Recently I went on a cruise to New Caledonia from Sydney. My mum and I went with P&O cruises on the Pacific Explorer. New Caledonia is a group of islands in the pacific ocean that is part of the French Republic and we went to Noumea, Mare and Island of Pines. It was pretty fun and relaxing, so here are a few photos from the trip.
The cruise left from Sydney on Sunday 2 July at 5pm. I live in Melbourne so we had to get a one-hour flight to Sydney at 9am. It was a very smooth process and the cruise line picked us up from the airport and drove everyone to the pier on a bus.
Our room had a balcony and a really nice view. It overlooked the Sydney Opera House onto the pier and there were a lot of people near the attraction. I had only been to the Sydney Opera House once before so it was nice to get a good look at it from a distance. Aside from this, the first day was kind of uneventful because I was really tired from waking up early and hungry from not eating much.
Life on the Boat
The cruise ship I went on was very big and full of activities. The food was great, but I definitely put on some weight from eating unhealthily at virtually every meal. The boat had a buffet and five restaurants, but two of them cost money. The restaurants were good and had great service but served very small portions. Sometimes I was still hungry after a restaurant meal, especially as I had to try and order vegan. I think I had rice paper rolls for an entree three times because there weren’t many options for me (middle right photo).
The buffet was my favourite place to go to because there were so many options, such as Indian, Mexican or Chinese. I went to the Indian section the most. Although food was free, drinks generally weren’t, but we both had a drinks card. It was only for alcoholic drinks, so everyday we ordered a different cocktail. We probably would have preferred the coffee card because we are not big drinkers, but for some reason the card was just given to us for free.
The entertainment was very good. There was a different show on every night, such as a rock show and a comedy show. My favourite show was one about Neil Diamond, but I also liked the dancers, who were in almost every show. One comedy show was incredibly funny but also very rude and that was with a comedian called Jared Fell. We tended to go to trivia most of the time and they had the same trivia on everyday, but we never won. The pool area was really nice and once we went into the spa. It was usually too cold to swim as we were near Australia and the temperature went down to about 17C outside.
The first island we went to in New Caledonia was Noumea. It was my favourite island because it is much more populated than the other two with a population of 269,736. In Noumea we had a tour booked that was a ‘train’ ride around the island. It was actually just like a car and the train we went on is pictured in the bottom left photo. Noumea is a very scenic island and lovely island, so it was great to have a tour of it. The ride lasted one and a half hours and luckily there was good weather of about 24C. The top left photo is the view outside of our window on the boat and the others are what we saw on the train.
After Noumea, the boat sailed to Mare. There was little to do in Mare, and as the bus ride to the beach cost $20, we decided to just walk around the island. It was overcast in Mare that day but still rather humid. The boat could not go close to the island so we had to catch a tender, which is in the top left photo. Instead of paying to go to the beach, we found an isolated beach about a twenty-minute walk from the main part of Mare. It was reached by climbing down some rocks and was too difficult for my mum to reach, so I didn’t stay for long.
Mare is not a very populated island and only has a population of 5,648 people. I don’t remember what language is used in Mare but in New Caledonia French is the main language. The locals were very friendly and laid back.
Island of Pines
Island of Pines had a very beautiful beach that we swam in. It was only about 24C but still sunny and the water was not too cold. It is the coldest time of the year because it is currently winter. Although it is quite cold in Australia, New Caledonia seemed to have pleasant weather in the 20s. The locals were selling things like food and clothes on the island and I bought a pineapple fritter. Seeing as lunch is free on the boat, we would did not stay for long and left when we got hungry.
After we visited the islands, the activities on the ship started to get repetitive. I’m pretty sick of trivia but overall I really liked going on a cruise. I probably won’t do another one for a long time. I think eight days is the perfect amount because you might start to get sick of doing the same thing everyday.
I only took one book on the cruise because I had limited space, and that book was I See You by Clare Mackintosh. I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish it, but I really loved it and read it after seven days. It is a thriller with a really creative premise and I flew through it once I realised how much I was enjoying it. The ending really shocked me.
For one day I had nothing to read. At the airport I went to the bookstore and picked up Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty because it was number two on the bestsellers, which made it $17 rather than $20. Why are books so expensive at airports? When I went to the United States I was so dumb and bought a book for $20USD at the airport, which is $26AUD and way too much to spend on a book. Anyway, I read about 44 pages on the plane home.
And now I’m back in Melbourne!
- Are you going on any holidays soon?
- Have you ever been on a cruise? If so, where did you go?