Well, everybody (as in family members who happen to read this), it’s been a while since my last post. We left Sydney on February 26th and traveled all around Australia, stopping in Bali and over to New Zealand before arriving back in Sydney today, March 31st. We got a whole new cast of singers and dancers, the cruise director and activities manager changed, a few good friends joined the ship in Perth, and my roommate/band mate signed off today.
The first half of the trip (Sydney-Perth) was busy with installing the new cast. They went to rehearsals in Florida for about 6 weeks before joining the ship, but it’s always different to transfer the shows from rehearsals to the ships. They signed on with a vocal coach, a choreographer, costumers, and wig designers, and all of those people help put the shows together. Radiance has three shows during the Australia season: Piano Man, City of Dreams, and Tango Buenos Aires. The cast spent about five days perfecting each show before opening to guests. The band usually joins in on one rehearsal a day, and then we kept playing the guest entertainers at night. Installs always mean a busy few weeks, but this one went smoothly.
I think with the extra rehearsals I hardly managed to get off the ship in that first half of the trip. In Brisbane I went off to the city with Jason and Jake (the head broadcast at the time). We found a busy shopping area and a great restaurant that had an upper patio, so we could check out the crowd below as we ate.
The other day I got off was Bali. Last year we had Halloween in Bali, and I rode elephants with Jason at the Elephant Safari Park and Lodge. That was an awesome day, but this time we wanted to see a bit more of the countryside. Luckily for us, the HR crew relations specialist (who was on vacation) lived in Bali. She helped organize a crew temple tour, and she even arranged lunch after the tour.
Jason and I went, and so did a bunch of people from the band, so it was a fun day.
Perth and Fremantle are close to each other, and although the ship itinerary says Perth, we actually dock in Fremantle. Last time Jason signed off and went to the airport in Perth, so this time we wanted to check out a bit more of Fremantle. The downtown area is a walkable distance from the ship, so soon enough we were in the heart of the city. There were a bunch of cute shops and tempting restaurants, and a Mexican restaurant eventually won out. While there, Jason and I had possibly the best nachos I’ve had. Oh my gosh, the cheese! The chicken! The guacamole! The salsa and jalapeños! I never would have thought of getting Mexican food in Australia, but it was amazing.
In Adelaide we met up with a group of people from ships past: my old musical director from fall 2011, the bass player from Radiance before I joined last June, and a sax player they knew from other ships. Ships make the world small.
The day we were in Melbourne Jason and I got off with Blanche, the current head broadcast, and we checked out the city on the tram system they have. We bumped into our friend Kaitlyn and had a tasty lunch in a little alleyway full of restaurants.
After a couple sea days we had about a week of New Zealand ports, but I’ll write about those later. Love to all back home!