Saturday, 6 January 2018

Sun Princess - December 2017 - Post 1

On 22nd December I flew to Sydney to join Sun Princess for a 13 night Christmas / New Year cruise. The ship was in much better condition than I expected (she's the oldest ship in the Princess fleet) and as always on Princess ships the food was very good and the service was excellent throughout. It was great that my good friends Jules and Phil Garvin were aboard for the cruise as were Terry and John Strange, also friends from previous cruises. It was a very good cruise with great weather and an easy-going crowd aboard.

Sydney Departure.

Me with Jules - great to catch up with her and Phil again.

The old Pyrmont wharves certainly look different these days.

Radiance of the Seas at Circular Quay.

 Christmas Day.

Early morning on deck, rounding the southern tip of New Caledonia, en route Vila.
Decorations in the ship's atrium.

A festive group at breakfast - their other halves at the table behind them don't look so jolly.
Me with the Captain (left) and Staff Captain (right). I sailed with both of them when I was in the US in October 2016 - the Captain was Staff Captain aboard Regal Princess and the Staff Captain was in the same position aboard Ruby Princess.
A lovely surprise from Jules and Phil. One of my favourite on-board tipples.


Late afternoon departure Vila.
My good friends Jules and Phil.
Jules and me.

Some of the younger set on deck.

And a few of the older crowd.

Sun Princess - December 2017 - Post 2

Champagne Bay, Vanuatu - tendering ashore.

Heading home after a lovely day at the beach.

At anchor off Mystery Island, Vanuatu. 

(L-R) Phil, Jules, Terry, Me, John.

With the Captain at the Most Travelled Passengers' lunch.
Ever cheerful, friendly and obliging bar staff - Arief and Arthur, both from the Philippines.

Luganville, Vanuatu.

The Captain and Staff Captain on the bridge just prior to sailing.

Isle of Pines, New Caledonia.

Another lovely spot.

On the way back to Sydney.

With my excellent table waiter, Christian (left) and fabulous Maitre d', Jacques (right).
On deck before the New Year's Eve party.
The Executive Chef (left) and Maitre d' (centre) at the very entertaining and lighthearted cooking show.
Milder weather the day before arrival Sydney.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Golden Princess - December 2017 - Post 1

 I rejoined, yet again, Golden Princess on November 28th. for her repositioning voyage to Melbourne (unusually, a leisurely two days at sea, down the coast) before her first Melbourne based cruise for this season, which I stayed aboard for. As always, the service was excellent, the food very good and the ship comfortable. We had hot, sunny weather with calm seas for most of the voyage. Coincidentally, I bumped into a colleague and a true gentleman from my JDE days, Charles Hughes on board. Charles and I worked together on and off, in Australia and Japan, for about twelve years and I hadn't seen him for nearly twenty years since. It was great to catch up. Another great cruise.

Late afternoon sailing from Sydney on November 28th.

As a lovely surprise, Maitre d' Carlos Justina organised this beautiful dinner for me, prepared by a Goanese chef.

Calm, evening seas between Sydney and Melbourne.

Sailing from a rainy Melbourne after the first turnaround for the season, December 1st.

These musicians, by far the best on the ship in my book, are from the ship's orchestra and occasionally played jazz in the bars and Atrium.

Mare, New Caledonia from my balcony.
A hot morning in Vila.

Berthing at Noumea with the tug standing by.
A hot day in Noumea.

Arriving at Champagne Bay, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu.

Tendering ashore. 

Two of the Front Desk staff heading ashore for duty on the jetty.

Although I'm not generally a beach person, Champagne Bay is probably my favourite South Pacific stop. Warm, crystal clear water, beautiful sand, cold beer and fresh lobsters available and gorgeous scenery.

It was another hot day in Luganville, Vanuatu - I stayed aboard.

Back in Melbourne on December 15th - a warm, sunny day this time.