Here’s my experience! :)
I’m 24 and this was my first cruise and my first time going out of Australia. I went with my two best friends, one whom had already been on the same cruise, and the other had already been to Vanuatu. We ... Read More
Here’s my experience! :)
I’m 24 and this was my first cruise and my first time going out of Australia. I went with my two best friends, one whom had already been on the same cruise, and the other had already been to Vanuatu. We departed from Brisbane, and I had parked my car at portside parking, it was affordable and convenient. Check in was easy and didn’t take long, we were the stowaways, so check in was around 12-12:30pm I think. You get your picture taken and you receive a cruise card which is your everything once you’re on the ship! It’s your room key and your money. You put cash onto the card or you can set it up with a debit or credit card. I used cash. There are computers near the reception desk to check your balance.
Once we were on the ship, I remember being really nervous and excited! Shortly after boarding, we had to assemble in our designated areas in a case of emergency; ours was the casino, with your life jacket to listen to instructions of what to do in an emergency situation. Your stewards inform you once you get to your room where you have to go etc. After that was finished it was time to explore! We headed straight for the top deck for the sail away party and a few celebratory drinks! It was magical, leaving Brisbane and seeing the city and the beautiful blue water. It was fun going underneath the bridge and the horn sounding (it was so loud haha).
At first I had XXXX gold beer that was about $6 from memory; you just swipe your card. Spirits from $7 to $9. Cocktails from $10 to $20.
We were lucky enough to be able to purchase an alcoholic beverage package. It cost around $70 per day and you can only buy it on the 1st or 2nd day of the cruise and it’s for the whole duration of the cruise. So I paid $480 (approx.), the deal is unlimited drinks, to the value of $12 (which is perfect, beers, cocktails and spirits are all within this range), only one drink at a time and you cannot buy for other people. DEFINITELY BUY THE PACKAGE IF IT IS AVAILABLE! It saves a lot of money. When you are kicking back on the deck having a cocktail, a glass of wine with dinner or several, or in the Dome having a night out dancing and enjoying a rum ($8-$9), it all adds up. I definitely got a benefit out of the package. Great job P & O for offering it! Oh and this package includes, coffee, bottles of water (not the big ones in your room though) and soft drinks.
There is also a soft drink package for like $50 (from memory), unlimited soft drink, great if you don’t drink alcohol or for the kids etc.
I’m use to the sea because I love fishing and going out on boats etc but I did take quick eze on two occasions (one when we first boarded and one on the way back to Brisbane – the weather was so rough!)
It was easy to navigate around the ship, elevators were slow though because of the amount of people obviously, so we would take the stairs often, great exercise though to burn off the delicious food and beverages! On the first day we did the treasure hunt, had to go to multiple places on the ship and get staff to sign off, then once completed, cards were drawn out and people won prizes. Some great prizes hey, I ended up winning a massage to the value of $120. AMAZING! The beauty place is expensive but if you’re into pampering yourself or even Botox, it’s all available at a cost.
We were on deck 10, inside room (no view). Loved it, great choice. And not far from an elevator too.
It cost us each $780 approx.
The plantation is a buffet style restaurant – we used this for breakfast or for a quick bite to eat for lunch sometimes (they prepare rolls and sandwiches etc and we use to just take them with us).
However, this is at the back of the ship and my gosh you can feel the waves haha and you can see the ship going up and down, I was a bit queasy eating here but if you went out on the balcony (if you could find a seat) it was enjoyable, the fresh air made it better.
The Waterfront Restaurant was our favourite place to eat. Breakfast was only ok, a bit unorganised. Lunch was alright, the same again. However dinner was amazing! We booked each night for 8pm, you can choose to share a table with strangers or just get one for your group. I loved the menu and there is a huge variety. Entrée, main and desserts are available and you can choose whatever and how many you want! All included in your cost.
We were soooo happy with majority of the staff, our stewards were fantastic and polite (everyone says good morning and afternoon). They made us several towel animals haha. But the most memorable (they helped make our trip amazing) were our waiters in the Waterfront restaurant. Elma and Mervyn, we wrote them great feedback on the cruise and tipped them. We asked to sit in their area every night. You will definitely find staff that remember you and make you feel welcomed!
Plenty to do! I thought that I’d be relaxing on the deck all the time sipping away on cocktails, tanning for the whole duration! Oh no! There are soooo many activities to do during the day and night! It was fantastic. You get the daily schedule the night before and we were actually planning our day out so we could attend certain things and schedule it around meal times etc. I like golf and they actually had chipping and putting games, just a bit of fun. You do can as much as you like or as little as you like, it’s really up to you. And certain things are repeated so you can go another time. The big entertainment shows were good, singing and dancing stuff. The staff are so talented!! I love the comedy nights (adults only), celebrity heads, I can’t remember the name of it but it was a game where 4 staff had to tell us the definition of word and we had to guess who was correct – it was so funny! Willy the entertainment director is hilarious haha.
There’s even a casino with roulette, poker, black jack and poker machines. They have bingo too! Big jackpots as well.
We pre-reserved ours. Two stops we used the gangway and in Lifou we had to use Tender boats to get on shore. They were easy and quick for us.
Noumea – was the first stop – think we got there at 3pm and had to be back on the ship on 9pm
We used their currency which is Franc and you can exchange money on the ship or in Noumea when you get off. In Noumea is a better exchange rate.
I was a bit disappointed in this place, we didn’t go out of the town, we stayed in the middle and walked everywhere, went to see the churches etc, hardly any shops were open (siesta or something or maybe people are broke and heaps of shops are closed), I tried some kind of beef mince spring roll which was nice, oh and the main park has free wifi, youll see heaps of locals chilling around, that’s why probably . We did the night chou chou train – which departed at 5pm or so and it arrives in time to get back on the boat, It was great, you get to see all the different bays and stories etc – and you get a quick snack and drink
We used the Franc again, got there in the morning and think we had to be back on by the afternoon (can’t exactly remember)
When you get on shore there are markets set up and food, I had a Panini and fresh coconut. Oh and also tried their Number One beer (that’s what it’s called haha) tasted like a mid to me
We walked to the church up on the hill, amazing views, great panoramic shots
Definitely pre-reserve the jinek bay snorkelling at Lifou. There are limited places and heaps of people missed out. It was beautiful! I loved it. We took our own snorkelling gear and reef walkers (you can hire them but I wouldn’t) make sure you have a waterproof camera, some awesome photo opportunities
Port Villa –
Used Australian money, you got the day to enjoy it had to be back on the ship by 4pm or so.
In the harbour it is sooo beautiful from up on the ship.
When you get off the ship, you go to the right to go wait for the shore tours (it’s not far). You go to the left to go into town. We did the Ocean Walk shore tour, that was great, I was nervous at first but it was excellent. Just make sure you take your waterproof camera though, the people take photos which you can buy but they also take pictures on your camera for you. You get to feed the fish and touch sea cucumbers etc I loved it.
Now haha when you want to go into town, be prepared to be shocked! You are immediately confronted by the taxi men who want to take you. We paid $10 which is good. The driving is insane! You’ll understand once you’re there haha. We got dropped off in the main street and walked to the duty free shop! We bought our alcohol and they transport it to the ship for you and you collect it on the last morning of the ship.
We then went to the Jungle Café which has free wifi when you purchase something! If you wanted to connect to the world, you could go here. I tried there tusker beer and I really liked it.
MOST IMPORTANTLY (well for me anyways) haha People have lizards and they put them on you and charge you to take a picture! I’m so glad my friends warned me, I was freaking out! My eyes were peeled for these people and multiple times I screamed when they approached haha, although there was a beautiful green one! I admired it from afar haha
I’m not sure if it was lack of sleep or what, but I was very keen to get back on the boat. It was maybe overwhelming, the markets are packed and the shops with food and souvenirs and people.
Word of advice, buy souvenirs from the town and not at the markets near the ship. It is much much cheaper to buy in town. E.g. fake Oakley sunnies cost me $5 from in town. At the markets near the ship they wanted $25.
On the way back to the boat, we got a water taxi – I loved it! Paid $15 for the three of us. I love the water and it was beautiful.
Once on the ship we were on the adult’s only deck, sipping cocktails, watching the sun setting, waiting to sail away (watching people running back to the ship who were late hahaha).
After vila it’s like a two day journey back to Brisbane – and wow, was it choppy! You could absolutely feel it and every now and then the whole ship would shudder. In the waterfront restaurant, the cupboards and draws were opening and closing, that’s how rough it was. Crazy! On bad weather days they close off the top decks and the side decks for safety reasons obviously. Oh and deck 7 on one side is the smokers deck or there’s one up on deck 13 in a corner near the Dome. The dome is the night club. The DJ was pretty terrible for the first few nights, but then the last two nights he actually let a good song play.
Oh KARAOKE! There are some talented people, I tell you. My friend and I sung on the first night after a bit of Dutch courage haha but karaoke is on every night.
There are different bars, different vibes etc. You’ll work it out which one you enjoy the most.
TIP! If you are on the top deck and the bar near the pools is BUSY AS! Go to the dome and get your drinks there, so much quieter, quicker and not far to walk.
We had a white party, Gatsby and back to school. Every night is just a big party really, if you want it to be. On these themed parties, staff come out and dance for a bit
Although we did speak with an older couple who were staying on one of the upper decks and they could hear the music. So keep that in mind when booking.
Gatsby was the BEST! Definitely dress up, it is good fun.
There is always a photographer out and about. Before you get on the ship you can get a picture, when you get off on every shore tour, on cocktail nights and on party nights.
Definitely get your photos taken and then go check them out. E.g It costs like $120 for 4 pictures, get one free. Plus many many more options. It’s pricey but hey, some of the pictures turn out amazing! And a great way to remember the cruise!
Getting off/Duty Free Items
We had to collect our duty free at 6:30am I think, we had breakfast afterwards though
You get a time and place to meet to get off the ship, ours was ahead of schedule and was easy as. Finding our luggage was easy too.
All of this is explained in booklets that you receive the night before
The company I had, my two best friends, definitely made the trip! Everything else was amazing and I’m definitely going on another. I’m going to do the New Zealand cruise. :)
Go on a cruise and enjoy it! I hope you have just as an amazing time as I did. It caters for everyone! Read Less