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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Though Cunard are not the cheapest, the whole experience was slick and smooth. We booked a Britannia balcony cabin, with coach transfer as part of the deal. Excellent coach to Southampton with two stops on the way. Arrived on time and in ... Read More
Though Cunard are not the cheapest, the whole experience was slick and smooth. We booked a Britannia balcony cabin, with coach transfer as part of the deal. Excellent coach to Southampton with two stops on the way. Arrived on time and in cabin within 30mins. We chose earlyt dining (6.30pm) on table of 8 and had good company - we moved round the table as the cruise progressed. Formal dress (jacket a must), but informal dress at the all day Lido restaurant, which we chose on three occasions. Food and service in the Britannia restaurant were excellent, but be warned, alcoholic drinks are pricey. Lido food also very good with great choices for breakfast, lunch and evening meal. We didn't use any of the other restaurants (eg Verandah) were there is an additional charge. Evening entertainment was very good, and excellent at times, though we didn't see all the one hour shows. At 60 and 67 we were probably in the younger 10% on board. Only impact was the day time entertainmeent and some shows are aimed at the older age group. It didn't bother us at all. Excellent range of activitiess each 'sea day', including lectures/talks on forensics, historical evcents and politics. Also food demos, Bridge classes, line dancing, cinema and much more. Excursions are pricey, but good guides. We did two and found nearest Tourist Info and explored on foot in Cadiz, Venice, Hvar, Dubrovnik and Cagliaria. Need to book a tour for Sicily as Messina is just a dock port. Not much in Gibraltar either except tour of fortifications, which was very good. High street is like any British city. Gratuities are pricey (about £21 per day), but we went to Reception and asked to remove this from our bill - done without fuss. We arranged our own (well earned) gratuities at the end of the cruise to Head Waiter and Cabin Steward. Sockets in cabin are American and British. Tea and coffee makig facilities in cabin and all day in Lido, but hot drinks were reasonably priced in cafes on board. All in all, excellent experience - our first cruise, if a little pricey overall. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
this cruise was very disappointing as it was difficult to get around due to the heavy doors on the ship I unable to get out of my cabin my husband had open the door. The garden room was difficult to leave there was a heavy door before ... Read More
this cruise was very disappointing as it was difficult to get around due to the heavy doors on the ship I unable to get out of my cabin my husband had open the door. The garden room was difficult to leave there was a heavy door before the automatic door As many of the passengers were in the 60/80 age range I was the surprised that the unheated pool did not have graduated steps I could not get out of the pool, three swimming costumes were unworn . The entertainment was poor not enough to do in the daytime on sea days as most activities were in the morning. The set in the theatre broke down during a show also did the video for the piano players very poor maintenance. the whole ship was without water for six hours everyone went to dinner without be able to wash,it was very uncomfortable as well as being unhygenic Chairs on deck sticky and unwashed the food was excellent the service was very good cabin staff. Embarkation was swift Overall there were too many faults to overcome as I kept being caught in the heavy doors . Read Less
52 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Problems from the start. Ticketed as new cruisers when in fact it was cruise #3 for us , it took 3 visits to the pursers office (waiting in line) to correct that error. Even then, there was no way to ensure early dinner sitting, a ... Read More
Problems from the start. Ticketed as new cruisers when in fact it was cruise #3 for us , it took 3 visits to the pursers office (waiting in line) to correct that error. Even then, there was no way to ensure early dinner sitting, a requirement of our booking, yet never advised as a problem until we had been ticketed and fully paid up. Different table at most dinners. Did I say dinner? A sample from the Britannia's international menu follows. And I challenge you to find this in any cookbook. Taglioline (ribbon pasta) in a light tomato sauce and sitting on top: TWO turkey breast schnitzels! Missing items -No fried egg on top, and no chips! From what hell's kitchen did this dish emerge? Try cutting up turkey schnitzels on top of pasta without ruining whatever qualities you may have thought were present underneath! In the Lido each day, for breakfast there were the same 3 kinds of (possibly, it wasn't labeled) yoghurt, along with 2 or 3 kinds of melon: water, rock (sometimes) and honeydew. On the one morning bananas were served, they were soft and very close to black.In Sydney, our departure port, there were available abundant quantities of papaya, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, mangoes, plums, white and red grapes and pears. None of these was available. Instead we had the aforementioned melons, cut pineapple, and canned peaches, pears, prunes and pineapple rings. Smoked salmon with your breakfast? Forget it. Beef sausages? Forget those too. No just pork or chicken, every morning, day in and day out. And as for fish! Have you Aussies ever heard of a "long tailed snapper" that had all the markings of a sea mullet, (dark, large u-shaped remnants of scales on the black skin with brown flesh underneath, and the only whitish flesh in the centre. The whole lot tasting like something you'd normally throw to the gulls? )Try Cunard for a whole new understanding of this delicacy. In the Verandah restaurant which prides itself on a long tradition of French cuisine, I had to wait for French mustard to be sourced from somewhere else to go with my sinewy, overcooked rack of lamb. A French male, raised in a Paris restaurant, met at the pool, told me with a sad shake of his head, there is no French cooking in that restaurant. (The head chef is Indian, by the way, according to the staff announcement one evening.) The French man had been served a sole, and found it inedible, due to having been "white frozen" at the tips and edges.You know, that's when your fish has been exposed to too much air after a long, long time in the freezer, with lots of openings and closings.. Another Britannia restaurant special featured monkfish wrapped in bacon. Quiz question for junior cooks: how do you cook bacon to a point where it is cooked if you wrap it around monkfish? Answer: you don't worry about the fish Just make sure the bacon is cooked, and to hell with the fish. Another. What is the difference between a green bean and a khaki bean on a Cunard liner? Answer: none. Cook the crunch and the colour out of it. Some people might love khaki coloured beans. Fancy an early morning swim? Two outdoor pools are available, and you'd better love an icy cold shower to follow your swim, because there are no warm ones. Want a warm dip? $35 (AU $50 approx) per person per day will get you into a spa pool which on cruise lines at half the price are free of charge. Who spends all day in a spa pool? Even $5 for an hour might be reasonable, but $50 is outrageous. Glass of wine with dinner? $AUS20 for a "specially selected Cunard chardonnay. Origin ? Vintage? Who knows? House white we call this type of wine in Aus. Not happy? Try the Devlin's Mount Unwooded Chardonnay, not well known but only $AU 60 a bottle! I have a similar wine at home that I buy for $4. Not $40. Just $4. If your thing is 1960's pub food, 5th rate entertainment (you had to be there for THAT), drinks at outrageous prices, staff with attitude (understandably--some of these guys are ex QE 2 in the glory days, but are now trapped in a Cunard time warp) and prices about double the competition's, then indeed, Cunard is for you. No? Then forget it. Try Royal Caribbean or Celebrity instead. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We thoroughly enjoyed our World Voyage. Hamburg-Hamburg from 8th January - 12 May 2016. The cruise lasted 125 days, The service was excellent.. The crew were fantastic and we would definitely repeat a cruise with Cunard. We planned this ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our World Voyage. Hamburg-Hamburg from 8th January - 12 May 2016. The cruise lasted 125 days, The service was excellent.. The crew were fantastic and we would definitely repeat a cruise with Cunard. We planned this cruise 12 months in advance and did 5 overland tours plus the normal stops. A voyage like this is really what you personally put into it. We did a lot of research on the destinations we would be visiting. We have cruised many times before so yes, we are experienced travelers. We both joined in a lot of sport activities on the ship and really enjoyed the possibilities offered. Our Cabin was most comfortable. We travelled as a retired couple (65). This voyage gave us the possibility of visiting many destinations that were still on our bucket list and get a good impression of whether we wanted to return. Which was our highlight? There were many highlights:. Namibia, Africa, Australia, China, Japan, The Lost city of Petra in Jordan, Malta. So many wonderful destinations. Thank you Cunard and thank you to all members to the Queen Elizabeth for making this an unforgettable "One in a Lifetime Experience" Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Warning is will be quite long as I will have lots of time to kill – I will write day by day as we travel! To give the correct context we are men in our late 40's, from the UK and have cruised many times (about 40 I would guess). ... Read More
Warning is will be quite long as I will have lots of time to kill – I will write day by day as we travel! To give the correct context we are men in our late 40's, from the UK and have cruised many times (about 40 I would guess). We mainly sail with Celebrity, occasionally with P&O and also Cunard. We do every category from suites to insides depending on itinerary, occasion etc. With Cunard we have done 6 cruises, 1 Queens Grill, 3 Princess Grill and 2 Britannia so are Gold members of the Cunard World Club. This particular holiday we booked relatively last minute and the time just happened to match when we could both get time off from work and the deal was too good to miss. We booked a guarantee inside as a Cunard Saver fare. The booking was made in June for a Transatlantic (New York to Southampton) sailing 14th July. The flights were included (Birmingham UK to Newark) with United. We varied the flight to arrive in New York on Saturday 11th to spend 4 days there prior to embarking QM2. The fare we secured was £700pp and we made our own hotel arrangements for the 3 nights. We picked the Renaissance on Times Square. About 7 days prior to departure our stateroom was allocated. We had been upgraded from the inside to a larger outside (4010). This is a great stateroom for a transatlantic as the space used for balconies on nearby cabins is incorporated into the room itself giving a large seating area with sofa and chairs. There is an inside corridor below it near Illuminations and so there is no noise. So that was hurdle one over - a good stateroom. Not sure how they decide on upgrades - we have not sailed with Cunard for some years but as mentioned are Gold members and have one future cruise booked later this year on Queen Elizabeth - then it's a full fare Princess Grill as it is a special cruise with some close friends (their first cruise). I'm not a great flyer so checked out the upgrade fare from economy to United Business First - this was £4,000 pp so was a no go. However on tracking the seat plan on United website Business First was only half full. At check in I cheekily asked if there were any cheap upgrades into Business First - the check in assistant laughed saying we don’t do cheap upgrades but said she would check. The reply was OMG I've never seen any at this price before £380pp. We jumped at it given in essence this only was the cost of the tax. We had a fantastic experience with United. We were in seats 1A & 1B. We received lounge access, priority security and priority boarding. Great start to our holiday. Even bumped into my cousin at Birmingham airport who was off to a Med Cruise. We got to the gate only to be checked by the lady who did the upgrade - she was still so tickled for us. Boarded the plane. It's quite funny when you board and are turning left to the front. The usual meet and greet on-board are on autopilot sending you down to economy - and that's how they started with us. We were dressed for holidays. However they then spotted the seat numbers etc and switched into a very different mode. All of a sudden the Cabin Manager appeared to show us to our seats, offered to carry bags etc. So we arrived at our seats. Jo was the stewardess looking after the section. Immediately offered us Champagne. She and her colleague Sally were fantastic for the next 8 hours. We were given menus, instruction on how the beds operated etc. Following take off a full drinks service, quality wines, Champagne etc was offered. Proper glasses and endless amounts. 5 course meal was next - I opted for Sushi, Salad, Spiced King Prawns, Cheese Board (with Port) and Ice Cream Sundae. Oops nearly forgot the coffee and Baileys to follow. Then it was time form on demand films (I watched Kingsmen) followed by a snooze. There was also wifi available which kept Karl occupied for most of the flight. Final meal service was cookies (actually made by Sally on-board) with great tasting warm baguettes. Landed ahead of schedule, disembarked, got cases quickly (priority tag) and went through immigration with no queue. Never experienced that in the USA before. The challenge was to then get to Times Square. We opted for the airport bus at $18pp. Great value, no queue and first stop was Times Sq. Over the next few days we did some great things. I won’t detail too much otherwise we will never get to QM2. In essence we relaxed and did a few special things as we have been to NYC several times before. We did the helicopter flight over NYC fantastic! Spent an evening with our good friends James and Jose. Celebrated our anniversary at Delmonicos on Beaver Street - their signature steaks and service are to die for. Fine dining and a place not to miss. All too quickly it was time to check out from the Renaissance. I've posted a review on Trip Advisor is anyone wants detail - in essence fab location, good rooms but service had deteriorated significantly. Day 1 Now to get to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, Pier 12. Jumped in a yellow car. Taxi driver had to research location on his map (note not SatNav). Fare was c $40 and he had difficulty locating the Pier but we made it. We arrived at about 12:30. Our tickets suggested 15:15 arrival but we had no problems or challenge arriving earlier. There were no queues at security or check in and we were on board about 15 mins later. As we boarded we had pictures taken with the Bell Boys dressed in red (well the rather older ships photographers) - far better than the usual awful photo backdrops used by Celebrity. Headed to cabin (we were offered to be shown there but declined). Arrived at cabin but neither key worked. Maria our stewardess spotted us and came to say hello and let us in – she knew our names – now that was good. Cabin was larger than we expected - loads of space. The sparkling wine was on ice. That's gone into the fridge for another time. We grabbed the daily programme that confirmed a sail time of 20:15. Unusual but we then read on. QM2 was to sail up the Hudson to Battery Park and World Trade Centre to give a sound and light show to the crowds ashore. We found the dinner reservation card - late sitting Britannia deck 3. That would not work for us with the above special events. We left the cabin to explore. We had been QM2 back in 2007 so quickly got our bearings again. Headed to the spa as we like to use the facilities each day. The pass for the crossing was $135pp - not cheap but facilities are good and it is a pleasant way to pass a few hours after the gym. We then headed to Kings Court to grab some lunch. I had forgotten how spoilt we have been on Celebrity. Their buffet is far far superior in terms of space, choice and quality. The Cunard version served its purpose and Karl enjoyed a glass of rose. Note to self the default is a large glass of wine 250ml so ask for small. Back to cabin. Cases had arrived and so unpacked. Noticed bath robes were missing and sent 4 shirts to laundry. Lifeboat drill next at 17:15. Very uneventful. Cunard still ask you to take life jackets there and put them on. Celebrity no longer do. At the end of the drill decided to head to the Commodore Club for a quick cocktail and then onto the spa. It was bliss as only about 5 people in. Most facilities were working correctly apart from some of the buttons on the showers. There seems to be a general problem across cruise ships in keeping spas operating as they were designed. Mentioned this to reception on the way out but don't expect it will get fixed. Loads of towels, robes, slippers etc. Changing rooms really well maintained attendant friendly. Given the strange times of events tonight we ate in Kings Court rather than Britannia. That way we could see the sail away, light show etc. Food was really poor - steak was tough and choice limited. The best bit of the meal was mashed potato - loved that!!! As we started to sail we headed to deck 12 and grabbed seats at the Regatta pool bar. It was getting dusk and the buildings of downtown Manhattan were starting to look fab with their lights. We sailed about 2 miles up the Hudson and stopped at Battery Park. The idea of the light show was good. I am guessing it was to help mark the 175th rather than becoming the norm. You had to look down the side of the ship to see it - we managed to grab a vantage point in little area behind the golf net - crew recommendation. The show was nice not stunning. Would have been better with lasers. Think it would have looked fab from the shore. Had a few drinks on deck and headed to bed. The robes had been delivered to the cabin, laundry taken and chocs left. Slept well - comfy bed. Day 2 We had ordered coffee, tea and orange juice for 8am. Arrived hot and on time. Nice china and served in pots etc. On P&O these days you get a sachet. Karl is happy as there is Assam tea on-board unlike Celebrity. We decide to eat in Britannia for breakfast given we have decided that Kings Court does not work for us. Asked for a table for 2 which was not a problem. We were seated upstairs. Friendly waiters and head waiter. Great breakfast menu albeit service was a little slow. However it's a transatlantic and we are in no rush. Back to cabin and put Karl's shoes out for cleaning. Not sure if the service is offered time will tell. Went for a wander and ended up for coffee in Sir Samuels. It’s about $3 for a small Americano. Nice atmosphere - mildly embarrassed by two English ladies who could not get their head round the fact that the soda package price is for the cruise not per day. They demanded to see a manager I left to go to a lecture so did not hear the outcome. I went to Illuminations to hear the lecture on Broadway Shows by Steve Rivellino. Really enjoyed it. Clocks went forward by an hour at midday. Not feeling hungry so headed back to the cabin. Shoes had been returned cleaned and polished and I settled back to watch Les Miserables on the TV (flat screen as last time we were in they were CRT). For those interested the cabin toiletries are Penhaligon's Quercus (who by the way are holders of Royal Warrant holders from the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales). On arrival there were 2 soaps, conditioner, shower gel, shampoo and moisturiser. The shower in the bathroom has a curtain - not the proper shower cubical with sliding door that Celebrity now provides. No tea and coffee making facilities in the cabin but room service is quick and there is no charge. Afternoon tea is now beckoning - so it's off to the Queens Room. So it's full marks for afternoon tea. Great service and atmosphere. Tea was frequent and hot, sandwiches tasty, cakes yummy and top notch scones. I had forgotten how grand the Queens Room is. We were joined by a Scottish couple whose flight had been delayed by 5 hours so they missed out on their planned shopping on embarkation day. After tea it was time to hit the gym. Lots of equipment but no longer state of the art. Plentiful towels and not too busy. After a decent workout it was into the spa. It was busier today but still relaxing. Steam room, saunas, pool etc all working correctly but you guessed it the showers were not. Quick change and it was time for dinner. We were allocated table 246 - Britannia deck 3. It turned out to be a table for 6 with 2 ladies (mother and daughter) already there. After usual introductions we had an enjoyable meal. The company was excellant and service was good. Our table companions (I have yet to learn their names) had not eaten there last night either. It was the first formal night so I was expecting a special menu. No - it was a standard one with Chicken, Plaice and Lamb Shank. Food was ok but not special. Started with Chicken soup and skipped desert. Requested Stilton Cheese to end and decaf coffee. The Stilton request caused a few issues but arrived and waiter said he would make a special request for future nights. After dinner it was a quick blow around the deck - damp and misty but refreshing. Then a stop at the Pursers Office. Since boarding there had been a strange smell in the cabin which was not going. It was a cross between a hospital smell and diesel. So dropped by to report it. Then it was off to the Royal Court Theatre to see Gary Lovinne. He was a fantastic violinist. I'm amazed he started his show on time as he was behind me in the queue at the Pursers Desk - his cabin key not working. After his show time for bed. Day 3 Today we are in Halifax Nova Scotia. Usual morning drinks order arrived at 8am and we headed to Britannia for breakfast. Service was far quicker today and I enjoyed my fresh fruit salad and eggs Benedict - a plus point on P&O as they only have it once a week. We then headed ashore, warm sunny day. There is a boardwalk and to head into town it’s a gentle flat 15 minute walk. The terminal tourist info people were very helpful as we were looking for a gent’s clothes shop. Found it easily, bought trousers and headed to the Citadel. Very pretty and there was a group of Scouts exploring clearly enjoying their adventure. We strolled back to the boardwalk area and found a great little bar serving craft beers, food and good wine. So with our drinks and food we passed a couple of hours and chatted to two Canadian guys. Headed back to QM2. No queues to get back on-board. Back in the cabin the phone rang. It was housekeeping to see if our TV was now working. Strange as we had not reported a TV only a smell. Oh yes he said there is no smell. I had to disagree and he said he would send someone. A few minutes later the Deck Housekeep arrived. He said he could not smell anything. Before he left there was another knock at the door and a lady arrived. She was Head of Housekeeping. Straight away she turned her nose up and agreed something was not right. She was not sure what but offers as a start to have the carpet shampooed during dinner. For the record the only places we can find the smell on-board is in the corridor on deck 4 leading from stairway B to stairway A on the even number side. After that excitement time for the spa. Before heading up two invites arrived to The Cunard World Reception on Sunday evening. Interesting that as yet no invite to a Captains' Welcome Aboard Reception that most lines host on the first formal night. Perhaps this has been one of the cuts in recent times? The spa was nice and relaxing. Made use of the relaxation lounge to watch the sail away from Halifax and to write some of this review. For some reason no cold drinks (orange and cranberry juice usually there) in the spa today - merely tea. Not busy at all and for most of the time I had the lounge to myself. Back to the cabin and then down to dinner after a pre-dinner drink in the Commodore Club. Nice touch in there with canapés being served which went down nicely with my G&T - and some enjoyable conversation with a German lady whose grasp of English was far bet than mine of German. Dinner was an improvement on the previous night. Beef and partridge featured and I supplemented the usual salad with an additional soup. My dinner ended up as a lovely mushroom tart, a broccoli and Stilton soup, beef (medium), lime tart and a plate of Stilton. Clearly the waiter realised it would become a regular order. After dinner it was a trip to the Royal Court for Viva Italia. Not really my style of show but it was bright, vibrant and had some good singing. Bed beckoned and carpets had been shampooed, as a result less smell. Day 4 As you have guessed a sea day - next stop Southampton. Had a lie in today with drinks being delivered at 8:30. 4010 is toward the very front of the ship and we have felt virtually no movement just some very gentle rocking. The smell is returning in the cabin but not as bad as on first 2 days. Spotted in the daily programme that tonight was the Britannia Captains Reception in the Queen's Room. No formal invitation to the cabin but at least we spotted the advert! Headed up to Kings Court for breakfast. Good selection and very busy. It's far better to get up that extra 30 mins earlier and head to the restaurant. Time then for a walk around the ship. Headed to deck 8 aft for some fresh air. It was warm and sunny and not too busy. Also looked at the Todd English menu - Karl and I are still trying to decide whether to book or not. Karl grabbed a table on deck to spend time on his laptop. We get the Cunard World free internet package (120 mins each) and the speed is good compared to some ships we have sailed on. It's time for me to head to the theatre to listen to former BBC Political Editor Robin Oakley. Theatre is packed unlike the previous 2 nights (we do the 10:30pm shows) and Robin is great. Today's topic was "Politicians and Drink". Cunard certainly do the guest lecturers better than other cruise lines. However as it stands today I would say Celebrity offers better food. We grabbed a quick lunch in the Britannia. A nice light spiced shrimp salad and Karl had the more substantial BLT, fries and salad. Clocks had gone forward an hour at midday so it was then a quick sprint to Illuminations for the planetarium show. Really good and more realistic than most 3D cinema films. But why oh why when it says on tickets that there will be no admission after a time that guests are still let in. One elderly gentleman clearly had no self-awareness that he was in front of the screen (larger than life shadow etc) for 5 minutes before he finally settled. Afternoon was spent relaxing in cabin, time in the spa (really busy today but gets quieter at around 5pm) and a decent workout in the gym. A quick change into black tie then off to the reception. We entered via the art gallery to avoid the large queue to meet the Captain. Amusing notice saying that Officers would not be shaking hands for health reasons. Amazing how at nearly 90 HM The Queen manages it and often without gloves but Cunard Officers can't. The Queens Room is a fab location for the event and most passengers complied with the dress code. This has been similar most nights - usually let down by early sitting guests changing into casual after dinner and grabbing the late show. There were copious amounts of fizz, wine and spirits for the full 45 mins and an entertaining speech from the Captain. This beats P&O hands down as at their reception, despite having a formal printed invitation, it is virtually impossible to get a drink, let alone fizz. Dinner was also great rather than ok. We both went for Steak Rossini whilst our companions tackled the rack of lamb. Very tasty and good sized portions. The starters for me were Cheddar Cheese Soup and Thai Fish Cakes. Desert was Grand Mariner Soufflé followed by a cheese plate (containing Stilton). The show tonight was Hilary O'Neil a comedian / singer from the UK and she was good. After a quick glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc ($8.75) it was time to retire. Day 5 Failed to make breakfast today. Far too comfortable in bed to make the effort so it was the usual drinks in the cabin and a Danish pastry. I had spotted two interesting talks to attend. At 10am it was the second on Broadway Shows and at 11am one on the threat of Jihad attacks given by a U.S. General Jack Keane Both were well worth attending. Also stopped by Todd English and booked dinner for the final evening on-board. Spotted good offer on Bombay Gin, 2 litres for $35 - too good to bypass. Karl spent the morning in the spa so we regrouped at the cabin to head for lunch. This was in Britannia. Apart from the evening dinner we tend to go for a table for 2 and this has not yet proved a problem. Today's lunch menu was nice and I opted for the Curried Turkey Soup (healthy option) and we both had the Portobello Ravioli which tuned out to be tortellini, but still tasty. In the afternoon I headed to a very quiet gym to burn a few calories followed by a trip to the spa. The show tonight was pre-dinner which is not my favourite time. However it stared Dale Kristien who played Christine Daoe on Broadway in Phantom of the Opera and she was ace. The theatre was full. Then it was pre-dinner cocktails in the Commodore Lounge where we were joined by our table companions. Very nice cold and warm canapés tonight, good conversation and well-made cocktails. We then headed down to dinner. We had not finished the previous nights wine and that was duly waiting on the table. Menu was ok but not stunning - I ended up with a roulade, chilled Pina Colada soup, sea bass, strawberry ice cream and Stilton cheese. Karl ventured for his favourite of lamb and was disappointed - basically too tough. However seems that it was just bad luck as others on the table found it to be good. I am still thinking Celebrity food is better as they have an a la carte each night which has some of my favourites on - escargot, lobster bisque, French onion soup etc. Cunard is similar standard to P&O albeit tableware and restaurant is superior (more spacious). During dinner we were joined by a 3rd couple to take our table to 6. They had asked to be moved from the mid-tier due to excessive vibration which started to be a talking point but for them became annoying by the 3rd night. It was their first crossing and cruise. Looking down on the table we could see the cutlery shaking at times but no more than you would experience in Oriana's aft restaurant. After dinner we headed to deck 12 for some fresh air and then down to the Commodore Club for a final drink. Karl had a cappuccino (good that coffee is offered) and I a G&T. Unfortunately it was busy in there so we ended up sitting near Churchill’s meaning a strong smell of cigar smoke and a continually banging door as the waiters went in and out. Not the end of the world but meant that if that was the option in future we would head to another bar. I would hate to have an adjoining Queens Grill suite - or indeed one above or below Churchill’s. The bed called. Day 6 Started very predictably with tray service in the cabin. However today we added a cooked breakfast. Fruit platter and yoghurt was good (yoghurt was Little Town Dairy). My favourite option of smoked salmon and scrambled egg was not on the pre-printed card so I wrote it on last night - and bingo it arrived as requested. A lazy morning in the cabin (smell not fully gone but guess I am now immune to it). Eventually ventured out to do the immigration check. Passport had to be presented to UK immigration officers at the Deck 3 Britannia entrance. Long line that moved quickly so done in 15 mins. I'm guessing that the only reason it is needed is that most guests are not doing a round trip and so had not embarked in Southampton. If that's not the case then it really is inexplicable - apart from an immigration officer getting a nice trip. At noon after the 8 bells we headed aft deck 8 to the Terrace Bar. It is pleasantly warm and not too busy. So far the crossing has had little movement. The Terrance Bar has an extensive stock inc coffee as it is the bar that services Todd English. As a result it's is open whatever the weather until at least 10pm. Very friendly staff here - they do have the time to chat as not too busy. Whilst I remember the has been much talk on Cruise Critic as to the state of repair of QM2. All I say is get real folks. Yes there are some places where the carpet is a little worn but this is the minority. There are a few scratches on furniture. Yes it’s the flagship of the fleet but she is not a new ship. I am sure many will regale their fondness of QE2 or Canberra - I would have described the former as in disrepair but many loved her. However I do believe there is a safety issue on QM2 with the areas of corridors that have "sunk". I am guessing these are cable areas or similar where the cover has sunk. I did see someone trip and there does seem to be quite a few of them around. The film today is Kingsman Secret Service. Great film that I saw at home in the UK, and on the flight out. I'm tempted to see it again but that depends on times and if the weather changes! Tonight is the Cunard World Club reception so more to fit in today and hopefully a nice menu later for dinner? As usual it was gym then spa time. Both were really busy but still able to enjoy the facilities. It always makes me chuckle when non gym goers on a ship have clearly bought new gear to use on-board that makes an appearance once in the cruise (usually towards the end) beautifully washed and pressed - only to return in virtually the same state. Today there was a husband and wife in identical outfits and matching this scenario. I sent a relaxing hour dozing in the spa lounge watching the world go by. A great place to watch the people navigating deck 7 - some in a more energetic way than others. A huge variety of outfits passed by and I noticed that most people headed from the aft to forward as a direction of travel. Slight issue in the cabin tonight - no not the smell - that's seems to be there far less often but tonight it was a foam back was coming up in the shower tray and bathroom drain. A call to the stewardess saw her bring copious towels to clear up and a promise of getting it fixed during dinner. From her reaction we guessed it was not an unusual problem. 7:45pm saw the Cunard World Club Reception. The Queens Room was full as one event covered both dinner sittings. It was busier than the Captains Welcome Reception. Figures for guests were about 200 each for diamond and platinum and 500 gold members. The most travelled guest was an Essex girl with 1,700 ish days at sea. Whilst nice to have locality recognised Celebrity beats Cunard hands down. We are Elite Plus with Celebrity and receive things like a nightly 2 hour cocktail reception, free laundry, dry cleaning etc, free spa pass, vip breakfast location to name a few. The Captain announced the dry dock planned for May 2016 and confirmed the addition of single cabins in part of the casino, extra Britannia Club cabins and an extension to the kennels (together with the addition of a lamppost and fire hydrant for the K9 guests). We chatted to a lovely couple from Australia during the reception and headed into dinner at about 8:45pm. Dinner was good. I had beef as a main course. The evening show was Joe West. He was really good combining vocals, tap and a variety of instruments. So I headed to be very contented especially as there was no sight of any foam in the cabin. Disembarkation instructions have been delivered. Our independent traveller time was 10:15am for deck 4 - Aqua labels for the cases. Day 7 Woke up and we headed to Britannia restaurant for breakfast. Very relaxed and we had a table for 2 on deck 3 level. Only 4 couples up there and the same number of staff so excellent service. Following breakfast there were several activities I wanted to attend. First was a talk from Robin Oakley on the USA / UK special relationship - seems more important to the UK than the USA. It was then back to Britannia for lunch. Again we were seated in the same section as for breakfast. I had a very nice smoked salmon linguini washed down with a welcome glass of New Zealand SB. As clocks had been advanced an hour at noon we rushed lunch a little as we had 2pm tickets for the planetarium show. That was great and no slow late running guests disturbing today's showing. After that it was a dash to the Royal Court Theatre to see RADA present Pride and Prejudice. What I saw was good but I have to admit the seats at the back were comfortable and allowed me to nod off!!! Having woken up I thought it would be good to do a workout to get the energy levels back up so I headed to the gym and spa. Today it was much quieter probably because there was so much going on around the ship. We met our table companions in the Commodore Club for cocktails - I can highly recommend the rhubarb mule at $9.75. Drinks were served with hot and cold canapés so that's an improvement over both Celebrity and P&O. Celebrity only serve at the Elite members nightly cocktail party. Also nice to see live music in each bar each night. Dinner was the best menu of the crossing as you would expect on the last formal night. We arrived at dinner with the table set for 4 so we assumed the 2 added companions had gone back to their vibrating table. Wrong assumption as they arrived shortly after us match to the embarrassment of the waiters. However all was quickly rectified. Turns out they had also moved cabins because of the vibration but we're still enjoying the crossing as they were impressed with the way Cunard handled their problems. As for food there were great choices for me so I opted for snails, beef consommé, duck and baked Alaska followed by Stilton. Forgot to add that the waiters also brought me lobster tail as I was struggling to choose a main course!! Other main was venison which Karl opted for and was also great. My favourite wine from the wine list tonight was crisp and cold Cloudy Bay. So full marks for tonight's meal which was accompanied by the string quartet and the usual parade of the Chefs. The show tonight after dinner was Apassionata. A high energy dance compilation from around the world. Very enjoyable with a variety of costumes. The start time was 10:45pm so later than usual to allow for the longer dinner. After a G&T with the show it was back to the cabin via the chart room - a Baileys was very welcome and the bar not too busy so a nice relaxed atmosphere. Day 8 Awoke for our last full day of the crossing. Had lots of intentions to see the final set of lectures but decided slumbering in the cabin after the usual team and coffee was the thing to do. Karl headed to the spa and we arranged to meet for lunch as we skipped breakfast. Once I eventually surfaced (and I've slept better on this holiday than all others in recent years) I headed for Sir Samuels for coffee. It's one of the bars we have used the most as service is prompt and not too busy - many seem not to recognise that wine etc can be ordered not just coffee. Also a good Wi-Fi signal. The package we receive from Cunard as Gold members has lasted me well allowing me to keep on top of email and also browse the internet. Connection has been largely reliable – unlike heading south down the coast of Portugal. Lunch in Britannia was ok. We had the wrong main courses delivered but quickly rectified. I had the ravioli which today was actually ravioli. Chilled cucumber soup to start and a nice glass of wine. On the way back to the cabin we stopped off at the deck 3 market stalls (selling tat) to pick up the Bombay Sapphire we had ordered. 2 litres for $35 was a bargain and it was boxed up and packed in air pocket wrap to prevent breakage. Time to pack. Not the thing I enjoy the most but a necessary evil. That done headed to the spa and gym to work off the lunch. However diverted on the way as Karl called to let me know the dogs were being exercised so I popped up to have a quick look. Very cute sight. There were about 6 on the kennel deck area and a couple of owners - but they will have just under a year to wait to use the lamppost!! It's another hot day so lots of people taking advantage of the open decks and also lots of painting being carried out. Tonight we are eating in Todd English (so a new experience) but it's deck 7 forward for now as I work off lunch. Not surprisingly the gym and spa were empty so a good workout followed by a very relaxing spa. It was back to the cabin to change for the Todd English experience. We headed to deck 8 aft for a pre-dinner drink. It was very calm and surprisingly warm and also empty. Some great photo opportunities. However noted never book a rear duplex. Everyone can see into the suite when the lights are on and no privacy on the balcony. I would do a smaller Q7 to Q4 anytime and far cheaper. I am surprised that the open deck tables outside Todd English are for smokers. I would have them for Todd English guests for pre-dinner drinks and after dinner coffee. Anyway we entered TE and atmosphere was great. Elegant but not stuffy but not as elegant as say Ocean Liners on Celebrity Constellation. However menu was great as was service. The cover charge worked out at about $33 pp which was cheaper than we expected. Wine was extra - same list as in MDR. I went for garlic prawns, lobster chowder and rack of lamb. Desert options were not to my taste and there was no cheese option. So I asked if some cheese was possible and the positive response was I will pop up to the Grills to get some for you. It was huge. So overall a thumbs up for TE albeit they did start to set up the Private Departure Lounge as we were having coffee. A circuit of deck 7 and a lift to deck 9 took us to a final drink in the Commodore Club before retiring and the last case going out. Alarm call booked for 6:45am - can't believe they stop serving breakfast at 8:00am - earliest I have ever experienced. Let’s see what the quality is like - it's usually awful irrespective of cruise line, save and except our Queens and Princess Grill trips. Day 9 Well the alarm went off and the seaboard account arrived. Not too bad given the two spa packages and 8 nights of good wine and cocktails. The bing bong announcements started at 6:30 just to make sure people were getting up - so glad in one way we were not doing a back to back. Packed final bits of luggage and headed for breakfast. Service was ok. It was a slimmed down menu and certainly beat my usual porridge at home. There was a worrying announcement that disembarkation had been delayed so am guessing a broken air bridge. I'm correct. We headed back to cabin to collect a couple of bags prior to the 8:30 kick out time. Already the cabin had been rearranged, beds made etc. We headed to deck 8 aft to spend a final hour on the loungers (fawn padded rather than the original green monogrammed but still comfy and an improved on the P&O nylon ones). Headed to the Queens Room for about 10am to finally get off with no real queue 15 mins late at 10:30. Baggage was easily located at we were the last deck to leave. We had hired a car from Enterprise Car Hire to get us home given we left from Birmingham airport 12 days ago. They were waiting and provided a very efficient service. Arrived home at about 3pm. Overall I would summarise QM2 as a 5* ship with 3*+ food. The first 2 evenings really let her down. Service around the ship was 4* as was entertainment (due to lectures not the production shows). However so much of this is a matter of personal taste. Of the cruise lines we travel with we would have to (as of today) rank them as follows:- • Celebrity in a suite • Cunard Grills (Princess every time rather than Queens) • Celebrity (non suite) • Cunard (non Grills - as I've never done Britannia Club) • P&O all classes - unless you get a real bargain fare I told you it would be long but it was a transatlantic crossing so lots of free time. Very relaxing and I would repeat. Let’s see how Grills stacks up in November. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our first sailing on Cunard, and hopefully won’t be our last. We quickly got used to the Cunard “ocean liner” experience, as compared to the experiences we’ve had on 20 or so past “cruise ships”. The following is ... Read More
This was our first sailing on Cunard, and hopefully won’t be our last. We quickly got used to the Cunard “ocean liner” experience, as compared to the experiences we’ve had on 20 or so past “cruise ships”. The following is pretty detailed; however, I appreciate the detailed reviews I’ve read here, so I trust this one will help others. Our crossing was Westbound: Southampton to Brooklyn. Embarkation: Very short waits at the port. Our luggage arrived within an hour. Cabin: We had an inside, which was fine, since there’s not much to see at sea! The bed was comfortable and the cabin had plenty of storage. The bathroom tiles were a bit dated, but the amenities were very nice. Lots of storage areas in the cabin. I wasn’t impressed with the cabin steward; she was reactive, rather than being proactive. Dining: The Britannia (MDR) is quite stunning. Cunard’s food was good, but not anything better than Princess. Getting free cappuccino/espresso, etc. after dinner was a nice touch. Drink prices were average for a cruise ship and the bars had a good selection of British beers on draught. Cocktails seemed to be on the skimpy-liquor side. The buffet setup is a bit odd, with the King’s Court spread out over a large area. While it was never crowded, unless you had a table by a window (they jutted out over the Promenade) you were stuck in an interior area, which, frankly looked dumpy. Afternoon tea, either served in the Queen’s Room, with white-gloved service, or via buffet in the King’s Court, was a nice touch with many selections of tea as well as finger sandwiches, pastries, and scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. We did the upcharge Indian dinner (Coriander) available the last 2 nights of the cruise. There was plenty of good (not great) Indian food in the King’s Court buffet area, which was converted to a sit-down restaurant. Public Rooms: This is where the QM2 shines. Corridors are broad, the public rooms very large. The Queen’s Room is the largest ballroom afloat. It was wonderful seeing people ballroom dancing. We attended 3 cocktail parties there. G32, the disco, seemed dark and is hard to find. Illuminations (the planetarium cum lecture hall) is beautifully decorated in Art Deco style. The Golden Lion Pub was very comfortable with pub lunch food daily and the Chart Room bar very spacious. The gym had a good amount of weight training equipment and free weights, along with cardio equipment. Unlike most other ships, however, the cardio equipment didn’t face broad windows. I didn’t use it, but took a peek at the Gold Canyon Spa….looked elegant. There were also additional nooks for card playing, and quiet times. There’s a large selection of gift shops, though many were geared toward jewelry and high-end items. One highlight of the ship is the amazing library with stacks categorized by topic and the full-time librarian. In addition, there’s even a bookstore! Entertainment—I was worried about not enough to do, since this was my first crossing, but was NEVER bored. Cunard had 5 lecturers on board, from the former director of the Bank of England to a speaker on musical theatre. Most were attended well. In addition, there were the popular planetarium shows. I even found a quiet place forward on the ship with dim lighting for real stargazing. At least 4 trivia contests are offered daily, though the prizes are only given at the end of the cruise and are skimpy at that. There was a nice (and usually empty) casino, with amazingly low table stakes ($3 in the afternoon, $1 one day). One nice touch is that there are no announcements made during the day, save for the Captain’s midday communication. One thing that set Cunard apart was the quality of the live music. At the Queen’s Room, you might find a 20 piece dance band. At other venues a string quartet or harpist. We even had piano recitals in Illuminations during the afternoon. If that wasn’t enough, I attended a 1-hour version of Hamlet acted by students of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. A downside were the evening production shows. The costumes were beautiful, but they lacked a theme, decent music, and dancers who can also sing. A full wrap-around Promenade deck was always full of people walking or jogging (1.3 miles for 3 laps). The deck chairs were padded with pillows. One downside is that Cunard hasn’t banned smoking yet. The aft area was always had a few smokers. The Commodore Club has large windows forward on the ship and was always a popular place for reading during the day, listening to live piano music, or cocktails in the evening. The ship provided an area there for an LGBT cocktail hour. Unfortunately, Churchill’s cigar lounge is next to the Commodore and when the door opens, the smell often ruined the ambiance of the Commodore Club. A worse scenario occurs on the 2nd floor of G32, where it was just uncomfortable unless you were a smoker. One remarkable story: On the penultimate day, we had an almost-emergency on the ship. At about 5:30 all of the staff were called to their muster stations. Cabin stewards put on their life jackets and all waiters left their 1st seating dining passengers to get to their assigned places. Apparently, there was a chemical spill in the engine room. Captain Wells made numerous announcements keeping all passengers informed. While we never had to get our life jackets, it was memorable. Several crew members told me it was the only time in 8 years this had ever happened. Kudos to the staff and crew for being ready! Disembarkation: Very smooth getting off the ship. US Immigrations, however, was very slow, with only 5 people on duty. Finally, the Cunard experience isn’t for everyone. Like most others on the ship, we brought our formal clothes, and in keeping with ship policy remained dressed at the shows, ballrooms, and disco. It made for a classy cruise….or should I say “crossing”!   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
My partner and I recently returned from a 12-day Mediterranean cruise onboard Cunard's QUEEN ELIZABETH. This ranks as one of those trips that was just about as near perfect as one could wish for. For those only interested in the ... Read More
My partner and I recently returned from a 12-day Mediterranean cruise onboard Cunard's QUEEN ELIZABETH. This ranks as one of those trips that was just about as near perfect as one could wish for. For those only interested in the pictures, and there are over 600, here is the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eroller/sets/72157637358470363/ We flew to Rome nonstop from Miami on Alitalia. The agent took a liking to us and blocked four seats just for us in the center section. Off to a great start! The flight was very comfortable with good service, and it's the first time I've experienced live cameras providing a forward and ground view on the in-seat monitors. I thought that was pretty cool. Upon arrival in Rome we were met by Cunard's airport staff who really went out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable. They took our luggage and the next time we saw it was in our cabin. We only had to wait about 15 minutes before we were on the bus headed to the ship ... or were we? Actually since we were so early Cunard provided a motor coach mini-tour of Rome before heading to Civitavecchia where the ship was docked. This was certainly an unexpected surprise, and what a difference from our Costa experience in April where we basically had to loiter around the airport for almost four hours before they took us to the ship. Embarking QUEEN ELIZABETH was a breeze, with no lines, no waits, and a very simple check-in process. Disembarkation in Venice 12 days later was just as painless. I was anxious to see QUEEN ELIZABETH having already sailed on her sister QUEEN VICTORIA and the Cunard flagship QM2. The QE is the same basic design as QV but with some minor changes to the layout and a more art deco interior design. I quite liked it and immediately felt very comfortable in my new surroundings. The ship was spotless and essentially looked brand new. QE is a Vista Class, but with a custom layout for Cunard that includes far more multi-level spaces and public areas that are more airy and bright compared to her counterparts sailing for Holland America. In fact you would be hard pressed to realize QE was even related to her HAL cousins unless you knew in advance. The overall ambiance of QE is Cunard through and through. For those not familiar with Cunard, it's truly the last seagoing experience that beckons to a bygone era of tradition, formality, and civility. The atmosphere onboard is sophisticated, spacious, elegant, and yes very British! Our passenger compliment was probably around 60% British, 30% American, and 10% a mixture of Japanese and Europeans. Daytime activities include enrichment lectures, an afternoon message, lounging by the pool, and of course afternoon tea. Since this cruise was so port intensive, most days were spent ashore. In the evening a jacket is required after 6pm as the minimum dress code. Everyone honored the dress code which was a breath of fresh air. Not a single T-shirt or flip flops spotted in the dining room! Cunard cherishes its history, and is probably the only cruise line with an authentic bookshop onboard selling Cunard memorabilia as well as ocean liner books, cards, and puzzles. My partner who has little interest in ocean liner history really loved the Cunard experience, and surprisingly wanted to stop by the bookshop almost every night. It was something unique that he had not experienced on any other ship. To accompany the book shop is a fully stocked two level library complete with librarian. Proudly displayed all over the ship is artwork and artifacts from Cunard's illustrious past. If you require even more reminding that you are sailing with a company steeped in tradition and history, then a channel on your TV is dedicated to programs about Cunard history and its past vessels. Needless to say this was my favorite channel! Evenings on Cunard are quite elegant and formal, with music throughout the ship, costume balls in the Queens Room, ballroom dancing complete with gentleman hosts, big band, production shows of a fairly decent quality, and yes even disco dancing! The fine art of paying attention to the details is not lost on Cunard. There are nice touches like sparkling wine upon arrival, turndown service with chocolates on your pillow, Gilchrist & Soames bath products, robes & slippers, and even a daily newspaper delivered nightly with news from your home country. Many cruise lines have done away with these amenities, but Cunard continues to uphold the tradition. What you won't find on Cunard are endless revenue producing announcements, obnoxious art auctions, constant nickel & diming, bellyflop contests by the pool, rock climbing walls, shorts in the dining room, or buckets of beer. If these are things you will miss then Cunard is clearly not for you. We opted for a standard outside cabin thinking it would be too cold to make use of a balcony. Were we ever wrong on that one. The weather was amazing the entire two weeks with warm air and cloudless sunny skies. It might be the best weather I've ever experienced on a cruise. The seas were as equally calm as the skies, and never once did we feel the ship move. I was actually a little disappointed in that fact, but it was perfect for my partner who is prone to motion sickness. I really enjoyed our cabin and its location on Deck 1. Our midship Deck 1 location was perfect for a port intensive itinerary. The gangway was never too far away and the main lounges were a short jaunt down the hall or up a deck. The window and its opening was large enough to sit in and read a book. Bedding was very comfortable and decor was soothing. Our cabin stewardess Rosalina was one of the best we ever encountered. Three things lacking were drawer space, a proper shelf in the small shower, and an interactive TV. We did order room service on occasion and it was always delivered right on schedule and delicious. The dining experience on QE was quite good. We opted for late sitting and a table for two. We were in a nice section near the windows very close to three other tables for two. Two of the tables were next to us and another behind us. If you were looking for a private dining experience this arrangement would not have been ideal, as the tables were quite close to each other. As it turns out we got along great with our fellow two-tops and enjoyed some great conversations (thanks Dee & Michael!). Our serving team did a great job as did the wine steward who appeared every night almost as we sat down. I'm glad Cunard has kept the wine stewards and not placed the task on the already overworked wait staff as many cruise lines have done. One option missing from the experience was an "always available" selection on the menu. This is offered on most other lines and usually includes a steak, fish, salad, and chicken option. It's always nice to have such options in case nothing appeals to you on the main menu. Luckily we never had that problem but I'm surprised it wasn't offered in the Britannia Restaurant. We dined in the Britannia Restaurant every night except two. For my birthday we dined in the Verandah Restaurant, which is an a la carte speciality dining experience drawing its roots from the original QUEEN ELIZABETH and QUEEN MARY. I opted for the tasting menu which was very French and very unusual for my taste buds. I quite enjoyed it but it was a lot of food. The overall experience was quite nice but I still feel Celebrity Cruises has the best speciality restaurants at sea. Another night we dined up in the Lido Restaurant with the Spa Manager and the theme was a steakhouse. The upcharge was $10 per person. It was satisfactory but the steak was certainly no better than what was offered in the main dining room. Lunch was taken either ashore or in the Lido Restaurant & Grill. The quality was good as was the variety. This cruise was very port intensive, with only two days at sea out of twelve. For those ports where we docked in a remote location, Cunard provided a complimentary shuttle service into the center of town. This was certainly not expected as most cruise lines charge for such a service, but it was certainly welcomed! In almost all the ports we enjoyed lunch or at minimum some coffee/tea/soda at a cafe in order to take advantage of free internet. It's so much faster than what is offered on the ship. I'm not going to detail much on the ports, but I will let you know how we enjoyed each one ... Salerno. We booked a Cunard shore excursion to Pompeii. I was really fascinated with Pompeii and it was a great way to spend the day. Cunard did and excellent job with the organization of the entire tour. Highly recommended. Messina. We booked a Cunard transfer shore excursion to Taormina. Basically it was a motor coach ride to and from the small cliffside town of Taormina with free time once you are dropped off. Again highly recommended. Taormina is charming and picturesque. We enjoyed shopping, people watching, and lunch at an outdoor cafe. Santorini. One of my favorite Greek islands. We went into town on our own, taking the funicular up to the main town of Fira. We enjoyed some shopping, ship spotting, and an amazing lunch with a view to die for. Pretty much a prefect day in my book. Rhodes. Since we have been to Rhodes several times, we opted to walk the walled city on our own, again enjoying the sights and a lunch at one of the main squares of the old city. Kusadasi. We were here fairly recently and toured Ephesus. This is a must and we strongly considered going back for a 2nd look, but instead took it easy and strolled around the waterfront near where the ships dock. Athens. In that past we have toured Athens quite extensively, so again it was a light day of strolling around the port area of Piraeus. This is a great area for ship spotting if you're into that sort of thing. There is a hop-on-hop-off bus that circles Piraeus and another that goes into Athens itself. These are great options if you prefer to save a little money and have a bit more freedom to plan out your day. Both leave from the port area just outside where the ship docks. Corfu. We really loved Corfu. It's quite different from other Greek islands due to its location and the fact it's so green. It feels more like Italy to be honest. A free shuttle was offered into town but we felt like walking. We strolled around the waterfront and then into the city. Chris went to a "fish spa" where these little fish suck all the dead skin and calluses off your feet! It was an interesting experience for him and fun to watch. Dubrovnik. This was probably my favorite port of the entire cruise next to Venice. We took the free shuttle from the ship into the walled city and just spent the day exploring all the amazing sights this beautiful city has to offer. This is someplace I would truly like to return to for a week or more. Some of the cliffside hotels outside the walled city looked quite inviting. Ravenna. Probably the most disappointing of all the ports. The ship was supposed to overnight in Venice but due to port congestion the overnight was canceled and Ravenna was added in its place. The closest major city is Bologna and tours were offered there, but we were not interested enough to book one. The ship docks in a fairly industrial area and it's about a 30-40 minute ride into Ravenna itself. We were there on a Sunday and things were pretty quiet, but if you're into Mosaics then this is the place for you! Ravenna is quite famous for them and they are beautiful, but I would have preferred the overnight in Venice. Venice. We took a water taxi from the port area directly to our hotel which was really cool. I quite enjoyed the experience but be forewarned that water taxis are very expensive. Roughly 80 Euros for a 15 minute ride. Our hotel was the Westin Europa & Regina located right on the Grand Canal. We had a superior room facing the Grand Canal and I can tell you it's not a view I would ever tire of. I highly recommend the hotel and a visit to Venice in general. It's one of those places that really lives up to every expectation and perception and even exceeds them! From Venice we took a train to Milan and spent a night there before our flight home. I was disappointed in Milan as it lacks all the Italian character we came to enjoy in Venice, Salerno, Messina, and even Ravenna. We stayed at the Sheraton Malpensa which is actually connected to the airport. This is without question the most modern and luxurious Sheraton I have ever stayed in. Since the hotel is connected to the airport, it made catching our 9am flight to New York JFK quite simple. We flew home in Business Elite on Delta and it was a fantastic way to end a truly wonderful vacation. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, this trip was nearly perfect in every regard. We loved the ship (including the food, service, and entertainment), the new friends we made, all the ports, and were treated to picture perfect weather. The logistics of getting to and from the ship went without a hitch, and spending some time in Venice at a truly gorgeous hotel helped ease the disappointment of having to part ways with the lovely QUEEN ELIZABETH. What I've found is the best way to get over a great vacation is to have another planned, and next up is ROYAL PRINCESS this coming Sunday! Please enjoy the pictures and let me know if you have any questions. Ernie   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
Great cruise on the QV from New York to San Francisco. PROS: - Fast embarkation in New York, since times were staggered and many had boarded in Southampton - Very comfortable, quiet, well furnished cabin with king bed, love seat and ... Read More
Great cruise on the QV from New York to San Francisco. PROS: - Fast embarkation in New York, since times were staggered and many had boarded in Southampton - Very comfortable, quiet, well furnished cabin with king bed, love seat and 3 closets on Deck 4. Had outside obstructed view cabin. View was only partially blocked by a lifeboat, and was definitely worth the small extra amount of money over inside. Was cozy and perfect for one, but would recommend either a larger cabin on Deck 1 or a balcony cabin for two. - Overall excellent crew. The tone was set by the very professional captain - the first female captain in Cunard history. Pleasant steward (though somewhat shy), good waiters (especially Nitin), some great bartenders (especially Bojan, Quentin and Roger), and good photographer (Lucas). Would give special commendation to Dan, the guest artist who taught the water color classes, Carlo, the brilliant pianist and singer in the Commodore Club, Graham, the DJ in Hemispheres, and Libby, the Entertainment Director for many of the trivia contests. - Beautiful decor overall, with thankfully little glitz. The emphasis on the history of the line is very nice. - Large, well staffed and stocked library and bookstore, and good variety of lectures. As usual, Cunard places more of an emphasis on intellectual pursuits than standard cruise lines. - Excellent gym and spa, with prices in line with luxury hotels, especially with the myriad on board specials. The royal bathhouse with the hydrotherapy pool and various steam rooms was especially good on the five chiller days at sea. Nicola did a great job leading classes, Silvio was a great massage therapist, and Francesca did great a facial - all had a wonderful attitude as well. - Ship is very well laid out, with good passenger flow. Despite being full, the ship never seemed crowded. - Emphasis on thoughtful activities, such as fencing and ballroom dancing, and the obligatory trivia contests. - Pool areas rather quiet, with soft music. Only poolside live music was mid-day by one pool, so it was easy to relax, read and sleep, rather than having to listen to dreadful Jimmy Buffett and reggae music. - Food is average to good in the dining room. The spa choices and simpler dishes were the best bets. Portions are small, so helped with trying to lose weight during voyage. Breakfast was good, as they did a good kippers with runny poached eggs. The dining room is beautiful, as well. Lido was good for a buffet restaurant, especially good for Sunday English roast lunch and Asian buffet, though pastries were rather sad, and a larger variety of ice creams would be welcome. Todd English was good, though not well marketed and never crowded. Golden Lion is good for pub lunches, though packed at peak hours, and they do run out of popular items later. - Not as much of a constant hard sell or nickel and diming as on other lines, especially Celebrity. - Enforcement of dress codes in the dining room - formal night means just that, and casual night is a jacket with no tie. Nice seeing people properly dressed for a change. Those on Cunard usually understand this going into a voyage, and are happy to adhere to the code. Those who want to wear flip flops and cut offs have other lines to sail. - Intelligent, well mannered, interesting passengers for the most part. CONS (very few): - Stewards seemed to have a lot of cabins to service, so it was hard for them to do extras such as fold clothes left on the sofa. - Several employees with a bit of an attitude - one of the Indian waiters in the Golden Lion became a bit of a joke as the worst employee on the ship. One of the male staff at the pursers desk and one of the female staff at the photography shop could have done with some lessons in customer service. But the vast majority of crew had a good attitude. - Minor caveat here, but they need to tone down the florescent lighting the hallways. PORTS: Cunard ran a shuttle in Fort Lauderdale to and from the Galleria, which was well used and very welcome. General consensus was that one day in Jamaica was enough for a lifetime. Montego Bay was quite charmless, and there was a constant feeling of being hustled. The Doctors Cave Bathing Club was a nice respite with a good beach, but unfortunately was overrun with a lot of loud, overweight Carnival passengers. Cartagena was charming as usual, and almost everyone wanted more time there. Huatulco was a happy surprise - small and safe with beautiful beaches and a pleasant center (La Crucecita) - the safety aspect was especially good for the number of elderly passengers on board. The transit of the Panama Canal was the highlight of the trip. Fascinating nine hour trip from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean - well worth doing at least once. SUMMARY: Would sail on the QV again in a second. Surprisingly, preferred it to the QM2. As spectacular as the QM2 is, the QV is better laid out and on a more intimate scale. The ship had the right balance - big but not too big, plenty of activities, but plenty of quiet spaces. Well done Cunard. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2012
Just returned home to Washington (DC) from France via a trans-Atlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2. My partner and I booked a Q5 suite because we had crossed once before (July 2011) in Queen's Grill and were very satisfied. This ... Read More
Just returned home to Washington (DC) from France via a trans-Atlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2. My partner and I booked a Q5 suite because we had crossed once before (July 2011) in Queen's Grill and were very satisfied. This voyage (November 20 - 27, 2012) was much better than our first experience. First, the time of year enabled us to secure a Q5 mid-ship suite for a few thousand dollars less than we had paid for our Q6 on the July 2011 crossing. Second, the clientele on this late-November voyage was more social, friendly, and gregarious than had been the case on the earlier summer crossing, which had included large numbers of families with kids. Third, the mid-ship position of our room really made the ride much smoother through the rougher seas at this time of year. The refurbishment that had been undertaken since our last QM2 crossing still looked fresh and nice, though I feel the new stateroom carpeting (dark brown) does not do justice to the other improvements in the decor. My partner and I made extensive use of the Canyon Ranch Spa on this voyage, and we certainly got our money's worth out of the $95 each of us paid for a 5-day pass to the hydro therapy center. What an incredible feature of this amazing ship! The thalassotherapy pool alone was a sublime way to forget about the cold weather outside. Our butler and his assistant were both outstanding. Our assistant waiters were also excellent, which made up for the lack of service we received from our lead waiter. My only real complaint was the dreadful way Cunard handled the disembarkation in New York. Total chaos, with no communication going on among crew and staff who kept calling for more and more groups to head to Immigration when earlier groups were still waiting in the queue. The so-called priority for Grills guests still meant a wait of an hour to get off the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2012
Our cruise was to be a time of relaxation with our children. The discovery of the removal of the Basketball goals was horrible for two of my children who wanted to play and shoot every day. Over 2000 passengers would thus be awaiting to ... Read More
Our cruise was to be a time of relaxation with our children. The discovery of the removal of the Basketball goals was horrible for two of my children who wanted to play and shoot every day. Over 2000 passengers would thus be awaiting to play on the one paddle tennis court or two table tennis tables. There was no dedicated space for young people (Teens) as they don't even have a video game console dedicated to youth. The two daily times when youth can use the Zone facilities are during meal times....thus the pool or a 25 dollar per half hour golf similator is basically all you have (and a golf driving net with a few clubs and shuffleboard). Unless your children want to sit and read quietly for hours and play scrabble, this sort of cruise will drive them, and you crazy. I am not sure Cunard sees young people as their market and it is obvious in the lack of provision. The failure to notify guests of the removal of the Basketball court is just wrong. Their virtual tour today still shows this as an option for guests...."sports enthusiasts can enjoy a game of paddle tennis or basketball in the sea air".....it is not true! And your teenage son or daughter will be very angry with you when they stand on the lined sports court staring at steel poles. The ship is beautiful and it is clear that some things clearly are five star, but I was suprised by the disparity in the service at the purser's desk with young people who varied in their helpfulness and competence. The buffet becomes small in the evening as they try to make money by creating fee paying themed resturant areas...and the sparkle of white star service fades when you have to search out a single working ice cream machine (which will often have been turned off perhaps to save a few pennies. You can see where staffing levels in the Britiannia are very thin and servers are having to work very hard to keep up, and when you are travelling with children you don't really want to wait 30 minutes to order. No doubt quality is compromised on the QM2 in places which means the consumer has to work hard to seek out things which I am guessing used to be more commonly available. Finally, be careful in choosing to sail through Germany unless you want a German cruise complete with duel announcements in German throughout. 2000 Germans joined our ship in Hamburg and the culture of the ship naturally changed. Entertainment options changed and several of the English speaking things were apparently eliminated from the schedule. I think one should not underestimate the way the FEEL of a cruise changes when it is dominated by a single group.....this could be true of Americans or English....but for us, it was Germans...and by the look of things, Cunard had a special 7 day offer out of Hamburg which was cheap as the passengers who joined us were not refined professional Germans but working class holiday makers. So.....combine a boat full of workingclass Germans with some bored teens and you don't have a lot of easy relaxing fun. I imagine the transatlantic cruises on this boat would be better with a steady hum....but I think the "bean counters" are making it more and more difficult for the ship to feel like anything more than a tarted up Carnival party boat. If you have children, avoid this boat. If you are older and more refined in your tastes, enjoy the cruise, that is they have not cut back more of the quality of things such that even you will find it less than satisfactory. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2012
My first cruise was a great experience. I took the subway from Times Square to the first stop in Brooklyn then a $15 cab to the pier. I carried my bags on (and off at Southampton) so got on board very quickly. Fantastic departure under ... Read More
My first cruise was a great experience. I took the subway from Times Square to the first stop in Brooklyn then a $15 cab to the pier. I carried my bags on (and off at Southampton) so got on board very quickly. Fantastic departure under blue skies. Cloudy and cool with calm seas for most of the voyage which was fine when walking round the promenade deck. My premium balcony (quiet)cabin was great and the daily newspaper and programme were very informative. Food and service was good. I dined 4 evenings in the Britannia restaurant. I had asked for a table for 10 and got 5 (including 1 couple) ages 50-90, good company. No queues at the self-service King's Court. From day 2 I lunched in the Golden Lion pub. The highlight was a fantastic RADA 65 minute production of Merchant of Venice - one of the best I've seen, with an original and stunningly sung Jewish religious chant. Their Canterbury Tales was also excellent. Music (Juilliard jazz, Dixie, harp, string quartet and piano) in the Chart Room and Golden Lion was great.. I preferred the quieter Commodore Club for pre-lunch drinks, avoiding the quizzes (interesting though they were). I had great Cuban cigars and conversations in Churchill's. I used the 75c a minute cabin wifi with no problems. There were excellent lectures repeated on the good-sized cabin TV. The purser's office dealt with queries efficiently and there was only a short queue at lunch times. I did have to be persistent on 2 occasions: I wanted to settle my bill with 2 credit cards but was told that was impossible. I returned to complain and was told by another receptionist (in the presence of the first) that that was fine, by opening a secondary QM2 card account. I was told by the cigar bar manager and the purser's office that I had to pay a 15% service charge on a box of cigars to take home (no charge in the second deck shop on its very limited range). The purser's office manager to whom I complained immediately cancelled the charge. I recommend the informal solos coffee morning, ages 25-70; and if you get to the bars, lounges and eateries early, you get the best seats. Fellow passengers, mostly Brits and Americans were friendly. I hope to be back next year. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
We've made six cruises on the Queen Vic and all in all they have been enjoyable and met our expectations for food, service, safety , and entertainment. However, our last two cruises on the Queen Victoria have been less than ... Read More
We've made six cruises on the Queen Vic and all in all they have been enjoyable and met our expectations for food, service, safety , and entertainment. However, our last two cruises on the Queen Victoria have been less than satisfactory, as much for the attitude of the ship's staff as the specifics of our displeasure. Seems there is a trend aboard the Victoria toward "hucksterism" in the Spa...the selling of promises of loosing eight inches off the waste, unheard of physical improvements, and such, if only you'll buy these expensive products and services. They really have no shame. All the while the Spa staff ignores basic care and attention of the fitness center; spa shower shoes are cleaned by the staff in the sink in the restroom/sauna; blinds on windows are broken, the chiller in the water cooler is broken, rap music blairs, towels and wipes are not available, the list goes on! Meanwhile down below, the beautiful Queens Room, once home to perhaps the best ballroom dancing at sea, has been taken over by "dance clubs" or groups seeking a dance teaching platform at sea. The result is the ballroom is no longer a venue for the casual passenger to have social dance but home to competition dancers wishing to impress the world. It's saddening to see couples, once quite at home dancing in the Queens room, disappear night after night and give way to "wanna be" Dancing with the Stars and dance students. All that said, the good news is Queen Vic (and Cunard) do so much right and hold to so many wonderful seagoing traditions that they still can claim a unique niche that has had us coming back to them and other Cunard ships. We only wish they would remember those traditions and put the breaks on what appears a downward spiral. Unfortunitly the spiral will continue unless the ship's staff musters more than a big "Oh, Ho-Hum" which is all I got. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
My Mother, may she rest in peace, use to have a saying, "Some people would complain if they were hung with a new rope"... it must be because new ropes would be scratchy on your neck - a problem that wouldn't be worth ... Read More
My Mother, may she rest in peace, use to have a saying, "Some people would complain if they were hung with a new rope"... it must be because new ropes would be scratchy on your neck - a problem that wouldn't be worth complaining about for very long. My wife and I just completed our 45th overall cruise on the Queen Victoria. It was our 7th on Cunard. Our theory about all the complaints we always read about in cruise reviews and hear occasionally around the ships has always been simple. People have expectations that are unreachable. That coupled with "they paid too much" for the cruise, spent too much, drank too much and toured too much on the ship's tours. You can also ad in ate too much, exercised too little and you have a recipe for complaints and discontent. See... that's pretty simple. Oh... I almost forgot the review! We sailed on Queen Victoria from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on Dec. 6, 2011, heading to a number of places on my all time wish list. I'm 64 and my wife 56 are both retired and have been for 15 years. We flew in the morning of the cruise from Atlanta for $49.00 each on Airtran. The cab ride to Port Everglades is 3 miles and cost $14. No hotel, no lost bags, no hassles! We knew NOT to get to the ship before 3:00 pm for a 9:30 pm departure. We dropped our bags in the front receiving area and were on the ship in less than 10 min. If you get there at 11:00 am you'll wait 2-3 hours to get on the ship... but you learn a few basics after 45 cruises. When was "not knowing" a benefit? Be a traveler... not a tourist! We booked the cruise at the last minute on line $2,400. That's not $2,400 +++. That's $2,400 period... including all port charges, taxes, fuel surcharges and gratuities... EVERYTHING! That's $75 a day per person for a room, 3 gourmet meals a day, unlimited room service, 6000 miles of transportation, 5 Broadway style shows, comedians, pianist, lectures, entertainment, computers, computer classes, 4 hours of Free computer time, a two story library with enough books to read in 100 lifetimes, 2 pools, a complete gym open 24/7, all the clean pool towels you can use, soap, shampoo, body lotions and gels, hair dryer, iron, unlimited laundry service (self), 8 countries to visit, all the coffee, tea & juices you can drink... and 2,000 of your newest friends to pal around with for 2+ weeks and who have the same things in mind that you do! . After all, you're all on the same ship! We booked a "guarantee inside" but since we've sailed Cunard 6 previous trips, and the ship was not over sold, we were bumped up to an outside cabin with a large balcony. The balconies on the 4 deck are larger than any other floors do to the design of the ship. That part was just dumb luck on our part. Our balcony cabin on Deck 4 (4027) starboard side forward was perfectly fine for our needs, storage was sufficient with plenty of wardrobe space and large drawers under the bed. The bathroom was small but adequate. Our steward kept it spotless for us. The flat screen TV (20 inch) was a little small for the size of the room... but who goes on a cruise to watch TV? We ate all of our dinners in the Britannia restaurant (first sitting). We didn't eat lunch in the Golden Lion Pub but played cards there occasionally and the food looked and smelled good. We took afternoon tea one afternoon in the Queen's Room. Our table mates were from Beverly Hills, CA, Belfast, Ireland and Toronto, Canada. It was the highlight of the cruise. Table mates can make or break your cruise experience. Unless you bring your on party with you it's really a crap shoot as to who you get seated next to. We just hit a home run on this cruise with ours! We enjoyed the food, for the most part, and were happy with our meals. The Salads and dressings were great, the Lobster dinner was GREAT! I ordered surf and turf... a $100 meal at a landslide eatery. Breakfast was in the Britannia when at sea and the Lido in port as my wife and I are the "first off the boat" kind of people. The Lido was always very good for breakfast and but was slow if you wanted pancakes or waffles, but otherwise good, and with the bread, meat and cheese available, we could make sandwiches to take on shore excursions, which we liked. The ship we found to be truly lovely, like a country club, as usual with Cunard every member of the ship could not do enough for us, the food was excellent (getting too much for us by the cruise end!}, what ever we asked for the answer was 'yes'. The Panama Canal crossing was was what we call a true "pinch yourself" moment, a wonderful day that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime. In addition, the Theater is stunning with the first opera boxes at sea. , The boxes were always full, and a lovely touch if you wanted one for a special evening. They are extra for show nights but Free for all other events in the theater. Obviously there are going to be issues with any airline, hotel or cruise... especially when you're dealing with 2000 cruisers, not to mention an additional 1000 crew members from 100+ countries ... but our experience was that when these were brought to the attention of the proper person they were promptly addressed. We cannot speak highly enough of the officers and crew of the Queen Victoria and on the ship itself that provided all the service and comfort that was expected. We look forward to our next Cunard adventure and suggest to some of the critics should take a deep breath and enjoy themselves. Isn't that what cruising is all about? We went on board to enjoy every day of the voyage and the Queen Victoria made it just that. We are saving up for our next Cunard adventure. When the price and time are "right", we'll be there to take full advantage. See you aboard the ship on our 46th... coming to a ship near you! Overall, we will do Cunard again in a heartbeat. What's not to like when you use a little common sense and enjoy the moment... Cheers! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
Previously we have been reluctant to book a cruise because we were told it was only frequented by elderly passengers who sit around habitually talking about their vast portfolio of cruising experiences. However, we wanted a change from our ... Read More
Previously we have been reluctant to book a cruise because we were told it was only frequented by elderly passengers who sit around habitually talking about their vast portfolio of cruising experiences. However, we wanted a change from our usual package holiday experience and decided to take the plunge. Compared to our recent holiday on a Greek Island we received absolute 5 star service from the moment we stepped aboard to the moment we left and when you consider the all inclusive extras the price comparison is very competitive. It is true to say that the majority of passengers are 65 plus; some of whom we met at our shared breakfast table. The conversation we found was very interesting and friendly. It was not at all staid and monotonous.In fact we found the whole dining experience first rate from the variety and quality of the menus to the service we received from our waiters Eddie and Gerco. We did hear some complaints from a minority of fellow passengers but in our opinion these were unfounded and unjust. We tended to skip lunch in favour of afternoon tea; in the Queens Room there were different pianists, a harpist and a string quartet which were all very entertaining during afternoon tea. There were plenty of on-board activities to keep us occupied during the sea days, so many in fact we were unable to attend any lectures , pub quizzes or planetarium shows. We did not make full use of the thermal spa and in retrospect we could have negotiated a better deal. The shows in the Royal Court Theatre were good especially the dancers and Allan Stewart a singer,comedian and impressionist. One afternoon we enjoyed a Classical Performance by James Sherlock. Being jazz fans we spent a lot of time in the Chart Room listening to the excellent Simon Galfe Trio. Sometimes, it was very crowded so it was difficult to get a seat at the beginning of the evening. The chart room bar staff looked after us very well especially Maya and Yuliya. The only disappointment was when a guitarist joined the trio and in our opinion drowned out the other instruments and effectively cleared the room by mid-night. We had an inside stateroom which was large enough for the two of us. The bed was really comfortable. The free shuttle buses to and from the ports were really convenient. Because you are only visiting for a few hours, at best you can only scratch the surface of each port of call. However, we considered Lanzarote to be our favourite port of call. There are less high-rise and commercial developments. The capital Arrecife is smaller and less congested than the other ports. There is a tree less lunar volcanic landscape which, whilst not to every body's taste, is very atmospheric and dramatic. We enjoyed every minute of our Iberian Adventure Cruise and can't wait for the next cruiuse. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
SUMMARY: We loved everything about Cunard and the Queen Victoria. The Cunard people were amazingly organized and efficient. The ship has an understated elegance with a very comfortable feel. It was easy to find our way around the ship. ... Read More
SUMMARY: We loved everything about Cunard and the Queen Victoria. The Cunard people were amazingly organized and efficient. The ship has an understated elegance with a very comfortable feel. It was easy to find our way around the ship. The elevators were never very busy or crowded. In short, everything worked. The itinerary did not disappoint. Venice and Istanbul are two indescribably interesting and beautiful cities. We could have easily spent an additional week in each city. The other ports each had their own charms but were only worth a one-day stopover. Split, Corfu, Piraeus-Athens, Kusadasi-Ephesus and Santorini were as expected. Rhodes was a pleasant surprise. BACKGROUND: My wife and I are in our mid 60s. We are physically active with no mobility problems. This was our 20Th cruise but the first with Cunard. We had been to Venice and Rome prior to this cruise but all the other ports were new to us. We like to explore on our own so we do not book ship excursions unless it is something that we can't do on our own or it is something that would take us far from the ship. On this cruise we did not book any ship excursions. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and booked it through the cruisecompete.com web site. PRE-CRUISE: As is our normal practice, we flew into Venice the day before the cruise. Since we spent the first night of the cruise on board the ship, we had two full days in Venice. Upon our arrival at Marco Polo Airport we took the Express Bus (5 Euro PP) to Piazzale Roma. From there we dragged our bags about ten minutes to Ca' San Rocco, the small hotel where we stayed for the first night. It was well located in a very quaint neighborhood. We had a high-ceiling room with a large king-size bed. The included breakfast was served on a tree shaded terrace. It was a great place for a pre-cruise stay in Venice. We spent the evening and morning before the cruise walking and riding around Venice. EMBARKATION: We dragged our bags back to Piazzale Roma where we took the "People Mover" to the cruise dock. It was about a two hundred yard walk from the station to the ship. Getting on the ship was a breeze. We were at the registration building at 11:30 AM and within an hour we were in our stateroom. By the time we came back from lunch all our bags had arrived. THE CABIN: We booked an obstructed view outside cabin on deck four. It was roomier than similar cabins we have had on other cruises. There was more than enough room for our clothes. It was well located and very quiet. We especially liked its proximity to the free laundry. The bathroom , as usual, was small and tight. Our steward was polite and unobtrusive, and kept the cabin clean and tidy. THE SHIP: The Queen Victoria has an understated elegance. It is not as tacky as a lot of the cruise ships today. We thoroughly enjoyed the traditional British ambiance. The ship is well laid out and it was easy to find our way around. There was never a long wait for an elevator, nor were they ever overcrowded. The Captain was young and brought some humor to his job. He was around the ship a lot and was always making interesting announcements. Our only complaint was that the Promenade Deck does not go all the way around the ship. THE PASSENGERS: The average age of the passengers was said to be 57 years old. I would have guessed a bit higher. Needless to say, we felt very comfortable in that demographic. Half of the passengers were British and about one fourth were from the USA. We loved interacting with the various non-USA passengers. THE FOOD: On port days we ate breakfast in the Lido Buffet, usually having either a custom-made omelet or a custom-made waffle. They were always delicious. The choices for meat, breads, fruit and beverages were excellent. On the two at-sea days we ate breakfast in the Britannia Dining Room where we had classic Eggs Benedict. The Lido Buffet was never too crowded and the service in the Britannia Dining Room was prompt and attentive. Because this was a port-intensive cruise, we almost never ate lunch on the ship. At most, we grabbed something quick from the Lido as we came back to the ship. At night we always ate in the Britannia Dining Room at the early seating. We chose to eat at a larger table with other couples. We enjoyed our dinner conversations and looked forward each night to catching up with our table mates about their activities on shore. We were always one of the last to leave the dining room. The food was as good as any we have had on a cruise ship. The service was excellent and the food was well prepared. The menu was different every night and offered more than enough choice. THE ENTERTAINMENT; We never missed any of the shows. The Royal Court Theatre is a good venue with no blocked sight-lines, comfortable stadium seating, and no drink tables. Every seat was a good seat. We usually arrived about 15 minutes before showtime, which gave us our choice of seats. The entertainment was the usual mix of song and dance productions, singers, and comedians. All the shows were worthwhile, but none were spectacular. Even though we are regular ballroom dancers, we only danced a few times in the Queens Room. The dance floor and the music were fine. We were usually too tired by the end of the evening, and we were usually back in our cabin by 10 PM. I can't comment on the gym and the spa since we didn't use it. THE WEATHER: Late September is a great time of the year to visit the Eastern Mediterranean area. The weather in each of the ports was wonderful. Not too hot and not too cold. We were comfortable walking around in just a short-sleeve shirt. We saw no rain whatsoever in any of the ports. At the Acropolis in Athens it was sunny and warm and there was a gentle breeze. Ephesus was the same way. Those were the two places where we were worried about the heat. In Istanbul and Santorini it was much cooler than we expected. In both places there were strong winds which almost required a light jacket. THE PORTS: Venice: We spent the better part of two days walking and riding around Venice. Even though we had been to Venice three years before, there was still much to see. A map, a vaparetto pass, and a good pair of walking shoes is all you need to enjoy the wonders of Venice. In fact, just meandering aimlessly around the city is all you really need to do. We enjoyed the sail away from Venice with drinks on the Promenade Deck. Split: To our surprise, we tendered in Split, but the tendering was hassle free. Once on shore, we took the "Spirit of Split" combo tour that included a 45 minute guided open top bus tour of the Split area and a 45 minute guided walking tour of Diocletian's Palace. We finished the day by walking around the medieval town next to the palace and walking along the harbor front promenade called "The Riva." Corfu: It was a short day in Corfu- 9AM - 2PM. We took a free bus from the ship to the terminal and then a free Cunard bus to the edge of Corfu's "Old Town." We spent a little time walking around the "Old Town", but spent quite a bit of time at the Old Fortress. The fortress had great views of the city, the harbors, and the beaches. It also had a quaint Romanesque church on site. Piraeus and Athens: After getting off the ship, we walked through the terminal and got on the Piraeus hop on/hop off bus. It included an English language audio guide. We toured Piraeus and got off the bus at the Acropolis. It took about a half hour to get to the Acropolis. The Acropolis provided several surprises. Since it was Sunday, there was no admission charge and the top of the Acropolis was not nearly as warm as we were expecting. There was a cooling breeze and quite a bit of shade. We spend l l/2 hours following Rick Steves' self-guided tour. What's more, the climb to the top was not as arduous as we were led to believe. We just had to be careful when walking on the slippery rocks. We did see a woman take a fall. We got back on the bus and did the full Athens tour without getting off again until we returned to the Acropolis. There really wasn't much to see. Athens is not a very attractive city. Before heading back to Piraeus we walked around the neighborhood at the base of the Acropolis where we had lunch at an authentic Greek restaurant. Kusadasi and Ephesus: A month before the cruise we booked a private tour with "Ephesus Shuttle." We chose "Ephesus Shuttle" because it was rated the #1 thing to do on Trip Advisor. Our private tour included a visit to the House of the Virgin Mary and a guided tour of the Ephesus ruins, including the Terrace Houses. A similar tour through the ship would have cost about the same but would not have included the Terrace Houses. We finished the tour with the required stop at a rug store. The sales pitch was not too aggressive and the rug making demonstration was actually quite interesting. The tour was excellent though a bit rushed. Before returning to the ship we walked around Kusadasi and had a small glass of raki. Istanbul: We watched our arrival in Istanbul in two comfy seats in the Commodore Lounge, high up in front of the ship. Like Venice, Istanbul is a great city for just walking around. There is an inexpensive tram that runs from the cruise docks right through the tourist area, but it is all very walkable. Because the ship's dock space was not available when we arrived, we were tendered off the ship. Cunard supplied a free bus to the Grand Bazaar. On the first day in Istanbul we toured the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia and spent time at the Grand Bazaar. We had a light Turkish-style dinner at an outside restaurant that was next to the tram line. Among other things, we had a blown-up pita pocket that was the size of a football. On the second day in Istanbul we visited the Topkapi Palace, the spice market, and the Underground Cistern. Rather than take the tram, we walked across the Galata Bridge back to the ship. Two days in Istanbul were enough to take in all the major sites, but we could go back and easily fill up another couple of days in Istanbul. Rhodes: Rhodes was a surprise. The town is very picturesque. The ship was docked right next to the town's fortifications. The town is a walled city filled with medieval architecture, small touristy shops, and interesting restaurants. As we walked around the town we visited the "Master's Palace" and stood at the head of the Old Harbor where the Colossus of Rhodes once stood. Santorini: We were on the very first tender off the ship. There was no wait to get on the cable car to the town of Fira. We immediately headed for the bus station to take the half-hour bus ride to the town of Oia where the picture-postcard scenery is. Once in Oia we walked along the streets that follow the edge of the caldera, taking photos the entire way. The views were spectacular. The town was filled with music as there were strolling groups of musicians everywhere. Just as the town was getting crowded we headed back to Fira where we walked around a bit and had a drink overlooking the caldera with the Queen Victoria sitting in the middle. There was a short wait for the cable car back to the cruise dock. Since we were the only large cruise ship in Santorini that day the crowds were not as bad as they can be. It was an easy day in Santorini. DISEMBARKATION: We chose the Cunard provided bus transfer from the port of Civitavecchia to the Rome airport. Three years ago we ended a cruise in Civitavecchia and, on our own, took two different trains to Fiumicino Airport. The trains worked fine, but it was a little tight making our flight due to the chaos that is the Rome Airport. We left the ship at 8:30 A.M. and we were at Fiumicino Airport about an hour later. Since our flight was at 1 P.M. we had over 3 hours to spare. As was the case three years ago, we easily ate up that time checking our bags and getting through security. By the time we got to the gate, they were just starting to board the plane. We didn't have time to so much as buy a newspaper. My advice to everyone is that you have to allow a lot of time because of the inefficiency and disorganization at Fiumicino Airport. Getting there is not the problem. Being there is the problem. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2011
This was our sixth cruise, we have "cruised" Alaska, the Caribbean, the Barrier Reef and the Galapagos Islands. As it was our Silver Wedding we wanted something a bit special. We chose the Fjord and Waterfall Cruise as we wanted ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise, we have "cruised" Alaska, the Caribbean, the Barrier Reef and the Galapagos Islands. As it was our Silver Wedding we wanted something a bit special. We chose the Fjord and Waterfall Cruise as we wanted to spend the longest day of the year as far north as possible (our anniversary), and to get a real sense of long days and short nights. Embarkation in Southampton took just minutes and we even enjoyed a delicious lunch, on returning to our suite the luggage had been delivered. We chose a Princess Grill Suite, on the Port side and more or less in the mid ship. The stateroom could not have been better. There was a huge walk-in robe, an additional wardrobe, loads of storage space, a spacious bathroom, balcony with two loungers, TV, mini bar, sofa, etc. Everything was perfectly maintained and our attendant Eugene did a wonderful job. The Princess Grill was excellent, we had our own table, very private and it was nice to have flexibility with meal times. Our waiters, Kim, Viktoria and Benelito were superb, soon noticing all our preferences and making the meals even more pleasant. We are not big wine drinkers but Bruno helped us with the wines and was a walking encyclopedia. I found all the staff excellent, very well trained and the service was perfect, lots of choice, we never had to wait long and when we did chat to Bruno about our love of Curries, he somehow arranged for us to be served a Curry dinner the next evening - with all the trimmings. The Grill didn't seem at all crowded and there was a lovely relaxed atmosphere. Afternoon tea served in the Queen's Grill Lounge was out of this world. I loved the QM2, compared to other ships there seemed to be a lot more space in the public rooms, I loved the library and bookshop, the shops were varied, and the Queen's Room is impressive. We enjoyed the shows in the theatre, we also went to the Guitar and Violin recitals- all excellent. The planetarium was excellent and we enjoyed looking up at the stars. We did tours in all four ports of call. Stavenger countryside, Norway in a Nutshell (Flam), Mountain Panorama (Geiranger) and Bergen through the ages. We enjoyed them all, and the fact that a crew member escorted us on the tours was nice. In Flam and Geiranger they were full day tours and the lunches included were very good, with non alcoholic drinks and tea and coffee. We had two full days at sea but there was so much to do. The spa circuit was very relaxing and it was even nice to lay on the loungers on deck (with the blankets). The weather was perfect, I don't think we had a single drop of rain and it was always the perfect temperature on the ship. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise was quick and very well organised (as it was at all the ports of call). This cruise really was perfect, not a single hitch. I would definitely cruise with Cunard again the Queen Mary is a magnificent Ship, even crossing the North sea she seemed to glide over the water with no movement noticeable, at times we forgot we were on a ship. All in all, a beautiful ship, excellent crew and Norway a great destination. Thanks for an unforgettable anniversary. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
My husband and I embarked on the Queen Elizabeth for a 18 night Asian leg of her Maiden Voyage. We have both cruised before, my husband with P and O and myself with Star Cruises on the Virgo. Our balcony stateroom was very comfortable but ... Read More
My husband and I embarked on the Queen Elizabeth for a 18 night Asian leg of her Maiden Voyage. We have both cruised before, my husband with P and O and myself with Star Cruises on the Virgo. Our balcony stateroom was very comfortable but the bathroom tiny, much smaller than the Virgo s. The sulleness of parts of the crew became evident almost immediately and this continued throughout the cruise. We found the housekeeping staff and the barstaff to be extremely friendly quitte different from the wait staff and the reception staff. My husband has had on-going problems with our on-board account with numerous errors being made and repeatedly repeated. The tender way of getting to shore cannot be avoided at some ports I accept that but when the Queen Elizabeth goes into HongKong on her Maiden Voyage one would think we would be docked for the duration, not so, we spent a night in Junk Harbour having to be ferried in by the tenders which takes up so much of one s valuable time when in port and is an extremely uncomfortable way to travel. My husband and I are in our early 60 s but the majority of the passengers, by far, were in the 70-85 age group which became quite depressing. They were quite snobby which added to our dis-enchantment. Consequentally the activities and entertainment were aimed at this age group. Would I travel with Cunard again, that s a no but to each his own. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2011
We had booked the cruise from Cape Town to Adelaide 12 months in advance and I have been that excited to get on board. But months before departure I started reading many negative reviews about Cunard and the Queens in general. That I ... Read More
We had booked the cruise from Cape Town to Adelaide 12 months in advance and I have been that excited to get on board. But months before departure I started reading many negative reviews about Cunard and the Queens in general. That I started to get paranoid and was thinking should I cancel this trip. I even rang Cunard and raised my concerns. Well I am so glad I didn't. This was my wife and I 10th cruise, so we were not beginners. We had the best most relaxing time ever. The food was excellent, spa excellent, great movies , the addition restaurants with surcharges was some of the best meals I have ever tasted. The staff were excellent, we even tipped our restaurant staff on top of the Cunard's automatic tipping. Our standard inside cabin was spotless and excellent steward "Jason" kept it that way all trip. The decor was amazing, I just loved the art deco theme with the history mixed in. The wide passageways and the whole experience was very Grand. The trip on Queen Mary 2 was full of lifetime memories we will never forget. 1/ The minor negative to mention was when the Ship arrived in port and you had day tour guests and people planning to do there own thing the movement in the passages seems to be disjointed and there were never enough staff to guide people in the right direction. 2/On elegant casual nights men should be able to dine Jacket free. 3/When the get into Australian waters they should broadcast Australian Sky TV - not the one from London So I just cant get my head around so much negative feedback - things are always never perfect in life but when you are on holidays, there is no need to stress and whinge the whole time - enjoy life enjoy the fact that you had the funds to board a Cunard liner - Life is to short to whinge about every little detail. I know there are thousands of travelers out there that compare the QM2 to the QE2 that it's not as good but it's not the same liner and now it's not the same operators. Final Comment - Cunard in my mind is very good value for money if you are content to stay in a inside cabin (sorry stateroom). Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Crusing for me is one of the best ways of spending my vacation time. My partner enjoys it as well. This cruise was the longest we have ever vacationed. As you can imagine we loved having other take care of the chores while we endulged. ... Read More
Crusing for me is one of the best ways of spending my vacation time. My partner enjoys it as well. This cruise was the longest we have ever vacationed. As you can imagine we loved having other take care of the chores while we endulged. There were some highlights. Alison Farr played spectacularly on piano with fellow inspiring violinist for several concerts. I was messmerized and thrilled by their flawless interpretations. Another gift of the voyage was a former airline captain who kept audiences in stitches on several occations with his commentary and naughty film publicity clips. The people onboard were mostly mature and cultured guests. Only on rare occation did I witness passengers behaving poorly. One such occation, followed an accupuncture talk, where a senior citizen cut in front of the few people waiting to make appointments with the ship's therapist, ignoring those clearly waiting before her. The ship's staff did not ask her to wait for her turn. Another complaint was that a couple of the guests with electric wheelchairs would drivers into other passengers. Nobody was injured, but nerves were freyed. There were multiple stories told about ill-tempered passengers who hogged laundryroom equipment. One such incident only ended after the ships armed security staff had interviened. For myself, the one incident that could have been handled differently, was Cunard's standard response after having damaged my new luggage. It was considerate of Cunard's staff to use a piece of silver duct tape to close the hole they made in the $150 luggage. But, it seems odd to be told by the perser's staff that one's only recourse is to file a insurance claim, providing I had the forethought to protect my investment from Cunard's carelessness. All in all, there are a lot of words above devoted to describing what passengers might see on any cruise. I would like the reader to take away the notion that I was generally happing with staff's service, decor, weather, safety, and much more. I recommend going on this cruise. Do not let my discription of the few Read Less
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