When the Inner West Mums Facebook group told me they’d raised enough money to send me and Noah on a “short break” I had no idea it’d be as extravagant as a 10-day Pacific Islands cruise.
The closest I’d gotten to joining a cruise was when I was approached by another cruise line a couple of years prior about doing a TV commercial for them. Their ship was due to set sail in 3 days, so I had to decline – not enough notice. I have to admit though, I’d since kicked myself a couple of times for turning them down. (ps. Any cruise companies out there still interested in securing my services, I’m all ears, 😉 )
I’ve compiled a 2.5-minute highlights video for those behind the campaign, so they can get a glimpse of how much we enjoyed ourselves.
I’m also hopeful it’ll give you an idea of what a Carnival Cruise is like, if like me, you’re a total cruise noob.
Here are some other details about our trip –
- Isle of Pines
There was a change in the itinerary due to bad weather conditions (we were originally meant to go to Mystery Island, not Isle of Pines).
We were at sea for 4 days before making landfall.
Some (hopefully) useful info –
- On boarding day, you’ll be going through Customs and Immigration so you’ll need your passports, and you’ll have to fill out the outgoing passenger cards like what you get at the airport, and go through security.
- On arrival, you get cabin access cards that contain your ID and billing info, so you will be using the card not just to get into your room but also for all onboard purchases and when you get off the ship etc. You won’t need to carry any cash with you while on the ship.
- There’s a safety drill and briefing before the ship sails. This takes probably an hour or so, where you have to congregate at designated areas depending on the code on your access card.
- You get a newsletter delivered to your room daily, containing all the following day’s activities and any important announcements.
- You have 2 options re: mealtimes – you can have them at the buffet upstairs, or at the a la carte restaurant, Truffles, downstairs. Truffles’ menu consists of a mix of daily specials and permanent selections. NB Truffles’ breakfast/lunch hours vary from day to day, so make sure you check your newsletter to find out.
- As a solo traveller with an active toddler, I found it much easier to eat at Truffles than to navigate the buffet queues while trying to manage trays of food and Noah at the same time.
- For special occasions you can pay an optional $45 pp for a deluxe dinner at Nouveaux Restaurant on the top floor – with dishes like lobster and steak. It’s so good I went 4 times over the 10 day period.
- Internet access is bought on a 24-hour or full cruise basis ie. you can’t just pay for an hour’s access etc. even at the onboard internet cafe. The packages vary from “social media only” to “email and websites” to “video/Skype”. Only one device can be connected at a time. FYI you won’t be able to watch videos (eg. ones embedded in websites, or linked in social media posts) unless you have the premium package.
- Service on board the ship is exceptional, especially the staff at Truffles.
- “Tenders” refer to the boats they use to transfer you between the ship and the islands.
- Pack some elegant clothes; even on casual nights, I noticed most people liked to dress up for mealtimes. No flip-flops allowed in the restaurants.
- Back at Sydney Terminal at the end of your cruise, there’s no luggage trolleys to load your bags onto, after you’ve collected them. Weird, huh? I had to get a staff member to help with ours, since, apart from 2 sets of luggage I also had to push Noah in his stroller.
There you have it, hit me up if you have any questions, and once again, I want to thank the Inner West Mums FB group and Carnival Cruises for sending Noah and me on this fantastic adventure. 🙂