Fiji Princess Cruise Review by Neron: Sweet and sour - but mostly sweet
Sweet and sour - but mostly sweet
Maybe Blue Lagoon needs to revise some of its brochures. The one I have states that embarkation is from 12 noon, with sailing at 3.00pm. Not quite so. Pre-embarkation is at a building in Lautoka, and for early and conscientious passengers the wait is tedious and boring. For those of you with travel acumen and a timetable to match, far better to arrive late than early, and to recieve VIP rush treatment.
It's some 35 years since I took a Blue Lagoon cruise. The ship in those days was the Lycianda - still in service I believe, but those casual days are long gone. The 6 night Gold Club cruise is now on the swept-up Fiji Princess catamaran. But gone is the welcoming bottle of champers in the cabin, and gone is the lobster from the Captains Cocktail Party - as are the cocktails. These are the most obvious signs of the cut-backs and reductions to the service - I assume to counteract Fiji's devaluation. I had paid close attention to a previous poster a few months back and noted that More paid-for refreshments have escalated to near exorbitant levels. Like $9 for a glass of very average Ausie plonk wine, or $4.50 for a small can of Coke? Possibly the $150 cabin credit incentive had something to do with that, but I think the owners of Blue Lagoon need to learn that reduced service and increased prices will not gain friends or influence people, and it will certainly not attract the tourists Fiji needs. Only about 30 travelers were aboard, on a boat catering for 70.
Three decks of cabins averaging 13 square metres each, but each very cleverly designed, with a one-piece plastic moulded en suite (that as another poster said, could accommodate one sitting on the toilet, whilst cleaning teeth and showering at the same time), but nevertheless, an amazing amount of storage and wardrobe space. The lighting could use an overhaul, being about nil in the wardrobe and minibar area. A very comfortable queen-sized bed. The air-conditioning seems to have received some criticism on the forum; certainly the thermostats do not seem to work very well, but the system is re-circulatory - just like your home heat pump - and just needs a little intelligent control. Like turn it off when you don't need it.
A word about cabin choice. We elected to take advantage of a free upgrade from the lower deck to the second deck. The saloon deck I think it's called, and asked for one of the larger forward port or starboard cabins. For some reason best known to Blue Lagoon we were allocated cabin 12 - aft port on the top deck - which for some reason is classed as an upgrade. OK - I guess they know their strategy whatever it may be, but with a boat less than half full, why does Blue Lagoon not offer a choice of cabins?
As it was, cabin 12 was adequate until the final night, when the noise was enough to awaken the whole of the Yasawa Islands. I say again, passengers should have some choice of preferred cabins.
The crew - from the Captain down - are just great people. Friendly, actively supportive, forward thinking and helpful.
The catering - as other posters have said - is not exactly haut cuisine, but excellent from the point of view that about 60% was buffet food. The A'la Carte meals were extremely well done, and it was really good to have quality linen serviettes at all the meals. Accor group take note!
Disregarding any negative comment, the Yasawas are a fantastic playground, with their beautiful yellow beaches, delightful people and dramatic backgrounds, and we were sorry to return to the blunt reality of Lautoka. What really impressed me was the almost casual expertise with which the Captain and crew navigated and anchored the boat in such coral infested seas. Yes, I know they have satellite aids, but these guys were using experience and local knowledge.
To sum up, I would give the boat and the crew 9.5 out of ten. I would give the Blue Lagoon organization and management about 2 out of ten. They need to get their act together, or they may not survive.
Would I travel with Blue Lagoon again? I noted nothing to rate it as a 'Gold Club' cruise, so probably 'maybe'.
Would I recommend it? Yes, but with some reservations.
Nev Robinson Less
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Cabin review: top12
Cabins small by most standards (approx 13sqm), but very well designed. Not the sort of cabin to spend a lot of awake time in, but in the Yasawas, who needs it? If you want less noise and less stairways to climb, ask for a Saloon Deck cabin, right forr'd. Not that Blue Lagoon will give you a choice, but it's worth a try.