Although it was late to bed and we were tired, Paula couldn’t sleep! We’d set the alarm for 6:30am and the ship was already lining up to dock at Queen’s Wharf – not Prince’s Wharf as last time. That meant the meeting instructions I’d given to Darryl & Sue were a bit out, so I scribbled a quick note and pushed it under their cabin door.
It didn’t take long to get sorted and we left the cabin quite early and parked ourselves in the dining room on deck 5, awaiting the clearance to disembark – once the luggage had been off-loaded.
It didn’t take long and we were first off along with M & M! Two immigration booths open and then we collected our luggage. The lack of sleep must have affected Paula’s eyesight as she’d loaded someone else’s case onto our trolley! Luckily we spotted it straightaway so we rolled up to the MAF (Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries) to declare our wood/nuts etc. after first passing the beagle test.
For future travellers arriving at that wharf, currently, no Duty Free facilities on arrival.
The official was quite happy with the Panama hat in its balsa wood box and the three or four small ornaments made out of ivory nuts, so straight out for a taxi, parked at the exit to the shed.
First time I had ridden in a Toyota Prius. Eerie silence…
The trip home was against the traffic, so easy enough, but the queue going into town from Onewa Rd. stretched the full length (about 2kms). Missing out on the daily rush hour traffic is something I really am happy to have left well behind.
The house was still standing and heaving the four suitcases, two carry-on bags, the backpack with computer and camera and a zip bag with the balsa box and the left over cans of cider, was easy enough. The advantage of arriving home by ship!
First jobs were turning the water and electricity back on and heading for the garage to see if the 2010 vehicle would start. Luckily it did, (the AA man lives across the road and was on standby) though the remote unlock button is on the way out. Ditto, buttons on the CD/radio remote and also the Sky TV remote…
After a quick sort out and a partial unpack of one case each, we nipped out to the supermarket for a couple of basics.
Out again and into town to pick up Darryl & Sue at 11am – though we’d forgotten what a pain it was dealing with Auckland’s unsynchronised traffic lights. All OK and off then to our regular garden centre for the best coffee in two months. Ship coffee is OK but it pales against the local brew.
A bit of a trundle around with our guests then home. We relaxed and also watched Ganjo’s first two DVDs of last year’s cruise, as Darryl & Sue were on until Rome.
Out then for an excellent Indian meal before returning them to the dock, for their last three days to Sydney. It was rather cool so the heaters were on at home.
So that is it. Three months away and blogging our progress at every stage.
I’ll post a summary in a day or two but that will be aimed more at the future cruisers who I know followed this hoping to pick up tips; those who keep in touch because they couldn’t travel this year and oddly enough, those who were also on the cruise.
I hope you enjoyed the ramble and weren’t too bored but any comments, positive or negative will be welcomed.
|With Dave Watson|
Well, what a con. We went to bed August 24th and when we woke, it was already August 26th, so no treats, no top line guests, no free drinks.
On the positive side, August 25th was designated a low calorie fasting day.
(For those unaware, we crossed the International Date line, which is 180 degrees west of Greenwich, so we lost a whole day.)
More rocking and rolling and at 2am we were awake so I switched on the TV. The Grand Prix wasn’t on live but the sports news channel was enough to find out that Hamilton had been tapped by his team mate. Oh dear.
I finally woke 8am and did manage to watch the last 5 laps. Better than nothing! Paula was still asleep so I managed to watch most of ‘The Sting’, one of my favourite movies and one that brought Ragtime piano back into popularity for a while. The title tune ‘The Sting’ is in fact ‘The Entertainer Rag’ and when (if) my left hand is restored, I am determined to learn how to play it, having started to learn it well over 30 years ago.
Juts for a change, breakfast was with ace Rock n’ Roll dancers Graham and Linda. (That first pic is Graham resting his feet, ready for some energetic dancing later.)
After trivia, once again, no seats so no morning coffee, but lunch at 12:30.
For our last formal night, we had an early show – impressionist Danny McMaster. We’d seen his show before and enjoyed it this time too. An amazing range of characters and almost all done very well. On then to the Captain’s farewell drinks in the Atrium, but this time, Paula steered well clear of the red wine! We caught up with new evening musical trivia friends, Theresa and Errol from the UK. (Picture 2.)
Dinner was one of my Princess favourites ‘Veal Orloff’.
The last Production Show for us was a tribute to ‘The Beatles’ – ‘ Here There and Everywhere’. Not very impressed. As noted before, the scenery is virtually non-existent and the mismatched male singers (one tall, hefty and bald, the other small and swarthy – who can at least sing); mismatched male dancers (one tall, thin and young, the other solid, dark and squat and looking more like a boxer) made it almost awkward to watch at times.
However, tomorrow is the big day, August 25th, with so many promises and treats.
Clocks back another hour tonight.
|Another Wyland Whale mural|
|The abandoned cable car|