Two years ago, my friend and I arranged a 'cake decorating cruise' with Princess cruises which was successful in every way. (We held cake decorating demonstrations on board on the 'at sea' days) For these demonstrations, we were allocated a dining room and appointed times, in both the morning and afternoon, and it worked perfectly.
We decided to arrange another and did so with Cunard who I had always held in the highest regard, It was a 7 day cruise Melbourne, Kangaroo Island, Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne.
Unfortunately, Cunard's Administration is an absolute disgrace and requires urgent investigation.
Two years of planning on our part was spoiled by Cunard's inability to honour pre-arranged and confirmed committments and their 'don't care' attitude. This was embarrassing to me, disappointing to the people in my group and very damaging to the Cunard name.
An important aspect of our cruise was the 'goodie bags' we had packed for each person in our group. These were to be delivered to each cabin, on the first night, whilst the passengers were at dinner. Apart from being a 'nice surprise' and a happy start to the cruise, these bags also contained all the necessary information required for a 9am start the next morning.
ALTHOUGH THIS WAS PRE ARRANGED AND ASSURANCES GIVEN, THE BAGS WERE NOT DELIVERED AS ARRANGED.
This was a major problem. By the time we discovered this, as it was too late to ring cabins or knock on cabin doors, we slipped hand written notes under each door to advise of the starting time and location for the next morning. This was very late at night.
Whilst we were running from deck to deck doing this, we discovered our bags finally being delivered but being hung on the outside cabin handles, leaving them susceptible to theft. The bulk of our bags we found left unguarded near the reception area.
This was a terrible start to our cruise, reflected badly on us, and no explanation or apology (although requested) was given.
Once on board, our pre arranged 'Welcome Cocktail Party' was cancelled and we were asked to select another date. We obliged and chose the last night of the cruise - it was to be a 'Farewell Cocktail Party'. Cunard printed the invitations - inviting our guests to a 'Welcome Cocktail Party' - on the last night! The platters of food that had been pre arranged, also did not eventuate. Again, no explanation given.
I have written to Cunard outling our experiences in detail but have not yet received a reply.
Apart from the problems we had ON the cruise, I was amazed by, pre-cruise, their inability to treat all passengers as individuals. For example, baggage labels printed with one name only. Why not leave blank and allow people to insert their own name? One booklet per cabin with both names printed on the front cover. Beautifully presented, but one copy only for two passengers. Do they not see the obvious problems with this practice? Fortunately, our travel agent had the foresight to arrange an extra copy for our passengers thereby avoiding any conflict in this regard.
Post cruise - I am insulted that again, some passengers receive the opportunity to complete an on line questionairre whilst others do not.
Dining arrangements - despite table arrangements being given, this too was ignored.
I was disappointed that our group of 43 were not seated in close proximity for dining and that the table seating arrangements I had requested were changed. Unfortunately, this resulted in some ill feeling between some of our guests. Cunard should allow groups to organise their own table seatings This is such an important aspect for a successful cruise.
On a positive note, the food was excellent as were our waiting staff. I appreciated too, the Maitre D coming to the table regularly to ensure all was well with us.
The High Tea too, was excellent as expected and did not disappoint.
I also enjoyed having breakfast in the dining room. The menu was extensive and the waiting staff very efficient. They were very obliging on the occasions that they knew I did not have much time to linger and ensured I was served without any delay.
Our cabin was very comfortable and another positive aspect is that Room Service of meals is available with no extra charge.
However, having paid a high price for a balcony it is very inappropriate to expect access to it to paint the railings. This happened and rendered the balcony unusable for a day and no compensation was offered.
Having said the above, I did enjoy the ship and the cruise. Had the Administration not let us down, I would be rating the cruise very highly.
On a positive note, I liked the entertainment and, in particular, the ballroom dancing each evening. They have dance instructors, both male and female, who are very happy to teach if requested or just partner people who like to dance. For those who prefer to watch and simply enjoy the atmosphere, there are ample tables and chairs placed around the dance floor. The waiting staff, too, were excellent.
Following the ballroom dancing, there was a change of pace with an excellent band who included a tribute to ABBA. That was a fantastic night, a highlight, which saw many non dancers even taking part.
We then enjoyed the Commodore Club at the end of each night - a relaxing end to the day. great atmosphere and appropriate music.
I liked the English theme throughout the ship and enjoyed time in the English pub.
There was a lot to do whilst on board and, as is usual practice, the newsletter outlining the day's activities, was delivered to each cabin the night before.
Unfortunately, I did not have time during the cruise to enjoy all the amenities and activities that the ship offered.
Despite my disappointment with their administration as outlined above, I WILL travel on the Queen Elizabeth again BUT I will never trust Cunard with any special event that I may organise. I will travel strictly as a passenger only.
The cabin was very comfortable in every way. We also had tea and coffee making facilities which was really appreciated.
My only complaint is maintenance was carried out on the balcony during our voyage with no compensation of any sort offered. A voucher for an alternative restaurant, for instance, would have been appreciated given that balconies are charged at a premium price.
An enjoyable visit to Glenelg, to the beach area, before travelling onto Victor Harbour
which we also loved.
Absolutely loved Hahndorf and will return again when possible. Highly recommended.
A most enjoyable day. Strongly recommend to future tourists. Loved Richmond in Tasmania and the hospitality afforded us by the Puddleduck Vineyard where we had lunch, was superb.
We embarked and disembarked at Melbourne, hence an excursion review is not applicable.
The staff, though, were very efficient enabling us to board quite soon after our arrival.
Unfortunately, our excursion to Kangaroo Island was cancelled due to poor weather.
I have given it five stars as I am sure the excursion planned would have deserved this rating.