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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Though Cunard are not the cheapest, the whole experience was slick and smooth. We booked a Britannia balcony cabin, with coach transfer as part of the deal. Excellent coach to Southampton with two stops on the way. Arrived on time and in ... Read More
Though Cunard are not the cheapest, the whole experience was slick and smooth. We booked a Britannia balcony cabin, with coach transfer as part of the deal. Excellent coach to Southampton with two stops on the way. Arrived on time and in cabin within 30mins. We chose earlyt dining (6.30pm) on table of 8 and had good company - we moved round the table as the cruise progressed. Formal dress (jacket a must), but informal dress at the all day Lido restaurant, which we chose on three occasions. Food and service in the Britannia restaurant were excellent, but be warned, alcoholic drinks are pricey. Lido food also very good with great choices for breakfast, lunch and evening meal. We didn't use any of the other restaurants (eg Verandah) were there is an additional charge. Evening entertainment was very good, and excellent at times, though we didn't see all the one hour shows. At 60 and 67 we were probably in the younger 10% on board. Only impact was the day time entertainmeent and some shows are aimed at the older age group. It didn't bother us at all. Excellent range of activitiess each 'sea day', including lectures/talks on forensics, historical evcents and politics. Also food demos, Bridge classes, line dancing, cinema and much more. Excursions are pricey, but good guides. We did two and found nearest Tourist Info and explored on foot in Cadiz, Venice, Hvar, Dubrovnik and Cagliaria. Need to book a tour for Sicily as Messina is just a dock port. Not much in Gibraltar either except tour of fortifications, which was very good. High street is like any British city. Gratuities are pricey (about £21 per day), but we went to Reception and asked to remove this from our bill - done without fuss. We arranged our own (well earned) gratuities at the end of the cruise to Head Waiter and Cabin Steward. Sockets in cabin are American and British. Tea and coffee makig facilities in cabin and all day in Lido, but hot drinks were reasonably priced in cafes on board. All in all, excellent experience - our first cruise, if a little pricey overall. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the port itinerary. We are not that keen on sea days , nor on being on organised ship excursions so it is important to us to have a great list of ports to visit and to be able to do these ports easily on our ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the port itinerary. We are not that keen on sea days , nor on being on organised ship excursions so it is important to us to have a great list of ports to visit and to be able to do these ports easily on our own. This cruise was perfect for us with 10 ports to visit and 4 sea days. Embarkation was swift from Civitivecchia. We had spent 2 nights beforehand in Rome and caught the train to the port. Nothing to do with Cunard but the station at Civitivecchia is appalling for travellers with luggage . Poor, seeing as it is one the the major European cruiseports. Our balcony cabin on Deck 7 was superb, we couldn't fault it and it was beautifully maintained by our cabin steward, Marvin. Plentiful supplies of toiletries throughout our stay. The ship is very elegant and yes caters for a slightly older clientele, but there was a good mix of ages and for those of us young grandparents on board , which is what you would expect on an October cruise it was lovely to have mainly adults who behaved very well and not snobbish at all. We enjoyed dressing up for the Gala evenings , nicer than on Celebrity with evening chic, but have to admit that the jacket requirement for men every evening on a Med cruise should perhaps be reconsidered but that is Cunard and we knew what we were letting ourselves in for . It is easy to go casual at all times by eating in the Lido Buffet if so desired. We found the food in the Buffet where we ate Breakfast and Lunch to be excellent, much better than anticipated after reading the reviews and there was always a lovely atmosphere. We ate for 10 of the 14 nights in the Britannia Restaurant. We enjoyed the dining experience very much and our waiters , Miguel, assisted by Danber were great. However the food quality we felt was better in the Buffet. This was confirmed by many of the people we spoke to. We used breakfast Room Service on quite a few occasions on Port days and it was great. Cunards drinks prices are high. 35 dollars for wine but they do allow you to bring wine on board from ports for cabin consumption and soft drinks and water are freely available in the Buffet. Our main gripe on Restaurant Dining was that we didn't like the fixed time slot of 8.30 but 6 was way too early . Previously on other cruises, we had anytime dining and this we much preferred. Because of the high drinks prices and no drinks packages, the bars seemed very quiet compared to our previous cruises on Celebrity. The 4 shows we saw , we enjoyed. I used the gym and tried my hand or feet at Line Dancing. We preferred the Balcony to sitting on Deck but often wandered round the Decks and there always seemed to be lots of chairs available. The ship was kept spotless. The port shuttles were always waiting and the tender boats in Villefranche and Piran were managed very efficiently as was the launch in Venice. The weather was very kind to us. We had a great cruise and providing there is another great port itinerary we would have no hesitation in recommending or going back to the Queen Victoria . Disembarkation in Venice was easy and efficient and overnight in Venice on board ship was a real bonus. So privileged to have seen Venice by night. All in all a wonderful trip Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We have cruised before on the Queen Mary 2 and it was wonderful. Friends told us the Queen Victoria was better and that is true. There are 2,040 passengers but the ship is so big that you have no feeling of being crowded. The dining ... Read More
We have cruised before on the Queen Mary 2 and it was wonderful. Friends told us the Queen Victoria was better and that is true. There are 2,040 passengers but the ship is so big that you have no feeling of being crowded. The dining experience is superb, both in the main dining room and up in the buffet. Oceania claim they have the best cuisine of any ship at sea but the Queen Victoria is better and it is much cheaper. The entertainment was incredible. A truly magnificent 1,000 seat theatre of red velvet sets. One night, the three brilliant singers had 1,000, 60, 70 and 80 year olds all standing, swaying and clapping in time to the singing. A truly wonderful experience. We sailed from Rome after spending 2 nights in a hotel in Rome. Visited Barcelona, Ajaccio, Monte Carlo, Livorno Italy, back to Civitavechia, Corfu, Kotor in Montenegro, Dubrovnik and then onto Venice for one night stay in a hotel before flying home. We came into both Corfu and Venice at sunrise and I have the most outstanding photographs of sunrises. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Thoroughly delightful! Our second cruise (and for me, my 11th Cunard cruise/crossing since 1977) in QUEEN ELIZABETH numbers among the very best… in all departments and for all good reasons. This was our first Princess Grill ... Read More
Thoroughly delightful! Our second cruise (and for me, my 11th Cunard cruise/crossing since 1977) in QUEEN ELIZABETH numbers among the very best… in all departments and for all good reasons. This was our first Princess Grill experience in QE having enjoyed the Grills in QE2 and QM2 and I’d have to rate it the best (even more than QM2 Queens Grill) in service, cuisine and especially the “ship within a ship” experience imparted by the private deck space and lounge. Cuisine: consistently excellent and for breakfast, luncheon and dinner. We certainly had no reason or need to dine elsewhere so we enjoyed one of the great benefits of the Grills: having your own private table throughout and the same stewards who came to know our preferences. This something you’ll never get with “freedom” dining or open sittings. The menu was fulsome and varied, sufficiently tempting that we seldom availed ourselves of the additional “a la carte” menu except for the treat of Dover sole and a superb rack of lamb. The preparation, presentation etc of every dish was outstanding abetted by an excellent wine by the glass selection. Cunard also sets a proper table with fish forks/knives and soup spoons and if you’ve ever sailed in an American market ship you will appreciate this. Make no mistake this is classic Old School Ocean Liner dining that few if any lines can match, including Oceania. A fascinating tour of the Grills galley showed the meticulous planning and skill that goes into it, too. None of this happens by accident and efforts pay off. Service: “Madam, nothing is too much trouble up here” said a steward to a diner at the next table during our first dinner aboard. And that pretty summed up the service we enjoyed and not just in the Grills decks and dining room, but throughout the entire ship. We never encountered a single crew member who was not unfailing pleasant, personable and professional. The bar service was outstanding. And unlike last year’s cruise, the deck service was, too. The Princess Grill wine steward (from Serbia) was exceptional and personable as were our two table stewards, both from India. Our cabin stewardess, Rowena, was simply the best in some 40 years of cruising… simply brilliant. So efficient, we never once came back from breakfast without the cabin "done" and immaculate. The service on the Grills open decks is.. amazing. Cold towels, fruit, sandwiches, ice cream and full afternoon is served by trolley, something we remember on QE2 in First Class “back in the day”. Cabin: We had a P2 on Deck Four and found it larger that it appears in photos and deck place. There was ample hanging space in the walk-in closet, but the drawer space is almost non existent. Little details like hat hooks and a tie hanging rail are also much missed. My wife loved the full tub bath, too. But the bathroom is nothing like the gorgeous luxurious ones on Oceania’s MARINA and RIVIERA. And yes everything…. Is beige. The veranda furniture, too, is leagues behind that expected for suites on most ships. Décor: And yes everything on QUEEN ELIZABETH is beige. Or brown. Or shades in between. Oh except the endless sheets of pale gray sheeting that line the endless accommodation passageways. It’s relentlessly depressing. Made worse by the “Art Something” decorative touches that’s supposed to evoke the Great Liners and instead often looks like the phony wood fascia board on 1970s cars. QE is due for a refit this November and one can only hope someone discovers there are other colours in the sample book instead of dung brown and band-aid beige. Condition: overall the ship was in better condition in terms of paint work etc. than last year. We did have two bouts of plumbing troubles including about five hours with no hot water. But yes carpets and upholstery need wholesale replacement. It was all very clean just a bit tired. Entertainment: we are not into cruise ship “shows” etc, but really enjoyed evenings in the Yacht Club with an excellent band (as good as last years) and great atmosphere. The string orchestra was good, too. The ship has two pianists and oddly the best (by far), the delightful Campbell Simpson, was related to the Midships Lobby most evenings. Ports etc: a wonderful itinerary with lots of sea days abetted by simply wonderful weather contributed enormously to a good time. Sailing into and out of Venice by ship remains sublime even if the place is heaving with selfie stick tourists. Dubrovnik was far worse and that once enchanting place has been simply and utterly ruined by “Game of Thrones” groupies. We don’t ever want to go there again. Sibenik, on the other hand, was charming and delightful. As was the splendid Spanish city of Valencia. The only tour we did was Giardini Naxos (Taormina) which was to the various villages used in the filming of the “Godfather” films and a wonderful introduction to the beauty of the Sicilian coast and hilltop villages. Cunard does an enviable job with tendering in ports and general organization. QUEEN ELIZABETH Princess Grill is an exemplary product across the board and a now rare exemplar of “proper” traditional ocean liner cruising. It’s adult, it’s quiet, it’s elegant and it’s adult… not some floating theme park or Las Vegas resort. Long may Cunard remain so! We only lament Cunard has decided to all but give up its traditional cruises to the Med... BIG mistake!! Not everyone wants the Baltic and Scandinavia. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
The Itinerary appealed to us. The voyage was memorable for many reasons. The food and entertainment were excellent, and we loved the decor and atmosphere on board. The crew, stewards and waiters were unfailingly helpful and the Pursers ... Read More
The Itinerary appealed to us. The voyage was memorable for many reasons. The food and entertainment were excellent, and we loved the decor and atmosphere on board. The crew, stewards and waiters were unfailingly helpful and the Pursers desk provided very good service. Our stateroom was well set-out and the facilities there were good. We only took one tour, through Athens, but found the information provided for each shore visit to be invaluable. The dining options suited us well, as we used the Buffet for breakfast and lunch, whilst enjoying the ambience and formality of evening meals in the Britannia Restaurant. We loved the musicians playing at various times and in various places, and they helped pass the sea days. We also made use of the Library, which we found to be very well stocked. My one reservation was the exorbitant cost of using wifi - we survived by logging on whilst ashore. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We went to Greece for the first time last year on the Queen Elizabeth. We wanted to visit the Acropolis and other sights in Pireaus and I found a super taxi firm (Michael Sterianos Taxi Tours). Michael gave us a fantastic day out. He ... Read More
We went to Greece for the first time last year on the Queen Elizabeth. We wanted to visit the Acropolis and other sights in Pireaus and I found a super taxi firm (Michael Sterianos Taxi Tours). Michael gave us a fantastic day out. He was on time, such a gentleman, a fountain of knowledge, gave such good rates that there was no contest in booking him again when Queen Elizabeth toured the Greek Isles again this year. Michael was there to meet us again in Pireaus and this time we visited the Olympic Stadium, Corinth Canal, Ancient Corinth and we finished up having lunch in a local restaurant in the village which was excellent value at 7 euros per head including food and drinks! We also visited Rhodes. The ship docked within walking distance of the walled city and it was so picturesque walking through the streets and bartering in the shops for leather bags, clothes, jewellery and belts etc. We then went up the cobbled streets, passed the museum and church on the outskirts and then passed some time away in a local bar/restaurant. Katakolon was another lovely port. We ambled through the shops bartering for goods and then strolled along the restaurants and bars on the seafront. I had to congratulate the Greek people here for their skill in speaking the English language so perfectly with no trace of an accent. Mykonos was another pretty place and we ambled along the bay into town and again passed the time away in a local bar on the seafront. We dawdled back through the pretty streets to the bus pick up point to rejoin the ship. I am not sure if Mykonos is always windy but we certainly picked up a tan there. We would have liked to go to Cadiz again rather than Palma as there is more to do there. We had very informative and excellent speakers on the ship, in particular Ken Lennox, Jack Crawshaw, Tony White, and Bill Miller. The only disappointment was we were too tired on the last night to go to the theatre to see the film 'Jackie'. It was a pity it was not showing earlier on the cruise. We also enjoyed the interview of our super Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge. Entertainment was good, in particular the choreography for the dancers and the costumes were superb. The food in the Britannia Restaurant was a bit repetitive this year when compared to last year. Our 2 waiters (Rosley and Carl) were very friendly and efficient at their jobs, always smiling despite being very tired some nights. Rosley was back at our request from last year. We had 6 p.m. sitting which was a bit too early, and 8.30 p.m. too late as you come out feeling full for the rest of the evening. Some nights we gave it a miss and continued to relax on our balcony in the sun and then went up to The Lido around 7.15 p.m. The food in The Lido was very well presented, tasty and there was a good choice. Again the staff were very friendly and helpful and the dirty plates disappeared fast! This year we had afternoon tea in the ballroom twice, and again the sandwiches and scones were delicious and the waiters and waitresses were helpful and efficient. The food in The Pub was also well presented and delicious. We feel you do need more seating here because we struggled at night and during the day to get seats. We used the lounge bar on Deck 3 after the theatre to relax with an evening drink. Johnny our waiter made a point of having tables and chairs waiting with a big beam on his face, and he looked after us extremely well. The main gripe though, throughout the ship was the price of the drinks plus tax. We all felt if you halved the price of the drinks more people would buy one, or even two, which would inevitably put your profits back up. It might be worth an experiment! We have yet to go on the Queen Victoria and of course the new ship when it is launched Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise as it was a great package, everything was in there and as we had not sailed on Cunard before thought it would be good, which it was. Service is second to none, crew most helpful if you even had the slightest ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was a great package, everything was in there and as we had not sailed on Cunard before thought it would be good, which it was. Service is second to none, crew most helpful if you even had the slightest problem, i.e. delivering grated ginger, lemon and hot water to your cabin twice a day for a throat tickle. Others were quietly assisted with their gluten free diets to ensure they had the best food available. As usual we did see disabled people being helped in a caring way. The food was exceptional!! We were unfortunate enough to have an obstructed view (which we knew of prior to boarding) due to being later in the booking process but it didn't really take anything away, we saw lots and you are all over the ship or ashore every day so We had plenty of room and clothes storage was ample. Buying a bottle of wine (to drink in your cabin) occasionally ashore was not frowned on as some cruise lines do. The entertainment at times wasn't up to expectations but............... we are all different. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this particular cruise because of the itinerary plus the time of year we could go. Having whittled it down to two possible cruises we went for the cheaper option. It turned out it was probably NOT cheaper at all because we ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because of the itinerary plus the time of year we could go. Having whittled it down to two possible cruises we went for the cheaper option. It turned out it was probably NOT cheaper at all because we hadn't factored in the 'add-ons', as this was our first cruise and the excitement overcame the research. However it was a good choice because it's a lovely ship and the service is amazing! Finding the dock was the difficult bit but mainly because of our sat-nav abandoning us as 'within the area of your destination' about a mile and a half before we reached it. Embarkation was amazingly fast and easy - for those of us who have only ever experienced the nightmare of airports before, it was wonderful and over in minutes! We had a balcony cabin on deck 4 (BE class) It was about the size of an average hotel room but with a smaller bathroom and a larger wardrobe. The steward to this room was a hard working, helpful and considerate man and nothing was too much trouble for him. The bathroom is a bit tight but was well thought out for space (all that we use by way of toiletries and medical items fitted well. Dining in the Britannia restaurant was lovely, the waiting staff were kind, friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. We were pretty unimpressed by the entertainment on all but two evenings to be honest but it did not spoil our enjoyment of the cruise as a whole. The service in every area and from every staff member was second to none. There were seven ports over 17 days, we did four organised excursions. Had we realised what Cadiz would be like we would have done an excursion that day as well. Probably we should have realised that a port town is not the prettiest or most entertaining place to spend a day. Split, being a city, was one of the places we booked a trip and we were glad we did (far too busy otherwise) Dubrovnik is beautiful and we will be hoping to return one day for another look at it. Gibraltar was surprisingly much nicer than anticipated. Messina was interesting but the people who went on excursions seemed to have enjoyed it more than we did. Venice was far too busy to do an organised excursion, it was hard work keeping track of the tour guide with so many people around. Corfu is always lovely. We are a middle aged married couple travelling alone. There was a high percentage of elderly people on this trip but it was billed as the QE 50th Anniversary Cruise so maybe people booked for the romanticism of that. This was probably the most relaxing holiday we have ever had. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Having cruised in April with an itinerary that included Dubrovnik and not being physically mobile to alight the ship we thought why not try Cunard with an itinerary including Dubrovnik. Unfortunately not the best start with a seven and a ... Read More
Having cruised in April with an itinerary that included Dubrovnik and not being physically mobile to alight the ship we thought why not try Cunard with an itinerary including Dubrovnik. Unfortunately not the best start with a seven and a half hour flight delay from Manchester. Boarding the ship in Piraeus at nearly midnight we were finally settled into cabin 8093 . We had booked a 'guarantee' balcony BB cabin and were given BF grade which is a roomy disabled cabin. Tea and coffee making facilities are included complete with biscuits. Although the cabin was sheltered from direct sunshine it was still one of the best cabins we have been in. The ship was full but you would never think so. The dining experience is definitely for traditionalists with formal wear definitely the norm for the two formal nights and a jacket for non formal nights complete with shirt but not a tie. It may seem stuffy but if you know in advance then there is no chance of feeling uncomfortable. The Lido buffet is the choice for passengers who don't like the formal approach. Our third time on Queen Victoria and the best .Cabin - great, food - good, staff- friendly and destinations - well chosen. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise because of itinerary,the ship was visiting some places we had not been to before. Cunard is our chosen favourite line for elegance,excellent food and service.Passengers are mainly Brits of a certain age so only a few ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of itinerary,the ship was visiting some places we had not been to before. Cunard is our chosen favourite line for elegance,excellent food and service.Passengers are mainly Brits of a certain age so only a few children,there were however 42 different nationalities on board so it was interesting to meet and speak to people of other countries. My only adverse comments would be that the prices charged for wine and excursions are excessive. The evening entertainment is varied and the resident Cunard singers and dancers put on some good shows. Lectures during the day are interesting ,Jennie Bond the former Royal correspondent was well worth listening to and my husband found the art talks very good. We were lucky with some wonderful weather and the ship coped well with a force 8 gale,this might be of interest to those who are not good sailors. If you haven't cruised before try it ,you will get hooked! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My wife and I chose this 3 week cruise on Queen Victoria because of the itinerary which included many of the Greek Islands that we had not previously visited. Return visits to Venice, Dubrovnik and Istanbul was also an attraction. The ... Read More
My wife and I chose this 3 week cruise on Queen Victoria because of the itinerary which included many of the Greek Islands that we had not previously visited. Return visits to Venice, Dubrovnik and Istanbul was also an attraction. The Turkish ports were taken from the itinerary due to security concerns which we fully appreciated with Heraklion in Crete added. The extensive menus presented in the Britannia Restaurant at all meals was a highlight and we could not agree with previous reviews as to the presentation and quality of the meals. Occassionally we had lunch in the Lido Bistro and found the food on offer also to be of a high quality. Afternoon tea with the white gloved waiters was most enjoyable. All the crew that we came into contact with were very professional and really went out of their way to provide us with a very memorable cruise. Cunard's arrangemeents for us on disembarkation in Athens with an evening flight were really appreciated as we were permitted to remain on board until early afternoon before being transported to the airport. Great consideration. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise because it ticked all our boxes. It went from Athens to Venice. It stopped at Dubrovnik and Split. For me it meant seeing the Croatian coast. This cruise was everything we expected it to be. We were first time ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it ticked all our boxes. It went from Athens to Venice. It stopped at Dubrovnik and Split. For me it meant seeing the Croatian coast. This cruise was everything we expected it to be. We were first time cruisers. I had to ask the cleaner if we paid for meals. I was a complete newbie. For me the Lido was fine. It was fantastic to us. We had just completed touring Eastern Europe with carry on luggage. What a wonderful time too. We had see south western England, Berlin and Dussledorf and then Prague and Budapest so this just fitted in fine. We did not go into the flash restaurant as our given time was 8.30 pm and that was too late for us. We also saw the menu on offer and decided that the buffet was just fine and it was. I really enjoyed both the swimming pool and spa. It was all good. I thought that the excursions were expensive and perhaps not worth it. Yet we had a wonderful experience at Dubrovnik on tuk tuks going around there. Worth it We were on this for a week and it worked well for us. Our first experience and it was all positive. Thank you Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise due to the price and itinerary - we wanted interesting sights to view at the ports which we could undertake ourselves without purchasing excursions we embarked in Rome and after a day at sea travelling past Stromboli ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the price and itinerary - we wanted interesting sights to view at the ports which we could undertake ourselves without purchasing excursions we embarked in Rome and after a day at sea travelling past Stromboli and through the Messina Strait we called at Brindisi Puglia, Kotor Montenegro, Dubrovnik Croatia, Day at Sea, Venice Italy, and finally Trieste Italy where we flew home to Heathrow. Cunard Charter was with BA Boeing 767 with a 2-3-2 seat configuration. Flight and transfers were well organised and from arriving at Rome Airport at 11am we were in our cabin at just gone 1pm. Ship was elegant and charm radiated throughout - inside public areas during the day felt empty and relaxing as most people on excursions or sunbathing. Lido pool - guests reserving sun loungers and cabanas and then disappearing for a couple of hours, especially on sea days was an issue and several arguments ensued Entertainment - shows in the Theatre were well presented whether .the Cunard singers and dancers or the guest appearances from a pick pocket, a Magician or a couple of Scottish singing brothers. Also the live music from the string quarter, a jazz guitarist ,a pianist and Marta the harpist were well delivered Cabin was well maintained by our steward Joel. We were in the MDR early sitting and our table for two was looked after by Bernie, Arnold and the sommelier, Pavel. Bernie in particular was excellent in with his rapport one of the main reasons we enjoyed the cruise so much, however every member of staff showed the same level of service which was excellent throughout the ship. Food in MDR was well prepared and well seasoned . And the meat was as tender as you can get. Range of dishes was sufficient for a weeks cruise and you had the choice of eating in the lido buffet restaurant if nothing took your fancy. Breakfast - we were impressed to find that the Room Service Breakfast menu for a Britannia Stateroom included cooked items so we tended to order this I regularly ordered eggs (scrambled or sunny side up), bacon, sausage tomato and beans as well as hot chocolate and fruit juice.4 August Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Having cruised on the Queen Elizabeth a few times we were really looking forward to this one and once again were not disappointed, our stateroom on deck 8 was kept very clean and the king size bed very comfortable. QE is a beautiful ship ... Read More
Having cruised on the Queen Elizabeth a few times we were really looking forward to this one and once again were not disappointed, our stateroom on deck 8 was kept very clean and the king size bed very comfortable. QE is a beautiful ship and kept spotless, the staff work tirelessly and are very friendly. Great fun was had by guests, crew and officers doing a deck sports day with the captain joining in aswell. We dined in the brittania restaurant and enjoyed some great meals used the Lido for breakfast and lunch enjoyed the meals there aswell. Visited great places did our own thing took the Rome on your own coach trip and had a good few hours walking around visiting the sites . Have done 9 cruises with Cunard and been on all 3ships not really interested in trying other lines with the view if it ain't broke don't fix it, have booked again for Iberian trip in November also for Baltic trip next year can't wait .Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This was our fifth cruise on Queen Victoria but the first in the Grills for several years. Queens Grill was an affordable price on this trip and it was part of a birthday treat. We flew from Heathrow Airport on a British Airways ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise on Queen Victoria but the first in the Grills for several years. Queens Grill was an affordable price on this trip and it was part of a birthday treat. We flew from Heathrow Airport on a British Airways scheduled flight leaving at 7.05 am. The flight was fine, I had been able to pre-book seats a few days earlier via Cunard and as we couldn't check in online we were able to join the very short queue for assistance rather than the long one for Baggage drop off. Heathrow was a very smooth experience, Rome not so much. This was the last sailing from Rome for the season so I would have expected the Cunard experience to have been a bit better organised than it was. There was a bit of a scrum to drop off luggage with the porters and then we were told to go away for 30 minutes. Our flight was on time so I didn't really understand why they weren't ready for us ! Health Forms and other documents were given out on the coach and once we reached the port, embarkation was very efficient. Luggage took a while to arrive, it was nearly 6 by the time we got ours and others had to wait longer. Itinerary - We had a sea day followed by Livorno, Toulon, Barcelona, Valencia, sea day, an unexpected overnight and morning in Gibraltar and then 2 full sea days home. The weather was the opposite of what I had expected - started off damp, turned windy and improved as the cruise went on. We had a bit of rocking and rolling but nothing terrible. We were able to use our balcony for lunch sailing out of Gibraltar and crossing the Bay of Biscay, not bad for November ! Cabin - We were in Q5 cabin, 4191 and loved the position. No problems with noise, it was probably one of the quietest cabins we have ever had. Everyone we spoke to with aft cabins seemed to love them although those on Deck 8 suffered some noise from the Lido Deck. We are not regular QG travellers, this was a good deal and we will be perfectly happy to go back to Britannia with an occasional splurge. The only thing which wasn't really Grills worthy was the balcony furniture - really would have appreciated something a bit more comfortable. Food - The daily menu choices were generally pretty disappointing, I only ate from it once. Often the highlights in Britannia weren't offered on our daily menu. There were always more vegetarian choices than red meat. The a la carte selection was good and I never had the same main course twice although I would happily have done so. On the nights when the a la carte wasn't offered - first, Welcome and Farewell dinner, the menu choices were much improved We asked for Veal chops one night for the following evening and I had Escargots when they were offered in Britannia not QG. We were never specifically asked if we wanted something different, the Maitre D' didn't speak to us at all after introducing himself on the first day. he made his way round some tables but not ours. The Head Waiter in our section was very attentive though. We really enjoyed the food and the service but we have had really good food in Britannia as well. Wifi - Not the fastest but bearable, even worked on the balcony. I lost 50 minutes when my logout failed and had no problem getting them refunded. Entertainment - Not a Cunard strong point but we enjoyed a few evenings in a free theatre box. Cocktail parties - all busy and the Commodore was shaking hands ! Drinks - new cocktail and beer choices were a positive move although I found the PS I Love you far too sweet, I'll stick with a Brandy Alexander. Disembarkation - very quick and the free shuttle to the station was a welcome bonus. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We were only on it for the last 7 days. Rome, Corsica, Livorno, Monte Carlo, Barcelona. We chose the Queen's Grill, category 6 (I say the worst house in the best neighborhood). Our cabin was at the back of the ship. A place that I ... Read More
We were only on it for the last 7 days. Rome, Corsica, Livorno, Monte Carlo, Barcelona. We chose the Queen's Grill, category 6 (I say the worst house in the best neighborhood). Our cabin was at the back of the ship. A place that I love. We can watch the sea turn aqua and foamy as we leave. The deck was tremendous. It was bigger than my wife's first cabin when she sailed so many years ago. The cabin was spacious and the closet space was unbelievable. From the time we embarked through disembarkation it was, though not perfect, pretty darn close. We had a couple of problems.First, I found the bed too hard. We told the stateroom attendant and they put a mattress top on and that was perfect. Second, the shower/bath tub combo. The shower head was too low for me, I am 6'2". We said something and they installed a hand held shower head, but they did not have the piece to hold it in place. So that would not work, so we had them change it back. All of this was done immediately. The only food problem we had was the Verandah Room. As we were in Queen's Grill, we actually were at the best restaurant on the ship. But as our travel agent paid for the dining experience we thought we would give it a shot. The waiter failed to get the order correct, so that was the only problem. The matre d saw this and was mortified. Many apologies and eventually she did not charge us for the meal. We had High Tea in the Queen's Room, again being novices to Cunard we did't know that the Queen's Grill was actually the best of the best, but if we didn't know about the Queen's Grill we would have thought the Tea in the Queen's Room was grand. When we have gone to Broadway Plays, we always wanted to sit in one of those side balcony booths. Well they have them on the ship and we went for it. $63.50 more, but worth it. They give you chocolate treats and a split of very good champagne. Feeling like the elite. Excursions. Well here they did not blow us away. Cinque Terre is a place my wife absolutely wanted to see. We did. But the excursion wasted so much time on ferries that it was hard to actually see much of the 3 out of 5 towns. Barcelona's tour was also too short. We had time so see the outside of the famous church, but not enough to go in. We could have gone back on our own, but we choose not to. We wish that could have been added. That excursion was called "Highlights of Barcelona". It really was just the highlights. We would definitely go again. Not just on this ship, but the same cruise. We already booked a transatlantic cruise based upon the experience. Something I never thought we would do. Why would I spend 6 days on a ship? Let me tell you, the Queen's Grill option makes it worthwhile. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Late summer holiday with family at a time and price suitable for all of us. We have sailed with Cunard 8 times and this was the best so far...excellent ports of call, food, entertainment, stateroom cleanliness and service. On board ... Read More
Late summer holiday with family at a time and price suitable for all of us. We have sailed with Cunard 8 times and this was the best so far...excellent ports of call, food, entertainment, stateroom cleanliness and service. On board the highlights were the excellent musical entertainment with harpist, strong quartet, pianists and the Queens Room orchestra. We love to dance and were delighted that in the first week Eugene and Darya from the Ukraine were on board to teach Jive and Cha Cha, while in the second week, Wilfred and Ilona from Gernany dazzled with their Viennese Waltz. In the middle of their show dance, Ilona lost one of her shoes, but carried on dancing as though nothing had happened...what professionals! The highlights of the ports were: - Rome, where we hired a private taxi from smartcruisetours.com, with our patient and knowledgeable driver Christian taking us to Circus Maximus then onto a great view of Palatine Hill, a visit to the Colosseum and Roman Forum, then onto Piazza di Spagna, after that the Trevi Fountane, followed by a visit to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona before returning to Civitavecchia. - Monte Carlo with a two hour bus tour of all the sights - Kotor in Montenegro, which was outstanding with a beautiful bay, stunning architecture, cheeky cats and lovely restaurants. - Barcelona and Venice which need no description - always new sights in little side streets and shops to discover. All helped by clear blue skies and a cool breeze for walking around and on deck sunbathing. We also saved money by not buying any of the overpriced tours, spa treatments or wines, purchasing the soft drinks package and bringing on our own wine for consumption on our joined balconies. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our first cruise and after careful research here we thought it would be a good choice as we don't like loud and flashy. Flying from Bournemouth with Titan Airways, the initial impression was not great. The flight ran to ... Read More
This was our first cruise and after careful research here we thought it would be a good choice as we don't like loud and flashy. Flying from Bournemouth with Titan Airways, the initial impression was not great. The flight ran to schedule, however, in-flight catering was poor with the most miserable processed cheese sandwich made with sliced white bread, plus a four finger Kit-Kat. Arriving at Venice Marco Polo was chaotic with Cunard charter flights from Heathrow and Manchester arriving around the same time. The queue to give our names to the Cunard staff and drop off suitcases moved very slowly but once outside, the coach transfer to the port was efficient. Check-in and security were pretty speedy and embarkation was trouble free. We found our own way to our stateroom to be greeted by a half bottle of sparkling wine and notification of our dinner sitting arrangements. With dinner over two hours away and starved on the charter flight it would have been helpful if it had been pointed out that we could enjoy afternoon tea in the Lido buffet on deck 9. Dinner in the Britannia restaurant was very good, although our table thought the portion sizes were small (but this was before we adjusted to the 24/7 catering service on board). After dinner we unpacked and explored the public areas of the QV, which are grand, spacious and immaculately presented. Days two and five were sea days and we enjoyed the adults-only Lido pool and hot tubs at the stern of the ship in the fine Mediterranean sunshine. On most days we enjoyed the Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch which enabled us to go with healthier options and to see what was on offer before choosing. We dined in the Britannia restaurant every evening except one, when our departure from Dubrovnik clashed with our sitting and we chose to watch on deck instead. All of our meals were to a very high standard and the catering was unfailingly excellent. We went to a couple of lectures on sea days. The speaker was informative but rather dull. After the first night we went to the shows in the Royal Court theatre. This is a really impressive performance space, equipped to a very high standard. On the Sunday we enjoyed the Liverpool comedian, John Evans – his jokes were clean but his timing was great and we laughed a lot. We thought the theatre's orchestra was excellent and the singers and dancers were incredibly talented and professional. However, we found the choice of songs rather naff and dated. 'Me and my shadow' took me back to memories of 'Billy Cotton's Band Show' of the early 60s! And the Stephen Sondheim medly surely only had resonance for those born in the 1940s? Our final showtime was magician Michael McGurk. We wouldn't normally go to watch a magic show, however, we have to admit that this performer was well worth watching. His sleight of hand was incredible and we still can't work out how he did the rope trick! We also felt that apart from the Thursday, when 50s cover band The Bluejays played in the Queens Room, the ballrooom space, that a handful of guests who went ballroom dancing were over-indulged when music catering for the sort of dancing most of us do at functions and weddings would have been far more popular. Most people we spoke with loved the Bluejays although we would have preferred something more contemporary. Sailing with Cunard, you would never know that Abba or the Bee Gees ever existed! Our cabin, with balcony was very impressive. I'd liken it to a good four star hotel, although the twice daily cleaning and tidying was way better than anything you'd get in a UK hotel. Our steward was delightfully charming. Due to the unrest in Turkey our itinerary was changed to include a visit to Sarande in Albania. This is a scruffy and down-at-heel seaside resort with little to commend it apart from the weather. We walked the promenade and got back on the ship's tender within an hour as there was little else to do. We couldn't believe this was the best option and everyone we spoke to was negative – I'm sure the feedback to Cunard will be universally critical. In total contrast, our call at Santorini was the highlight – a beautiful island and idyllic anchorage in the caldera. We found the drinks, priced in US dollars, to be on the high side, even before the mandatory 15% service charge was added. The wine list started at $40, when considering that in international waters it's a duty free zone, was too much of a mark up on wines that probably wholesale at around $2 per bottle. In summary we liked the laid back and understated elegance of the Queen Victoria and the great service delivered by the ship's crew. If only Cunard pitched their entertainment at the average age of their guests rather than their very oldest, then we would book again in a heartbeat. Disembarkation was smooth although it was slightly irritating to be dropped by the coach at Athens airport three hours before our flight when the check in didn't open until two hours before the flight departed, meaning that we all stood in a queue for at least one hour. As Cunard are in control of everything they could have treated their guests with more care and respect. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Joined Queen Victoria for seven night's of this cruise. Sailed through the embarkation, we were lucky as only our coach to arrive at that time.Cabin comfortable and clean and kept nice by our steward. We had Breakfast and Lunch in the ... Read More
Joined Queen Victoria for seven night's of this cruise. Sailed through the embarkation, we were lucky as only our coach to arrive at that time.Cabin comfortable and clean and kept nice by our steward. We had Breakfast and Lunch in the buffet restaurant, which had an excellent choice of food, regularly replenished and always hot. Dinner was in the Britannia Restaurant with good menu choices and we enjoyed everthing we had. Service in all areas was pleasant and efficient. Weather was excellent as expected and the ports of Corfu,Kotor, Trieste and Venice were all very good. Had been to Venice before on a city break but got up early to enjoy the sail in by cruise ship. We don't really worry too much about the entertainment but did catch two shows by the Theatre team which we enjoyed and the female guest singer was excellent. Formal afternoon tea is served in the beautiful Queen's Room and was a 'must do'. Also, the Winter Garden was a lovely area to sit in and read, have a drink,etc. Have cruised for the last 20 years but never before with Cunard. This is the best ship we have been on and we particularly enjoyed the ambience of the ship; Cunard are maintaining the traditions and standards which cruising was known for. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We booked it because we wanted to try a Cunard and also liked the itinerary. The Queen Victoria is an amazing boat - spotlessly clean and shiny, elegant and comfortable! It was just beautiful! We loved every minute of our cruise. The ... Read More
We booked it because we wanted to try a Cunard and also liked the itinerary. The Queen Victoria is an amazing boat - spotlessly clean and shiny, elegant and comfortable! It was just beautiful! We loved every minute of our cruise. The staff was also very attentive and provided excellent service no matter the department. We booked last minute so we were in an outside cabin (we regularly book at least a balcony). The room was spacious, well decorated and the bed was incredibly comfortable, We were pleasantly surprised because we had psyched ourselves up to be ok with a little room and it was not. The food was also delicious - breakfast was pretty typical cruise fare but from lunch on it was wonderful. Our favourite was the 3pm white glove afternoon tea with various musical accompaniments. This was delicious and partially to blame for the few pounds we put on during the cruise. If you don't want white glove service, then pop up to the Lido and low and behold there is the same sandwiches and scones with cream in a nice casual atmosphere, Dinners in the Brittania were fabulous and I have to commend the staff who once hearing I had allergies brought me the next nights menu so my food could be cooked separately or changed to suit my medical needs. We ate one meal in the Verandah and it was amazing as well. The entertainment was top notch. Two had appeared in Britains Got Talent. We went to two lectures and these were interesting and well prepared - not too long just the perfect length of time. If you want a loud and noisy pool then this cruise is not for you. The pool areas were quiet but spotless. We loved that their was one pool for families and a second for adults. The adult pool is at the back of the pool and you can look through the back glass rail and see the port you are in. This was spectacular in Kotor with the mountains in the background. All in all this was the best cruise of the many we have done. Cunard certainly lives up to their reputation. At one point, my husband said to me that this was the best holiday that we have ever done - and I think he was right! Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our seventh cruise, and first on Cunard. We are mid 40s and chose this cruise because we like a more formal experience and it was an anniversary. We were in Queens Grill in the Q6 suite. Overall, Cunard clearly understand their ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise, and first on Cunard. We are mid 40s and chose this cruise because we like a more formal experience and it was an anniversary. We were in Queens Grill in the Q6 suite. Overall, Cunard clearly understand their audience. The cruise is not typical, and is far more sedate than many cruise lines. However, what they aim to do they deliver. I had been cautious about booking Cunard due to mixed reviews - however, they delivered exactly on what they promise - a classy ship, formal but not stuffy atmosphere and most importantly excellent food and service throughout. There is a decent mix of ages and we never felt too old, although the average age would have been 50-60, there seemed to be less of the 'very old'. Hardly any children. Embarkation at Venice was quick and easy, although there was no separate queue for suite guests, it did not matter as we were through in no time. I was slightly disappointed that there was no welcome drink on boarding, but that was probably the only trick they missed the whole cruise. We had a Q6 suite at the aft of the ship. This is the lowest grade of Queen's Grill suite, but I don't know why - the 180 degree view from the huge balcony more than made up for a slightly smaller room, and it was plenty big enough. Be aware that people on the public deck can look down and see about half of your balcony on the QV, but there was plenty of room to be tucked under cover if required. Quite enjoyed seeing jealous people looking down! The butler was excellent. You paged him and 30 seconds later he called back. Nothing is too much trouble. We made ample use of being able to order from the Queen's Grill menu for room service, and the table is set up in full style. The Queen's Grill hit all expectations. Formal service, friendly but not over attentive, but I only had to raise my eyes to find someone to attend me. Watching the waiters in busy periods is like watching an amazingly choreographed dance, with everyone appearing at just the right point at the right time. The food is quite excellent - we did not order off menu as quite honestly I cannot see the point. The only slight question is that the daily menu only has salad and soups as appetisers, so if you don't want this you are back to the a la carte, which is extensive, but if I am fussy I would have liked an extra daily choice or two. Not so with the mains, where you are spoilt for choice. The other benefits of the Grills are extensive - the terrace is wonderful (and not used much), the reserved upper decks are amazing and the Lounge is a great amenity and our favourite drinking venue. Entertainment is said not to be a Cunard strength and we saw two sides. The production shows were excellent - in particular the singers and dancers were simply more talented and better drilled than we have ever seen before. Other shows were mixed - they repeated some artists twice which I don't really like. The theatre is a classic piece of Cunard - nothing like the usual glitz, it is basically a recreation of a London Theatre complete with boxes. Amazing venue. Cunard don't go into much in the way of daytime fun, which was fine by us, if I want that there are other lines that do it far better. But having a string quartet and a harpist (very talented lady) was much more what we appreciate. Not having announcements all day was a blessing. Formal nights are very formal and very well observed. You cannot overdress on Cunard, even on informal nights, although my wife tried! The actual balls take place in the Queen's Room, where you can watch people who clearly have practiced for years. Take note that if you can't actually ballroom dance you are just going to be watching - there is not much opportunity to shuffle round if you don't know what you are doing as you will look out of place. However, they have a professional dance couple that appear and show you how it should be done. The ship itself is a delight - understated but classy, with restraint in the colour palette but quality throughout. The excursions were all fine - we did them via Cunard at many ports and all went off without a problem - obviously there are overpriced but there is no complaint about the service. The itinerary was great, with Kotor being the surprise star of the show. Med cruises are quite 'hard work' with few sea days but we fitted in a great deal. Overall, however, I will remember the service - except for the lack of a boarding drink there was not a single occasion I asked for anything from any member of staff that was not delivered - no mistakes, just done first time. This is what you would expect in the Grill's and it fully met expectations. Overall, a highly memorable cruise and would recommend Cunard strongly if you are looking for the type of cruise they offer. In this age of the lowest common denominator, at least they know what they are trying to achieve. 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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Our third trip on this fabulous ship, and travelling in Queens Grill is just the best. With a concierge and butler to help with any request, free alcohol of our choice in room ( wine, spirits, beer etc) canopes each evening, we felt very ... Read More
Our third trip on this fabulous ship, and travelling in Queens Grill is just the best. With a concierge and butler to help with any request, free alcohol of our choice in room ( wine, spirits, beer etc) canopes each evening, we felt very spoiled. Dinner in the Queens Grill is a wonderful experience, with the best staff and food. Leave your diet at home and indulge for a few weeks for an unforgetable experience. The outdoor "Tuscan" style dining area was just fantastic for lunch, thanks to great weather and smooth seas. We found the entertainment not as good as previously on world cruise legs, but I guess it's a different audience on a Mediterranean cruise. Similarly, with so many port days, the onboard daytime activities were limited, but that's understandable with most people being ashore. All in all, a wonderful holiday and it was sad to leave our new found friends. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We have always cruised with Cunard so can only compare it with comments made by fellow travelers who had used other cruise lines. Almost without exception we are told time and time again that some of the other cruise lines are good, but ... Read More
We have always cruised with Cunard so can only compare it with comments made by fellow travelers who had used other cruise lines. Almost without exception we are told time and time again that some of the other cruise lines are good, but Cunard is a bit special. Bearing this in mind, we take the view that having stumbled upon something very good almost by accident, why would we want to risk thousands of pounds booking with a company whose ships we might not enjoy so much. We have cruised with Cunard 5 times visiting the Mediterranean, Atlantic Isles and Caribbean and we have thoroughly enjoyed it each time. We cannot afford Queens Grill or Princess Grill staterooms, but we find the lower grade cabins well appointed and comfortable, with sufficient wardrobe space (we took 5 suitcases). The food is excellent and the service superb. You can eat 24 hours a day if you choose to including afternoon cream teas and room service all in the price. There is plenty of entertainment with a casino, pub quizzes, dancing and a different high quality show in the theatre each evening. There are interesting speakers and demonstrations of fruit and ice carving and craft classes if you want to learn a new skill. We find it more convenient to visit the restaurant for the early sitting at 6 o'clock as this leaves one free to enjoy the entertainment, or just sit in one of the bars or coffee lounges and chat with new friends all evening. The staff are friendly and eager to please and not just because of possible gratuities as they have no way of knowing who pays them and who ask for them to be removed from the stateroom account. We always pay them as it ensures that the backroom staff in the kitchens etc. are rewarded for making your holiday enjoyable. You can of course give a little extra to your stateroom steward and table waiters etc. if you think the service you have received warrants it. Cruising is pure relaxation and the only criticism I have is in respect of some onshore excursions, which are sometimes not good value for money. We usually choose to go ashore and wonder around at our own pace, as we are not really interested in seeing churches and museums. However, if that is what floats your boat (forgive the pun) there is usually a wide choice of trips to select from. There is a well equipped fitness suite for those who get withdrawal symptoms if they cannot visit the gym, but personally I don't, so I stay away. There is always plenty of information provided about shipboard activities and a daily news sheet is delivered with your bedtime chocolates every evening to let you know what is going on in the rest of the world, outside your floating cocoon. I have not wasted time describing the ports we visited as obviously you would only select a cruise that was due to visit the places you want to see, unless like us, you just enjoy the luxury of being on the ship, then an interesting port to visit is a bonus. Cruising is like most things in life "you get what you pay for" and Cunard is very good value for money. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We sailed on Queen Victoria to celebrate our 25th Wedding anniversary, and this cruise was our first. We are both in our mid 40’s. We booked this 14 day Western Mediterranean cruise Embarking from Istanbul and returning from Rome ... Read More
We sailed on Queen Victoria to celebrate our 25th Wedding anniversary, and this cruise was our first. We are both in our mid 40’s. We booked this 14 day Western Mediterranean cruise Embarking from Istanbul and returning from Rome around 5 weeks before departure and at that time took advantage of a Cunard ‘Saver Fare’ and opted for a balcony stateroom with an obstructed view, which best fit our budget. Nearer embarkation time we received notification from Cunard of our stateroom being upgraded to an unrestricted view on Deck 5 Aft, Stateroom 5161, which was a lovely surprise. In total, the cruise cost a very reasonable £1349pp for the 14 nights including flight supplements. The cruise number was V517D in the Cunard brochure. Flights to Istanbul and return from Rome were included in the fare excepting a small supplement of £50pp due to us flying from Manchester (flights from London did not incur supplement). The charter flight carrier was Titan Airways, and flights both ways were pleasant enough, and flight times good, 8am out and 4pm for the return. It would have been beneficial, and I would recommend to all, to extend the holiday by staying on in Rome for a couple of days afterward or prior to embarkation in Istanbul or indeed both destinations, so that both these cities could be explored further but sadly, time and work pressures were not on our side. Just a note on the Titan Airways flights, the information we were provided prior to the holiday was that a very restrictive 20kg hold luggage and 5kg cabin bag was imposed and no possibility of paying for extra weight; it turned out at the check in desk, that no such restriction was in place, and essentially our packing anxieties were unfound, I guess as long as you don’t go over the top, checking in an extra few kilos would be fine. We flew into Istanbul Corlu, which is a tiny military and civil airport so getting through customs and onto the awaiting coaches was swift, transfers to the port in Istanbul was around an hour and a half, but this accounted for by heavy traffic in Istanbul, a city of over 15million people! Embarkation was an easy process, registering ourselves and our credit card for onboard spending was a speedy 5 minute process; passports exchanged for the ships card that provides you with identification to gain access and exit to the ship, port customs, stateroom key and as your currency on board ship throughout your stay. Our luggage was delivered to our stateroom within an hour of us boarding. Queen Victoria We remain in awe of this magnificent ship, and I cannot think of enough superlatives that quantify the feel good factor of being on board. The ship is fitted out beautifully, the public areas decorated and furnished to an extremely high standard and the deck areas nicely laid out and well provided for with equipment such as deck chairs and loungers, in the shade or in the sun. Despite the heat and humidity outside, the public areas and the stateroom were always at a nice comfortable temperature throughout, and the air-conditioning in the stateroom is nicely independently controllable. Dining In terms of dining, as per the booking conditions, dining allocated on embarkation, we were allocated the early 6.30pm sitting in the Britannia Restaurant, and we were disappointed by this initially, due to us having pre-booked several all day tours and we did request a change to the late sitting, the Maitre d’hôtel did get our reservation switched the second week, but actually, we much preferred the early sitting, as by the time you finish dinner following the late sitting, we were unmotivated to take in all the entertainment on offer due to the late hour and our tiredness, I guess its always to be careful what you wish for! The food in the Britannia Restaurant was fantastic; service was impeccable, unrushed and attentive our waiters Marlon & Mark were a great team; and the wine waiters were equally as diligent, but they were quite stretched and at times, they weren’t able to provide the service they are clearly capable of due to having such large stations to attend to. We were allocated a table for 2 on both weeks, early and the late sitting. We also took advantage of the Verandah Restaurant on two occasions for dinner, and it certainly is a worthy upgrade, the food and service ratcheted up a notch from the Brittania dining and we thoroughly enjoyed the ambiance and service provided there and its certainly good value for the $24pp it costs. Lunch, when not on tours and sea days, we took in the Britannia Restaurant which was always a pleasant experience and we did on occasions elected to sit with other diners which was nice to catch up with other people, their experiences and stories. We also lunched in the Golden Lion Pub and again, the food and service was great. Breakfast we also took in the Britannia; breakfasts there unhurried and relaxing, we took one room service breakfast on the balcony, but being a bit old-fashioned and much preferring a proper table we didn’t take advantage of the room service as much as my wife would have preferred to have done. The Lido buffet restaurant: I need to disclose that I’m not a buffet fan (it reminds me so much of queuing at a works canteen and also, my lack of self control would have led me to have eaten far too much!), so my comments are limited to the several breakfasts we ate there when necessary as some of our tours required an early start, and it was always an ok experience; the food plentiful and hot. We took a couple of snacks from the Lido on deck, but other than that, we stayed clear of the Lido, preferring dining in the Britannia, so I cannot comment on lunch and dinner provided. The upgraded dining menus in The Lido typically costing $10- $15, of which waiting staff are provided to serve you at the table, such as the Indian, Italian and Oriental speciality evenings looked very nice, but I found it difficult to come out of my comfort zone to take any of these dining options. Afternoon tea was extremely nice in the Queens Room and served with care and attention, and always accompanied by a pianist, the small cakes were gorgeous. I believe that afternoon tea is also available in the Winter Garden and Lido. We didn’t use Café Carinthia, and I’m really not sure why, probably just because of our schedule, as when passing by, the food and coffee always looked great. To sum up dining on Queen Victoria; there’s bound to be something to suit all tastes and palettes and dietary requirements, my wife did on occasions take the Royal Spa selections which are suggestions at meal times for health eating, in hindsight, perhaps I should have done the same. In short, you could never go hungry on Queen Victoria. Drinks All the bars provided great service and we tried them all out! The Golden Lion, great for a cooling drink following a tour, and a great place to have fun, such as quizzes, bingo etc. Midships Bar and Chart Room a really nice place to take a cocktail or G&T prior to dinner and pre dinner always served with a nice selection of complimentary small eats such as nuts and canapés. Fantastic views in the Commodore Club, but we found this space a little bit too stuffy and formal for our liking. The bars on deck were also very pleasant. I feel the drink prices were in keeping with the service provided and I feel that if Cunard provided an ‘all inclusive’ drink package add on, it would only serve to lower the quality and service standards and might cause over indulgence by some. We did take wine in the restaurants with our meals, and there’s plenty of selection to suit all pockets, ours were at the lower end, but there were some great wines, red, whites, rose and fizz in the $30 to $50 range that amiably accompanied dinner and made every evening special. The odd bottle of bubbly we had was a real treat. Entertainment This must be so difficult for any cruise ship to get the right balance and to suit all tastes, but the entertainment we participated in was great fun or interesting. Wine tasting was great, unlimited quaffing of some great wine and I did learn a lot from the experts on hand; lectures were engaging, particularly Jane Corbyn; sing bingo, quizzes etc. in the Golden Lion were great fun, the comedian Mick Miller attracted great big belly laughs all around the theatre. Dance classes were hilarious, due to my two left feet and the Royal Cunard singers and dancers put on some great shows, and clearly they are very well organised and proficient in what they do. Didn’t use the Hemispheres Club as we were simply too tired after all the days activities but perhaps we should of pushed ourselves that little bit more, as the advertised music on offer there sounded like great fun. My wife used the Spa on a couple of occasions and also the hairdressing, she would have probably used it more but the costs were for our budget, prohibitive, $70 for your hair putting up prior to dinner is cost prohibited, but probably is about right to stifle demand on the available hairdressers! Shopping on board was great, and the duty free prices seemed reasonable. There appeared to be some great deals on premium products. Photos Here’s my only gripe of the cruise, and not down to the quality of the finished product or the expertise of the photographers, but both the costs and the delay of getting to view the photographs. $24.95 for a photo at dinner or on quayside and $34.95 for the formal compositions are, I feel simply too high, particularly in this digital, everybody having a camera in their pocket day and age- maybe photography has become just too common place and taken for granted by me, but even my wife, who is usually over zealous and Gung-ho when it comes to photo purchasing at any location we visit, balked at the prices. Photo packages did not seem good value. I clearly don’t have access to Cunard’s balance sheet and cost of sales in the photographic department, so maybe for the quality and overheads of employing the experts they do, the prices might well be fair, but what I do know is, that if the prices were pegged at say $14.95, my wife would have certainly purchased a dozen or so photos, but as it was, she only purchased one! Extremely out of character for her. A suggestion I made on our feedback post cruise to Cunard was to raise my pricing concerns and at least suggest to make all the photo’s available as a digital download post cruise, for a more reasonable fee, or even at the same fee, but giving some time to consider the photo’s and buy them at a later date when you can save up a bit for them, rather than the inevitable and wasteful shredding and recycling of the printed article. Ports/Tours Istanbul. Fantastic city with so much to see and do and welcoming and friendly people and fantastic food and drink. We were so lucky to have an overnight stay there the first day before setting sail the following evening, and even better was a return to the city several days later. We used the first full day to take a marvellous excursion taking in the highlights of the city, so that when we returned, we could concentrate on taking a look in more detail of the sights, smells and sounds. The call to prayer from the many mosques around the city was fantastic to wake to in a morning and listen to at sunset. The tour we went on ‘Best of Istanbul Four Seasons’ took in all the major sites and included lunch at a fantastic hotel. The sites were of course the Blue Mosque but also Hagia Sophia; Topkapi Palace and the Harem; spice bazaar and so on. The tour guide was engaging, funny and knowledgeable and lunch a pleasant adjunct to the afternoon activities. I just wish Cunard would refrain in all of the Turkish port tours to include carpet making and the clearly commissioned sales pitch at the end! But I guess they are an optional feature of the tours. Shopping in Istanbul or any of the Turkish ports is a must, particularly clothing and jewellery, spices, tea olives, nuts and sweets such as Turkish Delight, which are all good value for money and high quality. On our second day visit we went to the Basilica Cistern and Grand Bazaar as well as chilling out in several squares and cafes and simply wandering the streets and parks taking in the cities warmth and culture. Marmaris. Beautiful port for Queen Victoria to sail into and berth, sailing into Marmaris is reminiscent of fjords, narrow channels, tiny islands and a backdrop of mountains shrouded by pine forest. We didn’t take a tour there, and simply walked to a beach for a day there swimming and sunbathing, followed by a traditional Turkish lunch. People we spoke to told us that the tours were great value, particularly the river cruise tour. Heraklion. We took a tour to Knossos, in hindsight, it would have been better and much, much cheaper to have done this tour independently and it’s a small site, cheap to enter- 6 euros and transport there by bus is only a couple of euros. Although the tour guide was good, we could hardly hear what she had to say due to it being so busy and because of the constant chirping of the Cicadas, which were extremely loud! The lack of the tour guide providing radio audio commentary hamstrung the tour. Piraeus. My wife’s favourite. Athens was a fantastic port of call; lots to see and do and we took a tour of The Acropolis and visited the Plaka area. Worthwhile and good value and the sights of the city from the Acropolis amazing. The Plaka is a great place to lunch and shop. Dardanelles. At sea passing the Dardanelles was amazing, and gave time to contemplate the strategic position that Turkey holds and the reason why so many lost their lives during the Great War in order to attempt to hold this. There are poignant memorials to those who fell are visible clearly from the ship. Kusadasi. My favourite port of call. Tour to Ephesus is not to be missed, and we took in two other landmarks also, Miletus and Didyma- all I can suggest is to visit, I can’t begin to sum up how wonderful and amazing Ephesus is, the tour guide was fantastic and lunch included on the full day tour, which engaged so much that the day whizzed by. Kusadasi itself is a fantastic port, lots of great shops, fantastic places to eat and drink, and don’t forget to treat yourself to beauty treatments; massage and a visit to a traditional Turkish barber who will coiffure your hair, massage your head and shoulders and give you the closest shave you’ll ever get for 30 TLi, a lot less than £10 GBP. Santorini. Now this was meant to be one of the highlights of my journey, but sadly I probably placed too much expectation on this port of call. We anchored in the bay, and tenders took as ashore to awaiting coaches to visit the village of Oia, and then a wine tasting, neither impressed, Oia was thronged with people, and the streets jam packed with a sea of people. Oia itself is without doubt beautiful, but too many people spoil the experience and the village is essentially one big gift shop! Santorini wine was uninspiring and not to my taste, but again one mans meat is another mans poison. To finish off the tour, a ‘free’ ticket was given for the cable car down to the old port from Thira, unfortunately, the demand was such that if we had queued we would never have got the last tender, so a horrid walk down the Donkey manure encrusted steps ensued, a horrid experience, made worse by people riding up and down the steps by the clearly exploited Donkey’s which lacked shade and water. If I do return to Santorini, it will have to be out of season. Transit Messina Stait. Amazing! Salerno. Not a pretty port! We were all tripped out by the time we berthed in Salerno and didn’t visit any of the obvious choices of excursions such as Pompei; Vesuvius; Amalfi or Sorrento but instead had a sojourn around Salerno, nice trip to the beach for a swim and the most glorious pizza and ice cream to round the day off. Civitavecchia. Our last port of call, and again, not pretty but if only we had time to stay on for a day or two in Rome but we did take in a city tour en route to the airport which was informative, but sadly not enough to satisfy much at all of what Rome has to offer. Disembarkation Much the same as embarkation hassle free and smooth. In Summary All in all, this was the best holiday we have ever taken. It was a special occasion for us, and we spent much more money on this two week holiday as we would taking our three sons away for a couple of weeks in the sun on our usual annual holidays. In terms of value for money and quality, the whole experience far exceeded our expectations, impeccable and friendly service delivered with care, attention and professionalism. Its great to get dressed up and make every evening a special occasion. The only difficulty for us now, is that Cunard has set the bar for our first taste of cruising and it would be so difficult to choose any other cruise line, in case the experience we had with Cunard wasn’t replicated. Read Less
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