The Shifting Spanners

Its finally time for a Gap Year! After 33 years of working we have decided to bite the bullet, hitch up the van and do the Big Lap of Australia.
Living in: Cairns City, Australia
  • Day7

    Day 7 - Sea day

    January 10, Coral Sea ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Had a big sleep in till 10am then headed for a quick brekky. Lazed around various parts of the ship with a few cocktails and had a relaxing day.

    We caught the Farewell Show at 7pm, had dinner on the deck then went to the Farewell Party on the Lido deck. This was fantastic as every musician on board the ship took turns in playing, as well as various crew members who got up to sing. Amazing how talented some of these people are!

    We have to be out of our room by 0630 tomorrow so went to bed about 11pm.

    We've really enjoyed our 1st cruise and have already started planning our next one.
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  • Day6

    Day 6 - Sea day

    January 9, Coral Sea ⋅ 🌙 24 °C

    Sea day today on our journey back to Brisbane. Slept in till 9am, had our usual breakfast before heading to the cooking display given by the Head Chef. Marg was called up on stage to taste and endorse the creme caramel which was beautiful. We then got a tour of the ship's galley...very interesting to see how they cook for such large numbers.

    We've taken a liking to Midori Splices, and Toblerone cocktails, so we've already had about 5 of these by early afternoon as we head to the dome for Gatsby dance classes. Pretty hard to do this whilst the ship is lurching around but we made it.

    Got dressed up in our Gatsby regalia for the black tie event and thankfully we remembered most of what we learned earlier in the day.
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  • Day5

    Day 5 - Lifou

    January 8 in New Caledonia ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Woke up at Lifou Island to the news that, due to high winds, only 1 tender at a time could dock safely. That meant it took a couple of hours for everyone to disembark the ship.

    We chose a cultural type tour here which took us to a 19th century church, a High Chief's Hut, and also to a traditional Hangi where we tasted a chicken meal and a coconut water.

    Didn't swim or snorkel here, so went back to the ship for a late lunch, followed by some cocktails and an afternoon nap.

    We did more cocktails at the Dome as we departed Lufou and started our journey back to Brisbane.
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  • Day4

    Day 4 - Mare

    January 7 in New Caledonia ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Travelled overnight from Noumea and woke up at Mare Island. Had to negotiate a gangplank to board a lifeboat (Tender) which then took us to shore. We then caught a shuttle bus to Yejele Beach where we snorkled on the reef. Marg bought a sarong from the locals on the way back.

    We went back to the ship for lunch, cocktails and a spa before having a nap in the arvo...this cruiselife is really catching up with us!

    Had more cocktails at the Dome (Deck 12 front of ship) watching as the Captain raised the anchor and set off for our overnight destination of Lifou.

    Had dinner at the Waterfront restaurant at 8pm before catching the 9pm show which was great.
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  • Day2

    Day 2 - Sea day to New Caledonia

    January 5, Coral Sea ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Marg woke up feeling a lot better today, so we had breakfast at The Pantry, took our seasickness tablets, and continued exploring the ship. Quite rough seas today...38 knots and 4 metre swells, but we both feel ok. It's amazing how much calmer it is in our cabin on the lowest 4th floor in the middle of the ship...there's a lot more movement on the 12th floor front of the ship!

    We booked some shore tours for Mare and Lifou Islands, then caught the Bollywood dancing at the Oasis Pool deck.

    Had dinner at Dragon Lady (Asian) restaurant before heading to the 7pm show. Marg still not feeling great, but we persevered on to a piano bar for a couple of hours before catching the 10pm adults only comedy show.

    Looking forward to getting off the ship tomorrow at Noumea...
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  • Day1

    Day 1 - Brisbane

    January 4 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    We stayed overnight at a motel opposite the Cruise Terminal, and they gave a complimentary lift to the dock this morning.

    Embarkation was very smooth, and we were onboard and sitting down for lunch at Waterfront restaurant by noon. Beautiful 3 course meal with wine all inclusive...we will return many times to this one I'm sure.

    Had a bit of a walk around the ship, booked dinner at the specialty restaurants for the first three nights, and then settled in to the adults only Oasis Pool deck at the stern. Met a few people including a couple from Ingham who knew Tony Panzenbock.

    Had dinner tonight at Angelos Italian Restaurant...very swish then caught the show at the Marquee. Had a few more drinks at various bars around the ship before retreating to bed as Marg was a bit seasick.
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  • Day8


    July 6, 2018 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Well it's Friday, our last day in Bali and thankfully we're well enough to do our elephant tour. What a great day it was! Mason Elephant Park is owned by an aussie guy who treats the elephants very well. This park is recognised as the best in Bali. We weren't going to do the elephant ride initially out of concern for their well being, but we were convinced it was ok and so glad we did.

    Finished the day back at the hotel for a couple of Bintangs, then headed to a great restaurant on the beach for an early dinner.

    Arrived at the airport at 9.30 pm but our flight didn't leave till 2.20 am. By the time we arrived in Cairns at 8.40 am we were ready for some serious sleep.

    Can't say I really enjoyed Bali. The food poisoning really knocked us around and took the gloss off our holiday. Don't think we will be returning anytime soon.
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  • Day7


    July 5, 2018 in Indonesia ⋅ 🌬 29 °C

    We're both a bit better today. Not good enough to do any tours, but on the mend. Marg met Wardi, from Buffalo Tours who graciously refunded most of our tours. The only one he couldn't refund is the Elephant Park tour so we've rescheduled it again till tomorrow, our last day. Hopefully we're a lot better by then.

    We pushed ourselves to go out for a look around and some shopping. Marg actually found a beaut replica Louis Vuitton handbag she was wanting so ticked that off the list.

    In the afternoon we headed to the beach and relaxed under a shady tree for a couple of hours. I even had a Bintang I was feeling so well.

    Finished the day at a restaurant where I ventured as far as a chicken breast with mashed potato, although Marg could only go as far as a ham and cheese toastie.
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  • Day6


    July 4, 2018 in Indonesia ⋅ 🌬 29 °C

    Well we've had a bad few days due to illness (food poisoning). We both had to get a doctor called out to our rooms, who gave us all the required injections, antibiotics etc. This has put a real dampener on our trip as we have lost 3-4 days and really are not game to eat anything here. We've been living on boiled rice and toast and confined to bed.

    We've had to reschedule all our tours that we have paid for, hoping we will be healthy enough to do them later in the week. Fingers crossed!
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  • Day3


    July 1, 2018 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    We were up early for our banquet breakfast and were then met in the lobby by our requested tour guide Dian. We paid a bit extra I'm sure to have this private guided tour, but it is all inclusive of banquet lunch, all ticket entries, our own vehicle and of course the lovely Dian who gave us all the guff on the sights of Bali.

    Our first port of call was the Batik Factory where we were shown the process of weaving fabrics, and the hand painting of the beautiful clothing. They had a huge retail shop but the prices were quite steep.

    Next we went to the Barong Dance where we saw quite a lengthy play. Very talented and entertaining, but we've now seen enough balinese dancing.

    We then visited Nadia's Silver Factory. Once again we were shown the laborious silver making process. This turned out to be an expensive stop for me as Marg scored a beautiful silver and rose gold ring.

    We checked out a beaut wood carving factory before heading for the hills to visit Tirta Empul Temple. This is an 11th century water temple where people jump in the holy water to bathe and pray. Beautiful spot.

    We continued up the mountain to Mount Batur which is the 2nd most famous volcano after Mount Agung which nearly forced the cancellation of our trip. Fantastic views of the volcano and Lake Batur from up here where we had lunch overlooking the beautiful vista.

    Next stop on the way down the mountain was a coffee and tea plantation where we tasted the famous Luwak coffee. (made famous by the movie - The Bucket List). This is the coffee that is made from the poop of the Luwak's...a possum like animal. We also tasted 12 coffees and teas and bought a few to bring home.

    Last stop on the way home was the Ubud Monkey Forest where we saw lots of little monkeys and babies. Very cute, but some were quite aggressive.

    We were buggered by the end of the day and asked our guides to drop us off in Ubud where we had another 1 hour massage before having an Italian dinner. What a great day!
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