Cruising with Radiance. Part #2

She awaits in all her Radiant Glory for us to board. But we've arrived well ahead of check in so we take in the fascinating sights of Circular Quay with impatient enthusiasm.

To read Part #1 of my 'Cruising with Radiance' blog
click here:

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And like all dedicated bloggers, I capture our 'home' for the next nine days from every angle. If you like the exterior of Radiance of the Seas, wait until I take you on board for a comprehensive look inside. But first things first.

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After checking our bags in, we decide to walk around the perimeter of the quayside.

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We came across Cadman's Cottage situated in Sydney's Rocks area. There is a ton fascinating history attached to this building which happens to be the oldest building in the Rocks and the third oldest building in Sydney.

It was originally built in 1816 for government employed coxwains and their crew members. In the early days the water would come within 8 feet (2.4 m) of this cottage during high tide but when Circular Quay was built, land was reclaimed resulting in the waterline now being a safe 100 metres away.

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Cadman's Cottage was the headquarters for the Sydney Water police from 1845 to 1864. It was then converted to The Sailors Home from 1865 to 1970. Restoration took place in 1972 after the cottage was proclaimed as a Heritage site and consequently handed over to the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority. Currently, the building is used as the home for the Sydney Harbour National Parks information center and is open for public viewing.

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Customs House was constructed in 1844-1845 and was the headquarters for Australian Customs and Border Protection Service up until 1998. When the City of Sydney Council took over in 1994 it became a popular venue for exhibitions and private functions. It is now the home of the City of Sydney Library after being refurbished in 2003. It was listed on the New South Wales Heritage register in 1999.

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The Opera House hardly needs any introduction. It is of course, Sydney's most iconic building. It is situated on Bennelong Point which was originally build as a fort, named after Governor Macquarie. This world renowned venue hosts many cultural events, and is the result of many creative and innovative forms regarding architecture and structure.

It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The original quote to build the Opera House was $7 million but was finally completed at a cost of $102 million, paid largely by a State lottery.

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This image (below) has been digitally altered to show off some of the 6.233 square metres of topaz coloured glass used in its constrction. The unique sails comprise of 1,056,006 roof tiles which were all imported from Sweden. They sit on a heavy podium which is reported to be the biggest pillar in the world.

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The next few images take us back the the ship........The Radiance of the Seas.

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It is now time to take a look inside the ship. The first thing we did after being processed to baord was to check out our room to see if our bags had been delivered. Ours hadn't arrived so, we made our way to Windjammers where the first meal of our cruise was being served.

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It was two weeks before Christmas and we were pleasantly surprised to see colourful and cheerful Christmas decorations displayed.

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I wonder how long it took the cooks to bake and decorate all these wonderful ginger bread houses?

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After lunch I did some exploring, and the entire 360 degree views were specatcular. My attention was taken by Sydney's other important icon.......The Harbour Bridge, otherwise affectionately known as 'The Coathanger.'

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The Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened in 1932 after taking six years to build. It is made of steel and contains 6 million rivets which were hand driven. When painting is required, the area covered is equivalent to 60 sports fields.

Walking it requires a certain amount of fitness. After a long walk to the base of the pylon, 200 steps are required to reach the top. It cost sixpence to cross it when it was first opened. It is now free to walk across and there is a bicycle track for bike riders in a special lane. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the world's largest but not the longest. Total length = 1149 metres. Arch span = 503 metres. It consists of 8 vehicle lanes, two train lines, a footpath and a cycleway.

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Zooming in on Luna Park. The Luna Park Precinct in Sydney is situated on the northern shores of the harbour. This amusement park was built during 1935 and is now open all year-round. It has been used as a film location for several movies and television shows.

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When Sydney's Luna Park was first opened it was a massive success. Long queues waited in front of this giant face (below) and many people had The Big Dipper (a rickety roller coaster by today's standards) in their sights. The season used to close during the winter months.

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Servicemen during the Second World War congregated here with their girlfriends and it was a popular venue for the unattached, in the hope that they would meet someone special. At such times, the park's external lights were 'browned out' in the event of a Japanese sneak attack.

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Tugboats shared the waters in the harbour with many other boats. Their manouvering skills were impressive.

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I looked down from above and saw dock workers having a break.

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The wind was getting stronger as the afternoon wore on and I hoped the weather was going to be favourable for our 'Sail Away' party at 6pm. I noticed a lot of activity around a Tall Ship below.

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A wedding party was disembarking whilst another group was lining up to go on board. Oh well, if the wind didn't abate, and the seas got a little rough there are plenty of life jackets to go around.

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My promenade around the deck led me towards the array of sky scrapers snuggled closely together on shore.

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Ferry passengers looked up at us with envy and I felt sorry for them, knowing the treat I was about to experience.

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I was getting ready to leave Sydney and I was most definitely looking forward to sailing along this most beautiful of harbours.

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The sun was sinking lower on the horizon and it created interesting reflections on the buildings.

I felt the excitement build. Finally, I was getting ready to leave Sydney and I was most definitely looking forward to sailing along this most beautiful of harbours.

I know I promised to show you inside the ship but at the risk of giving you visual indigestion ( Is there such a thing?) I will finish this post with a promise to return soon with my third blog of 'Cruising With Radiance.

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But before I go, I will leave you with a taste of what is to come. You see, the winds had calmed to a gentle breeze and the details of Sydneys harbourside attractions were being transformed into amazing silhouettes.

As the ship sailed smoothly away, a poolside band filled the air with lively music charging the atmosphere with exhuberant energy and then all on board were blessed with a most stunning sunset to guide our path into the night. My first night at sea. Is that not a glorious sight?

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THANK YOU FOR VIEWING. I WILL RETURN SHORTLY.

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