Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pacific Jewel - 30 January 2013, Day 11, Debark Day

This was our debark day (time to get off the Jewel) so we wanted to be up early to watch us sail into Sydney Harbour - soooooo beautiful!

Sydney Heads

Beautiful Sydney Harbour

Fort Denison

Sydney Opera House

Darling Harbour

And we are back, :-(
Our final morning on the Jewel. After watching us sail into Sydney we went back to the cabin for a quick shower and then back to the buffet for our final breakfast on the Jewel. It was a relaxed morning, we were giving our debark details the evening before so knew when we would be heading off the ship - once we were all finished (eating) we grab our bags from our cabin - checked all the cupboards and drawers for the final time and went the atrium to wait for our number to be called. With your debark details you are given a time and place to wait. It was by deck numbers and areas - they start at the top and work their way down the decks.

The Jewel was docked at Barangaroo at the very bottom of Darling Harbour - seeing as we walked from the station down here when we were leaving on our cruise we did the same, but in reverse, heading home. Not quite the same when your heading home instead of heading off on a cruise.

We didn't need to rush as our train didn't leave until 4.30pm and we were off the ship at around 9am but we did want to get to the station and see if we could change our train to the earlier 11.30am one. When we changed our travel plans the estimated arrival time of the Jewel was around 10am so we didn't want to risk booking the earlier train in case it was late but in the end we arrived in early. Thankfully we were able to change our train!!
Heading home on the XPT

We got back home at about 8pm that night - it's a looooong train trip! We both agreed that the day trip is much better than the night one - we don't think we'll be catching the midnight train any time soon (unless of course we get another bargain cruise!).

We had an absolutely marvelous time on the Pacific Jewel!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pacific Jewel - 29 January 2013, Final (bonus) sea day 6

We were meant to be back in Sydney today but, as mentioned, we were delayed on returning due to the terrible weather off the east coast of Australia. The captain did a great job of avoiding most of the really bad weather and keeping the ship as calm as he did - we were worried a little bit about how rough it might get and how sick we could get, but needed have worried at all!

We've found the storm
 As terrible as the above photo looks it wasn't too bad or even too cold.

Jeopardy in the Show Lounge
 We thought we'd see how smart, or not, we were and went to the Show Lounge for Jeopardy - surprisingly we didn't win! There are some very smart people on cruises!

Morning cuppa on the Lido

Lunch menu in the Waterfront Restaurant
 We decided to have lunch in the Waterfront for our final Jewel lunchtime - we should have stuck to the buffet. The food was fine but unfortunately the lunch companions weren't. That's one of the main reasons we didn't eat in the Waterfront as, being only the 2 of us, we would always be sat with other people. This we don't have so much of a problem with it's just the fact that you can be sat with some boring people who eat a lot or really slow - this means you have to wait for them.

We decided next time just the 2 of us travelled we would ask for a table for 2 so we could enjoy eating in the restaurant more - it is nice to be waited on!

Our Deck!
The weather cleared up a bit and was quite sunny and pleasant. No more extra days.
What storm!
 Seeing as we weren't going to get yet another extra day at sea we had to pack our suitcases and leave them outside the cabin before heading up for our final drinkies. This is when you have to make sure you've left you pj's out and your clothes for the following day.We both had small carry bags to put everything in, in the morning. It's nice not having to worry about lugging your suitcase with you off the ship but it's sad having to put it outside the room as you know that your cruise is almost over.
Time to put our suitcases out - boo
 After packing everything in our bags and beautifying ourselves we headed up to our usual spot on the Lido and toasted to a glorious holiday and started talking about our next one!
A 'bonus' last drinkies at our hot spot

Big Screen
 We had our final meal in the buffet and, as always, finished it off with dessert!

Our last dessert on the Jewel

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pacifc Jewel - 28 January 2013, Sea Day 5

Seas are getting a little rough
This was meant to be our last day on the Jewel.

Final of Survivor
The weather was slowly changing from glorious sun to clouds and wind and the seas were gradually getting rougher - this certainly didn't change the atmosphere on the ship. We were still on holidays and we had a bonus day to boot!

A little bit windy
After getting a little bit wind blown we went downstairs to the Art Auction but due to the fact that there were millions of people in the Atrium (where the auction is held) it ended up being a silent auction - not quite the same! I did still get a free glass of (not that special) champagne!
Champagne from the Art Auction
The Casbah - predinner drinkies in here tonight
 We decided to have our pre dinner drinkies in the Casbah tonight and listen to Maurius the violinist. It is quite amazing when you're on a cruise ship with about 2,000 other people and you go into one of the main lounge areas and there's about 5 people in there - where is everyone!

Maurius and his violin

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pacific Jewel - 27 January 2013, Sea Day 4

Heading back to Sydney, boo. Those port days just flew by!

Our cabin - 6130

The Oasis Lounge - Adults only
While relaxing out the back of the ship in the Oasis Lounge there was an announcement from our Captain, it was a BIG announcement. Due to terrible weather off the east coast of Australia we would be arriving back in Sydney late, a whole day late! Woohoo! This was going to cause major problems for some people, both on our cruise and for the next cruise, but for us we just SMILED and high fived!

and relax!

Dreaming of the extra meals we'll get!
 We did also have to think about other things, like changing our travel arrangements and also lunch:

After lunch we headed downstairs to Deck 5 and reception - boy was it busy here! People everywhere! The ship had put out extra phones that were direct linked to the main airlines to help people change flights etc plus they also made the phones in the Atrium free for people who had to call family, work etc. The only problem with this was people getting on the phones and have a good old gasbag! The queues were long, this wasn't the time to tell your family what you'd done for the last 10 days! A few people were getting a bit antzy! We left it for a bit and just enjoyed being on the Jewel.

Coffee - don't mind if I do!
We went back down to the phones and sat in line waiting for the phone. We needed to change our train to the following day so we just rang home and got them to do it. Once that was all sorted (we did have to call back again just to confirm everything) we went out to deck 7 and watched the rolling seas - it looked so rough yet we could hardly feel it at all on the ship!

Deck 7 - reading & relaxing

Deck 7
It was very peaceful here, I think half the ship were still on Deck 5 sorting out their travel plans!

Stairs- lots of stairs

Main stairs in the Atrium

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pacific Jewel - 26 January 2013, Noumea

Happy Australia Day! and we're spending it in Noumea - woo to the hoo!
View from our cabin window - slowly getting closer to the dock
 We arrived in Noumea at about 8am, the last time we cam here was on the Pacific Dawn (2010) and it arrived at around 3pm so this time we'll get to spend the whole day here. We haven't booked any tours and just plan to wing it, probably just walk and walk and walk.
Welcoming committee!
 By the time we got upstairs they had finished their dancing and had gone!

Another day, another view

The main Cruise Terminal
No tenders are needed at Noumea so it's an easy walk off walk on whenever you like. We didn't rush off the ship as there were lots of people heading off for their prebooked tours, no sense joining in the rush - breakfast and the buffet is calling :-)

There were a lot of tours to select from in Noumea from 1 hour long to all day ones plus you could also book tours in the main cruise terminal - just make sure you are going to be back in plenty of time as the ship only waits for P&O booked tours if they're running late!

This morning we didn't go to the buffet (gasp!) for breakfast, we actually went to the grill which is just before the buffet (you walk through it to get to the buffet). We had the most delicious made to order egg and bacon roll, yummo! The grill is free but also does have times where they change the menu and there is a charge. This is normally when the buffet is closed - to begin with we thought everything at the grill was extra! The lady that came over and cleaned out table said that the little boy in front of us had been to the grill every morning for his egg and bacon roll (all by himself) she thought he was adorable. He was probably about 10 - this is one of the many wonderful things about a cruise, your kiddies are safe and have freedom to do (pretty much) what they like. We had heard people complain at the 'unruly' kids but we never came across any, I think some of the adults acted a lot worse than any of the kids!

Breakfast done headed off the ship, like always they scan your card as you head off. We left the ship at about 9.30am - time to explore.

Our cabin is 7th from the front (below the P&O)
 Through the cruise terminal and outside we headed. If you need to and didn't already on the ship you can change money inside the terminal plus be spruiked to by many people trying to get you to do their tour! Upstairs in the terminal are some markets - the prices aren't that cheap but nothing is in Noumea.

Which way should we go??
 We were decided on which way to go, to the left, to the right, straight up??
Coconut Park - in the middle of town
 We decided on heading towards the middle of town, not a very far walk from the ship, and go from there. There is a large park in the centre of town, lots of open space - there is also an Information Centre there. It wasn't open yet when we first went there so we had to use our own sense of direction!
Rotunda near the top end of Coconut Park

Noumea street with our Jewel at the bottom
Having the Jewel as a guide helps you from getting too lost - you can see her from most of the streets!

This is at the top of the town - lovely views from the church
 You could see the Jewel from the steps of the church and most of Noumea city.

This is a couple of streets up from the terminal, to the left.

Got a map!
 After doing a big loop of town we went back to the Information Centre and it was open - got our map! We had a look where we'd been and then where to next. We decided on heading towards the marina and follow the waters edge around as far as we could or, at least, as far as we could manage!

As mentioned before Noumea isn't the cheapest of places for shopping but I did want to get something! We went into a few of the shops, especially the homeware type stores (I love brica brac) and ended up buying a few small bits and pieces. We hadn't changed much money so I couldn't get too carried away. There was suppose to be a very yummy patisserie but we didn't come across it on our travels - we didn't know where abouts it was but apparently it's about one street up from the cruise terminal. There are lots of yummy treats on the ship so it didn't worry us not finding it!

It was bit drizzly off and on during our stay in Noumea but still quite warm - we were prepared though and had our brollies.

The Jewel was our landmark so we never got lost!

The Marina with a touch of rain

The Jewel in the distance

Our walk took us passed the marina - so many yachts! We even saw a few sea snakes. The roads are quite busy to it is best advised to use the traffic lights, cars and buses wait for no one. It was quite a long walk but the majority of it was relatively flat and we weren't in any hurry (except maybe to get back to the ship for lunch!). A lot people don't like Noumea and even question why the ships stop here but, for me, I quite like it. It isn't the prettiest of cities or the cheapest but it's different! There are so many tour options available and there are also so lovely beaches quite close to the ship. The food is meant to be great, there are lots of restaurants and cafes to choose from with a few just down from the cruise terminal.

Casino Supermarket

On the way back to the ship we stopped in at the Casino (it's a supermarket!) - it's fairly large and includes a bottle shop, bakery, deli, clothing and of course groceries. We wanted to get some soda water but it was a bit expensive so just ended up getting a few packets of chips etc.

Almost lunch time so we head back onto the Jewel - it's Australia Day so there were Aussie flags flying and meat pies!

With all the food we're eating we need to take the stairs!

Meat Pie and a Thai Salad
I don't think we've had a bad meal on the Jewel! We really liked the buffet and grill and the way they are set out. The variety of food was great as was the quality. With lunch done we decided to head back off the ship for some more sightseeing - and to work off the meat pie and dessert!

Yummy dessert! (no lamingtons though)

We can still see you!

After walking off our lunch and taking more happy snaps of Noumea we head back to the Jewel. It was around 4pm by the time we got back onboard. Sailaway was about 5.30pm so this gave us plenty of time for a freshen up before heading outside for our final sailaway. We would now being heading back to Sydney - the days just fly by, especially the port days!

Our nibblie hall from the supermarket!
We headed out to deck 7 to watch us leave the dock and sail out of Noumea - the weather was just glorious!
Leaving Noumea

Cocktail night tonight

Noumea Marina

Full steam ahead into the sunset
We were now on our way back home, next stop Sydney. For something different we decided to have our pre dinner drinks on Deck 5 near the Promenade Bar - it was nice but the air conditioning was a little cold. The is the same deck that the Waterfront Restaurant is on so there were lots of people walking past us heading for dinner.

Outside the Promenade Bar