To the traveler who complained that his November 23 cruise from Auckland had the food service "locked down", at least you didn't get Norovirus like more than 200 of us did on the trip from Sydney to Auckland! Someone brought Norovirus onboard in Sydney (we had been fine from Hawaii to Sydney). The result was mass illness - passengers, crew, entertainers; all due to NO lockdown of self-serve for the first 3 days. By the time they instituted a stop of self-serve and closed the taco bar, the virus had spread and 20-25 people PER DAY were getting sick! I would rather have the waiter salt my food than get sick with Noro again. I suspect that the virus continued to infect people on your cruise (although hopefully not as many) and that is why they maintained the sanitary practices.
I am a 4 star Mariner - almost a 5 star - and I have already booked 3 cruises in the next 12 months. My husband (who was felled by a serious bacterial infection triggered by the Norovirus) has said that he wants to cancel at least 2 of those trips. We lost a week of our cruise to illness and my husband could have lost his life. For the record, the doctor on board is excellent and the medical center is supplied with IV antibiotics that saved my husband and prevented the medical evacuation that might have happened.
In terms of the rest of the cruise, the service was good with the staff being very friendly and attentive. We did find it difficult to get the attention of servers in the Zlido at lunch if we just wanted tea. Everyone just wanted to sell liquor.
Dining room food was mostly good but lacking in as much variety as in previous cruises. Desserts were much worse. There were no fruit pies at all and the crisps were more crisp than filling. Most nights there was not even one chocolate dessert which is horrible for a chocoholic!
The exc lectures were terrific- when we weren’t too sick to attend - but the evening entertainment was lacking. We don’t like the singing and dancing but love comedians and magicians. One decent comedian and no magic on the entire 33 days. One guy did terrible yo-yo tricks! We mostly read our books or enjoyed the Lincoln Center group in the evenings.
Cabins were just redone and very nice. Plenty of electrical outlets for charging phones and cameras. Our only complaints were about the lack of shelves in the bathroom. Those of us if a certain age find it difficult to bend down beneath the sinks to reach the only shelf.
Not enough tine here! The ship should have stayed overnight. Also the dock was very far from town and the ferry wasn’t running so it was an expensive cab ride.
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