Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One month and 3 days til next cruise

Just looked at the Princess app on my phone and it tells me that just over a month til the New Zealand cruise. I am now starting to get excited again :) Was visiting the beautiful Scarlett and Meg the other day and mentioned that I wouldn't be able to visit babysit ( the dogs actually)  for those 2 weeks and was reminded that this is the 3rd cruise I will  have been on this year!  Now that sounds very self indulgent but we had to do the Melbourne to Sydney one before the world one just in case we hated cruising, and then we had the half world one and now I need to help my sister on her practise cruise......what sort of sister would I be if I let her and her partner try to find their way around a ship all by themselves. So really I am going on this cruise as a favour to her. There, all makes perfect sense.
Thinking about the NZ cruise has had me reflecting on the world one and what a wonderful trip it was and how amazing the staff on the Dawn Princess were. So patient with the minority of rather rude folks who seemed to think that anyone under 40 on the ship didn't deserve to be there.........or hadn't paid to be there! Also realised that I never did get past the last port on this blog or do a wrap up, and now I see the lucky folks who did the whole trip are adding the last entries to their blogs and summing up. Well my excuse is.......I am basically lazy, which was the whole reason for this blog in the first place.

On the cruise we did a mix of Princess tours, private tours and just walk off the ship and look around ourselves. I must admit overall we were happy with what we did. Our Princess tours were chosen for either too far from the port and didn't want to be late back and we would be seeing icons (Pyramids, Petra ) or else they were the smaller connoisseur tour groups ( Naples, Athens, Masada/Dead Sea ) and having the peace of mind that we didn't have to worry about anything again for those ports once we had booked. Our private tours were also wonderful, ended up one we arranged ourselves for just the 2 of us (Mumbai) and 2 others with Joanne (Istanbul and Rome)

At the start of the blog I made a list of what tours we were going to do and was going to compare it with what we really did, so for my sake if no-one elses.......

Darwin - Princess Jumping Crocs - stayed with that and very happy also got free time in Darwin to shop, easy walk back to ship.
Singapore - ourselves with Katie's Uni friend (shopping!) - stuck to plan and were whisked around by Shu-Ling so no need to worry about anything.
Kuala Lumpur - Princess shuttle then on our own  - good choice as Katie had been before.
Langkawi - Princess kayaking - great choice as time in port was cut short,so the ship would wait for us if we were late .....and we were!
Cochin - Princess - didn't feel crowded nice tour
Mumbai - Own tour with Mumbai magic - brilliant
Abu Dhabi - Princess - port cancelled so refunded
Dubai - Princess - 2 tours -City highlights and up to the Top of The Burj in the morning and then brilliant 4wd desert safari in the evening. Next time (in my dreams!) would do city on own but definitely another safari :)
Muscat - Princess but port cancelled and replaced with Salalah
Salalah - got off with group of Katie's friends and we hired a mini-bus for the 7 of us and had a great day
Aqaba - Princess - Petra, stayed with guide until we got inside then wandered on our own til time to get bus back
Port Said - Princess - as with Petra a long way from the port and peace of mind being with Princess and both places would be full of tourists and hawkers anyway :)
Israel - Princess - Masada and Dead Sea , just loved it even though was ill.
Mykonos - On our own, beautiful just to wander about and eat !
Istanbul - Private tour arranged by Joanne with 6 of us. Brilliant city and brilliant tour.
Athens - Princess - small group tour, no complaints .
Naples - Princess - small group to Positano ( a favorite), Sorrento and Pompeii, wonderful guide and day
Rome - Private tour again Joanne arranged :) Wonderful day.
Florence - Princess - Back on a big bus, first since Pyramids, so we felt a little like sheep and rushed, but we did get to see statue of David, Leaning Tower etc. But after this tour we cancelled the last 2 Princess tours, which was only Barcelona and Paris anyway.
Monte Carlo - on our own, had a lovely time.
Barcelona - cancelled Princess and walked into the city and did the hop on hop off and had a ball.
Casablanca - Princess - port cancelled, replaced with Gibraltar
Gibraltar - On our own but while waiting in line for Gondola joined a mini bus tour with 4 others (non cruisers) to the top of the rock that included caves and a guide. Dropped back in town and shopped and wandered.
Lisbon - Private - Go Cars driving with 2 other couples, had the best time!! Then lunch and wandered about.
Le Havre - Was with Princess to Paris - but with Dover and getting off the next day I just couldn't face a long bus trip, so we happily discovered the delights of the port city itself!
So on reflection we basically stuck to the original plan, having never travelled before the peace of mind of Princess was wonderful and I have no complaints with how they manage to move the thousands of passengers off the ship into their tour groups. Folks need to remember they are on a ship with nearly 2000 others all wanting to get off and basically see the same things...........
Will do part two of summing up very soon ( but keep breathing in the mean time) . But actually not sure anyone checks on here anymore anyway, so all just for my amusement!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gibraltar, Lisbon and Le Havre

In Europe looking at Africa......Half way up Rock of Gibraltar
Bit higher up the rock
And they weren't in a cage just other side of a fence -
He jumped up just to prove it
But this little one was so cute
This one ran down and stole a sign from the van.....
Guides were allowed to feed the apes, the little ones!
Anything bigger than this bloke and it would have been interesting
It was fun
Despite lack of smile on my face
Still had sunnies off, didn't want the monkeys to steal them
Always got a shot of "home" if we had the chance, she is in front of a much bigger ship.....
This looked sillier in person, chihuahua and rotty!
Why not use a prop when you can
A rather healthy lunch :) mmmmm fats and carbs mmmmm
Amazing where we came across canons, but gee we were in ports that needed protecting ....
words fail me for this caption....
Katie's turn at a different phone box
Now onto Lisbon, the town from where we docked
Could explain the 2 lots of drugs dealers we saw offering stuff
Ray and Paula in their Go Car
Carmen and Neale our brilliant navigators
Ray and Paula making sure we don't lag behind and get lost
And I thought all the waves we got were because we looked cool :) I forgot about our hair nets!
On the road....the right hand side, was a challenge
Some building we went past, but I was too busy concentrating to notice
We got overtaken at one point !
Back in order, us in the middle
Half way time out........
Sangria for lunch ...mmmmm
Beautiful streets
Yep another  port another gelati
And this at a petrol pump on side of road........interesting
Katie with Vincent and Leo in the background on our last night in the MDR
Last port Le Havre, only port with bad weather, but still had a good day
Our french breakfast in a cafe
French macarons
Le Havre in the rain,had pretty parts to it
Our menu in French that we figured out, then we got it in English and we were right :)
Yep an omelette, they look like this and taste so good
The cafe was close to the port
Make sure you take big steps on this crossing!
Well we had to buy some and bye bye to cruise

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Columbus and I pointing to the New World...........well you can't see his head so
There it is
Katie drinking the very yummy Sangria we ordered at lunch
And we were very amused by the glass it came in
Dan and Katie enjoying the Sangria
Our tapas......all I can say is yay for all the walking we did
Onto  the Hop on Hop off Bus for our city tour
Sunny day, wonderful lunch........oops not walking here
Some of Gaudi's work...amazing stuff
So pretty
The unfinished church of Gaudi's
The 1st of many pics of it.....was too hard to choose just one
So used ones we were in ...
or not in
Dan ....
This side was done by Gaudi, other parts that are continuing are what "they" imagine he would do
Pic is a bit small to capture the detail.....sorry
Bit of sunburn happening on my arm there.....from a day or so ago
If you follow the arrow you run smack bang into a wall
Now the magnificent park ......again by Gaudi
Nice shot kids
Another mother and daughter moment
Intricate tiled work
Nice view, our ship is out there some-where
An excuse for a sit.......take my photo :)
And fancy that running into gelati
Smurf flavoured at that
With real smurfs
2 heads in the water are Katie and Dan, I tried to keep a eye on them
But the beach was a tad crowded
It says crazy on the inside of the bottle......tasted a  bit the same :)
Beautiful to return one day