I'm a freelance writer/photographer/filmmaker living in stunning Lake Macquarie. I am always on the look out for budget things to do for large families.
Published July 25th 2014
Cruise the Weekend Away
Last weekend my family and I decided to get away from it all, to experience something new. We packed our bags, paid our fare and boarded the P&O ship Pacific Pearl departing from Sydney for four nights.
This was something out of the box for us as we had never cruised before. It was a pleasant surprise. We spent four nights being well taken care of and well entertained.
Last minute cruises, or 'Pack 'n' Go' as they are called, are very reasonable in price and a great quick getaway where you can turn off your mobile, ignore your emails, and leave the world behind. When you pay for your fare it includes meals, entertainment, and accommodation.
The food was fantastic and there was plenty of it. There are restaurants you can dine in, which is included in your fare - the Plantation restaurant, which is a buffet style restaurant, and the Waterfront restaurant which is a table service restaurant. The ship also contains two other places to dine. The first is La Luna, which is Thai inspired food, and the other is Salt Grill, which is predominately seafood. There is also a piano bar, two night club style bars, and two cafes so you can get your espresso.
The retail section of the ship has a jewellery store, a tech store, a Ripcurl resort store, a perfume shop and an essentials store, in case you forget your toothbrush.
There is also a gym, a library, and a fully equipped day spa for all your fitness and beauty needs.
Each day our cabin steward cleaned our room, made our beds, and delivered a list of activities for the next day that we could take part in. The hardest decision was which activity to go to. There was table tennis, trivia, craft groups, meet 'n' greets, karaoke, dancing classes, stage shows, cooking demonstrations and classes, the list was endless.
There are also age appropriate kids groups with different activities aimed at each age group, ranging from singing and dancing and story time to evening movies, art and craft, video games and special concerts. You don't have to join in the activities, you can just relax and watch the ship sail along. However you wish to spend your time on the ship you most certainly will not run out of things to do.
On board you will need to take a little spending money with you. Alcohol, soft drink, La Luna, and Salt Grill are not included in your fare. P&O Cruises run small cruises ranging from 3 to 4 nights all year round and with their 'Pack n Go" fares they are a cheap quick get away.