Monday, March 25, 2019

Cruise in brief

Hello everyone. Missed you heaps. My rss feed has 514 posts to read so my apologies if I only skim read.

Our cruise to New Zealand was ok. We are in agreement that we won't do another cruise, with or without three days at sea. I will write more about that in the future. To put it frankly, we both screwed up in some ways during the holiday. Myself more than R.

My mega muck up was ten minutes before we were due to go downstairs to catch a cab to Station Pier and board Golden Princess, I decided I might take a lot of photos with my my phone so I inserted a storage card into the phone. My plan was use a build up of phone data while in New Zealand. I didn't and still don't know about using the ship cellular network while at sea, but I doubt it would be free. Casual internet use was charged at $70 for 100 minutes. Outrageous. The cruise itself was very cheap, about $1750 each for 13 days. You can pay for no more than that but few do and the cheaper cruise ships get you every which way with everything being extra. Drinks were on the expensive side but I heard that duty free cigarettes were incredibly cheap. Most on the ship were older than me. It was a very grey cruise but there were a number of younger people and some children of various ages. It is usually me who comes up with something like this, but R pointed out, if a few of the these cruise ships sank and took all passengers with them, Australia would not have any kind of budget problem for years because of savings on paying pensions. 

Ah, I have drifted off my point. So I inserted the storage card into my phone but it restarted and oddly did not need the SIM card code. Why did I not take notice! We had a chatty taxi driver and of course I polite enough to respond but really, I would have preferred to concentrate on what we were doing. At some point during the cab ride I realised my phone was not operating properly and I could not do anything such as message or check messages. Damn, what is wrong! I will sort it out once on the ship. We paid the cab driver and while I was trying to work out what was wrong with my phone, R had left his backpack in the cab. Fortunately, the cab hadn't been able to move, so he went back and grabbed it off the back seat. High stress levels, oh yes. Once in our cabin stateroom, no cabin, I opened up the tray on my phone and there was the storage card but no SIM card. I guessed, subsequently proved correct, what had happened. It had fallen out and I had not noticed. It was sitting on my bathroom floor when we returned home. So, no phone data for me but not that much of a problem as R has even more accrued data than I have. We use his for data roaming and I can use his mobile hotspot, effectively piggybacking on his phone.

Before we left, I had ensured data roaming was turned on at our service provider and on our phones, but do you think I could get R's phone to work once we reached NZ. I could not. I hear stories of people unwittingly using huge amounts of data when overseas and I could not make R's phone to work. We did eventually pay the usuras charge of the ship internet, paying $70 for the 100 minutes. Again I could piggy back on R's phone and had internet access after about three days. We used about 70 minutes and the remained on the journey home.

First world problem? You betcha. 

A week ago on Friday we were moored at Akaroa, perhaps 30 km from Christchurch. Some of of the ship passengers had taken tours to Christchurch. Thank goodness our ship, the Golden Princess, had ABC News 24 available on out cabin tv. I was informed quickly by Our ABC about the Christchurch massacre. Some of the ship passengers were in Christchurch and caught up in the lockdown. Our ship left three hours late from Akaroa but we arrived on time at our next destination.

We just happened to be in our cabin when NZ PM Adern addressed the nation in the immediate aftermath, so reassuring to her people. She spoke off the cuff without notes and she was magnificent. The only politician who have seen come close to her was former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh in during the Queensland floods a few years ago. Adern was just magnificent. I don't know how much of her first speech was seen in Australia and elsewhere, but we watched it in full.

With notes, again the next day PM Adern addressed the nation with sympathy, reassuring words and strong action about gun control and again coincidently we were in our cabin and caught her speech. Of course we saw a good bit more of her and the aftermath of the shooting via Our ABC.

When ship announcements are made, people keep talking but at six pm on the day of massacre when our captain spoke about the events of the day and our late departure, you could have heard a pin drop. Our Italian captain's voice was a little shaky, clearly showing emotion in his speech. A sombre mood settled over the ship for the evening as people digested the day's events.

I don't really care for the Muslim religion and culture but I certainly don't want to see people killed for their religious beliefs.

Our taxi driver on the way home from ship two days ago told us that the shooting video had now been taken down from the internet but he offered it to us on our phones. Weird and he was a bit weird. I expect he may well have not been so unhappy about the massacre. It took me about two minutes to find the video, once home. It is as bad as you would expect. The way such a gun can kill so many people in such a short time is why such a gun should never be in the hands of a private citizen but I do understand why it is so in New Zealand. The gun lobby is strong, but the best time to restrict firearms is after mass shooting events (except it doesn't seem to happen in the US) and the PM and parliament of NZ seems quite firm on this. It needs be done quick and fast before the gun lobby can get into the ears of politicians.

With the PM Adern's image lighting up the tallest building in Dubai, I expect she has hit a very sweet spot around the world and especially the Arab world.  I expect the massacre will do little harm to NZ image as a friendly and welcoming country for immigrants.

To our shame, the person it is alleged to have committed the crime is Australian.

34 comments:

  1. Well, something has to go wrong on a vacation, doesn't it? You found your Sim card then, on the bathroom floor, when you got home? You seem very very smart to me about such issues. That seems like a lot of money for 100 minutes of net usage.

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    1. Strayer, normally not much goes wrong for us on a holiday but a few things did this time, and mostly of our own making. Yes, the SIM was on my bathroom floor. I learn about what I think will useful re technology.

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  2. Cheryl9:01 am

    Great post, I had the chance to go on a cruise many years ago on the good old Fairstar, unfortunately it didn't eventuate. Cruises don't do it for me, but I'm looking forward to reading more about your trip.

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    1. Cheryl, that is going back. Cruising is quite a good way to get around from one place of interest to another, as long as you all at sea for days.

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  3. I generally enjoy cruising. When travelling on the Queen Mary I felt very out of place as I was about 30 years younger than most passengers. All cruise lines charge an arm and a leg for internet. Not only is it expensive it is very slow. I love sea days. I like to potter around the ship and relax. I am sorry you had so many things that did not go smoothly. It is always the way.

    I am also saddened that an Australian committed this atrocity and agree that the New Zealand prime minister has been eloquent and seems to be able to say and do the correct thing.

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    1. Suzan, 30 years younger...... you would have been out of place. The speed of the internet was actually quite good, unlike our last cruise in the Mediterranean. Maybe I am not so good at relaxing. The NZ PM played it perfectly and seemed quite genuine.

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  4. People tease me about my lists and checks, but after traveling with a pilot for years I learned. Only once I forgot one thing. Socks for Jack!
    There is no reason for anyone to have an automatic weapon. But living in the middle of no where, and recently having my house broken into makes me glad I can fire a rifle!
    Glad you are back. I have missed you!

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    1. Maribeth, I remember you forgot something recently when you were away from home. Was it medications? Thank you. I lost a blog friend for my badly put comment about guns. But can I ask you, could you do more than just shoot a gun to scare someone away?

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    2. I would never want to kill anyone. Not in my nature. But we have had two break-in murders here recently, of women home alone. I think I could at least aim to stop someone.
      I had to seriously think about this after my daytime break-in here. I was home alone, what if the man had gotten through the door? If it was me or him, what would I do?
      Now the other side of the coin are bears. We have quite a lot of them, and should they attack one of the dogs, a neighbor or enter my home, (and yes,they do this)then yes, I would shoot to kill.
      Gosh this makes me sound like Annie Oakley! I really detest guns, but living in the country one is crazy if they do not know how to use them. Once retired to a nice city condo, I expect I will do away with my rifle.
      PS: I forgot my allergy medication! Fortunately I was able to get some in Florida.

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    3. Thanks Maribeth. I have a better understanding now. I doubt you would shoot unless the person was about to shoot you. Bears, now they are a frightening to us who live in a country when so many things can kill visitors to our country.

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  5. To our eternal shame, the person it is alleged to have committed the crime is indeed from NSW :( And yet the very next week, the Shooters and Killers Party made great gains in the NSW state election!!!

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    1. There's a Shooters and Killers Party?? I know I know nothing about politics, but that just seems wrong...

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    2. Hels, that is a vote we cannot ignore. Why did they vote for that party?

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    3. River, hello :). I think it is actually called the Shooters and Fishers Party. I don't think you would have to look too far among your own to find some who might consider voting for the party.

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  6. Shocking was those shootings, dreadful loss of lives in a dreadful way.
    Oh dear, the phone and no sim card and feeling lost i expect.
    Enjoyed reading a preview of your trip and a big welcome back.

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    1. Margaret, thanks. Yes, I am very lost without my phone and the internet.

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  7. I didn't watch the video; even if I could have found it. All far too gory. You didn't really say if you'd had a 'good time', but I imagine you did.

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    1. Cro, I can only say we had an ok time. New Zealand is a wonderful country.

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  8. Welcome back, Andrew!

    And sorry I haven't appeared on here for so long but that's due to being a computer dunce - I just could not retrieve my "Rozzie" sign in.

    I completely agree with everything you said about the shootings and the wonderful Ms Ardern. If only Morrison had a tenth of her compassion and talent.

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    1. Rozzie, yes, I had noticed you not commenting, but that happens for various reasons. We don't pay much attention to NZ and we should. I don't know a lot about PM Adern but I liked what I saw.

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  9. The whole Christchurch thing horrified me and then I heard it was an Australian who went over there JUST to massacre people ON PURPOSE. There was a lot in the papers about how he was an odd child who didn't seem to fit in, but that doesn't excuse the way he turned out. I really don't understand how anyone can do such awful things. His next target was a kindergarten, but he was caught before he got there.

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    1. River, in our society there will always be people like him. The key is to not allow them have weapons like machine guns. It was just so easy for the alleged shooter to kill so many people so quickly. As it was, a couple of children were killed. The mind does not want to think about him being in a kindergarten.

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  10. P.S. last night on the news I caught a bit about a cruise ship with engine failure and worried about you, but it was a ship off the coast of Norway and they were trying to airlift people off via helicopter.

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    1. How could three of four engines on one ship fail? There is something really wrong there.

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  11. Welcome back Andrew.
    I agree PM Adern handled the whole sad thing very well. She's dignified, calm, compassionate and I'm so happy that automatic weapons will be removed from circulation. All guns should in my view and all over the world!!

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    1. Sami, asided for farmers who do need them and professionals who rid our country of pest animals, yes, why should anyone else have a gun. New Zealand police don't carry guns, only special forces, and them carrying guns might have lead to a worse outcome.

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  12. I am very glad you are back and posting. You were much missed in my RSS reader. ;)

    I was going to say I too am not a fan of the Muslim religion but the truth is, I am not a fan of ANY religion. If you think about it, they have all caused endless trouble in our world. Which leads me to ask, if we removed them would the trouble cease, or would the humans find another source?

    If I could go back in time and stop all the religions from being created, I would do it in a heartbeat - or rewrite the books to be far better and way more inclusive.

    I love how people cherry pick stuff out of them, like going on about some of the commandments they feel strongly about, while they are more than likely wearing fabrics made from two different materials.

    Anyway, late here, too late for such discussions at least for me. :)

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    1. Snoskred, what a nice thing to say. I agree about religion, but some seem much more oppressive than others. But my background religion of Christianity has hardly had a glorious past. Religions seem awfully good at cherry picking from their religious texts to suit their purpose.

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  13. I am a reluctant and unhappy traveller and some of the things you've told us about are among the reasons why!

    The Christchurch massacre was very sad and it's good that there is a will by the leader of the country to take action on gun control. Something positive needs to come from such a horrible loss to help prevent another such event.

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    1. Jenny, travel really does get harder when you get older. I agree about some good coming from the massacre, that is it might never be able to happen again like that.

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  14. I loved how the NZ PM was so warm and wonderful with her people. I heard she even paid the funeral bills for the victims.

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    1. Jackie, she seemed such a warm and empathetic person. I understand the government will pick up quite a few bills for the victims...well the families of those who were killed. Most would probably not be very well off.

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  15. I was very impressed with the way the PM handled the situation. The people of NZ seemed to come together as one to support the Christchurch community.

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    1. Marie, just today PM Adern admitted there are pockets of white racists in NZ, but generally the country seems so cohesive. We only heard Australian reporting on what happened in NZ, although I did look at some NZ newspapers when we had net access.

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