Mediterranean Explorer, First Cruise, won't be our last.: Queen Victoria Cruise Review by thriftycrafter
Overall Member Rating
Mediterranean Explorer, First Cruise, won't be our last.
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
The relaxation begins the moment you arrive at Southampton. We were dropped off by taxi and the bags were picked up by a porter before they could touch the ground, 20 minutes later we were on board, all checks completed, what a difference to airline check ins!
I bought a soft drinks package which turned out to be good value, the soft drinks used as mixers in my evening drinks were covered by this too, so I just paid for the Archers in my Archers and lemonade.
The staff could not be more helpful, our evening meals were wonderful, however as a table we all wanted a little more in the way of vegetables, no problem, our waiter brought us a dish of extra veg every evening, once he knew. If we couldn't decided between 2 dishes, that was fine, we had More both!
We ate at second sitting in the Britannia restaurant, and were concerned about the companions we might be matched with having opted for a table of 8. Cunard came up trumps there, it turns out all four couples were a bit worried about the same thing but we got on so well, I'm sure we'll remain firm friends for many years. It appeared that they matched us by our ages, we were the oldest!
I went to the fencing classes each sea day; a good pace but personal tuition given for each member of the group until they were happy with the techniques. Very good fun and fairly energetic.
I also joined the singing group which met at midday on sea days and put on a short concert on the last day. The choir mistress; Cordelia, and the Pianist; Gavin are humourous and made everyone feel welcome and relaxed, don't worry if English isn't your first language several of the group took part fully even though they were singing in a foreign tongue, it was lovely.
The hairdresser was very professional and did a wonderful job. The stretch classes were good. DH found the gym adequately equipped with a far more enjoyable view than our usual gym; dolphin watching while exercising.
We attended the lectures given by a brain surgeon which were informative but entertaining too. We enjoyed several films in the theatre and a few more on TV. Afternoon tea was pleasant and a nice opportunity to meet other guests. Tea was accompanied by a young harpist who played beautifully, all the live music was superb with a string quartet or the harpist playing on the formal nights in the dining room.
There is so much to do that you have to pick your activities carefully, the lectures on upcoming ports were repeated on the TV, so you don't need to attend if it clashes with something else you'd like to do, a pity I discovered this too late.
The food in all areas was wonderful, we ate at the Lido's Asado (Argentinian) alternative dining option one evening which was good value; $10 extra pp, the Lido looked quiet different from it's usual daytime buffet with the tables clothed appropriately.
We discovered that there are cookies available to have with your coffee mid-morning, but you have to ask for them, otherwise there is so much food available all the time you are spoiled for choice.
Being the school holidays there were some children aboard, but on the whole they were not noticeable.
I had been warned that we might find the older people to be more of a nuisance, but didn't find that so either. Everyone we spoke to was friendly and interesting, the one exception being an amusing character who was over confident and you find those everywhere.
We knew about the tipping policy and had decided to get our heads round it and go with it, however, 2 couples on our table withdrew from the blanket tipping option and tipped those they wanted to at the beginning and end of the cruise, their choice. Less
Cabin review: 5090
Sunbathing is not an option as there is a balcony above, so you don't get enough sun to sunbathe. You do get a super view and we sometimes sat inside with the curtains open to look out when it was cool. It is worth going for a balcony, we wouldn't want to have missed all the arrival and departure views, and the chance to nip out quickly to see passing dolphins.The one little fault we could find was that our metal table had paint flaking off, which spoiled the luxury feel of the cabin, otherwise apart from not being able to turn off the air-conditioning (no one can) we couldn't fault it. Chairs outside were very comfortable.I had read complaints about the showers, if you are over 6'2" you will find them too low, if you are on the large side you may find them small, we are as padded as your average 50 somethings and had no problems.Beds very comfortable, fridge roomy enough.Hair drier a bit weak, so if you like a gutsy one bring your own, it didn't bother me, but one of our friends went and bought another in Spain.There were enough coat hangers, but you can ask for more if you need them.
Seemed like a training cruise
Overall a great experience