Having travelled on the Queen Victoria in 2008 we were happy to be returning and knew how beautiful the ship truly is. Because we had 4 sea days in a row going and coming from Hawaii, we decided to treat ourselves and upgraded to a Princess Gill cabin. It was worth every penny and I hope to do it again! The Princess Grill dining room was excellent and we had one of the best tables for 2 (109).
Our waiters were Rajesh and Edwin and they did an excellent job of taking care of us. The Queen Grill lounge was a nice place to relax before lunch or to enjoy afternoon tea, however it does get VERY crowded at tea time and just before lunch. Cunard might want to expand this space just a little, because at peak times compared with everywhere else onboard I felt very crowded in this space.
The embarkation at the Port of Los Angeles was the worst of all 18 cruises we've taken. We arrived at the port shortly after 11am and were handed a card with a number 3. Our cruise documents indicated we should plan to arrive a 12pm, however our documents mentioned priority embarkation and we were very eager to get onboard. After passing the security check we were told to have a seat and wait for our number to be called. After waiting for over an hour the room was quickly filling up and with no announcement or information about the delay we asked one of the staff if we would be given priority boarding, the response we got was yes, but just please sit and wait. At 12:35 a shore side staff person standing toward the front of the crowded room started calling number one, but since no one could hear clearly what she was saying, everyone just rushed for the line. We had to push our way into line and stand there for 45minute to be given our room keys. There was no priority embarkation for grill passengers and it was pretty much a free for all, we later learned it was like this all day long, even passengers arriving at 3pm were greet with long waits a bigger lines. This could have been handle much better with just a small amount of planning or thought towards passengers. We were given multiple reason for the delay but each one conflicted with the other. Our luggage was among the very last bags on board and we received them after the lifeboat drill. Just before the muster drill I went up on deck and looked over to the pier, there was 3 cages of bags left to be brought onboard and sure enough our bags were on the top of the last cage, this was NOT the priority luggage service the Cunard advertised for Gill passengers!!!
Dining and Food
We loved the Princess Grill and our table. We could eat when we wanted, however a very loud and someone ignorant group at a table for 4 seated nearby meant that we had to adjust our dining times to avoid having to listen to them argue to call the waiter by yelling "hey mister". The service was excellent and I really love flambe desserts so Thomas (Maitre'd) made sure that I had one almost every night. Our Christmas dinner was excellent. Our waiter Rajesh quickly learned that we like to play and joke around a bit, and a couple of nights later made a great joke with our menus,by giving us a menu in a different language, a few nights later we were given breakfast menu for dinner. We enjoyed most of our meals. However, there were a few entrees that we thought weren't what we'd expected them to be. The steak Diane wasn't flambe'd at the table and what was presented was a big disappointment. One of my soups didn't resemble anything like what I expected or what was described on the menu. Rajesh and Edwin (assistant waiter) were very quick to observe when it appeared we didn't like something and they discretely asked if they could replace something.
We loved our cabin and it was close by to the elevators, in fact it was too close to the elevators and there was some occasions when you could hear screaming kids running down the stairs. We were just forward one of the Carpathia suites(7070) on the port side. I wouldn't choose this location ever again, it was handy being steps from the stairs or the elevator, but I found this to be more of a sound problem. A couple of nights I was awoken because there was a service door very close by and there was linens in a huge being banged around. There was also a service closet for the suite which was beside us and when the linen carts were being stocked it banged very loudly on the cabin walls. On the last night I was kept awake for over 2 hours while the luggage dragged, thrown scraped down the service stairwell as it was being taken off the floor. By 3am after asking the staff twice to please be quiet because we couldn't sleep, I finally had to go to the pursers desk to complain.
There were some shows which we enjoyed and couple which we had to walk out of. The casino was ok, many of the slot machines really need to be updated and they could reduce the number of tables and increase some of the slots. During the busy times in the evening all of the slot machines were quite full but there was two tables were totally empty with dealer just standing around. We loved watching the Strictly Cunard competition however it was really hard to find a seat. Some of the lectures were quite interesting and overall for a longer sea voyage I would chose Cunard over any of the other lines because the daily activities are better organized.
Because of the nightmare we experienced boarding we choose self disembarkation also because I arranged for a car to take us to LAX and we had a 11:55 flight. We were the 3rd and 4th passengers off at 8:15am The shore side staff were a little more helpful this time.
I loved seeing Hawaii and it was made even more enjoyable because we did onboard my absolute favourite cruise ship!
I really hope I get to enjoy the Queen Victoria again.