This was a repositioning cruise from Singapore to Sydney, which hubby and I chose, to relax and refresh before the Christmas mayhem. First, the good points: our cabin stewards, and the rest of the waiters etc were fabulous. The food was also of good quality and lots of variety.
However, it was all mainly downhill from there, with the embarkation process giving us an indication of what was to come. It took hours and passengers were forced into a "conga line" throughout the ship - with our carry-on bags - so that staff could take our passports. Surely there was a better way? I heard a few people behind me complaining that they had paid extra money for something called "faster to the fun" and what was the point? The lifeboat drill was a shemozzle as were later, boarding procedures for the tenders. The cabin was a good size, but only had one power point. Also the ship is poorly-designed with inaccessible areas in the middle of several decks, so that to reach certain points (eg one of the restaurants) passengers need to go up two floors, cross the length of the ship and down two floors. Passengers were not given a map of the ship on embarkation and the diagrams near the lifts only showed one inaccessible area - which was the galley. There is no promenade deck. What is euphemistically called the promenade deck is an internal walkway from the shops, through the poker machines, towards the coffee shop.
Unlike other ships (P and O in Australia and UK, Princess, Cunard) there were no quiet nooks to relax. Inescapable, loud pop music permeated the entire ship, and from bulkhead to bulkhead it was overrun with uncontrollable children. Apart from the usual running and screaming along corridors and up and down the stairs, we saw children standing on tables, jumping up and down on furniture and in the buffet helping themselves and coughing and sneezing on food. Because of children's' smaller height the protective screens in the buffet were useless in shielding the food.
Which leads to the total lack of of hygiene... Not once did we see anyone enforcing hand washing, sanitizing etc. We did, however, see passengers put their hands in the prune dish to remove a prune or two because the fruit was stuck together; one women lifted a bowl of sliced peaches to pour juice over her cereal and in the process her fingers touched the food; everyone who filled their water bottles from the water station did so directly without using a separate glass or cup. It is not surprising that within a day or two lots of people on the ship were coughing. It was so rife that it became a subject of laughter for the on-board comedians, but it is not really funny. Passengers failed to take even basic hygiene procedures, such as covering their mouths when coughing and sneezing. Both hubby and I have very bad colds, which a week after disembarkation we have not managed to shake.
There are other matters too - lack of enforcement of dress code - people going into dining room for dinner on an "elegant" night in shorts, T shirts and thongs (?). Hit and miss entertainment, and the choice of ports, which apart from Darwin, all required a tender.
The ship needs some serious maintenance - laundries out of order until halfway through the cruise, more than half the lifts always out of order, TV in room rarely worked (we wanted news on bushfires)... hot water machines on the Lido deck to make tea and coffee, regularly broke down.
Overall, I got the impression that the accountants have been let loose. Very little to do with passenger health and comfort and all about squeezing passengers as cash cows. The ship seemed crowded with insufficient wait staff. On other cruise ships, for example, there were plenty of drink waiters, but not on this ship.
Summary - if you have young kids, like eating and drinking and letting the kids loose, go for it - this is is your kind of cruise. If you are looking for a holiday to chill out, avoid this "fun" cruise, as it is anything but.
The cabin was a decent size, but only had one power point.