Sailing From Sydney

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.

LeavingSydney 3We were docked on the right next to this bridge in White Bay.

LeavingSydney 4The ship passed by Darling Harbor which is one bay over

LeavingSydney 5Getting 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.

LeavingSydney 6Approaching Circular Quay and the Central Business District

LeavingSydney 15Now passing by the opera house and on towards the sea

LeavingSydney 10Our 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!

Hyde Park and Darling Harbor

24 Oct-Two more places that we walked during our final two days in Sydney were Hyde Park and Darling Harbor.

SydneyOct22 11Hyde Park is a long rectangular park in the center of the city with many trees and this walkway that stretches the entire length.

SydneyOct22 10The ANZAC war memorial in the park was closing just as we arrived and all we got was a quick peak inside.  ANZAC is the term for the soldiers of Australia and New Zealand that fought in the first World War.  It is a big deal here and I even saw cookies at the cruise ship terminal called ANZAC cookies.

SydneyOct22 12

This cathedral is between Hyde Park and the Royal Botanical Gardens.

SydneyOct22 14

One of the pedestrian only downtown shopping areas

SydneyOct22 15The Sydney Tower contains a revolving restaurant and observation deck on top.

SydneyOct22 27 Fascinating was the sheer number of people going to and from work mornings, lunch, and evenings.  Here, with most wearing black, is a long line waiting for their busses to arrive.  There are many forms of transportation in Sydney with ferries, trams, underground trains and the busses.

DarlingHarbor 5Darling Harbor has been revitalized from former industrial dockside blight and is being expanded more.  Attractions include an IMAX theater, the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney Wildlife World, an aquarium, a zoo, the Harbourside shopping and dining complex, as well as boat and jet tours.  There is a lot here and we walked it all on both sides of the harbor.

DarlingHarbor 2We found some delicious and healthy eating upstairs in the Harbourside complex for reasonable prices.

DarlingHarbor 7DarlingHarbor 6Great views walking across the pedestrian only bridge to the main part of the city.  You can also take a ferry from Circular Quay to or from Darling Harbour.  We initially walked over from the Chinatown area and then crossed back this way.

Tasmania Rumors

I don’t have a strong enough signal from tethering my phone to my laptop to send a regular post with pictures.  I do have one final post with pictures from Sydney but who knows when you will see it.

It is Sunday about 4pm in Melbourne and we depart at 6 for Tasmania but there are rumors, with no announcements so far, that because of bad weather we are not going to Tasmania.  That is a real disappointment because it was the main reason we chose this particular cruise.

If we don’t go to Tasmania, our next port to get off the ship is six days away on Saturday when we dock in Port Chalmers near Dunedin in New Zealand.  We will cruise the Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park before then but will only dock shortly for just the people to get off who are taking a $1,000+ shore excursion that will meet back up with the ship in Port Chalmers.

The dock in Melbourne is not close enough to the city center to walk so we all had to buy a bus pass for $14 each to get downtown.  Special busses drove us near the visitor center and from there it was easy to get around.  My legs still hurt from Sydney and so we didn’t go very far.  Normally I take vitamin B-50 for the periodic pains I get in my calves (it really works) but forgot to bring it and have not seen stores in Australia that sells vitamins.



Our Hotel In Sydney

I forgot to tell you where we are staying.  This time we are at the Metro Hotel Central which is about 4 blocks south of The York where we stayed last month.  Once again we have a good deal because of befriending someone who is a good friend of one of the managers.  We received a nice discount, a top floor supreme room, plus free  internet.  Most of the hotels in the central business district charge about $12 a day for internet and this hotel would have been $15.  We have a modern room with a refrigerator and huge picture window with great views.

Metro 1As you can see from the views on the roof we are still among the tall buildings. This hotel is on Pitt Street and is in the area of great shopping and many affordable restaurants. We are also two blocks from Chinatown.

MarketCity 1

We have a view from our window of Market City aka Hay Market, another interesting shopping building.  The bottom floor reminds me of the big market in Mazatlan, Mexico with stalls of cheap goods and huge areas of produce and meats. This is the place to buy food if you happen to be staying in a self contained apartment in the area because the food prices are the first reasonable ones I have seen.  The fourth floor has an oriental food court and we got a great dinner tonight for $8.90AU that included 4 items plus soup.

And today, our last day in Sydney, was the first day of truly warm weather since arriving in Australia.