Thursday 3 Jan
We woke up to a very wet day, so unfortunately Darryl had to cancel his plan to go over to Rangitoto Island and walk. I had intended to go to a library so we both unded up there. In the evening it was fine enough for us to walk down to the Quay to see if our ship had arrived yet, which it hadn't, but we worked out our plan for the following day.
Friday 4 Jan
Cruise Boarding Day! We had to be out of our parking by 8am, so drove around to find some free Wifi to check the tram ride we wanted to take. Unfortunately, the ride did not run on Friday so we went to the Parnell Rose Garden. The roses were lovely, and we walked down to the bay, and up to a little old church and cemetery, then past the Parnell baths.
We weren't entirely sure of boarding time, as I had 3 different times from 3 different sources, so we walked to the pier and saw that our ship – Celebrity Solstice – was already in port, and we found that we could drop our bags much earlier than we thought, so we did so, then Darryl went to return the hire car, and we boarded.
This process took much longer than we thought, so it was good that we did it much earlier than we originally planned. We orientated ourselves to the ship, walking and walking up and down, around and around, went and had some 'lunch', which was a buffet of just about anything you could think of, then walked some more., before heading for our stateroom. There was a 'Guess the price of a Picasso' original etching, so we participated.
There was a beautiful sunset as we were leaving Auckland Harbour.
We had booked for a 6pm dinner session, which was 4 courses, and then the ship embarked at 8pm. We went to the Opening Night Show, as it was a taster of the various acts.
Saturday 5 Jan
I was finally able to cycle in the morning. Darryl also went to the Gym, but we both wanted to take photos of coming into Tauranga Harbour, so only did shorter sessions. Darryl then went ashore to climb Mauao (Mt Maunganui).
He enjoyed the walk and taking photos and film from the top. I went to breakfast before also going ashore to buy an electrical adaptor and free Wifi from Starbucks. We had a relaxing day, and in the afternoon attended the Maori Folkloric Show, which included short and long Poi dances and Haka.
After dinner we braved the cold winds up on the lawn to watch the Hot Glass Show, and Darryl won the raffle of a beautiful magenta glass cake stand, made by Chris, the 'gaffer' in the shot below.