Holiday re-cap - warning - photo overload

10 July 2009

Well....I cant put this off any longer....its time to attempt a holiday re-cap...although anything I write and share wont even go close to summing up just how perfect it was.....

So.....Ill begin with arriving in Sydney on -
Sunday 21st June -
Met Ron, Donna, Shaun and Kate at the airport...and caught a maxi-cab to our wonderful accommodation (Thanks so much Donna and Ron.....for organising such wonderful accommodation....and for the cruise)
We were all so excited.... not only about the Cruise...but also because we hadn't seen each other for 12 months.....
We spent the day wandering around the harbour.....chatting endlessly...all so excited...
Monday 22nd June - Well talk about excitement is Cruise day! Unfortunately the ship was delayed and we didn't board until it was a long day.....waiting around..... with the ship taunting us on the other side of the fence. Finally we are on board....and checking out our cabin..... this is to be home for the next 13 nights...

The ship doesn't depart until around we had our first meal in the dining room....and were up on the open deck to watch it sail from the harbour. It seemed like it was far too tall for the bridge....but it squeezed under.... Finally we were away.... Tuesday 23rd June - Our first day at sea.... the weather is rough....and there is a lot of sea sickness....fortunately we were mostly ok. Mitch did pay the price for a big 'first night in the night club' .... I don't think the combination of hangover and rough seas was much fun.
We booked our shore tours.... Briony and Kate checked out the Teen club.... and in the evening we had our first formal night..... with some lovely pre-dinner cocktails.....and then off to a show.... 'James Galea'...and his amazing card tricks.

I should mention now that.....the food was AMAZING!!!!!.....and there was SO MUCH OF IT!!!!!! Other than the formal dining room where we dined each evening..... there was the 'Horizon Court' Buffet.... a Pizzeria....a hamburger grill....there seriously was never time without food available.... Wednesday 24th June - today it was announced that our stop in Noumea has been cancelled due to rough weather.... we are disappointed.....but still having a great time.
Today we tried out a burger lunch.... Donna and I attended part one of a photography course...and went along to a 'Eat more - weight less' seminar (which was almost laughable considering the quantities of food I was consuming)
Ian and Ron tried their luck in the casino. We played bingo and watched an acrobatic performance in the Atrium. We tried our some yummy cocktails after dinner....and the boys settled into the night club to watch the State of Origin.
Thursday 25th June - Ian had a golf lesson. We all enjoyed Pizza for lunch. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and I relaxed with a book. Briony and Kate played cards, wandered through the onboard shops and visited teen club. In the evening we relaxed in a deck chair and watched a movie under the stars....with some lovely warm blankets and popcorn.
Friday 26th June - Another lovely warm day.....still heading toward Suva. Donna and I took our second photography lesson... we played Trivia and in the evening went to the "Piano Man" show in the Princess Theatre.
Saturday 27th June - Woke this morning docked in Suva - this was very exciting.... it seemed like ages since we had seen land.

We took a tour to a cultural centre to watch a fire walking performance...... it was a 50 minute trip there through the countryside....which was just as much fun as the actual performance.
I loved their relaxed way of life.... their homes ...their little roadside stalls all lined up along the highway.....and their friendly faces...all waving and calling 'Bula' to us.
We finally arrived at the cultural centre ...and were greeted by some very friendly locals....which made some wonderful photo opportunities.

Then the cultural performance began..... it was very informative and entertaining....and the backdrop was just spectacular.

Following the performance we travelled back to the ship for lunch....then spent the afternoon browsing the Suva markets.... this was a real eye opener to me....and everywhere I looked there was a new sight or smell..... these women below were selling crabs...all tied up in little bundles.

This was the fish market aisle (with the ship in the background)... fish on one side...garbage piled up on the other....not quite up to our standards....but still amazing.....and 'nice' in a funny kind of way.

I loved these woven baskets that a lot of them had their 'goods' in....

...and these buses zipping around.... packed full.... loud... no windows... all waving...smiling and calling out 'Bula'...
At 6pm we watched the boat sail out of Suva....and makes its way toward Port Denarau.
Sunday 28th June - Today we woke moored off Port Denarau.
We caught a tender boat to the shore....and then took a shuttle bus around the resorts.
To be honest I wasn't that fond of this port.... the resorts were beautiful....but the beach wasn't great.....and other than shopping...there wasn't much on offer.
Of course we did do a little shopping and then caught the Tender boat back to the ship.... it was very rough and choppy on our return trip and our tender boat leaked badly...
The evening was spent watching the 'James Lamont' show... he was a very talented juggling / balancing show.

Monday 29th June - This morning we woke moored off Dravuni Island. Now this is a beautiful almost untouched Island... with only 100 residents.... perfect coconut palm lined beaches and lush rainforest.... oh and did I mention white beaches.....and coral reefs..... it was divine.
Once again we caught the Tender boat over to the island.
Ian, Donna and I climbed this rather large hill to take in a panoramic view of the was very steep and with the hot and humid weather it was quite an energetic feat. The photo below shows the little ant track up the hill.....Got a great view of the ship from up there...and you can just see a little tender boat making a trip back to the ship too.

All along the beach were market stalls.....
Lots of coconut chopping going on....
...and yes...we had to try it....I'm not fussed on the milk...but the coconut was delicious.
We hired some goggles and snorkeled around the reef.... and visited their school that they had opened to the public.... it was such a 'feel good' day.....I LOVED Dravuni Island and its people.
Tuesday 30th June - a day at sea...not even sure what we did on this day.....I somehow missed it in my journal.... oops... but I imagine we ate....ate....drank cocktails....and ate...
Wednesday 1st July - Today we arrived in Port Vila ---what a BEAUTIFUL spot.
First up was a trip to the Ekasup Cultural Centre.... where we learnt about the Vanuatu traditions.... cooking...hunting...medicine... it was the most amazing professionally run....and I think we all learnt things we had never heard of before.

Check out the size of this spider...apparently the kids play with them....they can bite...but are non-venomous...

The tour was finished off by a music and dance performance ...which was brilliant...
The afternoon in Vila was spent duty free shopping....before it was time to say goodbye to Vila and get back on the Ship....
Thursday 2nd July - Today was my birthday....and it was a LOVELY one....I had a big bunch of balloons taped outside our cabin.....Ian spoilt me with flowers....and Ron and Donna booked me a most gorgeous Swedish massage.... The day was spent at sea....we played Trivia....Pictionary challenge......and had a yummy Pizza lunch. I was presented with a lovely little birthday cake after dinner in the dining room....and had the funniest 'Happy Birthday' song ever....with all the waiters singing at the top of their voice....
It really was a memorable birthday.... oh I should we were supposed to be in Lifou.....but it was cancelled due to poor weather (well that's the story anyway)
Friday 3rd July - A day at sea.....watched a cooking demonstration and had a tour of the galley. Tonight was our last formal dinner.
Saturday 4th July - Our very last cruise day.... how sad. Had a very entertaining evening at the 'Passengers Talent Show' ....there was some amazing talent on board. Saw the champagne waterfall.....
Sunday 5th July - Disembarked this morning....and spent our final day in Sydney.... overnight at the Mecure Hotel again...... before flying home on Monday....
It was wonderful to be able to watch our ship leaving the Port on Sunday evening...heading toward Auckland for the first leg of an 104 day world cruise.
I know this is short and sweet..... but Im glad Ive got a few memories down.....and I hope it shows just a little of what an amazing time we had....


  1. Anonymous10:42 am

    Hi Mardi, thankyou for a run down on your cruise. It was thoroughly interesting. I've always wanted to do a cruise. You are so lucky. Sounds like you had a fantastic time and you got to see and do so much. How fabulous. Memories that will last with you forever. Did Bella remember you when you came back? She would've of missed you. Thanks for the recount. It was lovely. xx Sue (don't know how to get a account name)

  2. You have some awesome photos Mardi! What a beautiful trip. I would LOVE to do it some day!

  3. Sounds like you had a fantastic time Mardi, loved seeing all the photos, The ones of Fiji and the beautiful Fijian people brought back memories of my families trip over there.
    Poor Mitch and his first night... rough seas and a hangover not a nice combination at all.
    Thanks for sharing your photos and memories with us.

    Cherie xx

  4. Fantastic post Mardi. I'm so glad that the trip was everything that you had hoped for :-)

    How awesome that they had photography lessons on board! Great way to boost you talent while taking heaps of holiday pics.

  5. Hi Mardi, I loved reading the recap of our holiday was awesome hey...the photos were great..take

  6. Wowee Mardi! It sounds like you all had such a wonderful time... and what a fantastic way to spend your birthday!! So happy to hear you had a great time... love all the pics too!

    Sheree xx

  7. Anonymous2:26 pm

    Wow Mardi it sounds like you all had such a wonderful family trip together.
    How special and what wonderful memories you will all have and share.
    Its not only the things you see is it, on holiday, its also the sounds and smells that are all so different and much harder to describe...but forever etched in memory :)
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos and your recap of your adventure :)
    Also a HUGE happy Birthday for the 2nd (that's also my eldest DS's birthday - and he turned 18 :) :)