My wife and I just completed the World Cruise on the Queen Elizabeth. When we thought of taking the cruise we researched as much as we could; but little success.
So here is our review of Cunard and the 2014 QE World Cruise. We booked a Penthouse mid-ships and the Queens Grill. The total cost of our trip was just under $200k. On Cunard, you pay for everything; drinks laundry, internet, etc.
Getting on and off
The Embarkation process with Cunard was a disaster in San Francisco. Cunard had no staff to direct you to the ship. We ended up a few feet away from another ship before realizing it was not the QE. The group with us was not too pleased.
The Debarkation Process in Southampton was unpleasant. You had to gather your luggage, find a porter, go thru Customs, then get it a Cunard Truck (we were transferring to the Queen Mary to return to the US), and then board a Bus to the QM Terminal.
There was no Custom’s inspections since we were “In-Transit). So Cunard should have transferred our bags to the Queen Mary. The experience was a disaster.
Grills (Princess and Queens)
Cunard’s offerings in the Grills do not meet its advertisements. The food is just average.
Cunard says you will have private areas on the ship to take in the Sun etc. This is not the case. Non- Grill passengers used all the areas without incurring the expense. Cunard did have signs on Saying for “Grill Passengers Only” but no enforcement.
On average the Grills offering costs passengers $35,000 per person extra. What you receive in return is not worth the expense. You would be better off using the Britannia Club for your food and book some of the larger staterooms.
Cunard stopped having Priests or Rabbi on the QE and QV. I can understand that in 2008, but not today. We will not be sailing on a Cunard Ship until they provide this offering.
Cunard’s corporate office used the QE as its advertising tool at the expense of its passengers.
When the QE was approaching Sydney Harbor, the access to the ship’s forward decks was locked to passengers. The ships’ deck crew was busy putting up a 200’ Flag saying “Happy Mardi Gras” to celebrate Gay & Lesbians Mardi Gras in Sydney. The ships passengers were furious over the inability to take pictures and enjoy the arrival.
The QE is a fantastic ship. If you have sailed on the QV, you will find much the same. The service in the Grills was beyond belief. The head Maître, Ico and Kruno were the best team, I have experienced in 40 years of taking cruises.
The food in the Gills was average. We took the maiden voyage on the QV back in 2008. The food on the QV was exceptional. So we were a disappointed in food offerings.
The Butler service was exceptional. Our butler was Natalia. She gave us such great service.
We had Penthouse mid-ships, Suite 4101. It was fantastic in that we had minimal ship movement when the other passengers Forward and Aft, we experiencing the effect of big waves.
The Suites back Aft, experienced both the waves and the vibration of the ship's screws. A good friend staying in the QE's largest Suites said it perfectly “I didn't pay $250,000 plus for a vibrator; if I wanted one, I would have brought we me.
The crew on the QE was outstanding. Everyone went out of their way to make you feel you were a part of their family.
Tours and Pictures:
Both of these offerings are done by companies that service Cunard’s ships; Outsourced. Our experience with the Tour Department was so bad. We started off my taking tours via Cunard’s coaches. I am 6’1 and 240lbs. The coaches were so small; my knees were in my chest.
In addition, a respiratory infection took hold of the passengers. The coaches became a “Petrie Dish” with many of the passengers spreading the infection to other passengers. Our solution was to take the Private Car option. It should have been a great decision but the Tour Department screwed up most of the bookings. You can plan on paying approximately double over the market rate on shore. We finally did this in the last two ports. We had new Mercedes, great drivers and tour guides at half of the price of Cunard.
My only recommendation if you decide to stick with the ship’s Tour Departments offering is to demand detailed confirmations 3 days before you reach the port of call. In Haifa, the Tour Department, failed to give the driver our points of interest we wanted to visit. In addition, the provided only a driver who served as a guide; not good. Demand both a driver and guide so you can enjoy your visit.
The World Cruise on the QE was worth the costs. We will not take another on Cunard since they ceased having Priests or Rabbi(s) on board the QE and QV.
I would stay away from using the Tour Departments’ Private Car option. In addition, I would bring 4 Z-Packs of antibiotics for infections. The ship’s Medical Department ran out of Z-Packs mid-way in our cruise.
We had 4+ deaths on the ship which is normal for a World Cruise. Cunard handled the sad event with so much compassion for the affected families. This department in Cunard is to be praised for their handlings of such unexpected events.