This was our third time on Cunard and our second on the Queen Victoria, so we had a good idea of what to expect: excellent service, excellent dancing and mediocre food. Our April cruise through the Panama Canal, from LA to Fort Lauderdale, met two of those three expectations.
The service was indeed excellent. Every crew member we encountered was friendly and eager to help. Our cabin steward, Joel, did an outstanding job of keeping our cabin clean despite our somewhat erratic schedule. When our in-room safe inexplicably refused to open, someone from the purser’s office responded immediately, diagnosed the problem as a dead battery, and quickly returned to replace it.
And, the food was indeed mediocre. We learned on our first Cunard cruise that the food in the Britannia is not worth the time or effort involved. (Will Cunard ever acknowledge that anytime dining is the current standard?) In order to avoid that arbitrary schedule, we ate our meals in the Lido, even on formal nights, which meant we had to fetch our own food while wearing a long gown and tuxedo. I am a vegetarian, so steered clear of most of the offerings on the steam table. When we sailed on the Queen Mary last year, we were impressed by the salads and the array of grilled veggies in the Kings Court. Those recipes apparently haven’t made it to the QV: the vegetables were mostly overcooked and “buttered,” and the lettuce was consistently limp. The one bright spot was the pizza station, where the cook cheerfully made pizzas and calzones to our specifications.