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Our final Bula time.

drron

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Joined
Jul 4, 2002
Messages
20,727
So we awoke on Christmas eve and this was our view.
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The Pacific Aria.1260 poor souls.Oh well a morning swim and over to Port Denarau for the children to have a Hard Rock meal.An incredible woman serving us.Fijian but she didn't have to write down our orders and no mistakes.
Youngest grand daughter had the mac and cheese,our D.I.L had the children's chicken salad.
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3 had burgers.
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And I had the seafood platter.mrsdrron passed as the was feeling a bit queasy.
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Whilst we were there the Captain Cook cruise of the Yasawas left.
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It had to come back a couple of days later.
 
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drron

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Jul 4, 2002
Messages
20,727
Back in our room that afternoon there was a knock at the door and this was given to us.
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There was also this.
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Which we accepted.However when we turned up at the appointed time only 1 other couple.It had been cancelled but we had not been told.Somewhat diminished the goodwill.
 

drron

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Joined
Jul 4, 2002
Messages
20,727

And our Christmas began at the Sheraton for breakfast.
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Then back to open the presents with the Grand children.still one of the highlights of our Christmas.
There were several special lunch and dinner options for the day.We chose the seafood BBQ option at the Westin which sounded good.On the way to the restaurant.
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And at our table.
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Some of the food.
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drron

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Jul 4, 2002
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Boxing day was another day in the pool.Mrsdrron and i had a little snack from our gift box for lunch and then everyone went to the golf club again for dinner.It was never full there.Food quite reasonable on quality and cost and always a lovely breeze blowing.Perfect for families.
some of the food.
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Early to bed as an 0530 wake up and an 0600 transfer to NAN.
 

drron

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Joined
Jul 4, 2002
Messages
20,727
Everything went well with our transfer.Luckily we had the same driver who was going to pick up our family.They wanted to move to an 0645 pick up in view of the brewing cyclone and probable chaos at the airport.As it turned out that was fortuitous as their flight had been brought forward and the second Sydney flight cancelled.
We arrived at NAN before any crowds.No one else at checkin and only a couple of other souls going through security and Immigration.We got this card at check in.
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You could hand it in at the lounge for either Eggs Benedict or an omelette.We really weren't hungry.Besides the buffet was quite reasonable.
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And we got the Malindo plane.wasn't on my bucket list.This time the crew was quite good.There was also an FJ supervisor as well.So here is the set up.
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Fortunately in seat IFE as well in J-screens in centre console.

Worthwhile giving our son's story re NAN efficiency.Got to the checkin early only to be told they weren't booked on the flight.Much usage of the computer and after 30 minutes taken to an office.Another couple there with the same problem.the woman was on the phone to QF and handed the phone to our son when she was finished.Apparently FJ had changed the flight number for SYD as they had swapped the initial 737 to the A 350.now as soon as QF changed the flight number on their system the bookings appeared on FJ's system.
So off to security.there they arrived as the first blackout occurred.There were 3 before they got through security but now long lines at Immigration as their computers had to be rebooted after every outage and these outages continued.Nearly an hour to get through immigration.But they did and did get on the plane.Their assigned Row 10 on the 737 became the second last row on the a 350.
 

drron

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Jul 4, 2002
Messages
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Sat for some time at the gate with the captain and then first officer getting off.Eventually a woman from Y is escorted off the plane and a young fellow boards.no explanations given.
By this time it was getting very wet outside.
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that fellow was sweeping up frogs or toads.
the SYD plane.
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By the time we reached Momi Bay there was little to see.
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Now all the media were calling this a cyclone.At the time we took off it was a Category 2 Tropical storm.not a cyclone/The next day it was officially a severe Category 2 tropical storm.it became a cyclone south of Fiji.
Soon after takeoff brekkie was served.We both had the breakfast crepes.OK.
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An interesting cloud formation off the QLD coast.Another tropical low system.
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And finally BNE in sight.
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drron

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Jul 4, 2002
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When we checked in the night before we were the only 2 in J.But the plane went out full.Two women were talking about their cancelled VA flight and how lucky they were to get this flight-one was going to MEL,the other to Tassie.The rest were opups.And of course we were on an AA award.
We were the only 2 lined up at the premium boarding lane.our bags came out about a third of the way through after a lot of priority tabs but ours were the only ones having J tags.
As usual we declared some food and had to go through the red channel but as always we had the stuff easily accessible and were sent straight through.

As usual picked up by our limo driver.He told us that it was taking 3 hours on the Bruce to get to the Sunshine Coast.So we went the scenic route and took us just under 2 hours.Went through a few rural subdivisions and was amazed at some of the fuel build up in the bush parts.
But we also went on the Old Gympie road through the Glasshouse mountains and got some different views.
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Will be back with thoughts on the Sheraton and Fiji in general.
 

Julesmac

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Joined
Mar 11, 2007
Messages
401
When we checked in the night before we were the only 2 in J.But the plane went out full.Two women were talking about their cancelled VA flight and how lucky they were to get this flight-one was going to MEL,the other to Tassie.The rest were opups.And of course we were on an AA award.
We were the only 2 lined up at the premium boarding lane.our bags came out about a third of the way through after a lot of priority tabs but ours were the only ones having J tags.
As usual we declared some food and had to go through the red channel but as always we had the stuff easily accessible and were sent straight through.

As usual picked up by our limo driver.He told us that it was taking 3 hours on the Bruce to get to the Sunshine Coast.So we went the scenic route and took us just under 2 hours.Went through a few rural subdivisions and was amazed at some of the fuel build up in the bush parts.
But we also went on the Old Gympie road through the Glasshouse mountains and got some different views.
View attachment 202373 . View attachment 202374 .

View attachment 202375 . View attachment 202376 .

View attachment 202377 . View attachment 202378 .

Will be back with thoughts on the Sheraton and Fiji in general.
I have to say Dr & Mrsdrron those matching outfits and bathers were hilarious. Hope they got the reaction you planned!
 

mrs.dr.ron

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Jun 17, 2010
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SO that was our last trip to Fiji. I first went in 1969. We started going to the Sheraton Denarau when it opened in 1987. I was very disappointed in the hotel on this trip. I know its closing for 6 months for a total re-furb, but it was more the lack of "fijian-ish" there, the staff did not seem happy as in years past, we never saw the GM. Food quality has gone waaaaay down. Yet prices have gone way up. The new 25% tourist tax is going to be a big problem. I shopped in the supermarket for the basics for our family staying in the villas. I paid $25 fijian for a packet of Sanitarium Weet Bix bites that I pay $4 for in Woolies !! The prices were eye-popping !
So it is Bye Bye Fiji from me.
 

serfty

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I was looking at an AA award NAN-LAX today - the +++ with AA were USD119 but this included the :

AIRPORT DEPARTURE TAX (FIJI) $93.80 USD :eek:

So I did a dummy booking (a simple MEL-NAN-MEL in Economy) and the +++ included

Fiji Airport Departure Tax (EY)A$134.20

Looking deeper, I see this EY tax is FJD200 - They are pricing themselves out of the market.
 

drron

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Jul 4, 2002
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The Sheraton.We first went there in 1987 a week after the opening and have had 20 plus stays there.Has undergone one major reno of the pool area plus refurbs to rooms.It still suits us but it has become a lot more expensive and a basic doubling of the tax last year has really hit.
We stayed over Christmas.Most of that time one of the 7 accommodation blocks was closed.On top of that many of the guests were Fijian or Fijian Indians.A few admitted that they worked for Marriott.So it does seem the price is having an effect.

The food certainly is not as good as it was.The fruit for breakfast at both the Sheraton and Westin was poor and brekkie selections fairly limited.Marriott Momi bay was much better.None of the other restaurants stood out.Ok comfort food at best.We did not go to the Ports O'call restaurant which we have loved in the past as the menu was unexciting.

Service.Still outwardly friendly but there was a definite change in the attitude of the Fijians.I got talking to some of the Fijians and they are not happy.Has been basically since the last coup.Most Fijians think there is less opportunity for them to progress.
Housekeeping was hit or miss and usually done late.

When we first stayed at the Sheraton they had a free shuttle into Nadi.As other resorts opened it turned into a free bula bus between the resorts and Port Denarau.Now the Bula bus is $8fjd per day,kids still free.

Add to the problems half the points posted today-no elite nights which i couldn't really give a fig about as the number of Bonvoy stays will be decreasing and I can go no further than LTP anyway.

So I agree with mrsdrron.I would rather remember Fiji and the Fijians as I remember them from past stays.Added to which they have priced themselves out of our market.
 

juddles

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Drron, I shamelessly post this despite it perhaps being a hack or going way off topic.

I have only ever visited Fiji on short transfers, etc. I truly do not know the place. But through friends that have lingered there, I am also aware that the actual people are fantastic. i think it would probably be like rarotonga in this regard?

It is an uncertain world that these tiny island states live in. Esentially, IMHO, they have scant real economic power - tourism is always the primary industry. hence their placing taxes on the only parts of the economy that actually make dollars...

But at the same time I see an even greater danger to their dignity - the leaping on the opportunity to ask for compensation from richer and more functional countries for the alleged impacts of climate change.

I see that this is a hideous path. Essentially they are trying to become welfare states, where the benefactor is countries such as Australia. Continuing on this path will make them (if it has already not), really just beggars in the international community. Such a tragic outcome for beautiful people!!

As others have said, the world is now full of international opportunities for travellers. These small countries need to succesfully compete for the tourist dollar. And not just sit back and over-tax and manage to annihilate their only true attraction.

Fiji exports Fiji Water - a very successful small enterprise that managed to find a niche market, and a rare one that did not involve tourism. What did the government do? They tried to obscenely raise the taxation on that company...

And at the same time that Fiji raises its hand to beg for money to combat Climate Change, this export of simple water, at obscene environmental cost, to the world... Perhaps if analysed, one of the worst businesses in the world in the environmental sense....

I wish them well, but taxing tourism too highly will just reduce them more and more to relying on straight-forward handouts. They do not seem to realize that there are a hundred other destinations with the same attractions and similar problems.
 

drron

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Jul 4, 2002
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I hesitated to mention this before but then 42 Minutes did a bit on the subject of China and Fiji this week.

Whilst there I read of the "Investments"being made by China.Fiji is going down the African pathway.



So sad for the Fijians.Even though there is still Native Title land the Fijian people no longer control how it is used.The local paper had an article on one dairy farmer who was the 4th generation on his 140 hectare plot.Without explanation it was reduced to 18 hectares.
So very sad.
 

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