WE have just left the dock in Sydney Harbour and as we leave the bridge and iconic Opera House behind, we begin a cruise that will take 24 days to reach our final destination.
This type of cruise is called a relocation cruise, which is when a ship finishes its summer cruising in one continent and then sails for the summer season in another.
Because you can spend a week or more at sea and not everyone wants to do that, usually the cost is considerably cheaper and sometimes up to half price.
So, if you love cruising and don’t mind lots of sea days then this is the way to go. As we clear the Sydney Heads a big sea awaits us, six metre waves, it could be a very rocky ride but our ship Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas takes it in her stride.
Yes, we find it difficult to walk a straight line as we move about, but I think the sheer size and length of this ship takes the worst out of the experience.
We have two days at sea before we arrive at the first of our ports in the South Pacific. There seems to be lots to do each day with a full program of activities or you can just laze around the pool, read a book or eat. Yes, eating seems to be one of the main attractions on a cruise ship, and Explorer of the Seas’ is no exception. There are a host of dining options to cater for the 3,400 passengers on board.
Our first port of call is Noumea, known as ‘Little France.’ Noumea is the capital of French New Caledonia. It has the largest lagoon in the world and the second largest coral reef, with great restaurants, incredible cuisine and French wine. It has a lot to offer and if you are into shopping, well it’s all here.
Noumea offers great water sports from wind-surfing to sailing. Its crystal clear waters beckon the visitors to come in and enjoy a wide range of activities,
The strong Melanesian influence is evident both in the cuisine and architecture.
After a full day of activities, it’s back to our cruise-ship and we sail overnight to our next destination.
They call it Mystery Island. It’s part of the Vanuatu Archipelago that forms about 80 islands with about one third uninhabited.
And so Mystery Island remained in the uninhabited group but it always seemed so inviting with its swaying palm trees, white sandy beaches, calm blue waters and reef. It just offered so much so it wasn’t long before cruise ships came here and would anchor off and use their tenders for passengers to experience the solitude. Soon nearby islanders saw the possibility, so now each time a cruise ship arrives, so do the islanders that ply their trade of selling you handcrafted wear or maybe a tour of the lagoon and reef.
But I must admit, it’s a much laid back sell from the stallholders and a very pleasant experience to swim and snorkel its lagoon.
Now back on board, it’s time to pull anchor and head for the capital, Vila.
Until next time,