CRYSTAL SERENITY IS IN AUCKLAND WHILE WE ARE IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Pete L....We are glad you are enjoying the blog.
Lisa...Thank you for your comments. We think Curtis and Beverly are amazing.
Doris... Thank you for the very kind and thoughtful wishes.
G'Day from Down Under.
After we posted yesterday morning we went to the mandatory face-to-face meeting with New Zealand immigration personnel. As instructed we brought with us our checked luggage, passports and filled-in immigration forms. The meetings began forty five minutes after the scheduled time as the local officials came up to the room later and there was a problem getting the computer set up. Once the process started and we were inside the room the process was quick. They asked Anne Marie two questions regarding whether or not we had purchased two specific items in Fiji (answers were no) and they didn't ask me any questions. We were supposed they had us bring our luggage with us should they wanted to do a spot check or if the answer to one or both questions was yes.
Because there was a crew drill we were met in our room by the Bell Hop who collected our carry on luggage and escorted us off the ship to the driver of a vehicle that we booked with Crystal Cruises. The driver took us from the Queens Wharf Passenger terminal to the Auckland International Airport. The driver was not only a driver but gave an excellent tour pointing out lots of sites and also providing us with a wealth of information. He worked as an engineer for 31 years for Air New Zealand before retiring and deciding to come out of retirement to drive private vehicles.
When we arrived to the airport we were met by a Crystal Cruises representative. We used an Airport Concierge service and he called them. The Crystal Representative brought us over to the check-in counter and within one minute two members of the airport concierge team arrived and took over. After check-in a went through passport control followed by security. Everything was orderly and everyone friendly. The concierge took us to the airport lounge and met us there ten minutes prior to the boarding.
We saw the start of the Super Bowl at the airport. After we landed we learned the outcome.
We took an afternoon flight from Auckland to Sydney and gained the benefit of turning back the clock two hours before arriving to Sydney.
The flight took off 45 minutes late but we landed on-time. Go figure. Service was nice and the flight uneventful. Food was OK. We would say similar to what we see on USA domestic flights when in first/business class.
Upon arrival to the Sydney Airport we were met at the aircraft by the airport concierge service. They expedited getting us through the airport including immigrations and customs. they took us to the driver of the car waiting for us which we booked with the hotel. They changed the immigration card from last year and it is simpler and no longer asks ambiguous questions about medications. We arrived to the immigration at 3:30 PM. As we walked over there we saw very few people. Evidently this is a quiet time at the international airport. They were saying that 6:30 AM and 6:00 PM the lines are very long and the morning time and crowds are what we remember when we flew to Sydney a year ago.
We are staying at the Shangri La Hotel in Sydney where we stayed last February It is located near The Rocks.
Shortly after our arrival our daughter Jennifer, Grandson Andre and Granddaughter Emma met us at the hotel. We chatted and then we walked to a restaurant located fifteen minutes from the hotel. Our son-in-law Gui met us outside the hotel. It is hard to believe we last saw them in February of last year. The good news is we see them often via video calls via WhatsApp.
The four adults had salad entree and Emma and Andre had children's pizza.
Emma had a fall two days ago and got two stitches in the forehead thus the Band-Aid she is wearing.
As was the case last year, we are here for Chinese New Year.
While walking from the hotel to the restaurant Keith held Andre's hand and Anne Marie held Emma's hand. It is so nice to be with the family.
Anne Marie & Keith