top of page

TO LEAVE A COMMENT, PLEASE CLICK ''COMMENT'', INPUT YOUR EMAIL AND CREATE PASSWORD

World Travels 2023 - 2024, 11 Feb 24 - Los Angeles to 11 March 24, Brisbane, Australia Leg.

Updated: Mar 18





Map of Leg Two, Los Angeles to Brisbane, Australia



Upcoming Ultimate World Cruise Schedule





Upcoming route and itinerary.


At Sea Travel – 15 March 2024

 A very rough day at sea. Well, it was going to happen sooner than later. Many on the ship got seasick. I just went to the spa, relaxed, and just enjoyed the rocking motion.





 

Skysail, Kuranda & Cairns – 14 March 2024


The Pacific Ocean was not in a good mood today and it made tendering operations very difficult.  It took 2.5 hours to tender from the ship to the port which was only two thousand meters from the ship.  The seas made it difficult for passengers to board the moving tender that was rising and falling six to ten feet with each wave of the ocean,

 

Once I arrived to Cairns’s dock where I boarded buses waiting to go to the famous Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.  I spoiled myself as I took in the amazing views from the award-winning Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

 



My cable car soared above the rainforest canopy on this scenic journey above the tropical rain forest.

 


Views from my cable car.






Jungle Rain Forest


Later that day in tiny Kuranda Village to find that special souvenir back home following my grand adventure.

 



 Kuranda Village Shops

 

Airlie Beach Sights & History - 13 March 2024

 

Sad news my day exploring the Great Barrier Reef was canceled due to poor weather.

 

I was truly disappointed, but again poor weather has also canceled many of my shore excursions so far on this world cruise.

 

Well, such is life.

 


Airlee Beach Introduction



My plan was to swim in the great barrier reef and see tropical fish and wildlife. Well maybe that’s a plan for some time in the future.

 

 

Today, I explored the Airlie Beach region by stepping back in time and experiencing the local sites.

 

My bus ride into the countryside to the Proserpine Historical Museum located near the beach and relive the days when sugar was the area's lifeblood.   It had many displays and exhibits of this very small township and I heard many stories of life and tribulations living in this tropical location.

 


Proserpine Historical Museum



Proserpine Historical Museum

 

Ship at Sea – 12 March 2024

 

More rough weather today. Very choppy seas. Not a good day for people with weak stomachs.



 

Mount Tamborine Experience 11 March 2024


Today I will ride through the dramatic Gold Coast Hinterland, capped with lunch and wine tasting.

An hour from Brisbane, I ascended the volcanic Tambourine Mountain via the original pioneers’ original narrow road.

That said, we had a totally different itinerary.


Small Mount Tambourine Mountain Village



St Bernard Hotel and Restaurant



Next, I will take a short trip to the famous Gold Coast (a surfer paradise) to complete this Aussie experience.


Brisbane, Australia Gold Coast sights and landmarks.



My thoughts on my Brisbane adventure.

 


Hunter Valley Wine Country – 9 March 2024

 

Wine and cheese enthusiasts will enjoy a delightful day tasting delicious premium pours and trying local cheese.



Newcastle Wine tour introduction

 

Have a brief stop in the historic town of Morpeth to explore quaint shops, stroll the picturesque streets and take in the atmosphere.



Morpeth quaint shops, picturesque streets and atmosphere.

 


Then visit the Hunter Valley to sip on award-winning wines from vineyards that graced the region as early as the 1800s.

 


Finally, taste delectable samples of local cheese during your visit to a cheese factory.

 


Sydney Panoramic Tour – 8 March 2024

 

This tour makes it easy to discover the best of the nation’s capital city, Sydney, in the state of New South Wales. Wind your way through the streets of Sydney on this narrated, sightseeing tour.

 


Introduction to Sydney, Australia


You can’t help but notice the striking contrast between historic areas like The Rocks and ultra-modern achievements like the Darling Harbor Complex.

 

Visit Chinatown; see the stately Queen Victoria Building; explore the central business district. Drive through the beautiful eastern suburbs before arriving at Bondi beach where you can watch the locals in action at one of the greatest surfing beaches on earth. Enjoy a guided drive through Sydney to see some of the city’s most important landmarks.

 

Stop at legendary Bondi Beach, one of the most famous surfing beaches in the world.

 


Tender Ride into Sydney



My visit to the Sydney Opera House



My bus travels around Sydney



Sydney Harbor at night



Night Sail away from Sydney



The Bay of Islands Ultimate Experience - 5 March 2024

 

The Bay of Islands experience introduces nature, art, and culture in one day, It includes the following:

 

I will see some of the most popular Bay of Island highlights on a guided driving tour with a knowledgeable guide, with a first stop at the enthralling Waiomio Glowworm Caves, where my local guide leads you along a wooden pathway into the caves to discover a magical sight of limestone, stalactites, and the glow of thousands of worms shining brightly above your head. A visit to the magical glow worm caves. It is sad but no photograph was allowed in the caves.

   

I will drive to the Hundertwasser Memorial Park to view the incredible art and designs of once-local Fredrik Hundertwasser and Māori culture.




I am looking to make a photo stop at the cascading Haruru Waterfalls, famous for its unique horseshoe shape that provides the perfect backdrop for amazing photos.


     


Next, I plan to explore the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, New Zealand’s most important historic site and the location where Māori chiefs and the British Crown signed the Waitangi Treaty in 1840. I will stroll the grounds with my local guide, and then have free time to explore the museum.




Leaving New Zealand at Nighttime - 4 March 2024


My good friend Anthoney and myself watch the skyline of New Zealand fade away as we head off to our next big adventure in Australia.



Joe and his traveling buddy and famous Tik Tok influencer, Anthony Antoine


 

Hobbiton - Lord of the Rings Experience - 4 March 24

 

Today I will visit the lush green pastures of Hobbiton, a ten-acre site where the film series, “Lord of the Rings” was shot.

 

This will be my top shore excursion for my entire world cruise.

 

To see the set as it was for the filming of the movie trilogies of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Pure joy!!! every moment in Hobbiton was pure joy. The harsh continuous down pour of rain could not stop my joy and bliss in visiting this magical place.




Bus ride to Hobbiton.



Pathway at the beginning of my march up the hill to visit Frodo's house.



Various Hobbit homes on the pathway to Frodo's home.



The pure joy on my face standing in front of Frodo's home.



Exploring and touching everything in Frodo's home. I never been so happy visiting anyone's as much as I enjoyed visiting this magical home.



Reflections on visiting Hobbiton.



Arriving in New Zeeland - 4 March 2024



My joy in entering New Zeeland




Map to Ackland, New Zeeland and to the Hobbiton Movie Set.



Option 1 was the winner – 27 Feb 2024

 

Because of the troubles in the Middle East and the Red Sea the Serenade of the Seas will have to take a detour around the continent of Africa. 

 

Royal Caribbean announced today that Option 1.  The Ultimate World Cruise passengers voted it the best option.  

 

Option 1 is a detailed port visit to twenty-one African cities and only 21 days at sea.

 


Our new route around Africa


I had tears of joy in my eyes when Royal Caribbean made this announcement.

 

I broke open the bottle of champagne I was saving for a special occasion and celebrated this great moment.  This will be a fantastic opportunity to see Africa and will make the Ultimate World Cruise even more impressive.


 





My New May and June Daily port visit schedule

 


Tahiti 4 X 4 Journey – 26 Feb 2024

 

Today, I will arrive to see the tropical of Tahiti.



Tahiti is a large and very populated island.



Entering Tahiti Port


Today, I will board a 4-wheel drive vehicle and discover the exotic flora and fauna of Tahiti’s unspoiled interior.

 

I will travel into the Papenoo Valley with its magnificent cascading waterfalls, tropical vegetation, and exotic flowers.


I am in the heart of the Tahitian mountain range.



Lush Tahitian Rain Forest

 

Depending on timing, I might be able to take a refreshing dip in a river on the way through the Papenoo Valley.

 


The Papenoo Valley, waterfall pool, and many wild chickens.


My Nikon camera will take advantage of its many opportunities to capture the breathtaking views from this valley in photos.

 



My final 4 X 4 stop the rugged North Shore of Tahiti.




 

Sunset Polynesian Cruise - 26 Feb 24.

 

 

Tonight, I will experience a beautiful Polynesian sunset aboard OHANA, a spacious 65-foot catamaran that will take you on a leisurely two-hour cruise along Tahiti’s coastline.



Sunset cruise with fellow solo traveler Patty from Florida.


I plan to enjoy a cocktail; relax and listen to the waters rushing beneath and the sound of local music as I sail around Tahiti’s coastline in a comfortable catamaran.

 




My goal is to capture the Polynesian sunset in all its glory.

 

Capture Moorea Photo Tour – 25 Feb 2024

 

Join me as I capture the stunning colors around the island of Moorea. I plan to capture great shots of the landscape that was made famous throughout movies like “The Bounty “and “South Pacific” while riding along the coastal road and the higher mountain drive.

The sheer beauty of Moorea will be captured with my camera.

I will photograph expansive views of lush vegetation, beautifully manicured gardens, a turquoise blue lagoon, and the Pacific’s endless horizon.

 

Approaching the Island of Moorea.


Discover the island’s magnificent beauty with me, an accomplished photographer onboard my 4x4 vehicle.

 


Approaching the Island of Moorea on a tender boat,


I will focus on the amazing blue lagoon waters, the lush green mountains, tropical fruits, and flowers along the way.

 

Highlights may my travel will include the following:

 

o   Visits old French Church





o   Visits to the Belvedere lookout point

 



 

o   Pineapple Plantation in a mountain valley

 



 

o   Coastline viewpoints.

 

 


Tahiti “Wild West” coast.

 



Option 1 – Option 2 Trip around Africa - 22 Feb 24

 

Because of the troubles in the Middle East and the Red Sea the Serenade of the Seas will have to take a detour around the continent of Africa. 

 

Option 1 is a detailed port visit to several African cities. This will only have 21 days at sea and twenty-one ports,

 

Option 2 is a fast travel around the continent of Africa.  We will have twenty-six sea days and will visit only sixteen ports. The advantage of this option is we will be able to port in Alexandria, Egypt. 

 

After much consideration and thought, I will vote for Option 1.  This will be a fantastic opportunity to see Africa and will make the Ultimate World Cruise even more impressive. We will know the results of all of the Ultimate World Cruiser votes on Tuesday, 27 Feb 2024.

 



Option One and OptionTwo.

  

Pearl Harbor Visitor Center - 20 Feb 24



Peral Harbour, Hawaii


I will step back into history as you relive the fateful morning of December 7, 1941, while touring the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and the USS Missouri.

 

I will see rare footage of the attack on Pearl Harbor as well as interactive displays and memorabilia of this historic day. Next is your guided tour of the 60,000-ton battleship USS Missouri.







 


I will rewatch the Surrender Deck on “Mighty Mo,” where General MacArthur accepted the unconditional Japanese surrender that ended WWII.

 

Highlights of my tour:

 

1.         Visitor center: Tour two new exhibit halls of displays and memorabilia; tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial may be available.



Admiral Nimitz statute. Peral Harbor Visitor Center

 

1.         USS Missouri: A guided tour aboard Explore the last battleship built by the U.S. Navy; get a great photo of the USS Arizona Memorial.

 


Battleship Missouri



Pearl Harbour Aviation Museum, Hawaii


Polynesian Cultural Center & Circle Island - 19 Feb 24

 

Today I will discover the breadth and variety of Polynesian cultures and see the leading sights of O’ahu on this engaging, informative, and scenic tour.

 

I plan to meet the people of Samoa, Hawaii, Marquesas, Tonga, New Zealand, Tahiti and Fiji through the Polynesian Cultural Center’s exhibits and engaging demonstrations, including the outdoor Pageant of Long Canoes.

 

Looking forward to sample typical dishes at a buffet lunch.

 

On the commentated drive to and from the center, see select island landmarks, landscapes, and spectacular lookouts.

 

Here are some of the highlights of the Polynesian Cultural Center & Circle Island

 



1.         Polynesian Cultural Center: Explore any of the seven different island settings with informative demonstrations showcasing the people and cultures of the South Pacific.

 

1.         Informative Demonstrations: Experience

 

1.         Polynesian culture at engaging activities that include the majestic Pageant of Long Canoes along the center’s waterways.

 

1.         Panoramic Drive: See the highlights of O’ahu, including downtown Honolulu, surfing beaches, sugar cane and pineapple fields, and scenic lookouts.

 


Bus ride through Honolulu, Hawaii



Honolulu sites and landscape.


Oahu Lookout Point. Very windy place.

 


Ultimate Captain Cook by Land and Sea tour - 18 Feb 24

 

I will be following in the footsteps of great explorer James Cook on an adventure that takes me on land to famous Kona coffee farms, the city of refuge, and then to sea for some boating and world-class snorkeling.



Tender Boat ride to Kona, Hawaii

 

I will head south, deep into Kona coffee country for a visit to Bay View Farm, a working 24-acre coffee farm nestled on the slopes of Mauna Loa Volcano just above beautiful Kealakekua Bay and known for the best Kona coffee since 1984.

 

Looking forward to seeing coffee growing on the trees and learning about the various steps and processes in making coffee on the farm.

 

My tour mates will sample 100% Kona coffee at an overlook with stunning views of Kealakekua Bay and the monument to Captain Cook standing on the only sliver of British land in the United States.

 

Kona Coffee Plantation


Next, travel adventures to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park, a place of refuge, where I can absolve my crimes in the ancient Hawaiian laws called Kapu.

 

Next adventure I will explore this historic 420-acre park with your National Park Service-trained guide and see temple platforms, fishponds, and remnants of ancient life in Hawaii.

 


Repilica of a Hawaiian Sanctuary Site


Finally, I will take to the seas on a high-speed Zodiac-style raft, exploring sea caves and lava tubes along the rugged Kona Coast, while on the lookout for surrounding marine life.

 


Boat ride experience



Captain Cook's Cove


Once I reach the sheltered and pristine waters of Kealakekua Bay, come face-to-face with the monument to Captain Cook, and spend time snorkeling, swimming, and enjoy lunch onboard.

 


Captain Cove, Hawaii

 

Hilo, Hawaii - 17 Feb 24

 



Serenade of the Seas docked in Hilo and Hilo Highlights


I plan to discover Hilo's natural wonders while on a 6.5-hour adventure that includes Imiloa Astronomy Center's planetarium, lunch in Nani Mau Gardens, plus Rainbow Falls, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut farm.

 

I am looking forward to delving into Hawaiian culture and history at Imiloa Astronomy Center, where I will watch full-dome planetarium shows about the islands ‘night skies and Mauna Kea Mountain, home to the Northern Hemisphere's largest collection of astronomical observatories.

 


Imiloa Astronomy Center


Next, I will enjoy a buffet meal of local delicacies roasted pork, grilled fish, fresh fruit, and desserts will be served among the 22-acre sprawl of tropical foliage that encompasses Nani Mau Gardens.



White Tiger

 

Next, I will enjoy the visual awe of Rainbow Falls, watching Wailuku River waters tumble eighty feet down into emerald pools.

 


Rainbow Falls


Visit to the Big Island Candy Store


Excellent Hawaiian Treats



Nani Mau Gardens.


My tour packs in everything one could desire!!


My next blog update will be on 28 Feb 2024 after my visit to Tahiti, Polynesia.

 

489 views3 comments

3 Comments


While in Tahiti you should get a pearl! (They’re famous for them, you know…) It won’t take up any room in your baggage and it will be the perfect ‘memory’ from your ‘around the world extravaganza!’

Like

Send lawyers, gun and money … seminar 5 … USAWC … enjoy Joe … you’ve earned it ! .. best regards … David Murphy

Like

I can finally comment! Did you see the bubbles at the Arizona?