We boarded at 1130am, ahead of the allotted time in the email sent by RCCL only 5 days prior to sailing. We had already made our travel arrangements for getting to the ship & were unable to change them at such short notice.
There were no problems, we were even shown through to the Gold area for Check-in...straight to the front of the line!! And only my 2nd Cruise!!
On board, we booked our dinner for My Time Dining that night & set off to explore.
Hubbie hadn't cruised for 35 years, so he spent the afternoon picking up his jaw...he was gobsmacked at the opulence & fit out of the ship.
Our cabin was on Deck 8...no trouble with smokers nearby this time...unlike my last cruise with RCCL. I still think putting all smokers on 1 side of the ship would eliminate any issues there.
Our cabin attendant was Cindy..a lovely young woman. She was great, stayed out of our way, but managed to have our cabin spotless. We happily gave her an added gratuity at the end of our time.
Our itinerary was reversed, in order to stay clear of the cyclone that went on to do so much damage in Fiji. Captain Claus kept us fully informed of the weather systems, our position & the itinerary as we went. Brilliant.
The food was amazing....My Time Dining was good, we sat with others almost every night we were there, & met some lovely people.
The Windjammer was great, but I got a bit bored with it towards the end of the cruise...having said that, the food was always fresh & warm, with plenty of variety. Hubbie loved the Windjammer!!
the entertainment was fantastic. Liz Layton was wonderful, FABBA were too...I went to both of their shows...coz I could!! The activities on board were well organised & there was a lot of variety. We enjoyed the Trivia which was held every day, but tended to avid the Bingo which was really crowded, especially as the jackpot climbed. A great thrill for the lady who won the $6K...the cost was expensive though...$32 for the 6 cards.
Bobby & Becky were great with their daily tv broadcast & kept us up to date with what was happening around the ship.
Excursions were hugely overpriced if booked with RCCL, but we didn't want to risk being left behind if there was a delay. the Luganville relics tour was good, but certainly not worth more than US$100 per person.
Ports were good, however, Noumea could be missed out altogether & we wouldn't have minded. The Isle of Pines was the stand out, & Champagne Bay was good too, the markets there were outstanding.
Getting off was a tad difficult, with a miscommunication on board seeing our group off, with no luggage available & on the wrong level. We got off & got on again 3 times & then had to wait 30 mins for the bags...hopefully RCCL can sort this sort of thing out for the future..although Circular Quay in Sydney is very small & there were 2500 of us to process off the ship.
All in all...we WILL cruise again with RCCL.
We had the best time & the cruise more than met our expectations, it exceeded them!
One more thing...if you're going to snorkel, & I did, take a noodle with you! Mine was cut down, enough to fit just out from under my arms...it meant that I didn't have to worry about swimming to stay afloat, I could enjoy the underwater world much more comfortably!!!