My partner and I just got back from the carnival spirit 12 day cruise of the South Pacific. As we where first time cruises I got a lot of information from this site before I left and thought I better pay to forward.
Embarkation- quick!!! We had a 12.30 check in time and was done and eating lunch by 1pm. After lunch and we went to our room by which our bag was outside.... Amazing again!!
Stateroom 5150- I would rate it a 3.5 star hotel standard. The room was a decent size... a little smaller then a sydney hotel room. It had an obstructed view balcony, the obstruction was the tender boats but its not completely obstructed you can look out at the ocean, just looking down is obstructed. The room had good linen, ok pillows, heaps of storage and decent bathroom. The room was always kept tidy by our room attendant Hendry. He cleaned the room twice a day and on the night turn down left chocolates and a different towel animal. Soooo cute.
Food- being inner-city sydney siders, we are tuff when it comes to food reviews. We where not impressed with the food. It was ok, just not what we are used to when eating out. We had breaki in the buffet, lunch at buffet or jimmys and dinner in the main dining room. My tip when in the dining room is to always order wet dishes.... Like stew or casserole instead of steak or chicken breast. Everything is pre cooked so choose what you think will hold up best when cooked hours before. Always order a side of veg with dinner just in case the meal isn't great.
Facilities/entertainment on ship- we spent a lot of time in the casino... Being DINKS we enjoy a flutter. I think if we didn't have the casino for nighttime and the Serenity section during the day we would have been bored to death. The shows are very lack lustre with the exception of the adults only comedy which was amazing. We aren't really trivia people and trivia seems to be on all the time. By the last two sea days we where ordering movies in the room to keep us entertained.
Suva- we went on the jewel of Fiji shore excursion and it was really get. It included a boat ride, swim at the most amazing waterfall and then visit to a tribe which included carva ceremony and tradition lunch (buy your wood masks or bowls from here because they have the stamps saying they are treated for customs, the other stops have wood carvings but they aren't treated) The tour was $139 each but we really enjoyed it so we thought it was worth it.
Mystery island- we spent the morning snorkelling by ourselves right out to the edge of the reef. After a walk around the markets (everything is super cheap, this is where you should by all your trinkets, sarongs ect) we paid for a tour to the shark cave/turtle. DON'T do a tour in mystery island.... It's all a scam, they say that you will see turtles or catch fish but it doesn't happen. Just take yourself snorkelling at the other side of the island .... Go way out.... 100 meters out.
Noumea- we decided to take ourselves around noumea city in the morning and then did the highlights of noumea in the afternoon... This was a mistake, I would do a organised tour out of the city as after you go duty free shopping (expensive) and have a eclair you are basicly done. The afternoon tours horrendous. The tour guide was saying things like "this is our version of bunnings, this is our version of best and less, this is our version of Harvey Norman" to be fair she was an Aussie so she was probably just trying to draw parallels. I think a local guide would have provided information of the tribes and such.
Isle of pines- We went to the natural aquarium which was lovely. We where on the earliest tour which we didn't really want since we couldn't sleep in but in reality turned out to be a really good move. We where at the natural aquarium with a small amount of people. As the morning draws on more and more people arrive. We got some great pictures with hardly anyone I'm them.
Port denaru- we had a wedding on that day so we went to the Sofitel and back. Many on the ship told us they loved port denaru. Only thing I would say is either leave getting back to the tenders either earlier or later.... We waited two hours in line getting back to the ship.
Disembarkation- self assist was amazing... Off in ten minutes.
Last note- We travel regularly and enjoyed that we only had to unpack and pack our bags once... We loved the days in port but I think if there where less sea days together it would have been better... We had cabin fever by the second week.