About us: Myself and my 3 kids aged 18, 15 and 14 from the Gold Coast. We travelled on the day of the cruise by air from the Gold Coast to Sydney and used a limo service to get to the OPT.
We arrived at the Sydney OPT around 2 pm and the timing was great as we headed straight up the escalator to the line for suite guests. We were on the ship within about 45 minutes and went straight to our cabin as they were available.
We stayed in a 2 bedroom family suite or Royal Family Suite (cabin 8520 starboard side). The cabin was great, had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (one with a bath) a lounge room/area with floor to ceiling glass and a balcony. It also had 2 vanity areas - great for the teenage girls and a large full length mirror. This cabin gave us access to the concierge lounge which we used on a daily basis for the service of the concierge and evening hor deuvres and drinks. At night whilst we were a dinner, our Room Attendant would turn the bed down and put chocolates on the pillow - very nice though Royal Caribbean.
We had 4 sea days to and from Sydney and 1 between the islands. The first 2 days there was quite a swell so the seasick pills we had taken did the job and apart from my son feeling a bit dizzy we weren't sick at all. We did take Bonine every night of the cruise (just in case).
Vila - markets right at the dock were great although they did have the same things at most of the stalls but good for souvenirs for family and friends. Love love loved the Cascade Waterfalls - if you go to Vila you have to go there. We negotiated with a bus driver for $20 each way to get to and from the waterfalls and it was a $20 entry fee. It's a 30 minute drive and 15 minute walk to the top of the waterfall but you can stop and swim along the way.
Isle of Pines - very beautiful but unfortunately we missed getting off at this port due to a gastro bug. The ship handled this very well but we were quarantined, but could see the island from our balcony.
Fiji - Denarau (1 day) and Suva (1 day) - Denarau was beautiful and we have a friend who is a GM at a resort there so we spent most of the day swimming in the resort pool and walking on the beach. Suva - not what I expected, I thought it would be a beach location but the ship docked at the port of suva which is very industrial with cargo etc. However, the shopping was great - again lots of souvenirs.
Lifou - another beautiful island where we went swimming and snorkelling. Lots of coral and reef fish, loved this location and then shopping (yes again) at the local markets. More souvenirs!!!
Favourite eating places were Park cafe and the main dining room. The buffet was OK not comparable to a buffet you would get at a Sheraton or Marriott hotel but it was OK. The kids loved the hot chips! Over the 12 nights the menu in the MDR changed every night - that was very impressive and some nights we had multiple desserts as out wait staff brought all the selection of desserts to us.
We dined on the first night at Chops Grille (steak restaurant) - the steak was top class and would definately dine there again on our next cruise.
My son pretty much lived at the Teen Centre and most nights didn't come to the room until after midnight (curfew time for teens). The kids were very safe and there were security staff on the ship that I got to know and would check in with every few days to make sure all was good and that the kids weren't playing up. LOL
The shows and onboard entertainment and parties were fantastic. Casey the Cruise Director and Patrick the Activities Manager were awesome. They had a morning TV show which was very informative and entertaining.
We absolutely LOVED the cruise, the ship and the staff. thanks Royal Caribbean and Rhapsody of the Seas for a great cruise - see you soon.