Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Day 12 - Tue Feb 27, 2018 (Napier, New Zealand) - Crystal Symphony - Sydney to Tahiti

Day 12 – Napier, New Zealand

Napier is a city on the North Island of approximately 58,000.  The city is approximately 2 miles from where we are docked.  On Feb 3, 1931 it suffered a devastating magnitude 7.9 earthquake, lasting 2.5 minutes.  The town center was flattened, the fires burned for several days, 258 people died.  There were 525 aftershocks, many in the 6+ magnitude range over nearly 3 weeks time.  Amazingly, the entire area was raised up by the cataclysmic thrust 7 feet, creating 9,000 new acres of dry land filling in the lagoon and areas around the small island-town.  It was decided to rebuild.  Many tradesman came to Napier to find work in the construction industry, however, not all could take the aftershocks and left.  A temporary “tin town” commercial area was set up right by Clive Square and the rebuilding began.  European Art Deco was the style of the day, with geometric forms, stucco surfaces and relief decorations. They also chose to use reinforced concrete because they learned that brick houses do NOT survive a quake, but reinforced concrete does.

Julie booked a walking tour of the city center with the Art Deco Trust.  It was 1.5 hours long and very informative.  We learned about the earthquake, the rebuilding of the city and our guide pointed out architectural features that we would have never picked up on our own. There are many people in the city dressed in the Art Deco style as well as a number of beautifully restored vintage automobiles.  

Clive Square.

The ceilings were mostly glass to let light into the interior of the buildings.

The interior in many buildings are also art deco.

A pair of statues with 30's clothing. They are waving to each other across the street.

Next, a guided tour by the lovely Claudia in a 1929 restored Oldsmobile.  Claudia previously was an Art Deco Trust tour guide and knew the content of the walking tour that we had taken.  She tailored our 1 hr 15 min vintage car tour to see and hear different stories about Napier.  She took us out along Marine Parade to show us the “sunken gardens” the only area not raised by the earthquake, to the National Tobacco Building, regarded as the fanciest Art Deco building in the city. It was built by Mr Rothman who thought the Art Deco style too plain and wanted it to be fancy, telling the architects that money was no object.  He was quite progressive and treated his employees well.  He had a day care at the facility for women who worked, health care, excellent pay, and benefits. After the earthquake, he filled his pockets with cash so that he could distribute it as he met people in need post-earthquake.  And lastly, to a neighborhood of Art Deco homes built during the restoration.  All in all, a great way to spend time in an interesting city. Riding in the '29 Olds was quite an incredible experience.

The backseat was amazingly spacious.

What an incredible ride.

Art deco style made it to residences as well.


Back onboard we had a late lunch in the Marketplace, fixing ourselves salads.  Yes, we had wine with lunch. Normally we don't do that, but today was such a great morning, we decided - "why not"? Then (more true confessions) a trip to the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Bar, Scoops.  The ice cream is fabulous and they have toppings…. We just can’t make it a habit, not that we wouldn’t like to J

The lecture this afternoon was General Nick Halley on “The Life and Death Struggle for World Order- Radical Islam Fights for World Domination” providing analysis of the current war against Radical Islam from the point of view of a soldier who has been there.

Before we left port, the locals had brought up half a dozen vintage cars and a band to play music out on the dock from the 30's/40's era. It was a heckuva a sendoff.

Plus we had the proverbial massive number of logs on the dock waiting for transport.

Dinner tonight was in Silk, a Chinese specialty restaurant on Deck 11 that was added during the multi-million dollar Fall 2017 dry dock.  It is beautifully decorated and this is the first time we’ve eaten there.  We quite enjoyed the atmosphere, especially the living walls, as well as a different style of food.  

Our waiter suggested that we go with the “set menu” for the appetizers since we had not dined there before.  The meal served family style included:

Amuse bouche starter (pork)

Crisp Duck Salad

Dim sum sampler including:  Scallop Shu Mai, Truffled Wild Mushroom Potstickers, Pork Potstickers. Plus pork Spring Rolls and Crispy Fried Prawn Dumplings (we both thought that the dumpling was amazing).

Julie enjoyed the Sweet Corn Soup with Crabmeat while Bob had the Won Ton Soup.

The entrée we chose the Lobster & Scallop Wok with Black Bean Sauce and the Kung Pao Chicken.

While the desserts sounded wonderful, there was no room for it tonight, nor room for calories given our afternoon ice cream.

One of the things that has been expanded is the options for entertainment.  As an example, this evening’s entertainment included:
·       Vocalist Peter Cousens in the Galaxy Theater
·       “Sabor Latino” Dance Show in the Starlite Club featuring Latin Dance Artists
·       Piano Music in the Crystal Cove Lounge
·       “Heartworn Highways Revisited” in the Hollywood Theater
·       Cocktail Music in the Avenue Saloon
·       The Double Malt Duo for variety listening in the Palm Court
Lots of options during the evenings!

Today we walked 6.07 miles, 14,590 steps, 35 flights of stairs.


  1. I have shared your comments about the Apple watch (fitbit does the same thing) with numerous people. Most common answer - Count the steps, it will help burn off the calories! Enjoying your blog. Dennis

  2. Yeah, the miles are fun, but just need to be ignored.