We're here! Late posting due to wifi issues out to sea...


The beaches of Australia are pristine and unspoiled, even during these warm summer months .(Its summer in the Southern Hemisphere).
We would have been late posting even if the wifi issues hadn't occurred when everyone aboard the ship was indoors trying to get online at the same time.

With a busy morning of socializing over a late breakfast and not even having a moment available to see if we could get online, finally seven hours later than we usually begin posting, we had a connection.

Overall, this is unusual.  During our past 11 cruises, we've managed a good  signal while out to sea allowing us to post with a few photos.  As it turns out we won't be able to post more than five or six photos a day with the slow service we're experiencing. 

Yesterday we'd decided to stay on the ship knowing we'll be back in Melbourne on other upcoming cruises.
Otherwise, we're having the time of our lives.  Tom's abscess continues to improve and although I've picked up a bit of a cough over the past three days, I'm feeling relatively good.  I supposed after three days, I must be less contagious especially when I'm not sneezing at all or coughing in public and, not touching others while learning to use the "Howie Mandell handshake" of bumping elbows.

I'm able to entirely contain the cough by taking deep breaths when the urge arises and by washing my hands at least once an hour, hoping not to infect others.  If it doesn't get any worse, I'm good.  I can't seem to escape getting the cruise cough these days.  Most likely its entirely due to our lack of exposure to germs on a day to day basis, except when we fly or cruise. 

The remnants of an old pier no longer used.
"They" (whoever they are) say a little exposure to germs is the best way to toughen the immune system.  But, our quiet lives spent mostly just the two of us certainly keeps us free from much exposure to the germs of others. 

Tom's already on antibiotics for his abscess so its unlikely he'll get any type of bacterial infection from me or others.

Most illnesses on cruises and from flying on airplanes are viruses not bacterial infections.  Antibiotics don't work for viruses unless it turns into a bacterial infection, for example a strep throat, bronchitis or a sinus infection.  Thanks goodness, none of that so far.

Melbourne appears to be a lovely city, although considerably smaller than Sydney.
As for our good time, its unbelievable.  With mostly Aussies, Kiwi's (NZ) and Americans on this ship, we're amazed by how many wonderful people we've met and interacted with up to this point of only three days since embarking.  Its astounding! 

In each venue we engage in pleasant and meaningful conversations ending in our having handed out dozens of business cards which will enable us to stay in touch after the cruise. 

How does this happen?  Is it anything about us, we ask?  Not necessarily.  Although a genuine smile and a warm and sincere "hello" can go a long way in starting conversations.  A cruise is no place for shyness, never an issue for either of us.

View of a major overpass in Melbourne.
This cruise appears to have about 20% of its passengers under age 40, about 3% children under 16 with the rest falling into the middle age and senior category.

We don't necessarily spend time with only seniors.  This morning we had a blast in the CafĂ© el Bacio with a group of six from Sydney, all in their 40's with all of their children along who'd busied themselves with a variety of kid friendly activities.  

Tonight, we're having dinner with a fabulous Australian couple from the Gold Coast that are in our age range that we met a few nights ago at the Ensemble Bar.  We clicked instantly and have gabbed with one another several times in between.  Tonight, we'll meet at the main dining room at 6:30 for dinner.

The ship holds 2850 passengers (crew of 1250) and we suspect its filled to capacity.  Although a little larger than our preferred under 2000, it still feels cozy enough to have an opportunity to meet people, running into familiar faces on many other occasions.

After a great night's sleep last night in the comfy bed, most likely we'll be able to stay out a little later than last night.  We've yet to attend the shows held nightly in the Solstice Theatre nor have we had time for a movie or down time in the cabin.  We're simply too busy for such events. 

A buoy marking the bay in Melbourne.
Having fun is having fun.  Where and how we have it is irrelevant to us.  Its certainly no wonder why we love cruising, cruise cough or not.  With our included beverage packages, Tom is drinking in moderation and we're both continuing to enjoy the coffee bar as our primary socialization spot during the day. 

The specialty teas are a luxury for me and I can't seem to drink enough.  Tom continues to enjoy the Caramel Macchiato a few times a day which I doubt he'd have tried if it wasn't included in the beverage package. 

Not that he's a total tightwad but at US $6, AU $8.49 he'dprobably have ordered a cocktail over a coffee drink.  Without the beverage package, most likely, I'd have opted for the complimentary teas as opposed to the specialty teas rather than spending US $5.50, AU $7.79 for a small pot barely filling my mug.

Well, folks, that's it for today.  Tomorrow, we'll be back with a special email we received from a reader we'd loved to share with his permission granted to do so.  Our readers throughout the world are wafting along with us, nautical mile after nautical mile. 

We're grateful for your friendship, support and continuing attention! What a gift!
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Photo from one year ago today, January 8, 2015:

The cloud obstructed moon over the Big Island, one year ago caught our attention for this "packman" type shot.  For more details as we approached our last week in the island of Hawai'i', please click here.

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