We had sailed with Cunard a couple of year's ago on QM2, however this was our first voyage on Queen Victoria, or with an infant!
My husband and I booked this cruise with our 8 month old daughter for a short winter break and to try out Cunard with children.
We drove to Southampton to meet the ship and used the port's valet parking service which was incredibly well organised and smooth. This made it so easy to embark, despite all our luggage and baby kit.
Queen Victoria was beautiful, very clean and luxurious, just as we had expected. Although sailing full, she was very spacious and even on sea days no areas felt crowded.
With a baby in tow we didn't attend many organised activities, skipping the lectures, fencing theatre and dancing, however did enjoy the live music in the various venues and of course tried out the Play Zone with our daughter. There were only a few children on board which meant the nursery was never busy and the youth staff had plenty of time for us. We planned to use the night nursery, so we could have a romantic meal for two, however our daughter decided to stay up until 9pm each night so no chance of dropping her off asleep at this facility!
Service from our room steward, the dining staff and from crew all over the ship was very attentive yet polite and discreet. We only had one less than positive experience and that was in the coffee bar. Babies are very well catered for by Cunard and we had pre-requested a travel cot, baby bath and bottle steriliser for our cabin, all of which were exactly as we had hoped. The dining room provided a high chair and jars of Hipp Organic baby food.
In port, both Copenhagen and Hamburg, we did our own thing. The shuttle buses laid on by Cunard we excellent and frequent, and free for us to use as we had paid the Cunard fare. The drivers were very accommodating and happy helping to load our daughter's buggy into the luggage compartment. We really enjoyed the aquarium in Copenhagen, which we travelled to by metro, and found a great regional German restaurant for lunch in Hamburg where our family was made very welcome.
We stayed in a BC balcony cabin towards the aft on the port side of the ship. It was larger than average and had an extended, slightly strangely shaped balcony as was at the end of the hump. The room was immaculate and the extra space was useful, although we could not place the cot in the obvious position as this was straight under the air con which was very powerful and created a strong draft. In retrospect an outside cabin would have been fine for us on this cold winter itinerary as we didn't use the balcony at all, other than to watch the fireworks as we sailed away from Hamburg.
We had early dining in the main dining room which worked well for us. The food was excellent quality and delicious. I particularly enjoyed the tuna sashimi and rack of lamb. Our daughter napped in her buggy some evenings and joined us for dinner in her high chair other nights. She loved all the attention from the waiting staff and other guests and behaved very well at the table, something we had been a little nervous about beforehand. We also ate lunch in the dining room several days which worked very well for us, and once in the pub although we were disappointed with the food here, especially the steak pie. We had breakfast delivered by room service each morning, which was faultless.
We had several sets of photos taken on board, however were not that impressed with the quality of all the photographers. The pictures were also very expensive. The shops on board were well stocked with clothing however there did not seem to be much high end jewellery or choice of watches available, which was a surprise. The staff in the art gallery were very friendly and approachable. We particularly enjoyed the Commodore Club for the views and delicious canapes and cocktails.
Disembarkation was fine but a bit of a drag. Passengers disembarked by cabin floor rather than as and when they wished, which was rather tedious. I am not sure this made things any smoother.
To conclude we had a great trip on a beautiful ship. The ship was very child friendly despite being classy and elegant. All the children on board appeared well behaved and dined with their parents in the evenings. The children's club facilities were great however I think would have struggled if the number of children on board had been significantly higher. We plan to return to Cunard as a family of four in 2017!
Larger than average with an extended, slightly strangely shaped, balcony.
We took the Cunard shuttle bus to the city centre and then hopped on the Metro opposite out to the aquarium. A nice family day out with good local fresh food served in the aquarium restaurant. We did not have the chance to see any more of the city.
Easily accessible port for us with great service and organisation. We did not visit the city on this trip.
We took the Cunard shuttle bus to the city centre, explored on foot a little and visited a department store and shopping arcade where we had a great coffee. We also found an excellent traditional German restaurant and bar for lunch where the waitress was very welcoming despite speaking no English.