Monday, December 12, 2016

Ovation Luggage Tags

The final bits and pieces of our paper work have been issued and this includes our luggage tags. I've printed everything we need out now just have to wait until January for our cruise, 48 days and counting!

The luggage tags are attached to your suitcase which you then drop off at the dock and they later appear at your cabin. Apparently we will be able to track them using the RC App. (update: this wasn't available) The tags have our deck and cabin number on it and I've printed our names onto them. We should be able to drop our bags off early, from 8am I think, which is great because then we can go for a leisurely walk and have brekky without having to drag our suitcases with us. Although, we may have breakfast before getting to the dock. Haven't decided yet. Our hotel isn't walking distance so we can have a relaxing morning then check out and catch the train down to Circular Quay. As our boarding time is 11.30am we don't need to be at the OPT early although we're SO excited to see the ship we just might be!

The Ovation of the Seas is now in Australian waters and has just left Adelaide heading for Hobart (I think) and then onto Sydney. By the sounds of it there are going to be a lot of people around Sydney Harbour to see her come in. She is the biggest ship ever to come out to Australia and I can't believe we'll be going on her!

I've had another look through the tours the ship has available for each of our stops but don't think we'll book any of them. They're all quite expensive, for us anyway, and I'm sure we'll be fine doing our own thing. We normally do anyway. The only time we've booked a tour was on the Dawn Princess when we did a tour on Isle of Pines and at Lifou. They were just short tours, about 1-1 1/2 hours and were approx $50ea. As we'd been to these islands before we though it would be nice to see further afield. None of the tours for this cruise are cheap, the cheapest is a walking tour which we can do ourselves for free anyway.

The final thing I have to do for our trip is to organise the transport to and from Sydney. I've been checking out the flights and think I'll have to book soon as I'm sure the longer I leave it the more expensive they'll get. Mum's planning on catching the train down (she gets a free trip being an old person) and then flying home (saves her sitting on a train for 8 hours!) and I'll just fly both ways. Probably Tiger Air down and Virgin back but it all depends on price! I'll just keep checking Webjet :-)

I think I'll also booked my car into the airport parking as they've currently got a special on which works out to be about $7/day in their covered parking which is cheap. This will save having to get someone, probably my sister, drop me off and pick me up.

48 days!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Organising our RCI Cruise

Mum and I are very excited about our up coming cruise on the Ovation of the Seas, to say the least! We can't wait. I think it's the whole new ship thing that has us especially excited for this cruise, I hope it doesn't let us down. I can't image it will though, touch wood, we've never had a bad cruise. Some cruises have been better than others but never a bad cruise have we had!

With Royal Carribean cruise, well with this ship anyway, we are able to organise a lot of things online ahead of our cruise. I love being able to organise and plan ahead of time, for all holidays and travel makes me less worried and unsure if I know the main things are booked. With this cruise we're able to book all of our dinners, whether it be the early/late/any time (which all cruises let you do) but with this ship as we have selected the Anytime Dining we can also book each individual day and select different or the same if we want to. I've locked all our meals in as either 6.45pm or 7.45pm with the idea that we can skip and just do the buffet or one of the other included meal venue places once we're onboard and got the lay of the land. I've got up until a couple of days before the cruise to change any of these but I just thought I'd book them now, just in case things get busy and seating times book out. We originally had the late sitting but I didn't know what time that was until our confirmation came through. 8.30pm which is too late for us and the early sitting is 6pm which is too early, we'd still be full from lunch!

I could also booked some of the onboard activities such as the Eye and the Skydiving - I booked the Eye for a sea day as I think that would be amazing going over the side of the ship so high up, I don't think it can do that on a port day. Then I booked the sky diving, not quite sure if we'll do it yet, after we've been to all the ports just in case we have a mishap! Hate to do it early on in the cruise only to injure ourselves and not be able to enjoy the rest of our cruise. There's also the surfing but from what I can tell this must be open the majority of the cruise so you don't need to book and you can do it as many times as you like. Another thing we're not sure we'll try, the pool might be safer for us!

The shows have just been made available on the online booking so I've also done these and booked our seats. Again, I wasn't sure how quickly these would fill up so wanted to get in early and make sure we could see them. The two shows in the Royal Theatre currently are only showing as being on for one night, not sure if that means there are other shows on the other nights that don't require booking or they're just not available to book online yet. So anyway, I booked the 9pm shows, it was either that or 10.45pm and the 7.30pm show in the Two70 Lounge. For this one we will probably have to cancel our restaurant booking and go to the buffet which is fine as the buffet looks amazing!

So as you can tell the excitement is just building and building for this cruise. I did try and talk my sister into joining us but sadly she has declined.

Only 66 more days until we board the Ovation of the Seas. We have a check in time of 11.30am which is the earliest and we've done all our online stuff, even took our photos that will link to our cruise cards. I also read that you collect your cruise cards at your cabin door and not at check in, just another thing to help speed up embarkation. Sounds good to me!

Happy cruising!

ps: I'm still checking OzCruising for bargain cruises, can't help myself! Too bad I haven't won lotto yet or had a massive order or seven come through at work :-)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Lock it in Eddie!

We've pressed the button and paid our deposit! Woot! Ovation of the Seas here we come. VERY excited to say the least. It's about 3 months away so hopefully plenty of time to save a bit of money for on board spending and touring.

January 28 is D day or E day (embarkation day!). 12 nights in a superior balcony room on deck 13. Thankfully I'm not superstitious as all the other ships we've been on never had a deck 13 - I hope there is a deck 13!

We've got 2 stops in the South Pacific, Noumea and Mystery Island and then 3 stops in NZ on the north island. Bay of Islands, Tauranga and Auckland. The ships sounds amazing and I'm really looking forward to going to NZ.

Haven't decided if we'll stay overnight in Sydney before the cruise or just head down the day of. All depends on hotel and airfare prices. Possibly even drive down to Port Mac for the dreaded XPT with mum or she could come up and we could both fly down. Decisions decisions. I know what I prefer!

This ship is massive. I'm a little bit concerned about the amount of people, 4-5,000 especially with tender ports. It's got to take ages to get everyone off and on, no matter how efficient they are. Auckland is a tender port which I am assuming it's because of the size of the ship as most ships generally dock there. Will be very interesting to say the least.

There are approx 16 restaurants, not all included in the fare, so we've certainly got our work cut out for us on deciding where to eat! Poor us ;-) The 'buffet' looks enormous, I'm never going to be able to decide what to have! Plus there's a pizza restaurant and a hot dog stand.

I think I'm going to have to take a map with me whenever I leave the cabin or I'm liable to never find my way back. 16 decks! Our legs are going to get a good workout on the stairs although we are only one deck below the lido and buffet :-)

Apparently there are kettles in the cabins, great for a cuppa on our balcony in the morning :-)

To say we are excited is an understatement! Roll on 2017!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Another Cruise???

We're at it again, not that we ever stop, looking for bargain cruises and we think we've found one! We are hoping to do a New Zealand cruise next so have been keeping an eye on these through OzCruising. I came across a Royal Caribbean cruise in January that goes to the South Pacific and New Zealand on the NEW Ovation of the Seas and it sounds pretty darn good!

I've put in a booking reservation so we can discuss without the worry that the price will increase or sell out! It's a 12 night cruise, 2 ports in the south pacific and 3 ports in NZ - looks and sounds amazing. This ship is huge, don't know if that's a good or bad thing. I guess we'll only know by cruising on her :-)

$1500pp twin for a Superior Balcony Cabin - they're actually cheaper than an Outside Cabin or an Inside with Virtual Balcony. Not sure why but I'm definitely not complaining. We do have to also take into account that there is compulsory tipping** of approx $17 per day per person and all prices on board are USD. Still it seems pretty good value!

I'll keep you posted on what we decide to do :-)

** I have since found out that the tipping isn't compulsory we just need to go to guest services once we board and have them remove it from our account. I have printed out the email I received from Oz Cruising to ensure they indeed do remove the tipping. Also, they have changed how they do the pricing for all RCI ships that have the tipping and now have it included into the fare. I'm glad we booked before this change came into affect! I've never like the whole 'compulsory' tipping, I believe it should be up to the individual whether they wish to tip or not - what if the service isn't up to par? Anyway, it does save us around $400. We will probably tip our cabin steward and depending how the dinner reservations are done we may tip the wait staff, this all depends on if we have the same staff each evening. This is what we have done on previous cruises.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Pacific Jewel - Tuesday 6 September, debark day

And we are back. We left from the OPT but have arrived back at White Bay which means we'll have to catch the ferry over to Circular Quay before catching the train to Central, for mum and dad, and the airport for me. Easier from the OPT but not too much of a hassle from White Bay. I could have booked the P&O transfer to the airport for $16pp, next time I think I might as it works out cheaper than the ferry ($9) and then the airport train (around $16). There's also a transfer to Central, $15pp. Note: if you are intending on using the trains in Sydney I recommend getting an Opal card, which is what is now used for all transport in Sydney, online before you head off on holidays. It makes things so much easier and I have noticed that the queues for getting a card or topping up have been quite long, especially at the main stations, like Circular Quay and Central.

Our debark time was 8.20am and we had to be out of our room by 8am so not too early a start thankfully. I didn't get up for the sail into Sydney Harbour as, lucky for me, I have done it a few times now and it was still quite dark and nippy.

After breakfast and collecting our things from the cabin we made our way to the Orient to wait for our number to be called to leave the ship. They were running a little behind schedule but not by much and once our number was called (green 2) we were off the ship in no time and collecting our suitcase. Straight through customs as we had nothing to declare and over to the ferry terminal which is about a 10 minute flat walk. Hopefully they'll change the path to the ferry when they see it is quite popular as it is a bit of a round about way of getting there, having to cross the road twice. The ferries run every 20 minutes or so, so there isn't any real need to rush unless you've booked an early connection somewhere. Although then you would have probably got off the ship earlier. The ferry service is run by Captain Cook Cruises. You can book online or pay when you get to the wharf, note that they only accept cards, no cash.

With our cruise over and no-one dying of manflu we said our goodbyes at the station as mum and dad were getting off at Central and I was staying on until the airport. It was a good trip but possibly could have been better with an extra person or two and no illnesses. Having said that I still love cruising and would never say no to another one!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Pacific Jewel - Saturday 3, Sunday 4 & Monday 5 September, Sea days 4, 5 & 6

Heading home, boo.
The next three days were spent at sea heading back to Sydney and reality. We had a bit of extra excitement on Saturday afternoon when a helicopter was called to airlift a sick passenger off the ship. Very exciting although I guess not for the poor passenger. We did hear it was a couple of children with pneumonia but rumours fly aplenty on a cruise ship. We were updated later in the cruise that they were doing well. The back of the ship plus the majority of the lido deck had to be cleared of people. Dad stayed up on deck 12 (lido) where you were still allowed and watch the proceedings from there. He said the patient got a big cheer when they were wheeled along deck 14 towards where the helicopter would collect them from.

Our cosy but comfy cabin

Mum and I went and saw a show, Music Murder Mystery, in the Marquee Theatre and then went back to the cabin and watched the helicopter and spotter plane circle the ship, many many times. Such a huge undertaking! We were off Cairns when this happened and had to veer off course and carefully make our way through the reef to get close enough for the helicopter to be able to reach us and get back to the mainland without running out of fuel.

After all the excitement we went back up stairs and joined dad on the lido for drinks. Mum and I went to the 5.45pm show before dinner in the Pantry. Dad wasn't very keen on any of the entertainment, hard to please. Mum and I loved every show we saw and all the bands and singers. I think they've possibly been the best we've had on a cruise.

The rest of the cruise was spent reading, eating, drinking and relaxing - the usual. Father's Day was on Sunday so I shouted dad a real coffee from Charlies Bar in the Atrium, deck 5 while we did the last Morning Trivia. Losers. We hung out in the Oasis in the afternoon for the relaxing guitar tunes of one of the entertainers. Again, dad wasn't a fan but I thought he was really good and just what you need to sail home to.

Happy Father's Day


On our final day of our cruise mum and I pretty much hung out in the one and only pod all day. It's on deck 11 a the back of the ship, just under the Pantry so a perfect place to be! We were cruising quite close to land and could see Mount Warning so I texted Suz :-)

Selfie in the one and only pod!
Seeing as our cruise was almost over we had to pack our suitcases to leave them outside our cabin before we went to dinner. This isn't one of my favourite parts of cruising it just means it's almost over. After we'd finished packing mum wasn't feeling too flash so she took to her bed and didn't arise until the morning when we were back in Sydney. Thankfully she felt much better after a good nights sleep.

I dragged dad to the 5.45pm show (which I loved but he didn't) and then we watched one of the bands in Connexions for a bit before heading to the Pantry for our last Jewel dinner.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Pacific Jewel - Friday 2 September, Conflict Island PNG

These islands are privately owned by an Aussie - Ian Gowie Smith (I think) He bought them many years ago, sight unseen, in the hope of being able to preserve them and ensure the waters around are kept as pristine as possible. It seems to be working. The island we visited was what I think of as a 'tropical island'. It was stunning. So idillic. (sp)

Another tender port. It didn't take us too long to get onto a tender but unfortunately, for mum especially, we bobbed about in the water for over 20 minutes before being able to dock. As the journey from the ship to the dock wasn't far it meant that we had to wait while the tenders in front of us unloaded all of their passengers before we could do the same. Even though the ship doesn't move a little bitty tender feels the waves. After awhile mum must have been looking a bit green as one of the passengers went and got her a hard hat (that the workers wear) to throw up in, ha ha. Thankfully she didn't need it but she was a bit wobbly when we finally did get off so no time for a photo - it would have been a cracker though!

After mum had a sit down on none moving land and a drink of cold water we headed for the beach. The island reminded me of Mystery Island just bigger. It's probably as long as Mystery but quite a bit wider. It takes about 1 1/2 - 2hrs to walk around, Mystery was about 45 mins.

We found a gorgeous spot to sit and takes some photos (unfortunately my sd card failed from 1/9 so I haven't got any photos, so disappointed but it just means I'll have to go back!). Mum and I went for a swim. The water was a bit colder than what I had thought it would be but still lovely. We bobbed about for 40 minutes or so. After that we walked over to the other side of the island where all the activities and crowds were. You could hire canoes and stand up paddle boards or do a glass bottom boat tour - I would love do have done this but it was a bit expensive. We were told we maybe able to book one on the island as long as all the tours were done first. Going by the lineup to book tours etc I don't think we would have had much chance. I think if I came back here I might budget in for the glass bottom boat. From all reports the sea life was amazing. Again we didn't have snorkel gear so we would definitely bring it next time!

The water colour was incredible!
Mum and I decided to walk around the island, dad declined, and headed off towards the airport. It was a pretty easy walk as the path way was quite compacted and easy to walk on. There were a couple of places with water available and so many photo worthy views.

Apparently you can higher the whole island for $50,000 a week for up to 20 people. The dude doing the talk thought this was great value. Cheaper to visit it by cruise ship.

We met up with dad who was heading back to the ship, mum and I went back to our first swim spot and bobbed around in the water again.

We were relaxing on the beach enjoying the serenity when mum looks at the time and says we better head back as it was almost 3pm and last tender was 4pm. I was surprised how fast the time had gone and a bit disappointed to have to leave. Just as we're getting onto the tender mum realises the time on her camera was an hour fast so it was actually on 2pm, no need to rush back. Too late then, we were on the tender. oh well.

We walked along the beautiful beach back to the tender
I loved this island just for the cleanest of it and the relaxation factor and would happily visit it again.

Time for our last sailaway before we make our way back to Sydney.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Pacific Jewel - Thursday 1 September, Kiriwina Island

First day of spring! Kiriwina Island is a true PNG island. The locals have lived like they do for ever. To us it is very rustic with the bare minimum I guess but it sure looks like a relaxed and healthy way to live. The majority of their food is either grown by them or caught with very few things delivered from the larger mainland.

Welcome to Kiriwina Island

Locals selling their wares

The locals were all out to meet and greet us and had been working hard at making things for us to buy. A lot of carved items from rings and necklaces to bowls and spears. Unfortunately I forgot to bring any money with me, I get so use to using my cruise card I forget about 'real' money. If I ever went back or new people that were heading there I would definitely say to exchange money for PNG money - so much easier for the locals. It is so hard for them to change Australian dollars into their money and coins are just like a rock really, worthless. SO if you go please take PNG money. I think it's Kina??

School concert
The local school, not sure if that is the only school on the island, put on a beautiful concert for us. They looked so proud showing us their talents.

Something we were told in one of the talks we went to was to NOT give the kids (or adults) lollies. They do not have access to dentists so cannot cope with so much sugar. If you do want to bring things for them school books, pencils etc would be much more appreciated.

Mum and I found a nice shady spot to sit in
Dad didn't hang around long and caught the tender back to the ship. Mum and I found a spot in the shade, the sun was hot, and made for the water. The water was quite shallow as the tide was out but it was lovely. There were heaps of kiddies with their handmade boats floating about ready to take is for a sail. The reef wasn't too far out but, so I heard, was quite tricky to get to as the water was so shallow you had to walk of the rocks and coral to get out there. Apparently it was gorgeous once you were out there though. We didn't have any snorkelling gear with us but, again, if we ever came back we would make sure we brought some with us. The water was so clean and clear - beautiful.

Beautiful water
After a few hours of lazing and swimming and watching other passengers try beetle nut. The locals and all across PNG chew on this daily - it's a bit of a 'drug' and has a calming, happy inducing quality about it. It also makes your teeth a lovely shade of orange. By the comments I heard it isn't the nicest tasting thing ever.

We made our way back to the Jewel on the tender and whiled away the rest of the day on a deck chair. This is the life.

On the tender heading back to the Jewel

All aboard

Next and final stop Conflict Islands.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Pacific Jewel - Wednesday 31 August, Alotau PNG

Our first Papua New Guinea port - Alotau. Mum and dad had visited this port last year on the Pacific Jewel cruise from Singapore so knew what to expect. I hadn't a clue, always love a new port!

Ellie our towel animal enjoying the view


It was very similar to Santo in that the dock was older style and there were many rain filled pot holes about. As this is a port where the ship docks we could easily walk off the ship when we were ready to go, after brekky of course. We didn't have any tours booked so just planned to wander around a bit, take a few piccies, visit the local supermarket if we found one. Always interesting to see other countries supermarket, for me anyway.

I enjoyed walking into town and looking at the local markets and a smaller market set up for us tourists. There is also a War Memorial which was nice to look at and to read the plaques.

We spent a couple of hours off the ship and then made our way back on board. The weather was warm and overcast with rain threatening the whole day. Luckily it didn't appear but the mountains sure looked liked they were getting a hammering.

Inside the Alotau port area

We walked along the water into the main part of Alotau
Alotau isn't a very big place, basically one main road with a couple of streets off that where the main shops, banks etc were. Lots of boats in the harbour. I think they were stocking one of the larger boats to go out to the smaller islands or PNG, like Kiriwina which we were visiting next.

Just a couple of pot holes - the local markets.
 We had a look at the markets but they mainly sold house holdy type things and a lot of cigarette lighters!

Grocery stores and banks
Main street
Dad's old boss
When mum and dad lived in PNG dad worked for Toyota, memories.....

Dad almost got speared by these boys
Heading back to the Jewel
Lunch was on our minds (of course!) so we made our way back to the Jewel. After a relaxing afternoon we went up to the Lido for sailaway.

Next port Kiriwina Island, PNG!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Pacific Jewel - Monday 29 and Tuesday 30, Sea Days 2 & 3

The next two days were spent at sea heading towards our first PNG port of Alotau. Basically we slept, ate, drank, read, walked (or lifted - mind ze door), checked out a few talks and shows and basically enjoyed being on a cruise on the Pacific Jewel.

We went to a couple of talks about Papua New Guinea which were really quite interesting. He covered what was available through P&O (of course) but also had a lot of extra information about the ports we were visiting and what he thought would be the best places to visit. He had done quite a few cruises and was the resident PNG cruising expert. He had also been a pilot at one stage in his life - they certainly earn their money.

The weather was getting warmer and the seas were calm - the ship was hardly moving except full steam ahead. We saw a pod of whales and a few ships. Manflu was (very) slowly easing.

I enjoyed a coffee from the cafe on Deck 5 (approx $4) on Deck 7, I liked hanging out here as it is generally quiet and sheltered.

A decent coffee on the Jewel is found at the Cafe on Deck 5
Deck 7 - Promenade

I really liked the decor of the Pantry, very contemporary with a great use of old photos and advertising.

Artwork in the Pantry
 The Dome was a nice place to sit, especially when the weather was a bit blowy outside although at times it could be a bit chilly. Something we found was a common theme throughout the ship. I don't know why they have to have it so cold??
The Dome - deck 14
Lunch was for one in the Pantry as the olds had eaten earlier. I almost had it to myself, a bonus of eating late :-) and as some people seem to think, they didn't run out of food!
Seating for The Pantry
 I grabbed a deckchair on Deck 14, the deck just above the Lido, and listened to the band for awhile. They were an English band and were good, getting into the Aussie music and adding their own spin. I think dad was resting in the cabin and mum was relaxing and reading in the Dome.

Deck chair chilling
Predinner drinks on the Lido and enjoying some sunshine. Tomorrow was our first PNG port, Alotau!

The Lido - perfect place for a drink!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pacific Jewel - Sunday 28 August, Brisbane

Our first port, Brisvegas baby! Someone was still dying from manflu so only the two of us venture off the Jewel.

Brisbane Cruise Terminal

The olds headed upstairs for breakfast while I leisurely got ready for the day. 

I LOVE the danishes!
It was a lovely sunny day, still a bit cool but much nicer than the last couple of days. Mum and I walked off the ship around 11am and just walked along the river, heading towards the city. We had no plans so just enjoyed the sun. The Eat Street Markets were on, just next door to the terminal but we decided not to go there. There's plenty of food on the ship so we didn't really need to buy any.

Heading back to the ship we popped into the local IGA to get some more throat lozenges and then back on board we went. I'm pretty sure it must be lunch time!

The Jewel, Rivercat and the Gateway Bridge

Walkway along the river
We relaxed on deck chairs up on deck 14 for most of the afternoon. Sailaway was 4pm and we were right on time.

Bye Brissy
Footy for sailaway plus people doing one of the P&O Edge activities
We made it under the bridge

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Pacific Jewel - Saturday 27 August, Sea Day 1

Bircher Muesli for brekky
Part of the Pantry, near the Grill

I started my day with a bircher muesli and orange juice trying to help ward off the oncoming cold, after popping a few pills too. Today is a sea day heading for Brisbane, which is our first stop, tomorrow. No plans for today as is usually the case on a cruise. Depending on what's on in the Pacific Daily a deck chair and a cardy sounds good. It's still a bit chilly but hopefully the further north we go the warmer it will get.

In the atrium was Morning Wake Up Trivia with Sandy the cruise director and Sarah the deputy cruise director. We gave it a go but made it even more difficult for ourselves when we realised we had to drop each answer over the edge down to deck 5 (we were on deck 6). Twice my answer landed on the ledge! Not surprisingly we didn't win. I'll blame the ledge for that!

Deck 6 looking down to the Atrium deck 5 - can you see my answers stuck on the ledge??

Another bowl of soup, this time for lunch, delicious tomato soup with a bread roll of course!

More of the Pantry
The afternoon was spent reading and watching the world go by and breathing in the sea air. We had pre dinner drinks at the Orient and ended up taking part in a Sports Trivia which, would you believe, we WON! Bottle openers for us :-)

The Orient and part of our winning Trivia team
Dinner was at the Pantry. Mexican tonight - so good!

The main area of the Pantry
Yet another early night for us with one of us having 'man flu' and thought he was dying. Brisbane tomorrow.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Pacific Jewel - Friday 26 August, 2016

ALL ABOARD! The day of our PNG cruise has arrived. Cold but no rain. Embarkation is for around 12.30pm so our morning is nice and relaxed. Our check out time was 11am so we thought we'd venture outside with the first stop being Coles at the World Square for some cold and flu tablets and throat lozenges! Gah, not a great way to start our holiday. I grabbed some fruit and dad had ordered egg and bacon rolls at a cafe just down from Coles for them. We enjoyed our brekky and then dad headed off to find the immigration department to get his re-entry visa sorted. On his way back to the hotel dad passed the grand opening of Krispy Kremes where they were giving out FREE donuts which dad didn't get!!

Brekky time

We checked out of the Travelodge and then made our way to Museum Station to get the train over to Circular Quay. Easy walk except the station doesn't have any lifts or escalators so it was a bit of a struggle with our suitcases, helping us work up an appetite for our first lunch on board the Jewel!

Pacific Jewel docked at the OPT waiting for us

Funny story - when you leave the station you scan your opal card and the gates open to let you walk through. Mum must have been a bit slow walking through, she made it but her suitcase didn't! The gates closed with her on one side and her bag on the other. So funny. I was too slow for a photo!! Luckily a nice man rescued her suitcase for her and lifted it up over the gate. ha ha

Thankfully the Jewel was docked at the OPT :-) so we headed over there and dropped our suitcases off and grabbed the forms we needed to fill out before boarding. The usual immigration departure form and the health form - were we sick? no not us.

Waiting for our number to be called in the OPT

After filling out our forms we headed into the OPT and followed the staff instructions. We had about a 10-15 minute wait, they hadn't started boarding yet, before they started calling our numbers. These we received when we walked into the terminal. We had number 3. They start with VIP and suites and then go in numerical order. Once our number was called we head to immigration, and thankfully dad's visa was all in order, and then onto the check in desks. This didn't take long at all, maybe 5-10 minutes and we were at the desk getting out photo taken and our cruise card. Our cruise has almost started!

After this part we headed to the scanners which took a bit longer. They have two going and generally the only reason there are hold ups is when people don't listen to the instructions. Once through we made our way to the gangplank and arrived on deck 7 just one up from where our cabin was. 6143 here we come!

Almost on board

Our bags were waiting at the end of the corridor so we grabbed them and made our way for our cabin. We were starboard forward outside. Our cabin steward Joannes or Jo for short introduced himself and then we unpacked our suitcases, had a quick freshen up and headed for the...........................Pantry. This is what was formerly known as the buffet. I hadn't seen this before but mum and dad had been on the Jewel after it had it's refit last June so they knew what to expect.

Cabin 6143 - Triple

Love the Pantry. Gorgeous design and the set up seems to work really well. The hardest part is deciding what to have. There a numerous station, similar to a food court but much nicer looking, Indian, Chinese, Fish n Chips, Roast, Sandwiches, Soups and Salads, Mexican and the Dessert stand.

Chicken Snizzy Roll

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pud

After lunch we had a wander around the ship, tried to get our bearings so we didn't get too lost every day. We worked out that if we used the stairs closest to our cabin we came out at the Lido or Dome and if we walked either down deck 6 or 7 and headed up those stairs (or lift) we popped up in the Pantry. These were good if the weather was a bit iffy.

We found a table and ordered our drinks ready for sailaway. Bye Sydney we'll see you in 10 days!

We had a relatively quiet evening so after we'd sailed out of the heads and headed north we had our dinner in the Pantry, a warming bowl of cauliflower soup and a yummy (as always) bread roll and crashed out in our cabin. 

Party animals we are not!