Bon Voyage Sea Princess World Cruise 2016!
Hello and Farewell Sydney!
What a beautiful port from which to embark on the Sea Princess 2016 World Cruise.
Oh Sydney you are beautiful with all your watery blue finery and iconic buildings, moulding the past with the present so effortlessly.
Sadly we only had a little time to explore your alluring assets but we fitted in quite a few things.
First up a walk around the Opera House and the Botanical Gardens (200 years old this year). Then a fabulous dinner pierside at Otto in Woolloomooloo (isn’t that a lovely name? Sounds like a song 🙂
We had a luxurius overnighter at the Four Seasons overlooking Circular Quay with a beautiful view onto the Opera House (above) and a quick march around the historic area of The Rocks early next morning, an area which retains some fascinating old nooks, crannies and architecture (below). Some of the houses have been restored to how they once would have looked – outside toilets and all, and Dave and I showed our age by saying, “Crikey, we remember outside toilets in England from when we were young!”
Finally we just had time for quick breakfast with an old friend – Hello Jules! – whom I first met when I was backpacking around Australia in 1983. We caught up on news at a quirky and upbeat cafe at The Rocks where a Sunday market was in full swing.
What’s that I hear you say about a friend in every port!
Because we’re visiting 27 different countries on this grand global circumnavigation, taking in 39 destinations – that’s an awful lot of friends to find or re-connect with 🙂
Leaving the hotel in a taxi the next morning my excitement was barely containable.
“Where are we going?” I asked the driver urgently as we soon appeared to be driving away from the big white ship the size of an apartment block and heading in the opposite direction.
“Cruise ships no longer depart from the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay,” he said probably wondering which planet I’d just dropped from! “They now depart from White Bay.”
We were met dockside by Angus Wilkinson, Customer Services Director who was so friendly and welcoming.
There were loads of returning Princess passengers many of whom waved and said “Hello Angus” as he took us on a tour of the ship. It was like being with the Pied Piper 🙂
He introduced us to Anthony Pollendine the Hotel General Manager and several other key crew members before leaving us to settle in to our stateroom with it’s fabulous private balcony.
Exploring the ship
After we’d unpacked, we explored the ship some more.
We came across The Gypsy Swing Jazz Band playing welcome aboard melodies in the Atrium – that’s Midship on Deck 5 (Ha, don’t think I know it all – I keep getting lost) … Anyway I posted a little video to Facebook of Gypsy Swing – did you catch it? Don’t forget to check Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
How amazing it was just to stand on deck and gaze out over the azure sea and Sydney at large, but not quite as amazing as listening to the sounds of the ocean once we had set sail into the blue yonder.
But first things first … time to muster. At the sound of the ship’s siren everyone gathered with lifejackets at their designated muster stations for the emergency drill, and suddenly it all felt a bit Titanic-ish and I felt just a tingle of adrenalin cursing through my veins – best I pay attention, I thought and not let my mind wander off as I do when it comes to Airplane safety videos.
Yes, yes of course I kept looking around for Leonardo and Kate – but I’ll have to wait to watch movie stars, under the celestial stars on moonlit nights by the swimming pool when new releases are aired on the big screen to find them.
Can’t wait – wish you were with me popcorn in hand.
Anyway, soon we were off. Ganplanks up, ropes were dropped and out we glided under Sydney Harbour Bridge with literally only millimetres to spare, which gives you some indication of how tall this ship is.
As we passed circular quay and the Opera House, the band started playing, champagne glasses clinked and the sail-away celebration began in earnest on the open deck around the pool as we listened to Party Band Passion. People were dancing, the sun set on cue over and behind Sydney Harbour Bridge and dusk slowly drew into an enchanted evening.
The next decision was what to do next. Rest up? No Way? We had blogging to do and finding out how to make the systems (which work well on land) convert to on-board-ship-mode with unreliable internet connectivity caused me to exclaim “Oh for crying in a bucket!” quite a few times.
Please bear with me Lifestylers … it’s all a bit topsy turvy at Lifestyle Fifty Business Central so blog posts might not get to you as regularly as normal, and I may not get to read and comment on your blog posts as often as I’d like. Don’t give up on me though. I’m still with you.
Night Time Excitement
Yes, I expected a cabaret show or two, what I didn’t expect was the variety of entertainment on offer; music and dancing, quizzes, happy hours, dance parties and a sophisticated soiree with the Amethyst Trio in the Crooners lounge which we really enjoyed before dinner on our first night.
You could choose from music in the Atrium, Showtime in the Princess Theatre, have a flutter at the casino, or dance the night away in the Wheelhouse Bar – just a few of the night-time delights.
Things I’m Loving so far
I was really worried the Stateroom would be miniscule, and we would bulge at the seams. We had 3 x 20kgs suitcases full of clothes and etc’s, and 2 heavy daypacks filled with blogging paraphernalia – laptops, cameras, cables, ipads etc. But we unpacked everything into the cupboards and drawers, and left some of the items we wouldn’t be using so much (like raincoats and medical supplies) in suitcases which fitted neatly under the bed.
The food, of course I’m loving the food!
The crew … my hairdresser said to me the other day, “Cruise ship crew are always so happy and helpful!” and she’s right!
The amount of diversity on board – from things to do, lectures to attend and quiet places (like the library) to sneak moments of peace.
The bed – is king size and really comfy.
This morning – bliss – here’s what I loved – having a cup of coffee in bed and gazing out across the sea while reading The Princess Patter and deciding what activities to attend during the day ahead.
I like the fact that there are singles and solo’s get togethers – how fab if you are travelling alone to know you need not be alone.
What’s Up Next?
Pop back for more cruise news … I’ll be bringing you amazing destinations, interviews with passengers and crew members, what life on board is like and much much more.
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I’m a guest of Princess Cruises but all opinions are my own.