Australian First Responders and those loved ones who support them were invited by The Royal Caribbean International Cruise Line, in honour of their efforts during the recent bushfire crisis, to cruise free of charge for a four-night stay just off the Australian East Coast.
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All accommodation, meals and complimentary drinks were included along with entertainment and shows, three such trips have been organised to date by the cruise line.
All fresh produce on board for the 2,900 passengers plus staff had been sourced from Australian farmers country wide.
Local Rural Fire Service members from Pindimar Tea Gardens Brigade on the cruise included Don O’Brien with his wife Davina.
Don and Divina are long time cruise enthusiasts nearing some seventeen cruises.
The first night welcome on board was a fantastic party of music, dance with a finale of some thousand balloons dropped from a height onto the dance floor below.
Don said,” This is just fantastic, Spectrum of the Seas is a brand-new ship being commissioned only last year.”
The ship itself is the most sophisticated in the world, with experiences like no other including the North Star observation capsule reaching some 90 metres into the sky above top deck level 14, real life surf and skydiving simulators and SeaPlex gaming centre where the ever-famous bumper cars had everyone smashing and crashing.
“Having this break away with other service members and first responders from RFS, SES and CFA has made this cruise feel like one big family event,” said Davina.
Meeting together for meals and a chat over a drink allowed time for experiences to be shared by those directly involved in the fires, from all around the country.
Captain Charles spent an hour at the “Captains Corner” event reiterating, “this cruise is our heartfelt way to thank you for your brave and selfless service.”
By Sandra CLARK