This was our first sailing on the Victoria and it really is a most impressive ship . We had booked Balcony Club as we prefer the availability of dining when we choose . Shortly before leaving we upgraded to Princess Grill and considered the larger suite and good sized balcony well worth the extra cost . We were not , however, impressed by the Princess Grill dining room . It is large and caters for well over 100 people and is thus not an intimate venue . It compares unfavourably with the Club Balcony on the Elizabeth which ( on our earlier cruise) only catered for about 50 people . The waiters ( dedicated to a group of tables ) were polite and charming and very willing to please but on occasion did not notice when the plate was not as ordered. I could not fault the menus – 5 courses for Dinner and Lunch . We don’t have hearty appetites and never ate lunch there preferring to use the casual Lido restaurant where there was always a large range of different types of food where we could “graze” from the self service buffet .
Even though we had the onboard spending allowance ( much of which was taken up by the automatic daily charging of staff gratuity charges of $27 ) I found the wine pricing exorbitant. In the restaurant a bottle of Cloudy Bay, Sauvignon Blanc had a basic price of $40 which was not too bad seeing that , tax free , in the UK it would be about £20 (c $26 ) . However a corkage charge of $25 was then added and ,on top of that , there was a service charge of 15% bringing the total up to $ 74.75 . I refrained from any further purchases there . Quite a number of people to whom we spoke also complained about drink pricing policy on the ship .
The air conditioning throughout the ship was set low This was affecting the ladies, especially as they had to dress accordingly . A number complained that they had been unable to wear dresses which had been brought especially for gala nights . Perhaps this was a factor in the ship seeming deserted after 10pm . People were more comfortable in their suites.
As regards the excursions we found these to be very well organised by Cunard staff as far as getting us off the ship was concerned but they varied in quality from place to place just as was mentioned in Cunard’s publications . They are dependent on local companies whose employees seem often to be students doing casual work . For example , in Mauritius , we had an early start one day and visited a charming old French colonial villa where we were given a bottle of water and offered a couple of very small deep fried battered vegetables . We then drove a long distance to an old sugar plantation factory which had been converted into a museum dedicated to the local spice industry. Here we were led around every section which , because of the time involved in slowly following other groups of visitors, we found intensely boring . It was over by around 2pm and there had been no allowance for lunch and we still had another town to visit . What was annoying was to find that the factory had a very pleasant outdoor café facility of which we were totally unaware and unable to use as we were then driven off for another 2 hours unfed, and with no opportunity of buying a snack anywhere , until we returned to the ship.
Our cruise was part of the Victoria’s World Cruise and covered Singapore to CapeTown . When we boarded it was clear from the amount of coughing noted that there was a “bug” in situ . This was clearly recognised by the Medical Centre which had a prominent notice saying that they did not prescribe antibiotics for this bug which they said was a Cold/Flu infection . They admitted it was virulent and could take up to a month to clear completely . My wife caught this after a week aboard and was prescribed only basic cough medication and paracetamol. She saw the doctors twice and , it not improving , was then told that that was the only medication that they could/would prescribe . Her condition worsened and , when we disembarked in CapeTown , she immediately saw a doctor who diagnosed acute bronchitis and prescribed strong antibiotics and steroids and certified her unfit to fly ( we were due to leave 3 days later and this had to be extended by a further 3 days ) . We thus incurred considerable extra cost and had no opportunity of making the most of our time there .
Regarding the entertainment (in the magnificent theatre) there were very good lectures during the day e.g. antiques , topical history and politics and regional cuisine but we found the evening shows and performances mediocre .
All in all this was a rather like the proverbial curate’s egg – good in parts . For us however it was a disappointing cruise .
Splendid cabin with settee area and good sized balcony with sun loungers. Good clothes storage area and space for suitcase , Under bed area took 3 more cases . Very comfortable bed .
We took the Galle tour which was interesting . Now seen it wouldn't bother going back .
Interesting to see overseas French territory - rather like a provincial french town but with New Orleans style buildings .
KL is not the most interesting place around and we were annoyed that Malacca had been cancelled .View All 43 City Tour Reviews