We have been cruising for 24 years and have travelled with most of the popular cruise lines excluding P&O. We have been on the QM2 in 2004 and so had very high expectations. We had never sailed from Southampton before and we had hotel stays both before and after the cruise. Overall, the cruise was very good and the cruise critic.co.uk summary is very accurate. The ship is beautiful with many wonderful features including a superb library. The ship is very spacious and absorbs the high number of guests very well. The food was generally very good with interesting menu choices. We did not sample any extra cost speciality restaurants as we were happy with the quality in the main dining room. The lunch in both Cafe Carinthia and the Golden Lion pub were excellent. The Lido buffet was disappointing especially the lunch menu as there appeared to be no quality control so sandwiches became stale and unlike the QM2 where you had chefs making wonderful speciality sandwiches on order there was someone making basic cheese,tuna,etc sandwiches. There was only one serving station for the daily roast and the stir fries were left to stew....same with some of the hot pastries they were just left to become stale. The service throughout the ship was mediocre with the crew generally being uninterested with hardly any interaction with guests or there colleagues...you hardly saw anyone with a smile or a few woods to say. The exception was the over Manager from Romania in our section of the Brittania dining room. The entertainment was very average with daily music shows which became one long musical...some variety is urgently needed as there is music throughout the ship. Equinox the raggae band were brilliant and the classical performers were very good. Quizzes were hit and miss. We avoided karaoke and bingo. Movies are screened daily in the theatre and there are a few movies on the TV in several languages.The outside cabin was excellent and a reasonable size. Cabin Steward was fine. There were plenty of sun loungers,etc and good area of shade. Nice swimming pools and good deck sports. There is a small casino. The public areas including the Queens Room are stunning. We loved the Commodore Club on deck 10 both day and night. Drinks were reasonably priced for a premium cruise ship. Embarkation and Disembarkation were excellent. The itinerary was interesting and went to ports we had never visited: La Rochelle, Bilboa, Gijon and Guernsey. Cunard included shuttles to the first three ports and we neede tenders in Guernsey ( where some Brits were complaining about the slowness due to rough seas! ) We would certainly recommend this ship despite the criticism above ( no ship is perfect ) but our favourite cruise line is still the wonderful Princess company. Currency is the dollar. Men are required to wear a jacket in the evening in most public area.
Lovely spacious cabin.
Winchester is 20 minutes by train and a lovely town to explore.
Pretty town to explore on foot