the lowdown on sun princess and our christmas cruise 2009: Sun Princess Cruise Review by sjm1965
Overall Member Rating
the lowdown on sun princess and our christmas cruise 2009
Destination: South Pacific
Booked this before the Jewel was announced. Then semi-regretted not having the opportunity to go on a "new" ship - loved the look of the pictures they were sneaking out - contemporary and clean looking. Was concerned that the sun princess might be a bit outdated in comparison, and a bit boring for my 11 yo.
Happy with the price - happy with cabin - happy with location. Food? OMG more than you knew what to do with - and never a queue issue. People that shared our table said it wasnt More as good as it should be - well all I can say is they must go to a pretty fancy RSL - if you know what I mean
Obviously older passengers are less active and occupied than younger people and therefore have more time to ponder and put more emphasis on events such as dining.
Probably mealwise I would say that a couple more non-seafood options would be nice to pick from, for the sake of variety, and the salads could be a bit more "sexy". Other than that, very happy indeed. LOVE their BREAD ROLLS!!!! Not like Australian bread at all!!!
Did a few of the buffet meals and had no probs there, but we ended up prefering to go to the restaurant for brekkie or lunch (if we had it!) because it is naturally such a nicer experience.
Can't believe that more people don't do it. Excellent. Plus the high tea each afternoon is really worthwhile if you can fit it in to your schedule.
The postmix softdrink is crappy - couldnt stand it - luckily I bought my daughter the unlimited kids package - which includes fresh juices and mocktails - highly recommend getting this - you can have strawberry daquiris ( and other flavours of cocktails) without the alcohol - really nice for both kids and adults. ( and you dont have to use the stoopid cup which you will toss after the sailaway) just order drink from bartender in normal glass.
Chrismas eve had snowing in atrium while carols were sung with glowsticks instead of candles. Then Christmas day had a fun fair in atrium for kids and then santa with presents.
Christmas lunch was a bit of a nonevent for us - many bottles of champagne by the pool with whoever sat down in the smoking area!!!! and then we nearly slept thru dinner!!!! Made it just in time and thank goodness because it was beautiful.
It was our first cruise, and initial impressions were that it wasnt as nice as I was expecting - rooms a little on the tired side (but comfortable) and not that "young contemporary hip" feel like the jewel appears to have. But as each day goes by you appreciate the ship more and more.
The staff were absolutely faultless. Our room was serviced 4 to 5 times a day and trust me we were messy.
If you encounter "Lerrine" our fave bartender at the Riviera poolside bar you have found yourself a winner - he is what made our cruise extra awesome.
Also, we were lucky to "connect" with all the entertainment crew - thanks Jen, Nat, Val, and Warren - you guys were awesome and my daughter loved you all - you made her feel special all the time. Mind you, if you want to have a great time cruising you have to put yourself out there - participate - talk to people - mingle - offer people a seat - we met soooo many people we have about 6 weekends committed visiting different people in the next 3 mths to relive it all! Friends for life thats for sure.
Daughter wasnt that fussed on kids club, but i think its that difficult age - 11-12. The 13+ group seemed to have the teens into it - more mingling events, then they went off and did their own thing - and discos etc at night til the wee hours.
Yes we had issues - OMG a mega altercation in the laundry over whose turn it was, then there were 3 instances of families being put off the ship due to poor behaviour of their children - everyone was of the opinion that the captain was in charge and did a good job of ensuring that idiots would not be tolerated.
Yes there were novovirus cases - up to 400 i heard (but that could be absolute rubbish too). Apparently contracted by 2 passengers on first port day when they ate cooked food on one of the islands - the health warning for travellers by government is to not eat food in primitive areas without having vaccinations - yep they ate it! then passed it on to others. The ship knows how to handle it - very impressed there - and you do not know who has it as they are quarantined in cabin until cleared. Once cleared we met a few people who had it - of course they were disappointed they missed a big chunk of their cruise - but it can happen to anyone anywhere. Fortunately not to us. The important thing was that the ship was wonderful in spite of it.
A father of someone we met had other medical issues, and spent 8 days in the hospital - once again - unfortunate - but he was looked after.
A child had an accident on christmas eve and an emergency announcement calling for donors of a rare blood type had an overwhelming response. They could never do enough for you on this ship thats for sure.
Now you are probably thinking - what has this got to do with the Pacific Jewel?
Well - firstly they are both run by CARNIVAL - so once teething issues are out of the way, Jewel should be ok.
Secondly, I wish to point out that you can still have a PERFECT cruise without having everything perfect.
Thirdly, if you are hesitant about which cruise to go on, do your research. You need the negative reviews so that your expectations arent too high.
I would definitely go on a Princess again without hesitation, however I would make sure it was in a school holiday period, because otherwise there may not be enough of a mix of kids and younger people (by younger I mean under 50) on the ship. I would like to try a P&O so am looking around now.
Regarding itinerary - hate Noumea - would never get off the ship if I went there again - VILA, WALA, and CHAMPAGNEBAY were terrific. If you could get a cruise to just those 3 that would be the perfect cruise in my opinion.
We had 5 days in a row of port days - that is pretty full-on and really 3 ports are enough as long as they are GOOD ports. Isle of Pines and Lifou were ok. but didnt rate compared to the other three islands.
MUST DO's on ISLANDS:
Outrigger canoes $5half hour, Hairbraiding $10 and massages $10 are cheapest on Champagne Bay
VILA - Dutyfree cigarettes $27 (for 10x25's), and alcohol, cheapest is at the far end of the main street on the left, next to a regular bottle shop. easy to find, just with those directions lololol.
Take a cheap set of reef shoes, a cheap snorkel set (flippers are a waste of time) and one of those rashie swimshirts and snorkel everywhere. Locals will tell you where to go. Give them some cigarettes for their trouble or lollies for their kids. We took bags of lollies like mini-MENTOS and school snack size chocbars and gave them out randomly to kids they loved it.
And take the shampoo soap etc from the ship and give to them if you arent using it.
Go back to the ship for lunch on the primitive islands. VILA and NOUMEA are ok to eat on only.
So to sum it up we had a great christmas and not a single regret apart from losing too much money at the casino hahaha. Less
Cabin review: IIR318
This layout is larger than the other cabin shape on the Sun Princess, so recommend it. More space in between wardrobes and dressing table. 3 wardrobes, 1 section is double hung, another is single hung with a shelf above. The last has: Shelf at top you cant use - lifejacket Shelf with safe using 60% of it Another 3 shelves (from memory) 4 wire drawers Dressing table has plenty of storage with 2 sets of drawers in it. Hairdryer is mounted on wall at dressing table Fridge mounted in cupboard at end of wardrobe, with shelf on top, with the one and only australian powerpoint - so this is why you will have to bring a powerpack if you have items requiring charging. There is a foreign powerpoint in the bathroom. Good big mirrors. There has been some damage on one of the walls, which has resulted in a gold trim strip being used to conceal the repair, and during our stay the picture above the bed fell off, luckily not on to my daughter, as it is quite big and heavy. Beds are comfortable - linen is nice, and clean, they get rid of the daggy bedspreads once you have unpacked your suitcases - they are just to protect from suitcases, 1 tub chair at dressing table. Phone on nightstand - we had room as twin which definitely is the better option than queen - more spacious. A lot of people saw our room and went WOW this is so much bigger than hours. But it is still small, but the different layout plus the twin bed makes it better definitely. Shower is good and easy access, and has travel clothes line. Toilet didnt block. 3 little shelves next to vanity for toiletries. Carpets looking a bit dated, but i believe these could be replaced in May 2010 when it goes to Brisbane dock for Movies Under the Stars to be fitted. Very nice cabin crew and you do see the odd officer strolling to the bridge. I was very concerned about which way you lay and whether it would affect sleeping, but my daughter who gets VERY seasick normally was fine, while using wristbands and taking travelcalm. After 4 days she stopped using both and was fine.