NY-Hamburg-Hamburg-NY April 29-May 21, 2010
This was our third Cunard Cruise, our first with this line in 3 years, we have done 20 cruises with Princess, 8 cruises with HAL, 14 with RCCL and 12 cruises with Celebrity. We booked a B4 balcony guarantee and was upgraded to a B2 balcony. We drove to New Jersey on 4/28 and stayed overnight at a Best Western motel. The morning of the 29th we had breakfast at the motel and took the 1 ½ hour drive to Red Hook where we parked our car for 22 days. We left our bags with the porter prior to entering the terminal.
We check in and there was no line, but we had to wait in the lounge till noon when they allowed us to board. We were on the ship with in 20 minutes after the started boarding.
Cabins: The cabin 6285 (cat. B2) was attractively decorated and good sized for the price. The balcony was nice with two plastic lounge chairs and a table. The shower is similar to what we get on Celebrity with a hose and wand arrangement. Cabin service was efficient and unobtrusive. My wife enjoyed the bath robes. The bed was comfortable and my wife liked the room. The balcony was sheltered and not as windy as those on the upper decks.
Public Areas: The public areas are nice, but the ship is confusing. Finding the Queens room and ConneXions involved going down a stair and a long hall. The ship is large and feels that way. Enjoyed the Golden Lion Pub, my wife did the morning trivia each morning and I frequented the bar. They had good shows on board and we enjoyed the entertainment. There was plenty of activities to keep you busy all day including lectures and classes of all kinds. They had Planetarium shows in ConneXions and you had to pick up the free tickets early or you were out of luck, don’t miss these. They had a fine library and I read a couple books on sea day. Shops were pricey, but I got several nice things on sale. Only got a washer to due our clothes in Southampton as it was always busy. Dining: I requested 2nd seating traditional dining when I booked and I got nice table for two #115 in Britannia with a good waiter too. We ate all our evening meals here, the people around us changed 5 times during the cruise. We went to open seating for breakfast and lunch in the Britannia Dining room every day when not on tour, and always had to ask for an English menu due to the high number of Germans on board. Were seated with Germans several times and were ignored. The main dining rooms was not full due to number eating in King Court. We had snacks from the Kings Court at tea time. The Britannia restaurant was nicely decorated and the food varied from excellent to good, but not up to Celebrity standards. The food in the King Court was also good.
Tours: I did the tour to Berlin and enjoyed it despite the 4 hour bus ride at each end. It was rushed. We ate at a fine German restaurant, but the bus was 45minutes late in getting us and we has an hours stop at a museum cut to 15 minutes. You need change in Euro’s to use the bathrooms on the trip going and coming which they did not tell till we got on the bus. Missed the tour in Oslo as they combined the Germans and us English speakers and I asked to leave early to get to our tour due to my wife’s walking problem, but was given the wrong directions by the German tour guide. Enjoyed the bus tours of Copenhagen and Hamburg, both local currency was needed to use the rest facilities. Disembarkation: My car was parked at Red Hook and we had signed up for express walk off, but the dock was damaged by the Princess ship using the dock earlier in the week and we docked in Manhattan. The provided a bus for us 20 going to Red Hook, but we did not get there till 10:30 AM and I got on the road two hours later than I expected.
Overall, I was satisfied. We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on May 9th.with lunch at Todd English and dinner in the Britannia. I wrote a letter to the Captain asking for a letter on our anniversary like the Brits get in their anniversary package and I got it. That made my wife happy and we had a cake in both restaurants. The cruise stopped in both Southampton twice and Hamburg twice, Oslo and Copenhagen. On all legs of the cruise there were more Germans on board than any other nationality, except there were more Brits on the first leg. From Hamburg to Hamburg we had 2000 Germans on board and only 93 of us Americans on board. The send off we got in Hamburg was a sight to see, ships followed us down the river for two hours and the shore was lined with Germans seeing us off. They had a special lunch and tea for the Germans daily in the Winter Garden, which I enjoyed many times. They even had a German priest on board for mass from Hamburg to Hamburg. I was told for some reason the Germans love this ship, because Victoria did not get this reception when it went to Hamburg. With all the extra formal nights, 13 instead of 10, they included for the Germans my wife ran out of outfits and became tired of dressing up. They had no brochures for us Americans, but plenty for the Germans. I could not even get a quote from the future cruise consultant on several cruises I had an interested in, which is the reason I did not give them $600 for a future cruise this time. I enjoyed the cruise, but felt I was on a German ship. If I sail with Cunard again I will avoid cruises going through Hamburg.