1st Cunard experience and sad to say we have B2B booked with them in Aug/Sept 2019, 1st time ever I'm only half hearted about an upcoming cruise !!!!!! I'm sure the locations will cover any Cunard shortcoming.
Let me start by saying that while nothing was really wrong it's just that there was nothing that stood out or made the cruise an unforgettable 5 (or even 4) star experience.
We cruise to relax and unwind, enjoy new locations and enjoy the company of cruisers from different parts of the world .... being a Luxury category cruise line with a bit of nostalgia thrown in we expected to be treated to something special, we dressed the part, as Cunard expect/insist, but were totally disappointed with the level of service provided. Perhaps suite guests get to experience this sense of "luxury" in their dedicated dining room ..... for others it appears non existent (cattle making up the numbers providing a bit of profit to Cunard ?).
Embarkation went smoothly enough, there was an initial problem with the gangway but once this was resolved, no problem, guests were quickly able to board.
Had read that a few previous QE guests indicated the ship was looking a bit tired and dated, apart from from minor carpet issues on a couple of decks we saw, and had no issue with the ships condition .. ours was the last cruise before a scheduled refurbishment.
We almost always travel in oceanview and our cabin (1076) was as expected, about average size and fit out compared to previous (non Cunard) cruises. Our Steward (Mario) was overly quiet and shy but always offered a greeting when we met, no problem or issue there.
Having left London early a quick snack for lunch was enjoyed in the buffet, all tastes were provided for and we never really had an issue with quick meals that we had there after shore excursions and such. Same can't be said for the Lido Grill on the pool deck where the 'chef' seemed to think that cooking was a chore.
The only thing that kept us sane during dinner was the company of fellow cruisers, we're asked to dress to a 5 star standard but service was at a 2 star level ..... the meals were unimaginative, bland, small, lacking in variety and very below par for a 5 star cruise liner .... this was the 1st time ever that an incorrect meal was provided, not once but twice !! Initially they indicated a 'wine package' would be available, no details were ever offered or suggested/recommended (yes we could have asked for it but should that really be necessary?). perhaps being the 2nd sitting was a little too strenuous for staff.
After dinner most cruise lines offer a reasonable show ..... we sat through about 5 minutes of 2 offerings and quickly departed, extremely poor, worst offering we've ever experienced.
One or 2 of the 'enrichment' talks' apparently were quite good, but may have meant little for non British guests.
Shore excursions/tours were about average in cost (they're all on the pricey side) but were well managed with minimal hassles.
One of the issues many people have is being hassled for drinks every 5 minutes .... let me assure you this will NOT happen .... indeed drink service was extremely hard to obtain, always quicker to walk up and order yourself rather than wait for service staff to ask (5 star prices with 2 star service). After a day or 2 we established a rapport with the wait staff in the midship bar and had no problems there, initially. Being on a late dinner sitting we always made our way there before changing for dinner .... after 5 or 6 days of sitting there between 5 - 7 pm enjoying a martini I was asked to leave "sorry sir, no jacket, no service after 6pm" .... was OK for at least 5 days but must have got someones nose out of joint ????
Being scheduled for refurbishment resulted in most "shops" shutting down 2 or 3 days before the end of the cruise ... not a great experience for guests to have staff moving bits and bobs into storage while the cruise is still underway.
Disembarkation could have been as efficient as boarding if it wasn't for the fact that workmen were crowed around waiting to board as guests were being offloaded.
In closing the QE will be doing sailings out of Australia from Feb 2019 ..... I wish them luck, cruising tropical waters during an Australian summer is about daytime shorts and evenings with light, neat casual clothes to match the conditions (forgot the jacket) ..... not sure the Cunard dress standards will be appreciated by Aussie cruisers.
As expected for a midship oceanview.