Having the right equipment is essential for making the most of your vacation on board a P&O Cruise ship. Traveling around the South Pacific on a P&O cruise ship is an exceptional way of relaxing. The vacation will be unforgettable and the sights magnificent. Being prepared with what to take can make a huge difference to the holiday experience.
P&O Cruise Ships
The P&O Cruise Ships based in the South Pacific are the Pacific Dawn, Pacific Sun, Pacific Jewel and the Pacific Pearl. Each of these ships have an excellent deck plan located on the P&O website, including photographs of the communal areas. Cruises commonly depart from Auckland, Sydney and Brisbane.
For On Board
The P&O fleet in Oceania use electrical outlets common in New Zealand and Australia. If traveling from outside of the Pacific, you should bring an electrical outlet converter. These can be purchased on board, but this is more expensive than bringing your own. You should also bring a multi-box, as most cruise passengers need more electrical outlets.
Your camera will be of course a valuable asset. However, it can be worth investing in a waterproof camera. Pools on board and rainy sea days are worth taking into consideration, and the peace of mind in knowing your camera is okay is worth the investment. All the destinations in the South Pacific have excellent bays and beaches for swimming in. Snorkeling is a popular shore activity. Being able to photograph tropical fishes underwater is an asset. You will also need to bring your camera charger, and either spare memory cards or a laptop computer. A laptop computer is a great tool to carry with you, as most public areas have wireless access.
You will get the opportunity for a number of sea days with a South Pacific cruise on a P&O ship. Be prepared with reading material, a large sunhat, sunscreen and comfortable shoes. Jandals or Crocs are ideal on board, providing you with plenty of comfort and safety around wet areas. Sunglasses are essential in the summer months. Having a sarong which can be used to cover your legs in the heat of the day can help you avoid sunburn.
Carrying a tote bag on the boat is a good idea. Here you can bring your novel, Pacific Daily newsletter, pens, sunglasses, sunscreen, and sarong with you, avoiding needless trips back to the stateroom. When you are ready to leave your deck chair, your entertainments can come with you. Have a notebook with you. It means that if you meet someone new, you can write down their contact details without having to hope you catch them again. You can also easily share your details with them. Often companies will offer free business cards, which can be a great asset. Carry a few in your tote bag to share your details with your new friends.
Theme nights are popular. Cruises over 7 nights will have 2 or 3 theme nights. Common themes are Pirate night, Island night, Rock and Roll night, or Country Outback night. Island night tends to be following an island visit. Country Outback night is typically towards the beginning of a cruise. Cocktail nights are those formally known as Formal nights. Cocktail evenings involve semi-formal attire and a champagne waterfall. Coming with your own accessories to dress to impress is a cheaper option than purchasing items on board. If you have an iPod touch, iPhone or iPad, download a “Cruise Card” application. This will allow you to easily track your expenditure on board, so you don’t get a shock at the end of the cruise.
For on the Islands
The Islands of the South Pacific islands are unique, but you can come prepared for them all. Having solid Teva style footwear is essential for traveling ashore. Tendering onto the smaller islands can be tricky in the swells, but sturdy footwear can make this easier. A cap that is not likely to be blown from your head is a must, as Pacific winds can cause your headwear to end up back at sea. Carrying a backpack and water bottle is a must ashore. Many islands have no suitable water source for drinking. The P&O Crew will bring across hydration stations. Use this water rather than finding your own.
Snorkeling is a popular activity on the islands. You do not need to be a strong swimmer, as the fish will come up close to shore in the smaller islands. You can rent snorkel equipment on the ship, but it is cheaper to bring your own. A snorkel and set of goggles is all you need to enjoy the corals. Do bring a pair of inexpensive aqua booties. The coral is sharp, and rocks common around the smaller islands. Aqua booties are a must on the islands.
Local currency is an asset. Small markets will set up around the port offering local products for sale. Do not buy fruits or vegetables unless you plan to eat them ashore. With the exception of Lifou Island, no fruits or vegetables can be brought back aboard your ship. Using most currencies is not a problem and can easily be obtained from your local bank before you leave from home. However, remember that with the Vatu from Vanuatu you cannot exchange it back because of its little value. You can use Australian or American dollars in most ports. The larger cities will accept credit cards. You can change your currency ashore or on board, but it saves time and hassle to get this before you leave home.
If you suffer from allergies, bring your own soap aboard the ship. Commercial soaps can irritate your skin. Bring your own laundry detergent as well. The liquid cleansers are more effective than the powdered sort on board. Having your own products will mean that your allergies can be kept at bay. A simple first aid kit is a must. Carry band aids, tropical strength insect repellent, burn spray, calamine lotion for bites, broad spectrum waterproof sunscreen, plasters that are designed for blisters, tweezers and small scissors. Also, bring an anti-bacterial ointment for any cuts you may get on the islands. Having motion sickness pills is a bonus, as being treated for this on board is expensive. Motion sickness wrist bands are also great if you are sailing out of Auckland where the swells are fairly large.
Make sure you have a band for your suitcase. Hundreds of passengers will be using the same black suitcase as you. A simple band can make it easier to find your gear when departing the ship. A travel washing line is a good idea. There will be a short line in your bathroom on a P&O ship, but a spare is handy. Bring Australian coins for the washing machines and dryers as well.
Your day pack should have sturdy shoulder straps. Ideally, a bag that is waterproof and has a front clasp would be brilliant. Being able to securely attach your bag is important when boarding a tender boat. A UV Monkey is a brilliant idea for measuring the UV light from the sun. You should also consider a spray-on sunscreen with a high SPF. Spray on will mean that you can easily get someone else to apply your sunscreen in the hard-to-reach places without having to get the lotion on their hands.
Sailing with P&O is a great deal of fun. Having the correct equipment packed saves a lot of stress and expense of having to find your forgotten items on board.