Cruise of Nov 17th out of New York , D8 cabin booked upgraded to D2 , Deck 12 inside, traveling solo.
Flew to New York via Jet Blue (excellent flight) from Fort Myers FL, not arranged by Cunard, however I did book a Hotel package with Cunard, I arrived early into New York but the Cunard rep was there. As I was the only Cunard passenger on that flight a Lincoln town car was provided to take me to the Hilton.
At Hilton, checking in was easy, the room had recently been renovated and was very clean and bright. However the agency handling the transfers hotel to ship had not left any information with the reception desk . It took two phone calls before getting this at 8.30pm This was a letter but the date of ickup from hotel to ship was given as Nov 16th , the correct date should have been Nov 17th.
If you choose to stay at the Hilton, I would suggest tht you make plans to go out to eat , there are quite a few places nearby. The Hotel itself only had one restaurent open for dinner, mostly pasta and very expensive. The breakfast is buffet style, little choice, few actual dishes, and again very expensive. I had juice, tea, sausage , tomatoe, beans, toast, and the bill was $38.
Bus to ship on 17th , was without incident, but at port a Longshore man came onto the bus before we were allowed to get off, and made it clear, the handlers expected to be paid for handling the cases to the ship. Paid $5 for one suitcase.
Cabin , normal inside cabin, I asked the steward at 1.30p.m to please leave me a full size blanket for the bed when he made up the room for the night. However at 10.30p.m when I went back to the room that night, no blanket.Called steward on cabin phone, he was off duty, called housekeeping , no service after 9.30p.m. Spoke with front desk to be told,it would be difficult to get me a blanket that late, that I should have asked for it earlier!
There were sparkles scattered over the carpet obviously from last occupants gowns, so the cabin had not been vacumed before I occupied it. Same sparkles still there when I disembarked 13 days later, so again it was obvious the cabin had not been cleaned very well in that time. Took 3 days before a robe appeared ( I had my own but not every passenger would bring one since Cunard say this is provided) One day he removed the used face cloths and failed to leave fresh ones, so had no face cloths until next day, another day same thing happened with Bath towels,I only had small hand towels for use after shower.
Dining, I was in Britannia,first seating Table 95, a table for 7, when #6 and #7 failed to appear we requested table be laid for 5. My companions were great.Two ladies from FL travelling together, a married couple from Canada, and myself. We all found the waiter very morose, he never smiled, never gave any information on the alternatives to menu ( I had to tell my table companions that). One night we were given another tables meals .
This was the first cruise out of many that I have not given extra tips 'under the table' to my cabin steward or waiter.None of other four gave any extras either.
Every evening I would go into either the Golden Lion or the Chart room for a glass of wine. In the Lion entertainment was a piano player, the the Chart Room it was either a Harpist or a String Quartet. I enjoyed both locations. Each day I would go to Sir Samuels for mid morning 'goodies', sometimes I also had a light lunch there. I also went to the Lion a couple of times, good food but the Trivia event would sometimes run over into the so called lunch hour, so the pub was very crowded and rather noisy.
There were several new shows in the Theatre, which I enjoyed, also Classical Piano recital, again very good. I did not go to the see other individual acts, but that was a personal choice.My table companions from Canada seemed to enjoy them.
Queen Room Balls, these did not start until 9.45p. and unless you went in by about 9p.m seats were difficult to find. For those travelling as a couple who liked to dance I am sure these were enjoyable. However as a senior solo traveler they had little attraction for me. My two female table companions did comment that the dance hosts seemed to dance with the same females all the time, and you would need to sit at the tables at the side of the dance floor to attract the hosts attention. The hosts did not go into the main body of the room to choose partners.
Sales tables/Photographs, The sales tables were extremely tacky, and prevented normal foot traffic . The shops themselves appeared to have limited stock, even though we had sailed from New York. In order to go from one end of ship to the other you had to 'evade' at least 4 areas set upfor portaits night after night.also in the dining room, simply saying a polite "no thank you" did not always work
As always I loved the ship itself, but felt that the service needs to be improved, There did seem to be a lack of respect for the passengers wishes It seemed that the staff's wishes,or way of doing things, were of more importance than pleasing the paying customers.