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15 Cunard South Pacific Cruise Reviews

We chose this ship because of the good reputation, but it turns out that all the people who said "How wonderful" not only had not travelled on the ship, but did not know anyone who had, so the Queen Mary survives on the ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the good reputation, but it turns out that all the people who said "How wonderful" not only had not travelled on the ship, but did not know anyone who had, so the Queen Mary survives on the slipstream of reputation Our cabin 11,113 on the 11th deck was in an area that was so noisy, that it was not possible to gain a reasonable nights sleep But the real cream on the cake, if you excuse the terminology, is that the rooms are prepared for new guests before the current guests have vacated the cabin, which explains why out towels were dirty when we arrived One needs to vacate the room by 10.00am so one had breakfast at 8.00 and when we came back to our room at 9.00 the beds were made and the towels replaced which meant we could use the bed, the toilet and the towels before the new arrivals Hands up who wants to wipe their face with a towel which may have been used to dry someone's "Whatever takes your imagination" Shower tray looks as if it has never had a proper clean Gross Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
My husband and I are seasoned "cruisers" and have booked many, many cruises on different cruise lines..We cannot find enough adjectives to describe our experience on the Queen Victoria from Los Angeles to Australia...The entire ... Read More
My husband and I are seasoned "cruisers" and have booked many, many cruises on different cruise lines..We cannot find enough adjectives to describe our experience on the Queen Victoria from Los Angeles to Australia...The entire 21 days were perfect from beginning to end...The welcoming staff was very friendly and professional...Our suite was magnificent as were our butler, Elvie and her assistant Bernard...Every dining experience in the Queen's Grill was a culinary delight..The staff in the Grill was beyond our expectations...The ship is absolutely beautiful, extremely well cared for and filled with a wonderful staff of caring and friendly people...We were very sad when the cruise came to an end...We definitely did not want to disembark...We hope in the very near future to book another Cunard cruise and hope it would live up to the fantastic experience on the Queen Victoria...Thank you Cunard for giving us beautiful memories to last a lifetime... Background Information.. We flew from Norfolk, Virginia to Dulles to LA and stayed at the Airport Hilton (fabulous hotel). Our embarkation experience was friendly, professional and efficient..Our stateroom, 4106 was absolutely magnificent, including a fabulous Butler, Elvie and her assist Bernard..We could not have asked for anyting more. The ship was beautiful, well appointed, very clean. Everything you could or would desire..We dined at the Queen's Grill, a beautiful dining room, with fabulous menu, and superb service. The Buffet was also great..We had lunch there several times. We booked two shore excursions, San Francisco and Brisbane, City Highlights...Great tours, great buses, guides...Money well spent...The disembarkation was very smooth and efficient...Again, thank you Cunard for our wonderful memories... Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We sailed on the Queen Victoria because of the itinerary and timing of this 48 night South Seas cruise. We had expected luxury and superior service. The ship was clean and the common areas were fabulous. We found our fellow passengers ... Read More
We sailed on the Queen Victoria because of the itinerary and timing of this 48 night South Seas cruise. We had expected luxury and superior service. The ship was clean and the common areas were fabulous. We found our fellow passengers to be a delight & we were quite a bit younger than the average cruiser onboard. It was the food and the overall service that were most disappointing to us. White Star service should have meant polite, capable, respectful crew members getting answers to our questions (if they didn't already know them) and striving to at least acknowledge our service requests and dietary needs. (Vegetarian diets should not be a foreign concept in this day and age - especially when Cunard touts that they accommodate them.) Most of the time we had the feeling that Pass-the-Buck service was what we were actually getting! "It's not my job" was the prevailing attitude onboard the Queen Victoria. Downright rudeness was not a rarity. Nevertheless, we decided to have an attitude of gratitude and enjoy our seven week cruise. Our balcony cabin exceeded our expectations in both space and comfort. Cleanliness was an issue only as time went on. The day-to-day spruce ups became minimal. Activities were plenty and varied. Entertainment was a bit hit and miss. Nightly dancing was fabulous but started quite late in the evening - especially on those early-to-bed nights before a port day. Why not start even earlier with canned music if no other function is scheduled in Queens Room? That lovely dance floor shouldn't go to waste! Food was pretty average as far as our table mates were concerned and many folks onboard opted for the unimaginative buffet on the Lido Deck instead of the blah selections in the dining room. Sure, we might cruise with Cunard again if the destination is right, but next time we'll simply expect less, way less. This is not the luxury line we had read about in their brochures! 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
We have cruised with several different lines. In fact this was our 7th cruise, but the first with Cunard. And I'm sorry but it will be our last. You cannot fault the food and the waiting service. The ship was clean and tidy. But there ... Read More
We have cruised with several different lines. In fact this was our 7th cruise, but the first with Cunard. And I'm sorry but it will be our last. You cannot fault the food and the waiting service. The ship was clean and tidy. But there was just nothing to do! If you did not play whist, bridge, advanced bridge or cribbage - if you did not ballroom dance - if you did not want to attend lectures on plate tectonics - then there is very little else to do. Oh, there were the large number of quiz games each day. There was bingo. There was Wii if you wanted to organise that yourself, but really not much else. Onboard there were eight dancers and four singers. Over twenty days they did three 45 minute shows (love to have their job). There were two ventriloquists who did impressions. One was very good - the other did impressions of himself doing bad impressions of others. One comedian who was excellent and a couple of mediocre singers. All up nine shows over twenty nights. One had to wear a jacket every night regardless of the temperature. And it was uncomfortably hot in the tropics. The air conditioning was pretty much non existent. And my favourite thing. Two folks asked to leave the dance floor because the dancing they were doing was just not suitably ballroom. I could go on about finding that my cabin had been left open by the steward, or that the gang plank fell off the ship at San Francisco leaving many of us soaked from the heavy rain and without out information or support for over two hours stranded in a cold wharf building, or the unhelpful purser who dismissed our concerns at not being able to contact our bank as " our problem" - I could but I think I'd rather just vote with my money and spend it elsewhere for our next adventure. I would not recommend this as a good way to spend your hard earned money. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
The thousand mile voyage from New Zealand to Australia across the calm Tasman Sea was unremarkable apart from an albatross sighting, the master aviators of the Southern Oceans. I have mentioned before the elegance of seabirds on the wing ... Read More
The thousand mile voyage from New Zealand to Australia across the calm Tasman Sea was unremarkable apart from an albatross sighting, the master aviators of the Southern Oceans. I have mentioned before the elegance of seabirds on the wing but the albatross is in a class of its own. They look deceptively small against the huge backdrop of the ocean but in fact can have wingspans of three metres plus. I have described them as elegant, I could add effortless, majestic, even serene and still not do full justice, the pinnacle of evolutionary development. Sydney is up there with Rio, Hong Kong and San Francisco, the iconic harbours of the cruise circuit but today she was below par. Last month we brought drought breaking rain to San Francisco and today repeated the favour in New South Wales. I wouldn’t say Sydney in the drizzle is reminiscent of Bolton on a wet Monday morning but she didn’t look her best. Queen Elizabeth attempted to inject some colour to the grey backdrop, decking herself out with a huge multi-coloured banner celebrating Mardi Gras, today's big event in town. Despite the weather many on board were on deck early as we berthed overlooking the famous Opera House newly scrubbed and looking splendid. The excitement and anticipation on passenger’s faces was testament to Sydney’s special status, what a mooring, the Opera House on one side, Sydney Harbour Bridge on the other. Our arrival did not go unobserved; several Oz TV channels had helicopters in the air covering our entry to the harbour, Cunard PR people are obviously doing a good job. Such attention does make you feel special although we doubt the BBC will be on hand to record our return to Bolton in April! The cruise terminal in Sydney is wonderfully positioned allowing passengers direct access to the town centre, a real bonus. As today was Mardi Gras our first encounter on shore was naturally a spectacular drag queen, tall slim and disturbingly beautiful. I was quickly brought to heel however as Linda set course for the shops, Ugg boots and handbags were calling to her. The grey start to the day turned to rain but we manfully battled on, bagging a brace of Uggs before returning to the ship for lunch, sadly there were no further sightings of the androgynous one! All large harbours provide a kaleidoscope of entertainment, various marine craft darting here and there on different missions. In Sydney the ferries are the main players, painted the green and gold of Australia, constantly shuttling commuters between dormitory communities around the bay and the commercial centre fanning out behind Central Quay. These ferries although not in the first flush of youth, employ a wonderfully pragmatic and perhaps unique design having a bow at each end of the vessel, obviating the need to turn around at each stopping point. The Harbour Bridge famed for New Year firework spectaculars, is also popular with energetic tourists as something to climb “because it’s there” etc. We could see small groups of such lunatics, dwarfed by the huge structure, inching their way up one side of the steel arch and down the other. One of these tiny black dots could have been our charming Hungarian waitress, Szabena who told us she was doing the bridge climb. We were not surprised because only last week she flung herself off the TV tower in Auckland, bungee jumping, in case you wondered! She leaves us here in Sydney to take some leave and we will miss her bright smile in the restaurant but not the stress of her crazy exploits. I awoke today with a grade A hang-over, to be expected the day after Mardi Gras although in truth we played no part in it. The real culprit was dinner on shore with friends; we had chosen a restaurant following an internet search, a method that does not always deliver what you expect!. Our preferred restaurant profile is quiet, traditional and conservative but arriving at our venue the reality was all plate glass, chrome, brash and noisy. Despite these inauspicious first impressions the service and food were excellent, even the noise eventually moderated: the wine flowed, it was a lovely evening shared with friends and no doubt my head will recover in due course. Sunday morning’s harbour traffic took on a new look with the appearance of dozens of dragon boats, each manned by six kneeling paddlers. Clearly a race was in progress and it was serious stuff, the flotilla appeared from far across the bay, muscles flexing and straining, we marvelled at their stamina. But wait, unbelievably the leading group rounded a buoy underneath the Harbour Bridge and headed back from whence they came, these were serious athletes. Unusually and unfortunately heavy drizzle fell for much of the two days in port but cleared for our late evening departure. Our final view of Sydney, the illuminated Opera House looked stunning as we slipped into the darkness and out to sea, one of the few 20th-century constructions that stand the test of time and still look cutting-edge. Leaving a damp Sydney behind, the run up the east coast of New South Wales towards Brisbane was a delight. Travelling just twenty miles off shore, the coastal hills were clearly visible as the sun shone brightly again, the brief absence of good weather forgotten. Hundreds of dolphins joined in the fun, coming at us on the port bow, some disappearing under the keel others swimming and jumping parallel with the ship. No dolphin expert, I am unable to name the species but these wonderful creatures were two to three meters long, grey /green in colour, weighing at least 250 kgs. Reading the small print is always important, whatever the field of endeavour, if I had done so today I could have avoided unnecessary stress. I dislike being herded, corralled or regimented, i.e. trapped with no means of escape. This morning’s mishap was on a Mississippi style paddle steamer, a river tour that took us through the centre of lovely downtown Brisbane. Instead of the expected comfortable seats on the open deck we were directed inside and without chance to protest, were seated at twelve-man trestle tables. Once in place the extreme proximity of the adjoining tables precluded escape. I considered overturning the table in an “Incredible Hulk” moment but felt this unwise, my reputation aboard the Elizabeth already suspect. Worse was to come, as we were fed mandatory scones, clotted cream and jam; after all it was 9.30am, breakfast but a distant memory!! Honouring the cruise passenger’s mantra “We shall never refuse food” the plates were cleared in short order, although the Japanese contingent looked distinctly confused having little idea what they were eating. Fortunately the communal need for the toilets soon opened an escape route and we found a pleasant seat on deck, apparently a food free zone. This vantage point gave us an unbeatable view of Brisbane as we chugged up and down the river. We were however startled when a venerable Japanese lady sitting next to us on deck, broke into vigorous song, mainly Strauss melodies; we wondered whether it was related to the clotted cream. Brisbane is clean and stylish, recently voted the “hippest” city in Australia although I wonder how many Cunard passengers have an understanding of that concept! Brisbane today is a far cry from its origins as a settlement for hard core trouble makers deported to Sydney’s convict colonies. There was much mention by the tour guide of recent floods which did considerable damage to riverside infrastructure and property and plenty of repair work was in progress shoring up river banks and replacing lost board walks. If I could afford one of the splendid apartments along the river, this is a place that we could happily live in, providing of course it was not a ground floor property! Evening entertainment aboard ship is a highlight for some people, easily identified as those wolfing down their after dinner desserts in order to get a good seat in the theatre. Linda and I have a slightly different strategy preferring seats near the exit enabling unobtrusive escape if the performance is dire. We have left shows on two occasions and it’s been a close run thing at other times. Perhaps it’s just our taste but the evening performers have been one of the rare disappointments on this cruise. With a couple of exceptions the talent booked has been weak, as an example I quote from today’s entertainment schedule “ Tonight Jon Udry gives us world class comedy juggling at its finest………Jon will include his famous teacup and tea bag routine” I rest my case!! The Great Barrier Reef is on multiple lists, lists of natural wonders, bucket lists, even lists of things visible from outer space so it must be a pretty special place? Linda and I were not being perverse, just pragmatic when we decided against a trip to the reef, staying on board instead. Being transported in a crowded catamaran to a floating platform tethered at the reef and there coexisting with several hundred others in the baking sun for three hours just didn’t appeal. Feedback from friends who did take the tour confirmed we had made a wise decision. The five hour round trip on the catamaran in heavy seas was horrendous, worse the reef itself was an extreme disappointment. In fairness the reef was not at fault but the facilities, totally inadequate for the number of visitors who were quite unable to appreciate nature’s treasures. Under any circumstances a real disappointment made more so by the high prices charged. As we did not go ashore I cannot comment on the Whitsunday Islands, our last stop in Australia and can only record what we saw from the ship. A view probably little changed since the inevitable Captain Cook sailed here 250 years ago i.e. dozens of islands scattered in a tranquil sea, a beautiful playground so far relatively unspoiled; reports of multi-million resort developments however make you wonder for how long that will remain the case. Today’s guest speaker was Lord Michael Howard of whom Ann Widdicombe famously said “there is something of the night about him”. He is an outstanding speaker, fluent with beautifully crafted sentences. Clearly a keen and accomplished historian he spoke with authority on Churchill’s War Cabinet in 1940, he held his audience wrapt and I expect a large turnout for his next talk. Ex-model Lady Howard was in the audience just in front of me and obviously wanting to get a better view deftly vaulted from one row of seats to another; most passengers aboard attempting such a manoeuvre would be in traction for weeks. Papua New Guinea is a collection of islands, big and small strewn for hundreds of miles across the western extremities of the Pacific, north of Australia. We came unexpectedly close to shore as we negotiated the Chinese Straights a navigation channel in the eastern part of the archipelago. We still have 450 miles to go before reaching Rabaul our destination tomorrow indicating how far flung are these islands. Passing close to land we saw a group of men fishing from outrigger- canoes, the natives waved apparently friendly, fortunate as head hunting and even cannibalism has not entirely died out in these parts! Thin columns of smoke rose from different parts of the jungle canopy; perhaps the fishermen’s wives anticipating a good catch were getting the pots on the boil. Rabaul as a venue was an unknown quantity, destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1994, a high-risk malaria area according to the WHO and struggling with a GDP per capita definitely in the lower quartile, it didn’t look too promising. Additionally our tour operator had warned us to expect all manner of hardships from the volcanic ash, rain, unprofessional tour guides and archaic transport. In fact this was the most enjoyable tour since the beginning of the cruise. A favourable wind direction saved us from the volcanic ash and the heavy rain of previous days gave way to sunshine. Its true that our betel nut chewing tour guide was shy and ill trained but absolutely charming as she tried so hard to get things right, carefully reading her hand written notes from a stained old exercise book. Even our little minibus was as comfortable as the pot-holed roads would allow. I tried to pinpoint what made this such a good trip , we visited three sites, the seismic observatory overlooking the harbour, the tunnels built by the Japanese to hide submarines during the Second World War and finally the hot springs at the base of the volcano, currently dormant but smoking ominously. None of these places individually or collectively were anything extraordinary; so without doubt our enjoyment was the result of the delightful and friendly people of this island. Wherever we went there were smiles and shouted greetings as we passed, where souvenirs were on sale there was no hustling. How rare and how lovely to see a community untainted by modern commercial pressure. We will carry back warm memories of PnG when some more famous venues are long forgotten. Despite its natural beauty Rabaul is no utopia, life here must be very tough and while presenting a romantic simplicity to the outside observer, rebuilding a community under the shadow of the ever threatening volcano and keeping a welcoming smile on their faces requires a strong character. Leaving Rabaul our unexpected jewel, we felt sad as though leaving an old friend, silly really as we only met this morning. The thick groves of coconut palms looked intensely green in the soft afternoon light making a stark contrast with the barren fractured cone of the volcano belching thick white smoke and ash. How do the islanders learn to live next to such an unpredictable neighbour, I suspect the answer is they have little choice.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We initially booked the circumnavigation of New Zealand out of Brisbane to celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary. Later we booked the Hong Kong to Brisbane leg which immediately proceeded the NZ voyage. Embarkation is Hong Kong was ... Read More
We initially booked the circumnavigation of New Zealand out of Brisbane to celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary. Later we booked the Hong Kong to Brisbane leg which immediately proceeded the NZ voyage. Embarkation is Hong Kong was a disaster. After travelling from the airport' to the city for our hotel stay we then had to find our way back the the Asia World Convention Center, next to the airport, about 25kl, to be processed for boarding. Arriving at the Convention Center with 3 bags plus carry on to find that there were no trolleys or staff to help we had to make our way across the car park to the building. There were over 1000 passengers boarding this leg. Everyone was crowded into the building with their luggage. The luggage system seemed to work OK, we stood around for hours , organised ourselves into a line. Finally we were bussed to the ship, another 20kim trip to Kowloon only to be met by 8 people holding Cunard signs 20 feet from the ship. Why couldn't these people be utilised to organise processing. The ship its self is very well presented. The decor is very subdued in the tradition of Cunard. I guess the plastic flower display in the Grand Lobby was a sign of things to come. Forget about the "White Star.Service" so proudly proclaimed by Cunard, it doesn't exist. The food was consistently cold and the menu bland and repetitive.very boring and buffet section was worse. It came to a head when they served steak diane with mushrooms and no garlic sauce. The security staff were all from the sub continent. They certainly wern't hired for their people skills. They rarely recognised the passengers other than to shout at them. Safety was also an issue particularly when we our tender was called alongside underneath a tender which was being hoisted out of the water. Most of our shore excursions badly organised many hours wasted with tenders the alpine scenic railway definite waste of money. Overall my view is that a hard working crew is baddly let down by poor management. As an 85 year old lady mentioned to us they spoilt my dream.Well they spoilt ours as well. Cunard has got their last dollar from us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
we arrived via amtrak to la. and stayed at the long beach hyatt for 3 days, with a view of the harbor and carnival ship which was docked near the queen mary(hotel). many fine restaurants within walking distance of hotel. on cruise day we ... Read More
we arrived via amtrak to la. and stayed at the long beach hyatt for 3 days, with a view of the harbor and carnival ship which was docked near the queen mary(hotel). many fine restaurants within walking distance of hotel. on cruise day we took "prime time shuttle" to port of san pedro about 20 min from long beach. we like shuttle service ilo taxi as there is no meter ticking if there is a delay. we arrived at ship before noon, and embarkation was painless. upon boarding, we were pleased our balcony cabin was ready. a full bottle of champagne awaited us, and were impressed by the cabin itself. the cabin, although maybe not as large as other ships, was none the less functional, with room for 2 large suitcases and two roll ons. typical bathroom with upscale hair products and soaps.fixed shower head with "hot" water welcomed. the cabin was attractive and bed comfortable. qe is a beautiful ship,with muted tones and lots of wood. the ship is easy to navigate from bow to stern. but as our cabin was forward. it is quite a walk to therear dining room(which is probably why my clothes still fit at cruise end). qe is the most formal ship we have taken, and a tuxedo, dark suit or dinner jacket required on many formal nights. elegant casual meant jacket with no tie, semi-formal jacket with tie. note all nights required a jacket. entertainment was good to excellent. we especially enjoyed DOMINIC JOHN the classical pianist, and the ALDEC DUO, a pair of lovely twin sisters who played the violin(viola) and piano. the queens room orchestra was terrific, and the dance floor was filled every evening by a "cult" of ballroom dancers, this ship is a dancer's paradise. the small "calypso" band was delightful and played great 50's and 60's tunes. the pianist in the atrium and in the commodore club"aka crows nest" were outstanding. we did not hear the group in the "yacht club" but i heard they were very good. the food on the ship was spotty. we did not eat at the "award winning" veranda restaurant.{extra charge), as we did not care for the menu. as the qe is a "class" ship suite guests and "britannia club" members could dine at separate venues. the other restaurants at which we dined were the main britannia dining room, the lido and the pub. the lido was self serve during day and evening, but certain sections became specialty pay extra restaurants. the lido food meals for breakfast and lunch were good. we did not eat lido evening meals. the pub was great, with british food and ales flowing. the bread pudding and stickey toffee pudding delicious. service for us in all restaurants was excellent. in the main britannia restaurant we had a table for two next to the captain's table. captain "wells" was a hoot, ran a first class operation, and was instrumental in containing a case of passenger norovirus during our voyage. listening to captain WELLS noon announcements was a joy. the main dining room food was a big disappointment. while many meals were very good, too many missed the mark. the quality of food was not on par with other cruise lines we have taken. perhaps this was a "one off" cruise, but we will not be taking the qe again if this was there standard dining fare. we did not realize how huge the pacific ocean was as we crossed two intl date lines, two equators and endless time zones. we should have guessed, with a 36 dar cruise and 20 sea days. however, sailing to Hawaii, Tahiti, new Zealand and bora bora was worth the sea days. the four ports in new Zealand were diverse and interesting, Auckland a large city w/great harbor. in touranga we toured a kiwi factory and learned kiwi is a "super" healthy fruit. napier a nice little city for shopping. our last nz stop was the capital of wellington. perhaps our favorite, with the te papa museum and beautiful waterfront port. hawaii had great attractions and a good tour of a macadamia nut factory. in conclusion(whew), the qe caters to older folks who love formal evenings and dancing.if not for the main dining experience, i would give this ship 4 stars. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We have cruised before, but never before have we been made to feel like second-class passengers. Cunard have a policy whereby those who have 'suites' have separate areas reserved for them to swim and sunbake, a separate section ... Read More
We have cruised before, but never before have we been made to feel like second-class passengers. Cunard have a policy whereby those who have 'suites' have separate areas reserved for them to swim and sunbake, a separate section of the lounge with newspapers each day (not available to other guests), separate restaurants. Need we say more? This really spoiled our holiday. Overall,the standard of service on the ship was good and the shows were good too except that. as we had to have dinner at 6pm (main sitting) and the show didn't start until 8.45pm (to allow for those in the suites to finish their dinner) there was quite a long gap in between. We chose to eat three meals each day in the Brittania Restaurant as we do not like buffet meals. Unfortunately, however, the ship kept on running out of fruit yoghurt and branflakes between ports. Most unusual!!!!We will never set foot on a Cunard line ship again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
DISSAPOINTED QUEEN VICTORIA 11 of 19 people found this review informative Cruise Line: Cunard Cruises Times cruised before: 6-10 Cruise Ship: Queen Victoria Sailed: February, 2011 Destination: Pacific Age: 46-55 Cabin: ... Read More
DISSAPOINTED QUEEN VICTORIA 11 of 19 people found this review informative Cruise Line: Cunard Cruises Times cruised before: 6-10 Cruise Ship: Queen Victoria Sailed: February, 2011 Destination: Pacific Age: 46-55 Cabin: Balcony Occasion: Wedding anniversary I have just returned from a 2 week cruise on the Queen Victoria to the Hawaiin Islands. Through speaking to many passengers on the ship over the past 2 weeks, I know Cunard has a regular following, however I was very, very dissapointed. Perhaps my expectaions were to much as I expected Cunard to be the best, top of the list as the Berlitz guide rates. (It Promotes itself as: luxurious,sophistication,attention to detail, famed hospitality and elegantly reminded that our timeless hallmarks continue to define each and every moment on board) I could go on and on but it is riding along on a name CUNARD from the past. Fact The cabins are small,The t.v. almost an embarresment. the shower is pitiful both in size, complete with shabby shower curtain and inadequate fittings. The balcony furniture was shabby and cheap. Does not compare to the Celebrity Equinox or Millenium. Fact. The Dinning room is nice but on closer inspection is actually cheap wood veneer. The menu is poor and does not compare to the Celebrity or P&0 where you are given a main regular choice and a 2nd option every meal. Including oysters, King Prawns,Lobster many fish options, Many steak options every night not just one a week. The staff of an evening(to your regular table) were wonderful, but breakfast and lunch when seated anywhere the staff could almost be rude and arrogant, should you prefer tea for instance rather than the coffee. Eggs were cold, wrong orders brought back, almost on every table at every meal was there at least one problem maybe small like no butter but not what expected on Cunard. Fact.The sun decks furniture was very poor, plastic coated tube steel, with no cushions.Unlike Celebrity which has wonderful sunbeds with cushions ect. Towels left on beds not collected causing passengers to think they are taken. Fact. The ballroom, beautiful, however dancing finished at 12.00pm so when one had finished there late evening meal, taken in the show and then wanted to sit and have a drink and a dance it as all over.The only option was thena disco on the 10th floor (with most nights only half a dozen people in it) Fact. Embarkation, sat in the inevitable hanger for 2 hours however not a cold or hot drink offered, Unlike Celebrity who come round with sandwiches and drinks.No welcome on board with a glass of champagne or anything No welcome. as the norm with P&0 and Celbrity. Again when getting on board at each port. No Ice water or juice, hot or cold towls and small reception to welcome you back on board. Unlike Celbrity and P&0. I expected more from CUNARD. Fact No welcome at any port by a local band dance grop ect. No flower garland at Hawaii. Simply get off and get on again. Or have your photo taken at a cost of course.In fact nothing was done on the ship to even suggest we were in Hawaii no food recognition, show ect. Fact the shows were excellent and the costumes and design was in some parts as good as a broadway show. A varied entertainment programme through out the day. Bingo, Bridge, art, learn to dance ect (a little better than HI DI HI) Fact Disembark get out of CABIN by 8.00 am que for 2 hrs for passport and then dumped at Airport for 10.15 for a flight which did not leave till 5.00 pm almost 7 hours. Why we could not have been allowed to stay in an area of the ship (as allowed on Celebrity and P&O) I undersrtand that the ship has to be cleaned but a 5* hotel in London lets you check out betwen 10 and 12.00 and you would be allowed to stay in the foya. Disgusting. For the age group of perhaps 80% (75/82) again apalling. Cunard is absolutely no better than the Celebrity or P&O CRUISE SHIPS I have been on previously in fact some things were worse. The ship is very nice but I expected a great deal more and unfortunately so did many other guests. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
The lure of witnessing the 3 Queens (Victoria, Mary2 and Elizabeth) together in New York was sufficient to convince us to leave the hot (albeit flooded) Australian summer for a New York winter. The snow gods were kind enough to open JFK ... Read More
The lure of witnessing the 3 Queens (Victoria, Mary2 and Elizabeth) together in New York was sufficient to convince us to leave the hot (albeit flooded) Australian summer for a New York winter. The snow gods were kind enough to open JFK just for one day (closed either side) to enable us to end our 25 hour flight from South Australia. Sadly, boarding at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal was a disaster - Cunard's computers check-in systems went "down" while we were in line and for an hour or more the long lines of passengers did not move and simply got longer and longer as passengers arrived but none were being processed.. A brief ray of home when Cunard announced the system was "up" however minutes later it failed again. Limited chairs were available for those passengers physically unable to stand in a queue for 2 hours. While we waiting passengers with aching backs, knees and other bits discussed the need for Cunard to have a contingency for this situation - ultimately the system came alive. On finally reaching our allotted check in desk clerk we presented a dilemma in that we required separate accounts. She had to interrupt another clerk to ascertain how to do this and also how to deal with the fact we were Australian and didn't that mean we had to fill out something. The very helpful other clerk pointed her to the help sheet in front of her that clearly said Australians did not need that other something. Sighh....2 1/2 hours after entering the terminal we were welcomed on board. (note: notwithstanding the "now down now up" system, we were later requested by the purser to attend to re-present our documentation - as were many other passengers). Uniformed staff at the entrance to the ship greeted us (no champagne as with NCL) and the major delay had one benefit in that our cabin was ready. 7002, balcony category A3 is the forward most cabin on that level, meaning quiet (no passers by and only one neighbour)and negligible movement. It has an overhang from the Bridge making it generally the last booked, but we valued this "extended roof line" as it provided shade and the plexiglass overhang enabled us to see "white shoes" folk periodically above. The cabin offered excellent hanging space (17 hangers each)and the bathroom, while small, was efficiently laid out. Mattresses and pillows-heavenly! Sail away was once in a lifetime event. What a delight to sail with a female Captain, Inger Olsen. We departed Manhattan cruise terminal with Queen Elizabeth behind us and met up with Queen Mary 2 leaving her Brooklyn berth. As the 3 magnificent Queens stopped to pay homage to the Statue of Liberty, a 20 minute firework display convinced us that being outside on the top deck in minus 7 degree (Celsius) was worth it. No doubt the display was a marketing exercise for Cunard, but it was nonetheless a magnificent sight. We Aussies simply do not have the winter woollies necessary for this weather, but discovered that backing oneself onto the air vent provided some warmth. Even the Empire State Building was lit with Cunard colours. Staff in Britannia restaurant greeted us by name - and quickly learned our individual needs. The iced water was always that - icy and readily topped up. The sommelier was not quite as efficient and there were 2 nights on the cruise when our wine did not eventuate until after the appetisers had been eaten. The table conviviality was soon achieved although we will never understand why table mates on the first night felt it was acceptable to freely express their bigoted and uninformed statements about Australian indigenous people. This was followed by an equally appalling statement that the White Australia policy should not have been repealed. Never a good opening line to travelling companions you met 2 minutes earlier, however we were able to subtly refute the bigotry, overlook our initial distaste and revel in hearing from our table companions who represented Australia, USA, UK and South Africa - well matched Cunard. Indeed the table next to us informed us on the penultimate night of our cruise that out table had been voted the "happiest". Food - wonderful choice, artfully presented - so much so that it was difficult to tell from the food exactly what it represented. While the portions initially seemed small, the richness of the cuisine and the range of courses available ensured we were well sated. The petit-four (a different one every night) with coffee was a delightful finishing touch. We equated the food and service in Britannia as deserving its 5 stars. Activities - being new to Cunard we tried everything on the ship. As a repositioning cruise with a majority of sea days, we valued Cunard's enrichment program. Without re-listing these, simply put there was a wide choice of activities from morning to afternoon. Not all were quite as expected - the putting competition where passengers presented in their best golfing garb, used table tennis balls! Quiz competitions were well attended although entertainment staff (who compile the quizzes) need to re-google their answers for accuracy. On submitting that there have been a total of 12 men who have walked on the moon, we was informed the correct answer was 21! No, indeed that is not correct, nor was the assertion that Tasmania is not a State of Australia -but we did not dwell on it - rather, we enjoyed the quizzes without too much concern as to the veracity of the answers. Deck chairs around the ship were readily available, and once the weather warmed, additional outside activities were introduced. Lectures in the theatre were informative and many were full 10 minutes before the start. Not so informative were the lectures, purportedly on health and well-being, presented by the gym staff. I was alarmed to be informed by the buff (perhaps 20yr old) gym instructor - without medical qualifications - that underarm deodorant causes breast cancer in women and that low-cal soft drinks (sodas) are equally carcinogenic. Such broad statements, not supported by empirical evidence, should not be presented as lectures by unqualified medical practitioners. How fortunate that we could redress all that cancer by purchasing their seaweed product. Medical researchers - take note. Our cruise director - she of the 'mahhhhhhhvelous' response was gratifyingly less self-serving that others we have encountered and did not in any way seek the limelight. We are convivial folk and requesting a shared table for lunch or breakfast in the Britannia restaurant enabled us to meet other passengers. The 24 hour buffet was an asset in that it was open all hours - a sandwich or pizza at 3 am should one so need. We found the best lunches to be at the Golden Lion Pub - food was hot, fresh and the fish and chips superb! The white-gloved afternoon tea in the Queens Room was exquisite and when accompanied by the harpist or string quartet, a delightful experience. Cunard's policy of allowing alcohol to be brought on board was appreciated. We still purchased drinks daily from the bar, but enjoyed our pre-dinner balcony tipple (complete with pate and cheese from the buffet). Should it seem that all we did was eat, we hasten to advise you that the gym enabled us to see, in blinking green lights, exactly how many calories we were burning on the treadmills, steppers and rowing machines. Gazing at the ocean ahead makes exercise a surreal experience. Indeed, one of the best features of the Queen Victoria is that one can readily find a spot with an ocean view to read, nap or merely contemplate. Cunard makes 100% effort in most aspects - while not dwelling on the negatives, a Mexican gala night cannot be called so when it is simply a gathering with a band on the open deck, without Mexican food, drink or even decorations - not a sombrero in sight. Call it a deck party. Staff we rated 100% - Marija our room steward was inconspicuous yet highly efficient. Room was always made up while we breakfasted, despite us eating at a different time each day. She respected our privacy as requested, and conversed with us when we so wished. She immediately addressed our one request for a new hairdryer. On our cruises we enjoy learning as much about crew national backgrounds as we do passengers, Queen Victoria housekeeping and dining staff are highly intelligent and accomplished people and deserve to be treated well by us. Shore tours - we took two privately arranged and two ship's tours. The privately arranged tours were better value and more personally tailored. Being 'dumped' in a small beach town for 2 hours with no other options does not make for a cultural experience. We do not hold Cunard responsible for this, rather it reinforces our preference for privately arranged tours - thank you a thousand times Lorraine from Cruise Critics for your efficient and superb arrangement of tours. This review is already too lengthy - in summary our cruise was an overall success, it met our expectations and importantly, we would recommend this ship. Would we cruise again with Cunard - Yes - and soon we hope! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Embarkation One would like to forget this ridiculous beginning of something as enjoyable as a world voyage sector but I guess it must be included. Unfortunately our shuttle got us to the pier much earlier than we asked and when we ... Read More
Embarkation One would like to forget this ridiculous beginning of something as enjoyable as a world voyage sector but I guess it must be included. Unfortunately our shuttle got us to the pier much earlier than we asked and when we arrived at 10.30 am, passengers were still embarking. There was no formal area to put our cases (just the corner where we could keep our eye on it)and a small area of seating where other early bird passengers were waiting. Apparently the delay was due to customs taking their time in clearing the ship but we did not start the embarkation until 1.00pm. It was a good opportunity to start socialising with others around but none were too thrilled with the wait. At least when we did get to our cabin, it was not long to wait for our cases and besides, we were easily engrossed in checking out how similar (or dissimilar)the decor may be, to her sister Q Victoria Decor We felt it subdued - lots of creams and sea greens, compared to her small and big sister. This grew on us after 10 days as the decor is still very elegant but the dining room has a lot of timber and just needs more uplifting colours. There is also a lot of very attractive patterned glass, which makes the walk to the Brittania dining room a very pleasant experience. The furniture is again subdued but looks luxurious and for the most part very comfortable Service We couldn't fault it - from the cabin steward to Dining and Bar staff. Everyone was very professional efficient and friendly. we had the best Dining waiter we have ever had on all travels. Reinoldo, take a bow,we hope you are promoted quickly! What a difference it makes to have someone genuinely care about your dietary needs as well as consistently providing excellent service. Food We ate most often in the dining room as we enjoyed the service and menu. The Dinner menu started superbly with wonderful soups and salads especially but towards the end became somewhat boring. This did not mean the food was bad, just a little boring. The smooties in the Kings Court were superb and the rest of the food always good. The Pizza and pasta always excellent each time we had it for lunch. All round the food very good. Entertainment Hmmm, this is where there were some problems. A lot of individual entertainers of varying standards and entertainment value. Refraining from being specific, suffice to say some were excellent while others were very ordinary. We thought there were too little production shows for the length of the sector. Lectures, on the other hand were excellent - again some better than others but we did not miss any and looked forward to our sea day mornings for what we learned in the Royal Theatre. Alexander Downer was sooooo good. Cunard! - more of those calibre speakers please - perhaps a female would be good Disembarkation Ok - better than LA but could have been quicker with more staff. Coming into the harbour was so exciting and something that will stay with us for a long time. To have some hassles in getting off after that was just a tad deflating. Highlights 1. The Captain - Julian Burges. He was always there socialising informally with guests and being involved in the entertainment with graciousness. 2. Having Downer speak on current affairs Lowlights The LA embarkation Overall - a very enjoyable trip on a beautiful ship. Thank you, QE staff Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Arrived at Fremantle dock and the time it took for us to sign in get passed customs only took 15 minutes dad and i did not rush once aboard, took our carry on luggage to the room we didn't panic that our bags hadn't arrived went ... Read More
Arrived at Fremantle dock and the time it took for us to sign in get passed customs only took 15 minutes dad and i did not rush once aboard, took our carry on luggage to the room we didn't panic that our bags hadn't arrived went for a wonder around the ship it was great i admit yes it is different from the Queen Mary 2 but it was still one experience to remember. The waiters serving us for first sitting of dinner were great, had a great table of 8 everyone at our table seemed to be from Sydney and disembarking in Hong Kong. The entertainment staff were awesome they made everyone welcome, also befriended three of them and they were quite friendly i would walk down one of the corridors and if they weren't busy they would stop and have a chort conversation.I do feel sorry for them(and all the housekeeping, waiters and bar staff) when it comes to cruisers who think the whole world revolves around them. The lectures were quite interesting, expecially those on the worlds greatest ocean liners, the food at lunch and dinner in both dining room and Lido deck were fantastic not one boring meal The performances were interesting and the activities after dinner were never boring, all different types of trivia, sing-a-longs were great. End of the day a cruise is a trip to which should be relaxing, there is nothing worse then listening to a fellow passenger who complains about their eggs are cooked for three minutes and not two minutes Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
I embarked on a "one world cruise - three ships" adventure with Cunard in New York on January 13th. I started out on the QE2 and transferred to the Victoria in Sydney, then took the QM2 back to New York from Southampton (107 ... Read More
I embarked on a "one world cruise - three ships" adventure with Cunard in New York on January 13th. I started out on the QE2 and transferred to the Victoria in Sydney, then took the QM2 back to New York from Southampton (107 days). Since I live within driving distance of New York, I booked no hotels, flights or cars through Cunard. Here, I am only going to review the Victoria, which has been the subject of much bad publicity and reviews. I was on the Victoria from Sydney to Southampton, - 59 days. Accommodations - I occupied an A3 cabin with balcony, midships, portside. My first impression was - it looks exactly like the cabins on the QM2 - and it did. Virtually the same dEcor and colors - very attractive. I did not think it small, especially when one takes the balcony into consideration. I admit that I was alone and so did not want for closet space, despite the fact that I brought 6 suitcases!!! But a couple traveling with 6 suitcases would have had plenty of room. When my steward arrived, I said: "So the rumors are true - there are no drawers!" We had a laugh. Well, there were two shallow night table drawers and two in the desk - containing information and a hair dryer. So, yes, it was true - nowhere to stash the lingerie!!! Shelves? Yes, one for the two life jackets, which I stashed under the bed; one over the large closet; one with the safe; and one other. My steward offered me a set of plastic drawers on wheels, which I squeezed into the lower hanging space in one of the closets. If you have read previous reviews, you will know that all these drawers, plastic or cardboard, were those purchased by the world cruisers in New York and Ft. Lauderdale in January whilst ashore. All of these drawers stay on board and are stored when passengers disembark...so you have to ask for them. We were told that the closets would gradually be retrofitted with drawers. When we asked who made such an outrageous mistake, the answers were too confusing to go into. I saw other cabins, inside and outside, with and without balconies - nothing to criticize, in my view. Bathroom was disappointing - shower is about half the size of the QM2 and woe betide anyone who drops the soap. The shower curtain is not going to stop your fall backwards. Storage consisted of two small shelves and one long open shelf under the counter. Very odd that. No cupboards as on QE2 and QM2. Sink is tiny and there is no soap holder. Again, what were the designers thinking? Some people went up to the spa to take showers. After my initial shock, it didn't bother me. Public Rooms - Beautiful, even if the wood isn't always real.... or the marble, or the decks. Hey it's the 21st century! The pub is the best I've seen. It's like a real pub building rather than an open space. The Queen's Room is very nice, but does not compare to the QM2 or even theQE2. The traffic flow is not good at all - a problem especially on port days when everyone meets there for excursions. This is also the main venue for concerts and the space is terrible for that. The Theatre is spectacular...like a West End theatre. Boxes look inviting and, for special events, one can book them for the night, complete with champagne and truffles. However, the glass is curved and one does not get a clear view. Britannia two-level dining room is very nice - a sort of scaled-down version of that on the QM2. The Lido is very long and narrow, more like the King's Court on the QM2 (which I still find very confusing), and not as welcoming as the Lido on the QE2. The bars are all good, but the best is the Commodore Club which occupies the entire forward section of deck 10. Great place, with great bartenders, day or night. To my mind, the Chart Room, which has always been a favorite venue on the other Queens, is badly located. It is right outside the Britannia and people start lining up almost 30 minutes before the doors open. (You'd think they hadn't eaten for 24 hrs!) Not a good place for a quiet drink before dinner. Library is beautiful, but how many people want to go up and down a spiral staircase - think of the average age - and the upstairs checkout desk is rarely, if ever, manned. Hemispheres, the disco, is absolutely gorgeous, but underused. It is not easy to find and opens late. Probably does better on shorter cruises when average age is lower. The overall dEcor is splendid, especially the carpets - beautiful. And the red rug for port, blue for starboard in corridors is most helpful. Dining - The food is virtually the same as on the other Queens, but no truffles unless you really insist! (It was tough making the transition from the Caronia dining room on the QE2!). Todd English is superb - same menu as QM2. Alternative dining in Lido for dinner - I tried Carvery, Fondue, Indian and Italian. Indian was outstanding, as good as anything I had in India and the dEcor was wonderful. Carvery was excellent. Fondue was, too, and it was fun! Italian was, to my mind, barely Italian at all. Lido pool grill has the best hamburgers and onion rings I've had in years. Cafe Carinthia is great for elevenses and snacks. Room Service has a good, but limited menu - the Queen Victoria club sandwich is wonderful and comes with salad and fries. Oh yes, the fries are great ion this ship! Shops - No comparison to other Queens, but adequate. Lots of space for those "cruise specials" outside the shops. Way too much space allocated to jewelry and fancy gifts. Missed the great selection of casual clothes and the $10 shop on the other Queens. Pools/Spa/Fitness - Two large pools with Jacuzzis and bars. Great. Spa pool very disappointing. - gave half of my package to a friend. Did not do any treatments. Area with saunas, steam rooms, aromatherapy etc. very nice, especially the warm tiled chaises lounges grouped in a semi-circle in front of picture windows. They were wonderful as long as quiet reigned! Beauty Salon, no better no worse than others. A treat, though, to have a pedicure in front of a picture window! Gym takes up entire forward section of Deck 9 - divided into two areas - one for machines, mainly treadmills and the other for exercise classes. Also, an array of bicycles for spinning. Some classes had an extra charge attached, but Zumba didn't and it was great - but not enough room. Disappointed in lack of variety of machines. Great view over the bow from the treadmills Entertainment - Excellent all around. I saw many of the same shows and entertainers as on the QE2, but that was fine. Some of the shows date back to 1999, but that's OK - they are still gorgeous. The Caribbean band - Lido pool at lunch, Hemispheres at night and theme nights in the Queen's Room - really terrific. Good concerts, despite the venue. String quartet and Harpist - the usual Cunard suspects, and very good. Great bands in pub and Queens Room. Activities - All the usual choices. Any Cunarder would recognize the list. One could take lessons in just about anything all day long. The lectures were top-notch, as usual. Can't imagine better: an astronaut; a Great Barrier Reef pilot; the current Afghani ambassador to the US; biologists, authors, linguists.... and more! Great first-run movies plus the Academy Awards live and the first-ever satellite broadcast to cruise ships from the Met in New York - Zeffirelli's "La Boheme". Staff/Crew - Friendly and smiling, as always, except for the Purser's Office where the customer is usually wrong on Cunard ships. Not enough Lido or Britannia staff. Tours - Excellent staff. Terrific selection of shore excursions. Only one caveat - we went to so many container ports which involved hours of driving before reaching a "real destination". So, for example, a 4-hour tour of Bangkok involved a 12- hour day!!!! As for overlands, Cunard does them in style. I did two and one was a 6-day trip to Bhutan and India. We were accompanied by a member of the Tours office, a full-time Indian guide and we had local guides in every city. 5-star hotels were gorgeous; food was excellent; service was of the highest order. We never once touched our luggage or even got our own boarding passes - we were very spoiled. They are expensive, but, if you are traveling alone, they are ideal. Plus, the ship will wait for you if there are delays!!! Overall impression - I love the ship and have booked for a segment in 2010. While one inevitably makes comparisons, especially to the other Queens - can't be helped. But Cunard isn't Cunard any more (though some vestiges remain!) and the Vic is not the QE2. Nor should she be. She's young, she's flash, she's got some warts, but she is a keeper. Any specific questions? Just ask. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
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