Our flights were organised by Cunard and we had hoped for a better quality of experience than was provided. We flew by BA from Heathrow. Other passengers went from Manchester and had a very good service from Titan. While we were in cattle class with a rapid drink & sandwich thrown at us they travelled in comfort and had a hot meal on china and with metal cutlery! Top tip: go Titan if possible.
Embarkation was unremarkable and fairly rapid once our luggage was handed over to Cunard staff at Venice airport.
Our cabin (PG1) was pretty much as expected as we had had similar accomodation on the Arcadia (identical ship but with different decor & layout). We were surprised to see much less of our steward than on previous cruises but the poor man appeared to have more cabins to service than before.
The ship itself was beautifully appointed with many lovely areas for a variety of recreational activities. The Queens Grill lounge was somewhat too small to accomodate all the QG & PG passengers but the staff made noble efforts. The PG Dining Room was sufficiently luxurious that it was hard to imagine how QG could be better. Service was fairly eficient but not as friendly as on previous cruises. Some lovely touches though eg a box of diffeent strenghts of reading glasses was available for those requiring this. Staff tried hard to provide extra services such as creating special desserts at the table side. All in all no complaints about the food: from the freshly sqeezed juice at breakfast to the hand made chocolates after dinner all was as it should be at those prices.
We didnt go to the shows or attend any except the odd lecture as we were quite happy to just enjoy sailing along watching the views from the Commodore club or reading. We went to the Royal Bath House once and were quite pleased that we had managed to wangle just one days admission despite being under pressure to book for several days or the entire cruise in advance. Once was enough.
The other passengers? Well they were overwhelmingly retired and there were many with mobility problems. This sort of holiday is a very logical one for them as there is good lift access and special cabins (although I cant think that there would be enough given the sheer weight of numbers of apparently disabled people). The tours were often held up or delayed to allow for these passengers which is fair enough I suppose.
Did we enjoy the cruise? Yes but 12 days was more than enouigh for us. Would we book another such cruise? Probably not.