Monday, 21 September 2015

Our Cruise - September 2015

Cruise Ship Blog September 2015
Day One
Early start. As always almost impossible to get Joyce out of bed at any decent hour, she always wants a bit more sleep.

Made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare, and spent an hour or so in Koru having breakfast. Bumped into three or four current or former work colleagues checking in.

Turned off my work phone and tucked it away in my bag after deleting a few emails. Probably should have left it at home but I might need it for emergencies.

Joyce not happy that I have posted on Facebook that we are overseas as she thinks it is an invitation to someone to burgle the house. Can’t seem to delete the post and people are already wishing us a happy anniversary holiday. Oh well.

Uneventful flight over and got the train to the cruise embarkation point where we were drafted like a mob of wild cattle and the herded aboard in groups

Joyce is excited, I am not sure what she imagined we were in for but she is as pleased as punch to be onboard though a little concerned about the position of the cabin. It is towards the rear of the ship. Once we check with reception we learn that it is at the end of the middle part of the ship so all is good.
I can see why people talk about putting on weight on a cruise, everyone seems to have made a beeline for the free food and the cafes are crowded. (I weighed myself this morning back home and somehow lost 3 kg’s)
The Pacific Pearl looks to be an older ship, if you look hard enough you can see bits of rust under the paint work. But it looks ok and the crew are great.

First thing on the events calendar is the lifejacket drill and then I think it will be time for a beer.

The lifeboat drill was a bit of a shambles as the PA failed and the DJ had to read off the hardcopy, emergency handout. I hope the PA works if there is a real emergency.

The leaving party started before our drill was finished, some noisy kiwi band.
I wanted to see the ship leave port and Joyce wanted to watch the band so we parted ways. Joyce had instructions to buy me a beer and find me at the stern. The contingency plan to meet failed immediately and Joyce drank half my beer before I found her.

Only an hour and a half into the official cruise and it already looks quite messy in places. A lot of people are clearly here to drink as much as possible in the shortest time possible.

The team dealing with the passengers is mostly brown skinned from all over the world. I assume by the accents the team running the ship are white, as are most of the passengers. Who range from real wrinklies, a lot in wheel chairs or using walkers, to what appears a rather large number of bogans.

When I first started as a courier in central Auckland I used to exit some lifts completely disorientated, and at home, at night I often used to feel as if I was swaying, and still going up and down the lifts. 
That’s what the ship feels like at the moment and it is calm. Fuck knows what it will feel like if it gets a bit rough. It is also bloody windy, surprise, surprise. And colder than I thought. Lucky I packed a jersey.

Third world ship, wireless costs a shitload so I will use my phone if I want connect. Just got a txt from the Vodafone maritime satellite with charges. Maybe I won’t turn my phone on at all.

Went to a show. The music and the performance was pretty slick, but musicals do nothing for me. The karaoke in one of the bars afterwards was excruciatingly painful but far more entertaining. No we did not participate.

Dinner in one of the restaurants looked as though it was warmed up about six months ago and reheated today. I think we will take our chances with the buffet tomorrow instead of the restaurant. Quite frankly it was terrible.

The beer might be expensive, but no more than at a bar at home. The ship is rolling around a bit.

Day Two
Still on NZ time so I woke at about 3am and didn’t really get back to sleep. The boat is rolling around in the swell, it is a weird feeling as the bed is length ways which exaggerates the rolling effect. 

Level one alert announcement at about 5am did not help. The PA does work. Got up and had a shower and gathered stuff together in case we had to evacuate and put into practice what we didn’t learn at the evacuation exercise yesterday. An hour or so there was a stand down message. Sounds like an alarm of some kind went off in the galley. Maybe they had a fire.

Also felt a bit queasy. I’ll blame it in the rolling, pitching motion that I am not used to. But maybe it was that last beer or two. Still a good breakfast and I am more or less right. The buffet food was really good, so I guess that is where we will eat. Joyce lost an earring but the guys that look after the room found it. We’ll have to use them a decent tip in the envelope they helpfully left for us.

Despite me being the one that didn’t get a good night’s sleep Joyce has decided that she needs a snooze so I have to go and do some work on my book somewhere else. I’ll just wait for the laptop to charge fully.

Looks like if you don’t engage with the activities it will get a bit boring unless you do something. Unless you simply want to drink and eat to excess, or just rest and this is ok to. Lots of reading.
No phone or email. I feel as if I have my throat cut. And later in the day, welcome to the vagaries of cruising. 

Tomorrow was supposed to be a visit to Moreton Island but the weather is deteriorating so we are not going to call there now. Another sea day- not sure where or what that means, hopefully the ship will turn around and head somewhere where the weather is more settled.

It does look a bit wilder out the front of the ship. Note to self. Don’t drink too much otherwise I might stumble around a little bit more.

Of course what happens is that by the time we have completed our walk around the wind drops, the sun comes out and the sea flattens out. The Captain can't win.

Day Three
Still no internet. Not sure what is going on in the world. If the cloud died this is what it would look and feel like. Still have not bought any minutes. 

Uneventful night, though the ship is rolling and pitching more. Though we are more used to it now. Big difference in how it feels between where our cabin is and the extremities of the ship as both ends go up and down. The sea doesn’t look too much rougher than yesterday but it is a lot windier.

Needless to say we are not spending a lot of time on deck. Sitting in a lounge up the front of the ship.  Great view of, well the sea. The sea here is quite busy with ship traffic, freighters and another large cruise ship chasing us up or down the coast. I think we are still headed north, but for how long?

9.15am and we have had a good breakfast and Joyce is beside me stretched out on a couch.
Dennis’s birthday tomorrow so we will have to break internet silence and send him a message.
Seems we have turned around, actually I think we swung around to a new heading last night sometime.
After breakfast and spending some time in the lounge right up the front of the ship, had a snooze. Surfaced and had lunch to find the sea and the wind had dropped and it was quite pleasant having a bear on the rear deck. Pretty typical I guess, Captain makes a decision based on the weather forecast and immediately proven wrong.

Lots of sleeping and writing. Already have the disembarkation instructions. Looks like they are keen to get us off as quickly as possible on the morning of Day 5..

Day Four
Woke up at 5ish and had a decent sleep. Managed to get Joyce up at a decent hour for breakfast. 
Logged into the internet. Aus $0.75 a minute to send Dennis an email as it is his birthday today. 

Raining this morning but looks to be clearing up. Tried to log into google maps to see where we are. Must be under the radar as it can’t find us. Just realized how many really important personal emails I get. Not many, actually in the course of four days, none. The night before we left I set up some Facebook ads. Lots of likes bit no extra sales.

Had breakfast and now roaming the ship. Spent an hour or so in a café working on the great New Zealand novel and now it is time for another snooze. The rain has stopped and it looks quite pleasant outside.

It has turned out nice and have a had few pleasant beers in the sun and taken some photos. Time to have another snooze.

While I was having a beer on the upper deck I noticed that one of the stacks on the funnel had a dent. Should we be worried? Are we going to be negotiating a low hanging structure? I wonder what it hit.                 
Update from the Captain, someone has noticed a recreational fishing boat in distress so we are turning around to have a look and go to the rescue.

Update number 2- just a bunch of drunk Aussie fishermen with their radios off  in the middle of nowhere. Alarm over. Everyone waves as we go past and head back the way we came.
Early night. Don't sleep much. Always up and about early when I have a trip to make, a plane to catch. Still 2am is ridiculous                                                
Day Five- the longest day.
Woke at about 1 am and didn’t really get back to sleep, though I must have as I had a few dreams. Woken or kept awake by lots of activity, the neighbours packing at 2 am ish and people talking and yahooing.
The ship docked early and we were off the ship before 9am. What are we going to do for the rest of the day? Got the train to the airport only to find we couldn’t check the bag early in like we thought so went out and rented a car to go for a tiki tour. Then found the beach. Cronulla.

Riding the train and having a bit of a look around makes me realize how much older Sydney is than Auckland, and how much of it reminds me of 1970's images of English cities. Gritty and grimy.

Got back to the airport fairly early, the customs guys are on a rolling strike, so it seemed to make sense to get here a little early and enjoy Koru. Looks like we are going to be enjoying it for another forty five minutes now as the strikes delayed the earlier outbound services.

Plane delayed by an hour and a half but at least we got home in the end. I am still rocking and rolling.

By the way we had a great time on the ship.

Day Six
I am still rocking and rolling and doing the washing.