P&O Cruises: Pacific Dawn Ship Review

As you will be well aware of by now (if you’ve read my three part blogging series), I recently went on a week-long adventure to the islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia. We visited the capital of New Caledonia, Noumea before we travelled onward to both Lifou and Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila.

This was not only my first ever overseas adventure, but it was also my first ever cruising experience! Although I was absolutely terrified of heading out into the middle of the ocean, I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to travel with P&O Cruises in order to help my best friend celebrate her 21st birthday!

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P&O Cruises Australia: Pacific Dawn Ship Review

Although, as I previously mentioned, I was terrified of cruising off into the middle of the ocean, I was also excited beyond belief. I had absolutely no idea what this adventure had in store for me! I’d been watching ‘Cruise Ship Diaries’ pretty much everyday before my cruise and I’d encouraged my Grandparents and other family members to share their Cruise stories with me just so I could have the slightest idea of what to expect.

The only thing I knew before I hopped onboard the Pacific Dawn that Saturday morning was that I was going to have a brilliant time, filled with the creation of so many fun memories. At least, that’s what my family had told me of their cruising adventures.

Not only were they right, but I was beyond surprised at how smooth, pleasant and easy the entire process, from beginning to end and everything in between, went down!

Food on Board

There is absolutely no shortage of food on board and the entire time I was so baffled at how they kept their food so fresh for seven days! Especially the fruit-when I travel I tend to avoid fruit because I say “well I’m on holiday, so who cares” but this time, I was reaching for the fruit because it tasted so damn nice!

There were plenty of restaurants and places to eat but we spent most of our time in the buffet and main restaurant where the prices were included in our cruise cost. Alas, we could have been more adventurous in our picks but these two places did not disappoint with dinner leaving us full after every 3-course meal that we devoured and breakfast and lunch leaving us satisfied and ready to take on a day of exploring or sun baking.

Not to mention, I am both vegetarian and have a nut allergy and the restaurant was more than happy to create specialised meals for me every evening-all being both delicious and exotic.

Service on Board

The service was actually one of my favourite things on board because everyone is genuinely so kind and they all actually give a damn about the adventure you’re having! There was not a single time where I passed one of the workers on board and they didn’t either say hello or ask me how my day was going or actually stopped and had a short chat with my friend and I.

In fact, there were several of the workers with whom we became friends with, spending many times throughout our trip getting to know them and letting them get to know us.

Honestly, the service was immaculate and I felt as if each person, whether or not they did, genuinely enjoyed their job and genuinely enjoyed speaking to each member they passed.

It was an incredibly personal feeling that was felt, despite there being thousands of people on board-what a remarkable way to feel!

Rooms on Board

We had the Ocean View room where essentially, we had a window from which we had the privilege of knowing when we were close to land and when we were not, without ever leaving the comfort of our own room. With our own bathroom and wardrobe and 24 hour room service, the rooms were the perfect size for two best friends embarking on a wild adventure together.

Not to mention our beds were incredibly soft. Like, so comfortably soft.

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Special touches:

entertainment, adventure, and any other perks

Entertainment: 

Shows basically every night. Bingo nights. Live music. Comedy shows for adults only. A club that closed in the early hours of the morning. Theme nights. Art shows. Cooking shows. Movies screening every evening.

One could never be bored with the entertainment that was on board the Pacific Dawn and alas, one never was! I experienced almost every one of these and none of them left me feeling disappointed.

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Adventure:

Not something I took part in purely because of the extra cost, and I’m a lady both on a budget and with a heart condition, but the adventure on board was also endless. A rock climbing wall, giant trampoline and a giant flying fox all part of the adventure that anyone, children and adults alike, could experience.

 

Other perks? 

The packages!

There was an alcoholic beverage package that could be purchased and a soft drink package- we purchased the latter which had us saving much needed $$ on non-alcoholic drinks all week!

There was also a photo package which my friend and I went halves in, spending around $80 each to receive every single professional photo that was taken of us onboard.

My favourite thing however was the little towel animals that we received on our beds or beside our window every second or third morning! 

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Overall, I just really, really, enjoyed the entire experience with P&O! They made everything so easy and smooth and never was there a moment where I was totally freaking out. Even on the rougher days at sea, they ensured that we were aware of the weather ahead. Honestly, another cruise with P&O could not come quick enough!

 

Massive thank you to P&O Cruises for imprinting on me both a love for travel and cruises, especially since this was my first time both overseas and on a cruise! My opinions are, as always, my own. 

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Twelve ’12 word’ stories

~i miss you more than i should, my heart breaks more everyday~

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~as we stepped off that ship, i should have kissed your lips~

~i’m sorry that i’m not what you needed, nor what you wanted~

~if only you missed me, as much as i am missing you~

~i hate that you aren’t here, beside me, holding me, kissing me~

~i wish my nights weren’t spent thinking about you, dreaming about you~

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~i knew we had loved before, throughout many lifetimes before this one~

~i’d only eyes for you and never noticed the world crumbling down~

~i loved you for a moment; i would have for a lifetime~

~to fill the void you left, i almost drank myself to death~

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~i wish my nights were spent with you by my side instead~

~it was as if you spoke a language only we could understand~

 

 

 

please note the photographs are not mine-i do not know who created each one though so am unable to give credit. if you know the artists/photographers, let me know please x

a letter to myself when i miss them

this is the last time i’ll ever put pen to paper

to express how much i miss the people who forced me to apologise,

despite me being the one who was drowning

in my own blood.

but even though i was left to stitch up the wounds

that they had created,

i still find myself spending nights laying in a puddle of my own tears

because i convince myself that i miss them.

if you miss the way his laughter seemed to fill every black hole

that was threatening to swallow you;

or you miss the fact that she drove 8 hours straight

just to teach you a language only the two of you will understand.

if you just miss the way his lips felt

on the back of your hands, more than you miss him sitting on the end of your bed,

then you don’t miss him at all.

you miss the memories of him; you miss the memories of her.

and let me tell you why memories are inaccurate fibres of our minds.

because he left you

because she left you

because collectively they forced you to pull the knives from your back

that had their initials carved in the handles.

collectively they gave you the world

but left and took the galaxy that you had to offer, with them.

because they let you lay screaming,

in the middle of the road as acid rain fell,

burning holes the size of the love that you hold in your entire being.

and somehow that was still less painful than when they let you go

without ever giving you a reason,

or without ever saying goodbye.

just silence.

remember that there was a stage in your life where you were convinced

that tearing open your chest

and pulling out your own heart would hurt less than the pain that they caused you.

memories lead to nostalgia and nostalgia leaves you believing that the past

was better than it was.

nostalgia is a dirty liar; but the wounds that you are still licking are the result of a toxicity

that almost consumed you; swallowed you whole.

so next time you miss them,

come back to me and i’ll read this to you again and again and again.

What I pack in my carry-on

I travel domestically quite often, especially over the past three years where it has quite simply become a way of life-booking flights, early morning starts, late night flights, airports and of course, packing the most important items so as to not get bored even on those 2-hour flights.

So, what do I pack in my carry-on luggage?

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*Not my photo*-Image Source: Pavlyn

My airline tickets

This is a given. This is self-explanatory. This isn’t always a must because you can simply print them out when you get to the airport these days-but I still pack them, just in case.

A novel

In case I get bored or just feel like distracting myself from turbulence or the possibility of crying babies. Seriously, novels work wonders for distractions, especially if you get a bit nervous on flights-however, make sure you’re well invested in the book or else it’s harder to use it as a distraction from what’s going on around you.

A pen and a crossword/puzzle book of some kind

Not long ago it became a habit for mum and I, when flying together, to purchase a crossword or find-a-word book at the airport newsagent so as we could see how many puzzles we could complete before the plane landed at our destination. Another rad distraction if you get a bit nervous on flights!

My phone and earphones

Obviously. I always make sure I download some podcasts before boarding just for something to listen too (I get real bored of the same music, real quick). My fave podcasts are those by Ingrid Nilsen and Cat Valdez’s ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ series!

My purse

Again, for obvious reasons. I always make sure I have my license, a credit card and some cash too, in case of an emergency’s.

A jumper

I always get super cold on flights, so a jumper (or a scarf!) is always handy to have in your carry-on.

Rescue Remedy

Sometimes I tend to not pack this, but I like to have it with me, just in case I get a bit of anxiety on those more rough or turbulent flights. I can be quite a nervous flier (I’ll speak about this in an upcoming post!) so it’s always calming to have some rescue remedy spray close to me.

Camera

I always, always, always pack my camera in carry-on. It makes the bag a little heavier, but It’s worth it because a) you don’t want it to get damaged in your underneath luggage and b) if you’re travelling to a new destination, you might want to take pictures as soon as you land!

Medications

Seriously, do I even need to explain this? Probably not, so I’ll just say that I pack these in my hand luggage just in case my underneath luggage goes missing for hours or a day..

 

Some other things that you might want to include are: Sunglasses, a hat, socks (feet get cold too!), moisturiser, a neck pillow and an eye mask!

 

Going overseas? Don’t forget your passport and other important letters (medical or otherwise) that you’re going to need before you board or when you land!

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These are about the only things I pack in my carry-on! Simple, not too much stuff that isn’t going to get used or that’s going to get in the way, and it’ll all keep me busy until my flight lands!

 

What are some things you pack in your carry-on? Let me know in the comments below!

Semester 3 in Review- SW SP2

Enter that sigh of relief that comes after a massive 13 week semester… I am currently sitting in the air conditioning, reading about some conspiracy theories, getting ready to read a novel about Robert Plant and do some journalling. Even though I only studied 3 subjects this semester, I was also a Student Mentor and had a lot of personal travel going on, which left me having many panic attacks and my stress levels soaring for most of the past 13 weeks.

It was exhausting, but oh my it was wonderful as well and, as this has become somewhat of a tradition, I am so excited to reflect on the semester that was.

 

Favorite subject this semester:

Group Work, without an ounce of doubt. It’s funny how my favourite subject this semester was taught by the same lecturer that my favourite subject last semester, was taught by. So even though I obviously love the lecturer, I just fell in love with a new way of doing Social Work, with the idea that we as workers, don’t always have to work alone and that together, we can create something incredible that can assist in improving the lives of the people we are working with. I had the opportunity to also delve into a type of work (working with groups) that challenged me because I am both shy and introverted and so it was kind of cool to get to challenge those aspects of my personality.

 

I am most in my element when I: 

I am meditating. I meditate in so many different ways through guided meditation, journalling, taking time out to be in water or by stretching and I tried to do a lot of that this semester. I think it just helps to take that time to be present in the moment and not worry about everything else that is happening-it allows me to just step away from studying for a moment to think about myself and my mind.

 

Most scared moment:

Probably when I failed an online exam for my Policy Analysis class. I am a perfectionist and so I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed, so to then have failed an exam was terrifying and upsetting. Little did I know that this ‘failure’ was a stepping stone to much larger successes, as ‘failures’ usually are…

 

Favorite study spot:

I still maintain that it’s my University’s library. I love sitting in such a large building, a table to myself and being surrounded by students who, despite all studying such different things, are filled with the same anxieties as you, is the most comforting experience. I feel so odd saying that, and you probably think I am crazy, but I find comfort in knowing I am most certainly not alone in procrastination and stress.

 

Proudest moment:

Being asked to be co-lead the student mentor team next year.

 

Most humbling moment:

Getting asked to make a speech at my best friend’s 21st birthday party. I can’t even say any more about this, it was just a moment where I felt so humbled that someone, who I adore immensely, would ask me to take part in such a great honour.

 

I feel most empowered when:

I am speaking in front of a crowd. It’s crazy because all through high school I wasn’t exactly a fan of public speaking and then lately, I’ve just fallen in love with it! I still get incredibly nervous beforehand, but once I’m up in front of the crowd, I just fall into this relaxed version of myself that becomes incredibly confident and empowered-two feelings I never thought I’d feel when taking part in public speaking.

 

Most inspirational moment: 

When in Port Vila, we had a taxi driver that explained to us the perils that the people of Vanuatu faced when hit by a massive cyclone not too long ago. He described to us how everyone lost everything, yet the next morning, when the worst was over, everyone headed outside, smiling and laughing. It was such a reminder that I sit here, with so much, and yet I complain about so much, yet people who have so little, just love the little that they have. That was an incredible and awe-inspiring moment.

 

Career plans?

This has changed every semester, I swear! I have really become fascinated with the possibility of doing something in relation to public speaking. I’d love to be able to spend my days speaking to crowds, interacting with communities and individuals and somehow making a difference through my words.

 

Future plans? 

At the moment, it’s to read a lot (not related to anything scholarly), exercise more and fall into a deep relaxation period for two weeks before I jump into a semester of study over the Christmas period.

 

Last semester’s challenge: 

Begin reading through the emails I receive from the Australian Policy Online (APO) website, and to take more photos.

 

Did I do it? 

Unfortunately, not really. I think I read maybe one or two emails from the APO site and just deleted the rest when they came through. Slightly disappointed in myself but I did read more of the policies than I did last semester, so I guess that’s progress!

Did I take more photos? I don’t really know if I took more photos than what I’ve taken in the past but I do know that I did spend a lot of time behind the camera lens.

 

Challenge for next semester? 

My next semester starts in two weeks time and I’m only taking one subject because it’s Christmas time! The subject is Women’s Studies though and I think I’d really love to further my knowledge on Feminism and the importance of women and women’s rights and therefore am going to challenge myself to find at least one extra article, youtube video or discussion (anything really!) surrounding the topic, just to deepen my knowledge on the topic!

 

Advice to future self:

It’s okay to constantly be exploring; to have itchy feet and a heart full of wanderlust.

It’s okay to constantly be confused; to not truly know what or who you want to believe in yet.

It’s okay to not really know where you want to go from here; to not know what career path you want to follow.

But so long as you’re always ready to learn, to travel, to educate yourself and to further your knowledge on any and every topic in this universe, then you’re doing okay.

 

Also, never forget about you, about taking time out for yourself, to re-energise your heart, your mind and your soul.

 


 

Once again, this post has been inspired immensely by my friend, who I miss intensely as she continues to work toward becoming an incredible Doctor on the other side of the world, Sami.

 

Post-Overseas Adventure-What to do?

 

It has now been over a week since I arrived home from my first ever overseas adventure and let me tell you, I am both exhausted from the experience and itching to get travelling again!

The fact that I’ve been home for over a week now, also means that this is the last blog post in my Overseas adventure series. However, you can check out my first two posts here and here to tick off the things on a ‘Before You Go overseas’ Checklist and what you should be doing just one week before you go on your trip!

So, you’re home and you’re tired but also feeling restless since your overseas adventure, what do you do? Honestly-not a whole lot (and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing), but there are still some essentials that you should be doing, or at least think about doing, when you arrive home.

 

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Un-Pack!

This is probably the most boring and thus, everyone’s least favourite thing to do when they get home, but seriously you are way better off unpacking within the first 24 hours that you get home so you don’t have to be thinking about it or tripping over that still-packed suitcase in a week’s time.

 

Relax!

This so self-explanatory. You’ve just been spending however many days or weeks being busy, most likely, everyday so it’s time you just sat down, grabbed a good book or listened to some music and just put your feet up. Seriously, you deserve it.

 

Admire (and share) your photos!

This is one of my favourite things to do post-holiday! It just reminds me of all the fun I had while I was away and when I share the photos either with people in person, or on social media, I get to tell everyone else about all the fun I had! What a fun way to re-experience all your adventures!

 

Plan your next trip!

Okay so maybe not everyone wants to plan their next trip straight away, but if you are anything like me, going on such a massive adventure not only exhausts me, but also inspires me for more adventures in some more beautiful places around the world! So, in true wanderlust fashion, just days after arriving home from our cruise, my best friend (with whom I adventured with) and I already began planning our next cruise-Canada and Alaska 2017, you can bet your bottom dollar I am manifesting the heck out of that trip!

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Alas, as I mentioned, this is unfortunately the last of the three blog posts I promised for my first ever overseas adventure and although I am terribly saddened over this, I also have some more incredible posts to share with you all about New caledonia and Vanuatu, about travelling and what to pack and of course, some reviews on P&O Cruises, so be sure to keep an eye open for those posts in the near future!

 

What do you do when you get back from a holiday? Let me know in the comments below!

One Week Before You go Overseas-What to do?

It’s officially 5 days until I embark on my first ever overseas adventure (at the time of writing this, approximately 3 days at the time of publication) and there is still so much to do! In fact, these next 5 days are going to be some of my most important days as I take on those last minute, and sometimes niggling tasks, that I have to finish before I hop on that cruise ship this weekend.

 

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Complete all essays

I’m not joking when I say this. Seriously, even if you have an essay due days after you arrive home from your trip, do not risk it! Look at it this way, would you rather go away and have a great time and then come home and complete an essay? Or would you rather go away and have an incredible time and come home and catch up with your friends and family and tell them all about your adventures, with no deadlines for essays haunting you. Mm, that’s what I thought…

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Remind your family/friends/work colleagues/uni that you won’t be available for the next *insert number here* days or weeks

This one is super important especially if your family, friends, colleagues etc. won’t be able to contact you while you are travelling for any reason whether that be because you will be on a cruise ship, or because you’ll be on an aeroplane with no wi-fi or mobile service. It’s also super important if you are at Uni and your tutorial or lecture attendance counts as part of your grade- you don’t want to be marked down simply because you forgot to remind your lecturer that you’ll be sipping martini’s on the coast of New Caledonia! So, just a simple little email sent out to all of the above people reminding them that you’ll be travelling, is super considerate! If you are contactable during your adventures, be sure to say that too and give them an email, mobile number or hotel through which they can contact you (except, maybe don’t mention this to work, you don’t want to be wandering around Central Park and receiving ten emails a day from your work colleagues saying how annoying the boss is or how they know you’re away but if you could sign these few documents for them, it would be super handy….)

Pack

One of the most important steps, for so many reasons and hopefully I do not have to spell those reason out for you…During this step it is important to consider a few of the following:

  • The essentials- this includes money, chargers, camera, medication, any doctors letters you need, underwear and of course, your passport. Anything else, you can purchase while you’re away. Although if I’m being honest, you don’t really want to be spending your money on new pyjamas to wear on the ship when you could have easily packed your own, so maybe just try and pack as many things as you can remember (stay tuned for a future blog post letting you know what I pack when I travel!)
  • Pack suitable clothing- seriously, if you’re headed on a snow ski adventure to the Swiss Alps, don’t pack singlets and board shorts!? Unless of course you’re some total freak who can just handle that cold weather then by all means, pack whatever you want.
  • Keep note of your luggage weight requirements-sure on the cruise ship your luggage has no weight requirements at all, but if you have to fly to the destination from where you are boarding the ship, then remember most airlines only allow 20 kgs for luggage (or more if you want to pay a little extra).
  • Print out your health insurance-Not sure if this is a necessity but I know it’s just so much better to have your health insurance documents with you than not…
  • Passport- I know I mentioned this but it’s actually something I am terrified of forgetting and so I am mentioning it again. Seriously, travelling overseas? Do not forget your passport!

 

Ensure everything is ready.

This step essentially just means that maybe you should send an email or phone up your hotel and ensure that everything has been completed for your booking; make a phone call to the cruise ship company and make sure all your bookings have gone through; double check what time you have to be at the airport to board your flight. Those kind of little, niggling tasks that we really don’t want to do, but we know we should, should be completed at least a week before (if not more) your trip!

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Get ready to relax!

My favourite step! Although I am yet to get into full-time holiday mode (mainly because I have three more essays to submit before I can), it is so important to leave all your worries behind! You are going on a holiday, you may fall in love, find new friends who last a lifetime and simply, have the greatest adventure of your life and you seriously do not want all this to be hindered by the fact that you’re still worrying about the fact you never lost those two extra kilos before you hopped on that plane… It’s so not worth it!

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Do you have any extra tips and tasks that should or need to be handled before embarking overseas? Let me know in the comments below!