2011 Cruise - Hawaii/Tahiti/New Zealand
April 22, 2010
Whenever I pull out the photos of my 2006 Cruise to Hawaii and Tahiti, I keep telling myself that I want to go back. I have been waiting for Regent to once again offer the cruise as a roundtrip from San Francisco as the 2006 cruise was (and that Regent had been doing every two years). Since it has been 4 years, I realize that it is probably not something they are going to do.
So today, I looked at their itineraries and decided to book the San Francisco to New Zealand cruise. I know the flight back will not be a lot of fun, but Regent is offering a GREAT deal on Business Class.
A call to Candi Deem at Travel Leaders in South Dakota is all it took and in a half hour, the trip was booked with the Cabin I wanted.
September 4, 2010
Happy to announce that Matt has agreed to join me on the cruise. Will be wonderful having someone to share the trip with !!
December 30, 2010
We have been upgraded to Cabin 1044. This is up one deck, directly under La Veranda Restaurant. The cabin is more square (about half the depth, but twice as wide) and has an extra window right above the writing desk. We have still asked for the barrel chairs to be removed.
January 14, 2011
The morning began at 7:00 with final packing. I had told Matt
that we were being picked up by an SUV. The limousine arrived at 9:15 and he was
pleasantly surprised. Our 4 bags were loaded and we were on our way to San
Francisco, arriving right at 11:00. Quick curbside service and our bags departed
us. We were told by a port representative that we would not be able to board the
ship until noon, but I decided that we should go and wait if need be. We were
allowed right on the ship and given our room keys (although rooms were not to be
ready until 2) and a glass of champagne. We went to our room (where a bottle of
champagne and a box chocolates from Candi, our travel agent were waiting) to do
a dropoff of our carry-on bags and we made a quick tour of the ship. We then
went to the pool deck to sit in the sun and have lunch at the Pool Grill. We
were told at 1:15 that rooms were ready. We went down and were met by our
Butler, Ignatious. He made sure we were ok and took care of another dinner
reservation for us and told us we would have Prawn Canape service at 5. Our
stewardess, Rowena, was next in the room to say hi and to make sure everything
was ok. Our luggage had not arrived, so we went back up to the top deck, then
down to the room and waited for the luggage, which arrived at 3. We only had 15
minutes to unpack before the Life Boat drill. We walked down to the 5th deck to
Signatures Restaurant, which is our Muster station. We did not have to take our
life vests with us, but we did have to go out to the deck to where the lifeboat
was. We were back in the room at 4, which was the time for the "Sail-Away
Celebration". We went up to the top deck to watch us pull away from Pier 35 and
head out and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Back to the room at 5, where our
Shrimp plate was waiting. We ran to the laundry room to press a few shirts, then
back to the room to get ready for dinner.
January 15, 2011 - At Sea
We awoke at 7:45 to fog outside, which makes it look like an
"indoor" day for us.
January 16, 2011 - At Sea
We turned to clocks back one hour last night, so got an extra
hour of sleep. Awoke at 7:30 with overcast skies. Went to breakfast in Compass
Rose where they were serving Champagne and Caviar. Matt had the caviar, I
passed. Back to the room where our excursion tickets were waiting. They put us
on a late tour Papeete when we had scheduled an early one. The tour is full, but
they are working to make the correction. While I was working with Destination
Services on that, Matt was in the gym for a one hour workout. Regent has worked
out a deal where they are able to show all of the weekend NFL playoffs, so I had
those on in the room. We went up to the pool deck to lay out, even though it was
cloudy...Matt to read, me to hope for sun. We had the "Tex-Mex BBQ", which was
served on the pool deck, and then continued to lay out until 3. Only moments of
sun. It was then to the casino to make a donation, and then to the room to relax
January 17, 2011- At Sea
Awoke at 7:00. Matt went to the gym for an hour while I
updated this log and got myself ready for the day. At 8:00AM, we were 1182 miles
out of San Francisco with 849 to go to Hilo. Made a quick call home to find that
it is still foggy there. It is still overcast with small breaks in the clouds
here. It was out to "La Veranda", the buffet breakfast, and eating outside at
the back of the ship on Deck 11. Matt is doing 2 loads of our laundry this
morning. Each load takes about 50 minutes in the washer. While that was being
done, we walked around the top deck 7 times, which equals a mile. The washers
and dryers were having their problems, either not working or drying very slowly, so the first load did not get done until
11. Because we are between San Francisco and Hawaii, we are between satellites
and unable to get online. We did lay out by the pool shortly after 10 as the sun was out, but it began
to sprinkle lightly at 11, so we had to move. 15 minutes later, the sun was back
out, but it is still a bit overcast. We ate lunch at the pool and laid out some
more. By 3, the clouds were back and we went back to the room where Matt has
learned that he burned a bit. Our normal afternoon casino visit did not pan out
too well. We also visited Gudrun Werner, Cruise Consultant, to get our "Onboard booking
credit" and Matt's "Seven Seas Member discount" for our November Cruise.
January 18, 2011 - At Sea
Awoke at 8 and had lunch once again outside on the back of the
ship at La Veranda. We then walked a mile once more and then back out to the
pool deck for some sun and the "American BBQ" lunch. It is still overcast and it
rained for about 1 minute while we were out there. The captain has told us that
we will arrive in Hilo 2 hours early (at 9:00AM) and will leave 2 hours early
(5:00PM) so he can take us up close to the Kilauea Volcano to see the lava flow
January 19, 2011 - Hilo, Hawaii
We awoke at 6:30 and noticed a flash outside the window. It
was lightning. The forecast for the day is cloudy with "showers around".
Discover three of Hilo's favorite attractions: the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory, Nani
Mau Gardens, and breathtaking Akaka Falls on this attraction loaded half-day
We were back onboard the ship at 4:15. I chatted with one of the "Distinguished Gentleman" (gentleman dancer) on the tour and he told me that there is one person on the ship that is very sick. We shall see how this plays out. Ignatious brought our evening canapés. Tonight it was mini pigs in a blanket and bite size pizzas. They were GREAT!! Once everyone was onboard at 4:30, we left the pier. We were scheduled to leave at 5. The captain hopes to get to the volcano between 8:30 and 9:00. On the way to sea, we saw a canoe go by (just feels like Hawaii when you see one), and then we started spotting whales. None really came out of the water very far, but it was still fun to watch and try to shoot on camera. It was dinner time...Compass Rose, then up to the top deck to see the volcano. It was a bit foggy and the volcano could not be seen. We then went to see Rodi Alexander as Barbra Streisand. She does a great job and really knows how to perform. A bit of gambling (we broke even) and off to bed a bit early to get up in time for docking in Honolulu and our tour.
January 20, 2011- Honolulu, Hawaii
Awoke at 7:15 this morning with only slightly cloudy skies and
what will be a warm day. We went to breakfast at the back of the ship as we were
nearing Honolulu, then went on deck to watch us dock at the Aloha Tower. As soon
as we were docked, it was time to go on our tour for the day. Right before we
left the room, Matt called home to check in and things were a bit screwed up
there, so his mood was not the best for the day, but we managed through. When we
got to the theater (pre-tour), we were told that due to the high waves, everyone
in town would be heading to the beaches, so we should expect our tour to end at
5 instead of 3. Here is a description of the tour:
Today was a bus tour, so we headed out through the Pali Cliffs
to Byodo Temple. Now understand that each 20-30 minute stop turned into 30-45
minute stops. People just could not seem to make it back to the bus on time,
even though there was plenty of time given. The temple was a very beautiful one,
although on small grounds. Next was a quick (uh..ok..long) stop at a Macadamia
Nut store because we knew we would not be getting lunch. That was not the
greatest of ideas as they only sold nuts...no sandwiches, etc. Our tour guide
recognized this and later made a stop at a strip mall that had a Taco Bell and
Subways. We drove by the Kahuku Shrimp Farm, then on to the North Shore of Oahu.
First stop was at Sunset Beach, which was closed because of the extreme high
waves. Next was another Beach, then, because Turtle Beach (which we were
scheduled to visit) had no turtles on it, we went to Hali iwa Beach. Enough of
of staring at waves already. Next it was on to the Dole Plantation, which is
nothing but a tourist trap. Everything made with pineapple, plus every other
gift item you could think of. 30 minutes turned into 45 and we were heading back
to the ship. We were back by 4:30, but the tour was a bit disappointing. Maybe
you caught that.
January 21, 2011 - Honolulu, Hawaii
We awoke at 7:00 with partly cloudy skies and had breakfast via room service. Our meeting time for our excursion was 8:30. We met up with our guide, Kirk, who drove us to the Pali Cliffs for our hike. Here is the description:
Joining your van at the pier, you will travel approximately 1 hour to the Pali Cliffs where you will begin your guided hike. As you make your way along the trail, you will see several bird species, referred to as the "jewels of the forest" and visit a secluded, cascading waterfall that spills into a tranquil private rainforest pool. Immerse yourself in the environs of this tropical jungle and marvel at the majestic Pali Cliffs towering above you as you drink in the fragrance provided by the tropical blossoms of heliconia's ginger, cinnamon and papaya. No doubt, the peaceful solitude of this magical place will completely enchant you.
As well as providing excellent photographic opportunities, your fun hike will also give you the opportunity to learn about the Hawaiian's use of various plant species and the area's interesting environmental history.
After approximately 2 hours, you will rejoin your transport and return to the pier where your excursion concludes.
It was as described. The brochure gave it a 2 out of 3 rating
for how tough the excursion is. It was really not that bad. Our group of 9
stayed together and Kirk was quite pleased. Instead of the short trail up and
back, we took the short trail up and the longer trail back. Wonderful scenery
and a nice waterfall at the halfway point.
We saw one couple leave the ship today. Have not found out the reason yet.
The "Grand Deck BBQ" was held at 7:00. We went up a bit early and had a wonderful table of guests including Ilsa and Diedier (the ship's dancing instructors) and Roz, an older passenger traveling by herself and had been on a lot of cruises including 9 Panama Crossings. The band performing was "Maunalua". They had more of a Mexican sound rather than a Hawaiian sound. Their wives did a few hula numbers. It was a very nice evening that ended at 10.
January 22, 2011 - Lahaina, Hawaii
I awoke at 6:30 to the sound of the anchor being dropped. Matt awoke at 7 and we had breakfast from Room Service once again. We could see several whales around the ship...all day. We have to tender into Lahaina, so we met at the Theater at 8:15 and it was a 15 minute ride into the city. The sea was fairly calm, so no troubles getting there. We boarded our bus for the tour:
Depart from the pier for an inspired driving tour of western Maui. Leaving
Lahaina, once an important whaling village and the capital of the Hawaiian
kingdom in the early 19th century, you will immediately be struck by the beauty
outside of town.
It was about an hour bus ride to
get to the Iao Needle with a half hour stay, then about an hour back to the
pier. The peak of the "Needle" is at 2250 feet above sea level and
has a lookout point that is 137 steps up from the parking lot. I had done this
tour in 2006, so knew what to expect. We walked around town for a few minutes
checking out some of the local art and carving that was in the city park. Back
to the ship for lunch and then we sat in the sun most of the afternoon. I
have Crystal Light along for "Raspberry Lemonade". The crew member working out
by the pool who was taking drink orders and brought me my bottle of water had
never seen the Crystal Light pack. After I poured it into the bottle and shook
it up, I explained what it was and gave him one. He came back a half hour later
and said that he just guzzled it down. He liked it that much. I will probably
give him a few more packs. The ship pulled anchor and by 4:45, we were on our
way to Tahiti, which will take 5 full days. We will cross the equator on the
25th and have been told that we will have our equator crossing party and that
the General Manager Michael Coghlan and Cruise Director Jamie Logan will be
diving into the ocean as we cross, then be towed by the ship on a raft before
coming back aboard. Should be fun.
January 23, 2011 - At Sea
Awoke at 8 and had breakfast in the back of the ship at 9. It
was a bit cloudy, but cleared by 9:30, so it was out by the pool until 2:30 (for
Matt), 3:00 for me. We are both a bit toasty and red.
January 24, 2011 - At Sea
Uh oh. I think we are in a rut. Awoke at 8 and ate breakfast
in La Veranda. It had rained earlier in the morning, so we had to eat inside.
Matt did 3 loads of laundry and I went out by the pool to burn...uh...tan some
more. Ran into Rodi and Mark and chatted with them a bit about Disney. Matt came
up to the pool area for awhile until lunch time. They had a "South Pacific Stews
Lunch" that I passed on and Matt tried. Not the best. We went for the pizza
January 25, 2011 - At Sea
Awoke at 8 and had breakfast outside La Veranda. This morning
it was 77 degrees with 77% humidity, clear skies and very smooth seas. After
breakfast, we walked 11 mile before laying out.
January 26, 2011 - At Sea
I was up at 8 and had breakfast by the pool. At 9, the Captain
announced that there was a leak in the water system and that part of it would be
shut down between 10-12. Matt awoke at 9. I did a mile walk and then found that
the internet was finally up and working again. There is always crew out and
about cleaning and painting the ship. It really does look nice since it came out
of dry dock a few months ago.
January 27, 2011 - At Sea
Awoke at 8AM and found tickets on our door for the early
excursion in Papeete. We had requested it online and were confirmed, but ended
up with tickets for the afternoon excursion (same itinerary). We talked with the
Destinations person on the first day to ask to move to the morning and explained
that we were confirmed before. She told us it was waitlisted, but we would be
put on the list (there were 12 ahead of us). A few days ago, I went back to the
desk to get an update. They had no record that I was there before. I was a bit
upset and found Cinthya Pavan Dos Santos, the Destinations Services Manager, who
has been VERY nice to us when we run into her, and explained the situation. A
day later, the correct tickets show up. Again, great Regent service.
January 28, 2011- Moorea, French Polynesia
We awoke at 6AM and had room service breakfast before heading out on our excursions. The ship anchored off of Moorea, so we had to tender in. Upon arriving at the pier, we were immediately taken aboard another small boat and we were off on our "Lagoon Discovery with Snorkeling". Description:
Experience the beauty of Cook's and Opunohu bays from above and below sea level
during this snorkeling and beach adventure aboard a modern covered boat.
Our first stop was to play with the stingrays. The guides fed them while we were allowed to touch and/or kiss them. This was for 10-15 minutes. They then backed us up and threw food out a bit further, which brought in the sharks (safe ones) and we got photos of them. We swam around a bit more before heading to our second stop near coral reefs. We were there for about an hour and the current was quite strong, making getting out to the coral a bit tough, but getting back to the boat quick. We did not know that we could wear swim shoes, so we did not take them. No fins were allowed. Matt cut the bottom of his toe, but no other major damage. After we got back to the pier, we had an hour and a half before our afternoon tour. We did a bit of shopping (as the locals all have their tables with Tahitian Pearls all set up. We also walked to the local grocery stores. Those and a church were all that were near the pier. Our afternoon tour was "Aito Off-Road Safari". Description:
Experience the exquisite beauty and flavors of Moorea during a picturesque,
off-road excursion through this idyllic island.
There were 8 people in the back of a Land Rovers on benches along the back end. Off we went to the top of "Magic Mountain". It was a rough ride. I had done this ride in 2006 on a photo safari. We continued to Belvedere Lookout, to a pineapple field, an Agricultural School (where they tried to sell us jams and jellies), then to a distillery where they had samples. Back to the pier at around 4 and back to the ship. The Captain decided to do a complete 360 turn as we left Moorea on our way to Papeete. We left the bay at 6 and we were docked in Papeete at 8. Dinner in Compass Rose, then we went ashore to see what was on the main street in front of the pier, so we know where things are tomorrow.
January 29, 2011 - Papeete, French Polynesia
We awoke at 6:45 with room service breakfast and down to the Theater at 7:45 for today's excursion: "Tahiti - Off the Beaten Path". Here is the description:
Explore a side of Tahiti not commonly seen by visitors during a scenic off-road
journey through this idyllic island.
When we returned to the pier (at noon), we went back to the ship for a quick lunch and then out into town to do a bit of shopping. Back to the ship again, where Matt did some laundry and reading, and I went out to the pool deck.
Before dinner, they presented a show of French Polynesia music, song and dance called "Toakura". I ended up being pulled on stage (see photo page). After the show, it was dinner in the Compass Rose, then we ended the night in the casino.
January 30, 2011 - Bora Bora, French Polynesia
We awoke at 7:15 with room service breakfast and to the
Theater at 8:15 for today's excursion, "Stingray Ballet and Snorkel Safari".
Explore the exquisite beauty and undersea denizens of Bora Bora's lagoon during
this sting ray ballet and snorkeling safari aboard a covered snorkeling boat.
This was a great excursion, especially the coral garden. We were allowed to use fins, so it was much easier to get around, plus there was really no current to push or pull us. The water was a bit cooler than in Moorea, but still very nice. Be sure to see the photo page for pictures of the snorkeling.
I am still not thrilled with standing
with the stingrays. They are supposed to be safe and it seems like many have the
barbs cut off the tails, but they still come up behind you and push around you,
or just come up and climb on your chest thinking you have food. Matt has come to
think of them as kitties that have to rub up against you.
We are 1,360 Miles from our next port
in Tonga, and 2,421 Miles from New Zealand. It is 81 degrees out, with 69
January 31, 2011 - At Sea
We got to sleep in until 8 this morning and had breakfast in
La Veranda. Then it was a half mile walk (cut short due to the cut in Matt's toe
from the coral in Moorea). Then it was tanning time for both of us on the pool
deck. It was 86l degrees today with a bit of humidity, but still not bad. Matt
did 2 loads of laundry before lunch and someone emptied the washer out right
before he got back to it (and he was only a minute or two late) and they left a
few things in it, and loaded up the machine with their clothes and started it
back up. He got his things back later in the day. It was Seafood BBQ day, so I
had pizza and salad for lunch. They now have pineapple from Tahiti, so it
finally tastes sweet. The fruit has not been the sweetest on this cruise, so
this was a nice change. Everyone noticed, so not sure how long that will last.
We met up again at 2:30 to gamble a bit, then back to the room for 2 episodes of
"I Love Lucy" before dinner. I sent and e-mail to Louise (who will be our guide
in Auckland) to let her know our arrival time. She wrote back to confirm
everything and said that we will have time to go to the top of the Sky Tower to
get an overview of the city. We ate at "Prime 7". We arrived at 6:30 and the
food delivery was SLOW. At 8PM, with the main course still not served, the head
maitre d came over and apologized for the long wait and said that there had been
a small problem in the kitchen and that the food would be out in a few minutes.
It was, but we left before desert.
February 1, 2011 - At Sea
I awoke at 8:00, Matt at 8:30 and we had breakfast out on the
back of La Veranda. We walked 2 laps of the ship, but it was warm (81degrees
with 75% humidity), and decided to lay out instead. Matt stayed out until
noon and I stayed until 12:30. One of the songs they were playing on the
speakers was the theme to "Titanic". Should they be playing that on a ship?
February 2, 2011 does not exist this year
February 3, 2011 - At Sea
Before I start in on the day's activities, I have been asked about the guest lecturers on this cruise. Although neither Matt or I attend any of them, they are available on television on the same day as they are given. I have caught portions of them there.
The “Special Guest” this cruise is Terry Waite, who has been talking about his time as a prisoner of war.
Others include: Harry Chittick (area history and movie history), Dr. Ronald Sampson (colonies of the area), Dr. Norman Caisse (astronomy), Peter Simon (photography) and Colonel Steven Bauer ("Social Life in the White House"). I have seen Colonel Bauer’s presentations on a past cruise.
As with all the Regent Cruises, there is plenty to do...if you
want. Daily there are exercise classes, Games (Baggo, Ring Toss,
Shuffleboard...for "Regent Tokens"),
It was a sea day, so you know the routine. We skipped the evening Magic Show, and stayed in the casino, where we came out $800 ahead for the day. We are happy.
February 4, 2011 - Nuku'alofa, Tonga
We awoke at 6:50 and had breakfast in the room. As we opened
the curtains of the cabin to the outside world, the first thing you notice about
the Tonga area is all of the small islands around. There are 176 islands which
make up the Tonga area.
Depart from Queen Salote wharf in and drive through beautiful Nukú Alofa in a
southeasterly direction across the island. Before long, you will arrive at the
Oholei Beach Resort for a traditional Tongan feast and dance performance.
Similar to a Hawaiian luau, the sumptuous meal centers around a suckling pig
roasted in an underground oven called an "umu" and garnished with seasonal
fruits. Other delicacies include fish in coconut cream and fresh vegetables
prepared Tongan style. To announce that the feast is ready, a conch shell will
be blown, accompanied by the distinctive beat of a lali drum. After your feast,
enjoy a performance of traditional dances and music in Hina Cave and perhaps
take a short stroll along the beach.
This was to be a 6 1/2 hour excursion,
and originally stated that there would be no time for swimming. Last night, we
received a note that there would be time, and boy was there. It was a very warm
ride there in a small bus without much air conditioning. We passed the Royal
Palace, the Royal Home, many schools and churches. Each "community" has at least
7 different denominations. They each have their own schools and roadside
cemeteries. There are also a lot of little roadside "stands" where the locals
are selling their fruit or fish.
February 5, 2011 - At Sea
Another Sea Day, so not much to report. The morning did start
with the Immigration Inspection. We were told at several times and places that
we would be called by deck, starting with 11, working down. We planned our
morning to do the inspection, then go to breakfast. As there are only 4 cabins
on deck 11 and it all started at 8:30, we figured we would be done at 8:45.
Jamie started at 8:30 by calling deck 6. Now we changed plans to do breakfast
first, then wait for our deck. He next called Deck 11. I think he got complaints
that he changed up everything. So now we wait again and are called. It did not
take long at all to get in line, receive our passports, have our passports
looked at and scanned, moved down the line, have our forms looked at and then
February 6, 2011 - At Sea
Our last full sea day. I awoke at 7, Matt at 9 and off to
breakfast in La Veranda. When we got back, our luggage tags were waiting for us.
This lets you know that your cruise is over. We also have the Comment Cards to
February 7, 2011 - Bay of Islands, New Zealand
We awoke at Bay of Islands, New Zealand at 7:20 with Breakfast
being served in our cabin, then to the Theater for our 8:30 tour, "CHARTERED CRUISE TO CAPE BRETT AND HOLE IN THE ROCK":
A very nice cruise and we DID see the dolphins
(see photo page).
We put our bags out, then had our final dinner
in Compass Rose, then went to the Casino for a final few hands of 3 Card Poker
and then our goodbyes to the casino staff.
February 8, 2011 (both of them)- Auckland, New Zealand
We awoke at 7:15 and were out the door for the final time at 8:00. We ate breakfast at La Veranda before disembarking the ship for the final time at 8:30. We met up with Louise Young Kinred from "Tours By Locals" at the pier and she took us to the Auckland Sky Tower (1,076 feet high with viewing deck at 722 feet) for an overview of the city, then we drove around the entire city visiting several neighborhoods, Mt. Eden, vistas and then a quick snack at Wallace Arts Center, which is in Pah Homestead, a converted home in Monte Cecilia Park. It was a great way to see the city. She dropped us off at the airport at 1:00 for our 3:15 flight. We had upgraded to Business Class on Qantas Airlines, so we were able to get seats that went flat for sleeping. I got a few hours sleep, Matt slept most of the way. We crossed the International Dateline again to gain our day back, and then the equator. We arrived in Los Angeles at 6:30 and were through Customs in less than 5 minutes. We got our luggage and walked over to American Airlines, which was the terminal next to the International Terminal. Then it was "hurry up and wait" at American Airlines. We had 3 hours to sit and wait. The flight at 10AM was on time and arrived in San Francisco a bit early. We met up with Vintage Limousine Service and arrived at home by 1:30.