Just returned from our 1st cruise & like so many other reviewers, can't say enough positive things about the trip. From embarkation to debarkation we were thoroughly taken care of.
My 2 boys 10 & 11 years spent most days doing one or more kids club activities. As they were old enough we gave them the choice to sign themselves in & out, so they had the freedom to make the choice of how to spend their days. Usually on the go till 10pm when they strolled back to the cabin eating an ice cream!
The older kids on the cruise also looked like they were enjoying the activities offered to their age groups. Everyone catered for!
The Empire dining room served a great variety of meals & the service was outstanding. Our waiters were so accommodating and so friendly. It was such a pleasure to be seated at their table each night. ( even though we had 'any time dining', we asked to be seated so that we would be looked after by them)
One night we ate at the Nouveau restaurant which was an extra $40pp but also worth every bite! I had a beautiful Lobster Bisque entree, 1/2 filet minion & lobster tail surf & turf main, & an extremely decadent choc tasting plate to finish. The wait staff there are also very attentive with great knowledge of the menu. It was a very nice fine dining experience that you should try - even if it is just once.
I had read in previous reviews that there was no 'variety' for breakfast at the buffet- that just goes to show that there is no pleasing some people- the fact that the ENORMOUS variety remained the same each day wasn't a concern if you chose to eat a regular breakfast rather than completely go over the top trying to fit everything on your plate every day ( which some people seemed to be doing) there was plenty to choose from. My top choice for breaky are the made to order omelettes - there are about 3 separate omelette stations and this way you get a beautiful HOT fresh omelette with your choice of ingredients.
Our cabin steward, Thomas, was so helpful & we particularly loved the nightly towel animal! We booked the 'obstructed view balcony cabin' as it was a little cheaper than the regular balcony. I must say it was hardly any obstruction at all. Our balcony on level 5 ( cabin 5191) overlooked a life raft I took beautiful photos from our balcony, even a couple of sunsets from lying on the bed!
The evening shows were outstanding - I was expecting a cheesy Vegas kind of show, was very impressed with the quality of the productions and the Carnival Spirit Dancers. The Comedy on the nights I saw it was hilarious - didn't get to the late late adults only but the 8:45pm adults shows were side splitting funny!
One thing to watch out for is the cooking demo from Nouveau restaurant - it only happens once early on in the cruise- you get to taste a little from each course!!!!!
The other thing to note is book the behind the scenes tour as soon as you get on. We tried to book on the first morning but was already booked out before we left Sydney!!!! Obviously a popular thing to do.
Noumea- can recommend the kayaking on the Dumbea River. Great to get out of the town, but also had time in the afternoon if you wanted to do a spot of shopping before the 4:15 departure.