Chose this cruise as a nice break prior to Christmas and to see the Christmas Markets. Arrived at Southampton to find a chaotic scene; piles of luggage and no one outside to provide direction. Booking in was OK although extremely busy. Once on the ship, we received no guidance from the staff and had to figure out what to do and where to go by asking other passengers. It was a very poor experience
The ship itself is lovely but its big, and therein lies the issue. With around 5000 people on board, it is just not set up to run efficiently. The food in the Horizon (buffet) restaurant is of a shockingly poor standard. Dried up salads, no coherent meals, lacking in vegs, unseasonal food, watery, tasteless sauces. The puddings were tasteless, rubbery and uninteresting. Trying to book in a speciality restaurant was impossible with tables gone immediately once the My Holiday app was available. Ditto for the entertainment. There were not enough shows put on to give everyone the opportunity to see them. We managed to book Sindhu before coming on board but got turned away as it was black tie night. Didn't tell me that when I booked! And on the black tie night, the only restaurant available to us plebs was again the freedom buffet. We were banned from a number of bars too. I can cope with a couple of areas being reserved for those who want to dress up, but it was practically the whole ship. On that note, there were often not enough waiters to take frinks orders. This led to long waits and people going to the bar only to be told to go away.
We went to Hamburg and had to queue up in the freezing cold for ages waiting for the shuttle buses. No help available for disabled and/or wheelchair users.