Overall the cruise was good but with a few irritations. Great ports of call but the on board experience was slightly frustrating.
The accommodation was excellent. We had the balcony cabin and the room was clean and spacious. Excellent storage space and good power shower. The room was well maintained by the steward who was friendly. The only slight irritation was the TV. It was a 32 inch wall mounted flat screen but the picture was slightly blurry.
As a couple under 35 we found the entertainment choices limited. The daytime activities were quite poor in choice apart from the lectures which we found to be mixed. We had a few excellent speakers and a few not so excellent. Again the evening entertainment was at best mixed. We found a few of the guest entertainers quite enjoyable but the Cunard singers and dancers were not enjoyable to watch.
Food and Drink
We were seated in the Britannia Restaurant and overall the standard of the food was good. The food was much better than the food we have previously experienced on the Queen Mary 2. The waiters were attentive to diners with special dietary requirements and service was always with a smile.
The food in the Lido buffet was mixed. We found breakfast to be of the same standard as the restaurant but other meals so be bland.
We ate at two of the alternative dining venues in the Lido (Prime and Jasmine). We cannot recommend these highly enough. The quality of the food and service is well worth the extra small charge. You will not be disappointed.
We attended afternoon tea in the Queens Room on just one occasion. I would say it is well worth going just for the tea. I'm not a tea drinker usually but I very much enjoyed the special blend. The sandwiches, cakes and scones were average and are the same as the ones that can be found in the Lido.
As two non drinkers we purchased the soft drinks package. However as a diabetic I cannot have any sugary drinks so the only option available for me was Diet Pepsi. They had sugar free 7up available but as this did not come from the soda gun it was not included in the soft drinks package. The package was good value overall I just wish there was more choice. The other issue we found was that people who were drinking alcohol were better tended to and had offers of refills whereas we had to go back to the bar.
We found the service to be mixed. The room stewards and waiters were attentive and overall excellent. However the several encounters I had with the tour office and pursers office left me feeling frustrated. The responses to questions were unsatisfactory and sometimes they didn't want to listen to the questions that were being asked. For example We enquired at the tour office the timings of one of the tours we had booked as we wanted to book some timed tickets for an art gallery. It took them 8 days and me making several trips to chase them up before we got an answer. When we eventually did get an answer it was too late to book the timed tickets online. Luckily we did manage to get some tickets on the day otherwise that would have ruined our trip to florence. The other slight annoyance we encountered was that twice we were automatically double charged for shuttle buses when we had been out on the tour in the morning and only got the shuttle bus back to the ship. We were then questioned when trying to remove these extra charges as if we had done something wrong.
Ten out of the eleven ports we booked the organised tours through Cunard. Overall we found the tours to be quite rushed and some were poor value for money. I would recommend booking tours when you get free time in places rather than the full organised tours.
Overall the ship was beautiful and the interiors, public rooms and cleanliness cannot be faulted. However we feel the itinerary made this cruise rather than the experience of the ship itself. I would only book with Cunard again if the itinerary was better than other cruise liners.