The Captain was half right – the first day was rough and rainy, but the second day was smooth and sunny. We spent our time trying to cram all we could into the last two days on the beautiful Rhapsody of the Seas.
Day 39: went to a very interesting lecture about kangaroos. We heard lots of stories and personal experiences about them from the locals. Bruce worked quite a bit. It was the last formal dinner and our Diamond reception night.
Day 40: Sea Day. We played shuffleboard, visited with our friends at Happy Hour, and packed. OMG, I had no idea how much stuff there was in this little cabin! I hope I’m within the 50# limit on the bags. (I wasn’t, but they let it slide).
Day 41: Travel Day. We sadly said goodbye to the ship at 8:00 AM in Sydney.We had a beautiful day and what a gorgeous beach. There are lots of shops and cafes there. Bruce soaked up the last of the sunny rays while I bought a few more souvenirs.
We got to the airport about noon. Our flight left at 3:25 PM on Nov 8 and we arrived in Denver at 3:35 PM still on Nov 8. Basically we arrived 10 minutes after we left (I wish!!!). This was about a 36 hour day, and believe me, that’s a loooooong day of traveling. Our flight into LA was 30 minutes late due to head winds, which caused us to miss our connection. We caught the next flight and arrived home safely about 5:00 PM. Fortunately we came home to a beautiful Fall day in Denver. I guess we’ve missed a mild Fall. But sure enough, the rain (now changing to SNOW) and nasty weather have followed us home. Who was that Peanuts character with the rain cloud over his head? That’s who I feel like.
The jet lag isn’t bad at all. We slept only a few hours on the plane, but got a full night of sleep last night. I think we’ve already adjusted back to Denver time. It’s gonna take a while to read the mail, unpack, do the laundry, and get used to being at home again. Driving will also take some getting used to. I hope I don’t try driving on the left side of the road!!
I’ve had a blast writing this blog. I hope you’ve had as much fun reading it. I thought I would close by reflecting back on this incredible journey. Here are some of the accomplishments, things I will always remember about this amazing part of the world, and some things I learned along the way:
- I fulfilled several lifelong dreams:
- Going to Tahiti, Australia, and Fiji
- Seeing the Great Barrier Reef
- Crossing the equator (pollywog ----> shellback)
- Crossing the International Date Line (Son/Daughter of Neptune)
- Petting a kangaroo, koala, and elephant
- Buying an Australian Opal in Australia (yes, someone loves me VERY much and I’m so spoiled!)
- Acquired lots of new magnets for the collection. I hope someday the fridge topples over from all the magnets on it.
- We got a lot of writing done. I finished my latest screenplay – Hello In There. I’m still picking at it, but it’s very close to being ready to submit to the production company. Bruce finished an episode for Counterfeit Bill as well as an episode for the new TV series - Pantera’s Gambit.
- We met many awesome people on this trip. Thanks to all of you for making this trip so special. I hope we can stay in touch.
- Many of the ports did such a memorable job of welcoming us: Newcastle with their cannon sendoff, Cairns allowed the ship to dock for the first time, and Loyalty Island had the welcome ceremony. These were the ones that really stood out, but everyone was happy to see us at all the ports.
- Everyone on board will always remember the last 4 days coming into Sydney. The 10+ meter swells and 60 knot sidewinds, rain, and cold temps were pretty harsh. That was one wild ride!! The Captain still mentions it in his talk.
- A trans-ocean cruise and children make a bad combination, especially on a small ship. There were 500 kids on board for 16 nights – and then all that weather to boot. The natives were definitely bored and restless. They couldn’t use the pool or go outside for those last 4 days so they were burning all their energy by running and screaming in the halls and stairwells and generally acting out. We saw 2 old men almost get into a fist fight over some unruly children’s behavior. We concluded that there otta be a law – no children allowed on cruises longer than 7 nights.
- Bonine is a life-saver and a must-have item if you have motion sickness at all.
- It’s really important to thoroughly research your destinations ahead of time. Royal Caribbean didn’t finalize their excursions until just a couple of weeks before departure and by then I was consumed by my mother’s illness and death, so I had not had a chance to do that for this trip. I felt unprepared for many of the ports and we missed some of the sights, but at the same time, you can’t see everything in a day anyway. There’s nothing worse than the disappointment in going someplace incredible and feeling like you didn’t really see it. It’s a great excuse to go back.
- Even in the rain and nasty weather you can still absorb the beauty of an island or city – but it’s a good idea to bring an umbrella. I usually do, but had taken it out when I was trying to reduce the weight of the suitcase. Bad choice!
- RCI refunded 1/3 of our ticket price for the Great Barrier Reef excursion, only because so many people complained about it. Lesson: strength in numbers.
- We tried to see the Southern Cross, but between the cloudy nights and the light pollution on the ship we never could find it. Maybe next time…
- I finally kicked the sinus infection, bronchitis, and cough that I picked up in Tahiti.
- Roos Rule!!! They’re my third favorite animal, after dogs and goats.
- We dined with the Captain twice and the Staff Captain once. What an honor.
- We tasted crocodile, but couldn’t bring ourselves to try kangaroo.
- Scones are yummy at 3:00 PM. What a bad habit that became! I still don’t care for tea, though.
- I gained 8# in 41 days. Bruce thinks he gained 7#. I think if the weather had been nicer we would’ve done better at working out and keeping it at bay. Still, that’s not too bad considering all the delicious food on board 24x7. At least my clothes all still fit, so hopefully most of this weight is salt and water retention.
- We managed to bring home some clean clothes. I STILL packed too much stuff! Amazing....
- Not even 40 days were enough for us and we could’ve easily stayed longer! The only thing we got tired of was the same old shows on TV and nothing was current. We started to feel out of touch with the world. We missed a lot of Bronco games, but it doesn’t sound like we missed much. We managed to avoid all the annoying political commercials and harassing phone calls (except for a few that came in on my cell phone in the middle of the night).
- Cruising is still our preferred method of travel. It’s great to wake up in a new world every day without having to pack and travel every time. Ships are floating 5-star resorts and everything is first class. We LOVE it!!
- Maybe I don’t need an island to call home, as long as I have a SHIP.
- I am so grateful to have had this incredible experience in all these amazing places with someone I love so much. In spite of all the “ups and downs” (literally and figuratively), I would do the whole thing again in a heartbeat. I hope to have many more trips to Australia. Perhaps next time we’ll go to New Zealand, too.
- We’re already planning our next big adventures. Alaska is at the top of the list, probably late June/early July. And the Caribbean is hard to beat during winter. We can extend some of our benefits to anyone who wants to come with us. Where would YOU like to go?