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241 Cunard Queen Victoria Luxury Cruise Reviews

We have just come back from our first trip on a Cunard ship but with previous experience of many other cruise lines and our overall experience was excellent. We usually travel with our teenage sons but this was our first trip on our own we ... Read More
We have just come back from our first trip on a Cunard ship but with previous experience of many other cruise lines and our overall experience was excellent. We usually travel with our teenage sons but this was our first trip on our own we are in our early to mid 40's and wanted a more adult experience than some of the other cruise lines offer. Firstly we had a private flight from Bournemouth put on Cunard on Titan airlines and so everyone on the plane was joining our cruise which was nice. The transfer to the ship in Athens was well organised and easy and the embarkmentation onto the ship was quick and painless. The rooms where spacious and clean and the interior of the ship gave an elegant classic feel without some of the usual gaudy interior carpets and wall colours many other cruise lines opt to use. We had booked a couple of trips with Cunard directly and again the organisation was excellent. We had a very enjoyable few evenings in the champagne bar with the very charming sommelier, Anton and the canapes and chocolate covered strawberries where very appreciated! The food in the main dinning room in the evenings was at times a little disappointing and we actually paid the surcharge and went to The Veranda restaurant on three out of the seven nights which was absolutely excellent. The service in The Veranda was also fantastic with the contrast of the four nights in the main dinning room ( where we had a floating table, ie we were on a different table each night) sometimes the service was great other times leaving a lot to be desired and the whole ambiance of the entire main dinning room to us felt very frantic, busy and rushed, it was not a calm relaxed environment in which to eat dinner, but this may depend on where your table is and who you have a waiter. We do have to add though that the main Maitre d and Head waiter were fantastic sorting out a little issue we had when sharing a table and offering us alternative options, fantastic service from these guys. The afternoon tea lived up to expectations and was fabulous, we didn't use the spa but it looked very nice and the Winter Garden room was lovely to sit in. On the sea days the sun loungers where taken by around 9 - 9.30 but this was just around the pool, it was busy on those days but the rest of the time the ship felt very spacious and uncrowded. The formal nights were great and the Queens room had ballroom style dancing on if that is your thing you will love it, but for those of us who can't ballroom dance it was a little disappointing to not have chance to dance in such a lovely venue and so instead we ended up in Hemisphere listening to the very good live band. Overall the ship was full of older teenagers and people in there 40's, 50's and 60's with a few older people too (i had thought we may be the younger ones on the ship but we were very wrong) There are many nice touches that are offered including a Captains cocktail party with free drinks and canapes and the quality of the theater acts was good too. we have already booked, along with some friends, another cruise this November this time to try the QE2. We would definitely recommend Cunarrd for quality and a great overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We embarked on the Queen Victoria in Venice after spending a few days of our honeymoon in a delightful little hotel. What annoyed us the most about the embarkation process was the fact that there was absolutely no communication, help or ... Read More
We embarked on the Queen Victoria in Venice after spending a few days of our honeymoon in a delightful little hotel. What annoyed us the most about the embarkation process was the fact that there was absolutely no communication, help or advice from Cunard about how we should find the ship! We saw a Cunard tender boat and assumed we could hop on and board ship this way, but we were told we had to get the water bus to the port. After three very hot and tiring hours dragging our luggage up and down steps, on and off boats and across cobbles in scorching temperatures, we eventually found the ship ( following another very long walk, miles from customs, with no bus provided). The Cunard staff were less than helpful, preferring to chat and laugh together about last night's activities and chat away on their 'phones than help out the exhausted passenger. We did have a lovely honeymoon despite the fact that Cunard overcharge for everything. It is a beautiful ship, there is no doubt about that, but standards appear to be slipping. For example, we noticed on more than one occasion, buckets of dirty cleaning water and dirty cloths left near to where food was being prepared and eaten. On four nights, in the Britannia restaurant, we ordered a very highly overpriced bottle of wine to drink with our meal, but were appalled to see that it was placed in an ice bucket with three other bottles of wine and a half drunk bottle of Grolsch lying on top of it! There was also a hard sell, from our waiter, of a wine tasting experience, at the end of one evening, which really put paid to any romance! Not the right time to do this, Cunard! Overall, it seems that Cunard is all about the dollar - this company (Carnival) is using the name of Cunard just to make shed loads of money!! It is morally wrong to call this cruise company Cunard, any more! Many fellow passengers (all experienced cruisers) told us their experiences on other cruise ships (for half the cost) were just as good (and the drinks were normal prices). If we do go on another cruise, it will be with a different company. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The service and food were amongst the best out of the 30 or so cruises we have been on with various cruise lines from the Med to the Far East. The ship is spotless BUT we are keen ballroom dancers and overall the dance experience was very ... Read More
The service and food were amongst the best out of the 30 or so cruises we have been on with various cruise lines from the Med to the Far East. The ship is spotless BUT we are keen ballroom dancers and overall the dance experience was very disappointing for the following reasons:- - for 12 of the 14 nights we suffered a Frank Sinatra impersonator 3 times each night. Even if you like Sinatra I believe the boredome factor would soon creep in. -the orchestra also played strict tempo jazz orientated music. The music was usually too slow and lacking in both oomph and modernity. -the floor is always packed so only social type ballroom dancing is practical. - little provision made for sequence dancing. In fact opportunity was only provided early in the evening when half the passengers were at dinner. The dance hostess was clearly out of her depth and didn't host at all (at least not as we know hosting). With a floor so crowded clearly sequence dancing, regularly interspersed with ballroom dancing would create much more opportunity for all especially if a knowledgeable host was to take control. - dance lessons were for beginners only, once per sea day, with no development lesson later in the day. There are other minor complaints but I like to retain focus for Cunard on the dance experience endured. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Embarkation- Handed keys over to CPS parking services 23 minutes later we were being shown into Q2 Master Suite Cabin 7070 OMG it was fabulous.. Ship is really lovely Elegant and refined lots of space never seemed crowded even though ... Read More
Embarkation- Handed keys over to CPS parking services 23 minutes later we were being shown into Q2 Master Suite Cabin 7070 OMG it was fabulous.. Ship is really lovely Elegant and refined lots of space never seemed crowded even though 1900 passengers were on board.. Entertainment & activities- Good shows in the evenings, Film showings during the day in theatre were pretty poor they were showing older films and not new films was very disappointed. Also in cabin TV is shockingly bad if airplanes can show 2500 movies and tv shows I am sure Cunard can sort something better out.. 2 films everyday but shown on a loop!!. Queens Grill- Table for 2 by the window number 22, excellent, superb, fantastic. We had Dom and Georgina as waiters and they were amazing really made our holiday also Satish and Sandro the maitre d cooked us special meals that were to die for. Wine waiters can be a nuisance you have to be strong with them but then I suppose it is their living... Weather and destinations were great and Bay of biscay was like a lake so great bonus lol.... Disembarkation really let Cunard down all herded into Public rooms and had to wait nearly 45 mins don't except to pay as much as we did to be told we couldnt stay in cabin until embarkation time and I realise they have to clean cabin but for the sake of an hour at most they could change their policy.... Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
June 9th to 23rd Princess Grill Suite. First I must say that all of our travel arrangements were made through Cunard. Their air and pre-hotel package were included so this review encompasses more than just our cruise portion. We have ... Read More
June 9th to 23rd Princess Grill Suite. First I must say that all of our travel arrangements were made through Cunard. Their air and pre-hotel package were included so this review encompasses more than just our cruise portion. We have cruised with Cunard before on a 24 day 2 way Transatlantic and around Britain cruise 5 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Since then we have been cruising primarily on Regent 7 Seas and thought we would like to try and upgrade to a Grill Suite on Cunard and spend about the same as we would have on a Regent cruise including business class air. We liked the itinerary on the Queen Victoria and thought we would give it at try. We booked everything through Cunard thinking it would provide for smoother transfers. Getting to the cruise Well the vacation started a bit off with the BA flight departing 6 hours late from Dulles; however, the hotel transfer to Southampton went off without a hitch even with the six hour delayed landing. When we arrived at the hotel there were no bell hops to assist with the luggage (75 plus kilos) and it took awhile to find a trolley to put it on. The Hotel the, Hilton Southampton, is well out of town in the suburbs and when we went to check in they were quite surprised we did not have a car or a “mobile” phone. This package was only meant for locals who were leaving their car for duration of the cruise. The hotel was at best 2 star with no air conditioning and a mediocre dining room. We were so far out of town and so late we ate in the dining room which had a very limited meat and potatoes selection. The Web advertised complimentary shuttle to the city was not available (they told us to call a taxi). First impressions The next day we transferred to the ship with no problems. The registration was smooth as was our embarkation. One thing I did notice was that there was no steward to escort us to our suite something that we had become accustomed to on may other cruises Holland America, Disney, Regent and interestingly on the Cunard QM2. The Princess Grill suite was very nice. It had a comfortable bed, it was well set up and in a good location. The luggage arrived in short order and our steward came in to introduce himself. Little did I know this is the last time I would see him without calling for him. I have never been on a cruise where the steward did not do an outstanding job. This was the first exception. Usually you see the steward when you go to dinner in the morning etc, I never once saw our steward. The room was made up every day but in a haphazard way. The Duvet and pillows were always a bit disheveled. My wife used her shower cap the first day and discarded it. The cap was not replaced, I ran out of conditioner and had to call to get another. I had a bad insect bite that needed to be covered and I ran out of Band-Aids. The concierge provided me with more and said she would send some additional to the steward to put in my room. Two days later no band-aids so I called the steward and tried to explain what I wanted and his first reaction was “we don’t supply those” not “how can I accommodate you”. I had to explain to him all he had to do was get them from the concierge. During the 14 day trip I had exactly 4 interactions with him all initiated by myself. I thought this was a new policy but when I asked other passengers they told me they saw their room steward morning and night just as on any other ship. Dining The dinning room was very nice with great views and good service. The dinning policy was a bit awkward as we sat at a table of 8 but people could you show up at any time during a two hour period. Our dinning companions were very nice but one couple choose to eat later and usually came in during our main or at dessert time and we all were not exactly in sync with our courses. I would rate it 4.5 out of 5. The Maitre D’ was exceptional. He was Turkish and my wife and I had lived in Turkey for a few years. I asked just for a simple Turkish breakfast one day (Feta cheese, Calamata olives and French bread) and we talked a bit about my love of Turkish food. He took it upon himself to have the chef make me three Turkish meals during the cruise which we both thoroughly enjoyed. We had to eat in the Lido buffet a few times because of excursion times and I found the selection to be limited (usually because it was an off hour) and basically stale as it had been sitting there for hours. I would rate it at 2.5 Operations Ships operations were flawless Queen Victoria is a very sea worthy ship with little movement. No complaints about any of the equipment not working (air conditioning, toilets etc.) which had not been the case on other cruises 5 out of 5 for this. Fellow passengers. What we did not realize was that since this cruise was round trip Southampton of the 2000 or so passengers 54 were American and less than 100 were from elsewhere. The inside and Oceanview cabins were heavily marketed in England at greatly reduced prices. There are many things we share with our British cousins but there is much we don’t. For instance the Enrichment programs were highlighted by a locally famous B grade actor I never heard of and the trivia games had questions about Manchester United and obscure members of the Royal family. During the cruise the European football cup was going on and large areas were dedicated to loudly cheering fans. I certainly am not faulting the Brits for being British this is entirely on me for not realizing this cruise would be as Anglo-Centric as it was but something we must, in the future, consider when booking any cruise. Excursions The excursions were at best a bit uneven depending on the port. Our excursion in Rome I would rate a 1 out of 5. The bus was overcrowded with every seat including the rear bench seat taken, the air conditioning did not work in the rear of the bus and the bus was dirty. The tour guide did not speak English well enough or slow enough for anyone to understand. When I asked her to slow down she gave me the Italian shrug of the shoulders. When she spoke about local places she pronounced them in the proper (Italian) way but as fast as she would to a native speaker so as to be completely un-understandable to a non-native speaker. The tour was supposed to be an overview Panoramic tour and turned into a tour of Rome’s traffic. We did see the Coliseum ( the only reason I would give this 1 star instead of 0) which was good but our drive past the Vatican did not occur because of traffic. The guide claimed that the street was closed but I could clearly see other vehicles going up to the square all we got was a half second fleeting glance at the Dome some 5 blocks away. When I returned to the ship I went to the tour desk and lodged my complaint which they assured would be reviewed and get back to me within two days. They did call and left a message saying they were sorry that our experience was not what we expected but no indication of any corrective action taken and no form of compensation offered. In my more than 15 cruises and more than 70 excursions this was by far the worst I have ever been on. Contrasting, at the next port Livorno, the excursion was wonderful, the guide was understandable, a bit funny, and the bus was clean and comfortable. Cost controls The overall cheapening (cost controlling) of service and amenities was noticeable even in the Grill Suites. The first inclination I got that Cunard (CCL) was cutting back was when we received or should I say downloaded our E tickets and received luggage tags online. These tags which we were supposed to print on a 8 x 10 letterhead and perform some sort of “Origami” on to transform them into our luggage tags. Well the bean counters must have never used a ink-jet printer and know the colors are not permanent and if they got wet on the tarmac some place, or even rubbed hard, they would be unreadable. I encased them in plastic and hoped for the best. If your spending well past 15k with a cruise line they could at least send you real luggage tags. Overall satisfaction: I would give this cruise a 3.5 out of 5 rating. Mostly due to the overcrowding of the ships facilities (especially the elevators), the poor cabin service, poor food on the Lido deck, the non-inclusive nature of the activities/entertainment if you were not British and the poor pre-night hotel. I also noted that the crew was not very friendly (or maybe unhappy?). Many times I would greet a crew member in the hall and get no response. This even occurred with a ship’s officer once. On other cruises it would be very unusual for a passenger not to get a greeting from a crew member when passing. We will probably be back on Regent for our next cruise Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Only decided at Easter to book the cruise as we don't normally go at this time of year but so glad we did. We had been on the QM2 before so knew it would be great but this ship was even better. The service was impeccable and we had ... Read More
Only decided at Easter to book the cruise as we don't normally go at this time of year but so glad we did. We had been on the QM2 before so knew it would be great but this ship was even better. The service was impeccable and we had wonderful evenings in Hemispheres, chatting to Djean who is truly a first class bar steward who can make amazing cocktails with old fashioned pizazz. Food in the Brittania was wonderful and it was great to enjoy the Royal Spa menu nightly, knowing I wasn't being too naughty as the calories were always around 600 for the full 3 courses meaning the occasional midnight treat was fine. The only criticism is that it would be nice to have a calorie counted meal in the lido too. I know we like to over indulge on holiday but with so many wonderful options to choose this would have helped my choice as making decisions has never been my strong point. Like many other reviewers have said the bed is so comfortable and having cruised 10 times I can honestly say Cunards are the best. From start to finish a fantastic holiday and even though we are not on Cunard this summer we most definitely will be in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We booked a Hong Kong to Cape Town cruise and WOW, what can I say... From the very start of our holiday being picked up from our front door by the Emirates chauffeur car service, to them dropping us back at our front door 33 days later, ... Read More
We booked a Hong Kong to Cape Town cruise and WOW, what can I say... From the very start of our holiday being picked up from our front door by the Emirates chauffeur car service, to them dropping us back at our front door 33 days later, everything was simply first class and stress free. Fantastic flights with Emirates (as always), great central hotels and an excellent cabin aboard the Cunard Queen Victoria. We have cruised for over 40 years aboard the various cruise lines but this ship truly stands out from the rest. We have done all the world cruise stages aboard P&O ships as well as sailing aboard the old QE2 and the Queen Mary. But The Victoria can only be described as truly superb. The food was excellent, The gala dinners, entertainment and the cabin fabulous. We will most certainly be sailing aboard her again in the near future. We did a 5 night stay in Hong Kong prior to boarding the ship and a 1 night stay in Cape Town before flying back to Manchester. Thank you Emirates, Cunard Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My husband and I joined Queen Victoria in Brisbane and sailed through to Hong Kong in March 2016. We are Ballroom Dances so Cunard suits us really well. We love that you can get dressed up every night. Where else can you go to a ... Read More
My husband and I joined Queen Victoria in Brisbane and sailed through to Hong Kong in March 2016. We are Ballroom Dances so Cunard suits us really well. We love that you can get dressed up every night. Where else can you go to a silver service restaurant for dinner, straight after that have a short break of dancing in the Queens Room before heading off to the theatre for a live show and after that head back to the Queens Room to Ballroom Dance to a seven piece orchestra until midnight - every night of the week!!!! Ok sometimes when the vocalist was performing we felt that we could do a quickstep, cha cha and waltz all in the same bracket because he kept changing the tempo - but that gave us something to laugh about. The professional dance couple on board, Dan and Oleana were amazing to watch as well as being very good at giving dance classes each sea day. They were always very friendly and very lovely to speak to. There was always a great variety of food that was very well presented. Nothing was ever a problem for our table waiters. Our stateroom was clean and very comfortable. We hope that Cunard keeps with the traditional side of cruising, and never looses the prestige of the dress codes that they have in place. Also we finished our cruise on a high having won the Queen Victoria Dance Competition, so so much fun for all of those dances that want to cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
After many cruises we decided to try a Cunard luxury cruise (from their advertising blurb) on Queen Vic. First impression Arrive up the gangway & be security checked. Find your own way to your cabin (you have been given a ships ... Read More
After many cruises we decided to try a Cunard luxury cruise (from their advertising blurb) on Queen Vic. First impression Arrive up the gangway & be security checked. Find your own way to your cabin (you have been given a ships map) Other ships at least have staff to direct you to your cabin, not Cunard 2nd impression 1st night in dining room. No breads on table, waiter serves you one bread roll & one portion of butter. Other ships have plates of ass. rolls on table & plenty of butter, you don't have to ask for a second roll. Hardly a luxury approach to dining. 3rd impression When ordering the main meal (entrée) I asked for a Caesar salad & told it was not available I could only have that which is on the menu. A little off-putting when Cunard tell you that you may have anything. It was available upstairs in the Lido bistro not in the dining room. At this time my idea of luxury travel has suffered a major set back. 3rd impression 1st morning breakfast in Lido, asked for grapefruit & told it was only available in the dining room, asked for smoked salmon, "sorry it is only available in dining room" So next day we ventured to the dining room for breakfast & had grapefruit & smoked salmon with an omelette which had been in a Bain maree for a considerable time, underdone toast & one portion of butter with cold coffee. So much for the luxury breakfast experience. Upstairs, hot coffee, stale bread rolls & yesterdays croissants but made to order omelettes, whoopee. The sad food experience goes on with a very poor selection in the bistro compared to Princess or Celebrity. Entertainment in my opinion was one step short of a disaster with English "comedians juggler, magician" & other guest entertainers of very ordinary talent performing 9 nights with the exception of the ship's singers & dancers; they were great but after 4 night in 18 they got a bit boring. You would see better shows at the local hall not on a 5 star luxury ship. Credit where credit is due; the ship was beautifully maintained, bar staff were top class, wait staff did a good but not spectacular job. Segregation of world cruisers & the hop on hop off crowd (1000 Aussies) was annoying; if Cunard want to segregate them & us they should go back to the 30'es & not run a hop on hop off boat The dress code didn't seem to be enforced very well as there were people around the ship in the evening not dressed according to the ship's rules. Many people ignored the hand sanitizers in the Lido & I'm surprised that there wasn't an outbreak of norovirus. On the health issue the ship was full of people with a cold or flu, we avoided the dreaded lurg by keeping clear of the cougher crowd & spray disinfecting our room every time we went in after a theatre or lounge visit. Another evergreen is the criticism of ship's tours & transfers, Cunard didn't let us down with their overpricing, e.g Hong Kong airport transfer US$35 (HK $ 280 pp) local taxi HK $ 230 for 2 pax incl luggage & a 34 minute ride door to door with no waiting for Cunard to fill the bus before departing. In Bali we hired a car with driver for the day cost was A$76 for 6 pax not A$ 75 per person on Cunard bus I wouldn't consider going on another hop on hop off cruise if it was free. The Cunard experience was not what I expected compared Princess, Celebrity or Holland America Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was the first half of the 2016 world cruise. The main problem was the entertainment staff. There was very little organised activities, and those that were were aimed at 6 year olds! These included a craft activity of making rubbings ... Read More
This was the first half of the 2016 world cruise. The main problem was the entertainment staff. There was very little organised activities, and those that were were aimed at 6 year olds! These included a craft activity of making rubbings of a dollar to remember you had been to the USA. Initially there were in excess of 50 plus wanting to do a craft activity, at the end of the leg there were three - the same activity was repeated every leg of the cruise. There was so little to do that hundreds wanted to join the beginners Bridge class, but obviously they could not take that number. Likewise line dancing and ballroom dancing classes. There was ONE film in the afternoon of the first leg - Crocodile Dundee, 30 Years old!!! In the evenings the Dance Troupe were not considered up to standard to do a public performance. In the theatre at night ships officers, entertainment staff, ON CALL medical staff were all taking seats while passengers stood.The publicised details of lecturers, etc, bore little resemblance to who turned up. The biggest disappointment was the failure to honour the time spent in the ports of call. Booked ships tours were given preference, resulting in one case with us only being allowed off for 2 hours. We queued for an hour at San Francisco to get off and then were told the mooring was insecure and we could not get off. A day of cruising through the New Zealand Sounds was completely missed out, and the other was done in the dark. We could list a problem at most of the supposed ports of call. At Port Canaveral we had to go through immigration off the ship, and then wait in a freezing cold room with nothing to drink or eat, for five plus hours. On complaining we were told it had taken over six hours on other occasions. Staff were repeatedly rude to passengers. However the Indian and Philippine staff were brilliant. We paid £14,000 for this cruise and have been promised £700 of a future cruise! DO NOT go on Cunard. We have, over the last fifteen years, been on most cruise lines - we have NEVER experienced anything like this before. Beware of financially supporting Maitre'd whose wife supposedly has cancer. You will find it is part of a scam with Carnival/Cunard/P&O staff. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I know, I know….sounds weird “Welcome back Cunard!”, like a grammar mistake…But is not ! And I will explain you why. In the last 3 years we travelled with Cunard couple of times on all three ships: Canary Island, Transatlantic, ... Read More
I know, I know….sounds weird “Welcome back Cunard!”, like a grammar mistake…But is not ! And I will explain you why. In the last 3 years we travelled with Cunard couple of times on all three ships: Canary Island, Transatlantic, Norwegian Fjords, two sectors of a World Voyage and so one. And each time, every time Cunard failed to impress us. It was nice but we didn’t find the “White Star Service” as advertised or expected. Cunard was missing something Last year we decided to have another go, on Queen Victoria. And the result was a multiplied WOW. Everything was PERFECT. Maybe just pure luck? To be sure that wasn’t a “cruise miracle” we booked again on Queen Victoria, this year, a 7 days voyage to Denmark and Germany. When we left the ship in a cold morning in Southampton we were 100% sure that the previous experience wasn’t an exception and we can say loud and clear “WELCOME BACK Cunard!”, welcome back to what we like about you and what we expect from you. Queen Victoria is elegance personified, an understated British style, without glitzy or loud and an ambience modest rather than striking. You can’t’ not love the luxurious furnishings and eye-catching features the air of extravagance on board atmosphere with muted colours and lots of dark wood. Is interesting the way how Cunard keep in Queen Victoria mixes the ambiance of the ocean liners of times past with the contemporary elegance of a modern luxury hotel. Everywhere you turn there is a treat for the eyes, from the glittering chandeliers and white gloved waiters serving scones at afternoon tea to elegant restaurants and deep, rich carpets. The interior decor is ‘traditional’ in Cunard-speak, with public rooms finely decorated in Edwardian/Victorian styles, with wrought-iron balustrades on staircases and in some bars. To be honest no matter how much blase you are, is impossible to don’t admire the stunning three-tier Grand Lobby with its unique artwork, sweeping staircase, sculpted balconies and a dramatic triple-height ceiling. A bronzed-effect sculptural representation of the cruise ship emerging from a sun motif coordinated with a marquetry relief depicting a map of the world is visible from nearly every part of the Grand Lobby. Accommodation Queen Victoria has 1,003 cabins. There are 143 inside, 146 ocean view and 581 balcony cabins. We had for our 7 days voyage a Penthouse - Q4 cabin situated on the 7th Deck. The Penthouse Suites feature a king-size bed a living area with sofa writing desk and chair balcony bathroom with bath and shower. Each of the 35 Queens Grill Penthouse Suites comes with a large living area, bedroom with acres of storage space and a veranda. Balconies have one large white table, one square small table, two stools, two loungers and two recliner chairs. The suite includes plush linens, a walk-in closet and a fully stocked bar. Additional amenities include butler and concierge service, fresh fruit and flowers, welcome bottles of champagne and strawberries, complimentary bottle water, complimentary broadsheet newspaper, DVD player priority disembarkation and tender service, access to the Queens Lounge, priority embarkation and luggage delivery, personalized stationery, Terry cloth robes with matching slippers. Even if we loved the room, for sure the real star of this voyage was our butler Elvie - the personification of the service excellence and attention to detail. She was absolutely fantastic and from the moment when we arrived on board, every detail was taken care of, every need was met, and every desire anticipated with just the right level of sensitive, informed service. Elvie was the prototype of a perfect butler: trusting and trustworthy, friendly but not familiar, reliable, low-key, unobtrusive professional. Thank you very much Elvie. The choice of daily canapes is up to you; we requested caviar on blinis before dinner and Elvie took care that the blinis change every day so no change to get bored. You can opt at the beginning of the voyage for 2 bottle of premium spirit and again the butler took care to replace the bottle before they finished. Dinning Cunard is respected for its cuisine and service, with a wide variety of well-prepared and presented dishes. Queens Grill and Princess Grill, two Grill Class-only restaurants, provide exclusive dining. These have a single-seating arrangement, providing an intimate, exclusive dining experience than in the two-seating main Britannia Restaurant. On the port side, the 142-seat Queens Grill is for passengers in suites and top category accommodation grades, and provides the best cuisine and service aboard. The Cunard Grill experience also includes alfresco dining in a seldom used courtyard terrace (The Courtyard), suitably protected from the wind, and exclusive access for Grill Class passengers to an upper terrace deck, with dedicated staff as well as the Grills’ lounge and bar. Culinary adventures aboard Cunard Queen Victoria extend beyond the elegant menus from superbly casual to sublimely creative. or guests who stay in Queens Grill accommodation, this is ultimate expression of dining excellence. The waiter will guide you through delicious possibilities. The chef does his best to fulfil all requests. The 142-seat Queens Grill restaurant, featuring a cream, gold and blue colour scheme, is the exclusive dining venue of Queens Suite passengers. During the day, the entire length of the Queens Grill dining room is illuminated with natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows. At night, lighting comes from decorative glass uplighters. Wedgwood bone china, Waterford crystal, sterling silverware and Fili d'Oro Italian premium linens complete the scene. The Grills are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But the Grills experience is not limited to the restaurants themselves. The same goes for the room service for these guests and there is no charge for that, it is all kind of inclusive. In the Grills the world “limit” basically doesn’t exist. The caviar is available, the foie gras is available. If you want it every night, have it every night. The dinner menu is a many splendored thing, with appetisers that might include sevruga caviar or seafood bisque. Typical choices for mains could be lobster flambe with Cognac truffle and wild mushroom risotto, while a choice of around six desserts (including a sugar-free option) The cheese selection is beyond magnificent. Here however, the menu functions merely as a guide because, in grand Cunard tradition, staff will accommodate any request, on or off the menu, if available. The menus in the Grill restaurants are similar, but with a few added extras in the Queen’s Grill, such as Chateaubriand – and a genuinely ‘on demand’ service, where you can walk in and ask for whatever you desire to be prepared for you there and then! Here is a sample of a dinner menu: APPETIZERS & SOUPS - Symphony of Salmon Tartar, Shrimp Ceviche on Trumpet Mushroom & Green Asparagus - Sturgeon Caviar on Buckwheat Blini SALADS - Baby Spinach Salad, Walnut & Crispy Bacon Bits, Balsamic & Grape Dressing - Endive Salad with Asparagus, Honey Ginger Dressing ENTRÉES - Pan-roasted Halibut, Forked Potato, Orange & Lime Marmalade, Vanilla Beurre Blanc - Lobster Américaine Flambé with Cognac, Truffle, Wild Mushroom Risotto - Roast Duck à L’Orange, Pommes Amandine - Châteaubriand, Larded Peas & Gratin Dauphinoise Potatoes DESSERTS - Cassis Champagne Mousse, Wild Berry Coulis - Mango & Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée - Chocolate and Raspberry Crêpe Soufflé with Oranges, Vanilla Sauce - Sugar-free Strawberry Tart with Fresh Berry Salad - A Selection of International Cheeses from the Cheese Trolley is Served at your Table In Queens Grill, Cunard have an obsession with setting fire every second so expect around 4-5 fireworks show at your neighbour’s tables when Maître D’ start the procedure of “flambé” everything is in the menu for main course. The huge set menu in Queens Grill is also supplemented by an a’la carte menu, and then the ability to order off menu if you want. The range of dishes is huge, including dishes cooked at your table. Service is exceptional. Afternoon tea has been a Cunard tradition for more than a century, and the brew served is a blend of Ceylon, Assam and Kenyan tea specially selected for Cunard.. Tea is served from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Queens Room certainly deserves a mention, with a small army of white-gloved waiters dancing attendance with pots of fresh leaf tea and plates of finger sandwiches, mini open-faced sandwiches, mini cakes and, to finish, a separate individual plate with a scone, jam and cream. Sometimes you have to wait in line to get a table if you don’t like to share it but the secret is to arrive around 15-20 minutes before the closing time. The reward of sharing your afternoon tea with “the crowd” is the entertainment: very good quality classical musicians, sometimes a dancing afternoon tea (ballroom of course) The other option is the Queens Lounge where unfortunately if you don’t catch a table you end in the restaurant where the story is a bit different (see the comments at the end of this review). Here is no music but at least the quality of tea, sandwiches, cakes and even scones and clotted cream is above those in Queens Room. Of course, as on all other ships the range of restaurants is quite impressive: - The Lido on Deck 9 - a casual, bright and airy informal dining area with a daylong buffet selection and historic Cunard images lining the walls. - Golden Lion Pub on Deck 2 - the only bar onboard that sells draught ales and lagers with an atmosphere which resembles a traditional English pub with an antique-ish pressed tin ceiling and wide-screen wall-mounted TVs showing the latest news and sport. - Cafe Carinthia on Deck 2, named after a former Cunard ship, offers the style and sophistication of a traditional French patisserie in a classy space highlighted by Art Deco elements in shades of gold, blue and rich bronze. An ideal spot for a light lunch when quiches, smoked salmon sandwich and salads are on the menu. - Britannia Restaurant on Decks 2 and 3 is Queen Victoria's largest dining venue, an elegant space with double-height ceiling offset by cornices and intimate groupings of tables that try to balance the room's size. The room's upper and lower levels accommodate 878 guests and a string quartet or harpist usually performs during the first hour of dining Entertainment I have always found Cunard entertainment disappointing. It is very dated. The production shows are predictable and rely heavily on safe routines of songs through the ages and they pull in UK based guest entertainers that are past their prime. It is unadventurous and is (in my view) unexciting. I usually avoid or end up leaving most shows. They are trying to attract a younger crowd on the ships, but their entertainment has not yet got that memo! The 830-seat, three-deck Royal Court Theatre on Deck 3 was designed to emulate the grandeur and luxury of the spectacular designs of architect Frank Matcham, whose dramatic multi-tiered theatres made him one of the most prolific theatre designers Two shows per night -- at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. -- last around 50 minutes. While on-board, Cunard had on schedule a quite good dance show), a performance by some comedians, which was sometimes rude and the British sense of humour was unsurprisingly rather lost on many of the Americans and Germans in the audience and the same blues band from P&O with the same attitude and mediocrity. Dance Passion celebrates the exuberant world of dance. Outstanding international dancers execute superb and diverse choreography, capturing the magic of Gene Kelly - the sensual Argentine Tango, Salsa and Samba. The show delivers the grace and elegance of classic dance to the vibrant energy of Swing and Jump Jive. It was our favourite moment in the Royal Court Theatre and for the first time bot singers and dancer the reach the same level of professionalism and quality. Among the Royal Court's most distinguishing features are the 16 private boxes that frame the stage and are furnished with armchairs and cocktail tables, two of which are wheelchair accessible. A box for two entitles you to a glass of Champagne, canapes or chocolate-covered strawberries, a photo taken with the cast and the services of a uniformed bell boy who escorts you to your seat. Is a must do experience! Especially on sea days, passengers are offered for choice with lots of activities, including beginners' bridge classes, golf-putting tournaments, whist, bingo and lectures. The Golden Lion Pub hosts a variety of entertainment (such as darts or trivia games), while ballroom and line dance classes get passengers moving in the Queens Room. Art classes are sometimes held in Hemispheres. There are also daily Friends of Bill W and Friends of Dorothy meetings. Wherever you go, you will encounter live music, typically harpists or pianists. The lectures must be said in my opinion were very poor. A Nigel Vardy an "explorer"? And a Malcolm Macfarlane who spoke on music in 60's,etc! Hemispheres on deck 10, positioned aft of the mast and adjacent to the Commodore Club, overlooks the wood-decked Pavilion Pool will play recorded ballroom and Latin music in the early evening and offer live music for late-night dancing from 10:30 p.m. onwards alternating with a DJ. The band was “alright”…maybe too much reggae and a massive obsession to change every other songs in “reggae style” music…and their go on ABBA was quite painful. Despite the 60-70-80’s type of music we loved our nights in Hemispheres and we catch early hours of the morning there. 1920s Art Deco inspired The Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar, overlooks the Grand Lobby and is a chic room sparkling with golden glass elements that form a backdrop for sandblasted Art Deco glass panels. As the name suggests, the bar serves Veuve Clicquot Champagne exclusively. This costs from $80 to $395 a bottle but no worries you cannot order Champagne by the glass. We signed up for an wine tasting event – “Around the world in 12 wines” which was 100 times better than the similar free wine tasting dedicated to loyal guests. The Chef Sommelier (Ovidiu) and our own sommelier (Dejan) gave us in a very pleasant, relax way the chance to discover what we like and what we don’t like about wine and manage to infuse a lot of knowledge in a very entertaining and professional manner. And the sail away from Hamburg was an exceptional event with the marching Band of Elsinor Girls (Helsingør Pigegarde) and a passing by Queen Elizabeth with horns in full blast. What a magic evening ! I was always impressed by the library on decks 2 and 3 which offers a selection of 6,000 books. This traditionally styled, mahogany wood, double-height room is connected by a spiral staircase to the upper level. The carpet is embedded with signatures of literary figures and there are plenty of leather sofas and armchairs And of course the magnificent Queens Room ballroom hosting themed parties, cocktails and ballroom dance sessions every day ! The Cunard White Star Service and training is clearly very efficient and service is very good. It is a more formal, British and reserved style of service. Though I think, that it lacks some of the warmth though. The Captain, and senior crew, in all my experiences have been more distant and formal and stayed at arms length from the passengers. On recent trips there also has been more of an underlying tension about the changes that Cunard is going through to grow and become more modern that on-board seem less welcome of, and this seeps through the crew. On our last trip this feeling was not present anymore and we enjoyed every second on-board. The slickness and professionalism of Cunard, through its White Star Service credo, compensates for the less warm approach. Couple of points where Cunard has be look in to be not only very close to perfection, but perfect: - Afternoon tea in Queens Lounge Despite the fact that Queens Lounge is a lovely comfy stylish space can’t accommodate all the guests in Grills. Therefore the Maître D’ use Queens Restaurant as an overflow space which is OK. Unfortunately the service standards are not the same; the waiting time was quite long, the waiters seems to be quite annoyed when you ask for a menu or a special type of tea and you need to wave couple of times to get the attention of somebody for an extra cake or scone. - Purser’s Desk Staff All over the world, in hotels or cruise ships the reception team is the interface between the guests and the rest of the team and therefore they must be a quintessence of the entire company’s customer service philosophy. On Queen Victoria, in two occasions, the receptionist manage to destroy point by point the entire list of Cunard White Star Service code and more than that when we mentioned the wrong attitude to the Purser the reaction was more or less the same; the only difference were the stripes on the jacket. - On-board lectures Cunard always exceeded the expectations of traveller with very interesting lecturers and topics. From literature to art, from history to media, I always try to find a place in the theatre for a morning or an afternoon lecture. This time the two options were completely wrong. Malcolm Macfarlane talking about 60s and 70s music mastering quite well PowerPoint, Google Search engine and YouTube but leaving behind any confidence in front of the audience and any charisma and Nigel Vardy ,an "explorer", which manage to empty an venue ¼ full at the beginning with at least 40% till the end of the presentation Bottom line: this new experience on Queen Victoria brought back Cunard on our options list for a future cruise due to Cunard’s commitment to ensuring each guest is pampered during each voyage. Cunard prides itself on standards of service that go above and beyond, exceeding the expectations of guests. And indeed on Queen Victoria this January we rediscovered the White Star Service Before the last Cunard cruise I was part of the pessimists concerned that Cunard is having to “dumb down” through the demands and pressures of Carnival ownership. I believe that I can observe a trend of erosion of the high standards and quality that Cunard used to strive to and maintain. Now I am on the other side, the optimist side believing that the less than superlative experiences are the inevitable challenges of having to deliver service consistently across a larger fleet. For a very long time Cunard had just one ship in the form of Queen Elizabeth 2. This meant it was easier for the company to maintain consistency. Now they have 3 ships with many more crew members and demands. But Cunard is back on the right path! So to sum up this has been a trip which has seen Cunard keep up its exceptional service and standards. Cunard does keep it First Class and does rule the waves. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We had sailed with Cunard a couple of year's ago on QM2, however this was our first voyage on Queen Victoria, or with an infant! My husband and I booked this cruise with our 8 month old daughter for a short winter break and to try ... Read More
We had sailed with Cunard a couple of year's ago on QM2, however this was our first voyage on Queen Victoria, or with an infant! My husband and I booked this cruise with our 8 month old daughter for a short winter break and to try out Cunard with children. We drove to Southampton to meet the ship and used the port's valet parking service which was incredibly well organised and smooth. This made it so easy to embark, despite all our luggage and baby kit. Queen Victoria was beautiful, very clean and luxurious, just as we had expected. Although sailing full, she was very spacious and even on sea days no areas felt crowded. With a baby in tow we didn't attend many organised activities, skipping the lectures, fencing theatre and dancing, however did enjoy the live music in the various venues and of course tried out the Play Zone with our daughter. There were only a few children on board which meant the nursery was never busy and the youth staff had plenty of time for us. We planned to use the night nursery, so we could have a romantic meal for two, however our daughter decided to stay up until 9pm each night so no chance of dropping her off asleep at this facility! Service from our room steward, the dining staff and from crew all over the ship was very attentive yet polite and discreet. We only had one less than positive experience and that was in the coffee bar. Babies are very well catered for by Cunard and we had pre-requested a travel cot, baby bath and bottle steriliser for our cabin, all of which were exactly as we had hoped. The dining room provided a high chair and jars of Hipp Organic baby food. In port, both Copenhagen and Hamburg, we did our own thing. The shuttle buses laid on by Cunard we excellent and frequent, and free for us to use as we had paid the Cunard fare. The drivers were very accommodating and happy helping to load our daughter's buggy into the luggage compartment. We really enjoyed the aquarium in Copenhagen, which we travelled to by metro, and found a great regional German restaurant for lunch in Hamburg where our family was made very welcome. We stayed in a BC balcony cabin towards the aft on the port side of the ship. It was larger than average and had an extended, slightly strangely shaped balcony as was at the end of the hump. The room was immaculate and the extra space was useful, although we could not place the cot in the obvious position as this was straight under the air con which was very powerful and created a strong draft. In retrospect an outside cabin would have been fine for us on this cold winter itinerary as we didn't use the balcony at all, other than to watch the fireworks as we sailed away from Hamburg. We had early dining in the main dining room which worked well for us. The food was excellent quality and delicious. I particularly enjoyed the tuna sashimi and rack of lamb. Our daughter napped in her buggy some evenings and joined us for dinner in her high chair other nights. She loved all the attention from the waiting staff and other guests and behaved very well at the table, something we had been a little nervous about beforehand. We also ate lunch in the dining room several days which worked very well for us, and once in the pub although we were disappointed with the food here, especially the steak pie. We had breakfast delivered by room service each morning, which was faultless. We had several sets of photos taken on board, however were not that impressed with the quality of all the photographers. The pictures were also very expensive. The shops on board were well stocked with clothing however there did not seem to be much high end jewellery or choice of watches available, which was a surprise. The staff in the art gallery were very friendly and approachable. We particularly enjoyed the Commodore Club for the views and delicious canapes and cocktails. Disembarkation was fine but a bit of a drag. Passengers disembarked by cabin floor rather than as and when they wished, which was rather tedious. I am not sure this made things any smoother. To conclude we had a great trip on a beautiful ship. The ship was very child friendly despite being classy and elegant. All the children on board appeared well behaved and dined with their parents in the evenings. The children's club facilities were great however I think would have struggled if the number of children on board had been significantly higher. We plan to return to Cunard as a family of four in 2017! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was our first cruise ever and it exceeded our expectations. From the start Staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome and catered to our every need. Personnel could not have been friendlier or more courteous and we ended ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever and it exceeded our expectations. From the start Staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome and catered to our every need. Personnel could not have been friendlier or more courteous and we ended our cruise feeling we were leaving friends. So many things to do both at sea and on the tour excursions. All meals were superlative and the "Behind The Scenes" Tour offered an opportunity to really get to know what goes on in the everyday running of the ship - a real insight. The only quibble was with the White Star Luggage Service where the luggage pick up from home was scheduled for a certain day but DHL did not do the pick up as advised on the document. Apart from this, we would definitely choose Cunard and, particularly, the Queen Victoria again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I recently went on a Cunard cruise , as I have in the past been on the old QE2 and the new queen Mary . I thought I would try for the queen Victoria too complete all three. I loved the old QE2 although dated and very seventies in style my ... Read More
I recently went on a Cunard cruise , as I have in the past been on the old QE2 and the new queen Mary . I thought I would try for the queen Victoria too complete all three. I loved the old QE2 although dated and very seventies in style my impression was good. Attention too detail , outstanding food and impeccable service. The queen Mary was a glorious modern nostalgic experience with amazing food and the same attention to detail. My cabins on the queen Victoria was very nice although the lack of a clock in the room at times proved difficult , we had a spacious balcony and were surprised how quickly are cases arrived too our room. We were on deck eight and we were near the lifts and lido to get tea and coffe quickly using the stairs . On exploring the ship we came across lots of surprises and the decor was clean crisp and cheerful. With hints of the building towards Christmas in evidence everywhere. The library shops and seating areas were good and staff happy helpful , the free internet minutes onboard as a gold card member allowed me to FaceTime my children regularly on the boat which was lovely. The first port of call was Cadiz and I was so pleased we explored this city independently and it was safe , clean , historic and the weather warm and sunny. It was also very cheap to travel ,eat or visit sites of interest. The people were friendly and polite , we looked round the catherdral in the main square with the aid of audio guide for 5 euro which was fascinating and informative. Looking out over the city walls and parks you imagined the ages past and fleets of ships leaving to carry out historic journey across the seas. We arrived in Monti Carlo next to the port entrance and walked into the beautiful Christmas fare and had a lovely time collecting gifts for Christmas and smelling mulled wine. It was frequented by children and ladies with small well groomed dogs with coats on. Dressed in winter clothes as we wandered round in summer clothes like true tourists. We did a tour to the monastery outside Barcelona as we had both been on city tours and stayed in the city in the past. The railway journey was ver good the sites across the mountains wonderful and the guide very helpful and information good. The shops and local stalls of local cheese and honey very good and inexpensive, the church was beautiful and lots of places to ponder and wander around safely. I did a walking tour of Rome which was full on and at times and a little rushed but the guide was outstanding and she was so professional . We had a incident with a guest not having his comication device not work in which he responded irrationally too. She was so polite and was tried to calm this agitated guest too her credit she did. We saw things and had sights explained very well and although I have spent several weeks in Rome over the last 20 yrs she was full of information and knowledge. The eternal city was getting set for Christmas adding to the expectation of the city. Naples was terrible and dirty and unpleasant and felt unsafe to wander about. We went to huculana and that was fascinating and the guide very good. It was good value and I loved the place I would want to go back and explore again independently. Imagine my surprise I went onto the queen Victoria and it looked beautiful , was very clean and staff very well trained and attentive . The food was very inconsistent at time good but never memorable. I had meals in the resturant they were bland and several times the meat was grey looking (never a good sign! ) even on a highlight formal night we had surf and turf which was served to one guest on my table undercooked (lobster). Sardinia was a joy and we were greeted by helpful bus drivers, the trip to the top of the city was well worth it. The museums was outstanding and full of ancient treasures to wonder at and see and we sent several hours drinking in the culture. Gibraltar was as I expected a shopping paradise and bustling with ex pats earning a living in a little far flung outpost. We shopped with enthusuim but sadly this was a very short stop less than four hours. Getting on and off the boat was not always easy. Thankfully we always seemed close to the port of call making independent travelling easier. But the boat simply could not cope with us all getting on and off quickly , from one exit so we had wait a lot . The disabled were not helped to disinbark and a disclaimer stating they must do so with out staff help was not kind. We were left at times with a steep slope and no handrail the last few meters which was not pleasant and rushing was not an option because of the angal of the descent. The entertainent was very good , we saw great shows every night . Laughed at the comics , the musical things around the boat very pleasent too sit with a glass of wine. With music to suite all styles and tastes. Sadly I was unable to get my favourite raspberry Martini anywhere on the boat but not too worry! I made do with other things so that cannot be a bad things. I was disappointed and surprise that the cinema repeated films two and three time in 14 days . The speakers on the trip were outstanding and different but very good . The question and answer settings really good. The food normally the highlite to any cruise was not as I as expected. On past Cunard boats I was treated too outstanding meals , spoilt for choice and self indulged with classic and modern interpretations. This was not so on this trip to my great Disappointment! The lobster was one that Aldi would have been happy with but not for any respectable chef to serve. Sadly this was not an accident as we had this twice and the second time the steak was missing replaced by three battered prawns. Again one guest had undercooked lobster but at least she sent it back for a correctly cooked one this time. After going to the demonstration given about the food on the boat the ethos seemed to be that seasoning was to be added by the patroons not the chef. As seasoning was different for all of us and very personal . In principle I agree , but in practice this leaves no time for tastes to develope or infuses and enhance the foods natural flavours. Leading sadly to many a bland meal with salt and pepper a crude after note. I went to lido and the food, which was often warm but never hot, even when seemingly freshly cooked. This was very unpleasant at times. Slightly odd inervations had been made like bagels , smoked salmon and cottage cheese ! I cannot recommend this combination at all . The fresh burger bar on deck , served excellent food but sadly this was not my expectation of luxury food I was expecting. I was reduced to asking for an omelet every time I visited the lido for breakfast otherwise all eggs were served only warm. The hot plates were turned off or not on correctly on full. My only conclusion was that because staff were in full kit behind the hot plates and the food thrown away every two hours. To reduce the risk of food poisoning they simply did this for staffs comfort. I did mention the temperature of the food several times to staff but this had no real effect and happened so often I simply avoided chicken and lamb that do not benifit from being warm not hot. Sauces ,gravey etc all had skin forming on the dishes which was unpleasant . The roast beef was outstanding and consistently good which was a saving grace. The afternoon tea was a delight to the eyes and very stylised but imagine my surprise as the cucumber sandwiches were presented with tuna not smoked salmon! Thankfully the lido did serve them but put raw onion in them. ( this lack of attention to detail was disappointing ) . So we headed to the lido saving the day with freshly made warm scones with jam a cream was just as well if lacking the style of the queens room. The selection of tea coffee and drinks was outstanding and this was a refreshing and saving grace for the trip. The staff were friendly and helpful and this helped with the feeling of being welcome. We tried the food in the pub and it was good but very limited , it was hot and freshly cooked but was more weather-spoons than gastro pub food. I could not say that carnival had influenced the food because we went as a family on a Carnival boat with my adult daughters and the food was outstanding in the USA and Uk . We went again from Dover on a Carnival boat with experienced cruise friends and the Baltic trip was wonderful and the food hot , intesting and full of flavour and style with service I was unexpectedly good. I moved too France 5 years ago so maybe my standard of food and service has changed but I doubt it is to such a degree as I found on this trip. My impression was that staff were highly trained but the supervision of food delivery and taste was left to staff that had no passion for food. Bones in fish tarts, grey meat and undercooked lobster with desserts that did not wow you are what your dinning should be about. Looking round the table at my dinner guests meals I never once felt I missed a better meal. At times I was thankful I did not choose there meals more often than not this is never good. Disembarkation was smooth , on time and easy the parking service for my car lovely and made the travel back home too France less stressful . Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I have just returned from a 3-night mini cruise to Bruges on the Queen Victoria. To put this into context this was my 8th cruise with Cunard and second on QV. Queen Elizabeth is my favourite ship (5 previous voyages), but I wanted to see ... Read More
I have just returned from a 3-night mini cruise to Bruges on the Queen Victoria. To put this into context this was my 8th cruise with Cunard and second on QV. Queen Elizabeth is my favourite ship (5 previous voyages), but I wanted to see what QV is like now it has had its’ refit. This was a short cruise originally consisting of one sea day; one day in Zeebrugge then a return to Southampton. Shortly after embarkation we were informed that we would be visiting Zeebrugge the next day then be at sea the following day due to the weather. I was very impressed with the Commodore in how he kept us updated, and also on the navigation along the south coast on the sea day to see 3 iconic lighthouses with a commentary and passing very close to the coast at Portland Bill and Start Point. This added something extra to the sea day and was a nice thought. We had the Princess Grill stateroom 5094 on this cruise. The balcony is on a corner and it essentially facing forward meaning it is heavily exposed to the weather; as a result it was very dirty with salt and the railing in need of varnishing. The room itself was clean and pleasant. However one of the televisions was old; the other was new but both are low resolution. The new shower curtain in the bathroom is thicker than before and more luxurious. However there is no light over the bath therefore, when the curtain is drawn, one has to shower in the dark; not thought through very well! The bed, as always was extremely comfortable and the fruit bowl, strawberries and sparkling wine neatly arranged and well presented on embarkation was a nice touch. The food in the Princess Grill restaurant was largely very good, especially lunch on the first day. The service was good although slightly hit and miss on a couple of occasions. For example we had to wait about 35 minutes for breakfast to arrive one morning. I did notice the lack of the cold canapés in bars but a variety of hot ones were served. I would like to see the cold ones back though; they are more refined and better suited to accompanying drinks. On the subject of service, it was generally good across the ship; drinks we served quite promptly and the room steward was efficient. However, as my title states, something seemed amiss. The staff seemed very dour and miserable; occasionally rude. We never met our room steward, unless he was the man we saw in the corridor a couple of times who ignored us. The only person to greet us with a smile was the Maitre’D and barwoman in the Grills Lounge. The general ambience of the ship was good, but happier staff would have improved this. The dress code was fairly well adhered to even though this was a short cruise, apart from a couple of occasions. It was admitted to us though that the dress code is not strongly enforced. I personally feel that if a passenger or group refuse to dress properly they should not be served drinks or allowed into the restaurants; staff may remind someone of the dress code but will continue to serve them. Adding to the ambience most public areas of the ship are looking quite smart; there are new tables and chairs outside and new tables in the Commodore Club. The decor is quite dark though, thus I continue to prefer the fittings of QE in comparison, especially in the Grand Lobby. Detracting from the experience was what appeared to be an increased amount of penny pinching and forceful selling. On two evenings in the Princess Grill an after dinner drinks menu/ card was forced onto our tables as soon as our plates were removed; no longer were we politely asked whether we would like any aperitifs/ drinks. Friends in Britannia told us that this card was on their tables throughout the meal. My partner and I always purchase a pass to the Royal Bath House. This was one area that really let me down compared to QE considering the refit was 10 months ago. The hydrotherapy pool had paint peeling off and worn away making the pool look dirty; it clearly needs repainting. I have written to Cunard about this. However we did still enjoy using the spa. We took the ‘In Flanders’ Fields’ tour in Zeebrugge as it seemed good value for the places visited. It is a tour I would recommend as it is the best way to see a few iconic sights in Flanders in the short time available. This does mean however that you do not get much time at any place. I feel longer should have been spent at Tyne Cot Cemetery. Nevertheless it was good value (around £50pp); enjoyable would be the wrong word but it was enriching and enlightening to visit the Menin Gate and cemeteries around Ypres. In short, we did have an enjoyable cruise. The food, service and ship were all generally good, but lacking in a few areas; overall it was reasonable value for money (£233 pppd). As I said the staff seemed very downbeat compared to previous voyages; something seemed amiss, but possibly it was just my perception. I would return to QV if the itinerary is right but QE will always be my preference. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This is our fourth Cunard cruise. We have done three Atlantic crossings and had been on this ship about 18 months ago at the beginning of the World Voyage. We had been keen to try a cruise with the line for a while – our minds were made ... Read More
This is our fourth Cunard cruise. We have done three Atlantic crossings and had been on this ship about 18 months ago at the beginning of the World Voyage. We had been keen to try a cruise with the line for a while – our minds were made up by an excellent on board credit offer. We started with a couple of days in Rome beforehand and arranged a private transfer with Rome Airport Transfers from our hotel to the port at Civitavecchia. We were picked up on time and were at the boarding area at 12:15. Registration was very quick and we were on the ship, and in our Queens Grill suite (which was available), within 15 minutes. We do find the suites an odd design, with their huge 'wet bar' areas, very strangely planned bathrooms, small televisions, and rather too much light wood veneer on the built in units. On the upside the storage is excellent, the bed very comfortable, and the balcony a good size. The general decor on the ship is very dull, the main colour is brown with acres of dark 'wood' in all the public areas - presumably to make it look 'British'. Two really good things for us were the internet – really excellent (we were able to download the newspaper very day), and the drink prices – people complain but, compared with American ships, the prices are almost a bargain - though cocktail quality varies from bar to bar. One of the ship's major plusses for us, and an improvement on the QM2, is the grills complex which has the private dining rooms, a lounge and sun deck - and a small secluded courtyard where lunch can be served on sunny days. The complex is set high up on the ship so the dining rooms have great views over the sea, though sometimes the lounge could be a bit crowded. The service in the Grills dining room was excellent, all of the a la carte choices at dinner were very good, and the table side preparation a great reminder of how it used to be. The waiters were also very happy to provide extras – we always find very few vegetables are served so they provided us with an excellent additional selection every evening. Cunard’s entertainment is a bit old fashioned but that’s the way their clientele probably like it (we thought the average age was about 60-70). The comedy juggler, Goronwy Thom, on the last night was excellent and the two speakers were also good. The cruise director was not very visible and there didn’t seem to be many support staff, though the ones running the quizzes were fine. Cunard make great play of their dance music, and it is good, but the ‘gentlemen dance hosts’ had to keep things going as there were generally few other dancers. The one evening they had the more upbeat pop band in the Queens ballroom was the only time it was full. There was music in some of the bars later in the evening but nothing between 5:30 and 7:30 when the ship was like the Marie Celeste - in fact that was the problem most of the time, the ship felt empty. On the plus side the dress code was observed to the full, we have never seen so many dinner jackets, and we heard of guests being asked to leave bars if they were not wearing a jacket! No complaints from us on that score. The itinerary was good, stopping in Rapallo Bay was a real bonus, and Barcelona and Valencia are always worth visiting though we were not sure we needed two nights in Monaco. We did some ship tours and prices were on a par with other lines, but in Europe it is so easy to do your own thing. Free shuttle buses were laid on in Livorno. Overall an enjoyable cruise but then we do like the dress code and are lucky enough to be able to use the Queens Grill. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We flew to Venice and spent a couple of days at the Best Western Hotel Bologna in Mestre Venice - an ideal place to stay to explore Venice itself which is only a ten minute train ride from station right across from hotel. The hotel is ... Read More
We flew to Venice and spent a couple of days at the Best Western Hotel Bologna in Mestre Venice - an ideal place to stay to explore Venice itself which is only a ten minute train ride from station right across from hotel. The hotel is also ideal for transport from airport and again to cruise terminal. The hotel will organise transport. No lugging cases around Venice!! The check in at cruise terminal was swift and efficient. From thereon it seemed you had to make your own decision as to what to do next - a bit bewildering I would imagine if you haven't done it before. Despite all the hype about hygiene, the hand sanitizers were empty. We were able to go straight to our cabin where a small bottle of Champagne was awaiting our arrival - a nice touch. We went straight out onto the balcony and were amazed to see that, including our own, there were NINE cruise ships in port. The ship overall is very elegant and comfortable but somehow lacking in atmosphere. (And lacking in the fresh flowers which I remember throughout Holland America ship). The afternoon tea and captain's cocktail party are all in keeping with the ship. It is nice that everyone complies with the dress code and formal dress is on show throughout the ship. Like many cruisers - we enjoy dressing up in the evenings - it's part of cruising to us. And it's nice to see officers in formal dress. The cabins are very nicely furnished and quite spacious but are let down by the bathroom which only has a shower curtain and a fixed shower head and, apart from one shelf, no storage space. The door to the balcony is also a bit of a nuisance as it is not a sliding door but opens outwards and has no means of holding it open. The cabin steward was first class. The buffet restaurant is pretty good. The main dining room dinner menu could do with more variety and a couple of standard main courses. The food is very good and portions just right. Waiters very attentive. The service throughout the ship is EXCELLENT. With the exception of the purser's desk where we found the service to be dreadful - unbelievably bad. Missed being able to access account via tv in room. Could have avoided purser's desk had it been available Won't comment about shows - saw part of one and found it poor. We didn't join any excursions - we went ashore and did our own thing having visited some of the places before. Better signposting for exit gangways is needed - an area where unobtrusive signs are not really helpful. And again, directions to shuttle buses often missing.It is necessary to use elevators midships or forward to access gangway exit -Deck A We disembarked at Istanbul - a cruise terminal that needs modernising. Disembarkation was smooth. Taxis are easily available on exiting the baggage hall. Just ask for a price before taking taxi. We stayed at the Hotel Yasmak Sultan in the heart of the historic centre. This is a hotel we have used before and would recommend. All in all, an enjoyable and relaxing cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We initially chose this cruise because it was visiting three ports in the Black Sea, unfortunately due to the issues in the Ukraine this part of the cruise was changed. The replacement ports to be honest were less than adequate and places ... Read More
We initially chose this cruise because it was visiting three ports in the Black Sea, unfortunately due to the issues in the Ukraine this part of the cruise was changed. The replacement ports to be honest were less than adequate and places we had been to on previous occasions. The most disappointing part on not going into the Black Sea was that we received assurances from Cunard (who called us when I was reluctant to book) that whilst the Ukraine ports may be cancelled they would be replaced by other ports within the Black Sea. The experience on board was excellent and we were well looked after. The entertainment was luck warm and the excursions could have been better. We found booking through Cunard was a chore and whilst we will cruise with them again we will let a cruise agency deal with them instead. The on board cruise staff were snobs and found them to be a more unpleasant experience than dealing with them over the telephone. Trying to book online is a waste of time as if you do a cruise of more than 14 days and want to pick your own stateroom you are given a choice of the worst placed staterooms. Special mention for our butler and assistant butler and the staff of the Queens Grill who were excellent and went out of there way to make our cruise a memorable experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Review of Cunard Queen Victoria This was our first cruise ever, and for the purposes of the review I suppose it is prudent to note that my partner and I are in our late 30’s - which is quite young for Cunard passengers. SHIP ... Read More
Review of Cunard Queen Victoria This was our first cruise ever, and for the purposes of the review I suppose it is prudent to note that my partner and I are in our late 30’s - which is quite young for Cunard passengers. SHIP The Queen Victoria is a beautiful ship, both inside and out. We saw in several ports bigger ships, but in my opinion when the QV lacks in size on some of these behemoths is the fact that it is stately and elegant. The outside areas on Decks 3, 9, 10 and 11 are lovely and you do feel at times as if you have 'stepped back in time' to be on this ship. If you get up early enough (as my partner and I did a couple of times to experience dawn in a couple of beautiful ports) you will see the deck hands hard at work cleaning the ship every morning to keep the ship spotless. EMBARKATION We Embarked in Civitavecchia, and flew into Rome on a Cunard chartered BA flight from Heathrow. Flight was on time, and check in was painless and easy. One of the small downsides was the situation once we arrived in Rome. The bags took an absolute age to arrive, and once we had given them up to the helpful Cunard reps (the last time we would see our bags for a good while) we were directed around by locally sourced staff working on behalf of Cunard. This wouldn't have been an issue if they had told us what was going on but passengers were herded from place to place without any explanation of what was going on, seemingly to walk to a location simply to then stand with no information for 10-15 minutes, before repeating the process to another location for another wait. Eventually after a good while of being sent from place to place we were on the coach to Civitavecchia. I will note now that if you are being taken anywhere by Cunard they will massively over-estimate the time it will take when they tell you how long the journey is - planning for a worst case scenario i suppose! The drive to Civitavecchia, billed as 70-90 minutes, took about 45. We walked from the coach directly into the pier reception area and were checked in very quickly indeed - a couple of pictures, give over the credit card, and then through security and you are on - I had read horror stories about wait times, but from Coach - Ship took all of 10 minutes, maximum. Really slick and professional I thought. We went directly to our stateroom on Deck 5 midships, the cabin was ready and looking great (more of this later) however but no luggage yet (this was to be expected) so we went off for a tour of the ship and a bite to eat in the Lido buffet on deck 9. I thought the Embarkation process was absolutely magnificent and apart from the situation in Rome airport with the local reps couldn't really fault it (and even that was a minor annoyance) I had read reviews that stated you need to surrender your passport - this was not the case with us. TIP: If you are on a lower deck (2, 3 or 4) instead of waiting for the lifts at midships when you embark, just walk up the stairs - this was the one and only time we had real issues with getting in the lifts as so many people were getting on at once. It doesn’t take long and had I known, even on Deck 5, I would have walked up the stairs to avoid the wait for the lift. THE CABIN We were on deck 5 mid-ship, with a 'restricted view' - I did not find the view a bother at all and could see everything. It possibly limited your photo opportunities, but to be honest I didn't spend a great deal of time on the Balcony anyway so it didn't bother me in the slightest. If I had the choice again I would have gone for an unrestricted view but if your budget will only let you go for the restricted view, just go for it! The ship isn’t very old, less than 10 years, and the state of the Cabin reflected this. It was spotless and very nicely decorated, with a king size bed, dressing table, sofa (which I believe also turned into a bed), coffee table etc. Nice towels, bathrobes and slippers were provided and the amenities in the bathroom were of a high quality (Penhaligon’s) and refreshed should you require (although our steward did need a bit of prompting in this regard). There’s a refrigerator, hair dryer, safe, and several electrical outlets. I knew from reading reviews that UK outlets were provided, however since you have one UK, one US and one European, if you want to use more than one power outlet at once, bring a 4 way power strip or an adapter if you have one. The bed was lovely, with a huge abundance of pillows, and excellent quality bedding. Bathroom was slightly cramped but it was designed very well so you soon got used to the reduced dimensions. The fridge was stocked with water and cans of soft drinks, and the prices for these were fairly reasonable. There was a complimentary half bottle of champagne on ice waiting for us when we got in our room. We saved it for sail away rather than devouring it immediately! The one downside to the room is the size and quality of the television. It is small at 21” and the reception was not of a high quality. The choice of channels is quite limited. However, I didn’t go on the cruise to watch television, I can watch television at home so it didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the cruise. LAUNDRY There is a laundry on every floor, but be warned they are busy. There were three washers and three dryers, open from around 0730 to 2100. Use of the machines was free and the soap was also free. Getting a machine seemed to be a challenge as they were always busy with lots of passengers waiting. I did not need to wash any items but I did have to iron a few things, and there tended to be a queue to do this. However not a huge one and didn’t take a huge amount of time. If I were to go again, I would probably take less clothes and simply use the Laundry service for a few select items, as I didn’t think the charges were astronomical for this service from what I could gather (compared to the pricing for some other things – more on that later) DINING There are two levels of Dining, one for Britannia level passengers, and the Queens/Princess grills for the higher levels of passenger – We obviously did not have access to these grills so I cannot comment on them. We had requested a table for two in the Britannia and were granted this, however on reflection I think next time I will state no preference/larger table, as some of the couples who were randomly mixed on the larger tables seemed to be having a whale of a time. However, this is highly dependent on whom you get paired with, and as I will go on to state throughout this review, you could well be unlucky in this regard. Our neighbour on the first evening ordered a sirloin steak well done and then spent 20 minutes complaining loudly to the waiter that it was tough! If you’re going to ruin a steak by ordering it well done madam, don’t be surprised that it’s ruined – you made that happen, not the chefs! We were given a table on the upper floor of the Britannia on the 2nd seating (8:30 dine time) again, I'm in two minds as to which would be the most advantageous – earlier seating at 6:30 means you have more time to enjoy the evening activities, however it does curtail your daytime activities. A quandary you can figure out for yourselves! We had one waiter with two assistants (Wilfredo, Srdan, and Marius), and a dedicated sommelier assigned to our section (Milo). All 4 of these gentlemen were an absolute delight and worked SO hard to keep myself and my partner happy over the course of our voyage. I actually submitted commendations for them as I thought they were absolutely amazing. They really enhanced our voyage and our dining experience every night was amazing. The food is excellent quality, although on occasion slightly rich and you do end most evenings feeling extremely full! (Not that there is anything wrong with that!) Some of the choices I made over the course of the week were an absolute delight – The Beef Wellington and Baked Alaska were particular highlights. We did enjoy breakfast and lunch in the dining room as well, but not always, often choosing the Lido over the more ‘formal’ setting of the dining room for either the breadth of choice or because we were in a bit more of a hurry. Dining in the Britannia is not a rushed experience (nor should it be) ALTERNATIVE DINING You can dine on Deck 2 in the Veranda, which is high quality French food, for a surcharge, or in the Lido Buffet on Deck 9. We did not bother booking the Veranda; I thought the quality of the food in the Britannia was more than adequate for our needs. We did walk around it when not open though and it is very tastefully decorated and I am sure the experience in there would be excellent. We enjoyed several lunches and breakfasts in the Lido on deck 9. The Lido buffet is huge, with areas that we didn’t even notice until several days into the cruise. Breakfast in the Lido is a cornucopia of choice, from Waffles and Pancakes (and Eggs) cooked to order, to anything and everything that you might expect for breakfast, be you American, British, or Australian (or indeed many other nationalities!) So much choice that I can’t even begin to explain in words – I don’t have enough words. Suffice to say whatever you want for breakfast is there. I guarantee it, including huge quantities of fruit and breads. For Lunch it’s much of the same, choice wise, with additional areas that come into play, most notably a pizza and pasta station where they will cook your order fresh each lunchtime – the pizza was of excellent quality. They also serve an informal ‘afternoon tea’ in the Lido and also have sections dedicated to fresh donuts, cookies and cupcakes at seemingly random times of the day. It literally never closes, you can get something there 24 hours a day, should you require. There is also a Lido bar and grill at the aft serving ‘fast’ food like Hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries. Also it should be noted that every day you can take ‘proper’ afternoon tea in the Queens Room down on deck 2 which is very nice indeed, accompanied by a string quartet (Very elegant). There is also a champagne afternoon tea available for a surcharge but once again we didn’t see the need to partake of this. It’s also worth noting that the Lido does themed nights (for another surcharge). Room Service is also available 24 hours but I felt no need to take advantage of this at any point. TIP The Lido can get very busy at ‘obvious’ times. (9am for breakfast and 1pm for lunch) – it’s sometimes a challenge to find a table at these times, although I never completely failed to find one – it just required an eagle eye! SHOPPING Like most cruise ships this ship has shopping at the Royal Arcade. There were some very competitive buys in perfume, leather goods and liquors. Sales are a common occurrence. SPA The Spa looked amazing and Cunard pushed it quite heavily, but this would be one of my main criticisms of the QV. The prices are (in my opinion) astronomical for the services provided. If they reduced the prices in the Spa I felt like we would have actually used them but I didn’t think we could really justify this. If you have plenty of money though, it did look amazing. EMPIRE CASINO This has to be one of the smallest casinos on the seas. Located on Deck two, there are enough slots, roulette and card games to keep one busy. ROYAL ARCADE This is shopping and as with most ships there is a small retail outlet where one can purchase from a limited selection of clothes, watches, jewellery, etc. There was a store selling essential items and also a book store – although the shops are nice you do seem to pay full whack for everything but if you have forgotten any essentials you will find yourself covered. Once again I didn’t come on a cruise to go shopping, but the fact that they were there was a nice touch. THE ROYAL THEATER One of the visual highlights of the ship. A beautiful room indeed, seating for a lot of people and a wide variety of shows on in the evenings and insight talks from subject experts during the day. The productions were of a decent quality but nothing amazing, but still a fun way to spend an hour or so in the evening before or after your meal! DECK CHAIRS & SEATING Really nice deck chairs on the cruise and they seem to be dotted everywhere where there is room on the upper decks. Although Prime positions go quickly, we never had a problem finding somewhere to relax on deck, either in the Sun or the Shade if required. INTERNET I heard from several passengers horror stories about the speed of Internet on board. I didn’t need to use it as we were only on for a week and I could use my phone in any cafe when in port with free wifi, so I just limited my use to those times – this did not bother me in the slightest. Again I don’t want to spend my holiday checking my emails! POOLS One on the aft of deck nine and one in the mid-forwards section of the ship on deck 9. The pools were rarely busy but a lot of the passengers enjoyed sunbathing next to them. Two hot tubs by each pool as well. Very nice if not enormous, but then when are pools enormous on board – I used the pool twice and the temperature was perfect. There were towels by each pool and in several other common areas – I had read reviews stating you needed to take your towels from your room – this is definitely NOT the case! YOUR FELLOW PASSENGERS Now onto my biggest gripe of the cruise. This ship had about a third of the passengers from the United States followed by the UK and Australia. The remainder was truly a global mix. Many were seniors. Very few (perhaps less than a dozen) children were aboard. The ships’ dress policy stresses appropriate dress all over the ship in the evenings. They mention that there is strict enforcement. Well I couldn’t disagree with that more. There was absolutely no enforcement. At dinner where a jacket is required for men I saw several men in casual shirts with no jacket in the Britannia dining room and some of the women looked downright scruffy. I am not a snob by any means (as you will see shortly!) but one of the driving factors behind our decision to go Cunard was to experience the evenings as an ‘event’ and dress up. Well some of the passengers really push the limits of what should be deemed acceptable in this regard. Formal nights had a much higher ‘hit rate’ of passengers dressing up and making an effort, but some of them still really did push their luck in this regard. If you are going to pay for a Cunard cruise and you know the dress policy, why would you then ignore it? It doesn’t make sense to me. A less formal cruise would save you money if you detest dressing up that much. I suppose the trend away from Smart/Formal attire is a relentless one and even Cunard cannot escape forever. I think personally this is a shame. This takes me onto the rest of the passengers and their attitude. Although we met a great deal of nice and pleasant people on board, it was one of the main detractions of life on board that there were a significant minority of awful people on board. The personality and behaviour of some of these people was appalling. I saw several instances in bars, dining rooms and out on deck when passengers were not just rude to staff, they were downright abusive. Some of them treated the staff like slaves. I was horrified by some of this behavior and went out of my way to be as polite and thankful to the staff as I could be, just to try and redress the balance. I would say that if you say good morning/good afternoon/good evening to everyone you pass; approximately three quarters of them will return the greeting with a smile. The disgusting quarter of them who think they are better than everyone else on the planet will look upon you with disdain, but it’s wise to remember that you are the better person, and manners cost nothing. I lost count of the people I held doors open for who acted as if I was their personal butler rather than a fellow guest being polite. How hard really is ‘please’ ‘thank you’ etc? Apparently these simple words are too much effort for some people. TOURS ON SHORE We mostly preferred to do our own thing in this regard and the prices of some of the trips did seem a bit excessive and we talked to a couple of guests about their experiences and it seems they are very mixed. Some tours are excellent and some are very poor, and there appears to be no way of knowing in advance which is which! However, we got lucky – we booked the Doges Palace/St. Marks Basilica and Gondola ride tour in Venice, and it was absolutely brilliant, our guide was excellent and I enjoyed every moment of it! Well done Cunard! They did mess up though in advance of the tour, saying that our tour tickets would be outside our stateroom the night before the tour, and then they never turned up. Sadly this then led to me rushing around to get them in the morning before the tour, and after bizarrely telling me off for something Cunard had messed up, the member of staff on the tour desk printed us a couple of duplicates. I got the impression that you do pay over the odds for tours and it does seem like a huge money making exercise to me. I think you roll the dice and see if you get lucky on the tour front, we did but make sure you read up on them in advance and make sure that the tour at least provides you with exactly what you want to do, at least then if you do pay over the odds you don’t mind because it was exactly what you wanted! DAILY NEWS AND EVENTS The ship provides both a daily news summary and daily events bulletin to your stateroom. Some of the Port guides were better than others, some including Maps and some without, but on balance they were informative and helpful and we carried them around with us to plan our days. SHIP TOURS We missed the announcement of the bridge/back of house tour which was a shame, would have loved to have done it. We did do the galley tour with executive chef Mark Oldroyd and he was brilliant, giving us loads of interesting information and introducing us to a lot of the chefs on duty at the time preparing our lunches – a really nice passionate guy, both about his work and about Cunard. I was impressed he knew every single member of staff personally – there are hundreds of them! One of the best parts about the galley tour was seeing it was clear that the chefs enjoy their work – they all looked very happy and cheerful in their work. It seemed to me as an outsider looking in that Cunard must treat their staff well. PHOTO GALLERY Simple review of the photographs – very nicely done, but hugely overpriced. We looked at the prices and decided that at the end of the week we’d choose ONE to have rather than several. If you want a selection of photos and an album, it will cost you several hundred pounds – for a few photos and an album! Even one picture we had cost me £25. It’s a lot of money for a picture. There isn’t a hard sell at least which is a plus point, there are photographers everywhere especially on formal nights but if you don’t want your picture taken, don’t queue up DANCING The Queens Room is a very large room where lots of activities happen – fencing classes, ballroom dancing classes, afternoon tea etc. It has a large dance floor open every evening for your dance pleasure. From a man with two left feet, the mixture of dancing on offer was amusing. From one Japanese couple taking it SUPER seriously and throwing themselves about with abandon to older couples moving slowly around the dance floor, there is always something interesting to see. Some of the people thought they were on strictly I think! There is also a ‘nightclub’ on deck 10 called Hemispheres which was more to my tastes, although I was often too full or tired to enjoy it for a long period of time! BARS There is the Queens Room, the Champagne Bar, the midships lounge and the Chart Room---all elegant and a nice place to relax with a drink. The service was excellent in all of the bars. One step up from these is the Commodore Club at Deck 10 forwards. One of my favourite bars of all time, you get a great view from the front of the ship and absolutely brilliant service - and some quite wonderful (if pricey) cocktails. This is offset slightly by the snacks and canapés you will be served to go with your drinks, which were varied and delicious. At the slightly more ‘rough and ready’ (although obviously, as it’s Cunard, not really rough and ready) end of the scale you have the Golden Lion pub opposite the Casino on Deck 2. This is a great little pub with the cheapest drinks on the ship (basically UK pub prices before the service charge) and some varied entertainment – live sports, quizzes, bingo and pianists/jazz bands – You’ll enjoy the Pub. They only do food for a short period of time (12-2) but it’s excellent pub grub, the fish and chips in particular was delicious. The quizzes were taken very seriously by some! LIBRARY This ship has the best library we have ever encountered aboard a cruise ship. Located on Decks 2 & 3, there are hundreds and hundreds of books that can be checked out. Even if you are not a reader visit this library. It is one of a kind and a beautiful space. DISEMBARKATION Smoother than Embarkation, bags outside the room the night before by 11pm, they were gone in a flash. The transfer to the airport in Venice took no time at all and the flight was again on time – once again slightly ruined by some of the ruder contingent aboard ship but I’d gotten fully used to their behaviour by then! SUMMARY I absolutely loved my first cruise on board the QV. The Ship is fantastic and the service is excellent. I enjoyed the formality of the ship and dressing up as an event for dinner. It’s not for everyone but we loved it. Next time I would have no hesitation in going with Cunard, although I think we’ll try a more casual cruise line to compare the two. We are still novices at this after all! The food was excellent, and the choice is bewildering at times. The Room was very nice and we had no complaints at all with our Steward who was attentive and serviced our room constantly without us ever actually seeing him! Downsides are the size and quality of the Television, the prices for the following services: Spa, Photos and Tours and of course back to the rudeness and attitude of some of the guests. I would have no hesitation in recommending the Queen Victoria or sailing aboard her again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We were a party of three adults who were extremely excited to be sailing on the Cunard Lines, Queen Victoria. We have cruised many times, mainly with Holland America. Because of the higher cost of a Cunard Cruises we expected a higher ... Read More
We were a party of three adults who were extremely excited to be sailing on the Cunard Lines, Queen Victoria. We have cruised many times, mainly with Holland America. Because of the higher cost of a Cunard Cruises we expected a higher standard of service and higher quality meals. In our opinion, the standard of food was not up to the quality of Holland America or other cruises we have taken. Our first disappointment was at our first breakfast which we ate in the Lido restaurant. I asked for Eggs Benedict and was informed that they were not served in the Lido, only served in the main dining room. We prefer the Lido for breakfast as we never know what time that we will be ready to eat. While sailing with Holland America they happily made any type of Eggs Benedict that I requested in their Lido Restaurant. We looked forward to attending the much advertised English Tea served in the afternoon. We were stunned when they served the scones which were shaped round like baseballs and almost as hard. We think that the baker left out the shortening or used very little and for the liquid, did not use heavy cream, but used water instead. They were tasteless and very dry, not soft or rich tasting as correctly made scones should be. They were the same throughout the cruise, so it was not just a bad batch. The steaks that we had were also sub standard. One of our party limits himself to dessert on his last night aboard ship. He was really looking forward to ordering a cheesecake which was on the menu for that evening. We all ordered the same dessert and on first bite, our friend actually spit it out as it was like eating sawdust. Dry, tasteless, and no richness at all. Once again, it appeared that lesser quality ingredients were used. We found that in general most meals lacked intensity of flavour. We made it a point to ask many fellow passengers if they had cruised on other lines and most had also previously sailed on Holland America. We asked how did they compared the food from other cruises to the Queen Victoria meals. Without exception, not a single person said that the food was better on the Queen Victoria. The lack of quality of ingredients seemed to us to be the problem. Another huge disappointment is that I had a credit from the casino on my ships card which I intended to use when settling up our bill at the end of our cruise? I was told that I could not use that credit and that the casino contractor would mail me my refund within 2 to 3 weeks. It is now 4 months since our cruise and I am still trying to get my money. I have called Cunard's North American head office many many times and am on a first name basis with a supervisor who has been attempting to assist me. He called me the other day, very embarrassed, to have to advise me that he has been informed that the casino company does not do refunds. He said that his office is "cutting a cheque" for me and mailing it within a week. It should be the policy of Cunard Lines that if any passenger has a credit on their onboard card with the casino or any store on board ship, that this credit can be applied to their cruise bill. Needless to say, when we discuss our cruise, we do not recommend Cunard Cruise Lines. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Just returned from two weeks on the Queen Victoria, cruise started in Venice and ended up 14 nights later in Athens. I have to say I was very disappointed in many aspects of the cruise, working in a safety environment I have to say that ... Read More
Just returned from two weeks on the Queen Victoria, cruise started in Venice and ended up 14 nights later in Athens. I have to say I was very disappointed in many aspects of the cruise, working in a safety environment I have to say that there were several significant safety concerns, from stood in the corridor debating with the cabin stewards about their reluctance for us to be shown the primary emergency escape route, saying that we should always use the main staircase, even if there was a fire in that area ???, to rotten balcony furniture which collapsed when sat on, to bare wires hanging out of room appliances, Queen Victoria has recently had a refit but I am afraid it was very poorly maintained and was tired and unkempt in many areas. The cabin itself (6189) was clean apart from the balcony glass which was filthy, and the bag of sweets which a previous tenant had spilt under the bed and had not been cleaned up, I have to say the shower was tiny, I am not a big guy but there was very little room to move in there, the cabin steward did his best to keep the room clean and tidy, no complaints there. One word of warning if you plan to go on Victoria, take a jacket with you, or you wont be allowed to enter the Britannia restaurant, even though the rule seemed to be a little open to interpretation and I did see people with blue jeans and no jacket in there which I found strange. The shows on Victoria were awful, if you enjoy a good show in the evenings choose another cruise line because the entertainment was dire, with the exception of a comedian Mick Miller, he was very funny and rescued the situation somewhat, the Cunard dancers were sort of okay in a high school musical sort of way, the entertainment director was poor and with what we were offered should be removed from position in my opinion, there was little variety .. I expected better I cannot leave without mentioning Istanbul, the sooner the cruise lines stop overnighting there the better, I did not feel at all safe there, the taxi drivers need a special mention, almost everyone I talked to got ripped off by them, the two favorite tricks were A, the fare was 60 lira (even though he said it was 20 when we got in), you give the taxi driver a 50 and a ten lira note, he swaps the 50 note for a 5 then says you have underpaid him and kicks up a massive fuss until you give him more money .. advice (don't use the taxis at all, in my opinion they are not safe but if you have to) show the driver each note individually saying okay this is a 50 I am handing to you, and this is a ten, they will still try to rip you off but it will be harder for them. And B, you ask a taxi driver how much to the port, he says 20 lira, you get in and on arrival the taxi driver inevitably says this is not enough I want 35 or 40 euros .. then kicks off till you pay him, they all seem so nice and friendly to start off with but you have been warned. I would never go to Istanbul again, but if I did I would stay on the ship .. such a shame because the city is beautiful but the shopkeepers and especially the taxi drivers just see you as fair game to be fleeced in any way possible. To end I have to say that as a 50 year old I felt that there was not enough going on aboard the ship, someone playing the harp here, a string quartet there, and the ship was a ghost town after 10pm, if you are getting on in years (75 or over maybe) the ship has the right pace of life for the most part but if you are younger than that I would choose Celebrity or Princess or even P and O .. far more going on with great shows and spectacular ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My wife, daughter and I had a fly cruise for the second time this year. Our first was at Easter with P&O, ending at Venice. This time we started at Venice with Cunard aboard Queen Victoria. The ship is very elegant and the crew members ... Read More
My wife, daughter and I had a fly cruise for the second time this year. Our first was at Easter with P&O, ending at Venice. This time we started at Venice with Cunard aboard Queen Victoria. The ship is very elegant and the crew members were most helpful. I suppose the fact that it appeals to an older clientele would account for the activities (most how to keep body and soul together) and the music (for those who had given up the struggle). I am 68 but there didn't seem much for the baby boomers! P&O can be a bit Butlins at time but at least there is a choice to take or leave it. The deck of Queen Victoria was eerily quiet and desolate in the evenings. The big difference, which is more than a matter of personal taste, was the transfer arrangements. The P&O flight was a charter from Gatwick and after handing over the cases at the check in, we next saw them outside of our cabins - job done! What a lovely relaxing way to start a holiday. Cunard provided a BA charter (much better aircraft) but missed the opportunity to provide a trouble free transfer! The cases had to be claimed at the Venice carousel, which is never a happy experience, but watching the belt go around for seventy five minutes was a nightmare. I assume the elderly passengers were deciding to wait until the belt cleared. Guess what! If you do not take your case, it never clears because the sensor will not introduce any more cases. I saw one case go around twenty six times! Once we claimed them successfully we had to leave them again just a few steps further on. That was a pointless and stressful exercise, which clearly could have been avoided. We did wonder if we would ever get to see Venice, but we did just about manage it. Cunard - you know we have a choice and you have a great deal to offer, so please make the transfer a smooth and trouble free experience! I suspect we will think twice in future unless the embarkation port is Southampton. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
2nd time with Cunard as we have previously sailed on Queen Elizabeth. The Good We like the lack of rock climbing walls a water slides etc that you now find on many cruise ships today. The dress code, as we enjoy dressing for ... Read More
2nd time with Cunard as we have previously sailed on Queen Elizabeth. The Good We like the lack of rock climbing walls a water slides etc that you now find on many cruise ships today. The dress code, as we enjoy dressing for dinner. The fact that it is more for couples than families with children. The not so Good The food was ok but certainly not fine dining and we have had a better standard of food on an Airtours ship. The service is generally ok, but it doesn't meet expectations generated by the marketing "impeccable white star service". In fact when we needed to complain we did find that we were made to feel like second class passengers, and this is the main problem with this ship & Cunard if you are "Britannia" class passengers. There are a number of areas that are off limits to Britannia passengers and are exclusively for Queens and Princess Grill passenger I.e. First class. Many of the things that you come to expect as included on other cruise lines e.g use of the Spa, are optional extras with Cunard if you are not a first class passenger ( even though you probably pay more for your cruise than with other cruise lines). The decks and hot tubs are too small to cope with the passengers numbers on "days at sea" ( unless you are first class where you have a separate deck area). We requested two cabins close together but one was forward port the other aft starboard, but at least they were on the same deck. We requested late sitting but were allocated early and it was only after several argument with Roal the Maitre de that it was eventually sorted out on the third night. In summary If you can afford to go Queens Grill standard ( first class) this is probably the best ship for you, if not research other cruise companies like Princess and particularly the ship, to get the right one for you I.e. Is it for families and children or for couples? is it formal or informal? and you will get a much better standard of service, food and overall experience than with Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I expected Queen Victoria to provide a superior cruise to the cheaper ones we had been on previously - not so!! We arrived at Venice airport and were told we had a two hour coach trip to Trieste to board the ship. The Cunard staff at ... Read More
I expected Queen Victoria to provide a superior cruise to the cheaper ones we had been on previously - not so!! We arrived at Venice airport and were told we had a two hour coach trip to Trieste to board the ship. The Cunard staff at the airport appeared very helpful and told us to make sure to use the toilets before leaving as it would be a non stop journey. We handed over our cases and boarded the coach. Our journey turned out to be 3 hours because of traffic and there was not a drop of water available for the passengers - a fact the Cunard staff had not thought relevant to inform us of when speaking to us at the airport After arriving, tired and thirsty, we then had problems getting our luggage. As we had personally handed the cases to the staff at the airport this was no delay caused by the airline and we were disappointed that after 3 hours these still had not been delivered to our cabin. We made two calls to reception as it was now past the time we were scheduled to go into early dinner and of course we had no clothes to change into. They said they would ring us back but another 15 minutes later we had still had no call. At this point we went down to reception and asked to speak to the purser, Ludwig. He seemed very disinterested and merely said the restaurant would be made aware and we would be allowed in wearing our travelling clothes. I told him this was not acceptable as we had been travelling since 5am and needed clean clothes and a very insincere apology followed. My other complaint is that the itinerary was misleading saying that we cruised the Dardanelles - giving the impression this was somewhere we would see. In fact we passed through between 11.30pm and 2am and so there was not even any way of finding out exactly where we were, let alone actually seeing any sights. Istanbul was even more of a disappointment as we were not even allowed to leave the ship until we got the coach to the airport. The itinerary gave the impression that we could visit this city as our flight was not until 5.30pm and it was most annoying to find that no tours were arranged for the morning to allow us time to at least see part of the city. Finally on our arrival at Istanbul airport we were just herded off the coach and no one told us which desk to go to or where to find British Airways. Overall not the level of service and care for passengers I would have expected to receive from a company which appears to consider itself a notch above the rest!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We booked this cruise as the dates suited us and there were a number of ports we hadn't visited before. We take a cruise twice a year (Christmas and summer) and vary the cruise line we take according to dates, ports and, of course, ... Read More
We booked this cruise as the dates suited us and there were a number of ports we hadn't visited before. We take a cruise twice a year (Christmas and summer) and vary the cruise line we take according to dates, ports and, of course, price. This year, the fortnight we chose enjoyed fabulous weather (40+C) which was an added bonus. Flew on a BA Cunard charter from Heathrow to Rome on Saturday 11th July. Very early start (made worse by the request to arrive 3 hours prior to 7.40 take off- apparently without need) but pleasant flight to Rome (FCO). At Rome: chaos! A whole flight decanting on to buses with luggage left all over the place, lots of shouting and overwhelming heat. Lots of comments from P&O passengers that their luggage would be taken straight to the ship so why were we having to collect luggage from belt, move it to the airport meeting point and then pile it up with Cunard staff before leaving it and going to buses with hand luggage? Surely, not great for security, either? Embarkation procedures in a stifling tent and then on to the boat. Our group of four had two P1 cabins between us on the seventh deck. Pleasant enough but couldn't really see signs of the refit which we had been told about, other than perhaps the bathroom floor? In the rest of the ship, we noticed that there were lots of new carpets and they certainly looked smart. For us, the real advantage of Cunard is being able to book the Princess Grill- we haven't tried the Queen's Grill yet, because of the extra cost. We really appreciate the chance to have our 'own' table for the three meals every day and the ability to eat when we wish but with the same table companions and waiters. Once again, we weren't disappointed. The restaurant staff were very attentive, including the maitre d's, which we really appreciated. We enjoyed the food, especially the first week when everything was novel and we still had room in our clothes. New for us was the fact that the trip could be booked in weekly stages and so we had different table companions in week 1 and week 2. On balance, we liked this as it was good to meet new people. There is a nice camaraderie in the Princess Grill, which spills out in to the lounge over afternoon tea and the decks. One issue this year was that there were people laying out on the Grill decks who were not Grill passengers. This was brought to the attention of the Grill staff and the reception desk on Deck 1 but was not addressed. Cunard needs to watch this as people were getting irked- especially as one couple had brought their radio and were enlivening the proceedings with rap music. In terms of entertainment on board, eating and reading were our main occupations. We also enjoyed the line dancing- the teacher broke things up very well and made everything easy to follow. We had a go at the fencing and that was certainly novel. The gym was well equipped, although we didn't find any classes to our taste. We had two tv news journalists as the speakers- one each week. This was a bit odd as we heard the same stories (with variations in details) from the second person as from the first. There was also a former Concorde pilot as a speaker but we didn't hear his talks. We couldn't get to grips with the in-cabin tv schedules and the internet was very disappointing- something we wished that cruise liners would sort out in this day and age. The evening shows were of very variable quality. I heard good things about the Victorian Age show but I didn't go as I'd seen it two years ago. The show based on painters was also a repeat. In week 1 there was a crew tug of war on one of the sea-days which was good fun. We had a mind reader on board in week two who was fairly interesting, although a bit drawn-out. We didn't go to the ball room dancing but we know that lots of people really like that. There were a lot of South Koreans on board and we gather that they particularly like the dancing, which was good to see. As far as facilities are concerned, the library is excellent and there are good laundromats (even though you have to persevere to find a free machine!) I can't see the point of the 'Connexions' rooms now that nearly everyone has mobile technology. Journey took in a number of interesting ports: First stop was Corfu, where we had a Cunard shuttle to the Old town from the boat- free for people on some tariffs, but not for those on saver tariffs- they swipe your card as you get on the bus. Lots to see in Corfu and no sign of the economic crisis. We went to the Old Fort, which I'd recommend if you are able to walk it- lots to see, lovely views and a very charming cafe. Kotor in Montenegro: You may have read about the beautiful sail in to Kotor, which is described as being like the fjords. No exaggeration- it is definitely worth getting up for if you are arriving first thing. Once docked (right in the heart of town), we started off on the hop on/ hop off, open top bus (not the same company as you find elsewhere in the world) which gave a good look at the local countryside and some picturesque views. Unfortunately, the promise made when we purchased tickets that the last bus would be at 4pm was gainsaid once we got on the bus, which cut short our trip a bit. On our return, crossed the road from the ship in to the town of Kotor itself. Lovely walled community, with the chance to walk up the steep hill to an ancient pilgrims' chapel as well as walk on the town walls. Later, took a walk along the front from the ship to the local beaches/ quais, which had plenty of local charm. Had an overnight-stop in Venice, which was excellent. Cunard sold tickets for frequent trips or for a return journey in advance, which we bought. Didn't regret it- although the people transported from the port to town or to a vaporetta dock would have been an alternative. Did the Cunard trip to the Basilica after hours, which we really enjoyed- just the two Cunard groups there gave us plenty of time to look around and get a feel for the place in quietude. Trieste: Lots of passengers got off here at the end of their week/ fortnight (and, bizarrely, many were bussed back to Venice for their flight, which led to a lot of disquiet). For those of us left on board, we did an excursion up to the church on the hill and then along the coast to see the sights which was interesting enough but we should have gone on one which gave us access to the historic castles/ houses. Then we wandered through Trieste itself. A large town with modern shops and some impressive architecture from its heyday. Worth a stroll but not the most exciting of places. Zadar: Cunard ran a shuttle to the edge of the Old Town, which dropped us off at the sea organ and gave us a chance to paddle in the Adriatic. The town has a number of interesting churches and some good Roman remains. We were a bit stumped at first by the fact that nobody took euros, despite advice on the ship that they would be fine. In the end, we had to change some money in to Kunas. With this in hand, we were able to go to the archaeological museum which is very well done. We also did a walk around the town walls and went up the Captain's tower- which gave very good views over the town. Dubrovnik: The ship berthed some way away and there was a shuttle bus which dropped us off at the top of the old town- loads of tours on offer there if you hadn't booked something on board ship. Lots to see in Dubrovnik- and more town walls to climb, if that is what you are after. Again, you needed Kunas- which was a surprise as we'd used Euros here in the past. Went in to the Rector's Palace which was expensive but definitely worth it. Next door, there is a lovely cafe which looks expensive but isn't and has a great terrace looking on to the street, an air conditioned room indoors and a second terrace overlooking the harbour. There was no need to do a tour here but, for those who did, the kayaking to Lokrum seemed to go down very well. Mykonos was supposed to be next but we couldn't stay as the gale-force winds wouldn't allow the tenders to operate. Cunard responded well to the problem and the new entertainment schedule came out quickly. They should have let the non-English speakers know what was happening earlier, however, as there was confusion among some of the German and Latin American guests. Rhodes came next: The ship stops just outside one of the gates in to the Old Town. Having been there before, we took an excursion to Lindos, which I'd recommend. A forty mile journey and you are dropped off at the top of town with the choice of walking down or getting a service bus down (and, later, up). A very pretty town with white houses and the chance to walk (or take a donkey) up to Athena's temple. We walked, which is arduous but definitely worth it. We'd have liked more than the allotted two and a half hours in Lindos- it is a charming place. Izmir: for Ephesus (and, for others, an interesting variation on a theme with Pergamon). Took a Cunard- organised trip to the Ephesus site including the 'Tall houses'. Would recommend Ephesus to anyone interested in ancient history as the site is magnificent- wear good shoes and cover up, as the stone is slippy and there is no shade. The tall houses were definitely worth the extra- lovely mosaics and frescoes- although you need good mobility and a head for heights. We sailed in to Istanbul with wonderful views of the Bosphorus in the early morning. There, we disembarked and got a Cunard bus to the airport for the Cunard/ BA shuttle home. Again, chaos! Long queues for passport control, not bad on the luggage distribution and then a scramble to work out which coach would be the first to leave. No need! The airline desk hadn't opened as six coaches arrived at the airport. A queue of one plane's worth of passengers formed, waited and waited. Cunard's name was mud by the time people had checked in- not least because there was no representation from the cruise line at all! Further waits before boarding the plane and on the tarmac and a lot of the good work of the holiday had been undone in many places. I can't tell you the number of people saying 'they'd never fly before a cruise again'. On the flight, we lost count of the times when the crew said that 'normally you'd have that on a BA voyage, but your cruise company haven't booked that for you'. I suppose that was one way to deal with the moans! All in all, we had a good time thanks to glorious weather, a range of interesting ports and some excellent hospitality in the Princess Grill. Thank you, Cunard! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Queen Victoria Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 5.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 3.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 4.0 3.7
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.7

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