Why are we blogging?

We thoroughly enjoyed the blogs from those on the World Cruise 2010. They were so useful and some were also very entertaining and so we we started our own, late 2010, ready for the 2011 cruise(s).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nearer and nearer...

  Apart from landing at Brisbane airport and finding that the car rental company we have used several times before were conspicuous by their absence, we had a good week.   

  Thankfully the very nice lady at “Thrifty” car hire fixed us up at a fair price so we were only delayed about 45 minutes.  Quite how a company can have a website; accept an on line  booking for a car from Brisbane airport; send a booking number in October; then claim that they hadn’t serviced the airport for several months, is just unbelievable.  Tracking down the  staff proved even more difficult, as they had moved from their published office address and once we found out where they worked from, the desk seemed to be permanently unmanned when we called.

  The week soon got better though as on the Thursday, we caught up with two very experienced local cruisers for a 3pm cuppa - that drifted on very amicably to an early evening pizza!

Friday, for about the 5th time on the Gold Coast, we spent an enjoyable day at Sea World.  Without either grandchildren, children or even our regular travellers to ride the various rides, (though I did manage the roller coaster as there was no queue) we contented ourselves with ambling around and watching the various shows, though the new ‘on the lake’ show wasn’t a patch on its predecessor.  However we did see the British advance welcoming party for our ship... (see pic)

  Saturday was another highlight with our two new cruise buddies joined by three other cruisers for what turned out to be about a three hour getting to know you ’lunch and laughter' session.  Probably the first real ‘meet and greet’ of the CC11 cruise group?  It is so good listening to experienced cruisers relate their varied travel experiences and we found the lunch both informative and fun.  By the time the ship sets sail on May 25th, no doubt several other ‘mini groups’ will have met.

  We came away from the lunch in very high spirits and we now need to change our cruise dining from the early sitting to the late sitting as the others in the group made it quite clear that we might find that tripping over zimmer frames on the way to our table, might prove to be injurious to our health and would adversely affect our ability to join in the dance classes.  As neither of us are really gym bunnies, we see the dance classes and probably the top deck sports court as our means of keeping fit. (Dining time now changed to the late sitting...) 
  During the course of the 5 days, we managed to scoff three large tubs of mango/Greek yoghurt, plus 5 local mangoes...  Sheer bliss.  

 More often than not we ate Italian but one night we ate Indian.  That proved to be a mixed blessing as the starter platter was a disgrace but the kangaroo curry was a nice first and the chicken curry was fine.  The bill was extortionate though.  Probably about twice the price of an equivalent meal in NZ.

 Our favourite restaurant proved to be Valentinos.  On the way there (two minutes walk) each night we heard the most tremendous noise that proved to be the lorikeets.  Apparently it is their mating season and there were hundreds of them in the trees around the open area adjacent to the restaurant. A few minutes after darkness finally settled in, it all went quiet!  The picture at the beginning of this post is one of my all time favourites but is of a lorikeet that Paula's son son had 5 years ago, but it shows the beautiful colours rather better than the other pic which was taken from ground level in the dark!  
  Valentinos was just tremendous.  Not only beautiful tasty food, but in typical Italian style, run by father and son and very attentive staff. Same two chefs for the last 19 and 16 years too.   A complimentary glass of port each night was a nice touch and even I enjoyed that the second night.   

  On the way back to the airport, we called in at a couple of shopping malls, more to kill time than to shop – but in a lightening raid on the wallet, I walked out with three  shirts and two ties!

  A great flight back with Air New Zealand who as usual managed to start and finish on time - and with the same number of engines; a prompt pick up by the Park ’n Fly people to collect our car. Pity any new visitors as the motorway not far from the airport was closed and the diversion signs seemed to peter out.  Fortunately we knew where we were and not for the first time did we comment that the road signage around Auckland was quite pathetic.  Home and bed about 1.30am - which was of course 10:30pm Brisbane time.  Hard to believe a 3 hour flight AND a three hour time difference. 

  The next planned holiday (at this stage) is - THE CRUISE!