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Sunday, November 28, 2010

200 days to go!!! ( actually 177 , I am running late )

So alot has happened in the last 100 days in the countdown to our world cruise....
We went on a cruise up the Qld Coast..... God I miss being on a boat!!

We have been slowly but surely met up with people who we will be sailing with... The first couple we met was Tina and Trevor from Bribie Island whilst on a trip to Brisbane in August. We were staying in Caloundra and they drove up and we had a lovely lunch together

Next we met Anne and John when they asked us to Canberra to visit Floriade. They graciously invited us to stay with them and as we kept the axe locked away in the boot of the car we had a fabulous time... Even John made us feel like we were back on the boat by cooking up a storm for breakfast !!

While on our Queensland cruise we met Colin and Judy who nearly only live around the corner to us and we will be meeting up with them again as we are invited to their house for dinner..

Ros and Arnold from the Gold Coast came into Brisbane during our Queensland cruise and met up with us down at Portside. In return we met them down at Wharf 5 after their New Zealand Cruise...

The plans to meet them changed so many times, the Sun Princess was having engine problems and with every from Ros, there were new arrival times....

As they were arriving later than originally planned we thought we would still go into the city early and capture some video of the sun princess arriving into Sydney ( we will pretend and use it in our world video next year LOl )..... we didn't time it very well and here we were racing down the M2 constantly checking my Cruise Cam app on the iphone to see how far down the harbour the boat was....

The plan was to go to the bottom of Blues Point Rd and watch her come under the bridge... well there we were speeding along the Gore Hill Freeway... just taken the North Sydney turn off and there the boat was just passing infront of us.... oh no we will never make it!!!

Drove up into North Sydney, turned left into Miller St and dodged all the lazy Sunday brunchers to get to the bottom of the hill.... Double parked as the car park was full, Garry off filming in one direction and me jumping up and down like a crazy woman hoping that Ros and Arnold can see me!! This was made all that more exciting as the Captain blew the horn just as they passed under the Harbour Bridge.
After a couple of hicups to find somewhere to park and have lunch, we ended up having a great time... Just making this cruise so much more exciting... as I said to Ros by the time we all get on this ship it will be more like a reunion...

We have also been busy researching our ports and organising private tours. Yes it is early but we wanted to ensure that we are able to secure the companies that come highly recommended by cruise critic as the time we will be sailing, it will be peak tourist season, especially through the Mediterranean. So far we have tours booked in Cochin, Mumbai, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Athens, Monaco, Naples, Rome and Florence... and hopefully we will have family that will look after us in the British Isles 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Homeward Bound !!

The last day at sea is always a sombre day..... you have to pack , you have to make sure you say goodbye to all your new friends, you play bingo because it is jackpot day and you go to dinner in your travelling clothes cause all the good stuff is packed away...

But at least we did have one last Hurrah, as it was the night that Ross and Lesley celebrated a birthday and anniversary... this meant 2 cakes and 2 renditions of “ Happy Birthday/Anniversary to you “ though it was Jam Boys second verse that had us all ROFLOL!!!

The next morning we slept in again and missed most of the sail into Sydney as by the time we got up on deck we were pulling into the Oversea’s Passenger Terminal... if only we had been up earlier we would have seen the Sun Princess sail in just in front of us....

It felt sad to leave our boat... even with the knowledge that we will back on in six months time.... The minute we first boarded the Dawn Princess 12 days ago felt like we were returning home.... we loved sailing on her again and if anything it only made us more anxious for our World cruise to start!! I don’t think I could ever tire of being on the sea!!

One thing this cruise did make me appreciate is the blogging that this year’s world cruisers accomplished... It is easy for us to sit back here and think “I wish they would hurry up and post something” and most of them did... everyday...

I struggled especially as I am finishing this 2 weeks after we got back .... Each night before dinner I would try to get my blog up to date in Word and select the photos.... I would then wait till I got back that night to upload onto the blog site in the hope that it would be a faster connection... well that was the plan... some days it worked other days we just seemed so busy !!


Our last port of call was Brisbane... Hooray no tendering today !!!
We weren’t up as early as some others but we were up on deck about halfway up the river... No sooner we were at the Gateway Bridge where a welcoming committee had gathered, madly waving and cheering as we passed underneath. It was only just a little further along and were we pulled up next to Portside.

We had our very own tour guides (Ross and Lesley) and with a quick walk down to Brett St Wharf we were on our on the City Cat into town... We got off at Southbank were they very kindly put on a market very similar to our very own Rocks Markets. After a couple hours there and a little extra bling in my pockets, we left the others to return to portside where we had made arrangements to meet up Ros and Arnold who will be sailing with us on the world cruise!!!

We had a yummy lunch at Byblos Bar with a side of chatting and laughter about our world cruise... It is meetings like this that make this world cruise so much more exciting and at the rate that we are meeting fellow passengers the cruise will end up being a reunion more than anything else!!

As the afternoon soon rushed by it was time to head back onto our ship and our very last sail away before reaching home.

Captains party and formal night

The second formal night did not disappoint..... I saved myself all day so I could have 2 helpings of lobster and prawns.... I thought I was all seafood out... well until I saw the nights menu, I thought I died and gone to heaven.
We started our night at the Captains party, usual stuff.... but lucky Ross and Lesley won a bottle of champagne as a door prize..... You can tell it came from the Captain as it was not like the lolly water that comes as a trivia prize....

Then it was onto dinner.... and yes lobster for starters and lobster for main..... no captains formal night is the complete without the famous Bombe Alaska parade!!

After that we waddled down to the Princess theatre for another show and then back to the atrium for the farewell party..... They are always so much fun with lots of streamers, balloons and dancing!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

It is not What you know but Who you know!!!

It is always good to have friends who know important people when you are on a cruise ship. Nothing like going back to your cabin to find an official letter inviting you for a Bridge Tour...
All I can say is “what a view” ... a group of us were taken up where the Officer of the Watch talked us through the Bridge and how it works.

Willis Island....

Apparently we were scheduled to do a  scenic cruise by Willis Island..... which we did... which we missed ... only by a few minutes or maybe be more.... But thanks to Ross we got to see some pictures...!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Our next port of call was Cooktown, but looks like  it will remain on our to do list as we never made it... Rough seas and torrential rain put a stop to that...

Port Douglas

In Port Douglas we decided that is was where we were going to do the Kuranda skyrail and Train. Of course we had the added benefit of doing a ships tour hence getting the first tender off the boat.
Being a larger port all the tendering was handled by the local Catamarans. Once at the marina we boarded the bus that took us back to Cairns to catch the Sky Rail up to Kuranda. The Sky Rail is divided into 3 sections . At each of the two stations you hopped off the gondola and walked through the rainforest and took advantage of the different look outs. Then onto the next gondola , through the next section and eventually arriving in Kuranda.

From our short visit in Kuranda it reminded me of a Queensland version of Byron Bay. There were markets and incense burning everywhere and all the residents look like they live an alternative and “happy” lifestyle.
After a couple of hours there we were taken to Kuranda Station where we caught the old train for the 80min ride back down the mountain..... The train stopped part way and we were able to hop off at the vantage point to look and take pictures of the Barron Falls.... it was just amazing as we travelled along in the rattly old train hugging the mountain edge, passing through no less that 15 manmade tunnels. Then back to Cairns for the bus trip back into Port Douglas.
Our guide Joanne was very informative and of course took us through the obligatory drive through town and showed us the Port Douglas hot spots.

When we made our way back we found that we had just missed out on catching the next tender and there was only a 10 min wait till the next.... Well that is all you need!! In 10 minutes I manage to hop to it back to the marina into the shops and walk out with a new dress . Garry says it was the most expensive 10 minutes of the whole trip...

The catamaran that we caught back was adventure shore tour of it’s own as the swell had increase and I am sure that we were airborne a couple of time.... woo hoo it was fun !!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cam Boy


You may remember me writing about "Jam Boy" at breakfast....
Well everytime you looked at Garry he was always filming something so we gave him the nick name " Cam Boy"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Now who will gain the most weight?

Garry's breakfast each morning

Joanne's Breakfast

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yorky’s Knob / Cairns

Well we learnt our lesson this was one tender port we weren’t going to get caught waiting around for. Up at 7am for a quick breaky in the horizon court, then down spot on 8am in the Vista Lounge to pick up our tender tickets. The plan worked and it was not long till we were called for our ride into town. Things were sped up a little this morning with the use of Becky the sniffer dog there to catch out the food smugglers. Everyone was too busy oohing and ahhing at the puppy to bother trying to sneak their contraband ashore..
From where the Tender docked you could purchase a $15 per person shuttle ticket that would get you in and out of Cairns.

Once in town we just did a walk down the main street and back around to the marina and along the boardwalk. We stopped and admired a Japanese couple obviously out here for the quickie package wedding.

A little further along we came across a helicopter and with some smooth talking by Garry, he managed to negotiate a discount price for 3 of us to do a 10min scenic flight around Cairns. This worked out well as Lesley told us that her feet were not going to leave terra firma.
There was a slight hiccup after we were weighed and told that the 3 of us were a total of 10 kilos over weight (damn that princess food), but after a quick chat with the pilot we were soon donning our life jackets, headsets and strapped to our seats ready for take off...

It was not long and we were up up and away. We did one big circuit of Cairns and from up in the sky we could see the ship anchored at Yorkys Knob, wouldn’t it be great if we could have done a fly by!!! This certainly turned out to be the highlight of the port.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

That’s Entertainment

We would have to say that we are really impressed with the entertainment team. The Cruise Director Peter Tredgett along with his side kick Andre Schlemmer make for a very entertaining “BS in the Morning” (No..... that stands for Breakfast Show ). They are real pair of comedians and bounce off each other really well... Peter is English and Andre is from South Africa.... and he looks like a young chubby face Tom Hanks. There is always a joke or two and I will share a few of the best throughout the rest of this blog.

The Princess Shows are the same as we have seen before on our previous cruises ... but we still have enjoyed them. On the first few nights we had an entertainer named Liz Taylor who did impressions of some other famous singers.... some she does really well and others she tends to overact a little ...

One of the more entertaining nights was when we had a comic Juggler.... his juggling was great and his humour funnier especially when he chose Ross to get up onstage with him and had him laying on the ground with a face washer strategically placed to protect him as her juggled axes over the top of him..... We never laughed so hard, which unfortunately included Garry who was trying to film the whole thing ..... not even the camera stabilizer worked in this case.

The new addition since being on the boat is Muts (movies under the stars ). We have not had many nights that you would want to go and sit outside to watch a movie as we have had some windy and wet nights.. We did venture out one night and watch the movie “Date Movie”, not many others out there and it was hard not to nod off a couple of times (after 10pm) and we don’t know what happened to the popcorn as no one offered us any LOL.... For these night movies Muts is fine but we really don’t like it when you are sitting up on deck in the middle of the day and suddenly a movie starts playing... we find it a little loud and disruptive.....sometime they play silent features and others they play concerts..... but please Princess I think it is time to lay Barry Manillow to rest.

On sea days patters is choco block full of things to do... I have mentioned the martini making, fruit carving and today was bar wars.... And of course yours truly was up there to make sure that Ross, Lesley, Garry and myself were part of the teams... Bar wars is where they have a boy team, a girl team and 5 different cocktails... each team member makes one of the cocktails and then each gets compared and a winner chosen...... yeah the girls won!!

The boys entered the wild wacky pool games and came in a gallant second in a two team race.... They were so proud strutting around with their princess medals hanging around their necks....

Bingo twice a day, trivia three, four times a day the oldies love it.... and if they are not there they are buying art at the art auction.... I have never seen so much art sold.... gosh if the Art Director had a personality he could sell twice as much and make a motza in commissions.

Formal nights, champagne waterfalls, Island Night (renamed rain forest night as it had to be held in the vista because of the inclement weather outside) it is all to be had on the Dawn Princess.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Our second port of call was Townsville, another slow tender port for most but for us we were the first Cat off the ship as we had booked a tour.

We did the Paluma Rainforest and waterfall tour. Once off the boat we were ushered onto a mini bus for the 1.5 hour drive up to the rainforest. Ross our tour guide and Bus driver was very informative about Townsville and its people. Our first stop was at the Paluma Inn where they had morning tea ready for us. We then went for a short walk into and out of the rainforest where Ross told us about the fauna and flora.

We jumped back onto the bus for a half hour drive to the Hidden Valley Resort. This resort is run by Ross’s parents and is totally self sufficient. There we had a yummy BBQ lunch and then taken on a tour of how their solar energy system works.

Back into the bus and back down the hill stopping at Little Crystal creek where the road crosses over an old stone bridge with a back drop of these spectacular falls... We were able to walk down the stairway to the base of the falls and if there was time and warmer weather we could have had a swim..... Though I have been told that the water is really icy.

On the way back to the port Ross took us for a quick drive around the town and down by the marina where plans are in place to build a brand new Cruise Terminal....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Food Glorious Food

 Did you know food is not as fattening when you at sea.... and it is even less fattening when it is a spoonful of what your husband has ordered LOL....So far we have eaten in the dining room for breakfast on each sea day and in the Horizon Court on port days that we have been up really early.

Garry has been finding it hard to pass up on the eggs, English bacon (this ensures you don’t get bacon chips), sausage and fried tomato. This morning he tried the ships version of weetbix, not as good as the real thing but at least it is some type of fibre....

The high light of each morning in the dining room is “Jam Boy”. He comes around and gives you a spoonful of what flavour jam you would like on your toast, but if you ask for vegemite, not only does he give you the vegemite but he sings you his abridge version of “Happy Little Vegemite”. We have added to his repertoire by teaching him the extra line “it puts a rose in every cheek”.

On one morning Ross thought he would confuse him by asking for peanut butter.... but you should always watch what you ask for cause you might get it.

We have had only 3 lunches on the ship so far..... One in the horizon court (embarkation day)..... One in the pizzeria, just yummy.... I always order vegetarian with ham and ask them to double the topping.... the last place is the BBQ up on deck... they have chicken burgers, ham burgers, hot dogs, pies and on sea days they have Donor Kebabs...

Dinner is in the main dining room every night ... we are six on a table of 8. Our head waiter is Lynton from India. He just lovely and looks after me so well by making sure I get extra prawns when they are available... Each night he treats us to a new magic trick, so now it has become something we really look forward to.

Tonight we decided that we would have a trick of our own for Lynton. We picked up from the Karunda Markets this small box that gives you surprise when you pull back the lid.. Unfortunately the joke was on us as Lynton knew how it worked. But we got our laughs when he took it to each of the other tables and played the joke on them. Christian our wine waiter thought it was so funny that he raced off with it and played the joke on all his fellow waiters... you knew where the toy was whenever you heard sudden bursts of laughter.
Every night Lynton asks me what I would like for desert, and each night it is the same answer “nothing thank you”. You can imagine my surprise when he walked up and placed a dinner plate in front of me with the word “Nothing” written in chocolate.... we all laughed and laughed and I was really disappointed that I had to leave it behind and could not take it back to our cabin.

Our other table mates apart from Ross & Lesley are Helen & Rob, a lovely couple from Victoria and one of those very well seasoned cruisers.. They play trivia twice a day and most times their team wins so they get the obligatory hats and cards as prizes......another highlight each evening is when they win we get pressies....we are the proud owners of their excess hats and cards

We have been more than happy with the variety and the quality of food we have had so far........ If we like this food any more we will run out of clothes, and won’t be because we can’t get into the laundry!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Airlie Beach

  Our first port of call was Airlie Beach..... It has now become a standing joke as all the non Australian cruise staff call it "Arrrrhlie Beach"...... So that is what we all walk around calling it...
Tendering is very frustrating, made more so by the fact that alot of our passengers do not understand the statement "No Food allowed to be taken ashore" hence the Quarantine officials had a field day fining alot of offenders... in the end they decided that they were going to check everyone's bag so tendering took forever..

Once we were on shore Arrhlie Beach did not disappoint... Once off the tender we did the walk around the board walk to the town. Because of the stingers each of these coastal towns we stop at seem to have these man made lagoons where they pump in filtered sea water so all can swim in safety.

Being Sunday the local markets were on so there was plenty to walk around and do.... we had quick lunch in the park and then on the way back we found a nice little restaurant Bar on the boardwalk where we could have a drink and watch the world go by.

We finished the day with a sail away spa out on the back along with the most stunning sunset.

On Our Way

For our first sea day and most of next the weather has not been conducive to a Queensland has been cloudy but the seas have not been anywhere as turbulent as I thought they would be.... It was unfortunate that on our first night there was a code Alfa called on public address system ... we weren't surprised as we did notice that the age group of passenger was a lot older than we have experienced in the past... An elderly gentleman had a heart attack during dinner in the Florentine Room. He was rushed back to the medical centre and we were woken in the morning with an announcement that there was going to be a helicopter evacuation of a sick patient, at least we knew that the he had survived the night...

I would have to say that the two days at sea have been jammed packed with activities. Our cruise director Peter Tredgett has been very entertaining and he and his staff have really kept people busy... I was staggered to see that bingo now is run twice a day.... hmm they sure know where they make the most money.....

We have done all the usual activities, trivia, Art Auctions, Fruit carving and Garry, Ross and myself made sure that we were close enough to the front to be picked to be volunteers for the martini demonstration... which wasn't hard as we were the only ones young enough to get up off the steps without any help LOL. What a laugh we call ourselves the young ones on this cruise LOL....

The food has been spectacular as usual..... Even the buffet hasn't been too bad though I have only taken a walk through to check it out... I still love the dining room and our wonderful head waiter Lyntten has looked after me well especially when he happily went back and got me a second helping of the yummiest garlic prawns. ( He saw my face when I sacrificed a couple of my prawns for Garry to try...)

We haven't been to MUTS yet as it has been a little too windy to sit up on deck... but I am eager to give it a try...Thought we weren't impressed when at lunch time they played some documentary on something to do with Apollo and the moon... Too loud if you out on deck to relax, swim or read a book.... don't we complain now that our kids spend too much time in front of the TV and not enough time outside!! It is such an anti social activity to have on the ship.

This afternoon the weather has cleared and to be outside is just stunning... we have seen dolphins playing in our wake... we have seen whales spouting out in distance and tonight we had the most stunning sunset.

I am sitting here writing this and you would not even think we are moving is so still, hmm maybe we have stopped LOL.... if it wasn't so dark or a tender in the way I would out the window to make sure we were still moving....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We are on Board!

Here we are back onboard our princess ship..... Even though we have been once on the Dawn Princess and once on the sun princess and now back on the Dawn Princess , it like we have only ever been on the one ship.... these sister ships are identical ... only a couple of venues have different names . You could be blindfolded and taken onto anyone of these two boats and you would be hard pressed to guess which one you are on.

Even though they both look the same, the atmosphere on each cruise feels just that little bit different... I guess the entertainment staff have a lot to do with that...

Our first new experience was leaving from Wharf 5 ... Wharf 8 is gone...... and you leave from a great big white air-conditioned tent...... well I would have to say that it has a much more open feel about it on the inside but what is missing are the lovely big windows so you can sit and stare at the boat.

Once we stepped on board it felt very natural, like coming home.... lots of smiling faces welcoming us on board.

Straight to the cabin to drop off the carry on..... that wine can be heavy..... then up to the buffet for a quick lunch.

Obviously there was the obligatory muster where they said they were going to scan every cruise card....but they gave up after the first row as I think it was too big a job

Sydney put on a lovely afternoon for our sailaway... there was a little music a little dancing and a lot of cocktails. Let the fun begin!!