Caught the Pacific Pearl from Princes Wharf, checked in promptly so we could check out our cabin and take a quick tour of the ship. Our cabin steward, Alvin was polite and courteous and he is an excellent steward. Our cabin was located on the 6th deck which we found out to be the best - more on this later!!! The staff are awesome and should be commended for their talents. First, the food - buffet was excellent as we ate here most of the time, Waterfront was alright, just needed to change the menu a little as the dishes seemed to be the same everytime we went there. Salt Grill was excellent, from the entrees to the mains. The scallops were big and juicy and the steamed barramundi was to die for... Thumbs up from me!!!
Be careful with the shore tours. It seems to be cheaper booking onshore rather than on the ship for Noumea and Port Vila. Lifou is good for swimming. Apparently, a $15.00Aud per person tour was disappointing from our fellow passengers which was not worth that amount. Port Vila watch out for the taxi drivers, basically a cut throat business. They will also try to rip you off with tours of Port Vila, most are genuine offering $20.00Aud per person for a tour of the island, the others will try and squeeze alot more out of you!!! Bargain the price of the taxi first before you hop into their vehicle. Port Vilas roads are in a shocking state - big potholes, don't buy anything from the vegie market especially the fish. Duty free shops are very reasonable with the alcohol and tobacco prices. Mystery Island is good for snorkelling, swimming and is picturesque, watch out for the jellyfish!!!
The shows onboard are entertaining as with the daytime activities. Alcoholic beverages are expensive as with the non alcoholic drinks but take advantage of the water dispensers offered in all the bars. Note that 24 hour tea, coffee and water is also on Deck 12, smoking is permitted on Decks 7 & 12 - surprised they allow smoking on the cruise ship. Thumbs up all round. Definitely will be back!!!