This trip was an opportunity that came up and though it wasn't an 'ocean liner' I was very excited to experience a luxury cruise line. As a solo woman traveler who loves to dance, the knowledge of their dance hosts had me ... Read More
This trip was an opportunity that came up and though it wasn't an 'ocean liner' I was very excited to experience a luxury cruise line. As a solo woman traveler who loves to dance, the knowledge of their dance hosts had me polishing up my dance shoes.
Embarkation was short and painless. Though I had been scheduled for a 3:30 embarkation, I was nervous that would be too late to get settled prior to the safety drill. I arrived at 1:30 and there was no problem boarding at that time. No more than 6 people in line and any slowness was due to the pace of the slowest passenger.
My cabin was ready at this time with luggage arriving within the hour. I haven't had an internal cabin in 40 years, so this was essentially a new experience for me. Though considered small by some, it was ample for one person. Closets were spacious and designed for people with suits and fine clothes. Drawers under the bed could hold the luggage. Bed was very comfortable and there was a choice of pillows. Bedside lighting was a little dim for reading if you didn't also use the over bed ceiling light.
Soundproofing was much better than experience on other lines....that or people were just generally quiet.
I did have a few negative thoughts. There is no seating for reading. The only chair is a desk chair, but the desk is covered with the coffee making set up and as it is also the hair drying location and plug for curling iron, it just was all too crowded. I can understand needing the coffee table for room service, but that corner could have taken a well designed arm chair for those who like to actually use their cabins.
The bathroom was comfortable with adequate storage. The shower heated quickly and though a plastic shower curtain, I had no occasions of cling. The negative here is that the shower was very slow to drain......like 20 minutes. If I had long hair or needed to condition my hair, the water would have overflowed. My wonderful steward Alisha reported this several times, and I could hear them working on it more than once, but it just did not improve. 2 people trying to shower in a row where going to either have to wait or mop up the overflow.
This cruise fell over Christmas Day, so the ship was nicely decorated for the Season. There were little sprigs of (fake) greenery in our mail slots as well as a small tree decoration in the cabin. A large gingerbread village was a wonderful endeavour. Trees were dotted all over the ship. These became challenges as the first day or so out of Southampton were rough and the trees had to be retethered several times. I enjoyed the Christmas carol service, watching the Captain read Twas The Night Before Christmas to the children aboard, but I think this is my one and only time away from family over Christmas.
I am not much of a joiner, but there are plenty of events to choose from throughout the day. For those who like a quiet read or activity, there are places onboard that provide quietude, if not solitude. There is ample space for everyone on board.
I was slightly apprehensive about set evening dining. I am quite used to dining alone and can become impatient with table mates when it isn't a good mix, but I was lucky with my allocation. There were a good number of solo travelers on this cruise and Cunard worked at setting solos together. We had a table with about a 50/50 split of ladies and gents. I was the youngest at 61 with the oldest at 88, but we seemed to mesh well and a smaller group of us often went to the theatre together after dinner, or did shore visits together.
I utilized breakfast room service some days but prefer the dining room for most meals. The buffet has a good selection but can get bogged down during prime meal times. The weather in some ports was nice enough that the out door grill was open. The bean burger was particularly good.
I enjoyed the food very much particularly what my table mates called 'strange' items. Over the 12 days, I ate frogs legs, pheasant, venison, guinea fowl, pigeon...and I expect some other game items I have forgotten. I find on cruises these tend to be tender and carefully cooked, so I was not disappointed. At times standard beef was returned by table mates, or chicken was 'boring'. My occasional beef (prime rib) was excellent and done to my preference. There was goose for Christmas Eve dinner and a traditional turkey dinner for Christmas....complete with plum pudding. At times the first course was difficult to interpret and not what expected from the description. At times, also very small, but serving sizes were generally sufficient if not expecting North American size servings. One could indulge without necessarily gaining weight.
I did not go to all the entertainment in the theatre, but I enjoyed what I attended. I also liked the daytime guest speakers, however, one may want to consider retiring, or reducing the content to allow for a slower, more accurate presentation. Slips of the facts or using incorrect names had the audience mumbling the corrections under their breath several times in each of his presentations.
I was a little nervous about whether I would meet the dress code, particularly for formal nights, but there was a lot of 'comfortable' clothing on board. It wasn't the casual clothing seen on Caribbean cruises by 'American' cruise liners, but a lot of wash and wear fabrics, and more than one gent had comfortable shoes (canvas sneakers and even Crocs) worn with their tuxedos. They were at least black. There were some stunning gowns, but in general, nice clothing that was comfortable. The themes were not embraced by a lot, but there was an unexpected group that went in for Christmas day time wear - jewelry, flashing lights, theme sweaters and head gear. Some of it spilled over into dinner dress, but very few. The young in spirit group.
The cruise was all (and more) than I expected and I enjoyed it very much. It hasn't made me a Cunard convert yet, but it will be the marker used to measure cruises in the future for a while, I imagine. Read Less