Titirangi Storyteller

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Posts Tagged ‘cruise ship

Smokestacks

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Smokestacks

There is a symmetry and a poetry and a rightness in all things. Even smokestacks. (This is not to imply that everything is perfectly all right with everything and we needn’t make improvements to anything.) (Nor should we come to the conclusion that smokestacks are a metaphor for life. They might be, but I’m not saying that.)

I like smokestacks.

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10/01/2013 at 11:23 pm

Diamond Princess Atrium

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Diamond Princess Atrium

I’ve done a fair bit of cruising over the years, and I think the Diamond Princess is my favourite ship. It’s not too big – around 2500 passengers and probably around 1000 crew. That sounds like a lot but there are some twice the size. I’ve never been on one that big, so I can’t say what it’s like, but 2500 is rather like a village at sea… Small enough that you will run into the same people in the places you like to go, so you meet people and form friendships, get to know the staff in your favourite restaurant, and if you go into the same shop a few times, they remember you too. And if you prefer to keep to yourself, it’s amazing how much privacy you can find to read, think or meditate. And yes, you do have the option of eating yourself into a stupor if you wish, but having done it so many times now, I tend to eat normal sized meals, so I don’t feel sluggish – and my clothes fit as well getting off as they did when I got on. (That said, this ship has some of the best old-fashioned pizza you will find anywhere – I don’t know how they do it!)

So this is the atrium, three stories high. I love how the stairs and walkways sort of twist around, rather like an Escher drawing. This was taken late in the evening, so it’s quiet, but during the day it bustles like a town square, with musicians playing, people sitting in comfy couches with coffee or a glass of wine and a sweet. I’ve been on a few ships where this area is gaudy to the point of being almost blinding, but even with all the Christmas decorations, the Diamond is still a bit elegant and if not understated, very easy on the eye.

This was probably my best cruise so far, sailing from Sydney via Hobart & Melbourne, the south island of NZ and the up the east coast ports, ending up in Auckland, where we caught a taxi home. I’ll probably do it again in a couple of years. Can’t wait!

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31/12/2012 at 12:50 am

A perfect day to sail

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Yes, I have cruising on the brain again… the cheap details are coming out for early next year. Spotted one tonight on Holland America from Hong to Beijing, then Shanghai then Incheon and Jeju (the last two being in South Korea.) 14 nights… less than $100 per night per person… of course there will be the bloody expensive Chinese Visa… and the airfares to Hong Kong, so it’s not quite the song the cruise in this photo was…

This was sailing out of Auckland in September on the MS Volendam. And while those perfectly lined up and manicured loungers may look inviting, it was cold and windy – a perfect day to sail, not for lounging around getting sun…

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29/11/2011 at 11:36 pm

Phoney Fake Fabulous Fun

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Despite that glitz and glamour are about as far from anything I would define as ‘my style,’ I love it on a ship – the glitzier and more over the top, the better. I suppose it’s the immersion in a world that is not mine, not of my design or under my control.  And not my responsibility. No reflection there – other than in the hundreds of mirrors…

This is the lower atrium of the MS Volendam… slightly subdued actually, a bit of a throwback to the pre-war years sense of luxury…

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13/11/2011 at 12:12 am

As the day goes by…

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16/03/2011 at 10:58 pm

All at Sea

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PA133870After a month away, settling back to a ‘normal’ routine of life just isn’t easy. I resent having to get up and go to bed to suit someone else’s schedule. I resent my standard healthy omelette breakfast – my salad at lunchtime, my wonderfully balanced and wholesome dinner lovingly prepared by my spouse. I resent the lawn and the trees and the whole bloody lot – would trade it all in a minute for a life at sea. Okay, it’s not that bad. I don’t even have a lawn.

But there is something about life at sea that is dreamlike. Time becomes plastic, fluid – stretching and twisting, so you lose track of what day it is – never mind the time. You are nowhere – you are at sea.

And this trip was all about being at sea. With only nine ports in 25 days, there was a never-ending expanse of blue. Rarely sighting land. (Though I do wish I’d have got a glimpse of Iran as we sailed past, just eleven miles away.) And since we were in the tropics the entire time, every day was about 12 hours light and dark.

PA113788Unfortunately though, as we were sailing east, every 15 degrees, we lost an hour. The time difference between Dubai and Sydney is six hours and around India Malaysia and Thailand, they are fond of half hour time changes, making things even more confusing. Fortunately food is served 24/7 so no matter how often one may miss a meal, there is another going on somewhere. And if in doubt, complimentary room service is always perfect. We had it every morning, before going to the gym and pool. Just something light before a workout.

PA112634The thing I love most is the sunsets. They are extremely unreliable, but when they deliver, they are truly exceptional. How about this? The sun is below the Yard-arm – time for a drink!

This cruise was on the Dawn Princess, a fairly old (by cruise ship standards) ship and not as dazzling as the Crown or Diamond Proncess ships which we sailed on last year. But like every cruise ship I have been on, it had more bars than I could keep track of as well as half a dozen restaurants and of course the legendery buffet. I try to stay away from the buffet. 3000 calorie meals just arent’ good for you.

PA093448On the other hand, the dessert tables are irresistable and the ice sculptures always kitschily divine! I am a fiend for dessert – but after a couple of weeks, rich cakes and puddings really do lose their appeal. There is always an abundance of fresh fruit available if you want something sweet.

Incredibly, I gained less than five pounds – a tribute to daily gym workouts. I was building muscle!

Ever since childhood I have been a water-baby. I can stay in the pool all day and never get bored or cold. However, I am also extremely fair, which means I cannot stay out in the sun without getting burnt. I was horrified at the Aussies who lay out all day in the direct sun, getting browner and browner. All I could think of was skin cancer – several times I saw people with black patches that looked distinctly unhealthy. MindPA073317 you, the hole in the ozone is right over New Zealand, so sun-worshipping here is a form of slow suicide. The Aussies have a different attitude. Here’s one ready to leap into the pool. Don’t get in his way!

I was on my way to the Dawn Princess ‘back pool’ at the rear of the ship – it is covered for us delicate flowers. It was there I wiled away those sweltering days. Nothing like sitting in the pool or spa whilst staring at the ocean.

We had near perfect weather the entire trip, with the exception of a few rough days in the middle. While I’ve been in really rough seas with ten metre swells, this time around it was a relatively tame 3-4 metres. Enough to rock the boat a bit and to make the terribly squeamish sea sick.

The most exciting thing is what this rocking does to the water in the pools. My husband took this incredible shot:

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I know I mentioned the sunsets, but check these shots out. (Click for a larger view)

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The ship is itself is simply gorgeous – yeah, a bit glitzy and a wee bit gaudy… but for me – it could be my second home. And being home on terra firma – oh, I don’t know – I still feel all at sea.

PA133890

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

24/10/2009 at 9:51 pm

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