Sunday, February 5, 2017

Ovation of the Seas - Sunday 5 February, Tauranga - New Zealand

Sailing peacefully into Tauranga

Tauranga was a lovely place to sail into. Beautiful blue water. The area that we docked in was amazingly narrow with very shallow water plus the huge Emerald Princess was already docked when we arrived. The captain sure earned his money today - leaving was even more impressive!

It's not very deep or wide!
As we were able to dock at this port it obviously meant we could just walk off the ship with no need of the tenders. Again, this ran super smooth and we didn't need to queue for long getting off or back on. We enjoyed sail in from our balcony and then had a leisurely breakfast up in the Solarium. As we had no set plans for today we didn't need to rush off the ship so just left when we were ready. The ship actually docks at Mount Manganoui so the town of Tauranga provided free shuttles over to Tauranga. We didn't end up going, ran out of energy and time, but it was about a 20 minute trip.

The Emerald Princess docked in front of us.
We were going to climb to the top of Mt Manganoui but after walking around it, which took about an hour or so, we decided that was good enough. It was a surprisingly (well surprisingly for me) hot day so we used that as an excuse not to do the climb. Walking around it was still enjoyable with lovely views. There was a sign saying that seals live around here but we didn't see any, we did see a large birdy though. Don't know what type but I did get a photo.

Not Oscar

A lovely walk around the base of Mount Manganoui
After finishing our mountain walk we wandered down the beachside, very busy and not just because there were two cruise ships in. Although I'm guessing we added a lot of extra bodies - two HUGE ships in at once in a small town, you're going to notice it. There were a lot of locals and visitors going by the amount of traffic on the roads. The lovely beach area was on the opposite side to where the ship docked, probably about a 10 minute walk give or take depending on how many wrong turns you took. I had seen a Burger King just after getting off the ship so thought we'd head there to see if they had free wifi. We finally found it, the place was bigger than we had thought, and hooked up to their wifi to check in with my sister and see if I could finally get my message to her regarding our Auckland bridge climb. Yay, it went through! After a quick catch up mum and I made our way back to the ship and Windjammers. I still can't get over how big it is!

Yummy lunch with a view
We had a lovely lunch in Windjammers with the Mountain as our back drop. We certainly could get use to this! (and we did) The ship was scheduled to leave at 8pm with the last passengers on board by 6pm. I'm not sure if it is due to the tides or having another ship in but it was great to have such a long stay in the port. Meant there wasn't any need for rushing about, a very relaxed day indeed.

Stairs leading up to Deck 15 from the Windjammer - Emerald P's butt in the background
After some more exploring of the ship, people and ship watching we went back to our cabin to chill out a bit and then freshen up and get ready for dinner. I had made a reservation at the Solarium Bistro for dinner tonight, something different, and thought tonight was a good night to do it seeing as our departure time was relatively late.

Dinner in the Solarium Bistro
The Solarium is a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the views and sun, it was a stunning evening (and day). It's not quite an a la carte restaurant as the starters and dessert are buffet style but the mains you do order from a menu. You also don't seem to have to dress up as the couple behind us had shorts and thongs. We did enjoy our meals but both agreed we preferred The Icon both for food and the fact we get waited on from start to finish. We're so spoilt!

Deck 5 evening stroll
After we finished dinner we walked down to Deck 5 and went outside and walk along the deck taking happy snaps as I went. This is where the tenders hang down but there are still plenty of areas to see the view. We could see that the Emerald was still there so was curious to see who was leaving first. We thought she would seeing as she had arrived first plus she was already facing the right way. We had to turn around so would need all the room we could get!

Two70 Lounge - with the Emerald Princess getting ready to leave
We went into Two70 lounge as it was a great vantage point to see the Emerald. We were parked back to back. I noticed a tug so went over and had a look and sure enough it was hooked up to the Emerald already to go. Once we saw her moving out we hightailed it to our cabin, this is when you really notice how big the ship is! We were at the other end of the ship 7 decks up! We though the view from our balcony would be amazing watching the Emerald leave and it was. She pulled out from the dock and then reversed up right next to us before heading out. Very cool to see!

By Emerald Princess (I hope we get to sail on you!)
Now it was our turn. On paper if you saw this and how small the area was and how big the ship is and how shallow the water is you would say, no way jose. Absolutely incredible manouvering to get us out and spun around with out hitting anything or running aground and it's just so smooth! Truly impressive!

I'm spinning around! Perpendicular to the dock. (that's a big word Jacq!)
New roomie! I 'think' it was a koala ;-)

New roomie

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