Queen Victoria Cruise Review by John117
- Sail Date: May 2018
- Destination: Baltic Sea
- Cabin Type: Penthouse
Our first bag was already outside our cabin (Q4) when we arrived and the second arrived very soon afterwards - very impressive. Our assistant butler arrived soon after we got there. He brought our drinks order slip for the cabin bar and was very keen to get us to fill it in without really giving us time to think about what was available. This had a larger choice than we had anticipated from reading the reviews and blogs. There was a choice of 3 scotches and Jack Daniels, other spirits and around 8 wines. We regretted taking wine bottles on board having seen the choice but we are still unclear whether the wine would be replenished as the assistant butler said we could choose 2 bottles. It’s a pity you can't select which drinks you want in the VP. I asked for the Carlberg in the mini bar to be replaced with Speckled Hen and cider which our assistant butler took a note of. He then disappeared without showing us around or explaining anything to us. He told us our butler was a lady and she would see us soon but she didn't appear in an hour so we went for lunch. As we approached the lifts we spotted our butler standing by the lifts (her name was on a card in the cabin and on her badge) so we introduced ourselves and asked her to unpack for us which she set off to do immediately. The unpacking was obviously done in a rush as very little was hung up in the wardrobe. Even my shirts were taken out of the case and stuffed in a drawer. We had to recover the situation on our return from lunch.
When we returned to our cabin after lunch the beer and cider had arrived but not the scotch I ordered. I called the butler around 17.00 and she told me she would bring it after dinner which she did - 2 bottles of Glenfiddich. This was not the Glenfiddich I am used to as it was much darker with a stronger flavour but ok.
The cabin itself was very clean and comfortable. Our butler wasn't the friendliest we have had and at times her manner was quite abrupt - I asked if they did warm canopes when she delivered the cold ones and she said "if you want warm ones I will bring them tomorrow". We certainly didn't get the feeling of nothing is too much trouble - quite the opposite initially at least. However the next day the hot canopes turned up and they were delicious. The cold canopes we didn't touch as they didn't appeal to us. The warm ones were nice but seemed to be beef and prawns every day with the occasional addition of spring rolls. They were sometimes delivered at 17.30 which put us off dinner at 18.30. We did warm to our butler as the week went on and we had several chats with her. The cabin was kept spotless throughout the journey.
The towels provided are not soft and fluffy like a 5 star hotel but more like a bath sheet you would expect in a cheaper hotel. The bath robes likewise are not so luxurious.
We were allocated a table in the queen's grill restaurant and a card was left in our room advising us of the table number. It wouldn't have been our first choice of table as it was right next to the server station with the wine buckets and the walkway but it was ok. Our waiter and his assistant were excellent. We asked him to change the milk for our coffee to semi skimmed on day 1 and at breakfast the following day he advised us that we already had it on the table. The choice and the food in the restaurant was probably as good as we have had on any ship although many of the dishes feature onions or garlic and creamy sauces. We did have a couple of disappointing meals where the meat was sub standard . Chateaubriand and veal cutlets were poor quality meat. Cooking at your table is actually in most instances a re heat of something cooked previously. We asked for sirloin steaks for dinner one lunchtime (you have to pre order some dishes or if you go off menu) as we didn't really fancy anything else on the menu (yes we were getting really picky by then) and the restaurant manager noted exactly what we wanted and it was really good and cooked exactly as we asked. I am not a fan of having to pre order my meals as I like to decide at the time what I feel like not 8 hours in advance. Coffee and tea at dinner is included. Coffee at breakfast tends to be on the cool side and not particularly good. The table in the QG restaurant is for your sole use throughout the cruise so there is never any pressure to vacate your table. The allocated table system has good and bad points - you do get used to your waiters and they know your preferences but if you don't strike up a good relationship with them or the people at the adjacent table then you are stuck with that for the cruise. Likewise if you don't like the table position you can't switch it to another. On balance I would prefer to choose my table and as we eat early we normally have a good choice. The windows in the queen's grill restaurant were dirty throughout the whole cruise spoiling the view of the fiords.
The price of drinks is well covered in the reviews – I fall into the far too expensive camp - $46 for an average bottle of wine is a rip off.
Pillow menu - there were 5 on the bed and that was that. No choice or change offered. The walk in wardrobe in our Q4 was a bit of a challenge as it is quite small. We had to go inside and close the door to access some of the storage. There is a lot of storage in the cabin however. If your cruise involves a time change be warned that the clock in the cabin adjusts itself at 02.00. The clock normally clicks forward every minute anyway which can be annoying if you re trying to sleep. But at a time change it clicks 60 times nonstop to alter the time!!
Security staff held us outside at the gangplank on occasions to enable crew to disembark? We have never had that on other cruise lines. The Grills deck areas not policed and apart from a small sign there is nothing preventing other passengers using them as they did frequently.
On day 6 our butler advised us as we returned from breakfast that the lights in our bathroom/toilet/wardrobe had failed and they had reported the fault soon after we left the room at 08.00. We discovered that 50% of the other room lights had failed also. When we returned from our trip ashore some 3 hours later they were still not working. I called the pursers office at 11.15 and they were repaired at 11.30 - why couldn't they have responded so quickly when the butler reported the fault?
Afternoon tea we avoided as a sacrifice for all the other food we had. But we had to try it once so we did. We went to the Princess Grill restaurant and it was fairly chaotic from where we viewed it. English breakfast tea was the standard issue followed by sandwiches. I asked for a scone which came with something masquerading as clotted cream. The scone was probably the worst I have ever had so I couldn't eat it. We then asked for a cake but that had to come on a 3 tier stand with 4 cakes 2 scones and sandwiches. We tried the carrot cake but left that as well. My wife asked for peppermint tea but got Moroccan mint and jasmine instead with leaves all over the teapot outside and in. Lots of the leaves went straight through the strainer and finished up in the cup making the tea unpleasant to drink. We didn't try afternoon tea again!
We went to the theatre two nights - one was a singer performing with the orchestra who spent a lot of time name dropping Andrew Lloyd Webber and the other was a musical type production with reasonable dancers but poor singers - we left both shows early.
There was a bit of posturing for extra gratuities towards the end of the cruise but I considered the 189 dollars taken automatically was sufficient for the service we received. Our restaurant waiter even presented us with a Cunard folder inscribed with “Hope you enjoyed the excellent service”?
We packed our suitcases ourselves as it was easier to sort out what we would wear on disembarkation. Our butler didn't offer to pack for us!
We received our priority labels two nights out and our gathering point was deck 3 in the Britannia restaurant. When we came back from breakfast on disembarkation day before 07.00 the butler and assistant were already stripping the cabin. We told them we wanted to use the facilities and they said ok and carried on with what they were doing in the cabin. The moved all our hand luggage to suit themselves. Disembarkation was delayed for some reason but announcements were almost non existent. We sat as requested in the deck 3 upper part of the Britannia restaurant until it became so crowded hot and noisy and we gave up our seats to some seniors (more senior than us!) with walking difficulties. We set out in search of the gangway only to find that many of our fellow passengers had the same idea. The area around the gangway stairs and lifts soon became over crowded with people unable to get out of the lifts. Eventually a young lady shouted to the masses that disembarkation was commencing but there was so much noise not everyone could hear what she said. Priority disembarkation seemed to vanish and a free for all commenced. This is the worst disembarkation I have ever encountered and was more like a cross channel ferry than a 5* cruise ship.
Would we sail with Cunard again? Possibly but it would have to be a QG with a good itinerary not requiring the very expensive shore excursions and at a good price including OBC. Otherwise we are back to Regent.
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