Thursday, January 14, 2016

Carlson Honeymoon! Volume II: New Zealand Cruise, Part I: On Board the ms Noordam

Before checking out of the Harbour Rocks Hotel on November 22nd we Facetimed with Brodee and my parents. It was fun to check in with the family before we got on the ship for our 25 day cruise!

We had to check out of the hotel by 11:00 AM but we were not allowed on the ship until 1:00 PM. We left the Harbour Rocks with our luggage and headed down the street. 

We dropped off our bags at the terminal (they assured us they would be in our room when we got aboard), received some paperwork we had to fill out for immigration, and then walked over to the Opera House.

After walking around the Opera House and grabbing some lunch at the Opera Bar, we headed back to the terminal. We went through customs and immigration, got our room keys, and then headed up the gangway. 

We decided to get an "obstructed view" so that we didn't have to pay for a balcony. I knew we would be up on deck more often then we would be in the room so I didn't want to spend the extra money.

[Front door, bathroom door, closets, and the TV]

[Vanity area, bed, and obstructed view window]

[Bed and couch]

[We had a life boat in our view]

After checking out our room and dropping off our backpacks we went off to explore the ship. I've been on a Holland American ship before (The ms Nieuw Amsterdam) and the layouts are very similar. We quickly found the Lido (the buffet), the Sports bar, the Vista Lounge (where all the shows take place), the Lido pool deck, the Explorers Lounge (the library and cafe), and the Green House Spa.

We then went onto the back deck to take more pictures of beautiful Sydney!

At 5:00 PM we attended the "MANDATORY PASSENGER SAFETY EMERGENCY DRILL" which is one of my favorite things! I love watching all the people to see how well they listen to instructions. And there is always that one person that brings their life jacket even though they tell us to leave them in the room :-P

From 5:30 to 8:00 PM there was a Outback BBQ on the top deck. We enjoyed some amazing steaks, ribs, chicken and fish before heading inside to watch the nightly show at the Vista Lounge: "Marquee & Airborne". I love going to the nightly shows and seeing all the different performers!

Even though boarding was between noon and 4:00 PM, the ship didn't leave the Harbour until after sunset. We went outside and took photos as we were leaving.

We stood on deck until it became too cold and then we went inside to the Crows Nest Bar where we watched the ship sail into the darkness.

When we got back to our room our bags were there along with a bottle of red wine from our amazing travel agent! We unpacked and then went to the Piano Bar to hear the talented Michael Sara!

We spent the next two days (November 23rd and 24th) steaming southeast towards the southern tip of New Zealand. 

Those two days went by pretty quickly especially since we had an "On Location Maori Team" who did different workshops around the ship. I loved being able to learn about the Maori culture and religion from the locals!

From the Maori Team we learned the Haka (we had to do the dance and sing the words!),

about different designs in their art,

and how Maui fished up New Zealand!

During these two days we also watched NFL games in the Sports Bar,

played various trivia games (team trivia, movie trivia and music trivia), relaxed and read, learned the Cha Cha, 

and Josh entered a ping pong challenge!

On the night of November 24th, we packed our backpacks and got ready for our Milford Sound to Dunedin Overnight Tour. We also had chocolate covered strawberries delivered to us from the hotel staff because we were on our Honeymoon! Perks! :-)

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