We flew over from Perth and stayed a couple of days in Sydney. We boarded the ship at 11.30 with our friends Dave and Michelle and we had no problems it was effortless; we were all on board and at Windjammers before 12.30. We had lunch and went and did our own thing leaving our friends to enjoy looking around ship. We were in a Balcony Stateroom on deck 9, it was always clean and tidy thanks to Darwin our room attendant. Loved all the island stops as we enjoy our snorkeling.
Would be nice if the ship stuck to the adult only rule in the pool and kept the kids out of the licensed areas after 10.30pm at night. I did ask Amy Fickert (Cruise director) why they didn't enforce these rules, she said it was not up the ship staff but the parents to enforce it, what a cop out.
Some of the shows were 13+ and 18+ but still the parents ignored this and brought them along.
I thought the cruise director on our previous cruise on Voyager (Graham Seymour) was much more entertaining and made it very clear that the adult only shows were adult only.
Re: The islands I can recommend the Amadee Island tour in Noumea as it was a full days entertainment including a huge buffet lunch. Villa, Vanuatu was good for duty free shopping. Isle of Pines very scenic and we did the snorkeling at the natural aquarium tour well worth the $25pp.
Mystery Island tiny, but different with some good snorkeling spots on the eastern side of the Island. Lifou snorkeling was not as good as the other Islands and the fish were a little aggressive.