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ellie1145

Come sail with me on a virtual cruise on Majestic Princess to Fiji!

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13 minutes ago, Lido deck main said:

Ellie, 

I just love, love this thread.  Your writing style and sense of humour is so appreciated.  This thread is a great delight, you are the best story teller and your pictures complete the story.  I am transported with you for the trip, and I am having a wonderful time, best trip ever.   
Mary 

 

Thank you Mary, for your very kind words. I’ve loved doing it, and I have loved ‘meeting’ all you wonderful people. What a wonderful crowd you all are. It’s so good to have you onboard.

 

It’s been real fun!

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4 hours ago, ellie1145 said:

 

What a fantastic vantage spot. I’m guessing it was early in the morning? 

 

It was quite early, 5:30am and definitely well worth getting up for. 

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Posted (edited)

A Final Walk Around Sydney

B50464CA-6372-47F8-9396-04880C6A8560.thumb.jpeg.4904baebfe86435aec35311dac00548d.jpeg

 

 

It’s very hot as we walk along the street, and we are grateful when we see the station ahead. The train comes swiftly and we find a seat on the top deck again, with great views. 

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We pass this beautiful mosque.

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We are somewhat amused when we hear a lady rebuking a group of young men and women for laughing and talking loudly. We hold our breath but they take it in good heart and simply tone down their noise. It’s certainly not something anyone would attempt to do on the London Underground!

 

It’s an interesting journey, and I enjoy watching out of the window as we speed towards Sydney. We pass through leafy suburbs, and see this house with a corrugated iron roof.

 

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From the early pioneering days, corrugated iron was popular in Australia, and many homes were built with this material. I’ve recently watched the wonderful Australian television series, ‘The Thorn Birds,’ and the fictional sheep station of Drogheda is a prime example of the use of corrugated iron. (Not that I was watching it to see how corrugated iron was used, more to drool over the gorgeous Richard Chamberlain of ‘Dr Kildare‘ fame.....)

 

Invented by a British architect and engineer, who worked for the London Dock Company, it was the perfect building material because of its strength, and corrosion resistance. It was also easy to transport and quick to build with. 

 

In the 1880s it was widely used in Australian architecture, and this iconic material became part of its cultural identity. 

 

The Gold Rush in Australia meant that there was a huge demand for the construction of prefabricated buildings to house miners, colonial settlers and other workers. It was a cheap material, lightweight, flexible and quick to use, so ideal for the Australian environment. Not only that, but it was fireproof, and immune from attack by insects. It could be carried easily on a cart to almost any building site in the bush.

 

Indeed, it is such an iconic material that, at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics, a seven minute ‘Tin Symphony’ was composed in its honour.

 

As this vast country was colonised,  there was a huge demand In the 1850s for outbuildings, shearing sheds, and water tanks, and this saw the increased use of corrugated iron. 

 

After 1915 tin began to be replaced by steel, and now it is produced by an alloy of zinc and aluminium. New and technologically more advanced sheeting is now available, some in a range of 20 colours, and it continues to be a popular building material.

 

It still offers great protection against the severe weather experienced in Australia, as it can withstand storm and hail, being durable and with great thermal efficiency. It also resists rusting, and is fire-resistant, an important feature in a country where bush fires are endemic. One of the problems of a bush fire is the tiny sparks which can slip into gaps in the roof and cause the house to catch light. A corrugated iron roof, being a large sheet of metal, has fewer entry points than small individual tiles, which always have a slight gap underneath it. Another bonus is that it doesn’t grow moss or plants, so eliminating another potential fire hazard.

 

As  you can see from the photo, the one drawback of corrugated iron was that it used to rust.  

 

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We jump off the train and exit the station and find ourselves near Woolworths. We just ‘tap’ our debit cards, and ‘bob’s your uncle.’

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Edited by ellie1145

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B0A1906E-D3C5-480A-9810-EC93B32AE981.thumb.jpeg.d12ca4990bab064106ccac7fcc137002.jpeg

We see the Australian flag flying high on this church building. 

 

By now we are feeling a bit peckish, but as we still have lots to see and do we just grab a quick bite to eat in that posh McDonalds. Luckily DH has his tuxedo on, so he fits right in. I slip my tiara out of my handbag and put it on, and we’re ready to eat. 

 

We are delighted to see AF-1 waiting for us, with a table already saved, as it’s very busy, with lots of schoolchildren congregating and chattering away. He’s looking good in his jaunty cap. 

 

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Then it’s off to explore.

 

There are some wonderful buildings in Sydney, and we also see the new light railway trams which are being tested out. At 62 metres long they are among the longest in the world. They are capable of holding 450 passengers, and are quite streamlined and elegant looking, in their bright red livery.

 

The system cost an eye-watering $3 billion.

 

Sydney once had one of the largest tram networks in the world, but they ripped it all out in the 1950s and 60s. We would love to have had the chance to ride on them but they aren’t going to be operational until December.

 

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Sydney is a beautiful leafy city, with plenty of trees and parks. It’s cooler now so we start our walk back to the hotel, stopping to admire the architecture as we go.

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15 minutes ago, ellie1145 said:

B0A1906E-D3C5-480A-9810-EC93B32AE981.thumb.jpeg.d12ca4990bab064106ccac7fcc137002.jpeg

We see the Australian flag flying high on this church building. 

 

By now we are feeling a bit peckish, but as we still have lots to see and do we just grab a quick bite to eat in that posh McDonalds. Luckily DH has his tuxedo on, so he fits right in. I slip my tiara out of my handbag and put it on, and we’re ready to eat. 

 

We are delighted to see AF-1 waiting for us, with a table already saved, as it’s very busy, with lots of schoolchildren congregating and chattering away. He’s looking good in his jaunty cap. 

 

B713D22C-F2D2-44D9-8AE8-6CF6A102928D.thumb.jpeg.3bceb692ff494a0ef32266b7b19ed233.jpeg

 

Then it’s off to explore.

 

There are some wonderful buildings in Sydney, and we also see the new light railway trams which are being tested out. At 62 metres long they are among the longest in the world. They are capable of holding 450 passengers, and are quite streamlined and elegant looking, in their bright red livery.

 

The system cost an eye-watering $3 billion.

 

Sydney once had one of the largest tram networks in the world, but they ripped it all out in the 1950s and 60s. We would love to have had the chance to ride on them but they aren’t going to be operational until December.

 

9E0B5E60-444E-4B99-8F51-EFC36B02B96B.thumb.jpeg.84636014db64531c9a2acced659fa99b.jpeg

Sydney is a beautiful leafy city, with plenty of trees and parks. It’s cooler now so we start our walk back to the hotel, stopping to admire the architecture as we go.

CC8C932F-1040-43C9-A7AA-331EA4D85D91.thumb.jpeg.c4a57bedca689732a7dfd3c48f23d0a4.jpeg

 

251F58B6-D004-4522-A2AC-25718D33FFBC.thumb.jpeg.ecbc283111559eb3c76448cc90421d64.jpeg

 

 

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Absolutely loving your virtual travel cruise! We are avid cruisers and are missing it very much!We live in Sydney and just love your perspective of the city we call home!

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Posted (edited)

The Queen Victoria Building

 

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We pass close by this beautiful and iconic Sydney building and I stop to take photos.

 

It is a heritage-listed building, and it was finished in July, 1898, having been designed by the architect George McRae, a Scottish architect who had emigrated to Sydney in 1884. It is located in George St, and if you get the chance, do go and look at it. It was designed to be built on the ‘scale of a cathedral’ and it is, indeed a massive building, in the style of Victorian Romanesque.

 

It has the most beautiful green domes, and statues galore, not to mention the intricate brickwork, columns and arched windows, which have exquisite detailing. The main dome is of glass with a copper exterior, and there are stained glass windows which allow light into the central area.  

 

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When opened, Alderman Harris said that ‘a marvellous centre of trade will be established here.’

 

It was named to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and there is a statue of her outside.

 

Inside, there was space for all sorts of businesses, from coffee shops to tailors, florists to hairdressers, bookshops and private music tutors, as well as a concert hall.

 

That evening there was a grand ball for more than 1,000 guests. There was even a gymnasium for ladies! Originally it was designed to have an internal shopping street some 186 metres (611ft) long, with shops on two levels. 

 

However, sadly, the building did not make the sort of financial returns that it was designed to make, with many of the 200 available spaces being unoccupied. By 1916 it was described as the proverbial ‘white elephant,’ 

 

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Over the years the inside of the building underwent many changes, in an attempt to make it profitable, but in doing so many of the magnificent internal spaces were obliterated. It continued to make losses, and the building steadily deteriorated. Sydney City Council occupied it for some years until they moved into a new building. There was even talk of demolishing this beautiful building.

 

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Thankfully, in 1967, the National Trust of Australia called for the building to be preserved, and despite many attempts to demolish it, it was bought by the Malaysian company, Ipoh Ltd (now owned by the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore!) at a cost of $86 million.

 

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It now houses high end fashion stores, restaurants and cafes, and at  last it is used for the purpose for which it was originally intended. It has continued to be refurbished, and thankfully it remains today a classic example of the architecture and the vision of the time. 

 

We only wish we’d had time to go and explore inside, but that will have to wait until we return to Sydney - it’s a good excuse to come back we feel.

 

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Immediately opposite this grand building is a new stop for the light railway trams. 

 

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Edited by ellie1145

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18 minutes ago, karen848484 said:

Absolutely loving your virtual travel cruise! We are avid cruisers and are missing it very much!We live in Sydney and just love your perspective of the city we call home!

 

Glad that you, like us, are avid cruisers. We are longing for the day when we walk onto a ship and feel we have come home.

 

(Ok, I know some of you are saying, ‘well for goodness sake, woman, get on with it and board Majestic Princess!‘  🤣. All in good time!)

 

We love your beautiful city and have explored so much of it on foot, the best way to see it. 

 

I could spend hours just looking at the wonderful buildings, and gaze at the stunning skyline with its huge skyscrapers. 

 

What a wonderful city to live in.

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Ok I am ready to board the ship

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Posted (edited)

Just thinkin’ about

Tomorrow

Clears away the cobwebs

And the sorrow

‘Til there’s none!   

 

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As you can see, I love the architecture of Sydney, with its superb examples of historic architecture and some stunning new buildings.

 

I realise that some Australians want to demolish everything that reminds them of their colonial past, but thankfully, there are those who realise that they are part of Australia’s history, and should be preserved for future generations to make of them what they will.

 

You cannot remake history even if you destroy its fabric. History cannot be removed -  all we can do is learn from it, and learn we must. Australians should be proud that despite, or because, of its roots, it has become the wonderful country it is today. We understand that many Australians now celebrate their convict roots, and so they should, as how brave, resolute and hard working so many of these earlier settlers were.

 

We are always astonished that every Australian we meet talks so fondly of their country and seem so proud of it, something that is sadly lacking in the UK.

 

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The sun is beginning to set as we wend our way back towards the hotel. We walk through Hyde Park, one of our favourite routes, past the beautiful fountain, and the Cathedral.

 

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This beautiful fountain was built to commemorate the association of Australia and France in World War I. There are six tortoises which throw jets of water into the pool. The sculptures all represent Classical Greek or Roman art and literature.

 

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Just near the statue of Queen Victoria is the beautiful Anglican St James’ Church, which is on the NSW Heritage Register. Built close to the Sydney hospital, it has a long association with the medical and legal professions. Originally it served the convict population, and over the centuries it has continued to serve the poor and needy.

 

Originally commissioned by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, in 1819, it was designed by the convict architect Francis Greenway, and constructed using convict labour. It was consecrated in  1824 and in 1849, the first Prime Minister of Australia was baptised here.

 

During the 20th century it was the venue for many weddings and funerals of famous or notorious people. When the singer, Gladys Moncrieff married in 1924, there were so many people outside that the traffic was stopped, several women fell, and two had to be taken to hospital. Archbishop Desmond Tutu gave a sermon here in 1993, in which he thanked the Australian people for their support in the struggle against apartheid.

 

The spire of this beautiful church even appeared on the Australian ten-dollar note from 1966-1993, and on the 50 cent postage stamp commemorating the opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973.

 

Our own Queen Elizabeth was given a special service of thanksgiving in 2015. when she became the longest serving British monarch and Queen of Australia.

 

The unique interior of this church is something that we hope to visit if we are able to return to Australia. Outside in the courtyard is a wonderful display of flowers.

 

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Edited by ellie1145

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Posted (edited)

 

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Il Porcellino, or little pig, is a bronze sculpture of a wild boar, located outside Sydney’s oldest hospital. It is a replica of one found in Florence. It is believed to bring good luck if you put a coin in the boar’s jaws, and if you rub its nose you will guarantee that you will return to Florence. All money raised goes towards the Sydney Hospital.

 

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We walk past the InterContinental Hotel where just a couple of days ago we waited for our coach to arrive to take us to the Blue Mountains.

 

Edited by ellie1145

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Ellie1145;  I know you will board the ship tomorrow; but my question for you, how many total pictures do you think you took from the time you left England to the time you got back home?  My guess is at least 1100

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Posted (edited)

The sun’ll come out

Tomorrow

So you gotta hang on 

Till tomorrow

Come what may....

 

We continue our walk until we see the red canopy and red carpet outside our hotel. We’ve walked over 17,000 steps today!

 

I’m too tired to get out my foldable, portable, super powered vortex vacuum, so we go straight upstairs.

 

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It’s been an amazing day, but tomorrow will be even better because when we wake up in the morning the beautiful Majestic Princess will be waiting for us, and the minute I am awake I will open the doors to the balcony and see her prow peeping out from behind a building.

 

I pop outside and check on Circular Quay and.....70D16D44-0341-400A-93EC-8EDA8B954A3A.thumb.jpeg.ae3e65061e03e4be9eb6fd67629e58e3.jpeg

 

there’s someone in our parking spot! Off you go! Make way for Majestic Princess!

 

We have to finish the packing, sort out the labels and get ready for the morning. I can hardly wait!                                     

 

So off you go! Time get ready for our amazing cruise to the Fijian islands. That if there’s anyone left reading this!

 

Edited by ellie1145

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1 hour ago, AF-1 said:

Ok I am ready to board the ship

 

Me, too, and it really is time! 👍

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12 minutes ago, AF-1 said:

Ellie1145;  I know you will board the ship tomorrow; but my question for you, how many total pictures do you think you took from the time you left England to the time you got back home?  My guess is at least 1100

 

Oh gosh! I wish I knew, but it is probably into the thousands. 

 

I did warn you I had photographic diarrhoea.........☺️

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Yes you did warn us;   let the fun continue

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“And we’ve come so far

And we’ve reached so high

And we’ve looked each day and night in the eye,

And we’re still so young

And we hope for more

 

Today this could be

The greatest day of our lives

Before it all ends

Before we run out of time.......

 

Can you see it?

Can you see it in my eyes?’  🎶

 

Friday, October 18th

Majestic Princess Embarkation Day

 

The alarm on my phone rings but today of all days I don’t need any encouragement to get out of bed. With luck and a fair wind, Majestic Princess will be waiting for us at Circular Quay, and all I need to do is look out of the window.

 

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I draw back the curtains and step onto the balcony. It’s a glorious, sunny day and she’s here! I can see her bow peeping out from behind a building.

 

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She looks amazing, with the blue hair of the sea witch clearly visible on her bow, and I have to pinch myself to confirm that today we really are boarding her at the start of our Fijian cruise.

 

After all the excitement of Singapore and Sydney, and the months of anticipation and planning, we are finally on our way!

 

I’m sure that all you hardy readers will also breathe a sigh of relief that, at last, you will get to hear about the cruise!

 

A huge thank you to all those who have stayed the course. You deserve a medal!

 

We have a taxi booked for 10.00 so I jump in the shower, dress and finish packing the last minute bits and pieces. I’m way too excited to bother about breakfast, and I don’t think we will waste away.

 

 I have to admit that, despite having been on so many cruises, I am just as excited as when I stepped onboard my very first cruise ship, over 54 years ago. There is nothing quite like being on a ship, I’m like a dog with two tails. I think it must be in my blood.

 

Our cases are collected and we bid farewell to our lovely room before going down in the lift to wait in the lobby for our car.

 

There is a large party of ‘seniors’ who are on a coach trip. They are milling around with their cases while they wait for their coach. Suddenly they all disappear and the lobby is quiet again. I’m like a cat on a hot tin roof.

 

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I leave DH with our hand luggage and keep peering out to see if the car is waiting. Our suitcases are being stored, near the front door, ready for us to collect them on our way out.

 

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Then, at 10.00, just as I’m hopping up and down on the red carpet outside, our transport arrives, a beautiful Mercedes car with a friendly driver who confirms that he’s ready to whisk us away to Majestic Princess, so let’s go!

 

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(No time for hoovering, I’m afraid....Dude looks like a lady!)

 

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I dash inside to collect DH, and the driver stows our luggage in the boot (trunk), while we make ourselves comfortable in the back of the car.

 

It’s very comfortable, with leather seats, so after a quick check - have we got everything? - we’re on our way.

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your window had a great view of the ship.  I guess it was about a ten to fifteen min ride

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4 minutes ago, AF-1 said:

your window had a great view of the ship.  I guess it was about a ten to fifteen min ride

 

Yes, you are right, only about 10-15 mins. It’s a bit of a circuitous route, even though it looks so near.  

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I can see by the view that you had to go over the bridge and around the corner

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Stay close to me (and the world comes alive)...🎶

 

 

It’s really not far as the crow flies, but unfortunately there are no suitable crows available this morning.

 

It’s just after 10.00 am and we are in the car and on our way.

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In fact, if we could add a zip line from our balcony, I could fly gracefully across the harbour and land on the bridge of Majestic Princess, and save all that tedious checking in.

 

But we have too many suitcases, so we wind our way round the busy streets of Sydney and finally emerge at Circular Quay, which is teeming. We get our first glimpse of Majestic Princess and she’s looking beautiful in the sunshine.

 

People are still disembarking, some waiting for taxis to take them to their hotels, or the airport. Our driver parks in his assigned space and quickly unloads our suitcases, and then we walk over to the Terminal Building where we are directed upstairs via an escalator.

 

There are people everywhere, it’s difficult to know who is coming and who is going, but at the top of the escalator we check in at the desk, which is remarkably empty.

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We are nice and early and one of the first people to check in, and the lady who deals with us is welcoming and completes all the formalities swiftly, before giving us our boarding number. It’s ‘A,’ so we should be in the first group, after the suites.

 

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We move into a large seating area and take our place amongst the first of the happy cruisers. There are refreshments available and I grab a couple of cups of water to sustain us until we board.

 

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37 minutes ago, AF-1 said:

I can see by the view that you had to go over the bridge and around the corner

 

No, actually we drove down the street towards the Opera House then turned left towards Circular Quay, then up and down a couple of roads and we were there, but it was busy. 

 

We have yet to go over the bridge, it’s another reason to return to Sydney as I would really like to do that. But at least we’ve now sailed UNDER it! 😉

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Sorry I jumped the gun with the Majestic pictures.  Guess I was just excited to board.  We  walked over from the Sydney Harbour Marriott at around 11 and zipped right on!  It was a flat level walk from there and a lovely morning for boarding a ship.

 

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9 minutes ago, azbirdmom said:

Sorry I jumped the gun with the Majestic pictures.  Guess I was just excited to board.  We  walked over from the Sydney Harbour Marriott at around 11 and zipped right on!  It was a flat level walk from there and a lovely morning for boarding a ship.

 


Not at all Azbirdmom, it’s a virtual cruise so of course Majestic Princess was there virtually! (A little early, but who’s counting?) 🤣

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19 minutes ago, ellie1145 said:


Not at all Azbirdmom, it’s a virtual cruise so of course Majestic Princess was there virtually! (A little early, but who’s counting?) 🤣

 

Virtual yes, but I was actually on the ship with you so it will be more than that for me!  You've already had quite an adventure so far and it was all wonderful and unexpected.

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