First cruise for both of us. Booked a balcony cabin on Deck 10. We were a little concerned because we had read some pretty awful reviews about this ship, but we were determined to give it a fair go.
Had to queue in Sydney to get through Customs and get all the administrative stuff out of the way, then we walked straight on board. Pretty easy really. Dumped our carry-on luggage in the cabin and went exploring. The rest of our luggage arrived about an hour later and we were set. All very smooth and very well organised.
Weather when we got right out to sea was a little bit rough and the seas were a bit lumpy. By day 2 the buffet was almost empty at breakfast! In fact we couldn't go to Isle of Pines because it was too rough to use the tenders. Went to Lifou, then to Port Vila, then to Mare and then Noumea.
Not huge, but certainly adequate. Great bed.
The trip to the Vanilla plantation was interesting, but the trip to the top of the cliffs was amazing. Checking out the cobalt-blue, crystal clear water while drinking from a coconut. That's one more to check off the bucket list.
This is a really interesting place. Visited the coffee plantation and Hideaway Island. Lunch in a very nice restaurant at the water's edge. Really good duty-free shopping in Port Vila.
Noumea has a few spots that look a bit run down, but we thought it is generally a beautiful spot. Took the hop-on-hop-off bus and checked out the main points of interest. Got charged A$13.50 by my bank for using an ATM there. I also realised my schoolboy French was hopelessly inadequate, so I was grateful that everyone I spoke to could speak reasonable English. Most places take Aussie dollars, although the exchange calculation can be a bit random at times.