Thursday, September 22, 2011
In no particular order of importance other than numbers 1 & 2 are indeed numbers 1 & 2:
1) Hook into “Cruise Critic”, find your cruise line, your ship and then the “Roll Call” for your cruise. From this message board, you’ll get to hear of others doing the cruise.
2) Take every opportunity to meet as many from the roll call as you can, before the cruise. You may not click with all of them, but the chances are that you will click with some of them.
3) If you manage to meet several others you think you’d like to dine with, by all means approach the cruise line and request you be seated together for the evening meal. Some prefer to take pot luck of course, but there are many who find their new dining companions are not to their liking. Better safe than sorry.
4) Treat your dining room waiters (and all staff for that matter) as potential friends.
5) If you would like additional lobster tails or prawns, just ask the waiter! It’s not like a normal restaurant where you pay extra for extras...
6) The Horizon Court/buffet coffee onboard is dreadful. It is made from a coffee concentrate, so you wouldn’t be the only one carrying your jar of Gold Blend or a coffee bag at breakfast.
7) The coffee cards are for 15 coffees at a cost of $35AUD that includes a nice and very effective coffee mug. You need the voucher from the book you are given when you embark, but additional books are available from your room steward.
8) Don’t assume that the buffet food is overall, inferior to the dining room food. Even breakfast in the buffet can be adjusted to suit with cooked to order omelettes and poached eggs are by request.
9) At lunch time, it is all too easy to overlook the speciality or theme of the day as it is beyond/between the two food lines.
10) The feather pillows tend to have the sharp ends of the feathers poking through, so it may pay to swap them for the flock type.
11) The cabin walls are steel hence several people take magnets. (See the link to Ros’s blog)
12) The more activities you get involved in, the more friends you will make.
13) Enjoy the wonderful diversity of the staff. I think they represented about 53 different countries. The rather churlish people who (formally) complained that some quiz presenters had accents, seem to have missed the point of a “World Cruise”.
14) Princess Tours may be over priced, but are generally well organised, however, even private tours can sometimes be less than satisfactory if your requirements are not clearly agreed beforehand.
15) In several countries, particularly where pay is poor, hiring a taxi between four of you can be surprisingly cheap. The downside is that they will invariably stop at various shops or emporiums to try and get you to spend money, as they generally get a kick-back, whether you spend or not.
16) Some tour guides believe that if you are on a six hour tour, they have to talk non-stop for six hours...
17) The various Hop-On Hop-Off buses are generally fairly priced and the multi language commentary is optional via headphones. Keep your receipts as they normally offer a discount if you have used them in a previous port. There are several companies so it may pay to research in advance.
18) Local buses always require local currency – in just about every port, US dollars are accepted elsewhere but the exchange rate is always very much in their favour, but many places will bargain anyway. Generally, if prices are acceptable, why bother bargaining?
19) Trivia quizzes are great fun as long as you accept that you’ll probably learn more than you already know! Note the word “trivia...”
20) We managed without using the laundry at all by taking only clothes that required the minimum of care, with a sink wash more than adequate and then drying them on the balcony or drip drying in the shower.
21) If your air-conditioning isn’t working too well, just let the room steward know. Unfortunately, you can’t switch it off!
22) On board massage or acupuncture is a staggering $167 an hour... Massage is good, but at that price, it needs to be.
23) Pace yourselves! On the world cruise, if there are five ports in five days, you’ll need a lot of stamina if you think you can manage six or seven hour tours every day.
24) Of all the music options on board, there are bound to be some that are not to your taste but overall, plenty you will like, ditto the entertainers and the production shows.
25) Take your own wireless enabled laptop/notebook (or modern I-device, as the internet cafe can be very busy at times. Although internet is not super fast, it isn’t always as slow as we expected. We shrunk all pics and managed to make 500 minutes last from Sydney to Dover (54 days), blog uploading almost daily, checking internet messages but not downloading them. We just left them on the server but moved them to specially set up directory until we returned home. We didn’t Skype. Our 1,000 mins (Platinum status) from FL back to Auckland was more than enough
26) One Kindle weighs less than 1,000 books... However, load them up before you go.
27) Take a clock with a lit display as with constant time changes, when you wake in the night, it is nice to know what time it is.
28) On board photographs are expensive and always in a flattering ‘soft focus’.
29) With modern digital cameras, there is no excuse for not taking enough pics, but do download them to your laptop or other storage device daily. Learn how to use the camera before setting off. That includes switching off the flash or switching on the flash.
30) Smile a lot and laugh a lot...
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
|Just a little something for Ros & Arnold to |
improve their quality of life for the trip from Sydney
Some most unhelpful people on board were adamant that you couldn't take ANYTHING off the ship. They don't seem to realise that the chocs that appear on your pillow each night do not pose a threat, nor does roasted coffee. Dried teas and dried herbs are a different case altogether.
Our next appointment was for the dance class- but we didn’t do any dancing until 5 minutes before the end. Not only did each participant get a certificate to add to their collection (crossing the Equator, the Panama Canal etc) but Alana (and Lee) also presented everyone with a trophy, which was a very generous touch, to go along with a glass of champagne. This was really the official end of the dance classes for the World Cruise as so many get of in Auckland, that Alana will just do a new dance for the three days to Sydney.
Up to the buffet of course for lunch, where it is always a golden opportunity to try fish you wouldn't normally come across.
After the quiz where we continued to train our Australian team-mates, I went for a final massage on the shoulder from the diminutive Arlene. Even though she worked her magic (and sent me through the roof when she started with a bit of reflexology...) she believes I'll need an X-Ray, so we'll see.
The last formal night for the cruise and a tremendous celebratory meal, where I had 4 savoury course, slotting in the lobster tails after the jumbo shrimp and a shrimp bisque, but before the rack of veal with a topping. They even presented us with the scrolled menus. A nice touch.
On to the brilliant show "British Invasion", that opened with Acker Bilk's Stranger on the shore as the first UK record to successfully top the charts in the UK and the USA at the beginning of the UK's dominance of popular music for a decade. A colourful show with good sets and a few 'extras' including a rather well done cut down Mini convertible.
Although we headed for the atrium for coffee, we didn't dance and hit the sack just after midnight. One more day...
Friday, September 2, 2011
The first of our last three sea days and a fairly normal pattern – almost. As instructed, I changed the clocks, watches and cameras back one hour before retiring. Sometime in the night, a printed note was pushed under our door but even though I knew it was there, I ignored it until getting up in the light. Someone had goofed with the time change and we had to shift all the clocks forward again... So, it wasn’t 7:20am at all, it was 8:20! As some passengers (and several crew it seems) either didn’t get the message or only found the note in their external pigeon holes, there was a degree of confusion for a while.
Too late for bowls and yesterday’s blog wouldn’t upload as the internet was so busy, so dance class was the first event. A revision of the Latin dances and that included the merengue, Argentine tango and cha-cha. A photo call tomorrow at class too, plus at some stage, a tea dance before Auckland. We get the feeling that we have to be on our toes with our scheduling for the next two days...
We also had a note to say that the NZ customs/immigration/MAF were going to do some processing on board so we have an appointment for 9:30am tomorrow, complete with our paperwork and also the goods we wish to declare. Great. Well done NZ. (We believe Australia will do the same between Auckland and Sydney.)
After dance, we mooched around the buffet but opted instead to share a pizza. An excellent light choice. (I thought I was very disciplined by not having my normal massive calzone...) At 3pm, we were invited to a suite at the rear of deck 9 for drinks, by larger than life (French) Cecile, who managed to gather 4 Germans, 3 Australians and ourselves, to enjoy champagne and nibbles.
We had to leave for the quiz where once again we were only a couple of points away from victory, but Garry & Joanne, plus Arnold & Ros dragged us up to the buffet, (kicking and screaming of course) where we enjoyed an afternoon toasted sandwich... So much for the light eating day - again.
A hot spa followed where we learned that yesterday’s evening medical emergency was due to a lady’s pacemaker playing up. Relief that it wasn’t too serious.
A full table and once again, Maurizio had done us proud. We had earlier asked about having a Filipino dish as our main meal. This was a nice tasty chicken and pork dish called (I think) adobo, with rice and bok choy. (My spell checker doesn’t like that.)
To the atrium as usual for Alan & Alana’s general knowledge quiz. Entertaining as always. Alan informed us there would be another “Sherlock Holmes Murder Mystery ‘Radio’ Show” on Saturday evening. Yippee! This was a highlight of an earlier sector and as the word has no doubt got around, the Vista lounge is bound to be packed.
They didn’t finish singing and playing until 11:40pm to an enthusiastic group of so many couples that dancing a waltz was difficult as floor space is very much at a premium. This time, we were assured that the clock would indeed go back 1 hour and forwards `1 day, as we cross the International Date Line. This will put us on the same day as NZ making it seem as though we are almost home. Paula has started her packing. Strange how we left with three cases containing a load of stuff for the UK but I think we now have more...