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26 Apr 2013
Grand Pacific World Cruise 2013 Sector
Sun Princess - 49 nights ex Sydney, Australia
All aboard the Sun Princess for 49 relaxing nights on this Grand Pacific World Cruise 2013 Sector exploring Australia. Your ship departs from Sydney and visits 21 ports in 10 countries before returning to San Francisco. This 4 star voyage from Princess Cruises has forward departures, but is unfortunately sold out for this departure.
BONUS up to $485 onboard cabin credit for this cruise!
|Day||Date||Port of call||Arrival||Departure|
|1||Fri 26 Apr 2013||Sydney, Australia||4.00pm|
| Cruise ships berthed at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) access sweeping views of the harbour, Opera House, CBD, Circular Quay ferry terminal, and Sydney Harbour Bridge – all within a few minutes’ walk. The OPT is currently undergoing a major expansion to berth vessels with 5000+ passengers. The new White Bay Cruise Terminal, for mid-sized vessels that can pass under the Bridge, docks two cruise ships. Facilities at both terminals are efficient, though White Bay is 30 minutes’ drive by taxi or shuttle bus to the CBD and Central Station. Long term car parking is not too far away from each terminal. During the crowded summer season cruise ships occasionally tender passengers from Athol Buoy and Point Piper Buoy. QM2 has docked at Garden Island Naval Base.
Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, is Australia's first and largest city. Astride the magnificent Sydney Harbour, it has come a long way from its convict beginnings in 1788, but still exudes a rough and colonial energy. Soak up Sydney’s gorgeous harbour on a wide range of vessels including yachts, tall ships, catamarans, or even kayaks. If adventurous try a jet boat ride, or perhaps decide that there's no better way to see the sights than on a Sydney Explorer Hop-on Hop-off Harbour Cruise. Take surfing lessons at Manly and Bondi Beaches. On the harbour’s north shore are Taronga Zoo and the Sydney Aquarium, and on a tiny island in the middle of the harbour tour historic Fort Denison.
Adjacent to the OPT investigate The Rocks precinct with its images of a colourful convict past. Day options include a climb to the top of the ‘Coathanger’, tour of the Opera House, dining at the Skywalk of Sydney Tower, strolling in Hyde Park, dining at an ethnic restaurant, Duty-Free shopping, and striking up a conversation with friendly locals. One-day coach tours visit the highlights of Sydney, Hunter Valley wine region, and the spectacular Blue Mountains. Take a scenic flight over the Harbour and Pacific surfing coastline. For lovers of sport, whale-watching, sky diving, and hot air ballooning are also on offer.
|2||Sat 27 Apr 2013||At Sea|
|3||Sun 28 Apr 2013||At Sea|
|4||Mon 29 Apr 2013||At Sea|
|5||Tue 30 Apr 2013||At Sea|
|6||Wed 1 May 2013||At Sea|
|7||Thu 2 May 2013||Darwin, Australia||8.00am||5.00pm|
| The new Darwin cruise ship terminal, adjacent to Stokes Hill wharf waterfront area and convention centre, is only one kilometre from Darwin’s CBD. Modern amenities, hotels and parking are right there, alongside a mini-market with beautiful local productions – Aboriginal art and crafts, diamonds and opals, and eateries, all very distinctive of the Top End. Darwin is a home port for the small luxury vessels Coral Princess and Oceanic Discoverer that explore the Kimberley coast to Broome. A score of cruise ship lines include Darwin in their itineraries for Australia, Indonesia, South-East Asia and World Cruises. The harbour, seven times the area of Sydney Harbour, and bounded by mangrove forest, offers great fishing, sunken ships, and sea life.
Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, Australia. Its tropical climate has two seasons, Wet and Dry. The hottest month is November, just before the onset of the monsoon season, locally known as 'Mango Madness' season. Originally a pioneer outpost, Darwin has been rebuilt twice. Air raids during World War II landed more bombs than on Pearl Harbour. Then came the devastation of Cyclone Tracy in 1974 that flattened 70% of the city. Visits to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, the East Point Military Museum, the Aviation Heritage Centre, and the Myilly Point Historical Precinct, give one a truly fascinating understanding and 'feel' for the local history.
The lazy beaches, modern wave pool, buzzing markets, the orchids and traditional Aboriginal plants in the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, and numerous annual festivals make Darwin a cultural melting pot of exotic smells and flavours. Stroll around this vibrant, cosmopolitan, yet casual city, passing the occasional busker intoning the droning sound of a didgeridoo. Quite special. Truly a young city rich in history and cultural heritage.
|8||Fri 3 May 2013||At Sea|
|9||Sat 4 May 2013||At Sea|
|10||Sun 5 May 2013||At Sea|
|11||Mon 6 May 2013||At Sea|
|12||Tue 7 May 2013||Singapore, Singapore||8.00am||6.00pm|
| Singapore is an island nation located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It lies 137 km N of the Equator, just south of the Malaysian state of Johor. One of the few remaining city-states in the world, Singapore is a thriving cosmopolitan city that is brimming with diversity and has a multiplicity of culture, language, arts and architecture and a world famous variety of cuisine. You'll find historic sites like the Thian Hock Keng temple, superlative shopping, including gargantuan malls, and numerous beaches. You will certainly not be surprised to know that over ten million tourists visit Singapore each year.
Before the shops open at 11 am visit the famed Botanic Gardens with its virgin rainforest and its magnificent orchids, and have a delightful breakfast at the food court at Tanglin Gate. Then you will probably gravitate to the famed retail stretch of Orchard Road. Continue on to see the 'real Singapore'. Visit the amazing artwork at the Ritz Carlton, tour the unheralded Chinatown Heritage Centre, go to Haji Lane for some unique shopping, take a ride on the 165 m high Flyer, and perhaps travel to Dempsey Hill and enjoy the historical setting as well as eat at the White Rabbit.
There are a series of delightful tours that include the famous Raffles Hotel, harbour cruises, visiting the famous Sentosa Island by the scenic cable car and which offers some truly fantastic experiences for children and adults alike. Or, take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour with its inviting buses and interesting commentary, and hence get 'a feel' for the island. Singapore also happens to be one of the cleanest and safest cities of its size in the world. Just make sure you heed all the local laws, as penalties here are renowned for being very severe.
|13||Wed 8 May 2013||At Sea|
|14||Thu 9 May 2013||Koh Samui, Thailand||8.00am||5.00pm|
| Koh Samui is an island off the E coast of the Kra Isthmus in Thailand, about 35 km NE of Surat Thani town. It is Thailand's third largest island, the central part of which is an uninhabitable mountainous jungle. The various lowland areas are connected by a single road that circumnavigates the island. Explore pristine beaches, villages, and relaxing beach-side restaurants, either by hiring a bicycle or hiring a local Samui driver/guide to show you around. The island is truly an oasis of natural beauty, with its white sandy beaches, dazzling coral, luscious lagoons, picturesque waterfalls, swaying coconut trees and crystal clear water.
The Big Buddha, located on the north of the island, is in all the guide books of Samui; but there are several other temples and chedis worth seeking out. Most of the freely distributed maps indicate where the best lookouts are and which waterfalls are notable. Then there are the famous, erotically shaped Hin Ta and Hin Ya rocks at the southern end of Lamai. It is also possible to visit some of the surrounding islands, while a day trip to the gorgeous Ang Thong National Park, which is the least spoilt of all, and accessible with a guide, may be your choice.
|15||Fri 10 May 2013||Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Thailand||7.00am||7.00pm|
| Bangkok, the capital, largest urban area and primary city of Thailand, is about a two-hour trip from Laem Chabang Port. The city is situated at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River. It is a place where the past, present, and future live harmoniously together, as reflected by the luxury hotels and gleaming skyscrapers that grace the skyline alongside dazzling, historical temples. The city's wealth of cultural landmarks and attractions in addition to its notorious entertainment venues has made it synonymous with exoticism. There are some wonderful boat tours on offer that provide a peaceful, relaxing way of seeing some fantastic sights.
Places well worth visiting include the country's most visited historical venues such as the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun, as well as the Vimanmek Palace Complex, and a few of its thousands of temples. The National Museum and the National Gallery Museum have wonderful displays of traditional and contemporary works. For something different, visit the Snake and Crocodile Farms, or even the largest outdoor museum in the world, Ancient City, with its replicas of famous buildings. Alternatively, get lost in ancient Siamese history with a river cruise to the famous ruins of Ayuthaya, the Kingdom's former capital.
Be aware that foreign residents and tourists alike complain of widespread scams and blatant price gouging, but by being circumspect, you will thoroughly enjoy this amazing city that draws in eleven million international visitors annually. You are sure to find exactly what you are looking for among dazzling temples, eclectic markets, gleaming palaces, ritzy shopping malls, a famous nightlife and the many things in between. It is one of the most cosmopolitan, contrasting, and above all compelling of Asian cities. Make sure to arrive in Bangkok with a zest to explore, and to make the most of every minute in this magical metropolis.
|16||Sat 11 May 2013||At Sea|
|17||Sun 12 May 2013||Phu My, Vietnam||7.00am||6.00pm|
| The port of Phu My in the Mekong delta is one of several gateways to Ho Chi Minh City and the seaside resort of Vung Tau. Explore the National History Museum and Reunification Hall. Browse the shops on Dong Khoi Street and immerse yourself in the myriad of colors, aromas and sights that make up this energetic and enterprising city.
Over a quarter of a century has passed since the Vietnam War ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon. Today, the name of this bustling metropolis on the Mekong River is Ho Chi Minh City. Yet, the essence of the city, a major trading center since the 18th century, remains unchanged. The air is filled with the cries of street hawkers and honking horns. Swarms of motorbikes buzz down the crowded streets balancing every sort of cargo imaginable—from clinging families to coops of live chickens. And everywhere, friendly faces and warm greetings meet you.
|18||Mon 13 May 2013||Nha Trang, Vietnam||8.00am||5.00pm|
| Nha Trang is a coastal city and capital of Khánh Hòa province, Vietnam. It is possibly best known for its bay, one of the most beautiful in the world, and the excellent scuba diving. It is a popular destination for locals, international tourists and large numbers of backpackers. The setting is stunning, with towering mountains looming up behind the city and the sweeping beach stretching into the distance, the turquoise waters dotted with little islands. The beachfront has been given a huge makeover in recent years, with parks and sculpture-gardens spread along the shorefront. The city has the alluring combination of being pleasant on the eye, inexpensive and culturally interesting.
If you are a keen photographer then do visit the internationally renowned Long Thanh Photo Studio with a permanent exhibition gallery open to the public. The Alexandre Yersin Museum, which is known for its displays of scientific history, and the National Oceanographic Museum are also of interest to many. There are some great day tours as well, such as visiting interesting religious sites including Po Ngar Cham Towers and the Long Son Pagoda, or perhaps soaking in mineral mud at the Thap Bo Hot Spring Centre. Then there are the cooking classes, which start with buying products at the markets, and finish with a terrific meal.
It is not only the blissful beaches and glorious coastline that define Nha Trang. It also offers some wonderful dining with meals based on the bounty of the sea, and an array of international flavours. Snorkelling, kayaking, mountain biking and even motorbiking, all offer varied landscapes of the province. Alternatively, located 60km from the city center, with the height of 1578m, Hon Ba Peak, with its pure air and cool temperature, allows for walks to observe some of the 60 endangered species living in the mountain, as well as some delightful flora.
|19||Tue 14 May 2013||At Sea|
|20||Wed 15 May 2013||Hong Kong, Hong Kong||8.00am||11.00pm|
| Hong Kong, situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and the South China Sea, is a kaleidoscope of life, a sophisticated fusion of East and West, a city of diversity where new and old meet at every turn. Hong Kong offers a host of memorable tourist attractions within its compact area. Victoria Harbour and the Giant Buddha are among the most awe-inspiring. Then take the famous Escalator and the Tram to the Peak, the tallest point on the island, with some of the most expensive homes to be found anywhere. When there, take a short walk to escape the crowds and be rewarded with some excellent harbour views.
Take a half day tour of the island for an overall picture, and be amazed, not only by the diverse contrasts, but also the close proximity of astonishing cityscapes and soaring mountains, heritage sites, and extensive countryside. All this truly opens a window into what will be, while embracing what has passed. Well-known attractions include: Ocean Park; Buddhist Monasteries; Kowloon; the New Territories; Long Island; or - for children - Hong Kong Disneyland Theme Park. Then visit the Heritage Museum, which brings Hong Kong’s culture to life. You could even choose to make a simulated flight landing in Kai Tak in Hong Kong.
Although it is not the largest part of the territory, Hong Kong Island is the place that many tourists regard as the main focus. To get the best views of Hong Kong, leave the island and head for the opposite Kowloon waterfront. The great majority of Hong Kong Island's urban development is densely packed on reclaimed land along the northern shore. This is the place that the British colonisers took as their own, so if you are looking for evidence of the territory's colonial past, this is a good place to start. It is the island that gives the territory Hong Kong its name.
|21||Thu 16 May 2013||At Sea|
|22||Fri 17 May 2013||At Sea|
|23||Sat 18 May 2013||Shanghai, China||7.00am||6.00pm|
| Shanghai, at the mouth of the Yangtze River on the mid-coast of mainland China, is the most populous city in the People's Republic. It is the largest centre of commerce and finance on mainland China, and the show-piece of the world's fastest-growing major economy. It is a major cruise port rivalling Hong Kong and Singapore, and the largest container port in the world. Check your visa requirements. Go to the Bund to watch ships on the river and marvel at the huge variety of architectural styles on display. Watch the crowds pass by in People’s Square. Shoppers, make a beeline for the Fabric Market where you can have a suit or dress tailor-made at bargain prices.
Nanjing Road is Shanghai's world-famous shopping paradise, but there are great shopping districts throughout the city, and taxi fares are very reasonable. Visit the many beautiful museums and theatres, including the Shanghai Art Museum, the Natural History Museum, and then perhaps take a ride on the world's first magnetic levitation train. As there were so many concessions to Western powers during the turn of the 20th century, the city has everything from classic Parisian style, to Tudor style buildings that give an English flair, and 1930s buildings reminiscent of New York or Chicago. At night, enjoy the spectacular neon lights.
The city is a tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as the Bund and the City God Temple. It’s ever-expanding Pudong skyline includes the 632m Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is the hotspot of modern China, a cosmopolitan city buzzing with the concept of 'lifestyle revolution', showcased in the architectural temples of art, fine dining and contemporary urban living. There are many beautiful parks and temples to visit. Western customs and Chinese traditions intertwine and form Shanghai's culture, making a visitor's stay truly memorable.
|24||Sun 19 May 2013||At Sea|
|25||Mon 20 May 2013||At Sea|
|26||Tue 21 May 2013||Beijing (Tanggu), China||4.00am||7.00pm|
| Beijing, in Tanggu Province, northern China, is the capital of the People's Republic of China and the nation's political, economic, cultural and educational centre. It is also China's most important centre for international trade and communications. Each year sees about 4.4 million international visitors join with 140 million Chinese tourists to visit this popular tourist destination. Renowned tourist attractions include the: Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Ming Tombs, the National Stadium, and not least Tiananmen Square. As the cultural centre of China, it is rich in historical sites and important government and cultural institutions.
Don't neglect to take a rickshaw ride or a tour to the Beijing Hutongs, a wonderful way to reflect on the local people’s lives. Indeed there are around twenty practical day tours worth including, and these include bicycling and walking tours. Places of interest are: Fragrant Hill Park, Niujie Mosque, 798 Factory Art District, Beijing World Park, Lugou Bridge, Songshan Nature Reserve, Yangi Lake Amusement Park, and the wonderful spectacle of the Yinhu Cave. Enjoy shopping for a bargain, perhaps view an acrobatic performance, and thoroughly enjoy the delicious food, especially a Peking Duck dinner.
Street food in Beijing is located in Gui Street and showcases many excellent cuisines. Stretching over 1km, 90% of the commercial shops in the street house more than 150 eateries. You can definitely find most of the larger restaurants here. Shoppers should be aware that at nearly all markets in Beijing, bartering is essential. When browsing through large, ‘touristy’ shopping areas, do not put it beneath your dignity to start bargaining at 15% of the vendor's initial asking price. In fact, final prices can often be as low as 15%-20% of the initial asking price.
|27||Wed 22 May 2013||At Sea|
|28||Thu 23 May 2013||Pusan, South Korea||12.00pm||7.00pm|
| Pusan, the second largest city and principal port of South Korea, is situated in the SE of the peninsula on the Korea Strait. The city has many steep hills, creating a delightful mix of mountains and ocean. While Pusan was relatively untouched during the Korean War, the flood of refugees has shaped the city. Tourists often come to this region to hike and to visit the Buddhist Temples located deep within the region's mountains. The Beomeosa Temple, founded in 678 AD, is perhaps one of the most frequented temples in the area and is always packed with worshipers and tourists. For art buffs, Busan offers several museums and historical buildings.
Pusan is famous for its seafood, beaches (such as Haeundae Beach district with its carnival board-walk, and Gwangalli Beach with its famed cafes, bars and restaurants), and the Hallyosudo Waterway with its picturesque islands. You will enjoy shopping at the local branch of the Lotte Duty Free Department Store, and E-Mart, as well as strolling in the scenic Taejongdae Park with its great sea views. Also worth visiting is the large Busan Aquarium with its 3D ride and excellent displays, while the Haeundae Cruise Boat that starts from the ferry terminal provides a one-hour trip that offers breathtaking views of fantastically shaped cliffs.
Take the reasonably priced all-day hop-on hop-off City Tour Bus, and visit PIFF Square, which is full of movie memorabilia, shopping and various outlets of great food. You will enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. Also of great interest are the Theme Park, Shinsegae Centum City Spaland, the Jagalchi Market, Jump (a comic martial arts performance), and the Pusan Museum, as well as several interesting temples. There is certainly a fascinating variety of places to visit in this, the fifth largest port in the world. If scenery is your interest, try visiting Dongbaek Island, or bird watch at the Nakdong river estuary.
|29||Fri 24 May 2013||Nagasaki, Japan||6.00am||7.00pm|
| Nagasaki City, on the island of Kyushu in Japan, lies at the heart of Nagasaki-hanto Peninsula. As one of Japan's closest port cities to the Asian mainland, Nagasaki has played a prominent role in foreign trade relations for many centuries. This is a port city that developed up the steep slope of a mountain, while also stretching horizontally to hug the Nagasaki Gulf. For an excellent view of the city one should go to the top of Inasa. The night view is absolutely amazing. Nagasaki is best known for being the second and last city in the world to be subjected to nuclear attack.
Reminders of this are reflected in the many sights tourists visit. These include the Nagasaki Peace Park with its amazingly large statue, the nearby Atomic bomb Hypocentre, and the Atomic Bomb Museum, a well-done commemoration of one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century. Add to this the Museum of History and Culture, and the National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, and understand that all of these structures are designed to appeal to the desire for peace in the world. There was a time when Nagasaki harbor was the only harbor in Japan to which entry of foreign ships was permitted.
Not surprisingly, Glover Garden, a pleasant collection of relocated European style homes built for foreign traders and diplomats when Japan was first opened to the world, reflects this historical fact. There are numerous other places of interest including some fine shopping centres, such as the You-me Plaza, AMYU Plaza, and Cocowalk. Add to this the Penguin Aquarium, Science Museum, a variety of shrines, O-ura Tenshudo Christian church built in 1864, Mount Inasa, and several beautiful parks. You are sure to get a feel for, and an understanding of, this dramatically changed and rebuilt city.
|30||Sat 25 May 2013||At Sea|
|31||Sun 26 May 2013||Osaka, Japan||7.00am||7.00pm|
| Osaka, the heart of the Greater Osaka Area, is located at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay, and is the third largest city in Japan. Historically it is also regarded as the commercial capital of Japan, as evidenced by its daytime population being over a million greater than its night time population. From above ground and underground shopping malls and specialised shopping complexes, to the unusual America Mura which offers both new and used clothing, as well as flea markets, and the Asia Pacific Trade Centre with its international wholesale market, shopping here truly is a fascinating experience.
Visit the amusement park Expo Land and the famous spa complex Festival Gate. As Osaka is traditionally famous for its down-to-earth citizens and hearty cuisine, be sure to enjoy the local meals. Do explore the Osaka Bay (Osaka Wan) area, to enjoy the many tourist attractions in this district, especially the world-famous Osaka Aquarium. One of the largest in the world, it offers the opportunity to see some 30,000 marine animals, including a whale shark, penguins, dolphins and sea lions.
Also in this area one can visit the Suntory Museum which is ideal for lovers of contemporary art in all its forms. Then there’s Osaka Castle, a museum built in the shape of a castle, and the Umeda sky building where an escalator takes visitors mid-air to the rooftop observatory for an open-air view of Osaka. Take a ride on the fifth largest Ferris wheel in the world, and visit Universal Studios theme park. Although regarded as being best viewed under the neon lights of night, it is a fascinating destination.
|32||Mon 27 May 2013||At Sea|
|33||Tue 28 May 2013||Yokohama, Japan||7.00am||8.00pm|
| Yokohama is located on the western coast of Tokyo Bay, less than half an hour's train journey directly south of Tokyo. It is the second largest city in Japan and one of the cities most visited by foreigners. Despite being devastated by bombings in WWII it remains a maritime city and retains an international flavour. Nissan and city of Yokohama have launched Japan’s first-ever car-sharing program with ultra-compact EVs (electric vehicles). The main objectives of the project are to reduce carbon emissions on public roads, improve the quality of transportation in the city, and promote tourism.
Among its many attractions are Yamashita Park along the waterfront with the famous ship Hikawa Maru (that now serves as a museum), the nearby Yokohama Marine Tower, Zoorasia (one of Japan's largest and best kept zoos with animals from as far away as the Amazon and Africa). Then there’s the largest of Japan's Chinatowns, Yamate and Motomachi (former residential areas of foreign merchants), and The Ramen Museum which is dedicated entirely to a very popular Japanese noodle dish. If interested in shopping, then the Suit Company Yokohama Station West must be visited. This company is a long-trusted retailer of quality clothing for both men and women, at affordable prices.
Needless to say there are a large number of other fascinating shopping venues. If you have some time take a half-day excursion to Sankei-en, an extensive Japanese Garden just south of Yokohama, that provides a perfect setting with its picturesque temples and other ancient buildings. For relaxation, visit the Negishhi Forest and the picturesque Seseragi Parks. Many enjoy visiting the Tattoos History Museum. Whatever you do, you are sure to enjoy this spacious and open harbour frontage city, with its generally low-rise skyline.
|34||Wed 29 May 2013||At Sea|
|35||Thu 30 May 2013||At Sea|
|36||Fri 31 May 2013||At Sea|
|37||Sat 1 Jun 2013||At Sea|
|38||Sun 2 Jun 2013||At Sea|
|39||Mon 3 Jun 2013||At Sea|
|40||Tue 4 Jun 2013||At Sea|
|41||Wed 5 Jun 2013||Seward, USA||6.00am||6.00pm|
| Ice-free the year round, Seward was a natural choice as the ocean terminal and supply centre during the construction of the Alaska Railroad. Fishing is great all year round and not surprisingly Seward is famous for its Annual Silver Salmon Derby, the biggest fishing event in Alaska. Also very well known is its Fourth of July celebration that features a gruelling foot race to the top of Mt. Marathon. The small coastal town itself is known for its scenic views, several fantastic trips and tours as well as its fine selection of shops.
Fascinating things to do include: a day trip to the Kenai Fjords National Park with its abundant marine life and awesome glaciers, and finding out what lives beneath the surface of Resurrection Bay and Prince William Sound by visiting the Sea Life Centre that is financed in part by the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill settlement. Other options include taking an exciting Dog Sled ride at Exit Glacier, or kayaking at Fox Island.
A very popular option includes a visit to Anchorage, which is connected to Seward by both a very scenic train trip as well as the highway that is a national scenic byway. In Anchorage visitors find a delightful city, friendly people, great shopping and good restaurants. Above all if there be sure to include a visit to its amazing Anchorage Museum that presents a fantastic view of the history of the area.
|42||Thu 6 Jun 2013||Hubbard Glacier, USA||1.00pm||7.00pm|
| Marching to the beat of a different drum, Hubbard Glacier is advancing while the rest of Alaska's ice rivers are receding rapidly. In 1986 and again in 2002 the glacier galloped forward, closing off Russell Fjord to create an entirely new lake. These phenomena quickly passed and were followed by short retreats, but the glacier is once again on the move and Russell Fjord is headed for another spell as an inland body of water. Hubbard Glacier is the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska, extending over 120 km from its source on Mt Logan in the Yukon.
As Hubbard advances it creaks and groans as it moves and is a very actively calving glacier. This makes for some exciting moments when the huge chunks of ice crash into the bay creating a wonderful sound known locally as 'white thunder'. The sail up to Hubbard is both leisurely and beautiful. Small ice bergs, sometimes with sea birds or seals resting on them, float in the water that is glacial blue. Seals calve on the ice bergs here as Orca whales do not visit the bay.
This huge white and ice blue glacier is lit by the most amazing, unpolluted day light you have ever seen. The ship gets up so close you can pick out the colours and lines all along the Glacier. Then are heard massive cracks, like gunshots, as avalanches and ice drop off the Glacier itself. It is truly an amazing once in a lifetime sight, possibly a Wonder of the World.
|43||Fri 7 Jun 2013||Glacier Bay, USA||10.30am||8.30pm|
| Glacier Bay, situated in SE Alaska, USA, was originally a large single glacier of solid ice until early in the 18th century. Since it started retreating, it has left about 50 glaciers in its trail and become the largest protected water area park in the world. While its many branches, inlets, lagoons, islands, and channels provide prospects for scientific exploration, it is primarily an amazing visual spectacle. Glaciers descending from high snow-capped mountains into the bay create spectacular displays of ice and iceberg formations.
Interestingly, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve includes nine tidewater glaciers, four of which actively carve icebergs into the bay. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also famous for its wildlife that include grizzly and black bears, moose, black-tailed deer, mountain goats, wolves, lynx, sea otters, seals, sea lions, Pacific white-sided dolphins, orcas, humpback whales, bald eagles, and gulls, as well over 200 bird species.
Cruise ships typically spend a full day (9-10 hours) in Glacier Bay including a stop at a major tidewater glacier. National Park Service park rangers come on beard to provide a narrative about important aspects of the visit, give a presentation about the park, and answer passengers' questions. They often have a bookstore with maps and brochures as well as a variety of exhibits/hands-on materials to enhance your visit.
|44||Sat 8 Jun 2013||Juneau, USA||6.00am||5.00pm|
| Built on a narrow shelf between Mt. Juneau and the deep waters of Gastineau Channel, Juneau is Alaska's state capital and a rewarding destination for glacier viewing. Juneau is a blend of fishermen and teachers, legislators and artists, homemakers and lawyers, union workers and frontier entrepreneurs, students and Native elders, all sharing an active port city within an inspiring wilderness setting. Visitors often take the Mount Roberts Tramway, an aerial tramway, that takes them from the cruise ship docks up to the SW ridge of Mount Roberts, providing great scenic views of Juneau and the Gastineau Channel. Twenty kilometres out of town is the Mendenhall glacier, a must-see.
In front of the federal building, the large fountain with its bronze statue of pelicans, which are not indigenous to Alaska, is most appealing. Juneau is home to the Alaska State Museum, which contains a life-sized eagle tree, as well as other permanent galleries. However, you must visit the Red Dog Saloon with its swinging doors, sawdust floors, and flag covered ceiling. The cherished memorabilia that includes Wyatt Earp's gun, a walrus oosik (a walrus penis bone), trophy, wildlife mounts, historical posters, photographs, and currency signed by miners, simply just blows one away.
Juneau Whale Watch’s custom boats depart from Auke Bay Harbour and explore Alaska’s Inside Passage for the best Juneau whale watching. May through September this spot is the playground for whales, eagles, Orca, bears, as well as a number of different seabirds. In fact it is one of the largest concentrations of Humpback whales found anywhere on the planet. That’s how they can guarantee that whales will be seen. On top of that visitors will witness some of the most spectacular views, sharp rising snow-capped mountains on either side of calm, clear blue water, surrounded by lush green fir trees.
|45||Sun 9 Jun 2013||Ketchikan, USA||10.00am||7.00pm|
| Alaska’s ‘first city’ Ketchikan is situated along the shores of Alaska's Inside Passage within the heart of the Tongass National Forest. Evergreen mountains rise out of the water, the lush green landscape nurtured by the abundant rainfall of the temperate rainforest environment. Visitors are presented with a remarkable array of activities and attractions that highlight the town's history, industry and culture, and bring them up close to resident wildlife. Ketchikan’s impressive variety of shops and galleries feature work by many of the island’s resident artists as well as an assortment of souvenir items and unique gifts that make shopping a ‘must-do’.
Visitors are presented with a good choice of one-day tours that can be enjoyed in four hours or less. These include a self-guided option based on the official Walking Tour map that directs visitors to the numbered signs posted along the routes. Together with this, visitors can pay for an audio walking tour, which provides insightful information about what is seen. Also on offer is the opportunity to experience the real Alaska by going fishing or wild-life viewing. Another option is to rent a ‘classic car’ that includes a self-touring guide, an experience that helps visitors ‘return to their youth’.
Truly worth visiting are the Ketchikan Alaska Museums and Heritage Centres that are home to fascinating totem poles and native Alaskan artefacts, along with preserving and promoting local traditional arts and crafts. These include the Tongass Historical Museum with both permanent and temporary exhibits, and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Centre with a flexible plan that allows for improvisation by educational groups, community groups and families. If possible enjoy the amazing local food on offer, such as king crab, salmon and halibut, Ketchikan's seafood specialties that are always fresh. Ketchikan has a climate greatly modified and moderated by its maritime location.
|46||Mon 10 Jun 2013||At Sea|
|47||Tue 11 Jun 2013||Vancouver, Canada||7.30am||10.00pm|
| Vancouver is a sophisticated coastal city located to the south of British Columbia, Canada. The city is linguistically and ethnically diverse as reflected in the fact that 52 percent of its inhabitants do not speak English as their first language. Ranked highly in worldwide ‘liveable city’ rankings for many years and being surrounded by nature’s scenery at its best, makes tourism its second largest industry. This beautiful city brims with attractions such as Vancouver's Olympic Village located on the SE side of False Creek, which offers stunning views of the city's downtown skyline and Coastal mountains.
The city is also renowned for its unique dining experiences, boutiques, and shopping districts such as Antique Row, and exotic Chinatown. Don’t miss the historically renovated Gastown - the oldest downtown neighborhood - filled with great souvenirs, good food, and Native Arts and Crafts. If you are looking for funky, hip stuff, then visit Commercial Drive and Central Granville. To relax, visit the delightful Stanley Park, resplendent with its deep forest, totem poles, and scenic promenades. Its nickname Hollywood North comes as no surprise, as it is the third- largest film production centre in North America.
Of great assistance to visitors is the very modern Tourism Vancouver Visitor Centre. Here one finds helpful volunteers to find pictures and maps for all kinds of locations, including all the restaurants, attractions, activity information, and coupons. Also available is the public transportation map, which is helpful to get around the town if you want to go outside of walking distance, and don't want to use rental car or cab. Also popular with visitors are: Granville Island that offers a feast for the senses; Grouse Mountain, especially in the snow season for skiing and snowboarding; and Whistler, a luxurious slice of paradise just a two hour drive away.
|48||Wed 12 Jun 2013||At Sea|
|49||Thu 13 Jun 2013||At Sea|
|50||Fri 14 Jun 2013||San Francisco, USA||6.00am|
| San Francisco, on the Californian coast, is one of America’s most attractive cities with its famous Golden Gate Bridge, steep streets that provide panoramic views of the beautiful San Francisco Bay and surrounding mountains, and its eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture. Perhaps also famous for the nearby Silicon Valley, this ‘City by the Bay’ has become even more international with large numbers of immigrants from Asia and Latin America. Explore the amazing Fisherman’s Wharf that offers great food, and the numerous boutiques. Take a hop-on hop-off bus that crosses the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy the beautiful scenery and expensive homes at the Marin Headlands.
Cruise on one of the many ferries, visit the famed Alcatraz Island with its abandoned prison in the middle of the bay, and possibly even visit Oakland and Berkeley that lie just across the Bay. One couldn’t possibly leave without taking a ride on one of its antique cable cars that still shuttle passengers up and down the city slopes. Then there are the ethnic neighbourhoods like Chinatown and Japantown, each with their traditional shops and their own uniqueness. North Beach is known as an Italian neighbourhood, the Mission District as a Hispanic community, and Castro Street for its gay and lesbian population.
The unique mixture of diverse cultures is reflected in the great San Francisco cuisine. There are many highlight walks you can take. Some of the best ones are: Fillmore, between Pine and Broadway, lined with a good mix of shopping, views, steep slopes, and some of the city's largest and most expensive homes; and Columbus that runs from North Point in Fisherman's Wharf, through the grand church, and famous cafes at the heart of North Beach to the landmark Transamerica pyramid. A day’s coach tour will take you to Yosemite National Park.
Until October 2015 Sun Princess cruises depart from Brisbane and Sydney. Itineraries of 10 to 37 nights visit a large range of Pacific islands, PNG, New Zealand and the Great Barrier Reef. In late October 2015 Sun Princess repositions to Fremantle. Some exciting port-intensive tours head for SE Asia, and in January 2016 plan ahead for a circle of the Indian Ocean. Princess Cruises organises on-shore tours that can be booked before sailing or during the cruise. For some voyages pre- and post-cruises tours are available to extend your stay in major ports.
There are six main categories of staterooms - Suites with balcony, Mini-Suites with balcony, Balcony, Oceanview Deluxe, Oceanview, and Interior – and 28 grades, which give a broad choice according to guests’ needs of space and price. All cabins have pleasing décor and reasonable storage space, satellite TV, refrigerator, and 24-hour room service. Fresh fruit (by request), evening bed turn-down, bathroom lotions, and bathrobes (by request) come with every stateroom. Standard cabins are well-designed and functional. Some cabins accommodate a third and even a fourth person. Generally twin beds can be made up into a queen-size bed. Bedding is top quality. There are no interconnecting or single cabins. There are many wheelchair-accessible cabins, and guests with disabilities are well catered for. An in-cabin dining menu is available 24-hours.
Food and Dining
There are two main dining rooms (no Anytime Dining), and dinner is served in two set sittings in each dining room with the same waitstaff and assigned tables and tablemates. Dress code is smart casual, and on cruises longer than three days dress for a formal night for every week of sailing. Breakfast and lunch are provided in an open seating arrangement. (Of course a continental breakfast can be delivered to your stateroom, and there is a complimentary stateroom menu.) One alternative eating venue is Stirling Steakhouse (extra charge, reservations) for really good steak and barbecued chicken. Another is the new Kai Sushi (extra charge) with food freshly prepared by Japanese chefs. New to the atrium is the very popular International Café. Chocolate Journeys is a recent fleet innovation. Passengers booked in cabins with balconies can order several special, romantic meals to be served restaurant-style on the verandah.
In the evening having two show lounges (both theatre and cabaret style) is a great way to give passengers more entertainment choices. During her 2010 refurbishment additions included a Movies Under the Stars screen in the main pool area for new movie releases, sporting events and concert videos. Adults have their own private sunbathing area, the Sanctuary, at the front of the ship. Add seven bars and lounges, nightclub and dance floors, and the casino, to the list of evening options. Alternatively, just stroll around and shop duty-free, or for a quiet time retire to the Library/Card Room or Internet Café. Weddings are officiated by the Captain.
What's onboard? ▼
- Defence Force (active and ex-serving) onboard credit program (ADF & NZDF)
- AUD in/out Australia
- REST & RELAXATION
- Piazza-style Atrium
- Shops duty free
- COMPLIMENTARY DINING
- Main dining room
- Traditional Dining
- 24-h Room Service, Menu complimentary
- Formal dining (1/week)
- COVER CHARGE DINING
- Ultimate Balcony Dining
- Stirling Steakhouse
- Kai Sushi (Japanese)
- CASUAL DINING
- Horizon Court
- International Café
- Pizzeria (poolside)
- Burger & Hot Dog Grill (poolside)
- Ice Cream Bar
- English Pub Lunch
- Chocolate Journeys (new)
- Internet café
- Soda, coffee packages
- Afternoon tea; Cookies & milk in Piazza
- Special diet requests (order ahead)
- Show lounges (2)
- Lounges, bars, nightclub, disco, dance floors
- Movies Under the Stars
- Onboard games, parties, tours
- ScholarShip@Sea enrichment courses
- Library, writing room
- Art, photo, video gallery
- Celebration packages
- Weddings (enquire)
- Pools (3)
- Whirlpools Spas (5)
- The Sanctuary adult oasis (pay)
- Fitness Centre, jogging track, Zumba classes
- Lotus Spa & Fitness
- Japanese bath
- Ultimate Ship Tour (pay)
- Sports court & table games
- UNDER 18
- Youth Remix Center (3-12y)
- Teen Lounge (13-17y)
- Kids-only Dinners
- Pelicans (3-7 y centre)
- Shockwaves (8-12 y centre)
- Group kidsitting (3-12 y, pay)
- Port Days activities
- Children with special needs
- Medical centre (pay private rate, no Medicare)
- No tipping, bar charges ex Australia
- ATM on board (costly)
- Internet, Wi-Fi (pay)
- Mobile phone at sea (pay provider)
- Laundromats self-serve
- 220, 110 V cabin power
- Wheelchair cabins, service animals
- No wheelchair access to The Sanctuary
- Daily newsletter
What's included? ▼
- Accommodation as booked
- Australia: Gratuities for Sun and Dawn Princess departures, and Sea Princess departing and returning to Australia.
- All main meals on-board
- Coffee, tea & milk 24 hrs
- Oplen/anytime dining (not in Australia)
- Traditional/set time & multi-venue dining
- Cocktail or champagne reception
- In-cabin dining at no charge
- Complimentary mini-bar setup (Suites)
- Use of ship facilities - indoor & outdoor
- Entertainment - live music and/or shows, movies
- Activities - organised & individual
- Specialty lectures, workshops, classes & programs
- Bridge director on select cruises
- Kids clubs & teen programs (3-17 yrs most ships)
- Cruise Director & all English speaking staff
- Onboard newsletter
- Port maps and/or guide books
- Destination seminars and/or lectures
- Ship-shore-ship transfers
What's excluded? ▼
- Airfares, accommodation & transfers not specified
- Shore & land excursions and meals not specified
- Alternate specialty dining venues
- Room service menu items (unless specified)
- Casino gaming, bar expenses
- Passport & visa fees
- Insurances of all kinds
- Increases in third party charges or taxes
- Outside Australia: Service charge USD 11.50 (suites USD 12) pp/night all ages. Adjust or remove on board.
- Customary land tour gratuities are welcome
- Outside Australia Service charge: bar and wine 15%
- Items & services of a personal nature
- Medical services, vaccination costs
- Laundry and/or valet charges
- Laundry services (Complimentary for Suites & Elite Capltain's Circle
- Wi-Fi, Internet, satellite/mobile phone & fax charges
- Childcare night services (3-12 yrs, 10pm-1am)
"Ultimately it came down to attitude and the service from you was genuinely impressive so I rewarded that with my business. Price is very important but that good old thing called Service is hard to find these days."
William H from Melbourne
"We were more than satisfied with the service we received from your agency everything was organized well. The P&O cruise itself was absolutely wonderful and thank you for your service and support."
Keith & Moira from Newcastle
"Our Dawn Princess cruise was tremendous, very relaxing. I would like to thank you with the way everything ran smoothly from my initial enquiry to the detailed planning along the way. It has been a pleasure dealing with you and I really appreciate your promptness with responses."
Jillian A from Melbourne