The embarkation process was chaos with no thought whatsoever of controlling batches and when we finally got to the desk the extremely unhelpful lady on the check in desk told me that she was not able to help with a mix up in the cabin booking and the subsequent issuance of the ID card as 'it was not her job' ' it clearly was but by the time we were in front of her her moderate customer facing skills had vanished.
The Disembarkation process was even worse and probably dangerous.
On the first evening we entered the cauldron of the 'signature restaurant 'Versailles ' it was chaos ' luckily we were holidaying with someone who were in a suite, had access to a butler and were able to make a reservation and but even with the reservation the organisation was terrible and after 20-30 minutes we finally got a seat, there were people who had entered when we did and they were not seated by the time we were eating desert.
The food was shockingly bad and served by staff who were barely competent ' we went back to Versailles on the last night to establish whether or not it was as bad as the first night and it was ' three people on the table had the specials and I have rarely seen food so badly presented , most of it was left so it didn't taste that good and the waiter explanation of it was incomprehensible.
The food offer generally was very poor and we ate in a number of the 'upgrade' restaurants with the Italian being abysmal with the worse looking Pizza I have ever seen ' I did not have the inclination to taste it and my food was cold , the Brazilian was ok , the Eastern Fusion poor although the French was good.
On the first day my wife and I looked for somewhere to sit, chat and read but the noise that emanates from every section of the boat is to be heard to be believed, the entertainment staff clearly believe that if it is loud it is good ' we went to the library which is modest in size and was full to capacity with people attempting to escape the tinnitus that pervaded the ship.
Generally there was inadequate space in what public rooms there were with at least one of them doubling up as a restaurant.
Later in the bars and restaurants the same philosophy seemed to pervade where music of a variety of different typologies was blasted out so conversation was all but impossible.
I think or at least hope that the staff were well meaning but poorly trained and possibly also badly incentivised ' the tips are automatic and they do not need to excel to succeed. I thought the standard of English was no better than adequate and in a number of cases below acceptable.
The freestyle cruising epitaph is no more than an excuse to ram more passengers on board than they should, move them around on board and in the dining rooms as much as they can so there is not a consistent approach to service and quality.
The Good bits:-
Cabin ' excellent and the people we travelled with were in a suite and they cruise extensively and said it was the best they have ever had ' given the noise and lack of public areas they need to be as you spend a lot more time in them than you might want.
Cabin Stewart ' one of the few members of staff who was enthusiastic and helpful ' they should put him in charge of catering ' he couldn't be worse!
The French restaurant wasn't bad and the cafe whilst being one of the most ghastly rooms I have ever eaten in wasn't bad, the food was fresh and probably the best cooked on the boat.
None crew entertainment was of a good standard.
Disembarking for the final time in Copenhagen ' the relief.