We touched down at Sydney at 1315hrs and went downstairs to the train station and went to Circular Quay. Our embarkation time was 1430 - 1500hrs and we arrived at 1430 where embarkation process was very fast and were on board for 1445hrs. The first thing we did was to go to the service desk to put cash down on our sign and sail card. We had a lady who was not happy to see us and told us that we should use the machine that was available rather than come to the desk! Very friendly - NOT! She did not really give us eye contact and when we asked about a ship tour, she told us that it wasn't her are we would have to go to the other desk. We asked what desk and she pointed to a closed desk! Very helpful - NOT! We went across to the other desk and saw the time it opened so we came back later when it was open and had a very friendly gentleman :)
We had a safety drill that was excessive as we stayed outside shoulder to shoulder for 40 minutes! We still did not really know what to do in an emergency except come to the spot we were in.
We found that the food halls had very long lines and the food was not piping hot. Husband wondered if it was because of children and not wanting to burn them with hot food, but still it just didn't seem right to be eating warm food.
We did go to the restaurant for the formal night and found we were pounced on at all angles by photographers. As we don't dress in formal-ware often we did go with the flow and thought we might purchase a photo later. When we got to dinner we found lots of people don't actually dress up, and we felt uncomfortable at having dressed up. So we ate and left to change back into casual clothes.
The photos that were shown the next morning were lovely, but the price was way too much! $35 for each photo without a frame - NO WAY! I thought that a board said that we could get smaller photos for $10 each, but when I asked about this I was told that you had to buy the $35 photo and then you could get the $10 ones - what the? We decided even though the photos were lovely, we could not afford them :( It seems a waste to see them printed and then to throw them out.
This cruise line definitely caters to the family and not to the couple. We told children off for running in the corridor and knocking on doors, as we were close to the stairs and lifts. These children had no parents with them and were aged from about 10yrs and up. Even though there was an adults only area, it was below the water slides and still was not quiet enough for us. It was hard to get a spot that was in the shade and so we ended up spending more time on our balcony rather than anywhere else. We did look for quiet deck places about the ship, and when we found them (and there were lots of places) there were no chairs or lounges to be able to take advantage of these spaces.
I do not think we will travel on board The Spirit again as it was great for families but not for couples.