Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sun Princess cruise comes to an end

As I sit here in the Virgin Lounge, I realise that our trip on Sun Princess has come to an end.
Disembarkation at the new White Bay terminal in Sydney was well organised, quick and efficient...,
17 nights, 4 ports, 1 port skipped.
For me this trip had a few too many sea days, too few people of our own age and too many tender ports. I realised in the tender on the way back to the ship in Airlie beach as I was throwing my guts up that I hate tender rides!!
The tender trip back was so rough and it took ages, I thought I wouldn't make it!
It ruined the day for me as the nausea continued on.
We have realised that we prefer Royal Caribbean overall for our cruises and are looking forward to our Alaska cruise next year on Radiance of the Seas.       
Back to work tomorrow and back to the rat race...,.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Excursion review: Airlie Beach - Proserpine Museum and Coffee Plantation

After a 20 minute tender ride ashore from the ship I was reminded why I don't enjoy tender ports! It wasn't overly rough but the tenders had poor ventilation and with the heat here, it was a very unpleasant ride and it was only 8.30 in the morning, I am not looking forward to the ride back.
As I sit in our air conditioned coach, I reflect on our first stop - the Proserpine museum.
It took us about 30 minutes to get here by coach from Airlie beach and our driver explained the history of this area.
The museum was a showcase of olden days in Australia including scenes set up from various time periods showing homes, utensils and clothing.
It was interesting.
We are now back on the coach headed for the coffee plantation….........back soon......

Well we are back on the coach after the visit to the coffee plantation. The had morning tea waiting for us including coffee, iced coffee, iced chocolate and tea all made in site.
The tour was too crowded so we didn't get to see anything.
Overall I am not that impressed with this excursion. Probably not one I would recommend for younger people. The older passengers found it more interesting I think.
Now as we head back to the port, I dread the hot and sweaty tender ride back to the Sun Princess. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sterling Steakhouse 'Surf and Turf'

Tonight we went along to the steakhouse again for dinner and had 'Surf n Turf.
There is an additional charge for this meal on top of the $20 cover charge. It costs an additional $10 as you also get a lobster tail with it.
The lobster tail looks fancy but really is about 4 bites of lobster worth having for a treat. They serve it with drawn butter and the waiter removes it from the shell for you. 
The meal is a filet mignon and lobster tail with all the usual side dishes. If you prefer another cut of meat they will serve whatever you want.
I chose to have the rib eye with mine.
Here is a picture I took of the meal before we added gravy and side dishes.
We enjoyed this meal although I can never finish the whole steak and can never fit in dessert! I even had a light lunch and still struggled!
Hope you all enjoy it also if you travel on the Sun Princess. 

Verdi's Pizzeria Deck 8, midship

Today we had lunch at Verdi's Pizzeria on deck 8. This is included in the cruise fare so worth a try.
You can also ask for these pizzas from room service but there is a $3.00 delivery charge in that case.
Anyway, you can pick from their menu or order your own style pizza.
The first time we dined there, we had a pizza made with bocconcini mozzarella and it was yum! Nothing like fresh bocconcini on a pizza as it melts creamy.
Today we ordered our pizzas and mine tasted very salty. I think there is something about the American mozzarella. They assured me there was no other kind of cheese on it.
Anyway Trevor ordered a ham and capsicum pizza (had to order this as ham and bell peppers as the Americans don't call it capsicum).
Anyway when the pizza arrived it had only capsicums on it with no ham. The waitress took it back and returned in a flash after dumping cold ham on top and bringing it straight back.
At this point Trevor gave up.
We were going to leave as we don't like to complain but one of the waitresses came up (not the original waitress) and asked how the pizzas were. When we explained she immediately offered to have another pizza made, we didn't want any  fuss but she insisted. We also asked her to ensure that only mozzarella cheese was used. Anyway the replacement pizza came out looking awfully white......lots of cheese, capsicum and ham cooked in but no pizza sauce!! Who makes a pizza with no sauce? When the waitress came back we were laughing at our fortune and she couldn't believe it! She says they took her literally when she asked for 'only mozzarella cheese'!
She went away and asked for yet another pizza to be made!! This was getting ridiculous. We were getting embarrassed at this point. The manager came around to apologise blaming the loud music playing in  the atrium for the mistakes.
When the next pizza came it was fine and Trevor ate the whole thing!
It was a funny episode.
My view is, when they get it right, their pizza is really nice, not sure why their cheese sometimes tastes very salty which has ruined the pizza for me a couple of times......has anyone else experienced this? 
We did not want to be difficult but this lunch experience got all too hard!!
Anyway I would suggest you try it out if you come on the Sun Princess. You have nothing to lose and you may like it.
Their pizza dough makes great crust, thin, crispy and authentic.

Cruising through the Great Barrier Reef

Today is a other sea day on our way to Airlie beach. It is a scenic cruise along the Queensland coast through the Great Barrier Reef marine park.
Here are some photos take from our balcony.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Transit through Torres Strait

Today we continue our sea days on route to Airlie Beach, our next port. A Reef Pilot is on board and his first official duty is to pilot us through the Torres Strait which is a narrow and shallow passage.
Seas are a bit rough today with strong winds. 

As I sit in our stateroom looking out the balcony door to see the array of land masses that we pass, I am considering our Princess experience.

We have sailed Princess before on this ship and on the Grand Princess.
We have come to the conclusion that for us, overall, we prefer Royal Caribbean.
It is so hard to compare things as each cruise line has pros and cons but for our family, we think RCI offers the best overall experience.....
We will be at sea for one more day and will arrive in Airlie Beach on Sunday. We have booked an excursion there so hopefully we will have nice weather.
I will post a review after the excursion.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sun Princess - my best pick for walking.....

You know, exercise is really important when on a cruise. It is very tempting to just lay around and sit around all day on sea days.......but we have to try to keep up an exercise regime. 
Some passengers use the gym which is great but I prefer the fresh air.
Sun Princess top deck is only a short walk and exposed to the heat. As we are cruising the north of Australia it is hot so I found an alternative for my walks which is deck 7. On this deck you can walk the entire length if the ship so it is a good walk around and is sheltered from the sun. 3 times around is 1 mile apparently.
I have been having afternoon walks on sea days for at least an hour and have found it very relaxing and have not had to worry about sunburn.
Another great tip on a cruise is to use the stairs instead of elevators. I must admit that going down many flights of stairs is more appealing than going up!! I have to confess that I don't follow this tip enough!!

Another small mercy for us has been the location of our stateroom. We are on the very back of the ship and our balcony overlooks the wake of the ship.
This means that to get anywhere we have to walk further so I estimate that we walk a few kilometres each day just going back and forth for our stateroom from the various venues on the ship.

Anyway I hope this information is helpful for those of you who may travel on Sun Princess........

Sun Princess Kids Club Review by 9 year old Michael

Hi my name is Michael I'm 9 years old and I will tell you about the kids club on the sun princess. On a normal day they have craft, video games, games, competitions, movies, free time and on formal night they even have kids dinner!!!!
As soon as you get in you have to wash your hands and take your shoes off then you just get to have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is Michael signing out!!!!! :) ;) 
Here are some photos.....

The video game screens....

Arts and crafts displays.....

Work tables...

Examples of the arts and crafts made.....

The movie theatre.....

Movie nights are really popular and ice cream parties are great too. In addition to Michael's comments above, Michael participated in Movies Under the Stars where they took the kids to the pool deck to watch a kids movie under the stars on the big screen! They had blankets and served popcorn, the kids really loved it.
They were also allowed to play wii games  on the giant screen too. Imagine how awesome that was! 
Tonight the kids club is being converted I to a kids disco!

Kids club on Sun Princess  hours are:

On port days they do not close for lunch.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Today we are in Darwin, very hot, very humid.
We went into town using a shuttle service from the ship and then bought tickets on the hop on hop off bus.
We also had a quick walk around the mall before getting on the bus.
The bus was less than impressive and had no air conditioning on the lower deck.
We decided not to get off at any stops but to listen to the commentary all around town. It was hard to see much from the bus and the heat and humidity made the trip very uncomfortable.
We are back on the ship now and headed straight for a nice shower before a late lunch.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Scenic cruising on the Kimberley Coast

Yesterday afternoon we spent the afternoon cruising through a scenic area of the Kimberley coast.
Some interesting formations and a lovely sunset. 

Missing man on Sun Princess

Today as we headed towards Darwin (as we left Broome on Sunday),  the ship was turned around and we are retracing our tracks as a search goes on for  a missing elderly man. A search of the ship is also being conducted and it is not known if he went overboard but seeing as the ship has been turned around there might be a suspicion he went overboard.
Crew are searching the ship showing a photograph of the man to see if anyone has seen him.....
Will keep you posted......

Well after a whole days search by our ship, rescue aircraft and a cargo ship, no sign of the man........very sad.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Broome excursion review - Pearl Luggers Museum, Crocodile Farm and Gantheaume Point

We head off in our coach on tour today as Broome puts on a hot but dry day for us.

Michael is raring to go.

First stop...the Pearl Luggers Museum.
We have just left the Pearl Luggers Museum. It was really interesting to learn about the pearl shell and pearl trade in Broome going back to the first settlers. The role of the Japanese as their best divers ever was very interesting and the multicultural history of this town also.
The guide described the diving techniques and showed us all the gear the divers had to wear to dive for the pearl shells. They worked extremely hard in those days and did a job that was very hazardous. The shells are used for making items like buttons for women's clothing and knife handles. This was a very lucrative trade and still is today with Broome being the pearling capital of the world.
Here is our dear son Michael holding a beautiful pearl shell (note the excitement on his face).
As I sit in the bus writing this I look out at the extraordinary red earth outside. Wow!

Next is a crocodile farm..........

It was very hot at the crocodile farm and we just watched the crocodile feeding. Some huge crocs and alligators!!

Now off to a lookout.....hopefully some nice photo opportunities there too......back soon ....

Where else in the world do you see such contrasting landscape as in Australia? Here we are at Gantheaume Point Broome.....see the light blue water, white beaches contrasting against the red earth and rocks.....spectacular ...
A very worthwhile excursion.....

Arrival in Broome, Australia

We have been at sea for two days and have now arrived in Broome. We are in port from 11.30 to 8.30pm. We have been told that entry into this port is dependant on tide. We have come into port on the high tide and won't we able to depart until high tide again this evening.
Here are some photos of the beautiful waters as we entered the port, light green and pristine .....
We are off on an excursion now....will post a review later today....

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Beautiful sunset at sea - on our way to Broome

Here we are at sea again on our way to Broome where we arrive tomorrow.
From our balcony I took some great photos of a sunset....

Friday, October 4, 2013

At sea day - 4 October 2013

Today we are at sea after having left Indonesia last night. We have two sea days before we arrive on Broome.
Today we also had to go through a customs and immigration check on the ship. I assume customs officers boarded the ship this morning at sea. They are here all day and have to check passports and incoming passenger immigration cards fir every passenger. To avoid chaos, people were given different times to attend the lounge where the check was being conducted. We assumed they did this on the ship today rather than when we arrive in Broome as there may not be suitable facilities in Broome to check a few thousand people.
This afternoon I went for a long walk around the deck and took my music with me so it was very relaxing to walk around listening to my favourite music and watching the ocean.....

Tonight is international night in the dining room with a menu full of dishes from around the world.
I hope to check out the on board shops tonight for a new handbag. They have Guess, Coach, Ralph Lauren, DKNY and Tommy Hilfiger.