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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 !!