May 3, 2013
Pacific Pearl Big Screen

Pacific Pearl Big Screen

Most Australians love their sport and with this in mind, P&O Cruises, a long time favourite amongst Australians of all ages, has introduced some special cruises, with the sports lover in mind.

Now there’s no need to worry about whether your holiday might clash with those important sporting dates.

Sports fans can now get onboard either Pacific Jewel or Pacific Pearl and cruise to some of Australia’s most famous sporting events, such as the Australian Open Tennis and the Melbourne Cup.

P&O Cruises has partnered with Tennis Australia and is celebrating the Australian Open with two new 4 and 5 night cruises to coincide with the business end of the grand slam.  Pacific Pearl will depart Sydney for Melbourne on 20 January 2014, returning on 24 January 2014.  Apart from all the usual attractions of cruising such as great food, entertainment and accommodation, the fare includes transfers and general admission into the grounds.  From just $100 per person, you will get first pick of ticket upgrades to Rod Laver Arena before they go on sale to the general public.

Why not cruise to Melbourne to watch and experience the most iconic Australian sporting event, the Melbourne Cup.  Dressed in your best outfit, P&O will organize coaches to Flemington Racecourse.  Tickets and transfers are all included in the fare, so no need to worry about anything other than picking a winner.

Departing from Sydney on 1 November 2014, both Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel are offering Melbourne Cup cruises.

Pacific Pearl is now home to some extra special V8 and FI Racing Car simulators and later this year Pacific Dawn and Pacific Jewel are set to follow suit. The simulators give passengers a realistic driving experience across a range of famous race circuits including Mount Panorama.

Pacific Jewel emailSports loving passengers can soak up the atmosphere on deck as they watch NRL and AFL live on the Big Screen.  Remember to pack the jerseys, scarves and face paint to cheer your team along.

Once on shore in Vanuatu, P&O Cruises has organized some action packed shore tours, featuring golf, fishing, go-carting and even horse riding.

Golf enthusiasts will enjoy playing at the Port Vila Golf and Country Club located near Mele Bay, in a scenic, tropical setting.  The Club has an 18 hole golf course of international standard, challenging for both novice and experienced golfers alike. This package includes transfers, club hire, green fees for 9 holes, one golf ball and a complimentary cold drink on arrival.  Alternately, travel companions who do not want to play can relax at the adjacent ‘19th hole’.

Just a 15 minutes journey by boat from Port Vila, passengers will find superb sport fishing around some of the untouched reefs of Efate or Mele Bay. Fish for yellowfin tuna, marlin, barracuda or head into the calmer waters of the inside reefs to catch coral trout, emperor and trevally.  An important thing to remember is the catch cannot be stored onboard.  Fishing for trophy fish is “catch and release” and any non-trophy fish will be kept by the fishing boat crew.

Horseback riding is another way to explore Vanuatu.  On arrival at the riding school, an instructor/guide will assess skill levels before selecting an appropriate horse.  For the next 45-60 minutes, ride around the 400 hectare property which operates as a beef cattle ranch. The property fronts onto a lagoon and there will be time for both riders and horses to take an optional, refreshing swim in the lagoon.  A maximum weight restriction of 110 kilos applies, so think before taking that second dessert at the shipboard buffet.  Sandra Tiltman 



April 8, 2013

Pentecost Jump 1-VAN106

Located in the South Pacific Ocean and just 3.5 hours flying time from Sydney is the Republic of Vanuatu, an island nation formerly known as the New Hebrides. Captain James Cook named the islands during his second voyage of discovery and Europeans began settling there in the 18th century.  Vanuatu’s two largest towns are Port Vila on the island of Efate, which is also Vanuatu’s capital and Luganville on Espiritu Santo. 

Pentecost Jump 2Unlike anything you have seen before, bungy jumping is something that the locals on Pentecost Island do with a difference.   Nagol, meaning “land diving”, involves local men and boys jumping from a man made tower with a vine secured around their legs.  The aim is to touch the ground with their shoulders.  This annual ritual needs to be seen to be believed and can be witnessed between April and June each year on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Nagol goes back nearly 15 centuries, long before the world’s first commercial bungy operation opened in 1988.  Each April, when the first yam crop is ready for harvest, the people on Pentecost Island begin building towers from branches, vines and tree trunks.  It takes five weeks to construct a suitable 20-30 metre tower.

Local men carefully select a vine, knowing that a few centimetres can make all the difference.  After tying the vine to their legs, they dive headfirst from the tower platform at 72km per hour, aiming to land with their head curled under so that just their shoulders touch the ground.  It is believed that this feat will make the ground fertile for the following year.

Land diving is reserved for the locals but it’s worth travelling to Pentecost Island to join with the entire village as they gather to sing and dance while watching the tribal daredevils tempt fate.  This awe-inspiring ceremony is something that you will never forget and well worth a visit.

Pentecost Island also offers visitors pristine beaches, reefs, untouched forests, mountains and jungles as well as exotic wildlife.

Sandra Tiltman    

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