Day Date / Port            

Fri May 21 Sydney, Australia departs 5:00pm

Left the B&B (www.bbsydneyharbour.com.au) with our 2 suitcase,  three hand luggages and my guitar, and headed for Dock 8, Darling  Harbour.

A very smooth checkin with about 20 desks processing the 2000 passengers.

We quickly found our cabin - C720 - a 4m x 8m cabin with twin  queen sized single beds and a nice external balcony with two  seats and a small table, where we can sit and drink our gin  tonics, which we didn't have because we couldn't fit anything  else into our suitcases, let alone smuggled bottles of grog. We will try  to restock in Darwin.

Had a good sailaway party on deck that evening, as we squeezed  under the Harbour bridge, with 2 metres to spare...

Met up with two different couples, one guy is a guitarist/song writer who  has brought his guitar on board, so we have threatened to get  together sometime and have a jam session...

Sat May 22             At Sea

Morning spent sorting out details of  possible day trips for the coming few weeks and getting to know  our way about the ship, changing our dining session time from  early (5:30pm) to late (8:00pm)... Had an acupucture session to  try and relieve the lower back pain I've been experiencing since the apartment clearout, but to little lasting effect. Reverted to lying on the floor in the cabin, doing physiotherapy exercises.

Sun May 23  
top          At Sea   

Investigated the internet facilities -  very expensive. For casual use, the costs are $0.75 a minute,  but you can buy a package of 1000 minutes for $250 ($0.25/min),  or 500 minutes for $175 ($0.35/min). Elected for the 500  minutes, which should give me around 5 minutes a day. Our first formal dining evening this evening.

Met our new dinner table  partners - a cordial group of retired farmers, shopkeepers and business people. A fun group.

Mon May 24             At Sea

Cruising off the Queensland coast around Gladstone. Activities: more of the same - Su studing Spanish, me lying around the cabin floor. Managed to get a mobile signal for part of the day and made a few calls whilst we could.

Went along to the Karaoke lounge this evening... enough said. Stayed on for the late night Nightclub/Disco - but surprise - not  "doof doof" music, but good old 60's and 70's  stuff. Good fun.

Tue May 25             At Sea

Passing around the top of Australia  today, weather getting pretty hot. Passing lots and lots of islands... Interesting lectures on Magellan, Columbus, discoveries of the Americas etc etc.

Dining in the Pizza  parlour this evening - getting a bit sick of three course dinners.

An expensive ship this - cheapest wines are $7.00 a glass, bottles of wine around $35 - $40 each. Must stock up in Darwin.

No cash on board - we use our swipe cards to buy drinks and the costs get sent to an on-board account. It soon mounts up!

Princess sent round a notice yesterday, of their intention to automatically debit everyone's on-board account with a $10 per  person per day gratuitity surcharge for distribution to the various service staff - waiters, cabin attendants, serving  staff. A lot of grumbling from the passengers, so they have  permitted us to 'opt out' of this charge and handle the gratuities ourselves. I was at the head of the queue to sign the form cancelling the charge. Princess can get stuffed!

Wed May 26  
top          At Sea  

We heard a rumour that, if there was enough interest, the ship might try to secure rights to broadcast tonight's State of Origin Rugby League match between NSW and Queensland.

We signed up, Princess got the rights and a good night was had watching Queensland (full of Melbourne Storm players), defeat NSW.

Thu May 27             Darwin

Hot, humid, expensive, but plenty of grog shops.

Went ashore and bought a day old Financial Review (today's paper doesn't arrive till 4.00pm)

Same bad news as last week - stockmarket down, Labor and the  Miners at odds over the great big new tax, the Coalition still bumbling around. But front page news - Malcolm Fraser has resigned from the Liberal Party. Ho hum - who cares? Guess I  don't really care about these things much anymore. Whatever  will be, will be.

Smuggled our booze back on the boat and settle back into routine.
 
Fri May 28             At Sea

Went to see the evening show in the big 500 seater lounge this evening. There is a big, theatrical type splashy show, every evening.

The musicians are good, but are playing along with pre-recorded backing tracks of guitars and vocalists. This makes the music sound all a bit too mechanical and stiff, although nobody really notices - they are all too busy looking at the dancers.

There is plenty of opportunity to listen to live/pre-recorded  music -
there are two major theatrettes for song and dance, a  wheelhouse bar with a band, and the three floor atrium at the centre of the ship where they have two areas with baby grand pianos.

The upper deck often has a band playing along as we sail off from ports.

So, musically we have:

 * an orchestra (three brass, piano, bass drums) augmented by  backing tracks,

 * a reasonably good 4 piece pop band,

 * a string quartet playing classics,

 * and two (count 'em, two!) duo's.

One of the duo's is imaginatively named "Alan and Alana" - he plays guitar along with backing tracks and she sings.

The other duo, is confusingly named "Allan and Ladonna" - he plays piano along with backing tracks and she sings.

No need to say any more about the duo's!

Overall, and disappointingly, the standard of entertainment is nowhere near as good as we have seen on other ships.

Sat May 29   
top         At Sea  

Met up with a fellow passenger who has brought his guitar along with him and we have had a good jam session. Kim is pretty good. We reckon we could steal the audiences from the duos if we put a mind to it. But sounds like a lot of hard work, and I'm not sure I'm ready for that...

Sun May 30             Padang (Bali), Indonesia

According to the tourist literature, Bali is "The Land of the gods" and "The closest thing to Heaven on Earth"

Went ashore at Benoa Bay at Bali, tendering on and off the ship in small boats because P&O is too cheap to pay port fees at the main Bali port. I am thinking that P&O doesn't stand for  "Pacific and Orient", but "Profiteers and Overchargers"

Getting out from the disembarcation jetty was a nightmare.

We were literally mobbed by street vendors thrusting toys, postcards, beads, bangles, etc, etc into our faces, shouting at us to buy their stuff.

Managed to escape and went in a guided taxi to Kuta beach. What  was probably a lovely place once, has been ruined by commercialism, end of year football trips, and just too many people. Did find a shoe big enough for Steve Hill. (pictures later)

Although we did not ask for this, the taxi driver took us along the several crowded laneways and obligingly told us that this was where the bombings took place in 2002. Just what we wanted to know!
 
On the return to the jetty, I had about $2 in Bali money left over - I put it into my pocket ready to give to our guide.

At he entrance to the jetty, the street vendor mobs were worse - they knew that once we escaped across the security line, they had lost all hope of a sale.

We were crushed by people; yelling, thrusting babies in our faces, waving junk at us.... I felt a hand sliding into my  shorts pocket.... one of these lovely, peaceful, gentle Balinese people, had picked my pocket.

Mon May 31             At Sea

Lectures - we have a couple of good lecturers on board. Andrew Stuart, a retired UK ambassador, gives history lectures on the places we are about to visit. His talks are really informative, colourfully anecdoted with a lot of dry, unstated British humour. The 500 seat theatre is packed out every time.

We also have Gloeta Massic, a young (30-ish) American biologist who is giving talks on all things Marine. She is also very good - funny, entertaining, with a brain the size of a small planet. We find out tonight that she also sings good Karaoke.

Ahh... Karaoke. We went to the Karaoke night, after the Captain's Formal Cocktail Party for returning Princess' Cruisers like us. 

Managed to overcome my natural instinct to avoid making a fool of myself in public performances and overdid it a bit on the karaoke floor. Too many Jo Cocker impersonations. Met a few of the Staff, including the foresaid biologist, who sings really well. Also met up with Julie James, the ship's Art Director, damn good jazz singer and friend of my old mate - drummer Steve Hill from Tassie. The best night we have had so far. And our wedding anniversary - 39 years.

Tue Jun  1  
top          At Sea   june   

The old back is hurting a bit today. Felt like I'd been doing the limbo or something strenuous last night.

Lunchtime the crew and selected passengers celebrated the crossing of the Equator in the usual manner.... us experienced "crusty shellbacks", did not attend, and left it to the "pollywogs".

Quiet day today. Girding our loins for a day in Singapore tomorrow.

Wed Jun  2             Singapore

Went on an organised tour - "the Battlefields of Singpore"

My father flew Australian POW's out of Changie prison camps after WW II ended, and I wanted to learn a bit more about the history and try to see some of what he must have experienced.

We went to the Changie War Museum which features a replica of the chapel that the Japanese allowed the prisoners to build. There were many photos and stories of the prison conditions, including a mockup of the prison cells, and many survivors' stories of the brutal treatment at the hands of the invaders. I have a better understanding of the hatred felt by my parent's generation towards the Japanese.

Also went into the "Battle Box" - the underground bunker in Singapore where the war against the advancing Japanese forces was planned (and lost).

Visited the Kranji War Memorial and the thousands of gravestones commemorating the three Services' dead. So young! A very moving day.

Thu Jun  3             Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), Malaysia

Caught the shuttle bus into Kuala Lumpur from Port Klang, about 90 minute drive. Malaysia doesn't seem to have changed much in the outskirts, but the city itself has been transformed with new flyovers and freeways. Caught up with our friend Wendy, had lunch and spent a very pleasant afternoon with her.

Fri Jun  4             Langkawi, Malaysia

Lovely island this is.... caught the shuttle bus into town, spent a happy afternoon at a lovely beach bar, having a few drinks and soaking up the sun. Managed to leave my camera behind in the bar. Lucky it was just a cheapie. I'll buy another in Dubai duty free.

This evening, had another Karaoke night to celebrate one of our fellow passenger's birthday (Ralph, 71 yo) and I managed to control myself and not get up and sing!

Sat Jun  5             At Sea

We pass around the Nicobar Islands. The place to go when you want to give up smoking??

Seas getting rough as we head into the Bay of Bengal, and the tail end of the Monsoon season whips up the wind and the sea. A ship's speed of 20 knots and a wind speed of 35 knots gives a combined apparent wind speed of 55 knots. We avoid the open decks and move between the corridors, under cover.

My new (6 week old) Fisher and Paykel CPAP (Controlled Positive Air Pressure) machine gave up the ghost last night. Via a breathing mask, this machine provides a continuous, positive air pressure column of air to my throat and stops me snoring. It is the second time it has failed. Lucky I bought along the old one. Shame the hose pipe has different fittings. I must jury rig something for tomorrow night so I can use the old one.  

Sun Jun  6  
top          At Sea

No 1 Priority today - fix the CPAP machine. I wrap some elastoplast sticky plaster around the output spigot and manage to form a good air tight seal. Temporary solution to hand. I email the distributor and request a new machine to be delivered to the ship. This will test the system!!

Had another jam session tonight with Kim. We had an audience this time... they seemed to enjoy it.

My back is a lot better these days - lying on the floor waggling my legs in the air may not be the most gracious way of spending one's time, but it seems to be working.

Mon Jun  7             At Sea

Rounding Sri Lankar, heading north for Cochin. Quite a lot of rain and wind, as the Monsoon continues to effect the weather conditions.

The F&P people have requested the details of the Shipping agents and they will try to get a new CPAP machine to me in India. My level of confidence is not high.

Indian Visas. We did not have time in Melbourne to finalise our Indian Visas for entry to both Cochin tomorrow and Mombai on Thursday. Normally, a cruise ship does not need special visas to disembark at a port.

However, after the terrorist attacks on Mumbai last year, India has tightened up on its issuing of visas. Obviously, a cruise ship of elderly, overweight Australian tourists, armed with knobbly walking sticks and large handbags,  could be considered highly dangerous, and India is determined not to let any baddies slip past.

Even though we do not have visas, we still have to line up in front of the Indian Immigration authorities, show our passports and get our names ticked off their list. We will not get off the ship now until Muscat on June 13th.

We are reasonably happy to stay on the ship - I have been to India many times when I worked for Tioxide, and Su is not so keen to put herself through another phalanx of poverty stricken street vendors, so we are not anxious about missing India. I didn't want to visit their silly country anyway!  

Karaoke tonight. Can I again resist making a fool of myself?  Hmmmm.  
top

Tue Jun  8             Cochin, India

I did resist.
 
Old salts reckon you could smell India well out to sea - before you could see the land. You still can. As we approach Cochine, the smell of spices drifts across from the land.

Tropical, humid, lush - this is old familiar territory for me. When working for Tioxide, I spent time in and around Kerala State looking for a suitable sites to build a factory. No matter how hard I tried in the old days, no matter how many precautions I took - avoiding ice cubes, drinking only from sealed cans and bottles, eating in high quality resturants, every time I went to India, I ended up with food poisioning.

Wed Jun  9             At Sea

Hell's Bells! Woke up in the middle of the night with a bad case of Cochin Cramp! And I hadn't even gone ashore! Spent most of today close to a toilet, didn't eat anything and had an alcohol free day.

Thu Jun 10             Bombay (Mumbai), India

Feeling better today. Got a call from the Indian Fisher and Paykel people to tell me that their reps were at the foot of the gangplank with my replacement breathing machine. Ripper! So, how to get off the ship and onto the wharf without a visa??

Easy, just tell the security people that I had to pick up a package, and walked off. No swiping our ship's security card (normally we must swipe off when leaving the ship and then swipe back on when returning), just wandered down the gangplank and along the wharf till I found the F&P reps. No challenges from the many ferocious looking soldiers armed with AK47's, no ship security people asking me where my visa was, I just walked off.

A bit more difficult getting back on. I had come off the disembarking gangplank, and the whark security wanted me to go back up on the embarking gangplank. That's what passengers do - they leave the ship on one gangplank and return up the other.

I knew this would cause trouble; the security guard at the disembarking gangplank was waiting for me to return up his gangplank. He wouldn't like it if I didn't come back.

That caused some confusion when I barged up the wrong plank. Then I swiped back on, because that's standard procedure. That's going to mess up their system - I came on board the ship without ever going off it. HA HA HA. That'll teach them not to grant me a visa!!

Anyway, excellent service from F&P.

Fri Jun 11             At Sea

Formal night tonight and Karaoke. Also, a concert from the Ship's staff of Philipinas, Indians and Eastern Europeans.

Sat Jun 12             At Sea
 
Sun Jun 13             Muscat, Oman (Mina Qaboos)

Mon Jun 14             Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Will catch up with friends Adrian and Laura from Dubai today.

Tue Jun 15             At Sea
Wed Jun 16             At Sea
Thu Jun 17             At Sea
Fri Jun 18             At Sea
Sat Jun 19             At Sea
Sun Jun 20             Luxor (Safaga), Egypt
Mon Jun 21             At Sea
Tue Jun 22             Suez Canal, Egypt
Wed Jun 23             Cairo (Port Said), Egypt
Thu Jun 24             At Sea
Fri Jun 25             Ephesus / Kusadasi, Turkey
Sat Jun 26             Istanbul, Turkey

Will catch up with friends Ralph and Helen for Lunch today.

Sun Jun 27             Anzac Cove, Turkey
Mon Jun 28             Santorini, Greece
Tue Jun 29             Athens, Greece
Wed Jun 30             At Sea
Thu Jul  1  
top          Venice, Italy     july   
 
Will catch up with friend Su Boyle today.

Fri Jul  2             Venice, Italy         
Sat Jul  3             Dubrovnik, Croatia
Sun Jul  4             At Sea
Mon Jul  5             Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Tue Jul  6             Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy

Will catch up with brother David and Coleen today.

Wed Jul  7             Cannes, France
Thu Jul  8             Barcelona, Spain
Fri Jul  9             At Sea
Sat Jul 10             Gibraltar, UK Territory
Sun Jul 11             At Sea
Mon Jul 12             At Sea
Tue Jul 13             Paris (Le Havre), France
Wed Jul 14             London (Southampton), England

Will catch up with friends Alan and WaiChing today.

Thu Jul 15             At Sea
Fri Jul 16             Dublin, Ireland
Sat Jul 17             At Sea
Sun Jul 18             At Sea
Mon Jul 19             At Sea
Tue Jul 20             At Sea
Wed Jul 21             At Sea
Thu Jul 22             At Sea
Fri Jul 23             Boston, MA

Will catch up with friends Ron and Jackie today?

Sat Jul 24             Newport, RI
Sun Jul 25             New York (Manhattan), NY
Mon Jul 26             At Sea
Tue Jul 27             At Sea
Wed Jul 28             At Sea
Thu Jul 29             Antigua
Fri Jul 30             Barbados
Sat Jul 31             At Sea
Sun Aug  1  
top          Curacao, Netherlands Antilles august  

Mon Aug  2             At Sea
Tue Aug  3             Panama Canal (Full Transit)
Wed Aug  4             At Sea
Thu Aug  5             At Sea
Fri Aug  6             At Sea
Sat Aug  7             Acapulco, Mexico
Sun Aug  8             Manzanillo, Mexico
Mon Aug  9             At Sea
Tue Aug 10             At Sea
Wed Aug 11             Los Angeles, CA
Thu Aug 12             At Sea
Fri Aug 13             At Sea
Sat Aug 14             At Sea
Sun Aug 15             At Sea
Mon Aug 16             Honolulu, Oahu, HI
Tue Aug 17             At Sea
Wed Aug 18             At Sea
Thu Aug 19             At Sea
Fri Aug 20             At Sea
Sat Aug 21             At Sea
Sun Aug 22             Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands
Mon Aug 23             Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands
Mon Aug 23             Moorea, Society Islands
Tue Aug 24             At Sea
Wed Aug 25             At Sea
Thu Aug 26             Pago Pago, American Samoa
Fri Aug 27             At Sea
Sat Aug 28             Cross International Dateline
Mon Aug 30             At Sea
Tue Aug 31             Auckland, New Zealand

Will catch up with friends in Auckland today?

Wed Sep  1  
top          At Sea  september   

Thu Sep  2             At Sea
Fri Sep  3             Sydney, Australia


Then, this is the current thinking:

September 2010: time in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne

October 2010: Kalgoorlie/Perth, then South Africa for Safari

November 2010 until June 2011 (?): To South America - Santiago? Lima? Buenos Aries? Rio?

Northern Hemisphere summer: Spain?, Italy? To be decided.
Day Date / Port            

Fri May 21 Sydney, Australia departs 5:00pm

Left the B&B (www.bbsydneyharbour.com.au) with our 2 suitcase,  three hand luggages and my guitar, and headed for Dock 8, Darling  Harbour.

A very smooth checkin with about 20 desks processing the 2000 passengers.

We quickly found our cabin - C720 - a 4m x 8m cabin with twin  queen sized single beds and a nice external balcony with two  seats and a small table, where we can sit and drink our gin  tonics, which we didn't have because we couldn't fit anything  else into our suitcases, let alone smuggled bottles of grog. We will try  to restock in Darwin.

Had a good sailaway party on deck that evening, as we squeezed  under the Harbour bridge, with 2 metres to spare...

Met up with two different couples, one guy is a guitarist/song writer who  has brought his guitar on board, so we have threatened to get  together sometime and have a jam session...

Sat May 22             At Sea

Morning spent sorting out details of  possible day trips for the coming few weeks and getting to know  our way about the ship, changing our dining session time from  early (5:30pm) to late (8:00pm)... Had an acupucture session to  try and relieve the lower back pain I've been experiencing since the apartment clearout, but to little lasting effect. Reverted to lying on the floor in the cabin, doing physiotherapy exercises.

Sun May 23  
top          At Sea   

Investigated the internet facilities -  very expensive. For casual use, the costs are $0.75 a minute,  but you can buy a package of 1000 minutes for $250 ($0.25/min),  or 500 minutes for $175 ($0.35/min). Elected for the 500  minutes, which should give me around 5 minutes a day. Our first formal dining evening this evening.

Met our new dinner table  partners - a cordial group of retired farmers, shopkeepers and business people. A fun group.

Mon May 24             At Sea

Cruising off the Queensland coast around Gladstone. Activities: more of the same - Su studing Spanish, me lying around the cabin floor. Managed to get a mobile signal for part of the day and made a few calls whilst we could.

Went along to the Karaoke lounge this evening... enough said. Stayed on for the late night Nightclub/Disco - but surprise - not  "doof doof" music, but good old 60's and 70's  stuff. Good fun.

Tue May 25             At Sea

Passing around the top of Australia  today, weather getting pretty hot. Passing lots and lots of islands... Interesting lectures on Magellan, Columbus, discoveries of the Americas etc etc.

Dining in the Pizza  parlour this evening - getting a bit sick of three course dinners.

An expensive ship this - cheapest wines are $7.00 a glass, bottles of wine around $35 - $40 each. Must stock up in Darwin.

No cash on board - we use our swipe cards to buy drinks and the costs get sent to an on-board account. It soon mounts up!

Princess sent round a notice yesterday, of their intention to automatically debit everyone's on-board account with a $10 per  person per day gratuitity surcharge for distribution to the various service staff - waiters, cabin attendants, serving  staff. A lot of grumbling from the passengers, so they have  permitted us to 'opt out' of this charge and handle the gratuities ourselves. I was at the head of the queue to sign the form cancelling the charge. Princess can get stuffed!

Wed May 26  
top          At Sea  

We heard a rumour that, if there was enough interest, the ship might try to secure rights to broadcast tonight's State of Origin Rugby League match between NSW and Queensland.

We signed up, Princess got the rights and a good night was had watching Queensland (full of Melbourne Storm players), defeat NSW.

Thu May 27             Darwin

Hot, humid, expensive, but plenty of grog shops.

Went ashore and bought a day old Financial Review (today's paper doesn't arrive till 4.00pm)

Same bad news as last week - stockmarket down, Labor and the  Miners at odds over the great big new tax, the Coalition still bumbling around. But front page news - Malcolm Fraser has resigned from the Liberal Party. Ho hum - who cares? Guess I  don't really care about these things much anymore. Whatever  will be, will be.

Smuggled our booze back on the boat and settle back into routine.
 
Fri May 28             At Sea

Went to see the evening show in the big 500 seater lounge this evening. There is a big, theatrical type splashy show, every evening.

The musicians are good, but are playing along with pre-recorded backing tracks of guitars and vocalists. This makes the music sound all a bit too mechanical and stiff, although nobody really notices - they are all too busy looking at the dancers.

There is plenty of opportunity to listen to live/pre-recorded  music -
there are two major theatrettes for song and dance, a  wheelhouse bar with a band, and the three floor atrium at the centre of the ship where they have two areas with baby grand pianos.

The upper deck often has a band playing along as we sail off from ports.

So, musically we have:

 * an orchestra (three brass, piano, bass drums) augmented by  backing tracks,

 * a reasonably good 4 piece pop band,

 * a string quartet playing classics,

 * and two (count 'em, two!) duo's.

One of the duo's is imaginatively named "Alan and Alana" - he plays guitar along with backing tracks and she sings.

The other duo, is confusingly named "Allan and Ladonna" - he plays piano along with backing tracks and she sings.

No need to say any more about the duo's!

Overall, and disappointingly, the standard of entertainment is nowhere near as good as we have seen on other ships.

Sat May 29   
top         At Sea  

Met up with a fellow passenger who has brought his guitar along with him and we have had a good jam session. Kim is pretty good. We reckon we could steal the audiences from the duos if we put a mind to it. But sounds like a lot of hard work, and I'm not sure I'm ready for that...

Sun May 30             Padang (Bali), Indonesia

According to the tourist literature, Bali is "The Land of the gods" and "The closest thing to Heaven on Earth"

Went ashore at Benoa Bay at Bali, tendering on and off the ship in small boats because P&O is too cheap to pay port fees at the main Bali port. I am thinking that P&O doesn't stand for  "Pacific and Orient", but "Profiteers and Overchargers"

Getting out from the disembarcation jetty was a nightmare.

We were literally mobbed by street vendors thrusting toys, postcards, beads, bangles, etc, etc into our faces, shouting at us to buy their stuff.

Managed to escape and went in a guided taxi to Kuta beach. What  was probably a lovely place once, has been ruined by commercialism, end of year football trips, and just too many people. Did find a shoe big enough for Steve Hill. (pictures later)

Although we did not ask for this, the taxi driver took us along the several crowded laneways and obligingly told us that this was where the bombings took place in 2002. Just what we wanted to know!
 
On the return to the jetty, I had about $2 in Bali money left over - I put it into my pocket ready to give to our guide.

At he entrance to the jetty, the street vendor mobs were worse - they knew that once we escaped across the security line, they had lost all hope of a sale.

We were crushed by people; yelling, thrusting babies in our faces, waving junk at us.... I felt a hand sliding into my  shorts pocket.... one of these lovely, peaceful, gentle Balinese people, had picked my pocket.

Mon May 31             At Sea

Lectures - we have a couple of good lecturers on board. Andrew Stuart, a retired UK ambassador, gives history lectures on the places we are about to visit. His talks are really informative, colourfully anecdoted with a lot of dry, unstated British humour. The 500 seat theatre is packed out every time.

We also have Gloeta Massic, a young (30-ish) American biologist who is giving talks on all things Marine. She is also very good - funny, entertaining, with a brain the size of a small planet. We find out tonight that she also sings good Karaoke.

Ahh... Karaoke. We went to the Karaoke night, after the Captain's Formal Cocktail Party for returning Princess' Cruisers like us. 

Managed to overcome my natural instinct to avoid making a fool of myself in public performances and overdid it a bit on the karaoke floor. Too many Jo Cocker impersonations. Met a few of the Staff, including the foresaid biologist, who sings really well. Also met up with Julie James, the ship's Art Director, damn good jazz singer and friend of my old mate - drummer Steve Hill from Tassie. The best night we have had so far. And our wedding anniversary - 39 years.

Tue Jun  1  
top          At Sea   june   

The old back is hurting a bit today. Felt like I'd been doing the limbo or something strenuous last night.

Lunchtime the crew and selected passengers celebrated the crossing of the Equator in the usual manner.... us experienced "crusty shellbacks", did not attend, and left it to the "pollywogs".

Quiet day today. Girding our loins for a day in Singapore tomorrow.

Wed Jun  2             Singapore

Went on an organised tour - "the Battlefields of Singpore"

My father flew Australian POW's out of Changie prison camps after WW II ended, and I wanted to learn a bit more about the history and try to see some of what he must have experienced.

We went to the Changie War Museum which features a replica of the chapel that the Japanese allowed the prisoners to build. There were many photos and stories of the prison conditions, including a mockup of the prison cells, and many survivors' stories of the brutal treatment at the hands of the invaders. I have a better understanding of the hatred felt by my parent's generation towards the Japanese.

Also went into the "Battle Box" - the underground bunker in Singapore where the war against the advancing Japanese forces was planned (and lost).

Visited the Kranji War Memorial and the thousands of gravestones commemorating the three Services' dead. So young! A very moving day.

Thu Jun  3             Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), Malaysia

Caught the shuttle bus into Kuala Lumpur from Port Klang, about 90 minute drive. Malaysia doesn't seem to have changed much in the outskirts, but the city itself has been transformed with new flyovers and freeways. Caught up with our friend Wendy, had lunch and spent a very pleasant afternoon with her.

Fri Jun  4             Langkawi, Malaysia

Lovely island this is.... caught the shuttle bus into town, spent a happy afternoon at a lovely beach bar, having a few drinks and soaking up the sun. Managed to leave my camera behind in the bar. Lucky it was just a cheapie. I'll buy another in Dubai duty free.

This evening, had another Karaoke night to celebrate one of our fellow passenger's birthday (Ralph, 71 yo) and I managed to control myself and not get up and sing!

Sat Jun  5             At Sea

We pass around the Nicobar Islands. The place to go when you want to give up smoking??

Seas getting rough as we head into the Bay of Bengal, and the tail end of the Monsoon season whips up the wind and the sea. A ship's speed of 20 knots and a wind speed of 35 knots gives a combined apparent wind speed of 55 knots. We avoid the open decks and move between the corridors, under cover.

My new (6 week old) Fisher and Paykel CPAP (Controlled Positive Air Pressure) machine gave up the ghost last night. Via a breathing mask, this machine provides a continuous, positive air pressure column of air to my throat and stops me snoring. It is the second time it has failed. Lucky I bought along the old one. Shame the hose pipe has different fittings. I must jury rig something for tomorrow night so I can use the old one.  

Sun Jun  6  
top          At Sea

No 1 Priority today - fix the CPAP machine. I wrap some elastoplast sticky plaster around the output spigot and manage to form a good air tight seal. Temporary solution to hand. I email the distributor and request a new machine to be delivered to the ship. This will test the system!!

Had another jam session tonight with Kim. We had an audience this time... they seemed to enjoy it.

My back is a lot better these days - lying on the floor waggling my legs in the air may not be the most gracious way of spending one's time, but it seems to be working.

Mon Jun  7             At Sea

Rounding Sri Lankar, heading north for Cochin. Quite a lot of rain and wind, as the Monsoon continues to effect the weather conditions.

The F&P people have requested the details of the Shipping agents and they will try to get a new CPAP machine to me in India. My level of confidence is not high.

Indian Visas. We did not have time in Melbourne to finalise our Indian Visas for entry to both Cochin tomorrow and Mombai on Thursday. Normally, a cruise ship does not need special visas to disembark at a port.

However, after the terrorist attacks on Mumbai last year, India has tightened up on its issuing of visas. Obviously, a cruise ship of elderly, overweight Australian tourists, armed with knobbly walking sticks and large handbags,  could be considered highly dangerous, and India is determined not to let any baddies slip past.

Even though we do not have visas, we still have to line up in front of the Indian Immigration authorities, show our passports and get our names ticked off their list. We will not get off the ship now until Muscat on June 13th.

We are reasonably happy to stay on the ship - I have been to India many times when I worked for Tioxide, and Su is not so keen to put herself through another phalanx of poverty stricken street vendors, so we are not anxious about missing India. I didn't want to visit their silly country anyway!  

Karaoke tonight. Can I again resist making a fool of myself?  Hmmmm.  
top

Tue Jun  8             Cochin, India

I did resist.
 
Old salts reckon you could smell India well out to sea - before you could see the land. You still can. As we approach Cochine, the smell of spices drifts across from the land.

Tropical, humid, lush - this is old familiar territory for me. When working for Tioxide, I spent time in and around Kerala State looking for a suitable sites to build a factory. No matter how hard I tried in the old days, no matter how many precautions I took - avoiding ice cubes, drinking only from sealed cans and bottles, eating in high quality resturants, every time I went to India, I ended up with food poisioning.

Wed Jun  9             At Sea

Hell's Bells! Woke up in the middle of the night with a bad case of Cochin Cramp! And I hadn't even gone ashore! Spent most of today close to a toilet, didn't eat anything and had an alcohol free day.

Thu Jun 10             Bombay (Mumbai), India

Feeling better today. Got a call from the Indian Fisher and Paykel people to tell me that their reps were at the foot of the gangplank with my replacement breathing machine. Ripper! So, how to get off the ship and onto the wharf without a visa??

Easy, just tell the security people that I had to pick up a package, and walked off. No swiping our ship's security card (normally we must swipe off when leaving the ship and then swipe back on when returning), just wandered down the gangplank and along the wharf till I found the F&P reps. No challenges from the many ferocious looking soldiers armed with AK47's, no ship security people asking me where my visa was, I just walked off.

A bit more difficult getting back on. I had come off the disembarking gangplank, and the whark security wanted me to go back up on the embarking gangplank. That's what passengers do - they leave the ship on one gangplank and return up the other.

I knew this would cause trouble; the security guard at the disembarking gangplank was waiting for me to return up his gangplank. He wouldn't like it if I didn't come back.

That caused some confusion when I barged up the wrong plank. Then I swiped back on, because that's standard procedure. That's going to mess up their system - I came on board the ship without ever going off it. HA HA HA. That'll teach them not to grant me a visa!!

Anyway, excellent service from F&P.

Fri Jun 11             At Sea

Formal night tonight and Karaoke. Also, a concert from the Ship's staff of Philipinas, Indians and Eastern Europeans.

Sat Jun 12             At Sea
 
Sun Jun 13             Muscat, Oman (Mina Qaboos)

Mon Jun 14             Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Will catch up with friends Adrian and Laura from Dubai today.

Tue Jun 15             At Sea
Wed Jun 16             At Sea
Thu Jun 17             At Sea
Fri Jun 18             At Sea
Sat Jun 19             At Sea
Sun Jun 20             Luxor (Safaga), Egypt
Mon Jun 21             At Sea
Tue Jun 22             Suez Canal, Egypt
Wed Jun 23             Cairo (Port Said), Egypt
Thu Jun 24             At Sea
Fri Jun 25             Ephesus / Kusadasi, Turkey
Sat Jun 26             Istanbul, Turkey

Will catch up with friends Ralph and Helen for Lunch today.

Sun Jun 27             Anzac Cove, Turkey
Mon Jun 28             Santorini, Greece
Tue Jun 29             Athens, Greece
Wed Jun 30             At Sea
Thu Jul  1  
top          Venice, Italy     july   
 
Will catch up with friend Su Boyle today.

Fri Jul  2             Venice, Italy         
Sat Jul  3             Dubrovnik, Croatia
Sun Jul  4             At Sea
Mon Jul  5             Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Tue Jul  6             Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy

Will catch up with brother David and Coleen today.

Wed Jul  7             Cannes, France
Thu Jul  8             Barcelona, Spain
Fri Jul  9             At Sea
Sat Jul 10             Gibraltar, UK Territory
Sun Jul 11             At Sea
Mon Jul 12             At Sea
Tue Jul 13             Paris (Le Havre), France
Wed Jul 14             London (Southampton), England

Will catch up with friends Alan and WaiChing today.

Thu Jul 15             At Sea
Fri Jul 16             Dublin, Ireland
Sat Jul 17             At Sea
Sun Jul 18             At Sea
Mon Jul 19             At Sea
Tue Jul 20             At Sea
Wed Jul 21             At Sea
Thu Jul 22             At Sea
Fri Jul 23             Boston, MA

Will catch up with friends Ron and Jackie today?

Sat Jul 24             Newport, RI
Sun Jul 25             New York (Manhattan), NY
Mon Jul 26             At Sea
Tue Jul 27             At Sea
Wed Jul 28             At Sea
Thu Jul 29             Antigua
Fri Jul 30             Barbados
Sat Jul 31             At Sea
Sun Aug  1  
top          Curacao, Netherlands Antilles august  

Mon Aug  2             At Sea
Tue Aug  3             Panama Canal (Full Transit)
Wed Aug  4             At Sea
Thu Aug  5             At Sea
Fri Aug  6             At Sea
Sat Aug  7             Acapulco, Mexico
Sun Aug  8             Manzanillo, Mexico
Mon Aug  9             At Sea
Tue Aug 10             At Sea
Wed Aug 11             Los Angeles, CA
Thu Aug 12             At Sea
Fri Aug 13             At Sea
Sat Aug 14             At Sea
Sun Aug 15             At Sea
Mon Aug 16             Honolulu, Oahu, HI
Tue Aug 17             At Sea
Wed Aug 18             At Sea
Thu Aug 19             At Sea
Fri Aug 20             At Sea
Sat Aug 21             At Sea
Sun Aug 22             Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands
Mon Aug 23             Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands
Mon Aug 23             Moorea, Society Islands
Tue Aug 24             At Sea
Wed Aug 25             At Sea
Thu Aug 26             Pago Pago, American Samoa
Fri Aug 27             At Sea
Sat Aug 28             Cross International Dateline
Mon Aug 30             At Sea
Tue Aug 31             Auckland, New Zealand

Will catch up with friends in Auckland today?

Wed Sep  1  
top          At Sea  september   

Thu Sep  2             At Sea
Fri Sep  3             Sydney, Australia


Then, this is the current thinking:

September 2010: time in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne

October 2010: Kalgoorlie/Perth, then South Africa for Safari

November 2010 until June 2011 (?): To South America - Santiago? Lima? Buenos Aries? Rio?

Northern Hemisphere summer: Spain?, Italy? To be decided.
Day Date / Port            

Fri May 21 Sydney, Australia departs 5:00pm

Left the B&B (www.bbsydneyharbour.com.au) with our 2 suitcase,  three hand luggages and my guitar, and headed for Dock 8, Darling  Harbour.

A very smooth checkin with about 20 desks processing the 2000 passengers.

We quickly found our cabin - C720 - a 4m x 8m cabin with twin  queen sized single beds and a nice external balcony with two  seats and a small table, where we can sit and drink our gin  tonics, which we didn't have because we couldn't fit anything  else into our suitcases, let alone smuggled bottles of grog. We will try  to restock in Darwin.

Had a good sailaway party on deck that evening, as we squeezed  under the Harbour bridge, with 2 metres to spare...

Met up with two different couples, one guy is a guitarist/song writer who  has brought his guitar on board, so we have threatened to get  together sometime and have a jam session...

Sat May 22             At Sea

Morning spent sorting out details of  possible day trips for the coming few weeks and getting to know  our way about the ship, changing our dining session time from  early (5:30pm) to late (8:00pm)... Had an acupuncture session to  try and relieve the lower back pain I've been experiencing since the apartment clearout, but to little lasting effect. Reverted to lying on the floor in the cabin, doing physiotherapy exercises.

Sun May 23  
top          At Sea   

Investigated the internet facilities -  very expensive. For casual use, the costs are $0.75 a minute,  but you can buy a package of 1000 minutes for $250 ($0.25/min),  or 500 minutes for $175 ($0.35/min). Elected for the 500  minutes, which should give me around 5 minutes a day. Our first formal dining evening this evening.

Met our new dinner table  partners - a cordial group of retired farmers, shopkeepers and business people. A fun group.

Mon May 24             At Sea

Cruising off the Queensland coast around Gladstone. Activities: more of the same - Su studying Spanish, me lying around the cabin floor. Managed to get a mobile signal for part of the day and made a few calls whilst we could.

Went along to the Kara lounge this evening... enough said. Stayed on for the late night Nightclub/Disco - but surprise - not  "doof doof" music, but good old 60's and 70's  stuff. Good fun.

Tue May 25             At Sea

Passing around the top of Australia  today, weather getting pretty hot. Passing lots and lots of islands... Interesting lectures on Magellan, Columbus, discoveries of the Americas etc etc.

Dining in the Pizza  parlour this evening - getting a bit sick of three course dinners.

An expensive ship this - cheapest wines are $7.00 a glass, bottles of wine around $35 - $40 each. Must stock up in Darwin.

No cash on board - we use our swipe cards to buy drinks and the costs get sent to an on-board account. It soon mounts up!

Princess sent round a notice yesterday, of their intention to automatically debit everyone's on-board account with a $10 per  person per day gratuity surcharge for distribution to the various service staff - waiters, cabin attendants, serving  staff. A lot of grumbling from the passengers, so they have  permitted us to 'opt out' of this charge and handle the gratuities ourselves. I was at the head of the queue to sign the form cancelling the charge. Princess can get stuffed!

Wed May 26             At Sea  


We heard a rumour that, if there was enough interest, the ship might try to secure rights to broadcast tonight's State of Origin Rugby League match between NSW and Queensland.

We signed up, Princess got the rights and a good night was had watching Queensland (full of Melbourne Storm players), defeat NSW.

Thu May 27  
top          Darwin darwin

Hot, humid, expensive, but plenty of grog shops.

Went ashore and bought a day old Financial Review (today's paper doesn't arrive till 4.00pm)

Same bad news as last week - stockmarket down, Labor and the  Miners at odds over the great big new tax, the Coalition still bumbling around. But front page news - Malcolm Fraser has resigned from the Liberal Party. Ho hum - who cares? Guess I  don't really care about these things much anymore. Whatever  will be, will be.

Smuggled our booze back on the boat and settle back into routine.
 
Fri May 28  
top          At Sea - Music  music

Went to see the evening show in the big 500 seater lounge this evening. There is a big, theatrical type splashy show, every evening.

The musicians are good, but are playing along with pre-recorded backing tracks of guitars and vocalists. This makes the music sound all a bit too mechanical and stiff, although nobody really notices - they are all too busy looking at the dancers.

There is plenty of opportunity to listen to live/pre-recorded  music -
there are two major theatrettes for song and dance, a  wheelhouse bar with a band, and the three floor atrium at the centre of the ship where they have two areas with baby grand pianos.

The upper deck often has a band playing along as we sail off from ports.

So, musically we have:

 * an orchestra (three brass, piano, bass drums) augmented by  backing tracks,

 * a reasonably good 4 piece pop band,

 * a string quartet playing classics,

 * and two (count 'em, two!) duo's.

One of the duo's is imaginatively named "Alan and Alana" - he plays guitar along with backing tracks and she sings.

The other duo, is confusingly named "Allan and Ladonna" - he plays piano along with backing tracks and she sings.

No need to say any more about the duo's!

Overall, and disappointingly, the standard of entertainment is nowhere near as good as we have seen on other ships.

Sat May 29   
top         At Sea  

Met up with a fellow passenger who has brought his guitar along with him and we have had a good jam session. Kim is pretty good. We reckon we could steal the audiences from the duos if we put a mind to it. But sounds like a lot of hard work, and I'm not sure I'm ready for that...

Sun May 30  
top          Padang (Bali), Indonesia bali

According to the tourist literature, Bali is "The Land of the gods" and "The closest thing to Heaven on Earth"

Went ashore at Benoa Bay at Bali, tendering on and off the ship in small boats because P&O is too cheap to pay port fees at the main Bali port. I am thinking that P&O doesn't stand for  "Pacific and Orient", but "Profiteers and Overchargers"

Getting out from the disembarkation jetty was a nightmare.

We were literally mobbed by street vendors thrusting toys, postcards, beads, bangles, etc, etc into our faces, shouting at us to buy their stuff.

Managed to escape and went in a guided taxi to Kuta beach. What  was probably a lovely place once, has been ruined by commercialism, end of year football trips, and just too many people. Did find a shoe big enough for Steve Hill. (pictures later)

Although we did not ask for this, the taxi driver took us along the several crowded laneways and obligingly told us that this was where the bombings took place in 2002. Just what we wanted to know!
 
On the return to the jetty, I had about $2 in Bali money left over - I put it into my pocket ready to give to our guide.

At he entrance to the jetty, the street vendor mobs were worse - they knew that once we escaped across the security line, they had lost all hope of a sale.

We were crushed by people; yelling, thrusting babies in our faces, waving junk at us.... I felt a hand sliding into my  shorts pocket.... one of these lovely, peaceful, gentle Balinese people, had picked my pocket.


Bali was dreadful!! I can't imagine why people go to Kuta etc. It's been destroyed by tourists and cheap rubbish. Rod did have a good fish soup on the beach though... Su

Mon May 31   top          At Sea lectures

Lectures - we have a couple of good lecturers on board. Andrew Stuart, a retired UK ambassador, gives history lectures on the places we are about to visit. His talks are really informative, colourfully anecdoted with a lot of dry, unstated British humour. The 500 seat theatre is packed out every time.

We also have Gloeta Massic, a young (30-ish) American biologist who is giving talks on all things Marine. She is also very good - funny, entertaining, with a brain the size of a small planet. We find out tonight that she also sings good Karaoke.

Ahh... Karaoke. We went to the Karaoke night, after the Captain's Formal Cocktail Party for returning Princess' Cruisers like us. 

Managed to overcome my natural instinct to avoid making a fool of myself in public performances and overdid it a bit on the karaoke floor. Too many Jo Cocker impersonations. Met a few of the Staff, including the aforesaid biologist, who sings really well. Also met up with Julie James, the ship's Art Director, damn good jazz singer and friend of my old mate - drummer Steve Hill from Tassie. The best night we have had so far. And our wedding anniversary - 39 years.


Celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary on Monday with bubbles and a  late night watching friends at the Karaoke lounge. Got to meet some  of the guest lecturers and a singer who comes from Tasmania and knows  mutual friends and etc. a fun night. We've been enjoying talks by a  marine biologist with a great sense of humour (www.gloitamassey.com), and an ex-ambassador, Andrew Stuart, from England with a droll delivery and a tendency to say exactly what he thinks. Su

Tue Jun  1   top          At Sea   Junejune   

The old back is hurting a bit today. Felt like I'd been doing the limbo or something strenuous last night.

Lunchtime the crew and selected passengers celebrated the crossing of the Equator in the usual manner.... us experienced "crusty shellbacks", did not attend, and left it to the "pollywogs".

Quiet day today. Girding our loins for a day in Singapore tomorrow.

Wed Jun  2  
top          Singapore  singapore

Went on an organised tour - "the Battlefields of Singpore"

My father flew Australian POW's out of Changie prison camps after WW II ended, and I wanted to learn a bit more about the history and try to see some of what he must have experienced.

We went to the Changie War Museum which features a replica of the chapel that the Japanese allowed the prisoners to build. There were many photos and stories of the prison conditions, including a mockup of the prison cells, and many survivors' stories of the brutal treatment at the hands of the invaders. I have a better understanding of the hatred felt by my parent's generation towards the Japanese.

Also went into the "Battle Box" - the underground bunker in Singapore where the war against the advancing Japanese forces was planned (and lost).

Visited the Kranji War Memorial and the thousands of gravestones commemorating the three Services' dead. So young! A very moving day.


We are back on board after a long hot day in and around the battlefields and cemeteries of Singapore. I didn't realise how  little I knew of this history. We had an excellent guide, an  historian, who has lived here for twenty something years and who also lectures at various military colleges etc. I've got a lot of reading  to do on this.

I'm glad to be away from such brutality!

Today we ate at a local stall which was a nice change. Tomorrow we meet Wendy Hew in K.L.for a catch up. Su


Thu Jun  3   top          Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), Malaysia kualalumpur

Caught the shuttle bus into Kuala Lumpur from Port Klang, about 90 minute drive. Malaysia doesn't seem to have changed much in the outskirts, but the city itself has been transformed with new flyovers and freeways. Caught up with our friend Wendy, had lunch and spent a very pleasant afternoon with her.

It was fantastic to catch up with Wendy Hew in Kuala Lumpur. We started off with a short tour and views from tall places, a trip on the monorail and  then Wendy met us half way through and we went off with her for lunch and a nostalgic trip through the chinatown markets - and then a beer because it was so hot everyone was complaining, especially the locals. It was sad to leave her. Su

Fri Jun  4   top          Langkawi, Malaysia langkawi

Lovely island this is.... caught the shuttle bus into town, spent a happy afternoon at a lovely beach bar, having a few drinks and soaking up the sun. Managed to leave my camera behind in the bar. Lucky it was just a cheapie. I'll buy another in Dubai duty free.

This evening, had another Karaoke night to celebrate one of our fellow passenger's birthday (Ralph, 71 yo) and I managed to control myself and not get up and sing!

Sat Jun  5             At Sea

We pass around the Nicobar Islands. The place to go when you want to give up smoking??

Seas getting rough as we head into the Bay of Bengal, and the tail end of the Monsoon season whips up the wind and the sea. A ship's speed of 20 knots and a wind speed of 35 knots gives a combined apparent wind speed of 55 knots. We avoid the open decks and move between the corridors, under cover.

My new (6 week old) Fisher and Paykel CPAP (Controlled Positive Air Pressure) machine gave up the ghost last night. Via a breathing mask, this machine provides a continuous, positive air pressure column of air to my throat and stops me snoring. It is the second time it has failed. Lucky I bought along the old one. Shame the hose pipe has different fittings. I must jury rig something for tomorrow night so I can use the old one.  

Sun Jun  6  
top          At Sea

No 1 Priority today - fix the CPAP machine. I wrap some elastoplast sticky plaster around the output spigot and manage to form a good air tight seal. Temporary solution to hand. I email the distributor and request a new machine to be delivered to the ship. This will test the system!!

Had another jam session tonight with Kim. We had an audience this time... they seemed to enjoy it.

My back is a lot better these days - lying on the floor waggling my legs in the air may not be the most gracious way of spending one's time, but it seems to be working.

Mon Jun  7             At Sea

Rounding Sri Lankar, heading north for Cochin. Quite a lot of rain and wind, as the Monsoon continues to effect the weather conditions.

The F&P people have requested the details of the Shipping agents and they will try to get a new CPAP machine to me in India. My level of confidence is not high.

Indian Visas. We did not have time in Melbourne to finalise our Indian Visas for entry to both Cochin tomorrow and Mombai on Thursday. Normally, a cruise ship does not need special visas to disembark at a port.

However, after the terrorist attacks on Mumbai last year, India has tightened up on its issuing of visas. Obviously, a cruise ship of elderly, overweight Australian tourists, armed with knobbly walking sticks and large handbags,  could be considered highly dangerous, and India is determined not to let any baddies slip past.

Even though we do not have visas, we still have to line up in front of the Indian Immigration authorities, show our passports and get our names ticked off their list. We will not get off the ship now until Muscat on June 13th.

We are reasonably happy to stay on the ship - I have been to India many times when I worked for Tioxide, and Su is not so keen to put herself through another phalanx of poverty stricken street vendors, so we are not anxious about missing India. I didn't want to visit their silly country anyway!  

Karaoke tonight. Can I again resist making a fool of myself?  Hmmmm.  
top

Tue Jun  8   top          Cochin, India cochin

I did manage to resist.
 
Old salts reckon you could smell India well out to sea - before you could see the land. You still can. As we approach Cochine, the smell of spices drifts across from the land.

Tropical, humid, lush - this is old familiar territory for me. When working for Tioxide, I spent time in and around Kerala State looking for a suitable sites to build a factory. No matter how hard I tried in the old days, no matter how many precautions I took - avoiding ice cubes, drinking only from sealed cans and bottles, eating in high quality resturants, every time I went to India, I ended up with food poisioning. HA HA, won't get me this time!!

Wed Jun  9             At Sea

Hell's Bells! Woke up in the middle of the night with a bad case of Cochin Cramp! And I hadn't even gone ashore! Spent most of today close to a toilet, didn't eat anything and had an alcohol free day.

Thu Jun 10  
top          Bombay (Mumbai), India mumbai

Feeling better today. Got a call from the Indian Fisher and Paykel people to tell me that their reps were at the foot of the gangplank with my replacement breathing machine. Ripper! So, how to get off the ship and onto the wharf without a visa??

Easy, just tell the security people that I had to pick up a package, and walked off. No swiping our ship's security card (normally we must swipe off when leaving the ship and then swipe back on when returning), just wandered down the gangplank and along the wharf till I found the F&P reps. No challenges from the many ferocious looking soldiers armed with AK47's, no ship security people asking me where my visa was, I just walked off.

A bit more difficult getting back on. I had come off the disembarking gangplank, and the whark security wanted me to go back up on the embarking gangplank. That's what passengers do - they leave the ship on one gangplank and return up the other.

I knew this would cause trouble; the security guard at the disembarking gangplank was waiting for me to return up his gangplank. He wouldn't like it if I didn't come back.

That caused some confusion when I barged up the wrong plank. Then I swiped back on, because that's standard procedure. That's going to mess up their system - I came on board the ship without ever going off it. HA HA HA. That'll teach them not to grant me a visa!!

Anyway, excellent service from F&P.

Fri Jun 11             At Sea

Formal night tonight and later, Karaoke.

Also, a concert from the Ship's staff of Philipinas, Indians and Eastern Europeans.


Sat Jun 12             At Sea
 
Sun Jun 13  
top          Muscat, Oman (Mina Qaboos) muscat

We take a tour of the Grand Mosque; designed, fabricated  and built by foreigners about 5 years ago. The Omanies just had to pay for it. It is a monument to oil money.

As you can imagine, the opulence of the men's prayer room is  breathtaking - marble floors, crystal chandeliers, beautiful, intricately  woven carpets, lofty ceilings, laced stonework.

The women's prayer  room, is a small, drab room with little to speak of. Su, as do all  the other women, has to cover her head, arms and legs to go in.  Clothing police check that there is no offending flesh.

fter the mosque, a trip to the local market or "souk". It's hot, damn hot - 42 Centigrade. The usual stuff, fabrics, tourist shitling, most of it made in India. We take a risk, and try a local pastry - vegetable, spicy, lovely.

Then a trip to see the Sultan's palace. More opulence. But interesting.

We would like to spend more time in Oman - the south is supposed to be very different...
 

Mon Jun 14  
top          Dubai, United Arab Emirates dubai

Incredible place. Have to see this to believe it.  80,000 tower buildings our guide tels us. (More like 800, surely?  "Don't call me Shirley!")

Fabulous Dubai!! What a place. It could be a sci-fi set. We had a great tour through districts which had been desert five years ago and now had extraordinary buildings (in number and design). Then other areas where four years ago there was only the Arabian sea! More beautiful towers. The most fascinating being the Burj Khalifa. We weren't disappointed. It was so much better than could possibly be imagined. The walk to the lifts was a history of the construction in massive curved glass walls.

The ride to the viewing platform was 124 floors in one minute with video screens showing the view from outside (like being in a space shuttle). Couldn't feel any movement just in the ears. The souks (markets) and pools and gardens surrounding the tower are all low rise and amazing to look down on from on high.

Next was being collected from here by Adrian and driven out to the edge of the desert to their lovely villa where Emirates housetheir  pilots and other staff. Laura organized a magnificent Lebanese feast while Adrian whipped up fabulous cocktails. We sat outside and  reminisced and caught up on the goss until we had to get a taxi back to the ship. Brilliant hosts and of course deep and meaningful discussion fueled by the tireless belt-master. We are definitely going to return here and also Oman.

The history of these places is fascinating. Now we have five days at sea then we go back to Luxor and Valley of the Kings. Heard some jazz tonight on deck. There were about six of us because it was still about 40? degrees. People were exhausted from the heat and wouldn't come outside. Okay, enough for now love, to all and thanks again to  Laura, Adrian, Alex and Seb (two terrific young men) for a wonderful  day.


Tue Jun 15     top              At Sea    washing

We fight our way into the laundry and take up defensive positions. The laundry has 2 washing machines and 2 dryers for 200 passengers on our deck - Deck 9. There have been a considerable number of quarrels and disputes over washing. People put their washing in, leave the laundry and forget to come back in time  to remove it. Irate people, waiting for the machine, have taken washing out of the tub and dumped the newly washed laundry into bags  or on the floor, sparking off  fights and arguements. The Captain has decreed that it is permissable  to remove washing after it is completed and if the owner does not come and reclaim it.    pirates

We are rounding Oman now and are about to enter the "pirate zone", where Somalie pirates have have considerable success in capturing  ships and
extracting ransoms from the ship's owners.

We are taken through "pirate evasive action" drills. We go back to our cabins, lock the balcony doors, pull closed the drapes so pirates cannot see in, stand in our cabins by the open cabin door to receive instructions, all the time holding on firmly in case the ship takes evasive action.

Water cannon are set up on the Promenade deck, and large red banners are draped on either side of the ship "Restricted Zone - keep 50  metres away" Hope these Somalies speak English!
 
Afternoon, and we are in the cabin recovering from lunch.  
breakdown

Suddenly, the ship lurches over to starboard and I can feel everything listing alarmingly. Glasses on the desk start to shudder and clink. Are we going to roll over and have our very own, real live, "Poisedon Adventure"? I dash to the balcony to check. I can see from the wake that we have made a very sharp turn to port.

Maybe it's Pirates? Maybe we're taking evasive action? No announcements. But we are slowing down. Slowly the ship stops and we are dead in the water. Still no announcements. After about two hours  comes an announcement that the ship has an electrical fault with the starboard motor distribution system. After about three hours, we get underway again. But only 11 knots - not our normal cruising speed of 18 knots. Hmmm.

That night at dinner, I start a rumour that undercover pirates came aboard at Dubai and have sabotaged the ship to allow their fellow pirates ashore to overtake a crippled ship.

I can see one of our dinner table companions is taking me seriously. I wonder how long it will be 'till the rumour comes back?

Wed Jun 16    
top              At Sea

Ship's speed is still reduced to about 11 knots...  bland announcements about "Technical problems are being sorted out.  There is no danger to passengers or crew. Enjoy your wonderful Princess Cruise"

Thu Jun 17   
top     At Sea 

About 1.00am this morning we are woken by a terrible shuddering of engines... then slowly, the ship stops, sloshing around at sea, with only the thrusters to keep the bow into the wind and waves... something badly wrong with this ship!! Hope they've got a good mechanical engineer on board. We restart about two hours later at the slow speed of 10 knots.

We go back to sleep, wondering.

Fri Jun 18  
top          At Sea

The Safaga Port stop is now definitely cancelled, says Captain Speaking.

At lunch, our dinner companion asks me if the story I told about the Pirates coming aboard in Dubai was true? I have to confess.


Sorry Chrissy I forgot to add birthday greetings to the last bulletin. Happy Birthday now!! Also remembered Jez's but couldn't get online for a while, Happy Birthday for the 28th May Jez!!

Since we left Dubai it's been fun and games re the ship's engines. Big problems the other afternoon as we did a sharp left hand turn when the starboard engine stopped suddenly. We drifted around for an hour or more then chugged along at about 2 knots for a very long time. It was very rough and I actually got seasick. We are travelling at reduced speed now. The next night we were woken up by incredible vibrations (our cabin is aft so we waddle a bit as well) ship stopped again more drifting, more stern thrusters to keep us vaguely pointing in the right directon.

The result of all this lost time is that we will miss the port of Safaga in Egypt and the Valley of the Kings and the temples of Luxor and Karnak. This is not so bad for Rod and I because we've been there before but of course we're not telling people that. Hopefully we can get to Port Said for repairs which means we can do our desert tour of the red pyramid and the oldest stepped one which are out in the desertat Sakhara. We are going in a 4wd.

The biggest problem is our allotted time for transiting the Suez Canal. Can't afford to miss that. Maybe we'll limp all the way to Southampton.

Did I mention pirates?? The morning of the first big wobble we had a security drill in case we were attacked by pirates. Since then there's been heightened security on board because of our mechanical problems means we have less manoeuvering capability. Big banners hanging all round the decks warning shipping that there is an exclusion zone in effect and don't come close or we'll beat you up with our zimmer frames and walking sticks!!

Plenty of warships in the vicinity for all eventualities! I'm certain Rod would love a stoush with pirates!! Bad time and place to have engine failures though. We're heading to the Red Sea and I promise to apprise you all of any change of colour when it happens.

I think that's all for now .. love suz xx




Sat Jun 19    top         At Sea

Sun Jun 20             Luxor (Safaga), Egypt
Mon Jun 21             At Sea
Tue Jun 22             Suez Canal, Egypt
Wed Jun 23             Cairo (Port Said), Egypt
Thu Jun 24             At Sea
Fri Jun 25             Ephesus / Kusadasi, Turkey
Sat Jun 26  
top          Istanbul, Turkey

Will catch up with friends Ralph and Helen for Lunch today.

Sun Jun 27             Anzac Cove, Turkey
Mon Jun 28             Santorini, Greece
Tue Jun 29             Athens, Greece
Wed Jun 30             At Sea
Thu Jul  1  
top          Venice, Italy     july   
 
Will catch up with friend Su Boyle today.

Fri Jul  2  
top          Venice, Italy         
Sat Jul  3             Dubrovnik, Croatia
Sun Jul  4             At Sea
Mon Jul  5             Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Tue Jul  6  
top          Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy

Will catch up with brother David and Coleen today.

Wed Jul  7             Cannes, France
Thu Jul  8             Barcelona, Spain
Fri Jul  9             At Sea
Sat Jul 10             Gibraltar, UK Territory
Sun Jul 11             At Sea
Mon Jul 12             At Sea
Tue Jul 13             Paris (Le Havre), France
Wed Jul 14             London (Southampton), England

Will catch up with friends Alan and WaiChing today.

Thu Jul 15             At Sea
Fri Jul 16             Dublin, Ireland
Sat Jul 17             At Sea
Sun Jul 18             At Sea
Mon Jul 19             At Sea
Tue Jul 20             At Sea
Wed Jul 21             At Sea
Thu Jul 22             At Sea
Fri Jul 23             Boston, MA

Will catch up with friends Ron and Jackie today?

Sat Jul 24             Newport, RI
Sun Jul 25             New York (Manhattan), NY
Mon Jul 26             At Sea
Tue Jul 27             At Sea
Wed Jul 28             At Sea
Thu Jul 29             Antigua
Fri Jul 30             Barbados
Sat Jul 31             At Sea
Sun Aug  1  
top          Curacao, Netherlands Antilles august  

Mon Aug  2             At Sea
Tue Aug  3             Panama Canal (Full Transit)
Wed Aug  4             At Sea
Thu Aug  5             At Sea
Fri Aug  6             At Sea
Sat Aug  7             Acapulco, Mexico
Sun Aug  8             Manzanillo, Mexico
Mon Aug  9             At Sea
Tue Aug 10             At Sea
Wed Aug 11             Los Angeles, CA
Thu Aug 12             At Sea
Fri Aug 13             At Sea
Sat Aug 14             At Sea
Sun Aug 15             At Sea
Mon Aug 16             Honolulu, Oahu, HI
Tue Aug 17             At Sea
Wed Aug 18             At Sea
Thu Aug 19             At Sea
Fri Aug 20             At Sea
Sat Aug 21             At Sea
Sun Aug 22             Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands
Mon Aug 23             Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands
Mon Aug 23             Moorea, Society Islands
Tue Aug 24             At Sea
Wed Aug 25             At Sea
Thu Aug 26             Pago Pago, American Samoa
Fri Aug 27             At Sea
Sat Aug 28             Cross International Dateline
Mon Aug 30             At Sea
Tue Aug 31             Auckland, New Zealand

Will catch up with friends in Auckland today?

Wed Sep  1  
top          At Sea  september   

Thu Sep  2             At Sea
Fri Sep  3             Sydney, Australia


Then, this is the current thinking:

September 2010: time in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne

October 2010: Kalgoorlie/Perth, then South Africa for Safari

November 2010 until June 2011 (?): To South America - Santiago? Lima? Buenos Aries? Rio?

Northern Hemisphere summer: Spain?, Italy? To be decided.
Last Update: Thursday July 22nd 2010
Darwin  music  lectures  Bali  Singapore  Kuala Lumpur  Langkawi
Cochin  Mumbai  Muscat  Dubai  Washing Day Pirates  Breakdown  HCIMP 
Cochin  Mumbai  Muscat  Dubai  Washing Day Pirates  Breakdown  HCIMP 
Contact me at my usual email address, or use my rubbish email: dunvegan3000@yahoo.com.au
Safaga Suez Port Said Pyramids Athens Ephesus Istanbul Anzac Cove Santorini HCIMP
Day Date / Port
Tue Aug  3             Panama Canal (Full Transit) panama 

We had been throught the Panama canal from West to East on our first Pacific cruise in 2007, and I found the engineering aspect of it all very impressive. So the transit from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans was something I had been looking forward to. I could take it all in without having to spend half my time behind a camera.

Lots of wild life along the banks - alligators, birds, fish.... Lots of shipping, and lots of amazing scenes as huge ships are raised and lowered many metres in the locks.

Fascinating.

Wed Aug  4             At Sea

Back into the Pacific, the sea was again very calm. We saw lots of dolphins, dozens and dozens of them circling schools of fish and having themselves a frenzy of fish feeding.

At one stage, the ship sailed through lots of green sea turtles - large animals almost a metre across, with long necks that stick up out of the sea like periscopes. I wondered if any got chewed up in the wake... 

Thu Aug  5             At Sea

Noticed that Turtle soup was on the menu this evening...

Fri Aug  6             At Sea

Sat Aug  7             Acapulco, Mexico                  acapulco


Acapulco - Had a wonderful hour and a half swimming with dolphins yesterday in Acapulco. Surfing the pool with them etc. It was a fabulous tour worth every penny. And a dvd and photo thrown in and a corona (beer) at the end!! Have had a fun few days with some very wild and interesting people who seem to have found each other and us.

The best fun we've had recently was after Acapulco when Rod serenaded the dining room with a racy version of an old Mexican song and at the end of dinner  we had all the waiters playing his guitar and singing songs around the table. Lots of guests joined us as well. All this came about because Pat bought an enormous and glorious sombrero that day and Rod and I went down to their cabin to play silly Mexican songs in celebration of said hat. . It carried on to the dining room.


Whilst Su went swimming with Dolfins, I took a private tour around Acapulco with our Dining room mates - Ian and Pat, and Steve and Lee. We saw celebrities' houses, a church, had an enforced stop at the obligatory jewellery shop ("owned by my cousin, so you wil get a bargain!") where Pat bought a big black Mexican sombrero (more later) and visited a beach resort, with one of the most plush, ostentatious, foyers I have ever seen.

Went to see the rock divers - young daredevils who bet their lives on correctly judging the flow of the waves, then diving off a sheer cliff face into the waters below.
 
Bought some tonic water... nice place for a visit.

Later that night... The big black Mexican sombrero!

Su and I gate-crashed Ian and Pat's nightly pre-dinner drinks gathering in their cabin.

We burst into their cabin - Su on guitar and me on my little bamboo whistle - singing  and playing the "Mexican Hat Dance" to the words:

"My Sister Belinda,
She pissed out the window,
On top of my favourite sombrero"
I said "You twat, you pissed on my hat" she said
"I don't bloody well care-o"

This caused not a little hilarity, and after a few more drinks, with Pat's Sombrero as a focal point, we all proceeded to the dining room, still playing and singing "Belinda".

We picked up some stragglers along the way, including the assistant cruise director, who joined in enthusiastically, fortunately, lending a little authority to what we were doing.

Into the Dining room, and after a procession around the room, finally found our seats and dined.

A couple of the Philippino waiters soon grabbed my guitar and more and more songs eventuated. Soon we had half the diners joining us, dancing, singing and having a damn good time.

Lots of "Best night we've had" sort of comments...

Now that's entertainment!!

Sun Aug  8             Manzanillo, Mexico              
manzanillo

Another sun drenched beach resort place... Su and I grabbed a cab for couple of hours, saw the highlights, topped up our grog supply and headed back for an early departure.

Manzanillo - had a quiet day here, hired a taxi who drove us about and then back to the ship. It was very, very hot and there's not much here if you're not on the beach.  Lovely smoggy sailaway from here too! Such a shame.

Mon Aug  9             At Sea

We have 6 sea days ahead of us.


Rod's looking into us getting off in L.A. and flying to Las Vegas and getting back on board in Honolulu five days later. It will depend on the US authorities and whether there is enough notification time. We'll see.

Tue Aug 10             At Sea

After taking some encouraging advice from another couple on board, and after checking flights, we decide to jump ship at Los Angeles, fly to Las Vegas, spend three nights there, then fly to Honolulu for two nights and rejoin the ship.


Great news !! We getting off in Los Angeles!! Tomorrow!!

Wed Aug 11             Los Angeles, CA       losangeles

Disembarked around 10.00 am, bus to the airport to go through the rigours of American airline security.

After half an hour in the ticket queue with our electronic booking paper in hand, we were told to go to the electronic ticketing mnachines.

Got there eventually, the machine invalidated the booking, the lady told us to queue at another line. Did so.

Twenty minutes later, got to the counter, another lady told us the tickets were not paid for, "Go join the original ticket queue".

Did so. Half an hour later and halfway to the counter, another lady told us to go to the electronic ticketing mnachines.

"Uh uh, done that" I shook my head, brandishing paperwork and my normally useless Qantas club membership card which she spied; "OK, go to Business class line"

Half an hour later, at the business class counter - WE GOT OUR BOARDING PASSES!!

Then 45 minutes going through security; we finally got into the terminal. Spent the next two hours, pleasantly, in the reciprocal Qantas Club lounge.


Los Angeles airport. What chaos. We queued for hours until finally got our tickets. Thought all had been done online, but they hadn't had time to process the credit card. Millions of people. Security!! Rod was determined to be there early so we arrived at 11:30 for a 5 pm flight. It was very comforting to know when we had been sent to four wrong lines and sent away again. Lines and security for escalators and at each level but finally through.

Landed at Vegas. The big hotels - MGM Grand, Bellagio, Venetian, Paris, Caesars Palace, Ney York, Mirage, Hollywood Planet etc etc, are all on either side of the main drag, known as "The Strip".

Booked into the Bellagio, wandered around town, amazed, then dined back at the hotel in the Circa restaurant. Watched the syncronised water fountain display from our bedroom window. Wow! Google that one for some videos!!

Booked two shows at the concierge desk - Tom Jones at the MGM Grand tomorrow night and Cheap Trick playing The Beatles' Sgt Peppers album live on Friday night at the "Paris". Looking forward to that!!

Thu Aug 12             Las Vegas     lasvegas

We spent most of today walking around the foyers of the big casinos - what a spectacle! Those of you who have been there will know what I am talking about and those of you who haven't been there - sorry - it's almost impossible to describe the grandeur, splendour, glitz and vision of it all. Staggering!


Las Vegas - this means 'the water meadows'. Who would have thought in the middle of the desert.  Lots of stark landscapey stuff out there. I've never had a yearning to go but Rod has, for the  great shows. I must say that a lot of it is not so wonderful by day. Of course there is the Pyramid and the Sphinx and the Statue of Liberty and the Doges Palace and the bridge of sighs, gondolas inside piazzas with canals and fountains and Trevi fountains and colosseum and forum under sunset skies and all of this is indoors. It was 41-2-3 degrees and three million visitors.

We stayed at the Bellagio which had a lake and magnificent fountains dancing in amazingly choreographed shows.  We even had a view from the room. Opposite us on 'the strip' was the Eiffel tower and the Arc de Triomphe. We rode up the tower for the view (daytime) Absolutely wonderful reproduction of Paris architecture as in all the casinos. We had dinner half way up overlooking the Bellagio Fountains. Then off to see Tom Jones. Rod will tell all.


Went to MGM Grand early, watched the lions parading around the lion's den, ate in the jungle themed cafe, and went to see Tom.

We were sharing a table with a couple from New York, good seats, about 50 metres from the stage.

Tom Jones was excellent - at 70 something, he still has a great voice and can hit all the notes.

I got so excited, Su had to stop me from throwing my undies at him!

In my mind, this event alone justified our decision to jump ship.

Fri Aug 13             Las Vegas

Continued our investigation of the casinos on the strip...



We drank champagne on the grand canal and watched people get married in gondolas with all the Italian favourites being sung. Absolutely wonderful reproduction of Paris architecture. All the casinos we saw were astounding! But The Venetian was my favourite. Of course there were Elvis chapels galore but we resisted the temptation to get married in one.

MGM had real lions in a massive habitat in their foyer and there was an aquarium at the Mirage along with a dolphin park, sorry , dolphin habitat. Despite the heat we walked from casino to casino doing "the foyer tour" it was exhausting but in a good way. So many people it was hard to walk through one's own foyer to get out because there were busloads of people trying to get in. 


Had a go at the slots - we both lost $1.00 on the one cent slot machine. Have to do our bit for the US economy.

On Nicholas's recommendation, we also decided to have a go on the roulette wheel "Always bet on the black" he had advised. Bought $20 worth of betting chips; it was all gone in three spins - I hadn't realised the minimum bet was $10! Thanks Nick!

Went across the road from the Bellagio to the Paris, went up the Eiffel tower lookout, then had dinner in the elevated restaurant, watching the Bellagio water fountain illuminated display. Wonderful.


Off to the Cheap trick show. Top seats, about 5 rows from the front, right in the middle.

Three of the Cheap Trick musios - vocalist, lead guitarist and bass player, - were joined by an enormous band. 5 young mop-haired backup harmony guys, dressed in early Beatles suits, three sax/clarinet/flute players, 10 piece string section (including a harpist and a conductor), bass, drummer, trombone, trumpet, three French horn players, piano player, keyboard player, another rhythm guitarist.  Wow, what a sound. Excellent!
 
After completing all the songs on Sgt Peppers, they did another 10 songs - Beatles favourites and a couple of their own hits - "Dream Police", "I want You to Want Me"

Very memorable night. Finished off the night doing our best to erase a few more brain cells. 

Sat Aug 14             Las Vegas


We ran out of gaping open-mouthed time and left early for the airport after three nights and two days.

Sun Aug 15             Honolulu, Oahu  honolulu

Hawai'i - No problems getting to Honolulu. Lovely room again on recommendation, out the back door passed lovely guitarist onto Waikiki Beach. All too hard to take. 

Rod had investigated some music venues for something different and off we went to a dark , deserted street to look for jazz. We were too early so went to little bar downstairs to wait. Here we met the owner of this bar and the one we were going to upstairs, plus there was good live music here too. Met a young surfer dude who taught sports of all kinds to autistic kids on the island. Another fellow who played Radiohead on the jukebox for me. We were sorry to leave. Found  a good Californian chardy too!

Upstairs we shared a table with another couple who were very into music too. Great sounds here. Shared a cab back with them to a bar they knew well and spent another hour or so. Made arrangements to meet next night and  go to another couple of music spots. Dear Diary I was glad to crash. Rod will describe music.


Music was a three piece jazz piano trio (Satomi Yarimizo on piano), with a guest singer from L.A. - Sharmila Guha - she has Indian/Phillipina ethnicity, with a beautifully clear, note-perfect voice. The trio was joined mid-way by an excellent young trumpeter. Very good music.

Our table mates, Roger and Bridget were a lovely couple. After the show, we all went back to Waikiki beach where Roger took us to one of his sports bars, where we met some of his friends and knocked back some shooters. Roger works in digital lighting and had just finished 10 days hard work on post production of the new movie "Pirates of the Caribean IV" and was looking to relax. Had a very enjoyable night and many thanks to them both for their great hospitality!


Went out on a (viewing) submarine next day and looked at fishies big and small, turtles and sharks and reefs off the coast, had a little nap in prep for music. Found our first venue next door and Brenda and Roger from last night. Really a place for young people and dancin' the limbo.

Headed off to Chuck's Cellar alone as the other two had to work the next day. It wasn't my lack of deodorant or something? Sadly for me it was a seafood place so was stuck with a side serve of mushrooms. Music very pleasant but not exciting like last night.

Check out for us at six am. Six hour tour of Pearl Harbour and etc. starting at 6:30 am. Not enough sleep after last two nights. Didn't want any more war stuff after Singapore but ….. Went over the Bowfin sub and saw the conditions aboard, went out to the USS Arizona sunk in the bay, read the histories of all the subs that were sunk during the war (especially the Growler where the captain who was wounded and on deck gave the order to dive to save the sub and most of his men. Of course he was never found.)

An extensive park with steam-driven torpedoes and other relics …… a sad but fascinating place.

We didn't want to go back to the ship too early so  went shopping for tees for the kids then bathers for me, for the islands. Margheritas and guitarist at the hotel on the beach 'till time. Sad to see that ship appear …  we'd had such a great time on shore.  Next Port - Tahiti .. and hopefully the terrific little place we found last time (2006) with all the musos jammin' the night away. With luck it will still be there, it was very very good. Fingers crossed.


Mon Aug 16             Honolulu

Tue Aug 17             At Sea}
Wed Aug 18             At Sea} "Where have you two been? Haven't seen you for days!"
Thu Aug 19             At Sea}
Fri Aug 20             At Sea}
Sat Aug 21             At Sea}  Decided to have an alcohol-free day!
 
Sun Aug 22             Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands
papeete

Tahiti - Pape'ete - very disappointing as everything was closed for Sunday. We had been looking for and found the terrific music bars/restaurants. Alas and alack they too were closed when we returned that night. A quick meal with a couple and back to the ship for a bit of entertainment.

Made up for the alcohol-free day yesterday. "I havn't had one of those for years!" said one of our drinking mates...

Happy Birthday Nick!

Mon Aug 23             Moorea, Society Islands
moorea

Moorea - A beautiful volcanic island. Amazing landscape greeted us at six am with the sun coming up and throwing all into sharp shadows. Clouds drifting across the the tops of the peaks made it seem as though they would erupt again!! A tiny population which is mainly involved in fruit plantations. Rod and I went ashore to find something to do, and decided on a boat tour. We went out to stingray and shark reefs and paddled about there before on to a private beach with white coral and swimming with the fish and rays again. The colours of the sea were extraordinary. A shame we can't show pics yet but when we get home we will add them to the rest. Needed shoes to swim as well as walk on the beach. I finally got to baptize my new togs. Next stop is Pago Pago where I hope to do a bit more lolling about in the sea if there's not much to do.

Tue Aug 24             At Sea
 
Wed Aug 25             At Sea

Thu Aug 26             Pago Pago, American Samoa
pago

Fri Aug 27             At Sea

Sat Aug 28             Cross International Dateline

 
Mon Aug 30             At Sea

Tue Aug 31             Auckland, New Zealand
auckland

Will catch up with friends in Auckland today?

Wed Sep  1             At Sea 

Thu Sep  2             At Sea

Fri Sep  3             Sydney 
sydney


Then, this is the current thinking:

September 2010: time in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart, Kalgoorlie/Perth

February  2011: South Africa for Safari

March 2011: South America - Santiago? Lima? Buenos Aries? Rio?

Northern Hemisphere summer: Spain?, Italy? To be decided.
Venice Dubrovnic HCIMP Rome Livorno Cannes Barcelona Gibraltar Paris Southampton
Su's notes on the trip, all in blue italic font.
The ship is the P&O Dud Princess. You can see her details here.
Dublin Titanic Boston Newport New York Antigua Barbados Breakdown Curacao
Listen up!

A friend of mine writes he has been put off cruising by my negative comments.

Let me try and balance that impression.

Cruising is really fun. You meet good people, visit interesting places, don't have to keep packing and unpacking your bags, you eat well and get great entertainment just down the hall. You can have a few drinks and not worry about getting booked for DIY. There are no telephones. No work to do. No cleaning, cooking, no cutting the grass. Sua and I love it.

Understandably, we are comparing this cruise with those we have had in the past. And the excellent standards set by other cruise lines like "Voyages of Discovery" (google it), are not being met.

We have had some excellent cruises - one of which was with the "Sun Princess" last December '09.

We booked a 7 day cruise from Sydney around Tasmania and back to Sydney on the Dawn Princess' sister ship to see if we liked the line and the size of the boat. We did. The entertainment was excellent. Su and I were running from one end of the boat to the other like excited little kids at Christmas; watching the shows, the bands, the solo performers. They were all first class. On the basis of this cruise, we booked the world cruise.

It should be no surprise I suppose, that for Su and I, one of the most important aspects of cruising is the quality of the entertainment.

And that's one of the major problems with this cruise... with the exception of the Jazz band and the string quartet, the entertainment is crap!

This makes us grumpy - and grumpy people tend to find fault everywhere.

And it is not just us - there are a lot of experienced cruisers who are on their third world cruise with Princess, who are very unhappy with this particular cruise.

I have heard a theory that Princess management knows Australians are not as picky as Americans (or Europeans), and will therefore put up with a lesser level of quality. I'm not sure I subscribe to that; I think it is just penny pinching.

But, don't be put off

Check out reviews of cruise lines before you book. I could not recommend Princess for any long cruises, but, as I mentioned earlier, the short one we took was fine.