Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pacific Jewel - 19 January 2013, Embarkation day

Wow - it's been almost 2 years since our last cruise and this time it's just mum and me. Another bargain and this was a super bargain - twin outside cabin for $550pp on a 10 night cruise (which actually turned into an 11 night cruise!!) departing from Sydney. This was our first cruise to leave from Sydney and we were excited. Sydney harbour is beautiful especially when you're sailing on a cruise ship on it!

This holiday started a bit differently as our previous 2 cruises had left from Brisbane so we had driven and left our car near the Port at a great parking station - it had a free shuttle bus to the ship terminal, it made it so easy! We had no intentions of driving to Sydney and leaving our car at a parking station, that would have cost more than our cruise! So the options were 1. fly or 2. train - we opted for option number 2 - much cheaper and we could take our big suitcases filled to the brim! The main downside to the train was that it left at midnight and got to central just after 7am, oh well the price you pay when you want to go cruising! Let's just say, we won't be catching that train again in a hurry unless of course another 'bargain' cruise comes up!

Mum @ Wauchope Station (I know it's daylight, this is actually when we got back after our cruise. I didn't think to take a photo when we were there at midnight!)
After arriving at Central and having a quick freshen up we headed for the Jewel - she was docked at Barangaroo so we decided to walk it. It is a bit of a walk but we had plenty of time. We walked down through Darling Harbour at a very leisurely pace, remember we also had our 'very' heavy suitcases dragging behind us! At least there are plenty of places to rest along the way and lots to look at.

A chance for a rest break and a great photo op

Rubber ducky who apparently worked her way around the globe
 You can just see the Jewel under the bridge, to the left of Rubber Ducky which was certainly a surprise to see floating in Darling Harbour. What a great start to our holiday! Even though we could see our ship it was still a long way to go thankfully, even though it was a bit cloudy, there was no rain.
Pacific Jewel looking fabulous
Almost there and thank goodness for that our arms where aching, a lot! It was still quite early and a lot of the passengers from the previous cruise were still disembarking and 2 of these people happened to be our relo's! Unfortunately we missed them, oh well. They didn't know we were doing the next cruise (we didn't know we were doing this cuise until a week ago!) so they weren't looking out for us.

Where is everyone??

No queues, that's how early we were and there wasn't anybody to check us in yet as they were still checking people off the previous cruise. This was fine though as we were able to at least drop our suitcases off, what a relief! It was about 2 hours until we could check in and head on board. We just sat and people gazed!

All aboard!
 Time to head on board - so exciting!! Once you've checked in an been given your boarding number it doesn't take long at all. Through customs, they did check my carry on bag as one of my water bottles was square (they saw this on their scanner) so they wanted to make sure it wasn't alcohol! Next stop was getting the first on many photos taken - seeing as we had just spent over 7 hours on a train and then a few more hours lugging our suitcase we didn't bother buying this one! (especially when they $20-$30ea!). Finally on board and it's straight to (no not the buffet, yet!) our cabin, hooray.
Our spacious cabin, helps when there's only two of you!
Cabin 6130 our home for the next 10 days. We've only even had a quad share before so, even though the room is the same size, it seem so much roomier without the bunk beds down. This is actaully a triple room, you can see in the photo the bunk bed on the right. FYI, my bed is on the left (the tidy one). After a quick shower we headed for lunch and the buffet - one of our most favourite parts of cruising!! The Dawn and the Jewel are sister ships so are pretty much identical in layout just with a few differences and different colour schemes. One of the main things is the Jewel doesn't have the dome like the Dawn (although I have heard when the Jewel goes into dry dock this year it maybe getting a dome - this is a great thing!) and what we soon found out, the buffet is set out much better than the Dawn. (we thought so anyway) It's separated into 3 sections - mains, salads, desserts plus the bread rolls, butters etc We thought it helped with the flow of people. The first (of many) yummy meals onboard the Jewel! I like to take photos of our meals. Not having to cook is one of the main reasons we love cruising :o)!
First of many yummy meals
After lunch we headed back to our cabin for a quick nanna nap before sailaway - we hadn't slept on the train so we were a little weary or maybe it's just because we're old! Anyway, we're on holidays so we can do what we want. Our bags were at our cabin when we returned so we unpacked first and then snoozed for a bit. Sailaway as scheduled for 4pm so at about 3.30pm we headed up to the Lido deck to find ourselves a table and get our first sailaway drink! (we also had a muster drill just before this)
Cheers to our first cruise from Sydney and on the Jewel
We left a bit late for some reason, we could still see them loading the ship at 4.30pm but as long as we left we didn't mind. Unfortunately because we ended up leaving at around 5pm we had a wet sailaway - never mind, any sailaways a good sailaway raining or not! There's plenty of places to keep dry on the Lido deck and still enjoy the party and the views so I don't think it dampened anyone's spirit at all.
The curvy thing is for the circus show

Leaving from Barangaroo meant that we got to go under the Sydney Harbour Bridge - one of the, many, highlights of the cruise!
Heading under the Sydney Harbour bridge! Hoooooooooonk

Made it under without hitting it, phew!
Our evening hotspot!
This last photo (above) is of what became known as our 'hot spot' for our nightly predinner drinks - it was near the Chocolate Cafe on the Lido deck. The waiters were friendly but more often than not I had to go into the cafe to order our wine as, for some reason, they didn't seem to like doing table service. Once I ordered they did bring the wine and glasses out to us though.

We went to the main dining room for dinner, The Waterfront, and being that there were only 2 of us we were seated with other people. This isn't a problem unless the other people aren't that friendly and unfortunately that was the case for us. It's not that they were unfriendly, they did acknowledge us a couple of time, briefly, but they talked politics the whole evening - boring! Being seated with other people also means that you are served at the slowest persons pace - and they were slow plus they had 2 entrees each. It was a looooooong evening and sadly turned us off going to the Waterfront for dinner after that. The food was lovely but it was hard to enjoy it when you'd waited over an hour for it. oh well. Time for bed and a good nights sleep, wouldn't be hard to beat the train!

No comments:

Post a Comment