Melbourne, Australia.

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Sailing from White Bay cruise terminal, Sydney.

We have arrived and docked at the Station Pier cruise terminal in Melbourne. The run around from Sydney was quiet enough despite a forecast that would lead us to believe that a southerly swell could upset the apple cart somewhat. The new guests have settled in well for this the Christmas cruise to Auckland. My table for the formal dinner was a lively one. My son Leo and I hosted some of our diamond members and Mr and Mrs Steve Wozniak, one of our guest speakers. We were the second last table to leave the dining room as time slipped by.

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Christmassy scene sparkles at the main dining room entrance.

Our Executive Chef Kurt Timmermans and his team have created some special decorations to celebrate Christmas in the form of gingerbread houses. They bring a welcome splash of Christmas cheer to the ship. Our decorations adorn us and Christmas trees dotted around the decks bring a touch of sparkle to the place. It is not unusual to see the guests pick off the odd candy cane or gumdrop when they think nobody is looking!

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A gingerbread house from the chefs.

The menus for Christmas Day have been sorted. The crew held their Christmas raffle and we are starting to get into the ’mood’. Our Security Officer Mark Neale will once again don the bright red suite and stuff a pillow up the front to take on the jolly persona to hand out the secret Santa presents at the crew Christmas dinner. The entertainment staff have been rehearsing the festive show for the evening. John Howell our Cruise Director has his plans. The poinsettias are out and about around the ship adding splashes of bright red and green.

In contrast to the bright blue skies of Sydney we have a fresh southerly breeze and heavy overcast skies here in Melbourne. It is also a chilly 20 celsius here today. Now it feels more like a northern hemisphere Christmas.

Many of the crew will be venturing ashore today after work to complete their Christmas spending. Me included once this fresh wind drops and I feel comfortable enough to accompany Leo ashore to the local shopping mall.

Now we just need the Tasman Sea weather to be kind to us on Christmas Day. Fingers crossed.

Mark Dexter 2015