We were scheduled to fly to Brisbane from Sydney. Unfortunately, we missed our flight. I wasn't feeling great this day and when we got to the airport in Sydney, the agent who checked in our luggage handed our boarding passes to Brennan at 2:30. We had talked about the flight being at 4:40 all day, so we thought we had plenty of time to get lunch and then head to our gate.
When we finished up lunch around 3:20 and went to go find our gate, it said the gate was closed! We were shocked and had to look over and over again at the boarding passes. Our flight was actually at 3:40. Neither of us could believe we missed it!
Thankfully, it was very easy to rebook our flight for the next one that left about an hour and a half later. We made it to Brisbane easily. Learn from our mistake-always double check the boarding time!
Our time in Brisbane did not go as planned, for several reasons. The first reason things didn't go as expected was because I was sick. Brennan was able to do a lot of running and training, but I spent a few days resting trying to get better before we left on a cruise. This was the other reason things didn't go as planned was because we had originally booked an Airbnb thinking it was by the beach, then realized it wasn't. One thing I think we've benefitted from by having a flexible schedule is the ability to change things as they come up. We book hotels, flights and activities ahead of time, but always try to have flexibility with our bookings, so that we are able to change things if we need to. Because of this, we were able to cancel our Airbnb and we booked this hotel for a few days and booked a cruise up to the Great Barrier Reef area of Australia!
The night before we left for the cruise, I finally felt better, so we were able to walk to get dinner. Brisbane has a river that curves through the middle of the city and we got dinner from a taco truck near the edge of the water. It was a really beautiful evening and I was even more thankful for it since I was finally feeling better.
Our cruise was a five night cruise on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas. Our room was very spacious, with a huge balcony that we really enjoyed! This ship felt very modern, but was not quite as huge as the one we went on over New Year's Eve.
One of our favorite areas on this ship was the Music Hall, where a band played nearly every night. They were very good and it was fun to listen to live music in this two-story venue.
This lounge at the back of the ship was called Two70. The fireworks you see are all on screens that cover windows all around the back of the ship. It's a very unique space and we went to see a show there on the last night of the cruise.
We boarded the ship on Sunday, left Brisbane, and spent Monday cruising off the coast of Australia. When I was sitting on our balcony, I saw a helicopter circling the boat, even though we were far enough from the coast you couldn't see land. We heard through an announcement later on that there was a medical emergency that they had to stop the ship and evacuate someone with the helicopter. I hope whoever it was is okay-it was quite a sight to see a helicopter from a cruise ship!
Brennan and I played a round of airport code trivia. Out of the 20 questions, there was only one airport we didn't know! OOL is Gold Coast, Australia, in case you were curious. :) Our prize was these beautiful squishy rings that lit up.
Tuesday we celebrated Brennan's birthday! This was our first of two days anchored off Airlie Beach and we chose to do an excursion to go snorkeling. Jellyfish season is happening now, so we were given these stinger suits to wear while we were in the water to protect our skin.
We were able to snorkel in two different areas of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The first one had some of the largest coral bombies (huge boulders made of coral) I've ever seen. There were some parrotfish as well. Our excursion had more than 40 participants, so swimming in the water with all those people in the same area was a little tricky.
After about 50 minutes of snorkeling, we got back on the boat and headed to the second spot. We saw some dolphins as we were heading out which was very cool. They were a little too shy for me to get a picture.
We ate a small lunch and sailed to our second snorkel spot.
The second spot was much better to me. I was the first person in the water and Brennan was right behind me. Instead of keeping us all together, we had much more room to spread out at this spot and were able to explore a whole section of the water at our own pace. There were still lots of huge boulders of coral at this location, but more fish too. We were in the water for nearly an hour and a half at the second spot-definitely a lot of snorkeling in one day!
On the way back, we had some beautiful views of the Whitsunday Islands. We were also able to really see how large the cruise ship was as we approached it and got back on board.
This was the sunset that night.
There are 3 minutes between the photos above and below this. I love how much the sky changes as the sun sets!
Since it was Brennan's birthday, he chose for us to go to the steakhouse on the ship. The waiters were very sweet and made him a birthday "card" out of frosting and sang him "Happy Birthday". It was a great way to end a fun day of doing some of our favorite activities!
Heading back to our room, we passed the Bionic Bar and decided to stop and get a drink. You create your drink on an iPad, then one of these robots creates it. All the liquor and mixers are in the ceiling and the robot pushes the cup up to them to get the right amounts, then stirs or shakes your drink, depending on the recipe. The progress is tracked on the mirror off to the side-you can see this was for Brennan's drink. It was really fun to watch the drink being made, but it ended up not tasting great. It was still a fun experience to try once!
This is the only picture I have from the last 2 days. They mostly consisted of a lot of reading (I read 4 books on this cruise!), sitting by the pool, listening to music, and eating pizza. We really enjoyed the relaxed feel of this cruise. I'm so glad we were able to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef and hang out on this ship for 5 days!
We're Brennan & Megan
Since June 2022, we have been traveling to learn more about ourselves and the world around us.