Fiji here I come.. my dream cruise becomes a reality!!!

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Oceania » Fiji » Suva
September 20th 2014
Published: October 11th 2017
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In January 2014, Judy (my mother) and I walked into our local Flight Centre to book our first ‘Mother and daughter cruise’ to the South Pacific with Princess Cruises. This was actually my ‘dream cruise because because I’ve wanted to do a Fijian cruise since age of sixteen, and finally in my dream has come true. Prior to this, I had never been on a cruise ship before, and it was also my first time out of Australia.

Departing from Sydney Australia: - The morning of ‘Saturday, 20th September 2014’ finally arrived. I got out of bed and asked myself, "So can I get excited now?" After a short purse I said, "Yep" and spent the rest of the morning wanting one thing... to get onto the ship! Wendy Grace was the lady who looked after the house while we were away. She drove us both to White Bay Wharf to meet the Dawn Princess cruise ship; our home for the two week voyage. The minute I saw the ship I got cruise happy and said, “there it is, there it is, there it is!"

When we arrived at the wharf, Wendy got our luggage out of her car with a little help from us. A man who works for Princess Cruises then came and loaded our things onto a trolley for us. When he left to help someone else mum (being mum) thought he was leaving it for US to take on board so picked up the handles of the trolley (containing all our bags) and started pushing it.’ Watching her do that was so funny and it was defiantly ‘a classic Judy moment!'

Our ship was late leaving Sydney. Before the departure took place, we had to go to our Master station with our life jacket for our Life Boat drill. This is required by international law for passengers who are going into International Waters. Once finished, it was time for our cruise to begin. We all returned our life jackets to our cabins and got read for the Ships departure party. As the ship was pulling away from the wharf, the captain (Ivan Jerman) blew the ships horn six times to say, Good bye to Sydney.’ I was filming, and taking photos of parts of the departure when the first horn was sounded which could be heard from as far as ‘Manly.’ It was so loud, and I wasn’t expecting it so I jumped because it scared the crap out of me. The Ship passed under the Harbour Bridge on it’s way out to sea. Although it was a fantastic experience; the scary thing is ‘the top of the ships hump misses the edge of the Sydney Harbour Bridge by about ‘three meters! This was where I came up with the saying, "Like the Dawn Princess going under the Harbour Bridge; that was a tight squeeze!"

Unlike everyone else on board; I stayed at the front of the ship until the ship was at sea. The sun had just gone down, and it was so cold outside on the deck so I raced back inside to warm up. It was my first cruise so I naturally got a bit lost on my way down our room (C703 on deck nine), but I made it back in time to get ready for dinner. On our way to the Venetian Dining room for the 7:45pm seating at 'table 129,’ we took the lift down to deck five to pick up our ‘coffee card, our unlimited drinks sticker for our passenger card, and a princess cruises cord for our passenger card.’ Unlike my sisters cruise; we didn’t have to wait very long for our luggage to arrive because they were sitting outside our door when we returned to the cabin.

After dinner, we went to the Princess Theatre for our first ‘Show Time performance’ for the cruise. He was a musical comedian, and he actually reminded me of (a performance act called) ‘the old fella’ from the television show 'Australia's got talent' because he was so funny! When the show ended; Marahscalh Stanton (our cruise director) came on stage, and gave us some cruise news. During the talk he said, "Now tomorrow is a sea day so do get off the ship or you'll get your feet wet!" This was funny and so true! When he left the stage, we left the theatre and returned to our cabin for the night. As I slept, I found my ’sea legs’ and I was fine for the rest of the cruise.

First Sea Day: - We woke up at 8am with breakfast in bed; delivered to our cabin by room service. As suggested by Raelene (my sister); we watched the ‘Wake up show’ to get the latest updates of what’s happening on the ship. When then got ready for our first sea day on board the Dawn Princess. Our first stop, was to the Princess Theatre for the information session called ‘destination Noumea;’ which gave us information about our first port.

When the session finished, we left the Princess Theatre, and continued with our treasure hunt designed to help us ‘first time cruises’ find our way around our ship. It was a passenger raffle, the treasure hunt map was the entry ticket, and no we didn’t win. Mum and I are ‘complete opposite,’ and we enjoy doing different things. I was on my own in the Vista Lounge (where the prize was drawn), and I didn’t know where mum or where our cabin was so I naturally got lost on board the cruise ship. I looked everywhere on board before eventually giving up. I looked in my passenger bag I noticed I had my swimmers, beach towel, and soft drink mug with me. When I saw them in my bag I said, “ well I’m on board a beautiful cruise ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and I don’t know where mum, our where our cabin is.... i’m gonna have a drink!“ I then put the left up to deck 12 (AKA ‘the pool deck‘), found a deckchair, and had my first Cocktail on board the ship, before having a swim, and finding out where our cabin is thanks to the map I received when I boarded the ship.

Every day at 12pm the captain speaks over the P.A system and gives us an update of the ships position at sea, the sea depth, and the weather conditions, etc. During his first talk he said, "The ship is currently off the coast of New Castle!" When he said that one of men on the deck responded saying, "What... that's all?" I was sitting close by on a deck chair, and I laughed when he said that as I thought it was funny. Shortly after the captain’s announcement, I met mum for lunch on deck eight at the Scala Pizzeria. Although it was a beautiful looking restaurant I soon learnt to not be deceived by appearances’ because the service we received was terrible, the staff left us waiting for quite a while, and the pizza wasn't really nice so we didn't go there again.

Once outside the restaurant we went out separate ways again before returning to our cabin to get ready for dinner with our group at the Venetian Dinning Room before going to the Princess theatre for the ’show time performance‘ and going to deck twelve for 'Movies under the stars.’ The movie that night was 'X-Men Days of future past‘ (staring Hugh Jackman), and it was a fantastic movie. When it finished, I returned to the room where I met mum, and found a small chocolate treat our bed. I ate it, and got ready for bed.

Second Sea Day: - We woke up at 7:45am with Breakfast in bed. When I opened the curtains of our state room cabin, I saw sea eagles flying outside the cabin window. I naturally thought ‘I was seeing things’ because the ship was still sailing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean so I walked away, and said nothing about it until she saw them. After breakfast, we got ready for the ‘Destination Dravuni Island and Savu Savu, Fiji’ presentation in the Princess Theatre. When it finished, we went our separate ways. Mum went to the Vista Lounge to have a go at Bingo, and I made my to deck twelve where I got a drink at the Riververa (outdoor) café, and enjoyed some time in the spa because the pool was too cold. During my time there, I saw in the corner of my eye sea eagles flying next to the ship. Once again, I thought I was seeing things so I dismissed it. But when I saw the birds again I thought, "I think there might be land close by because that's a sea eagle." I then took my camera out and took a photo of it.

At 12:45pm, we met at the Horizon (food) Court on deck fourteen for lunch. When we finished eating, we went our separate. I went to the Princess Theatre for the movie ‘Maleficent,’ and mum went line dancing. When the movie ended, we met on deck twelve for the mini 'Billy Joel concert' (which was shown on the big screens), before returning to our cabin to get ready for the first formal night of the cruise where we enjoyed free drinks, had our photo taken, and met 'Ivan Jerman' (the ship’s captain) who came personally to the grand ballroom (where the party was happening), and spoke to us live from a balcony. After dinner we joined the people at our table, and went to the Princess theatre for the live show 'Piano Man' (a tribute production to artists like: ‘Queen, Billy Joel, and Elton John, etc) before returning to the cabin for the night.

Noumea, New Caledonia: - The day arrived for the for the ship to dock at our first port in Noumea. We woke up at 7am for an early breakfast which was delivered to our cabin. After breakfast, we left our cabin and went to our disembarkation meeting area. We got our group number, and waited for it to be called so we could leave the ship for the day. The ship arrived in Noumea during their wet season, and I made the mistake of 'getting off the ship without a jumper so I was a bit cold but I survived thanks to a 'long sleeved top I purchased from one of the local shops. Originally, we had an on shore excursion planed but we decided to cancel it because a friend of ours back home who did a similar cruise told us, "the tourist train is open to the general public" so we got off the bus which parked outside the information center and booked our own excursion with the green tourist train.

At 10:30am we boarded the green tourist train with everyone else for the tour of Noumea. The train took us to two stops. The first one was a look out at the top of a hill which gave us a great view of Noumea, and the second one was at a military gun which had a sun dial close by and gave us a view of Noumea from another angle. Both stops lasted for ten minutes. When the three hour tour finished, the train returned to the information center. We got off the train and went shopping at a place called 'Casmo;' (where all the shops were located). Because of security reasons we were unable to take our bags inside the store with us so mum went in first and I stayed outside with the trolleys and waited for her to return. When mum returned to where I was standing, she handed me the two bottles of water, and I put them into my bag. Pretty much as soon as I did the zipper up someone (who I think was from our cruise) yelled out, "don't drink the water." That person’s influence caused mum to go back into the store, to return the two bottles of water, and yes she got her money back. Looking back on this, I honestly recon there was nothing wrong with the water because 'we were given bottled water to drink in Fiji.'

We then returned to the information center where we went shopping in the stores inside the building, and had lunch at the Le 'Fare Du Quai Ferry' - a cafe in Noumea located next to the information center. We both ordered the smooth burger and a Macchiato coffee (similar to mocha). Although the burger was a bit messy; the burger and the coffee was really tasty. After lunch we went for a walk through a park. We then returned to the information center where we court the bus back to the ship. As I said before 'it was so cold and went that day' so we watched the departure from The Horizon (food) Court. We then returned to the cabin and got ready for our 7:45pm dinner seating with our group in the Venetian Dinning Room. After dinner, our group went to the Princess theatre for ‘Show Time with Fern Belling.’ When the show ended, we went to the ‘Jammers (the ships night club) for the 80’s party before returning to the cabin for the night.

Third Sea Day: - We woke up at 8am enjoyed an ordered snack that was delivered to our cabin by room service, and got ready for the day. At 10am, we left our cabin and went to the Horizon (food) Court for breakfast. After breakfast we went our separate ways. I then met up with mum at the Princess Theatre for the short talk about the classic movie 'The South Pacific.' I arrived early do instead of waiting for her to arrive; I did a lap deck seven to face a fear, and to see if I could 'do a lap of the deck before the show started.' The interesting thing about the ship is it’s 'approximately the length of three professional NRL foot ball fields (end to end) so one lap of deck six and seven is like walking three miles on land. When the ‘semi boring’ lecture finished we returned to The Horizon (food) Court for lunch. Prior to this we went (discounting) duty three shopping in the Venetian dining room (where we had dinner each night). Although duty free; it was discount shopping because everything was on sale for $15.00. Naturally being a female; I took advantage of this. I got a new watch, a black clutch purse, and a designer jewellery set for (in total) $45.00. How cool is that?

We then went to the Princess Theatre and saw the movie 'Grace of Morocco.' Although mum enjoyed the movie; I found it a bit boring as it wasn't really my kind of movie so I walked out. The movie finished one hour and fifteen minutes later so I waited on the lounge for her to come out of the theatre. After a brief catch up; we separated and went our separate ways. I went to deck twelve (one of my favourite places on the ship), and mum did her own thing. It was so cold so I 'got my brave on' and I put my swimmers on. With basically everyone watching I went to one end of the pool, got in, and did one lap to the other end. I then quickly got out of the pool, grabbed my clothes, ran over to the spa, and got in to warm up because it was warmer in the spa than it was outside the spa. I eventually got out of the spa, and returned to the room to get ready for the night, and for dinner in the Venetian Dining room. After dinner, we went to the Vista lounge for show time with ‘Kenny Bennett’... Australia’s favourite funny man. Honestly, I didn't really like him because he kind of over did it, but mum loved his performance and she couldn't stop laughing. When the show ended, mum returned to the cabin, and I went to Jammers (the ships night club) where I danced the night away. I was there for quite a while before leaving the party to return to the cabin for the night.

Dravuni Island, Fiji: - We woke up at 7pm and got ready for the day in Fiji. The ship was still moving so we turned the television on, watched that day’s episode of 'the wake show,' and waited for room service to deliver breakfast to our cabin. The ship was delayed so we didn't arrive until 9:30am. So after breakfast, I went to the top deck and took photos of the surrounding islands. When I was there I found a round swimming pool at the back of the ship (on deck twelve) so I went swimming while the ship docked. Once docked, I returned to the cabin and got ready for the day. At 10:30am we disembarked from the ship through deck four and court the tender boat to the Island as there was no place for the ship to dock at the wharf.

It was a small Island and there was no on shore excursion planed so we went for a walk to check the Island out. When we arrived we were welcomed by the locals who sang to us in their native language. We then walked over to a shelter where another group of Fijians sang to us. After a short walk along a path we found, we returned to the ship for lunch in the Horizon (food) Court. After lunch we returned to the Island. Shortly after arrival, we enjoyed a drink from a coconut. We then visited one of the schools where we saw some kids from the ship playing football with some kids from the village in the school yard, took photos of the surroundings, and I finally fulfilled a dream of mine... I went snorkeling in Fiji before returning to the ship. As you can imagine; when we got back to the ship we I were so tired that we rested in the cabin before going to dinner in the Venetian Dining room. A funny thing happened when I turned the television on. I found the show 'the love boat' playing on one of the channels. It was a bit weird watching another ship on television from the Dawn Princess Cruise ship but I enjoyed it!

After dinner, we returned to the cabin to get ready for 'the Ultimate deck party and Islander night' which took place that night on deck twelve of the ship. Once ready we left the cabin and joined everyone else on deck twelve for the party. Shortly I arrived, the cruise director said, "We're currently in the South Pacific, and in the Princess contract you signed before you boarded the ship you agreed to join the Congo line. I'm sorry, it's the law!" This was where I joined into the party. Mum didn't as it wasn't her thing so she returned to the cabin. Everyone who was there joined in, the Congo line did a lap of deck twelve before returning to the stage area. The man who was leading our group took things into his own hands. He took his Congo line around three polls before returning our group to the dance area. When it ended, the cruise director returned to the stage and said, "This is also meant to be a dance party so I want to see you dance 'till you drop" so I (a night person) stayed behind and partied on a ship named ‘Dawn’ until 11:30pm before returning to the cabin for the night. From the words of the cruise director during one of the songs, "That's how you do it on the ship!"

Suva, Fiji: - We woke up at 7am and the ship was still moving. When the ship finally docked, we disembarked early to look around before going on our shore excursion. My first impression of Suva was 'it's like China Town and Central Station in Australia' because everyone wanted your business. Despite this, I took photos and did some shopping anyway. I bought 'a tortes shell pendant, and a bracelet from one of the stores in a street market. The pendant is an 'animal product' and I was prepared to let go just in case I wasn't able to take it past customs when I got home. When mum and I finished shopping, we returned to the ship for lunch and to get ready for our shore excursion. We left the ship at 11:30pm, and boarded the bus that took us to the venue for our 'Island drive, arts village, and fire walking excursion.' Forty five minutes later, we got off the bus. Upon arrival, our group was greeted with a Fijian welcome which included, "Bula" (which is Fijian for 'hello'). We were also given a shelled lay as a souvenir of our day in Suva.

We then had free time to go shopping, and to have a quick look around before the drum was sound by a Fijian man to announce the start of the fire walking excursion. Some of the natives sang to us as they walked us to the demonstration area where the 'fire walking, the ladies dancing, and a hunting demonstration' took place. Although I still think the Fire Walking was 'staged;' it was still a great experience. During the presentation, one of the Fijian ladies who danced chose a man in the audience to flirt with, and the way it happened was really funny. When the shore excursion finished, we had one final look around the grounds before getting back on the bus for our return trip back to the ship.

As well as a day in Suva; it was also the day of the AFL Grand Final back home in Sydney Australia, and the game was between the Hawks and the Sydney Swans... GO THE SWANS!!! Although the Swans lost to the Hawks (sad face) the good news is 'it was shown on deck twelve (the pool deck) on the ship. I was a bit late for it because our shore excursion didn't finish until 4:30pm; the time the game was played on the big screen... with delays! During the game, I heard a noise coming from the wharf so I naturally went over to the side of the ship to see what was going on. Two Fijian military bands gathered at the wharf where the ship was docked and played music to see us off. A funny thing happened as the ship was leaving. During the departure; the ship blew its horn three times at the musicians. When this happened a trumpet player blew his instrument back at the ship. This sent a few laughs around the ship as the ship departed for the next port.

Towards the end of the game, t was obvious the Hawks were going to win the 2014 AFL Grand final. I left my seat on the top deck, and returned to the cabin and got ready for our 7:45pm dinner seating in the Venetian Dining Room. When we finished eating; we left the restaurant and went to the Princess Theatre for 'Show time with ‘Nathan Farley (from Hi5).’ During the performance, Nathan told us ‘it was his birthday’ so being a nice bunch of people we sang happy birthday to him, and he really appreciated it. When the show ended, we walked along the outside deck on our way to the cabin for the night.

Savu Savu, Fiji: - Our shore excursion time was changed from the afternoon to the morning. We woke up at 7am, got dressed, watched the wake show on television (as we did everyday), and waited for room service to deliver our breakfast to our cabin. After breakfast, we left our cabin at 8:15am. We went to the Princess theatre where we got our green dismemberment sticker, and waited for our number to be red out. Once announced, our group of ten people left the meeting area and went to deck four where we got the tender boat that took us ashore. The trip went well that is until it 'ran aground' half way between the ship and the Island so we were all stuck in the boat for quite some time on a hot day, and I'm glad the weather was cooler at the plantation (at the back the Island) where our shore excursion was held.

When we (finally) arrived on land we got out of the tender boat and walked along the wharf to the bus that took us to the coconut (or cobra) plantation. The bus we were on had 'no microphones' so those who were seated at the back of the bus had troubles hearing everything that was being said. The bus also had no air-conditioning but the widow was always open and the staff looked after us by giving us free water bottles. On our way to the venue our tour guide pointed out a 'mountain that looks like a human thumb.' Naturally, I wanted to take a photo of it but wasn't able to do so because I was seated on the wrong side of the bus.

Approximately one hour and thirty minutes later the bus we were on arrived at the venue for the excursion. We all got off the bus, entered the grounds, and heard a talk from a man about the plantation. Those who were there also saw how the Fijian people cooked the coconuts after picking. I started off by standing next to a coconut tree. I suddenly heard a snap. Thinking it was a coconut I ran because 'if a coconut hits you on the head you're dead!' When the talk ended, we had a look around before crossing over a (shaky) bridge and walking over to the beach side of the plantation where we heard another talk. We then enjoyed another round of coconut milk that came straight from the nut. We also had a yummy lunch, the area itself, and a free concert that was given to us by some locals. Some of the things I learnt at the plantation include: 'If you're on a deserted Island all you need is a single 'coconut tree' because it has everything you need to survive. You get food from the nut itself, you can drink its juice (known as coconut milk), and the leaves of a coconut tree are strong enough that you build a house or make a basket or even clothing. If you're standing next to a coconut tree and you hear a 'snap' run because one knock on the head from a coconut can kill you. Also, once fallen if you leave a coconut on the ground for five months or more it'll sprout and produce a new tree, and this will happen all year round. Although the talk was finished, the Fijian people invited us to stay if we wanted to so we did, and I'm glad because I honestly didn't want to leave. During the wait for our bus, I went for a walk, took photos, and met a few of the locals. The bus finally came at 3:30pm, and it was the last bus back to the ship. During the trip, the driver took a quick 'D-tour.' He drove the bus to one of the hot (volcanic) springs that women used to cook meals. I didn't go out as I stayed on the bus but I saw people sweating from the heat as they got back on the bus.

Pretty much, as soon as we got back on board the ship we went to The Horizon (food) Court for a snack before dinner. Mum then returned to the cabin, and I stayed behind and went to deck twelve for a swim because it was so hot. When I got out of the pool, I went to the top deck to watch the departure. The ship turned and got into position for departure. This was when I thought the ship wasn't moving until I looked at the back of the ship and saw the white water. Once departed, I returned to the cabin and got ready for the night. After dinner in the Venetian dining room mum joined the others who sat with us at our table at the Princess Theatre for Show Time with ‘Fern Belling,’ while I went to the Vista Lounge to see the movie ‘Non Stop.’ When the movie ended, I went to 'Jammers (the ships night club)' before returning to the cabin for the night.

Port Denaru, Fiji: - We woke up at 7am with breakfast that was delivered to our cabin by room service. After breakfast, we got ready and went to the Princess Theatre were we waited for our number to be called to catch the tender boat to the Island. When we arrived at the main land, we walked along the wharf to the Oolala ferry that took us to the small Island where our excursion took place that day. We were on the ferry for an hour and a half. During the trip, the Fijians who were on the boat with us told us about the area, entertained us with their personality, serenaded us with songs, and handed out snorkel gear to those who came empty handed. I had my own with me so I didn’t need to get a set. Like at most of the other ports; our ferry went past the ship on its way to the Island so I had another opportunity to take photos of the outside of the ship.

The Island we went to for the shore excursion was a small (protected) Island; surrounded by coral. The ferry we were on lowered anchor at sea and we rode the rest of the way in a small boat that was provided for us. When we got off the boat we were led to a large hut where we put our things down, and got ready to go coral snorkeling. Those who wanted to go snorkeling had to hurry because we only had ninety left to enjoy the coral before the tide came in.

As well as ‘large amounts of Coral;’ I also saw a small fish swim out of a hole in the sand. When it saw me, the fish turned around quickly and went back into the whole. As I swam I a colourful fish swim underneath me. It got out in front of me, and stayed for a while before swimming away. I also saw a ‘giant electric blue star fish’ and it was beautiful. I had never seen one before in real life so I stayed with it, and admired it for a while. During my time with the star fish mum came up next to me. She tapped me on the shoulder, and I lifted my head and told her, "Look down!" She looked down and saw the star fish before swimming away to see other things. I wish I bought my water proof camera with me so I could take a photo of it and show you all what I saw.

It was then time for lunch so with a little help we all got out of the water and returned to the hut for lunch and a complimentary drink. During the meal one of the locals who was there with us told us something interesting about the baby sharks who lived in the area. He said, "Sword fish sharks come to the island every year to give birth. Once hatched, they head back out to sea and leave their young to fend for themselves. Every day, the people who own the island come by to feed them so after lunch we gathered by the shore, and watched people feeding the sharks. When this finished, mum went for a ride in the glass bottom boat to see the coral in the deep sea. When she got back on the island she told me, "I didn’t really see anything!" It was then my turn to go on the glass bottom boat. The driver must have taken us to a different spot because our group had a great view, and we saw a lot of coral. When we got back, it was time to return to ferry for our trip back to the ship. I picked up my things from the tent, and made a big mistake 'we separated' - Mum court the ferry back to the main land, and went back by hover craft. I had no choice but to sit in the sun for the trip back, and no one offered me a seat in the shade. It was a hot that day, and I came back to the ship with my skin feeling like it was on fire. I definitely had enough sun, so I returned to the cabin to rest before getting ready for dinner, and our night on board the ship.

Fourth Sea Day: - Thank goodness it was a sea day. We took it easy, and allowed the ship to entertain us. We woke up at 8am and got ready for breakfast in The Horizon (food) Court, before going for a coffee, and entering the ships ‘Ten Pin Bowling Tournament.’ Although mum got out after the first round; I made it through to the finalist round where I tied for third place. My secret was ‘I use to play league bowling’ so in a way I cheated! It was then time for lunch so we returned to the Horizon (food) Court for a yummy meal before going to the Princess for the movie ‘Chef’ which I absolutely loved. When the movie finished, we went our separate ways before meeting back at the cabin to get ready for dinner with our group in the Ventian room . After dinner, we went to the Vista Lounge for Show Time with ‘Phil Case;’ the ships new magician in action. When I first saw his suit case on the stage I thought it red ‘Pill Case’ that is until I found it was actually his name! When the show finished we returned to the cabin for the night.

Vila, Vanuatu: - We woke up at 7:30am for our day in Vila, Vanuatu, and to our breakfast that was delivered to our cabin at 8:30am. We originally had two shore excursions booked but we cancelled them both for some apparent reason. Looking back now I wish we didn’t cancel the excursions because when we got off the water taxi we were surrounded by people who wanted our business. Like the seagulls in the movie ‘Finding Nemo’ every business owner was there going ‘mine, mine, mine!’ I couldn’t even stand and take a photo with my back towards the road without a local saying, "Excuse me mam... do you want a taxi?"

After spending five hours on land, we took the sea taxi back to the wharf where the ship was docked. When we arrived, we continued our shopping before returning to the ship. When I returned to the cabin, I found even more origami toweled animals (this time it was a mother bird and chicks in a nest) sitting on my bed. I say 'once again' because this happened all the through the cruise after our room steward (Tony Campbell) got board decorating my 'soft toy Beast' with different things so my response was, "Oh, that’s so cute!" Now, my original plan was to ‘leave the cabin as I found it, and go for a walk around the decks before ship departed for Lifou’ and leave the cabin for mum to see when she walked in' so I did, and mum was as surprised as I was when she saw the surprise on my bed.

That night, we were originally going to have dinner in the Horizon food Court before going to the early show in the Vista Lounge, and then to deck twelve for that nights movie under the stars, but it didn't work out that way. Although everything else went well, the movie started late and mum kept falling asleep so I woke her up, and we returned to the cabin for the night.

Thant night I had the strangest dream I dreamed ‘the Dawn Princess Cruise Ship capsized at one of the ports. The ship was upright when everyone got off the ship, but when we returned after our on shore excursion 'we found the ship tipped over, and its side like the Costa Concordia a few years ago.’ As you can imagine; I was glad when I woke up in the cabin and saw the ship was up right.

Lifou, New Caledonia: - This was the final port for our cruise (sad face). We woke up for us was at 6:30am to get ready for our excursion and for breakfast in The Horizon (food) Court. After breakfast, we went straight to deck four where we court the tender boat to the Island. Our boat arrived at the island at 8:30am, and we were welcomed by some of the locals who (once again) stood at the end of the wharf and sang to us. We were then entertained by another group of islanders who sang and danced for us. Although this was entertaining; we were only allowed to stay for four and a half hours. It was a short stay because the ship had to depart at 1:30pm for its two day trip back to Sydney. Because of this we decided to take advantage of our final snorkeling opportunity in international waters.

As I snorkeled I saw several things including: ‘a baby sword fish that swam out in front of me. When I saw it my immediate response was ‘where’s mum?’ I didn’t want to get into trouble so I swam away. I also saw a large colour fish that had (what looked like) a thin gold ring around its neck, and of course I saw a lot of coral including a giant block of coral which although it was colourful, it scared the crap out of me because of its size. Because of the tide; as I snorkeled I encountered that block of coral several times and it scared me every time. I quickly swam away and tried to avoid it. I think it was because I was swimming in deep waters and the coral got bigger the further I went out. The time eventually came for us to get out of the water and head back to the ship. Mum had to come and get me because I was snorkeling out in deep water and I couldn’t hear her calling me from the shore.

When I finally got out of the water, we picked up our things, and headed to the wharf where we met the tender boat that took us back to the ship. As we walked along the wharf we saw several ship passengers still snorkeling in the water when they should’ve been out, and lining up. We also saw children entertaining us by jumping off the side of the wharf and even doing back flips into the water before getting out of the water to do it again. Because of the time; we were on the second last boat as the last boat docked at the wharf as our boat was leaving. When we got back on the ship, mum went back to the cabin and I did some Duty Free Shopping on board the ship before getting ready for dinner; where I had some fun with ordering the desert.

After dinner, we went our separate ways. I started off in the Vista Lounge for ‘Country Jam’ but I started to feel a bit sea sick, so I left that room and went to deck twelve for the movie ‘Saving Mr Banks;’ that nights movie under the stars and I felt a difference straight away because I was out in the fresh air. When the movie finished, I court the wrong lift down to the deck where our cabin was. I got off at the wrong end of the ship, and had fun walking from one end of the ship to the other end to get into the cabin. Thank goodness the cabin hall ways has ‘arm railings’ because the ship was really rolling that night due to going through a sea swell.

Our Second Last Sea Day: - It was our second last day of the cruise and we decided to take advantage of our time left on the ship so we made it a rule to ‘go wake up early and go to bed late.’ We woke up that day at 7am and had breakfast in the Venetian Dining Room; the restaurant where we had dinner every night. After breakfast, we went our separate ways. I wasn’t sure what to do as I had already done everything I wanted to do so I went for a cruise around the ship to check to place once again before my dismemberment in Sydney two days later. I then walked a lap of deck seven before going to deck twelve for the ‘Ice Carving Demonstration.’ The animal the chef carved was originally ‘a wolf’ that is until the tail fell off so it became ‘a dog’ instead! When he finished I left the deck, and court the lift down to deck five for the ‘towel animal creation demonstration (where the ships staff made animals out of towels and washes). Tony Campbell was the steward who looked after us during our cruise. Ever since the ‘Islander Night and dance party’ Tony spent the rest of the cruise creating ‘soft toys out towels.’ Every night, left a new one on or near my bed along with my night dress in the shape of a bow, and a chocolate treat on my pillow. It was so cute, and the finding of a new toy made me laugh every time.

As soon as the demonstration finished we met up for a coffee before returning to the cabin for a rest. We then went to the Horizon (food) Court for lunch before going our separate ways once again. I went to the Princess Theatre for the movie, and mum sat in the audience for performance that was given by the passenger choir before attending the quelling class and returning to the cabin to get ready for the night. It was the second ‘Formal Night’ for the cruise. When we were ready, we left the cabin and went to the grand ballroom where we had our photos taken by the ships photographer. We then had dinner with our group in the Venitian Dining Room, and enjoyed the live show in Princess Theatre before returning to the Grand Ballroom for the ‘Good bye to the South Pacific Balloon Drop.’

I was going to attend another show in the Vista Lounge before the event started by when I looked up I found a good spot to film the balloon drop so (being a photographer) I court the lift up and got into position. The balloon drop started at '10:30pm’ but I arrived at 10pm. Although I was early; the wait was worth it. The spectacular balloon drop was followed by everyone busting the balloons on the dance floor, and it was funny to watch. The party was then moved to ‘Jammers (the night club on the ship).’ On my way back to the cabin I stood outside Jammers (the ships night club) but I didn’t go in because I was so tired from all the partying I did at the Balloon Drop Party so I (slowly) made my way back to the cabin for the night. I say ‘slowly’ because the ship was rolling as it was going through a swell which made it fun to walk.

Our Final Sea Day: - We woke up at 7am for our final day on the ship. I really wanted to go swimming for the final time but when I arrived on the deck I noticed the pools were all closed for cleaning in preparation for the next cruise but the spas were still open. For the second (and final) time we went to the Venetian Dining Room for breakfast where we met two new people. After breakfast, I took advantage of 'the discount shopping' which took place in a dining room on deck five where I met up with mum who had the same idea. When I finished shopping, I waited for her outside the room. Originally, we were going to go to the photo gallery to have a look at, and buy photos that the ships photographers took of us but we decided against it when we found a group of people who was going on a tour of the ship. Although we didn't have a map; we joined the tour which took us to one of the kitchens on the ship. When the tour finished, we returned to the photo gallery and bought some photos. We then returned to the cabin and got ready for lunch. It was our last day at see so after lunch, we went back to the cabin, to pack our bags and to get ready to get off the ship in Sydney.

As well as packing; we also got ready for our final diner with our group in the Venetian Dining room. Although entertaining; it was also a sad night because it was the last night with our friends, and our last night on the ship. When the party broke up we said good bye to our friends at the table, and the staff who waited on us during the cruise. We then left the dining room for the Princess Theatre. We were almost at the Princess Theatre when someone told us, "It’s standing room only" so we turned around and went to the vista lounge where the live show was shown on the screen. As I said before ‘It was the last night of the cruise’ so the ships staff decided to put a show time production of their own on for us.

During the show four male employees walked across the stage, and they did this one at a time. The first man walked up to the microphone and said, "Hi, like my pants? It’s Levies!" The next man walked up to the microphone and said, "Hi, like my shirt? It’s Levies!" The third man walked up to the microphone and said, "Hi, like my jacket? It’s Levies!" After this was said and done a fourth man ran frantically up to the microphone wearing NOTHING but a towel and said, "Hi, I’m Levi! Anyone seen my clothes?"

The next performance took place between the cruise director and the dance instructor. While the cruise director was still on stage the female dance instructor came on stage carrying an empty sack and puts it on the stage next to him. She then said, "Get in... get in!" When the cruise director gets in he turns to her and asks, "now what do I do?" With a surprised look on her face, she replies saying, "I knew it... I knew you wouldn’t know what you would do if I got you in the sack" and walks off stage. The whole show was like that, and it was a great way to end the cruise.

Sailing into Sydney, Australia: On the day of our arrival back in Sydney, I woke up at 5:30am and quickly got dressed to race up to the top deck to take photos of the ships arrival. I was up there for quite a while as I wanted to see the ship squeeze under the harbour bridge once again. Like at other ports; it was really interesting watching the ship dock when it stopped near the wharf in Rozelle. I originally thought the ship was going to turn in woods but it didn’t instead it reversed into the dock. My immediate reaction when this happened was, "Wow... It’s amazing what ships can do!"

Once docked, I returned to the cabin to finish packing to get ready for our final breakfast on the ship. Like the other passengers; we had some of our things with us so we took turns with getting our meal so I went in first. When I got my plate, I looked over and saw two people from ‘customs’ getting breakfast in The Horizon (food) Court. My instant response when I saw them was, "You can tell if you’re back in Sydney when... ‘You see customs offers on the ship getting breakfast!’" After breakfast, we walked out onto the deck to get some more sun, and I went for my final lap and look around before leaving the ship before returning to my deck chair.

The time then came for us to disembark. So we court the lift down to deck five, and got our final coffee before leaving the ship. We got off the ship and had our passenger card for the final time. We then court the lift down and walked over our bags. We were then on our own to ‘fend for ourselves’ but thank thankfully a lady who works for Princess Cruises had a heard and bought two luggage trolley’s over to us to help us to get our bags outside. We were able to get our (declared) alcohol, and shelled jewellery past customs, and we didn’t have to wait long for Wendy (our friend who looked after our house) to pick us up from Sydney's White Bay wharf.

Now that I’ve finally done my dream cruise; if you were to ask me what my favourite port was, and what was your main high light of the cruise? My answer to the first question would be this: out of all of the ports we went to 'Dravuni Island (Fiji), and Lifou (New Caledonia)' was my favourite places to visit. As a new Captain Circle member I would personally recommend cruising to everyone because it’s the best way to see the world without the stress. You don’t have to travel very far because once on board... you’ve reached your destination - the ship just takes you for a ride. During the cruise we put a (refundable) deposit down for the next cruise which expires in two years, and I’m really looking forward to the next one.


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