Embarkation – we arrived about an hour late due to traffic problems – many train lines were down for maintenance and they were using buses. Once in line we were asked for our boarding time and when I said it had been 1230 pm we were given priority boarding – that was a nice surprise. The main thing I missed was cruising under the Sydney Harbour Bridge but still it was nice cruising through the harbour at night.
Décor & Public Areas – well yes that it is a bit over the top but you get used to it, it can help you to imagine you are in a different country, Egypt. Public areas were ok and hard to believe there were 16 bars on board. The Jungle was an interesting concept.
Cabin 7200 – Extended balcony, my first balcony which was nice but I didn’t use it much but it was nice to wake up with the sun instead of being in darkness. It was nice to have the sofa and coffee table and the extra space. The balcony seemed sheltered when the ship was underway and was nice watching the world go by. Especially great to stand there in the morning we returned, to watch her dock in a foggy Sydney. Our Cabin steward was great – hardly seen him but things were always so clean and organised, and my ice bucket was always full. The fridge in the cabin was very small even for a bar fridge so the ice was always good to have.
Dining – breakfast was eaten in both the buffet and dining room, loved the Burcher Museli in the Dining Room and the toast was usually warm. Unfortunately the toasters in buffet were slow, but if I ate there I tended to have cereal and fruit. It was also nice to see they had Aussie bacon for breakfast in both the buffet and the Dining Room. I tried the pancakes one morning but I think they had been sitting for awhile and were dry on the outside.
Lunch was in dining room on sea days – nice to be served a meal – it also means that I don’t over eat. The sushi was great one day but didn’t see it again. The burgers also looked pretty good. Dinner – first night was in the Nouvea Steakhouse – 8 of us and I managed to get a booking before we boarded the ship. We got 2 bottles of wine free that evening and we all enjoyed our dinner. Lobster, for me and Surf & Turf for the other 7. Entrees and desserts were good – their version of Apple Pie was good. The Chocolate Sampler was more than a sampler.
The free Ice cream that you serve yourself was great – Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry and also yoghurt. The free pizza was also good but sometimes long lines – but did have to ask for extra toppings – the pineapple was a bit light. The Deli was also good for hot toasted sandwiches and wraps – they would make other things not on the menu, and again you could ask for extra toppings.
Spa & Fitness – I didn’t spend much time there but others did. Part of my Mother’s Day present was a Pedicure – which was great with my daughter whilst we talked and looked out to sea. For the Ladies - I had Shellac covered nails done before I boarded and unfortunately I cracked one, thankfully they were able to fix it for me, they didn’t have my purple colour but they were able to glue and resurface with clear Shellac and best of all they didn’t charge me for it.
Itinerary - Due to strikes and unrest in New Caledonia we were notified 2 weeks before we cruised that we would be going to Mystery Island instead of Mare – not great issue, and once we got to Mystery Island I loved it. Probably the nicest island of the cruise. Because of the change in island they also changed the order of stops so it meant we didn’t get to Noumea – they went on strike at the Port area so we missed there but Carnival took us back to Isle of Pines – unfortunately it was overcast all day but at least they put more activities on the ship for the day. But it was disappointing that we didn’t get to Noumea – I had saved most of my South Pacific Francs to spend there. Yes I had been there before but still liked it.
Entertainment – The Great South show was great and really worth seeing, I am not into Jazz or Blues so some of the other shows did nothing for me. I don’t do trivia, which seemed on a few times every day. The Comedy unfortunately I didn’t always find funny or original. Didn’t see Stu – Cruise Director, much around the place, which may have been ok. The Captain and Officers I met were nice and friendly and happy to talk about the ship and their jobs.
Family and children – there were 400 children on board – heard it direct from Captain. They were well behaved from what I saw, actually didn’t see many kids other than in the Buffet in late afternoons – they had a specially marked off area for the kids to eat. Unfortunately someone took one of my Butterflies from my door – but not saying it was a child.
Value for Money – I did enjoy my cruise even with the changes to itinerary, and was worthwhile especially as we had OBC which meant I had little extra to payout. Would I cruise with Carnival again – YES – but not in school holidays. But I still prefer Princess.