Alana Brown from italktravel Rutherford.
How long have you been a travel agent?
I starting working at italktravel Rutherford on the 02nd of April 2016. I first knew I wanted to be in travel during my time at school after attending a seminar run by a travel agent, since hearing her speech about what she does and everything she has experience I immediately knew this was what I wanted.
Where was your first overseas trip?
New Zealand- I did my first overseas trip to the North Island of New Zealand although I was quite young at the time I look back on the photos and its one of my best memories.
What is your bucket list place/trip?
It is hard to narrow down where my number 1 place is to visit however my dream would be South Africa. Closely followed by Europe, USA/ Canada, Japan pretty much anywhere I would go….
I started my Cruising Holiday with P&O by making my way into Sydney to the White Bay Cruise Terminal. I have never exited via the White Bay Cruise Terminal so I was excited to see how "easy" it would be and I was pleasantly surprised with a 2 hour train ride into Central Station (from Newcastle).
View from the deck of Pacific Jewel at White Bay
We had more then enough time to grab something to eat and take a 15- 20 minute taxi ride (Depending on traffic) which cost about $25.00. The check in process was exceptional, the staff were fully across everything and were very helpful. Within an hour we had made our way through Customs and were ready for our Journey on the Pacific Jewel.
Accommodation - Cruise Ship Pacific Jewel, 8 night Cruise
The Pacific Jewel is an older ship but offers a unique experience for first time cruisers. Whilst making our way through to the South Pacific we had plenty of time to explore and never did I feel bored or had nothing to do.
The ship was packed with activities for the kids and the adults so it was good to have that variety, and if you wanted to just soak up the sun and lay out you most defiantly could.
The adults only section was defiantly a MUST to escape and completely relax and have down time. Over all the ship is what ever you want your holiday to be. Either packed full of activities or more relaxing and laid back, enjoy the casual vibe and Modern Style that the Pacific Jewel is.
Cruising is relaxing with your favourite drink
What I loved
I loved the service. Unfortunately due to weather conditions we were unable to get off at both Mare and Isle of Pines and although this was very disappointing for not only myself and other passengers on board the staff really made light of the situation.
They re planned the day within 30 minutes and had packed the day with various activities, and overall I just thought they handled it really well.
Whilst chatting to a few people abroad who had shore tours booked I couldn't find anyone that had problems with receiving refunds etc. In regards to staff I think P&O have some amazing people on there ships.
From our Room Steward, Dining and Entertainment Staff etc nothing was too much to ask and I never had a bad encounter.
What was just OK
My experience was more then okay! I loved every single part of it. Safe too say I had done everything on board and knew my way around but it was a fantastic holiday.
What was awful
Our journey through the South Pacific included stops at Noumea, Mare and Isle of Pines. As I mentioned above due to extreme weather conditions we could not tender at Mare or Isle of Pines.
That was the only thing that was disappointing not to get that experience but like everything you cant help the weather and I was really grateful to P&O and they way they handled it as it is something that is extremely rare and you defiantly can not help the weather.
Sea Turtles at Noumea Aquarium - A stop of the hop on hop off pass
Tell us about your favourite meal, what, where, when & why
I had a lot fabulous meals on board the Pacific Jewel. The Waterfront Restaurant and the Pantry (Included in your fare) were 2 completely different experiences.
The Waterfront Restaurant Menu changed every night and the food and staff were exceptional, and every night I left very impressed. It was nice to have the option of having the sit down dinner and you could go to The Pantry which was more laid back and had a insane amount of options.
You can defiantly always find something to eat with a variety of foods such as Mexican, Indian, Thai, Seafood they literally had everything. Although the Pantry was more buffet style the standard of service I could not fault.
But for my absolute favourite meal I would have to pick the Salt Grill by Luke Mangan. Even though this restaurant comes at an additional costing of approximately $49 PER PERSON you easily get your value for money and the food was amazing.
Overall my experience at the Salt Grill I would recommend to anyone to at least do once if you want to experience something unforgettable.
Relaxing and ready to party with Tom
Top tip for someone doing this trip
My top tip would be to be organised in the morning I was travelling with my partner at the time and being a couple we did not want to spend alot of time around children, we got up in the morning had breakfast did all the activities and by around 11:30 got a early lunch and made our way to the adults only section were it was a lot easier to find a seat.
Anything you would do differently next time
No, I chose too have an ocean view room which at first I was a little bit skeptical because I was extremely worried that I would feel claustrophobic but my worries were eased straight away. The cabins were so spacious and I did not have any dramas at all.
Would you go back?
Of course! I would love to go back and see the islands better but 100% I would cruise with P&O again I think they offer an amazing product.
Have you got another trip planned and where to?
I do have another trip in mind for Europe next year travelling with my sister on a Topdeck Tour. Which I am incredibly excited for as Europe is a major destination that is on my bucket list.
How can I find out more?
Call italktravel Rutherford on (02)4932 9244
Check out Alana's popular blog on cruising on Ovation of the Seas out of Singapore.