The Cruise

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

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)