At 0906 Sea Princess entered Dusky Sound the first of the Fiord transits of the day. Sea Princess exited Dusky Sound at 1023 and proceeded around the coast towards Thompsons Sound entering at 1150. After winding through the narrow Fiord Sea Princess was clear of Thompson Sound at 1300. At 1622 Sea Princess entered into Milford Sound the last of the Fiord passages of the day. Once at the end of Milford Sound Sea Princess started her thrusters and swung around and proceeded back out towards the Tasman Sea exiting Milford Sound and disembarking the Fiordland Pilot at 1752.
We tried to set ourselves an alarm so we wouldn’t miss any of the Fiordland National Park but we kinda either set it wrong or slept thru it, I can’t remember. Either way, Dusky Sound and Thompson Sound was pretty boring really compared to the grandeur of Milford Sound at the end of the day. The weather was rainy, cold & dreary, but it was still lovely.
After nearly 2wks of seeing nothing but sky and ocean when going out on the open decks, it was kinda surreal to walk out and see these towering majestic mountain surrounding the ship. We are 14 floors above the water level as it is, so it was amazing to feel dwarfed besides these mountains. Seeing snow atop them was pretty darn cool also !!!
When it came time for lunch, we were torn what to do as we wanted something more than the outdoor grill but didn’t want to head indoors and miss anything, so we went to the dining room and talked the waiter into giving us a window table and opening the curtains up as WIDE as they would go.
The chicken was to die for… and having the view we had out the window beside us…. perfection !!
The kids were all busy at the youth centres and were missing everything, so I went in search of them and dragged their butts out into the open to enjoy this most likely once in a lifetime experience.
Room on the front open deck was at a premium while in Milford Sound. It really was breathtaking and everyone wanted to experience it to the full. It was quite cold to be out there, but well worth it.
It was really interesting to be told that the Fiords are far deeper than they are wide, so this answers the obvious question of how such a big vessel can get in there.
The wildlife consists of dolphins, seals and birds. Introduced species include mice, rats, hare and deer. Among the birds are the Kakapo, the only flightless parrot in the world. Also, of course, there is the Kiwi.
Access into the park is limited, with the drive in being a 9hr journey from Christchurch. Helicopters and scenic flights run and we did see a helicopter during our day there. We did also see some kayakers which was pretty cool as they seemed like little dots down there in the water.
Sadly, the day did need to come to an end and we began our journey home. There were mixed emotions that evening as we realised we’d hit our home stretch, as we were keen to get home and see loved ones, but also, life on the ship is just so relaxing and we knew that we just wouldn’t relax to that degree once at home. Surprisingly, the last 3 days at sea really dragged. Our first sea day heading home was also our second formal night of the cruise.
It was on this formal night that we had the Princess cruises 50th birthday dinner. They’ve been having lots of different celebrations all through 2015. This is the menu from the evening.
Also, just to show how much I fully immerse myself in a cruise, one of my favourite parts of the day was straight after dinner when the following days ‘Princess Patter’ would be waiting for us outside our stateroom. It told of the following days events, weather, destinations etc. Each day also gave you a rundown on a particular senior crew member.
In the last few days, I headed out with my camera to hopefully get some good shots of the ship etc.
The second last night of the cruise was hands down my MOST favourite part of the cruise. Christmas Carols in the Atrium with the senior officers & crew !! As the average age of passengers on the ship was about 65, the crowd was full of ‘older folk’ who REALLY enjoy their traditional carols.. and man did they all get into it. You haven’t been apart of Carols until you’ve done it with 4 packed levels of robustly singing cruise passengers. Jordan Peterson was on the piano and leading the singing but really didn’t need to do much leading. Jordan was one of the cruise entertainers who we had come to love listening to most nights after dinner. He really is very talented and would have a go at anything requested of him …. and basically do a great job every time.
The last sea day of the cruise involved a lot of packing & organising etc as everyone needs to have their luggage outside their stateroom before going to dinner that night. This is so the cabin stewards can collect them while everyone is at dinner, rather than possibly disturbing people by doing it later in the evening.
Enjoying the last few days of the cruise…. favourite spots on the ship, favourite food, favourite times of day (Movies Under the Stars), seeing the last few sunsets over the ocean.
Sadly, the day of disembarkation had to come around eventually, and on Friday 18th Dec, it was upon us. We had chosen the latest disembarkation timeslot of 9.45am thinking we may as well not have to rush off the ship, but something more like 8.30 would’ve been better as nothing is really open & available anyway as the crew is busy preparing for the next influx of passengers arriving that afternoon.
Top things I’ll miss about the cruise & therefore the biggest blessings of going on a cruise –
- Endless hours with my husband
- no cooking & cleaning
- staring out into the stunningly blue ocean with no land in site
- Talking to my Heavenly Father on Promenade deck looking out to sea.
- the cruise atmosphere.
- Yeah ok…. THE FOOD !! (However, I do only put on 200g, so I think that’s pretty darn good… the secret is to always take the stairs.)
So that’s it peeps… Cruise done & dusted !! I really want to shout out right now to my DH who, without his years of hard work and dedication to providing for our family, this cruise would not have come about.
The ships final log read…
At 0200 the Brisbane local pilot boarded us as we commenced our alteration to port to enter into Moreton Bay to assist us with our transit up to the Portside passenger terminal. The passage itself took around 5 hours, with us approaching the berth to be all fast starboard side alongside by 0700.
& finally, all I can say is… if you’ve ever dreamed of cruising.. you should so do it !!!!!!
Blessings Peeps !!! xox