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6 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 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
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
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. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2011
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
I say constructive criticism as that is the way I wish people to take it. It is not a moan or whinge as I have heard so many do so in the past - it would appear that some just like to moan for the sake of it and expect everything for ... Read More
I say constructive criticism as that is the way I wish people to take it. It is not a moan or whinge as I have heard so many do so in the past - it would appear that some just like to moan for the sake of it and expect everything for nothing. Yes, I think the QM2 is well in need for her forth coming refit but that did not stop me having a wonderful cruise aboard her earlier this month. Least of all she needs to have that unsightly dent in her rear sponson knocked out. But I have been reliably informed that every square inch of her carpeting is to be ripped up and replaced. This is after extensive repairs have been carried out on the decking. I did notice her decks beneath the carpet were extremely pot holed where the leveling compounds had collapsed and I did note this was probably a health and safety issue. The external decking also is to have a face lift whereby all the sealant between deck-boards will be gouged out and resealed correctly and not left proud of the decking. The 'Lion Pub' is also in for a major re-design, apparently going for the more traditional pub setting of more intimate cubicle/cubbyhole layout. Unfortunately, I didn't hear of any extensive changes to the 'G32' nightclub, which I feel would be advantageous. It just does not have that nightclub atmosphere I have seen on other ships.The cruise itself was lovely, the food was excellent, although I did hear some having a moan. The staff were as cheerful, helpful and as professional as I would expect and have no complaints there. I feel Cunard could go a lot further with the entertainment on board and I found this also the case on the QV last year. I feel as well as the nightclub which is not everyone's cup of tea, they could nominate one of her bars on a daily basis being a late bar. The evening shows should be extended to take into account the second restaurant sitting. And the acts both in the theatre and bars could be a little more varied. Certainly in the theatre we don't all wish to watch singers and dancers. Maybe they could introduce the odd juggling or acrobat show. Solo guitarists also wouldn't go amiss - it seems to be all piano/harpist/string quartet. I also felt the band was not varied enough, mainly Caribbean music which is ok if you are cruising there. And my big disappointment was in the 'G32' the band played too much there and didn't have a regular DJ who who could 'feel' the night revellers and have a repertoire with them. All this said, whilst I found the QV had the edge over QM2 because I feel she is more intimate and elegant. it would not prevent me going on another cruise aboard her. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
If you are expecting poor service , bland food , a party atmosphere , "push those drinks" , neon light Vegas decor and terrible entertainment then you are going to be greatly disappointed if you sail on the magnificent Queen ... Read More
If you are expecting poor service , bland food , a party atmosphere , "push those drinks" , neon light Vegas decor and terrible entertainment then you are going to be greatly disappointed if you sail on the magnificent Queen Mary 2. First of all you should be aware that this is not a cruise .. this is an experience . We were fortunate to enjoy this during our 7 day Eastward and return 7 day Westward return voyage between NYC and Southampton . Embarkation in NYC was a breeze .By far the easiest one we have experienced during our many other sailings . Southampton took a little longer and was more involved but was on a par with others we have had . Disembarking at both ports was efficient , quick and well organized . In NYC we used the Cunard Bus facilities to get to JFK Airport. This was cost effective, comfortable and hassle-free. * A hint - we brought a large bottle of rum and ample mix with us on our carry on and there was no problem even with it in plain sight . The ship was wonderful . Service - All staff would greet you as you met. The waiters , cabin stewarts were friendly , efficient and professional in every way . In all our dealings with shop keepers, purser office , internet office , pool attendents etc. we were treated extremely well . Food - Unlike some other ships , the Queen Mary 2 food can be best described as Fine Dining .Quantities are small , quality is excellent ... just like dining at a five star restaurant . If you want more quantity just do like we did once and awhile - order 2 delicious appetizers . The food in the Kings Court (Lido Deck ) is typical buffet style fare. We usually ate breakfast there so we could get an early start to the day We also went to the Specialty Restaurants - Todd English , Lotus / Chef's Gallery(where you watch the chef prepare your meal )and the specialty Italian restaurant . Todd English was nice but the Lotus and the Italian Restaurants were wonderful - well worth the extra $10 per person ( We went 4 times ) Entertainment - Excellent . The singers/ dancers were extremely good . The costumes were some of the best we have seen and the energy night after night was exhausting to watch . Oh to be that young again ! There were live plays , broadway shows , big band nights , comics, and many outstanding lectures by knowledgeable speakers . Our days were filled with dance lessons, high tea , movies( even in 3D) , spectacular documentaries in the Planetarium , Trivia contests and restful days by the roof covered hot tub and pool . Our nights were filled with fine dining , and dancing the hours away to the sounds of a full piece orchestra on the largest ocean going dance floor. There theme nights that included a salute to Glenn Miller , The Dorsey's , Black and White Ball , Masquerade Ball, Ascot Ball that added to the fun . Stateroom - Our agent advised us that because the ship is fast the balconies can be windy , and there is nothing but water to see for days anyway , so the best selection is an obstructed view balcony . What an excellent choice . They were right . We were able to have ample light and fresh air in our stateroom , sit out on the balcony in comfort and the price vs a standard balcony was less. The stateroom was the largest we have had and beautifully decorated . The large fridge was appreciated. The bathroom was more than adequate and there was lots of storage space . * A hint - bring some extra hangers for all the extra evening wear . Dress Code -During our 14 days at sea we had 10 formal nights . Now to some that may seem too many but too most others - what a pleasure to be elegant and classy . We particularly liked the directive that was enforced by Cunard .. if you did not meet the nightly dress code , you were not allowed in the dining room and were advised to dine at the Kings Court or other dining locations. No hassles as every knew this . Unlike other ships we have been on ... there were no passengers that chose to defy this known fact and showed up in jeans and a tea shirt for dinner --- and were allowed in . We were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and my wife's birthday and Cunard added to the events with 4 cakes / free champagne and waiters entertaining us in song .We were even allowed to bring our complimentary bottle of Champagne to the dining room to help celebrate the occasion- no corking fee. We could go on and on about OUR opinion of QM2 and all .But you MUST experience her yourself . In conclusion , prior to any holiday , we use many sources to select Cruises , hotels etc. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, there are always those that are never satisfied and will find fault with everything . We see the reviews of THOSE people about the QM2 and we pity them on going thru life this way . Nothing is ever perfect and seasoned travellers know this . However , the experience on the magnificent Queen Mary 2 is as close as you will find to being just so. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
On reaching the port in Brooklyn our bags were taken from us and arrived before us in the cabin. Embarkment was smooth and easy. Our cabin was spacious and well equipped and the sheltered balcony meant that we were able to film the gale ... Read More
On reaching the port in Brooklyn our bags were taken from us and arrived before us in the cabin. Embarkment was smooth and easy. Our cabin was spacious and well equipped and the sheltered balcony meant that we were able to film the gale force 9 storm that the ship was trying to out-run - fantastic stuff! Never felt afraid once just enjoyed the whole experience. The ship was just as described, elegant and first class. Staff were friendly, helpful and mostly cheerful (having witnessed first hand some of what they have to put up with from guests, this can be really difficult). The food in the Britannia was excellent and always served with professionalism and a smile. The buffet option however was another matter. It was confusing finding all the options available and even harder then to find a table. The afternoon teas were better than at the Ritz in London! Facilities were good and the talks by Murray Walker were great. The music and dancing in the Queens Room was excellent, but the shows were not great and I have seen better. The only real negative was the prices charged at the Canyon Reach Spa. My husband booked me a facial as a surprise and being a man didn't really check the price. The facial it's self was good but the hard selling afterwards spoilt it for me as did the price when I found out that we had been charged $389!! There were several other women who were also complaining. I also wasn't offered use of the day spa as I should have done. To sum up, the cruise was fabulous and Cunard have it pitched just right for those who want a stylish elegant cruise. Would I do it again - definately but without the facial!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
We sailed on Queen Victoria from Rome on 15 October, heading to a number of places on my all time wish list. I finished work a few months ago and this was my retirement cruise. We were on a Cunard charter flight from Heathrow which was ... Read More
We sailed on Queen Victoria from Rome on 15 October, heading to a number of places on my all time wish list. I finished work a few months ago and this was my retirement cruise. We were on a Cunard charter flight from Heathrow which was delayed for about an hour - and had us all wondering if those stories you hear about them a)sailing without us or b) holding the ship for a planeful were true. It was dark by the time we got to the ship, and we had missed the drill, which we had to do the following day, but the luggage had arrived in the cabin by the time we got back from dinner, much to our relief. Our balcony cabin on Deck 6 was perfectly fine for our needs, storage was sufficient with plenty of wardrobe space and large drawers under the bed. The bathroom was small but adequate. Our steward kept it spotless for us. We ate in the Britannia restaurant (second sitting) and the Lido. We had lunch one day in the Golden Lion and we took afternoon tea one afternoon in the Queen's Room. I think we managed to sample all of the bars on the ship (not all on the same evening, you understand!). The food was good and it was necessary to do a lot of walking and stair climbing to try to counteract the effects. The ship had been described to us as warm and cosy. Possibly a little too brown for my taste - but I loved the library with its spiral staircase and the Midships Bar with Erte prints and statuette. I was not too keen on the "tat" tables which appeared every evening around the shops. I loved the live music around the ship and the fact that in the evening it was possible to walk from a string quartet to a piano to a harpist to jazz. We went to the theatre several times, apparently it sleeps 700 - and I could nudge my husband on my right but not the snoring gentleman on my left....... We had a late disembarkation, so although we had to put out our luggage the night before and vacate our cabin by 8.30am, provision was made for safe storage of hand luggage and we were able to use the ship's facilities and even go ashore on disembarkation day. We also had lunch in the Lido before we left. Apart from the well known places we visited we also spent time in two smaller Greek Islands - Samos, where I lunched on freshly caught red fish in a back street taverna, and Zakynthos, which was pretty - but forgettable. These were dream destinations and an incredible holiday. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
After writing this review, I realized how long it was. But I feel its length only reflects our satisfaction from this voyage, so thank you in advance for your patience if you are going to read. First of all, about the ship itself. Some ... Read More
After writing this review, I realized how long it was. But I feel its length only reflects our satisfaction from this voyage, so thank you in advance for your patience if you are going to read. First of all, about the ship itself. Some time ago we watched a discussion of professionals about the cruise industry. One of them commented: 'The Queen Victoria is perhaps the most beautiful ship in the world'. As far as we can tell, we can share this opinion. Public Spaces --------------------- Some people argue that she is just one in the Vista Class of cruise ships, which comprises of more than a dozen liners scattered among various brands of the Carnival Empire (Holland America, Costa, Carnival, P&O). So, they say, unlike her larger sister Queen Mary 2, Cunard's flagship, she is not one of the kind. First, all VIsta Class ships are wisely designed, with easy passenger flow and comfort in mind, and she and her nearly identical sister, the Queen Elizabeth, are the culmination of this Class. Then, just having a little stroll around reveals how much thought her designers put to create something unique. Brilliant innovations differentiate her from the other Vistas and blend harmonically spaciousness with intimacy. Fine examples are the Winter Garden, whose roof opens in sunny weather, the Disco, the Lobby (although it is based closely in Princess Cruises design) or the marvellous two-story Library with its spiral staircase, the largest afloat after QM2's, having more than 6,000 books. The magnificent Royal theatre reminds of a West End theatre. Of particular interest are its theatre-boxes, another innovation. One or two other cruise lines (NCL for example) offer theatre-boxes, but none offers the elegance and ceremony Cunard offers. I think it is worth telling a bit more about it. You are welcomed at the entrance of the theatre by a uniformed member of the crew, who accompanies you to a little private, 'secret' salon. There you spend your time being served Veuve Cliquot champagne (Queen Elizabeth's official) with chocolates and canapés. When time comes, your escort appears again and guides you to your private theatre-box, where a new bottle of champagne and chocolates await you. The boxes are well designed with nice, uninterrupted view of the stage (with plexiglas railing), and if you want to call your escort a cord is provided, like in fine old houses. In the end a photo of the show is handed to you to commemorate. It was a most civilized experience, worthy of Cunard's reputation. But we found that the culmination of the innovations was the two-story high Queen's Room. Only complaint was that it was cold at times. Otherwise, magnificent decor with elements from Queen Victoria's summer palace. According to Carolyn Spencer Brown, the Editor of Cruise Critic, it is one of the finest rooms at sea. In this most elegant setting Cunard served the afternoon tea (unlike other companies, which use the restaurant for this), and under the accompaniment of strings, harp or piano we enjoyed nice sconces and sandwiches provided by waiters in white gloves. Of special notice was the Viennese Tea in the last day of the cruise, with its magnificent buffet, a joy for both eyes and palate. In the evening the room found its real identity as a wonderful ballroom. Cunard associates itself with fine dancing and it provides the largest stages afloat. It was such a beauty to watch nicely dressed people enjoying dancing here, evoking nostalgically the dance floors of the great ocean liners of the past. Speaking of dressing, one of Cunard's strongest points is the elegant dress code. I know of no other cruise line offering this feature. It creates a unique atmosphere on board, reminding of the Golden Age of shipping. Elegant dressing complements beautifully the marvellous surroundings of the ship, and if you are romantic and nostalgic then search no longer. Cunard focuses on its tradition and offers artefacts from its long history in the Cunardia exhibition. Having been on QE2, which was rich in Cunard history, we would like more artefacts to be exposed here. But it is said that most of these were sold with the ship to Dubai, specifically demanded by the buyers, when QE2's status enabled Cunard to receive an offer that they simply could not resist - 100 million dollars for a 40-year old ship. In the staircases there are works of art showing old Cunard ships, or photos of the numerous celebrities that travelled on them (and some continue even today...). Dining ---------------- We had dinner in the Britannia Restaurant. The restaurant itself is wonderful with rich wood-imitating panels. Compared to other restaurants in the Vista Class it offers more space for passengers, as the passengers in the Grills eat in their own appointed dining rooms. We always prefer second sitting (20:30), as this gives you plenty of time to see the ports and enjoy the sail-aways. Unlike first sitting (18:30), the waiters don't want you to leave the table as earlier as possible to prepare it for other passengers. And there was always enough time to watch the 10:30 show. Food and service by Sandy and Romeo was of the high standards of all our Cunard cruises: excellent. We were so satisfied that we did not feel the need to go to alternative restaurants. Soft Drinks Package ------------------------------------ Cunard's Soft Drinks Package is worth telling, as it is as far as I know the best of its kind in the cruise industry. For a reasonable price ($5.25 plus 15% tax per day) you get unlimited sodas and fruit juices from a wide variety, in all bars and restaurants by the glass. Absolutely worth buying it, it you are a non-alcohol drinker or healthy-seeker like me. Interestingly, orange juice is free in the dining room for lunch and dinner. Fruit juices like orange or cranberry are free 24 hours a day in the Lido casual restaurant. Cabin ----------------------- Our cabin was spacious, tastefully decorated, comfortable and cosy, with a nice sofa and the usual mini-bar. It was kept in immaculate condition by our excellent stewardess Cathy. There was plenty of storage space. When the ship entered service there were complaints about lack of drawers, but this was quickly addressed and we had more storage space than we needed for 12 days. One issue is that there are no tea and coffee making facilities in the room. Following Cunard's classical concept of cruising, these were available by room service. But no problem, as room service was free 24 hours a day, efficient and always arrived quickly. Let alone the wonderful variety in offer if you wished to dine in your cabin (the Thai plate was delicious, for example). Some people complain about the size of the bathroom - and particularly the shower. I guess this expectation comes from the beauty of the rest of the ship. But we found it to be adequate and neatly appointed, with ample shelf space in the sink. Moreover, beautiful Gilchrist & Soames toiletries were provided: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion. Also hair-cup, cotton, ear-cottonettes. Some other companies provide such items only in suite categories. Slippers and sparkling wine in embarkation are provided free for everyone. Also bathrobe to use on board - and you can buy it if you want. Fruit basket is provided, but you have to ask your steward for it. Last, after our smooth embarkation our luggage arrived here without delays. Activities and entertainment ------------------------------------------ As said, Cunard cruising is in the classic way. They promote a sober and refined atmosphere and this was generally the case. No climbing walls or hairy chest competitions by the pool. No drunken people shouting in the cabin corridors at night. No public announcements during the day, or music in corridors or elevators. And no continuous pressing to purchase, as in other cruise lines. Instead string quartets, pianists, harp playing were the norm. Well-thought and informative lectures in the theatre. In the evening beautiful dancing in the Queen's Room, as I said above. Interestingly, there were every night gentlemen hosts there to dance with single ladies. And the Disco was beautiful, too. Although the theatre was stunning, we did not go to many shows - usually preferring a nice lounge after dinner. But the magician was funny and excellent, and the Victoriana show was equal to a lavish production on land. The 'hardware' was amazing and the singers and dancers were talented and worth every praise. Service: ------------- Service throughout the ship was of top quality. The staff was kind and attentive. It was always amazing how those people remembered not only our preferences, but our names as well. Of the many and beautiful lounges that the ship boasts, our favourite was the panoramic Commodore Club, where Czilla and Libia exceeded our expectations with their professionalism and friendliness. Itinerary and shore excursions ------------------------------------------- The itinerary was just beautiful. Venice, Dalmatian coast, Egypt, Turkey and Greece in one piece. A real odyssey. I would like particularly to congratulate Cunard for offering the ports of Volos (Greece) and Dikili (Turkey). From the first you can visit Meteora (a one-of-a-kind spectacle in the world, where centuries-old monasteries are built at the top of huge Canyon-style rocks) and mount Pelion, where natural beauty meets rich ancient mythology. Dikili is perhaps better known as it is near Pergamon, once the capital of a Greek kingdom, built strategically at the top of a mountain and offering breath-taking views. Cunard provided free shuttles from ship to town in many ports, while other companies charge for this service (Dubrovnik, Corfu or Volos for example). In Venice there was a reasonable charge of $20 pp for unlimited ship-to-San Marco Square water-shuttle trips in the two days that we stayed there (compare the $7 one-time Piazzale Roma-San Marco vaporetto ride). It was a pity that our agent did not inform us about it, as we pre-booked vaporetto trips, which were not as convenient as Cunard's shuttle. People complain that prices of tours offered by cruise lines are often excessive, but this is not always the case. I did a little personal search for some of the ports of call, and many times Cunard's prices were similar or even better than elsewhere. Nice examples were the tour with a gondola ride in Venice, or the Turkish baths in Istanbul. Moreover, tours were well organized and informative (as in all our Cunard cruises, I must say). Add safety to that: in Alexandria the ship waited more than an hour for the buses to return from Cairo (something similar has happened to us also on Queen Mary 2 in Chile). Best guides were in Pergamon and Beylerbey Palace in Istanbul, where wireless devices were distributed to everyone, so we could hear the guide clearly. Overall ------------------------ Some people complain that a Cunard cruise is expensive to book, but when considering all that this cruise offered, we found it good value for money as well. Gorgeous ship, fabulous ports, friendly and efficient staff, excellent food and service. Add lovely weather and great travelling companions. When comparing to past Cunard cruises, I think it is getting better through time in many aspects. So, if you ask if we would travel on Cunard again, the answer is obvious: withour second thought. Again, thank you for taking the time to read this long review. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2011
We have been on a large number of cruises on different ships with different cruise lines. An early visit to the lido restaurant and the first evening meal made me realise that the quality of the food on the QV would far exceed that on ... Read More
We have been on a large number of cruises on different ships with different cruise lines. An early visit to the lido restaurant and the first evening meal made me realise that the quality of the food on the QV would far exceed that on other lines.The food remained of a consistently high standard throughout the entire cruise. The ship itself is decoratively very tidy and very clean. There are plenty of areas and bars to sit in and unlike some ships you can always find a seat.Likewise, it was easy to find sunbeds or chairs on open decks. I have been on a number of cruises with P&O but this was so much better. Before going, I wouldn't have believed that it could be. My only slight complaint is that some of the staff are quite abrupt to almost to the point of being rude. This was the exception and we put it down to them being from Ukraine. The other is the entertainment, which to be fair, once you have seen one on-board show, you have seen them all. The comedians were poor but the violinist was excellent. Oh and another thing....why do people not comply with the dress code? Dress code for men is a jacket every evening and some nights a jacket and tie...did everyone wear them to dinner...no. Then why weren't they refused entry? - rant over. We have a P&O booked for next year but having sampled Cunard, I am regretting it and If I could, would cancel and go with Cunard again. If you like P&O and you haven't tried Cunard yet you really should give it a go. PS I hope I'm not one of the half-dead passengers referred to by the Lady from Jersey.... (Anna?) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2011
It was difficult to find fault with the Queen Victoria and the cruise. My partner and I had a spacious Queen's Grill suite with a huge balcony (at the aft). We can't understand why mid-ships is so much more popular, especially in ... Read More
It was difficult to find fault with the Queen Victoria and the cruise. My partner and I had a spacious Queen's Grill suite with a huge balcony (at the aft). We can't understand why mid-ships is so much more popular, especially in calm -��" or mostly calm -��" summer waters. Aft suites provided balconies much larger than those on the side of the ship. Inside, we had a three-seater sofa-bed and two arm chairs in the sitting area, along with the usual desk, sink, bar, etc. The bathroom was superb too. The whirlpool bath was roomy, the shower large, and it was all cleaned immaculately twice a day. One evening we had drinks with fellow-diners in a Q2 suite, where their jacuzzi had a sea-view, but this isn't the place for giving vent to my envy. We had booked Q7, although most ship plans showed these suites to be Q4 or Q5. This was our first cruise and reading reviews and blogs before we went was a great help. We followed the advice of seasoned cruisers and checked in for embarkation as soon as it opened. QG meant we were the first on board. That gave us an hour to begin exploring this very elegant ship before having an excellent lunch on the Grills Terrace. We asked our butler to do the unpacking (another blog tip). Cunard's attitude always seems to be "let's see if we can make it possible" rather than "we don't do that". Hence when we requested Bombay Sapphire gin and Campari as our two complimentary bottles of spirits, they were provided, even though not on the list of choices. When we asked for orange juice in our mini bar, it was then provided every day. (One of the treats of QG: mixers, lager, soft drinks & bottled water all provided in the suite at no additional charge.) Morning coffee, which we had brought to wake us each day, was disgusting, so we asked for filter coffee (which wasn't on the breakfast menu) so this was brought instead, and was very good. Throughout the ship, we found staff at every level to be polite, friendly and warm. They would invariably greet guests in passing, and they worked extremely hard. Service in the Grills restaurant was outstanding. The waiters knew not only how to serve, but how to arrange food, and the Matre d' and Head Waiter were brilliant at finishing and flambeing as well. We asked for tap water with our meals and skim milk with coffee, and it was provided from there on without the need to ask again. The sommelier was as knowledgeable as one would expect him to be and, having gauged the kind of price we were prepared to pay for a bottle of wine (none was inexpensive and some was astonishing!), rarely suggested anything over-budget. In Istanbul, after an afternoon's hot and crowded sight-seeing, we were too shattered to bother dressing for dinner so ordered room service from the Grills menu. Our butler duly laid the table on our balcony, asked if we would like each course brought separately or together, and we dined in style, wrapped in fluffy bathrobes, and watching the lights come up over Istanbul. Every evening canapes were brought to our suite, and having once asked for crisps, these subsequently came every day. On several occasions we invited others in for pre-dinner drinks. Then we had only to ask, and additional glasses and extra canapes appeared, again at no charge. We only booked one ship's excursion (Corinth Canal and Ancient Corinth). This was very good, but we aren't coach party people and being led around by a guide holding up a numbered paddle isn't really our thing. Again, thanks to the blogs and research, we booked two tours independently on the web: one we did as a twosome; on the other, the tour operator got us to coordinate with 2 other couples, which worked out very happily, and at $US50 per head, this was also cheaper than the ship's tours. At other ports we explored independently, either on foot, or, in Naples, by catching the train to Pompeii. All this independent stuff is fine as long as you allow plenty of time to get back to the ship. If you're late, they will sail without you, and you're responsible for getting yourself to the next port. There were several days when we had urgent announcements calling for passengers to present themselves to the pursers' desk. Comparing tour experiences with others at our dinner table, our decision to do most of the exploring independently was clearly the right one. If you aren't an active person, used to independent travel, the ship's tours provide security, but otherwise, do it yourself. On the Grills' sundecks ice creams were brought around during the afternoon, followed by sandwiches at tea time. Afternoon tea in the Grills Lounge was also quite sumptuous, although it was easy to overdo it and have to go lightly at dinner time! I think others have sounded murmurs about the absence of comfy padded deck chairs on the upper deck: they are absolutely right, which is a bit poor of Cunard. And did we put on lots of weight? Well, I managed to gain 3kg, while my partner -��" disgracefully -��" gained nothing. This was thanks in part to lots of shore excursions with a fair bit of walking, and also to following the tip of friends, which was never to use the lift. We did arrive at breakfast and dinner (and sometimes lunch) a little out of breath, but it clearly paid off. There were only three sea days on the Pearls of the Black Sea cruise, which ended up feeling too few. We wanted a cruise that visited interesting places, but there were always so many interesting things to do on board, apart from lazily reading in the sun, which was itself a priority. The lecturers and speakers were extremely good (and Robert Powell particularly). The evening shows were fun, if sometimes rather strained in their themes, and the singers and dancers high quality. Our complaints? They're minor, really. There were far too few self-laundering facilities. Three washing machines, three tumble driers and one iron & board per deck was paltry and usually meant queues, although this made the laundry often quite a sociable place too, even if you'd much rather be elsewhere on a glorious summer's day at sea. Dry cleaning was actually cheaper than we would pay at home. One of our suitcases didn't turn up until almost dinner time, and no explanation was ever given, although our butler did a sterling job at running around until he located it. So would we go again? Yes, please.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2011
Just coming back from a "best of Britain" tour this is a review of a short 2-night cruise from Hamburg to Southampton. With little exceptions which nevertheless were noteworthy the QM2 delivered everything we expected. That its ... Read More
Just coming back from a "best of Britain" tour this is a review of a short 2-night cruise from Hamburg to Southampton. With little exceptions which nevertheless were noteworthy the QM2 delivered everything we expected. That its the most beautiful ship around is of cause something no one needs to repeat too much. Its just the truth.Before embarkation we got a note that we would be upgraded to a deck 6 balcony cabin, which came as a nice surprise. Embarkation was smooth, and while I was an hour early, and my girlfriend an hour late, everything went fast and without a problem. The stateroom was nice, well serviced, clean and sizable enough, though the enclosed balcony isn't too useful other than for the occasional 5 minutes to have a look at the sea. A free-of-charge Demi bottle of champagne was waiting. I had a late lunch in Kings court shortly after embarking. While the food was very good, the design and layout of Kings Court is clearly the worst public space on board, not much better looking than a shopping Mall´s eatery, and unfortunately the most centrally located one. Here Cunard must do something as its not at all of the standard of the otherwise grand public rooms. Leaving Hamburg was a great experience, pleasure boats following and thousands of people lining the shores as we passed the grand Elbchausee and beautiful Blankenese suburb on one side and the harbour and the Airbus factory with a number of new A380s on the other. Best was the hundred or so bedsheets being waved by guests and staff of the Jacob luxury hotel, including playing "Rule Britannia".Dinner at the stunning Britannia was a fine experience though the staff appeared a bit stressed and the glasses showed stains from the dishwasher - an absolute no go on a ship called "Queen Mary 2". Food was excellent though the wish for a Caesar salad (gosh, how exotic is that?) was turned down. Also the space near the windows on the upper level was somewhat limited, downstairs at breakfast it was better.Afterwards we went for champagne to the beautiful Commodore´s Club underneath the bridge. As the windows were sadly blinded so not to irritate the bridge we chose to sit down in the intimate boardroom next to it.One of the nicest places on board QM2 is the library and bookshop. We also enjoyed cocktails in the G32 with an excellent band playing. The tiered decks are wonderful and so much nicer than on a normal cruise block of flats. Walking on them at night with the fantastic red funnel above is quite a unique experience. The North Sea was flat as a Hyde Park and we felt no moving of the ship whatsoever during our two days aboard. The (German) lectures were nice, but to our disappointment the planetarium was closed. I found the time to chat with a former Formula 1 driver, as most of the ships company was of the friendly and entertaining side.A very nice place and something that is rare on cruise ships is the space above the bows with the spare propeller.One thing to criticize is the quality of the repainting of the ship in places. Its obviously done by people who haven't the highest standards of working ethics. Crudely over painted seals were especially seen on the enclosed walkway above the bridge, but also elsewhere in open places.We slept like babies despite slightly above expectation propulsion noise, the beds were very comfortable and we were really sad when we had to say goodbye to the Queen. If it would not have been for the US visa requirements we probably may have stayed aboard until New York and would have dropped the week of England holidays waiting for us (which turned out to be great too though).This "glorious ferry" short cruise was certainly not our last time on the QM2. We do hope that Cunard improves on the little shortfalls mentioned which do not do the QM2 right and are disturbing more than the same things would do on any ordinary ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
Holiday Cruise R/T NYC to NYC on the Queen Mary 2. December 19, 2010 to Jan 3rd, 2011 We arrived at the pier around 12:15. Our party is 5 people: My 97-year old father-in-law in a scooter, 2 adults, and kids 6 and 8 years old. We ... Read More
Holiday Cruise R/T NYC to NYC on the Queen Mary 2. December 19, 2010 to Jan 3rd, 2011 We arrived at the pier around 12:15. Our party is 5 people: My 97-year old father-in-law in a scooter, 2 adults, and kids 6 and 8 years old. We pulled up and immediately gave the longshoreman a $35 tip. We had a ton of stuff (including the heavy scooter) to unpack and we wanted to assure that our stuff all made in onto the boat. He got us into the building and into the handicap line (where there was basically no line at all.) There are benefits to traveling with the elderly! The staff at the counter were efficient. We had pre-registered, so they really just needed to see our passports, take our photos, swipe our credit card and we were ready to go. Total time to check in, less than 10 minutes. We headed right onto the boat with no annoying waiting in a lounge to be called As we walked onto the ship there was a bit of a crowd, confused about where to go. They only had one person "directing traffic", so she was definitely overwhelmed. She told us to use another elevator down the ship, which was fine. We went right to our cabins to check them out, which was nice that the cabins were already available. We then went to the Kings Court (aka the Lido deck) for lunch. It was busy already, but we got a table for the scooter and then brought back food for all of us. If you need a walker or scooter, be sure to get a handicap-accessible cabin. We booked late on a great deal, so we couldn't get a handicap room. My father-in-law's walker JUST barely fit into the cabin door. We had to rearrange his room so that he could use the walker to move around the bed and get to the balcony and the bathroom. It worked, but it was sub-optimal. He had a handicap room on the last HAL cruise that was much easier for him to maneuver in. We parked the scooter in the "Atlantic room" (the little-used room for card games) down the hall. Others parked theirs in the elevator vestibules, as we have done in the past. The scooter was able to access just about every other location on the ship, although one pool deck is only handicap-accessible by passing through the Todd English restaurant. There were probably about 20 people on the ship with scooters. We loved being on deck 11, near the front of the ship. We had easy access to the B staircase that takes you to and from the show each night. We also were near the self-service laundry and the large Observation deck on the front of the ship as well as being directly down 1 flight from the pool on deck 12. The only downside is that we had to travel the length of the ship to get to the dining room. Beware of deck 6 on the port side. It leads to the Kid Zone and the outdoor pool. Those cabins have noisy crowds walking past their doors throughout the day. The Food: We ate most meals in the Britannia restaurant (the dining room.) My wife and I agreed that the QM2 food and service was nearly exactly on par with that we have experienced on our last three Holland America cruises. Very good quality. Very attentive service. HAL always has a few stock items that are always available (chicken, a steak etc.) While QM2 lacked that, you could order non-menu items (we had Caesar salads often) and if they COULD get what you wanted, they always would. (If you wanted something that they have at the Kings Court, they'll get it for you if you ask.) Our waiter learned that we like a basket of bread and a cheese plate every night, and it was always there waiting for us. Each menu typically included a red meat (beef or lamb usually), a seafood item (mahi-mahi was great), a veggie item, sometimes chicken, but not always and then one more (maybe pasta etc.) There is a different soup for every meal and just about all of them were excellent. As elsewhere, if you want to remove parts of a dish that you don't like, you can. You can also mix-and match items from one dish to another and french fries are always available. Desserts were just OK. The baked goods are all beautiful, but they are suited more to the European palate, I believe. A couple of soufflE desserts and creme brulee were outstanding. We found that the time it took to serve each meal on QM2 was a bit faster than on HAL. I would say that a typical dinner lasted a bit over an hour, while on HAL it would have been closer to an hour and half. The wait after you order and between courses was shorter, which I thought was great. We CERTAINLY were never rushed out, but neither did we sit wondering when the meal would end, which sometimes happens on HAL. The Ship: Public rooms were nicely decorated for the Holidays. Every restaurant and bar had it's own unique Christmas tree. And many of them were just gorgeous. Many passengers got in the spirit too, by decorating their door or "mailbox" with small wreaths or stick-on Santas or bows or stockings. One person wrapped their entire door in Christmas paper, like a giant present. It was fun to see all the original ways that people added a bit of decoration to their rooms. Most days we participated in the afternoon trivia contest in the pub. We met many very nice (and smart) folks by joining new trivia teams each day. Entertainment: The shows were similar in quality to those on HAL. I was impressed that they almost never used prerecorded vocal tracks or canned music (just one show, "Love Crazy", featured lip-synching.) The orchestra was very good. I find that all ships choose odd acts at times. We had a show starring a harp soloist and another with a violinist. Both were very talented, but how long can you sit and be entertained by a woman playing the harp? New Year's Eve featured Des O'Connor who apparently is famous in England. He was like a UK Merv Griffin (he sang a bit and told stories about his famous show-biz friends) which might have been entertaining if we knew who the heck he was. For Christmas Eve they had three sessions of group sing-along's of well known Christmas carols in the Grand Lobby. I was very moved by the emotion of singing along with hundreds of other folks who chose to come and join in the festivities. I was having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit, but that night turned out to be one of the highlights for me. New Years Eve featured events in several areas of the ship. A big ball in the Queens room (dancing etc), the calypso/rock band in the Grand Lobby and disco in the disco. They all had a balloon drop and complementary champagne at Midnight. A fun night. The Pools: There are basically three. One family pool (The Minnows), one 18-and-over pool and the indoor pool (with retractable roof) for adults and kids alike. As we had many days of unpredictable weather, the roof of the indoor pool was only open one or two days. We found that the pools were not well maintained; that is, they were dirty. When we got on, there were piles of some black stuff piled on each corner of the Minnow pool. I'd estimate that there was 1 to 2 cups of that black stuff in each corner, so I'm not talking about just a little speck of dirt. We called the purser at least 4 times about that, as well as telling people near the pool. Nothing was ever done. On the day we left the ship, I walked by the indoor pool before we disembarked and noted that there were piles of sand in each corner of that pool too. That said, we did use the pools just about every day and I must say that the water didn't look murky. Still, it's a weakness. The People: There were around 200 "kids" under 18 on the ship, ranging from babies to teenagers. The teens tended to move around in a pack of 10 to 20 of them, occasionally taking over one of the pools and jacuzzi. They seemed like basically good kids, although they can be a little loud when they all get together. The average age of the rest of the guests was probably in the late 60's to early 70's. While we bonded with LOTS of people on the ship and had many wonderful conversations, there was an undercurrent of rudeness and unpleasantness among plenty of the guests, particularly the older ones. We saw people being short (and downright rude) to the staff. Nothing seemed to please them and they just seemed like they had come off a crowded subway car and everyone better watch out! It was not the ship that caused these people to be in such a foul mood. It's Christmas for goodness sake. Lighten up and enjoy yourself. Our Cabin: We had an inside cabin and my father-in-law had a balcony down the hall. We were on the 11th deck, near the front, so we made a habit of taking a quick walk out onto the Observation deck (also on 11) each morning to see where we were and what the weather was like. They also have a channel on TV that shows a view of the front of the ship, but it's not the same as being outside to really see what's up. The bathroom was typical, although perhaps a tad smaller than our last couple of HAL bathrooms. Our cabin steward was efficient and helpful. He knew when we left for meals and I think only once was still cleaning the room when we came back. Special requests, like a cork screw or extra tissues were handled quickly and with a smile. The room was in very good condition. The TV's have been upgraded to flatscreens. Our rug had not been replaced, as I read that some others have been. It was OK, but ready to be changed. I suppose I'm behind the times, as people now routinely travel with their entire music collection in their shirt pocket, but I missed having music available in my cabin. They do not have CD or DVD players and there are no "music" channels on TV, aside from the Musak on the webcam channel. If I came back to the cabin by myself, it was strangely quiet. On TV they have a menu of movies that runs each day. They seem behind the times in that you cannot call up a movie "on demand". As such, we saw parts of many movies, but never saw one all the way through. I'm not going to plan my day around watching some old movie. Smoking: We were pleased that smoking is now restricted to only a few spots on the ship. The pub, which was very smoky 4 years ago, is now free of any smell. People can smoke in their cabins and so we sometimes smelled strong smoke in the halls, but that was the exception, not the rule. The only inside location that reeked of stale smoke was the disco. The Ports: St Thomas - We've been to Meghans Bay and it's really just OK. We tried Sapphire Beach this time. About the same distance from the boat 20-40 mins based on traffic. The beach was great: Very clean and beautiful. Good surf but not rough. Shared taxis from the pier were $11 per person, but since we filled the van we were charged $10 and the kids were free. On the way back, there was no discount and I paid $11 each for adults and kids. Chairs at the beach were for rent at $7 and there was a stand selling drinks and snacks. There is a bathroom and a diving rental store. No real restaurants. Less "locals" hanging around smoking than at Meghans. We're not shoppers, so while St Thomas looked to be a good place for shopping, I can't really say. US cell phones work here with no roaming fees. St Martin: Went to Dawn beach. It's closer than the famous Orient beach and much quieter. Chairs and umbrellas for rent ($15 for 2 chairs and an umbrella) and a nice (I'd even say pricey) restaurant/bar on the beach. (You can use their toilets.) This was the nicest beach on our trip until we got to Barbados. Great waves, perfect smooth sand and friendly people. Definitely worth a visit. St Lucia: You have to tender-in here. It rained terribly all day, so since we couldn't go to the beach (I had heard fantastic things about Pigeon Island) we just stayed on board. Curacao: We've vacationed here before, so we know the island quite well. It was a short visit (out at 2:00) and it was Boxing Day so many of the shops were closed. (In the end I'd say that 2/3 of the stores were open by Noon.) The shopping area is quaint and not as full of Little Switzerland-type stores as other ports. Plenty of t-shirt shops. Always worth a walk into, even if just to cross the floating bridge. If you come here, the nicest beach is Porto Marie. Barbados: We read on CC that Crane beach was great for body-surfing. Since the kids love that, we went there. We were quoted a price of $20 per person R/T, which for the 4 of us seemed steep at $80. We pleaded for a "even for the kids?" discount and agreed on $60 R/T. We arrived at the end of a street and the driver showed us how to get to the beach, by walking across concrete stepping stones that crossed an outcropping of sharp coral, down to the beach. Oh and what a beach! Incredibly soft sand, nice boogie-boarding waves and just about the most serene place you could ask for. Chairs, umbrellas and boogie-boards are available for rent. We watching daring youth jump from the cliffs into the turquoise sea and then went and jumped in too! Wow, what a day! There is a shack selling drinks. At the far end of the beach is a small outside shower. You can enter the beach through The Crane Resort and they have facilities. I'm told that they charge you for entering that way and to use the facilities. We didn't, so I'm not sure about the cost. Note that even though this beach was PARADISE, there was no place to change or go to the bathroom. I'd suggest arriving in your bathing suit, as we (and many others) used the trees just off the beach as our public changing area. Dominica: Not much of a beachy island and very limited shopping. We almost went back to the ship, but were talked into a tour by one of the local vultures who will descend on you as you cross the street from the dock. They all pretty much do the same tour, which is to see the sulfur pools and Trafalger Falls. The tour was about 1.5 hours and we were charged $20 for adults and $10 for the kids (fair enough.) The driver stopped along the way to show us flora and fauna and then on to view the bubbling hot pools. (You can also pay extra to visit one of the mineral spas for a soak, but that's not our thing.) From there you go to Trafalgar Falls (admission $5 per person.) You walk about 5 minutes on an easy climb trail to an observation point where you can see the falls. Very impressive. For the more daring folks (that was me and the kids, but not my wife) you can continue down an even rougher trail that takes you to large boulders at the base of twin falls. If you climb over them (it's fairly challenging) you can "swim" in the small pools just down from the falls. Many folks came prepared for this with their swimsuits under their clothes. My son just fell in with his clothes on instead. A very cool place! After leaving the falls, the tour then visited the Botanical Gardens (the crushed school bus from a hurricane in 1979 was a highlight) and then on to a viewing spot high above the city where you can see the ship and all that surrounds it. There is an inexpensive Internet cafe/phoning place right behind the bank as you exit the pier. Greneda: Very friendly people here. I forgot to bring cash and as the tender was arriving we contemplated just staying on and heading back. My wife had $25 and we were able to plead with the taxi guy to take us to Grand Anse beach R/T for that $25. This left us with nothing to pay the $1 fee to use the bathroom, but even the folks there were very kind and let us change and use the toilet. The beach is quite close and has all the facilities. Guys selling watersports are walking around. It was a shame that we had only a short time there, as it was a very comfortable beach. We wanted to go visit the spice plantations and processing plants, but apparently those tours take a long time and you need to be off the ship pronto in order to have time to do them. We took our time and it was too late to go. Our loss I think. St Kitts: Kind of rainy, so we just walked around. Too bad as I was excited about beaches I had read about. Lots of shopping but the prices were high. T-shirts mostly $15 and up. No bargains here. Liquor prices similar to New Hampshire. Tortola: A short day in port. Very long (30-45 minute) tender ride in. There is shopping about an 8 minute walk from the pier but we went to Cane Bay beach. There were 3 ships in port and the beach was very crowded. It's about 20 minutes from the pier by taxi ($8/person each way) over treacherous hills. Quite a ride. We actually got a different taxi back (there are tons available) because the shifter handle on the first taxi was falling off and we feared for our lives. The beach is nice with many beach bars and the usual chairs for rent. Not a quiet spot, but fine for our last day on a beach for 6 months. Tortola's currency is US dollars. There is a bank near the pier that had a big line at their ATM as American's restocked their cash supply. We had just gotten a cash advance on the ship, or we would have been in line too. Summary: We did have a great time on the ship. 15 days go by very fast. We would definitely consider taking this cruise again in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
We set sail on a snowy day in Southampton, after waiting 30 minutes we boarded to find our cases already outside our stateroom..result! This was our 3rd trip on the Queen Victoria and so after unpacking we went to the Lido for a spot of ... Read More
We set sail on a snowy day in Southampton, after waiting 30 minutes we boarded to find our cases already outside our stateroom..result! This was our 3rd trip on the Queen Victoria and so after unpacking we went to the Lido for a spot of lunch and then later watched as a brass band played as we sailed away with Mr & Mrs Christmas on the quay waving us off. Our first port of call was La Coruna where unfortunately it was raining. That night there was a strong gale which made walking in heels a bit of a challenge but Queen Victoria handled the seas well. Next it was Lisbon, one of our favorite places and again it didn't disappoint, a wonderful town with lots to see and do with some of the friendliest people you could wish to meet. Gibraltar next, 24th December and warm enough to sit in a swimsuit on the balcony! Christmas day on board was a delight, good food, entertainment and a little gift from Cunard, very nice. On the 26th December we were in Lanzarote, while here we went on a trip to Fire Mountain, a trip not to be missed and the landscape is awesome! Our next stop was Gran Canaria followed by La Palma, where it was 74 degrees, and then on to Madeira. We stopped overnight at Madeira and were moored out in the bay when the fireworks went off at midnight New Years eve. It was a fantastic display and from our balcony we had a spectacular view. As always the service on Cunard couldn't be faulted, the only disappointment were the shows which were a repeat, except for the comedians, of the entertainment we saw in August and July the year before! Come on Cunard, if you want us to keep returning then update the shows. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We travelled on Queen Elizabeth's Festive Debut as virgin Cunarders, and we weren't disappointed. We boarded swiftly and were greeted, by smiling crew, all offering to help as we were travelling with my mother and two ... Read More
We travelled on Queen Elizabeth's Festive Debut as virgin Cunarders, and we weren't disappointed. We boarded swiftly and were greeted, by smiling crew, all offering to help as we were travelling with my mother and two small children. The cabin size was fantastic, we had 3 cabins, my mother in one and the 2 cabins between my husband myself and the 2 children, unfortunately one of the cabins must have been occupied previously by a heavy smoker, and the smell remained throughout the cruise, even after cleaning, so we all slept in one cabin, which was fine, as there was a pull out sofa bed. The sail away was wonderful with carols quayside, and excitement in the air. We dinned in the Upper Britannia Restaurant which was fabulous, the waiters went over and above service, and always ensured that the children were looked after, and arranged special meals for them. Yes the wine was a little pricey, but I gathered before we left, so was determined not to get hung up about it. The shows were always fabulous, and varied - the children thoroughly enjoyed them all - although Des O'Connor, seemed to over run slightly, it didn't matter, the youngest just fell asleep. The Queens room had dancing each night which we would watch whilst the children had a go, and then we would go up to The Yacht Club and dance away to Serious Sounds, the DJ was a little disappointing as he couldn't download any recent music??? The Islands we visited were truly breath taking and we were all amazed at the sheer beauty of them all, we didn't book excursions through Cunard - we went independently as this offers more flexibility - especially with children, and this option was cheaper too. Christmas day was wonderful with Father Christmas appearing and giving everyone who wanted one a gift. The children's club was fantastic too, although we only let the children go in for 2 hours on a sea day, was amazed that some parents put their children in on Christmas day???? All in all it was a very relaxing cruise, my only trouble was with the other passengers complaining it made me cringe - we all knew the schedule before we booked, so to complain seems pointless, yes shops were closed, but IT WAS THE HOLIDAYS!!!!! Also my family were in the small minority who hadn't travelled Cunard before and to be honest it was a little boring hearing the constant "its not as nice as the QE2" Well your are on the Queen Elizabeth - so just enjoy it!! I must admit I am looking forward to my next trip to catch up with the crew, and it will most definitely be with Cunard - as to coin the company's phrase "We are Cunard!!" Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
The Queen Mary is divine! We are in our sixties and have been on many other cruises. This one was special. The ship is beautiful. We were advised to book a veranda cabin that has glass surround rather than the ones within the hull of the ... Read More
The Queen Mary is divine! We are in our sixties and have been on many other cruises. This one was special. The ship is beautiful. We were advised to book a veranda cabin that has glass surround rather than the ones within the hull of the ship. It was great because you can see the ocean without standing up. It was, however, much more expensive and I'm not sure we'd bother to spend the extra money again because the staterooms with verandas are all fine and all identical except for the veranda...............Because this was a holiday cruise the activities were geared to Xmas and New Years. Cunard did a fabulous job....Christmas Carols sung in the main lobby.....New Years parties all over the ship.....gorgeous decorations throughout, etc. etc....The service was fine except for the deck chairs and lack of them during days at sea. Since the Queen Mary II is not really built as a cruise ship but rather an ocean liner, they are not prepared to accomodate 2000 passengers around the swimming pools. They did run out of deck chairs on a few occasions. That being said, it was a small complaint during an otherwise wonderful trip.....FOOD!....The Britannia dining room is just fine. Lots of people find fault with little things. We did not. All the food was more than fine and so was the service. The Lido buffet is divided into sections that can be a little confusing, but so what! There was plenty to eat and plenty of choices were available. Cunard does tea in the late afternoon not to be missed. How elegant!!! ACTIVITIES....The main activity is BEING on this special ship. If you are interested in wet tee shirt contests and rock climbing this is NOT for you. If you like elegance and dressing to the nines for dinner, then you chose the right ship. People watching is half the fun. The various bars on board are each different and wonderful just to sit there...The shows are typical ship-board stuff but fun if you like that sort of thing.--------All in all, the Queen Mary II is a must experience! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
My apologies for the length of this review, but I have based many vacation selections on these postings and I would not want anyone to miss the Queen Mary 2 experience because of an unfair evaluation of this cruise. My husband and I have ... Read More
My apologies for the length of this review, but I have based many vacation selections on these postings and I would not want anyone to miss the Queen Mary 2 experience because of an unfair evaluation of this cruise. My husband and I have done ten cruises in ten years on NCL, Holland America, Regent, and Celebrity with the most recent on the Constellation's New England/Canada two-week trip in September. We always get a balcony cabin and now that we are retired are constantly on the lookout for great deals. A mailing from Cunard last May caught my attention. The Caribbean Delights 12-day cruise seemed to be a great bargain and a chance to experience the Queen Mary 2 while seeing some new ports. It was comparable to what we paid for similar accommodation on the Constellation. I don't like to fly, so leaving from NY or Bayonne is my first choice. Embarkation was fairly smooth. We drove from NJ and parked in the lot next to the dock for a total of $263 for 12 days. A car service from our home would have been about the same. We arrived in a little over an hour and after 45 minutes in line were checked in and onboard by noon. My first impression was that this is a very elegant ship. The biggest surprise was that we were allowed to go directly to our cabin on Deck 11 as soon as we boarded. No waiting in the dining room until 2:00 with all our carryon bags as on other ships. The other surprise was that our bags were promptly delivered within the hour. Our glass balcony cabin was nicely appointed and similar in size and layout to Celebrity. I had read that the hull balcony cabins can be hot in the tropics and you can only enjoy the view if you are standing up, so I am glad we opted for the glass balcony which we used almost everyday. We took a quick look around and grabbed some lunch in the "Kings Court" buffet which to the first timer is a confusing and disjointed arrangement of 4 separate food areas. It took several days to figure it all out. We unpacked and looked forward to three days at sea to relax and get to know the ship I had read and heard so much about. The sailaway was magical with the beautiful lights of Manhattan receding as we toasted our adventure with the small bottle of champagne provided in our room. We also brought two bottles in our carryon as allowed, which were enjoyed during the trip. Despite a small map in our cabin, and larger ones posted around the ship, there are many sections of the QM2 which are difficult to find, including the Queens Room and the G32 nightclub in the back of the ship because of a curious arrangement of levels on Deck 3, but that was part of the fun exploring on the first day. The other problem is the surprising amount of things to do while at sea and not enough time to do them all. Rows of tables by the windows along walkways on Deck 3 held a variety of board games and jigsaw puzzles, or offered a place to watch the ocean streaming by at close to 28 knots. A beautifully appointed library and book store in the front of the ship had comfortable chairs and couches with a view out the front of Deck 8. I envy those who had the time to enjoy it because I barely made it halfway through the first book I brought with me. We toured the Canyon Ranch Spa, but did not use the facilities. The prices were high and there is a $40 charge to use their Aqua Therapy Centre. My husband enjoyed the golf simulator with daily free competitions and prizes. He also thought the gym well-equipped. One of the big events in the Queens Room is the daily formal white-glove tea at 3:30 with fresh warm scones, little sandwiches, and pastries to ruin your appetite for dinner. The evening brings dancing in the largest ballroom at sea. We have little experiences with formal dance, so I persuaded my husband, along with several hundred fellow passengers to attend the cha cha class given by the resident professional dancers. My visions of "Dancing With the Stars" were dashed when he dropped out after a few minutes because it was too complicated. We ended up watching on the sidelines at the formal balls held during the trip as many experienced dancers took to the floor with a live band and a singer crooning hits from the past. I particularly enjoyed watching the "male hosts" who are brought on to dance with the single women needing a partner. They got many of them up and dancing who might otherwise have been forced to just watch. We went to the G32 nightclub once, and there was a large crowd enjoying the live music, but it is one of the few places where smoking is allowed and we left after a short visit. The Planetarium had some great shows and we were sorry we only had time for two of them. Also, we were able to fit in only one lecture by Peter Quartermaine on the history of the QE2 which we found interesting. The shopping was a little too upscale for our pocketbook. Didn't see anyone buying the Hermes ties at $160 a pop, but I heard from someone that a gentlemen did buy his lady a $25,000 trinket in the jewelry shop. Enjoyed the covered pool on the first day and the two open ones once it got warm. Tough but not impossible to find a lounge chair on sea days. The casino slots were not paying and I frankly got bored after a few nights of dealing with tokens in the machines and very little reward for my effort. I have become lazy using the ticket-only slots in Atlantic City and scooping up a bucketful of quarters is a pain in the neck when you want to change machines. The final Bingo was poorly attended despite the $1900 jackpot won by a single person. We ate every meal except one at the 8:30 late seating, which we chose because we don't like to rush getting ready for dinner after spending all day in port. My disappointment at being seated at one of the last tables in the back of the second floor of the beautiful Britannia Dining Room was short lived. Our six tablemates from Great Britain and Canada (by way of Scotland) were so entertaining and such wonderful dinner companions that we hardly noticed the location after the first night, and regretted leaving them for the one night we ate at Todd English. Britannia offered a wide selection for dinner including a Canyon Ranch Spa selection with calorie and fat grams listed for the diet conscious as well as several vegetarian offerings indicated with a "V". Not every dish was to our American taste, and we learned to stay away from their attempts at Italian entrees. For the most part the beef and lamb were exceptional, while several of the fish offerings were just ok. The chicken tended to be on the dry side and required additional gravy. I particularly enjoyed their version of Thanksgiving Dinner with turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings because I did not spend all day in the kitchen preparing it. The desserts were tempting and by the end of the cruise we were having trouble buttoning our clothes. We also enjoyed breakfast in Britannia when we had more time, since port days were hectic in the Kings Court with everyone trying to get out. Todd English is the specialty restaurant and it certainly was a wonderful experience even at $30 a person. I had what I consider the best filet mignon in recent memory. Cristobal was our first stop and one of the reasons we chose this cruise. My husband's great-uncle worked as an engineer on the Panama Canal and we have some of his pictures of the early construction. As we approached the port I was amazed to see more than twenty tankers and cargo ships lined up waiting for their turn to approach the Gatun Locks. Although the QM2 is too large to transit the Canal we signed up for a ship's tour that is a partial transit by ferry boat. A bus ride of a little over an hour on their new highway brings you to the dock where you embark on a fascinating ferry ride through the Pedro Miguel Locks and the Miraflores Locks. I have read many descriptions of transit by cruise ship, but on the ferry boat you really experience the rising and lowering water levels. We were in the lane next to an enormous cargo ship that dwarfed our little boat. A new canal is being built parallel to the existing one and should be finished in two years. It will be big enough to hold ships which cannot fit in the current locks. We ended up in the Pacific Ocean with a view of Panama City in the distance. Since reading "A Path Between the Seas" I had a greater appreciation for the years of hard work (and Congressional bickering) that went into the construction of the Canal. Also, after driving through Colon on the bus I would agree that it is not a town that you want to wander through on your own. Be aware that the rainy season in Panama extends from May through November. We experienced a few downpours but when the sun came out it was hot and humid. Curacao was new to us and we chose to do the Kayak and Snorkel Tour offered by the ship as we had to be back on board by 1:00. It was very windy and we had a difficult time paddling the boat in the open water. The snorkeling was good, but not great. We had no extra time to explore the town, but we feel it was not the prettiest island of the trip. Grenada was also a new port for us. We chose the Catamaran and Snorkel trip and had a lot of fun on board the "High Time" with some good snorkeling and lots of rum punch. Several of our dinner companions enjoyed tours to the spice production areas where they purchased spices to bring home. Barbados was one of our favorite stops. We took a taxi to Payne's Bay and with our own snorkel equipment were able to swim out to the same spot where the tour boats anchored to swim with the turtles. It was a wonderful experience. The large turtles are fed by the guides and seem comfortable swimming around with dozens of people in the water. The island is clean and the people kind and helpful. St. Kitts was also a new port for us and competes with Barbados as one of our favorites. We chose the Nevis Sailaway despite its hefty price tag. We went by catamaran to the nearby island of Nevis. Great snorkeling and a barbeque on the beach were included. Unfortunately, all the palm trees on the beach had been stripped of their palms by a blight caused by trees imported for the nearby Four Seasons Hotel. It detracted from an otherwise beautiful location. Tortola is a part of the gorgeous British Virgin Islands. We had been there on a previous cruise and went to the Baths on Virgin Gorda. This time we chose to take a taxi to Brewers Bay where we spent the day relaxing on the Beach and watching the pelicans dive for lunch. The snorkeling was disappointing as the water was too cloudy to see much. The taxi driver returned for us at 3:00 as promised and we reluctantly ended our last day in the tropics. Just a short comment on the entertainment. Many of the late seating shows were at 10:30 and frankly it was tough staying awake after eating a big meal and a full day of activities. There were some hits and some misses. While I felt the big production show "Viva Italia" was awful, "Apassionata" was quite good. The individual acts were talented and tried hard to entertain a sluggish audience. Our cabin attendant did a wonderful job of looking after us. After explaining that I required a top sheet between the duvet and bottom sheet she made sure that the bed was made up that way. We usually did not have time before dinner to try the lounges, but my husband enjoyed The Golden Lion Pub because of the great beer selection. I appreciate that the drink servers do not pester you in the theater or lounges if you do not want anything from the bar. One waiter in the Queens Room put a cocktail napkin down on the table after I indicated we did not want anything, explaining that would let the other servers know we had been approached so they would not keep asking us if we needed anything. Much different than the hardsell on other ships we have been on. We experienced calm seas and were amazed as the ship cut through the water like a knife through butter, but we also heard many tales of the horrible transatlantic crossing that 400 of our fellow travelers experienced the week before. It was labeled by the Captain as the roughest the ship had ever experienced, but several brave souls remarked that it really wasn't that bad. We enjoyed Captain Nick Bates and his daily updates with a humorous quip for the day. The crowds at his book signing ("A Pinch of Salt") attest to his popularity with the regular Cunard crowd as well. My biggest complaint would have to be the 5 formal and 4 semiformal nights on a Caribbean vacation. There are alternatives for those who don't want to dress, but the majority of passengers were decked out in ballgowns, jewels, and tuxedos. It's fine for the days at sea, but really two much after a tough day at the beach. Our biggest disappointment was the disembarkation, which was not totally the fault of the Cunard staff. Our group was forced to wait almost two hours past our scheduled departure time because of "technical difficulties" and when we finally got off could not find a porter or cart to help with our five very heavy bags. By 11:30 the departing passengers were competing with the newly arrived for assistance and we ended up maneuvering the bags across the terminal and loading them into our car ourselves. Despite that unhappy ending we would definitely sail with Cunard again. We went into this trip with a sense of discovery, without some of the expectations that past passengers may have from other sailings and enjoyed our experience immensely for what it was -- a great time on a great ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2008
I will make this short but am open to further questions from anyone interested. The ship was amazing from a technical and size perspective but slightly less elaborate in decoration then some of the regular cruise ships I have been ... Read More
I will make this short but am open to further questions from anyone interested. The ship was amazing from a technical and size perspective but slightly less elaborate in decoration then some of the regular cruise ships I have been on.(not a complaint just an observation) On the whole it was a remarkable ship! The food was very good as we ate in the Britannia Room but do highly recommend the Chef's Gallery as this was stellar. Book early and often for the various nights there. Todd English was..well not so great. The food was good but the overall feel and service was not close to that of Ocean Liners on say Celebrity. My advice is book the Chef's Gallery in lieu of Todd English and as a bonus it is free. Our room was comparable to other cruise staterooms and was always very well cleaned. We had a sheltered balcony and although you could not see out when sitting, it was very roomy. I thought this a better value then decks 8 and 9 which appeared to have a very obstructed view from the lifeboats even though those were glass balcony's. The shows were mixed and I would say overall disappointing compared to other ships. Cunard needs to really improve this end. It would be my biggest complaint. They did have a few very good ones but on average....average. Staff was very friendly and accommodating and getting on and off a ship of this size was pretty coordinated and easy. The Itinerary for 15 nights was great with 9 stops starting in Ft. Lauderdale, Panama, Bonaire, Granada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts, Tortola and St. Thomas. Overall I loved being on this "Ocean Liner" and would go back tomorrow despite the shows. However we did seem to pay a fair bit less then others and it seemed to be the higher one paid the more they complained! We thought the Value was very very good based on other cruises we took. We paid less this year for 15 nights then one last year with Celebrity for 10 nights so thought it very good value. Might simply be the time and economy helping us here. The age was older and on average I would say 60's which I think was lower due to the Holiday season as we did see a fair bit of Families on board! I would also say that this is a pretty formal ship so go prepared to wear the formals or be turned away as some found out! Also we had your handful of usual rude and miserable guests on board and again for the life of me...."Why do these people insist on traveling?" I guess they just want to spread their miserable little existence around for the enjoyment of the rest of us?? So many things to mention but in ending...I would rate this a 9 out of 10 based on my experience of 8 cruises with various lines and would recommend it highly! Cheers and Happy Sailing! Read Less
10 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
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
3 Helpful Votes
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
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