My Mother, may she rest in peace, use to have a saying, "Some people would complain if they were hung with a new rope"... it must be because new ropes would be scratchy on your neck - a problem that wouldn't be worth complaining about for very long.
My wife and I just completed our 45th overall cruise on the Queen Victoria. It was our 7th on Cunard. Our theory about all the complaints we always read about in cruise reviews and hear occasionally around the ships has always been simple. People have expectations that are unreachable. That coupled with "they paid too much" for the cruise, spent too much, drank too much and toured too much on the ship's tours. You can also ad in ate too much, exercised too little and you have a recipe for complaints and discontent. See... that's pretty simple.
Oh... I almost forgot the review! We sailed on Queen Victoria from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on Dec. 6, 2011, heading to a number of places on my all time wish list. I'm 64 and my wife 56 are both retired and have been for 15 years. We flew in the morning of the cruise from Atlanta for $49.00 each on Airtran. The cab ride to Port Everglades is 3 miles and cost $14. No hotel, no lost bags, no hassles! We knew NOT to get to the ship before 3:00 pm for a 9:30 pm departure. We dropped our bags in the front receiving area and were on the ship in less than 10 min. If you get there at 11:00 am you'll wait 2-3 hours to get on the ship... but you learn a few basics after 45 cruises. When was "not knowing" a benefit? Be a traveler... not a tourist!
We booked the cruise at the last minute on line $2,400. That's not $2,400 +++. That's $2,400 period... including all port charges, taxes, fuel surcharges and gratuities... EVERYTHING! That's $75 a day per person for a room, 3 gourmet meals a day, unlimited room service, 6000 miles of transportation, 5 Broadway style shows, comedians, pianist, lectures, entertainment, computers, computer classes, 4 hours of Free computer time, a two story library with enough books to read in 100 lifetimes, 2 pools, a complete gym open 24/7, all the clean pool towels you can use, soap, shampoo, body lotions and gels, hair dryer, iron, unlimited laundry service (self), 8 countries to visit, all the coffee, tea & juices you can drink... and 2,000 of your newest friends to pal around with for 2+ weeks and who have the same things in mind that you do! . After all, you're all on the same ship! We booked a "guarantee inside" but since we've sailed Cunard 6 previous trips, and the ship was not over sold, we were bumped up to an outside cabin with a large balcony. The balconies on the 4 deck are larger than any other floors do to the design of the ship. That part was just dumb luck on our part.
Our balcony cabin on Deck 4 (4027) starboard side forward was perfectly fine for our needs, storage was sufficient with plenty of wardrobe space and large drawers under the bed. The bathroom was small but adequate. Our steward kept it spotless for us. The flat screen TV (20 inch) was a little small for the size of the room... but who goes on a cruise to watch TV?
We ate all of our dinners in the Britannia restaurant (first sitting). We didn't eat lunch in the Golden Lion Pub but played cards there occasionally and the food looked and smelled good. We took afternoon tea one afternoon in the Queen's Room. Our table mates were from Beverly Hills, CA, Belfast, Ireland and Toronto, Canada. It was the highlight of the cruise. Table mates can make or break your cruise experience. Unless you bring your on party with you it's really a crap shoot as to who you get seated next to. We just hit a home run on this cruise with ours! We enjoyed the food, for the most part, and were happy with our meals. The Salads and dressings were great, the Lobster dinner was GREAT! I ordered surf and turf... a $100 meal at a landslide eatery. Breakfast was in the Britannia when at sea and the Lido in port as my wife and I are the "first off the boat" kind of people. The Lido was always very good for breakfast and but was slow if you wanted pancakes or waffles, but otherwise good, and with the bread, meat and cheese available, we could make sandwiches to take on shore excursions, which we liked.
The ship we found to be truly lovely, like a country club, as usual with Cunard every member of the ship could not do enough for us, the food was excellent (getting too much for us by the cruise end!}, what ever we asked for the answer was 'yes'.
The Panama Canal crossing was was what we call a true "pinch yourself" moment, a wonderful day that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime. In addition, the Theater is stunning with the first opera boxes at sea. , The boxes were always full, and a lovely touch if you wanted one for a special evening. They are extra for show nights but Free for all other events in the theater.
Obviously there are going to be issues with any airline, hotel or cruise... especially when you're dealing with 2000 cruisers, not to mention an additional 1000 crew members from 100+ countries ... but our experience was that when these were brought to the attention of the proper person they were promptly addressed. We cannot speak highly enough of the officers and crew of the Queen Victoria and on the ship itself that provided all the service and comfort that was expected. We look forward to our next Cunard adventure and suggest to some of the critics should take a deep breath and enjoy themselves. Isn't that what cruising is all about?
We went on board to enjoy every day of the voyage and the Queen Victoria made it just that. We are saving up for our next Cunard adventure. When the price and time are "right", we'll be there to take full advantage. See you aboard the ship on our 46th... coming to a ship near you! Overall, we will do Cunard again in a heartbeat. What's not to like when you use a little common sense and enjoy the moment... Cheers!