We have been on the Queen Victoria before and also the QM. We are regular passengers on other lines. This was the first time we had tried Princess Grill and it was a real treat. We were on board for the ship experience and not the ports.
Priority check in but when waiting at the Mayflower terminal the suite guests were just huddled in a separate area no real advantage. We just sat in the main area as there was more room.
We had researched about the Grills experience - strange but the Britannia Restaurant is described as the Britannia Grill? Anyway we knew pretty much what was in store for us. This was a no holds barred cruise so if we wanted it we bought it. First this was a spa package as we did not expect to be able to use the outside pool so we bought this for 2 for 7 days no discounts so this came off our on board credit. I know from experience that drinks prices on board the Queens are about the highest afloat but so to is the quality. So we had decided that we would buy 2 full drinks packs for the full 7 nights this was $69 a day each so $138 so with our exchange rate it was £109 a day so £763 for the week.
We were told that we could only buy this on board so we went to the Grills lounge and asked. It would seem that there have been problems with this package as people have not really read the small print. You are limited to the number of alcoholic drinks - 15 each per day. But the soft drinks and mixers are unlimited. Some staff had difficulty understanding what unlimited soft drinks meant!
OK so I like a drink and this is for 7 days. I tried my best but I really could not get through 15 alcoholic drinks in one day! We have been on other ships with these packs and we see people simply ordering the bar taking a sip from each and throwing the rest away just because they can. So a limit is sensible if in some cases a bit frustrating. We eventually bought the pack and ordered drinks. At the end of the cruise we worked out that had we paid over the bar it would have cost us over £1660 and I never manager 15 alcoholic drinks in a day and neither did my wife!
Food is next and the menus in the Princess Grill are fabulous, service to was the best we have experience so far and we have been in suits in Celebrity ships. We had the same table for all our meals which was fortunate in being next to the window - we were lucky I guess. Drinks before dinner in the Grills lounge where they brought round a selection of 3 hot and cold canapes. Dinner was 7 courses including cheese board and coffee. We ordered wine by the glass from our package and this was perhaps a bit limited. Menus were everything we were expecting - fillet steak every night if you wanted, lobster twice that week. There were specials that you could order at lunch time so they could be ready for you in the evening. We did this once with Duck L'Orange where a whole duck was cooked for us to share - has to be cooked so long and it was fantastic. You can also ask the Maitre'D to do Crepes at the table
Weather was not too great but toward the end of the cruise there was a bit of a heat wave. So much so that we were able to dine outside in the Grills terrace. The lunch time menu is a bit smaller but quality was top.
Breakfasts were again at our table and usual range with just about everything on call - eggs Benedict, fillet steak and eggs and the ubiquitous English breakfasts.
Didn't go much on the entertainment this time. Saw Mick Miller on the second night but after that I we were not really too fussed and went to the commodore club to listen to the lady piano player and singer.
Only did afternoon tea once which was in the Princess Grill restaurant. Very goo but too much. We were served tea on the grills terrace in Rotterdam which was also very nice but had to be careful because dinner is just around the corner though you can go in at any time and your table is waiting for you.
Tipping is always controversial and Cunard apply a daily charge to your account. Our rate was $13.5 per day. We usually remove one of the daily charges from one of us and then give individually the same amount or indeed usually more to staff who have stood out. I am now not to sure that this achieved what we wished. On the last night I handed out envelopes to both waiters, sommelier and Maitre'd. I also gave cash in dollars to our room steward. We paid out more than if we had had the automatic gratuities but at least I know they actually go to who I wish without interference from Cunard. My wife was therefore startled the following morning to see the waiters and all staff making a big fuss over another table and thanking them for their tips whilst our service was a bit flat. I seem to think that they thought that we had only given them half of what they expected yet we have given them more! This did leave a bit of a sour taste.
I will talk a bit about the drinks pack we bought. We worked out roughly how many drinks we were likely to have each day including coffees, water and soft drinks. A large gin and tonic would have cost around $15 which would include the mixer and the 12%service charge. On the pack you could have any drink up to $11 but you were then given the mixer free so to speak and did not have to worry about the service charge. Coffee in the lounge was around $4 so a couple each in the morning after breakfast would soon mount up. We also ordered a bottle of water with nearly all our drinks the pack limited you to small bottles but you could have as many as you liked during the day. There had to be around 10mins between each alcoholic drink order. This was starting to get complicated. As I said I never got through 15 alcoholic drinks in a day though I did try! I could not keep this up for any longer but this was a holiday. Now saving for the next one.
These cabins are not really suites simply very large balcony cabins. They are longer and a bit wider. There is plenty of room but I could have managed with less for a reduced price. There is a bath but again t is small and those with mobility problems would have difficulty stepping in to it and you certainly cannot stretch out and lounge in it! Why not have a walk in shower with extra jets similar to Celebrity Aqua class. Functional and practical. TV is very small for this class but there is two of them. Why not just a large one attached to the wall at the foot of the bed?