This was my first cruise with Cunard. I knew ahead of time what I was in for as I had done plenty of research before and after booking. I booked this itinerary because I wanted to spend Christmas Day at sea and dress up for evenings and gala occasions. I chose Cunard because I wanted a different (largely child free) experience as compared to other cruise operators.
The embarkation and disembarkation process in Melbourne was smooth and both Cunard and the terminal operator worked well keeping things moving.
Queen Elizabeth is a beautifully appointed ship and has more the feel of warm inviting spaces as compared to the Casino-like public areas found on most ships. Everything is sparkling clean and for this cruise the Christmas Decorations were festive but not ridiculous. I was booked in to Britannia Club and was not disappointed by the step up of amenity as compared to a regular balcony stateroom.
Dining was and food service was high quality across all venues. Of particular note is the Britannia Club dining room and its amazing staff. Service was efficient and personalised without being overbearing. Requests were met with absolute best efforts. Our waiter for this trip was dedicated and unfailingly professional, giving regular tips of goings on around the ship.
The Lido Buffet layout is a bit of a nightmare but once you have managed to get your food its tasty and fresh and the dining areas are kept clean. All cruise ship buffets remind me that 'hell is other people' but Cunard manages this as best they can by providing plenty of tea and cake.
I have to admit that afternoon tea in the Queens Room was a daily favourite of mine. tip: get there a few minutes early to score a window seat.
Service was consistent across all venues and to my surprise many staff were experts at remembering names and orders, greeting guests personally even at bars and coffee shops. Recognition rates increased for those passengers who were friendly to servers (it never hurts to be nice).
Entertainment in the Royal Theatre was lively and fun. We booked into a box for a show, really enjoyable experience so I recommend picking something you are interested in and booking it in. For enrichment we were fortunate to have Judith Fordham lecturing on our trip. She packed the theatre out for her entertaining and insightful talks on criminal laws and evidence.
Port visits were well organised and we took a couple of excursions. These were great experiences if maybe on the over priced side. I used the Gym regularly and the facilities are great and at no additional cost.
We pre-purchased drink packages and they included everything we wanted/needed. Others on our cruise complained about drink pricing, fair enough I guess, but maybe research better next time.
I enjoy the Cunard service model, good processes enforced flexibly. I didn't even mind the up-selling as it was mostly well targeted and certainly a lot less in your face than other cruise operators.
I would definitely travel with Cunard again.
Cabins are spotlessly clean and the A2 rooms are high and have excellent vistas.. Bathrooms on this ship are small but functional. Our attendant was friendly but best of all she managed to get the job done every day with no fuss.