25 Hong Kong Luxury Cruise Reviews

I was attracted by the destinations and the hype surrounding Viking Ocean Cruises. The ship is beautifully equipped with all modern facilities. Like a beautiful woman until the true character is exposed. The Ship lacked Soul. ... Read More
I was attracted by the destinations and the hype surrounding Viking Ocean Cruises. The ship is beautifully equipped with all modern facilities. Like a beautiful woman until the true character is exposed. The Ship lacked Soul. Furnishings were like Ikea on steroids. There were few activities apart from some excellent speakers and an outstanding performance by 4 dancers and singers. appearing only 3 times in 15 days. Another evening a Kabuki dance by locals was fascinating. People just hung out in corners of the ship reading and relaxing. They were entertained by 2 violinists and at other times by a pianist. Some passengers looked like they had passed away. Nothing much else to do. Excursions were disappointing. The one we looked so forward to going on was cancelled due to low support and the others didn't flow particularly smoothly. Food was the redeeming feature. It was excellent. Service was friendly and almost efficient. Our cabin attendant was very good. Embarkation was smooth and well organised. It would appear that Viking may be growing too quickly since there was what appeared to be inefficient administration processes. On one of our excursions we were instructed in the Newsletter to present in the Theatre for re-direction to our Buses. We had to meet by 1.45pm. Some 50 passengers turned up. But at 2pm when our Bus was due to leave, no staff appeared. A passenger then rang Guest Services to see what was going on and was then told we were supposed to meet on the Pier. No one told us!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We started as a cruise of a lifetime and ended as a demotivated disaster. This once great international liner is now a British floating holiday park, There is a ghost like senior management team only ever to be seen fraternising ... Read More
We started as a cruise of a lifetime and ended as a demotivated disaster. This once great international liner is now a British floating holiday park, There is a ghost like senior management team only ever to be seen fraternising with Grills guests and drinking wine. With the distinct exception of Captain Wells who seems now to do the job of Cruise Director and Hotel Manager as well as his own. In 34 Nights I only saw 4 Shows and 2 bumpers involving the singers and dancers. The rest of the evenings were guest entertainers of which only 3 were of a standard expected of QM2 ,the rest were not even suitable for my local village hall. I suppose not surprising as the whole feel of the entertainment was that of a holiday park. Who is booking this holiday park drivvle. No entertainment outside the sailaway party was more of a wake than a party with the so called band finishing their set before the ship had gone anywhere. The cruise staff who were not even upto holiday park standard spent most of their time chatting to each other and photographers rather than guests.Once again no senior management to be seen ALL SAID THIS IS THE WORST CRUISE I HAVE EVER BEEN ON. This once great elegant liner is now Haven holidays at sea. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are Platinum members and our last Seabourn Cruise was 2 years ago. We wanted to try their new larger ship and booked Hong Kong to Hong Kong, a BTB 28 day cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated. Our cabin was the same size as on ... Read More
We are Platinum members and our last Seabourn Cruise was 2 years ago. We wanted to try their new larger ship and booked Hong Kong to Hong Kong, a BTB 28 day cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated. Our cabin was the same size as on the Sojourn and Odyssey. One problem was that the drawers in the furniture across from the bed were very hard to access and the space there has only enough room for one person to stand. The pool area was the same as the smaller ships and getting a place on sea days was difficult. The chairs are the same and not comfortable. Our one peeve was that now bartenders are instructed to measure out the amount of liquor for each drink. This on a ship that touts itself as all inclusive. We would have to tell them to pour doubles so we wouldn't have to come back. In the lounge outside The Keller Grill there was only one waitress and one bartender and it took 25 minutes for our drink to come. The comedians were all from Wales or UK and as Americans we could not understand them. Most of the musical shows were good and the singers and dancers were exceptionally good. The even sang opera at the pool and that was a real treat. We had a problem on one of the ship's excursions and it was not handled well. We were only told it would be reported and then never heard back. We agree with others that Seabourn, now having staff hired by Holland America, has gone downhill in service. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We have cruised with HAL. Celebrity, Princess, RCL, Costa, MSC, Carnival. Azamara, and Oceana. This was our third Viking Cruise, second Viking Ocean Cruise. We had a very good experience on our previous Viking Ocean cruise, including the ... Read More
We have cruised with HAL. Celebrity, Princess, RCL, Costa, MSC, Carnival. Azamara, and Oceana. This was our third Viking Cruise, second Viking Ocean Cruise. We had a very good experience on our previous Viking Ocean cruise, including the quality of the excursions, so we were disappointed in the very poor quality of the excursions in China. Viking claims that China was not experienced in handling American visitors at most of their ports. However, when we booked a private tour with a reputable Chinese travel agency for the port for Beijing, we received excellent and knowledgeable service, were taken to a clean and high quality restaurant, had a guide who spoke good English and took care of us. The excursions that Viking provided were low quality, with make believe tour guides who could not speak English and who did not know what they were doing. The "restaurant" that we were taken to was a overcrowded "banquet hall" with dirty rest rooms that lacked soap and the food was not good. On our private tour in Beijing, the guide sat with us and made sure that people with special diet concerns got what they needed. With the Viking tour, my wife told the guide that she must have a vegetarian meal and she was assured by the guide that she would get that. What happened was that the guide totally disappeared for the whole meal. We tried to communicate with the wait staff but they did not understand English. Therefore, since the food was served family style with no explanation of what we were getting, my wife could only have tea for her lunch. Certainly not a 5 star experience. The included tours were far from being a luxury experience from a luxury ship. They were quite miserable, especially on the 6 hour round trip on a bus to the great wall. The guide barely spoke and we were left to stare out the window with no narration. When we arrived at the wall we asked if the guide was going to accompany us to the wall to provide some guidance or narration. Her answer was that she had been there before and that she had no interest in seeing it again and that we were on our own to see it. Is that what the Viking excursion department considers to be a guided tour? Since there were a number of days at sea, entertainment is important. Viking decided to have 4 singers and no dancers on this ship Viking decided to schedule only 2 shows with this limited staff which worked out to one major show per week. Some nights just a movie was shown as the "entertainment". Again, not a 5 star experience. The ship is beautiful and the food is good, especially in the specialty restaurants. The historians on board gave high quality lectures. On a 14 day cruise, Viking should provide better excursions and more entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our third Viking experience, previously a 15 day river and 15 day ocean. I guess I should start out by saying the the Viking ships are beautiful, well laid out it never feels congested. The cabin attendants are first class and ... Read More
This was our third Viking experience, previously a 15 day river and 15 day ocean. I guess I should start out by saying the the Viking ships are beautiful, well laid out it never feels congested. The cabin attendants are first class and the dining is excellent. Entertainment is limited but, we already new that. The singers and dancers on board did a very good job with what they were given. The cruises director and staff seemed to only work about half the time. Compared with our previous Viking cruise, the entertainment was almost non-existent. The guest services group ranged from very good to just another body filling up space. My wife and I flew into Hong Kong from LA two days early. it was a tough 15 HR flight and my wife experienced some issues. The Viking host at our hotel was very helpful but, it was evident that many staffers were not adequately trained to Viking standards. This would turn out to to be the overriding theme for the rest of our trip. Transportation to the Orion was uneventful and embarkation was smooth. Our luggage was delivered to our cabin within a half hour followed by the attendants. We enjoyed the ship for two days but upon arriving in Xiamen my wife was still not feeling well so we visited the medical center. Before I proceed, I just want to say that the doctor and med staff were caring, thorough and extremely professional. They had a doctor and two nurses with quite a lot of equipment. After much testing the doctor decided to send her to the hospital for further tests. We were advised to take it easy for the rest of the cruise. We cancelled our post cruise extension and were advised that we would need to file a claim with the trip insurance company(we are still working on that). Three days before disembarkation, we received the details for our four day extension for the first time(the one that we cancelled). It included baggage restrictions...we had four bags and each one was over sized according to their list. We also had medical equipment which was not allowed. For the morning flight returning to Beijing we had to leave our hotel in the early am. Bus rides and planes made up most of the time during the four day trip. The day before our final port my wife was feeling worse. We went to the med center and they kept her over night. The next morning she was transported to the hospital in Tianjin where she stayed for five days before flying back home. The reason for this long story is that the cruise had many high points and of course many lows. In the future, I would definitely travel with Viking again. I will always find out who the cruise director is before booking, and will not travel with this one. I will purchase travel insurance on my own and not use TripMate. If traveling to Asia I will fly, train, drive, book hotels on my own and hire my own guides. It is difficult to separate our personal problems with our feelings about THIS Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Every meal was a challenge Relais & Chateau should be embarrassed. The bagels and croissants at breakfast were worse than the lowest grade . Maybe you could find similar at the Dollar Store. The pancakes in la Terasse were served ... Read More
Every meal was a challenge Relais & Chateau should be embarrassed. The bagels and croissants at breakfast were worse than the lowest grade . Maybe you could find similar at the Dollar Store. The pancakes in la Terasse were served with fake maple syrup. Room service had small bottles of real maple syrup, but the pancakes were like rubber and thick. The waffles were also 3/4 of an inch thick and tough! It was like a comedy..You could have thrown the pancakes like a frisbee. The vacuumed packed individual portions of various fishes had been left in the brine solution so long they were inedible. Even the dining room manager who finally tasted it agreed. The lamb chops were so tough it was like sawing wood. This was true even in Le Dame. The smoked salmon was of poor quality.All fish except the Dover Sole was either extremely salty or mushy.. The texture was completely missing or both. One lunch there was a beautiful whole salmon cooked with the skin on. When it was cut the insides were just like a very wet sponge or mush! The gnocchi was fine if made fresh by the chef to order, but what was served to everyone was a pasty , glob. The bread sticks were not crisp. The only good food on the ship was in the movie on the television. The meat also seemed to be pre seasoned in a vacuum pack. It was impossible to read the labels on these prepackaged portions since they were de boxed down below the kitchen.. The staff was wonderful and responsive....but they had no quality ingredients to work with!!!!!! The itinerary was the inducement, but we had to charter a helicopter for $1900.00 to go to Corregidor because the ship could not dock in time to connect toa boat that makes the trip from Manilla. This was just poor planning not an accident. The ship was supposed to have arranged a special schedule with the boat. They did not inform us of the problem until the day before the scheduled tour. The orangutan visit at Sabah was a disappointment. It was a very poor zoo with 400 onlookers in a limited space. At the very least the ship ought to go there in the afternoon when it is not so crowded. On the other hand the orangutan viewing at Sarawak was much better, The whole operation was more professional and geared to preservation of this endangered species. There were more animals in a more natural habitat and many fewer tourists. The thermostat in the room has no control..You have to turn it to heat to get it to cool. It has no fan control. They finally opened the ceiling and closed off the vent that blew like wind in the ceiling over the head of the bed. The shower also had no control over temperature. It changed every 30 seconds unpredictably hotter or colder. Could never get the doors to the veranda to open without two people pulling on it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Maybe it's a matter of expectations and what you consider expensive. With an average verandah room and the cost of $16,000 for a 15 day cruise, we had high expectations. This was by far the most expensive cruise we have ever taken. ... Read More
Maybe it's a matter of expectations and what you consider expensive. With an average verandah room and the cost of $16,000 for a 15 day cruise, we had high expectations. This was by far the most expensive cruise we have ever taken. It was a stretch for our finances. The room was smaller than those we have had in the past on other cruise lines and the bathroom space rivaled that on an airplane. For the cost, we could have had a suite on HAL, Celebrity, or Princess. But we chose Oceania because of the itinerary and loved that most stops in Vietnam were overnight. Plus, being on a small ship it could dock up the rivers and be centrally located in Saigon and Bangkok, where the larger ships would be 2 hours away on the coast. The dining room had a few missteps as far as proper cooking of steaks and eggs. They were very slow, no matter which meal, to get the courses out. I found a two hour dinner just too long. The specialty restaurants were no better than the main dining room. I would not recommend the O Life. We could not get a custom air route that we wanted, so Oceania made the flight arrangements, which were beyond awful. We took only 1 "free" excursion, which my husband then told me "never again". The group tour was 5 or 6 buses going to Hue together and the bathroom situation was so bad, I couldn't drink water until we got back aboard the ship. I booked last minute private tours for the other ports. We did not care for the entertainment and the fact that there was no theater but a lounge instead. I kept thinking, "Is this worth three times the amount of Celebrity?" and the answer is, no. Overall, it was a disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We're quite excited to go on the same ship as we traveled on a few years ago and the Itinerary was good before the changes, sad to miss out on Korea but Japan was Fantastic, china was not, The ship is very clean and nice, the crew is ... Read More
We're quite excited to go on the same ship as we traveled on a few years ago and the Itinerary was good before the changes, sad to miss out on Korea but Japan was Fantastic, china was not, The ship is very clean and nice, the crew is friendly and the food is good. The only crew I'm not happy are the x-Eastern european ladies in the reception, they are never helpful, they are very inflexible and should be reminded of how much people pay on this ship. Because of the huge reductions in the price we paid for a butler but would not do this again as you don't meet the cabin stewards and don't get a chance to have a chat and whilst the butler was handy, it felt like there were a lot of interruptions when we tried to relax in the cabin. It feels like the standards have dropped a little since last time 2012, we didn't get a gift on the return home like we did the 1st time. The itinerary changed and we didn't go to Korea, this was disappointing but the extra stops in Japan were great. China was terrible, the organized tours were in dirty busses, the guides were obsessed with money, pretty much all they spoke about, forget about telling us about what the old buildings were. The trip to the Wall was badly organized, getting there only 1h before sunset and there are no lights on the wall, some older (but fit) people walked far and then struggled to return to the bus in the dark. The Chinese officials at the port treated the crew badly on the return to the port, they had them lined up for over an hour, not letting them board the ship for over an hour. A few people got an upset stomach after one of the lunches on the tours in china and on the whole, china is not a place I would go back to. A cold cruise was nice to experience, more energy to walk around the towns in Japan but you do miss out on sitting around the pool, swimming and drinking cocktails. Bingo was very disappointing as the entertaining crew did not promote and tell people that there was Bingo every sea day, they could have made a bigger effort. Regent cruises are very expensive compared to others so I don't think we'll be back, add to that the office in Sydney were not at all helpful or friendly, maybe they need a reminder that they are working for a 5 star company Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Far east cruise offers wonderful ports of call. Previously we had travelled with Silversea to Antarctica and had a 5 STAR experience. This was the main draw for our choosing Silversea once again. Unfortunately, the Silver Shadow is in ... Read More
Far east cruise offers wonderful ports of call. Previously we had travelled with Silversea to Antarctica and had a 5 STAR experience. This was the main draw for our choosing Silversea once again. Unfortunately, the Silver Shadow is in desperate need of a trip to dry dock. She is showing her age. Extremely challenging to control stateroom's temperature. Either too hot or too cold were the options. This was a complaint heard throughout the ship on this cruise. Carpeting is showing much wear, walls are scratched, but these cosmetic issues are visual only. There are not enough electrical outlets in the staterooms. NO USB Charging ports whatsoever. If you are travelling, bring along a massive extension cord that allows for multiple plugs. Service by the room staff was impeccable. Fabulous butler and maid. Food was a disappointment. Utterly unable to order decaf coffee in the morning and have it arrive before finishing half of breakfast, A DAILY Occurance. Most disappointing was totally skipping a port. Danang did have some rain and Vietnam did have some limitations on accessing it's port due to APEC meeting. BUT this was on the books for months . No excuse for not having a plan other than floating at sea for and extra 36 hours. Really, overall a nice trip. Just I can't say this was a 5 or even a four star experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This ship is in serious need of a refreshment. It is very tired and worn. The art work looks like something from a second hand shop and is drab and dull. The food was mediocre at best. The La Dame restaurant was a total waste. The ... Read More
This ship is in serious need of a refreshment. It is very tired and worn. The art work looks like something from a second hand shop and is drab and dull. The food was mediocre at best. The La Dame restaurant was a total waste. The tours on the two back to back cruises we took (Hong Kong to Singapore and Singapore to Sydney) were not well vetted and the itinerary on the second cruise was poorly chosen. No overnights in the major ports and stops at very small remote towns. We will not sail on Silver Sea again as most of the guests on our cruise that we socialized with. The Italian influence here is so out of touch with what people want. The formal nights inflicted on the guests is so ridiculous, only a few people wanted to dress in their kilts or high school dinner jackets. There should be an alternative besides dining in you room. People are on vacation so don't be so worried about shorts in common areas after 6 PM! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Wanted to see Asia for the first time, we were on this phone two months after it was launched in, South America. I can remember the services being some of the best I've ever had told my friends it was just like eating at a fine ... Read More
Wanted to see Asia for the first time, we were on this phone two months after it was launched in, South America. I can remember the services being some of the best I've ever had told my friends it was just like eating at a fine restaurant we're staying at a luxury hotel, those things have change drastically, most restaurants were hard to get into if not impossible, waitstaff varied from being Very good to not knowing what they were doing at all. My wife and I will continue to search for ship that meets our expectations. Suggestions would be that the Service is improved through better training of the people in charge of the guests, you should do away with the reservations on the restaurants, many restaurants were not filled to capacity, and the excuse was we did not have enough waitstaff to appropriately serve the extra tables , therefore we did not Seat them, Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We recently completed a 14 day cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore. The itinerarywas great as it took us to Vietnam, Thailand and terminated in Singapore. Before booking this cruise I specifically asked if the ship had been refurbished ... Read More
We recently completed a 14 day cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore. The itinerarywas great as it took us to Vietnam, Thailand and terminated in Singapore. Before booking this cruise I specifically asked if the ship had been refurbished and was assured that indeed it had been. However, Silversea uses this word differently than most people on our cruise as the dated decor was the common unifying topic amongst the guests. It was extremely disappointing as the interior is in serious need of modernization; the color scheme, the upholstery, the furnishings and the carpet all need work. The attention to detail that used to distinguish Silversea appears to have disappeared. Gone is the champagne waiting in your suite when you arrive, the orchid is left in it's plastic container and stuffed into a too small ceramic pot so balances precariously. The food on board was equivalent to mediocre hotel banquet fare. A number of the included shore excursions were not worth the time. A visit to the Artist Village in Ho Chi Minh City was so bad that one bus load from the ship convinced their tour guide to return them to the ship ahead of schedule, while others from the ship called taxis to take them back to the ship rather than waiting for the tour to be over. I understand the guests who took the Ko Samui Jeep Tour had an equally unsatisfactory experience as well. Not sure I'm going to rush back to Silversea but instead will try some of it's competitors as it appears Silversea has lost it's way. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
To put this review in perspective, here is some background. We cruise this segment almost every year at the same time for our wedding anniversary, using Royal Caribbean, Crystal and Cunard from Hong Kong back to Singapore. We also love ... Read More
To put this review in perspective, here is some background. We cruise this segment almost every year at the same time for our wedding anniversary, using Royal Caribbean, Crystal and Cunard from Hong Kong back to Singapore. We also love dancing and spend most of each evening on the dance floor. So the starting and ending ports are all that matter and the ports in between, we have been to more times than we care too. We went with pretty high expectations after wonderful experiences on the Queen Victoria and the Queen Mary, we were quite disappointed with the Queen Elizabeth. Embarkation in Hong Kong was a breeze, we arrived a few hours before the sated embarkation time ( at 1pm instead of 3:30pm) and encountered no queues anywhere. Our complaint was that the staff posted around the terminal building to direct people were not very proactive and maybe a bit racist. A couple dragging a carryon bag with Cunard tags and a sheaf of documents would obviously be looking for the Cunard check-in desk, no? They did not smile or point the way out to us but were quick to greet and direct any Caucasian walking past, even if they did not have a suitcase! We were able to go straight to our cabin which was ready, with a bottle of champagne chilling on the table. Our cabin was quite large(see cabin review) and close to all the things we wanted to get to however, very noisy on the last night as it was next to all the crew working areas. We booked early and so had early seating with a quiet table for 2, much in demand I heard, which was set well away from other tables- unlike another cruise where it was separated from the next table by 10cm. Our waiter was the 2nd worst we have had on any cruise. He was unsmiling, distracted and constantly facing away from his tables, fiddling with the silverware over and over instead of looking at his tables to see if we needed anything. He did not try to make any conversation not even to greet us on arrival! He never tried to make any food recommendations, never asked the standard " how is everything?", did not remember simple requests from the previous night (I asked for a slice of lemon in my water, the next night there was a small plate of sliced lemons on his service table but he never brought it to us). We had excellent service from other wait staff at lunch and breakfast so perhaps it was just the one person. Unfortunately the MDR waiter is the person we interact with the most on a cruise and so this gave a poor impression of the service levels. We had informed Cunard that we were celebrating our anniversary. We got a card in the room but not a whisper in the dining room. Food was disappointing but beautifully plated. All the fish was dry and over cooked. The only edible poultry was the duck and even that was just passable. Only the red meats were good. The side dishes did not complement the mains well. We went for the afternoon tea on the first day, white gloved service wasn't too happy we asked for Earl Grey instead of the generic tea they were serving. Sandwiches were dry and fillings were miserly. They only had dry raisin scones that were COLD! Cakes were poor quality ( we later found that they use Cadbury's cooking chocolate now - so brownies and chocolate cake did not taste of chocolate!).We did not bother to make it for subsequent teas. In previous cruises, this was one of the highlights of the afternoons. The best part of the cruise was the dance lessons - Sergey and Olga were amazing. They were able to teach more than 60 people, mostly beginners, in 45 minutes to dance quite complicated steps with good technique. Although we already dance well, we were still able to learn a thing or two from them. We spent most evenings on the dance floor in the Queens Room. It was large and a beautiful space to dance in when there was recorded music. The band spoilt it a little as they were not open to requests and there was a lot of down time between songs. They said they had a set of songs to play ( hence not keen to allow requests and yet did not seem to know which song it was they were going to play next and there was a lot of discussion between members before playing each song). The vocalist really ruined it. Everytime he appeared, you could almost hear the groans from the serious dancers. He was full of himself and used the same lame jokes every night that were very insulting and disrescpectful of his several ex-wives. Lots of talk before each song, called out the wrong dance ( could not tell the difference between a Viennese waltz and a Slow waltz) and switched tempos ( a big no-no in dance music) midway and always ended with a sudden stop which gave no time for any nice end to our dancing. The dance hosts on this cruise were all good dancers and all the single ladies seemed well catered to. We enjoyed having a matinee show in the Royal Theatre called La Danza - put up by the ships singers and dancers. They were not very good but certainly helped pass the time nicely. The magician/comedian on one of the nights was very entertaining. The rest of the programming was quite boring with hardly anything of interest to do in the afternoons. We did not join in the ship excursions as we had already visited both ports ( Nha Trang and Phu My) several times. Instead we took the free shuttle to Cho Dam ( market and bought lots of fish sauce - a specialty of Nha Trang and vietnamese coffee, followed by a very cheap and excellent massage at Sen Spa. We took a small group tour ( just 4 of us) with " Best Tours in Vung Tau" to visit the Long Phouc tunnels, local market and a fruit farm with an excellent home cooked lunch and accompanied by a very hospitable guide-owner. Both activities are highly recommended for people who have already done the usual tours in the 2 ports. Nha Trang was a tender port and it was a nightmare. While I totally understand the extra caution that QE was taking ( after the tragic incident they had on the same sector 2 years ago). Only 3 tenders were running and the waiting time to board one was almost 2 hours. We witnessed a poor family of 8 given tickets for tender number 22 who were told to go away for a coffee and come back in 45 minutes as the Queens Room was too full ( we were told the same thing as we were behind them and given the a number for 2 boats later). We remained in the Queens Room. No annoucements were made in the ship when the tender numbers were called, only in the Queens Room. When that family came back 35 minutes later, they were told they had missed their boat and given new tickets for 32! which meant another 1 and a half hour wait. Amazingly they remained cool! Perhaps there were safety constraints that prevented putting on more tenders so the wait may have been unavoidable BUT there were many ways they could have improved the experience like providing pastries and coffee while people waited, making ship wide annoucements if tender numbers came up before the expected time etc which they did not do. I was not impressed. As Gold members we had 2 hours of free internet each which was a nice perk. The connection was slow but good enough for confirming tours and quick checkins home. Part of the thing about cruising is getting away from computers anyway. It was the shortest cruise we had on Cunard ( previous ones were 8 and 9 days) but we were actually quite glad to get home in Singapore as the overall experience was not great. We did self help disembarkation in Singapore at 7am and it was quick and efficient as usual. There was a little glitch at immigration as they had not put up the guide ropes to allow Singaporean passengers to use the automated passports gates, soon rectified. Lots of taxis were waiting so we did not have to use Uber. We will probably cruise Cunard again but we will take the Queen Mary and never Queen Elizabeth. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
My first cruise as a solo traveller but part of an escorted tour. As a result, I cannot compare with other cruises. However, I am a seasoned luxury solo traveller (mainly SE Asia). I have to say that QE generally does not compare with ... Read More
My first cruise as a solo traveller but part of an escorted tour. As a result, I cannot compare with other cruises. However, I am a seasoned luxury solo traveller (mainly SE Asia). I have to say that QE generally does not compare with the 5 star hotels I have stayed in. It was more 4 star. Everything you need but not "plush". Embarkation was initially a bit of a disappointment after walking up the gang way and greeting by a empty deck, with no directions as to where to go. However, one passing staff member felt sorry for us and pointed us in the right direction. Not a great start. Once we were greeted you were pretty much left to your own devices. I wasn't sure what to do but I headed to my cabin (more on the cabin later). I am very independent but as it was my first cruise, Cunard should have had someone proactively greeting and helping passengers. There were a lot of crew there mainly promoting the spa and beauty services. This promoting continued through the cruise every time I entered the Lido deck and go very annoying after a while. I was very interested to do some enrichment lectures and selected a session in Acupunture. A complete waste of time because it was another promotion where the practitioner wouldn't answer questions without you making an appointment. Truly awful! After that I didn't attempt anymore enrichment. I liked the shows on board a comedian and a group of guy singers from the UK. Both very good, though the shows were short. The singers seemed to have a limited rehearsed list of songs as some were repeated the second time I saw them. In saying this I think the entertainment was pretty good. Food was generally good in the Brittania restaurant but lunch there on one day was lacklustre. The pub was fun for a meal. I did not like The Lido at all. I don't like buffets and I don't like the lack of hygiene factor. Cunard really try but so many passengers are not conscious of practising good hygiene. Consequently, people got sick and then there was some kind of red alert resulting in cling film being plastered over the serving areas and staff serving resulting in big queues. Looked like a large cafeteria in a 1960's department store. I was advised before boarding that we had to buy our drinking water on board. That is so not ok with me...this is Cunard, this was water (a basic to live) it should be free of at least very inexpensive. It was not! Wine was obscenely expensive. I bought two bottles of wine and they were $90 Aud each. I am not a cheapskate but I am not wealthy and I think that was an absolute rip-off. I paid it because I like a glass of wine with dinner but I detest being ripped off. I may be painting a bleaker picture than the reality, it was a good cruise and I really enjoyed myself but I guess I had loftier expectations than the actual reality. I have found a new interest in cruising and would still consider Cunard except they are not going to the destinations I am considering for my next trip. I think I am going to try Crystal next time as it might suit me more and they are going where I am interested. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Azamara Journey – Of Wet bottoms and other Adventures By Glyn May Five minutes after embarkation I'm squeezed into a tight space on the floor of Azamara Journey's stateroom 6052 trying to open the jammed safe which has ... Read More
Azamara Journey – Of Wet bottoms and other Adventures By Glyn May Five minutes after embarkation I'm squeezed into a tight space on the floor of Azamara Journey's stateroom 6052 trying to open the jammed safe which has instructions so small I can’t read them. After five attempts I give up and reach for the adjoining mini bar. I don't need to untangle myself. Inside, there's a lone can of Heineken, but it's warm. I figure the fridge hasn't been turned on. The TV is babbling Spanish, a luggage handler is at the door loudly insisting that a suitcase clearly tagged for two decks below, is mine. The room steward arrives and apologises for being late. A technician in white overalls, summoned to fix a thirsty Australian's potentially catastrophic refrigeration problem, joins the party. He makes a token inspection then, with a big toothy grin, confesses that there are no motors in any of the ship’s mini bars, only cool blowers. He agrees that he wouldn't drink warm beer if he was shipwrecked on a desert island, and kindly offers the use of a " real fridge" in a nearby pantry. The first visit to the bathroom is a culture shock -- a basin, shower and toilet crammed into two square metres. There’s not much room for dancing. Drop the soap in the shower, and I imagine that a wet bottom wrapped in a plastic shower curtain would protrude alarmingly – and I’m only referring to the (increasingly rare) standard variety rear end. Drop a face washer in the shower and you have wall-to-wall carpet. In the afternoon, we are encouraged by Captain Johannes Tysse's announcement over the public address system that the deck 9 evening buffet is …"the best place to eat tonight…..chef tells me he is cooking some of his grandmother's most wonderful recipes ". Captain Tysse didn't show up at dinner which is just as well, as there may have been a gentleman in a big white hat walking the plank next morning. At night, our beds (singles joined together as in most ships) split apart. It doesn’t really matter because a piercing blue light on the air-conditioning control makes sleep impossible. The next day a steward ties the bed together and covers the offending blue light with a piece of scrap paper and lots of sticky tape. The light is hidden, but the control knob is stuck on near freezing. The ship’s advertised “free” liquor (priced into the fare) included rough red wines from Chile, Argentina and California and an appalling O’Doul’s American beer guaranteed to choke a thirsty sheep dog. Welcome to Azamara Journey, trumpeted as “a boutique luxury hotel at sea”, on a 13-night cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore in January/February 2017. In the bright light of our first sea day, we grumble about the size of the balcony and its rusty door track, and note the stained and ripped fabric sun lounges on deck 11. We’re qualified to find fault -- this is our 40th cruise on 10 different ships (our first on Azamara) and we’re paying $1000 a night. However, strolling around the 690-passenger ship, built in 2003 as one of eight world-acclaimed five-star Renaissance ships, we're impressed -- rich wood paneling, fine art work, deep carpets, elegant bars and immaculate public areas. There is a lot to commend the Azamara Journey – world-class entertainers, the multi-talented Cruise Director Eric De Gray (easily the best we have encountered) splendid restaurants (save for pathetic attempts at Asian cooking) a generally friendly crew, and a captain with the salesmanship of Dale Carnegie and eloquence of Bill Clinton. As the days pass and we soak up the ambience and efficiency of a well-run ship, there was reason to ponder why, up there in the ivory towers of Azamara Club Cruises in Miami, they forgot that first impressions count. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We cruise for about six months each year and chose Seabourn for the itinerary. We are usually Silver Seas cruisers which sets a high standard. The ship was very nice, clean and extremely well maintained. We had a Penthouse cabin which was ... Read More
We cruise for about six months each year and chose Seabourn for the itinerary. We are usually Silver Seas cruisers which sets a high standard. The ship was very nice, clean and extremely well maintained. We had a Penthouse cabin which was nice and roomy and our Cabin attendant was very willing but seemed overworked. Room service was excellent and the food was always hot. First disappointment was when our approved visitors in Hong Kong were not on the approved ships list and were not allowed on board. As we had gone to great lengths to achieve visitors and the visitors had also employed baby sitters, this was not a good start and made our embarkation a very unhappy experience. Unacceptable administrative error. The Guest Relations Manager did his best to mollify us, a very nice man but was difficult for him to try and explain the inexplicable. Food was average in the dining room, undercooked or overlooked fish was frequent. The meats were beautifully cooked and vegetables when ordered were good. Deserts were quite splendid especially the soufflés. Wines offered were usually red or white, then you had to ask well what red and what white, not top of the range wine service. The Colonade Restaurant was much better and the service excellent until they changed the restaurant manager during the last leg. Restaurant 2 was very very good and we enjoyed it as much as possible. Some very good entertainers particularly Pete Neighbours a supreme musician. Tours were very good and Ben on the travel desk went out of his way to accommodate all requests. It was disappointing that there was a big change of staff half way through the last leg and all the rapport built up over almost 2 months went out the window, felt like a new cruise and of course the new staff, many of whom seemed to be straight out of the academy, did not know what you liked or did not like, somewhat frustrating for the long distance cruisers and indeed those who had been on a week or so. We had a medical emergency and were put off in Israel. We were taken to a very substandard public hospital, very little English spoken and my husband was severely burnt in a very delicate area by a caustic spray being used on him by mistake. He is back in his home city after very difficult long flights for 30 hours and in hospital for probably up to a month. Obviously Seabourn do not take any interest in what sort of hospital you are taken to. They should be very ashamed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We have cruised with Holland America Line on 14 of their cruises on various vessels. This was our first experience on the ms Volendam. First of all, the employees on the ms Volendam, like nearly all of their sister vessels' ... Read More
We have cruised with Holland America Line on 14 of their cruises on various vessels. This was our first experience on the ms Volendam. First of all, the employees on the ms Volendam, like nearly all of their sister vessels' employees, were superb and met our expectations for the most part, with some issues noted below. Our Suite Stewards were Excellent! A. The Pinnacle Grille personnel were all superb from top to bottom, as well as the food, though the menu needs to be tweaked. We ate there three times in the 16 days we were on the ship and would have liked a little more variety, but all the food we ate was outstanding, and worth the extra expense. B. Check in and Embarkation worked extremely well in Hong Kong. C. Disembarkation in Yokohama was also seamless. D. Front Desk personnel were also superb and very very helpful. E. The Canaletto was a nice experience at minimal extra cost though we only used it once during our cruise, this time. The portions are huge and could be cut back a bit in our estimation. Problem Areas on the ms Volendam.: 1. Maintenance on the ship was not up to par in our estimation, with many many rust areas on the outside decks, and the suite we were in had scratches and nicks in the desk area and around the wooden parts of the door frames, etc. 2. Reduced man power in the main Dining Room - the Rotterdam, caused extremely slow service for all breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that we ate there. 3. The lack of employees stretched those that were working in the Rotterdam to the point where 30 minutes was not unusal to get the first course or the main course, which were often luke warm by the time they were served. 4. Having so few personnel also meant it was difficult to get anyone's attention when you needed something extra or something simple like a cup of coffee. 5. Though most, but not all of the shore excursions that we took (costing over US$2500 in total for two people) were well done, the cattle car experiences of waiting in the Frans Hal theater for those excursions was very difficult with inadequate seating and the shore excursion staff in the Frans Hal were treating the guests as a bunch of children on a school outing rather than as paying adults. Repeating and being loud and "pushy" is not what should have been done. They need to break up the areas for assembling to more than this one venue, which could be done if they had adequate resources to man the Frans Hal and the Explorer's Lounge, or the theater as examples. 6. The Lido food and presentations need to be monitored better though we seldom use the Lido to avoid the buffet atmosphere and the "mobs" of people clamoring for food. This ship needs a dry docking to bring it back up to par with some of the other HAL ships. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have completed 5 cruises, 3 on Nautica back to back and 2 on Marina back to back in the last 18 months. Chose to return to Nautica for our 6th cruise of 18 nights as we found Marina impersonal and lacking the atmosphere of Nautica. ... Read More
We have completed 5 cruises, 3 on Nautica back to back and 2 on Marina back to back in the last 18 months. Chose to return to Nautica for our 6th cruise of 18 nights as we found Marina impersonal and lacking the atmosphere of Nautica. We had immediate problems with Internet access and speed. We both run businesses so Internet access is very important consideration. We had free wifi access package for one device at a time which I think many many other passengers also had. We would have paid double the charged price if wifi to have slow but reliable connection. That apparently doesn't matter. No how much you are prepared to pay apparently you get nothing more. We accept the explanation that satellite internet is far slower than on shore but in he past Nautica and Marina offered speeds which were just tolerable. This last cruise on Nautica Internet access was unacceptable in this day and age. The explanation from the IT manager is simply 600 guests and crew using Internet make it slow. It is even slower and at times non existent when docked. I even tried setting my alarm and trying log in at 3.00am as most of the oldies would be in bed. It didn't help speed just as slow at this time also. We also had an issue with our Indian visa due to receiving an email with important information meaning I applied for one that was not valid for sea port arrival. Not the ships fault but their attitude when we asked for help was to say they would see what they could do perhaps a group visa. It turned out after having to ask twice again that they knew hey couldn't help but hadn't told us. There answer was for us to get off at either Phuket or Yangon the next stops after Singapore. The two issues both of which seemed were unsolvable, Internet access and visa, made us decide to disembark at Singapore after 6 nights. We could not afford for our businesses the hopelessness of the Internet. It was costing us more than we lost leaving early. When we appeared at Reception to say we were leaving they were nonplussed and after some ten minutes of radio class to the Chief Purser Second Purser and god knows who else we finalised our account and left. It seemed to be of little interest to management staff. One highlight not to be missed on Nautica the is the ability to watch the much revered Jacqueline Pepin,who Oceania puts much faith in for their food offering, age through threats from young man to middle aged to senior. The never ending loop is hilarious but not as hilarious as the extortionate liquor prices on board. Still they do let you bring your own alcohol on board which helps. So that's it for us and Oceania and their much touted food offering. Until they are able to upgrade and offer better connectivity for younger passengers which is required in this modern world I don't see any hope of us returning for our Big O points anytime soon. The one thing that makes Nautica, and my hat off to them, are the cabin attendants, food servers, wait people. You know, all the staff that are paid less that Management or Officers. They are great. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I will begin by echoing previous reviewers and say that the Shadow really needs attention. It is past time for refurbishment in most areas. This review, however is mostly a comparison of small ship cruising versus larger ship cruising. ... Read More
I will begin by echoing previous reviewers and say that the Shadow really needs attention. It is past time for refurbishment in most areas. This review, however is mostly a comparison of small ship cruising versus larger ship cruising. For those of you considering a cruise on an upscale small cruise line like Silversea, this review might interest you. There are many things to be said in favor of a smaller ship, ease of embarkation, everything onboard is closer, and excellent cabin service to name a few. Our cabin was spacious and the butler and her assistant were suburb. Our pre and post cruise hotel accommodations at the Shangri La hotels in Hong Kong and Singapore were outstanding. The choice of excursions was good and mostly the excursion experience was enjoyable with the exception of being taken to a "jewelry factory" in Hong Kong that was mostly a captive selling opportunity, making everyone feel like sheep being led to slaughter. What we did not enjoy about the cruise when compared to our 10 or so previous cruises was the limited choices of dining and entertainment. There was no place on the ship, as with every other ship on which we have sailed, that you could simply go and have a meal in the evening other than room service. All the dining choices which were somewhat casual in the daytime became something else at night. Even the buffet at lunch time required your being seated, going through the whole wine or not thing, having glasses and silverware removed and replaced and dealing with a person standing outside the actual buffet area wanting to carry your plate back to the table for you. To some this might sound like excellent service, to others like my wife and me it seemed overly intrusive, having to say no thank I can carry my own every time you wanted to go back for a cookie. In the evening at any of the dining venues we tried, we never had a meal in less than 2 hours, not counting a pre dinner cocktail which was never offered by the waiter, or coffee after dessert. (If you wanted a drink before dinner you had to ask for it, unlike wine which was always offered). Sometimes after rising early to exercise and doing excursions all day, it would be nice to just go and have a quick casual meal, without making a 2 hour production of it. If this is the case with you, then the Shadow is not the ship for you. Also regarding the food, I could not say that the food was not good, but what I can say is that Silversea goes out of their way to make their meal choices, for my taste, needlessly complicated. One evenings entrée choices in the main restaurant were duck and rabbit. Most entrees which might start out sounding like a regular entrée came with some kind of sauce or topping with ingredients most people had never heard of. I am not strictly a meat and potatoes kind of a guy, but (you would find polenta strips instead of potatoes with most choices), again, if you wanted a steak or chicken or a burger, it was room service for you. All other cruises which we have been on had a restaurant menu which included a selection of "we have these items every night" along with the changing menu choices for the night. Not Silversea. If you want one of the "we always have" items, it again would be from the room service menu. Our enrichment lectures were first rate, but the entertainment was mostly not available. There was a quartet on some nights and a dance music DJ on other nights. Unlike other cruises which had 2 show times or real entertainment, the quartet and DJ started at 10pm. Anyway, if you are looking for a cruise with many dining choices, some casual some not, where you can eat a meal without having it be a grand dining experience whether you want that or not, and you want shops, casinos, lounges with entertainment and real production type main entertainment shows at a reasonable time, choose a larger ship, and get all those things for far less money. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I don't like to write a bad review as I am lucky enough in this world to be able to cruise and find new and exciting places. I had heard a lot of good things about Azamara, were my expectations too high? No. Am I the brands ... Read More
I don't like to write a bad review as I am lucky enough in this world to be able to cruise and find new and exciting places. I had heard a lot of good things about Azamara, were my expectations too high? No. Am I the brands clientèle? Yes. What would have made this cruise better? Lots. Why did this cruise not work for me? It did rain for the first 5 days but that is not the fault of the cruise. I feel it lacked on all accounts. Food was my biggest problem if you can't make eggs properly then its a problem. Coffee was another problem it was not made with fresh milk, if you want fresh milk you must order 2 months in advance. The food in the dinning room only 2 nights out of 10 we said that was a nice dinner. The hash browns like cardboard. To be honest there was too much to criticise so lets say way below expectations. The crew were friendly but no one stood out. The announcements by cruise director though friendly too long and too much. Entertainment ok seemed dated from the guitarist to piano guy no show stoppers. I guess I was just expecting more bang for my dollar. I can't say i will cruise with Azamara again as I can't see the value. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We just returned from a cruise on the Quest to Viet Nam and were very disappointed. This was our 4th cruise with Azamara and we booked a suite. The room and the staff were excellent and the ship was clean and well maintained. That is where ... Read More
We just returned from a cruise on the Quest to Viet Nam and were very disappointed. This was our 4th cruise with Azamara and we booked a suite. The room and the staff were excellent and the ship was clean and well maintained. That is where the good ends and the disappointing begins. The food was way below what we experienced on previous Azamara cruises. The quality and variety were below par to say the least. There were obvious cutbacks in the selections offered and the quality of what was offered was substandard. The choices in the Main Dining room were greatly reduced and we were forced to eat in the Specialty Dining room all but 2 nights. In the Specialty Dining room the food was still not what we experienced on past cruises with Lobster that was DRY and Tough! Steak that was of lower quality than in the past and reduced selections on the menu. It was a good thing that we had a suite so we were able to eat in the Specialty Dining room as often as we would like as the Main Dining room rarely had anything I would eat. The menu was reduced to a choice of 3 main courses, one meat, one fish and one vegetarian. If you expect to keep your customers coming back, something must be done to reverse these cutbacks. As for us our next cruise is booked on Oceania where the food is far better than what we just experienced. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Background information: My partner and I are both from Melbourne Australia and are what most consider "too young" for Cunard, my partner having just turned 30 and I 26. I am what you would call an "ocean liner buff", I ... Read More
Background information: My partner and I are both from Melbourne Australia and are what most consider "too young" for Cunard, my partner having just turned 30 and I 26. I am what you would call an "ocean liner buff", I love passenger ships and anything to do with them, I have a major collection of books, documentaries, models, posters and all kinds of memorabilia, obviously a lot of it relating to Cunard as it is such a historical line, my favourite historical line to research in fact! We are experienced cruises having sailed on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Cunard and Holland America in the past, I decided that it was time for my partner and I to take another trip on the QM2, our last being in 2012 (Maiden Royal circumnavigation of Australia). As it was my partners 30th birthday this year, we decided to spend some time in Singapore and Hong Kong (2 places he has always wanted to experience) before boarding the QM2 in Hong Kong during her world voyage and returning the Darwin over 10 nights, stopping at Kota Kinabalo and Bitung along the way. I booked the cruise through an Australian cruise travel agency during a Cunard sale and originally booked a BB Britannia Balcony stateroom at a great price (previously we sailed in a P1 Princess Grill). I later upgraded our booking to a P2 Princess Grill suite during another sale as they were asking for Princess Grill what we had paid for Britannia and on all previous cruises we have taken on other ships, we have always travelled in a suite as we enjoy the larger a larger stateroom and the usual perks that come with having a suite on a cruise. Two week's before boarding we received a complementary upgrade to a Q5 Queens Grill Suite which was extremely exciting for us as you could imagine. For an ocean liner buff, naturally Cunard is that last tie to the old world experince of the golden age of ocean liners. Unfortunately I was too young to be able to have travelled on the QE2, but I never missed the opportunity to go see her whenever she docked in Melbourne when I was a child/teenager. We enjoy cruising and have enjoyed the other cruise lines for what they are and the experience they have to offer but obviously when we decide to travel with Cunard, we are looking for that certain type of experience, that old world sophisticated charm that the line represents and still uses as a major selling point when advertising their fleet. Dressing for dinner, sophisticated and eccentric fellow passengers, afternoon teas, pre/post dinner drinks, late night conversations over cigars and cognacs, the overall look and feel of being onboard a true ocean liner is what draws us to Cunard. As i mentioned, to me, it is that last link to the golden age of liners. One week before departure we received our pre voyage documentation and luggage labels, although the luggage labels were of no use as the stateroom number reflected our original Britannia Balcony stateroom not our Queens Grill suite we had received, so I had to print the labels off myself which were showing the correct stateroom number. Boarding the ship: After spending the first few days of our holiday in Singapore and Hong Kong which was a fantastic, most enjoyable experience (we will be back), the day arrived to board what I have come to affectionately call after our last experience onboard her, "our old friend". The morning of embarkation we stood at the edge of Victoria Harbour peering across to the Kai Tak cruise ship terminal in the distance, QM2's profile and bright Cunard red funnel just slightly visible through that morning Hong Kong haze. It is at that point you can truly appreciate and grasp the size of Hong Kong, the city dwarfs the normally Gigantic ocean liner as if she was nothing more than little ferry. The first time I ever saw her in person was when we were about to embark on her for the first time, in the city of Fremantle Australia, she was the largest thing in town that day, there was no missing the QM2 in Fremantle. Priority boarding time for the Queens Grill and platinum/diamond world club guests was 12pm so at about 11:30am we checked out of our hotel and took a cab to the terminal (a short 10-15 minute journey through Hong Kong), once we arrived at Kai Tak cruise terminal, it was still hard to truly grasp just how big the QM2 really is as the terminal itself is so large (probably one of the worlds greatest ocean liner terminals) that it too, dwarfed the ship! you could probably fit 3 QM2's lined up along that terminal all at once, it truly is massive. We made our way upstairs following the signs directing us where to board the ship, I believe the terminal is 4 or 5 stories high and would be rather easy to get lost in. Luckily as well as the signs, there was also quite a few terminal employees positioned around directing guests and pointing which way to go. We finally got to where we needed to be to check in and were rather shocked to say the least.. The amount of people already lined up was amazing, as if everyone had all come at once regardless of what time Cunard told them to arrive, "oh god, hear we go..." was first thing that came to my mind. We joined the queue of guests as there did not seem to be any sort of "priority" or "grills guest" line. Immediately we realised that the crowed was already quite annoyed as everyone around us was already complaining about this so called priority boarding time allocation. One lady in front of us in a wheelchair (being pushed by a terminal staff member) was furious that she had to wait in the queue and demanded to be taken to the front as she was meant to have priority boarding, we actually felt sorry for the guy pushing her wheelchair as you could clearly tell that he was in no position to be making such decisions. The overall tension and frustration of the crowed was already a bit of a dampener on the start of the trip as it should have been an exciting moment leading up to boarding the ship, none the less we waited patiently, we had done this many times and to be honest had probably expected to wait in a long queue even though we were supposed to be given priority boarding, the reality is (in our past experience) that you are never going to just arrive and be boarded in under 15 minutes. Looking around us, I noticed that other guest were holding health check forms so I peered around to see where they got these from, luckily enough there was an employee standing close by holding them (not offering them out to people who had just arrived) so I went and asked for the forms. Lucky I also had a pen on me to fill them out whilst we waited in line. After about 10 minutes of slowly but surely shuffling along we noticed that the queue did seem to fork into two separate lines. One shorter and one much longer. We were then confronted by an employee asking guests if they were in the grills and if they were could they please join the shorter queue. she came near us but didn't say anything so we asked her if that shorter line was for grills guest to which she responded "Yes, but are you even in the grills?" we responded "yes, Queens Grill" she then asked to see our boarding passes which we had to point out where exactly on it, it stated Queens Grill, she then directed us to the shorter queue and then we noticed her telling her other staff to check the boarding passes, she asked to use my boarding pass as a quick reference to show them where exactly to look to see if the guest was a Grill guest. I must admit I did feel a little deflated as it did seem at first that she didn't believe that us two young blokes would be the Grills, but again we are used to that kind reaction as we are young for Cunard guests let alone Queens Grill Guests. It probably took another 20 minutes to reach the check in desk, Im not sure how long the other queue would have taken, it was much larger than ours. Whilst waiting we spotted another Australian couple we had made great friends with on our last trip on QM2 which really added to the overall enjoyment of that trip so we were excited to seem them boarding again on the same trip as us! Check in involved all the usual things they do, but they had a problem when the check in girl assumed we would have both our accounts linked to the one credit card we then had to tell her that we would each have a separate card linked to our accounts, she then had to call a supervisor over to help her correct it. They then could not seem to get my partners credit card linked to his account, it just wasn't working every time they swiped his credit card (which was worrying as by this stage we had been standing at the check in desk for about 15 minutes) they ended up telling us to sort it out onboard. Finally we were ready to board the ship! Crossing the gangway and approaching the giant door that allowed guests to enter the giant liner, I immediately could smell something.. It was the smell of the QM2, the very same smell I could remember from last time we were onboard, a smell memory. I must admit that at this stage the long queue and check in issues were now a distant memory and excitement had again taken over. We were about to board the Queen Mary 2! Up ahead just through the giant square hole in that thick black hull i could see the warm lighting, red carpet and marble columns of the Grand Lobby, the sound of the harp softly playing started to grow louder as we approached the entrance to the ship. The first point of contact onboard is always the person who swipes your card when you embark/disembark the ship, these people are just grim to be honest, always stern and usually wearing sunglasses, every now and then they may grunt hello or something, I feel they would usually be more suited to welcoming you to prison rather than a luxury ocean liner. Once past "the guards" you are greeted by the warmth and welcome of the QM2, what a truly stunning space to enter, the Grand Lobby really is something special, more luxury old world hotel than "cruise ship" in decor, it is designed to impress and as we all know, first impressions count! You are greeted by suited staff, who ask for your stateroom number and give you directions of how to get there. At least this time we were acknowledged, as last time I remember them ignoring us and letting us just walk straight past them to find our own way. Still, I could tell that they almost seemed unsure of us as we are young and should they take us seriously, the look and vibe we get is almost like "are you crew?”, you shouldn't be up here!", this would not be the last time the crew made us feel awkward. Guests are guests as far as I am concerned; we've all paid to be onboard regardless of age and should be treated all with the same respect. The Suite/Butler service: We arrived in our Q5 Queens Grill suite 11130, the very last stateroom aft of deck 11 on the port side (right beside the grills terrace) There are only 4 Queens Grill suites on this deck, all aft and I must say the location is fantastic, much better than deck 9 (the Queens Grill suite deck), the view is high and unobstructed. We find the suites on deck 9 rather silly as they are only one level above the lifeboats, which really take away from the view. The layout of the suite is much like that of a Princess Grill suite, but larger with more room to move around, a larger bar area, larger balcony, larger seating area and an extra area with a dressing table just outside the walk in wardrobe before entering the bathroom. The bathroom itself features a shower over Jacuzzi bath set up with one basin. I believe for the extra price Queens Grill guests are charged, the bathroom really should feature a separate bath and shower and also feature two basins. The suite is large enough to accommodate a bathroom layout like that so I'm unsure as to why they didn't design it that way. The suite is lovely but I cannot really justify paying the extra for a Queens Grill Q7,6 or 5 over a Princess Grill P2&1 in terms of the suite itself, Princess Grill suites are just as adequate and come with a much more reasonable price tag. Q4,3,2 & 1 suites are completely different and are much larger suites so those I can justify the higher price. We received our Queens Grill suite as a complementary upgrade so we certainly weren't complaining. There was a bottle of Champagne on Ice as well as an extra bottle of sparkling wine and some divine looking chocolates awaiting us on the table. On closer inspection, the suite was a little tired. A few globes were out, some scuffs on the walls here and there, down lights not fixed into the ceiling properly, rust on the balcony, a dripping pipe above the balcony which dripped down onto one of the deck chairs (duct tape had been used to try stop the dripping pipe) and two cushions on the bed which smelt as if they hadn't been washed in years. Nothing too major, but keep in mind the premium price Cunard charges for this type of suite, from my knowledge they wanted over $10000 AUD per person for this suite on this trip. Had we paid that full price, I would have been outraged. note that the TV stations are boring and really need to be overhauled, also WIFI didn't work in the room. Our bags were left outside the suite in the hall when usually they are brought into the room. After an hour and the Butler (a Queens Grill feature) /steward both being a no show, I decided to unpack our bags. I was aware that part of the Butler service was to help you unpack and really I wouldn't have accepted the help, but I did want to see if the butler would actually offer to help as Cunard advertise this feature as a Queens Grill perk. After unpacking, drinking our bottle of champagne, eating our chocolates and taking a brief tour of the ship, say 4 hours after embarking, the Butler (David) and Steward (Joel) arrived at the suite to say hello. They were friendly enough and did offer to help with the bags but I had already unpacked them. We informed David of the blown light globes and he had them replaced that night. He also asked us to choose 2 bottles of spirits to have supplied in the suite and also informed us the mini bar was free in Queens Grill and would be replenished as would the 2 bottles of spirits! This was a great perk! I also asked him to change all the sodas in the mini bar to sugar free sodas, which he did. The mini bar also had beers in it. Tired and not wanting to miss the sail away party we opted for our first dinner onboard to be taken in the suite (another QG feature), David the butler gave us the menus from the QG dinning room and gave us some recommendations. He then set the table and delivered and served each coarse as if we were dinning in the restaurant, this was a great service and the food came quickly and was hot! The butler will always deliver your room service/breakfast if they are on duty and will set the table properly for it. They will also serve you afternoon tea in the suite if you request, again the table is set and all the scones, sandwiches and tea provided. The butler will also help you cater a party in your suite if you wish to have guests. We went to a pre dinner drink party in a fellow QG guests suite and the butler served canapés, hot/cold nibbles as well as drinks whilst we all chatted and had a laugh. Note that also every evening around 5pm the butler will bring pre dinner canapés to your suite, these were often hit and miss as far as taste/quality and they usually featured seafood. So all in all the butler device in QG suites is quite good and really the butler can do as much or as little for you as you wish. They do tend to just ring the door bell and let themselves in though which isn't very good for privacy I guess. The Ship itself: There is no denying the ship needs to be dry docked and overhauled! It seems to be a constant topic that has been arising of late on the Cruise Critic forums and I can confirm that yes, she does need it! Her last dry docking was for 2 weeks in late 2011 a few months before our last trip on her and even after that it seemed that not everything was attended too, well it is really showing now which is sad and frankly un acceptable really for the prices this "premium" line charges. It is hard to explain but I think I can, its as if at face value she look fine, her interiors are fine, but after a few days onboard and settling in, getting to know the ship, you can really notice all the issues. Externally, she needs to be completely repainted. EVERYTHING! the black hull is rusty and scratched, faded her and there and the red colour of the keel is no longer red at the water liner but a slimy, rusty green, the white stripe dividing the black and red is now hardly visible and is hardly a line or even white for that matter anymore. Now lets keep in mind that the ship itself is an advertisement for Cunard, she makes the news wherever she goes and people always come out to see her in the flesh when she visits ports all over the world, some ports are maiden calls so the ship has never been seen by the people of those ports. If you watch your local news when she arrives in your town, you will be bombarded with images of luxury and wealth, stories of her high fares and impressive passenger lists, but then to see her in person you are confronted with this poorly presented and maintained vessel which up close (one of our ports was tendered so we got a very close look) could pass for the hull of a container ship! a very disappointing sight indeed. Her outdoor areas look tired and old, deck chairs with miss matching cousins, some royal blue with the Cunard symbol, others beige and white stripped, some plain beige, some no cushions at all. The pools and Jacuzzis are all worn and torn, the grills Jacuzzi on the grills terrace we often used needs to be completely replaced as it is no longer pure white, with damaged chipped paint showing the brown material that it is made of and is quite rough to touch...the outdoor pool tiles are faded, damaged and hardly look appealing especially when you think of these luxury oasis like pools on offer onboard other ships which truly do look inviting on a hot day at sea. QM2 pools and Jacuzzis look dirty and old. WIFI onboard is a disgrace, it is 2015, its no longer a gimmick to have internet at sea, the technology to do so has been around for years and it is just expected by guests now and should/can run perfectly, update your systems and sort it out otherwise don't charge people as the service is so poor! Stateroom Corridors (the worst of all the deck 9 Queens Grill suites corridor) are in terrible condition. Deck 9 corridor has damaged ceilings and actually drips water in many spots long the corridor, often into a light fixture below (safety hazard?), the smell of dampness in the air, doors and door frames are dented and scratched. There are random pot holes all over the ship under the carpets which is weird as you will just be walking along then you randomly step into one, again safety hazard. In the day spa, as you lay back relaxed in the therapy pool you can't help but notice the missing lights, mold and damage on the ceiling or the chipped tiles around the pool, the broke showers that don't work properly, the overall dirty look of the tiles and it costs money to use this day spa? Most of the seats in the planetarium are broken so cross your fingers you get a good one. Overall the ship just isn't up to standard not only for a ship which people pay to travel on but for a Cunard ship, the line, which charges more than most lines because of its "premium" reputation. Why do I point out all these faults? Its not because I'm picky or a snob or have un realistic expectations, it is simply that based on what Cunard advertises, charges and claims to offer simply does reflect in the quality of the product they are truly offering and you are kidding yourself if you think otherwise! It truly is sad to have to view the ship in this way and yes it is disappointing after some people pay fortunes to be onboard for the trip of a lifetime, the last ocean liner and this is what is presented to them, it just isn't right and its time Cunard/Carnival understand that you simply cannot hide behind a "good name", you must deliver, you cannot continue to charge premium prices and deliver guest a low budget product. I take this hard stance with Cunard because I believe that if people do not speak up, they will continue to let the ship go down hill and I do not want to see that happen, I want the line to continue on successfully and offer ships that truly live up to the historical Cunard reputation and inspire new generations to keep the old liner traditions alive not to mention retain their loyal client base, many of which have been with them since the original Queen Mary was in service. They deserve better. Food: Food and service in the Queens Grill was top notch! we truly had a lovely time whenever we dined in there and the waiters were fabulous. The food is not really that much different from Britannia, but it is presented better I feel and there is also dishes on offer that are finished tableside and are truly amazing and tasty! Please try every one if you can but you do need to let them know you wish to order it not later than lunch time that day. Note that those dishes are large servings! They really were fantastic dinners. The staff in the QG are lovely and remember everything you like, couldn't fault them. Many lovely nights were had in that dinning room and the other guests seated around us were lovely to meet. The only negative I will say is that the breakfast hours need to be revised, currently it is served between 8am-9:30am, we feel that 7am-10/10:30am would work better and give you a bigger window as after a few days we started sleeping in until 9 and it was often to late to make it to breakfast. 9am isn't exactly a late sleep in in our books. Kings Court, as most people who have travelled on the QM2 will confirm, is terrible. School cafeteria is probably the best way to describe it, confusing and not worthy of such a ship. The layout is shocking and the food is just sad looking. It’s a shame because on other ships we always enjoy the buffets and find them exciting. Not on QM2. It also feels like they often pack up areas well before the finish times listed, we often would arrive just to grab something and next minute they starting packing up shop, with plenty of food and at 1:50pm, we really couldn't understand why. Todd English, fabulous! You must try it! Probably some of the best food/service onboard and for such reasonable cover chargers, you will not be disappointed. Although i had pre booked a table for two before boarding on the night of my partners 30th birthday and then changed it to a table of four once we realised friends were onboard and wanted them to dine with us that night, I went the restaurant to make the change and was assured all was fine. Well on the night our extra guests arrived before us and were told there was no booking for four just two which was highly embarrassing but was addressed quickly upon our arrival and we were all easily seated. Afternoon tea, we often had in the QG lounge, couldn't fault it, food and service, Devine. Room service, pretty good for ship standards, they often took a while to deliver 30+ mins but it was always pretty good. Boardwalk cafe, much like king’s court but worse, we walked in, took one look at the sad food and walked away. Disappointing, as the idea of an outdoor cafe is great, but Cunard have it all wrong. Golden Lion, a great place to try some English inspired food at no extra cost! Very tasty pies! but get in quick as seats fill fast! its a shame about the music in their though during lunch hours, relaxation spa music? we were expecting some British classics for a British pub! Sir Samuel's, One night I said "we must try the coffee there" as we had never done it and I do like good coffee, so we gave it a shot. I ordered a large iced mocha! (it was after dinner) the picture and description in the menu grabbed me! It did look wonderful, tall glass, ice cold mocha coffee with lashing of whipped cream on top! What arrived was a tall glass, filled with Mocha and ice. I looked at the waiter and said "no cream?" he responded, "only if you ask for it.." and walked away. Another glance at the menu told me that cream was included. Do they not no their own drinks? so I drank my watery semi boring mocha and never returned. We were disappointed that during the whole 10 nights not once was there an open air buffet on deck or dessert buffet at night which most ships seem to do these days just for a bit of extra excitement. The weather was fantastic the whole voyage so we found it unusual to not have any on deck buffets. Entertainment: Shocking seemed to be the general review from most guests. Paul the cruise director needs to go, he's tired, outdated a has been, in my opinion. The ship has no atmosphere to it, even on the open decks on a beautiful day or sailing away from a beautiful port, they seem to have some music and drinks for a minute then just as soon as its started they pack it all up and finish. Spas & pools also covered over by 7pm so don't even think about a night swim. Service: In all Grill areas (dinning room, Concierge lounge & Grills lounge) service was great and as expected! In all other areas, service was good (in some areas) and poor in most others. Most bar staff were average and dull. If they asked you the first time if you wanted a drink and you replied no, they certainly would never ask again (even after 3hrs of sitting there). The retail shop staff were too casual; they were probably the youngest staff on the ship and seemed more interested in gossiping loudly amongst themselves rather than providing a helpful service. My overall vibe from the staff (outside of the Grill areas) were that they truly didn't understand what Cunard stands for, what the line is all about and the historical value of the line. My guess is most of them a just moved around the carnival fleet and don't really care to be honest, just after some cash and free travel for a few months. The worst service of all I have ever seen in my life (at sea or ashore) would have to have been from the hotel manager. One night on deck 7 aft (smoking area) we were seated and a cigarette as most the other smokers were and out there with us were two staff members in white uniform (male and female) having a glass of wine and a smoke. I'm not sure why but they were. An elderly couple (veteran Cunarders we late learned) must have started a conversation with the staff members about the smoking policy and lack of smoking areas onboard, which turned a bit heated. Next minute the guest were arguing with the staff and the staff were arguing back. One of the guests asked who this lady staff member was and what she did onboard? Her response was "I’m the hotel manager and it is my job to make you lot spend more money!" which I think is a hideous thing to say to the guests. The argument about smoking continued to and at one stage the hotel manager told the guest that they shouldn't be smoking anyway as its bad for them. This is not how you deal with guests, you do not get into a silly argument with them, nor do you judge that way. You simply just take onboard what they are saying and let them know you will pass it on. it was truly a sight to behold, this hotel manager arguing with these guests with a glass of wine in her hand. The guest involved were furious afterwards and in their own words "had had it with the Cunard line and never again!". It is my belief that this hotel manager should loose her job, as it truly was a rude embarrassment to behold. Churchill's/Smoking policy: We enjoy a Cigar in Churchill's with a drink at the night time, every night it was always the exact same 4 or 5 people in there and we all became very familiar with each other. it was a great little "crew" to be apart of and we really enjoyed our nights in there. The only problem was that the ship was lacking most cigar brands they had on the menu and also many of the expensive Cognacs. The attendant in Churchill's also was not educated in the topic of cigars and cognacs as opposed to when we last sailed onboard the attendant in Churchill’s knew everything there was to know about the matter! The attendant on this trip, didn't even have a cigar cutter at the start so everyone had to bite their cigars before lighting them. On average we all probably spent $200+ each per night, every night in Churchill's. Most people who frequent Churchill's are not short of money to be honest. so you would think that Cunard would value these particular guests. Some in our group often enjoyed a glass or more of Cognac worth $120 per glass. Money was hardly an issue. But still even in Churchill's Cunard's slipping standards were taking over. we had issue we not being able to smoke cigarettes in there, last time the policy was "if you ask all other cigar smokers in the room first and they give the ok you can smoke in there" this time it was "no smoking cigarettes" full stop. It got so bad that even the captain told a lady at one stage, she could smoke in there as long as the cigar smokers said they didn't mind. well can they just please make that the policy again? our group were the only cigar smokers and we didn't mind if each other smoked in there! On QM2 there is 3 smoking areas all aft of the ship, an area on deck 8/7 and in G32 upper level. All smokers are irritated by this policy as for example if you are situated at the front of the ship, say in Churchill’s or even your cabin, you need to walk all that distance in order to have smoke. Furthermore, even in the smoking areas there were always non-smokers sitting at the smoking tables that asked you not to smoke or had something rude to say about it! The none-smokers have 90% of the ship, please be kind enough to let the smokers enjoy their small smoking spaces. I laugh as most none smokers call smoker selfish.. Well this shows a different side. Smoking is also not permitted on the stateroom balconies. This apparently does not include the Grand Duplex suites aft of the ship as we often saw this guests smoking on their balconies with a Cunard supplied ash tray. I would rather G32 be none smoking, and another outdoor area be made smoking. also Cunard need to update their stateroom books as they do not state the current smoking policy correctly. Our book said we could smoke on the grills terrace on the starboard side but the current policy is no smoking on the grills deck not even on one side which is ridiculous because it then meant I had to go smoke on deck 8, why should I when I’ve paid to have my own private terrace? but anyway times are changing in regards to smoking, it will be interesting to see how the policy further changes in the years to come especially as every smoker is un happy with the current policy. On a final note I will say that the night we ate in Todd English, we engaged in an interesting conversation with the head waiting about the slipping standards onboard and received quite a surprising response.. He couldn't agree more! He stated that Carnival was now running Cunard on a Carnival style budget and that staff like him were so frustrated that they are receiving less and less to work with! he stated that he keeps ordering cognac and expensive alcohol to service in Todd English and his orders keep getting denied by shore based management. he confirmed that the line was running on more of a budget than it ever has before and yes that was affecting the service onboard and the products offered. He actually got somewhat emotional about it to be honest as you could tell he was one who truly enjoyed his job but could see the standards slipping. This is sad to see this happen to Cunard and I hope that with enough complaints they turn it back around, but in the meantime, I really cannot justify the premium pricing they charge, as it is not a premium line anymore. Next time we want to try QE/QV just to see how they compare as many fellow passengers told us those two ships are in much better condition than the QM2. Lift your game Cunard; you cannot continue providing your loyal guests with this type of inferior product. I’ve been told that if you truly want luxury, only Seaborne & Crystal are the way to go. So what is Cunard going to do about that?   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My husband and have traveled on the Azamara cruise ships twice before in 2013 and 2014. We love the itineraries and the size of the ship 600 passengers is usually the max. There are many advantages to the small size as the ship can go up ... Read More
My husband and have traveled on the Azamara cruise ships twice before in 2013 and 2014. We love the itineraries and the size of the ship 600 passengers is usually the max. There are many advantages to the small size as the ship can go up rivers and dock at many ports that the mega liners are unable to do. What surprised me was the downgrade in the food quality. The food, which previously was excellent in the Discoveries Restaurant was very bad. The choices very poor and the food was tasteless. Many fellow cruisers also voiced the opinion that the only really good food to be had was at the specialty restaurant Prime C. We did ear there twice and enjoyed it. They used to serve these delicious small cupcakes in the Mosaic Cafe and they were not to be found-the pastries I ate there were stale. The crew were not as friendly as I remember in the past. I heard that for many crew members it was their last trip before a much needed vacation so maybe they were tired. It was also very difficult to change money at the deck four desk and only small bills were available. Wrong information was given by staff members also. I do like the options of dining at whatever time I wish but I do not like being served inferior food. It was very evident that the line was saving money. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was our 7th Oceania cruise and this is the first time we have been somewhat disappointed. I could go through everything day by day, but the bottom line is that the quality of the food was not what we have become accustomed to. They ... Read More
This was our 7th Oceania cruise and this is the first time we have been somewhat disappointed. I could go through everything day by day, but the bottom line is that the quality of the food was not what we have become accustomed to. They had the usual choices in the dining room, but while we raved about every meal after our prior cruises, this time we would look at each other and say, "That wasn't as good as last time." Deserts at TeaTime were definitely not up to par, for the most part being dry. It was as if they forgot oil eggs or whatever liquid the recipe called for. I know there was a cruise director on board, but we didn't see him until the Captain's party, and then only one time after that. We are used to seeing cruise directors everywhere on the ship. We had a PH, and running along the wall was an extension cord duct-taped to the wall which kept coming undone. In the past, I always felt like crew were eager to help, but this time I felt like I was imposing if I needed something. The worst was when my husband ordered a very expensive bottle of wine which usually would last him 3 nights. He asked our assistant waiter to make sure the bottle was put away for the next night since the sommelier was nowhere to be found. The next night when he asked for the bottle, he was told there wasn't one. After arguing with the supervisor, he asked the assistant waiter if he remembered my husband asking him to put the bottle away and whether there was any wine in it. Even after the assistant waiter verified my husband's story, the supervisor refused to replace the bottle and told my husband there was nothing that could be done. They gave him a glass of house wine which was a far cry from the $94 bottle of wine he had purchased. This is not the Oceania we are used to. We booked private excursions since Oceania's shore excursions are way over-priced and we have not used them in years. They need to look at the cost of these and do something about them or else everyone is going to skip the ship's tours. We did one in Norway in July for $37 and the ship charged $315 for the identical tour. We have loved every cruise we have done on Oceania before this and just felt that everything had dropped down a few notches. We are hoping after the Nautica comes out of dry dock, things are better. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was our first Cunard cruise so we were looking forward to travelling on the Queen Mary and the ship itself did not disappoint. However in many ways the cruise did not live up to our expactations for a few reasons. We were offered an ... Read More
This was our first Cunard cruise so we were looking forward to travelling on the Queen Mary and the ship itself did not disappoint. However in many ways the cruise did not live up to our expactations for a few reasons. We were offered an upgrade to a Princess Grill suite (for an extra charge) a few days before we left Australia. These cabins were lovely and have probably spoilt us for future cruises. Our cabin boy was everything he should have been - efficient yet very out of sight and low-key. The ship is so big that it took us a few days to familiarise ourselves with it. I'm sure it could go through a hurricane and still feel stable and comfortable. It was the level of service where we felt let down by Cunard. A lot of the bar/wait staff are Russian/Eastern European and they are just not jolly people. It was hard to find a staff who had a personality or sense of humour let alone someone who seemed happy in their job. We were told that about 1600 Australians boarded the ship in Hong Kong which is a large percentage of the total complement of passengers and you would think that if Cunard had done their homework they would know that Australians like to have a good time but good entertainment was hard to find. A couple of the "guest entertainers" were OK but there were too few. The 50's and 60's night was by far the best night's entertainment but it was quite late in the cruise and there was nothing else like it. We went to the trivia sessions in the Golden Lion Pub a few times but one of the Entertainment team obviously didn't like Australians very much. Apparently Cunard offered a lot of Australians greatly reduced fares to fill the ship so perhaps that's why the standard of entertainment was not so good in order to reduce the budget. We ate in the Princess Grill most of the time (where the service was great) and we found the food was very repetitive. There were no interesting choices e.g. Chinese, Italian, Thai - just the same old things which get monotonous after two weeks. We did try the Specialty section of the Food Court which charges $10 per head. The Indian was quite good but the Italian night was disappointing. There were only about five choices for main course and the only pasta dish was beef ravioli and when we asked what was the "special pasta of the day" we were told that it was the beef ravioli which was already on the menu as a standard dish. We had a couple of birthdays during the cruise so we tried the Todd English Restaurant for these. They charge a la carte but it is quite inexpensive considering the standard of the food and the service. Being in the Princess suites, Cunard charged us $13 per person per day upfront as gratuities. As well as this, they charge 15% on every drink that you purchase which really added up. We have been to the US a few times so don't mind the tipping system for good service but we feel that this system does not encourage the staff to give good service as they know they will get a tip anyway. Two of our friends have travelled on the Queen Victoria and they said that it was far superior. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click