This was my second cruise, however my first cruise was 35 years ago on an old ship that went into dry dock after we sailed. It was rough and I was in F deck sharing with 5 other girls. The shower and toilets were an amenities block rather like what you would find in a caravan park. The next level down were the engines. Certainly not the ideal way of cruising. It was hubby's first cruise.
We arrived at Sydney about half hour before the time given to us for boarding and the friendliness started from there. They allowed us to hand over our suitcases straight away.
We noticed the lines were long when boarding with all our paperwork, however we quickly got through. It was very efficient.
When we got to our stateroom, we were greeted with our attendant. He was extremely friendly. Our stateroom was surprisingly big. We expected a pokey little room! It was very comfortable and clean and there were cupboards, drawers and shelves everywhere. They certainly make good use of space.
The beds were very comfortable and we love they way the ends are rounded. It gave the room more space and it was easier to walk around. My husband is quite tall and he had no problems with his feet hanging over.
One complaint we had was that the TV was to the side and every time hubby put his knees up, I couldn't see the TV screen. It should have been on the wall and the end of the bed. The same TV shows ran over and over and when you are sick and confined to bed, it becomes monotonous. I guess they just want us to pay for movies.
They supply teabags but no coffee and we knew this before the cruise as I did a lot of research, so we bought coffee bags. Definitely a good idea.
The bathroom, although very small, was quite functional, so once again no complaints.
The balcony was wonderful. We would leave the curtains open at night and wake up with the sun rising. We would lay in bed watching the sea. On nice days we would sit out there and soak it all up, watching for dolphins and whales.
About 15 minutes after we found our stateroom both our suitcases arrived.
The only complaint we had was the bad sewerage smell permeating through the corridors while in the ports. Once we got into our stateroom, we couldn't smell the stench.
We frequented the Windjammer because it was lovely. The meals appeared fresh and they were always tasty. It was a lot more casual than the main dining room. The fruit art was amazing.
The alcohol was surprisingly well priced. Some cheaper than you would find at a pub or restaurant in Australia and the wines were nice. Hubby had his usual Johnny Walker Black and he had to buy coke on the side to dilute it down. It was so strong as they free pour. One glass was the equivalent of buying three JWB and coke. Another bonus!
We went to the main dining room once for breakfast which was very nice being waited on.
We went there again for dinner one night and found that we had been assigned to a table of 12 rather than what we requested, which was a table of two.
We didn't like the Head waiters' "too bad, so sad" attitude and were about to go to the Windjammer when he said he would give us a table for two. We felt a little ill at ease after that and the menu wasn't to our liking, so we decided we wouldn't go back there again. The rest of the wait staff were however very friendly and accommodating.
Many of the shops were nice, however they catered for the very rich with all the designer labels. Nice to look, but not buy! We did however buy some duty free Johnny Walker Black which was a very good price.
We loved the coffees here. Illy coffee is what they use and it would have to be one of the best brands you can get. It's so expensive to buy it in the supermarkets in Australia, so when you can buy it on the ship for the same price as any shop bought flat white/latte/cappuchino, it's a bonus! We had to have our daily "fix" here.
I frequented this place as hubby got sick the last few days of the cruise and spent them in bed.
I loved the pampering and I know they do the hard sell, but the girls are so good at relaxing you, I didn't mind paying for the privilege. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Every show we went to was exceptional. The professionalism and standard of entertainment was outstanding. We did not expect it to be so good.
We only wished we had've been able to go to more as we didn't start going until a few days into the cruise. What a mistake that was. We will know better for our next cruise.
All in all, we loved it so much that we have booked two more cruises with Royal Caribbean and joined their Crown and Anchor membership.
The staff overall were very friendly, the entertainment staff were entertaining, especially Luke, the Cruise Director. Captain Charles made us feel at ease at all times. He was passionate about his job and ship and no questions were too difficult.
I thought we may get a bit seasick, so I got some anti emetic tablets from the Dr and ginger tablets from the chemist. We didn't even open the packets despite going through 150 knot winds and 9 metre waves. The stabilisers on the ship were great.
Our goal now is to become "constant cruisers".