Sydney, Australia – Arrival
It’s all over, our epic voyage around the world aboard the Sea Princess has come to an end, as the vessel secured alongside the White Bay Cruise Ship Terminal in Sydney. One hundred and four nights, 5 continents and countless ports, unfortunately has reached a conclusion, and it’s time for us to say our final goodbyes to our many new friends, both crew and pax.
Temperature: High 15C/59F, Low 10C/50F
Wind/Weather: Gale to Storm force winds with short/moderate swell. Overcast and heavy rain.
Clox: Z+10 (no change)
During the early hours of the morning, Sea Princess maintained her W’ly course, embarking the Sydney Pilot about 03:45. Once aboard, we entered Sydney Heads, steering various courses through the harbour. We passed under the Harbour Bridge about 04:30, docking port side alongside White Bay Terminal about 05:30.
The forecast storm outside Sydney hit with a vengeance, with the wind whistling through our and many other port side balcony doors, most of the night. The ship’s motion was also rather lively, until well inside Sydney Heads. Awake bright and early, we headed down to breakfast, which unfortunately this morning was just terrible. I tried a cooked breakfast, which was cold and greasy and Judi’s pancakes were grossly overcooked and also cold. Searching out our dinner waiters to say our final goodbyes, they mentioned a huge crew party well into the early hours of the morning (03:00). Working 7 days every week, they are definitely due an opportunity to let their hair down, once in a while.
After breakfast, we said our goodbyes to our cabin steward Ben, who was also with us the entire World Cruise. Grabbing our hand baggage, we headed down to Princess Theatre awaiting our tour, with Bruce and Viv arriving shortly after us. Yet again, the excellent tour department had everything well organised and made frequent announcements keeping us well informed of progress. About 08:45 our tour was called, so we headed to the gangway, getting scanned off the ship for the last time. Customs and Immigration were well organised and took no more than 10 minutes, a vast improvement on our experience on arrival New York. Exiting the terminal we got a hug from Ewa, the Shore-Excursion Manager, who pointed us towards our bus.
Obviously they haven’t sold many disembarkation tours, as our bus is a combined disembarkation and in-transit tour. Therefore, we drove around Sydney and Bondi Beach, before returning to Darling Harbour to drop off the in-transit passengers, then out to the airport. The tour started late and with the return to Darling Harbour, was rather curtailed, as we had to reach the airport for the people on flights departing at 14:00. At the International Terminal, the ballroom dance instructors (Herman and Monica) were also staying at the Rydges Hotel. Unfortunately the bus dropped us at the opposite end of the hotel and with tons of baggage it would be a challenge walking to the hotel, especially as Herman has a bad hip. I left Judi, Herman and Monica to watch the baggage, while I went for a hike to the hotel to get their shuttle to pick us up. Unfortunately, while the shuttle was available, they had no driver. Walking back, we grabbed the cases and headed over to the hotel.
While not the Sofitel at LHR T5, it is very comfortable and certainly convenient for Qantas departures. We will be here for 3 nights, jumping aboard a Qantas A-380 bound for Dallas on Monday afternoon. After an initial 15 hours, we have 4 hours to relax in Dallas before another 5 hours up to Vancouver.
I will be writing a summary of our 2015 World Cruise, outlining the highlights and also the areas that could have been better. I will endeavour to complete the summary before departing Sydney on Monday.
Bon voyage to our many friends still aboard the Sea Princess, who are heading to Brisbane or Freemantle.