Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Sun Princess
Sailing Date: 12-18-2008
Itinerary: New Caledonia Vanuatu
We thoroughly enjoyed our Christmas cruise. We chose this cruise because it left from Melbourne, so we just caught the train in. No airfares, parking, accidental scissors in handbag or hassles in Sydney. We could have boarded earlier - others did and it was quick, and they had lunch too! We went at the time they said would be quicker, and it was very busy. 5 Stars! And an elephant stamp! We ate in the Marquis dining room every night at 8. 4 courses, wide choice, quick service and lovely food. We tried breakfast there too, but found it too formal for us, so went to the buffet. It was repetitious, but plenty of choices so it didn't matter. You could request eggs done any way you wanted . Scrambled was always ready but a bit dry. Plenty of cereal, fresh and tinned fruit, yoghurt and toast. Lunch was sometimes in the dining room with terrific choices again a couple of pizzas, a hamburger once (not so good - please toast the buns and put more filling in them) We did not go hungry! We had a bacony cabin on Aloha deck. It was small, but had plenty of storage space. Bathroom was tiny, but there was plenty of hot water. We faithfully hung up our towels each day to indicate we could re-use them (as requested), but they were always replaced. Why bother asking then? I tried to find out the actual bed size, as we are used to a KS one (6ft wide). The info says twin beds which make a queen (5ft) I asked if the twins were only 2ft 6 and got back the answer that they were King singles! (3ft6) In the end they were ordinary singles, together 6ft wide, but not long enough for tall people. If they had been the extra 6in long to make a proper QS or KS there would not have been room to walk between the beds and the wall! Having the balcony took space from the room, but the fresh air was wonderful. The airconditioner was a bit noisy. We got fresh ice daily, and I brought a bottle of cordial and soft drinks with me. (Super fun way down!!) There was plenty to do. The days at sea were terrific, and we tried to do lots. The movie choices were OK, apart from a ghastly 1950s Christmas themed one. There were quite a lot to watch on the room TV. The shows at night were great. The ship's singers and dancers did a good job. The guest performers were good to great. I am a trivia fan, so took part in those as much as I could. We went to a couple of info talks which were good - navigation, reefs. I went to the art talks and auctions and bought 2. They may be cheaper than on land, but the 15% premium and the huge cost to post them spoilt this. I was told categorically my 2 could not be sent together. They came in 2 un-necessarily huge cylinders. I have since bought another painting by one of the artists on - line, at a cheaper cost and one quarter of the postage. It was still a learning experience for me. We had booked a "Petit train" trip in Noumea, but decided it was too expensive ($59 ea) so cancelled it. We found it only cost $25 from the tourist info centre, and was good value and fun. The trip to Duck Island was only 10 minutes in the Zodiac, and we had to pay $11 extra pp per hour for the snorkelling gear. So, not good value, though we enjoyed it. In Vila we got a taxi ($3 pp) and just visited the market, and strolled around the town. The glass-bottomed boat and snorkelling trip was good, but spoilt by 4 days of rain which had made the water very murky. The water at Lifou was beautiful - if you have Crocs or similar wear them as the bottom is very sharp. Ouvea - The info we got was that it was a 15-20 minute walk to the beach, and we would not need a taxi. (written by someone young and fit!) It would have been a 25-30 minute walk. The locals were there to take us for $3 pp in their cars. I knew people who had not gone on shore because of the walk, so correct info is needed. The beach was gorgeous. Bring drinks and food if you want to stay for hours. Beach towels are provided. Isle of Pines - easy walk to beach, and beautiful. All 3 times we needed a tender it went smoothly - hardly any waiting and we didn't need a ticket. It takes a while to find your way around, and the little map they give you is useful. We each had an onboard credit which I used up many times over, but my frugal husband did not. We are still waiting for his refund. Also port charges were included, yet we were charged them for Vila. We are still waiting for an answer 5 weeks later. We found the staff generally vey friendly and helpful, but then we are not demanding guests. The little Christmas touches were lovely - decorations, carols and Santa.