Our South Pacific Family Cruise (3rd-17th November 2019)

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November 17th 2019
Published: November 17th 2019
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On Sunday 3rd November 2019, my Melbourne family (including my: ‘mum, brother, sister in-law, and my sisters family) boarded the Golden Princess at Port Melbourne International Ships Wharf for two weeks cruising fun in Fiji and the South Pacific to Celebrate (a few things including) mums birthday.

Our departure day has arrived (Sunday, 3rd November 2019)

The Golden Princess departed from Adelaide (bound for Melbourne) on Friday, 1st November 2019 at 9:26pm. Although we met the ship at Port Melbourne; Adelaide was were our cruise officially began. We woke up at 7am on departure day go to finish getting ready in time for our UBER driver for the drive down to port Melbourne Wharf, and to set Anneri Humphris (our house sitter) up for her two week staycation at our place. My brother in law, and the UBER driver arrived at 11am (in two cars) to take us to Port Melbourne Wharf. The trip took 53 minutes; but it was worth the wait because of the view that a waited us.

When we arrived at the wharf, we were able to drive straight in and we didn’t have to wait very long to board our home for two weeks despite our boarding time being at 2pm. When we finally found our cabin, we went inside to set up before meeting the others in the smorgasbord for lunch. When we finished eating, it was time to go for a walk around the massive ship before being called to our master station for the life boat drill; which was delayed because the sound system wasn’t working but we got there in the end. Princess Cruises has changed the way they do the lifeboat drill; you no longer need to come to the cabin to get your life jacket which made it a lot easier, and I was able to get to the top deck of the ship slot faster. Mum and I then went our separate ways.

As a cruiseling, it’s a tradition of mine to do the departure from the top deck where all the action is. When I arrived, the ship was already moving and I was able to start filming. Unlike my first two cruises; Corey our cruise director got us doing line dancing. Shortly after it ended, I returned to my cabin in time to see the Spirit of Tasmania go past, and I had plenty of time to relax, and to finish unpacked for our first dinner seating at the Canaletto restaurant; we’re I had my first Pine Colada for the cruise.

When we finished dinner, mum and I went to the Princess Theatre for the first time to see the comedian from the UK. He was also a juggler, and he was so funny. When the show ended we returned to our cabin for the night.

The drinks packages:

Unlike previous cruises; we weren’t able to purchase our beverage option prior to boarding; we had to book it when we got on board so I did so after lunch. It’s pretty interesting because ‘although I know it’s on my passenger card; I didn’t receive a drinks sticker, or a coffee card’... meaning I probably have to tell the staff every time I want to purchase a drink.

Our first sea day (Monday, 4 November 2019)

Mum and I woke up at 8am with Breakfast in bed. When we finished eating; I had a shower and I got out in time for our first visit from Raelene (my sister) and her two kids. After breakfast, we all left the cabin and went our separate ways. I went up to the top deck to watch the movie ‘Mumma Mia 1,’ and for my first swim on board the ship. I then left half way through the movie for Line Dancing with mum before meeting the others for lunch on the pool deck. It was a sea day, and there wasn’t much to do so after going to the ‘Welcome back to Princess for the Gold and Ruby members;’ I returned to the pool deck where the family were and enjoyed the atmosphere before getting ready for our dinner seating, and to party hard at night.

One of the first things I noticed about the ship is ‘how smooth it is on the open water.’ Even though the ship is rocking from back to front; I don’t really notice it... it could be because ‘it’s a bigger ship, or it’s a few years younger than the (late) Dawn Princess. If we were on board the Dawn; I would probably be sea sick right now!

It soon came time for our dinner together with family at Canaletto’s. Although the food was delicious; we didn’t stay for desert this time because we each wanted to get to other events that was happening on the ship that night. I went to the ‘Yes no Game in (I think) the Explorers Lounge (#hillarios) before going to the Sky Walkers night club on dec 17 (in AKA ‘the ships spoiler) before returning back to the ship for the night.

The yes no game is the game where you can’t say ANY form of yes and no. During the game ‘there was a lady who ONLY lasted for five seconds.. her prize was ‘a slice of an orange. The ships staff member almost got there; but he said ‘yes’ at the last minute and gave a bottle of wine to a friend anyway, and this old guy wouldn’t shut up. He pretty much ‘kept talking all the way through and said yes at the last minute. Other things happened that night, and it was a fantastic day on the ocean.

Melbourne cup at Sea (Tuesday, 5th November 2019)

It’s Melbourne cup day... the race that stops a ‘cruise ship!’ Mum and I woke up at 7:30 am for an early breakfast. When I turned the TV on to watch ‘the wake show’ (for the latest cruise updates) I was surprised to see the ‘Love Boat’ playing; the ship is in the Princess Family after all. When the show ended, we met up with Tim and Ava (my brother in law, and his youngest) for our breakfast meal in the Horizon food court before going our separate ways.

After going for a walk around the top deck, I returned to the cabin to get ready for Line dancing in the Vista Lounge with mum. When the class ended, I left mum and went to the Princess Theatre for the latest X-Men movie, before going to deck 14 for the big race. Unlike Melbourne; it was so cold and wet outside... thank goodness I had warm clothes with me. Sadly I didn’t win (number 23 ‘Vow and Declare’ did) 😢 but it was still a fantastic race, and the atmosphere was amazing.

As well as the Melbourne Cup; it was also our first formal night, and the best night of the cruise! The Champagne Waterfall took place, and everyone was offered complimentary drinks... I had two glasses of Champagne, and it was yummy! We also had our photos taken by the professional photographers on board, and everyone was able to meet some of the ships crew; including ‘the captain.’ The only thing I that recked it for me was ‘I got lost finding our restaurant!’ However, the meal, and the ‘I love to dance’ musical performance in the Performance in the ships Princess Theatre made up for it.

When it comes to coffee; I usually drink Mocha drinker. However, Primarily Cruises carries American coffee, and I found out hard way ‘I’m a Latte drinker on board the cruise ships’ because the Mocha coffees taste like crap!

Our third sea day (6th November 2019)

Mum and I woke up at 8am for our second breakfast in bed, and for our first visit from a Mare Sea Eagle. It wasn’t the only one I saw because the birds were soaring above the top deck; like they did during my first cruise.

Shortly after breakfast, mum and I went our separate ways and no one saw me until my return to the pool deck. I enjoyed a movie double; I went up to the pool deck for the movie ‘a dogs purpose’ (it was even better than the original) before having lunch in the Horizon food court, and going to the Princess Theatre with desert in hand for the Disney movie ‘Aladdin’... the second movie!

It was pretty much a bludge day after that. I went for a walk around deck 7 (outside deck) before having a look in the ships Duty Free shops and meeting up with family on the pool deck. That night, we went to the earlier dinner seating in one of the Restaurants because we wanted to ATTEMPT to go the Princess Theatre for the Buddy Holy Tribute band. But to no avail... the theatre was at ‘standing room only.’ So we left, and came back at a later time for the 9:45 performance, before returning to the cabin for the night.

Mare, New Caledonia (7th November 2019)

Mum and I woke up at 7:45am for breakfast, and to watch the ship sail into Mare New Caledonia; part of French Plenisha. The ship arrived at 10:30am, and almost everyone was out on the decks to witness it.... it was absolutely spectacular!

We left our cabin to meet up with the family in the Art Gallery for our first shore excursion together. We boarded the Tender boat; which took us to the shore, where we had our photos taken by the ships photographers. We then boarded our bus which took us to the beach for the day.

Prior to this day, I had never snorkelled in New Caledonia, and I thought the land looked a lot like Dravuni, Fiji from the water. When I got in the water, I followed Robert (my brother) out to where the Coral was. I saw numerous marine life; I also found Nemo and Dory, etc. I just wish I had an under water camera because I wanted to take them all home with me.

I’ve made it a personal rule of mine to ‘eat their food if i go to another country’

(providing I don’t get sick) so that’s exactly what I did; I had a Kebab with a fresh Coconut Water, and it was delicious. Shortly after this, I watched Raelene (my sister) and her kids getting their hair braided before returning to the ship for an early dinner together in the Canaletto’s Restaurant. When we finished eating, most of us went to the Princess Theatre to see the Comedian (we saw on the first night) while Tim (my brother in law) took his two kids up to the top deck for (Toy Story 4) the movie under the starts. When the show ended, mum, my sister, and sister in law went to the Explorers Lounge for the ships ‘do you want to dance’ passenger versus crew member dance off, before I got up and sang (Pinks) ‘Just like a pill’ and dedicated it to my sister because it’s her favourite songs.

Port Vila, Vanuatu (8th November 2019)

We woke up at 7am for breakfast in bed and enjoyed the ships arrival from our balcony before getting ready for our three hour shore excursion.

Unlike yesterday; it was time for mum and I to do something together. We went to snorkeling hotspot. Although we had to row ourselves over to the island; it was worth it because I was able to learn about the culture of Vanuatu, try some of the countries native food, and enjoy a coconut demonstration before going snorkeling with ‘David;’ our tour guide for the day. I missed out on snorkeling the last time I was in Vanuatu, and I’m glad I went this because ‘I was able to feed the fish, see a lot of coral, and meet ‘Nemo’s family.’ I just wish I had an under water camera because what I saw was amazing... wow! Prior to leaving, David’s wife gave us all a ‘Vanuatu floral crown’ for us to wear at tonight’s Ultimate Deck party.

6pm was our departure time. When we were at sea, I returned to our cabin to get ready to celebrate mums birthday at the Crown Grill specialty restaurant; where the waiters sang happy birthday to mum,’ and presented her with a yummy birthday cake.

When dinner was finished, we returned to our cabins to get ready for the ships Ultimate Deck party. The theme this time was ‘70’s Love Boat;’ where some of the ships crew was done up like characters from the Love Boat TV show. The party started under the stars on the main pool deck; before being moved to the Sky Walkers night club. It’s a good thing tomorrow is a sea day because I was able to stay out and party for a bit longer... knowing I can sleep in a bit longer.

Our fourth Sea Day (9th November 2019)

We left our cabin at 10am for a relaxing day on board the ship before docking in Fiji (one of my favourite places on the planet) and today we woke up at 8am; with an extra hour sleep under our belt because we’re approaching Fiji time.

As well as breakfast in our cabin; we also enjoyed the movie ‘Mumma Mia’ before getting ready for our Line Dancing class at sea. When the class ended, I went up to the pool deck for a drink in the spa before going to the Ice Carving demonstration, and meeting up with the family for lunch. All up, it was a fantastic day to relax and recover from our two previous shore excursions in Mare, Vanuatu before docking in Fiji for the first of two days.

After dinner, Raelene took the kids back to the cabin for the night, and Judy, Branka, and I went to the Explorers Lounge for the Lip Sync competition. It was still a bit early (as the session didn’t start until 9pm) so I left them behind and went to the top deck for ‘Where’d you go Bernadette’ (the Movie under the stars) before returning back to the Explorers Lounge for the show spectacular.

We then went our seperate ways. Pretty much every one returned to the cabins; while I (being a party animal) went up to the Sky Walkers Night Club to ‘Party the night Away’ before returning to the cabin, and getting ready for our first day in Fiji.

Lautoka, Fiji (10th November 2019)

Bula, and welcome to Fiji! Although Fiji is three hours ahead of us; it doesn’t matter because ‘Fiji time is the correct time!’ The other exciting news is ‘Fiji has Daylight savings,’ and it started today! Our shore excursion started at 12pm; we woke up at 7am to enjoy the ship’s arrival in Fiji, for breakfast in the Horizon food court, and to be welcomed by two ‘Bula’s;’ which came from people going by in their boats.

On our way to our destination for our shore excursion, we were able to stop for a something for food, and to do some duty free shopping before continuing on to our destination. We went past a mountain called ‘the sleeping Giant.’ Although it was a bit over cast and later rained; we were still able to get a good view of the large mountain as we went past. Our tour guide also took us to the biggest ‘Hindu temple’ in Fiji. During the visit, we were able to watch a sugar train go past on its way to the sugar mill. It was a rather long train, and it kept going ‘on and on and on and on......!

Here’s an interesting fact about Lautoka. ‘When Hurricane Wynston struck Fiji all those years ago ‘Nadi was the worst hit, and they’re still building in some places. Apparently, no one owns the land in Fiji... they rent the land for ninety nine years. Although the husband may pass away; it doesn’t end there for the wife because ‘the eldest son (if there is one in the family) takes over. The speed limit is 80kph, and is the same every where in Fiji so if you go over that you’ll be arrested for speeding!

When we finally arrived at our destination, the locals greeted us at the door with a Fijian song. They gave us a yummy lunch (of mainly fruits) before Entertaining us with a Coconut Carving demonstration. As we were taking photos, it started raining. After all... it is their wet season here! Our tour guide didn’t want us to be left out in the rain (as it were) so he decided to cut our excursion time short.

We re-boarded the bus and took a detour through a cultural Fijian Village,on our way back to (his words ‘the Bloody big ship of ours!’ Pretty much, as soon as we arrived we embarked the ship and got ready for dinner with family at our table.

It’s a good thing we weren’t docked here yesterday because Lautoka had an earth quack. David (our tour guide) in Suva was in Lautoka with his family when it happened, and he told us all about it during our drive back to the ship.

Suva, Fiji (11th November 2019)

Suva is nicknamed ‘soggy Suva’ because it rains a lot during Fiji’s wet season. The ship was already docked when mum and I woke up at 7:30am for our last day in Fiji. Our cabin breakfast arrived at 8am. When mum and I finished eating, we got ready and went to the Princess Theatre to meet up with our tour group who walked us off the ship and outside to meet ‘George (AKA ‘King George)’ our tour guide.

George was very entertaining. He was so talkative, and he pretty much didn’t shut up. We spent a few hours with some of the local Fijians at a cultural village. We were serenaded upon arrival, and a traditional ‘Cava ceremony’ welcomed us. Being a lover of Fiji ‘I tried it’ because I wanted to become ‘an official Aussie Fijian’.... Bula! Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as what I thought would be. It actually tasted a bit like ‘cold off coffee!’

When the ceremony ended, we were able to see food coming out of a Lovo (a Fijian underground oven). We went for a walk around the grounds (in groups of ten) and was able to make it back to the shelter in time before it started pouring down with rain. Now, I’ve been to Fiji before; but not when it’s rained during their wet (monsoon and hurricane) season; which takes place every year between November and April. It’s definitely so true.. when it rains in Fiji ‘IT POURS!’ Thank God for umbrellas because we needed it that day. As well as ‘drying off;’ we also enjoyed a yummy Fijian lovo lunch. The Fijian locals performed a ‘Fijian war dance’ for us as, and they serenaded us before re-boarding the bus which took us back to the ship.

Almost everyone who left the ship that day got absolutely soaked when it started raining. Some of the shore excursions where cancelled, and one of Tour guides told my sister, “I’ve lived in Fiji all my life, and I’ve never seen anything like the rain we had today.” During our dinner seating, my family shared about their day. My sister and brother in law ‘attempted’ to (once again) to visit the Waterfall. They said, “We started the forty minute walk but when we got ‘half way down’ it started raining, and we had to turn back because our tour guide said it’s too dangerous!” Although everyone who went on ‘pre-booked shore excursions;’ was given the option to go Duty Free shopping until the rain cleared up; we all wanted to go back to the ship. So all up, it was an interesting day for us all in Suva, Fiji!

In regards to ‘wearing the flower over the ear;’ it officially goes like this: ‘if you’re single you either wear a Frangipani or Hibiscus flower over your left ear. If you’re married (or gay) you wear the flower over your right ear, and you wear the flower in the middle (on top off your head) if you’re desperate or undecided’ so apparently I’ve had it wrong all these years because I’ve been wearing it over my right ear... oops!

Now, the Suva Military band usually gathers outside near the Port Suva Wharf to play the ship off as it departs. Although it was wet and a public Holiday for Fiji’s ‘Memorial Day;’ the band still performed... they just played ‘undercover’ to keep dry. I’m so glad I was able to film the departure this time because the last time I was on board a cruise ship departing from Suva ‘the AFL Grand final’ was on, and I didn’t want to leave the top deck because the Sydney Swans was playing against Hawthorn, and they won.... damn you Hawthorn!!!!

Our Fifth Sea Day (12th November 2019)

Mum and I woke up at 8am for our room serviced ‘Breakfast in bed.’ We’re (sadly) now on our way back to Melbourne, and we’re no longer on ‘Fiji time’... AKA the correct time!

It was a relaxing day on board because everyone needed to relax and recover before docking in Noumea for our final shore excursion; before returning back to Melbourne. 😢 Mum and I went our separate ways after breakfast; before meeting up for Line dancing and Bingo in the Vista Lounge. Although I came really close (with one to go); I didn’t win... however, mum did, and I was there to witness it. When all this was done, I pretty much spent the sea day at the pools on board the ship. I was able to swim in ‘two out of three pools’ before I needed to return to the cabin to get ready for dinner.

The sea was REALLY rocky that day, and the main pool on board was flooded. It’s official ‘Bigger ships run a lot smoother than what the smaller ships do.’ Although it pulls you back a little bit, and you walk in a ‘zig zag line;’ I’ve noticed bigger ships don’t shake as much as rthey come out of a wave. Because of this, I didn’t get sea sick this time!

Noumea, New Caledonia (13th November 2019)

Bon jour, and welcome to Noumea, New Caledonia. This port is part of the’French Polynesia, and the final port of our cruise! It was an absolutely beautiful day here, so mum and I woke up early for an 8am breakfast on our balcony before venturing out into this amazing city on a (pre booked) ‘Hop on.. hop off bus’ to celebrate being young and alive.

There’s actually two wharfs in Noumea. Because of its size, the beautiful Golden Princess docked at the Cargo Wharf because it was too big to dock at the other one. A tribal group of Noumean people greeted the ship at the Wharf with song and dance as it was docking; which was quite a welcoming for us, and I absolutely loved it.

Mum and I finished breakfast, and headed to the Princess theatre to meet up with our group for our ‘hop on, hop off bus tour of Noumea.’ Although we arrived on time, our group didn’t leave until 10:30am because we weren’t going on a ‘tour excursion.’ Now, apparently the hop on hop off buses in Noumea are known to break down, so a second bus follows the touristy bus ‘just in case,’ and thankfully for us it didn’t!

The bus stopped at nine different locations before returning back to the ship. Because of time, we stopped at ‘the Noumea Aquarium, two beaches and a cafe for lunch (and WIFI) before returning back to the ship. The last beach we stopped at had a fantastic view of ‘Duck island.’ Although I wasn’t able to go there, I’m so glad I was at least able to see the island from the shore. We weren’t able to go swimming; but we still had a great time. It was a full day, and we were both so tired when we got back on board our beautiful cruise ship.

Our sixth sea day (14th November 2019)

It’s shopping day at sea on board the beautiful Golden Princess. We woke up at 7:45am to enjoy the ship as it Cruises on international waters on its way back to Melbourne.

After breakfast in the Horizon food court; it was time to go duty free shopping before going Line dancing, and bingo with the family in the Vista Lounge. Once again, I didn’t win but I came pretty close ‘twice’ this time. It was 12:40 when the final game ended. I quickly said, “goodbye” to everyone and raced over to the Princess Theatre (which is located at the other end of the ship) for the movie ‘the Avengers End Game.’ It was an absolutely brilliant movie, and it was better than expected!

It was a three hour movie, and it end until 3pm... this was when I had lunch that day in the Food court, and enjoyed it (along with double desert) with family on a deck chair near the main pool. It was pretty much a bludge day after that; until we all met for dinner together in the Horizon food court. It seems Princess Cruises got the message because the ‘dinner menu’ has improved a lot since my last dinner up there which took place ‘during my 2017 cruise on board the (late) Dawn Princess;’ where the food didn’t taste very good, and there wasn’t much of a variety of foods to choose from.

When dinner ended, we all went our separate ways. I returned to deck fourteen for the movie under the stars, and the rest of my family who were with me on the cruise went to the Princess Theatre for the ships comedy show; before meeting up in the Explorers Lounge for the ‘Celebrity liars game, and returning to our cabins for the rest of the night.

Our seventh day at sea (15th November 2019)

Unlike the other days; mum and I woke up to a ‘Champagne Breakfast’... complimentary of Princess Cruises, and in celebration of mums birthday. The rather large meal was delivered to our cabin at 8:30am. It came with our own personal waiter, we enjoyed it on our balcony, and (as you can imagine) we were both so full after.

When we finished eating; we left our cabin and went out enjoy the ship. The first thing I did was go to the spa on the pool deck before going down to the Vista Lounge for today’s Line Dancing class. Although I really wanted to, I wasn’t able to go swimming in the pools because it was waaaaay to rocky due to being on the Tasman Ocean. This actually started last night, and it continued all the way through the next day. Even though I’ve cruised twice before; the rockiness of the ship woke me up, and it scared the crap out of me. However, it certainly made the Line Dancing class interesting, and fun to do... without falling over!

Shortly after the class finished; Mica (the assistant cruise director) came into the Vista Lounge to set up for that days ‘Bingo Tournament.’ I’ve already played twice before so this time I left and returned to the pool deck (deck 14); where I spent the rest of the day enjoying the ship before getting ready for the second and final Formal night for our cruise.

Princess Cruises is trying to be ‘Environmentally friendly,’ and they are aiming to cut out all plastic. It’s for this reason ‘they are no longer doing ‘the balloon drop;’ which would’ve happened tonight). Instead, they’ve replaced it with ‘the Captains farewell party. Complimentary Champagne was given, the captain spoke from the balcony, and some of his crew walked along the run way waving. When this finished, everyone was invited onto the dance floor to dance the night away for about an hour.

Our final sea day (16th November 2019)

We woke up early for our final breakfast in our cabin; before disembarking tomorrow, and enjoyed watching the movie ‘Hitch’ on our cabins TV. When we finished eating, Mum and I left our cabin, and headed down to the Vista Lounge for the final Line dancing class for our cruise. We then headed to the ships photo gallery to purchase some professional photos before returning to the Vista Lounge for the Golden Princess pop choir’s performance, and the final bingo match for the cruise.

It was then time for lunch. At that stage we were cruising Bass Straight (which is located at the bottom of Melbourne). I could tell that we were near Melbourne without looking on TV because it was so cold outside and I was unable to go for a swim. So I got lunch from the horizon foodcourt, and took it down to deck seven, and enjoyed it with my family in the Explorers Lounge. When I finished eating a return to the cabin to pack because we’re getting off the ship the next day, and to get ready for our final meal together in the dining room; where the bomb Alaska parade took place.

As well as cold; it was also very rocky on the Ocean, and some of us had trouble sleeping. However, the good news is, I was able to wake up just in time to film the important part of the ship’s arrival back into Melbourne at 5:30am. Other news is, it was so nice to hear the Golden Princess blast its horn twice when we got off because she hardly did so during our cruise; except for one very soft blast on departure from Melbourne, and one loud horn blast as the ship was leaving Suva, Fiji!

Thank you to everyone at Princess cruises for the best cruise ever. I look forward to cruising with you again in the future.


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