Saturday, November 28, 2015

Pacific Dawn - Debark Day

Another amazing cruise comes to an end but not before breakfast! We'd received our debarkation details earlier in the cruise including our luggage tags. We left our suitcases outside our cabin last night so only needed a small bag for the items we needed, like pj's and clothes for today. Our debark time was 8.15am. You are asked to wait in a designated area until your number is called - this all seemed to run quite smoothly. The only hitch we had was they wouldn't let mum off - not such a bad thing really! We'd purchased a photo earlier in the morning so they were just checking with mum that was correct and then she was free to go!

I think this means our cruise is over

The photos on the ship, in my opinion, are very expensive. They're $20 each. I'm sure if they were a bit cheaper more people would buy them - I know I would have bought a couple more, we are so very photogenic you know! The only photo we bought was one that was taken when we got off the tender in Sydney. You get your photo taken a lot on a cruise, every time you get on and off the ship plus dinner time in the restaurant and random spots throughout the ship - especially theme nights. You can also get family portraits done and glamours shots, which lots of people seem to do. I guess it's a good time to do them when all the family are together looking nice.

Mum and I are definitely hooked on cruising, not so much dad, and I'm sure we'll be doing some more in the, hopefully not too distant, future. I'd really like to try another cruise line, maybe Princess or Royal Caribbean but I'd never knock back another cruise on P&O.

Once off the Dawnie we collected our suitcases and headed outside to find out shuttle bus - it was ready and waiting and before we knew it we were in our car and heading home. Very efficient.

Time to start checking out bargain cruises! Maybe one day we'll do a Christmas cruise - now that would be amazing! Fingers crossed that's what santa brings me this year :-)

Thanks Mum for wanting to do this cruise and wanting me to come along! Mwah.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Pacific Dawn - Day 7, Moreton Island

Our final stop before Brisbane. Moreton Island or Tangalooma isn't far from Brisbane - people go here for a day trip, so we would be here until 3am Saturday morning. We did have to be back on board by 5pm though.


The morning started off lovely but then the mist rolled in for a bit and the seas got a bit rough - not that you could feel it on the ship. It just meant that the tenders were delayed a bit. We didn't mind as we didn't have any plans so just had a leisurely breakfast and then lunch. We didn't get off the ship until about 2pm.


It was a bit of a bumpy trip on the tender but nothing too bad - just adds to the experience! I thought we might see some dolphins but they mustn't come in until later. They have a feeding on the island at about 5pm. After arriving we did a little wandering and then mum and I went for a swim. The water wasn't as warm as I had expected! It was still nice though and there weren't too many people about.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Pacific Dawn - Day 6, sea day

Another relaxing day spent on the Dawnie. A few more danishes consumed and a little bit of shopping done. Reading and lazing was the order of the day.

Mum and I went to the restaurant for dinner - we found it was a bit of a palava to book into each evening and there were always queues. We shared our table with sisters and a younger couple, all were very nice. Our table was, high. It was more a tall table with tall, heavy stools - quite tricky to get onto and then move yourself in. No-one was a fan of it. If you dropped your napkin, like one of the ladies did, there it stayed. It was a long way down.

The meals were nice but the sizing was small - very small. A couple of the mains were fine but the poor couple next to me had 3 tenny tiny courses, I think they were going to the buffet afterwards! The bread rolls were yummy as usual and the service was ok, although it did take awhile for the others to get a menu. The theme for tonight was The Great Gatsby - lots of people dressed up. There were trails of feathers everywhere.

Mum and I went to a show before dinner, it was meant to be The Velvet Rope (which I had wanted to see) but the main girl singer was unwell so the show was changed. Not sure why they didn't have a understudy. The show ended up being a magician/comedian (he had performed earlier in the cruise) and then the main guy singer sung some songs by himself. It was good but a bit disappointing not to see the show advertised. We did see a show earlier in the cruise that I enjoyed although we were a bit late getting to the theatre so the seats weren't the best, on the side of the stage so you did miss a bit of the show. I still really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pacific Dawn - Day 5, Sydney 5 Ship Spectacular

Spectacular is the perfect word for it! It was SPECTACULAR! 5 glorious ships all next to each other, so close next to each other. The skill of the captains was well and truly shown today. They all did a brilliant job and you couldn't help but smile even at such an ungodly hour!

On our starboard side (right) The Pearl, Jewel and Aria

Pacific Eden - she was on our portside (left)

Deck 7 - Portside. Mum, Dad and The Eden

The Pacific Eden

5am up on deck and there were already hundreds of people lining the rails, on all of the ships. The morning could not have been more perfect. So calm and clear. You could almost reach out and touch the Eden and the Pearl, it gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. P&O did a superb job of organising this event. This is what our cruise was all about and it did not disappoint.


The 5 ships formed a V formation - The Aria, The Jewel, The Pear (this formed the pointy part of the V), The Dawn (yay us!) and The Eden. This was first time that 5 cruise ships were in Sydney Harbour together.

The Jewel following us in

The Manly ferry wanted to be part of the fun!

As we got closer to Sydney Heads the ships started to spread out and form a line to head into Sydney Harbour. We were first in, go us! The three original P&O ships headed in first, The Dawn, then The Jewel and then The Pearl (mum and I have been on all 3, we are so lucky!). Once we all found our mooring site the Aria and Eden headed in through a water fountain and stopped at Fort Denison were they were both christened, fire works and all! All of the excitement and activities were shown on all of the ships big screens - channel 9 Today show was on board The Aria. The coverage really showed off the harbour and the beautiful cruise ships. After the christening the Aria docked at Circular Quay and the Eden headed for White Bay.

The Eden passing between us and the Jewel

The Eden and Aria at Fort Denison getting christened

The Jewel and The Pearl were only on short cruises so no passengers were getting off it as just us Dawnie people who could go exploring Sydney. As we were moored and not docked at either of the terminal we had to tender to the Man o War steps near The Opera House. This was delayed a bit due to Sydney Port Authority closing the harbour to boats as the water was extra chopping due to the high volume of boats already on the water. We were kept up to date frequently. Dad was getting a bit concerned as he was meeting some old mates on the North Shore and didn't know if he'd make it in time - he did! We didn't know if he'd make it back - he did!

Million dollar views
On the tender heading to the Man o War steps near the Opera House

Another beautiful sunny day, we were so lucky with the weather - it was perfect! Mum and I walked around Sydney up through Barangaroo Parklands over to the Observatory and then over to Hyde Park. We relaxed in the shade for awhile soaking up the wonderful views and then made our way to the tender and back to the Dawn.

The Man o War dock
The Jewel, Fort Denison, The Dawn and The Opera House

Sydney Observatory

The Man o War steps

Each of the 5 ships were having a special guest artist to perform on the Lido later in the evening. Our guest was Stan Walker. The others were Jessica Mauboy, The Veronicas, Justice Crew and Samantha Jade. There was entertainment on the Lido from about 2pm, they were all amazing and really added to the whole event and day. Mum and I spent the rest of the day on the Lido soaking in the views, who wouldn't enjoying spending a day on Sydney Harbour!

Lido life

Dad made it back and had a great time catching up with all his buddies - I'm pretty sure that was the highlight of his cruise.

Tonight was the Bianco Party - dress code White.


Stan Walker

The excitement was building for Stan - he was pretty good but only sang and danced for 30 minutes. Blink and you'd miss it. As soon as he finished the fireworks started. So special to have been a part of this amazing event - we really are lucky! The fireworks were fabulous as was the whole day.

The fireworks were on both sides of the ship


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pacific Dawn - Day 4, Eden NSW

This is the first time that the Pacific Dawn has visited Eden. Eden is a small coastal town on the sought coast of NSW and is a tender port. There are plans for a dock to be built as the town is hoping to attract more cruise ships.

Ellie checking out the view

Tin Can Bay - Eden

Tender to Eden

It is a beautiful little harbour that we anchored at, Tin Can Bay, and the houses around it have amazing views - great for whale watching. Apparently the whales come right into the bay, we were a bit late in the season to see any but it would be an amazing sight!

My staple breakie!

After another yummy breakfast we went and got out tender tickets and then waited for our number to be called. There was a shuttle bus available once off the ship but it wasn't a free one. As we didn't know what the town of Eden was like we decided to just walk. It is quite a hike up to Eden but there is a lovely walkway with great views - so we just took our time. Many people also walked.


There isn't a great deal once you reach the top - pretty much a main street which they were working on. Upgrading the footpaths and road. There was a large open shop that housed a lot of lovely local artwork varying from paintings and clothes to woodwork and jewellery, well worth a browse. I also went into the op shop and bought a few books, last of the big spenders!

Whaling Museum

Eden is a lovely little town, known for whaling and has a museum at the top of the hill dedicated to it's whaling passed. I didn't go in but many other cruisers did. There were a few tour options available but I think most of them took you out of Eden, one of them went to Bega so you could check out the cheese.

The Dawn anchored in Tin Can Bay Eden

Eden Port

After wandering around for a bit we headed back to the dock to catch our tender back to the Dawnie and lunch! The tender trip is very short, probably only about 5-10 mins but you get some lovely views and a different perspective being so low on the water.

On the tender

Another gorgeous sailaway spent on the Lido - tomorrow was the BIG event. I think everyone was excited even if it was going to be an early start!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pacific Dawn - Day 3, Newcastle

I was looking forward to this port - Newcastle! Not so much for going to Newcastle as we'd been here before but because of the prospect of getting some Doughhead Doughnuts! Alas, they were closed.

Good morning Mr Tug

The sail in the Newcastle is pretty cool as it is a fairly narrow stretch of water that the ship has to sail through, the captain did an amazing job. The tug was right outside our cabin window helping us in - he could probably see how messy our cabin was and how stunning we look first thing in the morning!


It was a HOT, sunny day just made for sightseeing. There was no hurry to get off the ship as we didn't have any tours booked and, seeing as we docked, we didn't need to wait for tenders. The City of Newcastle organised shuttle buses into the centre of town which was a good thing as, even though it doesn't look that far, it would have been a very hot, long walk!

After a delicious breakfast of danishes, fruit and yoghurt (my breakfast staples!) we freshened up a bit and headed off the ship. Not long to wait for the shuttle bus and there were some lovely people from Newcastle handing out maps and giving advice and suggestions on what to do.


The Dawnie from Fort Scratchley

After being dropped in town we decided to head to Fort Scratchley and then back into town to find the doughnut shop (which, as previously mentioned, was closed). Fort Scratchley is a great place to view the city of Newcastle and to see where we sailed in and will sail out later in the day. The beaches near by looked gorgeous. After all our walking and the disappointment of Doughheads being closed we headed back to the shuttle bus and made our way back to the Dawnie. Lunch was calling!

Hunter Street Mall

The Dawn from Newcastle town


Once back on board the buffet was calling - yummy chicken rolls. The bread on the Dawn is so nice! We spent the rest of the afternoon on the Lido people watching, ship watching and listening to the band. It t'was a good day! We had dinner from the Plantation and sat out on the Lido - the weather was just to gorgeous to sit inside. It was a very early night, that's what I get when I travel with my parents! We even beat Ledy so no chocolates for us although he did give us a towel elephant.

Next stop Eden.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pacific Dawn - Day 2, Sea day

A easy day today on the high seas. Eating, walking browsing, more eating, drinking, people watching, eating and snoozing. Great day really!


The new Pandora shop officially opened on the Pacific Dawn at 11am. Big crowds for a teeny tiny shop. I did end up buying something for Miss 16 but later on in the cruise after I'd checked out the prices on land. The prices were a couple of dollars cheaper on the ship, not super duper bargains but I was happy with that. At least it meant I had a Christmas present sorted. Of course the charm I bought was a ship!

So far we've only had meals from the Plantation Buffet but I've enjoyed everything and when timed right the queues were minimum. In generally the hot food section of the buffet was always the busiest. For lunch the sandwiches, rolls and wraps were at the very start of the buffet followed by salads and then the rolls, this is where I generally went. Their wraps etc were always lovely and fresh.


Not much has changed on the Dawn since our last cruise on her in 2011 - I guess the main difference is the addition on the Zipline which goes across the Lido deck. They've also added other out door activities (extra charge) including a rock wall, segway track and a trapeze circuit - they seemed to be quite expensive but the zip line was quite popular and fun to watch while relaxing on the Lido.

Like all of our previous cruises we did find the drink service a bit hit and miss - generally when we were wanting a drink there were no waiters around. Dad became our official waiter.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pacific Dawn - 5 Ship Spectacular, Day 1

Another cruise! And on the Dawny, this is our 3rd cruise on the Pacific Dawn. It's had a little bit of a makeover but nothing too major.

Cruising with the parents this time - mum really wanted to do one of the cruises for the 5 Ship Spectacular and the Dawns cruise looked good, priced well and as the easiest to get to in terms of port. It leaves from Brisbane.

Saturday morning we headed north from Tweed and arrived at Portside Parking in no time at all. It took us about 1 and a half hours. Parking was super easy (just ignore Siri when she tells you to do a u turn when in fact you are right out the front of the parking station!) and before we knew it we were at Portside dropping off our suitcases.


Checking in was fine but was delayed about an hour or so plus they do not use the boarding times you select when you fill out your online check in. No idea why they bother with times, seems rather pointless. I have to say the checking in with Carnival is much smoother.


After queuing up and getting our cruise cards (and getting our photos taken for security) we sat outside in the shade and waited (quite awhile) for our boarding number to be called. Once it was called (about an hour after getting our cruise cards) it didn't take too long to get on board. Cabin 5128 here we come.


After finding our room and freshening up a bit we head for (wait for it) the buffet and lunch - it was lunch time afterall! The Dawn still has the traditional buffet layout which at times can be a bit hectic but if you're patient and remember you are on holidays you'll be fine. Sometimes the queues could be a bit long but if you waited a bit you'd be fine or just join the queue and chat, smile and be patient!

The food was yum, so we're already off to a great start and then before too long the Dawn was on her way. We left at about 2pm with a fabulous sailaway party and even Betty doing the new zipline (she's the oldest to have ever done it, 85 years young!).

The new lounges on the lido are great to relax in and enjoy the evening (or morning or day) and generally we didn't have any problem finding a spare one. We had a pretty low key first night (a bit like every night!), had dinner in the Plantation and back to the cabin for our first night at sea.

We had received our luggage just before muster, which is about 20 mins before sailaway, and unpacked and basically organised ourselves for our 7 night cruise. Our 3 suitcases fitted fine in the open wardrobe (opposite the bathroom) and we had plenty of hanging space and drawers for all of our clothes.

We 'thought' we didn't have a TV remote but when our room steward came in to introduce himself (Ledy) he clearly remembered putting it on the side table next to mums bed. We had accidentally knocked it off while unpacking (how embarrassing) we'd even reported it to the front desk. Sorry Ledy.

Time for some shut eye ready for a relaxing sea day tomorrow.

We did pass the Pacific Pearl anchored off Moreton Island on our way out of Brisbane, we'll be doing that on the way back to Brisbane in a few days time!