We chose this cruise for a couple of reasons - firstly because it was sailing out of Singapore and we hadn't done that before, and secondly because one of the ports was Komodo Island which we were looking forward to very much.
Embarkation day was a complete mess. The port authority process was ok but then we went to the check in counter for Carnival where we were given receipts for our passports but not asked to hand them over, which we thought strange. We then proceeded to the ship only to be held up an the gangway as we had come to the end of a line of fellow passengers waiting to have their passports taken. This line, as we found out later, wound its way from the gangway through the atrium and then into and around the Black Pearl restaurant before ending at a couple of tables where staff were busily taking our passports. From the time we entered the line to when our passports were finally taken was about an hour and only then because someone had rounded up six more crew members to assist with the process which sped it up a little.
From there we went to the Guest Services desk to book our shore excursion because, even though we were encouraged to check out the possible excursions online before boarding, we couldn't actually book them until we got on board. We had chosen the Pink Sands Komodo experience which was advertised at around $180 per person, which we thought expensive but was something we wanted to do. The other option was simply the Komodo experience which didn't include the trip to the Pink Sands for around $130.
After waiting in line for another hour we were told that the Pink Sands experience was sold out so, although disappointed and angry that we couldn't book the experience we wanted, we booked the other experience only to have another unpleasant surprise when told that it would cost us $179 each, $40 more than that advertised on the website.
We had asked about our Cruise and Go cards so we could access our cabin and were horrified to learn that they were in an envelope at the door to our cabin. We think this is very insecure especially as we had already loaded our credit card to the card and so anyone could have used it without our knowledge. It also gave anyone who wanted access to our cabin, in fact we heard stories from other guests of them arriving at their cabin only to find other people already there and unpacking.
Then came the safety drill. This was a complete mess. The crew didn't seem to know what they were doing. All passengers went to their assigned stations as requested but this was in Singapore Harbour where the temperature was in the 40's and humidity was high also. We were all left standing at our stations, out of the sun at least but still with no breeze or respite from the temperatures. One woman had to beg one of the team leaders to be allowed to get a drink as she was nearly passing out. The 'Team Leaders' response was very dismissive and insulting. After finally letting her go he laughed and said to another crew member "All she had to do was ask". This was a ridiculous statement because she had asked repeatedly and was made to actually beg to be let go. Several other guests were also in distress with one elderly woman having to be helped inside to the air conditioned area by myself and her husband.
After some time an announcement was made that a demonstration was about to begin showing us how to put a life jacket on. All of the crew in our area looked puzzled as they didn't have a life jacket amongst them to use as a display. So the recording of how to put a life jacket on played without an actual demonstration. Something which must have puzzled guests who had never been on a cruise before.
After the hash up of embarkation day we were looking forward to settling in for the cruise but there were a number of equipment malfunctions that didn't help. Only half the lifts were working and, given the design of the ship and the only way to traverse the ship from the bow to the stern was on decks 9 or 5, this meant a lot of time waiting for lifts, unless you were fit and could climb the steps.
Only one washing machine was working in one guest laundry for the first few days. Several guests reported that their cabin fridge wasn't working. The Serenity Deck pool leaked flooding the staterooms below and the other pool on the Lido deck as well as the spas on Deck 10, all had mysterious malfunctions and spent a lot of time out of action.
The food served at the buffet on the Lido Deck was very average and was rarely hot. Also it never changed so it was very monotonous. The coffee and the hot water provided at the coffee stations on the Lido deck had a very bad taste - almost like the water tanks had been cleaned but weren't rinsed properly as there seemed to be a residue of some chemical taste making the coffee terrible and the tea made with the hot water undrinkable.
The shows provided in the theatre were amateur at best. The specialist shows however were very good. All four that we saw were of a very high standard. The cast of the production shows were good dancers but their singing left a bit to be desired. Having been a performer myself I understand that breath control is very difficult when combining dance and singing but they often went off pitch.
The comedians were generally of a good standard during the kids shows but when they were let loose to show us their 'adult' material it was simply an excuse to let loose with foul language in the middle of jokes that would probably have been funny without the swearing. I am not a prude but to have every second word out of their mouths beginning with F or, even worse C and all unnecessarily, made the jokes very hard to listen to. We, along with several other guests, actually walked out of one guys performance as it was especially gross.
The only shining light on the cruise was the Cruise director and his team who all worked tirelessly to try to make as many guests as happy as they could be. Lee and his team, especially Bec and Connor but they were all fantastic, were exceptional and went the extra mile every day. They made us forget the shortcomings of the cruise and enjoy the moment.
The cabin was ok but very small.You had to walk sideways around the bed but the bed was very comfortable. The entry was very compact and you had to watch it if someone was exiting the bathroom at the same time as injuries could follow. The price of booking an interior cabin I guess.
We started out in Singapore and loved it - although it is getting expensive.
Had been to Bali before and wasn't all that excited about going again. Reports from people who went ashore backed that decision up.
The experience we wanted wasn't available as it had already sold out but the one we went on was suddenly $40 per person dearer with no explanation given. The actual experience was very underwhelming, especially at the inflated price.
Love Darwin - had a chance to catch up with some great friends
Another favourite part of Australia that was good to visit.