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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Venice airport and transfer, chaos. Ship lovely, class above most other cruise lines. Entertainment good, to our taste. Cabin good, crew friendly and service first class. Breakfast and lunch food in Lido, bars good and pianist plus ... Read More
Venice airport and transfer, chaos. Ship lovely, class above most other cruise lines. Entertainment good, to our taste. Cabin good, crew friendly and service first class. Breakfast and lunch food in Lido, bars good and pianist plus canapés in the Commodore bar a great way to start the evening. Do you feel a but coming ? This was our 15th cruise having been on most cruise lines , expensive and cheap ........ But dinner in the Brittania Restaurant was the worst MDR offering we have ever had. Lack of choice, small portions, seem to have dropped a course, basic food, no wow factor, certainly the size of the appetisers and cheese were both a joke. No prime rib, no Lobster, no fall back choices available, nothing special at all. Cunard seem to be cutting back in the Brittania Dining Room, it was three star at best. We are not complainers, we just never go back and will now think twice about going with Cunard again, the evening meal should be special and a highlight to be looked forward to, in this case it was not! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We chose Cunard because my wife loves the many formal nights, and we both really enjoy ballroom dancing in the Queens room. The service and the professionalism on the Queen Victoria was excellent. I've have never experienced ... Read More
We chose Cunard because my wife loves the many formal nights, and we both really enjoy ballroom dancing in the Queens room. The service and the professionalism on the Queen Victoria was excellent. I've have never experienced better on the many cruise lines I've been on. Only Celebrity was as good. Our cabin was sufficient. The only negative things were the poor selection of TV programs and our balcony was much smaller than the one we previously had on this ship. I was quite pleased with the food at the Lido deck buffet, but the food at the main dining room was boring and bland. Every night I would show up for dinner hoping the food would taste better, but It never did. The entertainment at the main theatre was quite good most nights.The band at the Queens room was also very good. They played great tunes for dancing. As for the entertainment around the rest of the ship, it was disappointing. Four string quartets and harpists are just far too boring for me and the pool band was average at best. We really enjoyed our shore excursions with Cunard. Our guides were very knowledgable and friendly. I had a great time on our shore excursions. As for the ship itself, it is an elegant and beautiful ship. It was very clean and I was unable to find any flaws. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Review of Cunard Queen Victoria This was our first cruise ever, and for the purposes of the review I suppose it is prudent to note that my partner and I are in our late 30’s - which is quite young for Cunard passengers. SHIP ... Read More
Review of Cunard Queen Victoria This was our first cruise ever, and for the purposes of the review I suppose it is prudent to note that my partner and I are in our late 30’s - which is quite young for Cunard passengers. SHIP The Queen Victoria is a beautiful ship, both inside and out. We saw in several ports bigger ships, but in my opinion when the QV lacks in size on some of these behemoths is the fact that it is stately and elegant. The outside areas on Decks 3, 9, 10 and 11 are lovely and you do feel at times as if you have 'stepped back in time' to be on this ship. If you get up early enough (as my partner and I did a couple of times to experience dawn in a couple of beautiful ports) you will see the deck hands hard at work cleaning the ship every morning to keep the ship spotless. EMBARKATION We Embarked in Civitavecchia, and flew into Rome on a Cunard chartered BA flight from Heathrow. Flight was on time, and check in was painless and easy. One of the small downsides was the situation once we arrived in Rome. The bags took an absolute age to arrive, and once we had given them up to the helpful Cunard reps (the last time we would see our bags for a good while) we were directed around by locally sourced staff working on behalf of Cunard. This wouldn't have been an issue if they had told us what was going on but passengers were herded from place to place without any explanation of what was going on, seemingly to walk to a location simply to then stand with no information for 10-15 minutes, before repeating the process to another location for another wait. Eventually after a good while of being sent from place to place we were on the coach to Civitavecchia. I will note now that if you are being taken anywhere by Cunard they will massively over-estimate the time it will take when they tell you how long the journey is - planning for a worst case scenario i suppose! The drive to Civitavecchia, billed as 70-90 minutes, took about 45. We walked from the coach directly into the pier reception area and were checked in very quickly indeed - a couple of pictures, give over the credit card, and then through security and you are on - I had read horror stories about wait times, but from Coach - Ship took all of 10 minutes, maximum. Really slick and professional I thought. We went directly to our stateroom on Deck 5 midships, the cabin was ready and looking great (more of this later) however but no luggage yet (this was to be expected) so we went off for a tour of the ship and a bite to eat in the Lido buffet on deck 9. I thought the Embarkation process was absolutely magnificent and apart from the situation in Rome airport with the local reps couldn't really fault it (and even that was a minor annoyance) I had read reviews that stated you need to surrender your passport - this was not the case with us. TIP: If you are on a lower deck (2, 3 or 4) instead of waiting for the lifts at midships when you embark, just walk up the stairs - this was the one and only time we had real issues with getting in the lifts as so many people were getting on at once. It doesn’t take long and had I known, even on Deck 5, I would have walked up the stairs to avoid the wait for the lift. THE CABIN We were on deck 5 mid-ship, with a 'restricted view' - I did not find the view a bother at all and could see everything. It possibly limited your photo opportunities, but to be honest I didn't spend a great deal of time on the Balcony anyway so it didn't bother me in the slightest. If I had the choice again I would have gone for an unrestricted view but if your budget will only let you go for the restricted view, just go for it! The ship isn’t very old, less than 10 years, and the state of the Cabin reflected this. It was spotless and very nicely decorated, with a king size bed, dressing table, sofa (which I believe also turned into a bed), coffee table etc. Nice towels, bathrobes and slippers were provided and the amenities in the bathroom were of a high quality (Penhaligon’s) and refreshed should you require (although our steward did need a bit of prompting in this regard). There’s a refrigerator, hair dryer, safe, and several electrical outlets. I knew from reading reviews that UK outlets were provided, however since you have one UK, one US and one European, if you want to use more than one power outlet at once, bring a 4 way power strip or an adapter if you have one. The bed was lovely, with a huge abundance of pillows, and excellent quality bedding. Bathroom was slightly cramped but it was designed very well so you soon got used to the reduced dimensions. The fridge was stocked with water and cans of soft drinks, and the prices for these were fairly reasonable. There was a complimentary half bottle of champagne on ice waiting for us when we got in our room. We saved it for sail away rather than devouring it immediately! The one downside to the room is the size and quality of the television. It is small at 21” and the reception was not of a high quality. The choice of channels is quite limited. However, I didn’t go on the cruise to watch television, I can watch television at home so it didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the cruise. LAUNDRY There is a laundry on every floor, but be warned they are busy. There were three washers and three dryers, open from around 0730 to 2100. Use of the machines was free and the soap was also free. Getting a machine seemed to be a challenge as they were always busy with lots of passengers waiting. I did not need to wash any items but I did have to iron a few things, and there tended to be a queue to do this. However not a huge one and didn’t take a huge amount of time. If I were to go again, I would probably take less clothes and simply use the Laundry service for a few select items, as I didn’t think the charges were astronomical for this service from what I could gather (compared to the pricing for some other things – more on that later) DINING There are two levels of Dining, one for Britannia level passengers, and the Queens/Princess grills for the higher levels of passenger – We obviously did not have access to these grills so I cannot comment on them. We had requested a table for two in the Britannia and were granted this, however on reflection I think next time I will state no preference/larger table, as some of the couples who were randomly mixed on the larger tables seemed to be having a whale of a time. However, this is highly dependent on whom you get paired with, and as I will go on to state throughout this review, you could well be unlucky in this regard. Our neighbour on the first evening ordered a sirloin steak well done and then spent 20 minutes complaining loudly to the waiter that it was tough! If you’re going to ruin a steak by ordering it well done madam, don’t be surprised that it’s ruined – you made that happen, not the chefs! We were given a table on the upper floor of the Britannia on the 2nd seating (8:30 dine time) again, I'm in two minds as to which would be the most advantageous – earlier seating at 6:30 means you have more time to enjoy the evening activities, however it does curtail your daytime activities. A quandary you can figure out for yourselves! We had one waiter with two assistants (Wilfredo, Srdan, and Marius), and a dedicated sommelier assigned to our section (Milo). All 4 of these gentlemen were an absolute delight and worked SO hard to keep myself and my partner happy over the course of our voyage. I actually submitted commendations for them as I thought they were absolutely amazing. They really enhanced our voyage and our dining experience every night was amazing. The food is excellent quality, although on occasion slightly rich and you do end most evenings feeling extremely full! (Not that there is anything wrong with that!) Some of the choices I made over the course of the week were an absolute delight – The Beef Wellington and Baked Alaska were particular highlights. We did enjoy breakfast and lunch in the dining room as well, but not always, often choosing the Lido over the more ‘formal’ setting of the dining room for either the breadth of choice or because we were in a bit more of a hurry. Dining in the Britannia is not a rushed experience (nor should it be) ALTERNATIVE DINING You can dine on Deck 2 in the Veranda, which is high quality French food, for a surcharge, or in the Lido Buffet on Deck 9. We did not bother booking the Veranda; I thought the quality of the food in the Britannia was more than adequate for our needs. We did walk around it when not open though and it is very tastefully decorated and I am sure the experience in there would be excellent. We enjoyed several lunches and breakfasts in the Lido on deck 9. The Lido buffet is huge, with areas that we didn’t even notice until several days into the cruise. Breakfast in the Lido is a cornucopia of choice, from Waffles and Pancakes (and Eggs) cooked to order, to anything and everything that you might expect for breakfast, be you American, British, or Australian (or indeed many other nationalities!) So much choice that I can’t even begin to explain in words – I don’t have enough words. Suffice to say whatever you want for breakfast is there. I guarantee it, including huge quantities of fruit and breads. For Lunch it’s much of the same, choice wise, with additional areas that come into play, most notably a pizza and pasta station where they will cook your order fresh each lunchtime – the pizza was of excellent quality. They also serve an informal ‘afternoon tea’ in the Lido and also have sections dedicated to fresh donuts, cookies and cupcakes at seemingly random times of the day. It literally never closes, you can get something there 24 hours a day, should you require. There is also a Lido bar and grill at the aft serving ‘fast’ food like Hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries. Also it should be noted that every day you can take ‘proper’ afternoon tea in the Queens Room down on deck 2 which is very nice indeed, accompanied by a string quartet (Very elegant). There is also a champagne afternoon tea available for a surcharge but once again we didn’t see the need to partake of this. It’s also worth noting that the Lido does themed nights (for another surcharge). Room Service is also available 24 hours but I felt no need to take advantage of this at any point. TIP The Lido can get very busy at ‘obvious’ times. (9am for breakfast and 1pm for lunch) – it’s sometimes a challenge to find a table at these times, although I never completely failed to find one – it just required an eagle eye! SHOPPING Like most cruise ships this ship has shopping at the Royal Arcade. There were some very competitive buys in perfume, leather goods and liquors. Sales are a common occurrence. SPA The Spa looked amazing and Cunard pushed it quite heavily, but this would be one of my main criticisms of the QV. The prices are (in my opinion) astronomical for the services provided. If they reduced the prices in the Spa I felt like we would have actually used them but I didn’t think we could really justify this. If you have plenty of money though, it did look amazing. EMPIRE CASINO This has to be one of the smallest casinos on the seas. Located on Deck two, there are enough slots, roulette and card games to keep one busy. ROYAL ARCADE This is shopping and as with most ships there is a small retail outlet where one can purchase from a limited selection of clothes, watches, jewellery, etc. There was a store selling essential items and also a book store – although the shops are nice you do seem to pay full whack for everything but if you have forgotten any essentials you will find yourself covered. Once again I didn’t come on a cruise to go shopping, but the fact that they were there was a nice touch. THE ROYAL THEATER One of the visual highlights of the ship. A beautiful room indeed, seating for a lot of people and a wide variety of shows on in the evenings and insight talks from subject experts during the day. The productions were of a decent quality but nothing amazing, but still a fun way to spend an hour or so in the evening before or after your meal! DECK CHAIRS & SEATING Really nice deck chairs on the cruise and they seem to be dotted everywhere where there is room on the upper decks. Although Prime positions go quickly, we never had a problem finding somewhere to relax on deck, either in the Sun or the Shade if required. INTERNET I heard from several passengers horror stories about the speed of Internet on board. I didn’t need to use it as we were only on for a week and I could use my phone in any cafe when in port with free wifi, so I just limited my use to those times – this did not bother me in the slightest. Again I don’t want to spend my holiday checking my emails! POOLS One on the aft of deck nine and one in the mid-forwards section of the ship on deck 9. The pools were rarely busy but a lot of the passengers enjoyed sunbathing next to them. Two hot tubs by each pool as well. Very nice if not enormous, but then when are pools enormous on board – I used the pool twice and the temperature was perfect. There were towels by each pool and in several other common areas – I had read reviews stating you needed to take your towels from your room – this is definitely NOT the case! YOUR FELLOW PASSENGERS Now onto my biggest gripe of the cruise. This ship had about a third of the passengers from the United States followed by the UK and Australia. The remainder was truly a global mix. Many were seniors. Very few (perhaps less than a dozen) children were aboard. The ships’ dress policy stresses appropriate dress all over the ship in the evenings. They mention that there is strict enforcement. Well I couldn’t disagree with that more. There was absolutely no enforcement. At dinner where a jacket is required for men I saw several men in casual shirts with no jacket in the Britannia dining room and some of the women looked downright scruffy. I am not a snob by any means (as you will see shortly!) but one of the driving factors behind our decision to go Cunard was to experience the evenings as an ‘event’ and dress up. Well some of the passengers really push the limits of what should be deemed acceptable in this regard. Formal nights had a much higher ‘hit rate’ of passengers dressing up and making an effort, but some of them still really did push their luck in this regard. If you are going to pay for a Cunard cruise and you know the dress policy, why would you then ignore it? It doesn’t make sense to me. A less formal cruise would save you money if you detest dressing up that much. I suppose the trend away from Smart/Formal attire is a relentless one and even Cunard cannot escape forever. I think personally this is a shame. This takes me onto the rest of the passengers and their attitude. Although we met a great deal of nice and pleasant people on board, it was one of the main detractions of life on board that there were a significant minority of awful people on board. The personality and behaviour of some of these people was appalling. I saw several instances in bars, dining rooms and out on deck when passengers were not just rude to staff, they were downright abusive. Some of them treated the staff like slaves. I was horrified by some of this behavior and went out of my way to be as polite and thankful to the staff as I could be, just to try and redress the balance. I would say that if you say good morning/good afternoon/good evening to everyone you pass; approximately three quarters of them will return the greeting with a smile. The disgusting quarter of them who think they are better than everyone else on the planet will look upon you with disdain, but it’s wise to remember that you are the better person, and manners cost nothing. I lost count of the people I held doors open for who acted as if I was their personal butler rather than a fellow guest being polite. How hard really is ‘please’ ‘thank you’ etc? Apparently these simple words are too much effort for some people. TOURS ON SHORE We mostly preferred to do our own thing in this regard and the prices of some of the trips did seem a bit excessive and we talked to a couple of guests about their experiences and it seems they are very mixed. Some tours are excellent and some are very poor, and there appears to be no way of knowing in advance which is which! However, we got lucky – we booked the Doges Palace/St. Marks Basilica and Gondola ride tour in Venice, and it was absolutely brilliant, our guide was excellent and I enjoyed every moment of it! Well done Cunard! They did mess up though in advance of the tour, saying that our tour tickets would be outside our stateroom the night before the tour, and then they never turned up. Sadly this then led to me rushing around to get them in the morning before the tour, and after bizarrely telling me off for something Cunard had messed up, the member of staff on the tour desk printed us a couple of duplicates. I got the impression that you do pay over the odds for tours and it does seem like a huge money making exercise to me. I think you roll the dice and see if you get lucky on the tour front, we did but make sure you read up on them in advance and make sure that the tour at least provides you with exactly what you want to do, at least then if you do pay over the odds you don’t mind because it was exactly what you wanted! DAILY NEWS AND EVENTS The ship provides both a daily news summary and daily events bulletin to your stateroom. Some of the Port guides were better than others, some including Maps and some without, but on balance they were informative and helpful and we carried them around with us to plan our days. SHIP TOURS We missed the announcement of the bridge/back of house tour which was a shame, would have loved to have done it. We did do the galley tour with executive chef Mark Oldroyd and he was brilliant, giving us loads of interesting information and introducing us to a lot of the chefs on duty at the time preparing our lunches – a really nice passionate guy, both about his work and about Cunard. I was impressed he knew every single member of staff personally – there are hundreds of them! One of the best parts about the galley tour was seeing it was clear that the chefs enjoy their work – they all looked very happy and cheerful in their work. It seemed to me as an outsider looking in that Cunard must treat their staff well. PHOTO GALLERY Simple review of the photographs – very nicely done, but hugely overpriced. We looked at the prices and decided that at the end of the week we’d choose ONE to have rather than several. If you want a selection of photos and an album, it will cost you several hundred pounds – for a few photos and an album! Even one picture we had cost me £25. It’s a lot of money for a picture. There isn’t a hard sell at least which is a plus point, there are photographers everywhere especially on formal nights but if you don’t want your picture taken, don’t queue up DANCING The Queens Room is a very large room where lots of activities happen – fencing classes, ballroom dancing classes, afternoon tea etc. It has a large dance floor open every evening for your dance pleasure. From a man with two left feet, the mixture of dancing on offer was amusing. From one Japanese couple taking it SUPER seriously and throwing themselves about with abandon to older couples moving slowly around the dance floor, there is always something interesting to see. Some of the people thought they were on strictly I think! There is also a ‘nightclub’ on deck 10 called Hemispheres which was more to my tastes, although I was often too full or tired to enjoy it for a long period of time! BARS There is the Queens Room, the Champagne Bar, the midships lounge and the Chart Room---all elegant and a nice place to relax with a drink. The service was excellent in all of the bars. One step up from these is the Commodore Club at Deck 10 forwards. One of my favourite bars of all time, you get a great view from the front of the ship and absolutely brilliant service - and some quite wonderful (if pricey) cocktails. This is offset slightly by the snacks and canapés you will be served to go with your drinks, which were varied and delicious. At the slightly more ‘rough and ready’ (although obviously, as it’s Cunard, not really rough and ready) end of the scale you have the Golden Lion pub opposite the Casino on Deck 2. This is a great little pub with the cheapest drinks on the ship (basically UK pub prices before the service charge) and some varied entertainment – live sports, quizzes, bingo and pianists/jazz bands – You’ll enjoy the Pub. They only do food for a short period of time (12-2) but it’s excellent pub grub, the fish and chips in particular was delicious. The quizzes were taken very seriously by some! LIBRARY This ship has the best library we have ever encountered aboard a cruise ship. Located on Decks 2 & 3, there are hundreds and hundreds of books that can be checked out. Even if you are not a reader visit this library. It is one of a kind and a beautiful space. DISEMBARKATION Smoother than Embarkation, bags outside the room the night before by 11pm, they were gone in a flash. The transfer to the airport in Venice took no time at all and the flight was again on time – once again slightly ruined by some of the ruder contingent aboard ship but I’d gotten fully used to their behaviour by then! SUMMARY I absolutely loved my first cruise on board the QV. The Ship is fantastic and the service is excellent. I enjoyed the formality of the ship and dressing up as an event for dinner. It’s not for everyone but we loved it. Next time I would have no hesitation in going with Cunard, although I think we’ll try a more casual cruise line to compare the two. We are still novices at this after all! The food was excellent, and the choice is bewildering at times. The Room was very nice and we had no complaints at all with our Steward who was attentive and serviced our room constantly without us ever actually seeing him! Downsides are the size and quality of the Television, the prices for the following services: Spa, Photos and Tours and of course back to the rudeness and attitude of some of the guests. I would have no hesitation in recommending the Queen Victoria or sailing aboard her again! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
I'm a retired U.S. Navy Sailor and have spent a couple decades at sea so I knew what to expect as far as the nature and feel of a ship at sea but all I can say after being on the QM2 is Wow!! My wife and I had just spent 9 days in ... Read More
I'm a retired U.S. Navy Sailor and have spent a couple decades at sea so I knew what to expect as far as the nature and feel of a ship at sea but all I can say after being on the QM2 is Wow!! My wife and I had just spent 9 days in England and France so thought returning to the U.S. on a ship would be a nice way to wind down from all the sight seeing and travel. We were concerned about getting to the ship from London but easily found a coach service that picked us up at our hotel and stopped at Stonehenge for lunch on the way to Southampton. From the minute we entered our cabin (deck 11, port side, balcony) I had a feeling the ride would be memorable. Even the smell of the cabin was extremely fresh, clean and pleasant. The bed was very comfortable and the room was just right for the two of us. I had chosen that particular cabin to ensure a good view of the Statue of Liberty when entering New York. Granted you could leave your cabin and go elsewhere and the ship does a 360 as she is positioning to moor but seeing her all lit up before sunrise from the privacy of our balcony was spectacular and very inspiring. The first day at sea was spent mostly exploring and getting to know the layout. One of the most impressive features of the QM2 is the planetarium. I couldn't believe it.......... a planetarium on a ship! We attended a couple features in that facility as well lectures and nightly shows in the Royal Court Theater. We were amazed by all the daily activities the ship provided and subsequently spent very little time in our cabin. If you're bored on the QM2 then it's your own fault. Dining was an experience all it's own. We took breakfast in our room every morning and ate lunch from the King's Court Buffet. In the afternoon we enjoyed the tea service (the scones were the best I've had). In the evening we attended the first sitting for dinner in the Britannia Club. Every item we chose at every meal was excellent. I had heard it being hit or miss on other lines but Cunard got food selection and preparation right. The only thing I probably would have done differently is take lunch from another venue besides the Kings Court Buffet. The food was very good but it was very busy and at times hard to find a decent table. Disembarkation was very simple and efficient. Getting through customs was a little slow but then again a lot of people left from New York. Ground transportation is right outside customs and plentiful. Be aware, there is an aggressive flat rate car service in addition to the taxi's....... the taxi's are cheaper. Overall I was very impressed by the cleanliness of the ship and how friendly the crew was. Our evening table attendants and cabin steward were very professional and considerate. The ship is very comfortable and provides ample opportunities to be as busy as you want to be. Probably the most refreshing feature of this particular passage was the lack of younger passengers. My wife and I are in our early 50's and were on the low end of the overall passenger age profile. There were some children and a sprinkling of 20-30 year old's but in no way could a crossing on the QM2 be confused with boat load of young adults on a booze cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Wife and I did our first "Crossing" in August and hope to do many more. As veteran cruisers we've determined that our favorite part of past cruises were days at sea. So, why not do 100% Days at Sea? Flew into Heathrow ... Read More
Wife and I did our first "Crossing" in August and hope to do many more. As veteran cruisers we've determined that our favorite part of past cruises were days at sea. So, why not do 100% Days at Sea? Flew into Heathrow from Boston, then a bus to Southampton. Great embarkation experience, cabin ready with bags already there. Deck 4, "Sheltered" balcony amidships. The Crossing is a VERY specific experience appropriate for a traveler looking for this particular experience. People who don't do their homework and come away disappointed have only themselves to blame. So, back to "Elegant"... IF Formal Nights are your favorite nights on a cruise, IF you always eat in the dining room and rarely touch a buffet, IF your musical preference is classical, IF you'd happily swap a rock climbing wall for the largest library at sea, IF you're happy with small portions of excellent and varied food provided by first class, caring wait staff that ensures dietary restrictions are followed, IF your idea of a great onboard activity would be attending 4 different astronomy lectures over 8 days, IF you'd like to leave your balcony door open regardless of the cold, wet, windy weather outside... WELL, book your Crossing without delay! Better yet, do a roundtrip NYC-Southampton for about the same cost as flying one way and cruising the other. We wish we had done that! On the other hand, IF you don't own a suit, love cruising for the unlimited buffet food, want to Party Hearty Marty every night, think a great onboard activity is getting together to discuss the Kardashians, can't imagine being disconnected from Facebook for a whole week, and enjoy getting up at 5AM to Save Those Pool Deck Chairs, I'm suggesting you would be MUCH Happier on another ship, with another cruise line. You'll just HATE Cunard. Quick word on Entertainment: We had, by FAR, the best entertainment at sea EVER with the National Symphony Orchestra performing twice, and a terrific set of romantic piano concerts by a world class pianist. Also wonderful string quartet and a harpist could be enjoyed in the lounges . Unfortunately, we also saw the worst production show, Viva Italia, in the history of sea travel. A high school would be embarrassed to put this on. Wife and I felt bad for the performers... really, Cunard could have plucked anyone from the audience and they could have sketched out a better show in an hour or two. Certainly not the singer & dancers fault, they gave it their all. Crowd mostly sat in stunned silence, sort of like the open-mouthed audience scene in The Producers when they presented Springtime for Hitler. So, I don't know how to rate Entertainment when it was in class of its own on both the Best and Worst scale. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
I have cruised with lots of cruise lines and wanted to sail with Cunard. As I choose the itinerary before the ship the choice has never included Cunard as it was always so much more expensive. I know some of you may say you get what you ... Read More
I have cruised with lots of cruise lines and wanted to sail with Cunard. As I choose the itinerary before the ship the choice has never included Cunard as it was always so much more expensive. I know some of you may say you get what you pay for but it may not always be the case. So we saw a great deal, to places we wanted to go to and booked. The itinerary was fantastic. Starting in Venice, going to Croatia, Greece and Turkey, a few of the places we hadn't been before which we looked forward to. To Cunards credit the ship was fabulous, lots of art deco touches and the art work is outstanding. Also outstanding is the cleanliness of the ship, one of the cleanest ships I have ever been on, except for the windows and balcony glass that is! Likewise the food is excellent but I would say no better than other cruise lines we have been with. The downside, for us was the entertainment. This ship is great if you like ballroom dancing and classical music. It had, in the two weeks 2 shows with singers and dancers combined. Other shows included singers and a comedian. Also a flautist who was on 2 nights and a violinist who was on 2 nights. They both were excellent but around the ship there were other classical music groups e.g a string quartet and a harpist. Whilst I enjoy classical music I found it too much for my taste. There was a group called synergy which played in hemispheres and out on deck. They had the chance to play in the queens room once and it was packed. Also around the ship it was noticeable how empty all the bars were. At times it was like being on the Marie Celeste. I noticed people bringing their own drink onto the ship, something other cruise liners don't allow. So I can only summise that the bars were empty as everyone was drinking in their rooms. However it was not tea or coffee, as there are no tea or coffee facilities in the rooms, something we have got used to on other ships. However they do have 24 hour room service. So to sum up we had a great holiday with the ports of call, the lovely room, the beautiful food and the clean ship. However this ship lacked life! Even the sail aways were non existent. Nobody got up to dance which I have never seen before on a sail away. Cunard you need to address this! I talked to many people over the two weeks from all over the world and they asked me is this the best of British? Which is what they see as Cunard's saying. Many moaned about the entertainment being stuffy! I would tend to agree. Needless to say I will continue to sail with other cruise lines but Cunard, sorry, your entertainment is not for me! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
2nd time with Cunard as we have previously sailed on Queen Elizabeth. The Good We like the lack of rock climbing walls a water slides etc that you now find on many cruise ships today. The dress code, as we enjoy dressing for ... Read More
2nd time with Cunard as we have previously sailed on Queen Elizabeth. The Good We like the lack of rock climbing walls a water slides etc that you now find on many cruise ships today. The dress code, as we enjoy dressing for dinner. The fact that it is more for couples than families with children. The not so Good The food was ok but certainly not fine dining and we have had a better standard of food on an Airtours ship. The service is generally ok, but it doesn't meet expectations generated by the marketing "impeccable white star service". In fact when we needed to complain we did find that we were made to feel like second class passengers, and this is the main problem with this ship & Cunard if you are "Britannia" class passengers. There are a number of areas that are off limits to Britannia passengers and are exclusively for Queens and Princess Grill passenger I.e. First class. Many of the things that you come to expect as included on other cruise lines e.g use of the Spa, are optional extras with Cunard if you are not a first class passenger ( even though you probably pay more for your cruise than with other cruise lines). The decks and hot tubs are too small to cope with the passengers numbers on "days at sea" ( unless you are first class where you have a separate deck area). We requested two cabins close together but one was forward port the other aft starboard, but at least they were on the same deck. We requested late sitting but were allocated early and it was only after several argument with Roal the Maitre de that it was eventually sorted out on the third night. In summary If you can afford to go Queens Grill standard ( first class) this is probably the best ship for you, if not research other cruise companies like Princess and particularly the ship, to get the right one for you I.e. Is it for families and children or for couples? is it formal or informal? and you will get a much better standard of service, food and overall experience than with Cunard. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
... Unless it's your wedding pictures. We chose the QM2 as a venue to get married and learned some valuable lessons. The land-side service from Cunard was deplorable. The ship is wonderful and the crew on board excellent. The ... Read More
... Unless it's your wedding pictures. We chose the QM2 as a venue to get married and learned some valuable lessons. The land-side service from Cunard was deplorable. The ship is wonderful and the crew on board excellent. The wedding ceremony was wonderful and the contracted-in photographers were pirates. This ship is beautiful and offers a traditional transatlantic crossing from yesteryear. It will not be everyone's cup of tea, certainly not cruise passengers who are used to waking up in a new port every morning. Embarkation and disembarkation were both excellent, just a short queue in NYC. Our stateroom was spacious and we had a decent sized balcony. Room service was excellent and our steward Julius was exceptional. We ate in the Britannia restaurant most nights which offered an excellent and varied menu. Our waiter was very friendly and the food was hot and served promptly first sitting. Be warned those choosing to tie the knot on board. There are many positives, but an equal number of negatives so you just have to embark with your eyes open. As a wedding venue the QM2 is superb. The Captain Kevin Oprey was excellent, under extremely difficult circumstances, a crew member was lost overboard the day before our wedding. The Captain's secretary Jay was perhaps the most proficient, friendly, knowledgeable and understanding event organiser I have ever met. If only she would spend some time in the celebrations team on shore to train them how these events should be planned. They would learn a great deal from this young lady. The outsourced photographers were dire. TIP ONE make sure you take a camera and get as many shots of the nuptials as possible. There were three weddings on board the QM2 during our crossing and we met each other before the ceremonies and over dinner at the Captain's table. One couple who married the day before said the ceremony was wonderful but they had been 'fleeced' by the photographers. We thought we knew what to expect. What we didn't expect was the poor quality images that we were offered for $1600. Yes $1600! When I say poor, most were of our backs, showing fantastic images of the Captain. Others were of witnesses and bridesmaids with their eyes closed, many were out of focus and amateur. We'd asked for reportage style shots, taken informally, with no posing. For photographers used to taking posed shots in front of the ship's bell or a large painting on formal nights this was a request too far. We thought maybe five - 10 images (out of 150) were of a good enough quality that we would want to print them for posterity, to send to relatives and friends unable to make the crossing. The cost for these five images? Well you couldn't just have five images, you had to buy all of the images, the good and the bad, and there were some very bad ones, for $1600. There was no negotiation, it was take it or leave it. We left it. Our expectations were not matched and there was an arrogance about the photographers that reflected their monopoly on the pictures. So we have no professional images of our wedding, which is very sad. But sadder still is the quality of the photography and the attitude of the snappers. Please be warned. Ending on a much more positive note, our wedding party on dry land enabled us to get dressed up to the nines again and a professional photographer came along for three hours, we had hundreds of excellent shots to choose from and a memory stick with all the images in high resolution all for far less than a quarter of the cost of the high seas robbery offered by the QM2 outsourced photographers. So the moral of this story is if you're planning your nuptials on board keep your eyes open wider than the on-board snappers' digital camera shutter. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our 3rd cruise on the QV so we knew what to expect on the ship. We travelled in Queen's Grill on an upgrade from Princess. The suite was very comfortable. It was great to have a seperate shower, my husband loved the jacuzzi ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on the QV so we knew what to expect on the ship. We travelled in Queen's Grill on an upgrade from Princess. The suite was very comfortable. It was great to have a seperate shower, my husband loved the jacuzzi bath! I loved the longer and deeper balcony than when in Princess Grills. We arrived in Istanbul at a remote airfield some 85Km from Istanbul. Our flight from Manchester was with Titan Airways. Cunard had not purchased any food or drink with the charter. There was limited choice available for purchase. Luggage was limited to 20kg plus 5kg with no option to purchase any additional extra baggage. (There is a discussion re this on the cruise roll call). As it was, the check in staff didn't seem too fussed. The flight is part of the cruise and when charted directly attributable to Cunard. p & O used to do it so much better - not sure if they still do? Getting through border control (an yes you do need a Visa) took ages as did baggage reclaim. Surprisingly as we were the only large plane at the airport - though having read the reviews re Istanbul airport, perhaps we were lucky. We finally arrived at the ship at around 5.30. We were soon on board. And made the most of watching the coming and goings on the Bospherous - a lovely warm evening. We had requested a table for two, by the window and this is what we got. We were however very near to the next table and it was almost impossible not to talk to them without appearing rude. I think the demand for tables for two exceeds the space. So in reality it is a table for 6 with space to get the waiter in between. The food selection was excellent. The first day was at sea as we cruised through the Dardenelles. It was a very relaxing day. Lots of things to do if you wanted but we just chilled or in my case warmed up as I purchased 5 day access to the spa. The spa isn't as large as on the QM2 but the hot tiled loungers are very relaxing and the pool is more like a very warm swimming pool than a jacuzzi. The first port of call was Santorini. We have visited before whilst staying on Crete. The tour itself was fine, the downside was, and it turned out to be a big downside, is that it finished in Fira for some reason rather than at the Ferry port where we were tendered at the beginning. There were 5 cruise ships in the Caldera so the Island was swarming with people. The tour guide gave us all a ticket for the cable car and said the other choices was to walk down the 800 odd steps or take a donkey to the tenders. Well to cut a long story short, we walked the 800 steps down. The temp that day was over 40C. The queue for the cable car was 2 hrs long and there were people stood in the hot blazing sun who would have struggled to walk down. We struggled as there are mules going up and down as well as people. The steps are very slippery and I know of at least one person who took a very nasty fall and may have broken her wrist. Those who were visiting Santorini for the first time said they would never return. The people of Fira didn't benefit from tourists as most were in the queue and it didn't do the reputation of Cunard or Santorini any good. On my previous trip we had time to shop in Fira before been taken back by coach to the ferry port rather having to use the cable car, donkeys or shanks pony. I am sure if only one ship had been in it wouldn't have been a problem but it was and was one of the hot topics of conversation for the next few days. We didn't take any trips at Katacolon and just chilled beside the seaside. One more sea day and then a lovely early morning approach along the Amalfi Coast (port side) into Salerno. We visited Herculaneum, great guide shared the history and the horror of that final day. we all jumped we he said that Mt Vesuvius was quite wihena sudden clap of thunder suggested for on brief second, that it had woken up! The only downside was it took us 45 mins to get out of the port area. We arrived in Rome the next day and transferred to a hotel so we would have more time to see Rome. I would like to commend Cunard in using the services of Aloschi travel for our transfer to the airport. We were picked up on time and transferred in a luxury car to the airport where we were met by a gentleman who took us to the priority check in desk. He then walked us down to the right security gate and told us what to do to find the 'little train". We flew back scheduled BA flights, delayed due to the airport being closed because of thunderstorms. We went to 2 shows, the first based on well know artists which was OK, the second where the 4 lead singers sang songs from shows and films which was very good. All the musicians we heard were very good. The Verandah restaurant was outstanding and well worth the money though our own waiters couldn't understand why we wanted to eat there. The chap talking about smuggling was informative and gave a good insight into what happens behind the scenes. All in all a very good cruise and we have booked for next year In October when it will be a lot cooler. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We had previously cruised on Princess Cruise Line, and loved every minute! Surprisingly, Cunard, showed itself to be a step down. Certainly, not something we anticipated. Cabin: Our balcony stateroom was very comfortable, clean, and ... Read More
We had previously cruised on Princess Cruise Line, and loved every minute! Surprisingly, Cunard, showed itself to be a step down. Certainly, not something we anticipated. Cabin: Our balcony stateroom was very comfortable, clean, and nicely appointed. However, It is important to note that we were on the 11th floor, and our room vibrated as if it were over the ship's engine. This occurred while we were still in port, as well as when we were at sea. Dining: Upon arrival, we walked around the ship to learn our way, and arrived for dinner at The Britannia Restaurant at the time scheduled on our 'tickets'. There was also a table number assigned. We soon came to learn that the allotted time and table were inaccurate, and when we arrived were told to 'WAIT' on a long line before we could be seated. Restaurant staff told us that someone needed to take us to our table, and no one was available. The line was quite long, and many guests started complaining and left to go to the buffet on another deck. The food in The Britannia was just 'okay', nothing 'cruise worthy', nor at all appealing. The menu left much to be desired. Other guests sent their food back several times, and made comments like, "This has truly changed!" For the remainder of the cruise, we frequented the 12th floor buffet. Entertainment: The entertainment was poor and amateurish. The crew who comprised the 'singers and dancers' were less than 'high school' caliber. Shows were not 'sensational' or well choreographed. The singers were often 'off key', not what you expect on a cruise. Travel: Smooth and easy. Our Captain Oprey, was truly 'at the helm', working for passenger comfort and safety! Disembarkation: We waited on lines everywhere and for every thing. The Ship's crew was not organized and truly lacked training in customer service. At the point of disembarkation, we were told, via stateroom mail delivery, where to assemble (The Winter Garden) and wait for a crew member with further instructions. After an hour we began to worry. We left the area, with other guests, and were actually able to get off the ship without a problem. We still don't know if anyone came to get us! Clearly, the plan for organized and efficient disembarking was a failure. Summary: While the QM2 is a beautiful and historical ship, Cunard needs lessons in organization and customer relations overall. Entertainment and food were lacking and in need of improvement. Sadly, what could should have been a wonderful experience was far less than we expected. We anxiously look forward to giving Cunard another chance, and hope that they take customer reviews to heart. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Just returned from 5 days on the QM2. The cruise was wonderful and the weather perfect. My family and I were in the Queens Grill and Cabin 10074 (Q5). This was not our first cruise when have been on other lines including: Oceania, ... Read More
Just returned from 5 days on the QM2. The cruise was wonderful and the weather perfect. My family and I were in the Queens Grill and Cabin 10074 (Q5). This was not our first cruise when have been on other lines including: Oceania, Crystal, Celebrity, Seabourn etc. Embarking was uneventful if you were to arrive early. We arrived at 11:00 am and there were still passengers disembarking. We showed are tickets and ID and then were sent over to a few tables to complete a form. We checked in the at the desk and then were sent to a small dark room with all other grill passengers and waited until 1200pm to board. They provided water and juice both were empty by the time we entered the room. Upon boarding the ship we went directly to our room which was ready and the luggage arrived immediately. We then went to the Queens Grill for lunch and meet our waiter for the cruise. When returning back to our room we found the air condition not working, I notified the butler at 6:00 it was still not working I went to the Pursers Office and complained to the clerk and finally I asked to Speak to someone in charge. Henry the assistant hotel manger came out and I asked for a room change and he advised me that there were no more Queens grill rooms available. They did resolve the AC problem but not until after 7 pm. The crew and staff especially Henry were out standing. I would overall rate the food as excellent and wait staff was very attentive and professional. The head waiter Jack was outstanding and meet any need which we had. The ports were nothing special Halifax and Boston. There were tours in both ports which I would suggest taking. The entertainment was average for a cruise ship except for a group called the "three Tenors", these guys were the best I have seen in a longtime on a ship. Unfortunately they only performed twice. When we arrived in Boston it was pandemonium getting off the board. Most people were waiting on line for up to an hour. This was to show your passport to Homeland Security who only had two officers working. There was little direction from the crew during this process. Cunard most come up with a better process. Halifax was perfect walked right off the ship. Disembarking in Brooklyn was awful !!! We went to the Queens Grill Club and then we were taken off the ship from there. Once we walked to the luggage area it went down hill. There were hardly any porters to assist you with luggage, they were all unloading the ship. There was a line which no one knew what was for and we finally found out it was to get a porter which there were only 5 of when we got off. They has a long walk to take people out and I waited a good 25 minutes for one. This was the worst process I have ever experienced in all my time cruising. Lack of Communication. This cruise had two formal nights(too Much for a 5 day voyage) In fact there were two formal nights back to back. The second was going to be the night we were in Boston but it was changed. They only way one would know if they read the front page corner of the daily activities sheet. Finally the Cunard Code is followed by all the crew. They say hello and good morning etc. Except the ship officers including the Captain who I only saw 1 time during the voyage, they would not even acknowledge passengers. If it good enough for the crew then it should be the same standard for the officer But over all I would consider Cunard again and she truly is majestic. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Having spent a couple of past transatlantic voyages on the QM2, the first in 2005, this was a 21 day trip and a 5 day NY catch up for my 50th Birthday treat in the QM2's 11th year commencing 21st July. I was pleasantly surprised as ... Read More
Having spent a couple of past transatlantic voyages on the QM2, the first in 2005, this was a 21 day trip and a 5 day NY catch up for my 50th Birthday treat in the QM2's 11th year commencing 21st July. I was pleasantly surprised as this ship seems to have aged well, no doubt with much hard work from Cunard. Both cabins were 6th Deck, 6144 out and 6167 back, and lovely condition much as I remembered when this ship was only a year old, love all that cheerful light yellow wood and comfortable bed. As Gold world club members the welcome bottle of Cava on ice was a nice touch for both journeys. Our lovely friendly cabin steward Argie and Dong were attentive and helpful. I am very pleased to report that nothing much has changed on the QM2 over the years which is what we had hoped. The Britannia Restaurant still has that incredible ambiance, discreet lighting, and understated elegance. The food in the Britannia was as good as I remember, lovely choices with some great wine, port and armagnac. We had a lovely table and Kelvin the Matre'D was both knowledgeable and efficient, a real credit to Cunard. Jane and Rodney our table servers were really lovely, and I have to say we were really impressed with the cheerfulness of all staff on board, especially the morning breakfast servers in Britannia, of which we met many. We had fun following the daily itinerary, much was on offer and we particularly loved the quiz. The shows were good too and Mike Doyle the comedian singer sang a truly outstanding Nessun Dorma. Other highlights included an enthralling RADA performance of Pride and Prejudice, and 3D Cinema productions of Carmen and Madam Butterfly as well as the much loved Planaterium performances taking you on a trip into outer space, the planets and stars. On the return journey we tried out the menu of Todd English extensively, and pleased to report a select menu worthy of the extra cost to dine there and service to match. During the evenings my wife got to try out her new dresses as thankfully the dress code is still observed on formal or informal nights. Even in it's 11th year its hard to fault the QM2 which is the Cunard flag ship, once on board this mighty ship treats you to a very special experience. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We boarded our cruise in Trieste Italy ( not Venice) with expectations of excellence from the Cunard brand. Sadly this was not to be. Embarkation was late starting and we had problems with our passports not registering properly. We were ... Read More
We boarded our cruise in Trieste Italy ( not Venice) with expectations of excellence from the Cunard brand. Sadly this was not to be. Embarkation was late starting and we had problems with our passports not registering properly. We were expecting the staff at embarkation to look immaculate but instead were greeted with staff in messy outfits of white shirts and skirts or pants that looked like they needed a good iron.Little thing but first impressions count. there are sooooo many little things that happened but we were determined to make the most of it and tried not to be whiners. Our room steward was ok for the first week and then changed in the second week. Everyday there was something including 1 day our room had still not been serviced at 2.30 pm when we arrived back on board after shore.Not acceptable. There was certainly not a lot of activities to do on board, certainly not like other ships. The night time entertainment on board is ok. It is geared very much to the old fashioned type of entertainment of years gone by - string quartet,pianist,harpist etc. There are no proper deck parties like other ships. The wines etc. are very expensive as are the photos. Our formal photo was $34.95 USD but the other photos were $24.95. You pay an extra $10 just because it is formal night? The wines by the glass were expensive but you could get a wine for around $7 USD for 75mls. Seriously? That's not a glass, that's a taste. Most of the ports are good but a few more shuttle buses provided by Cunard would be nice. The food in the dining room was beautiful and the experience was enhanced by our fabulous waiter Dennis who made recommendations every night. The buffet food is very typical of all buffets. The afternoon teas in the Queens room is very nice and traditional. The dress code on board is not adhered to. There is a big emphasis put on passengers wearing the right attire after 6pm. Gentlemen to wear trousers with shirt and jacket. We personally didn't care but if you have a dress code - stick to it. Some young women came into the dining room at night with short cut offs and sandals. Children running around unsupervised on open decks at 11pm at night when no children were to be out and about after 10. Cunard shouldn't have these rules if you are not going to adhere to them. We were reminded about the dress code when we tried to buy a coffee in the coffee shop at 6.10pm. We were wearing shorts etc. and had just walked in from the deck area. We thought, you have got to be kidding? No consistency Cunard. We are glad that we did this cruise as we have cruised with many different cruise lines prior to this. We believe that Cunard should take a look at the way some other cruise companies operate and not just rest on the Cunard name. Excellence in Service is promised but not always delivered. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Okay, the QM2 is showing some age and the food isn't great, but still very good, but overall a nostalgic experience and I would do it again, (our 3rd time this time). There is nothing like it to leave New York aboard this ocean liner, ... Read More
Okay, the QM2 is showing some age and the food isn't great, but still very good, but overall a nostalgic experience and I would do it again, (our 3rd time this time). There is nothing like it to leave New York aboard this ocean liner, (not a cruise ship!). Some thoughts: Cabin on Deck 5 was fine, (with "in-hull" balcony). Deck 6 which is same accommodations is directly below the "promonade deck" which can be a little noisy with people using it for walking, etc, No complaints about service- excellent! Activities such as guest lecturers, dancing, (largest dance floor of any ship with a full orchestra with vocal)- great!. Food above average and I was surprised it was this good from my experience on the last 2 crossings we did- no complaints, (maybe I went in with low expectations). Todd English worth going to- excellent. Indian specialty restaurant in the "Food Court" okay, nothing special. This ship was not crowded which was enjoyable- never stood in line, etc. Complaints: My wife said the bathroom had a "musty/moldy" odor- I didn't notice it. She also said the slot machines did not pay off at all, (but what's new?). For anyone who has not made a trans-Atlantic crossing on the QM-2- do it! We will be back! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We've been on QM2 from NYC to Hamburg 21-30. June. Our 5th TA crossing and everytime when we read these negative reviews, we worry about how bad our Crossing will be. The ship seems to be falling apart, the personel overworked ... Read More
We've been on QM2 from NYC to Hamburg 21-30. June. Our 5th TA crossing and everytime when we read these negative reviews, we worry about how bad our Crossing will be. The ship seems to be falling apart, the personel overworked and unfriendly, food in general - particularly in KC uneatable. Totally wrong - always! Ship's condition: Admittedly the Ship needs new paint on many places, but staff are constantly working in removing imperfect spots when the weather allows. I've read a review here, which mentioned a missing and rough handrail recently: This is what I have seen one morning and I was speaking to the staff: They did take off the real handrail some weeks ago - refurbished it and you can see the new bits laying on the deck. In the meantime, they installed a rougher not nice handrail to prevent people falling overboard and marked the sharper corners with tape to make sure that nobody gets injusred. Now they are replacing the temporarily handrail with the real one. Food in Kings Court: We like the food there! And we took the chance to have a look at the food AFTER it was presented and BEFORE passengers served themselfs, everything looked really nice. Of course this changes latest after the 10th portion taken off from the buffet. Food in General: To us, it has slightly improved - portions went a bit smaller which is a good thing as we could try out a second starter or dessert now and then. Our Stateroom Steward and Waiters all appeared to be more friendly and attentive compared to the previous voyages and everybody stopped to ask, if we where enjoying what was just happening. Speaking to our fellow passengers, most of them have been more than happy with their experience and easily overlooked the existing faults (holes in the floor, still defective seats in Illumination - worn out chairs in MDR). Our Steward even gave me a new mattress after I have asked for one. One factor may have been the perfect weather on our trip - we've had for the first time the chance to spend 2 pool days on deck 8 without wind - simply beautiful! But we could hardly credit Cunard for the good weather. Another beautiful thing which we've just discovered is the music which happens all around the ship in the nights. We are no ballroom dancers but the atmosphere in the Queens Room just sitting there with a drink and listen to the band and singers is phantasic! Particularly on Big Band Night, which is hardly the music that we usually hear. But it works on these magic nights! Nothing is perfect in life and so is QM2 - but we prefer to enjoy our time onboard instead of falling over on small flaws which simply happen. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
One more cruise on the Queen Victoria, and we were delighted to find the ship as usual, in excellent condition. This classical masterpiece of modern cruising, if we may call her so, looks every time the same as some years ago, when we ... Read More
One more cruise on the Queen Victoria, and we were delighted to find the ship as usual, in excellent condition. This classical masterpiece of modern cruising, if we may call her so, looks every time the same as some years ago, when we embarked on her for the first time. As to the particular cruise, it was special, as it combined two anniversaries simultaneously: the 100 years of the Gallipoli campaign in WWI, and the 175 years of Cunard line. Embarkation in the port of Piraeus (Athens, Greece) was smooth. We were soon on board ('always nice to be back'), straight to our cabin, where our suitcase already waited for us. The same did a bottle of complimentary sparkling wine (which I think applies even to those traveling to Cunard for the first time). The cabin was spacious and tastefully decorated, with a nice sofa/sitting area. Storage space was ample, and there was one additional large drawer under every bed. Arguably, the weak point of the cabin (and virtually of all this beautiful ship) was the bathroom, a bit on the Spartan side and somewhat small. In addition, the water stall in the shower was fixed, something that we are not accustomed to. However, the bathroom was adequate and neatly appointed (and after having a fixed water stall in a Waldorf Astoria suite bath, in New York, we have realized that it is more common than we used to believe). Moreover, the bathroom was made more attractive by the provision of toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and body lotion. After trying various brands through the years that we travel with them, Cunard has introduced Quercus toiletries, which we found superb and the best of any cruise line that we have traveled on. Also one could find in the bathroom a hair-cup, cotton in little balls and ear-cottonettes. Some other companies provide all these only in suites - as happens also with the slippers, which Cunard provides free and you can take them home (bathrobes are free for the duration of the cruise, and can be purchased after). A fruit basket also can be provided daily, after request. I must add that our cabin was kept in immaculate condition by our stewardess, Marian. Immediately after inspecting the cabin, we embarked on (re-) exploring and marveling at the ship. The Queen Victoria belongs to the Vista class of cruise liners, a successful ship design within the Carnival conglomerate, and she also combines elements from (at least) the Spirit class and the Princess Cruises ships. However, her designers took special care to differentiate her from the other ‘Vistas’ with magnificent interior innovations, creating unique and brilliant spaces, decorated in a fine Edwardian style, that bring you in mind the famous ocean liners of the past. It was the beauty of these spaces, combined with the classic cruise experience that Cunard offers to modern passengers, that has prompted us spontaneously to acclaim the ship 'a classical masterpiece of modern cruising'. So, her designers endowed this Queen with a three-deck Lobby (based on Princess Cruises ships), which may lack the huge spaces of other liners. but is full of grace. Another nice innovation is the Winter Garden (next to the Lido casual restaurant at the top), with its nice retractable glass dome, suitable for every weather conditions. However, the most brilliant innovations are the library and the ballroom. The two-story library, with rich 'wood' paneling and a central spiral staircase, contains 7,000 volumes and is one of the largest at sea (second only to QM2's). Accordingly, it had something to everyone's tastes and it reflected nicely Cunard's more cerebral ambiance. As to the two-deck high grand ballroom, the Queens Room, it is inspired by Osborn House (Queen Victoria's summer palace in the Isle of Wight), and Carolyn Spencer Brown, the Editor of Cruise Critic, has acclaimed it one of the finest rooms at sea. During the day this magnificent venue was host mainly to the elegant afternoon tea, served by waiters with white gloves, under the accompaniment of strings, harp or piano. At night dancing found here an ideal place - the stage is one of the largest at sea. The grand balls is a tradition that 175-years veteran Cunard knows perhaps better than any other cruise line. Actually, a special ball was held to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the company. I should add that contrary to some other lines, dancing in the ballroom and disco continued until late every night. Beyond formal tea and dancing, entertainment in Cunard is refined and more cerebral, as said, than in other lines. If you expect hairy chest contests and drunken passengers shouting in the cabin corridors, it is difficult to feel at home. On the contrary one can expect, as said again, strings, harp or piano. Cunard offers classic cruising, and it does it well. Classical restraint is part of both internal decoration and on board atmosphere. As to the shows, they were generally first rate. We enjoyed especially the Opera Boys and found the Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers charismatic, even if their shows 'Victoriana' and 'A stroke of genius', although brilliantly executed, left something to be missed. It must be added that the shows are complemented greatly by the magnificent West End-style theatre, the most beautiful we have ever seen afloat. The beauty of the nights on board is enhanced by the elegant dress code, unique to Cunard as far as we know, which takes place after 6:00 pm. Two nights of every week are formal, with tuxedo or dark suit with tie for gentlemen, and evening or cocktail dress for ladies. The rest of the nights are informal, with jacket required, tie optional, for gentlemen, and cocktail dress, stylish separates etc for ladies. People not wishing to adhere, can eat at the Lido casual restaurant and relax in the Winter Garden. But it is a pity not to be part of this wonderful elegant and festive atmosphere, which reminds of the Golden Age of ocean liners. Elegant dressing complements beautifully the marvelous surroundings of the ship, making every night special, and if you are romantic and nostalgic then search no longer. As to everyday activities, we found them plenty and enough to keep one entertained. Special mention should be made to the lecturer, Sir Simon Mayall, who also did a live commentary as the ship was passing through the Dardanelles to Anzac Cove. Dining was of the usual Cunard standard. In our recent cruises with Cunard we have found that desserts have improved considerably. Service in the Britannia restaurant, table 350B, was impeccable. Our waiters really surpassed themselves to accommodate our wishes. We had sometimes breakfast and lunch in the Lido casual restaurant, which we found very good in terms of variety and quality. The only things to be missed were fresh squeezed orange juice and chocolate milk in the morning, which we enjoyed much in our last Holland America cruise. We could not help to compare the ship to her younger sister, the Queen Elizabeth, on board of which we had the pleasure to travel relatively recently, some months ago. Both ships are virtually identical in terms of beauty and comfort, but in our humble opinion the Queen Victoria has the edge. The main reason for that is that the Queen Victoria offers the magnificent Chart Room (which her sister lacks), a beautiful piano lounge adjacent to the Britannia restaurant, an ideal place for pre-dinner drinks and canapes (as well as people-watching), one of the best places on board. Moreover, as said above her Winter Garden has a retractable glass dome (QE has a fixed glass ceiling), which during our cruise opened to the glorious Aegean sun and breeze. Last, Queen Victoria's Lido casual restaurant is brighter and feels more airy than that of her sister. So, thumbs up for gorgeous Vicky. It should be also noted that the ship was well maintained and clean, and one could see continuously members of the crew taking care of her. The itinerary was great. A splendid and sophisticated mix of Greek and Turkish 'delights'. Two full days in Istanbul gave one plenty of time to explore this fascinating city. Shopping in so many places, especially in the Grand Bazaar or the Spices Bazaar, or visiting the monuments of two great Empires (the Byzantine and the Ottoman) can keep one continuously occupied and delighted. Just be prepared for extended, Oriental bargaining. We had, for example, a taxi ride from port to the Sultanahmet historic centre for 5 euros, when the driver was initially asking 15. Next morning was dedicated to the one-hundredth anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign during WWI. Under live commentary, as said above, we travelled through the Dardanelles to Anzac Cove, There, a little ceremony took place to commemorate the heroes who fought in those battles. The ship then turned to Greece. Volos was a nice port and a convenient entrance to picturesque mount Pelion, known from ancient Greek mythology as the place of the centaurs, and perhaps more importantly to unique Meteora. These are huge, high rocks, crowned at their top by monasteries built since the Middle Ages. According to ancient Greek legend, too, Jason began the Argonautic expedition near Volos, in order to fetch the Golden Fleece. Last port was the island of Myconos, which I think needs no comment. An absolute 'must' for every visitor of the Aegean sea. In all our ports we preferred to do our own thing, as all cruise lines offer overpriced shore excursions - so we cannot comment on them. However, I have to say that whenever we booked Cunard shore excursions in the past, we have generally been satisfied with their organization and overall quality. Disembarkation in Piraeus was, like embarkation, smooth and swift. Overall a great cruise on a great ship. I have really tried to find something really negative to mention in this review, just to justify the word 'cruise critic', but could hardly find something. It is ten years now that we have cruised on Cunard, and contrary to other reviewers here, we have found the standards to be generally well kept and high, both in software and hardware. Now we are planning our next cruise on them. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We are about to embark on our second cruise in Princess Grill Queen Victoria and I thought I might add my oar because we had a Med. cruise last year on this ship that we enjoyed very much - hence again. The ship was gorgeous and ... Read More
We are about to embark on our second cruise in Princess Grill Queen Victoria and I thought I might add my oar because we had a Med. cruise last year on this ship that we enjoyed very much - hence again. The ship was gorgeous and transported us to a by-gone era in the grand and elegant style. It was a spotlessly clean, sophisticated ship and after reading some reviews here I think it’s sometimes a matter of personal taste which sort of ship/holiday one chooses to be happy on. On Queen Victoria few children were a bonus for us and it was pleasantly quiet in the public areas. It is a ship that attracts adults, with over 40s being the norm, which we like. The staff were polite and helpful. The staff in the PG restaurant always greeted us by name and nothing was too much trouble. After a few days, our waiter anticipated things we might like and made suggestions. Service was efficient and friendly without being intrusive, the food good and plentiful, if not ‘nouvelle haute cuisine’. The Grills Lounge for afternoon tea and before/after dinner was pleasant, and if you travel Grills you have access to an outdoor (competitive!) courtyard for meals as well. On formal nights most ladies generally wore short/cocktail style dresses or dressed up pants and top but if you do wear a long, glitzy formal dress (I didn't), you will be admired. There is no need to break the bank for formal evenings - just a little forethought and bling will dress up what you already might have in the wardrobe. I enjoyed sailing forth in my AUD$22 ‘sale’ dress. Men are best in penguin suits and most wear them or a dark suit and tie. We enjoyed the shows after dinner. There is a big emphasis on British entertainment and the comedians were ‘clean’, not smutty which was refreshing and kid-safe. There was some repetition on a 21 night cruise, but there are other things to do. I never saw any overcrowding on activities that another reviewer referred to, one could always find a seat in the theatre and if you wanted to do something on board in the daily program, no problems - and this cruise was booked out. Our sail at Gallipoli was fantastic, as we sat off the shore for an hour and listened to live commentary from a senior former British army officer ( A Brigadier General?). His enrichment talk the day before was a highlight of our cruise. If you book to see Gallipoli check the itinerary carefully first to ensure this experience is specifically offered. Shore excursions - we pre-booked but you can also easily book on board. These were overall good value for money but they varied in quality and we had some ups and downs - we liked it when air-conditioning was good on the buses (not all were), when the tour operators used headsets on land tours (not all did) and when bottled water was on the bus (few offered it). Take your own water, a handheld fan and if you wear them, don't forget your hearing aids! The ship switched ports (minor ports) for 'security reasons' on two occasions while we were sailing, so if one had organised private shore excursions, off itinerary changes to docking port could have been very inconvenient/expensive/missed. Tour times changed for almost all the tours we went on, advised the night before. Book what you want to see and anticipate the need to be flexible with departure time. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
Before and after the booking I was looking for some personal information on weddings on QM2, but it was hardly possible to find a review – therefore I add one to help future brides. Beside fulfilling the TA dream we also got married ... Read More
Before and after the booking I was looking for some personal information on weddings on QM2, but it was hardly possible to find a review – therefore I add one to help future brides. Beside fulfilling the TA dream we also got married during our crossing! We had booked the wedding package with Cunard and after all documents from our side and the wedding booking details for the wedding itself were done, we were very excited how everything would work after embarkation. And what shall we say? It was another dream! Everything was so well organized and very personal. We soon after - as part of the package - priority embarkation had a meeting with our wedding planner and we still were able to adress wishes. We went through all details – decoration, music, ceremony, picking up, who had to be where and when etc. The wedding took place in the Atlantic Room. It was closed for hours for re-decorating for our wedding. You would not have recognized the room again. It was Captain Christopher Wells doing the ceremony – what a humerous and wonderful personality! We could not have been more lucky. As we were travelling on our own, we decided for witnesses from the crew – our wedding planner and the social hostess. Two wonderful young ladies. The spa was already preliminary booked for me for a trial before and the final on the wedding date. The flowers were beautiful and came well in advance, the wedding planner helped me with the dress, the bell boy was so nice and watching my steps, the ceremony so wonderful as Captain Wells really made it so much personal, easy and and memorable. We will always remember - and still have a big smile on our faces - the important advice from Captain Wells to my husband: You only need to learn two important words from now on: Yes, dear! All flowers and the cake from the ceremony were then brought over to the Todd’s English were we had booked the wedding dinner. The table looked just beautiful and everybody was so nice. Then all came to our stateroom – it looked like a flower shop as we also got surprising gifts from family and friends including wine and champagne. So we were covered with all for the rest of the crossing. The photographer did a great job during the ceremony and the walk around – we have perfect pics and I can’t stop watching them again and again! It definitively was the perfect choice to have the wedding on QM2! In this respect it is a pity you only do it once! Thanks to everybody making this day unforgettable and a wonderful life time experience! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We've discovered over the years that the best way to cross the ocean is by ship. Comparing the QM2 with a cramped aluminum tube, and remembering that the QM2 includes lodging, food and entertainment for a week, it actually comes out ... Read More
We've discovered over the years that the best way to cross the ocean is by ship. Comparing the QM2 with a cramped aluminum tube, and remembering that the QM2 includes lodging, food and entertainment for a week, it actually comes out cheaper to sail than fly. And a lot more fun! The purpose of this trip was a cruise on the Royal Clipper around Italy (see my review of that ship elsewhere), the QM2 was just our chosen method of getting there and back. So the entire itinerary was: Fly to NYC, see a show on Broadway, stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Mid-town Sail to Southampton on the QM2. Bus tour to Windsor Castle and Stonehenge on the way to Heathrow, stay at the Holiday Inn Express T5. Fly to Rome, train to Civitavecchia, stay 2 nights in an AirBNB property. Sail on the Royal Clipper to Venice Fly back to Heathrow, stay 5 nights at an AirBNB property in London and see 4 shows in the West End. Bus to Southampton and re-board the QM2. Sail back to NYC, check back into the Holiday Inn Express, and see a couple of shows on Broadway. Fly home. The QM2 is the most elegant ship we've ever been on. She's pure class all down the line. The east-bound passage was 7 days non-stop, but the return a month later included stops in Liverpool, Halifax and Boston. It was the 175th anniversary of the first Cunard crossing, and Cunard did up the celebrations to a T. Wonderful fireworks at every port, and an unbelievable concert in the Liverpool Cathedral. Food aboard is very good, good variety, excellent soups. Service throughout the ship was good, but a little more impersonal than we like. Probably just the difference between American and British cultures. Great bridge instruction and afternoon play with Cheryl and Livingstone, and friendly players without exception. The enrichment lecturers were a mixed bag. All knowledgeable, but some put me to sleep with their presentation, while others the talk was over far too soon. My favorite was Stephen Payne - the Architect that designed the QM2. LOTS of live music throughout the ship - we couldn't experience it all there was so much. Evening shows were excellent on both crossings. The planetarium is excellent! Biggest library of any ship we've been on, mostly British authors. Didn't go on any of the Shore Excursions, except the Liverpool concert on the west-bound leg. But the variety and prices all seemed reasonable. This was our second and third time on the QM2, and we'll go on her again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Embarkation - was a dream, very efficient and in our cabin within an hour of arriving at Southampton. We brought on a bottle of spirits and some mixers with no trouble. I think as long as you are discreet and don't take advantage, ... Read More
Embarkation - was a dream, very efficient and in our cabin within an hour of arriving at Southampton. We brought on a bottle of spirits and some mixers with no trouble. I think as long as you are discreet and don't take advantage, it's allowed. A quick unpack then into the Lido for a spot of lunch and to explore the ship (although I still had trouble with front and rear of the ship even with my trusty map! Food - usually we had breakfast and lunch in the Lido, (and lovely afternoon tea) and dinner in the Britannia, and we went to the Verandah on our last night. The food in the Britannia was very good with a slightly retro feel - beef Wellington, cold soups, crepes Suzette, baked Alaska. We loved it! The Verandah put on a bit of a show and flambed steak at our table, very 70's! We had 2nd sitting at 8.30 and I was a bit worried about eating so late but as long as we had a snack about 5pm it was fine. Portions in the restaurants were just right. There was a huge choice of food in the Lido, all through the day and night. Sometimes there was a bit of a scrum at breakfast but I couldn't fault the choice, presentation and quality of food. The coffee in the Britannia was horrible so we used go up to the Lido and have our coffee and then decide whether to go to the show or for a drink or bed! Ports – we had port information with maps the night before together with the ships programme and the Purser usually had more maps if you asked. We got off at every port and did our own thing but used the shuttle buses if available. Most of the ports weren’t very pretty as you would imagine except for Rapallo (a lovely seaside town) where we had to go in by tender. Loved Gibraltar (buy your duty free there) even though we only had a couple of hours, Barcelona and Valencia but very disappointed in Monte Carlo – overpriced and very built up. There was a big choice of excursions from the ship but we only booked one, transport into Florence from Livorno, very overpriced at $75 for a bus ride with no air conditioning on a very hot day. Entertainment – lots of things to do were listed in the ship’s daily programme. We went to a couple of the talks – Simon Weston and the Red Arrows’ director were on our voyage; port talks; a galley tour and we managed a film showing one evening. There were other things like fruit carving, craft circle, engine tour, spa activities. There were 2 shows in the beautiful theatre every evening, singers covering show and pop tunes, a tenor singing opera style, an acrobatic act and the amazing Cunard dancers. Even if it’s not your taste you have to admire the effort that goes into the shows. There was ballroom dancing every evening in the Queens (Ball) Room and pianists, harpists, string quartets in various locations. 2 of our party made it into the night club one night (“Dad dancing” was the verdict). Drinks – we usually had a cocktail before dinner and tried out a few different bars, our favourite being the Commodore Club at the front top of the ship with an amazing view, we saw dolphins one evening. The drinks have an additional service charge added to the bill and we did find that more than one waiter had trouble charging 2 drinks to one cabin and 2 to another so keep an eye on what you are signing for. Tried a few cocktails on the menu, favourite was the Cosmopolitan! Dress code – this caused the most amount of discussion before we went – basically the men had to wear a suit every night with tie/bowtie for formal, without tie for informal. Ladies - I wore dresses for the formal but only took 1 long dress and smart trousers and tops for informal. I took masks for the Masquerade Ball and a fascinator for the Royal Ascot Ball but didn’t wear them; if you didn’t want to participate you don’t need to bother. There was a 175 Ball as well but didn’t see any dressing up at all. Everybody in the restaurants dressed up which was lovely although I think the men found it a bit hot in their jackets. Gratuities – this also caused a lot of discussion, we happily paid the added on gratuity (and hope it did indeed go to the staff as promised) and left a bit more for our steward in the cabin. Some of our party also tipped the restaurant waiters that served us. Ship facilities – everything was spotlessly clean and tidy, the decoration is quite ornate but in keeping with the Cunard name. The pools were tiny as expected but lots of places to sunbathe if you wanted to, we were just as happy to sit on our balcony and watch the world go by. You could always find somewhere to sit and read or chat in the public areas without having to buy something. Disembarkation – the was luggage taken the night before, turfed out of our cabins by 8.30am to hang around the ship till 2.30pm. The instructions were to go to the restaurant to be called and escorted to our airport coach, having gone to the restaurant we were told to make our own way to the gangway with no farewell or thank you for your custom! The luggage was waiting for us ashore with no check on who owned what and we were taken to the airport hours too early on a shabby old coach with no aircon (another hot day) and a good view of the road underneath every time the aisle carpet lifted. A bit of an anti climax to a lovely holiday Drawbacks – the extras like drinks, ships photos, shops, excursions, Wi Fi were all overpriced but at least you could avoid then if you wanted to. Thought it was a bit mean to charge for Wi Fi as most people think it’s a necessity nowadays. We began to feel life onboard after 9 days got a bit wearing – too much eating, drinking, spending; and dressing for dinner had lost its appeal (perhaps a couple of less informal nights would be good, shirt and smart trousers for men and smart clothing for ladies). Would we do another one? Yes, maybe leave it a few years first though! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
Just arrived home from a 10 day trip on the QM2. From the Embarkation process to the amenities on board, the line is outdated and behind the times. The entire cruise line is geared towards senior citizens There were more walkers, ... Read More
Just arrived home from a 10 day trip on the QM2. From the Embarkation process to the amenities on board, the line is outdated and behind the times. The entire cruise line is geared towards senior citizens There were more walkers, motorized devices and wheelchairs than one would expect. The shore excursions clearly stated not to register if you had mobility problems however, there were so many on the ship with these problems that it prevented a easy process for these events to take place. The casino is outdated, and clearly not ready to come into this century. There is no ATM on board. You can not pay cash towards your bill during your trip, and can not settle your bill in advance Many of the shore excursions went well into dinner time, and you had no time to return to the ship and prepare for dinner, as it is always formal or semi formal, so you are forced to eat in the buffet area which had limited choices, and there seemed to be limited staff to replenish. Our room was not well cleaned before we entered There was still food on the carpet from the previous occupants, stains on the wall where soda had spilled from the previous occupants. The deck furniture was worn, and rusted, the bathroom shower floor was stained and had mold on it along with the top of the shower. The bathroom smelled of urine throughout the trip. I believe they should of advertised the ports that required tendering in the brochure. This was our 4th trip on this line, and the last. The value is not there Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Overview This was a very special cruise for my Husband and I; it was our honeymoon cruise! I am not very good at sitting still for long periods of time, so this cruise was the perfect mix of sea days and ports to give us a chance to ... Read More
Overview This was a very special cruise for my Husband and I; it was our honeymoon cruise! I am not very good at sitting still for long periods of time, so this cruise was the perfect mix of sea days and ports to give us a chance to relax and reflect on our wedding but also keep active and explore new places. The weather was constantly 30 degrees or above, which made for a lot of sunbathing, lovely cocktails on deck during the day and breakfasts and wine on our balcony. This is a great segment of the World Cruise to do and I would definitely recommend it on this ship. Restaurant and Service Our serving team was not the best we have had; our head waiter was attentive but somewhat aloof and our second assistant constantly changed so we felt no rapport with the team. I do not know whether this was because we were only doing a short segment of a world cruise, whether we were being overly sensitive or whether they didn't take us seriously as young passengers (we are both in our 20s) but whatever the situation I think customers should always be made to feel special. I stated on multiple occasions during the cruise that this was our honeymoon and nothing special was done for us until near the end of the voyage, and all it consisted of was a free cake... (which was lovely, but given how many times i had said "its our honeymoon, no one has said congratulations, put a nice message or flowers on our bed/ bath" to be given a cake after a heavy meal was a bit of a let down). The food however, was consistently excellent in the Queens Grill - we had the best rack of lamb we have ever had on this cruise, and have constantly talked about it since we got home!! We can't wait to have it again. Given how excellent the dining is, we have decided to give Cunard another go on a short cruise this coming week and hope the service point was just a one off. Our butler, Natalia, was the best butler we have had on a Cunard cruise. She was incredibly polite and professional at all times and enthusiastic to assist wherever possible. She brought us tea every morning dead on time, topped up our nuts and crisps and brought us hot canapés daily. Ports We started off our cruise in Singapore, which is an amazing city - we unfortunately only had one night so we couldnt see as much as we would like and have booked to go back. Embarkation at Singapore was smooth and quick. Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur is an interesting place and as we did a full day tour we felt one day was quite enough there! Our tour included visiting the KL Tower, the National Mosque, the Central Market (which sells a wide range of local crafts and souvenirs), the impressive Old Railway Station, Independence Square and the Petronas Twin Towers. The highlight for us was visiting the KL Tower, one of the city’s greatest landmarks. We took an express elevator to the Observation Deck, where we had a wonderful panoramic view of the city below. Although good to see the Central Market, we didn’t enjoy the amount of time we had to spend there as part of the tour, as we had no interest in buying any of the things on offer and were slightly more worried about security in such a closed environment. Mumbai We had to obtain expensive visas to even be on the ship given that we were passing through Mumbai so we thought that we may as well make the most of our visas and explore the city on arrival. We initially thought we would enjoy a full day tour but nearer the time we ended up deciding to explore the Heritage Precinct of Mumbai by way of an afternoon’s walking tour. This involved a guide taking us through the streets in very high heat; but our guide was excellent at finding us spots of shade. The first thing that hit us once we arrived at the heritage precinct from coach was the sheer noise of the city. I had been warned that it would be noisy but nothing can prepare the ears for the assault from the horns blaring out from the intense traffic. We started out at the Fort area of Mumbai and made a brief visit to and inside St Thomas Cathedral (Mumbai’s first Anglican church). After this we explored the historic precinct, passing the ornate Flora Fountain, the gothic style Mumbai University (the beautiful library of which can only be used by Law students) and High Court buildings. We ended our tour at the Gateway of India, erected to commemorate the visit of King George V. Abu Dhabi We went to Ferrari World as my husband is a big fan of roller coasters, so he obviously couldn’t miss the chance to go on the world’s fastest rollercoaster (3 times). The cruise was in port on a Sunday which meant the park was really quiet (Sunday being a work day in Abu Dhabi) with no queues for rides until the afternoon. Dubai Disembarkation was easy and quick, no complaints here. Amenities on the ship We spent one sea day at the spa; we had a couples massage together in the morning. This was a lovely experience together. When the spa staff messed up the price they were quick to try and remedy the situation giving us free spa passes for the rest of the day, and we had the spa all to ourselves! The view from the sauna rooms is incredible and we saw dolphins swimming whilst lying on the heated loungers. There is evening entertainment in the form of shows and musical performances in the bars throughout the ship, but we did not really attend these so cannot comment on the standard on this voyage. 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Accommodation: Suite 10043, Queens Grill Q5, Queen Mary 2 We boarded the Queen Mary 2 at Southampton just before midday. The Queen Mary 2, part of the Cunard line, holds fond memories for Hus and I; he proposed on this ship in 2012. ... Read More
Accommodation: Suite 10043, Queens Grill Q5, Queen Mary 2 We boarded the Queen Mary 2 at Southampton just before midday. The Queen Mary 2, part of the Cunard line, holds fond memories for Hus and I; he proposed on this ship in 2012. Hus has a preoccupation (as most men do when it comes to size) that the size of this ship gives it greater gravitas than its sister ships, the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. I, however, find it much more difficult to navigate internally, and find that the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria are much more manageable in terms of learning quickly where everything is (which I think is especially important on a mini cruise). The Queen Mary 2's decor is traditional, timeless and classic and on this Christmas Markets voyage it looked sublimely seasonal – it would be impossible to walk an inch and forget that Christmas was fast approaching. There was an imposingly grand christmas tree centred in the six-deck-high atrium lobby, christmas garlands draped around the sweeping staircases and gingerbread house displays littered around the shopping and bar hub of the ship. We also had a poinsettia delivered to our room during our very short stay as a present which was a lovely touch. After boarding the ship, we were almost instantly treated to a seasonal 'welcome aboard' performance by the Boy Choristers of Salisbury Cathedral in the atrium lobby, followed by a programmed performance in the Royal Court Theatre (a three-deck-high theatre designed in the style of a classic opera house). The choristers sang a number of well-known hymns and some more obscure ones, with the audience encouraged to join in on a couple! After the performance we settled into our room and enjoyed our complimentary boarding champagne (Delamotte) and chocolate dipped strawberries, before wrapping up to enjoy a pre-dinner firework display from on deck. Dining on board The three Cunard ships (known at the three Queens) have different dining venues depending on the category of cabin that guests are assigned to; the main dining room is the ‘Britannia Restaurant’ (plus the ‘Britannia Club’ restaurant on Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 which has single seating, not fixed meal times) for guests staying in staterooms, the ‘Princess Grill’ for princess suite guests, and the ‘Queens Grill’ for queens suite guests. As the majority of guests travel in staterooms, the main fixed seating Britannia restaurant is the largest on the ship and is fittingly grand. The Britannia Club, Princess Grill and Queens Grill restaurants are all much smaller by comparison. We booked a princess suite for this voyage about a year in advance, and were upgraded to a queens suite just a month before it set sail. I much prefer the layout of the Princess/ Queens Grill Restaurants and deck areas on the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria to the Queen Mary 2. On the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria if you book a Princess or Queens suite your cruise card (which you use to “log in and out” of the ship and put your many drinks orders on), allows you access to a certain deck of the ship (accessible by insertion in a card slot in the lift), which is reserved for Grills guests. This does draw criticism from some as creating a “class system” on Cunard, but I think the segregation of the Grills away from the bustling main area of the ship means that the Grills are not flaunted in the faces of those who may feel it is dividing. The Grills deck is primarily dominated by the Princess and Queens Grill restaurants, which are essentially mirror images of one another (although the Queens is decorated with gold tones and Princess with silver). On the Queen Mary 2 the Grills restaurants are just along from the Kings Court buffet restaurant- they are not separated on a different floor. Indeed, the restaurants almost pop up out of no-where, and to get there you either have to take a convoluted walk throughout the internal decks, or walk through the Kings Court (a humongous buffet restaurant, a place I tend to avoid unless forced, it reminds me of a hospital canteen in terms of decor and an African watering hole in terms of diners…, although Hus' more affectionate term for it is smash and grab and he is keen on it!). The Queens Grills restaurant on the Queen Mary 2 once you are inside, is really lovely and spacious; I think the shape of this restaurant adds to the atmosphere, and it was a pleasure to dine in here, as we did for every meal of this voyage. Other alternatives for dining on the Queen Mary 2 include the Kings Court, which does cuisine “themed” evenings, and the speciality a la carte restaurant, ‘Todd English’. Our first night on board All guests in Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites are served afternoon canapés in their rooms before dinner (usually late in the afternoon, at around 5pm). The standard canapés delivered are cold toppings on blinis and this was the first time on a cruise in a suite that we asked for hot pre-dinner canapés. We had clearly expressed our excitement at the prospect convincingly as we were rewarded with an immense amount of hot food, enough to fill us both up all night! We followed this 'pre dinner nibble' by steak in the restaurant – Hus had a sirloin, and I had the fillet au poivre which is an option available on the ‘a la carte’ menu, an additional menu to the daily menu which the Grill restaurants exclusively provide. For dessert I had one of the best lemon meringue slices I have ever had. Petit fours after the meal with tea/coffee are standard at dinner. Day At Sea We missed breakfast on the second day as I didn't feel up to it, much to my Hus’ upset (but he sweetly only told me he was upset about it once I felt better). Even though it was very cold, we wandered around deck and joined in a dancing lesson with the on board dancers to warm us up and build up an appetite for lunch. This brief stint of activity was followed by - you can guess- more food. Both of us had a chicken tikka masala curry for lunch which came with all the trimmings; the mini naan bread was really good, but the curry was not anywhere near the standard of the one that can be ordered off the ‘a la carte' menu with an afternoon’s notice. My fruity meringue dessert was gorgeous, light and chewy inside – something sweet enough to prevent me from stuffing myself with afternoon tea, but small enough to not make me feel too guilty. Hus had jelly, also light enough for lunchtime. In the afternoon the sun came out and we enjoyed sitting on our balcony (our Cunard robes over our clothes providing some protection from the cold), playing cards and enjoying working through our minibar. The minibar was stocked with complimentary Peroni beers for Hus at our request (other beers are usually put in as standard), and I made a bucks fizz concoction out of orange juice (which I always request on the first day of a cruise to be put in the minibar) and the truly awful sparkling wine, Pol Acker, which Cunard continue to insist on giving to all passengers as a complimentary boarding drink (notwithstanding many blogs and reviews continually berating this drink!). However, the bucks fizz is really palatable and a great way to use the paint stripper, sorry, Pol Acker, if you are struggling to think of uses for it. Getting ready for dinner is always fun on a Cunard cruise; the ceremony of getting dressed up makes dinner feel a special occasion. On this evening we pre-ordered our favourite dinner - (until a honeymoon discovery- to be blogged soon) - chateaubriand. The meat is fantastic quality and cooked to your liking in front of you at the side of your table by the Maître d'. All of the vegetables and accoutrements can be dictated by your own preferences if you do not like the suggested options, and the sauce brings it all together wonderfully. We must have had this dish on Cunard at least 10 times and we have never been disappointed by it! To start I had ordered another a la carte special, Jumbo Shrimp Tempura. This is one of the best al la carte starters in my opinion. The chilli sauce is fiery and sweet and the tempura batter is always crispy. We concluded our meal with another firm pre-order favourite, Crepe Suzette, which is like heaven on a plate; I could literally eat these Crepes all day for the rest of my life! Entertainment There is a variety of entertainment on the Queen Mary 2, my favourite being the planetarium but there is always a rush for tickets for showings. In the evening there are usually two shows in the Royal Court theatre in addition to various musical performers at bars located throughout the ship. The nightclub on the Queen Mary 2, which picks up later in the evening, is quite large and has two floors – the upper floor is a good place to spy on the dance floor if you don't fancy getting involved in the action but is smokey as smoking is permitted. There is also open dancing or dancing performances in the ballroom in the evening, so people can practice the dances they have been learning on the ship. We went for an evening drink at the grills lounge, located outside the Queens Grills restaurant, and went to bed given our action packed day coming up of guzzling mulled wine and chocolates by the bucket load. Bruges Breakfast is always a full on affair and we make pigs of ourselves (especially in light of the fact our normal breakfast at home consists of, at most, some breakfast biscuits). I had a fillet mignon to make up for the fact we had missed breakfast the previous day, which was lovely but definitely too much for me to be eating at 9am! After overindulging at breakfast we hit Bruges. The ship did not offer a free shuttle to Bruges; there was an arranged coach at >50$pp to get to Bruges and back (with an enforced time of stay) or guests could brave a complimentary shuttle bus to the town of Blakenburg and make their own way from there by cab or train. The train is exceptionally cheap but it does not run very frequently which is my only bugbear with it. A cab would be more reasonable than the ship shuttle but much more than the train. We travelled by train and wandered into the town centre where the Christmas markets dominated the main centre of town, together with a large ice skating rink. We enjoyed mulled wine whilst wandering around the stalls (€2 to keep the glass which we thought was a bargain and great souvenir) before buying chocolates from a few local shops. Would we do it again? We find with our busy lives that a short cruise is a perfect way to have a relaxing long weekend away, and wouldn't hesitate to book another short cruise with Cunard given the quality of the food. In fact, we have a short weekend in Hamburg coming up with Cunard this year! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
First I will start by saying my wife and I are travel agents whom when on any cruise we look at it from the point of view, could we place a client on this ship or this cruiseline, with confidence? We do compare with other cruiselines and ... Read More
First I will start by saying my wife and I are travel agents whom when on any cruise we look at it from the point of view, could we place a client on this ship or this cruiseline, with confidence? We do compare with other cruiselines and with what the cruiseline is portraying in their pre-cruise advertising, basically "will my client receive the treatment that (in this case) Cunard is selling." On this Cruise, Cunard missed totally. It seemed that everything was based on what was convenient for Cunard not the Passenger. EMBARKATION I will start with EMBARKATION IN ATHENS- We had arrived in Athens 3 days prior to departure and decided to take a taxi from the Hotel to the port. We arrived approx. 11am and were on the ship immediately after they started the embarkation process. Embarkation went very smooth as there seemed to only be, approx. 250 people who arrived early. We were also allowed to enjoy our stateroom right off the bat and were surprised upon entering, that our luggage was ready for us outside our room, that was great. Cunards policy is to take your passports for the duration of the cruise which I find is a blessing as we did not have to worry about it for the entire voyage, although I have heard that some people refuse to hand it over, which is their prerogative. (We will get to that later) STATEROOM We booked an Interior room as we are smokers who have decided that, with the balcony non-smoking policy and the fact that we have cruised the Medit. previously, there was no need for the extra cost and love the total darkness you can get with the inside room. Stateroom was impeccable other than the previous passengers sock and clear bags being left in the drawer. We are not hard reviewers, and are easy to please but being Travel agents we must analyze these things, personally, it didn't bother us, but it might offend some of our clients. The bed and pillows were the most comfortable we have slept on which came in handy as the entertainment was a little lacking and repetitive. Bathroom was a good size and storage was excellent. It could have been cleaner but with the turnaround time we were happy with our stateroom and attendant. STATEROOM ATTENDANT- was excellent, I only request my ice bucket filled daily and we give many days off to our attendant as we feel these people work very hard and always attain 1 of the 12 rules of the staff which is "to always smile". - Posted about the ship is 12 rules that Cunard requires of their staff at all times and can be found on their website and on the ship, we found that Cunard employees fail to reach 6 out of 12, regularly. The biggest was "We never say NO, we find an alternative"- It was very disappointing to hear more "no"s on this ship than all our 7 cruises in the last year and half put together. As well, I forgot that upon embarkation I had asked where the smoking areas were to the girl working at the Pursers desk on the ship, she broke another RULE that "our employees are well prepared and know everything about the ship hence she could not tell us where the Smoking lounges are- not a big deal but Disappointed. Back to the stateroom, it was excellent as well as attendant. ENTERTAINMENT- The shows were adequate but the same, Cunard Singers and Dancers were mediocre at best. 1 Comedian for 1 night, who was very good and broke up the singing and dancing theme, hence we did not go to every show. The library was excellent but the cases are locked up most of the time which I thought was a slap as with the type of clients on this ship I thought there would be more trust. The extra charges for there tutorial type classes was disappointing as there was really not much else to do as an alternative for us- we don't drink. I will say that my wife and I are really not suited for the type of entertainment that was offered and we knew that going in so we really could not put down the type offered, but the variety and quality was not there. PORTS- well this is where it gets very DISAPPOINTING- after cancelling Tunis 2 weeks before departure (mind you with good reason- Safety!!) the alternative was Albania- nice if it was July or August. This port is still in the begining stages and we were tendered in which is no big deal but there was nothing to do unless one visited the Archeological site(Butrint) It seemed to me that this port was picked out of convenience and financing as I am sure it did not cost much for Cunard to float in the bay for the day and use the lifeboats as tender ships, there are loads of Greek Isles they could have picked in place of "OLD CARTHAGE"- and Albania Disappointing again. MONTE CARLO- Well this is the biggest "lunchbag letdown" I have ever witnessed and actually took me to the point of anger. Many, many of our fellow passengers as well as ourselves chose this Itinerary for the port of Monte Carlo. 8 hours could have been filled very nicely with a visit to the Princes Palace and Casino and glimpsing at the very expensive Yachts that frequent this City State. I was dying to see this port. THE SAGA-The day before Monte Carlo, we arrived in Livorno. It was raining in Livorno and Pisa on and off for the day. With everyone back on the ship for the night and ready for the journey to Monte Carlo during the night. Early dinner was being served and a few minutes in to dinner, the Captain comes over the speaker to inform all passengers that due to the "possibility" of rough seas, 30 knot winds and rain, that for safety reasons, she would be cancelling MONTE CARLO the next day and we would be staying in Livorno the next day. WHAT!!!!, the whole dining room went into a heavy sigh- MAJOR DISSAPOINTMENT-. This was the talk of the ship for the next few days. Now I know you are saying to yourselves "well these things happen, but safety first, it has happened before, what are you going to do?" and yes I have had this happen to us many times as well. But to cancel it 12 hours ahead of time for medium seas???? We watched The Costa ship leave heading to Savonna, ferries galore, container ships and a Seaborn Yacht leave for the same Ligurian Sea we were going to be crossing, so we are thinking whats up with that? How come these ships are not worried? The reason I am so upset about this is because after the announcement, the wife and I went to the Pursers desk to change some American to Euros, It was only us and 3 other people standing there, while standing there we overhear the attendant calming these 3 people down saying " Don't worry the Captain is aware , all is good you will be able to go to the embassy tomorrow in Livorno and we have already talked with them, you can get new passports, it is already looked after, no worries.. Now I am more disappointed, as this is 15 minutes after the M.C. cancelling announcement. We have been on a Disney Cruise with many families and young children in October, we were following around a hurricane which had devastated many Caribbean Islands and YES it was rough, but HEY we are on a cruise ship, a huge ship, this is what they are built for. All passengers know that there is the possibility of some rough seas, but we are cruisers we can handle it, we will all be in bed on the way to Monte Carlo so no Biggie. So now I am thinking that here we are not going to Monte Carlo so these people can get their passports the next day, hold the whole ship hostage for 3 people who obviously decided contrary to most of us, not to hand their Passports over. BAD DECISION ON THE CAPTAINS PART. and the BIG KICKER it was sunny, 60 degrees and 6 kph winds in Monte Carlo all day the next day. The second day in Livorno was the worst weather, we stayed on the ship and I checked the weather in Monte Carlo every 2 hours on the internet just to get more Dissapointed. I and most did not get off the ship for round 2 in Livorno. The weather was brutal it downpoured all day with thunder and lightening in LIvorno all of day 2. Here is my conclusion- The weather for the night crossing was the perfect excuse to not dock in the one of the most expensive ports in the world to visit (for the cruiseline) thus saving Cunard money and conveniently now they will be able to get these passengers passports. Now this is just my opinion but c'mon 30 knot winds is not that bad- and this brings me to the reasoning again that this cruiseline looks after what is good for Cunard not what is good for their passengers. I am not the only person who felt this way, it was the talk of the week, there was no reason not to go to Monte Carlo- there must have been more to it than the rough seas. TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT. DINING-Food was Hit and Miss, no garlic butter. Again another "no" I even asked after the first "NO" the week before that if there was Lobster the next Wednesday, please could I have garlic butter. Come Wednesday "sorry sir but "NO" there was no garlic butter. I saw chopped garlic upstairs for pizza and I had butter on my table- how hard would it have been to put together some Garlic Butter??? No cold milk anywhere for cereal???. It seemed that first nights pork went a heck of a long way with pork related dishes lasting for about 4 days. Lack of desserts 3 at dinner and Minimal desserts offered at the buffet Compared to, say, Princess, who has that wonderful International Cafe with wide selection of changing desserts constantly. Food was definateley nothing special, coupled with missed salads and no Garlic butter, hmmm!! DISSAPOINTING. As for Cleanliness, we never saw anybody outside picking up stray glasses or cups. Very infrequently you would see someone clean outside, some cups would be there all day and into the next day. VAT tax of 22% for the second week of the cruise in international waters was odd!! or for some people their whole week cruise. Charging to get from the pier to port entrance in Barcelona was silly, 4.50 euros each way. If you are going to take us to a port, it should be your obligation to take us to the action. The whole outside areas of ship put away at 5pm every day apparently an S.O.G forcing passengers to be inside all night, 5pm- just never seen this. Never was I offered a drink in the buffet, waiters had to be asked, everybody just found this odd. I had to put the burning ashtrays out on deck 3 approx. 8 times in 14 days due to smoke and at one point flames. They have no garbage cans on deck 3 promenade so people will use these odd shaped ashtrays which are attached to the pillars to put there garbage in and I felt it was really dangerous. Now, I know it seems like we are slamming Cunard pretty hard but they really have to take a look at what they are promoting and what they are offering. They push this "White Star Service" and for the most part we did not feel it was there, I have been treated way better on just about every other Cruiseline I have been on. Considering Carnival owns most of its competition they should really have a look at what they are promoting and see if it really is offered to the customer. They have a beautiful ship which is set up for great movement and no crowding but as stated I think the are missing the real concern for their passengers- SERVICE, Monte Carlo should never have been missed and I think they should all be compensated in some way due to the Mickey Mouse reason for missing it. If there was a real safety concern then fine, things happen, but c'mon -30 knot winds??, and to leave us in a thunderstorm in Livorno was ridiculous. Even if the Captain had apologized for a bad decision it would have been soothing - the least she could have done. She should not have cancelled Monte Carlo they should have cancelled Toulon- they take us to a port on a Tuesday whose claim to fame is being a Naval Base- -and the only day the Naval Museum is closed is on Tuesday, HUH!! We are not petty people and love cruising, all in al,l the base service on any cruise is some of the best you will see in the Travel Industry, BUT don't promote something so heavily, and not offer it. This is definately not high class service as promoted. The only thing high class about Cunard is the passengers being dressed up every night. We give it the Luxury status. There was one fella who worked in the buffet who should be teaching all other staff how to serve the passengers.Named Palo. Him and our stateroom attendant were the only two who made us feel like we were appreciated instead of a burden. Cruiselines - they are all great- but with Cunard the only really enjoyable thing was the the relax time. there was plenty of it due to the fact that there was very little to do that interested us, We had the most relaxing time. The ship is beautiful, The insights program would be great if there was more than 2 hours of lecture time a week- by each speaker. We don't play bridge, drink alcohol, or ballroom dance, we really enjoyed tea but those sandwiches are different. I don't know how they can physically put a "HINT" of the filler so thin on the bread.-Odd, I hope this wasn't a long whining review, that was not my intent, I am just looking at this from the point of view -"could I place my clients on this line confidently" and I am sorry to say that there was more negative than positive, but it could be fixed very easily, PUT the client first, not Cunard, their pocketbook and their employees. This Cruiseline must have a small, loyal following that keeps it afloat. As you can tell we were very disappointed and hope that maybe some of these things will change, as stated it was relaxing, and maybe that is the attraction for most of these positive reviews, but I think that it would be nice to have the option, not to be forced on you due to lack of activities,and please think of the all passengers first- not just 3 of them.   Read Less
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