Posted by: travelrat | May 29, 2009

Cruise Report from Down Under

I’d just put down a book called The Plague Ship, when an email arrived from my brother-in-law and his wife, presently cruising in the Pacific on the Dawn Princess. Now, my Australian readers have no doubt, recently heard of this ship. But, the story, as far as I know, didn’t get picked up by the UK media … but, with their permission, I’ll let Garry and Joanne do the telling ….

As you all have probably heard from the news reports we have had a very eventful start to our holiday….. well really non-eventful, as there we were all packed up and had no where to go.

It wasn’t until 10.30 pm that we were finally allowed to board the Dawn Princess. She had come in late due to bad weather and then she was held up at wharf 8 under quarantine by the NSW government . Officials had to report a couple of cases influenza diagonosed earlier in the cruise….. so our government decided they would do a screening for swine flu…

From the Chinese whispers we had heard , part of the delay was that it took that long just for someone important to turn up !!

I am glad that we were the ones getting on and not one of the ones getting off, as they had to sit on the boat not knowing what was going on….. many missing connecting flights and others with anxious family and friends waiting to pick them up… I don’t think they started disembarking till around 8pm.

To top it off they were all instructed that they were under quarantine in Sydney and they were not allowed to leave the state till the next day when they were all cleared.

(If I may make a point here, who pays for extra food, accommodation, etc. in events such as this? Certainly, it emphasises the need for good travel insurance. Anyway, sorry, please carry on …)


The one plus side was that we had made a group of virtual friends on cruise critic and by the end of this 9 hour debacle we became real friends and felt like we had known each other for ages. Tthere was a lot of joking and humor that got us through this ordeal…

Finally on our boat we made our way to the cabin and unpacked quickly… donned our winter woolies and went up on deck for our much awaited sailaway…

not the cold or the rain was going to take this away from us …..There was no poolside band nor sailaway cocktails…….just an eerie silence as she moved slowly away from the wharf and glided her way under the bridge, out past the opera house through the heads out into open sea….

Let the Rocking begin….

Over the next few days we experience some pretty major rocking and rolling…. Garry and I took our qwells and I put on my sea bands and we avoided any sea sickness. Being dubbed the Virgin Cruiser by my fellow cruise critorians I thought the deserted hall ways was a sign of how big these boats were. But alas it meant that everyone else was sick… It was a feat of on it’s own to avoid the trays of food left outside each of the cabin….. I would best describe the movement as hitting a bit turbulence on a plane.

Day 1 at sea ended up being our explore day seeing we got on the boat so late the night before…. We have decided that it is better value to have breakfast in the dining room to avoid the masses and the noise of the buffet…. Which of course meant that this is where we ended up for lunch as well…

That morning the captain made the announcement that we would be missing Noumea…… a lot of people thought “no great loss” but I would have to say I was a little disappointed as we were really looking forward to our Amedee Island tour…

Oh well ce la vie

This meant four days at sea…. Lucky we have made such great friends from cruise critic as we have not laughed or joked so much in along time…. We eat , we drink, play cards, bingo and even tried to play trivia all together…

We all glammed up for formal night and last night we set the ship rocking again with a disco under the stars,…..

As this is a shorter cruise there is a much greater mixed of ages…. We have managed to avoid any signs of age rage….. the experts laughed at me again when I said “there is no laundry rage” and their reply was ” it is only day 2, no one has any dirty clothes yet!!”

We all booked into the sterling steakhouse last night and all was going well until Ross decided to be funny… the waiter brought over a tray displaying all the cuts of meat for us to choose what we wanted…. With a straight face Ross calls out from the back “where do we get the tickets from ” unfortunately this was not included in their training so whilst he had this dumb founded look on his face we were all rolling around on the floor laughing … even funnier was Ray trying to explain to him the meaning of Meat Raffles….


Well this was suppose to be short but yet again has turn in to an epic…..

So I will end here so I can send it off and you get it before we return home…. Finally tomorrow we hitting dry land …. Suva….. will keep you posted….

Joanne and Garry, signing off from our balcony sipping our glass of wine!! (that’s wine not swine)


  1. I have been watching the saga of the swine flu ship on the news. What a drama!

    Glad it all worked out for Garry and Joanne. Sounds like they’re enjoying themselves. Thank God for Qwells!

    • Well, it’s on the way back to Sydney now … I’ve been following its progress on the ‘bridgecam’ ( ), although I haven’t seen much apart from darkness or open sea.

      I was hoping Garry and Joanne could send me more stuff that I could post, but I guess they’re either having too much fun, or can’t get online.

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