We chose this cruise as I had never done the South Pacific before. Embarkation was good and as we are Platinum card holders we were able to board at 11 AM which was great. The cabin was not available till 1 PM. Luggage was at our cabin by then. We first stopped off at Noumea. As it was a Sunday all the shops were closed. We caught a free shuttle to the centre of town as we docked in a container area and could not walk due to port traffic. The bus trip was short and sweet. Had a walk around town and found many tours available at the information centre where we were dropped off. These were at a much cheaper rate than booking through Princess. Next stop was Mystery Island. This is a very small island and you can swim in beautiful turquoise water but the sand is very sharp so wear reef shoes. Thongs are problematic as the sand still cuts your feet. You can hire goggles for $10 for half a day. Also book tours on the island cheap. Next port was Isle of Pines, it looked beautiful but we ran out of energy and did our washing that day. By all accounts it's the best island to visit. Moving on to the onboard experience; HAPPY HOUR is a thing of the past on Princess. A beer set you back $8.75 AU and was a standard price for all beers available. This has escalated from $5.50 to $6.80 less than two years ago which I thought was quite expensive. A Jim Beam and Coke was $9. We opted for self assisted Disembarkation and we were able to get off at 7.15 which enabled us to get to the airport in 1 hour to catch our flight back to Perth. All in all we think Princess is changing quite rapidly. The classic all in price dining is going out the window in favour of specialty restaurants with cover charges. There are even items on the traditional dining menu that have a cover charge attached. This I suppose enables cruise prices to stay relatively low and profits are made up with add-ons.
Our cabin was aft and inside. It was as expected, hanging space was of a great size. Storage very sufficient. As always the shower is small. Bathroom adequate. No problems with the toilet this time which was unusual. Bed comfortable but I think the mattresses were upgraded on Princess 2 years ago or so so starting to show signs of use. Cabin was kept very clean multiple times a day. Cabin was quiet and we slept well. TV sets have been upgraded in size and movies are on demand and free, good selection available. Only on usable 110v outlet on the desk area as the two are so close together you can't get more than one adapter to Australian plug in there. The 110v 240v outlet in the bathroom for shavers seemed to be dead on the 240v side as our toothbrush went flat so I plugged it into the desk outlet.
We transited only in Sydney from Airport to Circular quay using a shuttle bus. This was only $15 but took a little time in morning traffic. It dropped us right at the baggage drop for the ship.
We did not take a tour but took a free bus into town. Most shops except one T shirt shop and supermarket were closed as it was a Sunday. Tours were able to be booked at the information centre where we were dropped off and picked up. We had a walk around town. There was a bar and restaurant or two open.
We went for a walk and swim on the island. Snorkel and goggles available on shore for $10 half day. Sharp sand and rocks in places so wear reef shoes if diving.
Looked great, tender to get on shore quite a distance. We never got off here as it was the third port in as many days.