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5 Cunard Queen Victoria Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean

I was ambivalent to say the least before embarking on this adventure with my husband and two teenage children, 14 and 17. If it ends up being the only cruise in my lifetime I can tell you it was an emotional, magical experience. The ship ... Read More
I was ambivalent to say the least before embarking on this adventure with my husband and two teenage children, 14 and 17. If it ends up being the only cruise in my lifetime I can tell you it was an emotional, magical experience. The ship is beautiful. The cleanliness, safety, general running of business impeccable. The cabins ( we had an ocean view) are pleasantly large and lovely. The ports were all easy walking distance to the ship. The two on board days were a welcome respite from pavement pounding different countries. Honestly, it was perfection. There was just enough teenagers there to entertain my kids although I'm certain they'd have been happy regardless. Formal nights are a feast for the eyes although my 14 year old son was made to feel like a second class citizen in his Polo shirt and Khakis (mostly by the staff) We had queried this with our travel agent and we were assured it was fine due to his age. It was not. The formal nights are taken very seriously without any sprinkling of irony or humour. It all feels like stepping back in time: no internet, formal dress, respect, a gentile feel. As a Brit living abroad I enjoyed the very British feel to this iconic ship. Thank you! The holiday would have been complete for my boy if he'd have been allowed to use the basketball net that was for crew only. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I've lived in several cruise ports, so because of my "disdain" of how busy and crowded places get on cruise ship days, I've always been reluctant to go on one. This time however it seemed like the best way to ... Read More
I've lived in several cruise ports, so because of my "disdain" of how busy and crowded places get on cruise ship days, I've always been reluctant to go on one. This time however it seemed like the best way to explore some Mediterranean islands, without hopping on and off planes and ferries. I am so glad I did! It even turned out to be timed just right to be a very special 30th birthday celebration. If you are looking for activities and entertainment, this may not be the cruise for you, as it doesn't appear to have as many programs and onboard entertainment as other cruises I've looked into. I however was looking for peace and quiet, so it suited me perfectly. My husband participated in the table tennis tournaments, the fencing lessons (both free) and the watercolor class ($35 for 3 lessons but provides the materials which he then took home). He was looking forward to the bridge lessons, but missed the first lesson and wasn't able to pick it up later. There were also some dancing lessons and other events, but I wasn't interested so I can't remember them all. I loved my first cruise experience. It was wonderful falling asleep and waking up in a new port and not having to had navigate buses, trains, boats or planes to get there. Highlights of this cruise would be the ample time in ports (morning arrival, evening departure) to discover the locations and the high tea everyday at 3pm! Though it may sound strange, another highlight was the laundry room! Free laundry (including soap) and ironing facilities, but also a great place to make friends! The standard food is English, which I preferred, but may not be everyone's cup of tea (don't expect hot dogs and hamburgers). Fellow passengers were mostly retirees from the UK, but that meant they had a wealth of knowledge and were very pleasant cruise companions. The staff was very friendly and helpful, and felt like family by the end of the cruise. I really enjoyed my first cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I had often talked of cruising the Greek Islands so for my 60th birthday, my husband booked us on the Queen Victoria, Rome to Venice, with stops in Santorini, Izmir, Istanbul, Samos, Athens, Zante, and Dubrovnik from 9-23 Sept. 2011. ... Read More
I had often talked of cruising the Greek Islands so for my 60th birthday, my husband booked us on the Queen Victoria, Rome to Venice, with stops in Santorini, Izmir, Istanbul, Samos, Athens, Zante, and Dubrovnik from 9-23 Sept. 2011. While we have never been on a cruise before, we had heard many stories from friends, one of whom referred me to cruisecritic.com. We booked with Cunard because we hoped to avoid some of the more sophomoric antics we'd read about with other cruise lines and also thought dressing for dinner might be a treat - since we have spent most of our lives in sweatshirts and jeans. Ron and I are very independent travelers, so chafe at the idea of being told when you are going to be in what port and how long you can stay, but we were open minded and ready to enjoy ourselves. We booked into a hotel in Rome a few days early to allow for time adjustment (good thing because we slept 15 hours!) and do some sightseeing, then took a taxi across town to catch the cruise line sponsored shuttle. Aside from a lengthy wait at the pick-up hotel (coffee would have been nice) we had no problems checking in. Once at the port we simply got off the bus, walked through the terminal building and onto the ship. Easy. We found our cabin with no problems. I had read some reviews that complained about the lack of space but I thought our room was quite adequate. Lots of storage under the bed for suitcases, plenty of room in the closet with lots of coat hangers, room to walk around and a couch to sit on. Yes, the shower was a bit small, but it is, after all, a ship. How big is the shower in an RV? We toured the ship - very nice, but then I had nothing else to compare it to - and realized we were forward on deck 6, while most of the eating was aft on decks 8 & 2/3. That was great because it forced us to walk! Food, for the most part, was excellent. You can't bat 1000 all the time, so a few not-so-hot meals were to be expected. Portions were small, and since I'd been on Weight Watchers, I really appreciated it. We were second seating in the Britannia at a table for 6. Had lovely dinner companions, which made coming "home" after a day of touring a lot of fun as we could compare notes on what we'd done each day. Actually, I should tell you that the first night, there was a couple at our table that we didn't care for all that much, but what the heck. We figured we could make it work. Evidently, they really didn't like us because the next night they were replaced by a lovely English couple so it turned out OK in the end. Both of the other couples had been on many cruises so we were able to ask them about their experiences. I was a little concerned that the ship would feel crowded but there were many times when Ron and I were alone in the Commodore Lounge and felt like we had our own private yacht! There were so many places to be and so many things to do that no one place was ever really all that crowded - except when people were meeting up to do port tours or to disembark. Tea in the Queen's Room was delightful. There was often a harpist or string quartet playing so if your tastes run more toward grunge music, hard rock or rap, the Cunard ships are probably not your best choice. Unfortunately, I was sick and missed the cruisecrite.com meet and greet our first sea day. We didn't do any of the spa things or eat our evening meals in any of the other restaurants. We liked breakfast at the Lido buffet, since it was more casual and we could select what we wanted rather than chose from a pre-set menu with formal service, which allowed us to either eat quickly or linger over coffee. Typically, we ate lunch at the Golden Lion Pub. The ship photographers were everywhere, but at $24.95 a pop, we ended up only buying one photo. If they had been less expensive, I probably would have purchased a few more. I know they print them up and lose money if you don't buy, but if they'd drop the price to something more reasonable, I'd bet they'd sell more (so less waste and more profit). Just couldn't justify spending that much on a photo. The lectures that were presented on the ports were nothing more than an infomercial for the tours. I thought this was pretty bad. Tell me about where I'm going - get me excited about what is there - I can read a brochure and select which tour I want to take myself. Information was redundant because many of the tours go to the same places. Also, the person doing the port info strongly recommended against taking the mules up the hill from the port in Santorini - so, of course, we took the mules. That was THE MOST FUN we had the whole trip. What a hoot! We laughed and laughed. It was a heck of a lot better than waiting forever in the long line for the cable cars. Just because he had a bad experience once, doesn't mean it will happen to everyone else, every time. Ron and I did not participate in any of the balls or dancing, except to watch, but there was dance instruction available. Library was terrific. One thing that was a problem was the laundry. It was often full and if you weren't there when a machine opened up, you missed out. People would hog machines and the ironing board and would take your clothes out of the dryer before they were dry if they wanted the dryer and you weren't there to stop them. Chaise lounge hogs on deck were also annoying. At dinner one night we complained that we'd tried to go to the pool but there was no where to sit. Our tablemates told us of seeing a woman in the morning grab 8 towels and put them on 8 loungers, then she left. They were there several hours, reading, and she never returned. 4:30 in the afternoon, the towels were still exactly where she'd put them - never been moved. How selfish. We went on 3 ship sponsored shore excursions - 2 in Turkey and one in Athens. The tours in Turkey were both done by the same vendor and were NOT good. I hope Cunard drops them and finds something better. We booked the tour in Athens to the Acropolis and the guide there was quite knowledgeable. Most ports we simply went ashore and explored on our own. I worried that we would get stuck some place and the ship would leave without us if we didn't take a ship sponsored tour. Could happen - especially considering the economic turmoil and possible strike actions - so we probably could have done more than we did. One of our goals for this cruise was to see if we wanted to go back, and it answered that for us. I'd go back to Greece and Turkey in a flash - Italy, no. Oh - the WORST thing was the flea market set up every night around the shops. This was really, really tacky and not what I expected of Cunard. They set out tables of "sale" items - reminded me of buying a street watch from a vendor in Washington, DC. A couple of times during the cruise might have been OK to have a "sale" but not every night. I know they are trying to separate you from your money any way they can but it could be done with a little more subtlety and finesse. On the whole, I thought cruising was OK. It was nice to get up in the morning, go to breakfast that's already made, with no clean-up for me to do, go back to the room to find the bed is made and the cabin is neat and clean. Not having to worry about what to make for lunch or dinner, with no prep or clean-up was a nice change. It was also nice to get dressed up for dinner, although by the end of the cruise my husband could no longer fit into his tux! One thing they did, though, was ask that your bags be packed and in the hall as early as 5 PM - but men were supposed to have a jacket for dinner that night. Might be good if they relaxed that regulation for the last night, so bags could be packed. Dress code wasn't hard to follow and because there is so much cultural diversity, the definition of "formal" and "elegant casual" can have wide range of meaning. People watching was the most fun - especially ABBA night where one woman wore a totally sheer gown with sequins in the necessary places. So - there's not much work to do on a cruise - just what you want to do to enjoy yourself. There's nothing to stress about. I would go on another cruise if the price was right; I had nothing better to do; it went some place I'd always wanted to go (Alaska?) but I don't know that I'd actively seek out another cruise unless I was too old or infirm to do anything else. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
It was difficult to find fault with the Queen Victoria and the cruise. My partner and I had a spacious Queen's Grill suite with a huge balcony (at the aft). We can't understand why mid-ships is so much more popular, especially in ... Read More
It was difficult to find fault with the Queen Victoria and the cruise. My partner and I had a spacious Queen's Grill suite with a huge balcony (at the aft). We can't understand why mid-ships is so much more popular, especially in calm -��" or mostly calm -��" summer waters. Aft suites provided balconies much larger than those on the side of the ship. Inside, we had a three-seater sofa-bed and two arm chairs in the sitting area, along with the usual desk, sink, bar, etc. The bathroom was superb too. The whirlpool bath was roomy, the shower large, and it was all cleaned immaculately twice a day. One evening we had drinks with fellow-diners in a Q2 suite, where their jacuzzi had a sea-view, but this isn't the place for giving vent to my envy. We had booked Q7, although most ship plans showed these suites to be Q4 or Q5. This was our first cruise and reading reviews and blogs before we went was a great help. We followed the advice of seasoned cruisers and checked in for embarkation as soon as it opened. QG meant we were the first on board. That gave us an hour to begin exploring this very elegant ship before having an excellent lunch on the Grills Terrace. We asked our butler to do the unpacking (another blog tip). Cunard's attitude always seems to be "let's see if we can make it possible" rather than "we don't do that". Hence when we requested Bombay Sapphire gin and Campari as our two complimentary bottles of spirits, they were provided, even though not on the list of choices. When we asked for orange juice in our mini bar, it was then provided every day. (One of the treats of QG: mixers, lager, soft drinks & bottled water all provided in the suite at no additional charge.) Morning coffee, which we had brought to wake us each day, was disgusting, so we asked for filter coffee (which wasn't on the breakfast menu) so this was brought instead, and was very good. Throughout the ship, we found staff at every level to be polite, friendly and warm. They would invariably greet guests in passing, and they worked extremely hard. Service in the Grills restaurant was outstanding. The waiters knew not only how to serve, but how to arrange food, and the Matre d' and Head Waiter were brilliant at finishing and flambeing as well. We asked for tap water with our meals and skim milk with coffee, and it was provided from there on without the need to ask again. The sommelier was as knowledgeable as one would expect him to be and, having gauged the kind of price we were prepared to pay for a bottle of wine (none was inexpensive and some was astonishing!), rarely suggested anything over-budget. In Istanbul, after an afternoon's hot and crowded sight-seeing, we were too shattered to bother dressing for dinner so ordered room service from the Grills menu. Our butler duly laid the table on our balcony, asked if we would like each course brought separately or together, and we dined in style, wrapped in fluffy bathrobes, and watching the lights come up over Istanbul. Every evening canapes were brought to our suite, and having once asked for crisps, these subsequently came every day. On several occasions we invited others in for pre-dinner drinks. Then we had only to ask, and additional glasses and extra canapes appeared, again at no charge. We only booked one ship's excursion (Corinth Canal and Ancient Corinth). This was very good, but we aren't coach party people and being led around by a guide holding up a numbered paddle isn't really our thing. Again, thanks to the blogs and research, we booked two tours independently on the web: one we did as a twosome; on the other, the tour operator got us to coordinate with 2 other couples, which worked out very happily, and at $US50 per head, this was also cheaper than the ship's tours. At other ports we explored independently, either on foot, or, in Naples, by catching the train to Pompeii. All this independent stuff is fine as long as you allow plenty of time to get back to the ship. If you're late, they will sail without you, and you're responsible for getting yourself to the next port. There were several days when we had urgent announcements calling for passengers to present themselves to the pursers' desk. Comparing tour experiences with others at our dinner table, our decision to do most of the exploring independently was clearly the right one. If you aren't an active person, used to independent travel, the ship's tours provide security, but otherwise, do it yourself. On the Grills' sundecks ice creams were brought around during the afternoon, followed by sandwiches at tea time. Afternoon tea in the Grills Lounge was also quite sumptuous, although it was easy to overdo it and have to go lightly at dinner time! I think others have sounded murmurs about the absence of comfy padded deck chairs on the upper deck: they are absolutely right, which is a bit poor of Cunard. And did we put on lots of weight? Well, I managed to gain 3kg, while my partner -��" disgracefully -��" gained nothing. This was thanks in part to lots of shore excursions with a fair bit of walking, and also to following the tip of friends, which was never to use the lift. We did arrive at breakfast and dinner (and sometimes lunch) a little out of breath, but it clearly paid off. There were only three sea days on the Pearls of the Black Sea cruise, which ended up feeling too few. We wanted a cruise that visited interesting places, but there were always so many interesting things to do on board, apart from lazily reading in the sun, which was itself a priority. The lecturers and speakers were extremely good (and Robert Powell particularly). The evening shows were fun, if sometimes rather strained in their themes, and the singers and dancers high quality. Our complaints? They're minor, really. There were far too few self-laundering facilities. Three washing machines, three tumble driers and one iron & board per deck was paltry and usually meant queues, although this made the laundry often quite a sociable place too, even if you'd much rather be elsewhere on a glorious summer's day at sea. Dry cleaning was actually cheaper than we would pay at home. One of our suitcases didn't turn up until almost dinner time, and no explanation was ever given, although our butler did a sterling job at running around until he located it. So would we go again? Yes, please.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
on arriving at the port of rome, full of expectation and non-relaxed, we quickly and painlessly went through proceedures and were soon in our cabin on deck 8; opened the door and felt we were in such a small cabin for a cruise - it looks ... Read More
on arriving at the port of rome, full of expectation and non-relaxed, we quickly and painlessly went through proceedures and were soon in our cabin on deck 8; opened the door and felt we were in such a small cabin for a cruise - it looks bigger from photos, but it was well equiped and smart with a good sized balcony. there was sparkling wine !! we were totally unprepared for what it was all about, poeple were everywhere. we didnt feel happy! on arrival at the first evening dinner i had confrontation with the maitre d as we had asked to sit with other poeple (8) but were offered a table for 2 or possibly 4. i questioned him but he fobbed us off with "many poeple want to sit together"; it was take it or leave it - not a caring attitude towards first time cruisers! to add insult to injury, 2 nights later when we had gotten used to our very good waiters, we were asked to move to a worse table near the entrance for a group of 4 who wanted to sit together - i would not move! at the captains cocktail party the "known croud" gathered in the centre of the room showing off, we were never spoken to, had our photo taken or made to feel welcomed. the english guests were so snotty generally and could be quite above themselves whereas the new zealanders, australians, canadians,some americans were more friendly. it was very pretentious for what it was. the staff were great, especially the waiters,sportspoeple,bar staff and stewards. food was plenty and varied, the lido restuarant was good for self service but we went for luxury and the food in the huge brittania restaurant was good but nothing very special. too often in the ports of call there was not the onshore time available to see enough especially istanbul, but it was nice. the entertainment was excellent and a good mix, victoriana night was fabulous - well done amanda! the trip was good and relaxing but it wasnt fabulous. on arrival at venice we were sent off the cruise ship 2 hours too early for our transport (no seating here) had to wait at airport from 10am to 4-50pm!!! overall the cruise was good ( with some notable exceptions ) tea and cakes in the Queens room each day was lovely - great service and delicious cakes. the most wonderfull arrival was into venice by the grand canal. the theatre is exceptional as were many of the shows, and the entertainers in the other areas were excellent if unthanked, as they were just "there". bathroom small but very adequate and nicely equiped with toiletries. we would have been much happier if there was more of a welcome for first time cruisers who dont know what to do or expect and a little less of a pecking order amongst guests! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
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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