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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Best wishes to all. Bill and Barbara Healy