Day 18…Circumnavigating the Australian continent…Yesterday’s memorable day in Perth with friends…

Carlo and Michelle standing near their Mustang in the port of Perth parking lot.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

Painting of the Statue of Liberty in the art gallery onboard the vessel.

By 9 am, we easily made our way off the ship to wait for Michelle and Carlo to pick us up in front of the passenger cruise terminal in Perth. In the flurry of activity, we did not ask for a description of their car. 

Tom remembers that they had bought a new Mustang from our on-going Facebook contact since we met them on a cruise in April from Sydney to Singapore. In no time, we saw them both come close to us, arms wide open for great Aussie welcomes and embraces.

Lighthouse close to the harbor.

It was a cloudy and rainy day which didn’t put a damper on our day. They took us through many beautiful parts of Perth allowing us to see their beloved town. The dense clouds hindered our views and photos, but at least we got the concept and charm of some of the many highlights of the Twin Cities of Perth and Fremantle. 

Although the photos were not as good as we would have liked the day spent together was without any doubt the biggest point of all. They had both taken a day off to be here, and we appreciate that. 

Boats at the marina.

After a tour through Perth and Fremantle, we ended up in a large shopping mall as big as any major shopping mall in the US. Tom and Carlo joined us at the mall, later taking off to let Michelle and I do some shopping while he took Tom to his jewelry shop where he and his staff make exquisite custom jewelry with gems and fine metals from all over the world. 

I really needed a few clothes and Michelle turned out to be a perfect shopping companion. It had been so long since I’d shopped in a mall of this caliber, let alone with another woman. I felt like a kid in a candy store, my eyes darting about over the massive number of stores, products and concepts, many of them entirely new in my limited exposure to shopping. 

Rain and fog prevented a clear view of downtown Perth.

We darted from shop to shop. In the end, I found four shirts, a belt and pants that met all my expectations. Although each item was more expensive than I would have liked, most were on sale, of very high quality and entirely wash and wear, a must in our world of travel.

A few hours later, the guys returned to the mall, easily found us per Michelle’s call to Carlo and we all had lunch in the food court. We’d wanted to take them to a special restaurant for lunch, but they insisted they’d be thrilled to eat in the food court. Tom was eyeballing the McDonalds restaurant.

Looking at a park we would have walked if it had not been as rainy as possible.

I was worried that I couldn’t find anything that would work for the way I eat. Lo and behold, there were many low carb, gluten free options and I had a delicious salad with salsa, guacamole, chicken salad and veggies that tasted as good as any meal I’d had in years. I couldn’t remember the last time I ate Mexican in a restaurant.

Of course, Tom enjoyed his cheeseburger and McDonald’s fries while the rest of us dined on items from various places. The last time we’d had a meal in a food court was back in the US at least five or six years ago, long before I began this way of eating. 

Swan River in Perth/Fremantle.

The engaging conversations and the day passed quickly. In no time at all we were back at the cruise terminal hugging, taking photos and saying goodbye. How does one say thank you after such a fine day with two kind, generous, and special individuals? We can only hope that someday our paths will cross again.

Back in the terminal, the return process for the back-to-back cruise was quick and painless with no queues, no check in lines and only one fast pass through security with our new SeaPass cards in hand. Soon we were back in our familiar cabin, dressing for the evening and ready for the 5:00 pm muster drill which is required that all consecutive passengers attend.

Fred, Michelle and Carlo’s parrot who lives in Carlo’s jewelry studio. When Fred saw Tom he squawked at him and then said “Fred.”

By 5:30 we were back on the elevator to the 13th floor to see our friends, Lois and Tom and Cheryl and Stan in the Diamond Lounge for more ‘free” drinks, laughter and more of the pure pleasure of spending time with special people.

Top of our ship to the right.

Once again, our travels find us in the position of feeling grateful and in awe of the people we meet, whether they’re local citizens in a remote location, Aussies from the big city like Michelle and Carlo, Kat and John or the four friends as mentioned above from the USA. 

This was CJ (for Carlo Junior), the family’s Char Pei who took a liking to Tom.

The world is a huge place. When we’ve been blessed to meet people along the way, it becomes small and intimate, not so far removed from the life we left  behind many moons ago.

Today, a new 1500 passengers are among us with the remaining almost 500 of us on the back-to-back for a new total of around 2000 passengers. No doubt, the joy of this fabulous cruise will continue over these next 16 days until we eventually dock in Sydney to fly to Tasmania on December 3, 2016. 

Garden at Carlo’s parent’s adjoining property near the studio.

Living this life on the move isn’t always easy. Nor is it a simple process to plan the equivalent of one vacation/holiday after another, year after year, never returning to a “home” to regroup or repack. 

But, it’s the life we’ve chosen and for us, a very happy life filled with endless wonders and surprises, most certainly enhanced by the people we’ve met along the way. 

Jewelry making workshop.

Thank you, people; those we’ve met, those who travel with us via the web each and every day and those whom we’ve yet to meet. Thank you for your kindness, your acceptance and most of all, your love.

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

A few boats at the pearl pier in Savusavu, Fiji. For more photos, please click here.

Day 17…Circumnavigating the Australian continent…Visiting Perth and Fremantle today with friends…

The super moon over the sea, of a few nights ago.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

Another beautiful piece of art from the ship art gallery.

The first leg of this 33 night tour of circumventing the Australian continent ends today as the ship docked in the Perth/Fremantle area. At 9:00 am, we’re disembarking the ship with a plan to return in the afternoon long before the ship sets sail on leg #2.

Our friends, Michelle and Carlo will be picking us up at the pier once we disembark the ship. They asked if there was anywhere special we’d like to see. We suggested we go wherever they’d suggest. 

Kat and John live close to Sydney will see us in March when we stay in Manley Beach for 40 nights. They are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside!

Mostly we’re interested in seeing Fremantle and spending time with them catching up over these past seven months since we sailed together on RC Voyager from Sydney to Singapore in April.

This is William, Kat and John’s six month old adorable boy.

We can’t stop smiling. The routine we’ve established on this ship has been ideal for our tastes and desires. We continually visit with people engaging in the most interesting and varied conversations. We eat, we drink, we play pool and attend some activities with other passengers. 

We dance. We revel in the entertainment that suits us. We dine where and when we desire and then, head to our cabin only after we’ve exhausted every moment of pleasure we’ve been able to glean from our surroundings.

Tom’s steak dinner in Cascades dining room.

Could we sail over longer periods of time, perhaps a 90-day world tour? I don’t think so.The novelty of this long cruise is exactly the right amount. Any longer could take away its  feeling special. But, we’d easily consider another month long cruise in the future. 

When we return to the US  by cruise for the family visit in May, that’s a 24-night cruise with a two day break in Vancouver and then we’re off on the 9-night Alaskan cruise resulting in cruising for 33-nights over a period of 35-nights. In that case, it won’t be quite the same as this consecutive 33-nights, but certainly we expect boat cruises to be time well spent.

My nightly plate of stir fried veggies cooked in butter, which is my only side dish to whatever protein source I’ve ordered. Everything is perfectly prepared to my dietary specifications.

Last night was another of those amazing evenings spent with our friends which we anticipate will continue through this second leg. At this point, we’re considering plans to get together next year, along the way of our travels. Details will follow in the future.

The six of us said our goodbyes to Kat, John and little William whom Tom and I will see in March when we’re in Sydney (Manly Beach) for 40-nights. We’ve all exchanged email and Facebook info ensuring we’ll easily stay in touch.

My plate of garlic butter prawns.

Up early this morning, by 6:45 am, I’d saved us seats in the “Latte thuds” café while Tom showered and dressed. This has been and will continue to be our favorite spot on the ship when preparing the post or conducting other online activities. 

Tom visited the 13th floor to the Diamond Lounge to get us each big cup of the complimentary latte offered to Diamond Club members, another of the rewards perks we’ve accumulated as frequent cruisers on Royal Caribbean. With Celebrity and RC owned by the same corporation, these benefits are carried over when we cruise on either line. 

Many evenings after dinner, we stop at the Schooner Bar for entertainment. These two performers are excellent.

We won’t be posting the final expenses and bills (we’ll receive two, one for each leg of the cruise) until the last day at the end of the second leg on December 3rd. We were pleasantly surprised by our modest bill for the first 16 nights of this cruise.

Soon, prior to 9:00 am, as required for back-to-back passengers, we’ll disembark the cruise, to find Michelle and Carlo awaiting us at the pier as we’ll spend the day. 

The city of Geraldton, Australia, where the ship anchored yesterday. With little to do in this small town, we stayed aboard the ship and played pool. Tom is now ahead by four games.  He’s improving  much more rapidly than I. As competitive as we are when playing any game together, I’d better get “on the stick.”

It’s an overcast day forecast for rain so I doubt we’ll be spending much time outdoors, instead exploring Australia’s Twin Cities of Perth/Fremantle, not unlike our former Twin Cities in Minnesota of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

We’ll be back tomorrow with new photos of Perth/Fremantle, new stories and the continuation of this glorious cruise aboard Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas.

Have a glorious day!

Photo from one year ago today, November 16, 2015:

Too often, we’ve been sightseeing on rainy days such as this day one year ago in Fiji.  Photos are much more appealing on sunny days.For more photos, and a review of our travel criteria, please click here.