web analytics
Cruising the South Pacific

Cruising the South Pacific

facebooktwitterpinterestby feather

28 Days in the South Pacific

Leaving our boutique hotel, Metro Hotel Sydney Central on Pitt, we boarded our transport van from Redy2Go in anticipation of the next leg of our journey – Holland America Lines 28-day cruise in the South Pacific onboard HAL Oosterdam.

Arriving at the White Bay Cruise Terminal we handed our luggage over to the ground crew that would see to it that our luggage is put aboard the ship. Make sure that you have your luggage tags on your bags or they won’t be able to find you.   Arrive at your designated time. When we arrived at noon we were anticipating long lines and slow progressive advance in those lines. What a wonderful surprise to find that we sailed through the preliminary registration quickly after filling out the Health Record and the necessary card for our exit plans when the cruise ended in Auckland, New Zealand. The wait time for boarding the ship was another couple of hours but being assigned a single digit number meant our wait time would be shorter. Numbers from 1-5 are good. They call each group about every 15 minutes. You then pass through the Customs area. Make sure that you are honest about what you are bringing onboard or you will be questioned. Bringing on bottles of wine or spirits? Fess up or it could be confiscated for the duration of the cruise. Most cruise ships will allow you to bring on a limited amount of bottles to be consumed only in your cabin.

They also have beverage packages that you can choose from onboard. Check your cruise ship website for details on this. You don’t want to start your luxury cruise on a sour note. Once past Customs where your passport and declarations are checked you will proceed to the infamous Welcome photo. Some people opt out of this but it’s meant to be fun and you are under no obligation to purchase the photo. Do go to the photography store later to see if you can find your photos amongst the hundreds of photos taken that day. This goes for everyday. It’s a little like playing Where’s Waldo. Don’t give up because eventually you will find it and the other photos they will be taking throughout your cruise. After your photo session you will advance to the scanner. Your carryon luggage, purses, and yourself will be scanned just like at the airport but a lot faster than that process can be. You only need to take off jackets and belts. Make sure that you secure the openings in your tote bags so that things don’t fall out onto the scanner and get lost. You then proceed up the escalator or elevator to the ship’s gangplank to be welcomed aboard by various members of the ship’s crew. If they are offering a prize drawing for any of the specialty amenities for later in the day, take the ticket and attend at the appointed time. You may win a service from their luxury spa. If you don’t go you can’t win.

You must attend the Life Boat Drill scheduled about an hour before the ship sets sail. This is required and they will come looking for you if you don’t appear. You do not need to bring your life vests except in an actual emergency. No one can leave the lifeboat station until all passengers are accounted for so please don’t inconvenience your fellow travelers by not showing up. They have to stand there until all are accounted for. Everyone showed up at our lifeboat station so we got done quickly.

Your luggage will be delivered to your door. Most cruise ships offer a champagne toast as you board. You can proceed to your cabin and if you are lucky enough to have priorty delivery all or most of your bags will probably be outside your cabin when you get there. Please be polite to the crew. They work hard to do everything they can for you. Remember to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Don’t forget to greet them with a “G’day” each day. If some of your luggage is missing, report it as soon as possible. In most cases your luggage will make it to your cabin if you put the tag on correctly. (Remember, if you didn’t secure items in your luggage or totes and something falls out, you have no one to blame but yourself.) Once in your cabin you may want to relax a little before tackling the unpacking and stowing of your clothes and other items. Your luggage can be stored under the beds if it’s not too large. Otherwise you can ask your cabin steward about having the ship store it for the duration of the cruise. They will deliver it to you the last evening aboard ship or earlier if you ask.  After unpacking, have a good meal. Treat your self to either one of the specialty restaurants that have a nominal cover charge or one of the main dining rooms where you get sit down service and it’s free. You can always go to the buffet on days when you need to eat fast to get to your day’s excursion. Explore the ship. Get a map from the front desk and go for it. Cruise ships are huge so to prevent getting confused and lost take your time. You will receive a newsletter each day telling you of the days events. Attend some of these events. It’s all part of the cruise experience.
For our first evening we ate at the main Lido restuarant. No shorts or bathing suits allowed here. It’s casual to dressy but not formal. The food and service was excellent. After dinner is a great time to explore the ship but if you are tired just go rest. You will have plenty of time to explore on days at sea. Dont’ push yourself to go, go, go. A cruise is meant to be relaxing – so relax. You are not on a time clock on board ship. Once you get past all that check in stuff, its all good times ahead.

facebooktwitterpinterestinstagramby feather
facebooktwitterpinterestby feather

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *