February 07, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 33

Day 33 – Sailing West across the Tasman sea towards Melbourne, Australia. The skies are mostly sunny with high wispy clouds, temperatures in the mid 60's and winds of less than 20 MPH from the North West. The sea swells have subsided to less than several feet. The ship has stopped talking to us and moves gracefully Westward with negligible pitch and roll.

We receive notice that we are to retrieve our passports today before 8 PM. As I pass the front desk, there is no line so I stop. Accompanying the passport is paperwork for Australian officials when we are interviewed for ship clearance upon arrival in Melbourne.

Barbara hosts a program about Sydney. She tells us we are beat out for prime docking space by Celebrity and Royal Caribbean ships that are too tall to pass under the bridge. There is definitely too much to see in Sydney in just two days. More details later.

Today in addition to the normal schedule for breakfast and lunch, a brunch has been added in the dining room. Many passengers attend, I stick to the Lido for a small breakfast, and will pass on lunch.

This afternoon Alan Wright will speak about the "Facts, Fallacies and Fakes in Astronomy". He is the best speaker on the cruise so far, I will be there.

Preparations are being made for the Super Bowl. The casino is operating a pool, with a 90% payback if all squares are sold. Surprisingly high payout for a ship casino. By noon less than 10 of the 100 squares have be sold, by the 7:00 PM deadline, all 100. The casino closes tonight at 7:00 because of local laws. The casino has so little business there will be little effect.

The ship is also having two Super Bowl "parties" one during the game, and a second for a replay in the evening. Special all you can drink beverage packages are available. I don't even know who is playing, that should clue you in of my interest.

We receive further instructions on our procedure for clearing the ship tomorrow morning. Bring our passports and Australian paperwork at the assigned time. After our interview, the ship will collect and hold our passports, presumably until the next port where we need them.

During happy hour two gals at the bar were coloring a coloring book. I assumed it was probably a project of arts and crafts. I was wrong, apparently this is a new fad, they had brought several books, and hundreds of colored pencils. "Therapy" was the rationale.

Our show tonight is Jamie Allen, a magician from the UK. I arrive a few minutes late as I am watching the sunset. Another cruise ship is between us and the sun, but too far away for much of a picture. Jamie has several of the tricks most magicians do, and many that are unique. He is better than most magicians I see on ships, probably why he has landed a contract for his own show opening in Las Vegas in January 2017.

My tour for tomorrow is mostly a train ride through the countryside on a narrow gauge steam train, Puffing Billy. With extra time for Australian port clearance, it is another alarm day.