SuperStar Libra Entertainment
In its inaugural season, SuperStar Libra didn't offer much in the way of named lecturers. However, on my cruise there were arts and crafts lessons including Origami classes, "introduction to Chinese" classes, carpet bowling and games sessions led by the entertainment staff, as well as the usual free fitness classes and escorted walking activities.
Evening entertainment ranges from magic shows, acrobatic displays and passenger talent nights in the StarDust -- an attractive double-winged, blue and gold lounge on Deck 5 -- to quizzes (including a version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?") in the smart red and gold Galaxy of the Stars lounge (stern end of the same deck).
On the starboard side of Deck 5 is the Admiral's Club Lounge, a small bar featuring live piano music every evening. This is also a pleasant morning retreat, as it has large windows on one side and a stand bearing a selection of papers and magazines.
Other evening options include gaming at the adults-only (18-plus) Star Club casino; late night dancing at the stylish black, grey and copper Boomer's Disco, which overlooks the stern sun beck on Deck 8; or karaoke at the very pretty, gold, red and blue Bollywood Nightclub, which lies opposite the Two Trees restaurant on Deck 10.
SuperStar Libra Public Rooms
Though the paid-for restaurants are tucked away, overall the ship is sensibly laid out, with both casual dining and fitness facilities near the pool, a late-opening al fresco bar for sundowners with a view, and the main restaurants and lounges within easy reach of one another.
The ship's Internet Cafe lies outside the StarDust Lounge on Deck 7; this has seven computers and access costs $5 for 30 minutes, $10 per hour -- you buy swipe cards at the Activity Desk, outside the Stardust's starboard entrance.
The best visual treat is the dazzling display of multi-tiered, realistic-looking exotic foliage, which has replaced a fountain in the ship's main Crystal Court reception area on Deck 4.
At the starboard entrance to the Stardust is a small library -- really little more than a collection of bookcases, but offering a fair range of titles, including works by John Updike, Barbara Vine, Beryl Bainbridge, Gerald Seymour, Amy Tan and Tom Wolfe. The cases also hold paperbacks, a few board games including Clue, Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit, biographies and specialist books on gardens, Asian Cuisine, yoga and art.
Shopaholics will find an eclectic mix of dress jewelry, kids wear, beachwear, bags, chocolate, snacks, logo goods and toys all together in the large Ports O' Call shop, which lies between the ship's Video Planet game arcade and its photo gallery on Deck 5.
SuperStar Libra Spa & Fitness
A very substantial main pool (one of the biggest afloat, at 60 ft. by 26 ft.) and a lovely pool area is a highlight of SuperStar Libra. Adjacent to the whopping main pool is a steeply shelved three- to six-foot paddle/plunge pool, and there are two white canopied whirlpools and a yachtie-style (sail-surrounded) shower.
Newish grey-brown close-woven sun beds are more comfortable than they look, and though the dark blue flooring needs replacing, the overall effect is impressive, with plenty of white plastic tables available for cool drinks in the shade, tiles in fresh seaside-y shades of deep blue, and white and teak surrounds the pool and whirlpools.
Best of all, the ship features a rare concept called "Noiseless Sunbathing," with no music played around the pool until the band strikes up at 6 p.m. -- heaven if, like me, you just like to snooze over a book and hate incessant racket. Plenty of fresh blue and white towels are available, and the pool assistants are delightfully helpful and will spread them on a sunbed for you -- service usually associated more with a luxury than a budget ship.
And if the pool area gets crowded -- not a problem on my cruise -- lots more sunbathing space can be found on the Deck 10 balcony.
There are two spa areas; one at the top of the ship on Deck 10, between the golf driving range and Coconut Willy's outdoor bar, and the other just off the pool area on Deck 9.
The top spa area has a small gym with space for three walkers, two steppers, two bikes, one cross-trainer, weights and an aerobics space. Aerobics classes are free, while special exercise classes -- including cardio kickbox, power benching and Latin Groove dance sessions -- cost $8. The upper spa also has a sauna and one treatment room. Personal training is offered for $20 (30 to 45 minutes); stretching with basic sports massage costs $30 for the same timescale; a half-hour fitness assessment costs $15; and a 45-minute kickboxing class costs $30.
Massages, including Ayurveda and Thai treatments, cost between $92 and $95 an hour ($10 more for an in-cabin massage). Do check if there are special offers available on port days, as discounts are considerable.
The lower level spa is the best place for a massage; white louvre doors lead into a calm area with deep white armchairs for foot treatments, and there are massage beds surrounded by billowing white curtains and cooled by overhead fans.
The ship also has a shop-style, glass-fronted hair and beauty salon on Deck 4.