This cruise departed Sydney on a Sunday and we happened to arrive at the pier near the 12 noon embarkation time. I recommend not doing that because of all the queueing, which made it take close to an hour to get on the ship. There are plenty of places around the port to get a drink and relax -- recommend doing that until the queue subsides around 3 p.m.
Once aboard, everything went well. Cabin was immediately available. This was the first time we went to a drill/muster and were not required to bring our life vests. That is an improvement.
The passengers were an interesting global mix of North American/German/Australian & NZ/Asian. A more diverse group than we have sailed with before. This particular cruise had 330 Germans aboard.