Family Ladies Cruise in New Zealand and Australia, February 2007 Family Ladies Cruise in New Zealand and Australia, February 2007

Family Ladies Cruise in New Zealand and Australia, February 2007

In February and March of 2007, Marguerite, her sister Betsy, her mother Jessica, her aunt Marga (Jessica's twin sister), and her cousin Peggy (Marga's daughter), went on a New Zealand and Australia cruise on the good ship Statendam which is part of the Holland America fleet. They flew to Auckland, New Zealand, where they met the ship and cruised to Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Picton, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Fjordland National Park in New Zealand. Then an ocean crossing to Burnie, Tasmania, Australia, and then to Melbourne and finally to Sydney, Australia, from which they flew home after a couple of extra days in Sydney. This was a lovely gift to the daughters from their mothers.

Dinner Time

Our first formal dinner on the cruise – from left to right: Jessica Neville (the mother of Marguerite and Betsy), Betsy McCaghren, Marguerite Dill, Peggy Guin, and Marga Guin (the mother of Peggy). We are en route from Auckland to Tauranga, New Zealand – our first “sea day” was spent with Marguerite and Betsy enjoying a wine tasting in the Pinnacle Grill – the fancy restaurant on the ship.

Marguerite with a Bit of the Bubbly

Marguerite enjoying some champagne on the veranda of the suite she shared with Betsy and Peggy. The Twins were in a similar suite on the same deck. The weather was very clear and the seas were generally smooth. We enjoyed getting dressed up and had several formal pictures made – a tradition for all of the cruise ships.

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping

Shopping in Tauranga, New Zealand. We rented wheelchairs for both twins (age 86) for the entire trip. We used them sometimes on the ship and whenever we left the ship as the twins mostly wanted to look around and shop. Because they both have serious visual impairment due to macular degeneration, the wheelchairs enabled them to be comfortable without worrying about falling and also preserved their energy.

A Dutch Dinner

Marga and Peggy at another formal dinner – this time to honor the Dutch tradition of Holland America Lines. Part of the party atmosphere was to spin napkins and sing! The food was outstandingly good. We were at a table for 8 and our table companions were a lovely couple from Canada and a lady friend of theirs. One evening a member of the Cruise Director’s staff joined us for dinner – a delightful young man from Canada who told us a lot about how the ship worked and also bought wine for the table!

Vamps of the Statendam

Marguerite and Betsy posing at a demo table for the fancy dining room. There were fresh flowers everywhere and food of all types was available 24/7. The girls and the twins very much enjoyed room service breakfast almost daily – no extra charge and more food than anyone could eat! Almost all of the cabin stewards were from the Philippines and the dining room stewards were from Malaysia. Most of the officers were from Holland. The cruise line takes great pride in these different cultures and honors them in many ways throughout the cruise.

The McMillan Ladies

Marguerite, Jessica, and Betsy taking a break in Wellington, New Zealand. We took the twins in their wheelchairs on a self-guided walking tour of Wellington and were we ever tired by the end of the day! The ship provided a shuttle bus to get us from the terminal to downtown and back. It was quite an adventure!

Nature on South Island of NZ

Once we left Christchurch, New Zealand, it took us three sea days to get to Australia. This is one of many waterfalls on the route. We got quite close to shore many times and the terrain was beautiful.

Cooking School

Marguerite and Betsy in aprons provided by the Holland America Culinary Arts Center. We attended two cooking demonstrations and took two cooking classes – one from Chef Victor – the Celebrity Chef from GO FISH in the Napa Valley of California. He was on the entire cruise with his wife and young son and gave several demonstrations and classes. The second class was by Chef Kim who is the Executive Chef for the Pinnacle Grill fancy dining room. Each class had fewer than 10 participants and we learned some “tricks of the trade” while we cooked up some delicious food that we got to eat – very yummy!!

Another Dinner

Yet another formal dinner evening. The twins looked particularly pretty dressed up in their party clothes.

Melbourne & Friends

We had a very special time in Melbourne, Australia, visiting with Marguerite’s friends Bernadette Brennan and Maggie Breckon. Marguerite has known Bernadette and Maggie for many years as all are nurses and did infection control work before they retired. Bernadette and Maggie brought two cars and picked up the five of us and the wheelchairs. They took us to a large market to shop and then to lunch. This photo is in front of the restaurant – from left to right front row: Marga, Jessica, Peggy; from left to right back row: Betsy, Marguerite, Bernadette, and Maggie.

Sydney Harbor

We ended the cruise in Sydney, Australia. Here is the famous Sydney bridge, as seen from our docked ship, that George climbed in 2000 when we visited Australia and New Zealand, and Betsy’s son, Neville, and his wife Dune, climbed in 2003 when we visited Australia then. Maybe on Marguerite’s next trip to Australia, she’ll climb it too!

The Hard Way - Rules, What Rules?

Here we are leaving the ship in Sydney. Jessica and Marga had laps full of “stuff” as neither had the energy to pack bags the night before as the seas were pretty rough. We were grateful for two very nice cabin stewards who helped the twins get into the wheelchairs and then loaded their laps with as much as they could hold. It was quite an adventure to get off the ship with all the stuff we had accumulated by this time!

Our Ship

Our cabins were on the Veranda Deck (Deck 9) Cabins 118 and 203 -- here is a photo of the balcony of the cabin shared by Marguerite, Betsy, and Peggy. The Twins were in a similar cabin at the other end of the same deck. The cabins were quite spacious, had a Jacuzzi tub, couch, balcony, and plenty of storage space.

Stuff, Stuff, & More Stuff

All of us and our “stuff” at the cruise terminal en route to the hotel in Sydney. We had so much stuff it took two cabs to get us there! We spent two nights in the Holiday Inn Darling Harbor – the hotel was right across the street from a Paddy Market and next to Chinatown. We did our final shopping at the Market, then stuffed everything into 11 bags to check and 5 bags to carry-on. When we got to the San Diego Airport, George and a friend picked us up in two cars! It was quite an adventure to get us and our stuff home!!

The twins and Peggy went back to Florida with 6 checked bags and 3 carry-ons on Tuesday, March 6. Betsy followed with 2 checked bags and 2 carry-ons (one full of hats, of course!) on March 13 after having a visit with her son Kirk in Orange County. It was truly a trip of a lifetime that we’ll remember always --- and as we say in our family – “...everybody was on good behavior for the whole trip.....”

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