Monday, September 5, 2011

It's a wrap folks...

Quote of the Day: "Well we survived this trip. Now all we have to do is survive the Rugby World Cup and the elections!"

The last day of the cruise was the usual flurry of activity, as people finished their packing, said farewell to cruise friends, exchanged email addresses knowing it's unlikely they'll ever write, worried about how much to tip the room steward and the waiter, and generally psyched themselves up to re-enter the real world.

I attended the last last Cruise Critic lunch, while BJ sulked away back in the cabin. He knew he was just a few hours short of being stuffed into the suitcase, then at home being chucked back into the draw until the next trip. Lunch was a fine affair, with appropriate speeches and thank yous. I've really enjoyed the company of this jolly group, and will hopefully meet some of the folks on other cruises...

I had an early night, planning on getting up for the sail into Auckland. I woke up in time for that, but on seeing it was only 10C outside, decided not to venture out onto deck! A final breakfast before a seamless disembarkation (The Americans could learn a thing or two here), and I was out of the Princess system, and all abandoned and alone in downtown Auckland. Strange thing is, there were many others disembarking who I'd never seen before. Where had they been hiding for the last 7 weeks?

I met friends in Esquires Coffee Shop, opposite the cruise terminal, and after the first decent coffee since Hawaii, and a good old natter, was whisked off to the airport. Back in Wellington, it was a stunning day: sunny and calm. Jenny and I sat down on the edge of Oriental Bay beach, and watched the boats on the harbour and the children playing. It's great to go away, but it's always great to get back home. Especially when you live in one of the finest cities in the world! It was like another port visit really, but this time I get to stay.

So that's it. All done and dusted until next time. Thanks for following my ramblings, and for the emails and comments along the way. It's nice to know people are enjoying what I write... In closing, for those who didn't read last year's blog, I'm going to repeat my final comments from that (with a few minor modifications), as I think they are still the best suggestions I can make to anyone contemplating a similar trip:

To finish, a few random observations and comments, which others thinking of a seriously long cruise may find helpful:

1. To be successful, it requires effort and commitment. If you are traveling with a partner or spouse, make sure you both have the same level of commitment. Compromise might work for a 7-day cruise, but not for over 3 months. If you are going solo, avoid sharing a cabin with a friend - if you do, chances are fairly low that you will still be friends by the end of the cruise.

2. Do breakfasts in the dining room. The omelets are to die for.

3. Avoid lingering in the laundry. It’s a hotbed of unfounded rumour and discontent!

4. Talk to the crew. Talk to everyone, from the officers right down to the cleaners. Talk to them as equals, and get to know them. They are lovely people, and over time you will hear some amazing stories.

5. Try to make friends with people who are different to your friends back home. This will enrich your experience.

6. Take some tours from the ship where they are the best option, but do you own thing sometimes too. Do your homework before you leave so you know what you want to see and do. Tourist sights are great, but if you get the chance to talk to the local people, they will provide you with special memories.

7. Chill. You’re on a cruise ship, and at sea. Shit will happen, as it would over the same period of time at home. And once you start moaning, it’s a downhill spiral…

8. And if you do need to complain about something, do it with a smile, and you may well find you get a better result.

Bon Voyage!

1 comment:

  1. What wonderful advice for future cruisers! I shall do my best to take it to heart for our WC next year. Thanks for blogging, I've really enjoyed it and already feel deprived as my blog-friends are leaving the ship! And, as an American I feel just the way you do about our customs and immigration! It sucks!
    Pam Ryan