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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The schedule and scenery was amazing - but our experience of the ship was not good. This was only the third time that Cunard had ventured into these waters. We were interested to go with Cunard as we feel we are culturally more aligned ... Read More
The schedule and scenery was amazing - but our experience of the ship was not good. This was only the third time that Cunard had ventured into these waters. We were interested to go with Cunard as we feel we are culturally more aligned with Britain than the US (being from Australia) and there were some great things such as the high tea at 3 pm on the ship. However, we had some major issues with this ship and some of the staff. Very different to other cruise experiences. Embarkation was dreadful - we had to wait until 3 pm to enter after arriving at 7 am on a 15 hour international flight...had to line up for 1.5 hours to get through US customs....then there was no welcome or help when we eventually boarded - I had to beg a staff person to direct us to our room. We entered the room and it was filthy - had not been cleaned from the previous trip and had medical debris around the room - blood soaked tissues, tablets etc....this was the beginning of our distrust of the ship....although the housekeeper was very remorseful and apologetic which was helpful. After paying substantial more money to enjoy a deck and fresh air....we got a metal balustrading on the deck which meant you could not see out - had to lean on the balustrading and could not look out from the lounges or inside on the bed. The deck was located above the crew smoking area so if we went out on the deck - or opened our door to get fresh air into the room, we were flooded with cigarette smoke and later on ,a strong paint smell.....very upsetting .....however the meals were generally ok and the service in the restaurant was lovely. the best thing was the naturalist , Rachel Cartwright, who narrated a lot of the cruise, provided lectures and provided information to guests if required. Staff were generally unhappy and this was unsettling as a guest - there was no sense of joy and excitement from them....no welcome when you returned to the ship after an excursion. Shore excursions were abysmal - we booked three but cancelled the third one due to disappointment with the first two - booked two external excursions which were amazing due to the local tour operators....Cunard used university students from the southern states who had no connection to the area and were annoyingly facile in their approach. Entertainment was geared to the over 80's and on-board activities were sparse, involved extra cost and were not interesting - also for the over 80's - they sure needed more breadth of genre of music The gym was pretty good thankfully....if you liked ballroom dancing, there was opportunity to dance every night....so loved the visit to the area and the sense of being in such an amazing wilderness area - but we will be avoiding Cunard in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I have been on 10+ cruises but this was my first Cunard experience. Embarkation went smoothly in Vancouver, not the fastest but not the worst either. Our room was large (accessibility means lots of space) with a large balcony. ... Read More
I have been on 10+ cruises but this was my first Cunard experience. Embarkation went smoothly in Vancouver, not the fastest but not the worst either. Our room was large (accessibility means lots of space) with a large balcony. Enough storage space for all our clothes. The food in the Main dining room was good, a good variety of appetizers and mains and always yummy desserts. The downfall of the main dining room, in my opinion is the stringent dress code. Men are required to wear a sports jacket most nights which may or may not included a tie. If you walk in the dining room sans a tie,, the maitre de will hand you one before you can enter. I know people will say you should have know that ahead of time and yes we did but didnt think theyd be so strict. Therefore we ate in the Lido which had a more relaxed attire. Over all, as most cruises I have been on, the staff go out of their way to make you happy. An example of going above and beyond was our room steward, Alfredo. As a power wheelchair user, I need to charge my chair every couple of days. At the end of one day, I plugged the charger into my chair and nada. I first thought it was a charger issue but it turns out there wasnt enough juice coming thru the rooms electricity.. Alfredo go in contact with guys in the electric depot, who came and got my chair in the evening, charged it fully and brought it back in the am. I cannot emphasis enough how much this saved me. I was on a 10 day cruise and on day 2 my battery was dead. We were wondering what were our options, it was highly doubtful we would find a new one in Alaska. My eternal debt is to Alfredo! So if you are a power chair user, this is your heads up. My only real peeve is, ok I have 2 Firstly, their excursion personnel via email or in person has 0 knowledge of what an accessible excursion is. I explained I need a lift to get on any transportation and they had no clue where to get access info. I would have thought with the average age of their guests which was 65+, theyd have a clue. I gave up on them and booked my excursions straight from the company. My last peeve was disembarkation. They advise if you want to self disembark, we live in Vancouver, go to the Queens lounge by 7:20am with you luggage. We did as such and we waiting for over an hour with no staff around to organize the situation and alot of pissed off passenger. Eventually we gave up waiting, headed to the elevators with a huge crowd following us, to fight for an elevator with the other wrinklys. Good fun. A good trip but Cunard wont see us again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Having read some of the reviews of Queen Elizabeth cruises I was having some concerns about this Alaska cruise. Different people have different experiences, even on the same voyage, and I was pleased we enjoyed our June 10-day cruise very ... Read More
Having read some of the reviews of Queen Elizabeth cruises I was having some concerns about this Alaska cruise. Different people have different experiences, even on the same voyage, and I was pleased we enjoyed our June 10-day cruise very much. We had been on this ship only once before and that was in Princess Grill. This time we were in a Britannia balcony stateroom. Embarkation in Vancouver can be chaotic, but some improvements in the procedure have been made since our last cruise from that port four years ago. Although we are now top-tier members of Cunard’s loyalty programme and entitled to preferred check-in we were given a time of 3:00 p.m. Our travel agent phoned Cunard and was told that we need pay no attention to that and can expect to board at 12:15. I have made comments in the appropriate Cruise Critic forum about the Vancouver embarkation so will not elaborate, other than to say there is still a lot of walking to do and going up to the convention level then back down again, but we did not have to stand for any length of time. We did arrange for a wheelchair for me wife who can’t walk long distances or stand for a long time. Cunard permitted early boarding (about 11:00) with the understanding that staterooms would be available between 12:00 and 12:30. We had arrived at the baggage drop-off area to receive the wheelchair assistance at 10:45 and were sipping tea in the ship’s Lido at 11:15. I am not going to complain about the weather, but anyone unfamiliar with a cruise to Alaska is advised to be prepared for anything, except maybe a summer snow-storm. On our previous Alaska cruise four years ago there was not a drop of rain. This time we had plenty and it was quite cold on deck, but comfortably cool in the ports. I brought a light toque, scarf and gloves for my walks on deck. The décor of the ship appeals to me very much. Some, but not all, of the interior public rooms are, to me, superior to the equivalent on the Queen Mary 2. The Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Court Theatre, the grand lobby and the library are more pleasing to my taste. If a ship could combine the best of the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth it would be a perfect ship. We had been given a slight upgrade to a rather odd-shaped stateroom. One wall was longer than the other, so the balcony door and window were on a sharp angle. This provided a two-sided balcony that was about double the usual size. It was noticeably bigger than the Princess Grill balconies, which are actually quite small. Being on Deck 4, the forward view was mostly blocked by a life-boat, but as we had not paid the higher rate for this accommodation I couldn’t complain. The food and service in the Britannia restaurant was very good indeed. The timings of the two dinner sittings had been changed for these Alaska voyages, with the first being at 5:30 and the second at 7:45. I expect that many on the first sitting would find the earlier time to be inconvenient, but we had chosen the second sitting and the time was perfect. When we travel in the Grills we usually go to dinner at 7:45, so this was convenient for us. Cunard continues to excel at afternoon tea in the Queen’s Room. On all but one day - when there was an orchestra and two singers with loud and rather unpleasant voices - the string orchestra or harpist or pianist provided suitable music to enhance the enjoyment of the tea experience. The tea itself was sometimes a bit weak. We saw one gentleman bring his own loose tea and strainer and made his own brew. I won’t comment on the ports as much has been written about them in other reviews. The entertainment on board, as usual with Cunard, provides for all tastes. There are many interesting talks. I despise the “big shows” in the theatre. To assure myself nothing has changed I poked my head in a few times for 30 seconds. There was an acrobatic duo one night which my wife and I enjoyed. Fortunately there was always something soothing after dinner: the stings, harpist or pianist in the Grand Lobby or the Commodore Club. In respect to those who live close to the ship’s docks, Cunard (and I suppose other cruise lines) do not broadcast any outdoor messages on the tannoy nor do they have the usual loud sail-away music on departure. I appreciated this as I did not have to avoid the rear open decks in order to protect my eardrums. Some people complain about the dress code. I will complain, but for reasons not often seen in a review. Since the retirement of the QE2 in 2008, Cunard has been dumbing down the dress standards. The number of formal nights (now called gala) was a paltry two on this 10-night cruise. I have not seen a ratio like this before on Cunard. The last time we were on this ship was a seven-night cruise to Norway on which there were three formal nights. I have never gone to dinner on a Cunard ship without a jacket and tie and have no intention to start doing so. By no means was I the only one. There were many men who dressed traditionally. On “smart attire” nights, except for the first night, the description was “jacket – tie optional”. I must say the two gala nights were glamorous affairs and I heard no grumbling about this. I suppose those who dislike this tradition ate in the cafeteria. The “senior officers party” for those at the top two levels of the Cunard World Club was held at 11:00 a.m. The dress code was “smart attire – jacket optional.” I was pleasantly surprised that most people dressed well. A few men even wore tuxedos and some women wore evening dress, including one elegant lady in a white ball gown with a fur wrap. Perhaps this was a little over the top at 11:00 a.m. There were no other ships in Vancouver on our day of arrival. Due to our Diamond level status we were called ashore at 8:20, just five minutes after the Grills passengers. Getting a taxi was easy. This voyage deserved four and a half stars, but as that option isn’t available I gave four stars. Five stars may imply perfection. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because it was a ten day round trip itinerary that left and returned to Vancouver. It didn't' go to Glacier Bay, but the times in port were good and the ten day itinerary allowed us to visit extra ports. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a ten day round trip itinerary that left and returned to Vancouver. It didn't' go to Glacier Bay, but the times in port were good and the ten day itinerary allowed us to visit extra ports. We were also hoping to get some dancing in because we'd found the dance floor on our previous cruise was far too small. The cruise more than met our expectations. We had some lovely table mates in the main dining room and the food was excellent. We usually ate in the Lido for lunch and tea and very much enjoyed the food there as well. It had some great views . The tea in the Queen's Ballroom was also fantastic. The ports were great. We did a private tour with Wild Wolf Tours in Ketchikan and very much enjoyed it. In Juno, we took the shuttle to the Mendenhall Glacier and were glad we'd chosen the tour that gave us the most time there. In Skagway, we took the train to Bennett Lake and the bus back. It was a great experience, but next time I might go for a smaller tour so that we'd have more flexibility. In Icy Strait, I went whale watching while my husband stayed on shore and watched the whales breaching behind our boat. Luckily we some some on the boat as well as eagles, sea otters, and sea lions. Our Captain and crew showed their true colours at the Hubbard Glacier because they were able to manouver us very close to the glacier. We had a great view of the glacier calving and the small boat tour didn't get that much closer to the glacier (maybe 200 metres) than we did. The naturalist on board was very impressed with how close we got. In Sitka, we walked around the port by ourselves and found it very easy to do and I particularly enjoyed the walk in the Natural Park with the huge trees. In Vancouver, we took the ships tour to Butchart Gardens, but I found it very rushed and would have preferred longer in the gardens. A private excursion that would let you take as long as you want would have been nicer. There were a few dance groups on this cruise, so there were some high level dancers. This lead to a packed and intimidating dance floor in the Queen's Ballroom, so we often went up to the yacht club and danced there because it was less intimidating. However, I was able to hold my own during the line dance lessons and we eventually got up the nerve to dance on the floor in the Queen's Ball room and we did fine. We also enjoyed the shows in the theatre. They had a new one every night and we always managed to find a seat if we left our cabin about 15 minutes before the show started. My biggest disappointment with the cruise was the fact that they cancelled the line dance and ball room lessons on the last sea day because the dance classes are the favourite part of my sea days. But all in all, it was an excellent cruise. They staff seemed happy and pleasant and we really enjoyed our waiters in the Britannia and the dance couple that taught the lessons. We plan to go on another Cunard cruse again because it seems to do the three things we like to do on a cruise very well (dance, read a book (their library was fantastic), and promenade around the deck). We were the only ship disembarking in Vancouver and I found the process fairly well organized. We waited in the theatre until they called our deck and then proceeded to the gangway where I picked up the ulu knife that had been confiscated after I went shopping in Ketchikan. They showed us to the deck five luggage area and we picked up our bags and got into the taxi lineup. It took us about an hour to get through that lineup, but it was an organized process where we snaked through the lineup corral until we were given a taxi stand to stand at. Anyone needing a handicapped vehicle was sent through a different lineup and I noticed that they did allow someone who I suspect had issues standing jump the taxi lineup corral and go straight to the assigned taxi station just before ours. Our disembark time was 9:10 and I think we got off the ship at 9:25 and we made it to the airport by 11. If a lot of ships were disembarking at once, I would probably consider the ships shuttle instead of the taxi even though it was more expensive. I our case, I knew we'd have time to do the taxi lineup because our flight wasn't due to leave until 1pm. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We took a family party of 8, ages 5-73 on this to experience Alaska for the first time. We had 3 balcony cabins near the bow on level 5. The ship, was outstanding, elegant, and British-traditional in an updated version. I would recommend ... Read More
We took a family party of 8, ages 5-73 on this to experience Alaska for the first time. We had 3 balcony cabins near the bow on level 5. The ship, was outstanding, elegant, and British-traditional in an updated version. I would recommend this cruise and ship to anyone wanting to see Alaska. I feel it necessary to contradict some of the negative reviews about the crew made by others. Our cabins were excellent, the stewards were friendly and attentive, responding to our requests, and dining was varied enough to suit the tastes of our 3 generation party. Britannia was excellent, food, service and setting. Not a single time did we feel the staff was inattentive or anything less that friendly and professional. Lido was excellent for buffet breakfast and lunch. Never overcrowded, clean, beautiful views, good food, good variety. Port selection was good, and excursions were generally worthwhile. If you are booking these, I caution you that there will be much less time at the sites you visit, and in Port, than you would think, based on the overall port time and the advertised length of the excursion. Once you deduct the boarding and travel time from the advertised length of the excursion, and build in the desired margin to reboard the ship timely, you generally will feel very rushed, and will find shore time in Port rushed or non-existent. Cunard should provide a realistic estimate of the ACTUAL time you will be at the excursion site for trip planning. Another note: I am no techno-wizard, but the technology of the Voyage Personaliser is pathetic, outmoded and in need of a complete overhaul. The site did not save your login info, or auto fill the necessary basic info, so every time you want to do a search, make a change, anything, it’s necessary to repeat all that key boarding. Since **we were booking excursions for travelers in 3 cabins, who were often NOT taking the same excursions, it was incredible that we could not book individuals in separate cabins on an excursion with a single booking, but had to make 3 separate reservations. We thought we were just too dumb to figure a work around, but several in out group tried, and we contacted Cunard by phone and were told it could not be done! Another suggestion, is that Cunard should make available for purchase a Nautical Chart covering the length of the itinerary. I am a small sail and powerboat enthusiast with over 50 years experience and naturally wanted to plot our course and study the channels and tributaries along the way. I learned ahead of time that there might be nothing on ship to purchase, and was stunned, so I went online and found a poor substitute. When I boarded I asked around and no one I spoke to had any idea what I was talking about. Only after we had gotten over half way along the trip did we see Charts for the area on sale in a small store, but by then it was too late. Back to our party. The Kids Zone was a terrific hit with the younger ones and their parents, the fitness area was well done, entertainment and activities were varied and enjoyable and there was much more to do that we had time for, so there was no issue with boredom on days at sea.. Finally, embarkation in Vancouver was crowded, hot and chaotic. We arrived slightly earlier, as instructed by phone ahead of time, than our assigned time and it took about 2 hours. Whether that is an acceptable time frame I will leave to travelers more experienced that I. In the final analysis we would highly recommend this ship and voyage to anyone wanting to see Alaska. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I had been on two previous Alaska cruises (Crystal & Princess) and hadn't planned on going back again, but I wanted to cruise on one of the new Cunard Queens and since I live in Oregon.... The ship is beautifully done, the food in ... Read More
I had been on two previous Alaska cruises (Crystal & Princess) and hadn't planned on going back again, but I wanted to cruise on one of the new Cunard Queens and since I live in Oregon.... The ship is beautifully done, the food in the Britannia Dining Room was excellent and so was the entertainment in the Royal Court Theater. But the service throughout the ship was consistently uninspired. Nobody, including the room steward and your waiters, bothers to learn your name. Supplies in the staterooms are stingy. Tables in the Lido remain dirty with used dishes and nobody comes over to ask if you need anything. I wonder if they have cut the crew to save money, something Cunard should never do. I always thought Cunard was a tier above Princess but its service on the QE was one big step below. I'm glad I got to ride on the ship but I wouldn't bother to buy a ticket on any of the new queens again. Read Less
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