Cruise Diary: at Sea and Vanuatu

Journalist Ruth Taber is on board Oosterdam and sending in blog posts during her cruise. Enjoy!

Monday morning – January 28, 2013 – on board the Oosterdam – more than half way on our voyage from Sydney to New Caledonia.

We’ve “enjoyed” a tropical storm that worked its way down Australia – spreading rain and wind into the South Pacific. Some unhappy campers using the ship’s complimentary seasick medications but we’re fine. Very high ocean swells have subsided; our captain’s soothing messages assuring us of fair weather ahead sounds good. Non-stop activities on board (if that’s your pleasure) fill the hours. We met some lovely bridge players yesterday and have scheduled a return game today. Big selection of movies for the cabin’s DVD player, covered pool (who cares about the weather) and an interesting lecture about the upcoming islands on our itinerary were more than enough for one day!

And the food? Superb – two outstanding dinners so far – and hats off to the pastry chefs. Last night’s swai (fish described as trout-like) was light and moist; the warm espresso-date pudding cake for dessert was a sure winner. We ate with a couple from Oregon and I was impressed with the attention given to her special dietary needs. On a gluten-free diet – she’s handed the next day’s menu after dinner and checks out her choices. Open dining is not a problem – the computer finds her table and her food arrives exactly as requested. Best of all – she said it’s been delicious – even the gluten-free bread baked for her.

We’ve been invited to a brunch today – hosted by the Captain and the Hotel Director – report to follow!

Tuesday – January 29, 2013 – onboard the Oosterdam – docked in Luganville, Vanuatu (pronounced Van-ah-wah-too).

We had three sea days in a row instead of two; captain changed order of our itinerary because of the tropical storm. Arrived 7 a.m. in this sleepy town and we’re basking in glorious warm sunshine under a brilliant blue sky with lush trees dotting the landscape. I opted for a short walk into town and at the end of the main street found a small park at the water’s edge. Stuck my toes in the warm water and felt like a character in a movie – escaping to a South Pacific Island!

Next to the ship’s port area, lots of stalls displaying native crafts – tropical prints by the yard or made into dresses, shirts; no shortage of shell-based jewelry, wood and woven reed gift items. Something different (compared to Caribbean ports) … singing groups! I walked by about a dozen assorted family groups – from toddlers to grannies – singing their hearts out accompanied by guitar and/or percussion instruments.

The fantastic food continues – no hope of loosing any weight on this voyage. Pastry chefs continue to excel – both at lunch and dinner – the photo of the lemon slice was just one of many enticing desserts at today’s Lido lunch buffet.

Last night’s Pompano fish dish was delicious.

A note about the recorded music in public spaces – just love the idea of enjoying my breakfast omelet accompanied by a Beethoven piano concerto.!

Found out that 65% of the guests on board are Australians or Kiwi’s (New Zealanders); they are sooooo friendly. – and polite. As they would say in Texas – y’all come on “down under”!


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One Comment

  1. Anne Connellan February 6, 2013 at 2:39 am - Reply

    Hi Ruth and Ben,

    We LOVE your blogs – your tone is so fresh and natural, one could be actually conversing with you! Thank you so much for your very gracious description of your Aussie bridge players – and for not going into details of the abysmally low standard of play of one of the said players…

    We have arrived home, checked that all of the family are fit and well – and now to face the unpacking, washing, ironing, shopping and cleaning. Why oh why did we ever return to “the real world”?

    Kindest regards,

    Anne and John

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