In June nine of us took a seven day cruise from Brisbane up to Cairns and back. Mom & Pete with all her remaining kids and our spouses and our friend Jackie. The trip was definite success as we managed to be together for a whole week and enjoyed the time together! No fights, and a jolly good time had by all.

We all met on Sunday morning for breakfast at the Brisbane passenger terminal before boarding the Pacific Sun for the cruise.

By 13:00 everyone was on board and we had settled into our cabins and started exploring the ship. 11 decks, five bars, four restaurants, a casino, a theater  shops, swimming pools, a day spa, and something like 1600 cabins. Cruising is a different style of holiday, where you take the hotel with you. The crew put on lots of different entertainment and activities and you get to be as active or relaxed as you want.

We cast off at about 13:30, sailing down the Brisbane river to the ocean.

Most (if not all) cruise ships have onboard photographers who wander around immortalizing your experiences, the photos are printed each day and put on display for passengers to buy if they want. We purchased a few, and had some portraits taken on the Thursday evening.

The family ate together for some breakfasts, most lunches and every dinner. Scott & Tracey were in a top-deck cabin with a balcony, and their package included catered afternoon tea every day, which we all indulged in most days.

Monday and Tuesday were spend at sea, heading north towards Airlie Beach. We spent most of the time lazing around, getting some rest.

On Wednesday the ship stopped off Arlie Beach for the day. Nancy & I took an excursion to the Great Barrier Reef, the others either stayed about or went on shore to do a bit of shopping and sight seeing.

To get to the Reef we took a catamaran directly from the ship, it took about 90 mins to reach the pontoon moored over the reef, departing at 06:00 in the morning!

Once there we took a ride in a semi-submersible to view the reef which was quite disappointing as the windows were right on the waterline and you could actually see very little. The disappointment was more than made up for by the other activities we partook in.

We took a helicopter ride over the Reef – a wonderful experience.  We saw the Heart Reef, which really is heart shaped, and were low enough to see turtles in the water. After the helicopter Nancy went in the glass bottomed boat and I took a guided scuba diver – really makes me want to get my PADI license.

The day was over too soon as we had to get back to the ship so it could catch the tide going into Cairns the next morning.

On Thursday Nancy & I took the Rain-forest Canopy cablecar tour – a great experience that gives a real feel for the dense tropical forest.  Scott, Tracey & Jackie went river rafting and had exciting stories to tell over dinner that night.

Late Thursday night Nancy got ill, and we had to call the ship’s doctor.  Very efficient and good care.  She was diagnosed with a tummy bug and was quarantined for 24 hours.  They came and checked  up every six hours and each time the cabin was fully sanitized, they are very careful about illness onboard as it could spread very quickly in such a closed environment.  This meant we didn’t go ashore on the last stop (Port Douglas) and we spent the day resting.

Nancy was allowed out of the cabin on Saturday morning and we spent the last day of the cruise lazing around together.  The final dinner was a fun experience, we were all ready to depart but had a great week together.

Sunday morning we breakfasted at 08:00 and then were shepherded ashore – the embarking/disembarking process is very efficient.

The end of a fun week…