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Everything posted by mickalex

  1. If you want to go to whitehaven beach use "ocean rafting tours". we used them a couple of years ago and they cheaper than cruise booked one{cruise companys use this company} and you get a longer tour than the ship one. Book a lucnch for $15 as well worth it. We had an awsome experience. We asked what if running late when coming back and they said" no problem we can drop you straight at the ship." They also refuel at the same wharf the tenders use so when our tour finished they dropped of the other passengers at there own wharf{ocean rafting} and then took us over when they refueled straight to the ships tenders.:)
  2. Well just booked again for just Alex and myself{kids will kill us when they find out} leaving Brissy on the PS on the 1st of Nov for 7 days. It was totally spur of the moment while looking at cruises next year for us and the kids! The cruise is N839 and works out less than $600 each for a T cabin. I guess we are addicted, but i am not looking forward to telling the kids.:eek: My wife has just got back to work after two months off for the cruise and went back for two weeks and was then told to take atleast another weeks holiday, which she is now on. Then they say "you still have to many holidays owing {6 weeks} and you get 5 more January.". So a cruise had to happen when it comes up so cheap! Fun looking at the personalizer again and it is so close! Woo hoo, who's coming?? I have just spent 2 weeks getting over the worst flu i have ever had, first thing is to finish my review {could not face it in the foul mood i have been in} and second thing is to get the courage up to tell the kids they are not coming, i think the later is far worse than the flu i went through!!!!! Mick
  3. Does that mean they read these forums and have now grasped its better for business to offer a better service instead of having a monopoly mentality! Now to book the next cruise in advance:) Funny i only asked a question about booking in advance a week or so ago and now they are going to do the same as the parent company!:D Now to find the cruise to suit, we all talked about it and 25-35 days seems the perfect length, i only wish i could afford the 104 world tour cruise as it seems sensational but you could triple the ticket price in spending it would cost an average house price for the us,the four kids and mother! Come on Lotto numbers!
  4. We spent $700 on portraits as with 4 kids it is hard to get a good family one with everyone smiling and looking at the camera, when you do you go to town. As all the normal picture takers of the family will know, it was also one of the rare times i was actually in the pictures!
  5. We went to Noumea twice in 2 weeks and found the locals friendly. The Petite Train { non P&o that costs $20} is a great tour and fun. There are a number of great activities that P&o offers but we liked doing our own thing. It is interesting to just walk around and feel you are in another country with a different language. Opposite the port is a supermarket called "Casino", we had a great time getting lots of French cheese and local foods to take back and eat.They take Australian dollars and most price tages are electronic and show the local Franc prices aswell as US dollars. To me the outer surrounding areas that you see on the petite tour show the beauty of Noumea, like places like Egypt or any place there is a dirty side to the city and a beautiful side to the outer regions. Would i go to Noumea again, yes i would. Like most places on this planet it takes awhile to learn the things that have made other people populate it. I have never been to Cuba but i would imagine there are many cities like Noumea there and you need to get past the first glimpse to see what we all want on holidays, to experience a difference from what we live with day to day. Enjoy Noumea for what it is, an experience of the islands and an experience of island and French culture combined.People that do not like a place have usually had a bad experience or do not have the ability to find the best of a place and expect the best of a location should jump into there lap within the first 5 minutes or its a terrible place. Haha hope thats insightful, i have been to some really terrible places in this world and have seen they all have a good part to them, Noumea is far from bad in my humble opinion. Mick
  6. Haha, thats experience for you! I would have said" thats two ice creams you miss out on to pay for my drinks". Thats a classic, i would have loved a picture right at the moment the taste hit the palate! :D
  7. Called getting your land legs back! It is funny standing at places like the checkout at the supper market or more personal going to the loo standing up for the boys. My worst cases have been when i get of a yacht after a few weeks and it really makes you fell strange swaying doing normal things on land for a few days. Call me strange but i like the movement on the ocean when out to sea but it seems strange the first time you feel it on land, after that you notice it but its just like the wind noise you get in your right ear after driving 1000km with the window open, its there but its just part of the enjoyment and goes away without much notice!:D
  8. our cruise there was a few gay couples and a few singles.We had a blast with them and so did my mother inlaw. I grew up a street down from the city end of oxford street and my wifes brother was gay{no longer with us} so we had a great time with the and had a special birthday get together for one of the young singles on the cruise. You guys are going to have a fantastic time. my email is mickalexander@people.net.au, give me a yell and ill pass on a few things.
  9. After sticking to cabin made iced tea's my wife and i spent around $500 on a 16 day cruise as we bought bottles of wine at dinner and got lazy at times!:D
  10. Speaking for myself i can only say they are called "Albatross cages" . Hahaha:p
  11. Hehe they prob have never looked at a world map!:D Maybe the ships went backwards{just whack her in reverse first officer} the whole way UK-US-UK.:D As the Atlantic trips even in the 1830's only took around 15 days{half this by the 1850's} on the steamers in a mostly cold climate, i think they are having a lend or making the worlds history there own once again!haha:D I am just being cheeky! My brother showed me this last week and i think its an apt time to share it. Enjoy, i nearly died laughing! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEP7uti0PDw
  12. No problem at all, the Transatlantic crossing would be SOPH. mick
  13. Thats right except it was going to and from India. Because of the heat, the shade side was the most comfortable to and from India. Lol, i was only looking at this in the historical records two weeks ago, doing research on the English and Scots in India.
  14. The car would be a pocket rocket! haha Typo i meant card!:p
  15. I am sure no one would serve you except your wife if you pulled your car out of your budgie smugglers! I suppose a lanyard is safe transactioning when you are in buggy smugglers. Maybe a good idea to keep the cards in the budgie smugglers because it would take the bravest thief to reach in and steal the cards!
  16. Could not agree more, cruising is the ultimate family holiday because you can have a family holiday with the kids and also get your own time on the holiday. Cruising is a win,win, holiday for a family. "God created Adam and Eve and then introduced them to rugby, this created all mankind so they had the extra numbers for each rugby side, there was 12 apostle rugby players until god said "you need two break aways and a lock to make it God game, so then there was 15 apostles on each side ". :D
  17. Thanks Karen, We have now decided for the family cruises the minimum will be 25 days+{lomger cruises would have less kids so it is easier to get them in the limited allocation of kids places??} . I know exactly what you mean by getting in early to get the kids in the kids allocation now and booking early is a great idea. If you book through the cruise companies early and you find a much cheaper fair later with them or TA, do the cruise companies come to the party and reduce your original price or what do the old hands do to get the best value etc in this situation? Mick
  18. Well i can see the advantage now! Never thought of it like that. Thank you, i will show my wife so i can book the next cruise or cruises with piece of mind! If you dont ask, you never know! Thanks mick
  19. I just put the card in my back pocket like a keycard, even though i had a lanyard, i never used it in 16 days. My wife had one with the cruise card and the two cabin keys but it ended up in her pocket more times than not. Lanyards are fine for the ski fields or a rock concerts but i could not see the reason for them being around your neck on a cruise ship when it is less annoying and cumbersome in a pocket like any other card. If you treat it like a keycard or credit card it will be just as safe in your pocket.
  20. You two are sensational, they really should give you both First Officers jobs in commanding the ship after so many cruises. I am amazed you have both done all those cruises and you are both under 30!:D:D
  21. I am amazed anyone books or thinks ahead for the 2010 season. I am interested to know why you book so far ahead as from what i have seen prices come down and early booking is rarely cheaper than the bargins that come later?? I dont know, so i am only asking in the hope it is very cheap and i can do the same for a very future cruise. I think it is not a Jinx, just a case of time and place like many things in all of our lives.
  22. My god this flu is shocking and even more so with 4 kids! But anyway here is there next chapters and hope you all enjoy! 14th Aug. There really is no rush when you have been to a fantastic place like the Isle of Pines the week before. The isle of Pines is a sight to behold on a sunny day. The sand is white and like talcum powder and I take pictures and video of us coming in. We all have a relaxed breakfast and mother decides as she was here last week she will stay onboard today{I am sure she just wanted to use the waterslide while no one was around}. We go down and get our gear ready and then catch the tender ashore. The kids are over the moon at the sunny day and we head to the Sacred rock for a snorkel and swim. I take the underwater camera and head out around the Sacred rock, it is murky from the weather over the last couple of days but there is still plenty to see. Snorkelling at Mystery island even on a cloudy day is much better but I am sure there would be places hidden away on the Isle of Pines that have as much to offer. It is a bit cold when you get out of the water, even in the sun. We laze on the beach while the kids build sandcastles and run around. About 2pm we start to walk around the parts of the island we did not see last time. The vegetation is fantastic and makes you feel like your alone even with 1900 passengers or so around you. The kids play with a few of the thousands of coconuts lying around and I wonder how many kids on future cruises will play with the same coconut{ we passed a lady and her kids on the way back to the ship playing with coconuts and as we got near them the lady said to the kids ”look at my coconuts there bigger”, my wife looked at my grin and said” don’t you dare”, so I just had to say with a big stupid grin on my face to the lady “ there whoppers” while looking down at her and she laughed and we kept walking{with me 10 feet ahead, just out of slapping range from my wife}. I look at the yachts moored in the bay and think about us, here in the future when we sail the yacht around the world with the kids. Places like the Isle of Pines really makes you think about the natural beauty of this world and how privileged we all are to come to places like this with such ease. We all stand on the beach staring at our home away from home anchored off shore and decide we are all hungry. We line up for the next tender which takes but a minute, as they are running 3 tenders .When you sit in the tender you will notice a sign saying how many people it will fit as a tender and how many as a lifeboat. Now call me stupid, but I find it amazing that they fit more in as a lifeboat that would be used in the open rough sea and less in the calm times that they are used as tenders, remembering so many missed ports being to rough for the tenders on other cruises CC’ers have been on. We board the ship to the usual 6 card ding and the family goes up to lunch while the packhorse detours to drop off his load in the cabin, all the time expecting there to be a watering trough and chaff bag there to greet me.. After lunch the girls are going through kids club withdrawals so we decide to let them have there fix ,and we will put them through rehab when we get home. The eldest son is taking part in Kiwi V Aussie survivor as on of the water gun shooters so we get settled around the pool for the afternoons entertainment. Survivor is fantastic fun for both the people in it and those watching and cheering. The final comes down to two blokes, an Aussie and a Kiwi as you might have guessed. The have to run up the slide stairs and come down 3 times in a lifejacket and then while in the water sitting in a blow up ring put two wet tshirts on each over the lifejacket. The Aussie got ripped off and they both finished within a second of each other to the roaring approval of the crowd. The oldest headed of to Shark Shack after vindictively shooting the survivor participants in the head with the water gun, like the staff wanted him and the others to. We get mother her afternoon tea and delivered it to her social table on Lido deck and head down to rest for awhile in the cabin. We grab all the kids from there clubs and head to dinner in the Burgundy dinning room. Like most nights the dinner is fantastic and we enjoy a bottle of wine like most nights. Low and behold, the kids go back to there clubs after dinner and Alex and mother and youngest go down to the cabin to get ready for tonight’s show “ Love the Nightlife” while I go up for a smoke and an ice tea on the social side of the Lido deck. By now all the new cruisers have found there footing and are lively and fun. After having the same question so many, many times on both cruises “you’re the bloke with all the kids” I decide that next cruise to get a tshirt printed saying “no they are not my kids they just follow me around for food and money”, which is a tshirt nearly every parent should own. I head down to the casino to play blackjack after a few iced teas on Lido deck. After telling the dealer I will only tip him after I win big bucks, he proceeds to take big bucks from me for the house. After taking a huge amount of betting money from me {all $10 dollars or two bets} I tell him its my turn and punish the house winning $40.haha Playing $5 a hand you can have hours of joy for low cost and usually end up even, unless you hit or double on 18 like I saw at the table. Unlike a proper casino environment, the cruise ship casino is a much more relaxed atmosphere, they really would have no problem with a banjo playing Billy Bob taking his shoes off to count more than his fingers to get to 21 or even 22 digits in there case to add there cards up. I take my even money for the night and collect the kids and go down to the cabin, as I am a bit tired from pack horsing and snorkelling, not to mention looking at coconuts! 15th Aug. Yes, we have been to Noumea the week before and yes we feel like old hands at cruising by now, but I think any port is done more relaxed and better planned the second time. Mother decided to stay onboard again so we get ready to take on the town. It is a public holiday but most of the tourist district is open. Being old hands at Noumea after our visit the week before we direct the new cruising mates to the best duty free shops etc. We go and do the duty free shopping first that seems to take a year off me for every hundred spent, so this 800 year old is dragged around Noumea and resigns to the fact that he is purely there to be a trolley for the goods. After shopping with my wife that felt like 15 years, we head to the “Casino” supermarket opposite the port. If you like things like French cheese and wine, it is cheaper and fantastic compared to the same in Australia. Other non fresh items are very, very expensive and a huge amount comes from Australia. The “Casino” supermarket takes Australian dollars or franc’s and has sensational digital price tags that have Franc’s and US dollars displayed. Noumea is like Surry Hills/Redfern in Sydney and needs more money spent on infrastructure and with the tourist dollars should be much more glamour’s. I think the very outer parts of the island would be fantastic and very beautiful but on a day trip it would be very time pressed to get to these outer reaches. We bought French brie, caviar ,French sticks, French butter, spicy sausage, water cracker and bought them all back onboard. We had the best stewards so we went halves in the whole lot so they got to taste it all. It was very special when they both said they had never tried caviar and a couple of other things before and said they loved it and shared it with there mates. We are like most cruises and would prefer our whole fair to go to the staff, but we know they are lucky to get $2.50 an hour and feel the ones that love there job and really go out of there way deserve to be shown so with money and treats etc. You know you have spent too much in a duty free shop when they give you a bag containing atleast 20 free things in it. After shopping we go back to the ship to drop me and the kids off and then my wife goes off to go shopping again. Noumea is very quiet on the public holiday compared to last week, you can nearly cross the road without fear of being run down. I and the rest of the family dont mind going to Noumea as it is a great experience and in context is a mining town like Newcastle, so think of it like Newcastle and it will never disappoint you8 when you know that before hand. Like any place in this world it has cheap and good value and expensive and ripoff.. We sit in the cabin tasting the great food and passing it on to the stewards at the same time. Culinary life does not get much better than this and we all saviour the Noumea/French food. After all the food we bought back onboard we all skip dinner and the kids go to there clubs for the evening and mother stays at her table on Lido, while my boss, our youngest and I chill out watching a movie in our cabin for the night. Noumea is what you make of it and your experience there will reflect what your expectations are, of your own world.
  23. 13th Aug. I wake early so I can watch us come into Mystery Island and race upstairs to film the island coming in. It is overcast with high cloud and sun spots burning through with a slight wind. Anatom island{the main inhabited island, 500 metres or so off Mystery island} high hills look amazing, with the tops of the hills surrounded in thick cloud and just below them the village right on a fantastic curved beach adorned with coconut tree’s. It is overcast but I am here to tell you that it’s the most beautiful place I have ever seen, on a sunny day it would fill your head with fantasies of being stranded on it for life. I film and take pictures of this wondrous place as we creep in close and closer, completely forgetting that a have a family somewhere on the ship for half and hour. It is safe to say pulling into and being there at the bow to watch was the highlight of the cruise for me, it really is a place dreams are made of. I race down to meet the family and we have a quick breakfast, then we head down to the cabin to begin loading the gear to take on the island on this old pack horse named dad. On the way down in the portside lift we come across an old couple and the husband is cursing as they have been going up and down trying to get to the 3rd deck to get the tender for 10 minutes. There is a sign taped to the back of the lift, like on all ports that says this “lift only goes to the 4th level when in port and to use the starboard side lifts to get to the 3rd level’ after pointing this out to him and getting out at main deck{5th level} he knows better and they continue in the same lift{ I half expected to come back after the day on the island to find him still going up and down cursing the world that he still has not reached the 3rd level}. Stepping off the tender onto the island the family walks into a wonderland, while I follow with what feels like 500kg of gear, they are all excited and running around and I am lucky to lift a foot to get the next step in{haha just kidding}. The island has a row of thatched huts joined together as a market place in the centre that the islanders sell there wears and a great grass airstrip. The way the thatched huts are put together really blends in well with the islands natural beauty and it seems most of the Anatom population comes over to sell, sing or cook lobsters. Get in early for the lobsters as the price goes through the roof as they get low on lobsters and this happens well before lunchtime. There are many kids bought over as well from Anatom by there parents and I am here to say they are some of the happiest kids I have ever come across, they would bring a smile to the unhappiest of people in the world with there love of life. I set mother, Alex and the three youngest kids up on the beach at the end of the markets so my oldest son and I can go snorkelling at the south east corner of the island as our room steward and a few of the crew had told us this was by far the best spot to snorkel. My son and I walk up the east side beach to get up to the spot. We get settled on the beach to get the gear ready and I get the underwater camera out keen to get some good pictures. I have bin skindiving most of my young life but I have never seen so many fish ten feet of the beach as I have on Mystery island. The snorkelling is simply amazing and is such a short distance from sure anyone under 120 years old could do it with ease. It is a bit cold when you first get in because it is overcast and winter but we spent a couple of hours in the water because you soon get used to it and only feel the cold when you get out. The nest coral is out further {50-100 metres out} but 99% of people would be happy with the underwater wonderland just 20 feet from the beach. Even with people around diving and snorkelling always feels like its just you and the surroundings. There is no noise and when the environment is this good, your whole attention is on the environment so you feel like you are the only one out there. I would happily stay in the water till the last tender but after our fun we dry off and walk down the grass airstrip to the markets to meet up with the crew. The kids have a ball playing with the young kids from Anatom and then have even more fun picking out gifts to take back for friends and family. The kids have there picture taken in the cannibals pot and then we give the parents of the young kids the gifts we had bough for the school there{we had bought the 200 lead pencils,200 coloured pencils and 200 black, blue and red pens for Dravini Island in Fiji but because of the weather we never got there so I make a not to make sure we take them for both islands when we next visit}.They are very grateful for the small gift and show great appreciation to our kids. After the best day on the whole cruise we head back on the tender at 2.30pm for lunch. Watching the ship from shore and looking around at the couple of thousand people on the small island, you really do feel it is like a circus, but in my mind the invading of the island for a day would give the Anatom islanders a few weeks worth of income, so it is a win, win type deal but I wish you got a couple of days because then you would get a better understanding of the Anatom islanders way of living and there culture. Anatom is a place I could spend weeks just exploring and getting to know the people and you would just be touching the surface in those weeks. After lunch the younger kids go to there clubs as they request it and I take my eldest up to film us leaving the island. We stand on the portside just behind the bridge as all hands are on the bridge to leave. It is packed with people watching us leave and watching the crew in the bridge. The bow thrusters spin us around on a dime out of the bay while we all watch the crew in the bridge. I can tell you now why Captain Goodway has the job he does, he is the most intuitive person I have ever come across for reasons I will explain. All these people are sitting just outside the bridge and smiling and laughing as he came into view with his trusty pointing cane. There would have been 10 to 20 people laughing saying “ the Cane is to smack anyone that stuffs up when turning the ship, when he turns to the crowd and smacks the Cane and smile, the man has the greatest sense of awareness I have ever seen, sure he has done it many times but his timing was what legends are made of. After all of us laughed with the captain and applauded him, we went down to meet the rest of our crew. Tonight everyone was tired form the most amazing place any of us could have imagined, so kids clubs and iced teas seemed to go by the way side. We retire to the cabin after a fantastic day of discovery!
  24. Have a fantastic time. A few thing if you dont know already to enjoy! 1. The prawns at the sushi bar over the first couple of days out from Brissy. 2. The steakhouse for dinner, the faming onion is sensational and the Fillet steak melts in your mouth. The Rib eye is also fantastic. 3. make sure you get garlic or herb bread when you on of the sensational Pizza's. 4. The best breakfast is in the dinning room. 5. Get Cronin to take your professional pictures if your are getting any done. 6. Have a sensational time. Mick
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