We are a British couple who have been living in Spain for 12 years. We cruise every January mainly RCCL; HAL Celebrity and last year Carnival.
Embarkation was an absolute nightmare, worst ever. Don't know what happened but we arrived by taxi to find a line which seemed to go on for miles. We were stood in hot sun and although they did come round with water at one stage it was not very pleasant.
Arrived in the Grand Lobby (?) where a few crew were hanging around although they did not offer help unless asked. The stateroom was fine although not as good as most other ships we have sailed on. The smallest dresser and bathroom ever. The shower was not adequate, just a trickle. The day pillows were the sort of quality to be found on sale in a market. The bedcover had a stain and when I pointed it out to the cabin steward she said it was a chemical stain!
I would say the cabin service was only adequate. Her understanding of English was minimal and when I left a note asking for certain drinks to be placed in the fridge it took two days. The bathrobe took 48 hours to appear. One day the plug in the bathroom sink disappeared and it took a couple of hours to get one. However the room was clean despite the niggles. We had an in hull stateroom and I loved it despite reservations, very private and windfree. Would have been better if we could have seen the sea but you could see it from the bed.
We ate in the Britannia restaurant. A very elegant room. We changed tables after 2 nights as the table was badly placed next to a waiter service area. Our chairs were constantly being shoved and it was alarming to see a large stack of plates whizzing over our heads. The service was better at this table than the second one. Again we had the language problem and we had to almost plead for the wine waiter to come for our order, he did not appear to know anything about wine. We did drink less as the wine always arrived late. The waiters were very sullen and seemed unhappy as if they resented the work.
The food was good. Portions were strange, some evenings very small and others overwhelming. Breakfast was not very good quality and boring. Service was very slow. We had room service one day which arrived promptly and was hot.
Overall we did like the ship. Once we found our way around there were so many places to relax. The library is excellent and the staff pleasant. I did enjoy wandering around the corridors with displays of old photos and history of Cunard. My favorite bars were the Commodore Lounge and the Chart room. The ship never felt crowded and the scramble for loungers was better than other ships. Worse of the public areas was the space taken over for photos and shopping stalls, tacky "art" etc....very Carnivalesque!
I enjoyed the range of activities and shows were excellent. We only booked one shore excursion from the ship, other times we took taxis. There always seemed to be a lot of maintenance going on around the ship, hot tubs taped off and late evening most of the outer decks were also close off for cleaning, making it impossible to have a stroll in the balmy air before retiring
Would we sail on her again? not sure, maybe a transatlantic. The money we paid we could have had a suite on other lines and certainly better service. We did not find out what White Star service is. The passengers we met were outstanding in their friendliness, pity about the crew!