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Full of Eastern Promise!

Full of Eastern Promise!

Postby Gillzajoker » 11 Jan 2019 10:31

I have just booked my next cruise in March. 23 nts. on HAL 'Maasdam'. Fly to
Singapore, and spend a night in a hotel before boarding. Then visit Bintulu and
Kota Kinabula in Borneo, Puerto Princesa in Philippines, Ulung Padang in Macassar,
Dili in East Timor*, Cairns, and then Alotua, Kitave, and Conflict Islands in Papua
New Guinea*. Finally on to Brisbane and fly back via Sydney. Been to some of
the places before, but not those *, so that should be exciting. :D

(This was £65 over budget, Dave, but an extra £50 got me an Ocean View cabin,
so 'pushed the boat out'!) :lol:
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Postby judgegeoff » 11 Jan 2019 11:42

Sounds like a real bargain Gil - and visits some very interesting places. We visited Papua New Guinea in 2010 aboard the "Rhapsody of the Seas" whilst on our anti-clockwise cruise around Australia and found it to be a very interesting place, very different from other ports of call. Papua New Guinea relies almost entirely on sea and air transport as there are very few roads. I believe that we were one of the first cruise ships to visit as all the locals greeted us as though we were royalty - apparently their radio and TV had been advertising our visit for some time and had stressed how important it was to their economy. Here is a link to our photo album that covers our visit there, I hope you find it of interest :-

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1364304075067&type=1&l=0ea8b77a2b
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Postby Dave » 11 Jan 2019 14:52

That sounds like an absolutely amazing itinerary Gill. :thumbup: (...and it's a lot cheaper than the 7-night accommodation in the Peak District we've just booked! :mrgreen: )
Dave

Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Booked land-based holidays 2019: April - Surrey, June - Snowdonia, July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands
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Postby grannyM » 11 Jan 2019 19:00

Oh Goody! Another history lesson to look forward to. ;) :D
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Postby Gillzajoker » 12 Jan 2019 10:29

judgegeoff wrote:Sounds like a real bargain Gil - and visits some very interesting places. We visited Papua New Guinea in 2010 aboard the "Rhapsody of the Seas" whilst on our anti-clockwise cruise around Australia and found it to be a very interesting place, very different from other ports of call. Papua New Guinea relies almost entirely on sea and air transport as there are very few roads. I believe that we were one of the first cruise ships to visit as all the locals greeted us as though we were royalty - apparently their radio and TV had been advertising our visit for some time and had stressed how important it was to their economy. Here is a link to our photo album that covers our visit there, I hope you find it of interest :-

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1364304075067&type=1&l=0ea8b77a2b


Enjoyed all those photos, Geoff, and I'm pretty sure I recognised which ones were of PNG. Looking at the line of coaches, am I right in assuming you used ship excursions there? I usually try and avoid them, but understand in some cases that is not practical. Any tips and advice would be welcome.
Cheers, Gill
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Postby Gillzajoker » 12 Jan 2019 10:29

Thanks, Dave and Marie. :D
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Postby judgegeoff » 12 Jan 2019 13:24

Gillzajoker wrote:
judgegeoff wrote:Sounds like a real bargain Gil - and visits some very interesting places. We visited Papua New Guinea in 2010 aboard the "Rhapsody of the Seas" whilst on our anti-clockwise cruise around Australia and found it to be a very interesting place, very different from other ports of call. Papua New Guinea relies almost entirely on sea and air transport as there are very few roads. I believe that we were one of the first cruise ships to visit as all the locals greeted us as though we were royalty - apparently their radio and TV had been advertising our visit for some time and had stressed how important it was to their economy. Here is a link to our photo album that covers our visit there, I hope you find it of interest :-

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1364304075067&type=1&l=0ea8b77a2b


Enjoyed all those photos, Geoff, and I'm pretty sure I recognised which ones were of PNG. Looking at the line of coaches, am I right in assuming you used ship excursions there? I usually try and avoid them, but understand in some cases that is not practical. Any tips and advice would be welcome.
Cheers, Gill


If you click on any picture it will enlarge and display descriptive text. Yes, I would definitely recommend going on a ship's excursion as people who did their own thing soon returned to the ship. Unless things have improved dramatically in the last 8 years you will find the excursions unlike any others. The coaches (mini buses?) were quite decrepit with no air-conditioning. If you slapped the upholstery you would be rewarded with a puff of dust! Our guide was dressed in his finest - T shirt and shorts with a yellow hi-viz vest and a new white hard hat. As if this was not bizarre enough he had no shoes but was bare footed.

At the quayside there were about small 12 coaches all lined up and we were in the leading coach. We left in convoy, with hazard lights flashing and turned left as we exited the port gates. About 200 metres later the guide shouted at the driver and the driver did a U turn in the street, followed by the other coaches and set off in the opposite direction. It did not take us long to leave the town behind but then one of the coaches behind us came speeding past us and braked, forcing our coach to stop. The two guides got out and started shouting at each other and there was even a little pushing. It turned out that some of the coaches were on a different excursion and should have kept goimg when we initially turned left after leaving the port.

You have to be very careful what souvenirs you buy in Papua New Guinea if you are going on to Australia. The Ozzies are (rightly) very keen to protect their flora and fauna nd will not allow wood and plant items in unless they have been treated and certified. On our excursion we had the opportunity to buy some interesting wood carvings and curios but, as our cruise was terminating in Freemantle, we could not buy any.

As the tour progressed we got further and further behind schedule. We were taken to the National Museum but were told that we had to be back on the coach in 15 minutes time. As it was a 3 minute walk from the car park to the Museum I gave it a miss as I would have found just 9 minutes in a Museum so annoying! Everywhere we went we were treated like royalty by the local people who were waving at us and clapping. It seems that the local TV and radio stations had been announcing our arrival for weeks and had been stressing how important our visit would be to the local economy. Now I know how the Queen feels!

We were rather concerned with being so late, especially as we were booked on another excursion in the afternoon, but we were told that the same coaches would be used for the afternoon excursions and so we didn't need to worry. In the event, on returning to the ship, I just had time to grab a couple of cookies for a snack lunch before we boarded our coach for the next excursion. That evening our tablemates who had been on a different excursion to us had been running even later than us and so the driver tooka short cut through the local refuse tip, with all the passengers holding their noses!

Was it chaotic, yes! But we may have been on the first cruise ship to visit Papua New Guinea and, hopefully, things will have improved before you go Gil. Had our tours been in Rome or San Francisco we would have been complaining, but we enjoyed them and found the place fascinating. You have to accept that this place is one of the most remote places on this Planet and the people are generally very poor - only the children of wealthy parents get to go to school. We were told not to wear unneccesary jewellery and to be careful with handbags and cameras, we did hear that one passenger had a camera snatched through her tour bus window.

I hope that you find this useful, but do not hesitate if you require any further information.
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Postby Gillzajoker » 13 Jan 2019 14:16

Thanks, Geoof, yes, that was useful Have gone back to your photos and read the text
this time. :oops: Am really looking forward to these ports of call! :D
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