This cruise was scheduled with a fair number of sea days thanks to the distance we were going and the fact that there just aren’t that many land masses between California and Australia. We had 21 days and 5 planned stops. The original itinerary had 14 days spent at sea.
After our stop in Honolulu we were scheduled to head to American Samoa for a day long stop in Pago Pago, but the second sea day of four scheduled between Hawaii and Pago Pago the Captain announced that there was bad weather being caused by a “series of low pressure events” combined with “higher than usual surface temperatures” all of which conspired to require a change of course and itinerary. We would be skipping Pago Pago and heading on to Fiji. The storm was predicted to have sea swells of up to seven meters on our original course, and our change of course would take us through seas projected to have five to six meter swells. It also meant we had seven consecutive sea days between ports.
Despite the dire storm warnings ahead, the next few days were sunny and pleasant, so we enjoyed waking the promenade deck – along with a lot of others. As we skirted the storm the seas did get pretty rough and there was a lot of wind, but the ship handled it with great aplomb.
Alas, the weather goblins were not finished with us. As we were pulling out of our stop in sunny and very warm Fiji, the captain announced that another storm was in our path. This storm, Tropical Cyclone Oma, was headed for Vanuatu and was expected to arrive about the same time we were to be there. So, we would again be re-routing to avoid the storm. The itinerary was being changed and we would miss our stop in Vanuatu and arrive early in New Caledonia.
As we cruised on our new heading the next day, the Officer of the Watch made the daily noontime announcement and provided some information about the weather and conditions, including that the sea swell was “confused.” Not sure I ever expected that type of information, nor do I really know what it means, but again the ship took this confused sea state in stride. With the exception of some rain over several days we avoided any real impact from the storm, although it did follow us into New Caledonia by a day or so.
In addition to changing the date for our stop in New Caledonia, we added a stop in Newcastle, Australia!