This post is a collaboration with Carnival Cruise Line
This year we ditched Christmas, packed up the family and jumped on board the Carnival Legend to experience Christmas on the high seas! We spent 10 days on board the Carnival Legend exploring the Pacific Islands, and it was the most amazing stress-free family holiday EVER! If you’ve read my previous posts on cruising, you will already know how much I love cruising with kids, especially with a large family like mine as everything is so easy – from booking until the second you step on the ship. If you haven’t been overseas before, I recommend going on a cruise first and experience your first overseas holiday stress-free!
Ports of call
We didn’t spend any time in Noumea and instead booked a full-day shore excursion directly through Carnival to Amadee Island. WOW, this island was just amazing! It’s a tiny coral atoll located just 45 minutes by boat off Noumea. Our package included everything, even a BBQ buffet lunch, so we didn’t have to worry about a thing. The crew mentioned we might spot some turtles, but we were shocked at how many there were and how close we could get to them. After we arrived at the island, we took a short glass-bottom boat tour and the kids loved it. Then we got our snorkel gear, packed on the sunscreen and snorkelled in the gorgeous water with the turtles and fish until lunch was served. There is a gorgeous lighthouse you can walk up for a few dollars, but we didn’t venture up to the top. I’ll blame it on the kid’s little legs, but I must admit, I’m not sure I’d make the trek, haha. Everyone that did make the effort to climb to the top said the view was worth it!
- This island is expensive, so if you do this one, make sure you bring a heap of bottled water. I paid $5 for a can of Coke, and others said it was $15 for one beer.
- You need $10 AUD as a deposit to lease your snorkelling gear.
- Bring along an underwater camera.
- Walk up the lighthouse if you can and bring a $2 coin for your entry to the top.
- You will spot sea snakes, but they can’t bite you and aren’t really interested in humans.
Mystery Island is a small island that you can easily walk around in around 25 minutes and is just gorgeous. We didn’t do any tours here; we just spent a few hours exploring the island, swimming the crystal clear waters and meeting the locals. If you want to get your hair braided, you can do it here.
- Get your hair braided for $20 AUD.
- Walk around the whole island and watch the small planes land on the landing strip.
- Bring snorkelling gear with you and some reef shoes.
- Get to know the locals.
- Get a massage for $30 for 30 minutes.
- Take small notes and coins to spend at the market stalls.
- Head to the other side of Mystery Island, away from the jetty, to avoid the crowds.
We decided just to explore Lifou Island on our own and didn’t book a tour. If you want to snorkel here, it’s best to get a marine pass to explore Jinek Marine Reserve, but get it on the first day you get on the ship as they sell out FAST and there are only a limited number available each day. We didn’t know this until someone told us on the ship and after seeing the gorgeous Jinek Marine Reserve, we wish we had grabbed a pass. The younger kids decided to stay on board the ship in the kids club, so we decided we would walk up the hill to the church for the spectacular view. Though the walk was easy for us adults, it would be a little hard on younger kids with the sun and humidity.
- Grab a fresh coconut from the locals for $4AUD.
- Explore the island on foot.
- Go to the caves for a small fee. It’s not suitable for young kids as you have to climb out of the water by rope.
- Swim away from the jetty and crowds, but be careful of stingers in the water.
- Hire a kayak to explore if snorkelling isn’t for you.
- The food smells amazing, so how can you not sample from the local food stores?
- Grab a drink and hang at the local bar on the beach.
- Don’t be afraid to leave the kids on board in the kids club if you want to do some exploring without them.
First of all, you need to purchase a bus ticket via Carnival to get to Yejele Beach. Once at Yejele Beach, you’ll find a huge stretch of gorgeous sand with crystal clear water. There are plenty of food and drink options here and also toilets if you need them. We decided to get the girls’ hair braided here and paid $20 AUD per child, which I thought was worth it for the fact we didn’t have to brush or do their hair for the rest of the trip.
- Eat lunch here! There are so many options from the locals for BBQ food and it is all well priced.
- Buy the bus pass for $25 because there really isn’t anything else to do here if you don’t grab the bus pass.
- Make sure you take small currency with you.
- There is snorkelling gear available to hire here.
- Plan to spend the whole day at Yejele Beach.
I hope this helps some of you plan your island visits if you do the Pacific Island cruise or the same ports of call that we did. I’d love to hear any tips that you might have! If you want to read more, check out Everything you need to know about cruising with Carnival Cruise Line Australia and 5 reasons why I love cruising with kids.