Cruise your way to adventure with P&O
THERE is the expression "the mouth went dry with fear". We all know it, but how many have actually experienced it?
I certainly never had, although I'd read it in many books. However, my turn came when I was half way up the tunnel on P&Os ship Pacific Eden in the middle of the Coral Sea.
I was strapped into a flying fox and ready to take a leap of faith off the ship's tunnel (actually a deck near the tunnel) and my mouth actually went dry with fear. I'd already climbed up many steep steps to the tunnel from the ship's top deck where The Edge, P&Os Adventure Park at sea featured more than 20 different adrenaline- inducing activities.
All my cruise mates had had a turn on the flying fox and had all come off exhilarated, eyes and expressions alight like children's on Christmas morning.
I was the last one the group to take my turn. But once up there, strapped in and ready (complete with hard hat), with two kindly crew members coaxing me just to step off into the air and let the flying fox whizz me across the long (so very long) deck to the other side, I turned into a quivery mass of jelly. Never before had I experienced the dry-mouthed fear.
It was the wind you see. You are so very high up there with the ship's enormous funnel and the wind is ferocious. Then there is the blue ocean 360 degrees around you, all the way the horizon. Nothing but ocean and sky and you up there ready to jump into oblivion. You need to have faith. I didn't. I just couldn't do it. And I cursed myself because I knew it would have been exhilarating, and seniors need all the thrills they can get. Climbing back down from the funnel with the wind pounding me was probably harder than whizzing along the flying fox.
Maybe another time. And it must be said, everyone in our group was younger than this senior writer by a good 10 years.
Don't let me put you off. It's very safe.
P&O's adventure park caters for adults and children, those who like to climb and swing and race and jump and frolic on parts of the ship normally not seen by cruisers.
Ropes, swings, laser tag, slack lines, Segways, flying fox lines, funnel climbs are all there...and to think, cruising used to be all about the bingo and the buffet. Now it is about being in the middle of a large floating adventure playground.
Of course there still is the bingo, the theatre, the classes, the restaurants, the entertainment - all genteel activities we associate with cruising.
It's just that sometimes you like to challenge yourself when on holiday. You just have to have the confidence to go through with it. If not, go with the grandchildren, they'll love it.
Pacific Eden is based in Sydney until February before she starts to make her way around the country again: Melbourne, Adelaide, Freemantle, Asia and back to Cairns.
Full itineraries for Pacific Eden and her sister Pacific Aria at pocruises.com.au.