We were asked to join our daughter and husband to celebrate her 30th Birthday on RCI Voyager of the Seas to Noumea and Lautoka for a ten day cruise. As I had lived in Fiji and not gone back for over 45years I was excited about this trip and decided to take with me a memorium for my late dad who set up the Fiji Electricity Authority back in the 60s in both Suva and Lautoka.
We travelled from Brisbane A/Port to Sydney and caught a maxi cab to ship. Even though we were not due on ship for three hours, we got on straight away.
WOW! first impressions were,"They never built them like this in the 60s, and how does this thing even float"! The ship was awesome! I know that there are bigger ships around but to be honest, I would not like something bigger than this.
Staff were lovely and eager to please you. Language was sometimes a difficulty with those that did not speak English very well and so a few things were misunderstood.
Meals were plentiful although the coffee left a lot to be desired! Either weak and warm or so strong that it tasted burnt. Many had brought their own coffee on board.
Preferred the Windjammer selection for meals. Restaurant meals were small, a la carte, with not a lot of selection. Breakfast Menu again was limited at the restaurants and we had warm tomato juice and tepid coffee. Windjammer was by far our preference as it was a smorgasbord style with plenty of alternatives to choose from. Missed having fresh veges like Broccolli, Pumpkin, Beans, only potato and carrots offered most times until we docked back in Sydney and finally had a roast pumpkin. Yeah!
Did not use shore excursions but went with daughter and her family on a coach in Noumea to look at the sights. So sad to see the sorry state of Noumea with Graffitti everywhere, not a happy place to visit at all and many on the ship did not get off having visited this island before. We made the most of it by taking our grandaughter on the beach for a swim in the ocean which was delightful. Unfortunately we got back on board to find we were not going to Fiji because of a technical fault with the ship and would be returning to Sydney which we did, very very slowly at 8 knots. To say I was not disappointed would be an underestimation as the stop in Fiji was going to be the highlight of the trip for me, however, no point in being sad so we made the most of it and spent the day back in Nomuea looking for gifts for our other grandchildren to take home.
Activities on board were plentiful. Many fun nights. Our grandchildren did not want to leave the childrens club whenever our daughter and her husband left them to play there. The people who look after them were wonderful.
Our cabin was with its own deck in the aft section of the boat on level 9. No Noise, clean and more than acceptable space wise. Staff came in every day and made the beds and tidied up the bathroom leaving towels hanging every second day in the shape of a monkey or a puppy dog etc.
For those wanting to watch TV in the evenings rather than do onboard activities the channels are really bad with repetative USA channels.
The entertainment was a bit hit and miss but loved the Portrait Auctions and purchased a Natalie Dyer portrait. The 'Sales' in the centre of the ship were for the main part expensive for the quality on sale but did pick up a couple of watch and jewellery boxes for our other daughter. The shops were nicely displayed in the Mall but again did not offer a wide range of items, especially for children and in the main were very expensive. A 99 cent lighter in Australia costs $4 onboad, to give you an idea of the ratio. So put plenty of money in your sea pass accounts!
A week prior to leaving, RCI came up with a new drinks package of $45-55 per day per person for all you can drink. I do not drink more than a couple a week but my husband drinks nightly so we had to purchase two packages as without a certificate from a doctor we were told that whomever is in the cabin with you has to also buy a package. This worked out at nearly $1,000 for the ten days. Fortunately, by day three we were told to go to the service desk and ask for a refund for me as I was not drinking, we were given this refund a few days later which many would not realise they could ask for.
We had just left devastation where we live after Cyclone Oswald hit us really hard and it was a little difficult to leave everything not yet fixed and go on a cruise. I have to say though, I can see why people cruise and look forward to another one with RCI in the future. Whilst there were some negatives to our trip, overhaul not enough to not cruise again and looking foward to our next one.