Cruising: the good, the bad and the boring

I’ve been home for a few days now but I’ve been in bed with a head cold, a throat infection and a weird rash. Now I’m not going to come right out and blame it on ship germs but well, you have to be suspicious. Actually I must say that the ship was very clean and they were all over hygiene. All the eating places had hand sanitiser at the door and the toilets had paper towels to open the doors so you didn’t have to touch the handle then bins to toss them in and they were constantly sweeping up and wiping down. So what I mean is people germs on the ship.

The Good.
I didn’t feel sick at all, in fact I never even felt slightly queasy. I was left thinking that people who do become sea-sick must have some sort of inner ear problem because I just can’t see how people could get as sick as they do.

I didn’t once think that I might die at sea in a ship wreck. Not even when we were in the middle of a massive lightning and thunder-storm in the middle of the night. It was just one of those things that’s so far out of your control that there’s no point worrying about it.

The rooms were a good size – bigger than most motel rooms I’ve been in and it came with a balcony and a good sized bathroom.

The Bad
Just about everything else. The sea is big people and it’s kind of boring, it just goes on and on and on. We went three days before we saw a single thing which ended up being a pod of dolphins and let me tell you it was an exciting moment; you’d of thought people had never seen a dolphin before by the way they were oooing and aaaing over them. Well actually, maybe they hadn’t, who knows where all those passengers came from. Anyway prior to that excitement there was nothing – not a fish or a bird or a turtle or a shark. My nephew told us he saw a shark but I’m pretty sure it was because he missed seeing the dolphins. You missed seeing the dolphins! That’s ok, I saw a shark just before. Says he, nibbling away at his – high tea at sea macarons and cakes.

I can see how/why people love cruising and become addicted to it but it’s just not for me. I felt too confined with too many people – 2600 of them in fact plus the staff. If I could get off the ship every day at a different place I think I could handle it but just being on it day after day would do my head in. I still think one of those river cruises would be nice or one where you flew to Hawaii then went around the islands.

I think you need to like eating a lot to enjoy cruising – you can literally eat for 24 hours a day. A couple walked past me and one said to the other – how many days have we been on this boat and the reply was, I don’t know but we’ve eaten a lot of meals.

They needed more happening throughout the day besides gambling, bingo, 90’s music trivia, a mature age meetup and other such frivolity. They had some good shows on at night and good live music but they needed that happening through the day as well.

We were a group of five adults and two kids and I think it’s good to go with a group as you can always find someone to hang out with if someone else wants to have a lie down or hide for a while. I saw a few party groups on board; a hens party, a 21st party, a 50th party and a wedding anniversary party and I think that could be a fun idea.

But be warned people – drinks are not cheap and according to the information book they put in your room, Australians like to drink. I wish I’d taken that book with me now, they had a list of differences between American and Australian passengers and the number one difference was the amount of alcohol we drink – you pussies. I remember it said that (and I quote) American passengers like to wait until 5pm to start drinking whereas Australians like to start early then keep up a steady pace for the rest of the cruise. LOL. The bar staff must be shaking in their boots waiting for us to arrive. I must say though that they do make excellent cocktails. Terrible coffee though. Apparently (the book told me) they sent the staff to Barista school three times to learn how to satisfy the Australian need for good coffee but I think they need about another two lessons. The other one I remember is lamb – apparently they don’t put lamb on the American cruise menus but we get it and wine is more popular with Australian passengers. Not too popular with me mind you being $13 a glass!!

Don’t worry I didn’t sit around crying all weekend, we had laughs but I can cross it off the list and know that it’s not something I’ll be doing again. Kiss that 18 day cruise to Hawaii goodbye mother. Although now I think about it, my sister (not Emjay) went cruising to Vanuatu and enjoyed it, she said she wouldn’t mind doing another one so there you go, whatever floats your boat.

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Asparagus, zucchini and haloumi salad

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Oh haloumi cheese why has it taken me so long to discover you. And why have you only shown up now when I can’t eat you very often due to crappy high cholesterol levels. Sigh, such lovely little salty nuggets of yum.

Smoked salmon open sandwich

So lunch with Mum ended up looking like this.

smoked salmon, open sandwich, lunch

So basically it was about five portions of smoked salmon with a very nice salad that included long thin ribbons of carrot and beetroot that looked very pretty but were impossible to eat while looking pretty yourself.  I didn’t eat the slab of bread that was on the bottom mainly because I don’t really like bread but also because it was covered in an enormous spread of butter and I never eat butter; I could scrape my fork tines through it and leave a pattern. I just felt the extra fat wasn’t necessary after I considered the amount I’d already eaten in the smoked salmon, the avocado, the lime mayo and the big slab of camembert that’s hiding over the back.

And it was all served on a beautiful plate. My mother said – that’s a beautiful plate you have and I looked at it and said – yeah. I thought she meant my food on the plate looked beautiful but then I noticed that indeed the plate was beautiful.

So considering I had smoked salmon for breakfast this morning I have to conclude that my intake of omega 3’s today is going off.

Oh and no painting was done.

Lunch

A perfect Australian winters day. I almost feel bad about all the bitching over winter I’ve been doing.

Blue skies, blue water, warm sun, cold wine, crispy pizza and good friends. And whales! Don’t you just love it when you’re sitting down having lunch and a couple of whales go swimming by.

beach, Newcastle, Australia

pizza, Newcastle Australia

Speaking of colour

Bubblegum blue gelato.

I didn’t have any and if I did I probably would have had the roasted almond one.

I didn’t have any mainly because I was pissed off about paying a lot of money for a very ordinary meal. My main problem was the salad dressing. My opinion about the quality of a meal eaten out often comes down to the salad dressing and if they made it themselves.

I make my own dressing at home so I know its not that hard or time consuming to put some olive oil some vinegar or lemon juice and some garlic in a jar and give it a shake. When I go out I don’t want my ‘salad’, which last night consisted of lots of lettuce, three slices of tomato and a few scraps of celery, to be covered in a tangy store bought dressing.

So they weren’t getting another $3.80 for one scoop of gelato thans very much.

Cheesy avo snacks

One of my favourite snacks – a vita-weat spread with cheesy mite, topped with avocado. I never liked vegemite, couldn’t stand the stuff but then they invented cheesymite and I took to it. Of course most Australians kicked up a bloody song and dance about the idea of cheesymite when the idea of it first hit the headlines, but you know what people are like, nothing better to do than bitch about nothing and I bet a lot of them are eating it now anyway.

I’m a happy little cheesymite. I like it with my eggs as well.

Damn, I forgot to put pepper on it.