Cabin: Cabin 9191, an outside balcony on the port side, had plenty of room and the most well-designed bathroom we’ve seen on a cruise ship, with more storage space than we needed and a shower big enough that you could actually pick up a dropped bar of soap. There was some low-level vibration whenever the ship was in motion, but not enough to bother us.
Dining: We ate twice at each of the specialty restaurants (including Sushi on 5), as well as the main dining room and Oceanview café. Overall, the food was above average but not spectacular. Service in the specialty restaurants was usually excellent, but slow service in the main dining room implies they were understaffed for much of this cruise, and finding an open table in the Oceanview was frequently difficult.
Ports and Shore Excursions: An inordinate number of rainy/cloudy days only slightly dampened our enjoyment of the ports. On Maui we did the road to Hana -- an 8-10 hour trip with scenery and road conditions such that you definitely want someone else driving. In Tahiti we did a small-group private circle tour of the island, and on Bora Bora the snorkel/stingray/shark trip was a lot of fun. In Auckland, the weather finally cleared part-way through our wine-tasking excursion to Waiheke Island, although the ferry and bus rides were more interesting than the wines. And at the Bay of Islands, the scenery during the bus ride was as interesting as the stops at kauri forest and glow-worm cave.
Entertainment: The musicians who played in public areas throughout the day and evening covered a wide range of styles from classical to blues, and for the most part did a good job. We didn’t see all of the theater shows, but the best that could be said for most were that they were about what you’d expect if you’re familiar with cruise entertainment. In some cases, the sound system was so loud that singers’ words were unintelligible. However, we enjoyed comedian Jeff Nease, and musician/story-teller Bayne Bacon was outstanding.
Other: Despite the omnipresent Purell dispensers and the captain’s daily exhortations about hand-washing, there was an outbreak of norovirus on the last day before we reached Sydney. Actions such as eliminating all self-service in the Oceanview café probably helped limit further spread of the virus, but the medical center could have handled the triage process more efficiently than they did.