The 2015 group photo
The 2015 Spirit of the West group photo!
click to enlarge

2015 Spirit of the West Cruise Diary and Photos

Here's our cruise diary for 2015 - enjoy!

Below is some information on where the 2015 Spirit of the West Cruise is going. We hope you enjoy the following diary as we cruise around New Zealand and Australia.

See the map below (or scroll down).
We will sail on the Diamond Princess - here's what she looks like.

Billie in this year's tee-shirt
Billie in this year's tee-shirt
click to enlarge

Diamond Princess Diamond Princess

Below you'll find our basic itinerary and a map of where we are traveling. Go to the Itinerary below (or scroll down).

Diary, Spirit of the West Cruise, 2015

The following photos will all enlarge if you click on them.

December 2014 and January 2015
At the time this page was updated we had 1 week to count down ...

December 2014
Hugh bringing in their huge Christmas tree.

The cows are where they will winter & Hugh is looking forward to some sun!

We'll miss the cows & horse, guess we'll have to find some in New Zealand and Australia.

Hugh has to build all the shows up to the end of February ahead of time.

Hugh busy finishing up in the studio while Billie packs all his clothes.

January 19th - on our way!! This is at the airport in Vancouver.

January 21st - a wonderful welcome dinner at the Harbourside Restaurant.

Our first night ... this is our hotel - the Rydges Auckland Hotel in New Zealand

Night one in Auckland .... this is Richard and Eileen Bently from Sherwood Park.

Kim and Barb Bamber after 14 hours of flying ... they look pretty good at our welcome dinner

Jim and Audrey Brown from Edmonton ... night one in New Zealand.

Clinton and Lorraine Ziegler from Vegereville - this is their 3rd Spirit of the West cruise

Nancy & Darrell Peterson from Olds - been a few years but they're on their 2nd cruise.

Leaving the hotel in Auckland, New Zealand

January 22nd - Kim Bamber wants to make sure he's the first one on the bus for the city tour!

Agnes Jackson and Kathy Reimer experiencing the ice walk....

Shearing a sheep in one minute...

The audience was in awe...

Richard Preston from Hanna being conned into milking a wild cow!

Kids from around the world having a memory created...

Agridome Sheep Show in Rotorua - great skill and fun show.

Larry Speers from Rochester being up close and personal with some sheep.

Unni Lorenz loves this sheep. Unni is a weaver, too, so she's probably checking out the wool.

Wayne & Unni Lorenz, 70 Mile House, enjoying time with one of the 20 breeds shown at the Agridome sheep show.

Touch nose to nose twice ok, but three times is more our Spirit of the West Tribe are welcomed.

Pick up the offering and keep your eyes ahead on the person inviting you into their home is a good sign...

Picking it up and wanting not to offend anyone...

Our Tribe in our Guests Home!

Jean Duniec & Sharon Anderson performing a rhythmic dance of balls adding to the ceremony of Maori music.

Maori dance during welcome ceremony of our "tribe" to the Maori village at Te Puua...

Lunch is served! Rotorua style...

Robert our Maori Guide at Te Puia... fantastic.

First sing a long night and it was warm...

Two sisters, Diana and Shirley enjoying their first sing-along on a Spirit of the West Cruise.

Larry and Pat Selin from Camrose look like they're enjoying the sing-along night.

Dave and Jean Duniec from Sherwood Park at our first sing-along.

Al and Connie Nikkel from Coaldale AB enjoying our sing-along.

Richard Preston, 5th time cruiser, sharing one of his latest poems.

Larry Speers sharing some poems from an old timer who wrote them - great stories.

Walter & Katharine Wolbert at our "gathering" on sea day viewing the slideshow. 2nd time cruisers getting denim shirts this year.

First day at sea ... Karen, it looks like Hugh needs help to get into the canapes delivered to the room - what a hoot!

Kim Bamber showing off his dessert - a heart for those of us still at home.

Joanne Wallace and Audrey Daines

Walter & Katherina boarding tender in Christchurch - it was a beautiful day.

Zieglers disembarking in Akaroa

Bonnie Speers and Eldon and Marge Greanya

Lorriane and Clinton Ziegler boarding Christchurch Tender

Waiting for our bus in Akaroa for the beautiful 50 minute ride into Christchurch...Hugh found a canon and a target

Waiting to board the gondola car to take us to the viewing point overlooking Christchurch

Audrey and Jack on the Christchurch gondola

Christchurch Gondola
sign posts ...

Stopped for lunch and wine near Christchurch...everyone liked the wine especially Billie...

Lunch and wine tasting at Melton Estate Winery... great Pino Gris...

Returning to the pier in Akaroa from Christchurch. This is one of many fantastic views along the way.

Evening sing-along as we sail away from Christchurch.

Charlotte Eliuk sharing some great poems with the group

Hugh getting some help from Billie.

Larnach Castle

Dunedin Train Station

Darrel & Nancy Peterson at the often photographed "train station" in the heart of down town Dunedin

Kim & Barb (birthday girl) in front of the Law Courts building in Dunedin. Just down the street from the Cadburys factory!

Just out of Dunedin our private guide showing our group the restored Larnach Castle and grounds...absolutely beautiful.

Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world, here in Dunedin.

A lone piper bidding us a fond farewell from Dunedin... a Scotland experience away from the real Scotland

Waiting for the photographer for the Spirit of the West group photo.

Private galley tour for Spirit of the West cruisers immediately after the group photo

Jan 29th - Bentleys celebrated their 55th anniversary at sea on the way to Melbourne

Agnes Jackson prepares to do her presentation on "agricultural farm land conservancy".

Richard & Charlotte Preston celebrating their 5th cruise with Billie, Hugh, Karen, & Jim in the Sterling Steakhouse.

Richard Preston at a sing-along with another of his poems - after a fantastic steak diner enroute to Melbourne.

Larry Speers at our sailing to Melbourne evening sing-along sharing poetry & stories with fellow cruisers.

Kim Bamber at our sing-along trying to hide behind a too small pillar! Moving in to take a photo I think.

Melbourne, at the Victoria Markets, driver/guide Dave giving us some tips as we head out to tackle the shops.

Gary and Vicki Hetrick from Montney, BC shopping for some great sale items at the Victoria Market.

At the Shrine of Rememberance Karen and 2nd time cruiser, Kathy Reimer from Anola, MB enjoy the view over Melbourne.

Karen and Jim - they look so cold :-). Preparing - they will be in Antarctica at the end of February for real.

Battery Point lookout in Hobart. Sharon & Amy Anderson with Gail Robbins & Larry Speers overseeing.

Larry Selin, Rhonda Roberts & Richard Preston enjoy moderate temps at Bonorong Wildlife Park near Hobart.

A ready for war Tasmanian Devil. Biting force reported to be 5 times that of a Pitt Bull. Keep fingers away!

Jean Duniec feeding Kangaroos at the Bonorong Wildlife Park. Jack Daines behind looking to auction some off.

Chore Time in Tasmania, gotta feed the Kangaroos. Great times with a great bunch of folks, heading for Sydney soon.

Agnes Jackson spotted this tack shop and we stopped ... let the shopping begin!

Guess who shopping in Australia ... looking for that new hat.

... this is shopping at its best. Jim told the shop owner Wayne that his ship had come in today!

Darrell & Nancy getting ready for our tour of the oldest arbitior in Australia & the only one that does religious meat processing.

Plant manager & owner, Frank, explaining the workings and challenges in Australia, many of which are very similar to ours.

Last day on the ship - farewell gathering & we gave away 5 booking discounts & several folks booked for 2016 cruise!

Some of the resident cattle in Australia.

Aussie gal training polo ponies just north of Sydney - mostly thoroughbred with some Australlian Stock Horse blood.

Sydney Opera House from Queens Quay view point.

Some happy Spirit of the West Cruisers in front of the entrance to Darling Harbour.

Getting geared up for our escorted tour of the Sydney Opera House.

At the opera house in Sydney, Australia ... what a fabulous venue!

At the conclusion of the opera house tour, our guide and Hugh gather folks around for what is truly an amazing event ...

Hugh McLennan takes on the Sydney Opera House and gets a standing ovation to his rendition of ...

WAITING for 555 to take us to our hotel only to find out 555 stopped working one hour ago. We walked the 8 blocks.

Australia's finest wine that was left in Australia for others to enjoy....

Bondi Beach, Sydney, who's not dressed for the beach? Gary Hetrick & Kim Bamber just about to tip their toes (or boots) in the ocean.

Leaving Port Douglas to the Great Barrier Reef on Quicksilver. A quick 1 1/2 hour trip to one of the major wonders of the world.

Boarding the Sky Tram to assend over the rain forest enroute to the top at Kuranda about 2 miles up the hill.

What happened in the rain forest? It rained - how perfect! None the less, Larry & Bonnie seemed to enjoy the whole experience!

A selection of seeds you will find in this rain forest. Some need the inside of birds to make them grow. Glad some are from birds that can't fly.

An amazing place!!

Getting ready to head back to Cairns at the end of a great day in the rain forest...

On the train waiting to leave the station ... pictures time.

They're not really in jail ... The Bentleys are unlikely candidates to lean out the train window during the trip.

The Esplenade in Cairns where many a great meal was had after a long exciting day in the rain 31 degrees Celcius.




The 2016 Spirit of the West Cruise has now been announced
It's the 15th Annual and will sail from January 7th to January 18th, 2016
on the Crown Princess for a 10 night Mexican Riviera Cruise!
Including the Sea of Cortez and migrating grey & sperm whales.

click here to see the full PDF flyer

or phone toll free: 1-800-530-0131

click to see the full PDF flyer

Our Itinerary!         Top of Page

Day 1

  • January 18th Billie and Hugh fly to Vancouver and over night in the Fairmont Hotel

Day 2

  • January 19th Leaving Canada from Calgary, Edmonton, or Vancouver ... no more snow after today!

Day 3

  • January 20th Cross the International Date line.

Day 4

  • January 21st Arrive Auckland and overnight in the Rydges Auckland Hotel. There's a welcome dinner at the Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill.

Day 5

  • January 22nd A day in Auckland, New Zealand. City tour with breakfast & lunch included - arrive at the Pier at 2:00 pm. Depart on the Diamond Princess at 6:00 pm.

Day 6

  • January 23rd Tauranga, New Zealand - Arrive at 6:30 am and depart at 5:30 pm. Full day tour starting at 7:30 am. Concert and Sing-a-long under the stars from 9:00 to 10:00 pm at the Horizon Terrace.

Day 7

  • January 24th At sea. Billie and Hugh will be at the Wheel House Bar from 10:00 to 11:00 am - drop by and say hi.

Day 8

  • January 25th Akaroa (Christchurch), New Zealand - Arrive at 8:00 am and depart at 6:00 pm. 7:30 am meet in Princess Theatre to arrange group tender to shore where there will be a tour coach waiting.

Day 9

  • January 26th Dunedin (Port Chalmers), New Zealand - Arrive at 8:00 am and depart at 6:00 pm. 8:30 am the group will meet on the pier.

Day 10

  • January 27th Fiordland National Park, New Zealand - Arrive at 9:00 am and depart at 7:00 pm. A day of cruising through this spectacular national park experiencing Milford Sound.

Day 11

  • January 28th At Sea

Day 12

  • January 29th At Sea. 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM Concert and Sing-a-long under the stars at the Horizon Terrace.

Day 13

  • January 30th Melbourne, Australia - Arrive at 7:00 am and depart at 5:00 pm. 8:00 am meet on pier.

Day 14

  • January 31st At Sea.

Day 15

  • February 1st Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Arrive at 8:00 am and depart at 6:00 pm. 8:00 am meet on pier.

Day 16

  • February 2nd At Sea.

Day 17

  • February 3rd Sydney, Australia - Arrive at 6:00 am. Disembark and board our tour bus and head out for a full day tour of nearby agriculture operations. Lunch included. Return late afternoon and check in to The Grace Hotel. The evening is free to enjoy Darling Harbour.

Day 18

  • February 4th Sydney, Australia 1/2 day tour of Sydney with the afternoon free for choice of activities.

Day 19

  • February 5th Some will return home - 9:00 am transfer to airport. Others 6:30 am transfer to airport and arrive Cairns at 11:15 am. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight at the Pacific International Hotel Cairns.

Day 20

  • February 6th 8:00 am meet in lobby for transfer to Marina Mirage Port Douglas. 9:30 am board Quicksilver for a full day cruise to Great Barrier Reef. Breakfast and lunch are included today. 4.30pm return to the hotel to relax.

Day 21

  • February 7th 8:00 am - after an included breakfast meet at reception and depart Cairns by coach and travel to the Skyrail base - Skyrail is the world's only rainforest cableway across the Coral Sea to Green Island. There are 2 stops along the way. Next tour the Kuranda Market and board the Kuranda Scenic Rail for one of Australia's most scenic rail journeys as you descend the Kuranda Range. The train winds its way through 15 tunnels, past Barron Gorge, Barron Falls and Stoney Creek Falls, to reach Freshwater Railway Station. From here you will be transferred to your hotel and enjoy an evening at leisure.

Day 22

  • February 8th 5:45 am - Transfer from hotel to airport for return flight.

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Here's a route map showing all ports where we will be.

Route Map for the 2015 New Zealand and Australia Cruise
click to enlarge

2015 Spirit of the West Tee-shirt
The 2015 Spirit of the West T-shirt
click to enlarge

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