As for FOD meetings....I have yet to see any of them, regardless of cruise line well attended. In fact I have not seen much effort in gay couples to seek out and strike up conversations onboard most ships. So having a FOD gathering isn't a big draw for me. Me, I'll strike up a conversation out on deck....that has always been succesful.
Food...I personally feel the Celebrity food dropped in quality and selection when they were bought by RCI. Now with cost cutting.....I think the food has once again suffered, but I think that is with every other line.Just look at NCL....to me high school cafateria food.
The one cruise Line I understand tht has improved a lot with food is Carnival. My guess is that the alcohol revenue in Carnival helps offset the food bills. For years their reputation for food was low and they directed their energy on the situation. I'm not saying Carnival passengers are all big drinkers...but along with the party boat or fun ship image I would suspect the bars do a bit more business. Of course nothing compares to the gay charters where bar business goes up about 700% on a week cruise.
Now Princess...I love the crew. The ships are OK but the interiors are the same on all their vessels which I feel is boring. If I could put Princess crew and staff on a Celebrity ships......fab-u-lous.
HAL...an identity problem. They have ships formal in decor, formal service which would cater to the oler set...yet they continue to try to cater to families with childern. I dont think this works. The crew is very polite, but I think a bit to rigid in the main dining room. I prefer a European waiter and busboy.
Oh for the days of Italian dining staff. Between the accent and the good looks the food could be lousy and I'd never know it.
Back to Celebrity...its the decor and as already mentioned...the attention to detail that brings me back. As a result I have selected Celebrity for my first crossing in October. I will have a great time, and pretend it is like...an affair to remember.
HAL Rotterdam Jan 2018
NCL Bliss Jun 2018
NCL Bliss Jan 2019
HAL Nieuw Statendam April 2019
Star Clippers in Bali Sept 2019 if the line offers it again.