10 Night New Caledonia & South Pacific (Sydney Roundtrip) Sail Date: November 01, 2008 Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas Cabin Type: Inside Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 8 years ago
What a fantastic break. We needed a reasonably priced holiday with as little fuss as possible and we got a 5-star cruise with a fun-loving crew, exceptional entertainment and great shipmates. If we had the money we would not have hesitated to stay on board and sail with the Rhapsody for the next 11-day cruise.
There are no organised tours at Isle of Pines yet, and I hope there never will be because this is an idyllic, island paradise with the only coral-free sandy beach of this entire trip. The locals are very friendly and everything is within walking distance from the tender port (the only port where tendering was required). Magic place.
Don't Miss: The sandy beach - no coral for a change
Note that this is a 3rd world country and the tour descriptions tend to over promise what you actually get. We went on the Northern Seaside and Blue Hole Tour (LY05) and while the Blue Hole is a stunningly beautiful location, I would not recommend this tour. The trip from the ship is 50 minutes long in a mini-van on very bad dust roads across to the other side of the island. If you want to visit the Blue Hole (and I do recommend it) you should try to find someone with a covered 4WD to take you there you may pay more per person, but trust me, 50 minutes of pothole pain is not worth it.
Don't Miss: Blue Hole - hire covered 4WD if you want to visit
We chose the high-speed zodiac boat ride to Duck Island (NU24) for some snorkeling. It was not fast - more like an expensive ferry service to the island. Duck Island is lovely but there is very little beach it is all broken coral and shells so make sure you have reef shoes. Once in the water we found it a bit rough because there are a lot of boats going past, but the snorkeling area is quite big with beautiful coral and lots of fish. In hindsight we may have made our own way to the island and paid half the price for the same experience.
In the afternoon we took the Discovery Tchou Tchou Train (NU15), which took us to a couple of stunning viewing points in Noumea. One piece of advice while this road-based vehicle may look cute, it is very uncomfortable. Take a cushion or 2!
Don't Miss: Views from the mountains on a clear day are awesome
In Vila, Vanuatu we did the Club Hippique - Horse Riding tour (VV25). The ranch has over 50 horses and a lot of experienced riders and grooms. They were extremely safety conscious so the horses were well-trained and we were matched to a horse based on experience. The ride itself was very sedate but at the end you get to ride into the lagoon and swim with your horse which was wonderful.
In the afternoon we did the pub-crawl, which was a lot of fun and great value for money.
Don't Miss: Get into the main village and explore - the harbour is very pretty
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