Booked this cruise for two reasons, the itinerary and to see for ourselves if Cunard is what they say they are. The itinerary was great, Cochin excepted but we expected that. We had three complaints about this cruise, first of which was the visas for India. We had no plans to go ashore in Cochin but was told that we must have full tourist visas otherwise we would not be able to embark the ship in Singapore. Due to a lack of time we had no choice other than to use Cunards intermediary CIBT visas, at a significant cost to us. Due to a lack of communication it turned out the visas were not required pre cruise. We watched people board the ship who had no visas. Cunard have since agreed to reimburse us, but only because we complained. If you were on this ship and had a similar experience then complain, they won't contact you! Secondly the stateroom------ We were in 13024 which is a club balcony cabin. The room itself was very nice with a roomy balcony and was well maintained by the steward, thanks Salvi.There is tea making facilities in the room which is always a bonus. Further to the stateroom there is significant vibration most of the time which is apparent to both port and starboard. Theses staterooms were a recent addition made during the last refurbishment. Cunard of course are aware of this and I'm told by a guest services executive that they are looking at ways of factoring it into the brochure stateroom descriptions. Too little to late for us, Cunard got our money, my wife got no decent sleep. As a matter of interest the vibration has nothing to do with sea conditions as it was present when the ship was on its mooring lines.
Finally, the food--------I was served raw ( yes you read it right, raw) chicken with bloody juices running from it! As you can imagine there was mayhem, the servers, maitre d, chef and executive chef all arguing amongst themselves as to who was at fault, with fellow diners looking on in disbelief. I left the dining room and went for a meal. The outcome of this was that I was not allowed to make a formal complaint at the pursers desk,I wanted a case number so that I could take the matter up when I got home but was refused and told to drop the matter.I was given a complimentary meal in the Italian specialty restaurant, special it wasn't. Since being home Cunard agree that we have had a shocking experience with the three complaints and have offered us 20% of the cost of the cruise plus reimbursement of the cost of the visas. Is this commensurate with the cruise experience ? The service in the dining room was, we found, fine. The food in general in the dining room was adequate, but no more. A bit hit and miss. The service in the bars was, at times dreadful. Gone are the days of being escorted to seat and waited on for a drink, like it used to be. More often than not I got my own drinks at the bar and carried them back to where we were sitting. Staff work hard enough but there just isn't enough of them. The experience made me that I was at home in my local Wetherspoons.
The entertainment for us was a mixed bag with no hint of a wow factor. The two productions shows were very poor and most certainly the entertainment was geared toward classical recitals and ballroom dancers with some jazz thrown in. The resident orchestra was very good as was the dance band. All in all we found the entertainment to be low key and not to our taste. Some of the sea day lectures were good though, as was the planetarium. Shore excursions were robbery but they are everywhere. The price of drinks was also robbery but we have seen worse, can't remember where. In the end we were glad to get home. Would we cruise Cunard again? Highly unlikely. For the life of me I can't see any evidence of a White Star experience, perhaps it's reserved for the grills? As for us we will continue cruising but methinks we will body swerve Cunard in the future.