Queen Elizabeth Cruise Review by ciegna: THIS IS THE REALITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH.
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THIS IS THE REALITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Last minute booking--£999 per adult and £699 for our 4year old son flying from Manchester to Venice on Titan Air on a Balcony grade.
Titan Air--make Ryan Air look like first class on Emmirates--a very old and tired Boeing 737 with laminated drinks menus--very dirty interior--not a great start to the Holiday.
Arrive in Venice (thankfully) and collect baggage in the hall with all of the other excited Cunarders to be herded towards locals holding up Cunard boards--tell them our names and show our travel documents to a "I don't have you on our sheet" type answer. Finally persuade the afore mentioned clip boarder to allow us on the bus after we have signed a document stating that we will pay 209 US Dollars for the 15 minute coach ride to the pier. "Don't worry they will reimburse this on the ship", they tell us in their own unique way. If only I knew then what would happen regarding this later!!!!
Ok we are on the ship. We are excited to see our More balcony stateroom as promised in the booking confirmation--5112 to be precise. We open the door and our young son rushes in--it looks lovely inside!! We enter--the smell of sewerage was overwhelming--we open the curtains and balcony door to allow some air in the room to be confronted by a white crane and lifeboat number 12. Our view from our Balcony is a derrick style crane and the top of lifeboat number 12--things are starting to go south rapidly.
We call the Pursers office to inform them of the stench in the room only to be informed that it is coming from outside from the water in Venice--really??? It doesn't smell on the lifeboat deck i.e. our balcony. It didn't smell bad when we stayed on the Equinox in Venice last summer. We ask our Cabin Steward to smell our room who agrees that it is indeed very bad and states that it is coming from a wet carpet from next door. Engineering arrives and we are asked to leave the room for 15 minutes whilst he investigates. We return to be told that the stench is due to works being carried out on the ships funnel.
I reluctantly decide to visit the pursers desk. I explain our predicament to a lady who is really not interested in what I have to say and who repeatedly tells me that the ships full and that there are no upgrades--"I am not here for an upgrade, I have no wish for an upgrade I tell her" "I only want a balcony stateroom that doesn't smell, is not a health hazard and that we can perhaps see at least some of the sea from", is my repeated answer. "Wait a minute" she says and runs off to the office. 8 minutes later enter stage left Tara "the boss". I have been on the ship for less than an hour and I am already in the office of the head purser?? I feel like I'm in the headmasters office about to get into trouble--Tara listens to my predicament intently and then reverts to "the ships full there are no upgrades available"--WTF!!!!!--I leave somewhat bemused by my telling off!!
Not wanting to return to our gas chamber we decide to visit the restaurant to see when our dining time was. We are not the only ones to embark on this course of action. It seems that at least half of the ship are yet to find out their dining times. We decide not to join the ever growing throng as we can see that arguments are already starting to occur--White Star Service, this is not.
We eventually go to dinner at 8.30pm--meal and service were both fantastic--a little faith restored and the smell in 5112 is starting to subside or are we getting used to it??
We keep smelling the same awful smell over the next couple of days and regularly call Tara and her gang to inform them of this with no response at all. My last call is a request for the email address of the Cunard Chief Exec as I have had enough--10 minutes later I am being shown stateroom 7083 a princess grill suite by Tara. It doesn't smell of sewerage and we can see the sea--3 days into our 7 day cruise we have got what we booked albeit a slightly larger cabin and 2 televisions instead of 1 (yes--that's the difference between a balcony and Princess Grill suite--as well as an extra £10,000 in cost).
To be fair we did enjoy the last 4 days of the voyage a lot more than the first 3.
However it really did not meet with expectations having previously cruised on QM2 and several other lines.
It seems to us that Cunard despite building modern ships need to modernise their approach to cruising. We were constantly being reminded on board about how British Cunard are and how their White Star Service is second to none. Sadly in both cases this is simply not the case.
Queen Elizabeth is a ship that was built in Italy, registered in the Caribbean, captained by a German, owned by Americans and mainly crewed by South East Asians and Eastern Europeans.
Whilst you can dress anybody up in a white suit with gloves there is no guarantee that this automatically guarantees good service. The modern cruiser expects great service on a constant basis.
The crew of Queen Elizabeth miss the basic markers in guest service. Dinner in Britannia is hit or miss—sometimes exceptional with a prompt friendly service and sometimes dismal with poor food, slow lacklustre service.
Lido buffet despite the constant leaking roof from the AC (surely a major health concern) is on the whole a very good experience. But on several breakfasts we saw again a lacklustre service from a very tired looking bunch of individuals.
Several mistakes in room service ordering.
Sommeliers who smell the scent of the dollar rather than the boquet of the wine.
Perhaps the cruise lines should look at the way they treat and compensate their crews. 7 days a week, 14 hours a day for a minimum wage and depending on gratuities for a living must create a negative working environment.
It really shows on Queen Elizabeth.
I guess that as a young family travelling we were somewhat shocked by the demographic of the guests. I think it is best summed up by one guest who described it as a "floating care home". With this I guess comes a little friction between the crew and passengers the later constantly complaining about the smallest things possible and constantly demanding the impossible-(stinking staterooms not withstanding).
All I all a very very disappointing experience with Cunard. We felt that we were treated like 2nd class citizens and were made to feel like we were trying to scam a free upgrade which in our book is disgraceful. I think that it is no coincidence that Cunard were the only company to have last minute availability on all of their ships as people are looking for value for money, good service and to be treated with just a little respect.
And a final nail in the coffin for us--our final stateroom bill. It included the $209 for the 15 minute bus trip from Venice Airport to the pier despite assurances from Cunard staff that this would not be included as we had already paid for this. Back to our beloved Pursers office where I was told " well, you signed the document so you have to pay for it!!" "but I was assured that this would have to come off the bill" was my retort. "there is nothing I will do about this today, you will have to pay for it and take it up with shore side when you disembark" was the curt reply.
Placed a call from the ship to Cunard HQ in Southampton--at last service on a grand scale from the wonderful Mary(not sure if that was her real name).” I,m so sorry Mr Wise, I will deal with this now, I will call you back when resolved”--surely this shining star cannot be associated with the same people we have dealt with. Well done Mary in customer services whoever you are!!
We are home now—24 hours after leaving the ship--my wife and son are upstairs in bed with severe nausea and diarrohea as I have had as well---I will say no more. Less
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