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7 Cunard Queen Victoria Cruise Reviews for Holiday Cruises to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean

The Pros: The ship is very modern with some state of the art features which do not reflect in the way the cabins are fitted out. On the whole the staff are very hardworking and trying to please. You can see certainly the cabin ... Read More
The Pros: The ship is very modern with some state of the art features which do not reflect in the way the cabins are fitted out. On the whole the staff are very hardworking and trying to please. You can see certainly the cabin stewards working almost around the clock. The embarkation process was smooth and efficient and our luggage arrived to our cabin very fast. The Cons. 1. ACCOMMODATION/HOUSEKEEPING On arriving on the QV we were quite happy with our accommodation even though we found some old fruit underneath our dressing table and some dirt on the walls which had not been wiped clean. We considered this an oversight and did not make a fuss about it. Underneath the lockers on each side of the bed we found some old medication and pins. We would have felt happier if we had thought a thorough cleaning had been carried out. On the second day using the Ladies Changing Room on the Spa floor I noticed no conditioner - towels on the floor having fallen out of the overflowing used towels basket. The sauna itself was very clean and has a fabulous viewing window. In fact the ship really is very well set out and the decor is lovely. The only thing that lets Cunard down is the lack care taken with regard to cleanliness. The day prior to our departure we were told by our cabin steward that he could not give us any more tissues in our cabin as we were leaving -â€" we subsequently sorted this matter out by having to go down once again to the Pursers' desk. They contacted the housekeeper who said we could have more tissues but we are still wondering what happened here. We felt that now we were leaving our comfort was no longer important. The TV in our A1 cabin was an old cheap TV which went to black and white when a program was on .Very limited and usually 4 very old films a day .No Sport.Cant even match the Princess TV package. 2. LIDO During our first few days in the Lido we raised the following issues with the Maitre D' and then with the Pursers' Desk as we felt we were getting nowhere fast with the Maitre D'. A. We noticed a number of flies floating around and when we raised the matter with the Maitre D' of the Lido and the Purser's Desk we were given to understand that to implement measures to get rid of the flies would not be allowed for H&E reasons - I cannot see that leaving flies on food could be healthier. We are Elite members of Princess and have never been on a ship before where we have encountered flies in an enclosed eating area. B. We had read with much anticipation about the Indian Buffet nights in the Lido and very much looked forward to the same but they did not happen. Instead this buffet had been moved to the Todd English restaurant for a higher charge of $20.00. This feels like a very cynical move. Reading about the Indian Buffet in the Lido formed part of our decision to come on this cruise. C. During first few days on 7 occasions we went to have our meal there to find that the hot water and coffee had run out. I would have thought that the basic requirement for even the most mediocre of restaurants is a supply of coffee/hot water for tea. I noticed that the burners underneath the various pots had been allowed to go out. I had to point this out to the waiter and asked him to re-ignite the burners and bring new ones. The queues of disappointed people at the tea/coffee points was full of frustration. I don't know if this was allowed to happen because of inefficiency, not caring, and simply not being good enough. D. Food temperature -â€" in the Lido I don't believe we at any time had what could be called a hot meal (or even a warm one) for some reason we could never get anything that was not just "Lukewarm". Quite spoilt our appreciation of most dishes. We heard similar complaints about the Britannia restaurant. E. On Princess we always eat in Horizon because of the great freedom and also the choice and being able to eat when and where and help ourselves to exactly what we want. However, on the Queen Victoria during the outbreak of Novovirus on the ship which continued for almost a week we found our choices of food in the Lido restricted, inconvenient, and like a school canteen. Not at all what we needed to complete the Lido experience. 3. ENTERTAINMENT I am married to an Irish person and quite frankly I was rather taken aback by a comedian on board who made some "Irish" jokes in very poor taste (intimating that Irish people are stupid!). He made fun of the Welsh but only of high pitched voices and fun of the English for being reserved - I would not have minded if he said we are too proud, drink too much even but being stupid is not a character trait one wishes to hear. I felt very uncomfortable and walked out with my husband. I work in a law firm and know that even on television now such jokes would not be acceptable. Jokes about race are not acceptable. I made my views known to the cruise director and all I got was a patronising response. In this day and age of PC correctness I hope Carnival the owners of Cunard stop this before this becomes a serious issue - I did not hear any jokes about Chinese nationals or French nationals etc. and there were a lot on board - I think you might find they would not find such jokes about their race acceptable either. 4. ITINERARY We were bound in Alexandria for an extra day due to inclement weather. However, we noticed that an old Fred Olsen ship left without coming to any harm. There was a lot of bad feeling on the ship and speculation as no-one believed the Captain when she said it was bad weather. We therefore missed going to Katakolon which was for us one of the highlights of the trip. In Venice where the port closed due to fog -â€" we noted that although the ship was stationary until about 10am in the morning outside Venice we were only told about 5pm that evening that the ship would be going to Trieste and that we had to make our own way to Venice airport. Subsequently we were told by the Pursers' Desk that we would be provided with a transfer to Venice airport and they told us to cancel our taxi pickup previously booked -â€" which cost us (£60.00). The purser then came back to us and told us that Cunard would not provide us with transport to the airport that we would be dropped off at the port and would have to reinstate our original plans which we had cancelled. We are aware of how things can be done correctly on board a ship to make the passengers trust the Captain and the staff but we found that the command structure and communication on the QV was less than acceptable. This was a top down problem and the staff seemed very lacking in motivation because of no clear leadership or direction. Sometimes it seemed as if everyone was working at cross purposes. In conclusion we do not honestly think we would ever consider cruising with Cunard again after all the unnecessary stress, lack of clear management, hygiene and racial issues that we have been subjected to. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Having heard from relatives the excellent experiences they had enjoyed travelling with Cunard ( albeit the majority on the larger Queen Mary ) I was actively looking forward to this first voyage with Cunard. Previously I had taken ... Read More
Having heard from relatives the excellent experiences they had enjoyed travelling with Cunard ( albeit the majority on the larger Queen Mary ) I was actively looking forward to this first voyage with Cunard. Previously I had taken voyages with Princess, P and O , Holland America , and Celebrity, all of which were most pleasurable. The ship is beautiful, of that there can be no doubt. The styling and features were magnificent ,which coupled with the layout and number of alternative facilities available , I believe all tastes were more than adequately catered for. She is indeed a ship of class and refinement. The entertainment again , overall, was superb . The main ballroom was lively up until the late hours , this in the main ,due to the high level of performances by the band, dancers and singers. The main theatre shows were poor , but other lines also seem to find it difficult to provide a higher class of entertainment. I believe all entertainments provided along deck 2 were at an extremely high standard, reflected again by the high numbers attending the evening entertainments. The staff, overall were professional and proficient , however I felt they lacked that natural happy buzz ,prevalent amongst other lines! Two expectations were our table waiter Ragesh and our wine waiter , excellent service with friendly warm genuine personality. We ate in the Princess grill, this was due to our love of good food. I feel that eating in the buffet may have been more beneficial! The standard , consistency , preparation and quality of the food was appalling. I do not expect the head chef to personally prepare and control my food to ensure the best of fare, but a cursory glance after plating and prior to serving may have been beneficial ? Salads obviously not fresh, meat , not of premium quality and basically bland fare. Whilst I considered the meat poor , one couple at an adjacent table complained one evening regarding poor steaks, a few nights later following a similar complaint he requested the attendance of the maitre di. He apologised , saying there was little he could do as it was prepared with the restaurant meat ?? Not really an excuse at all is it.? During the cruise an extensive regime was enforced due to an outbreak of Novovirus. Whilst there was a considerable outcry from some of the passengers at the measures invoked by Cunard to contain the spread, I believe these measures were essential to contain the problem. Pity some of the passengers hadn,t been more vigorous in stemming the spread. The number of people failing to report symptoms as they may have been forced to cabin containment was irresponsible and selfish. We were detained an extra night in Alexandria due to high winds which forced us to miss our Crete port. In my opinion this was a poor call by the captain. I realise that sometimes you make the right decision and no one acknowledges the fact ,and a poor call opens you up to all manner of criticism. I have sailed often enough to know high winds and safe / unsafe weather and as I stated before the weather did not appear any worse than when we sailed the following day. It certainly did not stop another cruise ship and an extremely large ferry sailing when we were supposed to set sail! A similar fiasco occurred at our disembarkation port of Venice. Whilst no one can control the weather , the delays in making some kind of a decision as to intended actions was deplorable. Despite numerous requests as to the status of intended actions, it was not until 10.45pm we were informed that we were to be disembarked at Trieste at 5.30am ( 3 hours prior to our initial disembarkation time ) However on the plus time we did get transported to Venice airport to catch our flight ( albeit 4 hours prior to the flight time !!!! ) Whilst I would seldom criticise individuals actions I believe the captain handled this and other instances with a lack of the necessary confidence, authority and assurance normally displayed at this level. Overall a very disappointing experience, one I shall not be repeating with the Cunard line. Expectations were high but the resultant outcome I would not have expected from a budget line. This could have been a one off " poor show " due to one or two individuals being in the wrong positions but I do not anticipate spending the money to ascertain the outcome. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Having cruised with Cunard before we had high expectations of this cruise. Our flight to Athens was uneventful,and embarkation was fairly smooth.We were most impressed with the handling of our luggage which was taken off our hands at ... Read More
Having cruised with Cunard before we had high expectations of this cruise. Our flight to Athens was uneventful,and embarkation was fairly smooth.We were most impressed with the handling of our luggage which was taken off our hands at Heathrow and the next we saw of it was in our cabins! This was a lot better than other flight cruises we had.The cabin was pleasant with ample storage space but the bathroom and shower particularly was very small compared to Celebrities Solstice class ships.The towels also felt small and hard by comparison.Small touches such as binoculars and an umbrella were missing. The ship looks well appointed with abundance of polished wood in the style of an English stately home the Royal court theadre and the Queens Ballroom were bothexcellent and roomy and in par with ships of equal status, The Brittania Restaurant is very attractively designed on two floors and our request for a table for two was accommodated albeit in a rather claustrophobic corner. The standards of food were very acceptable and a vegetarian course appeared every day although the choice could have been better. The stuff in the Restaurant were very polite and and friendly particularly our Goan waiter Glorio.The wines waiter was great and he knew our name from day one a good touch. Now the not so nice part. The Lido buffet restaurant's choice was rather limited in choice and it certainly no much to Ships such as the Eclipse, or Solctise. Apart from the traditional English fare there was pasta and pizza and the occasional stir fry. The breakfasts excluded such stable items as prunes and figs which appeared after passengers complained.The toast was always cold. The stuff also appear to be the same and were mainly unsmiling. On sea days you were hard pushed to find a clean table I guess because people were congregating inside due to the weather Things took a nose dive however after our call to Alexandria.Apart from the torrential ran,rather unexpected in Egypt, the place seemed to be riddled with piles of rubbish.We join an excursion to the Pyramids and after a two hour drive from hell we arrived there to be virtually assaulted by avery aggressive mob of vendors, camel owners and peddlers demanding money from us and even preventing us taking photos. Our guide conveniently stayed on the bus. On arrival back to the ship the captain announced that the port was shut due to inclement weather and consequently we spend an extra 24 hours stack in Alexandria. It was notable that Fred Olsen's 'Boudica' managed to sail!because of the delay we missed our next port of call at Katakolon in Greece. The next two ports were Corfu and Dubrovnik and were both pleasant experiences. But the biggest disappointment was to come when on arrival to Venice we were prevented to dock and after floating outside a port for the whole day the captain decided to sail to Trieste on the Croatian border so a day and a half spend in Venice was missed. From Trieste we were then bused to Marco Polo airport where most annoyingly the fog still persisted.All flights were considerably delayed and some passengers had to be taken to Pergamo (Milan) to fly.This left everyone seething particularly as Cunard was aware of the fog and made no provisions to provide passengers with any food coupons or guidance. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
After a few drinks in a pub one Sunday afternoon myself and 7 other adults all decided to go on a cruise together- some had cruised many times before including world cruises and some were virtually novice cruises having cruised once aboard ... Read More
After a few drinks in a pub one Sunday afternoon myself and 7 other adults all decided to go on a cruise together- some had cruised many times before including world cruises and some were virtually novice cruises having cruised once aboard Marco Polo but we all had one thing in common we had never cruised with Cunard, for this adventure we decided on Queen Victoria which was visiting the Eastern Med. and we counted down the days with intrepid excitement. We were flying from Heathrow on a charted British Airways flight which did set off 30 minutes late but on arrival at the port you'd have thought we were 3 hours late the photographer had gone so no special arrival photo for the 8 of us, no welcome party apart from one entertainment officer who didn't even say hello, no hot towels for the weary traveller and not even a cabin steward to at least direct us to our cabins (even Marco Polo provide this) to sum up we felt like second class passengers being sneaked on board the tradesman entrance not quite what we had expected. We found our cabins which to all our relief were really nice and better then we expected, we all had D2 cabins which had large sofas in them and a bottle of champagne waiting for us at last we could all relax and enjoy our cruise..sadly this was not to be the case when we heard the rumours that our luggage would not be joining us for ages and so this meant going to dinner in the clothes some of us had had on since 2 am that morning all my planning as to what to wear the first night down the drain. But not to fret we all decided to go and have some drinks in the award winning Golden Lion Pub, the pub itself is great and can see why it has won the award for bset cruise line pub but the service was AWLFUL and it never got any better during the cruise, if you did get the attention of a waiter the attitude just seemed to be what?? not what could I get for you madam seeing as your paying a 15% service charge for me to go and get you a drink and then you waited 10 minutes to get your drink, we tried just walking in and ordering from the bar but were often told by the bartender I'm far to busy to serve you go and find a waiter, there may have been 10 people in the bar I dread to think what happens when they get a rush on and the final insult was 3 glasses with lipstick on in 2 days when we complained we were told health and safety says they can't polish the rim of the glasses!!we did suggest just looking may be an idea but at £8.00 for a large glass of wine this shouldn't happen and it didn't happen once on P&O Aurora over 94 days when we sailed with them this year. Anyway at 8.30 on the dot we headed for our dinner in the restaurant only to find a queue of around a 100 people stood outside no one had bothered to tell us or other passengers it was open dining so it was utter chaos we eventually got in for dinner after a 40 minute wait but one of our group just left thoroughlly fed with the whole situation.The food that night was fine and to be honest after dinner we were all exhausted so headed to bed feeling extremely disappointed and somewhat underwhelmed as to our first experience of Cunard. The following evening meals were all spent on our allocated table for 8 in the Brittania restaurant, I can only say the waiters and service were pleasant but lack lustre, the food only average and the choice quite poor sometimes, having been on P&O I felt like I was visitng their poor relative the service on P&O is 5 star compared to this, the food far superior plus they serve you your vegetables and potatoes seperatley so you can have the portion size you want and don't get me started on the wine waiter it was like a comdey act you just couldn't write it..my partner ordered a bottle of speckled hen waited about 20 minutes only for the waiter to come back and ask was this similar to a white wine spritzer!!!unbelievable,half our group had wine with our dinner each night but soon realised take a glass of wine in with you as we never got served till passed 9.00pm sometimes as late as 9.15pm then when he did top up the glasses we started a betting game as to how much wine and condensation off the bottle could he spill over each of our plates, cutlery and table it was just so unprofessional in future one might suggest using a towel around the bottle and not pouring wine in such a rushed manor as you spill it.All in all there isn't any comparison between Cunard and P&O for your dining experience P&O win hands down we came to the conclusion Cunard call their service White Star Service as they would never win Gold, Silver or Bronze!! The shows overall were good and the theatre itself lovely but the nights when they held themed formal nights were just a waste of time as a group of 8 we could never get out of dinner in time to take part in the Queens Room for the parade which was really frustrating as we took part in every themed night from wearing masks at the masked ball, top hats for Ascot night with morning suits, the majority of passengers didn't take part so why bother they never inforced the theme so those who did get dressed up just ie us looked stupid to be honest as the mass hadn't bothered. Everything is geared up for first sitting or as Cunard call it Main Sitting from the parades, the quizzes you just never could get out in time if you were on late sitting which was a shame. Our cabin steward was just bordering on ok he never did any more or less than required of him, maybe a good morning, a have a nice day or even a greeting using our names would have made us feel a little bit special but we never got anything like this we got a smile from him the day before we were leaving what a surprise tip time!!also we had left a piece of cotton thread on the carpet the first day we had arrived and guess what it was still there the day we left my partner joked that the cabin steward probably couldn't lift the hoover for health and safety reasons!! the cabin stewards on P&O go out of there way to be pleasant even down to the mention of having a hot chocolate before bed hey presto the next night sachets of drinking chocolate in the room and the bug bear for all of us no drinks facility in the room when we asked why we were told health and safety again P&o provide kettles in every room all I can presume is P&O like to live life on the edge of Health and Safety rules!! kettles and clean glasses whatever next We gave up after one failed attempt in the Lido for breakfast after having walked the length of the room twice and still not found anywhere to sit food now tepid we opted for room service everyday which was fine.The pizza's and pasta were freshly made and were good, and the grill which served burgers etc was also tasty but we never really had time to have lunch as we were always out visiting a new destination so I would say nothing outstanding but nothing poor either as there was a wide range of choice at all times What was good about the ship were the fish and chip lunches in the pub and the afternoon tea in the Queens Room, now that was more what I had expected all the time from Cunard Silver Service alas this sort of service was limited to afternoon tea only. Finally to keep with the theme of rubbish embarkation we had a rubbish disembarkation we were told our luggage would be waiting for us at the airport and to collect it for boarding when we arrived but when the coach dropped us off no luggage no Cunard staff 32 people aimlessly wondering around not knowing what to do or where to go we went into the airport asked their staff if they knew where the luggage was no no idea finally our group walked out at the other end of the airport and spotted our luggage what were the two Cunard staff doing just sat there chatting oblivious to us and our plight one seemed quite surprised when my partner informed him he was stood at the wrong end of the airport to meet the passengers, it just summed up the service from start to finish!! Overall would I recommend Cunard to someone NO, would I go back on Cunard NO, don't get me wrong the ship was nice but so are others, the drinks were really dear nearly twice as much as P&O charge,I think you can better value for money with better service on other cruise ships. On arriving home we booked another cruise with P&O after this cruise we want more than White Star Service we want 5 star Gold Service Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We sailed on Queen Victoria from Rome on 15 October, heading to a number of places on my all time wish list. I finished work a few months ago and this was my retirement cruise. We were on a Cunard charter flight from Heathrow which was ... Read More
We sailed on Queen Victoria from Rome on 15 October, heading to a number of places on my all time wish list. I finished work a few months ago and this was my retirement cruise. We were on a Cunard charter flight from Heathrow which was delayed for about an hour - and had us all wondering if those stories you hear about them a)sailing without us or b) holding the ship for a planeful were true. It was dark by the time we got to the ship, and we had missed the drill, which we had to do the following day, but the luggage had arrived in the cabin by the time we got back from dinner, much to our relief. Our balcony cabin on Deck 6 was perfectly fine for our needs, storage was sufficient with plenty of wardrobe space and large drawers under the bed. The bathroom was small but adequate. Our steward kept it spotless for us. We ate in the Britannia restaurant (second sitting) and the Lido. We had lunch one day in the Golden Lion and we took afternoon tea one afternoon in the Queen's Room. I think we managed to sample all of the bars on the ship (not all on the same evening, you understand!). The food was good and it was necessary to do a lot of walking and stair climbing to try to counteract the effects. The ship had been described to us as warm and cosy. Possibly a little too brown for my taste - but I loved the library with its spiral staircase and the Midships Bar with Erte prints and statuette. I was not too keen on the "tat" tables which appeared every evening around the shops. I loved the live music around the ship and the fact that in the evening it was possible to walk from a string quartet to a piano to a harpist to jazz. We went to the theatre several times, apparently it sleeps 700 - and I could nudge my husband on my right but not the snoring gentleman on my left....... We had a late disembarkation, so although we had to put out our luggage the night before and vacate our cabin by 8.30am, provision was made for safe storage of hand luggage and we were able to use the ship's facilities and even go ashore on disembarkation day. We also had lunch in the Lido before we left. Apart from the well known places we visited we also spent time in two smaller Greek Islands - Samos, where I lunched on freshly caught red fish in a back street taverna, and Zakynthos, which was pretty - but forgettable. These were dream destinations and an incredible holiday. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
After writing this review, I realized how long it was. But I feel its length only reflects our satisfaction from this voyage, so thank you in advance for your patience if you are going to read. First of all, about the ship itself. Some ... Read More
After writing this review, I realized how long it was. But I feel its length only reflects our satisfaction from this voyage, so thank you in advance for your patience if you are going to read. First of all, about the ship itself. Some time ago we watched a discussion of professionals about the cruise industry. One of them commented: 'The Queen Victoria is perhaps the most beautiful ship in the world'. As far as we can tell, we can share this opinion. Public Spaces --------------------- Some people argue that she is just one in the Vista Class of cruise ships, which comprises of more than a dozen liners scattered among various brands of the Carnival Empire (Holland America, Costa, Carnival, P&O). So, they say, unlike her larger sister Queen Mary 2, Cunard's flagship, she is not one of the kind. First, all VIsta Class ships are wisely designed, with easy passenger flow and comfort in mind, and she and her nearly identical sister, the Queen Elizabeth, are the culmination of this Class. Then, just having a little stroll around reveals how much thought her designers put to create something unique. Brilliant innovations differentiate her from the other Vistas and blend harmonically spaciousness with intimacy. Fine examples are the Winter Garden, whose roof opens in sunny weather, the Disco, the Lobby (although it is based closely in Princess Cruises design) or the marvellous two-story Library with its spiral staircase, the largest afloat after QM2's, having more than 6,000 books. The magnificent Royal theatre reminds of a West End theatre. Of particular interest are its theatre-boxes, another innovation. One or two other cruise lines (NCL for example) offer theatre-boxes, but none offers the elegance and ceremony Cunard offers. I think it is worth telling a bit more about it. You are welcomed at the entrance of the theatre by a uniformed member of the crew, who accompanies you to a little private, 'secret' salon. There you spend your time being served Veuve Cliquot champagne (Queen Elizabeth's official) with chocolates and canapés. When time comes, your escort appears again and guides you to your private theatre-box, where a new bottle of champagne and chocolates await you. The boxes are well designed with nice, uninterrupted view of the stage (with plexiglas railing), and if you want to call your escort a cord is provided, like in fine old houses. In the end a photo of the show is handed to you to commemorate. It was a most civilized experience, worthy of Cunard's reputation. But we found that the culmination of the innovations was the two-story high Queen's Room. Only complaint was that it was cold at times. Otherwise, magnificent decor with elements from Queen Victoria's summer palace. According to Carolyn Spencer Brown, the Editor of Cruise Critic, it is one of the finest rooms at sea. In this most elegant setting Cunard served the afternoon tea (unlike other companies, which use the restaurant for this), and under the accompaniment of strings, harp or piano we enjoyed nice sconces and sandwiches provided by waiters in white gloves. Of special notice was the Viennese Tea in the last day of the cruise, with its magnificent buffet, a joy for both eyes and palate. In the evening the room found its real identity as a wonderful ballroom. Cunard associates itself with fine dancing and it provides the largest stages afloat. It was such a beauty to watch nicely dressed people enjoying dancing here, evoking nostalgically the dance floors of the great ocean liners of the past. Speaking of dressing, one of Cunard's strongest points is the elegant dress code. I know of no other cruise line offering this feature. It creates a unique atmosphere on board, reminding of the Golden Age of shipping. Elegant dressing complements beautifully the marvellous surroundings of the ship, and if you are romantic and nostalgic then search no longer. Cunard focuses on its tradition and offers artefacts from its long history in the Cunardia exhibition. Having been on QE2, which was rich in Cunard history, we would like more artefacts to be exposed here. But it is said that most of these were sold with the ship to Dubai, specifically demanded by the buyers, when QE2's status enabled Cunard to receive an offer that they simply could not resist - 100 million dollars for a 40-year old ship. In the staircases there are works of art showing old Cunard ships, or photos of the numerous celebrities that travelled on them (and some continue even today...). Dining ---------------- We had dinner in the Britannia Restaurant. The restaurant itself is wonderful with rich wood-imitating panels. Compared to other restaurants in the Vista Class it offers more space for passengers, as the passengers in the Grills eat in their own appointed dining rooms. We always prefer second sitting (20:30), as this gives you plenty of time to see the ports and enjoy the sail-aways. Unlike first sitting (18:30), the waiters don't want you to leave the table as earlier as possible to prepare it for other passengers. And there was always enough time to watch the 10:30 show. Food and service by Sandy and Romeo was of the high standards of all our Cunard cruises: excellent. We were so satisfied that we did not feel the need to go to alternative restaurants. Soft Drinks Package ------------------------------------ Cunard's Soft Drinks Package is worth telling, as it is as far as I know the best of its kind in the cruise industry. For a reasonable price ($5.25 plus 15% tax per day) you get unlimited sodas and fruit juices from a wide variety, in all bars and restaurants by the glass. Absolutely worth buying it, it you are a non-alcohol drinker or healthy-seeker like me. Interestingly, orange juice is free in the dining room for lunch and dinner. Fruit juices like orange or cranberry are free 24 hours a day in the Lido casual restaurant. Cabin ----------------------- Our cabin was spacious, tastefully decorated, comfortable and cosy, with a nice sofa and the usual mini-bar. It was kept in immaculate condition by our excellent stewardess Cathy. There was plenty of storage space. When the ship entered service there were complaints about lack of drawers, but this was quickly addressed and we had more storage space than we needed for 12 days. One issue is that there are no tea and coffee making facilities in the room. Following Cunard's classical concept of cruising, these were available by room service. But no problem, as room service was free 24 hours a day, efficient and always arrived quickly. Let alone the wonderful variety in offer if you wished to dine in your cabin (the Thai plate was delicious, for example). Some people complain about the size of the bathroom - and particularly the shower. I guess this expectation comes from the beauty of the rest of the ship. But we found it to be adequate and neatly appointed, with ample shelf space in the sink. Moreover, beautiful Gilchrist & Soames toiletries were provided: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion. Also hair-cup, cotton, ear-cottonettes. Some other companies provide such items only in suite categories. Slippers and sparkling wine in embarkation are provided free for everyone. Also bathrobe to use on board - and you can buy it if you want. Fruit basket is provided, but you have to ask your steward for it. Last, after our smooth embarkation our luggage arrived here without delays. Activities and entertainment ------------------------------------------ As said, Cunard cruising is in the classic way. They promote a sober and refined atmosphere and this was generally the case. No climbing walls or hairy chest competitions by the pool. No drunken people shouting in the cabin corridors at night. No public announcements during the day, or music in corridors or elevators. And no continuous pressing to purchase, as in other cruise lines. Instead string quartets, pianists, harp playing were the norm. Well-thought and informative lectures in the theatre. In the evening beautiful dancing in the Queen's Room, as I said above. Interestingly, there were every night gentlemen hosts there to dance with single ladies. And the Disco was beautiful, too. Although the theatre was stunning, we did not go to many shows - usually preferring a nice lounge after dinner. But the magician was funny and excellent, and the Victoriana show was equal to a lavish production on land. The 'hardware' was amazing and the singers and dancers were talented and worth every praise. Service: ------------- Service throughout the ship was of top quality. The staff was kind and attentive. It was always amazing how those people remembered not only our preferences, but our names as well. Of the many and beautiful lounges that the ship boasts, our favourite was the panoramic Commodore Club, where Czilla and Libia exceeded our expectations with their professionalism and friendliness. Itinerary and shore excursions ------------------------------------------- The itinerary was just beautiful. Venice, Dalmatian coast, Egypt, Turkey and Greece in one piece. A real odyssey. I would like particularly to congratulate Cunard for offering the ports of Volos (Greece) and Dikili (Turkey). From the first you can visit Meteora (a one-of-a-kind spectacle in the world, where centuries-old monasteries are built at the top of huge Canyon-style rocks) and mount Pelion, where natural beauty meets rich ancient mythology. Dikili is perhaps better known as it is near Pergamon, once the capital of a Greek kingdom, built strategically at the top of a mountain and offering breath-taking views. Cunard provided free shuttles from ship to town in many ports, while other companies charge for this service (Dubrovnik, Corfu or Volos for example). In Venice there was a reasonable charge of $20 pp for unlimited ship-to-San Marco Square water-shuttle trips in the two days that we stayed there (compare the $7 one-time Piazzale Roma-San Marco vaporetto ride). It was a pity that our agent did not inform us about it, as we pre-booked vaporetto trips, which were not as convenient as Cunard's shuttle. People complain that prices of tours offered by cruise lines are often excessive, but this is not always the case. I did a little personal search for some of the ports of call, and many times Cunard's prices were similar or even better than elsewhere. Nice examples were the tour with a gondola ride in Venice, or the Turkish baths in Istanbul. Moreover, tours were well organized and informative (as in all our Cunard cruises, I must say). Add safety to that: in Alexandria the ship waited more than an hour for the buses to return from Cairo (something similar has happened to us also on Queen Mary 2 in Chile). Best guides were in Pergamon and Beylerbey Palace in Istanbul, where wireless devices were distributed to everyone, so we could hear the guide clearly. Overall ------------------------ Some people complain that a Cunard cruise is expensive to book, but when considering all that this cruise offered, we found it good value for money as well. Gorgeous ship, fabulous ports, friendly and efficient staff, excellent food and service. Add lovely weather and great travelling companions. When comparing to past Cunard cruises, I think it is getting better through time in many aspects. So, if you ask if we would travel on Cunard again, the answer is obvious: withour second thought. Again, thank you for taking the time to read this long review. Read Less
Sail Date October 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
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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