I’ve been MIA for over a week now, but now I’m back baby!
I had celebrated my 20th birthday on the cruise, and it had certainly not been one to forget.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
I’ve just received the conformation email for my seven day cruise next month, I’m officially going to be sailing the high tides on the P&O Pacific Dawn in February!
It was a spontaneous buy.
It all started with a late night text and laughs over caramel pecan icecream.
Ash: Meet me at Baskin Robins in 15 x
My best friend excitedly dropped me the deets as icecream was dribbling down the sides of the chocolate waffle cone, melting (like I was) in the humid summer air;
Anna, how do you feel about going on this cruise next month? It’s just before Uni starts!
And of course, in true Anna fashion; I replied:
OH MY (EXPLETIVE) GOSH – YES.
YES YES YES YES
It was the last minute sales, we nabbed our cabin – more like bunker of four, with two other mates that very night.
The following day they sold out.
The last cruise I went on was in the winter of 2006 (with the same company) – I’m a little more than out of shape cruisewise.
But the cool smell of the sea, dancing, smiles and mocktails in hand will never fade from my memory (even though I was barely 8 years old the last time I went).
THIS TIME THOUGH, I’LL ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO DRINK
to be honest though, this will probably be me.
I distinctly remember one of the Islands we ventured to, it was a beautiful place. The twang of ukulele’s filled the air. Shade from the palm trees gave much needed respite from the sun kissed sand, and the snorkeling (though I don’t remember much of it).
Sea cucumbers dominated the seafloor, I remember being scared of them and refusing to go back into the reef.
Instead I decided to make a deep pit in the sand, in which I would hoard countless hermit crabs.
Those poor hermit crabs….
For 2 and a half hours there was this huge, strange, monster pushing them back into this pit when they tried to escape. Their attempts at climbing the sandy cliffs – an act of desperation – proving worthless.
I don’t know what came over the strange mind of the 8 year old me, but I loved having this hermit crab zoo more than the cruise itself.
When it came to leaving I had left some half eaten biscuit crumbs in the pit, tears streaming down my face – Goodbye friends!
Yeah, I was really social back then.
I’ll have to tell you about the time I found a trove of coconuts by a beach and absolutely lost it.
But that’s for another time.
====== Anna Freeman, Student Dietecian ======
Ps: So if you have any cruise tips at all, please let me know! I’ve forgotten the in’s and outs of the cruising life!