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Brushtail

Cruising Hints and Tips for Newbies

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sorry one more question, what type of lanyard, one with a plastic pouch at the end or one with a clip meaning the card would have a hole in it? I've got heaps of each

 

the ones they sell are the clip on type.

They usually do not have a hole in but if you take it to the pursers desk they will punch it for you.

Not sure why they dont punch holes in all of them

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Hints for Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

 

 

This is a tender port. The locals speak French but will accept Australian currency here and there is a small boutique shop. There are no markets like you see at the other islands.

 

The snorkelling here is the best. Around the Rock the fish are really amazing.

 

We packed some small packets of Premium crackers to use when snorkelling. (the individually wrapped packs of about 4 crackers) These are ok to take ashore as they are factory packaged and are NOT fresh food taken off the ship. Taking food off the ship is a real no-no.

 

Crush the packets and tear a small hole in the corner and when snorkelling, you fill the pack with water and puff out tiny bits of cracker. You will soon be surrounded by fish. And then fairly soon by other snorkellers all watching. :p

 

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We have been here twice and the water has been a lot cooler than the other islands and it has been windy. Take something with you to put on after snorkelling.

 

If you walk around the beach towards the resort, you are out of the wind and it is just lovely.

 

2681331690_1449c77be8.jpg?v=0

 

Passengers are discouraged from buying from the resort, but they will take your money. $6.00 AU for a can of coke.

 

There is a tour of the island in mini-buses which is nice. It gives you a good idea of the layout of the island. You will soon see that everything is a good distance away, too far to walk. We paid $18.00 each in June 2007.

 

There are also mopeds to hire but I don't know how much there were.

 

2681338792_01a5f7f7bc.jpg?v=0

 

Isle of Pines is beautiful. My favourite thing about it is the snorkelling.

 

Can anyone else add more?

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Hints for Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

Can anyone else add more?

 

Walk along the road a short distance to the old convict prison ruins, about a 20 minute walk from the main beach area.

 

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Make sure you take plenty of water with you, as it can be a quite warm away from the beach.

 

About half way along this road there's a small shop selling ice creams, drinks, chips etc.

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are reef shoes a must in all ports?

We are going to noumea, ouvea and Isle of Pines

 

Never been to ouvea, so I can’t comment about there, but reef shoes will be very useful in Isle of Pines.

 

And I don’t think you will need them in noumea, but it could be worth tacking them just in case.

 

Also, is hair braiding available in Noumea?

 

Not too sure, sorry :o

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sorry one more question, what type of lanyard, one with a plastic pouch at the end or one with a clip meaning the card would have a hole in it? I've got heaps of each

 

The plastic pouch one would quickly become a pain as you would have to keep taking it in and out to use it to pay for things, ding on and off the ship, etc. I'd recommend the other type. Sometimes the cards come with a hole already punched, but if not, the stand that sells the lanyards on the first day, or the boutiques, will have a hole punch that you can use to put a hole in the card.

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thanks for the all the great hints...i have printed the original post out so that i dont forget anything...looking forward to my first cruise and doubt that it will be my last

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one thing you did forget for first time cruises is that you get addicted you no sooner get your land legs and you are back in the travel agencies booking your next cruise

 

There are no patches, pills or cures for this addiction it just gets bigger

:) :) :)

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Hi can anyone actually tell me what the hairdryers are like on Pacific Sun. Was going to take mine as the small hotel type ones are so powerless they seem to take forever to dry long or thick hair.

 

Also hadnt come across the no "travel iron" yet, but are they strict on that one?

 

Thanks:rolleyes:

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Hi can anyone actually tell me what the hairdryers are like on Pacific Sun. Was going to take mine as the small hotel type ones are so powerless they seem to take forever to dry long or thick hair.

 

Also hadnt come across the no "travel iron" yet, but are they strict on that one?

 

Thanks:rolleyes:

 

I have found the dryers great, although you are limited to using them where they are attached. The shape of them is more like the old fashoined style from the 70's and they are not like a small hotel one at all.

 

They are strict on the no iron policy as it is a fire risk. Fires on ships are not good :eek: Many take their straigteners, which I think P&O have a preference for people not to.

 

However there are irons in the laundry for you to use and I usually get the cabin steward to have my formal things pressed that may need it, it's usually $3 a piece, although last time was a pant's suit and I think it was also $3 total.

 

Personally I wouldn't take an iron.

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Hi can anyone actually tell me what the hairdryers are like on Pacific Sun. Was going to take mine as the small hotel type ones are so powerless they seem to take forever to dry long or thick hair.

 

Also hadnt come across the no "travel iron" yet, but are they strict on that one?

 

Thanks:rolleyes:

 

 

About the travel iron here is a two page thread from 28/8 it will give u all the info u need. Some times it is worth looking at page 2 of the forum or doing a quick search..:)

 

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=834814

 

 

Have fun

Icy

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Hi Brushtail, I found your hints for new cruisers right up my alley, as my husband and I are heading off on our first cruise on 23 September on Pacific Dawn, with 6 of our friends.

 

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? Also, I don't know if you've sailed the South Pacific in September, but we're also not sure of how warm it's going to be and therefore the balance of warm/cool clothing to pack. Any suggestions?

 

I haven't come across your hints about the islands. Have you posted them yet? We're going to Noumea, Mystery Island, Wala and Poum.

 

Thanks again for your really helpful hints!

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I haven't come across your hints about the islands. Have you posted them yet? We're going to Noumea, Mystery Island, Wala and Poum.

 

Thanks again for your really helpful hints!

There is a thread of info here in response to another passenger on the same cruise - http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=836133

 

Apart from that, there is a wealth of info on most of these ports, as most here have been to at least some of those ports.

 

For clothing, temps will be similar to North Qld at that time of year. Jeans are OK in the dining room on the non-formal nights. Just be tidy & comfortable.

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Hi Mactan, I forgot to post the Islands part. :o Here it is.

 

The Islands

Vila

The ship ties up at the wharf in Vila and when all formalities are cleared with the authorities, everyone is free to go ashore.

You just go down to the appropriate deck (they announce which one) and walk down the gangplank onto the wharf. You need your cruise cards with you every time you leave the ship as they beep you on and off.

They also have a roped off area around the ship for security and you need to show your cruise card when you approach the ship on your way back.

There are markets at the wharf and you are made very welcome by the people of Vila.

Australian money is used throughout.

There are two ways to get into town. It is too far to walk. A minibus is $2.00 each and a taxi is $10.00. Doesn’t matter how many are in the taxi, it is $10.00.

These vehicles would never pass the pink slip in NSW. Be prepared for rustic.

The problem with the minibus is that they will wait until it is full before leaving, whereas a taxi will go immediately.

The weather will be warm and muggy – at any time of year. Take bottled water with you and comfy shoes.

Ask to be dropped off at the Post Office.

There is no problem in getting back to the ship, when you are walking along the footpath in Vila (there is only one main street) taxis will call out to you ‘back to ship?’

Mystery Island

Tenders are used at Mystery Island. This is one of my favourites. It is a small island with a nice market.

They sell lobsters, cooked in front of you, from $10.00. You have to get in first for these as they are popular.

They also sell coconuts with a straw so you can drink the milk, then go back and they will cut them in half so you can eat the coconut meat. This meat is soft and bendy and really nice. One coconut is enough to share.

The snorkelling is better on the other side of the island from the ship. Look for dark spots in the water (the rocks) this is where the fish live. This seems obvious, but we didn’t know that at first. J

Isle of Pines

The water always seems to be a bit rough around the Isle of Pines which makes the tender trip heaps of fun.

The people do not make you as welcome as the other islands, they are very aloof and French.

There are no markets, bands, singing children or anything. Just one upmarket souvenir shop with expensive trinkets to the right of the wharf. You can walk the 1k to the resort and buy a drink which will cost an arm and a leg. Or do a minivan tour of a small part of the island for $18.00 each.

There is really not much to see there and there are signs pointing to a village but it is so far away 5klm+ and only a small shop when you get there. DEFINITELY not worth walking to.

Your best bet is just to swim and snorkel on the lovely fine white sandy beaches.

The snorkelling around the rock is stunningly fantastic and I really recommend you try it here. You just swim out a couple of metres (hardly out of your depth) and there it all is. Tropical fish paradise. Make sure you have a go. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

The rock is sacred and you are asked not to climb it.

The water is cooler here and I recommend you take a jumper/jacket/cardigan to warm up after swimming. I took a spray jacket as a normal part of my island backpack, and I was very glad of it. I huddled in it until I warmed up. J I am taking a cardigan next time.

It is warmer further around the bay out of the wind.

Don’t forget that you can always go back to the ship as often as you want if you forget something or want lunch.

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I also found this on my computer. It is list of hints and tips about the islands from another CCer. I remember copying it from a thread about 3 years ago. It is very good and worth a read. :)

 

HINTS AND TIPS ON WHAT TO DO ON THE ISLANDS

There are no tours on Isle of Pines or Mystery Island. You can walk around the whole of Mystery Island in about 2 hours maybe. Isle of Pines has beautiful snorkelling or beach areas.

In Vila there are heaps of taxis and vans. It is cheaper to do your own thing in Vila if you can. It only cost $2 per person to get into town by taxi. When we did Cascade a few years ago. We did our own thing hired a van that took us out to the waterfalls, a guide then took us up to the waterfall and the taxi driver waited a few hours till we returned and then he drove us back into town - DONT PAY UNTIL your journey is over. This trip worked out half what the ship was charging and when there is 4 of you it all adds up.

There are tours run on Isle of Pines by the locals. I think the one that looked the most fun was on bikes in a convoy. They were quad style bikes and accommodated both adults & kids. We normally just go for a walk up to the old convict prison ruins when on Isle of Pines. It's a nice walk to stretch your legs and it is interesting to see how it changes each time.

The tours do get a little expensive however and on most islands the locals also run tours at a fraction of the cost of P&O's. But remember the P&O tour guides have been checked out and the tours are reviewed. They also seem to have guides who speak very good English and know what to point out! Who knows what you will get with the locals.

 

Saying that however every time we have gone on a "local" tour (did one in Lifou one time, one if Vila and another in Luganville) we have never had a problem (other than the adventure with the flat tyre and almost running out of petrol in the bomb of a bus on Vila but that's another story!). Each time they have been significantly cheaper than the tours offered on the ship.

My opinion for Vila would be the Ekasup Village tour. Sort of a re-enactment type village of how they lived. The "Chief" speaks very good English. Very good for children as there is a lot of island children there too. It’s only a few hours so there is plenty of time left to shop. Its only one main street. Not sure whether the waterfall would be interesting enough for young children. There is the small ferry that takes you to an island resort where you can swim, snorkel. That’s good too.

Mystery is quite small, though I have been about 4 times and never walked round it yet! Once I get in that water and see all the fish, I never want to get out They are getting quite civilised last year they had stalls. Careful here as Myself and others were duped into buying stuff which were made out of coated seeds, even had a clearance certificate from customs saying they had been inspected and were ok. They were all taken of us.

An interesting thing to do at Isle of Pines is to walk out along the road to the convict prison ruins.

I wouldn’t bother with the Cascade water falls tour. We hired a van and a man!! Two families shared. Had to pay $15 each to get in and there is not much water there so not much water fall. (Easter 06)

 

Isle of Pines, I think I spent most of the time taking photos, what stunning scenery.

Yes they had small coach tours and little three wheel cars tours run by the locals, but this is just a great place to just sit and chill.

My favourite is Isle of Pines. I love the beautiful blue water and white sand. We always have a great time when we snorkel, even though the water is cold when you get in. It's also a great sized island for a walk and you still get sea breezes for most of our walk so it is not as hot as some of the others! My second favourite would have to be Vila for the shopping of course, best place to buy souvenirs and not break the bank.

Hideaway Is off Vila is beautiful also. You can walk right around the island in about 1- 11/2 hours. When you stand in the water (I don't snorkel, but the others do) the fish come up to your toes and legs. A wonderful sight.

To get back to the topic.... my favourite is Isle of Pines-the beautiful clear water and fine white Talc sand really take some beating, and the snorkelling out near "the Rock" is really great, I saw so many different fish, giant clams, octopus. I also liked Mystery Island, although it does get a bit crowded.

Pentecost Island wins hands down. It is an absolutely magical place, beautiful beaches, lovely coral shoals in close to the beach, friendly locals, and if you're there at the right time - the Land Diving is something that has to be seen to be believed. Even in the midst of a Tropical deluge it was wonderful.

You don't need to book for the land diving, and there's no cost (but take some gold coins to donate). All you need to do is get the tender ashore from the ship (it's a quick trip) and walk the 10-15 mins to the land diving site - there'll be plenty of locals to direct you. It normally starts about 10.30 - and the ships crew does their best to get everyone ashore in time for it. Try and get over early to get a good spot - although there's plenty of room, so don't be concerned if you don't get across straight away.

Take hats, sunscreen and water. It is hot sitting in the sun for hours.

 

 

Hopefully it won't be as muddy for you as it was for us. It rained just as we arrived at the Island, and the track leading to the jump site, and the jump site itself turned into a bit of a mud pit, churned up by 1500 passengers traipsing in. It's just as well there was a lovely beach to swim in and clean off the mud before going back to the ship. The ships laundry was working overtime that night to clean muddy blue and white beach towels!

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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. :D

 

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. :rolleyes:

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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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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 :D

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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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Hi Judy,

 

glad to help you out. I have done a little more research (for my own purposes too :D ) 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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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. :p

 

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

 

bumbag1.gif

 

ManStanding.jpeg (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. :D

 

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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ManStanding.jpeg (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:p

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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. :cool: :) :D

 

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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