My husband and I signed up for Cunard's Christmas/New Year's cruise leaving from Brooklyn, 15 days, to the Caribbean on the Queen Mary 2. It was my husband's first cruise, as I had taken one on Royal Caribbean before to the Mediterranean, and loved it. We had heard that Cunard was one of the best, luxurious cruise lines around.
The boarding process was definitely much more complicated than my other cruise, which I didn't understand, as we were to be in a higher category of room. The room itself was fine, once we got there.
The excitement, of the cruise, however, quickly dissipated within the first few days of being on board. I don't think we met one person on this cruise, who had been on Cunard before, who didn't tell us how far downhill the line has gone in its quality of experience, food, etc.
Three days after we left New York, the main doctor on board announced that the noravirus was on the ship and spreading. We, of course, had no idea what the virus was or how it was spread. People were asked to start using hand sanitizer. On my only other cruise (with a friend) staff stood at the entrance to all restaurants and made sure everyone used it from the first day. We now had 11 days left on this cruise.
We soon saw that people in our short corridor had it. Staff were wearing masks to clean the rooms. Then we saw other staff wiping down elevators and hand rails. Too little, too late. On our way to Christmas dinner, we had to step over a pile of vomit on the way out of the elevator. Still over a week to go.
We went to the purser's desk and asked if we could disembark. We felt trapped in our room (although they stopped vacuuming it for several days for some reason), taking as many excursions as we could. But I always dreaded having to get back on the ship. It was a horrible feeling of anxiety and isolation. The woman at the purser's desk was unbelievably rude and arrogant. She told us we could disembark (NO help from the cruise line, however), but that we would receive no type of reimbursement. We have done extensive travel, worldwide, and have never received this type of treatment. She wouldn't even answer our questions about Center of Disease Control contact.
What did we learn? We will never cruise again. Seriously consider doing a cruise this long with this line. Check the CDC's web site to check sanitation ratings, although these statistics are only what the cruise ship reports to them. The report for our cruise said 8% of the passengers had it. We believe that is way too low for what we saw.