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Report on Sea Princess PNG Cruise 2018

Fifth 10th Intake Cruise.
Continuing with the great tradition of 10th Intake cruises it was decided to visit Papua New Guinea on the Sea Princess out of Brisbane on 25th February 2018 for 11 nights.
The group (32) consisted of the following 10th blokes plus their wives, partners and family:
Max Dahler, Geoff Dartnell, Jack Hunter, Richard Irons, Richard Kelly, Ray Kohn, Richard Barry, Allan Kruger, Owen Puie, Rob Wiseman - all 6RAR second tour. Plus Perry Condrick (RAEME), Geoff Hewitt (7th Signal Regt), Ross Job (2nd Signal Regt), Ian Drew (85 Transport Plt).
We sailed a total of 3,375 statute miles and called into Rabaul, Kiriwini Island and Doini Island. Many visited the Bita Paka War Cemetery, Kokomo War & Cultural Museum and the Japanese Barge Tunnels at Karavia Bay plus the War Memorial at Milne Bay. We were amazed at the extent of operations conducted by the advancing enemy in the Pacific at that time. Simply amazing and extremely tragic. Several of the group arranged to donate stationery items to the Kirwina School which has 300 students. They were very grateful for the Australian donations especially when one could plainly see they had virtually nothing in the classrooms.
Life on board was as busy as one wanted it to be. Several from the group went to Tai Chi Class, Zumba, Knitters & Crafters, Trivia Challenge, movies, location lectures, Bingo, swimming etc. Others just took it easy and relaxed until Happy Hour in the Wheelhouse Bar where one could purchase every second drink for only $1.00.
The Veteran's/Ex-Services Get-Together was the largest attendance ever seen. People got up and spoke about their time in all three of the services ranging from Korea to present day conflicts. It was pleasing to hear from female veterans. At this informal gathering we caught up with Owen (6RAR - first tour) and Ann Corey & we even 'found' another Vietnam veteran 10th Intaker (A&B Squadron 3 Cav) who has promised to attend our 2019 reunion at Sawtell NSW celebrating 50 years since we were discharged back into civilian life.
Carol Dahler arranged for a special t-shirt to suit the occasion. It is blue with the appropriate word 'A-10-SHUN!!' emblazoned on the front and back. The boys also wore the 6RAR shirt which drew attention from other veterans. The group became well known around the decks and even the crew & staff joined in the fun. A very silly card game called 'Bin Laden' was a hit and we needed to find another venue as the frivolity was too much for other Casino patrons.
On occasions the girls got on famously without the men and organised a 'girls only' pizza session in the Cafe Corniche. However, they will not divulge the topic of their conversations. They were pretty happy comparing notes when purchasing the latest fashions, jewellery and perfumes at the on-board shopping arcade.
The Vista Lounge and Princess Theatre hosted live performances incorporating musicals, vocal entertainers, dancing girls every night and one had to be early to secure a good seat. Plenty of delightful food was available in the Horizon Court Buffet as well as the Traviata & Rigoletto Dining Rooms. Plus the Amuleto Italian Cafe, Terrace Grill and the New Zealand Natural Ice Cream Bar. Many of us were treated to a free bottle of wine and a free exquisite steak meal in the Speciality Terrace Grill courtesy of Princess. Owen & Lynne Puie made up small 10th Intake and Australian flags to adorn the four tables we occupied in the restaurant. Also many of us had in excess of $500 on-board credit which was put to good use.
Richard Barry organised a fitting tribute notice which contained the names of 22 men who fought in the New Guinea area during World War Two. Only one is still with us and they represented fathers and uncles of the 10th Intake group on board. The details included name, rank, regimental number, unit and area of operations. In addition we attended a Memorial Service at the rear of the ship hosted by the Commodore where a wreath was placed in a pool. The ship rested in the area of the infamous Battle of the Coral Sea and we also remembered those who perished in the Toll Massacre. Amongst those who attended was Kerry, the late Vic Creagh's daughter. Ray Kohn, Owen Puie & Richard Barry all served in the Tracker Platoon under Sergeant Vic Creagh and it was a pleasure to tell her of her father's redeeming qualities especially in the war zone.
Already a survey is underway to ascertain where the sixth 10th Intake exciting cruise will go in 2020. In fact two couples in this group have already booked a 106 day cruise around the world. Fantastic.

Richard Barry.
10th March 2018.
Edited