This was our first experience on Cunard and we stayed in the top level Queen’s Grill accommodations. We previously have done a number of cruises with Princess.
The trip did not start well when we could not find the Cunard representative at the airport to get our airport to pier transfer at the start of the trip. We were at Melbourne airport, but the number to call in our Cunard documentation was a South African number. We ended up catching a taxi to the pier and to their credit Cunard re-embursed the cost as on board credit.
We had a large suite at the back of the ship on deck 5. It was well laid out; however, there was a lot of engine noise and vibration when the ship was operating at full speed.
Our cruise was to New Zealand, a trip we have done several times, so our aim this time was to enjoy the ship more so than the ports. To that extent the ship delivered. The staff were very friendly and eager to please. The dining in the exclusive Queen’s Grill restaurant was the best we have ever experienced at sea. In addition to an extensive a la carte menu you could request special meals (eg a good Indian curry). The wine list was extensive, but expensive.
As a Queen’s Grill guest we had a butler service. We were not sure what to expect but his service was great. Little things like the organisation of lemon wedges for our afternoon gin and tonic in the room and the setting up of our in room breakfast when ordered were all done seamlessly.
The ship seemed less crowded in the public places than some of the Princess ships we have been on. Also there did not seem to be as much hard sell as we have experienced on Princess. The differences were subtle, but you could see the difference between the more reserved British heritage of Cunard versus the more brash American heritage of Princess.
The entertainment program was also very similar to Princess, a combination of in house stage shows and guest entertainers. The usual trivia and game shows were also a staple.
This cabin was at the rear of the ship. When the ship was at full speed it was very noisy and vibrated a lot. At the lower speeds along the coast line it was ok. The cabin itself was well appointed with plenty of room and great features including a separate toilet, coffee and tea making facilities, and a great mini bar setup.