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22 Cunard San Francisco Cruise Reviews

We were on the 21-day crossing of the Pacific from San Francisco to Sydney. We have been on 32 cruises on various lines and have sailed with Cunard many times before. We chose this crossing as a way to get us to our 2-month adventure in ... Read More
We were on the 21-day crossing of the Pacific from San Francisco to Sydney. We have been on 32 cruises on various lines and have sailed with Cunard many times before. We chose this crossing as a way to get us to our 2-month adventure in Australia. We were very happy with the transportation, but not too thrilled with the Queen Victoria nor the cruise ship features of this crossing. While we found the Victoria to have a lovely interior design, we couldn't help but compare her to the Queen Mary 2, which we prefer for her spaciousness and a couple of grand public rooms, like the Chart Room. The Victoria was very crowded with long waits for elevators and to disembark at ports. The activities and entertainment were aimed directly at most of the passengers who were very old retirees. There were almost no young people on board which is probably a good thing since they might have been quite bored. The most popular activities were ballroom dancing, dance lessons, and chair aerobics. Everyone was in bed by 11:00. Cunard, and especially the Queen Victoria, have defined their niche as nostalgia for the features of ocean-liner travel from decades ago. Thus lots of formal nights with a dress code strictly enforced, and very subdued entertainment. The food? Well it was cruise ship food with lots of dishes, like steak Diane, which pretty much don't exist on land anymore. We dined in the Princess Grill, which was OK, but I have a very hard time remembering any dinners in particular. Just dull. We tried the Lido buffet a few times but found the food like a school cafeteria. No complaints about the service. We were happy to reach Australia safely and without jet lag. But we were also happy to leave the ship and move on to our next adventure. We will return to Cunard and the Queen Mary in September for an Atlantic crossing, which will be fine since it's not a cruise, but I doubt if we will return to the Queen Victoria and the cruise ship style of Cunard. Finally I want to state that we did not get value for money. This cruise was very expensive, maybe because it was a segment of the popular World Cruise. We have traveled on a couple of luxury lines at much lower per person per day rates and received much more in various features. Still it was probably cheaper than flying first class to Australia. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
The cabin D7017 is small and poorly appointed with a small dressing table, minimum storage facilities, particularly if a long voyage. The bathroom small but manageable however the shower cubicle is pokey! Television channels are ... Read More
The cabin D7017 is small and poorly appointed with a small dressing table, minimum storage facilities, particularly if a long voyage. The bathroom small but manageable however the shower cubicle is pokey! Television channels are extremely limited and there is no interactive channel. Frankly it looked rather 'tired'. Room service is available but our experience has been that nothing arrived 'hot'. Lukewarm seems to have been the best that could be managed. Public areas of Queen Victoria are comfortable and the waiter service excellent. Dining is tedious with a two seating arrangement at 18.00hrs and 20.00hrs. 18.00 rather too early especially if returning from shore excursions. The shopping on board was as appears to be the case with most cruise ships directed toward high end buying with selections of 'watches and jewellery' endlessly tedious. Bar prices are definitely high. Personally I wouldn't choose a Cunard ship again...there's far better value for my hard earned cash out there. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We also left San Francisco 2/5/18 for Sydney on Q2. The Itinerary was great, the Ship clean, and the crew professional. However, with a number of 4-5 day stretches at sea, one would expect some professional entertainment and varied daytime ... Read More
We also left San Francisco 2/5/18 for Sydney on Q2. The Itinerary was great, the Ship clean, and the crew professional. However, with a number of 4-5 day stretches at sea, one would expect some professional entertainment and varied daytime activities. During the day your choice was basically the library, a very small pool, or boring lectures. At night, the entertainment was dull and amateurish. To make matters worse, the food rarely varied, and was of poor quality-- both at the buffet and formal dining room. (e.g. how hard is it to make a decent cup of coffee and a good omelet?) You could hammer nails with the round pieces of hardened dough they were passing off as bagels. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and NCL are far superior on all counts. To make matters worse, by the time we reached Sydney most of the passengers were infected with the "Cunard Cough", as named by the physician we saw in Sydney who had his hands full telling passengers that codeine might suppress the cough, but the viral illness would persist for up to six weeks. (His prognosis was right on target). Finally, while the crew was very polite, many of the Brit passengers onboard were not. Many were particularly rude to Yanks, and thought nothing of lecturing all of us on the evils of America. A few were even disrespectful at the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Have cruised Royal Caribbean HAL and Princess. This was our first Cunard experience. Ship was elegant but not glitzy. Service was excellent but very much “this is Cunard and this is how it’s done”. We thought the food was the best we ... Read More
Have cruised Royal Caribbean HAL and Princess. This was our first Cunard experience. Ship was elegant but not glitzy. Service was excellent but very much “this is Cunard and this is how it’s done”. We thought the food was the best we have ever had on a cruise. Cabin was good but think it may have been slightly smaller than the other ships we have been on. Enjoyed the shows in the Royal Court. We were not a fan of the set dining times. We had 6:00 pm dining and missed dinner if you got back late from shore excursions or wanted to attend the sail away party. Synergy were very good but noticed that a lot of people left the pool area as soon as they finished. The pool area lacked atmosphere without music so think they could use the DJ when the band finishes. Overall we really enjoyed the cruise but felt they catered for the elderly guests Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Summary: Beautiful ship. Disappointing experience. Details: Just got back from 22 day cruise on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth from San Francisco to Hawaii, Bora Bora, Tahiti, New Zealand, Sydney, returning home to San ... Read More
Summary: Beautiful ship. Disappointing experience. Details: Just got back from 22 day cruise on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth from San Francisco to Hawaii, Bora Bora, Tahiti, New Zealand, Sydney, returning home to San Francisco via 13 hour Quantas flight. It was our 20th wedding anniversary and I wanted to do something special for my wife. Especially since we had planned a Tahiti cruise on the Paul Gauguin in 1999 but job changes for both of us caused us to cancel. Cunard was running a free balcony upgrade incentive, so I booked this cruise and reserved a table for 2 so we could have some intimacy. We arrived at the Upper Britannia dining room the first night and were shown to a table for 4 people. I went to the maitre d' and asked if we could please have the table for 2 which we requested 3 months earlier. The maitre d' sarcastically quipped "Only three months" and then refused to provide the requested accommodation. The pursers office were extremely annoying. It took them 4 days, requiring us to come to their desk each day, to get our credit card authorized. The coffee was appalling. As an ex-pat, it grieves me to see how badly the Brits make coffee. We've been through this before when we visited the UK. Way too strong. The drink prices were ridiculous, averaging $14 each. We don't drink alcohol but Virgin Mary's and Cokes were still dear at $4.50 and $3.75 respectively. The food was un-imaginative "Carnival Cruise" fare although the fish and chips in the pub was decent as was the afternoon tea, stale sandwiches, scones with no clotted cream (unheard of).. The toilet in our cabin was ridiculously loud. A man came to fix it but we noticed no improvement and he never returned despite our asking. There was a terrible smell of raw sewage outside our cabin one night. They fixed it. But no apology offered. There were so many sick people onboard that the main Theater sounded like a diphtheria ward with so many people hacking away. My wife contracted the same flu-like infection and remains sick even after we returned home and got her an antibiotics prescription. Discussions with other passengers indicated the onboard sickness problem had been occurring since the ship left New York a few weeks earlier. Not sure why I escaped. Perhaps it was because of all the anti-bacterial lotion I applied hourly to my hands, nose and face every day. The weather was rough for at least 10 of the 14 "at sea" days". Not Cunard's fault, but the promenade deck was frequently roped off due to the rough seas so no walking possible. Regrettably, it's unlikely we will be taking any Cunard cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
My husband and I were passengers on the Queen Elizabeth for the San Francisco to Sydney Cruise which took place on February 5, 2018 to February 28, 2018 to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. This was meant to be a trip of a lifetime. ... Read More
My husband and I were passengers on the Queen Elizabeth for the San Francisco to Sydney Cruise which took place on February 5, 2018 to February 28, 2018 to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. This was meant to be a trip of a lifetime. We are both in our mid/end-70’s and generally in good health, up to date with our vaccines, and pride ourselves on our immune strengthening nutrition. We truly appreciated the frequent reminders on board regarding sanitizing our hands and the general cleanliness on the ship. However, as the Cruise went on and we were well into the main part of our trip, we both caught a severe and deep seated cough that lasted well beyond our trip and after we returned home. We had noticed that an ever-increasing number of passengers were apparently plagued by the same, very nagging, illness. About a week after the situation had gotten worse, we visited the Medical Office on board. We were reluctantly told that we might consider a shot of some sort. However, after talking to a passenger who been given this shot, we were told that they had felt no improvement. Based on this information and lack of contact to our physician, we stuck to cough medication bought on board and on land to at least suppress the cough when we left our state room. Needless to say, our ‘trip of a lifetime experience’ was dampened by an illness we had not prepared for but was obviously known to occur. Unfortunately, we were not able to fully enjoy the beautiful offerings this cruise, the ship and cruise line had to offer. Furthermore, while visiting Sydney afterwards, we noticed that the ‘Cunard Cruise Ship Cough’ was a well-known reoccurrence. We were repeatedly approached, while waiting for our luggage, by other passengers asking us whether we caught the ‘Cunard Cruise Ship Cough’ as well. This was an eyeopener for us since we then realized that many other passengers had the same symptoms! We couldn’t help but wonder if the spread of this virus throughout the ship could have been prevented with a more adequate air filtration system. If this is a known situation, we wonder whether we should have been warned beforehand and possibly been given the opportunity to evaluate our decision to join this cruise? Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Chose this cruise mainly because of its itinerary: San Francisco (I live nearby), Honolulu, Bora Bora, Papeete, Moorea, Auckland, Bay of Islands, and Sydney. Luckily we got on one the the queens. Service was superb, food was generally very ... Read More
Chose this cruise mainly because of its itinerary: San Francisco (I live nearby), Honolulu, Bora Bora, Papeete, Moorea, Auckland, Bay of Islands, and Sydney. Luckily we got on one the the queens. Service was superb, food was generally very good, and the ship was elegant. Had some rough rides between SF and Honolulu, and on the Tasman Sea, but didn't get seasick. The downside was that there was a cough going around on the ship, but I do not fault Cunard for this. This coughing virus and flu were going around San Francisco during embarkation. Unfortunately, the air conditioning exasperated the cough. Our steward got a technician to adjust the AC, plus we kept the balcony door open, which helped stop the condition. My sis (who I was traveling with) got excellent care from the ship's MD. We had lovely dining companions; a couple from Southhampton and another couple from Canberra. We were pampered and catered to and had a very nice cabin, which was overseen by our excellent steward, Alfredo. The cabin and the ship were spotless. The beds were extremely comfortable. The three performances we saw were top-notch. I especially loved the acrobats from Cirque de Soleil. The lectures were excellent too. There was a multitude of activities available during sea days, and the offshore excursions were fun and informative. I loved playing the daily "Name that Tune" contest. Cunard is so civilized - you get to play parlor games onboard; something I never get to do in the real world. And we loved the afternoon tea! The only un-fun necessity was doing laundry, but I packed large and had to visit the laundry only once. I waited in line 15 minutes before it opened and got a machine, then it was a done deal. Each deck has a launderette consisting of three washing machines and three dryers. Very busy place. Anyway, to sum things up, I was a bit apprehensive about this ship as some of the reviews are pretty brutal. Please do not disregard it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Past experience with sailing on at Cunard Ships - Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. I wanted to comment on the treatment we were given by our steward, Leo, our head waiter, Ryan, our waiter, Arnold (Arnie), and our ... Read More
Past experience with sailing on at Cunard Ships - Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. I wanted to comment on the treatment we were given by our steward, Leo, our head waiter, Ryan, our waiter, Arnold (Arnie), and our assistant waiter, Dexter (Dex). We were totally treated by Leo in our cabin (there were 3 of us in 6197) - he asked us what he could do to help us but never was intrusive. I was so impressed that he knew each of our names and called us that when we saw him in the halls. We had a major issue with the commode - periodically would not flush and Leo saw to it that we had staff fixing the issue at least 5 times. We never had anything overflow. Leo continually asked us if things were all right and handled any requests with a smile and immediate attention. Our dining experience was great. We were at the late seating (table 291). We were at a table for 6 but only had more than the 3 of us for about 5 days. Ryan checked every day with how we were doing and saw to it that the requests we made of our waiters was taken care of with a smile. All three of them treated us with humor and respect. As a result, we were had shrimp cocktails every night, got fish or meats with sauce on the side and I frequently had a baked potato as my entree. When Arnie and Dex would see us at breakfast on the Lido Deck, they always made sure that we were taken care of and again addressed us by our names. I do want to give negative feedback on the Spa. Two of us joined the spa so we could get in the wet area and then go to the hot tables. I know that this is through the Canyon Ranch but you need to know that the jets in the pool were not working and when we complained, they said they had been fixed and they had not. In addition, the water in the coolers was not cold. The two of us finally said we wanted our money back - only got $100.00. I think you need to look at overseeing this private provider better. They are not providing the quality of care that the staff who are Cunard employees provide Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise to combine three things. To revisit San Francisco, to cruise on QV for a second time, and to transit the Panama Canal. Overall we were not disappointed. Our 4th time overall with Cunard, they continue to provide a ... Read More
We chose this cruise to combine three things. To revisit San Francisco, to cruise on QV for a second time, and to transit the Panama Canal. Overall we were not disappointed. Our 4th time overall with Cunard, they continue to provide a quality experience, for which we did, admittedly pay a high price. Suite, food, staff service, entertainment were excellent, as previously experienced. The service charge added to alcohol, as with some other cruise lines was a downer, but we did know before we went. The standard of entertainment was first class - west end show standard plus. Ports of call varied - the best was probably Grand Cayman. Aruba was not as interesting as we had hoped. Guatemala was a friendly place with La Antigua worth the drive, although standards of driving were, at times, frightening. Transit day through the canal was worth the wait. It took approx 11 hours and there wasn't a boring moment at all. Plenty of shipping action, plus watching the 'mule' guide locomotives was fascinating. And yes there were times when you could touch the lock wall from the ship, without leaning out. It was that close! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We sailed from San Francisco (February 4, 2017), with final destination in Sydney. It sure beat having to fly from Orlando, to Sydney. There were stops in Oahu, Maui, Western Samoa, Tonga, Auckland, and Bay of Islands. I highly recommend ... Read More
We sailed from San Francisco (February 4, 2017), with final destination in Sydney. It sure beat having to fly from Orlando, to Sydney. There were stops in Oahu, Maui, Western Samoa, Tonga, Auckland, and Bay of Islands. I highly recommend this ship; the best way to some up the ship, would be elegant. Karen (Activities Staff) made the time fly by and extremely fun!! My wife and I are Elite Plus with Celebrity, so we know what fine cruising should be!! When we crossed the Equator, the ship had a big ceremony for all the Pollywogs to trans form into Shellbacks. All the passengers and crew had to lineup to "Kiss the Fish." Some received more attention then others. Ha Ha We sailed on the Azamara Quest, in November, this is the type of ship we expected. The only thing some cruiser might not like, is you have to dress up for dinner, we enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I booked the San Francisco to Auckland leg of a World Voyage on the Queen Elizabeth. This was my first cruise and I'm pleased I chose Cunard. I had one and a half days in SFO before embarkation, booked as part of the cruise and I ... Read More
I booked the San Francisco to Auckland leg of a World Voyage on the Queen Elizabeth. This was my first cruise and I'm pleased I chose Cunard. I had one and a half days in SFO before embarkation, booked as part of the cruise and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in that lovely city. Embarkation was a bit chaotic, not helped by pouring rain, disembarking passengers arriving at the hotel at the same time as those who were checking out however, once we were at the pier, things ran smoothly. I found my stateroom with the minimum of fuss and fell in love with the space that would be my home away from home for the next 17 days. The stateroom (5062) was spotless and throughout the voyage I couldn't fault the effort that went into maintaining cleanliness. Likewise service elsewhere in the ship was always courteous and obliging. I had no reason to seek out the Purser. I dined in the Lido buffet for lunch and most dinners. As a solo traveller I found dining in the Britannia restaurant disappointing having been seated at a table with 2 other couples and I was uncomfortable. However, I couldn't fault the waiters in the Britannia and I liked the food. The ship stopped at Honolulu, Lahaina (Maui) Samoa and Auckland. We were scheduled to stop in Nuku'alofa however, because the captain had concerns regarding strengthening winds, a decision was made to bypass this planned stop. After obtaining permission from the Port of Auckland Authority, we were granted permission to berth in Auckland a day ahead of schedule. I would definitely go again. This same cruise stops at Tahiti next year and I'm very tempted. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Yes, the ship is magnificent. It is a magnificent structure, with a grand and beautiful fitout in the public areas that makes you feel very special. The facilities onboard are generally first class EXCEPT FOR THE INTERNET which had over ... Read More
Yes, the ship is magnificent. It is a magnificent structure, with a grand and beautiful fitout in the public areas that makes you feel very special. The facilities onboard are generally first class EXCEPT FOR THE INTERNET which had over 300 people screaming with frustration at its inadequacy and dropout rate. Considering that we were supposed to be on a five star ship, the internet could only be compared to a very slow dial up. When it worked. Many of us were given substantial time credits because of the problems. It made trying to do work or communicating with your office almost impossible. I felt really sorry for the head IT guy who constantly had a line of people trying to communicate but with little or no success. Even the admin office was at one stage unable to communicate with head office.................the word pathetic enters my head. Our cabin 8040 was great and we were greeted in the cabin with a half bottle of french champagne which was rapidly consumed as we slid into shipboard mode. The dining opportunities are varied, from the delightful and popular pub with great lunch menus, the standard lido buffet, the alternative dining solutions which vary on a daily basis, from steak to indian or asian depending on the day. There is also the Verandah, the ships first class restaurant which was largely empty whenever I walked past and which required a top up payment. The dining mainstay restaurant is the two level Britannia, which was generally very good but which has sadly stuck to the old standard of two fixed dinner seatings rather than having open seating to allow you to dine when YOU want to. Something that many other lines have adopted with success. We had 5 formal nights in 20 days and this got a bit much even though I enjoy going formal occasionally. Every other night was good casual and that meant men had to wear a jacket even though we were in the tropics and the aircon could not reduce the inside temperature enough to make wearing a jacket comfortable. Many men abandoned their jackets as soon as they were seated. Drink prices were as expected, pricey, and I found that bringing your own wine aboard and paying the corkage fee of $20 enabled us to drink much better wines at what we were to be charged for lesser quality on board. In all a lovely trip with great staff but Cunard really must get with it and stop just catering for the 80+ year olds with their level of formality, must abandon fixed seating times and MUST upgrade its IT system to a workable 2015 standard. The market has shifted Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
As seasonal cruisers, we decided on the Cunard Queen Victoria due to its wonderful itinerary to the French Polynesian Islands plus Australia and New Zealand. We had not visited these ports before. I was a bit leery that the ambience on ... Read More
As seasonal cruisers, we decided on the Cunard Queen Victoria due to its wonderful itinerary to the French Polynesian Islands plus Australia and New Zealand. We had not visited these ports before. I was a bit leery that the ambience on the ship would be too stuffy and too formal but it was not as formal as I had envisioned. We had a rough beginning since we were due to embark in LA on the 17th of February but our flight was cancelled on Southwest due to inclement weather both in NYC and our layover city. Many flights had been cancelled the previous day(s) as well and they were catching up with getting people out who had been stranded due to the inclement weather. Even though we knew our flight had been cancelled, we went to the airport and tried to get on standby, to no avail and decided to join our cruise at the next port, two days later, in San Francisco. We had better luck on that day getting out but the unfortunate thing was we did not get to see San Francisco again since we had been there in the past on a separate "land" trip we had done. Oh well. To our surprise, we had been upgraded to a higher deck (from 6 to 8) and a bigger room - we always go inside cabin unless we can get a better room for not much more than the inside rate. Wonderful, I thought! Since we arrived late afternoon - 2:30-3 p.m., embarkation was a total breeze! Never had we experienced such an easy embarkation process. There were two couples ahead of us filling out their health forms. No lines, no hassles. When we arrived at our stateroom, we found a bottle of champagne in a bucket of ice with two flutes waiting for us! Alrighty, I thought, this is very classy! I next checked our shower to see if they had installed a handheld shower which I had requested over the phone. It was there - it didn't have a stand to hold it up as a regular shower head but I was not complaining! Hurrah! I was a happy camper! We went to the buffet for a late lunch and were able to have a nice lunch. The waiters did not wait on you for drinks I noticed, at the Lido Buffet, as is done on most other cruise lines I've been on. Hmm, I thought - weird! We had to get our own drinks from the fountains. However, we discovered that they had the usual - water, coffee, o.j., ice tea, cranberry juice and apple juice. They also always had lemon slices and small jars of honey! Of course, I wrote about my displeasure about the service in the Lido when given a questionnaire during the end of one of the legs of the trip and soon after noticed they had taken my advice. Especially in the morning, waiters were now coming around with carts and carafes offering coffee and drinks. They still have much room for improvement in this area at the Lido though! During check in, I had inquired about our luggage being sent to our new room since they had been tagged with the old cabin number. We waited for the luggage to arrive and nothing. I took a walk to the old assigned cabin on deck 6 and found our luggages waiting there! It took some waiting and patience to get someone to get our luggages to the proper cabin! The ship itself was very nice and clean. I had previously read and seen the video on the retrofit that had taken place not too long ago prior to us boarding. The ship was comfortable in terms of its length - it was not so big that you tired trying to get from front to rear. It was just right in size, I thought. Dining was a wonderful experience - the food was excellent and plentiful! Our waiter, Arnold and his assistant, Albert, were excellent and very affable! Entertainment had some highlights but overall was O.K. They had some interesting lecturers - I especially enjoyed Mr. Bauer's talks about the White House. As a seasonal cruiser, I always look forward to watching the latest movies on board on sea days and this was one of those areas where the ship greatly disappointed. Good movies were hard to come by and there were only two that I had not yet seen. Most of the movies shown were pretty old! Excursions were fair - nothing extraordinary and if anything disappointing. Luckily, we only took three and did most on our own except for the highlight of our trip, the excursion run by Tom through Cruise Critic in Bora!!! OMG! We had the best of both worlds and more - thanks to Tom and Cruise Critic! We went on a nice boat adorned with leaves and flowers, run by Moreto, our Captain, who took us to various sites in the lagoon. Our group (not me) swam with stingrays and sharks; then we were taken to another place where we swam with beautiful fish, we continued our beautiful, glorious trip all along the lagoon until finally landing on a "private" island where we found our food being cooked in a ground pit and a BBQ. We lunched on half a piglet (I don't eat pork any more), sweetbread, yuca, cooked sweet and green bananas, bbq'd tuna & mahi mahi; pineapple, grapefruit, bottles of water, beer, white and red wines, champagne and sodas! After lunch, we swam in clear, blue azure water that was very, very shallow - I was in heaven being a non-swimmer!!! This was our highlight of the trip in terms of excursions! Thank you Tom, Cruise Critic, Moreto and Patrick (I believe is the person running the tours). What an experience! We loved it!!! Our itinerary was out of this world - we visited 3 Hawaiian islands (Honolulu, Hilo and Maui) but we had been there exactly 11 years ago; Apia, Samoa; Suva, Fiji; Port Vila, Vanuatu; Brisbane, Sydney, Australia; Picton, Wellington, Auckland, New Zealand; Rarotonga, Cook Islands; Papeete, Tahiti; Bora, Los Angeles. Each and every port was a new discovery for us. We enjoyed visiting them all! I especially loved the vibrancy of life in Brisbane and Sydney, the beautiful and helpful people of Wellington, New Zealand and the beautiful and clear waters of Bora, Bora!!! Disembarkation in LA was a breeze as well - very smooth! No waiting! I would return to the Queen Victoria and highly recommend them especially for the dining aspect of the cruise and its itinerary. I am also willing to try their sister ships - the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, which I heard much about from fellow cruisers! It appears Cunard has a great following with their cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Having read a review by Bruce Kubik about his experience on this cruise ,I can agree totally with several major point he has raised about this cruise .My husband and I have been on QE2 , until a serious incident in April 2000, when an ... Read More
Having read a review by Bruce Kubik about his experience on this cruise ,I can agree totally with several major point he has raised about this cruise .My husband and I have been on QE2 , until a serious incident in April 2000, when an umbrella which was not fastened down as we left Miami port, hit my husband and knocked him out as we left the dock. So here we were trying out Cunard again on a new ship, which is very beautifully fitted out. As with Bruce, we had most lunches in the Pub, as it was the best food available at lunch-time ,we were very disappointed with the evening meals in the Britannia dining room, also the choices in the Lido self service. Arriving in Honolulu--no dancing girls, welcome or lays!!!Just a large dirty shed to walk through--so went to Walmart and bought my own artificial lay.The day after Honolulu, I felt under the weather, started with a cough, not a CUNARD COUGH but WHOOPING COUGH!!!! which the doctor failed to diagnose although I was being ill and loosing weight at the same time--very poor attitude from the medical staff. We too met some lovely guests who were very supportive. Leaving San Francisco was disappointing--no band, no deck party, where is all the excitement which we all had on starting our journeys? Well after spending 3more weeks in New Zealand with proper health care we are back in UK getting over the incident rather than talking about a wonderful cruise, come on Cunard get back to looking after your passengers not just having them for financial gain. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Boarded the QE one night after leaving the Star Princess on which we had just had a great Mexico cruise. The QE and the way things operate differ some what to most other lines we have sailed with. Our first cruse with Cunard took a few ... Read More
Boarded the QE one night after leaving the Star Princess on which we had just had a great Mexico cruise. The QE and the way things operate differ some what to most other lines we have sailed with. Our first cruse with Cunard took a few day,s to get used to, but all good and we sure did enjoy the cruise. Found the main restaurant great for diner .Outstanding presentation and food each night at our assigned table.Breakfast and lunch service every much up and down depending which waiter you ended up with. The lido buffet , never once was my wife offered help with food or drink even though she struggles with a walking stick ,never struck this on any other cruise ships ! Never once saw anyone else offered help either , not good at all. Cabin 5141 was a very nice cabin with a good balcony. Shows were very good on the whole and the dancers the best my wife says we have seen. We did enjoy a very nice ship and what it had to offer Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We recently (3/3/2015) returned from a 22 day cruise on the Cunard Queen Elizabeth (QE) . The cruise was the San Francisco to Sidney, Australia segment of their around the world cruise. We truly expected to enjoy the ultimate in cruises ... Read More
We recently (3/3/2015) returned from a 22 day cruise on the Cunard Queen Elizabeth (QE) . The cruise was the San Francisco to Sidney, Australia segment of their around the world cruise. We truly expected to enjoy the ultimate in cruises but experienced one that was well below average. Actually it was the WORST cruise we have experienced. Based on this experience, we will never, ever go on a Cunard cruise again and strongly suggest all Americans to do the same. It started off very well with a very smooth, efficient and expeditious embarkation and from there it was downhill. There was no "Welcome Aboard" refreshment nor a warm or cold hand towel. The public spaces are beautifully decorated and maintained in a 1920's Art Deco style with the company's attitude and philosophy to match. You are assigned a dining room based on the fare that you paid for your room, with the bulk of the passengers assigned to the main dining room. There are areas of the ship that us peons are not allowed to enter. Right from the beginning you feel like a second class citizen. To add to this feeling, some of those passengers doing the entire round the world cruise seemed to look down on those of us that were only doing a segment of the entire cruise. Then onto the room, which was smaller then other cruise lines of comparable category (veranda) rooms. This provided less cabinet and drawer space. For a 3+ week cruise storage space is important. What was strikingly evident was the gross lack of amenities found compared to most other cruise lines. There were no flowers, fruit baskets, clocks, binoculars, umbrellas, beach bags, shoe shine kits, sewing kits and interactive TV. The beds for some reason seemed to cause a number of people back ache problems, our selves included. The ship was kept very cold by US standards which led to more then half of the passengers coming down with upper respiratory problems. My wife is now recovering from full blown pneumonia. One inducement to take this cruise was that the gratuities were included in the fare. Yet everything one purchased onboard, including drinks, amenities, photos, coffee, juices, water, jewelry, etc. had a 15% service charge added. It gave us the feeling that the cruise line was trying to extract every last cent from the passengers thereby covering the "included" gratuities. As another example, a behind the scenes tour of the ship was offered------for only $120 per person. Most other cruise lines provide a free bottle of chilled water when exiting the ship for the tours purchased from the cruise line. On the QE they charged $2.25 for a small bottle. Still another example of screw the passengers attitude, a bottle of Delicato chardonnay wine in the main dining room was priced at $35 plus the 15% service charge for a total of $40.35. Upon returning home, a check of the local wine store found that the retail price of that wine is $4.99 and the wholesale price about $2.40. That is one heck of a profit margin and a real assault to anyone knowing the least bit about wines. The food in the main dining room was poor to fair. To begin with the menus described the food in very unusual (for Americans) French terms such that one never knew what they were ordering. We considered that only 2 premium dinners were served in the 22 day cruise. One, a "Surf & Turf" (better described as Surf & Tough") and the other being a Surf & Surf consisting of lobster and shrimp. The other meals were just ordinary and mediocre, with a large number of lamb entrees (and we like lamb). The portions were generally small so that American men would probably leave the table unsatisfied. Never were scallops, oysters, caviar and crab served. For what this cruise cost, we were not about to pay for God only knows what one gets in the extra fare dining rooms. We tried the buffet for dinner one evening with our choice of food (their German special menu) to be cold, dried out and generally tasteless. It took 25 minutes to order and receive a glass of wine which we finally received after finishing our entrees. Lunches at the buffet were not much better. At times it was impossible to even make a decent lettuce salad and never were fresh mushroom, peppers, shrimp, anchovies and croutons available. The quality of the meats were particularly bad. Other then the 2 premium dinners, the best meals we had were lunches in the Pub. One was the "fish & chips" and the other the "steak and ale pie". The menus were definitely to satisfy the English palate. One way to improve the evening meal situation is to get to know your head waiter and have him provide the next day's menu. Then if you can't find something suitable, have him order things such as sashimi, escargot, shrimp cocktails, fillet, etc. for the following night. They were all available for the asking and mostly never on the regular menu. The bar, restaurant and hotel staffs were outstanding, accommodating and efficient. (They were tipped well in addition to the included gratuities.) The entertainment was varied and excellent, the invited performers as well as the ship's company singers and dancers. The various other musical performances were excellent. We found the guest speakers and lecturers to be outstanding presenters covering interesting and great topics. There are a couple of other minor items of note. We requested a shared table for dinner. We were assigned a table for 6, however the 3rd couple never showed up. Even after we requested a new couple be found to join us, the last 2 seats remained empty. Several nights we ate by ourselves as the second couple didn't make dinner. Also, the shore stays are way too short. Arrivals in port were usually around 8:00am and departures around 4:30 or 5:00pm. If you take a 1/2 day tour you barely have time to get back in time for dinner (early setting is 6:00pm) let alone have any time in the port. The ship had 6 formal nights which were known ahead of time and therefore acceptable. The need for men to wear a jacket, ties not required, for informal nights is ludicrous. Country club casual would have been much more appropriate for the informal nights. More English snobbery. We were told by several English passengers who had previously cruised on Cunard ships that the overall quality has gone down since Carnival purchased Cunard. Cunard should spend more time communicating to the passengers of all of the features and services available instead of spending so much time on their TV channels pushing sales of salon services, jewelry, etc. We didn't learn about the Pub until from friends well into the cruise. To begin with we thought is was just another extra fare restaurant. Don't get us entirely wrong. We had a good time, primarily because some great passengers we met and became friends with. In addition, the ports of call of American Samoa, Samoa, and Tonga were different and exciting. Revisiting New Zealand and Australia is always a joy. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
9th Cunard cruise - Platinum Status - (103rd cruise overall) What we liked - -Embarkation - not a long line, but no one in the Platinum line - went right on. -Dancing in the Queen's Room - great orchestra and singer - if you like ... Read More
9th Cunard cruise - Platinum Status - (103rd cruise overall) What we liked - -Embarkation - not a long line, but no one in the Platinum line - went right on. -Dancing in the Queen's Room - great orchestra and singer - if you like ballroom dancing - this is the place to be! -Lido for breakfast and lunch - food generally quite good and fresh - although salad bar had same 4 ingredients all 15 days! --Entertainment - The evening show entertainers were some of the best we have ever seen. The Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers - not so much - but they did not do very much so worked out well! -- Wine steward. Absolute delight, hard working and fun!. The only staff member we left an extra gratuity for. What we didn't like - 2 deck steep gangway climb (with carryon) to board ship on deck 3 - Also used for wheelchairs - scary! and time consuming. In Ft Laud exited from deck 1 - - MDR food some of the worst ever on any ship. Menu descriptions and what was received always a surprise. Ex Chef from Ski Lanka - need we elaborate! - Staff and service - some of the worst ever on any ship including other Cunard - white star service - a very bad joke - in the queens room my wife asked a waiter for water one evening - he pointed to the other side of the room and told her to get it herself! - no coffee or beverage service in lido - coffee machines frequently out or order or out of coffee - long walk to another one which often was also out. waiters only remove dirty dishes and trays - otherwise no service of any kind. -- much of the staff never speaks to you and goes about their mission without regard to your presence. Have found that on QM2 although much improved on recent cruises. - 3 cocktail parties - almost impossible to get a glass of wine. saw food, but never got near enough to the one waiter to serve everyone in the queen's room. - senior cocktail party for platinum and diamond with senior officers - mob scene just like the one for all returning passengers. Almost impossible to get a drink and never got close to food - and this is for their most valuable passengers - note to others - better bring your own life jacket! - Asst waiter squirted lemon juice on us on a number of occasions, as well as dripping salad dressing on my hand. - Room steward not too bad, but never got clean glasses, no turn down service on the last night and took the DO NOT DISTURB SIGN ! - Did not need the DO NOT DISTURB SIGN on last night because (with a 10:15 departure) the Commodore was in the cabin at 7:30 welcoming us to Ft Lauderdale and telling us the shuttle bus for the mall was leaving at 9:30 -- 5 minutes later the Officer of the Watch was in our cabin telling us not to smoke on the open decks due to bunkering -- Shortly thereafter another announcement that those persons with bus transportation who were missing need to go immediately - the ship doesn't wait - certainly the busses don't need to! -- Then at 8:31 the cabin steward knocking on the door - remember he took the DND sign! -- 15 min later he is back again. -- The platinum wine tasting (to which you can bring a guest for $30 but free for us). I must preface my comments bu "I am not making this up!" We had to take the invite letter and our platinum card to gain admittance - but nobody looked at either - it soon became apparent why. About 20 of us went to a table with a table cloth. A waiter put a glass in front of us and it got a dollop of white wine. They talked about it and we drank it (one sip). Then - and here is where it gets better!!! - we took our glass and walked by the waiter who put water in it and we dumped it out on our way to the next table with a different wine. When we left that table and washed and dumped our glass we got a red as we walked to the third table and again for table 4. In all fairness they did not make us wash the glass the last time! Apparently there is a severe shortage of wine glasses on QV! We called it the drive by wine tasting. What a joke - Never sailed on Carnival, but I bet they do it better! -- Speakers - There were 4 whose talks on sea days were from 9-noon every day. As ballroom dancers and late night people, this was not a good schedule for us. We did make 2 of them. One by a Captain of some sort on the Panama Canal was clearly copied from a guide book on the PC. The actual narrator for the canal boarded in Panama. The other was a former Concorde pilot and while his photos were interesting, his Scottish brogue was so thick we could not understand hardly anything he said. One of the others that we did not attend was on a British doctor that murdered 250 of his patients! Great stuff for cruise ships! --The ship broke loose from its moorings in San Francisco due to winds according to the Commodore and shortly after leaving Costa Rica the ship went dead in the water for about 1/2 hour. AC limited following that for a couple of days. I only include this because to us it shows that the lack of training and experience is not limited to the serving staff. We are cancelling our fall cruise on QV even though we have $2000 shipboard credit. We are confirmed Princess people and interestingly we met a number of others who had the same impressions. Those folks who had little prior cruise experience were happier with the ship than we were. We will confine our Cunard travels to the QM2 (which has improved quite a bit over the past several years) and is far better than flying! Cunard continues to provide an inferior product at a highly inflated price! Save your money and go elsewhere! Forewarned is ............   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Food and service good Entertainment marginal Scotch tasting good On shore excursions marginal at best Ball room dancing good Value for money marginal Cabin service good Port & excursion commentator very poor ... Reading a script ... Read More
Food and service good Entertainment marginal Scotch tasting good On shore excursions marginal at best Ball room dancing good Value for money marginal Cabin service good Port & excursion commentator very poor ... Reading a script with no life and depressing Commodore's club great... But same singer/piano player all the time ... Mix it up a bit folks Water color classes good Table waiters and servers excellent The entertainment director Sally was very subdued verses out last trip when she was a highlight... The commodore was approachable and informative... Two ship issues caused concern... Loss of power on the ocean for close to an hour... And a dock issue.. Did I say the entertainment was marginal... Service in the golden lion pub was mixed.... Food was good but always the same thing... Over and over... Mix it up folks Afternoon tea was excellent This was our third Cunard cruises. Loved the other two cruises and on balance this could have been better but enjoyed the experience Just booked a 22 day cruise on the Queen Elizabeth to Sydney to complete our three Queen experience   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My wife and I just completed the World Cruise on the Queen Elizabeth. When we thought of taking the cruise we researched as much as we could; but little success. So here is our review of Cunard and the 2014 QE World Cruise. We booked a ... Read More
My wife and I just completed the World Cruise on the Queen Elizabeth. When we thought of taking the cruise we researched as much as we could; but little success. So here is our review of Cunard and the 2014 QE World Cruise. We booked a Penthouse mid-ships and the Queens Grill. The total cost of our trip was just under $200k. On Cunard, you pay for everything; drinks laundry, internet, etc. Cunard Getting on and off The Embarkation process with Cunard was a disaster in San Francisco. Cunard had no staff to direct you to the ship. We ended up a few feet away from another ship before realizing it was not the QE. The group with us was not too pleased. The Debarkation Process in Southampton was unpleasant. You had to gather your luggage, find a porter, go thru Customs, then get it a Cunard Truck (we were transferring to the Queen Mary to return to the US), and then board a Bus to the QM Terminal. There was no Custom’s inspections since we were “In-Transit). So Cunard should have transferred our bags to the Queen Mary. The experience was a disaster. Grills (Princess and Queens) Cunard’s offerings in the Grills do not meet its advertisements. The food is just average. Cunard says you will have private areas on the ship to take in the Sun etc. This is not the case. Non- Grill passengers used all the areas without incurring the expense. Cunard did have signs on Saying for “Grill Passengers Only” but no enforcement. On average the Grills offering costs passengers $35,000 per person extra. What you receive in return is not worth the expense. You would be better off using the Britannia Club for your food and book some of the larger staterooms. Religious Cunard stopped having Priests or Rabbi on the QE and QV. I can understand that in 2008, but not today. We will not be sailing on a Cunard Ship until they provide this offering. Advertising Cunard’s corporate office used the QE as its advertising tool at the expense of its passengers. When the QE was approaching Sydney Harbor, the access to the ship’s forward decks was locked to passengers. The ships’ deck crew was busy putting up a 200’ Flag saying “Happy Mardi Gras” to celebrate Gay & Lesbians Mardi Gras in Sydney. The ships passengers were furious over the inability to take pictures and enjoy the arrival. Queen Elizabeth The QE is a fantastic ship. If you have sailed on the QV, you will find much the same. The service in the Grills was beyond belief. The head Maître, Ico and Kruno were the best team, I have experienced in 40 years of taking cruises. The food in the Gills was average. We took the maiden voyage on the QV back in 2008. The food on the QV was exceptional. So we were a disappointed in food offerings. The Butler service was exceptional. Our butler was Natalia. She gave us such great service. We had Penthouse mid-ships, Suite 4101. It was fantastic in that we had minimal ship movement when the other passengers Forward and Aft, we experiencing the effect of big waves. The Suites back Aft, experienced both the waves and the vibration of the ship's screws. A good friend staying in the QE's largest Suites said it perfectly “I didn't pay $250,000 plus for a vibrator; if I wanted one, I would have brought we me. The crew on the QE was outstanding. Everyone went out of their way to make you feel you were a part of their family. Tours and Pictures: Both of these offerings are done by companies that service Cunard’s ships; Outsourced. Our experience with the Tour Department was so bad. We started off my taking tours via Cunard’s coaches. I am 6’1 and 240lbs. The coaches were so small; my knees were in my chest. In addition, a respiratory infection took hold of the passengers. The coaches became a “Petrie Dish” with many of the passengers spreading the infection to other passengers. Our solution was to take the Private Car option. It should have been a great decision but the Tour Department screwed up most of the bookings. You can plan on paying approximately double over the market rate on shore. We finally did this in the last two ports. We had new Mercedes, great drivers and tour guides at half of the price of Cunard. My only recommendation if you decide to stick with the ship’s Tour Departments offering is to demand detailed confirmations 3 days before you reach the port of call. In Haifa, the Tour Department, failed to give the driver our points of interest we wanted to visit. In addition, the provided only a driver who served as a guide; not good. Demand both a driver and guide so you can enjoy your visit. Summary: The World Cruise on the QE was worth the costs. We will not take another on Cunard since they ceased having Priests or Rabbi(s) on board the QE and QV. I would stay away from using the Tour Departments’ Private Car option. In addition, I would bring 4 Z-Packs of antibiotics for infections. The ship’s Medical Department ran out of Z-Packs mid-way in our cruise. We had 4+ deaths on the ship which is normal for a World Cruise. Cunard handled the sad event with so much compassion for the affected families. This department in Cunard is to be praised for their handlings of such unexpected events.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Embarkation at San Francisco was not too well organized. As everyone joining Queen Victoria (over 1000 passengers) seemed to arrive at the same time, the queue started on the pavement well outside the terminal building. after about an ... Read More
Embarkation at San Francisco was not too well organized. As everyone joining Queen Victoria (over 1000 passengers) seemed to arrive at the same time, the queue started on the pavement well outside the terminal building. after about an hour, we arrived on board just in time to have some lunch. Our suite was spotless and we were well looked after for the whole cruise by our butler and cabin steward. We did not ask the butler to do very much other than ensuring that our drinks, fruit, crisps, olives etc did not run out! It would be very hard to find any fault with either the food or service in the Queens Grill - both were excellent and our waiters soon learned our preferences.As has been noted before, you can order just about anything you want provided you give 24 hours notice. After 5 sea days we reached Maui and the following day was the Big Island (Hawaii). For some reason, we did not call at Honolulu on Oahu - a disappointment to many on board. A few more sea days took us to Samoa then on to New Zealand with our first stop in Auckland followed the next day by a tender stop in the Bay of Islands - probably our favourite of the whole trip. We disembarked in Sydney after having spent the previous day there as well. No problems getting off and on our way to the airport. To sum up, this was our third cruise on Queen Victoria and was very enjoyable - particularly as we like the days at sea. The ship itself is well looked after and all the crew seem to be happy - long may it continue! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
NOTES FROM A CRUISE In February ROBIN KNIGHT* and his wife Jean spent 24 days on board the 90,000 ton Queen Elizabeth as the cruise ship sailed 9,200 miles from San Francisco to Sydney on her second world voyage. Here he reports his ... Read More
NOTES FROM A CRUISE In February ROBIN KNIGHT* and his wife Jean spent 24 days on board the 90,000 ton Queen Elizabeth as the cruise ship sailed 9,200 miles from San Francisco to Sydney on her second world voyage. Here he reports his impressions. The first thing that hits you as you board Queen Elizabeth is the design -- somewhat boxy and top heavy on the outside, stately and classical inside. The dominant art deco theme inside the ship works as well today as it must have on the original vessel when she was launched in 1938. The centrepiece is the magnificent 18ft David Linley marquetry panel carving which dominates the Grand Lobby. But all over Queen Elizabeth one finds elegant, imaginative touches -- Great Gatsby-era light fittings, nostalgic black-and-white photos, display cabinets full of Cunard memorabilia, 1930s signage, deep pile carpeting, an eye-catching glass statue and a fine new portrait of Queen Elizabeth 11. Some facts and figures: the average age of passengers on our cruise was 75. One lady celebrated her 97th birthday and a man died of a heart attack while eating breakfast in the cafeteria. If you get exasperated shuffling behind walking sticks, zimmer frames and wheelchairs, this is not the cruise for you. On the other hand, the atmosphere is calm and civilised. Between San Francisco and Sydney the ship carried about 1,850 passengers (some 200 below capacity) including 640 Brits, 200 Germans and 100 French journeying around the world on a three-month long cruise at a minimum cost of £25,000 a head. Thirtyseven nationalities were represented among the passengers and 50 nationalities in the 1,000-strong crew. Most of the senior officers were British or Irish. Service: generally attentive, friendly, flexible, obliging. We moved our dinner table reservation without difficulty to escape a garrulous neighbour. On Valentine's Day Cunard sent us a rose and a card. Our stateroom (never cabin -- a Cunard affectation) steward was conscientious and reliable. The Purser's Desk (vital for all queries) was well run by a multilingual team of capable, polite young women. When a screw came loose on our balcony panel during a stormy spell, it was repaired quickly by a technician who strapped himself to the railings to avoid falling off in the high winds. Real dedication! Numbers: congestion resulting from the presence on board of so many other passengers was not, on the whole, a problem. Occasionally it was -- when getting into small tenders to visit and depart from Fiji, queuing up for food in the Lido cafeteria early in the morning, finding a seat in a bar before dinner and, above all, using the guest launderettes. Charges: Cunard seems bent on emulating Ryan Air. Just about everything discretionary came with a hefty price tag -- and the total mounts up during the best part of a month on board. Many drinks cost more than in the UK - $20 for two pre-dinner glasses of wine in the Commodore Bar and a minimum $30 for a bottle of wine with dinner. In Fiji and again in Dunedin, New Zealand, we purchased wine, gin, tonics and beer and were allowed to bring the haul on board. Still, the fact is that it cost $25 to buy a photograph of oneself from the photo team and $25 to attend a wine-tasting session. Shore excursions could be pricey (about $75 per person on average) but were worth it. The minimum charge for Internet access was $50 (everything is denominated in US dollars). Tips are included for every service and automatically add $12-15 a day per person to one's onboard account. Cabins: with three main categories and more than 30 price grades on offer on Queen Elizabeth it is hard to generalise. We had a light and airy balcony cabin measuring about 300 sq ft. Drawer space was rather limited and there was no bath (only a shower). But the bed was comfortable, linen was changed regularly and the furniture blended in well -- as did the invaluable balcony. Laundry: charges ($8 for a shirt) seemed set to deter usage. However, each deck has three washing machines and three driers for free use. The difficulty was that they were never sufficient. On our deck a queue of (largely female) users formed at 7.30am most mornings and the machines went non-stop for the next 12 hours. People even sat waiting for an empty machine and angry confrontations were not unknown. On a long cruise, this is a real Achilles' heel for Queen Elizabeth. Passenger behaviour: Superficially, it seemed reasonable to us. Behind the scenes Cunard was finessing numerous issues. In particular there appeared to be an endless stream of minor complaints -- about cabins, exchange rates, restaurant tables, staff service, invoices, smoking in cabins (banned), email access and so on -- maybe reflecting the seniority of many of the cruisers. Dress code: Formal evening wear was mandatory (except in the Lido cafeteria) on about one in three evenings when we were at sea (not in port). Dressing up suits the traditionalists but is a bit of a bore for anyone who imagines they are on a relaxing holiday. Activities: Cruise passengers are adept at entertaining themselves. But to help them Queen Elizabeth offered a huge range of activities starting with a 6,000 volume library, games of all descriptions (cards, board, bingo, deck quoits, life-size outdoor chess), golf nets, lectures, shore excursions, crossword puzzle competitions, seminars on iPADS, a health spa, table tennis, satellite television, choir singing, whisky and wine tasting, dance classes, clothes sales, talks about stress. One clear evening we received a brilliant, laser-guided talk given by one of the Second Officers on the night sky in the southern hemisphere. Magic! Entertainment: A downmarket trend was apparent. None of the entertainers on this QE cruise could be termed top rank. Some were American, others British, Australian, Maori and German. One of the stars, in our view, was the resident band -- a disparate international grouping that proved versatile, engaging and professional. Much of the rest was no more than average although there were a couple of stand outs -- Valerie Perri, known for her role in 'Evita' in the USA; and Bruce Morrison from the UK -- another strong all-round singer/performer with a background in musicals. For us the number one attraction proved to be a stylish young American harpist called Hannah Kuipers who played soothingly at venues all over ship most afternoons and evenings. The lectures (always an onboard staple) were a mixed bag. The main feature was a nine-talk series on the Pacific region given by an American anthropologist. In quick-fire fashion this covered the whole vast region, its history and culture. Two superior talks were given by the recently-retired head of the Australian armed forces. Port destination presentations -- crucial preparation for passengers not sure if they were visiting Honolulu or Pago Pago - were the responsibility of the efficient tours department. Food: Opinions varied about the quality if not the quantity. Feeding thousands of people several times a day -- 12,000 meals are served daily when the crew is included - will never be simple however good the chefs. Queen Elizabeth also operates a rigid, old-fashioned class system which separates Princess Grill and Queen's Grill passengers from the common herd who must make do with the 878-seat two deck Britannia restaurant. An alternative is the a la carte Verandah restaurant where main courses cost $25-30. At the Britannia level (ours) breakfast was always excellent, dinner uninspired. The best rule, we found, was to order the simplest item on the daily-changing menu and avoid elaborate-sounding sauces. In the Lido cafeteria, food was varied if routine. Rather late in the day we stumbled across a top notch pub lunch option (yes, there is an authentic British pub on board). The afternoon tea experience in the Queen's Room -- all white gloves, string quartets and cucumber sandwiches -- is not to be missed. Weather -- the Pacific is wrongly named. Based on our experience, it is anything but pacific, being enormous (one third of the Earth's surface), ultra deep and subject to strong winds and currents. We learned this the hard way. Between San Francisco and Hawaii Queen Elizabeth battled 55 knot headwinds and 16ft seas. Taking a shower became a balancing act and there were many complaints of seasickness. Outside decks were closed and evening performances by dancers in the theatre company cancelled as the stage was lurching around so much. Things were little better as we rocked-and-rolled across the Tasman Sea. Crises: leaving Fiji for Auckland, New Zealand, I received an email from home about a potential family crisis. We calculated that it would be at least five days before we could get back to the UK. This is one of the downsides of cruising, especially for the elderly. One "world cruiser" developed an ulcer in San Francisco and was hospitalized. Then he and his wife had to fly to Hawaii to catch up the ship. Travel insurance didn't cover the emergency and the couple ended up paying £3,500 in additional charges. Cruising concerns: With more and more cruise ships at sea, port capacity is becoming an issue. In Sydney (where cruising is worth $400mn a year to the city's economy) there is only one quay for a ship the size of QE. Eight times last year Carnival (owners of Cunard) had to anchor a ship in the outer harbour with all the attendant transport difficulties involved. Disputes also are cropping up everywhere over shore-based facilities such as baggage trolleys in terminal buildings -- who should pay for them? In Wellington and Sydney Queen Elizabeth was made to arrive at 5.00am before first light to avoid disrupting local ferry traffic. In American waters, there were innumerable security checks to navigate as each port of call insisted on its own inspections. At Port Melbourne the authorities made all passengers disembark from a single gangway to enable sniffer police dogs to check that no one was importing a banana into Australia. As a result it took two hours to leave the ship. Later it took the local ambulance service nearly an hour to rescue an injured passenger who had to be moved off Queen Elizabeth to hospital -- to the irritation of the Captain who made his feelings known over the public address system. Downsides: The air conditioning system on Queen Elizabeth is erratic -- alternately too cold or too warm. Many passengers (including me) caught nasty chills as a result. Over-friendly strangers are an occupational hazard on all cruises; Queen Elizabeth had her fair share. We also heard many gripes from young crew members about their lack of time off and their tough work contracts. Our Captain twice blotted his copybook by failing to respond to written enquiries about his ship. Overall impressions: After a shaky start to its cruising career the newest Cunard Queen has bedded down pretty well. Today the general experience is restful and classy if a tad more staid than on a ship like P&O's Arcadia, perhaps reflecting the upmarket retailing strategy Cunard favours. Children are conspicuous by their absence. Queen Elizabeth also is staunchly British in character, which may not appeal to everyone. Our bottom line? We returned home delighted to have had such a wonderful experience. Robin Knight was a foreign correspondent for an American newsmagazine for 28 years, working all over the world. He now runs his own corporate writing company Knightwrite Ltd Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Our cruise on Queen Victoria was one sector of the ship's 2010 World Cruise, ie San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand. We have just booked another cruise (Venice to Fort Lauderdale) for later this year and on looking at the ... Read More
Our cruise on Queen Victoria was one sector of the ship's 2010 World Cruise, ie San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand. We have just booked another cruise (Venice to Fort Lauderdale) for later this year and on looking at the reviews on this forum have been absolutely staggered at the degree of negative responses to Cunard and its ships. It almost seems that some travellers simply set out to be as negative as possible. Obviously there are going to be the occasional problems with any airline, hotel or cruise operation .. especially when you are dealing with 2000 passengers and 1000 crew ... but our experience was that when these were brought to the attention of the proper person they were promptly fixed. We cannot speak highly enough of the officers and crew on QV - and on the ship itself that provided all the service and comfort that was expected. We look forward to our next Cunard adventure and suggest to some of the critics on this forum that they should take a deep breath and enjoy themselves. Isn't that what cruising is all about? Disclaimer: We are not associated with Cunard or any other travel organisation and have submitted this review as personal feedback. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
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