The ship cruised north up the east coast of Tasmania and across Bass Strait for a day while on board we read including our ship’s daily produced newspaper summaries from around the world; had coffees in the Exploration Cafe and kept fit walking the stairs; attended lectures on various subjects; apart from eating the excellent meals produced by the ship’s complement of mainly Phillipino and Indonesian staff whose company we enjoyed. They were polite and many quite affable and always greet you as you pass by. Our cabin (all called Staterooms or suites) was attended by a very friendly young man who like so many on board, is away from his wife (and in some cases children) for up to 9 months at a time. It is a tough life for them but they have employment to provide for their family. We really enjoyed our brief time chatting with Denny each morning or evening and he looked after us superbly, providing us with water and fruit and twisting towels to animal like creatures left hung in our stateroom for our amusement when we returned from the evening show.
The evenings were taken up after dinner by attending either the 8pm or 10pm show in the major lounge in the bow of the ship covering 2 levels so that there is a mezzanine level as in many auditoriums. The quality of the shows we found excellent on this cruise. Each ship has a group of entertainers contracted for a season who are musicians, dancers and singers who perform say every third night. We met them one morning back stage and they were a delightful group of young Americans. Then there are singers, comedians and magicians etc who come and go from different ports during the cruise. Many of these short terms contracted performers were Australians and we saw some very talented people, including the beautiful soprano, crossover (genres) singer, Clara Helms who had such success on Australia’s Got Talent. She is a beautiful, tall blonde with immense talent, so much so that we likened her to Wales’s lovely diva, Katherine Jenkins.
We arrived in Melbourne at 8am on a stunning Sunday, the best weather on our trip. My other brother met us in Port Melbourne and drove us to his apartment in Albert Park for brunch with he and his wife. Later that afternoon they coincidentally flew out to Wellington for a driving holiday around NZ. We spent the afternoon in the marvellous NGV, strangely titled the National Gallery of Victoria, not to be confused with Australia’s Nation Gallery in Canberra.