Friday, May 20, 2016

10 DAYS @ Sea on board P&O Aria

Such an amazing time was had by us all.... a family holiday really is special when it includes 3 generations. The P & O Aria was just the perfect size, the Melanesian Islands were the perfect location.

I have over 500 photos... so I am going to try and share just the special ones from each of the days we had at sea. OK so it may be more than one per day.

Day 1

It was the hugest of weekends for us and to arrive home from 2 full days of markets to be up and ready to leave by 11am was a huge task, but we did it and celebrated on board with a drink to prove we did it.

Sailing off into the ocean with sun setting, it really was all about turning off and relaxing and as exhausted as we were boarding the ship, all those worries just seemed to float away. It was helped with a few drinks and listening to live music, in the Blue Lounge with some Jazz to the Mix Bar and Pianist Anthony Quimby.
I promised the two younger boys that I would see them at sunrise, my first cruise I did the first night all night till sunrise... so this was my plan. Alas once they disappeared little did we all know it was too bed for them before midnight but I did make it till 1am, but set my alarm after reading the daily news for the sunrise at 6.... hehe the boys were up at 4.30 awaiting me.... I made it in time and it was beautiful, I think I saw every sunrise except one on this trip... it really is the best part of the day.

Day 2

Essentials, sunrise, coffee, bingo, comfy spot to sit and watch the world sail by. Followed by Dinner at Angelo's. Followed by cocktails and live music, can you see the pattern forming.

Day 3

Such a hard life, coffee, bingo, watching the world just float by, soaking in the sun, even fitted in a touch of stitching today. Dinner at the Waterfront, followed by yes, more cocktails and live music.Oh and the cruise signature towel art... tonight's turn down featured the elephant.

 Day 4

Today saw us with our first port stop in Noumea. It is described as a touch of France in the South Pacific, and that's exactly it. After disembarking together all 10 of us and having the obligatory group photo port side. We then began the follow the leader walk through to the local markets what a laugh... it was a very long winded walk, passing by some pretty unusual sights , but we got there in the end. After the markets, it was decided that the Smith's, Joe, Bianca and Dylan should do the bus or the yellow chou chou train around the island taking in the sights, the rest of us had already done this on our last visits. We parted ways leaving Mum, Dad, Brian and Myself to browse the shops, on the hunt for a little Parisian cafe/pastry. Alas it seems we took one turn to soon and missed it but we did find a fabric shop instead. 

Of all the things Brian and Dad found it hilarious... No I didn't buy fabric but some beautiful vintage looking buttons did happen into my purchases along with a couple of dresses, that once back on ship we realised were actually made in Italy. Mum and Dad, then went back on board the ship. Brian and I sat under a tree pondering the afternoon, before deciding a hop on hop bus at $15 each was going to show us a part of the island we hadn't seen last trip. We chose to hop off at the Baie De Citron/ Lemon Bay, a perfectly sheltered bay of white sand and calm water just the thing to cool us off. Before getting back on the bus wet like most of the other tourists.

The Afternoon was spent in what was to become my favourite afternoon location... the Blue Lounge, think quiet, dark, secluded, plenty of coffee... a good book and you could find Bianca and I here having our afternoon Coffee (yes with Alcohol) our Book, some stitching and I think we may have even converted into a nail salon one afternoon.

Ending the big day off ship with afternoon cheeseboard and champagne, and a cocktail or two before dinner with the family  at the Dragon Lady tonight.

  Day 5

Mystery Island today, small uninhabited island. No roads, no shops, and no stress....enough said I think. 
Of course the only place to have a Tequila Sunrise on the Beach, after some snorkelling.

 Ending the day with a White Party.... life really was blissful.

 Day 6

Villa an action packed day, began with the Ocean Walk for the four of us, followed by the boys heading off on an extreme sports afternoon, whilst Bianca and I chilled in the sun, reading, drinking, relaxing, you get the idea.... ending the night with another show... spectacular.

Day 7

Isle of Lifou in New Caledonia. just stunning, limestone caves, white beaches, coral reefs filled with marine life. We toured the Vanilla House, such a long process for the one bean... I now understand the justified prices. 

 An island steeped in history and traditions.
This was my view, after an attempt at a swim but the sea snakes scared me out of the water... whilst Brian and the younger adults, climbed a mountain, rode bicycles and jumped off cliffs into hidden caves, back on board the ship and a  late lunch, prawns and a beer, don't mind if I do...followed by a little on board Pandora shopping, Dinner at Angelo's and tonight's towel animal - the rabbit.

Day 8

Early morning deck walks enjoying another sunrise. Table of 10 for Breakfast...this was an effort most mornings.

Hair braiding filling in time whilst we wait for the charter to Isle of  Pines, whitest of white sand. We lost Brian to the snorkelling bug here, it just was so pretty.

 Our big dinner at Luke Mangan"s Salt Grill, just an amazing meal that we all really enjoyed.

 Followed by another amazing live show.

Day 9 

Its sad when a day at sea means we are headed home... and the weather started to change today's sunrise was a little sombre. A day of rest and relaxing. Gatsby Party tonight, Dinner and a Show. Our last Towel Creation the dapper Penguin.

Day 10

Headed Home, a day of cocktails... 

Watching the sunrise on Day 11... sailing into our amazing harbour...

Dream Big
Travel Often.
Be Rebellious.
Fall in Love.
Speak the Truth.
Spend all your money.
Work HARD.
Stay Weird.

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