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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
There’s no point beating about the bush. Booking my first cruise filled me with dread; at one stroke I was destroying my credibility as an independent traveller. 15 years and 40 cruises later, I admit I couldn’t have been more wrong. ... Read More
There’s no point beating about the bush. Booking my first cruise filled me with dread; at one stroke I was destroying my credibility as an independent traveller. 15 years and 40 cruises later, I admit I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sea travel has opened up a new world of exploration and last week I repeated my first ever cruise, but this time with Cunard. Would the grand histories of the Baltic ports be matched by the royal splendours of Queen Victoria? THE PORTS Every city on the Baltic itinerary is steeped in history and if palaces, galleries and cathedrals are your thing then this cruise does not disappoint. And if, like me, you appreciate Scandinavian art and design, the ports have some wonderful specialist shops and art studios as well. Be prepared for eye watering prices, however. A cup of coffee and a pastry in Copenhagen for £9 is one thing, but £925 for a cake slice is quite another, albeit an exquisite one designed by Georg Jensen. St Petersburg remains the highlight destination and these days there is more of an effort to make visitors feel welcome: immigration formalities have been streamlined and stern faces replaced with occasional smiles. This is one port where organised excursions are the only way to enjoy the city’s palaces and museums because independent sightseeing is impossible without a visa. I started with a four-hour walking tour, led by a witty and knowledgeable guide who was as happy to be quizzed about Salisbury as she was to rib Putin. One of many highlights was the Church on Spilled Blood with its onion domes reaching to the sky, still beautiful despite a major programme of renovations. Stockholm’s royal palaces are as good a starting point as any for understanding the city’s history but there is so much more. The Museum of Modern Art on the island of Skeppsholmen is worth a visit, its gardens home to colourful and zany sculptures. Although there is a shuttle bus service available, I found it as quick to take the riverside walk past the Film Museum and enter Stockholm via the warren of narrow streets in the Old Town. Of the other ports, Tallinn is compact and the easiest to explore on foot. My starting point was the 13th century cobblestoned main square where I enjoyed a coffee in warm sunshine. From there I walked up to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, an orthodox and gloriously ornate cathedral funded by public donations. Kiel on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast was less impressive. It is twinned with Coventry but has not been as successful in rebuilding after the devastations of war. The Rathaus, or Town Hall, with its ornate interior survived the bombing but Kiel is one place where the best plan might be to book an excursion. THE SHIP Ask loyal Cunarders which is their favourite ship and the answer more often than not is Queen Victoria. I can see why. My cabin was spacious and the public areas luxuriously comfortable, with deep sofas and armchairs waiting to help relieve tired legs after busy days ashore. The dark wood veneers, deep pile carpets in golds and creams, and art deco marble tiling all recall a golden era for passenger ships. The elegant Queens Room on Deck 2 is a popular haunt, not only for afternoon cream teas served by waiters in white gloves but also because it is a ballroom where every evening there is dancing to live music. Cunard dance hosts offer to partner single guests and during the day there are classes led by a professional dance couple. Guests Jane and Robert from Harlow in Essex are keen dancers and the ship’s ballroom was one of the reasons they booked the cruise. “The setting is beautiful,” Jane told me. “We love dancing and enjoyed our times in the Queens Room – but more opportunities for sequence dancing would have been nice.” The handsome two-storey library is well-stocked and the two librarians impressed me with their courtesy and knowledge. At the Purser’s Desk, international receptionists like Lisa from Berlin, Martin from Vienna and Charles from Cambridge were fine ambassadors for Cunard, cheerfully responding to my questions and often providing me with additional maps before going ashore. I cannot think of any area where service was less than excellent. On deck and in the bars, stewards were attentive however busy they were and in the Chart Room ($4.83 for an Illy cappuccino), waiters Julito, Martina and Rolando made every visit special thanks to their professionalism. It was the same in the Britannia Restaurant with waiters Gede and KC delivering faultless service at our table, and Cyril offering expert wine advice. The House wines were good although $14 for a glass of red made my eyes water! The galleys prepare around 5000 meals a day and standards are high. My beef sirloin and pork medallions were first rate, piping hot and full of flavour, and the fish was also excellent, whether the roasted monkfish or the grilled turbot. When I asked for chips, they were delivered immediately. For desserts, and knowing that coffee and chocolates or petit fours would follow, I generally restricted myself to the ice creams. Yes, there were disappointments but they were remedied quickly. My roast turkey one evening was lukewarm and Gede handled the matter without fuss, apologising and returning promptly with a hot replacement meal. There was a wide range of activities to choose from on sea days, from bridge and watercolour art classes to port presentations and talks from guest speakers, all of them well attended. Captain Tomás Connery was seen around the ship every day – always a good sign - and at midday updated us with navigational details. In the evenings, The Royal Court Theatre Company presented music and dance shows to packed houses and there were guest artists too. My favourites were Roy G Hemmings who spent ten years as a singer with The Drifters and Jon Courtenay, an energetic pianist comic. Perhaps because of the Baltic itinerary, there was an international dimension to the cruise. The majority of passengers were British but there were several other nationalities as well – mainly Australians, Americans, Germans, French and Dutch . . . and one South Korean. Does such a mixture have a major influence on menus? Not according to Jackie Bott, the ship’s Hotel General Manager (HGM). “People generally come to Cunard because it’s Cunard,” she told me. “Our international guests tell us that they don’t want to be served with their local dishes. They want to taste British food.” Nancy and John Keisman, guests from Brandon in Mississippi, took the same view. “We loved this cruise,” said John. “Not only for the ports with their different cultures but also for the opportunity to enjoy some great British food - Yorkshire pudding was new to us but we kinda liked it!” Nevertheless some of the food did reflect Continental tastes. The variety of bread and pastries served at breakfast in the Lido restaurant on Deck 9 is one example, with white, black, rye and brown breads, along with bagels and croissants, available each morning. WORTH BOOKING? The Baltic itinerary features throughout the Cunard 2019/2020 brochure and, although I have now done it twice, I would happily do it a third time because each port offers such a diverse range of history and culture. But the real star of this cruise was Queen Victoria and I can’t wait to return on board. HGM Jackie Bott unwittingly summed up the ship’s success when she told me what appealed most about her work in leading a department of 800 officers and crew. “Passengers think it must be the chance to see the world that is the best part of the job, but ports are secondary to people and in any case I’ve visited most ports more than once. People are far more interesting and complex and they are central to everything we do at Cunard.” No surprise, then, that Queen Victoria delivered such a successful cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
If you have a Disability like me with wearing an Air-Cast Boot and partly blind with a cane the staff won't help you and not even at the terminal in Brooklyn, NY. This was for embarkation and I was alone traveling. The cabin was ... Read More
If you have a Disability like me with wearing an Air-Cast Boot and partly blind with a cane the staff won't help you and not even at the terminal in Brooklyn, NY. This was for embarkation and I was alone traveling. The cabin was very nice and the Cabin boy I had was wonderful. He made sure everything was well stocked. The Britannia Restaurant is very nice and my dinner companiens are wonderful and glad they sat with me at the table. I each gave them a box of Fudge to say Thank You. However QM2 knew I was a vegan and they did not bother to get products for me. The Chef did not even know what yams are.! Makes you wonder.? Staff in the Britannia very stuffy as they did not want to smile most of the time. The Entertainment was fantastic and the Dancers amazing. Went to afternoon Tea and they served products with Nuts in and had an allergic reaction and medical and staff did not care and took me 2 days to recover. One day I asked for toast and on the side I had mold on. Service from the staff very Rude and talked about guests behind your back in own language that I can understand. No Ports of shore as went right to Southampton from Brooklyn, NY As for Disembarkation was the same problem as staff did not care if you have a Disability. After I got off my bags went on the floor and yes I cried. The security in Southampton are wonderful and they helped me since QM2 staff could not care. In my opinion I would never go back on the QM2 due to the problems and staff. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
It was when Queen Elizabeth was leaving her berth in Liverpool to sail across the Irish Sea to Dublin that I began to see that a cruise around the British Isles had not been such a bad idea after all. Until now I had steered clear. After ... Read More
It was when Queen Elizabeth was leaving her berth in Liverpool to sail across the Irish Sea to Dublin that I began to see that a cruise around the British Isles had not been such a bad idea after all. Until now I had steered clear. After all, why tour Britain when you live here? The send-off we received was hugely emotional. Scousers lined the streets to watch and cheer as the ship let go her lines and on the quayside a ukulele band belted out Lennon & McCartney and other hits from the Sixties. It was fantastic and just one of my memories of this special cruise. In Scotland, we were sent on our way from Greenock to the stirring sounds of a bagpipe band and for our maiden call at Killybegs in Donegal the locals treated us like royalty. But the biggest bonus was to see my own region from the sea, to sail up the Mersey and gaze at towns I had only explored on foot; the sandy beach at Wallasey, with the dome of the handsome town hall towering above, presented an image totally at odds with the reality of previous visits. But the greatest pleasure was to experience such sights from the comfort of Queen Elizabeth. Standards of service across the ship were excellent, inspired by the leadership of Captain Aseem Hashmi. He could be seen around the ship every day and his announcements at midday were always worth hearing. Apart from navigational updates, he added seafaring anecdotes spiced with humour, and at every port he kept us informed about his plans for leaving the berth and for the course to be taken. No wonder the theatre was packed for his talk about life on the Bridge. Captain Hashmi can certainly look forward to a lucrative career on stage if ever he tires of the sea. On sea days I found the displays of memorabilia from Queen Elizabeth’s maiden voyage fascinating and would make time to look at them as I walked from one venue to another. It was a surprise to see that a bottle of wine cost less than ten dollars eight years ago; today you’re looking at around 30, although you could spend a lot more. Across the ship, original oil paintings of the fleet’s ships and black-and-white poster photographs of Hollywood movie stars taken when on board emphasized Cunard’s place in maritime history. The daily programme of activities requires careful study because there is so much to do. I found the art classes fun, especially when our efforts went on display at the end of the cruise. The Clarendon Art Gallery was a useful destination to appreciate the real thing - here you can buy works of art ranging in price from the low hundreds to $10,000+. The speakers and port presentations were popular with guests, as was the handsome library, the best I have seen on any ship. Dance classes, some of them privately arranged, continued throughout the day and up in the gym there were alternative forms of exercise for those determined to remain at peak fitness. Add daily quizzes to the mix and you can see that there is never any need to feel bored. This year’s sizzling British summer meant that reading by the pools was also essential as was the occasional swim with the aft pool being reserved for adults only. I used Club dining, eating at 6 o’clock in the Britannia restaurant. Both food quality and service were excellent. Geronimo and his assistant, Jericho, were perfect waiters, soon becoming used to my nightly requests for ice cream with caramel sauce for dessert. The steaks were juicy and tender and the fish was also of good quality but portions of vegetables were small. My lemon sole was delicious but an accompaniment of two halves of a potato seemed mean, although of course there were other vegetables on the plate – and yes, that included the usual broccoli. Geronimo responded immediately when he heard me mention the lonely potato and brought extra from then on. Another plus point about eating in Britannia is that after leaving the table you are tempted at the restaurant doors with a table piled high with crystal ginger and chocolate mints. Upstairs in the Lido self-service restaurant, the range of choices was generous and platters were constantly being refreshed. At breakfast I could not fault the omelettes, prepared by a chef who chatted cheerfully as she prepared my choice of fillings. And at teatime, I defy anyone to resist the warm scones accompanied by a pot of Cornish clotted cream! Downstairs on Deck 2, the Queen’s Room offers a more formal afternoon tea. As the clock strikes 3.30 white-gloved waiters march to the middle of the dance floor, the harpist or pianist begins playing and sandwiches and cakes start to be served. It is a classically English occasion. But more often than not I still opted for the clotted cream in the Lido. After dinner the theatre soon fills up. Dance and music shows are presented by the ship’s own theatre company and there are also guest artists, including magicians, comedians and solo instrumentalists. I enjoyed them but my prize for the best show goes to The Barricade Boys, four young men who have performed in the West End and who brilliantly delivered show songs that had us on our feet, cheering for more. So would I do another cruise around the British Isles? Yes, definitely. And would I be happy to return on board Queen Elizabeth? Of course I would. To sit in Café Carinthia enjoying an Americano for $4 whilst drinking in coastal views of great contrast is a privilege that deserves to be repeated more than once. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I wanted to be in NY-Baltimore to meet with friends and managed to get a single cabin (might have been a cancellation as none available when I first looked) on just the right date. I celebrated my 70th birthday in 2017--and this trip ... Read More
I wanted to be in NY-Baltimore to meet with friends and managed to get a single cabin (might have been a cancellation as none available when I first looked) on just the right date. I celebrated my 70th birthday in 2017--and this trip was a belated birthday present to myself. This voyage was on my bucket list and was also my first time on a liner. I enjoyed everything about it (except for the high price of wine!!) and was seated with very pleasant dinner companions. I enjoyed all the talks and shows that I saw and finished off most evenings dancing with my dinner companions in the disco. I went to the singles coffee morning most days and always found someone interesting to chat with. We went through some Force 7-9 winds in mid Atlantic and QM2 hardly moved. A highlight was coming into New York early in the morning, under the Verrazano- Narrows Bridge then seeing the Statue of Liberty as the sky lightened--magical!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Queen elizabeth no 801 23rd dec 2017 - 7th jan 2018. I am a regular passenger with cunard but i had a real problem with my cabin on this cruise. I was in cabin 6182, an inside cabin. I was traveling as a single person so had to pay ... Read More
Queen elizabeth no 801 23rd dec 2017 - 7th jan 2018. I am a regular passenger with cunard but i had a real problem with my cabin on this cruise. I was in cabin 6182, an inside cabin. I was traveling as a single person so had to pay the supplement for that grade. I think this cabin is not even fit for one person, most certainly not two. There is no desk space the way the cabin is configured at present. The tray for tea/coffee making equipment is a nice touch but in this cabin leaves no desk/dressing table space. There is also no causal chair . See attached photographs This meant that the whole time had to be spent on the bed. I complained to the purser (hotel general manager) she responded saying that all desk areas were the same except for queens and princess grills cabins. I have traveled in everything from a q1 downwards. The desk space is not the same in all cabins. In 6182 it was 69 cm. And in the other 84.5 cm. Thus they vary by 15.5 cms and the high space in the 6182 also not available as it is taken up by the tv. The customer service manager offered me cabin 4110 late in the voyage which was perfect. However this not really my point. I tried to load photograph but this proved impossible, however one desk was 69 cm the other 84.5 cm. This being 15.5 cm longer On the last leg of the world cruise, cape town to southampton i traveled in a single cabin on deck 1. This cabin was perfect. This time i was unable to book a deck 1 single through cunards site and had to go to an agent. I notice from the present 2018 site every single cabin for all cruises is marked “sold out” for the whole year. I find this unlikely and this would appear to be a crafty and dubious business practice. When i book a cruise i watch the website frequently and twice a day towards departure and it is obvious when cabins and fares are updated and consolidated. The amount i paid for my 6182 cabin was similar to the fare for a single on deck 1. This single was an oceanview. It therefore had a window, a settee, a usable desk area and plenty of space. Cabin 6182 has no window, no desk and no settee. All for a similar fare. I know very well you get what you pay for, but it is unconscionable to charge the same fare for totally contrasting cabin facilities, what, in one cabin, is provided for a particular fare should in another cabin have similar facilities. Anything else is unacceptable, unethical, sharp business practice and possibly illegal. To further compound this shadiness by “blocking off” all the single cabins on every cruise for the whole year, makes the situation worse. Primary points for attention are: SIMILAR CABIN FARES MUST EQUATE TO SIMILAR CABIN FACILITIES SELECTED CABIN GRADES SHOULD NOT BE DISPLAYED AS “SOLD OUT” WHEN THEY ARE NOT Single travellers are constantly being exploited. Do not let you agent or cunard book you in cabin 6182 on the queen elizabeth. SOLO TRAVELLERS Arising from this problem i have a further concern as to what is provided for “solo travellers”. On this cruise q801 there was very little and what was provided was a shambles. The first “meeting” was situated in an area too small for those wishing to attend. The “bubbly” and coffee had not been arranged and the “host” did not turn up till very late. On the second occasion the “host” did not turn up at all. He was being santa or something. Due to the first meeting not having taken place there was no list of “solos” so it was impossible to arrange invitations for the solo lunch. In port there was no hosting attendance, coffee or other provision other than a notification of the scheduled meeting place. The solo lunch eventually took place on the last day. Solo travellers pay a considerably higher fare than other passengers but receive virtually nothing extra. There was a group arranged in the ballroom on new year’s eve but it was inadequately notified and many people did not realise it had taken place. Many of these ‘solos’ are older and also disabled therefore triply isolated and left on their own. This demographic of cruise passengers is becoming an increasing part of your client base. Cunard need to take better care of them. Also, the years of people with the large pensions are drawing to a close. Where are your passengers going to come from then? Another problem with being sole on this cruise was the lack of the gourmet/wine dinner in the veranda. I like to eat in this venue but on my own it is little difficult. The gourmet/wine dinner gives solos a chance to eat at a made up larger table. This event was dropped from the usual programme, again to the detriment of sole travellers. Each passenger receive an allocated ‘spend on board”. Should a solo traveler not receive 175% of this amount as they pay 175% for their fare? Primary points for attention are: GIVE MORE APPROPRIATE ATTENTION TO PROGRAMMES AND FACILITIES FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS Increase the personal spend for these passengers. ENTERTAINMENT The christmas show was a disaster. I understand it was probably a one off as it was christmas but if the singers had just come on stage and had a ‘sing along’ of christmas carols it would have been preferable. The costumes did not fit the dancers, the choreography was very poor and dated. I have seldom seen so much fear and embarrassment on a stage. The dancers did not know the routines, could not commit to the choreography and were embarrassed by their ill fitting costumes. Happily they did prove their worth in the other shows later in the cruise. How cunard have the audacity to bill the shows as “new” is beyond belief. I have seen most of these numbers on other cruises and ships in the past. The other entertainers were of a reasonable standard, however the speakers/lectures were not particularly good. The lecture on bletchley park being the least well received. The yacht club dj was very poor. He appeared to be unable to work out the type of music the passengers liked. The band would leave after their set with the dance floor full. The venue would empty in seconds once the stared to dj. The bar service is also poor. Only one waiter had the right idea how to work a club/disco type of venue. He would welcome the passengers at the door, help find them a seat, and ask what they would like to drink. The two staff behind the bar were very slow considering the number of drinks they were serving and the other room waiter was slow to get to passengers and ascertain their requirements. This bar must run at a loss Primary points for attention are: ONLY PUT ON PROPERLY REHEARSED DRESSED AND CHOREOGRAPHED SHOWS Do not bill as “new’ shows that have been staged before. FIND A NEW COMPETENT DJ TRAIN THE STAFF HOW TO WORK A BAR SUCH AS THIS ALTERNATIVE DINING OPTIONS The food in general was very good. Good produce, well cooked, and pleasantly presented. The waiting and sommelier staff were excellent, as usual. However, there was on major issue. I visited the “alternative” dining venue one evening. It was the one billed as “coriander”. The starter was ok, well presented although additional chutneys would have been acceptable, also a dedicated rice dish is required. The main course i ordered was lamb pasanda. I was very very over salted and the lamb meat was extremely tough. I am certain it had only been “lamb” many years before it reached the ship. There was good lamb on board as i had a rack during the following days which cut like butter. To charge a supplement for what was provided is a ripoff. Primary points for attention are: Improve the standard of food in this venue if you are going to charge a considerable supplement. THE PURSER’S DESK On several occasions i was given incorrect information by the recaption desk staff and also by the hotel general manager (purser). The desk staff probably were new and inexperienced and not fully trained. I did not receive my customer questionnaire. I asked a number of times. I was assured it would be resent my cabin. It did not appear. I also asked for the assisted disembarkation information on a number of occasions. Again, this did not arrive until the very last minute. I did suggest it may have been because of my cabin transfer but was assured this was not the reason. The customer services manager was very helpful and understanding and did what she could to address my situation. Primary points for attention are: THE PURSER’S DESK STAFF REQUIRE MORE TRAINING AND BETTER COMMUNICATION The purser (hgm) neads to check the accuracy of information sent out in a letter before it is sent. THE RELIGIOUS SERVICE The service on christmas eve was advertised as an “anglican” service. Before the service started, while we were waiting for the pianist, the “reverend” addressed those attending. I may have misunderstood what he was saying but: he announced that he and his wife had set up a “mission” to minister to passengers at sea. I found this a little disconcerting. The prospect that an ordained priest should go around personally benefitting from providing the holy sacrament to passengers on cruise ships i found rather repugnant. Which church did he belong to? does he have a bishop who has sanctioned this activity? Where i come from, northern ireland, in the past we have had too many people set themselves up as “men of god’ in their own church. I did not take the sacrament in the end although i did attend the service. Primary points for attention are: Provide more information on who and what the priest providing communion is. THE PROVISION OF INTERNET SERVICES When i wanted to write my letter of complaint on the ship i enquired if there were computers on which i could write a letter and print it. I eventually discovered i could write an email and send it to the bureau. However, to do this i would have to be “logged on” for the time it took to compose it. This would have been wasting my very expensive internet minutes. I am partially dyslexic and have problems with handwriting. The hand written letter i did eventually did compose took me some considerable time and was very rough and probably difficult to read. I found this whole situation quite embarrassing and frustrating. Primary points for attention are: Make word processing facilities available to passenger without having to “log on” to the internet. I have always enjoyed my cunard cruises. I think the waiters, room stewards and public room waiters all work incredibly hard. I even, as a regular traveler, consider some of them as friends. I look forward to seeing them each cruise. However, most of my issues were rooted in the management and policies in force on the ship. Most are the responsibility of “head office” management. I put all the above issues in a letter to cunard. After some considerable time i received a response. Many of the issues were totally ignored and the one over the unsuitability and pricing of my cabin was hardly addressed at all. Hence i am writing this review as others deserve to know cunard's contempt for passengers genuine problems. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I decided to try QM2 again after sailing on a transatlantic in 2012. I had heard about the fabulous re-mastering and wanted to see if the ship had been changed. I'm afraid that I was not impressed. Obviously the accountants had the ... Read More
I decided to try QM2 again after sailing on a transatlantic in 2012. I had heard about the fabulous re-mastering and wanted to see if the ship had been changed. I'm afraid that I was not impressed. Obviously the accountants had the whip hand in deciding what to do with the ship. QM2 always had an ergonomic problem. It is the worst vessel at sea to get around; so many blind alleys, blocked off areas, exclusion zones and without doubt the worst use of space ever. What they have done is increased the spaces available to make money, though curiously they have turned a wonderful casino into little more than a slot parlour. I was amazed to see that Queens grill and Princess grill dining rooms are located n a non-descript part of the ship with wonderful views of the super-structure, providing they don't mind being stared at by lesser mortals promenading outside their dining room windows. A poor substitute for QV and QE where premium guests have the views of Olympian gods from their dining room, unobserved by lesser mortals. I was most unimpressed by the huge waste of space in and around the Queens Room and other areas of the ship. so much more could be done in these spaces with very little effort. As for the Kings Court, OMG it is like dining in a tunnel on the London Underground. It was cold outside so everyone uses it as a thoroughfare from one end of the ship to the other, a nightmare at busy times negotiating your way to a table through the throng. The service, rooms, food, entertainment were all wonderful as you would expect. I will avoids this ship like the plague, I hate the general layout and find it to be the biggest waste of space on the high seas. One last thing, don't book a cruise on this ship id you are a smoker. Cunard considers smokers as lesser mortals who must be punished for their nasty habit and will confine them to the most uncomfortable out of the way parts of the ship with plenty of wind and rain to cleanse them of their filthy habit. If you smoke you may want to find a another cruise line because the only thing Cunard will help you with is purchasing smokes, god forbid you want to light up. Maybe during the next re-fit they will find a corner of the bilge tanks for the smokers to use. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
I have cruised with Cunard and other similar companies before but I choose this specific cruise for its dates, convenience and pricing. The itinerary was not new to me and I embarked with mixed feelings about the voyage. I strongly feel ... Read More
I have cruised with Cunard and other similar companies before but I choose this specific cruise for its dates, convenience and pricing. The itinerary was not new to me and I embarked with mixed feelings about the voyage. I strongly feel Cunard's ships offer very elegant surroundings, ships that feel like ships unadorned with gimmicky features and, of course, excellent service. I like the fact that the dress code is stricter and smart wear is encouraged in the evenings but it is in no way stuffy or superior, everyone is very friendly and relaxed. There are a few areas solely for Queen's Grill passengers but I have never been aware of these or felt excluded as all the main areas and facilities of the ship are open to everyone. I am pleased that fellow passengers respect the standard Cunard offers and behave accordingly so that, for example, sitting in one of the bars sipping a cocktail and chatting or listening to live background music is uninterrupted by noisy behaviour. There is plenty of opportunity for fun and more informal surroundings in the Golden Lion pub and deck parties, etc. I particularly love the Queens Room ballroom as it is spacious with a superb dance floor and a big attraction to anyone interested in ballroom dancing which is held there every evening. There are dance hosts, too, for anyone travelling solo as I do. I found all the evening entertainment in the theatre to be excellent and also enjoyed the lectures on sea days. The itinerary was similar to other ships but mostly enjoyable, especially as we had sunny and warm conditions for most of our ports which felt like a bonus in November! Another bonus was that most of the ports were easy to get around independently, apart from visiting Seville, and it was well worth booking the coach transfer there. The embarkation and disembarkation were extremely efficient and the fastest I have ever experienced. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
As a solo traveler this holiday was amazing. Embarkation in Southampton extremely well organised. Cabin 5006 lovely, food good sometimes outstanding.Top tips. Talk to strangers, there are some amazing people onboard. FOD, LGBT+ group at ... Read More
As a solo traveler this holiday was amazing. Embarkation in Southampton extremely well organised. Cabin 5006 lovely, food good sometimes outstanding.Top tips. Talk to strangers, there are some amazing people onboard. FOD, LGBT+ group at 5pm each evening was great. Spa pass brilliant. Flowers in my room, bottle of gin and some of my own wine made all the difference in my cabin. Also fresh coffee, melon and yoghurt with honey in my room at 7am. The passenger choir was great. Like any holiday it is going to be what you make it, if you sit in your room and sulk you will have an horrible time. Drinks very pricy and wifi, best lived without (kind of the point when two days from land.) Some of the entertainment was not quite my thing and I did not use the gym. Deiembarkation was slow, but so what. Overall an amazing holiday and busy saving up for my next trip. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Im a platinum member of cunard which means i have traveled a lot on all there ships mostly on QM2. the food in the britania resterant always arives less than worm although presentation is good,even though the ship has undergon a big ... Read More
Im a platinum member of cunard which means i have traveled a lot on all there ships mostly on QM2. the food in the britania resterant always arives less than worm although presentation is good,even though the ship has undergon a big re-fit it is still tied in parts its saving grace was getting rid of that terrible palm court. the shops are exspensive as products can be got ashore at a better price toiled papper is appoling and cheep staff seemed always to be stressed ,but always,well mostly are plesant . the big pluss are the new single staterooms although you cannot book the on the saver fair,disspite what cunard tell you,cunard were the very best at one time now they are only good to ok christmass is not recomended on cunard,not my opinion but having spoken to passangers who had don christmas told me it was only ok. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
The opportunity to travel on QM2 was too good to pass up and the 5 night itinerary afforded me the opportunity to travel in a Queens Grill suite. The itinerary was a round trip from Sydney, visiting Port Arthur and Hobart. Embarkation ... Read More
The opportunity to travel on QM2 was too good to pass up and the 5 night itinerary afforded me the opportunity to travel in a Queens Grill suite. The itinerary was a round trip from Sydney, visiting Port Arthur and Hobart. Embarkation was at Sydney's overseas passenger terminal at Circular Quay and went smoothly, but there was nothing special as far as Queens Grill privileges was concerned except to bypass the general queue, which is always nice of course. The staff here are always friendly and helpful and this embarkation was no exception. Stepping aboard the ship was very exciting but unlike Celebrity Suite class there was no one to greet you or direct you to your suite, or take you too a lovely club to wait for your cabin and enjoy a drink. There was however, a lift attendant to control the massive queue waiting to go up to their cabins. It turns out the lifts at stairwell B can best be described as Bijou, so I gave up and used the stairs. My Grill suite was 9002 at the front of the ship. On opening the door I was delighted. Very tasteful. Plenty big enough for me, with a large bathroom, whirlpool bathtub and lovely bar area. The balcony was generous with 2 wicker chairs, and the benefit of this cabin's location was that there was no lifeboat or tender blocking any view. You do however get a fair bit of noise when the tenders are launched. There was also a rattle noise from a mysterious spot noticeable at night, but it didn't disturb me too much. Bed and linen were lovely. Lovely bar set up. Champagne and Godiva chocolates a lovely touch. A note for less agile people the bathroom is shower over tub and the tub is deep. I dined in the Queens Grill. I was expecting great things of this and was somewhat disappointed. Same food as Britannia restaurant. A table right at the serving area nowhere near a window. I was expecting individualised treatment. Having said that, the waiters were delightful, most of the food was pleasant, and the company at the table lovely. The head waiter was almost invisible. Luminae on Celebrity is far superior. I also used Carinthia Lounge for lunch and found it to be very pleasant. Barely used Kings Court. I loved Sir Samuels, Veuve Cliquot bar and the Commodores Club. The drinks selection was classy and amazing, and hot chocolate to die for. Excellent coffee too. Service. If you want Joie de Vivre and chatty service this ship is not for you. Most of the service was very discreet, some of it was just plain surly. If this had been a longer trip I know some of the crew would have opened up more. My butler and attendant were lazy. I usually leave a generous tip, not this time. No interaction with them at all. Wine and food waiters in the Grills were gorgeous. I didn't bother with the Concierge lounge as the concierge was surly and it offered little in comparison with offerings on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. I would not recommend Queens Grill if you are looking for added extras as they just aren't there. Pay as you go in the Grills Lounge. Much prefer Michael's Club on Celebrity. No tender priority either. The ship itself is gorgeous and beautifully maintained. A real pleasure to sail on her and her solidity is beyond question. The Cunard history is a treat to soak up.the library and bookshop are delights I found too late in the cruise. There is a well appointed gym. Classy and genteel entertainment offerings. There is a board game corridor. I didn't use Canyon Ranch Spa. The ports were two of my favourite Australian places and we were greeted with fine weather. Port Arthur was a tender port and everything was run very smoothly. Lovely double deck tenders too. I didn't partake of any ship's tours. I would definitely cruise with Cunard again, as despite my niggles, it was a lovely experience and still felt special. I would probably choose an Interior cabin and just enjoy the facilities of the ship. For perks I will travel Celebrity. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
For 799 USD on a balcony incl. 850 USD OBC you better go than staying home. Embarkation was "disappointing" since the weather was foggy and rainy. So not a real welcome feeling with a great farewell out of New York like we had ... Read More
For 799 USD on a balcony incl. 850 USD OBC you better go than staying home. Embarkation was "disappointing" since the weather was foggy and rainy. So not a real welcome feeling with a great farewell out of New York like we had in November 2014. Crew was fantastic - was mostly like reunion-party. Was NY Times Readers voyage incl. many lectures from NY Times. Wanted to join many but at first day many items canceled from my personal agenda and from second day never had a look again to daytime activities. Production shows were great. Violin-artist plus Diva of the Seas with Whitney Houston song fantastic. Only Opera Boys were a little weak compared to the level of the other shows. Food unchanged. But The Verandah. Too overpriced and too upscale compared to Todd English before. So only had one time but three times on last voyage. Alternative dining (Coriander and Smokehouse night) was nice. But the last Coriander food experience on QUEEN VICTORIA recently was better. Service experience as good as before. New King's Court with long ways to beverages. Best was fresh squeezed juices for breakfast. Cabin was fine. Nice balls and parties. Internet services better since it is no more MTN but Telenor. Better quality if it runs. But if it did not run it was terrible. Only regular debarkation deck by deck was too old-style. But friends with purser's office was helpful to get me off the ship at my time of convenience. Something they could do much better by asking the guests when they want to leave the ship. VERY NICE for Gays. Last transatlantic we were only 2 FODs. This time around 40. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Beautiful ship-Wonderful to have Roger/Jim McGuinn on board for some great sit downs!!!!(Founder of the Byrds) But the nightly entertainment leave a lot to be desired. Same people night after night but in a new costume!! Very boring!! The ... Read More
Beautiful ship-Wonderful to have Roger/Jim McGuinn on board for some great sit downs!!!!(Founder of the Byrds) But the nightly entertainment leave a lot to be desired. Same people night after night but in a new costume!! Very boring!! The food was fine, lots of lamb, which I love!! Had late sitting (8:30) which I love. Portions were rather skimpy, so we just asked for more!! Not a problem. The price of drinks was just stupid. All were $10 or more with gratuity. When ordering a glass of wine you are asked if you want the"full measure:" which is $5 more than the puny lesser choice- Just a rip off. The so called full measure was less than what you would be served at dinner at any restaurant. The service out on the deck was ok, but the servers all looked very sad, never seemed to smile. I have never in my life been on a cruise that did not have a drink of the day. But no such thing on Cunard!! You are squeezed for every penny!!! But my reward was the lowest final bill charged to my account after I got home!!! I just did not drink much, because of the highway robbery price of drinks!!! My outside cabin was wonderful and spotless and spacious. I do not take the shore trips from the ship. I have been to all the islands many times before, so just took my time getting off and got a taxi to the beach. $4- in Tortola and St Martin St Thomas- Embarkation was a snap- I choose to self walk off the ship and was in a taxi to Grand Central Station at 7:30 am--Could not be smoother!! Ballrooom dancing each night in The Queens Room is a hoot to watch!!! And High Tea each day at 3:30 in the Queens Room was flawless. Tons of deck chairs at pool and prom deck Lunch buffet was great with lots of great choices and self serve ice cream machine. I would go again only if it was an offer I couldn't refuse!!! I brought on a bottle of wine in my checked suitcase and also one in my carry on bag-No questions asked!! And there was a corkscrew in the mini bar. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I booked with Queen Victoria mainly because I liked the itinerary. The Queen Victoria is an amazing boat - spotlessly clean and shiny, elegant and comfortable! It was just beautiful! The staff were very attentive and provided excellent ... Read More
I booked with Queen Victoria mainly because I liked the itinerary. The Queen Victoria is an amazing boat - spotlessly clean and shiny, elegant and comfortable! It was just beautiful! The staff were very attentive and provided excellent service, mainly in the Britannia Dinning Room and my cabin steward. Some staff were a bit aloof but generally ok. They were going to varnish the balcony rails on one port stop however I mentioned I had issues with solvents so they said they wouldn't do my balcony and they did stick to their word on this which was great. I booked a midship balcony as I get seasick. The room was spacious, well decorated and the bed was incredibly comfortable, I was pleasantly surprised it was very spacious and meticulously maintained. The room steward was fantastic. The food was also delicious - breakfast was pretty typical cruise fare with a great choice but from lunch on it was wonderful. Dinners in the Brittania were fabulous and I have to commend the staff there were a few people at our table with allergies and gluten issues and every day they discussed with the manager with regards to the following nights men, so their food could be cooked separately or changed to suit their medical needs. There is a great choice on the menu and the staff are always attentive and remember your likes and dislikes from the previous evening. I was seated at a table of 8 as I was travelling solo, this was great everyone at my table appeared to be solo travellers too. I ate two meals in the Verandah Restaurant and really enjoyed this experience and meal. The entertainment was really great. I went to two lectures and these were interesting and well prepared - not too long just the perfect length of time. There is something for everyone. I did a couple of tours with Cunard but I must say they are expensive for what you seem to get. I had to complain on both tours about the bus driver using the mobile phone while driving and some roads were really scary bendy. The Corfu bus driver was telling the tour guide to tell us not to go in the water at the beach stop of the tour as he didn't want to get sand in his bus...I didn't find that appropriate. I felt rushed on both tours I did. I may have not booked this tour if i realised it was such a formal dress requirement, however I have to say I did enjoy dressing up for dinner and felt not everyone was complying with this requirement. There is a sense of hard sell for the Spa products and at the shops onboard. I guess this goes on all the time, so you just ignore and move on. My embarkation and transfer was smooth and quick as was the disembarkation to the airport. In all i really enjoyed my experience with Queen Victoria, I felt a little left out at times but enjoyed the ports of call. I am sure i would travel with Cunard again should the opportunity arise. I value staying safe and well and you feel this on Cunard. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
As always I read these wonderful reviews on here so I feel I need to send you my feedback about my QM2 transatlantic last week. Well, I had a brilliant time and loved every minute of it. Ship is in very good shape indeed. Personally ... Read More
As always I read these wonderful reviews on here so I feel I need to send you my feedback about my QM2 transatlantic last week. Well, I had a brilliant time and loved every minute of it. Ship is in very good shape indeed. Personally I really liked the new carpets etc compared to the old ones. I felt the ship has started to develop a personality by itself compared to 8 years ago. I had a single balcony cabin (double single occupancy) with obstructed view. It was really obstructed, however I loved the space and the daylight compared to an inside cabin . A balcony is not really necessary on a TA but nice to have. Jerel was an excellent cabin steward, the cabin was spotless. I felt really at home there to relax or nap certain hours of the day. Fellow passengers were really nice and I enjoyed their company. i had a great table for dinner with really nice table mates who made me feel good. I made an effort to share tables for breakfast and lunch in the Britannia and it was always to pleasure to do so. QM2 on TA does attract a different clientele than a regular cruise ship and I heard some very interesting stories from a lot of different people. The LGBT cocktail hour in the Commodore Lounge was always very well attended and I went there every day. Considering my last Cunard voyage ws 8 years ago and having read a lot of “standards are dropping” articles for me it really hasn’t. Service and food were very good and on the same level as before. Couldn’t really find a weak spot, mind you I wasn’t looking for it either. Cabin service excellent, room service every day spot on time and dining room service very well organised. Embarkation in Southampton went really smooth. I arrived by 1130AM and was given a check in number A1 just after the Grills and Priority people. and was on board in a breeze by 1210. Cabin steward allowed me to store my bags in my room and lunch was ready. I normally never do buffets however Kings Court improved dramatically compared to before. The Carinthia Lounge is a big success even though I already saw some wear and tear on the hot seats next to the windows. Library assistants were very helpful. I loved going there every day. The weather was good, a little chilly and a little bumpy on the second and third day. (I had hoped for more stormy weather) I noticed again how incredible seaworthy QM2 is as at times you hardly noticed any movement as all. One thing which was vey badly organised was disembarkation in Brooklyn. I think this was not Cunard’s fault as it seems only half of the required immigration officers showed up. I booked a transfer to Penn Station and left the ship an hour late. In the terminal you had to collect your bags and queue up in a long line with these bags for another hour. All very inefficient and terminal staff didn’t seem to have an proper overview either. Once cleared it was a little hard to find the proper coach. I ended up with other people at the wrong one and a woman (fellow passenger) started loading our bags. Probably to help, however it was the wrong coach and it took a lot of effect to retrieve them again. Next time I would definitely take early self disembarkation as I even saw Grills guest lining up with their bags for a long time. I still find it very unfortunate QM2 doesn’t dock at Manhattan anymore which is so much easier. However I understand the logic behind the decision to move to Red Hook Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
AFTER ALL THESE YEARS cruising every January, was Cunard for me? Having heard about the advantages of transatlantic sailing travel compared to cruising for so many years, thought I’d give an ocean-liner a try. So, the brief 4th of ... Read More
AFTER ALL THESE YEARS cruising every January, was Cunard for me? Having heard about the advantages of transatlantic sailing travel compared to cruising for so many years, thought I’d give an ocean-liner a try. So, the brief 4th of July sailing offered on the Queen Mary 2 appeared to be a great opportunity to experience one of the legendary Cunard ships. She was built to sport the often-stormy high seas of the North Atlantic and this excursion was meant to show off her brand-new $132 million refurbishment. From the first moment we embarked the “QM2,” to find White Star bellmen kitted out in snug red uniforms welcoming us into the Grand Lobby, classical music lilting through the air from a string quartet, and sparkling wine on ice at the ready in the cabin, we had the distinct feeling of participating in a time-honored sailing tradition. Just the lush new raspberry carpet was enough to dispel the discomfort of long embarkation lines due to Coast Guard inspection when a ship begins its Canadian itinerary. As if Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn could waltz in at any time—or the Kennedys or the Windsors—I felt the sophisticated spirit of grande sailing nostalgia carrying us along, beside all those celebrated characters who had sailed aboard the 1st Queen Mary, now moored in Long Beach since 1967. To enhance this phenomenon, Cunard displays dozens of beloved celebrities in life-size sepia “Welcome” murals throughout the ship. Compared to the latest giant cruise ships which are, frankly, shaped like boxy shopping carts, the Queen Mary 2 appeared particularly sea-worthy in the Brooklyn port, with her graceful nautical lines and distinctive single red funnel. The ship’s extensive renovation began May 27, 2016, with QM2 sailing into her dry-dock berth at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, and sailing away refurbished by SMC Design less than 4 weeks later. ADDING CABIN SPACE for 75 extra passengers can bring the total count now up over 2690—with some crowding consequences, to be sure; particularly before the first evening’s dinner, and in the Queens Room, where an edifice of Queen Mary herself sternly reigns over proper High Tea service. Yet, this gracious also holds the late-night dances accompanied by a full orchestra. Additionally, the refitting project included expanded kennel facilities for traveling dogs and cats. Yet when I visited their spiffed-up facilities on one of the ship’s upper decks, complete with a playful British red fire hydrant, it turned out that all the dogs onboard were actually on much longer sailings than me. WANDERING around the decks, I was able to explore the ship’s generous library, an impressive glassed-in cigar lounge worthy of its namesake, Churchill; and forward from my own cabin, a small, sleekly crafted Observation Deck. All of these features made Queen Mary 2 stand out from previous sailing experiences over the years on cruise ships. As we slid away from the port in Brooklyn on our way to Halifax, the ship lingered in New York Harbor, so we could toast Lady Liberty in the foggy twilight from the upper decks. Even though it was a cloudy and chilly sunset, everyone was celebrating with Champagne and the festive atmosphere there on the Queen Mary 2 Observation Deck was one I shall not soon forget. AFTERWARD, gathering for cocktails at the Commodore Lounge, which is located deeply angled into the bow of the ship and my favorite location, our group of 10 friends, especially the frequent Cunard sailors, were all pleased with their “remastered” accommodations. They described cabins now decorated in champagne colors with deep blue velvet piping and Art Deco touches, flat-screen televisions mounted into the wall. In particular, everybody was delighted with the coffee-making equipment added to each stateroom. Other than a few little glitches, like sharp, hard-to-touch Jonathan Adler drawer handles, everyone was happy. One of our group was returning to his favorite window cabin looking out to an Art Deco mural high overhead in the hallway. And, after some concern by another that her newly added single cabin might be a wall-to-wall single-bed affair, there was in fact room enough in there for soft seating, a writing desk, and large picture windows. Fifteen single cabins were added in response to the solo travel market expanding by 15% in the last two years. THAT FIRST EVENING, we dined at sea together beneath towering maritime artwork depicting the original Queen Mary practically sailing into the room. Cunard’s English cuisine was elegantly served in the two-story Britannia Restaurant, with pleasant wines available. And from the dinner table, we experienced what for us was the chief distinction in the ocean liner experience, compared to cruising: remarkably stable sailing. The rough seas we entered provided dramatic-sounding waves against the large dining hall windows, but the ride of the ship was so smooth, we could barely tell it were moving, and our Champagne glasses never spilled. The next day at sea, between walks around the Promenade deck and hearing the traditional mid-day bell ring, we enjoyed a “lecture” with James Carville & Mary Matalin quipping back and forth at each other about the current political environment; and then, the first of two scheduled planetarium shows presented in the Illuminations Theatre; which were incidentally produced by the American Museum of Natural History, right here in New York City. One featured Tom Hanks describing the limitless variety of celestial bodies in the universe, and the other narrated by Harrison Ford explored the possibility of life on other planets. Also highly entertaining was a dramatic production performed by students from London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), which featured a pastiche of Shakespeare scenes and an evening show starring London cabaret singers. Beside the main dining room, there were quite a few other meal-time opportunities. One of the decks has been entirely opened out and re-fitted as a sort of open-house medley of casual dining offerings, with the ever-popular radically refurbished King’s Court buffet as its centerpiece. In one corner, a chic French restaurant, the Verandah, has been added. One of the couples at our dining table left us one evening to try this new café and came back smiling, as it specializes in regional styles, and they enjoyed the fresh seasonal garden ingredients in their dishes. Throughout the dining deck, spacious food stations surrounded by Cunard’s re-figured expanded seating now provide a variety of dishes, some featuring Smoke House, Pan-Asian, and Tex-Mex elements. The refurbished buffet area also serves a full assortment of breakfast and luncheon food throughout the day. At one end, the former Winter Garden bar has been refurbished and creatively re-named “The Carinthia Lounge,” with a contemporary floor-to-ceiling glass wall case housing Cunard’s international vintage port collection. Not only does it offer salad bowls—my favorite—and pastries for breakfast, lunch, and traditional afternoon tea; in the evening, it kicks up into a rather upbeat gathering spot, serving cocktails, stylish small plates, and light entertainment. We had a harpist for supper one night and truly splendid jazz percolating through our favorite meal together, a serendipitous luncheon where we ended up sitting together. EXCURSIONS were available in Halifax to explore this historic region, which is the home of Sir Samuel Cunard, who founded the Cunard line. I’d visited before, however, and was quite happy to leisurely wander the beautifully developed Harbour Walk and enjoy a particularly crisp Canadian Summer day with new growth green bright in the foliage after heavy rain the day before. In Boston, we sampled a ride on the “Duck Boat,” an amphibious vehicle which picks up passengers as a bus; then drives down a ramp and splashes into the Charles River, and functions as a ferry. Toward the end of our journey, small children were invited to come up front and “drive” the Duck Boat and be photographed at the steering wheel by the friendly driver—and frankly, I did as well. Another highlight of our holiday was the late-night opportunity to view the much-beloved Boston Pops Fourth of July Fireworks display, which we were able to see perched upon the highest Lookout Deck, while at anchor in the bay until the performance was over. During one of the days at sea, it was a pleasurable adventure to try out a massage at the Canyon Ranch Spa. This area of the ship has been beautifully designed with a gracious Relaxation Lounge outfitted in chaise longues looking out to sea across the Promenade Deck through smoked glass. The treatments rooms & the massage itself were wonderful. And afterward, you can relax in the Canyon Spa whirlpool room, which is perhaps one of the loveliest & most expansive at sea. ALL THIS OCEAN-LINER ELEGANCE comes at a cost, of course and, while Cunard cabins are generally higher priced than most cruise lines, their premium Princess & Queens Grill service is priced, rather like 1st-class air travel, at more than twice the fare of basic balcony staterooms. Unfortunately, inherent in the non-premium level of service, which makes up 85% of the passengers, is an inescapable culture of standing in slow-moving lines, much longer than their cruise-ship equivalents. It was, nevertheless, a pleasure to enjoy the little luxuries unique to the Cunard sailing experience: such as proper fish-course cutlery and sparkling new stemware, scones and clotted cream at high tea, Penhaligon’s cosmetics in the bath and excellent jam in little jars. All of it made me long, truly long, for the leisurely week-long experience of a transatlantic sailing. For years, I’ve harbored a fantasy of being tucked into a deck lounger with blankets at sea, and being served the strong beer-spiked beef tea consommé I remember from the nostalgic ocean-liner stories of my Canadian grandmother. While most days did not warrant blankets, afternoon tea was indeed served out on deck to those of us reading in deck chairs & all those walking laps around the Promenade deck behind us, three laps of which constitutes a mile. Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Having previously cruised on the Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth in 2013, I thought that I would 'complete the set' by joining the QM2 on the final leg of her 2016 World Cruise from Dubai to Southampton. How things ... Read More
Having previously cruised on the Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth in 2013, I thought that I would 'complete the set' by joining the QM2 on the final leg of her 2016 World Cruise from Dubai to Southampton. How things have deteriorated in 3 years! My 2013 experience of Cunard was excellent service from friendly staff in all areas and excellent food - even during a Force 10 gale. Not so on the QM2. I had to find my own way to my cabin - it was a cabin, not a stateroom - on deck 11. My case arrived 5 hours later. Bathrobes are no longer standard - you have to request one. Pillows are no longer feather filled - lumpy man made fibre. Britannia Restaurant night one - menu thrown at me whilst slopping water into a glass and then demanding 'Had I chosen?' The food served was awful - I had only a starter and main - the starter was a couple of prawns in Marie-Rose sauce followed by a fillet of Baramundi that had given it's life in vain. It was so overcooked that I could have re-soled my shoe with it. I asked if I could have a drink with my meal and was told that the Sommelier was the only one that could take drink orders - he arrived half way through the main course. Night 2 in the Restaurant was no better, in fact, worse as the Sommelier did not even turn up. By now, the ship was in the grip of Norovirus and the Captain took great delight in making announcements including words such as vomiting and diarreah during lunch or dinner and I took the remainder of my meals in the Self Service Canteen on deck 7, where the food was unappealing and the staff were surly to rude. I stuck to pasta, cooked to order, toast and bananas. Cunard failed to control the Norovirus - if one person in a double occupied cabin was showing symptoms, they were confined but the other person was allowed to roam the ship at will, infecting anyone and everyone! We were denied access to the port of Dohar and we were also denied access to Jordanian Territorial Waters, meaning that Aqaba and Petra were off the list. This was my 15th cruise in 4 years and I chose to leave the ship in Cyprus, 10 days into the cruise, because I was so disappointed by every single aspect of the cruise. Something that I have never, ever considered before. The Carnival Cuts are apparent in every area of the ship - although I should qualify that because so many areas of the ship were restricted to 'normal' passengers and reserved only for World Class, Britannia Club, Queens Grill etc. passengers - perhaps the cuts are less evident there. Never again. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
It is with a little trepidation I start this review on a cruise. I have reviewed restaurants, hotels and attractions on TripAdvisor but when it comes to reviewing the whole package it is more daunting The review will reflect my own ... Read More
It is with a little trepidation I start this review on a cruise. I have reviewed restaurants, hotels and attractions on TripAdvisor but when it comes to reviewing the whole package it is more daunting The review will reflect my own likes and dislikes but I always try to be objective and reflect actualities. This is the fourth time I have sailed with Cunard and the third time on the Queen Victoria. When I first left college over forty years ago I worked for three years with P&O as an assistant purser so I know the cruise format from both sides. From the start I do believe the cruise is good value for money and is a excellent way of taking a vacation. However I have to qualify this as this time I went as a single traveler and this costs 175% of the normal fare. This made the trip much more expensive. It was for this reason I traveled in a B grade balcony cabin. In the past I have traveled in the Queen’s Grill Q1 and Q3 The cabin I will review later My main concerns were eating in the Britannia Restaurant and apart from the cabin there is little difference in what one receiver. In truth I need not have worried. There are quiet secluded areas in this restaurant and a single table in one of these was what I was allocated. The service was extremely good and I found the menu quite acceptable. I was permitted to “Mix and Match” within the menu and always found something to my liking. I was permitted to have a lobster main course as a starter and there was also Chateaubriand and Beef Wellington. I had the cheese course as well as a desert on more than one occasion and coffee at the table was most acceptable. I have seen reviews highlighting lack of choice and small portions but neither of these issues could I recognise. It would be impossible neigh unhealthy, to eat vast portions in a meal with that number of courses three times a day. I had no problem choosing dishes from different menu areas. I am sure if I had asked for more of a particular item it would have been provided but I do recommend it is always best to make friends with your waiter and head waiter. Doors open. If you want something, ask, don't whinge. The entertainment on this cruise was very good. Much better that the previous year. The singers and dancers were particularly accomplished. The girl dancers were better than the boys. There however was one little bearded guy who had fully mastered all the steps and sequences. If a step has a beginning , middled and an end or continuation most of the boys did not reach the middle let alone the end. With programmes like “Strictly” on the TV every night, people know about hold, core strength, spotting, isolation, step finishing and a great deal more. The “End of the Pier/Pantomime” brigade need to look to there laurels today when providing song and dance entertainment. In general I would commend this troop who provided a good solid show, well produced and with high quality costumes. Classical tastes were well catered for with a string quartet, harpist and pianists to entertain them plus comedians and other musical artists. The ports on this cruise were many, frequent, and various. The distance of some places from the port was a bit problematic , e.g. Florence and Pisa. The over night in Monte Caro was a pleasant addition permitting a night in an hotel on shore, dinner and the Casino. All of which were a great success and I have reviewed on TripAdvisor. Shore excursions are expensive and not really tailored for disabled passengers. I normally have a taxi. This is expensive but you can be taken right to the various places and waited for. The drivers are very knowable and usually speak good english. If you agree a price, durtion, and route at the start you should have no problems. Gibraltar is not necessarily cheap for quality items. I saw a watch that I know is £1750± in the UK boldly displayed for £2278. Be careful!! For what is provided this cruise i believe was good value for money I did however have a few niggles. On my arrival at the ship I had lunch in the Lido Restaurant. As it was a fly cruise I had be up since 6am that morning had nothing to eat except a tea and biscuit on the plane. I was endeavouring to normalise my insulin levels when I was attacked by a young lady trying to sell me a “Wine Package”. I said I was not interested as I have had one in the past I didn't believe them to be value for money. She was most persistent, even trying to sell me a bottle for that night, and offering to fetch a menu so I could choose what I was eating. ‘This would save me time as it was going to be very busy that night in the restaurant'. This whole episode was inappropriate, annoying and tacky. If I had not been so tired I would have made a scene there and then but did not. That evening , on my table was a bottle of “Cunard Still Water” with a card stating I could purchase for so many dollars. This again is tacky beyond belief. I had the jugged iced water for the rest of the cruise. I also believe still bottled water in the cabins should free. There were a couple of signs of cost cutting since the previous year. The ship’s pens are of a lower quality and the pool towels do not have the company logo on then anymore. I used the White Star luggage transfer facility. This is not cheap but worked very smoothly. On a fly cruise the baggage allowance is a bit problematic Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
I chose this voyage as a result of my travel agent suggesting it instead of just another long flight. This voyage was grand and outstanding, every detail was looked after in a Royal way. I have booked another voyage on this ship in 2017 ... Read More
I chose this voyage as a result of my travel agent suggesting it instead of just another long flight. This voyage was grand and outstanding, every detail was looked after in a Royal way. I have booked another voyage on this ship in 2017 for 26 days. The food was truly of Royal standard, the cleanliness of the ship, staterooms was beyond reproach. The booking process was very easy for myself and my travel agent, the embarkation was amazingly easy and fast. Disembarkation in New York was also easy . So much to see and do on board, I think I might have experienced half of what is offered. So much to do. I have been following the remaster of this ship and look forward to seeing her next year with so many changes and so much more to offer. This is not a "fun" cruise ship but a classy, sophisticated voyage ship. I must say not stuffy or overly formal, just enough formal time to enjoy. On my voyage, there where a number of young people, all of which where well mannered. Final thought, the cost is very uch in line considering what you receive! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We embarked at Southampton of a 4 night voyage to Hamburg and back as it fitted my friends short schedule, Check in was quick and efficient and we were on the ship within 40 minutes of arriving including a 15 minute wait in the grills ... Read More
We embarked at Southampton of a 4 night voyage to Hamburg and back as it fitted my friends short schedule, Check in was quick and efficient and we were on the ship within 40 minutes of arriving including a 15 minute wait in the grills seating area, Our luggage was waiting for us at our suite along with 2 bottles of complimentary sparkling wine, chocolates and fresh orchids which was a lovely touch. The room was beautiful with plenty of space and a separate walk in wardrobe and large bathroom with both bath and shower, we ate in the Princess Grill which was open for lunch on embarkation day and ate there for the whole time we were on the ship, Chateaubriand, crepes or any speciality dishes you wanted had to be ordered 24 hours before though. The weather was perfect and we used the Grills deck to sunbathe on which also had its own jacuzzi, and no shortage of beautiful teak sun loungers and its own small bar, Service was excellent, nothing was too much trouble, The only slight downside was the entertainment, which wasn't up to standard, a bit lack lustre although lectures were great and informative, another down side was that we couldn't get a table in the Queens Ballroom for afternoon tea and were shown into the Britannia where they had set up a make shift area to have afternoon tea but this made no sense as you were away from the music etc, luckily we went to the Queens Grill lounge which served afternoon tea and it was perfect... If i am being picky i don't like the Kings court buffet area which seemed somewhat downmarket and like a huge disorganised canteen also the Reggie/Carribean band doesn't fit the ship in my opinion don't get me wrong as i love that style of music but its strange to have that type of music in Northern Europe it would have been more suited to hot balmy days in the Caribbean perhaps classical or 30s 40s band music more in keeping with the maritime theme. The ship is kept immaculately clean in all areas and the staff were constantly cleaning and washing the decks at all times of day and night, Queen Mary 2 is a beautiful elegant ship and a true ocean liner, Will definitely be back and can't recommend enough Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
This was my third Cunard cruise, and as enjoyable as the others. I was happy to board 'Queen Victoria' and rest after days of walking around New York. Embarkation was very smooth and fast. Within 5 minutes of arriving at ... Read More
This was my third Cunard cruise, and as enjoyable as the others. I was happy to board 'Queen Victoria' and rest after days of walking around New York. Embarkation was very smooth and fast. Within 5 minutes of arriving at pier 90 I was on the ship. It was a lovely clear day as we slipped out of Manhattan. What a lovely way to enjoy the impressive skyline! And then we reached the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and did not see land again for 8 days. And so began the last leg of QV's round the world voyage for 2015. It does seem slightly odd that the ship has no large, striking portrait and/or bust of Queen Victoria to serve as a focal point. There are a dozen small pictures in the Queen's Room, but that's it. Queen Elizabeth has a portrait and bust of H.M. and some pictures. For the first time I tried an inside cabin, and it was fine for me. The food on all 3 ships is of the same standard. The service and food in Britannia were very, very good. QV seems to have the best run and certainly most peaceful buffet of the 3 Cunard ships. The Lido was fairly busy at breakfast, but comfortable at other times of the day. (The King's Court on QM2 can seem very busy and quite noisy.) Afternoon tea in the Queen's Room was very busy, so I generally went to the Lido and chose a few items to enjoy while looking out to sea. The days at sea slipped by most pleasantly. The conditions were described as moderate to rough at times, but overall it was a pleasant voyage. The entertainment did not disappoint. It included 3 tenors, the String Idols, an American comedian, an American illusionist. The main guest speaker was Terry Waite. A pleasant cruise, and excellent value for money. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Spent great vacation with my husband. We were really surprised with a very cleab comfortable cabin with a balcony. It was really nice to spend mornings with coffee breathing the fresh air. Lots of towels and toiletries in the ... Read More
Spent great vacation with my husband. We were really surprised with a very cleab comfortable cabin with a balcony. It was really nice to spend mornings with coffee breathing the fresh air. Lots of towels and toiletries in the bathroom. Nice food at Grill restourant for me but not for my husband. Comfortable table, polite staff. But i think they could have better menu. I can't say that emtertainment was great but i had never been interested in it. I prefere to read and to look at he water. Service was quite good. I always freez so I asked for an extra blanket and in 15 min girl brought it to me. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
I am a big lover of ocean liners and get very irritated when I hear them confused with cruise ships (e.g. How was your cruise??). I went with my family (Who wasn't expecting to enjoy it). We all had a wonderful time and will ... Read More
I am a big lover of ocean liners and get very irritated when I hear them confused with cruise ships (e.g. How was your cruise??). I went with my family (Who wasn't expecting to enjoy it). We all had a wonderful time and will definitely be sailing again with Cunard. We boarded the Queen Mary 2 in July for a transatlantic crossing to Britain. Embarkation went very smoothly. We just had to sit for about 10-15 minutes before we were ushered aboard. The journey was on a schedule, but not too rushed. I am aware that it slowed from six days to seven to save fuel, but it is still a crossing on a tight schedule.The ship also runs nine day crossings to and from Hamburg and eight day crossings with an extra stop in Canada. The service was amazing. I had been warned by many people in advance that the service dropped after Carnival took over the ship, but we were nonetheless impressed. I can't imagine what the service was like before Carnival took over. It must have been pure bliss. The waiters on board were very attentive and accommodating (in low-grade Britannia-Class nonetheless) and we felt like we were pampered. My parents had their own cabin and my brother and I shared an ocean-view cabin towards the bow of the ship. The only complaint I had about the cabin involved the bathroom which smelled like urine. I know our steward and the maids cleaned the toilet and I tried as well, but it seems that nobody knew where exactly the smell was coming from. It wasn't too bad, but it was irritating when even the crew wasn't able to solve it. Other than that, the cabin was incredible! I definitely recommend an ocean-view for that traditional ocean liner feel. It had a nice picture window and, being located near the bow, we were able to feel the thrusters maneuvering us out of New York harbor. The seas were calm the entire way. One couple who had traveled before said that the weather was the best they had ever seen. I was a little bit disappointed that I didn't get to see the QM2 handle a bad storm, since that is what the ship was built to do, although fog appeared on the last day. We got to meet Kim Novak, the movie star, who was doing a lecture on the ship. We got to take a photo with her and autograph. Sue Cameron, a Hollywood insider, did an interview with her. We didn't do much. We watched two movies of Novak's: Vertigo, always a masterpiece, and Bell, Book, and Candle, which I had never seen before. We sat out by the pool and at night, when most of the pools closed down, I figured out that the indoor/outdoor pool stayed open later, and would run upstairs in my bathing suit at 11:00 and have the pool to myself, floating on my back staring through the magrodome at the night sky. The library was another spot that I could enjoy with few interruptions. My family spent their time elsewhere, and the others in the library were very quiet and respectful. The view out over that long liner bow was spectacular. The only major criticism I have is that I felt a little bored on the seventh day, but the rest of the crossing was great. It felt great to lounge around and not do anything. I stayed up the last night (afraid of sleeping through disembarkation) and saw through the fog the lights of the United Kingdom on one side, and France on the other, as the ship raced through the English Channel towards Southampton. I will definitely become a repeat QM2 passenger, and am disappointed to see only 69% of people enjoyed the QM2 (as of December 12, 2015). I hope they will give the Queen another try! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
First time on Cunard, first cruise was on the Sea Princess some 35 years ago...things haven't changed as far as cruising goes. If not in port there is not a lot to do except bask in the sun by the pool, attend the show after dinner, ... Read More
First time on Cunard, first cruise was on the Sea Princess some 35 years ago...things haven't changed as far as cruising goes. If not in port there is not a lot to do except bask in the sun by the pool, attend the show after dinner, old time dance in the ballroom or kick up your heels in the disco, have a quiet drink listening to the piano in the yacht club or play trivia games and karaoke in the pub.. QE is one very beautiful vessel, the decor is lavish. The evening entertainment in the theatre was outstanding!! Apparently the entertainers were all new. The dancers were fantabulous, their stamina in doing two shows each night is amazing. The costumes were beautiful, colourful and the designs very relevant to the dance being performed. Food in the Britannia was great and serving portions just right for 3 course meals. Vegetarian meals were also on the menu. Even those on a diet were catered for. Steaks as requested were perfectly cooked . Duck and Lobster were delicious, we even had shrimp cocktail, souffles, snails. Watching people eat in the Lido buffet was a sight, plates piled high, anybody would think it was their last meal. I now understand the joke by cruise staff referring to cruises as a food marathon. Food was constantly replenished, you could get pizza and pasta on demand, crepes, eggs and omelets at breakfast. Burgers, sausages,fries and onion rings at the pool. There were Indian,Japanese and other special food days throughout the cruise. Some people really need to look at themselves and their eating habits if they think their was insufficient food on QE. All crew were nice, friendly and smiling and always around to help. Although the dinner waiter was a little too swift in clearing the table each night. My cabin was nice but an interior, so pitch black without the lights on, I was rarely in it. The shower was small but the water pressure and temperature was very good. My only complaint was the hair dryer in the desk drawer, the cord doesn't stretch far enough to get to the other side of my head. having long hair it was a nightmare to get dry and styled. As always hotels and cruise ships just don't cater for women! But at least they supplied hair conditioner, something you don't get in hotels. You do get the feeling of penny pinching when it comes to the add-ons. Gratuities, service charges and tips are added, added and added again. Ridiculous and so "American" Being an aussie we believe in a fair pay for a days work. Just pay your staff properly, price things accordingly and get rid of the add-ons, it so cheapens the experience. Being single traveller the cost was obscene, especially with regional pricing. Having said that I would still definitely sail on the QE again but travel with someone next time. 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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2012
There is a big difference between the Grills experience and every other accommodation. From preferred embarkation, to the food provided, to the convenient access to information, we experienced the best available. As Grills guests ... Read More
There is a big difference between the Grills experience and every other accommodation. From preferred embarkation, to the food provided, to the convenient access to information, we experienced the best available. As Grills guests (Q6-9065), we loved Julian, our butler, who would come by frequently to ask how we were doing and to answer our endless questions--this proved invaluable. "Happiness, and happiness, and happiness." One trip to the buffet for breakfast was enough to convince us that this experience should be avoided--I don't like being elbowed to get to the eggs. What a different experience to having your own table ready whenever you are, with your own sommalier. The food was wonderful and the service was very good. As Grill guests, we met the captain at an afternoon tea. Activities on the ship met our desires for a traditional experience--deck games like shuffleboard and quoits, organized into contests, was great fun. My wife enjoyed her spa, although she thought the massage was average. The lecture on Cunard's history was fascinating, as I learned the speaker was the author of several books I own. The two formal nights (one extra) and dancing in that incredible room was memorable. The cigar lounge was enjoyable and well run, the people who arrived in swim trunks and put their flip-flopped feet on the couch table were asked to politely remove them by the attendant (this is why I paid the money ;)). I felt like James Bond gambling in my tux. The casino was small but uncrowded. For some, there will be downsides. The age averaged high. At 40 I was younger than most. The disco had very few visitors. There are activities for children, but you will not find a giant megaship waterslide on the fanny end of the ship. Disembarkation takes time. This has always been--movie stars in the 1930s had the same experience. We wanted a traditional, classic experience, and we were not disappointed. Just as it was, you get what you pay for--thankfully. We saved and loved every minute. Read Less
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