We travelled as a young couple (19 years old) on the Carnival Legend 11 night cruise stopping at 5 ports- Isle of Pines, Mystery Island, Vila, Mare and Noumea. This was our first cruise. Overall, our expectations were exceeded. The best thing about the cruise is the value for money- especially since our cabin also came with $200 on board credit each which was great and lasted us the whole 12 days. Some particular comments on aspects of the cruise:
Cabin: cabin sizes are quite generous (we had an outside cabin with an obstructed view- well worth the small increase in price compared to an interior cabin which are apparently considerably more cramped). Cabins are cleaned twice a day, the bed is comfortable and the bathroom is adequate. Tip: even though the weather is hot, make sure you pack a few jumpers/cardigans as around the ship- especially in the theatre/comedy club the air conditioning is really cold! Also pack your own toiletries, there is free shampoo provided but it is very average and there is no conditioner.
Entertainment: there is a new performance every night in the theatre (one at 7.30 and 9.30 which is a repeat). We attended every show and they were all brilliant- highlights were the Epic Rock production and the talent show on the final night. We also attended every comedy night (held after the 9.30 show) and the comedians were generally very impressive. There are also many other smaller-scale activities held throughout the day, the ones we attended (eg cooking demonstration) were good however on some sea days there were not many activities offered besides bingo, music trivia and kids activities. This was not a huge problem for us as we enjoyed spending time in the Serenity pool in the adults area of the ship, and also on the Green Thunder waterslide (definitely worth a go).
Duty free shopping is a must, cheapest of anywhere i've seen
We took a public bus to the Cascade waterfalls for 300 Vatu each way. Trip took about 15 minutes. Entry fee was expensive (equivalent to about $25 AU) but it was worth it and is still one of the most cost-effective activities available in Vila.
-Get around via the public bus (any of the vans market with a B inside a square as the first letter of the numberplate). The price will generally be cheaper if you are using Vatu.
-The ship will dock in a cargo terminal- transport is needed into town. You can take the water taxi for $5 which is nice. Even cheaper option would be a public bus (although they may try and rip you off as you are departing from the cruise terminal area) which should only cost 100-200 Vatu.
-They can change your money at the yellow duty free shop (also open on Sundays).
I would recommend the Hop on Hop off bus (tickets can be purchased at the cruise terminal- $15 Au for the whole day. Do not pay in the local currency, the price is more expensive). The bus has a few stops. First is the morning markets (we spent 5 minutes there, pretty disappointing/very expensive. Next are 2 beaches- we spent our time at the first beach, Lemon Bay. Beach is quite nice and there is lots of shade. With your ticket you get a 50% off your first drink voucher for the bar located at the beach called La Barca. Even at half price they are not cheap but better than in other spots (eg $550 francs for a can of soft drink full price). Local currency needed (there is an ATM nearby).
The bus also stops at the aquarium. It roughly operates every 25 minutes- however in the afternoon there are often no seats left so make sure you aim to get back to the ship at least 1 hour early in case you have to wait for the second or third bus.
Everything in Noumea is very expensive. Thus, we went back to the ship for lunch.
Tip: there is a currency conversion shop at the cruise terminal, minimum amount $50Au.