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twangster

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

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There are roads to Milford Sound and the area offers tours by boat.  They offer a sense of scale when you see how small the boats are next to the terrain.

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The end of the inlet contains the dock where the excursion boats were operating from.  There was an excursion offered through Royal that would have started in Dunedin and featured an overnight stay off the ship and driving to Milford Sound where you would take a boat out to the ship.  That would have missed Dusky and Doubtful Sounds but for a future visit I may explore that option a bit more.

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Your photos of the snow caps in Milford Sound show pretty clearly the ash and smoke staining from the Australian bushfires over the last few months.

But agree completely - Milford Sound was the absolute highlight of this cruise for me.

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Day 10 - Sea Day

And so we begin our trek back to Sydney across the Tasman Sea.

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I'll have to take in the sunrise from the top decks tomorrow.

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Balcony kind of sea day as I worked on my pictures from the sounds.

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Gentle swell that is hard to see in this picture.  Just a perfect sea day.

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Now I'm home from this cruise, I can comment from my original account!

I can now say two things: I've been to New Zealand - Kia Ora to all my new mates there! And that I've cruised with @twangster … although, there were ~4200 other guests and I never knew who any of them were unless we had the good fortune to meet at dinner in the main dining room, or on a shore excursion.

I chose this cruise for the Hobbitses - I did the tour out of Tauranga that takes you to Hobbiton. The actual movie set rebuilt for The Hobbit trilogy, in the same spot on the same farm where they filmed the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Then in Wellington, I visited the Weta Works studio, where they did the props and costumes for both trilogies, and are currently working with James Cameron on the next four Avatar movies.

Like @twangster, I also visited Mount Victoria, and took in the splendid, if very windy, scenery, and then took a walk to some spots where various scenes in the trilogies were filmed. That was pretty neat.

But hands down, the Sounds, particularly Milford Sound, were the most wondrous. It was so still and quiet from my balcony in Milford Sound, I could have been the only person on the earth there. It was an exquisite experience.

And I really loved Ovation - for all that she is a honking great ship in the Australian cruise experience, I rarely felt crowded or hemmed in by people. And the crew were pure gold.

I'm already planning ahead to another cruise to New Zealand, and it will be Ovation all the way for me!

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Our progress...
 3,754 nm cruise distance.

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Breakfast in the Windjammer at 6am.  The view down to the self assist line at 6:16am.


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I finished packing, collected my bags and made my way down to leave.  By 6:46am I was outside and on my way to the train station.


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Walking to the train station one last view of Ovation.


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The train.


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At the airport by 7:24am only to find out Delta check in doesn't open until three hours before the flight.  Another hour to wait.


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Eventually made it into the American Express lounge.  Last chance for an Aussie beer.


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On 2/3/2020 at 5:10 PM, twangster said:

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.   

Mt. Airy is right down the road. Could be there in about ten minutes. Wonder where there’s an satellite receiving station there. There’s a Hughes facility down 270 but that’s Gaitehersburg/Germantown. 

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Looks like I forgot to mention the Crown and Anchor top tier event.  Day 8, 7pm.

Total guest count 4,361

First time cruisers 2,789 or 64%

Total CAS 1,572 or 36%

Gold 823 (52.4%) , Platinum 314 (20%), Emerald 145 (9.2%),  Diamond 213 (13.5%) , Diamond Plus 68 (4.3%), Pinnacle 9 (0.6%). 

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