WE boarded ship 3 hours late due to Noro virus on previous leg of the repositioning cruise. We knew of the delay thru CC, X never notified us even though many were notified by X up to 3 different ways of the late boarding. We didn't get to our rooms until 5:30. X said it was due to ship cleaning, but we also were told that previous leg had major luggage and immigration problems on the Sydney part of the cruise.
Minimal amenities when we finally got to our room (no drinking classes and were told we couldn't have any even though my husband needed them to take his medicine). We have been on a Princess cruise with Noro virus and have not had all the room amenities removed. No ice bucket, champagne, etc. We finally got items during cruise. No library books or games the entire cruise, but casino and shops were open.
The buffet was very good, but it had almost exactly the same food every day. The food was good, but it would have been nice to have more variety from day to day. Example in the curry section there were the same curies, with only the meat one changed. Breakfast was exactly the same each day with maybe one sausage changed. The desserts were the same every day, and many were tasteless, almost like the baker didn't like to use sugar. Crusts were not made by a pastry chef. Most days there were 4-5 desserts and they were almost always the same. Once or twice near the end the pastries changed and were actually fairly good. The coffee bar also had exactly the same items every day. The muffins were very good and the apple turnover was good but it would have been nice to have different types of fruit inside.
The afternoon tea was a joke. There were 2 sandwiches, 5 of the everyday desserts, scones, and serve yourself coffee. Teas on other cruises were sit down, in a dining room, and a special event. This was just same old, same old.
Dinner in the MDR ranged from awful to OK. Appetizers and soups were good. Main entrees were often un edible. There was limited food choices. Almost no pasta items. No "comfort type" everyday food choices. On several occassions the water told us not to order specific meats because they were either very dry or tough. On one of the first days of the cruise the waiter told us not to order a specific dinner because it was very bad and it was listed in the daily activity letter as a favorite of the chef. We should have known at that time what to expect. Food was often just plunked on the plate with no sense of dressing the plate. Some meals were the meat and 2 mini potatoes only on the plate. Lamb shank sat on a bed of weird beans, a hunk of fish on a pile of polenta and nothing else on the plate. Some entrees were repeated on a 11 day cruise. Ice cream often came totally melted and when it was frozen had ice crystals like it had been re-frozen. I finally asked the waiter to bring me a plate of vegetables since I had only had them a couple of times at dinner. When there were vegetables, they often were finally chopped mystery veggies and only about a tablespoon. On other cruises, the entries were dressed up like a gourmet restaurant, not Denny's. Wonderful waiter, but he had 6-7 tables with 2 assistants. Service was still good.
We also had problems with smoking. It seems like the owner of X must be a smoker. The smoking area is on deck 5 near the rear elevators and totally exposed to the cabins above it. We could see smokers from our cabin on the 9th floor (9245) since the smokers were directly below us and we could watch them smoke and smell the smoke. At first X denied that there was a smoking section directly below us, but after the flood in our room and huge fans to dry the flood on the second day after the flood made our cabin unusable and then the balcony unusable due to the smoke, we were moved to a suite. We were moved to the 12th floor near the rear elevators. The smoking area was just outside the port side. Often the elevator waiting area was so smoky, it was hard to wait for the elevator to come. There is also a smoking area right next to the jogging track so if you walked, you had to endure smoke there.
Our bus ride to San Diego was OK. Bus was filthy, potty worked but was gross, had to wait 60 minutes at the border to get to immigration, 15 minutes when we finally got to immigration, bus driver got lost and pulled over to the shoulder on the interstate and just sat there for 15 minutes. We were in the back of the bus so we don't know what he was doing.
This will probably be our only X cruise. BAck to Princess and Holland America. I don't know if this cruise was an exception, or the norm for X. I had always been told that this was an upscale cruise company, but we have had better food on Carnival.