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Published: December 18th 2015
Thursday 10 December
We woke at 7.45 am and gently stirred.
We had been recceing our journey to the ship this morning over the last few days and basically we can get a Citycat down the river and the walks either end with our luggage should be manageable.
We were due to check out by 10 am and we did so by 9.30 am. The Republic apartments were an enjoyable few days and lots of washing caught up with.
We popped into Woolworths for last minute supplies and then made our way down to the Riverside walk. Note, I said downhill so this helped with our wheeled bags. Also the Australians have their kerbs sorted for disabled people so for us life was made easier, we didn't have to lift the cases once.
We arrived at the landing stage at Riverside and didn't have to wait long for the Citycat. The fare was AUS$11.20 for both of us. This was our first ride on the Citycat and the have an amazing turn of speed, they can do 30 knots.
We had to change Cats along the way due to refueling, but this wasn't an issue.
The river meanders sometimes doing almost 180 degrees, so on one bend we turned the corner and the ship was in plain sight. The Legend of the seas, a Royal Caribbean vessel our home for the next ten days.
We got off at Bretts Wharf and walked along to Portside Wharf, which again was ok with the luggage.
After asking we were directed to the baggage drop off and got them to put luggage tags on our bags with our cabin number. We had left before tickets and tags were able to be produced in Cyprus. But again that was no problem.
Also, we were not in possession of the full package of paperwork, so we filled in forms for our credit card and so on.
There were forms for medical and Immigration purposes. We were then given our Sea pass, which covers everything, cabin key, boarding pass, account card, emergency muster point etc.
Boarding was originally stated from 11.00 am until 2.30 pm and we were given a boarding group number 5, but if you missed it you just went later.
So, we took a look at the shops and had a coffee.
Back into the terminal and this turned out to be pretty chaotic, the system seemed to have fallen to pieces, but we got on about 12.30 pm.
They get you on board but actually the cabins aren't available until 1.00 pm, so everyone was milling around. Food was available and we had lunch in the Windjammer, which was very busy.
By 1.30 pm we heard cabins were available so we went down and our luggage was waiting for us.
On the programme was a meet & greet and tour the ship at 2.15 pm, so we took the chance to do this and we both learnt a few things.
Back to the cabin then out again for safety drill at our muster station outside on deck 4.
Then to the spa for a raffle for treatments.
The ship was departing so we watched that for a while.
We had made a reservation for dinner at 7.30 pm
There are a variety of ages on the ship with more children than I would have expected. Also what appears to be large family groups of different generations.
At 7.20 pm we took a wander and slowly headed to deck 4 for dinner. Turned out to be a lengthy queue outside the restaurant, not sure why.
We chose to share a table and sat with a family and another couple. Pat and both ordered prawn cocktail, I had pork chop, Pat had roast prime rib. I chose the cheese board and Pat had carrot cake for dessert.
Various conversations went on. The family left as the children were falling asleep.
The couple gave us advice on Noumea, one of our ports of call and none of it was good.
After dinner we enjoyed a drink in the R bar and listened to the band. People were dancing and having fun, it was good to watch.
The gin and tonic for Pat was US$7.00 which we thought was not unreasonable. Unfortunately, they do not have bottled water in the bars as they have run out.
Friday 11 December
A day at sea
We stirred at 9 am. There was a Shore Excursion talk at 10 am so we just headed straight up to the Windjammer cafe and had some breakfast with hundreds of other people milling around like ants.
The talk was in the theatre on 4 and not as well attended as I thought it might be. We learnt a few things about the islands which was helpful but on the tours side nothing stood out for us as really exciting that we needed to book.
The first and last port days there are no ship tours and the other three days we plan to go ashore under our own steam at the moment. They are smallish islands anyway.
On the way back to room tried to get bottled water, still none.
Pat had booked a manicure and pedicure for 12.30 pm, so she went off and I did a top to bottom tour of the ship.
We met up at 2.00 pm and had a roast beef sandwich in the Park cafe on 9, before relaxing in the solarium area.
Finally Pat found bottled water from the poolside bar.
We had made a reservation for 6.00 pm in the Chops Grill, which is an additional cost steakhouse at US$30 each.
Food ordered by Pat; Goats cheese salad, Scallops, Filet mignon medium rare, Red velvet cake and two glasses of sparkling wine. Steve; 3 cheeses onion soup, Colossol prawn cocktail, Filet mignon well done and chocolate mud cake. Cost US$78.00.
An excellent meal and good service. The restaurant is situated on deck 11, with a wonderful view looking out aft. Which by the way we saw rain for a brief shower.
Then on to the Captains welcome aboard cocktail party on deck 4, with senior officer introductions and christmas tree light switch on. A third glass of sparkling wine was had by Pat.
And to finish the night we went to the theatre for the Beatles tribute group Fabfour at 9.00 pm. Pat said they were ok.
Back to cabin, replete to say the least.
On return to the cabin the temperature was noticeably different. We had earlier asked the cabin steward - Supardi - for a blanket, which was provided. The aircon in the room was cold for us and we had tried altering it, but with no success.
On leaving the cabin tonight we bumped into Supardi and he mentioned that he would speak to maintenance, because we had said we were cold, but we didn't think much of it.
So, it was a pleasant surprise to walk into a warm cabin.
Saturday 12 December
A good nights sleep. The ship has been plowing along and weather conditions have been brilliant, you hardly notice any movement at all.
We stirred at 9.00 am. and went up to the windjammer at 10.00 am for some breakfast. Quieter at this time.
On the way back we upgraded Pat's drink package to a more beer & wine orientated deal, as we think this will be more cost effective.
In the cabin 11.00 am. to chill.
We had a quiet day pottering around the ship and generally not doing very much.
There was a production show called Showtime at 7.00 pm which we thought we would take a look at. So we got ready and visited the shops then went to the theatre. The show was ok although not to my taste.
After that we went to the Windjammer and stuffed ourselves with a variety of foods.
Back to the cabin for 9.00 pm.
Sunday 13 December
The clocks went forward one hour overnight.
Today we are in Champagne Bay, Vanuatu, which is a tender port. The arrangements for tendering are that you collect a ticket from deck 5 from 8.30 am.
There was no way that we would be in the queue that early, so we resided ourselves to the fact that we would get there when we did.
We stirred and showered around 9 am and went for breakfast in the windjammer, it was quieter this morning.
We then collected our tender ticket, number 32, got our stuff from the cabin and waited in public areas.
We were finally called and then everything came to a halt, we stood for ages waiting, nobody told us what was going in, only that it didn't normally take this long!
We finally got ashore in a beautiful little beach, along with 2000 other people. There were huts with locals selling souvenir products.
We went in the water and looked at the goods. Pat had a beer brewed in Vanuatu from Phil's bar and we waited for the monstrous queues to die down awaiting the tenders back to the ship.
Covered in sand we returned at 4.15 pm. We booked dinner for 8.30 pm.
We left the cabin at 7.30 pm and went for a drink in the Schooner bar. Then on to the Romeo & Juliet restaurant on deck 4. We had vegetable samosa, seafood salad, goulash, salmon, cheese plate and summer pudding.
Some lightening was flashing in the sky as we had dinner.
Then a coffee on deck 6, back to the cabin 9.45 pm.
Monday 14 December
Vila, Vanuatu today. Not a tender port. It has rained overnight and this morning. Sticky and hot though.
Distance travelled so far 1389 nautical miles.
We finally stirred and went for breakfast in Windjammer at 10.00 am. Trying not to eat to much. Then readied to go ashore. The main town is five kilimetres away by road or across the bay on a local water taxi. We were mobbed as we left the ship, but got through the crowd of locals and found a water taxi - in other words a local fishing boat. It is AUS$5 per person each way. There were 10 when we left and the journey takes about 15 minutes.
We arrived and are constantly approached by people, but we shrug them off. The town is swarming with hundreds of other cruise pax, doing the same as us.
We walked one way then the other along the town. Pat wanted to send a postcard to her mum, if we found a post office, which we did. So popped in to a souvenir shop and purchased a card. They accept Australian dollars happily. Then across the road, into the Post Office, Pat wrote the card and purchased a stamp and left with them to send.
Pat had spotted a cafe with free wifi called Jungle cafe. So a Tusker beer and a Coke and a quick download of emails and fb messages. Cost AUD$8.24. As we were about to leave it started to rain heavily so we had another beer and coke until it stopped.
It did stop raining and we headed back to the place we had arrived along the waters edge and made our way back on the water taxi.
A quick browse amongst the local stalls as we walked back and then the return to the ship was no problem.
The time was 1.30 pm, se we dumped stuff in the cabin and then up to the Windjammer for lunch. More food.
After lunch Pat went to the solarium pool area and I chilled in the cabin.
Vila was a little rough and ready, but the people were friendly enough.
We booked dinner for 8.30 pm in Romeo & Juliet on deck 4. We left the cabin at 7.30 pm and had a couple of drinks in the Schooner bar before dinner.
Dinner was much better than last night, the service was as you might expect tonight. Food, Minestrone soup, caprese salad, pork encased in proscuitto, chicken marsala, tiramisu and cheese plate.
Nothing appealed in the lounges, so back to the cabin at 9.30 pm.
Tuesday 15 December
Mystery Island. A tender port.
We woke earlier today at 8.30 am and showered. The plan was that we would get the tender ticket first, that way we would be eating breakfast and killing time.
Tickets were from deck 5 and we were tender 13, they were calling 8 & 9, so this was going a lot quicker than last time.
Pat wanted breakfast in the Park cafe, which has a limited range of items, but we grabbed some food and then went back to the cabin. They were calling 10 & 11, so we hurried and got our bags.
We left the cabin and asked the lady crew member at the stairs what number was being called, she took our tickets and told us yo get on the boat which we did. So for us, no waiting today.
We cruised over to the little island and walked along the beach, before we settled.
Pat snorkelled and saw lots of fish. I watched the world go by and lolloped in the water. We took a walk further round the beach, watching various wildlife.
We took a walk through the market area, but didn't see anything we wanted.
Only a small queue for the tenders and we got on fairly quickly, we sailed back, but had to wait sometime before our boat could come alongside and let us off.
We showered to get the sand and salt off, then up to Windjammer for lunch.
Back again to the cabin for 2.15 pm. Pat went to the solarium area and I chilled in the cabin.
The show looked more to our liking, so we went for a drink in the Schooner bar and moved on to the theatre for the 7 pm start of Invitation to dance. It was a good show, but not my sort of music.
Then on to dinner, jalepeno potata soup, smoked salmon, turkey salad, sirloin steak, honey and walnut tart and sorbet.
Back to the cabin for 9.30 pm.
In our cabin when we returned was a letter explaining that the authorities in our next port wished to see us - and some others - with our passports, in the dining room on deck 5 at 8.45 am. So sadly no lie in tomorrow morning.
Wednesday 16 December
Port day in Noumea, New Caledonia. A French colony. Gangway and shuttke bus.
We woke before the alarm went off at 8.30 am and slung some clothes on and went up to deck 5.
A member of staff was there to inform us that immigration had changed there mind and wouldn't be visiting the vessel!
So back to the cabin and as we were up early took the oppurtunity to have breakfast in the dining room.
There was a queue, but we waited and sat on a table of 10 people. Breakfast was ok but tedious waiting for everything.
Back to the cabin, showered and readied ourselves to leave the vessel.
We walked straight on to a coach and were dropped after a short drive near to the town area.
We walked to the market and marina area. Then off to the cathedral and back to the terminal for transfer back to the ship.
Again no wait for a coach and back to the ship. Straight to the bar for a drink, then off for some lunch in Windjammer. Back to the cabin at 2.30 pm.
A quiet afternoon.
We left the cabin at 7.40 pm and headed to the centre, the bars were busy here so we headed up to the bar on deck 11. It was quieter so we had a drink and sat for a while.
Then off to Windjammer were we had a variety of foods.
Returned to the cabin stuffed, at 21.40 pm.
Thursday 16 December
Easo beach on Lifou, part of the Loyalty islands, New Caledonia. Tender port.
Woke at 7.30 am and slowly got ready. Our plan was to get tender tickets, have breakfast and then get ashore some time.
When I went to get the tickets they were calling 10 & 11 and issuing 13, so I didn't get any as we wouldn't have time for breakfast.
During breakfast they announced you could go whenever you wanted.
We had breakfast went back to the cabin to collect our stuff and walked straight on to a tender.
A pretty little island, just how you imagine they would be. Except with 2000 other people.
They have some stalls in the huts and selling local goods. Lots of mini buses to take you on tours or wherever.
We had a look around then we walked for a while. It was very humid. The better snorkelling beach was a short walk. It didn't appeal as it had a steep climb into the water, so we went back to the first beach.
We spent time sunbathing and swimming and caught a tender back about 1.00 pm.
A quick shower and rinse off of various things, then up to the Windjammer for lunch.
Back to the cabin at 1.45 pm. A quiet afternoon. We had decided that the show tonight was our thing.
The ship sailed at 5.00 pm today for our 2 day sea passage back to Brisbane.
We got a drink in the Schooner bar deck 4 at 6.30 pm and then moved through to the theatre.
The show was Groove line, soul, funk and motown.
Then up to the Windjammer for dinner.
Back to the cabin at 9.30 pm.
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