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7 Cunard Santiago (Valparaiso) Cruise Reviews

The cruise visited places that were not easily accessed by road. The ports and opportunity to visit Macchu Piccu was amazing. The Panama Canal transit was fascinating. However, we felt the Queen Vic could do better. Why with all the ... Read More
The cruise visited places that were not easily accessed by road. The ports and opportunity to visit Macchu Piccu was amazing. The Panama Canal transit was fascinating. However, we felt the Queen Vic could do better. Why with all the focus on ocean environmental responsibility does the ship use plastic cotton buds( refer David Attenborough,) plastic straws, plastic spoons, endless small plastic toiletrie bottles. The whole company could be an environmental leader -very disappointing. When is this stopping.? The cabin steward was pleasant but not very efficient-coffee/tea supplies not identified and replenished. Glasses and cups not always cleaned. Some items found in cupboards from previous occupants. Food was disappointingly bland compared with Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth in past five years.. The Staff at Britannia restaurant at breakfast could be offhand, arrogant,and overly officious. Generally the staff were excellent and coped well with the extra work involved with the outbreak of gastro -enteritis. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The itinerary appealed to me and the time of year was perfect. I was led to believe that Cunard were an upmarket company but several things were not up to standard. Having sailed on several ships with companies as diverse as Thompson, ... Read More
The itinerary appealed to me and the time of year was perfect. I was led to believe that Cunard were an upmarket company but several things were not up to standard. Having sailed on several ships with companies as diverse as Thompson, Fred Olsen, MSC, Royal Caribbean, P and O, Princess,Holland America and Azamara I would place Cunard somewhere in the middle. My cabin was fine with an amazing cabin stewardess ( the best I have ever encountered) but the food in the main dining room was very poor. The descriptions on the menu bore no resemblance to the food presented which was barely enough to feed a sparrow and usually tasteless and sometimes actually inedible. The food in the buffet was marginally better but we could always fill up on salad and fruit. The waiters were at times rude and at best indifferent. The daily schedule was often inaccurate and on the evening before we were due to arrive in Sydney we were advised that tomorrow on our arrival in Papeete we would not need to carry our passports. This caused a lot of confusion. On one day the date was wrong. Would I sail with Cunard again? Only if they offered an itinerary not available elsewhere, the price was very low and I would only eat salad and fruit in the buffet and not bother packing formal wear. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We did enjoy the ship,how ever thought it lacked the wow factor. We enjoyed the QE last year much more. The ship seemed a bit higgle de piglle with stairs all over the place. Service was ok , but only ok over all. We have had better ... Read More
We did enjoy the ship,how ever thought it lacked the wow factor. We enjoyed the QE last year much more. The ship seemed a bit higgle de piglle with stairs all over the place. Service was ok , but only ok over all. We have had better on other ships and on ships with less star ratings. Ships Captain and Officers might have been on another planet,for what we saw / heard of them. When cruising around Easter Island no live commentary was given other than they were disembarking a sick guest. This even though they had lecturer staff onboard who could have made this very interesting. Ditto the food....it was ok. The staff running Brit/restaurant never followed up on complaints placed by other,s we dined with. Our waiters at dinner were good though. Kings Court, never had any staff offer to help guests with mobility problems, including my wife.Very poor. Shows did not match some other ships we have cruised on, again average shows for the most part really. Lecture,s some were in the main not to our liking, unlike the QE. However those that did interest us were ok. Our cabin 5099 was in a good postion and comfortable enough. The ship is due for a refit so was not A1 condition , but was kept clean and tidy by the cabin steward all the time. Shore trips, we did no ship tours as we had visited these ports a few month,s ago. Décor ...seemed odd to us with different carpet, pictures style's etc mixed up all over the ship. The ship gave us a smooth run across the South Pacific. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We sailed 2 sectors on the world cruise in 2015. When an unbelievably cheap fare was offered for a trans--Pacific crossing we couldn't help ourselves. About 1,000 other Australians took up the offer and flew to Santiago to join Queen ... Read More
We sailed 2 sectors on the world cruise in 2015. When an unbelievably cheap fare was offered for a trans--Pacific crossing we couldn't help ourselves. About 1,000 other Australians took up the offer and flew to Santiago to join Queen Mary 2 in Valparaiso. We were zonked out for several days due to the ten hour time shift but all came good as we headed towards Easter Island. The vessel was in better shape than we saw it in March and April last year. There is a constant effort to keep it sparkling and regal looking despite it being due for a major refit. The large number of Aussies on board made it a less formal atmosphere than it could have been and a lot of passengers ignored the evening dress code. The entertainment, lecturer program and other onboard activities were outstanding. Guest speakers included George Negus and Prof Tim Flannery. Movies included Spectre and The Martian in 3D. The best of the shows included The Jersey Boys. There is never a shortage of things to do on sea days for our age group - early 60s - bridge, trivia, talks, planetarium, games, library, swimming, matinee performances and formal afternoon teas. The Queen Mary 2 is not perfect. It is slightly eccentric with its theatre having some view-less seats and its buffet being spread all over the place. However, once you understand it then you can come to love it. I love the soft-serve - delicious and not too sweet. I love the free soft drinks and complimentary room service. I love the free washing machines. You are not hassled to buy drinks. You don't need a coffee card. We finally had our sail past of Easter Island and saw the Moia statues. We had a longer stay due to the need to transfer a passenger ashore for medical treatment. Next was a wet Tahiti and a very humid Moorea. New Zealand was fantastic as usual with a perfect day ashore at the Bay of Islands. We used our $500 of on-board credit to purchase opera tickets in Sydney for the Barber of Seville - outstanding. It was great to see Queen Mary 2 lit up at night beside the harbour bridge walking back from the Opera House - a perfect end to a perfect cruise - 22 nights - pre-paid gratuities - on-board credit - less than $3,000 for both my wife and I - all-inclusive. It was cheaper than living at home. Why weren't you there? Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I had never travelled QM2 before and found a balcony cabin on a cruise travelling to Sydney at a reasonable price entry point. Found the ship to be tired with very uneven floor surfaces including holes that were a trip hazards, especially ... Read More
I had never travelled QM2 before and found a balcony cabin on a cruise travelling to Sydney at a reasonable price entry point. Found the ship to be tired with very uneven floor surfaces including holes that were a trip hazards, especially in the casino. . I was very surprised as I expected top quality. I have cruised approximately 18 times prior, and had upmost expectations for the QM2 I assume these will be attended to with the refurbish . I found the food excellent , staff great and the activities and entertainment to be of good quality. I did watercolour classes that ware excellent and I would recommend. I did find that the activities needed to be adjusted for a younger age bracket, I am in my early 50s and felt I was being sent to bed at 10.30 at night. I also would suggest that they had a dance venue for those of us that like to shuffle together and are not of the dance quality that the ballroom commands, yet too old to enjoy disco. Overall I enjoyed the cruise Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
The many hours travelled from Melbourne to Valparaiso to join the ship were rewarded with a relaxed,first few days on board.Our cabin 6092,hada sheltered balcony and was excellent.Cleaning staff were very thoroughand welcomed us by name ... Read More
The many hours travelled from Melbourne to Valparaiso to join the ship were rewarded with a relaxed,first few days on board.Our cabin 6092,hada sheltered balcony and was excellent.Cleaning staff were very thoroughand welcomed us by name throughout the voyage.We soon discovered that QM2 offered a quieter,more reserved style of cruising,which suited us fine.However,while we were firstly happy not to have the obligatory Calypso band on deck,after 16 days we kind of craved it! We found lots of nooks and crannies to sit and read inside,but were disappointed that the outside areas were limited to mainly just deck 7.Deck 6 had a small area with a pool and deck chairs.Upper deck had plenty of space,but no deck chairs,just a lunchtime cafe.The observation deck at the bow was excellent for viewing,but again,no seating . The theatre shows at night grew to be more interesting,with magicians,comedians,acrobatic shows and themed groups-Beatles and Jersey boys.Sadly to say ,much more enjoyable than the shows the ships singers and dancers put on.We dined in the dining room every night (except one when we were ashore.)Totally enjoyed the food,the service,excellent wine list and our waiters were delightful.The meal sizes were elegantly small,but a mention to our waiters and an extra serving was added with no fuss.The shine of formal nights lost its lustre after about the 6th one-total of 9!-but we still participated,as did our 4 table-mates.We usually ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet,but did venture to the dining room for lunch when the menu suited us. Trivia was a staple pass time at the English pub - it was on morning,noon and night-all good fun! Karaoke every 4th or so night as well and a guest talent show one night.Lecture subjects were diverse and frequent,we sat in on 3 or 4.Afternoon & night time movies were varied and enjoyable. We only did 2 shore excursions booked through Cunard and both were very good,with informative guides and ran on time. We enjoyed our 22 days aboard and if the itinery suits,would have no qualms about cruising on QM2 again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We joined the Eastern leg of the South American voyage on March 22, 2006 in Valparaiso. The embarkation process was very smooth, it was not very crowded and we were registered and on the bus to the ship in about 20 minutes. The Cunard desk ... Read More
We joined the Eastern leg of the South American voyage on March 22, 2006 in Valparaiso. The embarkation process was very smooth, it was not very crowded and we were registered and on the bus to the ship in about 20 minutes. The Cunard desk personnel had given us very accurate information at our hotel in Santiago about when and how to register and, due to following this information, we were delighted that this was not the horrible experience that we had read about occurring on other QM2 cruises. (However, we learned later that my credit card had not been properly registered, so all the charges for things such as shore excursions were on my roommates bill. It was not a big problem, but seemed like something that could have been corrected sooner so that we wouldnt have had to spend time at the pursers office sorting things out later.) We were pleasantly surprised to learn that we had been upgraded to an A1 stateroom upon embarkation. No idea how it happened, but the quality of the room certainly made the cruise that much more enjoyable. There really is nothing to compare to the view from your room with the transparent balcony  there were several days at sea that the sunrise and sunset were spectacular and the experience was greatly enhanced by the improved visibility. We were also lucky to have a port side stateroom, which given the direction of our cruise (eastbound) assured us the maximum ability to see shoreline and really enjoy sail away and other such events. Our table assignment in the Britannia Grill (late seating, table 71) also was very satisfactory. We had a great service team, from headwaiter to sommelier, who really catered to our every need. There were several special requests from among us at our table and these were accommodated each and every time promptly and with a smile. We were very fortunate to have wonderful tablemates. We enjoyed our dinners with them so much that, although we were lucky enough to secure reservations for dinner twice at Todd English, we cancelled the second reservation to stay in Britannia with them. The cohort on this cruise was overwhelmingly UK based. Not that this was a problem, but it meant that we spent a lot of time in the entertainment offerings worshipping at the altar of Andrew Lloyd Weber. The Brits especially are seriously bonkers about all things ALW. There were theatrical lecturers that devoted an entire 90-minute session to ALWs Bottom Drawer and each and every musical act included at least one ALW tune. It may be several weeks before we can get the music from Phantom out of our heads! The shore excursions were consistently excellent. The tour guides and the arrangements were first class. The one guide in Puerto Montt was not expert in her English, but her fractured way of speaking, combined with a winning personality, made for a very memorable and enjoyable experience anyway. The flyover to Antarctica was the highlight of the trip for us. The weather was so clear that we had perfect visibility for nearly the entire flight over the Antarctic Peninsula. The content expert (a veterinarian with 25 years experience working in research there) and the flight crew were fantastic. The pilots were actually taking pictures during the flight and told us that it was some of the best visibility they had ever had on this trip. The other excursions we took in Ushuaia and Montevideo were also of very high caliber in terms of tour guides expertise and organization. The one slight glitch that we ran into was the delay in Ushuaia due to the extremely slow tendering process that day. By the time we got on shore, we barely had enough time to reach our Wildlife Tour cruise and no time to shop or see any other sights. The quality of the Wildlife Tour cruise in the Beagle Channel was well worth it, however. We spent our time on sea days racing from lecture to lecture, using the gym, relaxing and enjoying the Canyon Ranch Spa and attending the planetarium shows. There were days that we hit the ground running at 8:00AM and, with quick breakfast and lunch, barely had time to fit in all the activities we wanted to attend most days. On nice days we walked Deck 7 instead of using the indoor gym. In addition, we used the Cunard Connextions for checking up on email and the library for research on ports of call and keeping up on the news. The cost of Internet connection is very steep and it would be nice if there were some better pricing for this service. The lecturers on our cruise, Captain Richard Hayman, Richard Cowley, and former astronaut Kathy Sullivan were incredible. They daily gave well researched and professionally prepared lectures. Each in their on way was very engaging as a speaker, but with very different presentation styles. Their sessions were very popular and we learned quickly to get there early to secure a good seat. Accurate information on Cruise Critic about the number of formal nights meant that we packed enough evening wear to be prepared for the four formal nights on our cruise. The information we had from Cunard was not nearly complete enough to give us enough to go on about what we would need, but fortunately, the detail gleaned from posts on the Cunard board on Cruise Critic meant that we were ready for the Black and White Ball, the Pirates party, the Ascot Ball, as well as the fourth formal night. It was a lot of fun, if not some small amount of hassle to have to bring such an extensive wardrobe, to see so many elegant dresses and attend the dances in the Queens room. The Cunard recommended hotels for both Santiago and Rio were very good. We especially like the Hotel San Cristobel Towers in Santiago, but the Sheraton Rio was also very nice. One problem we ran into in Rio was the confusion upon checking in due to the hotel not being ready to accommodate us so early in the day (11AM). Understandable that this was rather early for our rooms to be ready, but they hadnt planned anything for us in terms of accommodating our hand luggage, etc meanwhile we had to wait. It would have been better to arrange a way for us to check in with the bell captain, since they were responsible for receiving our other luggage, so we could have left the hotel to go on a tour while we waited. The saving grace was the fact that the Sheraton has a great beach immediately adjacent to their property and we had our bathing suits handy. Some thing we learned about maximizing our cruise  the Canyon Ranch Spa frequently has 2 for 1 or half priced services on port days. The daily program advertises these specials the night before and you need to be ready to call quickly to reserve a massage or other services to take advantage of these deals. Also, since you then end up with a late day Canyon Ranch Spa service if you are in port all day, you can ask for a pass for another day when you have more time to enjoy the benefit of the Aquatherapy area of the spa which comes with booking these services. Since this is about a $30 value, this was a great way to stretch the use of these terrific features for minimal outlay. We also found that the popular Chefs Grill omelet station was much less crowded after 9:00AM and we had better luck getting our made to order eggs later rather than earlier. We learned to order coffee, tea, etc early in our stateroom, do a little deck walking or hit the gym before eating breakfast to take advantage of this situation. Much better service and less jostling with the desperate omelet seekers who were crowding the window earlier in the morning! The tour office is usually a real mob scene and, as soon as you know what shore excursion you want, it is best to book by dropping off the order form in the box outside the office. Nothing seemed to bring out the beast in our fellow passengers more than discontent with the shore excursions - the lack of availability on the most popular tours, the cancelled excursions due to our shortened port times, the misinformation about the Antarctic flyover availability, etc. If there is one area that seemed inconsistent with the high standard of service on the rest of the ship, it would probably be the communication, or lack of communication, around the shore excursion process once youre on board. Once of the principal reasons for this is the short hours of the tour office, the lack of the online ability to book excursions, and the general broadcasting of tour availability. The tour office personnel did a good job of handling the situation given the process limitations of the situation, but it seems unnecessarily inefficient and could use some serious management reengineering to improve. In conclusion, our voyage on the QM2 was everything we hoped for and far exceeded any expectations we had for this cruise. Despite a few shortcomings, it was a memorable experience and well look forward to a future opportunity to cruise again with QM2! Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
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