As a Heads up - this will be a long review. I found the in depth reviews to be helpful when I was deciding on our cruise, so I will try to provide as much detail as possible. My two sisters and I embarked on the 8 night 'Indonesia and Bali' cruise from the Singapore Cruise Center, all equally nervous, as this was our first cruise. We did have relatively high expectations, as I had spent the months leading up to our cruise reading every review possible.
Embarkation was a relatively smooth process, with plenty of staff willing to offer help. We dropped our luggage off, filled in the immigration forms (the ladies were lovely and helpful) and headed upstairs to get our SeaPass card. There was a little bit of a wait here, but nothing worth stressing about. The staff at the desk were extremely helpful. We went through customs, which was again a painless experience, and then had to line up as the gangway was being adjusted. Some people were getting very annoyed at the wait, but I think the heat wasn't helpful. Soon enough though we were on the ship, and headed straight to our cabin.
We stayed in a Grand Suite, and it was lovely. Maintenance is obviously a priority as the room was spotless. The beds were extremely comfortable and the room was of a good size. The balcony was larger then I had imagined, my only wish was that there was a laid-back deckchair out there, however there was a table and two chairs. Our luggage was already there, so we unpacked, when our stateroom attendant, Haibing ('Bing') introduced himself to us. We said our Hello's and soon were exploring the ship.
For it's age, it is in great condition. Everything gleamed and looked well maintained. Staff were always near for assistance but never, ever became intrusive. We grabbed a bite to eat in the Windjammer, and yes it was very busy, but the selection of food was very good. We sailed away from Singapore, excited about our trip.
The next two sea days were alot of fun. The ship was always buzzing with activity and the entertainment staff, including Jeff and Gordon, were always ensuring you were having a good time. The theater productions were great - especially the ship singers and dancers. Out of the whole cruise, the only one I didn't go to was the Beatles tribute, it wasn't really my scene. By now we had go to know Bing quite well, and I have to say, he was one of the highlights of the cruise. He was more then helpful, and the towel animals were great. By the end of the cruise we didn't want to say goodbye, it was so nice to have a friendly face to come back to after excursions or wandering around the ship. If you cruise and have Bing as your attendant, you are lucky - he really was such a great crew member. That being said all the crew were happy and friendly, and another mention must go to LingLing in the Viking Crown Lounge, who was infectious in her bubbly personality.
The shops onboard did offer some really great deals, however the crush of people could be overwhelming. That being said, staff were efficient in dealing with the masses, and you didn't have to wait too long to get service. The onboard band was amazing, always filling up the centrum with music and they sounded really good! Drinks were very reasonably priced, even with the gratuity that is automatically added they were much cheaper then you would find back here in Perth. Better servings too.
The stops at Bali and Lombok were nice, however the heckling at Benoa port on the first day was extreme. We didn't go off on the second day, but looking from the balcony, there didn't seem to be as much trouble at the port - I think crew responded to suggestions from the passengers very well. The tendering process at Lombok was well organised, and once it dealt with the initial rush, proceeded quite quickly.
The last two days at seas were just as good as the first, with fun activities and that ability to just relax by the pool, watching the world go by. The solarium was lovely, and the little cafe offered late night snacks, a great idea. The solarium was supposed to be adults only, but a few kids were in there. Most of the time this was fine, but sometimes they got a bit out of hand.
There was always food on board, you couldn't go hungry. Room service was prompt and always fresh, and the dining room offered lovely dishes that had good protions and tasted great. Service was great too. Ben and Jerry's and Cafe Lattetudes was great, I can recommend their Choc Mint!
Disembarkation was incredibly organised, and we were off the ship quite quickly, although it was sad to say goodbye to Bing, and the ship that had become our home for the past 8 days.
To summarize, this cruise was everything we had hoped, plus more. The ship and crew were faultless, and a credit to Royal Caribbean. All three of us cannot wait to go back again, and I think that is the biggest compliment we can pay the staff of LOTS. I hope this review doesn't read like a massive ad for RCI - if we had problems I would have no problems in expressing them. It's just that any issues we did have were so minor, and always resolved by the crew anyway.
Lastly, the Captain told us that LOTS is due to be dry-docked this year for an extensive refit, including the addition of a couple of specialty restaurants. The ship seems to be so full as it is, I wonder where they will put them!?