The last days aboard the Pacific Dawn

I’ve been MIA for over a week now, but now I’m back baby!

 The Birthday

I had celebrated my 20th birthday on the cruise,  and it had certainly not been one to forget.

The hands-down best way to spend a birthday

The drinking had started early, by the time the Gatsby party had kicked off I was dancing in the stairwell entangling strangers with faux fur.

At lunch I was given an entire circular chocolate cake, whom we shared with people on our deck. Since we had no utensils, we resorted to using a credit card to cut the pieces


Mistakes were made that day.

I don’t recall taking this photo but it must have occurred sometime during the night. Oh well, he looked like a Hemsworth Bro

By 2am, after my legs had given out and my eyelids drooped – I made my way back to the shared  cabin, the ship’s rocking had sent me off to a doze the moment my head hit the pillow.


Before the sun even rose this morning- I was up and moving, hurriedly stuffing the last of my damp bikini tops into my already overfilled backpack.

Silence, only broken with the zipping of bags filled the small cabin. Unkempt hair and unwashed faces left us feeling rather like how we looked;


The cessation of rocking held with it the promise of being back at port. Since we had no window, the time and location was impossible to tell.

The top deck looking mighty empty in the early morning

Gathering whatever clothes I had left from my cupboard space, we made our way to our last breakfast aboard the Pacific Dawn.

As we walked from level 5, and my card beeped with the scanner for the last time; I looked back – all the drama and hilarity that had unfolded on that ship slipped away.

How empty and different it would feel now, if I was to ever board again; the ship would seem somewhat incomplete without the same theater group whom dominated the dance floor everynight,

the tanners on deck 10 with the complexion of leather.

Heck, even my awesome steward Anoop who always smiled, left me elephants made of towels, and fistpumped me as we left the cabin every afternoon.

As we rode home; Thomas, Marcel’s Dad- and our designated driver home; retraced our minds back to the ship that we had just left.

squad on point


How we spoke of the shenanigans we got up to and the food we ate, the people we met and the nights we didn’t remember.

Dad I found two new boyfriends!

Marcel exclaimed, bringing his father’s attention to the back of his iPhone 6 case – complete with two new smiling Polaroids.

Good Jub!

Replied Thomas, in his strong Filipino accent. His thumbs up-with the hint of a smile on his face.

The drive home felt shorter than it had been when we left to go aboard. Each of us excitedly chirped up when a broad question about he holiday was asked, all too eager to share stories.

We laughed as some boys we met on the cruise sent us Facebook messages, and we uploaded photo after photo of us (majority of me) looking awkward (as is the tradition of birthday photo montages on facebook).

When I got home, I unpacked, ate and hit up my gym. And started on what I’m doing right now: writing about it!

The cabin life

Travelling in a group of close friends was the best idea we had. We knew that we’d get on eachother’s nerves and so we tried best to accommodate for that.


Left to right: Marcel, Ash, Me, Mish at Lifou

Me and Marcel having the liveliest personas often shouted and competed for attention, causing a ruckus with a simple stare.
Ashleigh was the responsible one, making sure all of us got up in time or took our seasick tablets before bed, though she’d never say no to a good party. Mish was the calm, quiet friend who always was there for a good chat, or even a singing buddy if you were up for it.

The cabin was surprisingly spacious for four people, each of us had an allotted cabinet space. We shared the bathroom, although I would usually pop out to my parent’s suite for a better shower.

The things I loved the most

Don’t judge me, but one of my favorites had to be the bread.


this was literally the best


I don’t know what it is about the bread on board – but it was something else. If I could just eat those rolls for lunch and dinner i’d be a happy person.

The food overall was really good, there was nothing I didn’t like!

This fish was exquisite!

Pancakes to pan seared bacon for brekky, garlic snails, godly nachos at midnight and generous scoops of icecream at the New Zealand Natural located straight outside the Buffet – you’re really spoilt for choice!

some of the fancier diahes

The drinks were beautiful, and from the $480 bill I received you could probably guess where most of my money went.

It was a great trip, with parties every night and endless tables of food. So many lovely people I met aboard, and so many I didn’t have the chance to meet.
And Oh how the laughter and rage filled our cabin every night, the groans at 6am alarms and who had used the toilet last.

So finally, after the goodbyes were said, Facebook friends and status’ updated; we found that we had learnt more about eachother in 7 days than we had in 7 years. The night before, we had harnessed our inner Freddie Mercury and belted out some Queen renditions. Now even that seemed as if it was an eternity ago.

And, as we drove closer to home; the holiday high (like sleep in our eyes) – lingered.

So to boil it down to a single question;

would I go again?

Without a Dawning Doubt!

===Anna Freeman===

=== Student Dietitian===


10 things that’ll make you a happier person

I usually shock people with my enthusiasm. 

It’s funny to see their reaction, people hear me before they see me most of the time. I have a very loud voice – perhaps that’s why they stick me in vendors so the guests can get a headache (*spruiking is my favorite part of the job).

Or perhaps, it’s so I get away from as many workers as possible – before they get a headache.


*spruiking: imagine one of those wackos at the fishmarket/circus/marketplace that yell at the top of their voice to come try/come buy/come see their certain product…


My Dad will often bring my attention back to how close we are, distance-wise; when I’m having a heated conversation with him.

Ana, you’re 30cm away from me. You don’t need to shout.

I just get carried away and yell to prove my point, it happens all the time.


At the gym, at the shops, in my bathroom.

My Highschool (And now Uni friends), often dare eachother to see how far I’d go, they usually spark the fire with a completely absurd statement, one I possibly cannot resist.

Things such as….


It’s not because I’m angry, it’s because I’m excited.  

Whilst public speaking may scare the living daylights out of many, it’s something I completely adore. The thrill of walking on stage, the eyes festooned on you whilst you deliver your speech. After all, YOU did all this research, all this preparation, why not blow them away with your presentation?

Another thing I’ve come to notice is that people always comment on just how happy I am.

How are you SO happy? All the time?!  – my supervisors mostly


What drugs is she on? – whispers from my coworkers.

Perhaps they think it’s all an act.

It’s not. 


I genuinely feel happy.

Not all the time of course, but it’s like a plateau of happiness. Sometimes it peaks and sometimes it dips a little. But all in all, it’s stable.


So I’ve noticed some core things in my life that really make me happy. It’s not some magic pill (although coffee does do wonders for me in the mornings).

So here we go, my top 10 things that make me genuinely happy.

  1. Finding what you love, and doing it!                                                                                May it be cooking, gardening, gaming (hehehe), helping people, travelling, learning or tempting the wrath of my cat (guilty) – find what you love and do it a little every few days.

    spread the happiness! (Even if they don’t want it) 
  2. Exercise in some form – everyday or every other day.                                                         This is a big one, for me exercise is a way to socialize and keep my body healthy. I love the feeling you get after working out, it’s like toothpaste freshness but for your whole body. It doesn’t need to be intense, do whatever you feel comfortable doing. But make it for at least half an hour.a4d2c3006f9613e0aeec9ea32205f654.jpg
  3. Having a broad range of social contact                                                                                   You don’t need to be the most popular kid on the block. I just have a handful of really close friends and family whom I go and talk to once or twice a week. It really helps the soul to have a good laugh and a bit of banter.
  4. Listening to or playing music                                                                                                    If you (like many of us) are stuck using one side of their brains, we overwork ourselves. Much like muscles, you can’t just focus on one area – it’ll end up looking disproportionate. Unleash your creative side, music has a real soothing effect on people. Enya, Matt Corby, Sam smith, Coldplay and Hozier are some of my favorites.
  5. GOALS and Plans                                                                                                                         They don’t have to be huge, no one’s expecting you to go out and cure cancer in your 20’s. But do set yourself a series of short term and long term goals. The short term goals should be things that you aim to strive for daily. Whilst long term could be monthly – in saying that, set ‘checkpoints’ to make sure you’re keeping up to date with what you set out for yourself
  6. Spoiling yourself 😉                                                                                                                     Too often we forget the simple pleasures of a specialty massage or even the odd coffee. Don’t forget that the world around you has so much to offer, part with some of your cash and enjoy it, even if it only lasts the whole of 3 seconds. large.png
  7. Working towards something – always                                                                                   similar to Goals, don’t ever get to the point in your life when you wake up and have nothing to strive for. If you have time – FILL IT. I used to go out and volunteer because I just had THAT MUCH spare time. You really meet some amazing people. Work towards something, be it your career or your personal goals (getting fitter, getting more social, getting smarter) whatever!
  8. Letting go                                                                                                                                     Now this might rattle a few chains, sometimes we have things that hold us back. Regrets, grief, mistakes- things that haunt us from the past, in fact we become scared to do new things because of our fear. Letting go is one of the hardest things that we can do, because usually – we’ve invested so much into something that we’re scared to let it slip through our fingers. Personally, this is one of the things I struggle with most, critical reflection on past mistakes. But that’s just it, it’s called the past for a reason. we can’t change it. Letting something go is difficult, but in the long run – you’ll feel better for it.
  9. Sleeping and waking properly                                                                                                    Last year I really struggled with sleeping. Full weeks at Uni paired with late night study and chatting kept me up until 2am in the morning (sometimes later) – it was disastrous for my sleeping health. I often skipped core lectures because I simply couldn’t wake up in time. As you can expect – my grades (and my attitude) plummeted. I’ve come to realize the importance of adequate rest now, it’s actually so important to hit those pillows early. Not only for your mental and physical performance – but also to keep the inner b*tch at bay. Like the saying goes, the early bird DOES catch the worm.
  10. Believing in yourself and your abilities                                                                                 If not the most important, it should be high up there. Having confidence in yourself and knowing that you’re an amazing person is really the key in keeping happy. It’s not selfish or vain or superfluous in any sense. People are attracted to confidence – it shows a level of maturity and self-respect. Believe in yourself (I know it sounds cheesy), but it’s really not complicated at all.

(Extra) Be a bit of a wacko: If I ever find myself in a silent room with well dressed, well behaved people; i’d be the first to say something absurd. Everyone being the same is boring, people don’t remember sameness. They remember silliness! Have a genuine laugh at yourself. And if other people laugh at you, laugh with them!


Eat well, think well, smile often

=====Anna Freeman=====

=== Student Dietitian ===