New Zealand & Australia – Celebrity (Mercury) Cruise January 2008
Are you feeling iffy about the possibility of a cruise off the coasts Down Under? Does a 14+ hour plane ride sound too daunting? If so, you are not alone. But here I am to tell you that I not only survived the flight, but I have had one of the best exotic vacations ever. Read on.
We live in Western Canada so our flight originated out of Calgary. From there we flew to Los Angeles, and from there (after 2 very warm hours on the tarmac) we flew to Auckland, New Zealand (in “cattle car” class — you know what I mean, the cheap cramped seats with minimal service). But we had no option for an upgrade, so we accepted things as they were.
The flight, oddly enough, turned out to be not as gruelling as we had anticipated. There is ample room on the Air New Zealand plane to move about (to ease leg swelling), and the TV in the headrest is filled with programs and recent movie selections.
The seats are crammed together, but not horribly so. Unless, you are very large person, you should find them bearable. We hit some rocky air pockets, but for the most part, the flight was uneventful.
We arrived to gray skies in Auckland; a crew of Celebrity cruise ship people were there to greet us. We were escorted to a large tour coach (bus) and taken for a spin around Auckland before boarding the Mercury ship. It was an unexpected surprise — and a very pleasant one at that. Especially the morning tea at the Winter Garden Pavilion.
The ship’s management used the time very efficiently and did our initial boarding clearance at the Auckland museum, where we took a quick 20-30 minute tour of an amazing museum, before re-boarding our coach. We were given a bit of a tour of the Auckland harbour and then taken to the ship, where we were allowed to board early. It was a wonderful surprise, and so welcome after all the time we had spent on planes and in airports.
For insider tips, cruising tips, reviews on the Celebrity Mercury, reviews and hi-lights of the New Zealand and Austrailian ports-of-call, visit this blog this month.
You will find a wealth of information — information that will hopefully lead you to a positive decision about a Down Under vacation.
Tags: auckland, australia, celebrity ships, cruise ship vacations to australia and new zealand, down under, economy flying, exotic vacations, long airplane trips, mercury ship, new zealand, plane travel tips, sydney