Prefacing this with the fact that this was our first ever cruise experience so don't have any other ships to compare to yet.
Embarkation in Sydney went a lot more smoothly than I expected and was generally well run.
We cruised on the Emerald Princess and generally found the ship in overall good condition and well maintained, we stayed adjoining in a typical Deck 11 outside balcony rooms.
We found the rooms fairly quiet, very clean and everything you would expect except for maybe the addition of tea/cofee making facilities. We had no problems with both are aircon and heating always keeping the cabin at an ideal temperature. Although the bathrooms were small they were clean and problem free, service and cleaning by the cabin stewards was frequent and excellent. We travelled as a large extended family with grandparents and kids so made use of the third bunk in some cabins which worked fine. Even in rough weather the beds were comfortable and the room was quiet enough to sleep in. Overall - I thought they were of a pretty good standard and reasonably well designed and well maintained.
Its Sydney - its expensive, crowded with an inconvenient airport and no night life but with a stunning natural harbour, our departure was quite scenic and very nice weather.