The 26-night Christmas/New Year cruise on Queen Mary 2 from Southampton to New York, the Caribbean and return to Southampton revealed the on-going cost cutting, rip-off prices and declining restaurant food provided by Cunard. It failed to provide shuttle buses when berthing some distance from a town; the ship’s toilet system failed on four occasions; and the entire water supply failed on another day.
I can safely comment on the decline of Cunard after many cruises on the company’s ships. The first problem was the check-in at Ocean Terminal. Cunard says my World Club Diamond membership gives me priority boarding but it is a second-class priority. On arrival I was told to sit and wait to be called even though the ‘priority’ check-in was open and was checking-in the occasional passenger. These, I was told, were ‘Grills passengers’ who had priority over my priority - even if they were first-time Cunarders with no loyalty to the brand.
In the cabin I was pleased to see a bottle of water available but not pleased to see its price label. The 1.5 litre bottle was $3.95 and, in very small print, a note that 15 per cent ‘service charge’ would be added. In Sterling that comes to about £3.40. At Waitrose a 2 litre bottle of comparable water costs 47p.