Just returned from the 4th of July Getaway to Halifax and Boston, what a great trip!! Only a few small hiccups, which I will detail later.
Embarkation: We drove from upstate NY to Brooklyn (6 hrs)with plans to park in the lot at the cruise port. When we neared the port, about 11:30am, there was a HUGE traffic jam of cars, taxis and such trying to drop off passengers. We waited about 1/2 hour to approach the curbside drop-off which was completely chaotic. Cars were double and triple parked trying to unload people and luggage. There were a few staff people trying to keep it moving, but it was still frustrating. My husband and son took the luggage, which was quickly loaded by staff onto a cart, and I parked the car. Once we all got inside the terminal, the boarding went quickly and we were on the ship in about 20 minutes. We were greeted by crew in the main lobby and given directions to our room. We were on deck 9, and the wait for an elevator was very long, so we took the stairs and found our way to our room without a problem. Our luggage arrived shortly after, we were exploring the ship when it came.
Room: We booked an inside cabin and I chose deck 9 because, with the exception of four inside rooms, it is entirely Queens Suites. The four inside rooms are tucked away on a private hall in the front of the boat just outside the Commodore Club. It was incredibly quiet and a great location by the "A" stairs. We loved hanging out at the Commodore Club and could easily go down two flights to deck 7 to go outside or go to the buffet. The beds were so comfortable, even the drop down bunk my son slept on. There was plenty of storage for all of us to unpack and we stored the suitcases under the bed to make more room. The bathroom is small, but very efficient with storage under the sink vanity. There was a lack of towel bars and with three of us it was hard to find space to hang wet towels. Our room stewards Devandra and Norman were very polite and worked very hard to make our stay comfortable.
Dining: We chose the late seating at the Brittania, and thoroughly enjoyed the meals and service there. Originally we thought the late seating (8:30) would be fine because we like to eat late at home, but it took about 2 hours for dinner and that often overlapped with the evening's entertainment. So two nights we asked if we could eat at the early seating and were accommodated. One night we just at the buffet. We liked getting dressed up for dinner, if you don't like getting dressed up then this cruise is not for you! The formal night was especially fun, I wore a gown and felt like a princess! Breakfast at the buffet was good, lots of choices and they serve late. We only made it to Brittania for breakfast once as they stop serving at 9:30. It was elegant and delicious, I wish we did it more. We did the buffet for lunch most days, but tried the Brittania and the Golden Lion. The buffet had a good variety, one day there was even prime rib for lunch. We did a lot of snacking there too throughout the day, a huge plus when you are traveling with a 19 year old! Several nights we ordered the room service late night and it came quickly and was delicious too. Tried the burgers, panini, pasta and frozen chocolate bomb....yum!! We thought the drink prices were reasonable and the "house" wine was very good. My son got the soda card on the first day and it was well worth it.
Entertainment: We struggled a little in this area, probably because of traveling with my son. He was not interested in the "shows" or disco, or the ballroom dancing. I did check them out on my own and would have stayed longer if we were not trying to have a family vacation! The pools were nice, we spent time sitting around, reading, and going in the hot tubs. My son and husband played in a couple of Texas Holdem tournaments, played shuffle board and a lot of darts in the evening at the Pub. We saw the planetarium show which was very good, and went on the Galley Tour. The TV was kind of lame but we were not in the room much at all. We wished there were more active things to do, like maybe some pool tables, foosball or air hockey, a second paddle tennis court (it was always packed) or other outdoor activities on the upper decks which seemed to be underutilized. There were a couple of tournaments in the golf simulator, but we could not get in because the spots were all taken up so fast.
Ports: In Halifax we got off the boat and walked around the waterfront area and saw the Fort. Then we went back to the boat. In Boston, there was a major delay being able to get off the boat due to US Immigration. It was extremely hot that day and the city was very busy since it was July 4th. When we could finally exit the boat, we did but only stayed off for 1/2 hour then figured why not spend the day by the pool. We had the place practically to ourselves, it was the best decision we made! We watched the big fireworks on the upper deck that night and it was really special.
Other: Many people have commented on the older crowd on the boat and yes, there are a lot of them. It did not bother us, but I was amazed that so many frail people would want to take on a trip of this sort. There is so much walking you have to do since the boat is so large, and stairs to navigate. At the buffet, many older people seemed confused and struggled to carry their trays and make it to all the different stations and find seating. It would have been nice if Cunard could provide some helpers at the buffet for these folks. There were so many in wheelchairs and on scooters, practically impossible for them to do the buffet. But they were all in the Casino parked in front of a slot machine, ha ha. Things we did not do but wished we had...High Tea, Sir Samuels, Todd English, the ala carte restaurants in Kings Court in the evening, the enrichment lectures. This cruise itinerary was rather short and the weather so good that we spent most of our time outside. I did have my gown for the formal night pressed by the Ship laundry, it cost $11 and was done overnight.
Yes, we would cruise Cunard again!!