First impressions are usually correct. It took nearly three hours to get aboard the ship. Upon registration we were told that the previous cruise had "several people" sick with the novovirus and if we were uncomfortable taking this cruise we would be allowed to book another cruise with no penalty. Fine time to learn that information! Two days into the cruise, both my wife and I got sick. Here are my grades for this cruise:
Embarkation / Disembarkation: D: Three hours to board is not acceptable. Disembarkation was very confusing but acceptable in the amount of time it took to depart the ship. The taxi line was VERY long and cost $60 to LAX. Recommend reserving a super shuttle unless time restricted.
Service: C: Due to the fear of a novovirus outbreak, passengers were not allowed to touch ANYTHING in the restaurants. This meant that everyone had to be served for everything! Lines for drinks were long and slow. Further exacerbating the beverage problem is the small size of the cups and glasses. Want ketchup on your fries? You have to wait for the server to squirt it on your plate! Want salt & pepper? You have to ask for it. Aside from the buffets, the wait staff was a very mixed bag. Some were very attentive, far more were just plain terrible! Our cabin steward was also very slow. Room service, forget about it!
Food: C+: The buffets were strictly average. The two free sit down restaurants, Aqua and Versailles are very nice and the menu variety is good. The food is tasty and well presented. We did not eat at any of the specialty restaurants. Comfort food (ice cream, cookies etc) can only be found in the buffets. The variety of ice cream is limited. The pool grill was very average.
Entertainment: B+: Good variety of shows. Some were exceptional. The theater seating is worse than airline seating. The seats are very small and, unless you are very short, your knees will touch the seat in front of you.
Cabin: B-: We were given an inside, handicapped cabin. It was very roomy but did not have any place to sit except on the bed. There was ample room for a couch or sitting chairs for non-handicapped occupants. The TV remote controller is the cheapest that I have ever seen and very frustrating to use. The bed was pure torture...hard as a rock! The bath was roomy and very comfortable.