Archives For cruising

Why do we eat more at sea? Does the salty air stimulate our inner Porky Pig? Is it because we want to get our fare’s worth of food? Or do we just eat it because it’s there – and it’s free?
Like cows, our “cruise stomach” seems to find extra compartments, and we pile on the dreaded “cruise kilos”.

Most cruisers go through three stages, from good intentions, to giving in, to giving up. Some people last longer than others, but most crumble at the first sight of a menu.

This is an hour-by-hour breakdown of how it usually goes…

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It was midnight at the jacuzzi…as all good stories begin…and I snuck in, ignoring the closed sign, with my friend. The ship was crossing between Australia and New Zealand, a typically windy stretch of sea, and I was carrying a bottle of wine and two glasses. I placed them down on the side of the hot tub as I climbed in, when suddenly a gust of wind blew them into the water! We rescued the wine and one glass but couldn’t find the other one. That’s when things got much, much worse….

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I’m disappointed by my butler’s name: Greg.

I knew he wouldn’t ever live up to my fantasy of a butler called Jeeves. But really, Greg? That’s the best you can do? His six-foot height, handsome face and tuxedo help, but not enough. I want a top hat and tails if you’re going to have the same name as a Brady.

Minutes later I have to hide my glee when Greg explains that he is not my butler; that my real butler is on his lunch break, and his name is Viktor. With a K. Now we’re talking.

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It’s been a couple of weeks since my last blog, thanks to a hectic month of travel and deadlines, so I’ll reward you with a juicy story about a naughty ship’s captain, who shall remain unnamed, from a ship that shall remain unnamed. We met at a cocktail party, where past passengers get the chance to mingle with the officers.

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A list of companies that offer coach, car or mini-bus transfers from other parts of the state to White Bay Cruise Terminal, Sydney.

UPDATED INFO (December 2013) at

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A Californian man, well into his sixties, approaches me after dinner and whispers into my ear: “Excuse me, but I was wondering if you would like to share a little something I picked up in Amsterdam?”

Surely he doesn’t mean what I think he means.

We arrange to meet on the ship’s top deck in ten minutes, but it still comes as a surprise when I see exactly what I had expected: the orange glow of a pipe – and not the kind my grandfather used to smoke.
In that unforeseen moment, under moonlight on the Rhine, I am relieved of all concerns that cruising is only for boring old people.

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There is a certain breed of cruise passenger who will complain about the most ridiculous things. Here are some crackers, obtained through a survey by travel agency

– A woman said the sea was “too loud” in the Mediterranean and cabins should be “better sound-proofed from the sounds of the sea”.
– A couple accused a ship’s captain of being “rude” for departing from a port (on time) when they had left a note saying they needed more time for sightseeing.
– A man complained about not getting “an impressive tan” while cruising in Alaska. Repeat, Alaska.

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On our best day, we had 1,200 people participate in a charity walk onboard…on a ‘clothing optional’ cruise.

Captain van der Loo, Holland America Line’s Oosterdam

Oh, you’re one of those people. Never been on a cruise and never would. Never been on a cruise but have a strong opinion about it. Never been on a cruise but somehow you’re sure it’s not for you. Your friend told you about their P&O holiday. You watched The Love Boat. You just know. Oh, really??

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