South Pacific

We were lucky enough to celebrate Christmas, our 6th wedding anniversary and NYE with Chantal’s sister, Tanya and her husband Craig. This was our first ever cruise, and Tanya & Craig’s first since the early 90s. It was a 12 night jaunt with Royal Caribbean on ‘Explorer of the Seas’, which took us to Fiji, Vanuatu & New Caledonia.

Trip in numbers

  • 4970m – the ocean’s deepest point we saw when cruising
  • 30m – shallowest point
  • 3700 – approximate number of people on board the ship
  • 45 – holes of putt putt played by Camo (including 3 holes in 1)
  • 7317 – km cruised (3951 nautical miles)
  • The ship sat 9 metres under water and 64m above!
  • The ship weighed 140,000 tonnes and was 310m long. It was built in Finland and cost $650,000,000!
  • The amazing staff work 7 days a week, 10-13 hours a day, for up to 7 months in a row. On average, they serve 1900 meals every 45mins during dinner service (22,000 meals per day across the whole ship), with almost 200 waiters (hailing from 52 different countries) in main dining room. 14000 beers and 9600 cocktails were also served over the trip in the dining room alone.
  • 75,000 eggs, 18,000 potatoes, 18,000 slices of pizza and 75,000 lbs of pork are just some of the food items served each week on the cruise

Hits

  • On board
    • Cruising out of Sydney Harbour – just magic! 
    • People watching on the boat provided much entertainment each day – a special shout out goes to the guy using the walking track at cocktail hour, pushing people who were in his way and randomly playing a drum solo every 20m as he did his laps. 
    • The discovery of the helipad on day 3, located at the front tip of the ship, providing many titanic ‘I’m the king of the world’ moments!  Bloody windy though!! 
    • Fosters oil cans – 750mL of filth
    • Ice skating on Christmas morning, followed by sun baking & riding the ‘flow rider’ on back deck
    • Located on Deck 13, Dizzy’s bar provided the best views for sunset cocktails. They also made a wicket frozen mojito!
    • The ‘Killer Queen’ show – probably the best entertainment during the week. This band is from Brissy and is apparently the only Queen tribute band in world. Their performance inspired Camo to shave in a killer/seedy Tash! 
    • The Ice Skating show is also worth mentioning- despite a few topples the performers were pretty talented given the small rink 
    • Camo singing karaoke in his 11th country
    • The freshly made pies that were served at 5pm daily at the Crown and Kettle pub – word had spread by the end of the cruise making it tough to secure a seat!
    • Tulasi and Gede, our dinner waiters on the cruise. Towards the back half of the cruise Tulasi was serving Camo & Craig 2 main meals each
    • We recommend booking in for the Mystery dinner show – they only do this twice over the cruise and it was a lot of fun. The $80 price tag per person included a appetizers, champagne, a 3 course dinner and all you can drink beer and wine!
    • The organised departure process of the cruise – we were expecting long lines and luggage delays, but the process was so smooth, we were off the boat and through customs in under 15 mins!
  • Latouka – Fiji
    • The Garden of The Sleeping Giant and its stunning plants, orchids and gardens – located at the foothills of the Nausori Highlands. We were expecting to see a sleeping giant made of plants (that’s what google images told us) only to discover the ‘Sleeping Giant’ actually referred to the mountains behind.
    • Sitting in the sea breeze / falling asleep in a hammock at First Landing beach resort 
  • Suva- Fiji
  • Colo-I-Suva Forest Park -some of the most picturesque waterfalls, swimming pools and rainforest tracks we have done to date. To get there, we opted for the locals bus (only $2 each way). The bus stops just outside the forest entrance, which was $5 fijian to enter. Its a 2km walk to the beginning of the trails, so we were very thankful to the local family who let us ride in the back of their ute 🙂 
  • Vanuatu
    • The people of Vanuatu – so happy and friendly – always waving!
    • Quad biking around the southern coast of Efate Island. The only down side was the rain but we were lucky enough to find shelter before it pelted down!
    • The said shelter was the Tanna coffee factory – one of the best double rizz’s Camo has had to date! It’s grown on the island of Tanna, with the factory is located on Efate. In a recent cyclone 90% of their crops were lost! 
  • The archipelago islands of New Caledonia – Mare & Isle of Pines. 
    • The amazing turquoise waters of Yejele beach on Mare. The plethora of bluebottles couldn’t keep us out of the water (although Camo and Craig were too scared to enter). It was funny watching all the small children & old people alike scream and lose their shit when they got stung
    • Ile de pins (Isle of Pines) – we will certainly return to this place. A little more developed than Mare but still had lots of character. The beach at the main port boasted stunning fine white sand and calm turquoise waters. 
    • Pricine Naturelle (natural aquarium) is certainly worth the $20 pp bus and $10 entry to get to. To find the aquarium you have to cross a shallow river reef with crystal clear water and lots of coral and marine life. You then walk 5 mins along a sandy path until you reach a stunning bay filled with warm turquoise water and a backdrop of pine trees. The swimming hole is filled with beautiful, colourful fish which we enjoyed feeding with a bread. One fish resembled a Murano glass. Another fish was very territorial and left a nasty bite on Chantal’s and Craig’s feet as they swam above! 

Shits

  • Chantal made quite the scene, forgetting to secure her bags on the train and then watching them roll down the stairs as the train took off. Thank god the Champagne and red wine in side didn’t break!
  • The strong 30+ knot winds while sailing, making it extremely difficult to sunbake! Luckily we found a secret spot right at the back of the boat
  • Camo only discovering the soft serve machine half way through the cruise. He was also disappointed that it only opened from noon! No icecreams for breakfast!
  • The Cruise constantly trying to sell you something – from photos to Botox, it just didnt stop!
  • Sunscreen fails – Camo gettin super burnt on his back and Tanya her legs.
  • $11 for a 330ml beer at Isle of Pines 
  • Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi –

Lautoka, Fiji:

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The Garden of The Sleeping Giant in Lautoka
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One of the many orchids in The Garden of the Sleeping Giant
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The First Landing beach and resort in Lautoka
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The First Landings Beach in Lautoka

Suva, Fiji:

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One of the clear natural pools of Colo-i-suva Forest Park in Suva
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Colo-i-suva Forest Park in Suva – a popular swimming spot for locals
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Stunning walking trails through the forest, following the creek to Waisila Falls
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Waisila Falls in Colo-i-Suva

Port of Vila, Vanuatu:

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Quad biking around Efate Island, Vanuatu
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Quad biking fun
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Coconut plantation on the Southern coast of Efate
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Blue Lagon, Vanuatu
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Market day in Port Vila
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Lotus flowers, on sale in Port Vila
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Lotus plant
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The produce looked amazing in the local market
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We loved how they sold the potatos, in bags made from palm leaves
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Tanna Coffee in Vanuatu – the best!

Mare, New Caledonia:

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Yejele Beach on Mare island, New Caledonia
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Just beautiful – Yejele Beach on Mare, New Caledonia
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So inviting – if only there wasnt so many blue bottles!

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Beers and beach – bliss

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It was wonderful to spend our holidays with this pair 🙂

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The locals use the palms to create the walls for their beach bars
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One of the many pink hibiscus flowers planted across the South Pacific islands

Isle of Pines, New Caledonia:

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Hiking across a river reef to find Picsine Naturelle (Natural Aquarium) on the Isle of Pines
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To get to the Natural Aquarium, you have to walk along and across this shallow river reef, and 5 mins through the pine forest
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The pretty river reef towards the Natural Aquarium
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The stunning Natural Aquarium on the Isle of Pines
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Natural Aquarium, Isle of Pines

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A wreck of a traditional sail boat at Kuto Beach on Isle of Pines
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Snails are a specialty of Isle of Pines. These are collected from the forest and cooked on the BBQ
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Camo enjoying his snail. The locals also made us some pretty head bands to wear
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The locals offered complimentary Bougna, a traditional dish of yam, taro, sweet potato, banana and chicken wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in the ground for around 2 hours
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Kuto bay on Isle of Pines
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Our ship docked out from Kuto Bay

The Ship:

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The Explorer of the Seas docked in Sydney Harbour
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Sailing out of Sydney Harbour
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Sailing out of Sydney Harbour
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Afternoon cocktails
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Camo carving up the Flowrider on the ship
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Our titanic moment, battling the wind at the front of the ship
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The Royal Promenade on the ship, all decorated for Christmas
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Ice skating Christmas morning on the ship
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Christmas dinner
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The view of the Bridge from the ships helipad.
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The view over the pool
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Celebrating our 6th anniversary
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Sunset over the open ocean
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The last sunset of 2016
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Celebrating New Years Eve
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The first sunset of 2017
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Our last dinner on the cruise with our amazing waiters Tulasi and Gede
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One thought on “South Pacific

  1. Thanks for that Cam and Chantal, Loved it. All looks amazing. I thought we were to go to Isle of Pines when we were there but didn’t, now I am really envious. Cam you write a great story and manage to get all the details of everything. Great work. Love from us both.

    Like

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