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Coral Bliss N627 Review


Fortknox

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Here goes

Thursday 7 September

We arrived at the P&O Terminal approximately 10am after checking out of our hotel.Some people who had just disembarked from the Sun advised that we drop our luggage off at the doorway part way down on the right side of the terminal (look for the sign above the doorway). We then proceeded back into the terminal where P&O staff suggested we go for a coffee & come back around 12noon.

After a walk around King St Wharf & a coffee at the Sydney Aquarium we arrived back at the terminal around 11.20am & were about the first 40 or so people in the queue. At 12noon small groups were allowed to enter for the embarkation process (checking passports, issue of cruise card etc) & we were on board by 12.30pm.

We proceeded to our cabin M87 which we found to be all ready with beach towels, ice, glasses & our first Sun Daily (daily what’s on paper) & Children’s facilities info, sachets of shampoo, conditioner & soap along with towels etc in the bathroom.

Excited to go off exploring we dropped off the carry on bags & headed of for a look around. On the Lido deck we found our first lunch of sandwiches, rolls, cakes etc along with hot & cold water, ice, tea & coffee making facilities. After a small bite to eat we ventured around the ship for that look around.

At 2pm we signed our son up at the Shark Shack & had a look at the facilities for the kids.

We bumped into Annette, Bruce & family –it was great to say hello & make some new friends .

Back in our cabin our luggage had arrived & we were all unpacked and settled in prior to sail away at 5pm.

Unfortunately due to the windy & rainy weather we didn’t get to see all the way out of the heads so headed off to the dining room. Opening of the doors to the dining room is very punctual & being the first night everyone was queuing up outside including us (wait for the chime followed by an announcement over the loudspeaker that the rooms are open & then head on down).

The ship was rolling fairly well as we sat for dinner how the waiters stayed upright & carried the food & drinks I will never know but a huge pile of plates did crash to the ground & shatter .

Our dinner companions we great people, we really enjoyed their & their kids company. We had many laughs & wonderful memories – P & O really do a great job however they set this up! Our table waiters Karen & Carlito were wonderful & really help to make the trip special for all at our table .

No show tonight as it was just too rough we heard the waves breaking on our cabin window with enormous bangs several times as you can imagine everything was Rockin’ & Rollin’. Apparently a few people were injured that night after falling down stairs or out of bed. The Captain announced the following night that we were lucky we made it out of Sydney as they closed the port half hour after we left. Several days later a security guard told us the swells were over 8 metres.

My son was too scared to sleep on the top bunk so guess who had to do that – me of course:eek: !

Friday

My son did venture to the kids club for a couple of hours before lunch but this was the only time. Unfortunately at 11 he really wasn’t interested in T-shirt painting, making doll friends, photo frames or the like. Instead enjoyed bingo, scavenger hunt etc with us & we were happy for him to tag along.

The weather was sunny but windy on this day & we found a deck chair & enjoyed the ocean views in between any activities we joined in. The seas were still quite choppy.

My hubby & son didn’t make the formal night dinner tonight as there were feeling a bit ill.

Entertainment tonight was Thomas & Moore – what a laugh.

Saw Demo (the cruise director) for the first time tonight what a laugh he’s so funny & quick witted .

Saturday

Laundry special day $25 for 20 items – we decided to take P & O up on this offer.

Once again enjoyed bingo, relaxing etc. My men are starting to feel better – they must be getting their sea legs at last. Hubby even had a beer tonight:p .

We asked our cabin steward for a towel animal & were not disappointed as a Rabbit was waiting for us when we got back from tea.

Entertainment tonight Tribute – excellent show put on by the Pacific Sun Performers. There are some very talented singers & dancers in this group. Demo came on after, told some great jokes & got the crowd going. The way he growls when he mentions kids certainly amused the parents & got boo’s from the kids.

Sunday

Our first glimpse of land “The Isle of Pines” (not hard to see why it’s called that) was spectacular.

Beware Staff only give out tickets for the tender on a per person basis so make sure if you all want to go, go together to get the tickets. We were on our way in the tender in about 20mins. The Island was beautiful, dancing islanders greeting us in costume. We walked around Kanumera Bay to the rock & a spectacular beach with the most fantastic snorkeling & the amount of fish & coral to see is truly awesome. Don’t go on the rock itself as its sacred ground. We tried the local Bougna (a mixture of vegetables, yams, sweet potato, meats & chicken wrapped in banana leaves & cooked – very nice)

We headed back to the ship for lunch in the Lido deck & a shower before returning in the afternoon for a walk around & took some photos.

Entertainment tonight – Steve Hart who was hilarious & used a lot of audience participation

Again Demo was funny as.

Theme tonight was Country & Western night

Monday

Mystery Island again we found the tender process to be quite quick & we on the island about 9.30am deciding to stay longer to snorkel miss lunch & head back for arvo tea instead. I had my hair braided after being persuaded by hubby ($15 long,$12 short) bought ½ of a huge lobster for $25 which we ate on the beach. We also tried the local Kava in half a coconut shell as a cup (pretty much like muddy water) it makes your tongue & mouth all numb. Bradley my son had his photo taken in a big cannibal pot with one of the locals pretending to chop of his head & spear him for $5 (its worth it they turned out great), we checked out the markets & then snorkeled again.

We found the beach facing the ship much better for coral & sea life. You can see nearly every colour fish, coral imaginable here & the water is crystal clear & slightly cool but definitely worth it. Today was very overcast with morning showers & I’m definitely becoming a water baby. Don’t forget to slip, slop, slap I got burnt on my back today even with no sun!!!!

The towel Rabbit turned into a Koala today.

Entertainment – G’Day, G”Day we didn’t go just too tired.

Tuesday

Port Vila – Weather humid & showers - There is a large market at the dock when you disembark.

The boys did the Reef Fishing Tour unfortunately they were out in really rough water again & being in a small boat Bradley (my son) was ill so they had to come in closer to shore & therefore the fishing was disappointing. The other boat which was able to stay out deeper for longer managed to catch a Wahoo about 6ft long.

I opted for the Underwater Marine Experience – this small boat only takes 4 people & would definitely recommend for adults & kids. You are picked up at the dock by taxi who offered to take us to the main street after the tour for $2 each.

I then had a few hours shopping before heading back (taxi $10) to meet the boys for lunch & our pm tour of Ekasup Cultural Village which was excellent for all & a must see for those interested in the local culture .

Some Male dancers who wore only a very small (private parts cover) were at the dock prior to departure (hubby noticed it was very much a majority female audience:D ) was followed by a brass band as we sailed away.

I purchased duty free alcohol from Fung Kuei all up $55 for 1.75lt Black Label Jim Beam & 1lt 12year old Glenfiddich & they will deliver to the ship for you. I also purchased really good snorkel & goggles from the dive shop in the main street for $18Aus compared to the ship $34.95.

Island night tonight with a party on deck.

Saw Tina & Brad waiting to be picked up for their wedding – I hope this was all they dreamed & more – best wishes for the future:) !

Wednesday

Ouvea – heavy rain & windy. No worries with tenders today. We decided to go over. Once again singers were there to welcome you – we caught a small taxi car for $3 each which dropped us of at a small (very small market). We did see Coconut Crabs (strange crabs) & 2 small turtles in tubs, caught the cab back & tendered back to the ship. Disappointing with the weather – others said the water was warm for swimming. We have an excuse now to go back another day as it was another beautiful island – I wish now I had still tried the snorkeling when there – oh well .

Movie night tonight in the Atlantis Show lounge – The Da Vinci Code.

Thursday

Noumea – We took the Amedee Island tour & were not disappointed. The seas again were not in our favour & had a rough ride over in the 45minutes on the Mary D after collection at the dock by bus– some were sick, luckily we were not although Bradley was not too keen. Mid morning the skies cleared & ended up a beautiful day.

We headed out on the morning glass bottom boat for the fish feeding where you could also snorkel of the boat for about 5 mins or he would let you swim back to shore if you wanted (only about 200 mts from shore) & straight afterwards we went for the Reef Shark feeding not too much happen here as again just too rough. The afternoon glass bottom boat saw Turtles –I was disappointed I missed out on these.

The Islanders put on a wonderful lunch salads, bbq chicken & marinated tuna (beautiful), fresh fruits & dessert followed by dancing & singing with audience participation – what a laugh!

There was also coconut tree climbing & grating along with sarong tying. While my boys climbed the lighthouse for a spectacular view, being the new water baby that I am I hit the snorkeling again as I knew it would be my last opportunity.

There are many snakes on this island they are not aggressive just keep an eye out where you step:eek: !

Entertainment – Variety Show with Steve Hart & Thomas & Moore.

Again very funny with Demo adding his bit after.

Friday

Next 2 days the weather calmed down on for the return to Sydney.

More on board activities & make sure you don’t miss the bingo for the laughs & of course the big money .

We took P & O up on the $25 for 20 items washing again today – less for me to do at home – ye ha!!!

Make sure you try the ships cocktails (Superman was my favourite).

Entertainment – Piano Man (Pacific Sun entertainers) another excellent show

Saturday

We had breaky then headed to the Atlantis showroom for Demo to give us all the big debarkation talk he even manages to have fun at this & have us all laughing. Followed by a cooking demonstration by the head chef & Maitre De – more laughs then we all had a quick look in the Burgundy Dining room galley.

Next was Seahorse racing basically you can have $2.00 bets on one of 6 people (audience) acting as horses the rest I will leave to your imagination with Demo as the caller.

The big bingo day last game full house $6,500 –not to be missed, you may be lucky unfortunately I was not!

Last night we missed the passenger talent contest as not on until after 10.15pm so opted for a couple of games in the arcade with our new friends which were fun. Tried my hand at the pokies for 5mins as just too smoky for me.

Sunday

We were up at 5am (along with heaps of others) for the entry through the heads & was not disappointed (just grab a blanket from your cabin as can be cold & little windy).

Disembarking was surprisingly quick for when we were called it took about 20mins to clear customs & quarantine.

 

There is a small paper at the purser’s desk to keep you informed of world headline news & Demo gave us the footy, rugby scores after the nightly entertainment so we were able to keep up to date.

Internet access is purchased from the Pursers Desk $15 for 1 hour – great to send a couple of emails home to keep them’ jealous.

Hubby says the Sportsman’s bar is excellent (apart from the smoke) with daily showings of live sports or sport specials to please everyone AFL, NRL, Soccer, Golf to name a few.

 

In a nut shell would we cruise again – you betch ya in a blink of an eye who wouldn’t want to, with impeccable service, food 5 star & more than plentiful along with fantastic entertainment. The crew is excellent & anyone of them will have a chat & answer questions. Demo would have to be one of the funniest people we have met. You can join anyone’s tables for breaky & lunch it’s wonderful to find out where they hail from & have a chat. We didn’t really get into the night life or dress up themes – don’t stress about it this is your holiday do what you want!

The islanders are all lovely people with beautiful smiles. The markets all sell pretty much the same things so if you regret not buying you can be pretty sure you will be able to pick up on another day.

Money we basically took plenty of $1 & $2 coins along with $5 & $10 notes. We did exchange $100 at the Pursers Desk for Noumea into Central Pacific Franks but there really was no need as we could have used VISA both in town & Amedee Island.

 

What would we do different – Buy a better underwater camera. (If you have a digital find an underwater cover for it you won’t regret it, unless of course if it leaks!) We purchased the reusable one on board $29.95 (includes the first film development for free). The pictures really don’t give a true reflection & are a little disappointing to show.

Don’t stress if you loose your cruise card the Pursers will cancel the last one & give you a new one straight away.

 

Sorry if this has been long winded & clinical I have never written a review before; if we think of anything else of importance we will make another post. Hubby will post some of our photos on web shots hopefully soon.

 

There is so much more you could tell but need to leave something for you to experience.

 

We’re hooked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Deb & Rick

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Fortknox. What a greattttt review. I felt like I was there. It makes me more excited about ours in Feb (as if I could be). How was your cabin? Were you inside or outside? Did it take long to get your laundry back? Did DH find enough to do? Did you use flippers when snorkling? Sorry for all the questions(I don't think so). I am going to look at your photos now. Welcome home and I am glad all went well even though the weather wasn't too good.:D

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Great review and photos!!! Good idea putting the bit in about what you would have done differently. My first cruise in 1985 was on the tail of a cyclone, about 90% of the passengers were seasick, brown paper bags all along the corridors. I was fine though and had a great time. - Meals.

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Hi All

Thanks for the positive feedback on our review.

 

Suexxx some answers to your questions.

Our cabin was outside with a large window which we loved & would request again when next we cruise. We had too many coat hangers, plenty of under bed storage for suitcases & overall found plenty of room for the 3 of us. We were on main deck midship M87.

The laundry had to be in to the cabin steward before 11 am & was back the next day in the afternoon.

I did try flippers the first day but found I didn't like them. We met a diver who actually told us most of the coral damage is done by flippers hitting or people standing on the coral. The coral where you could stand was not as nice as were you could not touch the bottom - I suppose this explains why, if you can't reach that bottom. Rick didn't bother at all with flippers after this. So we just swam in our beach shoes which was great excercise & helped with the not too many kilos that luckily we didn't put on - ha ha ha!!!:D

 

As for Rick the reluctant cruiser he found plenty to do even when not feeling good the first couple of days (reading a book out on deck, legends bar watching sport on the TV, he even joined us on the scavenger hunt, seahorse racing & really enjoyed the shows at night & generally exploring the ship. In fact as soon as we had been home a couple of days he was on the net looking up another cruise - so I think that says it all. Best of all he loved the islands (so green with beautiful vegetation & the colour of that sea). We found this to be the best relaxing holiday we have ever had:p .

We met wonderful people who we became fast friends with & have been in contact since our cruise.

The weather in no way dampened our cruise I suppose it helps when you come from somewhere that is in a drought, surounded by red dust, salt bush & I think I forgot to mention flies, flies & more flies.

In fact the day we arrived home it was hot, blowing a north wind which just loves to pick up that red dust & the flies where everywhere - we thought yuk we live here :eek: !!!!!

In the same breath is was nice to be home - I always think home is only what you make of it, flies & all.

 

 

You will have a ball, just sit back & be waited on, relax & enjoy:) .

 

Deb :-)

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Hi Fortknox. Thanks for your response. What state do you live? If you flew to your cruise did you do it through P&O, if so was it well organised? Did you use any sea sick medication and if so what? Suexxx

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Hi Suexxx

 

We live in country SA so had to fly to Adelaide then onto Sydney.

Yes we did book our Adelaide - Sydney & return via P&O. Our TA recommended this as if there was any changes from P&O or late arrival of the ship etc then P&O had to arrange alternative travel or accommodation. This flight package also includes transfers to & from the ship on arrival & departure. We didn't use the arrival as had 6 days in Sydney which was fantastic before we sailed.

On departure it was the Sydney marathon & we had a bit of a wait for the buses to get throught to the P&O terminal (the P&O staff apologised several times for the wait). When the bus did finally get through we were again held up in traffic due to the marathon & the bus driver eventually go our & asked the traffic police to let us through, which was great.

Mind you talking to people at the airport we were advised the bus behind us was very late & some missed their flight. This might be where that P&O booking comes in handy:rolleyes: .

 

Sea sickness medication

We took Stemetil which was prescribed by our doctor & also Ginger Tablets over the counter from the chemist. Rick thinks the tablets made him feel ill & stopped taking them on the 2nd night & felt much better afterwards.

We also bought Dry Ginger Ale in the dining room suggested by our waiter on the night our of Sydney which was really rough.

Next time I think we will just try Kwells (over the counter) & maybe the ginger tabs again. I think this is really a personal choice.

I never really felt ill & have to admit did like the rockin'n'rolling:p !

 

It is great now being able to finally answer some questions on CC. I really didn't do much posting on CC before we left infact Rick said I was a bit of a lurker.

 

The info on this site is awesome & I loved reading the posts ever day before we left. It's funny becaused I didn't think I would log onto CC much when I arrived home but I still find myself having a quick look just about everyday:D.

 

Deb :-)

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