In January and also December 2010 I again took advantage of a Princess ship being based in Melbourne for the summer and took a two week cruise around New Zealand and back. Being able to join and leave the ship at Station Pier, 10 minutes from my home by car, is so convenient. I've visited these ports many times since the mid 1970s but the ship is the destination for me, plus I get to catch up with some of my old seafring mates from my Merchant Navy days. As always, I got looked after magnificently by the ship's service staff and the food was great.
|For each of these cruises I treated myself to a mini-suite at the stern of the ship. If only one could afford to travel frequently in this style!|
|This cabin had a large sheltered balcony overlooking the stern.|
|About to depart Station Pier, from the bridge.|
|(L-R) The Captain at the controls, the Port Phillip Sea Pilot Captain Craig Murchie and the Staff Captain.|
|Lifting off the berth.|
|The pilot conning the ship.|
|The bridge team.|
|Breakfast on the balcony.|
|Iona Church, first stone laid 1871.|
On the December cruise we had to cancel the transit of the sounds because of rough weather and instead arrived at Port Chalmers at lunchtime on Christmas Day.
Shipping in Port Chalmers harbour.
Shipping in Lyttelton harbour.
|Dawn off Wellington, from my bunk.|
|The Wellington pilot launch approaches.|
|A friend of mine from my Blue Star Line days, Captain Peter Stacey is the senior Wellington harbour pilot. He kindly took me out on the pilot launch while he boarded an inbound vessel.|
|Peter watching from on board the ship as a trainee pilot follows up the pilot ladder.|
|With the pilots safely transferred the pilot launch heads back into Wellington.|
|The coxswain kindly let me have a drive of the launch on the trip back.|
|As well as bringing us into Wellington on the January cruise, Peter took us out on the December cruise. Here the pilot launch comes alongside to take him off as the ship leaves Wellington harbour.|
Shipping in Wellington harbour.
|Another Wellington harbour pilot is taking a banana carrier to sea.|
|Passing an inbound container ship in Wellington harbour.|
Mt. Manganui (Tauranga).
Evening sailing from Mt. Manganui.
Shipping in Tauranga harbour.
|I like the irony in this ship's name.|
Because there was another ship at the cruise terminal, we berthed at Queens Wharf, an old cargo ship pier. I was at this pier several times in the 1970's when working aboard Blue Star Line ships.
|Sailing from Auckland.|
Shipping in Auckland harbour.
Arrival in Melbourne.
Various shots from around the ship.
|My wonderful Fillipino table stewards.|
|The ship's Atrium.|
|Two of the excellent bar staff.|
|Morning at sea.|
|My cabin steward at work.|
|Sculpture and ceiling in the ship's casino.|
|Waiting for Santa.|
|The forward mooring deck.|
|The butchers' shop in the galley.|
|The ship's helm.|
|An electronic chart.|
|What's that about policemen looking younger and younger?|
|The crew's swimming pool and spa from the bridge.|