Thursday, November 25, 2010

Legacy Cruise 2010 - Dunedin

View from the deck of Sun Princess at Port Chalmers

Taieri Gorge rail excursion waiting to leave dock
Our first port visit on the trip was Port Chalmers on 12 November.

Like most of the ports we visited, we were tied up at a working cargo port, and had to take care where we walked after leaving the ship. Despite that, the views were pretty good!

Nigel and I had booked the "Speight's Brewery & Dunedin Pub Hop". The group comprised largely of Australians - not surprising, since they made up the largest nationality group on the ship.  After meeting at our designated area, we were taken ashore and boarded a bus, and were taken into Dunedin.

Our first stop was the Dunedin Railway Station - not exactly on our itinerary, but our hosts thought it important that we see this beautiful building. And lovely it was.

Public spring-water tap outside Speight's Brewery

Next stop was the Speight's Brewery. "Founded in 1876, Speight's Brewery is a Dunedin icon. During your 90 minute tour discover the long history of beer, taste the ingredients that go into the brew mix at Speight's and sample six of Speight's finest fresh from the brewery."

We were split into two groups. Our group was taken upstairs, then led through the brewery by one of the brewers, who was very good at his tour-guide job. It was interesting to see the whole process, from raw ingredients coming in to the finished product.

Speight's have their own bar onsite, where we ended our tour with tastings of their products. A great way to start the day!

From there we walked down the hill to their pub, where we had a two-course lunch in their upstairs restaurant.  Very good food, I had the seafood chowder and steak with peppercorn sauce.  Large servings - either course would have been an adequate lunch on its own.

The Duke of Wellington

Then it was off down the road on foot, to the Duke of Wellington pub, for a drink.  The bus then took us to place further out of town, whose name I don't recall.  We'd been given four vouchers each, one for each pub we visited, for a beer, wine or soft drink of our choice.  A good time was had at each place!

The Bog Irish Pub, Dunedin

Second-to-last, and the last city stop if my memory serves about two weeks later, was The Bog Irish Pub.  Unremarkable inside, but pretty enough on the outside.  For me, it had the distinction of being near a pharmacy where I was able to get some anti-seasickness medication that saw me through the rest of the trip!

Careys Bay Historic Hotel, Port Chalmers

Last stop saw us go back to Port Chalmers and past the ship, to the Careys Bay Historic Hotel at Careys Bay.  As you can see from the photo above it is a gorgeous little building, and it has been lovingly restored inside.

At each stop we sat with different people in our group, and chatted with them.  For the rest of the trip, we'd recognise each other and say hello when we passed on the ship.

It was a good day out, and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to see around Dunedin, take in a few drinks (they don't have to be alcoholic!) and get to know some new people on the way.

Legacy Cruise 2010 - Fiordland

Near the entrance to Milford Sound

After two days of sailing from Sydney across the Tasman Sea, we arrived at Fiordland on Thursday 11 November.

We had been very lucky with the Tasman - it has the reputation of being one of the roughest seas in the world - but we had little to no swell and calm seas the whole way across.

Nigel & Wendy at Milford Sound

The scenery was spectacular in the sounds, as you'd expect.  Unfortunately for us, it was a heavily-overcast day and the cloud base was low, meaning we couldn't see into the mountains most of the time and we missed seeing Mitre Peak.  That's Fiordland for you - it has the heaviest rainfall in the whole country!  There aren't too many days of the year where it doesn't rain there.  But the recent rains meant that the waterfalls were running, which friends who have been there other times have told me were dry when they visited.

 We started out by going into Milford Sound, picking up a pilot and DOC staff member early on.  The Department of Conservation guy gave a commentary all through the day over the PA, so you could hear it throughout the ship - or on tv from your room.

From Milford Sound we went back out into the Tasman Sea - and that's when it "got" me.  By this time we were heading south-west down the west coast of the South Island, and getting closer to the Roaring Forties with every mile, and the tossing and turning of the ship turned my stomach.  I wasn't sick, but sure felt uneasy.  Probably didn't help that we'd gone to our room for a while after Milford Sound, and it was relatively high up in the ship on the 11th (Aloha) deck.

When we went to lunch, I had a bit of fruit while Nigel enjoyed his fare.  Later, after we'd entered the next fiord and in much calmer waters, I was okay again - until we went back out to sea again!

I spent the rest of the day on the Promenade Deck, wrapped up against the cold, in a (very comfortable) deck chair for as long as I could stand the cold, then went inside to the library - in my opinion the best kept secret on the ship.  Being lower down in the ship helped calm my stomach.  The view was good, too!

I was okay by dinner time, when we must have gone further "around the corner" and out of the swells, but the effect lingered for days afterwards in my head.  I've only been seasick once before this in my life, out on the Kaipara Harbour in a dingy, fishing with friends.

Legacy Cruise 2010 - photos posted

I've uploaded some of my photos of the cruise to my Picasa Web Albums space. I'll be giving other cruisers access to upload their own photos and add tags, so watch for updates.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Legacy Family Tree Cruise 2010

Late Sunday night, we arrived home from a two-week holiday, cruising around the country on the Sun Princess on the 2010 Legacy Cruise, in the company of the owners of Legacy Family Tree, the genealogy program I've been using since 2004, and other like-minded Legacy users.

What a blast! I have learned new tips for using the program effectively, made some new friends, and had an absolute ball.

I plan to write about the trip in installments - there's so much to talk about, and I've come home with a cold so a bit under the weather right now. But keep an eye on this blog, and more will appear soon.