This was my second cruise. My 1st was with Carnival to the Caribbean back in 2007.
In response to the Aussiepair review - This cruise was directly after yours.For the 1st 2 and half days we were in the position of everything being handed to us in the restaurants.We weren't able to touch anything.But I wasn't complaining.Rather that or come down sick and ruin your holiday.
Embarking was a breeze.Our ship wasn't due to leave until around 10pm and we were able to board anytime after around 11am.Once on board we were able to leave the ship as long as we were back in time for the muster drill.
The ship had recently undergone a $50 million + refit and I have to say it was looking very good.Bedding was brand new and very comfortable.My room 2587 was quite small,especially the shower.Closet space was adequate and room itself although a bit old was in very good condition.The room was right next to the lifts,stairs and the right end of the ship for the gangways for the ports of call.This was very convenient,yet still very quiet.
The new outdoor movie screen was good but the position was of it wasn't the best as the hot tubs obscured the view from a what would have been an excellent viewing position.Oh and where was the popcorn ?Don't get me wrong there is still ample places for you to watch the movie.
Staff service was excellent.Every member of the crew (except 1, a waitress in the formal dining room) was happy and attentive.Cleanliness of the ship was excellent too.Though having had the Novovirus or whatever it is on the previous cruise I would expect nothing less.
Entertainment on board was good.Plenty of variety, with the ubiquitous bingo and art auctions there were a few adult only activities which were a hoot.I thought the main shows were all very good with the exception of a couple.Even those were ok.The band and the dances /singers were great.Just a couple of the solo acts were ok.The cruise director Casey was very energetic friendly and funny.How he keeps this up I have no idea.
Food in the formal dining room was of a high standard.Some of those deserts were especially scrumptious.The only real disappointment was the steak, which was dry.Maybe they were trying to get you to one of their pay extra for restaurants.The food on the windjammer was average to good, depending on what you ate.I found the fruit to be a bit ripe, but certainly fresh.There was an excellent variety of dishes to choose from for all meals if you decided not to eat in the main dining room - which was also open for breakfast,lunch and dinner.There is a third free option the Park cafe.Food there was fine though limited to New York style sandwiches and roast beef rolls.Oh there is also a self serve soft serve ice cream machine by the pool on the same deck - nice touch.
There used to be a library before the renovation.Now there is a couple of large book cases with books stacked in front of each other.There is no dedicated reading area but there are are at least 2 - 3 different areas which are quiet enough for the most part to while away the hours with your favourite author.Deck 10 aft of the ship if you like a bit of sun.Deck 9 in the solarium if it's a bit on the cold side.Even deck 5 on the outside (one side for the smokers out there)if you like the fresh air but be sheltered from the sun.And finally on deck 6 aft of the boat there is a lounge area, but there are quite often shows, activities happening in there so you'll need to time it right.
Overall one happy camper after this cruise ship.Would I recommend it ? In a heartbeat.