We sailed from L.A. to Hawaii roundtrip of 14 days on Cunard's Queen Victoria. It was very different from any other cruise line. It was a very British experience, with maybe 60% of the passengers of the old colonial British Empire set. We dressed for dinner. We attended formal Balls. We had afternoon tea and scones from white-gloved waiters. We went to shows where we sung old music-hall songs and waved our Union Jack Flags to 'Land of Hope And Glory', and we observed all of the dress-code rules, including having Hats for Ascot,
Masks for Masquerade, and Bustles for Victorian Balls.
Ex-pat Brits (such as we) really loved it, but we can see that it might not be
so jolly for everyone. We didnt like the 2 class Grills/Britannia system. The ship projected the eliteness of priviledge to which we were supposed to aspire. I left the UK to get rid of that.
By the way, the stage shows were the best of any that I have seen on any cruise. Very professional, amazing dancing, ballet, costumes, singing and staging. Also the internal decor for the theater, the Queens Lounge/Ballroom,
the bars, the lounges.....just amazing. The panelling, carpeting, and lounge chairs were like being in an exclusive London club. Nowhere was crowed.
So why cant I give this a full 5-star rating? We did find the British cultural thing a bit over-whelming by the end. But there were some issues.
First the food was British 'gourmet', meaning that courses were fussed with cosmetic minutia and you often had to ask what you had ordered because it didnt look like what you had ordered. The Brittania dining experience was very poor....about the worst ever among major cruise lines. The Lido was spacious, and at least had 24/7 fruit drinks and ice cream, but they did manage to mess up the scrambled eggs...a cardinal sin. Generally, not much selection and a low-budget affair. But we loved the pub lunches at the Golden Lion.
The second issue was that the ship was poorly designed above deck. The two outdoor pools were just boxes. No childrens pool. The walking spaces were not available to make a complete loop on any deck. The two-class 'Grills' system kept us riffraff out of some of the high-deck areas. We had a nice stateroom (A4 deck 5) but it had a very small balcony overlooking a lifeboat...almost useless. The very comfortable bedding, towels, and facilities were excellent.
The final issue was that we suspected that the ship may have real issues since it traversed almost calm water with excessive pitching...up and down. On it's first sea trials, surely someone said 'Oh, my God.....?"...the rear pool was flat, while the front pool was roped off for huge waves.
I would like to try the QM2 for 10 days, but will revert to HAL for future cruises.