Thursday, 22 December 2011

Celebrating 50 Years of Cruise Ship Visits to Dunedin

A Viking longship on Otago Harbour
It's not only cruise ships that you see in Dunedin! Couldn't resist this photo! 
   On December 23, 1961, 'ms Seven Seas' arrived in Dunedin after a long voyage from England. Since this first visit by a cruise ship, more than 600 have visited the city over the last 50 years. Today it is the turn of  'Sun Princess', calling at Port Chalmers on her round New Zealand itinerary . 
   This year's southern hemisphere cruising season will see the most cruise ship visits ever to the city. There will even be two ships in port on Christmas Day.
  It was reported in the local newspaper at the time that when the 'Seven Seas' arrived, the ship's band played, the passengers went on bus tours and spent up large on souvenirs. Not a lot has changed, has it?
  I wish you all   a very Merry Christmas and smooth seas  on every sailing. Thanks for 'cruising along' with me this year. See you in 2012!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Celebrate Christmas on a Cruise

Father Christmas on a cruise
How I would love to do that - celebrate Christmas on a cruise! Last year, that is exactly what Pamela, her husband Nick and their children Antonio and Amy did. They went on an 8 day Pacific Island cruise, on the newly refurbished P&O's 'Pacific Pearl', with 12 members of their extended family. The group included 4 children. I asked Pamela about this special time.
W: How was the ship decorated for Christmas?
P: The public areas were decorated, particularly around reception and the stair ways up around the shops.  The large areas at the top of the stairs (bow) had big gingerbread landscapes, houses, trees, animals with lots of lollies, snow and interesting bits and pieces.  We weren't sure if we were allowed to eat them or not but a lot of candy coated sweets seemed to have disappeared each time we went past!
W: What special Christmassy activities were there for the children to do?
P: They had a fair bit of practice to put on a show for family and friends. For that they got dressed up in Xmas type clothes. The little girls wore red skirts and Santa hats. The boys had reindeer antler headbands. Just before Santa arrived there were a lot of activities set out in the reception area such as biscuit decorating and face painting.
W: And what did Santa bring?
P: Each child on board got a present. They met Santa and had their photos taken with him beside the Christmas tree. The kids were delighted with their small gifts from the ship.
W: Where did you have Christmas Day - at sea or in port?
P:  We had Christmas at Lifou in New Caledonia. The children had a good day at the beach and I explored the area near where the tenders come in.
W: And Christmas dinner?
P: We all wore Santa hats at the table and had plenty to eat!
I won't be on a cruise ship for Christmas this year but perhaps next? That would really be something to look forward to!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Cruising to Darwin - What a Welcome!

Modern buildings in Darwin
If you are on a round the world cruise (and how I wish I was!) Darwin, the northernmost city in Australia, will be one of your ports of call. We went there when we were on one sector of a world cruise, the voyage between Auckland and Singapore.
  I really knew very little about Darwin, except that it was tropical, hot, had been devastated by a cyclone in 1974, and was in crocodile territory.  I was pleasantly surprised at the thriving modern city we found there.
  Darwin puts on a great welcome for cruise ship passengers. The cruise terminal at the port just down the hill from the main shopping area, was set out like a market with stalls showcasing local artists and crafts people's creations. As well as aboriginal art, handmade jewellery, printed textiles, hats and bags, there were a few surprises in store for us.
   How about a baby wallaby in a shopping bag 'pouch'; a python to drape around your neck; a black cockatoo that was very interested in everyone who came near it, nodding its head, raising its crest, and squawking loudly; and a frilled lizard that looked as if it would be quite at home in Jurassic Park.
   It was a great way for us to meet and chat to some of the locals - both of the human and wild life varieties.