This was our first cruise away from the Queen Mary 2 which has taken us across the Atlantic on many occasions and to the Caribbean. Therefore on all our cruises to date Americans featured strongly. On this cruise the passengers were mainly Brits, which provided a totally different ambience from those we had been used to, more subdued and more restrained - we found the whole cruise rather down key. This was among the first cruises to adopt the new dress code, which was certainly not welcomed by many. These are our comments on various aspects of the ship:
EMBARCATION: No matter how long the queue embarcation invariably goes smoothly at Southampton, where years of practice have, no doubt, perfected the whole operation.
RESTAURANTS: The Britannia changes little, whether the QM2 or the QV. The standards are high, the service exceptional but, as always, the food is never hot, just warm. We were pleasantly surprised by The Lido, as we always thought the Kings Court a little like a works canteen. Floor to ceiling windows make The Lido an attractive proposition for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And the food is excellent, both for quality and choice.
ENTERTAINMENT: Away from the set theatre shows, entertainment was sparse and not particularly inspiring. Pub singer/pianists in the Golden Lion and Commodore Club were average. The shows, however, exceeded expectations with, for once, the Cunard talent shining throughout the cntire voyage.
PORTS OF CALL: Four ports of call. Stavanger, Olden, Gerainger and Bergen were handled with the usual efficiency by the QV staff. We did not avail ourselves of the excursions but found exploring on our own very easy.
SHIP'S LAYOUT. Regular Cunarders will argue forever about the best layout - Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. We found some goood, some not so good points. Many favour the Queens Room in the middle of the vessel but we found it off-putting to use it as a corridor; likewise the open sided Chart Room does not have the charm of the QM2 enclosed room. The Golden Lion seems dark and a little claustrophobic but the Commodore Club seemed larger and the gym is certainly larger and better equipped on the QV.