There comes a time, after the madness of the silly season is over, when you have been back at work for a few months and…you need a break. That sounds terrible doesn’t it? To get to April and just about be climbing the walls out of desperation for a holiday!
Let me take you back to early 2016. I was approaching 30, we were saving for a Wedding, we KNEW we could not wait until October (our Honeymoon) without at least a little break. So we decided to book a cruise. As it so happened, there was a P&O Cruise which departed Brisbane on my Birthday and went up to Cairns. Needless to say we decided this was a fantastic idea!
We booked an ocean view room, for the price of around $1500 as there was a sale, also when we made the booking, it came with the free Premium Drinks Package (all soft drinks, cocktails, wine, beer, spirits water up to the value of $12); excluding T2 and coffee from the coffee shops.
Our 7 night cruise was called the Barrier Reef Discovery and it was scheduled to travel from Brisbane up to Hamilton Island, Cairns, Willis Island (Drop Anchor) and then back to Brisbane. We were quite excited as we had heard great things about the new Pacific Aria which had been welcomed to the P&O fleet from the Holland America Line and we were on one of the first cruises for it.
About a week before our cruise was set to depart, P&O offered us an upgrade to a balcony room for $99 each. How can you refuse this? It was for my 30th and it was our first time on a cruise and really, what’s an extra $199 when you have a free drinks package anyway?
Boarding was incredibly easy on the first day, we had registered to get onto the ship around lunchtime, so we went and checked out our room, bought our touristy lanyard’s, grabbed our first drink and decided to check out the ship.
We booked to have our first dinner (my Birthday and our anniversary of meeting) at Luke Magnan’s Salt Grill, which is amazing. It is easy to forget you are a on a ship, and it is always really cringe worthy to see some rude person on a boat yelling at a waiter because they don’t think the food is the quality it should be. So let me be the reasonable person to confirm, that, actually – the food is quite given it has been prepared and served on a budget cruise-liner! I recommend the licorice parfait. Yum!
Dragon Lady is pan-Asian cuisine and the restaurant is very pretty, the service lovely and the lighting subtle. What we didn’t realise (on our first cruise), is that you (if you book far enough ahead), do not need to accept a share-table booking. In fact, unless you live for meeting and eating with strangers, awkward conversation or a lack of privacy then I would advise against the share table. Unfortunately, we did accept a share table at Dragon Lady and we were sandwiched in against a wall with an older couple who sat beside us. The conversation was forced, the couple were racist (seriously, not okay!) and the woman was whinging the entire time, saying how she only likes to eat fried eggs. Anyway, that’s not P&O’s fault, we downed a bottle of sake and tried to forget our hideously racist dinner mates.
Angelo’s is an Italian restaurant, it is classy and elegant and has a pretty decent wine list for a boat. The food is yummy and there is a selection of desserts available to you!
Our room was nice and had plenty of space, the public areas are nice, there are no shortage of bars, there is a beautiful view – wherever you go!
There is no shortage of activities – at all. You have trivia, bingo, drinking, game shows, dance shows, karaoke, movies on the top deck, dating games, marriage match, book swaps, cocktail lessons, whiskey tasting, mocktail classes, tours of the ship etc.,
A cruise is what you make it – if you are with good people or are looking to relax then this is for you! If you don’t really like your company and feel a bit caged on a boat for a week then it may NOT be for you.
What have you got to lose?