I recently went on a Christmas 12day cruise on Sun Princess departing Sydney Australia and stopping in New Caledonia and Vanuatu. I am 26. Travelled with a family of 10. All over the age of 21. Here are a few of my thoughts
SEA Day 1 we had 4.5m swell and 50 knot winds. No one slept that night and it was my first night ever on a ship. Everyone stumbled around like they were drunk. Apparently though that is a pretty bad night to have on a cruise and after that first night the sea for the rest of the trip was fine. Even in 2m swell I barely felt it in my cabin. We stayed balcony mid ship.
VIRUS About 5 days into the cruise there was a Nora virus outbreak with people getting major diareha and vomiting. Those people were quarantined but they didnt obey and the virus spread. There were alot of kids on the ship. More then normal and most of them dont wash their hands. We took extra care in washing hands and not touching balustrades or eating at the buffet.
PORT OF CALLS 6 out of 10. Isle of Pines and Champagne Bay were beautiful. Port Villa was fun at the waterfalls and snorkling. Lifou and Noumea were ok.
DINING 9 out of 10. The food was amazing. And the service was really good. Three course meals for Breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus afternoon tea and deserts. Good thing i used the gym. We ate in the dining room most of the time and not the buffet because of the Virus outbreak.
ENTERTAINMENT Shows - 5 out of 10 The last two shows of the trip were very well done. The Sun Princess dancers are very good and the two lead singers were great as well. There is an onboard developed drama of cinderella they have done which sucks. And the international show of random cruise workers showing talents is a disaster. Music - 8 out of 10 Very talented musicians. Great to sit back with a bourbon and listen too. Theatre Movies - 5 out of 10 Old movies. Average screens and sound. Pools - 5 out of 10 There are two and they arent very big. A couple of spas around that are nice and hot though. Gym - 7 out of 10 Not alot of benches or free weights. But heaps of cardio machines and cable weights. Lotus Spa - 8 out of 10 Good staff. Very relaxing. Activities - 3 out of 10 They have lots of little activities on the ship. But they are quite boring. Casino - 8 out of 10 Excellent. Couple of poker, blackjack and roulette tables. All happy to take your money whether $1 or $1000. Sports Bar - 1 out of 10 Umm goood except NO SPORT!! Seriously how can you advertise you have a sports bar but dont play sport on it??? Nightclub - 6 out of 10 Good music until the DJ was kicked. They eventually flew someone in. But yer he wasnt that good. Jazz Bar - 10 out of 10 Excellent Jazz. Great bar to chill out in.
GOSSIP Some 18 year old kids smuggled fireworks onboard from Vanuatu. The went to deck 15 and set them off which was cool to watch but they all got kicked off the boat at the next port of call. lol.
The DJ for the cruise was kicked off after two days. He was supposed to be working and was drunk dancing with girls at the night club.
ISSUES Internet - Internet prices are ridiculous. I got charged $50 just for Wifi use while they setup the printer on their own computer. Seriously Wifi costs them nothing. They should charge per KB download. Not per minute used. Movies - The movies shown are from 12mths ago. No new movies. Television - Most of the channels were green. This is due to it been an american ship and they are converting continuously from PAL to NTSC and they dont have the right gear to do it. Also no Australian News. Just BBC and CNN. Sport - This was a huge thing. I really wanted to watch the sport over christmas. The cricket and EPL. They didnt show any sport on any channels. They had ESPN but would change the channel when the actual sporting event would come on. Even in the "sports bar' they wouldnt show it upon request. They do not have the rights to broadcast sport on the ship and as such dont. Even when i complained they wouldnt do anything about it. They were able to receive FoxSports and Australian Channels but would broadcast. Told No - I got a little bored at nights and wanted to go play the Nitendo Wii or playstation or arcades that all the teenagers get to play but i wasnt allowed. I got kicked out. I actually got told quite a few times on the cruise even though they advertise the whole time on the ship ask us and we will make it happen. Always trying to get you to spend more money - Once your on the ship they are trying to upsell you. The first thing is they want you to pay $55 for unlimited soft drinks. Why not just include that in the cruise cost? You always get the feeling of them wanting to sell you more stuff with photos and stuff. Sometimes id just rather them leave me alone and let me enjoy the cruise. If i want something Ill come ask.
ADVICE Take your own snokel and mask and maybe fins. You don't want to use the snorkels on some of the islands. They arent washed properly.
Book a onland excursion with the cruise for Noumea. The rest you can do by yourself. Go see the waterfalls in Vanuatu. Everywhere else you can just walk and snorkel.
Take a laptop to watch movies and maybe a Wii for extra fun.
Don't make phone calls. Use skype on there expensive internet. Its still cheaper then $5 a min phone calls.
FINAL THOUGHTS I would definately cruise again. Two weeks of being waited on hand and foot, not cooking or cleaning, having your bed made, turned down and towels changed and visiting new destinations without having to pack and move all the time is very very appealing. I won't go on sun princess again. Its for old people that like to sit around and do nothing. Its an old boat. I will try a newer boat. The Royal Caribeen boats look awesome. Might give that ago through the mediterranean.
Maybe i was just expecting to much having seen all these wonderful looking photos.
If you have any other questions i would be happy to answer any to help you make a cruising decision in the future.