My husband and I found this cruise advertised on the internet at a great price so booked purely on itinerary and price. I then found the CC website and worried we would not enjoy the cruise as mostly the reviews of the ship were quite negative and it sounded like we were in for a really bad time.
We pre booked transfers from Sydney airport and were met at the exit as soon as we got to the baggage collection area. We waited for about 10 minutes for another flight to arrive then were driven to Circular Quay and arrived in plenty of time to board at our allotted time.
The boarding process was quick and painless. We were on board less than 15 minutes after arriving at the Quay and were directed to the Lido Deck for a bite to eat. There was plenty of choice as far as food goes, not a four star selection, but still quite a good variety and well presented. There were plenty of tables available.
After our meal, we went to check out our cabin, and were really happy with our selection. We actually could see a little of the view through our French doors, between the lifeboats and I wouldn't hesitate to book this cabin again. Our cabin steward did a great job of keeping the room clean and tidy and also made a different towel animal for us each evening.
We ate most evenings at the Empire Dining room and found the food and service to be quite good. Again, not a four star experience, but we weren't really expecting that anyway. Our Maitre d was lovely, she was very accommodating and always in a party mood. Our waiters were also very helpful and always told us what would be happening the next day. We also ate breakfast a couple of times in the ED room, a nice change from the buffet. We didn't try lunch there, but I'm sure it would have been just as good as the other meals we had there. Drinks prices were comparable to other cruise lines.
The entertainment was ok, but certainly not the highlight of the cruise. We enjoyed the hypnotist and also the New Orleans show. Stu the cruise director did a good job of keeping us busy with plenty of things happening most of the time. There was also some good music around the ship at various times. We enjoyed spending time in the adults only Serenity area, especially when we were lucky enough to get one of the pods at the back of the ship - great views of leaving Noumea.
We didn't book any of the excursions, preferring to do our own thing. We felt the ship's tours were quite expensive. We enjoyed all the ports, especially Mystery Island. We received a last minute email from Carnival advising that the order of the ports had been changed and also that instead of Mare we would be visiting Mystery Island which didn't matter to us. Be sure to take the walk to the white church on the top of the hill at Lifou.
All too soon our cruise was finished and we were back in Sydney. Disembarkation was very smooth and quick. We walked straight off when our letter was called.
I would not hesitate to book this cruise again, especially with such a good deal on the price.