When I knew for sure that I would be able to graduate with my PhD in December, my husband and I decided we needed to take a celebratory cruise. We just looked to see where any Princess ship was going that allowed us to be home for Christmas morning with the kids. Lucky for us, the Sea Princess was heading from Brisbane to New Zealand, a place at the top of our bucket list. And it didn't leave until 12/27, allowing us to catch a flight from LA on Christmas night. The first three totally-sea days were all about relaxation and rejuvenation: spa treatments, sleeping in, food I didn't have to prepare (we had just come through Thanksgiving and Christmas at home!), and wandering the ship to learn where everything was. The first sight of NZ were the fiords. Magnificent. We were lucky the little fog we encountered there was not enough to keep us from seeing them all. We found the ports to be full of experiences and places to explore. Our son and daughter-in-law named his cat after Port Chalmers because they had liked it so much when on their honeymoon (kitty's name is Mr. Chalmers, butler in residence...and she's a girl). We agreed. Akaroa was small but gave us some of the most photogenic shots of the trip (the Giant's House is a must-see). Wellington gave us a chance to meet up with cousins who are life long residents. What views and diversity in that city. Napier gave us a chance to work up a sweat walking up the hills to some great views and a visit to the funky prison. At Tauranga, we took the excursion to Hobbitan. Of course! We're huge Lord of the Rings fans. It did not disappoint. Our time in Auckland was used fully...what a great day; there was so much to see: gardens, the sky tower, museums, exhibits, etc. Lots of walking and hills...great. The final three days at sea were spent reading books that were not assigned to me...something I've been dreaming about for a few years now! Everything was super smooth...all transfers, etc. We did some things around the ship (not as much as others I'm sure since we needed to rest) but we did participate in a few things (wine tastings, shows, parties, etc.) and met some people we know we'll be friends with all our lives. All in all...a perfect way to end/start the year and a very long educational journey. And, just when you think what a bummer it is that it's over, you have to disembark--kind of sad. But the disembarkation process couldn't have gone any smoother so we were fine with getting back to reality.
I would be happy to share some of my fabulous pictures (I can't upload them here because they are on my phone, not on my computer yet.) Just tell me where to send them. I kept up a blog-type running commentary with pics while away for the many people I have (a couple hundred) who follow me while I travel. Their comments were so encouraging--they were enthralled and many have put the cruise and the destination on their bucket list.
It was nice to have the living area separated from the bedroom by a curtained archway. That allowed one of us to stay up (or get up) while the other was sleeping. It was nice being able to access the balcony from both rooms and that the bathroom could be entered from both sides. We didn't notice the USB ports on the light fixtures until the last few days...I wish someone had pointed those out...we needed more ports. Glad they are there.
Magical wandering a magical set. So fun to picture the movies (which we had just streamed again before coming).