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10 Cunard Queen Victoria Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean

Xmas and new year cruise to the canaries From embarkation to disembarkation it was everything we expected Arrived at the port 10.15 checked in and on by ten fifty five Balcony Cabin 4042 near stairway A no issues quiet location ... Read More
Xmas and new year cruise to the canaries From embarkation to disembarkation it was everything we expected Arrived at the port 10.15 checked in and on by ten fifty five Balcony Cabin 4042 near stairway A no issues quiet location the balcony had a solid front which didn’t cause any issues A very calm transit through the Bay of Biscay Food and waiters in Brittania we’re excellent best we have had (Alex and Jeffrey) New Year’s Eve was spectacular We enjoyed all the ports, disappointing that we didn’t get into Madeira, this was due to the weather, it was not safe for the tenders, very scary watching other tenders going into port Would highly recommend a very good cruise The only negative I have is the high costs of the drinks and the cost of spa treatments, if only they reduced the prices t am sure more people would indulge Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Having cruised many times with Princess Cruises, we decided to try Cunard's Queen Victoria because the itinerary included Dubrovnik, Montenegro and overnight in Venice. The ship had just undergone a £34 million refit in May and ... Read More
Having cruised many times with Princess Cruises, we decided to try Cunard's Queen Victoria because the itinerary included Dubrovnik, Montenegro and overnight in Venice. The ship had just undergone a £34 million refit in May and looked splendid, especially the Queens Room, Garden Room and theatre. That said, the new Grand suites and the additions like the Britannia Club restaurant are of no benefit to the majority of passengers. The ship was filled to capacity (around 2,000 passengers) with 1,300 Brits and several hundred Australians but, surprisingly, it seldom felt crowded. PROS • Good itinerary and we had sufficient time to explore independently at each port. • Efficient embarkation, disembarkation and port tenders. • Splendid decor with elegant Queen's Room, Garden Room and good theatre. • Excellent afternoon tea in Queen's Room and good pub lunch in the Golden Lion. • We enjoyed Jenny Bond's lectures, talks on forensics and the piano and guitar recitals. • Cunard is not constantly trying to sell passengers photos, art works, spa treatments etc. CONS • Food in the Britannia restaurant was a major disappointment. • Service was generally mediocre, especially in the Lido but our cabin steward was good. • Drinks were very over priced. • Ship can be unpleasantly cold, especially in the Queen's Room and Britannia restaurant. • Too restrained - nothing resembled "fun" and no sail away gatherings on deck. • Port lectures were poor and simply promoted the trips instead of giving useful information. • Shuttle bus charges were applied to selected passengers who had booked Early Saver fares. FOOD AND DINING There is no anytime dining in the Britannia restaurant, so we chose to eat at 8.30 pm. The service was variable and our table of 6 could finish eating at any time between 9.30 and 10.30 pm. We also went there for breakfast at 8 am and the service then was quite efficient. Food in the Britannia restaurant was a major disappointment with dull menus, no seasoning and very little flavour. We normally prefer the fish dishes but found them to be poorly cooked and flabby with not even a slice of lemon. Carrots and pak choi were served most days as was rice and mashed potatoes. Half of the menu seemed to be vegetarian options and the gluten free soufflés were mainly egg white. We explained this to the restaurant manageress but nothing improved. Even regular Cunard passengers commented that the food standards had deteriorated significantly - but few people thought to complain and just said "it's fine" when asked. We were served a mushroom tart with pastry like concrete, a crab starter that was a spoonful of nothing much in a bun and several deserts that were swimming in ultra sweet golden syrup. The menu on the four formal nights contained nothing special and lobster was only available once during our two weeks on board. Being presented with a set of menus on the last night only served as a grim reminder. The lunch time menu was also very dull, so we often went to the Lido restaurant where we could be more selective. Service in the Lido restaurant was poor, with nobody offering to fetch drinks and disinterested waiters. The Golden Lion pub served fish and chips, chicken curry, pies etc each day and we found this to be a really good alternative. The daily highlight was afternoon tea, served each day in the elegant Queen's Room with a string quartet or harpist to create the right atmosphere. There was a nice choice of crustless sandwiches, followed by cakes and then scones with jam and cream. All were served nicely at a leisurely pace and with a choice of teas. DRINKS Cunard charged around 50 USD for a bottle of very ordinary wine, which is extortionate. We took a couple of bottles on board and, even with the excessive 20 USD corkage charge, it was OK. It was, however, noticeable that little wine was being consumed because it was over priced. A half bottle of chilled bubbly awaited us on arrival which was a nice touch. One glass of wine and no canapés were served at the Commodores reception in the Queen's Room, which was a poor affair compared to the Princess's Captain's Circle. It reminded us of the P & O champagne waterfall, where they charged for every drink! ENTERTAINMENT The TV was small and there is no "on demand" capability, even after the recent refit. The theatre is very comfortable and we enjoyed trying the boxes at the sides. Drinks are not served in the theatre and there are no tables in the arm rests, which are useful for taking notes during lectures. Theatre entertainment ranged from excellent to poor but was perhaps a bit above average. We enjoyed Jenny Bond's lectures and talks about forensics. We enjoyed hearing a group called The Rewind Project presenting the music of The Moody Blues, The Hollies, 10cc and Cliff Richard. Another group (called the Overtures ?) also put on a good show of 60s and 70s music. A comedian named Jon Courtney entertained us with some good jokes and piano playing. David Howes, a multi-instrumentalist played the piano and trumpet and put on quite a show. Ilia and Plexus provided an interesting gymnastic show but trying to fill an hour with such performances is difficult. There was also a grim comedian / ventriloquist one evening. The resident singers and dancers, who put on four shows, were OK but the singers were not very good. CONCLUSIONS The Queen Victoria is a lovely ship but we were very disappointed with Cunard, who failed to come up to their quality image. Breakfast and afternoon tea were good, but, for most meals, menus were dull, food was poorly cooked and lacked flavour. Service was mediocre and the crew simply did their job. Drinks were over priced and the ship was unpleasantly cold in some main areas. No cruise line is perfect but, in our view, Princess provides a much better experience and we have no desire to cruise with Cunard (or P & O) again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Towards the end of our Rotary Presidents year some members go on holiday to celebrate the year and this year 17 of us joined the 5 day cruise on the recently revamped Queen Victoria. We have sailed on the QM2 a number of times so were ... Read More
Towards the end of our Rotary Presidents year some members go on holiday to celebrate the year and this year 17 of us joined the 5 day cruise on the recently revamped Queen Victoria. We have sailed on the QM2 a number of times so were keen to see how it compared. We were indeed very impressed by the ship, it was lovely and light and had a very welcoming feel about it. It was definitely easier to navigate your way around the ship than the QM2. We were unlucky however that the itinerary had to be changed due to bad weather so only able to go to Amsterdam and had to miss out Zeebrugge. We knew that our cabin would not be the best i.e. did not have a balcony but other than that it was fine for 4 nights. However our biggest disappointment and criticism was off the food in the Lido restaurant, it was typical canteen food and something I certainly would not have expected from Cunard. The choice was uninteresting and the presentation left a lot to be desired. The food in the main Britannia restaurant was ok. The first night though the service was awful but glad to say it did improve. Some of the staff I did not feel were particularly helpful, others were great. I feel that Cunard are not moving with the times, I think people nowadays want choice and more flexibility for main dining rather than 2 sittings. We loved the options on QM2 where there were speciality nights which you paid extra for but they were great and well worth it. So come on Cunard, things need to change and improvements in your Lido restaurant, as otherwise I will probably not choose the vessel again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We cannot fly and the cruise went from Southampton - that simple. On our arrival, we never received our welcome bottle of cava. Small point. We noted that • our tv was not working properly • light bulbs were missing and ... Read More
We cannot fly and the cruise went from Southampton - that simple. On our arrival, we never received our welcome bottle of cava. Small point. We noted that • our tv was not working properly • light bulbs were missing and some flickering • builder’s tape on a/c grill. It took 3 days to fix these. We noted that our wc did not flush. Our steward told us that the whole of our section had a problem with the vacuum and was being worked on. At least we should have been given a note asking us not to use our wc. When we got back to our cabin in the evening, sewage was still in the pan. I told reception who said they would send a plumber and fix it. Why the plumbers had not checked every affected cabin is beyond me and I believe is a symptom of poor management. However the receptionist had a very cavalier attitude to our problem and so I asked to speak to the manager, and after a few more minutes delay, she did come and speak to us. Generally, Cunard are living in the past and it showed. Although our cabin was one of those recently added, the shower is badly designed with little shelving. The lack of trays in your Lido cafeteria was commented by all. More worrying is the dangerous lighting to the stair treads in your theatre, particularly to those of us with vari-focal lenses. Also I noted broken glass in one of the picture frames in the coffee bar that sells Godiva chocolates. I did point this out to the concierge manager, but unsurprisingly, it remained broken when I left the ship. Just another sign of poor management. The single gangway at Funchal was too steep for your disabled customers, and too narrow for anyone else to pass. There were long delays. The air conditioning on the ship needs balancing. Too many cold spots. Generally, the staff were lovely. We had good and friendly waiters. Our steward did his best, but I guess he was overworked. Finally one of our suitcases was damaged, but the form we filled in at the terminal is not used for anything, and after some telephone calls, we realised we needed to send yet another email to you, which we have done. Cunard is clearly living off its pretentious past. It pretends it is an ocean liner, but it is only veneer. Even the wood is plastic. The people we met at breakfast and lunch were, by and large, elderly and very Conservative. Not for us.. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
And a very good experience too! Did not know what to expect but enjoyed this cruise very much. Although it is quite different from American cruise lines, we (my sister and I) found Queen Victoria restrained but very easy to ... Read More
And a very good experience too! Did not know what to expect but enjoyed this cruise very much. Although it is quite different from American cruise lines, we (my sister and I) found Queen Victoria restrained but very easy to navigate and quite nice. The food in the dining room was superb as were our waiter, Emmanuel, and his assistant, Marcelito. Very professional all the time. We really liked them. The cabin was pretty large and spacious. The ports were excellent and we enjoyed especially Zakynthos and Salerno. Quite different but both very enjoyable. The crew, unfortunately, is a little surly and perhaps a refresher course in just simple hellos and smiles would go a long way with crew-passenger relations. Most passengers were very elegant in both formal nights and even regular nights. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and we left having enjoyed our cruise with Queen Victoria to the Eastern Mediterranean feeling very pleased. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I booked with Queen Victoria mainly because I liked the itinerary. The Queen Victoria is an amazing boat - spotlessly clean and shiny, elegant and comfortable! It was just beautiful! The staff were very attentive and provided excellent ... Read More
I booked with Queen Victoria mainly because I liked the itinerary. The Queen Victoria is an amazing boat - spotlessly clean and shiny, elegant and comfortable! It was just beautiful! The staff were very attentive and provided excellent service, mainly in the Britannia Dinning Room and my cabin steward. Some staff were a bit aloof but generally ok. They were going to varnish the balcony rails on one port stop however I mentioned I had issues with solvents so they said they wouldn't do my balcony and they did stick to their word on this which was great. I booked a midship balcony as I get seasick. The room was spacious, well decorated and the bed was incredibly comfortable, I was pleasantly surprised it was very spacious and meticulously maintained. The room steward was fantastic. The food was also delicious - breakfast was pretty typical cruise fare with a great choice but from lunch on it was wonderful. Dinners in the Brittania were fabulous and I have to commend the staff there were a few people at our table with allergies and gluten issues and every day they discussed with the manager with regards to the following nights men, so their food could be cooked separately or changed to suit their medical needs. There is a great choice on the menu and the staff are always attentive and remember your likes and dislikes from the previous evening. I was seated at a table of 8 as I was travelling solo, this was great everyone at my table appeared to be solo travellers too. I ate two meals in the Verandah Restaurant and really enjoyed this experience and meal. The entertainment was really great. I went to two lectures and these were interesting and well prepared - not too long just the perfect length of time. There is something for everyone. I did a couple of tours with Cunard but I must say they are expensive for what you seem to get. I had to complain on both tours about the bus driver using the mobile phone while driving and some roads were really scary bendy. The Corfu bus driver was telling the tour guide to tell us not to go in the water at the beach stop of the tour as he didn't want to get sand in his bus...I didn't find that appropriate. I felt rushed on both tours I did. I may have not booked this tour if i realised it was such a formal dress requirement, however I have to say I did enjoy dressing up for dinner and felt not everyone was complying with this requirement. There is a sense of hard sell for the Spa products and at the shops onboard. I guess this goes on all the time, so you just ignore and move on. My embarkation and transfer was smooth and quick as was the disembarkation to the airport. In all i really enjoyed my experience with Queen Victoria, I felt a little left out at times but enjoyed the ports of call. I am sure i would travel with Cunard again should the opportunity arise. I value staying safe and well and you feel this on Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
First, we enjoyed the cruise, as much for its amazing itinerary as anyhting else. The Greek and Turkish ancient (Greek/Roman) history that we learned so much about as kids, came to life. The ship itself is really nice, a good size, ... Read More
First, we enjoyed the cruise, as much for its amazing itinerary as anyhting else. The Greek and Turkish ancient (Greek/Roman) history that we learned so much about as kids, came to life. The ship itself is really nice, a good size, comfortable and with excellent spaces. Food in the dining room was first class, although the menu each night is quite limited and needs expanding by adding a few standard or regular menu items to be available every night. Wine is hellishly expensive, so much so that we hardly bothered to have any, other than what we took on board. Other drinks are also priced on the high side, but not as much as the wine. There were also no happy hours (disappointing). Entertainment was as good as most ships, the ship's dancers and singers are excellent and the majority of the guest artists were also very good. But, although we had a great cruise, we couldn't help by feeling that the ship's atmosphere is restrained, or reserved. Even the staff and the service provided by them seems soemwhat reserved. Maybe this is a Cunard thing, I can't say for sure as this was our first Cunard cruise. But we couldn't help feeling that the cruise, although for enjoyment, was not for fun! One of the issues is the requirement to wear a jacket every night at dinner, sometimes it just isn't worth the bother, especiailly if it's near to dining hour and you're still by the pool or you're late back from an excursion. Oh, one more thing, there is fixed dining only, no flexible hours for eating in the dining rooms. If you miss the dining time, it's up to the Lido for you! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We have a special fondness for the old QE II and so we were a little apprehensive about how we would feel about the Queen Victoria. Whilst the QE II remains our favorite the Queen Victoria runs a respectable second. By todays standards I ... Read More
We have a special fondness for the old QE II and so we were a little apprehensive about how we would feel about the Queen Victoria. Whilst the QE II remains our favorite the Queen Victoria runs a respectable second. By todays standards I would class it as a medium size ship (around 2000 passengers I think) which is just right for us. The size of our cabin was adequate rather than generous and although my wife felt that there was a lack of drawer space we had no trouble storing our two weeks worth of clothing and stashing our luggage out of sight. Overall it was clean and comfortable. The general atmosphere of the ship was modern with a hint of olde worlde. The public rooms were light and airy and as a general rule never felt overcrowded. There were plenty of places to sit and have a quiet drink or read (or both). But there were alternatives that offered a more lively atmosphere. Our favorite was the Commodore Club on deck 10 at the front of the ship that gave us a panoramic view. The theatre was the best we have encountered on any cruise liner with boxes, at extra cost, if you so wished. However we were told by a couple that had taken a box one night that the glass front caused a reflection that hindered their enjoyment of the show. On the subject of shows, those on offer varied in quality. Cunard's resident singers, two males and two females, were excellent. All four of West End quality I would say. The resident dancers were also very good. The two comedians (two shows each) were enjoyable but the Beatles tribute group was pretty awful. The food in the Britannia restaurant was very good without being spectacular. We never had any problems finding something on the menu that was appealing to us and portions were just enough. The Lido offered alternative buffet dining that was varied and enticing. The serving platters were frequently replenished with freshly cooked food and tables were quickly cleared and cleaned by the staff. Even at busy times we were always able to find a table. We also ate one evening at the Todd English restaurant at extra cost. The food and service there was first class but the restaurant lacked atmosphere because of the lack of clientele (one other couple and a group of 4 the night we were there), a factor that we noticed whenever we peered into the restaurant during the course of the voyage. Afternoon tea is a Cunard tradition that is done very well. We looked forward to this and were not disappointed. The crew/staff on the ship were, without exception, brilliant. Friendly, smiling, helpful and efficient, they were all an absolute credit to Cunard and helped make our cruise an extremely enjoyable experience. My main criticism of this cruise were the prices charged, particularly for drinks. The cheapest bottle of wine on the restaurant menu was around US$30 (plus 15% service charge) and there were comparatively few at this price. A bottle of water was US$3.50. There were three ports of call that are not listed in the 'Port Review' section of the cruise critic form so I will mention them here:- a)Malaga (Spain). We chose to do our own thing here rather than go on an excursion. We were pleasantly surprised by the town. It was easy to stroll around with a very pleasant park close to the port area and an interesting roman ruin in the town centre. b) Cephalonia (Greece). We went on the best of Cephalonia tour here and were glad that we did because passengers that chose to do their own thing in the port said that there was nothing there (a Greek Blackpool was one description). The tour included a drive to the north of the island where we stopped off at a lovely little fishing village in the north of the island. Getting there involved driving along roads with steep drops to the ocean but the reward was spectacular views. We also visited a cave where the 'roof' had fallen in many years ago to create a small lake. The tour included a short rowing boat ride on the lake. c)Korcula (Croatia) We did our own thing here. Korkula is a smaller version of Dubrovnik and was perhaps our favorite of all the destinations. A myriad of small bustling streets that can be comfortably covered in a couple hours. And we still had time to have an al fresco meal in a restaurant that overlooked the Adriatic. We took a chance both here and in Dubrovnik by not taking any local currency with us. In fact we found that most souvenir shops and bars/restaurants were happy to take Euros. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
SUMMARY: We loved everything about Cunard and the Queen Victoria. The Cunard people were amazingly organized and efficient. The ship has an understated elegance with a very comfortable feel. It was easy to find our way around the ship. ... Read More
SUMMARY: We loved everything about Cunard and the Queen Victoria. The Cunard people were amazingly organized and efficient. The ship has an understated elegance with a very comfortable feel. It was easy to find our way around the ship. The elevators were never very busy or crowded. In short, everything worked. The itinerary did not disappoint. Venice and Istanbul are two indescribably interesting and beautiful cities. We could have easily spent an additional week in each city. The other ports each had their own charms but were only worth a one-day stopover. Split, Corfu, Piraeus-Athens, Kusadasi-Ephesus and Santorini were as expected. Rhodes was a pleasant surprise. BACKGROUND: My wife and I are in our mid 60s. We are physically active with no mobility problems. This was our 20Th cruise but the first with Cunard. We had been to Venice and Rome prior to this cruise but all the other ports were new to us. We like to explore on our own so we do not book ship excursions unless it is something that we can't do on our own or it is something that would take us far from the ship. On this cruise we did not book any ship excursions. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and booked it through the cruisecompete.com web site. PRE-CRUISE: As is our normal practice, we flew into Venice the day before the cruise. Since we spent the first night of the cruise on board the ship, we had two full days in Venice. Upon our arrival at Marco Polo Airport we took the Express Bus (5 Euro PP) to Piazzale Roma. From there we dragged our bags about ten minutes to Ca' San Rocco, the small hotel where we stayed for the first night. It was well located in a very quaint neighborhood. We had a high-ceiling room with a large king-size bed. The included breakfast was served on a tree shaded terrace. It was a great place for a pre-cruise stay in Venice. We spent the evening and morning before the cruise walking and riding around Venice. EMBARKATION: We dragged our bags back to Piazzale Roma where we took the "People Mover" to the cruise dock. It was about a two hundred yard walk from the station to the ship. Getting on the ship was a breeze. We were at the registration building at 11:30 AM and within an hour we were in our stateroom. By the time we came back from lunch all our bags had arrived. THE CABIN: We booked an obstructed view outside cabin on deck four. It was roomier than similar cabins we have had on other cruises. There was more than enough room for our clothes. It was well located and very quiet. We especially liked its proximity to the free laundry. The bathroom , as usual, was small and tight. Our steward was polite and unobtrusive, and kept the cabin clean and tidy. THE SHIP: The Queen Victoria has an understated elegance. It is not as tacky as a lot of the cruise ships today. We thoroughly enjoyed the traditional British ambiance. The ship is well laid out and it was easy to find our way around. There was never a long wait for an elevator, nor were they ever overcrowded. The Captain was young and brought some humor to his job. He was around the ship a lot and was always making interesting announcements. Our only complaint was that the Promenade Deck does not go all the way around the ship. THE PASSENGERS: The average age of the passengers was said to be 57 years old. I would have guessed a bit higher. Needless to say, we felt very comfortable in that demographic. Half of the passengers were British and about one fourth were from the USA. We loved interacting with the various non-USA passengers. THE FOOD: On port days we ate breakfast in the Lido Buffet, usually having either a custom-made omelet or a custom-made waffle. They were always delicious. The choices for meat, breads, fruit and beverages were excellent. On the two at-sea days we ate breakfast in the Britannia Dining Room where we had classic Eggs Benedict. The Lido Buffet was never too crowded and the service in the Britannia Dining Room was prompt and attentive. Because this was a port-intensive cruise, we almost never ate lunch on the ship. At most, we grabbed something quick from the Lido as we came back to the ship. At night we always ate in the Britannia Dining Room at the early seating. We chose to eat at a larger table with other couples. We enjoyed our dinner conversations and looked forward each night to catching up with our table mates about their activities on shore. We were always one of the last to leave the dining room. The food was as good as any we have had on a cruise ship. The service was excellent and the food was well prepared. The menu was different every night and offered more than enough choice. THE ENTERTAINMENT; We never missed any of the shows. The Royal Court Theatre is a good venue with no blocked sight-lines, comfortable stadium seating, and no drink tables. Every seat was a good seat. We usually arrived about 15 minutes before showtime, which gave us our choice of seats. The entertainment was the usual mix of song and dance productions, singers, and comedians. All the shows were worthwhile, but none were spectacular. Even though we are regular ballroom dancers, we only danced a few times in the Queens Room. The dance floor and the music were fine. We were usually too tired by the end of the evening, and we were usually back in our cabin by 10 PM. I can't comment on the gym and the spa since we didn't use it. THE WEATHER: Late September is a great time of the year to visit the Eastern Mediterranean area. The weather in each of the ports was wonderful. Not too hot and not too cold. We were comfortable walking around in just a short-sleeve shirt. We saw no rain whatsoever in any of the ports. At the Acropolis in Athens it was sunny and warm and there was a gentle breeze. Ephesus was the same way. Those were the two places where we were worried about the heat. In Istanbul and Santorini it was much cooler than we expected. In both places there were strong winds which almost required a light jacket. THE PORTS: Venice: We spent the better part of two days walking and riding around Venice. Even though we had been to Venice three years before, there was still much to see. A map, a vaparetto pass, and a good pair of walking shoes is all you need to enjoy the wonders of Venice. In fact, just meandering aimlessly around the city is all you really need to do. We enjoyed the sail away from Venice with drinks on the Promenade Deck. Split: To our surprise, we tendered in Split, but the tendering was hassle free. Once on shore, we took the "Spirit of Split" combo tour that included a 45 minute guided open top bus tour of the Split area and a 45 minute guided walking tour of Diocletian's Palace. We finished the day by walking around the medieval town next to the palace and walking along the harbor front promenade called "The Riva." Corfu: It was a short day in Corfu- 9AM - 2PM. We took a free bus from the ship to the terminal and then a free Cunard bus to the edge of Corfu's "Old Town." We spent a little time walking around the "Old Town", but spent quite a bit of time at the Old Fortress. The fortress had great views of the city, the harbors, and the beaches. It also had a quaint Romanesque church on site. Piraeus and Athens: After getting off the ship, we walked through the terminal and got on the Piraeus hop on/hop off bus. It included an English language audio guide. We toured Piraeus and got off the bus at the Acropolis. It took about a half hour to get to the Acropolis. The Acropolis provided several surprises. Since it was Sunday, there was no admission charge and the top of the Acropolis was not nearly as warm as we were expecting. There was a cooling breeze and quite a bit of shade. We spend l l/2 hours following Rick Steves' self-guided tour. What's more, the climb to the top was not as arduous as we were led to believe. We just had to be careful when walking on the slippery rocks. We did see a woman take a fall. We got back on the bus and did the full Athens tour without getting off again until we returned to the Acropolis. There really wasn't much to see. Athens is not a very attractive city. Before heading back to Piraeus we walked around the neighborhood at the base of the Acropolis where we had lunch at an authentic Greek restaurant. Kusadasi and Ephesus: A month before the cruise we booked a private tour with "Ephesus Shuttle." We chose "Ephesus Shuttle" because it was rated the #1 thing to do on Trip Advisor. Our private tour included a visit to the House of the Virgin Mary and a guided tour of the Ephesus ruins, including the Terrace Houses. A similar tour through the ship would have cost about the same but would not have included the Terrace Houses. We finished the tour with the required stop at a rug store. The sales pitch was not too aggressive and the rug making demonstration was actually quite interesting. The tour was excellent though a bit rushed. Before returning to the ship we walked around Kusadasi and had a small glass of raki. Istanbul: We watched our arrival in Istanbul in two comfy seats in the Commodore Lounge, high up in front of the ship. Like Venice, Istanbul is a great city for just walking around. There is an inexpensive tram that runs from the cruise docks right through the tourist area, but it is all very walkable. Because the ship's dock space was not available when we arrived, we were tendered off the ship. Cunard supplied a free bus to the Grand Bazaar. On the first day in Istanbul we toured the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia and spent time at the Grand Bazaar. We had a light Turkish-style dinner at an outside restaurant that was next to the tram line. Among other things, we had a blown-up pita pocket that was the size of a football. On the second day in Istanbul we visited the Topkapi Palace, the spice market, and the Underground Cistern. Rather than take the tram, we walked across the Galata Bridge back to the ship. Two days in Istanbul were enough to take in all the major sites, but we could go back and easily fill up another couple of days in Istanbul. Rhodes: Rhodes was a surprise. The town is very picturesque. The ship was docked right next to the town's fortifications. The town is a walled city filled with medieval architecture, small touristy shops, and interesting restaurants. As we walked around the town we visited the "Master's Palace" and stood at the head of the Old Harbor where the Colossus of Rhodes once stood. Santorini: We were on the very first tender off the ship. There was no wait to get on the cable car to the town of Fira. We immediately headed for the bus station to take the half-hour bus ride to the town of Oia where the picture-postcard scenery is. Once in Oia we walked along the streets that follow the edge of the caldera, taking photos the entire way. The views were spectacular. The town was filled with music as there were strolling groups of musicians everywhere. Just as the town was getting crowded we headed back to Fira where we walked around a bit and had a drink overlooking the caldera with the Queen Victoria sitting in the middle. There was a short wait for the cable car back to the cruise dock. Since we were the only large cruise ship in Santorini that day the crowds were not as bad as they can be. It was an easy day in Santorini. DISEMBARKATION: We chose the Cunard provided bus transfer from the port of Civitavecchia to the Rome airport. Three years ago we ended a cruise in Civitavecchia and, on our own, took two different trains to Fiumicino Airport. The trains worked fine, but it was a little tight making our flight due to the chaos that is the Rome Airport. We left the ship at 8:30 A.M. and we were at Fiumicino Airport about an hour later. Since our flight was at 1 P.M. we had over 3 hours to spare. As was the case three years ago, we easily ate up that time checking our bags and getting through security. By the time we got to the gate, they were just starting to board the plane. We didn't have time to so much as buy a newspaper. My advice to everyone is that you have to allow a lot of time because of the inefficiency and disorganization at Fiumicino Airport. Getting there is not the problem. Being there is the problem. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Review of Cunard Queen Victoria This is our first cruise on a Cunard ship. We have always been hesitate to make a reservation due to the "class distinction" that we have read about. We will discuss this later in the ... Read More
Review of Cunard Queen Victoria This is our first cruise on a Cunard ship. We have always been hesitate to make a reservation due to the "class distinction" that we have read about. We will discuss this later in the review. This is approximately our 30th cruise in the last thirty years. We are in no way connected with the cruise or travel industry and make all of our travel arrangements independently. The Ship---The Cunard Queen Victoria is relatively new ( first voyage December 2007) and one will find it modern and elegant. The exterior may look like many other ships one has cruised on however the interior is very tastefully done. The company brags that this is part of the youngest fleet on the seas and this is certainly reflected with the interior. The ship the day we boarded was spotless and appeared well maintained. Later we will discuss individual; aspects of the ship. There are 990 cabins that can accommodate 1980 passengers. During our cruise of 12 days the cruise was very smooth. EMBARKATION—We embarked in Venice. In the booklet we received there was check in time listed as 1400, 1430 and 1500. The weather was bad and we had to check out of our hotel by 1200 so we proceeded to the ship by private water taxi. Believe me that is the way to arrive at your ship when in Venice. Luggage is taken at the hotel by the taxi operator and unloaded at the pier without you having to handle the baggage even once. The next time you will see the baggage is outside your stateroom. Now about check in. You have no doubt traveled enough by cruise ship to realize that check in time given you is not always precise. In our case we arrived at the check in pier around 1230 and after filling out a health form we were immediately ushered to a check in counter. The clerk could have cared less about the form we had completed earlier and in fact did not even look at the "e-ticket". He only wanted our name. After checking our passports and signed out credit card form we were given a number to wait to be called for boarding. We waited approximately 20 minutes and went aboard. The process was quick and professional. We went directly to our cabin on deck 5. The cabin was ready however our luggage had not arrived so the four of us headed for Lido for a lunch. Lunch time was uncrowded and was more than adequate. After an hour of so we proceeded to our cabin and to our delight our bags were waiting in the hallway. This has been an extremely good embarkation. You will be ask to surrender your passport which you will not receive back until a day or two before the end of the cruise. Retaining your passport is nothing new as the British were doing this at their hotels decades ago. Is it necessary now---I seriously doubt it however it does provide the cruise line with a sense of control over its passengers. You may encounter some problems in certain ports that you visit. For example in some situations when you exchange currency you will need your passport, otherwise they will not exchange money with you. This is also true in some case where the purchase is large such as the purchase of an expensive watch of jewelry. You may find the lines long on a ship of this size when they decide to return the passport and you pick it up. For almost 2000 passengers there was one line and two clerks. TIP—When boarding a ship always proceed as you know exactly where you are going. If you get lost , ask someone, just don't stop on the gangplank and ask a dozen questions, as there are others behind you waiting to board. It seems that everyone wants to be the first on board and naturally the first to disembark. It just isn't going to happen that way, so build in some patience into your schedule. THE CABIN---I could not believe the staff that referred to your stateroom or cabin as a room. They also must have considered this ship a boat. We were on deck five—mid ship. This is a large ship so sailing should be smooth, however we play the game as some others will and tried to be a cabin in mid-ship to make the ride as smooth as possible. If you travel agent tries to give you an alternate cabin he/she may not be doing their job very well. In this day and time of the internet you can often find out exactly which cabins are available and if you study the ship's layout, ship size, etc. you can come out a winner. Remember I wrote this is a fairly new ship, well the cabin we had certainly reflected this. The cabin was spotless. Nice towels, plenty of amenities in the bath, refrigerator, hair dryer, safe---you know the usual you fine aboard ship. The electrical outlets are particular nice. Recall when you had to carry a lot of adapters to get that charge battery charged or to use the electric razor. This cabin had lots of 100 and 220 volt outlets making recharging very easy. The carpet was very clean thus you don't mind walking around the cabin in your socks. The bedding was very good, however I still have problems with the single beds being pushed together to make a single king size bed. Seems like I always end up sliding toward the middle where the two beds join. The sheets were very good as was the duvet. The cabin took on an air of elegance. Not really large however with the balcony there was a reported 220sq ft. (I did not measure). Excellent lighting in the cabin and one actually had enough light to read by. Everything worked as it should in the bath. We had a small (perhaps 21 inch) flat screen TV. The TV set itself was of poor quality and thus the picture was not very good. The telephone has all those numbers on it such as programming in your own wake up calls automatically. The refrigerator is stocked with soft drinks and water. The prices are very reasonable with Cokes being only $1.95 per can. Our room had a complimentarily half bottle of Champagne waiting for us upon arrival. TIP----I provided a little extra touch for both my spouse and the couple traveling with us by ordering a dozen carnations before the start of the cruise. They were absolutely beautiful and even after a week looked great. When ordering through the ship be sure to remember it takes time to complete the orders thus it is never too early to order. I try to do this a couple of months in advance of the cruise date. LAUNDRY---Why so early to provide a write up on the laundry. Just because it was across the hallway from our cabin. 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 was a challenge as they were always busy with lots of passengers waiting. Remember—I said FREE---so that helps with the wait time. There was also a iron which appeared to be on continually throughout the day. Laundry service is next day after pick up un less you want to pay extra. $5 for a shirt unless expedited then it $7.50. Shorts and socks are $2. We have had better deals on laundry on other cruise lines. The service quality of the clothing upon return was about what you would receive at a laundry in the US. Nothing special. DINING----This is a two class society ship thus if the class distinction disturbs you because you are in the middle class you might want to consider another cruise line. While we discussed this subject often, after getting aboard it no longer mattered. There are some "snoots" in a group no matter when one travels. The aristocrats and the Sultans, the Kings/Queens and those other nobles apparently would naturally be entitled to dine at the Queens Grill and Princess Grill. Since I am not of Royalty I really don't know what they ate as it took a special elevator key to reach their deck. Oh well---I had to settle for the Britannia Restaurant. The four of us had an excellent table located at the far rear of the ship just in front of a large window. This early seating location was excellent. Our waiter and his helper were both very good. They worked hard to please us each evening. The food was okay however I would not be ordering such entrees back in Texas. Too much emphasis put on the name of the entrEe and the presentation rather than the actual quality of the food. On two different nights the fish entrees was soft and mushy, not exactly a reflection of quality. The beef dishes was hard to cut and even harder to chew. Don't get me wrong, the presentation looked great. For dinner you had to order all your courses including desert at one time. Portions are small however always well presented. One tomato and one avocado could serve 50 guests the way the cuts and presentation were may. Now some folks really like this type meal---me I like a steak and baked potatoes---now isn't that gross? On deck two there is Todd English's place where one can have dinner. The place looked nice and generally empty most nights. The cost was $30.00 per person to dine there. We were not optimistic that we would get any better food that what was being served at the Britannica, thus we did not dine any at Todd English's place---perhaps next time old chap! Most passengers have breakfast and lunch at the Lido. The area is broken down into numerous serving areas each with its own kind of food. There was a great pizza and pasta bar at midship. Always plenty of fresh fruit for both lunch and breakfast. Omelets, waffles and eggs cooked to order. The area was always very clean and service was excellent. These young menu and women all seemed to work hard to accommodate the passengers. On Deck 9 at the aft of the ship one will find the Lido Bar & Grill where you can get hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries. You may find this an excellent change from the meals offered in the Britannica and on the Lido cafeteria style dining. The food was actually very good. 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. BEAUTY SHOP -----My spouse seems to always locate and use the beauty shop. Service was good and the price reasonable. In addition she used the nail service in the same area. We did not use the spa service---an area where one can spend a lot of money in a short time. 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. They even have one cent slots. Remember this is an entertainment venue and not an area where one can make money. 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 cloths, watches, jewelry, etc. There was a store selling drug items along with candy and a book store. They were nice---expect to pay full retail for most items. Just remember these purchases add to your weight for you place return back home and with that additional cost you may end up paying quite a bit for those extra items. Might I also mention those "duty free stores" you find at the departure of your flight at some ports. These are for the most part becoming high cost liquor and cigarette stores as the prices may be higher than your home town prices. For example the cost of perfume at duty free stores is much more than the cost of the same product aboard ship and in many cases that same product when on sale in the US is actually found at a better price. THE ROYAL THEATER----What a beautiful theater designed for the passenger's viewing without all the small cocktail tables that normally litter the theater area. The productions are what one can find at the college or back street venues. Singers are those that have in the past preformed at clubs or on other ships. Don't expect anything spectacular and you won't be disappointed. Surprisingly there was not one evening where the theater was completely full as there were always seats available at the start of each show. EARLY SEATING OR LATE SEATING----We normally opt for early seating however on this cruise we were rushed after shore tours, thus we noted many passengers had late seating reservations. In fact the late seating filled and there were no additional reservations. We suggest you check the times of your shore tours, decide if you would like to stay up late or retire early. All these should be factors, along with other facts, about your choice of dinner seating. DECK CHAIRS & SEATING----Really nice deck chairs on the cruise. Each has padded inserts and we never found an inadequate supply although we were on one of the last of the season sailings. INTERNET-----The pricing on the internet services is very reasonable compared to other cruise we have been on. Expect the service to be about the same---good on some days and not so many of the days. The internet manager was not found to be helpful thus if you have an issue plan on resolving it yourself. When I advised his I was having difficulty downloading even the New York Times front page, he remarked that I should just keep trying as it would eventually load. The bandwidth for this ship is apparently very narrow. The downloading of attachments has been blocked and the use of such service such as SKYPE has been blocked. I was able to connect from my stateroom on only one day with the rest of the time I had to go to the Internet room for a connection. The service at sea was very slow, sometimes taking 20 minutes to send an e-mail. There are several ship PCs and we always were able to use one when we tried. Many ports where we stopped had cafes with FREE internet service. The only problem was getting there before other passengers arrived. POOLS----One on the aft of deck nine and one in the mid section of the ship on deck 9. They were never full possibly due to the weather, temperature and the fact this is definitely a cruise composed of seniors. In side the stateroom was a couple of beach towels that could be used for the pool or deck chairs. Deck chairs were always available. YOUR FELLOW PASSENGERS-----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 ship's policies stress appropriate dress all over the ship. There write about "strict enforcement". Well maybe—maybe not. We saw many people that certainly did not have formal wear on during formal wear evenings. Even saw tennis shoes which according to the policy is strictly forbidden. Very few men had true formal wear and most had n ice suits or casual formal were such as a white jacket with dark trousers. Even the females tended not to be all that formal on formal nights. The trend away from such dress is everywhere and Cunard has failed to escape that march to a more relaxed and informal attire. I personally think the cruise line has gone somewhat overboard on their so called dress code. Too many formal nights and too many "elegant nights". While some are certainly in order there are too many on this cruise. I realize this just fits the personality of those aboard who believe most of us are "peasants" from another planet. Some might say "good morning" however looking in your direction must be forbidden. I have to put my two feet into the legs of my trousers to get them on---wonder how "they" do it? Suggestions----Say Good Morning or Good Day to everyone you meet on this ship. It will disgust the aristocrat however at the end of the day you will feel really good about all those "stuffed shirts" you met. TOURS ON SHORE----Cunard need to quickly resolve their shore tours issues. This was an area we found totally unacceptable and we will explain. Many tours originated from the Royal Theater where a Cunard person was to have been to pass out tour bus stickers and get the passengers to their bus. The person in charged was always late, floated around the area and frankly got little accomplished in his disorganized manor. He lover the microphone and made every attempt to be out early morning comedian which none of us found amusing. He just could not get an handle on organizations. Once the group ending up in the infirmary as they attempted to get off the ship and he was no where to be found although he was the one directly the group. We found some tours have lunch with them with lunches being all the way from excellent to very poor. There is really no way to know unless you have been on the exact tour before. One could find the exact opposite if the tour originated in the Queen's Room as they was well planned, orderly managed and the groups were all together. So you see Cunard can get it right! Shore tours in general are usually a "rip off" and I don't apologize for the statement. It is a money making operation for the cruise industry in general and the paying customers are treated no more than a herd of cattle. There are much better tours available on shore including private tours. The problem here though is the risk that is involved. Go with a ship's tours and the ship will wait if something unfortunate happens. Go with a private tour and you miss the ship's departure , then get ready to shell out some big dollars for the flight to the next port and even then you may not get out of town since more than likely the ship is holding your passport. On a private tour you can avoid the crowds, have personal attention, learn a lot more and dine for lunch at the restaurant of your choice. Just remember the risk involved. PURSER----We are among the very lucky passengers as we seem never to have problems with our last bill. TIP---Check on a regular basis to see if your charges are up to date and correct. Just ask the purser's office for a current copy. Usually the charges are very current and up to date. DAILY NEWS OR EVENTS----The ship provides both a daily news summary and daily events bulletin to your stateroom. The printing quality on the Queen Victoria is very poor. Some pages of our news was totally unreadable as the ink was too light. Watch for smeared ink on the slick paper daily bulletin as it was get on your hands and clothes. The English language in the bulletin is about as poor as my writing and language. Read carefully as we had two different times to arrive in port and the name of the port was listed as different locations. One never knows!!These were delivered nightly to your cabin. ORGANIZED SPORTS------The day of the real organized sports is fading from the cruise industry. Remember the days when you could go to the aft of the ship and skeet shoot. Those days are gone. There is now paddle tennis, ping pong and cards. Just kidding—there are no cards. SHIP TOURS-----Like organized sports the tours of the ship including the bridge and galley have but all disappeared in this day and time PHOTO GALLERY----I have written in the past and once again write in this review that the photo section of the ship a big money maker selling SNAPSHOTS. These are not professional portrait makers although they may try to sell you a large photo they label as a portrait. These are being shot with a camera like you and I carry on board and are being printed on printers like you and I have at home. The difference is they are may production people and wants they take and print is what they try to sell you. Forget the touch ups, the quality enhancement, they are just too busy to do this extra done by hand work. We noted the price of snapshots were $24.95 for what is actually a 5 X 7 photos on a slightly larger piece of photo paper. If you wasn't to pay those price , go ahead, however you are paying a lot for very little. Ay Ephesus there are young boys that have set up their own snapshot photo business. They take your photo while you are on tour, rush the memory card to a van where a printer waits to prints the images. These are taken back to the entrance of your bus and offered to you for approximately $5 per 5 X 7. In reality these pictures are worthless to these young men after you board the bus thus negotiations are always in order. I purchased my set for $2.50 each and got as good or better quality than those on the ship. DANCE ----The Queen's Room is very nice with a very large dance floor open every evening for your dance pleasure. There is also harp music and violin music in other venues aboard the ship. It's always interesting from a novice's standpoi8nt to be the Fred ASTAIR AND Ginger Roger's "want to be's". Even laughable at times and this dance floor was no exception. Look for the bright shiny dresses that are designed to get your attention as some couple no doubt want to be on Dancing With The Stars. For a great view there is the club on Deck 10 forward. BARS---There is the Queens Room, the Champagne Bar and the Chart Room---all elegant and a nice place to relax with a drink. The service was excellent. Then you will find the Golden Lion Pub and Dixieland jazz. At the Hemispheres there was DJ Graham & Changez. You can also find the Commodore Club, the Midship's Lounge and Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar. The PLAY ZONE---This is the children's area located on Deck 10. Although we never saw any children in this playa re it is very nice. The Zone is in the same immediate area and is for the pre-teen. There were computers and other such items for entertainment. CARD ROOM---One of the nicest card room on any ship. Very adequate for this ship and used by a large host of passengers. The pale is well lighted and elegance that matches others rooms in that area. An area that most passengers try to avoid is the MEDICAL CENTER located on Deck A. The area was clearly marked and very clean. We did not accommodate them with a visit however. ART Gallery---Like many large cruise ships there is an art gallery which sells , although they call it an auction, "pictures" and "paintings". Cunard's Fine Arts located deck 3 B stairway. FLORIST---Forgot to order those special flowers for a special passengers. Don't worry -just dial the florist or visit the Purser's Office to place an on board order. 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. TELEPHONE SERVICE---As you are aware the telephone service aboard a cruise ship is very expensive. In order to avoid these expensive charges make arrangements with your carrier before you leave home by purchasing the international roaming service where the per minute calls can be reduced substantially. This calling will only work in port and then not at all hours. For example the ship turned their service on about an hour before we left the post at Santorini, this our phone no longer connected with our provider but rather with the more expensive ship service. Almost forgot the Cigar Room. The reason we never saw it open but could smell the smoke. Located on Deck 10. DISEMBARKATION------Well we just learned we are assigned to disembark at 0945. We have a tour guide meeting us in Rome at 0900. Looks like we will be late. We were assigned cream baggage tags and according to the purser's office cannot change this unless we agree to carry off all our baggage ourselves. That is not going to happen—thus we need to call Bruno and advise his we will be a little late. SUMMARY---This is a very nice and elegant ship. Would we travel on the Queen Victoria again? There is far too much formality for us. We are beyond the "dress up" and "tuxedo" status every night. Done that for years and now find since we retired, we would have a relaxed cruise. While the ship is really nice and most elegant, we more than likely will drop down a notch and go with a cruise line with less formality, less rigidness with a little more friendliness from the staff. This might very well be the exact cruise for you or perhaps you might want to try Cunard at least once. Expect to pay a little more as bargain cruise rates may be difficult to find. Read Less
Sail Date October 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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