We flew to Sydney from Adelaide (2 Adults + 4 boys ages 8,12,13,16.Caught the train from the Airport that took us right to the ship at Circular Quay.We were allocated the 1st boarding time-slot & got there 20 mins. ahead of schedule but we were told that we could start the boarding process straight away if we liked. This all went swiftly & before we knew it we were on board being totally amazed. We were hungry but wanted to check out our rooms first.The 3 older boys were 4 cabins from ours.(This wasn't a problem during the trip as you could ring between them) Then we headed up to the Lido deck 9 for lunch. WOW the food stations were amazing - sweets spectacular- yes, we were in heaven. Food Food Food loved it all. The Empire room(no extra cost)was wonderful, great relationships were formed between waiters etc.We went to the Empire room for dinner about 1/2 the time.
Exploring the ship was fun and checking out everything, the gym, where the kids clubs were etc. We also paid $70 each for 'unlimited bottomless bubbles'which let any of us go to any bar & get a soft drink anytime for the entire cruise - great decision.
The ship was kept spotless throughout the cruise. Nothing was too much trouble. Staff were always so very friendly. They all seemed to be open to having conversations and you seemed to form favorites who looked out for you and made it personal. The cruise director & his team were fantastic and created a FUN feel.
Each night when the beds were turned down at(& you got you surprise towel animal)You got given a pamphlet with whats on and where for the next day. It was great to be able to plan a bit. EG what time a show is on,or bingo,or music trivia, general trivia,Quizzes, fun stuff or games ,or what each age group is doing at kids club etc.You could do as much or as little as you want.You can;t get board. (my wife & I didnt want to miss out on much, so we did lots)
The kids clubs were great. The 8 year old always kept nagging to go. The clubs were very age appropriate and the 16 year old who was a bit apprehensive in going after going once was hooked. Most of the time his night time group didn't start till 10 ish.
The Pharaohs room (main show room)was spectacular.It holds 1,200 people. The shows there were pretty fantastic.We watched a big band musical (not really for the kids but great for people in that age group.,a comedy juggler that doesn't sound much but had everyone amazed & in stitches.A female Magic act,doing all the big tricks,she also did some scary high flying stuff.Two other main shows that fantastic. There was also a smaller comedy club and we made a point of going along a few times & having a bit of a laugh.
I cant speak highly enough of the couple that performed in the Atrium most nights.They were brother/sister called PRIME DUO She had an amazing amazing voice,he was on guitar/back up vocals and in control of music machine/Great personalities too. That was there last cruise for a while as they had just done 9 month straight. Carnival should be knocking on there door as soon as they are available.
There were piano bars, sing-a-longs,karaoke,4 piece rock & roll band.All keeping you entertained.
Theme nights - My only criticism is that you weren't informed (upon booking)just how popular the theme nights were. Guest that had done it before really had a ball on Mexican night or elegant night going to a lot of care dressing up.Creating fantastic atmosphere.
For a ship that had 2,600 guests and 930 staff it was amazing how it didn't feel packed, Plenty of quiet areas.
What a great experience this was. We will definitely be doing this again.