NL BLOG NewsLetter Jan10 F by cuiliqing


									 JOHN POND MONTHLY BLOG NEWSLETTER                                              JANUARY 2010

   A compilation of some
    of my BLOGS from
     Cruise Passenger Magazine’s                   Day 1: Boarding Rhapsody                                of the Seas – Sydney Sandra
                                                   and I  had left our packing to the last minute
       January 2010 Blog Selection                 and as usual I am sure we have packed too
                                                   much, but the beauty of boarding a cruise at
                                                   your home port is that luggage weight is not a
Rhapsody of the Seas BLOGS                         problem and you have a nice strong taxi driver
                                                   to lift the bags into the boot.  After a twenty
A compilation of BLOGS from my recent              minute cab ride we arrived at Sydneyʼs Interna-
evaluation cruise on Royal Caribbean’s             tional Shipping Terminal at Circular Quay.  We
Rhapsody of the Seas.                              arrived later than usual and there were no
In this monthly newsletter I have included a       queues so our check-in procedure went very
handful of these for my friends and associ-                                        quickly.  We just
ates unable to log on daily. If you have any                                        got on board
suggestions or interesting news for these                                           when it was
blogs, please let me know                                                           time for life                                                                boat drill which
Read my Daily BLOGS on Cruise Pas-                                                  was carried out
senger Magazines Cruise Website.                                                    without having
                                                                                    to go to your
                                                                                    cabin for your
To be REMOVED from this site Please
                                                                                    life preserver. 
email with REMOVE.                                             After the drill
                                                   we needed to go to the Purserʼs office where

Rhapsody of the Seas                               there were two very long lines so Sandra and I
                                                   got in a line each – it turned out Sandraʼs line

A delightful getaway.                              was to have a hole punched in your plastic
                                                   credit card sized room key.  Many passengers
                                                   like to put their room key on a lanyard around
Sandra, my wife and I recently went on a ten       their neck as it is used to buy drinks and any
day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody           services on board (seemed like a waste of time
of the Seas. The time went all too quickly.        for two Pursers to have their time taken up
Many of our friends ask us “just what do we do     punching holes when there
on a cruise?” On the following pages are some      were more pressing enquiries
daily BLOG reports from the ship, that should      to be answered).  We went to
explain it all. These were posted daily from the   our cabin and were pleasantly
ship on, Australia’s            surprised to find our luggage
foremost cruise website, powered                   had arrived.       We had re-
by Cruise Passenger Magazine.                      quested a balcony cabin but
                                                   as the ship was virtually sold
                                                   out, settled for a large window

                                  PAGE 1
 JOHN POND MONTHLY BLOG NEWSLETTER                                                         JANUARY 2010

cabin which was quite spacious and very com-               flat as a pancake – you hardly knew you were
fortable.                                                  on a ship apart from the salt encrusted picture
                                                           window.  We like eating in the main dining
Time for dinner. We had filled out the elaborate           room (Eidelveis).  I rarely eat breakfast at
on-line registration form and requested late din-          home and must admit I really enjoy eating
ing – our key cards showed we had been                     shipʼs breakfasts and I was not disappointed
placed on early dining (6 p.m.) but as we had              this morning.  From the large selection I chose
had no lunch decided we would try the early                orange juice, pancakes with blueberries and
sitting.    There are three sittings, 6 p.m.               banana followed by smoked salmon with a ba-
and 8.30 p.m. as well as Any Time Dining                                                          g e l ,
which we would have preferred but were told it                                                    c r e a m
was completely full. Apparently other guests
told us that they had to book daily for Any Time
                                                                                                  red onion,
Dining indicating the time they wish to dine.
Surely this negates the convenience of Any                                                        tomato
Time Dining when you have to make your mind                                                       a n d
up in advance when you wish to dine!We were                                                       c a p e r s . 
seated at a table with two other couples – one                                                    For main I
from Europe and the other from the U.K. I                                                         had eggs
                                   must admit I                                                   benedict
                                   was       very                                                 plus cof-
                                   pleasantly              fee and choice of a large assortment of breads
                                   surprised at            and pastries (that should keep me going to
                                   the quality of          lunch). After breakfast we strolled through the
                                   the food, it            shops in the Shopping Arcade, the largest as-
                                   was above my
                                                           sortment I have seen to date on any ship, in-
                                                           cluding a Ben & Jerryʼs Ice Cream Parlour
                                   I started with a
                                   prawn bisque            which I am sure I will visit soon.  Lunch was in
                                  followed by a            the main dining room again, so far I have not
delightful spinach salad with vinaigrette and the          been disappointed with the standard of food
piece de resistance, prime rib that was so ten-            and service, everyone from cabin attendant to
der, vegetables and baked potato with sour                 waiter scores top marks.  As I write this (and
cream. Dessert was an incredibly tasty round               Sandra types) in the shipʼs Internet Cafe I am
pavlova smothered in poached strawberries                  slightly disappointed that they do not allow any
with a side order of vanilla ice cream. The                peripherals to be plugged into the computer.  I
menu showed several espresso coffees with                  understand this is a security measure and
very fine print at the bottom of the menu saying           other peopleʼs drives may corrupt the system. 
there was an extra charge for these. Regular               Nevertheless my disappointment was because
percolated coffee was included. We left the
                                                           I had planned to upload pictures that I had
table very satisfied at all the food and service.
                                                           taken throughout the ship.  On my return to dry
There was a Welcome Show in the Show
Room but we were so tired we headed to those               land I will do some extra blogs in which I will
nice crisp sheets via the upstairs buffet that             illustrate
was still in full swing. There are many coffee             various ar-
and tea stations on the pool/buffet deck so we             eas of the
took a cup back to our cabin rather than call              ship.  There
room service. We both slept very well.                     is a charge
                                                           of around
                                                           US         55
Day 2: At Sea                   We woke early with         cents, so if
t h e s u n s t r e a m i n g t h r o u g h t h e w i n-   you are
dow that looked out on an ocean which was as               sending

                                           PAGE 2
 JOHN POND MONTHLY BLOG NEWSLETTER                                                   JANUARY 2010

emails or surfing the web you could be hit with
a hefty bill if you donʼt keep your internet cafe
visits short.

Dinner again in the main dining room, itʼs for-
mal night and most are dressed in dinner suits
or tuxedos which are available for hire.  I have
stopped taking dinner suits on ships and wear
a dark blazer with a bow tie.  Formal night is
great for the on board photographers as most
people enjoy having their family portraits taken
while all dressed up.  After dinner, a show and       prawn cocktail followed by an excellent Caesar
off to bed.                                           salad, although I felt the croutons were a bit too
                                                      large.  My main course consisted of one of the
                                                      best roast ducks I have tasted in a black cur-
Day 3: On Board At Sea                     An-        rent sauce, with red cabbage and potato
other beautiful morning with very calm seas,          croquettes.  For dessert I had  a cooked to or-
each day being better than the last.  We put          der Grand Marnier Souffle.
our clocks backward one hour last night, enjoy-
ing the extra hourʼs sleep as we stayed up late       Sandra asked if there was any Champagne by
last night watching the show.  The entertainer        the glass available.  The waiter replied, “Yes
in the showroom was Jonathan Clark who did            we have Korbel”, to which we both replied
comedy and vocal impressions of all the old           “Thatʼs not Champagne, itʼs Californian spar-
favourite singers backed by Rhapsodyʼs ten            kling wine!”.  The waiter said that they had no
piece show band, a most enjoyable evening in          Champagne by the glass, I asked him if he
extremely comfortable seating (wish shoreside         could investigate the possibility of getting a
theatres were this comfortable!).                     glass from the Champagne Bar.  He came back
                                                      a few minutes later with a bubbling glass of
                                                      Verve Cliquot that I felt was very modestly
Last nightʼs dinner was exceptional.  After the       priced compared to Sydney restaurant prices. 
Captainʼs cocktail party where all the officers        (Sandra said she would have one every night). 
and department heads were introduced, we              (JP:  I should not have insisted – my on board
headed for our new dinner table.  The night be-       account will swell by the end of the trip!).  Our
fore we had been at the 6 p.m. sitting but as we      Waiter introduced himself as Royland and he
were still full from lunch, thought the later seat-   also introduced his Assistant Waiter as Robert
ing at 8.30 p.m. would allow more time to enjoy       – both looked after us flawlessly throughout the
the cocktail hour and listen to some great live       evening, even offering us a second dessert.
music in one of the many lounges throughout
the ship, prior to entering the Eidelveiss Dining
Room.                                                 At this stage I would like to particularly thank
                                                      Shawn Jones, Assistant Guest Services Man-
                                                      ager for looking after us so well and solving a
Excuse me if there are any mistakes in my             little problem I had (nothing to do with the ship).
shipboard blogs but as they charge 55
                        cents a minute I
                        canʼt afford to               After breakfast I bumped into Renita Kumari,
                        spend too much                Chief Housekeeper.  We had a discussion
                        time checking my              about her department on the ship.  We com-
                        typing.                       mended Christopher, our Stateroom Attendant
                                                      and praised the Housekeeping staff and Rhap-
                                                      sodyʼs cleanliness.  In my opinion, the two
                             My dinner choices        most important departments on a ship are
                             were old fashioned       Hotel Managerʼs Department and House-

                                       PAGE 3
 JOHN POND MONTHLY BLOG NEWSLETTER                                                JANUARY 2010

keeping. Breakfast was a little slow this morn-     honest descriptions of food and service.
ing and the waiters seemed slightly under-
staffed, although sitting in the main dining room   Day 4: Rhapsody of the
is so pleasant the delay was not a problem.         Seas Arlie Beach Still singing the
                                                    songs from last nightʼs huge production show
                                                    in the theatre.  Music of Billy Joel, Barry
                                                    Manilow and Elton John was featured and the
                                                    twelve singers and dancers performed out-
                                                    standingly, the show included the talents of an
                                                    aerialist that had everyone enthralled.

For those wishing a faster breakfast, the buffet
in Windjammers Restaurant by the pool area is
ideal.  I should add Sandra had morning coffee
with a selection of pastries in the stateroom
prior to breakfast. Signing off for now as the
Captain has just made an announcement that
there will be a large BBQ around the pool as an
extra option for lunch. Tomorrow we will be at
                                                    Another beautiful morning, calm seas and
our first port of call, Airlie Beach.  PHOTO:
                                                    smooth sailing all night.  The ship had an-
Beds can be made into Queen size or 2 sin-
                                                    chored off Airlie Beach.  Instead of using the
gles (they were very comfortable) John
                                                    shipʼs tenders Royal Caribbean had arranged
Pond, Editor at Sea, Cruise Passenger
                                                    extremely large catamarans to ferry us the
                                                    short distance  to shore, speeding up the pro-
                                                    cedure of landing.  We had a leisurely break-
Two Responses to “Day 3 on                          fast in the Dining Room, the service was very
Board Rhapsody of the Seas”                         speedy this morning and it was pleasant talking
ADELE BAKER                                         to some new fellow passengers.
13 December 2009 at 10:08 LOVING YOUR
TRAVEL NOTES – SO FAR SO GOOD!!!!                   The Cruise Direc-
LOVE TO YOU BOTH Susan                              tor had been
14 December 2009 at 12:45                           m a k i n g a n-
Having great fun reading your blogs – makes         nouncements for
me feel like Iʼm on board. Donʼt know much          two days about
about Rhapsody of the Seas and you are giv-         how important it
ing me a good insight into it. Living in Mel-       was not to take
bourne we donʼt get to see as many ships as         food of any kind
Sydney does so any information that helps me        ashore as Austra-
select a cruise is always helpful. A question – I   lia has very strict quarantine laws.  As we were
have 2 teenagers and sometimes ships might          about to board the catamaran there were two
only cater to the younger children. Can you find     friendly Quarantine Officers searching all bags
out for me if they get their own designated area    of those going ashore, they had two large plas-
when they need to “chill out” or want to meet       tic bins of confiscated food items including fruit
up with others the same age? PS love your           of every description (even a plastic cucumber

                                    PAGE 4
 JOHN POND MONTHLY BLOG NEWSLETTER                                                  JANUARY 2010

from the buffet display!), eggs and bread rolls.      other couples. This evening we enjoyed the
                                  One had to          talents of John Darsk,   in the Broadway Melo-
                                  have        a       dies Theatre.  I would liken his show to Liber-
                                  laugh.              aceʼs Las Vegas act.  This very skilled classi-
                                                      cally trained pianist also was a violinist and
                                    A short ten       wowed everyone with his white jewel encrusted
                                    minute trip in    violin.  There was a rush outside after the show
                                    comfortable       to purchase his autographed CDs and DVDs. 
                                    airline type      One fellow passenger said he had seen the
                                    seats and         show twice that night.  The ten piece Show-
                                    we were           room Rhapsody Orchestra performed
                                    ashore.  The      flawlessly.  As an old television producer of va-
cruise line offered (for a small fee) a bus shut-     riety and music shows I must say the orchestra
tle to the town which was about a five minute          on Rhapsody is perhaps the best at sea. After
ride away or one could walk or catch a taxi.          the show there was a late night buffet by the
We opted for a taxi and asked the driver to take      pool with dancing to a live Calypso band (Hot
us on the scenic route around the town.  The          Spices). Finally to bed getting ready for tomor-
views from the top of the townʼs largest hill         row  in Cairns.  John Pond, Editor at Sea,
were spectacular as were many of the homes.           Cruise Passenger Magazine
A new shipping terminal is under construction
which I believe will see the town inundated with      Response to “Day 4: Rhapsody of the Seas
cruise ships during the season.                       – Airlie Beach” ADELE BAKER 15 December
                                                      2009 at 3:28 pm HI THERE
                                                      READING YOUR WONDERFUL BLOG DAILY
                                                      AND COUNTING DOWN UNTIL WE BOARD
                                                      THE SHIP ON MONDAY FOR OUR CRUISE
                                                      AROUND NEW ZEALAND!!!
                                                      STARTING THE PACKING PROCESS AND
                                                      REALISE THE ONLY THING MISSING WILL
                                                      BE YOU AND SANDRAʼS WONDERFUL
                                                      COMPANY !!!!!
                                                      KEEP ENJOYING

                                                      Day 5: Cairns            At 8 a.m. Rhapsody of
                                                      the Seas pulled into the dock a couple of min-
                                                      utes walk to the heart of Cairns.  Many pas-
                                                      sengers went ashore on organised tours while
Back to the ship for a great buffet lunch in          others just walked around the town.  We de-
Windjammer Cafe.  I discovered how to make            cided to spend a lazy day on board as we had
great ice coffee using the free soft serve ice        been to Cairns several times before.  We re-
cream machine which was so good I am sure I           gard the ship as the destination and enjoy all
will repeat the procedure every day. There are        our time aboard.
over 450 kids on board but you hardly see
them as they are so well entertained in the           We decided to have breakfast in our stateroom
dedicated childrenʼs areas and they seem to be        and after placing a fairly large order only had to
having a great time.  They are no problem to          wait fifteen minutes for our breakfast to arrive. 
passengers without children.  There are sepa-         There is so much going on on board even on
rate dedicated areas for teens.  We are defi-          shore days.  I am often asked “donʼt you get
nitely going to tell our friends with children what   bored on a ship”, the answer is never, there is
a great family holiday can be had on the ship.        something different happening every few
Tonight we were honored to be invited as              minutes.  Every taste is catered for. Sandra
guests of the Captain for dinner with three           played trivial pursuits with a team and came

                                      PAGE 5
 JOHN POND MONTHLY BLOG NEWSLETTER                                               JANUARY 2010

second, just missing out on winning a Royal        all ages. (except me – the safety rope couldnʼt
Caribbean baseball cap.  She came back to the      take my extra kilos). John Pond – Editor  at
stateroom where I was resting my eyes on the       Sea, Cruise Passenger Magazine
comfortable bed and asked me the two ques-
tions that her team had missed, I knew the an-     2 Responses to “Day 5: On Board Rhap-
swers!  That baseball cap could have been          sody – Cairns”
ours. Lunch was in the Windjammers buffet.         ADELE BAKER 16 December 2009 at 7:06 am
At the entrance there is a yellow caution sign
about half a meter high warning people to                HI JOHN,      I AM SOOO ENJOYING
watch their step.  To date the only accidents I          YOUR REPORTS – AS I MENTIONED
have seen on board have been three people                PREVIOUSLY WE ARE JOINING
who have tripped over the caution sign.  Lunch           THE SHIP NEXT MONDAY FOR OUR
as usual was fantastic, so many choices, itʼs            CRUISE TO NEW ZEALAND!!
hard not to overeat – not that anyone cares              OH GROAN IʼVE JUST ADDED SOME
and like all the others on board, we had more            LOOSE CLOTHES ON TO THE PACK-
than we should.                                          ING LIST EVEN THOUGH IʼVE
                                                         VOWED TO BE GOOD. BUT YOUR
Later in the day we listened to one of the many          GREAT COMMENTS ON THE FOOD
bands while sipping the daily special, a cham-           ARE MOUTH WATERING
pagne cocktail that was on for the special price         KEEP ENJOYING !!!
of $5.95.  Perhaps thatʼs what accounted for       From an on board guest 16 December 2009
the woman at the next table thinking she was             at 12:59 pm Hi - im on that cruise,right
Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday Mr                 now as we speak. i was actually next to
President, to Jack Kennedy who in fact was her           you when you were saying this aloud. in
father.  The table and all around thought it was         the icafe deck 8,near my stateroom. i
a good free floor show.                                   was on my laptop checking out all your
                                                         reports,so true.
No big show in the theatre tonight, but instead
a “newly weds” game show that was playing to       Day 6: Port Douglas
a packed house.  We are naturally writing this     This morning we woke up anchored off Port
from the internet cafe as the most delightful      Douglas.  Special tenders that had been orga
music is wafting through the Atrium.  I think we           ised by the ship, mostly large catama-
will go and listen and have an Irish Coffee be-            rans, were ferrying passengers at a fast
fore heading to bed, getting ready for a busy              rate to shore.  There were so
day tomorrow when we pull into Port Douglas.       many optional tours to the Rainforest and su
Will be going ashore by tender so not too many     rounding areas, many passengers chose to
drinks tonight, perhaps we might catch the                 walk
movie on the big screen in the theatre.            around the town that had grown enormously
                                                           since our last visit two years ago.  Again
                                                           we chose to
                                                   stay on board as there was so much happening
                                                   and we are enjoying the ship so much.
                                                   After breakfast in our stateroom we decided to
                                                   play trivial pursuit and again our team came
                                                   second (no prizes!).  The main dining room
                                                   was closed today and we lunched at Wind-
                                                   jammers which had such a choice of food that
                                                   it was difficult to decide just what to eat, so
                                                   when in doubt eat everything.    Situated at
                                                   the front of the ship most of the seats in Wind-
                                                   jammer offer breathtaking sea views.  Not to be
                                                   defeated we gave the second round of trivial
PHOTO: Rock climbing wall was popular with

                                   PAGE 6
 JOHN POND MONTHLY BLOG NEWSLETTER                                              JANUARY 2010

                                 pursuit a go     Love your reports on what to do on board. Its
                                 and guess        shows how easy life on board can be and how
                                 what, we         the only decisions to make are what to eat,
                                 won.     The     what to and who to talk with. Keep up the good
                                 prize was        work!!
                                 actually a
                                 very useful
                                 travel wallet    Day 7: Willis Island Technically
                                 complete         our destination today was Willis Island, a tiny
with Royal Caribbean logo.                        atoll in the Coral Sea, manned by two women
                                                  and two men who look after the Islandʼs
There are so many things to do, our next game     weather station.  We dropped anchor a mile or
of the day was Name That Tune – no prizes         so offshore for a matter of minutes thus qualify-
this time but we made some great new friends.     ing the shipʼs journey as an international one. 
                                                  This enables the ship to sell duty free products
                                                  and a lot of duty free alcohol. This morning I
                                                  was fortunate enough to be invited by the Cap-
                                                  tain to view the Bridge.  Sandra and I went
                                                  through extensive security checks before enter-
                                                  ing the Bridge area.

                                                  Again, so many activities, the rock climbing
                                                  wall was a popular destination both with adult
                                                  and child climbers (at separate times).  We w-
                                                  ere having lunch with the Hotel Director, so a
                                                  lighter breakfast was in order.  Room service
                                                  took our order and the food arrived in less than
                                                  fifteen minutes.  John Rae, the Scottish Hotel
                                                  Director proved to be a great wealth of
                                                  information.  I had met John at the official
There was an early show before dinner and the
                                                  launch of Royal Caribbean in Australia last
Broadway Melodies Theatre was packed to
                                                  year.  The Captain also joined us for lunch.  As
watch music and dance of an Argentinian
                                                  usual  the food was great and I had a Mexican
group of five, backed by Rhapsodyʼs show
                                                  main course followed by an old fashioned rice
band.  This was a world class act and well re-
                                                  pudding with a side order of pecan ice cream. 
ceived to thunderous applause.  Another great
                                                  In the main Edelveiss Dining Room there is
dinner with possibly one of the best desserts I
                                                  also a buffet salad bar in addition to the a la
have ever tasted and then itʼs time to see an-
                                                  carte menu.  John, the Hotel Director, told me
other show, The Liars Club, in the Shall We
                                                  that Australians loved the salad bar.
Dance Lounge.  If you have got the stamina
there is dancing and more into the wee hours
but we usually hit our pillows by midnight.       There are some unique things to do on board
Looking forward to a sea day tomorrow when        such as “The Shed”, a get together place for
we will sail around Willis Island.                males to discuss “men things”.  There are
                                                  church services for various denominations as
                                                  well as  all the usual shipboard activities.  What
PHOTO: Indoor pool – adults only – has an
                                                  has now become our regular trivial pursuit
Egyptian theme and GREAT Pizza.      John
                                                  team met in the Schooner Lounge and once
Pond, Editor at Sea – Cruise Passenger
                                                  again we managed to not win.

                                                  Tonight is “Pure Country” with a tribute to
One Response to “Day 6: Rhapsody of the
Seas – Port Douglas” Susan                        Nashville in the Broadway Melodies Theatre
18 December 2009 at 3:24 pm                       and after dinner at 10.30 p.m. a Country Dance

                                    PAGE 7
 JOHN POND MONTHLY BLOG NEWSLETTER                                                     JANUARY 2010

Party with live music  and a barbecue buffet.           purchased Estee Lauder face cream and Clin-
(Just what we need – more food).  All my                ique cleanser, the prices were less than half
clothes have shrunk, must be something in the           the normal Australian prices.  I dragged myself
sea air. There are movies daily on the state-           away from Ben & Jerryʼs Ice Cream Store to
room TV as well as a multitude of international         the dining room for lunch where we tried out
channels.  I love going to sleep while watching         the special Salad Bar.  Without doubt I had
TV, just as well the movies are repeated or I           possibly the best salad I have had in my life. 
would never get to see the end. John Pond –             All the ingredients of your choice are put in a
Editor at Sea, Cruise Passenger Magazine                large silver bowl, then the dressing added and
                                                        with a special shredder the salad is chopped
One Response to “Day 7: Rhapsody of the                 into bite size pieces and more good stuff added
Seas – Willis Island”                                   from a selection of smoked salmon, prawns,
ADELE BAKER                                             smoked ham and more.  This is all done by a
18 December 2009 at 1:25 pm                             team of waiters, I look forward to more of the
HI JOHN                                                 same.
SHRINKING !!!!!!                                        After lunch we played scattergories then sat by
GEE I HOPE I DONʼT SUFFER AT THE                        the pool and read.  It took all my resistance to
HANDS OF THIS MYSTERIOUS PROBLEM !I                     stay away from the free soft serve ice cream
GATHER THIS IS NOT THE GREATEST                         machine.  There are live bands playing in every
PLACE TO START WITH THE NEW YEARʼS                      corner of the ship, but it is a real art to do
RESOLUTION OF EATING LESS !!!!!                         nothing.  I am writing this blog in the late after-
TRIP AND SHIP SOUND FANTASTIC – CANʼT                   noon while listening to a wonderful pianist play-
WAIT TO BOARD ON MONDAY !!                              ing relaxing music that is wafting up the four
WISH YOU BOTH COULD STAY ON AND                         level atrium.  The computer room is a very
COME WITH US !!!                                        busy place and many of the passengers use
LOTS OF LOVE TO YOU BOTH                                the services to surf the net and write and re-
                                                        ceive emails.

Day 8: Rhapsody of the                                  Earlier I stopped off at the showroom to hear
                                                        one of the regular enrichment lectures.  There
Seas At Sea Awoke today feeling a                       was a huge art auction after lunch and many
little sad, itʼs already Day 8 and there are            passengers were keenly bidding for the multi-
                                         only  two      tude of works.
                                         days left
                                         before the                                          To n i g h t
                                         end of the                                          is formal
                                         cruise –                                            night so
                                         itʼs been                                           I think I
                                         so enjoy-                                           will grab
                                         able Iʼll be                                        a few
                                         sorry to                                            zzzzʼs
                                         see the                                             before
                                         end.  To-                                           d i n n e r . 
                                         day is a                                            The big
full day at sea and we are heading to                                                        s h o w
Brisbane.  Again breakfast in our stateroom.                                                tonight is
After breakfast we headed to join our regular           “The Ultimate ABBA Experience” starring Bjorn
team for trivia to try for the big prize of a Royal     Again.  This should be very popular and I will
Caribbean travel mug.  Again we lost!  We went          report more in tomorrowʼs blog. John Pond,
to the shopping arcade and I bought a nice RC           Editor at Sea – Cruise Passenger Magazine
hat that was on 50% reduction.               Sandra
headed straight for the cosmetics counter and

                                        PAGE 8
 JOHN POND MONTHLY BLOG NEWSLETTER                                                      JANUARY 2010

One Response to “Day 8: Rhapsody of the                   John Pond, Editor at Sea – Cruise Passen-
Seas – At Sea” HI JOHN MUSIC TO MY                        ger Magazine
                     THE       WORDS
                                                          2 Responses to “Day 9: Rhapsody of the
                      “SALADBAR” – SO                     Seas – Brisbane”
                      THERE IS HOPE                       Susan 20 December 2009 at 10:56 amAs you
                      T H AT        THE                   cruise is near the end Iʼd like to thank you for
                      C L O T H E S M AY                          this blog. Iʼve passed it on to friends to
                      NOT SHRINK SO                               give them a good insight for cruising
                      M U C H O V E R-                            and Iʼm sure they will be seriously look-
                      NIGHT IN THE                                ing at Rhapsody for their next holiday.
                      W     A     R   D-                          Will you be doing another “At Sea” blog
                      ROBE!!STAY ON                               soon?
THE SHIP !!!! COME TO NEW ZEA LAND !!!                    If so can it have an icon of the ship and be
YOUR BLOG HAS BEEN FANTASTIC!!!                                   nearer the top of the Cruises page for
                                                                  easier access?
                                                          Hereʼs hoping you win the final Trivia night,
Day 9: Brisbane                 This morning at                   best wishes to you and Sandra
about 7 a.m. we pulled into Port Brisbane
which is a commercial shipping dock adjacent
to Brisbane Airport about 50 minutes drive to             Captain Stein Roger Bjørheim
the city of Brisbane.  The reason we are so far           20 December 2009 at 3:17 pm
out of town is because the “brilliant” city plan-
ners built the new Cruise Terminal that is un-            Hi John, Just wanted to say, thanks for all your
able to handle middle to large size ships and                     kind words.
only the small cruise ships can berth.                    It has been mine, and our pleasure to have you
                                                          and your lovely wife onboard this amazing 10
                                                                  day cruise to the Great Barrier Reef.
I would say only about half the passengers on             I sincerly hope weʼll soon meet again, and Iʼll
board headed for the shuttle buses that would                     make sure that Our Dining room salad
take them to the city. Again we chose to stay                     bar is the best on the seven seas, on
on board and enjoy the many offerings of the
Rhapsody.  After breakfast we played trivial                     your next visit as well.
pursuit, again losing by a few points.  Lunch             Best Regards
was great and the Windjammer was full to                  Captain
overflowing as the main dining room was                    Stein Roger Bjørheim
closed as it usually is on port days. Ran into            Rhapsody of The Seas
an old school  buddy and had drinks with he               Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
and his wife in the Viking Crown Lounge before
dinner.  The drinks and conversation were so              Day 11: Home                 At about 6 am today
good that we missed showtime which was                    (Monday) we pulled into our berth at Circular
“Ballroom Fever”.  Again a great dinner.  The             Quay,   ten great days away and Iʼm ashamed
food really is superb in the main dining room             to say 3 kilos heavier.  Getting off the ship was
and it is hard to resist any of the five courses           effortless and Customs took our forms and
offered.  Tonight there is an  11p.m. Chocolate           waved us through.   A fifteen minute taxi ride
Buffet.  I am so full I think I will burst if I eat an-   and we were greeted by our Doberman who
other skeric.  Everyone we bump into on the               was very pleased to see us.   Our house was
ship is so disappointed that the cruise is nearly         still in one piece and the garden looked great.
over.  It will be sad to depart from our many
new friends and the wonderful staff who have
also become friends.  Tonight we put our clock            We had a full breakfast in the shipʼs main din-
forward one hour to get back on to New South              ing room and talked with some   people at the
Wales time.                                               table we had not met before, thatʼs another
                                                          great reason to cruise, you are always meeting

                                         PAGE 9
 JOHN POND MONTHLY BLOG NEWSLETTER                                                JANUARY 2010

new and interesting people.   Unfortunately         cent cruise.  His team, especially the Hotel Di-
when you find great friends on a cruise, they        rector and Executive Housekeeper and all on
always seem to live far away.  They were from       board staff performed flawlessly and I found it
Washington State and had flown to Australia          very hard to find fault with any of the services
just for the cruise.                                on board.  In a few days I will give a detailed
                                                    review.  Only back home a few days and we
Back at home, the first place I headed for was                                         are missing
my computer (well actually it was the second                                          the ship,
place), and I was amazed to find   over 600                                            especially
emails waiting patiently on my computer.  I will                                      the flawless
be days going through them.  Many were from                                           s e r v i c e . 
Cruise Passenger Magazine readers wanting                                             Had lunch
to register for ship inspections. One of my new                                       today at an
pen pals from THE BLOG emailed me saying                                              exclusive
she was sailing out today on Rhapsody of the                                          S y d n e y
Seas and said how much she appreciated my                                             Club, the
blogs as it had made her anticipation of the                                          service was
cruise even greater.   Sandra and I hope she        2 out of 10 compared with Rhapsodyʼs that I
will have as good a time on board as we did.        would give a 9 out of 10.  I should say I rarely
                                                    give a ten, so a nine is about as high as I go in
                                                    my ratings.  We are already planning our next
  I did receive several comments on the blogs       cruise, again thanks Captain, for your blog
and cannot tell you how much I appreciate           comments and please readers, keep your blog
these.   Without your feedback, either good or
bad, I cannot develop my blogs and add mate-        comments  coming.
rial that you may find interesting.   Please add
your comments and suggestions to any blogs.
  Our pantry is empty and we will have to go        SEE MY DAILY BLOGS
shopping to get ready for Christmas.   Thank
you to all my blog readers for following our ten
day adventure on Rhapsody of the Seas.   In
the next few days I will be writing a review of     All photos by John Pond COPYRIGHT
the ship covering most of the departments and       email:
giving my (and Sandraʼs) ratings, but I think it
would be fair to say, overall the ratings will be   SUBSCRIBE TO
fairly high for I found little to find fault with.
                                                    Cruise Passenger Magazine-
John Pond, Editor at Sea – Cruise Passen-
ger Magazine                                        CLICK ME: Cruise Passenger

At Home 3 days later:
Thanks Captain Sandra and I have
been home three days from our Royal Carib-
bean cruise and on reading some of the Rhap-
sody of the Seas blog comments, I was abso-
lutely astounded to find one from Captain
Stein Roger Bjørheim, Rhapsodyʼs Captain. 
He apparently has been reading my daily blogs
from his ship.  I must say I was thrilled and
honoured that he would do so.  New comment
on your post #617 “Day 9:  I would like to say
what a great and pleasant Captain we had the
pleasure of meeting and sailing with on our re-

                                   PAGE 10

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