We undertook a short taster cruise with Cunard , to Zeebruger and La Harve. Embarkation was the high point of the cruise. We booked quay side parking. Drove up beside the boat,unloaded luggage, and car was parked for us. Check in was quick and painless. Arrived at our cabin luggage had been placed inside, Could not get into our room as cases were blocking the small entrance into the main room area. Room was well presented, clean and tidy. A free bottle of sparkling wine on a small coffee table. Bathroom not large but serviceable. We found boat information in the room very sparse. We would have have loved a tea or coffee, but alas no facilities in the room to make one. No information in the room,as to where to get one. Yes there was a booklet giving you the name of bars and eateries , but did not say, tea room, snack bar etc. just the name of the bar/ eatery.
Food in the buffet , in our opinion , was lacking in choice. To obtain a seat was well, hard work. If there was any available seats you, had too, either squeeze ibetween tables ,that are placed very close together. Or walk with your food along several different areas until you found a empty table that had been cleared.There is not a main area to dine in, in the buffet area. the facility's just seemed to be spread out all over the place. Very untidy and confusing layout.
Entertainment very limited. Mainly bars with a fellow on a piano, the only bar that had different entertainment was the pub, which held the odd quiz and karaoke. Due to that fact, the bar was packed,no seats available, and when there was, the bar service was terrible. In short there was very very little to do, except drink. At $21 for a vodka and brandy with mixers, not a very cheap option. We got the impression ,that it was all about getting as much money from us as possible. You are charged your $11 per person per day service charge,then you are charged another 15 % service charge on all beverages you purchased. So for example a small mixer came to nearly $4 . You are then presented with a cheque to sign with yet another opportunity to give even more gratuities on top of the ones you have given already. We would not have minded so much, if the service had been good, but on several occasion, we were served the incorrect drink.
It was my partners birthday while we were, they made a great fuss about this , by sending her a pre printed, pre signed birthday. Ok don't expect hearts and flowers but a few chocolates , would not be a problem to them surely . It seemed as if a lot of guest were aboard the boat celebrating one thing or another. So another chance missed by Cunard to impress its clients. When we booked the cruise , we had high expectations, maybe too high.
The Ship although very nice does not in our opinion have the WOW factor that we have experienced in the past, with other cruise lines. The dining was average in our allocated restaurant the Brittania ,the service was also average, and felt like we were being rushed. The standard of the food was fairly good, but a little mean with things like vegetables . Wine! well I'm not a wine expert, I have a idea of wines that I like and that I don't like. A cheap tasting Rose $40 are you sure Cunard?? We took up the option of self help disembarkation. We had to apply for tickets, not a bad idea in our opinion, as amount leaving can be controlled, also helps the cabin boys with there cleaning regime . The asked you to go to a allocated point , with your luggage by 6.45am. So we decided to pack the majority of our case and have a early breakfast. On our return to the cabin our cases had been moved our bed stripped and remade. In theory this was still our room to. 8.30 am. So getting it ready for the next guest was a little intrusive we felt. especially as we had emptied our safe . On arriving at the disembarking area about 6.30, we found ourselves in what is a corridor. The queue was quite long, blocking the asses to and from the six lifts in that corridor. The queue finally started to move at 07.35. Due to docking late. This was our 5th cruise this year and for us the . We have travelled with Royal Caribbean. , P&O , Thomsons etc and for us Cunard came bottom of the list.