Just back (literally) from the Sydney-New Caledonia-Vanuatu-Fiji-New Caledonia. I have had the most fantastic time. Same cabin as my last trip to Japan but a different feel, not so many Japanese (who are lovely) but mostly Australian, Americans and Brits in the minority. Because if the Australian school holidays there were about 500 children on board, I personally didn't find this a problem although obviously the pool areas on Lido deck did get busy. Everyone friendly and friends made. She is looking a bit tired in the State Rooms but the Atrium and surrounding areas are fine for me. All staff on this particular sail were the best and an asset to the company.
Embarkation Sydney was quick and organised, I was met by a Princess Rep at the airport. We were early but were able to drop off our luggage and I went for a short exploration of Circular Quay and a coffee. By 1145 I was in my cabin and my suitcase arrived soon after.
I did choose Any Time Dining and for a couple of evenings used Santa Fe Restaurant. I will admit to feeling slightly awkward as a solo traveller asking for a small table. There would be a lot of huffing and puffing with explanations "there is always a lot of demand for these tables, come back at such and such a time and we'll try and fit you in - even though I had telephoned my reservation each morning. My point being that I've paid my money like everyone else and should I not want to be placed on a table of eight with strangers it is my choice to refuse! Although my wishes were accommodated I decided on day four that I could do without the stress and instead frequented Horizon Court which, although very popular, had lots of room. The food quality and choice was much better than the August sail.
Very close to the Lido Deck Bars, swimming area, movies under stars and Horizon Court. For such a close vicinity there was very little noise in the evenings. The room was clean though probably could do with a bit of a refit soon. June the Cabin Steward was great. Just one word of caution, the cabin lies directly underneath one of the assigned smoking areas so every now and then, depending on wind conditions, this could be felt, also again if you are fussy about food smells on the balcony this may be a problem as you are right next to the Pizza and Burger areas, but very handy!