It took ages of gentle (and perhaps not so gentle) persuasion to finally hear that my husband was prepared to go on a cruise! I could hardly believe my ears when he said he’d go – and I raced off to book before he changed his mind!
So many people I know have told me what brilliant holidays they have had cruising to various places. I have always had a frisson of jealousy (no, a large amount really!) of them – in spite of the fact that I emigrated to Australia by ship (due to medical reasons) and spent 6 weeks on a ‘cruise’ ship. (I say this with a degree of sarcasm – as it was no cruise really!)
Anyway, I booked and we were going to cruise to Esperance and Albany, both on the South West coast of Western Australia. The ship was the Astor. Now those of you who live locally will recognise that is a small liner – absolutely nothing like the Queen Mary!!! Only just under 600 people could travel but, and, it was a big but, it wouldn’t cost a fortune. I liked the idea of breaking my husband in gently!!!
With our bags packed (very economically I might add) we set off on the Sunday evening. Our cabin was quite small but spotlessly clean. We could have had a larger cabin but I was of the view that we were only going to sleep there and it would suffice! It did!
We were impressed with the ship. It was super clean throughout, the food was well presented and excellent, the staff very helpful and polite and even the shows were very good. This was a part of the venture that I wasn’t too sure about. I had seen a video of a cruise that some else had taken and the shows were pretty grim. However, when we turned up for the first one on our cruise we found that the singers actually had very good voices and the dancers were quite proficient. The little band included an excellent pianist, violinist and saxophonist so I breathed a sigh of relief, relaxed (assisted, I might add, on a couple of occasions, by a very nice cocktail) and settled back to enjoy!
We actually had a special reason to visit Esperance. This area is renowned for its amazing beaches but we weren’t going to see them. We were going to the Library! No, we didn’t want to get any books or look anything up. The Esperance Library is the Frank Collett Library – and Frank Collett was David’s uncle (father’s brother). Over the years we often said we should go and see for ourselves. But we didn’t get around to it, so we were very pleased to finally get there. It’s just a small library but the Librarian was very pleased to meet us. She even remembered that two of our daughters had been there before. Sadly the sign out the front is in need of repair but they may be moving the library, so, the chances of it being repaired at the moment are quite slim! We did offer to help with the cost of replacing it and the Librarian didn’t quite know what to do with that comment!
We also had a look around at the museum and the little museum village beside it. It turned out to be a very comprehensive museum and the village included some beautifully kept buildings. This museum houses a very extensive collection of NASA Skylab memorabilia. Skylab was the first American space station which, unfortunately, plummeted to earth in 1979. Much of it landed in the Esperance area.
We chanced upon a little surprise in Esperance. A small building near the war memorial had caught our eyes and we ventured over to investigate. It turned out to be an amazing Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) Hall. It might have been small but it had a very good display of personal memorabilia and some great pictures on the ceiling! The volunteers on duty were so informative and pleased to show us around. They even gave us a flag as we were leaving!
The next port of call on the following day was Albany! We have visited Albany before so our aim was to visit the very new National ANZAC Centre. It was opened in 2014, exactly 100 years after the first convoy left Albany during the First World War. Albany is known as the birthplace of the ANZAC story. It was most interesting and full of the sense of the legacy of those troops that went off to war in Gallipoli, the Middle East and across the Western Front. The displays also included Esperance’s very own Warhorse, very reminiscent of the show I had seen in London.The Centre is poised overlooking the King George Sound from whence those gallant men and women left.
We certainly remembered of those who served in the war/s whilst in Esperance and Albany – Lest We Forget!
The next day was spent at sea (as was the first day) and finally the sun came out and it really meant we could do the other thing I wanted. I wanted to sit on deck, enjoying some sun, watching the sea and just relaxing! And we did – all day!
Friday we returned home, quite refreshed and very satisfied with our little cruise! It was just as well we were refreshed – my calendar was packed and it was back to life as usual!
It was a different type of holiday and I was so pleased that I had finally ‘done’ a cruise! Next trip, all being well, is back to England in June to see the family! Another wish waiting to be fulfilled coming up! Amazingly, I will fly direct to England on a Boeing 787, the Dreamliner! Imagine – no stops…
I have now ticked off going on a cruise (albeit a little one) from my bucket list! There’s still more on this list because as I take one off I add another! All with the aim of giving me something new to look forward to, to aim for and achieve!
Do you have a bucket list, too? And are you constantly adding to it?? Do you yearn for a special holiday? Do keep on hoping – you just never know…