Embarked at New York after a $25 cab ride from the Waldorf. Our taxi driver didn't know the location of the pier, I'm told this goes for many as I had embarked here last year with Crown Princess. Embarkation was smooth and pleasant.
On entering the ship it was nice but lacked a wow factor. Our cabin Steward did his job but was surly and uncommunicative. The worst we had. However we reckoned he was far from home at Christmas so were understanding and tried to be pleasant to him.
Otherwise the vast majority of staff encountered casually around the ship never failed to greet us.
Our cabin was on Deck 5 the 2nd from the end and we discovered it was a disabled cabin. There was a lot of room for a wheelchair but this meant a lack of wardrobe and seating space. We had no settee and one chair at the dressing table and one at a small table in beside the bathroom. Only way to watch TV was in bed. Poor wardrobe facilities for a female on a 14 night cruise - what if there had been 2 of us? Toilet products were provided, we had to ask for robes. Nice touch at christmas to give each cabin a paper weight.
The ship is enormous and very long. Imagine what we felt when we would be at 1 end away from the cabin and realized we had forgotten something! Such a chore to go back. Timing became essential as we found whenever we had to be somewhere at a particular time planning had to be done about getting there. The ship is difficult to find your way around because of the size and the number of public rooms. We only found 2 on the last day. This is one reason I would never sail on her again.
Dining (we were in Britannia)was just ok. Food choices were poor in comparison to other ships. My husband asked for a plain steak one night and was refused!!!! This is unheard of in cruising (we have cruised 20 times. Our waitress was surly, poor and slow. We discovered she had been a waitress only 4 months as 30% of staff had been called to QV and others then promoted. She obviously had no clout in the dining room. It was our poorest service ever. We dined in Kings Court during the day which was ok. Desserts were like cardboard and repetitive. At breakfast the chef refused to make me fresh pancakes - the batter was behind him and breakfast service was in midstream. Omelettes, burgers, sandwiches due to the size of the service station were too slow to wait for. There are 4 parts to Kings Court and often hubby would want 1 thing from the 1st and I from the last - so where do you sit, arrange to meet without food going cold? This would also put me off sailing on this again. The Golden Lion pub food was excellent and service was great. Ship does not allow for eating ones breakfast on deck as there are no facilities allowing for this and setup of Kings Court does not allow for this either.
Entertainment was poor in variety and quality and anyone I spoke to commented on it. However Christmas eve, night and New Years eve were filled with enjoyment and fun, although again the shows were poorly attended. attendance at shows was poor due it seems to the poor quality.
The library was good, a great variety of books.
Shops were as you expect no worse than any other line. Gym was terrific, the 1st time I've used one on land or sea.
Tour excursions - we did our own except for 1 day my husband golfed and there was no cunard rep with them and the bus left him and 3 others behind meaning they had to dash in a taxi for the ship. However he got a 50% refund which was great. The complaint however was ignored for 2 days and only acknowledged when we put it in writing.
The pool areas were so plain a child of 5 asked to draw a swimming pool could have done it. I suppose this is because it does so much transatlantic work outdoor areas are not needed. But my goodness, anything would have been better than this drab effort. My husband is a smoker and was appalled at the lack of outdoor smoking arrangements ie. one fixed ashtray in middle of the ship on deck 8.Plenty of inside smoking areas (which he doesn't agree with).
Great that there was mass everyday and interdenominational services when appropriate. Nice for a holiday cruise. On Christmas eve Midnight Mass and carols around the tree were lovely.
All in all an elegant ship but not one you would raise an eye at. Service was the poorest we have ever encountered, we were never made to feel special and no-one ever went out of their way for us. No cruise is bad but this is the poorest we have ever taken and by the sound of each and every experienced cruiser on board they were in FIRM agreement. I will not cruise with Cunard again, they need to learn how to treat people well and take tips from Princess, P&O, Celebrity, even Thompson could show them a thing or 2.