We have been on nine cruises so far, and this one was the only disappointing one we've ever had. We found this particular ship to be lackluster in the areas of food, entertainment, bedding, and knowledge and helpfulness of the crew. The ports were nice, but the ship dampened our enthusiasm for cruising.
Food: I lost 1/2 pound on a 10 day cruise. If it wasn't for the cookies, I would have lost more. It was obvious that they were trying to economize—cheaper cuts of meat (steak was tough and thin) less meat and shellfish, with more pasta and vegetarian dishes. They consistently used a spice I didn't like—possibly cumin. Creamy desserts appeared to be made with gelatin instead of cream (a "cheesecake" wiggled like jello). Cakes and pies were pretty much dry and tasteless. The cookies were good, but the staff in the Windjammer doled them out—you couldn't just grab some. We had lots of discussions about the "dessert Nazi."
Entertainment: We judge our entertainment by big production numbers. The staff tried hard, but there were no fancy backdrops or costumes. In one show about romance, satin gowns and costumes were full of pulls and snags and the designs were frumpy.
Bedding: We separated the beds in our staterooms. My husband's bed sagged so badly on one side where people had been sitting that he had to turn the mattress so he would roll into the wall instead of onto the floor.
Staff: The dining room and housekeeping staff are hard-working and courteous, even if they are stretched so thin that they don't have time to chat. However, the people on the Purser's and Shore Excursion Desk were frequently wrong or uninformed. "I'm sorry" was not heard very often, but excuses were. A prime example of this was when the wake-up call on the last day malfunctioned and called everybody at 1:45 am. regardless of what time was requested. Another example is that for the last three of the five ports, announcements for disembarkation were not given—you just sort of figured it was OK to leave the ship. When we mentioned this to a crew member, she got snippy and insisted they were. If so, nobody we spoke with heard them. However, nobody had any trouble hearing "BINGO! BINGO! BINGO!" shrieked frequently through the announcement system.
We don't know if these problems are particular to this ship, this cruise line, or are part of an industry-wide attempt to economize by cutting back on food and staff, but we aren't in a hurry to take another cruise.