Queen Victoria Cruise Review by awestbrook
- Sail Date: May 2015
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
- Cabin Type: Balcony
This was a 6-day cruise: Southampton-Guernsey-Liverpool-Southampton with 2 full sea days. We stayed in a Britannia balcony stateroom.
Embarkation is very efficient at Southampton. If you are not priority (Grills, Platinum * Diamond Club), you are given a letter when you arrive and the boarding is by that letter. It works very well.
We have previously sailed on QM2. QV has some significant differences but provides a very consistent Cunard experience to her big sister. The staterooms are almost identical, but a recent refit has changed the layout of the bathrooms and we found them to work very well for us. Our steward (Erwin) was fabulous and the dining experience exceeded QM2. Our party was accidentally split up on the first night but this was corrected by the Maitre'd and we were placed on a table with 3 other couples from night 2 and luckily connected well with our fellow cruisers.
We dined during the day at the Lido and were really impressed by the variety and quality of food and the waiter service offered (if you want it), for tea & coffee. The Kings Court always felt a bit frantic on QM2, but the Lido seemed much better.
We spent much time in the Commodore's Club as this was a firm favorite from our QM2 experiences but I have to say that this disappointed. The service was far too slow and there did not seem to be enough bartenders to meet the demand. The waiters were often misplacing guests cards and we spotted a few folks leaving without having been served at all. There is a piano singer and while the piano music is pleasant, when the singing starts, it's invasive and we tried to position ourselves as far from this as possible.
I used the spa for a manicure and an acupuncture consultation. Both exceeded my expectations but I wasn't aware of the acupuncture services until really late in the voyage. If I'd have known earlier, I'd have taken a course of treatment. Also, there were some great deals offered on the last day of the cruise but by this time I'd made other commitments and would have liked to have known about them ahead of time too - the moral here is that if you're interested in the spa, go there right away and get a full list of services for your voyage so you can plan.
The gym on QV is fantastic and we used it a number of times. They offer classes and we would have appreciated information on those ahead of time too as we'd have taken advantage of them if we'd known.
Whether it was the short duration or the fact that most people were traveling domestic on the cruise, we found the launderettes to be a LOT less hectic than on QM2.
We went ashore via the tenders (lifeboats) in Guernsey. This was very professionally handled and we were amazed at how many people they comfortably fit into each tender. The shore side of the operation was very well run and we were impressed that the tenders were running all the time rather than at fixed times (other than the first and last one, of course). In Liverpool, we waited until we were alongside at the cruise terminal before going ashore. I am originally from Liverpool and visit frequently so this was less of a priority for us. My family members took one of the scheduled excursions on Guernsey and were really impressed. It was well organized and Cunard obviously took time to find quality local resources who offer a worthwhile experience.
We also attended the lectures and found them to be as informative and entertaining as previous ones we've attended. The library is great and we briefly used the internet service as we get complimentary minutes with Cunard. It is a satellite connection so is slow, but that was not a problem for us as our usage was not critical.
We didn't have time to experience the shows but our fellow diners were really impressed. We also didn't bring our dancing shoes on this voyage but we really liked the look of Hemispheres, and it's location on Deck 10. It was busy every night.
The 175 celebrations are obviously not a feature of every cruise so I won't review them here other than to say that they were utterly fantastic, tons of fun, well executed by all participants and a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Although this was a special occasion, we are already combing Cunard brochures to find our next opportunity to take another voyage. Happy birthday Cunard, we had a blast!
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