This was our first ever cruise but we have stayed at various resorts (all-inclusive and non-all inclusive) and I am basing the experience on those stays. This trip was our honeymoon in Tahiti and also included stays in Papeete and Moorea. In short, this was the highlight of the entire honeymoon ... by far!
Getting on the boat and getting the ID cards was quick and effortless. The staff took the time answer any and all questions. The boat is in great shape and is easy to navigate since it is smaller than the bigger cruise line boats. If you have challenges with stairs or require elevators you should look elsewhere.
The room was small but we found it had a lot of storage. It was very comfortable and has everything needed for the trip. In comparison, it has far more storage than the rooms we stayed at during the rest of our trip. There is a safe and a fridge and they have free non-alcoholic drinks already in the fridge along with alcoholic drinks that you pay for.
They have the option of a drink package for those that partake more than others. It seems to be a fair price and is based per cabin, not per person.
Communication of events, activities, etc. is very good on the ship. They have a nightly review of the next day's excursions. Bottles of water are provided for those excursions before you leave and they provide enough information so you know what to bring and what to expect on the excursion. A daily 4 pager was provided that included news for the days, schedule, hours for the various operations on the ship, weather, etc. Being Canadian they even delivered a 4 pager of Canadian news headlines on a daily basis (nice touch).
Snorkel gear was provided for free for the entire trip which was a nice touch.
The food was great. Compared to the resorts we stayed at in Tahiti it was also all included in the price unlike the resorts where the food is extra and was nowhere near as good at the food on the cruise. The menu changed on a daily basis and the buffet items were fresh and delicious. Even in room dining is included with a simple late night menu.
The staff are top notch! They get to know the guests by name and are incredibly friendly and will go out of their way to help you. This may be a function of a smaller boat but it was definitely a differentiator from all other trips.
The excursions were well planned and they requested feedback after each one to ensure that they were providing relevant and quality excursions.
The onboard shop was limited in its selection but did not differ from the stores you would have on a resort.
The spa was small but provided great service. I had a haircut that was easy to schedule and my wife got her nails done and they did a better job than the shops back home.
The staff provide turndown service which was quite nice and they keep your ice bucket topped up at all times (no need to go find ice or call rooms service for it).
We are in our mid to late 30's which put us on the younger side for most guests. There were several other honeymooning couples that were in the age range of late 20's to late 30's. The other guests ranged in age from 40's to 70's. The guests we had on our trip were all very friendly and chatty. There was a sense of class on the trip as well. People dressed nice for cocktails and dinner but a jacket is not required. It made for a very comfortable but classy atmosphere. Maybe I am snobby but it was nice not having people that are just boozing it up and being loud and obnoxious. Most people are partaking in the excursions during the day but you certainly don't have to. We took a couple days to relax and hang out on the ship. Rides to the islands to do your own trips are available all day long.
Kids? Nope. There was two adult children (a couple) that came with their parents and that was all. This was very welcome for us.
Onboard entertainment was good. The duo that provided live music during the evening cocktails and after dinner were quite good and played appropriate music. The casino was open for those that wanted a bit of gambling and the dealer was very friendly and helpful for beginners.
For those that want to relax in their rooms the tv has a built in dvd player and the library has lots of dvds available to borrow for free. Popcorn will be delivered by room service for free too.
Leaving the ship at the end of the cruise was quick and easy.
Now for the not so good elements.
The pool is quite tiny. Its a small ship and it has a small pool. If you just want to take a quick dip to cool off it is fine but no one hangs out in the pool. Find a deck chair and thats where you will be most of the time.
You can definitely feel the waves on the open ocean. The boat typically sales after dinner till the early morning hours. If you have issues with motion sickness it can be a bit of an issue. Be prepared. Only once did they leave before dinner which is unfortunate since those people will lose their appetites quickly with the movement.
Great views. Comfortable ride considering your are scaling bumpy roads. Would have liked more information from the driver.
Did two different snorkelling excursions. Drift snorkelling which was amazing. Lots of fish and the guides provided coconut meat to bring the fish to you. The other was stingrays and sharks and was also really good.