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55 Cunard Europe Cruise Reviews

Having cruised well over 15 times as a couple (and Cunard Carnival cruises) let's start by saying that the pursers office had a very negative attitude, both in person and on the phone. The cost of drinks is extortionate I.e. a bottle ... Read More
Having cruised well over 15 times as a couple (and Cunard Carnival cruises) let's start by saying that the pursers office had a very negative attitude, both in person and on the phone. The cost of drinks is extortionate I.e. a bottle of wine £5-6 uk over £40 on the ship plus 15 percent. Cost to us well over £350. The food is adequate at best the fish clearly cooked in a toaster. The speciality restaurant - we ordered fruits de mer not frozen de mer. Tasteless and watery. Their disembarkation procedure is manic. Whatever time it states you can get off is irrelevant. Ours was priority one as they allow the corridors to get chock a block with people and do not control it. Very dangerous. When going through security they do not even check the time you are supposed to get off. A free for all. We shall never go with this so called British company again . There is another American cruise company who do it better. Humbly disillusioned. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We have done The Med before with Princess , but decided to do it again with Cunard and stay on for the following 2 cruises to Norway then The Balitc (all from/to Southampton). Embarkation at Southampton was the quickest ever. Each time ... Read More
We have done The Med before with Princess , but decided to do it again with Cunard and stay on for the following 2 cruises to Norway then The Balitc (all from/to Southampton). Embarkation at Southampton was the quickest ever. Each time she returned to Southampton we were able to keep the same cabin and dining time and table which made things very easy for us.We were on board a total of 5 weeks. The food was better than we have had in the past on Q.E. and Q.M.2 and seemed to be more choice though for vegetarians this was limited. Entertainment was average , hit and miss,depending on what you like really .The production shows were very average to say at best and as there were only 4 of those they were repeated on each cruise.However some visiting guest shows were very good. Lectures were as expected of Cunard...very good. Lord Digby Jones and the guy from British Customs being very good indeed and found full houses when they were on. They crew were very good and the cabin very good as was the service. We only did one ship,s shore tour as normal for any ship , they are way over priced so we do private tours with only 4 people which is a much better way to tour we find and much better value over all. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
It was when Queen Elizabeth was leaving her berth in Liverpool to sail across the Irish Sea to Dublin that I began to see that a cruise around the British Isles had not been such a bad idea after all. Until now I had steered clear. After ... Read More
It was when Queen Elizabeth was leaving her berth in Liverpool to sail across the Irish Sea to Dublin that I began to see that a cruise around the British Isles had not been such a bad idea after all. Until now I had steered clear. After all, why tour Britain when you live here? The send-off we received was hugely emotional. Scousers lined the streets to watch and cheer as the ship let go her lines and on the quayside a ukulele band belted out Lennon & McCartney and other hits from the Sixties. It was fantastic and just one of my memories of this special cruise. In Scotland, we were sent on our way from Greenock to the stirring sounds of a bagpipe band and for our maiden call at Killybegs in Donegal the locals treated us like royalty. But the biggest bonus was to see my own region from the sea, to sail up the Mersey and gaze at towns I had only explored on foot; the sandy beach at Wallasey, with the dome of the handsome town hall towering above, presented an image totally at odds with the reality of previous visits. But the greatest pleasure was to experience such sights from the comfort of Queen Elizabeth. Standards of service across the ship were excellent, inspired by the leadership of Captain Aseem Hashmi. He could be seen around the ship every day and his announcements at midday were always worth hearing. Apart from navigational updates, he added seafaring anecdotes spiced with humour, and at every port he kept us informed about his plans for leaving the berth and for the course to be taken. No wonder the theatre was packed for his talk about life on the Bridge. Captain Hashmi can certainly look forward to a lucrative career on stage if ever he tires of the sea. On sea days I found the displays of memorabilia from Queen Elizabeth’s maiden voyage fascinating and would make time to look at them as I walked from one venue to another. It was a surprise to see that a bottle of wine cost less than ten dollars eight years ago; today you’re looking at around 30, although you could spend a lot more. Across the ship, original oil paintings of the fleet’s ships and black-and-white poster photographs of Hollywood movie stars taken when on board emphasized Cunard’s place in maritime history. The daily programme of activities requires careful study because there is so much to do. I found the art classes fun, especially when our efforts went on display at the end of the cruise. The Clarendon Art Gallery was a useful destination to appreciate the real thing - here you can buy works of art ranging in price from the low hundreds to $10,000+. The speakers and port presentations were popular with guests, as was the handsome library, the best I have seen on any ship. Dance classes, some of them privately arranged, continued throughout the day and up in the gym there were alternative forms of exercise for those determined to remain at peak fitness. Add daily quizzes to the mix and you can see that there is never any need to feel bored. This year’s sizzling British summer meant that reading by the pools was also essential as was the occasional swim with the aft pool being reserved for adults only. I used Club dining, eating at 6 o’clock in the Britannia restaurant. Both food quality and service were excellent. Geronimo and his assistant, Jericho, were perfect waiters, soon becoming used to my nightly requests for ice cream with caramel sauce for dessert. The steaks were juicy and tender and the fish was also of good quality but portions of vegetables were small. My lemon sole was delicious but an accompaniment of two halves of a potato seemed mean, although of course there were other vegetables on the plate – and yes, that included the usual broccoli. Geronimo responded immediately when he heard me mention the lonely potato and brought extra from then on. Another plus point about eating in Britannia is that after leaving the table you are tempted at the restaurant doors with a table piled high with crystal ginger and chocolate mints. Upstairs in the Lido self-service restaurant, the range of choices was generous and platters were constantly being refreshed. At breakfast I could not fault the omelettes, prepared by a chef who chatted cheerfully as she prepared my choice of fillings. And at teatime, I defy anyone to resist the warm scones accompanied by a pot of Cornish clotted cream! Downstairs on Deck 2, the Queen’s Room offers a more formal afternoon tea. As the clock strikes 3.30 white-gloved waiters march to the middle of the dance floor, the harpist or pianist begins playing and sandwiches and cakes start to be served. It is a classically English occasion. But more often than not I still opted for the clotted cream in the Lido. After dinner the theatre soon fills up. Dance and music shows are presented by the ship’s own theatre company and there are also guest artists, including magicians, comedians and solo instrumentalists. I enjoyed them but my prize for the best show goes to The Barricade Boys, four young men who have performed in the West End and who brilliantly delivered show songs that had us on our feet, cheering for more. So would I do another cruise around the British Isles? Yes, definitely. And would I be happy to return on board Queen Elizabeth? Of course I would. To sit in Café Carinthia enjoying an Americano for $4 whilst drinking in coastal views of great contrast is a privilege that deserves to be repeated more than once. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We have cruised with P & O, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Fred Olson and Thomson and this was our 8th cruise and as Cunard are regarded as the number one in the cruise ship ratings we were looking forward to our 5 night New Years Cruise ... Read More
We have cruised with P & O, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Fred Olson and Thomson and this was our 8th cruise and as Cunard are regarded as the number one in the cruise ship ratings we were looking forward to our 5 night New Years Cruise to Bruge, Amsterdam and Cherbourg. We had just checked into our cabin when a tannoy announcement from the Commodore of the ship informed us we wouldn't be visiting Bruge after all and we would head straight to Amsterdam to ensure we were in Amsterdam for New Years eve instead of cruising out of Amsterdam at 1.00am on New Years day we didn't actually cruise out of port until 9.00am which meant we lost some of the New Year spirit. No compensation was offered for the change in itinerary and with the currency charges the cancelled trips ended up costing us extra money as the extra commission transaction charges were not taken into account to transfer back from dollars to sterling. On a positive note the fireworks in Amsterdam port were fantastic and worth the trip up to the outside desks to get the best panoramic view. Our cabin was off a good standard (7059) and was cleaned and serviced to a high standard. We had a small problem with the noise of the air conditioning unit but our room attendant reported this and it was fixed on day 2 of our cruise. Food and service for dinner in the main restaurant was poor, menus were not particularly adventurous and certainly were not matched to the countries we were visiting as per the suggestions in the Cunard brochure and off a much lower standard that other cruise ships we have travelled on before. Service was rushed at dinner and staff whilst not unpleasant did not seem to want to be there serving us. There appeared to be a lack of supervision in the restaurant at dinner, not once were we asked if food etc was ok and a few people at our table left their main courses due to poor quality of meat etc. Service and food at breakfast and lunch was so much better. The service and food in the Lido was of a very good standard and room service was also good. We had afternoon tea on 2 afternoons in the Queens Room which was very nice and well organised. The general bar areas on the ship are small for the number of people on board and we were unable to get seating for a pre-dinner cocktail etc during our 5 night stay, we visited the pub on a couple of occasions but service at the bar was very curt and slow, again no supervision of staff was apparent. There is only 1 theatre on board the ship, evening entertainment was good, however the general daytime activities schedule was the same each day and a bit boring and was more suited to the over 70's rather than the majority of passengers who were in the 40 to 60 age range. We were disappointed to find that the wine tasting was also cancelled with no reason given. We didn't get to see the Commodore or Captain during our cruise and they didn't appear at the New Year countdown which was also disappointing, they kept a very low profile throughout the cruise apart from hearing them on the tannoy announcements. We spoke with many people who advised us to give Cunard another try but perhaps opt for the Queen Mary next time, they were also disappointed with this cruise and the standard of service and said it wasn't the normal standard provided by Cunard. On our arrival back into Southampton we were unable to dock back at the original berth but coaches were provided to take us back to where we should have been docked to enable us to pick up our car. A disappointing cruise overall and not as enjoyable as the cruise we did previously with P & O at New Year in 2015. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was the first time for us to take a New Year cruise. We had high expectations and have cruised Cunard more than 10 times. The ship had been remodelled since our last cruise (Oct 16) and was looking swell. We knew that it would be cold ... Read More
This was the first time for us to take a New Year cruise. We had high expectations and have cruised Cunard more than 10 times. The ship had been remodelled since our last cruise (Oct 16) and was looking swell. We knew that it would be cold and the weather would be changeable but we caught the storm Eileen in full flow. I thought that the portions in the Britannia dining room were definitely smaller than before. The waiting staff were under pressure and told us that the galleys were in chaos and that there would be a longer wait for our main courses on each evening. We had booked 2 inside cabins deck 7 and they were in good condition. Normally book balcony cabins but thought that the weather wouldn't be fair so saved the money for next time. This cruise was twice the price of the same cruise that left earlier in December. Good party atmosphere, ship decorated for Christmas. The drink prices are extortionate probably 3 times higher than a local up market bar. With prices for a large one with mixer around $13. White wine around $8 for a small glass. Overpriced wine and fizz because Cunard know that they have a captive audience. Free toast fizz at 12 midnight on the 31st. Missed out on a port so that the ship could get to Amsterdam on time. Storm Eileen meant force 10 winds and high seas but the ship coped well with this and we arrived back to Southampton on time. ( Wrong terminal but Cunard had shuttle buses back so that we could collect our car. Will probably book again soon for next year but a summer cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We sailed over New Year’s Eve, out of Southampton, with family & friends. This was our first time on Cunard. Windstar, by far, remains my favorite. We stayed 2 nights pre-cruise in London, it was a good choice. The ride to ... Read More
We sailed over New Year’s Eve, out of Southampton, with family & friends. This was our first time on Cunard. Windstar, by far, remains my favorite. We stayed 2 nights pre-cruise in London, it was a good choice. The ride to Southampton was almost 2 hours. Embarkation was smooth and trouble free. The ship itself was very nice. It was a bit glamorous and was still decorated for the Christmas holiday. All public areas were very clean and the ship itself is spacious. It was larger than I expected. The cabin seemed to be of almost standard size compared to other cruises, but had a very small bathroom – 1 sink, and a tiny shower. I found the number of electrical outlets to be adequate for us. The bed was very comfortable with extra pillows (5). Closet space was tight. There were plenty of bars on board, including an English Pub and a Gin Bar. Entertainment was fairly respectable: top floor had a piano player in one lounge, and then a live band mixed with a disc jockey in the dance room next door. Occasionally there was a Harpist or a quartet in the main lobby. Also the orchestra would play once in a while in the Queens Room. There were 2 shows each night in the Main Theater. I’d give each venue and performance a 4 out of 5 rating. Something I thought was interesting – one show was called Hollywood Rocks. They performed some song & dance from Hollywood for almost an hour, then ended with 7 Abba songs (which was the best part) … but Abba has nothing to do with Hollywood. The main dining room was very nice – good menu and very good service (incredibly speedy service from my experiences with main dining, and always with a smile). The buffets were always good but especially the New Year’s Eve midnight buffet (however, I missed it, but my travelling companions went on and on about how nice it was). The New Year count down was great. We were in port in Amsterdam for the midnight count down(11pm ship time) & an impressive fireworks display, then down to the main lobby for the ships countdown(midnight ship time). Cunard did it right; providing multiple venues on board to choose from. We chose the Queens Room where the orchestra was playing. Count down, hats, noise makers, balloon drop, and glasses of Champagne were provided. The casino was lively and the dealers made it enjoyable. The casino used American dollars which surprised me. Due to poor weather our stop in Belgium was cancelled, creating a 2nd sea day. We had 2 activities pre-booked for Bruges via the internet, confirmed 3 weeks prior to the cruise. We lost both with no refund. My advice would be – Do Not pre-book anything unless it’s through the ship itself. The other 2 stops were interesting - Amsterdam & Cherbourg. However …. The ships staff seemed to be put out – especially the bar staff at the Pub. Wow, these guys were terrible. They were always grumpy with a short attitude. With the other staff it was hit or miss with how we’d be greeted and treated. Maybe it's just the British attitude, I don’t know, but I certainly didn’t like it. The daily activities were hit or miss too – people would show up, but the event might be cancelled, you just never knew. The fellow passengers on Cunard were ok, but a little stand off-ish and boring. Dare I say "non-adventurous"? We are used to warm weather cruises, to destinations like the Caribbean and Mexico; usually with Americans, and I’ll say that Americans are much more enjoyable to be with. Dressing up in the evenings was very nice, our group enjoyed that, with Tuxedos and formal gowns for New Year’s Eve. Another cruise on Cunard? I might be talked into it one day. But my next cruise will find me back on Windstar. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise because it was Southampton to Southampton, and because of the itinerary. We found that the sea days at the beginning were fine, as we were getting use to the ship, but on the way home, they seemed endless. Also, we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was Southampton to Southampton, and because of the itinerary. We found that the sea days at the beginning were fine, as we were getting use to the ship, but on the way home, they seemed endless. Also, we knew that Cunard go for formal wear, and many go on the cruise for that reason. For us it became a chore. We had been on the QE on a 4 day cruise in 2011, but this was our 1st proper cruise, and so compared with most, we were novices. The embarkation and disembarkation were very good, and all the service on board was to a high standard. We were disappointed with our cabin, but we did book late, so had little choice. We were on floor 8 and that was OK during the poor weather. We chose Balacony Club to get the flexible eating times, and although costly, it was very good. The entertainment was a mixture, the highlight acts were all good, the on board troupe were OK. We didn't do any paid for excursions, but walked to the port, or took the shuttle bus. It worked for us, but in most of the places visited we weren't the only cruise ship in, so they were crowded and you needed to plan your priorties. The Cunard line isn't the cheapest and we found the on board priced high, it was OK for people who had a lot of on board spending, but otherwise the money ratchets up. I think we became aware that all inclusive may have a benefit, as you know the cost at the start. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary around the British Isles, with stops in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Orkney Islands, Dublin, Liverpool, and Guernsey. We had sailed on the former QE2 many years ago. The current Queen ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary around the British Isles, with stops in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Orkney Islands, Dublin, Liverpool, and Guernsey. We had sailed on the former QE2 many years ago. The current Queen Elizabeth is a lovely ship, and overall the staff is good. This particular cruise catered to a much older crowd, many passengers in their 80s. I mention this primarily because I do not think children or teenagers would particularly enjoy this ship, even though they apparently have activities for children. I saw only 2 children on our cruise. The cabin was certainly adequate and was attended to very well. We decided to try the Britannia Club level, which allowed us to eat dinner whenever in the separate dining room and the staff there is truly outstanding. The food is good but it is not great. We have sailed before on Crystal several times and there is no comparison between the food services on the 2 cruise lines. In the Britannia Club, the seafood dishes were generally successful but some of the appetizers and desserts were much less successful. The one outstanding dinner we had in the dining room was venison. The Lido worked well for us for breakfast since we are up early. Wonderful omelettes, and full English breakfast if you desire...kippers, tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, all sorts of bacon (I don't eat pork). The coffee on the ship is quite mediocre and a change in the brand they use would help things tremendously. Smoked salmon the first few mornings and then that disappeared. Problems with the toasters. They need more waiters to refill coffee in the mornings, and more staff to quickly bus the table. We had dinner one evening in their special dining room, which charges a surcharge. Very pleasant, although the staff tries way too hard such that their "friendliness" becomes intrusive rather quickly. Nice pasta appetizer, beef filet was very good but I would not say outstanding. Still it was a nice change and I would recommend it. One of the main problems on this cruise is the tours, more specifically the disorganization in the mornings. Because there are quite a few passengers with canes, wheelchairs, and walkers, passengers were not able to keep up with the staff member who was supposed to guide them off the ship. Staff members were giving contradictory messages between the Queens Room and the rest of the ship. It was confusing and irritating such that we were relieved we had left several dates without the annoyance of their tours. On another note, most major cruise lines have made an effort to reach out to LGBT travelers. On Cunard, this is is noted in their Daily Program as "Friends of Dorothy". This term is old-fashioned, and goes back to a time when gays and lesbians were supposed to/needed to stay in the closet. Cunard should join the 21st century and use the appropriate term LGBTQ, especially if they want to appeal to gay travelers under the age of 65 or 70. You can do it, Cunard, and everything will be just fine. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We are fortunate to travel every few months all over the world and try many different cruises and travel experiences. To date we have been on Princess, Holland America, Azamara, Celebrity, Carnival, Crystal and many other ocean and river ... Read More
We are fortunate to travel every few months all over the world and try many different cruises and travel experiences. To date we have been on Princess, Holland America, Azamara, Celebrity, Carnival, Crystal and many other ocean and river cruises. This was our first time on Cunard (sailing) and we were excited to experience this legendary 175 year old company. Well the excitement ended not too long after boarding when it was very evident that the crew on Queen Elizabeth was not in a good place. The service was distant and cool to a point that a number of previous reviews have mentioned, it is almost a level of disinterest. I even had a conversation with one of the staff in the Lido to try to ascertain if this aloof service was a directive from the ship or a result of long term interaction with the passengers, many of whom were not too friendly either. It was hard to get a decent answer that could be shared here clearly. The two areas that were good were the decor and the food in Britannia Restaurant. The meals were tasty and most entrees quite nice. The Lido Alternative ($17.50 pp) was also very good with nice service. Having been cruising for 26 years, I would highly suggest you direct your hard earned pennies somewhere else, our Trans-Atlantic cruise on Brilliance of the Seas two months earlier blew this right out of the water in both service, entertainment and positive energy. With so many stellar ships and cruise lines out there, don't pay a premium for an average experience and that is what is offered by the Queen Elizabeth. It's a true shame. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We have been with Cunard in the Queens Grill a number of times, so obviously like it, and get what we expect. Particularly enjoyable about Cunard is the sense of serenity and spaciousness, so the ship almost never seems crowded, which ... Read More
We have been with Cunard in the Queens Grill a number of times, so obviously like it, and get what we expect. Particularly enjoyable about Cunard is the sense of serenity and spaciousness, so the ship almost never seems crowded, which makes for a calm and restful holiday: if you want frenetic noise and activity, this is probably not the line for you. Particular highlights of this round-UK cruise were the rendezvous with our namesake, the new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, in the Moray Firth, the sendoff from Liverpool, with a 47 whistle salute in memory of John Duffy, followed by fireworks, and the visit to Kirkwall. Seas were calm throughout, although the weather was rather prone to be cold and damp. Embarkation and disemabarkation at Southampton were the most rapid we've ever had. The cabin was spacious and elegant, as it should be, and kept spotless, as it should be. All the staff I encountered were affable and helpful, and very supportive of the considerable number of frailer passengers. The food in the restaurant was as good as ever, with many of the menus the same as last year. I wish they would mix them up a bit, as there are some things I find it difficult to chose between. It was nice to be remembered by our waiter, but this should not, and, I think, does not, make a difference. Drinks prices are high, particularly with the state of the state of the pound, with the cheapest bottles of (perfectly drinkable) wine being just under $30. This was advertised as an arts and literature cruise, and a particular highlight was Robert Powell's presentations on Dickens, and, especially, Kipling. All in all,we got very much what we expected and are used to and noticed no deterioration in standards. I would thoroughly recommend the experience for a truly enjoyable and restful break Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was our first cruise with Cunard after 14 years cruising with P&O. We were expecting a much better standard but were very disappointed. The Britannia Restaurant was not of the standard we were expecting in regards of the food, ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Cunard after 14 years cruising with P&O. We were expecting a much better standard but were very disappointed. The Britannia Restaurant was not of the standard we were expecting in regards of the food, it was at times very poor and not much of it and certainly not fine dining. One of the guests on our table sent their food back because it was cold, also our meals were not very warm. My husband had a shoulder of lamb which was very tough. The cabin was very good but there was no tea or coffee making facilities which you find in most good hotels. So had to either order by room service or go to the Lido Buffet to get a cup which was not always convenient. There was a very poor selection of sandwiches for afternoon tea in the Lido Buffet we had found there was a far better choice on P&O. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We've crossed the Atlantic on the QM2 a bunch of times, but this time was memorable because of the rescue at sea of a yachtsman from a disabled craft. We watched from our balcony, and then learned from a Q & A session between the ... Read More
We've crossed the Atlantic on the QM2 a bunch of times, but this time was memorable because of the rescue at sea of a yachtsman from a disabled craft. We watched from our balcony, and then learned from a Q & A session between the Captain and the rescued seaman. Very interesting. Otherwise, we keep coming back to the Queen Mary because of the beauty of the ship and our favorite experiences on board. We most love the Chart Room and go there for cocktails before dinner and the nightly jazz concerts after dinner. Also love the Commodore Club atmosphere day and night. We slept in a Princess Grill cabin, which suited us well because of the extra space. We tend to hang out a lot in our cabin, especially during the mornings, so the extra space was very important. The cabin is well enough designed and furnished. Enjoyed a series of lectures by Christine Roussel on art and history in New York. Also enjoyed the headline entertainers including a West End cabaret singer and a group of male vocalists. Plenty to do on board during the day, and some of our favorite activities are workouts at the fitness center and walking the promenade on Deck 7. Food quality in Princess Grill was adequate, although definitely not big city restaurant quality. A little too much in the direction of standard cruise ship fare. Service in Princess Grill was also adequate, again nothing special. We went to the Verandah for dinner one night and were underwhelmed by the quality, shocked by the noise from the kitchen and doubly shocked by an argument from our waiter. Also went to Coriander one night and were disappointed by the bland South Asian food, too bland even after we specifically asked for spicy food. I think the chef ignored our request. We will be back on board in October and hopefully many times after. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
I always wanted to sail from New York to Southampton. What better the the only liner.. the QM2. I was given a chance to upgrade to queens grill. Wonderful. This made the experience far better. Great dining in the queens grill ... Read More
I always wanted to sail from New York to Southampton. What better the the only liner.. the QM2. I was given a chance to upgrade to queens grill. Wonderful. This made the experience far better. Great dining in the queens grill restaurant..beautiful suite....but not 5 star.... in the restaurant at breakfast a waiter brought a platter of pastries and never came back to offer more, same at lunch and dinner with rolls. If you wanted more coffee you had to ask. The gym was well appointed but many machines were out of order. At night mats were placed by the bed but last night it was missed. On departure day the bathroom was stripped of soap even though we had not finished with the room. Very inconsistent service. Cunard have a strict dress code and tell people not to use the facilities below deck 7 when not properly attired. Many people who did not dress for dinner were seen wandering around. Not 5 star. Overall we enjoyed ourselves but once is enough Disembarked which was a shambles and there were no porters to help with luggage. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My 60th present too myself. A week on QM2. So excited. Room lovely and cabin crew and waitress in dining room lovely. Loved the fact that they had gentlemen dancers for the ladies to dance with in the Queens ballroom. However I felt so ... Read More
My 60th present too myself. A week on QM2. So excited. Room lovely and cabin crew and waitress in dining room lovely. Loved the fact that they had gentlemen dancers for the ladies to dance with in the Queens ballroom. However I felt so let down. It was mediocre. The food was O.K but not special,I've eaten better on P&O cruise ships. The entertainment was dismal. Pub quiz,talks about boring topics, quartets or harpist. No fun. No shows in the evening. No dancers, singers etc. Just 2 nights with Mark Preston, a guy from the 60's Lettermans, never heard of him but he was a good singer for an hour. This is not what I expected from CUNARD. Drink prices are supposed to be on par with bar prices. £9.00 for a g&t, £35.00 for a bottle of cheapest wine. EXPENSIVE from start to finish.I was so disappointed with my time on QM2. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Cabin 10133 on Cunard Queen Mary to ship travelling out on 24 May for two nights. We stayed in a penthouse suite. The suite was quite nice but there was certainly no butler service. Just a room steward whom we saw a couple of times if ... Read More
Cabin 10133 on Cunard Queen Mary to ship travelling out on 24 May for two nights. We stayed in a penthouse suite. The suite was quite nice but there was certainly no butler service. Just a room steward whom we saw a couple of times if that. When we really needed him, he was nowhere to be seen, nor to be contacted by phone. There was no particular dispensation for suite guests as they proclaim. The Queens grill food was dry and awful and lacklustre as was the service. There was certainly no filet mignon with eggs on top for breakfast nor was there châteaubriand unless you ordered it 24 hours in advance. I suppose ordering it in advance was so they could defrost a chunk of meat and try and save it up to you with icicles in the centre…! When we complained, no one bothered. It was our 40th wedding anniversary and they knew that. However we were not given any special treatment. Finally, I would like to state that the suites are fairly nice. However expensive for what they are. What's surprising is that there was no post-cruise survey so do they not care about future customer return? !! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
1st time on Cunard, (800 + days on other lines). Can't wait to sail on one of the Queens again. Met great people....including Tom and Phyllis of Greenville, SC. with who we had fixed dining. Regret that I did not get ... Read More
1st time on Cunard, (800 + days on other lines). Can't wait to sail on one of the Queens again. Met great people....including Tom and Phyllis of Greenville, SC. with who we had fixed dining. Regret that I did not get contact information with them. Sailing on the Queen Mary 2, a true ocean liner gives a new meaning to cruising. Cabin service was unobtrusive and white glove. The menus were 5 star. Reclining in cushioned deck chars on open decks delighted the mind and soul. Embarkation could not have been handled any better. Never did we experience lines or discomfort. The staff of Queen Mary 2 were so well trained and stayed in the background until service was requested. The ship was immaculate lovingly cared for. The history as displayed by photos and pictures throughout told the exciting history of Cunard. The entire experience was enchanting. We will definitely sail the QM2 again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Sailed from Southhampton to NYC with a friend in late May. We each had our own cabin and loved the privacy and on board social experiences. All lectures and educational offerings were superb. The big band and the Royal dramatic arts ... Read More
Sailed from Southhampton to NYC with a friend in late May. We each had our own cabin and loved the privacy and on board social experiences. All lectures and educational offerings were superb. The big band and the Royal dramatic arts troupe were also very good. The weather was good so I did not experience any rocckng or sea sickness , although I understand the QM2 can withstand almost anything. I was upgraded to a lovely inside cabin with the atrium view in the HB category. My friend paid twice as much for a sheltered balcony across the hall. Rhoderick kept the room immaculate. Every meal was delightful and we shared tables with such outstanding passengers! I would do this crossing again and again. All in all, I think the Cunard brand has maintained a distinct and special level of excellence. We have tried other luxurious cruise lines (Regent, Oceania) but the food, servce and entertainment on this vessel was definitely superior. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I thought I would share with others my first-hand experience of being a newbie voyager. Firstly, you will note that I use the word “voyager” in lieu of cruiser the reason being is the trans-atlantic crossing is a voyage and not a ... Read More
I thought I would share with others my first-hand experience of being a newbie voyager. Firstly, you will note that I use the word “voyager” in lieu of cruiser the reason being is the trans-atlantic crossing is a voyage and not a cruise! That’s that out of the way. I joined the ship in Southampton as that was the point of departure and anywhere else and I would have missed the ship. I decided to stop in Southampton the night prior to boarding and get a taxi to the dock. I boarded the ship at around 14:30 against my allotted time of 16:00 due to giddiness on my behalf. My first sighting of the ship lived up to my expectations namely that the structure is mightily impressive. Embarkation was a doddle although the reception area which did resemble a “Mobility” convention, the only issue I encountered was that they (the service staff) wanted to see my ESTA in hard copy, nowhere that I could see on my very limited joining pack stated that it was a requirement. Needless to say a few well placed, “I never knew” with a couple of, “I’ve been to the US 3 times in the last three years”…..etc and I was called forward to board which is accomplished via a slopping air bridge, or ship bridge I suppose. Once on board you suddenly appear in the middle of the ship. Now I’m not one to question my ability to find things but I did stand there for a few minutes getting my bearings it is quite disorienting at first. A few minutes later I found my cabin via a lift, the one and only time I took one on the voyage I may add. The cabin 4163 was about the size of a decent size semis front room and was very well appointed and clean, my cabin helper called Dante (I was going to ask him to turn the heat down but I thought better of it) was very proficient never intrusive but very efficient the cabin was nothing but spotless (after he had been in) all through the voyage. I had a metal balcony which again was well appointed with recliner type patio chairs and a small table with access being through a heavy double glazed French style door. I remained in my cabin as we departed Southampton upon a sea that was flatter than a 25 year old foam backed carpet. My first meal and my first introduction to my fellow “voyagers” was at 20:30 my allotted time in the Britannia Grill after forgetting what my cabin number was I was the last to join the table for my “Big Brother” moment, after introducing myself to my fellow guests I was served with remarkable efficiency my evening meal. The food. All I can say about the evening and breakfast meals is that they were excellent both in quality and delivery, if I had to categorise them I would say that they were like a meal at a very posh wedding. Each night and each breakfast there was a choice for all pallets and I took the wine package as well enjoying a nice red each night (yes there was sometimes some left) After the meal, but not on the first night we would go to the night club or attend the (who the hell would know that, quiz) The night club was a bit 2004 Reading night club and resident band was, well I’ve seen better. The shows, I did attend a show not my thing really and it was introduced by the compare, a lady in a Hunger Games kind of way, very insincere…… I really was expecting her to say “welcome to the Sixth Hunger games” but again that’s personal choice and in way detract from my enjoyment. The lectures. I attended the Max Hastings lectures on Churchill and the Falklands war but declined the Start of the First world war lecture. We were also treated to lectures on Concord from an X BA Concord Pilot who went on to blame the French for the aircrafts demise and that the French crash report was “Not wholly inclusive”. I did want to ask him about the British report into the Heathrow 777 crash but I didn’t want to get my collar felt….wink. So the ship is big I counted 213 breathless steps from Deck two to Deck Thirteen the top, it is amazing however that you can go several minutes without seeing another soul truly amazing. So I soon got into my routine breakfast alone served by waiters in white Tuxedos no lunch at all much too full then the highlight of the night the meal with the lovely people on my / our table this time served by waiters with black Tuxedos till going to either a themed ball or off to the Reading Disco. I did see a whale a humpback I believe magnificent creature and clearly visible to me from my cabin, unfortunately not many others spotted what was a fleeting sighting. One of the highlights was the Captains speech, a small slight man but when he spoke he sounded eight feet tall and twenty stone, a typical English officer type and one would you would have nothing but confidence should things go “wrong”. In summary, the ship is spotless the food excellent beer was about six pounds a pint (important point) the cabin was well appointed and the last thing is that I never felt the ship move in anyway throughout the voyage you could balance, and I did, a ten pence piece on the table during dinner. So go on book it you’ll not regret it even if it’s the only sailing you ever do. Yes it’s not without its faults but nothing on this planet, not even my review writing, is perfect. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We greatly enjoyed our trip to Norway. This review will be particularly helpful for families and travelers with disabilities, since we brought our 6 year old and two year old children on this vacation. Our precruise stay was in London. ... Read More
We greatly enjoyed our trip to Norway. This review will be particularly helpful for families and travelers with disabilities, since we brought our 6 year old and two year old children on this vacation. Our precruise stay was in London. We stayed at the Dolphin House Service Apartments, which is conveniently located within a short walk or cab ride to many major London tourist attractions. The hotel is very clean, well designed and spacious – we had a 3 bedroom suite and the kids were so excited that my son said it was the perfect hotel to play hide and seek in. Families should consider staying in executive apartments which are primarily designed for long term business stays, because they often have a one bedroom apartment with a living room and kitchen for the price of a regular hotel room. The concierge and hotel staff were extremely helpful and friendly, and this hotel is an excellent choice for families. Our son loves Harry Potter, so his first request upon learning we would be visiting London was to see Kings Cross station. They kindly let you pose for free with a Hogwarts scarf and wand (and let family members take pictures), but please note that since this is free and each individual gets to make several poses, there can be a very long line (we visited midweek in May and waited 20 minutes – the photographer said it could be over an hour wait on weekends during the summer). Please also note that Kings Cross is about 20 minutes away from Westminster Abbey via the Underground or cab, so you might want to know that it isn’t that close to most tourist attractions before promising your kids they can go (I didn’t realize this, but my son loved it so it was all worth it in the end). If you love Harry Potter, there are a lot of options listed here: http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to...resQQm5GdUx.97. If you like the movies, there might be better places to visit than Platform 9 ¾, particularly the Warner Brothers Studio tour, which is located 20 miles from London. We visited the London Eye (and bought the more expensive tickets that let you bypass the lines, since the kids were tired and jet lagged and we only had one day in London) and then took a double decker bus that got us halfway to Kings Cross station. Our next day was an excellent tour of Stonehenge and a visit to the amazing Salisbury Cathedral (and I was absolutely shocked when my 6 year old told me that the Salisbury Cathedral was his favorite attraction on this cruise). The people at www.salisburystonehengetours.co.uk provided us with an outstanding tour. Our tour guide, Jeff, is extremely knowlegeble about the history of Stonehenge, and even brought books along for our children to learn more about the history of Stonehenge. Anyone who would like an in depth understanding of these sites would greatly enjoy this tour. One of the questions that often gets asked on the cruise critic Baltic forums is which cities should one visit in Norway. We chose this particular cruise because it visits both Geiranger and Flam (and as it turned out Olden was also quite impressive). The highlight of Stavanger is Pulpit Rock. If you aren’t able to make this hike (and please note that it is rated as an easy hike, although it may take about 2 hours each way) you can still have a nice day in Stavanger, but it isn’t a must-see city if Pulpit Rock is not accessible for your family (or if the weather is bad, since you won’t be able to see much from the top if it is foggy). Because of our two year old and six year old, we decided not to attempt to hike Pulpit Rock. Our ship docked very close to the Old Town of Stavanger, and we enjoyed a pleasant and easy walk through the charming streets. We visited the Petroleum Museum, which was a bit underwhelming but a nice place to spend some time. Children will like the crane where you can knock down giant foam blocks, and there is a lovely playground right across the street from the museum. We greatly enjoyed our Fjord cruise with Rodne cruises. The only bad reviews for the fjord cruises in Stavanger on Tripadvisor were written by people who were disappointed because they had seen most of these views on the ship during the sail-in. We had two interior cabins, and were chasing two kids around, so we didn’t see much of the sail-in and therefore cannot address these concerns. It was a pleasant and lovely cruise for our family, and a nice way to get out of the rain. The Rodne boats have a covered interior downstairs and an open top on their ships, so you can be completely protected from the rain if you choose to stay on the bottom level. The ship is very safe for young children, and most of the bottom floor of the boat is childproofed so a small child cannot fall in the water (the exception is the back of the ship, where there is a tiny area with a railing with wide gaps. That section isn’t very dangerous, but you would need to stay close to a young child since they can wriggle through wide railings quickly). One of the cities we chose this itinerary for was Flam, and it is an absolutely beautiful place to visit. We had one very bad experience in Flam. We didn’t book the earliest Flam railway train since the port was listed as a possible tender, and we didn’t want to worry about making the earliest train. That left us with 2 hours of free time in the morning. I was a little concerned about traveling all the way to the Stegastein viewing platform because I was worried that if we were delayed we’d miss our tickets on the Flam railway. There is a small tourist train that travels around Flam called the Rallartoget, which departs near the Flam railway. According to its website, it departs every hour on the hour starting at 10 am, and returns 45 minutes later. As soon as we arrived in Flam, I went straight to the Rallartoget booth and asked their employee to confirm the schedule. He assured me the train would leave at 10 am and return at 10:45, which would leave us plenty of time to make the train (and get on line ahead of time to ensure we have good seats). At 10:07, the train hadn’t left and they were still selling tickets to people on line. I went to the railway operator and told him we were promised this train would leave at 10 am, and that we needed to be back on time to ride on the Flam railway. He told me he wouldn’t let the train leave until the train is full and told me that it wasn’t guaranteed I’d make the Flam train so I should just get off the train and take a refund. We left the train, and walked to the Flam railway platform where we could still see the tourist train. The tourist train did not depart until 10:14 am, which is an unacceptable delay for a 45 minute ride when the train had been sitting at the terminal all night long. We’ve previously taken our children on several of these small tourist trains (they’re usually nothing special but kids tend to really enjoy them) and they have always been advertised in the past as departing whenever they are full. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with the trains waiting until they are full to depart as long as they are honest with people about their schedule. By the time we exited the train, it was too late to go to the Stegastein viewing platform, and we wound up having to spend two hours in Flam with two young children waiting around. We would have been able to visit the viewing platform if the Rallartoget employee had been honest when I asked him at 9 am about the train schedule. When we were on the Flam train, another couple came up to us and told us they’d been on the Rallartoget with us and that we didn’t miss anything – apparently the route travels much of the same way the Flam train goes, plus there was a lot of construction so they didn’t see anything scenic. If you want to ride the amazing Flam railway, you should book this first, since the railway tickets tend to book up quickly during the height of the tour season. The Flam railway is a five minute walk from where you dock or tender, so this can easily be undertaken as an independent excursion. We booked our tickets online at the Norwegian Railways site at https://www.nsb.no/en/?gclid=CMuvnubiitMCFYoy0wodZb8BnQ . If that site is showing that everything is booked, other cruise critic posters have mentioned trying http://booking.visitflam.com/en/to-do/a1488268/the-flåm-railway/showdetails , and other posters have stated that this site has access to different tickets and sometimes has availability even when the Norwegian railway site lists no availability. Also, people have reported on the forums that when the train was initially sold out, they kept checking and eventually tickets opened up due to cancellations. Another option is to check with your cruise line – it will be more expensive to purchase this excursion through the cruise line but worth it if you cannot purchase the tickets independently. A quick online search seemed to recommend that you should sit on the right side of the train on the Flam to Myrdal journey. The view on that side was quite lovely, but might also be on the other side. In Flam, we had a lovely afternoon visiting a goat farm, exploring the beautiful town of Undredal (the inspiration for the movie Frozen), and then eating local cheeses (including brown caramel goat cheese) and a delicious lunch that was organized by Flam Guide Service ( http://www.fjordsafari.com ). Fjord Safari's booth is located about a minute away from the Flam railway platform, so you will have no problem finding your tour. You can combine this tour with a hike and boat ride along the fjords if your group is all physically fit. It was a very pleasant and enjoyable excursion, which I would highly recommend. We traveled in May, before the goats move to their summer farms so this excursion had to be individually arranged. Flam Guide service stayed in contact with us and gave us updates as they worked to book this reservation, and they also helpfully provided car seats for our children. Our tour guide was highly knowlegdable and helpful and this tour was one of the highlights of our cruise. One of the other cities we chose this cruise for was Geiranger. Visitors should please note that if you are planning on driving to the beautiful scenic viewpoints at Dalsnibba that Road 63 opens between mid-May and early June, depending upon how long it takes to clear the snow and when the avalanche risk has ended (the engineers wait until the big spring avalanche occurs before opening the road). You should consider choosing a cruise that visits later to ensure you will be able to experience all of the beauty of Geiranger. It would be helpful if the cruise lines adjusted their itineraries and put Geiranger last on May cruises, since Road 63 opened the on our last port day, when we were in Bergen, but they may have logistical reasons for leaving the port stop in Geiranger earlier. We were told in Flam that the waterfalls all looked gorgeous in May because they are currently filled with snow runoff. This will melt, and then the waterfalls won’t be nearly as impressive later in the season so that might be one reason to choose a May cruise. Crowds also tend to be a bit thinner in May, so you may experience more availability about booking tickets on the Flam railroad (we booked at the last minute and might have been shut out if we’d tried to book last minute tickets in June) and changing the troll car in Olden. Cunard requires passengers to pass a “step test” in which you step across two pieces of tape 18 inches apart in order to demonstrate that you are physically capable of boarding a tender without requiring crew assistance. The people running the tender insisted that my 2 year old would need to pass this test prior to our family being issued tender tickets. My husband offered to take the test while carrying our 2 year old son, but the people running the tender refused to allow this. We went to the purser’s office and after a half hour wait we were eventually issued a tender ticket by them. When we went to tender, the Cunard crew did exactly what the crew on the Coral Princess did when my older son was two and we sailed through the Panama Canal – they picked our child up and placed him into the tender boat. We were prepared to carry him ourselves, but completely agreed with the crew members that letting them transport the toddler was the safest option. I support step tests for passengers in general because I believe that crew members or passengers could be injured if crew members try to lift an adult with a disability, but lifting a two year old child shouldn’t endanger the crew. After the cruise, I emailed Cunard and they confirmed that a parent should be allowed to take the step test carrying a small child and if they pass they should be issued a tour ticket. So if you have any problems with this issue, please go to the purser’s office and ask them for assistance. This unfortunately caused us to be an hour late for our private tour, which upset our tour guide. We were scheduled to start tendering at 8 am, and weren’t able to get off the ship until 10. In Geiranger, Geiranger Fjordservice is the dominant tour operator. We booked a private limousine tour for just our family to visit the various scenic viewpoints. When I was organizing the tour, I emailed the company to request that they provide a car seat booster for my 6 year old. I was told that they did not have this, and we’d need to bring it. This was the only transfer on our trip that refused to provide a booster seat, and it required us to transport 2 car seats to Europe. After the cruise, I learned that transportation services in Norway are required by law to provide car seats upon request. I had also emailed them ahead of time to request that we stop at a goat farm by a lake we were scheduled to visit. Their company told me in email that they could not arrange a visit ahead of time, but we could stop our car and visit with the goats if they were along the fence. This delay in being issued tender tickets caused us to be late for our private tour. I had called the company at 8:30 in the morning since our tour was scheduled to begin at 9 and requested that we please move it to 10. The woman who answered the phone said, “oh, it’s no problem – your driver will just be here whenever you arrive.” I told her we were having difficulties getting off the ship and could be delayed longer and she assured me there were no problems and to just come whenever we were able to leave the ship. When we were finally able to exit the ship, the driver told us he’d been waiting a long time and had almost left without us. It was unfortunate that his office chose not to tell him about our delay, and we explained that we’d tried to leave a message with the main office. Geiranger Fjordservice runs buses to the attractions we visited, but we booked a much more expensive private tour for our family so we’d have control over the itinerary, which is important when you are traveling with small children. Unfortunately, when we asked if we could stop at the goat farm that was just down the road from our last stop, our driver told us that in Norway it was illegal for anyone to visit a farm without proper vaccinations. If this is correct, then it would be quite odd since Norway’s travel website includes a link to the goat farm experience we undertook in Flam. My kids were starting to get a bit carsick after the long drives through the hairpin roads in Geiranger, so I didn’t argue with the driver about the fact that we were told by the office in email it would be possible to stop (we saw the goats from the road so it would have been easy to visit). If other families are trying to visit please note that the goat farm that is located at the first curve off Eagle road from Geiranger, near the lake they will probably take you to. Hopefully other families will have more luck being able to visit there. Visitors should note that the viewing platforms in Geiranger are amazing (especially on a clear day) but there are hairpin roads to reach them, and it could be a little challenging if you are prone to car sickness. I would not recommend using Geirangerfjordservice for private transportation, but they do run a bus to the panoramic viewing stations and it seems unlikely travelers would experience the problems we did on a group bus tour, since most of the reviews on tripadvisor are positive for this company. At the end of the tour, we decided to stop for lunch in Geiranger. We were a little scared to stop at Braserie Posten, since it is in a tourist trap location right near the cruise ship terminal, but the yelp reviews were positive and the food was excellent. There is seating with a beautiful view of the harbor in the back of the restaurant. We went through two bowls of fish soup, since the kids were so happy eating all of it. It is a very short walk from this restaurant to the dock, so this is a nice way to conclude your day in Geiranger. We were extremely fortunate to learn that the Loen Skylift opened three days prior to our arrival in Olden. I was a bit anxious about the logistics of visiting a brand new attraction with small children, and the owner of Olden Adventures was very patient and reassuring about the logistics of reaching the skylift. As it turned out, the weather was a bit rainy on the day we arrived, so there were very few crowds. It was still a very beautiful location, with a gorgeous viewing platform. On nice days, paragliders take off from the mountain (that happened the day before we arrived) and that must be spectacular to see if you are lucky enough to get good weather. The food in the restaurant was excellent, especially the sample platter of local meat. It’s unsurprisingly expensive, but the view is outstanding and the food delicious. The Loen Skylift is only a 6 km bus ride from Olden, so it isn’t very difficult to get there. Olden Adventures ( http://www.oldenadventure.com/ ) is running shuttles to the Loen Skylift, right next to their buses to the Biksdal Glacier so it would be very easy to travel to both attractions through Olden Adventures. Both buses leave from the only petrol station in town, which is a very short walk from where your ship will dock. You can also take a cab to the Loen skylift. It is a 40 minute ride to the Briksdal Glacier, so a cab there would probably be quite a bit more expensive. Please note that cabs will refuse to transport children without car seats, and although they are required to provide them upon request we were unable to fill any taxi requests we made (we only emailed the taxi companies 2 days in advance; you might have better luck if you contact cab companies far in advance). The most economical option for getting to the Briksdal Glacier is a public bus that runs from June –August. The Norway tourist office stated that in the 2017 season the bus left Port Olden at 9:58 am, and departs Biksdal Glacier at 1:30 pm, and is currently listed as costing 132 NOK for each adult ticket. You might want to contact the tourist office to see if there is any way to purchase tickets ahead of time or if they can run additional buses if the first one is full. The Briksdal Glacier has been hit hard by global warming, but the 40 minute bus ride there is quite scenic and lovely, as is the hike itself to the glacier so overall this excursion is a very good choice as long as you realize ahead of time that the most beautiful pictures online of the glacier showing lots of ice are not recent and don’t represent what you will see at the glacier. For travelers with young children or mobility issues, there are troll cars available for rent to reduce the length of your hike. These golf carts travel most of the way to the glacier, leaving you with a very pleasant and relatively flat 700 m walk. Since we didn’t expect my 2 year old to make it all the way to the glacier, my husband and 6 year old went ahead of us. To my surprise, my 2 year old slowly but steadily made the entire hike in the allocated time (they tell you what time to return to the platform to catch your return troll car). Reservations are required for troll cars in May and October, and recommended during the summer months (the troll car season runs from May-October). The only challenging thing is that they do request that you tell them what time you’d like to ride on the troll car, which is hard if you want to chose a time to do this excursion based upon the weather forecast (although it is completely understandable they ask you to pick a time, since otherwise there might be a lot of people trying to get on a troll car at one time and this would cause really long delays). I don’t know if the troll car operators are always flexible about the time of your reservation, but we changed our minds about what time to visit the glacier on the day we traveled since we wanted to visit the Loen skylift in the afternoon when the weather was scheduled to be better. I emailed the troll car operators at 9 am as soon as we got on the bus towards the glacier, and they had already switched my reservation by the time we arrived at the troll car office. We traveled in May, when things are less crowded so I don’t know if they will be able to accommodate a change in reservation time during the busy summer months. The troll car website where you can make your advance reservation is available at: http://www.oldedalenskysslag.com . Near where you pick up the troll car is a small café off the souvenir shop; they have excellent waffles. They are best freshly made, so if you have time keep an eye on the plate where they store the waffles and order them when everyone else bought up the older waffles. My family started off by ordering 4, and ended up eating 12 (the kids really loved them and since they’d just finished hiking to a glacier without a single complaint I wasn’t going to say no), so we were able to get a lot of fresh waffles. We arrived in Bergen on what the ship’s employees described as one of the worst weather days in Bergen – and that says a lot considering the fact that it rains in Bergen 240 days a year! Due to the poor weather, we actually did not experience any lines for the funicular. On a clear day, the lines can be quite long so pre-purchasing your tickets online can help you avoid at least one set of lines (there could still be lines waiting to get on the funicular even if you already have pre-purchased your tickets). The top of Mt. Floyen has a lovely playground and nice restaurants, and is probably a wonderful place to visit when the weather is nice. The Bergen fish market is nearby, where adventurous eaters can sample whale. There are many other fish selections, including excellent fish soup and fish kebobs. There are heaters and blankets so even in the cold, rainy weather we were able to enjoy a very nice meal there. There really aren’t any public transportation options to the funicular from the port, but it is only a 10-minute walk if your ship docks close to town. Half of this walk is along the beautiful streets of Bryggn, and the other half is a little less scenic (but perfectly safe). If you have disabilities, you can try to arrange for a taxi ahead of time, but families should note it may be difficult to obtain taxis in Norway due to their stringent car seat regulations. Families should consider either the HOHO bus or the Museum Shuttle bus. The museum shuttle bus ticket includes entry to the Hanseatic Museum, Schotstuene and the Norwegian Fisheries Museum. We visited the Norwegian Fisheries Museum, which had some nice hands-on attractions for children. This isn’t a must-see museum, but the kids were very happy for a half hour and then the shuttle bus took us back to the city center. If I had been able to take a taxi, we would have visited the ViVite Science Center, which has very strong reviews. There is also the Bergen Aquarium, which can be reached via Beffen, a public ferry that runs every 10 minutes Monday-Friday starting at 7:30 am and also during the summer on Saturdays starting at 11 am. The aquarium’s reviews were a bit more mixed than the Science Center, but the Beffen itself is supposed to be a charming ride. Families should also note that there is a Vannkanten Waterworld to consider visiting. The museum bus does not visit these attractions, but it is quite possible the HOHO bus will. There are many positives about sailing on Cunard. We were very impressed with most of the staff, which mainly consisted of very hard working and dedicated employees. We sailed with a 2-year old and a 6-year old, and one night the head waiter noticed the 6-year old sharing his prawn dish with his brother, and brought over a second plate of food so they could both eat. The food was generally quite good. It is very difficult to cook for the entire main dining room at once, and understandably a few dishes fell short (which is exactly what happened on Princess and HAL, the other two lines I’ve been happy with their food). But some of the food was always excellent, and by ordering 3 courses each person was able to have a very strong dining experience overall. There was some very good food in the buffet – usually the ethnic food, the carved food station and the cooked to order fish station were excellent. The pizza was so bad that for the first time in his life my 6 year old actually refused to eat pizza, but there was always enough good food if you tried enough things in the buffet. The scones and bread were always very good, along with the custard deserts in ramekins. Please note that you will receive a card with your table number for assigned seating in your cabin. You should bring this card with you to the dining room on the first night. Patrons who did not have their card had to wait in a long line while the dining room employees checked their table number. Simply telling them your number was insufficient, as they would refuse to seat you (and I can guess that previous patrons may have gotten confused and given them the wrong number, leading to problems when they were seated at the wrong table). Guests who had their dining card were immediately escorted to their tables. There are a few things that families should be aware of prior to booking a Cunard cruise to ensure that sailing this line is the right choice for your family (and people without children can stop reading here, since the rest of the review is for families). Anytime dining is only available if you are staying in more expensive cabins. If you have two interior cabins like we booked, you will need to do fixed dining or the buffet or the specialty restaurants (and there is no discount for children ordering off the adult menu in the specialty restaurants). We were originally assigned late seating, which was after my younger child’s bedtime. I emailed Cunard prior to my sailing, and they very kindly cleared us off the wait list for early dining so the lack of anytime dining did not affect my family since the early fixed seating worked well for us. Please also note that formal dress codes apply to most common areas on the ship, not just the dining room. Most Cunard passengers are very dedicated to the dress code, and even in the buffet you can see women in evening gowns on formal nights. I need to dress for chasing around small children (which means I was wearing an ordinary black dress that would really be more appropriate for daywear and not eveningwear since I don’t wear anything that needs to be dry cleaned while my kids are small and stain everything) but people seemed tolerant of my clothing choices. The kids club is scheduled to close from 5-6 pm for dinner. Please note that there are no dining venues that serve dinner during this time – the buffet does not open for dinner until 6 pm. From 5-6 pm the buffet serves a lovely tea – there are very good scones and sandwiches available but there are no dinner options available during this time in the buffet or main dining room. Room service is available, and might be an option if you want to feed your child during the 5-6 pm slot. I was lucky and my kids were happy to wait until they left the kids club before going to bed to eat a late dinner in the buffet, since one of my goals on a cruise is to feed my children a lot of different ethnic foods they haven’t tried before. Thankfully, there was a large variety of foods available from the buffet so my 2-year old was able to add a lot of new foods to his diet. We also took our kids to the main dining room some nights, where the waiters did an excellent job. Parents should also note that the kids club staff requires at least one guardian to stay on board while their children are in the kids club, so it is not be possible to leave your children behind while you participate in an excursion that might be too difficult for them (such as hiking Pulpit Rock). The kids club generally opened at 2 pm on shore days, and was closed in the mornings on shore days. We normally take our children with us on excursions, so these rules and closures did not affect our family at all. Children are also required to wear bracelets identifying their muster station. If your child is unhappy wearing this bracelet, you can obtain a waiver from the purser’s office in which you agree that in case of an emergency, your child might not be brought to the correct muster location and you may be separated from your child temporarily. Our cruise options this year were limited to Cunard and Carnival, since I wanted to be on a ship with a kids club that would accept my 2 year old son. I am aware of the RC, Disney and Norwegian Escape nurseries but was a bit concerned that they might not have availability during the times I’d want to utilize them. Since we chose this cruise specifically for the kids club, it was disappointing that the staff was the weakest of the four lines I have sailed on with children (NCL, Princess and HAL all had stronger kids club staff employees). We traveled with our older son when he was two on Princess. Princess allowed children under the age of three to visit their kids club with parental supervision. Whenever my son went into the kids club the staff immediately started to interact with him, and ask him what he wanted to play with. They brought him toys and art supplies, and helped him complete the arts and craft projects that were designed as the activities for the older children. Even though I was required to stay in the kids club for insurance reasons, the kids club employees completely took on the responsibility of playing with him and setting up arts and craft activities for him. The staff on Cunard were not nearly as helpful in terms of interacting with children individually. We had sailed during the school year in both England and the US, so there were only 23 children on board, and I never saw more than 10 in the kids club at any one time so I expected that they would be able to provide some individual attention to the children. Our six year old greatly enjoyed the kids club, but our two year old needed help for 5-10 minutes following the drop off. He needed someone to play with him to distract him so he could transition into the kids club. After 10 minutes, he was perfectly fine and could play with the other children and participate in the activities without requiring individual attention from the staff. In fact, some nights when I went to pick him up, he told me he didn’t want to leave. But the staff had initially refused to play with him during drop off to help him with the transition, and when my husband asked why they weren’t interacting with our son he was told by a kids club employee that they “were overworked.” At the exact time of this conversation, there were two Cunard employees working in the younger kids club, and there were only three children in that kids club (the kids club for older children had two employees and no children). Two out of the three children in the younger kids club were playing a video game, so they were not interacting with the kids club staff at all. After my husband complained that they needed to help our two year old transition into the kids club, they seemed more attentive and helped our two year old more during the transition. Although many employees on cruise ships are required to work more hours than they should, it seemed strange that the Cunard kids club employees stated that they were overworked since their kids club is open for fewer hours than those of other cruise lines. On a previous HAL cruise, I wrote in my evaluation that I felt that HAL needed to hire more staff, since on port days the kids club was open from 9-4, and 7-10, which I thought was too many hours for only two employees. Cunard’s kids club was only open on port days from 2-5, and then from 6-11, so there were a lot fewer hours to cover and a lot more employees (at least 4 were always working for 10 kids, although 2 were in a room that usually didn’t have any kids in it). If the Cunard cruise had a lot of children, I would have understood that the kids club couldn’t give any individual child attention even for 5-10 minutes, but in a kids club on a sailing with 23 kids (and some of them were children of officers who are only allowed in the kids club on a space available basis) it seems as though the Cunard staff should be able to help kids transition briefly. The other unusual part of the kids club is that they require parents to pick children up fifteen minutes prior to closing. On our previous Baltic cruise on NCL in August, there were a lot of children onboard and it could take 10-15 minutes to sign all the kids in and out, but on this cruise we never saw more than 10 kids in the kids club so there were never any delays in terms of signing children in or out of the kids club. My husband was admonished for lateness when he signed the children out at 11:55, when the kids club was supposed to be open from 9am-12pm. He was told the children need to be picked up at 11:45. The kids club staff first stated they needed time to sign everyone out, and when my husband insisted it wouldn’t take him 5 minutes to sign a sheet, they then said that they needed 15 minutes to clean up, and then stated they could not work overtime due to British overtime regulations. I’d suggest that Cunard implement technology like other ships in which the parent’s cruise cards are scanned instead of having people sign sheets if signing the children out needs to happen quickly to be in compliance with employee contracts (I don’t personally require this change, as it was never a problem to sign our child out but seemed to be an issue for their employees). Or at least Cunard should change the hours to 9-11:45, so parents don’t see that the kids club is listed as closing at 12 and get confused. Overall, we quite liked sailing on Cunard, but it just isn’t particularly reassuring to leave your children when you don’t feel the kids club employees are as dedicated to their jobs as the other ship employees such as the stewards and waiters. Therefore, we won’t sail with Cunard again until our children are older and more self-sufficient and don’t need support from the counselors (my 6 year old was very happy in the kids club because he didn’t need any personal attention.) The unfortunate thing is that since so few lines allow two year olds in their kids club, this is a really nice opportunity for Cunard to show young families what a great way to travel cruising is for families and to win the loyalty of young families to their cruise line. It is unfortunate because a lot of the Cunard employees really are quite sensitive to the needs of families traveling – the reservations people changed our seating to early dining ahead of time, we were able to skip the lines at embarkation, and the waiters in the main dining room always helped us feed our children quickly and get them food they liked. Families should also please note that cabs in Norway are not allowed to take children without car seats. Cab companies are required to provide car seats, but we were unable to get a cab service to agree to take us with the kids for a short ride (I emailed two companies in Bergen two days in advance, didn’t hear back from the first and the second apologized for not viewing my email until after we left Bergen). I’m not sure you will be able to get a cab to agree to transport you for a short ride if it means they have to bring and install car seats for you but others might have better luck if they contact the cab companies farther in advance to schedule transportation. On our previous Baltic cruise we rarely relied upon taxis because the public transportation system is excellent. But in the small towns of Norway, there just honestly just isn’t a need for an extensive public transportation system. So you can either walk (and a lot of attractions are within walking distance if the weather is nice) or take the HOHO buses which usually require some waiting. We found ourselves in the frustrating situation in Stavanger and Bergen in which it rained a lot and our kids were cold and didn’t want to walk, and the taxis at the taxi stands couldn’t transport us. And it meant that we saw a lot less in those locations than we would have if we’d been able to take cabs. So oddly even though the Baltic cruise seems like it should be logistically more difficult, Stockholm/Copenhagen/Helsinki/Tallinn actually was easier to navigate since they have a stronger public transportation system and taxis are available in a pinch. If I could do this over again, I’d have probably waited until my children were older to visit Norway due to the transportation difficulties. I emailed the Norway tourism office to ask at what age children no longer require car seats, but they said they didn’t know of an exact age and that cabs were legally required to provide them. However, families that prefer cruise tours or HOHO buses really won’t really experience any of these transportation issues. And because tourism in Norway exploded after the release of the movie Frozen, there are a lot of new attractions that make it much easier for children to experience the beauty of Norway. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
From the embarkation to disembarkation the whole experience was wonderful. I have sailed with P&O before which was very nice, but Cunard really was a different class. We had a balcony cabin on the 8th deck. The cabin was spacious, ... Read More
From the embarkation to disembarkation the whole experience was wonderful. I have sailed with P&O before which was very nice, but Cunard really was a different class. We had a balcony cabin on the 8th deck. The cabin was spacious, clean and beautifully decorated. The bed was a good size and the bathroom was also a good size, a little small for my husband, but he is 6'6". There was a great choice of dining and the standard of food was excellent. The entertainment was good, although the dance shows didn't seem to be very polished. Staff were approachable and extremely helpful and friendly. We did not book any Cunard excursions as we did our own thing. Norway itself was absolutely beautiful although very expensive but we will definitely be visiting again. We are already planning our next Cunard cruise which hopefully will be in 2019. We hope to try another ship in the fleet but would definitely cruise on the Queen Elizabeth again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We used the Queen Mary 2 as transportation from Europe (Southampton) back to North America (New York) and for that it was OK... Would I book a cruise on the QM2 - NO Found the food to be only OK... poor selection in the buffet compared ... Read More
We used the Queen Mary 2 as transportation from Europe (Southampton) back to North America (New York) and for that it was OK... Would I book a cruise on the QM2 - NO Found the food to be only OK... poor selection in the buffet compared to other cruise lines especially at night. Most nights are very formal and found the fellow passengers to be less friendly than on other mid stream cruise lines.... Found all prices to be high and everything came with an extra price tag on it.... Our stateroom appeared clean but when I put my black slacks on the upper shelf they came off covered in dust...Had to ask for more soap - shampoo - conditioner when ours ran out - I am used to having it just replenished without me having to say a word or find our Cabin Attendant... Our Sheltered Balcony did not provide for easy viewing of anything .... Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
"Embark on a very civilised adventure. Sail with Cunard to experience your ideal oasis of discovery, relaxation and sophistication" "The Cunard experience. Everything you wanted Nothing you expected.". The above ... Read More
"Embark on a very civilised adventure. Sail with Cunard to experience your ideal oasis of discovery, relaxation and sophistication" "The Cunard experience. Everything you wanted Nothing you expected.". The above comes from the Cunard web site so I thought that I'd write my review with this in mind. Our 5 day trip was the celebration of a significant anniversary and we had booked a cabin in Club Balcony class to add to the relaxation and sophistication and in some ways this move was successful, as the dinning experience in the Club balcony package was a bit of an oasis, particularly for breakfast.. Our cabin, however was on deck 8 just below the Pavilion Bar. It was noisy during the day and the night.: table tennis noise, Yacht Club music in the evening and conversations of the many passing people day and night was not what we wanted! We've been on many cruises but never has the cabin been so noisy. Not an oasis of relaxation at all. I think Cunard need to move their Club Balcony Cabins to a quieter area. Embarkation and Disembarkation were everything we wanted. Dining was a rather mixed bag. The quality of food in the Club Balcony restaurant varied from the good to very good but was not particularly adventurous. The service here was on the whole good as was the general experience. However, the Lido self service was poor in almost every way: the lack of variety, space, service and sophistication was certainly not expected. What a faff, just to get a cup of tea! Entertainment was again variable: a brilliant Rewind Project but the Production Company lacked enthusiasm. Lectures were varied and interesting. "Nothing you expected" ? Didn't expect cold cabin and cold dinning room. I think that there were issues with the electrics even before the main generator went down on Friday evening while we were dining. Glad we weren't in the lift when this happened. also glad it wasn't for long. Didn't want the force 10 gale on the way to Hamburg either but that wasn't unexpected and the ship seemed to deal pretty well with the conditions. Liked the sophistication of most of the public areas. Always easy to find a quiet spot to relax or listen to live music. Not sure if I'd go again but certainly not Club Balcony in the summer unless they change the cabins. Cunard charge for Hamburg shuttle $7 each way a bit steep, but it is worth doing your research as an all day, after 9am ticket, good for buses, ferries and trains cost 4 of us under 4 Euros each! In conclusion "Very civilised adventure". No, but more civilised than P&O "Your ideal oasis of discovery, relaxation and sophistication. In some ways, yes. "Everything you wanted." Not at all. " Nothing you expected." Not at all sure? Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was a new years eve cruise. We enjoyed ourselves so much the first time we booked again this year 2015. We arrived at Southampton dropped off our car withe the parking attendant. Our cases were taken by the porter. As we entered ... Read More
This was a new years eve cruise. We enjoyed ourselves so much the first time we booked again this year 2015. We arrived at Southampton dropped off our car withe the parking attendant. Our cases were taken by the porter. As we entered the terminal we were greeted by a member of staff. The terminal was clean with seating area's, not like some of the terminals used by some other cruise lines. We were quickly checked in. We were greeted by a line of staff, very smart in there uniforms. Then Offered a glass of champagne when we boarded the ship. The ship and all the staff were fantastic. A really first class 5 star service. The entertainment was also first class. Went spent the night docked in Amsterdam. The fireworks display was also impressive from the top of the ship. And as we stayed on UK time new year was at 11pm ( 12pm Amsterdam time). Then at 12pm we had the UK celebrations into the early hour's of the morning. The service and ship decor is very impressive compared to constellation or Equinox we have been on. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was for us a "taster" cruise to see if we liked the whole concept of a cruise break/holiday - having become disillusioned with airports and the delays and waiting times. The experience could not have been smoother and more ... Read More
This was for us a "taster" cruise to see if we liked the whole concept of a cruise break/holiday - having become disillusioned with airports and the delays and waiting times. The experience could not have been smoother and more relaxing. Having stayed at a quayside hotel overnight, we waited there for our designated boarding time. The hotel concierge drove us over and twenty minutes later we had embarked, our luggage was whisked away right to our cabin (deck 8 starboard) and we had been issued with our boarding passes which gained entry to everything and covered all the expenses we needed while on board ship. The ship itself is fabulous - big but not daunting and all the public areas are beautifully kept. Fresh flowers everywhere: plus the whole place was tastefully decked out for Christmas. Our cabin steward (Bryan) was excellent and always helpful and attentive - leaving us in peace if we were in the cabin, but buzzing around and replacing towels etc. whenever we seemed to be away. The dining experience was equally excellent. The Brittania restaurant was fine: once we had sorted out that we preferred to dine alone rather than in a big group, The whole ambience of the ship was exciting and interesting (especially if you are a "people-watcher): whether it be the experience of teatime in the ballroom (with a tea dance on Sunday) or sitting in one of the bars or enjoying the entertainment in the theatre (we bagged a box for two of our nights away). The entertainment was good: a lively male singing quartet, a comedian and then the ship's singers and dancers on the last evening with a new show. We also attended a daytime lecture (on the RNLI in Suffolk) which was well done and interesting. Our overall impression (as first-timers) was excellent. We were on deck 8 (just below the aft pool deck). I suspect this might be noisy in the summertime - you could hear people walking about above us on the deck. But nothing was intrusive and people kept to themselves: it is a sedate experience and very enjoyable. We found all the staff (our steward, the waiters, the bar staff and the purser's office) all very helpful as we had a few issues with our card opening the cabin door (keep it away from your mobile phone was the answer!). Even disembarkation was smooth and painless. The system looked complicated (parting with our luggage by 11pm the night before). But it all worked out and we were off the ship earlier that timetabled as the luggage was ready and waiting for us after our last breakfast at 6.30am. The food - excellent throughout. The self-service restaurant (The Lido on the top floor) was well presented buffet-style food - but good - not that we needed it! But the restaurant food was always beautifully presented and the cuisine is a credit to the many staff who must work tirelessly behind the scenes. It would be hard to fault anything we experienced. My only comment would actually be about the fellow guests on board. We were informed well in advance of travelling what the dress code would be: certain evenings informal (jackets for the gentlemen but ties could be optional). Then one night was formal - (dinner suits or dark suits). If you wished to avoid this, you were urged to keep to the top floor buffet restaurant. Despite this, several gentlemen did not wear jackets when asked to and several of them removed their jackets (even on the formal night) and put them on the back of their chairs. I don't think this is on when the air of the whole experience was the create the right atmosphere to meet the occasion. Play the game chaps! I am surprised the maitre'd didn't tap them on the shoulder and ask them to put their jackets on again! The ladies did the occasions proud and many of them looked very elegant indeed. It made for a magical experience to see people looking smart on such an elegant ship such as the Queen Victoria. We had one day on shore and chose the trip to Ypres, Tyn Coyte war cemetery and Flanders Memorial Museum. We were a small group (suited us): but I have to comment that our guide was excellent. He delivered nothing short of a lecture on the nature, causes and details of WW1 as we made our way to the cemetery. He was well informed, communicative and very interesting. Thank you for that: we felt that although these trips ass to the cost of the cruise - on this occasion it was well worth it and we could not have undertaken this (and been so well informed) had we done it ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
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