A Couple of Old Salts

24-27/4/16. Much to both our surprise, Christine has been able to cut out the seasick pills completely after taking a full dose for two days and then reducing the amount. She has also dispensed with the “sea bands”. (For those who don’t know, she is one of the most prone to all forms of motion sickness – which is a bit of a hindrance for someone who loves traveling as much as she does!) BUT the sea has been like a millpond all the way!

A surprising number of passengers finished their cruise in Darwin – around 900 people, or a quarter of the full capacity, left and a smaller number joined there for the second half of the journey to Singapore.

The first leg to Kuala Lumpur (actually to Port Klang) is 4 straight days at sea, as from Brisbane to Darwin, and life aboard slips into a lazy routine. Pretty much the only way to tell the days apart is from the inset in the carpets in the lifts which tell you what day of the week it is!

Monday was ANZAC Day which remembers the Gallipoli campaign from WW1. There were two services on board –  one at dawn, where people were stood 10 deep around the swimming pool (including Christine) and one at 11.00 which over 1,000 people attended. Remembering the war dead seems to be a much bigger “thing” in both Australia and New Zealand than in the UK.

Along with reading and various forms of exercise, we have passed the time watching films (the latest Star Wars, The Martian and Steve Jobs), a Q&A session with the Captain and other senior officers and a Queen tribute band performance. Oh, and Stephen took part in a maths “quiz” which he won, returning with several Royal Caribbean souvenirs as a prize.

The route saw us heading west from Darwin to the edge of the Indian Ocean. One of the TV channels shows a similar display to the moving map on planes. After being about 150 metres deep for much of the passage through the Torres Strait and past Darwin, the sea bottom went to more than 3,600 m or about 12,000 ft. We then headed north between Bali and Lombok into the South China Sea past Java and Borneo and over the Equator, which was the cue for a silly ceremony with Neptune to celebrate. We didn’t see the big red line that the Captain had told us we would pass during the Q&A the previous day! It was then into the Singapore Strait, past Singapore towards Port Klang, where there was an amazing number of ships.

The Q&A session produced a number of statistics that appealed to us two “number nerds”.

  • The ship was the biggest in the world when it was launched in 1999.
  • it is nearly 50% bigger than America’s largest aircraft carrier.
  • It was the first ship with an ice rink.
  • It cost US$750 million.
  • When away from land all the water needed is produced by desalinating seawater.
  • There are 1,200 crew including 500 waiting and kitchen staff.
  • The average water consumption is 229 litres per person per day.
  • 17,000 meals are served every day to passengers and crew.
  • The La Scala theatre is modeled on its namesake in Milan and is 5 decks high.

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