I didn’t really know what to expect before my first cruise, I did have some preconceived ideas but one thing I have learned from my many years of travel is to have an open mind. And I’m glad I did. A lot of those preconceived notions were proven wrong. Here are 5 things I learned on my first cruise.
You don’t have to gain weight
Everyone warned me about gaining weight when I was about to go on a cruise. It seems to be people’s number one fear about cruising (my actual number one fear was sea sickness). We first boarded the boat around lunch time and headed up to the buffet on the top level. I can see why people gain weight on cruises. There were so many options, and it was easy to absolutely load up a plate with food even if you only took a tiny piece of everything.
On our second day at sea we discovered the mid level Waterfront restaurant. White table clothes, cloth napkins, attentive wait staff and an ever changing menu. Controlled portion sizes, inspired dishes, three course menus. And this restaurant didn’t even cost anything extra.
There was a third dining option on our cruise with Pacific Dawn. That was Luke Maligan’s restaurant Salt. This restaurant does not come included in your fare and there is an additional cost, but it is definitely worth it for a meal or two. A three course dinner will set you back $55. The portion sizes here are much larger than expected, so make sure you have a light lunch before hand!
Beware the sunburn
I like to think that I have strong skin and I never sun burn. I don’t know why I still think that after I have proven myself wrong over and over and over again. We cruised through the Pacific Ocean, from Brisbane to New Caledonia to Vanuatu. The sun here is strong. I should have known better.
There are several places on the boat where you can sunbathe, but my favourite spot was the Oasis at the back of deck 10. The Oasis is an adults only area, with relaxing music, sun beds, a bar, and spa pools where you can relax with your drink. As the boat moves through the ocean, the constant light breeze cools your body. Cools your body so much that you don’t realize just how intense the sun is.
I learned that the hard way after getting the most unattractive sun burn of my life. It was so weird and uneven. The inside of my belly button was burnt… but not the rest of my stomach. Yeah… talent.
It’s easy to stay active
When we are confined to a certain area for a week or two (and surrounded by lots of good food and drink) you would think that it would be easy to become a bit lethargic. Bit actually, I found that the opposite was the case (if you were so inclined). We cruised with the Pacific Dawn out of Brisbane, which comes complete with a gym free for use, and a running oval at the top of the boat. Funnily enough, this top area was also where a lot of the smokers went, so there were a large variety of people struggling to breath for all sorts of different reasons.
I’m not that into exercise. I’m sort of lazy. If your like me and don’t like gyms, but still want a have a little bit of an adventure, then the P&O Edge is for you. The Edge is the world’s largest adventure park at sea, and there are tons of adrenaline pumping activities for all ages. Activities like tight rope walking, flying fox, segway obstacle courses, and rock climbing can be found at the Edge.
I’m not the most adventurous either (I prefer to avoid the possibility of pain at all costs), so I stuck to the more tame activities, like the bow ladder climb up the front of the boat, and the titanic moment on a custom built platform at the very front of the boat. Dan is a bit more adventurous, so he did the plank walk, where you walk across a narrow plank that overhangs the boat, and then lean over into the abyss.
It’s not just families and retired people
I sort of had this preconceived notion that cruises were just for families and retired people. That misconception was shattered when I came on board. There were groups of every sort of person imaginable, and there were plenty of people in their twenties and thirties to mingle with.
You will be surprisingly busy
I packed a massive 800 page book to keep me busy on the cruise, and contemplated packing a second book as well. In reality, I was kept surprisingly busy. Every day we were delivered a brochure outside our room detailing all the activities happening around the boat. There was absolutely everything, from whiskey and wine tasting to laser shows. I spent a lot of time at the cocktail and martini making workshops, because, of course I did. I was actually so busy I didn’t get in as much sun tanning (sun burning) time in as I was expecting to, and I didn’t even finish my book.