|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!
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
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 2 photos
More day 3 photos
|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
|Being burnt I knew sunbathing wasn't on the cards today
and it was another sea day with a passing visit planned to Willis
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
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.
More day 4 photos
More day 5 photos
|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......
More day 6 photos
day 7 photos
|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
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".
More day 8 photos
day 9 photos
|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 photos