Day 6 at sea heading for Darwin. Our usual routines were somewhat interrupted by an exclusive to “2011 Crazy Cruisers” group, tour of the bridge, in three groups of 25. Very informative and an opportunity to meet the Captain and have our photographs taken with him. He really is a most personable character and has tremendous respect from both crew and passengers.
Alana started the dancers off with the Samba, but I was still off colour, so opted to film it instead. Quite a fun thing to watch but so pleased that so many people support the classes.
Things took a turn for the better after a tough half hour neck and shoulder massage from the diminutive Maria, on the recommendation of Ros. Unlike the previous visit for acupuncture, this one was half the time (and price) and five times as beneficial.
Just a soup and a fruit entree at dinner. The table is learning Italian from the head waiter, Maurizio. So it was “Buena sera” and then on to the Country & Western evening – or the latter part of it. The line dancers had fun...
Probably time for a few observations and to trim down the daily waffle before our first port tomorrow. (Yippee I hear from all corners.)
As first time cruisers on the Princess ships, our expectations were gleaned from Cruise Critic members (particularly the 2010 cruiser/bloggers) and various friends and neighbours. So far, any negative comments we have heard or read about we have totally dismissed.
The buffet food is excellent though as always, breakfasts are going to be fairly standard. Lunches, they always go to a lot of effort in the centre stage between the buffet lines with their daily themes. So far, France, Italy, Mexico, Japan have featured.
Apart from my one off-colour evening visit, we have been more than happy in the dining room each night with good service and a wait staff who will do anything to please. In fact, the best thing about the whole ship, has to be the staff. The crew, Captain and senior members and the tour director plus entertainment staff seem genuinely keen to ensure the passengers enjoy it.
The cabin stewards couldn’t be nicer and whether it is your own steward or one you are just passing in the corridors, there is always a cheery greeting.
There are one or two wait staff in the buffet who are born entertainers. Day 1, passing the fresh fruit pile – the wait person was happily singing quietly to himself “Yes, we have no bananas....” He hadn’t any...
Day 2, sounds of a macaw and the passengers all looking around – until the giggling waiter disappeared with his trolley of dirty dishes.
Day 7, waiter approaches a table singing the Beatles number “Is There Anything That You Want...”
For those who think they could get bored on at sea days, believe me, there are just so many options that the problem is usually what can you miss out.
I am most impressed with the musical talent on board so far. The orchestra plays a mix of 100% live, plus some numbers along to a backing track. The singing/dance group were superb, as was Ross Maio the accordionist who hops off at Darwin along with the “Lion’s Den”. The other roving musicians are a Canadian group called Derringer. A brilliant female keyboard player and vocalist (Tara), with bass guitar (and vocalist) , lead guitar and drums. They seem to understand the age of the passengers and play appropriate music either at the poolside, the Vista lounge at the back of the ship, or the Wheelhouse bar for dancing. Dance teacher Alana (who knows Kingsley & Angela from Gotta Dance” and brother Alan give us the opportunity to practice to their music at night.
For 2012 World Cruisers, we strongly recommend you meet as many of your fellow cruisers in advance as possible, as the benefits are huge. Sure, they won’t all be your buddies for life, but the saddest sight so far is the evening meal, where often, only two people appear on a table for six or eight. Not everyone will meet people in advance of course and many of the older cruisers will not be internet savvy either, but apart from our non-appearance on one night and later on, the apologetic non-appearance of another couple, our table of 10 (prearranged beforehand) has had a 100% dinner attendance and the evening meal has been a highlight. At some stage, we’ll have a night off, as the Italian pizzeria is popular and even the poolside grill gets rave reviews – and we haven’t sampled either as yet.
Darwin is our first stop but strange to think we have been away from NZ for a week and we are still in Australia! Our only regret? That we hadn’t won lotto beforehand and been able to bring along all our friends (and friendly family of course – even Julie S...) to enjoy this. We’ll be making strenuous efforts to persuade them to do even a short cruise in the future, just to revel in the experience. I am still a day behind with this blog but I will catch up eventually.
Julie A isn’t speaking to me anymore, as she claims she had her case packed at 3am last Tuesday and I didn’t pick her up...