some mis-organisation by Princess Cruises
On the total I was quite happy with my cruise onboard the Dawn Princess, BUT in Port Denarau there was a lot of very bad organisation as well:
OK, we had 1700 passangers onboard and we had just 4 or 5 tenders with a total capacity of not much more than 120 people at a time.
The tenders needed for one way from the ship to the port 40 minutes,and then again 40 minutes back, therefore a large catamaran was chartered to take first all people ashore in the morning who had booked a tour through the ship's touroffice. Good idea!
The desaster started in the afternoon, when a large crowd of people came back from various tours and there was NO tenderboat coming for a long time and hundreds of people had to wait in the open sun, queued up for the next tender to arrive.
I watched that scenery from 02.00pm till 04.00pm from one of the cafes next to the pier and I could see that nothing was done by the ship-crew to organize that chaos in some way.
See my 1st picture here: various officers having a chat, while hundreds of people queue up in the open sun ! I spoke to the "Shore excursion-manager", a guy from Poland and he told me something like "dont worry, we'll take them all back to the ship!"
What he did not tell me nor anybody else was the fact, that they had organized the large Catamaran to arrive at 04.00pm with 400 seats to take home 400 people all at a time and with high speed of less than 15 minutes ! IN PRINCIPLE a very good idea !
BUT, WHY cant they tell the people in advance: "Folks, there is NO reason to queue up here already now in the open sun, at 04.00pm a large catamaran will take all of you home the fast way.Do some shopping now, they have Air Condition in all shops and come back shortly before 04.00pm !!" ??
In Port Denarau I saw some of the most beautifull woodcarvings as well as rare, exotic sea-shells for sale in the souvenirshops. The only problem for me was the fact that I am not an expert about seashells and I dont know which ones might be considdered as "endangered species" and confiscated by any customs-controll in the world.
The other problem was the fact that it is absolutely forbidden to take any beach-material or wooden products into Australia at the end of the cruise and the authorities there will also take a closer look at all things you take with you - so be prepared !
AND dont trust any shop-owner who is talking about a special "export-certificate" etc. because what-ever might be allowed to be EXported from Fiji does not necessarily mean it is also allowed to be IMported into any other country !
- Arts and Culture
Animals and speed bumps on the road
If you rent a car like we did you have to watch out for animals like cows and horses on the road. This are BIG animals and can do some serious damage. Also as you pass by different villages there will be many speed bumps. You dont want to do damage to your vehicle so slow down.
Shopping opportunities in Fiji are relatively scares. It all revolves around the cannibal accessories of the proud ancestors of the modern Fijians. This trade and “art” has been almost completely monopolized by Jack’s production line and stores. No matter whether in air-conditioned splendour or in the heat of the market stall it is going to be the same neck breaker or cannibal fork. This could turn into serious business considering that more elaborate items can reach sums of up to hundreds of dollars. Once the stakes have been driven so high, the purchaser must make sure that the coveted item is going to reach his overseas dwelling. The practice shows that Australian and New Zealand immigration officials are keen to keep their respective territories clean from any Fijian bugs that might be transported via wooden artifacts; very much like silk worms in the ancient hey day of China. Some desperate Fijian vendors are trying to preempt this misfortune by advertising the art as “treated” which is the word the Australian and NZ governments would like to here. At the same time, this approach could be double-edge sword since even the unsuspecting art lover might think twice of how much to spend on articles that could end up in the another country’s customs officials bonfire.
- Road Trip
- Business Travel
My mum and I decided to go swimming while the menfolk played golf. The sea was unbeliveably warm, shallow and not very clear. Disappointing. A boat towing a topless waterskier was heading straight for us, while he was too busy watching the skiers boobs! I was beginning to really panic as he was getting nearer and nearer, still totally oblivious to the impending disaster. I tried to drag my mum towards the shore, out of the way of the speedboat, when, fortuntaely, the skiier seemed to realise what was about to happen, and let go of the rope. This made the boat driver finally take his eyes off her boobs, and turn to face forwards, when he realised that he was just about to hit two swimmers. He managed to swerve at the last minute, but it frightened the life out of the two of us!!
Stray golf balls
David and my father had gone off to play golf while my mum and I went swimming. My dad wanted to watch David's technique, and decided to stand a little to the side of the tee. David, unfortunately, sliced the ball, and it ended up going straight into my dad's shin. By the time they returned to the hotel, my dad's leg looked like it had half a tennis ball attached to it!
Moral of the story - stand well behind an inexperienced golfer!