Cruise Specialists hosts, Tom Mullen, Alex Tokar and Kirsten Ulmer, recap their experiences on the 2023 Holland America world cruise. Below is the second installment, recapping their time in Australia and New Zealand on this remarkable voyage.
The days in February so far have been very busy for our guests!
On February 2, Cruise Specialists Voyage Host Alex Tokar escorted passengers on the ‘Devonport and the North Shore’ excursion from central Auckland with several photo stops along the way to Mount Victoria. Guests had the option to stay with the group on the return ferry or stay to leisurely explore the village.
February 5th we enjoyed the ‘Wine tasting and Lunch tour from Wellington to the Wairarapa’ plains. We had a beautiful drive through the Pakuratahi Forest, a stop at the Alexia wine tasting location, and a four-course dinner at the Greytown Hotel. Our Cruise Specialists guests were very considerate of the varying customs in different regions. Such lovely passengers!
It seems we hosted a special event or tour almost every second day in February! I was fortunate in being the escort of the ‘Discover the Blue Mountains and Featherdale’ Cruise Specialists Tour. The tour started out in drizzle, light fog, and great spirits. The various animals in the Featherdale Wildlife Park lifted spirits even more, guests happily taking hundreds of photos of the kangaroos, koalas, and many different birds.
The fog became worse as the coach neared the lookout to gaze at the famous rock formation known as the Three Sisters. Just as we were about to turn back to the delicious three-course lunch waiting at The Lookout, the clouds parted, and the Three Sisters rock formation miraculously appeared in overwhelming beauty. Luck held on our visit to Scenic World, as we all took in the breathtaking views of the Jamieson Valley. Everyone returned to the motorcoach with big smiles after having experienced a day filled with wonder.
The tour to the ‘Historic Richmond and Coal Valley Wines,’ escorted by Cruise Specialists Voyage Host Alex Tokar was another huge success! Guests appreciated the individual care and special treatment they received as Cruise Specialists guests. Returning to the ship with their allowance of one bottle of wine each, we concluded the wine tasting tour was well received!
Our ‘Hahndorf and the Adelaide Hills’ tour was in such demand that two motorcoaches were needed and two escorts. Cruise Specialists Voyage Hosts Tom Mullen and I were only too happy to escort guests, looking forward to some German meals in Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement. We strolled along the town’s shady, century-old main street, looking for interesting wares, local crafts, and boutiques. Along the way, the motorcoach stopped at Mount Lofty where everyone could see panoramic views of Adelaide. It was a bit hazy due to atmospheric conditions, but nevertheless of great interest!
Every sea day we hold Chat Time, an opportunity for our guests to enjoy friendly conversations with the hosts, ask questions and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with a few cookies. We love this time to connect, talk about our journey so far, and about the upcoming places we will be visiting. Guests continue to look forward to future friendships and tours that enrich their lives, as they do ours.