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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This is a tricky review to write. We spent 19 days on the Queen Mary 2, and it was a lovely break. We’ve often cruised before, but this was the first with Cunard who came recommended. We booked the Queen’s Grill service – this is the ... Read More
This is a tricky review to write. We spent 19 days on the Queen Mary 2, and it was a lovely break. We’ve often cruised before, but this was the first with Cunard who came recommended. We booked the Queen’s Grill service – this is the First Class tier, and as Cunard claims the First Class level in general, I suppose this was the First Class of the First Class. So we had high expectations. The service was really good by and large, our cabin was spacious and well-appointed and the staff mostly charming, motivated and friendly. But we also had issues some of which were serious – things which Cunard really should address or assist with, and these often took the edge off the experience. Hence the title – ‘Close…but No Cigar’. In the interest of balance, I have also asked Cunard to respond at the end which is why it’s taken a few weeks to post this review. Cunard accept all the issue and are very apologetic. They have refunded some items such as the tours described below and they compensated us unasked for others (£1200.00 as a credit). But I also awaited their response to publish here – which as I say is at the end. You can judge from the response whether Cunard address the issues and actually change anything. So what did we like? Lots. We saw wonderful things and places, and had some great experiences. An example is our Butler. Friendly, helpful where he could be, in a role many will say is not clearly defined beyond stateroom cleaner and servicing. But twice he saved us specific upset. The first was the late arrival (by several hours) of one suitcase – with all Mr’s clothes in. Krishna (the Butler) went the extra mile to track it down in security and bought it to us, just as we prepared (indeed so we could dress) for dinner on the first night. On another occasion my wife lost her ‘Fitbit’ watch as we hurried late for a shore excursion. Not hugely valuable, but it was a Christmas present from our son, so sentimental. We knew it was lost between our stateroom and the theatre. Again, after we’d asked the Purser for several days if it had been handed in, we asked Krishna if he could help. He went to security, and they checked the cameras along the entire route from stateroom to theatre. They found where it was dropped, and a passenger who then picked it up was spotted. A polite call by the Butler and security to his cabin, and apologies that he’d not yet handed it in, and it was returned. This is particular is probably the best piece of Customer Service we have ever seen…well done. The food was excellent as expected, and the dining staff like all others, engaging, interested, keen to help. Both the daily menu and a la carte were simply superb and to our taste. The sommelier was knowledgeable and engaging and added to our experience. The talks on board, the Planetarium, afternoon tea, the films, the range of games, the choir we joined (after abandoning dance – see below) were again all great fun and world class. So…what went wrong? It was several things – some serious, some less so but none the less all were surprising. And (to note) I deliberately left it two weeks before writing this review (and then longer to allow Cunard to respond) to allow some perspective and objectivity – but these did really affect our experience. Our arrival The stateroom was spacious, and we went in. The very first thing I noticed was (apart from one orchid flower in a bowl of water) no flowers. There’s a shelf right by the door where they are placed in all pictures from Cunard – so the first thing you see. Small detail but we like plants and flowers around us, and we had noted their provision with pleasure from the brochure. In the end we bought flowers for the room on day two, but then three days after sailing an orchid potted plant did arrive unannounced. Just as you’ll see in all the brochure pictures. We didn’t mention it to the Butler as we found a more serious fault described below and didn’t want a general ‘moan’, but a room is either prepared or not. And had I known these were coming (and when we ordered through the Concierge I did explain why I was buying), I’d not have bought more flowers. And totally get this really is a first world problem! But also on arrival anywhere, I tend to hunt for electric sockets – charging both phones, tablets and so on, we need power, and often I find a hidden socket behind bedside lockers so we can keep these on our bedside tables. No sockets. But what I did find behind my locker was a lot of filth and dirt, what looked like a dead insect or cockroach, and other mess (as you’ll see in the pictures accompanying the review). My wife’s was worse – among the filth and piles of dust were coins and a number of the QM2’s internal newspaper. Dated August 2018 (again you can zoom into the picture). This means the last time the room was properly cleaned was more than five months before our arrival – and judging by the dust a long time before that. But demonstrably not since August 2018. This we did raise with the Butler, and it was sorted out the next morning (he did offer that night but we just wanted to get on). There were also hairgrips all over the walk-in wardrobe floor and under the dressing table – my wife picked up about 20 over the next week – presumably the vacuum cleaner rejects these. So not only had this room not been cleaned properly (for months) but also (if you’ve ever seen TV programmes) Cunard shows the highest level of pre-guest inspection, with each room being checked before being released for new guests. I sort of understand that occasionally in a difficult turnround this may be missed. But half a year – not cleaned and/or inspected? And you have to wonder what else was missed or short-cut? Sorry, that’s not good enough in any hospitality venue, let alone Queen’s Grill on QM2. In the walk-in wardrobe the bottom two of four drawers were broken (we assume someone tried to climb on them to check the shelf above). We unjammed them and they worked after a fashion. But as above, either they were inspected before we arrived and ignored, or simply not checked after previous guests. And finally a detail (see picture again) but outside on the balcony a large piece of the paintwork was peeled off and peeling. QM2 is a working ship, we get that. Conditions can be harsh. But we don’t live with broken furniture or peeling walls at home, so why should I on holiday, especially with such a large maintenance staff? The paint loss must have been noticed as the missing pieces, the size of a couple of dinner plates had been cleaned away. The Entertainment Honestly, some of the shows seemed under rehearsed and the in-house troupe didn’t match other cruise lines we’ve been on. It’s subjective, and some on the other hand we did get to see, particularly external entertainers, were excellent. But it didn’t matter – as after the first few days we really gave up on the Theatre as a regular event. The problem is that most passengers (in Britannia class) eat dinner from 1800. They finish around 2000 – and head to the Theatre where the shows begin at 2045. In Queen’s Grill though the service starts at 1830 – and you don’t finish until 2015-2030 – unless you hurry your meal or miss courses (and as I’ve said the food is excellent). But by the time you get to the Theatre, it’s basically already full. Three nights in a row (the first three nights) the only seats we could get were high up on one end of the balcony, which wraps around the stage so you’re actually just behind the action and actors. You can’t see the set, band or whatever as they’re hidden from view by the side of the stage. The acoustic high up is also pretty dreadful. The second show is 2230 ending at 2315ish – that’s too late for us, and we don’t want to hang around for two hours after dinner anyway. And we couldn’t eat after the 2045 show as these are 45 minutes long and end at 2130 plus. The Queen’s Grill restaurant take last sittings at 2130, and even if we snook I late – who wants to eat alone with the staff hanging around? On two nights the show timings were bought forward to 1900 for the first show. This worked well both times and we enjoyed the entertainment. On another night we really wanted to see the show so ate at the self-service Kings Court which was good – but not a choice for every night simply to see the entertainment. There are easy fixes – for example open the Queen’s Grill at 1800 – or move the show time to 1900 regularly (clearly it can be done). Put aside some seats for Queen’s Grill – after all we’re paying a huge premium. On Celebrity in Suite Class, the Butler saves a seat or two for First Class guests on a roped off row. Again an easy fix and something the Butler could do over and above being a stateroom cleaner. And then on Celebrity the Butler will bring you a drink – there’s no service in the balcony on Cunard. This issue I did raised with the Concierge – many people talked about the shows – but we felt we missed out. I think the final straw was a show with apparently fabulous backdrops – we weren’t even aware there was a set from where we had to sit. The Concierge said she’d talk to the different teams – and acknowledged this was a complaint she’d heard before from others. A week later she asked if the Assistant Entertainment Manager had been in touch – he/she hadn’t. They never did. We came to the conclusion that ‘I’ll talk to the Management’ was Cunard crew’s way of Kicking issues into the Long Grass – more below. Again, this was a disappointment. Dancing Mrs B and I have only tried dancing lessons once – 20 years ago. After lesson three we considered calling lawyers. But this time I thought I’d really give it a go. She loves to dance, and it must be possible to master something. And Cunard do say ‘Try/learn something new’. The easiest seemed to be Line Dancing, so we attended the first lesson. Within five minutes we were into ‘So that’s two grapevines, a slide, a chasee, then a pivot…’ which meant nothing to me. I was sunk. So afterwards I went to the two dance instructors and said ‘It’s clear everyone had experience, do you have a beginner’s class, for those who’ve not line danced before?’. The response was abrupt. No, they expect everyone to come with at least two years’ experience. So much for learning a new skill. But actually they felt it was such a good idea, such a revelation, they’d raise it with their Manager (see Kicking into the Long Grass above) and they took my Stateroom number. I didn’t hear another thing. It’s interesting to note that out of 50-60 people in the Line Dancing class, only five were men – we don’t generally do these things outside a holiday or leisure and the gender mix reflects this. So we moved onto Ballroom. Again two excellent instructors, and at the end of the first hour, I felt I’d got the real basics of waltz. Just needed developing and repeating. But next day we did Cha-Cha. OK, try to master two in quick succession from no skill at all. And day three was the Tango. Again I was lost. An hour isn’t long enough, and two or three days on each dance would really have consolidated things. Again though ‘that’s not how it’s done’, previous experience is clearly required. My Dancing Days will have to wait for another time… Trips Ashore We pre-booked some Cunard excursions – Seville, Delphi (Greece), and the Holy Land. We’re pretty young and fit, and also well-travelled. We tend to be adventurous so the first two tours we booked were described as arduous, lots of walking, uneven surfaces, hills and so on. Cunard call these ‘High Activity Level’, as explained on the booking form. Other activity levels are offered on other excursions. For Seville, the problem started before we even went on board the QM2. A key destination there is the Cathedral – the third largest in Christendom. It was central to the tour when we booked and our reason. But an email a few weeks before departure explained that because we were there on a Sunday, the Cathedral was closed to visitors. Now it was always a Sunday, so who didn’t check such a thing when creating the programme? No matter we went ahead anyway (and will return another time to see the Cathedral – it’s great from the outside!). What this indicated was a general lack of attention to detail and ownership over the excursions. In the event, we had a lovely tour of this wonderful City and a Moorish castle, and apart from missing one fellow passenger after lunch (she sat with another group, and was completely unaware when we left, the Guide saying she seemed to be struggling with it all a bit) all was fine. Then, as we walked through the old town, an elderly American lady fell on cobbles. She had clearly been getting very tired and it was a long walk (‘high activity’), and couldn’t pick her feet up. Down she went, cutting her leg, and clearly in shock. Worrying for her and us – so the Cunard Rep (one on each coach plus the guide in theory) stayed with her, and we were hurried to the end point, so the Guide could then leave us for 45 minutes, and go back and bring this lady to us. She was at a guess 80 years old, clearly exhausted, and very upset. The next stop was Greece, for Delphi. We were late driving from the ship as our Cunard Rep didn’t turn up for the coach. After 15 minutes, long after two other coaches had departed for Delphi, our local Guide gave up and said we’d go without the support. The Oracle at Delphi is up a fairly long hard hill climb on smooth stones and broken ground with large steps, in the heat. As we got off the coach it was clear the Guide was weighing the group up. Some of the less fit were already struggling – so she said that we’d go up slowly, and stop every 50 metres or so people could get their breath back. It’s about a 10 minute climb up the stone steps for people such as us, but the regular stops meant it took 40 minutes to reach the temple level. We did try going ahead – but without the guide to explain we lost all the context. Eventually reaching the temple level, we had about 10 minutes at this Wonder of the Ancient World we’ve longed to see for so long. Other groups had had half an hour plus to explore – and we missed key things, it all felt rushed, and really not what we’d expected. We’d set off late, and then had a lengthy climb. Worse was to come. On the way down a British man, tripped and fell. He’d already spent his time sitting quietly apart at the top, and I’d asked him if he was OK, and he said he was tired. In the tumble he gashed his hand badly and again was shaken up. However after a slow descent he sat outside the museum restaurant and had a drink and seemed fine. Then after the museum (I think this gentleman sat outside) we went for lunch. Again, my wife and I found ourselves helping this man clearly a bit shocked still, and his wife. So we were last in the restaurant (remember, no Cunard Rep to assist on this trip as they overslept or whatever…). He wouldn’t bandage his hand as he said he wanted it to ‘dry’, so we sat through lunch on four person table with his blood dripping onto the table cloth and forming a pool beside him. What we did discover though was that he is 88 years old. And because of this, and he now felt he shouldn’t have done the trip, he had a furious and loud row on the coach with the guide on the way back when he refused to complete a Cunard accident form. Cunard have a clear and absolute Duty of Care to their guests. So I discussed this with the Concierge (same time as I raised the Theatre timing issue above). Fine, I get it that Cunard don’t know people’s fitness levels. But they do know our ages from the start, and permitting an 88 year old onto a trip marked ‘high activity’, up a long hillside in the bright sun, on smooth irregular marble steps and stones and lose earth. That’s ridiculous. They can clearly provide a clearer description – and the fact that in Seville they didn’t even spot it was Sunday when putting the excursion together shows a lack of attention to this sort of detail when selling the trips. We hope no one ever has a much more serious injury or health event. But if they do, someone old and frail pushing the boundary too hard, blame will be shared – Cunard are not taking their responsibility for welfare if they let people who are clearly going to struggle onto these trips. It’s not good enough to say an 88 year old should have read ‘High Activity Level’ and not taken part. Two trips in a row we saw potentially serious accidents, both resulting in blood loss. And, although it’s clearly of less importance, that totally spoils the experience for the rest of us. Our Champagne Evening One of the nice things about Queen’s Grill is we get out own deck at the back of the ship. So we decided on the last Gala (dressing up) night, to invite some (10) new friends to start the evening with a Champagne reception on the back deck as the sun set over the sea. We’ve done it before on other companies – Celebrity again for example. There, one call to the Butler, and it’s sorted. However there’s a bar on the Queen’s Grill deck so I asked there for starters which seemed logical. The barman tried to help, and said he’d have to ask his Manager if there would be room for ten people (a deck some thirty metres by ten!). Then he’d need to get us to talk to the restaurant team, and the drinks team to arrange the canapes and drinks. It was all too much, and he later came and said it would be best if we talked to the Concierge. So off we went. The Concierge said of course it was possible, but she’d need to talk to our Butler. She said there was no need for me to raise it with the Butler, she’d plan it, and she clearly then discussed it with the Butler. And thus, He came to us in our room to get more detail. Yes, entirely possible, he said. The champagne (we reckoned 4-5 bottles) and canapes can be brought to the room, and I could take them onto the deck. That’s not his role. But I explained that would mean I spent the entire event shuffling back and forth, pouring drinks and serving food and so on – not what I’d planned. I asked about glasses – he said well, you have four here already in your room, so I’ll bring another six. Again to be taken to the deck and then back to the room. This wasn’t the special black tie event I’d envisaged. So I went back to the Concierge. Her first comment was ‘I told you not to speak to the Butler’. That miffed me slightly – what were we supposed to do when he came to our room to discuss it? And unless he had, how would we know the planning was going slightly off line? Frankly I felt I got a bit of a telling off which was both inappropriate and undeserved. But the outcome was that the Concierge took arrangements back in hand. This was just as well as at the last minute (after invitations had been sent out etc.) she contacted us to say we had to shift the date forward as we’d were still in the security area south of Yemen, and because of the piracy risk decks were closed at nightfall. I said this was shame as I’d done invitations – and in passing, why had the original dates for the decks to be closed, announced before we planned the event and already taken into account, been changed? No answer really came forth apart from, a little later, she showed me the sunset chart (a Word document on her computer screen) from the Bridge which showed sunset getting later by about ten minutes each day, except oddly for the original date I’d planned the event. That day alone, sunset actually jumped back half an hour. And then the next night jumped forward 40 minutes. I queried this apparent phenomenon of nature – and asked for a copy of the chart as I really didn’t understand what I had been told. She told me that sunset times were in confidence for staff only! I’m pretty certain, like our Sunday trip to Seville, someone didn’t do the sums right to begin with, so the night deck closure was extended by one day, but was covered up with my own ‘sunset chart’ in apparent justification. It was really bizarre, but I may be wrong – this may have been a new bit of physics. I then talked with the Bar manager, the Restaurant Manager (who both rang the room, and were very understanding and efficient). Went round and reissued invitations with the new date. I also rang the photographers to get someone to come and take a picture – my responsibility apparently. And after days of too’ing and fro’ing it was finally a relief having talked to (I think) seven different people, all in different departments, that it was sorted out. But a long, long way from one call to the Butler or whoever and it gets arranged. And had I known at the outset how complicated it would be, I’d have had second thoughts. So the event went ahead, an area of the deck was roped off, chairs were put off, a lovely lady served the canapés and drinks and it was excellent and enjoyed by all. BUT there was a sting in the tail. In the phone conversation with the Bar Manager he said ‘What champagne would you like’. I said the Laurent Perrier they serve on board ($75 a bottle) would be fine, but then added as a throwaway, that my wife and I do prefer Taittinger, it’s what we have on special occasions, and if there was any that would be nice. The Bar Manager said he’d not got any, but would see if the Restaurant Manager had some. On the evening, when I arrived the champagne was in buckets with nice white serviettes round the necks. I asked the lady serving whether they’d found Taittinger and she said she was pleased to say they had. Full marks! When it was poured though I could see the bottles were a different shape and not a label I recognised. Tasted wonderful though. And we drank our way through five bottles. Guests departed, and I said I’d sign the bill. I then discovered the $75 a bottle Laurent Perrier had indeed been substituted with Taittinger as asked – but Vintage Taittinger, at $225.00 a bottle. Our bill was not $375 for the hour long soiree, but $1125. I’m circumspect, we and our close friends had a truly wonderful event as the sunset over the deck, and thus I paid without quibbling. But this may have really spoilt the evening for some, and when one asks for a substitute, I think it’s reasonable to expect some equivalence on aspects including price – and if not to be contacted again to check it’s OK to triple the price and cost. But there we go…lesson learned, and I hope we’ll prevent other also doing this the hard way. And frankly, the different departments, the tiers of bureaucracy – it makes doing anything special painful. The customer certainly isn’t king! Conclusion If you think we’re high maintenance, that’s fine. I really want to stress what I said at the start that we enjoyed our time away, and most of what Cunard does is world class. We found much – food, most staff, facilities, our stateroom (once it was clean) completely engaging and worthwhile. We’re not generally moaners, so there’s nothing lengthy here about internet (its cost and awful performance), the rude on board Israeli immigration staff I reported to the Concierge, the chaos of getting passports back (kept for Israeli immigration but it was mayhem when they were returned after our trip to Delphi – one person handing out 40 passports to a queue of 100 people and a total lack of security which means we could have walked off with any number of other persons’ passports). But from time to time I have been a ‘mystery shopper’ so I do spot things which aren’t right – especially customer services – and maybe that should also be taken into account here. Just playing fair. And frankly, Cunard could do with one or two ‘Mystery Guests’ to get the sort of feedback we’ve given! These are specific and detailed points, some of which are clearly serious. For that reason, and because I’ve never written a review like this before, before publishing I have invited Cunard Customer Services. Their response follows below. But now you will also see why this is called ‘Close…but No Cigar’. Response: Cunard Customer Services say: 'Thank you for your patience in regards to my response time, I have been feeding relevant information back to both ship and shore-side departments after our initial conversation we had. In regards to a reply about action that is taking place internally to answer the issues you have brought to my attention, unfortunately this is something that cannot be disclosed, as I’m sure you can appreciate takes several departments working closely together and also a time frame that can range anywhere from a couple of weeks into a couple of months. What I am more than happy to do is outline the issues we have discussed and how they have been addressed with management teams to ensure that hopefully we can prevent these issues reoccurring. Having taken the time to read your comments, I am most sorry to learn of the issues experienced during your voyage on Queen Mary 2 and that this voyage did not live up to your expectations as a first time guest on Cunard Line. As I am sure you are aware we endeavour to ensure that our passengers are offered clean, well presented accommodation. Our standards of housekeeping and sanitary procedures are very high and we make every effort to ensure that these are met. The conditions that you describe are certainly not reflective of the conditions that we expect for our guests. I would wish to assure you that we do have a policy in place and the stateroom stewards are very well aware of the standards we expect. If they deviate from this standard, action will be taken with both onboard and shore-side management. However, as I am sure you will appreciate there are in excess of 1000 staterooms on Queen Mary 2 and it is physically impossible to check each and every one before our passengers embark on turn-around days. We therefore do have to rely on the training given to the stewards who attend to the staterooms and the realisation of the importance of adhering to the standards laid down. I am pleased that the problems were rectified at the time, but I am sorry for the unnecessary inconvenience caused. Further to this, I am sorry that your walk in wardrobe was not up to the level of standard we expect in a Queens Grill suite and I fully appreciate what an important aspect of your cruise this facility is. I have logged your comments for senior management's review and I have sent this across to the Housekeeping Management team onboard the ship. In regards to the experiences you had with the theatre and the timing of the shows conflicting with your dinner arrangements, I sincerely apologise for the inconveniences this caused you. It would be virtually impossible to provide a venue onboard that could accommodate all passengers who simultaneously wished to attend and watch a particular event. Generally speaking, however, we find that passengers differing interests results in a reasonable availability of seats in the public venues. However, I regret that this was not what you experienced on this occasion and apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused as a consequence. I have logged your comments about your Butler reserving seats or a separate section of the theatre being reserved for Grill Guests with the Entertainment Team onboard as well as the relevant team here that deal with the acts and production. This will be looked into and seen if something can be arranged to improve the operational side of the theatre, especially with our Grill Guests. In regards to the experience you had with our dance instructors onboard, this has also been passed onto not only the Entertainment Team, but the management onboard so this can be investigated further. Dance classes should not be exclusive to people who have experience as we promote ‘trying something new’ and it is not a necessity. I apologise that you were made to feel this way. I have also fed back your comments regarding the pace at which the classes are taught. This will also be looked into, mainly by the ship based management team to see if the way these classes are taught can be amended to ensure guests get the full experience they have signed up for, as well as actually learning a few dances. I would like to assure you that guest satisfaction is extremely important to us. We are constantly reviewing the services and facilities that we offer to our customers as we endeavour to ensure that all aspects of our holidays are maintained to the same high standards. We record all guests’ comments and these are reviewed on a regular basis in an effort to locate any trends, positive or negative, arising. In this respect, your comments and observations have been most helpful and I would like to thank you for taking the time to share them with us. I am most grateful to you for detailing your experiences in relation to the shore excursion, and it is disappointing that the tour did not operate as described. Although shore excursions do not form part of a passengers’ overall contract with Cunard Line, we understand and appreciate what an important contribution tours make to cruise holidays. As such, a great deal of research is carried out before we finalise our shore excursion programme to ensure that passengers are provided with a high quality service. I have highlighted as a matter of urgency and importance the safety issues you have brought to light regarding the two excursions you experienced issues on with both the Health and Safety departments onboard and shore-side. As I am sure you can appreciate the safety of our passengers is of upmost importance to us and would be at the forefront of any decisions made, therefore this will be reviewed by the Hotel and Land department in our Head Office that organise these trips. It goes without saying that we must rely heavily on local agents who operate the tours on our behalf, and in general terms, we receive a great deal of positive feedback. Nevertheless, your comments are very much appreciated and will certainly assist us in the future. Although of little comfort or consequence to you at this stage, I have ensured that your comments are forwarded to the appropriate management for their review and consideration with future cruise itineraries. In this respect, I must thank you for taking time out to outline the issues you experienced on two of your shore excursions. I would also like to sincerely apologise for the level of service you have received trying to plan a special evening with friends. After our discussion on the phone and all the issues outlined, I completely agree with you that in fact, the events that occurred were completely unacceptable and this has been fed back accordingly. The level of service offered to you by several members of staff onboard i.e. concierge, Butler and bar manager, I can assure you is not the luxury service we set our high standards to. As explained over our telephone call, a private event should have been as simple as asking your Butler and everything else simply falling into place. I apologise that you had to constantly go back and forth between several managers to get the evening organised. What I was concerned to read as well, was the choice of champagne not being confirmed with you before your evening commenced. This has been reported back to the management team onboard to ensure correct training is carried out and this mistake does not occur in the future – as you stated, this could have easily ruined a holiday without being budgeted accordingly. Thank you for your comments and criticisms, we do appreciate all feedback and I have passed on the comments to relevant senior management here in our Head Office for review as this as stated above, was unacceptable. I understand after speaking to you over the phone, you were looking for an answer, rather than compensation, but I do strongly feel it is necessary I offered you something an apology for all the inconveniences caused to you onboard and the level of service you experienced from members of staff onboard. We do look forward to welcoming you back onboard in the near future, as we will have the opportunity to fully restore your faith in the service we know we are able to offer.' Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose the cruise as QM2 is the last ship of its type, also going through the Suez Canal. We ticked both of those boxes and that is the best we can say about the cruise. It was infact the worst cruise we have ever been on. Due to ... Read More
We chose the cruise as QM2 is the last ship of its type, also going through the Suez Canal. We ticked both of those boxes and that is the best we can say about the cruise. It was infact the worst cruise we have ever been on. Due to norovirus on ship we were refused entry to 2 ports and not allowed into Jordons waters. We have experienced this before but not on such a large scale, hundreds of passengers ill. Cunard denied that there was a problem!? Captain Wells, we saw once on the cruise? The rest of the officers were no better no communication and looked and walked away from passengers, difficult on a cruise ship but they managed it very well. The entertainment on the ship was average, if it were only the ships entertainers it would have been poor. The guest entertainers and speakers were very good. The service we received onboard was good, but not the best we have experienced. Would we sale with Cunard again, NO. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Prospect of interesting Ports of Call were our reason to book this cruise. Embarkation in Dubai was very efficient and we enjoyed a fantastic sail away from the city. However we were hit by the noro virus on board soon after and could not ... Read More
Prospect of interesting Ports of Call were our reason to book this cruise. Embarkation in Dubai was very efficient and we enjoyed a fantastic sail away from the city. However we were hit by the noro virus on board soon after and could not land for 7 days so missed Sallalah and Jordan. However this was compensated by fantastic two day stay in Haifa. Visited Jerusalem during Passover and Masada on the Dead Sea, which was spectacular. Shore excursions are expensive. The ship was due a refit after this cruise and it needs one. My husband found the gym equipment he wanted to use out of action and having to take classes in ballrooms or even worse rooms down near embarkation points not ideal when extra charges were being made of $13 per class. We hope the gym will be included in the refurbishment. Food in the Queens Grill excellent and most requests can be catered for with sufficient notice. We did not pay to eat in speciality restaurants. Age demographic is for the newly retired and older and entertainment is catered for that market. Disembarkation in Southampton was less organised and our cases were is different locations and there were no trolleys available. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Having had a wonderful experience on Queen Victoria, last April we booked the first leg of the 2015 QM2 World Tour and waited with eager anticipation for our visits to Spain, Italy, Luxor and the Pyramids. Disembarking in Dubai. Firstly, ... Read More
Having had a wonderful experience on Queen Victoria, last April we booked the first leg of the 2015 QM2 World Tour and waited with eager anticipation for our visits to Spain, Italy, Luxor and the Pyramids. Disembarking in Dubai. Firstly, the good points. Our embarkation was excellent, although I believe later arrivals experienced chaos. The main lobby is very impressive, beds exceptionally comfortable and cabin very quiet, good selection of library books and delightful afternoon tea. Nice pub for watching sport. Good free launderettes. Bad points on ship, layout somewhat confusing,food court like motorway food outlet,. nasty little café on top deck that reeked of onions, inside cabin absolutely tiny, bathroom size of closet and awful shower. Not enough loungers and no shade, main dining room food cold or tepid ad service really slow Worst entertainment imaginable, unimaginative cheap shows, boring lectures and very obscure films. Good if you are interested in astronomy! Hand cleansing or use of tongs not enforced in self service areas, it was enforced in the main dining room and in the Queens room. I have no idea if this is the reason so many people suffered from what became known as the Cunard cough. Personally, although I am rarely ill, I cannot recall being as ill as on this trip, and still suffering, with the virus I caught on QM2. Now I realise most of the above is subject to opinion, but the rest of my review is not! After paying the balance in September we were informed that due to security reasons, we would no longer be visiting the Valley of the Kings or the Pyramids, but instead would be calling at Petra and Oman. Apparently according to the small print this change would not entitle us to a full refund. The day before entering the Suez Canal we were told there was dredging being carried out in the canal which would delay our entry; This resulted in our passing through the canal at night and cancellation of our visit to Petra. A second port in Oman was given as a substitute. However people seemed to think that the canal is in fact being widened and shipping lines would have been aware that travel would be subject to delays. Furthermore the Holland America Rotterdam, a Carnival ship like the QM2, visited Egypt and passengers did all their tours during the period QM2 was supposed to do it. I have now written to Carnival to ask why one member of their fleet cruised Egypt while another did not. Instead all we had were 3 ports in the Med followed by 10 days at sea and 2 obscure ports in Oman. The captain's facetious announcement on disembarkation that Cunard had fulfilled their contractual obligation by stopping at the required number of ports, was not helpful! I think most cruisers would have preferred Valley of the Kings and the Pyramids or Petra to 2 obscure ports in Oman. Furthermore I did hear that Cunard cancelled Egypt on the 2014 world tour, but have no proof of this. I now await a response from Carnival Corporation   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
Our very first cruise and we were so looking forward to sailing on QM2 but by the time we arrived back at Heathrow from Dubai I could have kissed the ground so glad were we to be back. I suppose the omens were starting to show when we left ... Read More
Our very first cruise and we were so looking forward to sailing on QM2 but by the time we arrived back at Heathrow from Dubai I could have kissed the ground so glad were we to be back. I suppose the omens were starting to show when we left Southampton on the 10th January and the Queen Elisabeth was late arriving so instead of the two queens leaving to mark the start of Cunard's 175th year we left alone. It was the two Egyptian ports, pyramids and Valley of the Kings that attracted me to this cruise. These of course were cancelled soon after we paid the balance of the fare and I am sure the chances of QM2 ever visiting any Egyptian ports were slim to say the least, without these ports however I very much doubt if the first leg of the QM2 World Tour would have been booked by so many. Over 2000 passengers disembarked in Dubai, many very, very disappointed after so many cancelled ports, 10 says at sea, a dire replacement container port and other disappointments outlined by others on this website. Even experienced cruisers told us it was one of the worst cruises they had been on and we were very unlucky. Will we ever cruise again, I very much doubt it as we were stir crazy by the time we reached the final destination and very annoyed at the captains statement upon disembarkation that they had been to the number of ports scheduled - maybe Cunard would be better off advertising mystery tours! Cunard need to learn a few new words one of which is 'sorry'. As first time cruisers we have nothing to compare but if Cunard are supposed to be one of the top drawer cruise lines then I can only say that standards must be slipping as there was a range of items that in our opinion was not up to the supposed white star service some highlighted by others who were also on this very disappointing cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
My wife and myself saw this cruise to Dubai advertised and jumped at the opportunity to book this cruise,and how disappointed we are with the cruise. The first ports of call were good although we had been to 2 of them with P&O, but ... Read More
My wife and myself saw this cruise to Dubai advertised and jumped at the opportunity to book this cruise,and how disappointed we are with the cruise. The first ports of call were good although we had been to 2 of them with P&O, but after leaving Italy the cruise went completely down hill. To begin with I think Cunard covered-up the fact that the Suez Canal was being dredged and they did not know about it !!! Who were they trying to kid, surely their agents in Egypt would have notified Cunard of what was going on !!! They decided to take us through the Suez in the middle of the night wso that we saw dam all !!, is it because Cunard pay less to go through the canal at night rather than the day??. To add insult to injury they then cancelled the trip to Aquaba and Petra, which the majority of the passengers had booked even before the cruise had started. Could you imagine the disappointment of all the passengers that had booked to see the pink city of Petra !!! In return Cunard decided to keep us at sea for 10 boring days at sea, with boring activities and films, till we reached the port of Muscat which was ok if one liked shopping, and then added a God forsaken port of Khor Fakkan which was a container port where no cruise ships had ever been to,and Cunard must have thought we can show the passengers how containers are loaded !!! Because there was nothing else to see. To add to this, there were a lot of passengers who had bad chesty coughs and colds on board, and had to visit the medical unit on board which was not cheap. I have had 2 other cruises with Cunard and this Dubai cruise must rate as the worst for letting passengers down. Having spoken to several passengers, they all said they would. Not travel with Cunard again, and as for me I will never recommend or travel with them again. Also the standards in the Kings Court restaraunt is very poor at night as some were walking in with swim shorts and sleeveless vests and some in t-shirts and shorts and no one to stop them. So much for saying at night you have to be properly dressed!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
We booked the first leg of QM2 round the world cruise and it turned out to be nothing but a huge disappointment. We did not like the queen mary - the layout is so weird you need to take a cotton reel otherwise you will get lost - some ... Read More
We booked the first leg of QM2 round the world cruise and it turned out to be nothing but a huge disappointment. We did not like the queen mary - the layout is so weird you need to take a cotton reel otherwise you will get lost - some people describe it as quirky. Food in the Brittania restaurant was excellent but oh dear the Kings Court buffet reminded me of a very busy motorway service station, the same food, tables not cleared and very noisy. The shattered dreams really came to the fore with the ports of call. The cruise was advertised with two calls to ports in Eygpt giving access to the pyramids and Luxor. These were cancelled and in their place was Aquaba in Jordan giving access to Petra but the other port added was Some god foresaken container port in the UAE which had absolutely nothing to offer - Hardly a like for like replacement. The other highlight of the cruise was "cruising the Suez canal". We were held for over 24 hours at Port Said and eventually sailed through the canal overnight - much to the annoyance of lots of passengers. To make matters worse this delay resulted in Aquaba being missed and eventually Muscat was added as a replacement, again hardly like for like. The response from Cunard was "read our terms and condition" and from the Captain when we reached Dubai. He was sorry if any passengers were disappointed but he had called at the number of ports he was contracted to call at.!!!!!!!! Finally lot's of felloow passengers who had cruised on other Cunard ships said that QM2 was very poor compared to Victoria or Elizabeth. Cunard will have to try very hard for me to use them ever again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
We chose this cruise to Dubai with Cunard as it included the Suez Canal and Egypt. We were supposed to visit Cairo (Pyramids) and Luxor (Tombs) in the Middle East but due to passenger and crew safety issues this was substituted with Aqaba ... Read More
We chose this cruise to Dubai with Cunard as it included the Suez Canal and Egypt. We were supposed to visit Cairo (Pyramids) and Luxor (Tombs) in the Middle East but due to passenger and crew safety issues this was substituted with Aqaba (Petra) and Fujairah (Maiden Port) prior to cruise via email. We rang and tried to cancel cruise but was told this was not a significant change! Cruise didn't start well with a 1.5 hour delay boarding at Southampton in a slow moving queue. Everything on board Cunard QM2 attracts a service charge of 15% plus a $11 (£8) a day service charge. e.g. cheapest bottle of wine is $40 (£26) and the waiters and cabin staff at the end of your trip still anticipate a tip. On arrival at the Suez Canal we were informed that dredging works (pre-planned) would delay our passage by 18 hours to a full night time transit of the Suez Canal and that the visit to Aqaba (Petra) was now also cancelled. The Captain did try to reschedule Aqaba for 24 hours later than planned but transport was unavailable. We were then informed that a new destination port of Muscat had been arranged. This had the knock on effect of no change of entertainment for 10 full days at sea as new artists could not board at Aqaba. Entertainment also seems to be biased to the much older cruiser with insights to Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers etc. We were given a full refund for cancelled tours (by Cunard) to our original Credit Card but as this would mean us losing out on transaction/conversion charges we asked for it to be credited to our onboard account. Cunard said we should ring our bank to reverse refund which is not an easy thing to do at sea! Cunard rescheduling the itinerary to miss ports and sights on our tick list does not encourage us to ever travelling Cunard again   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
Completely and utterly disappointed with Cunard. Embarkation was a shambles. It took two and a half hours standing in a queue to get checked in. We were very much looking forward to our cruise from Southampton to Dubai via the ... Read More
Completely and utterly disappointed with Cunard. Embarkation was a shambles. It took two and a half hours standing in a queue to get checked in. We were very much looking forward to our cruise from Southampton to Dubai via the Mediterranean and Suez Canal,but as we stopped in Barcelona till 2-30 am and then in Civitavecchia till 11-30 pm we missed our slot for the Suez Canal.The captain said it was caused by dredging works on canal as it is actually being widened at present,so went through canal at night and saw nothing. Next stop Jordan, did not go because there was no buses available for trips, all in all 10 days spent at sea. No compensation was offered for missing destinations or going through Suez at night. Even Thomsons gave compensation to everyone when they could'nt get to the Azores on a previous cruise. To cap it all I left my camera in the Commodore club bar,I returned the next morning to see if it had been found but no one had seen it. I went to the pursers office to see if it had been handed in but no joy there,they took my details and I was told that the head of security would be in touch but alas he never did. The good thing about my trip was the restaurant,bar and cabin staff were superb. The food was excellent in the Brittania restaurant but the Kings Court buffet could be organised better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
First impressions are always the ones that last the longest and our first impression of our holiday with Cunard on board their Queen Mary 2 hasn't been the most pleasant. In fact as time and incidents have passed I have become quite ... Read More
First impressions are always the ones that last the longest and our first impression of our holiday with Cunard on board their Queen Mary 2 hasn't been the most pleasant. In fact as time and incidents have passed I have become quite nit-pickie. I suppose having as a child travelled quite extensively I felt Cunard would have the edge on its organisation quality and service. The first hiccup was the luggage labels they arrived printed for the Queen Elizabeth. An email arrived several days later apologising for the error. The second hiccup was embarkation time on the E ticket clearly stated 3pm. All necessary time arrangements were made with various folk like house sitter and taxis. Three days prior to embarkation an email arrived stating embarkation was now 12 midday. As all arrangements had been made with the house sitter and the taxi it was impossible to change without inconveniencing them. At this point my confidence in Cunard’s organisational skills were not good, but then arriving at Southampton to find I had to join an hour long queue outside in the January cold that zig zagged like sheep being corralled for dipping just took the joy from what should be a wonderful entire experience. Once in the terminal building although warm cosy and inviting, again the queue zigzagged for another half hour to check in. I surrendered my passport in exchange for an ID swipe card which at the time I was unaware was damaged. Many of us were given damaged ID cards which meant queuing on all excursions in order to have our written details taken before entering the coach as the damaged card could not be read by the automatic card reader! Queuing through security was relatively quick however, I was manually scanned twice as the wand the security lady used she casually mentioned didn't work properly so she would search for the one that did work. My confidence in Cunard was now at zero. Finally boarding was less than overwhelming as there was absolutely no one guiding us to where we should go, just a group of very pushy photographers wishing to record all our very happy grateful faces at finally after over 2 hours now having the immense pleasure of boarding this magnificent ship. Over the past 15 days there have been many other minor nit-pickie hiccups which is a norm on any holiday but I close with my first words … First impressions!!! Would I travel again with Cunard? Yes but only if there was no alternative! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Joined QM2 for the first leg of the round the world cruise, through the Med, Suez Canal and onto Dubai. What a disappointment, starting with 3 hour wait standing in the Shed to get. On. could Could Cunard not organise for its passengers ... Read More
Joined QM2 for the first leg of the round the world cruise, through the Med, Suez Canal and onto Dubai. What a disappointment, starting with 3 hour wait standing in the Shed to get. On. could Could Cunard not organise for its passengers to sit down in empty lounge if they were going to take that long to board passengers. The ship is tired and shows it's age, the burst water pipes at 3 in the morning was indicative. Whilst appreciating that some of the itinery changes were beyond Cunard's control, the cancelling of the Egypt stops, but the fiasco at the Suez Canal surely could have been anticipated? Not calling at Aqaba as a result upset most passengers and the resultant 10 days at sea with no port calls got earning. Entertainment director and deputy has no personality and the theatre shows generally not as good as on other lines. (Who designed a ship with pillars in the theatre?) The saving grace were the house "orchestras",rather an overstatement for 7 & 8 piece bands, but when they got together as a jazz big band it was terrific. QM2 lacks amenities. There is a shortage of seating areas, no large panoramic lounge at front of the ship as on others, the Commodore lounge is small, has useless tiny window and stinks of cigars, the smell coming from the Churchill lounge where passengers can still puff and give cancer to the rest of us. Wine prices were ridiculous, by the time service was added if basic wines were $40+ . The famous white glove afternoon tea serves dried up sandwiches, although the scones and cakes were much better. Cunard stop living on your past reputation and start giving the service you claim! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
I travelled on a cruise from Hong Kong to Dubai as this was on the Queen Mary2 I was expecting and outstanding voyage .The trips ashore booked via cunard were faultless every country was different and enjoyable. The only let down on this ... Read More
I travelled on a cruise from Hong Kong to Dubai as this was on the Queen Mary2 I was expecting and outstanding voyage .The trips ashore booked via cunard were faultless every country was different and enjoyable. The only let down on this holiday was the ship. too many formal nights 6 in 3 weeks and the staff appeared to be either lazy or undertrained when it came to service especially in the self service area as they appeared to be only table clearers which were not good when tables were left dirty for sometimes 30 minutes and the passangers were walking around holding trays of food with nowhere to sit. We avoided this and went into the dining room as much as possible. this was much better but having been given second sitting 8.30pm each night we all had to wait outside in the corridor while they got ready from sitting one(6.00)pm surely this could have been avoided. I must praise the shows put on each evening as they were brilliant especially the dancers and singers. Also the lectures were very entertaining so this ship did manage to get somethings right. having said all this I would not sail on her again as the other ships I use are much better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
The easiest way to provide accurate feedback is to share my letter, with detailed attachments, which I sent to Cunard on 3rd June with the audience. If Cunard were serious in wishing to be a 5* cruise line I would have long expected their ... Read More
The easiest way to provide accurate feedback is to share my letter, with detailed attachments, which I sent to Cunard on 3rd June with the audience. If Cunard were serious in wishing to be a 5* cruise line I would have long expected their reply by now and not merely "an acknowledgement" that my communication will be dealt with "in due course". Obviously a Queens Grill passenger is not very important/interesting as a future business to Cunard. I take their point graciously and will in future look at cruising with more discerning companies then Cunard. One of the main points of failure of Cunard is that for Queens Grill passengers there is little else than only the Queens Grill restaurant which is for Queens grill passengers only. For the rest you have to share everything with the other 1900 passengers. It's really not worth the money I am afraid to have to observe. If you want a top notch cruise you are better off with the likes such as Silver Sea and Seabourn (despite the fact that Seabourn belongs to the same Group as Cunard). QUOTE: My wife and I have recently cruised on the QM2 from Dubai to Southampton (cruise M403) as Queens Grill guests. As we have both turned 60 over the last 6 months we wanted to treat ourselves to a very memorable cruise. Having read so much about the Cunard Queen's including Cunard’s own marketing materials, we opted for the "famous 5* Queens Grill service". In the past we have experienced some excellent cruises on Seabourn with superb levels of service and as this is one of your sister companies we had high expectations. Unfortunately for us, apart from the good size of suite and the very enjoyable Queens Grill Restaurant, there was very little else 5* about the QM2 in our opinion. All in all a great ship for the masses not a great experience for the discerning traveler. To clarify our comments please find attached our completed questionnaire together with another list of items which we feel illustrate that the level of facilities and services on the QM2 fall far short of the 5* you suggest. Overall a very disappointing experience! Yours sincerely, Gerhard and Hilary Hardick UNQOUTE Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
Background Information - we are a married couple in our late 60's and are experienced cruisers having sailed with various lines including Cunard over the past 15 years. We were attracted to this final sector of the World Cruise, as we ... Read More
Background Information - we are a married couple in our late 60's and are experienced cruisers having sailed with various lines including Cunard over the past 15 years. We were attracted to this final sector of the World Cruise, as we love sea days and the itinerary interested us. Our package included flights from London to Dubai and two nights’ accommodation in Dubai. To put this review in perspective, I want to say right from the start that I really enjoyed this cruise despite a few disappointments. However, the whole point of writing a review is to outline both the good and the not so good. So to start: The Positives Embarkation was easy and within half an hour of arriving at Dubai’s Port Radhid we were boarding the stunning Queen Elizabeth. The ship has a capacity of just over 2000 passengers and was nearly full. Apparently 1000 disembarked in Dubai and another 1000 boarded. About 500 hundred were doing the full round-the-world voyage. For this sector there were 31 nationalities represented among all passengers, about half were British and the other larger contingents were Japanese, German & American. This passenger mix would have been quite different for other sectors of the voyage. Stately Ambience: On first impression the decor of the ship looks slightly under stated. There is lots of dark wood paneling, but once you get used to the fact that it does not have the glitz that some of the other lines offer, you realise that this ship is really more Ritz than glitz and is very stylish in a sophisticated way. Cunard puts a lot of emphasis on its heritage and all around the ship are mementos of its proud past. The stairwells are adorned with interesting artwork. The carpets have a luxurious feel to them and all the public rooms are comfortable and beautifully furnished, with a remarkable sense of uncrowded space. Although the ship was almost full it never felt crowded, you could always find somewhere to sit down. The only time you realised there were a lot of people on board was at show times. Our stateroom was booked as a Guaranteed Balcony cabin on Deck 6. We received our cabin allocation about 2 weeks prior to departure. The room was quite near the front of the ship and not a cabin that I would have picked out of choice. We rocked and rolled a little during swells in the Mediterranean. However, the room had everything you would expect and a generous storage facility included two useful drawers under the bed. The queen bed was extremely comfortable and the bed linen was lovely. The bathroom was small, but perfectly adequate for our needs. The towels, although perfectly clean and changed daily, were not as soft and fluffy as I would have liked. Bathrobes were supplied as standard. Shipboard organisation is something that Cunard generally seems to excel at: embarkation, disembarkation, etc. Excursion musters and debarking at ports of call were well planned and there were never any long queues or hold ups. Entertainment was excellent, production shows, singers, dancers and comedians as well as an acrobat and a mind reader. There was also nightly dancing in the Queens Room including numerous themed evenings; as well as more informally at various bars where you could have a quiet drink or listen to music. It is worth noting here that if you want to see the professional dancers or join in any of the fancy dress parades, you really need to be on early dinner sitting. Because of this, Cunard’s various theme nights are difficult for late diners. Day time enrichment and entertainment was also first class; there was indeed something for everyone. There were some very accomplished and interesting speakers for Cunard’s Insights Lectures. There were also excellent port talks and cookery demonstrations, as well as various deck games, trivia, line dancing, ballroom dance lessons, needlework, a choir, classical music concerts. There is a well equipped gym and a fabulous library and a feature film shown most afternoons. I am placing food under my positives as on the whole the quality and presentation of meals were of a good standard, but not excellent, leaving plenty of scope for improvement. Compared to our experience on QM2 five years ago, there seems to have been a parring back. However, as on all cruise ships there is an abundance of food available around the clock. Room service on Queen Elizabeth is worth a mention - this is the first cruise ship I have been on where a full English cooked breakfast is offered on the room service menu at no charge. We opted for this on a number of occasions - it was lovely to have breakfast on our balcony and also very convenient to have room service when going on or returning from a full day excursion. Most of our meals were taken in the Britannia Restaurant. Breakfast and lunch is on an open sitting arrangement and dinner is at a set table. We also enjoyed a couple of pub lunches, and two meals using the alternative dining options. The Indian Bistro was most enjoyable with excellent food and good service, whilst the premium Verandah Restaurant, whilst delivering excellent cuisine, was marred by pretentious service, which rather spoiled the ambience. The Negatives - Now I move on to a shorter list of areas where I was disappointed. The big one for me was Service - this was sadly lacking in most areas on this ship. The staff either do not know or have forgotten how to smile and there was a 'no can do attitude' and certainly no service with a smile. One night I asked if I could have something that was not on the menu. As there were no starters that I liked I asked if I could have a prawn cocktail instead. I was told that was not possible unless I gave 24 hours notice - not the response I expected from Cunard. On all the other cruise lines I have sailed on there has always been an optional 'always available' menu. I was surprised to see that Cunard did not offer this as the choices offered are quite limited. The service in the Britannia dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner was very slow. At breakfast and lunch we were generally happy to share with other diners as we like meeting people, but we found that if we did not have too much time to spare it was better to ask for a table for two. Again at dinner the service was so slow that we always arrived at the show late. However, we were by choice on a table for eight and we enjoyed the company of 6 delightful people, which no doubt lengthened proceedings! Buffet Restaurant - We ate a couple of lunches in the Lido. As other reviewers have said the layout of the Lido makes it quite a difficult eating area with people coming and going in all directions and various counters with different options available, it is all a bit confusing and by the time you have worked it all out and found a table the food is cold. Bar service in the Lido is almost non existent. Health & Hygiene: During our first few days on board, the ship was still on red alert at the tail end of a Norovirus outbreak. This meant that in the buffet restaurant staff had to serve all food to the plate - passengers were not allowed to handle any food. I felt that this situation was not operated well by the restaurant teams and could certainly have been done more efficiently and cheerfully. Interestingly, last year we were on a Princess ship with exactly the same scenario, but I felt that they handled it with more professionalism and the staff still smiled, even though they had more work to do. Another area that disappointed me was cleanliness - considering that this ship had an outbreak of Norovirus and a number of people coughing and sneezing, I would have felt the cleanliness should have been a top priority. On arrival to our stateroom, we noticed that there were sticky marks on and in the drawers of the bedside cabinets and one of the glasses had a chip. I also came across some plates in the Lido that were dirty underneath, as well as cutlery that was not as clean as it should be. Excursions: Port talks were given prior to arriving in a port. These talks were extremely informative giving information about the dock, shuttle busses, Public transport, Ho-Ho's, banks, shopping and of course the ship’s own excursions. All of this was presented with slides in a very professional and personable manner - generally insightful, except for Israel. Haifa had been substituted for Egyptian ports as a precaution, and clearly the presenter did not seem to have been there, simply reading a script and mispronouncing some of the place names and religious terms! We booked the following excursions: Petra from Aqaba - A long full day excursion, extremely interesting, a long walk in extreme temperatures, but well worth the effort. Dead Sea & Masada from Haifa - Another long hot day with a 3 hour coach journey each way. A little disappointing for me, but still a reasonable day. Galilee & Nazareth from Haifa - This was without doubt the worst excursion I have ever taken. The guide was appallingly bad; so bad in fact that we put in a complaint to Cunard. 3 sites on your own in Lisbon - This basically was a guided transfer to the three sites - 2 in Belem, plus Central Lisbon, where we were allowed a reasonable amount of free time in each place. The guide on this excursion was of a much higher quality and gave a lot of very interesting information whilst we were in the coach, making this an excellent trip with the advantage that we had a lot of free time in the various sites. In both Naples and Palma we did our own thing, using the Ho-Ho and the complimentary shuttle bus respectively. In Conclusion - you can see that it's a pretty mixed bag, some good, some not so good - I hope that I have given a balanced picture on my perception of this trip. I do feel that Cunard’s standards have slipped a little and unlike many, I did not find them a cut above the rest. The big question: would I use Cunard again? The answer is that I would not be prepared to pay top dollar, but if the ship was going to where I wanted to go and the price was acceptable then yes I probably would, but I do feel that Cunard need to pull their socks up, if they want to return to their reputed top of the game position. There is a lot of competition out there!   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
I am prompted to write this review as I have read little or nothing about the solo traveller experience on the Queen Elizabeth and was pleasantly surprised. As background I am a single female in my early 60's. I booked this trip ... Read More
I am prompted to write this review as I have read little or nothing about the solo traveller experience on the Queen Elizabeth and was pleasantly surprised. As background I am a single female in my early 60's. I booked this trip prior to taking a 28 day trans Pacific on the Celebrity Solstice so I anticipated a similar lack of provision for, or recognition of, the solo traveller - and consequently was not particularly looking forward to this cruise (or voyage as Cunard called it). On the first day at sea there was a reception for solo travellers at 12 noon (with fizz provided) in the Yacht Club hosted by Lauren the Social Hostess. There we met fellow solos along with the Gentleman Hosts. There was then a daily meet over coffee in the Lido, several lunches and finally a farewell reception before arrival in Southampton. Lauren got to know most of us and always had a friendly chat when out and about. Through these sessions I met many interesting fellow solos (mainly female it must be said) and chummed up with different ones for triva, excursions, nights bopping in the Yacht Club or just chatting over a drink. I am not a ballroom dancer but did observe the gentleman hosts making sure that any unaccompanied lady in the Queens Room was invited to dance - and one of them even got me to shuffle round the floor. I have read elsewhere complaints that the gentlemen favour certain ladies and this I did see happening at times but this was invevitable as several of the ladies who danced regularly were "round the worlders" so they had been dancing together for 3 months! Another welcome offering were the watercolour classes where Freddie (our wonderful teacher) had everything set up every day at sea from 10am until 2.30pm so we could spend as much or as little time as we wanted on our "art". The art kit we purchased for US$35 was great value and Freddie instructed us on its use and then helped us as much or as little as we wanted rather than giving formal classes. This was another great way to meet people. I thoroughly enjoyed this ship - thought it was beautifully appointed and well designed with lots of open spaces so it never felt crowded. I never experienced queues in the Lido, found service in the Britannia Restaurant unhurried but timely and found the crew generally polite and welcoming. Yes I could find faults here and there (mainly the quality of the meals) but nothing that would stop me from going on Cunard again - or recommend it to others.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
The process for boarding was very good although you had to find your own way to your Cabin (Stateroom as they call the). The Cabins are very good & larger than most Cruise lines. However from then on it goes down hill. The whole ship ... Read More
The process for boarding was very good although you had to find your own way to your Cabin (Stateroom as they call the). The Cabins are very good & larger than most Cruise lines. However from then on it goes down hill. The whole ship had the smell of wet carpet as it appears that the air con is leaking thoughout the ship & the smell at night in the public areas was quite strong & you had to avoid the buckets which had been placed in these areas. I tripped over a bucket when leaving the Theatre one night. Talking of theatre, the entertainment on board was very very poor, unless you are 80+ & like ballroom dancing. I was expecting Broadway type shows & was presented with 6 nights of songs from the shows & not that good. The general Staff were not as friendly as I have experienced before (15 cruises). We were rushed through our evening meal the Coffee being served before we had had time to eat our sweet. If your Cruise includes India BEWARE BEWARE the cost of our stop in Mumbia India was over £500 (UK) which includes the Visa's & one day tour of the city. I was expecting so much more from Cunard & must say I will not be using them again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
We have been with Cunard now on 3 occasions and whilst they are not our most favoured cruise line we chose this cruise because of the destinations which were part of the 2014 World Cruise which for this segment visited Singapore, Kuala ... Read More
We have been with Cunard now on 3 occasions and whilst they are not our most favoured cruise line we chose this cruise because of the destinations which were part of the 2014 World Cruise which for this segment visited Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Colombo, Mumbai, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We have been to Singapore and Dubai before but missed Abu Dhabi on a previous cruise because of civil unrest but as the other destinations had not been visited we thought that the itinerary appeared very good. We had a few days in Singapore before the cruise started and were surprised how it had expanded since our previous visit but it is still a very nice and safe place to visit with lots to see and do and very pleasant and helpful people. The pre voyage documentation received from Cunard was very helpful and personalized for this part of the World Voyage and whilst we had asked for a table for 2 persons and this was stated on the agents paperwork we only found out that we were on a larger table when we joined the ship and it would have been more helpful to know this in advance. The other surprise was the cost of the India 6 Month Visa which when you add the cost of postage and photograph amounts to over £120 for a 1 day visit and had we have known this before the cruise we may have decided not to book this cruise. The embarkation process was good and not too much of a delay and our cabin was on Deck 4 but having been on the QM2 and Queen Victoria previously we had expected the ship to be a little better which appeared to have been the view shared by some other passengers that we spoke to. In fact quite a number expressed the view that they would not choose Cunard again which is also the view that we expressed. We have travelled on quite a number of other ships and without doubt the food on this cruise was some of the poorest that we have experienced in recent years. The choice was very poor; the quality was low and the service very mediocre. On the first day we attended the afternoon tea and whilst I did not taste the cream my wife indicated that it had gone off and so we pointed this out to the waitress who notified her supervisor who indicated that he had received some other complaints and would notify the chef who would get back to us which he never did. Some of the other problems that were noted included: • Mold on food. • Staff serving food without protective gloves. • Staff preparing food without protective gloves. • Very small portions of food. • Lido Restaurant not cleaned from previous day. • Wrong orders in the Britannia Restaurant. • Guests ignored in the Britannia Restaurant. I was pleased to see that the ship had Stella Artois on tap as this is what I normally drink at home – I am not sure what they have done to it but it tasted like flat cheap beer with a 15% service charge on it so this was another disappointment but at least it saved me a lot of money. About half way through the cruise there was an outbreak of Norovirus on the ship and the self service restaurant was changed into a staff service facility but this created long queues and we were informed that a strict sanitation programme was being implemented but this was continually breached by staff and sometimes by guests who lost their temper. In one instance a lady threw her tray and contents over the counter and several guests voiced angry concerns at the long queues and waiting periods. Once, when I was in the Lido a passenger helped herself to some food and the serving assistant told the passenger that it was necessary for her to serve the food because passengers were not washing their hands after going to the toilet. There appeared to be no overall control of the sanitation programme as even managers were observed breaching the controls. One person that I spoke to indicated that he had been confined to his cabin for 3 days with the virus and asked to pay £70 but refused indicating that he informed the staff that as he had got the virus from the ship and would not pay. On another occasion there was a wine tasting event and plates of cheese were made available where passengers were allowed to pick the cheese without any control by staff – in my experience this is one of the best ways to spread infection. One control that they had in place was the wedging open of public toilet doors, which was obviously to stop the transfer of infection by hand, but in some toilets you could see into the men’s toilet quite easily. At the end of the first week the Captain was asking for blood donors for some of the passengers and shortly afterwards the ship was diverted to transfer 2 people to hospital. Whilst we were never informed exactly how many people had Noravirus from the number of passengers that we spoke to we felt that the number could have been quite high and unfortunately my wife was also one of those affected? The evening entertainment programme was heavily biased towards singing, dancing and music and I felt that this could have been varied a little more and one guest informed me that he was on the ship 18 months ago and the dance routines were the same as then. The excursion programme was quite comprehensive and there was something to cater for most people although if you carried out some research there were better value private tours available together with companies that guarantee to get you back to the ship. One other problem that we noted and caused a number of accidents was that the ship appeared to have leaks in a number of locations and buckets were placed beneath them and on several occasions guests tripped over buckets. When I asked about these leaks I was informed that they were "condensation" leaks, which occurred, in hot climates. Whilst we enjoyed the places that we visited, we together with quite a number of other guests felt that the Queen Elizabeth had fallen far short of meeting our expectations. At the end of the cruise we had a few days in a hotel in Dubai and the service was excellent in every respect and I remember watching the chef at breakfast cooking eggs, omelets and pancakes at the same time as wearing gloves and I thought that this hotel could certainly teach Cunard a thing or two and also how to keep and serve Stella Artois.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2013
We decided to take this trip as we had previously enjoyed cruising on Thompson cruises and fancied going 'upmarket.' We were really looking forward to experiencing the QM2 The organisation before the trip was good with a lot of ... Read More
We decided to take this trip as we had previously enjoyed cruising on Thompson cruises and fancied going 'upmarket.' We were really looking forward to experiencing the QM2 The organisation before the trip was good with a lot of information from Cunard but as we were using a tour agency we also,had excellent information from them which arrived before the information from Cunard and they arranged all our transfers. The embarkation was swift and trouble free and we were soon in our stateroom with our luggage and the welcoming bottle of sparkling wine. Although the ship itself was certainly a step up from others we have sailed on, that was where the difference ended. The ship was beautiful, very clean and well appointed with a large stateroom which gave us a lot of space but the ship seemed to lack the soul that smaller ships have and the size meant we spent a lot of time walking from one place to another and in the end tended to use just a small area of the ship rather than explore it all. Our steward was lovely and gave us super service and the waiters were also very attentive but the service in other areas of the ship was average and did not match the hype we had heard from Cunard about their ship and staff. It was good but certainly not exceptional. It was certainly not better than on much cheaper cruises we have had. This was also true of the food. The meals were nice but not exceptional and the menu was rather limited. I was however very impressed by the attention I received when I told the waiter I had an allergy as I was invited to chose my meals ahead of time to ensure they were free of the food I was allergic to. It was though, rather difficult to have to choose the following day's meals immediately after finishing my dinner! We were on a table that was right at the top of the Britannia Restaurant and right next to the kitchen door which was far from glamorous - even though the restaurant itself was lovely we were only able to see this while walking to and from our table and we could have been eating anywhere. We did enjoy the look of the room at lunchtime when we had a freer choice of where we sat and we would have preferred a better choice of table in the evening. We asked to move later in the cruise but were then put on to a table on the other side of the restaurant in the reciprocal position, next to the kitchen! My husband liked the Kings Court buffet where there was a very good choice of food available all day but I didn't like the atmosphere there as it reminded me of any high street department store restaurant. I would have loved the opportunity to eat on the deck but there were no outside eating areas. I was looking forward to the formal nights as I rarely get an opportunity to dress up and although the men looked wonderful in their black or white evening jackets, I felt the majority of ladies did not really dress up as I had imagined they would. This meant that the 'balls' I was expecting were more like any normal dance. I really did expect more glamour. There was little difference between the formal nights and the informal. Our main disappointment though was the feeling that Cunard was doing whatever it could to get as much additional cash out of us as possible. . The price of drinks was high and all had 15% added as well as an additional space on the ticket for yet another gratuity. The bottled water was nearly $4 a bottle which was extortionate and it has always been free on other cruises we have taken. Like most other people we spoke to, we asked for the $11 per day, per person gratuity to be taken off our bill as we preferred to tip the staff we had dealings with rather than have this amount taken by the company without knowing where it went. We also felt the tours were overpriced and that the person giving the tour information lectures was not very subtly trying to steer people away from doing their own thing on shore by warning that taxi drivers might overcharge or they might not get back to the ship in time so they would be better taking an organised tour. We only took one organised tour and wished we hadn't because we had a much better time and more value for money by hiring a local taxi driver who was in every case ready to take us wherever we wanted to go for a fraction of the cost of the organised tours and to give us lots of information about the places we saw. To be fair, I think this is true of most cruises and I would always prefer to arrange my own days on shore. The itinerary sounded really exciting but unfortunately we arrived in Cochin on Independence Day and everything was shut. This was especially annoying to many people as everyone had paid a lot of money for a visa to go there, even if they didn't want to go on shore, and of all the places we visited this was the most disappointing. Langkowi on the other hand was wonderful. We hired a local taxi and the driver spent the whole day taking us to all the points of interest, including a trip on the river to see the eagles and a bat cave . He was so pleased to tell us lots of information about his island. . Excluding the cost of the river trip we were only charged $85 for the whole day which was about six hours in all. Photographs on the ship were about $24 for a single print which was also very expensive and it seemed a shame to see so many prints that would obviously be destroyed as they were not being bought. If they had been less expensive they would have sold many more I suspect. We were photographed at every turn, as was everyone, so there must be a lot of photos destroyed at the end of every cruise. Although the ship was very clean and attention to hygiene was excellent, especially the efforts to avoid the spread of Norovirus by the implementation of a closed buffet for the first 48 hours and the constant use of hand gel, there was an awful smell.about the ship on several days, especially in the corridors and on deck 7 which seemed to be connected to the discharge of effluent. This was very unpleasant and on one occasion was very strong outside the restaurant. I'm not sure if there was something wrong with the equipment but a lot of people were complaining about it. Another extra Cunard didn't tell us about ,was the threat of pirates! We had to blackout the staterooms at dusk every evening and were not able to go on deck which was a shame. It reminded me of the war! On the last day we were told to wait in the Winter Garden for a member of staff to take us to disembark. Despite being there twenty minutes before the appointed time, we were left there along with a large number of others for nearly an hour and then told the staff member had taken people away half an hour before the allotted time. This was followed by us being asked for $300 tax for our 400 duty free cigarettes by the Singapore customs, despite having been assured by the staff in the duty free shop that the tax was only 7% of the purchase price on board. Of course we had to forfeit them as this tax was more than the purchase price. Cunard must have had people disembark in Singapore before but the information they provided about the custom rules there was woefully inadequate and could have caused us big problems if we had put our purchases in our suitcase as we intended, believing we had the right to take in 200 cigarettes each. This could have caused us a large fine or imprisonment according to the customs officers. The staff were giving out completely wrong information and I think this was unforgivable! I had expected to spend a lot of money on this cruise and am aware that this review sounds as if I am penny pinching but that isn't the case. I simply didn't feel we got value for money as far as the extras were concerned and that Cunard were taking advantage of a captive audience. All in all we did have a good time and we met some lovely people on this cruise but it was definitely not what I had expected, given the hype that Cunard gives out about their cruises over others. I would probably go on a similar cruise again but would check out the itinerary with more care ( public holidays en route etc.) and would be more prepared for the reality of what to expect next time.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2013
We recently took part in a Cunard cruise to the middle east (part of the QM2 World Cruise) from Southampton to Dubai including Barcelona, Crete, Suez Canal, Egypt and Dubai. Overall we found the itinerary interesting. The Ports were ... Read More
We recently took part in a Cunard cruise to the middle east (part of the QM2 World Cruise) from Southampton to Dubai including Barcelona, Crete, Suez Canal, Egypt and Dubai. Overall we found the itinerary interesting. The Ports were generally fine though we did not have any ports in Egypt near Cairo. The cruise was supposed to have a stop at Piraeus, Greece (port for Athens) but poor weather necessitated a change of port to the island of Crete. We were disappointed to miss Athens but Crete was a wonderful port and since we were the only ship there it did not have the issues of too many tourists for too small an island like ports in the Caribbean or Alaska. We traveled from Canada to London and used a Cunard transfer to Southampton. This went smoothly and efficiently as did embarkation. We were in Stateroom 6160 which is a premium Balcony stateroom. Unfortunately the balconies on decks 5 and 6, while called premium, are not. The balconies are fully enclosed steel which gives them a sense of being a porthole rather than a balcony. You have to lean very far out to see anything and shorter persons would not be able to do this at all as the rail is very high. When you sit in the deck chairs or are in your stateroom you cannot see the ocean. Even when our stateroom was faced to the sun, the sun rarely caught enough of the balcony seating area for us to sit and catch some rays. This was our first cruise with Cunard and we were led to believe this would be luxury cruising. We did not find it that way at all. The ship has lovely fittings, artworks and history but is very "chopped" up into small spaces with limited views of the ocean. All of the entertainment, dining and shopping spaces are low in the ship and we found we rarely "got out" and into the fresh air. Most of the exterior seating is on the promenade deck so it feels a bit crowded with people walking, jogging, swimming and sunning all on one area. Menus were fine but nothing outstanding. We commented that the fish often tasted "fishy" which was a disappointment. Because we missed the port in Greece we were unable to take on fresh produce for the remainder of our cruise and meals suffered as a result. The service was also generally average, though having said that, I have severe food allergies and was treated wonderfully by our headwaiter and waiters in regard to this. They took extra care to ensure there would be no issues and there were not. We took part in 3 shore excursions: one on Crete, and two in Egypt. On Crete we went to the MInoan Palace ruins. The tour was excellent and informative and we had lots of time to explore and see things. We then had time to spend in Heraklion before returning to the ship. The town was interesting and welcoming and everyone seemed to be having a good time. In Egypt we stopped at Sohkna which was our portal to Cairo and the Pyramids. This tour was very long - we left the ship at 7am and returned about 12 hours later. The drive across the desert was approximately an hour and a half one way. We then toured the Step pyramid and related temple as well as the sites at Giza - the pyramids and the Sphinx. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and helpful throughout the day. Each coach was also accompanied by an armed guard. Ours turned out to be a disappointment as he later hit us up for baksheesh (tip money). The sites were wonderful but were ruined by the appalling behaviour of Egyptian tourist crap salesmen. There is no getting away from these individuals - they grab you and harass you the entire time you are trying to admire the pyramids or the Sphinx. We noted many people actually getting back on buses to get away from them and missing out on some of the sights as a result. Apparently since the revolution these people have been allowed closer to the pyramids than previously and it makes the trip an endurance rather than and enjoyment. The sights ARE worth it though. Everyone should see these sometime in their lifetime. You just will not want to ever go back. Cairo is fascinating but absolutely filthy and squalor filled. It is not a city for the faint of heart. We would definitely recommend you take an organized tour while in Cairo as the potential to be ripped off is huge otherwise. We had lunch at a 4-star hotel near the pyramids. Lunch was buffet style and beverages were included (including wine or beer). The meal was quite good. The tour ended with the requisite 'tour' through a 'recommended' shop where papyrus wares were made and sold. All told, we would recommend this tour. The next day was our next port - Safraga. This port is very small and uninteresting other than it is the closest seaport to Luxor and Valley of the Kings. This is the excursion where we had the most issues of our trip. The ship arrived late in port due to delays in Egyptian bureaucracy. This delayed the tour. Cunard staff were badly organized and getting off of the ship and into the many waiting coaches was a nightmare of too many people, too little organization and too little information. We were told the trip to Luxor would take about 3 hours. It took 4 and a half hours and was awful as our guide talked non-stop. Everyone stopped listening and we missed what was probably some useful information because it was badly presented. We did not reach the Valley of the Kings (our first stop) until 12:30pm. By that point many people on the coach were commenting that they didn't really care to see the sights because they were so exhausted from the journey to get there. We were only allowed an hour and 20 minutes and only allowed into 3 tombs. The biggest disappointment was that we were not allowed to take cameras into the Valley at all. If you wanted photos, you had to buy a prepared CD. From the Valley of the Kings we went to the Temple of Karnak at Luxor. On the way we had a couple of 2 minute photo stops at the Colossi of Memnon and the Queen's temple in Luxor. At Karnak we had another 1 1/2 hours to view the sights. This temple is amazing and should be seen - just not on this tour. Because the tours left port late, the decision was made to skip lunch. We were not fed until 6:30 that evening. The meal was held buffet style at a Luxor hotel. The food had obviously been kept over from noon (when we were SUPPOSED to have eaten it) and was a disappointment. We then had another nightmare of disorganization as people tried to find their buses on a dark street in Luxor that had no room for all the buses. We were delayed nearly an hour as this took place as the buses were required to travel in convoy through Egypt. We did not return to the ship until 11:30pm after another 4 1/2 hour drive through the desert. We would NOT recommend people take this excursion. 3 hours of viewing and 9 hours of driving was not worth the nearly $400 it cost the 2 of us to take the trip. Had we been informed by Cunard that we would not be allowed to take cameras into the Valley of the Kings and that the driving portions would be so long, we would not have signed up for the excursion. We made complaint the next day and 5 days later rec'd a letter from the Tours Manager telling us, rudely, that we had gotten what we had paid for and they would not be compensating us in any way. We have now lodged further complaint to Carnival (the parent company) and are awaiting a reply. We left Egypt and sailed around the Arabian peninsula to Dubai. Dubai was fine as a port with no major issues. We self-disembarked and were taken by car to the airport. Disembarkation was uneventful and efficient. Overall we would recommend this trip though if you have not sailed on Cunard be aware that it does not meet the hype. We noticed little if any difference from Cunard to Princess except that it cost more. We would rather travel on Princess than travel on Cunard again. In addition, Cunard cruises have a "class system" with areas of the ship off limits to the masses and held solely for the "Queen's Grill" class. Of note: because it is a British cruise line Cunard ships do have on board Harrod's shops which is a fun change from the everyday. Of course, Harrod's pricing applies. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2013
This was my 20th cruise with Cunard - and the most adventurous. Leaving Southampton almost on time as usually, the first leg of the 2013 World Cruise led us into a rough Biscaye. Although QM2 is a still very comfortable ship even in rough ... Read More
This was my 20th cruise with Cunard - and the most adventurous. Leaving Southampton almost on time as usually, the first leg of the 2013 World Cruise led us into a rough Biscaye. Although QM2 is a still very comfortable ship even in rough sea, many passengers found that the meals weren't as attractive to them as they expected ;-) Barcelona proved to be an interesting place for everyone but Athens/Piraeus didn't really want the QM2. So due to high winds and a bad forecast for the next days Commodore Rynd and Cunard decided in the late evening to change the next destination to Heraklion/Crete. This is not quite an alternative to Athens, but larger ports in the region are rare. 70ton provisions stayed in Priraeus and subsequently eggs became a rare occasion, good for our cholesterol balance. Port Said saw us at late afternoon from a far distance and by 1am QM2 entered the Suez Canal in a foggy night. Almost until Ismailia the sight was poor, but the atmosphere nevertheless tensioning. The view of Suez was then clear and the short trip to Ain Sokhna completed in slow motion. Ein Sokhna - not a place to live or to die, only a place to enter the buses to Cairo and Gizeh. Next day saw us early in Safarga, only to get into the buses to Luxor. I wish I hadn't done this... Strange Egyptian water-waste-regulations required the the ship to block the washing machines and call for water saving, later enhanced because of a emerging water shortage due to unavailability of drinkable water supplies since Barcelona. Security precautions required blacking outs like 1942 for the next days from dawn to dusk and killed by this the board live almost to zero. The company of NATO warships was most welcomed although the pirates waited until the safe zone was passed for showing up and attracting the ship's attention. Anyway, nothing serious happened and we reached the fantastic town of Dubai in time. Major disadvantages: Very noticeable cost cuttings by Cunard in restaurant service and food selection All important regions with the exception of the southern part of the Suez Canal have been passed in the deepest night time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2013
My partner and I decided to book a cruise as it was a holiday we had never done before and having reviewed many different cruise lines we settled upon Cunard and the Queen Mary 2. We took this decision as we managed to find a very good ... Read More
My partner and I decided to book a cruise as it was a holiday we had never done before and having reviewed many different cruise lines we settled upon Cunard and the Queen Mary 2. We took this decision as we managed to find a very good deal for this voyage from Southampton to Dubai, the first leg of the 2013 world voyage, in January (when could be a better time to head off to some heat after Christmas when everything is dismal and cold?) and personally I was excited by the glamour and sophistication which would await me on board such a magnificent looking vessel. I was not disappointed, this holiday exceeded my expectations in every way and I would recommend a voyage upon this wonderful ocean liner to anyone. I have focussed my review on the ship itself rather than ports / day trips as otherwise I will ramble on for too long. Checking in at Southampton was quick and simple. The Queen Mary 2 was docked in the old QE2 terminal which is like something out of the 1960's however was perfectly adequate and I quite enjoyed the feeling of stepping back in time as we boarded. As soon as we were on board we were greeted by smiling faces and warm welcomes from every member of the White Star staff we passed. We stayed in an inside cabin or 'stateroom' as they are called (4061), which is the best value option and if you don't mind not having a window or balcony it is quite adequate. The decks are all so beautiful and vast, there is no necessity to spend much needed cocktail money on a balcony when you can spend time on the public decks. I guess this is all down to individual preference, and if you have the cash to splash then the balcony staterooms are beautiful, but ours was clean, roomy enough for two including enough wardrobe space for all my evening dresses and throughout the voyage, if you tune the tv to the bridgecam channel you can see what the outside weather is doing and have your own little "window" to outside. The morning show with Paul O'Loughlin, Entertainment Director was also very interesting and a fun way to start every day telling us about upcoming shows and events, I didn't really want to go back to BBC Breakfast when I got home! We were lucky enough to have Commodore Rynd, head of the Cunard fleet at the helm and he was very personable, visible around the ship from day to day and his 12pm navigational announcements every day were very enjoyable informing us about the ships position and interesting facts of the day. When booking this voyage I had been worried that I might find the sea days a little tiresome and boring, particularly the 5 in a row between Egypt and Dubai however I could not have been more wrong, and the sea days were actually some of my favourites. Each evening we received a daily programme in our stateroom which listed all the activities for the following day along with evening dress code and information on guest performers. I looked forward to planning our next day and it was a struggle to fit everything in there was so much on offer. I guess at this point it is worth mentioning that on this particular voyage the majority of travellers were aged around 50 upwards and I guess many of the activities are geared towards this age group. However to put my review into context, I am 32 and was probably the youngest on board (bar 2 toddlers I saw) however I threw myself into it and thoroughly enjoyed everything on offer. Daytime activities included many pub quizzes in the Golden Lion pub (very enjoyable particularly as these days in usual pub quizzes everyone can cheat on their phone -- not so easily done at sea so much more enjoyable), daily lectures and talks, films and planetarium shows, shuffleboard, decathlon, short tennis, golf (there is an indoor simulator also), water volleyball, darts, i-seminars, art classes, make up demonstrations and our personal favourite ballroom dance classes with the wonderful Wilfried and Ilona ex ballroom and latin champions who were lovely and even managed to get my partner interested in dancing who has NEVER shown any interest before despite constant nagging! Flower arranging with Mikee and Mario is not to be missed, a hilarious double act and a fun 4 hour session over 2 days which allowed us to keep our floral masterpieces and have them in our stateroom or on the dinner table. There is a $50 supplement for this activity but well worth it for the fun you will have. Cunard do their best to secure good guest lecturers and entertainers and on this voyage Martin Bell, Ruthie Henshall, Roy Walker were the headliners, all of whom were very popular and very entertaining in their respective fields. However lesser known entertainers such as Goronwy Thom -- comedy juggler and Elio Pace -- singer and pianist were absolutely excellent. This brings me onto the subject of entertainment as a whole. The Royal Court singers and dancers were top quality and the shows presented were better than many I have seen in the West End and Broadway, shows were usually performed twice a night in the gorgeous theatre and this was good to give flexibility around different dinner sittings. On a couple of occasions we watched the shows twice as they were so good. The Entertainment staff and social hostess who ran the quizzes did an ok job but personality wise they were somewhat lacking apart from Paul (Ents Director) who was very good with his patter. I could not believe the number of wonderful resident musicians on board -- a string quartet, cocktail pianists, a jazz trio, the Queens Room orchestra, Vibz Caribbean band and Joey Mix with his Royal Court Orchestra were all outstanding and there was much live music on offer each day. Highlights were Dixieland in the Winter Garden, and the Afternoon Tea Dances with the Queens Room Orchestra and vocalist Michel Chartier. Food was overwhelming in terms of the amount on offer. The Kings Court buffet is open for 22 hours a day and serves pretty much anything you can think of, I agree with other reviews that the layout of this area isn't very cosy but we didn't eat there that often, only really for post evening dancing snacks and cookies before bed! When the weather is warm the boardwalk cafe is open in the afternoon and this serves great burgers, chips and salad. The main Britannia Restaurant was large and glamorous as I expected and we had such an attentive waiter and sommelier. When torn between 2 dishes they will offer to bring you both and no request was too much. We were always welcomed with a smile and enjoyed every evening we dined in here. Over our 18 day cruise I did consume a lot of food however it was too delicious not to and that is what holidays are all about. It is worth spending one evening dining in the Todd English restaurant, you pay a supplement here but the food was first class and it was a nice special treat. Drinks are plentiful and although pricey, you get what you pay for and the cocktails and champagne in particular were lovely. My tip is to have pre dinner cocktails in the Commodore Club on deck 9, which has a lovely ambience particularly when the pianist it playing, check out the molecular cosmopolitan for a delicious sweet and tangy treat. The Chart Room and Veuve Cliquot Champagne Bar are also nice for a pre dinner aperitif. We opted to pay $6.50 per day and have unlimited soft drinks, this was well worth it and I would recommend it for people who like to have plenty of cola, lemonade, orangeade or juices as you can use this in any of the bars. I believe that Cunard line do many more formal nights than other companies and this was something which I personally loved as back at home these days, one never gets the chance very often to get dressed up. Everyone respected the dress code and it was such a lovely feeling looking around and seeing the glamour and sophistication of all the guests. Formal nights included a Masquerade Ball, Egyptian Ball, Burns Night Ball, and Black and White Ball, all of which we were informed about in advance of our voyage enabling us to bring appropriate formal wear. The Queens Ball room is elegant and again the live music, singing and performances by the resident dance couples are highlights of the evening. There are a number of pools and jacuzzi's and the indoor / outdoor pavilion pool with sliding glass roof on the top deck is a popular choice when the weather is not so hot, as it was when departing Southampton on 9th January! My personal favourite outdoor space was the stern of deck 8 as there was a terrace bar here and once the weather was warm it was a sunbathing hotspot and lunch time live music by the pool with Vibz really made the holiday. One of my favourite days was our trip down the Suez Canal as the weather was hot, I was in the Jacuzzi with a glass of prosecco enjoying the scenery and the live music -- absolute bliss. The one niggle I had on this voyage was the service received at the Pursers Office, as the staff here seemed a little disinterested in their jobs and they weren't as helpful as they could have been. Whilst enjoying a lovely performance by the on board choir in the Grand Lobby, they wouldn't shut up from talking very loudly interrupting the singing, and even my long glares didn't seem to make any difference. Apart from this we thoroughly enjoyed our time at sea and once we disembarked in Dubai I felt very sad to be leaving this magnificent beautiful ocean liner which by that point felt like home. I guess as a first time "cruiser" I have nothing to compare it to, however if you enjoy old fashioned glamour, variety, succulent fayre, live music, high quality entertainment and beautiful surroundings then this is the ocean liner for you. I am saving already for my next trip! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2013
Our previous two cruises were both with Celebrity so it is in this context that I comment on our QM2 experience. First the good points: Our cabin even though it was a 'port-hole' class on Deck 6 near the bow was excellent and ... Read More
Our previous two cruises were both with Celebrity so it is in this context that I comment on our QM2 experience. First the good points: Our cabin even though it was a 'port-hole' class on Deck 6 near the bow was excellent and I couldn't fault it. Our steward was quite shy and retiring; he did the job but we saw little of him. The beautiful Art Deco theatre called Illuminations was excellent and had a superb Planetarium feature. The gym, once we found it, was very good. I say 'once we found it' as the various direction signs and listings didn't mention that it existed. The Ballroom and the teas served there in the afternoon was excellent and the evening dancing and band was very good.The shows in the main Royal Court Theatre were generally good; in particular the acrobatic duo. The session speakers were mostly good and the Jackie Stewart talks were excellent. Service from staff was generally efficient. The main restaurant, The Britannia, was very attractive with excellent decor. Now, the downside: I guess food is what we would be most critical of. It was no-where near up to the standard of Celebrity cruise dining. The food in the Britannia restaurant was mostly bland with very poor sauces. Sometimes portion sizes were small and our waiters served us extra vegetable dishes to make up. The on-board chefs seem to have little understanding of sauces and flavouring. Other reviewers have mentioned cost-cutbacks but herbs and spices cost little so there really is no excuse on a top cruise line. The selection of food in the Kings Court self-service restaurant was only average. Hygiene control in the Kings Court was very poor with staff not attempting to make visitors use the hand-cleansers. Again you would not have been able to do this with Celebrity and I understand QM2 had had some norovirus a few weeks before our cruise? Service from staff in the restaurants and elsewhere was efficient but the staff appeared a bit cowed. We felt that the crew were quite aloof and did not mix with lower level staff or passengers in the way we had seen on our previous cruises where the crew generally ate with the passengers. Drinks were expensive and wine pricing in particular was silly. On the other hand there was good British Real Ale and with almost normal UK bar prices; spirits were reasonable and sometimes cheaper than the average wine. The speciality restaurant, Todds, had good, flavoursome food but portion sizes were a bit on the small side. The ships' decor varies in an almost random way around the ship; sometimes it's just a mess occasionally very good. The main Royal Court Theatre is well equipped and comfortable but the seating upstairs is bizarre in it's layout. Off-shore trips varied in cost and value. The arrangements for gathering before dis-embarking were not ideal with everyone meeting in the main theatre resulting in queuing. As someone else has mentioned in another review, arrangements for the final dis-embarkation morning were not followed by the crew and you had to largely use common sense. The promenade deck 7 was the place to get some outside exercise but sadly there was a constant smell at the rear of the ship so you needed to move fast through that part! In summary, we talked to other passengers who had travelled with Cunard before and/or other cruise lines. Many felt that Cunard could try harder bearing in mind the Cunard branding and some said that QE and Victoria ships were superior. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2012
We drove to Southampton and were transferred to the coach station by ACP Southampton then to Heathrow for the flight to Dubai. That all worked well as did the transfer to the docks which was part of the package by Imagine Cruising. We were ... Read More
We drove to Southampton and were transferred to the coach station by ACP Southampton then to Heathrow for the flight to Dubai. That all worked well as did the transfer to the docks which was part of the package by Imagine Cruising. We were then messed about for a couple of hours before getting on board ship. It was as if someone had planned a way of ruining the embarkation experience. People were happy to wait but an impressive amount of people had been recruited to keep passengers amused, confused and frustrated by their antics. The ship was more than impressive, our steward followed up on our queries and did far more for us than expected as did our waiters in the Britannia Restaurant. We used the Britannia for breakfast and lunch and each time found the staff and food to be first class. The pleasant and efficient service seemed to rub off onto the passengers who were, on the whole, pleasant and sociable. After adjusting to the heat we were able to keep fully occupied by the numerous activities, quizzes and competitions as well as taking in the scenery which included the HMAS Melbourne which was engaged in protecting ships in the area of the Arabian Sea. She circled around us before resuming her patrol and was a very welcome sight. The entertainment was excellent in all respects. I failed to go to a Planetarium show. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2012
We boarded in Dubai following a night flight with Virgin airlines. It seems there were several flights with mixed reaction. Our flight was cramped and uncomfortable; I would not do a night flight again. The reception at Dubai airport was ... Read More
We boarded in Dubai following a night flight with Virgin airlines. It seems there were several flights with mixed reaction. Our flight was cramped and uncomfortable; I would not do a night flight again. The reception at Dubai airport was shambolic. Nobody was taking charge and we had to wander round trying to find a rep and our coach 7am in the morning after a sleepless night. We arrived at the embarkation shed; the coach driver just waved to the trolleys and drove off. No Cunard staff was available to offer advice or even a bottle of water. We sat in the grubby shed until 12.30 before we could board the ship. Our luggage was in our balcony cabin on deck 11 when we cleared reception. Grabbed of few hours' sleep. The ship is very big, but without the on deck facilities we have found on other cruises, that's because it's an "Ocean liner" the staff would constantly remind us. We found it difficult to find our way round the ship even when sober! Asking the staff for directions proved fatal on a number of occasions, as we often ended up going in the wrong direction. As always the cabin steward was helpful and courteous. I gave him our normal $50 tip when we met and he could not do enough for us. We removed the compulsory tips at the Bursars desk, along with many others, tipped dinning and stewards again when disembarking. The Buffet restaurant was not very welcoming, although the food was OK. We had our breakfast brought to balcony very pleasant and efficient free room service staff every day. $1 tip was all that seemed necessary. I would recommend that as a nice start to the day, or if you want free tea and cakes during the day. We dined in the Britannia fixed time restaurant. Good quality food, lots of choices. Wine was expensive $40 for a £10 bottle screw top plonk, plus the compulsory service charge. You don't have to have wine of course you can just have free tap water with a coffee to follow if you like. The dinner guests on your table are chosen by the restaurant manager so they and you get who you are given. We do not mind dressing for dinner, in fact my wife spent hours asking "does my bum look big in this" before changing into yet another evening dress. The ladies do look nice though. Good job you can have as many cases as you can carry on returning to Southampton. Dubai proved to be a disaster as we took an open top bus trip, paid £80 and got off after 3 stops to join a Dhow cruise, 50 yards from the dockside the Captain turned back and ordered us all off. To windy he said. No mention of a refund. We ended up getting taxis which we should have done in the first place. Some people really enjoyed it, having spent a couple of days settling in before their excursions. The next stop was Muscat, clean a less pretentious that Dubai. We took a beach trip. I t was very shallow and clear, having to wade out 100 yards to cover your waist. Hot and pleasant excursion. Then we set off to "pirates alley" escorted by various naval ships, one of which came close and gave us a helicopter demonstration. Very good to see, made us all feel more comfortable. The ship itself can really travel at speed and had armed guards, so I don't think the pirates would be silly enough to even come close. Not to mention risking a tongue lashing from the blue rinse brigade. From Sohkna we joined the ships excursion to Cairo and the Pyramids. We were very anxious as we set off in an armed coach convoy across the dessert to Giza. We found we had no reason to be anxious. As all the Egyptians were very friendly and pleased to see us. Not many other tourists around and no sign of Egypt's troubles. We were forced to drive through a sandstorm, which was quite exciting, the driver could only see 10 yards ahead, and he was being led by a police escort. Cairo and the Pyramids were filthy, but at $400 it was the best excursion of the whole cruise. You must go there once! Suez Canal was interesting and took all day to transit. Worth the trip. Next was Athens and the Corinth can trip ending at Ancient Corinth nice sunny day in pleasant company. Like all these trips you have to endure the visit to a store owned by a family member to make your purchases of the local tourist tat. Then to Malaga to see the Flamenco dancers, that was quite good, but the trip was expensive. Having had the trip to Lisbon cancelled we settled down for the long run to Southampton. The Bay of Biscay was rough, and the ship did not ride it as well as expected, many spare places at the dinner table in the evening as a result. Disembarkation was easy. Would we go on this trip again? Probably not. Too many sea days, not enough ports. Smoking allowed in some areas. Cunard make a big thing of the white star service and its former glories. Truth is, it does cater for a niche market, but the ship was built by the French and the ship, crew and history feel a little tired. Cheaper that many of our previous cruises. We might try Asia next Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2011
Boarding ship in Dubai was fast and easy. Luggage delivered to cabin quickly. As we were platinum members of cunard we did receive a few perks that helped out.The QM2 was a grand attractive elegant first moment of truth. We loved the ... Read More
Boarding ship in Dubai was fast and easy. Luggage delivered to cabin quickly. As we were platinum members of cunard we did receive a few perks that helped out.The QM2 was a grand attractive elegant first moment of truth. We loved the decor, carpeting, winding staircases, music playing lightly in various lounges during the day and pre dinner. It was very Titanic in its looks. Elegant old world. Our dining experiences were very good on the whole. Better on the Dubai to Southampton than the Southampton to New York sector. Our travel agent asked several times if the balcony chairs fully reclined...she was told yes, on arrival they were chairs only and had to take the time to switch them out to nylon deck chairs with no cushions and shoddy. We were told due to safety reasons, these chairs did not recline.Dining room had rowdy loud children adjacent to our prime table next to the gorgeous two level decor in the Britania Restaurant. The Maitre D was complacent in responding to this disruption every night. Could not understand how the kids were not placed in a quiet corner of the dining room amongst other kids instead of this prime spot. We loved our table so we sure weren't going to change!After about 10 days we started to see failures that discouraged us to ever join the QM2 again. Cigarette smoke permeated several areas of the ship. Smokers discreetly lit up during evening performances and nothing was done about it. This ship is for SMOKERS unless it doesn't bother you. If you are allergic, stay away. They intend for this ship to continue with smoking.Deck 7 near the Kings court and the gym both reeked of smoke. Waifs of smoke were in the corridors of the ship. Also a continuous odor of urine from the ladies room outside the Britania restaurant, the full cruise.the lectures and performances were mediocre and Holland America Line far surpasses the quality we had on the ship. It was like left over performers for the end of the world cruise.Jacuzzis were broken down often during the 23 days. It didn't seem important for anyone to fix them. Illuminations broke down several times during the last few days of the cruise. It felt like the ship was worn down after the first few sectors of the world cruise.The spa had broken tile and a section of the pool was cordoned of with "caution" yellow tape, that was not a very well being vision for me! Also they had not replaced the aromatherapy steam room with scent, so you smelled severe chlorine instead. They were waiting for New York to get more....and why could the Canyon Ranch not have had a Fed Ex supply sent to a port? Complacency. You were charged the same price to enter the day spa even with these failures.When reading through the brochure while at sea, there were several photos advertised in it that made me want to take this ship. Tea served while in lounge chairs outdoors on deck, fencing demos or lessons, RADA at sea for lessons. Another picture of being served tea in the spa area in your bathrobe...well I wanted to experience that..it didn't happen. After receiving a call from Cunard, they said these were for Queens and Princes grill or on other ships. The brochure,however, does not tell you the conditions of these photos tantalizing your travel dreams. This line overpromises and underdelivers. Holland America Overdelivers and underpromises.We just felt an overall disappointment and felt we were taken with the price and the bargain for the Dubai to New York sector. We felt like we were the left overs of the world cruise as they cannot keep the ship filled for the full 103 days.What was really annoying was hearing people bragging of their deep discounts to travel on the ship and we paid a good price for our cabin. Several commented on the deep discount advertising in the UK papers. One travel writer on board told us he paid $900. for the transatlantic and $100 more for a balcony on deck 10...we were in a balcony on deck 4 for 23 days.The ports of call were fabulous, the tour desk and shore excursions were all outstanding. We had 21 buses to Luxor and it went off without a hitch and we were the only people at Karnak and the tombs. Food on the tour was great and trouble free. All the ports were worthwhile although we'd been to all of them before, it was nice to return to them.On a scale of 1 to 10..........."4" for us Read Less
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