Cunard advertise their holidays as 5* but having travelled on the Queen Mary 2 as a disabled passenger I struggle to give them 1*.After the travel agent told Cunard my husband was disabled and in a wheel chair and that we would have to have oxygen equipment installed in our room - they said this wasn't a problem and they send us the relevant paperwork to complete.
We booked our holiday and we paid for a balcony room on the 11th deck. We were asked if we would take a free upgrade to the 12th deck - we accepted thinking as it was an upgrade it should be better. We were sent the disability form to complete and we notified them again that oxygen would need to be installed in the room. We booked in the Hilton Hotel, Southampton as this was advertised in the Cunard Brochure we booked our cruise from. I requested a disabled room and paid with my credit card a month before we were due to sail - and I arranged for oxygen to be delivered to the hotel. When we arrived at the hotel they didn't have any disabled rooms left, this resulted in my husband being unable to shower the next morning. Service at the hotel that night was appalling there was a two hour wait for a table for an evening meal and we waited 90 minutes for a sandwich and a drink. Being on medication you need to eat food and this caused us further problems. The next morning was no better 1hr wait for a table for breakfast again a problem if you need to take medication.
The bus taking us from the Hilton to Southampton Docks had seen better days. As my husband is disabled we were allowed to board the bus before all the able bodied people. As we carry portable oxygen with us I was asked to leave my hand luggage with the wheelchair and was assured it would be with the wheelchair when we got off at Southampton. As my husband and I were waiting to get off the bus I could see my hand luggage being taken away. I got off the bus and caught up with it (it contained all my husband medication and I hadn't put a label on it as I expected it to be with me at all times). I now had my husband sitting in a wheelchair with my hand luggage and portable oxygen and the bus driver is trying to move off with me and my husband in the way. I asked the luggage porters who are milling around for help but no one will help me.I manage to move my husband and everything out of the way with no help from the porters. I managed to move us to the area that you can request help and a porter was found and took us to the 12th deck. On the way to our deck the porter told us that we couldn't access all the banks of lifts as the 12th deck had restricted lift access - this meant we had further to walk when ever we left our room or made our way back.Oxygen equipment which I had arranged was delivered and installed in our room.
Just after we left port a motor started up somewhere below us and the whole room started vibrating - I had my bag on the bed and it was up and down. With severe medical problems we should not have been put in a room with severe vibration and due to the oxygen equipment being installed we couldn't ask to be moved - it did cause my husband problems through out the trip.
The crew were not very disabled friendly - when we have cruised on other ships if they see someone arriving with a wheelchair they offer you assistance in finding a table not on Cunard there is not offer of any help. The quality of the food very disappointing as its suppose to be 5*. Trips not very well organised for disabled -â€“ one trip we booked the guide said follow me and he was going down steps - I asked him how can I follow with the wheelchair and he replied *find your own way down to the 1st deck and we will meet you by the bus* being fit i was ok for me but somebody elderly may not have found their way on their own to the bus. When we did get to the bus the sits allocated for disabled people had been taken up by the able bodied people so once again you were disadvantaged due to mobility problems.
Getting off the ship at the end of the holiday is not very friendly - on the morning of disembarkment no help is offered from your room, you must find your own way down to 3rd deck and then help is available. The guy in charge of this has no idea how to organise anything, to cut a long story short after 1hour of waiting I asked how much longer we would be as my husband needed to go back on his oxygen supply - He put the clipboard in my face and said if I could do a better job than him to do it. Then he turned to one of the porters and shouted so everyone heard *we had better get rid of Mr Williams now*.
We boarded the bus back to the Hilton and the driver said he couldn't take my husbands wheelchair because people had too much luggage but he did relent in the end. On the way back to the hotel we had a mini crash - and driver didn't even ask if we the passengers were OK. For disabled people I would not recommend the Hilton Southampton or sailing on Queen Mary 2. Even through the shore excursions are labelled as low, medium and high you need to also take in to consideration the gang ramps you need to use to get off the ship at any of visiting ports not very disabled friendly on this cruise. Also, if this had been our first cruise we would never cruise again but I do know that other cruise liners treat disabled people with dignity and respect. Considering we also paid 22$ a day in tips on top of the cost of the holiday for service we didn't receive.