A long anticpated cruise on the QM2, what could be better, the pinnacle of cruising, so I thought. Cunard should be all things perfect, honed and refined. The White Star service, the self proclamation that they are the best.
Umm, arrival at Dubai at 9.00am to embark, wonderful, waited a full three hours to even start embarkation, it was hot inside that waiting area and they couldn't even provide any cold drinks. It didn't bother us we had water with us, but we hadn't eaten since 10:45 the previous night and I was starving. I get a strong sick feeling when I am hungry and there was nothing at all on offer.
At around 11.50 some of us were tired of sitting around so we formed a queue waiting to embark. This Cunard employee 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 we had someone who hadn't a clue 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 still not amused and my photograph taken shortly after it will testify, these people have to realise, that people are laden with baggage hot and flustered and for her to insist that we stand on a specific made on the ground is a bit much. In the end I said either take the photo or forget it.
Eventually we get on board and looking forward to getting into our cabin, found it very easily, first impressions were good, looked at the view past the lifeboats, we knew we had a restricted view, but not as bad as our neighbours. Came back in dumped the cases on the bed, noticed that the beds hadn't been pushed together has we requested. Then looked into the minibar fridge to check if it had been stocked, it was empty and then spied the state of the carpet, it hadn't been hoovered for our arrival and on each subsequent day found more and more stuff on it, like hair grips, small coins, broken biscuits and old ships newspapers under the sofa, when I moved it to retrieve a battery.
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. I even found a pair of Glasses at the back of a drawer we hadn't used. 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 were any better than a Thomson's tour, but Tommy's are a lot cheaper. There was one tour 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. Positives there has to be those, The Beatles tribute band were ace, the comedian was OK and Jackie Stewart's talks were 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. 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, in fact I would have to say that the QM2 is the best ship I have ever been on, the double stabilisers obviously worked well, you would hardly noticed that your were at sea.
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, 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 billed and discovered that I have 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 had to contact the ship. This wait, therefore saw me with 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 enquiry 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, not even Doctor Who can do 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 when I spend on board and not fabricate charges out of thin air. On the day of departure our friends also had a tour charged to them that appeared on the on board account, they never went 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, it won't be happening, after I receive my on board final statement I will be visiting the purser to cancel my boarding card to make 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 kind of credit card abuse.