We are down to our last sea days and it is busy. We are all trying to cram in final lunches and dinners and meetings and drinks and just saying good bye to so many people, now dear friends, that we got to know and love on this voyage. Add to that packing!! I, along with many others, had to buy an additional suitcase. Oh where to start? and we are running out of time!
In between packing, and during these last few days, there was lots of activities for the ATWs (Around the Worlders). The ship was wonderful. We had private functions – a Mimosa party one morning in the lounge where we could mingle and drink and nibble and say our goodbyes in private. Dinners just for the ATWs. Lunches and of course all the normal daily activities of art, trivia, lectures and tea time. Sometimes I think the segment people were wondering what was going on!
Mimosas and hugs and farewells!!
We had a fun auction. All of the ‘stuff’ that you bought along the way and have now decided you can live without, or you don’t have room for, was put into an auction to raise money for the crew. It was a blast and you should have seen the…aaahh…. junque!! I put in my Vietnamese pointy hat and a beautiful kite from China. How did I ever think I could pack them? They definitely did not fit in my luggage! But there was booze, and T-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, China cats that wave at you, jewellery, Mexican sombreros, ponchos, and the list goes on.
Auction including my hat with the red ribbon (R)
We also had a beautiful quilt that the ATWs had been working on for the whole cruise. I do not sew by any stretch of the imagination, but the ladies and some men did a wonderful job, and they had enough squares to make small quilt also. Thanks to Anna Smith our on board quilter and ATW hostess Tricia. It depicts most of the cities we visited on our cruise. Raffle tickets were sold on the quilts and all in all along with the auction, I believe we raised around fifteen thousand dollars for the crew. This goes towards their welfare, emergencies and tours – so that they can have a chance to get off the ship and see some of the world as well. Tours are expensive, and we were all so happy to contribute. We had a very special crew travelling with us. My auction purchase was “Dinner in Polo” where I could invite two crew members of my choice. I chose Simone who is from Brazil and works in Destinations, and Putu who is from Bali and is one of our waiters. They seldom get a chance if ever to dine in the specialty restaurants and both were special people to me during our cruise.
We had our last dinners with our favourite people and danced the night away in Horizon’s and we just didn’t want everything to end.
And so we hugged and promised to keep in touch and visit and the tears were very close to the surface and spilled over many times. Tomorrow we will be in Miami. We will all head off on our separate ways. But it has been a wonderful six months and we have become family with both passengers and crew. We will all miss one another, but we leave with a heart full of wonderful memories.