We decided on a short cruise to LeHarve/Hamburg on the Queen Mary 2 as precursor to a 9 day cruise on the Queen Victoria in October. we were a tad concerned about dress codes and formality but shouldnt have been as it soon became clear that you could wear just about anything.
Arriving at the Ocean Terminal in a shirt and jacket I soon realised I was overdressed. Fellow travellers seemed to have been dressed by Sue Ryder and Oxfam and a few maintained this look throughout the voyage. Only a few I hasten to add.
Embarkation was a breeze. The QM2 looked like a big tug up close up and there was certainly no wow factor (perhaps our angle was wrong). Inside the ship was more appealing apart from the slot machines in the Grand Lobby (dreadful). Our room was tucked away in a little cul-de-sac on deck 9. Apart from the continual bathroom odours in the corridor the room itself was perfect. The shower was larger than we previously experienced.
We explored the ship over 3 days and there was plenty to find and see. Entertainment was better than expected. I dressed for dinner as did the others on our table . Others didnt and I did see one chap in a white vest (yes vest) and jacket. Although it was informal dress code for the 3 nights most diners made the effort to dress up. Most of the ladies did 24/7 with the odd few arriving for dinner in sloppy jumpers (no one was turned away). This was even more relaxed than our previous experience with P&O.
Food was excellent at the Britannia restaurant for Lunch and Dinner but choice was astonishingly limited. There were about 4 main meals to choose from whilst on the Ventura I am sure there was more than double that. Perhaps the Grill Rooms offered more. The standard of food was excellent though. We went to the Kings Court (buffet) for breakfast and supper. Loads of food on offer and of a pretty decent standard. You could always find somewhere to sit aswell.
Fellow passengers were generally polite and well mannered. I did see one elderly lady rummaging through the bread with her bare hands to find "the perfect slice" I guess. Absolutely disgusting especially with loads of tongs on hand. There were the usual few wandering around eating from their plates in the serving area which is all but expected these days.
We really liked this Cruise and couldn't fault the experience apart for disembarkation and the journey home. Getting our luggage was a breeze but outside there was no signs to the hotel busses. The girls in red tops (apparently Cunard) were hopeless and were giving people conflicting directions. We tried walking up to a few to get directions but they simply walked away. We were bussed to a Central Hamburg hotel for 4 hours before continuing our journey to the Airport. It was a grind. Queuing at the Airport was draining.
Overall this Cruise was on par with our only other cruise experience with P&O. I note that Cunard do some very similar cruises to P&O using the same ports of call and itinerary Would I pay the extra for the privilege of sailing with Cunard. .Absolutely not. I would rate them both very similar although P&O are undeservedly seen as more bargain basement.
We have a 9 day Cruise coming up on the Queen Victoria. Its a fly cruise too. Once thats completed we will never do another fly cruise. In our old age keeping down stress levels and tiredness are our priority. For others reading this it simply wont be an issue.
This was a basic cabin but it was big and spacious. The bed was fantastic. The room was kept spotless.
The corridors are very strange with a lovely blue zig zag on one side and a dirty light brown on the other. It gave the corridor a dirty tatty look. Some areas of carpeting would not have been out of place in a Travelodge.