We live in Vancouver and one night after too much wine drinking the Cunard Ad for Queen Elizabeth is coming to Vancouver showed up on my Ipad. I remember checking the itinerary and was amazed that when it left Vancouver we could sail all ... Read More
We live in Vancouver and one night after too much wine drinking the Cunard Ad for Queen Elizabeth is coming to Vancouver showed up on my Ipad. I remember checking the itinerary and was amazed that when it left Vancouver we could sail all the way to NYC. This seemed like a very rare opportunity to come to New York the old fashioned way aboard a Cunard Liner and sail around the North American continent while doing so. I originally booked an ocean view in Britannia but the next morning when I realized what I had done I was a bit shocked at how much I had bit off. I also read some reviews and had some misgivings that I had booked us on an Old Geezer cruise. My wife and I talked it over and she said it doesnt matter what's going on onboard as we always do our own thing and we will have a great time no matter what.
After a couple months went by I realized 24 days is a substantial cruise and with a Panama Canal transit I should have got a balcony. I phoned Cunard and the lady informed me that there was only one balcony cabin left so I grabbed it. It was right at the front with the full metal enclosure below the railing which worked out great as it had a steel reinforcing girt halfway down giving us an extra shelf for our feet and drinks when enjoying the view.
Embarkation day came and I drove our luggage to Canada Place early in the am, this went very smoothly as they were surprisingly well organized and I would recommend this for Vancouver locals. We took the bus and Skytrain in the afternoon with just our hand luggage no problem. I followed the 3:00 pm schedule and was a bit dissapointed at how much running around and up and down between US customs and boarding lounge was involved, that could give some frailer passengers a good workout.
We checked into our room and the luggage was there, all looked good except the old couch, I've seen better on our sidewalks on large item pickup day. No problem the drawers under the bed held extra Royal Blue throws which dressed that thing up quite nicely. The rest of the room was fine with us and our 2 large KLIM bags fit under the bed no problem, plenty of storage in the closets and drawers. There was a card from our room Steward Mike, we got to know him quite well over the weeks to come and he was awesome, always had a greeting and a smile on his face couldnt do enough for us 5 Stars for him!
Time to explore the ship and with blue skys and sunshine it doesnt get any better for a Vancouver departure than than this. I wasnt expecting an awesome Rock Band but they had one playing on the rear pool deck, they also played in the Yacht club, I could tell we were in for a great cruise. This ship is beautiful and it had a very relaxing ambiance throughout, its not a floating amusement park. We had many meals in the Lido and contrary to other reviews found the tables got cleaned off promptly and some sections there do have at table coffee service. You have to pay attention to the meal times which are posted as different areas come available at different times of the day which can lead to a bit of confusion.
We had a lot of fun in the Brittania dining room, Oscar and Neil were our waiters and the place would not have been the same without Paco the wine Sommelier, he got a lot of laughs from many tables. I actually got used to dressing up collecting ties and shirts along the way during shore excursions, the Maitre'd lent me one and tied it for me the first time. We got to try some exotic dishes like pigeon, pheasant, wild boar etc all perfectly done, it helped the waistline by eating many meals in here.
The food in the Lido was great Frank the French Chef was in charge and he was a lot of fun especially in the Chef's competitions in the Queens room. We liked the variety and the specialty nights, Indian, Asian, German after the Costa Rica stop awesome Pineapple and fresh fruits came aboard. No complaints about the food at all it was excellent at all times!
I really thought we would spend more time in the Golden Lion Pub, we mostly enjoyed lunches and beers but found ourselves too busy with other activities.
We had a good time at the jewelry auction, its a great way to get all the free champagne you can drink and my wife came away with a lovely modestly priced ring she really loves. There is actually plenty of free liquor to be had if you go to the tastings and special events available, we downed some expensive brands without spending a nickel, check the daily itinerary. We found the drinks onboard to be reasonably priced not more than at a descent hotel and they serve chips and nuts at no charge along with them and the ambiance of the Commodore Club is fabulous. The High tea is quite an event at 3:30 daily, never expected to enjoy it as much as we did and we took part often, it was wonderful!
The walk around deck is also very cool we did 5 rounds a day of speed walking which kept us in shape for the shore excurions. This deck also has the old fashioned wooden padded lounge chairs, great for relaxing on with a drink and a book.
We got to know some of the onboard entertainment staff as they also helped out with the Tenders and Port excursions. The shows were great and very well done, different entertainers got on and off at different ports and they got a lot of standing ovations they were that good!
The laundry was a bonus all free including detergent, I even learned how to iron my fancy shirts from the Australians, that was a hangout for them.
I tried to book the shore excursions privately but found the Prices through Cunard were much better especially in Sanfransico, Cabo, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama and the Everglades. The highlight was the July 4th fireworks where we were back to back with Cunards old Lead Ship the Queen Mary in Long beach. Our room key gave us free passage and tours of this old ship, the Cunard exhibit onboard the Queen Mary is not to be missed. We enjoyed all of our shore excursions especially the Pamana Jungle river canoe trip to the Embera Indian village, it was awesome!
The Panama Canal transit is quite spectacular, the ship is a Panamax size hull which fills the entire lock and we had access to all the foredecks etc. great experience! All the ports were great but you have to watch your boarding time, it was surprisingly difficult to find a Taxi in Ft. Lauderdale to take us back to the ship, get that Uber App!
There is nothing like sailing under the Varrazano Bridge and by the Statue of Liberty at the crack of dawn and up the Hudson to dock at ancient pier 90 in Manhattan, it was a spectaular Cunard experience and they have been doing this for over 100 years.
We thoroughly enjoyed this voyage, it was not a Geezer Cruise even though there were plenty of them aboard, everyone seemed to be having a great time. There are always a few grumps on a ship like this but that is on them. The staff were most kind and helpful, they seemed funloving and enjoyed the activities as much as we did.
The only negative we found was some passengers had a cough or a cold and were coughing into their hands instead of their elbows or holding a napkin to cough into. I expected more from mature adults and even spoke to a lady who just seemed to be coughing into her hands and touching everything like she was deliberately spreading it around, she told me to leave her alone and go away.
We were sick for a few days because of people like her, dont buy the meds at the ships store they are expensive. Go down to the medical clinic and ask for some cold meds, they cost us 68 cents per box best deal on the ship! Read Less