So from the start I should point out this was my first and only cruise. So you are seeming this from the point of view of what I expected to see on a cruise. My wife and I are both still working and around 60. Took the cruise to see if we like 'cruising' with a view to longer cruises in the future. We read reviews of this ship after booking.
The airport parking van dropped us at the baggage drop off and I was impressed at the organisation. A well dress lady pointed us in the direction of checking and off we headed. Once in the embarkation area, I was immediately stunned by the number of overweight western suburbs of Brisbane or Sydney types there were. Thongs appeared to be the dress code, complimented by a huge suitcase. The cruise was just 4 days and we were heading to Newcastle, so no chance of duty free shopping here. Maybe they were planning to steal some coal?
Our cabin (deck 9 with a balcony) was very nice. The staff could not be better or more helpful. Some of them had been working virtually 7 days a week for 8 months without a break. Not to mention being away from home and family all that time. So give them a break. None were Australian but almost all from Asian countries.
There are several free restaurants, all very nice decor but the food was basically equal to 3 star restaurant. The Asian restaurant decor (Blue Dragon) is excellent and reviews of the food were excellent. I found this not to be true but it was a cheap cruise and you get what you pay for. Make sure you book for the restaurant as soon as you get settled and go to the Monkey Bar in person to do it. Do not phone or should I say try to phone.
On deck 11 is what could be described as a food court. Mexican, Chinese, Indian, fish and chips, roasts, sandwiches and deserts. Each is a smal shop in itself. Just ask for what you want. The food is good but the company is not. Pushing crowds of ugly Australians dressed in beach gear and with out the customery please / thank you.
There is a fantastic gym that was used more than I thought. The gym instructor has a huge ego but the beauticians seem to like him. If he was better qualified it would have been a great advantage to the ship.
There were heaps of activities and entertainment. Not shortage of shows which were excellent. Trivia several times a day and movies but the movie theatre could have been much better. Movie was blurred.
There was an element of trying to sell you add on activities and my wife had 2 massages which she said were excellent. They did try to sell her other products and treatment to $800. We averaged spending $200 a day on extras and thought we were being conservative.
The best coffee is in the blue room from a lady that made excellent coffee. The 24 hour tea/ coffee machine was terrible.
In summary it was an interesting activity and a excellent way to determine if you like the cruising way of travel. Unfortunately it is not for me. Some short points, if you stand naked on a balcony remember that you can be seen from the upper decks. Give you room attendant a good tip as they work hard for little pay. We left $70 and often left $5 for dinner service in the restaurants. Do not be an ugly Australia and take your manners on holiday with you.
cabin was good. Bed was fantastically comfortable as were the pillows. Had the best sleeps I have had in a long time. Shower water pressure was great.
Did not take an excursion