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My dad was stationed in New Caledonia during WW II and I grew up sorting shells he brought home and later looking at his scrapbooks. I was delighted to see it firsthand. Vanuatu was a bonus and turned out to be a highlight. The shore excursions were excellent, especially the ports in Vanuatu. Being exposed to different cultures is important to me and the islands seemed very authentic and much more exotic than I expected. My only criticism was the use of the naturalists. On other cruises we have always enjoyed lectures by professors and experts on the area, that included historians as well as naturalists. Some of the lectures were quite good, others were almost insultingly basic. And there was almost no information given about the history of the islands and their place in the world today. I also would have appreciated more information on the people of the islands from an anthropologic viewpoint. With a couple of exception, the naturalists were not very visible on the excursions, it would have been good to have more direct contact with them. One of the things I appreciated most was the organization on board, you did an excellent job at that, from the lifeboat drills on. The food was quite good in the second floor restaurant, not so much on the 6th floor. But the wait staff was terrific. We also had contact with the medical staff, sadly, but they were very responsive and helpful

Volcanos, dancing hay stacks, sharks and water music

L'Austral Cruise Review by carolb1

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
My dad was stationed in New Caledonia during WW II and I grew up sorting shells he brought home and later looking at his scrapbooks. I was delighted to see it firsthand. Vanuatu was a bonus and turned out to be a highlight.

The shore excursions were excellent, especially the ports in Vanuatu. Being exposed to different cultures is important to me and the islands seemed very authentic and much more exotic than I expected.

My only criticism was the use of the naturalists. On other cruises we have always enjoyed lectures by professors and experts on the area, that included historians as well as naturalists. Some of the lectures were quite good, others were almost insultingly basic. And there was almost no information given about the history of the islands and their place in the world today. I also would have appreciated more information on the people of the islands from an anthropologic viewpoint. With a couple of exception, the naturalists were not very visible on the excursions, it would have been good to have more direct contact with them.

One of the things I appreciated most was the organization on board, you did an excellent job at that, from the lifeboat drills on.

The food was quite good in the second floor restaurant, not so much on the 6th floor. But the wait staff was terrific.

We also had contact with the medical staff, sadly, but they were very responsive and helpful
carolb1’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 421?
Excellent storage, relatively comfortable bed, great deck. Our traveling companions had a very unfortunate reassignment of cabins at the last minute. Instead of being directly across from us they were put on Deck 5 in the living room section of a suite, not even a real bed, a sofa bed. They did ask to have it changed after a couple of nights of bad sleep, but this should never have happened in the first place. It took basically a full day out of their trip to get this arranged.