Sydney in its full glory at night…Attempting to avoid repetition…

A partial moon, boats in the bay and the Sydney Opera House.

There’s something magical about Sydney. Whether its the Harbor Bridge or the Opera House, both of which highlight the city and all of its charm and splendor, it has it all.

Last night, our ship Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas was almost 90 minutes late, heading out to sea, which with the fabulous views from our veranda, we couldn’t have been more thrilled.

With more photos than we can possibly share today with the slow wifi signal aboard the ship, we’ve decided to post them over the next several days. At times, we find taking photos of ships challenging. But, getting off at ports of call? Easy.

Let’s face it, there are only so many photo ops on a cruise ship. In some ways, they all look alike. That’s not to say that our enjoyment is diminished by familiarity. It’s not. We thoroughly enjoy the familiar aspects of many cruise ships.

Many of our long-time readers have seen it all based on our photos from the past 12 cruises (this is the 13th) over the past 42 months. As a result, we’re carefully pursuing more unique photo ops. Bear with us. It’s a work in progress.

The Sydney Opera House after dark.

It’s not easy to avoid repetition in life itself, let alone in our world travels regardless of how many new experiences we encounter along the way. Of course, our intent is to always provide a fresh approach with accompanying photos.

But that’s not always easy to accomplish, especially when we prefer to spend only the first half of each day posting, as opposed to the entire day. If we spent more time seeking photo ops surely we’d widen our scope.  Then again, having “free” time is as important an element in our lives as travel itself.

As it turned out yesterday was somewhat of a tough day. We both were awake at 3 am, unable to sleep a moment longer. To us, it was 5:00 am our usual wake-up time, due to a two-hour time difference from NZ to AU. As a result, we were exhausted all day.

I suppose as we’ve aged, sleeping only three hours leaves us dragging our feet. During the muster drill when we had to walk down and then back up several flights of stairs, we both struggled to make it. Today, after six or seven hours of restful sleep, we maneuvered the steps with ease. What a difference a day makes!

Last night, as we sat on the veranda, knowing after the ship set sail, we’d head to dinner, we’d yet to receive the balance of our luggage in our cabin. Usually, the bags collected at the port arrive well before dark. Not the case last night.

The skyline near the bay.

After a while, the only item missing was my suitcase with all my clothing except what I was wearing, a blue shirt and jeans. I started imagining that the bag would never come and although we’ve insured all of our belongings in our possession, it would be a challenge not having my shoes and clothing during a two-week cruise.

In an effort to stay positive, we remained on the veranda awaiting the bag before we left for dinner, taking photos of the exquisite views of Sydney. By 7:00 pm, my bag arrived. We were too exhausted to unpack until this morning and now everything is neatly put away for the next almost two weeks.

We never hand over our computers, phones, overnight toiletries in small sizes, or medications, just in case our bags are lost or stolen. In a way, we’re surprised we’ve never lost a single bag, nor do we leave items behind in vacation homes. We are as careful as we can be, reminding each other to check and re-check.

This morning, refreshed and renewed, we headed back to the main dining room for a delightful breakfast sitting at a shared table with six other passengers. The conversations were lively and animated. All were Aussies, which appear to be the bulk of the passengers. We’ve yet to meet an American passenger which doesn’t bother us one way or another. 

As the ship began to maneuver away from the pier, the views of the Opera House changed.

At the moment we’re situated in the Pig & Whistle Bar on the Promenade Deck which is like a “street” running the length of the ship, lined with shops and restaurants. It’s a fun and busy place to hang out. Soon we’ll move to another location with more comfortable seating.

At 2 pm, we’ll head to the Conference Center for a lecture about the upcoming ports of call. The next stop is tomorrow in Brisbane from 7 am to 4 pm during which we’ll get off the ship on our own. 

We’ve had our fill of ship-sponsored tours with the crowded buses and the outrageous costs. We’ve even lost interest in the small group tours. We’ve found over these past many cruises that ultimately we prefer to go at our own pace and do exactly what we’d like to do without time pressure and constraints.

This leaves us plenty of time to socialize and meet plenty of people. It made us laugh when we ran into two unrelated passengers at the meeting with whom we sailed on the cruise from Honolulu to Sydney last May. It is a small world.

Luna Park in Sydney, close to the Harbor Bridge.

This morning at breakfast I discovered that the lovely woman sitting next to me, currently living in Australia, is from New Plymouth, NZ, and even knew of Trish and Neil and their beautiful alpaca farm. It truly is a small world. 

At 3:15 pm, Tom will attend the first SHED meeting while I entertain myself elsewhere, which at the moment, I’ve yet to decide. No doubt, we’ll both have a good time, which is easy to do aboard a ship of “overly friendly” people.

May you have a good time today as well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 17, 2015:

In Kauai, spotting these yellow-tipped stamen on this Anthurium was a first for us. For more photos and the year-ago post, please click here.