Cruising to New Caledonia on the Pacific Pearl

February 18, 2013 at 10:30 pm

I had always been curious about what life is like on a cruise ship since I was a kid. Those grand majestic floating machines were the closest things to Gundam battlecruisers that life has to offer. I had many questions such as how stable will it be at sea? is it even possible to rock such an enormous object? What does the interior feel like? How do they squeeze 2500 people on board? how fast does it go? and the list goes on. Well after my trip with Chibi to New Caledonia on board the Pacific Pearl, many questions were answered.

I’ll start off with a bit about the motion:

I was extremely excited as I boarded the Pacific Pearl. It was unlike anything I’ve ever ‘been on’ and it was hard to believe this thing could actually move. In the port it was as stable as an island, you could not feel any sort of rocking or listing. Our cabin was quiet, so quiet I thought I was inside an apartment complex with double glazed windows. However as the ship engaged it’s thrusters and propellers, things started to change. The Pacific Pearl departed Barangaroo and made it’s crossing slowing under the Harbour Bridge and out into the open waters. I could start to feel minor motions and vibrations as the ship picked up speed but nonetheless very very steady. Then came day 3 where we encounter 6 meter swells! the rocking can be described as PRETTY BAD. Try to imagine yourself inside an elevator that continuously movies up a floor, back down, then up again and repeats itself for most of the day, yeap that’s how bad it was. The motion was so bad that Chibi and I had to skip 3 meals and stay in bed the entire day. Luckily the rest of the days were pretty smooth with swells of 1-2 meters. The sea really is an amazing place and to be able to pound our ship like it did in day 3, it can truly be a monster.

Now onto the cruise adventure!

The Atrium of the Pacific Pearl

The Atrium of the Pacific Pearl

The Atrium spans 3 whole decks. Not as grand as modern ships but it was still quite nice and spacious. It was also the most stable part of the ship as it was right in the middle.

The Orient Bar Pacific Pearl

The Orient Bar

There’s a whole range of bars around the ship, each has a different style. The Orient was very…oriental

Pacific Pearl top deck

The Top deck (Deck 14)

The top deck was very very windy due to the height (47 meters up) and travelling at 40km/hr. We avoided the top deck most of the time at sea but I would always pop out to get a nice view during port days!

Looking down from the top deck to the bottom

Looking down from the top deck to the bottom

Food at Plantation and Waterfront

Food at the Waterfront Restaurant

No shortages of food here! We enjoyed a buffet styled restaurant at Plantation and sit down dining restaurant at the Waterfront. It was a hit or miss, you’ll find average steaks (bottom right) but great fish n chips (bottom left). The Tandoori chicken was yummy (top right).

Desserts on the Pacific Pearl

Desserts at the Waterfront

A great variety of desserts with a special menu every day! great for the sweet tooth!

The Dome ballroom of the Pacific Pearl

The Dome ballroom during formal night

The Dome (pronounced as ‘Doo-mey’) was a frequently visited place where they held the awesome dance lessons. There was Hip-hop, Ballet, Hot Rhythms and ballroom.

formal night

Chibi in her lovely silver dress during the formal night on day 2

Pacific Entertainers Andy Allen

Andy Allen from the Pacific Entertainers

The Pacific Entertainers were one of the highlights of the cruise. With only 8 people in the cast, they managed to pull off some engaging musical performances at a really high level every night. Hats off to these guys.

Pacific Pearl stern

Pacific Pearl stern

Noumea

Noumea

And we finally arrived at Noumea! Yay back on land! Noumea seems like a nice place but felt like a dead city as we arrived on a Sunday where all the shops were closed.

Chibi at Anse Vata beach

Chibi at Anse Vata beach

Anse Vata beach was ok. The tour guide pointed out to us where the sewage water enters the sea which was a bit of a turnoff. The water was still really nice but the beach was below average as there were shells and pebbles everywhere.

Lemon beach Noumeaa

Lemon beach Noumeaa

We spent only 15 minutes at Lemon beach. Apparently the water here is warm (27 degrees) all year round with little to no waves, making it one of the calmest beaches ever.

Pacific Pearl at Noumea

Pacific Pearl at Noumea

Here’s a full shot of our ship. Considered a medium size cruise ship today.

Central Pacific Francs

Central Pacific Francs

The currency New Caledonia uses. We weren’t able to spend a franc as the shops were closed…

Pacific Pearl Tender

Pacific Pearl Tender

We arrive at Isle of Pines! known to be the place closest to paradise! We hopped onto the tender boats to be transported to shore as the ship’s keel was too deep.

on the beach

The crystal clear waters of the Pines

This place is simply breathtaking. I thought Australian beaches were amazing but this place was out of this world.

Isle of Pines

Me getting the whole lagoon to myself!

We then did some exploring around the island. Spectacular views all around

We then did some exploring around the island. Spectacular views all around.

Super extreme pose

A trip isn’t complete without the Super Extreme Pose!

Discovered another amazing beach just around the corner. Even more spacious!

Discovered another amazing beach just around the corner. Even more spacious!

Chibi and I just having a great time =)

Chibi and I just having a great time =)

And here's a shot with our ship all the way out at sea

And here’s a shot with our ship all the way out at sea

Chibi not wasting any time! we both loved the the water and sand so much it was tempting to take lots of pictures. Be careful with that DSLR!

Chibi not wasting any time! we both loved the the water and sand so much it was tempting to take lots of pictures. Be careful with that DSLR!

Another awesome performance from the Pacific Entertainers. Recognise any of these characters? =P

Another awesome performance from the Pacific Entertainers. Recognise any of these characters? =P

Sunset on the Pearl.

Sunset on the Pearl.

And finally back to Sydney

And finally back to Sydney

It was lots of fun but I wouldn’t say this is for everyone. It’s was a relaxing getaway minus the motion sickness but I wish there was more to do on board. I still had the sea legs by day 2 back on land so a cruise ship isn’t really as stable as I hoped would be. Highlights of this trip would be Isle of Pines, food, Pacific Entertainers and the dance classes were pretty cool too. Hoping for more awesome trips in the future =)