If you want pre-frozen food served by surly staff who lack product knowledge and appear to have had little or no training, then this is the cruise for you.
If second rate "entertainment" is your delight you'll be right at home here.
From embarkation to disembarking it was a disorganised disaster.
In 22 years of cruising we have never had such a poor cruise experience.
We were expecting a gourmet delight. We got mediocre food often undercooked(suckling pig and chicken), puddings still frozen in the middle, very poor choice of sugar free options-I know cinnamon is good for diabetics but for it to be the only flavour of no sugar added ice-cream for the whole cruise is not good.
The afternoon tea was a joke-a lot of fuss about nothing.
The GDR was disorganised-we'd finished our food before the baked potato arrived-no comment from the wait staff. On the 2nd night we gave it another try-ended up wandering round the room following a young man who didnot know what his instruction from the maitre d' had been. The lobster was cooked to cotton wool consistency. It is the only cruise we have ever been on where the waiter didnot ask "was there a problem?"/ "was it not to your taste?"---"can I bring you an alternative?"
After that, on the nights we didn't go to one of the "speciality"restaurants we used the Terrace Grill/buffet.
We don't go on a cruise or indeed any hotel based holiday to wait on ourselves but had no choice.
The speciality restaurants were like the curate's egg--good in parts. Not what we expected given the hype surrounding the food. Red Ginger had the most pleasant staff and the food was mostly o.k.
Jaques was our best experience and came closest to what we thought the whole cruise would be.
Toscana got off to a bad start when we were the second couple to be told "you're early" by the maitre d',this despite the fact that we were actually 3 minutes past our allocated 20:30 slot. None of us liked being told "sit over there we won't be long!"
The Polo Grill was a joke. We were on a table for 6 with 2 other couples not known to us.The company was delightful but the rest was very poor.
Two people chose the Roast ham and aged mature cheddar cheese salad with a tomato dressing.We got a sprig of lettuce to one side, a few thin slices of tasteless tomato under a mound of poor quality red cheese with some bits of breakfast crispy bacon crumbled on top. Then the server came with what can only be described as tomato paste as the dressing. Both people left it after only a couple of bites and the lady who had ordered it as a double sized portion for her main course swiftly re-ordered an alternative. She described it as something the school canteen where she taught would give to the pupils at lunch!
Another of our co-diners wanted the oysters without dressing only to be told that it wasn't possible because they came on board ready done as no fresh sea-food was allowed. Our suspicions were confirmed--Boil in the bag flash frozen ready meals! Even at the culinery experience classes participants were told that much of the food was flash frozen. By this time we were in fits of laughter as it was pointless saying anything. For crispy onion rings I got 3 donut sized rings of soggy batter which when pressed between the cutlery oozed grease. None of us could believe it. We laughed until tears rolled down our cheeks.
On the final night we hosted a small pre dinner party in our suite before going to the Terrace with one of the couples from the Polo Grill-the others had a reservation in Jacques.
Just when we thought we'd seen and heard it all, the waitress came to our table as we were having our first course with the instruction"get the rest of your food now because we'll be shutting in 15 minutes!"
If you are a discerning diner used to the finer things in life please don't waste your money on this cruise.
The suite was the best part of the whole experience. Having said that it should have been good as this was quite an expensive choice. We were well looked after by our butler, stewardess and her assistant. Fellow cruisers who visited with us rated it as similar to Holland America concierge class for size.We were happy with it, we had plenty of space with a generous walk-in wardrobe and a lovely bathroom with a generous tub and a seperate shower cubicle. We were very comfortable.