Hoping that everybody had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends and wishing everybody a fantastic, happy and healthy 2014 and now the time of festivities is over, it is time to start thinking about the cruise.
The 4th February is just around the corner so now is the time to think about the cruise. I wrote about getting genealogically ready for the cruise in October, post found here so I am guessing your preparations for that is well underway and you are accumulating questions and copies of your documentary evidence to ask the presenters in the Research Help Zones.
So what else to consider?
Have you put your surnames or any special interests you are researching on the Unlock the Past site?
You just never know who might be researching your names. There have
been a number of genealogy Happy Dances occurring on past cruises!
Now is the time to get some business cards printed with your name, contact details, blog address and names that you are researching. Vistaprint and other online sites have cheap cards that you will be able to distribute among the conference attendees.
Now is also the time to learn how to use the new camera you received for Christmas as you would not want to miss getting those pictures! Or iPad etc as when you need to use them is not the time to suddenly find out you can't!
You will have received the email from Clean Cruising about putting in your details so the tickets can be sent. If you like soft drink it is also worth considering pre-purchasing a soda package as a code will be printed on your ID tag and you can just show that to the stewards and a soft drink will appear. Soft drinks are not freely provided on board and there is a charge.
Thoughts about packing should also be starting to arise. Alona did a great post about the notebooks she has ordered as well as other things she is doing to get ready.
On my spare bed I have started putting some things among which are the US double adaptors. On board it is USA electrical outlets so you will need the adaptors. On the last cruise a number of power boards that people had brought were confiscated but I had no trouble with my USA double adaptors. I am going to have a look-see as recently I saw online some Belkin adaptors that also have USB ports and that could be very useful by the time you count a laptop, iPad, camera, phone etc all waiting to be charged.
Electronics, don't forget chargers for each of your items. There were a few unhappy people last time who had left a cord behind.
Internet charges on board are not cheap so if you have a USB internet dongle I'd recommend taking it too and then when we are in port you will have cheap access to the Net. If you don't have a dongle and were going to write blog posts during the cruise I'd strongly recommend writing it offline and then publishing and downloading emails and then answering them offline. That way you will keep your Internet costs down. I am a heavy Internet user and always budget to buy a package which works out the cheapest way if you are using the ship's internet. (or you could always visit McDonald's!)
Also waiting to be packed is a pair of binoculars and small torch as on this cruise we are going to be privileged to have Melissa Hulbert who is an astronomer at the Sydney Observatory who, if the weather is kind, will give us a "getting to know the Southern Sky" tour.
I have my carry bag so I can bring my book/iPad, notebook, sunscreen, camera etc easily. It is a big ship and there will always be some things you want with you while you are either listening to the speakers, relaxing by the pool etc.
I also have a shower-proof jacket to allow for the possibility of "four seasons in a day" weather that can be found in Melbourne, also a light cardigan/shawl to use in the conference room as the air-conditioning can be cool.
I have my good walking shoes as it is a big ship and you will walk a fair number of steps (so a pedometer might be an additional interesting thing to carry).
There is also a nice walking track around the top of the ship which I plan to use again. You do get a nice view from there. If you are very energetic there is also the rock climbing wall but that is not for me!
There is no passenger laundry on board so you may want to bring a little liquid detergent (although I find that shampoo works very well). I would not suggest washing jeans out but lighter clothes will dry OK. You can get clothes washed by the ship's laundry for a price.
Talking of clothes, there are generally two formal dinner evenings where you can dress up to your heart's content and there are photo opportunities available so you can remember your evening. The dining room is pretty special and does really suit formal dressing with those chandeliers!
I must admit I am not into formal dressing so tend to take those nights out as a casual dining option in one of the other dining venues. Generally otherwise, dress is quite casual and I would tend to think of layers just in case cooler weather hits in Melbourne and Hobart.
Sunglasses are a must if you plan to be outside much as is sunscreen as reflected sunlight off the sea can be very bright. A hat would also be useful although there are a lot of shady places on board where you can lounge and read.
Remember your medications. There is a medical centre on board and a limited shop but I would not depend on these for medications. As we are doing regular Australian stops you always have the options of buying stuff on shore but why waste potential research or tourist time?
So time to start planning your packing as it is a month today and we will be cruising!