GoldenWedding

Woodland 3cr

22nd February 1969 – it was cold wet day in Liverpool, UK.

What to do to celebrate fifty years of happy marriage? We like cruising so how about a cruise around Cape Horn at the bottom of the world?

So be it . . . . .

Our plan was to fly to Santiago in Chile, have three nights before joining a ship in San Antonio for a sixteen night cruise to Buenos Aires, with three nights in BA before flying home.

Everything had to be just so – so we required a hotel – after checking various hotels in Santiago we decided on the Crown Plaza, and we would stay on the Club Floor.

cd4cc9d7_z

We mentioned our plans to friends with whom we’d traveled before, and one couple from New Zealand decided to join us, and another from the north east of England also joined us.
The two males and I had joined HMS Conway in September 1960, and we’d kept in touch over the years, so the trip would also be a mini-reunion. They had both retired from the sea as Master of their own vessels, and had previous experience around the South American coast during their working life at sea.

Maureen & I and our NZ friends flew out of Sydney to Santiago on Tuesday, and arrived about 90 minutes before we left Australia, thanks to us crossing the dateline. The flight was actually over twelve hours.

banner.desktop

We flew with Qantas in one of their last remaining B747s, a comfortable flight in premium economy.

DSC04142r

Our hotel room on the 20th floor.

DSC04145r

Views from our window

DSC04146r

In the early evening we went for a short walk around the area of the hotel – the UK couple would not be joining us until the following afternoon.

DSC04150r

A short walk from the hotel and we found  Plaza Baquedano, with a statue of  General Manuel Baquedano on his horse.

The General had been commander in chief of the Chilean army during the Pacific War of 1879 to 1884, which was also known as the ‘ten cents war’ or ‘Saltpeter war’ when Bolivia tried to tax Chilean mining of the rich nitrate of coastal Bolivia, even though they had agreed not to tax the Chileans.
The war escalated and Chile found herself fighting both Peru & Bolivia. The first five months of the war was a sea campaign, which Peru lost. Bolivia didn’t have any ships, but relied on issuing certificates of marque to anyone who would be willing to fight for Bolivia at sea.

Britain, the US and France stood by the Paris Declaration of 1855 which outlawed privateers. The sea war was now between Chile & Peru – which Peru lost.
Bolivia lost her coastal nitrate strip to Chile, which is why Bolivia today is landlocked.

Plaza Baquedano is also used by the people as rallying place when they wish to make a point – I don’t know what the rally was for in the short piece of film.

DSC04151r

 As the sun set over Santiago I just had to take this photograph of the snow capped mountain. We had just passed Plaza Baquedano.

The following morning we decided to use the hop on hop off bus to get a ‘feel’ of the city, plus it was getting to hot to walk around.

DSC04152r

As you see it was 11.00 am and already 31.2 c outside.

DSC04170r

Santiago is a pleasant town with modern buildings mixed with the older historic buildings, and quite a few parks.

DSC04173r

The roads were clean and traffic was orderly.

DSC04179r

Santiago looking to the future.

The Costanera Center Torre, also known as Gran Torre Santiago, – sixty four storey tall making it the tallest building in Latin America. It is the second tallest in the southern hemisphere, the tallest being in Melbourne, Australia.

DSC04187r In the city centre the old still has an attraction – The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago can be seen (the two small towers). Construction began in 1748 and was completed in 1800. The square is the Plaza de Armas.

DSC04195r

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago entrance.

DSC04198r

Inside the cathedral

DSC04191r

Plaza de Armas – the main square of Santiago. The building with the flag flying is the central post office.

DSC04201r

I took the above from the bus . . .

DSC04194r

Plaza de Armas – being good Aussies we moved from shadow to shadow to keep cool.

DSC04211r

Giant flag of Chile flying over Citizen Square, Avenida La Alameda.

The flag pole is 61 meters (200 feet) tall the flag itself is 27 meters (88.5 feet)  by 18 meters (59 feet) and was erected to celebrate the bi-centenary of Chile in 2010. The square is beyond the flag. I took the photograph from the top deck of the bus, a quick point & click.

If you have a  golden wedding you need some music and the obvious choice is something called Golden Wedding

Turn the sound UP!

 

 

 

 

A roam around a ship

Checking in for our cruise was very easy – after checking -in  we didn’t have to wait to board even though we had been warned that a wait would be required, but were told to pass through emigration and security and to board immediately.
On entering our cabin (state room to be PC) we realised that it was much smaller than the same cabin on the previous Princess Cruise vessels. We’d booked a balcony cabin, and the balcony area was the smallest that we had experienced, but they still managed to squeeze in two chairs & a tiny round table.

dsc07478r

dsc07479r

dsc07487r
The storage area for our clothes was smaller than the other Princess ships, and even smaller then the Pacific Jewel, where we had an inside cabin.

Once we unpacked we realised that instead of placing our suitcases in the hanging part of the ‘wardrobe’ area we were able to stow them out of sight under our bed. Even though the area for our clothes was smaller, we were able to unpack completely and stow all our clothes and bits and pieces out of sight. Our shoes went under the bed along with my laptop & briefcase and Maureen’s carry – on bag, so all in all the sudden shock of ‘smallness’ was soon fixed.
The ship is well maintained and crew members can be seen constantly painting and touching up various areas. All the staff that we come in contact with were friendly and helpful.

Thirteen nights of having everything done for us – wonderful.

dsc07541rGoodbye Sydney – we sailed at 4.00 pm so I was able to photograph the sun setting over Australia.

I thought a few pictures of the Dawn Princess might help for those considering a Princess Line cruise.

dsc07520r

The Atrium, or heart of the ship for passengers.

dsc07525r

The pictures above and the one below are of the Vista Lounge and Bar, which is near the stern, it is a large bar with a small stage, which is used by various acts in the evening or lectures during the day, or an afternoon of quizzes when at sea.

dsc07559r

dsc07532rMagnum Bar – very quiet, and quite small.

dsc07581r

Wheelhouse Bar – quiet around 5.00 pm, but jumping by 8.00 pm with live music and dancing.

dsc07552r

The Riviera Bar near the pools.

There are other outdoor bars, but we didn’t use them.

dsc07561r

Not all that clear, but the water in the pool is overflowing as the ship’s movement causes a slight pitching, which in turn causes the water to rush to one end and then back to the other end.

dsc07562rThis picture gives a better idea of the ‘surge’.

dsc07526r

The Crooners Bar; a lime & soda for Maureen and a Guinness for me. On each of the Princess vessels in which we have sailed, the Crooners Bar is always a favourite, because of the staff and the live music which is never too loud so that you have to shout. The Crooners Bar on the Dawn Princess is the largest Crooners Bar that we have experienced, much larger than the Island or the Diamond Princess.
One of the bar staff in the Dawn Princess was a Scouse (from Liverpool UK) and he came from the next suburb to where Maureen lived as a child. The barman spends nine months cruising and then goes home to Liverpool, for a couple of months.

Each evening at 9.00 pm Paul Burton would sit in the Crooners Bar and play jazz on the piano & sing songs of yesteryear – he was perfect for the ambiance of this particular bar. I bought his CD, Live in London.

pb01

dsc07940r

If you fancied a night club there was always Jammers – a little too noisy for me  . . .

dsc07528rOur dining room was called the Venetian dining room – picture taken from the entrance.

 Unlike other ships where we had ‘any time dining’ i.e you fronted up and you entered the dining room if it was before 10.30 pm, but sometimes you had to queue due to demand etc. We used to arrive around 6.30 to 6.45 pm and didn’t have a problem. On the Dawn Princess, we had been allocated 5.30 pm dining, which was a little early for us, but we got used to the timings and adjusted lunch to fit . . . This also meant that we had the same passengers on the same table each evening with the same stewards. The passengers were not a problem, because we soon got to know each other. The wine waiter was preemptive because he used to put a glass of white wine down in front of me when I sat down & placed the ‘chit’ next to me side plate for signing. That was ‘service’ with a smile.
The following comments are only my opinion as to why they have fixed dining times on Australian based vessels.
Australian based Princess Cruise ships do not charge a daily gratuity. On ships that leave Australia and do not return to an Australia port at the end of the voyage, the gratuity is charged at approximately $12 USD a day per person. The gratuity is split amongst the face to face staff and the backroom staff that the passenger never meets or comes in contact with, but is still offering a service.
This allows for any time dining – you can have a dedicated booked time if you wish, but most people just turn up and wait a short while if the dining room is busy.

Because of the culture in Australia of not to tip unless they receive service above and beyond the expected service level for the price charged, the cruise companies have, I think, built in the gratuity in to the cruise price, but then encourages tipping of your cabin steward and your dining steward, hence the need to have set dining times so that you are served by the same steward & wine steward for the whole voyage, and you then feel ‘pressured’ to leave a tip at the end.
Overall I would prefer to pay the daily rate and not have the inconvenience of working out the required amount to tip the various staff. If the service is not up to scratch you can have the ‘compulsory’ gratuity removed from your account, so the pressure is still on the staff member to deliver a good service. I just add the daily rate to the overall cost of the cruise so as to compare apples with apples – at least the backroom staff receive something for their work, whereas only tipping the waiter one never knows if this is shared.

dsc07873rA general view of the dining room.

 On the Dawn Princess, they had two main dining rooms and four specialised dining rooms (extra cost for each of the specialised dining rooms). The pictures below are to indicate the standard for our dining room.

dsc08284rMain course evening dish for Maureen – lobster.

dsc08285r

and for me Beef Wellington – it was thick and just melted in the mouth – perfect.

The two Kiwis shown in the first photograph at the entrance to the dining room is because we celebrated Waitangi Day, 6th February, which is a national holiday in NZ, being the day that a treaty was signed between the British and the Maori people in 1840.

dsc07527r

dsc07668r

The Atrium was decorated in Maori motifs.

dsc07878r

If a formal style of dining is not to your ‘taste’ (excuse the pun) you can dine in the Horizon Court for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Dress code is casual, whereas long pants for men are required in the Vincentian dining room in the evening, even for none formal evenings.

On the 14th February I realized when we went for breakfast that it was Valentine’s Day  . . .

dsc08073r
The Horizon Court is buffet style for each meal. Stewards are on hand to offer various drinks. As one would expect the buffet offered a wide choice of food from Asian through to standard western. It was very easy to over eat due to a great collection of puddings, cakes and jellies.
My lunchtime choice, after a morning of sightseeing, was always a light salad and cheese and biscuits with a glass of wine. Knowing that dinner was at 5.30 pm to 6.00 pm one had to be circumspect with earlier meals.

dsc07535r

dsc08304r
The above picture, and the one below, shows the Inside of the buffet area at the start of breakfast on a sea day (nobody rushes on a sea day)– everyone is required to wash their hands via a squirt of disinfectant from an automatic dispenser. A staff member stands near the machine and greets the passenger. If you forget to use the machine you are reminded politely by this person. Not a problem really if we are all to be free of stomach upsets.

Breakfast at 7.00 am – passenger custom just starting to build.

dsc08305r

Hot food from steaks to eggs cooked to order. Bacon cooked ‘American’ style or English style.
American bacon being cooked until it is a brittle streak with little meat and a danger when cut with a knife. Pieces of bacon shoot across the table or ping all over the place. Eating it with fingers is the only way to protect your neighbour.
The English bacon has more meat, so I tried both at the same time. Ever the diplomat.

I weighed myself on our return and I’d put on just over a kilo, which I will lose. It is very easy to put on weight on a cruise, so one has to be careful not to over eat – not having that second piece of cake brings tears to my eyes. . . . .