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  • Day10

    Sailing at Sea - Family Photo Shoot

    February 5, 2020, Coral Sea ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Another routine day at sea, heading down the east coast of Australia. It's a bit lackluster at this point, the trip coming to an end in a couple days, and nothing really new to do - Breakfast, wander around, light lunch, pool/spa, dinner, show, bed. Not that this is the worst routine, but it's frustrating we can't do much all together with Ryland.

    Today's routine was the same, Ryland was given heaps of running time around the Jungle circuit, the Warehouse video game arcade and the mini golf course on top deck.
    We rotated time at the adults only pool, and spruced Ryland up for the second and final formal night. He was a little stroppy and tired for this one, but we just about struggled through.

    He then made the professional photographers around the ship work very hard to get a smile out of him. We'd end up being pretty happy with some of the end-products!

    The show tonight was the best of the lot - Miss Houdini - a magic and acrobatics show. Ryland made it hard watching, especially for Nat, but we saw a lot of it. I have no idea how they create illusions like switching places in a second, twisting bodies around and exposing it or disappearing into impossible boxes. Very impressive.

    Onto other overall reviews; Entertainment - well tonight's magic show was by far the standout show on the ship... Streets ahead of anything else.. Prior to that point itd been underwhelming.. some dancing, prancing, singing, juggling/comedy.. The piano man at one bar was pretty good. There were scattered games; trivia, bean bag toss etc. We weren't really able to participate in. "Showtime" at dinner each night was mostly a bit obnoxious and tacky and just a risk to waking Ryland.. There was a theatre session on the big screen on deck most days we didn't watch (Ryland wouldn't sit still/ not allowed to swim). Most ships show/replay the theatre shows on tv but this one didn't unfortunately. Overall, 5/10 for entertainment.

    Next up - Service -
    Well I definitely wanted to wait a while before talking about this. There also needs to be a specific distinction between room stewards, and the rest of the ship.
    I really hate being super-critical, and nobody enjoys reading someone whinge.. but for the first 3-4 days, the dining/bar/general ship service was definitely the worst we'd ever experienced on any cruise.. that's the best I can say about it. Something as simple as communicating a message or ordering off a menu was a disaster.. mains, starters, you want what? Why? I guess? Here's your wrong order, im not really interested. Zero enthusiasm, slow, non-attentive.. often non-existent. Shore excursions staff were particularly dull, and unhelpful. After a few days, it's like a switch was flicked to activate decent service. It's been ok since.. Some staff have been at times friendly, especially interested in Ryland.. but as a whole, it's still been probably the worst service we've had on a cruise - with exception of cabin cleaners who have been top notch it's a 3.5/10 (boosted from 1 early days to a 6 by the end).

    Review - Itinerary - l think I'm just about done with these South Pacific Islands. It's the first time on any sort of trip I've been on, that the itinerary has been altered, especially on such short notice. It was a bit of a shame that it was the two NEW ports for us that were scratched, but overall, few (ourselves included) were too disappointed with the alternate ports that were organised for us, it meant another country afterall, and still at least one new port. That Port activity (Snorkeling in Port Vila) probably ended up being the favorite stop/activity for all three of us, which was fortunate.

    I'm keeping it in perspective - this holiday destination (the Pacific), the holiday method (a cruise to and from Melbourne with no flights) and the holiday pace (slow and limited) was all chosen specifically to accommodate an infant child. Fitting those parameters, it was a success, and a well-enjoyed, fulfilling experience. Beach holidays aren't really my thing (though I do love snorkeling), and most of the Pacific stops for cruising focus on just that. The greatest allure to me of these locations is the awe-inspiring untouched beauty of some of the isles around us.. and the conundrum of that, is the adventure I'd seek exploring and immersing myself in these places is denied by a) being on tourist cruise ship with a couple thousand people and b) travelling with a young child..

    Overall, given the opportunities, experiences, excitement and places visited, the itinerary itself was probably a 5-5.5/10.
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