Boarding the Pacific Jewel
19.09.2014 - 19.09.2014
Got up and tried to squeeze everything back into my suitcase. Just need to pop out and buy a few things before going to the cruise terminal. Checked out on time and asked the nice man at reception to hold my suitcase for a couple of hours. No worries.
Found my way to David Jones and purchased a top and two pairs of long shorts. These will be good in the gym. Head back to the Vibe and try to fit my purchases into my suitcase. All good! Then hail a cab "New York style" as the receptionist said that was better than booking one.
Really nice cab driver, got my bag into the back of his car and we chatted the whole way to the terminal. Such a lovely day in Sydney, I didn't even need my cardigan. Looks like everyone decided to get to the terminal at the same time. First bag check, done! Then Health information card, completed. Queue for check in, along with about 1500 people. Imagine an airport queue at the peak time of the day in the days you couldn't check yourself in. There was a woman and her boyfriend/husband in front of me - he seemed laid back and happy, she was... Well the opposite! Behind me were two ladies, bit like me normally in that they didn't bloody shut up the whole time we were in that queue which was well over half an hour. Finally got through to a counter, picture taken for the ships records, departure card and cruise card provided. Now to fill out the departure card and line up for customs processing. Doesn't take long and I am heading through the glass tunnel and onto the ship. Scan in and she checks my photo and wishes me a great holiday. Next ship person wants to see my room number so she can tell me what floor I'm on. I know my cabin is on 11, I just don't know what deck I'm on now. It's 7 apparently so I am up 4 and all the way to the front.
This is very different to the Arcadia and the Sun Princess. I text a few people then head up one level to the pool deck to take some pictures. I finally decide on a cocktail and try to order it but the tell me they have closed for the evacuation drill. So it's back to the cabin to get my life jacket and wait for the 7 short and one long burst of the ships whistle. Off to the theatre, which is my muster station. They keep us in here longer than necessary waiting for a ship wide announcement. While we wait he asks us what are we supposed to do when we hear the general alarm.back to the cabin and collect - Life jacket, warm clothing, a hat and any medication. It's not hard to remember when nothing is happening. Five minutes later since we are still waiting he asks again. Then after another 5 minutes he asks again. Then again, we all groan and I answer mobile phone, the guy next to me says credit card for the second item and his wife says jewellery and I follow up with computer for the last. We amused ourselves and thankfully we weren't asked again.
Following the announcement that told us what to do if we heard the general alarm we were shown how to put the life jackets on. We were told to watch only and we would then be asked to put them on ourselves. As always there were two people who continued to put theirs on during the demonstration even though they were asked twice to wait. Once we all had our life jackets on and were again seated they said we could leave. Back to the cabin to put the vest away, collect my camera and glasses then back up on deck for the sail away. Slowly we edged out from the dock, then started to make our way to the mouth of the harbour. Another P&O ship was a couple of minutes ahead of us, reminded me a little of our transit of the Suez Canal just a few months ago. We seemed to just fit under the Sydney Harbour bridge but I am sure there was plenty of room. With Luna Park on one side and the Sydney Opera House on the other I moved from one side of the ship to the other to try to get some nice photos. It was windy and getting quite cold on deck so I went in to the buffet for a coffee to warm up.
On my way back to my cabin I watched the young ones on the flying fox over the pool. There were kids everywhere, I miss the Arcadia! At least tomorrow the kids room/s will be open. Funny thing is that one of the kids areas overlooks the adults only area. Now to work out dinner arrangements. Hmmm it seems that I can just turn up when I like to the buffet but the other restaurants I need to make a reservation. There are so many reasons why I should have waited for a Princess cruise and this is one of them. Looks like I will be dining solo. There is a cafe serving all sorts of chocolate treats and an ice creamery, but they cost extra just like most of the dining options. Room service costs extra, again I miss the Arcadia.
I couldn't get internet access in the room and the brochure said it was available in all public areas and lounges. Couldn't get it in the buffet when I had dinner so I went looking for an Internet cafe - there isn't one! One of the ship's people saw me checking out the deck plans on the wall. He said "is everything OK there, dear?" I responded yes thanks but walked away feeling very old... Dear? I'm not old enough to be a dear!! I should have coloured my hair.
Dinner wasn't bad, but there wasn't a great deal of choice. Being on my own, I would have preferred an a la carte menu with assigned stewards but I'm not on the Sun Princess or the Arcadia.
I stopped in one of the lounges there was a band playing but it had internet so I logged in/ signed up. That's done so it's time to walk the promenade deck - hmmm you can't go all the way around! Just as well this cruise is about writing and not about talking nice leisurely walks.
Back to the cabin to write, here it is nearly 10.30 and I haven't unpacked yet! They are playing "The Sapphires" on TV, even though I have seen it I keep stopping to watch.