Embarkation was relatively smooth. I had heard that you could arrive 1 hour before the "actual" checkin time, however this was not the case. Drinks packages and dayspa packages were available to purchase before we got on the boat. Im not sure why I spent all the time trying to do it from Australia.
It ended up being a waste of time organising drinks pacakages, as once we got on board the waiters had no idea about the type of packages we had booked! Certainly wasnt there fault, it seems that the packages that are being sold in Australia are actually different to what they have on the ship, or not common. So the translation from Australian booking agents to the ship did not work. This was for 3 of the 5 families that were travelling. They voucher booklets were handy and quite good value for sparking water and soft drinks. You could just buy the drinks from any bar with the vouchers and take them to you rooms. No issue at all. The voucher booklets were on sale on the boat at all times (near the pool area).
The restuarant we were allocated was great (Black Crab). We had amazing waiters "Safwan and Wayan". Couldnt have helped us more. They were fabulous catering to our very need. Great entertaining the kids as well. Our seating was a 6pm, and you needed to arrive by 6.15, otherwise they run behind for their next service. No problems sharing wine etc with the table.
We purchased a wine package. It was a waste of money, as the wine was terrible! I dont consider myself fussy at all with wine, but every bottle was like vinegar. You would be better off just buying a nice bottle or two or three on board!
Every single service person on board, in particular, indonesians and phillipinos were amazing. The most beautiful and friendly people. This made the experience just that much more enjoyable. We had the same guy service our room each day (twice a day) and what a pleasure he was. He just knew our routine each day, and I loved that. I dont know how they do it with a smile each day.
Buffet time was crazy busy most of the time. But we always got a seat! However, you could also go each day for lunch at your allocated restaurant. It was so much more pleasant and refined! Im not sure why we didnt do this more!
Entertainment on board started quite late. Even the the discos for the teenagers didnt start until 10.30....which was a little late. After a full meal and a busy day all of our group of 15 were ready for bed by 9pm.
My husband and i purchased the "steam and spa" package upon embarkation. I thought it was great, just gave us something to do every day, especially sailing days. They often ran specials about day 4 on for treatments etc so keep your eye out for these, as you can get stone massages etc half price!!!
We had a catergory 9 cabin (outside with a balcony). Be sure to pay more to get a good cabin, there was nothing like sailing into a new city and watching the view first thing in the morning. We were a family of 4, husband, me, 16 year old girl and 5 year old girl. We had a great time with the cabin and didnt find it squishy, which was a suprise. Husband and I virtually unpacked and put suitcases under the beds and so it was roomy and comfy.
We went to the sports bar one time to play Bowling with the kids. It turned out to be really expensive. From memory we smashed through $30AUD in about 15 minutes. There is no reason that this cant be cheaper or free!!!
Coffees/Teas/Milkshakes on board were relatively fine in cost! (Cheaper than Australia thats for sure).
All in all I loved the Ship, it was amazing. I loved cruising.
What I didnt like about the cruise:
(1) crazy buffet time
(2) pushy people and people who had no concept of others;
(3) the terribe wine
(4) the "lost in translation" with our drinks package;
(5) lack of a good place to go early evening for a drink that had some fun music