First time cruising with Carnival. Arrived early, dropped our bags & went for coffee at MICA. Great café with stunning views of the ship & the harbour, free wi fi. A nice place to sit & wait. We had 12 midday boarding, lined up at 11.30 & were sent upstairs at 11.40 where we were processed very quickly & put in to zones prior to customs & boarding. Embarkation started promptly at 12, we were passengers 3 & 4. Took no more than 5 mins. First stop la Playa for a quick lunch.
Cabin.... went to find our cabin which was ready at 12.30. Met by Suma our cabin steward, lovely guy. nice cabin, deck 5 aft, extended balcony. First bag arrived about 3pm. The next bag did not arrive, went to look at the luggage without tags, not there. Finally arrived with an official letter stating that there was contraband in it. (Funnily enough the contraband did arrive in the first bag). we had a power board which was removed by Carnival as it was not checked & tagged by them. After a brief discussion it was returned to us the next day with a letter to sign.
Dining......We had MTD, always got a table for 2 with minimal wait. we usually had a window & the same staff. Meals average, we were a little disappointed. La Playa Grill has a great deli option, very popular. No shortage of food. Jimmy's BBQ not to our liking but we had to try it. There was a brunch on the second last day in Empire, quite nice.
Entertainment......not what we expected. Shows OK but not really pitched to the Australian family market. One comedian was great, can't remember his name he was from Melbourne. Another comedian from Logan not funny, adults only, should stay working in pubs, lots of people walked out.
Movies shown several times in Versailles lounge, quite popular.
Went to Nouveau Restaurant demonstration, very good, we had samples of each course.
Children.....lots, more than we expected considering it was not school holidays.
Serenity.....always packed, hard to get a spot. The hammock was amazing, very relaxing.
Gym facilities.....good, great hot tub, steam & sauna. Good showers there, better than the cabin.
Climate on the ship.....freezing, air conditioning was too cold in corridors.
Art auctions....usual hard sell, passes the time.
Port of call.....Isle of Pines, always lovely, great snorkelling.
Lifou....too windy for us this time, did not stay long.
Noumea.....somewhat improved. we did the usual shopping, tried the free wi fi in the park, no luck, then went to mcdonalds for free wi fi along with hundreds of other passengers, the network kept jamming.
Mare....took the bus to the beach, beautiful, great snorkelling, safe.
Duty free....amazing prices on the ship. Very cheap. Usual sale frenzies, all good fun.
Debarkation....excellent. Off the ship promptly & our bags were waiting for us.
Overall an average cruise. Value for money but unlikely to cruise with Carnival again. We found the layout of the ship odd, no nice lounges to sit in & have a really good look outside. The décor was dark but there were lots of nooks & crannies to sit in but a after a couple of days the kids were running around at all hours. Most were generally well behaved but some very noisy. The passengers we met were all lovely.