I have just been on a cruise. The last time I went on a cruise I was twenty and went to Fiji and Tonga, we can't go from here to Tonga any more. This time I went to New Zealand. I shared with the sister-in-law of an old friend, the old friend and her husband went too. Also on board were two couples from the Stroke Recovery group WAGS that I still belong to.
It was good to have other friends on board and I did spend quite a lot of time with Bill and Jill. Bill was on his scooter. Being a survivor of a massive brain stem stroke he has no balance but all his cognition so he enjoys cruising but with a lot of help from Jill. They are a delightful couple to be with and as there is a lot of help available for disabled people on Princess cruises it is also an ideal holiday for Jill. Dave and Cheryl I saw less of, it was their first cruise and I think were finding it difficult to get used to.
My stateroom companion Theresa and I were compatible and enjoyed our time together and I was glad of her company. It is nice to have someone to talk things over with at the end of the day. We often had breakfast and lunch together. We split up for the evening meal as she had that with her family and I went to one of the restaurants where I could order meals that were okay for my food allergies and I had some really excellent meals. It was so great to have a variety of foods which were well prepared and tailored to my needs.
Because of the cororavirus a lot of Asian cruises had been cancelled and so we had a lot of Americans on board and some were going to New Zealand as an alternative to the cruise they were originally booked on. As a single person I was a "share" and so I had a meal with many delightful table companions. I enjoyed meeting so many kind and interesting people. Many like me were seeing New Zealand for the first time so we have lot to discuss. We were fortunate with the weather and with the skill of the navigator as we managed to get into all six ports despite some swell. Another ship just ahead of us missed the last two.
What did I learn from this experience? I learned that it is okay to lose your way if you can get back to a place you recognise and start again. A ship's long corridors can all look alike and as I was often hazy about whether my destination was FOR or AFT that was a problem for me. But after a few days I started to recognise the landmarks. Unlike my poor friend who with the onset of dementia was often lost and had a lot of kind people endeavouring to find her travelling companions for her.
I learned that it is okay to do my own thing which was listening to piano music at night rather than going to the latest extravaganza. I learned that sitting alone is acceptable, doing something that is special to me rather than just falling in with other people's plans. I was a bit dubious about that at the beginning of the cruise but it worked out well. I didn't find a special place to sit and read which was a pity but with over 3000 people on board there were crowds everywhere I went which made that impossible but I can be quiet in myself and meditative anywhere really with a little effort.
On the return journey to Sydney on the last three nights the sea was a bit rough and the weather not so good and it was a little hard to sleep. But the weather in Sydney had been rain a lot of the time we were away. Leaving the ship was delayed by a screening of passengers for the coronavirus which took a couple of hours but no problems were found and eventually we were back on shore. It is a long journey home for me by train and bus and in this case taxi but it was worth it. It was a long-term plan of mine to see something of New Zealand and that is now crossed off my bucket list.
Now it is time for more tests and hopefully next week the thyroid operation. I can't say I am looking forward to that but it is essential to me being healthy again and living the best life possible. Not to mention seeing my grandchildren grow up. There will no doubt be a complicated recovery but eventually what is hopefully my last operation will be over and I will be free to cross off another item off my bucket list.