went on this Cruise with my elderly Mum as her companion , and though i might not be your typical cruiser in some way , i'm 53 and been on various other cruises ( princess-5 , P&O-3 , FredOlsen-2 , etc ) , so not a newbie as far as cruising goes , the getting on board all seemed to go smoothly enough , though that's helped by the fact , mum asks for wheelchair/mobility assistance at the port which after an initial short wait for a wheelchair assistant means we bypass the check in Que and Que at security , initial thoughts of the ship all looked very nice , and in general in it all looked Nice , we went on the pre Christmas cruise so all the decorations were out around the ship , but it wasn't the Xmas cruise , so alot cheaper and thankfully none of that fake happy Xmas salutations from fellow passengers ..
Passengers were mainly Brits , with a selection of international guests in the mix , mainly southerners who i find unfriendly , stiff , snobby , and rather cold , did meet some friendly cruisers around the Pub area , which i didn't expect to frequent , if it wouldn't have been for my mum wanting to do quizzes and having the pub lunch which was Ok , and a nice change from the hustle of the buffet or the crappy restaurant ..
speaking of the restaurant , i think this would be my biggest criticism , we had a nice balcony cabin so was in the main dining room area , i advised at booking Gluten free , so generally have to order the meal the day before as i have done on previous cruises ( no problem ) , but on this ship it just seemed pointless , as whatever i ordered i was just given whatever that dish was off the menu , like they couldn't make me a GF version of this or that , i had to order something marked as GF , the other point about the food is the quality and quantity , on other ships i've complained about being given small portions ( like a child's portion ) , i'm aware this is a thing these days but i'm an adult and i want an adult sized portion , on other ships ( Princess and P&O ) this wasn't a problem they'd scale up the portion to whatever size i wanted and would bring extra vegetables in a dish , however the waiters / kitchen crew just seemed unable to do this , i ordered a larger meal with extra veg as a side , and on 2-3 nights it was like they lost my order and ignored it , i was just handed the small portion , and after complaining , a waiter came over after 10 or so minutes , to serve onto my plate a few bits of Veg , like i was on rations , i asked them to put the dish on the table but was ignored and he tried to offer my mother the rest of the Veg without checking if i had enough , i further complained and asked for a dish of potatoes , where my annoyance turned to incredulity when a waiter came back after a while to spoon onto my plate 2 small new potatoes , to which i responded only TWO ! , to which he replied i can go get you another , to which i replied " Are you sure Cunard can afford it ! " .. the whole thing seemed ridiculous ! , the food was pretty poor to start with and to be palmed off with these small little plates of poor food , with no regard for what i'd ordered , i viewed as a joke , so after 2 or 3 nights of this i went to the Buffet either on my own or sometimes with my mum , which tbh for me spoiled the cruise somewhat ..
also some thing that didn't help was , we'd asked for a table for 2 , but it was so close to the next table for 2 , we may as well have been on a group table , the reason i dislike group tables is often the conversation will be dominated by some opinionated Bloke , unfortunately , even though the guy on the next table thought he was being friendly , he ( guess what ) tried to dominate the conversation between himself and 3 women , OK i could stand that to a point but he and his wife practically chastised me for turning up late one evening to dinner , i have a chronic health condition and needed the toilet , and being British was too polite to tell them to mind their own business .. so after that and the impotent waiters , i never returned to the dining room ..
the Buffet was on the whole was OK , not the best i've been to ( princess ) but was Ok , never seemed to be overpopulated in the evening , and the Gluten / FreeFrom section was better than i've previously encountered on other ships ... i could usually pick my way through to find something or a combination of things i wanted , but felt pretty puzzled by the amount of raw fish and sushi that seemed to get put out every day , which seemed to be pretty much untouched and presumably wasted but yet the restaurant food was being rationed out , very odd ..
so other things , the staff in general were all very good , some seemed to be over worked while others didn't seem to do a thing , i'm talking about so called Hosts , who just seemed to hang around the door of the theater being friendly ( are they being paid ? ) ..
The entertainment was all abit hit and miss tbh , the Musical guests were on the whole pretty good , special mention to JAZZ clarinetist Kenny martin , who seemed to inspire the resident theater band to up their game to back him , i often get the feeling the bands they have on these cruise ships are just sort of winging it , just doing enough , and their level of performance depends on the band leader whipping them into shape or just letting them do the minimum , both bands were Ok/good on this ship , except the night the theater band played a R&B set in the Pub , which was pretty good / i enjoyed ..
the other entertainment was Ok , it was nice to listen to a harpist for instance around the atrium area in the evening but didn't manage to get to the piano recitals in the afternoon , and there wasn't as much classical music as i'd been led to believe , which was a shame , though inevitably there was my usual pet hate of the show company of young averagely talented kids pretending to be entertainers / doing a west end show pastiche / rip off , i caught one of their performances by accident , thinking i was going to see a comedian , and saw a second rate rat pack tribute , the old guy in the pub doing Sinatra on the karaoke the night before had more swagger and talent , though the way these kids seem to swagger around the ship , anyone would think they are west end stars .. my biggest complaint with the show company was a lack of passion , again just going through the motions , though listening to the other (clueless) passengers i don't think they noticed ..
other area's ? , the crows-nest bar was nice but too quiet and cold , the other lounge upstairs with dancey sort of music and band was Ok , but as is often the case the upper level bar/lounge area's are under populated by people who don't seem to realise they even exist , so lack atmosphere ..
the winter garden lounge on the top deck somewhere was good but often abit cold , usually showing sports on various screens ..
the ballroom , the queens room ? , was a lovely space , but unless you were an experienced dancer it seemed like it wasn't for you , as it was dominated by a small clique who seemed to dominate the seating around the dance floor , which there wasn't enough of , we went there one night to see Kenny Martin with the queens room band and the seats hadn't been set out like they had been for the piano recitals in the afternoon , so had to move seats around which got various dirty looks from the ballroom clique so went upstairs to the balcony to get away from them ..
other criticisms , the sauna in the ladies changing area was Ok but not hot enough , seemed to turn itself off , when i mentioned this to the desk , i was told it'd probably gone off on the timer , which on a day at sea mid afternoon , isn't good enough ..
also on the last night at a film show there was background music playing and i had to go to the sound desk to point this out and get them to turn it off , the sound tech seemed unaware this was happening , not good enough , spoilt the opening ten minutes of the film , also i saw 2 different comedy shows and on both occasions the house lights were on during the show , i chatted to one of the comics in the buffet and he told me , they were supposed to be on around the stage so he could interact with the audience but not for the whole theater , again incompetent tech staff , not good enough ..
my only other criticism which will no doubt go over the heads of 95% of anyone reading this is the WiFi , because of my M.E. / chronic fatigue condition , i'm pretty sensitive to WiFi ( Headaches , dizziness , insomnia , tinnitus ) , sorry folks it isn't totally harmless , it's microwave radiation that is being transmitted around all corners of the ship , and there was no where to get away from it , by the end of the trip i was pretty happy to be getting off and going home , as i felt totally Wi-Fried ..
so would i recommend this ship ? , it was nice in parts but the restaurant food was crap and most of the passengers were cold and unfriendly , which for me kinda over shadowed alot of the better things .. so probably not for me again ..
just a bus ride around an area close to Funchal , went to the highest cliff and the valley of the nuns , nice trip , probably over priced ..View All undefined undefined Reviews