Departure Date: 28 March
Day 1 Embarkation
Embarking the ship in Sydney, the reception area is on deck 5. CMV is reserved as an adults only ship, this means enjoying the cruise in the company of adult passengers. CMV also welcomes solo travellers by reserving 150 staterooms for single travellers with only a 25% supplement on the equivalent category twin share prices.
We checked into our room which was quiet a comfortable size. Two single beds, a desk with mirror, spacious bathroom with shower and a large picture window. We also received a bowl of fruit and a plate of handmade sweets and chocolates.
On this night we were welcomed to a cocktail party with the captain where we enjoyed sparkling wine and canapes. The cocktail party took place at the Sinatra’s Lounge Bar located on Deck 9. This is a quiet little area with comfortable chairs - a nice place to sit, relax and catch up on the days goings on.
After the party, we headed down to the Waldorf Restaurant on Deck 8. There are two main À la carte restaurants onboard, the Waldorf and the Kensington, and have an early seating at 6.15pm and a late seating at 8.15pm. The buffet is located at Raffles Bistro on deck 10 and is open for anytime seating.
After dinner and a mingle, we went to the live show 'Diva’s' where three female singers took to the stage to sing some classics including Gloria Gaynor's 'I will Survive' and Whitney Houston's 'How Will I Know'.
Day 2 At sea
Today started with breakfast by the pool from Raffles' buffet. After breakfast, we all met at reception for a full ship inspection. We viewed both restaurants (Waldorf and Kensington) which were both set up identically. Next was the library - a cosy room with lots of natural light and big comfy leather chairs.
Afterwards, we visited the day spa which is open from 9am - 9pm and offers many different services including massage, facials, body wraps and more. The thermal rooms are open the entire time and free for passengers to use, however it is important to note that for half the day (either morning or afternoon, depending on the days itinerary) clothing in the thermal rooms is optional and the thermal rooms are unisex at all times. The day spa also offered daily specials at discounted rates.
Magellan offers two pools and three whirlpools, all in open air spaces however, most outdoor areas surrounding the pools are smoking areas. We also had the opportunity to view the Suites which offer a small balcony, shower over the bath and a separate bedroom to lounge room.
The rest of the day was spent at leisure. We had a range of activities to choose from including working out in the gym or attending one of the many exercise classes (yoga, stretch, aquatics etc.) trivia, history lectures, bingo, arts and craft classes, shopping, swimming, playing chess or just relaxing in the steam rooms. By night we were able to enjoy the shows, live music and even a DJ in the Captain’s club lounge.
Day 3 At sea
Today we started the day with a bridge tour. This tour was included to all guests who attended the round world sectors. We were able to walk into the bridge where we met our Captain who answered all our questions about driving the ship.
In the afternoon we were entertained with a cocktail demonstration. Our bartenders were able to show off their mixology skills by throwing and juggling their mixers and bottles. We also had the chance to taste some of their cocktails including a Singapore Sling, Tequila Sunrise, Long Island Ice Tea and a Mai Tai. The Singapore Sling was by far my favourite.
Day 4 Hamilton Island
Today we arrived at beautiful Hamilton Island. The day started with breakfast at Raffles overlooking the dark green rugged islands and turquoise blue water. At 7.45am we were to go to the Tavern to obtain our tender tickets. When they called our number over the speaker, we were then allowed to go down to Deck 3 to board our tender. The tender was small yet a smooth sail to the island which only took about 15 minutes.
Once we arrived at Hamilton Island we caught the free (orange) bus from the ice cream shop to One Tree Hill Café and lookout. This route took us on a very scenic tour around the island, past the airport and golf course. Once we arrived at One Tree Hill (approx. 15 minutes drive) we took the time to take some photos and have a cold drink at the café. One Tree Hill Café is a relaxing little spot which offers tapas, snacks, coffee and cocktails while overlooking the stunning scenery.
Once we had all finished our drinks, we took the orange bus back to Catseye Beach. Catseye Beach is an area open to the public, located on the resort side of the island, which offers beach activates (kayaking, paddle boards, windsurfing etc.), snorkel tours, shops, or even just the chance to relax in their public pool with swim-up bar.
From Catseye, we caught the green bus back to the wharf. All buses will return to the wharf; however this was the most direct route. From the wharf, we organised a ferry transfer from Hamilton Island to Whitehaven Beach. The ferry was $105 return, including afternoon tea and had a morning and afternoon departure. Our departure was at 12.55pm and onboard we were supplied complimentary tea or coffee, or could purchase other drinks and snacks from the downstairs bar.
The ferry was very rough heading over to Whitehaven as it was going against the waves and wind. I would strongly recommend taking travel calm 15-30 minutes prior to the boat departing, especially if you have a tendency to get sea sick. However the trip was relatively short, arriving into Whitehaven after approximately 20 minutes.
The island has (as the name suggests) snow white sand and turquoise blue, warm water. We spent two hours here swimming, sunbathing and playing beach cricket before heading back to Hamilton. I wouldn’t recommend any longer on the island as it is a bare island.
We returned to the Magellan by approximately 5.30pm completely knackered! We showered and had dinner early to see the evening show, 'The Boy from Oz' by Peter Allan. The entertainers performed each song with dance and costumes.
Day 5 Townsville
Today we arrived in Townsville at the wharf so there was no need to catch a tender in. We were able to depart and return to the ship whenever we pleased.
Townsville’s cruise terminal is small, yet clean and very welcoming with an information booth set up full of examples for day tours and activities. Note that the cruise terminal doesn’t offer any car parks, there are only spaces for buses and taxies at the terminal.
Cruise passengers can visit the Billabong Sanctuary where you will have the opportunity to meet your favourite Aussie animals! Cuddle koalas, feed kangaroos, cradle a wombat or hold the baby crocs. As this is an outdoor activity and Townsville can get quiet hot, I would recommend this activity on cooler days. I had the opportunity to visit the Maritime Museum, which only cost $6 entry. This museum shows the history of the 'Mutiny on the Bounty' including artefacts found on the ship.
After visiting the museum, I had lunch on the strand at C-Bar. I had a delicious crispy skinned barramundi with sweet potato mash, overlooking Townsville’s beautiful beach and the staff were lovely - I would recommend this restaurant.
After lunch, I headed to Reef HQ, the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium. After taking a wander around at these impressive exhibits, I then visited the turtle hospital connected to the aquarium. Here we witnessed some injured turtles in rehabilitation.
Unfortunately this was the end of my day. If there was more time I would have headed to kissing point or up Castle Hill. Castle Hill is accessible via vehicle or (for those who are looking for a challenge) by walking tracks. It offers stunning 360-degree views of Townsville with photo opportunities not too be missed – particularly at sunset! Kissing Point (or Jezzine Barracks) is an iconic sight for both Australian military and local Aboriginal people and includes coastal board walks, artwork and parklands. This area commemorates the military and Aboriginal heritage through 32 specially commissioned public artworks, extensive interpretive signage and its recent restorations
Day 6 Cairns
How sad that this was our last day on the Magellan! We arrived in port at Cairns, so no tender was required and we were able to depart at our own accord any time before midday.
Once departing the Magellan, we took a long stroll along the boardwalk of Cairns which was absolutely stunning. We had the chance to wander past the lagoon pool, shops, cafes and parks until we arrived downtown.
After our walk, we went down to the Botanical Gardens which are massive! You could spend hours walking through these magnificent gardens, getting close to butterflies and looking through all the little gift shops and cafes. We had lunch at the Cairns Botanic Gardens Restaurant and Café, before heading over to the Chinese Friendship Garden.
After walking through the gardens it was unfortunately time for me to go to the airport and head home.