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48 Cunard Holiday Cruise Reviews

This was our first experience, as sixty-somethings, of cruising and, overall, we were not disappointed. The Queen Elizabeth may lack the exterior grace of its earlier namesake (the 1938 version), but offers sumptuous, comfortable ... Read More
This was our first experience, as sixty-somethings, of cruising and, overall, we were not disappointed. The Queen Elizabeth may lack the exterior grace of its earlier namesake (the 1938 version), but offers sumptuous, comfortable surroundings and plenty of options for entertainment. We paid the 'Cunard Fare' for our cruise which gave us the option of free valet parking at Southampton. This was handled brilliantly. We arrived at the port, unloaded our luggage and then left the keys with the parking staff. Check-in was smooth and within 45 minutes of arrival were were in our cabin with all luggage waiting for us and our cabin steward on hand to advise us of all the necessary information on our cabin and facilities. We had a BE Category outside cabin on Deck 7 with balcony and were pleased with the location just behind and down one deck from the ship's bridge. Being near to bow of the ship the pitching was more noticeable but it was much quieter than cabins and entertainment areas near the stern where there was a little vibration (although not uncomfortably so). We ate on the early sitting in the Britannia restaurant Deck 3 area and meals were of a very high quality. Wines were, however, expensive for the quality offered. We elected to take the 'Captain's Choice', providing a bottle of what turned out to be rather mediocre wines each evening. This was $495, not terribly good value for money in our opinion, however, the experience of being served and topped up regularly by the sommelier partly compensated for this. Waiter service by Mohammad and Miguel was friendly and efficient, if a little rushed at times. I think we'd possibly take the later sitting in future. Cabin service by our steward James was excellent. It has to be said that, at times, the ship felt a little like a floating care home. That's not in any way a criticism, just an observation - we met some delightful people of all ages. Just something to bear in mind when booking a festive cruise. Our friend who used to work in the travel industry has told us since that Christmas cruises do tend to have a lot of elderly folk shipped off on cruises by relatives during the festive season! Overall a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I can't say this holiday has us now hooked on cruising, but a Baltic or Norwegian Fjord cruise is something we'd consider in the future and, if possible, on the QE which we liked very much. That's just our personal preference - we're more solitary beings and being on board with around 2,000 other people was not something we are used to. Having said that, it was good to talk to other folk and there are still plenty of places on the ship where some privacy can be found. I spent most mornings at sea in the Commodore Club on Deck 10 reading and sipping hot chocolate while my other half was at his water-colour art classes. Shore excursions were quite good, We did three (Madeira, La Palma and a trip from La Coruna to Santiago de Compostela). For two 6 foot + chaps the coaches were incredibly cramped and uncomfortable. At $50 plus per person they were pretty expensive and the tour guides were satisfactory but not brilliant. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
this is the second year that I've been fortunate enough to spend the holidays on the QM2. My mother does not like to fly to get on a cruise ship so we are limited to ships that sail out of New York in the winter. Our cruise was ... Read More
this is the second year that I've been fortunate enough to spend the holidays on the QM2. My mother does not like to fly to get on a cruise ship so we are limited to ships that sail out of New York in the winter. Our cruise was relaxed and low key, plenty to do if one wishes. The entertainment was a mixed bag. I particularly enjoyed a group of soul/swing/Motown singers~the Flywrights~who were terrific~and the juggler. Beyond that the acts were just OK. The enrichment speakers were excellent, in particular, Dr. Jon Bailey, who presented four fabulous lectures analyzing Broadway musicals and Angela Schneider who spoke about different aspects of the Caribbean,including the devastating effects of the sugar trade. Having Ms. Schneider speak was important, I felt, giving travelers a more nuanced understanding of the history of the islands they'd be visiting beyond shopping and beaches. I enjoyed the food for the most part, especially considering the number of people they feed around the clock. I'm a pescetarian, and there were always plenty of options beyond meat and poultry dishes. That said I am not a picky eater and simply feel blessed when someone else is doing the cooking. The coffee leaves something to be desired. I love the Brits but they just don't know how to make good coffee. High tea in The Queens Room is a lovely indulgence. I'm already having scone withdrawal. The pools on the QM2 are a tad odd, probably because it's an ocean liner, not a cruise ship. For an older or less mobile person, they are very hard to get in and out of, having only ladders. I did indulge in a full pass to the aqua therapy center and used it to full advantage. It's not very large and it definitely needs some updating but I enjoyed the hydrotherapy pool, two saunas and steam room. We had cabins with protected balconies which I've heard some folks don't like because they "can't lie in bed and look at the ocean" pffft, get your butt up and quit complaining. Worked fine for us and our steward very promptly opened the partition so that my mother and I could go back and forth between our cabins on the balcony. The ports were great! St.Thomas which is well, St. Thomas. I don't bother, I just take a ferry over to St John for a much better USVI experience. Dominica, which I've visited before, and just love. They are stepping up their emphasis on eco-tourism and it's really a lovely island. St. Lucia was new to me and I visited the rainforest and did an aerial tram ride and a short hike. Gorgeous. Next on to Barbados which I'm lukewarm on. At the last minute I joined a snorkeling with turtles excursion which was rather lame, we did see plenty of turtles but also saw way too many people. The last port was St. Kitts which I also love, I did a great sail and snorkel excursion. Most snorkeling excursions don't allow enough time in the water for me but this one was long enough I was just starting to get cold when they blew the "come back" signal. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, plenty of porters, and as I was using a Cunard transfer to La Guardia, was off the ship very early. NO line at customs. All in all, it was delightful. I spent many hours in a chaise lounge reading and gazing at the ocean, Some folks might want more from a cruise but if relaxing is what you are after, the QM2 provides. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Just returned from the Caribbean Fiesta aboard the Queen Mary 2, a 12 night excursion from New York visiting 5 Caribbean ports. To describe this in a word, AWESOME! We first sailed QM2 in 2009 on a Transatlantic voyage, it was a wonderful ... Read More
Just returned from the Caribbean Fiesta aboard the Queen Mary 2, a 12 night excursion from New York visiting 5 Caribbean ports. To describe this in a word, AWESOME! We first sailed QM2 in 2009 on a Transatlantic voyage, it was a wonderful time and decided to try it again this Christmas. It completely exceeded our expectations. We treated ourselves to the Grill Suites this time as opposed to the BC. It is the only way to go. I'll break it down as follows: Our Suite 9042 was mid-ship. Two doors down from the Concierge Lounge. We got to know the Concierge 'Ophia' quite well during the cruise. Interestingly, we never saw our Butler the first two days of the cruise. Our steward Grace, seem to be doing all the work from delivering luggage to attending our cabin. Late in the second day, Andres rang our bell and introduced himself. He apologized saying he was ill and not able to perform his duties until now. Oddly, he seem a little terse in the beginning and began to warm up towards the end. We just assumed he was still recuperating. On the other hand Grace was very warm and friendly until the last 2 nights of the cruise where she was downright icy. This didn't hamper our experience. The Suite was spacious to say the least with a Bar and Refrigerator fully stocked, a very comfortable King-Size Bed and we couldn't quite believe it a walk-in closet. The Balcony was long, but narrow the lounges couldn't be placed side by side. The Royal Court was organized and well maintained. There were many different food offerings up there. We mainly used it for Breakfast and mid-day snacks. We choose not to go to the Dining Room for every meal. There was an abundance of Breakfast cereals, Fresh Fruits, and Hot dishes. The only caveat is trying to locate a glass of milk. Unlike other ships where they have containers of milk, Cunard only has a milk dispenser for cereal that's not available all day. We would just take an extra glass and put it in our refrigerator for later. Lunch and Snacks were available, a fine selection of meats and cheeses and a sushi station that was very appealing. The chef's galley served Burgers and Sandwiches. On a previous cruise they used to o a cooking demonstration, but it was not available on this cruise. The Queen's Grill was a culinary masterpiece. Each meal we ate there was even more perfect then the last. Our servers Clarence and Satia were attentive and professional. We saw Satia off ship in some ports and he was just as polite when in the Dining Room. He was leaving the ship when they return to Southampton to go home. Our sommelier, Nick was prepared for us every night. We gave him our food order and he produced the exact wine to complement it. As for the food, we had Prime Rib our first night out that was excellent. During the course of our 12 nights, we tried the Dover Sole, that Bobbi prepared tableside and there was not a single bone in it. We had Beef Wellington for Christmas and Chateaubriand and Lobster for New Years. The Lobster Newburg was a hit as well as the King Scallops. I could continue to rave about the menu, but you get the idea. Todd English was a bit of a disappointment, we dined there once. The service was excellent, but the food was lacking pizzazz. The Grill was better. The Entertainment was just average. We skipped many of the shows as they didn't appeal to us. The ones we did see weren't exciting. The Flyrights were about the best with their Motown style of entertainment. The show Crazy in Love was dreadful. We skipped Incanto as we saw them on another ship. The Common areas were neat and tidy, you can see some wear in the carpeting especially near the entrances and exits. We purchased a Spa Pass for the cruise duration and was well worth it. The Spa pool area was quiet, but it's also small for a ship this size. All in all this will go down as one of the best trips we've ever taken.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
What a lovely way to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve. Out first time with Cunard but definitely will not be the last. The ship is magnificent, (bit warn in places) stateroom more than adequate and we found the staff to always be ... Read More
What a lovely way to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve. Out first time with Cunard but definitely will not be the last. The ship is magnificent, (bit warn in places) stateroom more than adequate and we found the staff to always be pleasant and more than helpful. Dining room experience was up and down but fortunately we shared a table with excellent company which took away from the pain of poor service. Did not see any of the artists or night time entertainment as we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment in the Golden Lion and ballroom. Pub lunches were excellent as were the trivia quizzes. Excursions are overpriced and we did the snorkelling with the turtles in Barbados which we were very disappointed with. I may be bias having spent many years living in the U.K. But this trip is high on my list of very memorable holidays. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
If you haven't recently sailed on her PLEASE do not believe most of the negative reviews. The Queen Mary 2 is stunning and in very good shape. That's the short length review. The medium review, or summary, is that the Queen Mary ... Read More
If you haven't recently sailed on her PLEASE do not believe most of the negative reviews. The Queen Mary 2 is stunning and in very good shape. That's the short length review. The medium review, or summary, is that the Queen Mary 2 is the last true Ocean liner and it is like walking into a time machine of beauty and tradition. It may not be for younger cruisers and you won't find amusement park rides, rock climbing walls, skating rinks, or spiraling pool slides. You will find a ship that feels more like traveling in the 1920's-1940's aboard a stunning, grand, very traditional ship. The full review: I was on the 12 night Christmas cruise with my two sons, 12 and 14, traveling from New York to the Caribbean and back. It's difficult to write a review for the Queen Mary 2 because you want to give it a glowing report in all ways, but in truth, while the ship really is breathe taking, there are some issues (with the overall experience, not the ship). The Brooklyn embarkation experience has a cold, low rent feel. Don't expect the union employees that search your bags or point you to the right line to smile or show the slightest courtesy. You feel like a cow being led to slaughter. You won't find as many crabs at a crab bake. The Royal Caribbean embarkation experience, with the gigantic Allure of the Seas, is so much classier and better run. Carnival, the cruise line that controls Cunard, ought to sail on the Allure to see how to do it right. Once you arrive at the counter the Cunard staff are pleasant enough. When you enter the ship you are greeted by high level staff and directed to your cabin, I think they will walk you to your cabin if you need help, but the ship is so beautiful you are in awe. I have been on the original Queen Mary, the one that is "docked" permanently in Long Beach, and I have to say they are quire similar. There is a kind of Art Deco interior design that is sleek and colorful; think bright gold decor and lush reds and exotic wood paneling. You honestly feel as if you have entered a time machine and somehow entered this perfectly preserved vessel. As some of you may know, the Queen Mary 2 is a true ocean liner, meaning it is NOT a hotel laying on a barge, as most cruise ships of today are... THE QM2 is designed to handle all season transatlantic voyages. I spoke to a frequent passenger who, in the past, encountered enormous waves and gale force five conditions and he said you hardly noticed. It was the largest ship when built and still seems very large. It'll take you a couple days just to see most of the ship. The sailing experience is traditional too. There is daily high tea served after lunch and, again, it's from another time. Think white gloves and English tea in fine china cups, served with finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, and small cakes. Even for my 12 and 14 old children, both boys, the experience was sublime. They looked forward to it each day. Dinner in the main dining room is a dressy, fanciful affair. Service is not necessarily slow, certainly not by the standards of a land based five star restaurant, but it is quite leisurely, you don't want to be in a hurry. Some may find this tiring. The dress standard, unlike the other cruise lines, is quite high. You are expected to wear a jacket and tie for all dinners served in the main dining room, and there are several upscale nights as well. Again, while it's certainly fun to put a tie on, having to do so at every single dinner might be a bit much for some. We grew tired of the stuffiness after a few days. The food: There were a few really special dinners, but honestly, it's hit and miss in the main dining room. Frankly, the chef tries way to hard with exotic, fine dining choices that would be difficult to master in a small seat fine dining restaurant, but to serve, what, 1000 people per meal, well, you just can't do it. It's basically mass, banquet food when you are serving about a 1000 at a time and you can't give the individual attention to each food item when you are cranking them out like a factory. Many on the ship agreed with me and felt you were lucky to get 6 nights of quality food on a 12 night voyage. It was never really bad, just average at times. The service is good enough, but you know that the staff is shoved into little rooms in the bowel of the ship and work every day for low wages and long hours -- you see it in their behavior and on their faces. The Buffet: There is a horrible layout. Much of the time you aren't aware of what is there. It's sort of laid out in a bizarre zig zag of separate rooms, you leave one buffet area and enter another, as if exiting the restaurant, to reach other areas. The service is quite amazing. Unlike the Golden Corral buffet experience you get on other lines, Cunard has staff whisking away the plates and dishes. It's almost as if you are in a normal, upscale restaurant, not a buffet. No IKEA like self clearing here. The Buffet Food: Again, and it's really surprising how different each day is, it's hit and miss. When it's a hit IT IS AMAZING. I have never had such quality buffet food on a cruise line. Filet Mignon, six inch grilled ship, grilled lobster, etc. are available on certain nights. Other nights you wonder what in the heck they are serving. It's bloody awful, and I'm not English. I love Thai food and they have this horrendous thai green curry that looks like it had already been digested. Other choices are just very average, again, more Golden Corral than fine dining. Again, to compare it with another line, on Royal's Allure the buffet was fresh, hip, unique, quality -- all the time. On the QM2 you have a small dinner buffet section "served" by disinterested staff -- except for those amazing exceptions. The breakfast buffet is better than average in all ways. Special Find: I wish I had known about this. It fills up very fast. Each night the ship has a "special dining room" area set up in the buffet -- separate from the main buffet. One night it's Asian, another it's Indian, another it's American bistro. They put down table clothes and candles although you can't disguise that it's in the buffet dining area. The service is excellent, better than in the main dining room, the food IS THE BEST I had on the ship, and the surcharge is minimal, perhaps $10 per person. Todd English: My, this guy likes himself. Watch his video. It's a nice room with good service. There is a fairly large surcharge if I remember. I think we spent over $100 for three. The food isn't nearly as good as he'd like you to believe and most on the ship that tried it agreed. However, there aren't the 20 restaurants aboard as on more contemporary cruise ships, just this, the buffet, and the main dining room and you'll probably want to try it. The food is good, to be fair, but it isn't any sort of five star experience. I think it all comes from the same kitchen that makes the 1000 meals at once dinner. My older son doesn't agree with me and thought it was great. Passengers: I read somewhere that the average age is over 70. One would like to think that a Christmas cruise would lower this age somewhat -- and it does -- but not by much. It's sort of like being at a retirement home. I don't mind it so much, screaming teenagers and drunk seventeen year olds that other lines have aren't my cup of tea and the older gentleman and ladies on this ship are calming. However, I'm not sure this is the best choice if you are under 40, probably not if you're under 50, and frankly, might seem a bit dull for those under 60. However, whenever we made an effort to talk to others they were very engaging and interesting and happy to talk with someone new. There were a lot of English on this ship, even though it was a cruise that left from the US, and it was fun to have people who weren't from the states. Entertainment: Frankly, there were times when it seemed that they didn't even bother to try. No other ship near this size is devoid of all entertainment such as this one. Again, with the Allure, there is a broadway quality show, amazing Cirque du Soleil performers, and on and on. On this ship you have bingo, a movie, or ball room dancing. Which is probably just what one had in 1940. Sure, there are excellent musicians aboard, very talented, but if you are not into music from the 1930's-1940's, or so it seemed, you don't have a lot of choice. Ball room music and big band. Most of the acts brought aboard were low rent. The movies were near first run and very good. There is a planetarium that has short, 20 minute films about the universe. They aren't bad, but seem a trifle dated. It's unique, but not breathtaking. The room: We had a deluxe balcony room. The room has a luxe feel and seemed classier than on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We had three in a room. There is room for two and let's leave it at that. I would say even roomy for two, but three's a crowd. I've never been on any ship that was ever different. The room service food was certainly a step above what I've had on any other ship, just don't order the thai curry. Just don't. Trust me, it's even worse than the buffet version. Staff: Honestly, despite that white glove marketing, you can tell it's run by Carnival. Not a horrible thing, I've sailed on Carnival and they're fine, but you don't have the same caliber of service you find on Celebrity. Also, this was for us an expensive ship, it's not as if the prices are low and so you expect more and don't always get it. So, don't expect more and you'll be fine. Plenty of forced smiles and how are you's and so on. I can't think of a particularly bad or dismissive staff experience, except perhaps in the library, which has very dated books, despite it's large size there isn't much you'll want to read unless you are into serialized novels or bibliography like books on Plato, and all of the staff seemed like jerks who had zero interest in the passengers. That is rare though. The ports: On this 12 night trip you only stop at about four stops and all in a row. The small caribbean islands are poor and similar. St. Lucia? St. Kitts? Barbados? Couldn't tell you which were which -- somewhat repetitive. Still, it's fun to hop off and soak in the sun and culture. Seven nights at sea is a lot -- I'm surprised they didn't add another island. SPA: Frankly, I didn't think the massages are of the same quality as on other lines, and they are very pricey. However, you get access to an interior area that has amazing features -- pools, numerous saunas, whirl pools, etc. It's really, really nice. WARNING: As usual on cruise lines, you'll spend a fortune on internet and phone provider charges. Despite our having purchased expensive international add ons and data with AT&T, and buying the internet time on the ship, we had a $1500 cell phone bill and $600 cruise ship charge. If you have kids, tell them it's a computer free trip and lock them away (their equipment, not the kids). As you can imagine, the net service on the ship is grossly overpriced, erratic and extraordinarily slow. This is probably not a problem for the over 70 year olds, but honestly, we live in a mobile society and cruise ships won't have anyone under 30 on them if they can't get the data/net issues worked out. Overall: 12 nights on a ship might seem like a lot, but it went very fast. Despite all I've said about the lack of things to do, it's really more a lack of splashy entertainment and activities you'll find on contemporary cruise ships, you'll find ways to make time disappear. We played monopoly, chess, walked the beautiful teak deck that surrounds the exterior, read books, went to bingo, deck quots and shuffle board, swimming, exercising, and just relaxing on a lounger watching the waves and the sun. We were rarely bored. I chose this cruise because I am a fan of ocean liners and I wanted to experience the QM2. It really is a wonderful ship. Whether it's the right cruise for you depends on whether or not you are a foodie (there are probably better choices) and whether you will feel comfortable with an older crowd. I am very happy I chose Cunard and QM2 -- it's an experience that may not exist some day. Would I do the Christmas cruise again? No, been there, done that -- however, I would consider a different, shorter cruise in the future, just to experience this grand vessel again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We embarked for a ten nights cruise on the Cunard ship Queen Victoria sailing from Southampton on Sunday 7th December to the Western Mediterranean. It had been tastefully decorated “dressed” for Christmas with lights and trees, but ... Read More
We embarked for a ten nights cruise on the Cunard ship Queen Victoria sailing from Southampton on Sunday 7th December to the Western Mediterranean. It had been tastefully decorated “dressed” for Christmas with lights and trees, but overall it could be described as having a restrained feel, the public rooms having wood panels as in an Edwardian Gentleman's Club. There was a showcase of Cunard memorabilia to be studied, and a Harrods store on board. The restaurant offered traditional English cuisine with French descriptions and the ship was comfortable and stable. "She's built for the North Atlantic in winter says the Officer of the Watch, the Bay of Biscay will no more than rattle the afternoon teacups in the Queens Room". Even so, some passengers suffered from seasickness. We experienced a problem in that another passenger had deposited valuables and other items in our cabin "Stateroom". Wanting to know just how this had happened we were told by Cunard that the incident was being investigated. After complaining, they arranged another cabin for us; made an apology, presented us with a bouquet of roses, and an offer of dinner in the Veranda Restaurant. Later in the cruise we received a written apology as approved by Carnival, but the problem had distressed us and disturbed the first three days of our cruise. This cruise provided us with a comfortable rather than relaxing ten nights, but not with the ambience, cuisine, and sparkle of MSC the Italian Line with whom we have previously sailed..   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We are experienced cruisers, but have never cruised with Cunard in the past. We got a great balcony deal and went for it, risking the Bay of Biscay in December! The ship is magnificent, a bit like a country house, which fitted the time of ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers, but have never cruised with Cunard in the past. We got a great balcony deal and went for it, risking the Bay of Biscay in December! The ship is magnificent, a bit like a country house, which fitted the time of year with all the ships Christmas decorations in place. There are lots of comfortable lounge areas on board, from which to watch the world go by on sea days. The onboard lectures were excellent and the food the best we have ever had, even though the menu is written in 'flowery' language.  Afternoon tea is an experience not to be missed in the Queens ballroom, remember to skip lunch! The cabins are spacious with much bigger balconies than we have had on other ships such as Ventura. The entertainment was first class. Drinks and tips expensive. Just adjust or even cancel the tips and give what you think is appropriate. The on board talks were interesting and well presented. Our top two cruise lines are now Celebrity and Cunard. Bye the way, Biscay was kind to us, the ship pitched a little, but nothing to worry about. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
just returned from the New Year cruise on Q Victoria and had a fantastic time. We were in Amsterdam on New Years Eve and the ship remained on UK time throughout the voyage so that we could enjoy the Magnificent fireworks in Amsterdam at ... Read More
just returned from the New Year cruise on Q Victoria and had a fantastic time. We were in Amsterdam on New Years Eve and the ship remained on UK time throughout the voyage so that we could enjoy the Magnificent fireworks in Amsterdam at midnight Dutch time before coming inside to celebrate all over again on UK time ... A great idea! We were on 2nd sitting in Britannia and the food was excellent the whole time - possibly the best we have experienced since the QE2 days. Entertainment, however wasn't quite as good -the 4Tunes were superb and did a great job on NYE, but an ageing David Copperfield (not the illusionist unfortunately ... The other one) was pretty poor and the Cunard singers and dancers were just average. Sally Sagoe is pitiful and her morning show is torture to watch ... Not a patch on some of the other Entertainment Directors we have seen on Cunard. Having said that, we still had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We were on the Christmas Cruise to the Canary Islands, we paid the Cunard Fare so we had a very nice cabin with balcony, The food was very good except for Christmas Day we were expecting something a bit special but were disappointed. the ... Read More
We were on the Christmas Cruise to the Canary Islands, we paid the Cunard Fare so we had a very nice cabin with balcony, The food was very good except for Christmas Day we were expecting something a bit special but were disappointed. the entertainment was very poor, in fact, some of it was an insult to our intelligence I have seen better entertainment at children,s parties. Santa visited the ballroom in the afternoon and then nothing , not even a little party for the children, just photographs. The staff were excellent in the dining room and the Lido and the cabin staff. The Entertainment needs shaking up a bit it was very poorly organised especially during the day. We booked a tour before we went on the cruise , it was in la Coruna, what a rip off. it cost us 75 dollars for two, it was an easy walking trip, The tour was for two and a quarter hours and we were stopped for one and a quarter, we went through the empty fish market to a lighthouse which was up a hill we couldn't climb, then on to a café for coffee and cake for 45 mins then 15 mins it took to return to the ship.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We have just returned from our Christmas Cruise on Queen Victoria to Madeira and the Canary Islands. We travelled to Southampton the day before and stayed at the Meon Valley Marriott Hotel. This included a nights stay and car parking for ... Read More
We have just returned from our Christmas Cruise on Queen Victoria to Madeira and the Canary Islands. We travelled to Southampton the day before and stayed at the Meon Valley Marriott Hotel. This included a nights stay and car parking for the duration of the cruise, transfer to and from the ship and the cost was £70 per person. A lovely Hotel and golf complex. The first day at sea was very rocky across the bay of biscay and 3 out of 4 of us were very unwell. We did get some bands and sea sickness pills from reception which thankfully helped. The ship is very elegant and especially so at Christmas. Food in the Britannia restaurant was good and we used it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Service on Cunard is very good and much better than a lot of other ships. The first 3 days were at sea until we arrived in Madeira. This is a lovely island that we had been to before and really enjoy. We did our own thing here and it was easy to get a taxi. Our driver charged $20 each and took the 4 of us to Monte Gardens which is well worth a visit (very hilly) we spent an hour and a half there and then the taxi took us to the ride in the basket down 2k of steep hilly roads.It was great and at the bottom we purchased a photo taken halfway down for just 10 euros. We were met again by our taxi and taken on a lovely ride to the other side of the island to a new viewing point where you stand on glass very high above the cliffs. Then on to a lovely fishing village where Winston Churchill stayed and did a lot of his paintings. We returned to the ship after about 5 hours. This was a great way to see a lot more of the island and far less expensive than the ships tours. Tenerife was the next port and we did do the ships tour to Loro Parque. Again we had been there before but enjoy it each time especially the penquins and sea life shows. La Palma is a very small island and here we did our own thing and just wandered around the town and sea front which are only a few minutes walk from the ship. Lanzarote was to be the next port of call however, according to the captain the wind was too strong to get us into port safely although 2 other ships had beaten us to it. So another day at sea. La Coruna in Spain was the last port of call. Here we did a ships tour to Santiago de Compostillo. About an hour in the coach to this very old Spanish City that is a pilgrimage site 3rd only to Jerusalem and Lourdes. Very rough again across that wretched bay but the bands and pills did there job! The entertainment on the ship was very good. The Singers and dancers in the theatre were brilliant and I would go as far as to say the best we have ever seen on a ship. The Opera Boys were wonderful and 3 girls from west end shows were great. There was always something to do during the days at sea and 2 of us did the Watercolour Art classes which although not very good at it I really enjoyed and went to five 2 hour classes. Patricia was a great teacher. The evenings in the Queens room were a little disappointing as they had an American singer who sang dreary jazz type songs and we found it boring but that was just our opinion. It is wonderful to have a full size dance floor on a ship. Don't dance but love to watch. Now for the gripes - The price of photos was the highest we've ever seen. $34.99 for formal evening photos and $24.99 for all the others. Didn't buy any. The most annoying thing of all was the lectures about Concorde had been really great and we had seen 3 of them. We were looking forward to the last one which should have been on the last sea day and was to be about the crash and the reasons behind taking it out of service. It wasn't shown! No explanation and despite several enquiries including to the entertainment manager who looked suprised when we asked (surely she is in charge) I told her it was like reading a book and finding the last chapter ripped out. Most annoying. It was a good "voyage" as Cunard prefer to call it but 7 days at sea out of 12 rather too many. We met some lovely people and enjoyed our Christmas break. Lastly, on arriving at Southampton we should have disembarked in groups according to your luggage label colour and ours was 9am. However, there was an announcement that there was a 20 minute delay and that was actually an hour with no explanation whatsoever. People were getting very twitchy with taxis booked etc and would have understood the situation had been explained. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
As you may have guessed this is not going to be a positive review... Cruise Q423 to Amsterdam for the Christmas Markets 2014 was meant to be a nice little pre-Christmas break to relax and unwind ready for the festive season. Obviously, ... Read More
As you may have guessed this is not going to be a positive review... Cruise Q423 to Amsterdam for the Christmas Markets 2014 was meant to be a nice little pre-Christmas break to relax and unwind ready for the festive season. Obviously, Cunard had other plans as they had enlisted - what can only be described as - a "B List" Captain and Team of Senior Staff. We had previously cruise on this ship 4 times before and found it to be absolutely wonderful. Hence, we were excited to spend a few days on the ship before Christmas. However, right from the start this cruise felt a little flat with staff very unmotivated and an absence of senior staff. Embarkation was good and the ship departed Southampton on time. In the early stages of the cruise there was no indication from the Captain that there would be any problems with the cruise. I had also checked the weather prior to leaving and knew that there would be some strong gusts in Amsterdam, but the Captain had indicated none of this. Later in the cruise the Captain mentioned strong winds in the Amsterdam area; again I was not overly concerned as only the previous year the ship failed to dock in Amsterdam because of high winds, but did dock at Rotterdam; the wind were not as bad as last year. The Captain then said that there was a 10% we may dock at Amsterdam and that we would sail all the way to the entrance and see what conditions were like. Eventually we were told we would not dock and alternatives would be considered. We then spend a considerably long time just sailing round with no updates. Finally we were told we would not dock anywhere because conditions were so poor. By now the mood of the ship had somewhat changed and this was very noticeable to both passengers and staff. To make matters worse the Captain then announced we would be arriving back in port a day early due to ‘essential works’. I think this pushed passengers over the edge as we then had lots of moaning and complaining. The atmosphere on the ship for the last two nights was pretty ugly. I am not really complaining that we did not go to Amsterdam as I appreciate that is a difficult port to get in and out of. However, its pretty poor to suggest that the entire west coast of Europe was inaccessible due to strong winds; especially when 12 month earlier the Queen Elizabeth had encountered far worse conditions and docked at Rotterdam. Not to mention the ship departed Southampton in Hurricane Force 12 winds Christmas 2013…if that was safe then Cunard have no excuse for not calling at any alternative port. I also understand that other cruise liners also docked at Amsterdam that night. I was also surprise that the ship had a strong diesel smell in the casino and pub; this was pretty disturbing as it appeared there was a problem with the ship. Why was this? Was it safe? Where Cunard cutting corners to save money? Cunard’s poor management and handling of the cruise meant many passengers just disembarked when the holiday was cut short by the Captain. It was not at all enjoyable having a meal in The Verandah Restaurant watching people lining up to get off on one side of the restaurant and Southampton dock on the other side. It was meant to be a pleasant night at sea sailing back from Amsterdam. The port cancellation was only one of several issues with this cruise. The majority of the staff and crew were either absent or not engaged in keeping passengers happy - well below the standards I have experienced with Cunard in the past. The Entertainments Director was a complete Misogynist asking young female colleagues how much they weighed on the TV feed. All in all, the cruise was rubbish. After the cruise, I did think of writing and complaining, but decided not to. However, Cunard contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I'd like to cruise with them again....they had a chance to win our custom back, but instead managed to make matters worse by saying "we are not giving any compensation" when I never complained or asked for this and was simply never going to cruise with them again. Only the arrogance of Cunard could make a customer service call escalate to the point of "rubbing salt into the wounds". Thankfully, we've found Celebrity so we won't bothering Cunard again...and we'd advise anyone not to bother with Cunard either! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Just got off Cunards Queen Elizabeth with 5 Family members I have traveled with 5 different Cruise companies This was my first cruise with Cunard that I thought would be a bit highbrow for my taste . How wrong was I. The service was very ... Read More
Just got off Cunards Queen Elizabeth with 5 Family members I have traveled with 5 different Cruise companies This was my first cruise with Cunard that I thought would be a bit highbrow for my taste . How wrong was I. The service was very slow the quickest I got a drink order to our table was 20 mins the slowest just under hour and I am not making this up the food in the Brittania restaurant was good but no way near as good as other ships I have been on The entertainment was alright but no where near enough different varieties of music you will like it if you like listening to one man piano players they had several bars with piano players no Jazz or nightclub venues. I found most of the serving staff to be OK but no were near the standards of say Celebrity. Our trip was to go to Amsterdam and dock for 2 days we were told on first day at sea that we could not dock at Amsterdam because of high winds, no alternative port could be found so we sailed up & down The English Channel Because of some EU ruling we were told that vat would be added to all ship shops purchases and there would be no duty free sales I sailed with P& O last January to Amsterdam where there was no vat added and you could buy duty free on board? But worst of all this short cruise to the Amsterdam Christmas markets to do some last minute Christmas Shopping and buy our duty free drinks for Christmas did not happen Maybe I will try Cunard again when I reach 80 years of age but of the five cruise companies I have used Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, NCL, P&O and Cunard. Cunard would not get in my top 5 cruises and this nothing to do with our cruise not reaching its destination. Just on Poor service not enough to do generally not a well run ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We were on the “notorious” Christmas Markets in Amsterdam Cruise on MS Queen Elizabeth. This was our first cruise, chosen so that we could sample the Cunard experience. The ship could not dock in Amsterdam as planned due to adverse ... Read More
We were on the “notorious” Christmas Markets in Amsterdam Cruise on MS Queen Elizabeth. This was our first cruise, chosen so that we could sample the Cunard experience. The ship could not dock in Amsterdam as planned due to adverse weather conditions. Complaints from just five passengers were the basis of a Daily Mail report which stated, “Around 2,100 passengers on board the Queen Elizabeth were furious at the decision to turn back”. This claim that all passengers were furious is an utter lie. The photograph of the so-called mutiny at Reception shows less than 30 people, around 1% of the 2,100 passengers. We were completely unaware of the demonstration at the time and certainly would have avoided it if we did. So, what was our view of the cruise? We liked the service and food. That in the Britannia Restaurant was very good; our special meal in the Verandah Restaurant was absolutely superb. Our basic inner State Room was well-appointed and spotless and our steward was very helpful and friendly. We enjoyed lectures by Martin Bell and Michael Whitehouse plus entertainment by The Beatles Experience. However the “Royal” Cunard Singers and Dancers were not our favourites. We disliked all extras being charged in US dollars. Charges were fairly expensive anyway and more so due to tourist exchange rates offered by banks and credit cards. I disliked the sale of low-cost ex-demonstration watches on board, which I thought cheapened Cunard’s brand image. We did notice the unpleasant smell of oil in the Golden Lion Pub. We do not know whether this was diesel or heavy fuel oil, but neither aroma goes well with your pie and a pint. Of course we were disappointed when Captain Alistair Clark announced that the ship could not dock at Amsterdam, but we accepted that this was due to bad weather. Perhaps the ship could have made it into the port but not sailed in time when the weather worsened, thus delaying the lucrative Christmas Cruise to the Canaries that followed ours. Who knows? In any event we were satisfied with the Captain’s announcements and pleasantly surprised when 75 dollars per person was deducted from everyone’s on-board bill. Our Clot of the Cruise award goes to the Entertainments Officer. On the morning that we did not dock in Amsterdam his TV programme welcomed us to Amsterdam and warned us to take umbrellas on shore due to the weather forecast. Maybe this stupid error contributed to the “mutiny”. We have learned two lessons on this cruise: 1. Do not believe anything you read in the Daily Mail. 2. Give P & O a chance next time.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I boarded Queen Elizabeth in Southampton on December 23rd and spent Christmas and New Year on board before returning to Southampton Jan 6th.2015. I then crossed to Hamburg and back before setting off on my half of the World Cruise Jan ... Read More
I boarded Queen Elizabeth in Southampton on December 23rd and spent Christmas and New Year on board before returning to Southampton Jan 6th.2015. I then crossed to Hamburg and back before setting off on my half of the World Cruise Jan 10th., finally disembarking in Auckland on Feb 27th. Having enjoyed over 40 cruises to date, reaching Diamond Tier on both Seabourn and Cunard, I feel more than qualified to give a frank and fair review of my own experiences of the Queen Elizabeth My first cruise on the ship was in April 2014 from Dubai to Southampton and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. However, I did decide that April that my next trip would be in a Club Class cabin in order that I would dine in the splendid and comfortable surroundings of the elegant Club Restaurant. There I recently enjoyed over 2 months of wonderful service. The Maitre'd Tetiana was first class. Elegant, attentive and charming. As were my server Lhea and Sommelier Miroslav. 3 top professionals who all went to great lengths to ensure that my every wish was catered for. On the first night, I requested bread sticks.These were brought immediately and presented on my table every night without further reminders. Miroslav's knowledge of wines, plus him charm and humour were exemplary and between us I explored a wonderful wine selection throughout my cruise. Personally, I found the Eastern European staff to be mainly very good. Of course, some are better than others and this applies to ALL nationalities, but '' you'll never please.............'' Due to the high number of cruises I have enjoyed on Seabourn, one of the world's top lines I am aware that standards are higher on that line. However, cost for cost, I find Cunard better value £ for £ I am booked again on the Elizabeth for 7 weeks starting November 18th and very much looking forward to embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
In Summary - Overall not good value for money. Not the Festive Cruise we had expected. New year's day fireworks in harbour at Tenerife out of sight from our berth. Details Embarkation - Reasonable with wheel chair assistance. Heard ... Read More
In Summary - Overall not good value for money. Not the Festive Cruise we had expected. New year's day fireworks in harbour at Tenerife out of sight from our berth. Details Embarkation - Reasonable with wheel chair assistance. Heard of long delays for passengers arriving earlier also requiring assistance. First impressions - As expected but little extra effort put into festive decorations. Dining - First sitting in Brittania Restaurant. Fixed dining on table for six. My wife and I like to mix with other people so chose a six table. This has its downside as we discovered. For three of the first five nights our companion diners did not appear so we were lone diners on a table set for six. It seems our companion diners preferred later dining and obviously have no responsibility to us. On the sixth night we did move to another six table nearby who had suffered the same fate and were also joined by another couple who moved from the later sitting. I cannot blame Cunard for the whims of fellow diners but the system is flawed. On Princess and Celebrity you are allocated early or late dining and then led to a table size of your choice on entering the restaurant. The waiters ensure minimum delay by filling tables efficiently. Fortunately our dining companions for the rest of the voyage were great. The food was at best acceptable for most nights and mainly consisted of basic fodder dressed up with fancy wording on the menu. On several nights there were 3 Vegetarian meals out of the six on offer. There were some good offerings such as Lobster, scallops and a Chateau Briande but seen together on one night only never to appear again. Is this penny pinching or what? Entertainment - Very Poor. This is our opinion but seemed to be the concensus of most passengers we spoke with. The comedian (one night only) was declared as very good by most. Other one night acts such as a female singer, a male singer, pianist, flautist and the acrobats(Power of Two) met with mixed reviews but none would be considered as a top line act. As for ship's company entertainment this was exceptionally poor. Three of their four singers were really poor and the dancers mediocre at best. The entertainment around the ship was just as poor with three piano players(come singers) offering some noise. The harpist and violin quartet provide acceptable background music. However it was the theatre entertainment that was the most dissapointing. Activities - barely passable but we did not partake in all of them. Table Tennis much the same as other cruises with minimal crew involvement. Knitting circle had no dedicated facilitator. The Bridge tuition and organised "Duplicate Bridge" sessions were exceptionally well run and much enjoyed by all participants. Quiz sessions mainly held in the Golden Lion were OK and well attended. The Golden Lion pub had a good ambiance but the beer(Bitter) served on tap was much too cold. At least one bitter should have been served on tap at cellar temperature. I drank bottled London Pride which had been left out of the fridge as a best alternative. In Summary - Overall not good value for money. Not the Festive Cruise we had expected. New year's day fireworks in harbour at Tenerife out of sight from our berth. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We have just returned from the Caribbean Christmas and New Year’s cruise and can only say we were very disappointed. This had been out tenth cruise with Cunard on all of their three ships and can honestly say their standards have not ... Read More
We have just returned from the Caribbean Christmas and New Year’s cruise and can only say we were very disappointed. This had been out tenth cruise with Cunard on all of their three ships and can honestly say their standards have not only slipped, but slid quite away. The daily activities was virtually none existent, take the bridge classes, Spa Ranch, pub quiz, bingo and minority group meetings from the daily program and there was very little left. The guest speakers were a welcome break from the monotony, although not all were to my interest the auditorium was packed out on each of their presentations. The evening shows were second rate although the Cunard Dancers were very professional only let down by the Cunard Singers whose singing was amateur to say the least. The two comedians, one of home who is a house hold name in the UK had material not changed since the 70s and the other’s humour or lack of it was to take the mick from different nationalities. However, on the East Bound Atlantic crossing back to Southampton the Fly Rights were brilliant, we had to wait 3 weeks for some decent entertainment, which was this. One afternoon and one afternoon only the entertainment staff along with the production staff acted out a Murder Mystery Suspense Thriller to music where the audience participated. Very slap stick but the audience loved it. The food in the Britannia Restaurant was adequate and served cold on more than a few occasions although this was rectified each time we complained. The food in the Kings Court Buffet was acceptable and a good variety in choice. I’m afraid Cunard has had its day, surviving on its history and White Star Service which is a shade of grey now. Most people we talked to were very disappointed and talked of other Cruise Lines they had been with being far better. Cunard, your Platinum and Diamond members are not going to live forever and you need interest the future generations or sail with empty ships.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Our small family scheduled this trip almost a year out, never having been on Cunard before. We then travelled on Cunard in September 2013, however it was too late to cancel this cruise and get our money back. There was a long traffic line ... Read More
Our small family scheduled this trip almost a year out, never having been on Cunard before. We then travelled on Cunard in September 2013, however it was too late to cancel this cruise and get our money back. There was a long traffic line getting into the embarkation area in Brooklyn. When we did enter the terminal, a blond middle aged woman directed us into a line. We waited patiently while she started yet another line which moved much more quickly. Finally, after standing in a hot terminal for over an hour in our winter clothes, I spoke with a supervisor named Fran who explained that the monitors in our area were not working properly. Um, perhaps take charge and redirect the line. Unfortunately, this indifferent service was indicative of the entire 12 day cruise. When we ate in the Britannia DIning room, main seating, table 100, for the first two nights we had an extra chair at our table. No one appeared to eat there and it impeded conversation with our table mates. Twice I asked to see the maitre'd about having it removed. This is true: I was told he was too busy! I then went to the Purser's office (Cunard guest relations) and put it in written request to see him about the chair. Also true: I NEVER RECEIVED A RESPONSE. Toward the end of our cruise the maitre'd appeared at our table to ask how things were. He did not mention my previous request. I asked about more of a selection with regard to vegetables and said that our vegetables had not come that evening. He seemed put out to have someone actually request something from him. Our vegetables came with our coffee. Three people were served and the waiter left. We had to call him back to serve the remaining people who wanted vegetables. The wait for a sommelier was long. Service was lackluster. She seemed over worked. The staterooms were ok. Our steward left a room service tray outside on the balcony overnight. Seemed a bit lackluster again. I had to ask for more soap and a clean robe. The saving grace was/were our dining companions who were lovely. On December 27 2013 the trivia person/entertainment staff gave a wrong answer. We looked it up in our Almanac and spoke to him about it. He was kind but did not seem to want to know additional information about his professional area. The ship held various celebrations for the Christmas holiday. All were well done, especially the Christmas caroling. We took one excursion which was the Nevis sail away. The day was lovely. I spoke with the crew and mentioned that they could chafe the music played to be more in tune with the composition of their guests (puns intended). The crew was great. We ate in the Golden Lion at lunchtime on New Year's Day. The staff was so 'off' that day. We had to ask for service (my husband went up to the bar to ask for a waiter or waitress to come over) and then still waited. I saw an older couple voice their frustration to the staff. Although it made me uncomfortable, I had to agree with them. The service that particular day was appalling. Cunard should be ashamed. We were staying on the ship until Southampton but changing rooms. I checked on this periodically, being anxious about Cunard's lack of professionalism. I was told twice that housekeeping would move everything for us except what was in the safe. I was also told the new room keys would be delivered the night before. The morning of the change of course no new room keys were delivered. I called the Purser and was told to come down and get them. I asked for them to be delivered, as promised. I was told that they were too busy but would deliver them when they could. After 2 hours I went down to the Purser myself to get the keys. There I was advised to pack up everything in the room except what was on hangers in the closet. What a rush to pack! The review will continue as we change to Queen's Grill for the crossing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Embarkation at the Brooklyn Cruise terminal was quick and efficient.We were in out cabin, along with our luggage within 45 minutes of arrival at the terminal. We were dining in the Brittannia dining room for lunch and dinner and at the ... Read More
Embarkation at the Brooklyn Cruise terminal was quick and efficient.We were in out cabin, along with our luggage within 45 minutes of arrival at the terminal. We were dining in the Brittannia dining room for lunch and dinner and at the Kings Court for breakfast. Yes the Kings court does get a little crowded, but we were always able to find a seat, the food was good and the staff helpful. We were on a table for 8 at dinner. There were three other interesting and engaging couples at the table which always helps to make the dining experience more pleasurable. The menu was extensive and the food excellent. We, or the other couples at the table, had any complaints about quality,quantity or presentation of the food throughout the cruise. The service and attention to detail by the wait staff at our table was truly excellent. Lunch was an opportunity to meet other people as there is no fixed seating. Again a full and varied menu and good food. The entertainment in the Royal Court Theater was very good with two extremely talented musicians. A violinist and a Flautist, both wonderful acts. The "headline" entertainers were West End/Broadway (Chicago/Les Miserables)singer Ruthie Henshaw who gave two outstandanding performances (although she did seem to talk about herself a lot between songs)and a British comedian/TV celebrity Roy Walker. Although his act was essentially British Humor, he was very funny. The Cunard singers and Dancers gave some very accomplished shows. We normally arrange our own excursions but this year we used the ship provided excursions (yes they tend to be expensive)and we we not dissappointed. Especially memorable was the scenic railway ride in St Kitts. On the return to New York and in view of some serious inclement weather forecasts, the Captain decided to speed up to arive in New York before the storms arrival.We arrived a 11 pm with the intention of starting disembarkation at around 8 am. That night the storm droppes some 10 inches of snow on New York with the subsequent disruption to transport links it caused. Disembarkation started at 9am and went relatively smoothly considering that not all the terminal staff, including immigration personnel had been able to make it into work that morning. by the time we were on the road all the major road links into Manhattan were relativley clear so we we alble to get home without much hassle. For us this was an excellent cruise, good food, good company and a relaxed "refined" ship. No "in your face" selling, NO excessive PA announcements and an attentive and polite crew from the catain down to the deck staff. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Our cruise began on the 21st Dec 13 at Southampton, the process of getting onboard was stress free, and took in total around 15 minutes. We pulled up at the ship dropped off the luggage (and my wife) I then drove the car over to the ... Read More
Our cruise began on the 21st Dec 13 at Southampton, the process of getting onboard was stress free, and took in total around 15 minutes. We pulled up at the ship dropped off the luggage (and my wife) I then drove the car over to the parking area where I gave the keys to CPS parking who took the car away to the parking area. Rejoining my wife who was on her mobility scooter. We were immediately told to go to the disabled desk to check in, to be honest there wasn't much of a que anywhere. We were booked in, photos taken and given our sail account cards and then followed the rest of the people to the security area. Again not much of a que. Once onboard we went direct to our cabin 6001, which was a disabled cabin with a balcony. It was at the very front of deck 6 on the stbd side. The cabin was bigger than we expected although quite an odd shape. Loads of drawer and wardrobe space. We didn't actually fill all the drawers up. One good gesture from Cunard was the half bottle of sparkling wine in the ice bucket. Which we drank almost immediately. The bathroom was of a good size with a pull down shower seat. One problem though was the size of the sink in the bathroom, very small kind of like you would add to a corner in your toilet at home (just big enough to get your hands in). Also there was very little space to put your toiletries with no cupboard space at all. There was a uk plug socket along with a European type socket, in the bathroom was a shaver type socket. Although I found that the uk socket was turned upside down, and there was no space really to plug a uk plug into the European adapter. Lunch was being served in the Lido on deck 9 which was quite nice although by the time we found a spare table the food was cold, and we were asked by the ships staff to move the scooter. We didn't mind that. As the cruise went on we found a table first my wife sat there and I went off to get the food and drink. The standard of food from the Lido was generally good, with quite a good variety on offer, the sweets were good also. Copious amounts of tea and coffee (although not very good coffee) and cold orange juice, lemonade and cranberry were always available. Plus a help yourself vanilla and chocolate ice cream. We knew from other cruises that the coffee was not always very good so took a pack of Kenco with us. Dinner in the Britannia was generally good although saying that the ribeye steak we had one night was so tough we couldn't eat it. My wife always found the food to be over salted. I usually put salt on my food but during our cruise I never put any on at all. The fillet steak was very good. We never went to any alternate dining restaurents so I cannot comment on them. When going to dinner in the Britannia it was either informal or formal dress. Informal was trousers, shirt (tie optional) and a jacket (always) The staff do tell you a jacket is required to dine. The formal nights (we had four on our cruise - including Christmas day and new years eve) were good. The waiters like to please and will get you anything you ask for. Again the coffee quality was not very good and my wife asked for a cappacino (sorry for the spelling) and they got her it (which was free of charge). Day time entertainment was in our view not very good at all. if reading a book and falling asleep in the chair is your thing then its good. On our previous cruises with other cruise lines there were usually someone playing a guitar and singing or a dj playing tunes etc. but nothing like this at all on the Victoria. The same in the evening, except for hemispheres where their four piece band played. Elsewhere in the ship there was a harpist, a four piece violin/cello and in the Queens room was a band playing ballroom type music. In the Golden Lion pub there was usually a chap playing the piano which was a bit more lively. They also had quizzes every night which on the whole were quite good. Bar staff and bar waiters were good, especially Quinton in the Golden Lion. One thing to remember though is that they charge you for soda water, as though it were lemonade. We enquired as to how much a jug of pimms would be with diet lemonade instead of the full fat stuff. The normal price is $18 however they would charge you extra for the diet lemonade. Bit of a rip off really. Next time we will purchase an unlimited soda ticket as it would be cheaper in the long run. Christmas day festivities were a bit of a let down, with nothing special being put on. New years eve was a bit better however the festivities centered around the central staircase (over three decks) and unless you got there very early there was not a seat to be found free. we saw the new year in there and wandered off to the Golden Lion pub to listen and join in with the singsong and pianist. Just by the Golden Lion pub is the casino, which is quite small, around four tables and 20 or so one arm bandits. My wife did win $500 on the card machine so it is not all bad. In the theatre there is very limited disabled seating. On deck 2 there is enough room for 2 wheelchairs or scooters on either side of the theatre. There is also very limited seating for the disabled persons escort. There is however power points very near the disabled areas so if your low on power you can plug in, providing you have the relevant adapter for your charger, we had the US and European with us so covered all options. There is also a couple of disabled spaces in the stalls on deck 1 but its a bit of a job getting the wheelchair or scooter in the right position. We usually got to the theatre half an hour prior to the start of the show only to find the spaces already gone. We left our scooter at the back and walked down to the seats (which my wife could fortunately do) if you cannot then you may not be able to see the show. It seemed to us that at the slightest bad weather the outside decks were closed off, which was a shame really. You can always go out onto your balcony (if you have one), although I had to fight with the door to open it, with the strong wind and the inside pressure. On port days we were always in quite early. Queen Victoria always laid on shuttle buses to the local town which was good of them. One thing though is that there is only usually one disabled bus so you may have to wait some considerable time to get on it. Fortunately for us my wife could walk a little so we put the scooter into the bus hold and got onto the bus. On the whole we enjoyed the cruise (as we always do) but were disappointed with the entertainment. It could have and should have been better. I hope my review helps you in your decision to go with Cunard Queen Victoria. For us though it is a one off with Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was the first time we've been on a Cunard ship, I knew all the history, Queen Mary, Elizabeth, QE2, QM2 etc and always wondered what it would be like. We went as a family of nine to have the ultimate Christmas and New Year to ... Read More
This was the first time we've been on a Cunard ship, I knew all the history, Queen Mary, Elizabeth, QE2, QM2 etc and always wondered what it would be like. We went as a family of nine to have the ultimate Christmas and New Year to remember. Ages from two to early 60's. Queen Victoria is a beautiful ship, she looks stunning. The first thing you see inside is the Grand Lobby, that sets the tone for the rest of the ship. We had a ocean view cabin on deck one and we were impressed. The best cabin we've stayed in so far. Queen Victoria is big enough to hold her own, but small enough to feel intimate. Actually it's the first time we've built up relationships with the crew. I love the feeling when you wake up early and it feels like you're the only one on board. Magically feeling. You can feel the history and spirit of the past, but in a modern setting. The Playroom (2-7 year olds) kids club is amazing. The best kids club on the seas. The team transformed our voyage by providing the best care possible for our two year old son, just enough time for us to have a break but able to leave him with confidence. Queen Victoria provided carol singing on Christmas Eve in the Grand Lobby, kids party with presents from Santa in the Queens Room. New Years Eve was very special, amazing atmosphere, the best one ever. Negatives: Some of the older passengers can be rude and at the start of the cruise look down at you because you have kids. But then again we're Cunard's future passengers and the crew made us feel amazing and loved the kids, they made such a fuss of them, they got to know them on first name terms. And by the middle of the cruise the older generations had mellowed out and enjoyed the company of the kids. We were really impressed with Cunard's Queen Victoria, the history oozes out in the right way on an ultra modern ship. We can't wait to get back on board or even try out Queen Mary 2 or Queen Elizabeth.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My wife and I embarked at Southampton for a 29 night Christmas and New Year cruise on board Queen Mary 2 . aptly entitled by Cunard as a 'Grand Caribbean Celebration'. As it turned out we were amongst the seven hundred or so ... Read More
My wife and I embarked at Southampton for a 29 night Christmas and New Year cruise on board Queen Mary 2 . aptly entitled by Cunard as a 'Grand Caribbean Celebration'. As it turned out we were amongst the seven hundred or so passengers who were doing the full 29 nights, the balance of the 2,500 passengers on this, the first of three legs, opting just for the single west bound Atlantic crossing. Check-in was relatively swift and easy and, as with all Cunard embarkations, staterooms were immediately available. From arrival at the Ocean Terminal to actual embarkation was under 30 minutes. Though we did have priority boarding, it was interesting to note the numbers of passengers without such an advantage arriving early, and being issued check-in allocation tickets. Our accommodation was a Queens Grill Stateroom on Deck 9 which was very central and ideally close to the Grills Concierge Lounge. Luggage arrival was relatively slow compared with previous Cunard sailings though this was only a minor irritant and soon forgotten after an excellent lunch in the Queens Grill. The ship had already been decorated for Christmas in a tasteful manner with understated elegance. Nothing was overdone and an unusual centre piece graced the Grand lobby: a collage of the main animals from 'Toad of Toad Hall. As on all Cunard voyages there were outstanding displays of fresh flowers throughout the ship. All staterooms and many public areas had recently undergone major refurbishment only weeks before this voyage. As it was only eight weeks since our previous voyage we were keen to see the differences. Our Q5 suite was most impressive with curtains, carpets, bed covers and some furniture having all been replaced. For us the best of the public room enhancements were in The Golden Lion pub and The Commodore Club. Carpets throughout the ship were generally much improved and offered a nice 'spring in the step' feeling. We encountered a patch of rough weather on the initial trans Atlantic crossing. While there was some ship movement QM2 took the whole crossing in her stride while offering a degree of excitement to those who chose to watch her 'ride the seas' from those large windows on Decks 2 and 3. If my memory serves me correctly one production show was postponed to the following evening due to the weather. Not at all bad for a winter crossing. We found both the daily and evening entertainment programmes well up to the usual Cunard standard. and the Insights lecture programmes were always well attended. Highlight for us on this crossing were intelligence analyst Glenmore Trenear-Harvey and Dr Alan Hamilton who gave a fascinating series of talks entitled 'confessions of a brain surgeon'. Our evenings were mainly spent enjoying the dining experience, dancing in both the Queens Room and G32 Night Club or watching the occasional theatre show. Oh, and the odd cocktail party. There was always plenty to do and the various musical entertainers in the major bars and lounges were always well supported. We arrived in New York's Brooklyn Cruise Terminal early morning and after a very early breakfast immediately headed off to Manhattan via the New York Subway. A description of our day in New York can be found at... http://www.cruises.co.uk/451-new_york/25550-one_way_do_new_york_christmas_edition.html That evening, having turned around some 1,800 passengers, we headed south to the Caribbean. Our first stop on a slightly re-scheduled itinerary was St Thomas followed by Curacao and then a day at sea for Christmas day. We then visited Grenada on Boxing Day followed by Barbados, St Lucia, St Maarten and Tortola before heading back northwards for New York and eventually home to Southampton. The ships entertainment programme again provided something for almost everyone and the festive party atmosphere seemed to go on endlessly. There were three particularly outstanding entertainment artists on this second leg. The ever popular Roger McGuinn, co-founder and lead singer/guitarist with the legendary Byrds, a Jersey Boys tribute group called 'The Unexpected Boys' and for us, an unusual but most entertaining slapstick classical string quartet by the name of 'Graffiti Classics'. Great entertainment. Christmas Day was, as usual for cruise ships, spent at sea. For the more traditional minded there was plenty on offer, a Christmas celebration Parade, church services, two Grand Lobby Christmas Carol events complete with snow and of course, the Queen's Speech broadcast throughout the ship. For the remainder of us sun worshippers there were the acres of deck space for which the QM2 is renowned. Two of the above mentioned islands were tender ports.: St Lucia and Tortola. Tender routines were prompt and efficient. QM2 operates her tenders from two separate boarding positions. After a relatively short initial period tender ticket allocation was dispensed with and free access given. Having visited St Lucia so many times we opted to spend that day on board otherwise all other island visits lived up to expectations. We did one ships excursion at St Thomas which was fun and good value for money. This particular leg of the cruise had a good international mix of passengers. Britain just about dominated at 1080 closely followed by Americans at 891, 212 Canadians and 123 Germans and 38 other nationalities. One Cunard service that certainly delighted the British passengers was the full coverage given to Premiership football over the holiday period. Our second stop at New York also saw a major passenger changeover. We again spent the day in Manhattan, indulging in a bit of US style January retail therapy. Getting off the ship and through US Immigration was not a problem, very slick if you are in transit. The final leg of our Christmas voyage, between New York and Southampton was vintage Cunard and QM2. Even before we slipped away from the Brooklyn Terminal the bars and lounges were in full swing, you just knew that these passengers were going to enjoy themselves and money wasn't a problem. Indeed, despite its recent increase in seating, the Golden Lion was standing room only by 4.00pm, and that was before boat drill. The whole entertainment programme took on a new lease of life. Guest speakers included General Lord Richard Dannatt and an outstanding Arabist speaker, Eamonn Gearon. For these two speakers there were full houses on each occasion. One 'Headline' artist on this leg stood out for the whole voyage. Dale Kristien is well known for her record breaking four-and-a-half years (1,700 performances) in the role of Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera. Ms Kristien first played Christine opposite the original phantom, Michael Crawford, on Broadway and they both premiered the show in Los Angeles One of the benefits of multiple passenger changeovers is the opportunity to meet such a variety of table mates. Our chosen table for six in the Queens Grill proved more than interesting and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting an amazing variety of guests on each changeover. These ranged from a retired Brooklyn Commissioner who was in office at the time of 9/11, a retired US Navy Captain who had served on an exchange visit at the air station where my wife and I met and were married, and one of the guest speakers, General The Lord Richard Dannatt. On two occasions we dined in the Britannia Restaurant. Once as a guest of the Captain and once to join friends whom we had met on this cruise. On both occasions we found the food, service and ambiance in the Britannia Restaurant to be superb. The home crossing was smooth and the daily atmosphere on board was vintage QM2 for quality, variety and social activity. A thoroughly enjoyable 29 days. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was our first trip on the Queen Victoria having made a number of prior cruises on the Queen Mary 2. Embarkation at the rather huge cruise terminal at LA, was relatively hassle free and we were soon on board. Our luggage arrived at ... Read More
This was our first trip on the Queen Victoria having made a number of prior cruises on the Queen Mary 2. Embarkation at the rather huge cruise terminal at LA, was relatively hassle free and we were soon on board. Our luggage arrived at our cabin on Deck 8 just a few minutes after we did, so it was a quick unpack and off the to explore the ship and what a beautiful ship it is. Our cabin was of a good size, and yes the bathroom was miniscule, but that is the same on most modern cruise ships. The cabin stewardess, La Rosa from the Philippines was very attentive and kept the cabin spotless. There could have been some loungers instead of the upright chairs on the balcony and possibly some more storage space but these are relatively minor issues. Given that the cruise was from LA to Hawaii there was always going to be more days at sea than on most cruises and more opportunities for the traditional Cunard formal themed Balls in the Queens Room. OK, we appreciate that some people might not particularly like so many formal nights, but hey, Its Cunard! Having said that it was noticeable that staff on the ship was not strictly enforcing the dress codes as evidenced by one particular Canadian gentleman who wore jeans, sneakers and a baseball cap for every occasion! Struck it lucky with our table partners, 2 couples from California and a Canadian Couple who know live in Mexico. We enjoyed all the food on offer In both the Britannia restaurant and the Lido. We particularly enjoyed the social "banter" with the waiters at our table. Especially with the wine waiter from the Ukraine. There were four lecturers on this trip. There was a couple talking about Hawaii, it is always difficult to do a "double handed" lecture but this couples presentations were dire to say the least. There was an excellent motivational speaker, how could you not attend a lecture entitled "Are you the person your dog thinks you are?" There was a military historian who spoke about the war in the Pacific and in particular about the men involved in the iconic "raising of the flag" on Iwo Jima picture, it turned out that his late father was one of the men involved. He was a truly excellent speaker. Then we had a travel writer with a series of lectures called "America 101" again really interesting and informative. The entertainment Staff, led by the least pretentious and self-promoting Entertainments director we have met did a wonderful job. The Royal Court singers and Dancers did some fantastic production numbers worthy of any Broadway or West End shows. There was a lady violinist - she was excellent as was the solo pianist. The other acts, a singer (a Nat King Cole tribute) a comedic juggler and an American comedian were good but didn't stand out. Were the excursions on offer value for money? Probably not, as at each island equivalent "local" tours were available at a cheaper price. However in Honolulu, we were advised to get the ship excursion to the USS Arizona memorial as the tickets to the memorial are provided with the tour. If you did do it yourself you would have had to take pot luck on getting a ticket, dependant on what other cruise ships might be in port and you would almost certainly had a long wait to get to the memorial which was not the case with the ship provided excursion as we were at the memorial within 45 minutes of arriving at the site. Would we travel with Cunard again? certaiinly Would we travel on the Queen Victoria again? certainly Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
I don't understand the reviews some people have put about this cruise, 20 December - 5 January. My mum and I had a great time, we joined in with all the quizzes, of which we won several. The food whether it was breakfast, lunch, ... Read More
I don't understand the reviews some people have put about this cruise, 20 December - 5 January. My mum and I had a great time, we joined in with all the quizzes, of which we won several. The food whether it was breakfast, lunch, dinner or afternoon tea could be faulted. I have seen complaints about miserable and sullen staff but as my mum and I treat people with respect and friendliness, perhaps this is why we have not had others treat us badly. So many of the people on this cruise were downright rude, raising their voices to speak to waiters as though they were idiots or couldn't understand English. We enjoyed all the shows, the dancing was excellent. The panto was corny and cheesy but so what, it was a bit of fun! We enjoyed our excursions, including doing our own thing in the Canaries. The highlight was Madeira, we did the toboggan ride and then the fireworks at midnight were fantastic. 31 December is mum's birthday, so an excellent memory to have. I don't know if we are just easy to lease, but we had a fantastic holiday. Apart from a couple of small niggles which weren't worth mentioning, we enjoyed it 100%. These "professional moaners" are determined to spoil it for everyone else and yet they book to go on a cruise again and again. If they complain about the food I would like to know what they eat when they are at h pome! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
The Pros: The ship is very modern with some state of the art features which do not reflect in the way the cabins are fitted out. On the whole the staff are very hardworking and trying to please. You can see certainly the cabin ... Read More
The Pros: The ship is very modern with some state of the art features which do not reflect in the way the cabins are fitted out. On the whole the staff are very hardworking and trying to please. You can see certainly the cabin stewards working almost around the clock. The embarkation process was smooth and efficient and our luggage arrived to our cabin very fast. The Cons. 1. ACCOMMODATION/HOUSEKEEPING On arriving on the QV we were quite happy with our accommodation even though we found some old fruit underneath our dressing table and some dirt on the walls which had not been wiped clean. We considered this an oversight and did not make a fuss about it. Underneath the lockers on each side of the bed we found some old medication and pins. We would have felt happier if we had thought a thorough cleaning had been carried out. On the second day using the Ladies Changing Room on the Spa floor I noticed no conditioner - towels on the floor having fallen out of the overflowing used towels basket. The sauna itself was very clean and has a fabulous viewing window. In fact the ship really is very well set out and the decor is lovely. The only thing that lets Cunard down is the lack care taken with regard to cleanliness. The day prior to our departure we were told by our cabin steward that he could not give us any more tissues in our cabin as we were leaving -â€" we subsequently sorted this matter out by having to go down once again to the Pursers' desk. They contacted the housekeeper who said we could have more tissues but we are still wondering what happened here. We felt that now we were leaving our comfort was no longer important. The TV in our A1 cabin was an old cheap TV which went to black and white when a program was on .Very limited and usually 4 very old films a day .No Sport.Cant even match the Princess TV package. 2. LIDO During our first few days in the Lido we raised the following issues with the Maitre D' and then with the Pursers' Desk as we felt we were getting nowhere fast with the Maitre D'. A. We noticed a number of flies floating around and when we raised the matter with the Maitre D' of the Lido and the Purser's Desk we were given to understand that to implement measures to get rid of the flies would not be allowed for H&E reasons - I cannot see that leaving flies on food could be healthier. We are Elite members of Princess and have never been on a ship before where we have encountered flies in an enclosed eating area. B. We had read with much anticipation about the Indian Buffet nights in the Lido and very much looked forward to the same but they did not happen. Instead this buffet had been moved to the Todd English restaurant for a higher charge of $20.00. This feels like a very cynical move. Reading about the Indian Buffet in the Lido formed part of our decision to come on this cruise. C. During first few days on 7 occasions we went to have our meal there to find that the hot water and coffee had run out. I would have thought that the basic requirement for even the most mediocre of restaurants is a supply of coffee/hot water for tea. I noticed that the burners underneath the various pots had been allowed to go out. I had to point this out to the waiter and asked him to re-ignite the burners and bring new ones. The queues of disappointed people at the tea/coffee points was full of frustration. I don't know if this was allowed to happen because of inefficiency, not caring, and simply not being good enough. D. Food temperature -â€" in the Lido I don't believe we at any time had what could be called a hot meal (or even a warm one) for some reason we could never get anything that was not just "Lukewarm". Quite spoilt our appreciation of most dishes. We heard similar complaints about the Britannia restaurant. E. On Princess we always eat in Horizon because of the great freedom and also the choice and being able to eat when and where and help ourselves to exactly what we want. However, on the Queen Victoria during the outbreak of Novovirus on the ship which continued for almost a week we found our choices of food in the Lido restricted, inconvenient, and like a school canteen. Not at all what we needed to complete the Lido experience. 3. ENTERTAINMENT I am married to an Irish person and quite frankly I was rather taken aback by a comedian on board who made some "Irish" jokes in very poor taste (intimating that Irish people are stupid!). He made fun of the Welsh but only of high pitched voices and fun of the English for being reserved - I would not have minded if he said we are too proud, drink too much even but being stupid is not a character trait one wishes to hear. I felt very uncomfortable and walked out with my husband. I work in a law firm and know that even on television now such jokes would not be acceptable. Jokes about race are not acceptable. I made my views known to the cruise director and all I got was a patronising response. In this day and age of PC correctness I hope Carnival the owners of Cunard stop this before this becomes a serious issue - I did not hear any jokes about Chinese nationals or French nationals etc. and there were a lot on board - I think you might find they would not find such jokes about their race acceptable either. 4. ITINERARY We were bound in Alexandria for an extra day due to inclement weather. However, we noticed that an old Fred Olsen ship left without coming to any harm. There was a lot of bad feeling on the ship and speculation as no-one believed the Captain when she said it was bad weather. We therefore missed going to Katakolon which was for us one of the highlights of the trip. In Venice where the port closed due to fog -â€" we noted that although the ship was stationary until about 10am in the morning outside Venice we were only told about 5pm that evening that the ship would be going to Trieste and that we had to make our own way to Venice airport. Subsequently we were told by the Pursers' Desk that we would be provided with a transfer to Venice airport and they told us to cancel our taxi pickup previously booked -â€" which cost us (£60.00). The purser then came back to us and told us that Cunard would not provide us with transport to the airport that we would be dropped off at the port and would have to reinstate our original plans which we had cancelled. We are aware of how things can be done correctly on board a ship to make the passengers trust the Captain and the staff but we found that the command structure and communication on the QV was less than acceptable. This was a top down problem and the staff seemed very lacking in motivation because of no clear leadership or direction. Sometimes it seemed as if everyone was working at cross purposes. In conclusion we do not honestly think we would ever consider cruising with Cunard again after all the unnecessary stress, lack of clear management, hygiene and racial issues that we have been subjected to. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Having heard from relatives the excellent experiences they had enjoyed travelling with Cunard ( albeit the majority on the larger Queen Mary ) I was actively looking forward to this first voyage with Cunard. Previously I had taken ... Read More
Having heard from relatives the excellent experiences they had enjoyed travelling with Cunard ( albeit the majority on the larger Queen Mary ) I was actively looking forward to this first voyage with Cunard. Previously I had taken voyages with Princess, P and O , Holland America , and Celebrity, all of which were most pleasurable. The ship is beautiful, of that there can be no doubt. The styling and features were magnificent ,which coupled with the layout and number of alternative facilities available , I believe all tastes were more than adequately catered for. She is indeed a ship of class and refinement. The entertainment again , overall, was superb . The main ballroom was lively up until the late hours , this in the main ,due to the high level of performances by the band, dancers and singers. The main theatre shows were poor , but other lines also seem to find it difficult to provide a higher class of entertainment. I believe all entertainments provided along deck 2 were at an extremely high standard, reflected again by the high numbers attending the evening entertainments. The staff, overall were professional and proficient , however I felt they lacked that natural happy buzz ,prevalent amongst other lines! Two expectations were our table waiter Ragesh and our wine waiter , excellent service with friendly warm genuine personality. We ate in the Princess grill, this was due to our love of good food. I feel that eating in the buffet may have been more beneficial! The standard , consistency , preparation and quality of the food was appalling. I do not expect the head chef to personally prepare and control my food to ensure the best of fare, but a cursory glance after plating and prior to serving may have been beneficial ? Salads obviously not fresh, meat , not of premium quality and basically bland fare. Whilst I considered the meat poor , one couple at an adjacent table complained one evening regarding poor steaks, a few nights later following a similar complaint he requested the attendance of the maitre di. He apologised , saying there was little he could do as it was prepared with the restaurant meat ?? Not really an excuse at all is it.? During the cruise an extensive regime was enforced due to an outbreak of Novovirus. Whilst there was a considerable outcry from some of the passengers at the measures invoked by Cunard to contain the spread, I believe these measures were essential to contain the problem. Pity some of the passengers hadn,t been more vigorous in stemming the spread. The number of people failing to report symptoms as they may have been forced to cabin containment was irresponsible and selfish. We were detained an extra night in Alexandria due to high winds which forced us to miss our Crete port. In my opinion this was a poor call by the captain. I realise that sometimes you make the right decision and no one acknowledges the fact ,and a poor call opens you up to all manner of criticism. I have sailed often enough to know high winds and safe / unsafe weather and as I stated before the weather did not appear any worse than when we sailed the following day. It certainly did not stop another cruise ship and an extremely large ferry sailing when we were supposed to set sail! A similar fiasco occurred at our disembarkation port of Venice. Whilst no one can control the weather , the delays in making some kind of a decision as to intended actions was deplorable. Despite numerous requests as to the status of intended actions, it was not until 10.45pm we were informed that we were to be disembarked at Trieste at 5.30am ( 3 hours prior to our initial disembarkation time ) However on the plus time we did get transported to Venice airport to catch our flight ( albeit 4 hours prior to the flight time !!!! ) Whilst I would seldom criticise individuals actions I believe the captain handled this and other instances with a lack of the necessary confidence, authority and assurance normally displayed at this level. Overall a very disappointing experience, one I shall not be repeating with the Cunard line. Expectations were high but the resultant outcome I would not have expected from a budget line. This could have been a one off " poor show " due to one or two individuals being in the wrong positions but I do not anticipate spending the money to ascertain the outcome. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
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