My friend and I booked this cruise as she wanted to go the Christmas market in Bruges, Cunards dates Friday to Monday worked best for us and I live in Dorset so Southampton is an ideal port for me and a free day at sea to make use of the onboard facilities. We got a great price online and parking cost was reasonable. Car drop off with CPS and check-in were so easy and fast I was anxious as this was my first cruise and I'm used to airport parking, airport check in, 2/3 hours at the airport then boarding a transatlantic flight for 10 hours of movies. My anxiety was gone as soon as we stepped aboard, barely any time from arrival at the dock.
We had a twin obstructed sea view on deck 4 which was perfect for us, slight view but we weren't planning on sitting by the window much and we were amazed how large the cabin was and how gorgeous with sofa, fridge, comfy bedding and our welcome wine. Reggie serviced our cabin multiple times a day, always had ice, our bedtime chocolates and all the information we needed for the next day.
The Queen Victoria was stunning, so beautifully decorated, we went prepared for seasickness and didnt need our Kwells or Seabands. We were in the Britannia restaurant and the food was to die for. Never went hungry or ate too much, portion sizes were just right to enjoy the delicious food, with great service and menu choices at breakfast lunch and dinner and a fantastic sommelier who remembered we were diet coke drinkers. We used the Lido restaurant for buffet breakfast twice - once after a late night and the second time on disembarkation day. There was plenty on offer and our choice of cereals fruit and pastries with juice and coffee was just what we needed on those days.
We chose to save money and get the free shuttle to Blankenberg and catch the train into Bruges for less that 5E return and do our own thing in Bruges. We saw the market, had a boat trip, a wander round the shops and some lunch, a fantastic day. Shuttle back to the ship was fine and we had enough time ashore. Next time we'd probably go for buffet breakfast on trip day ashore to save time and get out earlier but for first time cruisers you live and learn and we had a great full breakfast in the restaurant.
Entertainment on board in the stunning theatre at sea was superb - Troubadour male vocal group, Roy Walker - legend of catchphrase and the ships dance company on our final night. We made use of the pub, casino slot machines, Queens room big band and dancing room, Hemispheres night club, the day spa and couldnt fault anything, we were so relaxed and switched off from life. We watched some of the dance lesson, played speed bingo, browsed the shops and art gallery went to the Masquerade ball and couldn't fit anymore in around sleeping and watching one of the great movies in our room on the TV. We could have stayed forever and were very sad to leave.
Disembarkation was super smooth, after breakfast and a short wait in our waiting area, straight off, collected luggage and across the road to collect our car and keys. I was pleased we were on a mid to lower deck as you disembark later so would probably go for that again and our deck and cabin grade meant we were so close to all the ships facilities.
We got a soft drinks package which worked out great value for us and after chatting to other passengers we heard that the service on cunard was the best they had ever experienced so we have experienced the best, how do we cruise with another company. I'm already looking at which mini cruise I can afford to go on next. Would highly recommend Cunard and this mini cruise.
Please see details of our trip to Bruges in my main review
Please see my main review.