We sailed on Queen Victoria to celebrate our 25th Wedding anniversary, and this cruise was our first. We are both in our mid 40’s. We booked this 14 day Western Mediterranean cruise Embarking from Istanbul and returning from Rome around 5 weeks before departure and at that time took advantage of a Cunard ‘Saver Fare’ and opted for a balcony stateroom with an obstructed view, which best fit our budget. Nearer embarkation time we received notification from Cunard of our stateroom being upgraded to an unrestricted view on Deck 5 Aft, Stateroom 5161, which was a lovely surprise. In total, the cruise cost a very reasonable £1349pp for the 14 nights including flight supplements. The cruise number was V517D in the Cunard brochure.
Flights to Istanbul and return from Rome were included in the fare excepting a small supplement of £50pp due to us flying from Manchester (flights from London did not incur supplement). The charter flight carrier was Titan Airways, and flights both ways were pleasant enough, and flight times good, 8am out and 4pm for the return. It would have been beneficial, and I would recommend to all, to extend the holiday by staying on in Rome for a couple of days afterward or prior to embarkation in Istanbul or indeed both destinations, so that both these cities could be explored further but sadly, time and work pressures were not on our side.
Just a note on the Titan Airways flights, the information we were provided prior to the holiday was that a very restrictive 20kg hold luggage and 5kg cabin bag was imposed and no possibility of paying for extra weight; it turned out at the check in desk, that no such restriction was in place, and essentially our packing anxieties were unfound, I guess as long as you don’t go over the top, checking in an extra few kilos would be fine. We flew into Istanbul Corlu, which is a tiny military and civil airport so getting through customs and onto the awaiting coaches was swift, transfers to the port in Istanbul was around an hour and a half, but this accounted for by heavy traffic in Istanbul, a city of over 15million people!
Our Stateroom was beautiful, the comfiest king size bed I have ever slept on, fluffy pillows and nicely fitted with ample wardrobes and drawers, desk and television, the refrigerator to store drinks is a real treat. Our Steward Benny kept the stateroom impeccably clean throughout our journey and the ice bucket always filled. The bathroom was functional and well maintained. It was such a treat having a balcony and we did use it a lot, however, it’s not a necessity as it’s only a short stroll to a deck area to take the sea air and sun. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate in taking an inside or ocean view stateroom in the future if my budget was tighter.
The situation of this cabin on Deck 5 aft is fantastic, a quiet area, not far from the lifts and stairs but far enough away so there was no noise from them and certainly no engine sounds. Deck 5 is great as its not far to walk to decks and public areas. I cannot comment on what the movement of this cabin would be in rough seas as the whole of our cruise the seas were very much a millpond.
Salerno. Not a pretty port! We were all tripped out by the time we berthed in Salerno and didn’t visit any of the obvious choices of excursions such as Pompei; Vesuvius; Amalfi or Sorrento but instead had a sojourn around Salerno, nice trip to the beach for a swim and the most glorious pizza and ice cream to round the day off.