This was our first ever Christmas holiday away from our family, let alone a Christmas cruise.
On the evening of the first day of the cruise we went to the main dining room, on time, which was 80% empty. The reception did not know of our dining preferences, even though these had been given on booking. We were seated on our own, though we prefer company. Later, two days after complaining, we were placed on a table for 9, although the 9th person never appeared! All the other diners were HAC experienced, and even they were dissapointed.
The meal service was always very slow, even though the waiter worked hard to chase the kitchen. This was true even on Christmas Day! The 'hot' food was, at best, lukewarm, served on cold plates, with no silver service. This was a pattern that repeated throughout the cruise. Once, the waiter had to mix some mustard to go with a steak! Rarely was the dining room more than 50% full,
Likewise, breakfast options were very limited, e.g., only Kellog brand cereals were available, getting Worcester sauce in tomato juice was a continual challenge, a normal UK breakfast was unobtainable, even though about 45% of the passengers were British!
On lunch, we capitulated on using the dining room and used the cafeteria. Our service was much better and faster, and the New York pizzas were excellent, but this was not the 5-star luxury we had been promised.
The entertainment was very good in parts, especially the house band and dancers. However, the main evening bar, the Crows Nest, had "The BB King All-Stars", except they didn't play any BB numbers, or even any Blues or R&B, only soul, funk and Tamla-Motown, and got deserved low numbers in the audience.
At Fuertaventura we had arranged to meet some frends (from an earlier P&O cruise!) for dinner, but at the last minute the captain decided we had a storm coming and the ship left early (or the harbour charges were by the hour?).
At Casablanca he delayed going in because of "big waves" - maybe they were in his bath?
We are Carnival shareholders, and therefore entitled to a $250 contribution toward our spend on ship. First of all, the ship's "Front Office" said we had to contact Seattle, which is difficult in the middle of a cruise, and this continued throught the voyage. Southampton couldn't do anything. Seattle insisted we communicate by fax, and we gave our fax machine away in the late '90s! Finally, after six attemtps, by climbing the ladder, we got "how to" on e-mail/phone, and I got a promise of the relevant rebate today (17/2/16)!
So, we are not surprised that many of the other passengers, even those who had used HAC many times before and really enjoyed it, left the ship saying "Never Again"! The ship sailed from Southampton less than half-full, on a 91-day cruise to Indonesia, and many of the passengers were only going part-way. So you may get a few more of this tone of review.
Perfectly adequate, well served.
Little open, poor weather.
Fascinating Farm, producing grapes/wine/oranges/coffee/avocado
Not very interesting
It was a little irrelevant, on Christmas Day. Very little was open. Thoughtless scheduling