Woke up at 3am on the day of the cruise. Packed and ready by 4am.Stopped and had a quick bite to eat at Mcdonalds at Devonport, saw the Spirit of Tasmania come in(I was getting motion sickness just by looking at it.Arrived just before 8am at Launceston Airport for a 9am flight(need assistance so that's why they want you there early. Flight took us to Melbourne where we waited for 3/4 of an hour before another flight that took us to Sydney.12:40 PM the plane landed in Sydney.We then went downstairs to get out baggage off the carousel(I forgot to put the P&O TAGS on the suitcases, no matter,Went outside the terminal to catch a taxi to wharf 8.The people just ahead of us at the taxi rank had their P&O tags,that's what made me remember that I had forgot to put them on at the luggage collection.The cost of a taxi was $45 including a toll,thank heavens the taxi had air conditioning.
Arrived at wharf 8 outside the terminal, we weren't the only one's who didn't have tags.P&O baggage handlers then took out suitcases, we were shown the direction to the terminal, once in there,a nice lady assisted me with getting me a wheelchair and taking me to where the disabled passengers are processed.A young man took our tickets and passports(Stephen went with him) came back a few minutes later and wheeled me into another section of the building, there we were processed by security had our passports checked,then over to the TRS desk,I could only claim for the digital video camera,not the SD card or the I-pod, although I did have proof of purchase, and bought items during the 30 days of departure,apparently,it would have been better if I had all items on one invoice(sheesh)
Had our photos taken before boarding the ship,can't say that I looked stunning,I looked awful.... up and into the boat... had our photo's taken for the cruise card and then we were inside the boat..... we had our first "ding" We then proceeded to our cabin D103, very spacious and lots of cupboard space.When I look back... we didn't need half the clothes as I washed 3 times for both of us. Wash was $3 and dryer was $3 and a box of fabric softener just a $1.
Had lunch in the buffet, we were famished,had a lite salad and fruit for lunch. Muster was just a little after 3pm, took about 15 Min's.Got our sail-away drinks just after the muster(mock-tails, they were yummy) got to keep the P&O plastic tumblers.Went to the back of the ship for sail-away(just above the spa).The boat began moving slowly and we were on our way. Marvellous sailaway, under the Harbour Bridge.... On the foreshore I counted 3 brides, but I heard that there were 13.... must of been a great day Sun was shining.... warm afternoon.Past the opera House and headed out to sea.
Stephen and I went back to the cabin to unpack, meet out cabin steward Nelson.I don't recall what we did after that... we were too tired to explore the ship any further.Oh now I remember... just out of the heads...saw a dolphin riding the bow waves,it was getting on dusk so we just made him out.
Day 1 at sea:Slept okay, took phenergan the gentle roll, rocked us to sleep.Wandered down to the Palm Court Dining room for breakfast.... we had breakfast and lunch nearly every day.We would of went there for Dinner, but we never took the opportunity,(note to self, anytime dining on your cruise card rolls eyes in head).I spent my time on deck 7, promenade deck, as I am used to having a window open at night for fresh air.
Made a few purchases just minor things at first,Big swell/roll feel a lot of movement in our cabin and walking the corridors,its amazing how your cabin "groans" in the early hours of the morning.Took ginger tablets and panadeine as I had a blinding headache, due to the fact that I hadn't eaten for more than 12 hrs.Went to lunch.... still movement, I tried to focus on something else, but eating wasn't one of them.People at the table said I looked "green" still had a blinding headache,was helped back to my cabin by a fellow cruiser who most friendly.(I came across some wonderful people on this cruise)Went to the medical center around 4:30pm... first 1 there... told the nurse my symptoms and gave me a "shot" and avomine tablets, was told to go straight to my cabin as the injection would make me feel drowsy.
Day 2 At Sea:Went to the shore tour desk and had booked the glass bottom boat in Vila,exchanged $100 forXPF. And a word in your ear new cruisers::: lean closer......DO NOT GIVE money to cabin stewards,we were generous and gave more than we should have. I know I know..... tips and advice on the cruise board went out the window with me, wait till the end of the cruise and tip those that gave you good service, and not during the cruise. I had removed Stephens gratuties but not my own.... I'll know better next time. Tipping didn't get better service of the cabin steward......I'd be happy for some fresh towels and ice.... even though I waited patiently till after 12:30(when were at lunch) it would have given him time to do that.
At last, we sighted land... doing a happy dance!!!Doing a shore tour at 10 am when we arrive in Noumea.What a shock to the system!!!!! from coming from a cool temperate climate, and then hitting the "heat of the tropics" was just too much for Stephen and I.we welcomed being inside the ship has air-con.There in port we were greeted my natives singers and dancers....... it was touching it bought tears to my eyes.Did the city highlites tour tour guide was Helen and the Driver, Pascal.... thank heavens the bus had air-con.
What I noticed in Noumea, was the traffic, not a breath of wind,didn't see anydogs and for that matter any bird life.... maybe it was just too darn hot for beasts and men.It really needs rains....and more rain....Noumea is not a place I would like to retire.Did the green train at 2pm,broke down.... or was that meant to happen, I really don't know........... I could have kicked myself as the train took the same route as the bus tour.All I know was that we wanted to get back to the ship and have a nice tepid shower.Had the Spring Chicken for lunch(really quite bland, much like hospital food).
Over night at sea after leaving Noumea.... ready for Lifou 4th Dec:Had a relaxing footspa yesterday,note to self... when I get home make time for a pedicure.
Day 5 stopped at Lifou had breakfast, got our tender tickets at 10 am... finally left at 11 am.Spent an hour at Lifou,pretty rocky walking up a dirt path, its really only for goats,hard for me to get down to the beach.Apparently, others did snorkling on the other side of the island and serveral people were stung blue bottles.Got a few knik-naks from the small market at Lifou then back on the boat ready to have lunch.
Gave a guy $5 then 1's that work the tender boats for helping me on and off the boat....couldn't thank me enough, I smiled,it was well worth it.
Day 6:Vila had breakfast and left the ship around 8:30 to have a look at the markets,no sooner had we gotten out of the gate then a throng of taxi drivers were in our face.When I said no... and shook my head, a young man he would do us a tour of the village and the falls... not sure which one Cascade on Mele Falls.Negotiated a price before we got in the taxi $80 or 8,000 vatu...where's a man when you need one.(Men are so good at fixing up our mistakes)So "hot" even with the windows down.... our self proclaimed tour guide was Joel.He took us too a village of about 3,000 people....the kids came running up to the car and gave us flowers that they had picked from the bushes, and in return, expected lollies. Funny that.....seems the tourists believe in giving the children lollies in return for some flowers.If I had known, I would have bought pencils and school note pads...its terrible seeing the children exspecting lollies,it ruins it for them and us.
Got back to the ship at 10:30am, in time for our 11am shore tour.This was done with P&O.We were -along with others, ushered into a dilapitdated mini bus,(sorry, telling it like it is)For our glass bottom boat tour.Arrived at the jetty were the glass bottom boat was(looked very much like my Dad's prawn trawler) old and and smelly... not like the other glass bottom boats we saw that day. I had to climb down steep steps into the boat, another elderly couple whom I could see had knee replacements,struggled as well. Its a pity the P&O couldn't have organised a better boat for us. Willie the Captain,and Alice our tour operators were pleasant and helped everyone sort out the gear they wanted.Looking thtough the glass bottom boat,seeing all the dead coral looked a graveyard, Willie and Alice told us that there had been a cyclone a few years back, and the reef was slowly growing back.Even Stephen got into the swing of snorkling, he enjoyed it so much, that he wants to do it when he gets back....(maybe even dive for crayfish one day).
The tour went for nearly 2 hours but when we got back to the jetty there was no-one there to pick us up.(Was busting to go to the loo)So Stephen and I walked about 100yards to the road to hail a taxi(I wanted to do some shopping in Vila.....but Stephen, bless his heart was concerned for my welfare)Gawd!!! they have some mad drivers in Vila, and drive on the wrong side of the road... no caution is exercised for other motorists or pedestrians.Its a case of he who hesitates is killed!!!!Got in a taxi.... back door wouldn't stay open.... as I was getting in...so Stephen held the door while I got in.We thought the taxi driver was taking us for a ride when he pulled into the local servo to fill up with fuel.I found Vila just as dirty as Noumea... so dry and some much needed rain to green up the place wasn't forth coming.
Got back to the markets at the wharf, told the taxi driver to drop us off 500vatu..so Stephen and I were walking on the gravel close to the markets when this mini van came to close and nudged me....I was stunned and a little shaken up, but not hurt(later that day... I felt mild to moderate pain, so took some panadeine).I can't really blame the workers at the wharf... for going slow on the job, its stifling in that heat.
Sailaway at 6 pm from Vila had a French Navy Vessel bid us farewell.A day is not enough,Can I be brutally honest for a moment...Its like the population HAS TO BE FRIENDLY to the tourist, their hearts weren't in it....which made me feel awarkward.Felt the natives were very wary of us,it takes time to win trust.
Sat 5th Dec:Woke up to find that toilets wouldn't flush(isn't it always the way.... when you get the urge to go) so went down to 7, only to find that that toilet wouldn't flush either. How embarrassing. 3-4 hours later, we could all flush,cause was someone had put something in the toilets affecting 3 sections of the ships vaccum system.We could us the fwd toilets but no other toilets.Bought as bingo dabber.... thinking I was going to play bingo,never eventuated. Had dinner at the Steakhouse that night....a lot of shuddering was going on... and rocking...I didn't enjoy the food, took too long to get served,booked a table for 8pm... lucky to get served by 8:30-8:40pm,certainly not worth $25 pp.
Today at Wala, Stephen went, took some photos.He said it was nice and the natives were the friendliest people, wish I had gone.
Sun6th Dec :Rough weather tonight,waves and wet on deck 7, had the safety officer come and closed the area.
Mon 7th Dec.. Had breakfast then lunch,played the pokies $20 went in, and $37 came back!!First time in days I saw the stars.
Overall comments:Wait staff in Palm Court Excellent.Coffee down on deck 5 Excellent(Patisserie)...Alwin a most attentive waiter new us by name with a warm smile he greeted us.But most of all we had some very considerate cruiser's who would go out of their way by opening doors and standing aside the elevators.But although we didn't do all that there was to offer in the Pacific Daily,we did enjoy the show on Monday evening.This cruise was more than I had envisaged....was mind boggling to all my senses.
Never assume all P&O staff are friendly or attentive,(pursers desk)they may never see you again you are just another passenger to them,1 lot off, the next lot boarding.