First time cruises we alwways travel independently - but my partner's health made cruising an option to PNG - which is hard to get to otherwise. We are ballroom dancers so we chose Cunard.
I was highly intimidated by the dress code snobs online before we cruised - it appeared you needed a different dress for every night -and that if you didn't pay a lot of money for clothes comments will be made!
This wasn't true. There were women in long beautiful gowns on gala nights - but they were the majority. The rest of us wore cocktail length dresses or evening black trousers with a glittery top. I saw someone else wearing a a $20 glittery number which I bought for a gala nigh from Millers (cheap Ozzie chain).
Really nice cabin - it was much bigger than we expected. The bathroom was small but functional. The storage was good - though I never really figured out what you were supposed to do with the bags
Met friends - the dock is a long way from down town. There is a free shuttle not that Cunard advertised this in advance
Visited with friends - the port is a long way from the centre of brisbane . There is a free shuttle - unadvertised
There is not much to see in town - you need to get a guide to explain what you are seeing and the culture and history is fascinating
Pay a local to show you around Bring Kina with you - we got rid of must of ours by changing Australian notes AND COINS for locals who can't get a bank easily. Don't be ugly tourists make the effort to take their currency with you available in major Australian cities
Fantastic beach and swimming - the water is incredibly clear. Bring your own mask/snorke
We've done the area previously- but new visitors - get on a tour and get out of town there is nothing much in Cairns itself.