This cruise with Royal Caribbean had been in the making for nearly two years.  Linda Cregan was flying Delta from Dayton to Atlanta to Los Angeles, while I was flying direct on Continental from Cleveland to LA.  On Saturday morning, March 12, Linda called me from Dayton Airport, saying that Qantas had called her, saying that our Qantas Pacific flight was overbooked and could we change to a flight that was @ 30 minutes earlier; my cell had rung earlier but dropped the call.  So I took the info from Linda, who was already stressed because Dayton was fogged in, and Atlanta was suffering from hail, so her flights were already delayed.  My Continental left 35 minutes late, but I had plenty of layover time in LAX.  Good thing, since the shuttle bus to the Tom Bradley International Terminal only comes about every 35 minutes.  By the time I was checking in on the rescheduled flight, Linda had finally arrived, but her luggage hadn’t, thus she never got to the terminal in enough time for baggage clearance, and so I had an empty seat next to my window for my second time on the double-decker airbus, for the 14 1/2 hour flight. 

    But on arrival in Sydney, even though the pilot had requested passengers to let the Perth people off first, they didn’t cooperate.  Thus, after luggage collection and customs, Qantas officials were everywhere, scurrying 78 of us Perth-bound to the head of every line, since they were holding the Perth plane for us.  During that flight, the pilot informed us that only about half of our luggage made it to the plane, but the rest would be on the next flight in another 90 minutes.  So I just killed time in Perth’s airport, and Linda and all our luggage arrived on the next flight, as “promised.”  She was not a happy, restful camper, having been stuck in the middle section of a 757; and after all the work that our agent had done with getting us both window seats on the Pacific flight, to have it all changed the MORNING of the flights.

    We had a nice efficiency room in a hotel in Fremantle, and found some TV dinners in a convenience store, as well as breakfast supplies, instead of $35 dinners and $24 breakfasts at the hotel.  And the taxi to the port was less than anticipated.  We were among the first dozen people to get on the ship.  It houses less than 2000 passengers, and has only two stores, and a cruise director who was totally non-receptive to adding more games/competitions to his 3x daily Trivia team contests.  Sea days were extremely BORING!!

    Some of the shore excursions were nothing to write home about, while others were absolutely awesome. Two of the people at our table for eight never came, and June and Leslie were only there for a few nights, as June’s husband Len took a turn for the worse, and she left the ship after only 2 days, and Leslie disembarked at Melbourne.  But Carol and Heather kept us laughing nightly, and we definitely had the cutest waiter of all. 

 
Australia & New Zealand, March 2010
Zhipan, our room steward from China
Carol & Heather, our tablemates from Australiashapeimage_8_link_0shapeimage_8_link_1
Evangelisto, India, & Clarel, Mauritius

Australia’s Seven States:

Western Australia, Northern Territory,

South Australia,

Queensland,

New South Wales,

Victoria,

Tasmania

double-decker airbus

March 12, depart USA

March 14, arrive Fremantle

March 15  Fremantle/Perth   5:00 pm depart

Bunbury

Albany

Cruising

Cruising

Adelaide

Cruising

Melbourne

Burnie

Hobart

Cruising

Cruising

Milford, Doubtful, Dusky Sounds, New Zealand

Dunedin, NZ

Christchurch, NZ

Wellington, NZ

Cruising

Cruising

Sydney

April 3  Depart for USA

The Kangaroo and the Emu are the national symbols of Australia:  Both are native to the country, and neither can walk backwards, which means that Australia can only go forward.

The “grandmother store” on George St. in Sydney

The Aussies have their own way of saying things; one can figure them out, but then again, they think we Americans have a cute drawl and some strange words too.

Flag of the Native Aboriginees

Linda thought this one was a eagle on steroids.