|Posted by Gary & Lynette Landy on June 25, 2012 at 12:05 AM|
As most of you will already know, we had booked & paid to sail around the world on the 2012 Princess Cruises World Cruise. We were really looking forward to this 104-day holiday onboard the Sun Princess, however in mid March 2012 Gary’s father was diagnosed with end stage Liver & Gall Bladder cancer. This was the first indication that Doug had any form of cancer. As the prognosis for Doug was very bleak & with an estimated 3 to 6 months survival time we decided to advise Princess Cruises Australia of the issue & request the hold onto the almost $60,000 we had paid them & move us to the 2013 World Cruise. Princess elected to not do this & for the privilege of having a father dying unexpectedly they penalized us with a $42,000 cancellation fee! Fortunately, Lynette is anal when it comes to insurance & paperwork etc. & we had purchased Travel Insurance when we originally made our booking almost 12 months earlier. We are extremely grateful to Chartis Insurance (via Defence Health Travel Insurance) who paid our claim within 10 days of submitting it. We can definitely recommend Defence Health Travel, as we had paid them $1100 in premium & they paid out without ANY issues or queries with compassion & swift action.
Unfortunately, on 6th May 2012 Douglas Clarence Landy passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his wife, 3 children & their spouses. Given the devastation we felt, Gary & I decided to take a quick break away.
Fiji was our destination! We managed to secure a great deal which gave us our flights to Nadi, 6 nights at the Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, a 3 day Blue Lagoon cruise followed by a further night at the Westin. The package we took included golf each day (with cart) for us both at the Denarau Gold & Racquet Club, buffet breakfast each day & all our meals whilst onboard for the Blue Lagoon Cruise. Early Sunday 20th May we headed to the airport, having dropped Sapphire at the cattery where she normally resides when we travel, to board our flight to Nadi. As we alighted from the car Gary asked if I had picked up his wallet, glasses & phone from the drawer they reside in, before leaving home, as he had failed to do so. Now thank god we were flying International & he didn’t need any other form of ID other than his passport. He knew I had our passports as I hold all our travel documents when travelling overseas. I explained to Gary that this was going to prove to be an interesting holiday for me, as he was going to have to be even more attentive to me if he wanted to eat, read using me spare glasses or wish to purchase anything at all. A wonderfully amusing position for me to be in!
Our intention for this break away was to simply relax & this is all we did. We contemplated Skydiving, white water rafting & taking a helicopter scenic tour but did none of this. The Spa complex that was incorporated within the resort benefitted from our repeated custom…. well, Lynette’s anyway. A couple’s massage, a facial some waxing all saw Lynette returning to be pampered by Tepola, the therapist. Bula hour, each day saw us indulge in 2 or 3 cocktails each evening before heading off to dinner. The balance of our time at the Westin was spent lying around the pool, relaxing on our balcony reading (really easy now that we BOTH have a iPad) & a couple of games of golf for Gary.
So now to some of the amusing things that occurred during our 10 days in Fiji… we had only been at the Westin a day when Lynette realized that donning the swimwear was going to require a ‘tidy up’, so off to the spa she went for a bikini wax. This was the first time she met the lady who became her beauty therapist for all treatments whilst in Fiji, Tepola. Explaining what needed to be done was an interesting conversation to say the least. It appears few to no ‘bikini’ waxes are done now – it’s all ‘Brazilian style waxing’…. Well not for this 52 year old lady! Attempting to convince Tepola that “No, my husband wouldn’t like the area all soft & smooth” was quite a feat. In a very amusing way it became a battle of wills – Lynette for a simple ‘bikini’ & Tepola championing the Brazilian. The bikini was decided upon & Lynette thought she had successfully argued her point until arriving back to our room where she discovered the briefest bikini wax she had ever had done. I don’t know who was more surprised Lynette or Gary with the outcome! Lesson learned…. arrange these things before leaving home then you get exactly what you want.
We found we couldn’t be even slightly annoyed with Tepola as she was such a delightful lady, as it appears all Fijians are. They are so happy, calm & relaxed with life we should probably all take a leaf out of their book. Even after losing their home & it’s contents in the floods which stuck Nadi in March & April 2012, Tepola held such a positive view on life it was so refreshing. Not an attitude that we ‘Westerners’ are used to hearing or experiencing.
The following day Gary decided he needed some time to himself as he was experiencing a sad day, so off he set for a game of golf. The one thing he did remember to pack was 8 golf balls – these he lost during his first 18 holes on Denarau. It should be noted though that this game of golf was the first game he had had in 12 months. A couple of days later we decided that we would both have a game – Lynette’s first ever. Given the number of balls last 2 days earlier & Lynette having never played before we decided to purchase 9 balls with the view that if we hit all of those into the water (that’s the way the first 8 were lost) before we have completed the 18 holes then we’d just give up. Well, Gary played extremely well – I was expecting to be in fits of laughter for the first few holes at least. After all he said he played like an ‘old mole’ during his earlier round. We did in fact get a lot of laughs during this round of golf but more at Lynette’s expense than Gary’s, it was something that ended up being very good for both of us – exercise, lots of laughs & a few cuddles in the bushes!
This brings us to the Blue Lagoon Cruise, which departed from Lautoka, about 45 minutes from Denarau Island. The boat we were on the ‘Fiji Princess’ is a catamaran that carries about 80 passengers plus crew. There were only about 30 passengers on our cruise, which made the trip very comfortable indeed. We had no needing to get to meals early to ensure you ate enough, as there was always plenty of food drink for all. The Fijian crew not only maintained the boat but also was the entertainment. They did a wonderful job of both responsibilities. Nothing was too much trouble & all & was done with a smile on their faces. As surprising note was the friendliness of all the passengers, everyone seemed lovely, hence we had a really enjoyable time. We could talk for a long time about different people but for both Gary & I, one gorgeous lady stuck out. Her name was Gretchen & she was travelling with a girlfriend, Lisa, after winning their airfares at a trade show in LA. Gretchen is the founder 7 operator of Simply Africa, a company that devises small tour groups – about 8 people, her specialty area being the African continent. We’ve asked her to look at a trip to Machu Picchu & South America. Gretchen lives in LA (as does Lisa) & we spent many hours chatting with her about all manner of things & places.
We hear people constantly complain about Americans being loud, brash & arrogant especially when travelling. I’d have to say that the people we have been fortunate to meet during trips we’ve taken over the past 9 years haven’t been anything other than delightful. In fact, along with Gretchen & Lisa we have become great friends with another American couple we met almost 4 years ago on a European Cruise – Marty & Miriam. Whilst on the European cruise we dined with 4 American ladies also from LA, two of which we remain in contact with.
It’s looking more & more likely that one of our next couple of holidays will be in the USA given we have developed some wonderful friendships. Catching up with some or all of these people would be fantastic.
Now to researching & booking our next holiday......
Categories: 2012 - May - Fiji