Thursday, 25 April 2013

Retreat to Isle of Pines: 9 nights in August 2013

This cruise with the pretty Isle of Pines as its centerpiece visits the beautiful French Melanesia region, with three port stops. French food and language meets the friendly Melanesian culture and cuisine in New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

The Pacific Pearl leaves Sydney on day 1 and has a long haul to Port Vila, allowing passengers to get settled into life onboard and unwind with activities and/or relaxation on the ship. The best part of sea days is doing as little or as much as you wish!

The first port is Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu. This town is set on a busy natural harbour full of local fishing boats, and is home to some wonderful handicraft markets. You can explore yourself or take one of several shore tours both in the city and out in the countryside and villages.

Lifou in New Caledonia is the next stop, and this is one for the watersports lovers. Lifou is spectacular both above and below the water, and is popular with divers and snorkellers. There are also lovely beaches to lie on for those who prefer to remain a bit more stationary! The final stop before the return to Sydney is the Isle of Pines, a paradise of white sand, clear blue water and pine trees. Kato Beach is splendid, with sand like talcum powder.

Isle of Pines
 by Richard Taylor Flickr Creative Commons

Cruise Operator: P&O Australia
Vessel: Pacific Pearl
Ports of Call: Sydney, Port Vila, Lifou, Isle of Pines
Sailing Dates: Wednesday 7th August 2013- Friday 16th August 2013.

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 9 nights

Day 1: Sydney, departing Wed 7 Aug 16:00
Day 2-4: At sea
Day 5: Port Vila, Sun 11 Aug 08:00- 17:00
Day 6: Lifou,  Mon 12 Aug 08:00- 17:00
Day 7: Isle of Pines, Tues 13 Aug 08:00- 16:00
Day 8-9: At sea
Day 10: Sydney, arriving Fri 16 Aug 07:00

About the Pacific Pearl

The Pacific Pearl is a favourite in two countries, being based in both Sydney and Auckland. Introduced into the P&O Australia fleet in 2010 and undergoing refurbishment in 2012 means that she is up-to-date with all of the line's best features. Dining takes place in the beautiful Waterfront main restaurant, at the buffet or casually by the pool. There is also a specialty restaurant, Salt Grill by Luke Mangan which is great for a gourmet date night. All of the usual cruise activities happen on the pearl- pools, spa, loungers, jogging track, bars and lounges and plenty of organised activities from bingo and quizzes to cooking and dance classes. Evening entertainment includes shows in the theatre, drinking, socialising and live music in the bars and there is also a casino.

Pacific Pearl
by Doug Beckers Flickr Creative Commons

Have a look here for great deals on the Retreat to Isle of Pines cruise in August 2013!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Japan Explorer: 8 nights in August 2013

This Royal Caribbean cruise in August is a roundtrip from Shanghai in China, and visits 4 exotic ports over a leisurely 8 nights, so you can get in a nice mix of relaxing by the pool and exploring the delights of Japan!

Shanghai is a huge and bustling Chinese city, and could easily occupy you for a few days before or after your cruise. Once embarked and under way, the first stop is Jeju Island in South Korea, an idyllic isle reminiscent of Hawaii and a favouite for Korean honeymooners.

In Japan, the three ports of call are Nagoya, Tokyo and Beppu. The first two are amongst the country's largest cities. In Nagoya, don't miss the castle with two golden orcas on the roof, and in Tokyo you will find some impressive architecture and a buzzing city of lights, people, sounds and smells.

The final port of call is Beppu, where visitors enjoy the natural hot springs and the views of surrounding mountains. Take a soak before the ship returns to Shanghai over one sea day.

Hot Springs in Beppu
by Fredrik Rubensson Flickr Creative Commons

Operator: Royal Caribbean
Vessel: Mariner of the Seas
Ports of Call: Shanghai, Jeju Island, Nagoya, Tokyo, Beppu
Sailing Dates: August 6th 2013- August 14th 2013

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 8 nights

Day 1: Shanghai, departing Tues 6 Aug 16:00
Day 2: Jeju Island, Wed 7 Aug 13:00- 20:00
Day 3: At sea
Day 4: Nagoya, Fri 9 Aug
Day 5: Tokyo, Sat 10 Aug 11:00- 22:00
Day 6: At sea
Day 7: Beppu, Mon 12 Aug 7:30- 16:30
Day 8: At sea
Day 9: Shanghai, arriving Wed 14 Aug 05:00

About the Mariner of the Seas

The Mariner of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean's Voyager-class ships, and has received the Royal Advantage upgrade in 2012 to bring her in line with the best of the RCL ships. Additions to the ship include ship-wide wifi, flat-screen TVs in all cabins, extra restaurants, big screens by the pool and the digital 'Wayfinder' system which allows passengers to access maps, menus and timetables all over the ship. The ship has all the Royal Caribbean classics including a rock-climbing wall, ice rink and Royal Promenade, as well as rollerblading, mini-golf and many organised classes, quizzes, competitions and other activities during the day. Dining-wise, there is the three-deck main restaurant, Windjammer buffet, Boardwalk Dog House for hot dogs on the go, the Jade asian-influenced buffet, and many specialty restaurants with cover charges. These include Chops Grille, Giovanni's Table and Johnny Rocket's.

Mariner of the Seas' Promenade
by Rennett Stowe Flickr Creative Commons

Have a look here for great deals on the Japan Explorer cruise in August 2013!