We travelled as a group made up of 13 family and friends ranging in age from 18 to 85. Most of our group had not been on a cruise before and only my partner and i had previously been on Royal Caribbean.
Very quick from arriving at the pier to getting on the ship. There was a separate line for Crown and Anchor society members so we were able to go straight thru. The buffet on deck 11 closed soon after we boarded but we did manage to find a quick meal, which was as good as anything you'd get at the local foodcourt and very uninspiring. The customary life boat drill was held at about 4pm so the Sydney summer sun was quite fierce on the side of the deck we were on. The sailaway out of the Harbour was spectacular as always.
There were plenty of activities on offer most of the day. You can participate as much or as little as you like. Most activities were included in the price, including the flow rider, ice rink, mini golf and rock climbing wall. The outdoor activities are well spaced out so you could try everything at different times if you wanted to. There were plenty of areas to find a quiet spot and we never felt like there were too many people around, considering the number of passengers. The library has an area for games and cards as well as plenty of books to borrow. Plenty of bars and places to meet. Study up on the trivia before you go there are lots of opportunities to play with the usual useless items offed as prizes.
The evening entertainment was below average. The band was good but very loud and drowned out the sound of the singers who had to scream to be heard. The only decent show we saw in the theatre was Nathan Foley from Hi5. The ice skating show was also very good and i would highly recommend it. As for the singers and dancers they weren't worth watching.
Everything on the ship is priced in US dollars so be prepared with an approximate exchange rate so you don't get any nasty surprises with your account at the end of the cruise. I'm sure there would have been a few unsuspecting cruisers who would have been shocked at the total of their bill once they converted it to Australian dollars.
We didn't buy much at all. The jewelery and bags etc seemed to be quite pricey once converted to AUD. If you have something in mind please do your homework first to ensure you are not paying too much. I have a retail shop and think you could do better on land from what i could see. The jewelry on offer can be bought on line for less.
The drinks were about normal price for cruises maybe a little on the pricey side mostly US $10-11 for a cocktail which convert to around AU $14+ each. We purchased the drinks package for the last few days. Usually you are required to buy it at the beginning or you miss out so it was good to be able to buy it pro rata. The duty free alcohol seemed to be cheaper at Vila where you could buy it and have it delivered to your cabin on the last night. There was not a very big range to choose from onboard.
The photos were expensive US$20 each. Instead of printing out the usual thousands of photos that mostly end up being shredded it is good to see cruise lines finally starting to put all the photos on computer so that there isn't the wastage. Having said that we think the prices were a little excessive and there weren't really any standout photos amongst them.
Mr Washy Washy greeted us with a big smile and sometimes a song as we entered the windjammer on deck 11. He was one of the highlights for us and it was great to see a staff member actually monitoring guests to make sure everyone used the hand sanitizers. We mostly ate breakfast at the windjammer. There was a pretty good choice with plenty of fresh fruit, cereals and cooked food. We did try the sapphire dining room for breakfast a couple of times and that was also good.
Lunch was easy with several venue choices and we mostly ate a small meal at the windjammer. Some of our group did try Johnny Rockets at lunch time and said they enjoyed the food there.
Evening meals were really enjoyable as 9 of our group opted for late sitting (8pm) and we were able to have a table all together in the sapphire dining room. Originally we were all seated at different tables but a quick visit to the maitre d on the first evening meant we could change immediately. Our waiters were lovely and very obliging nothing was too much trouble for Adi and his team. The quality of the food was good. Lobster was available but at an extra cost of $35 each so we just ordered from the regular menu.
We weren't tempted to try the restaurants with the extra surcharge as we were quite happy with the whole sapphire dining experience. We didn't try the room service either.
Villa was our first port and was substituted for Lifou. We walked along the markets at the port then headed back to the ship. Quite a lot of people went into town with local drivers offering a round trip for $10. A water taxi was also $5 each way and took about 10 minutes. It was quite hot so would have been a long walk in the heat.
Mystery Island was lovely and even with such a large number of guests didn't feel overcrowded except for the tendering back to the ship. There isn't much to do but snorkel and swim and the current was quite strong. There were a few markets but quite a lot of empty ones too, maybe because it was Sunday. The children's singing is lovely to watch. Be sure to go for a walk around the island, there is a track right alongside the beach.
Isle of Pines was next and our group enjoyed swimming there. We didn't stay too long as it was quite hot there as well. We were offered cold drinks and cold face washers to cool down before heading back to the ship by tender.
Noumea is a working container port so everyone is bused to the exit gates. We booked the shore excursion to Amadee island before leaving home to be sure we didn't miss out. The day on the island was lovely with plenty of time to swim and snorkel or just laze around on the sun loungers. We saw many varieties of fish and coral just off the beach, as well as sea snakes and crabs. There was a 40 minute round trip to the outer reef to see and feed some very large fish and a turtle as well, with lovely views of the island in the distance. We were offered a lovely buffet lunch with lots to choose from and plenty to eat and drink. The guides performed a cultural show which was entertaining. After lunch our group boarded the glass bottom boat and saw plenty of fish, coral and a couple of turtles. The lighthouse is still closed with no word on when it will reopen. We had a great day and would thoroughly recommend this tour even though it's a little pricey.
There were quite a varied range of ages on board but the ship seemed to be geared more towards families and young adults. There weren't really vast numbers of older cruisers as sometimes there are on other ships. It was a great choice for our group.
It was really easy to find our way around and the ship seemed to have a good general atmosphere. We never felt crowded. There are touch screens located near every elevator to guide you around. There was sometimes quite a wait for the elevator, we mostly tried to use the stairs.
As Crown and Anchor society members we were invited to a welcome back onboard party about the third day to meet the captain. He stood on stage and talked about the Royal Caribbean fleet and a few other things. We were given some cheap champagne as punishment for attending but it was interesting to hear his life story. There was also this same free champagne at the captains welcome aboard party, my advice would be to avoid it.
Besides the free champagne, another perk of being a Crown and Anchor society member is supposedly receiving $25USD credit for each cabin booked where the occupants have not traveled with Royal Caribbean before. This is offered as onboard credit up to a maximum of $125USD, but be warned this is only valid if you booked your cruise without any other onboard credit. If you were given OBC for any other reason then the two are not combinable. You will need to claim this before you travel. We were advised by the lady at the help desk that they have the same complaint every cruise. Maybe they need to look at changing their wording on the bring a friend promotion as it was quite disappointing to find out that we didn't receive it.
On arrival back in Sydney we opted for early departure and to carry off our own luggage. Just ahead of us the line was stopped because the computer checking everyone's card had a malfunction. They didn't handle this very well making us go to the other end of the ship via the crew area to disembark carrying heavy suitcases up and down stairs. We were told off by crew members for being in that area of the ship. There were quite a few unhappy passengers who like us had early flights booked. In the end we were delayed by about 40 minutes with the hiccup which meant a dash to the airport.
Overall a good fun cruise and good value for money. We would probably sail again with them but would also be willing to try some of the other ships sailing out of Sydney. My advice would be to keep an eye on how much you are spending, remembering it is charged in US dollars. Don't have unrealistic expectations when you board and enjoy your cruise!
Cabin was a decent size and well maintained. Our stateroom attendant Annis was excellent, always made sure we had plenty of soap and towels. His towel animals added a really nice touch. The cabin had a 2 seater couch and a desk, and even a kettle and mugs for tea and coffee. Don't forget to bring a travel adapter for 110 volts, but no powerboards are allowed. There is a hair dryer provided. You can use the phone to call between rooms or leave a message which makes it easy to keep in touch.
Very easy to get from the airport to the pier just follow the signs at domestic terminal to find the trains. Buy a ticket to circular quay, make sure you are on the right platform heading to the city. There is a lift to the platform if you need it. Trains arrive about every 10 to 15 minutes during the day and take about 10 minutes to get to the quay. You will see the ship docked about 400m walk to the terminal once you get off the train. There is a lift here too if yiu need it.
Quite hot. Lots of local food stalls, a nice walk along the shoreline then back along the road under the pines. Pretty area for snorkelling and swimmimg with crystal clear waters.
Really enjoyed the day. A little piece of paradise.View All 27 Amedee Island Reviews
Good snorkelling just off the beach. Beautiful clear waters. Walk around the island in about half an hour.