Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pacific Dawn - Day 13, Debark Day

Brisbane Portside

Back in Brisbane at Portside Dock. Our cruise is over. We left our luggage outside our cabins last night and will pick them up back on dry land once we debark from the Dawnie. Anything that we had to hand in at customs, like wooden bows etc, we could pick up first thing this morning. 

Breakfast was enjoyed and then we waited for our number to be called to leave the Dawn. It was any easy debark, all suitcases were found and then we headed to the shuttle bus and back to our cars. It's so handy having our cars just around the corner safely parked for us at Portside Parking.

Most of the talk on the way home was when our next cruise would be!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pacific Dawn - Day 12, Final Sea Day

Our final day at sea, this trip went by so fast and we all loved it although I think the kids and the women enjoyed it the most!

The pokey out part of the bridge

Poppy having a quiet cuppa

Cheese burger in the restaurant
We went to the restaurant for lunch today and found the best cheeseburger - thankfully for our waists we found it at the end of our cruise and the beginning, it was soooo good!

The Dome

Our final sunset on the Dawnie
We all agreed (well the girls and kids) that we will definitely be doing another cruise (and if you're on this blog you can see we certainly did!) it has been a fabulous 12 days! The staff have all been so friendly and happy and helpful - the bar staff can sometimes be hit and miss but that's what the men are here for!

The food has been plentiful and yummy - I don't think we had one disappointing meal including the kids so that's saying something!

Master 9 had this every night - pumpkin soup and damper
One of our lovely waiters

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pacific Dawn - Day 11, Sea day

We're now heading back to Brisbane, boo. We still have 2 more sea days to enjoy the Dawnie and enjoy we will!

Icecream Sundae

Dinosaur towel thanks to our room steward Phillipe
We spent most of today walking around the top deck, relaxing on the Lido or eating - a great day!

Our quad cabin

Master 4 and Rusty ready for dinner

We all looked forward to dinner, especially knowing we didn't have to cook or clean! Our waiters were absolutely wonderful and ensured every night was fun!

Miss 11 loved the kids club and spent most of her time there and with the lovely friends she made. Tonight they had a masquerade party wearing masks they'd made in kids club. She left us in the restaurant to go enjoy herself :-)

It was great knowing she was safe and was having so much fun - this is one of the many things that make cruising such a great holiday for families.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pacific Dawn - Day 10 Isle of Pines

The lovely Isle of Pines, New Caledonia. This is another tender port. What a gorgeous island, it would have been so peaceful until we turned up :-)


Snorkeling and swimming was definitely in order today. All but poppy went swimming, he's not a swimmer! It's an easy walk from the tender around to the beach and the snorkeling spot. There were a few market stalls and some food stalls but that was it - what a true island stop should be. There are a couple of resorts on the island if you really need to spend some money ;-)
Market stall


Sacred Rock - snorkeling central

The kids truly enjoyed themselves today as we all did. The water was lovely and very clean. P&O set up a volley ball court on the beach side as well as organised a tug of war for the kids.



Pull kids, pull!

Fun on the beach, even teddy joined us!

Heading back to the Dawnie on the tender
After we got back on board we head to the Dome to chill out a bit and talk about what we were going to have for dinner! We're always looking forward to our next meal especially dinner in the restaurant!

A bit of pool time for the kids and enjoying the pretty quiet Lido - it was like we had it all to ourselves!

Time for dinner - yay!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pacific Dawn, Day 9, Sea day

A day at sea is always a good day! Plenty of eating, lazing, reading and perving ;-)

Did I say it was 'relaxing'? Master 4 'smiling and saying 'hurry up'

Lido deck - lazing about deck

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pacific Dawn - Day 8, Suva Fiji

Suva, the capital of Fiji is today's stop. We dock here so no tender just walk off, walk on. A lot easier than tenders and less waiting. Not the prettiest of cities and very busy.

We'd heard that there was a place that sold cheap DVD movies so we thought we'd just wander around Suva and see if we could find it. You do have to watch yourself a bit as there are a few dodgy characters about and don't accept anything from the stall holders even if they say it is a free gift. It isn't a free gift. As my dad found out! I think they're fairly harmless just trying to get some money out of us tourists but just be sensible. Stay with a group and don't go anywhere with them - if they suggest going to their shop or a friends shop, don't.

The heart of Suva

Local food market near the port

Downtown Suva

Not far from where the ship docks is a building with lots and lots of wood items. Apparently there is a morning and afternoon price as they kept telling us. Not sure which was better value! They have some really lovely things, not sure how much is actually made by them as all the stalls seem to have pretty much the same things, but the prices weren't too bad. We got a few small things and then headed into the heart of Suva.

A friendly local

There's a fancy department store, I think it's aimed at us tourist, we went into just for the airconditioning but there were many other cruises in there spending, spending, spending! The prices didn't look that special.

Lots of walking and we, amazingly, found the dvd shop - we shopped up a storm and then headed back to the ship. It was really hot and humid so the kids (and us oldies) decided a dip in the pool was called for and maybe a trip to the buffet!

 Pirate night tonight but Master 4 was the only one who put any effort in. Everyone thought he was so cute! (he was)

Bonito (head waiter man) and Master 4

Another day another yummy dessert

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pacific Dawn - Day 7, Port Denaru Fiji

Port Denaru, Fiji is a tender stop and a long tender ride it is. It's about 30 minutes on the tender and can be quite hot.

Sailing into Fiji
Port Denaru is a very touristy town so we thought we'd see if we could hire a car and head out into Fiji. We found it very difficult to do this and ended up hiring an man with a minivan - this turned out to be quite expensive but we were on holidays and though, why not!

We didn't know anything about Port Denaru or Fiji or what was out there and how far away was 'it' so we left it to our drivier. He took us through Nadi and to a bank to make sure we had enough cash to pay him! Nadi (pronounced Nandi) isn't the pretty of towns but it would have been nice to have a wander around, our driver had other ideas. He said it wasn't safe and to just go to the bank, get our money and jump back into the van. I think he wanted to get us to where he wanted us to go and not spend any money before we got there!


After getting our money we jumped back into the van and off we went and went and went. We drive a loooooong way, through not much at all along very rough and ready 'road's driving full speed. Pot holes galore, cars, trucks and vans speeding the other way - half the time directly at us.

We finally got somewhere and it was just a fancy resort The Intercontinental. It was lovely and meant to have the best beach in Fiji but it was just a fancy, touristy resort with an average beach. We did snorkel but there weren't many fish about. Just one little sucker fish that the kids loved but scared the beejeezers out of me. (I'm scared of any 'creepy crawley type things)
Intercontinental Beach
Pool at the Intercontinental

After spending a few hours here we had to head back to make sure we didn't miss the tender back to the ship. We'd driven a looooong way, a few hours so didn't want to risk missing the ship. The only 'good' thing was if we did miss the ship our next stop, Suva, wasn't too far away from where we were so we could have met up with her tomorrow.

Locals putting on a show at Port Denaru

We made it back in time to have a quick wander around Port Denaru and then onto the tender and back to our lovely Dawnie. Once on board we freshened up and then headed to the Lido for sailaway and to watch the ice carving. Clever fellow!

Dinner at table 72 was fabulous as ever. I think Master 4 had the cutest dessert!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pacific Dawn - Day 6, Sea Day

A relaxing day on board the Dawnie today as we make our way towards Fiji! The kids spent most of the day in the pool while us older folk relaxed on the Lido with a coffee and danish or three :-)

The top, shallow pool above the kids pool

The Dawn has two pools in the Lido, one for adults and one for everyone. The everyone or kids pool also has a smaller pool above which is great for the younger ones who maybe a bit nervous of going in the main pool. This smaller pool is the waterfall into the main pool - the kids loved it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pacific Dawn - April 2011, Day 5, Port Vila

13th April 2011 - Port Vila

Often while we are in port the staff have drills - today was their 'man overboard drill'.

Man overboard!!
Port Vila! We'd been here (well the girls have been here!) on our first cruise in 2010 on the Dawn and were very happy to be going back on this cruise. The markets were calling! It can be a bit overwhelming when you first head off the ship and into the main market area - there are a LOT of taxi's and the drivers are all trying to get your attention! Just be calm and polite and if you can, before getting to Vila, ask others who have been there before what a fair price is to get to town etc this way you'll be less likely to be overcharged and can bargain a bit more. We weren't quite sure what we wanted to do after checking out the markets so thought maybe a bit of a scenic tour and then the Cascade Waterfalls. There were 8 of us so we needed to get a bus or mini van - after speaking to a couple of the drivers we found one who seemed to understand what we wanted and set our price ($100). Miss 10 was getting her hair braided so once that was done we headed off!

Pet piggie having a scratch
 The driver took us through one of the villages so we could see how most of the people lived - very eye opening. No electricity or water, very basic living but the people where always smiling and waving as we drove passed.

After our tour of the village we headed to Cascade Waterfalls, unfortunately it had started to rain (it was still very warm) so we decided against doing the walk up to the waterfall - plus it worked out quite expensive for the 8 of us and all the kids really wanted to do was go swimming.

We didn't really know what else was around so the driver suggested heading to Hideaway Island. It was far from Cascades and he made it sound lovely so, off we went.
Hideaway Island
Wonderful suggestion! We caught the barge across to the island, it's not very far - maybe 5minutes or so. It did cost you, adults only, but was only about $5 or so. Once there we hired some snorkel gear and set up camp!
Hideaway Island - coral filled beach
The snorkeling was fantastic!! Just watch out for the sand as it is made of lots and lots of pieces of quite sharp coral - reef shoes are a must! The water was gorgeous and there we so many fish plus an underwater post office! We had arrange for our driver to pick us up and gave ourselves about 3hours - we definitely could have stayed there longer! There weren't too many other people there - it was just wonderful!
 While waiting for our driver to arrive a boat pulled up to the ramp, they'd obviously been out deep see fishing - they had a huge tuna! Lucky them!
Local school near the boat ramp to Hideaway
We sat and watched the kids play during their lunchtime break at a local school while hoping our driver was indeed coming back to pick us up! A bit worrying when you're a long way from the ship and don't know how to get back! We needn't have worried though as he did turn up - he said he'd got caught in a bit of traffic coming back out here. The journey back was speedy and bumpy.
Back on board
We wandered through the markets again and bought a few bits and pieces (bow and arrows, sling shots - the usual!) and then headed back onto the Dawn - we were hungry! Getting on and off the ship at Vila is easy as it docks so you can just walk off walk on when ever you like, no lining up for tenders.

Island Night!!
Bonito doing some magic
During dinner Bonito (he appeared to be the head honcho for the wait staff) came around to our table and did some magic tricks for the kids, great to keep them entertained while waiting for our meals. Not that our meals ever took too long anyway - the service was superb! As were the desserts!