First time cruisers BIG expectations ! Having stayed in many of the world's largest and most luxurious hotels and destinations my husband 'succumbed' to my dream of a luxury cruise for my 50th birthday. He was reluctant to join in any 'Butlins on sea' package....he was SO wrong.
I would suggest a great game for the crossing...try to find a speck of dirt or a member of staff without a smile. You won't find one!
I must say we experienced the 'moaners' Please don't judge this trip by the likes of ' the purser was so rude' and the 'we waited 20 minutes for dinner' complaints. We met these people! If this happens to you and you get stuck with the professional moaners, remember you can change your dining table easily, the maitre D is expert with this problem.
As to how anyone can criticise the food, don't be ridiculous! If you didn't like one dining option you just go to another. We travelled 'Britannia' class and would recommend this as the 'grills' class really didn't seem so much better to be honest. One evening we chose to do the 'galley option' which means watching a chef cook the food in front of you (a $10 surcharge) I wasn't impressed but that's probably due to the fact that I am an obsessed cook at home Yes, we didn't like it, what did we do? We ate some of it and then joined in the usual impeccable dinner arrangement. We could have moaned but instead ate two dinners....can't imagine how we put on weight of course. Make sure you don't miss the afternoon tea. Even 'Betty's' and tea at the Ivy couldn't match this and at no extra charge
The critics of the food seem to worry about the layout of the 'Kings Court' ..poor them...shame when you have to actually walk 20 yards to choose another eating option. I have never seen buffet dining of this standard with everything 100% fresh and more choices than you could ever wish for with presentation to match, free 'room service' option too and at any time of the day or night. The only criticism I have is that 'extra' drinks (beers and spirits & sodas) were rather expensive, cocktails at $9.95 were pricey but deliciously tempting. Make sure you budget for the alcohol & fizzy drinks (soda water at $2 was not something I was expecting) Also make sure you have your own pharmacy items (10 'band-aids' at $3.50 paracetamol at crack cocaine prices, ladies tights Â£6 for ordinary items)
I read reviews in the lines of 'You will have to work hard at being bored on this cruise' and I totally agree. You will struggle to keep up with all the activities you want to do without a highlighter pen. Events schedule is delivered to your stateroom (yes, we don't call it a cabin and please don't say 'cruise' it's a 'crossing' )we ticked off the ones we tried to fit in each day The entertainment wasn't always our 'thing' but The Cunard singers were superb and the bands wonderful. The in-house lectures had an option to watch on the in house TV whilst getting ready for dinner we felt we hadn't wasted time and still not missed anything as we didn't think they were as good as they might have been. The IT bit is great, professional lectures on various topics. The Photoshop courses were $30 and worth every penny. Dance classes were a scream with expert teachers and a great bands. The nightclub was super with a band to rival any we have seen in their genre
Tips for anyone on their first cruise, if you think you won't like any of the activities...just try it ! I'm not too comfortable accepting the fact that I actually LOVED the scarf tying & napkin folding classes (I don't even HAVE a scarf at home & fingers crossed my friends aren't reading this) Hubby managed to return from the whisky tasting class after 2 hours and I think he enjoyed it although wasn't too able to describe the experience coherently.
OVERALL.....just wonderful and will def not be our last with Cunard!