25 Oct-We had a buffet breakfast in the hotel yesterday morning, and caught a taxi to the cruise ship terminal at White Bay. Some cruise ships dock at Circular Quay as we did last month when we arrived on the Carnival Legend and others that are short enough to fit underneath the Harbor Bridge dock at the newer passenger terminal in White Bay.
After waiting five hours in the terminal to board the ship a drill was called just a couple of minutes after we found our room. By the time the longest drill we have ever experienced on a cruise was over it was 4 pm and the lunch buffet was closed. So we returned to the cabin to unpack and I couldn’t find my luggage key. I kept the key with my coins and remembered that I dumped all the change out and gave it to the taxi driver illogically thinking I could never use it again and not thinking that we are stopping in Melbourne and Tasmania. The ships locksmith finally arrived and opened the lock around bedtime.
We were docked on the right next to this bridge in White Bay.
The ship passed by Darling Harbor which is one bay over
Getting ready to pass underneath the Harbor Bridge it looked like it would be a close one and it was. I would be curious to know how many inches we had to spare. You can just faintly make out the bridge climbers (a tour you can take) on top next to the Australian flag. There is also a pedestrian walkway next to the road. It must have been an interesting view for those on the bridge seeing our ship, the Holland Oosterdam, so close beneath them.
Approaching Circular Quay and the Central Business District
Now passing by the opera house and on towards the sea
Our room is a huge improvement over the interior cabin we had last month coming to Sydney. Of course that one was free and this time we are paying guests. The bed and bedding is so comfortable that I laid awake a long time relishing in the comfort of it and knowing I would have the same bed for 14 nights straight. The bed hopping for a month got pretty tiresome!
Now we are learning our way around this ship and all the in’s and outs. The decor is more of an old elegance (50’s style?) with curving hallways. The atmosphere is more sedate vs the flamboyancy of the Carnival fun ships. There are more classes and seminars and less of the slapstick activities. One thing that I am already taking advantage of are the computer/digital photo classes. There are a variety of classes each day courtesy of Microsoft Windows who have also furnished 20 of the newest PC’s with big screens along with a teacher.
As a precaution, for the first 48 hours we cannot serve ourselves in the buffet dining room which is making the lines go very slow. Evidently, cruise personnel wait to see if anyone comes down with a virus they caught on shore that would be passed onto the rest of us. That’s a perplexing policy since there will be so many people going on shore at the ports and eating out. Also, we had to fill out a form prior to boarding stating whether we had been in the African countries that have Ebola or come into contact with anyone with the disease. If so, we would not have been allowed on the ship.
Tonight is the first of three formal nights. We were going to go but our formal attire that has been at the bottom of our suitcase for the past month is very wrinkled. Steve called the desk to find out where the laundry rooms and irons are and they don’t have any. Carnival, I miss you already!