We are taking a cruise ship to Australia because the thought of the 15 hour flight was daunting for both of us. While researching options for the Australia trip, someone recommended we look at repositioning cruises and I found a whole website devoted to listing every cruise line in the world and where they had ships www.repositioningcruises.com . On that list was a cruise from San Francisco to Sydney at about the time of year we were thinking of going on our trip. The cost was within reason when compared to roundtrip airfare, so we decided to pull the trigger and give it a try. As it turned out, the cruise we found was actually a leg of the British line P&O Cruises world cruise for 2019. So, this will have us spending three weeks with a ship full of mostly English people travelling from England, to the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, across the Pacific to Australia, up to Hong Kong, India, through the Suez Canal, Israel and through the Mediterranean before returning to England after almost 100 days.
After boarding the ship, getting settled and taking a very quick exploratory walk, we decided to head up to a high deck so we could enjoy the departure which would take us under the Golden Gate Bridge. As the sun was setting we stood on the deck and enjoyed the views of the city as the evening lights came on. We were enjoying the light show on the Bay Bridge and were speculating as to what the pattern might be, or even if it was a pattern or a trick of light, we were politely interrupted (it was polite if for no other reason that it was by a southern accent) “not to eavesdrop…but I took a tour today and know the answer! They are randomly generated by computer, if you don’t like someone, tell them to look for the rabbit!” Yep, the first person we talked to on the ship was one of the few other Americans. A lovely woman from Alabama who was on a portion of the cruise with her husband who works for the cruise line. Not only did we meet an American so early on our British cruise line trip, when we introduced ourselves we all had a laugh because they have the same first names as we do (but she uses a different nickname)!
We left San Francisco and the Continental United States after sunset and proceeded out the bay beside Alcatraz, where we took photos of the island and people finishing their tours of the prison took photos of the ship.
The ship did indeed take us right under the Golden Gate Bridge, and we realized that we would be pretty close to the bottom of the bridge as the ship is tall!
The trip from San Francisco to Hawaii is a long way, 7,263 Nautical miles which means four days at sea, so we have been spending a lot of time walking the decks and watching the waves. The sea was pretty rough for the first few days with high winds, so there was a lot of surf to watch. On the second sea day the captain announced that the ship was speeding up due to a medical emergency and put out a call for blood donors, which we heard generated a number of volunteers. We are not the blood type requested, so all we can do is send out positive vibes and hope for the best. With the increased speed we arrived in Hawaii approximately 8 hours earlier than scheduled.
The lesson we took from the call for blood donors, which included the provision that they needed to have blood donor cards with them reminded us that we should include that information in our travel documents for the future. We will be researching exactly what information is likely to be useful or necessary before our next big trip. The captain reported that the patient was doing well as we pulled out of Hawaii, so that was good news.