My wife and I had been on one other cruse before last year which was amazing, great food, excellent shows, nice atmostphere. We were dissapointed with this cruse for a number of reasons.
=== Food ===
By looking at other reviews here we saw that there had been an illness outbreak a week or two ealier, and it showed. For the first 2 days there was no self service food in Lido restaurant. We were hungry so went straight there and had to wait in the long queue. I gave up and just sat there in the pool area, and then realised there was a burger/hotdog place which had no queue. Clearly no one knew it was there. Managed to get a hot dog and fries. The food was OK, but small portions and I was still hungry afterwards. I would get more fries from mcdonalds if I ordered a small. My wife decided to wait in line and got some food from Lido, but was not terrably impressed. That feeling of hunger and dissatisfaction with the quality of food lasted for the whole trip.
After a couple of days they made Lido self service - by self service it means you can get your own drink. The food itself was not self service still. For cold drinks there was only water and ice tea. I've never liked iced tea so went for the water, which tasted terrable - similar to the water found in the swimming pool. For hot drinks, there was tea and coffee. The 2 coffee machines they had in Lido were never working. Always out of water, still brewing (which would take 10 minutes), or just out of order. The two always seemed to break down at the same time. Half way though the cruse they got coffee despensers which helped a bit. The food was not fresh, had been sitting there for a while, was always cold, and apart from a couple of exceptions, didn't really taste that good. The desert was generally better, but not excellent.
Once after an excursion we came back on board feeling hungry after a day of swimming etc. We went to Lido and had a plate of food and a couple of deserts. Needless to say, it was very small, and we were still hungry. We then went down to the Vista dining room as they had afternoon tea. There we had 1 mini sandwich, 2-mini deserts and a cup of tea. When I've had afternoon tea before the sandwiches keep coming, as do the deserts so we were dissaponted with the single sandwich which was less than 1/4 size of a slice of bread. It tasted quite good but just wasn't enough. When it was clear that no more food coming everyone we were sharing the table with got up and left, as did we - back down to Lido to get another bite.
In Lido it was always difficult to find where to get sauces (ketchup etc) and cutlery which sometimes was on the table wrapped in a napkin, sometimes was incomplete, missing a spoon, or something. Othertimes you would have to go hunting for it - especially if you are sitiing outside. The first couple of days there was no self-service cutlery so they would give it to you with the food. If they forgot, and you didn't ask them, then its awkward cutting in line to ask someone for cutlery.
The food in Vista was good, much much better than Lido. Not much choice, but its fresh, well cooked, and well seasoned.
=== The Ship ===
The interior of the ship is cold. Heard many people complaining of this. We were on the carrabean so the exterior was baking hot. Just make sure you remember to pack a jumper or something to keep warm if you want to sit inside to eat, or watch a show etc. The enterance to Lido had hand sanitisers which often were empty. Many other cruses have people there with sanitisers standing there with a smile and sometimes a song so cheer people up and ensure people's hands are clean - only empty sanitisers here.
After the sun set the whole ship was a ghost town. There is a pool area at the back which was always completly deserted at 6pm despite the weather being good all day and night. Even though there was no one there, the music was always blasting out at top volume, so was difficult to just sit there and relax - it felt like an empty disco. One day when there were 5-6 people there (about 5:30pm) they decided to clean the entire area so we were asked to move. I went into the other pool area, which was then also partially closed for cleaning, and I was asked to move again. Could this deep cleaning not be done at night, or wait until people have gone? After half an hour, or so it would've been more or less empty for at least 12 hours. That was the only time I saw either of these areas being cleaned and I'm always wondering around the ship at night. If only done once, could it not have waited till the end of the cruse? It is nice to sit ouside on a warm night by the pool and watch the world go by.
=== Entertainment ===
The shows and other events are OK, but nothing that wow'd us. There was also not enough of them. The first couple of days very few people went to the shows. There was a movie showing the first day at sea, and apart from the 2 of us, there were 3 other people in there. A few of the other shows were not too different.
People started to show up to shows towards the end of the cruse. There were a few that were good, comedy, blues, magic show, but other cruses have better shows, ones that you will remember for a long time and are suited for all ages. These were good, but nothing to write home about.
On other cruses I took something back with me from the experience on board - a new genre of music I didn't before listen to, a different type of comedy, and learnt a few things too. Here, although entertaining, it was just to pass the time while at sea for a whole day.