I will preface with the fact that we had just finished a 2 week South American cruise less than 2 weeks prior to boarding this ship so there will be lots of comparisons to that cruise because that's just human nature!
The embarkation procedure went smoothly and was quick. Once on the ship many people where sitting and standing in the atrium rather than finding there way around the boat but that could just be due to inexperienced passengers but it did clog up the area. No worries, we just made our way up to our room to check it out and then up to the glorious sunshine that us northerners so badly needed. There was some nice Sixthman swag in the room (sunglasses and a bottle opener)which was a nice touch. The ship itself is decorated in a much funkier and cooler way that the Golden Princess we had just left and it really added to the "music cruise" atmosphere for us.
Our cabin was great, we were sailing with 2 teenage kids so we had a family balcony mini suite. I have to say-best cruise bathroom ever! It was large and actually had a bathtub so my husband didn't feel like he was showering In a "Barbie" shower. The bed arrangement was fine but it would have been nice if the cabin steward had folded away the kids bed like other cruise lines do so that you can walk around better during the day. The balcony was disgustingly dirty. There was dirt and debris on it to the point that you needed to not only wear shoes but you didn't want to wear them back in. It was also surprising to me that they allow smoking on the balcony as Princess doesn't and now I see why. If your neighbour is smoking you are in a chimney. No biggie really just an observation.
We had also been on a music cruise last year on MSC so we didn't know how this set up would compare but Sixthman did this right. Having one of the pools covered over so people could be near the stage was great. The vibe on this cruise was totally different than that music cruise but that could be because the last one was only 1/2 charter and 1/2 regular guests who were not amused with the "old" music crowd. The venues here were great. I was worried that the theater didn't have assigned seats but there was never a problem getting a great seat and it was an intimate and cozy place to see your favorite bands.
Huge difference with this ship over the Golden Princess? The buffet. This one is set up so much better, easy to navigate lots of fresh offerings all day long and open til 2:00 am. We are not big buffet people but do find our way there for late breakfast early lunch and on this cruise late night snacks. The constant washy washy does get on your nerves especially if you end up double sprayed but still better than the thick purell dose right as you grab dishes on Princess at least here they get you at the door and it is absorbed by the time you touch the plates. We never ate in the main dining room as we were tired of that type of banquet food we opted for the Ultimate Dining package and it was worth every penny and then some! We went to the Churruscaria, Tempanyaki, Italian and Cagneys. The steak house was great (mind you seating people beside the waiter station in an empty room is ridiculous-we had to complain to get moved and we watched others after us go through the same charade-learn to seat people properly)The woman who took our reservation down by the front desk was actually quite rude and warned us that we may only order one entrée. I don't know what prompted her to make this statement but maybe she could tell that on Princess we had been spoiled in their steak house by numerous lobster tails being thrown on any steak plate if requested. Whatever. These little annoyances aside they cooked the steaks perfectly which is rare (pun intended). Tempenyaki was ok, the chef was not engaging and the table mates were not social so it may have suffered a little. I wouldn't go back, the food was meh.
My 2 biggest complaints with this ship were the Casino and the Jewelry store. I like to play roulette and usually do so on cruises because the minimums are reasonable. oO this ship they didn't let you play with dollars inside even though I said I was going to play enough to cover the minimum $10 bet. Even when we tried to reason with them they were unmoveable. ok so we walked away but decided at some point to play. On the last night chips in hand from the previous night we went in only to find the casino closed. CLOSED at like 1:00am on a ship where everyone was still awake and partying it up-in the casino even. Again ok fine at least we ended up not losing any money this trip! Secondly, I like to buy a piece of jewelry on a cruise as a reminder of the cruise. The person working at the jewelry store was so aggressive and so adamant that jewelry is an investment and an asset that I had to just walk away shaking my head. I want to buy something shiny I'm not here trying to buy a future heirloom to pass down to my children as he kept saying and no, it is not worth double what you are selling it for like he kept saying. Over all just way to pushy and way to ridiculous with his claims. So, no shiny bauble from this trip. Again really just saved us money.
Biggest disappointment was with Sixthman and probably some of the blame for the following goes to the artists as well: NOT ENOUGH MERCHANDISE!!! People love to buy concert T's and many of the bands either sold out early or didn't even bring any. The biggest culprit here though was Sixthman themselves-no Prognation at Sea shirts for sale after the first day. Seriously?? There was a petition (not an order page) in the merch room and it was signed by everyone who felt stiffed by this oversight. Also hearing that there were secret little concerts that most of us knew nothing about is always saddening but that's the nature of the animal with these types of cruises some people are the "in" crowd some not and some just get lucky :)
We are doing 2 more music cruises with a different promoter on a different line so we will again be comparing with memories still fresh.