The overall package was very good value for money. The opportunity to sail around South America through the Magellan Straits, including a voyage up the Amazon to Manaus, plus a crossing of the Pacific past Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Bora Bora and others on the way to Auckland and Sydney was very attractive.
Cunard prides itself on its history and standards, but this is somewhat of a veneer. The cuisine in the Britannia Restaurant showed the influence of the German executive chef and the menu was repeated, monotonously, every 10 days or so with no variation. The food was nowhere near as good as I have experienced on smaller ships with less facilities. If you like German food, it may have been fine, but I found it not to my liking. Whilst the service of the attentive waiters couldn't be faulted, the disappointing food, plus the need to wear a jacket (including black tie on well over one third of the nights at sea) when sailing in the tropics drove me to eat in the Lido buffet on Deck 9 once we sailed into warm waters. The choice at the buffet was much better than in the restaurant, albeit the food often being unavoidably luke-warm. Unfortunately the Lido had all the ambience of a motorway service station cafeteria (with dirty windows - see below), and was not a place to linger.
The number of black tie nights was hugely excessive in my opinion, especially when in tropical waters. Those who chose not to wear formal dinner suits were banned from most of the ship (including the evening entertainment in the Theatre) - only being able to sit in the Lido, or the Winter Garden on the same deck. The Winter Garden was attractive BUT was spoiled by 6 large TV screens blaring out noisy sport 24/7, which gave it the aura of a down-market, inner-city Pub. The whole of Deck 9 housing the Lido, the Winter Garden and Pavillion Pool had panoramic windows. Unfortunately these quickly became salt-encrusted on the outside and I don't believe were cleaned once in the entire voyage to Sydney. This greatly spoiled the enjoyment of these spaces. I appreciate that salt spray is unavoidable, but the failure to clean the windows when alongside in any of the 14 ports hardly fits with the high quality image Cunard likes to present.
The cabin was quiet, comfortable and well equipped, and the service from my attentive steward could not be bettered. Though lacking a window, it was perfectly adequate for my needs.
Barbados was lovely but spoilt by there being 4 cruise ships in port at the same time which swamped Bridgetown.
The shuttle bus took those not on an excursion to an ordinary shopping mall some distance from the main centre of Las Olas boulevard.
A lovely looking island but not there long enough to explore adequately.
Boarding was painless and the terminal is not far from Southampton rail station.