We left home and the minute our road trip began we stopped worrying about the dogs, Mum and all the stresses we’d been going through. All we concerned ourselves with was getting to Sydney, catching up with some friends and boarding at midday on the 19th. We did vaguely wonder if we should have purchased land trips through the ship and the alcohol package. We had done neither. As we wereon Baja Deck (deck 11) we were amongst the first to board. Our first sighting of the ship made us realise what a mammoth monster it was.
Almost like my bag. I could barely lift it so it was lucky it wheeled well. We dropped our luggage off and headed for a cup of coffee and a bon voyage from our friend. We left her to join the queue.
I was glad we were boarding early as the lines would have only got longer as they time got later. They had it down to a fine art however and we were shepherded in quickly moving succession from immigration control, identity labelling (which we later found replaced our passport in all future ports of call and acted as our money whilst on board), customs and then on board. It wasn’t long before
before we found ourselves at our cabin door being greeted by balloons and poster wishing us a Happy Anniversary.
Inside more anniversary gifts and an invitation to join the captain at a function for celebrating people. I fell in love with my cabin immediately. A king bed, protected from suitcases with a rubber mat, a huge walk in wardrobe
television, desk and of course our balcony. The tiny bathroom was well set up and the water from the shower came in a strong hot jet. I later found out that the ship was designed with ecology in mind. The water was provided by the ship’s desalination plant and kept in the hold. This acted as ballast and kept the ship so stable. Only once did we roll so greatly that the water did not have time to move to the other side quickly enough to keep it on an even keel. The ship can create more fresh water than the passengers and crew can use. The surplus is bartered as wharf fees and offloaded at ports. This is particularly welcome at ports in drought, areas of low rainfall and otherwise lacking a clean water supply.
I thought I would enjoy sitting out on the balcony and perhaps I would have if we had been sailing to another destination. New Zealand turned out to be both very cold and very windy. I did enjoy having it as we were entering and leaving ports.
The birds eye view we got from being so high up gave me images of the opera house, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Fort Denison that I had not previously seen.
It also gave me the opportunity to keep an eye on the bridge and I took to taking photographs as soon as I woke and on sunset each day of the activity in the bridge.
We unpacked and watched our departure from Sydney Harbour. Our first compulsory activity was to do an emergency drill.
We had our muster stations – ours was the Princess theatre – where we turned up in response to the emergency blasts on the horn all carrying our life jackets. Demonstrations were given and unlike being in a plane, we all had to have a go. The Captain had a word of welcome and some words re evacuation likelihood. He told us it was extremely unlikely we would have to abandon ship but if we ever saw him in his blonde wig, dress and high heels running down the corridors we should be thinking of following for he was a firm believer in women and children first.
Being released from the theatre, it was time to go exploring.