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Cruising from Sydney to New Caledonia

15 May 2010

Staff

During May I was fortunate enough to experience my first ever cruise – all work of course! So during a wet winter week I flew to Sydney to board the P&O Pacific Jewel for a 10 day cruise to New Caledonia. 

Departing from Sydney

A definite plus for departing from Sydney is the absolutely amazing "sailing away" party. As we passed the Sydney Opera House and then under the Sydney Harbour Bridge; the atmosphere onboard was absolutely electric.

The first 2 days were spent at sea, with plenty (or as little as you wanted) to do. Reading by the pool or tucked up in a cosy corner somewhere, Art auctions to peruse, Bingo, trivia quizzes, endless meals and snacks, premiere movies, shows, duty free shopping, and more!

Dining and Activities

Some of my most memorable experiences include our dinner at Luke Mangan’s “Salt Grill” restaurant which has a AU$20 surcharge but is well worth it. I can heartily recommend the trio of chocolate dessert! Also, the shows every night were excellent; comedy shows, magicians, musicals and more! There were even rumours among the passengers about elephants on board for the Circus Show... hmmm that would be interesting ! We were also lucky enough to have a behind the scenes look at the kitchens and galley with the head chef.

New Caledonia

The next 4 days we spent visiting New Caledonia. First stop was Mystery Island for a day on the beach, snorkelling and for a beach BBQ. You could walk right around the island and the view from the lookout point was really spectacular.

We arrived at Lifou bright and early the next morning, and after a quick tender across to the island, spent the day enjoying the interesting historical sites like the quaint local church right on top of the hill which is still used by the local people today. There were some fantastic views, amazing snorkelling and excellent photo opportunities too. The friendly local people and markets just topped it all.

The next day we arrived in Noumea, New Caledonia’s capital city and docked in port, so no tender was needed – quite handy being able to get off and on as you please. The main tourist shopping area was around Coconut Square, a popular local meeting place and an easy walk from the ship. For sightseeing, Le Petit Train (a miniature train) makes a scenic circuit between Noumea's city centre and the main tourist area of Anse Vata, stopping at tourist sites along the way.

Our last day on shore was at the beautiful Isle of Pines. I cannot go on enough about the powdery white sand, clear blue water and gorgeous views here. What a perfect way to end our travels.

Then it was back on board for 2 days at sea homeward bound; a perfect way to relax and prepare yourself for the “real world” again. When you are on a cruise ship, it’s just so easy to forget everything and just live for the moment. It was an experience I will never forget.

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