That’s The Spirit

Up at 4am to make the drive from where we were parked at Geelong to the Station Pier in Melbourne.

I was a bit anxious about the rigmarole of getting our bus & trailer safely, and without an insurance claim, onto the Spirit of Tasmania, but it wasn’t a problem at all. Well managed and lots of people to help every step of the way.

Before we left we walked around to find the perfect set of seats for our family on the return trip. I’d tell you which ones they are but I don’t want the extra competition when the time comes.

One of the things I wanted more of before today was photos of the ship and what it’s like, so the kids and I took a heap on our phones and I’ve uploaded them here.

We’re going on a Carnival Cruise in March and I was surprised how similar to a cruise boat – albeit on a much smaller scale – this trip was in terms of some activities and the general feel. There’s been some good effort put into keeping kids amused.

We paid $1,500 to get the seven of us and our bus + car trailer across the Bass Strait, and the same for the return trip. We booked on Spirit’s Red Hot specials, which saved us $1,000 all up.

To a person the staff we interacted with were lovely and helpful, even towards the end of the trek when they’d have been at the tail end of a 10 hour shift.

Lots of photos below, and a video down the bottom of us boarding (and another amongst the pics of Miss5 dancing on stage and winning a free ice-cream).

Any questions about anything, just ask away.

Except about the perfect spot to sit for the cruise. That’s top secret.

A bit of a holdup getting on the boat. We were panicking when the traffic wasn’t moving a street away and time was ticking by. Then we noticed cars and trucks were still coming off. Apparently they were running a bit behind. Then some cruise ships came in and slowed things down even more. Got to chat with a lovely security guard though. She reminded the kids and I of our cousin, Donna. Worked out fifteen minutes later it might not have been the witty banter keeping her at our window. She was enjoying the shade our bus was giving her.

Snaking our way up the pier through customs and then the ticket window. Being 19m long and 2.5m wide with the turning circle of an arrow in flight I was worried about this bit. Shouldn’t have been. Hardly nicked anything. 

A photo so we could remember where we parked. Came in handy ten hours later when Tracey tried to tell me we were on level 5.

Kids each got a complimentary fun bag from Spirit. The kids found out about them three days ago and it quickly became all they were interested in prior to boarding. This is Miss5 not even wanting to wait until we found a seat to look inside her’s.

Reminiscent of Goldilocks, we walked around the boat trying all the chairs in a bid to find the perfect spot.

Arriving early onboard meant our kids got to claim the Xboxs. Much to my surprise the thrill only lasted a few minutes before we were off exploring again. The benefit of bringing DS’s

Movies. This kept the three older kids amused for a bit watching the latest Thor movie. Not a lot of seats in each cinema though, so advise you to grab your tickets early if you want to watch something. You buy them at Bar7 on level seven.
Unfortunately my kids all have two ears so no $5 tickets for us. Joke.

In the fun bags there was a cardboard ship you could fold together.

Complimentary face painting

The artist was really wonderful. The model too.

Between Harry Potter and How To Train Your Dragon, dragons are popular in this family.
“Why are you holding your boobies?” the girls wanted to know when I woke up from a power nap. I wasn’t. When I went to sleep I was holding my phone but one of the kids stole it from me to take this photo.

Selfie time on the deck of the Spirit Of Tasmania. It was a bit windy but Tracey says she didn’t notice.
I’d go with ‘no time to shave this morning because we had to be up at 4am’ but clearly I haven’t shaved for about a week
Like two ships passing in the night, only during the day, the other Spirit of Tasmania powered past us in the middle of the Bass Strait.

Tracey and I snuck off to put through $20. Ten minutes listening to machines going off on either side of us cured our gambling habit again

Adult main was $24.50 but included filling your plate with whatever you wanted. There were some nice salads, fried fish & calamari, roast lamb & roasted vegetables & greens, chicken pieces, cous cous something, spaghetti, chips. Really nice. And for every adult a kid could fill their plate for $10. AND, five and under were FREE. So we had two adult meals, two kids meals and a free meal for $70. Other two kids had an $11 pizza each from one of the bars. Considering it costs us $60 to go through a Maccas drive through, I think we did fine.

The shop. For things you might have bought but not been able to find at 4am in the morning. Things like sea sickness tablets.
Their sandwich fridge took a hammering.
As did their pie shelves. Really is something for every budget.

The ‘library’ area. For quiet, childless reading. We didn’t get to sit there.
The brochure desk. I think the reason the bloke served me so quickly when I bought our National Parks pass was because our kids were filling their red Spirit of Tasmania bags up with as much as they could carry. He was worried he’d have to restock everything. I’m worried the bus is overweight now.
A little play area for younger kids to hide from their parents in.

$11 pizzas available from a couple of bars like this one. We bought four during the trip.

The view of where your’ve been from one of the decks. There’s nowhere up the front of the boat to see where you’re going, which was disappointing, but you can peer forward from the sides in a couple of places.

I don’t know how we hid this room from the kids for the entire journey but that is money in the bank, people.
If I could offer up one suggestion to Spirit of Tasmania it would be to lose a quarter of the single seats and put in lots more doubles because people were trying to sleep all over the place, even on the floors. I know they have recliners you can pay for in a closed off section but I also know (because I asked) these were sold out. We did the right thing and moved from the lounges after my nap then wished we hadn’t by mid afternoon

A game from the fun bag
This little dancing queen won a free ice-cream for her efforts

Freestyling! Like her old man does, only with rhyme and without the falling over (my signature move)

Miss8 won disco bingo – another ice block I didn’t have to pay for 😀

Waving at the good people of Devonport as we work our way up towards the dock. A nice lady won this Boss Baby toy somewhere and give it to Miss5. Bonus!

Strapped in and ready to drive off the Spirit and into another adventure
Booked into a place only 900m from where you disembark: Abel Tasman Caravan Park. After a long day that was just about as much driving as I could handle.
So shagged she feel asleep before the first corner, still clutching her complimentary fun bag from the Spirit

This is what I wanted to see before we were due to take the Spirit. A video so I knew what I was in for. At 5:22m this video might seem tediously long, but spare a moment for us who were there. There was no editing down of real time. Having said that, the kids and I got a good giggle from a few moments in here.

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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