Local friends of ours found an amazing promotional rate for this short term cruise and so we decided to join them.
We were a little apprehensive as we had heard the line had a reputation for party makers and could get a little rough but our cruise was nothing like this.
Embarkation was quick, friendly and efficient as was disembarkation - which was also the most relaxed we have experienced with a nice late morning departure.
The ship is obviously quite old and my guess is it is an old HAL ship as it has a gorgeous complete promenade which is very wide and a great quiet spot to watch the ocean from.
We were in an inside cabin which was a decent size with plenty of storage. The bed was very comfortable. I didn't like the shower design and the water temperature was very inconsistent (read boiling or freezing), while we were lucky our friends and others experienced numerous pluming issues and many of the public toilets were often closed.
The interior public spaces had obviously had a refit and were the decor was superb - especially in the dining and bar areas.
Dining was reasonable depending on where you ate and what you ordered. Typically we found simple dishes like salads, roasts etc done very well whereas Asian dishes in particular tended to be very ordinary.
Make sure you get reservations for the main dining room and the complimentary specialty restaurants. We loved the Italian, thought the Asian was just ok (but liked the space and service). The main restaurant was a nice area especially for lunch. The buffet was an interesting concept more like a food court, unfortunately we found the food to be plain and didn't eat here very often.Service was very good throughout.
Our only port was Fraser Island and unfortunately due to mechanical issues we didn't make it but the ship gave everyone obc as compensation and most found it fair and there were very few complainers. In fact by mooring in Hervey Bay we got to see whales and dolphins while enjoying a few "complimentary" beverages due to our obc.
Entertainment was reasonably good, the singers and dancers were enthusiastic and the stage design and costumes were some of the best we have seen. Unfortunately there is no live orchestra but there were plenty of live musical acts around the ship. The guest comedian was not funny at all unless you simply like to hear swearing replacing punch lines.
There were more activities on this ship than any other we have been on (and I thought NCL was amazing in this aspect). You could not have been bored. There were numerous parties held, trivia, arts and crafts lessons, silly sports and loads of dance classes (which we loved).
This ship was great for those who like to do things or socialise. 2 pool areas, full promenade deck, crows nest bar, multiple restaurants and several bars made it a fun ship to explore.
Would probably try again but still concerned by its reputation out of the bigger ports on longer itineraries. Think we were lucky with our fellow passengers (very few troublemakers).
Bravo to the wonderful crew (proves inclusive tipping doesn't detract from service levels and if anything improves them) and the well designed ship.