Embarkation - went quickly and smoothly, we had no problem with the alcohol we were brining on board at all - a box of wine, several bottles of wine and many mall bottles of gin, rum and port. At ports we had no problem bringing tonics ... Read More
Embarkation - went quickly and smoothly, we had no problem with the alcohol we were brining on board at all - a box of wine, several bottles of wine and many mall bottles of gin, rum and port. At ports we had no problem bringing tonics and coke on board as our mixers.
We have never sailed Cunard before, previously only sailing on more casual cruise ships, so were somewhat apprehensive about the dress code.
Dress Code - The apprehension was missplaced completely. In the two week cruise there were 3 ball nights, and we knew the ladies and gents dress codes for them. Apart from that, if you were going to eat in the main Brittania restaurant men had to wear trousers, jacket and shirt (no tie necessary) and ladies normal smart going out clothes. If you wanted to wear jeans and t-shirt and stay completely casual, you could eat in the Lido buffet and drink in the Golden Lion pub, but could not go to the ball room, other bars, the main Brittania restaurant or the theatre. Some nights we stayed completely casual.
Staff customer service - staff always had a smile and a 'good morning/afternoon/evening' whenever they walked past you or dealt with you. We had an enquiry at embarkation when a case was missing. The customer service team where friendly and helpful, finding the case within 10 minutes. Our cabin steward was friendly and welcoming, keeping our cabin immaculate and was always able to bring additional towels or other items we wanted without delay.
Other facilities - there was access to several lauderies on the ship, and these were free!! This included the washing powder as well. The laundry included washers, dryers, washing sink, iron and ironing board. An invaluable resource on a cruise of 14 nights.
State of the ship - the ship was kept spotless and any faults seemed to be sorted quickly - there was some water ingress in the ceiling of the central buffet area in the Lido. When in port the ship looked stunning and traditional in comparison to other cruise ships. The decor of the ship is art deco, with lovely wood panelled interiors and themed art work for each stair well.
- there was excellent choice in the Lido buffet most of the time, ranging from early breakfast, main breakfast, snacks, lunch, afternoon tea, early main tea, later main tea, to later evening snacks (till 1.30am). There was shortages of some items, such as the clotted cream for the afternoon tea, hot chocolate drinks, earl grey teabags etc during the last few days
- The main Brittania restaurant, we were on early sitting at 6.00pm, also had at least 4 - 6 choices for starter, main and dessert. On one occasion my daughter and I could not decide which dessert we wanted, and then asked if we could order two each - no problem at all. You left the restaurant feeling pleasently full but not stuffed.
- There were snack options during the day available in the Cafe Carinthia. Lunch and dinner were also available in the Golden Lion Pub, we enjoyed Friday fish and chips at lunch time here. Waiter served afternoon tea was available on sea days in the Queends Room, this is not to be missed as the sandwich and cake selection is extremely appetising. We also use the Lido grill, deck 9 stern, at lunch time for fish, burgers and chips etc.
- We did not try any of the paid restaurants and were not grills passengers.
Room Service - On some mornings, and one evening, we chose to have breakfast and dinner in our cabin. It was such a treat being able to be served just what you wanted for breakfast rather than get up and queue up. The evening menu was not as varied, burgers and pizzas mainly. The room service menu was included in the cruise and not an additional extra, which was very good.
Drinks - the bars and deck bars were all welcoming and very good, and we did treat ourselves to an occasional glass of wine with dinner, cocktail at sail away, or cider/beer in the evening or day time. The only issue, is that with the value of the pound to the dollar the cost of drinks is very expensive, especially if you are from the north east of England! If we had not brought our own wine, gins, rums and ports on board, plus mixers, it would have been a somewhat dry cruise!
Entertainment - the theatre was exceptional, with proper theatre tiered seating, boxes and an exceptional theatre orchestra!! The ships crew were good (but not exceptional) in the two shows we saw them do. We also saw The Opera Boys both times they performed, they were brilliant. We say a violinist once, she was excellent. There was also a pianist/commedian, Jon Courtenay for the last nights of the cruise who was extremely good. The ball room/Queens Room was a bit of a let down as it was almost like a corridor between the front and back of the ship to one side separating the seating, and there was not enough seating for the passengers who wanted to enjoy the dancing most evenings. There was a ball room orchestra as well, who were also excellent. We did attend some dancing classes during the day and put our steps into practice in the evening when we could. There are some very serious dancers on board, so it did make it a bit awkward for novice dancers if they felt they were getting in the way. Other entertainment we enjoyed was the band Next Steps, both on sailaway celebrations and at the Yacht Club. Also, most evenings, we attended, and enjoyed, quizes in the Garden Lounge and later in the Golden Lion pub - we even won the Husband and Wife quiz in the Golden Lion. As you wandered around the ship in the evening there were other muscians and ensembles to enjoy listening to, such as pianist Andy Law in the Golden Lion, who could play/sing anything.
Sea days - My daughter and husband thoroughly enjoyed the talks by Robin Scagett, about astronomy, space and time - my daughter, as a primary teacher she took a lot away from those talks. My daughter and I both enjoyed the inspiring John Peters talk and question/answer session. There was another speaker throughout the cruise, but we did not attend his talks. I went to the beginners bridge classes with Chris Jarosz, which was pitched at the right level. I attended on my own and that was a slight problem as many others attended as a couple, but Chris found solutions to this. I certainly hope to continue to learn bridge. Otherwise, I loved the afternoon social craft group in the Garden Lounge. I did also treat myself to an afternoon in the spa pool, warm loungers and steam rooms but I did not have any spa treatments. My husband attended the ships choir, who gave a wonderful performance on the last sea day. He made many friends through this group. I would say that all but one of the passengers we encountered, or met through groups, were lovely, engaging and warm people and came from all over the world.
Aside from what we did, there was a wealth of activities to enjoy on sea days, outside there was a full bowling green and other outdoor sports, plus two swimming pools and 4 bubble pools. Indoors, there were card tables, board games, puzzles and puzzle tables, and a two story library that gave out daily quizes, cross words and sudoko. If you just wanted to relax, there were lots of indoor and outdoor quite areas to relax, read and sleep.
Disembarkation - we were going to take our own luggage off, but a very experienced cruiser said to put it out, and explained that at the port luggage was arranged by deck number. She said that you could take yourself off at your own convenience rather than follow the instructions if you wanted to make an early get away - we had a long drive back up north, so got off at 9.00am, and collected our luggage very easily ready for the pre booked taxi back to collect our car from the hotel.
Overall, we would definately cruise with Cunard again. A thoroughly enjoyable cruise with excellent choice of activities, ports that we wanted to visit and the chance to meet some fantastic people.
Our party only did one shore excursion, my daughter and our friend did the segway in Copenhagen and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was $99, which I could have booked on my own for about $79, but not for the times that were best for our days plans. As my daughter and our friend were novice cruisers we felt better leaving them in the care of the excursion team. Read Less