Tylor Skory's Travel Blog

Archive for February, 2012

First Day at Sea

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Today was the first day at sea. I have international texting turned on for my phone and as we cruise around, my signal comes and goes. Around 5am, we passed into wireless signal and my phone connected and sent over a bunch of texts from my Facebook account of family and friends commenting on pictures I had posted the previous evening. So I spent a little time reading through those and eventually decided to chat with my family back home. Thankfully (really, thank god) the wifi reaches to my cabin. I was actually really surprised when I tried FaceTiming and got crystal clear picture 90% of the time. I attribute this to 1) Apple. Somehow they deigned a really efficient chat system. I’ve found the quality and reliability way better than Skype. 2) My room position. For example, my Grandparent’s cabin doesn’t get good enough Wifi to use. 3) The fact that most of the people on this ship are over 60 and most likely aren’t hogging the bandwidth.

The first thing I did was head to the deck and use their jogging track. It’s a small track the runs around the ship. It was actually really nice because it overlooked the morning ocean, had a nice cool breeze and was a fantastic view. I’ll definitely be using it each morning. After I was done, I went back to my cabin, showered and headed to breakfast. So far, it doesn’t really seem to be that busy on the boat. For such a small ship, I’d thought that everyone would be on top of each other but that hasn’t been the case. I was able to get a seat outside on the balcony and eat my breakfast watching the waves.

The rest of the day was pretty relaxed. I went back down for breakfast with my grandparents after they woke up. I was a bit tired (probably from the timzone difference). I definitely wouldn’t call it jet-lag though. Still, I went back to my cabin and watched some TV episodes I’d pre downloaded back home on my computer and then took a nap.

The boat has been pretty rocky today. I was kind of surprised. There was definitely a lot of movement. While I was sleeping, it was actually pretty relaxing. After my nap, we headed down for afternoon tea. Then I helped my grandpa with some computer stuff and we chatted for a while.

For dinner, we went to the dining room for the first time. Unfortunately, the dining room is situated in the back of the ship. The entire meal I was feeling queazy for the first time since getting on the ship. It was literally like trying to eat dinner while on the “Pirate Ship” ride at Cedar Point. I couldn’t see anything outside (because it was so dark) but I constantly felt the rising and falling motion in my stomach and couldn’t eat anything. I went back to my room early and got some rest. Once I was back in my cabin, I was feeling a bit better and was able to get to sleep quickly.

Written by Tylor Skory

February 29th, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Posted in Australia

Tagged with

On the ship!

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The plane arrived in Australia really early this morning (6 am their time). I really couldn’t decide how I felt, jet lag wise. The people in Australia were super friendly and helpful. They guided us from the gate, around the airport, through customs and baggage claim, and then handed us off to a Princess representative. It was a super smooth and really simple.

The guy from Princess was also really nice. He took us to a coffee shop in the airport to sit while he waited for more people to arrive. I got a gluten free cookie that was so good (seriously, this thing was magical). Eventually, the princess guy came back and took us to the shuttle bus. It was about a half an hour drive from the airport to where the ship was docked. The ride was really cool though because we went right through downtown Sydney and the driver was giving us a tour the entire time and sharing interesting facts and answering questions. It was actually a lot of fun.

Sydney is very interesting. At first when we were driving out of the airport, I didn’t really think it was really anything different than florida, but as we started going further downtown it got really cool. First of all, it was super busy. It was a Monday morning and the streets were packed with people (everyone from students to businessmen). I was really surprised how busy it was. And then the buildings got more city-like with large skyscrapers. The landscape is really hilly, which made for some really interesting city layouts too. And there were tons of trees. A lot of time we were driving through the heavily populated city areas and there would be a canopy of trees above the street, which was really cool. One of my favorite things though was the open layout that almost all the stores had. Instead of a storefront wall, it was simply open for people to walk into right from the sidewalk. I’d never seen that before. The city was also very clean, which was nice.

All in all, it seemed like a really nice city to live in. Once we got to the dock, at around 9 o’clock, we had to wait until 12 to board the plane. This entailed nothing more than sitting down for three straight hours. Luckily we were shaded under this a large tree that covered several benches by the water. It wasn’t too hot either and there was a comfortable breeze. The time eventually passed and we got to board the ship.

After checking into our rooms, we headed right for the food (I hadn’t eaten anything since 4 am!). The food was so delicious. It was just the general buffet but everything was so tasty. We got window seats that overlooked the Opera House. It had been a pretty tiring and stressful journey unto that point, but looking out at the view made it all worth it. It was just amazing. I wanted to stare at it all evening. I was also glad when I realized that the buffet was just the lunch and there was another meal coming later.

We watched as we sailed away from Sidney. It was dark by that point and the whole city was lit up. I was actually kind of sad to go. Even though I’d only been there a couple of hours, I really enjoyed it and wished I had more time to explore.

Written by Tylor Skory

February 29th, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Australia,Sydney

Tagged with

Flying to Australia

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The morning of the cruise was actually pretty calm. I really wasn’t feeling stressed or anxious at all. Just excited (which was actually a bit surprising. I would have expected myself to be a bit nervous, but I really wasn’t). I headed to the airport with my Grandparents and even though we were early, we ended up cutting it pretty close because they were having trouble finding my grandma’s visa for Australia in their database. So we had to wait around a while as they contacted the Australian government to get it sorted out.

We boarded and headed to LAX. The flight went by pretty fast. That airplane had wifi in it so I was just on Facebook and chatting with my family the entire time. Once we landed in LAX, it was a bit odd. The two escorts waiting for us (my grandparents need wheelchairs for getting around the airport) were a little off. We had told them where we needed to be and they were having a little bit of trouble figuring out how to get us there (I think mainly because it needed to be wheelchair accessible the entire way though). So, they ended up taking us this really weird way. We were literally walking through the entire airport, going back where they keep the cleaning supplies and through giant hangers where they keep plane parts and the luggage. Then they called a shuttle to pick us up, which literally drove us on the tarmac all the way to the other side of the airport. We were passing right past planes and stopped a few times to let one pass (it was really weird but also kind of cool).

Anyway, once we finally pulled up to the right place, the driver was having a little trouble figuring out what to do next. He spent ten minutes talking to various people because the only way to get to the terminal was up three flights of stairs. And from the conversations I heard, the original people to let us through the airport had taken us a really strange way. Finally he managed to work out a path to our terminal using a service elevator (which opened up to revile a man with a load of trash. Classy). To top it off, they only sent down one wheelchair! I told the guy to go get another wheelchair but my grandpa insisted on walking (luckily it wasn’t too far).

The whole LAX thing was really bad. I don’t know if it was just the section we were in or what, but the place was really dirty, oddly laid out and just super unorganized. Still, we finally made it onto the plane. We were flying Virgin Australia and the plane was huge! It was a really nice ride. The staff was super friendly and helpful. They had theses touch screen TVs with a ton of free movies, TV shows, games, music and stuff. They really helped to make the time (14 hours!) fly by. The food wasn’t too bad either.

It’s still too early to tell, but I don’t think I’m going to have much issue with jet lag. The way they set up the flight really helped to convert you to the new time (even though they are almost completely opposite from the states). The lighting in the cabin adjusted on schedule to help you fallow a specific sleeping pattern. Basically, we got on the plane in the evening, ate dinner at what would have been 1am in the States. Then we went to bed at around 4am. Which meant that we simply slept for about 10 hours (waking up every now and then for breaks to walk around, watch a movie, etc. By the time breakfast came around, you were pretty much lined up with Australian time. So I thought that was pretty neat!

I’m writing this as we are about to decent. We’ll have a few hours in Sydney and then board the ship!

Written by Tylor Skory

February 27th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Posted in United States