|This is as close to the Whitsunday Islands that we will get. Our stop at this gateway to the Great Barrier Reef was canceled because the proximity of Cyclone Iris (a category 2 storm) caused the harbormaster to close Shute Harbour to all traffic.|
Cruises are somewhat fickle, in that things can happen that bring into play the fine print that says something like, "We will sail here and there, unless the captain decides otherwise."
|Milford Sound, New Zealand.|
This has happened twice in the past month. First, our visit to the famous Milford Sound in New Zealand was canceled when, 6 hours out of Melbourne, Australia, on our way to the Sound, a guest suffered a medical emergency that resulted in the Celebrity Solstice turning around and returning to Melbourne to evacuate the guest. Captain Zsis Taramas, in consultation with the medical staff and after considering the risks associated with a nighttime medical evacuation by helicopter, decided to return to Melbourne, knowing that this would nix the Milford Sound visit. I'm not sure how much wrath he endured for this decision, but there certainly was some push-back. Ironically, the visit to Milford Sound in January by this ship also was canceled, due to foggy conditions. So if you've visited Milford Sound, consider yourself fortunate! It's a sight we hope to see someday.
Today, the Solstice was scheduled to anchor in Shute Harbour near Airlie Beach. This location is surrounded by the Whitsunday Islands, so named by THE Captain Cook. However, Cyclone Iris had other plans, and when Captain Zsis was informed this morning that the harbor was closed (we anchor outside the harbor, but depend on local tender boats to transport visitors ashore), he decided to keep sailing toward Cairns, past and above the cyclone. As I write this, we are still approaching the cyclone. I hope to stand on deck 15 at noon, when we have our closest approach to the center (about 150 nm). You go for entertainment where you can get it! Tomorrow, after we've passed the cyclone, clear skies are forecast.
Caroline has been playing table tennis (ping-pong) whenever she can. These opportunities really vary by cruise, because 1) the number of table tennis players varies with each cruise, affecting the availability of the 2 tables, and 2) the number of children on board varies as well, and the tables are located in the same room as the X-Box live projector.
|Caroline and Klaus, winners of the officers versus guests tournament!|
|Caroline and partner Anne lost in another tournament, but made the officers sweat in their uniforms!|
And here are some of the signs I've enjoyed in the past week or two:
|Seen in the galley... maybe some of the crew get punchy during a long cruise! Actually, this is a reminder that there are either hot oils or electrical devices nearby... be careful with tossing water!|
|And the other directions?|
|"Norovirus spreads when a person gets poop or vomit from an infected person in their mouth." Sign posted in food preparation area of ship. I hope there is not a lot of poop and vomit there!|
|In Newcastle, Australia.|
|Seen in downtown Sydney, where I would expect neither new nor old zebras!|