We had chosen and booked this cruise before the pandemic. It was canceled and reset many times do to the COVID outbreaks on ships and the lack of testing procedures laid out by the government and agreed upon by the cruiselines. We had set this cruise with 8 other people and were excited to meet up with them on this January 29. 2023 cruise out of Sydney. We were flying from the US about 9,000 miles to do this long waited cruise. There were alot of extra requirements that we were required to do in order to board the ship. We had to purchase comprehensive travel insurance to cover medical, COVID and emergency helicopter services etc and a negative COVID test done withing 24 hours of boarding the ship. Although these were added cost for the trip we paid these extra cost to be able to take this cruise that was years in the making.
We arrived at the cruise port at our appointed time to board the ship. The embarkation process went really well which is usually not the case. Once on board we went to the Lido deck to meet up with our other cruisemates for some lunch at the buffet. The food choices on the buffet were limited and warm at best and not what we expected for our first meal on board. It was so awful we didn't eat there again the whole time we were on the ship. We ate the rest of our meals either at the deli, pizza, Guy's Burgers, the bar-b-que or at the steakhouse which was a pay venue. We tried the main dining 4 out of the 11 nights and the food quality, taste, selection and preparation was horrible. We brought this to the attention of the chef, the mai^tre d and the restaurant manager on several of the nights we ate in the dining room and they couldn't seem to get the issues fixed so we went to other places to eat.
We had free drinks anywhere on the ship and that was a disaster too. The bars were under staffed making it sometimes a 20 to 30 minute wait to get a beverage. In the casino we had to go find a waiter or waitress most of the time. They didn't have Patron at any bar on the ship. Only Australian and New Zealand wines on the ship. With the drink package we never got to the 15 drinks a day because they either didn't have the types of liquor to make the drinks we like or it was to hard to get service. Our balcony room had several issues some that took days to get fixed like the thermostat when turned to heat still blew cold air, the shower flooded into the bathroom floor, our frig didn't work, the phone in the room worked only part of the time, the mattress on the bed was worn out so it was hard to get a good night's sleep, we found a spider in our bed.
We got off at the port and took a look around town, did some shopping.
Had a shore excursion we purchased from a third party vendor out to the Blue Lagoon and to swim with the turtles with a barb-b-que lunch. Wasn't really what we anticipated and the lunch was not eatable.