Greetings and Salutations my curious friends,
The first time I was standing in the hallway, inoperable room key in hand, we were just hours into our trip. We had made it to our rooms, unpacked, booked our dinner reservations, met family for a spot of afternoon tea and watched the ship pull out of Sydney Harbour as the sunset shone brilliantly off the Opera House. Upon returning to our room I was met with a spot of bother. I swiped my card and tried the door.
I swiped it again, but slower.
No matter how many times I swiped, or how many different speeds I swiped at, my key card would not work.
Thankfully I had my Husband-In-Tow and he was able to open the door as I headed off in search of help to fix my key. The most obvious place to start was Guest Services on Deck Five.
Or What to expect when you’re embarking.
Hello my Ocean Bound Vagabonds,
I love cruising, but that first time you travel with a cruise line can be a little confusing; especially if you are new to the hustle and bustle that is cruising and customs. Every company does things a little differently, not every line even leaves from the same port in a particular city. So, from my experience, here’s what to expect on embarkation day with Royal Caribbean when you are travelling from Sydney, NSW.
The Explorer of the Seas was so large that it could not fit under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and we got to leave from the International Terminal in Circular Quay. Although I was a little disappointed that my kids would not get to sail under the bridge for their first cruise, it was delightful to be moored where we had a lovely view of both the Bridge and the Opera House out on deck. It also made it easier for anyone staying in the city before embarkation or catching public transport to get to the ship. White Bay is a particular pain in the hole to leave from with its lack of public transport and nonexistent onsite long term parking. My parents, who are not familiar with Sydney or the cattle crush that is the city, stayed in the city before embarkation and had navigated the whole process alone to check in before we even made it to the port from the Coast.
Upon arrival at the terminal it appeared to be a little chaotic with so many people getting out of taxis, limos and walking up from the train station. Before jumping into the fray, this is the ideal time to take the obligatory pictures of the ship in port, once you’ve gotten into the fracas it will be too late.
Before you enter the terminal you will be directed by staff to drop your checked luggage with them and line up. Once inside the terminal you will be given coloured cards and your Outgoing Passenger Card to fill in. If you’re a first time overseas traveller and you have not seen one of these before, there is an example from the Department of Immigration and Border Control here.
Save money and experience the Bay of Plenty’s unspoiled beauty the way it was supposed to be seen. Step off your cruise ship and take a leisurely stroll down The Mall towards the once volatile Mount Maunganui. From there it is up to you. Is a vigorous hike to the top your idea of a great way to spend the day? Or is a massage at the saltwater hot pools more your speed? Perhaps you just want to sit at the foreshore and watch the clouds float by while the friendly locals treat you to their outstanding hospitality and hot coffee.
While catching a Hobbit is high on my list of things to do while docked in New Zealand, the handy infographic below will present you with 5 compelling reasons to forgo the shore tours inland. Tauranga, or more accurately, Mount Maunganui where Port Tauranga is located, is a unique blend of cosmopolitan tourism and laid back natural beauty. Everything in Maunganui is within walking distance and you can easily spend the day here for no more than the cost of a cup of coffee.
Don’t let yourself miss out on the wonders right outside your port hole.