The Cruise

World cruise on the Dawn Princess starting in Sydney on May 21, 2010 and sailing west around the world for 104 days.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Turned the blog into a book

Hi everyone.

Just received our entire blog turned into a hard cover book with all the colour photos. This is a fantastic way of having a record of the World Cruise.  Highly recommended to anyone who takes the trouble to write about a trip in daily detail.

Bill and Barbara

PS Have organised the next cruise and will blog again!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Friday September 3

Day 104 Disembarking
They say that all good things must come to an end. We went in to our last breakfast in the Venetian Room and sat near a window on the starboard side as the North Head of Sydney Harbour came into view. It was lovely to see home again and it was particularly appropriate to be greeted by a pod of dolphins as we made our way up the harbour towards the bridge. There was Kirribilli House without a PM installed but that didn’t seem to matter. There was the usual difficulty of disembarking 1500 passengers but all immigration formalities had been completed between Auckland and Sydney and customs was relatively straightforward. A problem for most world cruisers is the extra weight of luggage (perhaps personal also!) accumulated during the long voyage. Qantas charges $10 per kilo excess baggage ($7 over the Internet) so allow for this in your budget if you live anywhere but Sydney. We took the shuttle to the airport and a 2.30 pm flight saw us back home by 6 pm just in time to go to the MCG for the Geelong-St Kilda AFL game. The less said about the game for this Geelong supporter, the better.

General reflections on the 104 days as requested by some of our regular readers.

A fabulous cruise to do particularly if you have never been to many of the ports and if you can develop a shipboard routine of things that interest you.

Things to bring (or pick up in the first Australian port) some of which I forgot. Not meant to be comprehensive and I will edit this post later if other things occur to me or a reader reminds me of something. No significance in the order.
(1) an extension lead and power board, particularly for people with lots of electronic equipment, because only one of the plugs in our Dawn Princess Stateroom was Australian.
(2) multiple bow ties of many colours to take care of all the formal nights. A man can look different each time and match his wife’s outfit for the night. Perfect!
(3) really comfortable, non-slip shoes to wear on all excursions. People had falls during excursions and on the ship. Bring coral shoes to wear for adventures involving water sports. There is lots of coral at Waikiki and not much sand.
(4) a pair of binoculars and a digital camera that you can use in the water
(5) if you are short-sighted, a prescription mask for use under water
(6) lots of small denomination cash in American dollars (1s) and Euros (5s)
(7) a pair of short-range radio communicators (Tandy, Dick Smith) so you can keep in contact on ship and shore. This removes the need for expensive roaming mobile phone communication.
(8) A name tag in large letters that you can put on or remove as appropriate. Saves hours of asking and giving of names. 2000 people over 100 days means you may meet 20 new people every day. You cannot remember everyone’s name and you should not be offended if they do not remember yours. My suggestion is something like “Bill Healy, Melbourne”
(9) a small laptop computer or ipad to take advantage of the wireless internet on the Dawn Princess. ALWAYS work offline to create emails, then copy and paste online to send. This will minimize your internet time. Have Skype installed and your electronic books already downloaded for reading before you get on board. (The Skype website for installation is blocked by Dawn Princess)

Also things to do and not do.
(1) Estimate your internet usage time over 104 days and do a deal with Princess for the whole cruise. Pay as you go rate is an outrageous 75 cents per minute and it is slow. Lots of people on the cruise have free internet time, hardly ever use the internet and will generously give you their unused time.
(2) If you like your pre-dinner drinks and your wine, BYO in your cabin or on your balcony is by far the cheapest way to go. Wine is overpriced on the Dawn Princess and seems to be boycotted by most passengers. There are some restrictions about what you can bring on board but reasonable amounts seem to be allowed. Check with your fellow passengers.
(3) Participate in activities that you have never done before. Ballroom dancing, choir rehearsals and performances, tap dancing, line dancing, ceramics, table tennis, water volleyball.
(4) Set aside an hour each day for exercise. Walk the deck or use the excellent gym.
(5) Do not believe stories that circulate on the ship. They are rarely true, or, if they are, have been grossly exaggerated.
(6) Put down your name in the ballot to do the tour of the ship. It is not advertised. It is worth the price
(7) Always check out the local public transport in the ports of call. This is frequently an inexpensive and exciting way to see people and places.
(8) Be courteous and polite at all times and look after your fellow passengers. There are some wonderful people on board with fascinating life stories to tell.
(9) Allow yourself time to reflect on what you have seen and experienced over 104 days. Sort out your photos as you go or soon after you return home. If possible, ease slowly back into your home routine after your shipboard routine.

Well that’s about it. I am writing this on the Sunday evening after our return on Friday. Barbara and I have enjoyed bringing you a day by day account of our travels. We hope to do it again before too long. Anyone wishing to contact us directly about the World Cruise can email to
Best wishes to all. Bill and Barbara Healy

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Thursday September 2

Day 103 Packing up and preparing to leave
After 103 days at sea, we had a large pack up and throw out to do today. I had a glass of champagne with Lynn and then a farewell dinner with the friends we have made at our table. We all made plans to meet again. After dinner, Bill and I went to dancing class where Kathleen and John insisted that we join their dancing class back in Melbourne. We listened to the farewell Big Band, four of whom are leaving tomorrow to go back to America. We then said goodbye to people in the atrium. We went to the 9.45 show by the Dawn Princess singers and dancers. The singers were J. Michael Beech and Deanna Julian and they did a tribute to the Beatles, the Rat Pack and the Beach Boys. After this we returned to the atrium to Alan and Alana. We danced and sang and finished with “I Still Call Australia Home” and “Auld Lang Syne.” It was a great night. As we came down the corridor to our room, we realized that all the suitcases that were there when we went to dinner were gone. We really are leaving our home away from home tomorrow. (Barbara) Time has been set back the final hour now and we are on Eastern Australian time. (Bill)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Wednesday September 1

Day 102 Across the Tasman Sea
We went shopping for cardboard boxes yesterday and these now stand starkly in the room to remind me of the imminent conclusion of our adventure. Today was a whirl of social activities as each group on the ship began the process of thanking people for their service and companionship over the past 100 days. There was a most enjoyable afternoon tea dance with the Dawn Princess orchestra at 3.30 pm in the Vista Lounge followed by a cocktail party run by CruiseAbout (our travel agency) in the Wheelhouse Bar at 4.30 pm. Both were very elegant functions. We then had the penultimate dinner with our 5.30 pm table. We were making this the second to last dinner with them (tautology) and business / domestic cards were duly handed around. The discussions at dinner have been wide ranging and stimulating and I think we have been very fortunate to have had such nice people on our table. After dinner, we made our way back to the Vista Lounge to see a Scottish Instrumentalist wearing a kilt play a selection of tunes on his piano accordion. There was a sparse crowd and we had low expectations but he was actually quite good. He finished with Scotland the Brave accompanied by much hand clapping from, I presume, the audience boasting a Scottish ancestry. After a short break, we hurried to the Atrium Lounge to compete in out last trivia quiz (on travel, would you believe). When we failed to guess the next letter in the travel sequence H , P , M , P, we knew that our trivia crown was lost for this cruise. By the way, the answer is A. Joke for the day. Did you hear about the rabbit breeder in Paris? He had a hutch back at Notre Dame! (Bill)

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Tuesday August 31

Day 101 Auckland New Zealand
We woke this morning to 10 degrees Celsius, but, you guessed it: the Dawn Princess had chased the rain away. We did the ship tour to Underwater World today. This is truly amazing. It was built in the old Auckland sewers and was the brain child of Kelly Tarlton. Here, we saw a replica of Scott’s hut in Antarctica. I never realized that they carted such things as the old Singer sewing machine, a piano and a record player across the ice to use in their hut. We had a ride in a snow cat where we saw the Emperor penguins. They have 80 penguins living in the artificial snow section. They play with Frisbees and balls and spend much of their time out of the water, preening themselves. This is done to put oil into their feathers to stop them feeling the cold. We were able to see the penguins swimming under water using the same wing motion as birds use to fly. There were the usual sharks, stingrays, brightly coloured tropical fish and also sea horses, which were rather cute. We were taken to a memorial to Michael Joseph Savage who was a Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand. He died in 1940 and did much during his time as Prime Minister to help the Maori people. He was much loved and the beautiful memorial to him bears witness to this. Later, we went to Skytower, which is 328 metres high. We were able to see many Auckland sights from here, including the dormant volcanoes, Mt. Eden and Mt Rainatonga. After the tour, we went shopping for cartons to post our excess luggage home, and then walked back to the ship. Auckland is a most attractive city and with only 1 million people it is not too busy. Tonight we set sail for Sydney. (Barbara) Back on board we saw a Maori dance exhibition which was excellent. Perhaps a little too much patter. (Bill)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Monday August 30

Day 100 Into rough seas
Captain Todd McBain gave us warning of what was to come – a 4 metre swell directly into the path of the ship as we approached New Zealand. This caused the ship to pitch significantly and the bow wave splashed continuously across our window on deck 6. The choir gathered in the vista lounge for their one and only performance of international songs. The stage was not still. As we launched into “Give me a home among the gum trees . . . and an old rocking chair”, the ship lurched violently to the side taking the choir with it. Everyone just managed to keep their feet and their note. The timing was impeccable. Apparently, on an earlier cruise during an Easter church service, as the Gospel reader recited “And Jesus was nailed to the Cross . .” , the PA came on with request “Ship’s carpenters required for maintenance on deck 9!” We sang to a packed house who seemed to enjoy listening as much as the choir enjoyed singing. The Captain attended the performance and spent over an hour afterwards chatting to the choir members and the rest of the audience. This evening during dinner, we did a short reprise for the waiters from the Philippines with one of their well known songs which had been included in the recital. There was a parade of the chefs tonight during dinner in recognition of all their hard work during our cruise. We were served with another delicious Bomb Alaska. We also had a short party tonight for the dance participants and received a certificate recognizing the dances we have been taught (but not necessarily learned) during the cruise. (Bill)

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Sunday August 29

Day 99 Latitude Brisbane approaching Auckland
The captain told us to expect 4 metre waves today, but we have been blessed with the absolute best in weather for the whole trip, so we woke this morning to a sea that looked like a mill pond. It was great weather to lie on deck with a book and soak in the 25 degree sunshine. We have heard from people in Auckland who are following this blog that the weather there is most foul. If the weather we have been experiencing continues, the Dawn Princess will bring great weather to Auckland. We were told the monsoon season had started in India but we had no rain while we were there. We were told to expect rain in New York, but there was only a small shower hat lasted for a short time. I did not even notice it as I was in the theatre when it rained. We were told it was going to rain in Tahiti and again in Moorea and also in Samoa, but sunshine prevailed in all of these places. We hope the pattern continues in New Zealand. We had a big dance day today. At our normal classes we did a review of the dances we had learnt and then we went to the first Afternoon Tea Dance of the cruise. Waiters in tuxedos and wearing white gloves served afternoon tea in the Vista Lounge. The afternoon tea was presented for our selection on large platters, which were brought to our small tables for two. While this was happening, the orchestra played and we danced. This was Alana’s brain child and she said that if it was a success we would do it again. Judging by the numbers who attended and the people who actually danced, I would say that it was a huge success. The band said that they enjoyed playing when so many people danced. Tonight, we had the Captain’s farewell cocktail party. All of us who did the world cruise received a commemorative plaque. We had a formal farewell dinner with so many courses but I could barely manage three because of the afternoon tea. Again lobster was a choice as was caviar. Bill had the caviar and said it was the best entrĂ©e he had eaten all trip. He had the symphony of mousses for dessert. This came on a plate that was decorated in chocolate with the treble clef and the lines of music. The staff had gone to more trouble than usual to make this night special, and that is saying something. The ten people at our table took photos of each other and exchanged addresses. We had the most wonderful dinner companions for the whole trip. Some tables did not seem to gel and the people did not turn up, so some tables for ten only had two or four people at them. As our American friends from the South who joined our table when they boarded in L.A. told us, “We were told by some people at the table next to us that they had lucked out when they were assigned to our table.” There is always great talk, but maybe we get a bit loud. Earlier we had a single lady at our table but she asked to be put on a table with some single men. After she was moved, she used to come back to our table because she said she enjoyed the conversation with us. She was disappointed when the Americans were put on the table in L.A. and she could no longer come back. As we entered the dining room tonight, we were each given a menu, tied with ribbon like a diploma, to take home. We will have to buy some boxes in N.Z. to post home about 40 kilograms of goods as we will be too overweight for the plane. The main problem is our Turkish Carpet. We joined with our other four trivia partners tonight for the Spooky Entertainment Quiz, but we bombed out on the section on books as none of us was into reading horror novels. Also, tonight, we enjoyed going to the Beatles Tribute Showtime. They did the same show that they did earlier in the cruise, but we enjoyed it just the same. People were up singing along with them and dancing in the aisles. (Barbara)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Friday August 27

Day 98 Passing Tonga on the way to New Zealand
There is a feeling that the cruise is coming to an end with 300 of the New Zealanders getting off in Auckland. Today, we gave a presentation to Alana at dancing class. She is just the best dancing teacher and also such a lovely, lovely person who gives more than is expected. Today, she taught us the tango. I really like this dance. We had a photo taken of all on board who had been on for the whole world cruise (about 1000 people). The Beatles group boarded the ship again in Pago Pago. We met aka Paul when we were going to breakfast this morning. Because we cross the international date line today he said that yesterday he rang his family in England where it was tomorrow for them, but that tomorrow he will ring them when it will be yesterday for them. That is one way to look at the fact that we lose a day. What a pity if you have a birthday or anniversary on the 28th August. (Paul Healy!) Tonight we put our clocks one whole day forward and one hour back. What this means is that we are now 2 hours ahead of Melbourne. (Barbara) A little note went on our pillow with information about the time and day change tonight. Our choir had a group photo today and only one more rehearsal remains before our performance. The Captain has been invited and he has accepted. We will be doing one song from each of the many different countries we have visited. Our chocolate count for the cruise is 104 × 2 = 208 chocolates left on our pillows. See photo. Joke for the day: Three sailors go into a bar and order a glass of beer each. There is a fly in each beer. The recreational sailor demands a new beer from the bartender. The new navy recruit picks the fly out of the beer. The old salt picks up the fly by the wings, squeezes it and shouts: “ Spit it out! Spit it out!” Is this funny when it is written down? (Bill)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Thursday August 26

Day 97 Pago Pago American Samoa
We spent today in Pago Pago in American Samoa. This is about an eight-hour ferry ride from Western Samoa. Pago Pago is on the island of Tutuila, which is of volcanic origin. Tutuila’s jungle clad mountains rise abruptly from the sea and fjord like bays cut deeply into narrow valleys. This morning we did a ship-organized tour of the island. We were forewarned that the buses were not up to the standard of buses we had used in other ports but that they were the best on the island. Our bus was brightly painted and decorated with fresh flowers, but it lacked a starter motor in working order. This meant that after each stop, two very large Samoans had to push the bus and the thirty passengers until the engine kicked over. I must say after many days of enjoying the Princess Dawn food, most passengers were not of the lighter weight variety. We were taken to see the Flower Pot, which is two rocks with plants growing out of the top. Legend has it that the front one of these rocks is the female and the back one is the male. Our two guides were college students who both wanted to be teachers when they finished their schooling. One of them tested his teacher skills on the passengers of our bus by deciding to teach us about two hundred Samoan words in the space of a few hours. He would say a word in Samoan and then say now repeat it after me. It was quite hilarious. Maybe I might have remembered one or two words, but not the number our guide tried to get us to remember. The other guide who looked male to me was referred to as “she” all the time by the number one guide. He or she was born in Tahiti. The third son in Tahiti is brought up as a girl. It is just part of their culture. I have never seen so many churches as there were in Samoa. There were two or three of every religion that I have ever heard of and then some that I have never heard of as well. There was also a great proliferation of places to have sewing done. Evidently, you can choose material and have it made up in a day into whatever you want. We were taken to the area where the first missionaries landed on the island. Around this area we saw evidence of the tsunami that affected this island last year. The Samoans have large families - one of our guides was one of nine children and the other was one of seven children. They live together in an extended family group with several of these groups living in a small village. A chief is elected as the leader of the group and a large central house or “fare” is set in the centre as the place to entertain visitors or for large gatherings on festive occasions. These “fares” are large but have no walls, just a roof and poles to hold the roof up. The more basic housing in the smaller villages were also without walls. You could see people inside watching T.V., resting, washing and cooking. However, in the larger villages and towns, the houses were much more sophisticated. Around the beautifully manicured golf course, the homes were most elegant. There are no public cemeteries for the Samoans as they bury their loved ones alongside their houses and decorate them with flowers. I saw one child playing around the grave beside her home. We also went to a Samoan village where we were shown how the Samoans use the native plants to make many of the necessities of life. The leaves from the pandanus trees are used to weave floor mats, baskets, fans and hats. The seeds are strung together to make a necklace, which is worn by the chiefs. They grow the coco plant and make a very rich chocolate cocoa from the seeds, which they cook and then crush. The United States, looking for a coaling port, took over the islands in 1900. The Americans were stationed on the island during World War II but left soon after the war ended. Today it is an unincorporated territory of the United States. The inhabitants are U.S. nationals but not citizens, which means they cannot vote for the U.S. president. The governor is elected every four years and the judiciary is run along American traditions. Land on the island can only be owned by fully-fledged Samoans. When we returned from the tour, Bill and I went for a walk up a very steep hill where we saw many of the children just returning from school They were very friendly and all wanted to say “hello.” We were also greeted by many barking dogs who all wanted to defend their territory. Tonight, we had dinner in our room and watched the 3.5 hour epic, “Gone With The Wind” (Barbara) I continued the film festival with “The Apartment” starring a very young Jack Lemmon and a pixie starlet called Shirley MacLaine. I have been running short on Internet time but have been saved by friends who have not used their free internet time so now I have lots to play with. The blog can continue! (Bill)