Fondly known as ‘Beretts’ to national television audiences, Seven’s Sunrise sports anchor and occasional host Mark Beretta has covered four Olympic Games and almost every major sporting event since his career in journalism began some 16 years ago. Mark is also a 10-time Australian Water Ski Championships winner and recently he took his first ocean cruise, aboard P&O Cruises UK’s Aurora from Melbourne to Adelaide. Words: Alarna Haigh.
What were your first impressions of Aurora? What did you think of your cabin? I was really impressed. I didn’t know what to expect as I’d never been on a cruise before, and it wasn’t what I imagined it would be – it was much better. I was surprised at how big it was. Aurora was beautiful: very spacious with great facilities. I got the feeling we were on an adventure. Our cabin was compact, but you learn to live in the space and get used to it quickly. Besides that, you don’t spend much time in your room when there is so much to see and explore – especially since we were only on board Aurora for two days.
Who did you travel with? I travelled with my wife, Rachel, and some of her family. They had been visiting us from England and were sailing home on Aurora. We said goodbye to them from the dock, waited a bit until they had boarded, then got on the ship ourselves and surprised them! We found our own private spots around the ship – sitting in the same places on the deck and in the restaurants. We spent a lot of time in the Crow’s Nest at the front of the ship, having drinks together and watching the view of where Aurora was sailing.
What was your favourite aspect of the cruise?
The best thing was lying down having a massage in the day spa with floor-to-ceiling windows. We were looking out over the ocean, and four humpback whales swam up alongside the ship. Watching them bobbing up and down right in front of me was amazing. Also heading out of Melbourne, having a drink while seeing the city from a different perspective. I grew up in Geelong, and we sat on the deck as the sun set and watched the familiar scenery float by, cow-spotting and taking in the view.
Describe the day spa for us:
Rach and I got some time alone and went to the day spa, which was incredible. The gym was a good size and there were lots of people using their time off to work out. There was room to walk around the deck, which we also liked.
What was the worst part of the cruise?
Getting off! I’ve always loved boats and I felt like I was leaving the party early getting off after two nights. We wanted to stay on until Southampton. The rooms took a bit of getting used to but we probably packed too much for a short stay. My advice would be to take the minimum of belongings because everything you need is on the ship.
Did you enjoy the British flavour of the ship? I’ve spent time [in Britain] and think the British do things well. There was the understated atmosphere, which I liked. The British have been doing cruise ships for a long time so they know what they’re doing.
Do you have plans to cruise again?
My wife and I definitely will be taking another cruise! We would like to do it with the family next time, up to the South Pacific. It’s good for the children because everything is contained on board. Rach and I would like to do more short trips too – two to three-night getaways are perfect for couples. I’m a convert to cruising after this holiday! I love how you just unpack your bag and that’s it. Our short trip on Aurora has made me see how people can go around the world on a cruise.