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LIVE From the Seabourn Encore with PHOTOs, Sydney-Sydney 3/8-3/22/20


Catlover54
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DAY FOUR, Hobart

 

Hobart, the main town in the state of Tasmania,  is a pleasant city, not too big at only 250,000 people, and the few I met are friendly and helpful.

I spent most of the morning and early afternoon walking around while DH did his kayaking adventure.

There are nice parks, and tourist areas near and around Salamanca Square, there is a grocery, and most city sites can be reached just walking off the ship.

 

I had  fresh tempura oysters and also fresh Blue Eye at the Blue Eye restaurant a local recommended ( shown below)

 

There are many stories relating to Hobart’s convict history, and early dealings with Aborigine (including chopping off the head of a man and shipping it to England for scientific study).  The chopper is honoured in an old graveyard but not for that. Rather, for having been a surgeon and civic leader.

 

Women convicts remembered:

 

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A monument to Australia’s expedition to Antarctica:

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Australians definitely have a sense of humour.  Here is the Australian version of Marilyn Monroe crossed with a kangaroo:

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A fine way to get around town  is in this subtle  “Mustang” with a special kind of driver:

 

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And of course just like in all larger cities, bicycling is encouraged:

 

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Abel Tasman was the Dutchman who “discovered”  the island of Tasmania, but somehow missed the Australian continent.

There is a statue honouring him, shown here, perhaps contemplating a sense that he missed a spot:

 


 

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There was a lot more to see in town ( and just out of town are botanical gardens and MONA, a modern art museum), not to mention wineries, but I needed to rest up for an excursion to the Banarong wildlife sanctuary that evening.

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More about the remarkable wildlife sanctuary in a bit, but meanwhile a little more comments about the ship:

 

1. She was very quiet and steady during 20 foot swells we had, very nice, nicer I think than the smaller SB ships.

 

2. The chairs in dining rooms and lounges are more comfortable for me ( softer, not as pokey), as is the bed with a pillow top I requested and even the sofa in the suite is not so hard, all good.

 

3.  The stewardess will not automatically bring fruit every day like before, you have to ask for it.

 

4.  On late return from an evening excursion that did not include a dinner, it was a bit disappointing there was no special greeting such as a glass of cider, or a couple snacks, when reboarding  the ship, not even a hot towel. as used to be done.  This is likely due to understaffing and/or cost cutting.

 

5.  I wonder if SB is working some of the staff too hard:  the guy who brought our breakfast tray did not look like a happy camper and frequently sighed and even moaned with a pained facial expression when unloading it and then partially  squatted down to grab his knees. If he has knee pain so bad he cannot contain his emotions when serving a guest perhaps he should not be pushed by management to lift heavy trays.  
 

6.  Some of the crew still have language and training issues.  In the grand salon before a magician’s performance, the cocktail waitress could not understand when I said we wanted one calvados and one armigniac.  She thought I was ordering Grand Marnier and had to call a more senior guy to figure out what we wanted, and he immediately knew.

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14 minutes ago, Catlover54 said:


 

6.  Some of the crew still have language and training issues.  In the grand salon before a magician’s performance, the cocktail waitress could not understand when I said we wanted one calvados and one armigniac.  She thought I was ordering Grand Marnier and had to call a more senior guy to figure out what we wanted, and he immediately knew.

We did run into some language issues on our last SB cruise (Sojourn).  A waiter at breakfast in the MDR could not understand what we were ordering and brought the wrong items.  We just ate what he brought as it would have been too difficult and time consuming to correct things.  We just made sure (after two times) that we did not sit in his section again.  

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SLSD, I am not sure how people who do not come precisely when the MDR opens can pick what section they sit in so as to be more likely to avoid ( or get) certain servers.  This is because the MDR is typically so full at dinner on our cruises that if we come at 8 or so we are happy to get any table at all when the ship is full or close to it, much less a table in  the section of our choice.  We tend to land up on cruises that are full because so far we have typically sailed at popular times of the year.

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3 hours ago, Catlover54 said:

SLSD, I am not sure how people who do not come precisely when the MDR opens can pick what section they sit in so as to be more likely to avoid ( or get) certain servers.  This is because the MDR is typically so full at dinner on our cruises that if we come at 8 or so we are happy to get any table at all when the ship is full or close to it, much less a table in  the section of our choice.  We tend to land up on cruises that are full because so far we have typically sailed at popular times of the year.

We try to identify a favorite waiter early on--and then request his table.  Usually the maitre d' will oblige.  We make sure to make a big deal over how great "Tomas" is and reinforce it by telling the waiter how we like sitting at his tables.  Of course it his area was full, we would be out of luck.  We do tend to go early for dinner. 

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I too am on this cruise. We have had an absolutely lovely time so far. However, New sanitation rules seem to be underway.  For lunch today in the Colonnade no longer do we serve ourselves on anything.  Everything is served to you.  It was very quiet for lunch today so all was handled very professionally by the crew but it will be interesting to see how this goes when the place is busy.

 

I checked in with the Customer Services folks on 7 who assured me that there is no illness of any kind on board but that this being done as a precaution.  So the world has finally caught up with us. Bummer!

 

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On 3/10/2020 at 3:04 AM, Catlover54 said:

 

We are also on this cruise

Thankyou Catlover for taking the time posting photos etc

We were told today by one of the managers at the Colonnade that these new rules about one not being able to serve oneself is fleet wide not just on the Encore

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We had a long walk today DAY FIVE on Mt. Wellington above Hobart and came “home” tired, happy to be able to order complimentary caviar for two with the house champagne Montaudon to our suite via room service:

 

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Artlee and anyone else reading new to SB:  it is not on the menu, so is not advertised, you just need to know it is available.

The trimmings are egg white, egg yolk, onion, sour cream.

 

It took 45 minutes for a mid-afternoon delivery but usually only takes 30.

Usually the delivery waiters set up the table when they bring room service , but today the preoccupied guy just plopped the tray on the table and left it to us to set up ( I was not paying attention and DH did not tell him to, next thing he was gone). Not a big deal, I know they are very busy and some crew had shore leave today.

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32 minutes ago, Paulchili said:

Somehow I am thinking you thought it was a big deal 😃


A fair guess,  but only in the sense that it indicated a reduction in the level of luxury SB Encor provides for its luxury prices, compared with before, though easy to deal with for me on a practical level (DH was a bit miffed about it but does not like taking on waitstaff ,so did not say anything to the waiter). I am trying to compare and contrast my experience now, with my prior experiences on SB ships.  Maybe the smaller ships are doing the same thing now too! 
If I had a choice of no “free” caviar vs continuing the current “free” caviar and setting it up on the table ourselves, it is clear what I would pick.😊

 

I do like that SB’s entertainment has been overall quite good. The show last night was a fun and talented magician named Adam Heppenstall, and tonight is Australian soprano Giuseppina Grech. 

Artlee, there are two shows per night, one at 8:45 for early diners, and one at 10, whereas on the  smaller ships there is only one show. Dinner on Encore this trip has been 6:45-8:45 for seating in the MDR, but no one throws you out if you linger ( though one night when we were still there after 8:45, I did see crew going around and ironing tablecloths on other tables and using the time to set up for the next day).

 

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DAY SIX, FRIDAY MARCH 13

 

It is another sea day today before three days of a port a day, so a good time to leisurely catch up on more photos from the ship and Hobart from the last couple days.  So far, everyone looks healthy and will hopefully stay that way.

 

The first picture is a black swan, outside Hobart, shot through a bus window.

 

 

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A highlight of our two day visit in Hobart was an evening excursion to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, where there are dozens of kangaroos visitors can feed, koalas, Tasmanian devils, wombats, and other rescued animals.

 

 

 


 

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This guide is holding a young passive wombat for all to admire, photograph and pet. Of course I did have to wonder what the odds were that someone with corona-3C4FE0C2-4124-478B-862C-1918AC4E73D9.thumb.jpeg.5e01da4d7f077b8d4b835284cedb2f70.jpeg

infected droplets on her hands would pet a wombat, and then the next person would pick up those droplets from the wombat fur and touch her face, etc.  I am pretty sure no one has done double blind prospective controlled trials on this.



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Unfortunately our only shot of the koala is blurred, but here he is, plus the T-devil


 


 

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Isklaar, just  assume that any really great shots are from DH, rather than mine.


We also went up Mt. Wellington for views and some exercise. The fat and tall tree is called an octopus tree, where the tentacles of roots intertwine with rock.

 

 

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Shyla100, your country is fascinating, diverse, and huge, which is why I am confident that, health permitting, this will not be my last trip here!

 

This afternoon options are more talks about birds, wine tasting, trivia, and a French tea.

 

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MDR lunch was busy on this sea day.  People were understandably  clustered around the window seats, many talking about corona, facts, fiction,and opinions.


Service was basic and perfunctory.  The whole trip so far, at not a single meal were we asked how our entrees were shortly after they were served ( only at the end of a meal, if at all, and usually not at all), they just do not have the staff.

  My unimpressive “penne with ham and cheese” was served lukewarm with what seemed to be less than 20 grams of ham, but I was hungry so scarfed it down, knowing more food is soon to follow in another venue.
 

But the premium wine tasting ( extra fee),including an excellent big red “Hollywood and Vine”, and another bird related  lecture by Denae Sheehan with her soothing hypnotic voice and storytelling talents, lifted our mood.  It is now stormy out, with swells, and we have been instructed to stay off the outside decks.  But the Encore is handling it well overall despite our hearing periodic thuds, bumps, whistles, rustling,  and howls in our 6th deck starboard  bow suite.

There are advantages to having a bigger, modern ship.

 

Entertainment tonight is “It Takes Two,” with SB singers and dancers.
 

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DAY SEVEN, March 14, 2020, Portland — cancelled

 

We set the alarm so as to be ready for a 7:15 AM pier side gathering pre-excursion.  But unfortunately  after a windy rocking night and ongoing borderline gale force winds this morning, per the captain and a local pilot who came on board to help, it is unsafe to sail to the dock in Portland, so instead we have yet another sea day and we will slowly sail towards Kangaroo Island and Penneshaw, tomorrow’s destination.
 These things happen on cruises that preclude porting, of course, but I cannot help but be disappointed to miss our scheduled Glenelg River cruise with underground caverns, stalagmite viewing etc and DH will miss out on being in a fourth Portland.  
The good news is that the cancellation is not corona-related, and DH can both get to the gym and remotely catch up on work issues ( back home, most people in his firm are also working at home if possible anyway due to corona precautions). 
 

Internet is working reasonably well most of the time with everyone on board, all things considered.  The unlimited plan is $399 for duration of the cruise,

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, MPCakes said:

Any on board gossip about the 3/22 Sidney to Darwin cruise?  Just this afternoon I noticed I couldn't view available cabins on the Seabourn website.

I suspect that it will be cancelled as per Trump's announcement of halting all Carnival, RCL & NCL cruises for 30 days..

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