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Date: 27th December 2022


Set my alarm for 5,30am to watch as we entered Sydney Harbour and make our way to the White Bay Terminal.

Pacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney HarbourPacific Adventure Sydney Harbour

After we docked I went for my breakfast, no exercise walk this morning.


There was plenty of time after breakfast to collect my bag from the cabin before 7.30am and make my way to Deck 7 to wait for my disembarkation time. Many comfortable chairs available as people left so I just read or watched the goings on around me as I waited. The time passed relatively quickly and soon there was a call for the “Orange 4” group to make their way to the gangway.

Thank goodness getting off the ship was not the hassle that getting on had been – had to find my luggage then queue to get through immigration, this was not well organised but at least the line moved steadily. P&O definitely need to improve their embarkation and disembarkation procedures.


Once outside found my way to the queue for the bus to Central Station, there was only a short wait, I was lucky to get on a bus pretty quickly and was soon going into Central Sydney. The only downside was that my train was on Platform 25 down in the bowels of the earth, many lifts and levels down

I caught the 10.30am train to Wollongong, unfortunately, being a public holiday, it stopped at every northern suburbs station but can’t complain about that too much, it just took about 20 minutes longer than normal to reach home.


As on my one and only previous cruse I enjoyed it more than I thought I would but again I would be surprised if I ever went on another cruise. Yet here we are! My previous cruise was with Carnival who also own P&O but it was like a different company.

Embarkation was absolute hell, it was horrible, a complete farce that was totally disorganised and ridiculous, I hope they improve on that – they certainly would have trouble doing any worse.

The one real disappointment on this cruise was the entertainment, it was at best very ordinary, I am talking about the theatre productions, the bar bands were much the same as before, pub bands of varying abilities but good enough. The Christmas Eve and Boxing Day shows were a big improvement but frankly they were the only good shows on the whole cruise, it should have been so much better.

The rest of the “free” shows, as I say, were very ordinary, less than an hour of one performer on stage, sometimes with a recorded backing track, if you wanted a “variety show” it was an extra fee which I thought was a bit over the top and a very poor way to go. I noticed other events that required an extra fee though they were (I think) mainly aimed at the younger passengers but I think it is a bad sign that these cruise lines are going to indulge in drip pricing, where there are a number of add on fees to the original cost of the cruise.

A minor irritation (because this annoys me on land too) – the only “ordinary” beer they stocked was VB in 375ml cans  for $9 each, all the other beer was in 330ml stubbies and cost at least $9.50. I think the Adventure Hotel was the only bar with draught beer (that might be incorrect). Personally I don’t like drinking from cans but they were always willing to give me a (sometimes) chilled glass to pour it into however I really object to 330ml bottles they are an absolute rip off.

Will I ever go on a cruise again? Who knows?

Vanuatu and New Calidonia

Embarkation Day

Date: 17th December 2022

Why? You may well ask…

A few years ago I went on a cruise, it was not something I had ever thought about doing or was particularly interested in doing but this was a family affair, a celebration of my daughter, her husband and friend’s 30th birthdays. In the event it turned out to be better than I expected but perhaps not good enough for me to want to go again.

A combination of circumstance  this year made it look like I would spend Christmas alone, which, after the great debacle of 1971 when, for job related reasons, I spent Christmas Day alone eating a chicken the size of a sparrow and listening to John Lennon’s “So this is Christmas”, was not an event I cared to repeat.

A couple of months ago I started looking for Christmas holiday packages but was quite surprised to discover that they barely exist. I came across a P&O 10 day cruise that left before Christmas and returned after Boxing Day but when I tried to book there were no vacancies so I thought that was that. However a week or so later I received an email from P&O telling me of special cruise offers and to cut a long story short I paid for a balcony cabin with an obstructed view on this Christmas cruise.

I was only advised about a week before sailing of my cabin number together with a note to say that I had been “upgraded”. So here I was on yet another cruise set to sail with only a few weeks notice on Pacific Adventure. I was off to the south Pacific – visiting New Caledonia and Vanuatu on a very large ship indeed!

P&O Pacific Adventure

Getting There

No rush, don’t need to catch the train until after 9.30 so I watered my pot plants in the hope that they will survive until my return.

The train was late arriving at Central but still that is no worry the bus to White Bay didn’t leave until 1pm, there was over an hour to kill so sat down on one of the seats in the Grand Concourse and prepared to wait. Had only been there for five minutes when some fellas in Hi Vis and P&O shirts wandered by asking for people waiting for the shuttle bus. They said there were people waiting at stand 1 just outside the station so I wandered out. In fact there was one couple! But here was as good a place as any to wait.

The bus arrived after about 20 minutes and they loaded my case while I sat on the bus. At least it was comfortable because this turned out to be a long wait of nearly an hour and it was not until after 1.15pm that the bus finally left for the White Bay Terminal.

It got much worse…

On arrival at wharf terminal I dropped my bag at the baggage drop off point and joined the long queue outside the terminal building, this queue was slow but worse was to come.

When I finally arrived inside the building I was asked if I had completed the Verifly app. I had not, in fact I deleted it off my phone because it wouldn’t recognise my vaccination certificate so was useless. Because of this I was directed to a separate queue, this queue moved at a glacial pace and it took over an hour to get to the front, several times I thought of just going home because I was fed up with all this standing which was killing my back and walking was getting painful.

When I did eventually get to the front of the queue I was directed to a lovely lady (no complaints about any of the staff I encountered) who took pity on me, after examining my proof of Covid vaccination and RAT cassette she wrote a big P on my boarding pass. From this moment on I experienced no hold ups at all, every queue was bypassed and within half an hour I was on the ship. (A big Thank You to her)

They really need to do something about this initial queuing it was awful. No seats, no social distancing, just dreadful.

On Board

Once on board it was a matter of finding my cabin and waiting for my bag to arrive – finding a lift was the next challenge, I think the reception was on Deck 7 so I had to get to deck 11, the lifts were in great demand but eventually I did get to my deck and found my cabin. My pass key was waiting in the letter holder outside the door together with my meal times and the ship’s news paper.

My BalconyMy Cabin

I certainly had an unobstructed view of the ANZAC Bridge and the old White Bay Power Station from my balcony.

Pacific Adventure White BayPacific Adventure White Bay

The cabin was nice enough, the shower was tiny but quite useable so I watched the safety video when I was interrupted by a knock on the door it was my room steward telling me that I had to report to my Muster Station as soon as possible and that food was available at the rear of the ship.

Muster Station

The cabin had a double Australian power point as well as a couple of, what I presumed were US power sockets, so I wouldn’t need the double adapter I had packed just in case.

A hiccup

My bag didn’t arrive, eventually I found a note in the mail holder telling me it had been deemed suspicious and I needed to collect it from the library on deck 7 . After attending my Muster Station (waste of time that was) I went to pick up my bag, the girl asked if I had any alcohol or liquids in it (I hadn’t) and asked if I would open it which I did. She then said all was well and I was allowed to take it back to my cabin. Again a bit of a waste of time but so it goes.


By the time I got my bag back to my cabin the ship was moving and before I knew it we were travelling under the harbour bridge.

Pacific Adventure Leaving Sydney Pacific Adventure Leaving Sydney Pacific Adventure Leaving Sydney Pacific Adventure Leaving Sydney Pacific Adventure Leaving Sydney Pacific Adventure Leaving Sydney Pacific Adventure Leaving Sydney

As you can see it was a grey, miserable day and while it didn’t actually rain it always looked like it would.

The Evening

According to the timetable they provided my evening meal was in the Dragon Lady Restaurant. My meals are scheduled at a different restaurant each evening with different cuisine. Dragon Lady is Chinese, Angelo’s Italian and Waterfront is apparently modern Australian. I can change the venues but I will try each first. According to my schedule on Christmas Day I will eat at Angelo’s.

Dragon Lady was a bugger to find, it is on deck 6 at the rear of the boat BUT you cannot reach it directly because the theatre is in the way so you have to go to deck 7 to get past the theatre then down to the restaurant. I had to ask several times to be able to find it.

Pacific Adventure Dragon Lady Restaurant

It was a three course meal and pleasant enough, no complaints there, I had trouble hearing the girl waitress because she was wearing a mask and I am getting deafer but she was very attentive and the courses arrived regularly without any delay.

After the meal I had a look around the bars etc but I was pretty tired after today’s proceedings so I went to bed about 9.30pm.

Wollongong to Port Macquarie

30th & 31st October 2022

Distance: 502 km
Fuel: 42 L

This is just a short trip to revisit the Jacaranda Festival in Grafton and to get out of the house.

Not an exciting start to the journey, have to go through Sydney which is hell at any time. Normally I would avoid the coast road and go inland through Tamworth BUT the floods have made that difficult so for the first time for decades  am heading up Highway 1.

The other change also brought about by the flooding I am not taking the camper because mud is no fun so am staying in motels, am already regretting this decision. However it is only for a week so not the end of the world.

Wallsend (Newcastle)

Stayed at the Ibis Budget Motel, very similar to the Tune Hotels in Asia, small rooms – 300mm between the end of the bed and the wall – but perfectly adequate and clean with pleasant staff. Newcastle is so close to the resorts of the central coast, motels generally want an arm and a leg for you to stay but there must be less demand to stay in Wallsend because it was a reasonable price.

Ibis Budget Motel, Wallsend

It is a few minutes pleasant walk though a park to Wallsend Shopping centre with everything you need.

Wallsend Park

Port Macquarie

A very uninteresting drive with one stop on the way where we had a sandwich watched by curious birds.

Random Bird watching us eat

Port Macquarie is a town I last stayed in over 30 years ago, the motel was one near the highway rather than in Port Macquarie itself, it was very quiet and clean but a long way from anything.

Major Innes Motel Port MacquarieMajor Innes Motel Port Macquarie

Drove into town to get some fuel in the late afternoon.