We travelled with my wife's parents to celebrate their 50th anniversary on the Norwegian Fjords and Waterfalls Cruise. They are Cunard Platinum members, having been on many Cunard cruises. Our 23 year old son came along with us.
Our first (and lasting) impression was that the crew was not warm, friendly, engaging, nor did they even really smile. There were certainly a few exceptions (Ferenc, Larry and others). It caught me be surprise a few times when I was engaged by a crew member in friendly conversation. They typically would not even smile back if you smiled at them or said hello. Unfortunately, the mood spilled over onto the guests, who generally seemed to be very grumpy. It was a much older crowd & a bit stuffy, but some seemed to know how to enjoy the cruise. A lively, friendly and engaging crew would have made all the difference in the world on this cruise. My in-laws thought that the regular crew must have gone on vacation in England and had temporaries on board since this was not what they had experienced in the past.
The food was sub-standard in most cases. The Todd English food and service was excellent though (extra cost). We also dined in Coriander, the Indian "subdivision" of the buffet area. There was a small upcharge for this restaurant, but the food and service (thank you Ferenc), was exceptional. Otherwise, we dined in Britannia or Kings Court Buffett. Service in the Britannia dining hall was very slow, inattentive & unfriendly. Dinner took 2+ hours to serve. The food was slightly better or sometimes worse than the buffet. The selection was poor. The Kings Court buffet was difficult to navigate & everyone seemed to be in poor spirits. It was a noisy place with average to fair food that you just wanted to leave quickly. In general, the food was not at all what one would expect for this caliber of cruise. Many people who had been on Cunard cruises (including my in-laws) said the food was horrible compared to prior cruises.
A special note regarding soft-drink purchases: Find something else to drink. We purchased the soft-drink package for our son. Getting a soda was nearly impossible most of the time. In the Kings Court, we often waited 10-15 minutes. They take your room card while you wait, so you cannot leave. Finding a bar waiter is almost impossible. When you ask them, they are very rude & act like it is a huge inconvenience. Other waiters give you the "it's not my job" routine. In fact, we went for breakfast before departure and the waiter never brought back the key. We had to go to the purser's office to get another so my son could disembark.
Otherwise, the rooms are great (once we had something other than scalding hot water). Our room was kept clean & well serviced by Larry (friendly chap). The fitness center was very good with a wide selection of decent machines and weights. The massage at the spa was not so good.
Excursions were great & the (very unfriendly) crew did an efficient job of disembarkation/embarkation.
Overall, it was a good time with family. We did manage to enjoy ourselves despite the odds. The Norway ports were fantastic. We had problems with anchor in beautiful Geirainger, so we had to divert to Alesund. The captain made the best of it and secured a cruise of the Hjundfjord (allegedly more scenic than Geiranger. It was breathtaking.
Unless the food and the crew demeanor improves, I do not see us taking another Cunard cruise.
It was very difficult to get any waiters attention, especially the bar waiters. There were definite Cunard offers a soft drink package, which our