Year by year my calendar seems to get fuller. When I came to Australia in 2008 the one fixed point was my promise to go back and see family and friends once a year – always, for obvious reasons, during the British summer so as to escape a few weeks of our winter. An annual visit to Thailand to catch up with my brother and family was added in 2014, then a post-Christmas mini-break to somewhere new in Australia, and from 2017 a short cruise.
This year’s cruise couldn’t have been more mini – just two nights/one day sailing from Melbourne to Adelaide on the Golden Princess. At 109,000 tons she is a large ship, though not the largest by a long way.
Thursday – embarcation
Boarding took a little while with 800 new passengers joining the ship. Once on board I made for the Horizon Court buffet restaurant for a late lunch and was then on deck for our 4.00p.m. departure (most cruise ships leave at 6.00). At that point I realised that we’d be sailing through Port Phillip Heads (the narrow gap that separates the Southern Ocean from the bay) in daylight … but I’d opted for early dining so would probably be eating when we passed through the Heads.
I made my excuses to my table companions, skipped dessert, and made it on deck as we just passed through the heads, passing Point Lonsdale lighthouse, somewhere I’d visited on land a number of times. Being tired I didn’t stay up for the late night entertainment.
Friday – at sea
Before breakfast I joined an informal Bible Study group – six of us, three from Melbourne, one each from UK, Sweden and Switzerland. As with a number of other affinity group meetings, the crew has no part in this – a venue is nominated and it’s up to those who turn up to decide what they do. Then – putting diet aside – a full cooked breakfast in the Horizon Court. In my defence I always used the lifts and on Friday, according to my phone, smashed my 6,000 steps a day target, managing 11,046 steps. A good talk by a retired Federal police officer on scams, then lunch, then afternoon tea.
Before dinner I enjoyed listening to the Starlight Trio. Tonight’s excellent dinner was unhurried, then into a packed theatre for the production show.
My intention was to have another early night but I was attracted by one Colin Salter singing while accompanying himself on the piano. “Just one more,” I told myself, then another and another.
Saturday – back on land
I was awake at six to see us docking at Adelaide’s Outer Harbour. Time for another Horizon Court breakfast, then off the ship for my weekend in Adelaide.