Cruising The South Pacific On The Pacific Dawn

pacific_dawn

Intro

My wife and I just got back from our 10 day cruise to the South Pacific. We visited Santo, Port Vila, Mystery Island, Lifou and Noumea. I must say that it was the most exciting holiday ever.

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Booking

We booked our P&O Cruise thru Student Flights which was close to my wife’s work. Lorraine paid a deposit and then paid every fortnight until the balance was paid off.

Pre Cruise

P&O has a customer portal called “Cruise Control”. This allows you to register, print tickets and bag tags, signup for Shore Tours and get the latest information for your cruise. The best part about cruise control was the countdown timer to when the cruise departs.

Day 1: Wednesday 12 October

Arrived at terminal and dropped off bags at luggage collection point and waited in line. We checked in with passport, tickets and filled out customs form.

We had our picture taken and cruise card printed. Then we made into the lounge area to be called up according to our deck number.

Walked thru to customs, scanned and then our first photograph by the ships photographers. Onward to the Gangway, scanned our cruise cards as we stepped onto the ship.

Tip: Don’t lose your cruise card. You use your cruise card for everything. You use it to purchase anything on the ship. It is your key for your cabin. It allows you to enter and exit the ship. You can purchase a lanyard on the ship or have a lanyard already like we did. I suggest a lanyard with a plastic sleeve for your cruise card to go into. We have heard that insect repellant will take off the print on the cruise card, hence why we put it into a plastic sleeve. 🙂

Arrived at Portside Wharf
Arrived at Portside Wharf
Our first Lemon, Lime and Bitters
Our first Lemon, Lime and Bitters

We celebrated Lorraine’s Birthday. The staff brought her a little cake with a candle and sang Happy Birthday. It was lovely.

Lorraine's Birthday Cake
Lorraine’s Birthday Cake
Lorraine's Birthday
Lorraine’s Birthday

Day 2: Thursday 13th October

We are in the Coral Sea heading towards our first port Santo. Roughly 1000 nautical miles from Brisbane. In the morning I did Walk The Plank. It was windy and really hard to walk out on that plank. But I did it. Woo Hoo.

Went down to Level 5 (Reception) and checked out the shops. Ordered our Photo Package and got our free social media Internet voucher. Bought new batteries for Lorraine’s camera and checked out the grand opening of Pandora.

Tip: Get the photo package. If you brought clothes for the dress up parties I suggest getting the photo package. It costs $199. There are up to 5 different backdrops for every party. The photos are top quality. When you get off the ship at each port you get your photo taken. We had over 200 professional photos of us taken. They were prints and the photos were also put on a usb for us.

Pacific Daily
Pacific Daily
Looking out from the back of the ship (aft)
Looking out from the back of the ship (aft)
This is where the I walked the plank
This is where the I walked the plank

Day 3: Friday 14th October

Lorraine and I did the Titantic Moment. No music was playing. lol.

Titanic Moment
Titanic Moment

We explored the ship again today. Tomorrow will be our first port.

Pacific Dawn Sign
Pacific Dawn Sign
Clock
Clock
Top Deck
Top Deck

Day 4: Saturday 15th October - Santo

Today we arrived at our first port, Santo. So excited. We were greeted by the locals. No tours booked, so we walked down the main road towards the town. Lots of taxis waiting, but we gave it a miss. We checked out a few shops and made our way towards the Markets. The local women have setup marquees to sell their stuff.

Tip: Don’t forget to purchase water and take with before you get off the ship. It was hot and humid. We purchased 1 litre bottles with the cooler bag and strap. Probably too heavy, but I am glad we had water with us. Maybe you could get away with 600ml bottles.

Arrive at Santo
Arrive at Santo
Santo Port
Santo Port
Pacific Dawn docked at Santo
Pacific Dawn docked at Santo

Lorraine bought some sarongs and shirts. Walked back and found the Cafe with WiFi. Ordered beer and chips for me and Lorraine had a caramel milkshake. It was the first time we could update our status and fb messaged home. Uploaded a few pics, finished our drinks and food and made our way back to the ship.

santo markets 1
Santo Markets
Santo Markets
santo markets 3
Natangora Cafe - Free Wifi
Natangora Cafe – Free Wifi

In the afternoon I climbed the Crows Nest. That was fun. Great view from the top.

Crows Nest
Crows Nest

Day 5: Sunday 16th October - Port Vila

Today is our Wedding anniversary, married 8 years. Woo Hoo. We arrived at Port Vila. We were told that Port Vila was the best place to shop duty free and it was.

We docked at Port Vila and the markets were just outside the ship which was a better setup than Santo were you had to walk into town to see the markets.

I couldn’t resist buying a new hat. Lorraine bought a few gifts before we moved on. We got to the taxi rank and caught a taxi (old van) into town with a few other people. $5 per person.

We got dropped off at the bottom of the main cbd area and the first shop we went into was Fung Keui (Port Vila’s No.1 Duty Free Store).

Fung Kuei Duty Free Store
Fung Kuei Duty Free Store
Duty Free Alcohol
Duty Free Alcohol

We don’t really drink alcohol. BUT… 4 and half litres for $90. Couldn’t say no. lol. Vodka, Jim Beam, Tia Maria and Johnny Walker. There are a lot of people who are just waiting for tourists. As you can see I got a picture of me and the lizards. They pounce on you and before you know it you are handing money over for the photo. It’s cool though.

Me covered in lizards
Me covered in lizards
My Vanuatu Hat
My Vanuatu Hat
Map of Vanuatu
Map of Vanuatu

Around lunch time it began to rain. The roads were covered in water as the drains were clogged. We decided to make it back to the ship. The taxi driver tried charging us more money. We got him to agree on the price or we were getting out, then gave him the money.

After getting back to ship we played Trivia on level 5. Edge was cancelled due to the weather.

Tomorrow we arrive at Mystery Island.

Day 6: Monday 17th October - Mystery Island

Arrived at Mystery Island. No port today. We use tenders to get to the island.

Tender
Tender
Mystery Island
Mystery Island
Lorraine and Me at Mystery Island
Lorraine and Me at Mystery Island
Mystery Island Airport
Mystery Island Airport
Pacific Dawn anchored at Mystery Island
Pacific Dawn anchored at Mystery Island

Mystery Island was beautiful. The water was flat and clear. Not like our surf back home.

After getting back to the ship I then did the Edge Sign Experience. That was fun.

Mystery Island Beach
Mystery Island Beach
Edge Sign Experience
Edge Sign Experience

Day 7: Tuesday 18th October - Lifou

Today we arrived at Lifou. After breakfast we made our way to the tender and made our way ashore.

Lifou
Lifou
Lifou Beach
Lifou Beach
Lifou - Pacific Dawn
Lifou – Pacific Dawn
Lifou Map
Lifou Map

We walked to the top of the hill to see the Church. To get there you walk up the sealed road and turned left. Takes about 30 mins. The climb was pretty easy as there was steps and a railing from the bottom to the top. The church is the main feature of the climb. The view is awesome. You can see the ship just sitting in the water. Definitely an awesome experience.

Church on the hill
Church on the hill
Rainy and Me
Rainy and Me
Pacific Dawn from the Church on the Hill
Pacific Dawn from the Church on the Hill

After getting back to the ship I did the High Ropes. This was the most challenging thing that I’ve done and the most rewarding.

high ropes 1
High Ropes
High Ropes
high ropes 3

Tonight was the Bianco Party (White Party). So much fun. So much dancing. We will pay for it in the morning. lol.

Bianco Party - Me
Bianco Party – Me
Bianco Party - Rainy
Bianco Party – Rainy

Day 8: Wednesday 19th October - Noumea

Arrived at Noumea. Got off the ship and checked out the markets right at the port. Bought a ticket on the hop on hop off bus. The first stop was the morning markets. Lots of great stuff. Second stop was Lemon Beach. Found bar and Restaurant called 3 Brasseurs. Had a beer, half a litre of beer, lol. Found a chocolate shop called Fonton Jules and bought some chocolate. We ate it before we got back to the ship.

Got back onto the bus and made our way back to the ship. Got off at Mcdonalds and got a meal deal and posted pics onto Facebook with the free WiFi.

Walked back to the ship.Chilled for the afternoon. That night after dinner we watched London Has Fallen. Awesome day.

Day 9: Thursday 20th October

Sea day. Today and tomorrow we are cruising back to Brisbane.

Day 10: Friday 21st October

Sea day. Still cruising.

Day 11: Saturday 22nd October

Arrived back at Brisbane. Early start. Had to pick up alcohol at 6am. Didn’t have time for breakfast. Disembarked the ship at 6.30. Waited for Renee to pick us up. Our cruise was over.