Before we go further, I have to add a little tale of woe, that many parents will identify with - the stress of having kids (and the dream that one day, you may get to travel and only be responsible for oneself).
We had checked in. Our bags had been duly delivered to the correct staterooms (note my correct usage of nautical terms). I popped some extra drugs for my extra-big headache. Now when you get on the ship, they have all sorts of wonderful things for you to buy - packages that make your trip cheaper. Given this was a 24 day cruise, we decided to go with the Ultimate Kids Package for each child - you pay $140 (I think?) and then they get all the soft drinks, milkshakes and mocktails they could drink for the entire cruise. They get a little sticker on their all-important cruise card and Bob's your uncle.
So, we paid for that (on our cruise cards - to be paid at the end of the cruise, with all our drinks). The kids got their stickers and we had a belated lunch. We were all set to meet up with my brother, so we did a double check to make sure we all had our cruise cards (you need them to check on and off the ship). Wombat Girl came up with a negative. What? We searched the table, her pockets etc. We retraced our steps. We asked bar staff if it had been handed in. Negative. On the ship less than an hour and she'd lost her cruise card, loaded up with a UKP sticker. No wonder I get migraines...
Nothing for it but to line up at the purser's desk with the many other people whose luggage didn't get delivered to their rooms or who wanted an upgrade (despite the sign saying the cruise was full, so don't ask). Upshot was, she got her card (and sticker) replaced and we were able to be on our merry way. But I'm telling you, I've had better starts to my holidays!
|Wombat Girl with pre-purchased milkshake and cruise card safely on a new lanyard.|
As with our last cruise, there is lots to do on board:
|(but on closer inspection, you will note |
that I should really shave my legs)
|Hubby got right into the ping-pong circuit...|
|And even won a silver medal (better than another lanyard)|
|Cruising through the Whitsunday Islands|
|Getting dressed up for formal night (one of four on the cruise)|
|Good looking family - unfortunately no pics of me!|
We were sitting down to a yummy dinner (stay tuned for a food post soon), and I was enjoying my main course when those disco lights showed up again, except we weren't in the nightclub. Migraine number 2 in as many days. Seriously?
So, I went down to our room, and took yet more drugs. Significant amounts of doing nothing were self-prescribed for the next couple of days. I couldn't even read my books because my eyes were still funny. So basically I laid around a lot, listening to chillout music. I have to say, it wasn't too bad...
The kids had Kids Club. Video Boy was in the Remix section for teens aged 13-17. The only trouble was that there were only 5 other Remix kids. Wombat Girl was in the Shockwaves section for 8-12 yr olds. She was also allowed into the Remix section as there was only 6 kids (all younger) in her group. They had fun, but it wasn't the same without many kids.
We had relatively good weather for our sea days, but it was a little rough before we entered the Great Barrier Reef, courtesy of Cyclone Sandy that was brewing. The Captain did a great job of high-tailing it out of the path of Sandy, but winds did reach 90km/hr on the bridge. Luckily, my Sealegs medication (yes, more drugs) did the trick and I did not experience any seasickness. Those tablets are the bomb!
After two days at sea, the day dawned on Port Douglas, tropical far north Queensland, reasonably sunny and calm.
But there were showers out to sea:
Anyways, I wasn't looking forward to getting on those little tender boats after our experience in Akaroa, New Zealand, so you can imagine my joy when this turned up and carried us swiftly and calmly to the little town of Port Douglas:
Whilst on the tender ride, I took the chance to catch up on Facebook, and found a message tagged with my name about maths from a homeschooling group. It was asked by Alyson at World Family Travel who lives in Port Douglas - it was a blast when she asked "where are you" and I said "in your town!!!". Alas, she was sick and not able to meet up in person - so close, Alyson!
Anyway, her description of Port Douglas? "The most boring town in the world". Mmmm. Port Douglas (and it's flashier sister Cairns) are gateways to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree National Park. I've done both (as has Hubby) and the weather wasn't great and we wanted to save our hard-earned $$ for Asia. So we opted to hang out in Port Douglas.
First stop (even though they are teens/tweens) was the playground:
We decided (well, I decided and dragged everyone along) to go up to the lookout, despite the heat and humidity. Well, along the way, we found a great park and then it decided to rain:
We took refuge from the deluge in the local museum, which had a little about the history of the area, but basically, after about 10 minutes, we were done:
Finally the rain passed and we were back on our merry way:
|Little lookout - you can see the ship!|
|Down there somewhere are many lovely resorts|
|We are on Flagstaff Hill|
|Can you find where you live? We were already over 2000km from home!|
The pictures don't really show the oppressive humidity in that part of Australia. There is no way I could live there. So in the interests of over-sharing, I'll give you a hint as to what it was like:
|I think that bra needs to go in the wash!|
There was more of that to come in Darwin (minus the selfies, you'll be glad to note) so stay tuned!