Updated: Apr 16, 2022
Saturday-Sunday March 9-10: PORT 3: CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA
Our 8 hour excursion was to The Great Barrier Reef. We had had second thoughts about going, but paid Oceania $409 per person, and waited too long to try to cancel. It turned out that this was “good” news because it turned out to be a great day. BGM even went snorkeling and loved it.
It is a 90 minute trip on a large catamaran that had room for 200 people. Only about 115 people went so there was plenty of seating room. The crew was very helpful. A buffet lunch was served that was more than satisfactory which included baked chicken wings, very good cold shrimp and a lot of vegetables so there was food for BGM.
I went on the submarine and saw the fish and coral. We missed the glass bottom boat ride miscalculating when the last one was going to leave. Rain had been predicted but we lucked out again with no rain and calm seas.
The equipment was very good with sizes for everyone. This trip was well worth what Oceania charged. Paying $409 for a food tour in Wellington was outright thievery. This excursion was worth the price.
HOT TIP: IT IS BEST TO BRING YOUR OWN FACE MASK AND SNORKEL.
It was such a nice day that when we returned to the ship, we changed out of our bathing suits to our exercise clothes and took about a two hour walk into the city of Cairns. What we saw of the downtown shopping area in the short time we were there was never nice. The streets are very clean, the shopkeepers very friendly and at least one store offered a 10% discount to anyone on a cruise. (there were two cruise ships in port-the other one being the Europa) The dock is very well situated. This port is probably the easiest in terms of proximity to where one wants to be and to disembark and embark.
There are many good restaurants within a few minute walk from the ship. There is a small Chinatown, but we all saw Italian, Greek, Indian, Malaysian and other types of food establishments just a few minutes from the ship.
I also saw some great bars in this area including a large place where they brew their own beer, right at the dock. I would have not needed to walk any further. There was also an Irish Pub where I could have spent the day.
In addition to local shops, there were some very high end shop within five minutes of the dock including Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
SECOND HOT TIP; ALTHOUGH IT IS CALLED “WOOLWORTHS”, VERY CLOSE TO THE DOCK IS A HUGE AND EXCELLENT GROCERY STORY WELL STOCKED WITH JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING ONE MIGHT NEED OR WANT INCLUDING A LOT OF PREPARED FOODS. THERE ARE ALSO A COUPLE OF VERY WELL STOCKED ASIAN GROCERY STORES WITH LOTS OF GOOD LOOKING FOODS.
Perhaps surprisingly, we give our experience in Cairns an A
Sunday March 10. We were scheduled to be in Cooktown, Australia, a port with about 2600 people, but of historical importance. When BGM and I saw that (a) it was a 30 minute tender ride each way; (b) the place we would have eaten lunch was closed on Sunday; (c) there was not much to see anyway; and (d) we had to be back on the ship by 3:30 anyway, we had decided to just stay on the ship. Then early in the day, an announcement was made that the port was cancelled and it we would have another sea day. That decision did not matter to us, and so far as I could tell there were not too many broken hearts about not stopping at this port. Oceania really needs to consider revamping the itinerary to spend more time in Sydney and/or Auckland.
Because of this last minute change, Oceania scheduled a number of shipboard activities. Among other things, BGM’s yoga class had to be moved from 3 to 4:30 and the casino opened so that the poker tournament could take place.
Played in the poker tournament but did not win. We had six players and came in 3rd when my 7 high straight was beaten by an 8 eye straight.
Listened to the piano player for two sets. He is much better than the first one they had. Also, did a little planning for our anniversary dinner which is on Tuesday. It will be 22 for appertivo in our cabin and dinner at Toscana.
BGM did not go out of cabin for meals so I joined up with friends in the Terrace for lunch and dinner and brought BGM some cold poached halibut for lunch.
Of course, we exercised. Looking at what I have written, we did not do very much but somehow I walked, including the treadmill, 6.1 miles, had 13, 852 steps and climbed 9 floors.
David Clode, Photographer (Unsplash)