We have only started cruising this year, this is our third cruise and all on the same ship as it is based out of Brisbane which is closest to us.
We have done two 7 day cruises Feb and Aug 12 and one 12 day cruise in Oct.
Where can I start, check in can be a bit chaotic for newcomers, however that is ok once you are in line it goes along smoothly. Unlike air travel I recommend to arrive four hours prior to departure, that allows you to stow your bags, enjoy lunch and explore the ship before the mandatory emergency drill exercise.
We were travelling as a family of 7, two adults and a 12, 10, 6, 4 and 2 year old. Once onboard get all your admin out of the way, that is register the children with the relevant kids club. On our 2nd cruise the boys could not wait to get in so excited where they (same for cruise no 3). The staff there are very friendly and very good.
The food was excellent. I love the silver service in the Waterfront Restaurant, the menu is great and such a variety of choices. At lunch my wife likes to go to the buffett on deck 12 so I go along, but if I had the choice I would be in the dining room again.
The last cruise we did we had a wedding anniversary and a birthday, cakes and champagne each night, what a treat.
The cabins were great, room enough to move and as we do not spend much time in there anyhow it was more than suitable.
The pool on deck 12 were unfortunately not heated, this did not stop our children, poor dad though who had to follow the younger ones into the pool.
Once in the tropics however the water quickly heats up.
The shows are great, however some could be more spontaneous. Celebrity heads had the same charachters, they should realy change them every cruise.
The stops were excellent and I liked the concept of exchanging francs on board for New Caledonia and Fiji dollars. Vatus for Vanuatu we purchased on land.
With regards to Vila it can be a bit daunting arriving there with all the drivers and co. yelling to get your business. Just find one you are comfortable with and agree to a price you feel is fair. They do have a large sign too that indicates the fare to the city centre.
Overall all our cruises have been excellent. Next month we will go on the Pacific Pearl and we are looking forward to it.
Ports on 12 nights were Lifou, Mistery Island, Port Denarau, Suva and Villa.