1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Cunard Line
  4. Cunard Line Cruise Reviews

8 Cunard South America Cruise Reviews

We recently sailed South America 50 days roundtrip from/to Fort Lauderdale on Queen Victoria. Main reason for selecting this cruise was the destination ports of - Barbados, Rio, B Aires, Montevideo, Santiago, Lima, Montechristo, Equador ... Read More
We recently sailed South America 50 days roundtrip from/to Fort Lauderdale on Queen Victoria. Main reason for selecting this cruise was the destination ports of - Barbados, Rio, B Aires, Montevideo, Santiago, Lima, Montechristo, Equador home of Panama Hats and passage through the Panama Canal - Belize was also a pleasant surprise. The service we received from our cabin steward and restaurant and bar staff were excellent - these were by far the most helpful and best people onboard. The ships decor was very good, although a little dark in the main areas and too bare in the deck corridors (a few pictures would help). However, i would never cruise on this ship again and possibly never again with Cunard. Embarkation was a 5 hour nightmare, leaving Miami hotel at 10.00 am on a 45 min journey to FLL to then be left sitting in a waiting room with hundreds of passengers for 3.5 hours without water or any real explanation for delay. - Cunard are not good at organisation or communication - they appear oblivious to the frustrations of their customers, many of whom were as equally upset. Unfotunately this problem continued throughout the trip - we booked many shore excursions and were herded along lengthy queues into either the ballroom or theatre to sit for minimum 45 mins whilst the ship berthed or cleared immigration etc with little recognition from the shorex staff as to the poor quality of communication and organisation - only a condescending thank you for your patience over the speakers. Our final disembarkation was the worst experience and poorest organisation I have ever encountered. We were asked to vacate cabin by 8.00am latest and removed from ship by 8.15am to queue for almost 2 hours as we cleared US immigration (could have been done onboard as with other ports) - then transferred to a nearby hotel curbside and placed in a ballroom with hundreds of other passengers to await instructions about transfer to airport. There was no Cunard representative to be found, only an outsourced contractor service agent. Shuttles were arranged throughout the day - ours being the final transfer at almost 5.30pm to travel through Miami rush hour for nearly 2 hours - why we were not taken to Miami in the morning begs belief. Our driver dumped us outside departures some 25 to 30 mins haul with multiple suitcases to our check in desk. Ship to check in desk took almost 12 hours - if that is Cunards idea of hospitality and Customer service, then we, as will many others we spoke to, will not be enduring with Cunard again. The ship suffered many problems during this Exotic World Cruise - power failures, near disaster rounding Cape Horn as crew were stranded trying to take photos from a jet boat that took over 5 hours to rescue due to extremely hazardous waters and weather conditions, multiple outbreaks of throat infections, flu and gastro illness plus noro virus isolations and 5 days emegency hygienne controls due to a reported 4% incident level. If you like ballroom dancing, playing cards and dont mind paying extortionate wine prices, being entertained by acts from Britains got Talent style shows and like to be in bed between 8.30 and 9.30pm - Queen Vic may be for you, but not us. WiFi is more dial up than broadband. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Our most recent cruise was with Cunnard on the Queen Victoria for fifty days circling South America. We chose this cruise for it's exciting itinerary. We had not previously cruised with Cunnard but were looking forw ard to it's ... Read More
Our most recent cruise was with Cunnard on the Queen Victoria for fifty days circling South America. We chose this cruise for it's exciting itinerary. We had not previously cruised with Cunnard but were looking forw ard to it's legendary excellence. The ship was beautifully appointed and well maintained. The staff and service at dinner, in the lounges, and shops was excellent. The cabin steward was outstanding. However, there were disappointments. After a tiring and curt embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale, my luggage was missing for six hours after we were at sea. It was found with tags attached. When we disembarked fifty days later, one fully tagged bag was missing. It was found in the area of unlabeled luggage, tags intact. The food was sometimes good but on the whole was mediocre.. It was not of the expected Cunnard experience. The wine list was good but outrageously overpriced. In contrast, the wine served at the Commodore's receptions was of the cheapest quality; certainly not on the list. The evening show entertainment was amateurish. There was a lack of entertainment planning. When one venue was offered, there was no alternative. There was virtually no simultaneous entertainment across the ship. The tour office had organisational difficulty in the manner of disembarkation to the tour . busses. They diden't seem to be on top of tours arranged. We had engaged a private car in Buenos Aires for a full day but the vendor insisted it was a half day. Queen Victoria"s mistake was our loss. The ship had a power failure and multiple elevator repairs. The ship was refurbished last year but I wonder if enough attention was given to it's ventilation system. There were initial health issues with flu and upper and lower respiratory disease. This was followed at the end of the cruise by a norovirus spread that led to gastric problems. The level of disease mandated emergency hygienic food control measures just five days before disembarkation in Ft Lauderdale where CDC personnel boarded. Most of the passengers were elderly. There were canes, walkers, wheel chairs and scooters. Many came to dance to recorded or live music in the beautiful ball room. Some never left ship. We are classed as elderly but prefer a more fun and organized cruise. lWe will nevr board the Queen Vicoria again and probably not Cunnard either. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Desire to visit the listed countries in South America and good experience in the past with Cunard . Cunard and imagine cruises got my name wrong and despite numerous attempt to correct this up to 6 weeks before the trip commenced. ... Read More
Desire to visit the listed countries in South America and good experience in the past with Cunard . Cunard and imagine cruises got my name wrong and despite numerous attempt to correct this up to 6 weeks before the trip commenced. Air tickets Transfers etc. We're all issued in the wrong name. Hence I'm having difficulty claiming my frequent flyer points with B.A. And other connected airlines. The name was corrected on the site but didn't get through anywhere else??? Boarding in Rio was hell . Confusion everywhere . The guide left us in a bus garage ! We were very disappointed with the food and service in the Britannia restaurant. We were on the Queen Victoria 8 years ago and were very impressed with the excellent standard of food presented everywhere , particularly in the restaurant. However we finally gave up and chose to pay to dine in The Verandah which served the standard of food and service we had experienced in precious cruises including the Queen Mary just one year ago, we also dined in La Piazza which was very average . We were and are not alone in our commentary . Everyone we spoke to who had sailed with Cunard previously felt the same I.e. That the standard had dropped enormously. Some will never travel with Cunard again . I found it extraordinary that few spoke up about this when we had the opportunity to do so . However they won't be back, In addition some of the guides onshore were truly dreadful . The staff in the travel section were pretty average . Again compared to previous cruises. The cabin crew and Purser's staff were very good and of the same standard we had found previously. There's no doubt economy is in the air but I truly believe it's 'short term gain and long term pain' the amount of custom they have lost must be enormous. Still perhaps they're looking at a different clientele . Who knows. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
What a difference a year makes. Early 2016, Queen Victoria, Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco via the Panama Canal, great cruise, great service, could not wait to book a cruise on this vessel for 2017. Early 2017 Rio to Valparaiso. ... Read More
What a difference a year makes. Early 2016, Queen Victoria, Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco via the Panama Canal, great cruise, great service, could not wait to book a cruise on this vessel for 2017. Early 2017 Rio to Valparaiso. Apart from being on the same vessel just about everything else was just plain bad. It started in Rio, took three hours to check in and the chaos had to be seen to be believed. No Cunard staff to be found when we turned up, were given a number and told to go sit by Cunard appointed ground crew and we just sat. Finally movement, the crowd moved as one towards the single entry point, which created more chaos as people with the wrong numbers were turned away. Line jumping was rampant and the few Cunard personnel that were now standing behind the desk just let it happen making those that were trying to remain orderly more angry than they already were. Finally we were on board, and found our way to our cabin. Standard balcony on deck 7. No surprises, we had been here before and everything in the cabin was fine. Booked a Britannia first sitting table for 6, received a table for 10, company was fine, but the Britannia room first sitting was far from full and we could so easily have been allocated our preferred dining sitting. The Britannia dining experience was an experience for all the wrong reasons. It was obvious to us the bean counters (aka accountants) had taken control of the kitchen both in food quality and quantity. At times the serving team was very embarrassed to be serving up such miniscule portions. Not a day went by when food was not left on plates around our table and even though the serving staff enquired as to why we were leaving food, we were just too polite to let them know the real truth. Food in the Lido was no better, bland, poorly cooked and just plain and tasteless most of the time. Service in the Lido just about non-existent, with poor table clean up and the best way to get new cutlery was to go and get it yourself. Our only tour booked was to see the Penguins in Puntas Arenas. Yes the weather was iffy, but fine and sunny with a breeze blowing but far from what could be considered dangerous. Due to late arrival our tour departure time was changed, but we turned up on schedule and left for the short trip to shore ten minutes late. On shore there was no one to tell us where to go, but sheeplike we all followed each other and found our appropriate coach number and boarded. The coach left the dock area and our tour guide started to tell us of what we were going to see. In mid-sentence he stopped, told us the trip had been cancelled and we were going back to the port area. We arrived back, no Cunard people in sight and were left to work out what to do next. We chose to amble around the town. To this day we have not heard from Cunard as to why the trip was cancelled, or received an apology or any other acknowledgement apart from a curt letter in our room that night telling us our trip payment had been refunded to our credit card. (and even that had a difference of $20.00, I suppose for credit card fees etc. going against us) Could things get worse after the chaos in Rio, yes they could, try getting off in Valparaiso? The vessel arrived 4 hours late, but several time the Commodore announced the vessel would still be leaving on time that evening, I guess nothing stops a Queen from leaving on time. We were told via announcements that general departure from the vessel would be about 30 minutes behind schedule, it wasn’t. We sat with about 1000 other passenger trying to depart and waited, and waited. Then it was our turn to slowly make our way through the chaos to the departure point, wait for a bus to take us to the terminal and then wait inside the terminal for our baggage to arrive. Finally our bags arrived, brought out on airport style luggage trollies, about 4 bags at a time. We left the departure area glad to be away from the Cunard fiasco. So what has gone wrong with Cunard? Food quality, portions and service deteriorated to unbelievable levels in just a year. This factor alone was the talk of the vessel. Can’t see us lining up for another Cunard cruise. Cabin steward great. Entertainment, good some nights, dull and boring other nights. Speakers really good and interesting, perhaps the best part of the cruise. First time we have ever removed gratuities from a shipboard account and just gave to those that we thought deserved. And we know we weren’t the only one to do that. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise so we could see the Magellan Straits from our balcony (even chose starboard side to make sure of the best view) and the ship sailed through the Straits in the dead of night! That was disappointing, but cruising by ... Read More
We chose this cruise so we could see the Magellan Straits from our balcony (even chose starboard side to make sure of the best view) and the ship sailed through the Straits in the dead of night! That was disappointing, but cruising by the islands and coast of the deep south of Chile, glaciers and all, almost made up for it. Service on board was amazing. Cruise lines -- and not just Cunard -- owe a great deal to their Filipino staff. They are friendly without being over-friendly. They remember your name and your likes and dislikes. Our lovely cabin steward soon realized that we liked to leave the bathroom light on, and left it that way. He learned our hours, so the cabin was always made up when we returned from breakfast. Food in the Britannia was the best of all the three Queens. Not so marvelous in the Lido buffet, but eating in the main restaurant was always a pleasure. The duck liver pate and the roast breast of duck were divine. Again, wonderful service. We never had to choose bread or order dessert and tea, as the waiters knew what we liked from the first day. The lectures and entertainment on the Queen Victoria were not up to the standard of the other Queens. Apart from Mike Gibson's lecture on Eva Peron, which was wonderful, the presentations were awkward. The Royal Court orchestra is wonderful. The dancers and singers did their absolute best, but they were obviously working at it. It made you feel tired, rather than uplifted. The costume designer is amazing, as is the stage management. Changes of costume were very deftly done. The cabin was the same design as on Queen Elizabeth, but much more annoying. On the QE, the full length mirror is on the outside of the wardrobe. On the QV, it is stuck on the inside of the door. Every time you want to check your dress, the door swings back at you. It is very dark by the wardrobes, too. And the wall at the end of the bed has no pictures. It made for a very boring and annoying cabin. But it was kept spick and span Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was our second voyage with Cunard, the first ten years ago on the QE2 transAtlantic. Spouse and I have done 15 cruises with various lines in the past. Cunard offered a good deal and we took it to travel from Fort Lauderdale to ... Read More
This was our second voyage with Cunard, the first ten years ago on the QE2 transAtlantic. Spouse and I have done 15 cruises with various lines in the past. Cunard offered a good deal and we took it to travel from Fort Lauderdale to Valparaiso, Chile on the Queen Mary 2. We were especially intrigued because QM2 is an ocean liner, the direct successor to the QE2. Embarkation was no problem whatever. The lines were short, of course only a partial load of passengers was boarding as this was a World Cruise in progress. I understand about 1000 passengers joined here. Once on board we were properly greeted by staff, and found our cabin ready. Luggage arrived quickly, and we were soon settled in our home for the next month. We departed early evening after a delay attributed to a US Customs error which delayed releasing people for tours, etc. This cruise had many more sea days then port stops. Sea days are where Cunard excels. Its ships do not have lots of diversions, like rock walls or skating rinks. Instead, there are always well planned activities and their legion of speakers to fill the day regardless of the weather. Speakers included Sir Tony Robinson, a British television star; Peter Snow, TV personality; David Malinder with an excellent “American Songbook” series; James Fraser, photojournalist; Ken Vard on passenger liners, and several others. All were excellent. Among the presentations were port briefings, mostly pitches for ships tours. They were well done, and much of the basic information was just wrong, or at least off the mark. For example, we were told $US were widely accepted by merchants at most ports. They generally were not. Other bits and pieces offered were similarly not borne out on the ground. In port we generally did independent tours, some were reserved in advance, others impromptu. We had good ones at any rate, and saved some money over ship excursion costs. "Walking with the Penguins" at Punta Arenas, Chile, was a particular winner. Also, suggest looking for "Free Walking Tours" and taking advantage. We've never been disappointed, or failed to tip above the suggested amount. Our sea days included the day we crossed the Equator and met with King Neptune and his court. The usual hilarity ensued around the pool on the occasion pollywogs became shellbacks, and both (volunteer) passengers and crew were so honored. Staff was helpful and polite. Never had an issue with any of that. Our inside cabin was nice enough, and pretty much standard in size and design as other ships. It was always kept clean and tidy. Gerry did a nice job for us. The bed was comfortable, with plenty of room underneath for storage. The bedding was better than at home, very comfortable. Plenty of room. Overall, food was good, whether fish and chips in the Golden Lion Pub, lunch or a snack in the Kings Court, or dinner in the Britannia dining room. I appreciate that Americans are not the primary market or customers of these Cunard cruises, but I wish I could have a grilled steak without gravy…in fact, I wish I could get a grilled steak on nights I want one. You just get what they offer on the menu each night. Keeps costs down without diluting “quality.” Entertainment was a nightly highlight. Virtually every night was a good show of one sort or another. The Samba/Carnival show in Rio was a bit loud and crazy. Yes, the crowd headed for the door early. Okay, it got late, after nine. Those who stuck around did fine with it. The house bands and orchestra were wonderful in their venues. Dancing was well attended evenings in the Queen’s Room. The various balls on formal night were always worth attending. On sunny, warm days chair hogs were at a minimum on the pool decks. The QM2 showed her ocean liner mettle as we turned the Horn into the Pacific and hit some heavy weather. The swells were substantial, with Force 9 winds. Decks were closed. And the ride was nowhere near frantic. The only real complaint I have is that tendering into ports was not well done. In one case, it seemed, there were not enough boats launched (we used tenders from the ship, i.e. motor lifeboats), and people waited up to two hours to get off and/or back. Part of the problem is the last-minute ticket distribution scheme. Get in line and get a ticket, then hang around until your number is called. Leave the immediate area and you may have to get to the back of the line for not being there, having to fight through the throng to the collection point. Other lines hand out tickets the night before, or with ship tour tickets, and announce the numbers throughout the ship. If you miss your group, you may join the next or subsequent, not start over and wait. It’s like the staff had never done this before. And at one point they wanted to disperse the line waiting to get tickets on the theory that they were backed up, and things would be better if these people went away. That was bad, but then supposedly the authorities at another stop did not provide two landing piers, as was promised. People stood in long lines again to return. My spouse and I left very early, with no wait, so I don’t know about any chaos that may have struck later for those waiting to go ashore. Touring the ship, it needed some spiffing in spots(coming in a drydock soon), but overall it presented well. We found the ship very spacious compared to the QE2, especially in the public areas. I failed to see the worn carpeting and all that – I suppose because I wasn’t looking for them. What I saw was akin to any luxury hotel or resort I’ve ever visited. Kudos to the crew for keeping it all spic ‘n span. No glasses in the window sills or paper on the floor. Understanding that the QM2 is about to undergo major renovations and freshening, I give her very high marks. Disembarkation in Valparaiso was well done. We were off the ship on schedule with minimum fuss. We rode a bus to the terminal, picked up our luggage, cleared customs in about 30 seconds, and were on our way to our hotel. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We travelled on Queen Mary 2 from Southampton to Rio, via New York, Fort Lauderdale, Amber Cove, Barbados and Salvador, from January to February 2016. The ship then carried on with her World Cruise. We thought the ship was mostly ... Read More
We travelled on Queen Mary 2 from Southampton to Rio, via New York, Fort Lauderdale, Amber Cove, Barbados and Salvador, from January to February 2016. The ship then carried on with her World Cruise. We thought the ship was mostly excellent throughout, although there were one or two worn areas of carpet and a cracked tile or two in the bathroom. The ship is due to go to Hamburg for work, when she returns from the World Cruise in May 2016, so maybe these tired areas will be improved then. Food in the Britannia Restaurant was good although some of the portions were quite small. Not to worry though; you could eat as much as you wanted in the self-service restaurant! Entertainment was of a variable standard. There were some very talented acts in the evening shows, but the traditional Brazilian dancers, for example, had people walking out of the theatre. Anybody can bang what looks like an old paint can and wiggle his or her bits around. Guest speakers included Celia Imrie, John McCarthy and Sir Tony Robinson. They were well-received, but I'm not sure if the American and European guests realised who they were! The 'Insights' lectures were varied and you could choose which ones took your interest. I found most of them very interesting. Movie shows were mostly poor. This wasn't just my opinion. There was usually a very small audience (as few as a dozen people at times). For example, there was a film, set mostly in the early 1950s, about a Russian, homosexual, serial child killer. Not quite the thing to cheer you up before bed! We lasted about 20 minutes before walking out, along with almost everyone else. When we raised this with the staff, we were told that they had to show the movies they were sent from ashore. Tours were okay, but as usual with cruise lines, very expensive. When they ran out of places for trips in Rio, they didn't put another coach on, so we went out into the terminal and got a similar one (minus lunch) for less than a third of the Cunard price, saving $250 between us! The ship was, as expected, very big indeed. It was really smooth going across the Atlantic, in very rough seas. Yes, you could tell you were afloat, but the movement was very subdued. We were impressed. Even though there were 2 and a half thousand passengers aboard, it was easy to find a place to sit and many a time, we were alone in an area. New York was fascinating, Fort Lauderdale was okay if you want to see the Everglades, Amber Cove was nothing to get excited about, there wasn't much to see in Barbados, Salvador was worth missing, but Rio was fascinating. What a contrast between poverty and affluence! Beautiful beaches and promenades, great shopping, Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain.... and not a mosquito in sight! It's a pity we couldn't have stayed on for the rest of the trip. The ship's spending quite a bit of time around Cape Horn, which looks fascinating. However, we both intend to travel on the QM2 again, as soon as possible, so maybe we'll see it then! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Embarkation at FT.Lauderdale: means long lines and long waits, it took about three hours plus to get through. Almost all of it in a line. Food average: Britannia Restaurant: So noisy at our table location all 8 of us stopped going to The ... Read More
Embarkation at FT.Lauderdale: means long lines and long waits, it took about three hours plus to get through. Almost all of it in a line. Food average: Britannia Restaurant: So noisy at our table location all 8 of us stopped going to The Britannia and instead went to the Kings Court Evening Venues. These rotating venues were better for food, atmosphere and the ability to hear your tablemates, which was impossible in the Britannia. Cabin was comfortable and at 6'6" I could actually fit in the shower! The unobstructed balcony was well worth the extra cost on such a long cruise. Having also seen the obstructed view cabins, glad we spent the money. Public rooms are spacious and quite nice. The library and the Commodore Club are both at the bow of the ship and are wonderful places to read and enjoy the ocean. The crew was great and would attend to any request with a smile! The gym was good, but needs supervision as some would hog equipment or not use the sanitary sprays supplied to wipe down the equipment. The Pub was good fun with participatory entertainment and different lunches available. The Royal Court Theater is a disaster, thank God the entertainment was so bad we quit bothering to go after awhile. Columns, handrails and partitions block many views and seats to the side are an insult. To get one of the few decent seats you need to go about one and a half hours early. Although posted signs say you cannot save seats many people do so as no ships company oversees this. Throughout the entertainment was very second rate. The ship was late arriving at almost every port which caused all the shore excursions we purchased from Cunard to be rushed with some itinerary items to be skipped. You will not feel crowded on this ship! On the other hand everything is a long walk if you are not up to it, find a smaller ship. Disembarkation in San Francisco was long and arduous, four ships were in port and after being required to vacate our cabin we had to wait in public spaces for almost four hours before getting off. I would sail on QM2 again if I got another great deal, but I would not deal with the Britannia Restaurant or the Royal Court Theater. We were fortunate to get almost a 50% discount on the published rate. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click