The passengers on the 'Rugby Legends' cruise were mainly South African and Australian. I was expecting hordes of supporters to be roaming the decks wearing their countries' rugby colours and singing their national anthems - loudly. But it wasn't like that at all on the days we were onboard. Apparently the ship was awash with green and gold jerseys on the Sunday, but by the time we boarded on the Monday, the All Blacks had beaten the Wallabies and there wasn't an Aussie outfit to be seen! All was very quiet!
The Piano Bar was designated the Springboks bar, the Crow's Nest was for Australians and the Ocean Bar was renamed the All Black Bar. Each was decorated with banners and flags both large and small, so they were very colourful. Large screen televisions continuously showed games from this Rugby World Cup as well as matches from the past.
The Wallabies versus All Blacks game, which New Zealand won, seemed to be replayed a lot and had some of the Australians complaining that having to see it over and over again was 'rubbing salt into the wounds'!
Famous rugby people
On the sea day there were several rugby themed events. People queued to have their photographs taken with the 'Rugby Legends', including famous Australian players Nick Farr-Jones and Mark Ella; the coach of the team that won the 1991 Rugby World Cup, Bob Dwyer; and the veteran sports broadcaster, Gordon Bray.
In the afternoon there was a 'Legends Panel Discussion' and early evening was the time for a competition, Rugby Trivia.
The 'Volendam' berthed at Captain Cook Wharf in Auckland, right next to all the action of the 'Fan Zones' created round the downtown area so those passengers who didn't go to the Bronze Final game on the Friday night could easily go ashore and soak up the party atmosphere that has been such an amazing feature of Rugby World Cup 2011.