As Americans living in Germany, we have had an opportunity to travel and see some pretty cool places across Europe. In early 2015, when it became clear that we were going to be extending our time in Germany for another year, we decided to schedule an extended vacation taking advantage of Germany’s generous vacation time policy in comparison to the US. We decided to use our remaining 2015 vacation time + time from 2016 to give us 5 weeks to use. Of course, this meant for a very long 2nd half of 2015, as we counted down the days to our trip.
Where to go on this extended vacation? We pulled out our bucket list of travel destinations, and Australia came quickly into focus.
Our new passion, we have discovered over the past couple of years, has been cruising. After researching itineraries of different cruise lines, we found the perfect cruise with Holland America (HAL) onboard the m/s Noordam. We had sailed with HAL before, so we were confident we would have a great time and see some beautiful places…and, our expectations were exceeded.
The cruise is called a ‘Collector’s Voyage’ because it combines 2 cruises into 1: first, departing Sydney to New Zealand and back, and then secondly, departing Sydney to the South Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Fiji. We would be at sea for both Christmas and to ring in the New Year of 2016.
Since neither of us had been to Australia before, we decided to spend 4 days in Sydney prior to our departure. We planned to see the iconic structures of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge, as well as a daytrip to see some of Australia’s best known residents of kangaroos and koalas.
Our hotel was the Four Seasons located within easy walking distance of two blocks to the cruise terminal at Circular Quay along the Sydney Harbor. We arrived late in the evening, but to our surprise we had a fantastic view of the Opera House from our 32nd floor room overlooking the Harbor.
As far as air travel to Sydney, we had many options, as we flew out of Frankfurt. No matter the options, we were looking at connecting somewhere. The best itinerary and deal we found was flying Emirates with a connection through Dubai.
Over the coming days, we will post the stories of our travels in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Fiji. So…stay tuned…as we work to edit our pictures, complete the write-ups, and recover from some wicked jetlag.
Until then, I will just daydream about resting on the beach in Fiji…