This was only our second cruise and we picked it because we wanted to experience the "luxury" of Cunard. We were aware that the clientele would be older and were OK with that.
Embarkation in Venice was somewhat chaotic and very slow, there was not a big crowd, but it took a long time to get through the process, not really great in this automated day and age.
First impressions of the ship were favourable, it was nicely appointed, and really quite stylish. It was also easy to navigate around. The room was OK (what I expected). Décor somewhat dated, but acceptable anyway. One word of warning, Cunard's website states that the cabins have UK and Euro plugs, in fact our cabin had 4 US plugs, 2 European plugs and 1 UK plug, so take your converters if you have more that one device to charge! The 1/2 bottle of sparkling wine was a nice touch. Cabin Steward was superb.
The Lido restaurant (Buffet) is typical buffet fare, not good, not bad just average, BUT the service is poor with tables not being cleared quickly. There are free juices and coffee but it is self serve (which I was OK with). Breakfast was a bit of a scrum, the Britannia restaurant is only open 8 - 9.30, which means almost everyone hits the Lido Buffet and there simply is not enough space. Either make more space of extend the Britannia breakfast hours. Staff in the Lido seemed depressed, not sure I saw a smile all cruise!
Britannia - Reasonable food, a fair choice and (in our case at least) very attentive service. Good wine choice, but very expensive. Waiters very good.
Golden Lion Pub - limited lunch choice, but quite nice, service a bit hit and miss.
Drinks inordinately expensive, $15 for a double G and T is a bit eye watering!
Entertainment - Mixed, nothing really in the day time, other than the odd lecture and cards etc. I guess suited the older clientele, but not us, fortunately the weather was OK so we could sit on the deck and read or just catch some sun. To many of the courses are charged for (learn to use an iPad for example), and it just felt like they were nickel and diming (more on that later).
Evening shows OK, on board entertainers were a bit "Saturday night live", but reasonable, the visiting acts were quite good with one being excellent. But it always had an "amateur hour" feel to it. And the entertainment director seemed to feel the need to introduce and say goodbye to every act - sometimes less is more!
Excursions - Well organised and in most case quite good, but VERY expensive (similar tours could be had immediately you stepped ashore for 1/2 the price), I expect a mark up but this was too much.
Disembarkation went well - we elected to "self serve" that is take our own case s off, which was effective. Transfers from the port to Rome were nothing short of profiteering, with a bus ride costing $69 and a private car $325 (it was only a taxi). There were taxis available at the port, and we pre-booked a car (port approved, pick up at the ship) for about $140. Again a mark up is OK, but this was daylight robbery!
So overall I enjoyed the cruise, the ship was nice, the food was reasonable, and the itinerary was good. But I would not go on Cunard again, I can only compare it with one other cruise (Royal Caribbean) and that had a much "happier" and more lively feel. The real issue was that Cunard have a reputation for "luxury and Quality", yet my over powering feeling was that I was being nickel and dimed at every step - so slightly disapointing