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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because it fit our time schedule for a vacation. We thought it would be exciting to be in Boston for the Fourth of July and the departure port in Brooklyn was a simple 3 Hour Drive from our home. I blame myself a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it fit our time schedule for a vacation. We thought it would be exciting to be in Boston for the Fourth of July and the departure port in Brooklyn was a simple 3 Hour Drive from our home. I blame myself a little for not researching the cruise more. We booked last minute, and we thought it would just be a lot of fun. We did not have passports as we don’t travel a ton outside Mexico and Canada. We were told by Cunard we could not have pre printed E tickets due to the fact that we did not have passports. This was a huge source of stress. I knew our enhanced licenses and birth certificates would be fine for getting us in and out of the country, but just not sure how it would all work. Getting on the boat was a complete disaster. We waited in line with everyone else for three hours. There were so many disabled people and elderly getting on the boat that simply had to go ahead of us. No one followed the time on their ticket and we were told to come at noon because we were unable to get pre printed tickets. The whole process was chaotic and confusing and people were very upset. Elderly people in line with us struggled to stand for three hours. There was no place to get anything to drink or eat. We had not eaten since the morning and didn’t enter the boat until 3 PM. People did not want to get out of line to even go to the restroom, because tempers were running thin. While waiting in line to enter the boat, we realized that we were probably some of the youngest passengers. Mind you we are not young in her late 40s. So basically getting on the boat was terrible. If I were getting on the boat again in Brooklyn I would get there around 3 PM. The boat didn’t even leave port until after eight due to a medical emergency and the boat being held for a flight coming from England containing eight passengers. Activities on the boat are OK. There is a lot to do. Definitely geared towards older people. If you are an active younger couple or group of people, I would suggest another cruise. We were interested in a fun time in wanted to be active during the day and have beautiful dinners and some nightlife in the evening. Activity was hindered by the poor condition of the swimming pools and hot tubs. Most of the hot tubs didn’t even work. They were simply warm small pools in need of painting and maintenance with no jets. The pools are not extremely clean and we’re in need of repair and paintings well. Be forewarned the Queen Mary two does not have five pools as advertised. One of the pools on the very top deck must have been removed in the refurbishment in 2016. We were disappointed with our lack of options for swimming and lounging during the day as the weather was quite favorable for such activity. One of the outdoor pools was netted for the entire cruise, so It was unable to be used by any of the passengers. Frankly the condition and access to pools was unacceptable. The walking deck, deck seven, was often closed in sections making it impossible to walk loops around the deck. Once again the Queen Mary fell short in providing the simplest of activity. The food was not bad. We enjoyed the main dining room three nights out of our seven night cruise. Our poor waiter really struggled with English and this hindered us from getting great service. He did try his hardest though. The food in the main dining room was presented nicely and there was a pretty good variety. The main buffet was also sufficient, but became a bit repetitive after seven days. I’m not sure how somebody does a 14 or 27 day cruise eating the same food over and over. The quality was quite good and overall we were usually able to find something we really liked. We were in cabin 4022. This was a sheltered balcony in the front of the boat. I’ve very favorable things to say about the cabin. Our steward Gerry was very friendly and hard-working. He did a good job cleaning the room quickly and was helpful when we had questions. Although the room was not brand new or in sparkling shape it was a fine cabin. Even for being in the front of the boat, I found there to be little motion or disturbance. Nightlife was also disappointing. Pretty much after 10 PM the place shuts down. The shows we saw in the royal court theater were nice. The dancers, singers and orchestra put on a wonderful production. There’s a nightly movie in the illuminations theater, but we were looking for more engaging activities. The night club is open later, but when we visited there it was quite empty. So basically if you’re not interested in going to bed around 10 or 11 PM you’ll have trouble finding anything to do. The ports we visited were wonderful and a lot of fun. Halifax with a cute little city and we enjoyed our time walking around shopping and visiting museums. Boston was a great deal of fun as well, We did the trolley tour and then met up with our niece later. We like to walk, so we did walk a couple miles back to the boat. Not a bad walk but it was pretty hot when we did it. We viewed the highest of the fireworks from the top deck. We had fun in Newport Rhode Island, but getting off the boat was another disaster. We had booked a tour that was canceled because they could not run the tenders due to fog. I understand they have no control of the fog or the weather. The problem we encountered was they told us not to get tickets for the tender, but when our tour was canceled They required us to have tickets. Consequently we were in the back of the line and one of the last tenders to go out to Newport. We only had a couple of hours to spend in Port. The kicker is the captain and staff went on and on about How incredibly unsafe it would be to run the tenders during the fog in the morning. They canceled the tours and we were understanding because we all wanted to be safe. The problem I have is when we return to the boat after visiting Newport the fog had returned. No one spoke of any safety issues or concerns as they loaded us on to the tender and we took the small boat in the thick fog back to the Queen Mary 2. It was so foggy that when we finally returned to the crew ship the 100 passengers broke out in cheers and were clapping As we were so relieved. It seems they were concerned about our safety in the morning, when the fog had returned in the afternoon our safety seem to go out the window because they were more concerned with keeping their schedule. In the end we had a good time because we made our own fun. I highly recommend this cruise for older people who want a nice quiet time. If you’re younger or want fun and a little nightlife look elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I have been on 10+ cruises but this was my first Cunard experience. Embarkation went smoothly in Vancouver, not the fastest but not the worst either. Our room was large (accessibility means lots of space) with a large balcony. ... Read More
I have been on 10+ cruises but this was my first Cunard experience. Embarkation went smoothly in Vancouver, not the fastest but not the worst either. Our room was large (accessibility means lots of space) with a large balcony. Enough storage space for all our clothes. The food in the Main dining room was good, a good variety of appetizers and mains and always yummy desserts. The downfall of the main dining room, in my opinion is the stringent dress code. Men are required to wear a sports jacket most nights which may or may not included a tie. If you walk in the dining room sans a tie,, the maitre de will hand you one before you can enter. I know people will say you should have know that ahead of time and yes we did but didnt think theyd be so strict. Therefore we ate in the Lido which had a more relaxed attire. Over all, as most cruises I have been on, the staff go out of their way to make you happy. An example of going above and beyond was our room steward, Alfredo. As a power wheelchair user, I need to charge my chair every couple of days. At the end of one day, I plugged the charger into my chair and nada. I first thought it was a charger issue but it turns out there wasnt enough juice coming thru the rooms electricity.. Alfredo go in contact with guys in the electric depot, who came and got my chair in the evening, charged it fully and brought it back in the am. I cannot emphasis enough how much this saved me. I was on a 10 day cruise and on day 2 my battery was dead. We were wondering what were our options, it was highly doubtful we would find a new one in Alaska. My eternal debt is to Alfredo! So if you are a power chair user, this is your heads up. My only real peeve is, ok I have 2 Firstly, their excursion personnel via email or in person has 0 knowledge of what an accessible excursion is. I explained I need a lift to get on any transportation and they had no clue where to get access info. I would have thought with the average age of their guests which was 65+, theyd have a clue. I gave up on them and booked my excursions straight from the company. My last peeve was disembarkation. They advise if you want to self disembark, we live in Vancouver, go to the Queens lounge by 7:20am with you luggage. We did as such and we waiting for over an hour with no staff around to organize the situation and alot of pissed off passenger. Eventually we gave up waiting, headed to the elevators with a huge crowd following us, to fight for an elevator with the other wrinklys. Good fun. A good trip but Cunard wont see us again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We booked a 50 day cruise with Cunard Queen Mary 2 primarily to visit Petra, Rome plus about 20 other countries. The cruise departed Feb 23 from Shanghai to April 14 in South Hampton. While boarding in Shanghai, I was bumped by a luggage ... Read More
We booked a 50 day cruise with Cunard Queen Mary 2 primarily to visit Petra, Rome plus about 20 other countries. The cruise departed Feb 23 from Shanghai to April 14 in South Hampton. While boarding in Shanghai, I was bumped by a luggage handler and my knee was scratched. The scratch became infected by Feb 27 and I had to take antibiotics for the whole cruise, so we never saw any of the sights we intended. After the cruise, we submitted our claim to a Cunard cruise claims adjuster because I needed to continue antibiotics April 15 to June 12. The Cunard claim adjuster gave us a runaround and distorted facts to avoid paying any fair compensation. I wrote the President of Cunard asking to be treated fairly in compensation, and were emailed in return indicating since we purchased our cruise in the USA he could do nothing! I wondered why they are marketing in the USA if they cannot treat folks that book in the USA fairly in compensation. I must say the Cunard medical staff is excellent, but their onboard antibiotic selection is limited. The exercise facilities are limited for a person with a knee infection caused by Cunard. The pools are beautiful and clean, but someone with a leg infection can not use the pools or hot tubs. From the stern from the 11th floor or above, one can see 3 pools on 3 different levels. Dining room food is limited quality but good variety; and deserts are for a European palate. With my leg infection we were forced to do things we normally would not do, viz. painting, read and gamble. The casino has really nice folks working there and the odds aren't bad as my wife and I bot one several times. The art classes or lessons was a fantastic experience. On level 2 at the pursers desk or level 3 at the shops the central foyer is a classic 0 the flowers display is the nicest we have ever seen on any ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We cruised recently on the Queen Mary 2 from Dubai to Hong Kong Queen Mary 2 is a transatlantic ocean liner. She is the largest ocean liner ever built, having served as the flagship of the Cunard Line since succeeding the Queen ... Read More
We cruised recently on the Queen Mary 2 from Dubai to Hong Kong Queen Mary 2 is a transatlantic ocean liner. She is the largest ocean liner ever built, having served as the flagship of the Cunard Line since succeeding the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2004. As of 2019, Queen Mary 2 is the only passenger ship operating as an ocean liner. A key point is that the Queen Mary as a liner travels the trans-Atlantic route for the majority of the year, Southampton to New York, but also does an annual World voyage as a cruise ship. Our cruise was part of that annual voyage from Southampton to Japan and back. The public areas are very opulent and there are many inside options for activities and eating areas. However, being a liner there are not many outside eating areas, and the poolside seating is limited and in the evening non-existent. As we travelled through tropical countries it would have been good to be able to savour the balmy evenings on sea days and after leaving port. We particularly enjoyed the Planetarium sessions and the guest lecture series. Craft sessions, Zumba, chair aerobics and line dancing were also available on the frequent sea days. We were in a cabin on deck 5 and found the décor and fittings tired; with the carpet needing a good clean and the cracked tiles in the bathroom replaced. It is obvious that the British class system is very alive and well on QM2. There were several deck areas and restaurants on the ship that were out of bounds for the majority of the passengers. Areas that didn’t seem to have much patronage despite covering significant areas of the ship. The entertainment changes frequently with speakers, comedians and other entertainers either joining or leaving the ship at many ports. The entertainment from Dubai to Singapore was excellent, but from then on it was mediocre for some reason. The size and draught of the QM2 meant that may times we couldn’t dock at the cruise ship terminal and ended up at a working port. These ports were often a distance from the nearest town. For instance Doha, we docked about a 50 minute drive from the town, similarly in Chan May which was about 45 minutes from the town. Because these were working ports, we needed to shuttle to the port gate to meet our tour, designated taxis were sometimes allowed on the port but charged to get to the gate. Several of these ports seemed to be maiden visits and much was made of the ceremonies that took place. But as a passenger, it used up valuable shore time travelling to the nearest point of interest and they were unattractive, messy places. The major disappointment with Cunard and QM2 is that they will not tender wheelchair passengers. We have tendered safely many times with other cruise lines, but with Cunard wheelchair passengers have to step over a 45cm gap unassisted to be able to tender. I observed a lift to the tender platform and there are wheelchair accessible ramps into the tender, and a space where wheelchairs could be parked. But wheelchair passengers are discriminated against and denied going ashore at tender ports. My observations were that many of the elderly walking passengers were more unsteady on their feet and more likely to fall while transferring. Whereas, a wheelchair passenger is safe in their wheelchair and can be easily wheeled onto the tender. Subsequently we will never travel with Cunard again. There were no shore excursions that could be undertaken with a wheelchair. The only offering was a vehicle at a huge cost in several of the ports where we could follow a tour and maybe gain access to the attraction. Therefore, we organised our own shore excursions but trying to get times of arrival and departure at all the ports proved to be a mission. I achieved it finally only by contacting Cunard via their Facebook page. But finding out which part of the port, which berth or gate proved impossible. Thankfully the tour guides we employed were able to use their initiative and local knowledge to find us. But in many cases they were not allowed onto the ports. So where we had organised a wheelchair accessible taxi we had to carry my husband into a taxi to get to the port gate and then lift him out of the taxi. Not a pleasant experience for everyone, in high temperatures and humidity. Finally in Singapore, one wheelchair accessible taxi was provided in the rotation to transport wheelchair passengers to the Marina district. On the way back to the ship we were thankfully provided with a wheelchair accessible bus and loaded in three wheelchairs for the trip back to the ship. In summary I think QM2 should stick to trans-Atlantic crossings and leave cruises to designated cruise ships that are designed for cruising. If you are in a wheelchair definitely don’t cruise with Cunard. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this ship because we wanted to return from the USA after visiting Florida, San Diego and finally New York. - we were staying for 8 weeks in the USA and we have used a cruise ship to go over and back before and it was great to ... Read More
We chose this ship because we wanted to return from the USA after visiting Florida, San Diego and finally New York. - we were staying for 8 weeks in the USA and we have used a cruise ship to go over and back before and it was great to avoid the long haul flights. For a disabled cabin 7002 was on the small size with just enough room for a disabled user and that is all. The room did have a roll in shower but only just enough room to get my small mobility scooter in and close the door. Having seen another review for this cabin 7002 on line here we did what they suggested and asked for the twin beds option or l would not have been able to get close enough to the bed to get in!! So we re-arranged the room and moved the small table over to the end of my husbands bed and managed that way. However no way as a disabled user would l want to be in this size cabin for longer than a week. Think a standard size cabin where they have taken the extra space out to enlarge the bathroom for a walk in shower and you pretty much have it. You can manage but some of the larger cruise lines outshine Cunard on the size of this disabled cabin. The ship was lovely and quiet compared to some other lines......lovely food and fair entertainment. Have to say that having been on many other lines and sailed with Cunard before that l was slightly disappointed with the standard of their theatre shows this time. Their own shows with their dancers and singers were not to the standard of other ship casts. The only other negative point is that the spar pool no longer has a disabled lift in it to be able to use the pool. We had taken a week spar package on a previous sailing and l enjoyed using the pool. So that was a no to a swimming for a whole week because the one on the upper decks was not possible to access. So for a line such as Cunard that was a great disappointment. However the rest of the cruise was very relaxing and laid back we enjoyed the meals and the good service and the ship looked lovely as she was completely dressed ready for Xmas - so had a lovely atmosphere. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
it was our golden wedding anniversary and my wife wanted to go to new york. as i had spent 17 years working for american IT companies in europe and been to new york for a weekend some 38 years ago, i wasn't bothered. so i booked on ... Read More
it was our golden wedding anniversary and my wife wanted to go to new york. as i had spent 17 years working for american IT companies in europe and been to new york for a weekend some 38 years ago, i wasn't bothered. so i booked on the qm2 to go to new york and the caribbean. as expected the food in the britannia restaurant and the service was first class. the other features of the cruise showed that it was greatly overpriced. i am in a wheelchair so i booked an adapted cabin. this was very small. it was the smallest of all cabins on all of our 9 cruises, so far, and was only useable with the wheelchair, after our cabin steward removed some of the furniture. the entertainment was very like the curate's egg. the onboard song and dance company gave some of the worst shows i have ever seen. avoid new york unless you enjoy being forced to sit in US immigration sheds, even if you are not going into new york or any parts of the USA. as usual the weather in the caribbean was very nice. though the towns are not wheelchair friendly. lots of formal nights with the men dressed as penguins. i do not like formal nights. tried the buffet one night, to be informal. the food was below par. will not use cunard again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Having last sailed the TransAtlantic crossing on the Old Girl the QE2 in 1993, our trip to Europe from NYC coincided with the QM2's early November sailing date, so we decided to take the ship instead of flying. The Old Girl was just ... Read More
Having last sailed the TransAtlantic crossing on the Old Girl the QE2 in 1993, our trip to Europe from NYC coincided with the QM2's early November sailing date, so we decided to take the ship instead of flying. The Old Girl was just so amazing, and she was missed. And we decided that the only way to go was the Queen's Grill, as we had done before on our last Cunard cruise in 2008 just before the Old Girl went out of service and was packed off to Dubai. It mystifies me that the QM2 was designed with the lifeboats hanging from Deck 8, just below the Queens's Grill Deck 9 suites. So all the views from the most spacious and consequently expensive cabins on the ship have partially obstructed views of the ocean below from their windows and balconies. Not so bad in the winter when the balconies are too cold to be used, but for a sailing the rest of the year, this is just nuts. Partially obstructed cabins usually go for a large discount. Apparently Cunard learned from this huge design mistake, and the later built Victoria and Elizabeth do not have this problem for the Queens Grill cabins, nor for the QG or Princess Grill Dining Room, as discussed in the next paragraph.. Furthermore, the Queens Grill Dining Room is on Deck 7. The outdoor walking track that goes all round the ship is on the perimeter of Deck 7. So all day long the Queens's Grill diners, and the Princess Grill on the other side, get the pleasure of a constant stream of walkers and runners by, looking in often on the diners, and distracting to the fine dining experience. My wife and I found this most disconcerting. Again, why did they design the ship this way? The QG food is way above average, with caviar and foie gras on request at dinner all the time, with a little notice, plus special orders, but one does get tired of the featured standards like Orange Duckling, Beef Wellington, Tenderloin steak, Broiled Lobster and Dover Sole. More variation would be good. Appetizers need more creativity. Vegan selections boring. Sandwiches at lunch few and boring. Waiting staff excellent. Lunch menu choices could use a little sprucing up. The Maitre De takes very good care of his precious guests. Nice wine offerings. Staterooms in the Queens Grill category other than the view problem are very nice. Large bathrooms, although I would have preferred a stall shower rather than this tub/shower. Better in rocky seas for safety and just leaning against the shower walls when necessary for stability . Beds very comfortable. Large walk in closets and lots of storage space. At over 500 sq ft the Queens Grill stateroom is very nice and comfortable indeed. The last of the Ocean Liners is large at over 125,000 tons and sails very steady and mostly smoothly, even in strong winds and bad seas, but when strong winds slice across the ship's path, it is going to get rough, as for any ship. So it was on one day of the seven days crossing the pond from NYC to Southampton and a night or two. I am not a great sailor, not like my wife, but most days the rolling I can take. It is the combination of the rolling and pitching in the North Atlantic that does me in. As this one bad day proved, once again. The ship is large - 2600 passengers, although today there are the many 4,000- 5,000 passenger behemoths that have destroyed European ports such as Venice and most of the Caribbean Islands. We prefer the small Seabourn size ships, of 450 passengers and took this cruise mostly out of convenience to get to Europe. Three formal nights out of seven is just excessive to our way of thinking, but most of the Brits on board loved it that way. A really big dress deal for both men and women. Not at all the casual dress style growing so fashionable on so many other smaller ships today, such as Oceania, Seabourn, Silversea and Regent. Dress standards are very important to maintain, but so many other cruise lines have dropped standards and let people take advantage these days. It has gone in the other direction. No tuxedos for me however, so it was dark suit and tie these formal nights. Other nights it was a pleasure to wear a sports coat and tie, as were all the other gentlemen for the most part in the Grill dining rooms. A handsome crowd of men and women, elegantly attired. The main Theater has very bad seating, whereby people crowd in next to each other on long couch type seats. Not too many rows of seats have a separate seat for one person. Too many bodies get crammed in this way, but not to my liking. Just when one thinks he or she is settled in, along comes another person or two and they just push their way in. Very tight, and with coughing and sneezing, not good. The other large entertainment and lecturing room Illuminations, has very nice separate seating and is much more comfortable. Lectures and performances almost non stop all day long. Most very good. Whether about the Cold War and submarines in WW2, being kept captive in Lebanon or piano performances. The only planetarium at sea has some fantastic shows. The QM performers team put on at least one extraordinary production number. Fourteen dancers and singers, with many costume changes, and a fine orchestra. We enjoyed immensely the large collection of Hollywood and Broadway passenger celebrity photos on the old QM and QE displayed in many areas throughout the ship, and many photos of the old fleet itself. It will be a while before we take another Cunard cruise, and I do not think it will be on the QM2, although we enjoyed this one very much despite its shortcomings in QM category cabin and DR placement. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Hey honey--I got tickets to Springsteen on Broadway--can we sail on Queen Mary 2? That's how this voyage began... We sailed on the five day portion of this itinerary--from NY to Saint John, New Brunswick, to Boston for the 4th ... Read More
Hey honey--I got tickets to Springsteen on Broadway--can we sail on Queen Mary 2? That's how this voyage began... We sailed on the five day portion of this itinerary--from NY to Saint John, New Brunswick, to Boston for the 4th of July, and back to NY. We were "trying out" the Queen Mary 2 with the idea of a world cruise in 2021. Five days is nothing like 113 days, of course, but we still felt like we got a feel for the ship, and we loved it. We embarked from Red Hook Terminal in Brooklyn, which definitely doesn't have a five star feel--very industrial port and waiting area. Our embarkation time was listed as 3 PM. but from reading reviews here, I learned that we could ignore that, get there early, and be aboard well before that time. This proved true, and we were aboard before noon. The bigger surprise was that our staterooms were ready, which was a treat. Nothing like a quick glass of bubbly before lunch! I also didn't think the Pol Acker was swill lol. Sail away in New York Harbor actually brought tears to my eyes. Seeing the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline, sailing under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, where it looks like the ship is going to crash, listening to fun music on deck and waving a little American flag--it was a blast. We dined in Britannia for the late seating every night but one, when we wanted to catch the first show and ate in the Kings Court instead. I requested a large table in the dining room because we love to meet people from everywhere, but it was just the four of us. Table location wasn't great (not a huge deal), but the service was attentive and friendly. Dining choices were varied and generally very good. My daughter went for the Canyon Ranch choices (lots of chicken) most nights and was happy with them. My son and husband did steak/chateaubriand/short rib with good reports. I had an OK lobster tail, a delicious salmon filet, a dry sea bass, and a good sirloin steak. Our servers Ned and Ronald, the sommelier Oleg, and the head waiter Oliver all went out of their way to chat with us and assist us. We love wine, but live at the low end of the Cunard wine list. Oleg pointed us to well priced delicious wines and didn't make us feel cheap. We also paid the 20 dollar corkage fee a few nights. Kings Court was also a nice surprise after some of the reviews here. There was plenty of window seating when we ate there, and a good selection of both healthy and not-so-much options. The chocolate truffles made me grateful that we were only on board for 5 nights. I wish I had stashed some in my luggage though. Entertainment was one reason we chose Queen Mary 2. Our son loves live music of all kinds, so we spent a lot of time at concerts in pubs and lounges listening to a great variety of music. The musicians were without exception talented and professional. There was a guitarist who gave really informative lectures on famous guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana. He was really knowledgeable and entertaining at the same time. We heard a lovely concert by Alton Fitzgerald White, who played Mufasa in the Lion King on Broadway. Comedian John Joseph had us in stitches, and the Royal Court Players were outstanding. They put on different full shows with great dancing and singing. The Broadway show was especially good. The a capella group Six Appeal was incredible. Our daughter is 23, and she made friends with some of the young women in the entertainment department. There are not many 20 somethings on board, but she still had a great time. We walked around Saint John on our own, found Big Tide brewery, and chatted with some locals. We didn't get off in Boston, as we live nearby and wanted to explore the ship some more. Another reason we chose Queen Mary 2 was because we like to get dressed up. I read some of the controversy on the boards about the "change" in Cunard dress codes, but we didn't really see anything untoward in the clothing department (except that one lady that wore her bathrobe as a coverup in the main area of deck 2--awkward). If I am being honest, what other people wear has no bearing on how I feel about my cruise experience, though I love to see people in their finery. I know my family looked and felt great in their tuxes and gowns. We took lots of pictures, had some delicious cocktails, and generally enjoyed the elegance of the ship and her passengers. Speaking of cocktails, here's my take on Cunard beverage prices. We live in a medium sized city, and when we go to our favorite restaurant, which is not super fancy and is in a mini mall, my favorite martini costs 10 dollars. In the Commodore Club--our favorite pre-dinner cocktail spot--my favorite cocktail was the Sazerac. It was 10.50. It was served with a bowl of spiced nuts and olives, some lovely canapes with shrimp, crab, and prosciutto, and a stunning view of the Atlantic. Well worth the extra 50 cents. My biggest concern with Queen Mary 2 has to do with accommodation choices for people with disabilities. We are a family of four. We were fortunate that our adult daughter could join us for this short excursion, so we booked two staterooms and were very pleased with the accessibility. Our daughter will not be coming on our world voyage, however. Our son’s wheelchair cannot fit through the door of a typical stateroom. But there are no wheelchair accessible staterooms that will accommodate three people. There are also no single wheelchair accessible staterooms. And there are no adjoining wheelchair accessible staterooms in any category except Queens Grill. These are grave concerns for us. When I met with a shipboard Cunard agent, he told me that I would need to book two staterooms and pay the full fare for a 4th person in order to do the world voyage with our son. This feels discriminatory to me, and is our one reservation about booking this dream trip. We're talking about over 30000 dollar difference in what we would pay for the voyage. I drive a crappy car, but that would pay for a pretty nice one. If you've read this far, thank you. If you have any advice regarding how we can reconcile this ship that we love with our predicament, we'd love to hear from you. Except for this major issue (for us), we loved this voyage. For able bodied travelers, we recommend Queen Mary 2 without reservation. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This cruise had a good itinerary with plenty of stops in great places. My wife and I travelled in Princess Grill accommodation which was adequate ( this was our 31st cruise nearly all Cunard). We elected to avoid the Princess Grill dining ... Read More
This cruise had a good itinerary with plenty of stops in great places. My wife and I travelled in Princess Grill accommodation which was adequate ( this was our 31st cruise nearly all Cunard). We elected to avoid the Princess Grill dining room altogether and enjoyed buffet service in the Lido.. Now bearing in mind that cruising seems to be all about dining and its experience we definitely were 'off message' Efforts were made to encourage us to go to the Grills restaurant. The service we received was attentive and friendly and we had a great time doing our own thing. The shops were actually lacklustre with stuff we wouldn't normally buy, high end is great but very limiting. On this cruise the theatre was also a bit mundane although it was packed so glad that others enjoyed it night after night. we are back on the ship for 2 months next year ( 2019) so is indicative that things were good. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale because we like days on board the ship and the 11 day voyage from Southampton to Forty Lauderdale is perfect for us. We had done the same voyage the year before -since when the QV ... Read More
We chose this cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale because we like days on board the ship and the 11 day voyage from Southampton to Forty Lauderdale is perfect for us. We had done the same voyage the year before -since when the QV has undergone a refit which has improved the ship although it has created yet another tier of special client which may be good for Cunard but does nothing to integrate passengers. . The itinerary changed due to bad weather and missed Bermuda on the outward stretch but for those doing the whole cruise the commodore did not rule out visiting Bermuda on the return journey which of course does nothing to help those only doing the 11 days to Fort Lauderdale!! We ate in the Britannia restaurant for all meals as we believe it is easier to control what you eat there rather than the buffet! The quality of the food was very good, the range likewise and the choice was sufficiently wide for even the most fastidious.. There was a wide range of activities on board from bridge to table tennis to art appreciation to many dancing classes at different levels to wine appreciation to very good speakers including David Gower who was extremely entertaining even if you knew little about cricket. . Ex US ambassador Peck was also extremely good in his knowledge and background . . The entertainment was generally very good and was certainly varied Any gripes - well yes. Wine remains very expensive and therefore most passengers drink water with their meal . Wine must be purchased at duty free prices and it really is time for Cunard to pass that saving on to passengers . We bought a reasonable amount of drink on board with us as you are allowed on Cunard although we did drink in the lounges as well. . In that Cunard is one of the few lines to treat its passengers as adults and for that they deserve applause. Dressing up is not for everyone but we enjoy it and as this was our second Cunard cruise we have become more used to it. .I saw an article on a forum asking what is the least a lady can get away with dress wise and you did see on formal night many ladies with a sparkly blouse and either nice neat trousers or a skirt to match. .On the whole most people travelling on Cunard do dress up and yes if you dont mind too much that is part of the fun! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Queen elizabeth no 801 23rd dec 2017 - 7th jan 2018. I am a regular passenger with cunard but i had a real problem with my cabin on this cruise. I was in cabin 6182, an inside cabin. I was traveling as a single person so had to pay ... Read More
Queen elizabeth no 801 23rd dec 2017 - 7th jan 2018. I am a regular passenger with cunard but i had a real problem with my cabin on this cruise. I was in cabin 6182, an inside cabin. I was traveling as a single person so had to pay the supplement for that grade. I think this cabin is not even fit for one person, most certainly not two. There is no desk space the way the cabin is configured at present. The tray for tea/coffee making equipment is a nice touch but in this cabin leaves no desk/dressing table space. There is also no causal chair . See attached photographs This meant that the whole time had to be spent on the bed. I complained to the purser (hotel general manager) she responded saying that all desk areas were the same except for queens and princess grills cabins. I have traveled in everything from a q1 downwards. The desk space is not the same in all cabins. In 6182 it was 69 cm. And in the other 84.5 cm. Thus they vary by 15.5 cms and the high space in the 6182 also not available as it is taken up by the tv. The customer service manager offered me cabin 4110 late in the voyage which was perfect. However this not really my point. I tried to load photograph but this proved impossible, however one desk was 69 cm the other 84.5 cm. This being 15.5 cm longer On the last leg of the world cruise, cape town to southampton i traveled in a single cabin on deck 1. This cabin was perfect. This time i was unable to book a deck 1 single through cunards site and had to go to an agent. I notice from the present 2018 site every single cabin for all cruises is marked “sold out” for the whole year. I find this unlikely and this would appear to be a crafty and dubious business practice. When i book a cruise i watch the website frequently and twice a day towards departure and it is obvious when cabins and fares are updated and consolidated. The amount i paid for my 6182 cabin was similar to the fare for a single on deck 1. This single was an oceanview. It therefore had a window, a settee, a usable desk area and plenty of space. Cabin 6182 has no window, no desk and no settee. All for a similar fare. I know very well you get what you pay for, but it is unconscionable to charge the same fare for totally contrasting cabin facilities, what, in one cabin, is provided for a particular fare should in another cabin have similar facilities. Anything else is unacceptable, unethical, sharp business practice and possibly illegal. To further compound this shadiness by “blocking off” all the single cabins on every cruise for the whole year, makes the situation worse. Primary points for attention are: SIMILAR CABIN FARES MUST EQUATE TO SIMILAR CABIN FACILITIES SELECTED CABIN GRADES SHOULD NOT BE DISPLAYED AS “SOLD OUT” WHEN THEY ARE NOT Single travellers are constantly being exploited. Do not let you agent or cunard book you in cabin 6182 on the queen elizabeth. SOLO TRAVELLERS Arising from this problem i have a further concern as to what is provided for “solo travellers”. On this cruise q801 there was very little and what was provided was a shambles. The first “meeting” was situated in an area too small for those wishing to attend. The “bubbly” and coffee had not been arranged and the “host” did not turn up till very late. On the second occasion the “host” did not turn up at all. He was being santa or something. Due to the first meeting not having taken place there was no list of “solos” so it was impossible to arrange invitations for the solo lunch. In port there was no hosting attendance, coffee or other provision other than a notification of the scheduled meeting place. The solo lunch eventually took place on the last day. Solo travellers pay a considerably higher fare than other passengers but receive virtually nothing extra. There was a group arranged in the ballroom on new year’s eve but it was inadequately notified and many people did not realise it had taken place. Many of these ‘solos’ are older and also disabled therefore triply isolated and left on their own. This demographic of cruise passengers is becoming an increasing part of your client base. Cunard need to take better care of them. Also, the years of people with the large pensions are drawing to a close. Where are your passengers going to come from then? Another problem with being sole on this cruise was the lack of the gourmet/wine dinner in the veranda. I like to eat in this venue but on my own it is little difficult. The gourmet/wine dinner gives solos a chance to eat at a made up larger table. This event was dropped from the usual programme, again to the detriment of sole travellers. Each passenger receive an allocated ‘spend on board”. Should a solo traveler not receive 175% of this amount as they pay 175% for their fare? Primary points for attention are: GIVE MORE APPROPRIATE ATTENTION TO PROGRAMMES AND FACILITIES FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS Increase the personal spend for these passengers. ENTERTAINMENT The christmas show was a disaster. I understand it was probably a one off as it was christmas but if the singers had just come on stage and had a ‘sing along’ of christmas carols it would have been preferable. The costumes did not fit the dancers, the choreography was very poor and dated. I have seldom seen so much fear and embarrassment on a stage. The dancers did not know the routines, could not commit to the choreography and were embarrassed by their ill fitting costumes. Happily they did prove their worth in the other shows later in the cruise. How cunard have the audacity to bill the shows as “new” is beyond belief. I have seen most of these numbers on other cruises and ships in the past. The other entertainers were of a reasonable standard, however the speakers/lectures were not particularly good. The lecture on bletchley park being the least well received. The yacht club dj was very poor. He appeared to be unable to work out the type of music the passengers liked. The band would leave after their set with the dance floor full. The venue would empty in seconds once the stared to dj. The bar service is also poor. Only one waiter had the right idea how to work a club/disco type of venue. He would welcome the passengers at the door, help find them a seat, and ask what they would like to drink. The two staff behind the bar were very slow considering the number of drinks they were serving and the other room waiter was slow to get to passengers and ascertain their requirements. This bar must run at a loss Primary points for attention are: ONLY PUT ON PROPERLY REHEARSED DRESSED AND CHOREOGRAPHED SHOWS Do not bill as “new’ shows that have been staged before. FIND A NEW COMPETENT DJ TRAIN THE STAFF HOW TO WORK A BAR SUCH AS THIS ALTERNATIVE DINING OPTIONS The food in general was very good. Good produce, well cooked, and pleasantly presented. The waiting and sommelier staff were excellent, as usual. However, there was on major issue. I visited the “alternative” dining venue one evening. It was the one billed as “coriander”. The starter was ok, well presented although additional chutneys would have been acceptable, also a dedicated rice dish is required. The main course i ordered was lamb pasanda. I was very very over salted and the lamb meat was extremely tough. I am certain it had only been “lamb” many years before it reached the ship. There was good lamb on board as i had a rack during the following days which cut like butter. To charge a supplement for what was provided is a ripoff. Primary points for attention are: Improve the standard of food in this venue if you are going to charge a considerable supplement. THE PURSER’S DESK On several occasions i was given incorrect information by the recaption desk staff and also by the hotel general manager (purser). The desk staff probably were new and inexperienced and not fully trained. I did not receive my customer questionnaire. I asked a number of times. I was assured it would be resent my cabin. It did not appear. I also asked for the assisted disembarkation information on a number of occasions. Again, this did not arrive until the very last minute. I did suggest it may have been because of my cabin transfer but was assured this was not the reason. The customer services manager was very helpful and understanding and did what she could to address my situation. Primary points for attention are: THE PURSER’S DESK STAFF REQUIRE MORE TRAINING AND BETTER COMMUNICATION The purser (hgm) neads to check the accuracy of information sent out in a letter before it is sent. THE RELIGIOUS SERVICE The service on christmas eve was advertised as an “anglican” service. Before the service started, while we were waiting for the pianist, the “reverend” addressed those attending. I may have misunderstood what he was saying but: he announced that he and his wife had set up a “mission” to minister to passengers at sea. I found this a little disconcerting. The prospect that an ordained priest should go around personally benefitting from providing the holy sacrament to passengers on cruise ships i found rather repugnant. Which church did he belong to? does he have a bishop who has sanctioned this activity? Where i come from, northern ireland, in the past we have had too many people set themselves up as “men of god’ in their own church. I did not take the sacrament in the end although i did attend the service. Primary points for attention are: Provide more information on who and what the priest providing communion is. THE PROVISION OF INTERNET SERVICES When i wanted to write my letter of complaint on the ship i enquired if there were computers on which i could write a letter and print it. I eventually discovered i could write an email and send it to the bureau. However, to do this i would have to be “logged on” for the time it took to compose it. This would have been wasting my very expensive internet minutes. I am partially dyslexic and have problems with handwriting. The hand written letter i did eventually did compose took me some considerable time and was very rough and probably difficult to read. I found this whole situation quite embarrassing and frustrating. Primary points for attention are: Make word processing facilities available to passenger without having to “log on” to the internet. I have always enjoyed my cunard cruises. I think the waiters, room stewards and public room waiters all work incredibly hard. I even, as a regular traveler, consider some of them as friends. I look forward to seeing them each cruise. However, most of my issues were rooted in the management and policies in force on the ship. Most are the responsibility of “head office” management. I put all the above issues in a letter to cunard. After some considerable time i received a response. Many of the issues were totally ignored and the one over the unsuitability and pricing of my cabin was hardly addressed at all. Hence i am writing this review as others deserve to know cunard's contempt for passengers genuine problems. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose Cunard - curious to sample the luxury service they claim to offer. The ship was indeed beautiful, clean and elegant. I was delighted with the stateroom - although anyone over a size 14 will have trouble fitting into their ... Read More
We chose Cunard - curious to sample the luxury service they claim to offer. The ship was indeed beautiful, clean and elegant. I was delighted with the stateroom - although anyone over a size 14 will have trouble fitting into their shower cubicle (and this applies to the higher costing staterooms as well) Plenty of storage space and the balcony was a little deeper than those on other cruise ships (this had been shaved off the length of the cabin - but worked ok) Usual naff hairdryer - but not worth bringing my own as the reduced power on ship makes it no better than the one provided. Nice toiletry bottles - no shower cap (although travelling friends had one in theirs) and I didnt have to ask for cotton balls and buds - these were there and waiting (you have to ask for them on Celebrity now) Pillows were so soft (I think they were filled with dandilion heads) they collapsed to nothing, so you had to fold them in half to get any support. Bedding good quality. However - for us the biggest disappointment was the staff behave as if you are invisible! Clearly they aim to have unobtrusive service - but this is to the point that no one gives the slightest interest as to whether you have had a good time ashore etc, They will reply if you greet them first - otherwise pretend you dont exist. (this is from officers down the line) and the impression is that they have been instructed not to engage in conversation with the guests. Our cabin steward joined the ship the same day we did. He was charming, efficient and smiling. (on the first day that was: although he remained highly efficient for the whole cruise - he looked exhausted after the first few days poor soul) Main dining room was a huge disappointment. Average to fair meals, served as if there was some race on! While eating desert - you had coffee cups slid under your arm while someone else was asking if you wanted petit fours as you tried to eat pud!!! This was every night. Every night I told our waiter - no thank you - I am allergic to pepper - every night he offered it again - he did remember I just wanted hot water and lemon after dinner though. Our waiters were nice enough chaps - just intent on getting us out asap. (had to smile when they gave us signed menus with the words 'exellent' written on them Clearly pleading for us to give them the high rating on survey forms. If you left your meal - other cruise lines always ask if there was a problem, or would you like something else - dont expect them to do that on Cunard. We became so tired of this that we began to eat in the Lido self serve buffet - where the food was so much better. Great choice, hot and better than the restuarant. They set the tables and you could have a relaxed meal and enjoy conversation with company without constact jostling and interuptions. The ship was packed with over 70s in wheel chairs and on sticks (75% were over 75 according to ships doctor and on previous cruise average age 85) also quite a few very young babies (who behave beautifully!). Not many young people and middle aged short in supply as well. Strict adherance to dress code after 6pm - companions had to make an emergency dash to the shop at 6.15 and passengers glared down their noses at them for not wearing evening dress - Drinks in bars were extortionate - we expect to pay premium prices - but doubles were being served without being asked for and they always serve the highest priced options if they could get away with it. Loved the formal nights - just a pity they decided to change all the days they had previously published and failed to tell us which themed night was which - plus we had two in close succession including one on a port day - never thad that before and hope not to again: far too rushed Entertainment was average. A new dance troupe had joined ship same time we boarded, and actually were very good (surprised me). There was an awful Irish comedian - whose material was about himself having survived a stroke and wanting us to applaud him for this alone, as his material was dire. Many passengers were upset by the content - having suffered strokes themselves and not wanting it used like this when they were getting on with it and not wanting to be reminded of the issues they face daily). So although I came back relaxed - I did not feel like I had had a fun holiday (unlike when we cruise with Celebrity) and we were more than ready to get off the ship and get home again. Glad I had the opportunity to try them but Cunard are clearly not for us - brace yourself Celbrity we are on our way back (you at least pretend to be pleased to see us !) Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This review refers to the wheelchair access only on this cruise ship, for service and other reviews please see other reviewers' comments. This review refers to a wheelchair accessible cabin (stateroom). The rooms that are not ... Read More
This review refers to the wheelchair access only on this cruise ship, for service and other reviews please see other reviewers' comments. This review refers to a wheelchair accessible cabin (stateroom). The rooms that are not identified as wheelchair accessible are definitely not going to work for you if you use a wheelchair. The doors are too narrow to accept a standard wheelchair. Do not consider for a moment travelling on the Queen Mary without booking an accessible room if you are unable to stand or walk. Having said that there are 32 accessible staterooms on board of different grades, ranging from interior twin staterooms to a stately (and very expensive) suite. So, you should be able to find something that suits your needs and budget. The staterooms are spread over Deck 10 (3 rooms), 9 (2), 8 (6), 6 (8), 5 (10) and deck 4 (3). There is a detailed layout plan available on the Cunard website which indicates which staterooms are accessible. Accessible rooms must be booked by phone rather than on-line, and no accessible rooms have doors to an adjoining cabin. BOARDING: We boarded at Brooklyn. Access was via a long gangway with a very manageable slope. I imagine the slope for the very last section is dependent on the tide. The last gangway into the ship has a steep descent – some may find it safer to navigate it in reverse. Cunard staff are on hand to assist. ON-BOARD: There are plenty of lifts (elevators) spread in four main areas throughput the ship (referred to as A, B, C and D). There is level access to almost all public areas of the ship and the open decks. All restaurants are accessible, and most restrooms have either an accessible cubicle or a nearby dedicated unisex accessible toilet. The spa area is fully accessible with button operated doors. The indoor pool has a seat device to enable a disabled person to get in. The outdoor pools are not accessible, although the area around them is. The entertainment areas (cinema and theatre) have wheelchair bays. All restaurants are fully accessible with comfortably positioned seating. The biggest problem was the deep pile carpet used in most public areas and the long corridors leading to the staterooms. This was hard work in a manual chair, and I found myself having to stop for rests. The easiest way to traverse long distances for me was to go to deck 7, get outside, wheel to the elevator bank closest to my destination on the hard wooden deck (very easy to roll on) and then go back inside. DISEMBARKING: We disembarked in Southampton via a long gentle gangway, with no problematic slopes. The baggage hall and egress to the outside was all level. We did a non-stop transatlantic trip. If you are doing trips with shore excursions be aware that at some locations Cunard cannot guarantee access to the shore if you are unable to manage some steps, and their staff are not qualified to provide anything other than gentle assistance – they won’t be able to do a lift transfer! Overall I was extremely impressed with the access on-board and found the entire experience very enjoyable. I would have no hesitation in recommending the QM2 to a wheelchair user. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
it was the earliest ship to cross over to new York 08/05/17 as i and my wife went over and came back after just over two weeks in the usa, going over i had diarrhoea 5 times and 3 times coming back i put it down to the drinking water ... Read More
it was the earliest ship to cross over to new York 08/05/17 as i and my wife went over and came back after just over two weeks in the usa, going over i had diarrhoea 5 times and 3 times coming back i put it down to the drinking water in my balcony cabin it was constantly hot or warm ,and had to run the cold tap all the time just to get it colder even then it did not work. Called out the engineer to fix it he put a new part in it but was just the same so just give up had trouble with the air condition very noisy ,had to call out the engineer out to fix it at 4am in the morning so did not get to sleep until 5am/5-30am, ,the ship had just had a refit but you would not think so the shower /bathroom looked as if it had not been done for years, the dining was excellent but the table staff were in your face all the time asking is everything was fine,it was very awkward specially when you have your mouth full off food and most of the time i got caught with food in my mouth, regarding the staff that clean your cabin watch out they don't like you to make a complaint. my wife ruined two pairs of very expensive tights the culprit was the Velcro on the corner of the bed it was showing about 3/4 inch on the corner and told the cabin staff what had happened, he took the cover around the bed off and refitted it , i asked him what about the damage to my wife's tights he did not want to know, but i would not give in and he then said to go to the Maine desk in a not polite manor and ask them ,the staff don't like you to complain as it looks bad on them, after that things went down hill regarding our cabin room cleaner, a few things happened but can not say as i am unable to prove it , put it this way i put my tooth brush etc. in the cabin safe that is how bad it was, we have been on the qm2 four times and i asked my wife would she be willing to have another cruse with Cunard and no sooner that i said it she said no way ,regarding the entertainment it was good just three shows that we did not like. I would also say to watch your clothing Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We were so looking forward to this cruise having heard lots of good stories from other cruise goers. More than disappointed. Easy embarkation at the port, then about 10 staff lining the entrance to welcome us aboard, but once past the ... Read More
We were so looking forward to this cruise having heard lots of good stories from other cruise goers. More than disappointed. Easy embarkation at the port, then about 10 staff lining the entrance to welcome us aboard, but once past the welcoming party, there were no staff to direct us to our cabins! Therefore, after the initial 'pomp' there was no actual organisation. We managed to find our way to our cabin - some feat on a vessel this big I can tell you. Waited a further two hours to have our suitcase delivered after being told it would be outside our door when we got there. Let that go... The cabin was lovely, usual up-market hotel room, bit disappointed with the balcony being 'sheltered' which we found out means three quarters enclosed by steel... we were under the impression we had a glass balcony. Let that go too... Afternoon tea - I was expecting mini sandwiches and fancy cakes - but it was hot dogs, burgers, and old looking pizza. And not a lot of any of it either! Let it go... Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We greatly enjoyed our trip to Norway. This review will be particularly helpful for families and travelers with disabilities, since we brought our 6 year old and two year old children on this vacation. Our precruise stay was in London. ... Read More
We greatly enjoyed our trip to Norway. This review will be particularly helpful for families and travelers with disabilities, since we brought our 6 year old and two year old children on this vacation. Our precruise stay was in London. We stayed at the Dolphin House Service Apartments, which is conveniently located within a short walk or cab ride to many major London tourist attractions. The hotel is very clean, well designed and spacious – we had a 3 bedroom suite and the kids were so excited that my son said it was the perfect hotel to play hide and seek in. Families should consider staying in executive apartments which are primarily designed for long term business stays, because they often have a one bedroom apartment with a living room and kitchen for the price of a regular hotel room. The concierge and hotel staff were extremely helpful and friendly, and this hotel is an excellent choice for families. Our son loves Harry Potter, so his first request upon learning we would be visiting London was to see Kings Cross station. They kindly let you pose for free with a Hogwarts scarf and wand (and let family members take pictures), but please note that since this is free and each individual gets to make several poses, there can be a very long line (we visited midweek in May and waited 20 minutes – the photographer said it could be over an hour wait on weekends during the summer). Please also note that Kings Cross is about 20 minutes away from Westminster Abbey via the Underground or cab, so you might want to know that it isn’t that close to most tourist attractions before promising your kids they can go (I didn’t realize this, but my son loved it so it was all worth it in the end). If you love Harry Potter, there are a lot of options listed here: http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to...resQQm5GdUx.97. If you like the movies, there might be better places to visit than Platform 9 ¾, particularly the Warner Brothers Studio tour, which is located 20 miles from London. We visited the London Eye (and bought the more expensive tickets that let you bypass the lines, since the kids were tired and jet lagged and we only had one day in London) and then took a double decker bus that got us halfway to Kings Cross station. Our next day was an excellent tour of Stonehenge and a visit to the amazing Salisbury Cathedral (and I was absolutely shocked when my 6 year old told me that the Salisbury Cathedral was his favorite attraction on this cruise). The people at www.salisburystonehengetours.co.uk provided us with an outstanding tour. Our tour guide, Jeff, is extremely knowlegeble about the history of Stonehenge, and even brought books along for our children to learn more about the history of Stonehenge. Anyone who would like an in depth understanding of these sites would greatly enjoy this tour. One of the questions that often gets asked on the cruise critic Baltic forums is which cities should one visit in Norway. We chose this particular cruise because it visits both Geiranger and Flam (and as it turned out Olden was also quite impressive). The highlight of Stavanger is Pulpit Rock. If you aren’t able to make this hike (and please note that it is rated as an easy hike, although it may take about 2 hours each way) you can still have a nice day in Stavanger, but it isn’t a must-see city if Pulpit Rock is not accessible for your family (or if the weather is bad, since you won’t be able to see much from the top if it is foggy). Because of our two year old and six year old, we decided not to attempt to hike Pulpit Rock. Our ship docked very close to the Old Town of Stavanger, and we enjoyed a pleasant and easy walk through the charming streets. We visited the Petroleum Museum, which was a bit underwhelming but a nice place to spend some time. Children will like the crane where you can knock down giant foam blocks, and there is a lovely playground right across the street from the museum. We greatly enjoyed our Fjord cruise with Rodne cruises. The only bad reviews for the fjord cruises in Stavanger on Tripadvisor were written by people who were disappointed because they had seen most of these views on the ship during the sail-in. We had two interior cabins, and were chasing two kids around, so we didn’t see much of the sail-in and therefore cannot address these concerns. It was a pleasant and lovely cruise for our family, and a nice way to get out of the rain. The Rodne boats have a covered interior downstairs and an open top on their ships, so you can be completely protected from the rain if you choose to stay on the bottom level. The ship is very safe for young children, and most of the bottom floor of the boat is childproofed so a small child cannot fall in the water (the exception is the back of the ship, where there is a tiny area with a railing with wide gaps. That section isn’t very dangerous, but you would need to stay close to a young child since they can wriggle through wide railings quickly). One of the cities we chose this itinerary for was Flam, and it is an absolutely beautiful place to visit. We had one very bad experience in Flam. We didn’t book the earliest Flam railway train since the port was listed as a possible tender, and we didn’t want to worry about making the earliest train. That left us with 2 hours of free time in the morning. I was a little concerned about traveling all the way to the Stegastein viewing platform because I was worried that if we were delayed we’d miss our tickets on the Flam railway. There is a small tourist train that travels around Flam called the Rallartoget, which departs near the Flam railway. According to its website, it departs every hour on the hour starting at 10 am, and returns 45 minutes later. As soon as we arrived in Flam, I went straight to the Rallartoget booth and asked their employee to confirm the schedule. He assured me the train would leave at 10 am and return at 10:45, which would leave us plenty of time to make the train (and get on line ahead of time to ensure we have good seats). At 10:07, the train hadn’t left and they were still selling tickets to people on line. I went to the railway operator and told him we were promised this train would leave at 10 am, and that we needed to be back on time to ride on the Flam railway. He told me he wouldn’t let the train leave until the train is full and told me that it wasn’t guaranteed I’d make the Flam train so I should just get off the train and take a refund. We left the train, and walked to the Flam railway platform where we could still see the tourist train. The tourist train did not depart until 10:14 am, which is an unacceptable delay for a 45 minute ride when the train had been sitting at the terminal all night long. We’ve previously taken our children on several of these small tourist trains (they’re usually nothing special but kids tend to really enjoy them) and they have always been advertised in the past as departing whenever they are full. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with the trains waiting until they are full to depart as long as they are honest with people about their schedule. By the time we exited the train, it was too late to go to the Stegastein viewing platform, and we wound up having to spend two hours in Flam with two young children waiting around. We would have been able to visit the viewing platform if the Rallartoget employee had been honest when I asked him at 9 am about the train schedule. When we were on the Flam train, another couple came up to us and told us they’d been on the Rallartoget with us and that we didn’t miss anything – apparently the route travels much of the same way the Flam train goes, plus there was a lot of construction so they didn’t see anything scenic. If you want to ride the amazing Flam railway, you should book this first, since the railway tickets tend to book up quickly during the height of the tour season. The Flam railway is a five minute walk from where you dock or tender, so this can easily be undertaken as an independent excursion. We booked our tickets online at the Norwegian Railways site at https://www.nsb.no/en/?gclid=CMuvnubiitMCFYoy0wodZb8BnQ . If that site is showing that everything is booked, other cruise critic posters have mentioned trying http://booking.visitflam.com/en/to-do/a1488268/the-flåm-railway/showdetails , and other posters have stated that this site has access to different tickets and sometimes has availability even when the Norwegian railway site lists no availability. Also, people have reported on the forums that when the train was initially sold out, they kept checking and eventually tickets opened up due to cancellations. Another option is to check with your cruise line – it will be more expensive to purchase this excursion through the cruise line but worth it if you cannot purchase the tickets independently. A quick online search seemed to recommend that you should sit on the right side of the train on the Flam to Myrdal journey. The view on that side was quite lovely, but might also be on the other side. In Flam, we had a lovely afternoon visiting a goat farm, exploring the beautiful town of Undredal (the inspiration for the movie Frozen), and then eating local cheeses (including brown caramel goat cheese) and a delicious lunch that was organized by Flam Guide Service ( http://www.fjordsafari.com ). Fjord Safari's booth is located about a minute away from the Flam railway platform, so you will have no problem finding your tour. You can combine this tour with a hike and boat ride along the fjords if your group is all physically fit. It was a very pleasant and enjoyable excursion, which I would highly recommend. We traveled in May, before the goats move to their summer farms so this excursion had to be individually arranged. Flam Guide service stayed in contact with us and gave us updates as they worked to book this reservation, and they also helpfully provided car seats for our children. Our tour guide was highly knowlegdable and helpful and this tour was one of the highlights of our cruise. One of the other cities we chose this cruise for was Geiranger. Visitors should please note that if you are planning on driving to the beautiful scenic viewpoints at Dalsnibba that Road 63 opens between mid-May and early June, depending upon how long it takes to clear the snow and when the avalanche risk has ended (the engineers wait until the big spring avalanche occurs before opening the road). You should consider choosing a cruise that visits later to ensure you will be able to experience all of the beauty of Geiranger. It would be helpful if the cruise lines adjusted their itineraries and put Geiranger last on May cruises, since Road 63 opened the on our last port day, when we were in Bergen, but they may have logistical reasons for leaving the port stop in Geiranger earlier. We were told in Flam that the waterfalls all looked gorgeous in May because they are currently filled with snow runoff. This will melt, and then the waterfalls won’t be nearly as impressive later in the season so that might be one reason to choose a May cruise. Crowds also tend to be a bit thinner in May, so you may experience more availability about booking tickets on the Flam railroad (we booked at the last minute and might have been shut out if we’d tried to book last minute tickets in June) and changing the troll car in Olden. Cunard requires passengers to pass a “step test” in which you step across two pieces of tape 18 inches apart in order to demonstrate that you are physically capable of boarding a tender without requiring crew assistance. The people running the tender insisted that my 2 year old would need to pass this test prior to our family being issued tender tickets. My husband offered to take the test while carrying our 2 year old son, but the people running the tender refused to allow this. We went to the purser’s office and after a half hour wait we were eventually issued a tender ticket by them. When we went to tender, the Cunard crew did exactly what the crew on the Coral Princess did when my older son was two and we sailed through the Panama Canal – they picked our child up and placed him into the tender boat. We were prepared to carry him ourselves, but completely agreed with the crew members that letting them transport the toddler was the safest option. I support step tests for passengers in general because I believe that crew members or passengers could be injured if crew members try to lift an adult with a disability, but lifting a two year old child shouldn’t endanger the crew. After the cruise, I emailed Cunard and they confirmed that a parent should be allowed to take the step test carrying a small child and if they pass they should be issued a tour ticket. So if you have any problems with this issue, please go to the purser’s office and ask them for assistance. This unfortunately caused us to be an hour late for our private tour, which upset our tour guide. We were scheduled to start tendering at 8 am, and weren’t able to get off the ship until 10. In Geiranger, Geiranger Fjordservice is the dominant tour operator. We booked a private limousine tour for just our family to visit the various scenic viewpoints. When I was organizing the tour, I emailed the company to request that they provide a car seat booster for my 6 year old. I was told that they did not have this, and we’d need to bring it. This was the only transfer on our trip that refused to provide a booster seat, and it required us to transport 2 car seats to Europe. After the cruise, I learned that transportation services in Norway are required by law to provide car seats upon request. I had also emailed them ahead of time to request that we stop at a goat farm by a lake we were scheduled to visit. Their company told me in email that they could not arrange a visit ahead of time, but we could stop our car and visit with the goats if they were along the fence. This delay in being issued tender tickets caused us to be late for our private tour. I had called the company at 8:30 in the morning since our tour was scheduled to begin at 9 and requested that we please move it to 10. The woman who answered the phone said, “oh, it’s no problem – your driver will just be here whenever you arrive.” I told her we were having difficulties getting off the ship and could be delayed longer and she assured me there were no problems and to just come whenever we were able to leave the ship. When we were finally able to exit the ship, the driver told us he’d been waiting a long time and had almost left without us. It was unfortunate that his office chose not to tell him about our delay, and we explained that we’d tried to leave a message with the main office. Geiranger Fjordservice runs buses to the attractions we visited, but we booked a much more expensive private tour for our family so we’d have control over the itinerary, which is important when you are traveling with small children. Unfortunately, when we asked if we could stop at the goat farm that was just down the road from our last stop, our driver told us that in Norway it was illegal for anyone to visit a farm without proper vaccinations. If this is correct, then it would be quite odd since Norway’s travel website includes a link to the goat farm experience we undertook in Flam. My kids were starting to get a bit carsick after the long drives through the hairpin roads in Geiranger, so I didn’t argue with the driver about the fact that we were told by the office in email it would be possible to stop (we saw the goats from the road so it would have been easy to visit). If other families are trying to visit please note that the goat farm that is located at the first curve off Eagle road from Geiranger, near the lake they will probably take you to. Hopefully other families will have more luck being able to visit there. Visitors should note that the viewing platforms in Geiranger are amazing (especially on a clear day) but there are hairpin roads to reach them, and it could be a little challenging if you are prone to car sickness. I would not recommend using Geirangerfjordservice for private transportation, but they do run a bus to the panoramic viewing stations and it seems unlikely travelers would experience the problems we did on a group bus tour, since most of the reviews on tripadvisor are positive for this company. At the end of the tour, we decided to stop for lunch in Geiranger. We were a little scared to stop at Braserie Posten, since it is in a tourist trap location right near the cruise ship terminal, but the yelp reviews were positive and the food was excellent. There is seating with a beautiful view of the harbor in the back of the restaurant. We went through two bowls of fish soup, since the kids were so happy eating all of it. It is a very short walk from this restaurant to the dock, so this is a nice way to conclude your day in Geiranger. We were extremely fortunate to learn that the Loen Skylift opened three days prior to our arrival in Olden. I was a bit anxious about the logistics of visiting a brand new attraction with small children, and the owner of Olden Adventures was very patient and reassuring about the logistics of reaching the skylift. As it turned out, the weather was a bit rainy on the day we arrived, so there were very few crowds. It was still a very beautiful location, with a gorgeous viewing platform. On nice days, paragliders take off from the mountain (that happened the day before we arrived) and that must be spectacular to see if you are lucky enough to get good weather. The food in the restaurant was excellent, especially the sample platter of local meat. It’s unsurprisingly expensive, but the view is outstanding and the food delicious. The Loen Skylift is only a 6 km bus ride from Olden, so it isn’t very difficult to get there. Olden Adventures ( http://www.oldenadventure.com/ ) is running shuttles to the Loen Skylift, right next to their buses to the Biksdal Glacier so it would be very easy to travel to both attractions through Olden Adventures. Both buses leave from the only petrol station in town, which is a very short walk from where your ship will dock. You can also take a cab to the Loen skylift. It is a 40 minute ride to the Briksdal Glacier, so a cab there would probably be quite a bit more expensive. Please note that cabs will refuse to transport children without car seats, and although they are required to provide them upon request we were unable to fill any taxi requests we made (we only emailed the taxi companies 2 days in advance; you might have better luck if you contact cab companies far in advance). The most economical option for getting to the Briksdal Glacier is a public bus that runs from June –August. The Norway tourist office stated that in the 2017 season the bus left Port Olden at 9:58 am, and departs Biksdal Glacier at 1:30 pm, and is currently listed as costing 132 NOK for each adult ticket. You might want to contact the tourist office to see if there is any way to purchase tickets ahead of time or if they can run additional buses if the first one is full. The Briksdal Glacier has been hit hard by global warming, but the 40 minute bus ride there is quite scenic and lovely, as is the hike itself to the glacier so overall this excursion is a very good choice as long as you realize ahead of time that the most beautiful pictures online of the glacier showing lots of ice are not recent and don’t represent what you will see at the glacier. For travelers with young children or mobility issues, there are troll cars available for rent to reduce the length of your hike. These golf carts travel most of the way to the glacier, leaving you with a very pleasant and relatively flat 700 m walk. Since we didn’t expect my 2 year old to make it all the way to the glacier, my husband and 6 year old went ahead of us. To my surprise, my 2 year old slowly but steadily made the entire hike in the allocated time (they tell you what time to return to the platform to catch your return troll car). Reservations are required for troll cars in May and October, and recommended during the summer months (the troll car season runs from May-October). The only challenging thing is that they do request that you tell them what time you’d like to ride on the troll car, which is hard if you want to chose a time to do this excursion based upon the weather forecast (although it is completely understandable they ask you to pick a time, since otherwise there might be a lot of people trying to get on a troll car at one time and this would cause really long delays). I don’t know if the troll car operators are always flexible about the time of your reservation, but we changed our minds about what time to visit the glacier on the day we traveled since we wanted to visit the Loen skylift in the afternoon when the weather was scheduled to be better. I emailed the troll car operators at 9 am as soon as we got on the bus towards the glacier, and they had already switched my reservation by the time we arrived at the troll car office. We traveled in May, when things are less crowded so I don’t know if they will be able to accommodate a change in reservation time during the busy summer months. The troll car website where you can make your advance reservation is available at: http://www.oldedalenskysslag.com . Near where you pick up the troll car is a small café off the souvenir shop; they have excellent waffles. They are best freshly made, so if you have time keep an eye on the plate where they store the waffles and order them when everyone else bought up the older waffles. My family started off by ordering 4, and ended up eating 12 (the kids really loved them and since they’d just finished hiking to a glacier without a single complaint I wasn’t going to say no), so we were able to get a lot of fresh waffles. We arrived in Bergen on what the ship’s employees described as one of the worst weather days in Bergen – and that says a lot considering the fact that it rains in Bergen 240 days a year! Due to the poor weather, we actually did not experience any lines for the funicular. On a clear day, the lines can be quite long so pre-purchasing your tickets online can help you avoid at least one set of lines (there could still be lines waiting to get on the funicular even if you already have pre-purchased your tickets). The top of Mt. Floyen has a lovely playground and nice restaurants, and is probably a wonderful place to visit when the weather is nice. The Bergen fish market is nearby, where adventurous eaters can sample whale. There are many other fish selections, including excellent fish soup and fish kebobs. There are heaters and blankets so even in the cold, rainy weather we were able to enjoy a very nice meal there. There really aren’t any public transportation options to the funicular from the port, but it is only a 10-minute walk if your ship docks close to town. Half of this walk is along the beautiful streets of Bryggn, and the other half is a little less scenic (but perfectly safe). If you have disabilities, you can try to arrange for a taxi ahead of time, but families should note it may be difficult to obtain taxis in Norway due to their stringent car seat regulations. Families should consider either the HOHO bus or the Museum Shuttle bus. The museum shuttle bus ticket includes entry to the Hanseatic Museum, Schotstuene and the Norwegian Fisheries Museum. We visited the Norwegian Fisheries Museum, which had some nice hands-on attractions for children. This isn’t a must-see museum, but the kids were very happy for a half hour and then the shuttle bus took us back to the city center. If I had been able to take a taxi, we would have visited the ViVite Science Center, which has very strong reviews. There is also the Bergen Aquarium, which can be reached via Beffen, a public ferry that runs every 10 minutes Monday-Friday starting at 7:30 am and also during the summer on Saturdays starting at 11 am. The aquarium’s reviews were a bit more mixed than the Science Center, but the Beffen itself is supposed to be a charming ride. Families should also note that there is a Vannkanten Waterworld to consider visiting. The museum bus does not visit these attractions, but it is quite possible the HOHO bus will. There are many positives about sailing on Cunard. We were very impressed with most of the staff, which mainly consisted of very hard working and dedicated employees. We sailed with a 2-year old and a 6-year old, and one night the head waiter noticed the 6-year old sharing his prawn dish with his brother, and brought over a second plate of food so they could both eat. The food was generally quite good. It is very difficult to cook for the entire main dining room at once, and understandably a few dishes fell short (which is exactly what happened on Princess and HAL, the other two lines I’ve been happy with their food). But some of the food was always excellent, and by ordering 3 courses each person was able to have a very strong dining experience overall. There was some very good food in the buffet – usually the ethnic food, the carved food station and the cooked to order fish station were excellent. The pizza was so bad that for the first time in his life my 6 year old actually refused to eat pizza, but there was always enough good food if you tried enough things in the buffet. The scones and bread were always very good, along with the custard deserts in ramekins. Please note that you will receive a card with your table number for assigned seating in your cabin. You should bring this card with you to the dining room on the first night. Patrons who did not have their card had to wait in a long line while the dining room employees checked their table number. Simply telling them your number was insufficient, as they would refuse to seat you (and I can guess that previous patrons may have gotten confused and given them the wrong number, leading to problems when they were seated at the wrong table). Guests who had their dining card were immediately escorted to their tables. There are a few things that families should be aware of prior to booking a Cunard cruise to ensure that sailing this line is the right choice for your family (and people without children can stop reading here, since the rest of the review is for families). Anytime dining is only available if you are staying in more expensive cabins. If you have two interior cabins like we booked, you will need to do fixed dining or the buffet or the specialty restaurants (and there is no discount for children ordering off the adult menu in the specialty restaurants). We were originally assigned late seating, which was after my younger child’s bedtime. I emailed Cunard prior to my sailing, and they very kindly cleared us off the wait list for early dining so the lack of anytime dining did not affect my family since the early fixed seating worked well for us. Please also note that formal dress codes apply to most common areas on the ship, not just the dining room. Most Cunard passengers are very dedicated to the dress code, and even in the buffet you can see women in evening gowns on formal nights. I need to dress for chasing around small children (which means I was wearing an ordinary black dress that would really be more appropriate for daywear and not eveningwear since I don’t wear anything that needs to be dry cleaned while my kids are small and stain everything) but people seemed tolerant of my clothing choices. The kids club is scheduled to close from 5-6 pm for dinner. Please note that there are no dining venues that serve dinner during this time – the buffet does not open for dinner until 6 pm. From 5-6 pm the buffet serves a lovely tea – there are very good scones and sandwiches available but there are no dinner options available during this time in the buffet or main dining room. Room service is available, and might be an option if you want to feed your child during the 5-6 pm slot. I was lucky and my kids were happy to wait until they left the kids club before going to bed to eat a late dinner in the buffet, since one of my goals on a cruise is to feed my children a lot of different ethnic foods they haven’t tried before. Thankfully, there was a large variety of foods available from the buffet so my 2-year old was able to add a lot of new foods to his diet. We also took our kids to the main dining room some nights, where the waiters did an excellent job. Parents should also note that the kids club staff requires at least one guardian to stay on board while their children are in the kids club, so it is not be possible to leave your children behind while you participate in an excursion that might be too difficult for them (such as hiking Pulpit Rock). The kids club generally opened at 2 pm on shore days, and was closed in the mornings on shore days. We normally take our children with us on excursions, so these rules and closures did not affect our family at all. Children are also required to wear bracelets identifying their muster station. If your child is unhappy wearing this bracelet, you can obtain a waiver from the purser’s office in which you agree that in case of an emergency, your child might not be brought to the correct muster location and you may be separated from your child temporarily. Our cruise options this year were limited to Cunard and Carnival, since I wanted to be on a ship with a kids club that would accept my 2 year old son. I am aware of the RC, Disney and Norwegian Escape nurseries but was a bit concerned that they might not have availability during the times I’d want to utilize them. Since we chose this cruise specifically for the kids club, it was disappointing that the staff was the weakest of the four lines I have sailed on with children (NCL, Princess and HAL all had stronger kids club staff employees). We traveled with our older son when he was two on Princess. Princess allowed children under the age of three to visit their kids club with parental supervision. Whenever my son went into the kids club the staff immediately started to interact with him, and ask him what he wanted to play with. They brought him toys and art supplies, and helped him complete the arts and craft projects that were designed as the activities for the older children. Even though I was required to stay in the kids club for insurance reasons, the kids club employees completely took on the responsibility of playing with him and setting up arts and craft activities for him. The staff on Cunard were not nearly as helpful in terms of interacting with children individually. We had sailed during the school year in both England and the US, so there were only 23 children on board, and I never saw more than 10 in the kids club at any one time so I expected that they would be able to provide some individual attention to the children. Our six year old greatly enjoyed the kids club, but our two year old needed help for 5-10 minutes following the drop off. He needed someone to play with him to distract him so he could transition into the kids club. After 10 minutes, he was perfectly fine and could play with the other children and participate in the activities without requiring individual attention from the staff. In fact, some nights when I went to pick him up, he told me he didn’t want to leave. But the staff had initially refused to play with him during drop off to help him with the transition, and when my husband asked why they weren’t interacting with our son he was told by a kids club employee that they “were overworked.” At the exact time of this conversation, there were two Cunard employees working in the younger kids club, and there were only three children in that kids club (the kids club for older children had two employees and no children). Two out of the three children in the younger kids club were playing a video game, so they were not interacting with the kids club staff at all. After my husband complained that they needed to help our two year old transition into the kids club, they seemed more attentive and helped our two year old more during the transition. Although many employees on cruise ships are required to work more hours than they should, it seemed strange that the Cunard kids club employees stated that they were overworked since their kids club is open for fewer hours than those of other cruise lines. On a previous HAL cruise, I wrote in my evaluation that I felt that HAL needed to hire more staff, since on port days the kids club was open from 9-4, and 7-10, which I thought was too many hours for only two employees. Cunard’s kids club was only open on port days from 2-5, and then from 6-11, so there were a lot fewer hours to cover and a lot more employees (at least 4 were always working for 10 kids, although 2 were in a room that usually didn’t have any kids in it). If the Cunard cruise had a lot of children, I would have understood that the kids club couldn’t give any individual child attention even for 5-10 minutes, but in a kids club on a sailing with 23 kids (and some of them were children of officers who are only allowed in the kids club on a space available basis) it seems as though the Cunard staff should be able to help kids transition briefly. The other unusual part of the kids club is that they require parents to pick children up fifteen minutes prior to closing. On our previous Baltic cruise on NCL in August, there were a lot of children onboard and it could take 10-15 minutes to sign all the kids in and out, but on this cruise we never saw more than 10 kids in the kids club so there were never any delays in terms of signing children in or out of the kids club. My husband was admonished for lateness when he signed the children out at 11:55, when the kids club was supposed to be open from 9am-12pm. He was told the children need to be picked up at 11:45. The kids club staff first stated they needed time to sign everyone out, and when my husband insisted it wouldn’t take him 5 minutes to sign a sheet, they then said that they needed 15 minutes to clean up, and then stated they could not work overtime due to British overtime regulations. I’d suggest that Cunard implement technology like other ships in which the parent’s cruise cards are scanned instead of having people sign sheets if signing the children out needs to happen quickly to be in compliance with employee contracts (I don’t personally require this change, as it was never a problem to sign our child out but seemed to be an issue for their employees). Or at least Cunard should change the hours to 9-11:45, so parents don’t see that the kids club is listed as closing at 12 and get confused. Overall, we quite liked sailing on Cunard, but it just isn’t particularly reassuring to leave your children when you don’t feel the kids club employees are as dedicated to their jobs as the other ship employees such as the stewards and waiters. Therefore, we won’t sail with Cunard again until our children are older and more self-sufficient and don’t need support from the counselors (my 6 year old was very happy in the kids club because he didn’t need any personal attention.) The unfortunate thing is that since so few lines allow two year olds in their kids club, this is a really nice opportunity for Cunard to show young families what a great way to travel cruising is for families and to win the loyalty of young families to their cruise line. It is unfortunate because a lot of the Cunard employees really are quite sensitive to the needs of families traveling – the reservations people changed our seating to early dining ahead of time, we were able to skip the lines at embarkation, and the waiters in the main dining room always helped us feed our children quickly and get them food they liked. Families should also please note that cabs in Norway are not allowed to take children without car seats. Cab companies are required to provide car seats, but we were unable to get a cab service to agree to take us with the kids for a short ride (I emailed two companies in Bergen two days in advance, didn’t hear back from the first and the second apologized for not viewing my email until after we left Bergen). I’m not sure you will be able to get a cab to agree to transport you for a short ride if it means they have to bring and install car seats for you but others might have better luck if they contact the cab companies farther in advance to schedule transportation. On our previous Baltic cruise we rarely relied upon taxis because the public transportation system is excellent. But in the small towns of Norway, there just honestly just isn’t a need for an extensive public transportation system. So you can either walk (and a lot of attractions are within walking distance if the weather is nice) or take the HOHO buses which usually require some waiting. We found ourselves in the frustrating situation in Stavanger and Bergen in which it rained a lot and our kids were cold and didn’t want to walk, and the taxis at the taxi stands couldn’t transport us. And it meant that we saw a lot less in those locations than we would have if we’d been able to take cabs. So oddly even though the Baltic cruise seems like it should be logistically more difficult, Stockholm/Copenhagen/Helsinki/Tallinn actually was easier to navigate since they have a stronger public transportation system and taxis are available in a pinch. If I could do this over again, I’d have probably waited until my children were older to visit Norway due to the transportation difficulties. I emailed the Norway tourism office to ask at what age children no longer require car seats, but they said they didn’t know of an exact age and that cabs were legally required to provide them. However, families that prefer cruise tours or HOHO buses really won’t really experience any of these transportation issues. And because tourism in Norway exploded after the release of the movie Frozen, there are a lot of new attractions that make it much easier for children to experience the beauty of Norway. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We booked an excursion to Paphos in Cyprus. The description of the tour which appealed to us was 1. Taken to Paphos and have three hours free time to explore independently or 2. Visit the Villa and see the mosaics and the tombs of the ... Read More
We booked an excursion to Paphos in Cyprus. The description of the tour which appealed to us was 1. Taken to Paphos and have three hours free time to explore independently or 2. Visit the Villa and see the mosaics and the tombs of the kings and lastly 3. Take a stroll along the harbour. However, we were given no choices at all! We were dropped off at the harbour and left there. There was only a few restaurant and tacky gift shops. I was in a wheelchair and on 24/7 oxygen. We tried to find some shops but it was a long trek and we only found a very small mall and went back to the harbour and waited there for a coach to return. We put in an official complaint at this persons desk when we returned and received 10% refund which was an absolute joke we had wasted our money and our day in Cyprus. The literature is completely misleading and if we had known what was in store we still could of taken the free shuttle bus or gone to Limassol where apparently the guests had a fantastic time which made us even more fed up ..... I keep trying to get in touch with the excursions specialist team as we was advised to do once we got back to UK but I have had no luck getting through so needed to vent my feelings somewhere. As for the cleanliness of the newly refurbished Kings Court, we found it dirty, especially the walls next to the tables, the skirting, the windows. Infact, a lot of the communal areas needed TLC. They were cleaned but the staff were very lethargic and did everything at a snail's pace and didn't seem to take any pride in the fact that they were on a Cunard ship, although they cleaned they didn't clean the edges or the corners. This is where germs lie ......... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We have cruised 5 times on other lines but this was a "Bucket List" cruise for us. We felt we were very lucky to get any disability cabin, let alone in Princess Grill. Embarkation in Sydney was fairly smooth, and we were on board ... Read More
We have cruised 5 times on other lines but this was a "Bucket List" cruise for us. We felt we were very lucky to get any disability cabin, let alone in Princess Grill. Embarkation in Sydney was fairly smooth, and we were on board in about 30 minutes, with our luggage waiting for us at the suite. We have a small electric wheelchair which is the same size as a normal wheelchair, but entry through the door was so tight that we constantly hit door frame or wardrobes getting in or out. It required a difficult "S" turn to get in, due to free standing wardrobes, in front of the entry, which were mainly unsuitable for disabled persons, being nearly all shelves with only one small hanging rail in one robe unit (no walk-in robe, as pictured online). The accessible bathroom was OK, but access past there, to the rest of the suite, was not wide enough for the wheelchair to pass. Space between beds and lounge furniture, chair & table was too narrow to get to the second bed or balcony and the lack of space also meant that there was no access to lounge or chair seating without moving furniture. The TV was also on the wall behind the lounge, so not view-able, except from the beds. Power points were also badly placed. We had 3 at the writing desk, but none at the fridge & mini bar cabinet where the kettle and coffee machine were positioned. These had to be moved to the desk, to be used. Bedding however, was very comfortable. In all, this cabin, sold as an "accessible Princess Grill" was false, and when we checked a non-accessible suite, it was the same size and space as ours, but with a walk-in robe next to the bathroom and direct access down the passage into the cabin. We spoke to the Grills Concierge about lack of accessibility in cabin and also later, to an officer in the purser's office, but despite their promises to respond within the day, neither of them got back to us for the duration of the cruise. The other problem for wheelchair access was to the outside decks. All door frames we encountered, had no ramps, but more like a house wood door frame, with vertical edges. All were very jarring to cross and some were too high for the front wheels of the small electric chair to climb, so the chair had to be manually pulled backwards (with help from other passengers to hold doors), to get back inside. This difficulty, and possible chair damage, effectively prevented wheelchair use on the upper decks for us. Although the lifts were small, access within the ship was generally no problem, and while there always seems to be some people who show no regard for disabled, the majority of passengers and crew were considerate & helpful. The entertainment we saw was, in general "average" and not as good as on other lines we have previously cruised with. We were unable to take the tender to Port Arthur, but went ashore in Hobart, where special disabled access busses were provided to transfer to and from town. Meals in the King's Court buffet were mainly average and selections seemed to be minimal, compared to some other cruise lines. On a good note, the quality of meals and service in the Princess Grill dining room was superb. We were seated on a table of eight and our dining companions were great company. They were very friendly, well travelled and we always had interesting conversations which sometimes extended our dinners to around 10pm! Would we sail with Cunard again? No. Lack of accessibility in the Suite and Cunard's lack of response to the issues, made for a disappointing experience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
1. Price! 2.. The food was very good indeed and I am fussy(!) I do not eat pork products and I was supplied each night with the menu for the following day to choose and some dishes were certainly made specially. The vaiety was very ... Read More
1. Price! 2.. The food was very good indeed and I am fussy(!) I do not eat pork products and I was supplied each night with the menu for the following day to choose and some dishes were certainly made specially. The vaiety was very good. I did ask on 2 occassions for kedgeree and although they said its not normal in Britannia dining room to have specially made dishes they did it and it was great ... Cunard is of course dressier than most cruise lines. I had bought a tux specially and in a 11 day cruise there were three formal nights and I found that i enjoyed them more as went along. If you really dont like dressing up you may wish to choose another cruise line.- having been on NCL Carnival and Princess we will certainly use Cunard again at the right price. It is certainly true that having to wear a jacket on informal nights does mean that Cunard informal is on a par with formal nights on some other cruises. I enquired about booking for next year and was quoted almost 3 times what I paid for this cruise. One bugbear was the price of wine which is of course priced in USD and of course includes the 15% service charge on top so easily works out at over £10 per glass . This may explain why we and so many passengers drank water with meals . It must be possibble with duty free rules applying to provide wine at non=profiteering rates. The enlightenment activities particularly talks by Martin Bell were extremely good and on one occassion I had to sit on the steps as there were no seats in the theatre . . . Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
For 799 USD on a balcony incl. 850 USD OBC you better go than staying home. Embarkation was "disappointing" since the weather was foggy and rainy. So not a real welcome feeling with a great farewell out of New York like we had ... Read More
For 799 USD on a balcony incl. 850 USD OBC you better go than staying home. Embarkation was "disappointing" since the weather was foggy and rainy. So not a real welcome feeling with a great farewell out of New York like we had in November 2014. Crew was fantastic - was mostly like reunion-party. Was NY Times Readers voyage incl. many lectures from NY Times. Wanted to join many but at first day many items canceled from my personal agenda and from second day never had a look again to daytime activities. Production shows were great. Violin-artist plus Diva of the Seas with Whitney Houston song fantastic. Only Opera Boys were a little weak compared to the level of the other shows. Food unchanged. But The Verandah. Too overpriced and too upscale compared to Todd English before. So only had one time but three times on last voyage. Alternative dining (Coriander and Smokehouse night) was nice. But the last Coriander food experience on QUEEN VICTORIA recently was better. Service experience as good as before. New King's Court with long ways to beverages. Best was fresh squeezed juices for breakfast. Cabin was fine. Nice balls and parties. Internet services better since it is no more MTN but Telenor. Better quality if it runs. But if it did not run it was terrible. Only regular debarkation deck by deck was too old-style. But friends with purser's office was helpful to get me off the ship at my time of convenience. Something they could do much better by asking the guests when they want to leave the ship. VERY NICE for Gays. Last transatlantic we were only 2 FODs. This time around 40. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
As always I read these wonderful reviews on here so I feel I need to send you my feedback about my QM2 transatlantic last week. Well, I had a brilliant time and loved every minute of it. Ship is in very good shape indeed. Personally ... Read More
As always I read these wonderful reviews on here so I feel I need to send you my feedback about my QM2 transatlantic last week. Well, I had a brilliant time and loved every minute of it. Ship is in very good shape indeed. Personally I really liked the new carpets etc compared to the old ones. I felt the ship has started to develop a personality by itself compared to 8 years ago. I had a single balcony cabin (double single occupancy) with obstructed view. It was really obstructed, however I loved the space and the daylight compared to an inside cabin . A balcony is not really necessary on a TA but nice to have. Jerel was an excellent cabin steward, the cabin was spotless. I felt really at home there to relax or nap certain hours of the day. Fellow passengers were really nice and I enjoyed their company. i had a great table for dinner with really nice table mates who made me feel good. I made an effort to share tables for breakfast and lunch in the Britannia and it was always to pleasure to do so. QM2 on TA does attract a different clientele than a regular cruise ship and I heard some very interesting stories from a lot of different people. The LGBT cocktail hour in the Commodore Lounge was always very well attended and I went there every day. Considering my last Cunard voyage ws 8 years ago and having read a lot of “standards are dropping” articles for me it really hasn’t. Service and food were very good and on the same level as before. Couldn’t really find a weak spot, mind you I wasn’t looking for it either. Cabin service excellent, room service every day spot on time and dining room service very well organised. Embarkation in Southampton went really smooth. I arrived by 1130AM and was given a check in number A1 just after the Grills and Priority people. and was on board in a breeze by 1210. Cabin steward allowed me to store my bags in my room and lunch was ready. I normally never do buffets however Kings Court improved dramatically compared to before. The Carinthia Lounge is a big success even though I already saw some wear and tear on the hot seats next to the windows. Library assistants were very helpful. I loved going there every day. The weather was good, a little chilly and a little bumpy on the second and third day. (I had hoped for more stormy weather) I noticed again how incredible seaworthy QM2 is as at times you hardly noticed any movement as all. One thing which was vey badly organised was disembarkation in Brooklyn. I think this was not Cunard’s fault as it seems only half of the required immigration officers showed up. I booked a transfer to Penn Station and left the ship an hour late. In the terminal you had to collect your bags and queue up in a long line with these bags for another hour. All very inefficient and terminal staff didn’t seem to have an proper overview either. Once cleared it was a little hard to find the proper coach. I ended up with other people at the wrong one and a woman (fellow passenger) started loading our bags. Probably to help, however it was the wrong coach and it took a lot of effect to retrieve them again. Next time I would definitely take early self disembarkation as I even saw Grills guest lining up with their bags for a long time. I still find it very unfortunate QM2 doesn’t dock at Manhattan anymore which is so much easier. However I understand the logic behind the decision to move to Red Hook Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Chose this cruise because we were celebrating both my husband and I 65th birthdays. Wanted something special. This was not what we expected. The weather is obviously nothing that can be controlled but it was bad enough that out of 7 days ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we were celebrating both my husband and I 65th birthdays. Wanted something special. This was not what we expected. The weather is obviously nothing that can be controlled but it was bad enough that out of 7 days we could only use the deck twice. Force 8 gales and it was not pleasant. The average age appeared to be older generation, lots of disabled people, more like a care home, with knitting and sewing circle every day in a beautiful lounge are. Not able to watch football in the pub on board due to having bingo everyday. Also very regimented, don,t even think of this ship, if you don,t like being told what to do and when, we paid for a princess suite, and if we had not dressed how we were told on a particular day then we could not eat dinner in the restaurant that we had paid a lot of money for. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We are celebrating 25 years together this year & decided on an extra special holiday. After 6 nights in New York we returned to the UK in style. We booked 3 of the nights in New York with Cunard, which I have reviewed elsewhere ... Read More
We are celebrating 25 years together this year & decided on an extra special holiday. After 6 nights in New York we returned to the UK in style. We booked 3 of the nights in New York with Cunard, which I have reviewed elsewhere (DoubleTree Hilton on Lexington Ave) and given a very good review for. Cunard arranged the transfer from the hotel to the Docks. Unfortunately this was not so good. There were 2 staff that attended the hotel in the days before the transfer who gave conflicting information about how the 3 coaches were going to be organised. This lead the a crowded reception area with a very long wait by most of the passengers from that hotel. One of the staff quite rightly told us that the 3 coaches had set times and which coach we would be assigned to. The other male staff wrongly told us all to be in reception an hour before the first coach was due and he would just pile everyone on the coach until it was full & then send them off. This was incorrect. If we had all turned up at the times that the first member of staff had told us, then most people wouldn't have left there rooms until later, reception wouldn't have been so crowded and less people would have been annoyed at their long wait (we were on 12:30 coach that didn't get there until 13:15. We were waiting from 11:00). Once on the coach, everything went more smoothly. The transfer from coach to dock to ship went without any issues. The ship has had a major refit recently and it shows. The whole ship is beautifully decorated. The ship is also enormous so, it takes some walking from one end to the other. All of the public areas are very well decorated. The room was amazing. It was everything we hoped for and more. It was beautifully decorated, with plenty of storage/wardrobe space and perfectly designed to maximise comfort. The cabin had an outside balcony that had a couple of seats and a small table to put drinks on. Our cabin steward Annalise was excellent and she would get us anything we asked for. She never appeared to be annoyed at us, despite the fact that several times she came to do the room, we were sat on the balcony and she said she would come back later, when we were out. Despite us being in our room until late morning, she managed to keep the room immaculate. My only criticism is that our cabin was near the front of the ship & the Brittania Restaurant was at the back, so we got a LOT of exercise before & after meals. The ship is really big. Dining, the food aboard the ship is amazing. The Starters, main courses and salads are cooked fresh and to a very high standard. Some of the deserts & cakes were either frozen & defrosted or not to as high a standard as the rest of the food. Certainly, the Afternoon Tea had frozen & defrosted scones. Maybe the pastry chef was having a bad week? That said, I cannot criticise any of the food that I had aboard the ship. We were assigned a table for all of our evening meals in the Brittania Restaurant. There were 2 sittings and we chose the later one. Our waiters Ramil, Kenneth and Luka were excellent. Their timing was perfect and Ramil in particular had an uncanny ability to know exactly how much black pepper to put on, which was particularly handy for me, as when I am talking I forget to pay attention. Although many people ate their breakfast & lunch in the Kings Court buffet style dining area, we found it almost impossible to find an empty table there. Not sure if it was because the design of the Kings Court was not designed with enough tables, or the particular group of passengers we were on with ate in there in unexpected numbers. Because of this we ended up having all our meals in the Brittania, which worked out for the better anyway by preventing too much snacking or adding an extra scoop. We did have a few issues with our wine waiter, and consequently purchased less wine than we otherwise might have done. The prices of drinks are also quite high, at our local restaurant we pay £18 for a particular bottle of wine, on board ship, the same bottle was $75 more than 3 times the price. Entertainment. All the time we on board there were things to do, all day long. Most of the activities we did, took an amount of time, we then had 30-45 minutes before the next activity, so we didn't have to rush from one thing to another, yet we never had a point where we were bored waiting for the next thing to start. The evening shows were amazing. 3 of the nights there were 4 singers and a group of dancers in the Royal Court Theatre. They were excellent, in fact one of the singers, Mandy, sang "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" which was the best version I have heard since Dusty Springfield sang it. The Royal Court Theatre also featured the incredibly talented singing voice of Jordan Bennett and the very funny John Joseph. The G52 bar at the front of the ship had a disco going quite late into the night, which featured a band most nights. During the day there all sorts of activities to meet most sedate tastes, although there is also a gym aboard and a couple of swimming pools. We did make use of the on deck Jacuzzi on one of the foggy days and managed to sunburnt at that time. One activity that I would have liked to have done which I didn't was use the Planetarium. To go to the Planetarium you needed to get tickets. for 2 days we went to the ticket desk, waited in a massive queue only to be told the tickets had run out. On the 3rd day we went extra early, waited for over 30 minutes (15 of those minutes after the 9am opening of the ticket office) and no one turned up. We went to the pursers desk to ask if there was anyone going to open the ticket desk, the purser rang up and said there will be someone there. when we got back, we had to go the back of the queue again and didn't get tickets again. We didn't try to go to the Planetarium after that. The only port that we stopped at was Halifax in Nova Scotia. Prior to visiting it, we have never considered Canada as a holiday destination. Now that we have been to Halifax, we would consider going back and exploring more of Canada. Halifax is a very nice place with a Beautiful Public Gardens. The experience as a whole was fantastic and I am very glad we chose to go on that cruise. My main criticisms are minor (couldn't get a ticket to the Planetarium, not enough tables in the Kings Court Dining Room and the Wine prices were astronomically high, as was the additional 15% surcharge on everything) and I would still recommend the experience to others. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
this cruise was very disappointing as it was difficult to get around due to the heavy doors on the ship I unable to get out of my cabin my husband had open the door. The garden room was difficult to leave there was a heavy door before ... Read More
this cruise was very disappointing as it was difficult to get around due to the heavy doors on the ship I unable to get out of my cabin my husband had open the door. The garden room was difficult to leave there was a heavy door before the automatic door As many of the passengers were in the 60/80 age range I was the surprised that the unheated pool did not have graduated steps I could not get out of the pool, three swimming costumes were unworn . The entertainment was poor not enough to do in the daytime on sea days as most activities were in the morning. The set in the theatre broke down during a show also did the video for the piano players very poor maintenance. the whole ship was without water for six hours everyone went to dinner without be able to wash,it was very uncomfortable as well as being unhygenic Chairs on deck sticky and unwashed the food was excellent the service was very good cabin staff. Embarkation was swift Overall there were too many faults to overcome as I kept being caught in the heavy doors . Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
The Cunard liners are the only liners we travel on. They are of consistently of a very high standard. The accommodation in Queens grill suites is excellent with a fully stocked free in room bar. The grill dining room and lounge are very ... Read More
The Cunard liners are the only liners we travel on. They are of consistently of a very high standard. The accommodation in Queens grill suites is excellent with a fully stocked free in room bar. The grill dining room and lounge are very comfortable with excellent food and service. Entertainment is usually very good with great shows in a magnificent theatre. Overall I can find nothing bad to say about any of the Cunard liners. Luxury,all three. The embarkation is smooth and cases delivered to your suite quickly. Embarkation is much slower and patience is required . Excursions at each port are extensive and passengers can usually find more than one option to suit at each port of call There are usually shuttle buses ,to take you to the hereby city/town,if you decide not to take a planned tour. Voyages from Southampton have many wheelchair / Zimmer frame passengers and on the whole come from the UK. If a more international spread it is advisable to do a world cruise ,or part of it , which will involve flying at some point of the holiday In conclusion, I have no hesitation in recommending the Queens . Read Less
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