A Moment of Reflection

We wanted to take a moment to reflect upon our experiences so far on this World Cruise adventure.

First of all it has been wonderful traveling with the sisters (including Barbara Dempsey our “adopted” traveling sister). For Barb, Carolyn, and Mary Jane it is the fulfillment of a wish we have had for quite some time, to travel together while we all were still able to enjoy it, because one never knows what surprises (good and bad) life will bring to us on a daily basis.

We are 45 days into our 103 day journey, and we have met a number of very interesting people. Our nationality mix changes on each leg of the cruise, but the composition of the group from Sydney to Hong Kong is as follows:

Australia 1,351
United Kingdom 572
United States 260
Canada 76
Germany 46
New Zealand 38
France 20
Switzerland 17
Ireland 14
Spain 14
Netherlands 13
South Africa 13
Japan 8
Austria 7
Singapore 6
Italy 5
Malaysia 4
Russia Federation 4
Mexico 3
China 2
Malta 2
Hungary 2
Korea 2
And one each from Denmark, Ecuador, Iceland, Philippines, and Turkey.
That makes for quite a melting pot of fellow travellers.

We are always meeting new people, even if it is just a short ride up in the elevator, sharing experiences on the shore excursions together, at afternoon tea, or waiting for the evening show to begin.

We have three enrichment lectures every sea day on various topics. The presenters have ranged from authors, ambassadors, film critics, maritime historians, literary critics, cinema historians, movie producers/writers, astronomers, and even an expert on insects and wildlife exploration. It has been a wide range of topics, with more variety still to come. You learn about things you did not ever think you wanted to know, but find fascinating now.

There are daily computer seminars, bridge lessons, fitness activities, three swimming pools, watercolor classes, trivia competitions, mahjong, bingo, casino games, and Canyon Ranch lectures. There are ballroom and line dance classes, solo traveller get togethers, as well as needlework and knitting socials and book club. Or you can read or fall asleep on a deck chair while watching the ocean waves and seagulls fly by. In other words, you can be as busy or restful as you wish. No agendas or to-do lists here. But most every evening we end up at the movies.

Of the 103 days/nights on board, 43 are formal attire and 23 are semiformal, so we have all learned to get our formal wear on quickly, and we are finding we are less and less formal as the weeks go by. Thank goodness for Chico’s, or we would have never gotten it all together.

Carolyn, Mary Jane, and our friend JoAnn Ryan from Hilton Head, have decided to write a book about selecting, preparing for, and enjoying a long cruise. Thus, Carolyn can often be found interviewing passengers (of course, she purchased a small digital tape recorder while we were in Ft. Lauderdale) and then transcribing the tapes of the interviews. We have found people’s thoughts, wisdom, and adventures to be most engaging and believe they will provide excellent helpful hints as well as lively reading for the book.

But on a more serious note . . . we want to pass along some feelings we have had during our journey. Here on the ship we have watched the turmoil in the Middle East as it has played out on our 24 hour news coverage from the BBC and Sky News, and some very minimal coverage from Fox. It becomes more intense here because there are no other channels to turn to for lighter fare.

Then, on Tuesday we learned of the earthquake disaster in Christchurch, a port we were to visit this Saturday. The piles of rubble where their homes, businesses, and churches once stood were devastating, and our hearts ached for the people in the middle of this tragedy. It was even more poignant for us because the epicenter of the earthquake was in Lyttleton, right where we would have been docked for our visit to Christchurch.

Although we have thought of ourselves as individuals who faithfully followed current events in the U.S. and the World, we have found that, by leaving the safe haven of our homes, we actually have been very isolated from all of the turmoil. We have found ourselves much more caught up in all that is happening, literally, all around us. At one point, Carolyn remarked that perhaps the Queen Mary 2 will become our ARK. . . . as the dictators in the Middle East destroy everything, as the people try so desperately to achieve a more democratic existence.

Thanks again for following our blog . . . we do so enjoy your comments and emals. Keep them up!

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3 Responses to “A Moment of Reflection”

  1. Mary Ann Rozzell February 25, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Greetings from ABQ. Bob & I have enjoyed your blogs/ pictures so much. I even read the JJ’s. My goodness it’s their 3rd World cruise! Our oldest son, Robert, Is moving back to ABQ as I write. Should be here sometime tomorrow. I can relate to the “News” factor on ships. You guys are living in another world.

  2. Barbara Greenstein February 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Nothing like travel to expand your mind and I loved your comments,MJ. I am so grateful for the many wonderful experiences Andy and I have shared over the years…from crossing Russia with many stops on the Siberian Express; to being in the midst of 100 plus elephants as they crossed in single file to new grazing land in East Africa; to being ‘lost’ in the desert of Abu Dubai. Would that all could experience the widening world of possibilities! Love B.

  3. Particularly liked this posting. Good to hear about the variety of your fellow travelers. activities,etc. And also to get your perspective being at sea when the events of the past several weeks have occurred. Maybe it is good to be on the ARK. You may not want to come home. Barbara

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