Cruise countdown and disembarkation

DAY      SAT 21 June 2014     SEA DAY – (Last day of cruise)

Another 25 degree day and a chance to briefly unwind – before the final celebrations began. We spent a few hours in the steam room and sauna (Seaview Bar at the AFT end of the ship) before a little sun-bathing. It was a very relaxing setting as we cruised along, surrounded only by deep blue seas as far as the eye could see!

Departure preparation:   Main suitcases to be placed in the corridor between 5.00 pm and 8.00 pm (it seemed very early, but the crew’s aim was to move the bags whilst people were at dinner so that it wouldn’t disturb passengers). Very thoughtful indeed!

6.30 pm.    Craig Andrews      45-minute piano recital (Vista Lounge)

7.45 pm     Dinner  – Including farewells to our fantastic dining room stewards

10.15 pm.  A packed Princess Theatre watched the Farewell concert put on by the Crew.

What amazing talent. Asst. Cruise Director Simon’s amazing vocals was surely the highlight.

 DAY   8    Sun 22 June 2014    Disembarkation Day

We were given our disembarkation instructions the previous evening and the whole procedure went very smoothly. Rooms were to be vacated by 8.00 am as staff prepared staterooms for the next influx of passengers arriving in just 4 hours time! The Restaurants were open for breakfast as well as various lounges – where ample tea and coffee and pastries were offered. 

We arrived back into Melbourne at 3.40 pm with Virgin Australia. 

SEA PRINCESS was set to depart Brisbane at 4.00 pm heading north on a 16-day round Australia voyage to Perth (Fremantle).

 = Our 8-day cruise was filled with action and we’ve all come away with some wonderful memories. So successful was it that a number of the Hoppers Club Social Travel Club group have already booked for future cruises, including 1 couple on the GK Travel & Cruise’s 16th January 2016 sailing to New Zealand on the GOLDEN PRINCESS

 

More Glorious days on the Sea Princess

DAY 5 Thu 19 June 2014         At PORT DOUGLAS (0800 -1800)

We were anchored about 10 km off shore this time. The 20 Hoppers Club – Social Travel Club participants taking part in our private minibus tour to the Daintree River and Mossman Gorge were up early in order to get the first tender off the ship. We arrived at the Port Douglas wharf right on time at 9.30 am.. The weather was perfect.

We met our driver Phillip from BTS tours. After a 15-minute break in the city centre, which included a photo stop at  four – mile beach, we were on our way to the Daintree River. Along the way Phillip provided an excellent commentary on all things cultural and historical; he even threw in some interesting comments on life in general.

We then took an hour’s cruise along the Daintree River and managed to see some large 3- 4 metre crocs! The kiosk had prepared a bagged hot pie and sauce for everyone and to save time, and to give us more time at Mossman Gorge, we ate these on the bus as we travelled through the cane fields. The rainforest is truly spectacular – and one of the oldest in the world, with some plants going back to the a dinosaur age!

On board SEA PRINCESS:        Tonight’s theme was TROPICAL. All of the waiting staff looked resplendent in their Hawaiian shirts and many passengers got into the swing of things too!

DAY 6 Fri 20 June 2014         A SEA DAY (relaxation time)

After visiting 3 ports in daily succession, with excursions in each one, nearly everyone was looking forward to a sleep-in before taking in the ‘rigours’ of the day – deck chairs, swimming, massages and facials, sauna and steam room, shuffleboard, strolls around the Promenade Deck, morning trivia, even more outlet sales, movies (I’m not sure how many have gone to see ‘Captain Phillips‘ today – why would you???).         And on it goes ……

It’s all a matter of pacing the day out – for me I have been invited to the Grapevine Wine Tasting at 3.00 pm. At 7.00 pm Captain William Kent has invited Maria and I to attend The ‘Captains Circle’ Cocktail Party where we will get the chance to meet up with other Princess Cruises travellers from all over the world. Then on to dinner at 7.45 pm – tonight is the 2nd and final Formal Night of our week-long cruise.

Airlie Beach and Cairns on the Sea Princess

DAY 3 TUE 17 June 2014       At AIRLIE BEACH  (0700 – 1600)

This was the first of our shore excursions – 18 fellow travellers enjoyed “A Little Luxury” 3-course Seafood Sensation luncheon at Peppers Airlie Beach Resort. Tides Restaurant was the perfect vantage point as it is perched high on the hillside overlooking Airlie Beach Harbour. The pool, bar and restaurant facilities were ours to enjoy for 3 hours. The fact that the weather was a bit inclement didn’t seem to matter!  A big thanks to James Middleton from Peppers for his assistance with the event.

New to me – the new trend at ports serviced by ‘tender boat only’ sees Super Cats replacing the usual lifeboats for the tender servicing. Taking 150-250 people at a time the new vessels can whisk many more passengers to/from shore in much quicker time – a real boon for all concerned.

Back on board in time for pre-dinner drinks in the Wheelhouse Bar, before another fabulous dinner at Rigoletto’s fine-dining Restaurant. We rounded off the night with a Showtime production in the Vista Lounge and finally called it a day at around 11.30 pm. It was another tough day in paradise!

DAY 4 WED 18 June 2014       At YORKEY’S KNOB, CAIRNS  (0900 – 1800)

A 25 degrees day – very comfortable for our shore excursion. We took the Skyrail gondola high above the rainforest up to the town of Kuranda and returned later in the afternoon via the famed Kuranda Railway. Followed by a stop in Cairns city with a brief introductory tour. Following the obligatory pre-dinner drinks in the Wheelhouse Bar we attended the cabaret night starring Donna Campbell – featuring the Life and Music of Dolly Parton. Excellent!

Overheard at dinner in Rigoletto’s tonight: (the theme was Italian food) When asked if he would like a crepe (with ice-cream) for desert Bob P. asked “if they were salt-water or fresh-water”?    All this good food on the the Sea Princess is obviously makingpeople a bit delirious!

Rugby:    NSW 6   Queensland 4            A lot of sad people on board!!