When you've been at sea for over a week, you get used to the ship's movements, so it feels really strange to be back on solid land again. I enjoyed the experience, though I'll probably never go on another cruise. Some things were good and some things weren't so good. We went to New Caledonia, but our planned stop at Lifou Isle had to be cancelled thanks to a tropical cyclone. This meant we didn't get to go snorkelling at the Jinek Bay Marine Reserve. Thankfully, the money we paid for that excursion was refunded.
The staff were friendly and helpful and the food was good. Our first stop was Noumea, where we boarded a small boat and went snorkelling. Due to the cyclone, it took a while to find a suitable place to snorkel so I took the time to have a look at the boards showing the different marine life found in that area. There are all kinds of animals: Reef sharks, Manta rays, Stonefish, Sea snakes and Cone snails (I collect Cone snail shells). Unfortunately, the water wasn't clear enough to see any live Cone snails, though I did see a few small fish and a Sea snake. Also went walking around a small gift market (bought a new Cone snail shell).
Our second stop was the Isle of Pines where there was absolutely nothing to do except sit on the beach. One thing I didn't like was that the ship's tenders (the little boats that take passengers to and from shore) don't cater for people with disabilities. If you rely on a wheelchair or electric scooter to get around, you can't go onshore because the tenders can't carry wheelchairs or scooters. Anyway, after our day on Isle of Pines, we were heading back to get on the tender and go back to the ship and we noticed there were a lot of people looking at something in the water at the side of the pier. The first thing we thought was that it might be a turtle, but it turned out to be a relatively large and very beautiful black and white Sea snake.
Overall, the experience wasn't so bad, but like I said, there were a few things I didn't like. Our stateroom was very nice, though the beds were a bit small and uncomfortable. Only went in the pool twice (pools were very cold). There was always someone trying to sell you something or a photographer wanting to take pictures. The photos weren't cheap either ($30 for one photo). There were also a number of trivia things to go to. Even though I did quite well on the trivia, I didn't manage to win a gold 'Ship on a Stick.'
The traditional greeting of Dinotopia: "Breathe Deep, Seek Peace"