We booked a suite for our 30th anniversary cruise to Norway. There were only 2 things that didn't disappoint us. The suite, and the English hostess who was very, very helpful.
The first problem was language. We had been told that 5 - 20 % of the passengers would speak English. There were well over 2,000 passengers, and only 46 had English as their native language. Every announcement had to be given in about 5 languages.
Below I try to list the problems that we had by category.
Food: Food in the dining room was mediocre. The buffet was confusing, with many things mislabeled or not labeled. Different entrees or salads were at different stations. The chefs can't cook a steak to medium rare. I ordered my first medium rare steak at their specialty restaurant, and it was almost raw and purple inside. I ate that one. I ordered a medium rare steak in the dining room. It came out purple too, virtually raw. I sent it back. It was replaced with a steak as bad as the first. I told them I didn't want another, but they brought one anyway. I left it on the plate uncut.
Excursions: There was little or no information about shopping at the ports. Most of the port maps were poor. The excursion staff could not control their guests at the desk. When there was a line to change or order excursions, people cut in frequently and were helped by the staff instead of being politely sent to the back of the line. The excursion from Flam needs more info on Norway. Also, it was almost impossible to hear the talk while out on deck as we sailed through the fjord.
Telephone assistance before the cruise: Most of the time they would not try to answer my question, but instead advised me to call my travel agent. They had the wrong information about the last day of the cruise. I wanted to order an excursion and then get to the airport. They told me that if I ordered an excursion the transport to the airport might no longer be available when we got back to the ship. When I boarded the ship, I was told that since I already had purchased transportation to the airport, if I purchased an excursion I would be brought to the airport directly when the excursion was over. Unfortunately, the only available excursion I could choose at that time never sold enough, and was canceled.
Announcements: Not always in English.
The crew: Only a few crew members were nice. Most of them were just doing their job or cold and indifferent. Rarely did an officer ever speak to or acknowledge us when we passed them on board.
Gouging the customers: It was advertised to bring your postcards to the photo shop to mail. Their fees for stamps were much more than the local costs. We paid 4 Euros on board for each postcard, and 11 kroner in Stavanger. That is about $2.17 in town, and $6.35 on board for the same stamps. Every drink was measured in a shot glass to be sure they didn't give you any extra. On all of the other cruise lines I have sailed on ( 5 ) they always gave us a nice drink.