November 8-11 Cunard Queen Mary 2.
firstly I have to congratulate Cunard for any company that can organise and turn a 2 day trip into such a chaotic nightmare deserves some kind of accolade....."worst cruise line in the world" possibly....however no; there's actually one in Zimbabwe even worse!
Following a 90 minute queue just to reach the terminal (not necessarily the fault of Cunard) we arrive at Dock Gate 4. The QM2 is booked to leave from Mayflower Terminal. I know this because all the literature I have confirms this yet when I called Cunard to recheck this on 4th November they confirm it is from Berth 46 and not The Mayflower.
So, Cunard knew 4 days prior to this trip that the terminal had been changed yet made NO attempt to inform customers via text or email of the change. The result was many, many hundreds of passengers attempted to reach the "wrong" terminal.
We arrive at the car park for self parking where we find the staff who are directing traffic really quite rude. They may know the drill as regards where we park for which ship however I don't and dismissive hand gestures really don't speed up the process.
We arrive at a terminal where Artemis is situated. Chaos then ensues, we wait and wait and wait and wait and wait and wait. No information is given out and quite frankly we are treated like mushrooms. We aren't told that we can walk from the waiting area to the ship. Staff, when asked, freely give everyone the explanation that Artemis has failed to sail the day previously and is occupying the berth which QM2 should be on. This initial explanation is later superseded by the Captain of QM2 and indeed does not accord with the knowledge that Cunard knew on 4th November that QM2 would not be on The Mayflower Terminal where, indeed, Queen Elizabeth was situated on November 8.
We nearly arrive on board only to have to have "boarding" pictures taken.. you know the ones they sell to you later on! Didn't buy one as by this time we are finding it difficult to smile.
There are no apologies offered at any time.
Safety drill is put back to 5.00 p.m. via messages from the Captain. The drill has now been deferred twice. Meanwhile, we attempt to eat in the self service area only for the crew to stop us. Eventually, the crew disappear and people begin to raid the food as do we; for we haven't eaten since 09.00 hours.
Dinner in The Britannia Restaurant is excellent and we leave to explore the ship. It becomes clear that a number of corporate groups are on board (is this normal?). Not sure I'm really comfortable with this concept which I really hadn't expected.
Entertainment on night one is via Alan Stewart who is quite good whilst night 2 is a series of love songs provided by a group of dancers/singers at the standard of a poor local church hall performance. Bizarre! We leave half way through.
Disembarkation! I search my cabin for information and apart from a statement about "self-help" I can find none. The cabin steward should have left us this information yet failed to do so then makes it clear to us at 08.40 that he wants us out of our cabin! I ring the purser who advises me that I should go to the Queens Room at 09.20 and wait there "to be escorted off the ship". At 09.20 all 500 people have still had no information via runner or tannoy so we make our own way to the gangway to be followed by the remaining people in the Queens Room.
The experience of embarkation/disembarkation is not one I will ever experience again for nothing will ever entice me to sail with this disorganised excuse for a cruise company ever again. I have thought of making a complaint direct to Cunard however I'm not looking for a future discount hence what's the point? They must surely know already how bad they are!
We met with a number of people who all eventually asked the question, "would you sail with them again"? The answer was always an emphatic "NO!"
What a public relations disaster! I actually felt sorry for the people who were staying on board for the trip to New York!
Makes you think how efficiently this lot could evacuate a ship in an emergency? Fortunately I'll never find that out.