Wollongong Ambassadors Welcome Explorer of the Seas!

The sixth cruise ship to visit Wollongong arrived on Sunday March 18th (2018). This time it was the inaugural visit of the Royal Caribbean vessel, Explorer of the Seas.

Image result for Explorer of the Seas

Explorer of the Seas, Source: Royal Caribbean International

The Explorer is the twin sister to Voyager of the Seas which has visited twice, and both ships are larger than the also twice around Radiance of the Seas.

(The other ship making up the six was the Norwegian Cruise Lines, Norwegian Star, which made an unscheduled port call following mechanical problems.)

Up at dawn again  . . . I can’t see this becoming a natural habit.

Explorer of the Seas 18 March 2018 (1)

Here she comes, photos courtesy of my lovely neighbour, Fran Thornton . . .

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They say practice makes perfect, and each time a vessel calls, we manage to improve our process a little on the time before. This time, while loitering in the marshalling yard at Port Kembla, there was time to photograph the ambassadors. The team were waiting for me to allocate each of them to one of the shuttle buses bringing guests and crew from the ship into Wollongong and back again.

The candid shot . . .

Explorer of the Seas 18 March 2018 (2)

The posed shot . . .

Explorer of the Seas 18 March 2018 (3)

What we were waiting for . . .

Explorer of the Seas 18 March 2018 (4) (800x423)

The Explorer has a double passenger capacity of 3114 plus crew capacity of 1180 –bringing a potential 5020 visitors to the city. This sailing was a little excursion: Sydney-Hobart-Melbourne-Wollongong-Sydney. Given that, the expected demographic was 75% Australian, and the rest a mixture of people from US, NZ, UK and China – which proved to be about right – another first! 🙂

About half the ship’s passengers and crew took advantage of a look around Wollongong, in addition to those who went on shore excursions. As before, these independent visitors went to the beach, foreshore, Botanic Gardens, Nan Tien Temple, Harley Bike/Trike rides and so on (and they shopped 🙂 ).

The maker’s market that greeted them on arrival at the Arts Precinct was even bigger than before . . .

Note the green and gold flag on the first stand? These were designed by my brother. He envisioned they would be popular for sporting events and other “Aussie” celebrations. Due to ill-health, he has donated his entire stock for sale, with all proceeds to go to the Cancer Council of NSW. If you are local and interested in buying anything, they are on sale at the iHub Tourist Office in Wollongong. The range includes 3’x2′ flags, flag wavers, fridge magnets, bumper stickers, and complimentary temporary tattoos.

Loads more was on offer on the welcoming green. Aboriginal artefacts, jewellery, photographs, wood-turnings, lavender goods, ladies craft – even the University of Wollongong Alumni bookshop had a stand.

There was various entertainment throughout the day. All great music and dancing, but I had to wait until things slowed down before I could capture any of it.

A personal favourite,The Con Artists, from the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music


A group of ten ladies had a fabulous idea. They had pre-booked a stretch limo to take them on their own personal day-trip complete with on-board bubbles. Economical!

March is officially autumn, yet the day was extremely hot, reaching a top temp of around 39’c (102f). The only mercy was low humidity due to the weather being caused by warm air currents from the dry inland. Despite our high spirits, everyone – volunteers and visitors – were flagging by mid-afternoon.

The ship visit also co-incided with ‘The Peoplecare triTheGong triathlon festival‘, so all-in-all it was a busy day in Wollongong. We managed to attend the sail-away function, but staggered home before the vessel actually sailed.

We contented ourselves with a pic from our living room window.



17 thoughts on “Wollongong Ambassadors Welcome Explorer of the Seas!

  1. They don’t look like passenger ships they look more like livestock carriers with balconies; Built to make big bucks and rip the passengers off. Never get me on one, even with a free first class (if you can call it that) cabin, and a seat at the ‘Captains Table’ every night.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well thousands of people will disagree. They are not really my cup of tea either, except for the places you can go on them. For example, we did seven nights around the Hawaiian Islands on what was then the Pride of Aloha and is now the Norwegian Sky. I anticipate this Alaskan trip will be a similar size – Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam. About two thousand passengers (ouch!). The alternative to seeing Alaska by ship is the super-expensive small boat cruisers, or the local ferry which requires more planning on my part.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This looks like an excellent volunteer activity – bet the passengers are interesting to observe 😉 and appreciate your welcome! Looking for something while I’m here in Oregon and thinking maybe dog walking is my best choice – different from human interactions but still fulfilling…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was just talking to my girlfriend about that. She has had large dogs all her life, but thinks the current two will be the last. So I suggested dog-walking as an alternative. As a child I frequently walked the streets of home with a pack following me. It’s a sixth sense kind of thing.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Your Alaska cruise should be wonderful – have never had the pleasure but many friends enjoyed it! Forget when is “northern light” season but hope you see them. Regarding groups of dogs, I have a vivid memory of an early morning walk in Mumbai when I was on an ashram trip. I ventured into a less safe area away from the ashram house and suddenly was surrounded by a pack of street dogs – skinny hungry ones – it was scary but a good loud SHOO worked as I hightailed it out of there!!!

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        • We are only going up as far as Glacier Bay and it will be end June, so not expecting to see the northern lights. One day . . .

          My dog pack was much more friendly. For whatever reason I would take a tomato and a salt shaker from home and go for a wander around the streets. I was young – from about 7 – 10/11. And for whatever reason, the neighbours’ dogs would come out of their yard and join me. One was a beautiful golden boxer who always twisted around almost double to check I was still there.

          They were never harmful – and I was happy to be with them – even though I had already been attacked twice by a savage corgi in a completely different situation.

          I don’t remember why it stopped. I guess I just grew out of the habit.


          • Boxers are gorgeous dogs! The local group I’m volunteering with here is an NGO started by a group of modern, young college girls – complete with nose rings, tattoos, chunky boots, short skirts, and studded black leather jackets. May have to modify my “look” :)…

            Liked by 1 person

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