Posted by Russell Good on Oct 12, 2017
In June last year, good friends of ours came to dinner and mentioned that they were planning to go on a cruise in December and “Why don’t you join us”?
After a quick look at each other we agreed to research further with the attitude that Parkinson’s does not rule my life and why not go as we both had not cruised before.  We acknowledge that Mr. P (Parkinson’s) lives with us but he will have no say in what we do.
 
Next day off we went and booked the cruise on the Radiance of the Seas, part of the Royal Caribbean Line. A balcony stateroom on Deck 8, nearer the bow on the Port side of the ship, due to leave Auckland on the 16th December and get to Sydney on the 26th after travelling around New Zealand.  Our first port of call was Tauranga (Mount Maunganui) and then on to Napier, Wellington, Picton, Akaroa and Port Chalmers.  After that a visit to the Fiords and see all three sounds, Dusky, Doubtful and Milford for about 90 minutes in each, then 2 nights at sea to Sydney.
 
Embarking procedures ran like clockwork as you would expect with approximately 2,000 people to get onboard in the space of about four hours.
 
Our stateroom was not quite ready but this gave us an opportunity to roam around and get our bearings.  This was a large floating hotel with plenty of lifts and wide staircases fore and aft.   Once we were able to get to our cabin, we found it compact, but very adequate for the time we intended to spend in it.  Having the balcony was a good decision to make, natural light and sea breeze when required. 
 
The passengers are looked after extremely well, by approximately 1,000 crew (from 38 different countries).  An example was in the morning when we left our stateroom to go to breakfast, we must have seen at least 10 crew in the 300 odd metres walk and all had a cheery smile and good morning, lifting our spirits.  Along the passageway were plenty of handrails – obviously for rough seas, but an asset for me.  Our stateroom was serviced twice a day.  Service at the buffet restaurant was excellent, both for breakfast and lunch.  We used the a la carte restaurant for dinner each night and the menu changed daily based on a theme and the quality of the food and service could not be faulted. 
 
The crew was very diligent with the hand 90 year olds and many inter-generational groups travelling for the Christmas period.sanitisers before entering any eatery and before boarding following all shore visits.  We got well used to the protocol and thanks to this had no adverse effects of tummy bugs.  We enjoyed the company of other passengers who came from many different countries and who were taken aback by our New Zealand scenery and friendly Kiwis.  Ages ranged from babes in arms to
 
We were looking forward to Christmas day on board, but this turned out to be a little disappointing. Hanukkah in 2016 was celebrated starting on the 24th December so based on cultural and religious sensitivity Christmas was celebrated by a Barbeque at lunchtime but there was none of what we called traditional food items for dinner.  There were plenty of Christmas decorations and a large Christmas tree in the atrium and this gave us the special festive vibes.
 
Disembarking was also a smooth well-oiled machine, with bags collected the night before and removed to the shore for us.  We all had an assembly station and waited till our call, then left smoothly and carried out all the processes of landing in Australia.
 
In summary, I would say that there were no adverse effects due to the Parkinson’s and in fact getting a lot of exercise, very little stress and a relaxing environment the Parkinson’s was better than at home on a normal day.  Within reason, there is no reason not to travel, or enjoy life experiences because of Parkinson’s and this is what we will do in future.
 
Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)
 
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