Islands: The Innocents Abroad Chapter 2

Updated on November 6, 2018
Jodah profile image

John always loved to travel but until recently most of that has been within Australia. A recent cruise has ignited a flame to see more.

A beach at Lifou (The Loyalty islands) New Caledonia
A beach at Lifou (The Loyalty islands) New Caledonia | Source

Like No Place On Earth

The message/logo on the back or stern of the Pacific Aria says "LIKE NO PLACE ON EARTH" and although each aspect has similarities to amenities, theatre shows, movies, swimming pools, health and beauty spas, fine dining venues, and casinos in cities on the mainland, having them all so easily accessible in one place and in easy walking distance is something unique to a cruise ship.

In the initial article of The Innocents Abroad I concluded on the first day at sea after unpacking our luggage and resting before our first dinner reservation. So, I will resume from the point of having rested and dressed for dinner. On the cruise ship, casual attire such as sleeveless shirts, swimwear, sandals etc is allowable up until 5.00pm but after that time casual formal wear is required (except around the pool.)

We were dressed and ready to go out an hour before our dinner booking so we decided to go to the Photo Gallery and book and Internet package for the entirety of the cruise. There were a number of packages available, however, the ship relies solely on satellite Internet and with 1500 passengers, many using the Internet speeds and connectivity are not optimal.

They were running a special if signed up on the first day..unlimited access for $75 for seven days at sea (normally $95) so we paid for that to allow us a chance to keep in contact with friends and family at home etc. The Internet quality would have to be the low point of the cruise, however, with most Internet sites being often inaccessible, and basically, only Facebook and Messenger being able to be used (except for very early morning or late at night when others were sleeping.)

Maybe this will be improved in the future, however my advice is unless you really need it, don't bother unless you take a basic package of 250 megabytes or just social media access which are cheaper.

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The stern of the Pacific Aria."LIKE NO PLACE ON EARTH"The Ship in dock, Noumea
The stern of the Pacific Aria."LIKE NO PLACE ON EARTH"
The stern of the Pacific Aria."LIKE NO PLACE ON EARTH"
The Ship in dock, Noumea
The Ship in dock, Noumea | Source

Food Glorious Food: a Glutton's Paradise

The "all meals included in the fare price" option is one of the big attractions of cruise ships and there are more than enough options to choose from (from my point of view) without the need to dine at The Captains Table or at one of the exclusive restaurants. On this cruise ship this was the Salt Grill run by celebrity chef Luke Mangan. However, that option is there for those a little more cashed up than my wife and I.

We had the choice of the Waterfront Restaurant (modern Australian cuisine and catering for breakfast. lunch and dinner), The Dragon Lady (a blend of Asian food..Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese etc), and Angelo's (fine Italian dining). Then, if you wanted more informal dining The Pantry was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and no bookings were necessary.

We chose The Waterfront for the first night and the food there was a great introduction to what we could expect. The best part is that you don't have to wait for or pay a bill at the end of your meal, and no tipping is required (at least on cruises originating in Australia.)

For my wife an I each meal was more than satisfying and included entree, main, and dessert. However, for the true glutton there was nothing stopping them booking one restaurant for 6 pm, another for say 7.30 pm , and one for 9 pm. That sounds very extreme, but I am sure there are some that would consider it. There were some very big people on board.

After dinner we just went out on deck to enjoy the refreshing sea breeze and marvel at the vastness and peaceful solitude of the ocean.

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The PantryWaterfront Restaurant fare
The Pantry
The Pantry | Source
Waterfront Restaurant fare
Waterfront Restaurant fare | Source

Day 2. First Full Day at Sea

The bed was so comfortable we both slept soundly. I would say like babies, but when I think about it many babies wake up crying during the night. A knock on the door by our friendly cabin stewards Flor and Maity (both Filipino) woke me, but they happily said they would return later. These guys were wonderful and told us not to hesitate in contacting them if we had any problems with the room etc.

We did have one problem. The air conditioner in our room was set too high and couldn't be adjusted. We told Flor this when he returned to clean the room and make the bed and he went away and returned with a fan. Not long after a technician returned with a gauge to test the air con and confirmed it was a little too hot. Then my wife received a phone call from reception apologizing for the faulty air con and saying they were giving us a voucher for a bottle of wine up to the value of $45.

(Later, on the second last day of the cruise we found an envelope on our door containing a letter informing us that $50 had been credited to each of our on board accounts as further restitution. This was all beyond our expectations.)

Each morning, the room stewards deliver an itinerary of ship board activities for the day so guests can choose what they want to partake of. We looked through it. and believe me, if you want you don't have to have one spare minute. We are a little too old to go non-stop, and Kathy's fibromyalgia restricts her somewhat. However we had always wanted to see the movie "the Greatest Showman" and it was showing at the cinema, so after breakfast at The Pantry we went there. It was well worth it and would have to rate as one of the best movies either of us had seen.

That was followed an hour later by a stage show in the Marque theatre called 'Sideshow Alley' which had a similar theme and was an incredible production.

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Sideshow AlleyStage Production: Sideshow Alley
Sideshow Alley
Sideshow Alley | Source
Stage Production: Sideshow Alley
Stage Production: Sideshow Alley | Source
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By the time the show finished it was time to eat again, so it was off to The Pantry again where the choice of food changes for each meal of the day. After eating, we sat on the Lido pool deck for awhile relaxing and listening to music played by a DJ.

Other activities included free beauty and health seminars, bingo, name that tune, trivia, deck quoits, boche, duty-free shopping, casino, piano bar jam sessions, adult remote control car racing, extreme sports like an obstacle course, flying fox, and rock climbing at The Edge on the top deck.

By this time we needed a rest, again, call it a nanny nap if you must, before preparing for dinner once again. This time we would be dining at The Dragon Lady. This dynamic Asian restaurant provided a mysterious oriental environment and the food consisted of many dishes most of us would never have tried before. It was an enjoyable dining experience, and although the food wasn't my favourite, it was interesting to try new things and the cocktails were to die for.

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Dragon LadyThe Dragon Lady RestaurantSuperb Oriental CuisineMore Asian Fine FareTantalizing Cocktails
Dragon Lady
Dragon Lady | Source
The Dragon Lady Restaurant
The Dragon Lady Restaurant
Superb Oriental Cuisine
Superb Oriental Cuisine | Source
More Asian Fine Fare
More Asian Fine Fare | Source
Tantalizing Cocktails
Tantalizing Cocktails | Source
Pacific Island Hopper route
Pacific Island Hopper route | Source

Day 3. Noumea: Our First Island Stopover

Day three was to be the ship's first island stopover at Noumea, and we were up early as I had booked a shore tour of the city sights and aquarium to commence at 10.30 am. New Caledonia's capital and situated on the main island of Grande Terre.

Disembarking the ship on this occasion was not the most pleasant experience as many people, being inexperienced cruislings like ourselves, gathered on deck three not wanting to miss their shore tour deadlines. The lifts were packed like sardines and this was inconvenient as my wife Kathy needs to use a walker most of the time. We ended up having to take the stairs, Kathy struggling and me carrying the walker. It was a slow process and a number of tours were delayed due to people not being able to exit the ship on time. It was also a long walk to the carpark of the Gare Maritime Terminal where we had to meet the bus.

Noumea boasts the atmosphere and ambience of a bustling, sophisticated provincial French town combined with the friendly charm, adventure and lovely climate of the Pacific Islands. To me, the beach-side esplanade, shops, cafes etc looked very much like a typical Australian seaside village or town.

The tour guide on our bus actually turned out to be an Aussie and as we travelled he gave an interesting account of Noumea's history, the current lifestyle etc. The bus could not take it's usual route through the city because a number of roads were closed due to it being the monthly 'children's bicycle day' when roads are closed so that children can be free to ride their bike safely without the fear of traffic.

One thing we noticed was the proliferation of small cars on the roads and in car parks. The tour guide, Roy, told us that these cars for underage drivers. Apparently, and somewhat worryingly they are allowed to drive these small engined vehicles to get driving practice before they are actually old enough to obtain a licence.

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Approaching NoumeaThe tug boat that towed us into harbourLooking back at the ship from our busTchou Tchou trainChou chou TrainNoumean SunsetCanon at the lookout, NoumeaCentre Jean-Marie Tjibaou,(Cultural Museum)Noumea's main tourist strip
Approaching Noumea
Approaching Noumea | Source
The tug boat that towed us into harbour
The tug boat that towed us into harbour | Source
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Looking back at the ship from our bus
Looking back at the ship from our bus | Source
Tchou Tchou train
Tchou Tchou train
Chou chou Train
Chou chou Train | Source
Noumean Sunset
Noumean Sunset | Source
Canon at the lookout, Noumea
Canon at the lookout, Noumea | Source
Centre Jean-Marie Tjibaou,(Cultural Museum)
Centre Jean-Marie Tjibaou,(Cultural Museum)
Noumea's main tourist strip
Noumea's main tourist strip

Aquarium des Lagons

The main part of the tour was a visit to 'Aquarium des Lagons' and, for me, this was the highlight of my visit to Noumea. We had 45 minutes to spend here but we needed every one of those to see all the amazing sea life, including many species of fish, sea snakes, starfish, seahorse, and beautiful fluorescent corals many of which are raised from polyps in the aquarium itself.

The Aquarium's designer travelled around Australia and New Zealand to view other aquariums to incorporate the best aspects of all those into this one in Noumea.

One tank even contained the remarkable living fossil the Nautilus. It is a cousin of the squid but unlike its colour-changing cousin, the soft-bodied Nautilus lives inside a hard external shell.

The only rule at the aquarium was that you were not allowed to take flash photos. That made it difficult to capture some creatures such as the Nautilus.

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Aquarium des LagonsStone FishLuminous CoralBanded Sea SnakeMoray EelStar FishCrown of Thorns StarfishSea horsesThe incredible NautilusBeautiful coral
Aquarium des Lagons
Aquarium des Lagons | Source
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Stone Fish
Stone Fish | Source
Luminous Coral
Luminous Coral | Source
Banded Sea Snake
Banded Sea Snake | Source
Moray Eel
Moray Eel | Source
Star Fish
Star Fish | Source
Crown of Thorns Starfish
Crown of Thorns Starfish | Source
Sea horses
Sea horses | Source
The incredible Nautilus
The incredible Nautilus | Source
Beautiful coral
Beautiful coral | Source
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Source

Interesting History

Our tour guide was a hive of information in relation to Noumea's rich history, and there was far too much for me to go into here. However, I encourage you to do a Google search and I guarantee you will find it interesting.

A couple of things I will mention are that Noumea once was a South Pacific base for the US Military during WWII, and they had a big influence on the city. Some of the streets and districts still bear names associated with the military operation that took place in the are e.g. Artillery, Receiving, Motor Pool St. etc. Some signs of US military occupation is still evident in a number of buildings that they constructed.

We were also informed that the French Government's solution for populating the city with French nationals and establishing local government and businesses in Noumea was to offer French public servants double their wages to move to the island colony. They also offered double the normal pension to retirees who chose to move there and help boost the economy.

Our Lady's Grotto, Notre Dame Du Pacifique

Our coach tour took us to this outdoor Catholic worship space on top of a hill overlooking one of the many bays of Noumea. We were asked to be respectful.

There is a large statue of the Virgin Mary gazing down on the city. The pleasant path leading around the site takes you past the Stations of the Cross. Each of the Stations has a charming, brightly coloured hand-modelled depiction of the particular moment in the day of Christs's crucifixion. Many locals still use it as a quiet outdoor place to go and pray.

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Our Lady's Grotto, Notre Dame Du PacifiqueNotre Dame Du Pacifique, NoumeaNotre Dame Du PacifiqueOne of the 12 Stations of Christ, Notre Dame Du Pacifique
Our Lady's Grotto, Notre Dame Du Pacifique
Our Lady's Grotto, Notre Dame Du Pacifique | Source
Notre Dame Du Pacifique, Noumea
Notre Dame Du Pacifique, Noumea | Source
Notre Dame Du Pacifique
Notre Dame Du Pacifique | Source
One of the 12 Stations of Christ, Notre Dame Du Pacifique
One of the 12 Stations of Christ, Notre Dame Du Pacifique | Source
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Back Aboard

So, our time at Noumea had come to an end. It was around 2.00 pm when we headed back to the ship. There were a number of other shore tours at various times or people could choose to go off on their own to explore the island and find their own way back.

Tours arranged by the ship are recommended because they do a passenger check so you are guaranteed to get back on time and don't risk the ship leaving without you. Some people prefer to do their own thing and see the 'real' island local culture rather than the usual tourist attractions.

My wife can't walk far without tiring and 3 1/2 hours on the island was more than enough for her to handle physically. In hindsight, I probably should have chosen to take a Tchou Tchou Train instead of the coach so Kathy didn't have to climb in and out the steps of the bus, and the seats on the train were roomier. We were rather cramped. That said though, we still greatly enjoyed the tour.

Every time you re-board the ship you have to have your passenger card scanned, and then your body and bags, like any airport.

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KRe-boarding the AriaThe ship’s elevators
KRe-boarding the Aria
KRe-boarding the Aria | Source
The ship’s elevators
The ship’s elevators | Source

Back on the boat, we went to lunch and then retired to our cabin for a short rest before dinner, this time at Angelo's Italian restaurant.

Our first time the restaurant we were to share a table with another couple. They were newly married and this cruise was their honeymoon. We had an enjoyable meal and pleasant conversation. It's funny how after you have met someone you seem to keep encountering them. We must have run into them three more times at different places on the ship.

After dinner, we stopped at the Shore Tours Desk to book a tour for the next day at Lifou for myself and one for us both for Port Vila, Vanuatu.

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Easo Beach from the Notre Dame de Lourdes chapelNotra Dame de Lourdes
Easo Beach from the Notre Dame de Lourdes chapel
Easo Beach from the Notre Dame de Lourdes chapel
Notra Dame de Lourdes
Notra Dame de Lourdes

Day 4. Lifou (The Loyalty Islands): New Caledonia

This would be the first day that Kathy and I would spend apart. Because Lifou is a mostly undeveloped and unspoiled island and has very clear and shallow waters, the cruise ship had to dock quite a way offshore and passengers were transferred by tender boat to the pier at Lifou.

Getting on and off the tender boats and walking the jetty required a good level of fitness and no room for a mobility walker. This meant Kathy couldn't partake of a shore tour of this island, but she said no to let that stop me. So, I booked the Rainforest Walk and Secret Grotto tour, and I'm glad I did. It was one of the highlights of the voyage.

I had to meet the tender boat at 9.30 am, so I rose early to have breakfast and bring some back to the cabin for Kathy. We agreed that as she missed out on the tour she could go to the Health and Beauty Spa, Elemis, and book a treatment of some sort. Ships usually offer discounts on days when the ship is docked at a stopover, so there was a '$50 off' voucher if she used it there today.

It was time to depart, so I said goodbye and made my way to catch a tender boat. The sea was a little choppy so the crew decided to only half fill each boat but I got on the second one and it was only about ten minutes to transfer from the ship to shore.

Walking along the jetty to the island you are accosted by pirates... well, not real pirates but little Lifouans dressed as pirates crying "Arrrrhhh....ahoy there!' They encourage the visitors to have photos taken with them.

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Lifou from the ship anchored offshoreTender boatsTourists near huts where locals are braiding hairMeeting our tour guidestraditional totem poles are dotted through the island
Lifou from the ship anchored offshore
Lifou from the ship anchored offshore | Source
Tender boats
Tender boats | Source
Tourists near huts where locals are braiding hair
Tourists near huts where locals are braiding hair | Source
Meeting our tour guides
Meeting our tour guides | Source
traditional totem poles are dotted through the island
traditional totem poles are dotted through the island

Some Facts About Lifou

First discovered by the Frenchman Dumont d’Urville in 1857, it was soon visited by whalers and traders and became a destination for Protestant and Catholic Missionaries out to save the local populations' souls. In 1864 the islands were annexed by France who in turn established it as an Aboriginal Reserve as it was not believed suitable for extensive colonization.

Lifou Island is irregular in shape,81 km long and 16 to 24 km wide. The island is flat with no hills or rivers but has abundant vegetation, dense interior jungles, fertile soils, terraced cliffs and breathtaking reefs and corals.

By PUJOLLE SYLVAIN - Own work (personal work), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2140675
By PUJOLLE SYLVAIN - Own work (personal work), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2140675 | Source

The Island is a former coral atoll that was part of a submerged volcano. Nearly 2 million years ago, the island was uplifted to its present shape and elevation. Since there are no rivers on Lifou, the water comes from rain that seeps through the calcareous soil and forms freshwater ponds.

With its rich Pacific waters fish including crab, lobster, and turtle are in abundance, along with typical food animals such as goat, pig and chicken. Crops include coconut, banana, taro, sweet potato, yam and vanilla. The French introduced coffee.

Tourism is a major industry on the island. Chief exports include copra, rubber, vanilla and sugarcane.

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Eddy, our Rain forest guide
Eddy, our Rain forest guide
Eddy, our Rain forest guide | Source
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Rain Forest Walk and Secret Grotto

We met our tour buses in the car park and they took us to the various venues around the island.

The most popular tourist activity on Lifou Island is snorkelling because of the clear waters and abundant coral and sea life close to shore. Quite a few visitors chose to walk to the various beaches or just sight see on foot, but my tour to the rain forest and grotto was about a ten-minute drive so would have been too far to walk there and back.

We were introduced to our guide Eddy, who was funny, and very knowledgeable. He explained what the different types of trees and plants in the rain forest were traditionally used for and gave demonstrations of traps used for hunting wild boar, birds, coconut crabs etc.

Eddy said "Lifou" actually means "crazy" so the island is really "Crazy Island" and all the islanders "Crazies."

We walked quite a long way and had to watch our footing because of tree roots, rocks etc but it was so interesting I didn't really notice. Also, we did keep stopping to view the various trees and so Eddy could demonstrate or explain their use.

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Eddy demonstrating hunting/trapping techniquesStrangler Fig or Banyan TreeBromeliads everywhereTree Fern
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Eddy demonstrating hunting/trapping techniques
Eddy demonstrating hunting/trapping techniques | Source
Strangler Fig or Banyan Tree
Strangler Fig or Banyan Tree | Source
Bromeliads everywhere
Bromeliads everywhere | Source
Tree Fern
Tree Fern | Source

Eventually, we arrived at the entrance to the grotto, an underground cave network, and climbed down inside to explore. It was very cool underground and stalactites hung down from the cave ceiling in places.

Coconut crabs live in some of the caves during the day as they are nocturnal and come out at night. They can grow to 3 or 4 kilograms in weight and crush coconut shells with their claws so can easily crush a person's hand.

Eddy said a certain creature lived in one of the caves but didn't reveal what, then told us to close our eyes and he would bring it out. When we opened our eyes he had placed it on the ground in front of the group. It was a coconut crab and a couple of little children near it became scared.

When he placed the crab on it's back, however, it went to sleep so everyone had the opportunity to hold it, including me. It was only a small one anyway. Even the children were ok with it eventually.

When we finished the tour, Eddy led us back to his home when his mother served us homemade lemonade under a thatched roof pergola, before heading back to the jetty. This tour was an experience I will remember for a long time.

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The GrottoInside the grottoTrapping Coconut CrabsPass the Coconut CrabMy friend the crabTraditional round grass hut.  most of the native people now live in basic houses, but a number still have kept the original huts on their land as well.
The Grotto
The Grotto | Source
Inside the grotto
Inside the grotto | Source
Source
Trapping Coconut Crabs
Trapping Coconut Crabs | Source
Pass the Coconut Crab
Pass the Coconut Crab | Source
My friend the crab
My friend the crab | Source
Traditional round grass hut.  most of the native people now live in basic houses, but a number still have kept the original huts on their land as well.
Traditional round grass hut. most of the native people now live in basic houses, but a number still have kept the original huts on their land as well.

Farewell Lifou and the Loyalty Islands

We thanked Eddy and bid him farewell, then boarded our buses which were waiting to collect us and we went back to Easo Beach Jetty to catch a tender boat back to the ship.

There was a long line up of people already on the jetty but it was a pleasant enough water the water was so clear we could watch turtles and fish swimming among the coral. Some people chose to stay longer and browse the market stalls that had been specially set up by the villages to meet this cruise.

My time on Lifou had been short but enjoyable, now it was time to head back to the ship and see what the remainder of the cruise would hold.

I had planned on this being the final chapter but my plans rarely work out as expected and with the word count already approaching 4000 I had to call and end to this article. Never fear, I promise the next will conclude the journey’s account and cover our final island stopover, Port Vila, Vanuatu.

(...TO BE CONTINUED...)

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Market stalls set up especially to cater for the cruise tourists. These will be dismantled afterwards.The line of people waiting on the jetty for a tender boat to return them to the ship.Arriving back at the ship
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Market stalls set up especially to cater for the cruise tourists. These will be dismantled afterwards.
Market stalls set up especially to cater for the cruise tourists. These will be dismantled afterwards. | Source
The line of people waiting on the jetty for a tender boat to return them to the ship.
The line of people waiting on the jetty for a tender boat to return them to the ship. | Source
Arriving back at the ship
Arriving back at the ship | Source

Off the Shelf

The novel title I chose off the shelf this time was Island’ by Richard Laymon. This one is in the horror/pycho thriller genre so as far removed from the account of my cruise as possible, but the name suited so that is why it was selected.

’From the journal of upert Conway, castaway: “Today the yacht exploded. Fortunately all of us had gone ashore to have a picnic on this island, so we didn’t get blown to smithereens. All of us, that is, except Prince Wesley...’

To find out more of the story and who Prince Wesley was you will need to read the book...awww.

Richard Laymon is an American author of more than 20 acclaimed novels and a host of short stories. He has a BA and MA in English Literature and worked as a school teacher, librarian, and report writer for a law firm before becoming a full time writer.

His novel Flesh was named best horror novel of 1998 by Science Fiction Chronical and also shortlisted for the coveted Bram Stoker Award.

Island by Richard Laymon
Island by Richard Laymon | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 John Hansen

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      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        17 hours ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Genna, the variety of food choices as well as the entertainment was mind-blowing. Yes, the itinerary was a big help. We would have needed two weeks onboard to do everything. Thank you for reading.

      • Genna East profile image

        Genna East 

        18 hours ago from Massachusetts, USA

        Hi John...

        I listened to Sail Away while I read your article..beautiful. I was amazed at all of the choices for dining and shipboard activities...and to have an itinerary delivered to you and Kathy each morning was so helpful. Your photos and well-written descriptions of the Noumea and Lifou tours make this cruise all the more inviting. :-)

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        6 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi PoetikalyAnointed, thank you for following this adventure. Yes, the cruise cuisine was amazing.

      • PoetikalyAnointed profile image

        PoetikalyAnointed 

        6 days ago from US

        This was another fun and informative adventure that I enjoyed experiencing with you.

        Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. I love exciting adventures like this and I'm grateful for this opportunity to live it out vicariously through you.

        Might I say that THE Best part of cruises is the Cuisine!lol

        Part 3 awaits!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        8 days ago from Queensland Australia

        I am glad you found this an interesting account of our travels Chitrangada. I am also happy we took so many photos that I was able to share. It was a great experience.

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 

        8 days ago from New Delhi, India

        Another interesting article about your wonderful travel experience. Your pictures are immensely beautiful and gives an idea about the beautiful places, you have visited. It’s such a great way to preserve sweet memories, that is write it down with pictures. And you did this so well.

        Thanks for sharing your beautiful travel experience, in the lovely company of your wife.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        Hey, Flourish, too much eating if you want the truth. I think I put on a few pounds in the week, even though I did plenty of walking. To me the Aria was huge, but apparently, it is one of the smallest ships in the fleet. To say it has everything on board is not a lie. Thanks for following this voyage.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 weeks ago from USA

        That ship is big and seems to have everything on it that you need. I enjoyed reading about your excursions and looking at your photos. Seems like there is a whole lotta eating!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you, manatita. Everyone needs to at least go on one cruise in their lifetime I feel. It really is like no other holiday. I am glad you enjoyed my account of the voyage so far and hopefully I can publish the final part soon.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you for taking your time to read and take this in Rinita. Yes, Lifou was my favourite so far. Much more unspoit than Noumea. I am glad you are enjoying the account f the voyage so far, and I am sure you will love Vanuatu (which I cover in the next final chapter) as well. I was worried that the length of these articles may frighten readers off, and that does seem to be the case from the number of comments, but that doesn’t matter. I needed to write an account.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        2 weeks ago from london

        This is a very beautiful ship and sea, John. You have also applied some diligence to detail here in a very interesting way, suitable to those like me, who may feel tempted to do a cruise sometime.

        Some 'sweet' adventure details and a very beautiful beach. Sorry about your wife's restrictions. Life can throw up these things sometimes. Overall you seemed to have had some fun. Great!

      • Senoritaa profile image

        Rinita Sen 

        2 weeks ago

        I am late to comment because I took my time to go through this chapter. Did me good to not rush through your amazing journey. Lifou was by far my favorite of all your destinations, and I am glad you decided to go for it. Awaiting the final piece of this extraordinary account.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you for taking the time to read this Sean. I always dreamed of visiting Greece and the Greek Islands but they were too far out of reach so I took the opportunity to take this cruise and visit some islands a little closer to home. I am glad I did, it was a wonderful experience. I am glad you enjoyed sharing the journey.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you so much, Liz. We took so many photos so I thought I may as well share them. Glad the information is helpful too.

      • Sean Dragon profile image

        Ioannis Arvanitis 

        2 weeks ago from Greece, Almyros

        My dear brother, John, thank you for this opportunity to know and see - through your marvellous photos - places that are so far away of my reach! You 've made it entertaining! I am looking forward to the next part...

        Gratitude!

        Sean

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        2 weeks ago from UK

        This is a great hub, packed with useful information combined with helpful insights and crammed with great photos.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you, Linda. It was great, now to try and save for the next cruise :)

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        2 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

        This is another very enjoyable article. Thanks for sharing some more of your experiences on the cruise. It sounds like you and Kathy had a wonderful time.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        Thanks for reading Linda, glad you are enjoying the trip. The ship actually accommodated about the same number of people as are in my town so, to me, that is big. The aquarium was amazing. My wife took so many videos there, it is a pity we can’t share them unless they have been placed on YouTube.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        I m glad I have managed o keep the account tinteresting enough Shauna, I am sure the photos help to do that, and I still have plenty for he next chapter...only one more. Yes, the ship is huge, but apparently this is one of the smaller ones in the fleet.

      • Carb Diva profile image

        Linda Lum 

        2 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        What a fun trip. Despite the lack of flash, your photos from the aquarium are mesmerizing, beautiful. It looks like you and your wife found a little bit of paradise.

        By the way, I think that ship is larger than the town in which I live. I'm glad you had such a wonderful experience. Looking forward to your next installment. Thank you for sharing with us.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        2 weeks ago from Central Florida

        John, I'm thrilled that you're sharing your cruise with us. I'm enjoying the photos immensely. The terrain so far is lush and gorgeous each place you go. And the ship - holy moly - it's huge!

        I'm so looking forward to the next installment. I really don't want this trip to end!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        Bill, I never thought I'd go on a cruise either, but glad I did. Temperatures were perfect on the islands 23 - 27 degrees C. Best vacation I have had.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        Thanks, Nell I had never been on a cruise before. Nell. I had never heard of a tender boat before either. had a great time and the ship had everything.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        What a fun voyage you took, John! We are in our rainy season right now, so I'm a bit jealous, even though I've never really wanted to go on a cruise. Right about now it looks like loads of fun.

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        2 weeks ago from England

        How lovely! I must admit I have never heard of a tender boat before, but what a great time. I love the Cross on top of the wire and the flower pots, needs must as they say! beautiful places, and a great ship. who needs more?

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