Our first portion of the World Cruise onboard Sea Princess took us from Sydney to to Melbourne and then across the Australian Bight to Adelaide. All things considered the sea was pretty calm and the weather fairly decent for the beginning of winter.
Right now we are on our way to Fremantle sailing in the Southern Ocean at lattitudes known as the Roaring Forties, so named for the strong winds and rough seas that are often found in these waters.
Even for a luxury cruising vessel such as the Sea Princess this stretch of ocean remains challenging even for the most experienced of Captains.
Meeting the Ship’s Captain
We were privileged to be invited to meet our Captain, Paulo Ravera on the bridge of the Sea Princess. The bridge is an impressive structure at the front of the ship and spans the whole width. The view out onto the oncoming ocean is breathtaking.
A large part of our discussion with the Captain focussed on his number one priority; the safety of his passengers, his crew and his ship. He told us all about the continuous monitoring of weather conditions, and how he receives weather data from various institutions around the globe to constantly build up more refined forecasts of the weather ahead.
He said that due to the location of two high pressure systems, one sitting over Australia and one off the West Coast, he was expecting stormy weather ahead.
It was reassuring to know how much focus and priority is placed on assuring the safety of everyone on board and therefore it wasn’t a surprise on our return from the shore excursion to the Barossa Valley to hear the Captain address the ship over the loudspeaker to say that we would be altering our itinerary to avoid the worst of the weather. This meant we would make an unplanned stop to anchor in safe waters near the small south west Australian town of Esperance to allow the storm to pass.
You’re in safe hands with Paulo who heads up a crew of 960 on the Sea Princess. His sea career started in the early 80’s in the Italian Navy and in 1990 he served on his first passenger ship before working with Renaissance Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Princess Cruises who he joined in 2003.
On the bridge he is calm, collected and considered, and in between a multitude of other tasks as well as keeping an ever watchful eye on the weather fluctuations he was happy to chat to us.
Have you ever seen anything really unusual, incredible or spooky from the bridge? I asked Paulo.
“You mean like the Flying Dutchman?” he laughed. “No! Although sailors are renowned for being superstitious I believe there is a scientific reason for most things that happen at sea. However, I have witnessed incredible natural beauty, from amazing sunsets to the wonders of the Northern Lights.
Although sea sickness is not a common occurrence on cruise lines because the ships have stabilisers to minimise the effects of the movement in the swells and their speed through swells is always monitored, there are certain things you should be aware of during inclement weather.
So in the light of the weather conditions ahead we were keen to learn about ways to help prevent Mal de Mer, just in case, and had the chance to chat to Angus Wilkinson, the Customer Services Director (below) who provided us with 5 helpful tips for rough weather.
5 Tips for rough weather
- Be cognisant of warnings. Observe signage – if the decks are closed or cordoned off with ropes, don’t go out on them.
- If you’re using the stairs, make use of the hand rails.
- For Mal de Mer (motion sickness) try holistic ginger tablets or arm bands with pressure points. Both are natural remedies.
- Apples and dry crackers can also help if you are feeling queasy.
- Best place to be when the sea is rough? Lower mid ship – such as The Atrium on Deck 5 on Sea Princess.
Days at Sea
We’re finding days at sea just as much fun as days in port as there is so so so much to do. Here’s just a sample of the things we’ve been involved in since we boarded 6 days ago.
Pop Choir, table tennis, spinning class, well-being lecture, digital photography class, how to use your Go-Pro, formal dinner and champagne waterfall, 3 cabaret shows, 3 cocktail soirees, a soak in the hot tub under the stars and of course getting to meet lots of our lovely fellow shipmates and share stories.
For more stories from the World Cruise you might like …
Behind the Scenes Tours
Tip: If you’d like to do a behind the scenes tour of the ship and see the Bridge among other restricted places, consider the “Ultimate Ship’s Tour” which can be booked for a nominal sum – but do get in quick because it’s quite exclusive and limited to just 12 people.
I’m a guest of Princess Cruises. All opinions are my own.