Cruise For Life It Shall Be . . . No Nursing Home For You Or Me?

By Paul Chong                               Saturday, 12 December 2009

Plan your work

And work your plan

You’ll be a success

In the end.

In like token, so it is with life’s retirement!

Queen Mary

Most of us dream of seeing the world . . . travel the Seven Seas . . . cruise on the world’s greatest ocean liner (not the Titanic though) . . . or perhaps venturing something which even angels fear to tread. For some, such hope dream & aspiration do come true, but for most a dream remains so forever! Life is often said to be unfair & discriminating. Having worked hard all your life, you deserve better.

These days modern top executives, so called top-notch wheeler-dealers, are no more than the traditional travelling salesmen. The only difference is that the former get to jet or jaunt the world, a few days here or a few days there, constantly on the move – like it or detest it. Perspective of such a life style without leisure for home life nor the real travel pleasure would differ from person to person. Ultimately, whatever we do for a living, the destiny is towards a well-earned retirement – to do the things we never ever had time for before!

Liberty of the Seas

How does this sound? “Liberty of the Seas”, a Caribbean cruise ship, presently the world’s largest (status doesn’t last long these days as with the tallest building in the world) as your retirement home for both pleasure & leisure! It certainly sound like music to my ears! Having had the experience & a fair share of cruising on the Virgo (a Star cruise ship) & Dawn Princess (Princess Cruises), I can with humbleness relate to you how to realise such a dream.

I have also asked my back neighbour Tosh who works with his wife on the Cunard Line to verify the highlights of living on the high seas for the rest of your natural life.

It may surprise you that it works out to be even cheaper & lots better than going to a retirement home. We met a couple or two on the Dawn Princess Cruise last December 2008 who chose such a lifestyle. Others have been on board the same ship for the last four cruises – well-seasoned cruisers. When asked to comment, they shouted with joy “Yes, that’s true. It’s beautiful!”

Dawn Princess
Cruising Beneath Sydney Bridge & Passing Sydney Opera House

Now, are you ready for the high life? No wonder Hollywood filmed such series as the “Love Boat”! Apart from love & romance or high seas adventure, the following highlights of a luxurious old age may just astonish you:

Romantic As Ever! Friends from Perth
      1. Gratuities will only be $10 per day.

      2. You can have as many as 10 meals a day if you can waddle to the several restaurants. Or if you prefer room service, which means you can have breakfast in bed every day of the week.
      3. You can have not one but three swimming pools, gym, free washers & dryers & top shows every night.
      4. They provide you with free toothpaste & razors, and free soap & shampoo.
      5. The cruise staff will even treat you like a customer, not a patient. An extra $5 worth of tips will have the entire staff scrambling to help you.
      6. You will have the opportunity of meeting the nicest people on board every other day or week.
      7. No fear of TV broken or light globe needs changing or the need to have the mattress replaced . . . the staff will fix everything & even apologise for your inconvenience and no charge!
      8. Activities galore . . . whatever you like if you have the energy for them! Line dancing, ballroom, singing . . . “Sail Ahoy!”

        With some friends from Perth

All aboard now!

The writer . . . A Chinese by Descent, An Australian by Consent

Dawn Princess Cruise

Dawn Princess cruise ship, berthed at Port Cha...
Image via Wikipedia

Dawn Princess Cruise

Sydney-New Zealand

(5 – 18 December 2008)

(By Paul Chong)

Dawn princess berthed at Port Chalmers, Dundedin, New Zealand

Dawn-PrincessThe magnificent Dawn Princess

Cruising down the river

On a Sunday afternoon

With the one you love

The birds above

Waiting for the moon

The old accordion playing

A sentimental tune

Cruising down the river

On a Sunday afternoon.”

Not sure how many can remember the old pop song “Cruising Down The River” of the early 50s. This hit tune crops to my mind when talking of cruise. My mind conjures also the romantic cruise on the Seine in Paris, which provides one of the most relaxing & expedient ways to view the sights of Paris in all their grandeur in the glass-covered decks of the Bateaux-Mouches. The European Rivers such as Rhine, Danube are also worth noting.

I guess the TV series of “Love Boat” promoted the greatest thrill & advertisement re cruises on the high seas, with romance filling the air. After a couple of traumatic experiences of rough crossings in the English Channel, I was going to give cruising an entire miss until persuaded to try the Star Cruise on the Virgo from Singapore to Phuket in Thailand, with a stopover in Langkawi Island, Malaysia. No more sea-sickness was encountered then, and the four-day cruise was very delightful indeed.

SANY1297Monica – Our main waitress

A Princess cruise holiday is a dream holiday. You are pampered & given royalty treatment from room services to dinning in style. Some people do plan their dreams & romances by going on cruises. Some are habitually living on these love boats. Because of time & space, there is little to distinguish dream from reality. They say that dreams do come true, but then dreams fade and whatever reality there is remains only in your memory. Just when you are having such a good time, the end comes sooner than desired. Then you wonder was it all a dream? If you are young or young at heart, modern cruises are really adventurous, romantic & escaping into the world of fantasy, similar to the popular TV series “Love Boat”.

In planning for a perfect holiday, there are no shortage of exotic places to lure you. Travel brochures are full of glorifying descriptions of holiday escapes – compelling destinations like the new artificial Beach Resort in Japan, the new “Skywalk” at the Grand Canyon, play a game of tennis atop the the ultra modern 6-Star Dubai hotel, or the “themepark” at Las Vegas with all its thrills & spills. Or come 2010, the Resort World of Sentosa, Singapore will provide a kind of new excitement & experience.Whatever you are after, they range from the boring normal escorted tours to the extreme adventurous.

S001smOur cruise itinerary

To me, to really enjoy yourself, you must have the luxury of time & leisure. Tight schedules & rush always spoil many a holiday for most people. For this reason, the fully escorted land tours are out, where you are trying to cover sight-seeing & shopping all within a limited time scale. I guess I’ll be tired out each day and at the end of it all finished up with nothing but glimpses of the tour.

SANY1538Casual Self-Service (24-Hour) – The Horizon Court

Cruising is increasingly popular. There were over 2,000 passengers. It affords escapism, high sea adventures, thrills & spills, the luxury of time & leisure, aboard ship galore of activities & first class entertainment. You can have breakfast, lunch & dinner – all served with the finesse of well-attired waiters & waitresses. Be served as lady & lord in fine dining, lunch & breakfast too.

But if you are one of those who care more for your extra snooze, just stay in bed & have the meals delivered to your stateroom, or you can have access to the convenience of 24-hour food service at the Horizon Court. Here there is no shortage of choice & variety, also fruits & other desserts. If you love eating, you can eat as much as you want – you just help yourself.

SANY0042 Dawn Princess docked in Auckland Harbour, within walking distance to the City centre.

There is however one down side to cruises. The land content tours or shore excursions are not inclusive, even shutter buses from the docks to the city centres are charged. Usually the ship will dock in the morning & sail away again by six in the evening. Too rush for a satisfying sight-seeing & you are confronted with a variety of tours & pretty pricey too.

No holiday can be perfect or completely satisfying. I guess the important thing is that you’ll be able to say “Been there, done that.” It will be an experience well worth savoured.

The sheer pleasure of seeing the magnificent fjords of New Zealand in all their awesome wonder alone makes the cruise worthwhile. Though when sailing through the fjords region that day it was raining & cloudy, we get to see hundreds & thousands more cascading waters down their edges. Herein below are some beautiful photos by Google:

Cruise on the Fjord
Doubtful Sound Fjord
Cascading Waters
Milford Sound Fjord
Milford Sound

Paul Chong

Sunday, 11 January 2009.