This was our second cruise, the first with Cunard, our first was with Princess last year. We booked just 3 weeks before departure and felt that we got a good price. The price included all flights and transfers.
The flight was from Manchester with Titan, I had not heard of them before and speaking to fellow passengers no others had either. That said, the flight was fine, nothing fancy but professional cabin crew and a good seat pitch. All went well. We arrived at Venice and collected our luggage and then followed the Cunard staff to our coach that took us to the QE. Yes you have to stand in line for a while – max 10 minutes - but staff were polite and professional.
Our stateroom had a balcony and was absolutely fine. We travelled with our teenage daughter and she had the sofabed, so at night room was a little tight but that's what you get with 3 in a cabin. The room was very well serviced by our attendant. No smells from the bathroom.
Booking late we were allocated an early dining time of 6pm, we would have wished for 8:30, but it worked out ok. The food was excellent, I'm not sure what some people expect – if you want better, pay to go to the grill. Yes the wines were expensive (minimum $40) but no-one twists your arm and you can take modest amounts of wine onboard. The service was friendly and polite. It did feel a little rushed at times – I guess that's the 2 sitting system, but again if you want to take your time pay for the grill.
The ship itself is sumptuously appointed, no signs of damp, sewerage smells, dripping water etc. that have been mentioned in previous reports There are many areas to explore and find a quiet spot if that's what you want.
We enjoyed the formal nights and the dancing in the Queens Ballroom, there were people of all abilities including some passengers that could dance to a very high standard and were a delight to watch – and envy! We shuffled around and nobody cared.
The Lido restaurant is a buffet style serving meals throughout the day. The food is good/very good and there is a wide choice. Tables can be at a premium at busy times as can sunbeds around the pools. But its is possible to arrive late and get a table or sunbeds with a little wait.
Drinks on board are pricey and the 15% compulsory gratuity is “annoying” particularly as passengers have already automatically contributed to the daily gratuity system.
We found the entertainment good with some decent acts in the theatre and the ships band were excellent. There was a wide range of activities during the day and night. The nightly pub quiz was very well attended.
We are fifty-somethings and our daughter is 18. The demographics are perhaps a little older on average but there were some infant children, teenagers and couples in their 20's, 30's and 40's too. The majority of passengers were British with a good mix of Americans and Australians with a few Germans, Spanish and Italians. All the people we met onboard – at our dining table, around the pool, in the pub – where ever, were nice engaging people. e met a couple from Liverpool who were on their 28th cruise! They have cruised with Cunard many times and were very very happy so they have many past experiences on which to base their opinion. I would agree with them.
Our trip was not without issues – the card reader on our stateroom door broke but it was fixed with little fuss in an efficient and professional fashion. On return we were dropped of at Athens airport some 3 hours before the flight, however the desk didn't open until 2 hours before the flight, I'm sure Cunard would have known. Did it spoil the holiday? NO. Would I go again with Cunard? YES.