March 29 – Last Day of Cruising

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March 29th 2014
Published: March 29th 2014
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Passing a ship heading NorthPassing a ship heading NorthPassing a ship heading North

Rhapsody of the Sea
This is the last full day at sea before we get to Sydney. That means it is the last day of enjoying all the pleasures of cruising. It does NOT mean the end of our story because we have about 10 more days scheduled on land before we return home, but it does mean we will slide down a little on the “pampered passenger” scale.

That being said, this is as good a time as any to proclaim our appreciation and praise the service we received this cruise. However good this was, it actually is not unusual – we always get excellent service from Princess Cruises. We don’t want to make this into a commercial, but this is a terrific way to take a vacation and we recommend it to anyway who wants to see different parts of the world. And Princess does it Right!

Having given them praise, last night they still took back the hour of sleep they had given us earlier in the cruise. Queensland (the 3 excursion sites) does not do Daylight Savings Time, whilst New South Wales and Victoria states do. And whilst we enjoyed getting the hour before Brisbane,
Pool on Last DayPool on Last DayPool on Last Day

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we have to give it back now or be late for our departure tomorrow. So the clock went off earlier than desired today.

Whilst Janet finished sleeping a little more this morning, David took a small load of laundry to the Laundromat to make sure we maximized our clean clothes. There is going to have to be one more small cleaning before we return home and the best place on our schedule is almost a week from now, whilst we are in Melbourne. So now we are fully outfitted for the next phase of the adventure.

“Whilst” – they use that word a lot down here in Australia and we just had to slip it in a few times. J

We were able to get all this done and still get to the Regency Dining Room for Eggs Benedict. We both had some today and it was very good. It is probably going to be a loooooong time before we have it again, so at least Janet got one more serving (it’s one of her favorite breakfasts). Then after breakfast, she went to the final session of Knitters and Natters. David started packing some things in the suitcase, but his heart wasn’t really into it, so that got pushed back until this afternoon. Having time on his hands, it seemed logical to take a short nap and get his extra hour of snoozing today too.

At 11:30, Janet went to the meeting of the ship’s book club. They were assigned to read the same book she had read on the previous cruise, so she wanted to cash in twice on one reading. Actually some of the people on the other cruise had not finished the book, so she wanted more people’s opinion about the ending and hopefully this group had done all their readings. There was a more lively discussion than on the previous cruise. Those who had finished the book concurred that the book was good but the ending was strange. One & Half thumbs up.

The answer to yesterday’s Trivia Question is 89 days, as of the end of this cruise (tomorrow). We actually are on our longest cruise (if you add the two together) and it was 23 days. In order to get to the high 400’s, we would need 20 more cruises of about 20 days each. So that is why we don’t expect to ever win the “most frequent cruiser” award. We will be almost 2/3 of the way to Elite Status (150 days), which gets you some more perks – like FREE laundry service, but even that is going to take several more years.

About 12:30 we went to lunch at the Terrace Grill. David had wanted a cheeseburger yesterday but could not have one, so today he got his burger. Janet likes their nice plump hot dogs, so she was happy too. Add some fries and we had a little bit of an American lunch before we go to the mainland of Kangaroo and Crocodile.

David had a couple of conversations with the staff about how the culture will change once the ship goes to Japanese Ports. There will still be English speaking people on the ship (both passengers and staff) but there will be a predominance of Japanese in both groups. Announcements will be made in both languages, written instructions will be in both languages, the Cruise Director will speak in English (he does not speak Japanese) and then someone will translate what he said. The items on the menu will take on a much more oriental flavor. David was told we would be able to get around fine on the ship (and tours will have an English speaking option), but Japanese will be the predominant influence on the ship while (or whilst) cruising from the Japanese ports.

At 1:30 Janet went to a Lei Making class. Since this is a public forum (including grandchildren) we will skip any bad jokes about what Janet learned at lei class. While that was going on, David went to the Scrapheap Challenge. Here passengers had created boats from whatever they could scrounge and had to sail their boat two lengths of the pool, with a 6-pack of soda as the cargo. If they made it to the other end then they were in the popularity (applause) judging for some prize. It was entertaining to watch the collections of empty water bottles and balloons taped together and pulled by string. A couple actually completed the course but several capsized in the first few feet, spilling their cargo on the bottom of the pool. By the way, we had another wonderful day of weather (sunny all day, light breeze, and high 70s).

At 3:00 we both attended a wine tasting in the Marquis Dining Room. We did one other during the first cruise and we sampled pretty high-end wines (in the ships wine list, those bottles ranged from about $70 to $200 each). Today’s wine was much more pedestrian and the sampling fee was substantially lower. But as the sommelier explained, it all depends on the flavor you like, not what the bottle costs. That was good because we liked this cheaper wine at least as well as the more expensive previously. They talked an awful lot between glasses, each one apparently feeling they needed to outlast his predecessor.

Back to the cabin, Janet took a little post-wine nap and David worked on the blog. We have 2 suitcases packed and ready to go out in the hallway (to be taken away until they magically reappear in the terminal tomorrow morning). It is important to make sure we have the right things remaining, and that everything will fit the remaining suitcase and carry bag, before we send the first two bags away.

Dinner this evening included us finishing off a bottle of wine we had started the night before. Having warmed up our taste buds, this one tasted just fine to us. It went well with our meal, which was king sized New York Strip Steaks for each of us. Before that Janet had Puff Pastry and the shrimp cocktail with American Red sauce. David had a final appetizer serving of fettuccini (yum) and vegetable beef soup. For the final dinner dessert, Janet had fresh sliced melon and David had mud pie with ice cream. It was a great last dinner on the ship.

The show this evening is a repeat (for us) of a Production Show called “The Piano Man”. It was pretty good the first cruise, so we went to it again for one last hurrah. The shows are not world class, but they provide good entertainment for an hour, and this way David can say that he took Janet out to a show. J

We said earlier that the cruise is about over but our adventure has much further to go. We will have another 10 days before we come back home. We will keep writing the blog but our internet access may not be as readily available. If we miss a day here and there, you should be able to read multiple episodes when we do get back on the internet. So keep reading the blog whilst we continue to explore Australia on land.

A comment from Tessa: I hope you have a good time. I enjoyed reading your blog to Mommy this morning while she was getting dressed. We are going out to breakfast--I get to pick the place. I want to know why they weren't cooking anything in the kitchen while you were there, Granddad? Did they think you would take a bite? Love, Tessa.

Answer: It was because they didn’t want us to make a mess of their food and have to start all over again.

Having to go through the packing process really reminds us of how good we had it at the end of the first cruise and getting to leave everything in place in our cabin. But now the time has come to move out, so off we go to more adventurous times. That’s about all for tonight.


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