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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We have been on all 3 Cunard ships which are all beautiful and very well presented. The staff are second to none and very helpful. We chose this cruise and had booked a year in advance whilst still on board in 2018. It was our ... Read More
We have been on all 3 Cunard ships which are all beautiful and very well presented. The staff are second to none and very helpful. We chose this cruise and had booked a year in advance whilst still on board in 2018. It was our wedding anniversary on the 24th June so we like to go away the same time every year. We don't mind where to as long as it falls on our anniversary date and as long as we are on board a Cunard ship! Our stateroom was serviced twice daily and a turn down service for the evening with chocolates provided, just before bed time (as if we hadn't already eaten enough) and tomorrow's programme of events to browse through and plan tomorrow, before some very much needed zzzzzz's after such a fabulous day/evening. We usually chose a large table of 6 for dinner as we enjoy meeting like minded cruise buddies. Two of our 'tablemates' we'd met on a previous cruise the year before (we had arranged this with them and are certainly now lifelong friends). We met two other guests who were delightful. We all had a lot in common particularly when it comes to cruising! The food was very well presented and tasty. The Lido buffet on board is fabulous. The food is fresh and plentiful in choice. Despite being in the Grills, we still love a wander through and maybe a little nibble here and there ;) The entertainment on board is amazing. I particularly enjoy the Cunard singers and dancers and all the other shows and guests appearances/entertainers. Also during the day on sea days, we love going to the on board speakers insights/enrichment talks. They are very interesting and have met some really lovely speakers from famous sports people to pilots to ex-policemen/detectives. There is always plenty to do around the ship on sea days and of course there's the swimming pools and hot tubs and the gym if you feel you need to burn off a few gained pounds! The service on board from the stateroom steward to the waiters and sommeliers to the cleaning staff and pursers desk are always so helpful and nothing is too much trouble. They are always welcoming and are very polite and say 'good morning' or 'have a good evening'. The shore excursions are varied and interesting. The coaches are clean and comfortable and the guides are very knowledgable. I love the fact that we can book an excursion and know the ship will be waiting for us whether we are late or not. We have travelled with our grown up children who equally love the Cunard ships. We haven't got grandchildren yet but I'm sure they would love it with their very own special area and staff to entertain them on sea days. We will certainly book again soon. We just have to save up the pennies first :) Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Cunard Queen Elizabeth 7 Day Iberia cruise October 2016 We are experienced cruisers, but have been ‘resting’ since 2012. It a bit long and rambling I’m afraid. This was our second Cunard cruise, but were classed as first ... Read More
Cunard Queen Elizabeth 7 Day Iberia cruise October 2016 We are experienced cruisers, but have been ‘resting’ since 2012. It a bit long and rambling I’m afraid. This was our second Cunard cruise, but were classed as first timers as there are no records of our first cruise on QE2 in 1991, a 2-day voyage to nowhere, a prize in a competition. Been lucky in competitions, Paris and Vienna and 2 luxury hotel breaks in the UK as well! As always we travelled down the day before and stay in a hotel near Southampton, in this case the Holiday Inn near Winchester, a modern clean hotel with good service we have used before. As we had a 12.30 check in, so we had a little retail therapy at M&S at Hedge End, which we managed to squeeze in the cases, before we set off for the Mayflower terminal. We arrived around 11.20, the car was quickly unloaded and we made our way to check in. We were in a Princess Grill suite, and were directed to the Suite check where we were quickly checked in, and directed straight on board, passing through security on the way. Up to our suite on deck 6, no cases, but I wasn’t surprised considering how fast we boarded. Loved the room, we had seen one on a ship visit, and viewed some videos online, And it was just right for us, doubt we will ever bother to go up to Queens Grill grade one. The dreaded Pol Acker was there, and put in the fridge for safety. We bought it home to use when we have unwanted guests! Lunch was at one o’clock, so we went to the Queens Lounge for a soft drink (my wife cannot tolerate alcohol), and started wondering what sort of table we would be getting, we had requested a ‘quite’ table for two, and had suggested one we had seen in photo’s of the restaurant. The Princess grill opened, the Maitre' d greeted us and showed us to the table we had asked for, what a result! We soon met the rest of the team, and we were ready to enjoy the service! All I can say that the food and service we received that week for far superior to any we have received on our other cruises. As new comers to Cunard, we did not notice the menu cuts, and always found some thing to please us, although the menus in the suite sometimes did not coincide with the restaurant! Although I tend to go for vegetarian options, I do appreciate a well-cooked meal, and the tenderloin beef was the best I have ever had, the vegetarian scotches egg and stuffed pepper were also excellent. The whole team in the restaurant were excellent, the only problem I had was a vegetarian spring roll that nearly set my mouth on fire, and it was so hot, a change was quickly offered, but I carried on! My wife prefers small portions of food and Tio our waiter and the chefs really catered for her requests. As for the entertainment, the dance show was OK, but not really our scene, on the other hand Allan Stewart was fantastic, we had seen him before, but it was either new material, or we had forgotten his act! Seeing comments on some reviews about the condition of QE, she looked OK to us, yes, there is rust in places, but it must be a nightmare to keep her ship shape. The bay was a bit bumpy, so we took a Sturgeon when we got up, and it was no problem. And so to the ports, we have done all the tours we want to do, so it’s just DIY these days. First port was Vigo, on a Sunday! A quick walk round, a few shops were open and a few Euros spent on presents for our grand children, then back to the ship. Lisbon the next day, and although we were fairly close, it was to far for us to walk as we both have slight mobility problems, so as we had been before, decided to enjoy the ship instead. Lunch in the Courtyard was memorable that day. Then Porto, a shuttle in, but it dropped us in a completely different area from where we had been before, so we did a little exploring and shopping, then back to the ship for lunch. We often used to dine ashore for lunch, but no way were we going to miss the PG for lunch! Back across the bay and on to our last port, Cherbourg, which was new to us. Again a shuttle in, and it was market day which we found quite interesting, and we had made quite a few purchases there, its somewhere we would like to go to again sometime. The shuttle bus also called at a shopping centre, which we had a look in. There was a Carrefour there, so a few food purchase were made there as well. Disembarkation like boarding was a dream. We had an 8.15 time, and had to assemble in the Britannia restaurant deck 3. A full breakfast was served in PG, our waiter would not believe that on our last cruise on Celebrity we were given paper plates and cups in the disembarkation lounge. We docked exactly on time, self disembark was scheduled for 7.15, but I saw people walking off at 7.05. We went to the Britannia about 7.45 and newspapers, snacks and drinks were available, we were called at 8.05 and soon located our cases and collected our car, and were well on our way home by 8.30. Children, dress code and smoking, those emotive subjects! We only saw 2 children on board, both under fives I would guess. Smoking, never saw it or smelt it. The dress code was well followed, just the odd person who think the rules don’t apply to them, but that goes on any line or ship! After 2 disappointing trips on Celebrity, this cruise really restored our faith in cruising. One or two small niggles, but they can’t have been that bad, as I can’t remember what they were! Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We have long wanted to cruise the Eastern Med and in particular visit Ephasus, so when we saw a 7 night cruise on Queen Victoria, a favourite ship, embarking in Athens and disembarking in Venice & calling at Santorini, Kusadasi and ... Read More
We have long wanted to cruise the Eastern Med and in particular visit Ephasus, so when we saw a 7 night cruise on Queen Victoria, a favourite ship, embarking in Athens and disembarking in Venice & calling at Santorini, Kusadasi and Katakolon, we jumped at it. We booked a P2 stateroom on deck 4 which has the larger balcony. In the event, unrest in Turkey meant that Kusadasi was substituted by Sarande in Albania - not in my mind an equitable swap but we did not let it spoil our voyage. We flew to Athens a couple of days before the cruise and stayed at the Athens Hilton which was fine. We found Athens to be lacking in civic pride and covered with Grafitti, which is perhaps unsurprising given the political events and problems of the last few years. We had a private transfer down to the ship in Piraeus and enjoyed the fastest embarkation I have ever experienced. We were aboard 5 minutes after arriving at the terminal. Our luggage was in the cabin 15 minutes are that. The P2 cabins on the QV have been well described elsewhere so I will not review them other than to say that there is no light over the bath so one showers in the dark - annoying but otherwise they are very comfortable. We had an great table for 2 by the window in the Princess Grill and our excellent Latvian waitress was called Olesja. She delivered high quality service with a wonderful dry deadpan sense of humour and we liked her very much. She quickly learned our likes and dislikes and we wanted for nothing. The food in the PG was uniformly good and we did not have one meal that missed the mark, except perhaps a CauIiflower pannacota starter that really had no right to be on the menu! I noticed that there was less flambé cooking cooking than on previous cruises, however the traditional a la carte menu was available on all nights except the gala evening. On one evening the maitre d' created a special flambé strawberry dessert for us which was outstanding. Wines were pricey and I felt that our wine steward, whilst charming could have been more knowledgeable. There is an expanded wine list which features wines from many more countries, but we enjoy French white Burgundies and surprisingly the choice was limited. The 15% service charge is a rip off! We are sun worshippers and enjoyed very fine weather on this trip. We spent a great deal of time on the grills sun decks and the service here was outstanding. The chaises were thickly upholstered and supremely comfortable. Stewards delivered coffee, drinks, chilled fruit skewers, ice cream and full afternoon tea directly to our beds - one felt truly pampered! The entertainment was better than on previous Cunard cruises, we watched 2 resident company shows, a dance orientated show which was so so and an excellent song and dance show which was complemented by a 9 piece live orchestra - live music lifts the whole production. Lord Howard delivered a lecture on 'The aftermath of Brexit and the Rise of Theresa May' which I found very disappointing as he was very partisan and like everyone else has no idea how things might pan out. I also attended a riveting lecture on the Air France Concorde crash which was delivered by a retired BA Concorde pilot. We called at Santorini which was beautiful. We went ashore and wandered around in Fira returning to the ship in the late morning. The next day we were in Katakolon and we took a tour to Olympia which was excellent. Sarande in Albania was our next port - I had visited previously on business and had no wish to repeat the experience, so we stayed aboard. After that we had a sea day and then an overnight in Venice. We were staying on in Venice for 3 days after the cruise so once again we stayed aboard and enjoyed the facilities of the ship. We had an outstanding cruise, Queen Victoria is a happy ship and this transmits through the crew who, without exception were cheerful and efficient, one felt truly pampered. We can't wait to go again!!! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We are celebrating 25 years together this year & decided on an extra special holiday. After 6 nights in New York we returned to the UK in style. We booked 3 of the nights in New York with Cunard, which I have reviewed elsewhere ... Read More
We are celebrating 25 years together this year & decided on an extra special holiday. After 6 nights in New York we returned to the UK in style. We booked 3 of the nights in New York with Cunard, which I have reviewed elsewhere (DoubleTree Hilton on Lexington Ave) and given a very good review for. Cunard arranged the transfer from the hotel to the Docks. Unfortunately this was not so good. There were 2 staff that attended the hotel in the days before the transfer who gave conflicting information about how the 3 coaches were going to be organised. This lead the a crowded reception area with a very long wait by most of the passengers from that hotel. One of the staff quite rightly told us that the 3 coaches had set times and which coach we would be assigned to. The other male staff wrongly told us all to be in reception an hour before the first coach was due and he would just pile everyone on the coach until it was full & then send them off. This was incorrect. If we had all turned up at the times that the first member of staff had told us, then most people wouldn't have left there rooms until later, reception wouldn't have been so crowded and less people would have been annoyed at their long wait (we were on 12:30 coach that didn't get there until 13:15. We were waiting from 11:00). Once on the coach, everything went more smoothly. The transfer from coach to dock to ship went without any issues. The ship has had a major refit recently and it shows. The whole ship is beautifully decorated. The ship is also enormous so, it takes some walking from one end to the other. All of the public areas are very well decorated. The room was amazing. It was everything we hoped for and more. It was beautifully decorated, with plenty of storage/wardrobe space and perfectly designed to maximise comfort. The cabin had an outside balcony that had a couple of seats and a small table to put drinks on. Our cabin steward Annalise was excellent and she would get us anything we asked for. She never appeared to be annoyed at us, despite the fact that several times she came to do the room, we were sat on the balcony and she said she would come back later, when we were out. Despite us being in our room until late morning, she managed to keep the room immaculate. My only criticism is that our cabin was near the front of the ship & the Brittania Restaurant was at the back, so we got a LOT of exercise before & after meals. The ship is really big. Dining, the food aboard the ship is amazing. The Starters, main courses and salads are cooked fresh and to a very high standard. Some of the deserts & cakes were either frozen & defrosted or not to as high a standard as the rest of the food. Certainly, the Afternoon Tea had frozen & defrosted scones. Maybe the pastry chef was having a bad week? That said, I cannot criticise any of the food that I had aboard the ship. We were assigned a table for all of our evening meals in the Brittania Restaurant. There were 2 sittings and we chose the later one. Our waiters Ramil, Kenneth and Luka were excellent. Their timing was perfect and Ramil in particular had an uncanny ability to know exactly how much black pepper to put on, which was particularly handy for me, as when I am talking I forget to pay attention. Although many people ate their breakfast & lunch in the Kings Court buffet style dining area, we found it almost impossible to find an empty table there. Not sure if it was because the design of the Kings Court was not designed with enough tables, or the particular group of passengers we were on with ate in there in unexpected numbers. Because of this we ended up having all our meals in the Brittania, which worked out for the better anyway by preventing too much snacking or adding an extra scoop. We did have a few issues with our wine waiter, and consequently purchased less wine than we otherwise might have done. The prices of drinks are also quite high, at our local restaurant we pay £18 for a particular bottle of wine, on board ship, the same bottle was $75 more than 3 times the price. Entertainment. All the time we on board there were things to do, all day long. Most of the activities we did, took an amount of time, we then had 30-45 minutes before the next activity, so we didn't have to rush from one thing to another, yet we never had a point where we were bored waiting for the next thing to start. The evening shows were amazing. 3 of the nights there were 4 singers and a group of dancers in the Royal Court Theatre. They were excellent, in fact one of the singers, Mandy, sang "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" which was the best version I have heard since Dusty Springfield sang it. The Royal Court Theatre also featured the incredibly talented singing voice of Jordan Bennett and the very funny John Joseph. The G52 bar at the front of the ship had a disco going quite late into the night, which featured a band most nights. During the day there all sorts of activities to meet most sedate tastes, although there is also a gym aboard and a couple of swimming pools. We did make use of the on deck Jacuzzi on one of the foggy days and managed to sunburnt at that time. One activity that I would have liked to have done which I didn't was use the Planetarium. To go to the Planetarium you needed to get tickets. for 2 days we went to the ticket desk, waited in a massive queue only to be told the tickets had run out. On the 3rd day we went extra early, waited for over 30 minutes (15 of those minutes after the 9am opening of the ticket office) and no one turned up. We went to the pursers desk to ask if there was anyone going to open the ticket desk, the purser rang up and said there will be someone there. when we got back, we had to go the back of the queue again and didn't get tickets again. We didn't try to go to the Planetarium after that. The only port that we stopped at was Halifax in Nova Scotia. Prior to visiting it, we have never considered Canada as a holiday destination. Now that we have been to Halifax, we would consider going back and exploring more of Canada. Halifax is a very nice place with a Beautiful Public Gardens. The experience as a whole was fantastic and I am very glad we chose to go on that cruise. My main criticisms are minor (couldn't get a ticket to the Planetarium, not enough tables in the Kings Court Dining Room and the Wine prices were astronomically high, as was the additional 15% surcharge on everything) and I would still recommend the experience to others. Read Less
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