We chose this cruise as an opportunity to visit some places we’d never seen and get away from a grey British winter.
Cunard has a problem. They seem to be massively popular with the over 75s but leave the ‘younger pensioner’ wondering whether they really care. The entertainment is poor, comedians that have struggled to leave 1973 behind, lectures about the lives of singers my Nan adored (and I’m 61!), the Golden Lion pianist did what he had to do for the money - an endless stream of 50s classics (he did slip in a Radiohead number at one point which, I suspect, was as refreshing to him as it was to me), jugglers, magicians etc. etc. I understand that Cunard don’t wish to turn their older base away but at sometime they will have to cater for us newer retirees. We’ve been brought up on Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, Ben Elton and Steve Coogan. OK, so I don’t expect to see Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend belting out ‘My Generation’ on the Queen Elizabeth but maybe a tribute band or two would go a long way. The funniest comedian on this trip was one of the Entertainment Team, Laura, a brilliantly humorous lady who, when she’s on a roll, had her audiences crying with laughter. Learn from her Cunard, we won’t be happy with beige offerings going forward.
The food was average compared to other cruises and the Britannia Restuarant lacked character. We didn’t like the 2 set dining times of 6 (too early) or 8.30 (too late), anytime dining would have suited us better. The staff, though, at all times were professional, attentive and friendly.
Drinks were crazily overpriced which, I guess, was good for our livers but left us wondering how much more they would sell if prices were taken down a notch or two (other cruise lines prices are cheaper). We didn’t take any excursions as they looked over priced but, to be fair, that apples to all cruise companies. We did have a couple of bad experiences with their shuttle service in particular in Cape Town - the last shuttle back to the boat was scheduled for 8pm so we got to the pick up area at 7.30. By 8.10 pm no bus arrived so we were forced to walk at great speed back to the boat just making the 8.30 ‘all aboard’ time. We complained heavily to the customer service desk who said they would talk to the shuttle company and come back to us. Of course no one ever did get back to us.
Are Cunard terrible? No, that would be unfair, but they are distinctly mediocre. In insisting on several formal nights and high tea in the Queens Room they give a veneer of ‘higher quality’ but, beneath this, it doesn’t really have that much to make you want to come back. But, their problem is that some of their older established customers clearly believe that they are sailing with the creme de la creme whilst the rest are a bit uninspired by the overall experience. How do they change to attract us younger oldies? Or do they even want to? Until they do change we’ll pass on Cunard.
Cabin ok, nothing special. Steward very good. No nicitities in the room especially as I spent my birthday onboard, all I got was an antiseptic card signed by a handful of ‘big wigs’ which went straight in the bin. No bottle of wine, small cake, all I got was the square root of naff all.