Part 1…Visiting Darwin…A beautiful city…Busy downtown area…

The two little ones played with the hanging branches of a Banyan tree in the middle of town.

The shuttle ride to Darwin from the port wasn’t more than 10 minutes from start to finish. Waiting in line to board the shuttle took about 35 minutes. In essence, we could have walked into town, but we enjoyed the ride seeing a little more than we would have on foot.

We actually had to purchase a few items which made the outing all the more fun for us. We’d been told by other travelers to purchase insect repellent in Australia since we’d be unable to find many options in Bali.

The sports store where we purchased a new Fitbit for me.

Secondly, after noticing several passengers wearing FitBit fitness tracking devices, I was determined to purchase a new one since my year’s old tracker had bit the dusk awhile back.

The Intersport store has typical sportswear and equipment.

I’ve found using such a device forces me on my feet more, taking stairs instead of elevators, and generally be more active. After returning to the ship and setting up the FitBit, I’d done over 1500 steps in the first two hours. At this rate, it may be possible to do the desired 10,000 steps a day.

We walked up and down several blocks looking for the store. It was a beautiful day, warm but tolerable in the shade.

It wasn’t that I detected any of the wearers necessarily appearing more fit than non-wearers, but for me, it had always been a good motivator, the digital person that I am. 

Plus, my last wristwatch died a few days ago and for the low prices I’d paid for them, it didn’t make sense to replace the batteries. The new wrist-worn FitBit also doubles as a watch. Perfect.

A pleasant park in near the shopping district.

We wandered about Darwin, feeling totally comfortable and safe in the lovely city. The high temperature was offset by a cooling ocean breeze. The city was clean and low-key with an abundance of shops and restaurants.  Of course, whenever the cruise ships came to town, the businesses thrive.

The Darwin State Square.  Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory in Australia.

When we entered a local chemist shop, it was jammed with dozens of cruise passengers. Cruise ships carry few toiletry items on board and an opportunity for a stop at a pharmacy is always a popular tourist attraction.

As we wandered about the town, we were amazed by how similar is it to New Plymouth, NZ which we left only a little over a week. In many ways, it feels as if it’s been much longer ago since we left when we’ve so easily immersed ourselves into life aboard the ship.

The Darwin State Square Building.

We apologize for the last posting once again. Not only did we have a very busy morning, we just left La Scala Theatre after watching yet another movie, a perk included in the cruise fare. Now, after 4:00 pm, it’s time to dress for the evening and to attend a special party for Crown and Anchor members at 4:45. 

After the party, we’ll head to the bar for a pre-dinner beverage and by 7:30 make our way to the main dining room for what most likely will prove to be yet another enjoyable evening at a shared table of eight or ten.

Photo from one year ago today, April 24, 2015:
Due to the poor wifi signal on the ship, we’re unable to post the year-ago photo today.  We’ll get caught up as soon as we get a better signal.  If you don’t see a post, know that we’re struggling to get online and will be back as soon as possible.  Thanks for your patience.

Fifth day of cruise…Sailing along with ease…Free Food aboard ship…Finally, a few photos…

Tom’s dinner of tender steak, broccoli and fried potatoes.  In addition he ordered a starter and a dessert.

There are no rough seas, no notices of Norovirus or signs of the cruise cough. We’re as content as we can be.  Tom’s attending the “Shed” meetings each afternoon at 3 pm and finds me when he’s done, usually close to 5 pm. 

At 5:00, we head to the cabin, freshen up for dinner, check our email if we can get online and by 6:00 pm, we’re out the door heading to the bar. Tom has a cocktail, his usual cognac and Sprite Zero on the rocks while typically I sip on my mug of hot tea. Last night I ordered white wine with dinner.

With a tea pot in our cabin and a few spots onboard where I can reload at no charge, I’m reminded about the many complimentary perks aboard the ship which are included in the cruise fare as opposed to the many extra charges we mentioned over these past few days.

Every evening they serve me a plate of cut up avocado. I never have asked for it to be cut this small and suggested cutting it in half would be fine with me, but they continue to cut it in tiny pieces which is fine.

The single biggest perk included in the cruise fare, not surprisingly, centers around food. It’s everywhere. And, a vast majority of it is “free.” Sure, there are a number of areas where there’s a charge for certain items; specialty coffee drinks and shakes in the coffee bars; fancy cupcakes in the cupcake decorating center; and specialty restaurants which we mentioned a few days ago.

With several buffets at various times of the day along with the Windjammer Café on the 11th deck, always open, at least in part for anytime dining and the main dining rooms open for meals at specific times of the day, there’s never a shortage of venues for full meals or occasional snacks. 

Whether it’s a burger, hotdog and fries or a slice or two of fresh baked pizza, Chinese or Indian food, it all there for the taking included in the fare. For those with a sweet tooth there is a decadent array of every imaginable dessert including soft self serve ice cream. 

Although this may not look appetizing, it was a delicious steak dish suitable for my way of eating.

On the Promenade deck, a boulevard that runs through the center of the ship on deck 5 with many shops, there’s the popular Café Promenade with cases filled with baked goods including doughnuts, cakes, cookies, pies and pastries.  

In addition, there’s a wide variety of sandwiches, wraps and Panini to fulfill the tastes of most passengers at one point or another (present company excluded). Today, Tom had two chocolate covered glazed doughnuts after a big breakfast. Piglet. I keep my mouth shut and let him enjoy himself.

For sun worshippers and swimmers, there’s a complimentary grill by the pool with burgers, fries, hotdogs and more and a “healthy food” café by the spa (nothing there works for me).

Occasionally, the ship hosts social functions for Crown & Anchor members all of which include free beer, wine and appetizers for the guests. Many passengers partake in these free events for the complimentary alcohol and snacks.  Others choose to partake for the socialization.

Magically, the restaurants aboard the ship are the perfect venues for meeting people. We can’t believe how much fun we’re having each and every time we sit down for awhile in one of the eating establishments aboard the ship.

This, dear readers, is why we love cruising!

Photo from one year ago today, April 21, 2015:
Due to the poor wifi signal aboard the ship, we’re still unable to post the year-ago photo.