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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
Sail Date: February 2015
We sailed on a segment of the Queen Victoria's world cruise from Los Angeles to Sydney. In many small ways this was a disappointing experience. For example: This was the only cruise where we were not welcomed on board with a glass of ... Read More
We sailed on a segment of the Queen Victoria's world cruise from Los Angeles to Sydney. In many small ways this was a disappointing experience. For example: This was the only cruise where we were not welcomed on board with a glass of Champaign or given a bag to use for purchases. Although the food was good, it was difficult to find out about alternative items on the menu and ordering them required the aid of the dining room manager. Cookies were hidden behind the counter somewhere in the Lido buffet and you had to ask the correct person for them. During the first couple of formal nights, the food was nothing special and the dining room was never decorated for any occasion. The waiters in the Golden Pub were not service oriented. We went for lunch one day and were told that all the tables were taken but we could go around and ask people if they would be willing to share their table with us. On another occasion, we were not told the kitchen was closing and sat at the table with empty plates for 20 minutes until it was too late to order dessert. The lectures were very good and well attended but there was very little to do in the afternoons. It seemed like trivia was the only thing available morning, afternoon and evening. We were never given a cruise review form to fill out despite asking three times for one. Prices seemed high in the shops and there was no change in the items for sale during the entire cruise. Happy hour meant the too high prices for drinks were 25% off. On the plus side, the beds were comfortable with a lot of pillows and there was no charge to use the washers and driers in the passenger laundry. Also, the library had a nice selection of books.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
We purchased the Cunard transfer from LAX airport to the embarkation site. We arrived at LAX at 8:30 AM and were not met by any Cunard personal. We called the 800# and finally were met at 9:00AM, after we got our luggage and were wondering ... Read More
We purchased the Cunard transfer from LAX airport to the embarkation site. We arrived at LAX at 8:30 AM and were not met by any Cunard personal. We called the 800# and finally were met at 9:00AM, after we got our luggage and were wondering around the airport. We were told the transfer bus would arrive at 10:00 AM. The bus did not arrive until 11:30 AM!!! And then made 4 more stops at the airport and we finally arrived at the ship at 1:30 PM....5 HOURS after we arrived in L.A. Disembarkation was a nightmare. We were told to be in the Theatre at 8:00 AM for disembarkation between 8:00 AM and 8:30 AM. There was an announcement saying the terminal was quite empty with no lines for Customs. Well, we sat in the Theatre until 11:00 AM and finally told we could disembark. Cunard personal told us the delay was due to it Customs problems. We were in line with people in tears due to missed plane flights home. As we were standing in line at Customs, an excursion tour (#13) walked right past us and walked thru Customs. This is after Cunard kept us on-board for close to 3 hours waiting to disembark. I can only assume the excursion tour people were still paying customers to Cunard and people disembarking did not need to be tended to. Once at Customs, 3 different agents told us the delay was the fault of Cunard, with the Queen Elizabeth docking 45 minutes behind schedule. We have been on a number of cruises and never had a 3-hour wait amongst such disorganization. It certainly put a damper on our cruise. Entertainment was fair, food was good, customer service was poor. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
This cruise was from LA to New York. 18 days total, also last but one segment of QE World cruise. Embarking at LA. Some passengers informed embarkation would be delayed , others received no information. I got through documentation ... Read More
This cruise was from LA to New York. 18 days total, also last but one segment of QE World cruise. Embarking at LA. Some passengers informed embarkation would be delayed , others received no information. I got through documentation without delay, then told to "sit over there", where I sat for nearly 3 hours, (place was full of passengers "sitting and waiting") FOOD. Mostly good, but problems with service. Eggs that were supposed to be "cooked until hard" came up so undercooked as to be almost raw, had to send back again and again. Main dining dinner, two passengers at table ordered Pasta with meat and tomato sauce, pasta arrived with NO SAUCE at all, waiter asked to provide sauce, replied "it is coming" then he served 5 other passengers entrees, then went on to serve other tables. The pasta went cold , and others at table finished entrees and still no sauce. Decided to "forget entree". Verandah, This was not open for 3 days. Shore tours, I did not take these as have mobility problems, but 3 couples at my table took various different tours at different ports. Very dissatisfied, tours started as much as an hour late, finished early, or did not cover stated routes. Production shows. Most entertainment was solo performers, lack of production shows very obvious. Immigration at Fort Lauderdale. I tried to register for wheelchair assistance, 3 days in advance, told "No wheelchair assist available at Fort Lauderdale". 24 hours later learned there would be wheelchairs, but no information as to where to meet . Finally told to meet at Casino at 8a.m , there was no list of names, and no Cunard staff to organize. Waited over 2 hours to get off ship, passport control took less than 5 minutes, then told "sit over there" so we sat and waited and waited, and waited . after 2 hours of shivering , we saw a group of Travel agents, being escorted aboard by Cunard Staff all smiles and good will.. Angry passengers asked why we fare paying passengers where being kept waiting, but received no answers, and no help, just told to "SIT DOWN". Finally allowed back on board around 12.45p.m. Total time out of cabin or off ship, almost 5 hours. No apologies, no explanation, but it was clear delay was not Immigration fault, but due to problems with Cunard. Disembarkation. 2 days before received 3 separate envelopes (all at same time) containing 3 different areas to meet at 3 different times, and with 3 different coloured luggage tags. Had to visit Pursers desk, stand in line to sort out which was correct. New York, again told to meet at Casino at 8.am, to disembark at 8.30a.m. Wheel chairs and "pushers " there but no movement. We sat and waited and waited. Meaningless and confused orders over public address as to which deck gangway was located, Passengers milling around, as no one knew where or when they could leave ship. Finally the wheelchair passengers got off at 9.45a.m, found luggage, found bus to JFK, many passengers upset as it seemed they would be late at JFK and miss flights. My flight was at 4p.m so I was fine for time, but not pleased at the long wait. Other problem areas :- the TV guide delivered 4th day of cruise, Daily event news often delivered middle of night, so did not know of events or times in advance. No menus on tables in cafe for several days. Dead flowers on dining table in Britannia, In cafe they removed dead flowers, leaving just green leaves, told they had "run out of flowers" It seemed Cunard totally unable to get their act together, they (administration) lurched from one problem to another. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2013
Some friends took a cruise on the Queen Elizabeth (QE) at Christmas last year and did nothing but complain. Also, I traveled on the QE2, several times before her retirement and quite liked her. So,I didn't expect much from the ... Read More
Some friends took a cruise on the Queen Elizabeth (QE) at Christmas last year and did nothing but complain. Also, I traveled on the QE2, several times before her retirement and quite liked her. So,I didn't expect much from the newest Queen. But, I got a good deal on the web a few weeks before the cruise and decided to book the Los Angeles to Ft Lauderdale leg of the QE's world cruise. For the on board experience, the QE is pretty closed to the QE2. The public rooms are quite nice and well maintained. There is plenty of deck space and there was never a problem finding a deck chair. It was a pretty old crowd on board and I didn't think the walker and wheel chair crowd took to the tropical heat of the Panama Canal very well. There was even plenty of road on deck while going through the Canal. I ate most meals in the Britannia Restaurant. Service at dinner, where we had the same waiter, was excellent. Breakfast was a bit more varied. It seemed as if a quite a few of the staff were being trained. Food was quite good. Fish, Spa Menu, and Vegetarian dishes being the best. Some deserts were great, like the souffle and some were weak, like the tart with canned pudding. The lobster was a disappointment, but fortunately I had some great lobster in Nicaragua and Grand Cayman. If you like spicy food, look elsewhere. I was on board for Passover. A Passover Seder (Dinner) was held in the Lido. Food and service was quite good and the Rabbi was awesome. My cabin was a cheap inside on Deck 5. It was bigger than expected and was well serviced by the cabin steward. Towels were available for on shore trips to the beach. The entertainment was actually quite good. Good singers, musicians, and various other entertainers. If you like Big Band music, this is your ship, especially when the two ship bands combine to form a very large band. The casino had a live Texas Holdem poker game most afternoons and evenings. A good poker crowed provided a fun game and some great gossip. Apparently, two people were put off the ship for fighting with the irons in the launderette and 8 people died on the cruise. (I said it was an older crowd). I include the other passengers as part of the entertainment. Mostly British, American, and Canadian, with quite a few Australians. The world cruise folks were a hoot. They would complain about everything and then discuss which cabin to book for next year. They also provided some great competition at lawn bowls, which I learned how to play on board. So why a 4 and not a 5? Food was good, but often not great. Service was great, but sometimes not at breakfast and lunch. Facilities, bars, and public area were great, but drink prices were high and they charged for some things that they shouldn't, like using some of the spa facilities and bottled water when leaving the ship. I would cruise on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
A couple who we met on a transatlantic cruise on HAL in 2008 and bumped into again on another HAL cruise from Amsterdam to New York in 2010 emailed us about a sale of just a few days for a 15 or 18 day Panama Canal cruise on Cunard's ... Read More
A couple who we met on a transatlantic cruise on HAL in 2008 and bumped into again on another HAL cruise from Amsterdam to New York in 2010 emailed us about a sale of just a few days for a 15 or 18 day Panama Canal cruise on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth in March. I checked and the sale was for balcony staterooms. The prices were considerably less than an inside statement. Our price was around $122 a day per person for the 15 days. It was under $100 if we had continued on to New York from Ft. Lauderdale at no additional charge. I tried to buy the trip through Cunard, but at the sale price they refused to sell trip insurance. I was able to get the price with trip insurance. However once I went through a travel agency I was basically persona non gratia with Cunard. There was no airport transfer for sale or a transfer from their hotel in Santa Monica to the LA docks in San Pedro. It was just as well. Cunard wanted $680 a night at their hotel prior to the cruise. I know it is vacation time and I shouldn't be counting nickels but that is ridiculous. I called around and found a room at the nearby Ritz-Carlton in Marina Del Rey for $400 less. The cab ride from the airport to the Ritz was $20 and from the hotel to San Pedro and the ship was $80. I was happy to pay it, heck I had just saved $400. Embarkation was delayed. It was pushed back because there had been a norovirus outbreak during the trip from New Zealand to LA. It was hard to complain about an extra good cleaning before health inspectors boarded. However we were crammed into a departure terminal where I was thinking they should have served some ice tea, lemonade or other cold drinks. I was beginning to wonder about Cunard; that all changed for the most part when we got on board. Our bags beat us to the room. The room steward was there minutes behind us. The stateroom was small, but it was what we expected. The chair and table on the balcony were of high quality. It turns out the bed was great. There was not one morning with either of us waking up with a sore back. There was just one problem with the room...the shower. It was soooo small it was almost impossible to turn around. The size of the shower would not have been a problem if Cunard had simply had hand held shower heads. The usual cruise ship sign was present asking us to conserve water. It was impossible to do. Someone suggested soaping up the wall of the shower and try turning around. If you dropped the soap or a small bottle of shampoo you literally had to exit the shower to bend over and pick it up. I used twice as much water trying to position myself under the shower head than I would have used if there had only been a hand held shower nozzle. My wife quickly wised up and for most of the cruised showered in the spa. FOOD: Okay the English sausages are simply awful. Breakfast was average at best on the ship, with one exception. There were no long lines you become accustomed to on HAL or Celebrity. The fresh squeezed OJ would cost almost $5 a glass and didn't taste like OJ. Blueberry muffins were scarce, probably held back from the swells in the special dining areas. However the bagels were good the hot food was hot and the cold food was cold. However the good news for the English ship (owned by an American Corporation) is that it had a German chef. We mere people in balcony staterooms were pretty much the same as being in steerage 100 years ago. We did not get to sample the Queen and Princess Grills that the "suite dwellers" used but we didn't mind at all. The lunches at the Lido and the dinners in the main dining room served the best food I have ever had on a full size cruise ship. There was absolutely no need to spend extra money in The Verandah restaurant. My last trip on Celebrity included the use of a special dining area for suite customers. The everyday food on the QE was much better than the upscale food on Celebrity. The soups were also a treat. The wait staff was very attentive and close-by, unlike those waiters on HAL who saw their table count double after 2008. For two weeks if anyone at our table had a special request or wanted something not on the menu the response from the wait staff was always the same,..."No Problem." Beyond the Lido buffet was the hamburger and fries area on the rear pool deck. Burgers were as good as you will get on any cruise ship and better than most. On some days the onion rings were awful, simply frozen out of a bag. But on some days they made hand dripped O-rings right before your eyes. It was a great treat. In the Lion Pub there was lunch service also that included fish and Chips and Shepherd's Pie...definitely English and also good. The only non four-star item were the afternoon scones. The high tea held every day with music was a very nice touch, but the scones were average at best. It took about two days of an average Breakfast, an outstanding lunch followed by afternoon scones and then a great dinner to make you realize you had to dial it back and just participate in two eating things a day. Either skip breakfast and do lunch or enjoy breakfast and wait until dinner before eating again. You couldn't do both plus scones and dinner, it was just too much even if you are a big fat slob. . ACTIVITIES 1: I GOTTA DANCE: Geez there was a lot of dancing on this cruise. There were dance classes in the morning and afternoon. The dance floor was busy in the early evening with couples dancing to recorded music and the floor was packed later in the evening when the ships "dance band" was on stage. The beauty of the ship's dance band is that it Cunard is one of the last lines that since has a brass section. Most cruise lines eliminated trumpet and trombone players. Not Cunard. They have a trombone and trumpet player in both the dance band and in the theater band. The only drawback to the dance band was that the male vocalist was simply awful. BIG BAND NIGHT One night during the cruise the dance band and the theater bands were combined in the ballroom for a true big band. There are not any songs from the Maynard Ferguson or Stan Kenton playbooks, but they did a very good job on the classics. Although I was waiting to see a couple of heart attacks when they played Benny Goodman's very fast paced Sing, Sing, Sing and several 70-plus couples jumped onto the dance floor and kept up with the music. Everyone survived. STAGE ENTERTAINMENT: The ship's shows were average at best. The passenger list was led by Americans followed by Brits. But of the total the folks from the UK were probably 35-percent of the ship's passengers. You would not have known that from the fly-in entertainers. They were mostly British and were telling enough local jokes to lose most of the audience. Also I'm getting tired of comics who make fun of cruise ships, passengers and staff. I really don't enjoy paying for a cruise only to have the cruise line bring someone aboard to make fun of me. One complaint we heard from fellow passengers who had been on several legs of the cruise was how the entertainment began to repeat itself including guest entertainers. "Please let us see someone different" was their complaint. When they are booking large amounts of Americans they might be wise to add an American or two into the entertainment mix. THANK YOU...THANK YOU...THANK YOU: The QE was the first ship I have been on where the casino is smoke free. No more walks to the theater only to arrive reeking of cigarette smoke. Also the QE does not force you to wind through the casino. I was greatly appreciated. NIGHTLY MUSIC: The Commodore's Club on Deck11 is the most sophisticated "top of the ship" lounge I have ever seen. No bright colors and low furniture. This place really made you feel as if you were in a private club. Plus there was plenty of service. It was never annoying, but if you wanted something there was wait staff there to take your order. Perhaps the best part of this room was the musician at the piano. Graham Wellard during the early evening pre dinner times before 8:30 played wonderful songs from the "American Songbook" plus others from familiar composers of the 30s, 40s and 50s. Rodgers and Hart, Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern to songs from obscure Blossom Dearie albums made 50 years ago. The best part of enjoying Wellard was after dinner when he also sang. The number of songs with music and words this guy has committed to memory is very impressive. He was without a doubt the best performer doing "a single" act on the ship. The four women from the Ukraine playing as the EOS String Quartet were also very good. Unlike other string quartets I have seen on other cruise ships, the played the hits...the Classical Top 100...the pieces that most people recognized. They also mixed in arrangements of Broadway hits and some standards from the 40s and 50s. People who walked by or sat and listened could not help but have a smile on their face. Pianist Edward Watts also had a nice touch and a great smile. Actually the guy from London almost looks like a young Hugh Grant. He would play in mid ships area, at teas and in the dining rooms. The only negative observation about Watts was that due to his lack of songs he would play one song for 10 minutes. This ship had at least five pianos. I'm talking real life pianos and not the electronic Grand Slam models found on HAL ships. You open a piano on a Cunard ship and you find strings and not a storage area for prizes for Name That Tune contests. SOUR NOTE: The only negative thing to report from the ship's music department was pianist Robin Rose who was manning the 88 keys in the Golden Lion Pub. It was not that he couldn't play, but if the crowd was thin in the pub, he would quit playing and go have a pint with the customers. One night I was sitting at a large table with Aussies. The late night trivia game had just ended. The ship schedule showed Rose was supposed to play from "midnight until late." Rose arrived and one person said, "Good now we can hear some tunes." "No I just picking up my stuff there is no one here to play for," said Rose. "But the schedule says you are playing again at midnight," said a customer who had just ordered a drink. "There is nobody here," said Rose. "There is the six of us," someone else said. "Are you all going to be buying drinks," asked Rose as he picked up his belongings and left. I have never heard a cruise ship entertainer be so rude to customers. The cruise lines like to calls us "guests" but in reality we are paying customers. TOURS: The one area where Cunard is just like other cruise lines are their tours. They are always overpriced! We were able to walk a couple blocks away from the docks and find a taxi driver who would take us on great tours off the meter. My usual request to the driver is to take me where I will not see any tourists." Even at $100 or $120 for two or three hours, the per person rate is always cheaper than a ship's tour and more interesting. ACTIVITIES 2: They had lots of activities on sea days, even if most were geared to old people. The speaker series was actually quite good. The trivia or quiz contests were clearly geared toward Brits. Most Americans are not going to get the answer to the question, "Which London Underground line does not stop in Zone-One?" Englishman Michael Jackson and Laura of the cruise director's staff were just great and a lot of fun, regardless what activity they were hosting. NOT PLAYING TO YOUR CUSTOMER BASE: The first weekend of the cruise the Lions Pub TVs were all on the Premier English Football games. But with a ship of more Americans than any other nationality, the staff let down both the customers and Cunard when four days later they did not show any of the all-day first-round of the NCAA college basketball tournament. This pub would have been full all day selling lots of beverages to American college basketball fans. When I mentioned this to the staff they said they had never heard of the NCAA basketball tournament. This was simply poor planning by the staff. (The games were available on satellite TV received by the ship.) The other area of the staff not knowing the customers was one I see regularly on cruise ships. This ship had a large number of people between the ages of 70 and 85. They had a "Name that Tune" contest one evening. The least popular member of the cruise director staff, Tommie Hill, who was usually the least prepared, did what you see often. Tommie thought rock songs from the 90s or 1985 were ancient and perfect for the old people. However the older people wanted to hear songs by Vera Lynn or from Oklahoma, South Pacific or My Fair Lady. Something by Z.Z. Top left them with confused and disgusted looks on their faces. LIBRARY: This ship had a library consisting of over 6,000 books located on two different decks. It was the most books I have ever seen on a cruise ship. INTERNET SERVICE: Okay, the internet service was slow like on most cruise ships, but it seemed to be a little faster than on my last four cruises. FRONT DESK: You don't normally notice the front desk service, but I did on this cruise. No matter how frustrating the four prior customers might have been, the front desk staff were excellent. Most of the also appeared to be from England. CONGRESS AND CUNARD RUINED MY TRIP HOME: With the slow down for Federal services during the sequester, we found ourselves victims of Congress and Cunard. We had a 10:45 flight from the nearby Ft. Lauderdale airport. A five-to-10 minute cab ride away. We were promised we would be off between 8:30 and 9am. Only one custom agent showed up at 7:30 to clear the ship. That agent was joined by two more by 9am. This was Congress' doing. However Cunard did not allow us customers with morning air flights off first. No...they let passengers who were continuing on to New York or Southampton and who paid for a "ship's tour" off first. They put a few extra bucks in their pocket while leaving a bad taste in the month of customers disembarking from the cruise. The captain's apology over the loudspeaker sounded great until you realized that you missed your flight because people with $45 transfers to a shopping center were getting off before you. We missed our flight and got separated from our luggage. Even with this issue...I have to say I was spoiled. I will start looking for destination and sale prices first with Cunard in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
we arrived via amtrak to la. and stayed at the long beach hyatt for 3 days, with a view of the harbor and carnival ship which was docked near the queen mary(hotel). many fine restaurants within walking distance of hotel. on cruise day we ... Read More
we arrived via amtrak to la. and stayed at the long beach hyatt for 3 days, with a view of the harbor and carnival ship which was docked near the queen mary(hotel). many fine restaurants within walking distance of hotel. on cruise day we took "prime time shuttle" to port of san pedro about 20 min from long beach. we like shuttle service ilo taxi as there is no meter ticking if there is a delay. we arrived at ship before noon, and embarkation was painless. upon boarding, we were pleased our balcony cabin was ready. a full bottle of champagne awaited us, and were impressed by the cabin itself. the cabin, although maybe not as large as other ships, was none the less functional, with room for 2 large suitcases and two roll ons. typical bathroom with upscale hair products and soaps.fixed shower head with "hot" water welcomed. the cabin was attractive and bed comfortable. qe is a beautiful ship,with muted tones and lots of wood. the ship is easy to navigate from bow to stern. but as our cabin was forward. it is quite a walk to therear dining room(which is probably why my clothes still fit at cruise end). qe is the most formal ship we have taken, and a tuxedo, dark suit or dinner jacket required on many formal nights. elegant casual meant jacket with no tie, semi-formal jacket with tie. note all nights required a jacket. entertainment was good to excellent. we especially enjoyed DOMINIC JOHN the classical pianist, and the ALDEC DUO, a pair of lovely twin sisters who played the violin(viola) and piano. the queens room orchestra was terrific, and the dance floor was filled every evening by a "cult" of ballroom dancers, this ship is a dancer's paradise. the small "calypso" band was delightful and played great 50's and 60's tunes. the pianist in the atrium and in the commodore club"aka crows nest" were outstanding. we did not hear the group in the "yacht club" but i heard they were very good. the food on the ship was spotty. we did not eat at the "award winning" veranda restaurant.{extra charge), as we did not care for the menu. as the qe is a "class" ship suite guests and "britannia club" members could dine at separate venues. the other restaurants at which we dined were the main britannia dining room, the lido and the pub. the lido was self serve during day and evening, but certain sections became specialty pay extra restaurants. the lido food meals for breakfast and lunch were good. we did not eat lido evening meals. the pub was great, with british food and ales flowing. the bread pudding and stickey toffee pudding delicious. service for us in all restaurants was excellent. in the main britannia restaurant we had a table for two next to the captain's table. captain "wells" was a hoot, ran a first class operation, and was instrumental in containing a case of passenger norovirus during our voyage. listening to captain WELLS noon announcements was a joy. the main dining room food was a big disappointment. while many meals were very good, too many missed the mark. the quality of food was not on par with other cruise lines we have taken. perhaps this was a "one off" cruise, but we will not be taking the qe again if this was there standard dining fare. we did not realize how huge the pacific ocean was as we crossed two intl date lines, two equators and endless time zones. we should have guessed, with a 36 dar cruise and 20 sea days. however, sailing to Hawaii, Tahiti, new Zealand and bora bora was worth the sea days. the four ports in new Zealand were diverse and interesting, Auckland a large city w/great harbor. in touranga we toured a kiwi factory and learned kiwi is a "super" healthy fruit. napier a nice little city for shopping. our last nz stop was the capital of wellington. perhaps our favorite, with the te papa museum and beautiful waterfront port. hawaii had great attractions and a good tour of a macadamia nut factory. in conclusion(whew), the qe caters to older folks who love formal evenings and dancing.if not for the main dining experience, i would give this ship 4 stars. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2012
The Queen Victoria is a wonderful ship. The cruise to Hawaii had a total of eight sea days and only four ports in Hawaii and one final port, Ensenada. We enjoy the atmosphere aboard ship and the sea days were nice, but the weather was ... Read More
The Queen Victoria is a wonderful ship. The cruise to Hawaii had a total of eight sea days and only four ports in Hawaii and one final port, Ensenada. We enjoy the atmosphere aboard ship and the sea days were nice, but the weather was surprisingly cold. So for most of the trip you couldn't use the pool. We have traveled on the Queen Victoria before and find the staff outstanding. We have taken many cruises with Cunard, on all of their ships, and find the tour office really lacking in proper tours. What they advertise and promote as Cunard tours and at an expensive price, are not in reality the tours you get. I have found that if you go ashore and find your own guide for a tour, you save almost 75% of what Cunard charges and you get a much better tour. Cunard also nickles and dimes you with fees and charges. $2.00 for a bottle of water + 15%, 15% gratuity on anything you purchase on board including, corking charges for wine, the wine at meals and the carefully measured cocktails are not cheap with the added 15%. At the first Hawaiian port hundreds of people were purchasing sodas and liquor to bring back on board. And this happened all additional ports too. Forget the ship's laundry service, $4.00 to clean a shirt. So if you can get a good discount on a Cunard cruise to places you wish to visit and can avoid their lousy tour office recommendations and avoid the bar purchases and extras, the ship itself and the staff are wonderful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2012
The Queen Victoria is a great ship of the Cunard Line. I thought I would walk through many of the aspects of this trip that I did enjoy and make some comments on the negatives also. Starting at the Beginning. Embarkation: Getting ... Read More
The Queen Victoria is a great ship of the Cunard Line. I thought I would walk through many of the aspects of this trip that I did enjoy and make some comments on the negatives also. Starting at the Beginning. Embarkation: Getting on the Queen Victoria in Los Angeles has been problems for many who have previously commented on this site. I found that I was greeted by professional baggage handlers at the drop off who took the baggage quickly and handled it quite nicely as I stood and watched from the door area for a few minutes. Walking into the port embarkation area was clearly marked. I stood in line for maybe 10 minutes to get into the building and another 10 minutes going through security and maybe 10 minutes getting through check in at the counter. I had a Q5 Suite booked and that put my entry in the que first. The staff had room / ID cards already made, they took my credit card information and passport quickly and when done I walked on the ship. I did note that the Britannia Cabins were waiting to check in second and that it took them quite a few hours to get completed as my cabin balcony look over the entry gangway to the ship. I was greeted nicely by staff dressed up in their finest uniforms at the entry to the ship and was offered directions to my cabin and there was a staff member at the elevators to call them for the passengers coming on board. Music was playing also. A nice touch in the Grand Lobby of a Cunard Line Ship. Q5 Cabin 8163 Since I had studied the deck plan of the QV I knew were my suite was and found it easily. The cabin was in excellent shape, the assistant butler (Joel) came to the cabin within a few minutes of my arrival and asked if there was anything I needed. He said he would inquire about luggage that I had shipped to the port prior to my arrival and it showed up promptly. The room had been set up with champagne on ice and the liquors I had previously ordered and the fridge was nicely stocked with soft drinks. And there was a nice selection of fruit on the counter. The fresh flowers were very nice and the carnations doubled as boutonnieres on formal nights. The Butler (one of only a few female butlers on Cunard Line) Jackie came in to visit and introduce herself after lunch in the Queens Grill Restaurant. She was also very professional and assuring that requests would be promptly met. The room was cared for professionally and there were days that I thought it was magic because I would go to breakfast and the room was perfect when I returned. Bed made, bathroom spotless and the mess I make with papers all tightened up and I never saw who did all this work. The first night I was exhausted after dinner and the bed was not yet turned down but I did it myself because I was going to crash. Jackie and Joel came to the room door when they saw I had returned and wanted to take care of all the necessary turn downs but I was so tired and had already done the necessary turn down myself. Both Jackie and Joel appologized for not completing the turn down. Jackie always came exactly on time with on mornings I ordered breakfast and one time for dinner I ordered by phone and it was there piping hot and she made sure there was a table cloth spread out on the table and all set perfectly. Just outstanding service every day. This cabin is at the aft end of the ship and has an large balcony. Due to rain and colder weather I only got out on it one day and for brief periods to take pictures as the ship came into and out of port. My only comment about this Suite in general is that it is at the aft of the ship. The crossing of the Pacific is a rough thing mostly due to 16 foot waves on many days for this trip. Being at the aft end it bounces quite a bit with the natural pitch movement of the ship. I found I had trouble sleeping some nights and moving about the cabin in rough weather is an interesting undertaking. I think they should renovate this ship and move these Suites to a more central location to reduce to bouncing. And of course let those who pay less enjoy the bumping about the aft end cabin. Dining on Queen Victoria: My first meal on QV was in the Queens Grill Restaurant just after coming aboard. I was greeted nicely by Raul the Maitre D and the Head Waiter Eduardo and escorted to my table. The staff pulled out my chair every time I came to the restaurant and unfolded and placed a linen napkin on my lap each meal. My wait staff assigned was Francis the waiter and Emilio the assistant waiter. Both could not have been more attentive and accommodating. Great service and the food was spectacular. I have never had better service. I have to say I had the biggest laugh of the trip when I was delivered some nicely prepared salad/appetizer that was a perfect ball on the plate and Emilio leaned over next to me and said "Nice Ball". Emilio was from Croatia and I believe he meant to compliment the foods appearance and he totally missed why I cracked up and laughed the rest of the evening. I believe it was all in the translation as Francis heard the exchange and chided poor Emilio for the comment. It made my evening and I still chuckle about it now. I dined in the Pub for a Fish and Chips Pub Lunch and it was great. I liked that the pub sat people dining there and were very attentive. Only negative was that there should have been some music playing during lunch. Lunch in Todd English was very good and service was very attentive. My only negative is that it is al la carte pricing not a one time charge for the menu in Todd English. I didn't like that for some reason. And with the great service at the Grills Lounge and Restaurant I really didn't need to go to a speciality restaurant at all. The Lido Buffet was good, Pizza for lunch was Great. Made on the spot and hot on delivery. The Lido was always busy, finding a table was difficult at times of lunch and breakfast. But the staff were very quick to refill coffee mugs and to tidy up the tables for new arrivals. The buffet queuing by certain people was interesting to watch as I think different nationalities have a different concept of how to line up or not for a buffet meal selection. I am pretty easy going so it didn't bother me at all but I could see some getting upset with the issue. Sommeliers: First, the Sommelier in the Queens Grill that was assigned to my table's area was Richard. Always a smile and a greeting and all the guests could tell that Richard liked his work and enjoyed talking with the guests. He had no issue with also helping pull out chairs for guests and placing napkins on laps and he took special requests for strange drinks without missing a step. I always try to order something that may not be in stock on the ship to see the reaction. They always had my request except for a Sky Martini. No Sky Vodka?? Some I met on the ship thought the amount of liquor received for a drink was not adequate but I never found that to be an issue. The staff were always available and quick on the service in all the venues. I did enjoy High Tea in the Afternoon and the service was white glove all the way in the Queen's Lounge. I am sure the rule of gaining a pound a day applied fully to my experience. Entertainment: I do have to say, the dancing and singing in the shows was very professional. The shows were fantastic. I reserved a box for one performance and had a great time. The staff served champagne and sweets prior to the show and made sure I had a great time enjoying the box seat. I felt like they were going out of their way to make sure I was getting the most out of the experience. I enjoyed the entertainment in the Commodore Club which was a piano entertainer. The night I went up to that lounge there was an entertainment quiz also based on James Bond movies. I did poorly at the trivia of course but between a few cocktails and the music it was a great night. The Entertainment staff members were great at Bingo games and I did see them having a great time with the line dancing classes also. I don't ballroom dance but I did see quite a few people dancing on those times when the orchestra was playing. I went to the Captain's Party for the Grills Guests and met the Captain! She was very nice and spoke well of her crew. Also I met the Ships Doctor. She was very informative and since I am a Nurse Practitioner she offered a tour of the Medical Center. I did not take her up on it but it was very nice to have the offer. She spoke well for the ship and crew and introduced several other officers to me and took time to go over various aspects of ship functions and how the medical staff respond to emergencies and common issues of health for the crew. And the drinks were free !!! It was in Hemisphere's the ships night club. That space was very nice also. I did not seem to be busy on this trip, mostly because of the age of the guests. But I could see this space very full of fun during a shorter cruise with younger guests on board. Spa and Bath House and Exercise Center: This area is well done. The views from the equipment of the sea was fantastic. The area was well kept and the service there was great. I had a facial, and a stone massage and another treatment where the staff had warm oils flow on my third eye and over my head / scalp followed by a shoulder and head massage. All were well done. The staff was very professional. I did find that the fee for the Bath House pool use and sauna's was over priced and not a good value for my money as I did not get there every day. But the area was nicely made and well kept. The warm loungers outside the sauna area were great and the view out the windows made the experience all the better. Excursions: The excursions set up by Cunard were very good. I think they were a bit cheesy when the buses would stop for 10 minutes to take pictures and then get back on the bus to drive down the street to do the same thing over and over till we got to the main attraction. Of course I did get some great photos to remember my trip with. I took one excursion each port. They were all well organized and I give credit to the entertainment staff that they could keep it all organized as well as they did. The one announcer in the Queen's Room gathering place was confused about his Left and Right hand but it all worked out. I forgot my wallet of all things on one morning and had to run to my suite and get it and the escort for my tour held the bus and made sure I got on board before clearing the bus to leave the dock area. Very nice. Over all Impression: Beautiful Ship, Great Crew, Excellent Captain Olsen. A bit of a bumpy ride in rough seas but Well Done. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
This review is going to be fairly long to cover all points we wish to make. We booked direct with Cunard who were then and up to leaving from UK very helpful. At LAX we were kept waiting for over 90 minutes after going through ... Read More
This review is going to be fairly long to cover all points we wish to make. We booked direct with Cunard who were then and up to leaving from UK very helpful. At LAX we were kept waiting for over 90 minutes after going through immigration and collecting our luggage for a coach to take us to our hotel. The Cunard staff did not inform us why until several of us got fed up with waiting and some decided to make their own way to hotel. Hotel was 1st class and attached to Kodak theatre which had held the Oscars the previous night. We expected Holywood Bvd to be a nice upmarket area but found that it was run down with many empty shops & cracked pavements which were easy to trip over. We were due to leave hotel at 1pm and when we asked to Cunard staff if we would be in time for lunch was told that by the time we got on it would be finished due to the traffic and time to get through check in. 2.30pm we were sat in The Lido having lunch. (thank goodness we had got away from Cunard's USA staff). After lunch it was to the cabin to unpack. Yes our cases were there. We had an A4 balcony that was lovely. The bathroom was small with only a shower. On our previous cruise with H&A whilst packing I pulled the sofa out to see if anything had fallen behind and was amazed that that area had not been cleaned for many months. One of the first things I did in this cabin was to look behind sofa which was clean. We ate breakfast & lunch in The Lido every day and dinner in The Britannia Restaurant. The Lido was fine with a good selection. The Britannia was excellent in all ways. One evening I did send my steak back as too tough and it was replaced without question. Every evening on arriving at our table we were greeted by our waiters by name and the wine waiter was over with our drinks without having to order. The ship is in excellent condition I mention this as some people in their reviews have complained. All I can say is that ever day the crew were cleaning & painting the outside and on 2 occasions we found Crew members on their knees scrapping the dirt up from where the wall meets the carpet and obviously the vacuum cleaner cant get in there. Entertainment was very good, maybe not as good as some ships that go in for more of the west end type shows but we had some great acts.Throughout the ship there were musicians playing a variety of instruments every day. The dancing in The Ballroom was very entertaining probably because we were lucky enough to have several Asian couples who were very good and seemed to be in competition with each other, however the final dance competition was won by a couple in their seventies doing the jive. This ship is not big looking at some of the vessels having been produced recently but due to the number of guests there is always somewhere to sit and relax. Alternatively you can wander the public spaces and look at the many interesting things to see or read. The staff were very friendly and helpful except the pursers or reception. We were enjoying the cruise so much we asked if we could stay on to Southampton as we were due to leave in New York. We had been told other people had been asked if they wanted to stay on. We went 3 times each time seeing a different person and each time being told they would get back to us. The didn't. After again asking we were told to do and see the cruise sales department who told us that as we were already on a cruise it was not their job but would get someone to get back to us. They didn't. This is the only complaint we have with Queen Victoria. The ports of call were Manzanillo Mexico. Went on organised trip waste of money.Wont be going back. Huatulco Mexico nice little port but not very interesting. Wont be going back. Puntarenas Costa Rica. went on organised trip called forest tree top walk. We were taken to this place where the only wild life found was a group of ants moving leaves. the tree top walk was over 3 bridges about 20 metres above gulley's no where near the tree tops. The highlight of the day was seeing around 15 crocodiles on a mud bank. Wont be going back to this side but I hear the Caribbean side is worth a visit. Then on to The Panama Canal. Great day, it took around 7 hours from one end to the other and it was very interesting. We then had a half day in Cartagena Columbia. What a beautiful old town and could have spent more time here. Be happy to go back. Aruba again organised tour interesting but we wont be going back. St Thomas USVI. Picked up local tour bus at port. 3 hour tour round this typical Caribbean island would be happy to go back. Finally our table guests who were 4 Americans were good company but 2 of them kept on about how Queen Mary is so much better in terms of ride, food, entertainment and service. So I guess that's the ship we will have to go on next time. We hope you find this useful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2012
we booked a package holiday with a Internet cruise company. we had a flight from Manchester to Las Vegas - the fight was very good as it was not full, Our daughter has a friend who is an air hostess on the route from Manchester to Las ... Read More
we booked a package holiday with a Internet cruise company. we had a flight from Manchester to Las Vegas - the fight was very good as it was not full, Our daughter has a friend who is an air hostess on the route from Manchester to Las Vegas and she arranged special treatment for us, Champs and chocolates and as the flight was not fully booked we had extra seat room were we could lie down and get some sleep. On arrival at LV we did have a slight problem with the transport to the hotel, first we had to go from one terminal to another to get to the mini bus that was to take us from the airport to the hotel, this did cause a problem as we were the last off, but when we got to the hotel the Venetian and we looked at the room we were lost for words as it was massive, we had three TV and two telephones a TV in the bathroom and a telephone in the toilet. LV is a city that never sleeps there is so much to see and do it is fantastic. On leaving LV we flew to Los Angeles as the flight was full we did not sit together but it was only about 1 hour, when we got to LA airport our only hiccup of the holiday occurred the transport to our hotel it took over an hour to get the transport to pick us up first of all, when we got to the hotel it was not what we expected The Crowne Plaza Beverly hills, certainly not 5 star we would only say 2 star. Our time in LA was well spent on organised tour around the city but as it was the Oscar weekend we could not get to Hollywood Drive, dut overall LA was great. The transport arranged to the cruise terminal was by private luminous and it got us there with about 15 mins before embarkation. We were shown to the grills waiting lounge where we could have had hot drinks if required. we boarded the ship at about 12.15 and went straight to our stateroom, well we could not believe it the size was enormous we had a separate bathroom ans shower from the washroom and toilet,we had more wardroom space than we needed, the living area was also very big and on the balcony we had a table 2 chairs and 2 sunbeds. What can one say about the Queens Grill dining room, the waiters were so attentive you only had to ask for something and it was at your table straight a way, The Metre D he was a perfect gentleman and the head waiter you could not fault him. the food in the grills - we had a different lunch and dinner menu each day and in addition we also had an AL a ca rte dinner menu which was supurd. In the grills lounge you could get hot drinks all day long if required and on the seating area on the deck you could always get a sunbed no matter what time of the day The entertainment on the ship was varied and the Cunard singers and dancer were brilliant, throughout the ship there was entertainment going on all day long, the daily lectures when the ship was not in port were excellent. During the day when at sea there was so much todo, bridge, golf shuffle board dancing lessons, to name a few It was our first time in the grills accommodation and we have said that it is the only way to travel, and we will be looking for our next cruise in this type of accommodation. The only problem we have with Cunard is there pricing structure they say book early to get the best deals, but when you do yes you get the pick of your cabin but later on you could get the next cabin to yours with a price a lot less and an amount of on board spend, Please Cunard help your loyal customers and if people book early and you then reduce the price please give the customer a refund, other wise you will lose customers Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
My husband and I booked this cruise last September after seeing this been advertised on the Cruise channel. We were a little nervous about the cruise as we had heard that the Cunard line was very different to the cruise liner we were use ... Read More
My husband and I booked this cruise last September after seeing this been advertised on the Cruise channel. We were a little nervous about the cruise as we had heard that the Cunard line was very different to the cruise liner we were use to cruising with over the last 8 years. We flew from Heathrow on 3rd January to Los Angeles and stayed in a lovely hotel overnight,we were treated very well and given regular updates on the the embarkation the next day. The only complaint we have is the long queue we encountered on our arrival at the port of embarkation it took a while for us to get on the ship. However, when we did finally get on the Victoria we were so pleased that the wait in the line was quickly forgotten, she is a beautiful ship and very well maintained our cabin was spacious, well appointed and clean. The Cabin attendant was also very good and he cleaned the cabin well. Our waiters in the Britannia dining room were very attentive and met our every need at every meal.The food was excellent in the dining room. Some of the Ports of call were far from the main town and this was a little disappointing as it meant that we had to depend on planned excursions from the ship to get around to the main areas of the places we visited. We loved Costa Rica this Country has spectacular scenery. The Panama Canal is awesome. The entertainment was fairly good although not as versatile as the other cruises we have gone on previously. Most of the entertainment on the Victoria happened around the Queens Room and the Theatre the latter had private boxes that you could hire for a small fee. During the sea days we spent our time listening to the many lectures on the history of the Canal and Robert Powell(actor) he spoke on the life and times of Charles Dickens other English and literary writers. We met many people from various other countries and found them to be of well to do backgrounds and mostly retirees. All in all this will remain one of our favourite cruises. We would definitely travel with Cunard again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Embarkation There was priority embarkation. We arrived at the embarkation hall at about 11:30 and were directed to a waiting area. We were soon given our cruise cards and escorted to another waiting area. Boarding began at about 12:00 and ... Read More
Embarkation There was priority embarkation. We arrived at the embarkation hall at about 11:30 and were directed to a waiting area. We were soon given our cruise cards and escorted to another waiting area. Boarding began at about 12:00 and we were on board by 12:15. Stateroom The bed was close to the window so I could lie in bed and watch the waves! There was a curtain separating the sleeping and sitting area which provided good privacy as we were traveling with our daughter who slept on the sleeper sofa. There was plenty of drawer space for the 3 of us, there seems to be more hanging space in the PG staterooms, but there was certainly enough. There were plugs in the sleeping and sitting area so there was plenty of space for charging all of our electronics. There was a good sized whirlpool tub (great after a day ashore!) and a separate shower, and the toilet and hand basin (only one) were in a separate room, which again provided privacy for the 3 of us. The fridge was always well stocked, and the canapes each night were a real treat. The balcony was a good size and we were able to entertain friends there quite easily. Dining We had a table for 3 by the window which was exactly what I had requested. The food was phenomenal, probably the best we have ever had on a cruise. The service was exceptional, and the sommelier was very helpful as I was not familiar with many of the wines and his suggestions were always good. We were able to eat lunch in the Courtyard on several days, get there early if you want a table in the shade! We also had lunch in the Golden Lion several times, and it was always very good. Due to being late risers we missed breakfast in the dining room and ate in the Lido where the selection was good, and the scrambled eggs tasted delicious. Tea in the Grills Lounge was also a treat, with a good choice of teas available. Entertainment This was also good, and we enjoyed the production shows. The singers and dancers were excellent, and the costumes were interesting. The choreography wasn't exactly to my taste, but the dancers did a good job. We loved Carlo the pianist in the Commodore Club, and ended most evenings relaxing and listening to his wide repertoire. Ports Going through the Panama Canal was the highlight of the trip. Get out on deck early for the best view, we watched from deck 5. There was a row of chairs in front of where we were standing so we did get a good view, and the people seated on the chairs were lucky as they didn't end up having to stand for hours. It was very hot and sunny, so remember sunscreen and a hat. You could buy water and cold drinks so there was no danger of dehydrating. While we were in the lake we went up to the Commodore Club, and realized that you could get an excellent view of the Canal from an air-conditioned seat. I would recommend this to anyone who is concerned about standing out in the sun for a long period of time. Again I expect you would need to get there early for a front row view. We did ship's tours in Huatulco (bird watching) and Aruba (snorkeling) which were well run. We did private tours in Puerto Corinto and Puerto Caldera, and wandered around on our own in Manzanillo and Puerto Quetzal. All ports were interesting and very different. Disembarkation We disembarked in Fort Lauderdale. We were able to disembark at 8:30. The only problem was a lack of porters in the disembarkation hall so I had to wait by our suitcases while my husband went searching for help. It was a bit disorganized. There was also a long delay getting through immigration/customs. It probably took us well over an hour from the time we left the ship until we got into a taxi. Summary I really recommend this itinerary and Queen Victoria. The ports were fascinating, the Canal amazing, and there were just enough sea days so you could read several novels and get a good sun tan. The only issue I had was that the funnel developed a nasty rattle which was annoying when you are out on deck trying to sunbathe. It was really loud. Hopefully they have solved the problem by now! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
This was our first trip on the Queen Victoria having made a number of prior cruises on the Queen Mary 2. Embarkation at the rather huge cruise terminal at LA, was relatively hassle free and we were soon on board. Our luggage arrived at ... Read More
This was our first trip on the Queen Victoria having made a number of prior cruises on the Queen Mary 2. Embarkation at the rather huge cruise terminal at LA, was relatively hassle free and we were soon on board. Our luggage arrived at our cabin on Deck 8 just a few minutes after we did, so it was a quick unpack and off the to explore the ship and what a beautiful ship it is. Our cabin was of a good size, and yes the bathroom was miniscule, but that is the same on most modern cruise ships. The cabin stewardess, La Rosa from the Philippines was very attentive and kept the cabin spotless. There could have been some loungers instead of the upright chairs on the balcony and possibly some more storage space but these are relatively minor issues. Given that the cruise was from LA to Hawaii there was always going to be more days at sea than on most cruises and more opportunities for the traditional Cunard formal themed Balls in the Queens Room. OK, we appreciate that some people might not particularly like so many formal nights, but hey, Its Cunard! Having said that it was noticeable that staff on the ship was not strictly enforcing the dress codes as evidenced by one particular Canadian gentleman who wore jeans, sneakers and a baseball cap for every occasion! Struck it lucky with our table partners, 2 couples from California and a Canadian Couple who know live in Mexico. We enjoyed all the food on offer In both the Britannia restaurant and the Lido. We particularly enjoyed the social "banter" with the waiters at our table. Especially with the wine waiter from the Ukraine. There were four lecturers on this trip. There was a couple talking about Hawaii, it is always difficult to do a "double handed" lecture but this couples presentations were dire to say the least. There was an excellent motivational speaker, how could you not attend a lecture entitled "Are you the person your dog thinks you are?" There was a military historian who spoke about the war in the Pacific and in particular about the men involved in the iconic "raising of the flag" on Iwo Jima picture, it turned out that his late father was one of the men involved. He was a truly excellent speaker. Then we had a travel writer with a series of lectures called "America 101" again really interesting and informative. The entertainment Staff, led by the least pretentious and self-promoting Entertainments director we have met did a wonderful job. The Royal Court singers and Dancers did some fantastic production numbers worthy of any Broadway or West End shows. There was a lady violinist - she was excellent as was the solo pianist. The other acts, a singer (a Nat King Cole tribute) a comedic juggler and an American comedian were good but didn't stand out. Were the excursions on offer value for money? Probably not, as at each island equivalent "local" tours were available at a cheaper price. However in Honolulu, we were advised to get the ship excursion to the USS Arizona memorial as the tickets to the memorial are provided with the tour. If you did do it yourself you would have had to take pot luck on getting a ticket, dependant on what other cruise ships might be in port and you would almost certainly had a long wait to get to the memorial which was not the case with the ship provided excursion as we were at the memorial within 45 minutes of arriving at the site. Would we travel with Cunard again? certaiinly Would we travel on the Queen Victoria again? certainly Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2011
We sailed on the Cunard Queen Victoria 2-week Christmas voyage from Los Angeles roundtrip to Hawaii in the Queen's Grill level of service this year -- December 21, 2011 through January 4, 2012. I have to say, the service, ... Read More
We sailed on the Cunard Queen Victoria 2-week Christmas voyage from Los Angeles roundtrip to Hawaii in the Queen's Grill level of service this year -- December 21, 2011 through January 4, 2012. I have to say, the service, accommodations, food and itinerary were outstanding. I have been a frequent traveler on Crystal Cruises (Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony) over the years. In comparison, I would give a slight edge to Crystal for their fewer passengers on board, and better embarkation/disembarkation experience. Otherwise, the Cunard experience was really really tremendous. Stateroom Accommodation -- I travelled with my mom and her service dog. While I love my mom, we do like our space. Also, although our service dog is small, a deck was essential. Our stateroom was QV4188. The room was one of the larger Queen's Grill "standard" suites (same price as most others), and had over 700 sq ft (including the balcony). (Thanks to Joe at PG Travel who helped arrange this!) It was at the stern of the ship on the 4th deck. As a corner unit, it had an unusually large wrap around balcony. The balcony was also deep. The balcony easily held 2 lounges, 2 tables and 2 chairs -- with lots of room to spare on the other side. Being at the back of the ship, we did get a bit more noise -- perhaps from the stabilizers. Certainly we got some noise from the anchor being lowered and raised. Our neighbor passenger requested to move because of sensitivity to the vibration/humming, but we did not find this to be a problem. I note that we did seem to roll on the waves a bit -- other passengers commented on this too. Not sure if we had rougher seas, or the ship's size contributed a bit. That said, my mom really liked being in this location, she says it was the best spot on the ship, as you could watch the wake, see the rainbows in the rain, and be lulled to sleep by the rocking. Inside the stateroom, we had a decent sized "living" area for the sofa, desk table and chair. We had 2 twin beds, which was a bit cozy, but for 2 weeks we managed. We each had separate closets and my mom used the separate dressing area/table just outside the bathroom. The bathroom was rather large with 2 sinks, and tub with jets and a separate shower cubicle. The room also had a nice granite counter, small cooler fridge and bar sink. We were very comfortable. Internet/Television. The internet service was spotty at best. Don't even think about Skype -- the bandwidth is just too small. Honestly, the television availability was terrible -- but you are not on a cruise to watch tv, right? Bring DVDs. (The library is very extensive, too, and has lots of books peruse and DVDs to watch). Dining. I was very impressed with our dining experience. In the Queen's Grill, the facilities felt small and intimate. We had our own table for 2, but were able to get to know our neighboring diner's a bit without being "stuck" with them for 2 weeks. The food was exemplary. My favorite were the breakfasts. I splurged and had eggs benedict with the eggs perfectly poached on most days. Dinners were an event! Being a native Californian, I did notice a scarcity of greens -- fresh lettuces, broccoli, etc., but no worries. We had an amazing Christmas dinner with all the trimmings -- turkey, gravy and stuffing. My mom is partial to caviar, and had it several times -- properly served with all the trimmings! Our sommelier was outstanding -- I was able to try wines and send them back if not pleased -- most of the time, I was very much pleased! I did note a smaller selection of European wines than available on the Crystal. Afternoon tea is very special. Tea is served in the Queen's Room -- a beautiful room -- and accompanied by a string quartet (quite delightful). Usually the tea service is packed. We visited on the "Ensenada" day when most people were out on the town. The scones lived up to English expectations. Lounging. Queen's Grill and Princess Grill passengers had their own designated bar/lounge area. This was especially nice at cocktail time, as we got to see the same people and get to chat with them a bit. We also had our own private deck areas to lounge in so that you didn't have to "fight the masses" for a deck chair near the pool. Service. The service for Queen's Grill guests was super. We had a butler, and butler's assistant who were very good. With me, my mom and a dog, we were a handful. (I took care of all of the dog's needs, including potty clean up). Everything was tidied up and fresh towels available twice per day. We had fresh flowers in the room, canapés delivered every afternoon (around 5 pm) to give us energy for the evening activities. A special note about Cunard and my mom's service dog. The service and accommodation we received was commendable. The advance team was generally helpful and tried very hard to facilitate our departure. The Chief Purser, himself, greeted us at the embarkation area to help sort out getting us on board, and also made valiant efforts to help us with governmental officials in Hawaii. Most of the staff were delightful to us all, and my mom's service dog received lots of affection and attention. Note that travelling with a service dog is doable, but not a trivial task. I wrote a blog giving practical tips about cruising with your service dog, my experience with Cunard in particular, and the trials of dealing with governmental regulation in Hawaii. Please see www.travelindog.blogspot.com Spa & Salon. The salon was pleasant and huge! considering this was a cruise ship! There were 3 chairs for hairdressers (who were constantly busy), a manicurist station, waiting area, plus a whole labyrinth of rooms or spa treatments. My mom visited the hair dresser 3 times during the trip -- they were adequate. I visited the masseuse twice -- she was AMAZING! All services are pricey, but good. Shopping. Ok, I like to shop. Because of the ship's size there was a surprisingly good selection of goodies, clothing, jewelry and books -- all of very good quality. I especially liked that they tried to feature goods made in England, including "Harrod's" items, jams, chocolates, and some leather goods (including Radley of London). Live Entertainment. Top rate talent, and lots of it! Live string quartet every day at tea, concert pianist , cocktail pianists, bands and Broadway/West End level shows. Christmas Activities. The efforts by the Cunard staff were amazing -- they brought a wonderful holiday spirit to the entire cruise. First, the decorations were abundant! The main lobby area banisters were festooned with garlands over three decks. There were lighted Christmas trees in almost every public space. Special activities on board included gingerbread house making (a favorite with the younger "Under 10" set), Christmas carol singing (many of the crew and lots of passengers participated), a special non-denominational Christmas service (select crew read relevant passages from the Bible, and we had LOTS of singing of Christmas carols), and of course, a visit from Santa! There were also professional photographers almost at every event, and happily took your photo in front of a Christmas tree or with Santa for next year's Christmas card. Embarkation & Disembarkation. This was truly a disaster. On embarkation, we were in the cruise departure area -- a massive room holding all 2000 passengers - it seemed simultaneously. Though Queen's Grill passengers, we had to queue up for a solid 45 minutes -- even though in a separate line. Admittedly, there was some problem with the computer system, but this was ridiculous for my mom to be expected to stand that long (she did sit down, although others were told they could not). Disembarkation was a free-for-all. First, we had to completely leave our room by 8 am, and sit in one of the large public rooms. Again, even though we were Queen's Grill, since we were taking the Cunard-provided-bus transportation to the airport, we had to sit with the other 1000 or so others doing the same. We sat there for a solid hour and a half. Then, off we went to the massive cruise terminal; I raced across to find our bags and haul them to where I could flag down a porter. The bags themselves were definitely beaten up and mishandled (I can imagine the luggage crew hurling them off the deck into the bins). The porter was super, I must say. He got us out to the bus, and on we went. We got to the airport -- 3 hours early. I only blame Cunard in that we should have been taken to a nicer place to wait as Crystal Cruises does, if we had to get off so early. Using the tenders at one of the ports was also unpleasant. While Queen's Grill passengers have priority to get on a tender, I didn't know this, and waited 45 minutes to get off. Also, at the other end, we were stuck waiting in a line of about 100 other passengers in the hot sun to get back. In sum, the Queen Victoria is a big ship holding 2000 passengers and 900 crew. (In contrast, Crystal Cruise ships hold around 800 passengers and 500 crew). The Queen's Grill level of service, accommodation and dining are absolutely comparable to Crystal. Some of the features of a big ship are wonderful, including more variety. Some of the features are not so wonderful -- you will have to deal with crowds at some point -- embarkation/ disembarkation/ tenders, and certainly, don't go to the Lido Buffet at lunchtime! I have to say overall, this was one of the most memorable and most wonderful cruises we have taken. Certainly over the holidays, it is quite special. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
Having travelled on the Queen Victoria in 2008 we were happy to be returning and knew how beautiful the ship truly is. Because we had 4 sea days in a row going and coming from Hawaii, we decided to treat ourselves and upgraded to a ... Read More
Having travelled on the Queen Victoria in 2008 we were happy to be returning and knew how beautiful the ship truly is. Because we had 4 sea days in a row going and coming from Hawaii, we decided to treat ourselves and upgraded to a Princess Gill cabin. It was worth every penny and I hope to do it again! The Princess Grill dining room was excellent and we had one of the best tables for 2 (109). Our waiters were Rajesh and Edwin and they did an excellent job of taking care of us. The Queen Grill lounge was a nice place to relax before lunch or to enjoy afternoon tea, however it does get VERY crowded at tea time and just before lunch. Cunard might want to expand this space just a little, because at peak times compared with everywhere else onboard I felt very crowded in this space. Embarkation The embarkation at the Port of Los Angeles was the worst of all 18 cruises we've taken. We arrived at the port shortly after 11am and were handed a card with a number 3. Our cruise documents indicated we should plan to arrive a 12pm, however our documents mentioned priority embarkation and we were very eager to get onboard. After passing the security check we were told to have a seat and wait for our number to be called. After waiting for over an hour the room was quickly filling up and with no announcement or information about the delay we asked one of the staff if we would be given priority boarding, the response we got was yes, but just please sit and wait. At 12:35 a shore side staff person standing toward the front of the crowded room started calling number one, but since no one could hear clearly what she was saying, everyone just rushed for the line. We had to push our way into line and stand there for 45minute to be given our room keys. There was no priority embarkation for grill passengers and it was pretty much a free for all, we later learned it was like this all day long, even passengers arriving at 3pm were greet with long waits a bigger lines. This could have been handle much better with just a small amount of planning or thought towards passengers. We were given multiple reason for the delay but each one conflicted with the other. Our luggage was among the very last bags on board and we received them after the lifeboat drill. Just before the muster drill I went up on deck and looked over to the pier, there was 3 cages of bags left to be brought onboard and sure enough our bags were on the top of the last cage, this was NOT the priority luggage service the Cunard advertised for Gill passengers!!! Dining and Food We loved the Princess Grill and our table. We could eat when we wanted, however a very loud and someone ignorant group at a table for 4 seated nearby meant that we had to adjust our dining times to avoid having to listen to them argue to call the waiter by yelling "hey mister". The service was excellent and I really love flambe desserts so Thomas (Maitre'd) made sure that I had one almost every night. Our Christmas dinner was excellent. Our waiter Rajesh quickly learned that we like to play and joke around a bit, and a couple of nights later made a great joke with our menus,by giving us a menu in a different language, a few nights later we were given breakfast menu for dinner. We enjoyed most of our meals. However, there were a few entrees that we thought weren't what we'd expected them to be. The steak Diane wasn't flambe'd at the table and what was presented was a big disappointment. One of my soups didn't resemble anything like what I expected or what was described on the menu. Rajesh and Edwin (assistant waiter) were very quick to observe when it appeared we didn't like something and they discretely asked if they could replace something. Cabin We loved our cabin and it was close by to the elevators, in fact it was too close to the elevators and there was some occasions when you could hear screaming kids running down the stairs. We were just forward one of the Carpathia suites(7070) on the port side. I wouldn't choose this location ever again, it was handy being steps from the stairs or the elevator, but I found this to be more of a sound problem. A couple of nights I was awoken because there was a service door very close by and there was linens in a huge being banged around. There was also a service closet for the suite which was beside us and when the linen carts were being stocked it banged very loudly on the cabin walls. On the last night I was kept awake for over 2 hours while the luggage dragged, thrown scraped down the service stairwell as it was being taken off the floor. By 3am after asking the staff twice to please be quiet because we couldn't sleep, I finally had to go to the pursers desk to complain. Entertainment There were some shows which we enjoyed and couple which we had to walk out of. The casino was ok, many of the slot machines really need to be updated and they could reduce the number of tables and increase some of the slots. During the busy times in the evening all of the slot machines were quite full but there was two tables were totally empty with dealer just standing around. We loved watching the Strictly Cunard competition however it was really hard to find a seat. Some of the lectures were quite interesting and overall for a longer sea voyage I would chose Cunard over any of the other lines because the daily activities are better organized. Disembarkation Because of the nightmare we experienced boarding we choose self disembarkation also because I arranged for a car to take us to LAX and we had a 11:55 flight. We were the 3rd and 4th passengers off at 8:15am The shore side staff were a little more helpful this time. I loved seeing Hawaii and it was made even more enjoyable because we did onboard my absolute favourite cruise ship! I really hope I get to enjoy the Queen Victoria again. Read Less
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