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Cruise Diary: En Route to Port Vila

Wendy R. London, HAL Mariner and corporate affairs manager/founder of, sailed aboard Oosterdam throughout New Zealand and documented her experience with a series of cruise diaries. This particular post was inadvertently missed but too good not to use. Enjoy!

Jan. 3, 2013 – At sea:

Frieda’s come to visit. She’s made an appearance in the South Pacific and arrogantly thought that she would have a rendezvous with the Oosterdam. Boy is she mistaken! Rather than come within the grasp of her winds and rain, the Oosterdam has changed her itinerary to ensure the smoothest possible sail, away from the fickleness of a tropical cyclone. Instead of heading out of Sydney directly to Noumea, we find ourselves hugging the eastern seaboard of Australia, eventually taking a right turn towards Vanuatu instead and leaving Noumea until later in the week. That suits me – a good opportunity to do some shopping in Port Vila, something I didn’t have a lot of time for in Sydney earlier this week. For now, though, a couple of very lazy days at sea.

Today so far – got up, had breakfast, checked my email, had a great chat with the Oosterdam’s always wonderful and warm Hotel Manager Robert, enjoyed (another) wonderful Indonesian lunch (including a chat with our waiter about the really good Sambal sauce he found for me), did some writing, checked my email, took a nap, and now back to a little writing and email checking before dinner (formal night). Given the “non-eventful”day so far, what’s there to talk about? I thought I would talk about why people cruise.

Terry on the balcony overlooking Otago Harbour.

Terry on the balcony overlooking Otago Harbour.

Why do you cruise? What style of cruiser are you? There may be more styles than you think!

Some cruise to see as many new places in a short time as possible, while others think the pool and the casino are pretty good reasons to chill out on a ship for a week or two. Some use the ship as transportation, shuttling between hemispheres on repositioning cruises, while still others would rather live at sea rather than on land. Or perhaps it’s to attend a conference or seminar, as there is on this voyage or do a semester-at-sea as a university student or mature learner, meeting other students just like you. Maybe you just want to get away, or be pampered, or shop in an exotic location, or because cruising is “in” or because there is a special celebration or family reunion, or because – and this is one of the best reasons – you only have to unpack once. But try re-packing at the end of the cruise! It never works.

Some, like my husband and I, do our “local” cruise to visit friends and family en route. (As my husband said to me yesterday, “Where’s the holiday in that?”) But yes, it is a good and cost effective way to see the “rellies” without having to stay with them, and sure beats jumping on and off of airplanes or racking up huge petrol costs. Let’s see: we had lunch with approximately 32 friends and family in the New Zealand ports and Sydney during the New Zealand sector of this cruise. And we were able to get back on the ship to recover rather than having to drive anywhere. That’s a fairly compelling proposition. One of my favorites though, is doing ordinary things in extraordinary places. Get a haircut in Wellington, play a round of golf in the Bay of Plenty. Sit on a beach of black sand or learn how to make cheese at a Dunedin cheese factory.

“Honey have you sold the condo yet? I hear the ship has a nice stateroom available for the next year – sea views and you don’t even have to worry about nipping out to replenish the shampoo…”

At Wellington.

At Wellington.

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