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February 22, 2020
Auckland, New Zealand: An Evening in Middle Earth

Russell writes…

Today we arrived in Auckland, the first of four New Zealand ports we will visit (all on the North Island). Lecturer Terry Bishop said that New Zealand is known for three things: sheep… rugby… and the Lord of the Rings.

Our world cruise includes several “special events” specifically for World Cruise Guests, courtesy of Regent. Tonight was our first: “Hobbiton Comes to Auckland.” Beginning at 5:45 pm, seven buses carried 300 of us over to the Auckland Museum. There, after hours and on the third floor, the museum had been transformed into a Hobbiton dining hall. We were treated to a three-course dinner as we overlooked a panoramic view of the city.

We were still enjoying drinks when Gandolf the Beige strode onto the stage as master of ceremonies. What followed was an evening full of terrific food and Middle Earth visitors. Here is a photo album of what we experienced.

The Auckland Museum

Hobbiton dining hall

After dark, it became even more spectacular


Several props from the “Lord of the Rings” movies were on display

The detail in the props was incredible

A band played everything from Celtic music to John Denver

Gail and Captain Aivo started a clap-along

Gandolf the Beige (not to be confused with Gandolf the Grey) introduced the “Director of Cruise,” “Andy of the Heath”

The menu

The main course was served family style

Dinner entertainment included a make-up artist from Weta Workshop, who transformed a model into a female dwarf



Kili the Dwarf (from “The Hobbit”)

An Orc with Gimli the Dwarf


Gandolf the Beige

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