I fully agree with the comments by Coops51952 and others who were not happy but wish to tell people of some specific problems that we encountered.
The Embarkation Debacle:
1. Went through embarkation procedure in the terminal – photos, credit card details, issued with ship cards etc.
2. Noticed that photos not on computer screen when we boarded the ship – nothing said by staff.
3. Phone call from purser’s office when in cabin – seemed surprised that we were on board.
4. Went to leave ship on shore excursion in Sydney – no photos on system – had to have them done then – held up others wanting to leave the ship.
5. Returned from dinner in evening - letter in our pigeon hole - come to the purser’s office immediately – there is no method of payment (somewhat terse letter).
6. Went to the office – my credit card invalid – used a secondary credit card – OK. Got line out to check with bank (fearing that card had been blocked or something) – card OK. The cost of the call was refunded.
7. Returned to the purser’s office – checked my wife’s card (linked to the same bank account) – OK. Cancelled secondary credit card.
8. Bought item at shops the next day – asked “you have 2 accounts, which one did you want”. Used the second one.
9. Returned to the purser’s office – 45 min visit – problem with cards, need to talk to onshore IT (in London) – in the meantime use my wife’s ship card only.
10. Bought a photo from the gallery the next day (using my wife’s card) - asked “you have 3 accounts, which one did you want”.
11. Returned to the purser’s office – what do we do now? – told to use account 2A, all staff on the ship had been notified to use this account.
12. There were no apologies at any stage during this debacle, even though they knew something was wrong right at the start.
The Gluten Free Meal Issue
1. Evening meal – Initial waiter aware of GF diet for my wife – no problems. He disembarked in Sydney and we had a couple of days where this info was not relayed to the new staff. Not a great issue.
2. Gluten free lunch and breakfast meals in the restaurant required pre-order during the evening meals the night before. How did my wife know if she was dining there on any particular day? The staff seemed unfriendly and put out if she turned up on the spur of the moment.
3. She did pre-order pancakes for Shrove Tuesday but it was missed by the chef anyway. Go figure. Had to wait 25min for them to make up the batter etc. No apologies.
4. My wife went to an afternoon high tea in the Queen’s Lounge and was ignored by several waiters after requesting gluten free – had to go and speak to the maître’d twice to get any food.
5. The following day we had lunch in the Golden Lion Bar – Three of us ordered pies and my wife ordered a plate of hot chips. 10 minutes later the pies arrived and the waiter asked my wife if she had ordered anything. Yes chips. 5 min later he returned to say the chips will be 5 more minutes. The rest of us had almost finished. She cancelled the order and missed lunch as she was going to a show. Told that the chips were ready as we were leaving!!!
6. We went to the afternoon tea again that afternoon and met with the same poor service.
7. I went to the purser’s office to complain and that I wanted to speak to the Hotel Manager. I gave a list of grievances and as told they will speak to the manager and then ring me.
8. I waited 24 hours and returned to the purser’s offices and asked again, finally making a time for the next day. I got to speak to the food manager (not the hotel manager) who was only interested in the restaurant (not the embarkation problems). There was an improvement at the afternoon tea the next day.
9. All this on top of several shore excursions where someone else on the tour had taken my wife’s pre-ordered gluten free meals (Sydney & Darwin). Also we tried to order a glass of sav blanc out of Sydney and were told there is none available on the ship. This was fixed after Brisbane.
1. Had breakfast in the Britannia in Adelaide and ushered up to the upper level. Never dined up there before. It was a “keystone cops” breakfast. Obviously let the apprentices loose on us. My wife ordered peaches and a gluten free cereal (anything except corn flake as she had a reaction to them earlier). She got a compote of stewed fruit and (you guessed it) corn flakes. They were taken away. She then got the peaches and a little later the woman at the other end of the table was presented with the gluten free muesli. Don’t know what she would have got if she had ordered eggs. Most at the table also had issues. There was not one breakfast correct at the table.
2. The toilets on our deck were out of order on 2 occasions with no forewarning. That was embarrassing.
3. The waiter in the Golden Lion forgot the glass of ice with my Diet Coke and went off to get it and never returned. This is petty, but after all the other issues, it seemed significant.
4. We needed to phone our son while at sea and phoned the purser’s office to get a line out. After 10 minutes of “please hold the line” we got a messages “all staff are busy, ring back later” and the line went dead.
5. The tender process in Bali was a joke. Our bus tour was supposed to start at 9:15am. We did not get to the dock until 10:00am. We were bus 4 of 10. Bus 10 people probably didn’t even make it to the dock.
6. Our cabin had a joining door with the next cabin. The sound proofing was virtually non-existent so we could hear everything that happened next door. (and they could presumable hear us).
All this on an expensive 5 star cruise!!!!