It was over 6 months ago in Mount Maunganui, while watching a cruise ship dock in the harbour that Hayley and I decided to plan a cruise for our next get together. After some research we finally found a cruise which took in 5 South Pacific islands over 10 days. It would give me a glimpse of the countries of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, both of which I knew very little about and couldn't have dreamt of visiting before. Considering I was visiting the South Pacific island of Tonga with my friend Dory aswell, it would mean I would tick off three of the South Pacific island countries which was super exciting.
We eventually booked it and the waiting game began. Finally November 7th arrived and I flew from Christchurch to Sydney to spend a few days reuniting with yoga friends and my beloved Coogee Beach before our cruise would depart on Nov 10th. Our cruise was with P&O who I'd heard a lot about and I was excited at what to expect.
On board the cruise we were greeted by warm welcomes and friendly faves everywhere which was great! Before even setting sail from Sydney we had devoured two delicious gourmet lunches whilst overlooking the Sydney opera house and harbour bridge. We headed up to the top deck for the sail away which we all counted down for. As we left the harbour the music blared and the holidaymakers cheered to the beginning of our cruise. It was amazing.
We were due to sail for three full days before arriving at our first port of call Noumea, New Caledonia. Following this, we would sail to the islands of Lifou, Port Vila, Mystery Island and lastly the Isla of Pines before sailing for three days back to Sydney. During the cruise we enjoyed sun baking on the top deck, feasting on delicious meals from the buffet and in the evenings we enjoyed exquisite meals and service from our waiters Freddie and Arnold in the Waterfront restaraunt. We attended various pacific cirque shows, musicals and comedy shows in the amazing Marquee and danced the night away, cocktails in hand, on the top deck. We dressed to impress for the country and western night hoe down, for the cocktail dress code and for the biggest night of the cruise, island night.
The overall service was five star and every day we were looked after very well. There was a newsletter 'Pacific Daily' which was put in our cabin every evening for the following days events and allowed us to plan our days and nights in order to attend as much as we wanted. The pacific entertainers who performed in various musicals were outstanding and always left us wanting more, as did the incredibly talented pacific cirque performers. Especially Maurizio from Columbia ;)
We looked forward to our 8pm daily evening dinner at The Waterfront restaraunt where we sat beside a lovely Aussie couple from Ingham and chatted about each other's lives each night. We bonded over trying to solve our waiters puzzles and magic tricks and every night was so entertaining with them, especially towards the end when Freddie wrote and sang us a song. We learned a lot about our waiters lives and our whole experience was amazing because of them.
Overall the cruise was an amazing experience and I guess I was the only non Aussie/Kiwi on board which was quite funny although I did love when our Irish captain Gavin would talk to us on the intercom daily with his familiar irish accent! We had so many options onboard the ship that there was no time to be bored, and within a few days we knew our photographers, our cruise directors and we even had nicknames for some of the passengers we had noticed during the cruise. Sailing with P&O would definitely encourage me to go on another cruise, maybe not for as long as 10 days but maybe a shorter one somewhere else in the world. It was top class!