We have cruised with P & O, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Fred Olson and Thomson and this was our 8th cruise and as Cunard are regarded as the number one in the cruise ship ratings we were looking forward to our 5 night New Years Cruise to Bruge, Amsterdam and Cherbourg. We had just checked into our cabin when a tannoy announcement from the Commodore of the ship informed us we wouldn't be visiting Bruge after all and we would head straight to Amsterdam to ensure we were in Amsterdam for New Years eve instead of cruising out of Amsterdam at 1.00am on New Years day we didn't actually cruise out of port until 9.00am which meant we lost some of the New Year spirit. No compensation was offered for the change in itinerary and with the currency charges the cancelled trips ended up costing us extra money as the extra commission transaction charges were not taken into account to transfer back from dollars to sterling. On a positive note the fireworks in Amsterdam port were fantastic and worth the trip up to the outside desks to get the best panoramic view.
Our cabin was off a good standard (7059) and was cleaned and serviced to a high standard. We had a small problem with the noise of the air conditioning unit but our room attendant reported this and it was fixed on day 2 of our cruise.
Food and service for dinner in the main restaurant was poor, menus were not particularly adventurous and certainly were not matched to the countries we were visiting as per the suggestions in the Cunard brochure and off a much lower standard that other cruise ships we have travelled on before. Service was rushed at dinner and staff whilst not unpleasant did not seem to want to be there serving us. There appeared to be a lack of supervision in the restaurant at dinner, not once were we asked if food etc was ok and a few people at our table left their main courses due to poor quality of meat etc. Service and food at breakfast and lunch was so much better. The service and food in the Lido was of a very good standard and room service was also good. We had afternoon tea on 2 afternoons in the Queens Room which was very nice and well organised. The general bar areas on the ship are small for the number of people on board and we were unable to get seating for a pre-dinner cocktail etc during our 5 night stay, we visited the pub on a couple of occasions but service at the bar was very curt and slow, again no supervision of staff was apparent.
There is only 1 theatre on board the ship, evening entertainment was good, however the general daytime activities schedule was the same each day and a bit boring and was more suited to the over 70's rather than the majority of passengers who were in the 40 to 60 age range. We were disappointed to find that the wine tasting was also cancelled with no reason given. We didn't get to see the Commodore or Captain during our cruise and they didn't appear at the New Year countdown which was also disappointing, they kept a very low profile throughout the cruise apart from hearing them on the tannoy announcements.
We spoke with many people who advised us to give Cunard another try but perhaps opt for the Queen Mary next time, they were also disappointed with this cruise and the standard of service and said it wasn't the normal standard provided by Cunard.
On our arrival back into Southampton we were unable to dock back at the original berth but coaches were provided to take us back to where we should have been docked to enable us to pick up our car.
A disappointing cruise overall and not as enjoyable as the cruise we did previously with P & O at New Year in 2015.
Cabin was of a good standard with everything we required for our 5 night stay. Toiletries and supplies were replaced on a regular basis as were towels and bedding etc. The bed and pillows were very comfortable.
Not a lot to see and do if you don't take an organised tour.