Tauranga this morning. I went out onto the veranda with my camera and could see land not to far away – we were going very slowly. Then I glimpsed some movement out of the corner of my eye, and there were two dolphins riding the wash from the ship. They were gone in a flash, but came back a few times, so I got some video of them. Amazingly fast, in perfect unison, they seemed to surf some waves before disappearing under the ship, and them reappearing for another brief show.
There was some issues docking here, with the tide apparently not high enough, but eventually the gangway was set in place. We had booked ship’s excursions today – I was on a bus trip to Rotorua while Alan and Kate went white water rafting. My driver/guide (Lisa) was a Tauranga native, and was great. I learned a lot about kiwi fruit and radiata pine, which sounds boring but was actually very interesting. We stopped at the Blue Baths in Rotorua first and had morning tea – scones and tea. Here I heard stories about beetles in salads on board, and about not getting bottles of champage after complaining. The beetles were unacceptable, and I guess they deserved something for having to put up with that. There was something about the tone of the conversation though, so I left and I watched some bowls and croquet matches underway right next door, and wandered around Government Gardents. We then headed to Te Puia to see some geysers and thermal mud pools. We saw two kiwis as well, which is about equivalent to seeing platypus in Australia. It started raining while we were there, which made it pretty miserable, but didn’t seem to bother the guide who happily wandered around getting very wet.
As I got back on to the bus, several passengers were complaining because we hadn’t had a Maori cultural experience which was on the itinerary (which I didn’t think it was), but they were being ridiculous about it – instead of just saying this isn’t right, can you check, they carried on and on and on about how bad Celebrity was for not treating them right. We then were treated to more stories about bugs in salads over and over again – I guess theymust have felt they hadn’t made their point yet. Eventually, Lisa sorted it out, and Celebrity organised an alternative for us right then and there – apparently with no notice – and we headed out 15 minutes outside Rotorua to a Maori village for the full experience – it was excellent. But, I didn’t hear one of the complainers say how great it was that Celebrity had managed to pull this off and make sure we didn’t miss out, although there was applause for the Shore Excursion staff member who had sorted it out, and who was waiting for us when we returned. Complaining is obviously easier than praising. When we got back to the ship, there was a phone message apologising, and after dinner, I went to the Shore Excursion Office to thank them for doing it – they told me we had a $25 credit to make up for our inconvenience which I hope shuts up the complainers. Again, I just wonder why people find it necessary to complain in such a nasty and aggressive way, rather than just stating their case, and asking for something to be done. All the huffing and puffing just irritates me, and seems pointless.
I had something to eat – we had been delayed getting back so had missed lunch, but there is always food to be had, and then got some tea and sat out on the veranda overlooking the dock to see if I could see Alan and Kate return – I did. They said the white water rafting was tame! It was still sunny then, and sitting out there not having to worry about anything much was delightful.
Dinner tonight was great – our last – and we pulled out of Tauranga just as we were finishing. Our table companions have been wonderful, and I have enjoyed their company immensely. It is the roughest it has been tonight – windy, raining and the biggest seas of the cruise – the boat is really rocking! Alan and Kate have gone to the show, and I’ve just finished packing – you have to put your bags outside your door by 11pm tonight, and we are reunited with them tomorrow morning. I’ve also just done the guest comments card, and given a pretty favourable review – we have had a great time.