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Home > Virtual Cruises > Statendam: Auckland to Sydney
Statendam: Auckland to Sydney
Day 1: Auckland
Day 2: Auckland/Christchurch
Day 3: Dunedin
Day 4: Milford Sound
Day 5: At Sea
Day 6: At Sea
Day 7: Burnie
Day 8: Melbourne
Day 9: Sydney
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Day 6: Friday, At Sea
At SeaAn impressively sealed invitation awaited us at our cabin early in the day:

"Captain Peter Bos and Hotel Manager Frits Gehner ... cordially invite you for cocktails."

The time? 4 p.m., which puzzled us -- particularly because tonight's dress code is formal. Do I put on my formal gear for the 4 p.m. event and then hang around until 8 p.m. dinner? Perplexed, but assuming this would be a case of dressy pre-dinner drinks shipwide, I began scrambling for something to wear.

Luckily, I eventually noticed the fine print. "Daytime dress: come casual" tipped me off that this get-together in the Crow's Nest would lie at the very opposite scale of formal.

And indeed it did, because the event this afternoon was a gathering of Cruise Critic community members! Member JackWC, one of the organizers of this voyage's roll call, told us that the folks on Statendam have been enormously welcoming.

This was actually their second get-together (nice added touch for a two-week cruise). Both were attended by the ship's hotel director and captain! And Alejandro, the bar manager, encouraged planners to be a little more ambitious than coffee and pastries when it came to refreshments -- he extended the offer of free cocktails, both times.

The second meeting lasted an incredible three hours -- we only dashed off because it was time to get dressed for the evening. It was so much fun to meet folks who had come together on Statendam from all over the world with the help of Cruise Critic. I met Jack and Barbara from Port Angeles (near Seattle); Judy and Andre from Ottawa; Karen, Jay, Ed, and Penny from San Diego; John from Phuket; Stanley from Sydney; Charles from New York; Judy and Jack from Skokie; and Stephen and Ruth from Bermuda.

It's also clear how much work it takes -- both before the trip and during, working with onboard staffers -- to not only arrange places to get together but also to alert the group to dates and times. (Special kudos go to Jack and Karen on that end!)

After dinner, we headed out to the Crow's Nest for the Officers' Black and White Ball. This event absolutely crystallizes the charms of life aboard Statendam -- officers came dressed in their finest, prepared to dance to stately tunes with passengers also decked out in lovely outfits, most hewing to the color scheme.

There's a strong sense of camaraderie onboard that is unique to a mid-sized (or smaller) ship. People do mix and mingle, and the fact that the officers take the time as well to make connections with passengers seems to me to hark back to a more elegant era in cruising.

As it grew later, and the crowd thinned down to reveal most of the younger folks onboard, the cozy dance floor was a great mix of officers and passengers, all dancing to the strains of songs like "YMCA" and "Celebration" which for some reason the D.J. kept repeating.

It was a fabulous evening.
Day 5: At Sea red arrow Day 7: Burnie

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