P&O Cruise from Brisbane by Paul Buck

I recently had a wonderful week cruising with P&O on the Pacific Dawn. The cruise was their ‘Week Fantastique’ cruise and it literally takes a week – Saturday to Saturday. It’s hard to believe how much you can pack into seven days cruising. We sailed direct from Brisbane which saved the worry about weight restrictions with our luggage. In the week we visited Noumea, Lifou and Port Vila.

12a. P&O with Paul 17Jun2012We set sail Saturday afternoon at 2pm after taking a couple of hours to complete boarding formalities. It was great to sail under the Gateway Bridges while having lunch and our first drink. After dinner that night we went to the first of the excellent on board shows. All the shows were very professional and during the recent re-fit of the ship they added some fantastic stage lighting.

The next day was a quiet and lazy day at sea with people lying by the pool. You can watch a movie on the huge screen on the pool deck while sipping a drink and taking the sun. Monday afternoon we arrived in Noumea. The ship berthed right on the edge of the city which made it easy to stroll around and see what Noumea had to offer. Noumea is a small slice of France in the South Pacific. Most of the passengers were up on deck to watch the spectacle of the lights of Noumea when we sailed out at 11pm.

Next morning we anchored off Lifou. There we had the adventure of going ashore by tender. There are a couple of quaint little churches within walking distance of the ship. After that the thing to do on Lifou is to swim and snorkel. I wish I had taken my own snorkel equipment although they are available for hire on the ship.

The next day we were in Port Vila. It’s quite a Duty Free spot. We had fun looking at the shops and the local markets before going back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we took off to Erakor Island to again go snorkeling. At dusk that afternoon we set sail for home as we ate and drank at the great island night feast on the pool deck.

The final two days were wonderfully relaxing before we arrived back in Brisbane on Saturday morning.

Life on board is so easy. You can do as much or as little as you want. Every day the daily info sheet listed the many and varied actives going g on around the ship. P&O also offer all sorts of tours in the various ports of call.

I went with three other friends and on our final night we decided to treat ourselves and go to the Luke Mangan restaurant “Salt” on board. It was excellent and worth the additional cost. Mind you all the food onboard was fine, as long as you remember it’s not five star.

We all had a wonderful week and are trying to work out where we will cruise to next, it was excellent value for money.

Don’t forget at Maverick Travel (formerly known as Travelscene Samford) you can redeem your American Express membership reward points to pay for your trip: 10,000 = $100. We are the local team with the most experience 3289 3700.