The cruise was booked last year not long after returning from a very good Vietnam cruise on the Legend of the Seas. The line does not leave from Brisbane so it was Qantas to Sydney (business class on points) and then cab. The flight was very good and so was the food. The taxi was swift and just under $50 from mascot to the ship.
Four days before we sailed we had received news of an upgrade to cabin 1104 so everything had started off in the right direction. We arrived at around 4.00pm and had no hassles boarding, the rush was over I guess. The cabin was ready and it was a pleasant surprise with a very large balcony that, in Sydney, looked out on both the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Surely one of the great views in cruising.
General crew notes.
Cabin Steward: Edmund. Absolutely superb. Totally unobtrusive and everything was always ready when needed. This man is very, very good.
Restaurant Staff: Waiter, Roberto Assistant Waiter Ashley.
Table service was brilliant and the team worked very smoothly with high efficiency. A few waiters in so called high class restaurants could take some guidance from these two. David the head waiter and Karen the table allocator were also great. Hasan ran the whole area with ease gliding around unobtrusively to ensure things were working. Special mention to the table re makers. The team did a great job and again were totally unobtrusive.
It is easy for staff to become over familiar with 14 nights of service but it did not happen here. Truly professional.
The Captain ran a tight ship and kept everyone informed on what was a bad weather cruise that required the missing of the final port. His clear and concise summation of events made a difficult passage much easier. His presence and easy general nature around the ship is a major plus.
All the crew were friendly and very helpful except the Security Staff. Yes they have a difficult job and I am referring to when passengers return to the ship after a day's excursions. If all the other members of the crew can smile and be helpful and polite at all times the Security Staff can do the same to returning passengers. Yes it is a bore to have to do the screening and it is a pain to be screened especially when the machine seems to have a mind of its own. Perhaps it is time to lose the American airport screening attitude and come back to cruise mode. It can be done efficiently and pleasantly.
Cascades: My Time Dining 7.30 Dinner: Good selection and superb service. Food was superior to the Legend and some of the sauces and soups very, very good.
Lunch. Dined a few times and found it very good. The salad bar with he service was great. Breakfast was very good and leisurely.
Windjammer. The food was good and of course plentiful. The "English" bacon is a nice addition, lol.
Room Service. Breakfast on the balcony twice, delivered on time and still hot.
Park Cafe: Very good.
Dog House. Good selection and rather enjoyable.
No specialty restaurants were visited.
Note: As a very experienced traveller for both business and pleasure I have dined at all all levels and given this was a cruise on a 4+ star ship the food was superb.
Went to five shows and they were all very good. Slight hint on the last night Christmas show. The artists were great but the content was typically American. A little local marker research would help here on what the content should be.
Live entertainment throughout the ship was of a great standard. Listening to the trio in the Centrum before dinner each night was nice and relaxing.
The cruise was on the rough side given the weather and there was some sea sickness about. We had no problems. The captain's decision to miss the final port (Bay of Islands) was a studied and constructive move by the Captain given the rather bad weather and the chartered course further north than planned to home was a very astute move.
Great cruise, great ship, great captain, great crew, great time.
Pleanty of taxis following a quick leaving of the ship and a good Qantas flight home.