As a 59-60-year old couple we were not the target market for this cruise which is families with children. For many this is their annual holiday. Even so we still enjoyed ourselves. The ship itself is looking a bit dated now having launched in 2001. There have been refurbishments however the theme and cabin interiors are looking tired.
We opted for ‘Your Time Dining’. On the first and second nights we were given a buzzer and told to wait outside until a table was available like in a cafeteria or a pub. The wait time on the second night was 30 minutes which we felt was too long and so we were offered a move to Late Dining at 7:45pm which solved the problem. We felt being suite guests we should have been treated better in the first place.
Crew and waiters were very good, especially in the main dining room.
There were a lot of unsupervised children and teenagers running around which is inconsiderate and unsafe for elderly people. It can be quite noisy in places especially on deck 9. It’s probably not the best cruise option for couples looking for a quiet time.
The ports of call were all good, however like most cruise lines the shore excursions are overpriced. We opted for less expensive tours directly with the locals on arrival. There are buses, minivans and taxis available in most locations. $AUD are accepted virtually everywhere. Embarking and disembarking was managed quite well, even at the water shuttle stops.
There were two wine packages available, we chose the value pack at $185 for five wines which we thought was quite good value. We thought the drinks package at $119 per person per day was expensive and is obviously intended as a deterrent. Drink prices are reasonable overall and in $AUD which is good for the Australian market.
There were three internet packages available – social, value and premium. We chose the value package which provided access to most websites, email and social media and was good value at $216 for the whole 12-day cruise. Performance was adequate. The Carnival Hub app is useful for keeping a watch on your account, ship time, what’s happening onboard and chat if you want it (extra cost).
Christmas Day lunch was well managed and good fun if not a little rushed. The shows, activities and entertainment are of a good standard and are quite well suited to children and adults.
There are a wide range of food options, generally of good quality. There are also many poor nutritional options such as pies, chips, pizza and burgers which were more popular than they should have been. The evening dining room service and food we thought was very good.
Apart from priority boarding, suite guests receive little extra. We did have a $500 cabin credit from the initial booking. We had a good time on the cruise however would probably look at Viking or similar next time which is adults only and has more inclusions in the base cost.
For the ladies – take hair conditioner if you don’t want to rely on the conditioning shampoo in the dispensers. No personal items such as body lotion or vanity kits are provided.
Our Ocean Suite was very spacious with two wardrobes and plenty of cupboard space. It is however very dated and many of the cupboard doors and fittings are either broken or falling apart.
We stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn Old Sydney which is very close to the cruise ship terminal (walking distance)
We opted for a short tour in a minivan at Noumea. It is quite an expensive place with its French origins and influence.
We again took a short tour in a bus which was run by the locals. Not air conditioned, but good fun!
This was the port stop for us. We took a local taxi with a driver for three hours and were impressed with the landscape and villages not far away from Suva. There is a lot to see here if you move away from teh port area of Suva.
For a small islet, Mystery Island is quite good. There are nice beaches and a walking track around it that only takes about 45 minutes. There are also a few small shops.
We again took a two hour tour in a minivan to the interesting and easy to reach sights on the island. Historians shouldn't miss the old French covict prison ruins.