We embarked in NY. It looked okay from the start. We went through the metal detectors and saw 2 lines, one on either side. A woman told us to get in the line on the right. Great, the shorter one. Nearly 2 and a half hours later, we reach the front of the line. Ugh. I have never waited so long in my life to get onto the ship!
Okay, fine. Let it go...we go past the front area and are ready to board the ship. The employees are not very friendly! When you get to the top of the escalator, they want to take your picture. They make you wait...so I thought I'd take a picture of my husband and was promptly yelled at that it was security risk and we could not take pictures there...strange - they are taking pics of you at that same place...whatever, I put my camera away.
We finally get on and go to our room to find the obstructed view is actually a no view room! Stay away from cabin 8042! I guess the positive spin is that we could feel a breeze and got some fresh air...The cabin was fine but not fantastic. The cabin decoration in the Carnival ship was much nicer.
The food...where do I start... It was not good. Really disappointing. The buffet food was just terrible. Very bland and covered in creepy sauces. I spoke to a few folks that had been on the same cruise a few years back and said the food has really taken a hit. The food in the Britannia was much better but still had some odd choices. There was very little variety and it was just so bland tasting. Breakfast was the worst by far. Same thing every morning...watery scrambled eggs, floppy bacon, etc. Really disappointed... Even for some of the free/buffet food areas in Kings Court, you had to make a reservation which quickly filled up each morning and narrowed the already narrow choices to nil.
The service...better... The service in the Britannia was pretty good - had to constantly ask for more water or a refill on coffee, but the guys were nice. Our cabin steward, Joseph, was outstanding. Anything we wanted, we got and quickly. He was like a ninja! I did have a problem with the coffee bar and the Commodore Club - only a few people working and they never came back to see if you needed anything more. Many times I felt like I was bothering them or taking them away from a conversation in another language with their buddies.
We paid extra to eat in the Todd English rest. and do me a favor, save your money! Service was terrible, food was okay and they forgot to bring a cake to celebrate a birthday. Others around us got cakes but not us! It was specifically asked when we made the reservation and I told them it was for a 40th birthday - they even made a big deal of it on the phone. Once again, disappointing.
Entertainment... We went to one show and it was okay. It was a ballroom dancing show and we have seen better on dancing with the stars! We went to another one that was like a night club act with a guy at the piano and it was terrible and we left after like 5 minutes. The lectures were really good and what I saw of John Cleese was interesting. The planetarium was a joke. It showed 2 20 minute movies over and over. The seats we had (and the ones around them) were broken - I saw that they were supposed to go back but few did. The library was really great. Tons of books and newer titles.
Spa and fitness...pretty good! The spa was cool. We both had massages (I got the stone and my husband had a traditional one). They were great. The facility was great. We bought the spa passes for the trip and for $99 each, we could use the spa facility. It was a high point for me! The lounge was great. It has comfortable seats to read or just sit with a great view of the ocean from behind one way glass. I was there every day!
Formal dinners...too many! I want to relax on the cruise, not go to prom every night! I get some people like to dress up...I do get it. 3 of the 6 nights were formal. All of them required my husband to wear a jacket. Not right for us. We were not supposed to wear shorts or jeans to any of the dinners anywhere. Now we know...
Shopping...just nothing for us! We wanted to spend our money but there was nothing for us! Everything was really expensive or cheap. We bought a few t-shirts and some pringles. We did not want any booze or designer clothes/jewelry. Just not for us...
I must say that we were disappointed. We were bored and hungry! If you are active and younger (most other folks were much older than us!) this may not be the cruise for you! It was just not geared toward us and now we know. It was a thing to cross off our list, but we will never do it again. We will stick to the fun ships from now on!
We spoke to a bunch of folks that have done this trip many times before and they were complaining of the recent cutbacks in food quality/quantity and service. They claimed it was a disappointment having seen it before and now. We also discussed how some areas seemed a bit run down and needed to be sproused up - some places look tired.
I'm sure many people liked it and had a positive experience. We did not. This is my honest opinion...just beware and adjust your expectations.