I chose this cruise as a graduation gift for my son and his girlfriend for finishing year 12. It was a 4 night cruise from Adelaide to Adelaide. Having sailed on this ship when it was under P&O, I was expecting a similar experience (which I thoroughly enjoyed).
The first thing that struck me was that the staff were not as friendly and happy-some were even grumpy and bordering on rude. Whilst I was not able to secure one of the larger suites for this booking, I booked room 10082 on Deck 10. I believe I paid around $3,600 for the three of us for 4 nights. It was evident from the outset that this was not going to be the same as my previous journey aboard the Pacific Eden. The first thing that struck me was that all the windows were absolutely filthy and there was an unpleasant smell. As we made our way on a tour of the ship before setting sail, the Upper Deck absolutely wreaked of smoke (similar to cigarette smoke) and that remained there the whole trip. That smell was only present on that deck so could not be attributed to the fires that were burning. The Lido Deck also had a strange smell, although I was not sure whether that was from the cooking.
It was also evident very quickly that the food served on Deck 11 was not going to be a patch on my previous experience. We ate dinner on Deck 11 on our first night and were very surprised to find that only one side of the food stations were open! The selection was poor and the food was very bland. The pasta sauce just looked like tomato puree straight out of a jar… The breakfasts were also very unappetising, the eggs were watery and the bacon and sausages were undercooked. When lunch was served the next day, all but one of the food stations were open but both sides basically served the same food!! And it did not get any better in there for the rest of the trip. There was very little variation in choices throughout the whole journey. We decided the next night to eat at any restaurant rather than the food court. The only way to describe that experience was utter bedlam. The whole foyer outside those restaurants were filled to the brim with people wanting to eat only to be turned away and asked to come back 1.5 hours later, a call we heard over the speakers a few different nights.
With regard to our room, we had to get someone to look at the air-conditioning as it was struggling to work. The three of us hardly slept on that first night because it was so hot, stuffy and uncomfortable in the room. My bed was also broken at one end (I was on the sofa) and our fridge was also not working properly. We had to request that that be looked at a few times.