The Cruise

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

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)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Wednesday August 25

Day 96 Sailing towards American Samoa
We had another day at sea today with sunny weather and a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius and hardly any wind. It was glorious to spend time reading and chatting on deck. We went to a 7.00 p.m. show by the Dawn Princess singers and dancers, entitled “Extreme Country.” It was a most vibrant country and western show with some very acrobatic dancing feats. After the show we went to late dinner with Lyn and company. Then we joined our group for trivia, which we did not win tonight since we only got 24 out of 26 points. We should have known that C.S. Forrester wrote Horatio Hornblower and that the mythological woman with wings and a female head was Harmes. Thus our trivia crown has been lost. (Barbara)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Tuesday August 24

Day 95 Sailing from Moorea to the Cook Islands
It was great to have a relaxing day at sea after our two days on shore. I read, chatted and relaxed in the sun, realizing that as we near New Zealand the weather will become colder. Passengers are always telling us that it is 12 or 13 or 14 degrees in N.Z. today. This sounds unbearably cold after the temperatures we have been experiencing since we left home in May. We learnt some extra steps for the Merengue today in ballroom dancing and tomorrow all the people who have been learning dancing are going to have a group photo taken. Tonight was our second last formal night and one of the members of our table had a birthday, which we celebrated at dinner. For entertainment we went to see Mike Harris who is a comedian. He is English but lives in Australia on the central North Coast. I thought he was quite funny. One joke went like this. There were two Irishmen, Paddy and Mike, flying a plane into Mascot airport. Paddy said to Mike “That is the shortest runway that I have ever seen. You will never land the plane there.” Mike said “I’m sure I can land it” and Mike lands the plane and pulls up 2 cm before the end of the runway. Paddy says “Well done, Mike, it really was a short runway but look how wide it is!” (Barbara) Don’t forget to read the posts for Sunday and Monday describing our adventures in Tahiti and Moorea. We have written all three of these today. Another joke to cheer you up. A woman goes into a library in New Zealand and says to the librarian: “I’d like a piece of fush and some chups please.” The librarian is astonished and says: “Madam, this is a library!” The woman whispers: “Sorry! I’d like a piece of fush and some chups please.” (Bill)

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Monday August 23

Day 94 Moorea
We left Tahiti at 4 am this morning and sailed the 20 kilometer distance to Moorea. Here Bill and I did different things. He went snorkelling with the sharks and the stingrays, while I did a round island trip, which included a visit to a local village. At the village we saw how people can live very simply supplying most of their needs from the plants that grow on the island and from the fish in the sea. They use the coconut tree for many of these things including the making of their houses. We saw how they open the coconuts, and watched a demonstration of how they tie their sari like material to make 36 different outfits. They demonstrated how they tie dye this material, and also performed dances for us. One of the men got me up to dance with him and then have a photo taken with the group of male dancers. The island, itself , is just the most beautiful land that I have ever seen. Moorea is shaped like a butterfly surrounded by a sea of three different coloured blues. The island is surrounded by a reef with just eleven natural channels in through the reef. The Dawn Princess had to anchor just near the reef and we had to use the tenders to get ashore. Moorea is an uncrowded tropical island of dramatically jagged mountains, lush forests turquoise lagoons, coconut fields and glistening white-sand beaches. There are no high rise buildings here at all. Most of the people live in houses on the water front and their large allotments have the lawns beautifully manicured. We went to the top deck to watch the sail away in the evening and watched the full moon rise over the jagged mountains. We had a late dinner, and then joined four others for the trivial pursuit competition based on entertainment, which we ended up winning. Tonight we put our clocks back another hour so we are now 21 hours behind Melbourne. It was great to see pictures of Ben’s 21st. We were sorry we were not there for it, but will catch up when we return. We are now en route to Pago Pago pronounced Pango Pango in American Samoa. (Barbara) My snorkelling adventure was one the best things I have done on the cruise. We first went to an area with a large number of stingrays of a different species from the Australian ones with the barbs. These friendly creatures are like puppy dogs who like to be patted on their wings. They came for the small fish that our guide provided for them. They stare at you with their big eyes on the tops of their flat heads and can be trained to give you a kiss. The food brought other fish into the area including large but harmless black tip sharks. The visibility under the water was the best I have ever experienced. We moved on to a fabulous reef snorkelling area. The current was against us so we had to swim out towards the main reef before drifting back. A superb variety of fish of all shapes, sizes and colours. I need an underwater camera to capture these moments. (Bill)