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From Auckland to Sydney Part VI: Sydney, Australia

Welcome to Sydney, Australia

PART VI

Day 16-Final Day at Sea (1/17/05)

The title of the Princess Patter for that day brought a lump to my throat. It read “FAREWELL!” in bold capital letters across the top of the page. It was the last newsletter of the cruise. The thought that this wonderful voyage on this marvelous ship was ending, made me sad. As if sensing the dismay of the passengers at reading this greeting, the Cruise Director, Alastair went on to write that there was still a fun-filled day at sea ahead of us and that the cruise was by no means over. Funny, it did not feel that way to me.

Mom and I spent the day packing and watching the Disembarkation Talk on TV. The weather was warm and sunny and our last hours on the ship went by all too quickly. Between looking for and buying the last shipboard photos in the photo gallery and trying fruitlessly to stuff all of our new purchases from the gift shops into our luggage, we were really tired by the time the dinner hour rolled around.

After dinner, Mom and I went to the Princess Theater for the “Monday Night Live” comedy show. We ran into two of our new Aussie friends at the theater. After trading e-mail addresses, we made promises to each other to stay in touch after we returned to our respective homes. We made a lot of new friends on this cruise including our wonderful cabin steward, Roberto, who had taken such good care of us during our voyage. I would miss his sunny disposition and his cheerful “Hello Miss, Hello Madam” greeting every morning. We had really been spoiled on this ship. Alastair even joked during the comedy show about how we would all go home and wonder why our cruise cards didn’t work in our front doors and why our beds weren’t made up for us everyday. I would certainly miss the way Roberto turned down our beds every night, and left chocolate candy on our pillows. Yes, we had definitely been spoiled.

Our last day on the Sapphire ended early, we put our bags outside the cabin to be collected and transferred to the pier. I wanted to get up in time to see the ship sail into the harbor of Sydney, Australia, the final destination of our trip. I set the alarm for 4:30am, so that we would not miss what was sure to be the spectacular sight of two of Australia’s most famous landmarks, the Sydney Opera House and the lights of the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

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Day 17- Sydney, Australia (1/18/05)

I almost missed it completely. The sight that I had been waiting to see since we left home; I almost missed it! Thank God, I made it outside in time. The alarm had not gone off, but something told me to get up. It was 4:00am, and I decided to look outside to see if we were approaching Sydney Harbor. I stepped out on the balcony and didn’t see anything but small distant lights in the darkness. I walked back inside the cabin and went to the bath to throw some water on my face so that I could wake up. I walked back to the seating area near the balcony door and picked up my video camera so I would be ready when the time came. I figured I had at least another 15 to 20 minutes of waiting; Mom was still asleep.

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After a couple of minutes, I decided to look outside again. Mom told me later that she heard an “OH Sh—t!” that woke her up. I was so shocked at what I saw, that I had almost dropped my camera on the deck. I could not believe what I was seeing; right in front of me was the Sydney Opera House slowly passing by as the Sapphire moved into the harbor. After fumbling with my camera for precious seconds, I finally started filming the incredible view. This symbol of Australia was absolutely gorgeous! All lit up in the darkness with its unusual roof line looking like snow capped mountain peaks. I had seen many photographs of it before, but never from this vantage point, looking straight through the front windows of the building.

As I panned my camera around the harbor I noticed that Mom and all the passengers on the port side of the ship had come outside and were taking photos. The ship slowly approached the International Pier and you could see the tall high-rise buildings that made up the Sydney skyline. It was so beautiful. I had almost missed it! The thought gave me chills. Once the ship docked at the pier, we decided to get some more sleep. Sydney would be waiting for us in the daylight.

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Later that morning we got dressed and took more photos of the harbor area. We were scheduled to leave the ship around 9:30am, so we decide to have breakfast for the last time in the Horizon Court on Deck 14. From the highest decks on the ship we could see the Harbor Bridge and the hotel where we would spend the next three days, the Park Hyatt. When we finished eating, we returned to our cabin for the last time to collect our carryon luggage. I noticed right away that the name plate near the door had been changed from our names to the names of the soon to be new occupants of our mini-suite. The thought of someone else sleeping in “our” cabin did not sit well with me at first. I hated leaving what had really been a home away from home, but it was time to move on. Sydney was waiting to be discovered. With one last look around, we left the Sapphire Princess for the last time and stepped out into sights and sounds of Sydney, Australia.

End of Part VI

Posted by Gerriv 11:30

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