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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We went on the worldwide cruise with Cunard in Jan 2019 and have vowed never to cruise with this company again. The ship was tatty and the furnishing were mediocre. Air con was cold throughout the ship and you could not turn this off in ... Read More
We went on the worldwide cruise with Cunard in Jan 2019 and have vowed never to cruise with this company again. The ship was tatty and the furnishing were mediocre. Air con was cold throughout the ship and you could not turn this off in your stateroom. It would have been nice to have been able to open our balcony door but if we did this the air con went into ‘overdrive’ and dripped. I am sure that the air con throughout the ship did not help with the problem of the prevalent cough/cold that circulated - everyone we met had this and we also fell victim, myself twice with one occasion necessitating me having to stay in our cabin for 6 days to recover! Internet availability/connection was poor and expensive if you did not qualify for free wi fi (this was dependant upon your length of trip/previous cruiser as to whether you got some ‘free minutes’). Cunard organised trips were poorly thought out bearing in mind that the average age of the passengers was 65+. Some of the destinations offered coaches that were suited to the local ‘slight’ population and not to northern hemisphere population with no air con or PA system. Next time we will book with an independent luxury cruise ship which offers better quality and value Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I need to preface my remarks by saying that I have travelled extensively on Silversea and Regent Seven Seas - both are ALL Inclusive cruise-lines. So whilst I was quite prepared to have to pay for my drinks - wow - I was not prepared for ... Read More
I need to preface my remarks by saying that I have travelled extensively on Silversea and Regent Seven Seas - both are ALL Inclusive cruise-lines. So whilst I was quite prepared to have to pay for my drinks - wow - I was not prepared for the totally outrageous prices Cunard was charging - they have managed to take greed to a whole new level - for example - I can buy a bottle of Mateus Rose in Sainsbury's for £5 duty and tax paid - I paid $10.60 for a 250 mls glass of Mateus - roughly £8 - and with 3 measures to a bottle that equates to £24 per bottle and I am assuming that the bottle is tax and duty free????? Come on surely that tearing the arse out of it a bit but then they have the temerity of charging a 15% service charge on top. What is the justification? I have no idea other than "Pure Greed"? Do not know about you but long haul flights are becoming a major bore, so instead of a couple of weeks in Las Vegas or Macau, decided to seek a luxury cruise out of UK and the Queen Victoria provided the answer. I travelled Queens Grill and that was well worth it although I would have like to moved tables and met new people? The food and service were quite excellent. There was a Grill lounge which a true haven of peace and quiet. Due to being mobility challenged - I have artificial knees - I do not do a lot shore excursions as I used to, but I did do one on the cruise - tour staff were rude and very unhelpful - but our tour guide was fantastic and the tour itself was a lot of fun. Given that I was a Queen's Grill customer - the embarkation process was appalling and disembarkation process was a total and utter farce - I do mean a total farce - and this is meant to be an up-market cruise-line - sorry it is not - I was mown down by wheel-chair - basically 2000 passengers were trying to get off at the same through a single disembarkation terminal - it was utter chaos - just to add to pain - no-one told me that "Aqua" tags (Queen's Grill) were laid out separately????? Most depressing of all, is no-one from Cunard it prepared to talk about this? Have fun but if you want to go cruising try another cruise-line? Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We had been on the Queen Mary 2 several years ago and was looking forward to another Cunard trip. Pros: 1. a beautiful ship 2. good food (down from last time, but still very good at most meals) 3. greats ports 4.good ... Read More
We had been on the Queen Mary 2 several years ago and was looking forward to another Cunard trip. Pros: 1. a beautiful ship 2. good food (down from last time, but still very good at most meals) 3. greats ports 4.good entertainment Cons: 1. Horrible staff!! 2. room was filthy (wish I had taken pictures because no one would believe it) 3. Aside from the head waiter - NO ONE bother to learn our names. No one. Not our cabin attendant, not our waiter, not the bartender at the bar we had drinks at every night. 4. In an effort to meet all of the ports of call, the ship went right through a bad storm, instead of going around it.The cabins in the front and especially the back had it particularly rough. 5. The buffet (outside of meal times) was awful. 6. People onboard got sick and they had to take precautions. They never pulled people from the bars that were overstaffed to help. It could take you up to 20 minutes to get a cup of coffee because they had to serve you. 7. While the ship was under rules for the flu, there was a person at each entry to the buffet to pass out hand sanitizer. Once the precautions were pulled so were the people passing out the hand santizer. After this RARELY did I see crew using the stationary hand sanitizer. I thought no wonder the norovirus spread through the ship! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
First off, let me say the ONLY reason I'm taking the time to write this review is because of the constant nickle and diming of Cunard and their stingy ways. Otherwise I'd have just blown even the extra $3,500 off. But ... Read More
First off, let me say the ONLY reason I'm taking the time to write this review is because of the constant nickle and diming of Cunard and their stingy ways. Otherwise I'd have just blown even the extra $3,500 off. But they're just stingy and to the bone. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary mostly - however, I am confused why we called a couple ports - and because of Cunard's reputation and reviews. We had priority embarkation so that was flawless. The community rooms, except for the Lido dining area, of the ship are well decorated with stunning under stated taste. Cunard had a half bottle of complementary sparkling win in our room which was a nice touch. That's where my amazement ended. Embarkation is at 2:00 and coincidentally lunch is over at 2:00-ish. We dropped our stuff off in the underwhelming state room (See Cabin Review Section about the stateroom's decoration and abysmal bathroom.). When we headed up to the Lido, which is decorated circa 1995 in pale blues, ugly yellow and white wood and can be hot, we found that not twenty minutes after getting on the ship on a turn-around day, they were closing up shop for lunch. I had to find a manager to leave the salad bar open. There is literally nothing to eat but mostly bread, skimpy on the filling sandwiches and cookies - all fattening - between 2:30 and 5:30ish on the ship. I don't like bread. I ended up hording bananas and cereal in our room. Other problems with the Lido dining are lack of service in at breakfast and on deck and surcharges to eat on the Lido in the evening. In the morning, there is NO table service. The food is good - in fact, except for the specialty restaurant - it is basically the only excellent food on the ship. The food is fresh prepared daily on the ship, there is a wide variety of foods, and the eggs and omelets are prepared to order. However, the beverage area is a free for all - Seriously. Oceana, or any high end hotel, has a server bring water, coffee and juices. Not Cunard. And forget any service on the deck in the pool area if you aren't ordering something that you have to pay for - like COKES. Yes, the charge nearly $3.00 for soft drinks. The Britiana dining room has food that is obviously not prepared on site. It is bland. It all tastes the same. The beef was TOUGH. And forget a vegetable. Well unless you like your vegetables drowned in the same brown gravy the meat is drowned in - day after day. So we tried the Lido one night. Um, no. The food is fresh prepared and not bad, but there is a surcharge to dine there of nearly $18.00. And the other side is a buffet style, lunch place. No, just no. The specialty restaurant was pretty good, but as per usual, they were stingy. They served a seven course meal that was quite good, but the wine paring - which was NOT INCLUDED - was two SHORT, AND I MEAN VERY SHORT glasses of wine for six courses! That's a sip of wine per course literally. And the wine didn't necessary pair well with all the courses it's supposed to pare with. WHAT?!? Normally it's a different wine per course or SOMETIMES a restaurant will combine two courses such as specialty breads and a light soup for just one glass of wine. The final course came with a so-so desert wine. And before all the diners had left the dining room they were clanking own the cages over the bar and making OBVIOUS attempts to move us along. Which brings me to the beverage prices on board. I already mentioned the charge for sodas. Wait for this. There is NO complimentary bottled water on board. There is no specialty fountains for filling Nalgenes or any other portable water device. Bottled water, wait for it, is $19.25 for a six pack of a liter and a half bottles or $3.00 for a half a liter - No, I'm not kidding. Wine? Expensive. Ordinary, and I mean nothing stellar, bottles of wine were $50 and up. Our wine package was $425 and it was only good in the Britiana which is the main dining room. Couldn't use it in the specialty dining room. OMG, and a glass of wine in the bars or in any dining room was $13.50 - nothing special either - plus 15% gratuity. Service in the Britania was so-so. And now we get down to the real cheap part. They CHARGED US $22 PER HEAD TO GET FROM THE SHIP TO SAINT MARK'S SQUARE IN VENICE. Yes. That happened. On one of our excursions that was eight hours, LUNCH WASN'T INCLUDED! And the coup de gras, and actually why I'm writing this review, is we bought a wifi package - expensive BTW, and the wifi was so horrible I couldn't get onto my bank. I talked to the lady who runs the cybershop's boss and he told me I needed to go ashore to get good wifi. Going ashore in this particular case was a fifteen minutes walk - and of course, as cheap as they are, they had no shuttles to take you to the terminal building. Anyway, they REFUSED to refund me the whole time I was logged on trying to get onto my bank. That's just stupid. I told them I would write a negative review, and nada. Another bone of contention is they have you all aboard at 5:00 to 5:30. Why? So they can sail at nine knots and save on fuel costs? I've never been on a ship that had you on board consistently at that time. Anyway, we talked to a lot of people that are looking to move away from Cunard since they got bought by Carnival. And bottom line, our $6,500 cruise ended up costing us an extra $3,500. Sail at your wallet's own risk. We're going back to Oceana and/or we've heard great things about Crystal and Viking's new, ocean going cruises. Read Less
40 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I don't normally do reviews, especially bad ones so I apologise if it rambles instead of following some format. Chose this cruise to travel with some friends, some issues were our fault as we did not give it as much research time ... Read More
I don't normally do reviews, especially bad ones so I apologise if it rambles instead of following some format. Chose this cruise to travel with some friends, some issues were our fault as we did not give it as much research time as we would normally such as the ridiculous price of wine which we would not boost Cunard profits by paying for it, 5 formal nights on a 16 night cruise was too much, we did all formal nights and enjoyed them but cruise was 3 cruises really so this was why so many, however main issue with dress code was ALL other nights required jacket for dinner which made it impossible on some port days so maybe this could it'd be relaxed to smart casual - even if that meant long sleeved shirt etc, and dress codes were not enforced outside restaurant, seeing nearly everyone in formal dress in theatre after dinner and some in t shirt, shorts and sandals was a bit galling especially as air conditioning was not really effective. Another thing we didn't realise when we booked it was the price of drinks, especially wine - with all drinks having 15% service charge (what service) made drinks so expensive, A British Style cruise on a British ship...... not really, it was all so American, but let's look at it in a bit more detail. The ship, nice on the whole, rear deck huge since refit but shade areas not adequate, even some of the crew questioned why this was not done better, The pool was in parts out of action first 2 days with steps and woodwork around pool being sanded and oiled..... it's just come out of a refit ! and last 3 days pool was roped off half at a time to have woodwork oiled again.... and the smell of teak oil in the heat especially with people having breakfast and dinner on deck was terrible. Food... pretty abysmal really, often bland and poorly presented on the plate - if several people had same dish every one was presented differently sort of taking the edge off a restaurant dinner visually, it made it somewhat easier to accept that after arriving back from an excursion or port day and not eating in the Britannia restaurant as we didn't have time to dress up,in fact once we discovered on the whole food in Lido was better we chose to eat there some days. Lido food was ok, it was pretty obvious in all restaurants food was on the whole frozen and stored from start, bread was often cold in middle and soggy on surface, pastry was often like tasteless cardboard - maybe bread rolls were fresh ? But croissants came out frozen in a huge plastic bag. Breakfast was best meal of the day, and evening supper in Lido was not fresh like so many other ships I have been on, it was dinner left overs on the hot plate. On the whole cold food was slightly warm and hot food was......warm Good curries in the Lido though Stateroom 7035 was generous size being on the corner, room and balcony were bigger than normal. Air conditioning above bed was at times to strong in its direct delivery but not so efficient at the ambient feel, and too noisy directly above the bed. Stateroom steward was nice and fairly efficient, seemed a general thing on board that bedding was not changed often, maybe once during the 16 nights..... that is only a maybe ! Service, even though 15% added to all drinks orders the service was terrible.... now let me clarify that, the waiters were good, some were really friendly and a pleasure to get to know BUT there were not enough of them, most of the time on the new bigger rear deck that was always busy there was often only 2 waiters, at a sail away there was a few more but so many people having to go to bar to get drinks or at least to get a waiter. Entertainment in theatre was generally not good, clashing vocals not in harmony, the orchestra were great and did some excellent music nights in the pub... they were terrific, as was the pianist/singer in the pub. Visiting acts were on the whole excellent. The team on the whole were good whether it was a quiz or introducing the acts but music on deck did seem like a private crew party, yes they need to encourage others to dance but they did take over at times, Corridors nearly always had cabin staff trolleys and trolleys with old room service trays on, previously on other cruises we have been amazed how invisible this appears, and cleaning stairs during the day making hand rails soaking wet..... surely this is normally done during the night ? Ports of call were generally good but not often though out, too short a time in port at times, for example most people thought an overnight in Kotor was preferred to visiting Zadar the next day. So many queues for bus transfers, in direct sun without shade whichever must have been awful for some of the elderly passengers, queue was so bad with no buses apparent in Barcelona we decided to walk and got back on ship before our friends who were at the half way point in the queue ! It became a joke that they should be renamed "Queuenard" Officers and managers didn't seem to do their job of ensuring things went smoothly, more uniformed officers needed to take control and maybe even speak to passengers. A lot of staff, especially Lido waiters and Lido Managers just walk in front of passengers at times blocking their route, I saw several times crew walking through doors and not only not holding the door for a passenger but just letting it go without a glance - some (especially Lido manager) needs to have some training in in basic manners. Several times especially when disembarking at ports of call uniformed officers tellingly crew to "wait!," Cunard need to try harder, maybe it's because Carnival now own so many cruise lines they are all blending into each other, but we were looking forward to our first cruise on "A Queen" and we felt so let down by Cunard, it could have been fantastic and yet turned out to be the worst of our 5 cruises to date even though it was the most expensive, Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Not been to Gurnsey before. Trip was a total disaster. Food was not as good as I could get in a greasy spoon but without the grease. We finished up by having toast & coffee in the the bedroom for breakfast & all other meals on ... Read More
Not been to Gurnsey before. Trip was a total disaster. Food was not as good as I could get in a greasy spoon but without the grease. We finished up by having toast & coffee in the the bedroom for breakfast & all other meals on board in the self service Lido. After complaining we were still charged the auto service for resturants of £96.00. One small brandy & beer cost £17.14. This was our third trip with Cunard but never again it has gone to far down hill. One time the toilets in our area went wrong but only for about one hour. Everthing else was OK. The staff were all very good except one girl in the bursers office who was most unhelpful. The ship was clean & tidy at all times. Sadly the weather was not good. Thick fog at all times with fog hornes going all night & day We could not even see the sea or the back or front of the boat it was so bad. But, we cannot blane Cunard for the weather but choise when you travell better than we did. Read Less
52 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Problems from the start. Ticketed as new cruisers when in fact it was cruise #3 for us , it took 3 visits to the pursers office (waiting in line) to correct that error. Even then, there was no way to ensure early dinner sitting, a ... Read More
Problems from the start. Ticketed as new cruisers when in fact it was cruise #3 for us , it took 3 visits to the pursers office (waiting in line) to correct that error. Even then, there was no way to ensure early dinner sitting, a requirement of our booking, yet never advised as a problem until we had been ticketed and fully paid up. Different table at most dinners. Did I say dinner? A sample from the Britannia's international menu follows. And I challenge you to find this in any cookbook. Taglioline (ribbon pasta) in a light tomato sauce and sitting on top: TWO turkey breast schnitzels! Missing items -No fried egg on top, and no chips! From what hell's kitchen did this dish emerge? Try cutting up turkey schnitzels on top of pasta without ruining whatever qualities you may have thought were present underneath! In the Lido each day, for breakfast there were the same 3 kinds of (possibly, it wasn't labeled) yoghurt, along with 2 or 3 kinds of melon: water, rock (sometimes) and honeydew. On the one morning bananas were served, they were soft and very close to black.In Sydney, our departure port, there were available abundant quantities of papaya, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, mangoes, plums, white and red grapes and pears. None of these was available. Instead we had the aforementioned melons, cut pineapple, and canned peaches, pears, prunes and pineapple rings. Smoked salmon with your breakfast? Forget it. Beef sausages? Forget those too. No just pork or chicken, every morning, day in and day out. And as for fish! Have you Aussies ever heard of a "long tailed snapper" that had all the markings of a sea mullet, (dark, large u-shaped remnants of scales on the black skin with brown flesh underneath, and the only whitish flesh in the centre. The whole lot tasting like something you'd normally throw to the gulls? )Try Cunard for a whole new understanding of this delicacy. In the Verandah restaurant which prides itself on a long tradition of French cuisine, I had to wait for French mustard to be sourced from somewhere else to go with my sinewy, overcooked rack of lamb. A French male, raised in a Paris restaurant, met at the pool, told me with a sad shake of his head, there is no French cooking in that restaurant. (The head chef is Indian, by the way, according to the staff announcement one evening.) The French man had been served a sole, and found it inedible, due to having been "white frozen" at the tips and edges.You know, that's when your fish has been exposed to too much air after a long, long time in the freezer, with lots of openings and closings.. Another Britannia restaurant special featured monkfish wrapped in bacon. Quiz question for junior cooks: how do you cook bacon to a point where it is cooked if you wrap it around monkfish? Answer: you don't worry about the fish Just make sure the bacon is cooked, and to hell with the fish. Another. What is the difference between a green bean and a khaki bean on a Cunard liner? Answer: none. Cook the crunch and the colour out of it. Some people might love khaki coloured beans. Fancy an early morning swim? Two outdoor pools are available, and you'd better love an icy cold shower to follow your swim, because there are no warm ones. Want a warm dip? $35 (AU $50 approx) per person per day will get you into a spa pool which on cruise lines at half the price are free of charge. Who spends all day in a spa pool? Even $5 for an hour might be reasonable, but $50 is outrageous. Glass of wine with dinner? $AUS20 for a "specially selected Cunard chardonnay. Origin ? Vintage? Who knows? House white we call this type of wine in Aus. Not happy? Try the Devlin's Mount Unwooded Chardonnay, not well known but only $AU 60 a bottle! I have a similar wine at home that I buy for $4. Not $40. Just $4. If your thing is 1960's pub food, 5th rate entertainment (you had to be there for THAT), drinks at outrageous prices, staff with attitude (understandably--some of these guys are ex QE 2 in the glory days, but are now trapped in a Cunard time warp) and prices about double the competition's, then indeed, Cunard is for you. No? Then forget it. Try Royal Caribbean or Celebrity instead. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
This was the first half of the 2016 world cruise. The main problem was the entertainment staff. There was very little organised activities, and those that were were aimed at 6 year olds! These included a craft activity of making rubbings ... Read More
This was the first half of the 2016 world cruise. The main problem was the entertainment staff. There was very little organised activities, and those that were were aimed at 6 year olds! These included a craft activity of making rubbings of a dollar to remember you had been to the USA. Initially there were in excess of 50 plus wanting to do a craft activity, at the end of the leg there were three - the same activity was repeated every leg of the cruise. There was so little to do that hundreds wanted to join the beginners Bridge class, but obviously they could not take that number. Likewise line dancing and ballroom dancing classes. There was ONE film in the afternoon of the first leg - Crocodile Dundee, 30 Years old!!! In the evenings the Dance Troupe were not considered up to standard to do a public performance. In the theatre at night ships officers, entertainment staff, ON CALL medical staff were all taking seats while passengers stood.The publicised details of lecturers, etc, bore little resemblance to who turned up. The biggest disappointment was the failure to honour the time spent in the ports of call. Booked ships tours were given preference, resulting in one case with us only being allowed off for 2 hours. We queued for an hour at San Francisco to get off and then were told the mooring was insecure and we could not get off. A day of cruising through the New Zealand Sounds was completely missed out, and the other was done in the dark. We could list a problem at most of the supposed ports of call. At Port Canaveral we had to go through immigration off the ship, and then wait in a freezing cold room with nothing to drink or eat, for five plus hours. On complaining we were told it had taken over six hours on other occasions. Staff were repeatedly rude to passengers. However the Indian and Philippine staff were brilliant. We paid £14,000 for this cruise and have been promised £700 of a future cruise! DO NOT go on Cunard. We have, over the last fifteen years, been on most cruise lines - we have NEVER experienced anything like this before. Beware of financially supporting Maitre'd whose wife supposedly has cancer. You will find it is part of a scam with Carnival/Cunard/P&O staff. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We recently chose Cunard for a family trip to the Mediterranean because we had heard such wonderful things about their line--its elegance, tradition, and prestige. I have never been so incredibly disappointed in a company. For ... Read More
We recently chose Cunard for a family trip to the Mediterranean because we had heard such wonderful things about their line--its elegance, tradition, and prestige. I have never been so incredibly disappointed in a company. For background: I am in my early thirties, American, was traveling with my extended family, and have cruised with everyone from Carnival to Crystal. This cruise was like paying Crystal prices for a Carnival experience. I know Crystal is more expensive upfront, but by the time Cunard is finished nickel-and-diming you, it is honestly about the same price. The worst thing overall was just the complete lack of customer service. It felt like WORK being a passenger on Cunard. There was never anyone around to help with anything or to even take a drink order. The Purser's Desk acted like you were at best inconveniencing them and at worst a total idiot. At one point, our travel agent had paid for an hour-long cocktail party for our group. We had the PDF confirmation FROM CUNARD. When we showed up, the entertainment manager told us that she had no record of it and couldn't help us. Our travel agent (who was absolutely mortified) had to contact the company in Southampton to get it worked out and rescheduled--even then, they scheduled it during our dinner seating on our last formal night. We got, at best, a shrug from the staff. I knew I was going to pay for drinks. Fine. I bought the "soda package" that they sell hard that first day--supposedly unlimited soft drinks for $6-7 a day. Great deal if you drink two or more a day and I figured I could use it as mixers for any liquor I bought in port towns. HA. What they don't tell you is that it is next to impossible to get a drink on this ship. Sailing away at 5:00 from a beautiful city with a couple hundred people on deck? One bartender on duty. Beautiful day at sea with hundreds of people at the pool? Ideal time to have waiters around taking orders--NOPE. And then they tell you that the soda package doesn't include ginger ale... or drinks in the dining room... or that waiters will purposefully not bring you your order because you have the soda package... or that you can't order a drink from anyone in the buffet and have to bring it in with you. Super customer service. Then there's everything else you pay extra for: $24 for a roundtrip shuttle into Venice because we docked at the pier; $12 roundtrip for shuttles into the middle of all other port cities; $3 for a bottle of water as you were getting off the boat to go on tour (and signs warning you off filling up your own water bottles from their drinking fountains for "hygiene" reasons); $15 for the WORST meal in their "alternative dining" option, Bamboo (really just half the buffet closed off and set menu). I understand that all of these things cost money, but for the love of cruising, just include it in the ticket price and stop making me take my card out every two seconds. The ship itself is adequate, but no better or worse than any other luxury liner. The cabins were small and cramped--especially the bathroom. A room that same size (balcony, king bed, small sitting area) on Crystal included a full size tub. This bathroom had one sink and a tiny shower. The dress code was not a strict as you would think, but I always tend to overdress anyway. Nice cocktail attire was fine for formal nights. Shore excursions through Cunard were horribly organized. You get herded into one of the common areas at the appointed time... and then you wait. Sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes an hour. Not OK. They obviously know they have to split the groups--why not go on and do it ahead of time so that we're not wasting vacation time sitting in a windowless room when we could be either sleeping or enjoying a port city. The food is terrible. Maybe it's better in the Queen and Princess grills, but the regular dining room was either trying too hard or not trying at all... I am not really sure which. The Lido buffet was downright disgusting. Breakfast was the exact same every morning and was very English--which I get, but the lack of options was disturbing. Lunch and dinner were usually extremely heavy and served lukewarm, with people fighting over places in line because there was absolutely no flow to the space. Fortunately, the places we went were amazing, because that is the only thing that saved this trip. Needless to say, our group of seventeen people will not be traveling with Cunard ever again. They need to stop resting on their laurels and realize that if they are to compete with the true luxury liners, they need to put the guests first and live up to their reputation. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our second cruise, the first had been in 2014 on the Celebrity Equinox, which had been an excellent experience in every way. This year we thought that we would try the Cunard line and booked a cruise on the Queen Victoria which ... Read More
This was our second cruise, the first had been in 2014 on the Celebrity Equinox, which had been an excellent experience in every way. This year we thought that we would try the Cunard line and booked a cruise on the Queen Victoria which turned out to be a dreadful experience, all except for the embarkation process in Southport which was extremely well organised. The main problem for us was that the air conditioning in the cabins could not be adequately controlled so we spent the entire cruise either freezing or being excessively hot, At first we thought it was faulty unit, but when the technician came he found that it was operating correctly. We checked with other guests who had the same issue, so operating correctly must mean that you just put up without being able to control the temperature to a comfortable level. The other problems were due to the age of the ship, because the stench from the toilet/bathroom was terrible and the fittings in our balcony cabin were archaic! The TV was so small that we had trouble viewing from our bed, it was slightly larger than an ipad in size, then when movies were on it halved again. There was a grubby 2 seater sofa which was so uncomfortable that we could only use it as extra bench space. Our cabin was on a corner of the ship on level 7 which meant the glass doors were positioned so that no view was possible unless one stood directly in front of them. We found ourselves waiting for the time to pass quickly and felt a great sense of relief to finally disembark in Athens. It's now been several months since our cruise, and looking back we can only remember how very uncomfortable we had been for the entire time. Such a waste of money and time. Travellers be warned, because the Cunard advertising hype does not match the reality of the on-board experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Our fourth Cunard cruise twice on the Queen Mary 2 and twice on Queen Victoria, on this trip although the ship had been refurbished,and new carpets etc, however, this is where the novelty ends As soon as you embark , one feels this is a ... Read More
Our fourth Cunard cruise twice on the Queen Mary 2 and twice on Queen Victoria, on this trip although the ship had been refurbished,and new carpets etc, however, this is where the novelty ends As soon as you embark , one feels this is a money grabbing machine , new carpets are fine, but the TV is so small , you cant see any writings displayed on screen, the beds are very soft and spongy , the pillows are not feathered, no coffee /tea kettle in cabin although plenty of food in the Lido part , at the Britannia the starter portions are so tiny , you well need 3 helping of bread roles to be satisfied, main courses are OK , just ok, then its the drink so very overpriced and the wine is incredibly expensive on top you have to pay service charge , for what to open a bottle ? The first two night after leaving Southampton we had a very rough sail being on the front of the ship we felt it very bad, and being disabled falling 3, 4 times asked at the pursers office 3 times if we can move to an empty cabin just to sleep in for the rough sail, was refused, even when we put it in writing, so it seems they would rather keep a cabin empty then to look after a disabled guest , the e xcursions we took two ,very over priced for what they were, friends we talked to , went privately and paid a quarter of what we were charged, the photos taken were so expensive $25 each we did not bother to purchase, all in all we felt that we are being ripped off , with no hospitality , reminded us of Ryan Air money grabbing without offering value for money , and since being taken over by Carnival , Cunard lost its prestige , DO not bother go with another ship and liner. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
Arrived at allotted time and told we were late! Cabin adequate. 30 minute queue for 2030 hr dining slot, Food 'dreadful'. Dishes being sent back by the dozen. Shown to our table at 0930 next morning. 40 minutes wait until a ... Read More
Arrived at allotted time and told we were late! Cabin adequate. 30 minute queue for 2030 hr dining slot, Food 'dreadful'. Dishes being sent back by the dozen. Shown to our table at 0930 next morning. 40 minutes wait until a waiter approached our table with a menu. Food continued to be dreadful throughout the trip. Resorted to eating in the Lido buffet. At least the food was edible. An average glass of wine was charged at 14 dollars a glass plus 15% compulsory service charge. Even told that a glass of Merlot I returned was not corked as I stated but oxidised! Suggest better training.. Toilets would not flush on one day. All this when we were celebrating our Golden Wedding Anniversary. Thank you Cunard, for nothing. Cruise with them at you peril!!!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
We have cruised with several different lines. In fact this was our 7th cruise, but the first with Cunard. And I'm sorry but it will be our last. You cannot fault the food and the waiting service. The ship was clean and tidy. But there ... Read More
We have cruised with several different lines. In fact this was our 7th cruise, but the first with Cunard. And I'm sorry but it will be our last. You cannot fault the food and the waiting service. The ship was clean and tidy. But there was just nothing to do! If you did not play whist, bridge, advanced bridge or cribbage - if you did not ballroom dance - if you did not want to attend lectures on plate tectonics - then there is very little else to do. Oh, there were the large number of quiz games each day. There was bingo. There was Wii if you wanted to organise that yourself, but really not much else. Onboard there were eight dancers and four singers. Over twenty days they did three 45 minute shows (love to have their job). There were two ventriloquists who did impressions. One was very good - the other did impressions of himself doing bad impressions of others. One comedian who was excellent and a couple of mediocre singers. All up nine shows over twenty nights. One had to wear a jacket every night regardless of the temperature. And it was uncomfortably hot in the tropics. The air conditioning was pretty much non existent. And my favourite thing. Two folks asked to leave the dance floor because the dancing they were doing was just not suitably ballroom. I could go on about finding that my cabin had been left open by the steward, or that the gang plank fell off the ship at San Francisco leaving many of us soaked from the heavy rain and without out information or support for over two hours stranded in a cold wharf building, or the unhelpful purser who dismissed our concerns at not being able to contact our bank as " our problem" - I could but I think I'd rather just vote with my money and spend it elsewhere for our next adventure. I would not recommend this as a good way to spend your hard earned money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2012
CUNARD NEVER AGAIN---The worst cruise ever. I posted some concerns prior to my Cunard sailing this last Christmas - New Years Queen Victoria Cruise. I always contact the cruise company before hand about some health concerns we have. ALSO ... Read More
CUNARD NEVER AGAIN---The worst cruise ever. I posted some concerns prior to my Cunard sailing this last Christmas - New Years Queen Victoria Cruise. I always contact the cruise company before hand about some health concerns we have. ALSO the company lowered their prices drastically and unlike THIS year's price promise they would do NOTHING for those of us who booked early... loyal cruisers. I became more concerned that after two phone calls and six emails that their customer service was lacking. NOT because they would not refund me money or upgrade me BUT because they NEVER answered an email or a phone call, even about the health concerns. I even went to the headquarters in Valencia, California in person and was promised a call back within 24 hours. NO call or email. They still have NEVER responded to my emails or my calls or personal visit. Once on the ship I figured let's make this a wonderful cruise. Beautiful ship, GREAT CC members and folks on our table... but the WORST service of any of my 35+ cruises. Every time I ask for help or for an answer to something it was "we can not help you at this time". One woman was crying at the front desk because Cunard would not take her American Express travelers checks that she bought purposefully in dollars for her onboard expenses. She ask if they could help her figure out what to do and they answered "read the brochure". We had the worst dining room service (and I have traveled Carnival-once, little companies and the big ones) ever. I will say after seven nights of being brought the wrong order (expressly asking for NO gravy and having it swimming in gravy or for a potato instead of rice and being served extra rice), no cream for my coffee until everyone else was done with their coffee and only after asking EVERY night we (most of the folks at the table were angry) we got some relief. It was actually pretty funny. The waiter would bring the WRONG order, we figured we should just eat it and keep quiet then if someone said something he picked up the food (already being eaten) and passed it to the correct passenger. We laughed the time I ask for no croutons (as usual in my salad) and it came as usual, with them. The waiter started taking them off of my dish AS I WAS EATING... "I am eating the salad now, don't worry about it I can just push them aside". He put his serving spoon into my salad and started removing them, I said "PLEASE don't do that I am eating now", he kept taking them out -- the man next to me started throwing croutons into my salad as fast as the waiter could remove them... it was funny in a sad way. As a teacher I thought the waiter just needed some more training. We did take him aside and we (the table) told him he should write down the orders so he would get them right. He didn't listen and after the 7th night we complained to the head waiter and got a new waiter. Cunard still has not contacted me even though I wrote a long narrative on my comment card. As for my cruising I love cruising and will go back to RCCL or Celebrity or Princess where if I write an email I have an answer with 48 hours at the longest and have NEVER not been sent a reply to my pre or post cruise emails. Cunard NEVER AGAIN, and that is too bad. Princes is a great neighbor (Carnival, Princess and Cunard are headquartered here) in my city of Santa Clarita. They give generously to the charities I work with. Too bad about their sister company Cunard-WORST CRUISE EVER. GREAT CC GROUP. THANKS to everyone for making our Christmas exchange so nice. It was wonderful to pass some of you on our way to somewhere and have a friendly face look back at us. OF course a special thank you to Steve and Gayle who made the cruise extra special. We are still recovering from the whirlwind tour of their little corner of the world, Chipping Norton and everywhere possible north, south, east and west. What amazing hosts. AND I took Gayle to the 99Cents store in California! __________________ Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2011
The Pros: The ship is very modern with some state of the art features which do not reflect in the way the cabins are fitted out. On the whole the staff are very hardworking and trying to please. You can see certainly the cabin ... Read More
The Pros: The ship is very modern with some state of the art features which do not reflect in the way the cabins are fitted out. On the whole the staff are very hardworking and trying to please. You can see certainly the cabin stewards working almost around the clock. The embarkation process was smooth and efficient and our luggage arrived to our cabin very fast. The Cons. 1. ACCOMMODATION/HOUSEKEEPING On arriving on the QV we were quite happy with our accommodation even though we found some old fruit underneath our dressing table and some dirt on the walls which had not been wiped clean. We considered this an oversight and did not make a fuss about it. Underneath the lockers on each side of the bed we found some old medication and pins. We would have felt happier if we had thought a thorough cleaning had been carried out. On the second day using the Ladies Changing Room on the Spa floor I noticed no conditioner - towels on the floor having fallen out of the overflowing used towels basket. The sauna itself was very clean and has a fabulous viewing window. In fact the ship really is very well set out and the decor is lovely. The only thing that lets Cunard down is the lack care taken with regard to cleanliness. The day prior to our departure we were told by our cabin steward that he could not give us any more tissues in our cabin as we were leaving -â€" we subsequently sorted this matter out by having to go down once again to the Pursers' desk. They contacted the housekeeper who said we could have more tissues but we are still wondering what happened here. We felt that now we were leaving our comfort was no longer important. The TV in our A1 cabin was an old cheap TV which went to black and white when a program was on .Very limited and usually 4 very old films a day .No Sport.Cant even match the Princess TV package. 2. LIDO During our first few days in the Lido we raised the following issues with the Maitre D' and then with the Pursers' Desk as we felt we were getting nowhere fast with the Maitre D'. A. We noticed a number of flies floating around and when we raised the matter with the Maitre D' of the Lido and the Purser's Desk we were given to understand that to implement measures to get rid of the flies would not be allowed for H&E reasons - I cannot see that leaving flies on food could be healthier. We are Elite members of Princess and have never been on a ship before where we have encountered flies in an enclosed eating area. B. We had read with much anticipation about the Indian Buffet nights in the Lido and very much looked forward to the same but they did not happen. Instead this buffet had been moved to the Todd English restaurant for a higher charge of $20.00. This feels like a very cynical move. Reading about the Indian Buffet in the Lido formed part of our decision to come on this cruise. C. During first few days on 7 occasions we went to have our meal there to find that the hot water and coffee had run out. I would have thought that the basic requirement for even the most mediocre of restaurants is a supply of coffee/hot water for tea. I noticed that the burners underneath the various pots had been allowed to go out. I had to point this out to the waiter and asked him to re-ignite the burners and bring new ones. The queues of disappointed people at the tea/coffee points was full of frustration. I don't know if this was allowed to happen because of inefficiency, not caring, and simply not being good enough. D. Food temperature -â€" in the Lido I don't believe we at any time had what could be called a hot meal (or even a warm one) for some reason we could never get anything that was not just "Lukewarm". Quite spoilt our appreciation of most dishes. We heard similar complaints about the Britannia restaurant. E. On Princess we always eat in Horizon because of the great freedom and also the choice and being able to eat when and where and help ourselves to exactly what we want. However, on the Queen Victoria during the outbreak of Novovirus on the ship which continued for almost a week we found our choices of food in the Lido restricted, inconvenient, and like a school canteen. Not at all what we needed to complete the Lido experience. 3. ENTERTAINMENT I am married to an Irish person and quite frankly I was rather taken aback by a comedian on board who made some "Irish" jokes in very poor taste (intimating that Irish people are stupid!). He made fun of the Welsh but only of high pitched voices and fun of the English for being reserved - I would not have minded if he said we are too proud, drink too much even but being stupid is not a character trait one wishes to hear. I felt very uncomfortable and walked out with my husband. I work in a law firm and know that even on television now such jokes would not be acceptable. Jokes about race are not acceptable. I made my views known to the cruise director and all I got was a patronising response. In this day and age of PC correctness I hope Carnival the owners of Cunard stop this before this becomes a serious issue - I did not hear any jokes about Chinese nationals or French nationals etc. and there were a lot on board - I think you might find they would not find such jokes about their race acceptable either. 4. ITINERARY We were bound in Alexandria for an extra day due to inclement weather. However, we noticed that an old Fred Olsen ship left without coming to any harm. There was a lot of bad feeling on the ship and speculation as no-one believed the Captain when she said it was bad weather. We therefore missed going to Katakolon which was for us one of the highlights of the trip. In Venice where the port closed due to fog -â€" we noted that although the ship was stationary until about 10am in the morning outside Venice we were only told about 5pm that evening that the ship would be going to Trieste and that we had to make our own way to Venice airport. Subsequently we were told by the Pursers' Desk that we would be provided with a transfer to Venice airport and they told us to cancel our taxi pickup previously booked -â€" which cost us (£60.00). The purser then came back to us and told us that Cunard would not provide us with transport to the airport that we would be dropped off at the port and would have to reinstate our original plans which we had cancelled. We are aware of how things can be done correctly on board a ship to make the passengers trust the Captain and the staff but we found that the command structure and communication on the QV was less than acceptable. This was a top down problem and the staff seemed very lacking in motivation because of no clear leadership or direction. Sometimes it seemed as if everyone was working at cross purposes. In conclusion we do not honestly think we would ever consider cruising with Cunard again after all the unnecessary stress, lack of clear management, hygiene and racial issues that we have been subjected to. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
I went on Queen Victoria, Cunard Cruise Lines. I booked it on line, on a last minute web site. Got a great deal, then upgraded to an obstructed ocean view.Paid $400.00 more for the up grade and all we looked at was a life boat for 12 days! ... Read More
I went on Queen Victoria, Cunard Cruise Lines. I booked it on line, on a last minute web site. Got a great deal, then upgraded to an obstructed ocean view.Paid $400.00 more for the up grade and all we looked at was a life boat for 12 days! Don't waste your money on that upgrade! This should read window with NO VIEW! Shame on Cunard for charging $400.00 more for a room that was no better then a inside cabin! Also if you are planning to book excursions, PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU GET THEM! We booked for everyday and didn't get the one booked for Bonaire, and when we got the tickets they said it was SOLD OUT! Then we went to tour desk found out nothing was left for the island! What a big disappointment in the tour desk. Also talked to the Supervisor on the ship and they did nothing for us! I rate this the worst cruise I have ever been on, and have taken 24 cruises!Be prepared to dress up every night, tux or sports jacket required every night.If you want a laid back vacation, this isn't it!Shame on Cunard! Very over rated! Will never cruise with them again. Do yourself a favor and go on another ship! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
Much to our overall disappointment - my wife and I boarded the Queen Victoria for our British Isles Cruise.... having sailed on both the QE2 and the QM2 - we were amazed with the lack of Majesty of the Victoria compared to the other ... Read More
Much to our overall disappointment - my wife and I boarded the Queen Victoria for our British Isles Cruise.... having sailed on both the QE2 and the QM2 - we were amazed with the lack of Majesty of the Victoria compared to the other Curnard Queens. There is a lack of luxury one would expect for the price of the cruise, and when entering our "cabin" - we were very disappointed, as we have experienced more space, and storage area and usual complimentary items in bath area,on a smaller Carnival ship recently. The rules are the same as QE2 & QM2 regarding dress code, etc... but why ?? the food choices in the Britannia Dining Room were less that desired... and on three occasions after reading the posted menu we decided "it" was not worth all the bother of having to Dress for Dinner...SO- Lido - here we come ... and did many , many, many more as it was packed each meal - daily. Wondering why no shrimp cocktails were offered on the menu in the dining room - we did notice "others" with shrimp cocktails, etc., and other items not on the menu. When we asked about this, we were told that those special items had to be requested. (unknown to most) The staff in general were mostly rude and not very friendly at all, and when asked questions most acted as if we "bothered" that we asked anything of them. The ports of call were good as we expected, however the Cunard sponsored "tours" - were a rip off as most were just bus rides through the county side. The one exception was The American Landing sites in Cherbourg / Normandy and the Museum there. The Royal Court Theatre was very nice ( stadium seating ) and some of the shows were good. Over all, --- Not what what I expected for the price I paid ..... Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
4th January 2010. Queen Victoria, Southampton. We arrived at around 1330hrs at the cruise terminal, it was in chaos from the start, it took almost 3hrs before we embarked, there were no refreshments laid on apart from small canteen serving ... Read More
4th January 2010. Queen Victoria, Southampton. We arrived at around 1330hrs at the cruise terminal, it was in chaos from the start, it took almost 3hrs before we embarked, there were no refreshments laid on apart from small canteen serving tea and stale sandwiches which was over priced. The first night on board was as expected allowing passengers to settle in and the first dinner in the Britannia was OK but nothing special. I spent the evening in the casino and retired around 0130hrs and the next morning went to the "Lido" on Deck 9 for a self service breakfast 1015hrs. Dinner that night was undercooked and lukewarm, the only good thing was the service, the staff in the Britannia were great. It then came about that there was a virus on board and the "Lido" was to close (Not really surprised being served partly raw meat) It should be mentioned that MANY passengers eat in the "Lido" You could obtain tea & coffee but you had to queue and this could be for over 40minutes, if you went to any of the bars for tea or coffee you were charged. The Britannia restaurant for breakfast & lunch only opened the lower deck and ended up with large queues and only after a lot of complaints did they open the upper deck, again, the food was sub-standard as this was supposed to be a luxury cruise ship. (This continued throughout the cruise) I, being one of the fortunate ones did not get sick but those who did were charged for the privilege. Some of the staff in the bars were completely rude. The entertainment on board was at least mediocre but there was a couple of good shows. Disembarking was more chaos as the tannoy system was turned off in the cabins so not many people new what was going on. This is ONLY A BRIEF DISCRIPTION as there is MUCH MORE I must mention that I did the same cruise last year and it was FANTASTIC. In my opinion This cruise was a complete disaster and despite what "Cunard" might say, MANY passengers were and will be complaining as they certainly did NOT get what they paid for. Almost forgot to mention Room Service, 49minutes on the phone then gave up, cabin next to me said he was on the phone for over 1& half hrs Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2008
We travelled in a large group with our travel agent to Singapore and on the whole had a good time amongst ourselves. The ship was a big disappointment in terms of facilities, service and food. On first impression, the public rooms looked ... Read More
We travelled in a large group with our travel agent to Singapore and on the whole had a good time amongst ourselves. The ship was a big disappointment in terms of facilities, service and food. On first impression, the public rooms looked tastefully furnished but after a few days, we soon realized that the public rooms seemed claustrophobic because of the low ceiling height. There were many smallish rooms except for the Queens Room and Royal Theatre. There were not many places where you could sit without being hassled by the waiters. It's totally revenue orientated, even the shops and the spa staff are constantly advertising their products. We did not feel relaxed in this kind of environment. There is definitely a non-inclusive feel on the ship where the Grill class passengers, round the world cruisers and loyalty club passengers were given priority, special treatments and cocktail functions which were not available to first time Cunard passengers. Our balcony cabins were tight and badly configured. We had to maneuver ourselves between the awkward bathroom door, cupboard doors and the bed when we get changed. There is not much drawer space which the Captain admitted to many times. Makes us wonder what the interior designers were paid for. We all heard about the laundry room arguments and we believe them - there were only 3 washing machines, 3 dryers and one ironing board on each deck! The laundry room is so tiny. Washing detergent was complimentary......not that we used the washers. The prescribed dress code was outrageous, where men had to wear a jacket every night - jacket without tie for casual elegance, jacket and tie for informal and suits/black tie for formal. In fairness to those who observed the dress code, there were no strict policing by the maitre d's. My husband got tired of it in the end and we chose the "alternative dining" at the Lido in the end (elegant casual required). There were not enough production shows, too many second rate entertainers and the second-sitting show started too late at 10.45pm! The string quartet which featured every night in the restaurant or the lobby was so bad that passengers tried to avoid them. The double story library was a farce as it was not spacious at all. The legendary White Star service is long gone. Staff are over worked and stretched to minimize cost and passengers are bombarded by waiters, photographers and spa staff to increase revenue. We also heard that there was not a full complement of staff on this new ship. Officers and entertainment staff were not friendly or welcoming. We had to force them to smile or say hello as they walk past passengers without any effort to be courteously polite. Food was mediocre and uninspired to say the least. The menu in the dining room was quite predictable but we were lucky to have a great team of staff there. The Lido buffet did not have the choice we used to have. The "alternative" dinner at the Lido offering themed Indian, Oriental or fondue nights were more interesting, if you could manage to be the first few handfuls to make reservations at 9am in the morning. The Todd English restaurant had only slightly better service and food for an extra USD30 for dinner. Afternoon tea is still a tradition on Cunard and we enjoyed the atmosphere at the Queens Room. Pity the sandwiches were always dry. Cunard also placed the blame on others for not getting prime docking berths in Brisbane, Hong Kong and Singapore. By opting for cheaper port fees, the ship berthed at container terminals. We were disturbed to hear that several gay passengers were put off the ship without the ability to defend themselves. We heard rumors that vindictive "Grill" class passengers set up these poor passengers by making false complaints of indecent behavior in the spa area. These passengers were given the marching orders by the Captain who only wanted to wipe out any bad publicity. We heard that the passengers were not given any warnings. We would be outraged if it happened to us, especially if we had planned a longer cruise. I warned my husband not to go near the spa just in case he gets accused too. The disturbing bit I heard was that the married men do play up in the sauna area on some ships. Whilst we do not condone such behavior, it is totally unacceptable for fellow passengers to make up complaints and let the Captain play judge and jury. The arrival into Sydney and the royal rendezvous with the QE2 was a highlight of our cruise. The Sydney residents sure knew how to throw a party on the fabulous harbor. Nevertheless, we could not hear their loud cheers from our balcony because the ship's entertainment crew boomed louder Aussie music over the public address system throughout the entire rendezvous/farewell. On the whole, the cruise did not meet our expectations, given the amount of publicity Cunard has built up over the past year. Shame on Cunard for cutting corners and making the experience as generic as the other Carnival brands. Did anyone else enjoy their cruise or were they too busy catching up on the latest gossip or complaint on the ship? Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
We'd heard that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, wife of Prince Charles, had failed to shatter the traditional bottle of Veuve Cliquot when she launched the Queen Victoria on December 6, 2007. We'd also heard that a week later, on ... Read More
We'd heard that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, wife of Prince Charles, had failed to shatter the traditional bottle of Veuve Cliquot when she launched the Queen Victoria on December 6, 2007. We'd also heard that a week later, on the Queen's maiden voyage, nearly 200 of her passengers had developed an intestinal infection, the Vicky Novo Virus. Despite this, we were ecstatic that we'd succeeded in booking passage on the first segment of the Queen's maiden voyage around the world. We could hardly wait to experience Her Highly-Publicized Majesty, her stylish parties, her elegant staterooms and particularly, her gracious service. Yes, we remembered the good old days of Cunard. Yes, we dreamed of having our shoes polished daily and watching solicitous stewardesses add select fragrances to our bath water. Who then, other than superstitious ancient mariners, could have fathomed that the new Queen would suffer from a wave of general mismanagement, slipshod service and inadequate cabins. Yes, the dEcor was attractive - the furnishings were tasteful and the synthetic woodwork gleamed - but we were happy that we only had to sail on the Queen for 24 days, from Southampton to Los Angeles. Alas, the Queen Victoria was on the cheap. She had, from conception to berth, been Carnivalized. It all began with a highly disorganized embarkation process at Southampton. Because our driver let us off at the baggage intake area of the Cunard terminal, we only had to walk all the way around the building to the main entrance in order to check in. However, we pitied those who were dropped off at the main entrance. They had to self-porter their heavy luggage back to the baggage intake area and then return before registering. It soon became apparent that the boarding process was also disorganized. Because our accommodations were on the 8th deck, we were told that we could board at 1 p.m. while passengers with less expensive quarters on the 1st through 7th deck were asked to board at 2, 3 or 4 p.m. But this was not to be. Instead, we waited in the sparsely furnished terminal, crowded with some 2000 passengers, until 2:45 p.m. without so much as a free glass of water from Cunard - although water and stale sandwiches could only be purchased at the terminal's concession booth. After this wait and after queuing and waiting again, this time within the jammed gantry gangway - where our places and spaces were usurped by a lengthy parade of wheelchair guests that Cunard should have boarded earlier - we received no on-board welcome whatsoever. An unsmiling crewmember simply pointed to a staircase that would take us to our quarters. Later, we learned that both port and final disembarkations would be worse. In New York, our first destination, many passengers had no intention of leaving the ship. Nevertheless, we were told that all of us must disembark with our custom declarations and health forms in hand - allegedly to satisfy the INS, Customs and Homeland Security - and that we would have to wait to reboard until each and every passenger had disembarked and passed muster with these agencies. Thus, we waited 2 plus hours to disembark and another 2 hours to embark again. Ashore, no one attempted to collect our health forms and the Customs officers seemed bewildered and annoyed that those of us in transit who had purchased nothing were wasting their time. In Fort Lauderdale, for no apparent reason, we again waited several hours to disembark, and in Los Angeles, the New York scenario was repeated. In fact, in each of the endless announcements made in conjunction with the disembarkation of all passengers, the ship blamed its own delays on federal agencies. However, we, the passengers, knew better. Cunard needed to make sure that each and every one of us had left the ship in order to conduct full crew maneuvers, and as rumor had it, to avoid the requirement that if even one passenger remained aboard, some 25 crew members would have to be available to answer to his or her needs. But back to that moment in Southampton when we first entered our quarters - which could hardly be called a stateroom. Crammed into approximately 160 square feet was a Queen size bed, a 4 foot sofa-bed, a small coffee table, 2 night tables, a straight chair which had to remain under something similar to a desk if we were to access the balcony, an unstocked mini-bar and within those same 160 square feet, a postage stamp bathroom which couldn't be entered if any of the closet doors opposite were open. We were very grateful for our balcony although we used it only 2 or 3 times - the North Atlantic weather was icy and the Central American climate, unbearably hot and humid. Almost immediately, we - and every other passenger - noticed the absence of drawers and adequate closet space. With 3 ½ small drawers per cabin, there wasn't a traveler who didn't proclaim with disbelief, sarcasm and humor that "the Queen had no drawers". With two tiny unlit closets, they were also quick to proclaim that the Victoria was "no closet Queen". Consequently, a number of guests only went ashore in New York to collect empty boxes for under-the-bed storage. Others, who planned to travel the world on the Queen Victoria launched a protest and decided to ask en masse for a rebate. Where were the Queen's drawers? The small desk, attached to the mini-bar, was cluttered with a vinyl stationery folder (soon placed under the bed), light-computer-electrical switches and outlets, a telephone (automatically programmed to say without apology that all lines are busy or unavailable), water glasses (for which we could purchase water), and a permanently unfilled ice bucket (also placed under the bed). The mini-bar's top provided a flat surface for an unpredictable TV set - without CD, VCR or DVD accessories and without a guide to the TV programs, movies and lectures playing somewhere at some unknown time on its 50 channels. But, the tiny desk did have a stationery drawer - too small for the stationery folder - and the mini-bar did have a 6x16 drawer that housed a large, permanently attached hair dryer - as far away from the bathroom as possible. In additional, each of the two night tables had a small bottom drawer at floor level - so that able-bodied guests could access them by doubling over or lying on their stomachs. The drawer crisis could have been corrected simply - and even cheaply enough to satisfy Carnival, but it wasn't. The TV could have been attached to the wall, freeing space for at least 4 drawers above the mini-bar. Two drawers could have been added to each night table, and another three could have been placed in the 3 ½ foot black hole in the life preserver cupboard located next to the closets. Still, the cabin's lack of drawers and closet space did harmonize smoothly with the bathroom facilities - a throne that flushed randomly, a sink that wouldn't hold three pairs of Queen-size pantyhose and a shower for the short and lean that only had elbow room for half a dozen elbows. The bathroom, with neither bath nor room, had no drawers, cabinets or even absorbent towels, but on the positive side, the bed linens, pillows are mattresses were eminently seaworthy. If we were uncomfortable inside our cabin, there was no escape from the inundating commercialism and the absence of service in the public rooms. "Commercialism" was the polestar of the Queen Victoria and "Cheap" was both its adjective and watchword. Sadly, sailing on the Queen was akin to making a transatlantic flight in economy class - where passengers must purchase their box lunches, soft drinks and head sets. Carnivalized from its inception, the ship's policy was to save a buck, make a buck and pass the buck. To make a buck, daily sales of cheap goods - sunglasses, perfumes, watches, caps, and tee shirts - were pro forma. Guest photos - the ship was awash with photographers - not-so-fine art, books, memorabilia, beauty treatments and even yoga lessons - were constantly sea-hawked via flyers, the ship's TV channel and the daily program - which also provided maps to the port shops that Cunard favored. To save a buck, most of the entertainers and lecturers - with some notable exceptions - were second rate, the destinations planned were those that charged little or no port fees, i.e. the container port of Manzanillo where the ship charged $8 for a shuttle ride into town; and guests who won the daily competitions received coupons that might be traded for ¼ of a bookmark or several links on a key chain. In addition, nothing was free in the public rooms - not a bottle of water, cup of coffee or soft drink - and nuts and potato chips were served with great reluctance in only one of the many bars. Nevertheless, cardboard canapEs were served at some of the Officers' cocktail parties because the invitation lists were limited to guests making the full voyage around the world or those who'd sailed a specific number of days at sea with Cunard. As frequent world travelers, who've sailed on both luxury ships and expedition vessels, we've never before experienced such poor service. The passenger staff, with few exceptions, was sour-pussed, surly and unaccommodating. We learned that this was due to their low wages, a heavy work overload and little time off - all because some 210 staff positions had not been filled. Why hadn't these positions been filled? Because Cunard/Carnival had again tried to save a buck. It built the Queen Victoria without sufficient quarters to harbor the staff it needed. This explained why she actually needed another 40 chefs - which in turn explained why our uninspired dinners frequently arrived late, cold, overcooked or all of the above. For this, we couldn't fault our courteous waiter and his assistant. They had to serve approximately 20 passengers and often apologized to us when they had to wait indefinitely for food to emerge from the kitchen. Similarly, our cabin attendant was the only steward available for a corridor of some 20 rooms. Thus, we were quick to forgive him for his occasional inability to service our cabin. As to the other staff members, few had patience with the guests and consequently, few of the guests had patience with them. Bartenders and waiters in many of the public rooms might not appear for hours, or ignore the passengers, or refuse to serve them a particular beverage because they were not, at the time, seated in the room designated for that service. As a result, we were often forced to fetch our own coffee - free only in the 9th deck cafeteria and carry in down to a 2nd deck sitting area, or purchase a glass of wine on the 2nd deck - and carry it up to the 9th deck in order to enjoy it with friends or with meals. In one instance, when I wanted a teatime sandwich to accompany a soft drink that I'd fetched from the pub, I was told that I could only have the sandwich with tea in the Queen's Room - where soft drinks were not permitted. After arguing first with the waiter and then with the maitre d', the latter allowed me to take my finger sandwich into the adjacent sitting area if I promised to return the plate ASAP. In 15 minutes, the maitre d' appeared and snippily asked if I was finished with his plate yet. While this incident makes it plain that Cunard considers it too costly to service more than one or two public rooms at a time, this does not excuse Cunard for its failure to train and discipline its staff - all the while touting its legendary White Star Service. It would cost little to require the staff to smile occasionally, say "hello" or "good morning" and ask "how may I help you" instead of saying "I can't do that" and "you can't do this". Perhaps they were using the daily program, listing the shipboard "can'ts" and "don'ts", as a manual. Oddly enough, as we approached Mexican waters, the staff grew more polite and helpful - which might be attributed to the fact that their contracts were coming to an end voluntarily or involuntarily. It may also be attributed to the passengers who gently taught the staff to smile and offer appropriate greetings. With the void in cordial service - or any service, it would seem that we had difficulty in handling gratuities. We didn't. To save and make a buck simultaneously, every passenger was automatically docked $11 per day for gratuities while, in addition, each and every chit for anything automatically included a 15% gratuity plus a large black line labeled "gratuity". Annoyed, any number of passengers insisted that the $11 daily charge be removed from their bills. To this, the purser assented - at least prospectively - as he was duty bound to run a very tight ship. We were also embarrassed by our Queen's parsimony. While docked in New York, we were abashed to see the city's group of "plaque presenters" and port officials, unaccompanied by an officer or host, pushing their trays though the ship's cafeteria. As a matter of protocol, "plaque presenters" are treated as honored guests. They come aboard to welcome a ship on its first visit to their port and they typically present the Captain with a commemorative plaque, the key to the city, assorted gifts and kind speeches. To reciprocate, the ship is expected to welcome these special visitors with an elaborate luncheon or elegant champagne reception. But the Queen provided no such regal fare. Instead, her staff informed the plaque presenters that they were "welcome" to grab a bite in the cafeteria prior to the presentation ceremony. We could only hope that the actual presentation ceremony was considerably more gracious. On this, the Queen Victoria's maiden voyage, there were, as expected, unexpected construction and maintenance problems that surfaced. Overlooking the occasional air conditioning and toilet flushing problems, the only major complaints came from passengers who had sewage backups in their showers and those who, day and night, were subjected to loud thumps and booms immediately overhead - deck construction problems that could only be corrected in dry-dock. Other than that, the biggest protest came from an angry but united community of both smokers and non-smokers. Subject to the unhealthy smoking policy aboard, some 60 smokers and their non-smoking partners were relegated to a small outdoor area on the 10th deck - dangerous in both the cold blustery weather of the North Sea and the blazing sun in the tropics, or the cigar lounge seating 8 people, or another 8 seat area adjacent to the casino between 2 restaurants. To accommodate more than 8 people, passengers had to move uncomfortable casino and pub stools into the area and/or stand in the corridors where smoke drifted up the grand staircase to the upper decks. When the Captain and Purser were, by petition, asked to designate one of the many bars for smoking, preferably one with beverage service, they went overboard to pass the buck to Cunard and Carnival. This further irritated both the non-smokers and smokers who were promised smoking facilities aboard and who felt that, since they were paying the same high prices as the other passengers, the master of the vessel could and should honor Cunard's promise. Consequently, some refused to pay the daily $11 gratuity and numerous others vowed that they'd never again travel with Cunard. For some passengers, food can make or break a cruise. Guests seeking quantity could sate themselves with mediocre meals in the main dining room - with lamb chops always served in rhubarb juice; in the pub - with stale mashed potatoes on the cottage pie; in the Queen's Room - with tea with finger sandwiches possibly imported from the original Queen Elizabeth; or in the cafeteria - which provided a varied menu of comfort foods, an unvarying salad bar, processed cheeses and packaged ice cream. Guests seeking quality were far more limited. If they were not entitled to dine in the Queen's or Prince's Grill, excellent Indian and Oriental meals were available on certain evenings in the "alternative dining" section of the cafeteria. There, only the first 40 in the queue would be served - albeit very slowly. As an alternative to "alternative dining", guests could enjoy exceptional food and service in the Todd English restaurant for $30 per person, excluding wine and gratuities. Upon embarkation, passengers were given a month-long dress code calendar - often modified in the daily program - which designated the after 6 attire expected in all public rooms. If the evening was to be "formal", dinner jackets were required; if informal, jackets and ties; and if "elegant casual", jackets without ties. While one might expect Cunard to honor and enforce its old traditional dress code, one steeped in etiquette and protocol, the Queen's procedural commanders were either ignorant of or oblivious to any Post-Vanderbilt influence. Shipboard etiquette - any system of etiquette - must insure that all guests feel at ease in the anticipated environment. On the Queen Victoria, the prescribed dress code was inconvenient if not outrageous. Never before have we sailed on a ship that required passengers to dress formally after a day spent in port, on evenings prior to disembarkation, on Sundays, or on evenings when guests would later have to change into a costume. Confused and inconvenienced, many guests simply chose to dress informally or casually despite the dress code - although it was hardly appetizing to dine next to a hirsute man decked out in a sweaty tank top. In fairness to those who did observe the dress code - often at their own inconvenience - the various maitre d's should have been required to ask such patrons to dress more appropriately or "dine in". Alas, it seems that for Carnival, a sea of formal evenings - as many as three per week - is "the" pinnacle of shipboard elegance. In retrospect, the high points of our voyage were the gala "Meeting of the Three Queens" in the New York harbor and our transit of the Panama Canal. The Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth II had sailed in tandem across the Atlantic and after joining the Queen Mary in New York, all three queens, assembled together for the first and last time, were honored with a majestic firework display near the Statue of Liberty. In Panama, Cunard finally opened its pocket book. It paid $100 per passenger - about $200,000 - for the privilege of transiting the canal during the daylight hours. It further engaged the best of lecturers to educate us every step of the way. But it was the passengers who made the ship. The finest part of our Queen Victoria experience was meeting wonderfully warm people - acquaintances that we now call friends - although dining with them or inviting them to dine with us was another Cunard no-no. Most of our new friends are Brits - English, Irish, Scottish or Australian - who are probably the best-balanced people on earth. They don't allow their serious side or their personal problems to impair their sincerity, cheerfulness and wonderful sense of humor. Admiring their style and character, we even learned how to shrug off our disappointment with the Queen and laugh about her shortcomings. One day, we joked for hours about being forced to walk the plank for criticizing her i.e., "On plank day, were we to dress formally, informally or casually? Would we need to pay the full $11 gratuity for that day? Would the added 15% gratuity be enough? Would Cunard charge us for the plank and the blindfold?" Some of our new friends plan to leave Cunard permanently for smoother waters while the die-hard Cunarders plan to renew their loyalty to the Queen Mary II. They have little choice because the Queen Elizabeth II will soon become an over-the-top but charming bistro in Dubai and to them, "the Queen Victoria is no queen". Read Less
Queen Victoria Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 3.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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