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Published: April 6th 2018
This time a week ago, we were under the impression that we would be on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, on our way to New Zealand. Then, the upsetting news came on Tuesday that our cruise had been cancelled. We were quite upset and unsure what to do. This was our honeymoon, we’d booked it months in advance and were already packed. We were just counting down the days.
So, after a few tears and some helpful alternatives from our travel agent, we decided on a spontaneous plan B – Tasmania. In 12 hours, our wonderful travel agent used our refunded money from Royal Caribbean to plan an 8 day honeymoon travelling around Tasmania.
This is a place neither of us have been, and to those of us all living on the mainland of Australia, rather exotic and not easy to get to. As it’s an island, there are two options – fly or get a boat.
We went the boat option.
So, here we are, aboard the Spirit of Tasmania and on our way to the little island state to spend the next week. Originally, we were going to drive down to Melbourne (where the
boat leaves from) and stay a night there, then get the day boat early Saturday morning. But then we realised we’d arrive in Melbourne earlier than the boat left on Friday, so went for the overnight option both ways. It gives us a whole extra day. In a way, we are cruising: just not for as long or to where we anticipated.
We left Canberra about 8 in the morning and arrived at Station Pier around 4PM. We found a park easy enough and went for a little wander, seeing the ship being loaded up with all of the food and things that are needed for the overnight trip.
Soon after, the gates opened and we got in our car and drove in. That’s the good thing about this ship – you can take your car, camper van, boat, etc along with you, which makes things a whole lot easier.
Getting through was quite methodical. At one point, they check your car to make sure you’re not bringing anything illegal with you (such as fresh fruit). At another point they give you room keys if you’ve booked a cabin. There must be something there that scans your
number plate, because when we approached, the woman knew who we were and gave us our keys straight away.
After that, we were directed to drive our car onto the ship. This was a little wait, but our lane was the first to be let in and therefore we ended up parking our car on the bottom deck. I’m not sure whether that means we are one of the first ones off or last. Either way, apparently we are getting a wake up announcement at 5:15 in the morning! Not fun!
We located our cabin relatively easily, though due to such a late booking, we were left with a cabin like Leonardo Di Caprio’s character, Jack, in Titanic has – except just the two of us. There are two bunk beds, but I suppose considering it was booked two days ago, there were little options. We know on the return boat, we have a much better room!
We put our stuff down and then went to the deck below where it’s all happening.
The Spirit of Tasmania certainly isn’t like your normal cruise ship, though it is quite nice. There’s a bar, lots of places to sit, a reading room, a dining room, and two cinemas. There’s also a small convenience store. We sat by the bar for a while, then went to have dinner. Albert wasn’t really hungry, so it was just me who ate.
The food was quite good, though in my opinion over priced. That’s another thing about this boat: you still need to pay for anything on board, including your meals. It was a buffet with quite a range of choices, but you’re charged for eating from the salad bar, and again for eating from the hot food selection. Therefore, you’re paying for two lots, as well as any drinks.
The ship was due to leave at 7:30, but left about 7:20. Albert, who was feeling tired as he drove the whole way to Melbourne, went to bed by 8. I am sitting in the reading room, writing this and then hoping to read, though the boat is a bit shaky, and I don’t handle shaking well if trying to read. However, on the level above where our cabin is, we hardly feel the boat, so may be easier to read up there.
So, although unexpected, we are quite excited to begin this adventure and see this part of the world neither of us have seen before. Our travel agent has planned what seems to be a wonderful itinerary. We’ve had almost no time to research anything, so really are winging it in places, though I’m sure we’ll have the best time.
We arrive at Devonport around 5:30 tomorrow morning and are then on our way to Launceston for one night.
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