We did two crossings May 16 to Southampton (then a British Isle cruise on the QV) and then a return cruise home June 5 out of Southampton to NY (Brooklyn). And we booked Britannia Club category on Deck 12 for both crossings.
We now feel that Carnival thinks we guests only do one cruise, period. So if they screw up or problems develop they will never see us again. Our stateroom was fine, initially. A smell of cigarette smoke was still evident in the cabin. Oh, forget all the smoking rules in the brochures and announcements made, smoking is prevalent throughout the ship. Our stewardess stated that she will continue to try to get the smoke out of the carpet & drapes. Obviously it never really went away. Our balcony was covered in rust and peeling paint on the trim and the deck furniture was peeling paint too. If you went out on the balcony we always got paint chips on ourselves. Not the elegant experience that is advertised. And these conditions were on both crossings, two weeks apart. In our area on the port side we had 9 cabins of smokers. At sea they would open the balcony door to "air" out the cabin. They only added their smells in the hall. And the whistling noise from the air pressure would wake us up at all hours of the late night & early morning. Purser writes down the complaint but nothing is done to stop it.
1. No repairs. The rust & peeling paint noted above. The leaky ceilings around the ship. Deck 9 outside of the Commodore Club, a yellow bucket collected water when we arrived on May 16th and still there when we got home on June 13th! Out of order signs in public bathrooms throughout the ship for the same amount of time. Oh and the sewer smells!!!!!!! Parts of the ship, from May 16 to May 23 smelled like open sewers.
2. Purser's Desk - Where do they get these people? Arrogant, rude and just plain belligerent. As if they are doing us a favor by speaking with us. With few exceptions no people skills whatsoever. The above problems were treated as if we were the ones causing the problems. Even when we knew others complained about the same issues, the staff at this desk treated us like unruly kids and just placated us.
3. The food - The Britannia Club category is half the price of the grills but with a lovely private dining room and attentive staff where you have your own table and can access it whenever you want. But the staff can not deliver quality food when the kitchen sends out crap. No presentation, no creativity, bland, almost every entree has a tomato based sauce or some other bottled gravy. We started creating our own meals with one item for A and one item from B and sometimes using salads as an entree size. We found out that our wonderful waiter was ordering each entree and remaking them at his prep station because the kitchen wouldn't make the changes we requested. Other couples around us would then see what we were eating and asking for the same. In my entire life I never saw so many meals, (breakfast too), returned as during our 15 days on the QM2. The poor waitstaff constantly apologizing for the inept kitchen staff and cutbacks from Carnival.
Oh and if you are handicap you are now on your own while aboard the QM2. Our neighbor needed assistance with his wheelchair for long walks to the dining room. He and his wife have traveled for over 400 days on many Cunard ships. The first night they called the Purser's Desk, as was always done in the past, to request assistance to the dining room. His wife stated that the wheelchair was fine for her except with the thick carpets it is difficult. They were told that Cunard no longer provides this service and they are on their own. Our stewardess helped and took him down to the dining room on Deck 2. She was officially reprimanded to never do it again. Even when this couple offered to pay for the assistance. Oh and this couple are 80 & 82! For the rest of the cruise eastbound & westbound we helped out for meals and so did others. Guests all over the ship were assisting those who needed it. Why??? Oh and I mention this because we found out that this new policy is Not ship wide. The first class Grill people were assisted regularly by their butlers. Again, why?
We will probably use Cunard to get from point A to point B without using the airlines. And only when the other cruise companies don't fit our itinerary. But will pay for a cheap cabin, have very low expectations so we are not disappointed.
So as my title stated: When Carnival buys a good or even great cruise line, give them 3 years to pull a once proud and elegant company down to the level of a street circus.
If you want a cruise of a lifetime, please don't waste your money on any Carnival LLC company. A good travel agent wouldn't recommend them anyway.