Arrrived at Yokohama Cruise Terminal for embarkation processing. The place resembled a shambles; people milling about all over the place, no organisation and nobody directing. Formalities eventually over, we went aboard to our cabin on deck 6, our first ever balcony cabin and we were very pleasantly surprised at the size, decor and appointments in it. Plenty enough space for our 12 nights and we didn't need to use the two under-bed drawers (a very good idea!). Our cabin steward soon introduced himself but we hardly saw him for the rest of the trip and on a couple of occasions we felt he was less than sociable when we asked for replenishment of the mini-bar items.
The Lido buffet restaurant. This is a very long, double-sectioned, double-sided area. First complaint was that unless you approached it from aft, you were not handed a tray with cutlery wrapped in a linen napkin and had to wander around to find a stack of upturned trays with a pile of small, thin paper serviettes beside and cutlery nearby. Consequently people were travelling back and forth to get trays between others trying to get their meal together Why were there not stewards at each end and on each side to do this?The meals in the Lido were adequate but nothing special, although the British back bacon was excellent. Items kept running out and usually there was a lengthy wait for replenishments - while your luke warm stuff was getting colder, nothing ever seemed piping hot and by the time you found a table it was getting even colder. The staff here, as well as in many other places around the ship, appeared to be mainly Eastern European and did not project the warm, smiling and welcoming face of the "happy to see you" Filippino and Asian staff we have experienced so many times on other cruise lines.
The Britannia restaurant. We, my wife and I, were shown to an elongated oval table laid up for 8 diners. One couple joined us and we awaited the arrival of the other 4 people. However, our orders were taken and surprisingly no-one else turned up. We asked our waiter whether others were expected and he didn't know as he "had not been given the manifest". On day 6 we learned that there were no others, so why were we put on a table for 8? It appears that the first sitting option is normally full, the second sitting is not. We still prefer the "freedom/freestyle" type of arrangement where you dine when it suits you, even if you may have to wait a short while for a table. The staff appeared to be too anxious to clear your dishes, deliver the next course and get you out of the place a.s.a.p. Not a very relaxing experience.
Evening entertainment. The theatre shows - what a huge disappointment! It seems that all the Carnival Group ships follow a similar pattern in that they have one "act" per show. What has happened to the "variety" shows? I don't want to listen to the same singer giving renditions of his/her favourite songs, or a violinist playing tunes that she has composed, or aerial acrobats twisting on ribbons and performing feats that make my eyes water, or magicians showing so many different ways of making his assistant disappear and reappear at the back of the auditorium - for all the 50 minutes! A bit of each would be lovely, and would perhaps stop people drifting off to sleep! Now for the late night entertainment - where was it?? Each time I walked through the Casino it was either empty or at best I saw a dozen or so players. The Commodores Club and the Yacht Club both suffered a similar fate - just a few people sitting at the bar and one or two couples around the edges! We could not believe that the ship appears to close down around 11:30 p.m. after the late theate show - we could have been in a retirement home. Both of us are in our 70's and we do enjoy something like a party atmosphere but it was definitely not on this ship. Maybe it is not a good idea to join a leg of a World Cruise as everyone seemed tired out and went to bed early.
Daytime entertainment. I attended several lectures/talks in the theatre and found the speakers and their topics very interesting, and they were well attended so obviously good choices there.
Excursions. Quite a good variety available at all ports, some all-day ones and some around 4 - 5 hours. The guides spoke English very well, if sometimes too quickly and it could be difficult to follow.
Overall. Regrettably this trip did not meet our expectations. The ship itself is excellent and the use of beautiful wood and lovely furnishings gives a feeling of true classiness. However the ship really lacked that feel-good atmosphere we have usually experienced, and we didn't feel sorry to be leaving at Hong Kong. This is not a cruise line that we shall be using again.