Neither my husband or I considered that we had ever cruised before although he had come out to Australia as a ten pound pom on the Angelina Laura and I had been around the world by ship before I was three and also been on the Angelina Laura as a fourteen year old. In all these sailings either because of age or type of voyage we did not classify them as a cruise, but rather a voyage that got us to destinations in very little comfort.
The decision to make this cruise came in my husband’s desire to escape the hype of Christmas and New Year. He wanted to replace partying with family and friends with 2,500 other people. An introverts dream holiday. I worried about how I would cope with that number of people and also leaving my mother alone for Christmas. As Roger had been suggesting this holiday for several years and I had kept putting him off using my Mum as an excuse, this year I decided that it was time he had his way. My Mum surprised me by not being upset and we started looking at what ship and where.
We couldn’t find a small ship and the only option doing New Zealand over Christmas and New Year was the Emerald Princess, a large ship, so we made our choice easily. Then the decisions started having to be made. What cabin – interior, ocean view, balcony or mini suite (not really an option). We decided on a balcony on the premise that if the people got to much for us we could sit outdoors in the privacy of our room and watch the ocean go past. What deck and position? At this point we almost threw in the idea. We looked at the multiple decks to choose from and had no idea. We found an internet site that gave us all the pros and cons of each position. Too near the lift and you got the noise from it all night. Too close to the disco created a similar problem. The life rafts could also obstruct your view so you might have a balcony but not be able to see a thing. Finally we settled on Baja Deck Cabin 234 and kept our fingers crossed.
Next we had to decide drinks package or no drinks package. Roger found a site that gave tips on how to get the cheapest drinks once on board and ways of smuggling alcohol on board. It pointed out that green coloured vodka in a mouth wash bottle was a common ploy which the ships police had twigged to. Available on ebay however were items which you could put alcohol into which would not be picked up by the xray equipment.You were allowed to take 1 bottle of wine per person on board and this could only be drunk in your stateroom. I don’t drink but I do like my fizzy water which was included in the drinks package rather than the soft drink package. This caused Roger a few sleepless nights and many hours on the internet researching before he decided that he would leave the drinks package, the soft drink package and the coffee package and make his decision once on board.
Internet was the next decision and having done some research and discovering that the only time you could really use it without it costing a fortune was when in port. When in port we wanted to explore, not be online and we figured most places would probably have a library with free access once we were there. Inwardly I panicked at the thought of no internet. No word press. But I reasoned it may do me the world of good and give me a holiday where I was not distracted by anything.
As we were leaving from Sydney I had to book flights from Brisbane to Sydney. I discovered however that it was very expensive due to the time of year so we decided to drive down. This turned out to be a lucky thing as it meant I wasn’t constricted by air craft weight regulations and I went to town with a huge suitcase. It does well to research what the possible theme nights may be and you are told how many formal occasions there will be. Christmas and New Year were our theme nights as well as 2 out of the three formal nights we had on our cruise.
We also had to organise somewhere for the dogs and a friend offered for them to stay at her place. For this we were extremely grateful as the cost of kennels and home stays that we would have been happy with were going to cost more per day than we were paying for the cruise.
All decisions made, we waited with increasing anticipation to the day we left Noosa.