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Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Brisbane
February 27th 2009
Published: June 13th 2017
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Geo: -27.4676, 153.028

Thursday 26/02/09 At Sea Temps Air 28°C Sea 28°C

Whilst I written much about what where we've been and the ports visited, and touched on the profile of my fellow passengers but I've missed what may be of interest to some of you, that is what's life like aboard ship. Well a bit of back ground info firs, there's 2 main restaurants which are the ones used in the evening for fixed seating in addition to, one themed restaurant managed by restaurateur Marco Pierre White as well as another smaller more sophisticated open air restaurant at the stern of the ship, both of these restaurants apply extra charges for evening meals only, however the service and cuisine is superb. In addition there's a fulltime buffet restaurant on the 12th deck, a bar / café doing dedicated meals such as pizzas, salads, chicken dishes, and fish & chips to order, it goes without saying the foods good and plentiful. Breakfast depending on where you decide to take it is anything up to 7 courses, with the buffet restaurant providing unlimited courses. My breakfast usually runs to 5 courses, as I love kippers for breakfast and Linda hates the smell in the house they feature regularly on my plate. Lunch can be anything from a set 3 course lunch, to again whatever you feel like in the buffet restaurant, and yes there a multitude who enjoy both a substantial breakfast as well as lunch. I suspect it's the "I've paid for it so I'm dam well having it" syndrome.

After 4 weeks we decide to skip lunch, the reason being that when I was reviewing some of the photos I'd taken I noticed that it looked like I was still wearing my lifebelt under my shirt, that's odd I thought it's either a lifebelt I forgot to remove or I've swallowed an inflatable polo mint. Minor panic over, investigation revealed it wasn't a lifebelt or a mint; major panic now, I'm putting weight on so it's a case of increase the gym workout and reduce the calorie intake, hence skipping lunch.

Evening meal is set seating in your designated restaurant but you have the option of using any of the other restaurants other than the 2 main ones. The menus runs to 6-7 courses, the portions are on the smaller side but is more than adequate given the amount of courses being presented and what's available during the day, however if you require larger portions or extras it's never a problem.

On the full cruise there's 23 days of formal dress, and 37 of semi-formal dress with the remainder termed as smart casual ( no jeans, trainers, tee shirts with logos, shorts etc.)

There are 3 pools, one inside with a retractable sun roof, 4 open air Jacuzzis, numerous bars and watering holes, a theatre, cinema, library, shops, disco / ballroom, gym, health spa, including hairdressing facilities (Linda went for a wash & cut total charge £45).

The daily flyer provides information on all the events and information necessary to plan your day if you've a mind. The lectures provided cover all subjects and there's certainly something for everyone. I attended lectures on body language and police interrogation techniques given by a retired Scotland Yard Detective Chief Inspector. Understanding hand writing given by a leading retired criminologist, and smuggling and customs avoidance, along with an insight to life in prison ( I suppose one can lead to the other if your not careful ha ha) given by a retired Customs officer whose also a retired JP, and a member of the prison board of visitors. It wasn't until I started to write this that I noticed a theme to the lectures I attended, I'm sure one if not all of the lecturers would have me as a marked person by now.

There are clubs for just about everything imaginable, bridge being the biggest one and they often take over all the other public rooms when their organised clubs come to an end. There's also whist, photography, flower arranging (NO I didn't attend) dance classes, (No I didn't attend them either) rotary and Masonic lodge meetings, as well as all the usual games from golf practise nets, and table tennis to deck quoits & shuffleboard.

In addition there are classes for computers, digital photography and editing, understanding computers (don't make me laugh) camcorder use and editing, all of which attract a £20 fee per person per lesson, (if I only had the patience I'd have a job for life)

All in all if your not careful you could end up rushing from one thing to another, forgetting that in most cases you came away to avoid the hustle & bustle and relax ! Oh well I've paid for it so I'm damn well going.

Friday 27/02/09 Brisbane - Australia Temps Air 29°C Sea 27°C

We arrived at the cruise terminal at 08:00 which is just a short ride from town. We made full use of the hop on hop off bus service which also includes use of the city cat, a catamaran service which plies up and down the river every 15 mins; giving good views of the city along with a pleasant cooling breeze if you stand outside. The frequent City Cat ( river catamaran) and bus services provide easy access to most tourist sites around the city.

Mount Coot-tha is the highest point giving brilliant views over the cityscape, its also only a short distant from the botanical gardens which I'm informed is well worth a visit, and judging from the sheer amount of people getting off at this stop it's obviously well regarded, unfortunately our time is limited so we'll have to go next time (if indeed there's a next time).

In addition to the usual city highlights such as museums, commemorative statues, and green areas, there's a beautiful board walk along the riverside which includes a newly constructed 1km walkway comprising of 403 curved galvanised steel columns covered in a canopy of magenta bougainvillea, as they have only recently been planted they've not achieved the full effect yet, but it will be stunning after the next couple of years. We had a full day wandering around the parks, and gardens, taking the opportunity to just walk along the riverside enjoying the scenery as well as visiting Anzac square, and the windmill which is the oldest building in Brisbane. After a full and somewhat tiring day we caught the City Cat back along the river to a stop just short of where the ship was moored, so it was only a 4 minute walk to get back home and enjoy the comfort of a cold shower and air conditioning.


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