. Our observation is that 4 in the rear seat looked somewhat tight; it was a warm day, so not sure if 4 together was ideal. p.s. you will need lots of sunscreen as most vintage cars we saw were convertibles.
  2. We loved Napier and started our day with the Hawkes Bay Express (https://www.hbexpress.co.nz) and throughly enjoyed it - the train takes you all over Napier. The conductor/guide, Will is fabulous and full of information and great humour. Relaxing introduction to this beautiful part of NZ. The train was on the pier when we disembarked our ship - can't get more convenient and you had the option to be dropped off in town at the end which we did. Believe they only do ship shore excursions which keeps them busy. Afterwards, we walked the quaint town, had coffee and then went to the National Aquarium as we had booked 'Encounter with the Little Penguins' which was amazing!
  3. We really enjoyed Hobbiton and had a wonderful private tour with Judy of https://www.cjaystourgroup.co.nz last week. She can modify your trip to meet your needs and highly recommend her.
  4. We visited these ports this month with Oceania Regatta and agree with possum52 with the following additions: Napier - complimentary shuttles to/from the i-Site Visitor Centre (right across from main street) and a second stop at the National Aquarium which is approximately 15 mins walk from i-Site; beautiful seaside promenade to walk joins both shuttle stops. Wellington - complimentary shuttles were very slow (every 30 mins) when returning to the ship - the 2nd (last) stop close to the Te Papa Museum was full to capacity from the 1st stop so we opted to take a taxi back to the ship as we had already waited 30 mins for the full bus; taxi was 10 mins drive to to Port gate where you then take a complimentary Port drive to your ship 5 mins away. Tauranga - ship docked very close to town; it was approximately 10 mins walk to ship from the main street.
  5. We visited Akaroa Farm Tours on a ship excursion last week and it was fantastic. We love the immersive visit and the owner, Murray gave a colourful chat about the farm's history and then his daughter-in-law, Hanna sheared a sheep and we were invited to have our photo taken with her and the sheep. Afterwards, we met the farm's clever sheepdogs and watched how the eager sheepdogs herd sheep down and then back up the mountainside. Finally, we were invited into the farmer's garden patio where his wife, Sue who offered us homemade scones with jam and cream and a cup of tea or coffee - just delightful people. For an authentic tour, we highly recommend them: https://www.akaroafarmtours.com p.s. the Akaroa sail-in and sail-away is truly beautiful!
  6. We cruised the Milford Sound on February 10th and were told that our ship, Regatta was the first ship permitted in after the terrible storm. There was plenty of air traffic in the area. It was a glorious day - amazing scenery!
  7. This past summer, we also booked our tickets online and glad we did as they had a line just for pre-paid tickets which enabled quick access. Not sure if you have seen the notice on line that the Book of Kells will not be on display until March 2020. Quote from https://www.tcd.ie/visitors/book-of-kells/: As part of ongoing conservation plans for the Old Library, the Book of Kells has been removed from public display until March 2020. The Long Room and Book of Kells Exhibition remain open for visitors. During this period ticket prices are reduced by 15%. This will disappoint many however, it is still worthwhile to visit and see The Long Room - beautiful!
  8. Thank you. Assume it is cheaper to purchase an Opal for 3 ferry rides (Manly, Zoo and Darling all from CQ) + 1 bus (Bondi from CQ) than buy single tickets? As well, presume each traveller needs their own card?
  9. We are also going to be in Sydney a few days prior to our cruise and have a few ferry trips planned: Manly Beach Taronga Zoo - believe ferry is approx. 15 mins. from CQ. We have tickets for 'behind the scenes' at 10:15 AM, what time do you suggest we line-up in the CQ queue as not sure how crowded it will be? Is it best to purchase an Opal card for the above ferries? We will also be going to Bondi (either by HOHO or, by Bus 333 from CQ?). Thank you!
  10. Happy New Year. Thank you for the valuable information, clarifications and recommendations that I have gained with your posts - all the best for 2020.
  11. We were in Concierge in August and had Green and Blue. Always request they change to Blue only (our preferred scent).
  12. Our next two cruises are on the R ships (not Sirena) due to itinerary and already sad to miss favs Jacques and Red Ginger! However, we will definitely be monitoring cuisine quality and identifying this rumour about Jacques on our mid-cruise and final cruise feedback that if they remove Jacques it will DEFINITELY be a deciding factor for future cruises. Hopefully, they will hear the O loyalists!
  13. Disappointing news as we loved Jacques. I wonder if this is an indication that O will be moving away from Jacques Pepin as Executive Culinary Director starting with the new ships?
  14. Dover sole is better in Jacques than in Toscana.
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