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The cruise we booked with Carnival Cruise was a 7 Day South Pacific Island Cruise leaving and returning to Brisbane Australia.

We had 3 ports of call originally planned for this trip.

  1. Mystery Island, Vanuatu
  2. Lifou, New Caledonia
  3. Noumea, New Caledonia.

This changed the morning of the cruise due to bad weather. We were travelling in the wet season and unfortunately we can’t do much about weather affecting a trip.

Due to the weather Mystery Island and Lifou were removed from the itinerary. Carnival Cruise did not give us much information other than it was due to bad weather. The itinerary was changed to include Santo in Vanuatu instead. All cabins were also offered a $200 credit to use on board the ship. You of course had the option to not sail.

Time spent at each port:

You can see from the itinerary that the times at each port varies.

When we were in Santo we had the whole day to explore. Getting off the boat around 9:30 and not needing to return until 6:30.

When in Noumea we were very restricted with time. Only having 5 hours. We also had to get a bus from the port to a terminal about 3 mins away in Noumea. Which isn’t far but the last bus was at 11:30 and by the time we got off the boat and were at the terminal it was 7:30 so we really only had 4 hours. This is when you have to use your time wisely to see what you want to see.

Of course, this would be individual to each cruise but before booking the cruise and receiving the itinerary, we had no clue how long you’d usually spend at each port.

Carnival staff told us there was lots of factors that affected the times at port. These included how busy of a port it was, some places don’t want ships staying for too long as they take up space and they have a lot of cargo ships passing through and the cost the country charges the ship to doc.

Shore Excursions:

These are any activities that you book on the island of your port of call. They can be booked through the ship but we found that they were very expensive that way compared to booking the same excursion with the locals on the ground.

There are benefits to booking with the cruise ship and the main one is, if your excursion is delayed or continues on longer than expected and you’ve booked through the ship the they are obliged to wait for you if the ship is meant to leave. However, if you book outside the ship and the same happens the ship will leave without you. We have seen this in very recent news where Norwegian Cruise Line left 8 passengers stranded in Africa.

If you plan it out correctly and leave yourself plenty on time, factoring in delays you should have no problem getting back on board and saving yourself some money by not booking with the ship.

Tips for on the ship:

I posted a blog previously with everything you should know as a first time cruiser. You can check that out here.

Booking your cruise can be made simple with Cruise Critic. You can compare prices to different cruises here and find out any information in regard to different cruise lines.


Hi Im Ana, I’ve created the blog to share all my travel experiences. Im currently in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa. 

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