I recently took a holiday that changed everything for me. It was long overdue because I haven’t taken what I’d consider to be a “normal” holiday in ages. It depends on what your idea of a holiday is I guess.
My last holiday was to Bateman’s Bay staying in a cabin. Although I loved being there and thought that the surroundings were beautiful it was far from 5 star luxury. I was making my own bed in the morning, doing my own laundry and preparing my own meals. Plus it was probably a little over 10 years ago now so to say that I was overdue for another holiday is not a lie. I was craving one and my excitement was palpable to do something I’d never done before.
My ideal holiday is one where you go somewhere warm and tropical and completely relax. You don’t take a zillion tours to museums, galleries or historical artefacts. You don’t get in endless lines to go on rides at theme parks or race around shopping for gifts for other people.
A true holiday to me is complete and utter relaxation. Where you can lounge around by a pool, drinking cocktails. Having your every whim catered to and being served by staff who are there at your beck and call to do all of the heavy lifting so you can just indulge yourself. A complete escape from every day life!
Well that’s what I got an more on my first ever P & O cruise recently. The idea to go on a cruise sprang from literally every second person I talked to raving about them. All of my friends were already on their ninth or tenth voyage, while i was still stuck in my rut being indecisive and umming and erring about actually taking the step to do it. Even my mother had already been on one and was dying to go on her next.
Because I had mum with me and she is elderly and can get disoriented when she is in unfamiliar surroundings I decided to go on a short 4 night cruise. I didn’t want to risk raising her anxiety levels and this was my first ever cruise so I figured this would be the perfect one to cut my teeth on and get me acquainted with the whole cruising experience.
It departed from Sydney, New South Wales on Thursday 4 May at 5.00pm and docked in Moretan Bay, Queensland on Saturday 6 May at 6.00 am. We stayed in Moreton Bay until 7.00pm when we departed again for the return leg of our journey back to Sydney. The ship we travelled on was the Pacific Jewel which is 245m of sheer luxury.
For those of us who are not seasoned cruiselings it was a pretty fantastic ship to get your sea legs on. The majority of people who took this particular trip reside in New South Wales and had already been on a heap of cruises prior to this. Some of them who we spoke to weren’t particularly impressed with the overall experience, complaining that the other cruises they had been on had a lot more free inclusions and a bigger range of meal choice, activities and cabin selection.
My own experience couldn’t have been different so I think they were just a little too fussy. The staff were amazing and just couldn’t do enough to accommodate and ensure our trip was stress free. Because my mother had already been on a P & O cruise before they made the effort of ensuring that we had a ambient cabin. This came in rather handy as the ship did feel a little rocky at times so whenever she was taking a shower she could hold on to the hand rails and didn’t have to step into a cumbersome bath. It’s something that I didn’t think to ask for when I booked so luckily they are super organised and considerate.
The stewards, waiting and housekeeping staff made the entire experience so pleasant. My mother who usually makes her own bed when we stay in a hotel (years of doing things for others have instilled in her an incessant need to tidy and clean) even managed to curb her need to do this because they were so good with her. I just can’t speak highly enough about the staff. I do hope we left a generous enough tip.
We ate like queens, drank like fish and had the most relaxing 4 nights possible! The daily activities were spaced out perfectly and repeated often enough so we didn’t miss out on anything that we really wanted to participate in. The shows were amazing and the comedy was non-stop so we laughed the entire trip.
I partiulary enjoyed our dining experience at Salt Grill by Luke Mangan. The Prawns In a Bucket concept were out of this world and I consider myself to be a bit of a conessuier when it comes to all things crustacean. The burgers were absolutely mouthwatering and although we had to pay extra for them, were affordable at $3 each. The Prawns in a Bucket were $15 each which I also found quite cheap and enjoyable enough to go back 3 times!
We enjoyed a 3 course a-la-carte feast at the Waterfront Restaurant on the Saturday evening, which was great considering it is included in the cost of the fare. Although if you’re considering dining there be sure that you organise a reservation as they do book up quite quickly. There is something different on the menu each and every night so if you’re prepared enough you could dine at no cost each day or night of the cruise. Not too sure if there is a limit to how many bookings you are allowed per cruise so be sure to check that if you’re relying on a free full service meal each day.
The Pantry on Deck 12 is a multicultural extravaganza for the senses for those who are brave enough to try food from all over the world. Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Indian and I believe there were even dishes from Afghanistan there is literally a dish for every ethnicity and palette. They even had good old fish and chips for those of you who appreciate meals from home.
The cocktails were a popular choice for the ladies some opting for a Fruit Tingle, while others who were a little more daring opting for Sex On The Beach. My preference was the Toblerone mixed with Kahlua, White Creme de Cacao, Frangelico, Honey, Bailey’s Irish Cream and although it was optional, I always chose to go with a dab of Chocolate Syrup. After all, I was on holiday!
I one thing I would highly recommend is always have travel insurance. There was a girl who fell off of her Quad Bike and broke her leg who did not have any. Her $600 trip to the doctor has changed her view on the risks of travelling without insurance.
For those of you who haven’t already, but are considering going my advice to you is this. Stop thinking about it and get online and book There are a heap of sites that offer cheap deals just google “cheap cruise deals”. If you’re able to leave at a minutes notice, you can sometimes get a bargain by booking a few days prior to leaving.
I thoroughly enjoyed my P & O experience to Moreton Bay and will be doing one every 6 months from here on in!! I have already booked my next trip. i am a converted Cruiseling.
The song below is what I was playing while I wrote this post so I figured I’d add it for you to listen to. Gosh I’m just dying to do my next one!!!!