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Overall I had a great 7 day cruise through Queensland and I would certainly do it all again. Pacific Sky was in good nick and the crew did their best to keep the ship flowing nicely. I really have no complaints about the ship or crew.
Willis Island was a bit of a waste and I would rather that had been substituted for something else. I never heard any complaints from other passenger the whole cruise about the ship, crew or the ports.
Most of the passengers were over 45 and from Queensland with a smatering from other Australian and New Zealand
Well done P&O, I'll be back sometime soon!
Summary

I got to the airport quite early and found I'd been upgraded to business class on Emirates. It was certainly a very pleasant surprise. The customs lines were long as usual but once I was through I sat and had some food on the new departure level. My seat was close to the main entrance in the centre of the plane. There was lots of leg room and I'd had a several drinks, a newspaper and hot towel before take off. One of the key features of the Emirates 777 was that there was a live camera on the nose of the plane. This allowed all the passengers to see our progress down the runway. After a delay, a posh 3 course meal was served and I watched the movie "Mr and Mrs Smith". On arrival in Brisbane my progress through customs was fairly quick and I met Feng in the arrival hall.
We drove back to Feng and Helen's place via the city and watched a DVD before getting some rest.

I joined the queues to check in at the Brisbane Transit Centre in downtown Brisbane (You can't just turn up at the Port in Brisbane, you have to go to one of the official pick up points and get bused there). Things were running a little behind and I had to wait an hour for a bus to take me to the port.
From then on it was pretty quick through security, getting my cruise ID card, the welcome aboard photo (yes the photo is bad!), the security photo and then finally on to the ship. I proceeded to my cabin where I was welcomed by my steward and he showed me with some patience how to work the lock on the cabin door. The room was fairly much as expected though the bed had the hammock effect (you always role into the middle of the bed because the middle sagged!).
Next I headed up to the upper decks to have a look at my new home for the next week. We departed on time to plenty of eighties music on the loud speakers. After leaving the Brisbane River we spotted a few whales just off the coast. After the first of many tropical sunsets the pilot made it off the ship onto the pilot boat and I headed back to my cabin to unpack.
Dinner was at 8:30pm (I was on the second sitting) and I met the others who share my table with me for dinner and they we young and good to chat to.

Day 02







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Day 03







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Sunday was a day all at sea. People say you need to get your sea legs and while I realised the ship was going to rock about a bit I didn't realise it was going to be every 10 seconds. The rocking is really minor in these sheltered waters but I was conscious of the movement! It took a couple of days before I stopped noticing it. I can imagine if the weather got bad the real fun would begin....
The day was beautifully fine with a gentle sea breeze making the temperature about 25 degrees. Enough for me to do lots on sunbathing and get quite burnt unfortunately, even though I layered up several times with sunburn cream. The deck chairs were at a premium especially around the pools but that’s fairly much expected I guess. Most other days there were chairs available except in the premium spots!
The evening was entertained with watching the Rugby League final before getting into my suit for the formal dinner.
I followed this up by watching the performance in the show lounge. Not my taste really, but I guess it wasn't being targeted at my age group!
Being burnt I knew sunbathing wasn't on the cards today and it was another sea day with a passing visit planned to Willis Island.
To start the day after the usual breakfast in the restaurant (I never actually did breakfast on the back deck!), I attended a short presentation on the Great Barrier Reef (how it was formed etc), read a magazine in my room and did other fresh air activities ensuring I got nice and relaxed.
I now know why people get fat on cruise ships. There is just so much food. Dinner is a 5 course affair and today I tried lunch in the restaurant and it was a 5 course affair as well. Each meal is themed. Dinner that night was "Italian" and lunch had been "Mexican".
About mid afternoon we saw land for the first time 2.5 days. We passed the unmanned weather station of Willis Island. Its only 400m long, but classed as an Australian outer territory and therefore as we entered their waters the ship could legally sell us duty free....*sigh*
By the end of the day the ships position was about 400km west of Port Douglas . It was about this point that the temperature was noticeably warmer outside. With all the air conditioning inside though, you would never notice it.
Day 04






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Day 05







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This was my first day on land since leaving Brisbane on Saturday.
I got up early to watch us approach and we anchored about 3km out to sea of Port Douglas.
By 10am it was well over 30 degrees and I was on terra firma. First stop was the lookout over Port Douglas and especially 4 Mile Beach.
Next was a walk through town and along the beach. It was absolutely beautiful and well worth a longer stay sometime in the future. After getting some lunch and sending some texts was some more time on the beach and then back to the ship by 2:30pm. The ship was fairly empty, so I had one of the nice refreshing pools all to myself.
The evening was centred around an "Island Party" theme. Dinner had all the service staff in their Hawaiian shirts and there was a similarly themed menu. After that was the Island deck party. A good percentage of the ship's passengers joined in and between the ships house band and the DJ, everyone had quite a good time under the stars. The music didn't exactly suit my taste, but then again the clientele on this cruise is alot older than a typical one with probably 85% over 45 years old. I thought because it was short and Saturday to Saturday that it would attract a younger crowd...I was wrong but it didn't affect the wonderful time I had.
Today we dropped anchor off Yorkey's Knob (20 minutes north of Cairns) and tendered to shore. It was quite a bumpy ride for a few people. I managed to survive!
I'd booked the Skyrail Cableway, a cable gondola over the rainforest. The bus met us and twenty minutes later we were starting the 7km long cable car ride over an Australian rainforest. It was apparent it hadn't rained in quite sometime. There were two points along the journey where you could get off. The first had a short 200m walk through the forest with a Forest Guide. The second stop allowed viewing of the Barron Falls. This would be a spectacular sight in the rainy season. The final stop was in a town called Kuranda where we were met by the bus and taken into the main street of Kuranda. After sometime for lunch in town, we got back on our bus and wound our way down to coast and back to the ship. We arrived back half and hour early and the ship wasn't due to leave for another couple of hours. The whole tour was quite rushed and we had to hurry through and skip some parts. The bus driver seemed to be under strict instructions not to be late. I guess 800 people can't all be tendered 30 minutes before the ship was due to depart......
Day 06







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Day 07







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Today we stopped just off the coast of Airlie Beach in the Whitsunday Passage.
After a long wait, we departed on a large cat for the 1.5 hour ride out to the Great Barrier Reef. It was a rather uncomfortable ride in places.
After arriving at the fixed pontoon, I went on an underground Submarine tour of the reef before putting on some scuba gear and spending an exciting couple of hours swimming over part of the reef. It took a a few minutes to get used to the scuba diving equipment. I took lots of photos with a water proof disposable camera, but as always I ran out of film before some of the good bits.....
The cat ride back was far tamer and the ship departed along the Whitsunday passage. I was able to see alot of the famous islands in this area such as Linderman Island, Hamilton Island, Daydream Island etc. The scenery was very much in the Queen Charlotte Sound type scenery (except for the sky scraper on Hamilton Island of course!). I can understand why this is such a popular area for tourists.
Dinner was another formal night.
This was the last day of the cruise and it was another sea day. After breakfast I spent 1.5 hours in the spa getting a massage. It certainly loosened a few muscles and let me know I had a few I didn't know I had!
After that I watched some ice carving (in 30 degree heat!) before settling down to my multi-course lunch in the restaurant.
After lunch I spent sometime sunbathing, packing and relaxing before the final dinner which was themed as an "Aussie dinner".
Day 08





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Day 09







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I was put in the orange departure group which was the third group off the ship. Given this my breakfast slot was 5:15am - 6:00am. It was almost enough of a reason to give up on breakfast. After breakfast (the first and only buffet in the restaurant), I cleared out my cabin and got up on deck to watch the ship turn round on the Brisbane River and dock on time at 6am. With nothing else to do at that time of the day I watched the shore crew begin loading supplies for the next cruise until just after 7am when I was called to leave the ship. I was on the bus by 7:20am and in downtown Brisbane by 8am. After putting my luggage in a locker, I went for a walk around the central city across the river to Southbank park, where I realised I was wearing the wrong clothes. After cooling down I walked back to the Transit centre where my bags were and changed into some shorts (It was 30+ by 9am).
Feng and Helen came and picked me up and we drove down to the Gold Coast where we had lunch at Jupiters Casino. After that we drove through Surfers Paradise to Harbourtown (factory outlet mall) and did some shopping. After heading back to Brisbane we went out for tea to a Korean restaurant in Sunnybank before retiring after a very long day
The final day was focused on travelling home. I joined the end of a long queue at Brisbane Airport before making it to the front 40 minutes later. Another 40 minutes later of queuing in long lines I was through all the security checks (only my shoes had to come off), I grabbed some breakfast and waited for my flight. The plane was full and I managed to swap seats at the request of another passenger so he could sit with his wife, which worked out well as I got one with a large amount of leg room and the Qantas staff gave me a bottle of wine for helping out :) The flight itself seemed to go on for ever and I wasn't in the mood for movie watching Day 10



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