Thursday, February 22, 2018

Crystal Symphony - Sydney to Tahiti - Day 6 - Wed Feb 21, 2018 (Sailing Through Fiordland National Park)

The ship hung out at the entrance of Milford Fiord until it began to get light at 7:00 am (notice the spelling difference from Norwegian Fjord). This is the first of 3 fiords we will visit today. There are 14 total major fiords. The entrance to the Milford Fiord is only about 30 feet deep at the entrance, but 300 feet deep at the head of the fiord. The entrance to the fiord is not very noticeable (6oo yards wide) and Captain Cook missed it when exploring the area in the mid-1700s. Fourteen people left the ship in Milford Fiord for a 2 day overland trip to Queenstown. This area is famous for the “tracks” that are very popular. Fiordland National Park encompasses 3.2 million acres and is halfway between the equator and the South Pole. It is the largest National Park in New Zealand.

Glacier on top.

Zoomed in on the glacier

We had a light breakfast in the Bistro Coffee Shop, Julie succumbing to a Portuguese Custard Tart and a Latte. She’s quite proud of herself that this is the first one she’s had on this cruise. It’s hands down her favorite pastry and quite irresistible.

By the way, Bob was having a very bad day. He knocked over his diet coke in the Bistro and then later in the afternoon he knocked over a beer in our cabin.

A Fiordland National Park Ranger, Ross Kerr, joined us onboard to provide commentary and educate us on our journey through the National Park. He is an excellent speaker and will exit the ship in a couple days in Dunedin. He gave a lecture at 10:00 am after we exited Milford Fiord and are in transit to our next fiord. The mountains tower to about 5,000 feet above the surface of the water. The tops of the mountains are covered in snow. The terrain is very rugged and beautiful. New Zealand had a plethora of indigenous birds. Rabbits were brought in to New Zealand for food and sport. They started eating the crops, so they brought in predatory ferrets and stoats to control the rabbits, however the stoats ate the birds. Now almost all the species (31/35) of flightless birds are extinct as are many of the flying birds. The government is now trying to correct the imbalance caused by man in the late 1800s.

We enjoyed a salad in the Marketplace prior to entering Thompson Fiord at about 1:00pm and exiting through Doubtful Fiord. Later we will sail into Dusky Fiord. The scenery in the fiords has been spectacular. Rainfall is about 390 inches per year – and probably explains the beautiful emerald green color and denseness of the vegetation. We chose to gaze at the fiords primarily from the Promenade
Deck. At points it was quite windy. I’m sure the Palm Court with its forward facing/panoramic windows was quite busy with many viewing from there. They also served Continental Breakfast and a Soup and Sandwich Lunch there today.

The last fiord for today is Dusky Fiord at 4:00pm. It was very different from Milford which was steeper and also had the snowcapped mountains around it.

Another lecture was offered today: “Maori and European Accommodation since 1908.”

Unfortunately, we missed the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle today.  For those of you who do not follow Cruise Critic, it is a forum with message boards for various cruise lines, roll calls for voyages, where we can discuss, share and get to know fellow cruisers.  Julie has been a member for many years and learned a lot about the cruises that we have taken from those on the boards.  It’s easy to post and get answers to anything you want to know, there are so many knowledgeable people.  The Meet and Mingle was scheduled today from 6:30pm-7:30pm, during our Prego reservations.  Obtaining specialty reservations have been a challenge on this cruise, unless you want to eat very late and we chose to keep our reservation.  We saw that Roy said there was only about 10 cruise critic members that went.  I’m sure it was due to timing of the event.  With two sea days on our way to NZ it would have been nice to fit the gathering in sometime then.

Dinner was again at Prego. The food is always amazing there. Bob had the Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts and Gorgonzola Cheese, an appetizer portion of Pasta with Arrabbiata Sauce and Filet Mignon for his entrée.

Julie had the Caesar Salad, Pasta Puttanesca Appetizer and also had Filet Mignon for her entrée. They
shared a Pomegranate Semifreddo for dessert.

We attended the show “Soul Mystique.” They are an Australian duo that are International Dance Quick Change Artists. Although they are listed in the “The World’s Top 10 Best Magic Acts” by Fox, we didn’t think their act was up to Crystal’s Entertainment standard.

After the show it was early to bed as we have an early shore excursion that leaves tomorrow morning at 8:00 am.

Today we walked 6.1 miles, 14,630 steps.

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