Postcards From Around The World: Auckland, New Zealand

Editors note: The original story was written on March 4, 2020. At the time of publishing, all guests have been notified that HAL’s world cruise will conclude and guests will disembark in Fremantle, Australia. No further updates have been given.

Such intriguing terms as "tititorea" (rhythm sticks) and "poi" (balls attached to a string that were made from heavy material and used to train Maori warriors in the old days, and are now soft and used by women in traditional dances) became part of our vocabulary as we headed to Auckland, New Zealand. That was thanks to a team of five Maori "ambassadors" that Holland America put on board the Amsterdam during her current 128-day World Cruise. The "ambassadors" conducted storytelling performances, crafts sessions, a Haka war dance workshop and various demonstrations.

© 2020 Georgina Cruz

After crossing the International Dateline coming from Tahiti with stops in Rarotonga and Tonga, we got to Auckland and are now 18 hours ahead of our home in Florida – before crossing the International Dateline we had been five hours behind. Captain Jonathan Mercer, master of the Amsterdam, told us the ship's clocks would be set 23 hours forward and that we would go from Feb. 25 to Feb. 27 and that Feb. 26 would not exist. "Wait, what? Today is yesterday," a passenger exclaimed while trying to set her fitness watch. "This will mess up my steps!"

© 2020 Georgina Cruz

We arrived in Auckland with its impressive skyline with high rises, sci-fi-like Sky Tower, and Harbor Bridge to an overcast day, but no rain. Auckland is dubbed "the City of Sails" – lots of sailboats and other craft dot its seascape (the city has 235,000 registered yachts). A sprawling metropolis between two harbors (Waitemata and Manukau Harbors), Auckland is located in New Zealand's North Island. It is a friendly, cosmopolitan city of 1.45 million inhabitants – it has attracted a large concentration of Polynesians from South Pacific islands as well as Asians. New Zealand's largest city and a popular stop as well as an embarkation/debarkation point on Down Under itineraries, Auckland has much to offer cruise passengers, so we were glad we had two days here.

A good way to get oriented and get around to the city's attractions – we did – is via the hop-on/hop-off buses. We got a 24-hour pass from Hassle-free Tours on their Soaring Kiwi bus –it has two routes that hit the attractions we wanted to visit. To have transportation on two days, one can use the pass from midday on the first day and it is good until midday on the second day.

© 2020 Georgina Cruz

Here are several attraction "musts" in Auckland which my husband Humberto and I have enjoyed during this stop and several other visits to the city:

A big –and delicious—local highlight featured onboard the Amsterdam was the Quintessential Kiwi Dinner in the Lido. It served up such specialties as Manuka honey swordfish in banana leaves, fresh-catch Tarakihi fillet, mashed Kumara (sweet potatoes) and steamed green lip New Zealand mussels, and a really special treat: a "New Zealand Ice Cream Parlor" with the creamy delights such as blackberry/black currant and lemon/passionfruit that Auckland is famous for.

Here are some quick superlatives as we mark two months aboard the Amsterdam – embarkation in Fort Lauderdale seems was ages ago.

After our two days in Auckland, we were ready for another port, Waitangi, Bay of Islands, in New Zealand and, continuing our explorations Down Under, several calls in Australia.

The post Postcards From Around The World: Auckland, New Zealand appeared first on Avid Cruiser Cruise Reviews, Luxury Cruises, Expedition Cruises.

Article ID: ART4648

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