This was our first ever cruise and didn't quite know what to expect. Our intention was to have a good relaxing time and that's exactly what we did. I've been reading some of other people's posts which many of the complaints seems unwarranted.
Firstly, I'd like to state that it was promoted as a family cruise, which is what it was, there were quite a few kids, which did not bother us at all. The ship is huge and there seemed to have been plenty of space for everyone, except at meal times when everyone seemed to be hungry at the same time.
MEALS: plenty to go around, the sight of so much food turned me off eating. The quality was okay, and you could get a bite any time of the day as the Pizza bar and gourmet sandwich stand were always open. I was impressed with the variety, Asian, Indian, Continental, salad bar, BBQ, and not to mention an array of daily deserts.
ALCOHOL: The daily cocktails specials were a hit amongst many, including myself. I did think the drinks were very pricey. Beers $7 Cocktails between $8.50 & $10.00. I was suprised they didn't have a happy hour or something. It's true some of the bar staff were not very friendly, but they were innandated most of the time. I got the impression they weren't prepared for the aussie drinking spirit.
ENTERTAINMENT: The shows were fantastic. I loved the Showband and comedians etc. My highlight was Trevor the Piano Man at the Shanhai Lounge every night. The main band however was mediocre. My only beef was STU. Stu is the boss so to speak of the day to day stuff. He made daily announcements that were not only boring but repetetive and unprofessional. His facts were near misses. I also felt that there should be more entertainment choices, especially throughout the day. There was daily trivia, Bingo and gambling. Gambling seemed to occupy many people.
ROOMS: We had an extended balcony room that we were very happy with. The room was seen to twice a day, which i felt a little too much, but never the less, one can't complain about an over abundance of service.
SMOKING: As a smoker in an anti smoking world, I was surprised that such a large comfortable area was dedicated to us. The areas was to the back of the 9Th floor by the pool with both under cover and outdoor seating. Sun decks for smokers were also available to the right side of the 10Th floor. Fantastic!!!
SHOPPING: Duty Free alcohol, ciggies perfumes and jewelry. Clothing and souvenirs were reasonably priced but not a great variety.
DEPORTATION: Probably needed to be organised a little better, I recommend that people get ready early to avoid queues.
Like I said I can't compare with other cruises but we had a lovely time sunbathing in lounge chairs by the pool sipping on our never ending array of cocktails.