Sydney, Australia.

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Possibly the most iconic harbour view in the world.

We have arrived at cruise end. We left Bali on the 5th December and have arrived in Sydney this morning after a voyage of a little over 3600 nautical miles. It has been wonderful. A diverse mix of ports from Komodo Island to Cairns, from Hamilton Island to Sydney and the run down the Great Barrier reef with its turquoise waters and white sands kept everybody delighted. The weather has been warm. Even the occasional tropical rain shower was warm!

We embarked our pilot at 0930 this morning entered Port Jackson, the name for this harbour, passed Sydney city and docked on our berth at the White Bay cruise terminal. The foreward decks of the ship were festooned with guests all soaking up the atmosphere as we passed the opera house and below the bridge. We tooted our horn at those brave souls that were on the Harbour bridge climb. They stood on the bridge apex and waved as we passed beneath them.

Some guests chose to leave us today whilst the majority chose to visit the city and will go home tomorrow.

As we have an overnight alongside I am sure many of the crew will take advantage of our location to visit the city and get their secret Santa presents for Christmas as well as enjoying a bit of R+R. My sister and her family live close by and with her husband, children and my father who is with them for Christmas out from Scotland, will come onboard for dinner with Leo, my son and I. Something that in all my years on cruise ships has never happened. I am really looking forward to that.

David and Garry, our two travelling trainers mentioned in a previous entry have left to spend Christmas with their families. Captain Alistair Heron, our Great Barrier Reef pilot who joined us in Darwin on the 10th has now left us to fly home to Brisbane. With his valuable assistance we have transited the channels of the GBR. We were joined by one of his colleagues Captain Ian Perry from Cairns who was onboard for some familiarisation on passenger ships.

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Great barrier Reef pilot Captain Alistair Heron.

Alistair has been a reef pilot for 21 years and has now piloted over 1000 ships. He is clearly passionate about his work and being part of the bridge team on cruise ships through the Great barrier Reef. He also is very good at sharing his knowledge by giving presentations to our guests when his pilotage duties permit.

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Great Barrier Reef pilots Captain Alistair Heron and Captain Ian Perry.

New crew have joined us. Other crew members have left to enjoy Christmas with their families scattered around the globe and a well earned period of leave.

For those of us remaining onboard, we are making final preparations for the Christmas and New Year cruise. The Christmas decorations are going up. The ship is being decorated with colourful festoons and baubles. Gingerbread houses have been constructed and put in place ready for our joining guests to admire. Secret Santa presents have been purchased. Crew events have been finalised.

You know something…….it’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas, everywhere you go……. sing along now. You know the tune.

Mark Dexter 2015