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Everything posted by goanna

  1. goanna

    noumea island tours

    Hire a 'noddy' car or motor bike. It's great fun and you get to see all the island which is lovely. The hire shop is about 20 paces away from the ship dock so not far to walk. REMEMBER : drive on the opposite to Australia! :) The town of Noumea is not it's best feature, nor are the prices in the shops, but it's still a lot cheaper than going to France and you can practice your school french. Of course, a REAL french pastry is on the top of everyone's list!
  2. goanna

    Going on Pacific Dawn soon??

    Thanks guys, have never seen this sort of thing before and found it most bizarre. Photos are great, thanks. The first thing I said to my hubby when we got to the top of the stairs was "wow, I must take a piccie of you in that pool through the glass", then that night we discovered the cocktail menu in the piano bar, and the rest is history! ;)
  3. There was a photograph I wanted to take, but for some reason, never did. Please would SOMEONE take a photograph of the glass wall at the top of the stairs on Aloha deck. As you open the wooden doors to go up the stairs onto Lido deck, there is a glass wall in front of you which is the deep end of one of the swimming pools. It absolutely fascinated me to be able to stand and look in at people swimming. I know it's a strange request ... but .... ;)
  4. Well, we're back now from Sydney after spending a few days with family before heading back to Perth. Christmas Cruise aboard Pacific Dawn was FANTASTIC. Did any one else here go? Anyone booked on the PD will have a BALL. The Entertainment Director, Martin, had a hard time, as I think he was used to British or American audiences who are fairly animated, and us Aussies are quite reserved to start with, and I cringed for the first few nights in the Show Lounge when the shows were met with polite applause, however, things warmed up and by the end of the cruise, people had loosened up and the crew and staff received standing ovations. They were fabulous - the entertainment crew taught us the macarena, and how to dance to Nutbush City Limits, we learned line dancing in the Dome and they even dressed up as the Village People! We had Perfect Match competition, where the couple who won were still together at the end of the cruise, and also the Marriage Quiz which was hilarious. We met some lovely people from Perth, and tested the cocktail menu nearly every night - very reasonably priced with most cocktails starting at $6.50. I was very worried about what to wear, but for most of the time, the dress code was relaxed and casual (we are Aussies) except for the theme nights and formal nights when everyone looked very dapper in their glad rags. I'm a real estate agent, and met several other REA's on holiday. The atmosphere was superb and the ports of call were amazing. One of the ports was Noumea. I had read some very scathing reports on Noumea, and was somewhat surprised to see how nice it actually was. We hired little two seater bikes (they looked like Noddy cars) and travelled out of the town and around the island. I can only say that people who have knocked Noumea, have only been in the town and not explored further. I found the town of Vila to be smelly and dirty, but again, get out of the town and rest of the island is spectacular. We didn't book any shore tours, and in Vila, we clubbed together with another 2 couples and paid our mini bus driver $AUS20 each for an island tour. He took us to the waterfalls (worth a visit), the Island Chief's house - we met the Chief, a local village and around the island. This tour through P & O was about $65 per head from memory, so it's worth thinking 'outside the square'. We had a mini suite with a balcony, as it was my hubby's 50th birthday present, however, it made the trip rather pricey. Would we go again - absolutely, but this time we will book on Caribe or Dolphin a cabin with a window. Our friends were on Caribe with a window and had just as good a cruise as we did. The food was great - we only ate at the Cafe del Sol and the Palm Court Restaurant (included) which was really good. It was encouraging that there was a bottle of liquid disinfectant for hands at the Cafe del Sol, and also extra towels and bins near the doors in the public toilets so that toilet doors could be opened with a paper towel and not bare hands. Anyone thinking about booking the Pacific Dawn - DO IT, anyone thinking about a Christmas Cruise - DO IT - I'm 46 and my hubby is 50. We are young at heart and were worried about having to mix with lots of much older people or lots of screaming unruly kids. I think because we went on the Christmas Cruise, there was a higher percentage of kids, but we hardly saw them, and it was rather lovely to sit around the Christmas tree with the ship's choir and about 100 kids singing carols on Christmas Day. I'm sure the dynamics would change dramatically outside of school holidays. The only thing which I found expensive was the photographs. The photographer was everywhere, and quite insistent on taking pictures all the time. I understand that they have to make a living, but I found that $20 was a bit steep for a photo I could have got someone else to take with our digital camera. Oh well - don't get sucked in - we did a bit at first, but then got wise to it all. I'm sure I've rambled on enough. Would love to hear from other PD passengers to see if you got as much of a buzz as we did. Best regards Joanna Goanna (still peeling, still beaming, still purring contently with that 'post holiday glow':D )
  5. goanna

    New Smoking Policy

    Yes, thank goodness. Our bathroom didn't have an extracter fan, so can you imagine what a cabin would smell like after a smoker had been cooped up with no open windows. It would be most unpleasant for the ship to smell like an old ashtray, and I think that people with kids would be especially thankful not to subject their kids to passive smoking. At least adults can make the decision to move away from smoke, but kids don't understand. As it was, despite loads of warnings over the pa system, people INSISTED on throwing butts over the sides because one morning I counted 4 on our balcony. People are so ignorant. I understand that smokers need to be catered for on a cruise. There should be a smoking 'areas' where non-smokers could avoid. On our cruise, it seemed that smokers almost 'stuck together' as there were a few large tables up on deck with a few smokers.
  6. Our tour guide told us that there was an underwater post box. Not sure how to get to it, or what the advantage of posting a letter underwater is, but heck - what a story to share with your friends at home .... Anyone else know of it, or used it?:confused:
  7. Hi Dennis I LOVED your review - peeps, if you want to see some FABULOUS photos and the PD Christmas Cruise through a fresh pair of eyes, check out Dennis' review - well done. Interesting comments about paying the extra for a balcony - I do agree that there is nothing nicer than sitting on your own balcony with a drink and watching the world sail by, but I don't want people to feel too disappointed if they didn't get a cabin with a balcony. The Promenade deck is a great viewing place, as well as the area at the stern (as per your photos of the wake). Les - Martin, the CD didn't have curley hair from memory, and he doesn't sound very camp either. In fact, I think he was from north england, rather than wales. He is married, because he told us on night 1 that he had a family back home. I will rummage through all the tons of literature I brought home and do some research.
  8. goanna

    PD W739 - Christmas Cruise

    Hi Dennis Love the review, LOVE the shots - I had put up a mini review with a few shots, but no where NEAR as good as yours - It's great to see 'our' cruise through someone else's eyes, and your photos brought back many happy memories - you really captured the colours of the islands. Well done - when's your next one? Joanna:D
  9. goanna

    Pacific Dawn

    Um, some people would complain that the ice cubes were too cold!!
  10. goanna

    Pacific Dawn

    I'm sure these reviews were being written when the PD was called the Regal Princess. She was based in the USA and most of the passengers were American. Need I say more ..... ? (I'm not racist, I actually like a lot of Amercians, but they DO seem to complain about more than the average Aussie)
  11. goanna

    Purchasing from Aqua Hut on Pacific Dawn/Sun

    Yup, $99 to hire two sets of snorkels and fins. Then you get $20 back when you return them. Yes, it's cheaper to take your own, but to be honest, why bother ...
  12. goanna

    More questions about Pacific Dawn

    Yes, plenty of hangars on the PD. Mystery island food - we had a huge breakfast that day, and then were a little peckish around 2pm. We bought a WHOLE crayfish just caught and cooked for ...... TEN AUSSIE DOLLARS. It was cut in two halves and served in banana leaves - the BEST cray I have ever had. I'm drooling now, just thinking about it. Yes, there is a restaurant on the Isle of Pines, but again, if you have a big breakfast, or go back to the ship for lunch, it's only a 10 minute tender ride back to the ship, so you won't miss too much island time. To be honest, we only spent about 4 hours on each island, as the sun was very strong and we didn't want to get too burnt. Have fun Joanna
  13. goanna

    Pacific Dawn

    You may find, if you read between the lines, that the people complaining were from that OTHER country beginning with the letter A! They seem to complain about EVERYTHING!! Joanna:rolleyes:
  14. goanna

    Pacific Dawn

    Here Here, Don There are people around who will NEVER be satisfied. We loved every minute on the Pacific Dawn and my husband almost had to drag me down the stairs on the way off the ship. We met some people who had done 20 or so cruises and just seemed to be continually cruising. They were well into their 80's and so I guess it's a testament to how good cruising is when you talk to these people. People - don't let a few bad apples rot the box - life is what you make it, and even if things aren't absolutely 100% perfect - so what - life's too short to be grumpy. The Pacific Dawn is a most elegant ship, so clean and full of great people. We loved the food (too much!) and even went dancing in the dome till the wee small hours (not bad for a couple of old farts from Perth who hardly ever go out!). Keep up the good work, PD - you can't please all the people all the time. Joanna:D
  15. goanna

    More arrests off the Dawn

    Godd grief - sounds terrible. When we were on the Christmas Cruise on the Pacific Dawn, we spoke to a guy who was trying to chat up a girl who was flirting, and the kids security guard asked him to move on. The girl was apparently, over 16, but it was refreshing to know that the level of security was high for young people. I can only think that the New Zealand lady who was raped left her cabin door open, or gave someone the key, as the I can't imagine for one moment that any of the staff would have been involved. Ours were fantastic and very professional and discreet. Don't let sort of thing put you off cruising. The trouble is there are hoons and yobbos everywhere, and if we think that just because people are on a cruise ship they are going to act like decent human beings, if they are hoons and yobbos on dry land. You only have to look at the behaviour of some football players and celebrities to know that loutish behaviour is alive and well. Our cruise was fab in every way, and we didn't see any trouble. Joanna:D
  16. goanna

    Menu/Prices in PD restaurants

    Hi Lance Didn't realise there were surcharges at all! I was on the Christmas Cruise on the Pacific Dawn, and the cocktail prices were very good (starting at $6.50). We ate in the Cafe del Sol for breakfast and lunch, and then had dinner in the Palm Court - all FREE OF CHARGE. We had room service breakfast on two mornings, and there was a charge of $3, but that was all. The things you will get stung on will be the photographs ($20 each) and the snorkell hire ($99 for two snorkel hires less $20 deposit). There are lots of duty free items and a nice shop selling pashminas and cheap jewellery for $20. The touristy shop is, however, expensive and I had to resort to buying PD pens and keyrings which were $5 each (that WAS a rip off) for my work colleagues. Pacific Dawn was fabulous and I would highly recommend anyone to give her a go. We had an absolute ball and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Joanna:D
  17. goanna

    Pacific Dawn

    Hi Luckie Puris - glad you had a good trip too. Yes, I agree that the laundry got a bit hot, it got even hotter when I had to iron all hubby's shirts! Glad you had a ball too - I loved every minute, and you will see all my reviews, etc on the other discussion board - Looking forward to seeing your photos.:D
  18. Hi Chez, I thought all the islands were GORGEOUS for different reasons. Isle of Pines was so green and the water was very blue (we had sunshine nearly the whole way - a bit of rain one night and a dull few hours one day, but pretty good - couldn't have ordered better weather really). The snorkelling wasn't fabulous, but we did see a sea snake and lots of fish. It was just heavenly to lie in warm water and relax. There were lots of scungey dogs on the Isle of Pines and one gave a very graphic demonstration of how puppies are created right in the middle of the beach. A lady next to us on the beach had a lot of questions to ask when her little son asked "what's that doggy doing on top of that other doggy, mummy?" . I went mad and against all warnings, tried the local food. There were ladies giving away chicken and veggies wrapped in a leaf type basket - quite nice really, and no nasty after effects. Mystery Island was amazing with VERY blue water and green palm trees. Do yourself a favour and buy a crayfish freshly caught and cooked and wrapped in a banana leaf for $10 (yes, for a WHOLE one cut into 2 peices for TEN AUSSIE DOLLARS). There is a great photo opportunity as a local dressed as a cannibal pretends to spear a poor tourist who is sitting in a large caudren. Ouvea is fabulous too. A 10 minute walk (or taxi ride) from the tender dock to the beach - superb beaches and a lovely church to look at. Again, great scenery and just the peace and serenity of the place, and the friendly locals are worth the trip. We saw some enormous coconut crabs which looked fierce enough to take a hand off (probably would if provoked). The locals had tied them to a tree, and were taking money in exchange for photos - very cruel - I hate to see any living creature in a cage or tied up, even if it is a child eating crab .. I've been over Port Vila and Noumea, so that's pretty much covered it. The time on shore is so easy - some people came ashore early and then went back to the ship for lunch and then came back again, some just stayed for a few hours and went back. P & O really have it covered when it comes to organising island stops, and those tenders were working hard all day, with very short delays. I could go on forever about our trip, it was MORE than a cruise, MORE than a holiday - it was a life changing experience and I feel very lucky to have been able to go and come home feeling so uplifted. Thank goodness cruising is now so much more affordable - I am dropping hints about our next cruise, but this year I am at the olympics (not competing, just supporting), next year is my mum's 80th birthday in the UK, and 2010 is the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. I think will will have to wait till I turn 50 in 2011 and do another one then (unless I sell lots of houses and/or win Lotto) :D
  19. Sorry about the last batch, they didn't really show the SHIP it'self. Here are some of the entrance to the Palm Court, Christmas around the tree, the bengal bar from the karaoke stage I googled Pacific Dawn Entertainers the other day, and came across a website of a whole load of photos a chap had taken and some video shots. There are also some video clips on U tube of a group of travel agents (?) spending the day on PD. Might be worth checking out - certainly the Web photos were very good. Chez - the photo of the ship was taken from the beach on the Isle of Pines. I had this fascination for seeing this humungous ship docked within (what seemed like) a few metres off shore. Yes Shiona, glamourous grannies would rock the ship, I reckon! Whoever is on the next PD trip, have a whisper in Marty's ear - I'm sure he's open to suggestions ...
  20. OK, folks, buckling under pressure now ... here are some photos - hope they come out OK. Of course there are some shots I couldn't POSSIBLY publish (no, not THOSE shots, I mean me in a swimsuit). I normally ride dressage horses, but who could resist the opportunity to ride a GOLD tiger! That was taken in the Bengal Bar. There is one of our cabin with significant other in a pose I got quite used to seeing! The ship from the shore (always fascinated me), me dressed up for island night - tip : take a checked shirt and jeans for western night and buy sarongs $10) and grass skirt/lei sets ($20) wherever you can for island night. Also take 2 outfits for formal nights and be prepared to have your portrait taken on the formal nights (we couldn't get away with that one).
  21. Hi Gabe I think Perfect Match was held on night 4 (but don't quote me). Have you seen it on TV? There are 3 guys and 1 girl (and then they do the reverse with 3 girls and 1 guy). The girl can't see the guys and asks them 3 questions. Then she picks based on their answers, their voices, etc. You will be given plenty of notice to lodge your interest to participate. It's great fun, and a good sense of humour and a dash of charisma wouldn't go astray, failing that, a bottle of Jim Beam before you play could rate your chances very highly! There were lots of singles on our trip, and there are also lots of single's get together throughout the cruise. If you are looking for love, it may be the perfect spot, with romantic sunsets, islands to explore together etc. Of course, it could be your worst nightmare with some over anxious female stalking you for 10 days and you can't get away, but let's not be negative about this, OK? Regarding the Noddy Cars, I just read that Ms Minx had a question - they are independent hire (no guides). They cost about $60 per hour from memory (quite pricey, but SUCH good fun). The hire place is right on the harbour front in town next to a small indoor market type place. There were lots of sign posts, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding it. They hire out scooters and pushbikes too (as well as tandems for those who are more adventurous). BE CAREFUL though, it's wierd driving on the 'wrong' side of the road, and the local drivers are less than careful. These things are also small, so be prepared to let cars pass by as the Noddy cars don't have a lot of power. The photo Chez attached is of the same ones as we hired, from the same place by the looks of things. We had to dock at another dock in Noumea coz the Pacific Sun (?) was in for repairs, but as you will see from the sign, the cruise ship normal docking area is almost next door to the shop. GO WILD!!:D
  22. Forgot to mention ... Noddy car is mechanical - no need to pedal!
  23. Yes, Martin is the very same CD on PD - he's fabulous and I thought he had stepped out of the program which used to be on UK TV called Hi Di Hi which is based around the UK holiday camp called Butlins which is a place where Brits go when they can't afford to go on cruises!! (joke!). Had to laugh, coz he DID work at Butlins! Anyway, peeps, give Marty a warm and fuzzy welcome, he's trying his best to inject some fun and frivolity into your cruise, and without him, we would all be sitting around the pool twiddling our thumbs. Attached is a picture of me in the Noddy Car .. hope it came out, not used to this technology ...
  24. Hi everyone, glad to have been of some help. Sainters66 - the price of meals outside of the 'freebies' is still reasonable, as far as I know - the Grill sells kebabs, burgers etc. and the Trattoria sells pastas, garlic bread (normal restaurant prices). We didn't eat there, but our friends did, and said that prices were in line with normal aussie cafes. However, we didn't think there was any point buying when one could almost get the same meals for free (the mini suite set us back so much, we were on a very tight budget for the rest of the trip). The buffet in the Cafe del Sol was like Sizzlers on steriods - loads of fresh salads, fruit, cold meats and cheeses, desserts, a couple of pasta dishes, a couple of potato dishes plus chips, curries, roast meats, and other hot meat dishes. I understand that kids love burgers and kebabs, but if you can steer them away from these places and just point them in the direction of the Cafe del Sol, you won't have a huge bill at the end of the cruise, and there should be enough variety to keep the fussiest kids happy. Having said that we were on a budget, I must admit that most of our money was spent at the various bars (no we're not alkies, just enjoy good wine and the cocktails were DELICIOUS - highly recommend the M&M cocktail - very creamy and chocolatey, but high in calories, so be warned!!). We both put on about 3 kilos (I tried to be good, honest!) but when I packed my suitcase, I forgot to pack Will Power, and I was doomed from day one .. Cloakndagger - yes I will post some piccies over the next couple of days. Karmac - um, putting the cases under the bed - never thought of that - we put ours on the shelf above the wardrobe, but I'm a shorty and getting them down was a challenge (hubby wasn't much help, he still had red lips and a hangover a week later from all the bottles of red he and our new friends had consumed on the cruise (don't tell him I told you!)). Sainters66 - as to your question about will there be enough to entertain the kids - well, there were 3 (I think) clubs for kids of different ages. I guess the kids only need 'entertaining' on the days at sea. We had 5 islands to visit on a 10 day cruise, but really it was only 8 days because day one was a half day, and that was spent exploring, and day 10 was an early start as we arrived back in Sydney at dawn, and were busy getting ready to disembark. Most of the kids we saw were playing in the pool/spas during the day, and there is a show every night at 7.30 and 9.30. During the day is also tee-shirt painting classes, art auctions, horse racing (wooden horses), dancing classes, table tennis, ceramics, pool volleyball, Aussie Survival Challenge, scrabble, and always a movie being shown in the showlounge in the afternoon. On the tv in the cabins were movies and other Foxtel type shows including kids movies. The library was good, but not extensive, and there is also the internet cafe (it costs, but not a huge amount). Honestly, all the kids we saw were having a great time in the pools playing with other kids and making new friends. Other people we met said that they hardly saw their kids, but always met up for meals to catch up on the gossip. There was a fabulous display of 'Hansel & Gretel' houses made by the kids on board, so I assume that they are given projects to do at the kids clubs. We hardly saw a tear, and I'm fairly confident that if your kids are sociable, they will make friends quickly, and make their own entertainment. It was great to fathers and sons playing table tennis together, mothers and daughters sitting around the pool talking, kids joining in the dancing at the MANY deck parties - I'm sure that most families formed new bonds on the cruise and it was uplifting to see. Something else I just thought of - this anytime dining is good - it was our first cruise, so I have nothing else to compare with. The only thing I would comment on, is that if you choose the Palm Court Dining one night, the waiters try to fill up the tables, and 'place' you at a table of THEIR choice. Fair enough, I thought, but everytime, they would put us with MUCH older people (great up to a point, but most were deaf and it was a tad frustrating not being with people of our age). In the Cafe del Sol, there are large round tables, and a mixture of twos and fours. If the twos or fours were taken, we would do a quick look around and choose a table with other passengers who were the same age or who looked nice, and got to know some great people that way. It got easier after the first few days, as we then had a little crowd we mixed with, and we would meet up at dinner time and fill an 8 or 10 person table. Just a comment ... To all of you going on the PD soon - I'm as envious as heck - I wanted to turn around and do another 10 days when walking down the gang plank - it was a really mixed feeling of happiness and sadness. I'm sure everyone takes something home with them (I don't mean the cuttlery or dressing gowns!), and the main thing for me was that I got my husband back. He has a very stressful job and it took him about 24 hours to fully relax, but I really felt that we climbed mountains together (and that's nothing to do with trying to walk up and down the stairs instead of taking the lifts!) and our relationship is back to where it was when we first got married. Anyway, hope this has been of some help. Joanna Goanna ;)
  25. goanna

    Hi from onboard the Pacific Dawn!!

    Hi there Sooooooo glad you are enjoying the Pacific Dawn - we had an absolute BALL. Martin was great - but I fell in love with Matt Edwards (the lead singer) - I could listen to that voice all day. I'm still peeling from the trip, and I put on 4 kilos, but what the heck - it was worth it. Hit the Dome and the Bengal Bars with a vengence and tried out the cocktail menu a few times. However we danced a lot and used the stairs more than the lifts. Would LOVE to cruise again, but this time, we don't have a mini suite and a balcony, as this was my hubby's 50th birthday pressie. We met heaps of people, but the family we spent most of our time with had a normal suite with a window. I think that we will go for this option next time, as it makes it a lot more cost effective. Enjoy the rest of the trip. Goanna Joanna:)