Archives For Cruises

This is my travel adventures by sea.

Water World starring Kevin Costner!

Water World starring Kevin Costner!

Have you seen the movie “Water World,” starring Kevin Costner? In the movie most of the earth was covered in water, and people had to adapt to living in a watery world.  The hero played by Costner was able to adapt to the changes in their environment, by growing gills like a fish.  Denoting living most of their lives amphibiously, part water, part air/land.  If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do.  It’s a nice movie.

My question is this! Are we doomed to live a life similar to the one lived by Costner in the movie? Are we doomed to experience this flooding year after year? Do we need to purchase amphibious vehicles? Do we need to buy boats? What is the government doing to address this problem?

Are we going to adapt by having gills, like fishes? Problems like flooding is not only prevalent in the Philippines.  Thailand experienced one of its worst flood a few years back.  China and India has experienced flooding as well.

Are we experiencing the effects of Climate Change? Of Global Warming? Do we need to build another Noah’s Ark? Will we be experiencing rains for 40 day, and 40 nights?

What should we do? What is our part in the effort to address this problem? We need to conserve our resources, protect our forest, mountains, hills, etc., we need 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), we should not wantonly dispose of our garbage just anywhere, we should learn to segregate our wastes.  These are but some of the things that we need to do.  But we should diligently do it, if we don’t start with ourselves, then who do we expect to do it? We should lead by example!

Gary Warner

I can count the number of long-haul flights I’ve actually enjoyed on one hand. But around the world, it is still possible to step into a grand railway station, board a train and experience the best the world has to offer on steel wheels. There is nothing more romantic than a long train ride, tucked away in a cabin with books brought along to read but discarded to gaze out the window. Here’s my list of favorite train trips:

VIA Rail, Canada: the route from Vancouver to Jasper in the Canadian Rockies is called “the ski train” in winter. Come summer, the 1950s dome car features views of mountain peaks, pine forests and vast lakes.

Indian-Pacific, Australia: this epic 2-day rail ride from Sydney on the Pacific Ocean to Perth on the Indian Ocean covers over 4,350 kilometers. It includes a 478km section across the Nullarbor Plain that is the world’s longest straight track. Favorite stops: Broken Hill, Adelaide and Kalgoorlie.

Eurostar, Paris-London: the recent upgrade of tracks in Britain has shortened the trip by 20 minutes, and the switch from modern Waterloo Station to the gloriously restored red- brick Victorian St Pancras Station makes entering London one of the great rail experiences in the world. Wish I could say the same about the scruffy, distant Gare du Nord in Paris.

Shinkansen, Japan: the Nozomi 500 bullet train is the fastest in Japan. Its bullet-nosed front with a jet fighter-like cockpit is unlike any in the world.

TGV: the French trains move you arou

nd the country in a matter of hours. To have lunch at Le Train Bleu at Gare de Lyon in Paris, then get on a TGV to be in Lyon in less than two hours is the best of old and new train worlds.

Bergensbanen: the Norwegian train from Oslo to Bergen is the highest main line rail route between two cities in Europe. Passengers can take the wondrous scenic spur line from Myrdal to Flam, which includes a ferry and a bus trip to reunite with the train.

Rovos Rail, South Africa: this luxury train operates throughout South Africa and sometimes to the north. The carriages represent colonial-era comforts. Rovos excursions in the past included a trip to Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe-Zambia border and then on to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

Sunset Limited, United States: a favorite in the winter, it rolls from New Orleans to Los Angeles through the great deserts, skirting the Mexican border before rolling past Big Bend National Park.

Southwest Chief, United States: the successor to the classic Santa Fe train roughly parallels old Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago.

Durango & Silverton, United States: the black smoke-belching locomotive looks, sounds and smells like a train out of a Western movie. The landscape, up into the mountains to the silver mining town, is all the more heart-pounding because of the sheer drop-off of many of the segments.

Coast Starlight: the scenery, as on most US lines, is the awesome attraction, with the long run from Los Angeles to Seattle going from city to sea to mountains. Break up the trip with overnight stops in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Mount Shasta or Portland, Oregon.

Eastern Orient Express, Southeast Asia: a plush roll up the Malay Peninsula from Singapore to Bangkok. My only caveat is to check out the political situation along the route – southern Thailand has had turmoil in recent years.

Lhasa Express, China-Tibet: most of the journey is above 3,962 meters – and the high point is Tanggula Pass at 5,072m. The “new train” from Golmud to Lhasa passes through such high altitudes that passengers can wear oxygen masks if they feel light-headed.

Shanghai Maglev: magnetic levitation is the wave of the future for railroads, but the only commercial model is the run between Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport and the city center. The train rides above the rails on magnets, giving it a fast ride that tops out at 431 kilometers per hour.

Cuzco to Machu Picchu, Peru: critics contend the new train has made it too easy to get to the famed mountaintop lost city, but fans love the addition of a rail adventure to go with the experience of visiting the Andean ruins.

El Chepe, Mexico: the Chihuahua al Pacifico that takes in Copper Canyon is the premier Mexican train experience, covering 628km, crossing 39 bridges and going through 86 tunnels from the sea to the mountains.

Palace on Wheels: the great “Raj” train experience of India is an intentional throwback to the colonial era, when the British overlords traveled in luxury amid the nation’s poverty.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER (MCT)

 

Cruise Vacation

July 9, 2010 — Leave a comment

Star Cruise Vacation

Me and my family recently went on a cruise vacation.  Although I have been on a number of cruises in the past, this is my first cruise this year.  I have cruise in Hong Kong before, this is my second one for Hong Kong, and in Singapore and Malaysia before.

This cruise is special for me, as this is the first time, me and my family (my wife, and son), has been on a cruise together.  We proceeded to the Cruise Terminal in Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha

Star Cruise Vacation

Tsui at around 4 pm.  The boarding time was between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm.  Upon reaching there, we presented our boarding slip, which was exchange for a boarding card, after this we proceeded to the Immigration Counter, then after we were asked to surrendered our travel documents to the travel documents officer.  We then proceeded to board the cruise ship.  Before reaching the cruise ship, we were ask to pose for a souvenir

Star Cruise Vacation

photograph with the stunning Russian performers.  Upon boarding, we passed an inspection team, and my son was asked to pose with their mascot, which was an elephant.  The cruise ship was Super Star Aquarius, it was big, it was 12 levels tall.

We checked in to our cabins, and arranged all of our things.  We had a few hours to burn before the cruise ship was to be on it’s

Cruise Ship Pool

Cruise Ship Pool

way.  So we did some touring around, and we found the pool, the jacuzzi, the basketball court, the golf practice range, and the video arcade.  We took some photos, and later decided to take a swim at the pool.  We went back to our cabins, to get our swim wears, and then proceeded to the pool.  At exactly 6:30 pm, the cruise ship proceeded to be on it’s way.  We then decided to try the jacuzzi, after splashing around in the pool.  Then by around 8:00 pm, we went back to our cabin to change our clothes,

Cruise Ship Pool

as we were getting ready to have our dinner.  The cruise ship offered a lot of restaurants to choose from, but we decided to try the Mariner’s Buffet, which was not a bad choice.  We ate to our hearts and stomachs content.  After dinner, we watched a spectacular show, which was entitled The Maestro and The Muse.  The show was awesome, with Broadway musical type dance numbers, acrobatics show, and Cirque de Soleil type shows.  The cast was made off Russian performers, the women were

Cruise Ship Jacuzzi

gorgeous, and the men were equally handsome.  After the show, we decided to stroll around, and my son decided that he wanted to try out the video arcade.  After the arcade, we decided to call it a night.

We woke up at around 6:30 am, and prepared to have our breakfast.  We also decided to take our breakfast at the Mariner’s Buffet.  At around 7:00 am, there was a service announcement, that our travel documents are ready for

Strolling aboard the Deck 12 of the Super Star Aquarius

releasing.  We proceeded to Level 7, then proceeded to settle our bills, and collect our travel documents.  The ship arrived Hong Kong at 8:00 am, but we were still welcome to stay on the cruise ship.  We disembarked at around 9:00 am.  We enjoyed our short, but wonderful cruise ship vacation.

We plan to take a longer one, if we have the time, and the finances.

If anyone wants to learn more about Star Cruises and the packages available, you can call +852 2317 7711 (Enquiry and Reservations Hotline), or +852 2378 2020 (Group Bookings Hotline), or go to http://www.starcruises.com/newweb/main.aspx.

Fresh from our visit to neighboring Australia, we headed to Auckland in New Zealand.  Basically New Zealand and Australia, more or less share the same custom restrictions.  I find New Zealand more of a nature lovers paradise, as it looks so pristine.

Sky Tower Auckland

We stayed at the Heritage Auckland, which is a great old style hotel.  Plus the hotel is near The Sky Tower Hotel & Casino.  Upon completing the formalities, we went to The Sky Tower.  We went to the viewing deck, and saw almost the whole of Auckland.  My son was so happy feeling like he was on top of the world, as seen in this photo.  We also happen to meet up with my wife’s friend from college/university.  After our little adventure, we went back to the hotel.  I briefly spoke with the concierge and asked him what other attractions can one do in Auckland? He told me there were a lot of attractions to be had in Auckland, such as swim with the dolphins, nature hike, harbour tour, mountain bungee, and a lot more.

Harbour Tour Auckland

The next day we decided that the best attraction, which we could do as a family is the harbour tour.  We toured the Auckland Harbour, as the picture show.  After this we were treated to the Haka, a traditional dance of the Maori, the native people of New Zealand. After this we had to go back to the hotel and pack, as we have to catch our evening flight back to Hong Kong.

We promised ourselves, that next time that we come to New Zealand, we would stay longer, and visit more attractions.

Sydney Playground

The last time we have been to Australia was is 2001.  We wanted to watch the Sydney Olympic Games, but was tied up with work, so we went there after.  We tried to squeeze everything into our weeks vacation.  We went to Sydney, then Melbourne, and landed in Brisbane.  I will begin our adventures, with Sydney.  We booked our holiday package through Qantas Holidays, which again to me is always a good choice.  You get to fly with one of the world’s best airlines, and stay at some of the best hotels in the world.  By the way, before I forget, I want to remind you that Australian customs doesn’t allow you to bring in milk or milk products, and meat or meat products.  We learned this the hard way.  Fortunately they allowed us to bring with us the baby formula for our son, who was 2 years old then.

Darling Harbour Sydney

In Sydney, we were staying at the Four Points by Sheraton, which was conveniently just besides Darling Harbour.  Upon completing the check in procedures, we left our luggage with the concierge.  We immediately looked for a supermarket to stock up on bottled water, foods, biscuits, and the sort, as we had an infant with us.  After shopping for these necessities, I told my wife that we should stroll nearby the hotel.  Australia is a bustling city like Hong Kong, where people are always in a hurry.  While strolling we saw that the Sydney Aquarium is just nearby, so we visited the aquarium, and was impressed by its size.  We also saw some

Sydney Aquarium

marine animals, that we didn’t see in Ocean Park Hong Kong, such as a Great White Shark.  There were a lot of things to see and learn in this marvelous aquarium.  After the aquarium we went to Darling Harbour, where we were fortunate to see and hear, Jennifer Lopez perform in a free concert, at Darling Harbour.  There were a lot of people who wanted to watch J. Lo, and the crowds were getting out of hand, so we decided not to finish the concert and leave, as we were fearing for the safety of our infant son.  Darling Harbour has a varied choice of restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues, that you will be spoiled by choice.  While there we saw the Sydney Olympic ticket booth, which was still on display, so we had our pictures taken for posterity reason.  We also saw a banner for a water taxi tour along Darling Harbour, that we decided that we want to take the tour.  We learnt that the water taxi tour operates at night, which was fine with us.  We went back to the hotel, to rest up for our water taxi tour.  The water taxi tour, toured us around Sydney Harbour, Sydney HarbourBridge, and the Sydney Opera House.  It was a fun way to see another perspective of Sydney.

The Simpsons at Fox Studio Sydney

The following day, we were supposed to go to Taronga Zoo, but the instruction given to us for claiming the ticket was not clear.  When we reach the dockyards to board the boat, that was supposed to ferry us to Taronga Zoo, it had already left, and wouldn’t come back till the afternoon.  Deciding not to ruin our day, and our schedule, we decided to visit Bondi Beach.  Bondi is a wonderful beach.  There are a lot of people, from tourist, to office workers, and locals, wishing to soak in some sun, and some surf.  After Bondi Beach, we went to Fox Studios, a movie studio theme park.  We saw Titanic, the Simpsons, parades, rides, shows, and a lot more.  We decided to call it a day, as on our third day, we were supposed to wake up early to catch our flight to Melbourne.

New York Bakery Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

On the third day, we took our flight from Sydney to Melbourne.  Upon reaching Melbourne, we immediately proceeded to our hotel, which was The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, as we were tired from the plane trip.  We rested ourselves for a while.  Melbourne is a bit laid back, compared to Sydney.  On our first day here, we visited China Town, and other attractions.  We visited Melbourne Zoo, and Melbourne Aquarium.  Then we called it a day.  The next day, we visited Sovereign Hill in Ballarat Victoria.  According to the information we got, this used to be a mining town, which mined for GOLD! We spent the whole day there.  It was like being transported back in time, as the people were in Victorian style clothes.  Even the restaurant we ate in, the waitresses wore clothes that looks like it came from history books.  We also panned for gold, and since we didn’t get any, we did the second best thing, we bought gold dust in a bottle as a keepsake.

As we end our Australian experiences, as we only had 5 days, which includes the plane trips, the transfers, and others.  I will be blogging our New Zealand experience soon.