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twangster

Standing Ovation from the Land Down Under - New Zealand 11 Nights Feb. 2, 2020

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Muster drill at 4:15pm followed soon after by sail away.

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And that's when the rain started.  Light at first but heavy enough to head inside.  Given the bushfires in the region I'm glad to see some rain even if it meant not taking any pictures.   Just wish it rained more and heavier.

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Pretty sail away through the windows given the circumstances.  I imagine it would be very pretty under sunny skies.  Guess I'll have to book another Sydney departure to find out.

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5 minutes ago, Ampurp85 said:

What class ship is the Ovation? I was looking at the Pacific Northwest itinerary but my flights would have cost more than double the price of a balcony.

Ovation is a Quantum Class ship. I'm surprised at your flight costs.  They weren't bad from Minnesota.

 

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Housekeeping items

No sail away party on deck departing Sydney.  The Sydney City Council and the Sydney Residents Council voted to restrict music on outer decks of cruise ships.  Our CD mentioned that we have a few ports like that on this itinerary.

Wow bands have the muster station printed on them.  They were available at guest services upon arrival for $5 unless in a Junior Suite or better.

Diamond Plus are still allowed in the Concierge Lounge when the numbers permit it.  No directive from Miami to restrict Diamond Plus as perceived on some ships in other regions.  Our lounge concierge has had to restrict Diamond Plus before when there are high numbers of Diamond Plus present.  Eighty or ninety Diamond Plus is a rough number that can be accommodated.  On transpacific or certain other itineraries when there are nearly 500 Diamond Plus there simply isn't enough space or servers to keep it an enjoyable experience for all guests who have access to the Concierge Lounge.  

The cruise terminal has no waiting area inside so appointment times are strictly enforced.  Once the ship is ready to board they’ll open the doors and start looking for early appointment times.  Once you are allowed in you flow between the required stops at check in, Australian immigration for exit purposes and finally security.  The use of boarding times keeps the flow moving with some but minimal queueing at each stop.

When using Voom internet, the O3b satellite platform makes it appear that I am located in Mount Airy, MD U.S.A. which is one of many earth stations for SES/O3b.   

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RCTV Channel Lineup

While down under Ovation has a different channel lineup compared to when it was in the Northern Hemisphere.

14 - RCTV

15 - ShoreEx

16 - Cruise Compass

17 - Itinerary Map

18 - RCTV 2 

19 - Next Cruise

20 - Australian Drama & Comedy

21 - ESPN Pacific Rim

22 - Sport24

23 - Kids Programming

24 - Teens Programming

26 - ABC News 24  (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, not ABC from the U.S.)

27 - MSNBC

29 - BBC World News

30 - Sky News Australia

31 - OV Views (various outdoor cameras on board Ovation)

32 - BBC HD

33 - Red Bull TV

34 - Prime Favorites

35 - Prime Journeys

36 - XYTV

37 - Voyage Information

38 - RCTV Channel Guide

 

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I see you are in the Bay of Islands tomorrow.

Thursday 6th Feb is Waitangi day here and a public holiday, each year the commemorations are held in Waitangi / Bay of Islands so you may find it a lot busier than normal on the day before as the Prime Minster and all the various dignitaries will be arriving in town

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9 minutes ago, F1guynz said:

I see you are in the Bay of Islands tomorrow.

Thursday 6th Feb is Waitangi day here and a public holiday, each year the commemorations are held in Waitangi / Bay of Islands so you may find it a lot busier than normal on the day before as the Prime Minster and all the various dignitaries will be arriving in town

Awesome.  Thanks for the heads up.   What is the proper way to say Waitangi?  Phonetically that it is 😞 

 

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4 minutes ago, twangster said:

Awesome.  Thanks for the heads up.   What is the proper way to say Waitangi?  Phonetically that it is 😞 

 

These things are always changing based on political correctness but most people say it as Y-TANG-EE

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44 minutes ago, F1guynz said:

I see you are in the Bay of Islands tomorrow.

Thursday 6th Feb is Waitangi day here and a public holiday, each year the commemorations are held in Waitangi / Bay of Islands so you may find it a lot busier than normal on the day before as the Prime Minster and all the various dignitaries will be arriving in town

Isn't tomorrow the 5th?  I know my clock is messed up and maybe I've got my phone off a day.  I thought today is the 4th and tomorrow, Bay of Islands was on Feb. 5th.  We are in Tauranga on the 6th.    Will Tauranga be closed or some areas shut down for the event?

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@twangster, were all of your night time shots on your good camera and glass, or were some of those from your iPhone using Night Mode? Guessing it's all the good camera given some of the clearly long-exposure shots with light trails and such, but I'm still curious to know.

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6 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

@twangster, were all of your night time shots on your good camera and glass, or were some of those from your iPhone using Night Mode? Guessing it's all the good camera given some of the clearly long-exposure shots with light trails and such, but I'm still curious to know.

All good camera.  I tried an iPhone night shot on the bridge in the early morning hours but it didn't make the cut.

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43 minutes ago, twangster said:

Isn't tomorrow the 5th?

Yes tomorrow is the 5th here while you are in the Bay of Islands. The commemorations go on all week and there are speeches today but the official holiday is the 6th.

Everywhere should still be open in Tauranga on the 6th but It will also likely be busy as everyone will have the day off.  Some food places will add a public holiday surcharge but with the nzd To usd exchange rate everything should still seem cheap to you😁

 

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17 minutes ago, F1guynz said:

I see the media is reporting one of the passengers on Ovation died of natural causes on the way to NZ.

Royal made sure it was reported that it was not related to Coronavirus.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12305965

 

There was an Alpha call very early the first morning after departing Sydney.  I woke and heard it like it was a dream in the middle of the night.  Unfortunately these things happen in life, on land and at sea.  

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We had a rainy sail away and evening as we pulled away from the Australian coast.

Night one ended early for me on account of being up early to catch the ship's arrival into Sydney.  #boring

We change times tonight, one hour forward.  We'll do the same tomorrow night so we'll be on New Zealand time when we arrive.  

Sunday night spoiler alert - Chiefs win the Super Bowl.  I'll have to watch the replay in the morning, I'm going to bed.

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Day 2 - Sea Day

The rain and dreary conditions continue.  

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My neighbors down the hall have mastered communication on board without using electronic devices.

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Super Bowl replay this morning at 11am.  It is being played on channel 21 on board as well as at the pub and poolside.  

I used the time to go through and post pictures leading up to sail away.  

Typical sea day experiences.  Ovation is good for days like this with large areas like the indoor family pool and Two70° to disperse the crowds.

Something new (to me at least):

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Our progress:

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Welcome to New Zealand!

Enjoy your time in the Bay of Islands. It looks like you should have some nice weather today.

Trip to Russell and the Duke of Marlborough for lunch today? Mick Jagger goes has been there when the Rolling Stones were on tour.

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While in the solarium I was surprised to see it empty at 8:15am on a sea day.  I think the time change last night escaped some people.  Regardless, I took advantage of the opportunity to grab some pictures. 

The Quantum class solarium is the nicest in the fleet and with the indoor family pool area it truly can be adult only.  Very similar to Anthem but different in subtle ways.

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This is our only tender port and they started giving out tender tickets just before the first tenders started.  The expectation for tenders is that you are ready to go when you collect your tickets.  Tickets were handed out near Vintages then guests were asked to wait until the ticket number were called. 

New Zealand is particularly strict about bringing food or beverages to shore.  Only commercially bottled water is allowed and there was a sniffer dog on the shore to inspect us.

Since I had booked a Royal excursion I didn't need a tender ticket, instead tours met in the Royal Theater and we were escorted down to a tender.

Quantum class of which Ovation is a member carry eight lifeboats that are designed to also function as tenders.  They are very comfortable and the Ovation crew has this down to a science as the largest cruise ship tender in operation. 

Two tenders before our group are just about to make it to shore.

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The ride is about 10-12 minutes and we had a full size dolphin playing in the waves of our wake.  I didn't manage to get a picture of the dolphin but it was quite something to see up close just a few feet away.

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Upon arrival to the dock a group of dignitaries greeted us.  Actually they weren't there for us but in honor of Waitangi Day festivities.  This national holiday is actually tomorrow but like any independence day like celebration events occurs over several days. 

This day marks the anniversary of the signing of the Waitangi treaty that is a founding document for New Zealand.

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My excursion boarded another boat for a Bay of Islands lunch cruise.

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