Brrrrng Brrrrng….the alarm wakes us on the morning of the cruise and it’s excitement all around. Bags are packed, paper work is ready, the fridge is emptied and it’s time to go! The mini-bus arrives at 11am to pick us up, and after a few laps of the local area and with all (13?) seats full it’s off to the Overseas terminal…or so we think. It seems that some ships also leave from White Bay. When we arrive there it is pouring rain, and the passengers heading on the P&O short cruise (3 days off Sydney) look like drowned rats as they drag their luggage along to the White Bay Terminal.
Things are a bit brighter at Circular Quay as the rain has stopped and a few rays of sunshine are peeking through the clouds. Even so none of us notice the red nose on the bow of the ship as we are too busy organising our luggage. Our plan to carry-on as much luggage as possible has backfired, almost everything has to be checked-in. We will be able to carry it off ourselves though!
Then it’s up to the next floor to open our cruise accounts and get our sail and sign cards…then through customs and off to the tax refund booth where a hold up meant that I got separated from everyone else and missed the ‘Boarding the Ship’ photo….last port of call was the luggage check and then off to the cabin to drop the hand luggage and explore the ship….first stop the La Playa Grill (Deck 9) for lunch.
Lunch is an international affair Peter selecting Chinese food, mum & dad Italian, Lara joining the queue for ham and pineapple pizza and I went for the salad bar & Italian fish. – Since it had been a long time since breakfast we made a trip to sweet treats where Lara discovered that in the cold jelly v’s warm plate challenge the jelly will lose. There was plenty of fresh fruit, cake pops and cream, but there was disappointment when we found the unlimited ice-cream was soft serve and there was no Blueberry Cheesecake flavor!!
A quick look around the upper decks and then back to the cabin to begin unpacking.
Didn’t get everything done and at 3.30pm it was off to the Fountain Café to join the ships tour with Rowley. Lara is very excited to find there is a library onboard and is hoping it is full of Manga…At 4pm Lara and Peter have to leave the ships tour to check out the kids clubs. The tour continues to the shopping area, casino Serenity Deck (adults only!) and then up to see Green Thunder, off to the Spa – where we got to try seaweed skin mask…then off to the Gym…where we find out that on average passengers gain 3kg each on a seven day cruise! We did not win the spa credit.
Back to cabin to finish unpacking as it is nearly time for dinner – the cabin still looks like a bomb went off when the alarm sounds for the COMPULSORY emergency drill. Off we go down to Deck 3 area B to check out our life boats and uh-oh we find it is the Italian Capt and realise we must pay strict attention as the last one hit a rock and the ship is still laying there! So now we are late for dinner & no time to unpack – it is all go on the cruise.
We head to the Empire Dining Room (Deck 2, Aft) and meet Aaron, our Head Waiter and his off-sider Bagous (otherwise known as Bali Boy) we also meet the bread delivery guy – who I am sure we will remember after a few days. We are at table 170 which is toward the edge of the room – not quite a window seat though. About 6:40pm during the mains we notice the ship is moving…Hurrah we are on our way. Three courses take a while to eat so it is after 7:30 when we leave.
Peter and Lara head to kids club visiting the library on the way (where Lara discovers that there are no Manga books and Peter finds out you have to sign over your 3rd born to borrow anything). The rest of us check that the accounts are set up properly and then swing past the daily photos, which we decide to leave as not everyone is in them L and head back to cabin.
No excuses now it is time to finish unpacking and put the cabin to rights. I visit Mum and Dads cabin (7166) to check out their extra space. When I head back to our cabin Lara has arrived back from kids club and is already in bed. So we get her up, I try out the shower – which has good pressure and temperature) then we all head off to the Welcome Aboard Show at 9:30pm. The Pharoahs Palace (Deck 2, Fwd) is very impressive, and as you might guess is decorated in an Ancient Egyptian theme. The show is just a short one with a few songs by the ships entertainers, short performances by the comedians that are on board for the first few nights, and a bit of an introduction from the Cruise Director (Stu to his friends). There are plenty of other activities available but we are knackered so it is back to our Cabin and into bed.
For Dinner Tonight…..
Lara – Prawns, pearch (with chips), jelly & ice cream (dessert only kids menu)
Peter – Propical fruit plate, linguine, crème brulee
Ginger – Tropical fruit plate, perch, crème brulee
Colin – Beetroot capacciao, spaghetti , Black forest cherry cake
Jane – Salmon plate , Lamb Loin, Orange Cake