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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
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
1 Helpful Vote
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.

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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 ... 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.

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4 Helpful Votes
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 ... 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.

 

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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. ... 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.

 

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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 ... 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.

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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 ... 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.

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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 ... 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.

 

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1 Helpful Vote
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 ... 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.

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5 Helpful Votes
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. ... 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!

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