After a fine few days in Singapore we actually had a little bit of light rain after we boarded our ship and then during the sail away party. Never mind, we just sat in Crooners bar and, while looking out the windows, had a couple of beers in celebration of the beginning of our cruise. Our mini suite is excellent, although (warning, first world problem here) the TV in our lounge area wasn't working to begin with and has caused problems each day. Oh well, when that TV fails we just have to lay in bed and watch the other TV there ;-)
After we set sail the ship's Captain informed us we were expecting some rough conditions for the first 24 hours or so as we sailed from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu and he was pretty well right, we had strong winds and swells of around 6 metres overnight and throughout our first full day at sea. The weather finally began to calm down late in the evening of 20 December but not before the Captain's Champagne Waterfall Party had to be postponed and the big production show in the theatre had to be deferred and replaced with a more sedate show.
Of course the big positive for us with the rough weather is that a lot of the guests were too sick to enjoy the bars, restaurants, shows, etc. so there were no crowds anywhere. It looks like another tropical storm is developing in the region so we're not sure at this stage if that will bring further rough weather to us in the next few days.
Our first port of call was Kota Kinabalu and we arrived there about noon on Thursday 21 December. We had a look around the very fascinating Sabah Museum which, as well as all the usual historical artefacts, had a display of the types of long huts used by the various tribes in past lifetimes. We then went on to have a look around the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. This is supposed to be a conservation park for endangered local animals (which is the reason we went to look). In fact it's really just a zoo like what Perth Zoo and most others around the world looked like 40 or 50 years ago, a bit sad!
Today is an "at sea" day as we sail on towards Vietnam. Our first port of call in Vietnam is Nha Trang, one place we didn't get to last Christmas, so we plan to go ashore and have a look around.
The sea has got a bit rougher again today with swells around 4 metres and Ron had a fun five minutes this morning watching the kids on the cruise take advantage of a very rough swimming pool. It's surprising the pool wasn't closed, but the lifeguard paid very close attention, and at one point dived straight in to rescue a youngster who wasn't quite up to it.
Being Christmas this cruise has lots of families on board and lot of younger couples as well as the usual pensioners like us. Generally speaking though you don't see a lot of kids throughout the day as the ship has three seperate kids clubs catering for different age group and most of the kids and teenagers seems be enjoying those facilities.