Hot and humid Pacific
LA to Auckland, October 2018 I havent written a review for a while, mainly because I dont think many people find Seabourn interesting. However, this itinerary was a first for us and likely to be a one off. We booked the cruise through Sam at Cruise dot and chose to let Seabourn book the flights and hotel. We flew LHR to LAX and had a comfortable flight arriving in LA around 1.00 p.m. Transfer was by car to our hotel which was the Beverley Wilshire. Our suite was amazing, with a large seating area, the most comfortable bed ever, and two bathrooms. We were not hungry, so found the bar and had a couple of beers, before taking a stroll down Wilshire Boulevard. By 7.30 p.m. we were ready for bed and actually slept for 12 hours! The following day, Sunday, we had a light breakfast then a walk around Rodeo Drive, just window shopping! Our transfer was around noon, so once checked out we made ourselves comfortable in the foyer until the car arrived. The journey to the ship was slow due to traffic, but once in the cruise terminal we were checked in and on board very quickly. Our suite was on Deck six, just forward of midships, so OK for us. Our stewardess, Cintia, was very welcoming. Luggage had not arrived, so we went on deck to meet our friends, Karen and Jim, from North Carolina for lunch. On embarkation day most people choose the Colonnade buffet for lunch, so the Patio grill is fairly quiet. Once the cases had arrived we unpacked quickly and were organised by the time our cruise director, Sophie, announced the beginning of lifeboat muster. I will not bore you with the details, you all know what happens, but we did meet a lot of people we knew, both crew and guests. After a quick shower and change of clothes we made our way to the Club and met our entertainers, a trio, two of whom we had sailed with previously and the band, all of whom we had met before. We also met Frank, Executive Sous Chef, who had organised an Indian meal for us and four friends, for later in the cruise and Tony, possibly the best pastry chef in the business. Our bartender was Dhirish, he remembered my Tio Pepe, and the drinks always arrived promptly. Karen and Jim had decided to eat in the Colonnade, so we dined alone in the Restaurant. We had six sea days to Honolulu, filled with all the usual events. In Honolulu we took an excursion to Diamond Head Crater, then on to Halona Point where, when conditions are right there is a spectacular blow hole shooting water high in the air. Conditions unfortunately were not right. I was entranced by the colours of the sea and sky and took hundreds of photos, none of which do justice to the colours. Other ports in Hawaii were on Kauai, Lanai and finally Kona on the Big Island. All equally beautiful and photogenic. After two days at sea, which included crossing the International Date Line we arrived at Kiribati, or to be more precise Fanning Island. It is customary for cruise ship passengers to take gifts for the children of the island, who have very little. Sweets and chocolate are discouraged as dental care is limited, but books, pencils and pretty things are OK. The women of the island make and sell shell jewellery, which makes a nice souvenir. After four days at sea and crossing the international date line again we reached French Polynesia, first port was Bora Bora. Again an amazing place with really friendly people but so hot and humid that we were only ashore for an hour and a half before we returned to the ship for a shower and a beer, not necessarily in that order! The following day was Papeete, which marked the end of the first part of the cruise. We lost some crew members, gained others and our Australian friends joined us too. The final port in French Polynesia was Raiatea. After another sea day we arrived at the Cook Islands. We hoped to buy a t shirt with Cook Islands on it (our last name being Cooke) but could not find one anywhere. At lunch we mentioned this to Marwan, the AMD in the Patio Grill and he said he would look when he went ashore as he was going to the beach, where we had not ventured. He didnt get a t shirt either! Two more sea days took us to Pago Pago in American Samoa. This was the most run down place we visited, not improved by the rain! However, I did buy a skirt for $4 and it has not fallen to bits yet. After crossing the international date line yet again we arrived in Apia, Samoa (formerly Western Samoa). The difference from our previous port was amazing. Unfortunately it was Sunday, and being a Catholic country the only place open was McDonalds. We walked into town and took a taxi back. After another sea day, we arrived at Savusavu, Fiji. This was possibly the friendliest place we visited. We walked into what passes for town with a charming couple of guys, who turned out to be policemen from an other island, brought in to supervise the elections which were being held the next day. Again it was very hot and we had a beer in the oldest sailing club in Fiji. After seeing the toilets I was glad we were not eating there! My husband bought a pearl for my birthday and after making a couple of purchases in the local market, we took the tender back to the ship. Suva, Fiji was next, and very, very rainy. It poured down all day without a break and we stayed on board. Since it was election day, everywhere was closed. Our last port was Russell, Bay of Islands, NZ. So pretty and quite a lot cheaper than the NZ mainland. The temperature was comfortable and we walked for miles. I bought several Manuka honey products and wish Id bought more. We arrived in Auckland early in the morning and our airport transfer was at 10.15 am, so we settled in the Club to await our time to leave. Immigration went very smoothly and we found our luggage ready stacked on a luggage trolley. Our driver to the Airport Fairmont Hotel was very interesting and we learned a lot about living in NZ. Our day room was comfortable and we waited in comfort for our evening flight home via Hong Kong. To sum up, this was an amazing cruise, it was supposed to be a one off, but Id go back in a heartbeat. I thought five weeks would seem a long time, but it didnt and I only gained five lbs! In five weeks we crossed the international dateline three times, had 18 sea days and eight tender ports. It was very hot and humid and I loved it!
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