We did a New England cruise on the Jewel in 2010 and had a wonderful time: Staff was friendly, entertainment was great and food was outstanding. Sad to say that none of this applied to the cruise we just completed:
Embarkation: We were directed into the wrong line up as attendants were not aware of the priority check in for diamond members.
First impressions: The ship appeared in good condition. The decor might be a bit dated, but it was functional, comfortable and clean.
short walk to the marriott hotel where we found an excellent sunbathing/swimming beach.
walked to a nearby beach. Not impressed.
strolled around the market nearby. $3 internet available at a restaurant near the ship.
took the $5 bus to the nearest beach. Disappointed. Best snorkelling is right outside the ship: turn left after exiting the ship. Head towards a big white municipal building where there is a small parking lot. you have to climb down a small break wall - not difficult at all. Water there was crystal clear with lots of fish.
took the $5 bus to the snorkel beach. There was a little bar with internet there. Snorkelling was marginal.
Wonderful wonderful place. Great welcome hula show right outside the ship. Free tasting of local food. We took the $25 boat to a little island called Motu. There we experienced great snorkelling. Highly recommended.
took the $2 bus to the $2 beach (which actually charger $5 to get in). Snorkelling is very good if you hit high tide. Else there is not much to see.
easy 0.6 mi walk from the port to the city (don't buy the ship's bus service unless you are disabled). Town looks like the world's dollar store capital! Highly recommend to see the Green Ginger cafe: Outstanding tropical drinks, free internet and they take US$.
Everything is within walking distance. Went to the South Pacific Grand hotel where they have a nice patio and good internet.
took a $100 minibus ride to Hideaway island (shared bus with 3 other couples). There is a free boat that takes you from where the bus drops you off to the island (the bus will wait there until you return), but they charge a few $ to get onto the island (cant remember the exact amount - somewhere around $10pp).
This is the island where they have the world's only underwater post office.
Great, great snorkelling. Try to hit high tide.
took the public bus to Citron (lemon) beach ($2.10). It's No 9 or 11 bus.
good snorkelling. Found internet at a bar, but everything here is very expensive.
this island deserves six stars!! Walk right off the ship and you are on a fantastic beach. Excellent snorkelling, especially early in the morning before the crowds stomp around.
A great city. All important sight seeing points are within walking distance.
This is a vibrant, young people's city.