Outstanding service; lectures; future cruise advice; and next time…

Melbourne Travel Blog

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Outstanding service

I think the ship’s biggest asset was its staff. We simply couldn’t fault them. They were always friendly, polite, obliging, hardworking, and they all had freakishly accurate memories!


We had a steward assigned to our room who cleaned it twice a day, a drinks waiter, a head-waiter and a Maitre D’.


If we so much as appeared to be lost, it wouldn’t be long until a staff member came along to show us the way.


And the ship was so well organised that when we disembarked in Melbourne it took us about 10 minutes to walk from the atrium to the taxi that took us home.


The first morning at sea, I woke up and told Al I had to be at a lecture in 10 minutes - George McGuire’s lectures were worth getting up for! Here’s a list of his onboard lectures:

  • Introduction to New Caledonia
  • Reefs and Lagoons
  • New Caledonia: a Marine Paradise
  • New Caledonia’s  Marvelous Ecosystem
  • Captain Cook’s First Voyage
  • The Terror and Pleasure of Thinking
  • Puzzles and Paradoxes.

Future cruise advice

  • Turn up early at shore excursions. We almost missed our first tour - we were five minutes early, but the bus was 20 minutes early!
  • You can’t do everything onboard, but you should try to get everything a go!
  • Do it for the cruise experience – if you want to really see the destinations and you’re not interested on the ship, you’ll be disappointed.
  • You don’t need bath or beach towels; they’re provided.
  • Bring more than one long-sleeved shirt to wear ashore – I ended up wearing the same one for five days!
  • Bring snorkels, and if your feet are sensitive bring reef shoes (for beaches with broken coral scattered across it).
  • Bring passports ashore. You don’t need passports ashore for some reason, but you can get them stamped in some places (like Noumea).
  • Bring a nail clipper, scissors and tweezers if you need them normally!
  • I’m glad I refreshed my French before going, because I used it to buy bus tickets in Noumea.

NB We didn’t get vaccinations or malaria pills. We just wore insect repellent and ate ship food (to avoid Hepatitis A). Australians can ring Travelvax for all that sort of info.

Next time…

If I could visit New Caledonia and Vanuatu again, I would…

  • see the “natural heart” in Voh, New Caledonia
  • do a four-day horse ride in the volcanic region of Tanna, Vanuatu
  • horse ride elsewhere in new Caledonia
  • visit regions with ultra-basic soil to see the unique flora
  • snorkel or dive in Vanuatu.
Chelsea says:
Hehe. Yeah, I am happy I took the cruise. For one, it was my first cruise, and new experiences are always nice. Second, I don't think I could afford staying in a hotel, they all seemed terribly expensive. I suppose I don't know that for sure though. But the cruise did work out to be pretty good value for money! Also I've been sick for the past year and a half or so, so I wanted to avoid a flight if I could help it. All in all I had a great time - but yeah, under normal circumstances, normally I would prefer to stay in a few places for longer.
Posted on: Mar 10, 2009
Chelsea says:
Thanks, Keith; I have more photos, but I haven't put any of them on the Internet yet. If I get around to adding more I'll let you know. They're not as fantastic as your shots of the South Pacific though! ;)
Posted on: Mar 09, 2009
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