I had read all the reviews prior to going on our cruise which were helpful and it has been interesting to compare my experiences with others. With a full complement of children on board and lots of families and also people in the retired age group it made for diversity. The children did not bother me and I liked to see them happily enjoying themselves.
Our cabin was mid ship portside with an extended balcony which was very comfortable and looked after by our lovely steward called Masduku who made towel animals and was always pleasant and happy.
The cruise was smooth and no bad weather affected our trip.
Evening meals were usually taken in the dining room early sitting and they were always beautifully served with many choices.
Our table included two other retired couples who were chatty and pleasant. However, I feel it would be better to mix the age groups more. Perhaps have a range of people on the table; difference is good. Same does not always have to go with same.
The after dinner shows were usually good and I especially enjoyed the singing/dancing ones from the Carnival members.
One of the comedians had a very limited vocabulary and so he had to insert the f word regularly to cover this inadequacy and his jokes were not funny, to boot.
The piano bar where the guy had an early show that included the children was lovely. He organised the children to fill in parts of his song and everybody laughed and liked this.
Another bar featured two young people who were also very good. The boy played the guitar to accompany his sister and he sang sometimes as well.
Other forms of entertainment included games either organised like trivia or self motivated like cards and board games.
We decided not to use computers because it was expensive and we chose to read instead from our ereaders but you could borrow books from the library.
Daytime/night time food was also on level 9 and included a huge range of choices. The kids loved the ice cream machine and 24 hour pizza stand. You could have an Aussie pie or Asian food or American food - just about anything and it was all good. There was even lots of sweet treats to choose from.
The Serenity area was nice and lots of choices of places to sit and a bar to get drinks from. The service in this area was also good with a supply of towels and blankets to keep you comfortable.
One thing that did surprise me was the lack of nice loose leaf tea made with boiling water. The little pots arrived to the table with hot water that did not stay hot and separate tea bags. Even the high tea at tea time 3pm did not serve quality tea made properly. Upstairs, on level 9, you could make the tea in a mug with a tea bag, but I did miss my cuppa!
The ship visited four ports,namely,Port Vila, Mystery Island, Mare and Noumea in New Caledonia. In Port Vila, we took a cab to the town and walked around and had T2 pots of tea in a cafe on the beach which was great and unexpected after disappointing cuppas on the ship. In Noumea, we had a prebooked day that included a drive around sightseeing and having a commentary by the guide. We visited a French patisserie and the aquarium as well as random spots of interest. We had lunch at the French version of McDonalds which made better hamburgers for sure. We did not get off at Mystery Island because we were hesitant about the boats to get us ashore but, in hindsight, this was a mistake on our part. We also did not bother with Mare, but it was Mystery Island we regretted after talking to other people.
Things to take that will make life better on board include:
pegs to hang clothes in the shower
a nice smelly substance for the internal bathroom (a slow release is good)
Overall, we had a great cruise, and I still miss being onboard and having everything done for me and beautiful meals laid on. We would choose this ship again in a heartbeat.