The Chefs Table: Fine Dining on Carnival Legend

I make no secret of my love of food, so I was super excited to have the opportunity to try a degustation dinner on our recent Carnival Legend cruise. The Chefs Table!
Most cruise lines will offer some variation on The Chefs Table.

I’d like to share our Chefs Table dinner with you. I don’t want to spoil the show by writing too much, but it’s quite impossible to describe the tastes and smells and textures of a great meal adequately on paper anyway!
Hopefully though, I will whet your appetite for a new experience at sea.

You don’t need to be any sort of serious foodie to enjoy The Chefs Table. Anyone with an adventurous palate and an interest in good food will enjoy the evening.

You can book your place at the Chefs Table even before you board your cruise (via your travel agent, or email Carnival direct). We did this as numbers are limited and we didn’t want to miss out!
Your night is allocated once you are on-board. Just wait for your invitation to be delivered to your stateroom.

Chefs Table Tips

  • Don’t eat too much on the day of your dinner! There is SO. MUCH. FOOD!You will want to start on an empty stomach to have any chance of fitting it all in!
  • Covered, flat shoes are recommended. Wear what you like but the suggestion is there for your own safety as the galley floor IS slippery. Forewarned is forearmed.

And So it Begins:

Our invitation instructed us to meet our host at 6pm.
Dress code was the same as that for the rest of the ship on that night (Cruise Casual for us).
An intimate evening is guaranteed with just a small gathering of diners (13 in our group).
We are introduced to the Sous Chef who is our guide for the evening. The Sous Chef is second in command of the team of chefs on the ship.
Chef is a welcoming host and is happy to answer any and all questions you can possibly throw at him.

The Galley Tour

It is a privilege to enter The Galley, to see exactly how this well-oiled machine passes out 1000’s of meals each seating. It is fascinating!
We get to spend some time in the Galley while the dinner service runs. The Sights, Sounds and Smells emanating from here are a theatre for the senses!
As Champagne was passed around the taste sensations began. Call them Amuse-Bouche, or Hors-D’oeuvre as you will, we enjoyed 4 tasty bite-sized morsels each. They all danced on the tongue and did what they should do, stimulated our palates for more!
Once our tastings were over, Chef provided a personal cooking demonstration for our eyes only. The highly prized Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake was whipped together in minutes. How easy he made it look, so much so that I will try it at home one day.

The Chefs Table

Table decorations of fresh vegetables and herbs set the scene for the Chefs Table. Our places are set with our names, and menus are tied together with a Star Anise flourish.
Our appetites have been piqued by the starters and anticipation is high. Everyone is excited to see what culinary magic comes next.
There is a nice relaxed atmosphere with our group of fellow diners. Conversation is easy, but there is enough space to feel comfortable just talking with your partner if you prefer.
Our host is attentive to all needs, with wine (a choice of red or white) and water (still or sparkling) consistently replenished throughout the evening.
The pace of the night, food courses interspersed with stories and descriptions of the food as well as a guest entertainer flows smoothly. We also get to meet the Executive Chef, head of all things food on-board. He is an interesting man, with many tales to tell. We are also invited to go up and watch the food being plated whenever we desire.
After dinner, tea and coffee is offered and we are presented with our souvenir photograph just after 9pm.

Food Glorious Food

We are spoiled with 8 Courses, including a bread board to start and the Dessert course to finish.
Presentation of every dish was stunning. The attention to detail was second to none, and sometimes the food looked too good to eat (but eat we did)!
As we were served, Chef would explain all the intricacies of the ingredients and their construction. Every dish featured numerous elements elegantly linked through their flavours, to create the final plate.
We got to taste well known ingredients (fish, beef, and tomato) in new and inventive ways. And we got to taste some things we would never have dreamed of creating (corn custard, garlic chips, bone marrow soufflé).

The Verdict:

All the courses were delicious, super satisfying and fun to eat.
Funnily enough for a dedicated carnivore, I actually have to rate the Tomato Bisque as my favourite course of the night.
A strange criticism to make, but we actually thought there was just too much! We both struggled with the final savoury course, and we really couldn’t enjoy the dessert plate as there was just no room left in the tank! Maybe we should have had less wine and water (haha).
I highly recommend the Chefs Table experience, and I intend to book again on our future cruises. I’m looking forward to comparing how various Cruise Lines run their Chefs Tables.

If you like food to be a bit of an adventure, give The Chefs Table a go on your next cruise.

The Chefs Table: Fine Dining on Carnival Legend

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I make no secret of my love of food, so I was super excited to have the opportunity to try a degustation dinner on our recent Carnival Legend cruise. The Chefs Table! Most cruise lines will offer some variation on The Chefs Table.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

I’d like to share our Chefs Table dinner with you. I don’t want to spoil the show by writing too much, but it’s quite impossible to describe the tastes and smells and textures of a great meal adequately on paper anyway! Hopefully though, I will whet your appetite for a new experience at sea.

You don’t need to be any sort of serious foodie to enjoy The Chefs Table. Anyone with an adventurous palate and an interest in good food will enjoy the evening.

You can book your place at the Chefs Table even before you board your cruise (via your travel agent, or email Carnival direct). We did this as numbers are limited and we didn’t want to miss out! Your night is allocated once you are on-board. Just wait for your invitation to be delivered to your stateroom.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Chefs Table Tips

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  • Don’t eat too much on the day of your dinner! There is SO. MUCH. FOOD!You will want to start on an empty stomach to have any chance of fitting it all in!
  • Covered, flat shoes are recommended. Wear what you like but the suggestion is there for your own safety as the galley floor IS slippery. Forewarned is forearmed.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

And So it Begins:

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Our invitation instructed us to meet our host at 6pm. Dress code was the same as that for the rest of the ship on that night (Cruise Casual for us). An intimate evening is guaranteed with just a small gathering of diners (13 in our group). We are introduced to the Sous Chef who is our guide for the evening. The Sous Chef is second in command of the team of chefs on the ship. Chef is a welcoming host and is happy to answer any and all questions you can possibly throw at him. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Galley Tour

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It is a privilege to enter The Galley, to see exactly how this well-oiled machine passes out 1000’s of meals each seating. It is fascinating! We get to spend some time in the Galley while the dinner service runs. The Sights, Sounds and Smells emanating from here are a theatre for the senses! As Champagne was passed around the taste sensations began. Call them Amuse-Bouche, or Hors-D’oeuvre as you will, we enjoyed 4 tasty bite-sized morsels each. They all danced on the tongue and did what they should do, stimulated our palates for more! Once our tastings were over, Chef provided a personal cooking demonstration for our eyes only. The highly prized Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake was whipped together in minutes. How easy he made it look, so much so that I will try it at home one day. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid element_width="3" grid_id="vc_gid:1525163364245-d9d4c2a2-012a-9" include="2652,2653,2654,2655"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Chefs Table

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Table decorations of fresh vegetables and herbs set the scene for the Chefs Table. Our places are set with our names, and menus are tied together with a Star Anise flourish. Our appetites have been piqued by the starters and anticipation is high. Everyone is excited to see what culinary magic comes next. There is a nice relaxed atmosphere with our group of fellow diners. Conversation is easy, but there is enough space to feel comfortable just talking with your partner if you prefer. Our host is attentive to all needs, with wine (a choice of red or white) and water (still or sparkling) consistently replenished throughout the evening. The pace of the night, food courses interspersed with stories and descriptions of the food as well as a guest entertainer flows smoothly. We also get to meet the Executive Chef, head of all things food on-board. He is an interesting man, with many tales to tell. We are also invited to go up and watch the food being plated whenever we desire. After dinner, tea and coffee is offered and we are presented with our souvenir photograph just after 9pm.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid element_width="6" gap="15" grid_id="vc_gid:1525163364249-08131b0c-32d8-9" include="2657,2658"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Food Glorious Food

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We are spoiled with 8 Courses, including a bread board to start and the Dessert course to finish. Presentation of every dish was stunning. The attention to detail was second to none, and sometimes the food looked too good to eat (but eat we did)! As we were served, Chef would explain all the intricacies of the ingredients and their construction. Every dish featured numerous elements elegantly linked through their flavours, to create the final plate. We got to taste well known ingredients (fish, beef, and tomato) in new and inventive ways. And we got to taste some things we would never have dreamed of creating (corn custard, garlic chips, bone marrow soufflé). [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid element_width="3" grid_id="vc_gid:1525163364251-7f82cfb1-1c3d-7" include="2661,2667,2665,2666,2663,2662,2668,2664"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Verdict:

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]All the courses were delicious, super satisfying and fun to eat. Funnily enough for a dedicated carnivore, I actually have to rate the Tomato Bisque as my favourite course of the night. A strange criticism to make, but we actually thought there was just too much! We both struggled with the final savoury course, and we really couldn’t enjoy the dessert plate as there was just no room left in the tank! Maybe we should have had less wine and water (haha). I highly recommend the Chefs Table experience, and I intend to book again on our future cruises. I’m looking forward to comparing how various Cruise Lines run their Chefs Tables. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

If you like food to be a bit of an adventure, give The Chefs Table a go on your next cruise.

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10 Reasons Why We Love a Cruising Holiday

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Time can dull the best of memories, so while the warm and happy vibes are still upon me, I thought I would put down in writing why we Love a Cruising Holiday.

It’s not a difficult question to answer, really is it?  Who doesn’t love a good holiday!

But what are some of the particular reasons that a Cruising Holiday is a good option?

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1: Being At Sea

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text]The lure of the ocean is as old as time itself.  Salt air and the endless ocean have a way of soothing away the stresses of everyday life.  Spend just an hour watching the calming rhythm of the ocean and you can feel yourself unwind and relax!

The sense of freedom that the ocean evokes will always be our Number 1 reason to cruise.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="2545" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

2: Every Detail is Taken Care Of

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]For me a holiday is a good chance not to have to think!  A Cruising Holiday is the perfect choice if you feel the same way.  Cruising is a well-oiled machine with every detail taken care of for you.

No need to think for yourself![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

3: Multiple Destinations

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Travelling to a variety of destinations can sometimes be stressful. Multiple hotels, transfers, airports, and schedules to keep can take the shine off the holiday.  With a Cruising Holiday there is none of this hassle!  While you sit back and relax, your ship will deliver you to various exotic locales. All you have to do is walk off the ship (or Tender) to begin your adventures.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

4: Unpack Once

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Much as the point above, the Cruise Ship experience simplifies your holiday.  It is nice to enjoy your holiday from a single base.  We unpack everything from our suitcases as soon as we get to our room. There is always plenty of space in drawers and wardrobes, and then the suitcases can be stored under the bed.  Voila! You have a home away from home, with everything in its place for the entire duration of your holiday.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

5: Room Stewards (and other Staff)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]On a cruise you will find staff ready to cater to your every whim. Crew are dedicated to your service, but without the pretension (or price tag) of a private butler at a 6* Resort.

No cooking, no cleaning, no making the bed. No need to even do the laundry if you don’t want to.  On a Cruising Holiday you will have staff to look after all the mundane chores that you want to leave behind.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

6: Cocktails

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text]Ah the Cocktail, the Epitome of the tropical holiday!

It is always something that I look forward to when I cruise.

And as an added bonus, while you are cruising no-one has to drive home![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="2547" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

7: Food

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]3 meals a day (at the very least) are included in your Cruise. You can eat from a variety of outlets, and with menus changing daily you need never eat the same thing twice.  A Cruising Holiday really is a food-lovers paradise!

The quality and variety of food choices is one of the big reasons we love cruising. If you compare the cost of eating out for an entire week on a land-based holiday against the included options on a cruise there really is no comparison.  We have also been able to try things on a cruise that we otherwise may not have wanted to pay for on land (Snails, Frog Legs, Bombe Alaska are a few that spring to mind). [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

8: Entertainment

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Live music and Stage Shows are not part of our everyday life.  Cruising delivers us the opportunity to enjoy these things that we normally wouldn’t.  Cruise ships hire excellent performers, and we have seen some incredible shows and musicians while on-board.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

9: Disconnect from Reality

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As you pass across the gangway and step onboard your ship, you leave reality behind!  Sound good? Oh yes! 

A ship is a self-contained city in its own little fantasy world. You don’t even have to worry about the bill until the end!  You forget about the daily grind as very little news of the outside world permeates the ship. Internet access is slow and costly, so it makes for an easy decision to completely switch off from technology (if you can). For us, a Cruising Holiday is a wonderful way to disconnect for a short time.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

10: Holiday Your Way

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Variety really is the Spice of Life, and a Cruise Ship delivers it on all levels!

We love that we can fill up one day with activities galore, and then fill up the next day with absolutely nothing.  There are some wonderful chill-out zones to be found on a cruise ship and these are some of our favourite places!

If you travel with family or friends you don’t have to spend your time negotiating to please everyone, you can all just go off and enjoy what you want and catch up again later.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="2548" img_size="medium" alignment="center"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

So, there you have it, the 10 Reasons Why We Love a Cruising Holiday.

If you have been on a cruise, I’m sure you will have your own top reasons to cruise again.

If you have never been on a cruise, I hope that I have evoked some desire in you to try a Cruising Holiday soon!

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Happy Cruising :) 

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Carnival Legend - A Ship for Everyone

We are fresh from our 10-day voyage on Carnival Legend.

You know that light, happy feeling you have after a great break away – full of good vibes, secret smiles and happy memories…

Carnival Legend is well named if you consider the colloquial:

She really is “A Little Legend”.

You would be hard-pressed not to have a great time on this gem of a ship. Look past all the Urns, and you will soon find, as we did that there is something for everyone on the Legend!

Carnival Legend began her cruising life in 2001, and she is due for a refurbishment next month.  While not the most glamorous of ships, we felt that she was well-maintained and well laid-out, although the décor in the public areas is crying out for a new theme!

Officially she holds 2124 guests over 1062 cabins, but a staff member told us that she had around 2500 passengers on our voyage.  This makes sense, as some cabins will hold 4 passengers.

First Impressions

No matter how many cruises you have been on, there is always a sense of excitement as you pass over the gangway.  I don’t think we will ever lose this sense of anticipation and adventure, and with the quick and stress-free embarkation procedure our holiday began.

Get ready to be lost for a day or so, as you learn your way around the ship.  Staff were on hand to point the way, and ship maps are found on every level and every stair-way. We did miss the ‘old-fashioned’ paper maps that are no longer provided, but the excellent Carnival Ships “APP” brought us straight into the 21st Century (highly recommend you download this).

At 294m long and with 12 decks, there is plenty of Carnival Legend to discover!

Carnival Legend in SydneyCarnival Legend Ship Map 

A Room with a View

The Claustrophobe in me demands a room with a balcony, and we were thrilled with the location of our stateroom.  We found level 5 aft to be great. With our Dining Room on Level 2, and our favourite hang-out (Serenity) on Level 9, we were always half-way there.

We did have a few days of high winds, and moderate seas and we found the movement at the back of the ship to be much less than the front of the ship.  Something worth noting if you can’t get the highly sought after “mid-ships” location.  In addition, being aft also meant less travelling through corridors as the Dining rooms and the Serenity are at the back of the ship.

Something for Everyone

You may wonder why a couple without children would choose to go on a ship that is promoted as being for families?  We asked ourselves the same thing before we travelled (lol), but the dates and itinerary were exactly what we were looking for, so we decided to give it a go. 

And we were happy with our decision! Something that Carnival Legend did superbly was to cater to a multitude of tastes!

Yes, there were more children than any of our past cruises, but except for a couple of small incidents they didn’t impact on our holiday. And they wouldn’t stop us from choosing Carnival in future.

We even attended a couple of activities that were (probably) aimed towards children and we enjoyed the novelty!

Speaking as said couple without children, the things that “made” our Carnival Legend cruise were:

Serenity Adults only area.

Dining in the Main Dining Room for lunch and a later dinner.

Adults only Comedy Club.

The Chefs Table.

Mini Golf.

Our Balcony Stateroom.

Watching the moon from ship balconyCarnival Legend Mini GolfDrink and book on Carnival Legend Serenity 

The Fun Ship

There was so much to do!  The very real FOMO (fear of missing out) is alive and well on Carnival Legend!  There is a great and varied assortment of events and activities to fill in your days and nights.

Our itinerary gave us 3 full days at Sea after we left Sydney, so the first couple of days were spent trying to pack in as many activities as possible before we realised it was OK to just relax!

Our advice is to accept before you begin, that you won’t be able to do EVERYTHING!  Give yourself permission to miss some activities and just spend some time gazing out at that magnificent ocean.

 

 

Our Number One Favourite thing to do on a Cruise is:

Sipping a Cocktail while looking over the stunning Blue of the Ocean!

Food, Glorious Food

If Variety is the Spice of Life, The Carnival Legend is one Spicy Lady!

The Culinary Offerings on board are extensive and once again, something for everyone:

From the very (very) casual buffet and outdoor burger bar, to the 3-Course lunch and dinner in the main dining room. You also have 24-hour pizza, a ‘high-end’ Steak Restaurant, authentic Sushi joint, Seafood counter, Room-service, Delicatessen (made to order sandwiches), Coffee shop and Help-yourself Ice-cream!

Additional food experiences came in the form of The Chefs Table, 2 Cooking Demonstrations (with samples for all), a High Tea (Mad Hatter Style) and a special Dr Seuss themed Breakfast.

plate of spaghetti on carnival legendplate of sushi on carnival legend

About the Staff and Service

A Crew of 930 dedicated staff are at hand to ensure your smooth sailing and to cater to your every need. 

Let’s face it, being waited on and looked after really is a big part of the holiday experience. Without exception we found all the Crew of Carnival Legend to be professional, friendly and brilliant at their jobs.

The ship (and our room) was always sparkling clean, events and activities were smoothly run, service at the bars was efficient, we always felt safe and informed, questions were easily answered, maintenance being carried out appeared to be done without disruption to our holiday and our Cocktails always tasted great!

The Crew were a credit to Carnival Legend!

Carnival Legend Aft

So here we are, home again and feeling relaxed and rejuvenated after our Carnival Legend sojourn. 

There is so much more to say about the Ship and the Journey and the Experiences we had, and those will be the subject of Blogs to come.  We hope you will follow along.

For now, we will continue to dine out on our happy memories and we will look forward to planning our next adventure!

Things to Do in Port Vila: COOK

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Last, but absolutely not Least in our Series of Things to Do in Port Vila is COOK. Vanuatu is blessed with stunning beaches and verdant jungle, which make the destination popular with adventure travellers.

But Vanuatu is also popular because of the rich culture and history of the Ni-Van people.  Vanuatu has repeatedly been named the happiest place on earth, and part of this happiness must come from their love of food! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“People who love to eat are always the best people”

– Julia Child

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you are looking for things to do in Port Vila and you want to do something a little different to the standard tourist options and you are a Food Lover, then this experience is for you! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Things to Do in Port Vila with Go By Sea:

COOK EXPERIENCE

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Away from the Crowds

We will whisk you away from Port Vila; enjoy a 45-minute drive through rural Vanuatu to reach the cooking school. Your destination is a local village restaurant built directly on the sand of a stunning secluded Bay.  You will ease into the day with a fresh lime juice as you take in the serenity and beauty of the location.  Cooking and eating is all done with the back-drop of the ocean and the sound of the waves to accompany you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2488" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]

Warm Welcome

The Restaurant that is home to your cooking school is run entirely by a local family that live in the adjacent village. You will be welcomed as one of the family for the day, and as you cook together you will learn a little about life in Vanuatu.  Smiles and laughter are an important part of Ni-Van culture so get ready to join in.

Every family member plays an important role in the business, and your visit helps to provide employment opportunities for the village.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2490" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]

Spend the Day with a Local Chef

You get to spend time with a local Chef and Assistants, learning about the techniques and traditional foods of Vanuatu.  All the food here is produced from scratch and by hand, without the powered tools that we take for granted!  You can roll up your sleeves and join in the cutting, grating, mixing and folding that goes into the preparation of your lunch.  Ask questions, watch as the chef shows you how, then have a go and you might learn a new technique that you can try when you are back home.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2491" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]

Go Coconuts

The Coconut Tree is an important plant in Vanuatu life.  It is often called the “Tree of a Thousand Uses”, and during your experience you will find out why!

Today your Coconut Milk will not come from a can! You can learn how to open a coconut and turn the flesh into coconut milk, and while you are cooking the local ladies will be weaving the leaves into all sorts of useful (or fun) objects.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2492" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]

Fresh Local Produce

Think Coconut, Seafood, local Vegetables – watch them transformed from the source to the plate!

You can reach out and touch the Coconut Palms & Pawpaw Trees that your lunch is being prepared from.  Fish is delivered direct from the local fisherman, so you will be eating the best catch of the day.  The vegetables are grown in the village garden, tended to by the villagers and harvested at their peak.  You will be preparing and eating as the locals do, from what the land and sea provide.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2493" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]

Enjoy the Fruits of your Labour

Once lunch is prepared, sit down to a leisurely buffet of delicious, fresh local produce.

The dishes that you have created turn your lunch into a true Vanuatu Feast, and Chef will also surprise you with a tasty dessert if you can fit any more in!

The restaurant has a licensed bar so feel free to purchase your favourite tipple to take lunch to the next level.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2494" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]

Perfect for Groups

Our COOK experience is a great day out even if you don’t want to cook!

Those in your group who want to be involved in the cooking class will do so while the others can sit back and enjoy the stunning location and mingle with the village family while they weave and shuck coconuts!

Your whole group will enjoy the wonderful lunch together, and then if you can muster the energy you can choose to walk on the beach or go for a dip in the inviting waters of the bay.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2495" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]

What Will I need?

All you need to enjoy this experience is a sense of fun and a love of food!

Bring along your togs, sunscreen and reef-shoes if you want to go swimming or walking after lunch.

Cash or credit card are accepted for extra bar purchases.

Your guide will collect you and drop you back at the Cruise-ship, with a stop at the duty-free on the way back if you request it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2496" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Why We Love it

  • This is an intimate and engaging experience, where you will be welcomed like family and depart with the warm feeling that good food and good company can only produce.
  • We think that one of the best ways to learn about a country is to learn about it’s food. Our COOK experience is the perfect opportunity to do both.
  • If you love cooking and love food, you get to spend the day surrounded by your favourite things in a location that is one of the best kept secrets of Port Vila.

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Things to Do in Port Vila – Do you want to experience COOK?

Click the link to go to the tour page and book this experience for your next Port Day in Port Vila!

https://www.gobysea.com.au/tours/cook/

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Cooking with Coconut – My Favourite Coconut Dessert

The Coconut - what an amazing tree with an incredible fruit!

No wonder they call it “The Tree of Life” and “The Tree with a Thousand Uses”

Last week I may have hinted at my love of all things Coconut.  Above all else, Cooking with Coconut is a joy for me.

Today, just for fun (and as a good excuse to eat cake) let’s explore the lovely world of Coconut Desserts!

 

My Coconut & Pineapple Tart is the perfect summer dessert served cold from the fridge, but it is also creamy & filling enough to enjoy in winter.  Change up the fruit topping to suit what is in season!

It can be made in individual tart cases or make one large tart to serve a crowd (just add the filling an hour in advance of serving to make it easier to cut).

This is a perfect dessert for entertaining because you can prepare all the elements in advance and then just assemble when you are ready to eat.

 

And as for Cooking with Coconut – this has it in Spades! 

Shredded Coconut in the Base, Coconut Cream in the Filling, Fresh Coconut Shards on the Top AND Coconut Liqueur (Malibu) in the Glaze!!

ingredients for coconut tart 

Coconut & Pineapple Tart

(or if you prefer: Pina Colada Pie)

Base

½ Packet each of Gingernuts and Butternut Snap Biscuits

½ C Shredded Coconut

100g Unsalted Butter – Melted.

Use a food processor to grind the biscuits and coconut into fine crumbs.

Add the melted butter and mix well.

After greasing your tart tins (use loose base tins – they make getting your tarts out easy), firmly press the mixture onto the base and sides.

Place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to harden.

Filling

250g Mascarpone

50ml Thick Coconut Cream

Rind of 1 Lemon

2T Lemon Juice

¾ C Icing Sugar

Gently mix all this together until it is smooth and thick.

Topping

Fresh Chopped Pineapple (or use other fruit you like in season)

Toasted Coconut Flakes (dry roast in a pan until golden)

Syrup

4T Malibu

4T Lemon Juice

4T Caster Sugar

Dissolve the sugar in the Malibu & Lemon juice over a medium heat, and then simmer (without stirring) for 6 minutes until the mixture thickens.

Allow this to cool completely before using (it will thicken more on standing too).

You can either mix your fruit with the syrup before serving, or just drizzle the syrup onto the finished tart.

When you are ready to serve, bring your Tart Cases out of the fridge (allow to sit for 5 minutes) and remove the tins (be careful the bases are delicate).

Spoon the Filling into the Tart Case.

Top with Pineapple and Coconut Flakes.

Drizzle with Syrup.

coconut and pineapple tart 

Voila!

I hope you enjoy all the layers of flavour in this delicious and decadent dessert!

 

 

Coconuts - The Tree of Life

Want to Know a Bit About Coconuts?

If you’re asked to conjure up a mental picture of the South Pacific I’m pretty sure you’ll include a Palm Tree in your picture – right?

And I’m going to bet that most of those Palm Trees will have Coconuts hanging proudly high up in the branches.

Lovely Bunches of Coconuts!

coconut plantation

No, I’m not NUTS – but I do love Coconuts!  It’s one of my favourite flavours – coconut cream in a tangy curry, fresh sweet coconut water with all it’s healthy minerals, smooth coconut oil on both skin and food, and the dried shredded flesh folded into my favourite dessert!

But that’s not all – did you know that almost every part of the Coconut Tree can be used:

No wonder it’s called THE TREE OF LIFE!

Coconut

 

 

 

 

 

The Coconut was named by Portuguese Sailors

for the 3 little holes in the top of the nut that look like a face. 

“Coco” meaning “Grinning Face”

 

 

 

So Here is Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Coconuts:

Coconuts are the Fruits of the Coconut Palm!

Coconut Palms like to grow in the Tropics – in low-lying areas with high rain-fall, and close to the sea.

The Coconut Palm grows tall and straight (up to 30m tall) with a single smooth trunk, the Palm leaves are always at the top of the trunk.

It takes at least 6 years for a Coconut Palm to begin bearing fruit (the coconut), but then they can continue producing for up to 50 years.

One Coconut tree will produce 30-100 Coconuts a year!

The Growth of a Coconut

It takes about a year for a Coconut to ripen fully.

When the Coconut is young and green it contains a large amount of coconut water.

As the fruit matures the water is absorbed as the flesh (Coconut “meat”) grows inside the nut.

The Husk turns brown when the coconut is mature.  It will naturally fall from the tree when it is ready, but it can be removed manually too.

The HUSK of the mature coconut is removed to reveal the NUT or shell.

If you buy a Coconut from a Supermarket the HUSK has already been removed, so you are buying the NUT.

harvesting coconut

All the Things You Can Make from a Coconut!

  • Coconut Water is extracted from Green Coconuts.
  • The Flesh of a mature Coconut is grated and squeezed to produce Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream.
  • The Flesh can be eaten either fresh or dried. And in sweet or savoury dishes.
  • The dried Flesh is call COPRA, and this is used to produce Coconut OIL.
  • Coconut oil is used in numerous products: cooking oil, soap, cosmetics, beauty products.
  • The residual flesh left over after Coconut Oil production is used as a food for stock animals.
  • The Husk of the Coconut is a fibre called COIR. Coir is used as a material for rugs, mats, brushes, ropes, sacks and stuffing mattresses.
  • The Husks and Shells can be burnt for fuel, and the smoke produced is a natural insect repellent.
  • The hard Shell can be used to make cooking utensils, musical instruments and handicrafts.

making coconut milkopened coconut

And the Rest of the Coconut Palm!

  • The trunk of the Coconut Palm is a very useful timber for buildings, furniture and boats.
  • The leaves are used in weaving for baskets and mats, also for making brooms and as thatching for roofing.
  • The Sap from the Flowers can be used to make various drinks and sweet syrup and sugar for confectionery. If it ferments, it becomes wine!

weaving coconut fronds

The Killer Fruit?

Some studies have claimed that Falling Coconuts Kill up to 150 people a year!

The numbers may be somewhat of an exaggeration, but never-the-less a falling coconut can do you serious harm if you are unlucky!

So, our advice is watch where you lay your towel on that Idyllic South Pacific Beach of your Dreams, but don’t hold back in enjoying all the bounty of the Coconut Tree!

falling coconut sign

 

 

 

 

...Next Week Just for Fun – My Favourite Coconut Dessert...

 

Things to Do in Port Vila: PADDLE

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We understand that everyone has different ideas on what constitutes a great day out, so at Go By Sea we have 4 different experiences in Port Vila to suit a variety of interests. What you will always find with our Things to Do in Port Vila are Unique Experiences away from the crowds, with small groups going off-the-beaten-path!

 

Things to Do in Port Vila with Go By Sea

PADDLE EXPERIENCE

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  • Far from the Crowds

On this Port Vila Day Tour, you will experience a couple of hours of quiet enjoyment and easy paddling along a picturesque river in the Countryside of Vanuatu.

This is a perfect escape from the hustle of a cruise ship – after a 20 minute drive you will arrive at a veritable Garden of Eden where you will embark onto the river.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2389" img_size="medium" alignment="right" onclick="img_link_large" img_link_target="_blank"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]

  • Water Therapy

The quiet splashes as you dip your paddle into the still clear water, gliding along the river – ahhh the serenity!

You will feel at one with nature as you kayak along this stunning river, feel the rhythm of the river unwind your soul and soothe your senses!

Watch out for the wild-life too. Herons and Eagles may be feeding from the river as you paddle past, and fish-life is prolific. It’s amazing what you can see from the quiet of the waterway.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2390" img_size="medium" alignment="right" onclick="img_link_large" img_link_target="_blank"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]

  • Anyone can Paddle

Even a novice will have no trouble with this easy paddle.  It really doesn’t matter if you have never tried kayaking before; this is the perfect quiet water opportunity to give it a go.

Both single and double kayaks are available, and your very experienced guide will keep a close eye on you throughout your journey.

The pace is easy and the kayaks are stable so you can relax and let the river carry you along.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2391" img_size="medium" alignment="right" onclick="img_link_large" img_link_target="_blank"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]

  • Take a look into Local Life

As you glide quietly along the river you get to glimpse into the lives of the local Vanuatu people – ladies washing, kids swimming, and men fishing are all scenes that you may encounter. This is just a normal day for the locals that live along the river, but a special opportunity for you to witness life in another country.

Your guides are born story-tellers and love to share snippets of life in Vanuatu with you during your journey up-river, so as you watch life go by you will also learn about it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2393" img_size="medium" alignment="right" onclick="img_link_large" img_link_target="_blank"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]

  • And a Little Extra

Although the pace is easy, you will be ready for a swim after your kayaking experience.  This is the perfect way to end your paddle; the water is deep, blue, clear and invigorating.

For the adventurous, entry to the river can be via the rope swing if you dare!

Then you can spend some time in the magnificent garden by the river bank and your guide may find some fresh seasonal fruits to share with you (depending on the season).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2394" img_size="medium" alignment="right" onclick="img_link_large" img_link_target="_blank"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

  • Half Day Tour

Our PADDLE experience is from 9am-1pm, giving you plenty of time for shopping at the markets or going to the duty free in Port Vila afterwards if you want to.

Your guide will pick you up from the Wharf, and you can be dropped back at the wharf or in town if you prefer.

After a morning paddling you will have earned yourself a Cold Tusker Beer overlooking the harbour… Ask your guide to drop you at a good spot if this idea appeals![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]

  • What will I Need?

Although the kayaking is on a gentle river, you will still get wet so bring a towel and a change of clothes if you don’t want to go back to the ship wet.  There is a change room and toilet (island style) that you can use in the garden by the river.

The sun can be brutal in Vanuatu and at times you will be exposed so make sure you slip, slop, slap!

This experience is possible due to the generosity of local land owners, allowing us access to the river via their land.  Your guide collects $25 AUD per couple that he pays directly to the land-owner for this privilege.

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Why We Love It

Nothing beats time on the Water, and being in a Kayak you really feel a part of the natural environment.

Vanuatu can be hot and humid all year round, but being on the water in a kayak you avoid the worst of the sticky heat so this is a perfect experience for those that don’t handle the heat well.

The River is the lifeblood of the people who live along it and during this experience you enjoy a front-row seat into daily life along the river.

You can’t get more off-the-beaten path than our PADDLE experience – if you can imagine yourself as an intrepid adventurer exploring the wilds of Vanuatu, this experience is for you!

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Things to Do in Port Vila – Do you want to PADDLE?

Click the link to go to the tour page and book this experience for your next Port Day in Port Vila!

https://www.gobysea.com.au/tours/paddle/

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Things to Do in Port Vila: WALK

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Welcome to our “Things to Do in Port Vila” Series – where we introduce you to what we think are the best ways to spend your Port Days while on a Cruise Holiday. 

We have scoured the lands from top to toe, searching out off-the-beaten path experiences for you to enjoy.  Our clients have returned from their cruises telling us their Go By Sea Experience has been the highlight of their holiday! So come on Board with Go By Sea and we will help you to make the most of your day in Port with one of our Unique Shore Experiences!

Over the coming weeks we will cover all the experiences we offer in both Port Vila and Noumea. We will outline the features of each tour and tell you why we love them, and why we think you will too!

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Things to do in Port Vila

Port Vila is the capital city of Vanuatu, but to really appreciate the beauty of this country you need to get out of town, and away from the crowds. Port Vila is always full of tourists (not just from the cruise ships), and many of the popular attractions can be disappointing when you have to share them with hundreds of other people. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="1672" img_size="medium" alignment="right"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Things to do in Port Vila with Go By Sea:

WALK EXPERIENCE.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Stretch Your Legs

What better way to explore a new destination than by foot – if you have been on a cruise ship for a few days, this is a fantastic way to stretch your legs.

Your guide will choose a walking trail to suit the fitness of the group.  Anyone with a reasonable level of fitness can join in; the walking is at an easy pace giving you time to really soak up your surroundings.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2343" img_size="full" onclick="img_link_large" img_link_target="_blank"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Local Guide

You are in good hands with a local guide who will share his life and his country with you. One-on-One time with a local is a sure way to immerse yourself into a destination in a short time.

As you walk there are frequent stops where the guide will entertain you with tales of life in Vanuatu. He loves to share his culture so ask as many questions as you like.  The people of Vanuatu are known as the friendliest people on earth, and you will get to see this first-hand during your walk.

Natural Beauty and Rural Life

You will be driven to a rural location and then you will spend a few hours far from any evidence of modern life.  Touch, smell, feel and experience the unique countryside and the lives of the local people.

Your guide will lead you through a myriad of paths and trails far from the towns, crowds and noise - here you will learn about living on the land – Vanuatu style![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Off-the-Beaten-Path

Every walk is unique – you never know what will be revealed around the next corner – there could be a garden with exotic vegetables to be unearthed, a tranquil bay overlooking distant islands, ladies preparing their daily meal, local produce for sale, tropical rainforest grottos, children playing with homemade toys, interesting plants, flowers, insects and fruits to be discovered.

In season, your guide may even pluck ripe fruits from the trees for you to enjoy.

Perfect for Families

Our WALK experience is the perfect family activity!  Not only do you get quality time together, but our guide will impart his love of the land onto your children, and they will get to see how other people live - such a rewarding experience for all ages! You will find the local people you encounter will be just as interested in you, as you are of them, such a wonderful opportunity to broaden your family’s horizons![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2333" img_size="medium" alignment="right" onclick="img_link_large" img_link_target="_blank"][vc_single_image image="2348" img_size="medium" alignment="right" onclick="img_link_large" img_link_target="_blank"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Half Day Tour

Our WALK experience is from 9am-1pm, so you will have plenty of time for shopping at the markets, or going to the duty free in Port Vila afterwards if you want.

Your guide will pick you up from the Wharf, but you can be dropped back at the wharf or in town if you prefer.

Want to Swim?

Let your guide know at the beginning of the day if you would like to include a swimming stop during your WALK experience.

If you don’t like the idea of changing into your bathers behind a Palm tree, wear them on the walk – remember this is the real country-side!

What will I need?

Good Walking Shoes are a must!  You will be walking through a varied natural landscape – don’t expect paved walkways where we will take you.

You will be walking through locally owned private properties (with the landowners permission of course) so our guide will collect $25 AUD from each couple as a tribute that is made direct to the landowner.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="2331" img_size="large" alignment="center" onclick="img_link_large" img_link_target="_blank"][vc_single_image image="1550" img_size="large" onclick="img_link_large" img_link_target="_blank"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Why We Love it

You get to be IN this experience, not just witness it from the sidelines.

This is the REAL Vanuatu; you get to experience local life as it is lived every day. We guarantee you will come away with a new appreciation for what you have in life, and we think this is one of the true rewards of travel.

This is not a tourist activity! You will not see other tourists on your walk, and you get to share this intimate experience in a small group making it all the more special.

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Shore Tours - Why you Should Use Go By Sea

Cruising to a New Destination?  

Exotic Ports await you! 

What are you going to do when you get there?

Exploration and New Experiences are what motivate us to travel, and our desire to share our passion for off-the-beaten path and Unique Experiences is what prompted us to begin Go By Sea!

Noumea go explore

 

A single day in Port is not long – so seize the day and make the most of it!

If you think leaving the ship and “winging it” is the way to go you may return at the end of your day somewhat disappointed.

If you think staying on-board when you have come all that way to a new place is a good choice, well, we think you have missed the entire point of travel!

If you think walking around a town centre will give you an idea of a destination, you will probably leave thinking you hate the place without knowing anything about it!

 

However, if you want to make the most of your day, and you want to experience the best of a destination we can help!

At Go By Sea we have done all the leg-work for you in searching out the very best Unique Experiences in Port Vila and Noumea. 

 

At Go By Sea This is What We Will Do For You When you Book With Us:

 

  • You Won’t Miss your Ship!

You will always be back to the ship well before the last call! We want you to have an amazing day but also be back on board to enjoy your sail-away!

All of our Experiences have been developed for Cruise Ship Passengers, so your day in Port has been specifically designed to suit the hours available.  We have personally timed all of our experiences so we know you will get back at the time required.

Our operators are all locals, and they understand the importance of Cruise Passengers to their livelihood – they would never risk their business by missing the ship!

Our operators are also completely familiar with the area and road conditions, so they know exactly how long it will take to get you from place to place and they can plan their day accordingly.

  • 100% Refund if your Ship is Unable to Berth.

Sometimes your ship might not make it into Port.

It doesn’t matter what the reason is, we understand this is the nature of cruising and if your ship doesn’t make it, or is too late for the tour to go ahead we will refund your tour cost 100%.

  • Just Relax

All of the details of the day are taken care of for you, and all of our experiences allow you to make the most of your one day in Port.

Know that we have arranged every aspect of your day tour; your guide will meet you as you come off your ship and look after your every need for the day.

We provide you with a list of everything you will need to bring along for the day, and we email you easy to follow instructions on how to meet your guide.

All you need to do is book & pay on our secure website, then look forward to your Unique Experience!

  • Done In Advance

You can book and pay in Australia before you travel, making budgeting much easier, and spreading the cost of your holiday further.

You don’t need to worry about cash or foreign currency when you get to Port, as you have already paid for your experience before you leave. (Of course it’s always nice to have some cash for extras like drinks & souvenirs, and for each experience we will let you know what is appropriate to bring so that you don’t have to guess).

  • Contact Point in Australia

We are here to help; we can answer your questions and help you to make the right tour choice for you.  You can call or message us any time and we will look after you personally.

  • Support Small Local Operators

We believe in promoting small independent operators who benefit directly from your booking.

All of our operators have set their own prices, and we pay them exactly that.

Most of our operators do not have the means to market their business in Australia, but they would all like to be able to share their experiences with Cruise Passengers.

By booking through us you know your money is going straight to the locals who look after you.

  • Only the Best

We have personally tried and tested all the experiences here – we will not list a tour if we can’t recommend it.

During our time setting up Go By Sea, we visited these destinations multiple times, we looked beyond the tourist traps and sought out Unique Experiences that we thought were worthy of your limited time in Port.  So you get the best experiences without the hassle of having to research yourself.

You will be looked after by locals who want to show you the best of their place. You get the benefit of their local knowledge, their passion and experience.

  • Small Groups Away from the Crowds

The best experiences are had in small groups and off-the-beaten path so our tours will always be in small groups and away from the crowds.

We won’t take you to the tourist traps & we won’t take you places where animals are mistreated.  We won’t take you where everyone else is going, but we will take you on a Unique Experience that you will remember as a highlight of your holiday.

 

So come on a Journey of Discovery with Go By Sea as your Guide – you won’t regret it!

Over the following weeks we want to show-case our Unique Experiences to you in our Blog. Keep reading to learn all about the amazing experiences that we have developed especially for cruisers.

Sign up here to receive our Blog to your inbox every week:

https://www.gobysea.com.au/contact-us/

 

 

Second Helpings: Cruise Food Part 2

Did you get your fill with all our Cruise Food Talk last week, or are you ready for your Second Course?

I hope that based on last week’s blog you have a good understanding of just how many options there are for eating while you cruise, and that no-one need worry about going hungry on-board.

But wait, there’s more!

This Week: Enjoy Another Helping of Cruise Food:

 

bright tomatoes 

A Bit More About the Buffet:

  • The buffet is included (free) in your fare.
  • There are some variations in the Buffet set-up from ship to ship, but the main idea is the same: help yourself, casual eating.
  • No need to dress up for the buffet, but covering your bathing suit and wearing footwear is polite.
  • You walk along the buffet line and collect/dish up the food you want, then head off and find yourself a seat.
  • Feel free to leave the buffet area with your food; you are welcome to take a plate out to the decks with you.
  • You may not actually be helping yourself – some ships now have staff to dish up the food for you to minimize handling and possible contamination by dirty hands.  This is a great idea, and you just tell the server how much you want.  Easy and cleaner!
  • There are different food options for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in the buffet. For breakfast think of your normal breakfast items – eggs, bacon, toast, cereal and the like.
  • Some Buffets (hello, P&O The Pantry) are now designed to be a more modern food-court eatery experience.  Just like a food court you can visit any (or all) of the various sections dedicated to a specific type of food (Fish & Chips, Mexican, Asian, Carvery and many more).
  • Unlike the shopping centre food court, you don’t need to clean up after yourself – wait staff are on hand to clear tables and also to take drinks orders too.

P&O PantryPrincess Buffet

More Food!

  • The Buffet often has a smaller/snack selection outside main dining times.    We often enjoy picking up some pre-dinner nibbles to take back to our balcony.
  • You can buy pre-packaged snacks from the shop on the ship (think chocolate, chippies) but you will pay through the nose! Consider bringing these items on-board with you if they are important to you.
  • Room Service is also available if you fancy a meal or snack in your room.  Depending on your ship this may or may not be free.
  • For a real Foodie Experience you can also join “The Chefs Table”.  This is a unique & intimate dinner party hosted by the executive Chef!  You will be treated to a behind the scenes tour, canapes and a special degustation dinner (for a fee).
  • Cruise Ship Chefs & Staff are fantastic with Special Dietary Needs.  Before you cruise, contact your cruise-company and find out how they can cater to your needs.  We spoke to a gentleman that had a very restricted diet due to medical issues and he was provided with his own special menu delivered to his state-room every night for him to choose his meals for the following day.  These were delivered where-ever he chose to eat, so that he could still dine with his group of friends.

  curry buffetfried eggs

Some Food Etiquette:

  • With all the options on offer, it would be very rare to find anyone that truly couldn’t be satisfied with what is available. If you really are super fussy, consider whether this type of holiday is right for you – you don’t have the option to leave the ship at Sea to seek alternatives!
  • You must remember that every single item available to eat has been loaded on-board before you sail.  If staff tells you there is no Avocado left, just accept it and move on to another choice.
  • Wastage of Cruise Food is a huge issue. We all need to be more aware of the impact of our waste on the world.  Yes, it is your holiday and you don’t need to miss out - just please be mindful when you serve yourself at the buffet or order more than you can eat….   Loading up plates & then only eating a little bit of it ‘because it’s free’ is un-necessary.  Just have seconds if you want more!   (Rant Over)
  • Remember not all dishes will be your favourite!  If you are eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day you will invariably find a dish that you didn’t really like.  Put it down to experience and move on.  Even when I cook at home, there are times when a meal isn’t as good as I wanted it to be.  It’s not a reason to declare your holiday a disaster… Don’t forget, you CAN have something else if you want!
  • Please be kind to Wait Staff.  They work incredibly long hours and 99% of the time they do a brilliant job.  Forgive an occasional mistake or wrong order without a fuss, there are literally thousands of meals being produced at each service!

A cruise is the perfect time to take your taste-buds on a holiday! Step out of your comfort zone and try some new flavours!  Enjoy eating at a range of locations! Relish the food In the Clean Sea Air!

Appreciate being waited on! Forget about the Dishes afterwards!  And worry about the Scales when you get home!

 

Bon Appetit and Happy Cruising!

CRUISE FOOD – Your Guide to Eating Your Way around a Cruise Ship.

Food, Glorious Food!

Food and Cruising, Cruising and Food, Cruise Food – some things were made to go together! 

Some choose to cruise for the chance to visit exotic locations, others to experience life on the high seas, but always there will be the FOOD!

The choices can seem over-whelming at first – how are we going to fit all this cruise food in??

One thing is for absolute certain – you will not go hungry on a Cruise!

I have an admission:

On our very first cruise we didn’t have a clue, we had no idea what to expect when we stepped on-board.  We had been talked into the cruise by friends, so we decided to just wing it and learn as we went.

Our first meal was dinner in the Buffet restaurant, we didn’t know we could have had a bite to eat when we boarded, we didn’t even realise there were options other than the buffet to dine at!

Since that first cruise experience, I have made a point of becoming well-versed on all things cruise food! Mainly because food is one of my favourite things in the world, and I don’t want to be in a position where I might miss out on a new food experience, ever!

 

So today I want to give you a taste of what you can expect in the food department when you board your cruise.

 

Cruise Food 101

  • Food can be divided into included (free) options, and additional (pay an extra charge) options.
  • There are plenty of included food options available to enjoy without paying any extra, if you don’t want to. We have completed a 14-day cruise without spending any extra on additional dining options (and remember I love food, I didn’t feel that I missed out).
  • Most ships have food available 24/7 – yes you heard right, you can eat somewhere at any time of day or night.
  • Every ship has both a Main Dining Room (MDR) AND a Buffet Restaurant – both are included (free) in your cruise fare.
  • Your Daily Program (see last week’s blog for info about Daily Schedules/Programs) will list all the dining options available and the hours of operation for each day.  Note that on Port days lunch is usually not available in the Main Dining Room.

cruise food dining hours

 

  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are available in both the MDR and the BUFFET, and you can choose where you would like to dine for each meal.
  • The Buffet is a casual eatery – come as you are.  However, there is a dress code for the MDR (Smart Casual, unless it's a Formal Night) – please respect the staff & your fellow guests by dressing to the correct standard for your cruise. Dress codes are readily available on-line to check what you should wear before you cruise.
  • Depending on the size of the ship there can be more than one MDR. This is simply to fit everyone in, each dining room serves the same menu.  You are generally assigned to one dining room and dining time for your cruise.

 

Cruise Food in the Main Dining Room:

  • The MDR is an “a la carte” Restaurant – this means you choose items from a menu.
  • In the MDR you are looked after by a team of waiters, they take your order and serve you at the table, so it is much like dining out at a regular restaurant.
  • The cost of the MDR is included in your cruise fare. Sometimes there will be additional items offered that cost extra if you want to indulge further but remember there is still a full menu to choose from that is included.
  • There is a new menu for every dinner service, featuring different dishes each night. Some ships will also feature a “favourites” section on their dinner menu that has the same dishes each night.
  • The Breakfast and Lunch menus may be the same each day (but not always, and this is ship dependant too).
  • You can check out the new menu each day before you decide to dine at the MDR. The menu is displayed outside the restaurant.
  • Lunch and Dinner menus offer Entrée, Main and Desserts as well as a range of extra sides.
  • Dinner service also includes a bread basket to start.
  • The serving sizes in the MDR are on the small side – in our opinion they are the perfect amount to allow you to fit in a three-course meal every day!
  • Most waiters will happily allow you to order more than one item for each course if you find you would like more food, or if you just can’t make up your mind what to have!
  • You can usually ask for a main as an entrée or vice versa.
  • Be aware that waiters are working on a group of tables during the service, so they will take orders together to make the process smoother.  Remember how many people are being served at once and help the waiters out by being ready to give your order when they ask for it.

MDR cruise menuMDR cruise menu cruise food dessertcruise food main

 

Other Cruise Food Locations you may find on your ship:

Every Ship also has additional dining options beside the MDR and Buffet. 

These vary from ship to ship, and some options are included (free) while others will be charged to your on-board account.

 

Ice-Cream Parlour

Takeaway/Grill – usually on an outside deck for things like Burgers, Hot Chips, Pies, Hotdogs

Café/Deli  – for Speciality Coffee, Cakes, Sandwiches

Pizzeria

Celebrity Chef Restaurants

Other Themed Restaurants – eg Italian, Asian, Mexican

Steak and/or Seafood Restaurants

Sushi Bar

 

cruise food dining

ARE YOU FULL YET!!!!

Or Are You Hungry For More…..

Tune in next week for Part Two of Cruise Food, including all you ever wanted to know about the buffet!

Fun Things to Do on a Cruise.

What is your Idea of Fun?

Did you ever wonder why cruising was so popular?  If you haven’t cruised before you probably don’t realise just how many fun things there are to do on a cruise ship!

The beauty of the cruise ship holiday is that you can do as much or as little as you like.

And when we say as much as you like, there really is something going on at every hour of every day if you wish to participate!

Cruising can satisfy almost every type of person and every type of holiday personality. If you love cooking and want to check out all the cooking demonstrations while your partner kicks back in a bar, or takes a dancing lesson you can!  One day you may want to do no more than lie by a pool with a book, the next you may fill every hour with a new activity.

The Cruise World is Your Oyster!

 

What Fun Things Can We do on our Cruise?

Here is a list – it is not exhaustive as all cruise lines have different activities and they will change from cruise to cruise too. This list is designed to give you an idea of the plethora of options you have while cruising.

There are activities planned every day on board, whether it is a Sea-Day or a Port-Day.  You will find that there are less day-time activities on a Port-Day as most people will be off the ship exploring Port, but if you do want to stay on board you will still have things to do.

Many of the fun things to do on a cruise are FREE (or included in your cruise fare).  However, for some activities there will be a nominal charge if you want to participate. The extra charges are always well advertised so you know what you are getting into.  Any charges will be added to your on-board account via your Cruise Card. cocktail class on cruise

fruit carving on cruise 

What will I do today?

Swim in the pools

Soak in the Spa

Listen to Live Music

Watch a Live Stage Show

Join a Cocktail making Class

Compete in Trivia competitions (various categories)

Gambling of all sorts in the Casino

Dance Lessons

Sun bathe on the open decks

Watch Cooking Demonstrations

Learn a new skill at Craft Lessons

Art Auctions and lectures

Educational lectures (learn about the ports you will visit, maritime history, photography and more)

Visit a Bar and try a new drink (or just order your favourite)

Inspirational/Enrichment talks (guest speakers will talk on their specialty subject)

Sample new tastes with Liquor (eg Whisky) tasting events

Shop till you drop in the Duty Free Shops

Attend Health/Well-being seminars

Work up a Sweat in the Gym

Personal Training / Boot Camp sessions

Eat! Up to 24 hours of food options on every cruise ship – try a different place or taste every day!

Enjoy Speciality Dining (Celebrity Chefs restaurants)

Spa Treatments, including massage, manicure/pedicure, hair-care etc

Watch a Movie (new release and classics)

Walk/jog around the walking track

Try your Luck at Bingo

Wine Tasting Sessions

Water Games – aerobics, volleyball, belly-flop competition

Scavenger Hunts

High Tea

Paper Plane Competition

Table Tennis and Shuffle-board and mini-golf

Watch Guest Entertainers – anything from magicians, comedians, violinists, performers

Test your voice with Karaoke or join in on a Talent Quest

Mini Makeovers and beauty consultations

Theme Parties, get dressed up and join in the party on deck

Solo/Singles get-togethers

Galley Tours or other behind the scenes tours

People Watching!

Charades

Card Games/Bridge/Board-games get-togethers

Basketball/Cricket/Mini-Putt

Laugh along at a Comedy Club

Audience participation Game Shows

Borrow a book from the library or join a book-swap get-together

 

And for the kids, you will find a different list of special activities through the Kids Club each day and night.

 

You will also come across some special activities available only on certain ships.  In fact, it may be a particular activity that draws you to book a certain Ship!

Ice Skating

Flow-rider (Surf-simulator)

The Edge adventure activities

Dream-works characters

Waterslides

Build a Teddy-Bear Workshop

Dr Seuss Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast

 How Do I find out about What is Happening on my Cruise?

Every evening you will find a copy of your Ships Daily Program delivered to your state-room.

They all have fun names to match the fun things for you to do on your cruise:

Princess Patter, RCI Cruise Compass, Carnival Fun-Times and P&O Good-Times.

Sit down before bed and check out the list of things to do the next day.  Arm yourself with a high-lighter to mark the events you are interested in.

Or if you prefer a more tech-savvy approach, you can get the same information from your Ship-App and save the activities you are interested in to your favourites, so you don’t miss a thing!

 

 

Tired yet?  What fun things do you think you would like to do on your Cruise?

 

Don’t forget you also have the option of one of our favourite activities:

Laying on a sun lounger at the stern of the ship watching the wake with an icy cold cocktail in hand!

 

Fun things to do on a cruise

 

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ALL ABOUT YOUR ON-BOARD ACCOUNT - a guide for Cruising.

on-board account Now you know all there is to know about Cruise Cards (from last week’s blog), let’s delve a little deeper into the murky waters of the Cruise Ship On-board account.

Paying for expenses on-board seems to be an area that confuses and perplexes many cruisers.  And who wants to be worrying about money while they are on holiday – not me!

Follow this easy guide to understanding on-board accounts, then just set & forget!

What is an On-Board Account?

This is where the ship will keep a record of all the spending you do on-board.

Think about it like your own special bank account on the ship set up for the duration of your cruise.

Everyone must have an on-board account (even if you don’t plan to spend any money).

Each time you make a purchase (by using your cruise card) the amount will be added to your on-board account.

Setting Up an On-Board Account:

This is done as part of the check-in procedure before you board your ship.

You can do this on-line yourself, or your travel agent may do it for you.

You will be asked to nominate the way you will be settling your on-board account (you can change your mind later if you want to, so it’s not set in stone).

The cruise line will then set up your on-board account and link it to your Cruise card which you will receive as you board. 

You can start spending as soon as you board.

Cashless Cruising:

Put your wallet away when you arrive on-board. 

You DO NOT directly use cash or your own credit/debit cards when you make purchases on the ship. 

Every time you want to make a purchase on the ship you will present your Cruise card.

Your Cruise card is the KEY to your on-board account.

Paying the on-board account:

Even though you have just waved your Cruise card around to pay for things all week, eventually the real money has to come out!

You have the option of using a credit card, a debit card or cash to pay your on-board account.

Paying by Cash:

If you want to pay your account by cash, you do this by depositing cash into your on-board account via the automatic teller machines or at the guest services desk. For some cruise-lines you can also deposit cash on-line before you cruise.

You can top up your cash account during the cruise, but if you run out of cash on your account your cruise card will be blocked.

Some ships will allow your on-board account to build up to a certain amount before you have to put cash on it, others will expect a minimum cash amount deposited to your account BEFORE your cruise card is activated.

Ships do have ATMs available to withdraw cash if you need to top up your account, but don’t rely on being able to withdraw cash this way as the machines can and do run out of cash or break down from time to time. 

If you want to pay your on-board account with cash, I would suggest you bring enough cash with you and just deposit it all onto your on-board account immediately.  You can withdraw any left-over cash from your on-board account at the end of your cruise if you don’t spend it all.

Paying by Credit/Debit Card:

If you elect to pay your on-board account with your credit or debit card, your bank account will be debited on the final morning of the cruise, so you don’t need to do a thing.

Just be aware that Cruise Lines use a PRE-AUTHORISATION system with YOUR BANK to ensure you have enough funds to cover your spending on-board.

Each day the cruise-line will put a HOLD on your Credit/Debit card for the amount you have spent.

At the end of the cruise the total of your on-board account is debited from your Bank account as one amount, and the ‘holds’ are released.

BUT, your bank can take up to 30 days to remove these ‘holds’ so it can appear as if you have been charged twice!  The holds will affect the balance of your account so make sure you have enough “extra” funds in your account to take the pre-authorisation holds into consideration.

Check the details with your bank before you cruise if this could be an issue for your bank balance.

Paying with a bit of Both:

Maybe you decided to put cash onto your on-board account to help you stick to a budget. But you’ve had such a great time you have blown your funds…  You can still go to guest services and add your credit/debit card to your on-board account to fund the rest of your cruise!

Sharing Accounts:

When you are setting up your on-board account you can nominate whether the account will cover just you, or several people.

Everybody still has their own Cruise card, but more than one cruise card can be allocated to an on-board account.

If you travel as a couple you can create ONE on-board account that both of your purchases will be added to.

If you have children you can add them to your on-board account, or you can create a separate account for them and also nominate a daily or total spending limit.

OBC:

If you book your cruise on a deal that includes On Board Credit (OBC) this will be added to your on-board account and be available to spend via your cruise card when you board the ship.

Your OBC will be used towards your account balance BEFORE any of your own funds are used.

Keeping an eye on your on-board account:

Using a cruise card to make purchases can be costly – cruise life is all fun and temptation & it’s very easy spend with a cruise card!

This is why many people choose to pay their on-board account with cash, maybe adding only what they have budgeted each day to stay accountable.

It is easy to keep a track of your account (if you want to).  Self-serve kiosks, guest services, in-room tv screens and some new ship ‘apps’ can all be accessed to show you a statement of your spending whenever you want.

We make a habit of checking our on-board account each day just to make sure it is accurate (and we are not going too crazy).  Sometimes mistakes do happen with charges appearing on your account that do not belong to you.  If you notice a discrepancy go straight to guest services, they are always very good at sorting these small issues out.

 

There you Go – It’s as Easy as:

1: Set up your on-board account

2: Select how you will pay

3: Spend away using your Cruise card!

Cruise card, Sea Pass, Sail & Sign Card - All You Need to Know

Cruise card?

Sea Pass?

Sail & Sign Card?

Same-Same, But Different!

Call it what you like but the Cruise card is the KEY to your cruise experience. Your GOLDEN TICKET!

Past cruisers will be familiar with the vocabulary, but for the first-timer here is some all-important information about that all-important item you will be presented with when you board your ship!

WHAT IS A CRUISE CARD/SEA PASS/SAIL & SIGN CARD:

Cruise Companies have neatly packaged the essentials into one small card.

Your Cruise card looks a lot like a credit card.  It will have a few things printed on it, for example your name and the dates of your cruise.

When you check in for your cruise you will be presented with your very own card (kids included). 

cruise card princess 

 

WHAT DOES THE CRUISE CARD DO:

  • The key (literally) to your stateroom:

Just like a hotel door, insert your cruise card to unlock your door.

There is no reference to your room number on the card (for security) and your card can only open the door of the stateroom you have been registered for. So, learn and remember your stateroom number before you board to avoid the embarrassing possibility of having to call guest services to find you your room after the excitement of the first night on-board.

  • Welcome to Cashless Cruising:

Put away your wallet, everything you want to pay for onboard is done with your cruise card!

When you board or during on-line check-in you will be asked to link a credit/debit card or deposit cash funds to your cruise card.  Your cruise card is then used for ALL transactions on-board.

Take Care – when you are not actually using your own cash or cards it can seem like you’re not spending real money!

  • Fashion Accessory:

You may wonder why your cruise card has a hole punched in one end?

Enter the Lanyard!  Not just a fashion accessory, a lanyard is an easy practical way to always have your card with you. Personalise your lanyard so you stand out from the crowd if you want, you can buy all sorts before you board the ship, or pick up a ship-branded one when you board.  One thing is for sure, you want to keep your cruise card with you wherever you go so the lanyard/card combo is THE fashion accessory to have on-board.

cruise card as fashion accessory 

  • Check yourself:

You can access your spending records from your Cruise card using the self-serve kiosks at any time. It is a good idea to check your account each day so that you can check what you have spent and make sure there are no charges that shouldn’t be there (yes it happens sometimes but guest services are always very good at sorting these out).  Just remember that whatever you have charged to your cruise card during your holiday, you WILL have to pay for on the day of departure!

(More about how Cruise card accounts work next week)

  • Who are You?

It’s easy to forget yourself on a wonderful cruise holiday, but the ship needs to know. They can keep tabs on you (so you don’t have to do it yourself!) via your Cruise card.

This is primarily used to monitor movement on and off the ship at your ports of call.  You MUST take your Cruise card with you to scan on and off the ship.  You don’t want them to forget about you, do you? 

Your Cruise card is embedded with a photograph of you - remember the photo they took as you checked in? It is not actually visible on the cruisecard, but when staff scan your card they will see your face to confirm you are you!

You can also use the Cruise card at guest services to make enquiries, staff will scan the card to bring up your details so they know who they are talking to.

  • Safety First:

You will find printed onto your Cruise card your “Muster Station”.  This is very important safety information and it is where you must go to in the event of an emergency.  This is a holiday, so the staff will help you every step of the way IF there is any emergency.  The only thing you must know is what your Muster Station is – and your Cruise card tells you!  Easy.

  • Another Drink?

If you have purchased a drink package your Cruise card will have a little sticker attached to show you are a member of the All-Inclusive Drinks Club. Once again, the Cruise card makes your holiday effortless.

cruise card package sticker 

  • Colour Matters (or does it)?

As you watch the parade of lanyards pass by, you may be wondering why some Cruise cards are different colours?  Why doesn’t everyone have the same colour card?  On some cruise lines this is a way of telling how many cruises a passenger has been on.  Various loyalty programs are available where status is gained as you accrue cruising days.  Your reward – a different coloured card!

Seriously, some programs do offer various perks for loyal passengers which is a great way for companies to reward good customers, but we probably don’t really need to have it flashed around our necks as a badge of honour, do we?

  • I left my brain at home?

If you do happen to misplace your Cruise card, head straight to guest services and report it missing.  They can cancel that card so someone else doesn’t rack up charges against you, then issue you with a new card. Don’t dilly-dally if you lose your card, get off to guest services immediately!

  • Brave New World:

Very new to the cruising market, but no doubt to overtake the humble Cruise card in the years to come is some new technology: Ocean Medallion (from Princess), WOWband (from RCI).  A wearable wristband or pendant that is loaded with all your essential information like the Cruise card but also so much more!

 

So that’s it – all you ever needed to know about the Cruisecard!

Be sure to have a lanyard ready to attach it to, sling it around your neck and your holiday has started!

 

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10 Reasons to Put "Travel More" on Your Resolution List in 2018

2018 Calender  

 

“So Long, Farewell, Auf Weidersehen, Goodbye”

Farewell 2017, Welcome 2018…

 

And so, another year ends – ahead lies 2018 – full of promise, new beginnings, projects and plans.

What do you think will 2018 bring?

One thing is certain: 2018 will go by in a flash, and we will be left wondering how it could have passed so quickly!

So, get out your new diary now!

Start making the plans you have been putting off – make the time to do the things that are important to you.

 

MarkTwain Quote Mermaids 

Did you know that “Travel More” is one of the most common New Year Resolutions made?

It is right up there with Losing Weight, Saving Money, Being Happier, Exercising More, Drinking Less, Finding a New Job….

MY TIP TO YOU:

Get TRAVEL MORE onto your Resolution List for 2018 – it’s going to be the most enjoyable resolution to Keep!!

There are so many good reasons to add “Travel More” to your New Year Resolutions in 2018.  Have you ever thought about all the things you gain when you travel?

10 Rewards of Travelling

  1. Health: Travelling reduces Stress.
  2. Relationships: Improve relationships by spending quality time together.
  3. Happiness: Increased pleasure in trying new things.
  4. Patience: Learning to accept things don’t always go to plan, but will still turn out ok.
  5. Friendships: Meeting new people from different walks of life.
  6. Knowledge: Developing a greater understanding of different cultures, places and people.
  7. Appreciation: Of what you have and what is important to you.
  8. Confidence: Getting out of your comfort zone is a sure way to develop confidence.
  9. Adaptability: Embrace opportunities to change plans, slow down, go off-the-beaten path.
  10. Perspective: Seeing and experiencing new places changes the way you think about life.

You can achieve so much when you travel – this is not just about the holiday. You will come away from your experience with more than just a bunch of photographs and souvenirs.

As your horizons expand, your natural curiosity and wonder about the world will continue to grow. Your desire to experience more, learn more and see more will only be satisfied with more – travel!

Travel is addictive – once you start you will want more. You will be determined and committed to making the travel plans happen. 

So this year, pick a place and go!  You won’t regret it!

This year TRAVEL MORE is at the top of Our Resolution List too.

We want to See, Feel, Live, Learn and Experience the world around us.

 

Go someplace youve never been before 

Last year, our new Travel Destination was Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu.  Santo is a beautiful Island filled with amazing sights and wonderful people.  Keep an eye out for a future blog post on this incredible destination.

What will our next new destination be in 2018….?  Find out later in the year!

Please share with us in the comments what your “someplace you’ve never been” was last year, or maybe what you would like it to be in 2018.

A Very Happy New Year to all our readers.  May 2018 be full of all the things that bring you Joy.

 

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Cruise Lines (and the Ships) that Cruise from Australia

Want to Know about Cruise Lines and the Ships that Visit Australia?

Cruising in Australia is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to holiday.

Almost 1.3 Million Australians took a cruise in 2016!  Were you one of them?  If not, you probably know someone who did!

Australians spent 12 million days at sea in 2016 (2016 Australian Cruise Industry Source Market Report). That’s a lot of beds and a lot of cocktails!

So what ships are taking all these lucky Passengers to exciting & exotic destinations within Australia and the surrounding Pacific Ocean?

Here is a list I have put together of the Cruise Lines and their Ships that you can jump onboard from Australia for your next holiday.

Most of the Ships below visit Australia during the “Cruising Season” between October & April.

But you will find some Companies (namely P&O and Princess) have Ships that cruise from Australian Ports all year round.

P&O Logo

Pacific Dawn          1546 Passengers

Pacific Jewel          1670 Passengers

Pacific Explorer    1998 Passengers

Pacific Eden           1260 Passengers

Pacific Aria             1260 Passengers

 

Princess Logo

Sea Princess                 2000 Passengers

Sun Princess                2000 Passengers

Diamond Princess     2702 Passengers

Golden Princess         2600 Passengers

Majestic Princess       3560 Passengers

 

RCI Logo

Ovation of the Seas             4180 Passengers

Explorer of the Seas           3114 Passengers

Radiance of the Seas          2146 Passengers

Voyager of the Seas            3114 Passengers

Carnival Logo

Carnival Spirit           2124 Passengers

Carnival Legend        2124 Passengers

Norwegian Logo

Norwegian Jewel                 2376 Passengers

Celebrity Logo

Celebrity Solstice                 2850 Passengers

Holland America Logo

Ms Maasdam                          1258 Passengers

Ms Noordam                          1924 Passengers

Cunard Logo

Queen Mary 2                        2705 Passengers

Queen Elizabeth                   2101 Passengers

Queen Victoria                      2083 Passengers

Azamara Logo

Azamara Journey               686 Passengers

Azamara Quest                    686 Passengers

 

THE CRUISE-LINE LOTTERY:

As well as the Ships listed above there may be other Cruise Lines that visit Australia and take on passengers as they pass through.  For example P&O UK has an Adults-only vessel that sometimes calls into Australian Ports during its Round-the-World tour.

Also bear in mind that year to year Cruise Lines will alter their arrangements, with ships re-deployed to different cruising ‘hot-spots’ around the world. So a Ship that calls Australia home one season may not be here the next.

For example, our largest Cruise-ship, RCI Ovation of the Seas will be saying goodbye to Australian Waters after next season.

Then there is the changing of the colours that goes on between Cruise Lines: buying and selling and swapping of Ships between Companies.

For example Princess' Dawn Princess was re-furbished this year and is now P&O’s newest member Pacific Explorer!

Each year Cruise-Lines publish their Cruising Schedules for the following season, so keep an eye out for these if you are interested in staying up to date with the ships that will serve the Australian Ports each season.

One thing is for certain:  If Aussies continue to embrace Cruising Culture as they have over the past few years our options of Cruise-Lines and Ships will only grow!

Happy Cruising Everyone!

 

Want to share your experiences with a particular ship or Cruise-Line?  We would love to hear your stories - comments welcome below.

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All Inclusive Cruising: An All Inclusive Holiday?

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The All-Inclusive Holiday – doesn’t it sound inviting?

The Cruising industry has been built on the foundations of the “all-inclusive holiday” and it is probably one of the reasons why cruising is so popular!

All Inclusive Cruising – What does it mean?

You pay one price before you go and everything is included….. Right?

Well….

Yes:

You can step on-board your ship and have a fun and satisfying holiday without spending an extra cent.

But No:

Cruise-lines will promote extras you can pay for to take your holiday to the next level… and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that little bit more out of their experience?

Its human nature to want more!

Of course these extras are all optional, so it is possible to cruise without any additional spending if you want to.  You may read stories of people who proudly state they didn’t spend a cent on their holiday and good on them if that’s what they enjoy!

The Key is not to confuse “All Inclusive Cruising” with “Everything is Included Cruising”.

It is worth noting that there are a few super-luxury cruise-lines that visit Australia that actually are “everything is included”.  Think Regent Seven Seas, Silverseas, Azamara, Seabourn – you will be paying a top-tier price for these cruises, but you can leave your wallet at home.

INCLUDED ON ALL CRUISE SHIPS

Your All-Inclusive Cruise Holiday will include the following things no matter what cruise-line or ship you choose:

  • Accommodation, including private bathroom.
  • Daily Servicing of your room.
  • All Main Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) in selected venues. Usually at least 2 different venues will be included – an a la carte restaurant and a buffet style restaurant.
  • Some drinks – just the basic tea/coffee, water (from a dispenser, not bottled), juice at breakfast, lemonade on some ships.
  • Various (not all) Entertainment and Activities.
  • Use of Swimming Pools, Spa Pools.
  • Entry into Bars, Pubs, Nightclubs.
  • Kids Club.

Bonus for Loyalty?

If you cruise enough you may also be entitled to some added inclusions courtesy of Ship Loyalty Programs.  Once you have a few cruises under your belt you may like to investigate the benefits to being loyal to a particular brand (if that’s your thing).

WHAT WILL COST EXTRA?

A couple of these items may seem mandatory for a good holiday but they will cost extra, so bear in mind these additional costs when you are budgeting for your holiday.

DRINKS - even if you don’t drink alcohol, chances are you might enjoy a specialty coffee or soft drink during your holiday.  You will need to purchase your drinks on a drink by drink basis or buy a package for your drinks.  Either way, you pay.

WIFI/INTERNET – Although many hotels these days include complimentary WIFI, you will have to pay for it on a cruise. You will need to sign up for a package (many different options on offer with varying costs) if you want internet access while you are on the ship.

LAUNDRY – whether at the self-serve laundrette (if available on board) or having it done, there will be a cost.

EXTRA FOOD – There is certainly no shortage of included food on any cruise-line, but you may want to partake in one of the specialty restaurants (often associated with celebrity chefs) that will attract a surcharge.  Depending on your ship, you may also have to pay extra for things like ice-creams, snacks from certain outlets and room-service menus.

EXTRA TAXES – Some ships (not all, so check with your cruise-line) have additional taxes on top of advertised prices.  Just be aware of this especially with your drinks bill.

FINDING A DEAL THAT INCLUDES MORE:

From time to time cruise lines will run promotions that package some “extras” into one nice neat bundle, further enhancing your “all-inclusive holiday experience”.

These offers are worth looking out for as you might get a great deal compared to paying for extras separately.

Common packages might add on “Free” drinks packages or WIFI or specialty dining.

Do a little homework though – you will usually pay more for your package price than you would for just the standard inclusions.  You need to make sure the deal you are getting is a savings for you compared to what you would normally spend!!

EXTRA EXTRA’S:

There are some great optional extras available on every ship, all designed to enhance your holiday (or take your money from you depending on how you feel about it)!

Every Ship will have different options, and these are usually advertised in the Daily Newsletter outlining all the activities available for a given day (both paid and included).

Some Things you might want to pay extra for:

  • Shopping.
  • Spa Treatments.
  • Cocktail making classes, Liquor Tasting.
  • Some adventure type activities.
  • Some fitness classes.
  • Professional Photographs.
  • Art Auctions.
  • Bingo and Casino.
  • Shore Tours.

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My Advice:

When you are deciding what cruise to take check what extra costs may be applicable to the sort of holiday you want.  Get an idea of what is included and what you might want to pay extra for.

Make the most of the included portions of your holiday, add on a couple of extras to take your experience up a notch, and have a fantastic time!

The web-sites of each Cruise-Ship Company are a great place to get information on inclusions:

P&O What's included

Royal Caribbean What's Included

Carnival What's Included

 

All Inclusive Cruising - You Decide.......

sunset on a cruise

Sensational Sea Views & Sunsets – Priceless!

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5 Top Tips To Help You Choose Your Cruise

So, you’ve decided that you want to do a Cruise?  How do you Choose your Cruise? Choices, Choices, Choices…..

Did you realise just how many options there are for cruising from Australia?

If you love to research and plan you will be in seventh heaven, but I know we’re not all like that and if you haven’t cruised before, the amount of information can be over-whelming.

How do you decide on the right Cruising Holiday for you?

Pacific Eden Komodo Island

 

Take a look below at the Top 5 Ways to Help You Choose Your Cruise:

 

1:            SHIP OR ITINERARY?      

Is your holiday about the ship as the destination, or is the ship a means for you to explore new destinations?

Some consider the ship and it’s amenities as the primary reason for choosing to cruise.

If this is you, you may want to spend a little more time delving into the differences between each Cruise-line and each individual ship.

However if your holiday is more about the places you will visit, I would be less inclined to worry about the nitty-gritty of ship comparisons.  Make a list of the places you would like to visit and then see what cruises can take you there.

 

2:            WHERE TO?

The most popular cruise destination from Australia is the Pacific Islands (mainly Vanuatu and New Caledonian islands) followed by cruises up to North Queensland, and to New Zealand in the summer. But there are also lesser travelled routes that might interest you.

Do you have a Passport?  Remember that any destination outside of Australia will require you to have a valid passport, so consider this when choosing your destination.

Also consider the time of year you want to cruise while you are considering destinations – will hot/humid weather during the wet season ruin your holiday dreams, or do you want to travel when the seas are warmest?  Whatever you do, don’t try to predict when the weather will be “best” or the seas will be “calmest” because we all know that Mother Nature will do what she wants when she wants!

 

3:            WHERE FROM AND HOW LONG?

How long do you have for your holiday? 

You can book a cruise that lasts anything from 2 days to over 100 days!  Most of us will be looking at the more common 7-14 night cruises, so choose the length of your holiday and you can immediately short-list your list of cruise options.

Where do you want to depart from?

By far the most common departure point for Australian Cruises is Sydney, but we don’t all live in Sydney, do we??  Are you happy to travel to Sydney to access a wider choice of cruises?

Brisbane also features cruise departures year-round.

Other departure points from Melbourne, Adelaide, Cairns and Perth (Fremantle) are not year-round so more limited.

 

4:            THE PRICE

What is your budget for your holiday?  This will play a huge part in deciding what cruise is right for you.

Remember to factor in other costs involved in the holiday (travel to the cruise, pre-or-post cruise accommodation, shore tours, spending money, extra costs on-board, parking fees) when you are determining your budget.

I have often heard quoted that $100 per person/per day as a great price for a cruising holiday (this is for the cost of the cruise only).  You may pay more than this (depending on the ship and cabin category you choose) or you may pay less (if you get a last minute bargain for example).

Don’t let others tell you what the right amount is to pay for YOUR holiday.  Set an amount that you are comfortable with and work on that for a start.

Use a good travel agent to help you find a cruise that fits your requirements and budget.

Know what is included in your fare as this will help you to set your budget more accurately.

 

5:            THE “BELLS & WHISTLES”

You should now have a good short-list of cruise options by going through stages 1-4 but what else is important to you?

Don’t be tempted to ask too many opinions of others as you will invariably find that everyone has a different view, and you will end up even more confused!

What Floats your Boat May Sink someone else’s Ship!

There are always going to be the little “extras” that may sway your vote one way or another.

Is there a particular feature of one ship that makes you really want to sail on her (eg a famous Chef restaurant you must try, or ice-skating for example)?

It may be the stateroom category or the size of the ship, it may be the included extras that you would have to pay for on another ship…

Just be aware of your individual “deal-breakers” and factor those into your decision.  Don’t try to compare and contrast every single aspect of every single cruise ship – you will never book a holiday if you try!

 

No matter what choice you make once you choose your cruise, you are in for a wonderful experience!

 

Join us in the following weeks to learn more about Choosing your Cruise – what’s included in a cruise, what Cruise Ships visit Australia and all the destinations available to cruisers from Australia!

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Useful Nautical Terms for Cruising - Get Ship-Shape before your Cruise!

Ahoy there readers!

When you head off on your South Pacific Cruise you will be hoping that you don’t need to Swab the Decks or Walk the Plank, but there are a few Nautical Terms that can come in handy when you Cruise!

A Cruise is no place for a Land-Lubber, so let’s get you Ship-Shape and you’ll be a Sea Dog before you know it!

Keeping it really simple, I’ve put together a list of some Helpful Nautical Terms for Cruising below so that when you board your ship you will feel right at home on the high Seas. 

THE MOST IMPORTANT NAUTICAL TERM FOR CRUISING:

IT’S A SHIP

This seems to be the most important word to get right…. Some people can be most put-out if you call that ship a boat.

When you cruise you are travelling on a SHIP (a cruise-ship or passenger-ship to be precise), not a BOAT.

What is the difference you may ask? 

Apparently it’s all about size – a ship is bigger than a boat, it is designed for Long Ocean voyages (rather than coastal or inland) and it has more than one deck.

Here is a Common Way to Remember the Difference:

A Ship can carry a Boat, but a Boat cannot carry a Ship.

 

 

THE OTHER HELPFUL NAUTICAL TERMS WHEN YOU CRUISE:

Bow (Prow)

The front of the ship.

Forward (Fore)

Towards the Bow/front of the ship.

Stern

The rear of the ship.

Aft

Towards the Stern/back of the ship.

Midships

The middle of the ship between fore & aft.

Port

The left side of the ship when you are facing forward.  You will see a red light at night.

*tip* I remember Port = Left as they both have 4 letters.

Starboard

The right side of the ship, when you are facing forward.  You will see a green light at night.

Heading

The direction the ship is heading.

About

Means changing the course or direction of the ship.

Gangway/Boarding

This is how you will enter the ship. 

You will be told what your boarding time is before you arrive at the Port.  You will board your ship via the Gangway.

Bridge

The command centre of the ship – located at the front so they can see where they are going.

Galley

The kitchen on the ship.  Where all the glorious food comes from.

Stateroom

Any private passenger cabin on a ship (so it doesn’t matter whether your room is inside, outside or a balcony it is still a stateroom).

Stateroom and cabin are used inter-changeably, but you will find most cruise-line literature will refer to your room as a Stateroom (just because it sounds fancier).

Muster Station

The place on the ship where you must meet in the event of an emergency (or as part of a drill to practice for the emergency).  Your Muster Station destination will be displayed in your stateroom.

Tender

The boats that are used to transfer passengers from the ship to land. 

When you have a Port day where the ship cannot tie up to a wharf, you will be taken to land via the ships tenders.

Captain

The person in command of the ship.  They are legally obliged to make the final decision on all aspects of the running of the ship.

Pilot

A specialist navigator that comes on board to help the ship through difficult areas.

Steward

Member of the crew that is responsible for personal services for passengers.  You will come across room stewards, bar stewards and dining room stewards – their job is to look after your needs.

League

A measurement sometimes used at sea.  One league is about 3 nautical miles.

Nautical Mile

A common measurement used at sea. One nautical mile is 1852 metres (6076 feet).

Leg

A portion of your voyage, between two points.

 

 

And now that you ‘Know the Ropes’ and ‘The Whole Nine Yards’ of Nautical Terms for Cruising we would like to wish you:

Fair Winds and following seas

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