Booked this cruise on the spur of the moment as the price was very good value for 2 weeks. Have sailed with Celebrity, RCL,NCL and Princess and wanted to try Cunard.
Journey down to Southampton was on the cruise bus, very luxurious comfortable bus and no problems about the check-in procedure, at least there were seats to sit on while waiting so better than other lines where you have to stand.
Cabin was good, about the same size as other balcony cabins I've had but the balcony seemed slightly larger. Also the storage was definitely better than other ships which was a blessing as I went with a friend so 2 women, 5 formal nights..... could have been a problem, but we managed fine. Particularly liked the storage drawer under the bed.
Bathroom not large, they never are, and the shower was pretty tiny but acceptable.
Our cabin attendant was excellent (luck of the draw here obviously, reading another cruiser's review) and brought more hangers etc very quickly. The beds were set up as a queen bed instead of 2 twins, but she took care of that while we were at dinner the first night.
The ship itself is comfortable and elegant, like a rather grand hotel, but had no 'wow' factor such as you see on the Celebrity Solstice class ships. I've mostly sailed on larger ships, so it felt quite small, but that was OK.
Well, those were the pros. Now the cons.
The food was very disappointing - the lunch choices in the Lido particularly were very poor, especially again comparing with Celebrity (which you can probably tell by now is my favourite line). Small bowls of mixed greens, tomatoes, grated carrot and cucumber - supermarket-type coleslaw - not exactly inspiring. A few hot dishes baking (literally) under heat lamps - very unappetising. A few tired looking and unimaginative desserts - including would you believe tapioca one day. Last time I saw that I was at boarding school. Compared with the wide range of choices on other ships, quite frankly Cunard's food was pathetic. Had lunch one day in the Britannia dining room, better, but I prefer to have lunch in the buffet.
Dinner was poor to start with but improved somewhat over the two weeks of the cruise. Reasonable menu choices but nothing I would have raved over. I also agree with another reviewer, the dining room staff weren't as friendly as on other ships, it was just 'take order, bring food, clear away, that's it'.
Breakfast again was nothing special - most of the usual choices in respect of breakfast were available - though no Eggs Benedict or bagels and smoked salmon -but again very poor service in the Lido - dishes would sit empty for several minutes before being replenished, frequently there were no mugs, no forks etc. Very poor. Layout was bad too - I'm not tall and couldn't reach the ice and water machine without flinging myself across the counter and reaching as far as I could. Even then I couldn't hit the ice button.
And who pre-toasts bread for heaven's sake?? You couldn't toast your own as I've done on other ships, Cunard seems to think it's a good idea to pre-toast bread, English muffins and bagels (cheapest sliced bread at that) so unless you happened to be there just as they brought some out, you had all of the above cold.
And despite many requests during the 2 weeks, I couldn't get a whole wheat/multi grain roll. Every night at dinner all the bread and rolls were all white. Hasn't Cunard every heard of healthy breads? Clearly not.
I echo another reviewer - the entertainment was pathetic. Singers, dancers, nothing special, old films and the only evening we enjoyed was the Irish comedian who appeared late in the cruise. He was excellent.
The best part of this cruise was the scenery - absolutely beautiful, and we were lucky with the weather, even wearing T-shirts at the NorthCape - having taken gloves, scarf and hat etc I was actually hoping for something cooler!
But sadly this was the first time I couldn't wait to get off a ship, and wish the cruise had been 1 week instead of 2. If you're elderly, happy to sit around reading (never seen so many people reading on a cruise - literally everyone had a book or reader) don't expect much, are OK with mediocre food and entertainment and happy to have to dress up formally for 5 nights (and even on informal nights everyone seemed to dress up) but have nowhere to go after dinner except for some very dull ballroom dancing or a pub quiz, then Cunard is the line for you. But if you want to have some fun - and btw I'm middle-aged myself and not a 'party animal' - then I suggest you look (and book) elsewhere. Cunard certainly won't be seeing me again.