22 Southampton World Cruise Reviews

Probably the best ship in P&O's fleet, having sailed on her, around the world and elsewhere, several times since 2007. Sadly her recent refit has removed one of her most loved features - The Bordeaux Restaurant, and replaced it ... Read More
Probably the best ship in P&O's fleet, having sailed on her, around the world and elsewhere, several times since 2007. Sadly her recent refit has removed one of her most loved features - The Bordeaux Restaurant, and replaced it with The Glasshouse which was noticably deserted for most of our cruise. Her well stocked Library is now crammed into the Cyber Cafe (dont think of sitting there quietly with a good book). The Sindhu restaurant has replaced the Library - OK for those who want a particular style of Indian food. Clealy the new features are centered around profit generation, but I doubt they will realise significant revenue as they are not in keeping with the British style of cruising. The change from the Pennant Grill to the Beach House does offer an alternative dining experience on the back of deck 12 which is recommended in the warmer climbs, possibly not so appealing on the Atlantic routes. The newly installed bulkhead which now divides the Vanderbilt room to provide a kitchen for the Sindhu restaurant lacks the original build quality, evidenced by the creaking whenever the ship gets into a lively sea - something which both Aurora and Oriana have not suffered previously. The multi million pound refit could have benifitted from removing the flaking paint and rust which is particularly evident around Deck 7 and elsewhere. On a more positive note Aurora still rides very well in rough seas - Coming through the Tasmin Sea in a Force 11 she remained very stable - so if your sea legs are not the greatest, this is the ship to choose. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I boarded Queen Elizabeth in Southampton on December 23rd and spent Christmas and New Year on board before returning to Southampton Jan 6th.2015. I then crossed to Hamburg and back before setting off on my half of the World Cruise Jan ... Read More
I boarded Queen Elizabeth in Southampton on December 23rd and spent Christmas and New Year on board before returning to Southampton Jan 6th.2015. I then crossed to Hamburg and back before setting off on my half of the World Cruise Jan 10th., finally disembarking in Auckland on Feb 27th. Having enjoyed over 40 cruises to date, reaching Diamond Tier on both Seabourn and Cunard, I feel more than qualified to give a frank and fair review of my own experiences of the Queen Elizabeth My first cruise on the ship was in April 2014 from Dubai to Southampton and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. However, I did decide that April that my next trip would be in a Club Class cabin in order that I would dine in the splendid and comfortable surroundings of the elegant Club Restaurant. There I recently enjoyed over 2 months of wonderful service. The Maitre'd Tetiana was first class. Elegant, attentive and charming. As were my server Lhea and Sommelier Miroslav. 3 top professionals who all went to great lengths to ensure that my every wish was catered for. On the first night, I requested bread sticks.These were brought immediately and presented on my table every night without further reminders. Miroslav's knowledge of wines, plus him charm and humour were exemplary and between us I explored a wonderful wine selection throughout my cruise. Personally, I found the Eastern European staff to be mainly very good. Of course, some are better than others and this applies to ALL nationalities, but '' you'll never please.............'' Due to the high number of cruises I have enjoyed on Seabourn, one of the world's top lines I am aware that standards are higher on that line. However, cost for cost, I find Cunard better value £ for £ I am booked again on the Elizabeth for 7 weeks starting November 18th and very much looking forward to embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
One of the plans you tend to make upon finishing your working years is what will you do to celebrate retiring. I had long ago decided to do a long and adventurous cruise to new places. I had my eye on the Grand Pacific cruise on Holland ... Read More
One of the plans you tend to make upon finishing your working years is what will you do to celebrate retiring. I had long ago decided to do a long and adventurous cruise to new places. I had my eye on the Grand Pacific cruise on Holland America's Amsterdam which left in Sept and was 70+ days around the Pacific. However, when I realized that HAL was doing a circumnavigation of Africa for the first time in 5 years with port calls at some places that were high on the bucket list, I decided to go with the Rotterdam instead. It was not listed as a "Grand Voyage" although the price was about the same as the Pacific cruise, but it was indeed grand! Flying from Florida to London was not a pleasure, as opposed to leaving from Ft Lauderdale or even Seattle, but after having to change to a flight to Washington DC, then Amtrak to Philly, and then flight to London followed by "tube" to London Victoria Station, then coach to Southampton, I made it. The Rotterdam had left Rotterdam the day before with less than half the guests before embarking the rest of us. I boarded around noon and the bags were in the room before I was, a first for me. Lunch in the dining room a few minutes later and then back to 1852 (outside mid ship) to unpack in my new quarters where I quickly felt at home. Five separate closets with plenty of storage as the Rotterdam was built for long cruises. The Rotterdam was redone about 5 years ago with new bathrooms, comfortable beds, all the usual HAL goodies. Room stewards couldn't do enough for me such as fresh fruit bowl and even some flowers. Cleaned every morning and turned down every night, and always asked me by my name if I was happy. I prefer the dining room to the Lido when time permitted. The greeter, who also always used my name, made sure I had a table and server of choice. Most of the dining room staff were excellent. I was treated like royalty and often was served my usual choices without even asking! If I asked the server which entree was better tonight, he would tell me and ofcourse return to make sure. If you treat these folks nicely, you will be amazed how great service is. I do mostly seafood or vegetarian and with rare exceptions it was delicious and well presented. Breakfast in a quiet dining room with a sea view table and a good server, Rosenthal china, and great cooked to order food....life doesn't get much better for me. The Rotterdam had about 1300 guests for the first 48 days, about 100 under "full capacity", with a lot of singles and no children. Well, one little girl who belonged to an officer. Never crowded, few ques, easy to find a seat for most everything, except some of the high quality lecturers. The lecturers were an important and quality part of this grand voyage. Entertainment also good to excellent. The cast shows were great; thought they should have performed more often. You could tell most of the staff were picked for this special voyage. Cruise director Michael and port lecturer KK were excellent. Many of the guests on this ship were frequent cruisers, some too frequent. By that, I mean, they were never satisfied with anything. To the staffs credit, they overlooked the TMC (Too Many Cruises) folks and still gave us great information and service. Keep smiling guys! The Rotterdam goes into drydock spring of 2015 and it does need some attention. It did have some plumbing issues, but I was lucky to have no problems in my room the entire trip. The dining room often had themed nights relating to the areas we were visiting. There were also special regional foods served around the pool area. Entertainers from the various areas were also brought on to add to the grand style voyage. We were the only ship in port with just a few exceptions. We only tendered in one port (Luderitz) and overnighted in 5 ports. The Rotterdam was a great ship for this itinarary as it is one of the fastest cruise ships on the seas, better to out run pirates and storms. We did run without most exterior lighting in the pirate areas and often maintained 20 knots. An officer told me with all 5 engines going and a freshly painted hull, the Rotterdam can do 26 knots. That burns too much fuel. Also, this ship rides deeper in the water which gives it more stable ride. We did have to avoid a cyclone in the Indian Ocean. A lot of extra sea miles and $75,000 extra in fuel costs, but the Rotterdam did very well indeed. I left on day 79 from Lisbon to fly home (flights were full from London so close to Christmas) only missing one port Vigo, Spain. After mostly great weather, it was getting cold and rainy as we returned to Europe and thus I didn't miss much. I would urge those seeking a long voyage exploring unusual ports on a great mid size (60,000 tons/1400 guests) ship, to consider the Rotterdam on this itinarary. As Holland America builds new (bigger) ships, their older ships will be sold. Don't expect a 100,000 ton/2500 guests ship to do these great places and that will leave only the more expensive smaller cruise lines to do them. The smaller ships can't handle the rougher seas either.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
FIRST SECTOR OF 2014 WORLD CRUISE EMBARKATION We arrived at the Ocean Terminal in Southampton at 12:30 and were told there was about a half hour delay in boarding. We were nevertheless on board and in our cabin by 1:30pm. We then went up ... Read More
FIRST SECTOR OF 2014 WORLD CRUISE EMBARKATION We arrived at the Ocean Terminal in Southampton at 12:30 and were told there was about a half hour delay in boarding. We were nevertheless on board and in our cabin by 1:30pm. We then went up and found a seat in the Lido self-service restaurant and had a leisurely lunch. CABIN We had a balcony cabin on deck 8, directly below the Lido, from which we heard no noise during the cruise. The cabin was clean, in good condition, with little evidence of wear and tear. There are two wardrobes, with 40 hangers provided. There are also shelves and drawers, which should provide ample storage for a 2 week holiday, but perhaps not for a full World Cruise. The cabin was kept clean by the steward while we were at breakfast and dinner each day – excellent service. Dressing gowns and slippers are provided. The bed linen is very good quality fine cotton. The two beds can be arranged as twin or double. They are reasonably soft, yet supportive. There are two large pillows, one square and one oblong, with good quality foam filling. The shower room was also in good condition, except for some mould on the tile grouting in the shower area. The shower curtain is a heavy fabric material, rather than plastic, which is much more practical. This was very clean, presumably because it can be easily placed in a washing machine. The shower thermostat was not always very effective at controlling the water temperature, but we have had the same problem on other ships. The strength of the lighting was good and a shaving/make up mirror is provided. Gilchrist and Soames, soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion are supplied and replaced as used. The bath towels were fluffy and an adequate size, but certainly not bath sheet size. There are also small hand towels and flannels. The balcony has two chairs and a table, but no recliners. The small flat screen television in the cabin provided general information and often had a recording of one of the talks from the previous day. It had US news channels, plus Sky News and BBC World. A number of films were shown each day, but the quality of the picture was so bad that most were not worth watching. FOOD Britannia restaurant. We were on the second sitting at 8:30pm. Our waiter, Dennis, from Dubrovnik was a real character. He was full of advice about which choices to make and even sang to us on one evening. We were initially impressed, but soon realised that he spent too much time entertaining us and not enough time serving and his assistant struggled to make up the lost time. Unlike tables served by other waiters, we were asked to choose our desserts with the starters and main course, instead of deciding on a light or more filling dessert after our main course. This procedure meant that it provided extra time for Dennis’s entertainment. Unlike other sections around us, we were rarely offered the Petit Fours with our coffee. It will be interesting to hear other peoples’ experience with Dennis. The food itself was good to excellent and there was no indication of the budget being cut since our last Cunard cruise in 2012. It is certainly much better than that provided by P&O. In particular we enjoyed some superb steaks, of a quality one would expect in the best restaurants. We also ate breakfast in the Britannia Restaurant, where the quality and choice was consistently good. You can have the full range of cooked English breakfast, cereals, pancakes, fruit, yogurt, bread and pastries, etc, etc. We normally had lunch in the Lido, where there was always a good choice of hot and cold dishes, plus pasta and pizzas made to order. Chocolate and vanilla ice cream was always available from a machine – parents please note! When the weather was bad it was difficult to find a seat between 12:00 and 1:00. If it was really full, a more leisurely lunch was available in the Britannia Restaurant. When the weather is fine the Lido grill is open where you can dine outside. This mainly offers burgers and hot dogs, with chips or salad. They no longer serve steak, so that is one cut back on the budget. Cunard’s famous afternoon tea is still available in the Queens Room between 3:30 and 4:30. Even if you only go once, you have to experience it. It is just not the same to have a self service tea in the Lido. DRINKS As is normal on Cunard and many other ships, the drink prices are very high ( from around $10 for a glass of wine) and there is also a15% service charge. We noted that many only drank water with their meals. THE CRUISE The title “Lost at Sea” refers to the fact our 10 day cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale was just that. The stop in the Azores was cancelled. After leaving Southampton we experienced 3 days of rough weather. At one stage speed was reduced to just 4 knots due to the storm force winds (Normal cruising speed 20 knots). On the third day (4th January) we were advised that our one and only morning ashore in Ponta Delgada in the Azores had been cancelled, as the weather would be too rough to enter the harbour. On the morning of our intended stop (6th January) the wind and sea conditions had moderated as we passed South of the Azores. Since the cost of fuel is now a major factor in running a cruise ship, it is clear that the cancelled stop had more to do with the additional cost of the fuel that would be needed to make up lost time, than the sea conditions. If you were in a restaurant at 9am or 12 noon when there was a report broadcast from the bridge, you would not hear these and the only way to monitor progress was on the “Report from the Bridge” shown on the television. This was often not updated and continued to show the previous day’s position, speed and sea conditions, or nothing at all. Despite the rough weather experienced at the beginning and a swell in the middle of the Atlantic, only a gentle rolling motion was experienced, except during the storm, when there was more rolling and pitching which some found uncomfortable. ENTERTAINMENT For the first few days we were entertained by a comedian and a singer. We did not find anyone who had ever heard of them. Presumably they work mainly on cruise ships. The Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers appeared towards the end of the cruise. We were told they were a new group and had to rehearse before appearing. Although the singers were good, the dancers were typical of those seen on cruise ships and lacked experience. They were certainly not up to the standard of those previously seen on Cunard cruises. There were also a number of musicians who performed in the theatre and around the ship and these were generally good. It had been intended that new acts (and Speakers) would join the ship in the Azores. Having cancelled this stop, the comedian ran out of jokes and the singer expanded her repertoire. We did have some interesting speakers. An adventurer, Adrian Hayes, who told of his mountain climbing, trips to the poles and trek across the desert. He was certainly entertaining. A retired policeman, David Bright, was less so and openly admitted that speaking was not his forte. He regularly over ran his allotted time and was unable to finish his story. It was more like listening to an ex-copper talking in the pub and as such was nevertheless fairly entertaining. An ex-BBC man, Peter Dorking, gave us a potted history of the BBC, with both archive film and sound. These were well produced talks. OTHER ACTIVITIES There were talks on how to dress (women), jewellery, learn to dance, fence (yes, with swords), get the most from your i-phone, i-pad etc., etc. There were also films shown in the theatre, cooking demonstrations, an audience with the Captain and many other things throughout the day. In fact it was often difficult to fit in time for your meals!! CREW Overall we found the crew courteous, helpful and very professional. Well done Cunard for the standard of training. One thing we did notice was there are now a much greater number of waiters from Eastern European Countries and they certainly were able to provide a better service, having a greater understanding of English and European culture, than many of the Asian crew members. DISEMBARKATION Where immigration does not take place on board, but in this case, ashore at Fort Lauderdale, be warned, it is a very long process. We stood “in line” for over an hour. The Americans certainly do their best to discourage tourists! CONCLUSIONS Firstly one has to bear in mind that as with most first sectors of a World Cruise crossing the Atlantic, the fares are heavily discounted and offer exceptional value for money. Even leaving this factor aside, we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, which was followed by a few days of hot sunshine in Florida. We were certainly relieved to find that Cunard have not lowered their standards. I did hear one woman ask at the Purser’s deck “Can I wear jeans in the restaurant tonight?” “No” was the answer, “The description of semi formal clearly states no jeans”. As I say, Cunard have not lowered their standards.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
World Voyage on QE  Sorry this is really long but it was a 118 day voyage! Embarkation - January 10, 2014 - The traffic in Southampton was horrible (no fault of Cunard) but once I made it to the terminal things moved quickly. My check-in ... Read More
World Voyage on QE  Sorry this is really long but it was a 118 day voyage! Embarkation - January 10, 2014 - The traffic in Southampton was horrible (no fault of Cunard) but once I made it to the terminal things moved quickly. My check-in time was 1 pm and I arrived around noon. There was no queue and I checked in and was on the ship in a matter of about 10 minutes. My three big bags and carryon were in my stateroom by 2:00. Food - I was in the Britannia Restaurant at table 330 which is about in the middle of the restaurant on deck two. We started out as a table of 10 solo travelers but this changed from segment to segment. The food was usually very good. There is a pasta, a fish, two meats and two vegetarian selections each night. You can usually also get certain off-menu items like a Caesar Salad, shrimp cocktail, fresh fruit, a chicken or meat entree, jell-o, etc. if you ask (These are not printed on the menu or advertised - I found out from a frequent Cunarder). The servers were excellent and I am sure would have tried to get other things if I had asked. I seldom eat breakfast and the few times I did was in the Lido. There was a good selection of items but, not surprisingly, some things did run out on longer segments. Lunch in the Lido was good with a selection of main courses, fresh salads, fresh fruit, cheese, breads, a soup, a hot dessert as well as a number of cold ones. There was also an Asian section. Most lunches also had chewy cookies in 2-3 different flavors. There is also a soft-serve ice cream machine with chocolate and vanilla ice cream. The Verandah - only ate here once but it was very good. The service was excellent. Lunch in the Golden Lion Pub - I ate lunch here a few times. The fish and chips were very much to my liking. The choice of meals are all typical pub fare. Alternative Dining in the Lido - I only ate here once when the theme was Asian (called Jasmine). The main course choices (there were three) were not my favorites but the soup, appetizers and desserts were excellent. Room Service - The Room service menu was more than adequate and service was fairly fast (arriving in under 20 minutes). The food was good and the choices varied from the dining room/Lido menus. Stateroom - I had a BC balcony stateroom on deck 7. The bed was very comfortable and had nice soft sheets. There was a 2-seat couch which opened into a bed (which would have been very tight with three people). Bathroom was very compact with a small shower. Plenty of space for my things on the shelf under the sink or on the small shelves beside the counter. Penhaligon's Quercus toiletries were provided - shampoo, conditioner, bath and shower gel, body lotion, and bar soap. Also a shower cap, cotton balls and Q-tips were provided. I had no problem with the quality of the towels although I heard complaints from others. Bathrobes and slippers were also provided. The balcony had three chairs which made it somewhat cramped but I probably could have had one or two removed if I had asked. I enjoyed the privacy of my balcony because I was not in one of the cut-in parts or corner balconies so I was not visible to other balconies. Entertainment - The Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers were very good and I saw each of their shows at least once (they repeated on most segments). The entertainers who were brought on for one or two shows varied greatly. Some were absolutely horrible (I walked out on one comedian whose show was raunchy and would have gone over better on a college campus than on Cunard) and some were amazingly good (a number of singers and a man who played the dulcimer come readily to mind). Most of the folkloric groups brought on in various ports were quite good. "Nexus" (billed as the "International Party Band") were ok but seemed to always play the same few songs at the sail-aways. (Sail-aways were a disappointment to some because there was not much participation.) Lectures - Most sea days had two lectures. The topics were widespread (Hitchcock's movies, the Golden Age of Ocean Liners, Pompeii and Herculaneum, famous women associated with Greenwich Village, history of U-boats, the Dreamflight program, "My Favorite Planet", the Cold War, etc.). One of my favourite writers, Bill Bryson, was on for a segment and spoke three times. All the lectures I saw were great. Most were broadcast on the TV in your stateroom if you missed them in person. Activities - There were a number of activities during the day. Some of these were held every day, some only on sea days. Movies were shown just about every day, usually at 2 p.m. There were computer classes (some free, some with a fee), bridge lessons, art lessons, sports competitions, trivia (sometimes 4 times a day), bingo,and classes in dancing, scarf tying and napkin folding. Sea days had needlework/knitting group hosted by the social hostess. Afternoon tea was served each day in the Queens Room and the room looked quite elegant. It was a nice break in the afternoon. There were other activities as well but you get the idea. At night there was live music in at least three venues (there are close to 25 musicians on board - not including the singers and dancers), dancing, trivia and other competitions, sing-alongs in the pub, and "Chocolate and Ice" buffets. There were a number of cocktail parties on each segment - full World Voyage guests, different levels of the World Club program, and those guests that just joined on each segment. One thing I would like to see on World Voyages is craft classes by a craft expert (not the social hostess). Cunard could charge a nominal fee for supplies. Balls - We had about 25 over the 118 days. The Black and White Ball was the only one that had most people participating. For the others there was usually no more than about 5% taking part. For the ball, special themed banners are hung in the Queens Room. Those who dress for the theme parade around the room and sometimes there were prizes. Dancing goes on for a couple of hours. Since most balls were on formal nights, as long as you have on formal wear there is no problem. Solo Travel - I was lucky to be on a very active Cruise Critic Roll Call. I spent two nights in Southampton prior to the voyage and ate with CC friends both nights. By the time I boarded the ship I already knew a number of people. We had a meet and greet each segment and I got to know many of the people on the roll call. Cunard put ten solos together at the dinner table for the first month of the World Voyage. We got to know each other very well and became a "family" looking out for each other. Five of us were together the entire voyage. A solo travellers get together was held each sea day at 11:00 with the Social Hostess facilitating. There were also about four "Gentleman Hosts" on each segment to dance with the ladies. I must have given off "I can't dance" vibes because I was never asked if I wanted to dance. Commentary - We had expert's commentary as we sailed out of New York, through the Panama Canal, and through the Suez Canal which made these really special. Port Presentations - for me, this is one area where Cunard could do much, much better. I realize that they, like all cruise lines, want to sell their excursions but the information about the port itself could be improved. For most ports the "must sees" and "what to do if you have been before" were discussed but not in much detail, if at all. The availability of a shuttle bus and its drop off point was not always given until the night before (to be fair, I believe that some of these are run independently of Cunard). The (written) guide to the port (given a day or so in advance) has poor maps (no scale, many important sites are not listed, etc.). The good thing about these presentations was that they were not just "where to shop" talks which you find on many lines. Ship Excursions - I took a number of these and the quality really depended on the tour guide. I had a number of really good guides and one terrible one in New York City. On another tour we did not go to one of the places indicated in the itinerary. I mentioned this to the Shore Excursion staff (I really was not complaining, I just wanted to let them know). The next day I was given a note of apology and a 25% refund which I really did not expect. Usually, disembarkation for tours went smoothly with meeting times and locations listed in the Daily Programme. One of the major complaints I heard was that Cunard charges for bottled water as you leave for excursions (evidently some cruise lines give bottled water). I had a collapsible water bottle which I filled the night before and put in the fridge so this did not bother me. On hot days there was water on the pier as you got back on the ship and chilled towels as well as the ever-present hand sanitizer. Crew - I found the vast majority of the crew to be very friendly and helpful. My stewardess (Shirley) was wonderful as was our waiter (Arnil). We had three different assistant waiters over the four months and all were good. The servers in the bar areas quickly learned my preferences and were quick to serve. Some of the officers could have made more of an effort to be friendly (or at least say "hello") when you met them in passing. Public Rooms - I really liked the Art Deco design of the ship and the "old time" elegance. There was quite a bit of Cunard memorabilia on display in different areas which I enjoyed seeing. There were some problems with water drips (evidently from the a/c which was hopefully fixed during the dry dock) and there was at least one plumbing issue that affected some staterooms. The Internet - Like on most ships, the internet had its good days and bad. There were a number of ports where there was no connectivity. One day I logged in and had lost around 600 minutes (wasn't sure of the exact amount). I talked to the tech guy and he gave me back the minutes. From then on I took a screen shot of the "Satellite Internet Usage Summary" to show that I logged off and exactly how many minutes I had left. I used my iPads on board and had no problems getting a signal in my stateroom or in other areas of the ship (provided there was a signal). Dress Code - For the most part the dress code was followed especially on formal nights. "Informal" is a little vague and although most dressed nicely (as described by Cunard) some stretched the definition of the term. I did see men being loaned jackets if they did not bring one to the MDR. Again, some stretched the idea of a jacket for dinner to include windbreakers and motorcycle jackets. BTW, jackets for men are not required during the day or if eating in the Lido. During the day, dress is no different (i.e. not dressier) than on other cruise lines I have been on. Disembarkation - My assigned group was called only five minutes late. It took about ten minutes to get from the deck three part of the Britannia Restaurant (assigned area) to the inside of the terminal. My four suitcases were not all where they should have been but it did not take long to find them. Had to wait some time for a porter but the one I got was able to get me out quickly. "Class System" - There is a great deal of discussion on Cruise Critic about Cunard's "Class System". Having sailed on the original Queen Mary, when I started investigating World Voyages I was a little put off thinking of three mutually exclusive parts of the ship. As I learned more, I realized that this is not true. Yes, there are a very few parts of the ship that are for the Grills passengers only but this is no different than special areas for the most costly suites on a number of other lines (and more seem to be going this way). Unless I saw someone going in/out of a suite or using their card in the lift, I never even knew who was in the Grills. The vast majority of the areas (maybe 95% or more) of the ship are open to everyone and I never felt "different" or "inferior". All in all, it was an amazing adventure and I thoroughly enjoyed the Cunard experience. Would I do another World Voyage? Most definitely! Would it be on Cunard? Most definitely! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We had heard good reports about Azura and were really excited about taking a 24 night Cruise to the Black Sea. Embarkation was smooth and quick and we were on board within 30 minutes. Cabins were not available and were directed to ... Read More
We had heard good reports about Azura and were really excited about taking a 24 night Cruise to the Black Sea. Embarkation was smooth and quick and we were on board within 30 minutes. Cabins were not available and were directed to restaurant to get food and drink whilst waiting for an announcement about availability. This came relatively quickly and we entered a clean reasonably spacious balcony cabin on Barbados Deck Starboard side, The first thing that hit us about Azura was that you could not walk all around the Promenade deck because the bow end was blocked off by superstructure. Secondly that no matter where you went on the ship it seemed very busy - with great difficulty finding seats in other than the Planet Bar or the Glass House. The Theatre was always completely full for first show at least 30 minuted before curtain up and started to emply 5 mintes before the end of an act so that Wacky Races could be performed by a combination of Walker aids, zimmer frames, wheelchairs, and disabled scooters as people zoomed off to claim seats for another show lounge. We felt that Manhatten lounge was dangerous when full because isles were frequently blocked and the lounge vista was not helped by huge pillars keeping the roof up. We dined on first sitting in the Oriental restaurant. The food was OK as was service but it was nothing to get excited about, especially the puddings. The show lounges were in my opinion quite poorly laid out and Brodie's Bar which we frequented for Quizzes was quite the most unwelcoming and uncomfortable bar I have ever encountered on any ship. It was in the same room as the casino and with regular clientelle on the noisy fruit machines it made for interesting quizzes with questions often having to be repeated The cruise itinerary was we has hoped going to be exciting especially cruising the Dardonelles and the Bosphorous, however both transients of the Dardonnelles were late at night and one of the Bosphorous was very early in the morning. This left us feeling distinctly short changed. We were unable to call in at Myteleene owing to rough seas, however I have been tendered by other cruise lines in much worse conditions. whoever planned the itinerary at Carnival want to be given a talking to. To dock on a Sunday morning in Vigo - when they must have know the port was virtually closed was disgraceful. Especially as we had been as sea for 5 days. Why could we not have called at Gibraltar or Cadiz on a Saturday? Passengers were not happy to discover a virtual lock down of Vigo. Tours we booked were for the most part OK although the Odessa guide was a joke. Taking us on a half hour stop to a Ukrainian bank to get local currency to use in local toilets and then telling the us the bank required to see our Ukrainian passports. What an idiot.. However the most disappointing aspect of the whole cruise was the attitude of more mature passengers. They were often very rude and intolerant. One example being to start booing and slow hand clapping in the theatre because the show was 7 minuted late in starting. DSS investigators need to get on one of these ships - the benefits bill would drop alarmingly. People was supposedly could hardly walk could suddenly sprint when a lift became free Read Less
Sail Date September 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
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
PORTS: London-Lisbon-Malaga-Tunis-Malta-Naphlion-Athens-Suez Canal-Safafa-Dubai (2 days)-Abu Dahbi-Goa-Mangalore-Cochin-Port Blair-Langkawi-Kuala Lumpur-Singapore-(Indoneisa) Jakarta-Semerang-Bali (2 ... Read More
PORTS: London-Lisbon-Malaga-Tunis-Malta-Naphlion-Athens-Suez Canal-Safafa-Dubai (2 days)-Abu Dahbi-Goa-Mangalore-Cochin-Port Blair-Langkawi-Kuala Lumpur-Singapore-(Indoneisa) Jakarta-Semerang-Bali (2 days)-Lombok-Komodo-Makassar-Probolingo-Surabaya (Indonesia)-Singapore ITINERARY: 50 wonderful days from Jan-March 2013 sailing from Southhampton, England to Singapore via the Suez Canal with two incredible weeks working our way across just some of the islands of Indonesia - only 6 of the fabled 17,000 islands of this important SE Asian country. This was also home to many of the ship's crew members, whose families joyously were waiting to greet them at the dock. Holland America and the Rotterdam were up to their well-regarded standards from top to bottom and played gracious host to the crew's family members who were invited on board for tours and refreshments. FELLOW PASSENGERS: Cruise Director Glenn was one of the best and along with the rest of the staff easily handled the bi-lingual demands since this cruise carried a very large Dutch-speaking contingent, which the entire staff handled with style, charm and easy humor. We first moved through history of all the major Western civilizations from Portugal, Spain, Carthage, Roman Empire, Greece and Egypt. And then on to the newer global powers of the UAE, India, Malaysia, Singapore and finally got to see both the new and old worlds of fabulous Indonesia. DINING: The ship was in beautiful shape, the food wonderful and dining settings varied for any tastes. The specialty restaurant The Pinnacle provided a very elegant setting also serving specialty night menus from Michelin rated Liberije (sp?) in Holland and Le Cirque in New York. The standard Pinnacle menus for both lunch and dinner were superb. Try them at both times for sure. Sea days breakfast, lunch and tea in the lovely, tall glass windowed main dining room was always a welcomed treat because you can see the waves passing by while you dine, allowing one to really have the sense of being on a ship. The main dining room sparkled elegantly at night with white linens and silver dinner service, but darkness kept those wonderful full window views more obscured during those evening hours in this part of the world. The specialty afternoon teas should not be missed, esp. the Indonesian and Royal Dutch ones. The Lido, Grill and Slice additionally offered a wide variety of foods for all tastes if a more casual setting was desired - with the option of indoor, poolside or outdoor dining, Along with many specialty buffets like crab feasts, Indonesian, Asian, and German sausage tests -- all very good. Wonderful array of cheeses, along with their signature desserts, good ice cream, chocolate chip cookies and the splendid little meringues. ENRICHMENT-SHORE EXCURSIONS: Enrichment lecture speakers were good to excellent and all topical for the areas we were visiting. The only major hassle was Indian immigration which was counter-productive and inefficient. Their constantly changing demands with each Indian port kept the staff up all night meeting trying to get us onshore on time. Staff was brilliant trying to respond to this. Indian regulations and their over-kill make-work officials at each were petty and annoying serving little purpose. India needs to pay attention to this tourist turn-off in the future if they want people to jump through more and more hoops just to enter their country - and enjoy it and spend our money there locally. Shore excursions offered by the ship were all excellent and well worth the prices since we were often in ports that were not used frequently by cruise ships, local traffic was intense, tourism services few to non-existent, and lots of space to cover to get the best feel for the new areas we were visiting. PIRATE PRECAUTIONS: Yes, we did go through pirate precautions that are now standard for all cruises in this Upper Indian/Ocean Red Sea area. In fact, they were less stringent than we experienced on two other cruise lines for this same area. Since this comes with the territory, there should of been no surprises to anyone choosing to travel in this continually unstable area. Can't imagine why any passenger would want to put the ship at risk ignoring these appropriate precautions. No complaints from us. Know before you go. This is not an optional exercise. The Suez Canal passage was just one of the many highlights of this trip. Be sure and bring binoculars and stay outside as much as you can to hear the plaintive Muslim calls to prayers during the day. SMOKING: I for one hope HAL bans smoking all together as it ruins perfectly good public areas for the rest of us with lingering tobacco smells which made the lovely Crows Nest forward viewing lounge almost unusable due to the lingering heavy smoke saturation. That room needs a thorough and deep cleaning and then ban smoking up there entirely, so the rest of the passengers can also enjoy this grand public space. INTERNET: No one expected or got full ship to shore communications traversing this part of the world either. Internet was slow and balky so best to do your emailing when ashore or in the cruise terminal where all the crew members set up their own laptops too. CABIN LOCATION: We tried a lower deck ocean view cabin (Main Deck 2) this time due to the length and price of the trip and found it spacious and accommodating, but missed our balcony. Saving money on the cabin allowed us to enjoy more shore excursions. We were close to open wrap-around walking deck on Deck 3 and found plenty of outdoor and indoor public spaces to enjoy, particularly the wonderfully stocked Rotterdam library and reading room - the Explorations Cafe. OVERALL: Holland America has a winner with this itinerary and the Rotterdam is just the lady to do this special Holland/Indonesia exploration. I hope many can take it for its full 50-90 day length in order to take this fabulous travel through both time and space as one moves from the Old World into the Newer New World - and the global future where over 3 billion people are rapidly moving in to the middle class. Yet while still preserving much of their ancient past and traditions as well. Long being a global traveller with well over 100 countries visited, I realized I had not really fully seen the world until I visited Indonesia - it is a new jewel in the crown of my own family of nations. And we found we loved 50 day cruises too! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We originally booked to go to Buenos Aires on Adonia but felt that the ship had limited facilities/entertainment so we transferred our booking to Arcadia but now including Chile & the Pacific Islands to Australia. We are first time ... Read More
We originally booked to go to Buenos Aires on Adonia but felt that the ship had limited facilities/entertainment so we transferred our booking to Arcadia but now including Chile & the Pacific Islands to Australia. We are first time cruisers & knew that we were taking a risk but we saw it as a romantic adventure travelling with a well established company, P & O Cruises. Our first disappointment was the cancellation of the visits to all the Argentine ports. We were not able to pull out without losing our deposit but our primary reason for going had been removed from the schedule. The 4 days missed were replaced with one day in Salvadore & an extra day in Montevideo - hardly a generous substitution. When we embarked at Southampton there were long delays in the process and we took 2 hours to get on board. Our cabin was quite adequate, but what a tiny TV screen and the bedside lights were archaic, placed behind the head. Lets hope that the planned refit sees to some upgrading of the cabin fittings. Our first days were an eye opener. Everyone seemed to have cruised extensively and many had done world cruises several times. They were only too pleased to relay their experiences, but most ended up with a litany of complaints, especially against P & O, which seemed odd as they were returning cruisers. We determined not to moan but to enjoy the good parts. But the cruise turned into a curate's egg - good in some parts but poor in others. The good parts were that the ship was very stable and although we rocked & rolled a bit she comfortable to travel on. The whole vessel was very well maintained and the cabins and public rooms were very clean & cared for. Our cabin girl, Jocelyn was first class. Likewise all the staff were approachable and cheerful - none more so than our waiters in the Meridian who were quick and efficient, cheerful and nothing too much trouble. We found that this extended to all the other service areas. First class gym and amazing Palladium theatre. Very good shows at night and plenty of activities to choose from during the sea days. Good sail away parties and pool events like the crossing of the equator. We felt that the Entertainments Team worked very hard and maintained an incredible cheerfulness in all circumstances! Also some of the more ad hoc shows such as the Arcadia Pantomime and talent show were well recieved. The food was good in the Meridian - not over-facing and the Belvedere self service offered a good choice. The daily Horizon was well produced, informative and always on time. But the down-side starts with the Arcadia cough - well catalogued from previous cruises. In the Palladium theatre the coughing & wheezing had to be heard to be believed. Whilst most of the germs were probably transmitted person to person there has to be a question about the air conditioning. How often are the ducts & filters cleaned? Is this an item that will be followed up on the refit? One boards the ship in good health and disembarks with a barking cough which some 3 weeks later still persists. Someone at a senior level should take responsibility for sorting this out. Perhaps the ship should have a red cross painted on her to designate a hospital ship until the cause is found & rectified! The ports that were missed have already been mentioned, but the turn round & flight from the Falklands was another disappointment. Easter Island was a slow cruise by, too far out to see much. The excursions were well planned and executed, but there was always the time pressure to get back before the ship was due to sail. The internet facilities and cost were not appreciated. Often very poor connections (we were advised to use our Notebook in our cabin with the door open to get better reception), and from time to time the ship left the cover of one satellite before coming to another. We needed to stay in touch with family & business in the UK throughout the cruise but were often frustrated. The exodus of passengers and staff to use the WiFi facilities at the ports was noticeable and this was sometimes free or charged at modest rates. As the majority of passengers nowadays have laptops, notebooks, Ipads etc could not the internet facilities be charged in the ticket price? Most good hotels provide WiFi foc nowadays. And will a better internet facility be installed at the refit? Overall we enjoyed the cruise but there are so many frustrations not least all the queuing and short tempers that then ensued. For a first timer it was an experience. We are glad that we did it and we saw the periphery of South America & some South Pacific Islands that we would never have seen otherwise. Would we do it again? I am afraid not because we found that we lost our independence. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We've just returned from a really wonderful cruise on Arcadia. Yes it was very disappointing that we could not Tender off the Falklands, but the sea was far to rough to attempt a safe transfer and I for one woudn't have trusted ... Read More
We've just returned from a really wonderful cruise on Arcadia. Yes it was very disappointing that we could not Tender off the Falklands, but the sea was far to rough to attempt a safe transfer and I for one woudn't have trusted the sea not to have got worse and those who thought otherwise, must have been crazy. I do think as others have said that P&O are losing sight of the people that keep them in business ie The Passengers!! they should have had time to at least put another Port of call on the Itinerary when Acapulco was withdrawn, as they new well before departure about the trouble. Adonia never went into Argentina either in 2012 and the trouble between UK and Argentina has escalated since, so there was no chance we were going there, so this was purely a Marketing ploy, as clearly many people would have cancelled. The other point the maintenance on the ship, although I know is an ongoing necessity, this time it was like living in a steel works, with constant chipping away at the metal work ( that was very annoying) especially on the promenade deck. The nasty stuff done with, we thought the rest was brilliant Food Entertainment especially the staff were great. I think people expect 5 star but only want to pay 4 star prices, perhaps they should sail with another cruise line, instead of making satisfied customers miserable, with their constant moaning. Neil Oliver Cruise Director who only joined in Sydney was amazing and so much energy, he made the sailaways really special and unmissable. The people on our table were so lovely, as we opted to have a singles table, we weren't sure what to expect. On the whole everyone was extremely pleasant, except for the few. This is the 3rd World cruise I have done with P&O and yes I would do another 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
Assuredly a very damning summary - but we disembarked from Arcadia on the completion of this voyage very disappointed at what we had endured for so long. We are not new to cruising, nor are we new to Grand Voyages - but this was our first ... Read More
Assuredly a very damning summary - but we disembarked from Arcadia on the completion of this voyage very disappointed at what we had endured for so long. We are not new to cruising, nor are we new to Grand Voyages - but this was our first experience of Arcadia and of P&O -and it will certainly be our last. Anyone who has booked, or is contemplating booking a 'Grand Voyage' cruise on P&O's Arcadia should very seriously think again. The Cruise : The first half of the cruise from Southampton to Sydney was a nightmare - by the time the ship reached Sydney the morale of the passengers was such that as well as the 600 plus Australian passengers who were desperately glad to be disembarking, the vast majority of those remaining on board would have joined them if they possibly could. Particular details of all that went wrong can be gleaned from the vast number of adverse reviews and comments already on the Internet relating to how passengers on the Arcadia were treated on this voyage. In short, no-one likes feeling that they have been duped, cheated, short changed, commercially exploited and are being treated with dismissive contempt. Moreover, the dismissive contempt continued once back on dry land. Communications with P&O regarding their gross negligence in NOT complying with their own 'Booking Conditions' were replied to 'cut and paste' responses consisting of sequences of platitudes and gibberish totally unrelated to the issues raised IF P&O had fulfilled its contractual obligations and the ship's management had treated passengers as if they were on a Cruise Liner rather than as interlopers on a Cargo Vessel - would we have enjoyed the cruise ? - Definitely not - and here are some of the reasons why : The 'Grand Voyage' : The Arcadia carries well over 2000 passengers - and at any one time 75-80% are on board for only one or occasionally two sectors of the 'Grand Voyage' Arcadia is one of the newer breed of 'Vegas' resort ships designed to provide the mass market with relatively short 'fun' cruises with lots of alcohol,gambling, mindless loud music and very dim lighting in all public areas from 1800hrs onwards, holiday camp/end of pier quality entertainment and singalongs coupled with the provision to gorge for 24hrs a day on mass produced,low quality meals typical of a works canteen or supermarket cafeteria. The so called 'Grand Voyage' was nothing more than four such 'fun' cruises (sectors) strung together. When the first sector was complete everything (menus, entertainment, lecture topics, films etc - even the errors and mis-spellings in the daily entertainment guide were for the most part repeated on each following sector. The 'Ship' ; Consistent with the 'resort ship' model large areas of Arcadia are devoted to revenue generating activities in contrast to the minimal space afforded to non-revenue services addressing the interests and comfort of passengers. eg: the small library with cramped seating for 10, the 30 seat 'cinema' and the ridiculous laundries are 'not fit for purpose'. In contrast the casino,totally unoccupied for most of the day has an enormous floor area housing four card tables, two roulette tables and 65 slot machines and boasts a seating capacity for 112 passengers. Public toilets are small in both space and number, are often 'out of order' and very basically equipped. The buffet restaurant has the ambiance of a motorway cafe with formica topped tables,unset for breakfast and lunch - pick up a tray,plate and cutlery, join the long queue to choose your food and then search for a seat !! Again consistent with the 'resort ship' model all vestiges of past elegance and refinement associated with cruising - particularly on Cunard - and to a lesser extent on P&O - have disappeared from Arcadia and been replaced with pretentious nonsense which fools but few. The most glaring examples relate to evening dining in the main restaurant: To gain access one must adhere to the ship's 'dress codes' - Problems occur when the dress code is 'Smart' - interpreted by P&O as meaning 'gentlemen must wear a jacket' - Hence, males wandering around the decks in trainers, baggy trousers and T-shirts can grab a jacket and gain access unchallenged whilst gentlemen elegantly dressed for dinner in tailored trousers,smart shirt and tie are refused entry! Upon gaining entry you will be presented with a menu adorned with dishes described in mouth-watering language with lots of 'juz' and 'drizzles' which bear little relation to what eventually appears from the kitchen. Set plates are augmented by 'silver service' - consisting of never more than potatoes cooked in a different style from those already on the set plate plus one other,usually overcooked and tepid vegetable. On the topic of food, apart from the general low quality of what is provided in the 'set menu' restaurant, prospective passengers should be aware that many items- particularly fruit, salads and cold meats and seafood - displayed in the 'buffet restaurant' are often well past their 'sell by' date - photographs of heaps of sweating, rotten bananas, pears etc are available on request. Also on view in the buffet from 3.00am onward would be tray after tray of pre-cooked fried eggs left to rubberise until being reheated when the restaurant opens!!! I could go on and on but .....!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
I agree with all that 'graham 100' has said about his leg to Dubai. To start with the boarding organisation in Southampton was chaotic. The cabin was very clean and tidy - we had a good steward in Peter. The TV was about a ... Read More
I agree with all that 'graham 100' has said about his leg to Dubai. To start with the boarding organisation in Southampton was chaotic. The cabin was very clean and tidy - we had a good steward in Peter. The TV was about a 15" flatscreen which was pathetically poor together with the service it gave. The ship and decor could have done with some attention but overall it was satisfactory. The food in the Main restaurant was very inconsistent ranging from good to inedible. The Belverdere had fresher food but limited choice. We have cruised on Arcadia before and the food standards were much higher. Generally speaking the restaurant service was not good - the waiters were poorly trained and rarely smiled. Their supervision was almost non-existent. The drinks were fairly priced and the bar service was good. The Captain's 'Cocktail Party' was held in the enclosed swimming pool which was highly inappropriate/too small. The free wines were awful/undrinkable and we opted for a g and t. We had a glimpse of the Captain when he said a few words which was more than some experienced. We didn't bother to subject ourselves to the second 'party'. The elusive Captain was spotted twice when most of the passengers were on excursions! His officers were also rarely seen. The excursion programme was mostly a disaster according to most we spoke to. We had two 50% refunds because the excursions were disastrous. The guy that gave the pre-excursion talks was partly to blame because his information/photos were years out of date. The coaches used in Aqaba and Egypt were old and dirty - something P&O should have checked. There were some good speakers but some should never been allowed on board. The entertainment provided was mixed with a few good acts but mostly they were ruined by poor direction/sound control. The regular group The Headliners (Headbangers)danced quite well but their singing was dreadful. P&O's cost cutting I suspect was mostly to blame for this average and disappointing cruise. P&O are not the only cruise line that is falling into the same trap probably promoted by accountants! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
I want to express our experience to you about P&O Aurora World Cruise 2012 as follows. Besides that I also have to mention that the crew and especially the cleaning staff, waiters and assistance at reception did extraordinary jobs. ... Read More
I want to express our experience to you about P&O Aurora World Cruise 2012 as follows. Besides that I also have to mention that the crew and especially the cleaning staff, waiters and assistance at reception did extraordinary jobs. The cruise started for us with asking P&O office for assistance or at least the right information in case of a lacking India Visa. We were told by P&O office that without the Indian Visa we are not allowed to enter the ship which later on at the departure date turned out as not being the correct information that was given to us. Because of that we needed to change flight schedules for several hundred's of dollars and phone calls for over a 100,00 Euros because of being forwarded from one department to the other without not getting helpful information. Finally the result was that all these expenses were not necessary but because of non sufficient information given from P&O office and Visa department in Southampton. An employee from P&O at Southampton Port allowed us to enter the ship but informed us that if we didn't have this Visa we would be unable to board but would have to disembark in a port prior to India. So I would say there is a lack of information from one office to another with P&O employees. At the same time we received the information that the port in Acapulco/Mexico was canceled because of safety issues without replacement nor any compensation. Shortly after we got announced that also Cochin as the second Indian port was canceled, but later on replaced with Muscat/Oman. We were told because of problems with landing slot's in Cochin!? The day as we entered the ship we were told that the so called "Noro virus" (vomiting and diarrhea) was on the ship. The rumors in between the passengers was that the virus was already on board before embarkation. Aurora's captain told it was brought by the passengers. From the first day we were bothered with several daily announcements about this issue and got "forced" to hand sanitizing around every corner of the ship until the rest of the cruise even that it was told later the situation was solved before the port of San Francisco. The next change was made in Colombo/Sri Lanka (regular scheduled inbetween 6 am. and 16:30 h) because of the tide in Mumbai. The stay at this port of call from finally 8 am. To 12:30 h was reduced by another 5 1/2 hours. After Madeira the ship started leaking in certain sections through broken and corroded water pipes. There were buckets placed all over the ship so that later on officials made jokes "that is for providing drinking water to the drug sniffing dogs". Towards the end of the cruise more buckets got added because the problem got worse. I am talking about having buckets on the ship, in the theatre, hallways and staircases over more than 90 days! We were just lucky that we did not sit down in the "Curzon" theater as a pipe broke there and caused lots of damage and flooded the place that there was no entertainment for almost 2 weeks available. There was a drug bust starting in San Francisco which caused inconvenience for lots of passengers including us who were not even involved. Drugs were found on the ship which is of course not a problem of P&O but to keep going with their standards and comforts as well as the promised itinerary for us passengers I will count P&O cruise line responsible for it. We were just lucky that our cabin (might!) not have been searched by officials getting under common suspicion and having drug dogs sniffing through our personal stuff. The next complication out of that was another cancellation of the port of call in "Yorkey's knob" Australia without replacement nor compensation. This because of demands from the authorities having again drug searching facilities available on the landing site. Because the new allocated landing spot was too far to reach by the tender boats the port was canceled entirely with the single replacement of another 5 hours in Abu Dabi. Further on at least on 23 ports of call (including Singapore) we had no proper cruise terminal. It was either a container port or tender boat operation for disembarkation within all it's inconvenience that it takes. I know that the landing fee's for those proper cruise ports are probably high 5 digit if not 6 digits amounts for those like Singapore and Sydney! Because of "security issues" the stay in the port of Istanbul was also reduced by approx. 12 hours not allowing us to leave the ship again at night on the first day and on the second day like the itinerary stated. Then early in the morning at 6:45 am a short term announcement was made that the ship will leave at 7:00 am. We were expecting to have a breakfast and coffee outside the port at the same day and having had left some Turkish currency for that reason besides the general inconvenience being involved in another change or reduction while expecting the presence of the scheduled itinerary until 11 am. for the 4 th of april. Passengers were not allowed to leave the ship anymore after 10:30 pm the 3rd of April. As the ship was leaving the port of Istanbul another big cruise liner came in and it was looking like we were almost "pushed out" of the pier. The above mentioned problems I would call general organization and maintenance matters as well as not taking care or not feeling responsible for advertised itineraries like promoted prior to booking. Now I want to mention the following situation on our stateroom on C-deck. The cabin was making noise all day and night due to the location above the engine section. The subdivision and ceiling panels of the cabin were vibrating on a high frequency so that I needed to get up almost every night to press or shake the panels to just interrupt it for a while. After complaining we were told that there is a ventilation unit behind the cabin and offered to move to another cabin. Because the shown cabin was far from the convenient aft deck and was also making noise we decided to stay in our crackling cabin. The toilet flush in our cabin was malfunctioning at least once every other week so that sometimes bad smelling sewage was drafting back from the entire system because we were the last cabin on this deck. Sometimes the bad smell remained for hours in the cabin because of that problem. And it was a repeating problem. Also one night the bathroom was flooded by water back drafting out of the toilet. Of course it is P&O's decision to do major maintenance on railings during a 3 month world cruise but I have never seen before that the entire wooden railings got taken off step by step and got sanded and varnished and replaced during regular cruise business as well as paint jobs. For more than 2 month there were signs "wet varnish" sticking on the railings and floors upfront one after the other day telling you not to touch them. Those inconvenient procedures were nor mentioned nor expected when booking the cruise and they seem to be very strange to us. By the way we believe it's wise to mention in P&O world cruise advertisement that the promenade deck will be shut from 6 pm until 6 am. because of probable piracy attacks. The promenade deck including illumination was shut down for approx. 2 weeks of the cruise and not available at these times inbetween Mumbai and Port Suez. Of course all this in consideration of safety concerns!? During several tender boat operations the engines broke down at least 3 times as far as we know and caused huge delays for all passengers besides our booked Cairo excursion at 3:30 am that day as they started fueling the tender boat before we could get on board. We were sitting 45 min. in the boat because of an actually 10 min. boat ride that morning as the engine of a tender boat broke down in front of us. The peak of it all was our "wake up call" at 1:30 am on the 9th of April as a waterfall caused by a corroded pipe was running down the cabin door and started pouring in our room. The water was pouring in huge amounts for almost an hour and flooded inside the cabin as well. To minimize damage we had to put towels in front of the door and lift up certain things and gather personnel items at 2:30 in the morning before getting relocated to another cabin on deck 10 with a tooth brush, wet jeans and flip flops. Putting our impression and experience of this P&O world cruise together even though comparing an average daily price we paid for this trip towards former cruises we have taken in the past by receiving higher quality standards regarding the ship itself and level of entertainment to a way lower average rate for instance with Cunard, Holland America and Celebrity. We must say that we were far from our own expectation and far from P&O promised and advertised standards which made it an unforgetable experience of vacation which of course it was but in the opposite way. We were also far from almost every scheduled itinerary and the amount of ports of call which was an important fact for booking this cruise on the Aurora. P&O never responded to any complaint If I put it together in one short term: forget about P&O! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Embarkation in Southampton was good it took less than one hour to get on board the ship. the initial observation of the vessel was good large bars and lounges and plenty of deck space. The balcony cabin was fine , bathroom was large ... Read More
Embarkation in Southampton was good it took less than one hour to get on board the ship. the initial observation of the vessel was good large bars and lounges and plenty of deck space. The balcony cabin was fine , bathroom was large and seemed fine. But after 3 days all this changed. the toilet kept on breaking down 10 times on the whole journey 3 times spilling water and raw sewage onto the bathroom floor.Each time when we complaint the problem was fixed so we thought but again and again it happened.We asked to be moved on 3 occasions but the request was totally ignored. the Headliner shows were great the best we have seen on a cruise ship for a long while.but otherwise the daily entertainment was to say mediocre the cruise director was never to be found and the cruise staff are very badly trained. Food in the Belvedere leaves a lot to be desired, always cold and very little variety. Our waiters in the main dining room were fine and the food was of good quality. Food in the Rhodes is excellent well worth the extra cover charge. The screening room must be the joke of the century, 30 seats for a ship with 2000 passengers.Would we ever go again on this vessel NO WAY. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Embarked Arcadia Ship Southampton 5th January 2011. for World Cruise lasting 84 days. No problems with embarkment, from arrival to embarkment 45minutes.I dont want to bore you with loads of text, so i will let you know what we thought was ... Read More
Embarked Arcadia Ship Southampton 5th January 2011. for World Cruise lasting 84 days. No problems with embarkment, from arrival to embarkment 45minutes.I dont want to bore you with loads of text, so i will let you know what we thought was good and what was disappointing for us.Please dont get me wrong when you read our disappointments, as we really enjoyed ourselves, however, it is just a shame that they cant get some of the easy and simple things right!! Majority of time thoroughly enjoyed, and i myself was fed up of the moaners and groaners on the cruise.... but i really would like people who are interested to know!My first disappointment was the size of the so called `Suite`,( AD Category Aft )having paid 40,000 sterling for suite accommodation, (for this trip of a lifetime!) we were shown to a little larger than average double bedroom. I always thought that a suite provided you with a bedroom, and some sort of separate sitting area, but this wasnt the case. Dont be fooled by the video or 360o views of rooms. (they look twice the size in pics and video`s). There was a small sofa, and table but they touched the bed, so we had to ask for the chairs to be removed so we had some space. Wish i had paid half this price and had a normal balcony room, which were only slightly smaller.We had to request that our balcony be painted, most of the balcony area was full of rust, with regular leaking water from outside pipes.Having said this, they did paint it when brought to their attention.If you didnt fancy dressing up to go to Main Restaurant (which you can imagine happened for us, during 84 nights)it it was off to the Belvedere. Food in Belvedere (Main Buffet Cafe Grill) was of good quality, however, in the evening it was extremely limited, ( plentiful at breakfast and lunch) just one counter open. (similar to school dinners lol) So if you didnt like the themed menu (which was very restrictive) ie. Pasta one night, Curry another, seafood another, but only one theme per night, you would have to go back and order room service, which again was very limited and most of the dishes on the room service menu, were chargeable, can you believe that!!!!! Because I couldnt! after paying 500.00 per night!Entertainment: Almost non- existent in the day. I think we seen the Cruise Director 4 times in the whole cruise???? Very Poor. (Considering we had so many sea days, travelling one ocean to another)A couple of good Acts during the night in the Palladium. Few and Far between. And in 84 days we had approx 3 days where they provided some sort of entertainment around the outdoor Aquarius pool, The bar, service and cabin staff were excellent, always friendly and accommodating. Ports of Call where great and tours were well organised! Staff were extremely friendly!!!But overall had a great time visiting many beautiful countries and Islands. Although, we may think of booking with P&O again, they wouldnt be my first choice and we wont be rushing..... id rather go with other liners who are not so penny pinching!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Findings from the 2011 World Tour maiden voyage of the Queen ElizabethFood and drink: Did not eat a piece of fruit that was ripe and ready when it looked like it was rotting. Vegetables were never done and very little so ask for more was ... Read More
Findings from the 2011 World Tour maiden voyage of the Queen ElizabethFood and drink: Did not eat a piece of fruit that was ripe and ready when it looked like it was rotting. Vegetables were never done and very little so ask for more was not an option if it is not done. Lots of lamb and poultry like duck and guinea fowl. Tasty meat was a few times. Coffee was one day too weak and too strong the other day. Really good but a few times. And endive salad was just lettuce with very few ingredients. Potatoes were not cooked and was therefore mostly rice. Quality food absolutely no 5 *. Only the Veranda restaurant, met the 5 * (super).Operation: Waiters fought a lot among themselves and were only controlled by their superiors. Mostly lazy and uninterested staff and often to clear the table mid-meal. In short, they do not know their stuff.Entertainment: In a world cruise repetitions and often shows for kids like morons, or a juggler or magician. There were beautiful costumes but we have seen them only 2 times. The theater was seldom full and people rarely walked quickly away. The sound of the orchestra was often more important and thus harder than the performing artist as a harpist and singer. Shortly, quality was very poor.Accommodation: The air conditioning was sometimes off and sometimes in some places it was 15 degrees and often in the restaurant almost 30 degrees. The coffee machines have been broken for days and a cup of cappuccino could not be donated. The TV has two British and two American stations but only one sports channel in the air for three weeks. Furthermore you missed all the sport.Dress Code: Lots formally a malfunctioning air conditioning does not contribute to a nice meal. Always one to suit what's wrong with a nice shirt or a polo.Passengers: On board Russians and Muslims in their own way travel experience. This is very different from the other passengers. Many children on board which is not helping to create a pleasant cruise.Information: Every day there will be a newspaper (daily program) that cut and paste is put together and full of errors. Furthermore, we did not enter Aruba and Bali but it is canceled for some unknown reason why we never communicated. This seems to be normal. Daily also published a newspaper in your own language, but you have to ask 4 times before this is settled. Furthermore, also in English (especially the cruise director) is not known that other countries in the world than England.Disembark: Upon arrival at Southampton, I had to first pick up the car. Asked when leaving the ship on 3 persons of security or should I return after the car was retrieved. No problem if you show the boarding pass but there is no problem. After all, you paid for these days and this date is also mentioned. Showing you never come back on board and after information from four individuals showed that this was impossible. So the telephone to call the ship and asked if anyone wanted to empty my cabin (there were 3 bags) it lasted a whole 2.5 hours and the result that the train to France that was made was not reached. It costs nearly 100 euros over again.Summary: The Queen Elizabeth is a 5 star ship and the whole earn less than 4 stars it was also evident in the evenings where a retirement home just after eleven which was 95% in bed Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We booked this cruise for 23 days, but Princess considered it two back to back cruises. That had its advantages and disadvantages. The first cruise, on the 18th of Sept, that went to Vigo Spain, Lisbon Portugal, La Rochelle France, and St. ... Read More
We booked this cruise for 23 days, but Princess considered it two back to back cruises. That had its advantages and disadvantages. The first cruise, on the 18th of Sept, that went to Vigo Spain, Lisbon Portugal, La Rochelle France, and St. Peters Port embarked with no problems. We had sailed on the Grand before, but still wanted to familiarize ourselves with the ship again before heading for the Horizon Court for lunch. It was like coming home. Later that day and all the next day I noticed that there was a long line at the purser's desk. I asked what that was about and was told that they were all cancelling their automatic gratuities. Talking with our room steward, he said that is a common occurrence when the ship leaves Southampton (the Grand's homeport). I just wonder how many people under-tip or don't tip at all. Anyway, the stops were great except for St. Peter's Port which was cancelled due to high winds. We encountered some strike problems (nothing violent) in La Rochelle, but the tours finally went on. One returning bus was delayed by the strikers and didn't get back until 2 hours after our scheduled departure. I expect the Captain wasn't very happy! On the 25th we departed for the crossing to Ft. Lauderdale...the second back to back cruise for us. Most of the Brits had disembarked and were replaced by primarily Americans and Canadians. We stayed on board to avoid the embarking crowds. I guess the embarking was a nightmare with down computers and too many people arriving at the terminal at the same time. The ports were the main reason we booked this cruise. We went to Bergen, Norway, Shetland Islands, Faroe Islands, two stops in Iceland (we swam in the thermal pools there!), and on to Sydney, Nova Scotia. It rains 300 days a year in Bergen, but not that day. The only rain we got was in Nova Scotia. INTERNET: Those of us who get free internet were told that we were supposed to get 500 minutes of internet, but in actuality, we only got 400 minutes and even that was a struggle as the system deleted any usable minutes when we started the second cruise and then deleted the entire account. We worked, without much success, with the manager of the Internet Cafe and the Captain's Circle manager, Lola. It was very frustrating, to say the least. DINING: We had traditional dining in the Botticelli dining room with some great table-mates. The service was impeccable, but I found that the food selections had gone downhill from the Princess cruise we took last summer and the eight others that we had taken in the past. As the Grand is usually home-ported in Southampton, maybe the menus changed to accommodate that clientele. Not sure. The food in the Horizon Court was good, but it is always a hassle to find a table. LOUNGES: Our favorite lounge was the Wheelhouse Bar. The place is quiet, intimate, and with great service. They also make great martinis! I just wish that they could have found more peanuts to put on the table. The Skywalker Lounge was a great place to read and just watch the water go by. It was quiet during the day and I understand it was even quiet at night on this trip. Every evening they served tapas and discounted drinks of the day to Platinum and Elite members. Loved that. STATEROOM: Our stateroom, this trip, was an inside one on the Baja Deck. It was perfectly adequate, but we had to ask for a blanket as just the sheet was too cold and the comforter was too warm. Edgar, our room steward, provided great service. ENTERTAINMENT: We passed on some of the entertainment. A couple of times the cruise director, Billy London, had to cancel performances due to the rocking of the ship and schedule something else. Most of the entertainment was adequate to good in my estimation. The ship is old and falling apart. The maintenance crews were busy, but nothing was down enough to inconvenience anybody. You can see lots of wear and tear which is why the ship is scheduled for a 6 week, $60 million dry dock this spring. The Captain stated that we will not recognize the ship when she comes back out. We are looking forward to the first trip out of dry dock. I believe it is scheduled to head back to Southampton on 5 May. NOTE: I noticed that there were more short-tempered passengers on this cruise than on others that we had taken. Spouses were at each other and even strangers were getting testy with other strangers. Most of the passengers were veteran cruisers so there was no explanation (or excuse) for it all. The "Walk-off's" had congregated in the Michelangelo Dining Room for debarkation. When they finally allowed the first group to depart one older man pushed his way to the door and someone pushed him. He came up swinging and apparently connected with the person who pushed him. The fight only lasted seconds, but seems to be typical of the temperament of the people all during the crossing. Maybe these people need to fly next time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Summary: Overall the ship, service and staff (everyone who you meet would always say hello or a greeting) are top notch and we enjoyed this experience on being on an Ocean liner rather than being on a Cruise ship while crossing the ... Read More
Summary: Overall the ship, service and staff (everyone who you meet would always say hello or a greeting) are top notch and we enjoyed this experience on being on an Ocean liner rather than being on a Cruise ship while crossing the Atlantic. On the whole, the transatlantic cruise was an enjoyable experience, but I would most likely not repeat this itinerary in the near future, based on a couple of reasons. The first point is that I prefer to have the opportunity to visit a few port of calls during our time onboard. The second reason is that as the Cunard cruise line is very traditional and too formal (i.e., the need to be in a business suit for the duration of the cruise during dinner time) for my liking as I personally like a little less formality when cruising (if it is just a couple nights I actually look forward in dressing up, but every night, it becomes a chore). Passengers: We were a party of six, consisting of myself, DW, DD's (ages 6 and 3, respectively), DFIL, and DMIL. There was a promotion when we booked that third and fourth passenger under 17 years old could sail for free on this itinerary. As the result we noticed that there was a fair number of kids on the cruise. Pre-boarding: We flew to London a week before to see the city before boarding the ship on August 28. During our stay in London, we were able to take in a few attractions (London Eye, Themes river cruise, and Legoland in Windsor), historical landmarks (Buckingham Place and Hampton Court Palaces) and some shopping (Harrods). Embarkation: As DFIL and DMIL are Cunard Diamond World Club members, we were able to check-in via the priority line and were able to get processed, photographed and issued our ship ID cards within 15 minutes. We then passed through the security screening before being allowed to step onboard the QM2. As it was past noon time we were able to go to our cabins before heading to Kings Court for lunch. As we arrived later (approximately around 1:30 PM), it seems that there were no issues with large groups of cruise passengers waiting to be processed. At 4 PM we went to the Spa on deck 7 for the required reporting to the muster stations, wearing of the life vests and safety review. Twenty minutes later we finished and returned back to the cabin to store the life vests and walked the back of the ship to watch the sail away. We actually left the port 10 minutes early at 4:50 PM, just behind and ahead of a couple of P&O ships and the RCI Liberty of the Seas who were also in Southampton. Cabin: We had a Portside Oceanview cabin #6016 on deck 6 that sleeps four. The cabin was situated near the front of the ship just ahead of stairway A. It was configured as two beds on the bottom and two dropping down from the ceiling. I ended up sleeping on the upper bunk for most of the cruise with my older DD and DW sleeping on the other upper bunk. The younger DD always slept on the bottom bed. Whereas the upper bunk beds were firm and comfortable, we found that the lower beds were a little lumpy and showing signs that they needed to be replaced. We found that the beds on the HAL ships that we sailed most recently on werethe most comfortable in comparison to the QM2 beds. Our cabin steward was Ireneo and he was very good in keeping the cabin clean and making the beds and the daily night turndown service (loved the chocolates). It seemed that Ireneo was always working, when we would go to the cabin. Given that he seems to have a lot of cabins to upkeep, I was not surprised that we didn't get any towel animals. The In-laws had an Aft Portside Inside cabin #4202 on deck 4 (that also can sleep four) which was just behind stairway D. Food/Dinner Service: We were assigned to table #99 (seating for six) in the lower Britannia Main Dining Room (MDR) deck 2 for first seating at 6 PM. Our waiter was John and his assistant Randy. John would handle to meal orders and were able to accommodate the kids' needs and wants. Randy served the desserts and the after dinner beverages. The kid's menu did not change, but given the number of choices available on the menu, the kids were able to find something to eat. On most nights I ordered the beef courses while my DFIL ordered the fish dishes. DW tried the Spa menu selections and found them not to be too much different from the selections on the regular menu. The meals in general were good but not inspiring in comparison to other cruise lines. The desserts I found were ok, but not very exciting. For our 10th anniversary, we were given small cake that was made on the day of and it was very good. Other than going to the MDR, we spent most of our lunches and breakfasts at the Kings Court buffet on deck 7. The Kings Court is composed of four serving areas: Carvary, Lotus (Asian), Italian, and a Grill station. During breakfast the Carvary and Italian stations would serve selections that would make a full English breakfast, while the Asian would have some similar selections with the addition of fried rice or Congee (rice porridge). The Grill would serve made to order omelets & eggs, pancakes, and waffles. The selections for breakfast did not change throughout the cruise. For Lunch, the Carvary would have a daily selection of meat that would be craved on demand. The Italian station would have various pizzas available along with different type of meats and veggies prepared in a Mediterranean style. The Asian selection would have a soup and noodles and some veggie stir-fry. The Grill would serve sandwiches and burgers (always had a line-up during the lunch hour). We also went to eat at the Lion Pub as it had a pub menu that they served from noon to 3 PM everyday. We also went of afternoon tea on most days (3:30 to 4:30 PM), where brewed tea, various finger sandwiches, desserts and scones (with butter and jam) would be served with live entertainment in the form of a string quartette, a harpist twice and a dance band. One day we also tried the self-serve tea which was located Entertainment: During the first couple of days, DFIL was able to get hold of some tickets to watch a couple of shows in the Planetarium (Illusions Theater). It was an interesting experience to be able to watch shows on the creation of the universe and the exploration of life on other planets in the middle of the ocean. At night time the Illusions would then show regular movies. I was able to catch Sherlock Homes at 10:30 PM on the last night before we arrived in New York. I was able to attend a couple of the song and dance presentations, listened to a theater show singer and take in a play performed by RADA. I missed the first day's entertainment and skipped the Violinist. Laundry: It was a welcome surprise that on QM2 there are several self-serve laundry facilities located throughout the ship on several decks and fore and aft of the ship. The ship even provides complementary laundry detergent in self-dissolving single use packets. At each laundry station there are usually three pairs of washers and dryers along with a couple of irons and boards. They are opened from 7:30 AM to 9:00 PM everyday. Since the kids were always waking up early, I was able to get to the laundry stations first thing in the morning (during the three times I washed our clothes) and didn't have to wait for a machine to be available. On the second last day of the cruise, there was an offer for laundry service by the ship for $30 and up to 30 items of clothing, so long as it fit into the laundry bag. Given that self-serve was free and on previous cruises the cost was $20 for a bag of laundry, we didn't bother taking up on the offer. Children's Program: On the first day, we signed up both kids for the children's program and the older DD attended the program for a couple of days before deciding that she wanted to follow us instead. The younger DD did not attend the program as she was not interested in any of the activities that were being offered. In all, the program was not very well organized as there were only two age groups - Ages 1 to 5 and 6 to 17. Being that older DD just only turned 6, she was the youngest in the group and as such not a lot of activities were geared towards her age or interest (in DD opinion it was to much boys oriented stuff). Disembarkation: As the ship time was being adjusted almost every night throughout the cruise, my kids who were still on London time was waking up earlier and earlier. On the morning when we were to arrive into New York, they woke up at 4:45 AM (ship time) and luckily were able to see the statue of Liberty as we sailed by the monument at around 5 AM. Leaving the ship was a very easy process, as we followed the In-laws and were able to leave immediately shortly after the 8:30 AM (when we needed to leave the cabins). After giving back our ship ID cards to security to scan, we then left the ship to pick up our luggage and clear US immigration at the Brooklyn port. We then took a cab into Manhattan were we stayed for two additional days before taking a short flight back home from LaGuardia. Additional Notes: As Transatlantic cruises go, this one was uneventful other than some rain during the first couple of days out from Southampton. Before this cruise, QM2 was in Hamburg, Germany and as such during the noon time announcements there were German and French announcements in addition to the Commodores updates. Due to weather fronts, the QM2 would need to skip a port on her next cruise destination (New England and Canada) and stay overnight in New York before heading directly to Boston, MA. Even being a full ship, it didn't feel crowded and in fact that the indoor covered pool (deck 12) was never full was a bonus as DD and I were able to swim a couple of times without bumping into people all the time. During the formal night dinners, I noticed that almost 90% of men were in Tuxes and women in proper dresses. This is the first time I have seen the dress code being followed so closely. The staff was not very pushy about getting drinks, taking pictures or going for art auctions and this made the cruising experience much most pleasant. As I stated previously, all the ship's staff were very kind and courteous and would also greet you as they passed by in the corridors. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
This was a wonderful cruise on a ship that we had been on twice before. This time we avoided the Brittania restaurant - which is good, but has two sittings and is too large - by booking a club balcony cabin, thus having the Brittania Club ... Read More
This was a wonderful cruise on a ship that we had been on twice before. This time we avoided the Brittania restaurant - which is good, but has two sittings and is too large - by booking a club balcony cabin, thus having the Brittania Club restaurant which was just the right size, open dining, and first class service. Our last cruise was in the Queen's Grill, and although excellent, the service we received in the Club restaurant was just as good. The reason for the Queen's Grill was an upgrade due to a golden wedding anniversary. The food was excellent with such a great choice. The cabin was fine with plenty of drawer and cupboard space and the cabin service was excellent. Only complaint was that although the towels are of good quality, the size of the bath towels leave a lot to be desired. The ship was spotlessly clean and all the staff very friendly and helpful, apart from the pursers office where one did not always get the best service. O.K they are the ones who take all the complaints, but they were on several occasions, not the nicest of folk to deal with and gave one the impression of being superior, and not there to serve the guests. Two good things came out of this cruise. You can now buy Gin or Vodka (certain brands)plus 6 cans of tonic for $25 for consumption in your cabin, and they also turn a blind eye to you taking spirits or wine on board. Think they had to do it as P & O were already doing this. The prices charged in the bars and restaurants are exhorbitant especially with the 15% service charge, so we did not use them very much. One only had to look at the tables in the Brittania restaurant in the evening to see that there were not many bottles of wine on the table. They did actually reduce the price of some of their wines when we were aboard, but they need to reduce them even more for us to buy one bottle a day. Other cruise lines do not charge as much. Only did one tour as there again they are much too expensive and as seasoned cruisers we know how to do them much more cheaply. All in all a wonderful cruise, and one will always have some complaints after such a long time. I sincerely hope to rejoin QM2 in Capetown next year for parts of the cruise that I did not do this time! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My wife and I took the Cunard Queen Mary 2 World Voyage 2010 - Our trip started in Southampton January 11th and we left the Queen 91 days and 33 ports later in Ft. Lauderdale. The size of the Queen affords the passengers the luxury of ... Read More
My wife and I took the Cunard Queen Mary 2 World Voyage 2010 - Our trip started in Southampton January 11th and we left the Queen 91 days and 33 ports later in Ft. Lauderdale. The size of the Queen affords the passengers the luxury of large public rooms and lots of space to lounge around. The airiness and many large windows gives the light and view a chance to be admired by all passengers from every direction. The down size to this large vessel, is that you see all the major container ports of the world; the ship is so large (155 thousand tons) that it does not accommodate the ports well, and one docks miles from the center of passenger interest. The shuttle service takes anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour to transport the passengers to town and the lines are long; and in some ports, no cover was available to shade the passengers from the heat, and a few passengers fainted while waiting to board the ship..The lack of water at the port stations were very obvious to all. If the ship is your "destination", this ship has what you want. If you are concerned about seeing the ports in detail, and with maximum time, you will need to go on a "cruise" ship, not an ocean liner; the QM2 is a great venue for quiet elegance an the enjoyment of serenity, but you can also be busy all day long if you choose. The food quality ranges from 5 star cafeteria to excellent; the quality was not consistent from day to day. The Kings Court venue with its four no charge alternate dining restaurants are a nice touch from the main dining room. The service in the Kings Court was always above par. The food was excellent; but you were limited to two reservation per cruise segment, and when making the reservations, one had to call many days in advance as the space is extremely limited. The decor is a bit "dowdy" and needs help; the ship, built in 2004, is in desperate need of upgrading; the TV's are the old box type, not the new flat screen; there were no DVD players available; the Internet service was very slow and expensive, and was down many hours during this voyage. We also were told that it is coming back on, but it sometime did not for 24 to 36 hours. The Internet manager was helpful to a point, then he would walk away as he had no authority over the web service. In the meantime, one is paying 75 cents/minute to wait it out. The entertainment was broad in nature; the lectures covered a wide variety of subjects, some very stodgy, some down to earth; the port lectures were low in content and were more travel logs to brag about their own experience in the ports. The computer instructor ( different from the computer manager) was excellent, and was very friendly and helpful. Computer class were given several times a week and were at no charge. The movies in the theater were a mix bag; from gory murders to comedy, not all were current. The Broadway style shows were high school in quality and very repetitive. The headline acts were mostly violinist, piano players, and singers; very few comedy or other lite entertainment. Service was no winner. The dining room waiter had to be asked several times to refill the water, coffee, bread etc. This should have been routine training; we finally got the section head to monitor this function for our table as the waiter could not be bothered. The cabin was inside - 6103 - great location and very quiet. Our cabin steward was okay, not outstanding, but the cabin was always clean, and she did her best. On the subject of service, my main complaint with Cunard is the lack of caring from the management. This ship, and it may have a Cunard label, is very arrogant in the dealings with the passengers, and they act as though they know what is best for you. From the World Cruise concierge, to the social hostess, to pursers office, your needs are not met, phone calls not returned, and general destine is apparent. I could write volumes about the misinformation given at the pursers office, and the double talk from the staff, but you get the drift. So it comes down to this; I can not recommend the QM2 for a long cruise; a better choice would be the New York to Southampton crossing. Would I go again on this ship: NO ! We have taken 169 cruises, on several different branded lines and the QM2 does not hold a candle in quality and service to the other ships - what the Queen does have is a name and past glory. Its reputation is slowly being tarnished by the current management. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click