We were on the 'Caribbean Christmas' cruise that left Southampton, UK, on 12/12/2011 and returned on 10/01/2012- 29 nights of unpleasantness.
We'd cruised on this vessel twice before and standards have definitely deteriorated since even June 2011. Our cabin steward was good, but many of the staff didn't know their way about the ship and some of the restaurant/canteen staff didn't even know at what time the various eating venues would be open!The bed linen was not changed as often as I'd have liked, however.
Even though we'd booked this as one cruise, it was treated by the company as three separate cruises- so, when we reached New York, there were no forms of entertainment available for those of us who were doing the round trip and even the library and gym were shut until 2pm.
The food in the restaurant (Britannia) was disgusting- out of 5 visits during the first week, we had to return our main course 4 times because it was either undercooked or overcooked. The sauces that were on the plates with the entree were always congealing round the edges and the food was frequently cold and nearly always served on dirty plates at least 45 minutes after it had been ordered.My husband decided that the only tasty food available was the bowl of crisps that we asked for in the 'Golden Lion' pub each evening!
During the evening performances in the Royal Court theatre, a couple of 'haze machines' were used, which resulted in my suffering from a sore nose and throat. I tried to talk to Paul O'Loughlin, the so called entertainment director about this on two occasions and he didn't have the courtesy to reply to me, but sent one of his assistants, who had no idea what the complaint was and no idea how to deal with it, apart from spouting out something about its being produced by ' harmless' 'pure' 'fresh' water 'with no additives', which we found out afterwards was untrue!
As for the entertainment- I use the term loosely. For the first week, some of the shows had to be cancelled because the bad weather made it unsafe for dancers, etc, but no alternative entertainment was offered and the only films available were old ones that most people had probably seen already. The in house television films were ancient- eg 'For a Few Dollars More'; there were repeats of old UK sitcoms- eg 'The Vicar of Dibley', 'Only Fools and Horses'. The actual QM2 dancers and 'singers' were a bunch of the most talent- free 'performers' I'd ever had the misfortune to view and we always chose to sit in a seat that had easy access to an escape route!
The most popular form of entertainment was the trivia quizzes that took place a couple of times a day- frequently their timing clashed with a football match on the tv in the Golden Lion and that caused some unpleasantness, although we were aware that there were other unused venues available, but changes were made on only two occasions.
The other event that absolutely disgusted me was that my husband was in the library, browsing through a book on 'Bridge' that he'd taken from the bookshop. There was nowhere to sit down in the bookshop and he wanted to peruse this book to find out whether it gave him the information he was after. |The very rude bookshop assistant accused him of trying to steal the book and summoned 'security' to the library. When he explained what had happened, he was informed that it was 'company policy' to forbid books to be removed from the bookshop unless they'd been paid for.However, there were no notices displayed anywhere in the bookshop to this effect and, since both the library and bookshop are connected and use the same desk, it wasn't clear to anybody that this was the case.
The other form of 'company policy' which was difficult to understand was that on two occasions we were presented with an interim bill that was incorrect- it included auto- gratuity charges that we'd cancelled when we boarded. We complained about this on two occasions and were informed that it was 'a computer error' that would be corrected 'when we reach New York'. Needless to say, it wasn't and on the second occasion we were informed that the error would be corrected 'when we reach Southampton' When we questioned the issuing of incorrect bills, we were informed that it was 'Company policy'- what does that say about the company?!
No negatives about this port.