My wife chose this cruise as it went over the Christmas break and went to the South Pacific.We are a family of 5 and booked 2 rooms. A Verandah Room and an inside Room both on Deck 6.
After a slow start in the kids room having a double bed and the no food available for a few hours we got into exploring.The ship is mid sized and while it has around 1800 passengers we didnt ever not get a table in the Lido Market. Self yourself style.
We didnt realise we had a fixed dinner table each night so when we turned up the following we night we met our charming dinner companions. We ate with them all but one night.
The Vista is alacarte and had lots of variation and choices, a few staples such as the French Onion Soup was on each night. Buying anything on the boat was pricey as it was in US Dollars and oftern with a 15% service charge built in.
It offers a lot of shows and entertainment and we saw a few but New Years eve on the pool deck with the BB King band was fantastic.Ice Sculptures, Free champagne near midnight and very fun and noisy. While it is very different from P&O in being an older crowd it was good value and very relaxing.
Advice from the Port videos was very helpful and we enjoyed most ports. The tendering went well and the Islands are picture perfect.
Service was very good. My wide and daughter used the Spa a bit and the extras on offer during the cruise were interesting.
I booked a Shore Excursion direct with a Luganville Tour Guide prior to going and it was half the price of the boat and in Aussie dollars.We took Aussie cash in advance.
The Captain was witty and his briefings always made good listening.We had one false fire issue and though there was no alarm he told us what was happening during and after the incident. Very proffessional.
We bought Beverage cards for our kids and they didnt spend $50 ea on soft drink as the Lido has Water, Lemonade (juice), Grape Juice , Iced Tea ,Hot Chocolate etc etc.
Wince can be dear at dinner but you can get wines by the glass, carafe and bottle. You can take a bottle of Wine or Champagne on board at embarkation as long as you drink it in the Stateroom.
We did have an issue with the Auto Gratuity as we thought it was only for over 18 but in fact everyone was charged.
So we filled in a form and had it removed for the kids and tipped the server at dinner and the Room steward at the end of the cruise. This does irk Aussies and most aussies commented on it during the Cruise. This is already a dearer cruise than similar P&O etc.
The 3 standout things I took away from the boat was
1:Glass rail guards allowing you to see the view from your bed (not a steel plate)
2:Glass Elevators amidships giving you spectacular views going up or down.
3:Complimentary Room Service - Breakfast in your room was wonderful.
It was a great ship and I would travel with this company again as long as the Aussie dollars doesn't drop against the Greenback.
The cabin seems a bit tight at first but it is a great haven.The patio is wide and deep and allows a comfortable chair and footstool. Lots of storage space even for us with Gala dresses and jackets etc. The shower in the tub gives a lot of room and the water comes on hot straight away.We had one blockage with our toilet which was sorted very quickly.
Nice drapes, very comfortable bed.but with a noticable gap in the centre. Plenty of room really with hooks, cupboards,table,desk couch etc etc. I'd choose this room area again.Very quiet even though at the back of lifts. Easy to access all parts of the ship.
Walked around the Port precint. A bit grubby but intersting. The Hop on Hop off bus at $10AUD each was cheap and easy. Went and found a groovy bar near the beach and stayed for lunch. Speaks French and English (some) forget the Free wifi in Cocnut Square its very slow, hard to get onto, and very limited in Range. go fina shop or bar , sit and browse, much easier and better.Sitting in the French pattisserie was one of the things i was looking forward to but it was small, crowded and not quite what I imagined.