The day begins like every other; you’re startled awake by an offensively loud alarm, which is promptly snoozed to permit for an additional 10 minutes of snuggling beneath the covers.

However your sleepy mind quickly remembers it’s not simply one other day, and also you handle to pull your self off the bed in time to catch sight of the rising solar’s dazzling gold rays shining low over calmly rolling ocean waters.

No land is in sight.

Are you planning your subsequent trip and on the lookout for a fast noon daydream?

Learn The New Each day’s 48 hours onboard a cruise ship for a special lens on holidaying.

Day one


A buzzing doorbell broadcasts the arrival of the pre-ordered breakfast, and that’s how I spend the primary half hour of my morning consuming fruit, pancakes and a ache au chocolat on my personal balcony whereas watching land slowly encroach on the ocean because the ship pulls into port.

Breakfast tastes so significantly better with an unobstructed sea view. Picture: TND

Later, friends make their strategy to go on an tour into New South Wales’ Hunter Valley. I strike up a dialog with an older couple holidaying from America (it quickly turns into obvious it is a frequent theme among the many ship’s passengers).

After watching a crew member scramble backwards and forwards amid requests for headsets that match over listening to aids, friends lastly disembark and are ushered onto a ready bus.

The tour information battles with a malfunctioning headset as she talks about Newcastle’s historical past and principal exports.

Past the town’s borders, “In your proper!” and “In your left!” rings out as everybody clamours to identify kangaroos on the fields lining the more and more winding and bumpy street.

Upon disembarking, there may be some grumbling from friends disillusioned to be taught the time period ‘cellar door’, with just a few rows of picked-clean grape vines to {photograph} as an alternative of the winery that some imagined.

However the prospect of a wine tasting perks everybody proper again up, and friends head inside to attempt every thing from a lightweight glowing Chambourcin to a honey-thick-and-sweet Muscat dessert wine.

A pleasant debate between the Australian vineyard employees and American guests over corked versus screw-top wine bottles is adopted by an even-friendlier grape-stomping competitors.

A successful bottle of freshly foot-stomped grape juice. Picture: TND

Though some are disillusioned to be stomping grocery store grapes as an alternative of ones recent off the vine – the season is lengthy over, in any case – we vigorously participate, slipping and sliding over the icy grapes slowly turning to mush.

There are cheers from the victorious workforce as everybody traces up, toes nonetheless sticky and lined in juice and the odd grape pores and skin, to await their flip to be hosed off.

Subsequent on the to-do record is pavlova making, with the meringue fantastically browned on the desk in entrance of us earlier than we’re allowed to dig into the sugary sweetness.


By the point the bus makes it again to the cruise ship, friends are all long gone able to eat, and room service is pleased to oblige.

An American-style sizzling canine and fries hits the spot, adopted by a decadent chocolate brownie – as a result of everybody is aware of desserts don’t depend on a vacation.

Then it’s a race to make the most of the ship’s Nordic spa earlier than the crowds set in.

The Nordic spa incorporates a steam room, snow grotto, hydrotherapy pool and sizzling tub.
Picture: Viking Cruises

Inside seconds of settling into the steam room, beads of sweat effectively up throughout my physique; a couple of minutes later, the oppressive warmth and steam makes it laborious to open my eyes.

Earlier than I can soften to develop into one with the room’s wood bench, I swap the steam room for the ‘snow grotto’, an almost-identical room full of snow, and revel within the refreshing chilly.

The world gently sways because the ship leaves port.

I change between the cold and hot rooms twice extra earlier than taking a swim within the hydrotherapy pool and sizzling tub – each of that are outfitted with jets so highly effective I’m left feeling boneless and jelly-legged after I can lastly drag myself away.


It’s not every single day I get to take pleasure in a degustation menu, and there’s no motive to not tonight when there’s an obliging restaurant onboard and the price for all meals on the cruise is roofed by the ticket.

Company can take pleasure in 5 consecutive dishes and accompanying wine pairings; the lychee foam topping the lemongrass and pink chilli granita is my favorite, strongly harking back to the white foam topping the black waves seen by way of a close-by window.

After dinner, I wander by way of the atrium and choose up one of many (oddly-specific variety of) 1003 books positioned across the ship, and lose myself in a narrative as a string duo performs classical music close by.

For extra energetic leisure, friends head to the jazz lounge-style membership, the place velvet-voiced singers belt out every thing from Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Woman to Ed Sheeran’s Considering Out Loud.

Holidaying {couples} take pleasure in a late-night dance. Picture: TND

After desperately making an attempt – and failing – to keep away from eye contact, I’m dragged onto the small dance ground by an older woman decided to get each girl up throughout a rousing rendition of Shania Twain’s Man! I Really feel Like A Lady!

Yet one more drink, and I name it an evening, leaving slow-dancing {couples} to fill the area behind me.

Day two


A stunning ocean dawn and surprisingly not-too-salty ocean air rewards these prepared to tear themselves out of a heat, comfortable mattress early within the morning.

Now, it is a view value waking up for.

A buffet breakfast is loved outdoors on the ship’s deck, and is made even higher when a brand new pal from yesterday’s sauna expertise sits down to affix me.

Because the cruise ship makes its approach by way of the Tasman Sea, we head as much as the sports activities deck for a recreation of ping pong – however find yourself battling the ocean winds greater than one another.

Again downstairs, a spirited recreation of cornhole rages on, however I bypass it with the intention to spend the subsequent hour floating within the deck’s infinity pool, tempted to leap the clear panel barrier separating me from the ocean.

Reluctantly passing an assorted buffet providing of truffles and gelato, I head for the pool grill and demolish what could be among the best burgers ever made, that includes a thick, juicy beef patty and completely caramelised onions that put all quick meals joints to disgrace.

It looks like you’ll be able to leap proper in. Picture: Viking Cruises


The afternoon kicks off with a 50-minute Nordic facial, as each afternoon ought to.

The Swedish aesthetician expertly examines my pores and skin, then gently topics me to nearly an hour of heated towel wraps, pore cleaning, moisturising, facial cupping, and massaging.

The pampered model of me that leaves the spa mentally erases shopping for a home off my want record in favour of hiring a live-in facialist, as a result of how on earth can I am going on not having that have every single day?

By now, I’m far too relaxed to fret about my full lack of inventive expertise as I wander in to affix fellow friends in a watercolour portray class.

Enjoying with paint can shortly deliver out your internal baby. Picture: TND

One way or the other, I emerge with a chunk of labor that surprisingly resembles the golden wattle we had been tasked with recreating, although my fingers are lined in paint like a toddler coming dwelling from a tough day’s work at kindergarten.

I spend a while fruitlessly making an attempt to assist put collectively a slightly-worn 1000-piece puzzle that the ship’s passengers are collectively engaged on all through the cruise, earlier than giving up and assembly buddies for prime tea that options the works; scones, finger sandwiches, tiny desserts and a dizzying number of teas to select from.


A vital lesson about an Australian legend. Picture: TND

After a pre-dinner (let’s faux that’s a factor) of swordfish sushi and lobster, the cruise ship’s theatre places on a heartwarming lecture on Australian nationwide treasure, the late Steve Irwin.

Then it’s on to an Italian restaurant, the place friends critically ponder the menu earlier than realising every thing might be ordered in half-portions so extra dishes might be tasted.

As I’m wondering who I want to talk to make this obligatory in eating places throughout Australia, my buddies and I take pleasure in every thing from truffles to zucchini-wrapped tiger prawns, topping all of it off with a basic tiramisu.

The night time is wrapped up on a non-public balcony, gazing into the inky blackness of an evening sky unmarred by metropolis lights, and watching in any other case calm water rework into swathes of white foam and mist because it’s pushed out of the ship’s regular path.

The New Each day journalist travelled as a visitor of Viking Cruises