We arrived at Heathrow and traveled to Southampton by car. The boarding process was smooth although made a little tedious. We had arrived early and although the pre-trip information stated boarding would begin at Noon, we watched 'priority' passengers begin boarding around 11:00. Once we were called the process was smooth and we were in our cabin by around 12:30.
The cabin lived up to our expectations. We requested the bed in the king configuration--which worked well and likely gives just a little more space. Bathroom is small but this is a ship--I don't expect a large bathroom unless paying for premium stateroom. The provided bathrobe and slippers were a nice touch. We enjoyed the balcony--we were about midships, just below the Lido Restaurant. We had been upgraded from an A4 cabin. I overheard someone complaining about the noise from above but we only heard rolling carts at various times--not enough to disturb us. Perhaps there are cabins in other areas on the same deck that are more subject to noise disturbance--we experienced none really. This was my first experience with a balcony and we did enjoy--especially my cigar-smoking partner.
This was also my first experience on a ship larger than about 1,000 passengers. I found the QV to be comfortable and did not feel crowded. I don't think I would like to try a larger ship but who knows what the future may bring.
The Lido was great for breakfast, lunch, and snacking. I also enjoyed being one deck below the Lido entrance where I could get a cup of tea whenever I wanted.
The overall decor pays homage to Cunard's history and I enjoyed walking the stairs, seeing paintings of various ships, and photographs of famous past passengers. The mid ship area around the pavilion pool is very nice, as is the back, open deck on deck 8. We did not have great weather so I didn't use the outside areas as much as I would have liked.
Dinners were excellent. We (first seating) were seated at a table right near a window on the first level of the Britannia. I appreciate the fact that QV sticks to the formal night atmosphere (there were 3) and turns people away from the dining room if not in 'proper' attire. I really dislike having formal nights on a ship where some people turn up in jeans and a t shirt.
There 2 days at sea and 4 ports. I appreciated the courtesy shuttle at Dublin and Bilbao. Our captain was particularly likable. First captain I've encountered who enjoys his social responsibilities as much as his naval chores.
All in all a very nice experience. I've signed up for another QV cruise--in November of this year.