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
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.