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Active Retirees : Active Retirees June-July 2012
Active RetireesTM | 21 I t was a 13-year -old who first noticed the action out by the pool. “Wow, look at them go!” Forced to point because of a mouthful of her, at a guess, fourth breakfast pastry, her face was a picture of astonishment as she watched about 20 of our fellow passengers waving their arms around and spinning in circles. I put my, at a guess, third pastry down. Breakfast was clearly over. I headed outside to Athena’s Calypso Deck and into an infectious salsa rhythm. Our fellow passengers were having a hoot following the fabulously uncoordinated movements of Pedro, the ship’s entertainer, as he led them in a whirl of Zumba. For the uninitiated, Zumba is a Latin-inspired craze, combining dance and aerobics, and I’ve seen teenagers disintegrate in their efforts to merge their lunges with their samba. But no one was flagging on Athena, because nobody cared if they got the moves wrong. It was all about having a laugh and having a go, more of a tracksuit and Bermuda shorts affair; no flouncing, no flicking of hair and not a scrap of L ycra in sight. The delicious feeling of relaxation and fun continued throughout our four days cruising from Adelaide to Sydney. Whereas just a few weeks before the decks had heaved with children and families on holidays, our cruise was more reserved; more cardigans and sensible shoes than sarongs and toe rings. But I suspect the onboard activities were just as popular. Staying active I never made the breakfast Walk The Mile, but I had a stab at the Cha Cha and the Beer Quoits. I cheated at Shuffleboard, heckled in the trivia comps, stumbled in the ballroom dancing, gave up on the golf chipping and searched for pieces in the giant communal jigsaw. I never made it to the nightclub, but I never missed an after - dinner show, the lure of song, dance and sequins too enticing. The Portuguese-registered Athena was previously a 160m long transatlantic ocean liner transformed in 1994 into a classy, medium-sized cruise ship featuring eight passenger decks, several lounges, a casino, two restaurants, a library, nightclub and fitness centre. There are 276 cabins and 43 suites, eight of which have private balconies and jacuzzis. The cabins are spacious, including a mini bar, television and safe, and all have decent-sized ensuites boasting full-size baths. Athena is more style than bling, more private resort than floating hotel and, with 550 passengers, is large enough for passengers to enjoy variety among the faces, but small enough to keep it personal. This intimacy and the friendliness of the crew create a delightful atmosphere. It’s a perfect cruise to travel solo as company is never far away and is easy to find, as is your cabin. The best testaments to Athena’s appeal were the seasoned cruisers I met who had returned to travel with her. For them, the holiday away was more like coming home. •• ShoWdoWn I had never considered myself a competitive person until I met Margaret. The 82-year-old was my biggest rival for the Miss Athena title, an award hard- fought by the brightest and best. In a quest held during an after-dinner show, challenges included strutting a catwalk and popping balloons with your body against a ‘volunteer’ from the audience. At first glance, Margaret looked easy enough to beat; I thought I could out-strut and out-pop her in a heartbeat. But I totally underestimated this showstopper. As I strutted, she shimmied; as I popped she gyrated slowly, working her audience into a frenzy of delight and hysteria. Her fans cheered her on as she twirled and tangoed, pirouetted and pouted, while I, clearly an amateur in comparison, was also reduced to tears of laughter. I had no choice but to quickly concede defeat. The next day, Margaret strutted with more than a little attitude. She proudly paraded the decks adorned with her Miss Athena sash, earning applause and accolades everywhere she went. Although she’d boarded solo, she certainly wasn’t travelling alone. all aBoard! In the 2012-13 season, Athena will make weekend cruises to and from Fremantle, three- to seven-night cruises between Fremantle and Adelaide, and 36-night cruises from France to Fremantle. W: classicintcruises.com Her fans cheered her on as she twirled and tangoed, pirouetted and pouted. Clearly an amateur in comparison, I had no choice but to quickly concede defeat. Thinkstock
Active Retirees April-May 2012
Active Retirees Aug-Sept 2012