1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Middle East Cruises
  4. Middle East Cruise Reviews

20 Southampton to Middle East Cruise Reviews

The smoothest cruise I’ve ever had according to our captain, and he was right there was hardly a ripple from start to finish. We boarded Oceana in Southampton on a cold January morning at the “Queens terminal” which was not very ... Read More
The smoothest cruise I’ve ever had according to our captain, and he was right there was hardly a ripple from start to finish. We boarded Oceana in Southampton on a cold January morning at the “Queens terminal” which was not very royal, and we embarked in no time at all for our 20 night journey to Dubai. The whole of the cruise was a flat as a pancake, with excellent smooth seas all the way. For economic reasons we had an inside cabin this time, C525, which was al little compact but comfortable & kept clean and tidy by Bruno our steward. We were allocated 1st sitting on a table for four which was ideal for us. Food was up to the usual excellent standards with first class service from our waiters in the dining room. With plenty of other dining options available, we enjoyed using the Cafe Jardin for lunch. I’ve forgotten just how comfortable and easy to get around Oceana is, a lovely intimate ship, and one I would certainly travel on again. We had seen most of the guest speakers before so did not attend their sessions, Entertainment was very good, with actor Robert Daws hosting a series of talks and question and answer sessions, which were very good indeed. We are not great Headliner fans, but saw a couple of their shows. We stopped at Cadiz, Malta, transit of the Suez Canal, Salalah & Muscat in Oman, then onto Dubai. We did our own thing in Cadiz and Malta, but opted for P&O organised trips in Salalah and Muscat, as these were new destinations for us. In our only day in Dubai we went on the BBQ under the stars trip, which I can highly recommend, we had a fantastic time. The whole experience was very enjoyable, and a great way to escape the January weather. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This is a tricky review to write. We spent 19 days on the Queen Mary 2, and it was a lovely break. We’ve often cruised before, but this was the first with Cunard who came recommended. We booked the Queen’s Grill service – this is the ... Read More
This is a tricky review to write. We spent 19 days on the Queen Mary 2, and it was a lovely break. We’ve often cruised before, but this was the first with Cunard who came recommended. We booked the Queen’s Grill service – this is the First Class tier, and as Cunard claims the First Class level in general, I suppose this was the First Class of the First Class. So we had high expectations. The service was really good by and large, our cabin was spacious and well-appointed and the staff mostly charming, motivated and friendly. But we also had issues some of which were serious – things which Cunard really should address or assist with, and these often took the edge off the experience. Hence the title – ‘Close…but No Cigar’. In the interest of balance, I have also asked Cunard to respond at the end which is why it’s taken a few weeks to post this review. Cunard accept all the issue and are very apologetic. They have refunded some items such as the tours described below and they compensated us unasked for others (£1200.00 as a credit). But I also awaited their response to publish here – which as I say is at the end. You can judge from the response whether Cunard address the issues and actually change anything. So what did we like? Lots. We saw wonderful things and places, and had some great experiences. An example is our Butler. Friendly, helpful where he could be, in a role many will say is not clearly defined beyond stateroom cleaner and servicing. But twice he saved us specific upset. The first was the late arrival (by several hours) of one suitcase – with all Mr’s clothes in. Krishna (the Butler) went the extra mile to track it down in security and bought it to us, just as we prepared (indeed so we could dress) for dinner on the first night. On another occasion my wife lost her ‘Fitbit’ watch as we hurried late for a shore excursion. Not hugely valuable, but it was a Christmas present from our son, so sentimental. We knew it was lost between our stateroom and the theatre. Again, after we’d asked the Purser for several days if it had been handed in, we asked Krishna if he could help. He went to security, and they checked the cameras along the entire route from stateroom to theatre. They found where it was dropped, and a passenger who then picked it up was spotted. A polite call by the Butler and security to his cabin, and apologies that he’d not yet handed it in, and it was returned. This is particular is probably the best piece of Customer Service we have ever seen…well done. The food was excellent as expected, and the dining staff like all others, engaging, interested, keen to help. Both the daily menu and a la carte were simply superb and to our taste. The sommelier was knowledgeable and engaging and added to our experience. The talks on board, the Planetarium, afternoon tea, the films, the range of games, the choir we joined (after abandoning dance – see below) were again all great fun and world class. So…what went wrong? It was several things – some serious, some less so but none the less all were surprising. And (to note) I deliberately left it two weeks before writing this review (and then longer to allow Cunard to respond) to allow some perspective and objectivity – but these did really affect our experience. Our arrival The stateroom was spacious, and we went in. The very first thing I noticed was (apart from one orchid flower in a bowl of water) no flowers. There’s a shelf right by the door where they are placed in all pictures from Cunard – so the first thing you see. Small detail but we like plants and flowers around us, and we had noted their provision with pleasure from the brochure. In the end we bought flowers for the room on day two, but then three days after sailing an orchid potted plant did arrive unannounced. Just as you’ll see in all the brochure pictures. We didn’t mention it to the Butler as we found a more serious fault described below and didn’t want a general ‘moan’, but a room is either prepared or not. And had I known these were coming (and when we ordered through the Concierge I did explain why I was buying), I’d not have bought more flowers. And totally get this really is a first world problem! But also on arrival anywhere, I tend to hunt for electric sockets – charging both phones, tablets and so on, we need power, and often I find a hidden socket behind bedside lockers so we can keep these on our bedside tables. No sockets. But what I did find behind my locker was a lot of filth and dirt, what looked like a dead insect or cockroach, and other mess (as you’ll see in the pictures accompanying the review). My wife’s was worse – among the filth and piles of dust were coins and a number of the QM2’s internal newspaper. Dated August 2018 (again you can zoom into the picture). This means the last time the room was properly cleaned was more than five months before our arrival – and judging by the dust a long time before that. But demonstrably not since August 2018. This we did raise with the Butler, and it was sorted out the next morning (he did offer that night but we just wanted to get on). There were also hairgrips all over the walk-in wardrobe floor and under the dressing table – my wife picked up about 20 over the next week – presumably the vacuum cleaner rejects these. So not only had this room not been cleaned properly (for months) but also (if you’ve ever seen TV programmes) Cunard shows the highest level of pre-guest inspection, with each room being checked before being released for new guests. I sort of understand that occasionally in a difficult turnround this may be missed. But half a year – not cleaned and/or inspected? And you have to wonder what else was missed or short-cut? Sorry, that’s not good enough in any hospitality venue, let alone Queen’s Grill on QM2. In the walk-in wardrobe the bottom two of four drawers were broken (we assume someone tried to climb on them to check the shelf above). We unjammed them and they worked after a fashion. But as above, either they were inspected before we arrived and ignored, or simply not checked after previous guests. And finally a detail (see picture again) but outside on the balcony a large piece of the paintwork was peeled off and peeling. QM2 is a working ship, we get that. Conditions can be harsh. But we don’t live with broken furniture or peeling walls at home, so why should I on holiday, especially with such a large maintenance staff? The paint loss must have been noticed as the missing pieces, the size of a couple of dinner plates had been cleaned away. The Entertainment Honestly, some of the shows seemed under rehearsed and the in-house troupe didn’t match other cruise lines we’ve been on. It’s subjective, and some on the other hand we did get to see, particularly external entertainers, were excellent. But it didn’t matter – as after the first few days we really gave up on the Theatre as a regular event. The problem is that most passengers (in Britannia class) eat dinner from 1800. They finish around 2000 – and head to the Theatre where the shows begin at 2045. In Queen’s Grill though the service starts at 1830 – and you don’t finish until 2015-2030 – unless you hurry your meal or miss courses (and as I’ve said the food is excellent). But by the time you get to the Theatre, it’s basically already full. Three nights in a row (the first three nights) the only seats we could get were high up on one end of the balcony, which wraps around the stage so you’re actually just behind the action and actors. You can’t see the set, band or whatever as they’re hidden from view by the side of the stage. The acoustic high up is also pretty dreadful. The second show is 2230 ending at 2315ish – that’s too late for us, and we don’t want to hang around for two hours after dinner anyway. And we couldn’t eat after the 2045 show as these are 45 minutes long and end at 2130 plus. The Queen’s Grill restaurant take last sittings at 2130, and even if we snook I late – who wants to eat alone with the staff hanging around? On two nights the show timings were bought forward to 1900 for the first show. This worked well both times and we enjoyed the entertainment. On another night we really wanted to see the show so ate at the self-service Kings Court which was good – but not a choice for every night simply to see the entertainment. There are easy fixes – for example open the Queen’s Grill at 1800 – or move the show time to 1900 regularly (clearly it can be done). Put aside some seats for Queen’s Grill – after all we’re paying a huge premium. On Celebrity in Suite Class, the Butler saves a seat or two for First Class guests on a roped off row. Again an easy fix and something the Butler could do over and above being a stateroom cleaner. And then on Celebrity the Butler will bring you a drink – there’s no service in the balcony on Cunard. This issue I did raised with the Concierge – many people talked about the shows – but we felt we missed out. I think the final straw was a show with apparently fabulous backdrops – we weren’t even aware there was a set from where we had to sit. The Concierge said she’d talk to the different teams – and acknowledged this was a complaint she’d heard before from others. A week later she asked if the Assistant Entertainment Manager had been in touch – he/she hadn’t. They never did. We came to the conclusion that ‘I’ll talk to the Management’ was Cunard crew’s way of Kicking issues into the Long Grass – more below. Again, this was a disappointment. Dancing Mrs B and I have only tried dancing lessons once – 20 years ago. After lesson three we considered calling lawyers. But this time I thought I’d really give it a go. She loves to dance, and it must be possible to master something. And Cunard do say ‘Try/learn something new’. The easiest seemed to be Line Dancing, so we attended the first lesson. Within five minutes we were into ‘So that’s two grapevines, a slide, a chasee, then a pivot…’ which meant nothing to me. I was sunk. So afterwards I went to the two dance instructors and said ‘It’s clear everyone had experience, do you have a beginner’s class, for those who’ve not line danced before?’. The response was abrupt. No, they expect everyone to come with at least two years’ experience. So much for learning a new skill. But actually they felt it was such a good idea, such a revelation, they’d raise it with their Manager (see Kicking into the Long Grass above) and they took my Stateroom number. I didn’t hear another thing. It’s interesting to note that out of 50-60 people in the Line Dancing class, only five were men – we don’t generally do these things outside a holiday or leisure and the gender mix reflects this. So we moved onto Ballroom. Again two excellent instructors, and at the end of the first hour, I felt I’d got the real basics of waltz. Just needed developing and repeating. But next day we did Cha-Cha. OK, try to master two in quick succession from no skill at all. And day three was the Tango. Again I was lost. An hour isn’t long enough, and two or three days on each dance would really have consolidated things. Again though ‘that’s not how it’s done’, previous experience is clearly required. My Dancing Days will have to wait for another time… Trips Ashore We pre-booked some Cunard excursions – Seville, Delphi (Greece), and the Holy Land. We’re pretty young and fit, and also well-travelled. We tend to be adventurous so the first two tours we booked were described as arduous, lots of walking, uneven surfaces, hills and so on. Cunard call these ‘High Activity Level’, as explained on the booking form. Other activity levels are offered on other excursions. For Seville, the problem started before we even went on board the QM2. A key destination there is the Cathedral – the third largest in Christendom. It was central to the tour when we booked and our reason. But an email a few weeks before departure explained that because we were there on a Sunday, the Cathedral was closed to visitors. Now it was always a Sunday, so who didn’t check such a thing when creating the programme? No matter we went ahead anyway (and will return another time to see the Cathedral – it’s great from the outside!). What this indicated was a general lack of attention to detail and ownership over the excursions. In the event, we had a lovely tour of this wonderful City and a Moorish castle, and apart from missing one fellow passenger after lunch (she sat with another group, and was completely unaware when we left, the Guide saying she seemed to be struggling with it all a bit) all was fine. Then, as we walked through the old town, an elderly American lady fell on cobbles. She had clearly been getting very tired and it was a long walk (‘high activity’), and couldn’t pick her feet up. Down she went, cutting her leg, and clearly in shock. Worrying for her and us – so the Cunard Rep (one on each coach plus the guide in theory) stayed with her, and we were hurried to the end point, so the Guide could then leave us for 45 minutes, and go back and bring this lady to us. She was at a guess 80 years old, clearly exhausted, and very upset. The next stop was Greece, for Delphi. We were late driving from the ship as our Cunard Rep didn’t turn up for the coach. After 15 minutes, long after two other coaches had departed for Delphi, our local Guide gave up and said we’d go without the support. The Oracle at Delphi is up a fairly long hard hill climb on smooth stones and broken ground with large steps, in the heat. As we got off the coach it was clear the Guide was weighing the group up. Some of the less fit were already struggling – so she said that we’d go up slowly, and stop every 50 metres or so people could get their breath back. It’s about a 10 minute climb up the stone steps for people such as us, but the regular stops meant it took 40 minutes to reach the temple level. We did try going ahead – but without the guide to explain we lost all the context. Eventually reaching the temple level, we had about 10 minutes at this Wonder of the Ancient World we’ve longed to see for so long. Other groups had had half an hour plus to explore – and we missed key things, it all felt rushed, and really not what we’d expected. We’d set off late, and then had a lengthy climb. Worse was to come. On the way down a British man, tripped and fell. He’d already spent his time sitting quietly apart at the top, and I’d asked him if he was OK, and he said he was tired. In the tumble he gashed his hand badly and again was shaken up. However after a slow descent he sat outside the museum restaurant and had a drink and seemed fine. Then after the museum (I think this gentleman sat outside) we went for lunch. Again, my wife and I found ourselves helping this man clearly a bit shocked still, and his wife. So we were last in the restaurant (remember, no Cunard Rep to assist on this trip as they overslept or whatever…). He wouldn’t bandage his hand as he said he wanted it to ‘dry’, so we sat through lunch on four person table with his blood dripping onto the table cloth and forming a pool beside him. What we did discover though was that he is 88 years old. And because of this, and he now felt he shouldn’t have done the trip, he had a furious and loud row on the coach with the guide on the way back when he refused to complete a Cunard accident form. Cunard have a clear and absolute Duty of Care to their guests. So I discussed this with the Concierge (same time as I raised the Theatre timing issue above). Fine, I get it that Cunard don’t know people’s fitness levels. But they do know our ages from the start, and permitting an 88 year old onto a trip marked ‘high activity’, up a long hillside in the bright sun, on smooth irregular marble steps and stones and lose earth. That’s ridiculous. They can clearly provide a clearer description – and the fact that in Seville they didn’t even spot it was Sunday when putting the excursion together shows a lack of attention to this sort of detail when selling the trips. We hope no one ever has a much more serious injury or health event. But if they do, someone old and frail pushing the boundary too hard, blame will be shared – Cunard are not taking their responsibility for welfare if they let people who are clearly going to struggle onto these trips. It’s not good enough to say an 88 year old should have read ‘High Activity Level’ and not taken part. Two trips in a row we saw potentially serious accidents, both resulting in blood loss. And, although it’s clearly of less importance, that totally spoils the experience for the rest of us. Our Champagne Evening One of the nice things about Queen’s Grill is we get out own deck at the back of the ship. So we decided on the last Gala (dressing up) night, to invite some (10) new friends to start the evening with a Champagne reception on the back deck as the sun set over the sea. We’ve done it before on other companies – Celebrity again for example. There, one call to the Butler, and it’s sorted. However there’s a bar on the Queen’s Grill deck so I asked there for starters which seemed logical. The barman tried to help, and said he’d have to ask his Manager if there would be room for ten people (a deck some thirty metres by ten!). Then he’d need to get us to talk to the restaurant team, and the drinks team to arrange the canapes and drinks. It was all too much, and he later came and said it would be best if we talked to the Concierge. So off we went. The Concierge said of course it was possible, but she’d need to talk to our Butler. She said there was no need for me to raise it with the Butler, she’d plan it, and she clearly then discussed it with the Butler. And thus, He came to us in our room to get more detail. Yes, entirely possible, he said. The champagne (we reckoned 4-5 bottles) and canapes can be brought to the room, and I could take them onto the deck. That’s not his role. But I explained that would mean I spent the entire event shuffling back and forth, pouring drinks and serving food and so on – not what I’d planned. I asked about glasses – he said well, you have four here already in your room, so I’ll bring another six. Again to be taken to the deck and then back to the room. This wasn’t the special black tie event I’d envisaged. So I went back to the Concierge. Her first comment was ‘I told you not to speak to the Butler’. That miffed me slightly – what were we supposed to do when he came to our room to discuss it? And unless he had, how would we know the planning was going slightly off line? Frankly I felt I got a bit of a telling off which was both inappropriate and undeserved. But the outcome was that the Concierge took arrangements back in hand. This was just as well as at the last minute (after invitations had been sent out etc.) she contacted us to say we had to shift the date forward as we’d were still in the security area south of Yemen, and because of the piracy risk decks were closed at nightfall. I said this was shame as I’d done invitations – and in passing, why had the original dates for the decks to be closed, announced before we planned the event and already taken into account, been changed? No answer really came forth apart from, a little later, she showed me the sunset chart (a Word document on her computer screen) from the Bridge which showed sunset getting later by about ten minutes each day, except oddly for the original date I’d planned the event. That day alone, sunset actually jumped back half an hour. And then the next night jumped forward 40 minutes. I queried this apparent phenomenon of nature – and asked for a copy of the chart as I really didn’t understand what I had been told. She told me that sunset times were in confidence for staff only! I’m pretty certain, like our Sunday trip to Seville, someone didn’t do the sums right to begin with, so the night deck closure was extended by one day, but was covered up with my own ‘sunset chart’ in apparent justification. It was really bizarre, but I may be wrong – this may have been a new bit of physics. I then talked with the Bar manager, the Restaurant Manager (who both rang the room, and were very understanding and efficient). Went round and reissued invitations with the new date. I also rang the photographers to get someone to come and take a picture – my responsibility apparently. And after days of too’ing and fro’ing it was finally a relief having talked to (I think) seven different people, all in different departments, that it was sorted out. But a long, long way from one call to the Butler or whoever and it gets arranged. And had I known at the outset how complicated it would be, I’d have had second thoughts. So the event went ahead, an area of the deck was roped off, chairs were put off, a lovely lady served the canapés and drinks and it was excellent and enjoyed by all. BUT there was a sting in the tail. In the phone conversation with the Bar Manager he said ‘What champagne would you like’. I said the Laurent Perrier they serve on board ($75 a bottle) would be fine, but then added as a throwaway, that my wife and I do prefer Taittinger, it’s what we have on special occasions, and if there was any that would be nice. The Bar Manager said he’d not got any, but would see if the Restaurant Manager had some. On the evening, when I arrived the champagne was in buckets with nice white serviettes round the necks. I asked the lady serving whether they’d found Taittinger and she said she was pleased to say they had. Full marks! When it was poured though I could see the bottles were a different shape and not a label I recognised. Tasted wonderful though. And we drank our way through five bottles. Guests departed, and I said I’d sign the bill. I then discovered the $75 a bottle Laurent Perrier had indeed been substituted with Taittinger as asked – but Vintage Taittinger, at $225.00 a bottle. Our bill was not $375 for the hour long soiree, but $1125. I’m circumspect, we and our close friends had a truly wonderful event as the sunset over the deck, and thus I paid without quibbling. But this may have really spoilt the evening for some, and when one asks for a substitute, I think it’s reasonable to expect some equivalence on aspects including price – and if not to be contacted again to check it’s OK to triple the price and cost. But there we go…lesson learned, and I hope we’ll prevent other also doing this the hard way. And frankly, the different departments, the tiers of bureaucracy – it makes doing anything special painful. The customer certainly isn’t king! Conclusion If you think we’re high maintenance, that’s fine. I really want to stress what I said at the start that we enjoyed our time away, and most of what Cunard does is world class. We found much – food, most staff, facilities, our stateroom (once it was clean) completely engaging and worthwhile. We’re not generally moaners, so there’s nothing lengthy here about internet (its cost and awful performance), the rude on board Israeli immigration staff I reported to the Concierge, the chaos of getting passports back (kept for Israeli immigration but it was mayhem when they were returned after our trip to Delphi – one person handing out 40 passports to a queue of 100 people and a total lack of security which means we could have walked off with any number of other persons’ passports). But from time to time I have been a ‘mystery shopper’ so I do spot things which aren’t right – especially customer services – and maybe that should also be taken into account here. Just playing fair. And frankly, Cunard could do with one or two ‘Mystery Guests’ to get the sort of feedback we’ve given! These are specific and detailed points, some of which are clearly serious. For that reason, and because I’ve never written a review like this before, before publishing I have invited Cunard Customer Services. Their response follows below. But now you will also see why this is called ‘Close…but No Cigar’. Response: Cunard Customer Services say: 'Thank you for your patience in regards to my response time, I have been feeding relevant information back to both ship and shore-side departments after our initial conversation we had. In regards to a reply about action that is taking place internally to answer the issues you have brought to my attention, unfortunately this is something that cannot be disclosed, as I’m sure you can appreciate takes several departments working closely together and also a time frame that can range anywhere from a couple of weeks into a couple of months. What I am more than happy to do is outline the issues we have discussed and how they have been addressed with management teams to ensure that hopefully we can prevent these issues reoccurring. Having taken the time to read your comments, I am most sorry to learn of the issues experienced during your voyage on Queen Mary 2 and that this voyage did not live up to your expectations as a first time guest on Cunard Line. As I am sure you are aware we endeavour to ensure that our passengers are offered clean, well presented accommodation. Our standards of housekeeping and sanitary procedures are very high and we make every effort to ensure that these are met. The conditions that you describe are certainly not reflective of the conditions that we expect for our guests. I would wish to assure you that we do have a policy in place and the stateroom stewards are very well aware of the standards we expect. If they deviate from this standard, action will be taken with both onboard and shore-side management. However, as I am sure you will appreciate there are in excess of 1000 staterooms on Queen Mary 2 and it is physically impossible to check each and every one before our passengers embark on turn-around days. We therefore do have to rely on the training given to the stewards who attend to the staterooms and the realisation of the importance of adhering to the standards laid down. I am pleased that the problems were rectified at the time, but I am sorry for the unnecessary inconvenience caused. Further to this, I am sorry that your walk in wardrobe was not up to the level of standard we expect in a Queens Grill suite and I fully appreciate what an important aspect of your cruise this facility is. I have logged your comments for senior management's review and I have sent this across to the Housekeeping Management team onboard the ship. In regards to the experiences you had with the theatre and the timing of the shows conflicting with your dinner arrangements, I sincerely apologise for the inconveniences this caused you. It would be virtually impossible to provide a venue onboard that could accommodate all passengers who simultaneously wished to attend and watch a particular event. Generally speaking, however, we find that passengers differing interests results in a reasonable availability of seats in the public venues. However, I regret that this was not what you experienced on this occasion and apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused as a consequence. I have logged your comments about your Butler reserving seats or a separate section of the theatre being reserved for Grill Guests with the Entertainment Team onboard as well as the relevant team here that deal with the acts and production. This will be looked into and seen if something can be arranged to improve the operational side of the theatre, especially with our Grill Guests. In regards to the experience you had with our dance instructors onboard, this has also been passed onto not only the Entertainment Team, but the management onboard so this can be investigated further. Dance classes should not be exclusive to people who have experience as we promote ‘trying something new’ and it is not a necessity. I apologise that you were made to feel this way. I have also fed back your comments regarding the pace at which the classes are taught. This will also be looked into, mainly by the ship based management team to see if the way these classes are taught can be amended to ensure guests get the full experience they have signed up for, as well as actually learning a few dances. I would like to assure you that guest satisfaction is extremely important to us. We are constantly reviewing the services and facilities that we offer to our customers as we endeavour to ensure that all aspects of our holidays are maintained to the same high standards. We record all guests’ comments and these are reviewed on a regular basis in an effort to locate any trends, positive or negative, arising. In this respect, your comments and observations have been most helpful and I would like to thank you for taking the time to share them with us. I am most grateful to you for detailing your experiences in relation to the shore excursion, and it is disappointing that the tour did not operate as described. Although shore excursions do not form part of a passengers’ overall contract with Cunard Line, we understand and appreciate what an important contribution tours make to cruise holidays. As such, a great deal of research is carried out before we finalise our shore excursion programme to ensure that passengers are provided with a high quality service. I have highlighted as a matter of urgency and importance the safety issues you have brought to light regarding the two excursions you experienced issues on with both the Health and Safety departments onboard and shore-side. As I am sure you can appreciate the safety of our passengers is of upmost importance to us and would be at the forefront of any decisions made, therefore this will be reviewed by the Hotel and Land department in our Head Office that organise these trips. It goes without saying that we must rely heavily on local agents who operate the tours on our behalf, and in general terms, we receive a great deal of positive feedback. Nevertheless, your comments are very much appreciated and will certainly assist us in the future. Although of little comfort or consequence to you at this stage, I have ensured that your comments are forwarded to the appropriate management for their review and consideration with future cruise itineraries. In this respect, I must thank you for taking time out to outline the issues you experienced on two of your shore excursions. I would also like to sincerely apologise for the level of service you have received trying to plan a special evening with friends. After our discussion on the phone and all the issues outlined, I completely agree with you that in fact, the events that occurred were completely unacceptable and this has been fed back accordingly. The level of service offered to you by several members of staff onboard i.e. concierge, Butler and bar manager, I can assure you is not the luxury service we set our high standards to. As explained over our telephone call, a private event should have been as simple as asking your Butler and everything else simply falling into place. I apologise that you had to constantly go back and forth between several managers to get the evening organised. What I was concerned to read as well, was the choice of champagne not being confirmed with you before your evening commenced. This has been reported back to the management team onboard to ensure correct training is carried out and this mistake does not occur in the future – as you stated, this could have easily ruined a holiday without being budgeted accordingly. Thank you for your comments and criticisms, we do appreciate all feedback and I have passed on the comments to relevant senior management here in our Head Office for review as this as stated above, was unacceptable. I understand after speaking to you over the phone, you were looking for an answer, rather than compensation, but I do strongly feel it is necessary I offered you something an apology for all the inconveniences caused to you onboard and the level of service you experienced from members of staff onboard. We do look forward to welcoming you back onboard in the near future, as we will have the opportunity to fully restore your faith in the service we know we are able to offer.' Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise to experience the Suez Canal and Dubai. To celebrate our anniversary and my birthday. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 which was a good size with ample storage, and lots of mirrors. Take an extension lead as ... Read More
We chose this cruise to experience the Suez Canal and Dubai. To celebrate our anniversary and my birthday. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 which was a good size with ample storage, and lots of mirrors. Take an extension lead as there was only one British socket which was on the far side of the dressing table. The bathroom was tiny and you need to dry off in the shower, which only had over head shower. Room was quite dated and very small TV, good selection of channels. Balcony was dated as it is an old ship, but I would recommend having one if you enjoy time on your own. For breakfast we preferred to eat in cafe Jardin on deck 8 top of the atrium, limited choice but served to you and quiet. There are only 2 speciality restaurants for evening dining one is the beach house which is part of horizon buffet in the evening. If you are hoping to dine on your own on a table for 2 without overhearing conversations within arms reach this is not the ship for you. Tables for 2 in both set dinning 6.30 and 8.30 and freedom dining 6pm til 9.30pm are very limited. We were in freedom dining on deck 5 the only evening we were seated imidiately was when we went at 5.40pm every other evening we were given a pager and sat in the bar on deck 8 for 10 to 50 min waiting for our table for 2, if we would have been happy to share a table then most likely we would have been seated straight away. The food and service was usually excellent. The entertainment was also excellent but limited seating so get in the venue early. Sauna and steam rooms are in the changing rooms so no joint male/female one. Quiet area on deck 14 at back of the ship was our favourite place to spend sea days, 3 jacuzzis and a pool. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We choose this cruise as some of my family were cruising all the way to Perth on this cruise, we are still working and could not afford the time off Embarkation was a bit slow but that was due to the staff having to check the visas for ... Read More
We choose this cruise as some of my family were cruising all the way to Perth on this cruise, we are still working and could not afford the time off Embarkation was a bit slow but that was due to the staff having to check the visas for India The ship is a lovely size not too big Our cabin was very well situated for the pool and cafe caribe at the rear of the ship The food was always amazing, we had a few breakfasts in the restaurant , we also had afternoon tea (a must) we had burger and chips and pizza. The international cafe was a firm favourite of ours, The entertainment team were so good activities were plenty Choir, Zumba,dancing lessons,line dancing,and much more. The entertainment in the theatre was second to none brilliant ! A bit disappointed that the ships singers and dancers were not performing more . Liquid blue were fantastic . The service on board was perfect every member of staff were smiling and very helpful. This cruise had quite a few sea days which I really enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I boarded the balmoral on jan 4 in southampton as a solo traveller , going thru passport control and the embarkation was nice and easy well organized. I had a nice cabin ( my home for the next 4 months ) it was an inside cabin but no ... Read More
I boarded the balmoral on jan 4 in southampton as a solo traveller , going thru passport control and the embarkation was nice and easy well organized. I had a nice cabin ( my home for the next 4 months ) it was an inside cabin but no matter, my plan was to spend as much time around the ship doing things as possible. I chose to eat in the Psalms the self service restaurant, there was a great amount of different types of food for everyone. In the morning there fresh baked rolls and pastries were excellent. The entertainment was good and varied and lots of talks in the, you could learn to paint, sing in a choir, dance lessons, lots of games and a gym. I feel its a very happy well run ship all the staff on the ship are polite and well mannered and a pleasure to deal with at whatever level. For me all the service was first class. The one problem on this is the "Balmoral cough" from the day I arrived untill the day I left it was on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
First impressions are always the ones that last the longest and our first impression of our holiday with Cunard on board their Queen Mary 2 hasn't been the most pleasant. In fact as time and incidents have passed I have become quite ... Read More
First impressions are always the ones that last the longest and our first impression of our holiday with Cunard on board their Queen Mary 2 hasn't been the most pleasant. In fact as time and incidents have passed I have become quite nit-pickie. I suppose having as a child travelled quite extensively I felt Cunard would have the edge on its organisation quality and service. The first hiccup was the luggage labels they arrived printed for the Queen Elizabeth. An email arrived several days later apologising for the error. The second hiccup was embarkation time on the E ticket clearly stated 3pm. All necessary time arrangements were made with various folk like house sitter and taxis. Three days prior to embarkation an email arrived stating embarkation was now 12 midday. As all arrangements had been made with the house sitter and the taxi it was impossible to change without inconveniencing them. At this point my confidence in Cunard’s organisational skills were not good, but then arriving at Southampton to find I had to join an hour long queue outside in the January cold that zig zagged like sheep being corralled for dipping just took the joy from what should be a wonderful entire experience. Once in the terminal building although warm cosy and inviting, again the queue zigzagged for another half hour to check in. I surrendered my passport in exchange for an ID swipe card which at the time I was unaware was damaged. Many of us were given damaged ID cards which meant queuing on all excursions in order to have our written details taken before entering the coach as the damaged card could not be read by the automatic card reader! Queuing through security was relatively quick however, I was manually scanned twice as the wand the security lady used she casually mentioned didn't work properly so she would search for the one that did work. My confidence in Cunard was now at zero. Finally boarding was less than overwhelming as there was absolutely no one guiding us to where we should go, just a group of very pushy photographers wishing to record all our very happy grateful faces at finally after over 2 hours now having the immense pleasure of boarding this magnificent ship. Over the past 15 days there have been many other minor nit-pickie hiccups which is a norm on any holiday but I close with my first words … First impressions!!! Would I travel again with Cunard? Yes but only if there was no alternative! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Having had a wonderful experience on Queen Victoria, last April we booked the first leg of the 2015 QM2 World Tour and waited with eager anticipation for our visits to Spain, Italy, Luxor and the Pyramids. Disembarking in Dubai. Firstly, ... Read More
Having had a wonderful experience on Queen Victoria, last April we booked the first leg of the 2015 QM2 World Tour and waited with eager anticipation for our visits to Spain, Italy, Luxor and the Pyramids. Disembarking in Dubai. Firstly, the good points. Our embarkation was excellent, although I believe later arrivals experienced chaos. The main lobby is very impressive, beds exceptionally comfortable and cabin very quiet, good selection of library books and delightful afternoon tea. Nice pub for watching sport. Good free launderettes. Bad points on ship, layout somewhat confusing,food court like motorway food outlet,. nasty little café on top deck that reeked of onions, inside cabin absolutely tiny, bathroom size of closet and awful shower. Not enough loungers and no shade, main dining room food cold or tepid ad service really slow Worst entertainment imaginable, unimaginative cheap shows, boring lectures and very obscure films. Good if you are interested in astronomy! Hand cleansing or use of tongs not enforced in self service areas, it was enforced in the main dining room and in the Queens room. I have no idea if this is the reason so many people suffered from what became known as the Cunard cough. Personally, although I am rarely ill, I cannot recall being as ill as on this trip, and still suffering, with the virus I caught on QM2. Now I realise most of the above is subject to opinion, but the rest of my review is not! After paying the balance in September we were informed that due to security reasons, we would no longer be visiting the Valley of the Kings or the Pyramids, but instead would be calling at Petra and Oman. Apparently according to the small print this change would not entitle us to a full refund. The day before entering the Suez Canal we were told there was dredging being carried out in the canal which would delay our entry; This resulted in our passing through the canal at night and cancellation of our visit to Petra. A second port in Oman was given as a substitute. However people seemed to think that the canal is in fact being widened and shipping lines would have been aware that travel would be subject to delays. Furthermore the Holland America Rotterdam, a Carnival ship like the QM2, visited Egypt and passengers did all their tours during the period QM2 was supposed to do it. I have now written to Carnival to ask why one member of their fleet cruised Egypt while another did not. Instead all we had were 3 ports in the Med followed by 10 days at sea and 2 obscure ports in Oman. The captain's facetious announcement on disembarkation that Cunard had fulfilled their contractual obligation by stopping at the required number of ports, was not helpful! I think most cruisers would have preferred Valley of the Kings and the Pyramids or Petra to 2 obscure ports in Oman. Furthermore I did hear that Cunard cancelled Egypt on the 2014 world tour, but have no proof of this. I now await a response from Carnival Corporation   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Joined QM2 for the first leg of the round the world cruise, through the Med, Suez Canal and onto Dubai. What a disappointment, starting with 3 hour wait standing in the Shed to get. On. could Could Cunard not organise for its passengers ... Read More
Joined QM2 for the first leg of the round the world cruise, through the Med, Suez Canal and onto Dubai. What a disappointment, starting with 3 hour wait standing in the Shed to get. On. could Could Cunard not organise for its passengers to sit down in empty lounge if they were going to take that long to board passengers. The ship is tired and shows it's age, the burst water pipes at 3 in the morning was indicative. Whilst appreciating that some of the itinery changes were beyond Cunard's control, the cancelling of the Egypt stops, but the fiasco at the Suez Canal surely could have been anticipated? Not calling at Aqaba as a result upset most passengers and the resultant 10 days at sea with no port calls got earning. Entertainment director and deputy has no personality and the theatre shows generally not as good as on other lines. (Who designed a ship with pillars in the theatre?) The saving grace were the house "orchestras",rather an overstatement for 7 & 8 piece bands, but when they got together as a jazz big band it was terrific. QM2 lacks amenities. There is a shortage of seating areas, no large panoramic lounge at front of the ship as on others, the Commodore lounge is small, has useless tiny window and stinks of cigars, the smell coming from the Churchill lounge where passengers can still puff and give cancer to the rest of us. Wine prices were ridiculous, by the time service was added if basic wines were $40+ . The famous white glove afternoon tea serves dried up sandwiches, although the scones and cakes were much better. Cunard stop living on your past reputation and start giving the service you claim! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our very first cruise and we were so looking forward to sailing on QM2 but by the time we arrived back at Heathrow from Dubai I could have kissed the ground so glad were we to be back. I suppose the omens were starting to show when we left ... Read More
Our very first cruise and we were so looking forward to sailing on QM2 but by the time we arrived back at Heathrow from Dubai I could have kissed the ground so glad were we to be back. I suppose the omens were starting to show when we left Southampton on the 10th January and the Queen Elisabeth was late arriving so instead of the two queens leaving to mark the start of Cunard's 175th year we left alone. It was the two Egyptian ports, pyramids and Valley of the Kings that attracted me to this cruise. These of course were cancelled soon after we paid the balance of the fare and I am sure the chances of QM2 ever visiting any Egyptian ports were slim to say the least, without these ports however I very much doubt if the first leg of the QM2 World Tour would have been booked by so many. Over 2000 passengers disembarked in Dubai, many very, very disappointed after so many cancelled ports, 10 says at sea, a dire replacement container port and other disappointments outlined by others on this website. Even experienced cruisers told us it was one of the worst cruises they had been on and we were very unlucky. Will we ever cruise again, I very much doubt it as we were stir crazy by the time we reached the final destination and very annoyed at the captains statement upon disembarkation that they had been to the number of ports scheduled - maybe Cunard would be better off advertising mystery tours! Cunard need to learn a few new words one of which is 'sorry'. As first time cruisers we have nothing to compare but if Cunard are supposed to be one of the top drawer cruise lines then I can only say that standards must be slipping as there was a range of items that in our opinion was not up to the supposed white star service some highlighted by others who were also on this very disappointing cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My wife and myself saw this cruise to Dubai advertised and jumped at the opportunity to book this cruise,and how disappointed we are with the cruise. The first ports of call were good although we had been to 2 of them with P&O, but ... Read More
My wife and myself saw this cruise to Dubai advertised and jumped at the opportunity to book this cruise,and how disappointed we are with the cruise. The first ports of call were good although we had been to 2 of them with P&O, but after leaving Italy the cruise went completely down hill. To begin with I think Cunard covered-up the fact that the Suez Canal was being dredged and they did not know about it !!! Who were they trying to kid, surely their agents in Egypt would have notified Cunard of what was going on !!! They decided to take us through the Suez in the middle of the night wso that we saw dam all !!, is it because Cunard pay less to go through the canal at night rather than the day??. To add insult to injury they then cancelled the trip to Aquaba and Petra, which the majority of the passengers had booked even before the cruise had started. Could you imagine the disappointment of all the passengers that had booked to see the pink city of Petra !!! In return Cunard decided to keep us at sea for 10 boring days at sea, with boring activities and films, till we reached the port of Muscat which was ok if one liked shopping, and then added a God forsaken port of Khor Fakkan which was a container port where no cruise ships had ever been to,and Cunard must have thought we can show the passengers how containers are loaded !!! Because there was nothing else to see. To add to this, there were a lot of passengers who had bad chesty coughs and colds on board, and had to visit the medical unit on board which was not cheap. I have had 2 other cruises with Cunard and this Dubai cruise must rate as the worst for letting passengers down. Having spoken to several passengers, they all said they would. Not travel with Cunard again, and as for me I will never recommend or travel with them again. Also the standards in the Kings Court restaraunt is very poor at night as some were walking in with swim shorts and sleeveless vests and some in t-shirts and shorts and no one to stop them. So much for saying at night you have to be properly dressed!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We booked the first leg of QM2 round the world cruise and it turned out to be nothing but a huge disappointment. We did not like the queen mary - the layout is so weird you need to take a cotton reel otherwise you will get lost - some ... Read More
We booked the first leg of QM2 round the world cruise and it turned out to be nothing but a huge disappointment. We did not like the queen mary - the layout is so weird you need to take a cotton reel otherwise you will get lost - some people describe it as quirky. Food in the Brittania restaurant was excellent but oh dear the Kings Court buffet reminded me of a very busy motorway service station, the same food, tables not cleared and very noisy. The shattered dreams really came to the fore with the ports of call. The cruise was advertised with two calls to ports in Eygpt giving access to the pyramids and Luxor. These were cancelled and in their place was Aquaba in Jordan giving access to Petra but the other port added was Some god foresaken container port in the UAE which had absolutely nothing to offer - Hardly a like for like replacement. The other highlight of the cruise was "cruising the Suez canal". We were held for over 24 hours at Port Said and eventually sailed through the canal overnight - much to the annoyance of lots of passengers. To make matters worse this delay resulted in Aquaba being missed and eventually Muscat was added as a replacement, again hardly like for like. The response from Cunard was "read our terms and condition" and from the Captain when we reached Dubai. He was sorry if any passengers were disappointed but he had called at the number of ports he was contracted to call at.!!!!!!!! Finally lot's of felloow passengers who had cruised on other Cunard ships said that QM2 was very poor compared to Victoria or Elizabeth. Cunard will have to try very hard for me to use them ever again Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Completely and utterly disappointed with Cunard. Embarkation was a shambles. It took two and a half hours standing in a queue to get checked in. We were very much looking forward to our cruise from Southampton to Dubai via the ... Read More
Completely and utterly disappointed with Cunard. Embarkation was a shambles. It took two and a half hours standing in a queue to get checked in. We were very much looking forward to our cruise from Southampton to Dubai via the Mediterranean and Suez Canal,but as we stopped in Barcelona till 2-30 am and then in Civitavecchia till 11-30 pm we missed our slot for the Suez Canal.The captain said it was caused by dredging works on canal as it is actually being widened at present,so went through canal at night and saw nothing. Next stop Jordan, did not go because there was no buses available for trips, all in all 10 days spent at sea. No compensation was offered for missing destinations or going through Suez at night. Even Thomsons gave compensation to everyone when they could'nt get to the Azores on a previous cruise. To cap it all I left my camera in the Commodore club bar,I returned the next morning to see if it had been found but no one had seen it. I went to the pursers office to see if it had been handed in but no joy there,they took my details and I was told that the head of security would be in touch but alas he never did. The good thing about my trip was the restaurant,bar and cabin staff were superb. The food was excellent in the Brittania restaurant but the Kings Court buffet could be organised better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We chose this cruise to Dubai with Cunard as it included the Suez Canal and Egypt. We were supposed to visit Cairo (Pyramids) and Luxor (Tombs) in the Middle East but due to passenger and crew safety issues this was substituted with Aqaba ... Read More
We chose this cruise to Dubai with Cunard as it included the Suez Canal and Egypt. We were supposed to visit Cairo (Pyramids) and Luxor (Tombs) in the Middle East but due to passenger and crew safety issues this was substituted with Aqaba (Petra) and Fujairah (Maiden Port) prior to cruise via email. We rang and tried to cancel cruise but was told this was not a significant change! Cruise didn't start well with a 1.5 hour delay boarding at Southampton in a slow moving queue. Everything on board Cunard QM2 attracts a service charge of 15% plus a $11 (£8) a day service charge. e.g. cheapest bottle of wine is $40 (£26) and the waiters and cabin staff at the end of your trip still anticipate a tip. On arrival at the Suez Canal we were informed that dredging works (pre-planned) would delay our passage by 18 hours to a full night time transit of the Suez Canal and that the visit to Aqaba (Petra) was now also cancelled. The Captain did try to reschedule Aqaba for 24 hours later than planned but transport was unavailable. We were then informed that a new destination port of Muscat had been arranged. This had the knock on effect of no change of entertainment for 10 full days at sea as new artists could not board at Aqaba. Entertainment also seems to be biased to the much older cruiser with insights to Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers etc. We were given a full refund for cancelled tours (by Cunard) to our original Credit Card but as this would mean us losing out on transaction/conversion charges we asked for it to be credited to our onboard account. Cunard said we should ring our bank to reverse refund which is not an easy thing to do at sea! Cunard rescheduling the itinerary to miss ports and sights on our tick list does not encourage us to ever travelling Cunard again   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My partner and I decided to book a cruise as it was a holiday we had never done before and having reviewed many different cruise lines we settled upon Cunard and the Queen Mary 2. We took this decision as we managed to find a very good ... Read More
My partner and I decided to book a cruise as it was a holiday we had never done before and having reviewed many different cruise lines we settled upon Cunard and the Queen Mary 2. We took this decision as we managed to find a very good deal for this voyage from Southampton to Dubai, the first leg of the 2013 world voyage, in January (when could be a better time to head off to some heat after Christmas when everything is dismal and cold?) and personally I was excited by the glamour and sophistication which would await me on board such a magnificent looking vessel. I was not disappointed, this holiday exceeded my expectations in every way and I would recommend a voyage upon this wonderful ocean liner to anyone. I have focussed my review on the ship itself rather than ports / day trips as otherwise I will ramble on for too long. Checking in at Southampton was quick and simple. The Queen Mary 2 was docked in the old QE2 terminal which is like something out of the 1960's however was perfectly adequate and I quite enjoyed the feeling of stepping back in time as we boarded. As soon as we were on board we were greeted by smiling faces and warm welcomes from every member of the White Star staff we passed. We stayed in an inside cabin or 'stateroom' as they are called (4061), which is the best value option and if you don't mind not having a window or balcony it is quite adequate. The decks are all so beautiful and vast, there is no necessity to spend much needed cocktail money on a balcony when you can spend time on the public decks. I guess this is all down to individual preference, and if you have the cash to splash then the balcony staterooms are beautiful, but ours was clean, roomy enough for two including enough wardrobe space for all my evening dresses and throughout the voyage, if you tune the tv to the bridgecam channel you can see what the outside weather is doing and have your own little "window" to outside. The morning show with Paul O'Loughlin, Entertainment Director was also very interesting and a fun way to start every day telling us about upcoming shows and events, I didn't really want to go back to BBC Breakfast when I got home! We were lucky enough to have Commodore Rynd, head of the Cunard fleet at the helm and he was very personable, visible around the ship from day to day and his 12pm navigational announcements every day were very enjoyable informing us about the ships position and interesting facts of the day. When booking this voyage I had been worried that I might find the sea days a little tiresome and boring, particularly the 5 in a row between Egypt and Dubai however I could not have been more wrong, and the sea days were actually some of my favourites. Each evening we received a daily programme in our stateroom which listed all the activities for the following day along with evening dress code and information on guest performers. I looked forward to planning our next day and it was a struggle to fit everything in there was so much on offer. I guess at this point it is worth mentioning that on this particular voyage the majority of travellers were aged around 50 upwards and I guess many of the activities are geared towards this age group. However to put my review into context, I am 32 and was probably the youngest on board (bar 2 toddlers I saw) however I threw myself into it and thoroughly enjoyed everything on offer. Daytime activities included many pub quizzes in the Golden Lion pub (very enjoyable particularly as these days in usual pub quizzes everyone can cheat on their phone -- not so easily done at sea so much more enjoyable), daily lectures and talks, films and planetarium shows, shuffleboard, decathlon, short tennis, golf (there is an indoor simulator also), water volleyball, darts, i-seminars, art classes, make up demonstrations and our personal favourite ballroom dance classes with the wonderful Wilfried and Ilona ex ballroom and latin champions who were lovely and even managed to get my partner interested in dancing who has NEVER shown any interest before despite constant nagging! Flower arranging with Mikee and Mario is not to be missed, a hilarious double act and a fun 4 hour session over 2 days which allowed us to keep our floral masterpieces and have them in our stateroom or on the dinner table. There is a $50 supplement for this activity but well worth it for the fun you will have. Cunard do their best to secure good guest lecturers and entertainers and on this voyage Martin Bell, Ruthie Henshall, Roy Walker were the headliners, all of whom were very popular and very entertaining in their respective fields. However lesser known entertainers such as Goronwy Thom -- comedy juggler and Elio Pace -- singer and pianist were absolutely excellent. This brings me onto the subject of entertainment as a whole. The Royal Court singers and dancers were top quality and the shows presented were better than many I have seen in the West End and Broadway, shows were usually performed twice a night in the gorgeous theatre and this was good to give flexibility around different dinner sittings. On a couple of occasions we watched the shows twice as they were so good. The Entertainment staff and social hostess who ran the quizzes did an ok job but personality wise they were somewhat lacking apart from Paul (Ents Director) who was very good with his patter. I could not believe the number of wonderful resident musicians on board -- a string quartet, cocktail pianists, a jazz trio, the Queens Room orchestra, Vibz Caribbean band and Joey Mix with his Royal Court Orchestra were all outstanding and there was much live music on offer each day. Highlights were Dixieland in the Winter Garden, and the Afternoon Tea Dances with the Queens Room Orchestra and vocalist Michel Chartier. Food was overwhelming in terms of the amount on offer. The Kings Court buffet is open for 22 hours a day and serves pretty much anything you can think of, I agree with other reviews that the layout of this area isn't very cosy but we didn't eat there that often, only really for post evening dancing snacks and cookies before bed! When the weather is warm the boardwalk cafe is open in the afternoon and this serves great burgers, chips and salad. The main Britannia Restaurant was large and glamorous as I expected and we had such an attentive waiter and sommelier. When torn between 2 dishes they will offer to bring you both and no request was too much. We were always welcomed with a smile and enjoyed every evening we dined in here. Over our 18 day cruise I did consume a lot of food however it was too delicious not to and that is what holidays are all about. It is worth spending one evening dining in the Todd English restaurant, you pay a supplement here but the food was first class and it was a nice special treat. Drinks are plentiful and although pricey, you get what you pay for and the cocktails and champagne in particular were lovely. My tip is to have pre dinner cocktails in the Commodore Club on deck 9, which has a lovely ambience particularly when the pianist it playing, check out the molecular cosmopolitan for a delicious sweet and tangy treat. The Chart Room and Veuve Cliquot Champagne Bar are also nice for a pre dinner aperitif. We opted to pay $6.50 per day and have unlimited soft drinks, this was well worth it and I would recommend it for people who like to have plenty of cola, lemonade, orangeade or juices as you can use this in any of the bars. I believe that Cunard line do many more formal nights than other companies and this was something which I personally loved as back at home these days, one never gets the chance very often to get dressed up. Everyone respected the dress code and it was such a lovely feeling looking around and seeing the glamour and sophistication of all the guests. Formal nights included a Masquerade Ball, Egyptian Ball, Burns Night Ball, and Black and White Ball, all of which we were informed about in advance of our voyage enabling us to bring appropriate formal wear. The Queens Ball room is elegant and again the live music, singing and performances by the resident dance couples are highlights of the evening. There are a number of pools and jacuzzi's and the indoor / outdoor pavilion pool with sliding glass roof on the top deck is a popular choice when the weather is not so hot, as it was when departing Southampton on 9th January! My personal favourite outdoor space was the stern of deck 8 as there was a terrace bar here and once the weather was warm it was a sunbathing hotspot and lunch time live music by the pool with Vibz really made the holiday. One of my favourite days was our trip down the Suez Canal as the weather was hot, I was in the Jacuzzi with a glass of prosecco enjoying the scenery and the live music -- absolute bliss. The one niggle I had on this voyage was the service received at the Pursers Office, as the staff here seemed a little disinterested in their jobs and they weren't as helpful as they could have been. Whilst enjoying a lovely performance by the on board choir in the Grand Lobby, they wouldn't shut up from talking very loudly interrupting the singing, and even my long glares didn't seem to make any difference. Apart from this we thoroughly enjoyed our time at sea and once we disembarked in Dubai I felt very sad to be leaving this magnificent beautiful ocean liner which by that point felt like home. I guess as a first time "cruiser" I have nothing to compare it to, however if you enjoy old fashioned glamour, variety, succulent fayre, live music, high quality entertainment and beautiful surroundings then this is the ocean liner for you. I am saving already for my next trip! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
It took 2 hours to board due to the incompetence of the check in staff --utter chaos at Southampton .We heard later that the same thing happened to the passengers boarding at Rotterdam . Once aboard we found to our dismay that , as smokers ... Read More
It took 2 hours to board due to the incompetence of the check in staff --utter chaos at Southampton .We heard later that the same thing happened to the passengers boarding at Rotterdam . Once aboard we found to our dismay that , as smokers ,that the smoking areas were not as described when we enquired when we booked .Even worse the policy on this is still false on the web page terms and conditions (page 16) listing several areas inside and on all open decks-in fact smokers are actually restricted to half of an open deck at the rear of the ship After a few days we found that the food was never hot in The Lido buffet dining and the same in the main restaurant. The Tv channels in the cabin and other lounges gradually disappeared off the screens. First was ESPN as we passed Suez,the day of the Australian tennis open semi finals which many had gone to Mix bar to watch. The annoying thing was that staff lied to guests with excuses like --satellite fault --mountains blocking the signal (no mountains within 40 miles in the Suez area)--a different excuse to different guests (they didnt seem to realize guests talked to each other )---next all the channels except Fox news went blank --again the same excuses--different excuse to different guests. Once in the Red Sea at Safarga ,a blackout after sunrise was announced because of the threat of pirates so all outside decks were in total darkness,much to the dismay of all the smokers who used the only smoking area Even more annoying after checking on the NATO site giving advise to shipping re piracy there is no danger in the Red Sea. After 6 days of blackout we were passing ships lit up like Christmas trees in the Persian Gulf while we travelled in darkness all the way to Dubai. One afternoon a notice appeared on the doors to the rear outside main deck (The Retreat) saying it would be closed for cleaning.We asked why close it for the afternoon and early evening and were told it had to be done then 'as it was in the schedule'--so it couldn't be changed --the same thing happened on the Promenade deck when passengers were cleared for scheduled cleaning in the afternoon ,,until so many complained it was abandoned The Lido Buffet had 2 sides for serving and was open till 8pm---not late especially for those who had been off ship but at 7.15 each night one side closed causing queues on the other side so service was painfully slow, even more colder food .Even worse on the side that closed ,the staff would start vacuuming around the diners The drinks on board are very expensive ,the trips too expensive and the ports visited changed without prior notice since the original itinery. The 'happy hour' has been abandoned since the previous cruise by this ship A guest commented that it reminded him of a company taken over by accounts---squeeze more revenue out of the customers for the least possible services Many other small things wrong on this cruise ,during which many people e mailed complaints to their travel agents By far the worse ship we have ever been on and we have done many cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We sailed from Southampton in early January and headed South. This ship is the oldest in the Fred. Olsen cruise fleet but, despite this, is well maintained, comfortable and stable in rough seas. I had an outside double cabin on a single ... Read More
We sailed from Southampton in early January and headed South. This ship is the oldest in the Fred. Olsen cruise fleet but, despite this, is well maintained, comfortable and stable in rough seas. I had an outside double cabin on a single occupancy basis. It was clean, comfortable and had plenty of storage space. The air conditioning was flexible and effective. It had the additional bonus of a bath tub. The cabin stewardess kept the cabin spotlessly clean by servicing it twice daily. I found the food excellent throughout this long cruise. Normally I ate in the main restaurant but I had the occasional early breakfast in the Garden Cafe and the odd lunch at the Marquee Grill. The speciality evenings (Indian, Thai etc) in the Garden Cafe were most enjoyable. Wine prices remain very competitive. The daytime entertainment followed the normal cruise pattern. There were some very interesting talks by guest lecturers.The classical concerts were of a high standard. Evening cabarets were mixed, some good and some pretty poor but it is very much a personal taste. The occasional local shows brought on board at ports of call were most entertaining.Who could forget the belly dancer in Egypt? The ship's group of singers and dancers put on some lively and enjoyable performances. I booked several shore excursions prior to leaving home. Most of these proved very interesting, some were memorable. I have particularly fond memories of a day trip sailing on the Gambia River, the deserts of Namibia, Robben Island and the parks in RSA, the backwaters in Cochin India, Al Ain and the grand mosque in Abu Dhabi, Oman, the gorgeous beach in Aqaba Jordan, the Valley of the Kings in Egypt and the visits to Ephesus in Turkey and Seville in Spain. The security arrangements on board to protect it when sailing through the dangerous waters close to Somalia were most impressive. Happily, there were no attacks by pirates. As usual the staff on board made the cruise as far as I was concerned. They are friendly, efficient and always cheerful. Whether it was in the restaurants, bars or or in the cabins the service was first class. I thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This was my 20th cruise with Cunard - and the most adventurous. Leaving Southampton almost on time as usually, the first leg of the 2013 World Cruise led us into a rough Biscaye. Although QM2 is a still very comfortable ship even in rough ... Read More
This was my 20th cruise with Cunard - and the most adventurous. Leaving Southampton almost on time as usually, the first leg of the 2013 World Cruise led us into a rough Biscaye. Although QM2 is a still very comfortable ship even in rough sea, many passengers found that the meals weren't as attractive to them as they expected ;-) Barcelona proved to be an interesting place for everyone but Athens/Piraeus didn't really want the QM2. So due to high winds and a bad forecast for the next days Commodore Rynd and Cunard decided in the late evening to change the next destination to Heraklion/Crete. This is not quite an alternative to Athens, but larger ports in the region are rare. 70ton provisions stayed in Priraeus and subsequently eggs became a rare occasion, good for our cholesterol balance. Port Said saw us at late afternoon from a far distance and by 1am QM2 entered the Suez Canal in a foggy night. Almost until Ismailia the sight was poor, but the atmosphere nevertheless tensioning. The view of Suez was then clear and the short trip to Ain Sokhna completed in slow motion. Ein Sokhna - not a place to live or to die, only a place to enter the buses to Cairo and Gizeh. Next day saw us early in Safarga, only to get into the buses to Luxor. I wish I hadn't done this... Strange Egyptian water-waste-regulations required the the ship to block the washing machines and call for water saving, later enhanced because of a emerging water shortage due to unavailability of drinkable water supplies since Barcelona. Security precautions required blacking outs like 1942 for the next days from dawn to dusk and killed by this the board live almost to zero. The company of NATO warships was most welcomed although the pirates waited until the safe zone was passed for showing up and attracting the ship's attention. Anyway, nothing serious happened and we reached the fantastic town of Dubai in time. Major disadvantages: Very noticeable cost cuttings by Cunard in restaurant service and food selection All important regions with the exception of the southern part of the Suez Canal have been passed in the deepest night time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
The 26th of August had finally arrived and so it was time to board the refurbished Dawn Princess for our next adventure. We had spent the previous 5 days being tourists in London and had travelled to Southampton the day before via ... Read More
The 26th of August had finally arrived and so it was time to board the refurbished Dawn Princess for our next adventure. We had spent the previous 5 days being tourists in London and had travelled to Southampton the day before via National Express. We found National Express was an economical and easy way for us to transfer to Southampton AND they ran on time! The night we arrived in Southampton we had met 6 other Cruise Critic members we had been "chatting" with for months, Meg and Grant, Ann and Brian and Janet and Richard. We were all staying at the Etap and with "would you be..." introductions we met for dinner, which was a great start to the whole adventure. Mid morning we checked out of the hotel and had the receptionist call a cab for us. When it arrived it was a big van and as Janet and Richard's cab had not arrived, we shared it to the ship. We were early for check in but once it started we were through security, photographed and in our rooms in no time. Check in was very efficient. Our stateroom seemed larger than on our last cruise on the Sun Princess so we were pleasantly surprised. Our room steward, Efrem, introduced himself as a newbie to the ship too! As our luggage had not arrived we headed off to the Venetian Dining Room for lunch. We had a lovely surprise when we arrived in the dining room. We found the Maitre de was Rui and Head Waiter was Benito. They had both been transferred from the Sun to the Dawn! We were very pleased about that. Both Rui and Benito had looked after us wonderfully well on our last 2 cruises. This cruise was to be no exception and Cha, our table waiter was exceptional. Marius, our ever present Head Waiter could not have been more helpful. On returning to our room we found some letters waiting for us. One was confirming the Cruise Critic meeting we had requested through Princess prior to leaving Australia. There was also a message on the phone from Bianca in Guest Services. On returning her call I found she was also confirming the meeting and offering her services if we required anything else. Over the trip we found Bianca very helpful and efficient. My first encounter with her led me to believe she was a novice but she improved enormously over the 28 days. I cannot say the same for the front desk staff who I found less than helpful for the whole trip. As I have said we were pleasantly surprised by the size of our cabin. This is the third time we have cruised on this class of ship and realise now that these ships have small cabins. After 3 longish cruises, 76, 48 and now 28 days we have adapted to cruising in confined spaces. On the Sun and the Dawn we have learnt to use more of the ship than we would have on previous cruises. Our room steward was a pleasant man and tried to please but we felt the toiletries and laundry bags were being rationed out to us. Other CC members did not have the same problem. The pillows were dreadful even though we had requested a foam pillow when we booked the cruise. We had to ask our steward for one. Whilst he did acquire one, it disappeared after a while and was replaced with two of the dreadful pillows in the one pillowslip. Not quite what we expected. The public rooms on the ship varied in usefulness. The Atrium Bar we found very pleasant to sit, read, socialise and have a cappuccino. We rarely went to the shows as we found you needed to get into the theatre well before the show was due to start to get a seat. We did, however, really enjoy the port lectures and found them excellent. Debbie was very informative and was able to relate her knowledge and experiences at a level we understood. The Vista lounge is quite lovely and we enjoyed one show there. Movies Under the Stars has been a great addition to the entertainment on the ship. We were not the only ones singing along to Momma Mia! Yet again, the computer room and access need to be improved. The attendant was serving out his time and was of little help. I am not overly computer savvy but I found I could help fellow cruisers where he said he could not help them. There were also times when the network claimed to have too many users. If that is the case, does Princess need to upgrade? The scenic cruising in Anzac Cove was a memorable experience. We rose early for the dawn service and there was not a dry eye on deck by the time we sang "Morning has Broken". We also went to the main service at 10.45 where ex-servicemen read and the choir sang. The Captain took the ship in as close to shore as he could and we managed to get some good photos. The Cruise Director, Sammi Conneen-Baker acted as MC at both services. Sammi was our Cruise Director for the Pacific World Cruise and it seems to us has now grown used to Australian and New Zealand cruisers. She is very good at her job and lovely. Over the cruise we had a wonderful time. Our ship shore excursion in Barcelona was most enjoyable. That was the only shore excursion we did with the ship. We have found over the years that we prefer to tour with a smaller group. We had an excellent tour of Rome done by Rome in Limo and guided by Manuel. Our group of 8 thought it was a great day and that Manuel could not have been more helpful. Another excellent tour we did was with Memphis Tours in Port Said. We were part of a group of 16 who toured Cairo and Giza with Memphis Tours. Our tour was very professional and informative. This tour was in sharp contrast to the Memphis Tour the same group did from Safaga to Karnak and Luxor. We were very fortunate that the Captain, Graham Goodway, waited for our tour. Without consulting us, our tour driver dropped our guide and our English speaking driver home before leaving us with a non English speaking driver to take us back to the ship at least 40 minutes late. We all came to the conclusion that Memphis had subcontracted out this tour to inexperienced drivers and guide. Disembarkation came too soon and it was sad to leave. There were a lot of us disembarking in Dubai. It was done as efficiently as always. In summary, we had a good cruise. The food was good as was the service. We enjoyed the activities we chose to go to. We had great weather and good ports. We visited places we didn't think we would ever go to and we transited the Suez Canal! All in all another great cruise with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Dawn Princess, World Cruise August 2009 - Segment Southampton to Dubai On the third or fourth day out of Southampton, red spots appeared on Kay's face, arms and legs. Next day there were more of them. That night numerous ... Read More
Dawn Princess, World Cruise August 2009 - Segment Southampton to Dubai On the third or fourth day out of Southampton, red spots appeared on Kay's face, arms and legs. Next day there were more of them. That night numerous bites were discovered on her body, even under underwear. On 31/8/2009 the ship's doctor diagnosed Kay's spots as bed bug bites. I also found bites on my body which also continued below my underwear. Next morning the nurse diagnosed mine as from bed bugs as they were in the typical pattern left by them. All crew, other than the medical staff, said we could not have been bitten by bed bugs. Constantly crew claimed the spots were a reaction to the orange juice or the washing powder used on the sheets. This was repeated like a well rehearsed mantra. We were asked to send all our clothes to the laundry. We spoke to one of the reception crew who said we could retain some to go to the dining room, clothed. Many hours after promised, the items were returned in dribs and drabs. Most of Kay's had been damaged. My dinner jacked had shrunk so the inside lining hung below the outside material. There was no apology for the late return or damage. My jacket arrived after Kay had been to reception. She had spoken to an unhelpful person so I went. I gave my room number and name and asked to see the supervisor. Before I spoke, the supervisor demanded to know why I was complaining about the person who summoned him. He was hostile and constantly tried to put words in my mouth. I asked him not to. I was accused of interrupting but thought it was the other way around. I was told (not asked) to come back in the morning. Next morning we waited in the regular long line at reception and spoke with a person who denied bed bugs had bitten us. Even though we informed her of the doctor's diagnosis she said it must have been the orange juice or something else. This crew member was adamant she had spoken to us on the telephone. Obviously she thought we were someone else but continued to argue. We were told to go away as no one was available to help. When advised we were asked to come back that morning she, without commenting, left the counter and went into a rear room. Later the supervisor I had spoken with the previous evening came out, looked directly at me and quickly disappeared. A while later a more senior ranked person came to us. Again we were faced with "there are no bed bugs on this ship". Kay and I blurted out the doctor's diagnosis. He backed off and gave an apology. Not for the bites or clothing, but for not being aware of the doctor's diagnosis. Kay cried in full view of the crowded reception area. There wasn't an invitation to go to a secluded area. In fairness, we received chocolate coated strawberries and flowers (the latter Kay returned as each time she saw them it upset her) but there wasn't a note with either. We didn't receive the message claimed to have been left on our telephone. Later we were informed the message system was faulty. We were offered wine but as Kay was on medication for the bites and later a cold it was declined. We were assured if we submitted a claim for the damaged clothes it would be credited to our account. Our cabin was fumigated twice and we had to twice douse ourselves head to toe in lotion and not wash it off for twenty four hours. Kay had so many bites on her face, arms and legs, one day on a crowded ferry, the only unoccupied seats were those either side of her. The crew maintained and continues to deny there were bed bugs in the cabin. This is hard to comprehend. We did not board the ship with bites and they rapidly increased up until the fumigation. After that there weren't any new ones. If not bitten by bed bugs, what else was in the bedding? The crew must have believed something was there to so thoroughly wash our clothes in hot water and twice fumigate the bedding, cabin and us. One of the crew said another passenger was bitten by bed bugs but later claimed he could not recall saying it. When leaving the ship, passengers in a cabin near us complained of bites and were going to the medical center. The estimated cost to replace the clothing was initially $1035. A claim was lodged but as we went to wear items more were found to be damaged. Credit was not passed so notes were left at reception. Eventually we received the message; " if we could produce receipts or credit card statements while onboard, we would receive immediate reimbursement" . Who keeps receipts for clothing and if so, would they take them on holiday? We sought a meeting with the Passenger Services Director. This occurred near the end of the twenty six night cruise. He was sympathetic, said our holiday had been spoilt, but was unable to pass credit. We were shown an e-mail acknowledging Princess damaged the clothing and reimbursement would be made if we provided evidence of purchase or obtained a replacement quote. While on antihistamines to relieve the itching Kay often fell asleep. Later she was victim to a cold which was prevalent on the ship. She missed dinner and other meals on three or four days and spent many more days asleep. We disembarked with numerous others in Dubai. New passengers boarded there. Many had booked similar packages at the same hotel. This caused chaos as the rooms for the incoming guests were not ready. Staff did the paperwork for the incoming clients who then checked their luggage, left it in the foyer and went sightseeing. The baggage was unsecured for approximately an hour and if any had gone missing, it may have been difficult to make a successful insurance claim. If we had not experienced the bites, the destroyed clothing and the way we were treated, the cruise would have been great. However, due to these events and the long delay in receiving compensation the memories are very unpleasant. All ports of call and navigating the Suez Canal were extremely interesting. We did our research beforehand. At some cities we took the ship's tours and at others went solo. Quality of food in dining room. * * * * (All *'s are out of five) The waiters at our table rated five star. Two of the best we have experienced on shore or onboard. (Before we met, Kay spent seven years averaging almost two nights per week in five star hotels. For three years I slept every night in four and five star hotels throughout the Pacific Islands and South East Asia. During another four year period, I stayed approximately seventy weeks in Australian hotels/motels. They ranged from capital city five star establishments down to unrated accommodation in country locations. We know the difference between excellent and substandard service.) Quality of food in buffet * * * The "hot" food was only warm and wondered if it was hot enough to stop bugs multiplying. Less than 20% of passengers sanitised their hands before entering the area. With the rampant colds and coughs onboard, we thought crew would be stationed at the dispensers to encourage people to use them. If they had been, there may not have been as many colds onboard. The buttons on the controls at the juice station had brown stains on them. When at sea, there were three occurrences during lunch, where there were no containers to dispense drinks into. On other occasions the concentrate had run out. At times here the floor was sticky and was not cleaned during our meal even though crew were walking through the spill. Coffee out of plastic cups is not ideal but after three mugs with cracked / broken handles and several others which leaked, we paid for cappuccinos. The cappuccino cards were excellent. They were even greater value when a cappuccino and hot coffee were ordered at the same time. The latter was free. When at sea It was difficult to find a seat for breakfast and lunch in the court. There were times when the air conditioning struggled in this area. The majority of the crew in the servery and attending the tables looked disinterested. Evening Dessert Station - Horizon Court * * * * * Excellent choices and quality, with very friendly and efficient crew serving it. Pizza / Paster Restaurant * * * The lunch service was excellent. The pizzas were tasty, but as usual outside of Australia, lacked the volume of toppings Australians are used to. (Around 80% of passengers were Australian and thus were not catered for. We did hear complaints) Cappuccinos * * * * * Excellent and constant quality throughout the ship. Stateroom * * * A bit small but met our expectations. Lighting was excellent for reading. For a short period there was no hot water. We heard others weren't so lucky. Shore Excursions * * * * To us and others they were expensive. Apart from one all met expectations. Due to a medical emergency the ship docked late in Istanbul. Six cruise ships were in port with numerous buses traveling along a set route. There was a massive traffic jam. Our bus only had time for twenty minutes in the bazaar. There wasn't time to view a carpet demonstration. We waited over a hour and a half for the return bus. During that time the ship's shuttle bus made three trips. It was classed as a walking tour yet several relied on an assortment of walking aids. One lady was recovering from a knee operation. These people complained when walking short distances. Others couldn't keep up and requested the guide to slow down. (We heard one of these passengers making similar complaints while walking to the Acropolis in Athens.) There was friction between a few slow and fit walkers. We placed a note in the suggestion box proposing it may be beneficial if future descriptions of walking tours made it absolutely clear it is a walking tour and required a reasonable level of fitness. This was not responded to. Instead the tour operator was blamed for the shortened excursion and it would receive a warning. We had not asked for a refund but were advised if we were not happy, "take it up with Sydney when you arrive home". If the ship had docked on schedule there would have been sufficient time to complete the tour. This was overlooked by Princess. Instead, the tour operator was wrongfully blamed. It is not known if the operator was at fault for the late return of the bus or not. Shore Excursion Desk * * We understood if a tour was booked, either the tickets or a note indicating you had been unsuccessful would be placed in your letter box. After several days we did not receive either for a tour we booked. Attempts to clarify the situation were unsuccessful. The last time we contacted the desk the male Caucasian said something which was not understood and was asked to clarify it. His reply was, " I am speaking in English and it is not my fault if you do not understand". Kay crossed over to reception and without mentioning the above spoke with one of the crew who we knew was very helpful. A telephone call was made to the excursion desk which resulted in tickets being swiftly conveyed to reception. Children Activities n/a Atrium - SAFETY ISSUE A lady dining with us each evening fell on the central staircase. A gentleman dining with us assisted another woman who slipped and fell on these stairs. We also heard of another fall. On the three occasions the victims were active people and at the time the sea was calm. These stairs are a hazard which should receive immediate attention. In the latter days of the voyage, crew were fixing lights to single steps to coffee lounges / bars etc but the atrium stairs had not received attention before we left the ship. Onboard Activities * * * At sea we always found something to do. Evening Shows/Entertainment * * * The quality of the performances were worlds apart. One comedian was pathetic. Many left the show before it finished. On the other hand, others were skilled and very professional. One of the best shows was the crew 's performance. They involved and related to the audience and were superior to several "imported" entertainers. Cruise Director Half a * There was an instance on her TV segment where she was rude and disrespectful to passengers and their suggestions. At the suggestion box I passed a comment to her along the lines of; opening the box each day must be like opening Christmas presents as you do not know what is in it. Not so was the reply, the only comments are complaints. My thoughts were, if there are complaints, does any one delve into them to see if they are genuine? From her attitude I concluded she wouldn't. Assistant Cruise Director * * * * * Was funny, knew how to work an audience. Beat the cruise director hands down. Cruise Lecturers * * * Those on the up coming ports were very informative. The speaker had previously visited many and those she hadn't, had thoroughly researched them. Segment on the galley. The two crew members giving the demonstration and the subsequent tour of the galley was woeful. Did not rate a half a star. Lecture on Finance * We could not understand why an American was chosen to speak to mostly Australians (a show of hands revealed three Americans in the audience) on the recent financial crisis and American aspects of financial planning? Often he mentioned he was seventy three and still retained a few clients. If he had even moderate financial planning skills, why was he still working? A younger and dynamic Australian would have been appropriate. Overall Cruise Rating * Many passengers would have rated the cruise higher, but our's is a reflection of what was dealt to us. We had an unfortunate experience which was handled inappropriately by Princess. Numerous passengers, later our friends and people we had never met before, considered our encounter was poorly handled. Many suggested Princess should have refunded our tickets. We have unpleasant and unsettling memories and are constantly reminded of them when people ask if we have received compensation. Dealings With Princess After The Cruise The Passenger Services Director stated our cruise had been spoilt, but Princess has not offered any compensation for the cost of the voyage. We were informed the crew advised the shore operations there was no evidence of bed bugs and they took all necessary steps to ensure our issues were addressed adequately and promptly. We totally disagree with the above. After being told four or five times there was no evidence of the bug or blood on the sheets, we looked ourselves. We found a fresh blood stain and photographed it. The ship's doctor and nurse independently diagnosed bed bug bites. We bore no evidence of bites before boarding. No further bites appeared after the first fumigation. On 3/11/2009 the repurchase of clothing was finalised at $1697.67. All requested documentation was forwarded by e-mail. We expected a speedy settlement. On 12/11/2009 en e-mail confirmed payment had been approved and to allow ten working days for it to arrive. On the twelfth day (1/12/2009) we advised Princess the cheque had not arrived. The senior manager customer feedback promptly advised he would get back to us "asap". As at 3/12/2009 we had not heard from him, however a cheque dated 18/11/09 arrived in an envelope postmarked 30NOV09. The cheque was posted to our bank. On 4/12/2009 we opened an e-mail which asked us to confirm whether the cheque had been received or not. If it hadn't, the cheque would be canceled and a new one issued. The company was to wait to hear from us before it took further action. Unfortunately it did not wait and placed a stop payment on the cheque. After e-mails and telephone conversations we arranged for the cheque and deposit to be removed from the banking system. Princess forward an undated replacement cheque by express post which arrived next day. We dated the cheque ourselves to ensure it was not dishonoured when presented for payment. General There were areas on the Dawn Princess where we experienced crew who were poorly recruited, had insufficient training and / or received inadequate supervision. It may beneficial if the company employed persons unknown even to the captain and others within the travel industry, to cruise and report on standards onboard its ships. This would ensure the shore personnel received unbiased reports on conditions and how crew respond to passengers. This would lead to a more pleasurable experience for all it's passengers. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Just returned off Aurora today from a 12 nt Canary Island cruise. This would have been the 3rd time on the ship. I chose this ship again as I had previously enjoyed the entertainment and passenger mix. Unfortunately, the cruise was so ... Read More
Just returned off Aurora today from a 12 nt Canary Island cruise. This would have been the 3rd time on the ship. I chose this ship again as I had previously enjoyed the entertainment and passenger mix. Unfortunately, the cruise was so boring. The Aurora Theatre company (this time only), were atrocious, just like a team of amateurs. The only good thing I could say was the two lead characters in their show "Phantom of the Popera". They were excellent singers and I think could do even better with a different set of backers. I still couldn't fault the food and service I received from our waiters in the Alexandria Restaurant, Vijay and John. EXCELLENT. The ship was clean as usual and cabins always clean and tidy. Got to be said, entertainment was diabolical. Jimmy Cricket!!! A Welsh singer, cant even remember his name, and illusionist Van Buren!!! and another female singer - shirley bassey singalike!!!! Also very surprised at how many children onboard, even though it wasn't school holidays Read Less
Sail Date November 2006

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click