The previous evening, we hosted friends Felicia and Nick, and Felicia’s parents, as well as our house sitter, Isaac, to wood-fired homemade pizzas. Felicia offered to drive us to Maitland station the next morning, but Nick turned up instead. We were at the station a little earlier than expected, just after 8:00 am. We caught an earlier train, and consequently had to wait a while at Newcastle Interchange for our express train to Sydney. We changed trains again at Central and alighted at Circular Quay. We had our first glimpse of the Majestic Princess at the International Passenger Terminal as the train pulled into the station. Our scheduled boarding time was 1:15 pm, and we were 25 minutes early. Despite receiving multiple messages requesting us to avoid being early, we were welcomed into the processing system, and we entered our stateroom on board at 1:25 pm. The process was much smoother than last year when we cruised on the Sun Princess.
Our stateroom (fancy name for a cabin) has a balcony with two chairs and a small table. It is quite private. What an upgrade from the interior room we had on the Sun Princess! By this time, the clouds had gone, and it was a beautiful, clear day—Sydney looked glorious!
We were just too late for lunch in the dining room, so we were recommended to go to the buffet, which is called Marketplace. We found this to be rather confusing, and although were starving as we had not eaten all day, very little food looked enticing. We eventually filled our plates with a seafood rice dish. Later, we found grilled vegies and beef skewers, which would have been a little more interesting. Ian washed his rice down with a Corona, which made him a little happier.
While checking out the Atrium, we came across Trish and David, who are also members of U3A Maitland. They have come cruising with friends Peter and Christina. We arranged to meet up for an early dinner in the dining room.
Dinner was lovely—three courses with waiter service. We watched the Majestic Princess cast off and head down the harbour from our dining table. The others went to an early show after dinner, but Katie and I walked around the ship and checked out the impressive indoor and outdoor gyms. We had an early night after a long day. We are now cruising!
We have not actually started our overseas or national travels yet, but we took the opportunity to use Matilda the motorhome and try out a top restaurant in the Port Stephens area with family. Together with Ian’s cousins Lesley and Phill of Nelson Bay and Avril of Old Bar, Ian and Katie boarded Moonshadow at Wharf 1, Nelson Bay, to enjoy twilight cruising on Port Stephens. Moonshadow has a bar that was very popular, and Ian was pleased that it served Whale Ale from the local Murray’s Brewery. We disembarked at The Poyer’s restaurant at Lemon Tree Passage for a four-course dinner.
This function was fully booked with 70 guests on board.
The dinner was delicious, and most guests purchased wine to accompany each course. Course One was Oyster Champagne Sabayon (a single oyster in its shell with a lovely sauce). Course Two was a choice of Scallop a la Provencale’s or Goat Cheese with Smoked Speck, Walnut and Croutons. Course Three was a choice of Barramundi, Olive Oil Potatoes, Asparagus, Capers, Lemon Parsley and Croutons, or Canard a l’Orange. Course Four was a trio of Crème Brulee, Banana Trifle and Chocolate Mousse.
The serving portions were small, but very nicely presented. Service was excellent. However, it was surprising that there were no bread rolls, or bowls of shared vegies to help soak up some of the alcohol.
We had a calm evening cruise back to Nelson Bay after dinner. We had set up Matilda on Lesley and Phill’s driveway. Dexter enjoyed the company of Lesley and Phill’s dogs–Meeka and Gidget–while we were on our dinner cruise. He slept in the motorhome with us.
There were thoughts of running the Fingal Bay parkrun with Dexter the next morning. However, we had a slow start to the day after a big night out, so we gave it a miss. Overall, it was a good first travel adventure for these two grey nomads.
Firstly, Katie and Ian are cruising from Sydney to Hong Kong, stopping at Brisbane, Darwin, Singapore, Ho Chi Ming City, and Kaohsiung on the Majestic Princess.
A cruise ship with the capacity for 3,560 passengers, with 15 decks. She’s a big girl with a Gross Tonnage: 141,000, a length of 1083 ft, beam of 155 ft (which of course we never talk about on a girl), and an average speed of 22 knots.