We had done the QE2 in 2007 so this was a long anticipated cruise on its successor the QM2, what could be better, the pinnacle of cruising. The ship is the best one afloat, I have been on none better, even minute aboard you feel as though your are docked.
The departments such as Deck and Engineering can't be faulted. They have everything of to a tee. so I thought, Cunard should be all things perfect, honed and refined. The White Star service, the self proclamation that they are the best, but as we were to find out Hotel Services is a big let down.
Umm, arrival at Dubai at 9.00am to embark, wonderful, waited a full three hours to even start embarkation, it was hot inside the waiting area and I was surprised that there was any refreshments or snacks available, we hadn't eaten since 10:45 the previous night and I was starving, because of the drugs i take the more hungry i am the more sickly i feel. At around 11.50 some of us were tired of sitting around so we formed a queue waiting to embark.
A Cunard employee on seeing this became rather rude at our queue forming and was quite obsessed that we should all sit down again, with the time at 11.50am what was the point. But to her a point had to be made, she didn't allow embarkation to start until 12.15. When eventually we did start to get processed, just like the thing we get someone who hadn't a clue in what they were doing, she had us out in the middle of the passageway blocking other passengers from getting past in order to take our photo. Off course when it was my turn, I get a guy who calls me an asshole for getting in his way, I don't care much for people who compromise you like this and because of her ineptitude I get abuse.
I regard that you only get one chance of a first impression and here was Cunard letting it slip. I was not amused at this and I am afraid I let the photographer, have it, when she wanted us to stand on a specific spot after we had dropped our cases, meaning we had to pick them up again considering they were a tripping hazard where we had left them. Stand here, move there, oh just take the picture woman. Seeing six lifts to take us up to our room was good to see, but only three where in use and when one came down to level 2 their only passage was passed us as 2/3rds of the foyer was condoned off.
Upto our room and our first thoughts was it was of good width and spacious, the view over the small lifeboat was better than we expected. The bed weren't pushed together as we had wanted, but that was a minor point. The normal checking of the Mini-bar in the fridge saw that there was only one can of coke and two cans of lager, odd. We then spied the state of the carpet, it hadn't been hoovered. All we were interested in was food, but on the way there we bumped into our steward, advised him of the bed and the mini-bar, but the hoovering, we thought he would attend to that as a matter of course.
well he didn't and he never did attend to it, as we found more things on the carpet as the cruise went on. Hair grips, broken biscuits, coins, spectacles and cruise newspapers from November 2012, which were under the sofa. One does not like to see remnants of the previous guests and it showed us that this cabin steward who we paid good tips for was a waste of space. We never complained about him until the last day, as if you do complain straight away he will get to know about it and from then on a bad feeling will co-exist. Its just not worth it getting your tooth brush used to clean your toilet. We had booked our tours prior to departure as some were being sold out, $932.00 for five tours each, I would say they weren't any better than a Thomson's tour, but Tommy's are a lot cheaper.
There was one tour in Colombo that we only got off the bus to use the toilet, nothing was said in the description to say that we wouldn't be let of the bus not even for a photo, taking photos through a bus window isn't my idea of fun. In all I was most disappointed with the wife for insisting on ships tours rather than use local transport all my pre cruise information finding just after christmas gone to waste.
Positives there has to be those, The Beatles tribute band were ace, although the German who was trying to hard to claim the whole of the dance floor for himself in view of it being crowded and deliberatly barging into my back, tested my patience. Mike Miller tried his best but his jokes were to old, that not even Frank Carson could have saved them. Jackie Stewart's talk about his early days and his respect for my hero Jim Clark were certainly enlightening. We used the Canyon Ranch Spa and that was most enjoyable to pass away the sea days. The Dinning Room was always kept too hot along with all the public areas, trying to save energy on cooling no doubt, our waiter and his side kick were very good and good for a laugh. He got my order wrong once, but i had a good laugh at it, and his mate brought me the wrong sweet, we all had a good laugh at this.
Beatrix and her pal in the Golden Lion pub were also good, Beatrix has a great voice and can belt out a karaoke song or two. Getting to grips with the navigation around the ship was quick and easy, on the first sea day on every cruise i do, I start at the top and walk around the whole ship, one or two tricky bits like getting to the Queens hall. We also used the Restaurant regularly and found the lay out quite odd, selecting the veg before one saw what was on the menu felt a bit odd, we also experienced in the restaurant quite a few ignorant people barging in, reluctant to move forward in the queues prevent you from serving yourself, just pure bloody mindedness that I haven't encountered on a cruise before.
It has to be reminded that the QM2 is an entirely different ship from those whose have passengers who want to have a good time and party, the stiff upper lip is always present, people can have their ballroom dancing and the dinner jackets etc, what ever floats your boat is your business, but come on, doing to the tango to a seventies pop song that's funny. When we hit Singapore I was more than happy to get off, besides all the problems at the start, it was a good as I expected, its no better or worse than any other carnival ship, exception being Princess and is not in the same league as Regent.
But what really soured my cruise awaited me when I got home, I checked my credit card bill on line and discovered that I had been charge $230.00 on a separate transaction from my on board account. I agreed with my on board account and couldn't understand what this charge was for. I made contact with Cunard, but they weren't certain what the charge was for and they would have to contact the ship to find out. This wait went into four days, so therefore I had no alternative but to open a dispute with my credit card company, I supplied all my details to them and they returned my money.
Ten days after my first inquiry about this charge. I found out what it was all about. They had charge me twice or a tour on the second day of the cruise for Abu Dhabi, I had already booked my tours before departure so how could this be. The explanation was that it suggested that I needed 2 extra tickets, what to visit the same place twice on the same day and the same time, only the time lord Doctor Who could have done that and I had left my de lorean in the garage, I have always wanted to time travel, but when I do I want to know about it then and there. Anyway this charge has really Scunard me about Cunard, it won't happen again with them as this is the last straw.
I like to know that when i hand over my credit card for billing that people can be trusted to charge it for genuine items and not make up or fabricate charges out of thin air. On the day of departure our friends also had a tour charged to them that appeared on their on board account, they never went on any tours with Cunard. So you have to ask what is going on, how many other people are being ripped off in this manner. Pre booking tours before a cruise, from now on, I will have to think twice on that, in fact will not do it again from now on. After I receive my on board final statement I will be visiting the purser to cancel my boarding card to prevent any further transactions or purchases and to stamp the statement as the final total to be billed and any further charges will be immediately disputed. Considering how much I spent for this cruise in total I really do object to this.