Cruising Hints and Tips for Newbies

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#41
Newcastle/Hunter Valley NSW
2,114 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by Mactan

I'm still struggling with what clothes to take. When you say smart casual for dinner, does that include jeans, or are nice slacks/skirts/pants the better option?
If you are worried about what clothes to take, a good idea is to have a look at everyone's photos posted in a sticky thread at the top of the page, and look at what they are wearing.

It will be cool leaving Sydney for the first day or so, then will warm up and out come the shorts and t-shirts. You won't need your warmer clothes until you get back near Sydney.

We have been to Vanuatu in April, May, June and November and it has been hot and muggy every time.

Don't pack too much. We always tend to wear the same 2 sets of clothes over and over and just wash them out in the shower and hang them up to dry or use the excellent laundries. The other clothes we take stay hanging up in the cabin.
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Jen




Me on: Facebook

* 13 October, 2011: Pacific Jewel - Bounty Adventure to Tonga
* 28 March, 2012: Pacific Jewel
________________________________________

* 21 May, 2011: Pacific Jewel
* 8 October 2010: Pacific Sun - sailing out of our home port of Newcastle. It was great.
* 1 February, 2010: Pacific Jewel - circumnavigation of New Zealand
* 21 October 2009; Pacific Dawn
* 20 March 2009; Pacific Dawn to Samoa
* 3 October 2008: Pacific Dawn .......
* 9 November 2007: Pacific Dawn - MAIDEN VOYAGE
* 30 April 2007: Pacific Sun.......
* 9 June 2006: Pacific Sun
* Dec 1964 - Jan 1965: P&O Oriana - Southampton to Sydney (8 yrs old)
#42
Gold Coast, Queensland
12 Posts
Joined May 2008
What a great list. I really learnt a lot, and you answered a lot of my queries. Thanks for that.

Awesome.
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#44
Hunter Valley NSW
6 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Hi Jen,
Your information is wonderful, we are cruising to the islands on Dawn Princess 23rd Nov and we are taking in all the info you have published. Maybe you could answer another question when you arrive back on 12th Oct. which we trust you will be enjoying at this very moment.

What do you do with your valuables whilst out snorkelling? Is it safe to leave them on the beach or do you take it in turns to snorkel? This is our 1st cruise & intend to do some snorkelling. Also do you take your own goggles, snorkel & flippers or can you hire them?

Cheers
Judy & Brian
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#45
Adelaide
179 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Hi there,

Just to let you know, according to the information I received in my blue folder is that you can hire the snorkelling gear from the Aqua Hut on the boat and you get given a mask which is yours to keep. I don't know the price but it seems sensible enough not to have to pack your own snorkelling gear, hence leaving room for more souveniers
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Sonya

First cruise ever!

#46
Hunter Valley NSW
6 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Thanks for the info Sonya ,

Learning a little everyday from these threads, hope to be on top of everything by the time we cruise. Every little tip helps to make a more relaxing & memorable holiday.

Cheers
Judy & Brian
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#47
Adelaide
179 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Hi Judy,

glad to help you out. I have done a little more research (for my own purposes too ) and the price of hiring one is $40 plus $20 deposit which I figure is reasonable considering I priced a snorkel set including fins yesterday and they were $80 for the basic set.

Cheers,
Sonya
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Sonya

First cruise ever!

#48
Newcastle/Hunter Valley NSW
2,114 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by lorjud
Hi Jen,

What do you do with your valuables whilst out snorkelling? Is it safe to leave them on the beach or do you take it in turns to snorkel? This is our 1st cruise & intend to do some snorkelling. Also do you take your own goggles, snorkel & flippers or can you hire them?

Cheers
Judy & Brian
Hi Judy and Brian,

We love snorkelling. It is our favourite thing to do when we cruise and we mostly choose our cruises around the snorkelling islands.

Phil bought a Seacure for about $20.00 on ebay and he has used it on 3 cruises now. It is great.



(this isn't Phil)

He wears it around his waist as a bum-pack, it is waterproof and he puts our cruise cards etc in it. It has the added bonus of me hanging on to it as we snorkel together.

Phil's is bright yellow and he is also easily spotted from shore.

We bought our snorkelling gear from KMart. My mask was $16.00 and the snorkel only $5.00. Phil's were the same price but he bought flippers too. I only use a mask and snorkel. I find the flippers too cumbersome so when we want to move along at a faster pace, I hang on to Phil and use the power of his legs and flippers. Works for me.

One thing you definitely want to pack, and I would never snorkel or swim without them, are reef shoes. These are the beach/aqua shoes made from wetsuit material and they have them at Big W for $10.00. I wouldn't swim without them. They protect your feet from the sharp coral beach, rocks and anything you might accidentally step on in the water.

Phil bought his flippers in a larger size so they go over his reef shoes. We've just about got the whole thing down pat now. lol

We had a great cruise with heaps of fabulous snorkelling. Have a wonderful time.
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Jen




Me on: Facebook

* 13 October, 2011: Pacific Jewel - Bounty Adventure to Tonga
* 28 March, 2012: Pacific Jewel
________________________________________

* 21 May, 2011: Pacific Jewel
* 8 October 2010: Pacific Sun - sailing out of our home port of Newcastle. It was great.
* 1 February, 2010: Pacific Jewel - circumnavigation of New Zealand
* 21 October 2009; Pacific Dawn
* 20 March 2009; Pacific Dawn to Samoa
* 3 October 2008: Pacific Dawn .......
* 9 November 2007: Pacific Dawn - MAIDEN VOYAGE
* 30 April 2007: Pacific Sun.......
* 9 June 2006: Pacific Sun
* Dec 1964 - Jan 1965: P&O Oriana - Southampton to Sydney (8 yrs old)
#49
Liverpool NSW
6,946 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by Brushtail
(this isn't Phil)
Before I saw the little bit in brackets, I was going to say....WOW, what's Phil been doing to end up lookng like that
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Karen

Good friends are worth more than money in the bank - that's what I always say

*SS Australis-Sydney to Southampton-28th July -31st August 1975
*Tss Fairstar-Coral Sea Cruise-6th September-22nd September 1986
*Pacific Sun-N611-2nd April-13th April 2006
*Pacific Dawn-W735-9th November-23rd November 2007
*Pacific Dawn-W909-20th March-6th April 2009
*Pacific Dawn-W929-21st Oct-31st Oct 2009
*Pacific Jewel-J029-22nd Sept-30th Sept 2010
*Pacific Jewel-J030-30th Sept-10th Oct 2010
*Rhapsody Of The Seas-3rd Feb-6th Feb 2012
*Pacific Sun-N211-17th Mar-19th Mar 2012
*Pacific Pearl-P225-20th-23rd July 2012
*Pacific Pearl-P233-5th-8th Oct 2012
*Pacific Pearl-P324-8th-17th July 2013
*Voyager Of The Seas-10th-13th January 2014
*Celebrity Solstice-17th-20th January 2014
*Pacific Jewel-30th May-2nd June 2014
*Radiance Of The Seas-22nd Sept-11th Oct 2014
*Pacific Pearl-20th July-3rd August 2015
*Pacific Pearl-4th Sept-7th Sept 2015
*Pacific Aria-23rd May-3rd June 2016





#50
Hunter Valley NSW
6 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Thanks all for the great info, warming up the photo copier & laminator etc. we should be almost the best prepared 1st time cruisers around with hints from everyone.

Wonderful to hear you had a great time on your recent cruise Jen.

Will check out the "Seacure", seems like what we need.

Would prefer to snorkel together instead of relays. We have been to KMart & brought mask & snorkel each as you suggested, got a bargain at a 20% off day , also found some protective footwear.

Cheers
Judy & Brian
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#51
Central Coast, NSW, Australia
23 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
After arming myself with oodles of tidbits of knowledge and great ideas gleaned from HOURS spent trawling the Cruise Critics website and forums for our first cruise (been back over a week already, **sigh**), I gained a new nickname on our cruise - Know It All Niki LOL! I wore that badge proudly :-)
#52
Newcastle/Hunter Valley NSW
2,114 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by fridayenough
After arming myself with oodles of tidbits of knowledge and great ideas gleaned from HOURS spent trawling the Cruise Critics website and forums for our first cruise (been back over a week already, **sigh**), I gained a new nickname on our cruise - Know It All Niki LOL! I wore that badge proudly :-)



That's funny.

I know what you mean, but what else do you do when newbie cruisers on board keep asking questions?
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Jen




Me on: Facebook

* 13 October, 2011: Pacific Jewel - Bounty Adventure to Tonga
* 28 March, 2012: Pacific Jewel
________________________________________

* 21 May, 2011: Pacific Jewel
* 8 October 2010: Pacific Sun - sailing out of our home port of Newcastle. It was great.
* 1 February, 2010: Pacific Jewel - circumnavigation of New Zealand
* 21 October 2009; Pacific Dawn
* 20 March 2009; Pacific Dawn to Samoa
* 3 October 2008: Pacific Dawn .......
* 9 November 2007: Pacific Dawn - MAIDEN VOYAGE
* 30 April 2007: Pacific Sun.......
* 9 June 2006: Pacific Sun
* Dec 1964 - Jan 1965: P&O Oriana - Southampton to Sydney (8 yrs old)
#53
taree
1 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by Brushtail
We have a few new cruisers on the boards and I thought I would start a thread with some hints and tips. This is a list I made up for a workmate for her first cruise. They are for the Pacific Sun.

We drove down to Darling Harbour on the morning of the cruise and went straight to Wharf 8, parked, and dropped off our large luggage. You don’t go into the main terminal for this, but to the right of the terminal where you will need your passports ready as you give them your suitcases. We then drove around to the other side of Darling Harbour to Harbourside and parked at Wilsons Parking. They have a deal with P&O where you can park your car for $14.00 per day. You have to find an attendant and fill out a special form. This is a good deal. A taxi to the ship is about $10.00.

Back at Wharf 8, you join a queue that snakes around barriers like an airport. Make sure you have filled in your paperwork and have your passports ready. Your bags go through x-rays etc and they will give you your cruise card and room keys

Then ‘smile’ they take a boarding photo for posterity and then you go on board. Very exciting.

There is lifeboat drill before you sail and announcements tell you what to do.

Then it is up on deck for sailaway. Choose a good spot and enjoy it. It can be a bit cool up on deck when you are underway so it is a good idea to take a jacket. No need to take your bag, that is one good thing on a cruise, just leave them in your cabin. All you need is your lanyard with door key and cruise card on it

Clothes for dinner. Just smart casual will do. No shorts are allowed in the dining rooms in the evening, but are ok for breakfast and lunch. Formal nights can be as formal as you want. Some go all out with cocktail dresses, long gowns, bridesmaid type dresses etc with some men in tuxedos, but most just wear a sparkly top and skirt /pants and the men in dress shirt, tie or a suit. You will fit in no matter what you wear. Some don’t do it at all, some go all out.

There is a set up for formal photos. They look great (there is a photo gallery and you can check them all out at your leisure) and there is no obligation to buy any of them. It may be a chance to have a fabulous family photo with you all looking your best.

Small pocket sized maps of the ship are available from the pursers desk. I carted mine around for the whole 10 days.

Tenders. You will need tickets to the tenders (free). Once anchored off the islands – I love to be up on deck watching the rigmarole of anchoring - they announce that tender tickets are now available. Don’t get the tickets until you are ready to go ashore. We got them straight away once, thinking we would get in early, and they announced our number and we hadn’t had breakfast or anything yet. J There is no rush, you are at the islands all day.

There is no food on the islands, and definitely none is to be taken off the ship, (quarantine laws) so have a good breakfast. Phil and I worked out that we would explore the islands and shop before lunch, go back to the ship and eat lunch and get changed into swimmers and go back to the islands for the afternoons swimming and snorkelling. That worked well for us because Phil is diabetic and needs to eat regular meals. You might be fine and just fill up on a huge breakfast. They do have a P&O stall selling packets of Smiths chips and cans of drink, but that is usually all.

You can have your passports stamped on some of the islands. They have a grass hut with a sign ‘passports stamped here $2.00 each’. Unless you want them stamped, you don’t need to take your passports ashore. Your cruise card is put through a machine as you go on and off the ship.

Be prepared for sudden showers – it is the tropics – and don’t make a rush back to the ship. You are a long time back home so enjoy those islands with palm trees, coral beaches and tropical fish while you can. Just take a spray jacket or $2.00 ponchos, rolled up in your bag or be philosophical and just get wet.

Take the blue and white striped beach towels provided by P&O. It is very strange to be on a beach and EVERYONE has the same towel. When you get back on board, there is a large bin for wet towels. Just put them in there and clean ones will be provided by your cabin steward.

Take gold coins to the islands for the islanders. They never ask but they stand and sing in groups with a donation box in front of them, just chuck in a coin or two before taking their photos. You definitely don’t have to, but it is a great earner for them and they don’t have much.

No need to change your money into Vatu in Vanuatu. Australian money is used even in Vila in shops, taxis, duty free etc. So take small notes for the markets. It seems tacky to give them a $50.00 and expect change.

There is a great shop in Vila across the road from the post office, great for rip-off clothes and stuff like Billabong, Quiksilver, DVDs etc. Buy your duty free from Feng Kuei ?? it is the best one. It is the last one on the left hand side of the main shopping street.

Hair braiding. There are quite a few places in the markets on the wharf at Vila or on the islands that do it. Choose one with care. Watch them doing others to make sure they do a good job.

You can buy stuff for island night on the islands. Vila wharf markets are best. Don’t buy from the first stall, look all around, some further on may be better or cheaper.

Some stuff cannot be brought back into Australia. Check that wood products are fully lacquered. Look for borers or small bugs. Customs will keep anything that is dodgy. Some stalls will tell you that things are OK to take back home. Don’t believe them. Shake baskets etc. to see if bugs fall out. If they do, customs will take them.

Reef shoes for swimming and walking on the beach are essential. I never bothered with flippers, but Phil took his reef shoes when he was buying his flippers to make sure they fit over the top of them. Worked a treat.

Sun block and Aloe Vera gel for sun- skin care.

The cabin stewards always hang around in the hallway all day. Just find them; they will be close by their cart which has things like towels, ice, toilet paper etc in it. If you want anything at all, (extra coathangers, another blanket, more towels, clean beach towels, more soap etc) just ask them, they are lovely.

If you take water bottles, buy some with a wide mouth and you can fill them up with ice from the ice machine on the lido deck in the buffet area.

We took 6 – 8 wire coathangers with us and washed out our light clothes and hung them up in the window to dry. It worked well. The hangers on board are better quality and do not fit over the little rail. We just hand washed some stuff, put it between two towels and stood on them to get as much water out as possible and hung them up. There is a laundry provided and we only used it once. Take stuff that does not need ironing and is lightweight. Towards the middle/end of the cruise they have a special offer of 25 pieces of clothing washed and dried for $25.00, something like that. We never used it but plenty of others do.

Take a highlighter to mark out things you want to do in the Pacific Daily. It is put under your door each evening. It would be a shame to miss something.

Some families take post-its to write messages to each other and stick them on the mirror in the cabin. ‘gone to bingo’ etc.

There are phones scattered over the ship in the public areas and you can call your cabin from them. All free, of course. Can be useful.

Take a powerboard for all your electrics. There is only one power point. You may need to plug in your battery chargers and stuff.

A hairdryer, soap, shampoo and conditioner are provided. But they are hotel type sachets, I took my own hair products.

The cabin stewards come in twice a day. Once in the morning when they make the beds, clean the bathroom etc. And again when you are at dinner where they tidy up again and turn down your beds.

There is an automatic tip added each day to your cruise cards. I think it is $5.50 per person per day. If you don’t want to pay this, you can go to the purser’s desk and ask it to be removed. You can do this at any time, even the night before going home. If you get the guilts, you can leave it on one card and have it removed from the other. It is a personal thing.

You can go to the purser’s desk at any time and ask for printouts of your cruise cards. This can be really handy to keep a track on your spending and to make sure it is all correct.

If you feel seasick – don’t wait, take Kwells or other travel medication and go up on deck into the fresh air. If you still feel sick after a day or two, go to the doctor and get a needle and you will be right as rain. It might cost, but you have paid a lot for your cruise and you don’t want it ruined. I never felt sick at all, but Phil got a bit queasy in the show lounge. Just go up on deck and stand in the fresh air. You will feel much better.

Enjoy the roll and movement of the ship, it is part of being ‘at sea’. I love it.

Overall, enjoy yourselves. It is the best holiday for doing nothing, total relaxation. No driving, cooking, cleaning etc. You are fully looked after and the biggest decision is where to have lunch, at the buffet or in the dining rooms. If you choose the dining room, it is much like the evening meals, with baskets of yummy rolls and three courses. You are seated at tables with strangers, they fill up one table at a time….. This can be good as you meet others and ask where they are from etc.

I have hints about the islands too. I'll try and find them and post them as well. This could be a really useful thread.
Hi, we are first time cruisers aswell, leaving July 11th 09- Tropical gems Pacific Dawn- Noumea, Vila, Ouvea, Isle of Pines etc. We are on the Caribe deck, with an inside cabin? Is this a good spot to be?

How much spending money for the three of us, we dont drink alot, should we take do you reckon?

Do you know what the weather is like over there in July?

Do you really have to get 'dressed up' of a night to go to dinner.

How much to use the washing machines and dryers?

Thankyou very much.
#54
Liverpool NSW
6,946 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by chrissiewhip
Hi, we are first time cruisers aswell, leaving July 11th 09- Tropical gems Pacific Dawn- Noumea, Vila, Ouvea, Isle of Pines etc. We are on the Caribe deck, with an inside cabin? Is this a good spot to be?

How much spending money for the three of us, we dont drink alot, should we take do you reckon?

Do you know what the weather is like over there in July?

Do you really have to get 'dressed up' of a night to go to dinner.

How much to use the washing machines and dryers?

Thankyou very much.
I will try & answer your questions for you.

Firstly, IMO, any cabin's a good cabin as long as you're on a ship . We are on Caribe (outside) in March (upgraded from Plaza) so I won't know until then if it's a god deck or not. However, there are only cabins on that deck & no public areas so it should be good.
As for spending money, that depends on lots of things like whether or not you're going to buy photos, do any shore tours etc. Many people will suggest about $100 per person per day which would cover everything but most probably wouldn't spend that much.
The weather will be pretty cool the first 2 days & the last 2 days but once you get out to the island it will be lovely & warm.
You don't have to get too dressed up for dinner. Smart casual most nights. Formal nights, most will dress up "fancier" but you don't HAVE to.
Apparently washing machines & dryers are $3 each (was $1 ea when were on there) and washing powder is $1.
Hope you enjoy your furst cruise. You'll be addicted before you know it
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Karen

Good friends are worth more than money in the bank - that's what I always say

*SS Australis-Sydney to Southampton-28th July -31st August 1975
*Tss Fairstar-Coral Sea Cruise-6th September-22nd September 1986
*Pacific Sun-N611-2nd April-13th April 2006
*Pacific Dawn-W735-9th November-23rd November 2007
*Pacific Dawn-W909-20th March-6th April 2009
*Pacific Dawn-W929-21st Oct-31st Oct 2009
*Pacific Jewel-J029-22nd Sept-30th Sept 2010
*Pacific Jewel-J030-30th Sept-10th Oct 2010
*Rhapsody Of The Seas-3rd Feb-6th Feb 2012
*Pacific Sun-N211-17th Mar-19th Mar 2012
*Pacific Pearl-P225-20th-23rd July 2012
*Pacific Pearl-P233-5th-8th Oct 2012
*Pacific Pearl-P324-8th-17th July 2013
*Voyager Of The Seas-10th-13th January 2014
*Celebrity Solstice-17th-20th January 2014
*Pacific Jewel-30th May-2nd June 2014
*Radiance Of The Seas-22nd Sept-11th Oct 2014
*Pacific Pearl-20th July-3rd August 2015
*Pacific Pearl-4th Sept-7th Sept 2015
*Pacific Aria-23rd May-3rd June 2016





#55
dapto australia
26 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by strawberrypatch81
I agree that is an excellent list for new cruisers. Really useful information. Maybe it should become a sticky thread, so new people don't have to search through heaps of threads.
thanks for that Louise
As a first time cruiser, ALMOST, HOPEFULLY 22/11/08 and first time forum user as of today its good to know that there are experts out there helping us newbies
jan
#56
Newcastle, Australia
389 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Originally posted by frantic 13
thanks for that Louise
As a first time cruiser, ALMOST, HOPEFULLY 22/11/08 and first time forum user as of today its good to know that there are experts out there helping us newbies
jan
No worries!
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#57
Wollongong NSW
213 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Thanks for that very infomative information, DH and I have never been on a cruise its very helpful
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Happy Sailing

Diana


Fairsky Dec1966- UK to Australia
#58
Sydney
20 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Does the Pacific Dawn have hairdyers in cabins? Are irons available?
Can anyone tell me about tipping?
Diane


"Maybe the only other thing I would mention is not to take a hairdryer or a travel iron".[/quote] Jen
#59
Newcastle, NSW
5,525 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Originally posted by Dee-ay
Does the Pacific Dawn have hairdyers in cabins? Are irons available?
Can anyone tell me about tipping?
Diane
Hi Diane,
The cabins have hair dryers that will be sufficient for most types of hair.

Irons/boards are available in the laundries.
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Cheers
Geoff
#60
Sydney
20 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Would love some reviews about shore trips - what is recommended and what isn't. We're going to Vanuatu (3 ports) and Isle of Pines. I would like to scuba dive at least once. Believe Noumea would be best. My teenagers would like to shop. We've been to pacific Islands before so don't need all the cultural 'stuff'. Just some nice trips for snorkelling, diving shopping.... Brushtail - you up to another handy list?