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31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our third time on Cunard and our second on the Queen Victoria, so we had a good idea of what to expect: excellent service, excellent dancing and mediocre food. Our April cruise through the Panama Canal, from LA to Fort Lauderdale, ... Read More
This was our third time on Cunard and our second on the Queen Victoria, so we had a good idea of what to expect: excellent service, excellent dancing and mediocre food. Our April cruise through the Panama Canal, from LA to Fort Lauderdale, met two of those three expectations. The service was indeed excellent. Every crew member we encountered was friendly and eager to help. Our cabin steward, Joel, did an outstanding job of keeping our cabin clean despite our somewhat erratic schedule. When our in-room safe inexplicably refused to open, someone from the purser’s office responded immediately, diagnosed the problem as a dead battery, and quickly returned to replace it. And, the food was indeed mediocre. We learned on our first Cunard cruise that the food in the Britannia is not worth the time or effort involved. (Will Cunard ever acknowledge that anytime dining is the current standard?) In order to avoid that arbitrary schedule, we ate our meals in the Lido, even on formal nights, which meant we had to fetch our own food while wearing a long gown and tuxedo. I am a vegetarian, so steered clear of most of the offerings on the steam table. When we sailed on the Queen Mary last year, we were impressed by the salads and the array of grilled veggies in the Kings Court. Those recipes apparently haven’t made it to the QV: the vegetables were mostly overcooked and “buttered,” and the lettuce was consistently limp. The one bright spot was the pizza station, where the cook cheerfully made pizzas and calzones to our specifications. We tried the Golden Lion pub exactly once: The draught beer we wanted was not available, and my husband, who will eat pretty much anything, abandoned his fish and chips after one bite. We ordered room service breakfast twice, and both times the coffee arrived lukewarm. Fortunately, we had packed our own carafes, and the Lido staff cheerfully filled them for my husband to bring back to our cabin every morning. The QV retrofit may bring in-cabin “kettles,” as it did on QM2, but a cup of hot water and a packet of Nescafé is not actually coffee. We’ll keep toting those carafes. The QV has also eliminated trays, which means that putting together a decent meal in the Lido requires several trips between your table and the various stations. We ended up using a box lid to bring breakfast and our evening hors d’oeuvres back to the cabin. We probably could have sold the damn thing to the world cruisers facing another month on the ship As for the dancing . . . ah, there’s the rub. We cruise to dance, and we love the Queens Room and the opportunity to dance every evening to a live band on a spacious hardwood floor. The Queens Room orchestra was excellent, as usual, and we had a wonderful time dancing whenever they were on duty. The pre-recorded music was another matter. Ruth, the social hostess, monopolized each session, as well as the band’s breaks, with an endless round of sequence dancing. Most non-Brits don’t “do” sequence dances, and on previous cruises sequence dancing was thankfully limited to a single night or a single venue. This time around – not so much. Most nights, we simply gave up and left the room. We were also frustrated by the two “party nights,” one with an Abba theme and the other featuring a mediocre Frankie Vallee-style boy band. Synergy, the party band, played danceable music on both evenings, but the Queens Room was overrun by crew members dispatched to show us all how to have a good time. On the second night, when part of the floor was already taken over by the boy band’s ear-splitting sound system, the staff were so intent on performing their line dance routines that there was literally no room for the paying customers to dance. If Cunard wants to throw a staff party, that’s fine. We would just prefer that they do so elsewhere. The dance hosts were an impediment, as well. This was the fourth set of hosts we had encountered and certainly the least qualified. Several of the “single ladies” noted that the hosts didn’t so much lead as meander around the floor. Worse, they had no floor craft and frequently crashed into other dancers – one routinely took his partners through the middle of the floor, against the line of dance. He was also wearing beige orthopedic shoes, which should have been a clue to whomever hired him as a host. Finally, a note about Cunard’s famous dress code: We like to dress up, and we cruise Cunard for its emphasis on formal nights. On our second day we received a notice reminding us of the Cunard definition of “formal” and “informal.” That message seemed clear, but every evening we saw several men in the Queens Room without jackets – at least one guest interpreted “jacket” as a puffy down vest. However, the worst offenders were the dance hosts! They frequently appeared in shirt sleeves, and one once showed up in an untucked sport shirt accessorized with tennis shoes. Not quite the elegant atmosphere Cunard likes to pretend is the norm. Would we cruise Cunard again? Possibly. Dining is not a priority, so we can live with limp lettuce. Dancing, however, is. Sequestering the sequence dancing would be a good step in the right direction. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
White glove service, staff who care about your personal preferences, accurate assistance, and a crew who genuinely look out for your comfort and safety to deliver a relaxing and fulfilling journey. Congratulations to Cunard for ... Read More
White glove service, staff who care about your personal preferences, accurate assistance, and a crew who genuinely look out for your comfort and safety to deliver a relaxing and fulfilling journey. Congratulations to Cunard for preserving their traditions and not bending to trendy expectations. Unwinding is not the norm for most cruise experiences yet I managed to read, recollect, reflect and actually slow down enough to realize how spectacular a holiday I was having. Queen Victoria excels in food and beverage service. Every dish served to me was exceptional. A minuscule Waldorf salad took me by surprise..the BEST bite sized salad to ever hit my taste buds. Serving sizes are to be applauded. Never too much, always just enough to satisfy considering how much food one can consume over an entire day. The wine waiter helped us find wonderful vintages that didn't break our budget. Watching couples strut in their finery to a live orchestra awakes an era of romance rarely found elsewhere. Hearing lectures of interest from exceptional humans activates the mind and encourages vivid conversation with new friends in passing. The entertainment surprised us with variety cleverly selected to delight all tastes. Featuring artists from within the core group, such as the wind instrumentalist, is genius as we then feel closer to these artists later recognizing them in, their usual postings. The passenger choir and staff talent concert both highlights among many brilliant guest artists such as the pianist comedian who was hilarious. Shore excursions lived up to the promises and appeared to be similar in price but with the assurance that one would be returned safely to the ship under any unforeseen circumstances. Fire engine over the Golden Gate, priceless. Long bus trips may be best avoided as our trip to Christchurch took up the entire day and was not as directions weren't easy to follow, we wasted precious time trying to locate anything, and would've been better off back on the ship, our preferred destination. Embarking and disembarking was a breeze for us, however we heard of others being treated like cows in some ports. An amusing story was that of a fellow falling from the tender platform, I can't imagine how this might have occurred so pardon me for sharing, the poor wet fellow probably did not find it funny at all. Maintenance of the vessel is astounding, I witnessed the repainting of the hull whilst at sea so that the sparkling image as the Queen sailed into port would strike in full focus of those who were lucky enough to see her and wish that they too were aboard. How satisfying it is know that I will again bask in the tradition of such royalty. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
Given that the cruise industry is becoming very competitive these days, we would have thought that Cunard would have tried to keep up with the other "luxury" lines. First the good: The embarkation process was very quick and ... Read More
Given that the cruise industry is becoming very competitive these days, we would have thought that Cunard would have tried to keep up with the other "luxury" lines. First the good: The embarkation process was very quick and trouble free and efficient. We were Princess Grill passengers and would have to say that we were pleased that we paid the extra for that privilege. The food was excellent in the Princess Grill restaurant as was the service. Afternoon tea was delightful in the Grills Lounge. We did hear however from another Grills passenger who had friends in the Britannia and joined them for dinner on occasions, that the Britannia food certainly wasn't wonderful. The housekeeping service in the suite was prompt and of high standard. Lectures were fantastic - especially Buzz Aldrin and a lovely fellow from British Airways and we enjoyed all of these. Entertainment was also great - specialty entertainment was generally wonderful as were the singers and dancers. Then the bad: The internet service was the worst of any ship we have ever been on (14) - it was so slow that impossible to work on the ship at all - sure they give you extra minutes because of delays, but that's not the point. A competitor line this week was on tv stating that their internet service was the fastest on the sea, so why can't Cunard get their act together and upgrade the internet. The six formal nights on this voyage may be ok for the old diehards, but for us younger passengers, we couldn't care less about dressing up Sure my husband will put on a jacket for dinner, but the whole tuxedo affair is really old hat these days. My husband would have liked to have dinner without a jacket, but we know this is only possible in the buffet. We know the line is English, but there didn't seem to be much Asian influence in the meals - sure there was sushi one day in the buffet, but no Asian breakfast items up in the buffet. The Grills Lounge is fantastic, but why no music after dinner - we were not expecting live music (the showroom provides that) but surely some nice after dinner piped music through the speakers would be good. I put in a form to the purser's office re this issue, but of course, nobody bothered to even contact us to discuss the matter. And forget the laundry - even at opening time there are people there with a week's washing loading up the thee machines at once - no wonder there are so many stories doing the rounds on laundry blow-ups. The "Cunard Cough" reared it's ugly head, and we were left coughing near the end of the voyage - how that is to be fixed, we have no idea. Shopping was disappointing - fashion in the shops was just so-so, and no real incentive to purchase. Disembarkation was good and we were off the ship quite early - plenty of porter service on the NYC wharf. Would we sail again with Cunard - I wouldn't think so - we need to be on a more "modern" line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We were completely surprised by our experiences on board Queen Victoria. After our last cruise where my husband’s gluten and corn intollerances were completely ignored and he became very ill, we had given up on cruising. Thank goodness ... Read More
We were completely surprised by our experiences on board Queen Victoria. After our last cruise where my husband’s gluten and corn intollerances were completely ignored and he became very ill, we had given up on cruising. Thank goodness we trusted Cunard. They came through with flying colours, from the wait staff to the head waiter and chef, they understood the problem and we felt very safe. We have just completed the World Voyage segment from Los Angeles to New York and it didn’t disappoint. Our cabin on number 4 deck was perfect for watching the journey through the Panama Canal, you could look over the balcony and see the few inches to spare that the ship had when passing through the locks. The cabins above deck four do not reach out as far, so their view was obstructed. I am not sure if deck four cabins are a little larger because of this fact, but there was certainly enough storage space. There is ample hanging wardrobe space, three drawers in each night table and two massive drawers under the beds. If there is any complaint, it would be the bathroom space, but if you are aware, bring a collapsible small box for toiletries and keep them on the open shelf under the sink. The other useful items we brought with us were a three plug extension and a small electric clock. When you have to change time zones, it is helpful to keep up with the current time. The morning lectures were very informative and entertaining, not to be missed. In fact, we were sorry to leave in New York as the new presenters sounded very intriguing. From Buzz Aldrin to a Red Arrow pilot they all held our attention. The ports of call, apart from Cabo San Lucas, were good. Our main problem was the early departure from ports and getting back in time. Why we sailed from Fort Lauderdale to Port Canaveral overnight I do not know. It would have been better if we stayed overnight in one port to allow people who had long expensive excursions to Miami, Disney, Universal and Kennedy Space Center to really enjoy those tours. The entertainment could not be faulted, the resident singers and dance troupe were very good, the various entertainers who we picked up at ports along our journey were also varied and good. The resident orchestra and musicians could be found in various locations throughout the ship and of course, there was always dancing in the Queens Ballroom every night. We found the passengers on this cruise to be very interesting. From the British who started out in Southampton, to the Australians and New Zealanders who joined in their Countries to the Americans and various other nationalities, it made for fascinating conversations at meal times. All in all, we are thoroughly satisfied with our voyage are now looking forward to our next cruise with Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
We travelled with 2 other older couples, and thoroughly enjoyed Cunard's formula for enjoyable cruising. Compared with previous cruises, we were pleased that here were few children on board - must be showing our age! We have few ... Read More
We travelled with 2 other older couples, and thoroughly enjoyed Cunard's formula for enjoyable cruising. Compared with previous cruises, we were pleased that here were few children on board - must be showing our age! We have few complaints, although some minor suggestions for improvements. We had 5 formal nights, but being on the late dinner sitting we missed the celebrations for Ascot, etc. in the Queens Room because these commenced too early. We were appalled at the wait of up to 2 hours to be processed by US Customs ' Immigration when going ashore at Fort Lauderdale. Maybe beyond Cunard's control, but surely they want the tourist dollars ashore? Our only Cunard shore trip was to the Kennedy Space Centre, which was wonderful and a long-time ambition fulfilled. Of course, having Buzz Aldrin on board for his talks beforehand was a very special bonus which I will never forget! The formality on board initially was a little irksome, but with the passage of a few days we came to appreciate the standards Cunard insisted on. Meals in the Britannia Restaurant were excellent - in 3 successive dinners I had partridge, Pheasant, and lobster! Excellent staff there, and a sommelier who made recommendations without pushing the more expensive wines. As we had booked with "pre-paid gratuities" we were at a loss to know how much to tip our wonderful stewards and waiters - perhaps more guidance could be provided by Cunard? For New Zealanders who generally do not believe or experience tipping, this is no small problem! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We booked the Panama Canal transit, from LA to NY, in Princess Grille. We were delighted to find about 2 weeks from embarkation that we had been upgraded to Queens Grille, Q5, stateroom 4188 at the very rear portside. What a great room, ... Read More
We booked the Panama Canal transit, from LA to NY, in Princess Grille. We were delighted to find about 2 weeks from embarkation that we had been upgraded to Queens Grille, Q5, stateroom 4188 at the very rear portside. What a great room, because the balcony extends up the side, and around the back of the ship, so you could get sunshine or shade all day long! The staff in the dining room knew our names after the first night's dinner, and made us feel like royalty. The maitre d' (Sandro) is a credit to Cunard as he has the dining room just purring. Nothing is too much trouble, and the food is exquisite. There is a Grille's lounge available 24/7, and a sundeck with complimentary sunscreen and waiter service. Of course, tea and scones at 3.30 each day in the lounge, and canapes delivered to our stateroom each afternoon around 4.30pm. No wonder I put on 4kgs! Each guest is allowed one bottle of spirits or wine to be consumed in room, and the bottles are replaced when empty. The fridge and it's contents of mixers, beer, soft drinks and water is all complimentary in Queens rooms. Don't plan on doing anything on the ship's internet except getting your email, and even that's slow. Best to get onshore to a free wifi hotspot. I guess satellite internet shared amongst 3000 crew and guests has a way to go! Plenty of great guest speakers, including Buzz Aldrin, made for a great educational journey most mornings. Of course, there are quizzes each day for those interested, lots of activities, and good entertainment most nights if you can drag yourself away from the dining room experience. We chose a table of 8 (although 2 didn't appear, so it became a table of 6 after 2 nights) and met some fun and interesting people, as you usually do on these Cunard cruises. We generally stayed in the dining room until after 9, and then adjourned to the lounge unless there was something great in the theater. While the main reason for choosing this cruise was the Panama Canal transit which was just marvelous, the other shore excursions were mostly good as well. We had the trip of a lifetime, and it was sad to have to leave our new friends who were sailing on to Southampton. If you're wondering whether the Princess and Queens grilles experience is worth the extra, I'd say go for it if you can afford to. We've been on all 3 Cunard's, from interior staterooms, through Britannia, Princess and now Queens, and while they've all been great, the Grilles are just wonderful. Priority embarkation and disembarkation is a great benefit too. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention the outdoor alfresco dining area shared by the Grilles, and if the weather is kind (and it was through the tropics) and not too windy, what a great spot for lunch or even dinner. The only part of the whole trip we didn't enjoy was flying from New York to Australia to get home. Flying just doesn't cut it after a cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
My husband and I are seasoned "cruisers" and have booked many, many cruises on different cruise lines..We cannot find enough adjectives to describe our experience on the Queen Victoria from Los Angeles to Australia...The entire ... Read More
My husband and I are seasoned "cruisers" and have booked many, many cruises on different cruise lines..We cannot find enough adjectives to describe our experience on the Queen Victoria from Los Angeles to Australia...The entire 21 days were perfect from beginning to end...The welcoming staff was very friendly and professional...Our suite was magnificent as were our butler, Elvie and her assistant Bernard...Every dining experience in the Queen's Grill was a culinary delight..The staff in the Grill was beyond our expectations...The ship is absolutely beautiful, extremely well cared for and filled with a wonderful staff of caring and friendly people...We were very sad when the cruise came to an end...We definitely did not want to disembark...We hope in the very near future to book another Cunard cruise and hope it would live up to the fantastic experience on the Queen Victoria...Thank you Cunard for giving us beautiful memories to last a lifetime... Background Information.. We flew from Norfolk, Virginia to Dulles to LA and stayed at the Airport Hilton (fabulous hotel). Our embarkation experience was friendly, professional and efficient..Our stateroom, 4106 was absolutely magnificent, including a fabulous Butler, Elvie and her assist Bernard..We could not have asked for anyting more. The ship was beautiful, well appointed, very clean. Everything you could or would desire..We dined at the Queen's Grill, a beautiful dining room, with fabulous menu, and superb service. The Buffet was also great..We had lunch there several times. We booked two shore excursions, San Francisco and Brisbane, City Highlights...Great tours, great buses, guides...Money well spent...The disembarkation was very smooth and efficient...Again, thank you Cunard for our wonderful memories... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
We sailed on the Queen Victoria because of the itinerary and timing of this 48 night South Seas cruise. We had expected luxury and superior service. The ship was clean and the common areas were fabulous. We found our fellow passengers ... Read More
We sailed on the Queen Victoria because of the itinerary and timing of this 48 night South Seas cruise. We had expected luxury and superior service. The ship was clean and the common areas were fabulous. We found our fellow passengers to be a delight & we were quite a bit younger than the average cruiser onboard. It was the food and the overall service that were most disappointing to us. White Star service should have meant polite, capable, respectful crew members getting answers to our questions (if they didn't already know them) and striving to at least acknowledge our service requests and dietary needs. (Vegetarian diets should not be a foreign concept in this day and age - especially when Cunard touts that they accommodate them.) Most of the time we had the feeling that Pass-the-Buck service was what we were actually getting! "It's not my job" was the prevailing attitude onboard the Queen Victoria. Downright rudeness was not a rarity. Nevertheless, we decided to have an attitude of gratitude and enjoy our seven week cruise. Our balcony cabin exceeded our expectations in both space and comfort. Cleanliness was an issue only as time went on. The day-to-day spruce ups became minimal. Activities were plenty and varied. Entertainment was a bit hit and miss. Nightly dancing was fabulous but started quite late in the evening - especially on those early-to-bed nights before a port day. Why not start even earlier with canned music if no other function is scheduled in Queens Room? That lovely dance floor shouldn't go to waste! Food was pretty average as far as our table mates were concerned and many folks onboard opted for the unimaginative buffet on the Lido Deck instead of the blah selections in the dining room. Sure, we might cruise with Cunard again if the destination is right, but next time we'll simply expect less, way less. This is not the luxury line we had read about in their brochures! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
We had just retired and decided a world cruise was a great way to transition from our work lifestyle to finally having the fun we always dreamed of in retirement. What a great decision! We boarded in Los Angeles for the LA/Sydney/LA leg ... Read More
We had just retired and decided a world cruise was a great way to transition from our work lifestyle to finally having the fun we always dreamed of in retirement. What a great decision! We boarded in Los Angeles for the LA/Sydney/LA leg of the QV's world cruise with many ports in the South Pacific...Hawaii, Fiji, French Polynesia, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Milford Sound/Picton and Wellington, NZ, Bora Bora and many more. Our balcony cabin was very clean, convenient, comfortable and had lots of storage. Service aboard from our cabin steward to all the various restaurant/dining room staff was absolutely excellent in every way possible. The quality of the food was very good. I have critical diet restrictions which were unhesitatingly accommodated, always with a smile and kind words. Having the option of room service if we weren't feeling up to going to the dining room was much appreciated. We particularly enjoyed the paddle tennis and exercise facilities as well as the many interesting guest speakers and most of the entertainment. Wrangling laundry was challenging until we discovered when the machines were most likely to be available (first thing in the morning, around dinner time, in ports). The only disappointment was the mediocre salon (why do they not do gel nails??!!) but operation of the salon is sub-contracted out and not a Cunard service. We met many wonderful people and have new friends from all over the world we are still in touch with and look forward to cruising with again......QM2 world cruise 2017 anyone?! Read Less
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