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vagabonds3 "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." Mark Twain

Anchors Aweigh: Auckland

NEW ZEALAND | Sunday, 14 April 2019 | Views [83]

Auckland, NZ — we join the cruise

Auckland, NZ — we join the cruise

GREETINGS FROM AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND.  The Air New Zealand flight from LAX was surprisingly comfortable — for coach, that is — and both of us actually got some sleep.  I just can’t get myself to spend triple the price of coach for business class, even on a 16-hour flight.  Tylenol PM® and airline wine are a cheaper alternative and I hardly noticed the lost day when we crossed the International Date Line.


    Processing, Queen's Wharf, Auckland

The cruise lines begin to squeeze the dollars — and euros and yen — from you before the cruise begins.  Instead of Holland-America’s $40 transfer from the airport to Queen’s Wharf, we made the trip by bus and foot for six bucks each.  We still arrived too early for boarding so we hung out at Macca’s — McDonald’s for you non-antipodians.  We queued up with hundreds who boarded in Auckland while others who started in Singapore or Brisbane toured Auckland.  Ship’s excursions are another way the cruise lines part passengers from their money.  With a little foresight you can get out on your own for a fraction of the $75 to more than $200 the lines charge.  Better still, all of the money goes to the locals, not the corporation.


    MS Maasdam in the harbor

We were aboard the MS Maasdam by lunchtime and had a chance to explore a bit. Maasdam is smaller that the trans-Atlantic Royal Caribbean ships we have sailed on, “only” 1400 passengers.  There are two swimming pools, one of which has a sliding roof, and the usual compliment of bars and restaurants.  A casino, of course, and a comfortable well-stocked library/game room.  Maasdam even has coin-op laundries, much appreciated on a three-week plus voyage in the tropics.  Our stateroom, an inside windowless cabin, is on Deck 5, aka Main Deck, not far from the aft elevators.  It has everything we need including Aziz, the most personable and attentive stateroom attendant one could ask for. 



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John and Connie, Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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