Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia
Our final day of the 2015 World Cruise, and based on the Captain’s forecast, we will be ending the cruise with the same conditions we experienced on that first night, oh so many days, even months ago. Today was a day for packing and saying our goodbyes to the many new friends we have met, including many of the wonderful crew aboard, who have worked extremely hard, with constant smiles, to make this almost completed 104 night adventure, most memorable.
Temperature: High 15C/59F, Low 10C/50F
Wind/Weather; Everything from flat calm to storm force winds, partly cloudy to overcast, heavy rain at times.
Clox: Z+10 (back 1 hr, returning to Sydney time)
Throughout the day, Sea Princess maintained a W’ly course at about 15 knots, across the Tasman Sea towards the Sydney pilot station.
This morning we scheduled a finale for the early morning walkers, at 06:00 in Premier Cru. Thanks to Wendy for making the arrangements and letting everyone know. As usual, I was awake long before that and not wanting to join the meeting all sweaty, gave up on the morning walk, electing to work on the final formal night photos from last night. Our get together was well attended with at least a dozen of us early birds attending, only missing young Jamie, who is one of the photographers. It was a very pleasant morning, with some fresh fruit and excellent conversation. Of course, a final photo was mandatory.
Our early morning walkers, with about 1/2 completing the full world cruise.
Returning to the cabin shortly after 07:00, Judi was waking up, so after a quick shower we headed down to breakfast. We were seated with 2 other couples, a single lady and Phil, one of the fellow morning walkers. We are just too predictable in the morning, as yet again the excellent waiters knew our preferences from memory. Yet again, some excellent conversation and like most who are disembarking tomorrow, we were off to do the dreaded packing.
Back to the cabin, we decided to pack 4 suitcases with stuff we don’t need until Vancouver, so at the hotel we only need to use 1 case. One hundred and four nights ago, we arrived with 4 suitcases, but I can guarantee it will be 5, possibly even 6 going back. Hoping to get everything into 5 cases, we are using Judi’s carry-on case for the hold and she will use the backpack for her carry-on stuff. Getting to the last case, it quickly becomes evident it required a miracle to get everything into 5 cases. Down to the shop we go for one of the Princess bags that expand, only to find none on the shelf. I asked a shoppie, who responded, sorry sold out. We then checked out the small duffel bags, but at $45, the Scotsman will create the aforementioned miracle. Back in the cabin I started with Judi’s small carry-on case, stuffing it to overflowing, having to literally sit on it to close. Success, it now weighs in at 40 lbs. I only hope Customs don’t request to open it, lest they meet “Jack-in-the-box”. Great start and on a high, I managed to cram everything in, with weights fairly close to the maximum of 51 lbs.
Completed packing, I attended the final lecture in David’s Science Series titled, “Making New Life, A Second Genesis”. Heading to the theatre, it was blowing a gale with torrential rain restricting visibility. However, on departing an hour later, the Noon announcement quoted the wind at S’ly about 6 knots. Yes, in an hour the rain had stopped, skies partially cleared and the wind died down to light airs. A very interesting and thought provoking lecture. Then it was off to lunch, where we again sat and chatted for well over an hour, barely having time to return to the cabin, before heading to the Wheelhouse Bar to grab seats for Happy Hour. Viv, Faye and Vonnie joined us briefly before heading down to Vista for the Jackpot Bingo, leaving Bob, Bruce, Bill, Jo and Judi & I. Not sure if it was the last day, or “Channels” as we used to call it, but the Guinness was particularly smooth this afternoon. We just sat and chatted, having a great time, and next thing we know it’s 18:00. Wow, time really flies, as we had spent over 3 hours.
We returned to the cabin to get the cases out in the alleyway, so the accommodation chaps can get them loaded for disembarkation tomorrow. They request we only keep 1 case, which you put outside when you retire for the evening. Our final dinner, with great company, was most enjoyable. Both Judi and I had the NY steak, with both cooked to perfection. On completion, it was hugs and a few tears all around, as we really cannot be happier with our table mates this past 104 nights. Even our waiters Santosh and Sylvia got big hugs and a couple of tears.
Tonight’s special event was the long awaited International Crew Show, which on most ships is one of the best evenings of entertainment aboard the vessel. Tonight they started with a video presentation cycling through the countries represented by the crew, with a photograph of 1 or more crew members for each country. The show included 6 crew performances, with the first being a member of the galley staff, who was an excellent singer. It also included the crew band, who have the Chief Engineer as their drummer. The eagerly awaited finale of, “If I were not upon the sea” performed by the cruise staff, did not materialise, but without a doubt the finale was simply spectacular, a real tear generator. The Cruise Director introduced the Captain, who joined him on stage. After some small talk they both started singing the Rod Stewart hit “I am sailing”. Unbelievable, what an ending to the cruise to have the Captain up on stage singing. But wait, it got better. They were joined by the ship’s singers, who joined the signing. We then had the entire cruise staff, and many of the officers and crew join the Captain on stage thanking us for joining them on the World Cruise. A truly fantastic finale, definitely the best I have seen on any previous cruise.
Thoroughly well entertained, we trudged back to the cabin for our final night of sleep aboard the Sea Princess, as we are only about 4 hours from the Sydney pilot station and the end of this epic voyage.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.