This cruise was a part of Imagine Cruises Orient Express package-including Lake Garda and Florence. The other elements were fantastic but I will concentrate on the included 7 night cruise in this review. We have done a number of cruises previously mainly with Celebrity and RCI so have a fair idea about cruising. Our transfer from Florence to Civitavecchia went without problem and we were on board within 20 minutes of arrival. We were disappointed to find that Cunard do not do all in drinks packages and the on board prices were quite high with wine prices extortionate.We had a balcony stateroom on the 6th deck and we were pleased with its position near the forward lifts. There was lots of storage space and lots of hangers in the wardrobe(a plus). A welcoming half bottle of bubbly was waiting in our cabin- a nice touch. The cabin steward(Patrick) was efficient and unobtrusive.
The ship was quintessentially old fashioned even though it was just over 10 years old - dark panelling was In abundance and understatement was the order of the day. Overall it was a very nice ship with a traditional feel. There were a mix of passengers on board with 1,300 Brits out of 2,000 total. There were a variety of different ages on board but the majority seemed to be over 65. Activities seemed to cater for this age group with ballroom dancing, afternoon tea and traditional games being predominant. The staff on board were excellent and were both polite and helpful. However, throughout the cruise we did not really relax as much as we expected. The cruise was a bit like going to your grandparents for tea - everything felt very nice but you needed to be on your best behaviour all the time in case anyone disapproved. This may have been down to the make up and age of the passenger complement but it felt a bit stifling at times.
We ate in the Britannia restaurant in the evening and had either breakfast in our room or in the Lido buffet restaurant where we also had lunch. The food in the Britannia was different each night and of sufficient variety for most tastes. It was nicely presented and tasted ok but was not something that you would say “I could eat that again”. The waiting staff were friendly and efficient. Food in the Lido again was nicely presented and did what it said on the can - fast food for lots of people. It was our first time with fixed dining times so this put a bit of pressure on us time wise with 6.00pm dining rather a rush and 9.00pm dining too late for us. Freedom dining would have been better.
Cabin adequate. Beds very comfortable. Lots of hangers. Plenty of storage. Steward efficient and unobtrusive. Bathroom very cosy.