we cruised out of Sydney 30th april, and had perfect weather the whole cruise ( although several staff on board had commented that we had been extremely lucky.)
embarkation was a breeze!! very little wait, and we did take advantage of the early bag drop so that we could explore circular quay.. we had a 1.30 boarding allocation and with having to be out of our hotel by 10 am .. the bag drop was a heaven sent..
my DH and I are in our early 40's and had no children with us.. DH had to have his appendix out just 1week before we sailed, so we nearly didn't make the trip at all .. this did also limit the activities that we could take part in..
..we think that for food, and service, carnival surpass many other lines.. we loved the variety in the buffet, and on some occasions it was the same as what was available in the main dining room without the fancy setting and was nice to be spoilt a little In the specialty restaurant .. ( cost $40 pp )t to the main dining More
room twice .. just for the change .
I purchased a bottomless bubbles pack .. well worth it if you think you will drink more than 2 soft drinks a day. hint .. ask for only a little or NO ice .. otherwise you get more ice than drink.
we have cruised on this ship before ( to Alaska out of Seattle ) but that was 4 years ago .. the ship is now showing her age a little ( despite it being upgraded for the Australian clientele ) .. with a persistent creak in our cabin throughout the night, and on occasions I fell asleep covering my ears with a pillow..
we took a 4K cabin 4190 .. outside cabin that is obstructed by lifeboats ) this suited us as we have rarely used the balconies that we have paid for on previous cruises.. but still liked the ability to get natural light and open the doors for breeze when the room felt a bit stuffy .. at the same price as an internal room.. definitely a good choice for us.
we were a bit misled by the shore staff about the available activities on the various ports.. like Mystery island .. they will tell you that there is nothing to do but swim or snorkel .. and then charge you $49 to hire snorkel equip ( for the entire cruise ) or $79 to buy a kit on board ..
yet we went ashore by tender to find a thriving market, food, and locals selling tours for line fishing , turtle cove swim trips, dug-out sailboat rides .. there was plenty to do .. just nothing that carnival made money off..
at Mare.. well .. not worth the $20 each bus ride to see the beach on the other side of the island .. there are no markets or tours .. just the beach .. there were people selling fruit.. but you couldn't take anything back on board with you so it was pointless..the beach at Mystery island was much nicer.. and the water was warmer at Mystery too .. if you feel the need to get off the ship, I would suggest just getting the tender to land, ( free ) and walking to the local café and past the local school .. the children will happily come to the fence to chat..
on board .. well for the 2 of us .. it was a little bit boring after 2 days at sea .. baring in mind that we had been on this ship before and all of the exploring had long been done ..we were not into bean bag tosses or hairy chest competitions .. and I would have liked there to perhaps be a mid-day show, or cheaper table games in the casino.. even if just on sea days to break up the day ..i am not a drinker, nor am I a reader, so sitting in a bar, or curling up in a corner with a book aren't my thing either, so there wasn't much to keep me occupied after multiple sea days .. bingo lasted all of 25 minutes, at an average cost of $20 - 30 per day .. with trivia, ( free ) there were lots of these, but each lasted less than 1/2 hour.. and when you have around 16 hours of awake time, it was easy to get bored..
we did enjoy the performers that they brought on board, as well as the spirit dancers and big band, althought the constant theme was jazz and blues .. would have liked perhaps a Rock night.. or maybe a theatrical ( acting) night ..
we didn't bother going to the legends show as this was just the winners of karaoke ( passengers off the ship ) which you could have seen doing karaoke in the local bar..
if you are going on this trip to relax and do very little .. perfect .. if you are wanting adventure and lots of activities.. not a good choice.. the extended days at sea take the shine off the 2 ports that you can do some exploring or activities ..