Monday, January 19, 2015

Carnival Spirit - And we're back

Another fabulous cruise over and what a wonderful time we had, I just wish they didn't arrive back in Sydney Harbour so early!

The beautiful Pacific Pearl followed us in. Our last cruise was on this ship, I thought it was the best P&O ship although, having said that, I love all the cruise ships I've been on! I just thought the Pearl was set out really well, apart maybe for the Plantation Buffet (but I never really had an issue, just my cruise buddy (mum) found it a bit busy and not laid out very well).

The Pacific Pearl following are footsteps

The Pearl heading for White Bay
Seeing as I got up so early to catch some final happy snaps there weren't many people out and about yet - I think they were the smart ones!

The wonderful coffee machine

Back at Circular Quay

Final danishes of the cruise (plus a delicious chocolate muffin!)

The Pastry Station also known as The Sweet Spot

And we're back
In Suva we bought some wooden 'weapons' which we had to hand in when we got back to the ship. They give you a receipt and advise that you can collect your things on debark morning from 6.30am onwards. I popped down there (it was deck 2 in the Conference Room - near the restaurant) and collected our goodies. There were a myriad of items waiting to be collected including irons and power boards (these had been taken off people on the morning we first boarded the ship as they aren't allowed on board) One of the power boards I saw had about 10 plugs, no wonder they didn't allow that in the cabin - fire hazard or what!!

Bye cabin 8245, we will miss you!!
I had a wonderful time on the cruise with my mum, sister and 2 nephews. I wasn't feeling 100% but when you're on holiday with your family, being spoilt, relaxing, eating, doing what you want, it makes feeling unwell not so bad at all. My roomy, mister 13, was a delight (most of the time! ha ha) and I'd share with him again any day (hint hint). We liked our cabin and loved where it was, so close to the Lido and buffet but with no noise coming from above (my sister did hear some music one night when there was the Bathrobe Bash on in the serenity but nothing bothersome). Having the cabin on deck 8 was so handy for the kids as they could easily pop back to the cabin to either change into or out of their swimmers, nip up stairs for their lunch (mister 13 was known at the toasted sandwich place - the 'Deli') he didn't even need to say his order, the guy knew as soon as he saw him. Now that's great service!

We spent a lot of our time up on deck 9 (Lido) either by the pool or in a pod when we could find one. It's a great space, it could get busy and noisy at times but it was during school holidays and it is one of the best spots on the ship!

We love the Spirit (have been on her twice now) and we would love to go on her again but we would also LOVE to go on the Legend, hopefully sooner rather than later.

There are always so many amazing bargain cruise being advertised I am sure we'll be doing another cruise before too long. Pacific Dawn to PNG anyone????

Heading off the Spirit - we chose self assist
Part way through the cruise you receive a debarkation form to fill out where you advise approx time you want to leave and if you're going to take your own luggage off the ship or leave it out the night before we're due back in Sydney. We had a few days to fill it out as they had requested to have your form back to reception by Wednesday - as we had 5 of us and 3 cabins we put us all on the one form to make sure we all got the same debark time. We chose the late debark as we weren't in any rush (we never are). After filling in the form we completely forgot about it and didn't hand it in! It was on the Friday we remembered, oopsie - it didn't matter too much as we were taking our own bags off so it was just the time. We were given 8.05am - a bit earlier than we'd hoped but not too bad. I think we ended up heading off at around 8.15am. They do call your number (this is written on your debark form they leave in your cabin - we were O) when it is time for you to leave. Everything seemed to be running pretty smoothly and before we knew it, we were off the ship. boohoo

Docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal

Almost off

And we are off - bye Carnival Spirit
 This photo is always much better when we're just about to board! I can't believe how fast our 12 nights went, are you sure they didn't cut out cruise short??
Sydney CBD
We went to a Coles in town and bought our lunch from there, just pre-made sandwiches,wraps and salads and a few nibblies. Cheaper than the train and it also gave us something to do! We did see a couple of people in Coles wandering around with their cruise cards still on, wishful thinking maybe!

On the XPT back to Wauchope
The main drawback sailing from Sydney is getting to Sydney. Each cruise we've done we've caught the XPT and it doesn't get any funner! For the moment the kids travel free as does old lady mum (don't tell her I wrote that!) so the price for all of us isn't too bad. The length of the trip is the main problem. I do not like the overnight trip at all as I can never sleep so am a zombie that whole day! The price we pay for cruising, ha ha. It is easy catching the train at least and docking at the OPT means we can just hop on a train at Circular Quay (a 5 min walk from the ship) to Central and then check our luggage in. The train leaves at 11.41am so it gives us plenty of time to get there after getting off the ship and then some time to head into town to get some lunch and look at the sights (if we can be bothered, we generally can't).

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Carnival Spirit - Final sea day

This cruise has absolutely flown by - I can't believe it is the last day at sea before we dock back in Sydney tomorrow. 12 nights gone in a flash. We're already talking about our next cruise, maybe PNG??

The weather was absolutely stunning, sun and flat seas.

Breakfast on the Lido - what a view

The crew had been busy making towel critters, they were all over the Lido!

View from the pokey out bit

Full steam ahead (even though we wanted to turn around!)

The lovely, towel animal filled, Lido
Final sea day and last day of a cruise also means, final day to grab a bargain!! Wow, do people go crazy when there's a 'sale' on!!

Buy 5 get 1 free - and people were!!
My sister and I went for a bit of a wander around the ship and accidentally ended up somewhere we weren't meant to be. We just wanted to get back inside and to the buffet - it was lunch time!

Crew only!
I'm not sure where this went to, we didn't want to hang around in case we got told off! Up to our cabin to see if the boys were there and then to the buffet for yummy lunch! The toasted sandwich station was great - we had the tuna wrap. Just what we need for lunch, nothing too heavy. Don't want to spoil our appetite for dinner! Mum didn't mind, she had a bit of everything. After lunch we headed upstairs and went for a walk around the top deck and the pokey out bit. Great view from here.

The pokey out bit - technical term
Mum had some cute towel animals waiting for her back in her cabin.

Mummy snail and baby snail
We then went down to deck 1 as we hadn't been down there before. There's is a lounge here where smaller shows were on and the comedian.

By mid afternoon we were getting a bit peckish and seeing as our dinner wasn't until 7.45pm we decided to get pizza! What's that about spoiling your appetite ;-) We loved the pizzas. Sometimes it was a bit of a palava trying to get a pizza, mainly at the busiest time during lunch so we only went when it was quiet. After a rest in a pod we headed to the room to get ready for drinkies and dinner. We decided to hand out on deck 2 near the atrium (or aquarium). The waiter was pretty good here, it doesn't seem to take them long to remember you and what you order - their memories are amazing.

Cheers to a fantastic cruise!
Dinner was fabulous as always and of course showtime was going to be even bigger and better than ever. Our final evening in the restaurant was one we all enjoyed so much and really topped off our cruise. Cheers to Dessi and the waitstaff - you all deserve a huge round of applause. Thank you.


Thank you Dessi and friends

Simply The Best
We said our farewells to our wonderful waitstaff, Yasa and friends, and headed back to our cabins. It was going to, possibly, be an early start tomorrow as we arrive back in Sydney at 6.30am. We needed our beauty sleep as we also had the XPT to look forward to!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Carnival Spirit - 5th Sea day (heading home)

Coffee, muesli & yoghurt and a pastry or two was my usual brekky - their croissants and danishes were so fresh and light. mmmm The coffee, considering it was from a machine, wasn't too bad either. I went with either a flat white or cappuccino, sometimes I'd get half a cup - it depended on the time of day and the machine. I always had a cup of orange juice with my breakfast as well. This was from the drinks machine next to the coffee/hot water machine - orange (and apple) was available until 9am then they swapped it out for lemon drink.

Brekky time!

The drinks station - there's also one on the other side of the stage

The ocean was so calm!
We hung out in one of the comfy pods for most of the day while the kids went on the slides and got toasted sandwiches from the buffet. It was great them being able to take care of themselves, for the most part, and we could just relax. Mister 13 took great care of mister 8 when they were together and they always knew where to find us. If they wanted to go in the pool we would go and sit on the lido so we could watch them. They generally only went in when it was very quiet, not a fan of crowds.

Yummy satay sticks and a tuna wrap for lunch for us which we enjoyed on the top deck on one of the many deck chairs.

We had a monkey towel animal waiting for us when we got back to our room to get ready for dinner. Loved getting the towel animals! We had drinks on deck 2 in the Aquarium before heading in for dinner. What was going to be on the menu tonight?

Something yummy - prawn linguine
Dessert they finally had cheesecake which mister 13 had been so looking forward to unfortunately it wasn't one of their better desserts. It was a baked cheesecake which had definitely been baked so was a bit rubbery. I think that was the only dud meal we had on the whole cruise. Even the snails were a hit (with the kids!).

Friday, January 16, 2015

Carnival Spirit - 5th (& final) Port, Isle of Pines

Isle of Pines
We have been here before with the boys when we did a cruise in 2011 on the Pacific Dawn so knew how gorgeous the beach and water was going to be. It hasn't changed at all, still just as lovely.

After a short tender ride over we followed the path to the water but not before checking out the market stalls that were set up. Always nice to have a look at what the locals have to offer. Unfortunately for the most part all the island seem to sell pretty much the same things just at different prices and with a different island name written or carved onto them. Saved our money.

The beautiful beach with white sand

Mum looks like she's on a mission!

This was once a boat motor which was found at the bottom of the ocean not far from here

Snorkeling near the Sacred Rock
Mum and the boys did some snorkelling, plenty of fish to see this side of the island. A very popular spot for snorkelling.
No surfing here, very calm waters to bob around in.
After they'd seen all the fish they wanted to we headed over to the beach side of the island, about a 2 minute walk and closer to the tender dock. We enjoyed a bit of sun and bobbing about in the water before deciding to head back to the ship. I think lunch must have been calling us!
Catching the tender back to the ship

Almost back!
Another speedy trip back on the tender and straight up to the waterslides for the boys. They loved the slides and seeing that so many people were off the ship they could pretty much just walk up the stairs and straight on.

Green Thunder time!
Mister 13 and I went for a bit of a wander around the top parts of the ship we hadn't been to before. We found a whole deck area we didn't know existed! Plus I got some great photos of him and the Whale Tail!

The Whale Tail
We could hear the band playing so headed over to the lido deck and enjoyed listening to them from above.

Listening to the band on the Lido
Not long after we found the others and joined them on the lido watching them lift the tenders back into place, must mean we're just about to leave. Which also means we're heading home. None of us could believe how quick the cruise was going.
Watching the tenders coming up
We were sailing through this small passage on our way back home so the boys and I went to the front of the ship to have a look. Incredible skill in getting this big ship through here, not much room and apparently in some places it isn't very deep either. Thankfully we made it through safely!

Heading home
Dinner was calling so a (very) quick freshen up and straight to the restaurant.

Blueberry Pie - droooooooool
Heading home now, our second last sea day tomorrow.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Carnival Spirit - 4th Sea day

Can you guess?? Brekky time!
 I really enjoyed this breakfast and it was the only time I had it! Too much of a good thing can be too much.

Chillin in the pod

Brunch in the pod - eggs benedict
 Everyone except for me had the eggs benedict (I find them a bit rich for breakfast) and loved them. Mum had one every morning except when they had smoked salmon on them, then she just had a plain poached egg. The eggs were a bit hit and miss but most times they were just right, runny yoke!

Green Thunder
 The boys went on the Green Thunder whenever it was opened. They do close the slides if the weather's a bit rough or it is too windy or raining. They seemed to be open most of the time on the way back, they did close them the first couple of days of the cruise due to the wind.

Banana Split Mocktail
In the spa and they've got it all to themselves!
 The boys hit the jackpot one evening when the spa was empty! Usually this was quite a busy little place, everyone must of been eating or shopping!

Deck 2 near the aquarium (atrium)
We started calling the atrium the aquarium as mister 13 could never remember the name! I think we had a few passengers looking for an aquarium!! ha ha The boys and nanny played Uno while my sister and I relaxed and watched the world go by. It was a great place to sit, especially when it was a bit windy upstairs on the Lido.