This was our first and last VT cruise,  but at the time we did not know that trip advisor would shut down Virtual Tourist in just 3 months.
20 VT members had just enjoyed 5 fun loving, action packed days in and around Sydney including being involved in a major ferry crash the day before this cruise. Thank goodness none of us were severely injured,  although we were a little sore and bruised.
Here is our big boat.

We boarded around lunch so had plenty of time to get settled in and order that much desired cocktail.

Treshi from Sri Lanka joined us for cocktails

Right on sunset the ship horn sounded and we slowly departed.  This was hubby and my 2nd cruise.   First one was from Singapore in 2006. 
There were 10 VT'ers and probably double in VA's on this cruise.

4 were veteren cruisers - Ann, Charlie from Florida and Sue and Andy from Melbourne.
4 - first time cruisers - Gillian and Collin from UK and Albert and Andy from Canberra.
2 - 2nd time cruisers - Howie and I.

It was our first time however having a verandah.   Thanks to Ann.
Ann organised everything for us which was so nice and very much appreciated.
Thanks mate!!


Hubby and I like all sorts of holidays from camping through to 5 star luxury, beach holidays, wining and dining holidays, wildflower spotting, countryside driving, mountains, desert, anything off the beaten path and especially mixing with people from around the world.

We often hear of people that don't like cruising.  Most of them have never been on a cruise, so that to me is not a real informed decision. Yes, on a cruise you are confined to the ship, but there is no room for being bored.  There are so many activities to choose from to fill your day - trivia, beer pong, competitions, mini golf, water slides, a casino, shopping, professional pictures, dancing, nightly shows, kareoke etc.

Plus all of your accommodation, entertainment and food is included. The only thing you pay for is alcohol.  Mind you it is easy to spend a lot on grog.



First stop after 2 fun days of cruising - 
Isle of Pines.

We tendered here - which means that the cruise ship anchored off shore and we caught boats to the island.

Hubby and I watched the tender boats come in from our ship balcony.
But before that we checked out the first land sightings and this little boat with a couple of officials came up along side to accompany us to the island.

Ann, Charlie, Hubby and I found No.1 beer!!
And another local beer called Havannah.

Birgit from Berlin

A swim and a few beers including stunning beach views.

Ahhhh...... Paradise.  😀




Mare Island was my favourite.
We were greeted by a nice display of local music and dancing.

The stunning beach here was a 20min bus drive.  Some of the buses reminded me of old buses we used to go to school in a long time ago.

You wouldn't think that 1 beach would hold all of us from a big cruise ship, but I was able to find a cosy spot up the end near the rocks.

Here in mare, the locals were so friendly and welcoming.  You could buy food cooked fresh in little stalls

along the beach front.

Back at the tender spot, there were markets and a little café where we all met and had a No.1 whilst waiting for

our boat.  The beers on Mare are much cheaper than on the Isle of Pines.

Then watched some rock jumping.

Tomorrow, we set down at port in Noumea, capital of New Caledonia.



We were not fussed with checking out Noumea so had booked a nearby island trip.  Unfortunately the sea was a bit rough so the trip was cancelled.

What to do on noumea?
We had arrived early morning at port.  Buses met our cruise ship to take us into town.
There were loads of day trip touters.  We decided to purchase tickets for the hop on hop off bus which was much more reasonably priced than the day trips.

First stop.... Some beer tasting was in order to help us plan our day.

Following a few beer tastings and snack, we split up.  Hubby and I caught the bus to the next beach and had a quick swim followed by a leisurely stroll along the shops looking for a nice restaurant for lunch.
We found a cute little tappas restaurant.
Food here was good.  Service not in your face and we enjoyed a relaxed lunch and people watching.

Hubby and I headed back early giving ourselves plenty of time to board the ship.
We heard that some didn't leave enough time and had to catch taxis who charged over double the price for the trip which had to be paid otherwise the other option was to miss the boat.

Noumea was ok, but Mare and the Isle of Pines were much better.  In fact, if planning a cruise to the islands of the South Pacific, I think that Fiji and Vanuatu would probably be a better option.



Just 2 more days of cruising and our big VT meet was sadly coming to an end.
The following are a few happy memories of some of the fun times.

Last morning we woke up to find the ship already in port in Sydney.
I found this gorgeous morning view of the Opera House a fitting end to our big adventure.


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