As any repeat cruisers well know, returning to a cruise ship you have already got to know well is just like returning to your own second home and also to your friends.
Jo & Garry (from our 2011 cruise) were just fantastic, inviting us to stay with them the night before we sailed. Not content with just offering us a bed and transport, they even managed to get Queensland based Ros and Arnold along as well, plus past fellow cruisers Colin & Judy, Ken and Barbara! Wow. We are just so blessed to have made such great friends and hope we can return the hospitality and generosity before too long.
There is almost a degree of ownership so when we returned this time, having pre-selected and booked our cabin almost a year ago, we didn’t exactly start off on the right foot, when “due to operational reasons”, our cabin had been reallocated to someone else and Princess had failed to notify us, either directly or via our travel agent. The upside of this was that as we basically qualified for a lift up to Elite status five days after Beijing anyway, in an effort to appease us, they agreed to do our laundry. Fair enough.
From then on, we slipped back into shipboard life quite easily.
We have said it a thousand times, but life on board, even on extended spells of sea days is never a problem. There is so much going on that only boring people will be bored.
Without trying to rank any of the following, these are probably our favourite memories;
· Dog Sledding in Alaska (albeit on wheels rather than snow)
· The sailaway from Shanghai – a symphony of coloured lights
· The Yokohama cruise terminal and the talented Japanese schoolgirl big band
· Our dining companions
· Seeing an 80ft tall wall of glacial ice calving
· One or two top class entertainers such as vocal impressionist Tony Pace
· Pearson and Harvey – comedy duo
· Sarah Dyer – an amazing pianist/orchestra leader
· Ross Maio – accordionist
· Don Ryan - ventriloquist
· Fellow evening dancers
· Great dining room food (though the lobster was disappointing!)
· Buffet staff who happily catered for the requests for poached eggs, fried onions etc.
· Cider on board!
· Fresh bread rolls
· The occasional wait staff who forgot to clip our coffee card.
· The duo of Warren and Matt on the Wake Show
· Alan and Alana – for the “Radio Shows”, quizzes and just being themselves
· Quizzing and generally enjoying not winning.
· Grouse Mountain (Vancouver)
· Victoria (Vancouver Island)
· Great staff – as always
· Pier 39 San Francisco
· Hop On Hop Off buses
There weren’t too many downsides.
· The novo-virus was no-one’s fault and did cause the curtailment of some aspects we normally take for granted such as speciality lunches.
· A growing number of “mobility impaired passengers” who seem totally ignorant of the delays and frustrations they cause, particularly the grossly obese, who continue to over eat anyway.
· USA immigration... Better than at the airports, with no fingerprint scans, but they do delay disembarking.
· Juneau’s “Bakery Bistro”... We can laugh about it now...
· Entertainers who roll out the same act, word for word, song for song, year after year
· San Francisco misplacing my luggage
· An extra 1.5kg of me.
To those who have followed the blog, thank you for the comments and the emails. To past and future cruisers, see you soon. To our family and friends, UK, NZ and Australia, we just wish you could all experience life on board with us and share our good fortune.
It is of course addictive, but all I can say is that any activity that increases your circle of friends so rapidly cannot be so bad.
The next cruise blog is aimed at our 2013 European trip.
Doing a script for the spoof promo movie is now high on my agenda but I’ll need Garry’s expertise next year to help shoot it and edit it, so nothing will be circulated until after next year’s cruise.
That’s All Folks