Time for another leg of mystery travel, and, of course, I had no idea what Stephanie had in mind. We caught a local bus from Circular Quay in Sydney, and I assumed it was taking us to the airport. Instead, we hopped off in a somewhat isolated and industrial looking area. As we started walking, I saw a luxury car rental place, and immediately got excited and worried – excited at the idea of driving around Australia in a bitchin’ car, worried about driving on the left-hand side of the road. But then we walked right past the rental place, and in the distance was another cruise ship docked in a different place from where our Trans-pacific cruise let us off. Check out these videos as realization sets in that we’re going to take another cruise.
This time we boarded a Princess Cruises ship (the Sea Princess) for a 13-day voyage to New Zealand and back. Here’s the itinerary:
Stephanie actually held the secret until we were in line to check in. Because our previous cruise docked so early in the morning, we had missed the beautiful views (sailing in) of Sydney Harbour, the bridge and the Opera House. This time, we were treated to all of it was we sailed out of Sydney.
Unlike with Royal Caribbean, we had a cabin way up on deck 10. Usually we’re deep in the bowels of the ship, and that’s fine with us. This is relevant because our voyage began with two sea days as we crossed the Tasman Sea – some notoriously rough waters. The higher up on the ship you are, the more you feel the bouncing. Having cruised before, we loved it. The ship bobbed and swayed and never let us forget that we were at sea. We found our sea legs right away, and enjoyed being rocked to sleep at night which is more than can be said for some of our other passengers.
This ship had a piano entertainer in the open atrium. This guy, who improvised and interacted with the crowd, was wildly popular, and there was standing room only every night. He would also interact with passers-by too if they got too close to him. A few times we would passed through the atrium on our way to dance, and he would commented on Stephanie’s dress or and shoes. One night, he was between songs as we were passing, and asked us (on his live microphone) where we were headed. I told him that we were going to dance, and he said, “You can do that here. What kind of music are you looking for?”
“What’s a foxtrot?” (I think he was playing dumb.)
“You know, basically anything by Frank Sinatra.”
“Perfect! That’s what we’re playing here,” he said.
Before we could think of a way to duck out of it, he asked the crowd if they’d like to see us dance, and they responded annoyingly enthusiastically. “I’m going to kill you!” said Stephanie as I led her to the floor. Nevertheless, we had the dance floor to ourselves as we danced a private foxtrot for the benefit of a few hundred people. The applause was unexpected, but very nice. Afterwards, Tom, the piano player asked if we knew how to swing dance. We told him yes, and he polled the crowd to find someone who could play the piano. One guy volunteered, and as he played a tune that was decidedly not a swing number, Tom and Stephanie took a turn on the floor. Or at least they tried to. The volunteer piano player would get about 30 seconds of a song out, mess up, give up, and then try to think of another tune to play. “Anything consistent will be fine,” said Tom. I never really watch Stephanie dance since I’m usually too busy dancing with her myself. She looked great. Tom knew the steps, but Stephanie had the moves.
Cruising is usually always pretty fabulous, and only the most nit-picky of people don’t have a good time. Fortunately, we are good at having a good time in any circumstances. Unfortunately, the winds and weather were whipping up, and we soon found that our itinerary was going to change a few times.